SDA Sabbath School Lesson 11

Wednesday December 11, 1996

Visible And Invisible (Rev. 18:1-5; Micah 2:12,13).

Jude forewarned that the church would become increasingly blighted with self-serving pretenders who would preach a false gospel (Jude 2- 4, 7-13). This degeneracy has progressed almost nonstop since then. All forms of vice and immorality find a secure home in apostate churches. Sexual disorders, alcoholism, and child molestation occur among pastors and priests. It seems that addiction to violent, lewd entertainment abounds almost as much among some churchgoers as among those to whom religion is nothing. It also appears that the incidence of gluttony, gossip, greed, divorce, and enslavement to fashions is nearly as great among some professed believers as among nonbelievers.

Yet to many other Christians, Jesus is their Lord and Saviour. God desires His visible, organized remnant church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to shine forth "fair as the moon and clear as the sun." Others can follow that beacon into pure Christian fellowship.

In the days of Elijah, how "visible" were the remnant? 1 Kings 19:12-18. In these final days, how will God's invisible remnant, scattered throughout the world, become united and visible? Rev. 18:1-5; Micah 2:12, 13. "Among earth's inhabitants, scattered in every land, there are those who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Like the stars of heaven, which appear only at night, these faithful ones will shine forth when darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people.... God has in reserve a firmament of chosen ones that will yet shine forth amidst the darkness, revealing clearly to an apostate world the transforming power of obedience to His law... "Then let . . . everyone have a heart of flesh, a heart of tender sympathy, a heart that, like the heart of Christ, reaches out for the salvation of a lost world." - Prophets and Kings, pp. 188, 189.

Since the Reformation, God's truth has been progressively restored. That restoration is consummated in His final remnant, who are guided by the law and testimony of Jesus (Rev. 12:17). The remnant appeal to members of fallen churches and other religious systems to follow the Lord (Rev. 18:4). Jesus said: "I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd" (John 10: 16, RSV).

Resolve that you will cleave to Christ and live by the Word He calls you to follow.