There came a time in Elijah’s life when the Lord asked him a very important question. “The Lord said, What doest thou here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:13.That is the question I want to ask you, dear reader. If the Lord were to ask you that question today, what would your answer be? It does not have to be the Lord who asks you that question. Maybe your local church pastor may ask you that question, or another Seventh-day Adventist. Or maybe your next door neighbor.
It is an important question and we need to have a good answer to it. Can you remember the first time that you heard the Advent message? The time you decided that this was God’s truth? The time that you decided to be one of God’s remnant people? You knew then that there were some changes that had to happen in your life. There were things that you had to leave behind, things that you could no longer do. There were places that you could not visit any longer. There were friends that you could no longer be friends with. Some had to make a choice between employment and the Sabbath. Do you know why you made those choices? Are you quite clear in your mind about that?
Today circumstances have moved on for many of you. Some of you are no longer welcome even in your Seventh-day Adventist Church. Why are you here rather than there? Do you know the reason? From time to time I attend my local Conference Church. I remember a few weeks ago when I was in a Conference Church. If you had come to me after that service and asked me the question, that many people asked me, “What was wrong with the sermon we heard?” I would have found that question very difficult to answer because I could not remember what that sermon was about. Within a few minutes, what that man had said went out of my head. All I could tell you was this, that during that Sabbath morning service, I heard nothing and I saw nothing which could have showed me that I was in a Seventh-day Adventist Church.
About two months ago, I was in a Seventh-day Adventist Church and the preacher was a very good speaker. People came up to me afterwards and they said to me, “Was that not an excellent sermon?” Some of those people who asked me that question come to historic Seventh-day Adventist meetings. But there was nothing in that sermon that told me that he was a Seventh-day Adventist minister. It was a good sermon, but it was not a Seventh-day Adventist sermon. So what was I doing in that church?
Let me try to explain by using a kind of a parable. Suppose that you developed an interest. Your new hobby was model railways. If you have an interest like that, you might want to join a club or society of people who have the same interest.
These societies have regular meetings each week. Why would you go to those meetings? Because you want to meet other people who share your interest. What will you talk about when you go to those meetings? You want to talk about model railways. When you have special speakers coming to those meetings, what will those men talk about? They will talk about model railways, because that is what the society is for.
But what if the time came when the members of that society started to get interested in postage stamps instead? And when you went along to your model railway society, all that they wanted to talk about was postage stamps, comparing their collections, hearing talks about postage stamps and exchanging their duplicate stamps. Would you still want to be a member of that club? How would you feel about that?
But it is not just a question about how you would feel. How much would you learn about model railways in a club that talked about postage stamps? Would your interest in model railways grow, week by week, if you went to a club like that? Suppose that they had an excellent lecturer that came to that club and gave a good lecture about postage stamps and the other people in the club said to you, “Was that not an excellent lecture?” Or maybe they said to you, “What was wrong about that?” What would you say?
If you love the Adventist message, then that message is your whole focus and interest. Did you join the Seventh-day Adventist Church because you loved the Advent message? In 2 Thessalonians 2:10, Paul talks about some people that are going to be lost. He says that some will perish because they received not the love of the truth.
Do you have a love for the truth? Do you want to meet with others that have a love for the truth? Do you want to hear the truth? If you do not have a love of the truth, then you will perish.
I read some words from Sister White that made a deep impression on me. She wrote about different opinions and different views in the church. She said, “This I do know, that our churches are dying for the want of teaching on the subject of righteousness by faith.” Gospel Workers, 301.
If we do not have the truth on righteousness by faith as a living reality in our lives, then we will die spiritually. This is the truth around which all the other truths cluster. Every truth in the Bible must be studied in the light of that truth. We may wish to speak about the state of the dead or the second coming of Jesus or the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation, but all those truths are given us to show us about the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
This is what the Seventh-day Adventist Church should be about. I know that the congregations I meet with, in Seventh-day Adventist Churches, are being starved for lack of these precious truths. They never hear the truth of righteousness by faith—the truth that sinful men and women may overcome those sins through faith in the power of Jesus Christ.
I want to meet with those who love this message. I want to hear messages about the truth of God’s word. I want to share experiences with people who know the truth. I want to hear what great things the Lord has done for you. I am tired of being starved and I want to feed upon the bread of life.
What are you doing here? What is your answer to Him? The Lord will want an honest answer and your answer will be tested. If you go to home churches because you have a quarrel with your pastor, a new pastor will come to your church and he will be very nice to you. Then you will discover why you went to that home church.
If you attend an independent Seventh-day Adventist meeting because your church has a woman pastor, will you still be there when your pastor is a man? If you are there because they will not let you do anything in church, will you still be there when they ask you to take the Sabbath School Lesson? Or lead out in the Prayer Meeting? Or give a talk to the young people? Will these things persuade you that it is just fine to be there?
Sister White says that the time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. Every one will be tested to see whether they have received a love of the truth, because if they have not received a love of the truth, they will perish. The contest is very simple. It is between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. Who is giving the commandments in your life?
It is my prayer that each one of us will stand before the throne of God, one day, because we received a love of the truth that we might be saved.