Photo Credit by Flickr/JD Hancock

Photo Credit by Flickr/JD Hancock

FRIDAY MORNING MANNA   

 May 16, 2014

Nathaniel Fajardo

 Email:natfajardo777@yahoo.com

Are We Preparing for the Latter Rain?– Part XXX

A Working People (Continued)

Apostle Paul’s urgent plea for all Christians in these last days is: “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds (works,K.J.V.) of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This why it is said: Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of opportunity [redeeming the time, K.J.V.], because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5: 9-15, N.I.V.

When the sinner’s conscience is pricked by the conviction of the Holy Spirit and he responds to His work in the soul, though he has been “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13), that is, cherished secret sins, idolatry, worldliness, covetousness, presumption, pride, hypocrisy, self-indulgence, willful ignorance of Bible truth, and disobedience to God’s law, he will arise, prodigal son-like from this spiritual death and becomes “dead to sin” (Rom. 6: 1, 2) “dead indeed unto sin,” (Rom. 6: 11, 12), “freed from sin” (Rom. 6: 6, 7, 18). Forgiven by the Savior and empowered by His grace, he will “go and sin no more” (John 8: 11) for Jesus Christ is able to: “do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3: 20), “keep us from falling” (Jude 24), “save us to the uttermost” (Heb. 7: 25), “make us more than conquerors” (Rom. 8: 37), providing “a way of escape from all temptations” (1 Cor. 10: 13) because in His adopted humanity, He was “tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.” Heb. 4: 15.  In meekness he inquires: How do I redeem lost time? Only by making the best of whatever remains by submitting mind, heart, and body to Christ, who is in heaven through the Holy Spirit, who is still on earth. Then, the working partnership with Christ begins and goes on:

    “Everyone who has a realizing sense of what it means to be a Christian, will purify himself from everything that weakens and defiles. All the habits of his life will be brought into harmony with the requirements of the word of truth, and he will not only believe, but will work out his own salvation with fear and trembling, while submitting to the Holy Spirit.” – E.G. White, Review & Herald, Mar. 6, 1888. See also 1 John 3: 3-24; Titus 2: 14 James 4: 8; 1 Peter 1: 22-25.    

     “Christ looks at the spirit, and when He sees us carrying our burden with faith, His perfect holiness atones for our shortcomingsWhen we do our best, He becomes our righteousness. It takes every ray of light [of advancing truth] that God sends to us to make us the light of the world [Matt. 5: 14-16]- Ibid, Letter 33, 1899.   

    “Effort and labor are required on the part of the receiver of God’s grace; for it is the fruit that makes manifest what is the character of the tree. Although the good works of man are of no more value without faith in Jesus than was the offering of Cain [Gen. 4: 1-17], yet covered with the merit of Christ, they testify to the worthiness of thedoer to inherit eternal life. That which is considered morality in the world does not reach the divine standard and has no more merit before heaven than had the offering of Cain.” – Ibid, MS 26a, 1892. Faith without corresponding works, which is the fruit of faith, is dead. On being doers, not merely emotional “faithers,” see James 1: 22-25; Rom. 2:13.

Favorable Time for City Work Has Passed By. Of the city evangelistic work, E. G. White wrote: “A great work is to be done, I am moved by the Spirit to say to those engaged in the Lord’s work, that the favorable time for our message to be carried to the cities has passed by, and this work has not been done. I feel a heavy burden that we shall now redeem the time,” – Evangelism, p. 31.3 (1902).

Where this work of city evangelism is concerned, redeeming the time also means:  “The work which the church has failed to do in time of peace and prosperity, she will have to do in a terrible crisis, under most discouraging, forbidding circumstances. The warnings that worldly conformity has silenced or withheld, must be given under the fiercest opposition from the enemies of the faith . . . . The members of the church will be individually tested and proved.  They will be placed in circumstances where they will be forced to bear witness for the truth.” –Ibid, Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 463Read Matthew chapter 10. Such has been and will be the manner by which precious Bible truth was preserved and propagated from Christ’s time to the very close of probation time.

The Holy Spirit is Gradually Being Withdrawn.  “The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the earth.  Plagues [i.e., the early, not yet the seven last plagues of Rev. 15, 16] and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude.”- IbidEvangelism, p. 31. 5.

     “We believe without a doubt that Christ is soon coming. This is not a fable to us; it is a reality. We have no doubt . . . that the doctrines we hold today are present truth, and that we are nearing the judgment. . . . When He comes He is not to cleanse us of our sins, to remove from us the defects in our characters, or to cure us from the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. If wrought for us at all, this work will all be accomplished before that time. When the Lord comes, those who are holy will be holy still. [Rev. 22:11]. Those who have preserved their bodies and spirits in holiness, in sanctification and honor [1 Thess. 4: 4], will then receive the finishing touches of immortality. But those who are unjust, unsanctified, and filthy will remain so forever. No work will then be done for them to remove their defects and give them holy characters. The Refiner does not then sit to pursue His refining process and remove their sins and their corruption. [Malachi 3: 2, 3]. This is all to be done in these hours of probation. It is now that this work is to be accomplished in us.” –Ibid, Maranatha, p.  221.

In the patriarchal times cities were built by men who had departed from God. Since the time Cain built the first city, the great metropolises and cities of the world’s greatest empires from Nebuchadnezzar’s glorious neo-Babylonia, and in every nation of every culture have become the showcases of mortal man’s pride, the works of his hands, his skyscraping accomplishments, and moral depravity as well. Cities don’t cringe from being branded as a “sin city” or “entertainment or leisure capital of the world” if it translates into generating more profit from legalized and regulated self-indulgence embodied in the famous ad slogan “What happens here stays here.” (See “ How Las Vegas Became Sin City —A Brief History That Nobody Asked For” by Lizz Riggs, published April 12, 2012 on the internet).

The big cities have become hotbeds for vice, iniquity, pollution, and demoralizing hurry, rush and noise. Its slums are filled with filth, crime, and strife while the financial moguls and political powers consolidate their wealth and power, exploiting the poor and vulnerable. Labor unions and strikes will worsen, creating even more unfavorable conditions noxious to family life and character development. They are fast becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah and the antediluvian world of Noah’s time.  The records of these great cities are piling up for reckoning in the day of God. None will last, including Rome , long referred to by poets who know not the Bible, to be “the Eternal City .”

Only one city will endure to eternity—the one Abraham looked for —“the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:10). John described it as the “the holy city, New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven [not from the Middle East !], at the end of the Biblical millennium. Rev. 21: 1-10. Its measurements and other details are given in verses 11-27. I plan to get there. Do you? Do we know how?

Great Cities will be Centers of Satan’s Supernatural Manifestations and Miracles.  Jesus prophesied: “There will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines, and pestilences: and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.” Luke 21: 11.  

     “As we near the close of time, there will be greater and still greater external parade of heathen power; heathen deities will manifest their signal power, and will exhibit themselves before the cities of the world; and this delineation has already begun to be fulfilled.” –Ibid, Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 117, 118.

    “The Savior’s prophecy concerning the visitation of judgments upon [the city of] Jerusalem [Matt. 24, 37, 38; Luke 21: 20-36] is to have another fulfillment, of which that terrible desolation [in A.D. 70] was but a faint shadow. In the fate of the chosen city we may behold the doom of a world that has rejected God’s mercy and trampled upon His law. Signs and wonders appeared, foreboding disaster and doom. In the midst of the night and unnatural light shone over the temple and the altar. Upon the clouds at sunset were pictured chariots and men of war gathering for battle.”- Ibid, Great Controversy, 36.

       “The agencies of evil are combining their force, and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones. – Ibid, Evangelism, p. 32.   “Fearful tests await God’s people. The spirit of war is stirring the nations from one end of the earth to the other.” – Ibid. Lest we forget: Character-building for eternity is the most important work ever entrusted to human beings!  (To be continued next week).