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Tuesday: The Ungodly Chain — 12 Comments

  1. The single biggest delusion we face is the notion that the "others" are the "bad guys", and that we are the "good guys" because we have all the knowledge. Jesus upset the applecart of the Pharisees, who thought they knew their scripture, obeyed the Torah, proselytized, and attended the synagogue on Sabbath. Yet Jesus had his hardest words for them. They were hypocritical. They multiplied rules about minors but could not see the big issues. They had built a biblically-based picture of the Messiah that put themselves centre-stage. Yet when Jesus came on the scene and declared himself the Messiah, he was so out of character with their perception, they dismissed him as a blasphemous fraud.

    There is a message for Seventh-day Adventists in this story that is applicable in these times. It is not about the vindication of our beliefs and doctrines. It's about God himself. It is about the principles of self-sacrificing love, of worshiping God, and putting others first. The big-picture battle is between love and control.

    And that battle is going on right now, even in our own hearts.

  2. True, if we are only trying to vindicate our doctrines, the motives are wrong. But we need to share the scriptural warnings, for God put those warnings in scripture to warn the world. Those who see the danger are to sound the warning, and not pretend they aren't serious. There is more we need to do than just worry about our own salvation.

    I heard someone say: "We knew that the judgments of God were coming upon the earth, but we did not know that they would come so soon." Others, with agonized voices, said: "You knew! Why then did you not tell us? We did not know." On every side I heard similar words of reproach spoken. {9T 28.1}

    A basic problem I see -- is that it is not wise to separate God's redeeming, transforming grace, from His law.

    Yes, in Christ's time the law was the focus and they rejected Christ and His transforming saving power. Very true, they were following rules, thinking that was enough, and rejecting the offer of grace.

    The were separating God's law from grace and that is spiritual suicide.

    But in the last days, things tend to be reversed, God's grace is used to reject God's law.
    God's law is a transcript of His character, His personality is the living reality of His law, by rejecting His law, a person also rejects God and His mercy. (Exodus 20:6) We don't love God by disregarding His law. If we love Him we will keep His commandments. (John 14:15) Especially rejecting the memorial of His creation, and creative power, is a rejection of God, and taking away the very reason we should worship Him. (Rev. 4:11)

    One striking example of what is now facing the world can be found in Ezekiel.

    In Ezekiel 8:16 These men who were supposedly worshippers of God, stood right in front of God's sanctuary, turn their backs on God and worship WHAT? The sun!

    What happens next in Ezekiel 9:3,4.
    A sealing process!
    And everyone who does not receive the seal dies.

    1st we see 25 men in front of the sanctuary worshipping the Sun.
    2nd we see a heavenly being placing a mark on all opposed to these evils
    3rd All who didn't receive the heavenly seal, die
    4th The men at the front of the sanctuary are the first to die.

    Then turn to Ezekiel 20:13-21
    Reflect on the sorrowful tone in the voice of God as He wooed them to worship Him on the Sabbath, but they kept refusing, and He kept giving them another chance, and another, but they kept refusing, till finally the disaster spoken of in Ezekiel 9:6 came to pass.

    The one commandment that is a sign that the Creator God is our God, and we are His people, is the fourth commandment --

    Ex. 20:11 which links the Sabbath with creation.
    Ex. 31:13 Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you ...that you may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.

    Since 1844 the true Sabbath has been preached.
    True it has not always been preached or practiced with full understanding of what it signifies and means to the follower of Christ, but that does not remove the importance of worshipping God on the day He sanctified, blessed and called us to remember.

    Since 1844 the Christian world has pull together every conceivable excuse for not worshipping on the day God sanctified and blessed, in order to uphold a day of their own making.
    No not all understand that either, and not one is made to suffer the wrath of God (Rev. 14:10) until the truth has been brought home to his mind and conscience, and has been rejected. But because so many good Christians have fallen asleep in the triumphs of faith and have not understood or kept the true Sabbath, they, (people who realize which day is God's true Sabbath) think it not important and are doubting about its being a test for us now in the time of the end.

    Of course Sabbath observance will never atone for the willful breaking of other commandments. We need God's grace both for forgiveness and for living a life of sanctification. But God's grace will not cover the willful rejection of the fourth commandment either.

    It is when the Christian world, who have, especially in the last 175 years, vehemently declared that keeping God's true Sabbath is legalism, and to get rid of it have even nailed God's whole law to the cross as no longer binding, then turn around and demand, by force of law that everyone observe sunday as the day of rest, that the third angels message reaches it's complete fulfillment.

    Every person will be brought to decision.
    Situations will make it very inconvenient and dangerous to worship on the 7th day. No way will anyone be keeping the 7th day just for a show of piety. It will be a real commitment to honor the Creator!

    Malachi 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not

    Those who now think the Sabbath isn't really that important won't be worshipping on the 7th day then. Now we need to understand and practice what it really means or we will be swept away in what will seem to be worship.

    • I understand your perspective Ulrike but the problem for me is that most of the people I have warned about coming events are dead. And given my age and the speed with which time flies past me, it won't be too long before I am dead too. My perspective of the Gospel is that it has to be relevant now. Salvation is not about preparing for the end but about living a full life now that is meaningful and gives glory to God. Jesus said, "Occupy till I come!"

      And one of the things that I like to act on now is ensuring that Sabbath-keeping is not legalism or day-shifted liturgy, but an experience with God that is both restful and shareable.

      As I have said before, the thing that holds our marriage together is not the binding nature of the wedding vows or the legal implications of the wedding contract. It is our love for one another. Without love the marriage is meaningless and vows and bits of paper may as well be thrown away or burned.

      Likewise, the Sabbath is a celebration of our love for one another and God. Against such there is no law.

      • Hello Maurice,

        Although I wholeheartedly agree with your conclusion that we should not legalistically observe the Sabbath, I would also add that the Sabbath itself would be meaningless as an act of obedience and worship unless directed as such by God and his law. No amount of "love" makes any other day a suitable substitute. I'm not saying that's what you are advocating, but I just wanted to emphasize that point.

      • Maurice – my reply to your comment focuses on your use of "occupy until I come” found in the parable of the talents – Luke 19:11-27. To determine its context, the question would be – who is the nobleman, what do the talents represent, and how can they be invested? You consider “Occupy 'till I come” to mean ‘living a full, meaningful life that gives glory to God’, I understand it to mean something more specific.

        My understanding of this parable is that accepting/receiving the talents/minas stands for the believer’s willingness to, by faith, engage in actively and openly promoting the yet to manifest Kingship of Jesus. He is the nobleman not yet in possession of the kingdom, the talents represent the ‘Truth of the Gospel’ based on His authority as the future king, and ‘investing’ stands for our willingness to participate in promoting His future kingdom. Everyone having accepted Jesus’ Gospel Truth/talent needs to consider its value and application/investment during their life.

        The servants wait for the nobleman’s return as He has yet to be crowned as their king. The people in the land are not happy about the prospect of his return to be their king. The faithful servants diligently invest their efforts to increase the return of that which is valuable – His Gospel Truth/the Word of God even though the king has not been instated. This will expose them to experience restistance from those working against the future king.

        The saying: "Occupy until I come" does not refer to going about life in persuit of our own interests, staying ‘involved in life’ until his return, or becoming discouraged and give up on engaging in life at all. This directive – ‘occupy until I come’ - is all about sharing/investing the Gospel, the ‘Good News’ and how diligent we are in doing so.

        When we out of fear of persecution, ridicule, or misgivings by others decline to invest/share, when we ‘bury the talent’, shunning away from being identified as a followr of Jesus through openly sharing His ‘Good News’, then we will we face the consequences of the unfaithful servant.

    • Ulrike, would you consider to identify God’s day of Rest, His Sabbath, as the day in which we remember His promises, the works He has done already on our behalf, reafirming His call on us for holiness in thought and deed, to fill His Day of Rest with thanksgiving to reflect the grace and mercy He extended us through the saving faith in and of Jesus Christ, His Son?

      To give meaning to God's Sabbath, it is paramount to be filled with the knowledge of the experience how God has loved us, and know how essential it is to respond with thanksgiving. There may be many more reasons to 'dress God’s Sabbath in the Garments of His Righteousness’. Only as we worship Him in praise of His Goodness will His Sabbath become part of the identifying mark in our forehead and our heart.

      Without covering/observing Sabbath in these foundational ‘garments of remembrance and praise’ of His Grace and Love for us’, His Sabbath Day would become like any other day in which empty rituals thought of by man replace worshipping the Lord in His Spirit and Truth.

  3. What do You want for me today, Lord? Here I am in this weak condition, so what do you want? The future has been disclosed, and I know who the winner is. But this is what I feel at the moment. Do I find a merciful answer to all my despair?

    The answer is in the love of my Maker, Who has promised me He will always be with me. It doesn't matter my ignorant view of my present condition; what matters is that there is hope -- hope in the Father Who only wants to save me from myself!

  4. If we are not careful, we can be swept up with ideas and rationales that come gradually into society and then make their way into the church. What was once thought of as an abomination is now tolerated and, in some cases, accepted.

    This is why I need to stay close to God’s word so that I can “sow to the Spirit” (Galatians 6:8) and be protected from the seeds of corruption. The mandate to stay sober and vigilant (1 Peter 5:8) has never been more urgent than now.

  5. "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." Jn 13:34

    Some can pride themselves on the 4th but I wonder at times how well we as a church do with the new one.

  6. Well, I consider that Maurice put the finger on the ‘sore spot’ of organized religion when he says that: “They had built a biblically-based picture of the Messiah that put themselves center-stage.” Most of the ruling religious class will still be unwilling and outright hostile when faced with - 'let my people go', in order to 'make room' for Jesus Christ's leadership in their hearts through the Holy Spirit.

    They rather join with the beast's powers than to give up their position of organized, religious influence which is the foundation of their ‘religious house of cards’. As their established system of worship comes tumbling down, they will cling to their status and influence and do not permit anyone to leave their ‘kingdom’ without suffering consequences.

    The compromised religious organizations will have to face the truth about who they focus their efforts on - self-exaltation or the Risen Christ. They are forced to take a stand to show whose interests they align with - to preach the saving grace of Jesus Christ or to enslave man in their man-made' kingdom'? This will be the time when the Holy Spirit convicts man to 'come out Babylon' and trust God through the Holy Spirit directly!

    Throughout the countless millennia, the battle has been about who is in control of life, who holds the power to direct mankind in its search to find and worship their true Creator God. Scriptures noted in this lesson refer to God granting or giving permission to allow these last-days events to unfold.

    The deceptive efforts of God’s foes will increase to the point that not even the elect can make a clear distinction between the powers, between God’s Truth and the lies and deceptions of His adversary. And again, like Maurice stated: “the battle is going on right now, even in our own hearts.”

  7. Maurice, so glad you were able to share the 3rd angel's message and the true Sabbath message with people before they died. I hope they were blessed and accepted the Sabbath and experienced the sweet blessings of worshipping God in His special, sanctified time. It doesn't matter that they died; the blessing at the end of the 3rd angel's message reads,

    "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord henceforth, that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow them." Revelation 14:13

    I also agree that without love the marriage vows would be a burden. Love makes them meaningful. However, there are a lot of people who claim to love their spouse and still break their marriage vows. And yes, people have done that.

    Likewise, people can say they love the Lord, and still break the one commandment which, when properly understood, is the greatest love commandment between God and ourselves.

    How many understand that God blessed and hallowed the 7th day and asked His people to remember it, yet because of culture and tradition ignore that day, and look to Sunday (a day that was never blessed or hallowed by God) as their rest day?

    Brigitte, of course Sabbath is a day to rest in God's goodness and promises. I hope you are not implying that we should forget about the Lord's Sabbath if we find our focus isn't always true within the Sabbath hours? If we find ourselves thinking more about our mundane duties and responsibilities, instead of realizing we are on a date with our Maker and Redeemer, we need to pray and seek Him more earnestly, not turn away and think it is meaningless.

    Dana, yes, we are to love one another, but remember that is the second great command. The first and greatest is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind. (Matthew 22: 37-39) Loving God, trusting and obeying Him, transforms a person and they will love others. Remembering our date each week with our Creator is very much part of loving Him with all our hearts and minds.

    While observing the Sabbath will not atone for even one sin (only Christ's redeeming grace can atone for our sin) yet, wilfully trampling on God's Sabbath will not be covered by grace any more than wilful pride, or stealing.

    Our shortfalls are no excuse to disobey.

  8. It is strange that the one commandment that we are told to remember is one that everyone wants to push into the background. Even some among those of us who profess the name Seventh-day Adventist it is treated with little concern or significance.

    When my fiancée and I set a wedding date of September 19 it would have been unreasonable for me to say that I would be there on the 18th or the 20th and that would be just as good. If I had, I would not be married today. Yet that is how the Sabbath seems to be treated. Of course the Sabbath must not be treated as a drudgery but rather as a day of joy, that we can spend with The Creator God we love.

    Jesus said if you love me you'll keep my commandments. And James confirms that if we neglect or break any one of the commandments we're guilty of breaking all of them. Keeping the commandments does not give us brownie points to salvation but rather shows whose side we are on. After all it's all about whom we worship.

    For me it is not about "them" being the "bad guys" and me being great. Rather, it humbles me to know that this message has been entrusted to our care and needs to be shared in love with others in these last days. It's not for us to convert others, but to share the message as well as to demonstrate it in our lives, and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work of convicting. If they accept the message, praise God! If they reject it, that's their decision.

    Paul gives us a caution in 1 Corinthians 9:27 I keep under my body and bring it into subjection, lest by any means having preached to others I myself should be a castaway.


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