Our First Work

Posted Feb 12, 2011 by Adrian Ebens in Laodicean Message Hits: 3,671

There have been several quotes from the pen of Ellen White that have stuck in my mind. This is one of them:

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. There must be earnest effort to obtain the blessing of the Lord, not because God is not willing to bestow His blessing upon us, but because we are unprepared to receive it. Our heavenly Father is more willing to give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him, than are earthly parents to give good gifts to their children. But it is our work, by confession, humiliation, repentance, and earnest prayer, to fulfill the conditions upon which God has promised to grant us His blessing. 1SM 121

For this revival to take place, what work is mentioned?

Confession, humiliation, repentance and earnest prayer.

For a revival to take place there needs to be a wide spread sense of need for confession, humiliation and repentance. What can cause us to really sense this need? To drive is to our knees in humility, brokenness and repentance?

This revival that we need cannot come about while working alongside a sense that great things are happening in the church and that God is working wonderful miracles through our ministers, laymen and via media and satellite evangelism and thousands are being added to the church. If God is already pouring our His Spirit in great power and working miracles then how can we truly feel the need to humble ourselves and repent?

If we seek to obtain revival while we believe that the church is advancing with power then this work of revival is not our first work. It is our second or third work and we are seeking this revival to aid the work we are already doing. To invoke the need for revival at the same time as believing the church is advancing in power and light is to make impossible the revival to take place. To seek for revival and reformation as a process to further empower the “good work we are already doing” is to seek that refreshing via a wrong motive.

To truly seek the Lord and seek for revival must be our FIRST work and this work can only come about through a recognition of the counsel to the Laodiceans.

Rev 3:15-17  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Is it possible for a church to truly believe they are wretched, poor blind and naked when they apparently are advancing at rapid speed, adding to the church daily? I hear several people saying that the drops of the latter rain are already beginning to fall. The Spirit is starting to be poured out. If this is the case then how can we truly sense our need, how can we truly repent, how can we truly feel the need of humility unless something is revealed to us to show us clearly that we thought we were rich but are in fact poor, wretched, miserable and naked?

The counsel to Laodicea presents the awkward situation that since we are naked and we need white raiment, that as a church we are not actually presenting a gospel that saves. We are presenting a message that leads people to misery, wretchedness and death.

What realization could come to us to cause us to see that we indeed need to repent and confess our sins and humble ourselves?

The answer is simple. The simplicity of the answer makes it overwhelmingly shocking. We as a church have rejected the Son of God as revealed in Scripture.

The Bible clearly reveals the Christ came forth from the Father and inherited everything from Him.

John 8:42  Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
John 16:27  For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God
John 17:8  For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
Heb 1:1-4  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  (2)  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;  (3)  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;  (4)  Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

Add to this the testimony of our pioneers:

Joseph Bates

And Daniel, the prophet, teaches the same doctrine. "I saw in the night visions: and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, (described in the ninth verse) and they brought him near before him; and there was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, never to be destroyed." Dan. 7:13,14. Now we all admit this personage was Jesus Christ; for no being on earth or in heaven, has ever had the promise of an everlasting kingdom but him. And does not the Ancient of days give it to him? Would it not be absurd to say that he gave it to himself? How then can it be said (or proved) as it is by some, that the Son is the Ancient of days; - this passage, and the one in fifth Revelations, distinctly prove God and his Son to be two persons in heaven. Jesus says, "I proceeded forth and came from God: neither came I of myself, but he sent me." John 8:42. "I come forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world and go to the Father.". {1846 JB, BP1 18.2} Opening of the Heavens

E.J Waggoner

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity." Micah 5:2, margin. We know that Christ "proceeded forth and came from God" (John 8:42), but it was so far back in the ages of eternity as to be far beyond the grasp of the mind of man. {1890 EJW, CHR 9.1}

Sadly, today we as a church deny that Jesus came forth from the Father and we deny that He is the Son of the Father in truth. (Literally)2 John 1:3

Here are some recent statements:

“There is, therefore, no ground within the biblical understanding of the Godhead for the idea of a generation of the Son from the Father.” Fernando Canale, Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopaedia, Volume 12, page 125, ‘The doctrine of God’)
Christ as God'sMonogen?s:When the term is used to describe Jesus, it simply means "unique," or "one and only." It describes the uniqueness of His nature: Angel Rodríguez. “The Only One Unique” BRI Website.
It is an inescapable teaching of Scripture Adrian that Jesus is Yahweh. Therefore, we cannot entertain the grave error that you propose, that is that Jesus is the literal Son of Yahweh, born from Him at sometime in eternity past.  He cannot be a literal son. It is true that He did become a son through His birth from the Virgin Mary but that has nothing whatever to do with the origin you claim for Him in eternity. Of course it is legitimate for Jesus to be called Son of God because of the Incarnation, but, there is no excuse whatever for calling Him the Son of God because of a supposed literal birth from God in eternity. I will have more to say on this a little further on. Let me reiterate the teaching of Scripture – Jesus is Yahweh and therefore cannot be the literal son of Yahweh. An Open Letter from Pr Max Hatton to Adrian Ebens Jan 24, 2010

Yet the Scripture is very plain about the identity of God’s Son

1 John 5:10-13  He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.  (11)  And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  (12)  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  (13)  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
Matt 3:17  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Mat 16:13-17  When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  (14)  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.  (15)  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  (16)  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  (17)  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Here is a basis for repentance and the need for revival. We have as a church have rejected the Son of God. Our church does not believe that Jesus is actually and literally God’s Son that came forth from Him. Such a rejection of the Son and a desire suppress prevent this truth from being proclaimed in the church is akin to seeking to kill the heir and take His inheritance. Matt 21:38

We have exchanged the Father and the Son for a type of Trinity that causes us to break the commandments of God.

Have we not all engaged in this sin as a people?

Many voices are starting to realize that we have made a mistake, but how many who realize this are openly confessing this mistake? There is much confessing of the church leaders mistakes and their apostasy, but are we not all involved in this apostasy, are we not all implicated and in need of humiliation and repentance?

Daniel in PrayerIt is very difficult for me to personally point the finger at another man when I have been guilty of the same sin.

If when we come to this truth we do not openly confess our wrong but rather focus on the failure of the leaders and those around us, we shut the door to an opportunity to engage in the first work that we as a people so desperately need.

Let all of us who have ignorantly accepted the Trinity, confess this wrong. Let us plead with the Lord to forgive us and turn His face towards us. Let us feel the weight of Daniel’s words and pray them as applying to ourselves.

Dan 9:11-19  Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him.  (12)  And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.  (13)  As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth.  (14)  Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice.  (15)  And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.  (16)  O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us.  (17)  Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.  (18)  O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.  (19)  O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

We as a people are spiritually captive to Babylon even as Daniel was literally captive to Babylon. Daniel did not write long pages of personal attacks on church leaders and those around him. He confessed the sin that all were involved in. His heartfelt prayer of repentance allowed our Father in Heaven to move upon the heart of the King of Babylon and allow the release of God’s people.

To be released from Babylon, we need to confess the sin of rejecting the Son of God and putting Him to an open Shame. For those who can see this truth, let us stop blaming others for this situation and starting confessing our own sins and faults and apostasy and plead that our Father will send us leaders with a heart to turn back to Him and that all our hearts will be turned to the Father and His heart will be turned to us and heal us of our wretched condition.

Then with this First work engaged, we can truly receive the refreshing we need to prepare for the final scenes of Earth’s history.