Trusting Our Almighty God
By Ted N. C. Wilson
The following is adapted from the sermon that Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the Adventist world church, gave at the 2014 Annual Council , in Silver Spring, Maryland. For the complete sermon, visit: www.adventistreview.org/church-news/‘god’s-prophetic-movement,-message,-and-mission-and-their-attempted-neutralization-by-the-devil.’ —Editors.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5:8, 9).
We [Seventh-day Adventists] affirm without hesitation that God has given us a special mission for these closing hours of earth’s history, and the devil is furious. We see this vividly portrayed in Revelation 13, which outlines Satan’s twofold war plan to destroy God’s last-day people. Revelation 14 reveals the Lord’s counteroffensive: His remnant people demonstrating His character and proclaiming His final appeal to the world—the three angels’ messages.
Satan Seeks to Divide
The powerful truth of these unique messages would break completely the deceptions of Satan, if proclaimed as God intends. It is little wonder, then, that Satan is doing everything he can to attack the Seventh-day Adventist movement in an attempt to neutralize our influence in the territory he claims as his own.
Though large-scale persecution will certainly come, currently Satan is trying to work from the inside; to weaken the church through dissention, discord, and conformity to the world. “Satan is ever seeking to divide the faith and hearts of God’s people. He well knows that union is their strength, and division their weakness. It is . . . essential that all of Christ’s followers understand Satan’s devices and with a united front meet his attacks and vanquish him. They need to make continual efforts to press together even if it be at some sacrifice to themselves.”1
Satan also tries to neutralize our efforts by secular diversions. He uses poor health habits. He uses skepticism about the veracity of the scriptural record. He tries to bring in controversy over Bible doctrine to sidetrack our evangelistic witness by getting us to distrust and fight each other.
We are even warned that at the end of time Satan will inspire individuals who will preach that reformation within the church consists in giving up our unique doctrines in order to make it easier for others to join us.
Our Only Hope
Our only hope is an abiding faith in the Word of God, trust in inspired counsel, fervent prayer, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Without these heavenly compass points, we would most certainly fall to Satan’s misdirection. As we seek to know God’s will through a study of His Word, we must not place strange interpretations and employ interpretive gymnastics to draw out conclusions that are not evident from a plain reading of the Word. “The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed.”2
Time on this earth is short. Probation is closing soon. Preparation to see God face to face by repentance and forsaking of sin needs to be done now. It is only in total reliance on Christ, His righteousness and power, that we will see victory. In this spiritual war, victory is in Christ and nothing else.
The War Is Real
And the war is very real. The attacks of the devil are not just theory, and we cannot withstand them without God’s continued strength.
Let me share with you some recent experiences in my own family. We have three wonderful daughters and sons-in-law with eight marvelous grandchildren. Many of you know of Edward, our little 2-year-old grandson, son of our first daughter, Emilie, and her husband, Kameron. You may have heard of Edward’s battle with cancer and its results during the past eight months. While we praise God that he is now cancer-free, he still suffers from a host of neurological problems because he developed antibodies to the cancer that are now attacking his brain. We thank God that Edward is showing some improvement with treatment, but the extent of his future recovery remains uncertain.
Most of you do not know that the 15-month-old son of our second daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband, David, has been diagnosed with a rare genetic mutation; so rare, in fact, that as far as we know, only two other people in the world have had it. Little James is so precious and our hearts ache when we recognize the gravity of his situation and the danger it poses to his future well-being.
And most recently our third daughter, Catherine, and her husband, Bob, were expecting their third child until three weeks ago, when they lost the baby. After the premature delivery at four months, she held the perfectly-formed little boy in her hand. When the Lord returns, Catherine’s little son will be placed in her arms and he will grow up in heaven.
In the last year or so, the devil has attempted to neutralize every one of our three precious daughters, their families, and us as their parents. But he will not succeed. God is in control. He will be victorious.
Brothers and sisters, none of us is exempt from the attacks of the devil as he seeks to neutralize our work for the Lord. We are all in this together. There are many who are dealing with things far worse than our family has had to deal with. We can only be strong as we rely completely on God’s power to sustain us and help us to become more like Him.
Do Not Delay
We cannot run the risk of delay. We must maintain our connection with Christ at all times to combat the trickery of the devil. Our God is almighty and will overcome all the obstacles thrown at us by Satan and his evil host. If we fall at the feet of Christ, forsaking our sins, seeking forgiveness, asking for His power to resist the neutralizing schemes of the enemy, God will provide us with unlimited power from heaven to live a new life.
As the devil seeks to neutralize Seventh-day Adventists, don’t just stand by, but, through the power of the Holy Spirit, stand up for God’s truth! Bear God’s message boldly. The Lord wants the distinctive truths of the Seventh-day Adventist message to be proclaimed. Stay away from anything that will undermine our message or cloud our distinctive beliefs. Don’t be tempted by the devil to blend in with the crowd or be “politically correct.” Don’t proclaim a “generic” Christianity or a “cheap-grace Christ” that does not point to the distinctive biblical truths to be declared worldwide—the very reason for which the Seventh-day Adventist Church was organized.3
Brothers and sisters, Jesus is coming soon! As we near that wonderful day of Jesus’ return, the devil’s attempts to neutralize God’s Word will be completely defeated by God’s power and His everlasting biblical message of love and truth. The devil loses; God wins! This is the ultimate message of the great controversy theme, and it is our great privilege to allow God to use us in this last great spiritual effort to bring the truth of Jesus to every human being on the planet—to “reach the world” through God’s incredible power.
1 Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1998), vol. 3, p. 435.
2 Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1911), p. 599.
3 See Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers (Mountain View, Calif.: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1923), pp. 470, 471.