Abraham received the invitation to walk closely with God and to live a life of faithfulness. Moses had this experience through a powerful wilderness encounter, as well as a daily experience as he led God's people out of captivity. The call to revival and reformation has been issued through prophets like Elijah and kings like Josiah. John the Baptist called for spiritual revival and reformation of lifestyle as he anticipated the coming of Jesus. The disciples were led to this experience, and it opened the door to receive the Holy Spirit in its fullness for the proclamation of the Gospel.
Before the disciples carried the gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, they were first instructed to wait for the promised gift--the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Like the twelve in the upper room after Christ's ascension, we are confronted with orders to fulfill an impossible task: to proclaim the gospel to the world, that the end may come. (Matthew 28:18-20, Matt 24:14) Just as they were empowered by the Holy Spirit to take the gospel to the nations, we are to have the same experience. Before the disciples carried the gospel from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, they were first instructed to wait for the promised gift--the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As it was for them, our first work must be to have the upper room experience of confession, repentance, and earnest prayer as we anticipate the gift.
God longs to see His church empowered by His Spirit as a vibrant witness to the power of the gospel in the days before the return of Jesus. He has told us that as an earthly father is willing to give good gifts to his children, our heavenly Father is even more willing to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit. Why, then, have we not received the gift? Certainly not because God is not willing to give it!
At the 2010 General Conference Annual Council, world church leaders responded to an appeal to spiritual revival. Sensing that church leaders on all levels have often exhibited misaligned priorities, the following statement was issued:
We recognize that we have not always placed priority on seeking God through prayer and His word for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in latter-rain power. We humbly confess that in our personal lives, our administrative practices, and committee meetings we too often have labored in our own strength. Too often, God's mission of saving a lost world has not taken first place in our hearts. At times in our busyness doing good things we have neglected the most important thing--knowing Him. Too often petty jealousies, ambitions, and fractured personal relationships have crowded out our longing for revival and reformation and caused us to labor in our human strength rather than his divine power.
In it’s unrenewed state, the church exhibits the same characteristics found in the disciples before the Cross. And just as the disciples, we are called to a transformative experience in Christ. His work may be completed through us only as as we are filled with the Holy Spirit.
Many years ago, Ellen White wrote that, "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." Later, she penned the following statement:
There is nothing that Satan fears so much as that the people of God shall clear the way by removing every hinderance, so that the Lord can pour out His Spirit upon a languishing church and an impenitent congregation.
The Revival and Reformation initiative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church seeks to assist the church in removing these obstacles so that God can revive the church with His Spirit, accomplish the work of reflecting His character, and proclaiming the gospel to the world in preparation of His return. We seek to cultivate a deeper prayer experience within Adventism by encouraging regular personal prayer and powerful corporate prayer experiences; through the Believe His Prophets Bible reading plans and writings of Ellen White; through and through telling stories of transformation and personal encounters with God; and through powerful, biblical resources intended to help you grow.
The need for personal renewal and transformation of character is not new—it is as old as the fall of man. But it is more urgent now than it ever has been. We pray that these initiatives will be a blessing to you, empower your personal witness, and deepen your personal experience with Christ in these last days before His glorious return.