How many of us have been involved in a club, where we were proud to be a part of it? Maybe the boy scouts, cub scouts, girl scouts, a social club or whatever. And we remember that the meetings were in order and the leaders taught us things that were practical, applicable and really mattered.
But what if that club had many come in and began to ever so slyly disrupt and dis-unite the membership? Even infiltrate the leadership, so that soon the club was nothing like the original beginnings of the club. Soon the original members would be startled to see that the club was no longer holding to its principals, no longer teaching the original helpful message to its members. In other words, the club had morphed into a new strange club, where different ideas and plans were taught. Values changed.
The above scenario is similar to God’s church from the beginning until today. The original Apostolic Christian church held strict Biblical values. Sabbath keeping was “by the book”, yet not overly restricted by man-made rules but Christ inspired love.
The believers were of one accord, the plans and goals, all united. Oh my my, what has our church today “morphed” into? This is not lost in God’s sight, He is ever watchful of His prized possession. What will He do about the current degraded condition of His church?
There is without question an answer soon to come . The prized possession of the Lord will do a 180% turnaround. But how will this come about? What does the Scriptures, SOP and the Elijah message tell us about this “sinless” church to come?
Let us look at some promises from the Lord regarding purification of His church.
“When purification shall take place in our ranks, we shall no longer rest at ease, boasting of being rich and increased with good, in need of nothing.”(Test. for the Church, vol. 8, p.250).
Right now what do we see in our church? A few weeks ago we posted how dress reform is so neglected in His church. Mini-skirts, high heels, loud talking and laughing in His sanctuary, money passing in His sanctuary, are some examples of our offensive sins we see committed each and every Sabbath. We don’t see the leaders stepping forward to warn our members of such dis-honor in His house. Why? Because they are “rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing”.
“The Lord will work to purify His church. I tell you in truth, the Lord is about to turn and overturn in the institutions called by His name. Just how soon this refining process will begin I cannot say, but it will not be long deferred. He whose fan is in His hand will cleanse His temple of it’s moral defilement. He will thoroughly purge His floor “(Test. to Ministers, p.373).
Some may say, “Well yes, He will do all this but it will be at the last moment of time, at the coming of the Lord”. This is not the Lord’s plan. He will purify the church for a purpose. The following quote gives the reason.
” Only those who have withstood temptation in the strength of the Mighty One, will be permitted to act a part in proclaiming it (the 3rd angel’s message) when it shall have swelled into the Loud Cry “(Review and Herald, Nov. 19, 1908).
Ah, we see that the purpose is to fit the church for the Loud Cry. To enable the church is be able to receive His full outpouring of His Spirit. In going back into His history in this regard we see that His Spirit was only “poured out” when His church was worthy and pure.
Two great examples are Joshua and Achan and the Pentecost church.
One sinner in His camp stopped the Lord from performing His mighty power in the case of Achan. Once this sinner and his family were removed the power of the Lord was able to perform. Did the Lord tolerate sin and at the same time pour out His Spirit? The co-mingling, isn’t that the reason we don’t see His mighty power working in His church right now?
Then we saw how the 120 disciplines were given His full Spirit at Pentecost. During this time His church was composed of only faithful members. Two sinners tried to come into the church and were eliminated. “So great fear came upon all those who heard these things”(Acts 5:5). The sinners were not allowed among God’s church and as such, His Spirit worked mightily upon the people.
” But the days of purification are hastening on apace. God will have a people pure and true. In the mighty sifting soon to take place we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel. The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor “(Test. for the Church, vol. 5, p.80).
Notice that this “mighty sifting” happens to His church –Israel. Who is this Israel? The Seventh-day Adventist Church (Test. for the Church, vol. 9, p.164).
“Oh, that every lukewarm professor could realize the clean work that God is about to make among His professed people ” (Test. for the Church, vol. 1, p.190).
“The great issue so near at hand will weed out those whom God has not appointed, and He will have a pure, true, sanctified ministry prepared for the latter rain” (Letter B-55, 1886).
“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiners fire, and like launderers soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness” (Mal. 3:2-3).
So how did His church get to be in the current condition it is in? SOP spells it out.
” While the Lord brings into the church those who are truly converted, Satan at the same time brings persons who are not converted into its fellowship. While Christ is sowing the good seed, Satan is sowing the tares. There are two opposing influences continually exerted on the members of the church. One influence is working for the purification of the church, and the other for the corrupting of the people of God” (Test. to Ministers, p.46).
“He who presides over His church and the destinies of nations is carrying forward the last work to be accomplished for this world. To His angels He gives the commission to execute His judgments. Let the ministers awake, let them take in the situation.
The work of judgment begins at the sanctuary. ‘And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brazen altar.’ Read Ezekiel 9:2-7.” Testimonies to Ministers p. 431.
Hopefully we all can agree that some day soon the Lord will do what needs to be done. But some may say, “With the current condition of the church, why don’t we get out and worship in a more holy and pleasing way? Maybe even start a group or small church ourselves. Then the Lord would be pleased with us and spare us in the upcoming purification.”
To our human thinking this might sound like the right thing to do. But here is where we must ask the Lord directly what to do. The Lord knew that such excellent and insightful questions needed to be addressed in the very last hours of the church’s probation.
Actually this idea of leaving the church because of “church wrongs” was first started corporately in the early 1920’s. That movement was called “The Seventh Day Adventist Reform movement”. Later as time went by, the movement basically called the mother SDA church–Babylon. So this idea has been around for decades, but is it the Lord’s will?
As we’ve studied, the one whom the Lord choose to come to His church with the “restoring” answers (truth) was the prophesied–Elijah. Here is what we are given on this issue. (His words in brown)
Question No. 235:
Why do not The Shepherd’s Rod believers and the Reformed S.D.A.’s unite in one?
The Rod adherents and the Reformed S.D.A.’s do not unite because, unfortunately, they do not agree. Being in wide variance on some doctrinal issues, union under the circumstances is impossible.
One such doctrinal difference, for instance, is that the Reformed S.D.A.’s teach that the sins in the mother S.D.A. church make her a part of Babylon, whereas the Rod teaches that though she is in a bad condition, yet she is not Babylon: for the sins do not make the name any more than the name makes the sins. Babylon is not so named because of its sins, nor condemned because of being named Babylon, but is denounced because of having fallen and because of having “become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” Rev. 18:2.
The S.D.A. church may be in even a worse condition,–so bad a condition, in fact, that she does not even know that she is “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17),--yet in spite of it all, she is called “Laodicea,” not Babylon. And her members stand, not to be called out as do those in Babylon, but rather to be spued out. The Rod is laboring to save them from being spued out, whereas the Reform movement is calling them to come out.
So their believing as they do, and consequently rejecting the Rod’s message, make mutually impossible our uniting with them and their uniting with us.
As the Lord, moreover, has revealed advanced truth through the Rod, but none through the Reformed S.D.A.’s, obviously, then, were there to be any such union, they must necessarily correct their views and then join with us in accepting the message of the Rod, rather than our throwing overboard its jewels of truth and then joining with them.
“If unity,” says the Spirit of Prophecy, in expressing the attitude of the early Christian church, “could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference and even war.”–The Great Controversy, p. 45.
“We are to unify, but not on a platform of error.”–Mrs. E.G. White, Series B:2, p. 47.
Thus one may easily see that, though our fervent desire is to fulfill Christ’s prayer for unity, we dare not attempt to do so by sacrificing truth, for then we would not be one with Christ, even were we one with all others.
“There is danger of our being so overzealous to keep out of Babylon,” says the founder of the S.D.A. church, “that we shall commit her most noted blunder–that of sticking a stake and refusing to pull it up and advance. When we cease to unlearn errors, we shall fall like those who have gone before us. We have learned much, and no doubt there is much more for us to learn. …It is the ‘follow on’ and the ‘go through’ spirit that will finally land the remnant ‘without fault’ on the heavenly Mount Zion.
My conclusion is that we should give up no Scripture truth, but that our false applications and interpretations of Scripture, and consequent false ideas of order and propriety, should be given up as fast as possible.”–The Review and Herald, May 29, 1860.(Vol. 7 Symbolic Code Nos. 7-12. page 18.)
So we see that despite the church’s numerous sins, we are NOT to leave her. It would be similar to us being on a boat in the ocean and it’s sinking and we get into the lift raft and wave to our family and friends as we paddle away making no effort to help them onto our life raft.
We are to be ever ready to profess the truth to our brethren in the church. If we are enlightened and have been given God plans for His church, the upcoming church purification, we must have a deep love and concern for them. The vast majority of SDA members have no clue about the Lord’s pleading Elijah message, it’s our duty to share it with them.
“The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people” (Test. for the Church, vol.3, p.266)
“Clad in the armor of Christ’s righteousness, the church is to enter upon her final conflict. “Fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners” (Song of Solomon 6:10), she is to go forth into all the world, conquering and to conquer” (Prophet’s and Kings, p. 725)
In closing, we know that there is a purpose why God must do what He must do. He longs to pour out His Spirit upon His church. Will you or I be a part of this upcoming church? Let us dwell on this important issue. Let us strive to become part of His– Church Triumphant.