Sabbath: Revival: Our Great Need
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Quarter 3, 2013: Revival and Reformation

by: Mark Finley

Introduction

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.

SABBATH AFTERNOON

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

gless01 (2)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.

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Comments

Sabbath: Revival: Our Great Need — 29 Comments

  1. Revival and reformation are the fruits of repentance. We are told that, "there is no salvation without repentance". {1SM 365.2} Jesus calls for repentance in His appeal to Laodicea, and yet whenever the need of personal or denominational revival and reformation is mentioned, the greater need of repentance is usually excluded. Could it be that we as a people don't think we have anything to repent of? I'm afraid Jesus disagrees.

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  2. I am so thankful that God wants to sit down with me so we can "eat" together and have a close relationship. I hardly understand, and I do not treasure His love and a relationship with Him as I should. I feel sorrow at my waywardness and pray for His help. He shows that we must guard our relationship, and even the faults in me must be overcome by His power so that we can truly live together in unity.

    I must foster the relationship by listening to the Holy Spirit everyday and praying all through the day as I am conscious of His continual Presence. He is my defender all the day and we have sweet times together. I can take the texts above and apply them personally while I see them as the experience He plans for His Church as a whole.

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    • I resonate with your expression of longing for fellowship with Our Savior. If we make the choices we must make to have that relationship, He will answer!

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  3. Iam grateful that God has brought this revival message at the right time. When God poured His spirit on the disciples on the day of pentecost, their lives were transformed and they were never the same again. This year alone, I have been part of more than four revival activities but genuine revival seems far away from me. I open my heart to God every day to bring a complete change but that still never lasts. I pray that this quarter, God will awaken my life through this lesson study.

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  4. Thank God for He reminds us again and again and now that we, "Revive and reform." For these messages are not for our Information but for our Sulvation in Jesus Holy Name..... Amen

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  5. I am much greatful to have such a wonderful day in my life.We thank the Most High God for the end of this sabbath school.I hope that we are all blessed.May the abundant Grace of our Lord jesus Christ be with us all.

    We are on new Sabbath School and is my prayer that,the good Lord grant onto us Spirit of reading and understanding to have the contextual meaning of the whole sabbath school.Amen

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  6. By just looking at and reading the intro of this new quarters lesson I can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit through His servant Pastor Mark Finley. I trust that this community on a daily basis ask for God's mercies on Pastor Finley and his family. with that said lets study with the hope that these lessons will draw us to closer to Jesus Christ.

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  7. Lord, we need you more than ever in these last and evil days. My prayer is that everyone will have a deeper relationship and tap into the endless resources that you have so graciously provided. Pastor Finley thank you so much for an awesome introduction. God bless each one of you as you study this quarter.

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  8. Am i feeling guilty by not acknowledging or seek God first when i woke up in the morning; having trials; when i achieve earthly things and etc.? Inscribe in my/our hearts the doctrine of your Words that we may die to live with your Holy Spirit.. AMEN!

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  9. The old standard bearers knew what it was to wrestle with God in prayer, and to enjoy the outpouring of His Spirit. But these are passing off from the stage of action; and who are coming up to fill their places? How is it with the rising generation? Are they converted to God? Are we awake to the work that is going on in the heavenly sanctuary, or are we waiting for some compelling power to come upon the church before we shall arouse? Are we hoping to see the whole church revived? That time will never come. {1 Selected Messages 122.1}

    That paragraph caught me completely off-guard. I thought revival is for the whole church only to realize God is interested with individual souls. It's a great wakening call to learn God has purposed to work with individual converted souls not multitudes. Be blessed

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    • Thank you for sharing, i really feel the need for revival in me,God is Good all the time drawing us near him.Am grateful for this wonderful quarter lesson

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  10. This lesson is an answer to my prayer. yesterday I spent some time contemplating on my need for prayer and fasting, and I decided it must happen soon. I just picked up the quarterly to study and I was delighted to see "Revival: Our Great Need." I certainly want to personalize this lesson because revival is my great need. As we study, let's listen to what the Spirit is saying; and I pray that Spirit of Pentecost will wake us out of our sleep.

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  11. Revival and Reformation helps us to become a better follower of Jesus. Our part is to cooperate with Him because with out God's help revival and reformation in our church will not be done.

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  12. There is Hope for every ,Jesus says I stand at the door and knock, open
    your heart willingly, I will purify you, give you a change of raiment that you can distinguish good from evil. Please accept Jesus today, God bless you richly. Norma Bajou.

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  13. The problem in most churches, is, folks are endeavoring to accomplish God's work without His Holy Spirit it won't happen (John15:5; Zech. 4:6

    Leon

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  14. [Moderators Note: Please use your full name]

    am so happy for being called the son of God everyday am wander far away from his presence but he is of grace and mercy he keeps on calling me and i can see Jesus work on my heart thank you God for loving me, this time i have finding a way am in JESUS and i will walk with him always

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  15. I used to be a lot heavier than I am now. Obese wasn’t a word the doctor used, but she just suggested that shedding a bit of weight would reduce my back problems. I think many of us have at times had the same issue and so we go on a diet; fruit only, fresh only, no carbs, and so on. How many of us have tried a diet and have lost weight only to find that 6 months down the track we have put all that weight on again.

    So, I had a problem. I had to lose 25kg and keep my weight down. A diet was not going to do the job for me. I did lose the 25kg in 2004 and I have essentially kept that 25kg off until now – nearly 10 years, not by going on a crash super diet, but by changing my lifestyle. I changed what I ate and what I did, not just until I lost weight, but forever.

    This quarter’s lessons are on revival and reformation. We need to think about this one carefully because for this to be effective it cannot be just a 3 month crash diet. It has to be a change in lifestyle for it to be effective. Otherwise it is going to more of the same. I have lived through church revivals. Glory, praise the Lord for a while and back to “normal” 3 months later. What is needed is for us to think outside the square a bit.

    I have already heard people saying we need revival; we need to pray more, we need to draw closer to Jesus, we need the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. However we have been reciting those phrases for a long time without really saying what they mean. Revival is more than saying the right words; it is about action.

    What I would like to hear from our SSNET respondents is what changes would a revival make to your life, and how those changes would affect your church, and your neighbours. I would like to hear those changes expressed without using typical catch phrases like “draw closer to Christ” and so on. We need to express our revival in a way that is sustainable for the rest of our lives. What is your revival going to look like 10 years from now?

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    • I like your diet metaphor. It communicates well for me.

      While the revivals in my life haven't whisked me into perfection from that point on, they have helped me in specific ways throughout my life. One got me into regular Bible reading and devotional time each morning. The best part of that revival was that I began to "love" the truths I was reading, not just read them. I discovered conversation with Christ through His Word.

      Another revival gave me the experience of self-denial through a meaningful fast. The fast helped me "give up" things (particular movies I loved to watch) that were effectively separating me from My Savior in ways I hadn't seen before. By God's grace, that choice has been lasting, but certainly has to be progressive as well.

      Most recently, I came under conviction that my silence (because of timidity) is as wrong as Peter's loud denial of Christ. With a prayer in my heart, I have spoken up for truth and Christ when I usually would have let the opportunity slip by.

      Is revival the end or a beginning--a new day? If we understand the experience of sanctification, as we read and pray, God will give us the courage to make specific decisions about what to do that will give us steady growth. We will not see revival as a one time chance and when we make wrong decisions it is over. We can be revived on a moment-by-moment basis.

      Thank you for your challenging question that drove me to think deeply. I'm eager to hear others' responses.

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    • Some really good thoughts and a very real question to ask at the end of your comment.

      To me it is not a matter of simply being a superman and doing what some groups have as a slogan, "when the going gets tough the tough get going." My main concern is that we realize that whatever a revival and reformation means to us that it is something we can't do on our own. When it comes to a changed heart God is the only one that can do that and that is the bottom line when it comes to spiritual matters.

      It is a matter of adhering to the new covenant where God says, "I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (Heb. 8:10 NKJV). Or to put it another way:

      Many are inquiring, "How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?" You desire to give yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him.

      Desires for goodness and holiness are right as far as they go; but if you stop here, they will avail nothing. Many will be lost while hoping and desiring to be Christians. They do not come to the point of yielding the will to God. They do not now choose to be Christians.

      Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, you ally yourself with the power that is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from above to hold you steadfast, and thus through constant surrender to God you will be enabled to live the new life, even the life of faith. (Steps to Christ, p 47.1-48.1)

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    • Thanks for challenging us, Maurice, to go beyond words and actually apply the concept of revival to our personal lives. I've been pondering the question ever since ...

      I really appreciate Cathy's sharing, and I hope that more of our readers will share too. Since we are talking about a revival of a personal relationship, it will look very different for each person that reads this. That's why it would be good to have more testimonies.

      It would be easy for me to pray the prayer of the Pharisee, but his was the prayer of one who thought himself rich and increased with goods but knew not that he was miserable, poor, blind and naked. So I know better than to pray that kind of prayer. But I wonder if I've not sometimes thought that in my heart. Lilliane's post http://ssnet.org/blog/2013/06/mirror-mirror/ reminds me that I'm not a good judge of my own condition.

      I need to pray the prayer of the publican, so that I may be "revived." God, be merciful to me, a sinner! But it's no good to say the words without the genuine consciousness of my need. So I'm praying for the Holy Spirit to make me aware of my true condition. I know He answers that prayer, because He's done it before. And whenever I lose my bearings, I know I need to go back to that place where I realize that there is nothing good in myself. Even all the "good" I have done has threads of self woven into it. To grow, as a living Christian does, I need to be sure to respond to the slightest whisper of the Spirit.

      Like many who will read this comment, my need is not for more knowledge, but for demonstrating in my life what I already know of the Good News of God. That means, among other things, that my life will demonstrate the principles of 1 Cor. 13.

      How will it look ten years down the road? I would think that ten years truly following the Spirit should make me a "loving and lovable Christian all of the time, rather than some of the time. :)

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    • Thank you Maurice! I was echoing the same thoughts in my head when I came across your post!
      What does revival look like today in 2013! I can't see "revival" revolving around self.

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  16. I can relate to Maurice's experience with diet, in part from personal account many years ago but because my 15-year son who, blessed of a blend Samoan and his wonderful European mother's genes, is 1.9m and was 137-kilos. He has been on a diet for the past 6months and shed 20kilos. Now, in order for him to keep it off, he is having to make changes to his lifestyle. Importantly, his choice because no amount of "chastening" from either his mother or I would make any difference. Now for sustained change of behaviour, remember his choice, he is gradually "getting it", cemented in his mind that unless he first makes the decision to change, nothing will and accordingly, he will suffer, health-wise, low self-esteem and ridicule from his friends. The parallel of my son's story (and similar to that made by Maurice) is revival inwardly is a choice and must come first before outward meaningful change can occur. Otherwise we are just an empty vessel making lots of noise without substance. The inward and outward change in my son's behaviour and demeanour since he made his choice and embraced what initially was just a "diet" to lose weight has turned out to be a meaningful change of lifestyle that he will carry with him through-out his life. He realises that for the change to be sustainable, he has to commit to and build on the experience, it cannot be a "flash in the pan". So it is with our spiritual relationship with Jesus, first being connected with Him and allowing the Holy Spirit to arrest our soul to do God's Will in order to be a meaningful vessel and contributor to winning souls for Jesus.

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    • That is a good question. I believe the youth of today are going to have a challenge finding that out. I would suggest 2 things: 1) Pray to God in Jesus' name that He will fill you(th) with His Holy Spirit. 2) Read Acts of the Apostles by E.G.White.

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  17. The importance of this lesson can be appreciated only if we realise that we are living in a world that confuses needs with wants. We are highly dedicated to work and strive for those things that we think we need but rightly understood those things are wants. It’s even interesting to note that even the bible places priorities even on our needs. Food is the basic of all the needs, yet Jesus says “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” All those things to be added are the basic needs that even Our Father in Heaven knows that we need. Revival and reformation can only come only if we realise that there are some needs that are more important than others. The same way we strive to put the food in our table should be the same energy, time, money etc dedicated into seeking this Kingdom first. Surely rival and reformation is the greatest amongst our needs

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  18. [Moderator note: Please use first and last name when commenting on this site. Thanks!]

    Thank you very much for the wonderful spiritual lessons which have come at the approrpiate time.The Lord is speaking to our Heart for a change and newness of spiritual walk with Him.Sr.Ellen G.White,put it straight,"Revival and Reformation are two different things...Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life,a quckening of the powers of mind and heart,a resurrection from spirtual death...Reformation signifies a reorganization,a change in ideas and theories,habits and practices...Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteouness unless it is connected with the revival of the spirit." LDE 189.1 & 1 SAM 127.3.
    In short,we need to walk the talk and talk the walk of the good news of Our Lord Jesus Christ.James(1:22-25) Put it clear ,"be doer of the word".Thank you

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