Discernment: The Safeguard of Revival

Scripture: Psalm 119:159-160
Date: 08/24/2013 
Lesson: 8
"In the context of revival, we need to ask, Is it possible that the devil can create a false religious excitement and leave the impression that a genuine revival has occurred?"
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church. We are so glad that you are tuning in. Whether this is your first time or you are a regular joining us every week from across the country and around the world, we're just so glad that you are part of our Sabbath school family here at Sacramento central. And we know that you love to sing these songs with us that we sing every week and today, of course, is no exception. We're going to keep singing your favorites.

We have a really good one - 'o, how I love Jesus' - #248. This is a request from alma in australia, ameidy in belize, Ruth in botswana, fernando in brazil, jason and jensie in California, jacqueline in Canada, maisie, karl, helen, denis, martine, and pascal in France, deon in guyana, molly in Iowa, donna in jamaica, jamie and jenny in North Carolina, Christa in Virginia, and chan in Washington. We're going to sing all three stanzas - 'o, how I love Jesus'. So those of you at home pull out your hymnals and sing with us. All three stanzas.

Thank you so much for sending in your favorites. And if you've never done it before, it's so simple. You just go to our website at 'saccentral.org' and click on the 'contact us' link and you can send in any of your favorite hymns and we will do our best to sing that for you sooner rather than later. Our next one, as we continue working our way through the hymnal learning all The Songs that we don't know, is #64 - 'lord dismiss us with thy blessing' - and this is a request from joyce in nairobi, kenya. So, I hope you're learning these songs with us.

I know many of you are enjoying it because we've been getting a lot of messages in lately saying, 'I'm loving learning these songs that I've never heard before.' We're liking it, right? Right? Okay. #64 - 'Lord dismiss us with thy blessing'. Father in Heaven, I pray that we will always be faithful to the truth that we have found. I pray that you'll be with us as we open up Your Word and we study together today. I pray you'll be with each one here in Sacramento central and our extended family around the world.

Be with each one. Thank you so much for pastor chris as he brings us the lesson study. May our hearts be open. May we have hearts ready to receive what you want to tell us today. In Jesus' Name, amen.

At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by pastor chris buttery. He is our - oh, let me get this right - our family life and evangelism pastor - that's right! Family life and evangelism pastor. I need to show up more often I guess. Figuring out who I am - I don't even know who I am sometimes. But if you can get it, doing good.

Good morning and happy Sabbath and good to see you. Glad to be here together studying God's Word and I want to yes, welcome you. Some of you have swum - swam a long way to be here today - Hawaii - some even further, from australia, but you, of course, flew no doubt, sure. Welcome and hopefully we can connect a little bit afterwards and anyone else - glad to make new acquaintances and make new friends. We especially want to - also want to welcome those who are viewing online or listening via radio and for those that are within North American territories, we have a special offer for you this morning.

It is entitled 'the Holy Spirit' by Pastor Doug Batchelor - our very own - and it's 'the holy spirit - the need' and it's offer #723 and you can call in to 1-866-study-more or -866-788-3966 to receive that special offer. The book deals with the holy spirit and it's a biblical commentary on the role of the Holy Spirit and the connection between The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit, so make sure you call in for that. We're going to dive right into our lesson this morning: lesson #8 - 'discernment: the safeguard of revival'. And our memory text is found in psalm #119, verses 159 and 160. Where the Bible says, "consider how I love your precepts; revive me, o lord, according to your lovingkindness.

The entirety of Your Word is truth, and every one of your righteous judgments endures forever." I was reading an article not too long ago, as a matter of fact, and the writer was quoting from a 1975 book written by george vanderman entitled 'sail your own seas'. In that book vanderman quoted c.s. Lewis - and I believe it was from the book 'screwtape letters' - and in this particular chapter of 'sail your own seas', fires - fire trucks and floods - vanderman cites lewis' reference to the demon called screwtape whose scheme was to 'get people running about with fire extinguishers whenever there is a flood.' Get people, in other words, to crowd, he says, 'to the side of the boat that is already nearly under. When people are Lukewarm and apathetic, get them stirred up about the dangers of enthusiasm and emotion. If they are lazy, talk to them about the hypocrisy of the working community.

If they are cruel, warn them against the evils of sentimentality. In other words,' he says, 'let them hear loudly and repeatedly the warnings they do not need.' Interesting. And I would suggest that the devil, of course, has many ways and means to get us diverted and talk about things that we do not need. But the Sabbath school lesson that we're studying here this quarter and all that we've been studying, but this one in particular, is certainly needed. The talk about revival and reformation is very much needed in Christian circles and especially the seventh day adventist church.

We are in need of revival, amen? Sure. The promise of revival is clear in the Bible. In Revelation 18 and verse 1 we see there the picture of that other angel coming down with great power and he lightens the earth with the glory of God. In the book 'Great Controversy' page 464, we're reminded before the final visitation of God's judgments upon the earth, "there will be among the people of God such a revival of primitive Godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. the Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon his children.

" It's a wonderful promise - it's an assurance that a great revival is brewing and is underway. And the purpose of that revival is so that it will thrust God's people to give the loud cry of the third angel's message in preparation for Jesus' soon return. Of course, there'll be opposition, and we've been talking a little bit about these things over the weeks, just by way of review. And, particularly today, we're going to talk about the opposition to the revival. You remember Matthew 24 - Jesus talks about the different signs that would appear - that we would witness and see prior to his soon return.

And the very first thing that Jesus mentions in Matthew 24 and verse 3 is he says, 'let no man' - do you remember what it says? 'Deceive you.' 'Let no man deceive you.' And he goes on to delineate that false Christs and false prophets will arise to deceive many and they'll show signs and wonders insomuch that they could deceive the very - if possible, they could deceive the very elect - and so there's opposition to the revival and the devil will produce counterfeits. As a matter of fact, continuing on in 'the Great Controversy' page 464, it says, "the enemy of souls desires to hinder this work and before the time for such a movement shall come, he will endeavor to prevent it" - how does he endeavor to prevent it? By introducing a counterfeit - "in those churches which he can bring under his deceptive power, he'll make it appear that God's special blessing is poured out, there'll be manifest what is thought to be a great religious interest. Multitudes will exalt that God is working marvelously for them when the work is that of another spirit. Under a religious guise, satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world." And so that's very clear - God is wanting to bring revival to his people and then the enemy is looking to bring a counterfeit to detour - derail people away from his truth and away from genuine Christian experience. What is revival? We've been talking about that over the last few weeks, but simply a neglect of - to follow God's Word leads to sin.

Sin produces death - eternal death. And the only hope that a sinner has lies in the death and in the life of Jesus Christ the redeemer of the world. As the guilty person - as a guilty person senses their lost condition, realizes his debt to God and comes to understand, to some extent, the amazing love of the Savior, he is led to confess his sins and to return to careful obedience to all of the Word of God through the power of divine grace. That's revival - a spiritual awakening that brings people to following and obeying the word of God in its entirety. I don't know where this is found - let me see here - this is 'review and herald' February 25, .

'Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death'. And then, 'reformation signifies a reorganization - a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring 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.' And so to understand the difference between the true revival that God wants to bring to each one of his followers and the false revival that the devil is seeking to bring - to counterfeit this true revival, we need what the Bible would term discernment. We need discernment.

We need discernment in many areas, particularly in this area. The oxford dictionary defines discernment as 'to perceive or to recognize; to distinguish; having good judgment or the ability to judge well.' The word 'discern' or 'discerns' or discerned' they're used about 28 times in the Bible and - in the King James version. Several Hebrew and Greek words are used to help us understand the entirety of the meaning of the word to discern or discernment. One Hebrew word is 'nakar' and it's used several times in Genesis 31 and 38 and Ezra 3. And it talks about the sense to scrutinize or to look intently at something as to become acquainted with it.

And then there's 'shama' which is another Hebrew word and that's used in 2 Samuel 14 and and 1 Kings 3, verse 11 and that - 1 Kings 3:11 is talking about king Solomon and his prayer to God that God would give him wisdom and discernment and God said, 'because you've not asked for wealth or fame or these other things, but because you've asked for discernment to judge between what is right and wrong, that I'm going to answer your prayer.' And so, that is the word 'shama', which expresses the idea of hearing intelligently. And then there's 'yada' - yada, which is used in Ezekiel 44:23. Turn there with me. You've got your Bibles - Ezekiel :23 and here the prophet is speaking about God's teachers - the priests, the leaders of his - spiritual leaders of his people and in Ezekiel 44:23 it says, "and they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean." The responsibility of the priests - the teachers - were to - was to put a difference between right and wrong, clean and unclean, good and bad, good and evil - and to help people to discern - and that word means 'to ascertain by seeing'. And then there's another - there's another Hebrew word and that is 'biyn' - in job 6:30 and Proverbs 7:7 - as 'to separate mentally or to distinguish'.

So there's various Hebrew words that are used to help us understand the word - the english word 'discern'. Of course, in the new testament, we've got - the word discern appears and shows up in several places. I have someone reading for us here this morning Corinthians 2:14. Who's got that for us and who'll be able to read that? Okay, right over here. Wonderful.

Thank you, heather. Fantastic. As we're getting lined up to read that - 1 Corinthians 2:14 - several other texts I want to take you to first. Luke 12:56 - you can write these down, we're just going to breeze through some of these. Luke 12:56 - Jesus is, in essence, rebuking the religious leaders of his day.

They could tell what kind of day it would be because the sun was rising and the wind was blowing - they could tell certain things by weather patterns. And he says in verse 56 of Luke 12, "hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?" They lacked discernment with regard to who Jesus was as the Messiah, you understand. Then in Hebrews 4, verse 12 we have these words, which are familiar, "for the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner" - that's right - "a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." It's interesting, that word 'discern' in the Greek is 'kritikos' from which we get the english word 'critique'. And so the Word of God critiques our very thoughts and motives and actions, you understand. And Hebrews 5:14 - it says, "but solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

" We could probably translate the last part of that verse to say, 'having the faculties trained to distinguish between good and evil' and so discernment - we're not born with discernment. We're not born with this ability to distinguish automatically between good and evil. There's a sense that something's not quite right, but to put your finger right on it, one's mind needs to be trained. And the mind is trained, of course, through the Word of God to distinguish between good and evil. Then, 1 Corinthians 12:10 - it's an interesting one - talking about the Spiritual gifts.

One of the Spiritual gifts is the discerning of spirits. "There is another to the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits" - or someone who can differentiate between divine and counterfeit inspiration. Someone - someone said to me one time that, you know, I can't really tell the difference between good and bad because I don't have that spiritual gift. The apostle Paul was not suggesting that in order to determine between right and wrong you needed a spiritual gift in order to do that. As a Christian, and as we're training our mind with the word of God, our mind is trained to discern.

Anyone can discern. God has asked us all to discern. This spiritual gift seems - this gift is a spiritual gift that seems to - a person can grab ahold of something perhaps a little quicker maybe, or see the far-reaching results of a decision - decisions that are sought to be made and that type of thing. The wisdom of God - the wisdom of God is given to us to discern from His Word. One doesn't need the Spiritual gift to discern but there is a spiritual gift - discerning of spirits - differentiating between divine and counterfeit inspiration.

Okay, 1 Corinthians 2:14 - we're finally there. 1 Corinthians 2:14, "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." Okay. So the wisdom of God is understood only by those who permit themselves to be taught by the Holy Spirit. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, you understand. Somebody's - it's going to be hard for a person that is unconverted - unregenerate by the Holy Spirit - to discern between God's ideal and what isn't his ideal.

When the mind is revived - when there's a revitalization of the faculties - when there's - when we're born again it becomes easier to understand and discern between the clean and the unclean, the good and the bad. So discernment in the Scriptures is a skill that enables us to differentiate. It's the ability to see issues clearly and I would submit that we desperately need to cultivate this spiritual skill that will enable us to know the difference between right and wrong. We must be prepared to distinguish between light and darkness, between truth and error, from best and better, between righteousness and unrighteousness, from purity and defilement and principles from pragmatics. We'll talk a little bit more about that in a little bit.

How do we gain discernment? I mentioned it before - in the book 'child guidance' page 484 - we're told the connection with the source of wisdom will give light and the power of discernment between right and wrong. Those so endowed will become morally and intellectually strong and will have clearer views and better judgment even in temporal affairs. Now that's pretty good news, isn't it? As we - as we become better acquainted with God's Word and understand the difference between right and wrong, we're going to be able to see issues clearly and our discernment will even be better in temporal affairs. That's good news - some of us could do with some of that occasionally. But the enemy is seeking to becloud discernment of God's people and weaken - by doing so - weaken their efficiency.

I'm reading - that's from 'councils to the church' page 357. How does the devil seek to becloud our discernment? Make what is black and white gray. How does he seek to do that? There are different things and I've kind of collaborated these as I went through some of the books of Ellen white and she says 'the end of their pleasure-loving ruin - life is ruined for the world and the world to come.' And she's talking about how discernment is watered down when the appetite - insatiable appetite for amusement is not suppressed, is not controlled. So there's excessive entertainment that can becloud the discernment. Speaking of Noah's day she says, 'in proportion as the people resisted conviction, their discernment was clouded and their desire to follow a course of unGodliness strengthened.

' And so, when a person puts away conviction, discernment becomes clouded and it becomes much more difficult to see the difference between right and wrong. Also, 'anything that lessens physical strength, enfeebles the mind, makes it less capable of discriminating between right and wrong.' So anything that weakens the physical body enfeebles the mind and makes us less capable of discriminating between right and wrong. We've become less capable of choosing the good and have less strength of will to do that which we know is right. Interesting. So what are the Spiritual indicators of genuine revival? That's the question that the lesson author put.

What are the Spiritual indicators of genuine revival? What are the signs of false revival? What does God's Word say? How can we differentiate? How can we see the differences clearly? We are on Sunday's lesson, 'God's will and His Word.' That was a big preamble, I know, but we're going to breeze through some of these pointers here. Alright, so all true revival is based on knowing God and knowing his will, amen? Now, simply put, in John 17:13 - and we can turn there - John 17:13. We'll use these texts as our foundation for our study here this morning. John 17:3, rather - John 17:3 - this is Jesus' prayer toward the end of his ministry - the closing scenes of his ministry. John 17:3 - Jesus prays, "and this is eternal life, that they may" - what? - "Know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

" Okay, Psalms 40, verse 8 - notice what it says. It says, "I delight to do your will, o my God, and your law is within my heart." And so the basis of spiritual revival is knowing God and doing his will. Jesus said that's life eternal - that is to know God The Father and Jesus Christ, whom he sent. And the Spirit - the attitude of a follower of God is that they delight to do God's will. Why? Because God's law is written on our hearts, you understand.

Experience - experience over doing God's will is not a sign of genuine revival. When a person desires their - desires more experience - their focus is on experience over doing the will of God, you can be pretty sure that you're not looking at, witnessing genuine revival. The Holy Spirit never goes against God's Word. It leads us to God's Word and to obey God's Word. I was having a discussion with a lady - when I was in college I was involved in selling Christian books and you meet lots of different people when you're knocking on doors and it's a fun thing visiting with people.

I remember we were doing - we were working in businesses and we'd come in as students and share our material with those that had a little bit of time and were willing to entertain us. And I ended up in a little Bible study with a lady and it was a wonderful experience and - a genuine Christian lady - and we were talking about the Christian life and the subject of the law of God came up - doing God's will - and we talked about the law and certain things and she struggled and wrestled with one or two issues when it came to the law of God and when she was confronted with the law of God's claims - God's claims on her life - she said to me, 'you know what? What I'm going to do is I'm going to go back and I'm going to pray and if the Holy Spirit tells me that I need to keep these things then I'm glad to do so.' And I thought to myself - I left there and I thought to myself, 'that's kind of odd. God already told - the holy spirit already told her.' When we opened up the Bible, he spoke, right there. And I had the privilege of going back to connect with her and see how she was doing and what she was thinking and how God was leading her and she basically told me that if she were to do those things in the law of God it would make her feel uncomfortable. It made her feel kind of - she didn't feel right.

And so, therefore, determined, based upon her feelings, that it wasn't necessary to do. And this is what we're referring to here with regards to experience. When experience trumps the word of God - when one is looking for some type of an emotional high above doing a plain 'thus sayeth the Lord' - not true revival. True revival is seen in a person's life that is willing to do God's will and willing to follow his plan for their lives, you understand. And this kind of thinking is prevalent within Christianity and, unfortunately, creeping even to our church.

'If it doesn't feel right - if it makes me feel uncomfortable then it mustn't be of God.' Hang on a second, if we have a 'thus sayeth the Lord' and God says 'this is what I want you to do and it's for your best interest and it's for your good' then isn't it something we ought to do? If it makes me feel good or not, God's not interested in necessarily how I feel, he wants me saved. And so, we just follow the word of God not based upon how we feel. We need to measure our experience by the Word of God. Ours is a walk of faith not a walk of what friends? Feeling - it's not a walk of feeling. And that's good news.

That's very good news because my experience - then my experience is not determined by the feelings I have at one point in the day and the feelings I have at another point in the day. You know, it'd be like being on an emotional roller coaster ride. I'm spiritually high - I'm not feeling like Jesus is near me right now. I'm not feeling forgiven. And then I'm forgiven and I'm saved and I have the Holy Spirit - and then it's up and down.

Based on my feelings I couldn't determine whether I'm truly living the Christian life or not. That is why we live by faith. We live by the faith in the promises and assurances of God's Word. If I've asked Jesus to be near me in my life, I've given him my life, turned over my heart - or at least said to him, 'take my heart because I can't even give it. But take my heart' - and he has it and I'm walking with him, it doesn't matter how I feel.

Based on the promises and assurances of God's Word, I can know Jesus is with me. People struggle with this when it comes to forgiveness. 'I just don't feel forgiven, pastor.' Well, if you've confessed your sins and forsaken them, the Bible says, 'he is faithful and just to forgive you.' You don't need to feel forgiven, you just need to know that you are. And so, we walk by faith and not by feeling. I need to stick with my notes because I'll just take off here.

Alright, so it's good news. It's good news that we don't have to judge our spiritual experience by how we feel at any given time of the day. We have rough days. We have emotions up and down but we can have a steady walk with God when we walk by faith in his word. Let's jump over to psalm 119 real quick.

We're going to look at several verses. Psalm 119 - whoa, time is flying - psalm 119 - and we're going to look at several verses. This was in your lesson - these verses were encouraged to look at and I want to go through these here with you. Let's look at what the Bible brings. This is what we're doing here, we're looking at what the Bible brings to the Christian's life.

Looking at verse - we're going to jump over several verses - verse 25 to begin with - the Bible says, "my soul clings to the dust;" - in other words, 'I'm deeply mournful. I'm deeply sorrow - I'm in deep sorrow' - "my soul clings to dust; revive me according to Your Word." So what does God's Word bring to us according to this verse? Revival. But in this sense, his soul clings to dust - he's sorrowful - so what does the Bible bring us? Joy. It brings us joy, you see. Psalm - look at verse 28 - "my soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to your word.

" So what does the Bible bring? Strength or healing, sure. Verse 49, "remember the word to your servant, upon which you have caused me to hope." So the Bible brings to us what, friends? Hope - hope in God's salvation and his presence and his encouragement. Look at verse 50, "this is my comfort in my affliction, for Your Word has given me life." So what does God's Word bring? Life and comfort, you understand. Verse 67, "before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your Word." So what does God's Word bring? TRuth. God's Word brings truth - not someone's opinion - but God's word brings truth.

Verse 81, "my soul faints for your salvation, but I hope in Your Word." And so what does God's Word bring there? Hope or assurance - genuine assurance in salvation. Verse , "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." The Word of God brings direction or guidance, right. Psalm 119:116, "uphold me according to Your Word, that I may live; and do not let me be ashamed of my hope." So God's word brings conviction - it brings purpose to our lives. Verse 130, "the entrance of your words gives light; it gives understanding" - here's a good promise - I like this promise - "it gives understanding to the simple." God's Word helps me out and I'm sure it's helped you out. It brings wisdom and it brings discernment.

God's Word does those things and verse 154, "plead my cause and redeem me; revive me according to Your Word." And so God's Word brings life or revival - power - you understand, for a new life. Now jumping over to 'the great controversy' again, page 464 - it says, "in many of the revivals which have occurred during the last half century" - and this would be going back to the late 19th century - "the same influences have been at work to a greater or less degree that will be manifest in the more extensive movements of the future." So what was seen in the past is going to be manifested to greater extent here in the future - in these final days. Listen to this - she says, "there is an emotional excitement - a mingling of the true with the false that is well adapted to mislead. Yet none need be deceived. In the light of God's Word it is not difficult to determine the nature of these movements.

Wherever men neglect the testimony of the Bible, turning away from those plain, soul-testing truths, which require self-denial and renunciation of the world, there may be sure that God's blessing is not bestowed. And, by the rule which Christ himself has given, 'ye shall know them by their fruits.' It is evident that these movements are not the work of the Spirit of God." So where you have emotional excitement, mingling of true with the false and folk are not willing to live a life of self-denial and renounce - self-renunciation of the world, you can be sure that God's blessing is not bestowed. Very clear, isn't it? Emotional excitement reminds me of something that I read recently. I'm going to - I'm going to launch out into the deep here real quickly and I hope you'll join me. Some of you may be familiar with the book 'a time of departing' by author ray yungen, and he writes this about today, 'people are seeking spiritual experiences that leave behind the humdrum of dry intellectualism and stale institutionalism.

These seekers are quick to jump on a bandwagon that promises spiritual refreshment and innovation. He's talking about a couple of attitudes that are evident here in our day - what we experience and what we see around us. And what is leading people to embrace a false spirituality. So there are people who are tired of the humdrum dry intellectualism - institutionalism - they're seeking for something refreshing and innovative. Secondly, he says 'people in the past generations put up with life's frustrations whereas today we see an inclination to seek out seemingly sure-fire approaches that promise clear-cut results.

' Where do you find those? If you go to bookstores today you just go to that self-help section and you've got tons and tons of books that teach you how to improve yourself and how to improve your life. Very little of it - if any of it - is centered on God's ability to help you and our great need of him, but this is - this is the world we live in where, you know, we don't put up with frustrations anymore, we just - we're looking for a quick solution, you know, a fast problem solver, you see. 'Our own era,' he goes on to say, 'has nurtured a strong reliance on pragmatism. No longer is truth determined by what God has said to be true, but rather by what works, what's practical. The question that drives many to determine truth is, 'will it make me feel good about myself?' However,' he says, 'for the Christian, we're not to live by what feels good, but rather by what is good.

' We must stand by the apostle Paul's caution in Thessalonians , verse 21, "test all things; hold fast that which is good." So ray yungen is concerned with the infiltration of the new-age movement or metaphysics - that is commonly known today as metaphysics interconservative Christianity. According to the movement, this is the age in which we're all supposed to realize that man is God or God is within and bring us - bring this recognition to a meaningful reality. This is what new age teaches - metaphysics teaches. In the book, 'mission of mysticism' page 6, an occultist said - and occult - the word occult just simply means 'hidden' - hidden or mysterious. Occultism is defined as the science of mystical evolution.

It is the employment of the hidden (occult) mystical faculties of man to discern the hidden reality of nature. That is, to see God as the all-in-all. How is this achieved? He explains it in his book and he's done a lot of great research and I encourage you to look at it because I'm just skimming over the surface - through what is termed 'the silence' - through what is termed 'the silence' or through certain meditation practices. Whereas the Bible encourages thoughtful meditation, this type of meditation encourages you to empty your head and that's not a good thing. This altered state - it's an altered state of consciousness that's achieved through two things - breathing exercises, where the attention is focused on the breath and mantras - a repeated word or phrase.

That's how you achieve this altered state. The basic process is to focus and maintain concentration without thinking about what you're focusing on. That sounds convoluted, I know, but that's what the idea is. That's what the idea is - you're supposed to be - maintain concentration without thinking on the thing that you're focusing on. But repetition on a focused object is what triggers a blank mind.

It's an altered state. This is more than pantheism or monotheism, which says 'all is God' - this is panantheism, he suggests, that God is in all things. God is both a personality, an all-encompassing substance as opposed to God being impersonal. God is in everything and everything is in God. The only difference between pantheism and panantheism is how God is in everything.

And so, we're dealing with - it's a very interesting thing he suggests - ray yungen asserts that these practices are being embraced by what has become known as 'the yoga of the west'. Christians embracing eastern mysticism. The emergent church phenomenon - some of you may have heard of the emergent church - a movement that teaches people how to experience God - adopts this 'the silence'. And you may have heard of words like 'contemplative prayer' or 'centering prayer'. In essence, the same metaphysical components of meditation - of the new age movement - is included in Christian prayer: breathing exercises and mantras.

But instead of saying a certain secular word you would say words like 'Jesus' or 'love' or something that's biblical, for example. Mr. Yungen sees that eastern mysticism came from india to alexandria to the desert fathers to a fellow by the name of thomas merton and contemporaries - and you may have heard of these individuals - richard foster and brennan manning. Brennan manning, in his book 'the signature of Jesus' which is relatively new, teaches how to suspend your thought. This is a Christian pastor - teacher.

He says, 'the first step in faith is to stop thinking about God.' Now, when someone says that you know you're in trouble. 'The first step in faith is to stop thinking about God at the time of prayer.' He goes on to say, 'contemplative spirituality tends to emphasize the need for change in consciousness. We must come to see reality differently. Choose a single, sacred word, repeat the sacred word inwardly, slowly and often.' Did you know that even rick warren in his book 'purpose driven life' encourages 'the silence'? He doesn't call it that but he encourages this - this mantra-like type of contemplative prayer. So anyway, I mean, I'm just scratching the surface, but if you haven't read this book, you've got to read it.

And there are - there's a couple of other books that you probably want to get your hands on: 'the omega apostasy' - I don't remember who wrote that - off the top of my head, but it's written by an adventist - a pastor - and he talks about the - how this resurgence of eastern mysticism, under the new-age guise of metaphysics, is creeping into the adventist church and could possibly signify the omega of apostasy that Ellen white warned us about that has its - had its beginnings with pantheism in the days of the early church and John harvey kellogg. Interesting, but the focus here is on the experience and everything you read from these authors has little to do about obeying God's Word. It's all about the experience. And we're in a day and age where that's what people want is an experience. And even if it's with God - it sounds good, but what does that mean? 'I want an experience with God.

I want a relationship with God'? I have a relationship with the irs and it's a good relationship, but I don't often like them. Maybe they don't like me at times. We have a relationship. I have a relationship with - we have relationships with individuals - maybe we would even class them an enemy - that's a relationship. But when we say we want a relationship with God, what are we talking about? We have to be careful what we're referring to here.

A relationship with God - we're talking about a saving relationship with God, right? A saving relationship with God. A relationship that leads us to obedience, leads us to doing God's will - not my own will and not my own way. Well, I tell you what, I got stuck on that one big time, but Monday - let's jump over to Monday, 'God's love and his law'. We talked a little bit about God's law and the idea of revival. By the way, where there is the discovery of God's will as revealed in His Word, there is seen true revival.

And when we look at the life of Jesus - look at the life of Jesus. That's the experience of a truly reformed life. He was driven by the Holy Spirit and so when we talk about revival, think Jesus - think his life - and that's what the Bible produces, you see. Alright, 'God's love and his law'. I have a verse - 1 John 4:7, 8 - who's got that? Okay, stacy's got that.

Fantastic. We're going to be over in 1 John so let's go over there. John chapter 2, we're going to start here. I don't know if you're aware but back in 1856, and I have to share this pretty quickly, in 1856, October 9, in the 'review and herald' James white challenged the prevailing view of then Sabbath-keeping adventists that believed that the church - their church - was the church of philadelphia. You know when you look at the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3? Of course they were literal churches experiencing those real issues in their churches whether good or bad, but they also represent the periods of Christian history throughout time, from the days of the apostles to the end of time.

And early Sabbath-keeping adventists believed that their experience represented the church of philadelphia. James white challenged that thinking and suggested that perhaps we were, instead, the church of laodicea. From November 1856 through 1857, items appeared in the 'review and herald' talking about the laodicean message. It's the message to the church that thinks it's got its act together but Jesus is on the outside knocking on the door trying to get in, you see. And in any case, over a period of months - people had embraced the message for a good year, but over a period of months people's memory faded - the message faded as well.

In the book volumes - 'testimonies to the church volume 1' pages 158 to 184, Ellen white describes the plan of the revival was to culminate in the second coming of Jesus but it didn't. Pages 185 to 195 - 185 to 195 - she delineates the decline. What does she say? She says, 'as the powerful work accomplished - it failed - the messaged failed to accomplish the powerful work in a short time and many lost the effect of the message.' So because it didn't bring about the desired results in a short time, people just kind of got lethargic and the message just rolled off. Why? 'Because of the hardness of their hearts' - these are things that she said - 'because they were moved from feeling, not from principle and faith, because they were found - they found the message struck directly at some cherished idol, because they were not willing to closely examine themselves, because their pride, their love to follow the fashions of the world, their vain and empty conversations, and because of their selfishness.' Basically, the revival failed back then because the accompanying reformation required more than they were willing to give. And revival will fail every time when we really recognize - truly recognize what reformation is required of the life - what God expects from us, by his grace, of course.

And oftentimes people are confronted with that - Jesus - the disciples were confronted with that. Jesus had talked about the fact that His Word was - His Word was spirit and life and people, in order to embrace that, it was going to require a life of sacrifice and challenge at times. We're told in John chapter 6, the author John records that many left Jesus that day never to follow him again. It was a sad day and he turned to his disciples and he said, 'will you go away as well?' And they said - Peter said - first to speak, of course - 'where would we go, lord? Where would we go? I mean, you're the one who has the words of eternal life.' But sometimes when people are confronted with what Christianity really means, they leave as fast as they come in. It requires self-denial, renunciation of the world, removal of sin from the life.

And this is what happened in s - our church wasn't organized at that time, but with the early pioneers they - the message - they just couldn't make the changes that the message required, you understand. Listen to this quote, 'great controversy' page 478, "it is only as the law of God is restored to its rightful position that there can be a revival of primitive faith and Godliness among his professed people." So the law of God needs to be exalted and elevated to its rightful position before a revival of a primitive faith and Godliness is witnessed among God's people. So the answer to our dilemma lies in the restoration of the law of God to its rightful position. That's why we may not be seeing revival like we wish we were. The law of God is not where it should be.

Not as a means of salvation, because the law of God is powerless to save, amen? It cannot save us but, as a measure of the efficacy of the grace of Christ in the life, if we find ourselves falling short of the standard in our lives from time to time, it may be because we've neglected to appropriate the grace of Jesus Christ. So 1 John 2:3 and 6, let's read this together and then we've got John 4:7 and 8. Notice what it says, "now by this we know that we know him," - what is eternal life? What did Jesus say? 'This is life eternal that they might know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou sent.' "Now by this we know that we know him if we" - do what? - "Keep his commandments. He who says, 'I know him,' and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His Word, truly the love of God is perfected in him.

By this we know that we are in him. He who says he abides in him ought himself also to walk just as he walked." Okay, we'll come over to 1 John :7 and 8. "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love." So genuine revival results in a changed life, correct? The heart of revival is not a warm sensation of feeling with Jesus, it is a transformed life filled with the joy of serving Jesus, is what our author says in the quarterly. So genuine revival is the result of changed life.

Alright, Tuesday, 'formalism, fanaticism, and faith'. Two challenges to revival, of course we understand what they are, breaking through dead formalism and avoiding emotional fanaticism. Those are two ditches we need to avoid in our Christian walk. Formal religion focuses on externals - focuses on all the correct behavior and that's where the focus lies, primarily. Fanaticism goes to extremes and perhaps focuses on one aspect of the Christian life.

Christian life is one of balance and our message is balanced. When we think about Jesus - someone could ask the question, 'what's more important, Jesus' death or his resurrection?' Which one is it? Well that's right. Boy, you guys are intelligent, I'm telling you. You could come up here definitely. Both.

Which is more important, the heart or the brain? I mean, they're both very vital. What's more important, Jesus' birth or his high priestly ministry in heaven? Both. What's more important, Jesus life or Jesus' ascension? They're both as important as each other. Our gospel we present must be well rounded. Everything is vital to our salvation.

Jesus' birth, Jesus' life, Jesus' death, Jesus' resurrection, Jesus' ascension, Jesus' high priestly ministry, Jesus is coming back. All of that is a complete - presented - all of that presented should be - should be presented as a complete gospel - not a half gospel, not a partial gospel. So this is the challenge. Jesus had to deal with that challenge in his day with the pharisees and the sadducees. Pharisees were dead formalists.

He said, 'you know, you look good on the outside but you're full of dead men's bones. You clean the cup on the outside but it's filthy on the inside.' And so Jesus had to deal with the challenges of a people whose lips praised him but their hearts were far from him, you understand. I gave Ephesians 4:14 to somebody. We'll have someone read that. Michael, thank you very much.

Ephesians 4:14 and this is God's desire for his people. The sadducees, in Jesus' day, didn't believe in miracles, the resurrection, for example. Their religion, primarily, was based on emotionalism and so Jesus had to deal with these two extremes in his ministry. Ephesians 4 and verse 14. Ephesians 4:14, "that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.

" So God's desire for each one of us is that we would no longer be flip-flopping Christians - that we would be steady - that we would have an even keel, so to speak, in our Christian experience. I'm going to close here with a quote that I found. It's in the devotional book 'this day with God' and it answers the question, 'how can we find true balance in our experience with Jesus?' Here it is: 'we are forming characters for heaven. No character can be complete without trial and suffering. We must be tested.

We must be tried. Christ bore the test of character on our behalf that we might bear this test in our own behalf through the divine strength he has brought to us. Christ is our example in patience, in forbearance, in meekness, in lowliness of mind. He was at variance and at war with the whole unGodly world yet he did not give way to passion and violence manifested in words and actions, although receiving shameful abuse in return for good works. He was afflicted.

He was rejected and spitefully treated, yet he retaliated not. He possessed self-control, dignity and majesty. He suffered with calmness and for abuse gave only compassioned pity and love. Imitate your redeemer in these things. Do not get excited when things go wrong.

Do not let self rise and lose your self-control because you fancy things are not as they should be. Because others are wrong is no excuse for you to do wrong. Two wrongs will not make one right. You have victories to gain in order to overcome as Christ overcame. Christ never murmured, never uttered discontent, displeasure or resentment.

He was never disheartened, discouraged, rough or fretted. He was patient, calm, and self- possessed under the most exciting and trying circumstances. All his works were performed with a quiet dignity and ease whatever commotion was around him. Applause did not elate him. He feared not the threats of his enemies, he moved amid the world of excitement, of violence and crime as the sun moves among the clouds.

Human passions and commotions and trials were beneath him. He sailed, like the sun, above them all yet he was not indifferent to the woes of men. His heart was ever-touched with the sufferings and necessities of his brethren and, as though he himself was the one afflicted. He had a calm, inward joy - a peace which was serene. His will was ever swallowed up in the will of his father, 'not my will but thine be done' was heard from his pale, quivering lips.

' Talk about an even-keeled experience. Isn't that the experience we want? So as we close here today, remember that true revival is all about knowing God and doing his will, obeying His Word, keeping an even keel, focusing on ministry and not necessarily miracles and experiencing the fruit of the Spirit of God in our lives. This is evidence of a true revival. We also, as we close, want to remind our viewers and listeners to call in for the special offer - free offer - 'Holy Spirit the need' - offer #723. You can call 1-866-study-more or -866-788-3966 to receive this special offer.

God bless you today and always as we seek to live a life that is even keeled, a life of revival and reformation in the Spirit of the Lord, amen.

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