As we approach the last days of this earth’s history, it becomes increasingly important for us to prepare for what is to come. In Testimonies, vol. 9, page 11, Sister Ellen White tells us that “the final movements will be rapid ones”.
“We are living in the time of the end. The fast-fulfilling signs of the times declare that the coming of Christ is near at hand. The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the earth. Plaques 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.
“The agencies of evil are combining their forces 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.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 9, page 11.
1. Called to be Witnesses
What is the role of Seventh-day Adventists in these last days? Their role is to proclaim the most important last day message to a perishing world.
“In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import—the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 9, page 19.
2. Prophecies are Being Fulfilled
Sister Ellen White pleads with believers to have faith in the Bible prophecies concerning the end time.
“Are we to wait until the fulfillment of the prophecies of the end before saying anything concerning them? Of what value will our words be then? Shall we wait until God’s judgments fall upon the transgressor before we tell him how to avoid them? Where is our faith in the word of God? Must we see things foretold come to pass before we will believe what He has said? In clear, distinct rays light has come to us, showing us that the great day of the Lord is near at hand, ‘even at the doors.’ Let us read and understand before it is too late.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 9, page 20.
3. A Holy Life
How can we prepare for the last day events that are coming upon us?
“As the end draws near and the work of giving the last warning extends, it becomes more important for those who accept present truth to have a clear understanding of the nature and influence of the Testimonies, which God in His providence has linked with the work of the third angel’s message from its very rise.” – Testimonies, vol. 5, page 654.
As pointed out in the above paragraph, God’s people who are living at the time of the end will be able to participate in the work of the third angel only if they have been studying and practising the instructions and counsels which the Lord has given in the nine volumes of the “Testimonies for the Church”.
“It is not only by preaching the truth, not only by distributing literature, that we are to witness for God. Let us remember that a Christlike life is the most powerful argument that can be advanced in favor of Christianity, and that a cheap Christian character works more harm in the world than the character of a worldling. Not all the books written can serve the purpose of a holy life. Men will believe, not what the minister preaches, but what the church lives. Too often the influence of the sermon preached from the pulpit is counteracted by the sermon preached in the lives of those who claim to be advocates of truth.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 9, page 21.
4. A Twofold Life
The devotional life of the remnant is a twofold life.
“Communion with God will ennoble the character and the life. Men will take knowledge of us, as of the first disciples, that we have been with Jesus. This will impart to the worker a power that nothing else can give. Of this power he must not allow himself to be deprived. We must live a twofold life—a life of thought and action, of silent prayer and earnest work.” – Ellen G. White, Ministry of Healing, page 512.
“Prayer and effort, effort and prayer, will be the business of your life. You must pray as though the efficiency and praise were all due to God, and labor as though duty were all your own.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 4, page 538.
“No man is safe for a day or an hour without prayer.” – Ellen G. White, Great Controversy, page 530. “He who does nothing but pray will soon cease to pray.” – Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, page 101.
5. Two Errors to be Avoided
While we are to have zeal for a holy life and also to be faithful, we are to avoid two errors, as brought out by Sister Ellen White.
“There are two errors against which the children of God—particularly those who have just come to trust in His grace—especially need to guard. The first, ... , is that of looking to their own works, trusting to anything they can do, to bring themselves into harmony with God. He who is trying to become holy by his own works in keeping the law, is attempting an impossibility. All that man can do without Christ is polluted with selfishness and sin. It is the grace of Christ alone, through faith, that can make us holy.
“The opposite and no less dangerous error is that belief in Christ releases men from keeping the law of God; that since by faith alone we become partakers of the grace of Christ, our works have nothing to do with our redemption.” – Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, pages 59, 60.
Sister Ellen White explains further:
“We do not earn salvation by our obedience; for salvation is the free gift of God, to be received by faith. But obedience is the fruit of faith. ‘Ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.’ 1 John 3:5, 6. Here is the true test. If we abide in Christ, if the love of God dwells in us, our feelings, our thoughts, our purposes, our actions, will be in harmony with the will of God as expressed in the precepts of His holy law. ‘Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.’ 1 John 3:7. Righteousness is defined by the standard of God’s holy law, as expressed in the ten precepts given on Sinai.
“That so-called faith in Christ which professes to release men from the obligation of obedience to God, is not faith, but presumption. ‘By grace are ye saved through faith.’ But ‘faith, if it hath not works, is dead.’ Ephesians 2:8; James 2:17. Jesus said of Himself before He came to earth, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.’ Psalm 40:8. And just before He ascended again to heaven He declared, ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.’ John 15:10. The scripture says, ‘Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments .... He that saith he abideth in Him ought also so to walk even as He walked.’ 1 John 2:3-6. ‘Because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps.’ 1 Peter 2:21.
“The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been,—just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents,—perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness. If eternal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the happiness of the whole universe would be imperiled. The way would be open for sin, with all its train of woe and misery, to be immortalized.” – Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, pages 61, 62.
6. The Necessity of Bible Study
In preparing for the last days, nothing can take the place of diligent and regular Bible study.
“Christians should be preparing for what is to soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise, and this preparation they should make by diligently studying the Word of God and striving to conform their lives to its precepts.” – Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, page 626.
“None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict.” – Ellen G. White, Great Controversy, pages 593, 594.
“Our people need to understand the oracles of God; they need to have a systematic knowledge of the principles of revealed truth, which will fit them for what is coming upon the earth and prevent them from being carried about by every wind of doctrine.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 5, page 273.
“The time will come when many will be deprived of the written Word. But if this Word is printed in the memory, no one can take it from us.” – Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, page 64.
7. Preparing for Last Day Events
We are to live as if each day might be our last.
“We should watch and work and pray as though this were the last day that would be granted us.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 5, page 200.
“Each morning consecrate yourselves and your children to God for that day. Make no calculation for months or years; these are not yours. One brief day is given you. As if it were your last on earth, work during its hours for the Master. Lay all your plans before God, to be carried out or given up, as His providence shall indicate.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 7, page 44.
Although we are to live as if each day might be our last, it does not mean that we no longer need to pay attention to our daily work, activities, and responsibilities.
“Christ says, ‘Occupy till I come’ [Luke 19:13]. It may be but a few years until our life’s history shall close, but we must occupy till then.” – Ellen G. White, Review and Herald, April 21, 1896.
“Christ declared that when He comes some of His waiting people will be engaged in business transactions. Some will be sowing in the field, others reaping and gathering in the harvest, and others grinding at the mill. It is not God’s will that His elect shall abandon life’s duties and responsibilities and give themselves up to idle contemplation, living in a religious dream.” – Ellen G. White, Manuscript, 26, 1901.
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is coming again very soon, as the signs foretell. Let us continue to use the opportunities which God is providing us to do more earnest work for Him.
“A great work must be done all through the world, and let no one conclude that because the end is near there is no need of special effort to build up the various institutions as the cause shall demand. .... When the Lord shall bid us make no further effort to build meetinghouses and establish schools, sanitariums and publishing institutions, it will be time for us to fold our hands and let the Lord close up the work, but now is our opportunity to show our zeal for God and our love for humanity.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies, vol. 6, page 440.
May the Lord bless you richly.
Prayer: “Our Father in heaven, thank You for giving us the opportunity to prepare for the soon coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Please help us to continue to be faithful to You, especially in these last days. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
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Questions for Thought:
1. What are two errors to be avoided in regard to righteousness by faith?
2. What is God’s will for us in these last days?