We need to stand as beacons of spiritual light and anchors of moral influence at a time of rampant uncertainty.
By Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church
| || |
As we view the societal landscape of the world, it is becoming more and more violent.
Very recently — from South Sudan to the United States to Bangladesh to Iraq to Turkey and on and on — it appears that the winds of strife have increased and heated to the point of boiling over. Innocent and unsuspecting people have been terribly affected. I have prayed for these places, families involved and the various situations.
Although we do not wish to be alarmists and must maintain heaven-inspired balance, trust and hope, it seems as if the world is increasingly disintegrating on a daily basis. Although we know that these types of difficulties and tragedies will become more commonplace at the end of time, we need to stand as beacons of spiritual light and anchors of moral influence at a time of rampant uncertainty.
Our spiritual influence can only come as we are completely leaning upon the Lord, our Rock and Salvation. Christ admonishes us in Matthew 24:12-14 (NKJV): “Because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
As we place ourselves, our families, our communities and our church in God’s omnipotent hands, let us realize that He alone can protect and care for us as we head into the last days of Earth’s history. The lawlessness that seems pervasive in so many places can extinguish the love for others, but as we ground ourselves in the love of Christ, our love for others can flourish as we share that heavenly love with others and our heaven-blessed actions will be a great witness to all around us.
Truly the gospel of the kingdom is being preached throughout the world, and church members are actively participating in Total Member Involvement showing the world the love of Christ in word and deed. However, it is even more crucial that we increase our efforts to personally and corporately, as the Seventh-day Adventist Church, share the wonderful good news of the three angels’ messages pointing people to Christ and His power to change lives to become more and more like Him.
Christ Is Our Compass
It is only in Christ and His righteousness that we can find true direction for our lives, the lives of our families, for our communities —.and for society as a whole. The powerful and forceful prophetic messages of God’s last-day proclamation must be seen in our practical daily Christian lives and in the proclamation we give. This is the hour and the time for Seventh-day Adventists to show the world, through the power of the Holy Spirit, what it means to have hope in the Lord’s power to bring about change in our lives and in society.
We know from prophetic understanding of Daniel and Revelation that this world will degenerate into chaos and opposition to God’s Holy Word, but that does not mean that we cannot be strong sentinels of God’s grace and heavenly power to focus people’s attention on the Lord’s soon return.
I appeal to Seventh-day Adventists worldwide to focus your attention on 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, and His soon second coming.
Let us plead with the Holy Spirit for the power of the latter rain so that God’s last-day message will go like wildfire through our witnessing, proclamation of the Word, and our Christ-like actions of heavenly love to others. It is imperative that we realize the time in which we are living and focus on the message and mission entrusted to the Seventh-day Adventist Church for this very time.
Let us be faithful in proclaiming Christ’s righteousness which is the core of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 in contrast with the self-absorption and self-centeredness of the beast powers of Revelation 13. Let us not be distracted from our mission but focus on Christ and His power to save especially during these very difficult times around the world.
The Great Controversy on page 488 tells us: “Satan invents unnumbered schemes to occupy our minds, that they may not dwell upon the very work with which we ought to be best acquainted. The arch-deceiver hates the great truths that bring to view an atoning sacrifice and an all-powerful mediator. He knows that with him everything depends on his diverting minds from Jesus and His truth. Those who would share the benefits of the Saviour’s mediation should permit nothing to interfere with their duty to perfect holiness in the fear of God. The precious hours, instead of being given to pleasure, to display, or to gain seeking, should be devoted to an earnest, prayerful study of the word of truth. The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill.”
Unique Position for Adventists
God intends for Seventh-day Adventists to fill a unique position on this Earth at the end of time, and now is the time to do that. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a prophetic movement with a prophetic message on a prophetic mission. It is led by God Himself, not by human beings. God has a special work and message to be proclaimed by every member, not just pastors and church workers. This is what Total Member Involvement is all about. Everyone doing something for Jesus, proclaiming the last-day saving message through word and through loving actions — all directed by the Holy Spirit’s power. We are told in Testimonies for the Church, Volume 9, page 117: “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.”
We are to focus people’s attention on Christ and what He has done and is doing for us. Continuing with inspiration from The Great Controversy, we read in selected sections on pages 488 to 490: “The sanctuary in heaven is the very center of Christ’s work in behalf of men. It concerns every soul living upon the Earth. It opens to view the plan of redemption, bringing us down to the very close of time and revealing the triumphant issue of the contest between righteousness and sin. It is of the utmost importance that all should thoroughly investigate these subjects and be able to give an answer to everyone that asketh them a reason of the hope that is in them. The intercession of Christ in man’s behalf in the sanctuary above is as essential to the plan of salvation as was His death upon the cross. By His death He began that work which after His resurrection He ascended to complete in heaven. We must by faith enter within the veil, ‘whither the forerunner is for us entered,’ Hebrews 6:20. There the light from the cross of Calvary is reflected. … We are now living in the great day of atonement. … All who would have their names retained in the book of life should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful search of heart. The light, frivolous spirit indulged by so many professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery. … Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement. Momentous are the interests involved therein. The judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above.”
Lean Completely on Jesus
Let us lean completely on the grace and merits of Jesus who alone can save us and help us share His matchless love with the world around us. We are told in Testimonies for the Church, Volume 9, page 11: “We are living in the time of the end. The fast-fulfilling signs of the times declare that the coming of Christ is near at hand. The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the Earth. Plagues and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude. The agencies of evil are combining their forces, and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.”
Seventh-day Adventist brothers and sisters around the world, what a time to be alive and lean on the merits of Christ as He uses us in His last proclamation to the world telling about His plan of salvation and His everlasting love.
Let us rally to the call given by our Lord and be part of Total Member Involvement sharing Christ’s righteousness, His love, His call to complete repentance and submission to Him, His profound three angels’ messages and His soon return. Let us lovingly share the Word of God and exemplify it in our daily Christ-like lives all though His grace and power. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!