Here is such a clear and helpful explanation of the Gospel.
Horatius Bonar (1808-1889) explains it this way:
What is revival? Strictly speaking, it is the restoration of life that has been lost; and in this sense, it applies only to the Church of God. But used in a more common acceptation, it is the turning of multitudes to God. As conversion is the turning of a soul to God, so a revival is a repetition of this same spiritual process in the case of thousands. It is conversion on a large scale. It is what occurred under the apostles at Pentecost, when three thousand were converted under one sermon. It is what took place at Corinth, Thessalonica, and Ephesus, when, under the preaching of the apostles, multitudes believed and turned to the Lord. This is what we mean by revival!
So revival is more than personal revival and church revival, it includes a broad awakening where multitudes are awakened. So what about us? First, we can be grateful for the signs of awakening among us, but there is more. There is a community that surrounds us. Because of that, the matter of revival should never leave our consciousness until we see heaven come down and glory fill souls around us.
Also, Kevin De Young has posted some helpful thoughts on revival in two parts.
First, he defines revival like this: “True revival is a sovereign, swift, extraordinary work of God whereby he saves sinners and breathes new life into his people.”
Here is a description of one of the most famous awakenings in history, in the days of Josiah, where we learn that revival begins with love for the Word of God. De Young says,
True revival will always be Bible saturated through and through. Revival is not simply renewed fervor for spiritual things. Buddhists have a fervor for spiritual things. Oprah and Tom Cruise have a hunger for spiritual things. God-wrought revival brings a fervor for the Bible, that we might live, feel, sing, pray, work, and worship according to the word of God.
There can be no personal transformation, no holy family life, no sanctified church life or any kind of life without the foundation of the Gospel. In July 1886, Charles Spurgeon began his message with this statement:
The heart of the gospel is redemption, and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. They who preach this truth preach the gospel in whatever else they may be mistaken; but they who preach not the atonement, whatever else they declare, have missed the soul and substance of the divine message.” He goes on to say, “I will speak upon THE GREAT DOCTRINE. The great doctrine, the greatest of all, is this, that God, seeing men to be lost by reason of their sin, hath taken that sin of theirs and laid it upon his only begotten Son, making him to be sin for us, even him who knew no sin; and that in consequence of this transference of sin he that believeth in Christ Jesus is made just and righteous, yea, is made to be the righteousness of God in Christ. Christ was made sin that sinners might be made righteousness. That is the doctrine of the substitution of our Lord Jesus Christ on the behalf of guilty men.
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In order, therefore, not to rush headlong to such ruin, let us remember that this sacred feast is medicine for the sick, solace for sinners, alms to the poor; but would bring no benefit to the healthy, righteous, and rich–if such could be found. For since in it Christ is given to us as food, we understand that without him we would pine away, starve, and faint–as famine destroys the vigor of the body. Then, since he is given us unto life, we understand that without him in us we would plainly be dead. (more…)
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