OBEDIENCE: THE FRUIT OF REVIVAL Lesson 5 forAugust 3, 2013
“If all in the church would come up to the help of the Lord, we would see such a revival of His work as we have not hitherto witnessed. God requires this of you and of each member of the church. It is not left with you to decide whether it is best for you to obey the call of God. Obedience is required… He requires you to be willing and obedient” E.G.W. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, cp. 26, pg. 165) Revival produces obedience. Obedience is the natural reaction of the believer to the work of the Holy Spirit. This week we’ll study the obedience of several biblical characters. • Peter: Obeying and changing. • Stephen: Obeying regardless of the consequences. • Paul and Ananias: Obeyingdespitetheunexpected. • Ananias and Sapphira: Halfobedience. • Agrippa: Refusingtoobey (“nearly”). • Jesus: The highest example of obedience.
PETER: OBEYING AND CHANGING Compare Peter’s attitude at Annas’ courtyard to his attitude at the shore of the Lake Tiberias and to His attitude before the Sanhedrin. What kind of transformation took place in his life? The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost made a dramatic difference in Peter’s life. It transformed him from a weak, vacillating believer to a faith-filled, obedient disciple. It is a powerful example of what the Holy Spirit can do for anyone surrendered in faith and obedience to our Lord.
STEPHEN:OBEYING REGARDLESS OF THE CONSEQUENCES “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:11) Stephen was “full of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 6:3). He didn’t hesitate to testify, no matter the consequences. Although his enemies “were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke” (Acts 6:10), they weren’t convinced by his testimony but by his obedience in the martyrdom. “His death was a sore trial to the church, but it resulted in the conviction of Saul, who could not efface from his memory the faith and constancy of the martyr, and the glory that had rested on his countenance” E.G.W. (The Acts of the Apostles, cp. 10, pg. 101) Though we might not all be called to die for our faith, we need to be so committed to our Lord that, if we were called to that, we would not back off.
PAUL AND ANANIAS: OBEYING DESPITE THE UNEXPECTED How did Paul react when Jesus confronted his prejudices in a miraculous manner at the way to Damascus (Acts 9:1-9)? He believed and obeyed: “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19) How did Ananias react when Jesus confronted his prejudices against Saul (Acts 9:10-18)? After finding an answer for his doubts, he believed what God told him about Paul. He obeyed and encouraged his old enemy: “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16)
ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA: HALF OBEDIENCE What does Ananias and Sapphira story teach about half obedience (Acts 5:1-11)? Half obedience is not obedience at all but a proof of a divided heart that is not willing to give it all for the Master. “Thousands would accept the truth if they could do so without denying self, but this class would never build up the cause of God. These would never march out valiantly against the enemy,—the world, the love of self, and the lusts of the flesh,—trusting their divine Leader to give them the victory” E.G.W. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, cp. 15, pg. 155)
AGRIPPA: REFUSING TO OBEY (“NEARLY”) ““King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.” Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian”” (Acts 26:27-28) When King Agrippa felt the call of the Holy Spirit, he didn’t obey that call —not like Peter or Paul. “While some wondered with amazement as they listened to Paul, one cried out, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Yet the most of those who heard thought that at some future time they would consider what they had heard. Satan took advantage of the delay, and, as they neglected the opportunity when their hearts were softened, it was forever lost. Their hearts became hardened” E.G.W. (EarlyWritings, pg. 207)
JESUS:THE HIGHEST EXAMPLE OF OBEDIENCE “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8) Jesus provides an example of what a life filled with the Holy Spirit is like. It is a life of willing obedience and humble submission to the Father’s will. It is a prayerful life devoted to service and ministry, a life consumed with the passionate desire to share the salvation with others.