FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
January 17, 2014
Are We Preparing for the Latter Rain?– Part XIII
The Early Rain Individual Experience Involves Close Daily Self-Examination
Jesus “said to them all. If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross [of self-denial and self-sacrifice]daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” Luke 9: 23-25, K.J.V.
David prayed: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: Try me, and know my thoughts.” Ps. 139: 23. “Shall not God search this out? For He knoweth the secrets of the heart.” Ps. 44: 21. Paul echoes the psalmist: “But let a man examine himself . . . “1 Cor. 11: 28. “Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” 1 Cor. 13: 5.
Subjection and Striving for the Mastery. To the end, Apostle Paul was striving for an incorruptible, heavenly crown. He did it by keeping his mind and body under subjection to Christ! That is righteousness by faith in Christ.
“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate (self-control, margin) in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to other, I myself should be a castaway (rejected,margin).” 1 Cor. 9: 25-27.
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Cor. 5: 10 (compare to Eccl. 12: 13, 14; Rev. 22: 12).
Submission and Resistance. James, the brother of our Lord and prominent leader of the church at Jerusalem tells us to whom God gives more grace and what we must do with this grace, daily, when we receive it:
“But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He saith, God reisisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw nigh unto God, and He will draw nigh unto you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.” James 4: 6-10. Yes, this is how He lifts us up out of ourselves.
Thus: “When sin struggles for the mastery in your soul, and burdens the conscience, when unbelief clouds the mind, go to the Savior. His grace is sufficient to subdue sin.” – E. G. White, God’s Amazing Grace, p. 259. 1111
We must cast down every imagination and proud thing and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience to Christ. Apostle Paul says once more:
“For though we walk in the flesh [i.e., live in this mortal nature and corruptible flesh], we do not war after (according to, margin) the flesh: for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” 2 Cor. 10: 3-5.
So what do we do with the some 6,000 promises spread throughout the Bible? “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Cor. 7: 1.
Many of us are spiritually feeble because we persist in looking at ourselves and others as standards by which we assess our situation, circumstance, or measure our success or failure instead of beholding Christ by faith and following His life example and teachings. By constantly beholding one gradually becomes changed into the same image. Thus as each day of our short lives passes on to eternity we are either growing into spiritual giants or spiritual dwarfs.
We have little sense of the spiritual strength we might gain if only we were half as ambitious, zealous, and persevering to obtain a knowledge of divine things as we are to gain the wisdom of this world and the fleeting, perishable things of this life. Many are satisfied to be spiritual dwarfs with little or no disposition to make it their life goal, like Paul, to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; hence godliness is a hidden mystery to us; we don’t seem to understand it for we do not know Christ by experimental knowledge. And yet all are instructed and expected to become partakers His holiness through the provision of the Holy Spirit. Ask, seek, and knock for it!
“Every follower of Christ should daily examine himself, that he may become perfectly acquainted with his own conduct. There is with nearly all a neglect of self-examination. This neglect is positively dangerous in one who professes to be a mouth-piece for God. . . .” E. G. White, 2T 511. “Take time for self-examination, that you may bring all your powers into subjection to the mind and will of God.” – Ibid, Vol. 2, Testimonies, p. 231.
“Self-examination must be thorough, that there be no danger of self-deception.” – Ibid, Vol. 5 Testimonies, 332. “We must be awake to see our wrongs, and to search for our sins, and to zealously repent of them.”- Ibid, Vol. 1 Testimonies, 142. “I have been shown that we have a great work before us to search our own hearts, and watch ourselves with jealous care. We should learn wherein we fail, and then guard ourselves upon that point.” –Ibid, Vol. 1, Testimonies, 308.
“We are to examine our own characters in God’s mirror—His holy Law, to detect our errors and imperfections, and then to remove them by the precious blood of Christ.” –Ibid, Review & Herald, April 22, 1884. (See 1 John 1: 7-10).
To the self-confident Peter, and James and John who could not even be supportive of their Saviour in His death-struggle at Gethsemane , Jesus said: “What, could ye not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matt. 26: 40, 41. Christ’s counsel and warning is even more urgent to all living in these last days who are “to overcome even as He overcame.”
Rev. 3: 21. “Pray without ceasing . . . Quench not the Spirit.” 1 Thess. 5: 17, 19. Jesus prayed: “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth. . . And for their sakes I sanctify My self, that they might also be sanctified by the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.” John 17: 17, 19, 20.
Therefore it is: “Only by constant watchfulness and persevering and almost unceasing prayer, shall we be able to exhibit in our life the character of Christ sanctifying influence of the truth.” – Ibid, Vol. 1 Testimonies, p. 304.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses [See Hebrews chapter 11 of The Hall of Faith champions!], let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12: 1-3.
Envy, malice, evil- thinking, evil-speaking, and covetousness are the “weights” and “besetting sins” that we must divest ourselves of if we would run successfully the race for immortality! “Every habit or practice that leads into sin, bring dishonor to God, must be put away.”
The purpose of the Early Rain is to cleanse us from all sin, which prepares us for the Latter Rain. “Are we emptying our hearts of all selfishness and cleansing them, preparatory to receiving the Latter Rain from heaven?” – Ibid, RH Dec. 12, 1908; RH Oct. 12, 1961.
Cleansing from all sin under the Early Rain Experience is the indispensable preparation for the Latter Rain.
“May the Lord help His people to cleanse the soul temple from every defilement, and to maintain such a close connection with Him that they may be partakers of the Latter Rain when it shall be poured.” –Ibid, 6BC 1055; RH July 20, 1886.
“The refreshing [of the Latter Rain] or power of God comes only on those who have prepared themselves for it by doing the work which God bids them, namely, cleansing themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” –Ibid, 1T 619.
“I saw that none could share the refreshing unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action.” – Ibid, Early Writings, p. 71. (Continued next week).