I would like to share with you a true story about a friend of mine who used to attend a non conference church. I met this man about 4 years ago when I had married and moved down south. My wife and her family attended a non- conference church that I too began to attend for a short while. The man there that led out was a godly man who preached and taught as I have never seen before as a leader in a church. I admired his love and devotion to The LORD and how he had made the Sabbath a delight for the young and old.
As I attended a short while, I received a call to help with a church planting in Texas. I had asked if it was considered a church in good standing with the conference and they said that it was not. I was in a struggle as to what I should do! For I had left my calling in New York and had believed that God would still open a door for further ministry. Previous to my marriage, I had never attended a group that no longer wanted to be with the body as a whole. I felt strongly that I could not work with a group that could not put the name Seventh-day Adventist on its building. How could I As a Seventh-day Adventist share with people outside our message and yet bring them somewhere where we could not put up our God given name, and what would I or others tell these newcomers. What would you say? What would you do? I contacted the people in Texas and stated that I could not work with them for the reasons I mentioned above. They contacted me back and were very disappointed; they were really looking forward to my coming. I received a call shortly thereafter, they we’re delighted and said that the conference would consider them as a company in good standing and that they could put up our God given name.
I was so grateful to God in how He was working and I told the people in Texas, that I would be delighted to come work with them. As to the little church that I attended with my wife and her family, I told my wife that I could no longer attend this group and that I hoped that she would stand by my side. She did, but I got much heat from my brother in law and others on her side of the family. I visited with my friend and the man that was leading out in the little non-conference church and stated that I needed to attend a church within the organized body. I had told him that the messages he was giving were great and of God but that I had to do this. He understood and held nothing against my position.
I received a call from him this past year and he was let go from his position at the non-conference church which has since become a church of less than a handful of people. He started to attend the organized church in that area and within the first few visits, all of the people he was giving bible studies to within the community came also. He told me that they had never had an interest in coming to church before until he had decided to attend the organized church. He was so happy to see The LORD work in such a marvelous way. Before coming to the conference church, none of his contacts were interested in attending at all. Coincidence? Since then His ministry to others has opened up greatly. He recently told me that he was invited to a very large SDA church to give messages of revival and reformation. He asked the congregation as many understood the issue of the judgment and the First Angels message. And that without understanding this they have no evidence that we are the true church, and how can we share that we indeed are. Almost no one there knew. He said that he could give no further studies until everyone in that church could understand the judgment hour message and was able to teach it to others. The church grew with excitement and he presented other messages that you no longer hear amongst us.
One night he preached on the issue of jewelry and adornment. He said that as he progressed in the topic a couple of women got up and left. These women were wearing much jewelry. He figured either they didn’t agree or had something else to attend too. They later came back with all of the jewelry taken off. As he talked with others after that evening, many of the members in the congregation decided to take off their necklaces, wedding bands, and earrings! The LORD was obviously speaking to his people and they were listening. He also shared on the subject of diet and mentioned from the book of Leviticus that we were not to eat the blood or the fat, and that if people were still eating meat, how could they live according to this standard. He further shared about the vegetarian diet and what some of the most famous and popular people of the TV world have to say on the topic. He found many statements from them that correlated and sounded much like what the spirit of prophecy says. He then mentioned that we as a people watch their shows, dress like them, act like them, but why do we not want to eat like them? The next health meeting that the church put on was attended by about a 400% increase.
The LORD is working and He needs people who have a love for others and are willing to risk everything for them. He next was invited to speak in another state at a non-conference church. He had asked the LORD that if He didn’t want him to go to please close the door. Well the door never closed. He went to this church and gave a message that people loved. When he was done, the first question that came was, do you attend a conference church? He than stated, did you hear a message of truth and something that you could agree with? And they said yes, so he proceeded to say that yes he did attend a conference church. The group asked if he would come and give evangelistic meetings to the community for their church and he replied he could not, because he was under the conviction that he needed to work within the organized body.
I believe that God is using this man in a great way and He is looking for others who will stand for truth although it’s not popular. Many want to be the great shepherd or watchman on the walls so to speak, but if we are not willing to die for others, we do not have the love of Christ.
In relating this story, what I wanted to bring out is that The Seventh-day Adventist Church is still God’s church and that He is still bringing people into the message through it, and working amongst its people. And that He does have faithful people within it. I see new people all of the time coming from the communities around to it.
When you look at the story of my friend, you can see that The LORD blessed him when he was willing to stand for truth. It seems that the bottom line why some people leave the organized body is because they perceive that the people around them are lost and that there is no more hope for them. God gives mercy to whomsoever he chooses. Jesus does say that you shall know them by their fruits, but can we know if God has cut someone off or not? Could we have been cut off ourselves and not know it? Please God have mercy on us and give us your gift of repentance. We need it more than anything!!!! Please remember, Jesus The Son of God is the head of this church, even though many do not believe it or follow Him. Jesus allowed Judas to continue with him because he wanted to win him and give him every possible chance. Will we give others the same opportunity?