Good morning, brothers and sisters in Christ! What a privilege to worship together in St Louis this Sabbath morning of the 61st General Conference Session—brothers and sisters in Christ as a worldwide family working together in Total Member Involvement. Praise God for the way He has led us during this abbreviated General Conference Session, delayed twice because of the miserable COVID-19 pandemic. Glory to our wonderful God that we can say together, “Yes, Lord, I Will Go and share the three angels’ messages with the world as we anticipate Christ’s soon coming.”
Around this globe, Seventh-day Adventists have the great expectation that “Jesus is coming soon!” I have shared that phrase in past General Conference Sessions in different languages. Please forgive me if I don’t pronounce it correctly but it is a humble effort to unite our voices in the great theme of Christ’s soon coming: “Heysus viene pronto!” (Spanish), “Jesus revien bientot! (French), Jaysuh brehvee voltara! (Portuguese), Yesu ana-kuja upesi! (Swahili), Isus prediot skora! (Russian), Yesu-knee-me…..Kgauld….O shim-nee-dah! (Korean), Hiesua seyati serihan! (Arabic), Yesu quai lai--leh! (Mandarin Chinese), Yeshu yelldee a raha heh! (Hindi), Mah-lah-pit nang duma-ting si Haysus! (Tagalog)………..and in so many other languages of the world we share those encouraging words that are full of hope. In fact, our 2022 General Conference Session theme is: “Jesus Is Coming! Get Involved!”
What a wonderful spirit of spiritual dedication and evangelistic enthusiasm in our worldwide family. With so many countries and cultures in our global church family, we praise God that there is one culture of Christ that binds us together and makes us all citizens of heaven. As we study the Word of God today, I humbly ask for your prayers that the message I share is heard clearly and that only God, His infinite love, His Word, His character, and His righteousness will be lifted up.
With that strong emphasis on the Word of God and, in the spirit of what I just shared in various languages regarding that marvelous phrase, “Jesus Is Coming Soon,” let me share with you another wonderful biblical phrase in those languages—and, again, please forgive my mispronunciation of: “Hold fast what you have!” Let me repeat that, “Hold fast what you have!” By God’s grace, I hope you will understand the following in different languages:
SPANISH **”Reten loco-tea-enes!” (Reten lo que tienes!)
FRENCH **”Retiens ce que tu as!”
PORTUGUESE **”Guarda o key ten!”(Guarda o que tens!)
SWAHILI **”Shee kee leah sana u-lee-choo-nah-cho!” (Shikilia sana ulichonacho.)
RUSSIAN **”Tevorda derzhis tavo shto yest oo tibya!” (Twerdo derzhis togo shto est u tebja!)
KOREAN**”Tang-shini kashin-go-sul…..Kgauld-gue cha-go shib-shi-oh!”
ARABIC **”Tamasak be ma ladayk!”
CHINESE Mandarin**”Tien show ni shuo yung you deh!” (Jiān chí nǐ suǒ yǒng yǒu de)
HINDI**”Apkepas yo heh, usé pacard care rake!”
TAGALOG **”Ha-wah-kan moh koong ah-noong meh-ron kah!” (Hawakan mo kung anong meron ka.)
Now, if you didn’t understand what I said, let me repeat it in English! Brothers and sisters, “Hold fast what you have!” Let us never give up the pure Bible truth as we see the signs of the Second Coming increasing all around us. We see frequent natural disasters, political chaos, compromising through ecumenical activity, increase of spiritualism, instability of world economies, diminishing of biblical and moral values in society and the family, miserable pestilences and diseases such as the horrible COVID-19, abandonment of God’s authoritative Holy Word and His ten commandments, increasing crime and violence, and wars proliferating in many places. These and other signs point to the end of time and the imperative need to “hold fast what we have”—never give up the pure Bible truth. Listen to what the Holy Scriptures say: I Thessalonians 5:21 —“Test all things; hold fast what is good;” II Thessalonians 2:15 “….stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught;” Hebrews 3:14 “…..hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end;” Hebrews 4:14 “…..let us hold fast our confession;” Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering…..;” and Revelation 3:11 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”
Despite the swirling chaos all around us, we can plant our feet directly on and believe completely in the unchanging Holy Word of God----the Scriptures, the Bible! Satan has attacked God’s Word down through the ages since his defection from heaven, but God has always protected His Holy Word and always will. He asks us to stand up for the truth and hold fast what we have believed. Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as it reads and as the foundation for all our religious beliefs. From the Holy Word, we understand Seventh-day Adventists to be God’s called remnant church with a unique, peculiar prophetic identity—it is a unique movement with a unique message on a unique heavenly mission.
We are to lift up Christ, His Word, His righteousness, His sanctuary service, His saving power in the great controversy, His three angels’ messages, His health message, His last-day mission to the world of sharing the good news of salvation including the need to plead for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit, and Christ's soon Second Coming.
As God’s remnant people identified in Revelation 12:17 “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ,” we have a special message of warning, grace, and hope. In Testimonies for the Church, Volume 7, page 138, we read, “Seventh-day Adventists have been chosen by God as a peculiar people, separate from the world… He has made them His representatives and has called them to be ambassadors for Him in the last work of salvation.” Hold fast what you have!
Regardless of the many obstacles we now face and will face, let us hold fast our belief in God’s Word and His love for His church. His church will not fail nor fall apart. It will go through to the end under the power of the Holy Spirit. Plead for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit as we see the world around us disintegrating. In these last days of earth’s history and in response to our earnest prayers, God will pour out His Spirit on all who humble themselves and conform their lives to His will as expressed in His Holy Word and His instructions in the Spirit of Prophecy thus showing His infinite love for the human race.
Let’s review the many vital truths from God’s Word that He would have us hold fast:
1. Hold fast the biblical truth that the Godhead is constituted by three divine and equal Persons Who have and will exist from eternity to eternity. Hold fast what you have!
2. Hold fast to simplicity in Christian lifestyle, personal dress, conduct in church life, and everyday activities. Hold fast what you have!
3. Hold fast to biblical truths and their relevancy for today, despite persecution. Avoid issues that are distractions from God’s last-day three angels’ messages to the world with Christ’s righteousness at the core of those messages. Hold fast to the pure Word of God not allowing any syncretistic or mystic aberrant theological beliefs into the Seventh-day Adventist Church. II Peter 2:1 indicates, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies……….” Hebrews 13:8-9 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace……..” Hold fast what you have!
4. Hold fast your careful observance of the seventh-day Sabbath commemorating biblical creation accomplished by God recently in six literal days. Hold fast what you have!
5. Hold fast a simple, healthy lifestyle including a plant-based diet according to biblical and Spirit of Prophecy counsel. Hold fast what you have!
6. Hold fast to the unity in the church that God provides to all who focus their lives on Christ and His full biblical truth. Christ Himself in Revelation 2:25 says, “hold fast what you have till I come.” Testimonies for the Church, Volume 1, page 324, says, “Christ is leading out a people, and bringing them into the unity of the faith, that they may be one, as He is one with the Father. Differences of opinion must be yielded, that all may come into union with the body, that they may have one mind and one judgment.” Hold fast what you have!
7. Hold fast to God’s biblical institution of marriage between one man and one woman. God’s Word confirms biblical marriage, biblical human sexuality, and the biblical family as instituted by God Himself at creation. The rampant sexual aberrations in the world are not condoned by the Bible and will not lead to eternal life. Sexual immorality in any form is to be submitted to God’s power to change us into His likeness. God’s ideal is to be followed, again through His power, to put us in a right relationship with His moral and natural laws. This is not an impossibility, for the Bible clearly indicates in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11—"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." Hold fast what you have!
8. Hold fast in humility to spiritual and biblical respect for church authority showing respect for God working in His church through appropriate bodies and careful observance of Bible and Spirit of Prophecy counsel. Hold fast what you have!
9. Hold fast your great appreciation, use, and promotion of the Spirit of Prophecy….the writings of Ellen G White. This is a heavenly gift to this church. Hold fast what you have!
10. Hold fast to biblical church growth principles and the heavenly explanations of evangelistic growth as revealed in the Spirit of Prophecy. Hold fast what you have!
11. Hold fast your faithfulness to God’s unique Advent movement resisting any compromise with ecumenism and neutralization of the pure Word of God. We have been called to a unique place in history as the Seventh-day Adventist Church. God intends that His church move forward without compromise on the pathway to the eternal city led by Christ Himself. Difficult days lie ahead for God’s remnant as the devil throws everything he can against the forward advance of God’s Advent movement. We know that the omega is coming which will test all church members to rely completely on God to avoid great and overwhelming deception and compromise. Do not compromise by entering into ecumenical activities. Look only to Jesus and His full biblical truth. Hold fast what you have!
12. Hold fast to the core of our salvation and the everlasting gospel—Christ’s righteousness—His justifying righteousness by faith and His sanctifying righteousness by the Holy Spirit working in us. Christ’s righteousness is what will save us. Ephesians 2:8-10 proclaims in the New Testament what Genesis 3:15 proclaimed in the Old Testament and for all time. Ephesians 2:8-10 testifies, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” In contrast to self-centered salvation by works, Christ calls us to an understanding that His death on the cross, His current intercession for us in the literal most holy place of His literal heavenly sanctuary, and the promise of eternal life at His soon Second Coming are all gifts to us through His grace. The promise of Genesis 3:15 is about to be fulfilled when God said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” What a promise packed with God’s authority, saving power, future destruction of the devil, and the promise of eternal life through the victory of Christ over the devil. Hold fast what you have!
13. Hold fast to all the wonderful 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church including our understanding of prophecy culminating with the final announcement of Daniel 8:14 and the 2300 day/year prophecy ending in 1844 with the beginning of the investigative judgment in heaven, revealing God’s great love for His people as demonstrated in the plan of salvation and sanctuary service. This prophecy is rock-solid and true. These wonderful 28 Fundamental Beliefs are all Christ-centered doctrines of the Bible. Hold fast what you have!
14. Hold fast to your daily leaning on the Lord through personal Bible study and prayer. God’s Word will sustain you in all that you face. Hold fast what you have!
15. Hold fast to simple biblical church worship patterned after Revelation 4 giving glory only to God and not to human beings. Hold fast what you have!
16. Hold fast to proactive and wide-scale circulation of heaven-inspired Spirit of Prophecy books. Be part of The Great Controversy Project 2.0 in 2023 and 2024 distributing millions upon millions of the full version of The Great Controversy. Hold fast what you have!
17. Hold fast your firm belief, as our 2022 General Conference Session theme emphasizes, that Jesus is coming soon and that you are to get involved! Share with the world that we can be ready for His coming, can hasten His coming, and can share this hope of salvation through complete dependence on Christ and His justifying and sanctifying righteousness allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through you in your personal witness and public evangelism.
Testimonies for the Church, Volume 9, pages 116-117, indicates, “The leaders in God’s cause, as wise generals, are to lay plans for advance moves all along the line. In their planning they are to give special study to the work that can be done by the laity for their friends and neighbors. The work of God in this earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers.”
Total Member Involvement engages everyone in a year-round program of comprehensive evangelistic witnessing and outreach in all its forms. As we have already mentioned at this GC Session, last November, it was a privilege to preach in a number of evangelistic meetings in the Philippines—what a marvelous combination of evangelistic outreach activities planned by the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, the North Philippine Union, the Central Philippine Union, the South Philippine Union, and Adventist World Radio in conjunction with Hope Channel—amazing miracles by the Lord! In spite of the pandemic, about 124,000 people were baptized including more than 1,000 people comprising former rebels and their families. At those evangelistic meetings, Nancy shared health topics and I shared the Bible truths, full of hope for the Second Coming, full of Christ’s prophetic power, full of God’s authority in history and the future. Every time I preach those sermons I am reassured, revived, reformed, and humbled by God’s Written Word and the Living Word, Jesus Christ!
I strongly urge you to preach or be involved with an evangelistic series this year—pastors, church administrators, teachers, health professionals, church members, old and young—everyone—all going back to your true roots of why we are here—to proclaim the gospel message and hope of Christ’s soon return. Nancy and I try to preach an evangelistic series every year and I urge you to do the same. It will revolutionize your life and your personal commitment to this precious truth, reaching many with the Advent message. As our GC Session theme says, “Jesus is coming! Get Involved!” Hold fast what you have!
18. Hold fast to biblical inspiration, rejecting humanism and popular social culture that attempt to destroy God’s revelation. Hold fast what you have!
19. Hold fast to the beauty of the sanctuary and its services which point to the everlasting gospel—Jesus Christ, the Lamb slain on the cross. We read in Last Day Events, page 177: “The enemy will bring in false theories, such as the doctrine that there is no sanctuary. This is one of the points on which there will be a departing from the faith.” Hold fast what you have!
20. Hold fast to the biblical day/year principle of interpreting biblical prophecy allowing the Bible to interpret itself. The historicist approach shows us that history has accurately unfolded according to God’s Word. Hold fast what you have!
21. Hold fast to the historical biblical/historical grammatical approach to interpreting Scripture. It is the only hermeneutical approach approved by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Hold fast what you have!
22. Hold fast to the biblical and Spirit of Prophecy understanding that the shaking and sifting of God’s church will take place before Christ returns. Last Day Events, page 180, tells us, “Soon God’s people will be tested by fiery trials, and the great proportion of those who now appear to be genuine and true will prove to be base metal……The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out---the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place.” Hold fast what you have!
23. Hold fast to the precious understanding that we are God’s worldwide remnant Seventh-day Adventist Church in over 200 countries who support each other, avoiding the mission-destroying concept of congregationalism. Testimonies, volume 6, page 27 states: “The home missionary work will be farther advanced in every way when a more liberal, self-denying, self-sacrificing spirit is manifested for the prosperity of foreign missions; for the prosperity of the home work depends largely, under God, upon the reflex influence of the evangelical work done in countries afar off.” Hold fast what you have!
24. Hold fast to the wonderful foundation of God’s government based on love—His eternal law including His Ten Commandments. We do not keep God’s law through our own power but only as we lean on Christ and His righteousness. Last Day Events, page 180 indicates, “When the religion of Christ is most held in contempt, when His law is most despised, then should our zeal be the warmest and our courage and firmness the most unflinching. To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord, when champions are few----this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.” Hold fast what you have!
25. Hold fast to God’s special plan of health reform and comprehensive health ministry as you advocate a healthy lifestyle of God’s eight natural remedies—good nutrition, regular exercise, ample use of water, temperance in all things, pure air, adequate sleep and rest, and trust in divine power. God’s health plan rejects alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and improper lifestyles incompatible with biblical and Spirit of Prophecy principles. Health reform is God’s plan for the most abundant life possible on this earth. Read and follow God’s counsel for health as part of the third angel’s message, staying away from anything that will defile you. Hold fast what you have!
My brothers and sisters, as we have reviewed these twenty-five points, and others could be added, stand firm for God’s amazing biblical truth for this time. Do not be distracted, but rather focus fully on God’s Word and Spirit of Prophecy counsel giving us connection to God, hope for the future, and our reason for being Seventh-day Adventists.
In summation, let’s focus on our specific calling by God as His remnant church for these last days of earth’s history………..to proclaim worldwide the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 and the corresponding fourth angel of Revelation 18. The Lord calls us to be part of His last-day movement and mission. That's who Seventh-day Adventists are—God’s remnant church called to present completely God’s precious truths to everyone who will listen with an open heart.
Allow the Holy Spirit to spiritually revitalize your life, your family, your activities, your work for the Lord, and your local church. Let’s earnestly pray for the falling of the latter rain of the Holy Spirit to accomplish this work in our lives. We need revival, reformation, repentance, and humility, allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us. For the past months, we have asked church members to pray earnestly that the Holy Spirit would take control of this 2022 General Conference Session and we praise Him for doing so. Our hearts are refreshed and inspired to accomplish what God has in store for us in these last days of history since God formed the Seventh-day Adventist Church, His remnant church, to proclaim His three angels’ messages of Revelation 14.
Testimonies, volume 9, page 19 says: “In a special sense, Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchman and light bearers. To them, has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import. The proclamation of the first, the second and the third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.”
Since these messages are so central to our mission as Seventh-day Adventists, I would like to take the next few minutes to review with you some of the vitally important points of these messages, reminding ourselves as to what our God-given mission really is.
We read in Revelation 14:6: “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue and people-----.” The core of the three angels’ messages is the righteousness of Jesus Christ—His justifying and sanctifying righteousness. The foundation of the everlasting gospel is based upon Jesus Christ, His righteousness, and His great sacrifice for us. As Christ’s followers, we proclaim Him because we're connected to Him and His righteousness.
Verse 7 proclaims, “saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” This first angel’s voice is loud so everyone will hear and give glory and praise to God.
The text indicates, "for the hour of His judgment has come." Yes, we are being judged. In 1844, the investigative judgment began in the most holy place in heaven as the Lord began reviewing the lives of people down through history. One day soon probation will close, which is why it is vital for us to always lean on Jesus and His righteousness.
This judgment is also before the entire universe telling everyone that God's wonderful character of love is just, pure, perfect, and true. We are to worship Him who made heaven and earth and the sea which ties into the third angel's message signifying that God is the all-powerful Creator. We are to worship Him on the seventh-day Sabbath which is a distinct sign of His authority.
It will be one of the great controversial topics of the last days, since the seal of God is the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath, whereas the mark of the beast will be the keeping of Sunday. The time will come to make the ultimate decision of who to worship by indicating where our loyalties lie—with God, by worshipping on His holy, seventh-day Sabbath, regardless of the consequences; or by following the beast, who has set up his false day of worship on Sunday. It is at that time that those who choose to keep Sunday will receive the mark of the beast.
The Great Controversy plainly states on pages 604-605: “With the issue thus clearly brought before him, whoever shall trample upon God's law to obey a human enactment receives the mark of the beast……..The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. While the observance of the false sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God's law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other, choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority receive the seal of God.”
Revelation 14:8 states, “And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” This is the church down through the Middle Ages that continues today led by the papacy. It will, according to Bible prophecy, unite with apostate Protestantism and spiritualism to form the triumvirate powers attempting to force submission from all who faithfully follow the Word of God.
Babylon, a symbol of complete confusion, chaos, and the mixing of truth and error, is fallen because it represents the devil and satanic influences confusing people. The Great Controversy, page 588, says: “Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul," that false lie of the devil that something lives beyond death, "and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions.”
We do not believe in the immortality of the soul, but the devil tries to bring in that deception to cause confusion and open the door to spiritualism which will combine with the Roman power and apostate Protestantism forming a union to confuse people—it is Babylon.
Continuing in The Great Controversy, page 588: “Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism. They will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power and under the influence of this threefold union, this country,” referring to the United States, “will follow in this step of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” This is not a conditional prophecy; it confirms Revelation 13 and 14.
The United States, represented by the two-horned beast of Revelation 13:11, will repudiate the very foundations upon which it was founded. Its two horns represent republicanism, the form of government termed a republic, and the other representing Protestantism. This two-horned beast will create an image to the beast through a national Sunday law.
Revelation 13:12 states, “And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed.” This clearly shows that the image to the beast—the United States combined with apostate Protestantism—will initiate activities to support the beast and a Sunday law and will make the whole earth worship the beast whose deadly wound is healed. There will be national and international Sunday laws that will deprive all true Bible-believing Christians worldwide of their religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
The devil, his supporters, and his false day of worship will appear to have triumphed, but it will not last long. God’s great sign of His authority as Creator, the seventh-day Sabbath, will be the seal on His people and will triumph forever when Jesus returns to take His people home to heaven.
Revelation 14:9 and 10 says: “Then the third angel followed them saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on his forehead or in his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of his indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of Lamb. And the smoke of their torment, ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Receiving this mark in the forehead represents a conscious acceptance and belief of the beast’s instructions. Receiving the mark in the hand represents that even if you may not believe the instructions, you will sacrifice your eternal life simply to temporarily save your current physical life.
In Last Day Events, page 224, we read: “The mark of the beast is the papal sabbath……When the test comes, it will be clearly shown what the mark of the beast is. It is the keeping of Sunday……The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord’s memorial of creation. The mark of the beast is the opposite of this----the observance of the first day of the week.”
Brothers and sisters, lean on Christ, His Holy Word, and His Spirit of Prophecy as we prepare for what is soon to come. Ponder this from Last Day Events, pages 136-137, “The whole world is to be stirred with enmity against Seventh-day Adventists because they will not yield homage to the papacy by honoring Sunday, the institution of this antichristian power. . . All Christendom will be divided into two great classes----those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and those who worship the beast and his image and receive his mark.”
The three angels’ messages end with marvelous verse 12: “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” By God’s grace and power, let’s keep all the commandments of God and have complete faith in Jesus.
As the three angels’ messages are proclaimed, the Holy Spirit will guide us to be unified. In Principles for Christian Leaders, page 306, we read: “His transforming grace upon human hearts will lead to unity that has not yet been realized, for all who are assimilated to Christ will be in harmony with one another. The Holy Spirit will create unity. . . I am instructed to say to Seventh-day Adventists the world over, God has called us as a people to be a peculiar treasure unto Himself. He has appointed that His church on earth shall stand perfectly united in the Spirit and counsel of the Lord of hosts to the end of time.”
When the powerful injunctions of the third angel are proclaimed, there will be unusual responses. In Principles for Christian Leaders, page 307, we read, “Heretofore those who presented the truths of the third angel’s message have often been regarded as mere alarmists. Their predictions that religious intolerance would gain control in the United States, that church and state would unite to persecute those who keep the commandments of God, have been pronounced groundless and absurd. It has been confidently declared that this land could never become other than what it has been—the defender of religious freedom. But as the question of enforcing Sunday observance is widely agitated, the event so long doubted and disbelieved is seen to be approaching, and the third message will produce an effect which it could not have had before.”
Share these precious three angels’ messages with heavenly kindness and Christian love. They not only have a strong warning but share great hope through the righteousness of Christ as revealed in the everlasting gospel. So, do not get weary or discouraged. Do not give way to complaining and skepticism. Do not turn away from the Lord and the task He has entrusted to us. Look to Christ and live as you respond to God’s instructions for His last-day remnant people. We are on the edge of the promised land as we view the approach of Christ’s second coming. But, the devil wishes to discourage us just as he did with the Israelites before their entrance into the promised land.
They had been wandering in the desert and became weary and tired—they bitterly complained against God; they lost their focus on what God had in store for them as His people of promise. Numbers 21:4-9 says, “Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread. So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.’ So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”
Our only salvation in this time of skepticism, doubt, and resentment against God is to look to Christ and live. Patriarchs and Prophets, page 430, says of the Israelites’ experience, “The lifting up of the brazen serpent was to teach Israel an important lesson. They could not save themselves from the fatal effects of the poison in their wounds. God alone was able to heal them. Yet they were required to show their faith in the provision which He had made. They must look in order to live. It was their faith that was acceptable with God, and by looking upon the serpent their faith was shown. They knew that there was no virtue in the serpent itself, but it was a symbol of Christ; and the necessity of faith in His merits was thus presented to their minds.”
Don’t lose your faith in Christ and His promises for His last-day remnant people, the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Look up to Christ, His merits, His righteousness, His everlasting biblical truth and we will live.
In the Ellen G White Estate offices at the General Conference headquarters, a large painting called “Christ of the Narrow Way” portrays God’s people moving along a treacherous pathway. Many of you may have seen it and have been impressed by how veteran Seventh-day Adventist artist Elfred Lee depicts Ellen White’s vision showing the tribulations and triumphs of God’s last-day remnant church as it moves along the ever-narrowing pathway. As long as God’s people—both individually and as a united body—keep their eyes fixed on Christ at the front of the pathway and do not compromise their faith, they are safe. Let us stop looking to each other, stop looking to so-called outside “experts,” stop looking to worldly influences, stop compromising, stop looking to errant theological thinking, stop looking to humanly devised church growth methods, and turn our eyes upon Jesus and His heavenly instructions. Jesus Christ is the True Leader of this Church, and He is the only One who can guide us safely to our heavenly home as look to Him alone each and every day.
One day very soon, we WILL look up in the eastern sky and see a small cloud approaching, about half the size of a man's hand. We will realize it is the Second Coming of Christ. That cloud will get brighter and brighter and larger and larger, all of heaven poured out for this climactic event…..and in the middle of that cloud, we will see Jesus. We will say, “This is the God that we have waited for and He will save us.” Jesus will look down and say, “Well done, good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of your Lord”………..and we will ascend to heaven together. I long for that day. You'll see your loved ones who have died in the Lord. But the most important thing—we’ll see Jesus. You will look around and see those whom you have invited because you said, “Yes, Lord, I have held fast the truth you gave us, I engaged in Total Member Involvement, and said I WILL GO and be part of sharing God's last day message to this world. You see, friends, Jesus said, in that heavenly Council of Peace with the Father, "I will go to Earth and give My life." He said to His disciples—"Go into all the world, and He said, ". . . I go to My Father." Now, Jesus asks you and me to “Go” for Him as we prepare the world to behold Him—our Savior and King. What a day that will be, when we shall behold Him! Charles, take us in song to the throne room of God.
(Appeal song---Charles Hugabrooks: “We Shall Behold Him”)
Brothers and sisters around the world, if you want to behold the coming King and commit yourself to Christ and His precious final Advent movement…....and you wish to say, “Yes, Lord, I will get involved and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, proclaim Your infinite love and share Your last-day three angels’ messages with a world in need of the good news of the everlasting gospel as we approach Christ’s soon coming, would you join me in standing in commitment to His call right now?
Let’s pray together.