Dear brethren of the Reform Movement around the World,
May the Lord Jesus Christ be with you as we approach the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018!
Inspiration brings to us these timely warnings: “The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the earth. Plagues 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.” Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 11.
“The time is at hand when there will be sorrow in the world that no human balm can heal. The Spirit of God is being withdrawn. Disasters by sea and by land follow one another in quick succession. How frequently we hear of earthquakes and tornadoes, of destruction by fire and flood, with great loss of life and property! Apparently, these calamities are capricious outbreaks of disorganized, unregulated forces of nature, wholly beyond the control of man; but in them all, God's purpose may be read. They are among the agencies by which He seeks to arouse men and women to a sense of their danger.” Prophets and Kings, p. 277.
Reading the above texts may seem like we are reading current news even though these warnings were written more than 100 years ago.
Considering the realities that we are witnessing, how is our preparation going in anticipation of the last-day events?
The apostle Peter, who lived at the beginning of the Christian era, wrote: “The day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that day, the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness as you wait for and earnestly desire the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be on fire and be dissolved, and the elements will melt with the heat. But based on His promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell” 2 Peter 3: 10-13 (Holman CSB).
As we approach this new year, we need to evaluate our spiritual condition as individuals, families, and as a church.
We must ask ourselves "How much time am I spending on a daily basis prayerfully studying Scripture?" How about our family altars? Are we holding morning and evening worship together? Are we making the necessary preparations for the Sabbath? Are we attending our prayer meetings?"
In the book The Desire of Ages, Ellen G. White advises us to spend one hour a day studying especially the last scenes of the life of Christ. This practice would strengthen our spirituality more than any other religious duties. We need to go with Jesus to Gethsemane and to Calvary to understand the great cost of salvation and how terrible sin is in the sight of God.
Our eternal salvation and that of our family must be our great priority. Jesus declared: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things [food, clothes, shelter] shall be added unto you,” Matthew 6:33.
As we consider the great crisis which is before us, we recognize our weakness and human limitation to face the coming trials, but we have a wonderful promise in Hebrews 4:16, “Let us, therefore, come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Concluding this message, I would strongly recommend that we:
- Take time to prayerfully study the Word of God every day;
- Restore the family altar (morning and evening worship), to make our home a Bethel (the gate of heaven);
- Study the life, the mission, the death, the resurrection of Christ, His intercession in the most holy place, and His second coming in glory;
- Study deeply the book The Desire of Ages. After the Bible, this book is the best tool to know Christ.
- Pray and work for the unity of God’s people around the world, in response to the prayer of Christ before His crucifixion.
- Observe the seventh day Sabbath, respecting its limits, and making this wonderful day a special time of communion with God and family in nature as much as possible.
- Take serious heed to the “eleventh commandment,” loving one another as Christ loved us.
- Dedicate time to missionary work as individuals and as a church.
To be eternally with Christ, it is worth to renounce all things that are a hindrance to our salvation. What Satan offers to us is too cheap in comparison with those things that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
Christ said: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24).
Are we willing to do that? May the Lord give us grace to fulfill these simple conditions!
Your brother in the blessed hope,
Davi Paes Silva