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Highlights from the 10 day missionary trip to Papua New Guinea in Sep-Oct 2010 by the AUC Missionary Department of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement, The Focus Singers and violinist Hayden Wiseman. View in 720p HD for best quality if your bandwidth can handle it. We borrowed the Sound System from locals, and it proved a challenge for us, but we got by. Enjoy!

Shot with Sony HDR-XR520 High Definition AVCHD HandyCam
Edited in Sony Vegas Pro 9.0

Looking unto Jesus

by Adolphe Monod

Only three words; but these three words contain the whole secret of life.

“Looking unto Jesus”—in the Scriptures, to learn who He is, what He has done, what He gives, what He requires, to find in His character our pattern, in His teachings our instructions, in His precepts our law, in His promises our stay, in His person and in His work a full satisfaction offered to every want of our souls.

“Looking unto Jesus”—crucified to find in His blood poured out our ransom, our pardon, our peace. “Looking unto Jesus” risen again, to find in Him that righteousness which alone can justify us, and through which, unworthy though we are, we may draw near, with full assurance in His name, unto Him who is His Father and our Father, His God and our God.

“Looking unto Jesus”—glorified, to find in Him our advocate with the Father, making complete, through His intercession, the merciful work of our salvation; appearing even now in the presence of God for us, and supplying the imperfection of our prayers by the power of those which the Father heareth always.

“Looking unto Jesus”—as revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, to find in constant communion with Him, the cleansing of our sin-stained hearts, the illumination of our darkened minds, the transformation of our perverse wills, to the end that we may triumph over the world and the devil, resisting their violence through Jesus our strength, bringing their devices to naught through Jesus our wisdom, upheld by the sympathy of Jesus who was Himself tempted in all points, and by the help of Jesus, who resisted and conquered.

“Looking unto Jesus”—that we may receive from Him the work and the cross of each day, with grace which is sufficient to bear the cross and do the work; patient through His patience; active by His activity; loving with His love; asking not “What can I do?” but, “What can He not do?” relying upon His strength, which is made perfect in weakness.

“Looking unto Jesus”—that the brightness of His face may enlighten our darkness; that our joy may be holy, and our grief subdued; that He may humble us to exalt us in due time; that He may afflict and then comfort us; that He may strip us of our self-righteousness to enrich us with His own; that He may teach us how to pray, and answer our prayers, so that while we are in the world, we are not of the world, our life being hid with Him in God, and our words bearing Him witness before men.

“Looking unto Jesus”—who has reascended to His Father’s house to prepare a place for us, that this blessed hope may give us courage to live without murmuring, and to die without regret, when the day shall come to meet the last enemy whom He has conquered for us—whom we shall conquer through Him.

“Looking unto Jesus”—who gives repentance as well as remission of sins, to receive from Him a heart that feels its wants, and cries for mercy at His feet.

“Looking unto Jesus”—that He may teach us to look unto Him who is the Author and Object of our faith, that He may keep us in that faith of which He is also the Finisher.

“Looking unto Jesus”—and to no other, as our text expresses it in one word which is untranslatable, and which enjoins us at one and the same time to fix our eyes upon Him, and to turn away from all besides.

“Looking unto Jesus”—and not to ourselves, our thoughts, our wishes, our plans; unto Jesus, and not unto the world, its allurements, its examples, its maxims, its opinions; unto Jesus, and not unto Satan, whether he tries to affright us with his rage or to seduce us with his flatteries. Oh, how many useless questions, uneasy scruples, dangerous compromises with evil, distracted thoughts, vain dreams, bitter disappointments, painful struggles, and backslidings could we not avoid by looking unto Jesus, and following Him wherever He leads the way, careful not even to cast a glance at any other way, lest we should lose sight of that in which He leads us.

“Looking unto Jesus”—and not to our brethren; not even to the best and most beloved among them. If we follow a man, we run the risk of losing our way; but if we follow Jesus, we are certain we shall never go astray. Besides, by putting a man between Christ and us, it happens that the man imperceptibly grows in our eyes, while Christ becomes less; and soon we know not how to find Christ without finding the man, and if the latter fails us, all is lost. But if, on the contrary, Jesus stands between us and our dearest friends, our attachment to our friends will be less direct, and at the same time more sweet; less passionate, and purer; less necessary, but more useful the instrument of rich blessings in the hands of God when it shall please Him to use it, and whose absence will still prove a blessing when it shall please Him to dispense with it.

“Looking unto Jesus”—and not to the obstacles we meet in our path. From the moment that we stop to consider them, they astonish and unnerve us and cast us down, incapable as we are of comprehending either the reason why they are permitted or the means by which we may overcome them. The apostle began to sink as soon as he turned to look at the boisterous billows; but as long as he continued looking unto Jesus, he walked upon the billows as upon a rock. The harder our task and the heavier our cross, the more it behooves us to look to Jesus only.

“Looking unto Jesus”—and not to the temporal blessings which we enjoy. By looking at these blessings first, we run the risk of being so much captivated by them that they even hide from our view Him who gives them. When we look unto Jesus first, we receive all these blessings as from Him; they are chosen by His wisdom, given by His love; a thousand times more precious because received at His hands, to be enjoyed in communion with Him, and used for His glory.

“Looking unto Jesus”—and not to our strength; for with that we can only glorify ourselves. To glorify God we need the strength of God.

“Looking unto Jesus”—and not to our weakness. Have we ever become stronger by lamenting our weakness? But if we look unto Jesus, His strength shall fortify our hearts, and we shall break forth into songs of praise.

“Looking unto Jesus”—and not to our sins. The contemplation of sin brings only death; the contemplation of Jesus brings life. It was not by looking at their wounds, but by beholding the brazen serpent, that the Israelites were healed.

“Looking unto Jesus”—and not to the law. The law gives us its commands, but does not impart the strength necessary to obey them. The law always condemns, it never pardons. To be under the law is to be out of the reach of grace. In the same measure as we make our obedience the means of our salvation, we shall lose our peace, our strength, our joy, because we forget that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” (Rom. 10:4). As soon as the law has constrained us to seek salvation only in Christ, He alone can command obedience, an obedience which asks no less than our whole hearts and our most secret thoughts, but which is no longer an iron yoke and an intolerable burden—an obedience which He makes lovely while it is also obligatory—an obedience which He not only enjoins, but inspires, and which, well understood, is less a consequence of our salvation than a part of the same, and like every other part is the gift of free grace.

“Looking unto Jesus”—and not to what we are doing for Him. If we are too much taken up with our work, we may forget our Master—we may have our hands full and our hearts empty; but if we are constantly looking unto Jesus, we cannot forget our work; if our hearts are filled with His love, our hands will also be active in His service.

“Looking unto Jesus”—and not to the apparent success of our efforts. Apparent success is not always the measure of real success, and besides, God has not enjoined success upon us, but only labor; He will ask an account of our labor, but not of our success. Why, then, should we be too much concerned about it? We must sow the seed; God will gather the fruit, if not today, it will be tomorrow; if not for us, it will be for others. Even if success were to be granted to us, it would always be dangerous to look complacently upon it. On the one hand, we are tempted to claim for ourselves some of the glory; on the other, we are too prone to slacken our zeal when we see good results arising from it, and that is the very time when we ought to put forth double energy. To look at our success is to walk by sight; to look unto Jesus and to persevere in fol lowing and in serving Him despite all discouragements, is to walk by faith.

“Looking unto Jesus”—and not to the gifts that we have received or are now receiving from Him. As to the grace of yesterday, it has been withdrawn with the work of yesterday; we can use it no longer; we ought not to dwell upon it any longer. As to the grace of to-day, given for the work of to-day, it is entrusted to us, not to be contemplated, but to be used; not to be paraded, that we may appear rich, but to be employed at once, that we may in our poverty look unto Jesus.

“Looking unto Jesus”—and not to the depths of sorrow we feel for our sins, or to the degree of humility they produce in us. If they humble us, so that we no longer delight in ourselves; if they cast us down, so that we look to Jesus, that He may deliver us from them, that is all that He requires of us; and it is looking unto Him which above everything else shall cause our tears to flow and our pride to fall.

“Looking unto Jesus”—and not to the liveliness of our joy or the fervor of our love. Otherwise, if our love seems to grow cold, and our joy is dim—whether on account of lukewarmness or for the trial of our faith—as soon as these emotions have passed, we shall think that we have lost our strength, and we shall give way to hopeless discouragement, if not to shameful inactivity. Ah! let us rather remember that if the sweetness of religious emotions be sometimes wanting, faith and its power are left us; and that we may be always abounding in the work of the Lord, let us be constantly looking, not to our wayward hearts, but unto Jesus, the same yesterday, today, and forever.

“Looking unto Jesus”—and not to our faith. The last artifice of Satan, when he cannot lead us out of the way, is to turn our eyes away from Jesus to look at our faith, and so to discourage us, if it is weak; to puff us up, if it is strong; and in either case to weaken it. For it is not our faith which makes us strong, but it is Jesus through faith. We are not strengthened by contemplating our faith, but by looking unto Jesus.

“Looking unto Jesus”—for it is from Him and in Him that we should learn, not only without injury,\but for the good of our souls, as much as it is meet that we should know of the world and of ourselves—of our misery, our dangers, our resources, our victory; seeing all these things in their true light, because He shall show them to us at the very time and in the very measure when the knowledge shall be best calculated to produce in us the fruit of humility and wisdom, of gratitude and courage, of watchfulness and prayer. All that is well for us to know Jesus will teach us. All that He does not teach us, it is better for us not to know.

“Looking unto Jesus”—during all the time which He has allotted us here below—unto Jesus ever anew, without allowing either the remembrance of the past, which we know so little of, or the cares of an unknown future to distract our thoughts; unto Jesus now, if we have never looked unto Him; unto Jesus again, if we have ceased to do so; unto Jesus always, with a more fixed and steadfast gaze, “changed into the same image from glory to glory” and thus waiting for the hour when He shall call us to pass from earth to heaven, and from time to eternity, the promised, the blessed hour, when at last we shall be “like him, for we shall see him as he is.”—Translated from the French

NOTE: This inspiring article was published as a small pamphlet in the 1890’s by the Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California. It was reprinted in the Ministry Magazine in July, 1979. Adolphe Monod was considered the greatest French protestant preacher of the 19th century.  A contemporary said of him “As a defender of the truth that is in Christ, he had the heart of a lion; as a Christian, he had the heart and simplicity of a small child, the heart of a lamb—if I dare say so—meek, good, inoffensive, and always charming. His Christian character combined qualities rarely found together: the masculine energy of a Saint Paul and the gospel gentleness of a Saint John.”

[More can be read of his life here: http://www.tunl.duke.edu/~cwalker/monodbio.pdf]

“Only Begotten Son”.  What does this mean?  Much confusion is created with this expression in Seventh-day Adventist circles.  Some say it is only a title, others that it refers to the human nature of Christ, others say it refers to the divine nature of Christ–that He was literally begotten of the Father in eternity past.  So what is the answer?  Sermon presented by Paul Chapman, 5th February, 2011, Sunshine Coast, Australia.

PS. At times you will hear a high frequency buzz from an unknown external source interfering with the PA system. Please accept my apologies in advance for the audio quality.

 

 

By Gerson Robles

I recently read a story of a little boy named Johnny. “He and his sister were visiting their grandparents at their farm one day. He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced in the woods; but he could never hit the target. Disappointed, he headed back for dinner.

“As he was walking back, he saw Grandma’s pet duck. Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head and killed it. Johnny was stunned, shocked and grieved! In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile; only to see his sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

“After lunch the next day Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes” But Sally said, “Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen.” Then she whispered to Johnny, “Remember the duck?” So Johnny did the dishes. Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go and play in the park, but Grandma said, “I’m sorry but I need them to help make supper.” Sally just smiled and said, “Well it’s okay because Johnny told me he wanted to do it with you by himself”. Then, she whispered again, “Remember the duck?” So Sally went to the park and Johnny stayed to help. After several days of Johnny doing both of their chores, he finally couldn’t stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck. Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug and said, “Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let guilt make a slave of you.”[i]

Guilt or remorse can make us do strange things. However, before we go any further on this subject, we need to know what guilt actually is.

What is Guilt?

The sense of guilt is an emotional warning signal. Its purpose is to warn us that we’ve done something wrong or neglected to do something we should have done. Our concept of right and wrong is predominantly acquired during our childhood years, and develops over our lifetime. These moral convictions make up our conscience. The feeling of guilt results from going against the grain of our convictions.

The word guilt is derived from the Old English noun gylt, which means “crime.”[ii] It is true that not all those who are guilty in the legal sense feel remorse for their crime. But in any earthly government, guilt is not determined by feelings but by the violation of enacted law.

This same principle is seen in God’s government. Paul wrote, “I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” [iii] And he also wrote, “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”[iv]

So one thing is for sure – we all suffer from guilt and we can all tell how displeasing it feels. But how do you get rid of it? The Bible tells us of two ways to deal with guilt and their ultimate results. God’s remedy for guilt is called ‘godly sorrow’ and the other is called ‘sorrow of the world’.

“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”[v]

Sorrow of the World

Guilt or its associated feelings of grief are here called ‘sorrow of the world’. This, the Bible says, leads to death. Over 100 years ago, Ellen White wrote, “Many of the diseases from which men suffer are the result of mental depression. Grief, anxiety, discontent, remorse, guilt, distrust, all tend to break down the life forces and to invite decay and death.”[vi]

Today science is catching up with this amazing insight into how the mind affects the body. Numerous studies are now being published in medical journals showing how diseases are related to mental depression. But how do human beings deal with emotions of guilt?

Because feelings of guilt are unpleasant, many try to ignore their ‘conscience prickings’ by attempting to silence guilt in various ways. The first three of these are found in the book of Genesis and show what Adam and Eve did once they sinned.

Self- Correction

“And [the woman]…took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”[vii]

Whenever we sin, we lose something. Here, Adam and Eve lost their innocence. Their shining robes of pure white light – which symbolized their innocence – also disappeared. There they stood, ashamed in each other’s naked presence; ashamed and naked before God! In the Bible nakedness is associated with shame (see Revelation 3:18). With guilty conscience, they try and make up for their loss by practicing self-correction. In desperation, they sow themselves fig leaf garments, but nothing they can do can take away the sting of a violated conscience.

There a many today who are attempting to make up for their nakedness of soul the same way Adam and Eve did. A sense of shame moves them to do some ‘guilty church going’ or perhaps some ‘guilty missionary work’. Others will attempt to counter balance their sin by some ‘guilty Bible study’ or even some ‘guilty praying’. Yet all our greatest endeavors will never make up for the loss sustained.

Hiding from Reality

Adam and Eve soon found their fig leaf garments inadequate. “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.”[viii]

Hiding from reality will afford a temporary release, but reality never goes away. When Adam and Eve hid themselves from God, they did so because of shame and fear, “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”[ix]

Today, young and old will try to hide from the reality of their guilt or shame by secluding themselves from others. Fear of rebuke or exposure, can move a person to become a hermit, even in their own home.

Another way we attempt to escape reality is by numbing the mind. Since a pricking conscience is felt in the mind, many of us will try and silence the resounding voice of guilt. In the world, some turn to drugs or alcohol for release. Others turn to sex and immorality. It is easy to see that these things worsen the problem, but how are Christians in danger of hiding from reality?

In Christian circles, we use milder measures to achieve similar results. Movies will bring some release, yet the release only lasts as long as the movie. Other things we may do in excess are eating, sleeping or listening to music.

I once knew a lady where I used to work who listened to music all day – literally. In the morning, she woke up to her radio alarm clock. Once up, she switched her stereo on and got ready for work. She then hopped in the car and headed for work listening to her favourite radio station. While at work, she plugged her ears with headphones and listened to her favourite music. The cycle was the same on her way home and was only broken when she fell asleep to the radio playing. Every day was the same – she was living in her own unreal music world.

Passing the Buck

The third thing Adam and Eve did to escape guilt was to shift the blame on each other and God. “The man said, ‘The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate’.”[x]

Because influence is the strongest between those who are the most intimate in their association, all it takes is a moment of weakness to give in to the promptings of the other. It is true that the strong influence of others may have had a bearing on our guilt. We can clearly see however that God does not excuse sin on account of how strong the temptation was. Sin is inexcusable.

The expression, ‘passing the buck’ refers to the action of transferring blame to another person. U.S President, Harry S. Truman kept a sign on his desk with the words, ‘The buck stops here’ showing that he accepted responsibility for all decisions he made in behalf of the country. Likewise, God holds us accountable for the choices we make based on our moral convictions.

Sanctifying Sin

Have you ever heard anyone say, “I did it, but God understands”? or “I’m a Christian, and the motive I have is holy”. Or maybe you’ve heard the expression, “God knows my heart”. All these come in an effort to sanctify sin, or make sin appear holy by bringing God into the picture.  These are all forms of self-deception and although it may appear to lessen guilt, it actually adds deceit to our list of sins.

Comparison

Comparing ourselves with others is a fanciful way of making us look better. The thought will cross your mind, ‘I did it, but look at everyone else that’s doing it’ or, ‘I’m not as bad as some others’. Jesus spoke of a Pharisee who compared himself with a person whom he thought was guiltier than he. In his own estimation, he appeared quite a good sort, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men…’[xi] he said. Here was his problem; his opinion of himself was formed from looking at others, rather than from comparing himself to Christ.

Minimizing Sin

All of the above mentioned points are attempts to lessen our guilt. It is easy to think of our sin as small by looking at how others view what we’ve done on a scale of 1 to10. But we have to realize that there is no small sin in God’s eyes, only varying degrees of guilt. The more light and understanding we possess – the guiltier we become when we transgress that light.

The sorrow of the world can only lead to one place. Ultimately, all guilty sinners will suffer eternal death. Is there a way of escape? What is God’s remedy for guilt?

Godly Sorrow

The Bible told us that ‘godly sorrow’ produces repentance leading to salvation. We will now take a brief look at the way God would have us deal with guilt.

Identify and Acknowledge Your Guilt

Why do you feel guilty? Is it something you’ve done or didn’t do? Is it something you’ve said? Or maybe, is it something you’ve assumed is wrong or someone else has said is wrong? Whatever the reason, you must be honest with yourself. Identify the cause of your guilt. In the little book Steps to Christ is written this clear-cut statement, “Those who have not humbled their souls before God in acknowledging their guilt, have not yet fulfilled the first condition of acceptance.”[xii]

Accept the Consequences

Once you’ve searched your heart and understand the cause of your guilt, you need to recognize the consequences and accept them. What harm have you done to yourself and others? To every action there are consequences – this is natural law. When we don’t accept the consequences of our actions, we are not dealing truly with our own souls.

Realise the Enormity of Sin

The Bible describes sin as a mystery (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Ellen White wrote regarding sin, “…could excuse for it be found, or cause shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin.”[xiii] But while sin is a mystery in the sense that no cause can be shown for its existence, yet we are still counseled to understand its abhorrent nature. Consider this statement, “We shall not renounce sin unless we see its sinfulness; until we turn away from it in heart, there will be no real change in the life.”[xiv]

So how are we to know the real nature of our sins? Ellen White continued writing, “The exceeding sinfulness of sin can be estimated only in the light of the cross.”[xv] What is it about the cross that reveals the dreadful nature of sin?

At the cross we see God’s hatred for sin, in that He did not spare His only begotten Son from suffering its dreadful curse – and we see the remedy so graciously provided for our guilt.

The Man of Sorrows

God’s remedy for guilt is Jesus. By transferring our guilt on Himself and suffering the punishment due to us, Christ has made us free. This act of Jesus in taking our guilt is worthy of our most solemn consideration.

As Christ was walking towards the garden of Gethsemane with his disciples, He was fulfilling the prophecies of Isaiah 53. Notice carefully the following texts:

  • “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.”
  • “the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
  • “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities.”
  • “he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter”
  • “he hath poured out his soul unto death”
  • “he was numbered with the transgressors”

Jesus was called, “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.”[xvi] But, “The holy Son of God had no sins or griefs of his own to bear. He was bearing the griefs of others, for on him was laid the iniquities of us all.”[xvii]

“And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.”[xviii]Christ was suffering as a result of our sins, “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.”[xix]

While at garden of Gethsemane, Jesus, “prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”[xx]

Sweating blood is a rare medical condition known as hematidrosis.[xxi] It is caused by intense mental contemplation or agony. What was it that grieved Jesus so much? “Christ was the prince of sufferers; but His suffering was from a sense of the malignity of sin, a knowledge that through familiarity with evil, man had become blinded to its enormity.”[xxii]

This mental suffering was intensified by the separation our sins caused between Him and His Father. “It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.”[xxiii]

Recently, the story of Jesus physical pain was made popular by a Hollywood movie. But when you start to look into the cause of Christ’s death, a different picture begins to emerge. “The withdrawal of the divine countenance from the Saviour in this hour of supreme anguish pierced His heart with a sorrow that can never be fully understood by man. So great was this agony that His physical pain was hardly felt.”[xxiv]

“It was not the spear thrust, it was not the pain of the cross, that caused the death of Jesus. That cry, uttered “with a loud voice” (Matt. 27:50; Luke 23:46), at the moment of death, the stream of blood and water that flowed from His side, declared that He died of a broken heart. His heart was broken by mental anguish. He was slain by the sin of the world.”[xxv]

Here is our remedy. God has given us His Son to take our way our guilt. When, in view of the cross, we acknowledge our guilt – deep sorrow for sin will flood our soul and God will cause us to turn away from it in disgust. Then, our confessions will be specific and to the point, and will acknowledge the very things of which we are guilty.

To all who truly repent and confess – Christ has promised forgiveness. In the story at the beginning of this article, Johnny let guilt make a slave of him. How are you going to deal with your guilt, dear reader?

By Gerson Robles


[i] Author Unknown

[ii] The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

[iii] Romans 7:7, NKJV

[iv] Romans 3:19, NKJV

[v] 2 Corinthians 7:10, NKJV

[vi] The Ministry of Healing p.241

[vii] Genesis 3:6, 7, NKJV

[viii] Genesis 3:8, KJV

[ix] Genesis 3:9, 10, KJV

[x] Genesis 3:12, NKJV

[xi] Luke 18:11, NKJV

[xii] Steps to Christ p. 37

[xiii] Great Controversy

[xiv] Steps to Christ, p. 23

[xv] Steps to Christ, p. 31

[xvi] Isaiah 53:3, KJV

[xvii] ST, August 14, 1879 par. 10

[xviii] Matthew 26:37, KJV

[xix] Matthew 8:17

[xx] Luke 22:44, KJV

[xxi] The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

[xxii] Desire of Ages, p. 752

[xxiii] Desire of Ages, p. 753

[xxiv] Desire of Ages, p. 753

[xxv] Desire of Ages, p. 772

The Eternal Son of God

Did the Divine Son of God have a beginning? Find out in this presentation, the first in a series on The Godhead: Redemption in Action. The entire sermon is 50 minutes split into 5 parts. Presented: 21 Jan, 2011. Speaker: Paul Chapman.

The Love of God

Alasdair Pow – Sermon preached Sabbath 11 September, 2010. The Love of God. Enjoy!

150 Years, Why So Long?

Transcript of a sermon preached Sabbath October 22, 1994 in Melbourne, Australia by Paul Chapman.

If this was your last day on earth, what would you be doing?

Where I used to work, my boss and I had a very good relationship.  He knew my faith and I put that question to him one day.  I said, “If this was our last day on earth, what would we be doing?” 

       “That’s a very good question,”  he replied.

      I said,”You know, if we were to ask that question to the majority of the world you’d probably come up with two different responses.  One group’s response would be making the most of the time they had left, doing all those things which they thought that they would never be able to do, and living life to the fullest in a temporal sense.  And the other group, well, that other group’s response would be very, very different.” 

      And my boss quietly replied, “You’re right, you know.” 

     We are encouraged in the Spirit of Prophecy to live as though this were our last day on earth.  And if it was our last day, this day, what would we be doing?  If your answer is something different than what you’re doing now, then perhaps you really need to think about the question more often in your life.

      I’d like to draw your minds back, back in time 150 years ago this day to North America, generally speaking to North America, where thousands of people thought that this day would be their last on earth.  Who were these people?  They were called Millerites–the Adventist believers.  And they came, as it brings out in Great Controversy 379, they came from all different denominations.  Reading some of their history, you’ll find they came from all different walks of life:  farmers, preachers, printers, teachers.  Yet each one of them thought this day would be their last day on earth.

      And what brought them to this conclusion, you might ask?  What led them to believe, that this would be their last day on earth?  What was it?  Someone said, A misunderstanding of the prophecy.  Which prophecy?  Daniel 8:14.  What does it say?  “Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.”  And this prophecy is declared to be, today, the foundation of our faith.  This is the foundation.  We must go back there to find out what the foundation is.  The brother here mentioned that they were mistaken in the understanding of this prophecy.  Mistaken as to what?  The time? No, the event.  We know that the common belief at that time in the Christian world right throughout Protestantism was that the sanctuary was this earth or someplace upon it.  William Miller an American farmer, and a man well respected in his community, had studied the book of Daniel and also the New Testament prophecies concerning Jesus Christ and his second coming.  And rather than Jesus Christ coming to this earth to set up a temporal millenium, what did he find the Scriptures declared Christ’s second coming to be?  And what would happen; and what would be the state of the earth?  Cleansed by fire.  Desolate, wouldn’t it?  Desolate.  The wicked would be lying all over the face of the earth.  You know that prophecy in Matthew where it says, wheresoever the carcass is, there shall–what?  The eagles be gathered together.  And that’s the conclusion to Christ’s chain of prophecy about the second coming.  Don’t get deceived by the rapture theory, and that one shall be left and the other taken.  The other left behind is going to be destroyed by Christ’s second coming.  There won’t be anyone coming here to set up a temporal millennium.

      So we see here then that Miller came to the conclusion that Jesus Christ was coming, therefore, unto 2300 days to do what?  Cleanse the earth by fire and take His redeemed home.  And so, he came to the conviction to preach this message, and other’s who accepted united with him in preaching it.  I read a history of this movement at one time.  You know, they estimate there was 150,000 to 200,000 Protestant Christians preaching this message across North America.  One hundred and fifty to two hundred thousand Christians united in this Advent message, preaching that the coming of the Lord is unto 2300 days–in 1843-1844 Christ would come.

      So that day approached.  I won’t go into the details because I’d like to do that at a later meeting.  We plan to have future meetings and I’d like to go into detail on each one of these angels’ messages then.  But, just briefly. . . a few weeks beforehand, they were all expecting Christ to come.  Farmers failed to harvest their crops.  Others failed to plant crops.  And I was reading about one newspaper that was publishing the Advent message at that time.  It too thought that this would be the last newspaper it would ever publish.  And so in their last edition, the publishers appealed to the people, those that owe debts, to pay up to the newspaper; and if the newspaper owed anyone anything, then please let them know because they wanted to have a clear record before Christ would come.  And they published what would be their last newspaper, or what they thought was going to be it.  And they waited…And they waited…And October 22 came…

      What was their experience beforehand?  What was the experience of the people?  We find this in Great Controversy, page 369:

       “Sinners inquired with weeping: ‘What must I do to be saved?’  Those whose lives had been marked with dishonesty were anxious to make restitution.  All who found peace in Christ longed to see others share the blessing.  The hearts of parents were turned to their children, and the hearts of children to their parents.  The barriers of pride and reserve were swept away.  Heartfelt confessions were made, and the members of the household laboured for the salvation of those who were nearest and dearest.  Often was heard the sound of earnest intercession.  Everywhere were souls in deep anguish pleading with God.  Many wrestled all night in prayer for the assurance that their own sins were pardoned, or for the conversion of their relatives or neighbours.”

Do we think that this is our last day on earth?  What is our experience?  We read further over  on page 373, paragraph 1:

       “With unspeakable desire those who had received the message watched for the coming of their Saviour.  The time when they expected to meet Him was at hand.  They approached this hour with a calm solemnity.  They rested in sweet communion with God, an earnest of the peace that was to be theirs in the bright hereafter.  None who experienced this hope and trust can forget those precious hours of waiting.  For some weeks preceding the time, worldly business was for the most part laid aside.  The sincere believers carefully examined every thought and emotion of their hearts as if upon their deathbeds and in a few hours to close their eyes upon earthly scenes.  There was no making of ‘ascension robes’; but all felt the need of internal evidence that they were prepared to meet the Saviour; their white robes were purity of soul–characters cleansed from sin by the atoning blood of Christ.”

 Characters cleansed from sin by the atoning blood of Christ.  This was the robe they wanted the assurance that they were wearing at the time.  Do we have on the robe of Christ’s righteousness?  Are we wearing it, ready to meet our Maker?  From page 379, paragraph 3:

      “They came from different denominations, and their denominational barriers were hurled to the ground; conflicting creeds were shivered to atoms; the unscriptural hope of a temporal millennium was abandoned, false views of the second advent were corrected, pride and conformity to the world were swept away; wrongs were made right; hearts were united in the sweetest fellowship, and love and joy reigned supreme.  If this doctrine did this for the few who did receive it, it would have done the same for all if all had received it.”

       We know that in the letters to the churches, Jesus Christ addresses the church of Philadelphia, and tell me, of those 7 churches, which are the ones without rebuke?  Philadelphia and Smyrna–in the days of fiery persecution.  To those who remained faithful in the days of persecution, Christ has no rebuke.  They had their gold tried in the fire.  And to Philadelphia there was no rebuke at all.  They were there ready to meet their Maker, and all those who accepted the Advent message up until October 22, 1844 experienced this blessed state of unity and love amongst them.  And they were prepared to meet their Maker.  But then came the great disappointment. 

        Midnight, October 22 passed, and oh, what wailing could be heard.  The wailing of the souls that had expected Jesus to come.  They’d left their churches.  Some had said their last goodbyes to unbelieving relatives.  Some had been cast out of their churches.  They had nothing left behind.  As I said before, the farmers had left their crops.  All was put aside.  All ready to meet Jesus.  And now the most bitter of reproaches.  They were to take up their daily burdens, as though it was all a mistake.  We see in Revelation 10, their experience was uttered by the seven thunders that utter their voices.  You’ll find that in 7 Bible Commentary on Chapter 10 that the 7 thunders when they spoke their voices, those 7 thunders were in fact giving the events that would take place under this disappointment.  We see there that this little book in the angel’s hand which was opened–what book was opened?  What book was unsealed?  Which book was closed up until this time, so to speak?  The book of Daniel, isn’t it?  It was sealed up to the time of the end.  Daniel 12 and verse 4:  “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end.”  We find here this angel in revelation 10 standing upon the earth and the sea declares that there shall be time no longer.  Prophetic time has come to its end.  And in this time period the understanding of Daniel was opened.  And when the believers understood this truth, what did it taste like in their mouths?  Sweet as honey, sweet as honey.  But when the truth, the awful truth was digested, what was it like in their stomach?  Bitter.  Bitter.  None of us, any of us, I believe, can really understand the experience they went through.  We’d have to live through it ourselves to really understand.  Yet we are not to forget these things.  The greatest thing we have to fear is what?  That we forget the way the Lord has led us and His teachings in our past history.  And we find, therefore, that the Lord did not leave them in doubt.  For a certain time He tarried.  But then He gave them the correct light, so that they were not mistaken.  And that was that the sanctuary was not this earth.  Where was the sanctuary?  Heaven.  The sanctuary was in heaven and Christ was not coming to earth, but to where?  The second apartment of the sanctuary.  The Day of Atonement.  The work:  His ministerial work commences in the second apartment.  And that work, as we find in Leviticus, entailed the work of judgment of the house of God.  We find those words in 1 Peter 4:17 were fulfilled, at the house of God.  :”For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

      So they realized that Christ was now in a work of judgment, a work of investigating the house of God.  And this is the message we preach today, isn’t it?  Shouldn’t it be?  This message?  In understanding the 2300 days, preaching this message of the correct understanding.  And today we are living in which day?  What day is it today?  The Day of Atonement.  The day of final reconciliation for the house of God.  That was 150 years ago.  There has been a delay.  Why was there a delay?  Because of unbelief.  Did there need to be a delay?  Did there need to be?

      I’d like to share with you from the book First Selected Messages, pages 67-69:

       “God had committed to His people a work to be accomplished on earth.” 

      It says there in Revelation 10, in the final verse, “Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.”  Their work was not yet finished.  And so it says here.

      “God had committed to His people a work to be accomplished on earth.  The third angel’s message was to be given, the minds of believers were to be directed to the heavenly sanctuary, where Christ had entered to make atonement for His people.  The Sabbath reform was to be carried forward.”

       Here as we look to the sanctuary, what do we see in there?  We see the ark of the testament, don’t we?  The ark of the covenant.  And in there, in that ark, is what?  The 10 commandments.  And now, shining out in clear rays to the Advent believers of that time was the fourth commandment, the Sabbath commandment.

      And so now they realized that they were to keep the Sabbath.  Mind you, who were the first Sabbath keeping Adventists?  Well, there were 2 actually.  We might as well say 2 because they both accepted each part of the message at the same time, I understand.  Who was that gentleman who was the first Adventist to keep the Sabbath?  What was his name?  Was it Bates?  Was it J.N. Andrews?  Or Loughborough?  It was a 7th Day Baptist that told a First Day Adventist about the Sabbath truth.  And that gentleman was asked, What’s the news today?  And he said, “The seventh day is the Sabbath?”  It was Joseph Bates.  And that seventh day Baptist had been around for 200 years before Seventh Day Adventists.

      And now in the context of the Advent Movement, in the context of Christ’s Second Coming, the Protestant world was to understand the obligation of the Sabbath commandment.  And so the Adventists had a work to do in warning the world.  They had a Sabbath reform to carry out amongst the Protestant world.  And they began on their work.  And it goes on to say here that:

       “The breach in the law of God must be made up.  The message must be proclaimed with a loud voice, that all the inhabitants of earth might receive the warning.  The people of God must purify their souls through obedience to the truth, and be prepared to stand without fault before Him at His coming. 

      Had Adventists, after the great disappointment in 1844, held fast their faith, and followed on unitedly in the opening providence of God, receiving the message of the third angel and in the power of the Holy Spirit proclaiming it to the world, they would have seen the salvation of God, the Lord would have wrought mightily with their efforts, the work would have been completed, and Christ would have come ere this to receive His people to their reward.”

       Friends, the message has gone on far too long.  The delay has gone on far too long.  After that great disappointment, had that company remained united in unity and love and accepted the light, they would have gone on to warn the world, to receive the power of the Spirit.  The Lord would have worked mightily with their efforts, the work would have been completed, Christ would have come and ere this the people would have received their reward–eternal life in the new heavens and the new earth, the city of God.  And yet none of us would ever have been here today, would we?  None of us would have ever been born, had they done their appointed work.  But how many millions have died as a result of them not doing their appointed work?  How many millions have died, have perished, without a knowledge of the truths which the world at that time could have had, could have had.  It says here the reason why was “in the period of doubt and uncertainty that followed the disappointment, any of the advent believers yielded their faith.”  Instead of remaining together in that bond of perfection and in the love of the Spirit, they yielded their faith.  They began to doubt the light behind them.  It says here that:  “Dissensions and divisions came in.  The majority opposed with voice and pen the few who, following in the providence of God, received the Sabbath reform and began to proclaim the third angel’s message.”  And do you know, for many years, Seventh Day Adventists were well known as debaters and in debating the truth before 1st Day Adventists and others in the world.  And Sister White through her testimonies condemns this spirit–debating.  She says in Volume 1, in the experience of the early years,  Some souls when an evangelist preaches in his meetings, preaches in his meetings, some soul may be ready at that stage just to hear a correct understanding of the Sabbath in relation to the law versus Sunday.  And they may accept.  But the majority need more than just an argument.  The majority need the power of the Holy Spirit to convict their hearts.  And so the minister should not be preaching a service to convince the hearers of just what is right and what is wrong.  He should be preaching a service which will convict the hearts of the hearers, which the Holy Spirit can use to convict their hearts with the truth.  And he should be praying that the baptism of the Spirit will be upon him and upon the congregation.  The power of the Spirit might be manifested there to convert.  When Peter preached his first sermon, how many were converted?  3,000 in one day.  3,000.  And this was not an outward conversion, friends.  This was a heart and soul conversion.  And they received the power of the Spirit.  This is the type of preaching, the type of ministry we need to see today.

       It says here, “Many who should have devoted their time and talents to the one purpose of sounding warning to the world, were absorbed in opposing the Sabbath truth, and in turn, the labour of its advocates was necessarily spent in answering these opponents and defending the truth.”  So instead of their labour being devoted to warning the world, their labour had been devoted primarily, of necessity, to answering these opponents of the truth.  “Thus the work was hindered, and the world was left in darkness.  Had the whole Adventist body united upon the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, how widely different would have been our history.”  Widely different.  Now, I think they say that there were roughly 30,000 First Day Adventists at that time.  I believe I got that figure from the Appendix to Early Writings.  But there were about 30,000 of the Advent believers at that time, First Day Adventists.  And do you know today we have 3 groups remaining today of significance.  Seventh Day Adventists, the Adventist Christian Church, and the Church of god Seventh Day.  The Church of god Seventh Day actually puts forward on of the same pioneers we hold to be the pioneer of the Advent Movement.  And they put him forward to be one of their pioneers.  The Church of God Seventh Day rejected the Spirit of Prophecy in Sister White’s time.  (CHANGED SIDES OF TAPE.  PART OF MESSAGE LOST HERE)  And the third group were 1st Day Adventists.  And so this is where we are today.

       She goes on to write here that, “It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be thus delayed.  God did not design that His people, Israel, should wander forty years in the wilderness.  He promised to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and established them there a holy, healthy, happy people.  But those to whom it was first preached, went not in ‘because of unbelief’ (Heb. 3:19).  Their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and He could not fulfil His covenant with them. 

      For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan.  The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan.”  “The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan.  In neither case were the promises of God at fault.  It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.”

       And you find that there’s another statement that the world would have been warned ere this had they accepted the message.  And that is found in Volume 6 of the Testimonies.

      So we see here that the delay is because of the unbelief.  Perhaps we’ve misunderstood why there’s been a delay.  Perhaps we think that the world events have to come onto the field.  That is, that the Papacy’s deadly wound needs to be healed; that the world needs to be in a state where it can enforce a one world economy in order to stop you from buying and selling.  Perhaps we think that the United Nations or the United States together with Europe must be in a position to enforce the Sunday law worldwide.  And, therefore, the United Nations has had to develop.  But we see here from this testimony that the Lord was waiting for none of these things, none of these things.  And today He is not waiting for any of these things.  Brothers and sisters, when we accept the light as it shines upon us from His Word and plead for the baptism of the Spirit, we will receive power to do our work.  And we will hasten that coming and the final events.  We aren’t to wait for a Sunday law crisis, friends.  We are to take the attitude of those early Advent believers, come back into that state of unity and love that was experienced there in their time and remain in that state and go on to give the message.

       We see that in Great Controversy, page 404, paragraph 1 that:

      “The earnest, sincere believers had given up all for Christ and had shared His presence as never before.  They had, as they believed, given their last warning to the world; and, expecting soon to be received into the society of their divine Master and the heavenly angels, they had, to a great extent, withdrawn from the society of those who did not receive the message.”

       Are we withdrawing from the Spirit and customs of the world, the society of those who haven’t accepted the message?  We need to be in the world, but I’m talking about the spirit and customs of the world.  Which world are we preparing for?  The world here today?  Are we planning for our future here in the sense of a life mission? 

      I remember a tape by Elder Santee a few years ago.  He said,”What are we doing?  Are we preparing our young people for a career or are we preparing them to be missionaries?”  What are we preparing them for?  When we think about our education, when we think about our tertiary education, are we thinking about how can I as a young person best witness for Christ in an occupation that I will occupy ’til Jesus comes?  If we take that attitude, the Lord will give those young people an understanding.  And the parents have a responsibility to guide them to this end.

      It’s interesting.  It says on page 405 of Great Controversy that:

       “The fruits of the advent movement, the spirit of humility and heart searching, of renouncing of the world and reformation of life, which had attended the work, testified that it was of God.  They dared not deny that the power of the Holy Spirit had witnessed to the preaching of the second advent.”

       The fruits of the Advent movement, the spirit of humility, of heart-searching, of renouncing of the world and of reformation of life, these things testified to them that this movement was of God.  They saw souls converted.  When William Miller preached the first sermon in 1830, 3/4 of the congregation were converted.  3/4 when he preached his first message.  They saw sincere conversions.  Sister White did not rest until every one of her friends was converted, as a little girl at 13 years old.

      The spirit of humility and heart searching.  This is what is delaying the coming of the Lord.  In Testimonies, Volume 6 Pages 449 and 450, it says:

           “A flood of light is shining from the word of God, and there must be an awakening to neglected opportunities.  When all are faithful in giving back to God His own in tithes and offerings, the way will be opened for the world to hear the message for this time.”

When all, she writes, when all are faithful and giving back to the Lord His own in tithes and offerings–not just tithes, but offerings, freewill offerings–then the way will be opened for the world to hear the message for this time.  “If the hearts of God’s people were filled with love for Christ, if every church member were thoroughly imbued with the spirit of self-sacrifice, if all manifested thorough earnestness, there would be no lack of funds for home or foreign missions.  Our resources would be multiplied; a thousand doors of usefulness would be opened, and we should be invited to enter.  Had the purpose of God been carried out by His people in giving to the world the message of mercy, Christ would, ere this, have come to the earth, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God.”  That’s the second statement I was referring to.  Selfishness is what is delaying us, the spirit of selfishness.

       We know this is the Day of Judgment.  Has anyone ever read the chapter in Volume 4 on the Judgment?  You’ll find there of all the sins, Sister White had a vision of the judgment.  She saw as if it was the end day.  It was the Great White Throne judgment, from indications there.  The Great White Throne judgment.  And those who have to stand before that throne with the deeds of their lives all open before the universe.  And in the vision she saw the book of records opened.  And there she saw a column of the sins of each individual laid out.  And the head of all sins was selfishness; one word–selfishness.

       I’ll just read a few thoughts from Volume 4 in the chapter on the judgment.  It starts on page 384.  She says, “Under the general heading of selfishness came every other sin.”  She says here that the sins which were here recorded were of those who profess the truth.  “Under the general heading of selfishness came every other sin.  There were also headings over every column, and underneath these, opposite each name, were recorded, in their respective columns, the lesser sins.”  There was covetousness, “falsehood, theft, robbery, fraud, and avarice; under ambition came pride and extravagance; jealousy stood at the head of malice, envy, and hatred; and intemperance headed a long list of fearful crimes, such as lasciviousness, adultery, indulgence of animal passions, etc. As I beheld I was filled with inexpressible anguish and exclaimed: ‘Who can be saved? Who will stand justified before God? Who robes are spotless? Who are faultless in the sight of a pure and holy God?”  If this were your last day on earth, what would you be doing?

       When we reason from the point of world events, we feel that perhaps the cup of iniquity needs to be filled up.  Who will that cup of iniquity be for?  In the world events?  When will it be?  Five Testimonies 208 brings out that God’s judgments will come when the world’s cup of iniquity is full. 

      7 BC 910 brings out that when Protestant America, the land which God had given the greatest blessings, and the greatest amount of light to, when that land shall turn from that light to such a degree where it rejects every principle of its Constitution, and it passes the Sunday law, then she will, as a nation, have filled up the cup of her iniquity.

      But as I mentioned before, this is not the problem.  That will come.  That will come, when the wicked are enraged at what they see in the lives of god’s professed believers.  The Sabbath reform, as it is going forward.  This is what will enrage them.  This is what brings about an awful time of trouble such as never was.  The problem is, brothers and sisters, we are not ready.  We are not yet ready to stand in the sight of God without a Mediator.  Who can stand in that day?  Who shall be able to stand?  We know that when Jesus leaves the Sanctuary, no longer will mercy plead for the saints.  The remnant will have to stand there without a Mediator in the sight of God. 

      We find in Early Writings, page 38, that Christ realizing this, appeals to His heavenly Father.  It’s a vision of the sealing, as depicted in Revelation 7, but it brings this out:

       “I saw that the four angels,” that is the 4 angels of Revelation 7, “holding the four winds.”  Now the 4 winds are winds of strife and warfare.  These are the winds of destructive judgments.  The winds of God’s final wrath.  This will all follow when America fills up the cup of her iniquity.  But the angels are holding back.  Until when?  It says here, in Early Writings, page 38,

       “I saw four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and were on their way to accomplish it.  Jesus was clothed with priestly garments.  He gazed in pity on the remnant, then raised His hands, and with a voice of deep pity cried,’My blood, Father, My blood, My blood, My blood!’  Then I saw an exceeding bright light come from God, who sat upon the great white throne, and was shed all about Jesus.  Then I saw an angel with a commission from Jesus, swiftly flying to the four angels who had a work to do on the earth, and waving something up and down in his hand, and crying with a loud voice,’Hold! Hold! Hold! Hold! until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.'”

       Until when are the winds of strife held back?  Until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.

      It goes on to say, that she had asked the meaning of what she had seen, and her accompanying angel said to her that it was God that restrained the powers.  And He gave the angels charge over things on the earth.  But the angels had power from God to hold the 4 winds.  They were about to let them go, but while their hands were loosening and the 4 winds were about to blow, the merciful eye of Jesus gazed on the remnant that were not sealed.  In Present Truth, in the publication of 1849, it says that the remnant that were not all sealed.  The sealing had begun.  The remnant were not all sealed. 

       “…and He raised His hands to the Father and pleaded with Him that He had spilled His blood for them.  Then another angel was commissioned to fly swiftly to the four angels and bid them hold, until the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads.”

       God is drawing a covering over His people.  Early Writings, page 43, paragraph 2 says:  “Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God’s people from the present truth and to cause them to waver.  I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth and was pure in heart was to be covered with the covering of the Almighty.”

      The saints needed to be covered.  And we need to be covered with this covering of the Almighty to stand in that day.  This covering, brothers and sisters, is the righteousness of Christ.  The white robes of purity of heart and life, purity of character.  This is the covering we need to be sealed with.  It is manifested in the outward observance of the Sabbath truth.

      In Volume 6 of the Testimonies, page _____, Sister White writes if we truly keep the Sabbath holy, we will keep the rest of the commandments.  If we understand what it means to keep the Sabbath holy, then we will keep the rest of the commandments.  It says there, Keep the Sabbath day holy.  If you’re not holy, can you keep the day holy?  Brothers and sisters, it points to a New Birth experience, a conversion.  To be holy men unto God.  Except ye be converted.  Ye shall be holy men unto me.  He said to the Levites.  We need to be holy.  That holiness that comes from the impartation of the Holy Spirit, purifying our hearts and lives.  This is what it means to keep the Sabbath holy.

      In Great Controversy, page 425, in the chapter on the investigative judgment, Jesus is there investigating the lives of all the righteous dead.  Perhaps we seem to feel that it’s taken Him 150 years to go through each case of each individual since Adam.  Perhaps it’s taken Him this long to go through all their life history and to declare whether they are clothed with the righteousness of Christ.  But as we have read earlier, had the Adventist believers done their work, the judgment would have been over, would it not?  So all the righteous dead would have been judged.  Christ hasn’t been spending 150 years judging all the righteous dead.  He’s been spending the majority of His time waiting, and pleading,  “My blood.  My blood.  My blood.”  For the remnant are not sealed.

       In page 425 of Great Controversy,  “Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator.  Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling.  Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil.  While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.  This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14.”

       So there is to be a purification.  A special work of purification.  Every sin, every spot and stain is to be removed from the character.  We find this in the chapter on the sealing in Volume 5, pages 213 and 214.  Every spot and stain is to be removed from the character.  What really causes the spots and stains in our characters?  What is the root of the spots and stains?  Selfishness, isn’t it?  It’s selfishness.  Now selfishness is really self-centeredness.  Those things which we know belong to us by birth, by right.  We want to cling to.  We don’t want to give up the human nature.  We don’t want to give it up.  The natural man doesn’t want to give it up.  Because when he’s giving it up, he’s giving up everything he has.  And that’s the hardest thing in the world to do–give up everything you have.  The hardest thing to do.  But this is what God requires if we are to enter into the experience of salvation.

      There was a sermon preached by W W Prescott in the 1903 General Conference.  And you’ll find it in the General Conference Bulletin of 1903 on page 50.  The whole sermon is almost 5 pages.  Just a couple points.  You see up until 1844 the gospel that was being preached to the world was the gospel of Martin Luther.  The gospel of the Reformation.  Which was, we have forgiveness not through a priest in a sanctuary.  We have forgiveness through Jesus Christ in heaven, who stands as our Advocate.  That’s who we have forgiveness through.  And so the people were invited to have forgiveness through Christ.  And so the gospel was preached in this context.  Forgiveness through Christ.  And the Holy Spirit is received to enable a person to walk in the light.  John Wesley came across this great truth.  He had a misunderstanding on salvation by works, but the Lord gave him a conversion experience and Wesley preached justification by faith.  And sanctification by faith.  And he understood this point.  But the forgiveness all came through Jesus Christ.  But today in the context of the Third Angel’s Message, we are talking about a blotting out of sin.  Now tell me.  Today, thank God, we have a Saviour.  Thank God, Jesus has not given up on us.  Today He’s pleading His blood for us.  Crying before the Father.  That blood that cost Him so much, He’s pleading before the Father.  My blood, Father.  My blood.  My blood.  My blood.  And when we make mistakes, if we are true in following on to know the Lord, we will hate the sins that crucified the Saviour.  And we have an Advocate with the Father.  But this was a concept of the 1888 message which perhaps we may have missed somewhere.  And that was this:  That Jesus forgives our sins and removes them from record, covers them with His blood, while we confess them.  Now, tell me.  If we have no more sins to confess, then what will Jesus have, up there in heaven to confess before the Father?  Nothing.  When we have reached the point where sin has been purified from our heart and life, when we’ve been filled with the Spirit (and we’re not talking Holy Flesh here), I’m talking about a purity of heart and life so that no matter what, no matter what the world offers to us, not matter what Satan entices us with, Sister White brings out, we would rather die than commit a sin against God.  This is the experience that we are to have.  We would rather die than commit a sin against God.  Why?  Because we understand what it cost.  We understand that that one sin–it was only a little bite of the fruit, wasn’t it? And it was only one bite, wasn’t it? But what do we have today as a result?  One sin.  Jesus Christ would have went through all that suffering and anguish for one sin.  And so too that one sin.  Sister White brings out that to be almost by not wholly saved is to be not almost but wholly lost.

       And so W W Prescott preaches here on page 53 of the 1903 GC Bulletin:  “There is a difference from the gospel being preached for the forgiveness of sins and the gospel being preached for the blotting out of sin.  Always, and to-day, there is abundant provision for the forgiveness of sins.  In our generation comes the provision for the blotting out of sin.  And the blotting out of sin is what will prepare the way for the coming of the Lord; and the blotting out of sin is the ministry of our high Priest in the most holy place in the heavenly sanctuary; and it makes a difference to the people of God to-day in their ministry, in their message, and in their experience, whether they recognize the change of the ministry from one apartment to the other, or whether they recognize and experience the fact of the change.”

       So whether you recognize in theory that Christ has changed, and yes, is judging the righteous dead, one day soon, we know not when, the judgment of the living will begin.  We can believe this in theory.  But what about preaching the blotting out of is in our experience?  This is the context the gospel is to be preached in today.

       It goes on to say on page 54,  “Now that should be distinctly brought out in the third angel’s message; and with that, of course, will come the clearest revelation of the gospel ministry for this time, the blotting out of sin in this generation, thus preparing the way for the Lord.”

      Further over he says, “And when those truths are preached in the light of advent history and advent prophecy, they will save people from sin and from sinning now.  They will prepare a people to stand in the hour of temptation that faces us, and will prepare a people to meet the Lord in the air, and so to be ever with the Lord; and that is the message to be preached in this generation.”

       Jesus Christ is about to leave the sanctuary, friends.  The world is soon to have no Saviour there to confess their sins to.  And we are soon to have no Saviour to confess our sins to.  Friends, we must come to a point in our experience where we would rather die than commit a sin against God.  And when we reach that experience, the remnant will have no more sin to transfer to the sanctuary.  And then the way for Jesus to come will be prepared.  Then He will cast down the altar of incense to the earth.  Then He can utter the sentence, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still:  and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” 

      How may we hasten His coming?  (If you don’t have an idea by now), I’d like to share a few thoughts further just on this.  In 2 Peter 3:9-12 it says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise.”  Friends, Jesus is coming; do you believe it?  He’s coming.  He’s not slack concerning His promise, “as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  He wants all to come to repentance.  Prophecy indicates not all will.  In fact, when Jesus comes, He declares in the gospel of Like, shall He find faith on earth?  How many souls went into the ark, brothers and sisters?  What was the population of the world at that time?  I read Rene Norbergen’s book, Secret of the Lost Races.  In that book he gives a conservative estimate based upon the lifespan of the generation in those times, based upon the lifespan and years of giving childbirth.  He puts a conservative estimate.  He says the most conservative estimate is 1 billion people.  One billion.  He put the figure at about 990 odd million.  Almost a billion.  That’s a conservative estimate.  The least conservative.  Eight to a billion.  What is the population of the world today?  5 1/2, nearly 6.  Eight times 5, 8 times 6, let’s say.  48.  The Lord wants more than 48 people to enter into the ark.  Friends, He will have.  He will have.  But this message must be taken to heart for Him to have them. 

      It says here in verse 11, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.”  If you do a word study on that word, “:conversation,” it’s a broadly-based word meaning behaviour.  Not just in our words, but in our entire behaviour, all of our life.  So in all manner of behaviour and godliness, what manner of persons ought you to be in view of all these things that are happening around us?  And Peter goes on to say,  “Looking for and hasting,”  hasting,  “unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, the elements shall melt with fervent heat”.

      Friends, we know that statement in the Testimonies that says the Lord will cut short His work in righteousness.  He’ll cut short His work in righteousness.  Cut short His work in righteousness.  If you turn to Malachi 3, we have here a prophecy concerning this Day of Atonement, the commencing of the Day of Atonement.  Malachi 3, starting with verse 1:  “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.” 

      Now, Sister White brings out, if you study that text in her writings, she brings out that this was applying in particular to the third Angel’s Message, to the beginning of the Day of Atonement, where the Lord shall suddenly come to His temple to begin a work of judgment.

      We read further, “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap:  And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”

      Do you know, in Leviticus 23, on the day of atonement, the priest was to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord.  And that symbolized the offering and righteousness that was to be made in these last days for the Lord.  And that offering and righteousness will be an offering that His people will give to Him in the last final movements of this world’s history.  An offering made by fire.  An offering that’s made by a covenant of sacrifice to the Lord. 

       In Christ’s Object Lessons, page 340:  “When those who profess to serve God follow Christ’s example, practicing the principles of the law in their daily life,; when every act bears witness that they love God supremely and their neighbour as themselves, then will the church have power to move the world.”  Christ Object Lessons, 340.

       In Review and Herald, 6 October, 1896,   “When the latter rain is poured out, the church will be clothed with power for its work.”  So this, the power spoken of in Christ Object Lessons, I believe, is the Latter Rain power.  And when the Latter Rain is poured out, the church will be clothed with power for its work.  “But the church as a whole,”  and this is what we’re looking for, as a whole, “will never receive this until its members shall put away from among them envy, evil surmisings and evil speakings.”  This needs to be put away from us. 

       There was an experience in 1st Selected Messages that brings out together with Volume 9 page 48, why God does not reveal, manifest, His power in its greatness amongst us now.

1 SM 151–“The Lord is at work and will work, as fast as we prepare the way for Him that He can safely reveal His power in our behalf.”  So, as fast as we prepare the way before Him, and how do we do that?  By receiving the light as it shines upon our path.  This is what they should have done, the Advent believers in those early years.

       In Great Controversy 379 and paragraph 2, we read, “If God’s professed people would receive the light as it shines upon them from His word, they would reach that unity for which Christ prayed, that which the apostle describes, ‘the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’  ‘There is,’ he says, ‘one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism.'”

       So if God’s people would receive the light as it shines upon them from His Word, they would reach the unity for which Christ prayed.  Friends, what is the Spirit of Prophecy?  The testimony of Jesus.  Is it the testimony of Ellen White?  No, friends.  It is the testimony of Jesus Christ.  Perhaps we lose the significance of the actual words written there that have been published for our enlightenment.  When we say Spirit of Prophecy, what happen        TAPE CUT OUT.  THEN CHOIR

       The reference regarding pride and humility shutting out the manifestation of God’s power is found in 5T page 50 and 51 and briefly, it just says that  “Few receive the grace of Christ with self-abasement”–that is, with humility–“with a deep and permanent sense of their unworthiness.  They cannot bear the manifestation of the power of God.  For this would encourage in them self-esteem, pride and envy.  This is why the Lord can do so little for us now.”

       CLOSING PRAYER–Our dear loving and gracious heavenly Father,

We come before Thee, Lord, with nothing but our unworthiness to plead the name and blood of Jesus in our behalf.  And thank Thee, dear Father, for this opportunity that we’ve had this afternoon to meet together in the praise and the worship of  Thee and the study of Thy Word.  And we ask, dear Father, that these thoughts that have been presented may not pass by unheeded, but that we will each one realize the great need before us, the need of subduing self, of overcoming sin in our own hearts and lives.  For only in this way can we hasten Thy coming and the Day of Atonement will be finished for us, in us, and through us, Lord.  And so we appeal to Thee to be merciful to us, Father, to bear with us, and to give us of Thy grace so we can carry forward the work here on earth.  We thank you again for all that you’ve done for us and are doing for us in the name of Jesus.  And we ask, dear Father, that you will continue to work for us greatly, that we might see great things in Thy behalf.  And as we see the world events around us, may it impress us with the nearness of time.  But to ever realize that the angels are holding back the 4 winds until we are ready.  So we pray, dear Lord, that each one of us might be a part of that final company that stands in that day when Jesus finishes His mediation for us.  So may this be our experience as we go forth from here.  We thank you and praise you in Jesus’ name.  Amen.