Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered September 24, 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.

A Grand and Awful Time

Amos 8:11-13

(RealAudio available)

I want to speak with you about last day events today because I think were living in the last day.  Do you believe that?  We are Seventh-day Adventist Christians and as you look out and you hear all the world news, you realize that it's not just the United States that's in a debt crisis, the world is in a debt crisis.  We have Greece that is practically bankrupt.  Iceland is in the midst of bankruptcy.  Greek bonds are junk.  Our credit rating is diminished.  Things are happening that are strange in this world. 

Is this predicted in the Bible?  Turn to Revelation 18.  It says something interesting in verse 17.  This predicts a sudden financial meltdown.  You see if it doesn't.  Verse 17 says, in one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin.  In one hour.  America is trillions of dollars in debt.  I know that when the mark of the beast happens, that Revelation 18  takes place, and I know we're not there yet, but this is coming.  There will be a sudden financial meltdown in the last days.  This verse 12 says that the merchants of gold, the merchants of silver will cry.  Containers full of merchandise being shipped from China or somewhere else will be unsold.  This pictures sudden bankruptcy coming to the world. 

In Bible days wealth was basically material things.  You realize that today your 401(k), your retirement funds, are basically not material things.  They basically exist as electronic digits on a faraway computer off in the clouds somewhere.  Your wealth is in a cloud.  Now spiritually, that's true, isn't it?  Your wealth is Jesus. 

The Bible warns us about the last days.  In Matthew 6 we see this statement.  Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust corrupts, but store up for yourselves treasures where?  In heaven, where the moths don't eat gold.  Where it will not rust. 

America seems to be weaker by the day and this is tragic.  America, according to the Bible in Revelation 13, eventually speaks as a dragon.  Revelation 13:11.  I saw another beast coming out of the Earth.  He had two horns like a lamb but he spoke like a dragon.  That's where we're at right now.  Now how does a nation officially speak.  Through legislation.  In other words, legislative enactments.  In a time of national emergency, like the financial crisis that we're in, laws often change. 

Sister White makes this statement in Great Controversy page 588, the Protestants in the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp hands with spiritualism.  They will reach over the abyss and clasp hands with the Roman power, and under the influence of this threefold union, this country, the United States of America, will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling upon the rights of conscience.  We're living in the last line of Revelation 13 :11.  That's exactly where we are today. 

There are more signs of Christ's coming.  Another sign is in our Scripture reading today.  Amos 8:11.  It says, in the last days there will be famines.  What type of a famine?  Does that mean we'll all be skinny?  I don't think that one is being fulfilled.  What it means is, there will be a famine of, Bibles?  No.  A famine of hearing of the word of the Lord.  That's what it says.  A famine of hearing the word of the Lord.  There will be a great thirst for God..  A great hunger for God.  Even though we are surrounded by Bibles.  Were surrounded by religion.  There is a church just about every mile.  Sometimes more so, and yet here we are dying of hunger, dying of thirst. 

Do fish ever get thirsty?  They're surrounded by the whole ocean of water.  Do fish in the ocean get thirsty?  Yes they do.  In fact, I am told that a fish living in the ocean needs to drink a lot of water to avoid being shriveled up like a prune.  Why is that?  Because of osmosis.  You realize that water moves from where there is less dissolved salt to where there is more dissolved salt, so the water inside the fish wants to move into the ocean, which it does, so the fish has to keep drinking water to avoid dying of dehydration in the middle of the ocean. 

Most families have six or eight Bibles.  I have over two dozen Bibles.  And yet, where are the Bibles?  Often times they're on the shelf.  We dust them on Friday.  Shame on us.  We have more religion, we have more Bibles, we have more religious TV, we have 3ABN, we're surrounded with sermons, we're surrounded by books, and yet like those fish in the ocean, unless you drink some of it in you are going to be a spiritual prune.  It is time for us to get back to the Bible.

 Now notice that God does not say that in the last days there will be a shortage of Bibles.  You won't hear the Bible preached.  You need to go to a church where they preach the Bible.  You need to be a member of a Bible preaching church.  That's why this pulpit is in the center of this platform.  Have you noticed that in many non-Seventh-day Adventist churches the pulpit is on the side?  We put it in the middle because we want to emphasize Bible preaching.  That's exactly why. 

A mouse can live in a 5000 bushel corn crib and die of starvation unless he eats some of the corn.  It is time that we be feeding on the Word.  Unless the truth of Jesus gets inside your heart, you're going to be lost. 

Have you ever been to Sweden?  Sweden has 9.4 million people.  It's not a very big country.  Of those 9.4 million people 75%, three fourths of them, are church members.  They belong to the Church of Sweden.  Now that sounds pretty good doesn't it?  75%.  But, only 15% of the church members believe in Jesus.  Only 15% of them believe that Jesus is the Savior.  That He is God.  And only 6% of the 75% ever attend church.  Imagine if these percentages existed in the McDonald Road church and we were to say, how many of you believe Jesus and 6% of you would raise your hand.  Wouldn't that be awful?  They are not required to believe in Jesus to be a member of the church in Sweden. 

I read in my Bible, in Luke 18:8, when Jesus comes, will he find faith on the earth?  My point is, Christians are also a threatened species.  True Christians.  God's prophecies are rapidly being fulfilled today.  We're surrounded with Bibles.  We're surrounded with Spirit of Prophecy books, but it's harder and harder to find the truth.  More and more people are spiritually dead. 

Now as you read in Revelation, 13:12 it says, speaking of United States of America, he exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf and made the Earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast whose fatal wound had been healed.  He ordered them to set up an image to the beast.  In verse 15 he caused all who refuse to worship to be killed.  Verse 16, he forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave to receive the mark on his right hand or in his for head.  This shows me that the United States of America is a powerhouse in the last days.,  And yet, what do we see?  What you hear on the news?  The United States is in debt.  We're almost bankrupt.  Is the United States strong? 

There is a famous anthropologist who did a study, J. D. Unwen.  He studied 88 civilizations from the dawn of history until now.  Each culture began with a strict code of sexual conduct and ended with complete sexual license.  James Dobson made a statement about that study.  He said, every society which extends sexual permissiveness to its people perished a short time afterwards.  There have been no exceptions. 

I will tell you, my wife and I came from meetings up in Victoria Canada and Risk Management has its hands full.  It was said there that in one of our churches this past year an Elder announced that he was gay.  What do we do?  Do we disfellowship him?  Our church policy is that you can be a homosexual and be a good member of the Seventh-day Adventist church in good and regular standing if you are a non-practicing homosexual.  If you've given it up and you don't promote it.  I hope you heard me through on that.  We are approaching a lot of different things.  In another school, one of our schools, a man was teaching in his classroom and at Christmas time he went home for the break.  He was a teacher in one of our schools and after New Year's he came back and he said, I am a 'she'.  I'm a female now.  He had had surgery.  What do you do?  Can you fire the teacher for that?  We're entering realms that we never dreamed would be possible.  Those are situations and quandaries in which we are confronted on a more increasing basis than we would like to be. 

We need people who will stand up and preach The Word.  Who will preach against sin and not say that abortion is simply pregnancy termination.  It is not right.  We have preachers who are in various denominations and they say all that's required is that you don't have to rest on the Sabbath as long as you rest in Jesus.  They preach that once you repeat the words of the sinner's prayer, you're saved.  Just right there and you can never again be lost.  They proclaim that homosexuality is not really a sin, it's just a lifestyle choice.  Proverbs 23 says be not desirous of daintys.  They are the deceitful food.  Don't be deceived.  There is a way that seems right to a man but the end thereof is the way of death.  I think too many people want sermonettes preached by preacherettes to Christianettes.  Too many people want to be spoon fed with liitle plastic spoons dishing out pablum which produces nothing more than powerless, childish, handicapped pew warmers.  We don't want that. 

Hebrews 5 says get solid food.  Where do you get that?  Well you need to get it from the pulpit but you also need to get it in your own personal, private devotions.  We need more than a form of religion.  We need the truth, and the truth is Jesus Christ.  We need to know the times in which we live.  We live in dangerous times, and smooth dangerous doctrines are sweeping into the Christian church, and the result is spiritual darkness. 

Moslems are ready for the end of the time.  Jews feel like we're living in the last days.  Did you know that as of September 29 the Jewish year, they believe that each day of creation represents 1000 years and so 6000 years, it's all over.  Well they believe that this is year number 5772, beginning September 29.  Not very many more. 

It's not important to know the exact date that Jesus comes, is it?  The important thing is to know Jesus.  To have a relationship with Jesus.  To be ready.  To stay ready.  To get others ready. 

So let me ask you a question.  Are you ready?  If Jesus were to come today would you be saved or would you be lost?  Does your life measure up to the standard of perfection that it should be?  How many of you are perfect yet?  Raise your hand.  When are you ever going to get to be perfect?  How many of you have perfect patience?  How many of you have perfect love?  Are you utterly unselfish?  How much time is it going to take for your works to be perfect?  Do you know that you don't have to have perfect works to be saved?  Somebody did.  Do you know, you are not saved by your works.  You are saved by the works of Jesus.  That's how we're saved. 

Paul fought the battle of works and he lost.  You can read this in Romans 7:14.  He says here, we know that the law is spiritual but I am carnal, sold under sin.  Romans 7:15, for that which I do, I allow not, for what I would that I do not do.  But what I hate, that is what I do.  He was struggling, wasn't he?  He just wasn't quite doing it and some people say, well he wasn't a Christian when he wrote that part of the Bible.  Verse 22 says that in his heart he delighted in God's law.  I think he was a Christian.  In Philippians 3:12, Paul says, not that I have already obtained or that I have already been made perfect but I press on.  Paul lost on the battlefield of perfection of works. 

You see, there's two battlefields.  Jesus was the victor on the battlefield of works.  The battlefield where we fight is the battlefield of relationship.  To have a good relationship with Jesus Christ.  Our fight, where we strive, is to stay surrendered, to stay connected to Jesus Christ.  Strive to keep the faith.  The striving is not to have perfect works.  Although your works, you want them to be better and better, you want to sin less and less, that's the goal of my life.  The goal of my life is to be like Jesus, but I know that I will never totally have perfect love until I am changed at the coming of Jesus.  We're not saved by our works anyway.  We're saved by the works of Jesus.  Our actual state is that our works are not perfect.  Our actual standing is that we are covered by the perfect robe of Jesus' righteousness.  It's ours, and it's a gift.  I used to wonder how long it would take me to become perfect.  I will never be perfect, until Jesus makes me perfect, and that can happen (snap) that fast.  In fact, I'm perfect now, in Christ.  In Christ I am perfect. 

Steps to Christ, page 64 says, there are many Christians who realize their character is imperfect.  Well that's probably true of all of us.  Their life is faulty and they doubt whether their life is okay, whether their hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit, and she says, to such I would say, do not draw back in despair.  We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and our mistakes.  Often.  We do make mistakes, don't we?  Anybody who hasn't made a mistake this week is not a human being.  The closer you come to Jesus, the more you will realize how faulty you appear.  You'll see your sins more and more.  Your imperfection will be seen in broad and distinct  contrast to his perfect nature.  Steps to Christ page 64. 

So the good news is, you can be perfect in Christ today by accepting his righteousness.  Galatians 3:6.  Consider Abraham.  He believed and it was credited to him as righteousness.  What did he do?  He believed.  Did his works get better throughout his life?  Yes.  Were they ever totally enough to save him?  No.  Jesus' perfect life will be credited to your life.  Your bankrupt ledger will stand as if you never sinned because your sins will be wiped away.  You will be made pure and clean. 

So do we keep on sinning?  No we don't.  We do our best to live a victorious life through the power of the Holy Spirit.  We do our best.  Jesus makes up, and praise the Lord for Jesus. 

He's coming soon.  I know that day is coming upon us.  You never know when Jesus might come.  It could be this year, next year.  Could be...  Well for some of us it could come today.  My sister had a stroke a couple weeks ago and she's younger than I am.  We never know when our stroke will come, do we?  Or our heart attack.  Do you know?  My sister didn't know.  Fortunately it was a mild one.  Fortunately she's going to be okay unless another one comes. 

You just don't know the future.  You don't know when Jesus is going to come, but you've got to be ready.  We don't have the foresight to see the future like we would want to see.  We have very limited foresight, as human beings.  If I were to ask the most intelligent person a very simple question about the rapidity of the events of the future, probably most of you would flunk.  I'm going to ask you that question right now.  If you would take the church bulletin and cut it in half and put those two halves one on top of the other.  Then if you would cut that in half and place those two on top of each other.  If you would do that 50 times how tall would your stack of paper be?  Some of you might guess maybe a foot, maybe 2 feet.  Do you know the answer?  93,000,000 miles.  93,000,000 miles.  Would any of you have dreamed that? 

We don't think much about the future.  I know we don't, because we get in the line, we take out our plastic Visa or MasterCard or American Express.  We charge it and we don't think about the ramifications of our actions.  The consequences of what we do.  We've got to pay that thing back.  We don't think about the consequences of compound interest, either when we owe it or in our savings, until we get down later in life, and then we begin to think about all this stuff. 

So even if you understand these things and how tall the stack of paper would be, you have a hard time grasping how the future could come.  I will tell you that the future in the last days, the final events, will be rapid ones.  Do you believe that?  These things are coming upon the world.  You see the earthquakes in divers places.  You see the famines, the floods, all of the signs around us.  Let's be ready.  You never know when your time might come.  Do you sleep on top of the water heater.  Is it in the basement right underneath your bedroom.  You never know when your time is going to come.  So let's just be ready at all times.  Does that make sense.  Let's stay close to Jesus.  He's coming soon.  We live in a grand and awful time.  Let's make sure that it's awfully good.  If we're connected with Jesus it will be.

Hymn of Praise: #1, Praise to the Lord
Scripture: Amos 8:11-13
Hymn of Response: #17, We Are Living, We Are Dwelling
Sermon Notes:  Sermon notes available as PDF

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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 10/12/11