One of the greatest questions facing the Seventh-day Adventist Church today is: Are we willing to climb out of our comfort zones to let God do what is necessary to prepare each of us for a true revival personally and corporately, for a change or reformation in our lives as we become more and more like Jesus, and for the reception of the Latter Rain?
All of this is only through the power of the Holy Spirit. The answer to this question is your choice and my choice. As we all know, God will not force us to comply with His will. He invites, encourages, and, yes, pleads with us to respond to His counsel and wishes. Over the last several months the call to revival and reformation has gone out to the world church through our church leaders. What has been your reaction?
Over 100 years ago, Ellen White, the servant of the Lord, said, "A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work" (RH, March 22, 1887).
It is still the greatest of our needs, and is still to be our first work, for Jesus has not returned. How, then, are we to approach our first work and realize our greatest need? The model of the apostolic church as it prepared for Pentecost is a help to us today.
Before Jesus ascended, He told His disciples that they were to receive power to accomplish the mission He had given to them. In Luke 24:49 He said, "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you, but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."
These words are reinforced in Acts 1:5, 8, "John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
Jesus told the disciples to go back to Jerusalem and wait for the power that was to come upon them from the Father. The period of waiting was about 10 days, but they did not put their feet up on the desk and wait in idleness. It was, rather, a time of intense preparation. Luke gives us a quick glimpse into what was done: "These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers" (Acts 1:14). He makes this further observation, "When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place" (Acts 2:1).
Ellen White further explains this whole experience: "It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The same work, only in greater degree, must be done now" (TM, p. 507).
We have our orders. God is waiting to pour out His Spirit upon His remnant people Who will empower them to complete the work of preaching the Three Angels' Messages. The work done by the disciples must be done by us, only in a greater degree. We cannot receive this power unless we are willing to move out of our comfort zones and allow the Spirit to do the work within us that will place us in a position to receive the power. What is the work we are to do? Confession, we are told, forsaking sin, earnest prayer, and consecrating ourselves to God.
The question remains to be answered, are we willing to climb out of our comfort zones and confess and forsake our sins, to pray earnestly by ourselves and with our brothers and sisters for the promised power, and to consecrate ourselves to God and to God alone? Only you and I can answer this question for ourselves. In future messages we will press further into the experience of the disciples as they prepared for the Day of Pentecost. Luke tells us they gathered together to pray, but what else did they do? It is a key for what God wants us to do as we plead with the Lord for revival, reformation, and the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit in anticipation of Christ's soon coming.
--Ted N. C. Wilson is the president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church