SBC Life Articles

EKG Is About Revival

And what one nation on the earth is like Thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem for Himself as a people and to make a name for Himself …. ~ 2 Samuel 7:23

God redeemed the nation of Israel so that through Israel He might make a name for Himself. In other words, God redeemed and blessed the people of Israel with a singular purpose — to reveal Himself, His character. By revealing His character through an insignificant tribe of people, He would draw all the nations to Himself. God's eternal purpose involves the redemption of people from every nation on earth.

Empowering Kingdom Growth has been birthed in Southern Baptist life with the prayer that we will be one of God's Kingdom instruments through which He will make Himself known to all the peoples of the earth. This must be a movement of God's Spirit, which begins in the heart of every individual and spreads to our family, our church, our community, and our world.

Israel's Failure

When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, "These are the people of the Lord; yet they have come out of His land." ~ Ezekiel 36:20

Israel, as a nation, failed to exhibit the character of their holy God. Their disobedience and rebellion led to their defeat and, ultimately, their exile. Even though the exile was punishment of Israel's disobedience, it caused the pagan nations to conclude that the God of Israel was no god — He could not even protect His own people, and they have been driven out of His land.

Whether we know it or not, people every day form some opinion of our God based on our behavior and our lifestyle. Do we, in our attitude, actions, words, and lifestyle reflect that you serve a God who is holy? Do we experience such abundance and live in such victory that our neighbors know that we serve a God who gives us spiritual strength and overcoming joy. What would those around you conclude about the God you serve from the evidence of your life? It is a sobering question, but one we must confront if we want our lives to be effective instruments for Kingdom advance.

God's Plan

"And I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord," declares the Lord God, "when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight." ~ Ezekiel 36:23

Everything God does, He does for His name's sake. Another way of saying it is that God always works consistently with His character. The revelation of His name was one means of declaring His character. At the very heart of God's character is His holiness. The prophet declared that God would act to vindicate the holiness of His great name. This plan will have the desired result that the nations will then know that He is the Lord. God has a simple plan for reaching the nations of the earth.

Nothing moves Southern Baptists more than the idea of global evangelism. We established our seminaries with the idea of training men and women to go to the far ends of the earth. We created mission agencies to assist the local church in reaching North America and the world. We developed avenues of cooperation between association, state, and national constituencies to accomplish the task of world evangelization. We created the greatest global funding strategy ever devised to enable these cooperative components to do their task. Our Cooperative Program funding strategy is the envy of other denominations and every evangelical mission-sending agency. Strategically, we have everything in place to complete the task of world evangelization. Why are we making such little progress? What is standing in the way?

Did you notice the specific wording of the last part of verse twenty-three? The nations will know that He is the Lord when He proves Himself holy in their sight. How, you ask, will He accomplish this task? The key phrase in God's strategic plan is "among you." He will prove Himself holy to the nations by revealing His holiness through His people. Since creation was completed, God's plan has been to accomplish His Kingdom purposes through His people.

We are an essential part of God's plan for world evangelization, and therefore, our holiness matters to God. Our holiness impacts the effectiveness of our witness. Jesus declared that His followers would be salt and light (Matt. 6:13-16). When salt loses its flavor it has no inherent value to accomplish the task for which it was created. Salt by nature is salty so that it can add taste. The salt is our transformed lifestyle that gives our witness credibility. The Lord uses our salty living to help awaken a thirst for the Living Water in the hearts of the lost. Holiness precedes mission.

The Solution

In Ezekiel 36 God declares His intention to restore, revive, and renew His people. I would encourage you to read the full text of Ezekiel 36 to the end of the chapter. Revival is a sovereign work of God in the life of His people enabling them to reflect His holiness and thus to lead fruitful lives. Notice the activity of God as specified in the "I will" statements.

• I will take you from the nations … and bring you into your own land.

• I will sprinkle clean water on you … I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

• I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you … I will remove the heart of stone.

• I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statues.

• I will be your God.

• I will save you from all your uncleanness.

• I will call for the grain and multiply it.

• I will multiply the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field.

These promises have created a great longing in my heart. I know I need cleansing. I want a new heart. I want to experience renewal. I want every individual and every church in our Convention to experience God's fresh touch. This is the focus of Empowering Kingdom Growth.

Does it ever feel like your heart is made more of stone than of flesh? How long has it been since you have wept for a lost friend? How long has it been since you have felt compelled by the Word of God to respond to the invitation of your pastor to be renewed in your spirit? Are you living in complete obedience?

When we experience revival, God will multiply our fruitfulness! I believe that Empowering Kingdom Growth could be the vehicle for revival. One thing is certain, if we do not experience a fresh flow of God's power, EKG will be nothing more than another well-conceived plan of man which will fail to produce God's results.

Will you join countless other fellow believers in seeking genuine revival?

    About the Author

  • Kenneth Hemphill