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Wally

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Quarter 3, 2013




Revival and Reformation





by: Mark Finley


In every generation, God’s Spirit strives to bring revival to the hearts of His people. Revival is an ongoing, daily experience. Each of us should identify with an old hymn that says: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.” Deep within, we know these words are true.

Our hearts are, indeed, prone to wander. Our minds drift from the eternal to the mundane. Our thoughts turn so easily from the heavenly to the earthly. Too often we seem to be in bondage to deeply entrenched habits. At times our own attitudes and reactions baffle us.

And that’s because, as the result of sin, our natures are fallen (Jer. 17:9). Our natural tendency is to turn from God’s way to our own (Isa. 53:6). With the apostle Paul we cry out, “O wretched man that I am” (Rom. 7:24), and with David we plead, “Revive me, O LORD, according to your lovingkindness” (Ps. 119:159, NKJV).

Revival is all about a God of lovingkindness seeking to deepen His relationship with us. The initiative in revival is His. His Spirit creates longings within us. His Spirit convicts us of our need. His Spirit reveals Jesus’ goodness and grace.

Throughout history, God’s Spirit has moved mightily in revival. When Israel drifted from God’s plan and purposes, God used the young King Josiah to lead the nation back to Him, and a mighty revival followed. At the dedication of the temple, God said to Solomon: “ ‘If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land’ ” (2 Chron. 7:14, NKJV). God’s heart longing was for Israel to meet the conditions of revival, experience the power of revival, and reveal the light of His love to the entire world.

When God’s people responded to His appeals for revival, He worked mightily in their behalf. This was true for the New Testament Christian church, the Reformation, and the Advent Movement. It will also be true for God’s end-time people. His Holy Spirit will be poured out in its fullness and the earth will be “illuminated with his glory” (Rev. 18:1, NKJV).

This quarter’s lessons focus on the varied aspects of revival and reformation. Together we will probe such questions as, What are the conditions that God has given for the outpouring of His Spirit? Is God waiting for some magical moment to pour out His Spirit on His last-day church? What does it mean to live a Spirit filled life? Is there anything we can do to cooperate with God in order to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit now? Where does revival and reformation begin?

Ellen G. White described the importance of revival in these words: “A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs.”- Selected Messages, book 1, p. 121. Heaven places priority on revival. What could be more important? This quarter, as we study such topics as prayer and revival, the Word and revival, witnessing and revival, a finished work and revival, and other related subjects, let us pray that God will powerfully speak to our hearts and draw us closer to Him.

Why not open your heart to the moving of His Spirit right now? Why not ask Him to do something extra special in your life today? He will answer your prayers, and heavenly blessings will flow in ways that you have not yet imagined.

A native of Connecticut, USA, Mark Finley, an internationally known evangelist, was a vice president at the General Conference from 2005-2010. After retiring from full-time employment, he became an assistant to the president of the General Conference to work part-time with the Revival and Reformation initiative. Pastor Finley and his wife, Ernestine, have three children and two grandchildren.
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Wally

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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2013, 03:33:20 PM »
Lesson 1 June 29-July 5

Revival: Our Great Need

SABBATH AFTERNOON

Read  for This Week's Study: Rev. 3:14-21, Heb. 12:7-11, Matt. 25:1-13, Zech. 3:1-5, Song of Sol. 5:2-5.

Memory Text: “ ‘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).

Laodicea is the last church in Revelation’s sequence of seven churches. The name means, “a people judged.” It is also a fitting symbol for God’s last-day people.

Laodicea was located in an open valley in southwestern Turkey. It was an important financial capital, a fashion mecca, and an educational and medical center. Its inhabitants were independent, self-confident, and rich.

The one vital natural resource that the city lacked, however, was water. The water was piped in via Roman aqueducts from a spring five miles south of the city. By the time the water reached Laodicea, it was lukewarm. Jesus used that symbolism to represent the lukewarm condition of His last-day church, described as self-confident, complacent, apathetic, and spiritually indifferent. It is a church that has lost its passion. It is a church that needs a spiritual revival.

Nevertheless, the Laodicean message is filled with hope. Christ speaks to His people in love, offering to meet their heart needs and revive their deepest spiritual longings.

*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, July 6.

SUNDAY June 30

Hope for Lukewarm Laodiceans

Jesus addresses each of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 with a title of Himself that is appropriate for their spiritual condition. The titles He uses in His message to the church of Laodicea ring with the assurance of spiritual renewal for all those who will heed His call.

Read the following Bible passages (Rev. 3:14-15; 2 Cor. 1:20; John 3:10, 11; Col. 1:13-17). Why do you think that Jesus used the titles “the Amen,” “the faithful and true witness,” and “the beginning of the creation of God” to address the Laodicean church?

In Revelation 3:14, the Greek word for “beginning” is arche. It can mean “beginning,” in the sense that the one to whom it refers is the beginner of the event or action. In this context, arche refers to Jesus as the Beginner, or the first cause of all creation. In other words, He is the Creator (John 1:1-3; Eph. 3:8-9).

This is extremely significant. Jesus, the One who spoke and worlds came into being, the One who created the earth, the One who spoke life into existence-this same Jesus speaks hope to Laodicea. The all-powerful Creator can create new life. He can recreate new spiritual longings in our hearts. He can transform our spiritual lives.

Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 6:14-15. What do these texts mean to you personally?

Why is the Laodicean message a message of hope? What is it about the introduction to this message of strong rebuke that encourages you? Which of the three titles of Jesus do you personally identify with the most, and why?

MONDAY July 1

A Loving Rebuke

Read Revelation 3:15-16. Why does Jesus give the Laodicean church such a strong rebuke? What does it mean to be lukewarm? What other words might Jesus have used in place of “lukewarm”?

Commenting on Revelation 3:15-16, Ellen G. White states: “The message to the Laodicean church applies most decidedly to those whose religious experience is insipid, who do not bear decided witness in favor of the truth.”- The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 962. This is a fascinating statement. An insipid religious experience is one that is lifeless. It has the outer husk of Christianity but lacks the substance. It has the external form but lacks the living power. The Laodiceans are not heretics or fiery fanatics; they are, simply, spiritually indifferent. The Laodiceans appear to be good moral people. They have what Paul calls, “a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:5, NKJV). Jesus speaks of religious people in His day who “draw near to [Him] with their mouth and honor [Him] with their lips, but their heart is far from [Him]” (Matt. 15:8, NKJV).

Read Hebrews 12:7-11; Job 5:17-19; Psalm 94:12; and Proverbs 29:15, 17, and describe God’s purpose in His rebukes.

Our Lord loves His people too much to let them go easily to perdition. He will do whatever it takes to rekindle a spiritual flame in their hearts. His strong rebuke is because of a stronger love. His chastisement is only because of His longing to heal us. The prophet Hosea echoes this sentiment with this call to repentance: “Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up” (Hos. 6:1, NKJV).

Has God ever used painful, even embarrassing, experiences to humble you and draw you closer to Him? What did you learn from these experiences that, ideally, ensures you won’t have to go through them again?
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Wally

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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2013, 03:35:01 PM »
TUESDAY July 2

Perception and Reality

There is a gap between what Laodicea says and does. There is an even greater gap between the spiritual experience that Laodicea thinks she has and what she actually does have .

Read Revelation 3:17. What is Laodicea’s evaluation of herself? What is our Lord’s assessment of her? How do you think a people could be so blinded to their true spiritual condition? In what ways might we be blind regarding our own spiritual condition?

One of Satan’s fatal deceptions is to blind us to the reality of our spiritual needs. Some of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were blind to their own spiritual poverty. They were Bible-reading, Sabbath-keeping, tithe-paying “church” members looking for the coming of the Messiah. Yet, many were in darkness regarding the type of spiritual kingdom that He would usher in. Jesus called them “blind guides” (Matt. 23:24). Paul writes to the church at Corinth about those “whose minds the god of this age has blinded” (2 Cor. 4:4, NKJV). This is why Jesus said that He came for the “‘recovery of sight to the blind’” (Luke 4:18, NKJV). Jesus will restore the spiritual eyesight that we have lost if we allow Him. Every time that Jesus opened blind eyes in the New Testament, He was revealing His desire to open the eyes of our minds in order to enable us to see Him clearly.

Read Matthew 25:1-13. What are the similarities between the foolish virgins and the members of the church at Laodicea?

What ways have you found to keep spiritually alert? Why do you think it is so easy to become spiritually indifferent? What are some ways to counteract religious apathy?

WEDNESDAY July 3

The Divine Remedy

There is hope for Laodicea, just as there is hope for all who are afflicted with spiritual apathy and in-difference. Our Lord has the divine remedy. The fact that the Lord speaks to this church shows that hope for the church exists if His people accept and follow His counsel .

Reflect on Jesus’ counsel in Revelation 3:18-19. What does Jesus mean when He talks about “gold refined in the fire,” being clothed in “white garments,” and our eyes being anointed with “eye salve”? (See also 1 Pet. 1:7, Zech. 3:1-5, Rev. 19:7-9, Eph. 4:30.)

“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.

Ellen G. White quotes Revelation 3:20, saying of Jesus, “‘I stand at the door, and knock.’” Jesus knocks; He doesn’t break down the door and force His way in. What this means is that, in the end, regardless of what God is willing to do for us, we must make the choice to let Him in. Ask yourself, “How resistant am I to opening the door to Him?” If you are resistant, ask yourself, “Why?” What is holding you back? What sin, what indulgence, don’t you want to let go of, or what is it that you find so hard to let go of?
So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Wally

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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2013, 03:36:33 PM »
THURSDAY July 4

A Relentless Love

Compare Revelation 3:20 to Song of Solomon 5:2-5. What similarities do you find in both instances? What do these passages reveal about God’s love?

The evening meal in the Middle East was and still is extremely important. When the work of the day was over and the men returned from the fields for the evening meal, the entire family gathered around the table. In most instances the extended family lived together. The number at the evening meal often would be quite large. Grandfather and grandmother, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, nephews and cousins, adults and children might be present. In this grand reunion after a hard day’s work, stories were told, experiences shared, and counsel given. It was a time of fellowship. It was a time of warmth and family intimacy. Jesus longs to have fellowship like this with us, as well.

How does Christ’s promise in Revelation 3:21 reveal His heartfelt desire for each one of us?

The book of Revelation mentions God’s throne more than 40 times. This is more than any other book of the Bible. At God’s throne, we join in with the heavenly chorus and joyously proclaim: “ ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing’ ” (Rev. 5:12, NKJV). He promises that we can participate in this grand festive scene of rejoicing once the long saga of sin ends.

Christ uses His greatest motivation for His indifferent end-time people. The greatest motivation to wake us from spiritual slumber is Jesus’ endless love, for He longs to spend all eternity with us. If that is not enough to shake us out of our spiritual apathy, what is? If that is not enough to bring us to our knees, seeking revival, what will?

His love has provided eternity for us. We have royal blood running through our veins. We are sons and daughters of the King of the universe. We can reign with Him, seated upon His throne forever.

Christ longs to be in fellowship with you. How much do you want to be in fellowship with Him? The answer is simple. How much time do you spend in prayer and fellowship with the Lord? What does your answer tell you about yourself and, perhaps, just how lukewarm you might be?

FRIDAY July 5

Further Study: “A revival and a reformation must take place under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from the spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit. Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work, and in doing this work they must blend.”-Ellen G. White, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Feb. 25, 1902.

“The counsel of the True Witness is full of encouragement and comfort. The churches may yet obtain the gold of truth, faith, and love, and be rich in heavenly treasure. ‘Buy of me gold that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.’ The white raiment is the righteousness of Christ that may be wrought into the character. Purity of heart, purity of motive, will characterize everyone who is washing his robe, and making it white in the blood of the Lamb.”-Ellen G. White, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, July 24, 1888.
Discussion Questions:

    What is so dangerous about being lukewarm? Why can it lead us so easily to spiritual self-deception?

    Why do some Christians seem so radiant and others so indifferent? Is it a matter of different personality types, or is there something deeper? If so, what?

    Discuss with your class ways in which to avoid becoming spiritually indifferent. How can we keep our spiritual experience vibrant and growing? What are things that we can do as a church body, as a whole, to protect ourselves from becoming “lukewarm”?

    Why do you think God would rather have us “cold” than “lukewarm”? Why isn’t being lukewarm better than being flat-out cold? Hint: what’s more comfortable, being lukewarm or being cold?

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Richard Myers

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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2013, 09:48:57 PM »
We begin a new quarter today. Are you excited that Mark Finley is teaching? We ought to be. The subject of this quarter's study is revival and reformation. After a long dry spell of not hearing about our need for revival and reformation, the call has gone forth throughout the world church. Here is a short message from the president the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pastor Ted Wilson.



Mark Finley is a special assistant to Pastor Wilson working on revival and reformation in our church. He asks us in a message given to the church, what is it that causes a Christian to be vibrant and alive in Jesus and others to be spiritually dead? And what is it that causes some churches to be spiritually alive and others to be spiritually dead? Here is Pastor Finley's message on Revival and Reformation that will help us to better understand the burden God has placed on his heart as he prepared this quarter's Sabbath School lessons.  Revival and Reformation

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Richard Myers

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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2013, 09:57:07 PM »
SABBATH AFTERNOON

Read  for This Week's Study: Rev. 3:14-21, Heb. 12:7-11, Matt. 25:1-13, Zech. 3:1-5, Song of Sol. 5:2-5.

Memory Text: 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.  Revelation 3:20

This is where Jesus stands in relationship to most in the Seventh-day Adventist Church today. Is He in your heart or is He knocking on the door of your heart?


Laodicea is the last church in Revelation’s sequence of seven churches. The name means, “a people judged.” It is also a fitting symbol for God’s last-day people.

Laodicea was located in an open valley in southwestern Turkey. It was an important financial capital, a fashion mecca, and an educational and medical center. Its inhabitants were independent, self-confident, and rich.

The one vital natural resource that the city lacked, however, was water. The water was piped in via Roman aqueducts from a spring five miles south of the city. By the time the water reached Laodicea, it was lukewarm. Jesus used that symbolism to represent the lukewarm condition of His last-day church, described as self-confident, complacent, apathetic, and spiritually indifferent. It is a church that has lost its passion. It is a church that needs a spiritual revival.

Nevertheless, the Laodicean message is filled with hope. Christ speaks to His people in love, offering to meet their heart needs and revive their deepest spiritual longings.

Amen!  Let us read for ourselves what Jesus says to us today. It is very hard to misunderstand what He means. As we study the lesson this week, we shall see that others have understood what He means. As a people, we are in a lost condition even though we believe we are rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing. While this is a strong rebuke, it is also a strong encouragement in that Jesus tells us how we may be converted.


  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; 
  3:15   I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 
  3:16   So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 
  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: 
  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. 
  3:19   As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 
  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. 
  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. 
  3:22   He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 
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Richard Myers

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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2013, 10:31:18 PM »
SUNDAY June 30

Hope for Lukewarm Laodiceans


Jesus addresses each of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 with a title of Himself that is appropriate for their spiritual condition. The titles He uses in His message to the church of Laodicea ring with the assurance of spiritual renewal for all those who will heed His call.

Read the following Bible passages

Rev. 3:14-15
  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; 
  3:15   I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 

2 Cor. 1:20
  1:20   For all the promises of God in him [are] yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 

John 3:10, 11
  3:10   Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 
  3:11   Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 

Col. 1:13-17
  1:13   Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son: 
  1:14   In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins: 
  1:15   Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 
  1:16   For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 
  1:17   And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 


Why do you think that Jesus used the titles “the Amen,” “the faithful and true witness,” and “the beginning of the creation of God” to address the Laodicean church?

In Revelation 3:14, the Greek word for “beginning” is arche. It can mean “beginning,” in the sense that the one to whom it refers is the beginner of the event or action. In this context, arche refers to Jesus as the Beginner, or the first cause of all creation. In other words, He is the Creator (John 1:1-3; Eph. 3:8-9).

This is extremely significant. Jesus, the One who spoke and worlds came into being, the One who created the earth, the One who spoke life into existence-this same Jesus speaks hope to Laodicea. The all-powerful Creator can create new life. He can recreate new spiritual longings in our hearts. He can transform our spiritual lives.

Amen!  He tells us that since He was lifted up, He is drawing all men unto Himself. He promises that He will save us if we will stop resisting His calling and His love. He tells us that He is not sitting waiting to destroy us, or waiting for us to come to Him, but rather He is actively drawing us, to Himself. He did not just suffer and die for us, but He is a "living high priest" that is standing at the door knocking, wanting in. Why not ask Him in?


Read

2 Corinthians 5:17
  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. 

Galatians 6:14-15
 6:14   But 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. 
  6:15   For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 


One may work and work and work, and it will avail nothing. But, if we will allow Christ to possess our hearts, then He will make us new creatures, He will fill us with His Spirit. See Ezekiel 36:26 and 27.


What do these texts mean to you personally?

Why is the Laodicean message a message of hope? What is it about the introduction to this message of strong rebuke that encourages you? Which of the three titles of Jesus do you personally identify with the most, and why?

Do you see the Laodicean message as "present truth"?  Do you see the message as a strong rebuke to our church today? Do you see that Christ does not intend to discourage us with His message, but to encourage us? Why would anyone be encouraged by a strong rebuke? Has a prophet said anything about the Seventh-day Adventist Church and this message?
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JimB

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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2013, 07:12:27 AM »
Why do you think that Jesus used the titles “the Amen,” “the faithful and true witness,” and “the beginning of the creation of God” to address the Laodicean church?

1 - "the Amen".    If my understanding is correct that the word "amen" means "so be it" then I believed He used this title to show us that He is the one who declares all things as they were, are, and will be. Even declaring that He is willing to give anyone a new heart.

2 - "the faithful and true witness"     I think He used this title because He tells us exactly how things are. Good or bad. He doesn't play things down or up. It's not love to Not rebuke a child who wishes to run into a busy street.

3 - “the beginning of the creation of God”   I think He used this title to wake up the sleepers as to who they are ignoring. The Author and Finisher of our faith. The Creator of all things especially including the new heart that He so much desires us to have as a gift from Him! Imagine a personal gift directly from the Creator of the universe to you personally!

Richard Myers

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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2013, 08:34:17 AM »
Amen, Jim!!  The Creator God is our friend.  Even more than this, He became our Brother. He is forever linked to humanity. Such a humiliation!!  He stands at the door knocking!!!  He loves us and gave Himself for us.

The term "the righteousness of Christ" has been used to justify sin. But, when properly understood it is so beautiful and meaningful. The righteousness of Christ is seen in the character of our God. The great revelation of His character is just what Jim is sharing. That God would condescend to become one of us, to take upon Himself the "likeness of sinful flesh".  We take too much for granted and miss the great blessing of seeing Christ's righteousness for what it really is. It is the grace that transforms the life of the sinner. It is the center of the Latter Rain.
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Richard Myers

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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2013, 11:15:01 AM »
Many have opportunity today to study this week's lesson. Often we look to man for our wisdom instead of going directly to God. He has inspired some writers in order that we might know His will, rather than that of erring humans. The Laodicean message is one of three messages to be given in His church. Thus, it would be good to know not only the message, but what He has said about it, what is its purpose, and if it will accomplish the task for which it was given. Rather than use my words, let's read what God has inspired for us to know about this important message.

The Laodicean Church

Dear Brethren and Sisters: The Lord has again visited me in much mercy. I have been greatly afflicted for a few months past. Disease has pressed heavily upon me. For years I have been afflicted with dropsy and disease of the heart, which has had a tendency to depress my spirits and destroy my faith and courage. The message to the Laodiceans has not accomplished that zealous repentance among God's people which I expected to see, and my perplexity of mind has been great. Disease seemed to make continual progress upon me, and I thought that I must lie down in the grave. I had no desire to live, therefore I could not take hold of faith and pray for my recovery. Often when I retired to rest at night I realized that I was in danger of losing my breath before morning. In this state I fainted at midnight. Brethren Andrews and Loughborough were sent for, and earnest petitions were offered to God in my behalf. The depression, the heavy weight, was lifted from my aching heart, and I was taken off in vision, and shown the things which I now present before you. 
 
I saw that Satan had been trying to drive me to discouragement and despair, to make me desire death rather than life. I was shown that it was not God's will that I should now cease from the work and lie down in the grave; for then the enemies of our faith would triumph, and the hearts of God's children would be made sad. I saw that I should often feel anguish of spirit, and should suffer much; yet I had the promise that those around me would encourage and help me, that my courage and strength might not fail while I was so fiercely buffeted by the devil. 

I was shown that the testimony to the Laodiceans applies to God's people at the present time, and the reason it has not accomplished a greater work is because of the hardness of their hearts. But God has given the message time to do its work. The heart must be purified from sins which have so long shut out Jesus. This fearful message will do its work. When it was first presented, it led to close examination of heart. Sins were confessed, and the people of God were stirred everywhere. Nearly all believed that this message would end in the loud cry of the third angel. But as they failed to see the powerful work accomplished in a short time, many lost the effect of the message. I saw that this message would not accomplish its work in a few short months. It is designed to arouse the people of God, to discover to them their backslidings, and to lead to zealous repentance, that they may be favored with the presence of Jesus, and be fitted for the loud cry of the third angel. As this message affected the heart, it led to deep humility before God. Angels were sent in every direction to prepare unbelieving hearts for the truth. The cause of God began to rise, and His people were acquainted with their position. If the counsel of the True Witness had been fully heeded, God would have wrought for His people in greater power. Yet the efforts made since the message has been given, have been blessed of God, and many souls have been brought from error and darkness to rejoice in the truth. 

God will prove His people. Jesus bears patiently with them, and does not spew them out of His mouth in a moment. Said the angel: "God is weighing His people." If the message had been of as short duration as many of us supposed, there would have been no time for them to develop character. Many moved from feeling, not from principle and faith, and this solemn, fearful message stirred them. It wrought upon their feelings, and excited their fears, but did not accomplish the work which God designed that it should. God reads the heart. Lest His people should be deceived in regard to themselves, He gives them time for the excitement to wear off, and then proves them to see if they will obey the counsel of the True Witness.

God leads His people on, step by step. He brings them up to different points calculated to manifest what is in the heart. Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next. At every advanced point the heart is tested and tried a little closer. If the professed people of God find their hearts opposed to this straight work, it should convince them that they have a work to do to overcome, if they would not be spewed out of the mouth of the Lord. Said the angel: "God will bring His work closer and closer to test and prove every one of His people." Some are willing to receive one point; but when God brings them to another testing point, they shrink from it and stand back, because they find that it strikes directly at some cherished idol. Here they have opportunity to see what is in their hearts that shuts out Jesus. They prize something higher than the truth, and their hearts are not prepared to receive Jesus. Individuals are tested and proved a length of time to see if they will sacrifice their idols and heed the counsel of the True Witness. If any will not be purified through obeying the truth, and overcome their selfishness, their pride, and evil passions, the angels of God have the charge: "They are joined to their idols, let them alone," and they pass on to their work, leaving these with their sinful traits unsubdued, to the control of evil angels. Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation.

God proves His people in this world. This is the fitting-up place to appear in His presence. Here, in this world, in these last days, persons will show what power affects their hearts and controls their actions. If it is the power of divine truth, it will lead to good works. It will elevate the receiver, and make him noblehearted and generous, like his divine Lord. But if evil angels control the heart, it will be seen in various ways. The fruit will be selfishness, covetousness, pride, and evil passions. 

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Professors of religion are not willing to closely examine themselves to see whether they are in the faith; and it is a fearful fact that many are leaning on a false hope. Some lean upon an old experience which they had years ago; but when brought down to this heart-searching time, when all should have a daily experience, they have nothing to relate. They seem to think that a profession of the truth will save them. When they subdue those sins which God hates, Jesus will come in and sup with them and they with Him. They will then draw divine strength from Jesus, and will grow up in Him, and be able with holy triumph to say: "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." It would be more pleasing to the Lord if lukewarm professors of religion had never named His name. They are a continual weight to those who would be faithful followers of Jesus. They are a stumbling block to unbelievers, and evil angels exult over them, and taunt the angels of God with their crooked course. Such are a curse to the cause at home or abroad. They draw nigh to God with their lips, while their heart is far from Him. 1T 188


None need ever wonder what the Laodicean message means, to whom it is addressed, and if it will be successful. This quarter's study is sitting squarely on what is so precisely explained in this inspired message to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

What are we being told is the purpose of the message and will it be successful?
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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2013, 08:50:32 PM »
MONDAY July 1

A Loving Rebuke


Read Revelation 3:15-16.

  3:15   I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 
  3:16   So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 


Why does Jesus give the Laodicean church such a strong rebuke? What does it mean to be lukewarm? What other words might Jesus have used in place of “lukewarm”?

Commenting on Revelation 3:15-16, Ellen G. White states: “The message to the Laodicean church applies most decidedly to those whose religious experience is insipid, who do not bear decided witness in favor of the truth.”- The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 962. This is a fascinating statement. An insipid religious experience is one that is lifeless. It has the outer husk of Christianity but lacks the substance. It has the external form but lacks the living power. The Laodiceans are not heretics or fiery fanatics; they are, simply, spiritually indifferent. The Laodiceans appear to be good moral people. They have what Paul calls, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 2 Tim. 3:5. Jesus speaks of religious people in His day who "draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me."  Matt. 15:8.

The author of the lesson is brave, bold, and accurate. For how many years has the church waited for leadership to give the correct Laodicean message?


Read

Hebrews 12:7-11
  12:7   If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 
  12:8   But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 
  12:9   Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 
  12:10   For they verily for a few days chastened [us] after their own pleasure; but he for [our] profit, that [we] might be partakers of his holiness. 
  12:11   Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 

Job 5:17-19
  5:17   Behold, happy [is] the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: 
  5:18   For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. 
  5:19   He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. 

Psalm 94:12
94:12   Blessed [is] the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;

Proverbs 29:15, 17
  29:15   The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. 
  29:16   When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall. 
  29:17   Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul. 


Such a blessing to have such good Bible quotes to learn from!


Describe God’s purpose in His rebukes.

Our Lord loves His people too much to let them go easily to perdition. He will do whatever it takes to rekindle a spiritual flame in their hearts. His strong rebuke is because of a stronger love. His chastisement is only because of His longing to heal us. The prophet Hosea echoes this sentiment with this call to repentance: "Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.' Hos. 6:1.

Has God ever used painful, even embarrassing, experiences to humble you and draw you closer to Him? What did you learn from these experiences that, ideally, ensures you won’t have to go through them again?

That would be really good if we learned the first time. I don't know about others, but being chastised once did not work for me. From what I hear and see in the church, it appears that many don't learn the first, second, or third time.  God is long-suffering and He continues to patiently labor with His people. How has God chastised you?  Did you know it came from the Lord?  Was it Satan punishing sin with sin? Or did God intervene Himself?  Has He withheld a blessing as a chastisement? How do we tell chastisement from tribulation that is not chastisement?
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Richard Myers

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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2013, 08:33:40 AM »
What is the purpose of chastisement? Do we see this in Scripture? How about when Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness? Why did he do that? And why did the serpents come into the camp of the Israelites? Did God send them? Did Satan send them? Was 9/11 chastisement? If so, God did not do it. Share with us the underlying principles so that when God is blamed for many bad thing that are happening and are going to happen in the future, you can explain to those who think God is doing it because the Sun Day has been defiled, that He is  not. It is true that God destroyed every living thing on this Earth except what was in the oceans and what was on the ark, but God did not destroy the Trade Towers. God is depending upon you and me to teach correct doctrine about His rebukes. Satan has maligned His character and continues to do so. We are to be His witnesses and teachers of the truth regarding His character. We know that God is not going to burn the wicked for eternity. The subject of the chastisement of sinners is just as important to teach correctly so that God's character is not maligned.

We remembered what sorrow and suffering might have been our portion. Twenty-eight years ago, when the train was wrecked three miles from Jackson, there was heard, not the moaning of dumb animals, but the groans and shrieks of wounded and dying human beings; and the next morning, as we took the cars to pursue our journey, we had on board the coffins of the dead, who, only a few hours before, had been as full of life and hope as any of us who were on the train. The psalmist says, "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them;" and we felt that our safety on this occasion was due to the protection of heavenly messengers.

How carefully should we avoid mirth and unbecoming levity on the cars, on the boat, wherever we may be; for the daily record of disasters shows that there is no safety anywhere. Even in our homes we are in danger; for storms, floods, and fire are sweeping off thousands, while earthquakes are destroying additional thousands. If there ever was a time when we should be sober and watch unto prayer, it is now. Our lives are safe only when hid with Christ in God. We need every day to purify ourselves even as he is pure. There is always hope for us in God. Faith is our defense, for it connects our human weakness with divine power. Men may laugh at our credulity in believing that angels of God were commissioned to avert a terrible calamity; but I am just simple enough to believe it, and this faith I shall cherish. I believe that God delivered us from what Satan would have been glad to make a terrible calamity.  RH, January 29, 1884


And when San Francisco was hit by earthquake and fire  in 1906, was it God or Satan that caused this? Was it a warning or did it just happen? We cannot always tell, but we have enough light to be able to teach the truth about the character of our God.
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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2013, 05:22:50 PM »
What is the purpose of chastisement?

It is a correction revealed to bring us back to right living with God. It has been my experience that God has used His word and His people to bring this about, to show me where I am off track.

Hebrews 12:7-11
  12:7   If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
  12:8   But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
  12:9   Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
  12:10   For they verily for a few days chastened [us] after their own pleasure; but he for [our] profit, that [we] might be partakers of his holiness.
  12:11   Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.


Isaiah 1:17  Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Mimi

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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2013, 05:30:17 PM »


This is where Jesus stands in relationship to most in the Seventh-day Adventist Church today. Is He in your heart or is He knocking on the door of your heart?

That is the question. In our hearts is where He should be, yet for a while He has been standing outside the door of our hearts knocking.


Quote

 As a people, we are in a lost condition even though we believe we are rich and increased with goods and in need of nothing. While this is a strong rebuke, it is also a strong encouragement in that Jesus tells us how we may be converted.


  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; 
  3:15   I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 
  3:16   So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 
  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: 
  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. 
  3:19   As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 
  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. 
  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. 
  3:22   He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 


Amen and this is why this series of lessons is so important. The rebuke stings, but I'll tell you face to face, I want to know what I must do to be saved. Revelation 3 tells us. He would not have us guessing. What gratitude!
Isaiah 1:17  Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Mimi

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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2013, 05:39:35 PM »
Commenting on Revelation 3:15-16, Ellen G. White states: “The message to the Laodicean church applies most decidedly to those whose religious experience is insipid, who do not bear decided witness in favor of the truth.”- The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 962. This is a fascinating statement. An insipid religious experience is one that is lifeless. It has the outer husk of Christianity but lacks the substance. It has the external form but lacks the living power. The Laodiceans are not heretics or fiery fanatics; they are, simply, spiritually indifferent. The Laodiceans appear to be good moral people. They have what Paul calls, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 2 Tim. 3:5. Jesus speaks of religious people in His day who "draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me."  Matt. 15:8.

I do not recall reading her comments including "insipid." And yes, it is a fascinating statement. While reading the rest of Elder Finley's commentary, that is who we are! Woe, woe, woe! Lifeless ... lacking in substance, no living power, spiritual indifference. How often do we see the state of a particular situation and label it Laodicean, yet bundling our condition all together, it is exactly as he described it.

Cry to heaven!
Isaiah 1:17  Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

JimB

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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2013, 05:47:07 PM »
It is a correction revealed to bring us back to right living with God. It has been my experience that God has used His word and His people to bring this about, to show me where I am off track.

I will not attempt to show you where you're wrong because I happen to believe the same. It is not love to not discipline a child who insists on running into a busy highway. However, I'm a little more interested in the following questions from Richard.

What is the purpose of chastisement? Do we see this in Scripture? How about when Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness? Why did he do that? And why did the serpents come into the camp of the Israelites? Did God send them? Did Satan send them? Was 9/11 chastisement? If so, God did not do it. Share with us the underlying principles so that when God is blamed for many bad thing that are happening and are going to happen in the future, you can explain to those who think God is doing it because the Sun Day has been defiled, that He is  not. It is true that God destroyed every living thing on this Earth except what was in the oceans and what was on the ark, but God did not destroy the Trade Towers. God is depending upon you and me to teach correct doctrine about His rebukes. Satan has maligned His character and continues to do so. We are to be His witnesses and teachers of the truth regarding His character. We know that God is not going to burn the wicked for eternity. The subject of the chastisement of sinners is just as important to teach correctly so that God's character is not maligned....

And when San Francisco was hit by earthquake and fire  in 1906, was it God or Satan that caused this? Was it a warning or did it just happen? We cannot always tell, but we have enough light to be able to teach the truth about the character of our God.

I'm not going to pretend that I know these answers and I would like to. I have a friend who believes all these disasters in the US are God's judgments. I read an article years ago by a priest who said that 9/11 happened because Sunday is not kept holy. Richard stated that God did not destroy the trade towers and I have a tendency to lean in the same direction but I'm not sure that I could plainly state reasons from the Bible for that belief. Can one tell who causes disasters and if so how? What are the Biblical principles in discerning the truth?

However, I do not wish to high-jack this discussion on the Sabbath School to lesson to be only about this. Maybe should be discussed elsewhere?

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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2013, 05:47:49 PM »
That would be really good if we learned the first time. I don't know about others, but being chastised once did not work for me. From what I hear and see in the church, it appears that many don't learn the first, second, or third time.  God is long-suffering and He continues to patiently labor with His people.

Yes, He is. I am from an Irish clan of Stewarts. Neither did we learn the first time. I recall difficult lessons from great-great grandfather and grandfather. God had to revisit us with chastisements, most times through His holy book and again, sometimes through His people. It is much easier to be quietly humbled before God rather than man, but sometimes it takes public humiliation for us to learn the lesson.
Isaiah 1:17  Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Richard Myers

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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2013, 10:46:53 PM »
What is the purpose of chastisement?

It is a correction revealed to bring us back to right living with God. It has been my experience that God has used His word and His people to bring this about, to show me where I am off track.

Mimi, you have been blessed if this is the extent of God's chastisement with you. Others are allowed to suffer great loss and or pain from either God's direct hand or Satan's hand. To be corrected by doctrine is a very gently rebuke.  I have suffered great loss because of my sin. God has let me reap what I have sowed when I have taken my eyes off of Him.
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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2013, 11:40:54 PM »
What is the purpose of chastisement? Do we see this in Scripture? How about when Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness? Why did he do that? And why did the serpents come into the camp of the Israelites? Did God send them? Did Satan send them? Was 9/11 chastisement? If so, God did not do it. Share with us the underlying principles so that when God is blamed for many bad thing that are happening and are going to happen in the future, you can explain to those who think God is doing it because the Sun Day has been defiled, that He is  not. It is true that God destroyed every living thing on this Earth except what was in the oceans and what was on the ark, but God did not destroy the Trade Towers. God is depending upon you and me to teach correct doctrine about His rebukes. Satan has maligned His character and continues to do so. We are to be His witnesses and teachers of the truth regarding His character. We know that God is not going to burn the wicked for eternity. The subject of the chastisement of sinners is just as important to teach correctly so that God's character is not maligned....

And when San Francisco was hit by earthquake and fire  in 1906, was it God or Satan that caused this? Was it a warning or did it just happen? We cannot always tell, but we have enough light to be able to teach the truth about the character of our God.

I'm not going to pretend that I know these answers and I would like to. I have a friend who believes all these disasters in the US are God's judgments. I read an article years ago by a priest who said that 9/11 happened because Sunday is not kept holy. Richard stated that God did not destroy the trade towers and I have a tendency to lean in the same direction but I'm not sure that I could plainly state reasons from the Bible for that belief. Can one tell who causes disasters and if so how? What are the Biblical principles in discerning the truth?

However, I do not wish to high-jack this discussion on the Sabbath School to lesson to be only about this. Maybe should be discussed elsewhere?

Jim, we won't high-jack the Sabbath School lesson, because the topic is "A Loving Rebuke".  As we have seen, it is not love to allow a child to go unrebuked. We are not "bastards" that the Lord would let us continue in sin unto our deaths. We are His children and He wants to help us. Thus, we see chastisement of people, cities, and nations all in an attempt to turn the sinner away from sin. It is out of love that God chastises His people. So, when the Trade Towers came down, what was God's part in it?  When God sent the great flood was it chastisement or something else?  We have not done a very good job of teaching in this area.  The lesson has opened the door for us to learn about chastisement. 

It is out of love. So when we see devastation on every hand, when we see cruelty to man and beast, we need to be careful as to who we say did it. Because this is a major concern in our day, we need to bring it into our discussion.  "When God's restraining hand is removed, the destroyer begins his work. Then in our cities the greatest calamities will come. Is this because people do not keep Sunday? No; but because men have trampled upon the law of Jehovah. The Lord is slow to anger. This should inspire the heart with gratitude. "The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet" (Nahum 1:3).  3MR 314.

The desecration of the Sun Day will be be said to be why God is bringing judgments upon America. But, it is not so. Satan is attempting to cast blame upon both God and Seventh-day Adventists who keep the seventh day Sabbath according to Bible truth. This is the course taken in an attempt to justify making a Sunday law. To appease God's wrath because of Sun Day desecration. God allows Satan to do this because of the immorality in the land. Sin is being punished by sin, but it is at Satan's hand and with a specific purpose.

We see the same with the failure of David to deal properly with his children, in this case Amnon:

David had neglected the duty of punishing the crime of Amnon, and because of the unfaithfulness of the king and father and the impenitence of the son, the Lord permitted events to take their natural course, and did not restrain Absalom. When parents or rulers neglect the duty of punishing iniquity, God Himself will take the case in hand. His restraining power will be in a measure removed from the agencies of evil, so that a train of circumstances will arise which will punish sin with sin.  PP 728. 


This was chastisement of both father and son. As with the serpents in the wilderness, God removed His restraining power and the natural course of events takes place. In the case of the Trade Towers, some said God punished New York because of her iniquities. If so, it was God removing His restraining hand. He did not raise up Muslim terrorists to bring calamity upon New York. Satan did. And, if you want to see how clever Satan is, read a transcript of what Jerry Falwell said. All was true except for one transgression with which he accused New York. Satan laid the foundation for future events in that one untruth that Falwell attributed to NYC.

It is the character of God that we want to be correctly represented when we speak of punishment and chastisement. It is true that God will not forever hold back His wrath against the transgressors of His law. But, it is also true that He is perfectly just, "Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation." Exodus 34:7. 
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Re: Third Quarter--2013--SDA SS LESSON 1--Revival: Our Great Need
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2013, 01:36:30 AM »
TUESDAY July 2

Perception and Reality


There is a gap between what Laodicea says and does. There is an even greater gap between the spiritual experience that Laodicea thinks she has and what she actually does have .

Read Revelation 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: 


What is Laodicea’s evaluation of herself? What is our Lord’s assessment of her? How do you think a people could be so blinded to their true spiritual condition? In what ways might we be blind regarding our own spiritual condition?

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14.
What does this mean? What is the spiritual condition of all who do not recognize their need? Are the in a converted state or not? It may be easy to see others are blind, but do we ask God if we are spiritually blind? Have we understood this message and asked God to show us our own heart?

One of Satan’s fatal deceptions is to blind us to the reality of our spiritual needs. Some of the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were blind to their own spiritual poverty. They were Bible-reading, Sabbath-keeping, tithe-paying “church” members looking for the coming of the Messiah. Yet, many were in darkness regarding the type of spiritual kingdom that He would usher in. Jesus called them “blind guides” (Matt. 23:24). Paul writes to the church at Corinth about those “whose minds the god of this age has blinded” (2 Cor. 4:4, NKJV). This is why Jesus said that He came for the “‘recovery of sight to the blind’” (Luke 4:18, NKJV). Jesus will restore the spiritual eyesight that we have lost if we allow Him. Every time that Jesus opened blind eyes in the New Testament, He was revealing His desire to open the eyes of our minds in order to enable us to see Him clearly.

Read Matthew 25:1-13.

  25:1   Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 
  25:2   And five of them were wise, and five [were] foolish. 
  25:3   They that [were] foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 
  25:4   But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 
  25:5   While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 
  25:6   And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 
  25:7   Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 
  25:8   And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 
  25:9   But the wise answered, saying, [Not so]; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 
  25:10   And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 
  25:11   Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 
  25:12   But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 
  25:13   Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. 

What are the similarities between the foolish virgins and the members of the church at Laodicea?

It is such a blessing to read the truth regarding this message from Jesus to us. Too long have "blind guides" led the church astray. Thank you, Jesus, for giving us a Sabbath School lesson that addresses the real need of our church. There are many in the church who are seeking truth. Now, they have it before them in a manner that can be understood. It is true that the Laodicean is blind and cannot see his own condition, but some will listen to the plea of Jesus and respond. This message will do its appointed work in the church.  Jesus is coming soon. Today is the day to open the eyes and heart to the message of God's love. This is what Jesus means when He says to buy of Him gold tried in the fire, white raiment, and eye salve. Jesus stands at the door knocking, offering us faith that works by love, His love. He wants to give us His character and His Spirit. This is what it means to have revival and reformation. We must have Jesus. This is the reality of Christianity.

The five foolish virgins had lamps, they had Bibles with the truth. But, they did not let the truth take possession of the life. They were destitute of the character of God because they did not have His Spirit. They were not new creatures in Christ Jesus. So it is with the church member who is "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Like the foolish virgins who "took their lamps, and took no oil with them," the Laodicean has not the indwelling Spirit of God. Unless there is change, a new birth experience, the Lord will say unto them "I know you not" and they will be barred from entering heaven.


What ways have you found to keep spiritually alert? Why do you think it is so easy to become spiritually indifferent? What are some ways to counteract religious apathy?

The answer is always the same, we need Jesus all of the time, not part of the time. We need to make a full surrender to Him, allow Him into  our hearts, then cling to Him. God has given us the answer as to how to have this experience and how to maintain it. I know I sound like a broken record, but if ever there was an opportunity to express this truth, it is in this week's lesson. Not my words, but the Words of Jesus. "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. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 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. 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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:18-22.

If we want this experience, then do as Jesus said. He offers these free. Well...there is something that must be given in exchange, a sin polluted heart must be given up. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness even the Son of Man must be lifted up."  He was lifted up and is drawing all men unto Himself. Cease resisting that love. Learn of His love, build up your faith. Gold tried in the fire is faith that works by His love. Behold Him lifted up upon the cross. Look and live!!  By beholding become changed into His image, His character. He offers us His white raiment. Read 2 Corinthians 3:18. Do what it says if you want to counteract religious apathy. "But we all....beholding....the glory of the Lord (His character), are changed into the same image(His character) from glory to glory....by the Spirit of the Lord."  It is an intellectual as well as a spiritual truth that by beholding we become changed. The mind gradually assimilates itself to that which it is accustomed to love and reverence. The mind is "plastic" and changes according to what it beholds. Just as we are what we eat, so it is with the mind, it becomes changed according to what it beholds. What are we beholding daily? If it is Jesus, then we have chosen the good and God will take care of the rest. By His grace we shall be changed into His character and fitted for heaven. And while we are on this earth, we shall be His witnesses. Then our perception of our spiritual condition will be seen as it truly is. The blindness to our need of Jesus continually to do any good thing and enter heaven will be removed and we shall see the reality of the matter. Our perception will be correct. We will know of our fallen nature and our need of Jesus.
I'm going home SOON, come along!!