This morning as we consider our topic, The World’s Greatest Need, our key thought here is in the text from Luke 9:23, where Jesus says to us: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” When we consider the needs of the world, there are many different ideas as to what that need might be. There are many perceived needs in this world. And some of them are: the idea of the need of resources, the need of materials, the need of finances, the need of healing, the need of peace, the need of unity. The preservation of the environment is one that we’ve been recently hearing a lot about.
These are many different perceived needs for this world. But when we consider what the ultimate need is for this world, it‘s found in this statement here in Education p. 57: “The greatest want of the world is the want of men – men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their innermost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.”
This is the great need of the world, men and women who will stand no matter what the test. This is the need that is there for us. So, when we consider the need that is there, are we fulfilling this need? This need of the world is not something that comes accidentally to us. It’s something that we need to cultivate, we need to work on, we need to have our souls need fulfilled, so that we can fulfil the need of this world.
So, long, long ago, the most successful salesman came in contact with a woman. He had the cheapest, worst product to sell, but he worked on his sales pitch. He worked on his content. He looked at the current situation of that woman and what she was doing at the present. He inquired regarding the manufacturer’s instructions and specifications. And then he offered something better, something that will make you smarter, something that will make you richer, and something that will make you like God. And Satan sold this product to Eve. He sold the product. And of course, just as today when something is advertised, we use different props. We use different plants and we use different creatures. Satan got his sales props and he used them and maximized them the best he could.
“In order to accomplish his work unperceived, Satan chose to employ as his medium the serpent – a disguise well adapted for his purpose of deception. The serpent was then one of the wisest and most beautiful creatures on the earth. It had wings, and while flying through the air it presented an appearance of dazzling brightness, having the colour and brilliancy of burnished gold.” And look at the sales prop here in this statement, it says, “resting in the rich-laden branches of the forbidden tree and regaling itself with the delicious fruit, it was the object to arrest attention and delight the eye of the beholder. Thus in the garden of peace lurked the destroyer, watching for his prey.” (Patriarchs and Prophets p. 53)
Satan gave her some training. When she finally fell to it, he gave her some training and she became the sales lady to sell this product to her husband, who also did not stand true to duty as the needle to the pole. Eve was bought and sold, she fell. She was pulled from the compass when you have a compass the compass is always pointing north. But yet, if you come with some other metallic devices, you can pull the needle away from where it should be pointing. Eve had been pulled, distracted. She was not pointing how she should be.
So each one of us needs to be careful that we are not pulled away. That we are fulfilling the greatest need of the world by standing true. There’s a danger as this statement puts it here that today we can have consciences, which are like Indian rubber. “Men can be bought and sold by the highest bidder. When such men are weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, they are found wanting, for conscientiousness, for honour, for integrity, and fidelity are lacking….” (Manuscript Releases Vol. 1 p. 276) Today, in these last days, multitudes will be in the valley of decision, “for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” (Joel 3:14) There are so many things that can pull our decisions this way and that way, but God wants us to stand true.
Have you ever gone to a new city and you’re going on the highway, and on large highways with many exits? And perhaps the driver is not used to that city, and so there’s that point of indecision, should we go this way or this way? We know that GPS have fixed a lot of these problems, but they still fail us. And so there’s that point of should I go here or go here and that is a most uncomfortable position to find our self in. We need to be decided, if we are to have stability in the vehicle. Stability of where we are headed, where we are going. And so, it says here, that “every youth must cultivate decision. A divided state of will is a snare and has been the cause of ruin to many.” (Youth Instructor Jan 25, 1910 par. 1) “Those who would keep in the path that’s cast up for the ransomed of the Lord must not be swayed in matters of conscience. They must show moral decision. They must not be afraid of the thought of being singular.”
So we can be flexible in our lives. It’s important to be flexible. But in matters of conscience, in matters of morals, we are not to be swayed. Some have the idea that they need to please everybody. And this idea of waiting till someone else makes the decision for you is no good. When Eve had the question asked to her, ‘Has God said that you shouldn’t eat of the fruit of the tree?’ her answer should have been, ‘Yes, He has said.’ No more discussion.
We need to be decided and firm. But sometimes being decided, is looked at in this world as being arrogant, as being stubborn. And it’s important for the Christian to realize that while we need to be decided and be firm, we also need to be kind, courteous, and gentle. The wisdom that is from above it says in James 3:19, “is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” So, the courtesy of the Christian graces while we are decided, we also must be practicing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. When Jesus is in our heart, and we love our neighbour – though we need to be firm for principle, we also need to practice Christian courtesy.
“Professional men, whatever their calling need, divine wisdom. But the physician is in special need of this wisdom in dealing with all classes of men of minds and diseases. … He will be as firm as a rock to principle, yet kind and courteous to all.” (Counsels on Health p. 321)
So, this is needed in whatever workplace we are in as we serve mankind. We need firmness. We need to be not swayed. We need to be sticking to what is right in our innermost soul as we are convicted by the Word of God. Let us not be swayed from this. But yet we are to be kind, and we are to be courteous to all.
The truths that we hold are not popular. And in upholding this Banner of Truth, we are not to be ashamed of it. No matter how unpopular it is. The servants of God “will not hold their peace from proclaiming the truth in all places. Throughout the world they will herald the glad tidings of salvation. They will be missionaries for God, for the truth’s sake facing danger, enduring privation, suffering reproach.”
In the early Christian church, and from the time of Abel and Cain, Christians were not always liked when they stuck to the right. The truth is not popular. The early Christians, with their blameless deportment, their unswerving faith, were a continual reproof that disturbed the sinner’s peace. “Though few in numbers without wealth, position, or honorary titles, they were a terror to evil-doers wherever their character and doctrines were known. Therefore they were hated by the wicked, even as Abel was hated by ungodly Cain. For the same reason that Cain slew Abel did those who sought to throw off restraint of the Holy Spirit, put to death, God’s people.” (GC 46)
The word is in need of people like Abel, like the martyrs, like many people throughout history, who will not be swayed even when bearing unpopular truth, that holds consequences for telling it.
Jesus, our Saviour, was rejected and crucified. Had He done anything wrong? His life was pure, He lived to serve and yet, He was still not liked by some people. And Jesus says to you and me, “if you come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” This is a need of this world, a Christian that follows Jesus, who has their needs supplied in Christ, and supplies the need of the world by standing true, by setting an example, by being our neighbours Bible.
When we think of some people in history who stood for the right, we think of, we had last night, Apostle Paul. You know, Paul, the apostle had some advice, how to stand, how not to be swayed. And Br Larry brought to our attention that we need faith. We need the Word of God. We need our loins girt about with the truth. We need our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. We need all these things in order to keep us stable, and not be distracted by the things of this world. Paul was no softy. He was a hardened soldier of Christ and the cross. He was not going to bend with popular pressure.
And we think of another person, John the Baptist. He was another man who stood for the right no matter what the cost. When Jesus spoke of John the Baptist, he asked the people ‘when you went out there in the wilderness, what did you go to look at? Did you go to see a reed shaken in the wind? Someone who would bend with popular pressure? Or did you go out to see a man clothed in soft raiment? No,’ he said ‘those people belong in kings palaces.’ John was also living a simple, self-sacrificing life that made no compromise with self-serving. He was a man who would stand by the right though the heavens fall. Though it took him in and out of popularity at some times in his life.
When we make a comparison here, of God’s way, and the world’s way, we see as we look at the life of these men, that there are some unpopular truths, some ways of life that they followed, that they promoted in their life, which are not popular in the world. God’s way, is a way of simplicity and self-sacrifice. We’ll be looking at this as we go through the rest of our study here.
The world’s way is fashion, display and riches. God’s way is simplicity. Its serves to mankind, whereas the world’s way is power and popularity, self-service. God’s way, going back to the beginning is a plain vegetarian diet, the world’s way, is a lavish diet and meat eating. God’s way was marriage for life. And yet the world’s way was remarriage, fornication, and adultery. These are things that are brought out strongly in the life of John the Baptist. John stood for these unpopular truths, though the heavens fell or would fall for him. So our mission in life, we need to be firm on simplicity, and self-sacrifice. “Puritan plainness and simplicity should mark the dwellings and the apparel of all who believe in the solemn truths for this time. All means needlessly expanded in dress or in the adorning of our houses is a waste of the Lord’s money.” (Testimonies Vol 5, p. 189)
Sometimes we say, ‘well, it’s my money.’ Is it our money? Or, or is everything we do to reflect the Saviour, to serve the world? The world needs people who are not focused on self. Puritan plainness should mark what? Our dwellings and apparel. Are we firm on this today? Or are we like Eve getting somehow distracted with the things that pull the compass, the needle gets pulled from the pole.
“Even in the church, which should be the pillar and ground of the truth, is found encouraging the selfish love of pleasure. Selfishness, appetite, the love of display are appealed too, and they strengthen as they are indulged.” A Call to Stand Apart p22
Let us be careful that we are firm as a rock to principle, because if we in our lives, move away from service and start appealing to our selfish desires, heaping together things to stay on this earth, can we be taken to heaven? Will we be, what the world needs to see? In 1 Timothy 6:9 it says: “but they that will be rich, fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown man in destruction and perdition.”
Now this world is so full of schemes. Schemes of earning money, schemes and ways that we can enjoy our self that we can make a little kingdom for our self on this earth. Are we standing firm on what God wants for us like John the Baptist was?
In Revelation 18, we often spend a lot of time contemplating this chapter. And especially we contemplate the first few verses of how the righteousness of Christ, the glory of the angel is to come and lighten the earth with his glory. Christ’s righteousness is to be revealed and shown to this world in his people. But what is the flip side of that? The rest of the chapter 18 of Revelation shows us the flip side of the righteousness of Christ and the glory of the angel. Its people who in the end, will be crying and saying, “Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city, the hour of judgment is come,” and what is happening? The merchants no longer have the gold, the silver, the precious stones, the silk, the scarlet, etc., etc. The products of this world that we can seek after are no longer available.
Which do we want, Puritan plainness and simplicity as a church, as a people who are serving God who lived to serve others, or the self-serving of wanting the products of this world for me? This is a serious question before us today, as the second coming of Jesus is getting nearer and nearer.
“John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a girdle about his loins, a simple dress and his diet? Looking here now this area of his life, this area on which Eve fell, on which she was swayed, John ate locusts and wild honey and the Spirit of Prophecy commenting on this in Councils and Health says “he separated himself from friends from the luxuries of life. The simplicity of his dress, a garment woven of camel’s hair was a standing rebuke to the extravagance and display of the Jewish priests and of the people generally. His diet purely vegetable and locusts and wild honey was a rebuke to the indulgence of appetite and the gluttony that everywhere prevailed.”
Commenting on John and his diet, Josephus says, “and every animal he abhorred as food, and every wrong he rebuked, and tree-produce served him for use.” John’s diet was a diet that was getting back to God’s original. He was not doing what God had allowed because of the hardness of man’s heart. He was restoring and going back to the original in that area of diet. How is it with us? Are we upholding this unpopular truth in the world, not just in flesh eating, but in other areas as well?
Jesus wants us, each one of us, to like John, not be drinking strong drink, but filled with the Holy Ghost. John’s mission was such that he turned the people to the Lord their God. Many of the people were turned by John’s preaching. “And he made ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Is that our job today? To make ready a people prepared for Jesus coming? Then, we need to be restorers. We need to uphold unpopular truth in this world, no matter what the cost.
In the last days, in Matthew 17:11, it says that before the last days, this message of Elias, the message of restoration needs to come to this world. It needs to come so that we can get back to God’s original. Because “God is not slack concerning His promise.” He doesn’t want anybody to be lost. He wants us to be prepared, especially as we see the day approaching. According to 2 Peter 3:9-10, these things of this world are going to melt with fervent heat. They’re going to pass away. But God wants us to be saved. When we have a realization of what is going to happen to this world of what Jesus is to us, and should be to others, of how fragile and useless the things of this world are, then we should be diligent to be found in Him without spot and blameless.
God gave a diet for mankind. And God saw that that diet was not just a bit good, but very good according to Genesis 1:29, 31. It was very good. He caused, it says in Psalm 104:14, “he caused the grass to grow for the cattle, and the herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth.” You know, our food is to be for our service, not for our indulgence. How is it with us on diet? Are we getting back to God’s original, not just with the flesh foods, but you know, if we are eating the Mars bars, the fried foods, the highly processed foods, then is the food that I eat serving me? Is the herb for the service of man? Or is it for the indulgence of man and the breakdown of our system that God has given?
When we look at what we are required of today, “the Lord will bring His people into a position where they will not touch or taste the flesh of dead animals. There is no safety in eating the flesh of dead animals, and in a short time the milk of cows will be excluded from the diet of God’s commandment keeping people. In a short time, it will not be safe to use anything that comes from the animal creation.” Pacific Union Recorder Nov 7, 1901, art B par 1
This is our concern today that we are getting back to God’s original. You know, brethren and sisters when we see the day approaching, when we realize that God wants to bring his people into a position they will not touch or taste the flesh of dead animals. This is an unpopular truth in this world. But yet it is something that God wants us to uphold in this world. We need to get back to the original. And our reaction with any of these things that are brought to us needs to be as follows: “I will delay no longer, but will look to the captain of my salvation and promptly obey.” (Letter 1 – 1890) You know, to obey is a joy and a delight; to follow the way of the Lord, which He’s given for us. We need to be firm on that.
The other thing that John was very firm on in his life, and this is the last of these points that we are contemplating here this morning, John was very firm on relationships. In fact, John, it says in Mark 16: 17-20, John had given a very short, concise sermon, to Herod. And he said, it is not right for you to have that woman to be married to her. Why? Because he divorced his wife and married Herodias. Now when John was giving a straight, unpopular truth, the reaction to this was that Herodias, according to the verse, had a quarrel with him, a quarrel against him and would have killed him. Her hatred was so strong against him, because he showed up her wrong. But she couldn’t kill him, because Herod feared John knowing that he was a just man and holy.
When we look at this question of marriage today, are we standing firm on this, firm on family relationships? Jesus, who is our teacher said regarding these things: In the beginning, God made them male and female. When He was asked this question regarding marriage, He said, ‘haven’t you read? I made male and female, and therefore, leave your father and mother and cleave to the wife, and become one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.’ And the disciples when they heard this, they said, ‘why, then, did Moses command to give a writing of divorcement and put her away?’ And Jesus said, ‘for the hardness, because of the hardness of your hearts, he suffered you to put away your wives, but from the beginning, it was not so.’
Continuing with this passage, the disciples when they heard what Jesus was saying, regarding the marriage, when Jesus said to them, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another committed adultery: and whoso marrieth her that is put away doth commit adultery.” When the disciples heard this, they said, ‘if this is the case, its better not to marry.’ And Jesus said, ‘not everybody can receive this saying, save those to whom it is given.’ And the result He goes on to say that is that there will be eunuchs for different purposes. The disciples understood from Jesus that when there is divorce, there would be need of some people being eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven sake. And he said to them, “he that’s able to receive this. Let him receive it.”
So if you’re able to receive it, do you and I want to receive the teaching of Jesus, or do we want to leave it to one side? This is a big question in this world today. Are we firm as a rock to principle in what we teach and what we abide by like John? Or are we swayed, swayed when we meet Herodias wanting to have a quarrel with us?
Paul understood the same as the disciples when they said it is not good that a man should marry in case of separation. When they heard this, they were surprised and Paul understood the very same thing that the disciples of Jesus understood. And Paul said, “Unto the married I command, yet not I,” but Jesus commands this. He said, “let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled… and let not the husband put away his wife.” (1 Corinthians 7:10-11) The apostle Paul understood Jesus teaching would be that if someone separates, if they depart, they should be unmarried or be reconciled. Is that our firm stand today? Is that our understanding of the teaching of Jesus Christ, that we should be firm on this topic like John the Baptist, like the disciples, like Apostle Paul?
The ministry of reconciliation is what is given to us in this world today. In Malachi 2:14 -16, the Lord says there, he has given one and why one? So that He might raise up godly seed. The Lord it says further down, hates putting away. He hates it. So if we are to be restorers in these last days, if we are to restore the marriage and the family, does remarriage have an effect of restoring or not? On the seed, on the children if someone divorces and remarries does this have the effect of restoration? Or is it self-serving? The argument of John was that Herod had married to satisfy his own self-serving and he should not do that.
Where are we standing on this? There have been so many discussions and misunderstandings of the exception clause of Jesus. And yet, the disciples and Paul fully understood that when Jesus spoke here, it was not allowing remarriage. Paul understood it from Jesus, the disciples understood it from Jesus, and yet many times excuse is made that remarriage is okay. But will it work for restoration of the family? Is it upholding God’s original truth? God wants us to be reconcilers. In 2 Corinthians 5:18 it says: he’s “given to us the ministry of reconciliation.” He wants us to turn the heart of the father’s to the children, to leave the door open for reconciliation and restoration of the family. This is a message of unpopular truth, we need to stand firm on today.
Reading here in Prophets and Kings, it says, “In the time of the end,” we are there Brethren, we are in the time of the end, and in this time, “every divine institution is to be restored.” The breach made in the Sabbath is to be repaired and God’s remnant people are to stand before the world, as reformers, as people that will not be swayed. They are to be constrained by the love of Christ and cooperate with Him in building up the waste places. They are to be repairers, to be restorers.
If the church today, it describes here in the statement, “if the wilderness of the church is to become a fruitful field and the field a forest, it is through the Holy Spirit (of God) being poured out upon His people. The heavenly agencies have long been waiting for human agents, the members of God’s church, to cooperate with them in the great work to be done.” They are waiting for you. “So vast is the field, so comprehensive the design that every sanctified heart will be pressed into service as an agent of divine power.”
God wants us to be pressed into service. Not to be trying to serve ourselves in any way, not to be living a complicated life, where we’re heaping together goods in this world; to be caught up in our workplaces with doing something that is not a benefit to humanity. There are so many services that are essential, helpful to mankind. But let us be careful not to get caught up. When we look at our diet, let’s be careful not to get caught up. When we look at the marriage and the family, let’s be careful not to get caught up and be self-servers rather than restorers of the marriage relation and turning the heart of the fathers to the children.
The church needs to become a fruitful field. Now today, God has commanded all men everywhere to repent. He wants us in Romans 12:2, it says: Don’t be “conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
God wants us not to follow His imperfect will. Was meat eating allowed? Yes, it was. But was it the perfect will of God? Was divorce allowed? Yes, it was. But was it the perfect will of God? Each one of us needs to see that we are following the good, acceptable, perfect will of God.
We each one of us are to give no countenance, we are not to look to give countenance to those who would unsettle the established faith of the body. The Lord leads his people step by step to follow on to perfection. (EW 258) And if people want to go back, don’t give countenance my brother and sisters. Don’t turn on your face that way, but stand firm, the world needs you, the world needs me to stand. Not to get off this platform of truth and start to criticize it, but to stand firm, even though the heavens fall.
Our truths might not be popular, but they are given by God. God made such beautiful things for us. My brothers and sisters, as we have the Sabbath today, my prayer is that we might be restorers; that our hearts might be renewed; that we might not be pulled this way and that way as we see the day approaching; but let us stand in this last day and be ready for the kingdom of God. Amen.
Let us kneel and close with a word of prayer:
Our dear, kind, loving Heavenly Father, we thank You that You want all to be saved. We thank You that You have given us great and precious promises. And Lord as we see the day approaching, as we see the things of this world, changing, we pray that we might be firmer and firmer to principle. That we might not be distracted by these magnetic forces that pull us in the wrong direction. But that we might be pointed to You. That our lives might be lives of service to mankind. We pray that You’ll guide us, You’ll direct us, You will uphold us and You’ll keep us. Bless us all as we join in this online conference this day. And may your Holy Spirit guide each one of us, we ask in Jesus name, Amen.