“Adventist Church Tops 20 Million Members”

Image result for Rwandans being baptized in Lake Kivu

 

The Adventists News Network’s article states–

The Adventist Church has 20,008,779 member as of Dec. 31, 2016, a net increase of 882,332 people, or 4.6 percent, from the previous year, the church’s office of Archives, Statistics, and Research said. In another milestone, a record 1.2 million people were baptized last year, including an unprecedented 110,000 in Rwanda, while new churches continued to be planted at a rapid rate.

“What these statistics tell me about the church’s efforts to fulfill its mission is that church leaders and, increasingly, church members are putting considerable resources into reaching new souls for God’s kingdom,” said David Trim, director of the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research. “Total Member Involvement has a huge role to play here, and the record baptisms in 2016 already reflect TMI.”

 

The above headlines is the latest news from the SDA Church news agency. As we read this, we are suppose to be very happy, some may want to say, “praise the Lord!”. Yet all is not what meets the eye. Something profound is happening here and we should look a little deeper into this supposed “work of God”.

I, too, was at one time a lukewarm SDA member. In fact we got a billboard campaign going within our church trying to recruit new members into our church. But that was the light that I knew at that time. The truth of the Lord’s Elijah message had not reached me yet.

“We must not think, “Well, we have all the truth, we understand the main pillars of our faith, and we may rest on this knowledge.” The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light.” (Counsels to writers and editors, p.33)

Let us ask ourselves the following questions.

Why didn’t the Lord promise to bring Noah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, instead of Elijah?  Or how about David, Joseph, Job or any of the other numerous prophets?

Afterall Noah preached to the world did he not? That is what the message is right now from the SDA church “peace and love and win the world”. So how does Elijah fit in as opposed to the message of Noah? When we ponder this line of thinking we can only come to one conclusion. Elijah, instead of any other prophet, was chosen as the type  because it was to represent the type of message for this time, the last days.

What was Elijah’s message? One to the world or to his own people? Of Course to the house of Israel! Is this work of spreading the Lord’s message  to go to the world now, bringing in the great multitudes (as in 20 plus million) and causing us to leap for joy at this fact?

Sadly the answer is no. This no doubt will cause those not familiar with the purpose of the Elijah message to say “What? What are you talking about? It’s a great thing to bring souls into God’s kingdom now.” Well yes and no, let us explain.

Granted, this area of the Elijah message is one of the most difficult to understand. When we know the message well we know that there is no doubt that the Lord’s message today is specifically for the remnant church. Why? Because it , not the world, is about to be sprued out.

The message deals straightly with this issue as follows —

WORK WITHIN OR WITHOUT?

Question No. 32:

On the one hand I find your literature teaching its believers not to leave the ranks of the Mother church, while on the other hand I find it causing no end of trouble to the church. How do you reconcile your precept with your example? Why not devote your time to evangelistic efforts, bringing erring souls to the knowledge of the Truth, and let the church alone?

Answer:

Assuredly we do believe that this is no time to be pulling apart, but indeed to be pressing together. And the message which we are bearing to the church, not only does not contain any doctrine or teaching which would warrant our leaving her ranks to become a separate cult, but does on the contrary absolutely forbid our doing so. For these reasons, we have from the beginning steadfastly refused, even in the face of abusive treatment, to leave the Mother church.

So far as we are concerned, therefore, existing controversy and schism is the responsibility of the Denomination’s leading brethren and none of ours, for we are only carrying out the Lord’s express precept and example never to sacrifice Truth. And they themselves admit that we should obey God rather than men. Upon them, therefore, rests the heavy guilt of repeating the tragic folly of the Jews in Christ’s time, by rejecting the message of the hour, “entering not in themselves” into the expansion of Truth, hindering those who would enter in, and casting out those who do enter in.

So, to devote our time to evangelizing the world while neglecting the church, would be a criminal act, one of highest treason both to God and to His people. The church must first be saved from her Laodicean condition of being “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” She, not the world, is just about to be spued out. She “is the only object on earth on which He bestows His supreme regard.”-Testimonies to Ministers, p. 15.

But in her present deplorable state of blindness and destitution as exposed by the True Witness (Rev. 3:14-18), she is utterly unfit for the task assigned her, and must be rescued from her sad deception before she can become a safe refuge and a saving influence to those who would join her ranks. Should God leave her in the Laodicean condition in which she now languishes, not only would she herself be lost but, in consequence, so also would the whole world along with her. He must therefore rouse her up or else raise up another to do the work which remains to be done.

Think, though, what an eternal joy it would be for Him to fit her up and use her to His glory, rather than to have to forsake her! So before raising up another as a last resort, He is trying to save her, and He will save her, as He promises:

“Satan will work his miracles to deceive, he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out. The chaff is separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place.

None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouth. The remnant that purify their souls by obeying the truth gather strength from the trying process, exhibiting the beauty of holiness amid the surrounding apostasy 

“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.”-B-55-1886.

Were the Lord—Who Himself when upon earth spent all His time in the exclusive endeavor to save His lost church then—to send us to the world rather than to His lost church today, He would not only be bringing in the innocent to perish with the guilty, but would also be completely reversing His own practice and contradicting His own orders to His apostles that they preach present truth to the church first (Matt. 10:5, 6).

In mercy and in consistency with His eternal procedure, therefore, He purposed that “while the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among [His] people upon earth.” This is her special work. “Then the church which…at His coming [He] is to receive to Himself will be ‘a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.”’-The Great Controversy, p. 425.

“The Lord does not now work to bring many souls into the truth,” furthermore says the Spirit of Truth, “because of the church-members who have never been converted, and those who were once converted but who have back slidden. What influence would these unconsecrated members have on new converts? Would they not make of no effect the God-given message which His people are to bear?”-Testimonies, Vol. 6, p. 371.

But when the back slidden and the unconverted, the tares, are taken away, “then she will look forth ‘as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.”’-The Great Controversy, p. 425.

Yes, the honest heathen must and will be evangelized, but “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matt. 10:6) must be sought first. How thankful, therefore, and how cooperative they ought to be, and will be, when they discover that rather than being rich and increased with goods, and in need of nothing, they are actually “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked”—in need of everything- and that the Lord is waiting for them to wake up to the fact so that He can make them what they ought to be.

For these reasons, God says now to work within the Laodicean congregation rather than without. And what He says, that He means, and we dare not disobey, regardless what men may say or do. (Answerer, vol.2, Q-32)

You see brethren we are wholesaling them into the church without so much as any obedience to the Lord’s counsel, let us read–

“Only when the Church is composed of pure, unselfish members, can it fulfill God’s purpose. Too much hasty work is done in adding names to the church roll. Serious defects are seen in the characters of some who join the church. Those who admit them say, We will first get them into the church, and then reform them. But this is a mistake. The very first work to be done is the work of reform. Pray with them, talk with them, but do not allow them to unite with God’s people in church relationship until they give decided evidence that the Spirit of God is working on their hearts.” (Review and Herald, May 21, 1901)

So if the Lord is not now working to bring souls into the truth, the church, who is? Yes, sadly it is another spirit working in camouflage to hoodwink people that they get a free ride to heaven upon joining the church.

More from the message on this important topic–

SAVE THE CHURCH OR THE WORLD?

Question No. 67:

  If, at this late hour, we give our whole effort for the salvation of the church, how will the rest of the world ever be reached?

Answer:

  The mission to save the world cannot be more important than the mission to save the church Enlarging the church membership under the now prevailing lukewarm Laodicean conditions could no more advance the Kingdom of Chris than could have been done under the condition in the Jewish church in the days of His first advent. Understanding the true situation in the church, John the Baptist and Christ Himself and even the apostles at first, engaged them selves to work, not for the world in general, but only in the interest of their brethren in the church.

  As the same departure from Christ exists within the church now as it did then (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 217), it will take much greater effort to rescue the people from the Laodicean “sad deception” (Testimonies. Vol. 3, p. 253), than if they were in heathenism For in Laodicea they are made to believe that they have all the truth there is to be had, that they are rich, increased with goods, and in need of nothing,—their salvation forever secured as long as they hold membership in the church Hence there is greater risk of their losing their souls in the church while she is “lukewarm” an. about to be spued out, than if they remain in the world until the church awakes from her slumber, and anoints herself with the eyesalve (Truth)—sees right, does right, and leads an. feeds the flock aright.

  Let every honest member ask the question, If the church herself is not saved (Testimonies Vol. 3, p. 253), not following Christ her Leader (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 217) and “has become an harlot” (Testimonies, Vol. 8, p. 250), how can she save others? The greatest need therefore is first to save those in the church, then those in the world. The “special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people” (The Great Controversy, p. 425), “the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand (Testimonies, Vol. 3, p. 266), must come first then is to follow the sealing of those in the world.

  The men and means already devoted to missionary work for the world are so plenteous as entirely to overshadow the meager facilities available for carrying the message to the Laodiceans, although the church is in even greater need than is the world.

  However, carrying the message to the church does not affect the mission work for the world for while the Davidians labor in the interest of the church, the Denomination carries the old message to the world. But should the Davidians also devote their time and money to looking after the interests of the heathen then both the church and the world would be plunged into hell. Consequently, to save the world, we must first seek to save the church from the ruin that is imminent, as did John the Baptist, Christ, and the apostles, in their day.

  After the church awakes and ceases dreaming that she is “rich and increased with goods,” finds out that she is in need of everything rather than of “nothing,” puts on her strength by turning to Christ her Leader, clothes herself in the garments of His righteousness, and lets the unclean pass no more through her (Isa. 52:1), then shall her righteousness go forth as brightness and her salvation as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see her righteousness, and all kings her glory (Isa. 62:1, 2).

Then will she really be able to save. Then her “gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto” her “the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve” her “shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” Isa. 60:11, 12.

  Let all Present-truth believers, therefore, pursue this course to its happy climax: “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be My people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto thee.” Zech. 2:10, 11.

  Still further, as it is not we, but Christ Who “is taking the reins in His own hands” (Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300), it is not our duty to tell Him which work should be done, and which should be left undone, but let every follower of His realize that He will “work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning.”-Testimonies to Ministers, p. 300.

  Be not like the class who “question and criticize everything that arises in the unfolding of truth” (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 690), but be like those who “let Heaven guide.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 475.

  The command to us is: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house a Jacob their sins.” Isa. 58:1.

  “Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him; and His work be fore Him.” Isa. 62:10, 11. (Answerer, vol. 3, Q-67)

Do not misunderstand we as Christ’s servants should want any and all people saved. There is even today  a few who like the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:25-29) come into the faith by a burning desire of love of Christ, His honor, His Commandments and His Word. These the Lord has called into His church.But unfortunately our leaders have herded them like cattle into the church without even knowing what the Word says about the final result!

However the Lord has set a timetable to win the world and that is to first save the church from impending doom, then to go  out and win the “great multitude” (Rev. 7:9). Let’s get on board HIS timetable and do His work as said by His prophets.

 

 

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