Reformation: The Outgrowth of Revival

Reformation: The Outgrowth of Revival

Scripture: Hebrews 2:11
Date: 08/31/2013  Lesson: 9
"Revival is an ongoing process. ... True spiritual renewal leads to a change in our thought patterns, habits, and lifestyle; it's what we call a 'reformation.'"

Twelve Steps to Revival (PB) by Doug Batchelor

Twelve Steps to Revival (PB) by Doug Batchelor
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Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church here in Sacramento,California. We're so glad that you are tuning in and we look forward to opening up God's Word and studying together today. Of course, before we do that, our extended family around the world - whether you're listening on radio, watching live on our website at 'saccentral.org' or on the various television networks - many of you have sent in song requests, so we always start our program singing your favorites. Today we're going to be singing 'what heavenly music'. I love this song.

Ever since - well, I was a teenager, I think, when I found this song. It has beautiful harmony so everybody here, if you hear the harmony in your head, or you can read the music - those of you at home - I want to hear a full choir this morning. And there's enough of you to hear all four parts. Let's sing together 'what heavenly music' - #452 - and we had a lot of requests for this so I'm just going pick a few of you. Lovelyn, nathan, and joe in australia, diamond in Hawaii, beatrice in the republic of korea, arlene, daryl, and rhyza in south korea and faye in the united kingdom, and many more of you.

Thank you so much for sending in your requests. And we're going to sing all three stanzas - 'what heavenly music'. What heavenly music. I'm looking forward to the day when we can truly hear heavenly music. If you have a favorite song that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program, it's very simple.

You just go on the computer, go to 'saccentral.org', click on the 'contact us' link and you can send in your favorite hymn and we'll do our best to sing that for you as soon as possible. And, hey, don't forget - it's not too soon to start sending in your Christmas requests, like silent night - because we will actually be singing those sooner than we realize. It's coming up pretty quickly. Our next song - 'God be with you' till we meet again is #65 and this is a beautiful song. As we're working our way through the hymnal it's probably not one of the really new ones to most of you because I think it has been sung for a very long time and more on a regular basis, but it is a beautiful song and it is the next one as we're working our way through the hymnal.

'God be with you' till we meet again. You know, being a missionary - in this day and age we have short-term mission trips so you don't have to give up your home and your friends to go and be a missionary for a couple of weeks. And it's great because it's - it's a good wake-up call for when you come back to your home that you realize how blessed you really are and how much you can do even in your own neighborhood. But let's say - fifty years ago - a hundred years ago - to be a missionary, they were sending missionaries around the world on boats and when you went to be a missionary it wasn't for a couple of weeks. You dedicated your life to this and you didn't have the assurance that it was just a couple weeks.

You may never come back. You may be giving your life going off to an unreached continent - country. It was a sacrifice. It was taken very seriously and we have a lot to learn from those that have gone before us - in the dedication that they have and being willing to give everything. And this is one of those songs that I'm sure was sung many times - as farewells were said, as people were leaving for who knows? 'God be with you' till we meet again - beautiful song.

We're going to sing the first, second and fourth stanzas. It's a request from anna marie in Arizona, hylda in Canada, leo and dorothy in Michigan, howard and diane in Mississippi, and pastor jorge, sue Ellen, josh and Sarah in North Carolina. First, second and fourth stanzas. Beautiful. Thank you so much for sending in your requests.

At this time let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to be here today, to worship you, and for the inspiration of those that have given everything to serve you - that have left their homes, their friends, their countries - and have gone around the world to spread your love. And I pray that their sacrifices will not have been in vain. And we know that the work that many started hundreds of years ago - fifty years ago - have borne a huge fruit already and I just pray that you would continue to bless their efforts and how they've touched our lives and may we always be willing to go where you would like us and you've asked us to go. Be with us as we open up your word and we study together.

I pray that you'll be with our speaker and each person that can hear my voice. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by pastor mike thompson. He is our health and visitation pastor here at central church. Thank you very much debbie and the choristers this morning.

Happy Sabbath everybody. It's good to see you all. We have a special offer which I will do first. I shouldn't say 'do' but I will offer to you first. It's on the screen there.

Our free offer is 'determining the will of God' and this is offer #778. If you call the number -788-3966 then Amazing Facts will send it to you free. So it's 'determining the will of God' and it's written by our own dear Pastor Doug Batchelor. In this book, Pastor Doug deals with some of the principles that God uses and the principles that we need to know and employ by faith to ask God to guide us in our lives because there's like a weather vane here and the wind can blow in any direction. But we're not to be Christians like weather vanes, are we? We're supposed to go where God says and if the wind blows that way we go this way.

So this'll be a very valuable book for those of you who want to understand more about determining the will of God. So 1-866-788-3966 or -866-study-more. Okay, we're on lesson #9 this week, pursuing our theme on 'revival and reformation' and this week it's called 'reformation: the outgrowth of revival'. I'd like to read the first paragraph as it reads here in the lesson. It tells us - this is on Sabbath's page - Sabbath afternoon.

"Revival is an ongoing process. Daily our lord invites us into the joy of his presence. Just as Israel was nourished by the manna that fell from heaven, Jesus spreads out a spiritual banquet for us everyday. Our souls are nourished, our spirits refreshed, and our hearts revived as we kneel quietly before his throne, meditating upon His Word. True spiritual renewal leads to a change in our thought patterns, habits and lifestyle.

" It's what we call a reformation and reformation comes from the term, as you know, reform. God changes your shape, spiritually - changes the character and so forth. But I'd like to take a little bit of license today, if you don't mind, and I'm sure you don't mind but the author of this lesson might mind. They are excEllent lessons, but I'd like to take a little bit of license and change the title from 'reformation: the outgrowth of revival' to 'reformation: the outgrowth of the new birth' or 'reformation: the outgrowth of conversion' because that's really what we're looking at today, in fact, all the way through these lessons. Because as revival needs to take place every day in our lives, conversion needs to take place.

We're actually dealing with synonymous things as it so happens, I believe. And so, we have to have conversion first before we can have a reformation. Would you agree with that? Otherwise, what are you doing? Are you picking up a good old mallet and the sharpest chisel you can find and you've got to fashion out a new heart from a lump of rock or granite that's inside - not literally inside your chest, but we speak of the human heart. It's like a rock. But, you know, that's how people try to reform themselves.

They pick up, as it were, this hammer and this chisel and they start chiseling away and, boy, it's hard work. It's not very joyful work and it's a work that's never completed. It's a path to failure. So, to move on here, I'm also going to go to the lesson and read something again just to get us started. I'm actually going to Thursday's section because - no Friday - Friday's section because there is a statement here at the top of the page that I want to read which, again, I know it's kind of reinforcing it.

I'm repeating some things here, but I like the way it's put here. This is from the 'advent review and Sabbath herald' February 25, 1902. The writer says, "a revival and 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" - it's a new birth, right? - "A revival of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death.

Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits, and practices." - This is what we call sanctification. Where was i? - "Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit." - Revival comes first, new birth, then reformation. - "Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work and in doing this work they must blend." They must, indeed, blend together. Okay, so let's - I want to start in Sunday and I just have to admit we won't get to the end of the lesson so I read that little bit first so I can say I read something off the last page. We won't - it's just so rich - it's just so full.

It says, again, 'the prophets' - Sunday's section - 'the prophets appeal for reformation'. And, again, I want to take some license here, if I may. These are wonderful lessons but I just want to juggle some things around. I want to change this title as well - Sunday's section - not from the prophet's appeal for reformation but the King's appeal for reformation - specifically king jehoshaphat. But you get down line in a few moments, we'll see that jehoshaphat and the subjects of his kingdom were faced with this great challenge.

There was an invasion pending from the ammonites and moabites. But let's see what happened first in chapter 19. I want to go to 2 Chronicles chapter 19, and I would like somebody to please read - where are we? - Verse 4. Chronicles 19 and verse 4, yes please. And Michael, I can hear you talking here so you're up.

2 Chronicles 19, verse 4, "so jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem; and he went out again among the people from beersheba to the mountains of ephraim, and brought them back to the Lord God of their fathers." Yeah. Thank you very much. So this is in the same year. The events of chapter 19 are in the same year as the events of chapter 20. You see here, jehoshaphat, he wasn't perfect.

God gives him a little bit of a dressing down at the beginning of the chapter, but nonetheless, he was compared to a lot who have been before and after. He was a good king. And he had a burden on his heart to see a revival and reformation in his kingdom. And so, this is actually what he aimed for and by the grace of God this is what he did. It said, 'he brought them back unto the Lord God of their fathers.

' And verse 9 he tells them, "wherefore now let the fear of the Lord be upon you; take heed and do it." - So he brings them back first - "for there is no iniquity" - sorry - yeah - "for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, no respect to persons, nor taking of gifts." That was verse 7. Now verse 9, "and he charged them saying, thus shall ye do in the fear of the Lord faithfully and with a perfect heart." So we would assume God blessed his efforts and he brought the people back to the Lord and they followed God not out of mechanical legalism but with a perfect heart. They sought God with all their hearts and that's how it has to be. You don't show God that you're seeking him by so much doing things. Of course, there's a place for doing things, but God is not fooled by performance - outward performance, God looks right at the heart and he can see exactly what's going on inside.

And so, we need to follow him and seek him with a perfect heart if we ever want revival and reformation. And this is what jehoshaphat was getting the people to do. Anyway, as we know - as we go into the beginning of chapter , verse 1 it says, "it came to pass after this also, that the children of moab, and the children of ammon, and with them other beside" - so they had some friends - "the ammonites, came against jehoshaphat to battle. Then there came some that told jehoshaphat saying, 'there cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side syria;" - and they said, 'you know, we're just really in a pickle. What are we going - what are we going to do?' Well, jehoshaphat called the people together.

It's a basic thing to do. He taught them previously how to seek the Lord with a perfect heart and he says, 'we need to seek God again with a perfect heart.' And that is what they did. And in verse 5 of 2 Chronicles it says, "and jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said, 'o lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? And rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? And in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? "I'd love to have been there, wouldn't you?' Then he continues in verse 7, "art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?' And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying," - and then in verse 9, it's interesting, we notice here that jehoshaphat actually refers back to the dedicatory prayer of Solomon when Solomon prayed that God would accept this building that had been built in honor of his name the day that the temple was dedicated. And if you look in verse 9, this is what jehoshaphat said and he was echoing the words of Solomon: "if, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction," - whatever the cause of that affliction - even enemies. And it mentions that in Chronicles chapter 6.

It says, "then thou wilt hear and help." So he prayed this prayer and, again, if you want to go, you can see that, actually in 1 Kings chapter 8 where Solomon prayed this very same thing and in 2 Chronicles 6. So he prayed this prayer and it says, "and all judah" - verse 13 in 2 Chronicles 20 - "and all judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, their wives, and their children." There they were, they were vastly outnumbered. They weren't a perfect people, but they had set their hearts to serve him. And now they were up against a Ruthless enemy and they came before the Lord with their little children - little kids - they're just standing there helpless. When I read this I kind of pictured myself coming into here with my little grandsons, just them and me and praying to the Lord because something is going to happen to us and you stand there feeling so helpless and you look at your little one - you look at their little curly heads and you think, 'they're looking to me to protect them.

If they only knew I'm just as much a little child as they are.' And it's in those moments - as you get older you see it more clearly - at least I do - you're just a child and you cry out to God, 'lord help us!' And the promise was - and I mentioned this in my previous sermon the other week - Jeremiah - he says, 'when you call upon me I will harken unto you.' And God harkened unto them and he heard their prayer. But you know what? And this is the point that we must not miss. I'd like to but I don't have time, but if you go back to the dedicatory prayer of Solomon when the temple was dedicated and finally that glory of God came down and filled the sanctuary, you'll find there were instances in there where Solomon clearly spelled out a certain precondition that the people had to comply with if they were to receive God's blessing and his protection. And that precondition was - and you'll find it - that they turn away from their sins - that they seek forgiveness for their sins. And jehoshaphat knew this and Solomon knew this, initially.

Finally he came back again to his senses. But jehoshaphat obviously knew that he and his people and their little ones could not stand there before God and claim the fulfillment of Solomon's request and now, making it their own request and asking God to deliver them from their enemies, if they'd not first come with a perfect heart. If they had not, as it says in chapter 19, verse 4, come back to God. If they hadn't done that and they'd come with sin still deliberately being committed in their lives with no desire to repent, this prayer, beautiful as it was and meaningful and heart touching as it was to see them standing with their little children, would not have been an act of faith but an act of presumption. And we must not miss this point, my friends, that we're also engaged in a warfare.

You don't need me to tell that. There are enemies without and the greatest enemy that I have - I'll speak for myself - is within. It's my own fallen flesh. My own sinful heart. That's worth ten thousand of the worst ruffians and vagabonds and throat cutters you can find out there is my own heart.

And you as well. Don't take offense at that, it's just a fact. If we ever want to have a real revival and a real reformation that only happens once and never has to happen every week or every year at a week of prayer. I mean the real thing - the real deal that happens once and takes us right through to the coming of Christ, we have got to follow these principles of seriously seeking God with all our hearts, asking him to give us the grace to repent, put our sins aside, and have him reform us, and then we shall see things happen. Whether it is the vanquishing of literal enemies, the vanquishing of sin from our own hearts, and the preparation of our hearts to receive the Holy Spirit and latter rain power and see.

You watch this message go like fire in the stubble around the world. Given by people who are not theologians - there'll be some - people who are not scholars, people who are not studied, people who don't even have geds. If you haven't got one, get it, it's useful in this world. But people, just ordinary people God will call from the plow, he will anoint them with the Spirit because their hearts are perfect towards him and he will use them to do a work which will make the angels and the unfallen universe marvel at what the grace of God can accomplish in human beings when they fall before him and say, 'lord, here we are. I'm all yours.

It's about time. Do what you need to do.' If we want - the thing in this story about jehoshaphat is, as they prayed this prayer, there was a message came - a message of hope and encouragement through who? Through certain men who had received the gift of the holy prophets. They were given the gift of prophecy and you see them listed there in - can't find it - I think it's 2 Chronicles 20, verse - oh you'll find it. I can't find it right now. But the message came through from these men who had been anointed by the Holy Spirit.

Verse 14 - you'll read it there. The people received the message of these prophets and what did that do? It gave them hope. And as they heeded the message to the prophets that God had placed in them - they're contemporary prophets - and as they followed through in faith God gave them the victory. God, himself, took care of their enemies. He said, 'you just wait.

You won't have to fight. I'll take care of the ammonites and the moabites. And that's exactly what he did. And applying this, again, to revival and reformation, the only way, as God's remnant church, we can have a revival and reformation is to live according to every word that's found in this and live according to the light that God has given us through the prophet. Need I speak any more simply? Ellen g.

White. That is a special test, I believe, for seventh day adventists and there's too many just tossing aside this - they consider her a little appendage from the 19th century - a sweet little grandmother. She was a prophet of God. Make no bones about that. Have no doubt about it.

That frail little woman was a prophet of God and God has given us light through the pen of Ellen g. White, which we are to follow just as much as tHis Word. And when you toss those writings out - expect revival and reformation? Forget it. You'll have some counterfeit. Some little firecracker display - pfft pfft pfft pfft - and it's gone.

No, you need to heed the word given through the prophet of God and that's why I conclude this section with what it does - what does it tell us in 2 Chronicles ? Was the word - verse 20 - "and they rose early in the morning and went forth into the wilderness of tekoa: and as they went forth, jehoshaphat stood and said, 'hear me, o judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye'" - what? - "'Prosper.'" We got it right. Okay, I would like to move on now. I want to go to Monday. It's Paul's appeal for reformation in corinth and, again, I'm going to read from the lesson in Monday's section. I want to read from the first paragraph, I think - it's - let's see - "in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul expresses great concern regarding their spiritual condition.

Many members had drifted from God's ideal. The situation was serious" - and it really was serious - "including sexual immorality that, Paul says, was not seen even among the pagans. A whole host of problems arose that Paul had to address. In light of this background it's not difficult to understand why the corinthian church needed revival and reformation. And going to the Word of God, Corinthians 5, verse 1.

Would somebody over here care to read 1 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 1? Thank you eileen. Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 1. "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the gentiles that a man should have his father's wife." Thank you very much eileen. There's no need to elaborate here about what was actually going on. This was - it was a real exhibition of moral decadence, to say the least, so I won't say anything further about that.

But the point that Paul makes here is this, he said - and he deals with it - and he writes to them and thankfully in his letter to Corinthians dealing with this issue they did respond to that and he's thankful for that and you can see that in his second letter to the Corinthians. But the point he makes, he says, 'this kind of stuff' - he says - 'not even the pagans are doing it.' And this is happening in God's church. Pretty bad, isn't it? Pretty bad indeed. So what do we - what can we learn from this? I would say this: there was a church been blessed with heaven-sent light and privileges - I mean, they even had the apostle Paul visit them. So there's all this light they have, they have this great privilege and we're the same.

We've got much heaven-sent light, we're greatly blessed, and we're highly privileged as a people. But that is no guarantee for any of us that we can safely maintain our moral integrity and continue to be victorious in the fight unless we keep up with the light that God has sent - unless we keep in lockstep with the light that God has given to us. Heaven-sent light - this must be kept - I really believe in the forefront, when it comes to realizing that any revival and reformation in our individual lives and then as a church - it involves keeping in step with the light. And a second principle that plays into this, that I'd like to consider this morning: more so must we keep up with the light that we have and we have advanced light, we really do. But this is a principle that is borne out so many times in divine history, even recent history.

The greater light the people have received, the greater privileges they have, if they don't take that light and utilize it and allow their lives to conform to it, they finish up in even greater spiritual darkness than anybody else - even pagans. You can see that happen time and again. Just a little quick sketch here, something hit me one day - I'm not saying it's a unique thought, but I was quite pleased with myself. I thought, 'wow, yeah.' You look at where the gospel began in palestine, it went east, it went to india, china, got way out there and then, you know, there was opposition and stuff and it was pretty well crushed out, but there's always been little lights. Actually, there's a lot of lights out there.

There's a lot in china. I got a phone call the other day from a gentleman I went to newbold college with back in the s - he's from Egypt - he's from Egypt - latif and we were talking on the phone. Even in Egypt, even in iran there are lights and one day they're going to - pfft - come out and you're going to see those lights ignite more lights. But nonetheless, the gospel went just like a tidal wave and then it died down and there's a lot of darkness there in those nations now. And then you take the same thing in palestine - holy land - when the gospel came around through Christ and the apostolic church, it also went west into europe - it migrated west.

And as it migrated west what happened in palestine where the gospel was first established? What is it now? It's a stronghold of islam. Now you've got the state of Israel, yes, but there's not a lot of Christianity there. And I say it very respectfully, they're still clinging a lot to the old types and shadows of the old testament. So darkness was there because it was not followed through on. So the light came west into europe and then we have what happened there.

And then the reformation comes along and the light is blotted out and then it comes back - sorry - the light is blotted out under the papacy but then it comes back under the reformation and we have a blaze of light that happens in the 1500s and onwards. And that ties into the beginning of the great advent movement over in europe. But the people did not respond to that as a whole in 1844. And what is europe like now? I know because I'm from there. It's a dark spiritual place.

Missionaries used to go from ireland. Patrick went from ireland. He was a trailblazer for God. Missionaries went from scotland - scotland's a tiny place - they went to africa. They went all over the place.

Ray and elizabeth, you've been to germany. Nice modern country, civilized but very secular. Germany, France, england, they're all the same. They were once places where the gospel glowed like hot coals. Light emanated from there but they're dark places now because the people did not live up to the light.

So where did the gospel go? It migrated west - where? To the new world. And we know that things have happened here - amazing things. God kept this continent under the shadow of his wing especially to become the cradle of adventism. If it wasn't for this nation, there would not be a free world. There would not be a free world.

I'm an englishman but I'm proud of the United States of America - I am. I am. I have a british flag on the back of my car but I'm still very proud of this country. I'm proud. And I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think I'm more proud of the American flag than a lot of Americans.

Shame on you. Not all of you but those of you who are like that. We have great light. But you know what? Where that great light was deposited in the cradle of adventism, a lot of that light is getting pushed aside and you know what's happening within the remnant movement? There are some people going into dark, dark spiritual midnight and they think they're so smart and they think they're progressive and they think they've got it all right. And they say, 'we need to go back to the reformation of the s - martin luther - justification by faith.

Amen!' I couldn't say amen louder than that to what they're saying, but there's another side and I got into evangelicalism the other week. I'm not going to labor that again today, but unless we keep up with the light and follow that light through into the sanctuary, move on from the - no, take the cross with you. Yes. We need the cross. But we need to move on into the sanctuary, otherwise sanctification has no place in our belief and our practice.

The judgement - what's the point of the judgment? Actually, I'm talking about evangelicalism. It also brings in the nature of Christ. Jesus could keep the law because he had unfallen nature. You can't because you don't. All these things they all play in - so why worry about a judgment? Just remain justified.

Just keep confessing Christ and you'll be alright. Well, you won't be alright because God has given you more light and he expects you to keep up with it. And if you keep up with that light we will be safe. And when everything starts falling down around us we can come before the Lord - we can turn our faces, as it were, as Solomon spread his hands before the temple, as jehoshaphat spread his hands before the temple and we can pray to the lord. We can gather our little children before us - our little jacks, our little williams - whatever we call our grandchildren - and we can stand there and say, 'lord, help us.

' God will help us if, like jehoshaphat led the people to do, we have given our lives to Jesus and we have allowed him to cleanse us from sin. We can stand there without presumption, but in faith and God will promise - God will fulfill his promise. He says, 'I will hear you and I will deliver you.' Going to go to Tuesday. Revelation's appeal for reformation in ephesus, okay? Tuesday's section - we'll probably get into this and time will probably be about gone, but let's give it what we have. I want us to turn to Revelation chapter 2, verses 1 through 6 - Revelation 2, verses 1 through 6.

We're not going to read all of this because, as I say, we don't have the time. But as we read here - in fact, I'm going to read - I'm going to read paragraph 2 in Tuesday's section. Okay, it says, "the angel instructs John to write the things which you have seen - the things which are, the things which will take place after this. The vision of the seven churches relates to the past, the present and the future. It records the triumph of God's church as well as its failures.

It shares the church's victories as well as its defeats. Although the seven churches can represent historical continuum of Christian faith down through the centuries, there are vital lessons in each one of these churches for God's people today. Ephesus, for instance, provides a striking illustration of God's appeal for revival and reformation." And it does. So I want us to look here in verse 4 of Revelation chapter 2. In the previous three verses Christ has commended them for certain achievements.

He's commended them for their patience and their fidelity, their loyalty, and all those things. Verse 3 says, "and has borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake has labored, and has not fainted." But verse 4 now, it says, "nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou has left thy first love." You've left your first love they still had much to say about Jesus - people in ephesus - his name was often on their lips, I'm sure. But remember this: love for Jesus does not live on your lips. You declare it with your lips, but love for Jesus exists in your heart, right? That's where it lives. That's where it exists.

You merely express it with your lips. And, sad to say, much of their love for Jesus had been squeezed out of their hearts to make room for other things. Notice, Jesus doesn't say to them, 'you don't love me anymore at all.' It doesn't say that, it just simply says you've lost your first love for me. In other words, you're loving me with a second love. But he needs first place, right? In other words, 'I don't hold first place in your life and affections like I used to do.

You may still love me but you still love other things more. They come first and I come second.' And you can almost hear Jesus saying, 'you know that really hurts.' He has feelings, you know. His feelings are more intense than ours. We have feelings because he made us to be a reflection of him. He says, 'you know, that really hurts.

I still love you, but boy you sure know how to hurt me.' And we do. You may have heard those words of Jesus echo, perhaps, in your ear once in a while or somewhere in your heart: 'oh, that really hurt me. You don't love me like you used to do, do you?' You may still believe in him as much as ever, but somehow he slips from that first place because you can develop very easily and I can develop very easily what we call divided affections. Divided affections for Jesus - and now here's the tricky stuff - this is where the heart can be deceitful. Divided affections for Jesus may still keep you religious enough to keep coming to church and reading your Bible some.

Divided affections for Jesus may still keep you religious enough to still keep praying some. Divided affections for Jesus may still keep you thumbing through the lesson quarterly - especially this one on revival and reformation some. But you'll never experience it if all you have is some love for Jesus and he doesn't have your first love. It'll never happen. And while you just have some love for Jesus, you really won't want it to happen because the natural heart it's just naturally adverse to making changes.

So when you let the natural heart start getting the upper hand or taking half your affections or even less, you have a battle on your hands. I do, when it gets like that. I have to fight. I know what I'm talking about. Revelation 2, verse 7, it says, "he that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

To him that overcometh will I give" - and to her that overcometh - "will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." When we have revival and we know how to get it - it's the new birth - reformation will follow. God will sanctify us. He will fill us with his spirit. He will use us to do the work and we will be overcomers and that's what Jesus says, 'you will be an overcomer.' "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." And when you stand around that tree and Jesus plucks that fruit and he puts it in your hand and as he puts it in your hand and his hand lifts up and you see those scars, you'll say, 'lord, I don't have the words or the heart to thank you enough, but I praise you because you've given me all eternity now to learn how to do that.' And what a joy that will be. In April 2001, the lord had opened some doors for us to do a full city-wide evangelistic meeting here in the Philippines.

We had an arena and we were meeting in an auditorium and thousands were coming and people were responding. We were very excited. The plan was for Karen to join me on the 30th of April and one morning I woke up and I got the phone call that no parent ever wants to get - that our son had been in a serious construction accident - and I had to pick up Karen at the airport. And I just remember for a couple of hours, waiting at the airport doing a lot of praying, not knowing what had happened to Micah. And we had been able to get a call through to the hospital and they said he was in surgery - he was in serious condition - and got back to the hotel room and discovered that he did not survive the surgery.

Well, of course, there are no words to describe how devastating that is and so - I knew I was in the middle of an important meeting. I knew how the devil hated evangelism, but I needed to tell the leaders here that had put so much time and money into this series that I just had to go home. And I promised them - I said, 'you know, God willing, I will come back and I will do another series.' Promise fulfilled. Pastor Doug has returned to the Philippine islands to continue the work he began years ago. Jesus said - who? Who did I say? - Jesus said the Sabbath was made for man.

That means mankind. Do we still need what God makes for man? Crowds of people reaching close to 2,000 gathered each night to listen. Many people simply walking by stopped to hear the truth from God's Word. One thing that made this meeting especially exciting and, we think, fruitful is that there was an ongoing evangelistic training program with pafcoe. Pafcoe is the Philippine amazing facts center of evangelism.

It's just wonderful to have that army of additional workers that were doing everything from helping with the offering to setting up for the meeting to taking down and also following up with the Bible studies and that's the important part. They were like a small army of Bible workers. Last year our staff and students did 50 evangelistic meetings and baptized about a thousand people. And so pafcoe is helping to return many of our laypeople to the vision for evangelism - the desire to win souls. And when students come from an island and then go back to the island and do an evangelistic meeting, it has an effect not just on that local church but throughout the island.

And so the impact of pafcoe is tremendous. Amazing Facts is spreading God's truth throughout the Philippine islands. Each night of the meetings the crowds grew larger and larger. On the final day, the meetings were held in a large sports arena. Nearly 8,000 people crowded in to hear the truth of God's Word.

I sat on the platform yesterday, saw all the people filling the stands - thousands of people - and it just moved me to tears and I just really thought, 'lord, you're here and you've honored your promise to bless and work things together for good. It really did give a sense of closure and completion and victory to what we had started out before. Because of your decision we baptize you in the name of God The Father, his son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, amen. It was a joyful day. People were baptized.

A lot of people made decisions that will be measured in eternity. I think one of the most important things we can do to continue to see the amazing facts ministry and the gospel going forward in this country is it's going to take media. We saw during the altar call, as hundreds of people came forward, the pastors visited with them and one pastor said, 'many of these people have never been to church.' And I said, 'how did you hear about these things?' And they said, 'we've been watching Amazing Facts on the internet' or 'we've seen the programs on 3abn and some other stations.' And so we really believe in the power of media. We need to be able to have the gospel where they are watching right now because the place is still ripe - the harvest is great here - the programs are few. The coming of the amazing facts and the coming of pafcoe - especially here in our church - is really a blessing.

It not only revived the whole church, but encouraged every member of the church to participate in spreading the gospel. We are going home, following this series, with a new enthusiasm for the work in this country. We just thank the Lord - we praise the Lord - this series reached our highest expectation. And we want to thank you, our friends who made it all possible, because this program was entirely funded by folks like you that believe in amazing facts and believe in the message that we're sharing around the world. And our family wants to thank you personally for making this trip possible - for us to be able to come back and to fulfill a promise to preach the gospel here.

And, of course, we thank and praise God and give him the glory. Paul and Jesus both predict that the church of God becomes a force against God. The radical faith that Jesus taught had become the official religion of the empire that murdered him. The speed with which the early church tobogganed into apostasy will take your breath away. Impact your world.

The Amazing Facts center of evangelism is the first and original Bible training school operating for over ten years. You'll receive practical training in personal and public evangelism. Learn how to give dynamic public presentations, give compelling Christ-centered Bible studies and all while gaining a personal deeper understanding of God. Learn from Doug Batchelor and other world-class evangelists. The world is full of busy things people are doing.

There's a lot of work you can do. You can build houses. You can fix cars but, ultimately, when Jesus comes the houses will burn, the cars will melt. The only work that is really going to last forever is when hearts are transformed and this is why the work of afcoe is the most important work in the world - because the results - changed lives - will last through eternity. To enroll today visit 'afcoe.org' or call (916) 209-7249. In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week.

Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who was behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed. Visit Sabbathtruth.com.

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