Charles Finney and Revival

Charles Finney and Revival


Genesis 26:18
tells us “Isaac dug again the
wells of Abraham.” In every generation,
there have been revivals, massive moves of the Spirit that changed the
course of history. In every revival, there were believers
like you who chose to answer
the call to become the one in
their generation. Discover your call to
be the one in your generation. We are about to
take you face to face
with history. Wesley and Whitefield
traveled from town to town on roads just like this as
they spread the gospel. In fact, Wesley spent
over 7000 miles on horseback taking
the gospel. Then in the 1830s,
Charles Finney. Brother Finney,
– Good morning. – How are you, sir? – I’m fine.
How are you? – I’m going with you
wherever you are going. – We are going to
a revival. – Wonderful. – You have revival? – I do have revival.
– Right. – I have a question. – Well then come along. – I have a question. How
do you get revival? – The first step to
revival is a deep repentance. It’s a breaking down
of your heart, my heart before God with
a deep humility and we are forsaking sin. [Picking up dirt] It’s getting
in the dust with Him. – Um… – That’s the first
step to revival. What begins with you. – What’s next? Well I’m going
to loan you my Bible. I’ve written
down the things that I asked myself. – Um… – You need to
examine yourself. Am I grateful? Do I have a heart of
gratitude or ingratitude? I’m grateful for
this mighty horse. He takes me all
across the country bringing revival to people, salvation to lost people. – Right. But do I love this horse
more than I love God? You have to ask
yourself that. Do I love that Bible? Do I spend time
in that Bible? Do I study? Because if I starve
myself from that, I starve
myself… from the presence of God. Do I spend
time in prayer? You’ve got to get to a
place of prayer where you move God. You won’t give up. Then you start looking at the
little sins in your life. Do I have envy? Do I envy my brother that
is preaching, my sister that is praying. Do I envy others? Kek–Let’s go! You can’t ignore taking
care of other people, the wrongs of
other people. We have a cancer in
this land called slavery where one man
enslaves another. I have to have
concern for that. I have to have
concern for the lost. That’s part of the
spirit of revival. Do I have any sins
in my life? Favorite things that I
haven’t taken care of– Like a bad temper,
and crying Do I rob God of being
able to bless other people because I’m
not doing right. Do I have a filthy mind? – Um… – Do I have fear? Do I have fear of people– when they criticize the
move of God? That’s…That’s revival. – Um… Those are the things
that bring it, keep it. I’d say this. If mister “amen” and
mister “teary eyes” is not in my church, in
the congregation, then I don’t have revival. – What do you mean? – In a revival service, if
mister “amen” and mister
“teary eyes” is not there,
we haven’t have revival because that tells me
that the people are hooked up with
the revival. It begins with you
and that’s what we do. We go and we break
up the fallow ground. That’s where I’m headed, to
break up the fallow ground. [Walking away] Okay guys, what have
you got for me, Doug? – We’ve got a young man
called Charles Finney. He was an attorney and
today he is recognized as the father
of revivalism. We are talking
about the 1820s here. He was an attorney, a skeptic, he’s never been to church
or prayed. His family were not
christians and he learned about the Bible
through his law books. – Right. – It was I think?… – The Blackstone’s
commentaries. They were the so-called
Bible and it came over
from England and they were
based out the
Scriptures so basically,
every time Finney went to learn
something about law, he was taking back
to the Bible. 3 months after
he started this– – Wait a minute. You’re saying he
was an attorney. – Yea, well he was reading, he
was our version of law school but they called
it reading the law and so he got so
excited over it. – So as he’s reading the law, he relates it back to
the Scripture? – No, American history
was built upon the Scripture. Our founding fathers,
our law documents were built upon the Bible. Like these commentaries are, in these law books, he is
reading the Bible. – Yes. Actually it has a
scripture in it. This is the promise for
this law and so after he had read this for 3
months, he said, “I need a Bible. I’ve got to find out
what the source is they keep going back to it. – When was this? – About 1824
something like that. But this man, I mean get
back into history, he was part of the second
Great Awakening. The first Awakening
under George Whitefield, they kind of died down. – So he was born
in 1792… – Yes, the Erie Canal
just kind of opened up 1820, something like that. So it was a young
fledgling nation but in his lifetime, he had
tremendous awakenings where he would go into a
town and you would feel the presence of
God all over town. He went into a place
and the whole city would come to the Lord. All the taverns
would close and… – Because of the people… – He was saved… – It sounds like
the Welsh revival. – That’s right. He’d walk up to people and
the convicting power of the Holy Spirit would
just come on them. – But you really have
to go back because he started as a choir
director, unsaved in a church where most of
them were unsaved. – How old was he? – He was 29 when he was
reading for the law… going to the law school
and basically, the pastor had
giving up on him. He said, “He will
never be saved.” In fact, he was so
steadfastly determined never to be saved,
that all of the… – Back up, back up
Linda for a second. Okay. He was a choir director? – Yes, he was. – And he wasn’t saved.
[Laughing] – And he wasn’t saved. – He was a skeptic,
wasn’t he. – Absolutely. – And he knew how to
argue his points so… – He was a lawyer. – This poor pastor had such a
hard time with this guy and the pastor, he wasn’t a
scholar, really you know either. But what he would do is
after Sunday service, the pastor would visit
his law office and then Finney, he would
tell him how badly he preached on the day before but the
pastor was being very wise because he was stirring
up in this man a need for
salvation. He was drawing him
closer to that day when he would get born again. – The backslidden men of
the church said, “Yes! Finney is our hold out. We will never have
to accept Christ.” So basically,
this one guy… – Wait, I’m still stuck on, he’s a choir director and
he’s not saved. – He’s a choir director and
he’s not saved, yeah. – And he has people
going to the church – but they are not saved. – But they aren’t saved. – Exactly. – Greg, was that
normal back then? – Yes, you went to church
because it was the thing to do in the
community. – Sort of a social thing. – Absolutely right, yes. – That was the town
meeting place. – So he’s like 29 years old,
he’s the choir director… – Mister “C” says
to his pious wife, “If religion is true. Why can’t you
convert Finney? If you Christians
can convert Finney, I believe in religion.” And they were
all like that. They were all lined up
behind unsaved Finney… – So he was their mascot. – He was their mascot. – Finney is the key that if
you can unlock Finney, and that’s a challenge
for God right there. If I can unlock Finney,
the rest of them will follow. – What made Finney
so hard to break? I mean, he was obviously
skeptic like you just said. – Because he saw how they
prayed in that church. I mean, he went for a
few months and he said it almost changed him
into a skeptic because they pray and they have
no expectation of God answering and then they whine and
complain afterwards. They offered… – It sounds like
church today. – There we go. I mean… They would say, “Can we
pray for you, Charles Finney? He’d say, “No, no…because
you don’t get your prayers
answered.” – Ah that’s interesting.
Hold right there. Greg, now here is a guy
who is skeptic and he’s praying but he
recognizes what? He recognizes no
faith in that prayer. – Absolutely right. – True. – It’s all out tradition. It’s all out of
rote memorization– – Yes. – or tradition or because
we’re supposed to do
this rather than from a heart
belief or a spirit belief. – Now here he is reading
for the law and he knows that if he does a court
case, he better win it. If you don’t win it, you are a
loser and so basically, he is looking at their prayers
and he is saying, “Sorry guys, you are
losers.” So he basically… His judge that is
training him tells him, “Learn this stuff, learn
the material then go and address to the person and
share about this material.” Well he’s looking at
what they are doing in the church and saying,
“That means nothing.” You guys are
this worthless. And so basically… – Because there is no fruit,
there is no fruit. – Okay because they
wouldn’t then back up. They were just quoting stuff. – Yes. – He had no revelation. – And he would later after he’s
come to the realization, “Yay, I’m
going to accept Christ”, and boy, is
that a journey. But when he comes to
that revelation, then he realizes that the fruit
of the Spirit is not just words: love,
joy, peace, goodness. But he sees them as
forces for change, for results. – Okay, how old was he when he
actually came saved? – It’s all basically
29, 30 years old. – This is all right in 30.
– Yea. – And his salvation story
is very interesting. When he goes and he locks
himself up basically with God and you might jump in
there Doug on this. But he locks himself
up with God “I will not leave until I
encounter You.” – Yea, yea, I mean he had an
experience that fueled the rest of his
life. He went outdoors because
the burden of his own sin was on him and he said,
“Lord, if I do get saved, I will
preach for You.” And he just called
upon the Lord and had a tremendous experience
and he went back to his office and he locked himself in and
he had an experience. He called the baptism
in the Holy Spirit. – Yeah well, when he came to
know the Lord, he was embarrassed because
he is a skeptic. – He’d hide his
Bible, wouldn’t he? – Yes. – He’s embarrassed because
of the people he knew? Or embarrassed
of the Scripture? I don’t understand. – He’s got the party of
men that are never going to accept Christ
until he does. And so here he is.
He’s actually being… – He’s let them down. – He’s let them down! [Laughs] – Yea, yea! He
abandoned them. – Haha, yea. – And then when he got
saved and he had this thing, he had to come to
grips with the fact that he was feeling pride. He finally realized that
the one thing that was keeping him
from Christ was having to face those guys. – And plus, he heard the inward
voice of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit, He
marked his whole life. He was a word man, he
was a Bible man but he said he heard the
Holy Spirit said, “What are you waiting for? Did you not promised to
give your heart unto God. Are you trying to do it
of your own endeavors, on your own
righteousness?” So he had a relationship
through out his whole walk with the Holy
Spirit where he would hear and be led
by the Spirit. In what he preached, in
where he went, in the revivals that he
had but I mean he was a good Pentecostal. – But that’s what was
unique about him was that he had the baptism
of the Holy Spirit. All the other guys… – When did he get
the baptism? – That night. He accepted Christ. – The day he got saved?
Same night. – He went home and it
was just like having the olive oil,
you know the oil of the Holy Spirit
just come over him. Do you have that quote? – Here is the quote. He said, “I bellowed out
the unutterable gushings of my heart.” Now he didn’t have a
friend to say, “Oh this tongues, this is
one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” But when we looked
back, I’ll go, “You were baptized in the Holy
Spirit” and he had a number of occurrences
over his life. A great times of need
when he was actually refilled with the
Holy Spirit. – You talk about
a great light. – Yes. – Oh yes. He was in a room and he
said, “It was a dark room and it just lit up.” He said this, he said
that Jesus appeared to him face to face as if
it was another man. He didn’t say anything,
he just hit the floor and he knelled before Him
but he had encounters that you can take out of
the book of Acts. – Yes. Well Paul on the
road to Damascus. And he is going
and persecuting and basically, he is acting
as a skeptic lawyer, he thinks he is doing God’s
work but he is on the way to the road of Damascus
and a great light overshadows him
and he comes and he meets Jesus
face to face. It’s a Finney. It’s a Finney. – But here is a guy
who has got, you know think…He’s
mister “thinky”. He is mister “reasoning”,
he’s mister “You’ve got to prove it to me”, lay
it out, thing by thing and now he comes face to
face with Christ, with the love of Christ. I mean, for me when
I was 14, I had an experience where Jesus
came into my room and the waves of love
floor to ceiling. It was just…It
changed who I was. I’ve never encounter
love like that. – Supernatural encounter. – What he describes here
in his journals, says the same thing. It transformed how
he viewed everything. All of a sudden, he
looked at the same landscape but he
saw it differently. He looked at the same
people, he saw them differently. And so the judge came to
him and said, “What’s up with you? What
changed?” – All right so let’s pause
here and make sure I got the story right.
Born 1792. Now the first Great
Awakening ended in 1755, isn’t that correct?
Somewhere in there? – Yes, in this area, yeah. – So here we go 40
years later basically. 30, 40 years later, he
is leading the way so now we are in the 1820s
and he’s choir director, unsaved choir
director, [Laughs]… – Yeah. – Reading the law,
based on Scripture. – Yes. – Has an encounter
with God, supernatural encounter
with God, gets baptized in the
Holy Spirit, doesn’t
know what that is… – Right, absolutely
no idea. – That must had been
frightening but what you’re saying is
that he got radically changed his own view of
life, changed to that point. All right so now, what
does he do with this? He’s got this
life changing… – People are even recognizing
that he’s different. – Yeah. – It’s the same day,
they meet in his church because they heard
that Finney, who is never gonna get saved,
he is saying he’s got religion and all these verses of
Scriptures that he never heard or read of just
came to him and he basically preach and
people came under the conviction of
the Holy Spirit. That began here Gene, a
remarkable ministry and he had training from
different ones… – In that meeting, he had
his whole little group of unsaved,
backslidden guys and they are looking at
him and saying, “I really want to
kill this guy” and the rest of them
are saying, “I want to know what’s
going on with this guy”. – So his conversion was
met with both sides. Some didn’t like it,
some did like it. – Yes. Yes. – What did he
do with this. Let’s keep going.
What happened next? – He got training but he
started to minister and to… – Training where? Where
did he get trained? – Okay. – Here. Where is the pastor.
Oh this guy. – This is a great
story here. Him, we love this guy. Okay, this is
the pastor of… This guy says what you
don’t want any pastor to say. The first thing out of
his mouth was “Finney will never be saved.” – Hilarious. – The next thing out of
his mouth basically after they go through
this process of becoming a pastor is he says
basically to him, he says, “Don’t tell
anyone I study, you’re saved with me. You don’t know anything, you’re
not doing anything right.” He says, “I’ve
never trained you. Let’s keep it a secret
between ourselves.” – This guy, he is such
a happy looking… [Laughs] George
Washington Gale. – The only thing that
redeemed him was after the awakening
after however many people came to Christ. He said to Finney, he says, “You
know if you had listened to me, we would never had
an awakening, – Right. – So you did a really good
job in ignoring me.” – And they estimate the
magnitude in his lifetime, they estimate between 2 and
500 000 were born again. He went and did… – Okay but before we get
into that, so Greg, he’s had this
experience with God. Obviously everything
he’s believed, he’s been skeptical about, he
finds out it’s really true, he’s meeting some
resistance immediately from those
following him. He gets training from
George Washington Gale. How does he get from
there to revivals? What happened? – He couldn’t keep
his mouth shut. – Yea. – When he got… – We can all
relate to that. [Laughs] – He’s full
of the Holy Spirit. – When he got baptized with
the Holy Spirit, everything just
gushed about him. – Oh yea… – So he… and it started with
his home town and then he went over to
Evans’ Mills and basically there were 2 places,
there were 16 miles apart and each of
them were horrible. I mean, they run their
former pastors out on a rail, tarre and
feathering was a-okay, they had bars, it was
just like Wales just before the revival. – It was dark. – The law couldn’t
keep…couldn’t keep the violence and
the crimes down. And so he walks into
Antwerp and basically he says… – Antwerp New York… – Yeah. And he says to them
basically he says, “I’m going to
preach”. And there were actually
a few Christians in the town and
the whole rest
of them just came because heck,
they were getting ready to find out who’s going to
be their next person they’re
ran out of town. – And here’s what
they called Antwerp. It was called
Hell’s Acres. – I think we
preached there. [Laughs] – Okay so there
is another pastor. He wants to come and
hear Finney so he’s passing through and
it’s a very unchristian area. – Now this is…How far
into his ministry? – First place he went. – The first place he went,
he goes to Hell’s Acres. – Yeah. I mean and so they would
I mean, they hated him. I mean, I’m not
trying to get… They took the wheels
off his buggy so he couldn’t get there. So that incensed… – They took the wheels
off his buggy? – Yeah, but anyway. He finally gets to…But
Finney, he is ready for them. Now he’s not preaching
to church folk, right? – Yea, right. – But so here is the
text that he takes. It was, “Your serpents,
you brood of vipers, how could you escape the
condemnation of hell?” and this gentleman… – He didn’t beat around
the bush, did he? – He went straight to… – He didn’t break them
out of shell. – He was either a
revival or a riot and he had a revival. – So the revival
broke out? – Because it says that
“They cried and they screamed in their cities”
and Finney said, “Well you are not in hell
yet. There is hope for you.” – Isn’t not interesting
Greg you know, with Finney and what it
sounds like with him also with Whitefield
what we’ve talked about, – Yea. – Even you know with some of the
others in that time frame, they really
had this experience when they would go preach,
they would talk about hellfire and
damnation and it would just ignite the room… – Remember where we are. The west of New
York and then that part of the country
had just opened up. – It’s all new, was it? – Yes it was, and so it’s
pretty much frontier. – Yeah in a lot of ways. – But then my point is
how amazing he had supernatural visitation talking
about hellfire and damnation and people
changed because of that. Now isn’t that
interesting the reason. – And that was one of the
criticisms of him from the established church, – Because he wasn’t
taking the status quo. – He had Calvinists on
this side that said, “You can’t just become
a christian if you want to. God chooses you.” – Right. – But then the
Universalists who said, “There is no hell, it’s
just fear mongering and this stuff so
he had a lot… – So he had religious
persecution, – On each side… – On either side plus
the heathen. – Yeah. – Well he was
results oriented. I mean basically… – Like an attorney. – Like an attorney, yeah. – All the sermons of
this era were basically talking about sin being
somewhere out there and it had nothing to do
with in my life and so here is Finney
saying to them, “Will you take Jesus” and this
is what he did to David Mills. No response. He says, “Then
you are committed. You’re taking your
stand, you’ve rejected Christ and His gospel” and his
lifted his finger and pointed
to them, okay because he knew who was–his
ringleaders and he said “These men has blasphemed
me on the streets like hellhounds,
I heard you yesterday calling on God to damn each
other but I’m sorry for you and I will preach for
you once more the lord willing
this afternoon.” So basically everybody left,
they all tried to decide if they are going
to tarre and feather them, or they are going
to run them out on a rail. – They actually…He just
got up in the service and walked out. I mean it wasn’t a great
wow, this is great but he paused, he waited for
them just to get a few feet and then he said,
“I’ll be back tomorrow and they okayed him
back with great results. – He came back and he
spent the day in fasting and prayer. – Yea, he did. – Basically he had his
prayer people, they were busy fasting
and praying. – Now who is this? Daniel Nash. – He’s a pastor and they
call him father Nash and basically his
claim to fame is that after these first few
towns, he would travel into an area, set up a
prayer zone and he would bring people to pray
with him including one of the early converts,
Abel Clary and also Lydia here was
from the hometown. – Let me see… – That would eventually
becomes his wife and he would marry
her in October. – This is interesting. You see this on Father
Nash’s grave stone. – Yes. – Just laborer with
Finny mighty in prayer. – Well the beauty of it is
when they were trying to burn Finny an effigy because he
was making so many changes, Nash came in for his fair
share of attention and so they were burning
him as well. – Here is the interesting
thing because we hear about Finney, we
hear about prayer and I’ve been to revival, you
know quote “prayer meetings” and we kind of
petition God, we wanted to twist His arm but that’s
not how these guys prayed. He prayed according to
Romans 8 that very few people have
heard about and even few had experienced. In Romans 8 verse
26, it says that the Spirit helps us in our
weakness for we do not understand what we should
pray for as we ought but the Spirit himself make
intercession for us with groanings that
cannot be uttered.” Now these gentlemen, they
entered into deep intercession – Yes, that’s it. – and it was not
words. It’s they would feel the
sin and the darkness. It was a
spiritual thing. It’s not something that
they did but it was the kind of prayer
that spot revival. Outstanding–outstanding in
the things where he would just I mean, call out,
“I’m lost, I’m
lost”, he would identify by the
Holy Spirit now the sins of the people and… – So he’s coming back into
town to do this sermon for these people who
have been spending the day trying to figure out
how they are going to destroy his life… – Yea, yea… – and he walks in and everybody has been
praying and fasting. And the Spirit of God
lands on these people. Now when I talk about
landing, we would probably call that being
slain in the Spirit. – Yea. – And so it lands on these
people and they just have never encounter
anything like that. And one of the guys when
he can, he calls on and says, “God have mercy on my soul.”
It was just like… – I mean they would call
out and just cry out. He said, Finney said
“The Lord told me in those early days of my
christian experience the very many important
truth in regard to the spirit of prayer.” – Okay, sorry so let’s
move the story along though. So he has great results – Great results, yea. – at Hell’s Acres so then does this launch him
into the next great revivals? – Well, he’s got Lydia. He goes back to
her, he says… – Now when did he meet
Lydia? When was that? – Lydia is part of the
original church that was basically unsaved. She can pray,
she was saved. She basically
prayed to him… – Prayed to him into
the kingdom… – Into the kingdom and so
basically, he married her in October and she is
traveling around with him. Father Nash is part
of the team now. – He’s traveling around. – So he’s got his
crusade team. – They go to every village,
they hit every major… – Now this is right
after hell’s acres? – Yes. But you see the thing is
his health was very bad after reading for the
law, studying and so he had to learn how to eat
food correctly, get some rest but in the
meantime, they’re walking you know, and when they
started, they didn’t have a horse, you
know–Him and Lydia. – So he’s walking from
town to town until he was able to
get a horse. – He had a revival in a
place called Rome in upstate New York and
there was a sheriff who had to do business in
the town and Finney was preaching there and he’s
just on his buggy, he crosses he says the
old canal and all of a sudden, he said, “I could feel the
presence of God on me. As I got into the
town, I began to weep. As I was doing
business, I had to excuse myself
and just weep.” It was an amazing thing. It wasn’t just the Holy
Spirit in a service, it was in a whole area. – So he starts up in the
New York area in that part of the country. – Boston, Philadelphia
and New York. – And he starts
moving down. – Yeah. – Well he basically, he’s
just around the area, he goes to England but it
was in Rochester. It’s a revival that
almost didn’t not happen. – True. – It was an area that all his
friends said, “Don’t go there. All the churches
were fussy. He was a Presbyterian, – Right. – and there were
preachers there. They were fussing and
wanted to have a pastor but in a year’s
time, here Gene, a hundred thousand were
added to the churches. – So would you say that he
re-dugged the wells of revival? – Oh! Here we go. – But the thing is he
was so conservative. He went back and he looked
at the first awakening and he found out
that you know, all these people had
backslidden. They had been saved. What
happened to them? And so his goal… – Why do you think
it happened, Greg? Why did they backslide? – They got comfortable.
They got traditional. – Here we go. Traditional. They went back
towards tradition. – Yeah, religion. And that’s what
he didn’t like. And that’s what he
mocked and made fun of until he had
his experience. – Sometimes people need
to know it’s okay to be skeptical. There is this
religious thing… – With the right heart. – The right heart
is skeptical. Let God prove Himself to you. – Yes. – As long as you are open, He’s going to prove
Himself to you. So I think you know
as I’m sitting here listening to you guys go around
and around about all of this, I’m thinking man,
this guy, he was willing…Once he
found out God was real, there is this life to
be lived, revival and he has the Holy Spirit
shows up, he was the one. Talking about being the
one, he became the one. I mean his first
speaking is
Hell’s Acres. Uh, I mean,
that’s bold. That’s bold. What a great opportunity
for us to learn what it means like
Finney. I hope you got something
out of this because Charles Finney
showed us in total
what it means to not only know
who Jesus is,
give a life committed to Him,
dedicated to Him and then he became
the one and he went out and he
reached his world for God. Thanks guys. ♪♪ [Music] ♪

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