Sabbath, May 8, 2010
“Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me.” Proverbs 1:28.
Lack of preparation brings surprise
1. How will Jesus come for some among God’s people?
Matthew 24:43, 40, 41 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
“Many who hear the message–by far the greatest number–will not credit the solemn warning. Many will be found disloyal to the commandments of God, which are a test of character. The Lord’s servants will be called enthusiasts. Ministers will warn the people not to listen to them. Noah received the same treatment while the Spirit of God was urging him to give the message, whether men would hear or whether they would forbear.
“Come when it may, the advent of Christ will surprise the false teachers who are saying, ‘Peace and safety;’ ‘all things continue as they were from the beginning.’ Thus saith the word of Inspiration, ‘Sudden destruction cometh upon them.’ The day of God shall come as a snare upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. It comes to them as a prowling thief. ‘If the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.’ Habitual watching is our only safety. We must be ever ready, that that day may not overtake us as a thief.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 233.
2. What will those who are unprepared wish for?
Revelation 16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
What will they receive instead?
Revelation 13:16-18 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
“The evil servant says in his heart, ‘My lord delayeth his coming.’ He does not say that Christ will not come. He does not scoff at the idea of His second coming. But in his heart and by his actions and words he declares that the Lord’s coming is delayed. He banishes from the minds of others the conviction that the Lord is coming quickly. His influence leads men to presumptuous, careless delay. They are confirmed in their worldliness and stupor. Earthly passions, corrupt thoughts, take possession of the mind. The evil servant eats and drinks with the drunken, unites with the world in pleasure seeking. He smites his fellow servants, accusing and condemning those who are faithful to their Master. He mingles with the world. Like grows with like in transgression. It is a fearful assimilation. With the world he is taken in the snare. ‘The lord of that servant shall come … in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites.’” –The Desire of Ages, p. 635.
3. How does one obtain the white raiment of Christ’s righteousness? How is that raiment kept spotless?
Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Revelation 7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
“The examples in God’s word of genuine repentance and humiliation reveal a spirit of confession in which there is no excuse for sin or attempt at self-justification.…
“The humble and broken heart, subdued by genuine repentance, will appreciate something of the love of God and the cost of Calvary; and as a son confesses to a loving father, so will the truly penitent bring all his sins before God. And it is written, ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ 1 John 1:9.” –Steps to Christ, p. 41.
The moment is now
4. What will happen to one who neglects daily cleansing?
Hebrews 3:7, 8 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.
Ezekiel 24:13 In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee.
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.
“I was shown that the manner of Achan’s confession was similar to the confessions that some among us have made and will make. They hide their wrongs and refuse to make a voluntary confession until God searches them out, and then they acknowledge their sins. A few persons pass on in a course of wrong until they become hardened.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 270.
5. What will happen if confession is put off?
Ezekiel 33:18 When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.
“When a crisis finally comes, as it surely will, and God speaks in behalf of His people, those who have sinned, those who have been a cloud of darkness and who have stood directly in the way of God’s working for His people, may become alarmed at the length they have gone in murmuring and in bringing discouragement upon the cause; and, like Achan, becoming terrified, they may acknowledge that they have sinned. But their confessions are too late and are not of the right kind to benefit themselves, although they may relieve the cause of God. Such do not make their confessions because of a conviction of their true state and a sense of how displeasing their course has been to God.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 271.
“Sins that have not been repented of and forsaken will not be pardoned and blotted out of the books of record, but will stand to witness against the sinner in the day of God.” –The Great Controversy, p. 486.
The faithful and the shirkers
6. Who and what impede the living testimony that is needed for revival? Will those who waver reach the goal and receive the white raiment?
2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Matthew 10:37-39 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
“Shirkers can never wear the laurels of victory. Those who are true and loyal will not conceal the fact, but will put heart and might into the work, and venture their all in the struggle, let the battle turn as it will. God is a sin-hating God. And those who encourage the sinner, saying, It is well with thee, God will curse…. They are not in harmony with right. They despise the straight testimony that reaches the heart, and would rejoice to see everyone silenced who gives reproof.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 272.
Who will be unable to stand
7. Can God be deceived by a last minute acknowledgment and confession?
Galatians 5:7-9 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Hebrews 12:16, 17 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
“God is not to be trifled with and His warnings disregarded with impunity by a perverse people…. God’s displeasure is upon His people, and He will not manifest His power in the midst of them while sins exist among them and are fostered by those in responsible positions.
“Those who work in the fear of God to rid the church of hindrances and to correct grievous wrongs, that the people of God may see the necessity of abhorring sin and may prosper in purity, and that the name of God may be glorified, will ever meet with resisting influences from the unconsecrated. Zephaniah thus describes the true state of this class and the terrible judgments that will come upon them.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 270, 271.
8. In the final conflict, what will be the outcome for anyone who has not wholeheartedly defended truth?
Revelation 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Matthew 25:10-12 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
“Those who have been nearly all their lives controlled by a spirit as foreign to the Spirit of God as was Achan’s will be very passive when the time comes for decided action on the part of all. They will not claim to be on either side. The power of Satan has so long held them that they seem blinded and have no inclination to stand in defense of right. If they do not take a determined course on the wrong side, it is not because they have a clear sense of the right, but because they dare not.
“God will not be trifled with. It is in the time of conflict that the true colors should be flung to the breeze. It is then that the standard-bearers need to be firm and let their true position be known. It is then that the skill of every true soldier for the right is tested.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 272.