Monday, July 29, 2013

"Obedience: The Fruit of Revival"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Revival & Reformation
Lesson 5: "Obedience: The Fruit of Revival"

"There are no obedient ones. But there is nevertheless hope for all, because the righteousness of the law is put within and upon all who believe in Christ, so that a man is made a doer of the law by faith. One God justifies all alike through faith. Faith is not a substitute for obedience to the law, but insures the doing of it." [1]
"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, ... bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:4, 5).
Obedience is not the act of the individual or else self would take credit for it. It is the "obedience of Christ"--His very own obedience received by the individual through the faith which works by love, and is credited to the penitent as if it were his own.
To teach that obedience is the result of revival is to suggest that we must continue making old covenant promises to do all that God has said. This old covenant mindset is suggested for the purpose of trying to get ourselves worked up and into a place where the Lord can bless us. It is from this carnal old covenant unbelief that the angel of the Church of Laodicea is being asked to repent.
Obedience is not the fruit of revival [2] but the result of faith which works by love laying hold on Christ and having His righteousness imparted to us. This is the result of self being crucified with Christ and a deep repentance for our sins. It is God Himself that revives: "For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: 'I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones'" (Isa. 57:15).
This thinking that somehow we can do something to recommend ourselves to God is nothing more than trying to make God obligated to us because of something we did. Christ does not ask us to try to revive ourselves, but He asks us to be humble and contrite--both of which are outside of our ability to achieve. It is a deep and carnal false pride within us that forms the basis for our continued attempts to perform.
Obedience is conformity to the law of God and since the fall of man only Jesus has succeeded in this. Obedience is the righteousness of Christ. There is no other righteousness. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor.5:21).
The apostle Paul says, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). "For he who has died has been freed from sin. How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?" (Rom. 6:7, 2).
Sin is the opposite of obedience, it is disobedience or unbelief. "Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief" (Heb. 3:17-19).
Jude says that God is "able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 24). The Father sent Jesus "to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities" (Acts 3:26). And Matthew wrote, "you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). He saves us from disobedience to the law, by saving us to obedience of the law.
"The fountain of the heart must be purified before the streams can become pure. He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. There is no safety for one who has merely a legal religion, a form of godliness. The Christian's life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit." [3]
"'He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.' Heb. 7:25. By His spotless life, His obedience, His death on the cross of Calvary, Christ interceded for the lost race." [4]
People sometimes say that they can believe that God forgives their sins, but they find it difficult to believe that He can keep them from sin. The forgiveness of sin is the entering in of righteousness, or obedience. The righteousness replaces the disobedience.
So, with Christ in us, the hope of glory, we are "dead" to the world through being crucified with Him. For our sins that are past we receive the blood of Christ--this is called imputed righteousness. This covers us and we are counted as having never sinned from birth to the present. Now the righteousness of Christ is imparted to us to prevent us from sinning in the present. This is also referred to as "being saved by His life."
Obedience does not stand alone as something we do, but it is at the very heart of the Third Angel's Message of righteousness by faith. Righteousness by faith is the same as justification by faith, and these terms mean obedience by faith.
"Justification has to do with the law. The term means making just. In Rom.2:13 we are told who the just ones are: 'For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified.' To be just means to be righteous. Therefore since the just man is the one who does the law, it follows that to justify a man is to make him a doer of the law. Being justified by faith is simply being made a doer of the law by faith.
"It is impossible for any man by nature to be subject to the law of God. He cannot do what the law requires.
"How is the man justified, or made righteous?--'Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus' (Rom. 3:24). Remember that to justify means to make one a doer of the law, and then read the passage again: 'Being made a doer of the law freely, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.' The redemption that is in Christ Jesus is the worthiness or the purchasing power of Christ. He gives himself to the sinner; his righteousness is given to the one who has sinned, and who believes. That does not mean that Christ's righteousness, which he did eighteen hundred years ago, is laid up for the sinner, to be simply credited to his account, but it means that his present, active righteousness is given to that man. Christ comes to live in that man who believes, for he dwells in the heart by faith. So the man who was a sinner is transformed into a new man, having the very righteousness of God.
"It will be seen, therefore, that there can be no higher state than that of justification." [5]
"The law is the statement of the righteousness of God and is universal in its jurisdiction, and as it condemns all, yet none can get righteousness by it. But God has promised righteousness to men, therefore they must get it aside from trying to obey the law, namely, in Christ. A man is made a doer of the law by faith alone, without the deeds of the law. This is the mystery of the Gospel. It is Christ in men, the hope of glory, and God in Christ working out His own righteousness.
"In the death of Christ therefore, if we are crucified with Him, we receive His life as a substitute for our sinful [disobedient] life, which He takes upon Himself. Our sins are remitted through faith in His blood, not as an arbitrary act, but because by faith we exchange lives with Him and the life, which we get in return has no sin." [6]
May our prayer be that we might be "filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:11). This is the righteousness or obedience to the faith (Rom. 1:5; 16:26). This is not a mere theory; it is a practical truth.
Father, thank you for the obedience of Christ that You give to us through faith. May we begin to learn the magnitude of the cost of Calvary through which this righteousness comes to us, and may we be forgiven for thinking that obedience could be a result of anything we do.
--Daniel H. Peters

[1] Ellet J. Waggoner, "Studies in Romans. The Glorious Persuasion," The Signs of the Times, June 18, 1896.
[2] Revival defined: an instance of something becoming popular again; a new production of an old play; a reawakening of religious fervor, especially by means of a series of evangelistic meetings.
[3] Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 172.
[4] Ellen G. White, Christ's Object Lessons, p. 156.
[5] Waggoner, "Being Justified," The Signs of the Times, May 1, 1893.
[6] Waggoner, The Signs of the Times, March 5, 1896.
Please forward these messages to your friends and encourage them to subscribe.

"Sabbath School Today" is on the Internet at:

To subscribe send an e-mail message with "subscribe" in the body of the message to

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"Witnessing and Service: The Fruit of Revival"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Revival & Reformation
Lesson 4: "Witnessing and Service: The Fruit of Revival"

According to our quarterly: When God's people do this--study, pray, and witness; then they will have revival. [1] In other words, revival comes as a result of something we must do. The idea is that our performance produces the revival of the Holy Spirit. The old covenant promises of ancient Israel never resulted in lasting revival and reformation.
After 2000+ years, how much progress have "we" made as God's people? Think of them then: Israel expecting their Messiah to come "almost any time" just as we are expecting the same Messiah to return "almost any time now,"--at least, "soon." They knew 2000 years ago, just as we know now, that there must come "a great reformatory movement among God's people" in order to be ready for the Messiah. There was an atmosphere of expectancy among God's people then, as there is now. And uppermost in their minds was a question that, frankly speaking, is in ours today: "What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" (John 6:28).
Today there are seminars and sermons presented that are variations of that question. "What program, what duty, what plan, shall we do that we might have that 'great reformatory movement' of revival in preparation for the return of our Messiah?" There is diligent study in the Bible and inspired writings that yield a multitude of quotations about duties to "do"--about health reform, diet, good works, tithes, offerings, witnessing, devotionals. And some sincere people are brilliant and have re-phrased the question, so it reads: "What shall we not do, to work the works of God?" "What worldly habit must we give up, in order to have that great reformation"? And each teacher has a new program that this time will work, if only we will do it, or give up doing this or that which is worldly. There must be something we can do (or not do) to cure the worldwide disease of lukewarmness that everybody agrees afflicts the church. We long for some program, some new idea, some committee plan from some fertile minds.
Could it be that Jesus had the solution, 2000 years ago? "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom [God] hath sent" (vs. 29). The solution is not doing something but seeing something. Let's "look."
Jesus isn't waiting for you to initiate or even maintain a saving relationship with Him. He Himself has taken the initiative to build it: "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you" (John 15:16). What He is wondering about is how He can build a one-sided fellowship with you! He has made all the advances; your job is to respond--which is what it means "to believe." He did all the loving and the giving first (John 3:16).
He seeks to maintain the fellowship through the daily, even hourly prompting of the Holy Spirit: "Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left" (Isa. 30:21). "The Father ... will give you another Helper, who will stay with you forever. He is the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God" (John 14:16, 17, GNB). Yes, that's true; believe it. He will stay with you unless you take the initiative to drive Him off.
We work hard, energetically to proclaim the gospel. But is there a yet-untried method of soul-winning? Not merely by pushing electronic buttons, but that has such a built-in power pack that common people who believe the message can watch conversions take place?
If you attend church, you've heard the pleas: "Do more, work harder, win souls! Look how the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons go door to door; why don't we do more?" But is this what Jesus had in mind when He said, "Go ye ..." Is there a more effective way to finish the great gospel commission?
Who doesn't long to see far greater efficiency in soul-winning? The apostles put little pressure upon the early Christians. Paul commends rather than prods the Thessalonian Christians: "Not only did the message about the Lord go out from you throughout Macedonia and Achaia, but the news about your faith in God has gone everywhere. "There is nothing, then, that we need to say" (1 Thess. 1:8, GNB). An evangelist's or church administrator's dream! No need for high-pressure promotion.
Was the gospel of the Thessalonians self-propagating? It seems that it did have its own built-in power pack. It motivated people even to the point of being thought extravagantly zealous: "If we are out of our mind ... [or] in our right mind, ... Christ's love [agape] compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves" (2 Cor. 5:13-15, NIV).
In other words, they sensed a motivation fueled by something special they saw in the sacrifice of Christ. Once you grasped what had happened, you just couldn't sit still. The tongue-tied had to talk, and the timid grew bold (Isa. 32:4; Zech. 12:8). You saw the Messiah to be the second Adam; He died "for all." That meant--if He had not died, you would be dead. Since He became corporately one with the human race, "all died" in Him; from now on nobodycould go on "living for themselves." You could no longer think that you belonged to yourself, or that anything you possessed was yours. With one divine stroke, knot of human self-centered concern was cut. The cross did it.
A new purpose for living took over: if you believed this self-propagating gospel, you just had to live "for Him who died" for you, and it wasn't fear or hope-of-reward that moved you. Materialism, sensuality, all self-centered motivations were transcended by this phenomenal new reason for living. You saw yourself eternally in debt to the Son of God. And the idea caught on, because there were honest hearts everywhere. Jews and Gentiles came out of nowhere, ready to respond.
This understanding of what the cross meant first burst on people's minds at Pentecost. "Ye denied the Holy One and the Just," cried Peter." You "killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. ... Repent therefore and be converted" (Acts 3:14, 15, 19). And they did repent, and they were converted. "The truth in agape" compelled multitudes to respond--3000 in one day.
This was "the former rain." Today we await "the latter rain." In 1888 the Lord "sent" us "the beginning" of that message. Ellen White called it "the light which will lighten the earth with its glory." Had it been accepted, "then the strong, clear light of that other angel who comes down from heaven having great power, would have filled the earth with his glory ... Heavenly messengers have grieved, impatient at the delay. ... Angels of heaven were seeking to communicate through human agencies--justification by faith, the righteousness of Christ." "The loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ." [2]
That self-propagating gospel at Pentecost accompanied Christ's beginning work in heaven as High Priest. Now His closing work in the cosmic Day of Atonement will be accompanied by a fully developed "everlasting gospel" that will "lighten the earth with glory." The same cross-exalting motivation will fuel that final burst of soul-winning.
--Paul E. Penno
[1] Quarterly, p. 35; p. 46 teachers' edition.
[2] 1888 Materials, pp. 673, 1070-1071, 1073.
Note: “Sabbath School Today” and Pastor Paul Penno’s video of this lesson are on the Internet at:
Please forward these messages to your friends and encourage them to subscribe. 

"Sabbath School Today" is on the Internet at:

To subscribe send an e-mail message with "subscribe" in the body of the message to

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"The Word: The Foundation of Revival"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
Revival & Reformation
Lesson 3: "The Word: The Foundation of Revival"
What is often overlooked by those who say they love the Bible, and maybe it's not their fault; is it possible it has been kept from them?
Both the Old and New Testaments teach an idea totally absent anywhere else: a love that has dimensions undreamed of by humanity--it's agape in the Greek New Testament. It's the story of the Son of God who descended from heaven to become a true human being, forever (yes, given to us forever!) taking upon Himself all the liabilities of fallen humanity yet living therein a sinless life of self-emptying love; self-emptying to the point of "the death of the cross" which entailed pouring out the last drop of His life (Phil. 2:5-8). For Him, the "death of the cross" meant enduring the Father's eternal wrath against sin, which meant the end of existence. He gave Himself to hell in His love for fallen humanity (cf. Acts 2:26, 27).
This very idea shocked those who heard the apostles proclaim it. The idea ofagape turned the world upside down (cf. Acts 17:6). It catalyzed humanity; no pagan religion had dreamed of it. It still catalyzes us today! Some question its reality: how could Christ have died our second death if He was resurrected? His being devoid of any self-centered hope whatever is a "big idea" too big to fathom. Laodicea seems unable to grasp it. Every lamb that was sacrificed at the Passover died forever; none was resurrected. Jesus gave Himself to become the Lamb of God; that too was goodbye forever so far as His commitment meant.
Such agape is the central and unique idea of the book we call the "Holy Bible," regardless of the diction its translators may use. Angels wonder at it; do we, as yet?
There is no question in the minds of Seventh-day Adventists that God's Word is the foundation for revival and reformation. Our memory verse says, "quicken [revive] me according to Thy Word" (Psalm 119:154), indicating that something must happen before we can ever fulfill the special task He has "commanded" us to do: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Hoy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19, 20).
But first, our own souls need to be revived ["won"] by the Good News. If the love of this truth is welcomed in our hearts, nothing can stop it from flowing "out" to others. Ponder this promise of Jesus in John 7:38: "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." Ellen G. White has written, "Christ crucified--talk it, pray it, sing it, and it will break and win hearts. ... Souls are thirsting for the water of life. Do not allow them to go from you empty. Reveal the love of Christ to them. Lead them to Jesus, and He will give them the bread of life and the water of salvation" (Review and Herald, Nov. 22, 1892).
You can't win souls with bad tidings, only glad tidings. "Christ must be revealed to the sinner as the Saviour dying for the sins of the world; and as we behold the Lamb of God upon the cross of Calvary, the mystery of redemption begins to unfold to our minds and the goodness of God leads us to repentance. In dying for sinners, Christ manifested a love that is incomprehensible; and as the sinner beholds this love, it softens the heart, impresses the mind, and inspires contrition in the soul" (Steps to Christ, pp. 26, 27).
To awaken in our souls that hunger and thirst is the purpose of the 1888 message of Christ's righteousness. The gospel is the bread of life; and once you taste it, you will ever after want to "eat" of it. What joy! Always to be hungry and thirsty for more. The world's amusements all lose their appeal when you "taste" the gospel for what it is. Many are now testifying that that hunger has been aroused in their souls by hearing or reading the 1888 message truths.
Ellet J. Waggoner, one of the 1888 "messengers," wrote: "That there is a power in the word of God, far above that of any other book, cannot be doubted. The Lord through the prophet Jeremiah rebukes the false prophets, who speak their own words instead of the words of God, and says: 'What is the chaff to the wheat? Is not My word like as a fire?' (Jer. 23:28, 29). The word of the Lord is the seed by which the sinner is born again. We learn that the word of God is the seed from which [we] are developed into new creatures in Christ. The word, then, has power to give life (see 1 Peter 1:22, 23).
"With the knowledge that the word of God is the seed by which men [and women] are begotten unto a new life, and that the hiding of the word in the heart keeps one from sin, we may easily understand 1 John 3:9: 'Whosoever is born of God doth not sin, because he is born of God.' How simple!
"Jesus, our great Example, gave us an illustration of this. When tempted on every point by the devil, His sole reply was, 'It is written,' followed by a text of Scripture that met the case exactly. The Christian who would stand fast must do the same thing. There is no other way.
"May the thought that God is in the word be a fresh incentive to all to gain time and strength for their work by taking from it more time to feed upon the source of divine strength" (excerpts from "The Indwelling Word," The Signs of the Times, July 14, 1890).
What is the true motivation that will lead us to follow the Lord all the way? "It is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour's matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary's cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholder. They hear His voice, and they follow Him" (The Desire of Ages, p. 480).
This higher motivation becomes realized in the close of time than has prevailed in the church in past ages--a concern for Christ that He receive His reward and find His "rest" in the final eradication of sin. All egocentric motivation based merely on fear of hell or hope of reward is less effective. The higher motivation is symbolized in the climax of Scripture--the Bride of Christ making herself "ready."
A prayer the Father loves to hear and answer is the request that the Holy Spirit "make known" His words to you (Prov. 1:23). Plead that He give you "a hunger and thirst for righteousness" (Matt. 5:6)--that's the way of "happiness" (which is what it means to be "blessed"). And you'll be surprised how often the Lord will open doors for you to share treasures of truth you have discovered in your personal reading of the Bible.
--Compiled from the writings of Robert J. Wieland, et al.

Please forward these messages to your friends and encourage them to subscribe. 

"Sabbath School Today" is on the Internet at:

To subscribe send an e-mail message with "subscribe" in the body of the message to

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

"Prayer: The Heartbeat of Revival"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Revival & Reformation
Lesson 2: "Prayer: The Heartbeat of Revival" 
Have you ever prayed for something good, and gotten No for an answer, or received something disappointing in answer? I am intrigued by a promise Jesus made in Matthew 7:9: "What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?" Where is the father so hard-hearted as that? He would not even be human! Yet our arch-enemy wants us to believe that when we ask our heavenly Father for something good, He either won't listen or He gives us something disappointing.
Jesus knows how we are tempted; He Himself once cried out, "My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Psalm 22 goes on to say that He complains because it seems God wouldn't hear or answer His prayer. And because Jesus knows how we are tempted, He assures us in our lesson's Memory Text, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them, that ask Him?" (Matt. 7:11). And please note, He says that to everybody (see Matt. 5:1). You don't have to earn His favor by doing good works before you pray to the One that Jesus says is your heavenly Father, any more than a child must earn the piece of bread he begs from his earthly father.
But then you ask, "Isn't there a catch somewhere? Some fine print?" Yes, and here it is: "He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6). THAT'S what you need to do before you pray!
It was Jesus who taught us to call His Father "our Father." And it was Jesus who taught us to pray this prayer every morning: "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matt. 6:11). It's our daily "breakfast." It's a prayer that we are invited to pray and which we should pray. We should be hungry for it every day. We are like pets at feeding time lined up for what we hunger for. Yes, we are dependent on handouts from heaven. If we have learned a little so far in our lifetime, we know that the words of Jesus are true, "Without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). The weaker you are of yourself, the stronger you are "in Christ."
It's comforting and assuring to realize that even Jesus Himself had to confess that without the Father's constant moment by moment sustenance, He too was helpless: "I can of Mine own self do nothing." The word "do" does not mean only performing works, physical doings; it includes perception, judgment, wisdom: "As I hear, I judge" (John 5:30). It's a marvelous spectacle: the divine Son of God, the Commander of the heavenly hosts, has taken upon Himself our nature and has become one of us, helpless of Himself. He frankly told His enemies, "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do" (vs. 19).
Two thousand years have gone by since Paul proclaimed to the Jews that their Messiah had come in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Most stubbornly resisted and rejected the message, according to Luke in Acts. If Paul was anything like we are in nature, he would have expected that the Jews most likely to listen favorably would be the "devout women," the ladies of the congregation who were always helping people with works of mercy. But imagine his surprise and disappointment when he found that among the members of the congregations most bitterly opposed to the Good News about their Messiah having already come were those same "devout and honorable women" (13:50).
There was no need any longer for those agonizing, all night prayer meetings where the people would cry out to the God of Abraham, "Please fulfill the promise made to our fathers, send us our Messiah!" Prayer for the coming of the Messiah had now become obsolete. Now it was time to thank God for already sending Him! In fact, such prayer now became a form of blasphemy because it expressed the sin of unbelief, the refusal to recognize that God had already performed what He had promised.
Today we may pray earnestly for God to send us the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our latter rain. Sometimes churches have held all night prayer meetings for that blessed gift. Could it be that like the ancient Jews, we have neglected to receive the beginning of that same gift already given, and it went over our heads as the truth went over the heads of the ancient Jews?
The 1888 idea of the Sanctuary truth clarifies our prayers. If we pray for the latter rain (which is good), respect for the Lord would require that we recognize that He gave us its "beginning" over a century ago, and "we" would not have it. To keep begging a friend to give you a gift when he's already given it to you, would be rude.
We can pray that the Lord will give us the gift of repentance. We can pray that He will enable us to understand what was the initial gift of the latter rain. We are told that the corporate refusal to receive the gift constituted an "insult" to the Holy Spirit. Should not our prayers now be especially reverent and respectful? The Sanctuary message that "the Lord in His great mercy sent" to us must yet "lighten the earth with glory."
When one prays for the Lord to use him to win a soul, he can never know who that person may turn out to be. We may have hoped He would use us to win some "good" person; we may discover that He wants us to win someone we think of as "bad." We think of our congregation as a comfortable, exclusive religious club when the Lord declares that it is "an house of prayer for all people," including "sinners" we haven't thought much about.
It is pathetic to try to limit love to "good" people. Any love so restricted ceases to be love. Real love is not dependent on the beauty or the goodness of an object, as is our natural human affection. That kind of love is what the New Testament calls "agape." Jesus included this in the finishing of His work when He said, "By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35).
For over a hundred years we have sensed the need for that love. Local churches all over the world long to be able to reveal it, but feel hampered by inadequacy and contradictory influences that work to negate it. Obviously Satan hates the idea of such love really succeeding. Due to his "making war" against the "remnant church" from within as well as from without, after all these years we still are forced to recognize that this ultimate manifestation of love is yet future.
When God's agape permeates the church, it will become super-efficient in soul winning. Each congregation will become a duplicate of what Christ would be to each community were He there in the flesh. He inspired with hope "the roughest and most unpromising," encouraged those who were "discouraged, sick, tempted, fallen," saved those "who were fighting a hand-to-hand battle with the adversary of souls."
This will not be done by bright advertising schemes or promotion methods. The Holy Spirit will do something for the heart because the church members will receive the "mind of Christ." "The rays of light penetrate everywhere, the truth is seen in its clearness, and the honest children of God sever the bands which have held them. ... A large number take their stand upon the Lord's side" (Ellen G. White,The Great Controversy, p. 612). What could those "rays of light" be except a clear example of the love of God seen in His people?

Lord, give me the grace from your much more abounding store, to realize 
that I can claim nothing in this world as really mine! But I do have a Savior.

--From the Writings of Robert J. Wieland
(Compiled by Carol A. Kawamoto)

Please forward these messages to your friends and encourage them to subscribe. 

"Sabbath School Today" is on the Internet at:

To subscribe send an e-mail message with "subscribe" in the body of the message to

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

1888 Message National Conference

1888 Message National Conference

July 9-13, 2013

Washington Adventist University

Takoma Park, MD

Theme:  Grace Invasion

Guest Speakers:

Fresd Bishop

Bill Brace

Mark Duncan

Jerry Finneman

Bob HUnsaker

Will Perguson

brian Schwartz

Jack Sequiera

For room reservations EMAIL to make room reservations.

Note:  Anyone willing to live blog email me the link at: 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

SST#1| "Revival: Our Great Need" Pastor Paul Penno

"Revival: Our Great Need"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Revival & Reformation
Lesson 1: "Revival: Our Great Need"
An email from Jesus in the sanctuary addresses our pathetic lukewarmness toward His cross. "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent" (Rev. 3:19).
We are still on this earth and Jesus hasn't returned. So we haven't turned to Jesus in repentance. Even religious people can be blinded by their own sinful hearts when Jesus' love disciplines them. We don't understand what He means by repentance because we think that we are His good people.
It's more than isolated ones here or there that are called to repent. Jesus' witness is to "the angel of the church of the Laodiceans" (Rev.3:14). This "messenger" is said to be one of "the seven stars ... in My right hand" (Rev. 1:20). "God's ministers are symbolized by the seven stars." [1] Mostly there is dead silence in our lesson quarterlies regarding Christ's call to repent. The church appears to have overdosed on sleeping pills.
Although each of us must apply individually and personally any counsel in the messages to the seven churches, this call to "repent" is specifically addressed to more than individuals. The appeal in Revelation 3:20 ("if any man hear my voice") contains a significant Greek word, tis, which primarily means "a certain one," not just "anyone." In the Laodicean message, it refers to the "angel" as the certain one to whom the message is addressed. Unquestionably, Jesus quotes the Song of Solomon in His appeal, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock" (5:2, LXX). The "certain one" who must hear is His beloved, the church. The Lord appoints leadership to role models and examples.
The idea prevails that it's impossible to develop a character like Christ's. Perfection of character isn't possible. So an ever-deepening repentance is rejected and is at odds with what Jesus wants. Could this be an imperceptible roll-over to the side of the enemy in his warfare with Christ?
Repentance is a turning of the mind away from sin. What we once loved we now hate. It's a 180-degree U-turn going the other way. We have thought Christ calls for individual repentance from Laodicea. So we have based our entire evangelistic enterprise on calling individual sinners out of the world to save their own souls from "hell" and receive Christ's "offer" of salvation. The appeal has been based on fear of hell and hope of heavenly reward. Hence, faith is motivated by egocentric concerns. This leaves the individual "under the law" (in disobedience of the law), for his faith is driven by self-interest rather than agape which "is the fulfilling of the law" (Rom. 13:10).
It's obvious that after a century or more of evangelism calling for individual repentance that this has not hastened the coming of Christ, but delayed it. We have misunderstood the nature of repentance that Christ gives to Laodicea.
Christ's remedy for "lukewarmness" is both an individual and a corporate repentance. Herein lies the secret to lasting revival and reformation. Sin is a corporate disease of the human race. "In Adam all die" (1 Cor. 15:22). "All have sinned" following the footsteps of our father Adam (Rom. 5:12). Instinctively we recoil against this, for we feel that surely we have something good in us. But Scripture reminds us: "In me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing (Rom. 7:18). This means that the sin that another human has committed, I could commit if Christ had not saved me from it. We need the imputed and imparted righteousness of Christ 100%.
This was the stumblingblock in 1888 and still scandalizes many today. Apart from the grace of a Saviour, the sins of the whole world could be mine if I had the "opportunity" to be in the shoes of other people, to be tempted as they in their circumstances.
This idea is impressively stated by Ellen White: "God knows every thought, purpose, every plan, every motive. The books of heaven record the sins that would have been committed had there been opportunity." [2] There is indeed abundant forgiveness and heart-cleansing with Jesus, but He cannot "cleanse us from all unrighteousness" unless we "confess" it with understanding; and we cannot confess it unless we realize it. We have something yet to learn.
An infected mosquito bites the finger. The result is the disease of malaria which enters the bloodstream and becomes a corporate disease. The only remedy is medicine which provides for a corporate healing.
How can we be guilty of sin as a church or corporate body? "There is a terrible amount of guilt for which the church is responsible." [3] The great gospel commission could have been completed before the horrors of World Wars I and II, and subsequent ones that were unleashed on the world. [4] The reason is that the 1888 message was the "beginning" of the latter rain and the loud cry; she says it was "to a large degree" rejected by the leadership of the church. Thus those who fervently believed in the doctrine of the second advent actually delayed it for generations. The sorrow of "what might have been" filled Ellen White's soul with anguish. [5]
If we were to have another 1888 Session where the Holy Spirit manifested Himself as the latter rain, would we again insult Him? Unless there is repentance for doing it the first time, the answer has to be yes.
What is denominational repentance? It is a "body" of believersindividually experiencing corporate repentance. As surely as theSeventh-day Adventist denomination is the "remnant church" of prophecy, the Laodicea of Revelation, so surely will such repentancepermeate that "body" in the time of the "final atonement." This is Christ's gift to His church.
"Unto two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed" (Dan. 8:14). The books of heaven cannot be cleansed of the record of our sins until our hearts are cleansed. The righteousness by faith issue thus comes into focus: justification by faith is more than a mere legal declaration; it makes the at-enmity soul to be at-one-with-God.
Is such a repentance possible? Will God ever have a people who have so learned contrition that they feel that all the sins of the human race could be theirs but for the grace of a Saviour, and who thus stand before the throne "cleansed"? Will He have a people who recognize their 100% need of the imputed righteousness of Christ, who fully realize what they would be without it?
Some sadly say no; ancient Israel failed, and so must modern Israel. But the bottom line of Bible prophecy says: "Then the sanctuary shall be cleansed." Zechariah foretells an experience of corporate denominational repentance, followed by a glorious experience of cleansing (Zech. 12:7-14; 13:1). Such an experience permeating the church is denominational repentance. Christ calls for it in His message to Laodicea. Isn't it time for us to respond?
--Paul E. Penno

Endnotes:[1] Ellen G. White, Gospel Workers, p. 13.
[2] SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1085.
[3] Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 457.
[4] General Conference Bulletin (1893), p. 419; Evangelism, p. 696.
[5] Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, pp. 104-106; The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald (Dec. 15, 1904).
Please forward these messages to your friends and encourage them to subscribe. 

Note: “Sabbath School Today” and Pastor Paul Penno’s video of this lesson are on the Internet at:

To subscribe send an e-mail message with "subscribe" in the body of the message to