Friday, July 5, 2013

Revival--Our Great Need

Sabbath School Lesson
July 6, 2013

Class Teacher: Larry Evans


The story is told of a young boy who cried out in the night for his dad to come and be with him.  He had a terrible dream and was scared.  He had seen what he thought were demons.  Maybe it was the lights dancing on the walls of his bedroom, maybe something he ate or maybe it was the dark presence of demons themselves. Regardless, he wanted the assurance that he was safe.  He asked his father, “Please pray to Jesus and ask Him to keep me safe.”  The father thinking for a moment said, “I will pray but instead of asking that you be kept safe I am going to pray that you be dangerous!” Maybe, just maybe, we ought to consider that being armed with Jesus is not just about being safe.  It makes us dangerous to the kingdom of Satan.

It is easy to read the Bible is sections yet by doing so, lose sight of the bigger picture.  For example, when we read about the 7 churches in Revelation 2 and 3 we end up with the story of Laodicean lukewarmness.  Yet the very next chapter opens our view to something more glorious – the throne room of heaven itself.  The attention drawn to the throne room in heaven found in Rev. 4 is not about us.  It is about God!  How can this possibly be connected to the message for the Laodecian church?

While we need to hear the message to Laodicea we must not linger there too long.  When Jesus tells the lukewarm followers that he is the door (Rev. 3:20) it begs the question – the door to what!  That’s where Rev. 4:1 comes in!  John directs our attention to the “open door in heaven” and the centerpiece of both chapters 4 and 5 is Jesus. —His power, His victory over sin, His plan for those whom He died.  When we see this we then realize that the center of the 7 churches in Rev. 2 and 3 is also Jesus!  But did you notice how Jesus is described in Rev. 5:5,6?  He is portrayed as both the Lion and the Lamb!  What a strange combination.  But don’t underestimate Jesus as the “Lion.”  He is dangerous!  He is dangerous to any self-righteousness, self-centeredness and to any self-exaltation.  Jesus is dangerous to the kingdom of Satan and to any part of that kingdom that resides in our hearts. This is exactly the message the Laodecian church needs – they need a Lion to fight their lukewarmness.  There are times when we need Him to speak to us as a lion.  Sin is an enemy and it cannot and should not be ignored.

This quarter we are going to be studying about “Revival and Reformation.”  It will be easy to conclude before we even begin our study that the secret to being revived is to withdraw from the world so that we might be safe.  We are tempted to begin with “reformation.” But I ask, is that what revival is?  Being safe!  I am not suggesting that we take a longer drink of what the world has to offer.  No but I do ask,  “What do we want Jesus to do for us?”  What does having a revival in our own life really mean?  What are we asking Jesus to do?  

Questions for Reflection

1.             When is a revival needed?
2.             When Jesus asked His disciples what they wanted Him to do for them what kind of answer did He get?  See Matt. 20:20-28 and Luke 18:35-43.
3.             There is little hope for Laodicea because of its lukewarmeness.  (Rev. 3: 14-22)  True or False?
4.             To be Laodecian means to be uncaring. (2 Matt. 15:8; Timothy 3:1-5)  True or False?
5.             There are sins for which there is no cure.  True or False?
6.             A knowledge of Jesus can cause people to stumble.  (1 Peter 2:7,8; 5:7)  True or False?
7.             When the Laodicean church is told that it must “buy” something to change their condition how expensive is it? (Rev. 3:18) What does this do to the idea of “righteousness by faith”?
8.             It is possible to have a spiritual revival without spiritual reformation?  True or False?

Closing Reflections

“There is a story about Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. He was inspecting the Berlin prison.  As he walked through the hordes of shackled men, they fell pleading at his feet, protesting their innocence.  They claimed to be falsely accused, models of virtuous living, completely innocent of all crime.  Only one man didn’t do this.  Fredrick called to him, ‘Prisoner, why are you here?’
            ‘I robbed a man, Your Majesty.’
            ‘And are you guilty?’
            ‘Yes, Your Majesty.’
            Frederick called the guard over.  Pointing at the man who confessed, he said, ‘Release this man immediately.  I will not have this scoundrel thief kept here where he might corrupt all these other fine, virtuous, and innocent men.’ 
            That’s the lovely irony of confession:  The one who actually confesses gets out of prison—or off of the borderland—and gets to go free.”  (Mark Buchanan in Your God Is Too Safe—Rediscovering the Wonder of a God You Can’t Control, p.174)

And so we discover the beginning point of the hopeful journey of the Laodecian church.

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