With all of this in mind, we believe that it is time for God’s people to study together and unitedly stand on the truths and standards that God has marked as distinctive for His people. Will you join us in that endeavour?
“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'”
In Project Revival Step Three, we discussed different points that are needed in order for personal revival to take place. We also mentioned that we would try to expand each thought a little more so that we can practically understand and apply the messages that God has given.
Let us take a moment though and think about what the goal is. Why do we desire revival and reformation? Is it because our hearts long for holiness, righteousness and the appearing of Jesus Christ to put an end to the suffering and sorrow that we see all around us? Is it because we have a burden to see souls saved from sin? Or are we just tired of life as it is and we want a better place? Let us pray and ask our Lord for the right motivation and then His unending grace to help us do whatever it takes to achieve revival and reformation with me first.
What will be the results of revival and reformation? A more complete answer can be given from Inspiration, but we want to consider just a few thoughts here. Revival will mean that we quit justifying sin and that by God’s indwelling Spirit, we will walk in righteousness (which means the state of doing right). We will be kind and loving, united, obedient to the deeper principles of God’s law written in our hearts, living examples of His principles of morality and godly lifestyle. We will be blessed by the greater outpouring of the Holy Spirit empowering us with love and grace to go in unprecedented power to preach the gospel. We will see persons come to Christ fully and completely, and finally see Jesus come for His own.
If we would like to see this happen, we must recognize that revival must begin in the individual heart. That means our own.
In Step Four we want to study a little more about our individual need. Please recognize that these studies are not comprehensive but simply some principles to trigger our own thoughts, studies and prayers for the Spirit of God to delve deeper into our hearts and show us what we need to do. (Psalm 139:23, 24)
“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. There must be earnest effort to obtain the blessing of the Lord, not because God is not willing to bestow His blessing upon us, but because we are unprepared to receive it. Our heavenly Father is more willing to give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him, than are earthly parents to give good gifts to their children. But it is our work, by confession, humiliation, repentance, and earnest prayer, to fulfill the conditions upon which God has promised to grant us His blessing. A revival need be expected only in answer to prayer.”
“We must enter upon the work individually. We must pray more, and talk less. Iniquity abounds, and the people must be taught not to be satisfied with a form of godliness without the spirit and power. If we are intent upon searching our own hearts, putting away our sins, and correcting our evil tendencies, our souls will not be lifted up unto vanity; we shall be distrustful of ourselves, having an abiding sense that our sufficiency is of God.” Selected Messages, Volume 1, 121:1, 2.
As we prayerfully consider the above two quotes we can see some vital principles.
There must be earnest effort which is also clarified to mean there should be earnest wrestling with God in prayer. This is more than kneeling down for a few minutes in the morning and in the evening. This is the heart drawn out after God, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, panting after holiness of heart, like the hart pants after water. This is wrestling like Jacob wrestled with the angel. This is persevering when you want to give up, continuing when you are so wearied that you don’t think you can go on. This is praying when you don’t want to, when you feel unworthy, when you are tired and heart sore. This is praying for others, for their needs, for their salvation, above and beyond your prayers for yourself. This is praying with a spirit of love, of self-denial and willingness to do whatever God asks of you to answer the prayer. This is earnest prayer.
“The old standard bearers knew what it was to wrestle with God in prayer, and to enjoy the outpouring of His Spirit” Selected Messages, Volume 1, 122:1.
We must fulfill the conditions.
This means we need to understand the conditions. The Lord does not place His robe of righteousness over known sin. That means that if we are continuing in something that we know is not right, we must repent, confess and CHANGE! This also means if we know that we should do something and are not doing it, we should DO IT! (To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.)
“The world’s Redeemer declares, “I have kept my Father’s commandments.” “I counsel thee,” saith the True Witness, “to 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.” Christ’s righteousness will not cover the unrighteousness of any one. “All unrighteousness is sin,” and “sin is the transgression of the law,” therefore, those who are breaking the law of God and teaching others to break it, will not be covered with the garments of Christ’s righteousness. He came not to save men in their sins; but from their sins. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in him.” These utterances are weighty, and should be duly considered. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned [transgressed the law], we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” “My little children, these things I write unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” We need an advocate with the Father, because it is the Father’s law that we have broken. We need to repent of our transgression, and return to our allegiance to God. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins: and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not; whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” Here it is plainly stated that whosoever abideth in Christ will not be a transgressor of the law of God.” The Review and Herald, July 24, 1888, paragraph 12.
“It is not the grace of Christ that makes void the law of God. Christ declared, “I have kept my father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” To those who are making void the commandments of God, the True Witness says, “I counsel thee to 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.” Christ’s white robe of righteousness will never cover any soul that is found in sin unrepented of and unforsaken. “Sin is the transgression of the law.” Therefore those who are trampling upon the law of God, and teaching others to disregard its precepts, will not be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Jesus came not to save people in their sins, but from their sins. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in him.” “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned [transgressed the law], we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” We need an advocate with the Father, because it is the Father’s law which we have broken, and we need to repent of our transgression, and return to our allegiance to God. “Whoso committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not; whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you; he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the Devil; for the Devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the Devil,” not the royal law that points out what is sin. “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the Devil; whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God.” “He that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world [overcomers do not unite with the world in transgression of the law of God]; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” The Review and Herald, August 28, 1894, paragrah 9.
What are the common sins that are pointed out in the inspired counsel of God?
“What is our condition in this fearful and solemn time? Alas, what pride is prevailing in the church, what hypocrisy, what deception, what love of dress, frivolity, and amusement, what desire for the supremacy! All these sins have clouded the mind, so that eternal things have not been discerned. Shall we not search the Scripture, that we may know where we are in this world’s history? Shall we not become intelligent in regard to the work that is being accomplished for us at this time, and the position that we as sinners should occupy while this work of atonement is going forward? If we have any regard for our souls’ salvation, we must make a decided change. We must seek the Lord with true penitence; we must with deep contrition of soul confess our sins, that they may be blotted out.” Review and Herald, March 22, 1887, paragraph 10.
Pride = Thinking and/or acting – I am more important, more spiritual, more skilled, more humble’ (only the Lord and yourself really understand the motives behind even good actions)
Hypocrisy = Pretending to do or believe, and doing not; saying that others should not do this or that, and doing it yourself.
Deception = Closely connected to hypocrisy, this has a different angle. Self-deception is our greatest danger. To think we are right, while doing wrong is deception. We can only test our lives by the standard of the Word of God. Continuing in sin is the worst form of sorcery.
Love of dress = Love of appearance, connected with pride. This includes our clothing, (whose attention is it gaining, Christ’s or our bodies?), our hair, (the style, the colour), our faces (are we wearing make-up to appear different than we are?), our changeable suits of apparel, our adornments and accessories, our homes, our cars.’
“My soul is burdened as I see the great want of spirituality among us. The fashions and customs of the world, pride, love of amusement, love of display, extravagance in dress, in houses, in lands–these are robbing the treasury of God, turning to the gratification of self the means which should be used to send forth the light of truth to the world. Selfish purposes are made the first consideration. The work of qualifying men to labor for the salvation of souls is not considered of so great consequence as worldly enterprises. Souls are perishing for want of knowledge. Those who have had the light of present truth, and yet feel no spirit of labor to warn their fellow men of the coming judgment, must give an account to God for their neglect of duty. The blood of souls will be upon their garments.” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, 10:3.
Many have not studied what God has specified in reference to our manner of dressing, appearance and our homes. If we would follow the Word of God, much more would be accomplished.
Frivolity = our attitudes and our conversations. Are they upon heavenly things or are we too busy making little jokes and silly expressions. Are we busy taking attention from Christ and putting it upon ourselves or others? The time in which we lives calls for a joyful solemnity. Peace and happiness will be shown, but the content will be rich with Christ and His truth.
Love of amusement = loving things which simply take time, energy and usually money, but do not recreate the soul into the image of Christ, or refresh the body, mind or spirit. Where do we spend our “spare’ time, our extra money, or our thoughts?
“Many parents seek to promote the happiness of their children by gratifying their love of amusement. They allow them to engage in sports, and to attend parties of pleasure, and provide them with money to use freely in display and self-gratification. The more the desire for pleasure is indulged, the stronger it becomes. The interest of these youth is more and more absorbed in amusement, until they come to look upon it as the great object of life. They form habits of idleness and self-indulgence that make it almost impossible for them ever to become steadfast Christians.” Christ Object Lessons, 54:1.
“Many who should be setting their tents nearer to the land of Canaan are pitching their camp nearer to Egypt. They are not living in the light of the Sun of Righteousness. Many attend places of amusement to gratify the taste, but no spiritual strength is gained by so doing, and you will find yourself on the losing side. To encourage the love of amusement is to discourage the love of religious exercises, for the heart becomes so crowded with trifling, with what is pleasing to the natural heart, that there is no room for Jesus. . . .” That I May Know Him, 307:2.
Desire for supremacy = me first, my way, my thoughts, my opinions, others must be wrong or extreme or fanatical, or “I” know, for “I” have been around for a long time. This would also include “I” should do it, for “I” know best.
“And many who are working with a very different purpose, fall into a like error. They are working for others’ good; their duties are pressing, their responsibilities are many, and they allow their labor to crowd out devotion. Communion with God through prayer and a study of His word is neglected. They forget that Christ has said, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5. They walk apart from Christ, their life is not pervaded by His grace, and the characteristics of self are revealed. Their service is marred by desire for supremacy, and the harsh, unlovely traits of the unsubdued heart. Here is one of the chief secrets of failure in Christian work. This is why its results are often so meager.” Christ Object Lessons 52:1.
As Jesus lived among the religious people of His time, His life was a demonstration of principles that were deeper than the superficial religion of the day. The Jews thought they kept the law, but He wanted them to understand the deeper meaning of each precept given within the Law. He wants the same for today. This is why He gives us Sabbath School Lessons, challenging sermons, trials in life and His Word to teach us day by day as we open it with honest, searching hearts.
As we individually go before our Creator, asking Him to search our deepest motives and all of our actions, He can bring to the surface of our understanding any areas that need His cleansing and sanctifying power. This is the process of refining. Many draw back from this experience, but if we really desire to see revival, this is our great and urgent need.
May the Lord bless and guide each of us.
“But it is our work, by confession, humiliation, repentance, and earnest prayer, to fulfill the conditions upon which God has promised to grant us His blessing. A revival need be expected only in answer to prayer.” Selected Messages, Volume 1, 121:1.