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Wake-Up Call

Mark Howard
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The 1st angel’s message is God’s wake-up call to a church steeped in worldliness and backsliding. This message will draw the practical lessons for this generation.

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Mark Howard

Director, Emmanuel Institute of Evangelism

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Conference

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  • October 19, 2016
    7:00 PM

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Well I'm glad to be here at Southern evidence university I'm looking forward to our time together. But before we begin our message tonight. I like to begin with a word of prayer. So I'm going to invite you to Ballyards with me as I kneel and ask God to bless our time in his word tonight. Father in heaven. We thank you so much for all of your goodness to us were all of your mercies toward us. Lord we thank you for the word of truth and the message you have entrusted to us as a people and father tonight in our subsequent nights. I'm asking for a special outpouring of your Holy Spirit father give us understanding open our understanding to receive the truth you have to share with us here not just in an intellectual way that in experience a way Lord that we may be doers of the word and not hearers only we ask it. Lord in the name of Jesus and for his sake. Amen. Well we are starting this evening with our first in a series now the series isn't titled the everlasting Gospel which in some ways sounds kind of Monday and what I mean by that is it could go any direction but what I want to speak about very specifically over our next several nights together. Are the three angels messages of Revelation fourteen and I'll tell you what I mean by that in a minute. You know I was thinking about this as a seven the avin as there is a question that we really ought to be asking ourselves today and that question is what are we still doing here. I mean seriously what are we still doing here. A Seventh Day Adventist this church was raised up to proclaim the soon coming of Jesus Christ over one hundred sixty years ago. And it's interesting to me and don't misunderstand me. You know you want to give Kudo's and credit to people sometimes for the. You know or to the. You know the truth early institution or whatever else. What I'm saying is it seems odd to me when we have these celebrations the centennial and what have you celebration of the amateur or something doesn't seem right about that we say they praise the Lord. We've been here under two years they were celebrating a hundred fifty eight hundred sixty golden years. I mean this doesn't seem right for a church that should have been gone a long time ago that should have fulfilled her mission especially Well let me back up a little bit. Let me make let me let me clarify something in the Seventh Day Adventist Church. We've gotten to a point in this day and age where fewer and fewer people are really talking about Jesus coming soon. I know we hear. We still hear a lot but I know people that will say you know what Pastor I thought my kids never enter college. I thought I remember when just like you I used to say Jesus was coming soon. And you know so on. The idea is that we we somehow feel that the reason we're still here is because God is busy doing something we just don't know what. And when he gets around to it. He's going to come and we thought it would have been sooner than this but it's not the problem with that thinking is that we have very clearly in inspiration and not just a rare statement hither and yon in the writings of L. and white but repeated Lee We have statements that say that the reason we're still here is not because we're waiting on God but he's waiting on us to finish the work he's given us to do one such statement is in the book evangelism. And I'm not I don't have it on the screen but it says this it says we may have to remain in this world many more years because of our insubordination to God you know what inspired. It is that's failure to come under the leadership of your commanding officer or obey your commanding officer and commanding officer is Christ we may have to remain in this world many more years because of our insubordination to God But let us not add sin to sin by charging God with the result of our own wrong course of action. Wow. The point is we're here because we have not taken hold of the work that Christ gave us to do so on one side of our mouth we're saying oh we love Jesus and we're just so grand to glad to be Christians and be his servants in this earth and yet we're not doing what he told us to do and so when we have the celebrations they are hundred sixty years is the four hundred whatever years is a great controversy vision and. We've celebrate this that the other what are we celebrating but our own mediocrity and failure to do what God told us to do we have to have a new look at the mission and again why we're still here and I'd like you to go with me to the book of second Peter we're going to look at a text that is probably familiar with you but let's go to Second Peter chapter three and just clarify this from scripture. This is as I said a path a passage that you are probably familiar with but maybe not in this way. I'm not sure. It took me a while to connect these two texts second Peter chapter three verse nine. This is one that that I had heard for a while but I'd heard just this verse and it wasn't connected to the rest of the passage you see what I mean in a minute. Second Peter Temple three verse nine the Bible says The Lord is not slack concerning his promise not to back up a little bit in second. Peter chapter three. In fact the heading in my Bible says the day of the Lord will come starting at the day of the Lord. The Second Coming of Christ and you'd pick that up in verse four where it says that there are scoffers who say Where is the promise of His coming. So there's the promise we're talking about so verse nine it says. Lord is not slack concerning his promise the promise of His coming. As some men counts lacking this but is long suffering to up toward us not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Now basically Peter saying you know God's not slacking off it may appear that way you might have thought he should've come sooner Jesus could've should've come sooner and he didn't so gather God slacking off is because what because God is longsuffering is the word not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance That's right. OK So basically the reason that Christ hasn't come yet is he's giving time for people to repent he want to give more time. So more people can be saved. Now like I said I've heard that verse but often times before for a period of time I had read on. But I want to go to verse ten with me. Just keep reading the Bible says. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night in the which the heavens will pass away with a great noise in the elements will melt with fervent heat. Both the earth in the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore since all these things will be dissolved what manner of persons ought you to be unholy conduct and godliness looking for and notice that next word hastening the coming of the day of God because of which the heavens will be dissolved being on fire and elms them out. With a fervent heat. So here it brings up a very interesting word for us today says that we are looking for an hastening the coming of the day of God speaking again in the context of the Second Coming of Christ. Now if you can hasten something what does that mean to hasten it. That's right to speed it up. Now if you can speed something up. What else by inferring. Can you also do you can slow it down and so the Bible's telling us that we have the ability to speed up or slow down the coming of Christ. Now let's consider our greater context. Why was. The Bible said that Christ hasn't come yet. It's not because God slack but because what. That's right. He's willing. He's he's he's not willing for any to perish he wants all to come to repentance. So he wants people to have an opportunity and then we have a few verses later where it says we can hasten the coming of Jesus by implication very clearly the only way that we could do that is giving people more people an opportunity faster. That means we've got to get the message out. And that goes right along with what Jesus told us in Matthew chapter twenty four when you turn there with me. Matthew Chapter twenty four and we're going to verse fourteen another well known passage at least to most to Matthew twenty four verse fourteen the Bible says and this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations and what then the end will come. So in his signs the signs in Matthew twenty four that Jesus giving predicting his coming. He points out one of the greatest signs here being the gospel the proclamation of the Gospel once the Gospels preached the end will come. That's what it's saying in second. Peter that God has entrusted his people with the gospel message and when they finish that work. He will come but he's not going to come sooner because he wants to give people time. Right. He's long suffering not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. So he looks to his people who should be giving the message and if we really were on top of it says we could have hasten the coming of Jesus and I know they're going to be people argue this is a you put it all on God's People like he's not dependent on us. I hear this kind of thing all the time. Well he kind of is. And I wouldn't say totally look God works through his people. But let me make something plain here tonight. If you refuse to be used by God. God will replace you with somebody who will be used the Lord will come and you will not keep silent Scripture says. And so look you know if you want to argue the hastening idea you argue with Peter and you're arguing with God because the Bible's clear that we can hasten it. So while I would agree that not all of the responsibility lies on us some responsibility certainly does. You know when the Lord has given us a commission as a church. We need to carry for that commission we need to be serious about it. The early church was serious about it and we need to be serious about it as well. Now looking at Matthew twenty four fourteen again I want to clarify something. He says this gospel of the kingdom will be preaching all the world. This is where I really want to move into our message and this is why we're talking about this in our. Few evenings together. Is because I believe that everything is hinges on this message being given and we need to be clear on that message on the message that Christ is telling us to give Now you're saying oh it's a gospel message right just as a message we just tell people. Jesus died on the cross to save them from their sins. Except Jesus and you'll be saved. Well yeah yeah. In part. But I want you to go with me to Revelation did you know that in Matthew twenty four and Matthew twenty four Jesus is predicting the preaching of the gospel all the world. These are predictions. There are signs that he's talking about that will come. And when these things happen then the end will come and this is what he says the gospel is going to be preached to all the world as a witness. I want you to go with me to the Book of Revelation and in Revelation we will find the fulfillment of this prediction will actually see what Jesus predicted taking place happening in Revelation Chapter fourteen. That's what Revelation fourteen is bringing to our view I want you to turn to Revelation fourteen and verse six with me. Revelation fourteen and verse six. The Bible says here then I saw another angel. Flying in the midst of heaven. Having the what the everlasting Gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth to every nation and tribe in tongue and people right saying with a loud voice Fear God and give glory to Him for the hour of his judgment has come and worship Him who made heaven and earth the sea and springs of water. So the bible makes a point here that. Here's it we're seeing this first this this first angel this angel flying in the midst of heaven having the everlasting Gospel whose preaching it to every nation tribe tongue and people what did Jesus say this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness unto all the nations what we see hear the Gospel being preached to all the world every nation tribe tongue and people. This is exactly what Jesus said would happen now if you go ahead verse fourteen with me knows what it says just a little bit further in this passage. Then I looked and behold a white cloud and on the Cloud Sat one like the son of man having on his head a golden crown and in his hand a sharp sickle What's he doing the next verse says he's going to thrust in a sickle for the time has come for him to reap the harvest of the earth. What is this a picture of but the second coming of Christ. OK So in other words what we're seeing in Revelation fourteen is the Gospel being preached to every nation and then the end coming. It's the direct fulfillment of what Jesus said would happen in Matthew twenty four. The important part of it is for us to realize what is contained here in this message right there in the first message. It says the angel says with a loud voice quote now it says you get the everlasting Gospel to reclaim and then he begins proclaiming fear God and give glory to Him for the want the hour of his judgment has come and worship Him who made heaven and earth to see in the springs of water. So this message about the judgment an hour is. Intergroup part of the gospel message that has to be preached before Jesus comes. And I want you to be clear on something. There's only one church that preaches this message and that's the seventy seven church and I'm not doing saying that to be arrogant or anything else but you check me on this you go around to all the every any denomination you can think of any church you can think of they are not preaching the three messages of Revelation. They're not about that. Many of them don't even know what they are well known none of them really know what they are not like we know what they are because God has entrusted this message to us. We'll talk about that a little bit more in a minute. Now it goes on in verse eight to say another angel followed This is the second angel. Babylon is fallen is fallen that great city because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication So here we got a message about the fall of Babylon. Verse nine says then a third angel followed them saying with a loud voice have anyone who worships the beast and his image and receive his mark on his forehead or on his hand he himself. Joe also drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out full strength into the cup of his indignation. He should be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb in the smoke of their torment a sense forever and ever and they have no rest day or night who worship the beast and his image or whoever receives the mark of his name verse twelve says here is the patience of the Saints Here are those who keep the commands of God and the faith of Jesus. These are what we understand as the three angels messages. This is the Gospel Jesus said must be preached and I want to make this point this evening very clear we are the ones called to preach this message and if we don't preach it ultimately it will be preached. But the onus of preaching it lies with us tonight. And what that means is we need to be clear on what this message is we need to be clear on. It means to us today. I know for a lot of Seventh Day Adventists we can think back in history may say oh yeah we're going to go back in fact. I have a quote coming up where we find the first date as a message was written was originally preached in the early Advent Movement eight hundred forty eight hundred forty four. What were long time from eight hundred forty or eight hundred forty four and so what happens is we think of it as as dusty old history books and we don't see the pertinence of this message to us into the world we live in today. In fact there's a lot of talk about how we live in this different world. It was a post-modern world in the modern world in the millennia world and we always have some way to categorize this that the current society in such a way as to make it sound like our message really isn't going to fit the world that we live in but I want to tell you that this message is still calculated to perfectly fit where we are and that's what I want to talk about in our time together now in light of what I've just read in Scripture looking at the Gospel in especially. In the context of these three messages. I want you to notice the statement on the screen from testimonies Volume nine page nineteen says in a special sense seven they have in us have been set in the world as watchman and light bearers to them. It has been intrusted the last warning for a perishing world on them a shining wonderful light from the Word of God They have been given to work of the most solemn import the proclamation of the first second and third angels message is notices next sentence. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention those are solemn words. Those are very solemn words. And we should have a little bit of a sense of why that is from the text. We just looked at this message has to be preached to prepare the world for the coming of Christ. So nothing else is to be allowed to absorb attention let me ask you a question you think there are other things that are absorbing our attention they haven't started a. I'm going to tell you there are all kinds of things absorbing our attention and you can see why the devil is trying to distract us from the focus of getting this message out to the world. I want you to notice this next statement from the book early writings page two fifty eight says the true understanding of these messages being that the three angels you'll see this in a moment. The true understanding of these messages is of vital importance the destiny of souls hangs upon the manner in which they are received. OK And that doesn't just apply then that applies now there's a manner in which they have to be received. There's an order this is the first in the second and the third and tonight we're going to talking primarily about the first. And we're going to see why there's a certain sequence to the presentation of these messages now look at the next statement here from the book evangelism page one hundred six. It says all should understand how many all should understand the truth contained in these messages and demonstrate them in the daily life for this is essential to salvation. OK essential. What does that mean it's not an option. OK So all of these statements are true. I'm wanting us to get a sense I mean I say all of these statements. There are. Luminous statements in the writings of L. Why it could be shared here that say the very same thing. I'm just wanting you to get a sense of the importance of these messages and our need to understand them. OK I want you to look at this next statement with me from now this one. This will blow your socks off. It's from one thousand manuscript releases page forty one and I encountered this problem in a few years ago now and it blew my socks off when I encountered it and I think it's going to do the same for yours. Even if you've heard it before. It does for me every time I I read it knows what it says His says here the light that Christ revealed to his servant the prophet talking about John the Revelator. Is for. Us in His revelation are given the three in his messages and a description of the angel that was to come down from heaven with great power lightning the earth with his glory that speaking about Revelation eighteen we're going to look at that this weekend as well. In it that is the revelation or warnings against the wickedness that would exist in the last days and against the mark of the beast. We are not only to read and understand this message but to proclaim it with no uncertain sound to the world by presenting these things revealed to John we shall be able to stir the people notice the next sentence. The usual subjects on which the ministers of nearly all other denominations dwell what will not move them now. Don't miss that the usual subjects on which the ministers of nearly all of the denominators grow not going to move the people but our message will move the people. Well what are the what are the subjects that most ministers dwell on what do you think now the cross the sacrifice of Jesus the love of God for our souls are those bad things. You know their vital things. So why is it that they don't stir the people I'm going to tell you because we are gospel hardened in this world is something I should even say that I could say we are where this way in North America. But the reality is the carnal heart is selfish. It is opposed to spiritual things and there needs to be something to awaken an interest in spiritual things and that something is our message. You'll see that as I as as we go on continue on the statement watched. Where we go here. Look at that last sentence again the usual subjects on which the ministers of nearly all other denominations dwell will not move them. We must proclaim our God given message to them the world is to be warned by the proclamation of this message if we blanket it. If we hide. Our light under a bushel. If we so circumscribed ourselves that we cannot reach the people we are answerable to God for our failure to warn the world. So God has intrusted us with a vital message that needs to be given to the world and I want to tell you something here tonight. I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet but if so this is not a rock solid prediction but I'm going to tell you that thing the things that are happening in this world today are things like I've never seen. I mean when I came into the church twenty years ago I thought Jesus is coming soon. Now I think Jesus coming real soon. And what I mean by that is what we're seeing in our world whether you're talking about wars or natural disasters or you know that the political chaos is on precedented. And so my prediction as it were is this. And I was going to say I don't mean on sell you. But I guess I kind of do. I really believe that there are those of you here now in a course of study. That may never realize the field you're studying for that the world is not going to continue in a peaceful and regular enough way that you're going to find yourself in that field you're studying for be it. Business or or nursing or whatever it is. I believe that's how close we are and I could be wrong about that maybe laughing about it. Twenty years ago and Zainab as our year this old and I don't know what the media's going to be then you know it was like we used to have cassette tapes and I don't know what's going to be listen in on it could be that way. But I don't think so. Here's what I do think I think you will stand before the kings and queens of this or to bear witness for Jesus Christ. Why missing that because a lot of college students are so busy with their coursework that they put their. Spiritualize on the back burner this I know I should be having more devotions I know I should be focused but I gotta get through these classes. I'm going to tell you those classes are not going to prepare you for what's coming. What's going to prepare you for what's coming is your relationship with Christ now. And so I want to encourage you in light of what we're looking at here in light of what God is and trusted you with that you do not put your spiritual life on the back burner but that you make it a priority in your life because God is going to use it and he's going to use you and do amazing things for you. I believe that. So it's in light of these things. It's imperative that we know and understand what these messages mean to us and I want to start tonight and just look at that first angels message a little bit and try to understand some of the practical implications of first of all let's look at the historical implications briefly in other words what it it what it means to them when it was first preached. Now I mentioned to you already that the first changes message was proclaimed by the advent of great Second Advent movement in the years immediately preceding eight hundred forty four. I mean there are different statements that I have from Illinois where she says you know from the Advent movement May eighteenth forty eight hundred forty four. But here's one on the screen notice this great controversy three sixty two as early as eight hundred twenty six the advent message began to be preached in England the great truth of Christ soon coming in power and glory was extensively proclaimed Now think about it for a minute. You know the message is fear God give glory to him. Worship him because they are his judgment has come for us today. We know that that judgment our message was pointing to eight hundred forty four when Jesus but as our heavenly high priest would enter into the last phase of his priestly work. The anti typical day of atonement. To prepare for his coming. And so we can think along those lines. OK And when you think of the word judgment. You know judgment is there are two things that judgment will bring to you bring to your attention. One is accountability. If you got judgment if you're going to be judged you you're going to be held accountable. You're going to be held accountable for your life. The other thing that judgment brings into the mix there brings to mind is law and you have to understand now it's way worse today but it was still an issue at the time of the Advent movement here in America that there were Christians who felt that the law of God was kind of replaced by the grace of Jesus that the law of God didn't matter so much and what have you. The problem is when you start talking about judgment. You can't have judgment without law because you have to have a standard of judgment a standard of right and wrong. And so the judgment our message. What brought home to the conscience the reality that we're going to be judged by the law that a lot of people said wasn't all that important. I mean what happens is that really makes you take note and evaluate your spiritual experience. Now there's another point I want to make here that goes along with this it's you it's important for us to understand that when the first angels message was preached it was prior to eight hundred forty four minutes which means when we talk about judgment in the heavenly sanctuary. That wasn't part of their message because they didn't know it yet that that had not been revealed to them yet they didn't have the understanding the concept of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary. What's interesting to me is you know. Let me hit the pause button here. Before I go on with other comments. So they did know about Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary. So the question we have to ask is What was the judgment our message to them then I mean if it wasn't about the judgment our Jesus entering into the anti typical day of atonement. What was it. See it's important for us to know the if the what the message was to them because it's going to be the same thing to us even in the light of. The enlightened understanding of the judgment our in as I said when you use the word judgment judgment implies accountability judgement implies law and when you are faced with those kinds of things you. It makes you take a harder look at who you are and what you're doing for example how many of you have ever had a human driving on the road and. In fact a neighborhood for some reason for me I'll use the neighborhood you drive in your neighborhood and you know six squad car comes up behind you. Police car and you're driving along and now this police cars following you. Anybody ever have that happen. Now you're not you're not speeding Well the reality is probably the first thing you're going to do when you notice that is oh wow and how have been driving. To do to come to a complete stop of that last stop sign right. I mean you don't even have to be intentionally doing something wrong but when the law comes up all of a sudden you're you're on your toes you're watching your p's and q's right you're being careful you are now thinking wow as I was I speeding. Now you're watching your speed limit more carefully making sure you're using your turn signals is not right and it's not because of anything other than the presence of that police officer this. Listen this is the effect of that law that accountability in when the first dangerous message was preached it caused the people to take a hard look at where they were spiritually and if you think about it when you when you go back in Scripture and you read about the typical day of atonement because the judgment hours about the anti typical when Jesus enters into the where the real high priest Jesus Christ enters into the real saying sure they want to heaven. But in the typical Tallman. If you're three priest in the instruction the Bible says that people were to afflict their souls remember reading that they were to afflict their souls they were to search their hearts and evaluate their spears experience Well that's exactly the effect that the first angels message had on the first people who heard it even though they didn't know about the heavenly sanctuary. And so you can see the design effect was to bring that. Bring them to understanding of their true condition before God. Now I read the statement here on the screen looking at it again here great conversely three sixty two. It says The great truth of Christ soon coming in power and glory was extensively proclaimed So you see that to them to preach the first days message was really just preaching the soon coming of Jesus and am I ready. Look at the next statement from great controversy three sixty eight. It says. America became the center of the great Advent movement. It was here that the prophecy of the what the first angels message had its most direct fulfillment and notice the glad tidings of Christ's speedy return was the focus of that message and so the first day of his message to them was there is accountability the judgment when did they think the judgment was going to be it's going to be Jesus came and so to them. Jesus is coming. We're going to have to stand before him. What are our lives like Are we ready to meet him. I want you to notice this statement in great controversy page three seventy nine. Now it says the first angels message of Revelation fourteen announcing the hour of God's judgment and calling upon men and women to fear and worship him was designed to separate the professed people of God from the corrupting influences of the world and to arouse them to see their true condition of worldliness and backsliding. I like to say it was a divine wake up call that was the. Upis of the first angels message was to help them to see where they really were spiritually. And they were where they hope to be the fact of the matter is they were they had become begun to mingle with the world and God was trying to separate from them from that and their condition had become one of worldliness and backsliding. And the first dangerous message was designed to to draw him closer to the Lord let me ask you Do you think we have world in this and backsliding in our church today. What about our own lives. I want to tell you we do and the first angels message is designed to have the same effect on us today as it did then. So we see the message to them was a primarily a message about getting ready to meet Jesus. It was a divine wake up call to help them to see their need of Christ. I want to interject here we talked about judgment in the law and I want to interject something about the law because today even in the evidence church. Oh we don't talk about law because we're going to sound legal istic we're going to sound like the Farriss. Understand something while the law doesn't save anybody was never designed to save anybody. The law always had a function a function was to help us to see our need to be saved to help us to see our need for Christ. So when sermons are preach without the law in them when there's not straight talk and convicting talk about our sin. I've had people tell me why you don't want to you go and preach the sermons and with all that convicting talk to makes people feel guilty and they leave in their old discouraged. You know sometimes people need to get discouraged. What does the Bible say Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted Blessed are the poor in spirit not poor in wealth poor in spirit. What does that mean their spiritual poverty. Blessed are those who see it. Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who mourn the idea here is there. There is an appropriate time for us to realise our sinfulness so that we see our need for G. Eases I want you to notice a statement on the screen from evangelism two thirty one. It says the law in the Gospel the law and the Gospel revealed in the word are to be preached to the people for the law and the Gospel blended will convict of sin. God's law while condemning sin points to the Gospel revealing Jesus Christ. Thus both the law and the gospel are blended in. No discourse. Are they to be divorced in one. No discourse and there's a there's another statement in the book great controversies in the chapter minor of vials man if you have not read that chapter or if it has been a while. That's what's happening today even in our church modern revivals you check it out and it's in that chapter that one of the points made. Is this the tendency of the modern pope it is to strain out the divine justice from the divine mercy. We just want to talk about God's mercy and His love and his kindness but we want to talk about accountability and judgment. It's so true. And so what the effect of that is that we think we're in a better condition than we are. It's what the Bible calls Laodicea we think we're rich and increasing good when we're really wretched miserable poor blind and naked the first angels message was designed to wake people up to their true condition employing the idea of judgment and law. Listen this is the same you see the same thing in the ministry of John the Baptist tell me what John the Baptist ministry was you remember what the Bible says his baptism was as a baptism of repentance That's right a baptism of repentance that's what John. That's what John preached and I want you to notice with me. Luke chapter three Luke chapter three and verse four I believe. Matthew Mark Luke chapter three. And verse four. Speaking of John the Baptist. In fact let's start in verse three Luke chapter three verse three says and he went into all the region around the Jordan preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet. Cried saying the voice of one crying in the wilderness was. Prepare the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and Hill brought low the crooked places shall be made straight and the rough way is smooth and all flesh shall see the salvation of God What this is saying in the prophecy of Isaiah I mean how did John the Baptist come in and fill in all the valleys he bring in big earth movers and in bringing loads of dirt. How did he fill in the valleys. How did he make the mountains bring the mountains and hills low is talking about the message of repentance. When John preached repentance it puts everybody on what level is anybody better than another. No put them all A levels everything in the end and in the leveling out of humanity the taking away of the pride and putting everybody in the same level was preparing them to receive the gospel. How many people need the gospel. Everybody needs the Gospel and so the message of repentance was to prepare the way. So people knew they needed the remedy of the sickness that they didn't even know they had and once they knew they had the sickness. Now they are ready for the remedy this is why Jesus said that it is not the. Sick or the well who need a physician those who are well but those who are sick. Therefore the Son of Man came. To call not the righteous but sinners to repentance. So the law in the gospel work together and the message of the first angel brought that law in in its context of judgment and accountability to the minds of the P.. People preparing them to receive Christ Now one other I want you to look at in this line and then I want to bring this a little closer to home before we wrap up and we're going to go to Luke seven. We're going to turn our Bibles to Luke seven verse twenty nine now this is Jesus. Eulogy. If you will. Of John the Baptist John is in prison. He's about to be beheaded Jesus knows it. And he begins talking to the multitude. About. John the Baptist. And he's bringing up to them. In Luke seven verse twenty nine. Well he's responding to those to the way people receive John's messages but notice verse twenty nine. He says and when all the people heard him and that is Jesus basically. Praising. The ministry of John the Baptist you know endorsing it saying this is a prophet of God who came with a message from God for you. When all the people heard him even the tax collectors justified God that's an odd statement isn't it because you always think of justification of people but it justifies to declare somebody that was was right and this is even the tax collectors justified God having been baptized with the baptism of John in other words they said God was right to send John we needed him because we're sinners and we needed our sin pointed out we need to be called to repentance. Even the tax collectors justify God having been notice having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the fairest season lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves not having been baptized by him and they were they didn't think they needed that repentance and what did they. Consequently do listen to me and do not miss it. They rejected Jesus Christ they rejected him the message of John was to prepare the way to receive Christ. And in the same way the first angels message was to prepare the people to receive the light of the second and third angel in the righteousness of Christ but those who did not receive it were not prepared for it. Again there's a role there is a time in a place for our sin to be pointed out and while we love to hear the goodness of God in the love of God for our souls. There are times we need to understand that we are sinners facing eternal death because of our sin that we are responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is not as not an accident that John was preaching repentance or that Jesus when he started his earthly ministry started were the words repent for the king of Gaza hand. It was an accident that Peter when he went before the religious leaders preached Jesus Christ whom you crucified. I mean he was bringing home to them. The reality in the depth of their sin so that they might desire the savior Now let me bring this you know all of this is just trying to explain the first dangerous message role in awakening the people to their true condition and I want to move to where we are today and why I think this is so important for us today. And I want you to follow me to first Corinthians Chapter ten First Corinthians Chapter ten and I want to look at why I believe this is so critical for us today as a church this first angels message I mean they're all important. But a lot of times we talk about the third in his message and we're in the time of thirty and his message. And we don't seem to understand the significance of this in the need for the first angels message now first Corinthians ten. This is an interesting passage starting in verse one the Apostle Paul is recounting the experience of Israel in the Exodus from Egypt and he says in verse one Moreover brethren I do not want you to be unaware that and I want you to notice the word all. OK. I want you I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud. How many passed to the sea all pastor to see how many were baptized Moses all were baptized into Moses in the cloud in the sea all at the same spiritual food and all drank the same spiritual drink for they drank of the spiritual rock that spiritual rock that followed them and that rock was Christ notice verse five but with most of them. God was not well pleased for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness now these things became what our examples and I'm not going to read on there. I want to. I want to flesh this out this passage is a powerful passage and I want you to think about what the Apostle saying he's talking to the people in his day God's people. And putting them back to times past and saying listen. Listen we have the lessons in history that were written for our example. You go back to the exodus and it says they all all all came out of Egypt went through the Red Sea ate the man and it came down from heaven. In other words they all shared in the same experience. They all shared in the same culture but he says with most most of them didn't make it and just to really solidify that for you and make this. Very explicit I want to what I want to say you go back and look at those who came out of Egypt does anybody know how many Bible said came out of Egypt by the count six hundred thousand men coming out of Egypt that's not counting women and children. If you can a woman for every man you're talking about one million two hundred thousand people and then you can't children. If there's a child for every adult you've got nearly two million people. OK I want you to understand it wasn't twenty five people came out of Egypt. There's nearly two. Million. Do you know how many of those two million went into the promised land of the original number there were two two out of two million that really brings it home doesn't it. In other words the Apostles saying they all had the same experience. How could they all have the same experience and only to make it and I want to talk to you about something called cultural Christianity. More specifically cultural Adventism and that's what Paul is talking about here. They all have the same culture. The problem is they didn't have the same conviction see cultural Christianity cultural Adventism is not religious or spiritual at all. It's not based on personal conviction. It's based on whatever everyone else in the administration is doing now. That was you can grow up in an area and do certain things and live a certain way because it's the culture you live in but it's never your own was never your own personal conviction and avenues Christian is somebody who has seen the truth who has made a personal decision on the truth who has tested it studied the word and taken their own personal stand in a cultural Avenue and a cultural administers somebody who is just going along with. Whatever the wherever the wind is blowing. OK. And the reason that Paul is bringing this up and the reason I'm bringing this up is that I fear. I don't fear. I know from my experience as a pastor I regularly meet avin is young and old who have no clue they could not tell you why they believe what they believe to save their life they have never studied and tested out the truth and what that means in a practical way is let me let me just share you with some practical things with you here and this is going to be new to you and it's going to make my. There was a time and a lot of evidence remember this where the evidence culture was you know they grew up eating veggie meat they grew up not drinking coffee. They grew up not going to movie theaters and you guys were going to say you know what are you talking about. I mean I have a street coffee today I was going to movies they grew up not wearing jewelry. I mean this if they grew up that way but just because they grew up that way doesn't mean that was their own personal conviction. That's exactly why. Most of you young people are thinking what do you mean I mean we do see that all the time we were jewelry we go to movies just like everybody else we drink coffee just like everybody yeah we do we live like everybody we live like the world and nobody bats an eye. You know why because when you are a cultural Christian when the culture changes you change when you are Christian by personal choice and conviction because you took a stand on Bible truth culture will always change culture is always ever changing but the Christian will not change unless the change in the culture is in accordance with Scripture the Christian will stand for truth. And the problem is when you grow up in a cultural Christianity. What you develop is a form of the it looks Christian on the outside as Christian but the substance is not there the personal conviction of truth is not there the being grounded in the Word of God is not there the personal commitment to Jesus Christ is not there. You have a form but the formed denies the power and what ends up happening is as I said when the culture changes you change because you never knew any different. And the fact of the matter is culture tends to change when the. Church is cultural. It tends to drift toward the world not away from the world and drifting toward the world is pleasing to our carnal hearts the indulgences that we as Christians still try to steer away from whether it be in the way we dress in our adornment whether it be in the things we eat and drink those things are self crucifying to the. There crucifying the selfish nature and so there's an appeal and when the whole culture is doing it if everybody in the church. If your church teachers and parents and leaders are doing. It's got to be OK right. If the majority is doing it. It's got to be OK right. That's the way we think the Bible says in Exodus twenty three to do not follow a multitude to do evil that's exactly what Paul saying here first Corinthians they all look the majority was there two million people but only two of them stood firm that that should speak volumes to us today. So the first angels message today comes to awaken our conscience and help us to evaluate what kind of Christian I am. Am I just a cultural Christian do I even know what I believe and why I believe it. I better find out before Jesus comes is my commitment truly to Him in His Word or is it just so far as is popular in the culture that I'm in and I want to share with you as we're coming to a close here a statement that is. I don't know if you've heard this before. This is a passage a part of or it's a relation of a vision that Ellen White had of one of Satan's Council meetings with his angels one of his committee meetings whatever you would call it. His strategy meetings. You know the devil doesn't just wake up over breakfast and say I want to I'm going to tempt today. You know he lays his plans ahead of time. And Eleanor why. I was privileged to get insight into what his strategy was to warn God's people. And this is recorded in a book testimonies to ministers it's recorded in the book. The Spirit of Prophecy Volume four. I'm reading it from test four rather page three thirty nine. You've got it on the screen here. This is just a piece of what the devil told his angels what his strategy was especially for the Sabbath keepers for you and me. OK. Check this out. This is Satan talking to his angels through those that have a form of godliness. But no not the power we can gain many who would otherwise do us great harm. Lovers of pleasure. More than lovers of God will be our most effective helpers those of this class who are apt and intelligent will serve as decoys to draw others into our snares me and we look at somebody who thinks they know a lot or who does know a lot. They may they might even know the the Greek and Hebrew and they're all versed in all kinds of they talk and they sound real intelligent the devil says Man I can use them because they love pleasure. They may know all that stuff but I can use them in my cause more effective than anybody. They're going to serve as decoys to draw others into our snare and I notice he goes on. Still the devil talking to his angels. Many will not fear their influence because they profess the same face. They don't practice the same faith but they profess it Oyama seven the evidence creation No I don't believe in creation. I think I think Creation happened over thousands of years and I think science bears that out you know that's the kind of thing they'll tell you over they professed the same faith and they'll sweep away a multitude. Because their decoys. Many will not bear their influence Incidentally I was that I believe in creation in six Little days but I'm saying that there are those who sound very intelligent. Who will say that kind of thing. And the devil will use them as decoys because and they're effective because they've professed the same faith. Many will not fear their influence because they profess the same faith. We will the US lead them the Adventists to conclude that the requirements of Christ are less strict than they once believed right. Oh we used to believe you shouldn't wear jewelry but now we really just didn't wear much jewelry. We used to believe you shouldn't go to the movie theater now we just realize you need to be selective. Oh yeah we used to believe that there's certain music of being appropriate but now we realize that. You know it really doesn't matter as long as the lyrics are right we used to believe that you shouldn't drink coffee or you know use stimulants and but now we realize it. Hey everybody does it and and it may not be the best thing for you but it certainly isn't something God forbid right. I mean this is what it's saying this is over a hundred years ago seen in vision reported to you and me we're reading it right now here's the devil telling us angels this is what we're going to do in my young friends this is exactly what he has done just what he planned and we're doing it. We're following his deception and were oblivious to it will make them conclude the requirements of Christ are less strict than they once believed and that by conformity to the world they would exert a greater influence with worldlings Well if somebody invites me out to coffee and I never go to coffee how many going to how my going to really be able to win them. It's that kind of thing right. But if I conform to the world. I'm going to have a greater influence over them. No the reality is they're going to have a greater influence over you. That's the reality in fact. In great controversy page five zero nine says this conformity to worldly customs converts the church to the world. It never can be. The world to Christ never the devil knows that. So here he is laying his plan to his angels. Now notice this next sentence. Still the devil talking to his angels. Once they believe their requirements are less strict so they let their guard down conforming to the world would help them to be reaching more people they let their guard down. That's what Solomon did by the way to go back and look he thought he was going to win all those women to the Lord and they won him to heathenism says thus they will separate from Christ don't you understand that when we lessen when we lower the standard of a Christian life we are separating ourselves from Jesus they will separate themselves from Christ then they will have no strength to resist our power Satan and his angels and air long they will be ready to ridicule their former zeal and devotion ridicule their former zeal in devotion for it first. Oh you know we're not as strict as we used to be and then it comes to a point where you start making jokes about how strictly administers to be. And I'm going to tell you what I know you hear that on this campus you hear from keynote speakers. Who here haven't we used to be so legal istic that's exactly what the devil plan. The first angels message was a wake up call to the people in the early Advent movement and it's a wake up call to you and me today we need to evaluate where we're standing and ask ourselves if we are really truly following Christ if we are really truly committed to Christ if we know the word in we are do or have the word and here is only the first angel's message was designed to prepare the hearts of the people to receive Christ and just as those who rejected John's message also rejected Christ. So those who reject the convicting or resist the convicting power of the of the Holy Spirit in the first. Changes message are prepared to reject Christ and the other two were never going to receive the righteousness of Christ while rejecting this first angel's message that's calling us to accountability notice early writings page two sixty says those who rejected the first message could not be benefited by the second. And by rejecting the two former messages they have so darkened their understanding that they can see no light in the third and his message now has happened historically and it's happening now just like they rejected John's message and so they are unfitted to meet Jesus folks we've got to be willing to look at our spiritual lives in and let God shine his light the light of truth on our lives and bring conviction of sin and it may be uncomfortable by that and discomfort is going to lead us to a strong relationship with Jesus. I want to finish with a statement here this evening. Our work is to proclaim the commandments of God in the testimony of Jesus Christ prepared to meet by God is the warning to be given to the world. It is a warning to us individually. We are called upon to lay aside every weight and the sin which does so easily beset us. There is a work for you to do to yoke up with Christ make sure that your building is on the rock Do not risk eternity on a probability. Oh my young friends don't just assume that we are where you need to be in your relationship with Jesus do not risk eternity on a probability make your calling and election sure get on your knees and evaluate in the light of truth. Where am I standing go to the word go to inspiration and seek to understand where God is calling you to be at this hour in Earth's history. Do not risk eternity. On a probability. You may not live to participate in the perilous scenes on which we are now entering I understand you guys have just laid to rest a friend here in the last week or so young person of this university nobody expected to die. Not this young succumb to a disease. We don't know we have tomorrow that's what it goes on to say you may not live to participate the perilous scenes in which we are now entering the life of no one of us is assured for any given time. Should you not watch every moment. Should you not closely examine your own self and inquire what really turn it to be to me and I want to leave there leave off right there tonight that first angels message speaks to us tonight. Just as surely as it did to that early adamant movement. Just as surely as John's message spoke to those people by the Jordan what we'll eternity be to me. Where am I going to spend eternity there is no time to waste on making your spiritual life a priority. Now how many of you as the Spirit of God is speaking to you tonight by the raising of your hand want to say Lord help me to make my spiritual life a priority now show me where I may be walking at a distance from you. So I can be walking hand in hand is it your desire tonight. Let's pray Father in Heaven Father we thank you so much for the light of truth Father we thank you for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. Even though it's uncomfortable or do we need to know we need to be awakened to where we're standing we need to be awaken to our spiritual experience we need be awakened to the sin in our life that needs to be put away while we still have a heavenly High Priest to do it. We need to be empowered by your spirit. And much more if you would like to know about.

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