Saturday, July 6, 2013

Revival: Our Greatest Need

An audio overview of the lesson by Raul Diaz.

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Here is the Script:

Revival: Our Great Need
“ ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me’ ” (Revelation 3:20, NKJV).
The title of our quarterly lesson is Revival and reformation.  The title is an obvious reference by Ellen G. White quote on selected messages, book 1, page 121.  They only quote the first sentence, “A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs.”  What they omit gives an understanding of what revival is,
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)
Revival here is what happens when we allow the Holy Spirit to touch our heart.  What happens is that what we thought made no sense makes sense, what we thought was foolishness now is wisdom,  what we thought was mundane and uninteresting now is precious.  Ellen White says that “Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from the spiritual death” (RH Feb. 25, 1902).  Ellen White is quoted in Conflict and Courage saying, that “Repentance is the first step that must be taken by all who would return to God. No one can do this work for another. We must individually humble our souls before God and put away our idols” (CC 145). 
We could argue that revival is what happened to those preached to by Peter in Acts 2.  When Peter preached to them about Christ and Him crucified, 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), and became disturbed and convicted, then cried out, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (v 37).  They recognized that the One whom they despised, esteemed not and rejected was not who they thought was originally.  They realized that the One whom they esteemed stricken, smitten and afflicted by God, bore their griefs, carried their sorrows, “…was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isa 53: 3 – 5). 

The era of Laodicea had started when Ellen White made the comments she made.  In contrast to those listening to Peter, Laodicea is described as self-confident, complacent, apathetic, and spiritually indifferent.  The Lord tells them in Revelation 3,

Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Rev 3:18 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; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Rev 3:20 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 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

It is a strong rebuke, which reveals a strong love; so, no surprise that a beautiful solution to the problem is given.  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.
“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.

Like the Shunamite woman in Song of Songs 5: 2 - 5, Laodicea refuses to open the door, ignoring the overtures of her lover. 

Sol 5:2 I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.
Sol 5:3 I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?

In essence saying, “at this moment the hassle to let you in outweighs any need for you.  Come back when it is more convenient for me.”  Then the Shunamite decides to get up,

Sol 5:4 My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.
Sol 5:5 I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.
But it was too late,
Sol 5:6 I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.

Laodicea’s greatest problem is that of leaving Christ waiting by the door.  She despised Him.  She insulted Him.  She broke His heart.  Of that she needs to repent.  

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