Greetings MOL Family!
Welcome to our final lesson in this series, “Hiding Place From Every Wind”. We pray that you take heed to the principles shared, so that you will find safety in the loving arms of Jesus; and not be tossed to and fro. Because the storm is not coming… the storm is here!
On One Side or The Other
Continuing on from Part 1, last week, I want us to notice again the point of the middle of the road.
But I warn you, be careful how you settle down in the middle walk between spirituality and worldliness…You will be wholly on one side or the other… – In Heavenly Places, pg. 277
…Ye cannot serve God and mammon. – Matthew 6:24
It’s fashionable today to not be too bad and not too good. It’s fashionable today, even in the Remnant church, to follow the fashions of the world, just so you don’t do it as bad as some people.
It is a marvel to me, my dear friends, how people can get so worked up over the modern fashions and think that the answer lies in just a few inches. That’s an amazing thing to me, how something as wicked and adulterous as these modern fashions can go unrebuked among us. And if the rebuke is made, so many people think that that means ‘just don’t go to the utter limits of outright indecency.’
This is a sample, an illustration of what I’m dealing with in this final lesson, my dear friends. And as long as Laodicea (watch the point!), as long as Laodicea can say, “Look at me. I don’t dress the way the ‘extreme’ folks downtown do. And I keep the Sabbath. I pay tithe. And look at all the things I don’t do. I don’t do this and I don’t do that and I don’t do the other thing,” we think, friends, that we ought to have a pat on the back for not being ‘extreme.’
Did you ever hear this little verse recited?
Be not the first by which the new is tried, Nor yet the last to cast the old aside.
Did you ever hear that? That’s supposed to be part of the law and the gospel, to know how to dress and do a lot of other things. But the difficulty is, friends, it wasn’t an inspired author that wrote this. And there are some people, God pity us, in this time of peace and safety, who actually think that that, if not in verse, at least in principle, is found in the Spirit of Prophecy. And nothing remotely like it is, my friends. To the contrary: whatever is sin is sin, no matter how new it is. And what is righteous is righteous, no matter how hoary with age it is, my friends.
We’re living in an age of extravagance. But if my neighbor has a home that costs twice as much as mine costs, no matter how much mine cost, I’m a poor man and a careful man and a self-denying, sacrificing man. Isn’t that true? Or is it? And so with clothes, and automobiles, and all the rest.
Ah, friends, the judgment is going on. And may I tell you something? While literally millions are starving over there in West Africa, and other parts in the world, we are spending enough in beauty shops to feed thousands of them. We are spending enough in extra gadgets on automobiles that are only for show to feed thousands more. We are spending enough on extra furnishings in our homes that are just status symbols to feed thousands more. And so, I might go on with the various examples.
But I want to tell you something, friends: no matter how extravagant you are, you can find some people in the Remnant church that are far more extravagant than you are, and thus the soft zephyr blows that says, “Don’t be alarmed. Don’t get fanatical. Don’t get extreme. Just keep in the middle of the road.” Do you see what I mean, my friends?
The apostolic church got so full of the thought of carrying the message to the whole world that in the time of crisis, people sold their property and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. And Peter and John didn’t get status symbols that made them look like the richest men in Jerusalem, either. When they met that cripple and he, looking at them, begged for an alm, Peter and John could only say:
…Silver and gold have I none. – Acts 3:6
But oh, thank God, they could add:
…Such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. – Acts 3:6
It will take something more than our easy-going movements and our desire to keep up with the Joneses. And that doesn’t mean, you know, to doing anything bad. Why, it would be a disgrace if a Seventh-day Adventist would do something and get in the penitentiary, like robbing a bank or bootlegging or something like that. Oh, no, we must do nothing like that. Just be good. But be careful – don’t get extreme; don’t get fanatical.
We read about the pioneers of this message, and it’s fashionable to tell about their sacrifices. It’s the thing to do in promoting offerings to tell about how Bro. James White labored with a pain in his side to earn money to give this message, how he mowed the hay at a few cents an acre, and how Sister White, since they were so poor, had to choose one morning between taking the few pennies she had and buying some food for her little baby or buying a little bit of cloth to make it a garment.
Oh, that is all very fine. We come from a wonderful heritage. But don’t let anybody get anywhere near that kind of sacrifice today! That would indeed be fanatical and extreme, wouldn’t it? Do you see what I mean, my friends? And yet we’re told that this work is going to be finished in sacrifice greater than it took to begin it. I wonder when and where we shall see it. I’ll tell you this, friends: if we could go today to some portions of the world, we would see just that kind of sacrifice among the people of God, but not very much of it here.
I remember when Elder F. D. Nichol, the editor of the Review (several years ago), spent some time in a trip around the world visiting our missionaries and our people in foreign lands. And he testified and wrote it in the Review when he came back that one of the biggest things that impressed him on the trip was the riches and the extravagance of our people here in America; the impact of it as he came back to this country, after being in the foreign fields.
Do you know something, friends? If you were to take all the people in this world and divide them into two classes – the upper class and the lower class, as far as riches and standard of living, comforts of life and all that – do you know which half of the world those of us in the U.S. would be in? The upper half.
Now, let’s take that upper half and divide it again. We’re taking half the world, now, that’s in the upper half as to standard of living. We’re going to divide it again. Do you know which one of those halves (a quarter now) we’d be in? Again, the upper half. And you can do it again and again, my friends, and still it’s true.
There’s hardly any portion of the world that has the affluence, the rolling tides of money, and the things that money can buy that this country has at the present time. And what are we doing with it?
Do you know that as our tithe increases due to inflation and due to this great stream of money that’s running, our offerings do not keep pace with the tithe in proportion? What does that mean? At the very time, when because of a rising tithe, showing a rising income, we ought to have more and a greater proportion to give to the cause of God, the figures show that we are spending more and more on ourselves.
Where’s it going, my friends? Ah, that God may help us in the closing hours of this world to examine our bank accounts, examine our books of record, and see what we’ve been spending our money on.
Do you believe that this is meat in due season, friends? But the soft zephyrs of Laodiceanism will never stir you up. The ‘peace and safety’ message will never wake you up. Oh, no. Something must happen to us, my dear friends. God forbid that persecution should have to come to our beloved church before we wake up; for if we wait for that to wake us up, we shall, like the foolish virgins, find that already it’s too late to get the oil. Now is the time to wake up. Now is the time.
What Will Wake Us Up?
Please turn to Matthew, the 26th chapter. Here we find Laodiceanism represented by the sleeping disciples. You remember that Christ had been with His disciples in the upper room, and He had told them of the approaching crisis, but they weren’t listening very much about that. They were thinking of the coming kingdom.
So as they went to Gethsemane, and Jesus met that terrible encounter with the powers of darkness, He urged his disciples to do what? Pray. And what else besides pray? Watch. And what did they do? They went to sleep. Volume 2, page 205:
By these sleeping disciples is represented a sleeping church, when the day of God’s visitation is nigh. It is a time of clouds and thick darkness, when to be found asleep is most perilous. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 2, pg. 205
By these sleeping disciples is represented what?
…A sleeping church, when the day of God’s visitation is nigh. – Ibid
I want to tell you something, friends: a hurricane doesn’t put people to sleep. A tornado doesn’t put people to sleep. A burning wind doesn’t put people to sleep, nor some terrible dust storm. The thing that puts people to sleep is this soft zephyr of Laodiceanism, this “Peace, peace. All is well. Don’t get excited. Keep in the middle of the road. Don’t get real bad like the wicked world, but don’t get on fire like the apostolic church. Somebody might think you’re a fanatic.”
Do you know the difference, friends, between faith and fanaticism? Would you like to know? Both are on fire. One is on fire from the Most Holy Place. It has the Word of God. The other is on fire from the enemy. The difference between faith and fanaticism is this: faith is enthusiastic about doing everything God says; fanaticism rides its own hobby and has distortions, perversions.
Oh, that God may stir our hearts! He certainly wants to keep us from extremism and fanaticism, and God keep us from it. But, ah, if the only way we know to keep away from fanaticism is to be lulled to sleep with this Laodiceanism zephyr, God pity us when the hurricane comes, friends, because it’ll be too late to get ready then! Too late…
Now, we’re looking at Matthew, the 26th chapter, and we see Jesus. How many times does He go and pray? How many times does He come and find the disciples sleeping? Three. Isn’t it pitiful, my friends? And Jesus says this represents what? A sleeping church. Oh, friends, what will wake us up?
Did Jesus go to sleep that night? No. And why not? Ah, there was a burden on His heart. Everybody woke up pretty soon. Do you know what woke them up? The mob woke them up. And believe me the Remnant church is going to be wide awake in a short time, when the mob comes. But only those who have prayed with Jesus in this preparatory time will know how to meet the mob.
Peter thought he knew how to meet the mob. He met them with a what? Sword. But only a little while later he was doing what? Denying his Lord. One of the saddest verses in the Bible is the 56th verse of the 26th chapter, the last part:
…Then all the disciples forsook him and fled. – Matthew 26:56
Listen, friends, did they mean to do it? Was it some deadly heresy that had infected them? Was that what caused it? Oh, no. They had slept when they should have been praying. They felt secure when they were anything but secure.
There’s only one place to hide, my friends, and that’s in Jesus. If we will press up close to Him, we shall find in His broken heart a place to hide. But, I want to tell you something, friends, and if you forget everything else we’ve studied in this series, remember this: there is no way to hide in Jesus from any wind, from every wind, without sharing His sorrow over sin and His burden for a perfected people. May I repeat that? There’s no way to hide in Jesus from these winds without sharing His sorrow over sin, and His burden for a purified and perfected people.
Oh, if we will, instead of allowing these soft zephyrs to put us to sleep, if we will go with Jesus in our imagination to Gethsemane and Calvary, there we shall find evidence of a loving heart, broken for us, that will keep us awake, my friends. It will keep us awake. We’ll pay no attention to these soft zephyrs. While our Saviour is giving His life for us, we will be alive, and alert, and awake to give our lives for Him, and with Him, for others.
You remember that wonderful statement in the book Education, page 263, which tells us that:
The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. – Education, pg. 263
All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony, but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. What happened in Gethsemane and on the cross is to help us to understand how sin hurt God the minute it started, and how it’s still hurting Him. This is enough to keep us awake, friends, if we can sense just a little bit of it.
This (please watch this point!), this is what Christ hoped to accomplish by taking those disciples with Him into Gethsemane. Oh, He hoped that as they would see the blood trickling down His face and hear His agonizing cries, He hoped that sin would lose its chilling, lulling power, and that they would exert themselves to pray with Him and to plead with Him for victory.
This is what He’s hoping for today. This is what His heart is longing for. And friends, all over this world – you and I have no way to measure it, but I know it’s true because we’re in that time of night – all over this world God has men and women (yes, and boys and girls), whose hearts are heart-to-heart with Jesus in this solemn, closing work. They’re praying instead of sleeping. They’re pleading with God for victory instead of being lulled to sleep by the Laodicean zephyr. They are finding in their lives the victories that come through pleading with God, and they’re laying hold of other souls and involving them in this spirit of intercession.
The revival is on its way. The reformation is on its way. Are you involved? Will you be? Oh, God grant it for every soul!
Precious Lord, make these scenes real and living to us. Here in Gethsemane while Jesus prays, may we watch with Him and not be lulled to sleep by the zephyrs of peace. May our hearts bleed with His. May our tears mingle with His for ourselves and for dear friends, and loved ones, and brothers and sisters, and for a needy world.
Oh, Jesus, keep us praying till the vision of Thy love so fills us that nothing else shall have any power over us, and thus may we share in the latter rain and the loud cry and the finishing of this work and the triumph of Thy church, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.
We’ll see you next week, for an upper room experience, in preparation for the Latter Rain… Maranatha!
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.