Acts 5:34-41 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. ... So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus.
As I’ve been writing about the "great awakenings" that took place over the past few days. I believe we could be witnessing such a move of God.
In laymen’s terms, the difference between a ‘revival’ and an ‘awakening’ is simply that moves of God transcend denominations and sects. While various ‘denominations’ have revivals at times, an ‘awakening’ shakes the body of Christ across denominational boundaries in spite of their differences.
While this may be controversial to some, true moves of God were always controversial … if it happened in Yeshua’s (Jesus) day, then nothing should surprise us.
It was during the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) that there was a dispute amongst the people saying, “He is a good man,” while others were saying, “He is leading people astray”; [John 7]. If people said this about Yeshua and His ministry, how much more controversial will revivals be among those who claim the name of Yeshua?
The Pharisees of Yeshua’s day watched Him closely to try to find fault in Him, as they carefully watched to see if He would heal on Shabbat. They were so busy fault-finding that they missed the very Son of God who was operating in the power of God in their very midst.
While there will always be opportunists and exhibitionists who will try to counterfeit genuine moves of God, this does not negate true moves of God taking place, as they have always been taking place since the birth of the church.
While it’s important to test all things, we also need to be careful of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In John Wesley’s day, people spoke out against the Wesleyan revivals, to which he wrote, “They take upon themselves to judge of the things which they know not.”
I spent some time on Facebook (which I rarely do) to see reactions to the events which took place over the weekend. I was astounded at the spirit of judgmentalism at such a genuine gathering of saints calling out for God’s mercy and seeking a move of God based on repentance. Amazingly, most that condemned the event, admitted they hadn't watched it. It was truly surreal to see believers being manipulated into slandering the saints.
Are we witnessing a “great awakening?” We’ll find out … for if it is of God … who can really be against it? The real question that faces each of us… “are we awakened?” If so, then the Lord is beginning a great awakening within each one of us! Isn’t this what a move of God does? May revival begin in each one of us … don’t worry about the controversies … the truth is controversial enough!