I am here in Battle Creek Michigan looking out my picture window as the trees are just coming into their prime fall colors. A light rain is falling and my trusted Labrador retriever is by my side. It’s a Friday evening and I have an hour or so before I have to be at my next meeting. As I spend some time in prayer this evening I sense the Lord especially near. Recently, my church was packed with 1300 people, most of which were union delegates and family from around the world field.
I took my usual spot as an “extra” greeter and got to meet and greet many of these great and godly people. Indeed I was experiencing the truth of the Scripture that “it is both good (wonderful) and pleasant when God’s people live together in unity” (Psalm 133:1). This unity is something God ordained that “comes down”, like the dew of Hermon or the precious oil flowing down Aaron’s beard at his anointing, and oh to enjoy and participate in its festive fragrance!
As some of the delegates entered, I would ask them where they were from and how the gospel was going forward in their area. A few who were in more difficult territory shared with me some of their trials, but most told me of the triumphs of God’s gospel and their excitement for the future. It was indeed a high Sabbath as my local church pulled together to host the world church, with our president Ted Wilson as the main speaker.
That Sabbath of course was followed by three and one half days of Annual Council, where the delegates got together to discuss the business of the church. There was, of course, the Non-Compliance policy, matters of finance and other important and pragmatic issues. But what struck me to the very core of my being were the heartfelt global accounts of the good news that brings hope and changes lives.
As I think back on the humble beginnings of this movement—which was organized right here in Battle Creek—I am comforted and strongly encouraged with the truth that this church rests on a sure foundation. It is a prophetic movement, it is God’s last day church and “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mat. 16:18). Listen to what the Spirit said through Ellen White:
“Satan’s efforts to hinder the work and to destroy the workmen have not ceased; but God has had a care for his servants and for his work. In reviewing our past history, having traveled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, praise God! As I see what the Lord has wrought, I am filled with astonishment and with confidence in Christ as leader” (Life Sketches, page 196).
“The work begun in feebleness and obscurity has continued to increase and strengthen. Publishing houses and missions in many lands attest to its growth. In place of the edition of our first paper carried to the post office in a carpetbag, many hundreds of thousands of copies of our various periodicals are now sent out monthly from the offices of publication. The hand of God has been with his work to prosper and build it up” (Ibid, p. 195). As some are fearful about the future of their church, they need not be. “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and his teaching in our past history. We are debtors to God to use every advantage he has entrusted to us to beautify the truth by holiness of character, and to send the messages of warning, and of comfort, of hope and love, to those who are in the darkness of error and sin” (Ibid, p. 196).
The end is near and now we must move with alacrity. God is pouring His light of truth upon us that we might take it to the world. Soon and very soon, one interest will prevail and one subject will swallow up every other- Christ our righteousness. As that message is proclaimed, God will send the latter rain to give it power and efficiency in reaching the hearts of those to whom it is sent. The Message will be so compelling and heart stirring that church relations and even family ties will be powerless to keep those who hear the truth from unreservedly and enthusiastically following. Although it is true that company after company will leave the ranks, tribe after tribe will also enter God’s last day Remnant Movement. Soon the end will come. Soon our omnipotent Lord God will receive His long-awaited bride who has made herself ready, all arrayed in the beautiful, spotless and pure garments of the righteousness of Christ (Revelation 19:8).
Be sure my friend today, that this Advent Movement rests on a sure foundation of solid Bible truth. Through this church, the “mystery of God will be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets” (Revelation 10:7). It may appear to fall but it will not fall. The ship will go through safely into harbor. In a time when the spirit of pulling away from fellow laborers is rampant and “the spirit of disorganization is in the very air we breathe”, we must like never before press together- loving one another and supporting one another with a teachable spirit. We must “esteem others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3b), and listen humbly to the voice of our divine Head and His appointed church leadership with which He has invested His authority and power.
Now is a time like never before to come into oneness with our high Priest in His “office work” on our behalf and on behalf of others. Now is a time like never before to cultivate the gift of faith that God has given, for “in this last generation the parable of the mustard seed is to reach a signal and triumphant fulfillment. The little seed will become a tree. The last message of warning and mercy is to go to every nation and kindred and tongue, to take out of them a people for His name” Acts 15:14 (Amazing Grace, p. 17). Then at last, the fourth angel will have done its work and “The earth will be lightened with the glory of God” (Rev. 18:1).
This Movement rests on a sure foundation-a Remnant Movement known for keeping the Commandments of God, the faith of Jesus and having the Spirit of Prophecy (Rev. 14:12, 19:10). It will triumph, and God would have us all triumph with it- and Oh, “heaven is cheap enough”!
May God’s glory be your greatest joy today and always!
Rob Benardo is the Senior Pastor of Battle Creek Tabernacle.