The coming of the Lord is the salvation to which we look forward in unabashed anticipation of eternal life.
Published on: 03-05-2019
This article is adapted from a sermon presented on June 16, 2018, at the International Bible Conference in Rome, Italy. Elements of oral style have been retained.—Editors
Just three days before He was crucified, Jesus spoke about His second coming, comparing end-time events with the days of Noah: “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. . . . They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matt. 24:37-39).
Today we see the social and cultural norms of the past, built on biblical foundations, disappearing fast. Homosexuality and other sexual perversions are wrong according to the Bible. Yes, love people, but bring them to the foot of the cross where Christ can control their lives. Economic and political stability is uncertain. The ecumenical landscape is changing daily to reflect the fulfillment of Revelation 13, with the world wondering after, marveling at, and following the beast.
Into this setting Seventh-day Adventists have been called to proclaim Christ, His Word, His righteousness, His sanctuary service, His saving power in the great controversy, His three angels’ messages, His health message, His last-day mission to the world, and Christ’s soon second coming.
Let us never forget how God has led us, His current guidance, and His future leading. God never changes, and neither does His truth, as we come closer to Christ’s soon appearing.
The antediluvian world was saturated with violent self-centeredness—the same as we see today. “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. . . . But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:5-8).
When God looks on us, do we find grace in His eyes? Does He find us faithful as Noah was? Thank God that in the “days of Noah” there was Noah! By the grace of God we can also be faithful to the calling of a last-day remnant people, who, by His grace and righteousness, will be His last generation on earth as we proclaim this precious Advent message.
We are to stand resolutely, as did Noah, in our proclamation of eschatological events. “Noah stood like a rock amid the tempest,” wrote Ellen White. “Surrounded by popular contempt and ridicule, he distinguished himself by his holy integrity and unwavering faithfulness. A power attended his words, for it was the voice of God . . . through His servant. Connection with God made him strong in the strength of infinite power, while for one hundred and twenty years his solemn voice fell upon the ears of that generation in regard to events, which, so far as human wisdom could judge, were impossible.”1
“Days of Noah” Syndrome
The same opposition in our day was foretold in the New Testament: “Scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water” (2 Peter 3:3-6).
Do not fall for the “days of Noah” syndrome, casting doubt and cynicism on Christ’s second advent. Let’s continue to proclaim the end-time events pointing to Christ’s soon return, just as Noah proclaimed his last-day message. The coming of the Lord is the salvation to which we look forward in unabashed anticipation of eternal life, regardless of the cynicism and ridicule of the world. That same heavenly grace that saved Noah will save us.
Power of TMI and Truth
Last year I, along with many others, had the privilege of preaching an evangelistic series in a Japan-wide Total Member Involvement (TMI) evangelistic series with 161 evangelistic sites. TMI has revolutionized our aging 15,000-member church in Japan. Members and pastors are now on fire for the Lord as they renew their focus on eschatology and our ultimate reward: to be with Jesus. TMI encompasses every aspect of seed-sowing, nurturing of the seed, reaping the seed, and challenging members to sow more seed.
We are told by Ellen White, “The work of God in this earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers.”2
As God’s last generation of people, and I certainly hope we are, we are to exemplify His justifying and sanctifying righteousness in our living and witnessing, all through His power. The righteousness of Christ is the central core of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14. And it is Christ, whose righteousness we accept by faith, who gives us the power to overcome.
The marvelous cleansing of the literal sanctuary in heaven began in 1844 and is ongoing at this very time. But Christ’s righteousness unfolding in the sanctuary service in the Most Holy Place will soon come to an end.
Let us not invent or promote new understandings of the foundational biblical truths entrusted to us from heaven at the formation of this great Advent movement. Let us not think ourselves wiser than the Spirit of Prophecy with its amplifying and revealing instruction and absolute affirmation of God’s Holy Word.
Satan will not give up his fight to neutralize the distinctive eschatological messages entrusted to Seventh-day Adventists to proclaim in these last days. We are to make plain the Bible truth as it is in Jesus so that no one will be deceived by Satan.
Events now unfolding tell us the time is coming very soon in which attempts will be made to force the union of church and state. “The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty,” wrote Ellen White, “for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not.”3
The last events will be rapid ones, and will be actuated by the power of the Holy Spirit working in humble people who care about the eternal destiny of souls around them.4 Let us earnestly plead for the outpouring of the latter rain of the Holy Spirit as we humble ourselves before God, preparing our own hearts for the final, Holy Spirit-inspired proclamation of the second coming of Jesus Christ.
One of these days very soon we will look up and see a small, dark cloud. It will get larger and brighter, with millions of angels making up that marvelous cloud with a brilliant rainbow. In the middle of that incredible cloud will be the One we have waited for: our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, coming as King of kings and Lord of lords. What a day that will be!
I want to be there by His grace and righteousness, and by God’s grace I hope to see you there too!
1 Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1890, 1908), p. 96.
2 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1948), vol. 9, pp. 116, 117.
3 Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), p. 605.
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.