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Women Who Win

 

Women & Revival
(From the Acts of the Apostles)

 

We speak so much about Revival these days and conduct camps and conferences to that end. But these revivals seem to last just for a few days and then it is no more revival – just mere talk of the past glory. We cried, “Revive us O Lord,” and He answered with revival. But then why is revival so short- lived? Is it because God stops short of fulfilling His part? God will never condescend to play our part. We will examine the role of women in fuelling the revival fires as recorded in the Book of Acts. They speak though they are dead.


1. They flowed with the Spirit

When Jesus promised, “You will receive power, when the Holy Spirit has comes on you,” these women did not waste time arguing about the doctrine of the Holy Spirit or His manifestations or whether the “you” included women or not. They claimed their portion in all God’s blessings. They knew God was upto something terrific and did not want to be left out. They did not want to wait and see first how the men “received,” and then risk it; but committed themselves wholeheartedly, unreservedly, unquestioningly.

“They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the WOMEN… When the day of Pentecost came… ALL of
them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 1:14;
2:1-4).

O beloved, this is the secret of Revival. The Holy Spirit! He is the Author of any Revival. He is promised to us. Joel has prophesied about you 2000 years ago. “In the last days, God says, I will pour out My Spirit on all people. Your sons and DAUGHTERS will prophesy... on My MAIDSERVANTS I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:16-18). Joel may prophesy, God may pour out, but how will the cycle be complete unless you prophesy? Unless you cooperate with God, Joel’s prophesy will go unfulfilled. Jesus came to Zebulun, “To fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah” (Mt 4:13,14). Jesus cooperated with God for the fulfillment of prophecy concerning Himself. As long as you are a daughter of somebody, the promise is for you!

This is the start of the Revival. Get into the Spirit at any cost. May be Philip was a young man when the Revival broke out. Then we see him old with four grown-up daughters. Yet the revival had flowed to fall upon the next generation. “He had four unmarried DAUGHTERS who prophesied”(21:8,9). How did this Revival steer its ways through into the house of Philip the Evangelist? These upper room women were not just satisfied to come into the experience but ran with their torches to light the other ones. They led others into the experience.

It is great to be blessed but it is greater to see others blessed. Joel prophesied that God would pour out His Spirit upon daughters and maidservants and they would prophesy. What shall they prophesy? That God will pour out His Spirit upon daughters and maidservants and they shall prophesy. You believed Joel’s prophecy and received the Spirit. Now let other daughters and maidservants believe your prophecy and receive the Spirit. O, don’t let the chain break. Serve as a link, beloved, for the revival to flow. God is not going to send any more Joels to speak forth the prophecy of the Spirit to women. But we are His Joels to prophesy wherever we go, that God will pour out His Spirit in these last days and lead women into this glorious experience.


2. They identified themselves with other believers

These women boldly joined themselves with those who called themselves ‘believers.’ They had to count the cost before doing that. Because that was a risky decision those days. They thus exposed themselves to the public gaze and the persecuting gang. “ No one else dared join them, eventhough they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless more and more men and WOMEN believed in the Lord and were added to their number” (5:13,14). Even some were afraid to join this fanatic group for reasons we could guess. But these women were bolder.

Beloved, if you want to have a share in God’s endtime revival program, don’t be a bystander. Get into the circle and plunge. How can God use you as long as you stand outside His territory? Walk into His hands boldly and tell Him you are at His disposal.


It is important you identify yourself with the other members of the Body of Christ.

“Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent WOMEN” (17:4). “However some men joined him, and believed, among them was…a WOMAN named Damaris” (17:34). Prestige or status did not stand in their way to join these street preachers. Even “leading” women joined them. Because of this united system, Christ had a body to manifest Himself, so “great fear seized the whole church” (5:11).


3. They submitted to Christ’s authority

In the Apostles’ doctrine, the first step of submission to Christ’s authority was water baptism as per His command. To a Jew it meant giving up Judaism, and sometimes sacrifice all his political rights and privileges. It was to a degree easier for the husband or father, in a house. But to a woman, who was under the authority of the husband or father, to disregard it for the sake of submitting to the authority of Christ, meant her fellowship, rights, and privileges at home too. Yet when the revival spark lit a fire in Samaria, women ventured to be baptized. “But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized both men and WOMEN” (8:12). This submission opened the door for them to receive other blessings.


4. They gave themselves to soulwinning

It was not only the men but the women were equally active in soulwinning. Had it not been so, Saul would have bothered the least to imprison women. “But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and WOMEN and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went” (8:3,4). “Church – house – women” seem so unrelated in the present context. But in the New Testament revival, women and house were integral part of the church. To cause havoc of the church, Saul did not go to the church, but to “every house.” Because, Saul knew the secret. To paralyse the church he must not only arrest the men but the busily working women who were adding women to the church. In EVERY HOUSE women! What a huge number of women soulwinners they would have had! No wonder Saul felt insecure to leave the women free. The nexus of the revival was in the woman of every home. O that today every house-woman were a soulwinner! Then revival shall not die! When they were scattered, they took to preaching EVERYWHERE! In the market – buying brinjals, in the houses – where they helped, in the places – where they worked, in the schools – where they taught!

Women cared for the salvation of their household also. We see it in Lydia, who when she believed saw that the entire household came into the faith (16:14,15). It was they who were responsible for the transmission of faith, as Paul later on writes of Timothy’s genuine faith, “which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice” (2 Tim
1:5).

Some of the difficult and neglected areas which needed a lot of patience and sympathy fell to the lot of women which they took up as a challenge and flourished in the field. One such disciple was Dorcas, a WOMAN full of good works and charitable deeds (9:36). How often we stop with just giving the gospel lest a further step of works touch our purse! No wonder a shutter has fallen down to shut off the deluge of revival. “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress” (Js 1:27).


5. They gave themselves to prayer

Revivals are born in the womb of prayer and nurtured by praying hands. The New Testament women were so systematic and regular in their gatherings that Peter, when he was released, instantly knew where they would be at that hour, and sure enough, found the praying bunch at their usual place —house of Mary. The brothers were not there as we understand from verse 12:17. WOMEN not only prayed unceasingly but unwaveringly. Just a few days ago they prayed for James and he was killed with the sword (12:2).


Now Peter had fallen into the same hands. Sure enough they knew his fate. But they dutifully prayed. And God honored their faithfulness beyond their expectation! How important it is to systematically gather and pray in spite of adverse circumstances that we may witness the unusual and keep the revival flowing!


6. They sincerely searched the Scriptures

They were not simply listening to preachers, and taking down notes and forgetting it! “They received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek WOMEN” (17:12,13). This was why the revival bloomed. They were not the ever-learning-never-understanding type! (2 Tim 3:7).

O, the calamity caused today because women do not search the Scriptures daily! There is division in the home, there is division in the family, there is division in the church because many a woman’s doctrine keeps changing with every preacher. O that God would visit us with a revival of Scripture study!

One Jewish couple sent out of Rome by Claudius was Aquila and his WIFE Priscilla (18:2). Now Priscilla was going forward, working along with her husband, going to the synagogue with him, entertaining guests and talking to them freely. They met Apollo in the synagogue. He was an eloquent man, mighty in the Scriptures, instructed in the way of the Lord; he spoke and taught accurately, spoke boldly in the synagogue. And “they” expounded to him the way of God more accurately (24-26). Obviously when Aquila was expounding, Priscilla was supplementing and contributing. How much she would have searched the Scriptures! How I wish to meet her and have a warm handshake!


7. They were very helpful and hospitable

“One of those listening was a WOMAN named Lydia... ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord,’ she said, ‘come and
stay at my house.’ And she persuaded us” (16:15). “After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to LYDIA’S house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. Then they left” (16:40). “PHEBE… has been a great help to many people, including me” (Rom 16:2,3). “Aquila and PRISCILLA greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house” (1 Cor 16:19). When the synagogue closed down its heavy doors to the surge of revival waves, these women opened the doors of their houses that it might fill and flow and flood.


8. They were martyred

Women were also seeds for revival along with their brother martyrs. If they eagerly participated in the Holy Spirit experience they could not go back on this. For, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be martyrs” (original)! Saul is witness. “I persecuted the followers of this Way to their DEATH, arresting both men and WOMEN and throwing them into prison”(22:4).

O Lord, help us to feel the palpitation of a woman’s heart as she opened her door at the knock, only to find Saul and his soldiers; let us once hear her shrieking cry to leave the child alone; give us her last vision through the prismatic tears, of her little ones pathetically seeing her being dragged away by brutes, one weeping, one sucking the thumb and the other tugging at her clothes; help us once to feel the shame of falling into soldiers’ hands, that we may forever remember that the story of revival is never complete without the sacrifice of blood.

The Revival flower blossoms only in the garden of sacrifice and is watered with scarlet blood! Lord, help us to be martyrs that at the cost of our blood, revival may come and continue!


   Address for Correspondence & Contributions:

Lilian Stanley
13 Church Colony
Vellore 632006, India
Tel: +91 9843511943
Email: lilianstanley@gmail.com

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