Instruments of Righteousness

0808094

Relationships in the Last Days Conference, Audio: mp3

Jesus the source of all light is on the shore as the light house but there is required some other lower lights which reflect the light from the light house in such a way so that the intricate layout of the harbour can be seen from the ship. Without the lighthouse, there would be no lower lights. Without the lower lights, it would be impossible for anyone or any ship to make it safely into the harbour. As Adventists and reformers we are living in the time period of the Christ our righteousness message. We are living in the time period under the Revelation 18 angel. This is a mighty angel.

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.

Here we see something additional taking place that was required apart from the three angel’s messages. That additional aspect began with the earth being lighted with the glory of God. I’ve spoken to various Christians over the years and many have a different understanding of what Revelation 18:1 means. Some say Jesus will come and reign in Jerusalem literally and take care of all the problems in the Middle East and that he will reveal himself in such a way that the entire earth will understand and follow him. Others say their duty is to go out and to bring to conversion all of mankind. That would be nice and ideal. Is that what it is talking about? The Revelation 18 angel talks about Gods glory. What is Gods glory? God sits on a throne as a source of light. His glory is ever about him. The angels that minister before him shield their faces from the glory of God. Moses was one of the most privileged people on earth. He was called the meekest man on earth. Because he was meek, he had opportunity to speak to God face to face. They were communing together but Moses actually never saw God.

Exodus 33:18 And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory. Moses wanted to go to the next level of understanding God, to understand what God is really like.

Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear [the guilty]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth [generation].

Here is revealed Gods glory. God’s glory isn’t in the light that shines about him. Gods glory isn’t just a per chance thing because he happens to be God. God’s glory happens to be his character. Unchanging, the same yesterday, today and forever.

Malachi 3:6 For I [am] the LORD, I change not;.

This character revealed in Exodus is the same today as it was then. We are to be instruments of righteousness. What does that mean? What responsibility does that give us? What duty, what caution? We understand the great commission Jesus gave to his disciples. What was that commission? Go into all the world and what? Preach them nice sermons? No. What is the difference between teaching and preaching? I wasn’t intellectual at school but more hands on. I liked all the practical things. Everyone is different, some people love the intellectual things, some like reading books and going into great detail. I like more the practical things.

When you preach to someone, you’re teaching intellectual knowledge and facts. When you teach someone, you are assisting them to learn. You can preach to someone for along time and you still haven’t taught them. There is a difference. Some will learn straight away from preaching where as others will require a more hands on approach. If my woodwork teacher gave me a complicated task to do, if I’m in tune, I’ll pick it up but if not I’ll do it wrong. If he comes by my side and tells me how to do it then he has taught me. There is a difference. We are commissioned to teach. What are we commissioned to teach? All the things Christ has committed to his disciples. That is far reaching, nothing can be left out.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

We have been commissioned to give glory to God. How do we give glory to God? By revealing his character. How do we reveal his character? By good works. There is no misunderstanding of these very simple words. Here we can see the importance of purification our character that can takes place in our life so we can be transformed into the same image as God. If that doesn’t take place, when we do good works and God is not revealed, whose glory is revealed? Man. If mans glory is revealed what is the inevitable result? People become lifted up in pride. That is not Gods design that men should uplift themselves one above the other. This was Satan’s problem; he didn’t like God’s way so I will do it my way. Satan was uplifted in pride because he was doing his own good works. Another example is given where a certain king was overthrown. How was he overthrown? He was overthrown because his son sat in the gate and undermined the king. Then all of a sudden he brings in a personal element saying if I was the judge, if I was the king, I’d do it like this. There is only one way that Gods glory can be revealed and that is through the uplifting of Gods character. We’ll now read of the mystery that has been hid for ages.

Colossians 1:26 [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

There is only one way that Gods glory can be revealed. God has through all eternity been the same and yet the mystery has been hid. How is the mystery revealed? What is the mystery? The mystery is that Christ can dwell in us and transform humanity in such a way that they reflect perfectly the glory of God. Satan’s eternal claim has been that Gods law wasn’t just and that it wasn’t possible for everyone to obey God’s law. Satan has claimed that it’s impossible for humanity to obey God’s law. In a way he proved it. Adam and Eve fell and he continued to prove that it was impossible till Jesus came. Jesus came and proved the opposite. He redeemed the thought of a just God whose law was perfect and that Gods law and Gods glory can be reinstated. It’s spoken of in Matthew. It’s something we need help with it. The Psalmist says that as soon as a baby is born, he goes astray. Do we have any hope of staying on the right path if this is the case? Left to our own devices we would go astray also. Thankfully we have not been left to our own devices.

“Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Even though a church may be composed of poor and uneducated and unknown persons, yet if they are believing, praying members, their influence will be felt for time and for eternity. If they go forth in simple faith, relying upon the promises of the word of God, they may accomplish great good. If they let their light shine, Christ is glorified in them, and the interest of his kingdom are advanced. If they have sense of their individual accountability to God, they will seek for opportunities to work, and will shine as lights in the world. They will be examples of sincerity and of zealous fervor in working out God’s plan for the salvation of souls. {RH, June 25, 1895 par. 4}

How will Gods kingdom be advanced? If we let our light shine. If we hide it under a bushel, Gods kingdom won’t be advanced. It says we are individually accountable to God. If we are accountable individually we will seek opportunities to work for souls. Are we advancing Gods kingdom or hindering it? As we work in our temporal labour as we go to work, school, random conversations, we are given opportunities to show that we recognise our accountability to God.

God will surely help those who seek Him for wisdom. We are not to wait until opportunities come to us; we are to seek for opportunities, and we are to be ready always to give a reason for the hope that is in us. If the worker keeps his heart uplifted in prayer, God will help him to speak the right word at the right time. {GW 120.1}

Are we ready always to give a reason for the hope in us? Everyone is different. I’ve found that some people are intellectually and spiritually prepared to give a reason for the hope in them but they are very shy and would rather stay in the corner. Is that what God wants? Not really. Then there are other people who can strike up conversation with anyone. They can talk easily but are they prepared to give a reason for the hope within them? Where do we fit in? Have we made the most of opportunities given to us? I’ve heard accounts of people telling me where opportunities have come their way and they didn’t say anything and then realised that opportunity will never come again and that person is now out of reach. We need to make the most of every moment that we have.

When we converse with people, sometimes we are inclined to tell them all the good news. Tell them gospel message, the Sabbath, the Sunday law, the reformation, everything. But do we listen? Sometimes we need to just listen. Listen to their experience and the things they have learnt. Listen to the way God has led them. Other people like to tell their story as well. Sometimes if you listen to what they are saying, listen to the holy spirit and say Lord, what do you want me to say and wait quietly for him to impress us. The aspect of revealing of Gods glory is not talking to everyone but waiting for an opportunity. Listening and waiting for that precious moment when someone is waiting for something.

He is our best friend, and we should seek for opportunities to speak of Him. . . . We should ever keep Him in view. Our conversation should be of a character that would be of no offense to God. {OHC 55.3}

Are we an offence to God? The twelve disciples, were they an offence to God? They were offended by Jesus behaviour. They thought, there is no way Jesus would allow himself to be taken prisoner. It should never happen. We look back on the event and we think, how the disciples could not have understood. It’s easy for humanity to see faults in others but not ourselves. We need to seek opportunities watching and waiting where the lord would have us witness for him.

As long as we are here in this world, we are on test and trial. We will be held accountable not only for the working out of our own salvation, but for the influence for good or evil that we exert on other souls. {MM 202.3}

Every word you speak, every action you perform, has an influence for good or evil upon those who associate with you; and, oh! how necessary it is that you have Christ dwelling in your heart by faith, that your words may be words of life, and your works, the works of love.–RH, June 12, 1888. {2MCP 433.3}

Are we a savour of life unto life or death unto death? I pray not. Or are we just neutral? We ought to be a savour of life unto life. If I ask that question seriously, I’m sure we’d all be quick to raise our hands. Every moment we need to consider these realities and say lord what would you have me to do. Do we sacrifice everything for the kingdom of heaven? I remember growing up knowing reasonably well the truth we hold dear. But what was it that motivated me to share with others? The motivation came from someone else doing the same to me. When Christ was on the mount of transfiguration, who came to bless, benefit and comfort him? It was other humanity. It was those who had gone the way before. We also at times in our lives require someone to come and help us. To strengthen our faith, to be near in a moment of difficulty. As we understand how that works in our life to be a blessing to other people. We can farewell persons in a cheery way even though they have wronged us. This is something that will reveal Gods glory. Jesus came and gave us a simple parable. It’s the parable of the lost sheep.

In the parable of the lost sheep is represented the wonderful love of Christ for the erring, wandering ones. He does not choose to remain with those who accept His salvation, bestowing all His efforts upon them and receiving their gratitude and love. The true shepherd leaves the flock that love him, and goes out into the wilderness, enduring hardship and facing danger and death, to seek and save the sheep that has wandered from the fold and that must perish if not brought back. When after diligent search the lost is found, the shepherd, though suffering from weariness, pain, and hunger, does not leave it in its weakness to follow him, he does not drive it along, but oh, wondrous love! he tenderly gathers it in his arms and, placing it upon his shoulder, bears it back to the fold. Then he calls upon his neighbors to rejoice with him over the lost that is found. {5T 603.3}

The shepherd noticed that one sheep was missing. Did he say, well I’ll put the 99 in the back part of the fold and the lost sheep may come back so I’ll leave the front part open. We need to go out after that one lost sheep. God wants us to be out searching for that one lost sheep. With one purpose in mind, where is the sheep. The picture is often shown of the lost sheep hanging over a precipice. Can we hear the bleating of the sheep when our life is very noisy, busy and active overwhelmed with every day cares? We need quiet time to seek out those wanting help.

Love for souls for whom Christ died means crucifixion of self. He who is a child of God should henceforth look upon himself as a link in the chain let down to save the world, one with Christ in His plan of mercy, going forth with Him to seek and save the lost. The Christian is ever to realize that he has consecrated himself to God, and that in character he is to reveal Christ to the world. The self-sacrifice, the sympathy, the love, manifested in the life of Christ are to reappear in the life of the worker for God. {DA 417.1}

We are told that we are like a link the chain. The all important chain that is let down from heaven to earth. If we don’t do our part the chain is broken. The soul may not come to realise the truth or be given an opportunity. We often assume that in a country like Australia, people have access to the Christian faith. Everyone has access to the bible. The vast majority do. It doesn’t mean that they have no need for someone who is seeking to help their soul. We are individually responsible for this work. This is our commission. We are sent forth to teach all nations the things entrusted to us. Daniels three friends before the golden image built by Nebuchadnezzar who decided his kingdom would go on forever. He didn’t counsel with God. His kingdom would come to an end. Nebuchadnezzar desired all people to worship this God but Daniels three friends wouldn’t go along with it. They didn’t bow down to the image. They stood tall. They wanted to be a witness for God. What a powerful witness they were over time. They thought they were going to die. Even if God allowed them to die, they still wouldn’t bow down. They were going to be obedient no matter what. What did Nebuchadnezzar say? He sent a decree to all the land. These men were a powerful witness to the God in heaven. They were cemented in the understanding that is given to us. Daniels three friends were in a land of idolatry. Some hadn’t known the true God of heaven but they wanted to learn more and be good and right.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? God led them to that point to see if they would be loyal and if they would be true to him and if they would reveal Gods character.

There exist in these last days evils similar to those that threatened the prosperity of the early church; and the teachings of the apostle John on these points should be carefully heeded. “You must have charity,” is the cry heard everywhere, especially from those who profess sanctification. But true charity is too pure to cover an unconfessed sin. While we are to love the souls for whom Christ died, we are to make no compromise with evil. We are not to unite with the rebellious and call this charity. God requires His people in this age of the world to stand for the right as unflinchingly as did John in opposition to soul-destroying errors. {AA 554.3}

His testimony in regard to the Saviour’s life and death was clear and forcible. Out of the abundance of a heart overflowing with love for the Saviour he spoke; and no power could stay his words. {AA 555.2}

There was a power that desired to stay John’s words. He was sent to Patmos to keep him quiet and it wasn’t working. It did the opposite. The things that John saw, the soul destroying errors that were coming in, the elements that were coming in so early, in the first generation, he saw a problem approaching but he made no compromise with evil. Often it is thought we need to comprise and to go out and reach young people on their level. We cannot be in places where we should not be. We can’t allow ourselves to be brought into temptation. We are to stand for the right unflinchingly. Love for souls must be the only motivator. When it is, we’ll draw them out and lead them to the fold. The shepherd could have gone to the sheep and fed them food and water and left him on the precipice. Our commission is to teach to reveal Gods glory.

Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

Not they will be converted but they will say yes or no. Do we say yes I want to be a partaker of Gods glory? I want to reveal that mystery hid from ages? That mystery that had been hid for so long? It has been revealed. God’s glory has been shown, Gods glory is just and perfect. We are required to make that manifest. My prayer is that we will see ourselves accountable. Individually accountable before God to go out and to seek and save that which was lost.

Amen.

Posted on October 29, 2010, in Divine Service Sermons. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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