A FINISHED WORK

In my last two articles, I have tried to emphasize the necessity of a personal walk with God that will enable us to be prepared for the final events of this earth’s history. As a people, we have been given the most solemn and important message ever given to mankind – “Prepare to meet thy God!” This message is detailed and specific, as outlined in the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12. There is a crisis ahead, and we must be ready to meet it. On the basis of the acceptance or rejection of these messages, every man, woman and child on earth will stand or fall.

In the past, our understanding of these messages was perhaps a bit simplistic. We thought that because we had “the truth,” we would be secure when the final events occurred. During the waiting time, Satan has stolen a march against us. Our children have grown up in a media-saturated environment. Money was sufficient and jobs available; leisure time and activities assumed an important focus. Higher education was expected, while deep Bible study and spiritual commitment dwindled. In this environment, the writings of Ellen White seemed antiquated and straight-laced. Our churches struggled to keep the younger generation involved and inspired by our unique message. In the face of these Laodicean challenges, many drifted away; others hung on without really understanding the significance of the vision of our pioneers.

But as always, God has had a remnant – those who are looking to Him for strength every day, communing with Him, studying His word, growing in grace and the knowledge of salvation. And now the tide has turned. Momentous world events have escalated to a crescendo. Money markets have dropped, and there are more people looking for work than there are jobs available. Signs of the end rush upon us like autumn leaves in the wind. There is a facade of normalcy, but an undercurrent of growing concern is growing around the world, in every society. And for Adventist people, the question looms, “Is this the beginning of the end-time events that we have heard of for so long? And if so, are we really ready?”

The answer to that question lies in the Sanctuary message that we as a people received in 1844. It was then that Jesus moved from His Holy Place work in the heavenly Sanctuary to His work of judgment and the cleansing of His people in the Most Holy Place, as described in Leviticus 16:29-34. But it has been my experience during the 26 years that I have been speaking publically, that very few of our people really understand this vitally important doctrine. Many in the past have believed that if you were not perfect when Jesus came to your name in judgment, you would be lost and your name blotted out. Today it is more popular to believe that if you have given your life to Jesus, His perfect righteousness covers your unrighteous record, and therefore there is no need to be concerned about the judgment. Of course, neither of these is true, for the judgment, like every other part of salvation, is a product of our daily experience with Jesus. There is no righteousness apart from Him, but that righteousness must become ours through a personal relationship with Him. As we walk and talk with Him, He cleanses us and clothes us with His righteousness.

“Suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to His temple…. But who can endure the day of His coming? Who can stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who bring offerings in righteousness.” Mal. 3:1-3.

“In that day the Branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel. Those who are left in Zion, who remain in Jerusalem, will be called holy, all who are recorded among the living in Jerusalem. The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion; He will cleanse the bloodstains from Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of fire.” Isa. 4:2-4.

“I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire.” Rev. 3:18.

“While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the Sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth. This work is more clearly presented in the messages of Revelation 14. When this work shall have been accomplished, the followers of Christ will be ready for His appearing.” GC 425.

So there is a special work of cleansing to be performed for the final remnant who will live through the end and not see death. The work of Christ’s mediation will close when that cleansing is accomplished. What is that cleansing like? People have gone through trials from the beginning of the sin problem. What is so different or special now? Jesus told His hearers that the seeds of sin are planted in the heart by the evil one, and that the plants that grow from these seeds must be pulled up by the roots.

“The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels…. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.” Matt. 13:38-41.

“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots…. The things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.” Matt. 15:12, 18.

I have mentioned this subject before in an earlier article, but in this article I want to dig a little deeper into this vital topic. In the early years of my preaching, I received opposition when I suggested that there are deeper levels of the mind where the roots of evil are stored. But this fact is well known and accepted today. Like the hard drive of a computer, our brains have recorded everything we have ever experienced since our conception. Satan works diligently in the life of every human being to cause his principles of fear, shame and guilt, lusts, etc., to be implanted as early in our lives as possible. In my counseling, I hear many stories which underscore this phenomena.

Early in my experience as a counselor, a beautiful, vivacious young woman came to me for help because she had an inordinate fear of dying. I tried everything I knew to help her give this fear to God and be free, but to no avail. Finally one day I asked her, “Did your mother consider abortion during her pregnancy with you?” “I don’t know” she said, “but I will ask her.” When she brought this question to her mother, she was surprised to find that her mother had, indeed, considered abortion in the early stages of her pregnancy. With that information, we again took the matter to prayer, gave the matter to Jesus and asked for healing, and her fear of death was removed. Ellen White states:

“Even before the birth of the child, the preparation should begin that will enable it to fight successfully the battle against evil. Especially does responsibility rest upon the mother. She by who lifeblood the child is nourished and its physical frame built up, imparts to it also mental and spiritual influences that tend to the shaping of mind and character.” MH pp. 371-373.

Of course, the father has a great deal to do with the formation of the character of the child as he treats the mother with respect, love and kindness, or deals with her in unchristlike ways. Heredity also plays a major role in passing on the sins of parents to the children. (See PP 306.) Then there is the history of the child after birth. I have heard many sordid stories of child abuse, which always plants seeds of evil that continue to affect a person throughout life unless they find healing through Jesus. To illustrate this, there is a statement in AH p. 427 that is astounding:

“Any negligence of acts of politeness and tender regard on the part of brother for brother, any neglect of kind, encouraging words in the family circle, parents with children, children with parents, confirm habits which make the character unchristlike.”

Is it any wonder that we see so many broken homes, broken lives, and the breakdown of society? No amount of money, no secular entertainment, no drugs, no human companionship can fill the void made by abandonment, abuse, neglect, rejection, and lack of kindness by those who should have treated us with love and respect. Here, then, are the roots of evil that plague our lives. Here is what Jesus must address in the second apartment cleansing work of judgment.

“Without holiness, no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Heb. 12:14, 15.

“The work of restoration can never be thorough unless the roots of evil are reached. Again and again the shoots have been clipped, while the root of bitterness has been left to spring up and defile many; but the very depth of the hidden evil must be reached, the moral senses must be judged, and judged again, in the light of the divine presence. The daily life will testify whether the work is genuine.” 5 BC 1152.

Some say that in the judgment it is God who is being judged. I suppose there is some truth to that statement in that God will be vindicated when the judgment is finished, and it will be clearly seen by all that Satan’s accusations against God are false. But the basic truth about the judgment as described in Scripture is that it is Satan and his ways and principles that are being judged. In the judgment everything will be brought out in the open, both good and evil (Eccl. 12:14). The records will show the lives of every individual who has ever lived, how they were born, how they were treated, and the way they responded to the solicitations of the Holy Spirit as well as the temptations of the evil one. And the final eternal verdict will be pronounced as a result of these choices.

How is the battle between good and evil going with you, my friend? Do Satan’s temptations seem to be too alluring to resist sometimes? If so, it may be because there are yet roots deep within you which has caused weaknesses of character and wrong ways of thinking, feeling, and responding to that particular temptation. These hidden defects can be exposed by experiences that we go through which bring them to the surface in our thoughts, feelings and behavior. For example, if you were considered to be the “black sheep” of the family, you may continue to feel you are less than others in your present associations. If you felt responsible for the divorce of your parents, you may still believe that you are responsible for the wrong behavior of others. Thus Satan can continue to hold us captive by his lies, and make us vulnerable to his suggestions to bring relief, whether it is through food, sexual indiscretions, worldly entertainment, fits of rage, depression, substance abuse, etc.

Isn’t it time for God’s people to be delivered from these things? In the judgment, Satan and his wiles will be exposed, and his power over us will be destroyed forever if we allow Jesus to have full sway in our lives. Jesus said:

“Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” John 12:31, 32.

Every demon in hell was at the cross when Jesus was hanging there for us. They pressed their temptations upon Him at the weakest point of His earthly life. His Father allowed Him to be tested to the utmost – they flung every temptation at Him that they had used so successfully on all humanity. But He conquered them all on that cross, not only for His Father’s glory, but also for every one of us. So when Satan presses his temptations upon you, my friend, just remember that the very same demon was at the cross, pressing the very same temptation on Jesus, and He won that battle in your behalf. The only power that the devil can have over us is the power that we give him by yielding. No wonder Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one (NIV).” Matt. 6:13. He also said, “If I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Matt. 12:28.

Have you ever wondered why we will see miracles of healing and demons cast out only after the latter rain falls (GC p. 612)? It is because the latter rain cannot fall until the demons have no more power in the lives of God’s people. We must have the finished work of the Spirit in our own hearts before we can be trusted with the fullness of the Spirit to be used for others. At that point we will have been cleansed from all the lies of the devil, both corporately and personally, and he will have no more power over us. It is then that we receive the kingdom promised to Jesus’ followers as a result of the judgment:

“But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High,..and all rulers will worship and obey Him.” Dan. 7:26, 27. “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the authority of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers…has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Rev. 12:10, 11.

One Response to “A FINISHED WORK”

  1. Velesa Says:

    appreciation…

    I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I’ll learn plenty of new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!…

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