The following is adapted from a keynote presentation at the Global Leadership Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, on February 4, 2020.—Editors.
Through the ages, even before the creation of this world, God has required faithfulness and loyalty to Him. But He has not demanded it. Faithfulness and loyalty are not forced, but are automatic responses to God’s saving truth and love that melt receptive hearts in complete and humble submission to God. Faithfulness and loyalty are results of a connection with God and a love for Him.
Not until Lucifer began to doubt God did disloyalty insidiously begin. Since the fall of humanity, there has been an element of distrust and disloyalty pervading human existence. It has only accelerated as Satan spreads his half-truths and cynicism into the very core of human existence and into God’s remnant people, the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The only remedy for unfaithfulness and disloyalty is to humble ourselves before Christ, who epitomizes faithfulness and loyalty to truth. The personal connection and spiritual blessings that come with knowing Jesus Christ, His teachings, His truth, and His mission inoculate us against the latest and ever-evolving satanic virus of disloyalty and rebellion. Only by taking on the “mind of Christ” (Phil. 2:5-8), and abiding in Him as the vine at all times (John 15:1-8), are we provided, through His grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, a sure way of aligning ourselves on God’s side of faithfulness and loyalty.
CALLED TO FAITHFULNESS
We are called to be faithful and loyal to God, His Word, His truth, His church, His mission, and to our designation as disciples of Christ and proclaimers of His Word. Total commitment to Him is required as we face the very last days of earth’s history.
The historicist, prophetic understanding of Daniel and Revelation tells us the second coming of the Lord is imminent. Within the framework of God’s last-day message to the world through His chosen people, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we find our place of faithfulness to His Word and loyalty to its proclamation.
The ultimate demonstration of our personal commitment to God’s complete biblical truth and His commission to proclaim it will present itself as an amazing opportunity to declare to the world and the universe our faithfulness and loyalty.
God’s end-time people will be tested with the same test that confronted Lucifer. Ultimately, those who are true and faithful will demonstrate their complete allegiance to God, His Word, His truth, His church, and His mission. It will not be a blind loyalty, but a profound and humble loyalty that will not be swayed by any prevailing political correctness. God calls us to humble our hearts before Him. This complete faithfulness and loyalty will not partake in multidirectional confusion and self-centered demands for personal rights and prominence. It will not participate in misguided, self-centered, humanistic-leaning, and existential relativism as demonstrated in various tendencies, including emergent church developments.
A FOCUSED PURPOSE
God’s true, faithful, and loyal people will have a singleness of heart and focused purpose born of a deep familiarity with the Word of God and His Spirit of Prophecy instructions. The people of God’s Advent movement will proclaim with holy boldness His truth and the heaven-born mission of the three angels’ messages (Rev. 14:6-12), and the fourth angel (Rev. 18:1-4) as entrusted to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. These characteristics and messages will prevail in His people, demonstrating their unfiltered and unfettered loyalty.
Their loyalty is pure gold produced from taking the message given by the True Witness to the Laodicean church, with complete seriousness (Rev. 3:14-22). This is the powerful result of complete and humble trust in the leading of the Holy Spirit to produce the ultimate demonstration of faithfulness and loyalty to God.
Ellen White wrote: “I asked the meaning of the shaking . . . and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to . . . pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God’s people. I saw that the testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance; all who truly receive it will obey it and be purified.”¹
If we are to see the latter rain in the near future, we must humble ourselves and look to Christ and His all-sufficient righteousness to work in us through His justifying and sanctifying power. Our submission to Christ and our proclamation of the straight testimony of God will provide the pathway toward the outpouring of the latter rain of the Holy Spirit.
Throughout the Bible, God has provided numerous illustrations of faithful and loyal followers: Job, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Samuel, Elijah, Esther, Peter, John, Paul, Dorcas, and many more.
God also uses demonstrations of disloyalty and disrespect to point out our need for humility in loyally serving Him. One of the most dramatic accounts is the newly appointed prophet Elisha’s being mocked by a group of 42 youth (2 Kings 2:23).
Making fun of anyone is inappropriate, and showing disrespect to spiritual leaders is siding with evil efforts to destabilize the church. So Elisha confronted the faithless, disloyal hecklers and pronounced a curse on them (verse 24). Two bears came out of the woods and killed 42 of the youth. Although Scripture does not elaborate, Ellen White does.
She wrote: “Had Elisha allowed the mockery to pass unnoticed, he would have continued to be ridiculed and reviled by the rabble, and his mission to instruct and save in a time of grave national peril might have been defeated. This one instance of terrible severity was sufficient to command respect throughout his life. . . . Even kindness should have its limits. Authority must be maintained by a firm severity, or it will be received by many with mockery and contempt. The so-called tenderness, the coaxing and indulgence, used toward youth by parents and guardians, is one of the worst evils which can come upon them. In every family, firmness, decision, positive requirements, are essential. . . . Reverence should be shown for God’s representatives—for ministers, teachers, and parents, who are called to speak and act in His stead. In the respect shown them, God is honored.”²
Faithfulness, loyalty, and respect for one another on the part of young and old are signs of our direct connection with God as we demonstrate the vital spiritual elements of transparency, integrity, faithfulness, accountability, and loyalty.
Let us fully recognize our need of Christ and His all-encompassing righteousness to form characters in His likeness. Then may we be faithful and loyal to God and His church as we enter the very last days of earth’s history with a sense of urgency to proclaim the three angels’ messages and Christ’s soon coming.
¹ Ellen G. White, Early Writings (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1882, 1945), p. 270. ² Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1917), pp. 236, 237.
President of the Worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church •
Ted N. C. Wilson is president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. Additional articles and commentaries are available from the president’s office on Twitter: @pastortedwilson and on Facebook: @Pastor Ted Wilson.