I am very pleased to present to you a topic this morning about how we, living in the last days, are going to go through a shaking time. But there are some key factors that will enable you not to be shaken out. I believe firmly that we're living in the last days. I preached a sermon on that just a few weeks ago, we have the editor of the Signs of the Times coming next weekend and he's going to preach a whole series on the last-day events beginning Friday night. What a wonderful theme.
We had the privilege of living in southwestern Michigan near Berrien Springs, in South Haven. Many of our church members had apple orchards. They raised straw berries, blue berries, about everything. One day Don Piper of Bangor, MI asked me to come and see his apple processing building.
So I went there. They had apples that had been picked in the fields, in these large crates and they were dumped in to a hopper and went on a conveyor belt through a washing machine. From there they went onto another conveyor belt where they were shaken. They went through the shaking time. As a preacher, I was thinking about all of this. What happened is all the apples and leaves and everything that came out of the washing machine came on this conveyor belt and were shaken and there were holes in the bottom. As they moved on up, the holes became larger and larger. So the small apples dropped away first and then the larger apples. Finally, at the very end of this machine, only the big large beautiful apples made it to the end.
I thought about that. "That's neat! That's exactly what happens in the last days! Yes! A medium sized apple could say, 'Well, I've already been through my testing time.'" No, there's still more ahead. But if you endure to the end, you will be eaten, saved or whatever. No average-sized apples made it.
He took me on a tour of his processing building. Apples were dumped into a large washing machine and then conveyed up to a sorting machine. The apples passed over holes. As they move along the small riffraff fell through the little holes. Next small apples fell out. They were drop-outs! Eventually only the nice large apples made it to the very end.
Now, what does that mean for us? I think the apples that made it. What determined whether one apple made it and another apple didn't? It's the amount of apple inside of the skin. I would submit to you that it's the amount of Jesus Christ inside of your heart that's going to make you go through to the end. That's the key. What is it that enables a Christian to go through the shaking time and endure to the very end? Well, let's turn to the Bible. Let's read about the shaking time.
Come over here to Amos 9:9 (NLT) For I have commanded that Israel be persecuted by the other nations as grain is sifted in a sieve, He could have said, "as apples go through the processing." yet not one true kernel will be lost. Not one true kernel will be lost. They are all going to make it if they are true kernels. I believe that great shaking time has already begun, don't you?
We're in the sieve. We're being shaken. My mother used to have a flour sifter. She'd pour some flour in there and crank the handle and it would all come out the bottom. God is allowing His people to experience a great quaking and shaking time. And this time is for our benefit. Come over here to 1 John 2:19 (KJV) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would not doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. The NLT says it this way: These people left our churches because they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left us, it proved that they do not belong with us. So, some people are going to leave us. The ones that aren't going through to the kingdom are going to leave God's people. You stay with God's people. God's people stay with Jesus.
God knows many folk that are on the church books are going to leave. They are not going to continue through. They are going to be shaken out, and that's where Babylon is. They're going to be shaken out, these artificial Christians. They are not born again. They do not have a personal, saving relationship with Jesus. That's the key. You must have that relationship with Jesus, otherwise you will go from us, the Bible says.
Let's look at Luke 22:31,32(NIV) speaking about Peter. "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
Many Christians do not believe that Christian faith can fail. You realize there are some denominations that preach faith can't fail. Once you've got faith, it can't fail. If it is true that faith can't fail, then Christ wasted many prayers didn't He? Because He prayed that Peter's faith would not fail. Jesus did not say that He would pray and Satan would not sift Christians. That's not what He says at all. Jesus does allow His children to be sifted. He allows us to go through troubles and trials that will shake us. It will shake us out if the right things aren't in us. Jesus prayed that His disciples would have a fail-proof faith. Can anything be shake-proof? Yes. Are you shake-proof?
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:12 (KJV) Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. It is possible to fall, so don't think, "I am shake-proof" if you aren't.
Some of us will fall and others won't. What makes the difference? I believe there are three requirements to be shake proof. I want to go through these with you this morning. Three requirements that make us shake-proof. I hope all three of these are in your life. You can't just have one; you've got to have all three to be shake-proof.
Do you have regular personal devotions in your home? Do you, I'm not talking about your family, have personal devotions?
Not watching a TV preacher. That's not personal devotions. Not listening to a Radio evangelist, as good as they are. Not listening to a preacher on Sabbath each week. That's not regular personal devotions.
All these things are wonderful, but none can substitute for your own personal time with Jesus. You've got to have that. If you don't have that, you don't have the faith that will go through the last days.
Matthew 4:4 (NIV) "Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" That's where it comes from. You, as a Christian, have to chew your own food. No body else can digest your food for you. You, personally must have personal devotions. I have them. But you, personally must have personal devotions as well. One on one. Here comes a very personal question: Do you, yourself, spend meaningful, quality, personal, significant, daily time with Jesus Christ? Do you? If not, you are on your way out! You're not on your way out of this world. You're not on your way to heaven. Unless you have that daily personal time with Jesus you are on your way out of God's family.
"By studying and obeying the directions (of the Bible) not one soul would lose its way to heaven." - 1Selected Messages (EG White) p. 16. This is crucial. We must be a people of the Book. Are Seventh-day Adventists people of the Book? We used to be. Are you a person of the Book?
You may say, "Well, I'm a teenager. I'm only twelve years old. I can't even read well." You can have a personal life with Jesus whatever age you are.
Such a person has a shake proof devotional life. She's on her way up! On her way to heaven. Study your Bible Faithfully. Study your Bible every day.
You know, a strange thing happens here at McDonald Road. Almost every week we find a Bible or two that folk have left behind at church. Some of them are expensive Bibles. Some are brand new Bibles. Some have real leather bindings. Many have no name of any kind in them. My secretary asks, "Whose is this?" Well, I don't know. Sometimes people come and get them. Most times they just sit here. Sometimes we have to give them away after they've been here for months. We register our car in our name. We engrave our name on all our valuables as part of anti crime programs. But why do we not simply write our name in our Bible? And a much larger question: Why don't we allow God to write His word in our heart? O, that we would value the Word of God! That only happens when you have daily breakfast on the Word of God. Feast on His word. Make it a part of your daily diet.
Speaking of those who study God s word we read that "superficial students also will turn away from Christ." - Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, (EG White) p. 133. Oh, don't be superficial.
In fact, this happened in Jesus' day. Look at John 6:66 (NIV). Some of Jesus' disciples were shaken out. From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. What had happened here? From the context here, Jesus had related to them some very specific truths. Plain truths had come to them and they couldn't accept it, so they stopped following Jesus. Some of Jesus' disciples when Jesus presented the plain truth to them, stopped following Jesus. How desperately Christians must be a people of the Book. We must understand the truth or we will be shaken out. How desperately we as Christians need to be a people of the book. We must understand the truth or we will be shaken out. Do you understand the truth? What is the truth? The truth is Jesus. He said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." (John 14:16:) And His words are truth.
Do you realize you've been hearing Adventist preachers for years. Many of you have. Are you afraid of the shaking time that is coming on the world in the last days? If you are hid in the bosom of the Savior, Jesus Christ, you will be safe. You will not be shaken out. If you lift up a bushel basket of nuts or apples and shake it for all it is worth, which ones will be shaken out? The ones near the EDGE! Friends, are you on the edge of a real experience with Jesus? Are you on the fringes of a dynamic Christian life?
Years ago our youngsters to Disney World in Florida. It took 30 minutes just to get in on the freeway that leads to the front door. Finally we got parked. The parking lot seemed like miles and miles across. I wondered if we would ever find our way out after our visit. This was going to be bad. That evening the tram driver said: If you want out, all you have to do is follow the arrows. If you are not following the arrows, you are not going out!" I thought that was pretty good advice.
Friends, if you are not regularly, systematically studying Scripture, then you are not on your way out of this sinful world. Heaven is not your destination. You must be a person of the Book.
"None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict." - Great Controversy (EG White), p. 593.
The second factor in becoming shake proof. First of all, you have to have a personal, daily, meaningful devotion time with Jesus.
2) You must have PERSONAL, REGULAR PRAYER TIME. Communication with Jesus. 1 Peter 4:7 (KJV). This is talking about the end. But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
It is dangerous not to pray. If we do not pray, will we receive a solution to our problems? How are you going to find what you need if you don't pray about it?
Luke 11:9 (NLT). I want to do something to you that will may cause you to go down to the book store and but some things. You might not want to look this up. I'm reading this from the New Living Translation. "And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. You may say, "That's not what the King James says. King James says, 'Ask and you will receive.'" The Greek says, "Ask and keep on asking." The New Living Translation says, I tell you, keep on asking and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened." That's the true Greek New Testament. That's what it says, and this is a wonderful translation of the Bible.
It is my firm belief that we must ask God before God is authorized to do something for us. Think about that. I wonder if, maybe, God and Satan have some type of contract going. And God is not authorized to act in your behalf unless He is asked. He has to be invited. He knocks but He does not open the door until you open the door. He's ready, but you must open the door. Maybe God can't put a fresh hedge around His people every day without their daily asking for this protecting encompassing barricade from evil. It will be placed there if I ask for it. I don't think He will intervene unless I do ask Him.
God can't bless you without your permission. He respects your free will. God gives you the freedom of choice. Every day God stands there willing and waiting to bless you. But His hands are tied until you ask for help. That's why it's so important for you to pray. You must ask and keep on asking.
In fact maybe God can't bless your little children unless you intercede in their behalf and ask God to bless them. That is why Jesus said, "Bring the little children to me." Parents have an awesome responsibility. So what happens if a person is in the hospital, and unconscious? How vital that the church pray for them. They're not able to ask. But the church does. Studies have been made where people who are in the hospital and are prayed for, get well faster. There's something to this. We must ask.
"Bring the little children to Me." I think parents have an awesome responsibility to bring those little children before the Lord in prayer. They do. And pray for your adult backslidden kids. Maybe they have gotten cold and aren't praying any more. You need to pray for them. Someone has to ask God to intervene in their behalf. I've heard of evangelistic services where hundreds have been baptized. Why? Because the church was praying. There's power in prayer. You don't have if you don't ask. I am sure the Prodigal Son had a father back at home praying every day for his benefit. He wasn't praying for himself. Spend time in prayer. Don't expect a million dollar answer to a ten-cent prayer.
Notice Jesus' life: Luke 6:12 (NIV) One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. Jesus prayer life had to be very meaningful. We must have a meaningful communication with God to avoid being shaken out.
Philippians 4:6,7 (NIV) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Our hearts will be guarded. Kept secure. We will not be shaken out if you have a meaningful prayer experience.
The Third key to being shake proof: Not only should we be having a personal daily study of the Word of God and daily personal communications with God but we should be...
3) WORKING FOR CHRIST.
Witnessing for Christ. If you want to know how to witness, just study your Sabbath School lesson.
I think America is on the verge of a great crisis, economically. One of the great dangers in America today is the amount of real commodities that are being produced by the working force. We are not manufacturing like we used to. Most jobs are composed of people waiting on people. Service jobs. Most of the durable goods that we buy today are being made in some other land. Even manhole covers are being made in India. Most toys are made in China, and many other things, too. We are not making very many tangible goods any more. And I want to apply this to the church.
If in our church ALL we ever do is wait on each other and dust off the pews, then we are likewise in grave danger. We are called to grow in numbers as well as in Christ-likeness.
Of course it is very important to minister to those who are already in the church. Why bring them in the front door of the church only to have them go out the back door? Nurture is important. It is vital to care for the sick, the little children, to care for the house of God, nurturing the saints helping them to grow. We need to get involved in that kind of work. The older I get, it seems like the nominating committee is a tool of God. Have you ever thought about that? When the nominating committee calls you some day, be willing to get involved for Jesus in church work! The nominating committee is a tool of God to get His people involved in something. Pew warmers are like lukewarmers. They're on their way out of the church. Don't you jeopardize your salvation by non-involvement. Lackadaisical-itis will stunt your growth toward Christ-likeness. You get involved.
But Every member is required to do more than being involved in church work, working on the saints. We must also to be convert makers. We must be in the manufacturing business. Making brand new converts.
Matthew 28:19 (NIV) "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,"
Working with muscles keeps people strong. Working for souls keeps Christians dynamic.
If you want to be a shake proof Christian in these last days, then
This success formula is actually found in the Bible. You might never have thought of it this way. John 10:27 (KJV). "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. Who are "My sheep? They're the true Christians. They do three things:
And what is the result of all of this? Verse 28; "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." They are shake proof. Ah, that's the key. No one can shake you out of His hand.
His hand is rock steady. It's strong. A pretty good place to be during the great last day shaking time is in the stable rock solid hands of Jesus. You still have the freedom to step out and leave Him (Jesus never violates your freedom of choice)... but no man can come in and remove you from Jesus against your will.
To be fail-safe, you've got to get back to the Good Book. To be shake-proof, have meaningful communication with Jesus. To be rock-solid, lead others to the rock.
Hymn of Praise: #21, Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise Scripture: Colossians 3:12-17 Hymn of Response: #623, I Will Follow Thee 000812Gettys#248
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last updated 8/12/2000 by Bob Beckett.