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Insights #7 May 16, 2015
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Second Quarter 2015 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and Prayer
For the week of May 16, 2015

 
In his book Adventism's Greatest Need: the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit, pastor and author Ron E. Clouzet takes an in-depth look into the theme of this week's lesson on Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and Prayer. Though the book wasn't written as a commentary for this purpose, it is nonetheless appropriate especially for our lesson topic this week. Published by Pacific Press, Adventism's Greatest Need (Copyright 2011) explains the importance of understanding our history as Seventh-day Adventists, particularly the missed opportunities that would have allowed for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in preparation for the latter rain.

Nearly 2,000 years have passed since Paul and Peter preached Christ in early rain power. Another 125-plus years have passed since the youthful E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified to a group of church leaders gathered in Minneapolis in what was intended to be the beginning of the latter rain.
But from heaven's perspective, no matter how many years have elapsed, there still remains only one Way to heaven. The cross of Christ alone has power to subdue our selfish, willful hearts. E. J. Waggoner had a singular experience one rainy Sabbath while attending a campmeeting where Ellen White was preaching. That afternoon the Holy Spirit impressed Elder Waggoner deeply with the love of Christ as revealed at the cross. For Waggoner, this was a life-changing event.
Elder Clouzet shares his own testimony in the first chapter of his book:
"A number of years ago, when I was a young professor at one of our Adventist universities, I went to my office to do some research early one morning, hours before others arrived in the building. While I was there, I caught a glimpse of a well-known word picture that Ellen White 'painted' of Jesus' sacrifice for me. It spoke of Christ being brutally abused for me; His head, His hands, His feet being bruised for me. Ellen White pointed to the 'unutterable anguish that filled His soul at the hiding of His Father's face,' and I realized it was because of my sin. And then, in crescendo of painful reality, the author addressed the reader: 'It is for thee that the Son of God consents to bear this burden of guilt; for thee he spoils the domain of death, and opens the gates of Paradise.'
"I started sobbing right then and there. I tried to finish reading the paragraph, but I could no longer see; my eyes had become rivers of pain and sorrow mingled with relief. I dropped to my kneeds, reduced to a violent heaving that wouldn't stop, and I cried aloud, "Why, Lord? Why would you love me so much? Who am I that You'd give Yourself up for me?'
"I cried and cried that morning until I ran out of tears. I'd grasped the love of my Savior, my Master and Lord, more fully than I ever had before. I'd been a pastor and Bible teacher for years. I had grown up in the church, constantly exposed to the work of Christ on behalf of sinners. I had led hundreds of people to the foot of the cross. And I had read that passage a number of times before. But that morning, the windows of heaven cast such a flood of light on God's grace that it overpowered me.
"I stayed on the floor of my office for the better part of an hour, weeping out my sorrow that my sins had caused Jesus' death, that I had gone on wantonly sinning with no care for what that sin does to Him, and that I had lived for so long without fully appreciating what God had done for me. How could the God of heaven, the King of kings, the Lord of lords--the One to whom we owe everything, from our every breath to eternal life--yield His life, His all, for me?
"To tell you the truth, I was so overwhelmed by the love of God that day that I dared not move or speak for a while. It seemed to me blasphemous even to say Thank You. My holy God gave Himself for me. I silently prayed that He'd stay His hand, because I imagined that if I were to discover more of His grace on my behalf, I could only explode, being unable to contain it all" (pp. 26, 27).

Dr. Clouzet concludes the chapter in this way: "The supreme, humble, gracious work of the Spirit is to show us Jesus as He really is. The law of God on which the universe runs is the law of self-sacrificing love--but until Calvary, only God knew how much He loved us. After the cross, the Holy Spirit could finally show His love to us in ways unknown before. That's why it was that the Spirit was poured upon all humankind at that time."
We will know when the Holy Spirit is reviving the latter rain message when Jesus and Him crucified is the theme of every sermon and every discourse. Paul's life was changed by this revelation. He "determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" 1 Cor. 2:2.
We may know our prayers are answered and the Holy Spirit is working when this most precious message is revived, received into the heart, and proclaimed with power. The earth will be lightened with His glory, and then the end will come.

- Patti Guthrie