Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord
Acts 3:19, NKJV
During the Great Awakening, Pastor Jonathan Edwards was met with persecution and resistance concerning the divine happenings in the services. There were supernatural signs and wonders like spontaneous laughter and joy, people falling on the floor, shrieks and crying out, and the like. In an effort to bring Scriptural clarity, Edwards explained from 1 John 4:1, and other scriptures what God was doing. The sermon The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of Godis a great message and worth reading today.
Let me highlight some of Edwards’s excerpts from the applications of this message:
- The Recent Extraordinary Influence is from the Spirit of God
The Spirit who is at work takes people’s minds off vanities of the world. He engages them in a deep concern about eternal happiness. He puts their thoughts on earnestly seeking their salvation. He convinces them of the dreadfulness of sin and of their own guile and miserable natural state.
- We Should Do Our Utmost to Promote It
We should not oppose or do anything in the least to clog or hinder the work. On the contrary, we should do our utmost to promote it. Now Christ is come down from heaven in a remarkable and wonderful work of His Spirit. It is proper for all His professed disciples to acknowledge Him and give Him honor.
- Friends of This Work Must Give Diligent Heed to Themselves
Let me earnestly exhort such to give diligent heed to themselves. Avoid all errors and misconduct. Avoid whatever may darken and obscure the work. Give no occasion to those who stand ready to reproach it…Humility and self-denial and an entire dependence on our Lord Jesus Christ will be our best defense. Let us therefore maintain the strictest watch against spiritual pride. Let us avoid being lifted up with extraordinary experiences and comforts. Let us not take pride in the high favors of heaven that any of us may have received. We need these favors in a special manner in order to keep a strict and jealous eye upon our own hearts. Pride is the worst viper in the heart. It is the first sin that ever entered into the universe. It lies lowest of all in the foundation of the whole building of sin. Of all lusts, it is the most secret, deceitful, and unsearchable in its ways of working. It is ready to mix with everything. Nothing is so hateful to God, contrary to the spirit of the Gospel, or of so dangerous consequence. There is no one sin that does so much to let the devil into the hearts of the saints and expose them to his delusions.
Now is the time for another Awakening that will transform our country and the world. The rains of revival and renewal are falling. Embrace what the Lord is doing and be changed by Him! Allow your devotion to deepen and your pride to be purged. Shout from the rooftops the work of the Lord!