I would like to speak with you this morning about the winds of change. The winds are changing in the world and you would expect a sermon on the second coming of Christ occasionally in a Seventh-day Adventist church, because we are Adventists. That means we believe in the soon advent of Jesus Christ.
You've heard of that old codger, Harry Truman? He used to live at the foot of Mount Saint Helens, and they came up to him one day and the scientists said, “This mountain’s going to explode.” And he said, “I’ve lived here for 60 years and it ain't blown yet.” His body is somewhere underneath many, many feet of rubble and volcanic ash.
Are you ready for the end of the world? Are you ready for the second coming of Jesus? You know when it came the first time God's people were not ready. They didn't understand the times. They were spiritually asleep, and Jesus came as a thief in the night. In the last days He will come in like manner, but God's elect will not be spiritually sleeping, correct? God’s elect will be wide awake, and they will be awake because they understand the times.
Romans, chapter 13, verse 11. "The Pharisees did not understand the times." Matthew, chapter 16 and verse 3, Jesus says, “You can not interpret the signs of the times.” When you listen to CBS or Fox news or NBC or whatever you listen to, do you understand what you're hearing? Do you understand the seriousness of the times which we are actually in? We've got some serious things going on, and we need to wake up.
I'm not confident that Seventh-day Adventists understand the seriousness of the times. When I see our people going out and buying this big expensive, nonessential thing and getting in hock for it, a mortgage, a deep financial debt, I think, “They don't understand the times that we’re living in.” Now may be the time for us to start paring down. Many of us are laying plans for a long time in the future and I pray, “Lord, wake us up before it's too late.”
Have you actually given up on Jesus coming in your lifetime? Do you still consider that it's an imminent possibility? Jesus says, I will come again, and in Revelation, chapter 22, verse 7, He says, “Behold, I come” what? “I come quickly.”
Did you know that Jesus preached a sermon over here in Matthew the 24th chapter on the winds of change, if I could title it that. Look at Matthew 24 and verse 7, and notice the sequence of events. Verse 7 says, “For nation shall rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in divers places. All these are the beginnings of the sorrows,” and then what is it say in verse 9, the very first word? “Then.” When? After all the earthquakes and the pestilences, then what happens? “Then they shall deliver you up to be afflicted. They shall kill you and you shall be hated of all nations for My namesake.” After the wars and after the famines and after the financial collapses, then you will be persecuted. You will be tortured. Right after all those disasters.
We are in for trouble. God's loyal people are in for trouble, because why? Because we are being accused of bringing all these troubles upon the world. Right after September 11, 2001 many sermons were preached on Sunday mornings here across America stating that because of our lackadaisicalness, because we're skipping church on Sundays, they said, because certain people don't even worship on Sunday, because of the wickedness of the world, these things are coming upon America, because we have turned our back on God, they say. And so, just like Sodom and Gomorrah, they brought on the fire themselves. The brimstone, they called it on themselves because of their wickedness, and just so, you can read over and over in the Bible that this is the case. Many times God says, “If you will follow Me I will bless you, but if not.” Here's one in Leviticus 26:14. “If you turn away from Me, if you serve other gods and will not hearken to Me, I will bring upon you sudden terror. I will condemn you. You will go down in defeat in front of your enemies.”
You know, personal apostasy is always followed by personal ruin. National apostasy is always followed by national ruin, and so we need to recognize that disasters, troubles, wars are coming upon us. We've been straying from God. This once Christian nation have turned our backs, collectively, on prayers. We have turned our backs on the Bible. We’ve turned our backs on the 10 Commandments. We are becoming a heathen nation, it looks like, and unless we repent and get back to God, this will only continue.
You know, I heard rumors from the internet that a lot of pulpits in the land today are beginning to preach that these financial troubles that we’re experiencing are caused by people that are not living right. Well, I agree with all of that. Right after 9/11 there was a call for everybody to get back to church on Sunday, and now this has been followed by 7 years of plenty. We've had 7 pretty good years, and now here we are in another crisis, and so I hear these sermons are coming back again.
When you look at the great economic collapse that we are facing, this looks like a collapse of the entire economic system of the free world. The gyrations of the stock market; up 9 hundred points, down 9 hundred points. It’s like a roller coaster. It's a scary time.
The Bible says in Daniel, chapter 5 and verse 27, “We are weighed in the balances and we are found wanting.” Did you know that almost 80 percent of Americans are on some type of welfare. Some type of government assistance. Some type of government check comes to 80 percent of Americans. Our national debt is now over, how much? It's over 10 trillion dollars.
Now I don't think that you understand what even 1 trillion dollars is. Let's suppose that there was such a thing as a thousand dollar bill. There isn't. But let's suppose there is, and let's suppose that we want to know how much money 1 million dollars is. 1 million dollars in tightly bound 1 thousand dollar bills would produce a stack 4 inches high. That's a million dollars. What would 1 billion dollars be? 1 billion dollars of tightly bound 1 thousand dollar bills would produce a stack 3 hundred feet high. Now what is a trillion dollars. 1 trillion dollars in tightly bound 1 thousand dollar bills all pressed together, would produce a stack of bills 63 miles high. It's unconceivable, how much 1 trillion dollars, our national debt is 10 trillion dollars and counting.
James, chapter 5. Look at James, chapter 5 in your Bible, and verse three, right after Hebrews. It says, “You’ve hoarded wealth in the last days.” It says, “Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire.” You have hoarded wealth in the last days. The United States is about the wealthiest country in the world. For years and years and years, we’re the superpower, but that's changing. So far, of the Fortune 5 hundred companies, 1 hundred and 25 of those companies have moved out of the United States and they’ve gone to China and India, and so forth. I don't know if we’re the wealthiest country. If we are that may be changing.
In China, an average month's wages would be about a hundred and 20 dollars in an urban area, about a dollar an hour, and here our average wage is around 30 dollars an hour. Some people make 13 million a year, or more. China graduates 21 percent of all the engineering majors in the United States, and we graduate 6 percent. However we can be proud that here in America, we lead the world in producing 87 percent of all the degrees in psychology.
The economic crisis that we are in was caused by what? Greed. Exactly right. Lenders loaned mortgages for a hundred and 25 percent of the value. I used to get these coupons in the mail. Little advertisements about every week saying, would you like a second mortgage on your house? Just call us and we'll be happy to provide that, or even a third mortgage, whatever. Just come on in and get this good money. You know, these are serious times, and I think we need to be careful. We're trying to keep up with the Joneses and the Joneses are about to go bankrupt, so be careful.
What can you do to make things right? Well, number 1, you can live within your means. Come over to First Timothy in your Bible, just a few pages back. First Timothy, chapter 6, and look at verse 6. “Godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, we can take nothing out, so be content with what you have.” That's some good advice, isn't it? Try to spend less than you make. Now you may say, “Well, I don't make anything.” Well, that’d be hard to do, wouldn't it? Try to spend less than you make. Save the rest. Sock it away.
Number 2. Be faithful to God. Put God first. You say, “Well, what should I do? We’re in a hard time.” Put God first. Look at Psalm 50 in your Bible. Psalm 50 and verse 14. Verse 14 says, “Sacrifice thank offerings to God. Fulfill your vows to the Most High,” verse 15, “and call upon Me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you and you will honor Me.” You can call on God in your day of trouble if you have been faithful to Him in your day of ability. If you have given sacrificially to God's storehouse in your time of ability, then in your time of inability God will open the windows of His storehouse and pour you out a blessing that you need.
Number 3. Be content with what you have. Be content with those things that you have. You know, we need to try to pay cash for everything. First Timothy, chapter 6 and verse 10 says, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” The love of money.
Number 4. Count your baskets. Over here in Ecclesiastes, chapter 11, you need to realize that there is so much financial advice in the Bible. This is a wonderful book to read on finances, but Ecclesiastes chapter 11 and verse 2 says, “Count your baskets.” How many baskets do you have? Are all your assets in one basket? Are all your eggs in one basket? Look at verse 2, Ecclesiastes 11. “Divide what you have into” how many parts? “7 parts or even into 8 because you don't know what disaster may happen on earth.” What the Bible is saying here is that you need to diversify. Don't put all your eggs in the 401(k). Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify.
The faithful hard-working mother, the faithful hard-working housewife, the faithful lady who lives in that house and who knows how to manage and who has a little bit socked away in the cookie jar, she's got a little bit in the sock behind a door, she knows how to live on her income; she is more fit to make monetary decisions than the typical politician, in my opinion.
Number 5. Work hard. You know, work won't kill you. Did you know that? The Bible says in Proverbs 6, verse 6, “Go and watch.” Now we do a lot of TV watching, but that's not what it says to watch. “Go watch the ant” says the Bible, “you lazy person.” Another version says, “thou sluggard.” Another version says, “you lazy bum.” Go watch the ant, you lazy bum. “Watch what they do, and be wise. They store up food in the summer, they gather their supplies at harvest. How long will you lie there, you lazy bum,” says one version. “When will you get up from your sleeping? You sleep a little, you take a nap, you fold your hands and you lie down to rest. So you will be poor as if you had been robbed.” What is the Bible saying here? You need to work hard. You need to be a hard worker. Work at your job. If you have a job, work hard at it. Be a valuable employee, so that if tough times do come you won't get laid off. You'll be one of the ‘keepers’ that they want to keep.
Number 6. Trust in God. Trust in God. You know, there may come times of poverty to your life that you don't understand. You may have lost your job. You may say, “Why is all this happening to me?” Just trust God. “Well, I'm trusting in Him and I'm going to the bottom.” All I can do is read the Bible to you. Matthew, chapter 6 and verse 31 says, “Don't worry and say what will we eat, or what are we going to drink. What are we going to wear.” Verse 32. “The people who don't know God keep trying to get those things and your Father in heaven knows that you need them.” The thing you need to want the most is God's kingdom and doing God's will, then all these things that you need will be added unto you. So don't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself.
Now let's discuss one other thing, other than economics. Let's move to another one. This is Revelation. Now this is another whole sign of Christ’s coming. Revelation, chapter 13. Let me have you look with me, beginning with verse 16. Now here's a prediction that the Bible makes. The lamb-like beast, the dragon, so forth, you understand these symbols. The lamb-like beast is the United States of America. Now listen to verse 16. “He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or in his forehead so that nobody could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name,” and what is that number? 6 6 6. So, true Christians will not be able to buy and sell in the last days. Gods remnant people will not be able to buy and sell.
Let me share something with you. I want to examine this one prophecy here.
World control of all buying and selling is coming fast. Interval Research of Palo Alto has patented a programmable tattoo. The biologically inert, subcutaneous implant is constructed of a flexible material so as to conform to the skin surface. The small liquid crystal display can be inserted just below the skin under the layers that are transparent, for instance, in place of a wristwatch. So basically what you have here is a wearable credit card.
Transplantable, programmable, subcutaneous, visible implants now contain biosensors that can be used for electronic tagging, and whenever anybody wants to buy something you just simply wave your hand over the scanning device, and it will read the chip that's in your body and identify you as a buyer or a seller and validate or invalidate the transaction. This is a wonderful system. It can work with the RFID, radio frequency identification technology. It will also have an antenna that will receive global positioning signals from the satellites, thus pinpointing the location of the wearer. No more lost children, no more lost hikers, or lost Alzheimer's victims, or escaped convicts hiding in some unfindable location. Isn't this great stuff?
This is something we need, and according to the Digital Angel website, and that is a trademark, Digital Angel, you might want to think about that, some of its potential uses are monitoring patients by doctors, commodity supply chain management, locating people such as small children, elderly people. Tracking parolees, people under house arrest, individuals in a witness protection program. Tracing valuable items like an art painting that might be stolen from a museum. Computer equipment. Whatever. They can carry personal identification information. Transmit this information via wireless communication.
And Digital Angel now has an implant for human beings that was recently approved by the DNA. By the FDA. A difference there. Your DNA might have to approve it someday, too. All it takes is a syringe injected microchip implant for patrons to breeze through a reader that recognizes their identity. It's injected into your body by a needle, and it will open doors to exclusive areas of a club or a hotel or a business by simply just going near the reader. The Baja Beach club in Spain for instance, knows who you are, gives you access. Knows what your credit card balance is and subtracts a little fee each time. This is great stuff.
The developers of this new technology are moving our world into a bright new future. They probably haven't thought though, about what the ramifications are on some of this technology and compare that with the Bible. I will tell you that what this means is, that the system is fast being set up. The technology to make the prediction of Revelation 13 come true has arrived and the events of end time prophecy are fully feasible. This can happen. Only time and some national or world calamity prevent it from full activation. So it seems to me like this is a setup. It's ready.
Now the 4 angels have been throttling down the winds of strife, but I think the 4 angels may be letting go. Revelation, chapter 7 and verse 1 makes a statement. “After this I saw 4 angels standing on the 4 corners of the earth holding back the 4 winds of the earth to prevent the wind from blowing on the land or the sea or on any tree.” I think those 4 angels may be loosening their grip.
Friends, I believe we’re in the final movements. I just sense that we’re in the very last days of time. We’re destroying ourselves. There are so many other prophecies we could talk about and we’ll do more, maybe, another time, but be ready. Now is the time for you to be reading your Bible. If you have a Bible that’s covered with dust, you are covered with dust. You are not viable as a Christian. Be studying. Be praying. Be prepared. Be witnessing. Be planting a church. Be out involved giving Bible studies. Be a witness in your home, to your family. Maybe God intends for you to somehow move up there and be a witness to your family. Maybe there's something that God has a plan for you. Be ready. The end of the world is near. Jesus is coming, and He's coming again, and He's coming soon.
Let's sing our closing hymn, and I want you to dedicate your life to Jesus Christ, and as you sing this hymn, and as you see the pictures on the screen, of the second coming of Jesus, think about that and where you will be.
Let's sing our closing hymn together.
Hymn of Praise: #604 We Know Not the Hour Scripture: John 14:1-3 Hymn of Response: #213 Jesus is Coming Again
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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 11/17/08