Learn to Live with Others’ Differences,
NAD President Says

Sermon during year-end meeting stresses unity in Christ

BY MARK A. KELLNER, news editor, Adventist Review
n a message aimed at Seventh-day Adventists in the United States, Canada and Bermuda, North American Division church president Pastor Dan Jackson had a specific charge: “Learn to love one another, learn to live with one another, learn that other people can disagree with you and still be your brother or sister in Christ,” he said in remarks delivered on October 29, 2011.

REFUGE: North American Division  president Pastor Dan Jackson delivers a sermon entitled "Refuge" at the main worship service on Oct. 29 at the 2011 NAD Year-end Meeting. [PHOTOS: George Johnson, Jr.]
Jackson delivered the sermon during the Sabbath morning worship service of the North American Division’s year-end meetings. “For those who have failed and have lost hope, God has invited us ... to clear the way so that we may find refuge in an edifice of grace,” he added.

Beginning from Psalm 62, in which God is celebrated as the believer’s refuge, Jackson described the cities of refuge established in Old Testament times where those who were guilty of manslaughter, not murder, were able to escape vengeance from the victim’s family by fleeing there after an inadvertent crime.

“Through Jesus, God gives us personal access to himself. He brings us the potential for never-ending life; we human beings, every one of us, always have and always will be, unable to get out on the road and clear our path to genuine refuge. So God stepped down and did it for us,” Jackson told the morning worship congregation gathered at the General Conference headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. The message will be rebroadcast on Hope Church Channel on Nov. 5, spokesman George Johnson, Jr., said.

Jackson added, “Because of His activity and intervention, there is always a refuge, a home, a place to be, a spiritual table to put your feet under, but God does not stop there. He provides us with refuge, and then He says, 'Give it to others.' Do not accept God's grace, if you do not intend to be gracious. Do not accept the mercy of God, if you don't intend to be merciful.”

And for Adventists, this message of reconciliation is “as much a part of the vital theme for us to proclaim as is the Sabbath or any other part of Scripture,” he said.

MUSIC: Seventh-day Adventist pastor and noted Christian musician Wintley Phipps sings during the morning worship service on October 29 at the 2011 NAD Year-end Meeting.
Jackson noted, “It's time that we start to reintroduce another feature into the church, and that is civility and reconciliation.”

He recalled the story of a congregant who wanted his name removed from the church rolls. “I smoke,” the man told Jackson, “and when I come to church, everyone can smell my sin.”

Jackson urged the parishioner to reconsider; saying the only difference between the enslaved smoker and others in the church was that "you can't smell their sin."

He told the congregation of church leaders and lay delegates: “If God would attach an odor to every sin, humility would not be a problem in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”

Seventh-day Adventist pastor and noted Christian vocalist Wintley Phipps provided vocal solos before and after Jackson spoke. Pianists Jemuel & Donna-Maria Anderson also participated.

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