Personally Changed

 

   As we have considered the topic of Revival, many external subjects have been brought to our attention. But externals are merely leaves upon a tree, simply showing forth what type of tree it is. Jesus came to our world to give us an example of not only what ‘to do’, but what ‘to be’.

   As we see the signs around us speaking of the soon coming of Jesus, we may wonder why the delay and we must ask what can be done to speed the coming of Jesus.

   “It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3:12, margin). Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.” Christ Object Lessons, 69:2.

   Christ is waiting for us! He is waiting for us to be changed, to bear fruit. He is waiting with longing desire for a representation of His character to the world.

   “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Gal. 5:22, 23. This fruit can never perish, but will produce after its kind a harvest unto eternal life.

   “When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.” Christ Object Lessons 68:1-69:1.

   We must realize that He is waiting for character to be changed to reflect Him, not our own personalities.

   “Of all the people in the world, reformers should be the most unselfish, the most kind, the most courteous. In their lives should be seen the true goodness of unselfish deeds.” The Ministry of Healing, p. 157.

   Therefore we must guard against the denial of Christ’s character while professing His name and His truth.

   “He who would confess Christ must have Christ abiding in him. He cannot communicate that which he has not received. The disciples might speak fluently on doctrines, they might repeat the words of Christ Himself; but unless they possessed Christlike meekness and love, they were not confessing Him. A spirit contrary to the spirit of Christ would deny Him, whatever the profession. Men may deny Christ by evilspeaking, by foolish talking, by words that are untruthful or unkind. They may deny Him by shunning life’s burdens, by the pursuit of sinful pleasure. They may deny Him by conforming to the world, by uncourteous behavior, by the love of their own opinions, by justifying self, by cherishing doubt, borrowing trouble, and dwelling in darkness. In all these ways they declare that Christ is not in them. And “whosoever shall deny Me before men,” He says, “him will I also deny before My Father which is in heaven.” The Desire of Ages, 375:2.

   We must watch how we deal with each other and the many things that can challenge our reactions.

   “He says, “Make straight paths for your feet.” What must we do to make straight paths for our feet? We must speak no unkind word, either at home or abroad; we must be gentle and considerate toward all. We cannot be fretful and impatient, and still be Christians; for a fretful, impatient spirit is not the Spirit of Christ. With such a spirit, you are making crooked paths, and some one else will follow you; and so you are not only making crooked paths for your own feet, but for the feet of others. You ask how shall you perfect a Christian character? Look to the life of Jesus. He is your pattern. See what kind of spirit be manifested, and endeavor to show the same in your daily life and conversation. Make just such paths as he made. You are to follow him, that you may know that “his going forth is prepared as the morning.” His path is a most precious path in which to walk.

   “If a brother does you a wrong, you are not to retaliate by doing him a wrong. If you have done him a wrong, you must go to him, and ask him to forgive you. You must not let an injury to your brother remain unrepented of, and unforgiven, for even one night. You must say, “I will get this out of the way. I will have harmony between my soul and my brother’s.” In pursuing this course, you are giving others an example. If there is any one backslidden from God, how anxious we should be that he might forsake his evil ways, and return to the Lord, who will have mercy upon him, and to our God, who will abundantly pardon! If we see a brother stumble, it is our first duty to seek to set his feet in the path of life again. We should let the love of Jesus into the soul. We must be merciful to all around us, for to the merciful, God will be merciful; but those who judge and condemn others, will be judged by the Judge of all the earth. God wants parents and their families to come to the foot of the cross. The settled peace of Jesus should abide with every member of the family: If Jesus comes into your home, he will say, “Peace be unto you;” but he cannot come into your house if you are scolding, and fretting, and finding fault with one another. What says the word?–“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”

   “Now this is what is meant by following peace with all men. If you are slighted by any one, you are to follow peace by not rising up against it. Remember that you are the child of God, you are his servant. Just say, “I will be right with God. I will put away everything that interposes between my soul and God.” What is holiness? It is willing, whole-hearted service to your Redeemer. You are to be a representative of God in this world. God wants you to take your religion right along with you into your business relations. At every turn, you should remember that you are a representative of Christ. Ask your Heavenly Father to give you strength to flee from evil, that you may not fall under temptation, and become a captive of Satan. Seek God for perfection of Christian character, that your every act may be a sermon; and when you come to worship before God, your conscience will not condemn you. You will reveal Christ in your conversation and actions. You will long to speak words of comfort to weary souls.”The Review and Herald, August 14, 1888, paragraphs 6-8.

   Does this mean that we must never deal with wrong?

   “The work of ministers and writers is to prepare a people to meet God. The standard of truth has been lowered in the dust. Family religion, family holiness, is now to be honored as never before. As a sanctifier, reprover, and comforter, the Holy Spirit is to do the work essential for this time. If ever a people needed to walk before God as did Enoch, Seventh-day Adventists need to now, showing their sincerity by pure words, clean words, words full of sympathy, tenderness and love. But it is not to end here. There are times when words of reproof and sharp rebuke are called for. Those who are out of the right way need more than soft words to bring them back. Moral renovation must take place in every heart, else souls will perish in their sins. If we brought the instruction contained in the twelfth chapter of Romans into the practical life, we would be true believers. Those whose faith is spurious will show by their daily exhibition of character that they are not true Christians. Those who have put on Christ are transformed by the renewing of their minds. By their own experience they prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Pamphlets, 070 5.4.

   Please prayerfully consider the admonitions outlined in 1 Peter 2:9-25, and Romans 12. In fact so much of the new testament letters dealt with how to be, how to relate to one another, how to reflect the character of Jesus, our Lord, Saviour and Redeemer.

   How can this be accomplished in our individual lives? Remember the promises.

   2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

   “There can be no growth or fruitfulness in the life that is centered in self. If you have accepted Christ as a personal Saviour, you are to forget yourself, and try to help others. Talk of the love of Christ, tell of His goodness. Do every duty that presents itself. Carry the burden of souls upon your heart, and by every means in your power seek to save the lost. As you receive the Spirit of Christ–the Spirit of unselfish love and labor for others–you will grow and bring forth fruit. The graces of the Spirit will ripen in your character. Your faith will increase, your convictions deepen, your love be made perfect. More and more you will reflect the likeness of Christ in all that is pure, noble, and lovely.” Christ Object Lessons, 67:3.

   “There is nothing which will weaken the strength of a church like pride and passion. If one engaged in the work of God does things in contradiction to another engaged in the same work, that is strife and variance. If we do this to be esteemed or to exalt self, it is vainglory, and death to spirituality and to Christian love and unity of action. Let there be no spirit of opposition among Christians. Christ has given us an example of love and humility, and has enjoined upon his followers to love one another as he has loved us. We must in lowliness of mind esteem others better than ourselves. We must be severe upon our own defects of character, be quick to discern our own errors and mistakes, and make less of the faults of others than of our own. We must feel a special interest in looking upon the things of others,–not coveting them, not to find fault with them, not to remark upon them and present them in a false light, but to do strict justice in all things to our brethren and all with whom we have any dealings. A spirit to work plans for our own selfish interest, so as to grasp a little gain, or to labor to show a superiority or rivalry, is an offense to God. The Spirit of Christ will lead his followers to be concerned, not only for their success and advantage, but to be equally interested for the success and advantage of their brethren. This will be loving our neighbor as ourselves; and an opposite spirit from this creates differences and alienations and want of love and harmony.” The Reieew and Herald, July 5, 1887, paragraph 1.

Romans
12:1  “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
12:2  “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
12:3  “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
12:4  “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:”
12:5  “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”
12:6  “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;”
12:7  “Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;”
12:8  “Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.”
12:9  “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”
12:10 “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;”
12:11 “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;”
12:12 “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;”
12:13 “Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”
12:14 “Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.”
12:15 “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”
12:16 “Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.”
12:17 “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.”
12:18 “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
12:19 “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
12:20 “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.”
12:21 “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

   Brethren and sisters, may we earnestly pray for revival and reformation to be done within our own hearts. This is the only way for it to spread further in our churches and in our world. The Lord is waiting. May we remember to encourage one another in this upward way, remembering that God gave us each other to help, not to pull down.

   Can we begin anew to publish the praises of God? Can we speak those things that will edify the body of Christ? Can we pull together because we have grown closer to Jesus? This is our greatest and most urgent of needs.

   “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.” Selected Messages, Volume 1, page 121 (1887).

   “I tell you that there must be a thorough revival among us. There must be a converted ministry. There must be confessions, repentance, and conversions. Many who are preaching the Word need the transforming grace of Christ in their hearts. They should let nothing stand in the way of their making thorough work before it shall be forever too late.” Letter 51, 1886.

   Lord Jesus, please help us, your children. We want to have that unity that you call for. We want that revival and reformation in our own hearts, our own homes, our churches. Please take control of our hearts and do Thy mighty work, that we may glorify Thy name and hasten Thy coming. In Your mighty name and the promise of Your power, we ask.

Amen