Tuesday, August 27, 2013

“Reformation: The Outgrowth of Revival”

Third Quarter 2013 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
“Reformation: The Outgrowth of Revival”
For the week of Aug. 31, 2013

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Gen. 1:27.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Gen. 2:7.

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 4:3-7.

In the beginning, God made man in His own image. When God breathed life into man, man did not need re-formation, because he was already perfectly formed - spiritually, mentally, and physically. He was formed in the image of God - of God’s own family lineage.

With sin, the image of God was defaced and marred in man. Thus man’s behavior - the function that is the outgrowth of form - was corrupted. The plan of salvation, the gospel, is the power of God to restore what was lost by breathing new life (revival) into man which produces the re-formation of a new life. 

But the predicate for this re-formation is a new identity in Christ - the identity forged by Christ in taking all humanity into himself and re-forming humanity according to the divine image. He did this by being born of a woman, under the condemnation of the law of sin and death, by being “born again” at His baptism as the representative of all humanity, by  His self-sacrificing life and death becoming that grain of wheat that falls to its death in the earth, springing up in new life while conquering death.

For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again....Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Cor. 5:14-17.

Re-formation is the repeating of the creative process by which God creates in us something out of nothing through the faith of Jesus. Yes, our cooperation and free-will are required, but there is no power to re-form within us apart from the indwelling Christ. And there is no indwelling Christ without an intelligent heart appreciation for the incarnation and cross of Christ.

We as Seventh-day Adventists are called in this end time to proclaim a final re-formation. The lesson points us to the three angel’s messages as this final call. Who can give it by word and demonstration?

Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Rev. 14:12.

Today we are faced with two competing distortions of how this happens.

One view seems to be based on trying to keep the commandments of God without properly emphasizing and understanding - better yet, living - the faith of Jesus. But we cannot receive power to re-form from Christ as a commodity. We must actually receive Him indwelling us to possess His faith. Otherwise our efforts to re-form are futile, as we possess no creative power. This requires the death of the cross, the death to self that only happens when we see the cross in the context of what it means in Christ.

The other view, new to some of us, but very old in reality, is promoting a mystical indwelling of the essence of divinity in a false christ without the offense of the cross.  Thus we have no need to re-form, but creatively form, our own spiritual being as we pursue the divine. 

But the presence of God in the gift of faith to all men does not mean man must merely look inside himself to find God. He must look outside of himself to Christ. The divine being was robed in humanity, for the very purpose of hiding the divine essence of being while revealing the divine essence of character, in interpersonal, self-sacrificing love that the New Testament calls agape.

In sending Christ as the second Adam, God has already re-formed humanity in Christ. Thus, in accepting Him, we have the experience in selfless agape of Ephesians 2:10:  

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Interestingly, Martin Luther’s early appeals for reformation appeared to have involved a deeper understanding of the connection of this reformation to the person of Christ than we may have thought. Note this from a review of the book Union With Christ: The New Finnish Interpretation of Luther:

Mannermaa expounds the book’s thesis as follows:  “According to Luther, Christ (in both his person and his work) is present in faith and is through this presence identical with the righteousness of faith. The idea of a divine life in Christ who is really present in faith lies at the very center of the theology of the Reformer.” The forensic element in Luther’s doctrine of justification is thus viewed by the Finns as a function of his central emphasis on the believer’s actual participation in the divine life through union with Christ....Luther, on the other hand, “does not distinguish between the person and work of Christ. Christ is both favor of God (forgiveness of sins, atonement, abolition of wrath) and gift (donum).” Faith means “justification precisely on the basis of Christ’s person being present in it as favor and gift.”  http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/union-with-christ-the-new-finnish-interpretation-of-luther-5 

This brings a new depth of understanding to our memory text, does it not? Christ has participated in our corporate human life so that we might participate with Him in the divine life.

For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren. Heb. 2:11

- Todd Guthrie

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

“Discernment: The Safeguard of Revival”

Third Quarter 2013 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
“Discernment: The Safeguard of Revival”
For the week of Aug. 24, 2013

    This weeks' lesson on Discernment: The Safeguard of Revival brings out many excellent points.

    In Sabbath School Insights, we will explore revival and discernment in the context of Seventh-day Adventist church history.

    Well over 100 years ago, our church was in such a state that the law had been preached until we were as "dry as the hills of Gilboa." Recognizing our great need, the Lord sent a most precious "latter rain" message of Christ and His righteousness to revive our church through the ministry of Brothers Jones and Waggoner.

    Recalling this experience, Sister White wrote, "We [she and Bros. Jones and Waggoner] have traveled all through to the different places of the meetings that I might stand side by side with the messengers of God that I knew were His messengers, that I knew had a message for His people. I gave my message with them right in harmony with the very message they were bearing.

    "What did they see? We saw a power attending the message. In every instance we worked -- and some know how hard we worked. I think it was a whole week, going early and late, at Chicago, in order that we might get these ideas in the minds of the brethern. The devil has been working for a year to obliterate these ideas -- the whole of them. And it takes hard work to change their old opinions. They think they have to trust in their own righteousness and in their own works, and keep looking at themselves, and not appropriating the righteousness of Christ and bringing it into their life, and into their character" (Feb 3, 1890, Remarks at Bible School, as quoted in Ellen G. White and the Loud Cry, p. 20).

    The message of Christ and His righteousness was the revival message the Lord sent to prepare that generation for His speedy return. Sadly, this message was not welcomed by all.

    Had the revival message been received and accepted, Jesus would have returned "ere this." The world would not have known another century of war, and terror, sickness and sin.

    In consequence of this rejection, the way was opened for the "alpha" of the apostasy. Man in his wisdom -- even the most intelligent and highly respected among us -- cannot discern truth from error through the foggy paradigm of "self." Thus, the highly respected Doctor John Harvey Kellogg introduced pantheistic, spiritualistic teachings into our church with the publication of his book The Living Temple

    "In His Word the Lord declared what He would do for israel if they would obey His voice. But the leaders of the people yielded to the temptations of Satan, and God could not give them the blessings He designed them to have, because they did not obey His voice but listened to the voice and policy of Lucifer. This experience will be repeated in the last years of the history of the people of God, who have been established by His grace and power. Men whom he has greatly honored will in the closing scenes of this earth's history pattern after ancient Israel(13 MR 379.2).

    "Bear this in mind. History is being repeated. The perils that God's people encountered in past ages, they will encounter again, intensified. Satan has obtained influence over men whom God has honored above all human intelligence, as He honored Solomon" (13MR 380.1).

    We have many reasons to believe that we are living during those closing scenes of earth's history. Though claiming to preach and understand the message of the righteousness of Christ, our church has yet to fully face her history, confess her sin, and receive the healing message of Christ's righteousness which the Lord sent to prepare us for His return. We were warned that in consequence of our sin, we would likely "have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel; but for Christ's sake, His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequence of their own wrong course of action" (Letter 184, 1901).

    In reviewing our history, we see a pattern:

    1) Light given (1888 message of Christ's righteousness)
    2) Light refused (1888 message rejected)
    3) Strong delusion = believing a lie (the alpha: Kellogg's Living Temple)

    The distress Ellen White felt at seeing this delusion come into the church nearly killed her, she says. With great distress she pleaded for physicians associated with Dr. Kellogg to speak out and warn people of the danger of adopting these pleasing, spiritualistic teachings -- God in the plant, God in the tree, God in the flower.  

    She said, "I do not want our young people to flock into Battle Creek. They would better not go there. Anyone who can be so utterly deceived as to place the misleading statements contained in Living Templebefore our people, cannot be trusted as a teacher of the youth" (91SAT 346.2).

    If Ellen White were living today, how great would her distress be? We are living in a time in which the spiritualistic sophistries of the New Age have come to church. The "new light" being heralded by some today embraces non-Christian meditation and prayer disciplines, sensuality in music and worship, a disregard for God's Word, and a pleasing "Christ only" doctrine that urges a new-styled Jesus in jeans and T-shirt who rocks on Sabbath mornings. At it's core, the New Age is self-focused, me-centered worship. Pick your god, pick your worship format. The New Age doesn't care what you choose, just so self is on the throne.

    In contrast, the gospel of Jesus Christ leads to self-abasement and renunciation of self. "He must increase but I must decrease" John 3:30. 

    "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons" 1 Timothy 4:1.

    "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come" 2 Timothy 3:1.

    We are living in those days. More than 100 years ago, the alpha of the apostasy entered our church with New Age teachings in its infancy. Today these teachings have slipped largely unnoticed into the church, as people are encouraged to practice the spiritual disciplines within their community of faith rather than abandoning that faith. There is only one message that will shield us from Satan's deceptions and bring true revival and unity to our church: the message of Christ and His righteousness. 

    Recently, I had opportunity to visit with a long-time friend. For the first time, she told me how she had undergone two abortions before she married. Being Adventist, she couldn't bring herself to face the shame of un-wed pregnancy, and like many other women faced with a similar dilemma, she chose to take the life of two unborn babies. 

    Secret pain, guilt, and shame have marred her happiness, despite a long marriage and the blessing of four grown, healthy children. Praise God! My friend has found freedom in Christ. She made the courageous decision to confess her sin to her children and to her church family. She has started a ministry to post-abortive women. I asked her how was it that she had found such freedom and joy. "It is the cross of Christ," she said. "On the cross Jesus was strung up naked before the world. He took the shame that was mine and bore it for me that I might be free." I believe her story gives evidence of the power of the cross. And this message alone will bring true revival. 

    The Seventh-day Adventist Church collectively is burdened with a secret akin to that of my friend. A message of divine origin was sent to our church, only to be rejected before it came to maturity. The earth has yet to be lightened with the glory of God (Rev 18:1). That secret sin must be exposed and confessed in order for healing to occur. The message in 1888 was only "the beginning" of the latter rain. The Lord had much more in store for us, but since we rejected the seed of truth, that more has not yet come. 

    "The Lord has been calling his people. In a most marked manner he has revealed his divine presence. But the message and the messengers have not been received but despised. I longed that those who have greatly needed the message of divine love would hear Christ's knock at the door of the heart, and let the heavenly guest enter. But at the hearts of some Jesus has knocked in vain. In rejecting the message given at Minneapolis, men committed sin. They have committed far greater sin by retaining for years the same hatred against God's messengers, by rejecting the truth that the Holy Spirit has been urging home" (March 1891 GC Bulletin p. 913, as quoted in Ellen G. White and the Loud Cry).

    If we want to experience true revival in our church today, we must study anew the only message with the power to bring about this longed-for fruit. Exposing and confessing hidden sin is painful, but needful. It's humbling. But it's just the work that is needed to prepare us for the latter rain.

    "What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself" (TM 456.3).

-Pattie Guthrie

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

“Unity: The Bond of Revival”

​Insights #7 Aug. 17, 2013
Third Quarter 2013 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
“Unity: The Bond of Revival”
For the week of Aug. 17, 2013

Correlation and Causality

George and Bill were both enjoying a scoop of ice-cream during the summer in Chicago, when George told Bill he was starting an ice cream business in Florida.  Interested in this endeavor, Bill asked George if he had any plans to expand beyond Florida. George had mentioned many places around the U.S, but did not mention Chicago. “Why not Chicago?” Bill asked. George answered with, “Chicago is not the best market for ice-cream.”  Slightly puzzled, since they were enjoying ice cream in Chicago at that very moment, Bill, said, “Look at all the ice-cream that is sold in the summer. It’s big business.”  To which George replied, “Although successful, the market for ice cream in Chicago is seasonal; sales are only high in the summer.”

Yes, the market for ice cream in Chicago is seasonal and the amount of ice cream sold increases and peaks in the summer.  Ironically, the numbers of murders also increase in the summer.  In some circles, jokes surround some foolish social scientists who concluded that since ice cream consumption and murders increase in the summer, then, it must be the ice cream that causes the increase in the number of murders.  These scientists established causality between two factors. It did not take too long for someone to point out the fallacy of the scientists’ conclusion.  Instead according to statistical analysis, it was determined that ice cream and murder are correlated.
Correlation is a relation existing between phenomena or things which tend to be associated, or occur together in a way not expected on the basis of chance alone.  Causality is the relation between a cause and its effect or between regularly correlated events or phenomena.  In correlation, if event “a” happens, it is likely event “b” will too.  So, it is probable that if “A” is observed, then “B” will also be observed.  But, it does not mean that “A” causes “B,” or “B” causes “A.”  What may be happening is event “C”, which causes both “a” and “b” to occur. Let us illustrate these two terms with a simplified example: if your air conditioner (AC) and television (TV) were not working, typically, the malfunctioning AC did not cause the TV to malfunction. This may be correlation. Now, no electric power in the house would cause both the AC and the TV not to work; that is causality.
Language reflects the difference between correlation and causation. To illustrate, let us use the example above. We would express correlation as, “the TV and the AC are not working.” Causality would be expressed as “the electric power is out, so the TV and AC are not working.”  The conjunction “and” establishes an association between both devices.  The conjunction “so” is used in the case of causality. These small words change the entire meaning of the sentence.

This phenomenon also occurs in the Bible. Our lesson states that, “The “oneness,” or unity, of the disciples prepared their hearts for the reception of the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s power.”  In other words, the requirement for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was “Oneness” or unity. This is pretty much what is taught in our denomination.  But, is it accurate? (Remember that the builders of the tower of Babel were also united in purpose and mission but they were not united by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.) Let us read the verse used in our lesson to support their thought.

“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:32, 33, NKJV).

The lesson made this statement, “This passage links the disciples having ‘one heart and one soul’ with their ‘great power’ in witnessing.”  Notice, what is linking the two sentences in the passage is the conjunction “and”; not “so”. As we have established above, “and” is for correlation. This means, while the “Oneness” and the “Power” are associated, one does not cause the other. It implies that where you see “Oneness”, you will see “Power”, and vice versa. Where you see dissension, you will not see power; and vice versa. In fact, where there is dissension, self is exalted, which by implication means: there is no Agape. Given that the Holy Spirit is the One who sheds abroad the love of God (Romans 5: 5) in our hearts, it follows that where there is dissension and no power, there is no Holy Spirit. Could it be then, that the oneness is caused by the Holy Spirit?  And if so, are there any conditions?  John 17: 20 – 24 may give us an answer.  Let us read,
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

Notice that Christ says the oneness which exists between Himself and His Father is maintained by abiding: I in You, and You in Me.  In John 15, Christ told the disciples to abide in Him, so they would bear fruit. How did they abide and bear fruit? It was through the power of the Holy Spirit, making of positive effect the words of Christ.

The Holy Spirit as Christ’s representative begins to abide in us when we give Him permission, and demonstrates that the principles of Christ abide or dwell in us, making us partakers of the divine nature. This in essence is revival, the continual partaking of the divine nature through faith. How was this displayed with the disciples?  Through yielding to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, they repented of their sins, and confessed their faults to one another.  Ellen White describes the change in the following quote,

“After Christ's ascension, His disciples--men of varied talents and capabilities--assembled in an upper chamber to pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit. In this room, 'all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.' They made thorough work of repentance by confessing their own sins. Upon them was laid no burden to confess one another's sins. Settling all differences and alienations, they were of one accord, and prayed with unity of purpose for ten days, at the end of which time 'they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”   Vol.7 Manuscript Release p 94 

The disciples laid aside all their personal ambitions.  Now, instead of fighting, they were convicted by the Holy Spirit to die to self.  The words of Paul became a reality in them: “…be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,” and to not think more highly than you ought to think of yourself (Romans 12:2 – 3).  What causes the oneness is also what causes the power: the Holy Spirit abiding in a heart completely surrendered to Christ. 

    -Raul Diaz

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

“Confession and Repentance: The Conditions of Revival”

Third Quarter 2013 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
“Confession and Repentance: The Conditions of Revival”
For the week of Aug. 10, 2013

     The confession of faith may precede repentance, but the confession of sin follows repentance.  What then is repentance? It includes both sorrow for and turning away from sin. It is both a duty and a gift. The duty to repent is given in the commands of Jesus. When He began His public ministry He gave two imperatives: 1) “repent” and 2) “believe” as He proclaimed, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). The time element referred to Daniel’s final week of his seventy-week prophecy which outlined the timetable for the coming of “Messiah [the Anointed One] the Prince” and for His crucifixion (Dan 9:25-27). The time element mentioned by Jesus was the beginning of the seventieth week.  When He was baptized by John’s baptism of repentance He was anointed by the Holy Spirit as Representative and Head of the fallen human race. More on this later.

     Repentance is produced in at least three ways: 1) by the command of God; 2) through the goodness of God; and 3) by judgments.

     It must always be remembered that “In every command and in every promise of the word of God is the power, the very life of God, by which the command may be fulfilled and the promise realized.”1 So the command to repent has in it the very life of God by which it may be fulfilled.

     Not only is repentance a duty. It is also a gift of God (Acts 5:31). Repentance comes from a realization of God’s goodness (Rom 2:4). When Christ is seen on the cross bearing a person’s sin and guilt something happens within the heart and mind of that person. Either he/she will realize true sorrow for sin accompanied by a turning away from it or he will rise up against the gospel, the goodness of God, and repentance. Two examples follow, both of which involve the cross. The first occurred on the day of Pentecost as Peter was preaching Christ and Him crucified:

“Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”  Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  (Acts 2:36–38).

     “Three thousand souls” responded, repented, believed and were baptized (Acts 2:41).In contrast, on another occasion, Peter preached Christ crucified along with the gifts of repentance and the forgiveness of sins. But instead of repentance there was a refusal resulting in a murderous plot against the apostles on the part of those who heard but rejected the gospel:

“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him. When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them.” (Acts 5:30–33).

     Repentance sometimes comes as the result of judgments. One example of this is that which occurred in the time of Elijah. Through judgments the hardened hearts of Israel were brought to repentance. God commissioned Elijah to speak for Him. Elijah made no apology for his abrupt appearance before king Ahab. He told the king, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1). It took three and a half years of drought to bring Israel to repentance. 

     There are two kinds of repentance – godly sorrow and worldly sorrow (2 Cor 7:9-11).  Worldly sorrow comes because of consequences of being caught or because of suffering, but with no true mourning for the sin itself. A person may sorrow for his sins while at the same time refusing to turn from them. Esau is an example of this. He sold his birthright inheritance for a bowl of legume soup. Later he wanted that inheritance. But this was after it was too late. He “was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears” (Heb 12:16–17). His sorrow was because of the consequences of his sin, not because of the sin itself. Four other examples are Cain, Pharaoh, Balaam and Judas each of whom felt sorrow because of the consequences of their sin, but not because of the sin itself.

     On the other hand, David’s sorrow for his sin is an example of true repentance. He did not cloak, or conceal, his sin by excuses and apologies. He saw the enormity of his sin and the defilement it caused within his mind and heart. Not only did he confess his sin, but he prayed for purity of heart. He prayed for the removal of the underlying sin and not merely for the consequences of his sin. He longed for the communion he previously enjoyed with God (see Psa 51).

     Let’s return to the baptism of Jesus and its deep significance. John’s baptism was one of repentance. Those who were baptized were to give evidence of repentance accompanied with their confession of sin. As the Representative of the race, Jesus repented, confessed the sin of the world as His own, and was baptized. Psalm 69 prophesied of the steps in conversion Jesus took in order to redeem us. There it was stated, “Though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it” (Psa 69:4). Here is the picture of Jesus as our Surety. A surety is like today’s bondsman who puts up bail for someone awaiting trial in a court of law. If the accused refuses to show up for his trial the bondsman loses everything he put up in behalf of the accused. The bondsman becomes responsible for the accused man’s failure to show up for his court hearing. Likewise with Jesus. Although innocent, He assumed our failure and paid the supreme price.

     In the next verse we hear Jesus confessing sin. “O God, You know my foolishness; and my sins are not hidden from You” (Psa 69:5). Here He confesses your sins and mine. Jesus had no personal sins to confess, for He was sinless in behavior, but He took your sin and mine. He became responsible for them. He took them as though he had committed them. He repented for them and He confessed them. His repentance and confession were perfect. There are times when you and I, although we have repented and confessed our sins and doing so to the best of our ability, may still feel that these are not good enough. Then it is that we need to claim Christ’s perfect confession and His perfect repentance on our behalf. Ours must come under the umbrella of His perfect repentance and confession. In closing, consider the following insights:

Christ came not confessing his own sins; but guilt was imputed to him as the sinner's substitute. He came not to repent on his own account; but in behalf of the sinner…. Christ honored the ordinance of baptism by submitting to this rite. In this act he identified himself with his people as their representative and head. As their substitute, he takes upon him their sins, numbering himself with the transgressors, taking the steps the sinner is required to take, and doing the work the sinner must do.2

He took upon himself our nature, that he might teach us how to live. In the steps which the sinner must take in conversion,--repentance, faith, and baptism,--he led the way. He did not repent for himself, for he was sinless, but in behalf of man.3  

And then when He came up out of the water He heard the voice of God saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17). This is the word of God speaking to you, to me, and to every individual of the fallen race. God speaks to us in Jesus our Representative and Head.

And what do these words say to us, to every member of the human family, whatever our country or position? To every one of us they are words of hope and mercy. Through faith in the provision God has made in the behalf of man, you are accepted in the Beloved,--accepted through the merits of Jesus.

Many who read this account fail to comprehend its significance. It means that in behalf of humanity the prayer of Christ cleaved its way through the hellish shadow of Satan, and reached to the very sanctuary, the very throne of God. That prayer was for us; the answer was for us, it testifies that you are accepted in the Beloved.4

     Revival yes. But it will never come apart from repentance. The closer we come to Jesus, our repentance will not be less and less but more and more.

The nearer we come to Jesus, and the more clearly we discern the purity of His character, the more clearly shall we see the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the less shall we feel like exalting ourselves. There will be a continual reaching out of the soul after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the heart before Him. At every advance step in our Christian experience our repentance will deepen. We shall know that our sufficiency is in Christ alone and shall make the apostle's confession our own: “I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing.” “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." Romans 7:18; Galatians 6:14.5

Christ Object Lessons, p. 38.
RH, January 21, 1873.
ST, July 31, 1884.
Bible Echo, Novermber 12, 1894.
AA 561.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Obedience: The Fruit of Revival

Third Quarter 2013 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
"Prayer: The Heartbeat of Revival"
For the week of Aug. 3, 2013

Obedience: The Fruit of Revival

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:10

Only by receiving Christ's righteousness, by identifying with Him as He identified with us, can we see obedience manifested; any obedience we experience is His obedience lived out in us.

The 1888 message of the Righteousness of Christ is the one message that must swallow up every other; it is the Loud Cry message; it is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. 

We will not as a people experience the repentance, the revival, and the reformation we need without it. 

This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.--TM 91, 92 (1895).

The message of Christ's righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God, which closes the work of the third angel.--6T 19 (1900). 

The last message of mercy to be given to the world is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them.--COL 415, 416 (1900).  

Like Peter, we are naturally self dependent. Therefore we are afraid and deny our Savior. The sooner we can realize that we cannot muster our own agape (selfless love), the sooner Christ can give us Himself and His agape love lived out through us.

Like Stephen, we must see how much Christ has accomplished for the human race -- He is standing at the right hand of God, the position of favor, representing us! -- before we can be so unconcerned about the grip of the world that we are willing to lay down our lives. 

Like Paul, we need to personally and corporately experience a vision, a paradigm shift, where we also hear from the Lord how we as a people have fought against Him, even when we thought were were defending the historic landmarks. We must review our 1888 history in this light.

Only with faithfulness to this vision (like Paul before Agrippa) will we be able to call others to repentance.

Like Jesus, we must look to God for direction every moment to see and treat all humanity from His perspective.

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And [that] he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we [him] no more. 2 Cor 5:14-16. 

This is the faith of Jesus, which leads to obedience to His commands.

From W.W. Prescott's Armadale Sermons:

"He that saith he abideth in Him, ought himself also so to walk even as He walked." Not as men say He walked, but as He walked. And how shall we know how He walked? -By reading and studying His life. That is where we find how Christ walked, and there we will find how we ought to walk. And we will walk as He walked, not wholly as an obligation, but as a result. If one says he abides in Christ, and walks not as He walked, his life is contrary to his profession. We do not get into Christ by trying to walk as He walked; we do not abide in Christ by trying to walk as He walked; but we first get into Christ, and then as a consequence, just as the branch will bring forth the fruit of the vine, so will the Christian, who really abides in Christ, bring forth the same fruit that He bore, walking as He walked. {December 2, 1895 WWP, BEST 372.9} 

Let the scripture tell how He walked: "I have kept my Father's commandments." The life of God abides in him who abides in Christ, and the scripture is fulfilled, "I will dwell in them and walk in them." God in Christ, by His Holy Spirit dwelling in the man, walks in him. This shows how we can walk as Christ walked. {December 9, 1895 WWP, BEST 380.7} 

What Christ did as head of this new family, we did in Him. He was our representative; He became flesh; He became we. He did not become simply a man, but He became flesh, and every one that should be born into His family was represented in Jesus Christ when He lived here in the flesh. You see, then, that all that Christ did, every one who connects himself with this family is given credit for as doing it in Christ. Christ was not a representative outside him, disconnected from him; but as Levi paid tithe in Abraham, every one who should afterwards be born into this spiritual family, did what Christ did. {January 6, 1896 WWP, BEST 5.3} 

Writing the law in the heart is simply having Christ dwell in us. Christ was the living law, the law in life. Christ's Spirit is the Spirit of that divine-human life that lived in obedience to God's commandments. That is the Spirit He puts upon us, His other self dwelling in us. The law of God is ministered by the Spirit of God. When that comes into the heart, it is Christ Himself; it is "Christ in you the hope of glory." And when Christ comes into our hearts, He is the living law, the law of God worked out in character. Christ dwelling in our hearts, means bringing the character of God into our lives. Keeping the commandments of God is manifesting the character of Jesus Christ. {January 27, 1896 WWP, BEST 28.1} 
-Todd Guthrie

Raul Diaz