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"....To the church in thy house..." Philemon 1:2
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" Psalm 133:1

June 2014 A Publication of Seventh Day Home Church Fellowships Vol 05 - Issue 03

Our Ever Present Danger

By Thomas Akens

. . . In reviewing our past history, having travelled over every step of advance to our present standing, I can say, Praise God! As I see what God has wrought, I am filled with astonishment and with confidence in Christ as Leader. 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. . . . (General Conference Daily Bulletin, January 29, 1893, par. 8).

THESE words, first spoken before the assembly of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists 111 years ago, should be echoed from house to house and from pulpit to pulpit across our land as never before. They are but an echo of the words of Moses recorded in Deuteronomy so many centuries ago to the children of Israel before they crossed the river Jordan into the promised land – a warning not to forget. Like Moses, Sister White spoke to the second generation of young Seventh-day Adventists to point them back to the Lord’s leading in the work of organization, and admonished them to know for themselves the peculiar truths committed to their trust. It serves us now as a solemn warning of our ever present danger, expressed in that little word, forget.

The pages of both sacred and secular history reveal that forgetfulness or neglect has ever been one of man’s most dangerous foes. Yet forgetfulness is nothing of itself. It is not so much the forgetting that is the real danger, but the object of that forgetfulness – it’s what we forget.

What were the Seventh-day Adventists people and their leaders being admonished not to forget? Answer, “the way the Lord has led us, and his teaching in our past history.” No greater danger for us to fear today, but that we should forget these two things. Yet we need not fear; for the solution to the danger has already been given us – We must actively call to mind the very things of which we are warned not to forget. We must familiarize ourselves intellectually and experientially with the Lord’s leading among us as a people, and his teaching in our past history. These two things should be so indelibly engraved upon the mind of every Seventh-day Adventist and Christian alike, that neither raging storms of error nor the subtle underminings of doubt can sweep them away. They are the divinely appointed safeguards of our faith.

I invite you, dear reader, to join me as we take a brief look at the significance of these words.

Let us first note carefully the two things of which we are admonished not to forget:

1. The way the Lord has led us

2. His teaching in our past history

In this issue we will take a brief look at the first point – the way the Lord has led us.

The Lord’s Way

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8)

What are the Lord’s ways? As I have studied the Bible over the course of my Christian life, I have come to the conclusion that there are three divinely appointed ways by which the Lord leads his people:

1. His word or law (written & audible – the rule or standard)

2. His spirit (the Lord’s abiding presence in third person)

3. His providence (history – the record of the Lord’s dealings among men and their dealings with him)

These three together make up the way the Lord has led us.

I heard a true story once which serves to illustrate the way or manner by which the Lord leads his people.

The story was told of a port city whose coastal waters were so treacherous to navigate that many a sailor had been lost trying to make it safely to harbor. The people of that city then decided that a means must be devised in order to guide the vessels safely into harbor. It was then determined that three beacon-lights were to be set atop towers, and each one to be positioned at a specified location. These were to serve as guide posts to those who would navigate her waters. However, it was only when these three lights were perfectly aligned, and appeared as one light to the captain of the ship that the vessel could be safely brought to port. With this system in place, sailors were then able to safely enter harbor. If, however, one failed to maintain these lights in perfect alignment, he, his vessel, and all aboard would soon be dashed upon the treacherous shoals which lurked unseen beneath the surface of the waters.

It is in this same way that the Lord has ordained for his people a means of navigating their vessels safely into the harbor of eternal life. It is the divinely ordained safeguard upon which not only our temporal, but our eternal life depends. He has positioned three great lights – his word, his spirit, and his providence – to act as divine lights to his pilgrim people, and as it was in the story, so it is with God’s people: unless we maintain these three lights in perfect harmony, and their light shines to us as one, our vessel will be dashed against the shoals of sin.

Thus the Lord has ordained that any one of these lights by themselves is not a safe guide for men to follow, but they must all be brought together in perfect harmony. Herein lies our only safety as Christians. Here too is to be found the reason for many a life shipwrecked on the shoals of sin.

“But,” asks one, “Are not all of these sufficient in themselves?” To which I answer, Yes, each of these three is sufficient in, of, and for itself; yet I am sure that we too would all agree that the reason of their individual insufficiency is not with the three lights themselves. There is no fault with any of these, they are all perfect in and of themselves. Yet they were not created for themselves, but for man; and man is a free creature; free to think and to act of his own accord. Here then is the reason for their insufficiency. So long as man remained in perfect innocence and harmony with God in Eden there could be no danger of his being misled. Yet one sin changed all that. Sin did not and could not in any way change that which is truth and right, but it most certainly did change man. God has not changed, and so his word, providence, and spirit are and will always be the same, but not so with man. He has changed. His moral fabric has been corrupted by his willful act of disobedience, and this change was not for the better.

Thus it was no longer safe for man to guide himself. His ways must be brought back into harmony with those of his Maker.

But the question still remains, “Why three lights? Why not just one?”

“One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” ― Deuteronomy 19:15

As the Lord has by his wisdom ordained that one man’s witness shall not suffice to either condemn or justify a man, but only at the testimony of two or more witnesses whose testimony agree, so the Lord has chosen to lead his people by the light of these three infallible proofs.

Why only three? Because they each answer to one of the three things in which man is prone to err: 1. Men’s word: We are prone to look to men and follow their word rather than a “thus saith the Lord”. 2. Our spirit: We are liable to follow the dictates of our own spirit and call it the “Lord’s leading”. 3. Our history: We are habituated to forget the lessons of God’s providence in past ages.

Thus it is that the Lord has ordained that these three lights (his word, his spirit, and his providence) when brought together in perfect unity, are the only safe guide to his people.

Dear reader, where does your vessel stand just now in relation to these three lights?

Do you know and follow the Lord’s word to you?

Are you filled with and led by the spirit of Christ?

Have you studied, learned, and applied his divine lessons from the book of sacred history?

Have you reconciled the testimony of these three heavenly witnesses into one? Is your life and teaching thus aligned with that of heaven? If not, then won’t you come before him now in humble prayer, and commit yourself to his divinely appointed way?

In our next issue we will take a closer look at the second point which we must not forget. Till then may the Lord bless and keep you in his way.

Our Ever Present Danger - Part 1
Do you remember the "way" and the "teachings", the Seventh Day Adventist People and their leaders were admonished not to forget? This article may be the reminder you need.

The Devils' Door - Concluded
What doctrine was at the heart of the great Protestant persecution of the 17th century? Find out in the conclusion to “The Devils’ Door. There you will find the answer, and the peculiar people whose bold stance against Papal errors excited the hatred of both the Papacy and of Protestants alike, and cost many of them their lives.

Health Corner -  Other Benefits of Exercise
Find out how one of God's simple remedies can improve your cognitive processes; a remedy that has been shown to be more effective than drugs in overcoming depression, and with longer lasting effects.

Taking Care With Context
Find out why this element of Bible Study, is key to a proper understanding of the Scriptures.

Mission Report - Philippines
Read an update on Melody, the blind girl, and encouraging news of what God is doing in the Philippines!

Faith & Works - Part 1
Are we saved by faith or works? In part one of this two part series, Sister Ellen White shares the answer to this all important question, and the answer may come as a surprise to you.

Think on These Things - Our Seventh Day Adventist Calling
Are we Christians or Seventh Day Adventists? Join Pastor David Sims, as he shares his thoughts on this pertinent question, and the issues surrounding it.

Sister Christy Whitehurst shares one of her best raw hummus recipes with us!

Seventh Day Home Church Fellowships is an association of Sabbath-keeping groups, which through web & tele-conferencing provides means for study, fellowship, and jointly organized missionary projects.

Website: www.seventhdayhomechurchfellowships.org

Email: admin@seventhdayhomechurchfellowships.org

Seventh Day Home Church Fellowships:

P.O. Box 262, Laconia, NH 03246, U.S.A.

Phone: 530 708-2381

Chief Editor: David Sims

Assistant Editor: Thomas Akens

Proof-reader: Alice Fredrick

Layout: Thomas Akens