Friday, July 26, 2013

“Witness and Service: The Fruit of Revival”

Third Quarter 2013 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
"Witness and Service: The Fruit of Revival"
For the week of July 27, 2013

    To be revived infers that something was once alive but now is either dead or almost dead and has been brought back to life.

    If someone almost drowns in a pool, their most immediate need is air. Before they can eat or drink, they need to breathe.

    If someone is starving to death, they become weaker and weaker until they're able to eat again. 
    If someone goes without water for more than three days, they will usually die.

    We need air, water, and food to live. Removal of these three key life-giving substances causes the loss of life.

    We have been told that "a revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work." RH, Mar. 22, 1887.

    The revival here spoken of is not brought about through increased intake of air, water, or food. But the life-saving efforts that are needed to arouse us from spiritual death are no less critical than the continuous need for air and adequate water and food.

    The trouble with our church, spiritually speaking, is that we can be spiritually starved yet be completely unaware of our danger or need, according to the message to the Laodicean church found in Revelation 3:17. Have you ever noticed that prayer requests most often come in the form of requests for physical healing? We get that. But if we're spiritually dead and in need of revival, how would we know?

    The Word of God tells us so. When you're really sick, you don't feel like eating, drinking or going for a walk (breathing). You just want to stay in bed.

    When you're spiritually sick, you have no hunger for spiritual things. So it's pretty easy to do a self-assessment for spiritual deadness. It just takes a bit of heart-searching and self-examination. If we could devise a test for spiritual deadness, what kind of questions would be on it? 

    One of the limitations of self-examination is that our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. We can fool ourselves into thinking that we're spiritually alive even when we're really dead.

    It is customary in some places that after a person has died, their body is prepared at the mortuary and placed in a casket for a viewing by family and friends. I remember seeing my grandmother lying peacefully in her casket. She was wearing a beautiful dress and her make-up was perfect. She looked very nice. But she was dead.

    Spiritually, we can do the same thing and even fool ourselves. Putting make-up and beautiful clothes on a corpse does not make it come alive, even though it looks good on the outside.

    In some of our churches today, we have spiced up our worship services and emphasized a social gospel that includes feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and healing the sick. We've tailored our church sermons and programs to address the felt needs of the community, which are many. Do these things give evidence that we are spiritually alive?

    In our Sabbath School lesson this week, Paul's experience on the Road to Damascus is cited as an illustration of what true revival looks like. 

    Saul, like the rest of us, was satisfied with his spiritual condition until he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. 

    More than 120 years ago, the Lord "in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. . . ." TM 91.    

    I believe this experience was the Seventh-day Adventist Church's counterpart to Paul's Damascus Road vision. 

    Unfortunately for us, many of those in 1888 and thereafter "listened to the truth spoken in demonstration of the Spirit," but they "not only refused to accept the message, but they have hated the light." Our guilt is enormous: "These men are parties to the ruin of souls. They have interposed themselves between the heaven-sent light and the people." TM 91.

    What if Paul had rejected the light that shone to him on the Damascus Road? Where would we be? Would we have the New Testament Scriptures as they have them today?

    It was never God's plan for time to last as long as it has, but in His great mercy the Lord has extended probationary time. We still need to see the light of Jesus shining from Calvary, the same life-changing light that Paul saw.

    "All self-exaltation and self-admiration are the result of ignorance of God and of Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. How quickly will self-esteem die, and pride be humbled in the dust, when we view the matchless charms of the character of Christ!" 4BC 1178

    The key to revival in our church today hinges on our re-discovery of this most precious message which God sent to prepare us for His soon return.
-Patti Guthrie

Raul Diaz

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Word: Foundation of Revival”

-- Third Quarter 2013 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
                     The Word: Foundation of Revival"
For the week of July 20, 2013

The Word: Foundation of Revival The objective of our lesson this week is to find the role of God's Word in Laodicea's revival, which, as the title states, is the foundation.  If the Word is the foundation, then, it stands that revival is built on the Word, which is the means of its stability.  We can reason that the Word precedes revival; therefore let us begin by first establishing what we mean by revival and afterward look at how the Word is related to it.  To do this, let's review what we have studied thus far about revival, and see how God's word is an integral part.

As we know, the title of our quarterly is Revival and Reformation. The title is an obvious reference to an Ellen G. White quote in the first book of Selected Messages. Unfortunately, the authors (or contributing authors) quote the first sentence, "A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs" (1SM, 121), while ignoring the rest of the quote. Sadly, what has been omitted obstructs our understanding of what revival entails. Let us read,

"While the people are so destitute of God's Holy Spirit, they cannot appreciate the preaching of the Word; but when the Spirit's power touches their hearts, then the discourses given will not be without effect." (1SM, 121)

Ellen White implies that revival is what happens when we allow the Holy Spirit to touch our hearts.  She states that "There is a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from the spiritual death" (RH Feb. 25, 1902).  Consequently, what we have previously not understood now makes sense; what we thought was foolishness now is wise; what we thought was mundane and uninteresting, now is precious. A change is made in our thoughts, and we repent.  It is no wonder that Ellen White says regarding revivals, "Repentance is the first step that must be taken by all who would return to God... We must individually humble our souls before God …" (Conflict and Courage, 145). 

In this sense, David is a great example of revival.  We are familiar with the story of David's adulterous affair with Bathsheba, along with his subsequent murder of her husband, Uriah (2 Samuel 11). In His mercy, the Lord sent Nathan, the prophet, with a rebuke in the form of a story (2 Samuel 12; 1). The word of the prophet, which was the message of God to David, was like a sword that pierced his heart. With clarity, David saw the evil of his actions, and knew with certainty he not only wronged Uriah and Bathsheba, but sinned against God. With deep soul agony and contrition, David cried out to God for mercy, pardon and cleansing. (2 Sam. 12:13; Ps. 51:1-3, 4).

David said he confessed his transgressions to the Lord, and the Lord forgave him the iniquity of his sin; and the Lord comforted him in his affliction and quickened him with the Word. (Ps. 32:5; Ps. 119:50). The Hebrew word for "quickened" means: to revive. Therefore, David was revived.

Revival is also what happened to those who were preached to by Peter in Acts 2.  When Peter preached to them of Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2), he made sure he told the people that, "He was the one whom you crucified."  Luke tells us that the people listening that day "were cut to the heart" (Acts 2:37). Hearing the truth, they became disturbed and convicted; they cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do" (Acts 2: 37)?  God's word through Peter, by the Holy Spirit's power, had led these men to repentance and thus revival; this was the early church's experience

Shortly after the Seventh-day Adventist church was established, Ellen White was led by God to emphasize to us the need for revival. She stated that we were the end time church of Revelation 3, Laodicea. A description of this church is given in verse 17 - self-confident, complacent, apathetic, and spiritually indifferent.  In contrast, Laodicea believes that she is in need of nothing, and that God is pleased with her performance and attainments. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, God is so nauseated  with Laodicea's condition, that He is having dry heaves, which makes Him want to vomit (Revelation 3:16). It is Laodicea's condition, not Laodicea herself that is so revolting to God. His desire is to restore her, for the longer she remains in her condition the more He is unable to stomach her. It pains Him that the one whom He loves would rather destroy herself than to receive the cure for her ailment. For this reason, His warning to her is strong. He loves her so much that He does not want to let her go. (Revelation 3:19); Therefore, is it is no surprise that He gives the simple remedy to Laodicea – "buy of Me…"  Ellen White sums it up beautifully,

"Jesus is going from door to door, standing in front of every soul-temple, proclaiming, 'I stand at the door, and knock.' As a heavenly merchantman, He opens His treasures, and cries, 'Buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.' The gold He offers is without alloy, more precious than that of Ophir; for it is faith and love. [With the] white raiment He invites the soul to wear is His own robes of righteousness, and the oil for anointing is the oil of His grace, which will give spiritual eyesight to the soul in blindness and darkness, that he may distinguish between the workings of the Spirit of God and the spirit of the enemy. Open your doors, says the great Merchantman, the possessor of spiritual riches, and transact your business with Me. It is I, your Redeemer, who counsels you to buy of me."— Ellen G. White, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Aug. 7, 1894.

The Word as the means of revival is presented in Laodicea's perscription, as the Gold tried in the fire, which represents 'pure' "Faith activated by love."  And how is faith received? It comes into the mind, and into the life, through the hearing of the Word (Romans 10:17), which is Jesus (John 1:1-3). Thus, from beginning to end, for the Christian, and for the Church, the Word of God is at the center of revival. 
-Raul Diaz
Raul Diaz

Friday, July 12, 2013

“Prayer: The Heartbeat of Revival”

Third Quarter 2013 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
Prayer: The Heartbeat of Revival
For the week of July 13, 2013
 “You are getting the coming of the Lord too far off. I saw the latter rain was coming as [suddenly as] the midnight cry, and with ten times the power.” {SpM 4.3}
 The beginning of the Loud Cry and the Latter Rain is to be found in the Message of Christ Our Righteousness, the essence of the 1888 Message, the Gospel, the Power of God unto Salvation.  The final outpouring of the Latter Rain is coming, as we are told, with ten times the power of the Midnight Cry. 
There is a word in Gospel Workers which speaks plainly upon this question, page 370, 371. Speaking about the apostles, it says:
“They were waiting in expectation of the fulfillment of his promise, and were praying with special fervency. This is the very course that should be pursued by those who act a part in the work of proclaiming the coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven; for a people are to be prepared to stand in the great day of God. Although Christ had given the promise to his disciples that they should receive the Holy Spirit, this did not remove the necessity of prayer.”
 We advocate a “study” of the theology of the Gospel message, and while this is valid and necessary, we stand in the same place as the apostles, needing to use God’s channel to Himself to experience what the Gospel intends for us to experience in spiritual power.
 “Well, then, we see that so far as themselves and their work was concerned and so far as the power that was opposed their work was concerned, we stand exactly in the situation in which they stood at that time when Jesus ascended to heaven. We stand exactly in that place where all the power of this earth is allied against the message which we are to give to the world, and therefore we need, just as they, to be endued with power from on high. So it is a literal fact that we stand exactly where they did when Jesus ascended to heaven and told theme to tarry until they got that power.”  (A.T. Jones)

Jesus’ prayer life reveals a constant dependence on His Heavenly Father.  The gospels give us glimpses of the source of His spiritual power.  It was on His knees alone with the Father that the Savior received His greatest strength.

They prayed all the more earnestly. They continued in prayer with one accord. Those who are now engaged in the solemn work of preparing a people for the coming of the Lord, should also continue in prayer. The early disciples were of one accord. They had no speculations, no curious theory to advance as to how the blessing was to come. The power was to come only in answer to prayer, and a deep heart longing for His Righteousness, His love, His Spirit,, His Mind, His Life. 
 We are told that “We will search for and find Him, when we seek for Him with all of our hearts.”  Have we, are we, and will we seek, and continue to seek for Him, for the indwelling of the Spirit of God, the power of Love?  “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness.”  We may have the experience of David, and find our souls panting for the living God, to ache to unite our hearts with His.
 “Only by love is love awakened.”  The key is to have the experience of the apostles BEFORE Pentecost, as well, to see and experience the love of Christ, revealed at Calvary, which alone can melt the sinner’s heart.  We need to “taste and see that the Lord is Good”, and that we can do “nothing” without Him.. 
 We live in an age in which activity, programs, slogans, “efforts”, books, tapes, videos, satellite programs, are all utilized to bring about the “revival and reformation” which our church desperately needs.  Yet we are told that “A revival need be expected ONLY in answer to prayer.”  SM, 1, p. 121.  As E.M. Bounds said, “Prayer is not preparation for the work.  Prayer IS the work.” 
 Pastor R.A. Torrey, a powerful revival preacher in the late 19th C. and early 20th C. commented that “We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power.  We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little; many services but few conversions, much machinery but few results.”  This is to be taken seriously, for we were warned that Satan’s last work would be to make us too busy.  Yet, if we see the love of God, revealed at Calvary, if we glimpse the “matchless charms of Christ”, “duty becomes a delight, and sacrifice a pleasure.”  We fall in love with Jesus, and our heart aches to commune with Him, to walk with Him, and our desire is not primarily to have “power”, but to have relationship, a union of heart and mind, a conformity to His character, and the power becomes “natural” to those whose heart is kept by the power of God through faith. 
 The Agape love of God motivates the true Christian, a love which is self sacrificing out of great love for others.  Christ came to minister to others, and thus sought for that daily baptism of the Holy Spirit, to reveal the Father, to convert hearts, to impart grace to those who so desperately needed it. 
 Joel 2:29 "And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call."
 “Where is going to be deliverance? "In the remnant whom the Lord shall call." But who is Satan making war against? The remnant. Who has Satan rallied all the powers of earth against? The remnant. Where is he directing all his force and efforts? Against the remnant. and right there is deliverance. Brethren, the best place in the world to be, is right where the devil is spending all his efforts, because there is deliverance. That is where the grace and power of Jesus Christ are, and Satan has got to rally all his hosts to make any show at all. That is the best place on earth to be, because Christ is there; God is there; and "my people shall never be ashamed."
Brethren, I am awfully glad of these things. I am just as glad as I can be of what the Lord says in that chapter, because it is all present truth you see. Every verse is right now, and tells such wondrous things. He is going to do such wondrous things; and all He asks of us is to seek Him with all the heart that we may have it all. If we seek Him with half the heart we cannot have it all. We want to seek Him with all the heart to get all He has. Let us do what the Lord says, and "Be glad and rejoice, ye children of Zion"; for "the Lord will do great things" and ye shall never be ashamed" and there is deliverance "in the remnant" that the devil is warring against with all his might.” 
Sermon #7
Third Angel's Message And Praying for the Latter Rain.
1993 General Conference Session
by A.T.Jones
 We have found that there is nothing that will hold us up in this time but the power of God. We have found that nothing will satisfy us, nothing will do for us, but the character of God. We have found in the matter of  business affairs so far as this world is concerned, that we cannot depend upon any of these any more, but only upon the things that God gives. We have found that as to life itself, we cannot count on that anymore; the only thing that will satisfy, the only thing that we can depend upon, the only thing that will meet our demand--the demand of the people who will now stand for the Lord--is that life that is better than this one--the life that is eternal, the life of God.  We know that we are dying for lack of the true spiritual experience that God alone can give us, and it will come ONLY in answer to prayer.  Ask and you shall receive.  The Greek reads, “Continue to ask, and you will continue to receive.”  God calls for a prayer without ceasing, for a desire without waning, for a love without end, for we want eternal life without end. 
 Such an experience is greatly to be experienced through the united prayers of a people who have learned that such unity in prayer results in a power greater than that merely of private prayer.   EGW, Feb. 25, 1903.  “The power given will be proportionate to the unity of members and their love for God and for one another.” 
 People may question why prayer is so important, since Christ redeemed the race while they were yet sinners, bringing justification unto life to all men.  But as the gift purchased us probationary time in which to return in loyalty and love to God, God waits, respecting our free moral choice, as He is doing everything He can for us and through us even before we pray, yet He is limited by our own choices.  Ps. 78:41-42.

 If we turn the gospel into a seeking for power, we will miss the essence of God wants.  He wants us to fall in love with Christ, and such a love is expressed in a continual trust, loyalty, dependency, faith in the one who has given, and will continue to give, all we need for life and godliness, through a knowledge of Him.  God is love.  As we truly comprehend this, we will reach out for the only source of love in the universe. 

-Thomas Cusack

Raul Diaz

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

1888 Message National Conference

1888 Message National Conference

July 9-13, 2013

Washington Adventist University

Takoma Park, MD

Theme:  Grace Invasion

Guest Speakers:

Fresd Bishop

Bill Brace

Mark Duncan

Jerry Finneman

Bob HUnsaker

Will Perguson

Brian Schwartz

Jack Sequiera

For room reservations EMAIL to make room reservations.

Note:  Anyone willing to live blog email me the link at: 

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

“Revival: Our Great Need”

Insights #1 Jul. 6, 2013
Third Quarter 2013 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
"Revival: Our Great Need"
For the week of July 6, 2013
     This quarter's lessons are about the experiences of revival and reformation. These experiences should always go together. Reformation has to do with behavioral changes in sanctification. Revival means to bring to life or to restore consciousness or life. It can also involve restoration from a depressed or inactive state to a vigorous, energetic and dynamic life.
     Both revival and reformation are generated by God's word and by His Spirit. We observe this in Peter's first sermon after the outpouring of the Sprit on the day of Pentecost. Peter preached the word and the Holy Spirit applied that word to the minds and hearts of the hearers. Luke tells us that the people listening that day "were cut to the heart" (Acts 2:37). Peter preached Christ and Him crucified (Acts 2:22-24, 36) and the hearers became disturbed and convicted, then cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (v 37). Spiritual revival occurred as 3,000 persons were converted that day. The preaching of Christ crucified accompanied by the work of the Holy Spirit are essential elements in all genuine revivals and reformations from Peter's day down through the centuries to the present day.
     There may be an emotional revival that is not accompanied by a true revival of life from being "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph 2:1). Many revivals today are produced by tear jerking stories and by certain kinds of music which appeal only to the emotions. Certainly the emotions are involved in revival, but they must be moved by the Holy Spirit who brings to the mind the conviction of sin, of righteousness and of judgment (John 16:8); not by those who know how to manipulate the emotions for a predesigned effect passed off as a conversion or a revival.
     This week's lesson is about revival. The passage used is about Christ's encounter with His Church of Laodicea (that's us) who is in desperate need of revival and reformation (Rev 3:14-22). Let's begin at the beginning with the titles of Christ as they relate to Laodicea.
The Amen
     Jesus begins His counsel as "the Amen." This term is a transliteration from the Hebrew word Aman which is first used in Gen 15:6 after God made a promise to Abraham who in turn  "believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness." The word "believed" is the word Aman (or Amen). The word means to build or to be established on a structure such as a firm foundation. Elder Waggoner had this helpful insight:
     "The root of the verb rendered believed, is the word 'Amen.' Its idea is that of firmness, a foundation. When God spoke the promise, Abraham said 'Amen,' or, in other words, he built upon God, taking His word as a sure foundation. (Compare this with Matt. vii. 24, 25)."[1]
     Jesus is the Word of God. Abraham built on Him as the sure Foundation, the Amen. So when Abraham "believed in the Lord," he believed in the Lord Christ Jesus alone. Jesus is the source of all faith. Faith has its beginning and end in Him (Heb 12:2). There is no real faith that does not center in Him. Abraham's personal belief in Christ alone was counted unto him for righteousness – "that which is through the faith of Christ" (Phil 3:9). We too, by building upon God's promises, build upon Christ. As the Amen, Jesus is the one sure foundation who justifies, forgives sins and counts the believer as righteous. This is His message to Laodicea.
The Faithful and True Witness
     The purpose of a Faithful and True Witness is to save. This purpose can only be accomplished as Jesus tells the true condition of Laodicea. He is not a lying witness. Solomon gives us explicit information about witnesses: "A true witness delivers souls, but a deceitful witness speaks lies" (Prov 14:25). Jesus is specific about Laodicea's condition. Everything He says about her reveals her need for revival.
The Beginning of the Creation of God
     As one without a beginning, Jesus began the creation of God, as God (John 1:1-10). As Creator, He saw the end from the beginning. He knew Laodicea would have to deal with the creation record of Genesis. Some within the church would depart from that record and reject the Biblical account of creation and eventually the Sabbath also with its explicit explanation that "in six days" Christ  "made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them." (Ex 20:11)
Laodicea's Unknown Condition
     Jesus, as the Foundation, the True Witness and the Creator, describes Laodicea's need for revival because of her lukewarm spiritual condition. She is clueless both of her condition and her need of true revival. Her testimony is opposite from that of the "True Witness." She boasts, "I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing" while Jesus says that we are "wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked" and that we do not know it (Rev 3:17).
     At the General Conference in 1893, some of the people protested that Elder Jones had gone too far when he pressed the issue of not knowing our true condition. He replied,
some thought that I was going entirely too far. They could say, it is well enough when he says, "You are wretched," I say I am wretched. When He says, "You are poor," I say, I am poor. When He says, "You are blind," I say, I am blind. And when He says, "You don't know it," then I am to say, "I know it"? No, no. When He says, "You don't know it," I am to say, "I don't know it." Do not go to putting constructions upon His way. When I say I am wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked and on top of it He says that I don't know it, I say, "Lord, I don't know it." That brings us right to the text we started with that night, "If any man thinketh he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know it."[2]
     Our condition is that of slipping from the Foundation, disbelieving the True Witness and our Creator. The remedy for this condition is heart-felt repentance, without which there can be no revival. The one thing we need is repentance. Because we claim we have no need of anything, repentance is taken completely off the table. All kinds of excuses are brought forth such as: we do not need to repent; we are all right; we accepted and proclaim the 1888 message of righteousness by faith; a church cannot repent. We have need of absolutely nothing; don't even bring it up! Nevertheless, it is the very condition of Laodicea that calls for repentance. Why? Because we are blind to our true condition and to our great need of repentance. The notion to "have need of nothing" means no need of repentance. But Jesus says, in an imperative mood that must not be avoided or evaded: "Repent" (Rev 3:19).
Making God Gag
     The translation "I will spit you out of my mouth" (Rev 3:16) is not an accurate translation of the text. The verb "will" is translated "about to" 22 times in the New Testament with 4 of them in the book of Revelation – 2:10; 8:13; 10:4; 10:7. The word translated "spit" should be "vomit," "throw up," or "be sick." A literal translation would be, "you make me so sick that I am about to throw up." This is the kind of reaction that occurred in the city of Laodicea of old. By the time water from the hot springs of Hieropolis, distributed through the Roman pipes made of terra cotta, came to Laodicea it was lukewarm and contained harmful bacteria. To drink this water would cause a person to gag and tended to make him sick. This illustrates vividly how Jesus feels about Laodicea's halfheartedness.
Dining With Jesus
     Jesus not only diagnosed the problem of Laodicea, He also gives the remedy. This remedy consists of repentance, faith, His garment of righteousness, and eye salve. This will come to pass when we open the door and allow Jesus to dine with us: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Rev 3:18-20, KJV). The word "sup" is the same as that used by Jesus in Luke 22:20 and that of Paul in 1 Cor 11: 25 – "After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament [covenant, NKJV] in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me (1 Cor 11:25).
     By His continually knocking, while standing outside, we have evidence that Jesus initiates His gifts of covenant blessings. He longs for us to participate in them. In dining with Jesus we receive the blessings of the everlasting covenant, which include righteousness, reconciliation, revival and reformation. Do you desire to dine with Jesus? Open the door of your heart. Jesus placed the handle on the inside. He initiates and we participate.
-Jerry Finneman
[1] E.J. Waggoner, The Everlasting Covenant (1900), p. 67.
[2] A.T. Jones The General Conference Bulleting, February 7, 1893, p. 179.

Raul Diaz