TruthInvestigate

“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cheap grace, i.e. Slavation

 
I accidentally misspelled the word, “salvation”, and ended up with “slavation.” But, for many worshipers in the churches, what they have should be correctly called “slavation”. They believe they have salvation and the “glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Rom. 8:21). But, the reality is that Satan has pulled the wool over their eyes. How can the soul ever know deliverance from Satan and temptation if it has never looked into the “perfect law of liberty” (Jas. 1:25) and submitted to the righteousness of God as seen in His Law? If they did away with the Law using the cross for a pretext, then they never wrestled with the Law. And, if they never wrestled with Paul over the conviction of the Law in Romans 7 (also seen in Galatians 3:22-24), they never got to walk in the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus as Paul could in Romans 8. They never lost their carnal mind. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Rom. 8:7). They struggle with vices and self-indulgence, without comprehending the cause of their failures. The condemnation of God never brought them to the humbled self-defamation, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24). Thus, they never learn what Paul did when he discovered the key to victory, ―“Jesus Christ” as Lord. And, why is it that they could never use that wonderful key to the successful death of self? Because they were programmed by the mantra, “Grace, grace, God’s grace”—that God only has grace to give. They were taught that they never need worry about God’s condemnation. They were never brought to the brink of the grave, as David was. 

“A Psalm of David. Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my Rock; be not silent to me: lest, if Thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.” (Ps. 28:1).
“When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer.” (Ps. 32:3,4).
“I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” (Ps. 40:1,2).
 
They never felt the “heat of [the Lord’s] great anger” (Deut. 29:24) against their sin.
 
        The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. 
 
And the same author continues…
 
 Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end. Desire of Ages, p. 324.
 
Without knowing God’s hatred of our sin, we will never need a Saviour who will save us from our sins (see Matthew 1:21). We will never take advantage of His provision for the remission of our sins, which He gave through His Son. Through spiritualism hidden in a false Christianity, Satan keeps the masses in an imaginary, counterfeit peace (see Deuteronomy 29:19). And, thus he destroys them by enabling them. “Through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many.” (Dan. 8:25). “Craft”, Strong’s 4820, “deceit, feigning, guile, subtlety, treachery”. “Policy”, Strong’s 7922, “wisdom, prudence, knowledge, discretion”. This is the same message from Daniel's previous little horn vision. “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” (Dan. 7:8). The little horn is Daniel 7 and Daniel 8 represent the same earthly adversary of God.
 
The cheap grace is a subtle counterfeit through a satanic knowledge of easily tempted human nature. And, the counterfeit grace that we looked at in the previous post lines up closely with the following words:
 
Many of the revivals of modern times have presented a marked contrast to those manifestations of divine grace which in earlier days followed the labors of God’s servants. It is true that a widespread interest is kindled, many profess conversion, and there are large accessions to the churches; nevertheless the results are not such as to warrant the belief that there has been a corresponding increase of real spiritual life. The light which flames up for a time soon dies out, leaving the darkness more dense than before.
     Popular revivals are too often carried by appeals to the imagination, by exciting the emotions, by gratifying the love for what is new and startling. Converts thus gained have little desire to listen to Bible truth, little interest in the testimony of prophets and apostles. Unless a religious service has something of a sensational character, it has no attractions for them. A message which appeals to unimpassioned reason awakens no response. The plain warnings of God’s word, relating directly to their eternal interests, are unheeded. 
     With every truly converted soul the relation to God and to eternal things will be the great topic of life. But where, in the popular churches of today, is the spirit of consecration to God? The converts do not renounce their pride and love of the world. They are no more willing to deny self, to take up the cross, and follow the meek and lowly Jesus, than before their conversion. Religion has become the sport of infidels and skeptics because so many who bear its name are ignorant of its principles. The power of godliness has well-nigh departed from many of the churches. Picnics, church theatricals, church fairs, fine houses, personal display, have banished thoughts of God. Lands and goods and worldly occupations engross the mind, and things of eternal interest receive hardly a passing notice. Great Controversy, p. 463, 464. 
 
The enemy of souls…will make it appear that God’s special blessing is poured out; there will be manifest what is thought to be great religious interest. Multitudes will exult that God is working marvelously for them, when the work is that of another spirit. Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world.  
     In many of the revivals which have occurred during the last half century, the same influences have been at work, to a greater or less degree, that will be manifest in the more extensive movements of the future. There is an emotional excitement, a mingling of the true with the false, that is well adapted to mislead. Yet none need be deceived. In the light of God’s word it is not difficult to determine the nature of these movements. Wherever men neglect the testimony of the Bible, turning away from those plain, soul-testing truths which require self-denial and renunciation of the world, there we may be sure that God’s blessing is not bestowed. And by the rule which Christ Himself has given, “Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16), it is evident that these movements are not the work of the Spirit of God.
     In the truths of His word, God has given to men a revelation of Himself; and to all who accept them they are a shield against the deceptions of Satan. It is a neglect of these truths that has opened the door to the evils which are now becoming so widespread in the religious world. The nature and the importance of the law of God have been, to a great extent, lost sight of. A wrong conception of the character, the perpetuity, and the obligation of the divine law has led to errors in relation to conversion and sanctification, and has resulted in lowering the standard of piety in the church. Here is to be found the secret of the lack of the Spirit and power of God in the revivals of our time.
     There are, in the various denominations, men eminent for their piety, by whom this fact is acknowledged and deplored. Professor Edwards A. Park, in setting forth the current religious perils, ably says: “One source of danger is the neglect of the pulpit to enforce the divine law. In former days the pulpit was an echo of the voice of conscience. . . . Our most illustrious preachers gave a wonderful majesty to their discourses by following the example of the Master, and giving prominence to the law, its precepts, and its threatenings. They repeated the two great maxims, that the law is a transcript of the divine perfections, and that a man who does not love the law does not love the gospel; for the law, as well as the gospel, is a mirror reflecting the true character of God. This peril leads to another, that of underrating the evil of sin, the extent of it, the demerit of it. In proportion to the rightfulness of the commandment is the wrongfulness of disobeying it. . . .
     Affiliated to the dangers already named is the danger of underestimating the justice of God. The tendency of the modern pulpit is to strain out the divine justice from the divine benevolence, to sink benevolence into a sentiment rather than exalt it into a principle. The new theological prism puts asunder what God has joined together. Is the divine law a good or an evil? It is a good. Then justice is good; for it is a disposition to execute the law. From the habit of underrating the divine law and justice, the extent and demerit of human disobedience, men easily slide into the habit of underestimating the grace which has provided an atonement for sin.” Thus the gospel loses its value and importance in the minds of men, and soon they are ready practically to cast aside the Bible itself.  
     Many religious teachers assert that Christ by His death abolished the law, and men are henceforth free from its requirements. There are some who represent it as a grievous yoke, and in contrast to the bondage of the law they present the liberty to be enjoyed under the gospel.  Great Controversy, p. 464-466.
 
“Under a religious guise, Satan will seek to extend his influence over the Christian world.” While Satan uses many guises of pseudo-Christianity and pseudo-science to do His work of destruction, his most active agency of the enslavement of human hearts and minds has been spiritualism. There he wastes no time in gaining possession of the soul through the occult’s direct system of perverting reality and truth. Therefore, we can substitute the name Satan for the name of his system, spiritualism. And that is what I will do to the above quotation. “Under a religious guise, [spiritualism] will seek to extend [its] influence over the Christian world.”

     Satan’s Strategy in the Final Conflict.― There is now need of earnest working men and women who will seek for the salvation of souls, for Satan as a powerful general has taken the field, and in this last remnant of time he is working through all conceivable methods to close the door against light that God would have come to His people. He is sweeping the whole world into his ranks, and the few who are faithful to God’s requirements are the only ones who can ever withstand him, and even these he is trying to overcome. Selected Messages, book 3, p. 389. 

Little by little he has prepared the way for his masterpiece of deception in the development of spiritualism. He has not yet reached the full accomplishment of his designs; but it will be reached in the last remnant of time. Says the prophet: “I saw three unclean spirits like frogs; . . . they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Revelation 16:13, 14. Except those who are kept by the power of God, through faith in His word, the whole world will be swept into the ranks of this delusion. The people are fast being lulled to a fatal security, to be awakened only by the outpouring of the wrath of God. Great Controversy, p. 562.
 
This is what we see in the doctrine of grace only, “Grace, grace, God’s grace”. Multitudes who never hear of God’s condemnation of their sin, only hear of His grace. They will never wrestle under the mighty hand of God, and never know His redemption. They will never have salvation. This spiritualism of “grace only” religion in the churches is as motivated by rebellion as the spiritualism of witches and warlocks. 
 
This ancient policy now pervading the churches, and which originates from the oldest paganism, has come into the Adventist church. We played around with disobedience to God’s laws, as delineated in the Spirit of Prophecy. As a group, we never repented of our irreverence or sought Jesus with our whole heart to know Him and to have His forgiveness and His power to keep us from falling into temptation. As a group, we turned away from righteousness by faith, which we needed for the battle to stand at the Second Advent of Jesus. This was no different from the children of Israel turning away from Canaan and going into the wilderness to wander. We never got “the only defense against evil” which comes by “the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness.” Desire of Ages, p. 324. And now, Jesus can no longer cover our insolence toward His Father’s Law and toward the provision of His Father’s gospel. Faith in Christ’s righteousness is unheard-of. We are being handed over to Satan, to join with the other denominations in their abominations of Spiritual Formation, celebration, emerging church, women’s ordination. The abomination of desolation is desolating Adventism, just as it did Protestantism and Christianity. With few exceptions among the citizens of Christendom, the abomination of desolation is already sitting in the holy place. And Adventism is no exception.
 
Adventism is captive in Babylon. Worldliness has made it impossible for us to enjoy the grace of God. The revelation of Jesus in the Bible is neither seen, nor missed. We are dead in sin. Throughout Protestantism, and now within Adventism, it can be said,
“Among My people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.
As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich.
They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.
Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and My people love to have it so.” (Jer. 5:26-31).
 
“What will ye do in the end thereof?” (Vs. 31).
 
Notwithstanding His soon-coming judgments, God has a way to prevent their visitation.
 
  Wherever the word of God has been faithfully preached, results have followed that attested its divine origin. The Spirit of God accompanied the message of His servants, and the word was with power. Sinners felt their consciences quickened. The “light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” illumined the secret chambers of their souls, and the hidden things of darkness were made manifest. Deep conviction took hold upon their minds and hearts. They were convinced of sin and of righteousness and of judgment to come. They had a sense of the righteousness of Jehovah and felt the terror of appearing, in their guilt and uncleanness, before the Searcher of hearts. In anguish they cried out: “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” As the cross of Calvary, with its infinite sacrifice for the sins of men, was revealed, they saw that nothing but the merits of Christ could suffice to atone for their transgressions; this alone could reconcile man to God. With faith and humility they accepted the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. Through the blood of Jesus they had “remission of sins that are past.” 
     These souls brought forth fruit meet for repentance. They believed and were baptized, and rose to walk in newness of life ―new creatures in Christ Jesus; not to fashion themselves according to the former lusts, but by the faith of the Son of God to follow in His steps, to reflect His character, and to purify themselves even as He is pure. The things they once hated they now loved, and the things they once loved they hated. The proud and self-assertive became meek and lowly of heart. The vain and supercilious became serious and unobtrusive. The profane became reverent, the drunken sober, and the profligate pure. The vain fashions of the world were laid aside. Christians sought not the “outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but . . . the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” 1 Peter 3:3, 4. 
     Revivals brought deep heart-searching and humility. They were characterized by solemn, earnest appeals to the sinner, by yearning compassion for the purchase of the blood of Christ. Men and women prayed and wrestled with God for the salvation of souls. The fruits of such revivals were seen in souls who shrank not at self-denial and sacrifice, but rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer reproach and trial for the sake of Christ. Men beheld a transformation in the lives of those who had professed the name of Jesus. The community was benefited by their influence. They gathered with Christ, and sowed to the Spirit, to reap life everlasting. 
     It could be said of them: “Ye sorrowed to repentance.” “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge [emphasis mine]! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” 2 Corinthians 7:9-11.
     This is the result of the work of the Spirit of God. There is no evidence of genuine repentance unless it works reformation. If he restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, confess his sins, and love God and his fellow men, the sinner may be sure that he has found peace with God. Such were the effects that in former years followed seasons of religious awakening. Judged by their fruits, they were known to be blessed of God in the salvation of men and the uplifting of humanity. Great Controversy, p. 461-463.
 
Righteousness! And, even better news is that God has a plan to rescue the gospel and Protestantism.
 
Notwithstanding the widespread declension of faith and piety, there are true followers of Christ in these churches. Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. At that time many will separate themselves from those churches in which the love of this world has supplanted love for God and His word. Many, both of ministers and people, will gladly accept those great truths which God has caused to be proclaimed at this time to prepare a people for the Lord’s second coming. Great Controversy, p. 464 
 
These folks aren’t only Adventists, but Protestants. And myriads of Catholic children of God!
 
Notwithstanding the spiritual darkness and alienation from God that exist in the churches which constitute Babylon, the great body of Christ’s true followers are still to be found in their communion. There are many of these who have never seen the special truths for this time. Not a few are dissatisfied with their present condition and are longing for clearer light. They look in vain for the image of Christ in the churches with which they are connected. As these bodies depart further and further from the truth, and ally themselves more closely with the world, the difference between the two classes will widen, and it will finally result in separation. The time will come when those who love God supremely can no longer remain in connection with such as are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”  Great Controversy, p. 390.
 
It is true that there are real Christians in the Roman Catholic communion. Thousands in that church are serving God according to the best light they have. They are not allowed access to His word, and therefore they do not discern the truth. They have never seen the contrast between a living heart service and a round of mere forms and ceremonies. God looks with pitying tenderness upon these souls, educated as they are in a faith that is delusive and unsatisfying. He will cause rays of light to penetrate the dense darkness that surrounds them. He will reveal to them the truth as it is in Jesus, and many will yet take their position with His people.  Great Controversy, p. 565.
  
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.” (Isa. 61:1-3).
 
One day, many among those groups will look at the Bible and see more clearly that everything their Adventist brethren have been saying was true. That will be a day of “light, and gladness, and joy, and honour…a feast and a good day” (Esth. 8:16, 17, cf Rev. 7:9-14).
 
“Thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.” (Isa. 49:25).
 
“And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for Me, this is My covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.” (Isa. 59:20,21).
 
“Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given Me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” (Isa. 8:18).
 
Satan’s captives will be set free from his slavation. They will become captives of another LORD, who will give them primitive godliness. “Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive.” (Ps. 68:18).
  
The voice of this message against lawless grace and the message that exalts obedience to the Law of God is bound to grow louder and louder “unto the perfect day.” (Prov. 4:18). The God of salvation will win over the god of slavation. The counsel of the True Witness upon the heart of everyone who receives it will cause him to speak with truth and grace.
 
   I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God’s people. Early Writings, p. 270.
 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cheap grace vs. Costly grace

Last Sabbath I heard a sermon on grace. The preacher was very emphatic that there is nothing we can do to be saved. Nothing. His sermon title: “Grace Dot Nothing.” He said that there are many people who want to add to grace. Grace plus works. Grace plus something else we must do. It sounds good. It sounds inviting. But, would you step onto a rotting ship, just because it had brightly colored banners all over it, with balloons and band music blaring? The unqualified doctrine of “grace plus nothing” is a slowly sinking ghost ship. And the Bible gives many warnings about that subtle lie.
 
The preacher warned the congregation to watch out for those legalistic Pharisees who want to attach something else to grace and cause his sheep to be lost. “Don’t listen to them (listen to me!)”, he said with an air of fatherly protectiveness for his flock. In the middle of his message, he momentarily scoffed at Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “Cheap grace”. And since I knew Dietrich Bonhoeffer to have been a martyr for the gospel living at the height of Hitler Germany, I felt that he might have more authority than this pastor. I just had to google Mr. Bonhoeffer and find out why the pastor should be afraid that he might pollute the gospel! Here’s what Wikipedia said in commentary on him and his most famous book, The Cost of Discipleship:
 
“One of the most quoted parts of the book deals with the distinction which Bonhoeffer makes between ‘cheap’ and ‘costly’ grace. But what is ‘cheap’ grace? In Bonhoeffer’s words:
cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”
 
The Wikipedia article continued:
 
“Or, even more clearly, it is to hear the gospel preached as follows: ‘Of course you have sinned, but now everything is forgiven, so you can stay as you are and enjoy the consolations of forgiveness.’ The main defect of such a proclamation is that it contains no demand for discipleship. In contrast to this is costly grace:
costly grace confronts us as a gracious call to follow Jesus, it comes as a word of forgiveness to the broken spirit and the contrite heart. It is costly because it compels a man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow him; it is grace because Jesus says: ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’”
 
I think Mr. Bonhoeffer had it right. I’m surprised the pastor flash-mobbed him. But, I’m glad he referred me to Mr. Bonhoeffer. If you don’t want someone to study something that opposes your opinion, don’t even mention it, especially if it’s the truth. But, I want to look deeper into what I read from Mr. Bonhoeffer about the broken spirit and contrite heart. I’ve tried what the pastor preached; for many years I tried it. And it just didn’t work. What I discovered was that it didn’t work because I wasn’t even converted yet. I was living on the assumption that I was already right with God, which was not the case. I was still trying to get His peace. And I believe that that is the assumption the vast majority of Christians are operating from.

Instead, the Lord gave me a different experience, one more like what Job experienced. But, that experience would bring me to Jesus and conversion. So, no time was really lost; the Lord took advantage of every opportunity, even if I was mistaken on my relation to Him. And after being finished with the Job Gethsemane, I saw the scripture message very clearly. The whole Bible made sense, both Old and New Testaments, because the struggle to get to God is primarily what the Old Testament is about, and the result of that struggle is what the New Testament is about. My weeping and wailing, all my vanity and vexation of spirit, all my chastisement of peace gave me a new paradigm on life after Jesus healed my wounds and bound up my bruises. Now I can tell others what they are going through and how Jesus will ultimately be their only help. I understand the third angel’s message. Mr. Bonhoeffer emphasizes the cross-bearing after conversion. I’m speaking of the often overlooked Gethsemane-bearing before conversion.
 
Is there more to receiving grace than nothing? Was it an arbitrary act of God to choose me to have His grace? Doesn’t cause and effect work here? Is there anything I’ve done to be worthy of His grace? All through the Bible, from beginning to end, we see that the answer is a resounding YES! “What must I do to be saved?” In the Bible, did that question ever receive a passive, “Nothing!”? I rejoice to write, The scriptures never say that! Not even Paul.
 
But, during a little conversation after the sermon the pastor reminded me that the definition of grace is “unmerited favor”. If grace is unmerited, then no one is worthy of it. Right? Wrong! I don’t know where that definition of grace came from, but it’s not in the Bible. And it wasn’t honestly derived from the Bible. The whole world must be saved or on the path to salvation, because Paul makes it clear that the whole world is doing nothing to be saved (see Romans 3:11). Rather, Revelation 13:3 says that all the world follows after the Beast. That must mean that the whole world did nothing toward their own salvation.
 
Then, what do we do to be worthy of God’s grace? When the hard working legalists came to Jesus and said, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” (John 6:28), His answer was already prepared. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” (John 6:29).
 
Well, that could sound like a rhetorical, “Nothing. You have nothing to do to be saved! Just believe!” Or, it could sound like there is much work to do. It depends on the paradigm you are working from: you have either 1) a conversion based on self-motivated works, or 2) a conversion based  on faith motivated works. Scripture makes it clear that the people who came to Jesus that day were not working from faith. If they had been walking by faith, or at least were struggling to know Jesus for faith, then they wouldn’t have started to grab Him and force Him to be the new King of Israel.
 
Even though Matthew gave no explanation for Christ’s apparently erratic behavior after lovingly feeding His 20,000 followers, it was because of the lust-filled commotion to make Jesus king that Matthew records the following: “Straightway Jesus constrained His disciples to get into a ship, and to go before Him unto the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone.” (Matt. 14:22,23). There was within Christ a conflict between a broken heart from the absence of faith dominating the people’s hearts, and a fierce protection of His Father’s true kingdom and His Father’s plan of salvation. So, Jesus did what He had to do, not what He would have preferred to do. But, for His Father’s sake and for the sake of the world’s ignorance of heavenly things, justice was as quickly forth-coming from the Prince as had mercy been forth-coming from the same Messiah. But, after His harsh work of justice, He poured out His soul on the mountain with His Father. There is nothing cheap about God’s grace, and it was no different coming from His Son. Jesus was “the brightness of His [Father’s] glory, and the express image of His person.” (Heb. 1:3). Grace was costly, both for the receivers and for the Giver.
 
Discipline came from Jesus, church discipline. Like a General of His army, Jesus stood for good order and discipline. His discipline sprung from the Law of His God, and all His battles would only involve a fight of faith. And, because of the faith and discipline issues, most of the crowds He had fed the previous day left Him forever. They had no desire for the spiritual things He came to give. They turned away from and blasphemed the Holy Ghost and could never return. Afterward, they became the crowds who derided Him crying, “Crucify him! We have no king but Caesar! We don’t need him! He’s nothing but a worm! He has no backbone! He can’t stand up against the Roman armies! Get rid of him, finally! He isn’t worth the time of day! Just crucify him!” They had at one time respectfully called Him, “Thou Son of David”.
 
But, exactly what did Jesus mean by, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” He meant that faith is work. As He had previously instructed the people, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed.” (John 6:27). So, there is labor involved in order to receive the Prince of Peace into the heart. If you want peace and rest, you must labor for it. And it’s a beautiful rest, one worth striving for. “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest.” (Heb. 4:11).
 
Yes, we have something to do to be saved. Maybe to most people, faith and believing “on” Jesus (i.e. relying on Him, depending on Him, leaning on Him, etc.) doesn’t seem like a big thing or a great work. But, that is only because they’ve never done it. Actually trusting God isn’t easy; reconciliation with Him and His Law isn’t easy. But, believing on Him who sent Jesus, reconciliation with God and His Law, is what the great Physician prescribed.
 
As it turns out, faith is a big thing, and it requires a lot of work. Paul called it a fight. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” (2Tim. 4:7). Does fighting equal work? Yes, lots of work. Just watch some old footage of WWII soldiers on a miles long march, or pushing their cannons through the mud. Look at photos of today’s soldiers sleeping under the hot desert sun, because they had worked so many sleepless days, and finally got a chance to lay down. War is not easy.
 
Fighting is work; and so is wrestling. Wrestling is what Jacob had to do for twenty years. Blood, sweat, and tears was required for him to surrender. Surrender to God is not easy or painless. It takes trust, and trust takes time; reuniting takes time. But, wrestling and trust, surrender and reconciliation are the only things that make us worthy of grace. We can’t choose to surrender to God. We can’t decide to surrender, or man-handle our will to submit to the Law of God. “The carnal mind…is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Rom. 8:7). We have to be “assisted”, such as a hip knocked out of joint, as in Jacob’s case. We have to be “persuaded” as in the nickname carpenters give a sledge-hammer, “the Persuader”. Then we respond with wrestling, and ultimately, with faith. It is through the wrestling that the new covenant promise happens, “I will put My laws into their minds, and write them in their hearts. And I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people.” (Heb. 8:9).
 
Paul was doing all right...before God and His Law trespassed into his space. Then began the epic struggle that has ever decided all who become servants of God or servants of the devil. “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” (Rom. 7:9). Thankfully, for Paul, he took the Law of God seriously. Of his own will he tried to obey; yet, over and over again he failed. “The Law worketh wrath.” (Rom. 4:15). “The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.” (Rom. 7:10,11).
 
But, something kept Paul in the battle; some glimmering hope kept him fighting for help from the unknown God, fighting for mercy from Someone he knew must be there, working with him. In the end, the apostle had to admit that he couldn’t make himself “holy” or “just” or “good”, or any such thing. (Rom. 7:12). “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24). It was a pride-breaking, painful admission, but when he cried out that he was a miserable failure at righteousness, he won the battle between self and God. That’s when the revelation entered his broken heart and head. What was the solution to his spiritual emptiness and failures that he heard from heaven? “Jesus Christ” (Rom. 7:25) and His broken “body” (Rom. 7:4). “A Lamb as it had been slain.” (Rev. 5:6). Simple and concise. Only Jesus and His dead body hanging under the hot wrath of God can deliver you from your cold body of death. Through wrestling and sweating with God, Paul became an overcomer.
 
Ah! Then, it is easy and cheap! All I need is Jesus Christ! No. As we see from Paul, there is no getting to Jesus except through the long preliminaries of struggling with God. There is the wrestling and uphill battles to overcome self and to realize our wretchedness and our misery, our volitional poverty, our blindness to our filthy fallen nature, and our utter nakedness of moral worth before the great Searcher of hearts who is the great Judge of all the earth and His condemning Spirit of truth.
 
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Heb. 4:12,13). There is nothing else like the Law (the word of God, the Spirit of Prophecy counsels) to make us sweat and tremble. And we see that the writer of Hebrews identifies God with His Law. It seems that God uses His Law as His representative, His tool, in the place of His awful presence. The only way we can stand before His Majesty is to try to stand casually before HIS MAJESTIC LAW (and if caps lock is yelling, that’s what the Law is all about, sorry). But, the difficult trembling before His Law is how God gets our full attention. And, our humbled fear of God is the only way we get God’s attention and approval. “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” (Isa. 66:2). And that work doesn’t stop even after our conversion, as Paul instructed us to work out what God had worked into us. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil. 2:12).
 
Every person feels moral and pretty good about himself. Paul’s self-sufficiency was alive while living apart from God and from His convicting Law. But, then the Spirit of truth brought the commandment strongly to his mind, and the good life fled away from him. Obviously, God doesn’t take boastful, flagrant sinners easily. He looks and sees them to be “careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing.” (Jdg. 18:7). Tyre and Zidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, all were perfect examples of the sinner becoming conscious of his daily, daring slights against the holy Creator. “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before Me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.” (Eze. 16:49,50).
 
“Now we know that what things soever the Law [and also God Himself] saith, it saith to them who are under the Law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Rom. 3:19).
 
So, the grinding, sweat-causing, depressing guilt before God is the preliminary to salvation. Does that sound like there is nothing we can do to be saved? There is a lot of suffering to endure before we can be saved. What a deception easy grace has been to the world since Cain! Cheap grace robs us of a decisive move on our part, whether or not we want to have God’s salvation. Will we keep with the strife and agony from the Almighty? “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” (1Pet. 5:6). Will we endure our own Gethsemane and taste of the pressure that Jesus knew in the Garden for us? Will we be worthy of salvation? Eternal life or eternal death teeters on our choice here. Will we choose obedience and life? “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12). Will we suffer the years-long, maybe an unnecessary decades-long, grind under the wrath of God who is working for our salvation? Will we say that we deserve the wrath because we are unclean, we are sinners? Or, will we say that God is the sinner for giving us guilt and misery that we don’t think we deserve? “I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me. Behold, He findeth occasions against me, He counteth me for His enemy, He putteth my feet in the stocks, He marketh all my paths.” (Job 33:9-11).
 
Will we call God a sinner, or worse, a devil, and leave Him and His testing misery so that we can go in search of a better God, a self-manufactured God who will treat us nicely and gently like we feel we deserve? If we do, we can be assured that God’s place will be taken by Satan, “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2Thess. 2:4). We are the habitation of God through His Spirit; and our conscience should be His most holy throne. But, Satan has been known to sit on His throne in the holiest precincts of our body temple.
 
Who will we choose to inhabit our throne, God or His imposter, the supplanting devil? By our own choice of whether or not we will continue beseeching God for the mercy that we’ve heard He has, we decide who we will have inhabit us. Here is where the battle for salvation lies. And, the battlefield is strewn with many dead and dying because they would not take the fight for faith to its end and receive the crown of life. But, once God is done grinding all of our golden calves to powder, then He reveals to us His Son. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.” (John 6:37). No one who goes all the way through with God’s boiling Law will want to miss the opportunity to come to Jesus. They will say, This is what I’ve been wanting for the longest time!! They will squander nothing of God’s precious Gift. From the boiling Law is where our certainty of salvation comes. They suck honey out of a rock and oil out of a flinty rock. And, boy does the honey and oil taste good! To them comes the most blessed word from the Lord, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6:37). They hear the most wonderful things:
“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:14).
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Rom. 8:16).
“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2Pet. 1:4).
“They shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy.” (Rev. 3:4).
 
Yes, they are worthy in God’s eyes; but, in their eyes His goodness and mercy to them is very much unmerited. They have endured the fight for His acceptance, beholding all of their filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and admitting a thousand times, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, …mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” (Isa. 6:5). They can never again stand up against the condemnation from their unrelenting Lord and patient Saviour. They are healed patients of His healing patience.
 
They are worthy of God’s grace; their surrender to Him declares that He and His Law are righteous, and not them with their proud assessment of self and their human traditions. “He is righteous, and not we ourselves”, they can thankfully confess. The righteousness of God won the contest. They lost. He is now justified to call them saints. “To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” (Rom. 3:26). And they will forever humbly own up to David’s confession, “that Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and mightest overcome when Thou art judged.” (Rom. 3:4, cf Ps. 51:4).

Sunday, August 09, 2015

The kiss of life

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7).

Life, our utmost happiness, is all that is desired by our “one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him”, and our “one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him.” (1Cor. 8:6). But, oh how this world has turned out to be full of death and unhappiness! And some of the death God and His Son have permitted. Death has come by land and sea and air. It surprises every nation of the world. Death and unhappiness make their appearance in our communities and families and relationships. Unhappiness prowls the land seeking whom it may devour. Hearts on every hand suffer depression and sadness that seem unconquerable. All they need is love.

Even in the church of God the unseen enemies of death and unhappiness seem to rule undisputed. With few exceptions, everyone has received the kiss of death instead of the kiss of life. Just yesterday I witnessed a close call with a vehicular accident that would have left a beautiful 10 year old girl maimed possibly for the rest of her life. It happened suddenly, without warning. It partially was caused by an unexpected vehicle movement when its strong engine and transmission were put into reverse gear. But, it was also caused by the driver who did not look all around behind him where young children were standing.

I couldn’t sleep after I woke up realizing that I should have taken the girl’s father and together approach the young man to make him very aware of what he did to potentially crush a little girl’s feet and ankles. He must know to never make that negligent mistake again. I will resolve this quickly today.

Yet, despite our God leaving us in a world of sin and danger, He still loves us. He loves us “with an everlasting love” and He says to us all, “therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jer. 31:3). But, His drawing love is also a righteous love. It’s a wise love. He knows better than we do the mischief and treachery and deceitfulness of our hearts. “And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto Me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD.” (Jer. 3:10). He knows how much sinful pride presides over us. It controls our nature, our thoughts, and our service to God. Without a new power from Him to redeem and reset our nature to vibrate in harmony with His, even our worship is tainted. Without His Son’s redeeming Spirit putting a new mold onto our original, fallen nature, we cannot offer God true repentance and praise. Without His providence and Spirit, our prayer and speech are filled with the spirit of Satan and the voice of his hosts. No one senses that evil spirit more than God does. Yet, He permits us to come to Him through His Son. And we have full access to His self-denying Son, who adsorbs the sinfulness of our prayers and translates them into prayers acceptable to His Father.

So, our Father disciplines us by His Spirit in order to lead us to need His Son; and His wounds go deep. They can come by way of our world of sin, or they can come by way of His messengers. From either source, the world or the messengers of His word, we receive His kiss of life or we get offended by His necessary wounds, and choose the enemy’s kiss of death. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Prov. 27:6). “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” (Deut. 30:19).

If we will receive the wounds of our Friend and Father who will never leave, but always pity those who fear Him, then His Spirit will have control of us and clean up all the toxic aspects of our nature and character. He will bring us to happiness that this world of sin can never provide us. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” (Job 14:4). We must be transported away from our love for this world to loving another world. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” (Phil. 3:20,21).

In Him “mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Ps. 85:10).
 “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” (Rom. 12:9,10).
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” in His kingdom. (Gal. 5:22,23). Love—the gift of self-denial, the power to forgive and have complete awareness of others’ needs, and a burden to uplift everyone we meet—is the antidote for this world of sin. Love can do no wrong, because “love worketh no ill to his neighbour.” (Rom. 13:10). The love from Christ makes victory over sin and self-focus easily accomplished.

Jesus, the Son of the God of love, was sent to show us the power of love in His every act, gesture, and word. He came from the the throne of God’s great heart of love, and love was His continual motivation. “And He charged them that they should tell no man: but the more He charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; and were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: He maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.” (Mark 7:36,37). Even before He began His public ministry, the Lord could not wait to heal those around Him who were distressed by disease and sin.

“Jesus was the healer of the body as well as of the soul. He was interested in every phase of suffering that came under His notice, and to every sufferer He brought relief, His kind words having a soothing balm. None could say that He had worked a miracle; but virtue—the healing power of love—went out from Him to the sick and distressed. Thus in an unobtrusive way He worked for the people from His very childhood. And this was why, after His public ministry began, so many heard Him gladly.” The Desire of Ages, p. 92. The Son of God has ever been our Tree of life. He performed the first kiss of life to Adam in Eden, and through the many promises of His unending love, He still kisses us with life.

“Is the Law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a Law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the Law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe” and trust Him (Gal. 3:21,22).
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 8:1,2). Faithful have been the wounds of our Father of wise, righteous love. And to every mischievous, but humbling, heart His Son will intercede for and guide to see the goodness of God in all of His faithful wounds through His Law. He will give us repentance and a new heart to know God’s love.

“All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.
For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.
And this is the Father's will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing….
And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life….” (John 6:37-40).

His life starts today if today our pride bows before our Father and His overpowering righteousness. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1Jn. 5:12). The Son’s love will bring us all the way to righteousness because love worketh no ill to its neighbor. We can trust righteous love because righteous love will never hurt us. His love doeth all things well. We can trust Jesus’ healing love.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Our Adventist ship will go through

Hi L_______,
 
I appreciate your clearness of mind, heart, and soul. Obviously, you have been the Lord’s workmanship and will continue to be. I agree about the plight of the Fairfax church. I don’t believe the people who came to the business meeting for the church’s sale have any idea of where this is going. I don’t know what makes a quorum, but I’m sure that the plan to change the attitude of Fairfax from very traditional to celebration is well thought out, and all the protocols are known and followed so that loopholes like protocol won’t spoil the plan. I say “plan” because I suspect this comes down from the conference headquarters. And I believe that it comes down from an even higher authority—Rome.
 
You see, Protestantism is in the crosshairs of its old enemy; and, of all the denominations, which one is the biggest potential problem after all the others defected back to Rome? We, Seventh-day Adventism, are Rome’s problem. All the other sister denominations have gone back to mother, beginning in 1844 or shortly thereafter, when the Lord cut them off as institutions of biblical light. We remained the only channel of light to the world. But, the war was on, and I see that war in Revelation 11:7. “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.” The word, “kill” is not literal, but spiritual. Their loyalty to the Law of God (the Spirit of Prophecy) and His Spirit of life in them would be removed. It wouldn’t happen immediately, but over time. While Sr. White was alive and keeping us in line with the will of God, the Beast (Rome) was making war against us. But their overcoming us didn’t begin until after her death, and our slow departure from the original message and power leached away. It’s the same history as Israel’s after every major Israelite leader died.
 
Now, we are at the tail end of the Revelation 11 prophecy and we are “killed”—as a group. The Lord has always had His 7,000 who have not bent the knee to Baal and kissed him. And the Lord still has His people today, in the Advent movement and sprinkled throughout Protestantism, in Catholicism, and around the world in the other world religions and in no religion. All who strive to overcome sin through the power of Jesus’ grace among the Seventh-day Adventists will be part of the 144,000 who are spiritually resurrected in Revelation 11:12, 13. That will be an exciting time because verse 13 shows the world hearing the gospel from the 144,000. But, to be resurrected into the 144,000 we must strive to get with Jesus and have the faith of Jesus. The 144,000 who overcome the beast and his mark on their character will “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12). They will give the last message to the world because they will be overcomers of self and will not only delineate the path to salvation, but will exemplify salvation. They will be sealed in obedience and faith. I want to be there, don’t you? To be sealed means no more worry or cares of this world. It means to be “raised...up together, and made [to] sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6) and be “delivered....from the power of darkness, and...translated...into the kingdom of [God’s] dear Son” (Col. 1:13), which is what the resurrection of Revelation 11:12, 13 refer to. Revelation has a lot of the gospel hidden in its symbolisms. Revelation is beautiful. It’s much more than history and it’s not about pagan military campaigns. It’s about the close of human probation, and salvation with it seal of God and damnation with its mark of the Beast, and how to go down either road, which ever we choose.
 
Back to the Fairfax church, I don’t think the congregation knows that this is all a concerted effort to sweep away Adventism and replace it with Evangelical celebration. I feel certain, in light of the events taking place in the religious and political world today, that many of the Fairfax congregation will join with so many other Adventist churches in the celebration and Spiritual Formation movements. Both celebration and Spiritual Formation are being pushed by our conference president and are identical to the apostasy of Baal-Peor that the children of Israel experienced at the end of their wandering just before leaving the wilderness to go over Jordon. That’s where we are today, just about to leave our 170 year wandering during this investigative judgment period while the Lord has been developing an army of faithful servants like He did with the second generation of Israelites who came out of Egypt. We are on the borders of the heavenly land of Canaan and will need to fight our way in. “But I declare to you, my brethren and sisters in the Lord, it is a goodly land, and we are well able to go up and possess it.” Early Writings, p. 13.
 
The sale of the Fairfax church, like you suspect, will become a galling financial yoke that will burden the members for many years. The sale of Fairfax SDA could be ominous because even if they can sell both Fairfax and Arlington churches for $8 million, at the business meeting we heard that prices for half-way decent churches is in the range of $9.5-10 million. No one in our congregation has ever seen the pricetag of a $1-2 million mortgage, I’m sure. I haven’t. I don’t know the cost of the church you helped pay off, but was it $2 million?  From what the pastor said, anything less than a $10 million building would be no different from what we have now in the Fairfax church building.
 
One of the members who works in real estate tried to give a warning, but the pastor cut her off from finishing her statement. She told me after the business meeting that she had been a member of the Woodbridge church which tried to sell and build a new church. She said that they took so long to start the building that they spent all of their church sale profit on renting another building. Now they have no more money and all they have is a church building foundation to show for the whole mismanaged situation. So, a $1-2 million mortgage would be a heavy yoke for the Fairfax members to add to other costs and may even result in complete abandonment by the members, and a resale and loss of the new building. Then they will have no more church building, just as Rome wants.
 
L_____, these are my opinions. And I am no financial wizard or one to know how big mortgages get paid down. But I do know that we, the Fairfax SDA church, are in the crosshairs of Rome, especially when you think of our location. We know from Revelation 13:11ff that Protestant America will assist in the domination of the world for Rome and her Inquisitions. Those Inquisitions are already happening under the ruse of a war on terror (which is really a war on religions, and it is a war that Rome is making), and training for the Inquisition is happening in our mid-west states, even as I write this email (Jade Helm 2015). For the next several weeks, they are practicing the skill of blending in with the local communities by soldiers in civilian clothing, getting information about suspects from the community, and searching homes like happened at the Boston Marathon bombing. This is what happened during the Inquisitions.
 
Washington DC will be the focus of much change because it is hosting the reinstatement of the New Age papacy. This necessarily will require all churches in its local area to be the first to be 100% loyal to Rome. This is an identical scenario as Imperial Rome began to crumble and papal Rome was emerging. There can be no dissident groups operating right in downtown Babylon. And since all the Protestants have ceased to dissent (protest Rome’s corruptions), and, to a large extent, so have their Adventist brethren ceased the protest, everything is in place for Rome’s big celebration in 2017. That will be the 500th anniversary of the year when Luther nailed up the famous 95 theses that began the Reformation, but the anniversary will celebrate Protestantism’s demise. Yay!? :(
 
But, when you look closer at Revelation 11, comparing it with Isaiah 51, you see that we’ve brought this on ourselves! Just as Israel was conquered by Babylon and many other previous nations of their past, Protestantism, Adventism, and Protestant Americans are being conquered because we are doing just like ancient Israel did. Protestants and Adventists have left their first love, we have loved the world and the customs of the world, and are becoming worldly. As a movement, we don’t love God with all of our heart, mind, and strength, and neither has the Religious Right. But, Adventism is copying their Protestant sisters. Our eye isn’t single to His service. We don’t think, “O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” (Ps. 119:97). We meditate on the TV shows and sports and fashion and employment with benefits, etc. Our bodies aren’t maintained so that they can be the habitation of the heavenly agencies. We have brought our desolation upon ourselves. But, the encouraging thing about this is that Jesus has laid it all out for us and we can see how we have copied the same disobedience of the ancient Bible peoples. Better than that, we also see how He delivered them from their captors when they had had enough punishment, and we will be delivered too.
 
I really like these verses:
“And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them.
If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against Me, and that also they have walked contrary unto Me;
 And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity:
Then will I remember My covenant with Jacob, and also My covenant with Isaac, and also My covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the [church].” (Lev. 26:39-42).
 
“...if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity...” “You are proud, but I will humble you!” Thems fightin’ words. They are also tough love! Real tough, but good for us to hear. There is nothing better than hearing a strong, loving father, even it it’s time for a whooping. We need to hear the threats of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 today. We need to know of the promises that were always built into His threatening warnings before we go into the “storm” that will be “relentless in it’s fury”. The Lord is still Lord of His people, the Advent movement. He means business. He meant business in the Bible, and He means it today. This ship will go all the way into His Father’s harbor with or without us. The going will be rough, but let’s hang on for all we’re worth and stay in the boat! It will be a time of trouble such as never was and if possible the very elect will be deceived. The issues today are much, much bigger than the sale of the Fairfax church.
 
But, possibly He has His eye on our church building and it’s people. Maybe I’m biased, but I sense that there is something special about Fairfax SDA. I get the feeling that Fairfax is not the run-of-the-mill SDA church. It has had a history that has been sacred with the Lord’s presence, and maybe it will be a Stonewall Jackson that remains firmly rooted in the Advent movement when all the bullets are flying around. Fairfax will be for all the surrounding SDAs to see and to take heart and continue in His war against demon and papal terrorism.
 
Take care, sister.
David