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Charismatics like myself love to talk about revival. Revival is usually defined as an “awakening” of the church, when it goes back to it’s original state. If the church doesn’t look like the book of Acts – where a lot of miracles happened, thousands were saved and Christians were living a holy, passionate life – it’s basically sleeping and needs to be revived.
Half a year ago, a girl from Switzerland contacted me via this blog and said that she wanted to visit Sweden “and the revival there”. We were honored and welcomed her, but we gently said that it would be wrong to say that it’s a revival in Sweden. Even when a lot of people do get healed here and many are saved when we prophesy for them, revival is the wrong word, at least yet. Revival is something more, revival is community transformation.
During the Welsh revival in the beginning of the 20th century, the prisons, bars and stadiums were emptied a like – everyone were storming the churches to seek God. Norwegian revivalist Hans Nielsen Hauge transformed his country not just spiritually but also socially and economically, so that one of Europe’s poorest nations started to flourish. And Mozambique is right now totally transformed by the Iris revival, that brings thousands of children out of poverty and plant thousands of churches in the power of healing and miracles.
The “Great Commission” is not so great. I mean, of course everything Jesus says is awesome, but we are making a huge error if we define missions only based on Matthew 28:18-20, basically because we are not given so much information about missions there. Jesus says: “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Now, to understand what “everything I have commanded you” means, we obviously have to read the rest of the gospels! Missions is not only about baptizing people and telling them what to believe, it’s about raising up a non-violent army of passionate disciples that are willing to do the stuff Jesus commanded us to do.
If we stick to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus starts teaching discipleship in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7). This is not a collection of random sayings of Jesus, it has a common theme: actions. Radical actions; love your enemies, give to the poor, do not store up treasures on earth, do not judge, do not look at someone with lust, etc. This is all part of the Great Commission – we are supposed to live like this, and those who we baptize are supposed to live like this. Thus, missions include peacemakting, social justice and holiness.