What happens when the Holy Spirit shows up in extraordinary power at church? The answer is found in Acts 2. This was a church in revival.
Before we go further, let's read Acts 2:41-47.
Our passage begins where Peter’s sermon ends. He preached to a large and hostile crowd of Jews. 40 days earlier, they had condemned Jesus to death for claiming to be their God, Savior, and Messiah. But Peter stood and preached with boldness: Jesus. Crucified, risen, exalted. God. And then something completely unexpected happened. They were "cut to the heart." Peter pointed them to salvation in Jesus and 3000 men trusted in Jesus as their God and Savior. And were immediately baptized.
It was an extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit that opened their hearts to Jesus. Nothing else can explain the immediate transformation of their thinking about Jesus. That’s revival. Unbelievers come to Jesus - they see him as he is: Savior and God. Also, in times of revival the believing church returns to Jesus as our first love. That’s why the ministry here is all about Jesus! Jesus first, Jesus last, Jesus always. This was Paul's heart when he preached:
“I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” - 1 Cor. 2:3
The Great Awakening was a revival that shook Colonial America. In the 1730s, God used the “Jesus-only” preaching of George Whitefield to bring new life into the churches of New England. Christianity had become “routinized.” Most people assumed they were OK with God by virtue of their birth into church culture, but they lived careless, godless, lives. God drew great crowds to hear Whitefield. He preached with such laser beam focus on Christ - the need to turn from sins in order to cling to Christ alone - that the people were shaken out of their sleepy false assurance and awakened to the absolute necessity of Holy Spirit rebirth and salvation in Jesus alone. Tens of thousands turned to Christ.
Here is an excerpt from the conclusion of one of Whitefield's sermons. I've adapted it slightly for use here:
“O that you would seek the Lord to be your righteousness! You will be the children of God, if you believe in Jesus. Did you never read of the eunuch belonging to the queen of Candace? He believed. The Lord was his righteousness. He was baptized. When you also believe, you shall be saved. Christ Jesus is the same now as he was yesterday, and will wash you in his own blood. Go home then, turn the words of the text into a prayer, and entreat the Lord to be your righteousness. Even so, come Lord Jesus, come quickly, into all our souls! Amen, Lord Jesus, Amen and Amen!” George Whitefield, adapted from the sermon The Lord Our Righteousness.
In seasons of genuine revival even the most godless people turn to Jesus. They trust, love, cherish, worship, and obey him - as their precious Lord, Leader, and Loving Friend.