Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered August 13, 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 Sanctuary Janitor

Daniel 8:14

(RealAudio available)

It's been over 167 years since the great disappointment of October 22, 1844, when they expected Jesus to come and he didn't come.  In fact, if anybody tells me, I expect Jesus is going to come, let me give you a date here and they pull out a card and they have a date on it, you know what?  They're wrong, because nobody knows the day or the hour of Jesus' coming.  We just don't know.  So here we are.  We're still here. 

But back in 1844, almost 200,000 Millerites gathered, many of them on ascension rock where we stood this summer and they expected Jesus to come.  They didn't even dig their potatoes that year.  It was October.  They were in the ground.  But he didn't come.  Their Bible study had concluded that the earth would be cleansed, but actually the sanctuary does not represent the earth.  The sanctuary represent something else, and the next day, God showed Hiram Edson the fact that it would not be the earth, but it would be the heavenly sanctuary that would be cleansed. 

How would you like it if this church were swept by our janitors every 2000 and 300 days?  We cleaned the sanctuary.  We cleaned the church.  Would it be clean?  It wouldn't be very clean, would it?  Daniel 8:14 says, unto 2300 days then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.  You understand that a day equals a year in Bible prophecy. 

So what sanctuary?  Well not the earthly sanctuary because Jerusalem was destroyed in what year?  In 70 A.D.  God showed our early pioneers that it was the heavenly sanctuary.  Now we call it the heavenly sanctuary, but actually it's God's supreme, celestial command center.  That's what it is.  It's not just like a church or a little wedding chapel, or even a big cathedral.  It is set up much like a command center is set up when a little child is lost.  They set up a command post and all the intelligence is gathered and comes into that area and the objective is to find the lost child.  From that nerve center, every known effort is made to save the lost, and that's true with heaven. 

At this central intelligence agency of the universe the CEO maintains office hours 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 1/4 days a year.  He's always on duty.  In fact, if you call, the CEO personally answers your call, himself.  Isn't that amazing?  You don't ever get a secretary.  You don't ever get an operator.  The CEO answers your call himself.  That is awesome.  So most of those 10 to 20 billion calls every day come at mealtime, or bedtime, because that's when we pray. 

No one ever hears an answering machine.  Hello, you have reached the heavenly sanctuary.  If you want to talk to somebody about a physical need, press one.  If you want to talk to somebody about a spiritual need, press two.  If you want to talk about a lost relative's salvation, press three.  If you want to talk about a marriage problem, press four.  If it's a loss of a job, press five.  If you want to talk about changing your local weather, press six.  If you want to talk about a blessing for food, press seven.  While you're waiting enjoy listening to the Angel's choir.  That never happens.  Never, ever.  You will get to talk to God himself.  You're never placed on hold. 

The heavenly command center is a center filled with benevolent activity.  God is trying to help you.  Trying to answer your problems.  From that point, the power emanates and sustains the entire cosmos.  Nothing can exist without that.  In fact, if you would take all of God's power away, the universe would collapse.

The eternal Oval Office, that we call the sanctuary, is the center of God's government.  It is the primary dwelling place of the Trinity.  There God operates it in conjunction with the Holy Spirit and with Jesus.  These three, our three friends, are in charge. 

Right now they are in operation clean it up.  They are in the cleansing of the sanctuary.  It's in full progress.  We Adventists believe this doctrine.  It's one of our 28 fundamental beliefs.  The sanctuary.  This is one of the more important beliefs that we have.  The most important one is Jesus and his salvation, but the sanctuary message is extremely important.  We believe that there is a sanctuary in heaven from which Jesus operates.  He went there after his resurrection.  He's answering our prayers up there.  He's trying to make our dreams come true in conjunction with his dreams for us.  So he's making on our behalf the various benefits that he secured on the cross.  He's been ministering as our high Priest for 2000 years. 

Now don't ever say, you know, you're a Roman Catholic, you've got a priest.  We don't have the priest.  Yes you do have a priest.  You know who your priest is?  Jesus Christ.  Your priest personally answers your prayers.  Jesus is your priest.  He doesn't live in the Vatican.  He lives in heaven.  He is your high priest.  He answers your prayers. 

So in 1844, Jesus took the role of janitor and started the cleansing process, and started to run that.  He had all this time to think it through and finally in 1844, it was put in gear.  It actually began to take place.  Sin is a big challenge to God.  The efficient management of the sin problem is very critical to heaven.  In fact, for over six, seven, eight thousand years, God has been trying to deal with sin.  It didn't just start in the garden of Eden 6000 years ago.  It started before that when somebody got to proud.  So this highly efficient system of sin management deals with the enormous accumulation of sin that has gotten to be a big problem in the universe. 

Jesus must properly dispose of all of this toxic waste, because sin is toxic.  Sin must be eradicated forever.  So this is a critical thing in the preservation of life.  All life,  and the environment, and our happiness.  Sin has to be dealt with.  Sin is toxic to all life.  So our friends, the holy Trinity, have begun even now to clean all this up.  Our God wants to do more than put sin in a crockpot or slow cooker.  God wants to turn up the heat.  Hell is not where sinners are slowly tortured for eternity.  It will be a place where sin will be destroyed.  Burned up.  Incinerated.  The Seventh-day Adventist hell, they claim, is hotter than the Methodist hell, or the Baptist hell, because ours gets the job done.  Really, the Bible hell burns up the wicked.  They are destroyed.  They are not tortured forever and ever.  They are gone.  Cleaned.  Taken care of. 

Now how does one clean a sanctuary?  Do you have any idea how you clean a sanctuary in heaven from sin?  How do you get rid of sin?  How does God do that?  Well to learn that, you need to look back at the Old Testament sanctuary.  Let's suppose I'm living in the days of the Old Testament and I steel a donkey.  I'm a donkey thief.  I steel this donkey and let's suppose that I want to make it right.  Well the first thing I have to do is return the donkey. 

Now the second thing I have to do, I had to go out in my backyard and take one of my little lambs and take it down to the sanctuary, to the tabernacle.  I have to take a sharp knife with me.  There in front of the priest I kneel down and take my little lamb.  I place my sins upon the head of that lamb and confess my sins and then I take my knife and while I'm looking at my little lamb I slit its throat and all the blood drains out and I see the life fading from the eyes of that little lamb.  I have killed that lamb.  My sins are responsible for the death of that lamb. 

That's exactly the way it is with Jesus.  You see, Jesus, himself, as the Lamb of God.  Who killed Jesus on the cross?  I did.  My sins killed Jesus.  I am the one.  I am the culprit.  So if I slit the little lamb's throat, am I saved by an animal?  No, not at all, because the animal is only a symbol.  It's a symbol of the lamb of God.  Of Jesus.  My sins then have been placed on the lamb.  The lamb died.  The blood drains out.  Some of that blood I give to the priest.  He takes it in and puts it on the altar and takes care of it and transfers it to the sanctuary.  So my sins are in the sanctuary now. 

Then once a year there is the day of atonement, and the high priest goes in and takes care of the sin problem.  Takes all of the accumulated sins and places them on what's called the Lord's goat.  Then the scapegoat is sent out to die in the wilderness, which represents the devil being in the wilderness for the millennium.  1000 years.  The full accountability for sin is placed upon the head of the goat which represents the devil.  The sin is paid for by the lamb.  By Jesus who offers his life and dies for us.  That's how you pay for sin. 

So anybody who lived back in the time of Moses and from that time clear to the time of Jesus, the sanctuary and the temple system was a living gospel parable of how we're saved.  That's basically what it was.  The door to the courtyard represented Jesus.  The door of life.  The way of life.  Jesus said, I am the way.  The courtyard itself represented the world, and the altar of burnt offering represents Calvary.  The lamb represented Jesus.  The blood represented Jesus' blood.  You have the table of showbread.  That bread represents Jesus, the bread of life.  Then you have the golden candlesticks emanating light.  That light represents Jesus, the light the world.  It all represented Jesus. 

So this was a symbol of how we are saved.  A symbol of the gospel.  We're saved by looking to Jesus.  Even the shape of the sanctuary was laid out in the shape of the cross, with the ark and the altar of incense and the table of showbread and the candlesticks.  Then the two other pieces at the bottom, the laver and the altar of burnt offering in the exact shape of the cross.  How awesome.  That is so special. 

If you look at the back of your bulletin you will see there on the back, in case you haven't looked at it yet, the sanctuary contains all 28 doctrines of our church.  They're all there.  All 28.  We believe that Jesus did not just come and die on the cross and go home.  Jesus went to heaven to administer the benefits of his death on the cross.  He's coming soon to save us.  We can appreciate that.  So in 1844 that is when the final removal of the record of our sins from the sanctuary takes place.  We call it the investigative judgment. 

Now I want you to take your Bible and open to Daniel seven.  Daniel 7:9 and 10.  It says, I beheld till the thrones were cast down and the ancient of days did sit whose garment was white as snow.  The hair of his head was like pure wool and his throne was like a fiery flame and its wheels as burning fire, and verse 10, a fiery stream issued and came forth from before him.  Thousands and thousands ministered unto him and 10,000 times 10,000 stood before him and what happened?  The judgment was set and the books were opened.  What books.  The book of life open.  Books containing our records.  Of all who profess to be Christians.  This judgment takes place up there in the heavenly sanctuary.  Who are the witnesses?  The Angels.  Who is our judge?  Jesus.  Who is our advocate?  Jesus.  Who is our defense attorney?  Jesus.  Who is the prosecuting attorney?  The devil.  So there you have the court. 

Now why do we need a pre-advent judgment?  Well the truth is, WE don't need it.  We do not need the pre-advent judgment.  Do you know who does need it?  All the unfallen beings out there in the universe.  You see, they live where everything is pure.  There's no cold germs, no pneumonia germs, no sin there.  We are the one lost sheep.  The ninety-nine have never fallen.  So they want to look over the records and make sure that we're clean and we're okay.  We're not going to infect eternity with our sins.  We're coming from a dirty little world down here.  You see all those riots in London?  They're spreading.  You see some of that stuff going on in Philadelphia.  It's bad here.  We live in a wicked world, and when you get to heaven, you're not going to be placed in some guantanamo bay and quarantined for a while.  You're going to be let loose, and they want to make sure that you are safe.  So all these people are going to look over your records, of your life, and make sure you're okay. 

What does the investigation look for?  They're going to read your life.  Matthew 22 tells you what they are looking for.  Here's the story of a king who holds a great wedding banquet.  They all come to this wedding banquet.  Then the King comes for a pre-wedding inspection.  Look at verse 11.  When the King came in to see the guests, what was he looking for?  What did he actually see.  He saw a man there without a wedding garment.  He didn't have that garment on.  That's what the King was looking for.  To make sure he had that garment on.  Verse 12, he said, friend, how did you come in here not having a wedding garment, and he was speechless.  Then verse 13.  Then the king said to the servants, bind him hand and foot and take him away and cast him into outer darkness where there will be gnashing of teeth.  He wasn't wearing a robe. 

So what all these people are going to be looking at when they take your book and they open your book, the book that has a record of your life, what are they going to be looking for?  To see if you are covered with the robe.  That's what the king looked for here in Matthew.  That garment is the pure spotless righteousness, the character of Jesus Christ.  It's free.  You don't even have to earn it.  It will be given to you, but you have to have it.  You've got to be covered with it., in order for you to be saved. 

Sister White puts it this way in Christ's Object Lessons, page 310.  It is the righteousness of Christ, his own  unblemished character, his character that through faith is imparted to all who receive him as their personal savior.  It's just as clear as that.  That's how you get it.  You receive Jesus as your personal savior.  It's given to you.  His character is imparted to you and stands in the place of your character. 

So if that has all happened to you, and these inhabitants of these other worlds open the book, what are they going to see in your book?  Blank pages.  All blotted out.  No record there of any sin.  It's all been blotted out by the blood of Jesus.  That's what they're looking for.  Make sure your sins are forgiven. 

Now I'm also trying hard to be an overcomer.  Aren't you?  I want to be an overcomer.  Will my overcoming and all my abilities save me?  No.  I'll be saved by Jesus.  Then why do I want to be in overcomer?  Because I love Jesus.  I love him. 

I read another statement in Desire of Ages, page 26.  It says, Christ was treated as we deserve that we might be treated as he deserves.  He was condemned for our sins in which he had no part that we might be justified by his righteousness in which we had no part.  So he basically takes what we deserve and we get what he deserves.  That is quite a gift.  Isn't that wonderful? 

Jesus in the bright, grand celestial center up there is administering his robe free to us.  Please accept it.  Accept Christ as your Savior.  Don't you walk out those doors today without Jesus as your Savior.  He wants to be your Savior.  He died for you.  His blood came forth for you.  Please accept Christ as your Savior and you will be saved.  All those sins of your life will be blotted out.  Your book will be empty.  Covered with the blood of Jesus. 

I want my life cleansed by the blood of Jesus.  He's cleansing the sanctuary and I want him to cleanse this Temple right here, and I hope you do too.  You give your heart to him.  You accept him as your Savior and all that stands between you and eternity is your willingness to do those two things.  Accept Christ as your Savior and give your heart totally to him.  You will be saved.  You will.  What a great doctrine the sanctuary message is.  I want it cleansed.  And I want my sins cleansed.  I want to be in heaven with Jesus Christ someday soon.  Some day we're going to stand at that judgment bar.  We're going to be there.  The Angels will all be there as our witnesses.  God will be there, and I want to stand, not on my own merits, I want to stand on the merits of Jesus Christ, my Savior.  That's the only way we can stand.

Hymn of Praise: #10, Come, Christians, Join to Sing
Scripture: Daniel 8:14
Hymn of Response: #416, The Judgment Has Set
Sermon Notes:  Sermon notes available as PDF

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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 10/29/11