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ARE WE BEING RELIGIOUS OR BEING ORGANIZED

 

Religion through birth, through marriage, or because of the admiration to certain religious leader and their doctrine, or because the environment where we were, or because of the spiritual journey in the seeking of the development of the bible truth are some of many reasons of people joins into a religious organization. The fragility of fundamental understandings of what RELIGION is a cause of there is no firm answer or reason why we become a RELIGIOUS.

Herewith we will walk through of Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy of what RELIGION is.

Speaking of RELIGION, we first remember the creator and owner of the entire universe, the Lord of God, through His words as the only way for a man to be justified or accused. Here are some of bible verses and Spirit of Prophecies quotation: 

1 John 3:4

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 John 2: 4,5

4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him

SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 150, edition 1957:

“Sin is the transgression of the law.” This is the only definition of sin. Without the law

there can be no transgression. “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” The standard of righteousness is exceeding broad, prohibiting every evil thing (Manuscript 27, 1899)

Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 52. 

The law of God is as sacred as God Himself. It is a revelation of His will, a transcript of His character, the expression of divine love and wisdom.

From these Bible verses and quotations of the Spirit of Prophecies above, we can clearly understand that sin is the transgression of the God’s law i.e. His commandments or words that have been delivered to His people through His messengers who had been sent to guide His people in each generation. The law of God is as sacred as God Himself, it is a revelation of His will, a transcript of His character, the expression of divine love and wisdom.

Deuteronomy 29:29

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Moses in the Deuteronomy above has given the basic structure of the God’s law to a mankind. Other than the secret things which belong to God, the structure is comprising of two law i.e. i) God’s Law, the 10 Commandment “this law” and ii) the rule of implementation or by law “those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children …, that we may do all the words”. Another important point need to underline from Deuteronomy above is, this structure applies “forever”, means it is not only for the generation in the past but also to this day and for those other worlds that are sinless, however since those worlds are sinless, their rule of implementation or by law is different to us.

From this brief study, we can conclude that RELIGIOUS IS AN ACT OF IMPLEMENTING THE COMMANDMENTS OR WORDS OF GOD and the words here are all the words of God revealed to each period or each generation up to our time, end time people.

Furthermore, speaking about  GOD’S COMMANDMENTS OR WORDS, we certainly must look for the SPIRIT of GOD. The answer is as follows: 

John 14: 15 – 17

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;

17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you.

John 16: 7 – 9, 13

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;

Mathew 12: 31, 32

31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. 

Desire of Ages, p. 669: 

The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore, it was for their interest that He should go to the Father and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high.

Christ’s Objects Lessons, pp. 408, 409

Without the Spirit of God, a knowledge of His word is of no avail. The theory of truth, unaccompanied by the Holy Spirit, cannot quicken the soul or sanctify the heart. One may be familiar with the commands and promises of the Bible; but unless the Spirit of God sets the truth home, the character will not be transformed. Without the enlightenment of the Spirit, men will not be able to distinguish truth from error, and they will fall under the masterful temptations of Satan.

Evangelism, pp. 255, 256:

In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will, and the course that He would have them pursue.

Review and Herald, February 25, 1902, par.8:

A revival and a reformation must take place, under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit. Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work, and in doing this work they must blend.

Step to Christ, p. 95: 

Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, who long after God, may be sure that they will be filled. The heart must be open to the Spirit’s influence, or God’s blessing cannot be received.

From the Bible verses and quotations of the Spirit of Prophecies above, it says that upon Jesus’ return to his Father in heaven, He sent a comforter i.e. the Holy Spirit to take His place and it was through this Holy Spirit that God’s servants, messengers, workers starting from the Apostles had been guided through their writing and their preaching of His words to His people. Especially for those of us who live in these last days the product of the Holy Spirit’s has been set forth in the testimonies of His Spirit or according to Revelation 19:10 (And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy) it is said to be the Spirit of Prophecy.

The existence of this Holy Spirit according to Matthew 12 is very important because it is said that if a person opposes or rejects the product of the Holy Spirit, then the person shall not be forgiven. Since the messages of these last days is carried out through the testimonies of His Spirit or the Spirit of Prophecy, then if a person disparages or rejects the Spirit of Prophecy, at the same time the person is disobey the commandments of God, means the person is not RELIGIOUS in nature. Nevertheless, if the person remains adamant in saying they are RELIGIOUS, Isiah, the prophet, has given us the mechanism on how to test if ttheir hey are right or wrong in Isaiah 8:20 (To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them). If their understanding do not align with these procedure, means it builds on man understanding.

Brethren, let’s introspects ourselves, whether our faithfulness to certain religion or belief or the reason we shift or change to a new belief in accordance with the instructions of the basic principles of the words of God from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy that are continues develop from time to time especially in in these last days? Or whether it is influenced by man.

Continuing our discussion as per the title above, now let’s investigate what is meant by being ORGANISED. 

Ephesians 4:11, 12

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,

1 Corinthians 12:28

And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues.

Paul, the apostle, in his verses above, had defined the God Divine Ministry for ministry of work in the New Testament period. Why do we conclude this structure of God’s work applies in the New Testament? The answer is because the words or names of the “body of Christ” were never known in the Old Testament even though it had been prophesied by Old Testament prophets. 

Note, the sequence of the gift in the verses above. The gift of “prophets” is after the “apostles”. Apostles of John, the revelator, is recorded lived until in 96 AD, thus the gift of “prophets” only existed after 96 AD. After apostles and prophets, the Lord employed “evangelists as well as shepherds and teachers”, those are positions that we know today as a pastors and teachers. 

These positions are also mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:28 and then additional gift “gifts of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues” which is an ability that we use to lead or organize and the ability to speak or influence people. Eventually these are gift most seen being practiced in most of Christian denomination inclusive Seventh Day Adventist church.

Many of the church leaders and members of the Adventist church do not longer know who the New Testament “prophets” are. We only hear from the pulpits, the teachings of the apostles and other daily life matters. Although the preacher quoted some of Ellen White writing, those are not Ellen G. White warning of the matters of the last days. The gift said in Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Corinthians 12:28 are in line with the words in Amos 3:7 that are intended to reveal “Secrets” or prophecies are not taught.

Amos 3:7

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.

The common practices as an Adventist are, our understanding of the truth, words of God are driven by the General Conference of SDA, by organization; the appointment of a person to their positions in the organization is more subjective or based on man standard rather than how much he or she knows God (truth). These practices are leaded by the same spirit that had instigated the murder of prophets in the past at the hands of those Jewish leader, the same spirit is now committing almost the same kind of deed of destruction through the ORGANIZATION.

Mrs. Ellen G. White says: 

 

Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, Chapter 24: An Appeal p. 217:

The church has turned back from following Christ her Leader and is steadily retreating toward Egypt. Yet few are alarmed or astonished at their want of spiritual power. Doubt, and even disbelief of the testimonies of the Spirit of God, is leavening our churches everywhere. Satan would have it thus. Ministers who preach self instead of Christ would have it thus. The testimonies are unread and unappreciated. God has spoken to you. Light has been shining from His word and from the testimonies, and both have been slighted and disregarded. The result is apparent in the lack of purity and devotion and earnest faith among us.

Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, pp. 179-181, edition 1902: 

(179) Men who through selfishness have become narrow and short sighted feel it their privilege to crowd down the very ones whom God is using to diffuse the light He has given them…….

(181) Satan’s skill is exercised in devising plans and methods without number to accomplish his purposes. He works to restrict religious liberty and to bring into the religious world a species of slavery. Organizations, institutions, unless kept by the power of God, will work under Satan’s dictation to bring men under the control of men; and fraud and guile will bear the semblance of zeal for truth and for the advancement of the kingdom of God.

(181) …… such men assume to exercise the prerogatives of God—they presume to do that which God Himself will not do in seeking to control the minds of men. Thus they follow in the track of Romanism.

(178) …… In such arrangements the man who allows his mind to be ruled by the mind of another is thus separated from God and exposed to temptation. In shifting the responsibility of his stewardship upon other men, and depending on their wisdom, he is placing man where God should be. Those who are seeking to bring about this shifting of responsibility are blinded as to the result of their action, but God has plainly set it before us. He says: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.”

Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 28: 

Precious light is to shine forth from the word of God and let no one presume to dictate what shall or what shall not be brought before the people in the messages of enlightenment that He shall send, and so quench the Spirit of God. Whatever may be his position of authority, no one has a right to shut away the light from the people. When a message comes in the name of the Lord to His people, no one may excuse himself from an investigation of its claims. No one can afford to stand back in an attitude of indifference and self-confidence and say: “I know what is truth. I am satisfied with my position. I have set my stakes, and I will not be moved away from my position, whatever may come. I will not listen to the message of this messenger; for I know that it cannot be truth.” It is from pursuing this very course that the popular churches were left in partial darkness, and that is why the messages of heaven have not reached them.

From Spirit of Prophecy above, we have been informed that through organizations “Satan’s craftsmanship has been used … … it works to restrict religious freedom”. This form of religious restriction can be seen from the bible study materials, one of it is Sabbath School books, which are the result of the centralization of the organization’s Bible committees. In addition, Mrs. Ellen G. White emphatically said that organizations “will work under Satan’s control to bring man under human supervision”, whereby the leaders of the organization should lead the people to depend on God to reveal the truth in the last days but rather they attract people to rely on the teachings of the organizations. 

Ellen G. White in Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 28 warns us that, while the organizations are being used by Satan who lead men to rely upon man, there will be a new message coming to the Adventist church and therefore she reminds every church member to do self-investigation and this instruction aligns with Isaiah 8:20, the obligation to test a new message came to us by using the Bible and the Spirit  Prophecy only. Here Ellen G. White said in The Review and Herald, August 18, 1891, par 2: 

There are many who claim to have faith, but how shall we know that it is genuine? The Lord has given us a test by which we may prove our profession and the profession of others. The prophet says, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” ……

Ellen G. White also says that the fall of the churches before the Adventist’s church, which of course includes their organizations, resulted from the disinclination of the leaders of the churches to investigate the new messages came to the church because they felt that they were already in a high level of spiritual condition. This situation also illustrates in the Revelation 3 which foretells about the fulfillment of the spiritual condition of the angels of the Laodicean and as a result, the new message that came to church did not make it through the leaders of churches or Adventist organizations. 

Brethren, God’s work will not be successfully carried out if we still depend our believe or faith on the control of the organizations. If we expect the truth to come from pulpits of the church, then we will not be able to find it, hence it is impossible to obey God’s commandments.

Through this brief discussion, we can understand that RELIGION and ORGANIZATION are two different things, RELIGION requires man to obey the God’s commandments through His words up to the moment we live. To those that implement these, they will be blessed said John, the Revelator, in Revelation 1:3 (Blessed are he who reads and those who listen to the words of this prophecy, and who obey what is written in them, for the time is near), whereas THE ORGANIZATION requires man to abide by the decisions of the organization. Indirectly through the organization the person is drawn to be in the control of other human beings, the organization and their leader. This is in line with the words of Mrs. Ellen G. White “Organizations will work under Satan’s control”. 

Brethren, let’s evaluate ourselves, are we still entrusting the interpretation of God’s words to the other man? Are we just relying to the organization’s decisions to interpret any messages come to the church? It is time to evaluate our religious practices whether we are RELIGIOUS or BEING ORGANIZING, whether we are conducting a self-investigation to new messages come to us. Hopefully through this discussion, our mind be enlightened to evaluate our religious practices……. am I RELIGIOUS or am I BEING ORGANIZING. 

As devotional question……. Brethren, why did Mrs. Ellen White use the words “organizations” (plural) in her messages to Laodicea? did Mrs. Ellen White indicate that there is organization other than the Seventh Day Adventist church as the last church? And if God’s work in the last days will not be carried out through the leadership of a Laodicea organization, then in what way will the work be completed? 

The answers to these questions will determine our appropriateness in facing the day of the Lord’s coming to His temple as prophesied by Malachi 3 which we will soon take place.

 

*****

 

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