Friday, December 13, 2013

Our Prophetic Message

Our Prophetic Message

Memory text: Revelation 14: 6, 7
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— 7 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.”

The title of the lesson implies that the message is ours – 7th Day Adventists, but truthfully it is God’s message to mankind, including 7th Day Adventists.  Notice that the message is preached, “… to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.”  Unless, Adventists do not believe they live in the earth. 

The main message is the eternal gospel.  When preached there will be a people that ““Fear[s] God and give[s] glory to Him, … and worship[s] Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”  They will heed the warning of the fate of Babylon.

Rev 14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Rev 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
Rev 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

They answer God’s call,

Rev 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

What is the Sin of Babylon?  What is her wine?  We read in Revelation

Rev 18:7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously … she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

Babylon thinks highly of herself.  So, thinks herself so highly she considers herself above all: a queen.  She claims she is not destitute and in need of anything and that she will see no sorrow. Self-exaltation is her wine. Babylon’s followers follow her in their self-exaltation.  This attitude is the opposite of what Paul suggests Christians should be,

Rom 12:3 “…not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly …”

The Gospel produces a people who are sober.  In fact, Paul encouragers us to, “…in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3). Christ said of Himself, “…I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11: 29). “The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 143).  John says that Christ “laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).  Christ lived for others, so should we.  The Gospel, if accepted, has the power to transform us into the kind of man. 

Now, Christ had said that when “… this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; ... then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).  This implies only one thing: the Gospel has not been preached in all the World.  That is because what is being preached is not the everlasting Gospel.  How do we know that? Because, in general, Christendom is too self-concerned.  The Bride – the Church - is not concerned with the Groom.  She has yet to “look upon me whom they have pierced, and … mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son…” (Zechariah 12:10).  She has not grown up and made herself ready.  This self-concern is manifested in how we treat each other. 

Hence, there is a need for "His judgment" of us.  It is not to condemn, but to diagnose us.  This diagnosis is to warn us, that our condition is terminal and unless there is some kind of intervention we will worsen and die.  The message to Laodicea is this judgment.  Remember, the 3rd Angel’s Message is an end time message.  Laodicea is the end-time church.  What did God tell Laodicea?

Rev 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Rev 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Laodicea boasts – as Babylon does - confidently about her riches and sufficiency.  But, God says to Laodicea that she is not as well as she thinks.  And, then tells her what she needs and where to get it.  When Laodicea follows God’s way, she is rewarded accordingly.

Ellen White says that justification by faith is in verity the 3rd Angel’s Message (The Review and Herald, April 1, 1890).   What is justification by faith?  “… It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself. When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ” (FLB 111).   According to Ellen White, William Miller’s message – the cleansing of the Sanctuary – is also the 3rd Angel’s message.  This message was a reference to the Day of Atonement (becoming one), the day when Sin is cleansed out of the sanctuary.  This means that the cleansing of the sanctuary is justification by faith.  When we see this in the light that we are God’s temple, since His Spirit dwells in us, then we understand that justification by faith is the process of us being cleansed from Sin, while being clothed with Christ’s righteousness.  It is the process of removing the heart of stone from us and giving us a heart of flesh.  It is the process of God writing His law and statutes in our mind and heart.  His love know fills us; in fact, it overflows unto others.  We become Christ-like.  “Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own” (COL 69).    If Christ has yet to come to claim us as His own, then it means that Christ’s longing desire has not been fulfilled.  

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