Note: This is the first of a three-part series taken from Pastor Wilson’s sermon to the General Conference Session on June 11, 2022. To watch the full sermon, visit: https://bit.ly/HoldFastWhatYouHave.
Around the globe, Seventh-day Adventists have the great expectation that “Jesus is coming soon!” What a wonderful spirit of spiritual dedication and evangelistic enthusiasm in our worldwide family. With so many countries and cultures, we praise God there is one culture of Christ that binds us together and makes us all citizens of heaven.
“Jesus Is Coming Soon!” And the Bible tells us, “Hold fast what you have!” Let us never give up pure Bible truth as we see signs of the Second Coming increasing everywhere. Many signs point to the end of time and the need to “hold fast” what we have—never give up pure Bible truth. Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown” (Rev. 3:11).
Despite the swirling chaos all around us, we can plant our feet directly on and believe completely in the unchanging Holy Word of God—the Bible! Satan has attacked God’s Word down through the ages, but God has always protected His Holy Word and always will. He asks us to stand up for the truth and hold fast what we have believed. Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as it reads and as the foundation of all our beliefs. From the Holy Word we understand Seventh-day Adventists to be God’s called remnant church with prophetic identity—it is a unique movement, with a unique message, on a unique heavenly mission.
As God’s remnant people identified in Revelation 12:17 as those “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ,” we have a special message of warning, grace, and hope. “Seventh-day Adventists have been chosen by God as a peculiar people, separate from the world. . . . He has made them His representatives and has called them to be ambassadors for Him in the last work of salvation.”1
Regardless of the many obstacles we face, let’s hold fast our belief in God’s Word and His love for His church. His church will not fail; it will go through to the end under the power of the Holy Spirit. In these last days of earth’s history and in response to our earnest prayers, God will pour out His Spirit on all who humble themselves and conform their lives to His will as expressed in His Holy Word and His instructions in the Spirit of Prophecy, showing His infinite love for the human race.
Let’s review several vital truths from God’s Word that He would have us hold fast.
Hold Fast to:
1. The biblical truth that the Godhead is constituted by three divine, equal Persons who have existed, and will exist, from eternity to eternity.
2. Simplicity in Christian lifestyle, personal dress, conduct in church life, and everyday activities.
3. Biblical truths and their relevancy for today, despite persecution. Avoid issues that are distractions from God’s last-day three angels’ messages to the world with Christ’s righteousness at the core of those messages. Hold fast to the pure Word of God, not allowing any syncretistic or mystic aberrant theological beliefs into the Seventh-day Adventist Church (see 2 Peter 2:1; Heb. 13:8, 9).
4. Your careful observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, commemorating biblical Creation accomplished by God recently in six literal days. In humility and respect, do not allow anyone to negatively influence you to believe anything but Bible truth that tells us this earth was created by God, by His Word, in six literal, consecutive, 24-hour days, recently. The Spirit of Prophecy, which I believe was inspired, just as God inspired all prophets, tells us this earth was created “about,” or “around,” 6,000 years ago. I believe that statement. Why would you be a Seventh-day Adventist, if in the very fourth commandment God tells us to remember the Sabbath to keep it holy (and in reality, the Lord allows us to work six days and the Bible tells us He took six days to create, capping it with the blessed, seventh-day Sabbath)—why would you keep the seventh-day Sabbath literally if God were telling you a big fable? Be a Seventh-day Adventist because you believe God created this earth in six literal, consecutive days, recently. Hold on to your faith.
5. A simple, healthy lifestyle, including a plant-based diet according to biblical and Spirit of Prophecy counsel.
6. The unity in the church that God provides to all who focus their lives on Christ and His full biblical truth. “Christ is leading out a people, and bringing them into the unity of the faith, that they may be one, as He is one with the Father. Differences of opinion must be yielded, that all may come into union with the body, that they may have one mind and one judgment.”2 Let’s be unified in Christ.
7. God’s biblical institution of marriage between one man and one woman. God’s Word confirms biblical marriage, biblical human sexuality, and the biblical family as instituted by God Himself at creation. The rampant sexual aberrations in the world are not condoned by the Bible and will not lead to eternal life. Sexual immorality in any form is to be submitted to God’s power to change us into His likeness. God’s ideal is to be followed through His power, to put us in a right relationship with His moral and natural laws. This is not impossible, for the Bible clearly indicates—“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:9-11). We need to treat everyone with love and respect, and we define what is sin and what is not sin by the Word of God.
8. Spiritual, biblical respect for church authority, showing respect for God working in His church through appropriate bodies and careful observance of Bible and Spirit of Prophecy counsel.
9. Your great appreciation, use, and promotion of the Spirit of Prophecy—the writings of Ellen White—a heavenly gift to this church.
10. Biblical church growth principles and the heavenly explanations of evangelistic growth as revealed in the Spirit of Prophecy. Hold fast what you have!
To be continued in the next Global View.
1 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 7, p. 138.
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.