Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Promised Revival: God’s Mission Completed

Due to extenuating circumstances the audio portion of the review will be delayed.  Below is the script.

The Promised Revival: God’s Mission Completed
“Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” (James 5:7, 8, NKJV).
Our verse compares the plan of redemption with farming.  Ellen White elaborates on this comparison:
The plant grows by receiving that which God has provided to sustain its life. It sends down its
roots into the earth. It drinks in the sunshine, the dew, and the rain. It receives the life-giving
properties from the air. So the Christian is to grow by co-operating with the divine agencies.
Feeling our helplessness, we are to improve all the opportunities granted us to gain a fuller
experience. As the plant takes root in the soil, so we are to take deep root in Christ. As the
plant receives the sunshine, the dew, and the rain, we are to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit.
The work is to be done “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.”
Zechariah 4:6. If we keep our minds stayed upon Christ, He will come unto us “as the rain, as
the latter and former rain unto the earth.” Hosea 6:3. As the Sun of Righteousness, He will
arise upon us “with healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2. We shall “grow as the lily.” We shall
“revive as the corn, and grow as the vine.” Hosea 14:5, 7. By constantly relying upon Christ
as our personal Saviour, we shall grow up into Him in all things who is our head.

The wheat develops “first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” The object
of the husbandman in the sowing of the seed and the culture of the growing plant is the
production of grain. He desires bread for the hungry, and seed for future harvests. So the
divine Husbandman looks for a harvest as the reward of His labor and sacrifice. Christ is
seeking to reproduce Himself in the hearts of men; and He does this through those who believe
in Him. The object of the Christian life is fruit bearing—the reproduction of Christ’s character
in the believer, that it may be reproduced in others. COL 66.1.

How do the references to the early and latter rain relate to this farming metaphor?  In Bible times, sowing and plowing took place in the middle of October, shortly after the falling of the early rains. These early rains brought the seed to germination and nurtured its early growth. The latter rain came in the late spring to bring the ripening fruit to harvest.  The latter rain experience would advance the reproduction of Christ’s character in those who are at the stage of growth to receive the latter rain and benefit from its fall.  Thus, the power effected by the rain, is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22, 23). 

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

What are the prerequisites to experience the growth produced by the latter rain?  Again from Ellen White,

The great outpouring of the Spirit of God, which lightens the whole earth with His glory, will
not come until we have an enlightened people, that know by experience what it means to be
laborers together with God. When we have entire, wholehearted consecration to the service of
Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of His Spirit without measure; but this
will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God. God
cannot pour out His Spirit when selfishness and self-indulgence are so manifest; when a spirit
prevails that, if put into words, would express that answer of Cain,—“Am I my brother’s
keeper?”—The Review and Herald, July 21, 1896.

What prepared the disciples for the early rain, is what will prepare us for the latter rain.  We read in Acts 1: 14 that they were studying scriptures and praying.  Ellen White says that they actually confessed and repented of their Sin.  We read from acts of the Apostles 37,

As the disciples waited for the fulfillment of the promise, they humbled their hearts in true repentance and confessed their unbelief. As they called to remembrance the words that Christ had spoken to them before His death they understood more fully their meaning. Truths which had passed from their memory were again brought to their minds, and these they repeated to one another. They reproached themselves for their misapprehension of the Saviour.

No longer were they fighting for supremacy; they were of one accord (Acts 2: 1).  Do we need to repent?  According to Revelation 3 we do. 

Rev 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
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.

We are unaware of our condition that leads to death.  Ellen White says,

Jesus did not seek you and me because we were his friends, for we were estranged from him, and unreconciled to God. It was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us. But he has promised to give us his Holy Spirit, that we may become assimilated to his nature, changed into his image. Therefore we must put away everything like passion, impatience, murmuring, and unrest, and find a place for Jesus in the heart. We must have the buyers and the sellers cleared out of the soul temple, that Jesus may take up his abode within us. He stands at the door of the heart as a heavenly merchantman; he knocks there, saying, Open unto me, buy of me the heavenly wares, buy of me the gold tried in the fire, which is faith and love, the precious, beautiful attributes of our Redeemer, which will enable us to melt our way into the hearts of those who do not know him, those who are cold and alienated from him through unbelief and sin. He invites us to buy of him the white raiment, which is his glorious righteousness, and the eyesalve, that we may discern spiritual things. Oh, shall we not open the heart's door to this heavenly voice? He says, "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."  {ST, February 8, 1892 par. 6} 

The reference to His voice is very important, for He says that His sheep know His voice and follow Him (John 10: 27).  Revelation further speaks of these*,

Revelation 14:4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

Often ignored is that the third angels message is a subtle rebuke*.

Rev 14:7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.

It tells us to worship God the creator, because maybe we are not, while deceiving ourselves that we are.  We are deceiving ourselves about our condition.  We are in Babylon, so He tells us, “Come out of her my people.”  It does not say we are Babylon, but that we are living there Like the Jews that were taken captive to Babylon by Nebuchednezzer.  At some point the Lord used the Persian King to call them out and restore the temple and Jerusalem.  It is as if He tells us, come out of her my people to restore my temple in you (Revelation 18: 4; 1 Corinthians 3: 16). 

Those in Matthew 7 refuse to respond to the call.  Christ told them I know you not…workers of iniquity.  If we combine this passage with Matthew 25, many who believe they worship the creator, truly do not by the way they have treated fellow humans.  As you did unto them, you did unto me.  To worship the creator is to agape your fellow human beings.  How do we agape? By Laying down your life (1 John 3: 16). It is the Holy Spirit that gives us agape(romans 5: 5).  So, the fruit of the Spirit is an expression of agape. 

Our lesson states that it is God’s work, therefore He will finish it.  But, let us remember He will finish it His way.  The question is will we consent to follow His way and not ours.  According to Ellen White, there will be tension between those who follow God’s way and those who do not.   Let us read,

Unless those who can help in _____ are aroused to a sense of their duty, they will not recognize the work of God when the loud cry of the third angel shall be heard. When light goes forth to lighten the earth, instead of coming up to the help of the Lord, they will want to bind about His work to meet their narrow ideas. Let me tell you that the Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands. The workers will be surprised by the simple means that He will use to bring about and perfect His work of righteousness.--Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300. (1885)  {Ev 118.1}

The message to be given to the world is the third angel’s message, What is the third angel’s message?  Ellen White says that the message of justification by faith is the third angel's message, “…in verity."—(The Review and Herald, April 1, 1890).  What is then 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 (FLB 111).  Again we look at Laodicea.  God says that you have a condition that is killing you, you are unaware of it, and you cannot heal yourself.  Only God can heal you. 

The work of the third angel's message that will soon lighten the earth with the glory of God is one in which "there can be no self-exaltation, no boastful claim to freedom from sin, on the part of those who walk in the shadow of Calvary's cross. They feel that it was their sin which caused the agony that broke the heart of the Son of God, and this thought will lead them to self-abasement. Those who live nearest to Jesus discern most clearly the frailty and sinfulness of humanity, and their only hope is in the merit of a crucified and risen Saviour." GC 471.

So, the Lord is asking us now, “Will you not let me in your heart? Will you not come out of Babylon?”  What will be your answer?

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