FRIDAY September 27
Further Study: “The message will be carried not so much by argument as by the deep conviction of the Spirit of God. The arguments have been presented. The seed has been sown, and now it will spring up and bear fruit. The publications distributed by missionary workers have exerted their influence, yet many whose minds were impressed have been prevented from fully comprehending the truth or from yielding obedience. Now the rays of light penetrate everywhere, the truth is seen in its clearness, and the honest children of God sever the bands which have held them. Family connections, church relations, are powerless to stay them now. Truth is more precious than all besides. Notwithstanding the agencies combined against the truth, a large number take their stand upon the Lord’s side.”-Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 612.
In the quote above, Ellen G. White wrote: “The message will be carried not so much by argument as by the deep conviction of the Spirit of God.” In class, discuss what you think that means. What does it not mean? After all, our message is very logical, very reasonable, and it comes with some very powerful arguments in its favor. How are we to understand, then, what she is telling us?
What spiritual application do the promises God gave to His people in the Old Testament have for His church today?
11:13 And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul,
11:14 That I will give [you] the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.
11:15 And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full.
11:16 Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;
11:17 And then the LORD'S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.
11:18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
Hos. 6:1-3, 10:12
6:1 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.
6:2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
6:3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
These are precious promises. But, they are conditional promises. Revival is coming in response to us following the counsel being given. We must "seek the Lord". We must "return to the Lord." Jesus tells us to "lay up these my words in your heart," then we will be be revived. It is through a knowledge of God's character that we are changed into His image. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word. It is a revelation of Christ.
Dr. Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s greatest scientists, called the concept of an afterlife a “fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” Why does a statement like that show just how crucial and hopeful our message is for a world that knows neither God nor His love?
Though we don’t know when Jesus is going to come back, we do know that we want Him to and that we want this sin-sick world to end and a new sinless world to begin. That’s why we believe revival and reformation are so crucial to us as a people, and it’s why our leaders are calling us to it. In the end, though, it will not come by anything other than the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and that will not happen until we, as individuals, make a conscious choice to surrender ourselves with all our hearts and souls and minds to the Lord. How can we, without judging others, without comparing ourselves among ourselves, do our part to encourage each other to be prepared for the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
The answer is always the same. We need Jesus. We need to heed the counsel of Jesus to the Laodiceans. This is an individual work, but the Laodicean message must continue to be given in the church. Pastor Finley has given it, now it is up to the leaders, the watchmen on the walls to let the revival and reformation begin in their own lives and then continue to give the Laodicean message in the church. We must be an example of the power of grace to transform the life. Pastor Finley asks "How can we?" It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Christ, especially the closing scenes. And thus, by beholding Jesus we shall be changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by His Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18).
I want to encourage all that the church will be revived. We have done this all through this quarter, but I want to share another Bible promise that no matter how bad things look, and they will, for the church will appear as it is about to fall, God will sanctify His people. We have shared the promise in Ezekiel 36 that God will pour clean water upon His church and cleanse it from all sin. Now, let us go to the following chapter, Ezekiel 37.
37:1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
37:2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
37:3 And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
37:4 Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
37:5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
37:6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
37:7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
37:8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
37:9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
37:10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
37:11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
37:12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
37:13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
Dead, dry bones represent a Laodicean church dead in trespasses and sins. "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel." To some it is impossible for the church to be revived. They call the church "Babylon". But, they deny the power of God to revive a church and they deny the Bible promises in Ezekiel 36 and 37.
I pray that this quarter's lessons have been an encouragement to you as they have been to me. Pastor Finley blessed us with much Bible truth. He has called sin sin, and has revealed to us the love that God has for His church. He has encouraged us that the grace of God will transform sinners into saints. Let us continue to study our Bibles and the Spirit of Prophecy that we might better know our God and His plan of salvation. Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to our continual need of Jesus. Let the fast coming revival and reformation begin in my life, in my family, and in my church.