A New Life (Revival and Beyond)


A New Life [Revival and Beyond]

Read This First

The name of Jesus has today become a part of the witnessing vocabulary of many thousands of young and old alike. The second coming of Christ, being born again, what Jesus means to us here and now, have become topics for everyday conversation. Songs of religious experience are competing with those about romance. Revival has happened before, and has accomplished startling results. But today, as never before, it's happening among youth. NL 3.1

On many college and university campuses—even those not particularly noted for religious connections—the name of Jesus is openly discussed in a new, positive way. Youth from comfortable homes, from the poor, the drug scene, from the well educated, have been moved to accept Christ in large numbers. Thousands have sensed the miraculous experience of being converted. And Seventh-day Adventist youth are experiencing revival too. But now what? Where do we go from here? NL 3.2

Being born again, justified, converted—whatever we choose to call it—is the beginning. But what about the days and weeks and months of growing up into Christ? What about that lifetime experience we sometimes call sanctification? NL 3.3

The word of God and the counsels of Ellen White lead us to the conclusion that we are justified by faith and accepting Christ, but we are sanctified by faith and obedience. The truly born-again Christian not only talks about, but lives a life that testifies that he is, in fact, a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. NL 3.4

The way to eternal life is not easy. After all, it is called “strait” in the Bible. We battle enemies outside ourselves as well as sinful tendencies and weaknesses within. There are plenty of detours too. And of course there is always the broad way, with its lurid appeal. Counterfeits are introduced by Satan to confuse and discourage us. But, thank God, there are clear directions to show us the way to life eternal. NL 4.1

The following questions are typical of those being asked today. How can we explain the power attending popular revival movements in which no attempt is made to honor God's law? What about the tongues movement in some Protestant and Catholic churches? Are healing miracles, which accent some of the revivals of our time, real? Can God work miracles through those who proclaim Jesus’ pardon for sins and yet teach others to ignore the Ten Commandments as unnecessary or impossible? NL 4.2

It is obvious from a study of history that not all revivals are God-inspired. Counterfeits have appeared every time there has been the genuine. The Bible tells us that Satan can and does perform miracles. He would, if possible, deceive the very elect. We will not always be able to trust what we see and hear and feel. NL 4.3

It is not the purpose of this book to pass judgment on the popular revivals of today. Who can doubt that there are genuine conversions at some of these meetings? In fact, we will go a step further and suggest that genuine healing may result from the exercise of faith in God's word. In some cases this may be in spite of the evangelist, not necessarily because of him. It is the purpose of this book, rather, to consider certain criteria that help one to distinguish between the true and the false. NL 4.4

In one of her earliest visions, seventeen-year-old Ellen Harmon (White) was given an unusual message. It was February, 1845. When Christ had not returned to this earth as expected a few months earlier, the disappointed Adventists were divided and confused. Through Bible study some of them found an explanation for this disappointment. Visions given to Ellen Harmon helped to confirm their conclusions. They discovered Bible truths that had largely been ignored while their attention had been focused on preparation for Christ's return. But the great majority of Adventists rejected all such study or explanation. NL 4.5

In this vision of 1845 Ellen saw the little loyal group kneeling before God's throne in prayer. Most of them arose and followed Jesus by faith as his work moved into the most holy place. They received the holy spirit, and there “was light, power, and much love, joy, and peace.”—Early Writings, 55. NL 5.1

But the group which remained bowed before the throne continued to pray there, even though Christ had left. Satan appeared to take Christ's place at the throne, answering their prayers. Ellen saw this group look up, not knowing to whom they prayed, asking for the Holy Spirit. She described what she saw in vision this way: “Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace. Satan's object was to keep them deceived and to draw back and deceive God's children.” (See Early Writings, 54-56, for the brief account.) NL 5.2

The experience of these two groups of Adventists in 1845 reminds us that there can be a genuine and a counterfeit experience—even among those who profess to be sincere. Although God desires that each of us should have a genuine born-again experience followed by a life of happy Christian fulfillment, Satan endeavors to convince us that there are short cuts—easier ways to get it. It is obvious that both can't be right. NL 5.3

The Seventh-day Adventist church was born in difficult and exciting times. Most of those who participated in its beginnings were young yet deeply dedicated to a study of the word and eager to witness for their faith. In those formative years of the Church often there were deeply spiritual and emotional gatherings of Adventists. Some of the experiences these members had gave evidence of the leading of God's Spirit, whereas others were obviously of another spirit. NL 6.1

In this setting it was clear that they needed to “try the spirits” to see whether they were from God. Ellen White also gave clear and positive counsel. From this counsel articles were selected that form this small book. A careful study of its pages will provide the reader with timeless principles on the genuine and the counterfeit in religious experience. NL 6.2

For more than eighty years Ellen White's much-loved book Steps to Christ has been a best seller, with an estimated 16 million copies distributed in a hundred languages. Its appeal for commitment to Christ has been accepted by young and old. A New Life joins it as a companion book offering further guidance toward a life of genuine revival and reformation. NL 6.3

In these last moments of earth's sinful history, times are difficult again—and also exciting. Surely God's Holy Spirit is ready to give us the power to finish our work for others and the work necessary for ourselves. Can it be that you will be one through whom God will do something special? May your careful study help you to be both eager and ready to meet your Lord when He returns. NL 6.4

Trustees of the Ellen G. White Estate