“Never Doubt---God Is in Control”
On Sabbath, October 13, 2012, General Conference President Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson appealed to Seventh-day Adventists to unite in spreading the three angels’ messages to a chaotic and dying world, during a sermon at the world headquarters of the movement in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Wilson developed his theme, “Never Doubt---God Is in Control,” from a passage in Matthew 14, and from a number of quotes from the writings of Ellen G. White, a pioneering co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “God is working through His church in a marvelous way,” Wilson said, as he urged church leaders and laity to unite in proclaiming an end-time message of hope and healing.
The message was broadcast internationally on the church’s Hope Channel network, and an edited transcript appears below.
atthew 14 presents a powerful and practical message set against the backdrop of a fascinating experience in the life of Christ, His disciples, and His church with strong applications for us today.
Jesus had just received word of the beheading of His cousin and predecessor in ministry, John the Baptist, and obviously needed some time alone. Matthew 14:13 records, “He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.” Even amidst the sorrow of the death of John, Jesus’ heart went out to those who were in need. His mission was ever before Him, as, even during the most difficult times in our own experience, it must always be before us. Weeping and working with Jesus for the people of the cities must be our passion. Praise God for the wonderful way that the world divisions have so powerfully accepted the call to implement “Mission to the Cities.” … This is a direct result of the power of God working through revival and reformation. By God’s grace, the prediction in Medical Ministr
y, page 304, will come true: “There is no change in the messages that God has sent in the past. The work in the cities is the essential work for this time. When the cities are worked as God would have them, the result will be the setting in operation of a mighty movement such as we have not yet witnessed.” Today, let us look at two important interrelated burdens of Christ, and burdens of mine and I hope yours, in Matthew 14 as they relate to our experience as His remnant church poised for the proclamation of the loud cry:
Burden #1. Our need for a full understanding of medical missionary work and health reform as an integral part of Mission to the Cities
Burden #2. Our great need for selfless unity in Christ as we proclaim the three angels’ messages.
PASTOR PREACHES: Pastor Ted N. C. Wilson, General Conference president. delivers the sermon, Sabbath, October 13, 2012, at the opening of Annual Council at the Seventh-day Adventist Church's world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. He called for renewed medical ministry worldwide. [PHOTO: Ansel Oliver/ANN].
Let’s focus on the first burden of medical missionary work, or a more current term, “comprehensive health ministry,” as part of our Mission to the Cities. Jesus had wanted a quiet place, apart, because of the constant demands of the people who sought His presence and the truth He shared. … Take time to allow the Holy Spirit to repair and rejuvenate your soul. However, the people missed Jesus and asked where He was. Some had noticed what direction Jesus went and followed Him on land and sea. Thousands gathered from the cities to see Him. Ministry of Healing
, that powerful book, pages 143-144, gives us that understanding. It tells of Christ’s method in reaching these people: “Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’ There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice……..We should ever remember that the object of the medical missionary work is to point sin-sick men and women to the Man of Calvary…….”
How did Jesus exhibit this comprehensive health ministry? He had landed undetected on the other side of the sea but could see the multitudes that had gathered and His heart went out to them with sympathy. Desire of Ages
, page 364, tells us: “Interrupted as He was, and robbed of His rest, He was not impatient. He saw a greater necessity demanding His attention as He watched the people coming and still coming.” How sympathetic and caring are we when when we have to give up our private time to lovingly care for the needs of others? Christ’s ministry must be our ministry.
It was my privilege to visit Israel for the first time this last June for the very successful Third International Bible Conference organized by our Biblical Research Institute. During part of the conference, we stayed on the Sea of Galilee not far from where this Matthew 14 event and narrative may have taken place. It was thrilling to imagine the setting on those hillsides as Jesus met the needs of people.
Verse 14 says, “….when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” You see, Jesus’ heart yearned to help the multitudes find the spiritual and physical healing that they needed. He opened before them the comprehensive health ministry in which all of us are called to participate since it is part of the three angels’ messages.
In III John 2 we read, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” As Seventh-day Adventists, we believe in the whole person concept of ministering to those around us in a comprehensive way. God, our Creator, was declaring that He wanted us to be revived and reformed and in full health-----physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. Our magnificent Redeemer wants us to prosper through our relationship with Him and our service to others. Matthew 9:35-38……..”Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them…….”
BREATHING LIFE IN SONG: The Breath of Life Quartet performs Saturday, October 13, 2012, at the church's world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States.[PHOTO: Ansel Oliver]
city Seventh-day Adventists should minister to people not only from their local churches but also from such centers of influence such as health clinics, vegetarian restaurants, reading rooms, counseling centers, and community service centers. Health lectures, literature evangelism, small-group outreach, door-to-door mission work, innovative media evangelism, social work that follows Christ’s methods, personal and small-group Bible studies, public evangelism, comprehensive health ministry, and a myriad of other creative outreach initiatives still to be developed through the leading of the Holy Spirit should be the hallmark of our work in the cities.
This work will require the involvement of lay membership as well as established denominational ministries such as Adventist Community Services, ADRA, Adventist World Radio, Hope Channel, Adventist Book Centers, and many, many others.
Manuscript 117, 1901: “Every minister of the gospel should be prepared to do practical medical missionary work. The medical missionary work is to be as closely united with the gospel ministry as the arm is united to the body. The reluctance shown to promulgations of the principles of health reform is caused by an unwillingness to deny self. In our large cities, the medical missionary work must go hand in hand with the gospel ministry. It will open doors for the entrance of truth.”
In this vital work of soul winning in the large cities, God is calling us to reinvigorate the use of a balanced comprehensive health ministry and unite the efforts of our denominational organizations and supporting ministries.
The “out” part of the city approach involves outpost centers or small institutes in the countryside just outside the cities where city workers can live or visit to be refreshed for their work, where a simple health lifestyle center can care for guests who want to learn a new approach to life, and a place where young people can be trained for city evangelism.
We need Holy Spirit-inspired strategic planning by administrators, pastors, and health professionals for every city around the world that will produce the kind of “beehive” of comprehensive evangelistic, health, and community activities Ellen White described taking place in San Francisco around 1906. This is the type of work to be done in New York City as we plan for a giant evangelistic outreach in 2013. Leaders and evangelists from the General Conference and around the world along with many local pastors, health professionals and lay members will participate in approximately 350 evangelistic meetings in the metropolitan area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Nancy and I will hold one of those evangelistic meetings for three weeks in the very church where I started my ministry…….the Manhattan Church on West 11th
Street in Greenwich Village, New York City.
All this will be preceded and followed-up by community outreach and comprehensive health ministry to reach New York and many other cities of the world. Ellen White declared that New York was to be a “symbol” as to how the rest of the world should be worked. Pray for this outreach that will help fulfill that prediction and be the catalyst for divisions to then reach, so many of their cities throughout their divisions, approximately 650 of the world’s largest cities by 2015.
It was a privilege to recently join church members in New York City on Sabbath, September 22, in praying for the Holy Spirit to control comprehensive urban evangelism in Metro New York. I appeal to each of you, especially young people, to study, plan, pray and engage in God’s great plans for comprehensive urban evangelism and comprehensive health ministry.
He is calling you to be part of His blended team of pastors, health professionals, church workers, and church members to show compassion on those who are weary, scattered and broken in body and in spirit bringing them into a relationship with Christ. There is power in the name of Jesus.
AFTER SERVICE: Delegates and friends meet after Sabbath, October 13, 2012, worship during the Annual Council of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Silver Spring, Maryland. [Mark A. Kellner/AR]
Comprehensive health ministry is meeting people’s needs in a practical way that shows them the love of Jesus whether it is sharing a loaf of … whole wheat bread or the Christlike kindness at one of our many technologically advanced Seventh-day Adventist health institutions.
In Ellen White’s Letter 110, 1902, we read “Medical missionary work has been presented as the entering wedge of present truth. It is by this work that hearts are reached, and those once prejudiced are softened and subdued. This is the work that is to be done today.”
Now if it was good in 1902, wouldn’t it be good 110 years later in 2012?
Ministry of Healing
, p 144: “Medical missionary work is the pioneer work of the gospel. In the ministry of the word and in the medical missionary work the gospel is to be preached and practiced.”
We can show Christ’s love and compassion in turning the local church into a center of life and health thus fulfilling the General Conference Health Ministries Department’s goal of making every local Seventh-day Adventist church worldwide---- a community health center. Resource materials produced by Health Ministries departments and other health entities can be used for practical Christian witnessing with church members easily sharing with neighbors the benefits of heaven-inspired health habits, preventive health strategies, and simple, inexpensive home health procedures and interventions. … “Every church a community health center” is one of the most inexpensive and effective preventive health care approaches presenting healthy lifestyle modifications and “telling the world” about God’s complete plan of restoring the whole person.
, page 188: “The medical missionary work is as the right hand and arm to the third angel’s message which must be proclaimed to a fallen world….” The three angels’ messages of Revelation 14, full of hope, grace, righteousness and judgment are to be presented through God’s power. Comprehensive health ministry and health reform is to play a strong role in that loud cry. Stressing the importance of this work, we read in the book Counsels on Diet and Foods
, page 75: “The health reform is as closely related to the third angel's message as the arm to the body; but the arm cannot take the place of the body. The proclamation of the third angel's message, the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus, is the burden of our work. The message is to be proclaimed with a loud cry, and is to go to the whole world.”
… Seventh-day Adventists are the only ones proclaiming the third angel’s message and they will proclaim the loud cry. Changes need to take place in us and through us to accomplish this heaven-directed work. The loud cry is going to be given amid a storm of persecution which will have an effect on all of us.
Counsels on Diet and Foods
, page 32: “God's people are not prepared for the loud cry of the third angel. They have a work to do for themselves which they should not leave for God to do for them. He has left this work for them to do. It is an individual work; one cannot do it for another.” Because of the close working relationship between health reform and the third angel’s message, there is work to be done in personal health before pastors and people will be given the power to proclaim the third angel’s message as the loud cry.
Leaders and church members, have we become hesitant in strongly proclaiming and decidedly living the clear link between Biblical truth and our physical wellbeing? Do we truly believe that God has given unique light to Seventh-day Adventists regarding a healthy lifestyle and charged us to “tell the world?”
Of course, we need wisdom, not fanaticism, in our presentation of the health message. Selected Messages, Book 3
, p 285: “Health reform, wisely treated, will prove an entering wedge where the truth may follow with marked success. But to present health reform unwisely…….has served to create prejudice with unbelievers…..leaving the impression that we are extremists.”
Let us wisely expand the work of this powerful blending of the physical and spiritual ministry without fanaticism as the world becomes more chaotic. Counsels on Health
, p 533: “I wish to tell you that soon there will be no work done in ministerial lines but medical missionary work.”
Comprehensive health ministry----the practical presentation of God’s health principles-----is the answer to post-modernism, the New Age movement, mysticism, and pagan philosophies which are part of the last day deceptions of the devil. Do not fall prey to the “strange fire” of mystic belief and practice whether in health or in spiritual life. Stay close to the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, and a personal prayer connection with heaven so the Holy Spirit will help you to discern truth and avoid error and extremism. God is calling us to be revived and reformed both spiritually and physically. Participate in Revived by His Word as we read at least one chapter a day from Scripture. We are not to be satisfied with the rich heritage of the Seventh-day Adventist health ministry but we are to renew our commitment to innovative approaches of health practices, health promotion, and comprehensive health ministry which will be absolutely instrumental in the last proclamation of this Advent movement. I appeal to our pastors and health professionals to unite under the power of the Holy Spirit. I thank God for the wonderful things that are happening in many of our churches, healthcare institutions, schools, and supporting ministries. I appeal to our seminaries and colleges to have health courses for theology majors and all majors. Let’s realize the power of a united and blended approach since Christ is the origin of all life and health. There is a beautiful quotation in Medical Ministry
, page 12: “The influence of the Spirit of God is the very best medicine that can be received by a sick man or woman. Heaven is all health……..”
It is our privilege at this Annual Council to accept Christ as the Master Physician Who unites us. Ministry of Healing
, page 143: “The world needs today what it needed nineteen hundred years ago---a revelation of Christ. A great work of reform is demanded, and it is only through the grace of Christ that the work of restoration, physical, mental, and spiritual, can be accomplished.”
The General Conference has established a Comprehensive Health Ministry Committee chaired by Mark Finley with co-vice chairs of Allan Handysides and Jerry Page. This committee will share at this Annual Council and in the future about comprehensive health ministry. I challenge you to go from this Annual Council committed to the practical implementation of comprehensive health ministry.
Returning to that experience of Jesus in Matthew 14, allow me to share with you the second great burden I feel for our church at this time... that we be unified in Christ as we finish His work on the earth.
Matthew 14:15 suggests that all day thousands had been watching Jesus heal people and had been fed by Him spiritually but had forgotten to eat anything physically. Evening came and the disciples urged Jesus to send the people away to buy food.
But Jesus had some important lessons to teach the disciples and us today. Jesus said in verse 16, “You give them something to eat”-----An interesting command challenging the disciples to realize their constant dependence on God and not on themselves. They missed the point completely. They had self-centered, personal agendas; they had a hard time fully realizing God’s power in their lives. They responded in verse 17 that all that was available were five loaves and two fish. Never forget what God can do with very little if we submit to His plans instead of our own willful ideas. Jesus simply said, “Bring them here to Me.” He asked the entire crowd of approximately 20,000 people to sit down. Then He took the small lunch, looked up to heaven recognizing where all blessings come from, blessed the food and began the incredible miracle of multiplication……..He broke the bread and fish and it continued to produce! Verse 20 says, “So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained.” God is the God of the impossible! He can accomplish everything with nothing if we have faith in Him to do so. Christ had them gather up all that was left showing how careful we should be to make sure there is no waste. He wanted the blessings, not just physical but spiritual, to be taken back to others who had not been there that day.
After you have had a good day and a good meal you feel satisfied and you feel comfortable. Desire of Ages
explains that a movement developed in that crowd which included the disciples that now was the time to crown Jesus king. If Jesus were king, who would take the positions of honor and trust around Him? The disciples, of course. The people realized that Jesus could inspire the Jews to rebel against the hated Romans. When Jews got wounded, Jesus could heal them. When they got hungry, Jesus could feed them. When they became discouraged, Jesus could encourage them. … But Jesus realized what was happening and in verse 22 told His disciples to get into the boat and go to the other side. He realized that if He were proclaimed king at that moment, that His mission of salvation and humble submission on the cross would not be accomplished.
Unbelievable! What’s Jesus doing? What was He thinking? Didn’t He realize this was the best time to make His move for power? The disciples couldn’t believe their ears. Christ was frustrating their plans! He was changing their perception of power and eliminating their opportunity for advancement and status. Disgust and disunity grew in their hearts. They even began to doubt if Jesus was the Son of God. They were filled with anger and suspicion. We can see them heading to the Sea of Galilee shaking their heads and muttering how Jesus should have allowed the people to crown Him king!
These self-willed disciples – my brothers and sisters, I include myself in that description at times, do you? -- had to be brought to the point of total dependence, humility and submission to Christ. Only then could they truly be effective disciples for Him in the second burden earlier mentioned which is spiritual unity.
The people were just about to lift up Jesus and proclaim Him king, when He turned and spoke with such heavenly authority that the people could do nothing but turn around and go home.
PRAYER CIRCLE: Adventists surround Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, at rear in photo, to pray for the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s ministry, following Sabbath, October 13, 2012, worship in Silver Spring, Maryland. [PHOTO: Mark A. Kellner/AR]
The disciples, full of stormy and doubting thoughts, finally got into the boat. As they headed out into the Sea of Galilee, dissension, disunity and selfish desires clouded their hearts. The tender work of soul-winning needed in the early Christian church would never succeed with such a selfish spirit.
You and I are also subject to the temptation to think that our own plans are better than Christ’s plans. Only the Lord’s love, justifying righteousness, and sanctifying power can bring us into unity and fulfill Christ’s prayer of John 17.
The progressing story of Matthew 14 shows us the great implications for the church when God’s people have been fed the truth and prepared for proclaiming the message but then decide to go their own way instead of Christ’s mission. This causes disunity and disruption. What happened next? Jesus was left alone and verse 23 tells us, “And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.” You see, Jesus knew His real power did not come from people making Him king, but from the quiet time spent in prayer with His heavenly Father. It is the same place from which our power will come……quiet time with the Lord in study of the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy and personal prayer.
From that mountain top, Christ could look on His disciples and the Sea of Galilee. The minds of the disciples were full of spiritual darkness and as The Desire of Ages
says (page 380), “Their thoughts were stormy and unreasonable….” They questioned if Christ was an imposter. Cynicism, skepticism, defiance, and selfish independence are intoxicating. If not checked, they can take people into false rationalization and self-deception which is what happened with the disciples and what can happen to us, personally … . The disciples had fallen into sullen anger and darkening doubt.
The disciples needed revival and reformation. Christ in His compassion prepared a special storm to take their minds off themselves and put the disciples into a humble setting where Jesus could again speak to them with clarity. Many times God does this for us when we are headed in the wrong direction. Probably many of us have experienced that in our own lives.
Verse 24 tells us that “the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves….” In this terrible storm, the disciples tried everything to save themselves. As experienced fishermen they probably tried to set the sails just right and throw things overboard to make the boat lighter but finally gave up! This storm was unusual and they resigned themselves to dying. Finally when they had been humbled and realized they could not save themselves, Jesus could go to them. Never think we can save ourselves by our own efforts…..we are to be constantly dependent on Christ and His righteousness for our salvation and for instruction as to how to work together in whatever situation we find ourselves. Our future work in the mission of this precious Advent movement is based on humility and recognition that we are to press together and not act unilaterally or independently as the disciples had been attempting to do. In order to unify them, the Lord had to bring His disciples back to a quiet realization of His role as Savior.
We read in Verse 26 that He “….went to them, walking on the sea.” The disciples said “’It is a ghost!’ And they cried out for fear.”
Can you imagine their surprise to hear the words in verse 27, “Be of good cheer! It is I: do not be afraid.”
Peter, in speaking before thinking, responded immediately by saying in verse 28, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” Can you imagine Peter’s shock when he heard the word from Christ, “Come?!”
I suppose Peter thought he was going to die anyway, so why not try it. I can just see him looking out at the sea, hanging onto the side of the boat and putting one foot out. It didn’t sink. He put the other foot out and let go of the boat. He was standing on the water----something humans don’t do! He looked at Christ and began walking on the water. Impossible! Amazing! The Desire of Ages
indicates that in Peter’s self-satisfaction, he turned his head to look back at his friends to make sure they were watching what he was doing. He took his eyes off Jesus. At that time a wave came between him and Christ and he began to sink. How often do we count on our own personal self-confidence instead of humbly keeping our eyes on Christ. As Peter sank, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus could have said, “Peter, you have a lot to learn. I think I’ll let you go down a couple of times before helping.” But, no, the Bible says in verse 31, “…..immediately, Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him….” We serve a Savior who never sleeps on the job……never is far from us……always ready to immediately reach out to us.
Jesus pulls Peter out of his self-centered predicament. Peter and Jesus walk back to the boat with Peter holding Christ’s hand in complete trust. As they enter the boat, miraculously the wind ceases. The Creator God, who commands the wind, the sea and the universe was in control. Immediately, the humbled disciples who only recently were doubting Christ’s very divinity, bowed in complete submission to Him, saying in verse 33, “Truly You are the Son of God.” The God of the universe was in full control and He is in control of His church today. Is He in control of my heart? Of your heart?
The Desire of Ages
, page 382: “Those who fail to realize their constant dependence upon God will be overcome by temptation… . Only through realizing our own weakness and looking steadfastly unto Jesus can we walk securely.”
Never doubt that God is in control. Unity will be preserved by God Himself as we humbly advance with the great mission of proclaiming the three angels’ messages. He will lead us into complete victory as we keep our eyes fixed on Christ and His plans in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. His church will not fail.
You and I are to be part of that victorious Advent movement that works in harmony with His orders. Listen to the following citations from the Spirit of Prophecy. Acts of the Apostles
, pages 95-96: “The order that was maintained in the early Christian church made it possible for them to move forward solidly as a well-disciplined army clad with the armor of God. The companies of believers, though scattered over a large territory, were all members of one body; all moved in concert and in harmony with one another.....’God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.’ 1 Corinthians 14:33. He requires that order and system be observed in the conduct of church affairs today no less than in the days of old.”
The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials
, page 45, provides wonderful counsel for unity: "It is the word of the living God that is to decide all controversies. It is when men mingle their own human smartness with God's words of truth in giving sharp thrusts to those who are in controversy with them, that they show that they have not a sacred reverence for God's inspired word.” I speak to myself as well as to all others that in whatever discussions take place, let us always say things in a Christ-like spirit and with respect allowing the Word of God to decide all controversies. Let us follow the pattern of the early Christian church in the Book of Acts where they came together in one accord in prayer, study and humility.
A few days ago, the senior leaders of the General Conference and the North American Division convened for a full hour simply to pray. Last week, the top leaders of the General Conference and the world divisions spent more than a day in Bible study, prayer, singing and Holy Spirit-led discussion. God has told us to press together in the proclamation of the Advent message. The other day, five General Conference employees who are Prayer Committee members came just to pray with me…..Delbert Pearman, Lily Snider, Jaya Singh, Ian Nugent, and Joy Alexander surrounded me in prayer. What a precious experience to have friends pray for you. Let’s spend more time in earnest prayer together and alone. We look forward to a unifying Annual Council as we pray for each other and follow Biblical principles in how we work together. Many of us have fallen into the temptation to criticize, berate and tear down. At times we may act independently and unilaterally tempted to maintain our own way instead of working together. Christ calls for us to come together and focus on the mission of the church even if we don’t agree with everything that the church votes. God’s church is bigger than our own personal opinions. We are to humble ourselves before God and each other in gratitude for allowing us to be part of such a mighty Advent movement.
In Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers
, there is a beautiful section on pages 27 to 30 about unity and the resulting mission of the church. The following selected quotations speak to me personally and to all of us as God’s people: “Let none entertain the thought that we can dispense with organization……In the name of the Lord I declare to you that it is to stand, strengthened, established, and settled……..Those who have the unction from on high, will in all their efforts encourage order, discipline, and union of action, and then the angels of God can co-operate with them. But never, never will these heavenly messengers place their endorsement upon irregularity, disorganization, and disorder. All these evils are the result of Satan's efforts to weaken our forces, to destroy our courage, and prevent successful action………He well knows that everything connected with Heaven is in perfect order, that subjection and perfect discipline mark the movements of the angelic host. It is his studied effort to lead professed Christians just as far from Heaven's arrangement as he can; therefore he deceives even the professed people of God, and makes them believe that order and discipline are enemies to spirituality; that the only safety for them is to let each pursue his own course…….These devoted souls consider it a virtue to boast of their freedom to think and act independently……I was shown that it is Satan's special work to lead men to feel that it is God's order for them to strike out for themselves, and choose their own course, independent of their brethren…..God is leading a people out from the world upon the exalted platform of eternal truth, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus……They will not be at variance, one believing one thing, and another having faith and views entirely opposite; each moving independently of the body. Through the diversity of the gifts and governments that He has placed in the church, they will all come to the unity of the faith…….Though we have an individual work and an individual responsibility before God, we are not to follow our own independent judgment, regardless of the opinions and feelings of our brethren; for this course would lead to disorder in the church.……if hearts are teachable, there will be no divisions among us………It is necessary that our unity today be of a character that will bear the test of trial……..As long as we hold to our own ideas and opinions with determined persistency, we cannot have the unity for which Christ prayed.”
My brothers and sisters representing the world church and those viewing around the world….never doubt-------God is in control! This is His precious church. The Advent movement has many challenges ahead far bigger than anything we may currently face. Reading the books of Daniel and Revelation
as well as The Great Controversy
, we see the unbelievable challenges that will face us as individuals and the church. Humanly speaking, it seems impossible to predict victory for God’s church. But fortunately we are not dependent on human power. From a heavenly and Biblical standpoint, we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. He will conquer evil and will victoriously bring His people through their unimaginable trials and challenges in His name and to His glory! We will declare that it was by His mighty and righteous hand alone that we overcame and can live and stand before the throne of God!
God is working through His church in a marvelous way. Over the last two years, Nancy and I have visited so many of you and in various places around the world. It has been tiring but very rewarding. We have seen what the Holy Spirit is doing during “Tell the World” through revival and reformation, the 777 prayer movement, the distribution of The Great Controversy
, Mission to the Cities, Revived by His Word, Comprehensive Health Ministry, and through so many other local and global church activities. God’s spirit is powerfully moving this church towards its final loud cry to the world as a unique Advent movement proclaiming the three angels’ messages. The personal testimonies of church members as to how God is leading in their lives and how they are able to share this message with others are extraordinary! People are excited and the church is on the move----not through meager human efforts but through the power of the Holy Spirit! Pray for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit. The coming of the Lord approaches.
I appeal to each of us----as church members, as local churches, as missions, as conferences, as unions, as divisions and as the General Conference---- unite in lifting up Jesus, unite in proclaiming righteousness by faith in Christ, unite in pointing people to the mighty Word of God as it reads and urging them to read it daily, unite in our Biblical beliefs, unite in reading the Spirit of Prophecy, unite in earnest prayer, unite in sharing the sanctuary message, unite in proclaiming the three angels’ messages, unite in the loud cry, unite in revival and reformation through God’s power, unite in pleading for the latter rain, unite in sharing The Great Controversy
and other precious publications, unite in Mission to the Cities, unite in personally sharing God’s message using every possible method including integrated media and internet evangelism, unite in accepting heaven’s messages of comprehensive health ministry and health reform, unite in following God’s last day commands for His Advent movement, unite in working together as we have collectively agreed to do under God’s guidance, unite in submission, humility and respect before the Lord and each other, unite in daily living out the practical ministry of Jesus in loving service to others, unite in believing that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is God’s remnant church, unite in the heavenly prophetic messages given in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, unite in the love and grace of Christ, unite in the grand mission entrusted to Seventh-day Adventists to “Tell the World” that the last days of earth’s history are unfolding before us………and unite…….in actively proclaiming the second coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ…..is….coming….soon!!
Today…..do you wish to unite in commitment to these grand objectives of Christ?.......If so, would you join me in quietly standing to your feet……..I invite you to seal that commitment of uniting in Christ and His great mission for us by singing that marvelous song portraying His command to unitedly go into all the world in His name……”So Send I You---#578----a song indelibly fixed in my mind by that great sweet singer of Israel, the late Pastor C. L Brooks of the General Conference Sabbath School Department who sang this song at the 1985 General Conference Session at the end of the Mission Pageant thrilling our hearts with God’s call to mission. Let’s sing……”So Send I You.” (Song)
I invite you to seal that united mission for Christ by praying together two by two and I will close to finish our service together.
… And now in the quietness of this united prayer time, take the hands of those on both sides of you as you unite in God’s mission for this remnant church……. “Now to Him Who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”
Unitedly, join with me in singing that Adventist hymn of unity, hope and mission…..”We Have this Hope.” (Song)
Go on God’s mission united in His love, His Word, His righteousness and His peace. Amen.