Characteristics of a last-day movement.
This article is abridged from a sermon delivered at Annual Council on October 10, 2020. Elements of the oral style have been retained. The full sermon is available at www.pastortedwilson.org/news/god-will-have-a-people/.—Editors.
At the end of time God will, however, have a people, a people who will remain true to pure truth, to a full biblical message, to the mission entrusted to them by God Himself. They will lean on Christ for all their needs. They will fully accept Christ’s righteousness and His indwelling power to develop their characters through His leading as they hasten His second coming.
Ellen White wrote: “‘When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.’ Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . . Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.”¹
God’s people in the last days will give up selfish, human devising. They will be humble and loyal to God, not exhibiting a spirit of rebellion or self-centeredness but submitting to the love of Christ. This people will plead for the falling of the latter rain of the Holy Spirit. They will lift up the Word of God and believe every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. They will proclaim the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 and the fourth angel of Revelation 18, calling people out of confusion and back to the true worship of God. They will recognize the seventh-day Sabbath as the special seal of God in opposition to the mark of the beast, which will manifest itself in the future as acceptance of Sunday—or any other day—as the day of worship advocated by the beast.
This people will not be swayed by cultural deviations from biblical truth. They will not be deterred or distracted by anything deemed politically correct in the social, cultural, religious, economic, or political arenas. They will be completely aligned with God’s biblical plans, His prophetic revelations, His saving power, His holy Word, His Spirit of prophecy instructions, His overriding love, His commandments, and His plans for His church.
God’s people will preach, live, and witness to others of His eternal love, His grace, His righteousness, His salvation, His three angels’ messages, and Christ’s soon coming. God will have a people of whom He will say, “You are My people!” And they will respond by saying, “You are my God!” (Hosea 2:23).
God will have a people who love Him so much they connect with Him daily. Regardless of what is thrown at them, they are resilient and make the Lord their refuge and strength. They stand stalwart through the power of the Holy Spirit before the agencies and forces of evil who will never conquer them. God is on the side of His faithful people.
All through the ages God has had His people. Hebrews 11 outlines some of God’s amazingly faithful people, who overcame tremendous challenges by faith reflected in God’s people to the end of time.
During the past eight months this world has been thrown into confusion and disarray. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought physical destruction and great confusion. Many people have died. The world has been drastically affected by the economic downturn, resulting in financial turmoil and loss of employment. Racial and human relations tensions have strained the fabric of society and challenged people to show Christian respect and dignity to sons and daughters of God, regardless of where they come from, or their educational or socioeconomic background. Natural calamities have wreaked havoc. The devil has attacked biblical marriage as outlined in the Holy Scriptures. His attacks will become much stronger against the seventh-day Sabbath. Religious liberty and freedom of conscience will be in jeopardy all over this globe.
This is now the world in which we live: a world in which God has people who will point others to the only One who can provide stability, understanding, hope, and a complete change of heart. Our actions toward each other will be a heaven-directed witness that we are truly God’s people.
The prophecies of Daniel, Matthew, and Revelation are unfolding right on time. My brothers and sisters, let’s prepare for the future by placing ourselves in God’s hands completely by adhering to the Word of God as it reads, by reading and being instructed through the Spirit of Prophecy, by earnest prayer and supplication to God, and by letting the Holy Spirit guide our words and actions.
As we look at events transpiring , we also see that faithful members in the church could be tempted to head in various directions dictated by society. Some would align themselves with skeptical approaches to the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, preferring to focus on philosophical, academic, and political correctness, centered on humanistic ideas. Some are tempted to align themselves with earthly structures, thinking they will solve the cultural, societal, economic, and educational problems of the world. There are those who wish to decentralize the church and focus only on the local congregation, forgetting that this is a worldwide Advent movement.
The devil tempts people to take many directions. God will, however, have people who recognize their great need of His transforming power in their lives; who will fall on their knees and humble themselves before the Lord and His Word; who accept the last-day message of hope and warning they are asked to proclaim; who show dignity and respect to all people, reflecting their love for the Master and His transforming work in their lives as they submit to revival and reformation.
These are God’s people at the end of time, described in these words: “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17). We are further told, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). God has blessed His last-day people with invaluable instruction in the Spirit of Prophecy as understood in the writings of Ellen G. White.
Ellen White wrote: “In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the Word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import—the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.”²
The Lord is calling us to be part of His people, those who in the final days, regardless of what the devil throws at us—pandemic, tensions, unrest, natural disasters, apostasy, wars, persecution, or whatever may come our way—will be God’s people who stand for Him as we lean completely on Jesus.
¹ Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1900, 1941), p. 69.
² Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 9, p. 19.