I want to suggest to you today that what has made us distinct is what will maintain our strength and power and Christian experience. But mistaken identity will destroy us.
Can I get a witness today? Here when we think about the 15th anniversary of the Philadelphia Seventh-day Adventist Church what can we think about?
What is it that makes the Philadelphia Seventh-day Adventist church special? What is it that makes us special? That makes us unique? That is my topic today!
What is Doctrine? The word itself is taken from the greek word “didaskalia” or “didache” meaning teaching or instruction
Doctrine. [Heb. generally leqach, “teaching,” “instruction”; Gr. didaskalia, “act of teaching,” “teaching,” or “instruction,” didacheµ, “teaching,” generally, the thing taught.] A common NT term that may denote the act of teaching (1 Ti 4:13; 5:17) but more generally designates the content, or substance, of the information or ideas transmitted (ch 1:10; etc.). Didaskalia is used in the active sense of instructing in Rom 15:4, hence translated “instruction” (RSV), and in the passive sense of instruction in Mt 15:9.
I remember sitting up in class what in the word do I need all this stuff for?
When we think about doctrine to some their minds foster on rules and regulations. A canopy of terms and agreements. I remember just the other day in the barber shop. One woman upon learning the fact that I was a minister asked me what denomination I belonged to. I told her I was a Seventh-day Adventist. She said “Your church has too many rules.”
What she didn’t realize is what many fail to understand that my church is not based upon rules and regulations. I believe my church is based upon a Rock!
“Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!”
Doctrine is instruction or teaching.
You see because this is a world is touched with decay, death and transition. Every thing in it is transitory including our own existence. Hardly anything in this life last forever.
But what does last forever is not sold in stores, it’s not received on the internet, you can’t pick it up calling a 1-800 number.
That’s why the Word pleads
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
The thing that last forever is Jesus! A relationship with Jesus is what is special and priceless!
If you know God you’ve found a pearl of great price!
You go through so much pressure and hardship throughout life! Every where you turn it seems you run up against a headache.
Doctrine is simply instruction on how to get by in this crazy world!
You see I can’t live in this world without some direction. Because not everyone is what they claim to be.
There are some pitfalls and potholes I need to avoid so I need some instruction, I need some guidelines, I need some advice and help to live life to it’s fullest and live it safetly!
No wonder the scriptures say
105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet And a light unto my path.
They used to have a commercial on TV that said E.F. Hutton “When E.F. Hutton speaks people listen.”
I don’t know about E.F. Hutton but I know there’s One who I can trust and depend on for advice. I know there’s One whose motives are true and whose intentions toward me are pure. There’s no alternate motive, no vested subjective interest.
He’s not interested in selling me something, He’s not interested in my money, He said “All the silver and gold is mine” the world is mine, He’s not interested in stealing my wife’s affections, He brought us together. He’s not here to kick me when I’m down or topple me when I’m up!
Unlike Santa when I’m nice, He loves me, when I’m naughty He still loves me!
His love for me is pure, for His marks in His hand and feet His wounded side they are proof that I know He cares!
Somebody cares! Somebody cares! Not only has He given me all the advice I need but the power to fulfill it!
For that reason I trust Him when through the urging of the Holy Spirit the prophet wrote “Be Ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers” I don’t have to huff and puff, I don’t have to make excuses and say “ain’t no men in the church” I don’t have to compromise and lessen my stance!
That’s why when He inspired the prophet to say
1 John 2:15-17
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
It’s not for me to carry on, wine, complain and say boo woo who! I can’t do nothing, I can’t smoke and I can’t drink, I can’t go to wild shows and
He knows those things will mess you up bring your defenses down!
We got folk who believe because I’m free in Jesus I can do anything I want!
“When once the restraints of God's word and His Spirit are rejected, no man knows to what depths of degradation he may sink. Secret sin or master passion may hold him a captive as helpless as was the demoniac of Capernaum. Yet his condition is not hopeless.
The means by which we can overcome the wicked one is that by which Christ overcame,--the power of the word. God does not control our minds without our consent; but if we desire to know and to do His will, His promises are ours: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” DA 258
1 John 2:3-5
3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5
First four relate to love for man the last six love for God!
If you love Him you’ll keep His commandments!
But know that the Christian life is necessarily an ascetic one!
10 . . . I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. NKJV
This life is no tedious drab one at least it’s not supposed to be.
Make a Joyful noise!
We expect our children to enjoy the Lord like we do!
How many six year olds you know enjoy watching CNN --- 4 hours a day!
Worship, Fellowship, Service and Bible Study!
What is it that makes us special as a church? Is that we keep the Sabbath? Is it that we are baptized by immersion? Is it that we don’t eat the unclean foods? Is that we have a prophet Ellen White?
We can rent a Sunday Church but Sunday Churches can’t rent from Adventists because we’ll be giving them an opportunity to share error!
God can handle error but He can’t handle unconverted hearts that are not willing to change! A mere ascent to truth can never save anyone you’ve got to know Him!
Maybe if we mingled a little somebody would recognize that we know Jesus!
16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
Mother-in-Law in Florida who grew up a Seventh-day Adventists
(Five minutes you can convince someone that Saturday is the Sabbath but ---)
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
People Look for Love! I think we miss that!
I don’t care how much of the Word you think you might know if your heart isn’t being kept by Jesus you can still go astray and be lost!
But if your heart if full of Jesus and you might not know much of the Word you can bet that will change!
27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
May I recommend a suggestion this afternoon? What makes this church special is none of those things what makes the church tick is Jesus?
His Word is a representative of His own character, The Bible says the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us!
What makes the Word special is the fact that it came from Jesus! His Word came from His own heart but if it doesn’t reside in our hearts it doesn’t do much good. If He doesn’t dwell in our hearts it does us no good!
I don’t live the way I live because of my church I live the way I live because of Him!
Jesus said Follow Me! But when we do we become part of a family of God!
Again I ask the question, what makes us special? What makes you deeply rooted and grounded?
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!
The pioneers of this church were the people of the book!
Just shortly before the great disappointment of 1844 hardly was anyone keeping the Seventh-day Sabbath.
(Adventism in a vacuum)
In the summer 1846 James and Ellen Harmon did not believe in the keeping of the Seventh-day Sabbath!
In 1847 James White did not believe in a pre-Advent judgment and as late as 1877 did not believe in the doctrine of the trinity. J.N. Andrews said in 1869 “the Son of God . . . had God for his Father, and did, at some point in the eternity of the past, have beginning of days”
1874 Andrews argued that only God the Father had immortality and that the Father gave life to the Son.
Uriah Smith also rejected the Trinity, He held in 1865 a semi-Arian view of Christ that Jesus was created and also denied the personhood of the Holy Spirit. E.J. Waggoner had a similar view.
Most of all which we believe today was not discovered by Seventh-day Adventists!
It was through study and prayer that they came to believe what we now know to be truth!
“By early 1848 the Sabbatarian Adventist leaders, through both extensive and intensive Bible study, had come to basic agreement on at least four points of doctrine: (1) the personal, visible, premillennial return of Jesus, (2) the two-phase ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, (3) the perpetuity of the seventh-day Sabbath and its end-time importance, and (4) the concept that immortality is not inherent, but something that comes only as a gift through Christ. Those four pillar or landmark doctrines not only set off the Sabbatarians from other Millerites, but from other Christians in general. The pillar doctrines provided the answer of what was Adventist in Adventism.”—Search for Identity—George Knight
Problem came up!
Bates taught “the keeping of GOD’S SABBATH HOLY . . . SAVES THE SOUL”
Ministers found out that they could draw a crowd by challenging local preachers on a debate on subjects like the Sabbath and state of the dead.
Ministers presented their “subjects in an argumentative way, and scarcely mention the saving power of the Redeemer.”
G.I. Butler/Uriah Smith.
1888 she wrote
Butler “thinks his position gives him such power that his voice is infallible.” “We should not consider that either Elder Butler or Elder Smith are the guardians of the doctrines for Seventh-day Adventists, and that no one may dare to express an idea that differs from theirs. My cry has been: Investigate the Scriptures for yourselves … No man is to be authority for us.” (EGW to WMH, Dec 9, 1888)
A.T. Jones/ E. J. Waggoner
1888 Righteousness by Faith
24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
“Many, many will be lost because they have not studied their Bibles upon their knees, with earnest prayer . . . .The word of God is the greatest detector of error; to it. . . .everything must be brought. The Bible must be our standard for every doctrine and practice.” (EGW to Brethren, Aug, 5, 1888)
Jones himself had taken a position to Ellen White’s writings that some Adventist today do and are in danger of!
He referred to her writings as the “Word” (1893)
Miles Grant accused SDA for believing in the cleasings of the sanctuary because of Mrs E. G. White’s Writings
Uriah Smith denied that but pointed to the fact that “Hundreds of articles” pointed to the Biblical evidence.
A.T. Jones/ Waggoner had lost their way!
“ There are many questions treated upon that are not necessary for the perfection of the faith” (EGW to Brother and Sister Baker)
Frank Belden was already writing hymns by his early twenties, and wrote several hundred during his lifetime. He was editor of the popular Hymns and Tunes, published in 1886.
I Will Sing of Jesus’ Love
There’s No Other Name Like Jesus, Cover With His Life, Wholly Thine, We’ll Build on the Rock, Let Every Lamp Be Burning Bright.
Unfortunately, Belden did not heed his own advice and soon returned to his former state of unbelief and criticism of Ellen White and church leaders. He became dissatisfied over disagreements concerning his royalties on Hymns and Tunes, and finally separated from the church in 1907. The last years of his life were ones of extreme bitterness toward the church of his youth, and his aunt, Ellen White.
22 And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 23 Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 saying, "Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!" 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!" 26 And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him. 27 Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, "What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him." 28 And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.
You have to have power behind doctrine. Your life must be established. Truth will always be truth.
“Of all professed Christians, Seventh-day Adventists should be formost in uplifting Christ before the world.” (preach both law and Gospel)
Hip Hop, neighbors, Drug Addicts, what sermon will the people hear on the job, what doctrine!
It’s not the message but the man of the message!
We can’t hide behind the name SDA but behind the Cross of Calvary. We won’t be able to stand on the fact of Church membership but stand on The Rock! It’s not how long you’ve been in the message or how much of it you know. But how much of it is in you.
(Holy Spirit, Love, Grace, Mercy, Faith by works)
His Love in you, His teaching in you, His grace healing you, Word building you!
| I'd Rather See A Sermon|
(Edgar A. Guest)
I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear;
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.
I soon can learn to do it if you'll let me see it done;
I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I'd rather get my lessons by observing what you do;
For I might misunderstand you and the high advise you give,
But there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.
When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles and a strong man stays behind
Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.
One good man teaches many, men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language which to every one is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,
I'd rather see a sermon than to hear one, any day.
Jews – Pharisees, scribes
Abraham—stones children of Abraham
I believe that’s why He ignored the teachers and rulers of His day and used 12 ignorant disciples (Fishermen, tax collectors, sinners)
Sabbath School or divine worship just expounding.
Repeating doctrinal phrases
I pray that this teaching will be in me, a part of me! Carnality chains, love some agape style, make a difference and hold on to Jesus.
“Unto us a Son is born” Eight Feet High and three feet wide! (Western Union)
A – Alpha and Omega beginning and the end (Genesis to Revelation)
B – Baptized by immersion as an example
C – Coming soon, “Therefore Be ye also Ready” Not coming secretly (Every Eye!) (Behold I come quickly and my reward is with me to give every man according as His Works shall be)
D – Death and Resurrection paid the price, because He lives will can live also! God who alone is immoral will grant eternal life to the redeemed. Until that day death is an unconscious state for all His saints
1 Thess 4:14-18
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
E – The Everlasting Father (same God who walked . . .)
F – Fullness of the Godhead rest in Him (Wonderful Father, Mighty God, Prince of Peace)
G- Giver of every perfect Gift (Gifts of the Spirit) (Gift of Prophecy)
H- The Holy Scriptures are an Infallible revelation of His will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the authoritative revealer of doctrines most of all it’s His letter of love to His people! (wherewithal shall a young man cleanse His way)
I – I am
J- Judge In the Great Judgment (also the Lawyer Advocate)
K – King of Kings Keys to Hell and Death (death couldn’t hold Him!)
L –Lord of Lords (Lord of the Sabbath)
M –Minister in the Heavenly Sanctuary who is ever interceding
N – Never leave us or forsake us (Go ye Therefore and preach the Gospel)
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.
O – Omnipotent, (all powerful) Omniscient (all knowledgeable) Omnipresent (everywhere) because of that we acknowledge His ownership and our trust in Him by returning a Faithful tithe and a liberal offering to support the work of Him who we love so much!
P – He’s a Prayer hearing God, Call Him Up, call Him up tell Him what you want (Provider, Protector)
Q – Quickening Spirit - He is that one who can keep you from falling!
R – That Rock
S – Saviour The Good and Great Shepherd He can restore! (Hell burned up)
T – Member of the Triune God: Not one in body! But in purpose, unity and goals The Father loves us, The Son Died for us, the Spirit lives in us
U – Unifier of the Body of Christ of which He is the Head! (One Lord, One faith, One Baptism) Rev 14:12
12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Including the 4th Commandment)
V – The True Vine
W – He’s The Way
X – Marks the spot on the Cross where He died for you and me
Y – Yahweh
Z – Zion’s God
Horn, Siegfried H., Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association) 1979.