The Church “Then”. . . . . .and the Church Now
by Terry S. Ross
DA 663: “While He was building mansions for them, they were to build characters after the divine similitude…
“There are not many ways to heaven. Each one may not choose his own way. Christ says, ‘I am the way…. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me. ’”
Today, many demonstrate either by word, action, or both that they believe there is more than one way to heaven. These leaders are using their influence to try to convince others that it really doesn’t matter how we worship God. Remember that Cain had this same attitude. These same folks are also saying that we need not worry so much about forming perfect characters because Jesus understands we are only human. Unfortunately, most people will continue to believe this lie. You see, Jesus DOES understand our humanity! And the problem isn’t Jesus, but us. We need to understand His divinity! Those who do and trust Jesus all the way will find the ONLY way to heaven. We will discover eventually that all of these “poor little me” arguments to excuse sin are in vain. What good will have been accomplished at that time? It will be forever too late when people see that God was right. We cannot afford to allow this to be our experience. You have all that is necessary for yours to be a success story in the books of heaven. All you need is a sanctified choice (will) and Jesus. If you will do your part, Jesus has given His life to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, He will do His part. What good will it have been to have gone to church or anything else if it’s all been wasted in the end? Won’t you determine just now that you will cast your lot with Christ no matter what any man says? Won’t you promise yourself, right this moment, that you will take God and not man at His word? Those who in the end are safe to be saved for eternity will be those who trusted God will all their minds, bodies, and souls. It is a law of the universe that if we choose to place our confidence in man instead of God; if we choose to doubt God’s ability to bring us all the way to a perfected character, then our doubts will be realized. It is all the way with Christ or none of the way with Him. Those who meet Jesus halfway will lose heaven all the way.
DA 664: “How earnestly and perseveringly our compassionate Saviour sought to prepare His disciples for the storm of temptation that was soon to beat upon them. He would have them hid with Him in God.”
It was education time in the Ancient Adventist Church and this education Christ came to impart to His disciples. Even these Independent Ministers who were to take this education to the Conference and laity alike were not prepared for the approaching storm that was to commence within the structure. The message that Jesus gave to these men to share would cause them much trouble but, nonetheless, it was the message they were to give if they would remain faithful. These same messages of warning and education are being brought again at the Lord’s command, for the last time. Only those, as in the Ancient Adventist days, who heed the messages will be protected in the end.
DA 664: “As Christ was speaking these words, the glory of God was shining from His countenance, and all present felt a sacred awe as they listened with rapt attention to His words. Their hearts were more decidedly drawn to Him; and as they were drawn to Christ in greater love, they were drawn to one another.”
Much emphasis is placed on unity these days within the circles of Adventism. Certainly Jesus prayed for His people to have unity and all heaven is waiting for this to take place. “Christ calls for unity. BUT HE DOES NOT CALL FOR US TO UNIFY ON WRONG PRACTICES. The God of heaven draws a sharp contrast between pure, elevating, ennobling truth and false, misleading doctrines. He calls sin and impenitence by the right name. He does not gloss over wrongdoing with a coat of untempered mortar. I urge our brethren to UNIFY UPON A TRUE, SPIRITUAL BASIS.” (1SM 175)
All this talk of unity will have no value in the sight of God if it isn’t based on His high standard. Unity in itself is against God’s kingdom if it’s based on any other foundation than to hold up truth and the pure principles of the heavenly kingdom. God will have some day soon this unity among His true people. Will you and I be among this group? No man can make us do otherwise if this is where we choose to be.
DA 664: “The Saviour was deeply anxious for His disciples to understand for what purpose His divinity was united to humanity. He came to the world to display the glory of God, that man might be uplifted by its restoring power. God was manifested in Him that He might be manifested in them. JESUS REVEALED NO QUALITIES, AND EXERCISED NO POWERS, THAT MEN MAY NOT HAVE THROUGH FAITH IN HIM. His PERFECT HUMANITY is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was.”
Love for the pure truth of God is the glue that alone will bring this binding together of which so many speak. This unity will ONLY come to those who honestly have the eternal interests of God’s government in mind. ONLY those who protect God’s throne while on this earth of sin will share in His glory in the world made new. This class is the ONLY one who will survive the great controversy.
DA 667: “All who will go to work, trusting not in what they themselves can do, but in what God can do for and through them, will certainly realize the fulfillment of His promise. ‘Greater works than these shall ye do, ’ He declares: ‘because I go unto my Father. ’”
Oh, friend! Do you believe that Jesus has enough power to overcome all the sin in your life? Do you believe that Jesus is your only hope if you are to be an overcomer? Do you believe that Jesus will help you cease from liking whatever sin it is that you may be holding on to? Are you tired of playing Catholicism with your Adventism? If you can answer “yes” to the preceding questions, Brother or Sister, there is hope! But you and I must be willing to put it all on the altar of the Lord. We must be willing to agonize, if need be, in order to overcome. As Christ overcame through this agonizing in the garden, so we too must travel this road. Remember, God is not building for just a moment but for eternity.
There are three identifying marks of the remnant church. We hear of two quite often but we need to understand the third much more than we seem to. The last church will keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy. But this is not all. The last church also will have the faith OF Jesus Christ.
What does it mean to have the faith OF Jesus Christ? It means that the people who comprise the last church, the only church that’s going through, will have the same faith that Jesus had. This faith is much more than a profession of belief. This faith believes with the total soul. It’s THE faith that the entire universe possesses. This is the only faith that entrusts itself completely and totally to the Heavenly Father. It is total trust, total commitment, total partnership with the Creator. This faith is the secret ingredient, and the only one, that will ensure total victory. This living faith will, for eternity, bar sin from ever returning to God’s expansive domain. Only those who obtain this faith will be trusted with the responsibilities of the faithful. The wonderful, wonderful news of Adventism is that all of heaven is active in giving us all the help we need to make the faith of Jesus our own, if we want it more than anything else. But we must want it just as much as Jesus wanted it. We must want it enough to lay down our own lives for the Father, for he that loses his life for My sake, Jesus said, shall find it.
DA 667: “As yet the disciples were unacquainted with the Saviour’s UNLIMITED RESOURCES AND POWER. He said to them, ‘Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name. ’ (John 16: 24.) He explained that the secret of their success would be in asking for strength and grace in His name. He would be present before the Father to make request for them. The prayer of the humble suppliant He presents as His own desire in that soul’s behalf. Every sincere prayer is heard in heaven. It may not be fluently expressed; but if the heart is in it, it will ascend to the sanctuary where Jesus ministers, and He will present it to the Father without one awkward, stammering word, beautiful and fragrant with the incense of His own perfection.”
If we are honestly seeking to follow God’s will, although we may not know how to ask properly, Jesus takes our personal requests upon Himself and presents them in such a manner that the Father is pleased to grant to us the blessing sought.
DA 667- 8: “ ‘In My name, ’ Christ bade His disciples pray. In Christ’s name His followers are to stand before God. Through the value of the sacrifice made for them, they are of value in the Lord’s sight. Because of the imputed righteousness of Christ they are accounted precious. For Christ’s sake the Lord pardons those that fear Him. He does not see in them the vileness of the sinner. He recognizes in them the likeness of His Son, in whom they believe.
“The Lord is disappointed when His people place a low estimate upon themselves. He desires His chosen heritage to value themselves according to the price He has placed upon them. God wanted them, else He would not have sent His Son on such an expensive errand to redeem them. He has a use for them, and He is well pleased when they make the very highest demands upon Him, that they may glorify His name. They may expect large things if they have faith in His promises.
“But to pray in Christ’s name means much. It means that we are to accept His character, manifest His spirit, and work His works. The Saviour’s promise is given on condition. ‘If ye love Me, ’ He says, ‘keep My commandments. ’ He saves men, NOT IN SIN, BUT FROM SIN; and those who love Him will show their love by obedience.
“All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart- work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.
“AS CHRIST LIVED THE LAW IN HUMANITY, SO WE MAY DO if we will take hold of the Strong for strength.”
It is true that we are not to be proud and selfish. We are to esteem others better than ourselves, as well. But the fact that heaven paid such a high price for our redemption should help us to realize that we are valued highly in the eyes of the Father. Have you ever had a friend who you KNEW valued you? You had been through a lot together, perhaps, and your friendship had stood the test. As a matter of fact, on reflection about some of the hard times, you have come to realize that these times helped to cement the relationship even more. This is how God feels about you, my friend. It is hard to explain the love of God, but He has proven to us this love is real.
The Father is not looking for people who have learned to follow a set of do’s and don’ts. The majority have been taught that God is lurking somewhere, everywhere, just waiting to pounce on them when they sin or even make mistakes. With this belief, is it any wonder that the requirements of God seem negative to most Christians? What the Father is really “lurking” around for is to find someone to appreciate Him, just as we would a true friend who has done much for us. God will have a people who finally realize their Best Friend has paid the supreme sacrifice because He so much wants them to be with Him. With this belief in tact, they will understand rightly that they are so much in His debt, they will literally do anything for Him. And this is exactly what they will be doing for eternity. Eternity with God will be living with your Best Friend forever.
Those who are saved out of this last generation, and especially the 144,000, will understand this love relationship better than any other generation before it. True obedience can never come from a heart that HAS to do what the Lord says. True obedience comes from a heart that WANTS to do what the Lord says because that heart wants to please their Best Friend.
DA 669: “When for the truth’s sake the believer stands at the bar of unrighteous tribunals, Christ stands by his side. All the reproaches that fall upon him, fall upon Christ. Christ is condemned over again in the person of His disciple. When one is incarcerated in prison walls, Christ ravishes the heart with His love.”
When the battle really heats up, as it surely will, the Lord has promised to bring the needed help. We are not to be concerned about this, for “Circumstances may separate us from every earthly friend; but no circumstance, no distance, can separate us from the heavenly Comforter. Wherever we are, wherever we may go, He is always at our right hand to support, sustain, uphold, and cheer” (DA 670).
Already we are seeing examples of how family members and many in the structure follow the mandates of the leadership to shun or ignore the true and the faithful. We are now getting glimpses of our own future, Brothers and Sisters. The treatment of those who are preaching and standing for the plain truth is but a prelude of worse, much worse abuses to come. But Jesus has promised that though these things would happen and all would forsake us, as they forsook Him, He would NEVER leave us.
DA 670: “Jesus had opened before His disciples a vast tract of truth. BUT IT WAS MOST DIFFICULT FOR THEM TO KEEP HIS LESSONS DISTINCT FROM THE TRADITIONS AND MAXIMS OF THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES. THEY HAD BEEN EDUCATED TO ACCEPT THE TEACHING OF THE RABBIS AS THE VOICE OF GOD, AND IT STILL HELD A POSER OVER THEIR MINDS, AND MOLDED THEIR SENTIMENTS. Earthly ideas, temporal things, still had a large place in their thoughts. They did not understand the spiritual nature of Christ’s kingdom, though He had so often explained it to them. Their minds had become confused. They did not comprehend the value of the scriptures Christ presented. Many of His lessons seemed almost lost upon them.”
When I read this statement, I thought how nothing, absolutely nothing has changed since two thousand years ago. The trouble in Christ’s day and the trouble in our own is the same. I looked up four key words in the quotation and thought it very interesting. The word “maxims” — rules of conduct written in precise form. I thought about the “church” manual immediately. “Scribes” — official writers, copyists, editors. I immediately thought of the Review. “Pharisees” — (leaders) who insisted on the validity of the tradition of the Elders. I immediately thought about Conference Committees who enforce “commandments” by opinion or popular vote — putting man’s opinion above God’s requirements. “Sentiments” — a mental attitude or response to a person, subject or idea conditional entirely by feeling instead of reason. I knew this was speaking of the reason the “church” is in so much trouble. People are acting upon feeling instead of principle. After looking up these words, I put the above quotation into the modern day language and this is how it reads:
Jesus had opened before His Independent Leaders a vast tract of truth. But it was most difficult for them to keep His lessons distinct from the traditions and church manual and writings of the Review and Conference. They had been educated by these same people to accept the teaching of the Conference as the voice of God, and it still held a power over their minds and molded their feelings.
Of course, this was before the upper room experience but it demonstrates all too well just the situation in which most Adventists find themselves. Most Adventists are placing their confidence in the wrong place. Most Adventists are confused and are having a difficult time taking God at His Word. Most Adventists have been educated by the Conference Leaders to accept whatever they say as the voice of God. But here is what the prophet has to say about that:
“… We hear that the voice of the Conference is the voice of God, but IT IS NOT, because some in connection with it are not men of faith and prayer, they are not men of elevated principle.” (Manuscript Release # 365).
Two thousand years ago the disciples and the general populace of the “church” had some real problems with Jesus because they had been educated by their Conference Leaders to believe that the Conference was the voice of God. When Jesus tried to show them the truth, they were confused and upset that Jesus had such an apparent disregard for that which was sacred to them. Nonetheless, Jesus forged ahead with the work of re- educating the people who would listen.
The Conference was on one side and Jesus on the other. The Conference was telling the people that Christ was a liar and an imposter. They were telling the people that the “church” was going through. Of course, the people automatically equated the church with the Conference because of the way they had been taught by these men. Their sentiments (feelings) had been molded in such a fashion as to effectively block the work of Christ.
Today, the exact same thing is happening throughout the ranks of Adventism. The sentiments of the people are the same as in former days. The confusion is also the same, as well as the effectiveness of the Conference. But in former times, not all the people stayed confused. There were some who finally took Jesus at His word. It was (as it is now) these who went through; not the Conference. It was these who were the REAL church that went through and Biblical history dictates these facts. The Conference is NOT the church! God’s church is made up of people who follow Him; not traditions and maxims of Scribes and Pharisees who don’t follow Him.
It was not Christ’s purpose to be at odds with the very system He had raised up. Christ came to save the lost and make salvation sure for all those who would except His truth. But here’s where the rub comes in. Christ ended up at odds with the counter system because it stood directly in the way of His real purpose, which was saving people. The Conference of His day was leading the people contrary to His Father’s will and hence not to heaven, but to hell. This left Christ with no choice but to oppose this corrupt Conference.
Most of us who find ourselves in the exact position of Christ’s day have not purposed in life to be at odds with the system that Christ has raised up. We want to do the same work that Christ did and has called us to do which is bringing the truth of salvation to the people. But the Conference is standing directly in the way of truth. The modern Conference, like the ancient one, is leading the people contrary to the Father’s will and hence not to heaven, but to hell. This leaves us with no choice but to oppose this corrupt Conference. They may be proclaiming, “The church is going through.” But, as in the old days, they mean that the Conference is going through. Frankly, we know better because the principles of God have not changed since two thousand years ago. We understand that the same history WILL, without a doubt, bring the same result.
I realize the process of which I speak is sometimes painful and upsetting. It’s hard for us to change and come to some of these realizations. As the disciples said, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” But Jesus understands this all too well and He will help us if we seek it. If we don’t, we will never come to understand — “We have many lessons to learn, and many, many to unlearn. God and heaven alone are infallible. Those who think that they will never have to give up a cherished view, never have occasion to change an opinion, will be disappointed. As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed.” (1 SM 37).
Whether we like it, whether we admit it, whether we choose to deal with — we are living in the mirror image of Christ’s day, His first coming. The situation is the same and our choices, as in the days of old, will determine not so much IF the church is going through, but IF we are in THE church that does!
Dear friends, I would never ask you to take my word for this. That’s what led most Ancient Adventists into trouble and that’s what is causing the trouble now — people taking a man at his word. The Bible says that the only way to prove things is to the law and to the testimony. Please don’t take any man’s word, but rather study to show yourself approved. This is our only safety. We can have confidence that Jesus is still leading and through the Holy Spirit, guide you into all truth, if this truly is your desire.
DA 671: “The Comforter is called ‘the Spirit of truth. ’ His work is to define and maintain the truth. He first dwells in the heart as the Spirit of truth, and thus He becomes the Comforter. There is comfort and peace in the truth, but no real peace or comfort can be found in falsehood. IT IS THROUGH FALSE THEORIES AND TRADITIONS THAT SATAN GAINS HIS POWER OVER THE MIND. BY DIRECTING MEN TO FALSE STANDARDS, HE MISSHAPES THE CHARACTER. Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to the mind, and impresses truth upon the heart. Thus He exposes error, and expels it from the soul. It is by the Spirit of truth, working through the word of God, that Christ subdues His chosen people to Himself.”
Can you comprehend these words, Brothers and Sisters? Jesus is showing us how the deception comes. He is showing us not only how and why the Conference of His day rejected him but how and why we are living in the parallel time. Twenty years ago the Religious Liberty Department of the Seventh- day Adventist Church warned the Church to keep the Charismatic Movement OUT of the system! Now the Charismatic Movement is well received. We know it as the Celebration Movement. As a matter of fact, at this writing, one of the “king- pins” who helped to bring this whole movement into the Adventist system just got a call to the General Conference, coming from Oregon Conference. “By directing men to false standards, he misshapes the character.”
Through the New Theology and the Church Manual, Satan gains his power over the mind. This IS exactly what has happened in the structure and why it won’t go through. Oh, some, perhaps many, will say that I can’t possibly know what I am speaking about. After all, as defective as it is, the Lord has promised that the church is going through. What I fear that most do not realize are two things of premier importance. God’s promises to anyone, or any organization or any nation are always based on obedience. The one who expects the promise to come true is expected to hold to his end of the contract. Also, you have to realize what God’s church is. How will we know what His church is? Well the study that you are now doing in Desire of Ages is a good place to find out. It is in the inspired words which tell the history of our forefathers where the secret lies. Why do you suppose Jesus has been so particular in having these things written? Why do you think the Bible plainly says these things were written down for those whom the end of the Earth comes upon? These are not cunningly devised fables or just bedtime stories. Our very existence depends on our acceptance of God’s Word as it is stated. It is not God Who is trying to deceive us, but men. What we have such a hard time accepting is that “we have far more to fear from within than without.” It is inside the system we must fear the enemy the most. And if we look at the past with candor and an honest seeking for truth, we shall learn the lessons Christ desires us to know and which we must know.
DA 671: “The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of men to this Satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the third person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. CHRIST HAS GIVEN HIS SPIRIT AS A DIVINE POWER TO OVERCOME ALL HEREDITARY AND CULTIVATED TENDENCIES TO EVIL, AND TO IMPRESS HIS OWN CHARACTER UPON HIS CHURCH.”
For forty centuries the power of evil had steadily strengthened before Jesus came the first time. It has now been sixty centuries and we are told the days in which we live are worse then when Jesus was here. Two thousand years ago, did the church that claimed to be THE church take on Christ’s character? Did the Ancient Adventist Conference? Was THAT Conference, which made the exact same profession that the modern- day Conference is now making, THE church? Is the same question directed at the current Conference any less valid simply because it lays at our own door? Who is God’s church? The Conference which refuses the high standards of Heaven or those who accept the character of Christ and become overcomers?
DA 672: “Christ has promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to His church, and the promise belongs to us as much as to the first disciples. But like EVERY OTHER PROMISE, IT IS GIVEN ON CONDITION. There are many who believe and profess to claim the Lord’s promise; they talk about Christ and about the Holy Spirit, yet receive no benefit. They do not surrender the soul to be guided and controlled by the divine agencies. We cannot use the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is to use us. Through the Spirit God works in His people ‘to will and to do of His good pleasure. ’ (Phil. 2: 13.) BUT MANY WILL NOT SUBMIT TO THIS. THEY WANT TO MANAGE THEMSELVES. This is why they do not receive the heavenly gift. Only to those who wait humbly upon God, who watch for His guidance and grace, is the Spirit given. The power of God awaits their demand and reception. THIS PROMISED BLESSING, CLAIMED BY FAITH, BRINGS ALL OTHER BLESSINGS IN ITS TRAIN. It is given according to the riches of the grace of Christ, and He is ready to supply every soul according to the capacity to receive.”
Those who claim to be “Christians” but continue to rule on the throne instead of God will come to their end. Their kingdom will perish. It is only by having the faith of Jesus (perfect trust in God) that God’s true and faithful can and will receive the blessings of the Early and Latter Rain.
In the gift of the early rain, all other blessings will follow in their train. God’s people will realize the gift of character perfection and become the reflection of Jesus. They will share in the experience of the overcomer and will at last be free indeed! The fruits of the Spirit will be seen in the character, not one missing. Heaven’s work for this people will be accomplished. God has promised, this WILL happen! There’s no question about it. The question is, will you and I choose to be a part of this experience?
In the blessing of the latter rain the fourth angel will combine his power with the third angel’s message, giving it convincing persuasion on the heart of the recipient. Those who have been totally engaged in the work of the early rain will be privileged at the time of the latter rain to bring others to the feet of Jesus. During Pentecost thousands were converted in a day! “These scenes are to be repeated, and with greater power. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the former rain, but the latter rain will be more abundant. The Spirit awaits our demand and reception. Christ is again to be revealed in His fullness by the Holy Spirit’s power. Men will discern the value of the precious pearl, and with the apostle Paul they will say, ‘What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. ’” (COL 121, Phil. 3: 7,8.)
DA 675: “Israel had been represented as a vine which God had planted in the promised land. The Jews based their hope of salvation on THE FACT OF THEIR CONNECTION WITH ISRAEL. But Jesus says, I am the real Vine. Think not that through a connection with Israel you may become partakers of the life of God, and inheritors of His promise. Through Me alone is spiritual life received.”
The Jews (Ancient Adventists) based their hope of salvation on the fact their church had been handpicked by God. It was true that God had handpicked their church. It was also true that this same God was now standing directly in front of them, telling them plainly that they were lost unless they followed Him. Today, the Adventists (modern Jews, spiritually speaking) are claiming that their salvation is sure because their church was handpicked by God. It is true that God handpicked the Adventist church. It is also true that this same God is now for the last time, through His Word and the Spirit of Prophecy, standing directly in front of US, telling US plainly that we are lost unless we follow Him. It is ONLY by following Jesus that we are saved, not by following an apostate Conference. Our connection with “Israel” will not get us into heaven.
DA 675: “Many were attracted by the beauty of this Vine, and declared its heavenly origin. But to the LEADERS IN ISRAEL it appeared as a root out of a dry ground. They took the plant, and bruised it, and trampled it under their unholy feet. Their thought was to destroy it forever. But the heavenly husbandman never lost sight of His plant. After men thought they had killed it, He took it, and replanted it on the other side of the wall. The vine- stock was to be no longer visible. It was hidden from the rude assaults of men. But the branches of the Vine hung over the wall. They were to represent the Vine. Through them grafts might still be united to the Vine. From them fruit has been obtained. There has been a harvest which the passers- by have plucked.”
The Ancient Adventist Conference Leaders bruised, beat, and killed the Vine Stock (Jesus). The Father took Him back unto Himself and Jesus commissioned His Independent Leaders to bring His message of life to all who would listen. First to the Jews and then to the Gentiles was this message given. All who studied these things and believed the Ancient Independent Leaders came into the light of truth. Those who were faithful were saved although the Ancient Adventist Conference was lost.
DA 675: “Though He was about to be removed from them, their spiritual union with Him was to be unchanged. The connection of the branch with the vine, He said, represents the relation you are to sustain to Me. The scion is engrafted into the living vine, and fiber by fiber, vein by vein, it grows into the vine- stock. The life of the vine becomes the life of the branch. So the soul dead in trespasses and sins receives life through connection with Christ. By faith in Him as a personal Saviour the union is formed. The sinner unites his weakness to Christ’s strength, his emptiness to Christ’s fullness, his frailty to Christ’s enduring might. Then he has the mind of Christ. The humanity of Christ has touched our humanity, and our humanity has touched divinity. Thus through the agency of the Holy Spirit man becomes a partaker of the divine nature. He is accepted in the Beloved.”
We are accepted by the Father only if we, by our own free choice, are grafted into His Vine, Jesus Christ. When this happens, the life of the Stock becomes the life of the branch. The fruit comes from the Stock and is exemplified in the branch. Christ’s victory becomes our own.
DA 676: “This union with Christ, once formed, MUST BE MAINTAINED. Christ said, ‘Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. ’ This is no casual touch, NO OFF- AND- ON CONNECTION. The branch becomes a part of the living vine. The communication of life, strength, and fruitfulness from the root to the branches is unobstructed and constant. Separated from the vine, the branch cannot live. No more, said Jesus, can you live apart from Me. The life you have received from Me can be preserved only by continual communion. Without Me you cannot overcome one sin, or resist one temptation.”
When anyone preaches a message that is anything short of what upholds total victory through the power of Jesus Christ, utilizing justification and sanctification, you may know that he is a false shepherd. The generation that is now in power to a great extent in the Adventist system is that generation that has always rebelled against authority. It was educated to do the precise work of destroying the moral fiber of Christianity. It believes, “if it feels good, do it!” The power structure of the Adventist system has shifted from one that paid attention to the high standards of God’s moral government to no standard, that of the world. This is why the Leaders are acting from policy in the place of principle. But I can assure you on the authority of inspiration that entrance into God’s kingdom will never be based on Conference Committee vote! Whether or not we choose to take God’s standard serious, He does! This and this alone will determine our entrance into His kingdom or the barring of us from it. God HATES sin and He is NOT going to allow anyone off this planet who will continue to pollute His creative work. He sets before us life and death. It may not be popular with the “now” generation, but soon enough it will be realized that the “now” generation will be the extinct generation! For one, I do not wish to be a part of the “now” generation. How about you? Wouldn’t you rather be popular with God than man if it has to be that way?
DA 676: “So long as the soul is united to Christ, there is no danger that it will wither or decay. …
“When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our life; not one will be missing.”
The precious news of true Adventism is, it matters not what background we have. It makes no difference who our parents are or what they stood for or didn’t stand for. It is not of supreme importance if they have German, Irish, Italian, Hispanic or African blood running through their veins. If we give ourselves over to Christ, the victory that He has gained for us will be ours. It is not excuses for our lack of faith that will be heard, but exercises in our faith that will be seen by those who see Jesus in us.
DA 676: “ ‘… Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit, He taketh away. ’ While the graft is outwardly united with the vine, there may be no vital connection. Then there will be no growth or fruitfulness. So there may be an apparent connection with Christ, without a real union with Him by faith. A profession of religion places men in the church, but the character and conduct show whether they are in connection with Christ. If they bear no fruit, they are false branches. Their separation from Christ involves a ruin as complete as that represented by the dead branch.”
Many, many Adventists have been taught that the fruits spoken of above indicate the number of people we have influenced into being baptized into the “church.” This is incorrect. The fruits spoken of are primarily the fruits of the Spirit found in 1 Corinthians 13, and the fruits of obedience. Personal character development with all the fruits of the Spirit, active and vibrant, is the evidence that we are co- laborers with Christ.
DA 678: “This love is the evidence of their discipleship. ‘By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, ’ said Jesus, ‘if ye have love one to another. ’ When men are bound together, not by force or self- interest, but by love, they show the working of an influence that is above every human influence. Where this oneness exists, it is evidence that the image of God is being restored in humanity, that a new principle of life has been implanted. It shows that there is power in the divine nature to withstand that supernatural agencies of evil, and that the grace of God subdues the selfishness inherent in the natural heart.”
The love for the truth and love for the salvation of souls creates the unity among His people that Christ prayed for. This Satan hates, and his agents, those who refuse this love and converting power of the gospel, will intensify the persecution until the end. Some of the most flagrant demonstrations of hatred will come from those within the “church.”
DA 678: “This love, manifested in the church, will surely stir the wrath of Satan. Christ did not mark out for His disciples an easy path. ‘If the world hate you. ’ He said, ‘ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for My name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent Me. ’ THE GOSPEL IS TO BE CARRIED FORWARD BY AGGRESSIVE WARFARE, IN THE MIDST OF OPPOSITION, PERIL, LOSS, AND SUFFERING. BUT THOSE WHO DO THIS WORK ARE ONLY FOLLOWING IN THE MASTER’S STEPS.”
Now are you sure you want to be just like Jesus? Many do not as yet comprehend or quite believe that there was war in Heaven. They do not realize that the way to eternal bliss is blocked by the devil and that we will have to overthrow him as Christ did to seize the promised land. There is NO OTHER WAY for this last generation but through this terrible struggle. We especially who have been spoiled by “civilization” are at a great disadvantage. If we are to gain the eternal prize at all, it will only be by aggressive warfare in the midst of opposition, peril, loss, and suffering. But praise the Lord! He has traveled this road before us and He knows the way to safety. If you want Him to guide you through this wilderness on to the promised land, you must be willing to follow Him wherever He leads. Are you willing?
DA 679- 80: “It is His purpose that the highest influence in the universe, emanating from the source of all power, shall be theirs. They are to have power to resist evil, power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master, power that will enable them to overcome as Christ overcame.
“Christ designs that heaven’s order, heaven’s plan of government, heaven’s divine harmony, shall be represented in His church on earth. Thus in His people He is glorified. Through them the Sun of Righteousness will shine in undimmed luster to the world. Christ has given to His church ample facilities, that He may receive a large revenue of glory from His redeemed, purchased possession. He has bestowed upon His people capabilities and blessings that they may represent His own sufficiency. The church, endowed with the righteousness of Christ, in His depositary, in which the riches of His mercy, His grace, and His love, are to appear in full and final display. Christ looks upon His people in their purity and perfection, as the reward of His humiliation, and the supplement of His glory,– Christ, the great Center, from whom radiates all glory.”
If you are convinced that what you are reading above is inspiration, then this has to be read as more than just a statement of purpose. It is also a promise of what church Christ will present before the universe and to the Father. We MUST decide if we will be a part of this church or not. This is our opportunity to do something in return for Him who gave us His all. Those who submit fully to Jesus will be to Him the long awaited reward. Then all His suffering and sacrifice will have been worth it. His heart will be satisfied.
DA 680: “As a consecrated high priest He intercedes for His people. As a faithful shepherd He gathers His flock under the shadow of the Almighty, in the strong and sure refuge. For Him there waits the last battle with Satan, and He goes forth to meet it.”
In the faithful of the Lord — the ONE AND ONLY true church of God — lies the last great battle between Christ and Satan. Those who develop a pure love for Christ will not desert Him because it costs them something. To the contrary! They firmly and resolutely engage in the warfare with one purpose — to vindicate the character of God.
Copyright © 1999 Servants of the Saviour
Terry & Cathy Ross