We are great forgetters and easy wanderers. It’s easy to get some truth, even to experience it deeply, but then to slip off into wrong thinking.
“Remain On at Ephesus”
This was Paul’s admonition to young Timothy. Paul had led these people to Christ in Ephesus and spent two years discipling them. He had sent Timothy at some point to continue the work.
Here he urges the young pastor to stay and keep teaching the people because error lurked at the door—but not the error we might think.
As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God, which is by faith.
But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion . . . (1 Timothy 1:3-6 NASB).
These men had the apostle Paul as their first, church-planting pastor! This was the apostle who wrote over two-thirds of what would become the New Testament. Yet before long, they were straying into heresy. They were missing the point of God’s truth.
We Have an Enemy
Jesus classified him as “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). His whole nature and scheme is to get us to believe wrong things—to divert us into what doesn’t matter. He will either keep us from the truth or, if we’ve found the truth, try to steer us slightly off into some silly, unfruitful discussion.
And he’s good at his task. He’s practiced for thousands of years, on better men than you or me.
Sound doctrine is not only important; it is vital, particularly in seasons of revival where strong emotion is evident (and understandable). If we think wrongly and believe wrongly, soon we will live wrongly.
Paul knew this, and he knew that everyone needs good mentors and teachers and pastors in their life. We all need (even every pastor needs) leaders who will remind us that the endgame of all truth is the Great Commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love others as you love yourself (Mark 12:30-31).
If the focus of your thinking is some tangent thought that exalts your theory or ideas—some wild, “new thing” where you are heralded as the great prophet—you’re missing the point. If your brand of revival thought is not producing deep love for Jesus Christ and Him alone, something is dreadfully wrong.
The Great Theme
The overarching theme of the Welsh Revival was the overwhelming love of Christ and a passionate love for Christ. The theme song of this mighty work of God, which spread across the world, was “Here Is Love.”
Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Loving kindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember,
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout heaven’s eternal days.
On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above;
Heaven’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.
Tragically, Jesus’ later indictment of this same Ephesian church was, “You have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4). They were missing the point of experiential truth—truth designed to lead them into intimacy with Christ and a burden for others.
A hot-hearted, truth-fed passion for Jesus is our need, and it’s the goal of real revival: a love that sets us ablaze for Him and for the world He loves.