Greetings MOL Family!
The wind that we will be studying today is remarkable for this factor: It awakens no reaction. By its very nature, it lulls. Let us begin the first part of our final lesson in this series – The Soft Zephyrs of Laodiceanism.
The Most Dangerous Wind Of All
Turn, please, to the 27th chapter of Acts. There are some very interesting winds in this chapter. In fact, this is one of the ‘windiest’ chapters in the Bible. You remember it’s the story of Paul’s voyage, as a captive, to Rome. He was in a ship under the command of Julius, a centurion of Augustus’ band. After they had sailed up the coast of Syria, they sailed on to Crete and came, in the 8th verse, to a place called the Fair Havens. The 9th and 10th verses tell us that Paul, observing the time of year it was (and knowing the weather conditions), told the men in charge that they’d better stay there that winter, and not try to venture out. But, it wasn’t the best harbor in the world, and they were wishing that they could go on to some other place.
And the 13th verse says:
And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed… – Acts 27:13
That soft, south wind made them think that everything was what? Safe and secure. But the next verse, following hard on the heels of the 13th, is full of meaning:
But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. – Acts 27:14
Then they were really in the storm for days, as you remember, and it ended in a shipwreck. Their lives were saved through the providence of God.
If you study the map – most of you have maps at the end of your Bible – you’ll see the territory that that ship covered: miles and miles in that awful tempest, that terrible storm. And it all came because men let a soft breeze influence them instead of listening to the inspired prophet of God.
I think this is full of meaning for us today, my friends. Of all the winds that I have studied with you – the winds of persecution, the winds of violence, the winds of heresies, the winds of fanaticism, and all the rest – this is the most dangerous of all: the soft zephyr that blows so quietly, so gently. It’s like a summer evening, just calm. And really, what it makes you feel like doing is just relaxing and enjoying it, and pretty soon, going to sleep.
That’s exactly what the enemy designs by it; that’s what he wants. He wants a sleeping church, right at the time when the greatest storm of all the ages is about to burst upon the Remnant. He wants a sleeping church.
Do you know the message of this breeze? It’s ‘Peace, peace.’
A Storm Is Coming… Please, Wake Up!
Turn, please, to the 13th chapter of Ezekiel. We’ll see what God says about this. You remember back then in the days when Jerusalem was being scourged because of its sins, God raised up prophets like Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and Daniel. But there were false prophets, too. The 10th verse:
Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace… – Ezekiel 13:10
What was their message? Peace. What did God say? No peace.
Turn to Jeremiah, the 6th chapter, and see what this prophet down in Jerusalem, taught of God, was telling the people, and what the false prophets were telling. Jeremiah, the 6th chapter, and the 14th verse:
They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. – Jeremiah 6:14
And so, as we feel these soft zephyrs blow against our cheeks, God help us not to be lulled into a carnal security and sleep on the enchanted ground. We’re almost home, dear friends, but between us and the coming of Jesus lie these awful winds, these burning winds, these icy winds, these tearing winds – all these winds. And this soft zephyr is designed to put us to sleep and think that everything is peace; that we’re all right.
Let’s turn to the 3rd chapter of Revelation, and we’ll see the picture that Jesus paints of our condition today. We have many problems, but this is our greatest problem. Revelation, the 3rd chapter, and the 14th verse:
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. – Revelation 3:14-16
It seems that the condition that Jesus abhors more than any other is what condition? Lukewarm. And the pitiful thing is, friends, that many who are in a lukewarm condition are proud of it. They boast about being in the middle of the road. They wouldn’t be caught with any heretical movement. They wouldn’t be caught in any fanatical movement. They’re sure that they wouldn’t yield to the hurricane of persecution. They believe in law.
What’s their problem? Let me see if we can find it here, this comment in the book In Heavenly Places, page 277. Says the messenger to the Remnant:
But I warn you, be careful how you settle down in the middle walk between spirituality and worldliness. – In Heavenly Places, pg. 277
This is the middle of a road, but not the road to Heaven. Let’s read this again:
But I warn you, be careful how you settle down in the middle walk between spirituality and worldliness. – Ibid
When God warns us against extremes, friends, He’s not asking us to be lukewarm. The middle of the road which God is calling us to is the middle of the heavenly road, right in the center of God’s will. But Laodicea is content (watch the point!) to choose a middle road between God’s high standard and the wickedness of the world. It’s not as bad as the world (oh, no!); neither is it as good as the apostolic church. And before the outpouring of God’s final judgments, there is to be among the people of God a revival of primitive godliness such “as has not been witnessed since apostolic times” (see Great Controversy, page 464). Yes, amen, and thank the Lord, friends: it’s coming, and it’s on the way.
But no zephyr of ‘peace, peace’ will ever bring it to us. The whole tendency of a ‘peace and safety’ message is to lull us to sleep. It is as if the conductor were to come through on the train and say, “Well, folks, it’s about time to take it easy and relax. The train is moving along. Everything is fine. In the morning, we’ll be arriving at the Grand Central Station. You can just go to bed, take it easy, and the porter will call you in the morning when we get into the station.”
That might be wonderful if it were true, friends. But since it isn’t true, it isn’t wonderful. It’s terrible. But God pointed out the false prophets in Ezekiel’s day, and in Jeremiah’s day, who were giving to Judah and Israel a message of what? Peace. And He points that out today. He warns us against these lulling zephyrs, this ‘peace and safety’ message.
Let’s read this statement here in Testimonies to Ministers, page 409:
Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan. If doubts and unbelief are cherished, the faithful ministers will be removed from the people who think they know so much. – Testimonies to Ministers, pg. 409
Do you remember there in the Laodicean message Jesus says, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot,” and you say, “I am…” what? “Rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” and you don’t know it (see Revelation 3:17). Those who are under the influence of the Laodicean zephyrs think they know. God says, “You don’t know.”
If doubts and unbelief are cherished, the faithful ministers will be removed from the people who think they know so much. – Ibid
Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan. – Ibid
Do not think, my dear friends, that all that the false prophets teach is heresy. Oh, no.
The patience of God has an object, but you are defeating it. He is allowing a state of things to come that you would fain see counteracted by and by, but it will be too late…Who knows whether God will not give you up to the deceptions you love? Who knows but that the preachers who are faithful, firm, and true may be the last who shall offer the gospel of peace to our unthankful churches? It may be that the destroyers are already training under the hand of Satan and only wait the departure of a few more standard-bearers to take their places, and with the voice of the false prophet cry, ‘Peace, peace,’ when the Lord hath not spoken peace. I seldom weep, but now I find my eyes blinded with tears; they are falling upon my paper as I write. It may be that erelong all prophesyings among us will be at an end, and the voice which has stirred the people may no longer disturb their carnal slumbers. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, pg. 77
Oh, my dear friends, if anything should awaken us from the Laodicean sleep, this ought to. What do you say? But the message of ‘peace, peace’ will not do it – never in this world.
Let me tell you something. A few years ago, a man ordered a barometer from a mail order house. By and by the barometer arrived. He unpacked it and hung it up on the wall. But as he did, looking at it, of course, as one would look at a new barometer, he noticed that it pointed to ‘Hurricane Warning.’ He said, “Well, there’s something wrong with this barometer.” And he boxed it up and sent it back. But meanwhile the hurricane struck, my friends. He believed the soft zephyrs that were blowing when he looked at the barometer instead of believing the barometer.
Our greatest peril today, as a church and as individuals, is to look at our statistics, look at our reports, look at our growth. And thank God, friends, for every soul that accepts the message and thank God for every offering that’s given through love. But I want to tell you something. Like those sailors there at that harbor in Crete that Paul warned, when the soft winds blow softly there may be a hurricane – it’s possible – before long.
It was, there in the 27th chapter of Acts. So it was with this man I told you about that unpacked the barometer. So it will be with every individual that today allows these soft zephyrs of “Peace, peace, you’re getting along quite well. Just be faithful. Keep keeping the Sabbath and paying your tithe and giving your offerings, and pretty soon we’ll land in the harbor of God.”
My friends, a storm is coming, relentless in its fury, says inspiration (see Evangelism, page 199). And God forbid that we should think that this is an ordinary time, and be content with business as usual.
And now, what is the cure for this? As with every other wind, the answer is Isaiah 32:2:
…A Man shall be as an hiding place from the wind… – Isaiah 32:2
And that Man is who? Jesus Christ. If we’ll come to Jesus, friends, He’ll cure us of this ‘peace, peace,’ and self-righteous attitude, this spirit of choosing between the terrible wickedness of the world and only going halfway toward the high standards of God. He’ll cure us of that whole thing.
Not only is this world languishing around us; this may even be your own condition. Do you want the Cure? Come to Jesus, without delay!
Until next week, our final lesson in this series… Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then.
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.