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Lessons on Faith

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Coca Cola, Sunday Laws and Righteousness by Faith

This Sermon was presented on Sabbath, October 3rd.  It is reproduced here for those who have requested it.


This past month we had some interesting developments with Pope Francis coming to the United States, arriving Sabbath, September 22 at 4:00 p. m. immediately before the beginning of the Jewish Day of Atonement, which is a very significant day for Seventh-day Adventists. In 1844 this Jewish holy day fell on October 22 and marked the beginning of the Investigative Judgment in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary.

The pope, in addressing congress wanted it understood that he came not to dictate to the US as a papal power but to be a voice for change in the US to prevent climate change.

Also, last month when Pope Francis left the U.S., then we had at the beginning of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles the harvest moon becoming a blood moon, and an eclipse happening as well.

Of course this Thursday, the first day of this month, we had a shooting at a community college in Oregon by a gunman targeting Christians where several were killed.

This message that I have to share with you this morning I believe is a timely message for this period in earth’s history. Would you bow you heads with me before we study this morning?

Prayer for the Message

This morning I would like to begin with a brief history lesson which you may or may not be familiar with.


Coca Cola History

I would like us to go back to the year 1888 this morning.

There were three events of note that took place in the year 1888.

The first one that we will notice regards Coca Cola. Now please note that I am not endorsing Coca Cola in any way. This is merely for the sake of illustration.

The date was August 30, 1888. The inventor of Coca Cola was on his deathbed. He had invented the formula as a medicine for overcoming his addiction to morphine which he, along with many other soldiers, had acquired as a result of being injured in the civil war. Though not successful in this endeavor, he had decided to promote his product as a fountain drink. In order to raise funds for the endeavor, he sold shares in his company. One of his shareholders was a man by the name of Asa Candler. On this date August 30, 1888, Asa Candler managed to get hold of all of the stock in the company. He changed the formula for the drink and Candler went on to make Coca Cola a huge success eventually selling the company in 1919 for 5 million dollars.

Today, Coca-Cola is sold legally in every country in the world except Cuba and North Korea but it is still sold on the black market in those countries. Coca Cola has been touted as a huge success for American capitalism.


Sunday Law History

Our next event of note this morning, which took place in 1888, was a proposed national Sunday law.

On May 21 of 1888, Senator Blair presented this bill before the Senate. It had come as the result of the unsettled state of society since the civil war. The nation was in great poverty and distress, and there was a great need for many reforms. It was thought that if the nation just could get back to God, then He would bless the nation again and prosper her as He had before the Civil war. Thus, this bill was introduced before the senate. However, Ellen G. White, a woman whom Seventh day Adventists believe God spoke through, had this to say about this movement to place Sunday as a legally enforced day of rest:

We as a people have not accomplished the work which God has committed to us. We are not ready for the issue to which the enforcement of the Sunday law will bring us. It is our duty, as we see the signs of approaching peril, to arouse to action. Let none sit in calm expectation of the evil, comforting themselves with the belief that this work must go on because prophecy has foretold it, and that the Lord will shelter His people. We are not doing the will of God if we sit in quietude, doing nothing to preserve liberty of conscience. Fervent, effectual prayer should be ascending to heaven that this calamity may be deferred until we can accomplish the work which has so long been neglected. Let there be most earnest prayer, and then let us work in harmony with our prayers. … Man's necessity is God's opportunity. It may be that a respite may yet be granted for God's people to awake and let their light shine. … Shall we not humble our hearts greatly before God, flee to the mercy seat, and plead with Him to reveal His mighty power? {5T 713.4}

When Senator Blair brought his national Sunday Bill to the U. S. Senate in May of 1888 , Alonzo Trevier Jones, a Seventh-day Adventist historian, in response to Ellen White’s plea, which I just read, appeared later that year before a Senate committee to oppose that legislation on behalf of the church, the first of many testimonies he would give in those settings.

Though there were several Sunday laws made and enforced in the South, the movement eventually died out and Sunday laws, though still on the books, were rarely enforced so that the message of the three angels could be preached in freedom. God had heard the prayers of His people and honored their purpose to give more time for the world to hear the three angels' messages.


Righteousness by Faith History

Now we come to the most important event for Seventh-day Adventists in the history of the year 1888. On October 18 through November 8 was held a General Conference Session, much like the one we had this year in Texas. In that session there were some controversial issues raised, just as we had some controversial issues raised in this session. The most controversial issue raised in 1888 was regarding the law in Galatians. Up to that time most Seventh-day Adventist leaders had taught that the law that was the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ was the ceremonial law. However, in the 1888 GC Session. Alonzo T. Jones gave a presentation showing that the law in Galatians was all law including and even primarily the moral law, the law of Ten Commandments. He demonstrated that the primary purpose of God’s moral law was to drive us to Christ where we could get His righteousness which could only be obtained by faith. Jones was joined by a Dr. by the name of Ellet J. Waggoner in his message of Righteousness by faith. This brought quite a stir and many of the Adventist leaders opposed this message. There is a lot of detail that I could go into this morning, but I will not. I will let Ellen White sum it up in her own words.

"The law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Galatians 3:24) In this scripture, the Holy Spirit through the apostle is speaking especially of the moral law. The law reveals sin to us, and causes us to feel our need of Christ, and to flee unto him for pardon and peace by exercising repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. {1888 1575.1}

So here she makes it clear that the law in Galatians is primarily the Ten Commandments or the moral law.

The law reveals to us our sins and causes us to feel our need of Jesus.

We then run to Him, because all that the law can do is condemn us by showing us how sinful and wicked we are.

It reveals our need of a Savior.

He gives us pardon and peace when we turn from our sin to God and exercise faith in Jesus Christ.

She goes on in the following paragraph to say this:

An unwillingness to yield up preconceived opinions, and to accept this truth, lay at the foundation of a large share of the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord's message through Brethren Waggoner and Jones. By exciting that opposition, Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit that God longed to impart to them. The enemy prevented them from obtaining that efficiency which might have been theirs in carrying the truth to the world, as the apostles proclaimed it after the day of Pentecost. The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world. {1888 1575.2}

Brothers and sister, did you catch that last line? Let me read it again:

The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world.

Our scripture reading this morning was from Revelation 18. What is this message that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory?

Please turn there with me this morning so that we can look at this message because it is our message. It is a message that we as Seventh-day Adventists must give before the end. It is a message the beginning of which much of our leadership rejected in 1888. If we reject it too then we too will be guilty of keeping away from the world the light that they should have. That is a very solemn thought.

Revelation 18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

The messenger in this verse has great power and the earth is lightened with his glory. This angel or messenger differs from the other three angels of Revelation 14 in that he comes close to the earth instead of flying in the midst of heaven with his message.

Two of the three angel’s messages were given with a loud voice, but the second angel’s message was not. We will see the significance of that in a minute, but let us read on in Revelation 18:

Revelation 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

Keep your finger here and go back to Revelation 14:8 and notice the wording.

Revelation 14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

As you can tell the message is nearly identical. The only differences are that the second time the message is given, it is given in a mighty, strong voice and the situation of Babylon seems to be worse in the later verse than in the former.

Going back to Revelation 18 it is important to notice that when it says, “he cried mightily with a strong voice” the original Greek means to “shout or scream”.

In the past, in the 1840s this message was not as urgent as it has become since 1888, and so was not given in a loud voice. But what about now brothers and sisters? We have come 127 years from the time of 1888.

Have we been as successful in proclaiming the message of the gospel as Coca Cola has in promoting their products?

Here are the statistics for 2014 from the SDA official website.

Countries and Areas of the World as Recognized by the United Nations: 237

Countries and Areas of the World in Which Seventh-day Adventist Work is Established: 216

Again, I ask you, "Have we, in giving our message, proved as successful as Coca Cola statistically?"

But a more important question, brothers and sisters, is this:

Have you and I allowed the gospel to transform our lives? Have we let it make us Christlike so that when we give the message of Revelation 18 people will recognize the message as a message of love. As a result, God’s call that comes down from heaven for them to come out will be heeded and they will join God’s people who are keeping His commandments and holding to all the teachings of Jesus.

When a mother sees her child about to run in front of a car and there is nothing she can do to prevent that child from going in front of that car except to tell him to stop where he is, she is not going to whisper her command. No, no. She is going to shout and even scream for all she is worth. What is the motive that prompts her to scream and shout?

This too is how we brothers and sister will proclaim the fall of Babylon so that God may join with us in giving the message to come out of Babylon and join the remnant church.

But brothers and sisters, if we do not love the people of this earth, how can we give the message of warning?

Why do we whisper the message that we have to give? Why do we cringe as if the people of this world were not in any great danger? Is it because we do not love them as Jesus does? Do we care more for our comfort and ease than we do for the people of this world? Are we afraid of the persecution that will come on us if we speak out?

When a mother sees her child about to run in front of a car, does she apologize for her manner of speaking? Does she beat around the bush? Never!

Now brothers and sisters, I am not suggesting that we criticize people and stand apart from them with a holier than thou attitude. What I am proposing is that we accept the message of righteousness by faith into our lives, letting Jesus so transform us that we will have the same love for the world that He does that He was willing to lay down His life for it. When that happens, we cannot fail to give the warning cry with the urgency that it deserves.

Not only that, but like the angel of Revelation comes down close to the people where they are and gives this message, we too have to do personal work for the people, not just from the safety of our homes posting messages on Facebook. We have to get on the ground where the action is. We have to become personally involved in people’s lives.

Again I would like to share with you a statement from Mrs. White’s writings:

Let every one who claims to believe that the Lord is soon coming, search the Scriptures as never before; for Satan is determined to try every device possible to keep souls in darkness, and blind the mind to the perils of the times in which we are living. Let every believer take up his Bible with earnest prayer, that he may be enlightened by the Holy Spirit as to what is truth, that he may know more of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent. Search for the truth as for hidden treasures, and disappoint the enemy.

The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth. For it is the work of every one to whom the message of warning has come, to lift up Jesus, to present Him to the world as revealed in types, as shadowed in symbols, as manifested in the revelations of the prophets, as unveiled in the lessons given to His disciples and in the wonderful miracles wrought for the sons of men. Search the Scriptures; for they are they that testify of Him. {1SM 362.4}

Do you and I have a burden to share the message of Revelation 18 of the fall of Babylon? If not, maybe we need to check our relationship with Jesus. Maybe we do not really love Him as much as we say we do. Maybe we have not allowed His Spirit to transform our lives in the way that it can if we would allow it.

In preparing this sermon, I came across a couple of other interesting items that happened in 1888.

On June 20, 1888 Pope Leo XIII (13th) published an encyclical on the nature of human liberty. In it, he essentially says that freedom is only for those who follow the Roman church.

The Second event in 1888 happened the next month after this Papal encyclical. On July 23, 1888, the longest blood moon eclipse was recorded, which lasted an hour and 46 minutes.

I don’t know about you brothers and sisters but I think God is trying to tells us something.

I think the following scriptures sum it up well:

Romans 13:11-14 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. (12) The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. (13) Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. (14) But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Isaiah 60:1-2 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. (2) For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

Brothers and sisters, let us go to our closets and plead for Jesus to give us that love for souls that will do whatever it takes to warn them of the world’s impending doom even if we must sacrifice our comforts and pleasures in this life. How can we say we love Jesus if this is not our attitude?



Truth for the End of Time - MP3 Audio Books of Ellen G. White, Free to Listen to or Burn to CD