Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered May 21, 2011 by Pastor Don Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

The Remnant Church

Revelation 12:12-17

(RealAudio available)

This morning I would like to speak with you about the remnant church and I have a quiz.  Here's a question for you.  True or false.  Do you believe this statement, yes or no?  Listen carefully.  "We are the true church.  We have the health message.  We have the true gift of prophecy.  We alone are proclaiming the everlasting gospel of Revelation 14 in its pure, primitive form." That is lifted right out of the beliefs of the Mormon church.  Here's another one.  Quiz question number two.  "We are the only church that has the truth.  All the other churches are Babylon."  Jehovah's Witnesses.  That's what they believe.  They believe we are Babylon. 

What is it that makes a church the true remnant church?  Is this just a claim that anybody can claim to be the true remnant church?  Do you yourself believe, as some accuse us, do you believe that Seventh-day Adventists alone constitute the true remnant church mentioned in Revelation 12:17.  I believe that as a church, that is true.  There is no other church that can claim to be the church of Revelation 12:17.  God does have other people, but what does he want his people to do.  Come out of them my people.  He wants them to come out.  The Dragon was wroth with the woman and went off to make war with the remnant of her seed which keep the Commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.  That alone applies to the Seventh-day Adventist church as a church.  So we do recognize that there are other Christians.  Adventists do not believe that we are the only true Christians in the world today.  We don't believe that. 

I quote from The Great Controversy.  "Without a doubt the greater part of the followers of various churches of Christ are now to be found in the various churches professing the Protestant faith."  That's also in Desire Of Ages.  Interesting isn't it?  So we don't believe that we are the only ones.  Not at all.  So if you keep in your little black book a list of all the true churches, how many true churches are there?  There's only one.  And I believe we are that one.  I really believe that with all my heart.  Revelation 18:4.  Come out of her my people that you be not a partaker of her sins and receive not of her plagues.  God wants his people who are in the other churches to come out and be a part of his true church.  As a Seventh-day Adventist I believe that our church is the true remnant Church of Bible prophecy.  I believe that.  I believe that others are joining.  They're joining rapidly because God is leading them into his beautiful truth.  This is the truth.  The Baptists are Christians.  Of course they are.  They have baptism right, and many other things right.  Methodists, Lutherans, have much truth, but only Seventh-day Adventists, I think, have it all and have it all together. 

That is what I believe, and that is why people are joining our church because we've got it all together.  Do you know that one out of every 418 people in this world is a Seventh-day Adventist.  There's close to 7 billion people and one out of every 418 is a Seventh-day Adventist.  That is awesome.  No wonder somebody is baptized at the rate of one baptism every 29 seconds.  Amen.  In South Africa  one out of every 63 people is a Seventh-day Adventist.  Right now as of 2011 the Seventh-day Adventist church is the fastest growing church in United States of America.  That is awesome. 

All through the ages God has had his remnant people.  In Noah's time, look at Genesis 7:23.  Every living thing on the face of the Earth was wiped out, men and animals and creatures that move along the ground.  Birds of the air were wiped out from the Earth.  Only Noah was left and those with him in the ark.  Noah and his family were the remnant of all civilization.  He was perfect.  He was just.  He was righteous.  He did all that was commanded by God.  You think about Noah.  He lived just before the destruction of the world by water and he was the only person left with his family.  Noah was the remnant.  He was saved and his family was saved, yet he got drunk.  Remember that, with wine, and he was uncovered.  So you can see that God's first original remnant church was corrupt.  They didn't have it all.  He didn't have his family under very good control either because Noah's kids went out and built the tower of Babel. 

So right here we need to learn a vital lesson about God's remnant truth.  Never have the remnant been perfect.  Never have been absolutely, totally perfect.  Was Noah perfect when he got drunk?  Was he perfect when he was lying there uncovered?   Abraham had present truth but Abraham had problems.  Isaac wasn't perfect.  Israel was the remnant.  Look at Genesis 45:7.  Joseph made this statement about Israel.  He said, God sent me to reserve for you a remnant on the Earth.  So Israel was God's remnant church.  It was the only outpost  of true knowledge during a time when paganism and idolatry ruled the world.  There was Israel.  When the clay of Egypt was still moist beneath their fingernails God told them you avoid idolatry.  God gave them true knowledge.  Israel was the remnant of their time.  They alone kept the Commandments of God.  They alone kept the Sabbath from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday night.  They alone believed in creation.  They alone had the sanctuary message.  They alone had the health message.  They alone taught the truth about the state of the dead.  They alone had the true gift of prophecy.  They were Adventists, because they believed and taught and expected the soon advent of the Messiah.  But they missed him when he came.  Israel was a spiritual oasis on a small patch of land between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan.  All other lands worshiped the false gods of wood and stone and silver and gold.  People believed in Israel. 

Was Israel perfect?  No they were not.  Almost from the very first day until the stoning of Stephen Israel was imperfect.  They lived in apostasy.  They worshiped idols.  Now a few of them were faithful.  But the vast majority of them were unfaithful.  Nehemiah 13:23.  Many of them married pagans.  In fact it got so bad for a while that even the Israelite children could not speak the Jewish language.  They were infiltrated that much with pagans.  Nehemiah was so upset that he beat some of the men there in verse 25 of Nehemiah 13.  And he pulled out their hair.  Now what they needed was not less hair.  What they needed was a new heart.

Under the Greeks and Alexander the great about 300 years before Jesus was born the Greeks ruled the world and did you know that they built a big stadium there in Jerusalem and inside that big stadium people competed and the members of the remnant church competed in the nude.  Some of them went through painful surgery trying to hide their belief in circumcision.  God's true church finally rejected idol worship.  They finally rejected paganism but then they swung from this side clear over to the other side and went into what we would call legalism.  The Pharisees  went clear to the opposite side.  They were do-gooders.  They had rules but they did not know the rule giver. 

We need balance.  Would you agree?  God wants balanced Christians and one of the greatest needs of the remnant church today is for his people to stay in the heart of Jesus.  Stay in the heart of the message folks.  That's where we need to be.  Not to the left.  Not to the right.  This is a grave danger in America today.  The swing of the great pendulum from the liberal left to the far right.  Not a good omen. 

At the time of the birth of Jesus the remnant church was totally immersed in the Pharisee style of legalism.  Salvation by works.  Jesus stood among them as a beautiful, clean, balanced person.  When Jesus said I am the truth, was he?  Yes.  Who did  Israel believe was the truth?  They believed they were the truth and when Jesus said I am the truth they took issue with him, so in 31 AD they crucified him.  And in 34 AD they stoned Stephen.  They stoned the truth.  They hung the truth on the cross.  And from that time on they ceased to be the remnant. 

The new remnant was who?  The Christian church.  They held the same truths as those who lived before them only now  the truth was bathed in the pure light of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They believed in him as the redeemer of the world.  No longer was Palestine the epicenter of all religious activity, but Christians went everywhere and they dispersed throughout the entire world.  The righteousness and the message of Christ went like wildfire. 

But alas, troubles came in.  If you look at Acts 15:36 thru 39 you can see all this contention here.  It was so heated that many people walked out.  New theology crept in.  Several hundred years later they were even teaching Sunday worship and the truth was almost lost.   During the dark ages people almost forgot the truth.  And then finally the Reformation came and the truth broke out in its beauty and people again accepted righteousness by faith.  Much truth was restored.  The great reformers got a lot of the truth back, but they didn't get all the truth.  And they didn't like people who disagreed with them because Calvin burned his heretics and Zwingli drowned his heretics and over the years Protestantism shattered into who knows how many churches.  Three or 400 major denominations. 

It seemed that Satan was winning and so God needed to do something and so if you come back to Revelation 12:17, let's examine this verse a little bit.  It says the Dragon was wroth.  Who is the Dragon?  That's the devil, Satan, the serpent.  He's wroth with the woman and went to make war.  Now who is the woman?  Who is the devil mad at?  God's true church.  So there will be a true church in the last days, right down here in the last fragments of time and the devil is mad that church.  He wouldn't be mad at a bad church so he's mad at a good church. 

He went to make war with the remnant of her seed.  Now who is the seed of the woman?  That's the children of the woman.  That's us.  The last survivors on the face of the earth.  The children and great-grandchildren of this woman, of the church.  They have two distinctive characteristics.  They keep the Commandments of God.  How many of them?  All ten of them.  And they have something.  They have what?  The testimony of Jesus Christ. 

Now after 1798, at the time of the end, which it mentions right here in Revelation 12:14, after 1798 God took things into his own hands and revealed truth through a number of individuals who studied the truth in these Bible conferences back in the early 1800s and the balanced truth surfaced again.  It congealed into what is called the Seventh-day Adventist church but it enraged the devil.  The devil knows his time is short and the great dragon is currently taking out his rage against the last of all of these remnants of the past 6000 years.  Satan is mad at the final remnant who keep the Commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. 

Now who is the remnant today?  Well let's look at this.  Number one.  Revelation 12:14.  They must appear after the 1260 days.  They would be taken care of for a time, times, and a half of time.  That's 1260 days.  So the true church that this is speaking about has to appear after the 1260 days which end in what year?  1798.  538 to 1798.  This eliminates the reformed churches.  Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Congregationalist came too early.  The Roman Catholic Church way too early.  This eliminates them.  Number two.  They must be commandment keepers.  To find God's true remnant church today you have to find a group of people who are commandment keepers.  Do they keep the Commandments because commandment keeping will save them?  No.  They are saved by Jesus Christ.  So why do they keep the Commandments?  Because they are saved by Jesus Christ.  Because they love Jesus.  That's why.  So they've got to be commandment keepers, which includes all 10 of the Commandments.  They don't kill people.  They don't swear.  They don't steal.  They don't commit adultery.  They keep the seventh day Sabbath.  That eliminates the Pentecostals.  It eliminates the Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses.  They are a Sabbath keeping church. 

Also, Revelation 12:17 says they have something else.  What do they have?  They have the testimony of Jesus.  Look at Revelation 19:10.  This describes exactly what this is.  I fell at his feet to worship him but he said to me did not do it.  I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus.  Worship God because the testimony of Jesus is what?  The spirit of prophecy.  These people have the spirit of prophecy.  The true gift of prophecy in the last days.  I believe that is manifested through a lady named Ellen White.  I believe that.  So there you have three distinctive characteristics.  The timing is right.  After 1798.  They keep the Sabbath, and they have the spirit of prophecy. 

Now Jesus easily could've said here,  You beware of anybody who claims to be a prophet in the last days because there will be no prophets in the last days.  He could've said that.  But he didn't.  He said you beware of the false prophets.  In Matthew 24:11 Jesus said many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive how many?  Many.  He easily could've said just don't even believe in prophets in the last days because there aren't going to be any prophets.  But he did not say that.  The Seventh-day Adventist church today is the only church today that fulfills all the conditions for the remnant church.  It's the only one.  No other church even comes close.  We are the remnant church that is predicted here in Revelation. 

But how could a lukewarm, sleeping people be the remnant?  How could a people who have worldlyness, who have divorce, who don't have love at home, who have adultery and drunkenness be the remnant.  Those things have infiltrated some of our people.  Can we really claim to be the last day remnant?  Yes we can.  Israel had ever sin in the book.  David, Noah, all the Old Testament people were sinners.  Nowhere does the Bible define the remnant people on the basis of their holiness.  That is not defined that way.  The remnant church is defined more by the light that it possesses then the holiness of those who possess the light.  Israel had more light than any other nation.  They were the remnant people because of the light they had.  Seventh-day Adventist people have more light than any other people.  We have been blessed with a fuller revelation of Jesus Christ and present truth than any other denomination. 

If a Jew got disscouraged back about 500 years before Jesus or 1000 years before Jesus, where could he go?  Would he go to Roman sun worship when the Romans were there.  Would he go to the Babylonian worship of idols.  Would he go to the Egyptian frog worship?  Would he go to the mystery cults?  If a Seventh-day Adventist gets discouraged and quits church, what other church does he go to.  Does he go to a church that keeps sunday?  He knows that's not right, because it's not in the Bible.  Does he go to a church that believes in a currently burning hell?  He knows that's not right.  Does he go to a church that tells you to confess your sins to a earthly priest?  He knows that's not right.  Where does he go?  There is no place to go. 

God wants a holy people.  Now don't get me wrong.  I know that the remnant church is not perfect.  Does God want a perfect church?  Yes he does.  Does God want you to be perfect?  Absolutely he does.  Does God want you to be an overcomer?  Yes he does.  Will God give you the power to be an overcomer?  Absolutely.  You don't have to be in sin.  But God does describe the remnant church on the basis of truth.  And God's last day remnant church is known by the truth that it possesses.  We have the true message of Jesus and his righteousness.  Jesus is our loving creator.  Jesus is the center of the sanctuary message.  Jesus is in our health message.  He's triumphant thru the great controversy.  Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath.  Jesus is the life giver on resurrection morning.  Jesus is our advocate in the judgment that began in 1844.  Jesus is uplifted through the spirit of prophecy.  We are the last day remnant church. 

Now I want to turn to Revelation 3.  Can the Seventh-day Adventist church lose its remnant status?  Here's the question I want to address.  Will God eventually spew this lukewarm church out of his mouth and start up a another group?  That's the question I want to have you focus on.  Look at Revelation 3:14 through 22.  The Angel to the church of Laodecia.  These are the words of the Amen.  The faithful witness.  The ruler of God's creation.  I know your deeds that you are neither cold nor hot.  This is describing God's remnant church.  This is describing us.  I wish you were either one or the other.  Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.  You say I'm rich, I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing but don't you realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.  We're in bad shape.  Go down here to verse 20.  He says here I am.  I stand at the door and knock.  If anybody hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and eat with him and he with me.  To him that overcomes I will give the right to sit with me on my throne just as I overcame and sat down with my father on his throne.  He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  You know, we are lukewarm.  We are spiritually blind and poor in our own righteousness.  We are spiritually naked.  We lack a lot. 

Will God replace this church with another church?  Look at verse 23.  There is no verse 23.  We're it.  It ends with us.  This is the last of the seven churches.  Defective as it is we are still the object of God's love.  There is no other church coming on the scene.  Sightless, wretched, miserable as we are, we are it.  We're not just another denomination.  We are a movement raised up by God.  I think what we need to do as individuals within this movement is to heed the counsel given to God's remnant church.  Because we are preaching the truth.  Others are not preaching the full truth. 

So be devout.  Be a pure overcomer by the power of the Holy Spirit.  There are other churches that are preaching falsehoods.  There is this preacher, Harold Camping, who is preaching that on May 21, 2011 the end of the world will come.  You heard that?  The family radio preacher boldly proclaiming that it will happen today.  And here you all are.  Well it's not supposed to happen until 6 PM Eastern standard Time.  So you still have about eight hours.  He is predicting this.  And hundreds of thousands of people are following him. 

Now we made a mistake similar to that back in the early years of our denomination.  Remember William Miller and all these people.  Baptists and Methodists of the early people before the founding of the Seventh-day Adventist church, but intertwined with our roots was this movement that believed that on October 22, 1844 Jesus would come and take away his people.  We preached that before there was a church.  Let's never do that again. 

Do we know the day or the hour?  Look at Matthew 24:36.  It says that only a few know the day or the hour.  Is that what it says?  It says no one.  No one knows about that day or hour.  Not even the angels of heaven nor the Son but only who?  Only the father.  God the father is the one, the only person who knows when Jesus will come.  Even Jesus did not know. 

So how can Harold Camping know?  How can Harold Camping boldly proclaim that at precisely 6 PM today that the rapture will happen.  That's what he calls it.  He can't do that.  And he is promoting it nationally through his national extensive radio network.  He's performing it on websites.  He's proclaiming this thing on billboards.  His assertive claims have created a media frenzy around this predicted terrifying armagedon event that will soon come and end the world as we know it.  Have you ever heard of teotwawki.  T E O T W A W K I. You know what that is?  The End Of The World As We Know It.  He believes that will happen at six o'clock tonight.  Is his prediction true?  Not at all.  Worse, it is dangerous.  It is dangerous for people to think that because they will get all the way up to that point, it won't happen and then their disappointed, they drop out and the devil has them.  Now Doug Bachelor has offered Harold Camping $100,000 to buy his radio ministry.  With all the buildings, all the broadcasting equipment, if he will hand over the deed before six o'clock.  Hand over all the rights to the family radio network.  This is a bona fide offer.  $100,000.  Amazing Facts wants to buy this multimillion value for a hundred thousand dollars.  If the guy truly believes that would he not take that money?  He has refused the offer.  What does that tell you?  He doesn't practice what he preaches.  He doesn't believe it, and I don't believe it either. 

The Bible says that in the last days there will be many false prophets, false teachers, and his prediction does not match Bible truth.  It doesn't match it at all.  If he is right, he deserves the money to spread his message.  It he's wrong he shouldn't own a radio network and deceive people.  Reckless predictions about the second coming of Christ create an artificial excitement among believers that ends up in destruction.  It provides fodder for critics and cynics to criticize Christians.  "Well those people they never know what's going on."  Because a lot of his followers are quitting their jobs.  They're selling their possessions and they're going to be hurt.  I think based on Bible prophecy I'm here to tell you that at six o'clock tonight we're going to still be here on this Earth.  Jesus could come before six o'clock or after six o'clock.  We don't know when he's coming.  I would like to make a prediction, and that is that Jesus will not come at six o'clock because I don't think he will honor false predictions. 

So keep this in mind.  Are we going to heaven today?   It won't happen.  I will tell you what will happen.  Jesus will come someday.  You don't know when.  You had better be ready now for the coming of Jesus.  You need to be rich in Jesus.  You need to be an overcomer.  You need to live the Christian life.  Keep the Commandments of God including the Sabbath from sundown to sundown.  Be loyal to Jesus.  Live life right.  That won't save you, but you do that because you are saved.  Because you love Jesus.  Be a good last day remnant Christian.  Be a witness to the truth that we have.  We have wonderful truth.  Let's shout it to the nations that are dying for falsehood.  We don't know the day or the hour.  Let's never claim we do.  But we know we're living in the last days. Let's sing our closing hymn, We Know Not The Hour, and let's be faithful to Jesus.

Hymn of Praise: #34, Wake the Song
Scripture: Revelation 12:12-17
Hymn of Response: #604, We Know Not the Hour
Sermon Notes:  Sermon notes available as PDF

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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 05/30/11