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Adventism For the Last Generation

Michael Hasel


Michael Hasel

Director of the Institute of Archaeology at Southern Adventist University




  • September 20, 2008
    9:30 AM
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good morning I have been blessed with the messages here at SUI see already this year this is then incredible and I can see that this morning we have the remnants here today has rights to the theology today before we open the word of God like to ask that we bow our heads briefly for prayer heavenly father we are about to open your holy Word we want to hear your voice today speaking to us may your spirit be present in this place may we sense it's calling me we sense the urgency of the time in which we live we thank you in Jesus name amen about three years ago in two thousand and five I was in a large lecture hall in the country of Cyprus together with officials from the branches of the Cypriot government Cyprus it just become a member of the European union as a Fulbright scholar sponsored by the United States Department of State I was they are the kind of academic ambassador for the United States government that particular year I've been invited to attend this meeting not only because of my position but because my predecessor Doctor Richard Harrison was presenting to both government officials his research as a Fulbright scholar the previous year Doctor Harrison is a member of the US geological survey and as he documented very carefully his research he showed officials from that country that there was evidence that Cyprus would soon experience something that the world had experienced only a few months before he described meticulously biggest rate of tsunamis in Mediterranean world documenting the pattern over several thousand years as he looked ideology archaeology and historical sources to indicate that every twenty five or fifty years there had been a major earthquake in the region and tsunami that had impacted the country he predicted based on the small tremors since his research in recent years that Cyprus was overdue for another major event in fact the last tsunami benefit site worthless a hundred years earlier over a century earlier and he predicted based on his research and evidence that the next one could be massive and that it could be one of the most devastating that the country had yet experienced just a few months earlier the world had been shot by a tsunami in Asia it had killed over two hundred and sixty thousand people devastating several countries around the Pacific what may in that event the seller was that most of the people had absolutely no morning of what was coming they are way installed there we sat in that room with the press with government officials sitting on the edge of our chairs waiting to hear what this meant for the place where we were sitting right then the room was packed with people on the edge of their seats for two reasons first the newest of the Asian tsunami secondly the fact that we were sitting on an island with the major cities of that island along the coast knowing that we were in a very precarious position the Bible tells us that at the end of time that all history has been moving towards a crisis a global crisis that will leave Nations impacted that will leave governments devastated and while some will be rescued at the end of time many will be left behind you and I have heard about it our entire lives we have been studies in the message when you have been trained to look forward to the second coming of Jesus Jesus is coming soon so we had been told again and again and again some of them caught up with making predictions as the year two thousand years near there were those who said that when the I remember a few years ago that I was sitting in my office in the man and made an appointment with me ask to see me unfortunately and during the next two hours tried to convince me that in May two thousand and one when the planets all line up that that would trigger the event for Jesus coming it was April and I told him to come and see me in June and we would discuss a little bit further we laugh but the fact of the matter is that many of us and then some by these kinds of predictions over the years we don't know anymore exactly what to think or what to believe we are skeptical some of us have been burned too many times by these kinds of events we have become used to natural disasters Katrina Gustav I like there will be another names we think our minds and become known the wars and rumors of wars the vicissitudes of Wall Street back and forth and there comes a time when we are tempted to think is a really coming soon but the fact is that today you and I live in a different world in a different country then we went and even ten years ago in the late nineteen eighties the fall of communism was instigated through a collaboration of President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II but we only heard about the millions of what took place behind secret doors after the Berlin wall fell and after the events were set in motion today that is no longer the case today everything is out in the open never before have more heads of states and gather for a funeral of a pontiff then just happened a few years ago we watched spellbound in the television screens as it was broadcast live all over the world people could see the end people could say the response of country after country after country I watched spellbound they are in Cyprus with the rest of the world as three American presidents kneeled Protestant presidents kneeled before the casket what is going on doesn't Revelation thirteen three have something to say about this never before has a seated president of the United States greeted a dignitary at Andrews Air Force Base they have always come first to the White House to meet the president of this world superpower but not this year a few months ago for the first time a president United States went to Andrews Air Force Base to meet a visiting dignitary who arrived they are that particular day never before has the Pope been received with such pop and circumstance as visitors line the White House lawn the headlines proclaimed that not even Queen Elizabeth when he arrived from England and received such a letter this reception but generally willing friends is being healed before our very eyes and it is happening today never before has a Sunday law been possible by a majority vote of the supreme courts today there are five justices of the Supreme Court that are Catholic and it just taking one of her majority to make the difference in legislation former president Al Gore knew exactly the power of that one vote just a few years ago could it be that we are living in the last generation no one who reads the headlines today can escape the fact that we are living in a changing world that events are taking place that had not taken place before we do not know that they are the hour and the Bible in the spirit of prophecy warns us specifically not to me about setting times in seven days and I'm not here to talk to you about that today I'm simply asking you the question today the question that has been on my mind in recent days are we ready for Jesus to come are we living as if Jesus is coming soon I'd like to invite us to open our Bibles to the book of Revelation and I hope you brought your Bibles today because as we discuss these events in history as we discuss these events that are taking place today we want to know what the word of God instructs us today don't wait the living word of God that changes lives and using the blueprints for the life to come let us turn to Revelation the I know three chapters of Revelation layout is still in historical sequence of the history of the Christian church from its beginnings in Ephesus representing the charts right after the time of Christ to the very end of time and in chapter three verses fourteen to twenty two we read that the last sharks the last church of revelation the last charge in Earth 's history is a charge by the name of Laodicea the last generation church is Laodicea extending until the coming of Jesus Christ friends there is no other church between now and when Jesus comes listen to what the angel says the church of Laodicea VA mad the faithful and true witness what else does it say the beginning of the creation of God these three titles describe the sender of the message Jesus Christ is described as the true and faithful witness he is described as being a man in a world today where true is something that no one knows about anymore or no one wants to claim in a world where truth with a T has been relative eyes and cast aside in a day to day when we live where where everything is relative in your opinion is as good as my opinion and his opinion is good is that opinion and tolerance is the keyword and political correctness is what is being taught all around in our culture today we are told the last data charts in the last day came that there is nothing able to witness and as you look through the titles that are used for Jesus as we go through in these seven churches in Revelation two and three we find something else intriguing each of the titles describes the kind of Jesus or the title of the diseases that the events that are taking place with better why that for a witness being emphasized in the postmodern world in which we live what has the beginning of the creation of God emphasized in this passage to later the singer because today there is a conflict about creation and evolution as has never raced before in this world and this charts the Seventh-day Adventist George is one of the only denominations left that is still proclaiming that Jesus God is creator that he created all things in fact the first Angels message begins who made heaven news enterprise and the season all that is in them that is part of the message that you and I are to bring today is that same God rested on the seventh day it is for that reason that we are worshiping here this morning he is the true and faithful witness he is the one who was the beginning in the beginning was the word and the word was God this past summer well before we go there I want to just read the last part of this I know your day that you are neither what hot or cold I would that you were cold or hot this summer I had the privilege to visit the city of Laodicea I'm not talking about one of your churches I'm talking about I got on the plane and I flew across the Atlantic Ocean and I visited the city of Laodicea and every other of the seven churches we started out in Patmos Mark Finley fiber leaving the door and there we were and pathos when John received this revelation from the angel and he was told to write to both literal seven churches that were established in the literal studies and friends as you walk through those cities today it is an amazing thing you want to do that sometime walked through the cities of Laodicea and Ephesus and Smyrna and Pergamum well next summary of the opportunity June one to fifteen just a little advertisement here June one to fifteen Virgo language taking students from Southern Methodist University and were going to visit the seven churches you're interested you can sign up afterwards behind their at any rate there I was I had that privilege is an archaeologist and that these ancient places and there we were walking through the streets of Laodicea might have to understand that Laodicea is situated in a for tile Valley it's a huge city of about a hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants at least it was at that time and it's water source came from to specific locations from the mountains on the east came the cold fresh water pipe down to Roman aqueducts and then from the West from the city of Toronto is located on the hills opposite and here you can see this beautiful city of Iraq lifts up above most of it is in ruins now you can see the cascading waters of thermal baths and the calcification that is taken place on these snowcapped or I should say calcified deposits that this crisis this particular mountainside cascading down from the rock list people from all over the Asia all over the world came to this place for healing in the hot thermal baths and four for worse just being there and relaxing the wealthy and the wretched and the sick all came to Iraq listen it was here from there that water was piped all the way down to Laodicea located in the Valley down below and guess what it tasted like women arrived they are these hot thermal waters it was Luke warm Eddie ever tasted Luke warm water on a hot day a few years ago I was in the Sinai Peninsula and I've left my water bottle by accident in the trunk of the car the Sinai 's desolate desert and there we were I got it out I took a swig it was hot enough to make instant Quaker oatmeal I case of lukewarm water all the days I worked on the eggs because you know you just can't take I felt there with you doesn't last very long lukewarm water is that's why Jesus says I will spit you out of my mouth I will spit you out of my mouth lukewarm water simply is horrible it doesn't work sorry had a little problem there it doesn't quench the thirst the way it should but here is what the Laodiceans received but that's not all that Jesus says he doesn't just say so because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold I will spit you out of my mouth he says something else you can see the calcifications in the mineral deposits in the pipes that are still there from two thousand years ago that the Romans built let me tell you something if you are not active and you are not working to do what God has called you to do if you're just coming to church every day and sitting in the pew and leaving without doing anything during the week describing what God has given you that Sabbath or during that week then you will become calcified and lukewarm swipe message comes to the church today calcification in the middle of these types Jesus says because you say I am rich I am wealthy and I have need of nothing is a Laodicea was characterized by three major elements in ancient times it was known by the people around them from three major elements first of all it was known as a major banking and commercial center it had a enormous wealth and when the earthquake struck in the sixty unlike the inhabitants of New Orleans and the southern coast when Katrina hit they did not day for help from the federal government that refused help from FEMA they said we are wealthy we can enjoy our own we will rebuild on herself we don't need anything from Rome even though it was offered to them later to see is known for its self sufficiency secondly Laodicea was known also because of its impact in the fashion industry no receipt were not models you understand they were the sources for the wool Laodicea was yelling for it the black wool the finest black will anywhere in the Roman Empire the finest garments were made on his fashion impacted the entire Roman world and finally it was an intellectual center a sensor with a major medical University and a major hospital that specializes in an eye ointments that could heal the most terrible diseases of the online so this was a sophisticated a wealthy and educated city culture steeped in materialism standards in self-importance Steve cell I however this description is for the culture we live in today we know what we like we have our dreams and when we get that college degree when we get that one degree when we get that medical degree when we get out there in the real world and make it big we know what we want we know what car we want to drive were penetrated and finally that fifteen -year-old model that thirteen -year-old for we have standards you see we have goals everyone wants to capture the American dream we admire design in our society is driven by the latest fashion it's driven by what we see externally we have become a society obsessed with happening with consuming even though we do not have anything any longer to consume with I mean after all we live in the generation of the latest iPod in the latest iPhone what is this obsession with eyes when he remains an essential question what does this have to do with being part of a wind sharps call at the end of time in this frenzy drive to bind ourselves into an enormous debt and we are waiting for that enormous debt right now what does it mean to be living in the last days do we really believe that Jesus is coming soon Jesus says about Laodicea and he says about you and me you do not know that you are rested and miserable poor lying and naked why because we are so obsessed with ourselves that we do not perceive the reality the way Jesus proceeds the disciples didn't perceive reality either the way Jesus perceived that they were as shocked as everyone else when you are nailed on the cross because he was not fulfilling what may happen I stayed up here on this Earth and while we are text messaging and black burying our way of life Jesus has a bigger message he says I advised you to buy from me not at the local Best Buy or the Walmart I advise you to buy roommate goals brief find my fire that you may become rich and white garments that you may close yourself and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed and I sell to anoint your eyes and you may well see noticed the address in the very priority of Laodicea had and that Laodicea has today gold clothing and I sell Jesus is saying that none of these things will last when I come again materialism only inspired by lukewarm attitude towards a dying world it exposes the shame of our nakedness Jesus wants us to ask him in a in-line so that we can truly say what is happening around the world how does this cultures norms fit with the reality of the world around us if you travel a little bit around the world like I do you realize that most of the world is not live in an economic superpower most of the world is just simply trying to eat out in existence and survive most of the world is in ruins like Laodicea is today and as I travel around the world and particularly around this country I ask myself sometimes I sense sometimes and I wonder do we really know what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist today that we understand that we are facing a major identity crisis sometimes I wonder if we have delegated Adventism to one belief instead of twenty eight that if we just can't enforce it on Sabbath morning instead of Sunday that makes us a Seventh-day Adventist but we learned last night that God desired law that he desired that the rest with him not only on Sabbath when every day on the way and every meaning of the month every month in the year every year until Jesus comes in you see we seem to have it backwards in our worship even on the seventh day we increasingly play the same music for church that the world played inherently we shop around to find the worship style that best suits us we were asked what does God require for us from us to truly enter into his rest I mean think about it if we create worship after our image and after the norms of our culture are we not simply worshiping ourselves and we go out into roles and just go out in droves to the mega churches in California and Chicago we buy their books to see what is dinner making them grow when we are not we bring in experts from other denominations to tell how best digital evangelism and we wonder why I North America is not growing because we no longer believe or no longer know what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist with an entire message as the end times in the charts not been called forth to proclaim a third Angels message that bravely go how I a few years ago there was the guest speaker here on this campus Doctor Calvin Miller famous writer and preacher in the Baptist Church was invited to speak for the stately lectureship stearate series here and several of us were having lunch with him in the presidential banquet room right across the street Southern Adventist University and I never remember me ask a particular question that afternoon over lunch I was sitting right next to him he said how is it that Adventism and the Adventist church is growing my business in the homes around the world one of the people that was sitting there said because we believe that Jesus is coming soon do we really believe that Jesus is coming soon I mean when I traveled to South America and Inter-American when I traveled to Africa and Asia the charges bullying it's alive absolutely in Brazil I'm in Brazil frequently my wife is Brazilian in Brazil there are eighty thousand pathfinders in the city of São Paulo alone when you hear the Kentucky Tennessee conference and we have the Iowa Missouri conference and we have the Gulf states conference in Brazil there are three conferences in the city of São Paulo alone there are more Seventh-day Adventists in a country than any other single country in the world one five million the educational system is the largest second to Catholics in that country and their academies are the size of ninety percent of our universities and colleges here in North America the message went out from here but today only eight percent of the Seventh-day Adventist church is found in North America Europe Australia and New Zealand eight percent and that percentage is falling as the years go by do we really believe that Jesus is coming soon here so many times we hear sermon Sabbath morning that are virtually indistinguishable from the sermon that could be heard at any church and the surrounding area are we that tire of the difference of being a peculiar people called often placed a message with the trumpet having a certain way about Jesus was he accepted this Jesus who was ridiculed and scorned this Jesus who was grilled to fulfill his message in this admission says the hill and then made today by from me I sell to anoint your eyes so that you may see to see what could it be that he wants us to see the world from his eyes we sit here in happy Valley and we are for the most are while the world around us is in a frenzy trying to figure out the meaning to life and is trying to find answers that ironically we have been called to give we comfort ourselves that we know the truth and we tell ourselves that we have heard this message all over and over and over again so that we can regurgitate it in our sleep if we need to my daughter right now Spalding is learning the fourth commandment they learn of verse memorizing every single week and this week she came home with the fourth commandment the whole thing and I thought to myself wow one week is the largest community understand it's not quite as simple as thou shalt not steal but she worked on as a professor here at Southern Methodist University that pulls his students in the general education religion class every single semester and last year both classes only twenty six to twenty nine percent of those students could name all ten Commandments but we have the truth only ten percent of them couldn't name them in order I'm not talking about memorized I'm talking about naming them were we were once known as the people of the book but today the question in postmodern Adventism and in the world around us is what book whose book so my message this afternoon the seminar is is the Bible relevant and real is it reliable is it trustworthy today and we asked that question but unless you and I are meeting it unless you and I are speaking is what difference does it make what does it matter do we really believe that Jesus is coming soon what does Jesus want us to see what does he want us to hear the message to Laodicea bands in verses twenty and twenty one behold I stand at the door and knock if anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come in to him and he will die and then we'll dine with him and he with me occasional overcomes I will grant to him to sit down with me on my throne as I also overcame and sat down with my father on his throne and I don't know about you today I sat there with Jesus I want to be there do we hear his still small voice calling us in the noise around us in the busyness of life and if we cannot hear him and if we are not seeking him with all our hearts how will you we know if there how we find how will be here as we sat there in that conference room in Cyprus with the press government officials sitting on the edge of their seats with listening to Doctor Harrison the question that we had an online was one question what would we do if there was a major tsunami heading our way escape routes were discussed evacuation plans were formulated and then at the end Doctor Harrison simply said this just tell your people that if they are sitting on the beach and remember side Chris is an island surrounded by beaches with tourists coming from all over the world to this Mediterranean paradise if people are sitting on the beach and they see the water and but even before they see the water coming if they see in the water going out don't sit here and spare wondering what is happening try around and I wanted for high ground and tell as many people on the way to run for their lives as well my friends the Angels of the heavenly hosts are holding back the four winds they are holding it back wall of devastation that is soon to come back with you rate there holding it back so that you and I can run and more people that Jesus is coming soon it is so that the message of warning is to be sent out to an oblivious population that has no clue of what is about to take place Jesus is knocking at the door and asked with Isaiah long ago God 's voice echoed through the universe no time asking the question will almost always standing ahead rules out over on network to send in Hebrew is not simply the words is it means you to stretch out for golf will will be stretched be ready to be stretched out today Isaiah certainly didn't have anything he was ridiculed and scorned Daniel all the men and women of old who stood out to be counted and were stretched are you ready to be stretched today is a God that is looking for a last generation by generation that will follow the Lamb wherever he goes even if that means rejection and criticism even if that means it's not going to be popular because the estate from it is not about a popularity contest truth is not decided in a community and is not subject to enable true as it is found in Scripture is to be proclaimed in his boldness in the fullness of time and when Jesus said I ended for the way in the life all who come to the father must come through me he was speaking not about a broad path but a narrow one a difficult one but one that has a glorious and because were following Jesus he is looking for men and women today even though the masses maybe today saying that even running out into the sea goddess hauling around and able to run in the opposite direction calling I will follow him wherever he goes running the race that he has set before us he is looking for men and women today who will uphold the Bible God 's word for this last day as we only source and standard for crazy and practice for Jesus last words to his disciples when I was not only to go out and make disciples or make disciples in all nations can redundant people baptizing them in the name of the father the son and the Holy Spirit what else could even say change them to observe all that I commanded you and well I am with you always even to the end of the world he is calling for people to go today that does not mean next year that does not mean when I graduated with my degree from Southern year or from the Academy that he would come from today that does not mean after I finish my medical degree or my law degree that does not mean ten years down the road when I had my fun and I'm ready to do what God told me to do God is looking for a last generation what does it mean to look at your parents say they're going to do it don't look at your pastor and say well it's his job to do it he is the one being painted you are the church and he had been called to go every one has been called to go this morning you'll find underneath your states a card page not that hard and on that page and there are a number of things ministries and evangelistic resources that are right here in front of you might hear on this staff is available to you to get involved in the part of that last generation take out that sheet of paper and and listen to what God is saying to you if you answer what you thing with the spirit of moving your heart to do right now no one is asking you to draw out from school no one is asking you to run them until that time but right now God needs a generation to spread the gospel message to this world if you train to become physicists and chemists light years and businesspeople nurses and doctors pastors and teachers your task begins before you leave this place for this is the training ground for what he will do the rest of your life is here that a life of mission begins don't put it off we don't know what tomorrow will bring I was sitting with you as a sophomore student overseas in college when I learned that the flight I had been booked on and I prayed about it and decided not to take to fly home for Christmas and craft in Lockerbie Scotland in nineteen eighty nine at seven forty seven killed everyone on board as a bomb ripped through the fuselage it became a matter to me of deciding what was I here for what was God pulling the to do yesterday was my fortieth birthday and I know that I hope wonderful wonderful grace and message to proclaim and I know that I'm closer today to his coming and I was when I was sitting in those chairs that you're sitting in today Jesus is coming soon don't put it off get out of happy Valley and go like downtown the Chattanooga get involved in the towers project I would like to see so many students get involved in the towers that are ourselves to be found we will need on a tower there are probably people there are many people in Chattanooga as there are in ancient Laodicea between a hundred and fifty and two hundred thousand people are here let's get out of happy Valley and works and do what God has called us to do witness to your coworkers while you're at the mall if you're sitting in the calf don't just sit there idly talking about nonsense and things that don't really matter take the opportunity to share with someone about Jesus and if you have a problem with warm worships take the initiative to do something about change the worship get involved we need leaders of small groups here on this campus that will begin hitting people in times with Jesus in this last generation we will provide the materials but we need people who will go out and do the work atmosphere is calling you and saying you know that's just not enough there is more that needs to be no I don't want to just be here I want to go out I wanted to something bigger for Christ there may be some of you here were thinking I want to develop why will dedicate a year of my life the student missions some of you may be saying I wanted it done in three years and I want to get done in four years but what if it takes five years what's the big deal didn't involve just think of that title in Pompeii could hear for the first time that Jesus think about the students in Denmark that could come to the realization that Jesus is coming soon and if a year seems July and you simply want to get your feet wet talk of the evangelistic resource Center they're going to Argentina stable in the Philippines are going to Mexico they're going around the world to pay for your flights and all that they make sure to place the gospel message anything but never brings the Doppler method for what Elder Falkenberg into eleven and twelve -year-old quickly got a method and you are a university students you think you could do into Jesus is coming soon do we believe it let's say it together sees us is coming soon and if any of you have said that one of the boxes on this card this morning all of us need to be involved I want to invite those of you a check that box to stand right now I want the ushers to come down right now and pick up those cards pass out those those those buckets and pick up both cards if you've checked one of those boxes this morning instead I don't want to be simply living the life of the status quo I want to be part of the last generation you know why Jesus hasn't come back yet I want to read to you something I just met again last night I is waiting with longing desire Ellen White writes for the main manifestation of himself in the church it is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but still in the coming of Jesus Christ we were all professors name bearing fruits to his glory how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel quickly the last great harvest would be wife and I would come to gather the practice for a thing is not a matter of saying this is the last generation because David is coming up within the today and say I want to read the left information so that you can send let us pray as we have made that commitment here today the Lord God the time is come for us to be Adventists for the last generation O father who is in heaven creator God spoke and it was and he rested and rests with us here today we want to answer that call we are tired of this world we want to go home but there's some unfinished business in your holding back the wins there is that roommate right now who needs you there is my sister there is my father there is my coworker who's life is falling apart Lord give us your RIAA itself so that we base see we knew like Jesus love people who are around us right now in this place right now in our lives may we love as Jesus love may we reach out to this generation so that we can see him face-to-face in his precious name we pray


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