by Richard Drake
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18
1. We are at the very end of time.
--If we are near the end, then the time of trouble will soon begin.
2. Are you afraid of the time of trouble?
--Are you ready for the time of trouble?
--Are you ready to die for Jesus if necessary?
--Are you ready for Christ's second coming?
--If you are afraid, what does that say to you or about you?
3. How can I overcome my fear?
4. What must I do to be saved?
If you have ever had a nagging fear that you are not good enough to be saved, then this sermon is for you.
I recently flew on Southwest Airlines from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Boise, Idaho. I had an extended layover in Phoenix, Arizona so I decided to kill some time by playing my guitar at a gate that was not in use. I heard an announcement come over the intercom that the final boarding for the plane that was leaving from the gate that I was now sitting at had been called and that the passenger holding the green boarding pass number 68 should board immediately. Nobody responded and so the plane left. Several minutes later a beautiful young lady in her 20's appeared carrying the green boarding pass number 68 and asked me if the plane had left already. This young lady looked like she had everything going for her, including having her boarding pass in her possession. But having a boarding pass in one's possession does not guarantee success. You must get on board the plane at the appropriate time or you will be left, regardless of how good you are or even who you are.
This story illustrates the point that we
cannot let our spiritual guard down at any time or we
may miss God's final call for preparing ourselves to
meet Him at the second coming. We can be tithe-paying,
pew-sitting, Sabbath-keeping Adventists and still miss
out on heaven if we are not ready when God's final boarding
call is given. Sounds a little like the story of the
five foolish virgins, doesn't it?
The following quote from The Great Controversy page 588 is quoted by Elder Ed Reid in his book Sunday's Coming! He also quotes Maranatha page 209 in his book and puts these two quotes together, which makes a rather startling point that I had not seen before.
"The line of distinction between professed Christians and the ungodly is now hardly distinguishable. Church members love what the world loves and are ready to join with them, and Satan determines to unite them in one body and thus strengthen his cause by sweeping all into the ranks of spiritualism. Papists, who boast of miracles as a certain sign of the true church, will be readily deceived by this wonder-working power; and Protestants, having cast away the shield of truth, will also be deluded. Papists, Protestants, and worldlings will alike accept the form of godliness without the power, and they will see in this union a grand movement for the conversion of the world and the ushering in of the long-expected millennium." GC 588
Can we see this prediction taking place today? Consider the following quote from the September, 1997 issue of the Religion News Service.
"Lutherans take major steps in unity, doctrine--At its church-wide assembly in August, three Reformed churches--the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, and the Reformed Church of America--adopted overwhelmingly, 839 to 193, to unify with the Lutherans. Delegates voted 958 to 25 to adopt a statement declaring that the condemnations that the Lutherans hurled at Roman Catholics during the 16th century Reformation, no longer apply to present Catholic teaching on Justification. Roman Catholic approval seems likely, said Brother Jeffrey Gros, ecumenical spokesman for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops."
Now consider how this following quote from Maranatha page 209 fits with the Great Controversy quote that we have already read.
"I saw our people in great distress,
weeping, and praying, pleading the sure promises of
God, while the wicked were all around us, mocking us,
and threatening to destroy us. They ridiculed our feebleness,
they mocked at the smallness of our numbers, and taunted
us with words calculated to cut deep. They charged us
with taking an independent position from all the rest
of the world. They had cut off our resources so that
we could not buy nor sell, and referred to our abject
poverty and stricken condition. They could not see how
we could live without the world; we were dependent upon
the world, and we must concede to the customs, practices,
and laws of the world, or go out of it. If we were the
only people in the world whom the Lord favored the appearances
were awfully against us. They declared that they had
the truth, that miracles were among them, that angels
from heaven talked with them, and walked with them,
that great power, and signs and wonders were performed
among them, and this was the Temporal Millennium, which
they had been expecting so long. The whole world was
converted and in harmony with the Sunday law, and this
little feeble people stood out in defiance of the laws
of the land, and the laws of God, and claimed to be
the only ones right on the earth." Mar. p.
Malachi Martin, a Jesuit priest and Vatican Insider wrote a book entitled The Keys of this Blood. The subtitle is Pope John Paul II versus Russia and the West for Control of the New World Order. Martin begins his book with the following statement.
"Willing or not, ready or not, we are all involved in an all-out, no-holds-barred, three-way global competition. Most of us are not competitors, however. We are the stakes. For the competition is about who will establish the first one-world system of government that has ever existed in the society of nations. It is about who will hold and wield the dual power of authority and control over each of us as individuals and over all of us together as a community; over the entire six billion people expected by demographers to inhabit the earth by early in the third millennium.
The competition is all-out because, now that it has started, there is no way it can be reversed or called off.
No holds are barred because, once the competition has been decided, the world and all that's in it--our way of life as individuals and as citizens of the nations; our families and our jobs; our trade and commerce and money; our educational systems and our religions and our cultures; even the badges of our national identity, which most of us have always taken for granted--all will have been powerfully and radically altered forever. No one can be exempted from its effects. No sector of our lives will remain untouched." The Keys of This Blood p. 15 by Malachi Martin
Did you catch how much of our lives will be affected by this one-world government?
The second page of the book details the time frame when this one-world government will be in place.
"Indeed, the three rivals themselves--and many more besides as time goes on--speak about this new world order not as something around a distant corner of time, but as something that is imminent. As a system that will be introduced and installed in our midst by the end of this final decade of the second millennium." Ibid p. 16
The third page outlines who plans to be in control of this government.
"It is not too much to say, in fact,
that the chosen purpose of John Paul's pontificate--the
engine that drives his papal grand policy and that determines
his day-to-day, year-by-year strategies--is to be the
victor in that competition, now well under way."
Ibid p. 17
"The Feast of Saint Michael the Arch-angel in preparation for the advent of the third millennium. The grand jubilee of the year 2000."
Two interesting observations come from this announcement. First, the Catholic church is looking to the year 2000 for something important to occur. Second, they are announcing that 2000 is the year of the grand jubilee. This point is extremely important when understood in light of what the jubilee is defined as in Leviticus 25. The land was returned to its rightful owner during the year of jubilee. Malachi Martin and this banner are both announcing that the land will be returned to the Catholic church and they expect to have this accomplished on or before the year 2000! The timing of this fits perfectly into what Ellen White predicted a hundred years ago with her quotes that we just read. The millennium that the Catholic church is looking for begins on or around the year 2000. Could we expect that the New Agers are looking to the same time frame for the age of peace? The New Agers believe that the Age of Aquarius begins in 2000, which gives further evidence to support Ellen White's predictions.
Christ's coming is indeed imminent. Does that news send glory bumps up and down your spine or does it send a feeling of fear and foreboding through your soul? Your answer to this question may be a good barometer of where your relationship with Christ really stands.
I am a 5th generation Adventist that was raised and educated in our schools clear through college. For many years I had this nagging question in my mind. Was I good enough to be saved? The following texts and quotes are representative of what caused me to question my own saveability.
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father
which is in heaven is perfect.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and
it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know
that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for
we shall see him as he is.
"Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples..." Maranatha 240
"Satan could find nothing in the Son
of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He
had kept His Father's commandments, and there was no
sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This
is the condition in which those must be found who shall
stand in the time of trouble." GC p. 623
Listen carefully for the next few minutes and you will discover why you do not need to fear the events that are soon to hit us and how we will be able to reflect Christ perfectly.
The following story is an allegory that illustrates some important points.
You may think that this is a simple, far-fetched tale, but it illustrates several points. It is as impossible to get to heaven by our good works as it is to jump the Grand Canyon. Some people will jump farther than others, (perfect their characters better than others) but they will all land in the bottom of the canyon--it is an impossible task. On the other hand, having faith without some sort of action will also guarantee failure. You can have all the faith in the world that you will get across the canyon, but without some effort on your part (getting the ticket and stepping into the helicopter) you are guaranteed failure.
Points of story:
1. The two groups represent righteous by works and righteous by cheap grace--only believe.
2. You can have the best of intentions and still be left behind.
3. The ticket is prayer and bible study along with God's grace.
4. Even though the ticket is free, it must still be presented to get on board.
5. No one can work their way to heaven--across the canyon.
6. Jesus provides the only way to heaven--the helicopter--grace
7. Grace alone will not save you otherwise everybody would be saved.
8. Works and faith are the flipside of the same coin.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
Notice that Paul said that we are saved by grace, but that we are created in Christ unto good works that we should walk in them (good works).
There must be a combination of works and faith in order to enter the kingdom. One without the other will guarantee damnation. Pretty strong words, wouldn't you say? Consider the following texts:
"Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith,
and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works,
and I will shew thee my faith by my works...But wilt
thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?...Ye
see then how that by works a man is justified, and not
by faith only."
We recently heard a rock-climber relate the following experience:
Several illustrations come to mind from this story. The safety rope is like God's grace. If we slip and fall He is there to catch us. We will get skinned up and bruised, but not killed. We can therefore devote our full energy into climbing without the fear of being forever damned if we sin and fall. Doesn't this knowledge make life easier knowing that God has a safety rope for us for when we do fall? However, the rope (grace) does us no good if we refuse to wear it and decide that we can do our own climbing without God's help. Also, we will never reach the top without effort on our part. The rock-climber's safety rope will not pull him to the top, but it will keep him from falling to his death when he slips and falls. God's grace acts in a similar way. Grace gives us the confidence and the ability to walk the Christian walk, but it must be combined with effort on our part in order to be any good.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God, Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded." James 4:7, 8
This text sounds like we have an active part to play in our salvation. Submitting ourselves to God is the key, but it is also one of the most difficult things to do. We are tempted to run ahead of God (righteousness by works) or to sit back and let God do it all for us (the cheap grace side of righteousness by faith). Work alone will not save us, but lack of work will damn us. Faith alone will not save us, but lack of faith will damn us. Therefore, we must have faith, but it must be combined with a sincere effort on our part to submit ourselves to God and resist the devil.
The following 3-text Bible study will help put things into a clearer perspective.
And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:4-5
I believe that this text gives us the definition of a sinful nature. Adam and Eve did not have a working, experiential knowledge of sin. When they disobeyed God they got this knowledge and it has been passed down through their genes ever since. I call this knowledge a sinful nature.
Ellen White has some interesting comments on this issue.
"In the Garden of Eden was the "tree
of knowledge of good and evil....And the Lord God commanded
the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest
freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good
and evil, thou shalt not eat." Genesis 2:9-17.
It was the will of God that Adam and Eve should not
know evil. The knowledge of good had been freely given
them; but the knowledge of evil,--of sin and its results,
of wearing toil, of anxious care, of disappointment
and grief, of pain and death,--this was in love withheld."
“But when man disobeyed God, when he
ate of the tree of knowledge, he united with the apostate
leader, and separated himself from the knowledge of
Christ's goal is to bring us back to the perfect nature that Adam and Eve enjoyed when they were created. Our question is how and when is Christ going to accomplish this change? Hebrews 10:1-2 will shed more light on the subject.
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. Hebrews 10:1-2
Verse one points out that the sacrifices that were offered year by year could never make the sinner perfect. Verse two points out that if the sacrifices had made the sinner perfect, then he would not have needed to offer any more sacrifices. The second half of verse two is critical in understanding the process. Once a worshipper is purged from their sins they have no more conscience of those sins. Strong's concordance says that the word conscience can also be translated as knowledge. Can you begin to see the beauty of this point? Once Christ purges us from sin we have no more knowledge of our sins, which brings us back to the perfect condition that Adam and Eve enjoyed before sin. Acts 3:19 tells us when we will be purged from sin.
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19
Our sins will be blotted out (purged) during the times of refreshing. Ellen White says that the latter rain falls during the time of trouble before the seven last plagues, which means that our sins will be purged and blotted out during this time of trouble. That is how we will be able to live a sinless life after the close of probation when Jesus is no longer interceding for us! What good news!
"The great work of the gospel is not to close with less manifestation of the power of God than marked its opening. The prophecies which were fulfilled in the outpouring of the former rain at the opening of the gospel, are again to be fulfilled in the latter rain at its close. Here are "the times of refreshing" to which the apostle Peter looked forward when he said, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out [in the investigative Judgment], when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus."[4 ACTS 3:19, 20.] GC p. 611
The following quote also shows that the latter rain perfects us.
"As we seek God for the Holy Spirit, it will work in us meekness, humbleness of mind, a conscious dependence upon God for the perfecting latter rain." RH 3-2-1897
Let me quickly summarize what I have said so far this morning.
1. The end is imminently near and Jesus will soon come.
2. The time of trouble will soon begin, but we have no need to fear if:
--we repent of our evil ways and are converted***this is called Justification***
--we submit to God
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. James 4:7-8
Sanctification means to be growing in Jesus--striving to become like Jesus through bible study, prayer, and witnessing.
3. If we repent and submit to God and follow where He leads us then our sins will be blotted out during the little time of trouble. When our sins are blotted out we are judged, cleansed, and sealed at the same time. Jesus gives us the perfect nature that we will have for eternity. That is how we will be able to live without our Mediator after the close of probation.
When we discovered the truth about the blotting out of sin, we got tremendously excited because we could now understand how we could perfectly reflect Jesus. This is a free gift given by Jesus to those who are striving to overcome their sins and are growing in Jesus. The only generation that will be given the new nature while they are still alive is the last generation. That is the reason that we cannot find anybody who is reflecting Jesus perfectly today--this gift is yet future, but it will be given soon. This is the reason that we must be ready every day; we don't know when our probation will close and we will be judged, purged, cleansed, and sealed.
Some of our pioneers understood this beautiful truth, but somehow it has been lost through the years. The blotting out of sin was Jones' and Waggoner's center point of their 1888 message. Why have we missed this point for so long?
The following quote is from an article in the Review & Herald, Sept. 30, 1902, by E.J. Waggoner.
Waggoner refers here to Hebrews 10:2.
Revelation 22:11 applies after every person has made their final choice and either their sins or their names are blotted out of God's Book of Life.
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. Revelation 22:11
"None who have had the light of truth will enter the city of God as commandment breakers. His law lies at the foundation of His government in earth and in heaven. If they have knowingly trampled upon and despised His law on the earth, they will not be taken to heaven to do the same work there; there is no change of character when Christ comes." RH Aug. 25, 1885
"When Jesus leaves the sanctuary, then
they who are holy and righteous will be holy and righteous
still; for all their sins will then be blotted out,
and they will be sealed with the seal of the living
"Angels are hastening to and fro in
heaven. An angel returning from the earth announces
that his work is done; the final test has been brought
upon the world, and all who have proved themselves loyal
to the divine precepts have received 'the seal of the
living God.' Then Jesus ceases His intercession
in the sanctuary above...Christ has made the atonement
for His people, and blotted out their sins."
"When any have sins remaining upon the
books of record, unrepented of and unforgiven, their
names will be blotted out of the book of life, and the
record of their good deeds will be erased from the book
of God's remembrance..."
"Jesus is in His holy temple and will
now accept our sacrifices, our prayers, and our confessions
of faults and sins and will pardon all the transgressions
of Israel, that they may be blotted out before He leaves
the sanctuary. When Jesus leaves the sanctuary, then
they who are holy and righteous will be holy and righteous
still; for all their sins will then be blotted out,
and they will be sealed with the seal of the living
God. But those that are unjust and filthy will be unjust
and filthy still; for then there will be no Priest in
the sanctuary to offer their sacrifices, their confessions,
and their prayers before the Father's throne. Therefore
what is done to rescue souls from the coming storm of
wrath must be done before Jesus leaves the most holy
place of the heavenly sanctuary."
The following texts take on their true meaning when Christ blots out our sins--not before.
"The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:7
"This is the covenant that I will make
with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put
my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I
write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember
"He that overcometh, the same shall
be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out
his name out of the book of life, but I will confess
his name before my Father, and before his angels."
"Come now, and let us reason together,
saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, thay
shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool."
"I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins." Isaiah 43:25
"Thou wilt cast all their sins into
the depths of the sea."
A new heart also will I give you, and a new
spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the
stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an
heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you,
and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep
my judgments, and do them. Ezekiel 36:26, 27
1. We are justified when we repent and confess our sins.
2. We are sanctified over our lifetime as we walk with Jesus and come closer to Him through the daily process of justification along with bible study, prayer, and witnessing.
3. We are purified when our sins are blotted out during the "times of refreshing." This is the final goal of sanctification, but it is only given to the last generation while they are still alive. People that have died in Christ will be given this gift at the resurrection when Christ comes.
4. The fourth step is called glorification and it is described in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55.
Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not
all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment,
in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the
trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put
on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption,
and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then
shall be brought to pass the saying that is written,
Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is
thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
So we are glorified when we are given our immortal bodies that will go along with our new, perfect natures.
What a tremendous plan Jesus has for our salvation! Do you comprehend what He has done for you and the price that He paid for your salvation?
National Geographic recently had an article that said that the Hubble telescope was focused on a point the size of a pin-head in the darkest part of the sky. The scientists were amazed to see galaxy after galaxy stacked up one after the other through that tiny portion of the sky that they had focused on. Does that give you a sense as to how awesome our God is? Just think that He gave up all of the universe in order to save me by dying on a cross! The amazing point is that our King of Kings and Lord of Lords would have died for you or me if we had been the only sinners in the universe! What a price He paid! All He asks in return is that we give Him our all. Would you join me in recommitting your life to Jesus--not just for today, but for the rest of your life? Have No Fear. Jesus is coming soon! Maranatha.
This is a sermon preached by Richard at the Gem State Academy Home Coming in 1998. For more information contact:
Richard and Melody Drake