New Age Begun

By
J. Wilfred Johnson
Sabbath School Lesson Mar. 19, 1989

Transcribed Jan. 29, 2014


Note:
This meeting is actually a small Sabbath School lesson given by Mr. Johnson at the College Heights Church Alberta, Canada. There are other groups meeting in the sanctuary at the same time as well as individuals talking among themselves. All of this background noise makes it nearly impossible to hear individuals addressing Mr. Johnson with their comments or questions.


(Wilfred) We have just the two Sabbaths remaining in this quarter and in those two Sabbaths I will endeavor to crystallize the major aspects that apply to us as a people today from the things that we have considered during this quarter. The lesson for today introduces us to a new age, he entitles it, "New Age Begun". Last week the title of the lesson was "It Is Finished". This places the cross of Jesus in a position where it divides an old age from a new age. So let us begin on that note and I made a number of notes this week so I hope you will forgive me if I do a little reading. I have a lot I would like to cover and I don't want to miss anything. So let us attend to these words.

Ancient Israel was chosen by God to serve in a special way by giving to the surrounding nations a living example of the character of the God of heaven and earth. Is that correct? But they failed to fulfill their commission. So the author of the lesson makes this statement. "We believe that like Israel of old we have been raised up to serve a special divine purpose. This call to service is not because we are better than other people nor does it guarantee our personal salvation. The call to give the last warning message to mankind is both a privilege and a responsibility we must beware of becoming smug, proud and complacent in the knowledge of this privilege. You know, we have the truth. We think that we are rich and increased with goods. We must be careful. And we must also undertake to discharge this responsibility to the Glory of God. And the question now is are we doing it or are we following in the footsteps ancient Israel and failing in some way to fulfill the purpose for which God has called us out."

"Next, there are certain aspects that God has given to this people which are unique and distinct from the theology of the rest of the Christian world. There is a message that God has given to this people as a special truth to present to the world as a witness for Him. Now this message involves a clearer understanding and I'm not saying that in a proud sense. It involves a clearer understanding of God's plan of salvation from sin for his people as it is written into the sanctuary services which reveal in symbolic form the plan of salvation. It involves also in connection with the sacrifice of Christ and his great condescension a clearer understanding of the human nature of Christ the God/man. Now these are the two areas that primarily Adventists have an understanding of, at least some of them, that are not common to the Christian world. And it is our responsibility, Brother and Sister, to make that clear. And some of our people, and I say it guardedly but honestly, are failing to do it. We have been sliding back into the doctrines of Babylon rather than remaining firm in the distribution of those unique things that God has given us as a special commission to fulfill." Do you believe that?

Will you give me then a few minutes now to sort of give an overview or coverage of this particular thing? I'm reading again from the comments of the author of the lesson. "Because of misunderstanding over the use of the word "Atonement" while many Christians and Evangelicals in particular apply the atonement exclusively to the cross, Adventists in common with earlier Protestants have used the word "atonement" in different ways. That is we have different meanings for this word "atonement" and that causes a certain amount of confusion if we don't clarify what we mean by the term. While we believe that Jesus offered up a perfect, complete, all sufficient, once for all sacrifice for sins. We see Calvary in a wider prospective then many Christians do. We see it against the backdrop of the Great Controversy story, which while acknowledging the centrality of Calvary looks beyond Calvary to the eventual eradication of sin from the universe. Now it is zeroing in on the special unique message of Adventism—Salvation from sin as it is illustrated in the ministry of Jesus in the sanctuary where He went at his ascension to officiate as our high priest interceding in our behalf for the outpouring of that more abundant measure of the Spirit of God, for the Bible says that the Spirit had not yet been given, in that sense. Pleading his Father to send that Spirit upon his people, why? Because only through that Spirit could a man be saved from sin, which we have discussed in previous presentations."

"But in 1844 there was a new phase of the ministry of the high priest. This was the Day of Atonement beginning during which He entered the most holy apartment for the purpose of the investigative judgment and of the cleansing of the sanctuary and He still pleads for the outpouring of that Spirit. And during that period there is to be a final complete and full measure of the outpouring of that Spirit of God upon his people and it is compared to the symbol of rain, the early rain coming in the earlier period of the Christian church and the latter rain coming in the latter period of the Christian Church to ripen the harvest and make it ready for the coming of Jesus." The latter rain, the full outpouring, it is that latter rain the servant of God tells us which ripens the harvest and brings it to perfection. And don't think for one moment that God's people are not going to arise to the occasion where they will fulfill the conditions for the outpouring of that Spirit and will permit God to enter them to such an extent that they will duplicate the experience of Jesus in this respect, that He overcame temptation and lived without sin. Don't think for one moment that God is not going to do it. If He fails to do it He has lost his cause because He promised that Jesus would come to save his people not in their sins, never, but from their sins. Now this is the message of Adventism. The final cleansing of the sanctuary, and the true temple or sanctuary of God, which it represents is Christ the head and his people or saints, the body members of that living temple which has to be cleansed up for the indwelling of the Spirit, the Bible says that. That's where you and I come in. Let me move on quickly here. "This work cannot and does not add anything to the value of Calvary; it is not as if Calvary was insufficient but it does apply the benefits of Calvary in an ongoing process for the salvation of humanity. You see, there is a question in the minds of some observers that Adventists do not believe that the atonement was completed at the cross. Because Adventist have taught and still teach, those who are still genuine Adventists, still teach that since 1844 the work in the most holy apartment has been going forward and it is the accomplishment of the final atonement and so it seems to contradict the idea that the atonement was completed on the cross but it doesn't. The full provision for the outpouring of that Spirit was made at the sacrifice on Calvary. The only reason that the full provision has not been given is because there are conditions attached to it." And I read you some of those in previous lessons.

I'll repeat the two texts that give the conditions; one of them is in John chapter 14 where He says, if you love me then keep my commandments and then what will the intercessor do? What will the high priest do? He says it right there in the same verse. And I will pray the Father and what will happen? He will send you the Holy Spirit. Now whom is He going to send the Holy Spirit to?

(A woman) Those who obey his commandments.

(Wilfred) Those who obey his commandments. Don't forget that. Oh the Christian world has completely missed it and they have completely missed the importance of that flying flag, that symbol, that signal of allegiance to God right in the middle of those commandments, the sanctified Sabbath. They missed it. Completely blinded to it.

The second text I want to refer you to is the one that is over in Acts 5 verse 32 it says, God has given his Spirit to those that obey him. Now look that doesn't necessarily mean that there is any merit in obedience towards your salvation to heaven. You do not get your ticket to heaven, get this clearly folks, you do not get your ticket to heaven by your obedience because your obedience is incomplete and imperfect, you would never make it. You wouldn't have enough money to pay for the ticket. Jesus came and bought you that ticket, that's what he did at Calvary. He paid the full price. We all have the ticket all we have to do is accept it. But, He cannot save you from sin without your cooperation and the reason is that sin is your decision, it is done by your own independent choice which God gave to you as a little bit of yourself. In all other things you are a part of God so to speak and even your freedom of choice is a gift of God but He will not dishonor that or transgress your right to use it. That's why we have all the suffering in the world today because God will not go back on that gift so God cannot take sin out of your life my friend, without your decision. That's why it says in the messenger of the Lord's writings, that the expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. So, if you think by setting back in the armchair and waiting for God to do it all, that He did it all on Calvary, it's just a matter of biding your time now and He'll see to it that it's done, if that's what you are waiting for you'll wait throughout eternity. Oh no you won't because God is going to close it off before then but you'll miss the boat. My friends stop sinning, God gave you a choice either to do right or to do wrong and He gave you the power to exercise that choice. And He gave you the power to implement it. Do it, and don't call me a legalist, that's not legalism. Do you know why God wants you to do that? I'll tell you why. Because the result of continuing in sin is SUFFERING, do you love that kind of thing? You do really enjoy the mess that the world is in and all the suffering and and pain and death. Do you like it? What caused it? Sin. Whose sin?

(A woman) Unintelligible

(Wilfred) Then what's the remedy? Quit, quit. Why do you think God made these many, many, appeals to his people? Why will you continue to transgress? Why do you choose to die? Stop it. What do you say to your kids parents, huh, do you say wait, I'll do it all for you, wait till I do it for you, you'll come out all right. Is that what you say to them? Come on, is that what you say? Oh no, Oh no you don't. You let them burn their fingers once in a while so they find out the consequences. And you stand good for them, you don't kick them out of the house because they continue to transgress against you, do you? They come back to you and say, I'm sorry mom I didn't really mean to do that. What do you do, kick them out? Oh no, you don't, neither does God but who does it hurt? Just the kid? No, no, it hurts the parent. Do you realize that the cross, she says, is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that entered the heart of God way back at the inception of sin and that that pain will continue until we stop sinning. So I ask you WHAT IS YOUR MOTIVE FOR REFUSING TO SIN? Is it so that you hope to get to heaven? I just finished telling you that’s not how you get to heaven. The price has all ready been paid. And if it hadn't been paid there would be no way you could possibly keep God's commandments without being accused of doing it for your own sake to get to heaven. Don't you understand? So God wiped out that possibility by giving you a free ticket and paying the price. So any effort to sinlessness on your part now is not going to merit you as far as you getting to heaven is concerned. Have you got that straight? Oh, the Christian world doesn't believe that Adventists teach that and that is because Adventist are ignorant of their own teaching in spots. They haven't read the books. Am I coming in too strong?

The law of life for Earth and Heaven is self-renouncing love. And every action on your part if it is going to reflect the character of God perfectly has to be made on the bases of a selfless motive. I like the way the commandment is put however, it says that you should love your neighbor, not way more than yourself, it doesn't say that. It says love your neighbor as yourself. But the selfless motive is there. And the same applies to God himself see, if God didn't take care of himself and look out for his own interests then what would happen to him? Oh, that's too speculative.

But listen, if God should do something that put him out of existence where would you be? So God has to take care of himself. Do you get my point? Don't stretch it too far. What about yourself? If God said love your neighbor more than yourself what would happen? You would put yourself in a position sometimes where you couldn't help your neighbor as much as you really ought to because you're not in shape to do if you hadn't taken care of yourself. So your motive in living healthfully, Brother and Sister, is not just so that you will be healthy and enjoy life, oh no, if that is all your motive is you still haven't reflected God's character yet. But your motive is; I must watch my health and maintain my good condition so that I can serve others. That should be your motive. Can you see what God has done now by giving you a free ticket to heaven? He has placed you in a position where the Devil can never accuse you of trying to keep the commandments on the bases of self-interest. Not if you understand the Gospel as God has given it to his people to explain, and I wonder how clearly we have been explaining it, because we are terribly misunderstood. Are you with me?

All right, I'm taking too much time on that I think. The special contribution of Seventh-day Adventists involves a more complete understanding of the plan of Salvation from sin as revealed in the sanctuary services and in a fuller understanding of the human nature of Jesus Christ. True Adventists believe that the ministry of Jesus in the most holy apartment of the heavenly sanctuary since his entrance there in 1844 effects the delivery from the Father of the full and final outpouring of the holy Spirit in the latter rain. Which brings to God's people the power of his divine nature which enables them to finally expel all sin from their lives and cleanses them from all unrighteousness recreating in them the sinless nature, oh are you getting this? Recreating in them the sinless nature of Adam that He processed before his transgression. The remnant saints are restored to the image of their creator. She says, only those who through faith in God obey all of God's commandments will reach or attain the condition of sinlessness in which Adam lived before his transgression. Do you realize that before his transgression Adam was pure and holy and righteous He had no inclinations to disobedience whatsoever, all his inclinations and desires and feelings were toward righteousness and the things of God, he loved to do God's will. That's the way Adam was created and that's the way you and I can be restored to if we are willing to go with God all the way.

I have lots more here. The messenger to the remnant church has clearly told us with the backing of the Scriptures that Jesus had the divine nature of sinlessness in his humanity, He was the second Adam and He came to prove that man as God had created him, in the person of Adam, with a sinless holy nature made in the image of God that man in this way could in deed live without sinning. Now I want to ask you right out, do you believe that Jesus in his humanity had the perfect sinless nature of Adam before his transgression? And that is a loaded question. At the present time there are some people in our denomination who say yes to that question and there are some people who say no. I want to tell you on the strength of God's Word and the messenger to his remnant church that Jesus did have that nature but I want to tell you something else with it and here is where we go wrong. We are so prone to take one side of a question because it contradicts the other side and we find them mutually exclusive so we take one side and ignore the other one. And so there are other people who believe that He came also into humanity having the degenerate and sinful nature of fallen man inherited through his mother. And in this body of death that Jesus had to accept in order that He might die the death of the sinner for divinity could not have died. In this body in which Jesus bore the consequences of the sins of the world He proved that in combination with the divine nature and power which He himself had made available for man through his sacrifice it was possible to overcome this sinful nature and to expel sin from the life in a sinful body and to build a righteous character after the image of the creator and to restore in man the sinlessness of Adam which he had before his transgression.

Jesus had two natures and those two natures, the divine and the human she says, were mysteriously blended. Now we can't really understand that except that God has given us a beautiful example of it in the family situation, God always teaches by these structures, you know, like the sanctuary, like the body, if you want to understand what God is like look at the things that are created that's one of the things it says in Romans 1:20. It says, "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;" So that's where it is written. Now look at it, you received from your mother certain inherited tendencies didn't you? You received from your father certain other inherited tendencies, now sometimes those inherited tendencies are opposite, father has a very hot temper he has an inclination to fly off the handle and you inherited that. Mother has a very docile submissive and humble character, see I'm kind to the woman, I chose the right ones. And you inherited that and they were mysteriously blended in your nature both aspects are there. Do you see what I am getting at? Now there is a conflict of course because you have a divided interest and a divided feeling. Don't you think Jesus had a conflict? Don't you think He had it? Do you think Jesus never had any inclination towards sin or any temptation to sin? Oh no, that's why He took the sinful nature so that He could experience that and prove that it could be overcome when it is combined with the divine nature. Don't you understand? And you have the choice of either following your fathers hot temper-ness or follow in your mother’s docile, sweet disposition. You have the choice and Jesus had the choice, He came here at the risk of failure and eternal lose. Do you believe it? Oh, I believe it. How could He be a perfect example to us if He had not had that experience? And furthermore divinity could not die it's eternal it will always exist. So He had to relinquish that in Gethsemane and at the cross, see? He had to let it go. My God, my God, why have thou forsaken me? Well, there was no other way. And He faced the eternal death of the sinner and He died it. He went unconscious He was sound asleep for a day and a half. Gone, and at the point where He faced that the tunnel was black He couldn't see the light at the other end. He knew because He told his disciples beforehand that He was going to come forth. But at that point that all evaporated. Have you ever had that experience, you know, when you really knew something but all of a sudden it just didn't exist, you just couldn't bring it back. Well He had it. He faced it but He hung on. By a thought He could have saved himself and lost you. But his love for you was greater than his love for his Father and for himself. I don't think I should have said that about his Father. It was because of his love for his Father that He did the whole thing. So we'd better just back up on that one.

Now I have some more. I hope the piano doesn't go before I get it done. And next week I'm going to see if I can't reserve a little time for you to contribute and discuss your questions and your thoughts because I've been very possessive of the class here and I really haven't been fair by doing that. But I've done it on purpose because I want to get some of these thoughts across. Now here it is and I'll have to go fast, I could take about two hours to explain all this but I'm going to go fast and if some of you want a rerun on it you can borrow a tape or have one made for yourself if you want and listen to it again. There is more to it than what I'm going to tell you, there are a lot of passages and texts and things that support it. But I want you to get the picture so you will be thinking about it. Do you know that God has a special message for this people? Back there in Revelation chapter 2 and 3 he gives a special message to each of the churches in Asia. And they represent the churches in the eras of the Christian church and the very last one of those churches is called Laodicea and the Spirit of Prophecy identifies the Advent people as the Laodicean church so it is you. Do you know what the Spirit says to the Laodicean church? It says look, you're lukewarm you are not hot, you are not cold, you are not much good to me because you're just lukewarm. And because you are lukewarm I'm going to spew you out of my mouth. Now we have always though that that means that the Lord is just going to spit us out, like a symbol, you know. Lukewarm water, waters represent people in the Bible, do you understand? So lukewarm water in the mouth of the Lord, and it doesn't really say that is what it means but that is what we assume, is very distasteful and so you spit it out, right? God's people are distasteful to him because they are just lukewarm so like lukewarm water He just spits it out. He doesn't want lukewarm people.

Now if that were the only interpretation of that passage and literally there would be no Advent people. Because it doesn't say I'll spit you out if you don't repent, it doesn't say that at all. It says I'm going to spit you out. Listen, no single passage can be exhausted by one meaning. God says that all the words of Jesus have a deeper meaning. Let me give you a deeper meaning for that passage. Let the Bible tell you. What is it that the Bible clearly says comes out of the mouth of the Lord? His Word of truth and what is it represented as? A sharp sword and how many edges? Two. Are both edges on the same side of the sword? No, they are on the opposite sides, they point in two different directions. Now remember the sword is his Word and they are two sides and point in opposite directions. Does that mean anything to you? It cuts this way and it cuts that way. Let me tell you, there are two sides to the sword. And Ezekiel says that sword is going to be polished and furbished and it's going to come upon God's people including the leaders of Israel the princes. What for? It says to test them to try them. Listen I'll say it quickly, The Word of God is two edged; it says you can be saved by faith without the works of the law. It also says on the other side of the sword, you see then how that we are saved not by faith only but by works. There you have two edges of the sword of the Word of God that go in different directions. The sword is going to come upon God's people He is going to spew his Laodicean people with his two edged sword, the Word, which has opposing thoughts. The human nature of Christ, He was sinless some people say, and that is what it says. Other people say He took the sinful nature of humanity, and that's what it says. Now how can he take the sinless nature and the sinful nature at the same time? The two edged sword Brother and Sister is coming upon God's people. What for? To try them, we are in the testing period the Word of God is going to cut like a two edged sword.

Listen, here's the key; both edges of the sword, both cutting edges belong to the same sword. Don't let either one of them go. When you find a passage that says one thing and somebody else finds another passage that blows the bottom out from under it don't get disturbed, say praise the Lord this is the Word of God the two edged sword. I don't understand how they can be connect together, I can't see it, and I'll tell you I've studied those statement at the back of the book in the appendix on Questions of Doctrine on the Human nature of Christ, I scourged those statements, and there are dozens of them, for several years and every time I thought I had it put together I'd bump into another one that contradicted it and knocked the props out. And I began to wonder, Lord, was Sister White a true prophet or was she not? And then one day, all of a sudden it came together and it was as clear as a bell. You stay with God Brother and Sister don't let the present disturbances in our denomination relative to theology throw you off your balance. Don't give up the old fundamental pillars of the faith because it looks like the new Adventism has some truth. They do have some truth and quit a bit of it, take it from me they do. But they make a mistake by letting go the old. The Spirit of Prophecy says; new truth is not independent of the old it is an unfolding of it and it builds upon it. The fellow that gives up the old, he's going to go off the track. And at the same time the fellow who does not accept the new, for him she says, the old will loose its vital power and he will enter into an experience that is but a lifeless form. That is what she says.

Now I'm here as a messenger of God today to tell you that you'd better hang on to both edges of his sword it is the trial of the Lord spewing his Laodicean people out of his mouth. Do you get it? You don't have to accept it you can throw it out the window if you want to, but I'm telling you Brother and Sister it's truth. It's truth. And that human nature of Christ, He definitely had the sinful human nature, the degenerate nature, after four thousand years of sin, that's what it says and I believe it and the Bible says it. And He was on all points tempted and He took our nature upon him. If He took a sinless nature upon him and that's all He took how could He be an example to me as how I overcome sin? Could He be an example of how I overcome sin if He never had it? He did not have it in his own personality He took it upon himself when He took the human body with its sinfulness, don't you understand? He bore the sins of the world in his own body on the tree. Oh, believe it Brother and Sister but just don't believe it, it's one thing to believe but your faith without the resulting works is absolutely useless, dead. That's why we are still here, Jesus is waiting for the reflection of his character perfectly in his people and when He sees that He'll come to claim them as his own. He could have come before now but He hasn't come, now what's the conclusion? What's the reason? Well, it's obvious; we haven't reflected the image of his character. Why haven't we? Because we haven't had the transformation, the fulfillment of the new covenant where the law is written in our hearts so that we become righteous. Why haven't we had that? Because we haven't received the Holy Spirit which is the thing that does it. Why haven't we received the Holy Spirit? I've read you those statements before I could read them again but the piano won't let me. But they are in there. And I'll tell you what they say. They say the latter rain will not come to a single soul who has not cleansed his own soul temple of every defilement. Have you done that? Have you quit going contrary to every single intimation of God's will? Have you done that? Is there anything in your life at all that you know is not the right thing to do and your still doing it? If you have that's the reason you don't have the latter rain. That's in the books. If you want the latter rain then keep his commandments and He'll pray the Father, and they get to a stage where it looks like it's hopeless and Jesus pleads, she saw it in vision, My blood Father, my blood, my blood, my blood, He just pled for it. And do you know what God's going to do to you, and I have told you that before, He's going to give you a little smattering of some of the discipline that He went through for your sake to make you think a little bit. And when it comes it will hurt but don't turn against God. The Bible says rejoice; thank him because He is not letting you go. And your youngster will thank you if you give him a licking and save him from a life of sinfulness and pain and suffering. When he looks back and realizes that your discipline, done in kindness, has saved him from a life that he would not have wanted, he'll say thank you for doing that for me. I thank the Lord for my mother many a time. She wasn't harsh but she did make it very plain what she thought we ought to do, and I appreciate that. If she hadn't done it who knows where I would have been. God's going to do it for you and me.

Do you know what Sister White said? It's the highest honor to share the sufferings of Christ. It's an honor, well if it's an honor why should we resist? Let's commit ourselves to the keeping of our savior and maybe the developments that are unfolding before us now in the world will intensify but you will have no excuse because I told you what's happening. I have told you what God's Word says to do. Go thou and do likewise, Jesus said. Are you willing? Are you ready and willing to do it?

May God bless you.



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