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Preparing the Church for the Last Hour Mission Part - 5

C. Raymond Holmes

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C. Raymond Holmes

Pastor, missionary, retired seminary professor, and author

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  • June 20, 2019
    10:45 AM
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Heavenly Father we thank you for this new day oh excuse me Lord and we ask you to bless this special final session this week as we study 1st John we have sensed your holy spirit throughout this cat meeting and we praise you and glorify you in Jesus name Amen and generous thing that John begins his gospel with in the beginning was the word that's the style of Genesis 11 which has in the beginning God created. He created the universe the earth human beings everything in it and in his Gospel he speaks about the spiritual re creation of mankind through faith. In the Son of God and in his Gospel he says For God so loved the world of humanity that he had made that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life because God loves the world of humanity that he made. He saves the world of humanity that he made the connection between the world he made and the world he saves as Jesus and John 11 vs one through 5 says in the beginning was the word he was in the beginning he was in the beginning with God in Him was life and the life was a light of man the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it Jesus is the Word of God and He is the light of men in old the way. He chose the way he illuminates the way he as the way the only way to salvation and eternal life but in this letter 1st John that is all relevant un timely for 7th Day Adventist Christians today Jean John is not talking about the beginning but about the end of the last hour. As he says in chapter 2 verse 18 and the historical context are different between the beginning and the end everything he says in this letter has to be understood in the light of the last hour the beginning and the end are connected in Christ who says. I am the Alpha and the Omega the 1st and the Last the Beginning and the end which John recorded in Revelation 22 Earth 12 and what what's the meaning of that. It is that he was there at the beginning of the Alpha and he will be there at the end of the omega as he has been all along the way not just with reference to the way you and I view the world of humanity events calamities history but our own personal histories remember and. As Paul says in Philippians 16 he whole began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ the God who created us and gave us new life in Christ is going to finish what he started. He's going to finish the job the saving of the world goes on until the very end and God's people the church are a part of that mission to the very end the object of God's love is the fallen world John $316.00 it is also the object of the church's love Matthew $28.00 earth 19 Jesus says go and make disciples of all nations. Teachings I will observe all that I have commanded you sold a church made up of God's redeemed people is in the world with a specific mention of making disciples followers of Jesus that's our job that's the world's only hope provided the church is faithful and uncompromisingly true to the Word of God and fulfills its mission for the world John says Jesus as the pro pushy ation for our sins that means of turning away of God's wrath and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. For John to to and to the church that has a mission in the world he says mercenary and by this we know that we have come to know him if we keep His commandments The old a fallen world is the object of God's love the focus in this letter is not on the world it lies in the power of the evil one but the focus is on God's people the church. Which lives and serves him. In this world. And while his focus is on the Church of the last hour he sees that church against the background of the reality of the world as it is in that last hour he doesn't have his head in the sand or in the clouds he's very much aware of the condition of the world in which the last Our church is to bear its witness and fulfill its mission. We must be aware of that too and is that it is that condition the chip star of the church and powerful the motivated for the kind of sacrificial work that is demanded by the last hour so let's take a look at the condition of the world of the last hour and the demands of that reality makes. On the church in that hour the New Testament uses 3 Greek words that have been translated world in English. One is like a man a which means in the populated world the other one is or the kingdoms of this world the other one is and I don't quite know how to pronounce it but it's spelled a I and I and Henri on and usually means age or and includes time and space and so on the 3rd word is kosmos meaning order or system the material word world the things that have been made especially the human inhabitants and but John uses the word cosmos throughout his letter. Because he is talking about mankind as a whole and has been any unaided from God and is under the control of say he's also referring. To the complex of ideas by which humanity has organized itself into nations and societies and cultures and it's not a pretty picture because as Paul says in 2nd Timothy 3 all who desire to live a godly life in Christ will be persecuted while evil people and imposters will go on from bad to worse the seeding and being you see because if after the read even as 2nd Peter 220 says have a scaped the defiled been of the world through the knowledge of our Lord Jesus they are again and tangled in them. And overcome by them the last state has become worse for them done the 1st Jesus describes us condition and metaphorical words one he says in Matthew 916 No one puts a piece of an shrunken cloth on an old garment for the patch tears away from the garment and the worst hair is made neither is no wine put into old wine skins if it is the Skins burst and the wine is spilled and the Skins are destroyed the world of fallen humanity. That is in the power of the evil one is full of hate for God's people and his church the condition of the world in the last hour is that of widespread hostility toward God toward his troth and toward his people and that hostility should not surprise us because we know and understand His word and we need to be ready for it and prepared to meet that hostility but not with more hostility God has told us that Satan Revelation 1217 also John's writing that Satan is furious with the woman that is to say his church and went off to make war on the rest of her OSP offspring on those who keep That is to say revere and Observer the commandments of God and hold to another words claim to will not let go of the testimony of Jesus Jesus prepares us to. He says in Matthew 249 you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many of you will fall away if they can pick it up and betray one another and hate one another and many false prophets will arise and lead many a stray. And because the law lessness will be increased the love of many will grow cold talking about fallen church members their love grows cold but then he adds a promise but he says the one who endorsed to the end. Will be saved and this gospel of the kingdom and that's the theme of this this year's cat meeting this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed so out the whole world as of testimony or a witness to all nations and then the end will come. So 1st John 313 says don't be surprised that the world hates you and proof of that hatred goes way back to Cain who murdered his brother Abel Why did he do that John says because his own deeds were evil and his brothers were right just now were or were beginning to face the hostility of Western culture toward Christian faith and ideals such hostility can be expected to increase especially in the last hour it's a time when many false prophets have gone out into the world as John says Where did they come from and who do they represent these false prophets they are he says chapter former spy they are from the world therefore they speak from the world and the world listens to them they are produced in the context of that hostility which takes many philosophical forms and so they speak they teach ideas that represent the thinking of that world and that support its hostile views and they are listened to by that hostile world because they're saying what Doc world wants to hear the very careful of the phrase user friendly. There are some folks that think we need to make the church user friendly and I think they fall into this category John Jesus our John calls them deceivers of the arch deceiver produces his own disciples. Second job or 7 says For many deceivers have gone out into the world the world of humanity those who do not confess the coming of Jesus in the flesh and to the church he urges 2nd jobbers 8 Watch yourselves watch yourselves so that you may not lose what we have worked for what may win a full reward watch yourselves be aware take heed don't fall for the deception no matter how appealing it may be solemn don't fall away and betray one another and and hate one another as Matthew 24 Dan says why not so you don't forfeit what you have preached to others so you don't lose the souls you have one by betraying the truth and soul for men to go out in their minds. God wants to strengthen the Church of the last hour spiritually so that his people will stay true and United head in Christ in such a crucial time and by the way and this is important that a unity is pro technician from the world and is essential for gathering disciples out of the world so he says so that church 1st John $217.00 The world of hostility. As passing away along with its desires it's not going to last another words but whoever does the will of God abides forever will last for ever and he explains the reason why the world is hostile to Christians does not know this isn't a did not know him chapter 3 verse one in other words the world is so far from God that it's hard to recognize his people which is why they have to watch yourselves chapter 2 verse 15 do not love the world or the things in the world in other words don't be like them don't fall for the deception why not he says verse 16 Chapter 2 for all that is in the world the desires of the flesh sensuality and the desires of the eyes covetousness and pride and possessions materialism is not from the Father but is from the world another word that's the way of the hostile world is that's the way it thinks that's the way it does business that's the way it operates don't believe everything you hear from the world of false prophets test it against the Word of God What does the Bible say listen and believe only that which confesses that Jesus has come in the flesh that by the way is the cardinal test and their safety and protection lies in the fact. As he says in chapter 4 ber 6 that we are from God whoever knows God listens to us whoever is not from God does not listen to us in other words if their hearts are inclined toward God they will listen to our message and then he adds in verse 6 By this we know the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error now there are 2 essential attributes that characterize the Church of the last hour the church that's prepared to meet the hostility of the world the 1st essential attribute is that we find is the absence of hatred and the 2nd one is the demonstration of love if you love if you love you cannot hate and if you hate you cannot love after mine are chapter verse line of chapter 2 he says whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is fellow human being no matter how asked us to while he may be is still in darkness whatever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness whoever loves his brother abides in the light but whoever hates his brother as in the darkness and does not know where he is going he's lost his way why because the darkness has blinded his eyes John says what did Jesus say Matthew 539 Do not resist the one who is evil love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your father who is in heaven where does that come from Sermon on the Mount. I would love to do a series on the Sermon on the mount some time at camp meeting but I don't think it's going to be possible. But when I was reading and studying the Sermon on the Mount it struck me that in the sermon Jesus doesn't talk about justification or right just notice by faith he talks about Christian living read it this is the principle that determines how the Church of the last hour meets the demands of the last hour and without which it cannot fulfill its mission love your enemies don't hate what always stand for the truth the consequences are not yours your job our job is to proclaim the truth and stand for the truth and live the truth. Be a witness cannot be done as Ellen White says without the word of their testimony and listen to this 1st John Terry 14 whoever does not love abides in death everyone who hates his brother is a murderer and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in Him He Jesus laid down His life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers lot of love in the Word or talk in Word or talk but indeed an untruth in other words this is talking about sacrificial love and the Greek word that John uses is of GAAP a there are 3 words for love it gree heiress which is erotic love for the label which is brotherly love and a got pay which is divine sacrificial law and that's the word he uses I've got paid. The spiritual reality demand in the mission of God's last church in the last hour is that we find the way to live faithfully as church and the Greek word for churches actually see which means the called a lot. In the last hour. The way of life that overcomes the world a life of love for God The reality of which is demonstrated by faith that obeying His commandments which John mentions 3 times in his 1st letter especially in the midst of hostility. Now the atmosphere this is what I've been talking about the atmosphere in which the Christian it lever lives is the atmosphere of righteousness not that of sin we don't live in the atmosphere of sin. Least we're not supposed to we live in the atmosphere of righteousness and this is the Divine Principle that determines how the Church of the last hour meets of demands of that hour and without which it cannot fulfill its mission yes. Thank you oh John characterizes the condition of the world as darkness the world is dying in its darkness. Life is not possible in darkness did you know that it has to have light in order to survive in complete darkness nothing can be seen neither good nor evil not not in danger or safety evil danger cannot be avoided because it cannot be seen. And good and safety cannot be followed for the same reason it cannot be seen in darkness light is absolutely necessary. To avoid danger to expose evil and reveal good to show the way light illuminates darkness hides a contrast between darkness and light and it's all obvious nounless is one versus 2 through 4 says that darkness was over the face of the deep on till God said Let there be light and there was light and God saw that the light was good and God separated the light from the darkness in the beginning all that there was was darkness think about the darkness was there before there was anything else God did something about that he brought light into darkness notice that God did not call the darkness good he called the light good we have always seen an allusion to the coming of Christ. But deliver as well as the great controversy. In Genesis 315. God said to Satan I will put enmity between you and the woman he shall bruise your head but there seems to be an allusion to the gospel as early as Genesis chapter one verse verses 2 and 3 when God brings light into darkness he acts he takes the initiative this is the 1st manifestation of of God's grace operating on behalf of the whole universe when he said Let there be light and there was light he was in the process of creating. And Genesis one tells us that God separated the light from the darkness and that God said Let there be lights in the expanse of heaven to separate the day from the night to give light upon the earth the sun the moon the stars to separate the light from the darkness that's why he put him there now was the separation from light and darkness was it meant to make the contrast more obvious I think so because light is more powerful than darkness even the moon reflects the light of the sun as it has no light of a toll on the moon has no light of its all and if it were not for the sun you would see the moon God created light for our good because mankind was not made to exist in darkness literally darkness is the absence of natural light I have often wondered why I like spring time. My favorite time of the year everything Green's up the days are longer I don't I don't get up in the dark anymore I don't go to bed in the dark I go I get up in the light I go to bed and the life Jesus was on the cross Matthew 27 versus 40 or 45 says from the 60 hour that's noon according to Jewish time there was darkness over the last until the 9th hour in the middle of the day because it was a dark and wicked deed that was be done and God wanted the whole world to know that soul darkness came on the world in the middle middle of the day when Jesus was on the cross This is darkness and the unnatural darkness speaks volumes concerning the evil in human hearts in spite of the fact that light John in his Gospel chapter 3 verse 19. Christ has come into the world people loved the darkness rather than the light why because their deeds were evil for every one who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light lest his deeds should be exposed Why is it that people who commit crimes do everything possible to cover it up you know why it's an evil deed they don't want to be exposed the Bible describes darkness as a place of misery in the parable of the wedding feast the king tells his servants to take a man who had no wedding garments and cast him into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 2230 and did you know that the Bible describes the grave as the land of darkness and deep shadow the land of gloom like thick darkness where our light is us thick as darkness job 1021 Jesus used the contrast between light and darkness to illustrate the contrast between right just in us and lawlessness 2nd Corinthians 6 verse 14 says Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers for what partnership has right just mess with lawlessness or what fellowship has light with darkness darkness characterizes the condition of the whole world that lies in the power of the Evil One What a sad depressing picture that is what physical life be like if there was only darkness. Wouldn't be pleasant would be depressing. Now don't you feel better when the sun shines. How about this morning when you got up and you saw the sun shine Didn't you feel better I did I stood in our room and looked out the window window and I said all Lord thank you. That's why I like spring longer days warmth of the sun. And 1st John we find that God is love. Chapter 4 verse 8 but we also find that quote God is light after one verse 5 and in Him There is no darkness at all. When everything in the last hour appears to be dark and forbidden and fearful I think that's good news God brings light into the darkness of the world that's why it's good news. How does he do that 1st of all by his own presence because he is light Secondly the coming of Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death on them a light has dawned Matthew 416 Jesus said I am the light of the world whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life John 812 Jesus is the light of the world and then number 3 in the last hour God's people have a special role to play Acts 13 verse 47 I have made you'll a light that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth Jesus said to His disciples Matthew 514 you are the light of the world let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven sold a darkness of the world in the last hour is not the time for his people to wring their hands in hopeless despair but rather to shine not whine. Because you already are light the Bible says God's people the church. We you and I we aren't light in the darkness that's what the word says it is the final opportunity for those of our light to be what they are to be what God has made them to be light and John makes it absolutely clear what walking in the light is like and what it is meant to accomplish he says in chapter 2 verse 8 the darkness is passing away because the true light is already shining light is needed the most one the darkness is the darkest What do you do when you go into a dark room at night 1st thing you do to turn the light on then John says whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness however loves his brother abides in the light and so on. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness with everybody else and walks in the darkness and doesn't know where he is going he cannot see you cannot even see the difference between darkness and light bulbs your enemies Jesus said and pray for those who persecute you that is real life in the darkness of hostility and hatred and this is not theological ideas which is a matter of the mind this is a religious experience which is a matter of the heart. There's sometimes a big difference between our beliefs our doctrines and our religion the way we live if anyone thinks he is a religious but deceives his heart this person's religion is worthless says James 126. James to which Luther referred to as the apostle of straw boy was he wrong 1st John Chapter 2 verse $28.00 he says now little children abide in em that is in Christ so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming if you know that he is right yes you may be sure that everyone who practices right just know this has been born of him and in chapter 3 verse 10 he says whoever does not practice right just nice is not of God nor is the one who does not love his brother chapter 3 verse 14 we know that we have passed out of death into life because we love the brothers whatever does not love abides in death everyone who hates his brother is a murderer and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in Him By this we know love that he Christ laid down His life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers that's a GAAP a love sacrificial love us not love in Word or talk but indeed an intruder So what are we called to do in the last hour in the face of hatred and hostility love and he gives major attention to this in his little letter the antidote for hatred is love now the dark world hates God and His people because it is so apparent that his people are not of this world what does that mean. That means that we do not follow its philosophy or participate in its way of life we are in the world but not of the world you see we have a mission the demands of which are the greatest in the last hour on the darkness is the greatest Jesus has sent us into the world to be the light and in so doing reveal the light and expose the works of darkness for what purpose so that the world may believe that you the father have sent me Jesus it and love them even as you love me this is one love our GAAP a sacrificial love. House the most because light shines the brightest one darkness is the deepest just as darkness and hate are synonymous soul light and love are synonymous and but there is a big danger or off to root to reject this lot to refuse to fulfill this demand of the last our mission no matter what the cost would be to sink back into the darkness John 3 tenths of 1st John by this it is evident who are the children of God and who are the children of the devil whoever does not practice right just most in the most difficult of times is not of God nor is the one. Who does not love his brother. Now listen to this comment by Ellen White and we will end with this from manuscript release number 20 page 283 Whoever loves God supreme leader and his neighbor as himself is keeping the commandments of God Although he has to meet the annoyances that will come from a fallen world yet he is not discouraged because Christ has said I have overcome the world Amen. And amen. And I have to. I'm going to cover this my. I have to tell you that I feel rather sad this morning because this is probably going to be our last camp meeting it's getting more difficult and I love camp meeting I've had a seminar in this room for many years has always looked forward to it and I got a blessing from it and. I love to hear the speakers and meet people that we've known for years so please please pray for me and my wife I don't think the story is over yet I still have things to do before God I don't idle nesses demoralizing. What what I know just stare at the wall. And thank God for the Michigan conference on. The fact of the are willing to keep me going you know even not to say this media was brought to you by audio person a Web site dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio version or if you would like to listen to more sermon please visit w.w.w. dot audio Verse dot org.

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