Posted in Christian Living

What is Revival? And who needs it anyway?

Only twelve days until the evangelist our church voted to invite arrives at St. Helens Baptist.

He doesn’t have revival in his pocket.

What is it? Do we even need it? How do we know?

Today, this blog will answer these questions – mostly with the words of Charles H. Spurgeon. Please click the highlighted words to find the original sermons in their entirety at

What is Revival?

From an 1866 edition of Sword and the Trowel, Spurgeon’s definition in an article titled “What is Revival?“:

The word “revive” wears its meaning upon its forehead; it is from the Latin, and may be interpreted thus—to live again, to receive again a life which has almost expired; to rekindle into a flame the vital spark which was nearly extinguished.

A young girl is in a fainting fit, but after a while she returns to consciousness, and we say, “she revives.” The flickering lamp of life in dying men suddenly flames up with unusual brightness at intervals, and those who are watching around the sick bed say of the patient, “he revives.”

We do not expect to see the revival of a person who is totally dead, and we could not speak of the re-vival of a thing which never lived before. It is clear that the, term “revival” can only be applied to a living soul, or to that which once lived. Those who have no spiritual life are not, and cannot be, in the strictest sense of the term, the subjects of a revival. Many blessings may come to the unconverted in consequence of a revival among Christians, but the revival itself has to do only with those who already possess spiritual life.

Who Needs It?

  1. A church with a sin problem – “For a church to be constantly needing revival is the indication of much sin, for if it were sound before the Lord it would remain in the condition into which a revival would uplift its members. A church should be a camp of soldiers, not a hospital of invalids.”
  2. A church in need of God’s Word – “Are there not hundreds of Christians—shame that it should be so!—who live day after day without feeding upon Bible truth? shall it be added without real spiritual communion with God? they do not even attend the week-night services, and they are indifferent hearers on the Lord’s day.
  3. A church that’s spiritually weak – “The eye of faith is dim and overcast, and seldom flashes with holy joy; the spiritual countenance is hollow and sunken with doubts and fears; the tongue of praise is partially paralyzed, and has little to say for Jesus; the spiritual frame is lethargic, and its movements are far from vigorous; the man is not anxious to be doing anything for Christ; a horrible numbness, a dreadful insensibility has come over him; he is in soul like a sluggard in the dog-days, who finds it hard labor to lie in bed and brush away the flies from his face.”

Please note that ONLY those who are saved can be revived. Something that is dead can be quickened only by the miracle of God’s touch.

Believers fall into sin, neglect to study the Word, pray or seek Christian fellowship and eventually become spiritually weak. It is when they are weak that they need revival.

What about you? Are you walking in the full power of God’s Spirit? Or do you fall in one of these three broad categories Spurgeon identified as needing revival?

Next week: Four things in need of Revival



Freelance writer and editor whose background in education and BA in English Language & Literature amps her love of all things books. Twenty years of parenting and 26 of marriage gives unique insight to her preferred audiences of women, young adults, and teenagers.

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