A Denominated People
What makes a church God’s denominated people? Are you part of God’s denominated people? When Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven, when He looks down, you and I will be standing here in this world. I have thought about this so many times. When Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven, I want to start to lift off from this world. Do you? Can you make yourself rise? No way! If you are going to be part of the church that is going to triumph and go with the Lord, He has to recognize that you are a part of His church because that is who He is coming to take to heaven.
Revelation 19 makes it very clear that Jesus is coming back to this world to get His church, His bride. So when Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven, He has to recognize those who are a part of His church. Will He recognize someone just because they are a Seventh-day Adventist? I have a big shock for you. There will be many Seventh-day Adventist people whom He will not recognize; and their feet will stay right on the ground. They will never leave the earth. They are going to have an argument with the Lord. They will say, “But Lord, we are part of your people. We were evangelists, we were ministers, we were leaders.” Jesus talked about this in Matthew 7.
I remember when I was a child, we used to think that these people whom God would not recognize were the people in the Sunday-keeping churches who do not keep the commandments of God. Were we ever wrong! I am not saying that He will recognize the Sunday keeping churches, but He is not going to recognize all of us either.
A Form of Godliness
“It is possible for me to offer the Saviour outward homage, to be Christians in profession, to have a form of godliness, while the heart, whose loyalty He prizes above all else, is estranged from Him. Such ones have a name to live, but they are dead.” Upward Look, 301.
Mrs. White says it is possible to have a form of godliness, to make a profession of godliness; in other words to physically be part of God’s true people, and yet the heart is on something else. Now she is going to open up a veil and you are going to look into the future: “To the marriage supper of the Lamb will come many who have not on the wedding garment—the robe [Christ] purchased for them with His lifeblood. From lips that never make a mistake come the words, ‘Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?’ Matthew 22:12. Those [thus] addressed are speechless. They know that words would be useless. The truth, with its sanctifying power, has not been brought into the soul, and the tongue that once spoke so readily of the truth is now silent. The words are then spoken, ‘Take them out of My presence. They are not worthy to taste of My supper’ (cf. Luke 14:24). As they are separated from the loyal ones, Christ looks upon them with deep sorrow.” Ibid.
Banned from the Feast
Does Jesus want you to be lost? No! He is going to have great sorrow if you are not saved. The next sentence describes who these people are. “They occupied high positions of trust in God’s work.” Who are these people? These are Seventh-day Adventists, and I want to tell you they are not the church janitor. Who are they? They are the leaders. They are people who occupied high positions of trust in God’s work, and they think that they are saved, but they are not. They come to the wedding supper, but they are not allowed in.
“From the quivering lips of Christ come the mournful words of regret, ‘I loved them; I gave My life for them; but they persisted in rejecting My pleadings, and continued in sin. ‘O that thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day, the things which belong to thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes.’
“Today Christ is looking with sadness upon those whose characters He must, at last, refuse to acknowledge. Inflated with self-sufficiency, they hope that it will be well with their souls. But at the last great day, the mirror of detection reveals to them the evil that their hearts have practiced, and shows them at the same time the impossibility of reform. Every effort was made to bring them to repentance. But they refused to humble their hearts. Now the bitter lamentation is heard, ‘The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved’” (cf. Jeremiah 8:20).” Ibid.
You Must Overcome Sin
There are going to be a lot of Seventh-day Adventists saying, “The harvest is passed, the summer is ended, and I am not saved.” Why? Because they continued in sin. Friend of mine, do not think that you can continue in the most secret sin and have salvation, because it is not so. Your wife, your husband, your family, your employer, nobody else may know, but if you are living in sin today, you are lost. You cannot be saved in sin. You must overcome sin. You must be saved from sin.
“What a scene is this! I pass over the ground again and again, bowed down in an agony that no tongue can express, as I see the end of the many, many who have refused to receive their Saviour.” Ibid.
The Lord wants to save you, but He cannot save you in your sins. He can save you from sin if you are willing. When you are baptized, you make a public confession that you are through with sin and that you are going to arise to walk in newness of life. Read Romans 6. That is what baptism means. The person who is still living in sin cannot be baptized until he has left his sins behind, through the power of the Holy Spirit. When you are baptized, what you are publicly saying is, “I am through with sin, I am going to follow Jesus, and by the power of His Holy Spirit I am going to live the Christian life.” It would be too bad to be baptized in vain, wouldn’t it? But see, if I am baptized and then I continue to live in sin, I have made a profession that I would let sin go, but my profession is a lie.
The Shepherd Knows His Sheep
What makes a church God’s denominated people? When Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven, and He looks at us, what makes Him say, “These people belong to Me. They are part of my church; they are coming with Me.” This is so simple that I do not know how we could ever get mixed up on it, but there seems to be a lot of Bible students who are thoroughly confused on this point. They write me letters and send me all types of information, and they think that the denominated people are people who belong to a certain organization. Let us see what the Spirit of Prophecy says.
“…I was considering this matter in the night season, it seemed as if One stood up in the midst of us and pointed us back to the Israelites as an illustration of a distinct people, denominated of God.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 38.
There, somebody says; there it is; the Israelites were a distinct people; they were denominated of God. What we have to belong to is this. Who are these distinct people denominated of God? Look at the next sentence: “That which made them denominational was”— How would you fill in the blank? Oh, somebody says, “I know what it is; they belong to this organization.” That is not what it says. “They were the descendants of Abraham.” That is not what it says. “They followed Moses.” That is not what it says. Here is what it says. “That which made them denominational was the observance of God’s commandments.”
I do not know how to emphasize this enough! From the beginning of the great controversy, clear to the end, the point of controversy is the law of God. That was the issue in heaven. That was the issue with the children of Israel. That was the issue at the cross. That was the issue with the early church. That was the issue in Martin Luther’s time. That is the issue today! The dividing line, what it is that makes you denominational, what it is that makes you part of God’s people, is whether you keep the commandments of God. Is that hard to understand?
She says, “We are Seventh-day Adventists. This is a fitting name, for we keep the seventh-day Sabbath, and look for the Second Advent of our Lord in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. Even with respect to the name indicating some of the peculiar points of faith distinguishing us from other Christians, we are denominational. In keeping the Sabbath that God declares should be kept holy as a sign between Himself and His people, we show to the world that we are His peculiar, chosen people—a people whom He has denominated.” Ibid. p. 40.
Sealed by God
Do you keep the Sabbath? If you keep the Sabbath, that is a special sign that you read about in Exodus 31; and again in Ezekiel 20. It is also mentioned in Hebrews 4, and it is referred to over and over again in the book of Revelation. The Sabbath is a special sign called God’s seal, or His mark. If you keep it, that is a special sign that you are one of God’s denominated people. You can’t keep the Sabbath unless you keep all the rest of the commandments. You cannot keep the Sabbath and run around with your neighbor’s wife, because it says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” You cannot keep the Sabbath holy if you are practicing unholiness with your neighbor’s wife; so you have to keep the seventh commandment to keep the fourth. If you go through all the rest of the commandments, you also have to keep them to keep the fourth. You cannot lie to your wife or to your husband and keep the Sabbath; that is impossible because then you are not holy. The law is holy, and you have to be in harmony with the law to be a holy person. You have to be in harmony with the law to keep the Sabbath holy. That is why the Sabbath is a special sign, because if you keep it, you will keep all the other commandments. You cannot keep it without keeping the rest.
Committed to God
“When you come to the point where you decide to serve God, you are denominational.” Ibid., 52. I am denominational, strictly denominational, that is all. Are you? I have decided to serve the Lord. Have you decided to serve the Lord? This day, not yesterday, today, I have committed my life to the Lord. I am not bragging about it; I am just telling you the facts. Today I have committed my life to the Lord; everything that I have for now and for the future I have committed to Him. I have decided to serve Him. So I am denominational. I am strictly denominational.
“In the name of the Lord we are to identify ourselves as Seventh-day Adventists. If any one among us is ashamed of our colors, and wishes to stand under another banner, let him do so as a private individual, not as a representative of Seventh-day Adventist medical missionary work.” Battle Creek Letters, 52.
So, are you denominational? I hope you are. Are you part of the people whom God has denominated? “As a people we are looked upon as peculiar. Our position and faith distinguish us from every other denomination.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 138. These words point us out as God’s denominated people.” Read also Testimonies, vol. 9, page 18, where it talks about the Sabbath. When Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven there is going to be a church waiting here that is going to go through, and they are going to go up to meet Him in the clouds.
Judged by What You Know
I want to address, for just a moment, something that may be troubling some of your minds. This question comes up very often. I had a Sabbath-keeping lady ask me what is going to happen to her dead husband. She said, “My husband was a very sincere Christian. He loved and followed the Lord, but he did not know about the Sabbath. What is going to happen to him?” The Bible answers that question. 2 Corinthians 8:12 says; “For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.” God knows exactly what you understand and what you do not understand. We are not passing judgment on anybody in the world who does not understand all that the Bible teaches. We are not passing judgment on anybody, but here is the catch. The Bible says; “…the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18. (NKJV.) Paul said, “…the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” Acts 17:30. (KJV.)
There was a time when very few people in the world even had a copy of the Bible, but is that true today? No. Everybody in the world can have a copy of the Bible today. God has poured upon this generation more spiritual light than any previous generation. So when somebody asks me, “Is my relative, who died and who was not keeping the Sabbath, going to be saved?” I cannot pass judgment, but I will give you two points. We already went over one in 2 Corinthians 8:12. If you are living up to all the light that you have, God accepts you. But here is the catch, nobody will be lost because they were deceived and sincerely believed an error. Even Eve was not lost in the Garden of Eden for that reason. She was deceived, but that was not the reason she was banished from the garden. Why was Eve sent out of the Garden when she was deceived? It was not because she believed the serpent, it was because she rejected and disbelieved the Lord. You are not lost because you sincerely believed an error and you did not know the truth. Nobody will be lost because of that. If you learn about the truth and you reject the truth, then you are lost. God cannot trust you in heaven. If you know truth and are not practicing it and are not doing it, God cannot trust you. He cannot save you, and you are not going to go to heaven when Jesus comes.
Planted in the Midst
I know some will think this is a strange question, and wonder why I am even asking it. The reason I am going to ask it is because there are so many people who believe it. Do God and the devil ever work together? A lot of people think they do. A lot of people would not be so confused, if every time they read the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy they always understood that God and the devil never do anything together.
The following statement was written to the Battle Creek Church to professed Seventh-day Adventists; “These are the true feelings of a large class in Battle Creek. Satan exults at his success in controlling the minds of so many who profess to be Christians. He has deceived them, benumbed their sensibilities, and planted his hellish banner right in their midst.” Appeal to the Battle Creek Church, 2. Right in the midst of what? Right in the midst of the headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. She says the devil has planted his banner right there! “…and they are so completely deceived that they know not that it is he. The people have not erected graven images, yet their sin is no less in the sight of God. They worship mammon. They love worldly gain. Some will make any sacrifice of conscience to obtain their object. God’s professed people [the professed church] are selfish and self-caring. They love the things of this world, and have fellowship with the works of darkness.” Ibid. Can you have fellowship with darkness and light at the same time? Read 1 Corinthians 10. It tells you point blank that you cannot.
“They have pleasure in unrighteousness. They have not love toward God, nor love for their neighbors. They are idolaters—worse, far worse, in the sight of God, than the heathen graven–image worshipers who have no knowledge of a better way.” Ibid., 3. Of course they are the true church, aren’t they? Do you believe that God and the devil work together? Mrs. White said that the devil has set up his banner right in the middle of professed Christians, and they did not know it. They were following him and worshipping him. They did not love God; they were not following Him; they were having fellowship with darkness and not with light, and you say that is God’s true church? Do God and the devil work together? No! If you can always keep it straight in your mind that God and the devil never do anything in co-partnership, you will be able to figure out who and what the church is.
The wheat and the tares are being separated right now, and it is going to be all over one of these days. Before some people wake up it is going to be too late, and they are going to find out that they are lost. I do not want it to be any of you. I have prayed a lot as I have seen what is happening to God’s professed people. I have said, “Lord, I do not know what I can do, but if there is any way, please use me as a humble instrument to save some out of this trap that they are in.” Do not ever feel at ease and say, “I am a Seventh-day Adventist; I belong to the right organization, and therefore I am going to be saved.” It is not so. Your character has to be in harmony with what you believe.
The reason I am telling you these things is because I want every single one of you to be saved. You can be, if you are willing to commit your life to Him and say, “Lord, I am surrendering totally to you.” The Holy Spirit is powerful enough to clean up your life and my life, to clean up our minds, our tongues, our bodies, and our actions. Do you want Jesus to recognize you as one of His when He comes in the clouds? Do you want to be part of the church that is going to go through? If that is what you want, make a commitment to the Lord, and say, “Lord, I want to be washed; I want to be sanctified; I want to be justified; I want you to save me from sin. I want to be part of the group that is going to go through.”