Friday, January 01, 2010

"By Their Fruit . . ."

An old tree stands out in the front yard. In the springtime it flourishes with leafs rustling in the breeze. Its broad, overspreading branches afford abundant shade on hot summer days. Its fall fruit attracts both birds as well as humans. What is the secret to its strength? It is the root system. One particular taproot extends underground for a great distance to a water source which in times of drought keeps it healthy, strong and fruit bearing.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church is composed of its individual members the spiritual health of whom is dependent upon its Source. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith" (Col. 2:6, 7). "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For He shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit" (Jer. 17:7, 8). "Being rooted and grounded in love" (Eph. 3:17), and "God is love" (1 John 4:8), "the root of the righteous shall not be moved" (Prov. 12:3).

This church and its individual members were launched by God's love and they are sustained by agape. The second advent movement was rooted in a restoration of the love of God. It is the climax of a sequence of divinely-led reformatory movements to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ and prepare a Bride for translation and the coming of her Groom.

Christ opened to view the source of her love by following their High Priest in through the open door of the Most Holy of the heavenly sanctuary. [1] "Those who rose up with Jesus would send up their faith to Him in the holiest, and pray, 'My Father, give us Thy Spirit.' Then Jesus would breathe upon them the Holy Ghost. In that breath was light, power, and much love, joy, and peace." [2] The 1844 Advent people were a Spirit-led, agape motivated, charismatic movement. It was to restore the meaning of agape in the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus through its life, teaching and evangelism. [3]

The fruit of the Spirit is given by Jesus in His capacity as our Priest in the Most Holy. The true Holy Ghost movement is those who by faith follow Him there. The movement will finish with no less signs and wonders than on the day of Pentecost, but exceed it tenfold. [4]

Satan has a counterfeit charismatic movement in the religious world. "I turned to look at the company who were still bowed before the throne; they did not know that Jesus had left it. Satan appeared to be by the throne, trying to carry on the work of God. I saw them look up to the throne, and pray, 'Father, give us Thy Spirit.' Satan would then breathe upon them an unholy influence; in it there was light and much power, but no sweet love, joy, and peace. Satan's object was to keep them deceived and to draw back and deceive God's children." [5] So far the greater majority of Christians have not followed Jesus by faith into the holiest. They do not believe in the sanctuary message. Hence they do not understand righteousness by faith.

Jesus reveals a unique understanding of justification by faith from the holiest. The 1888 message was indeed "special," a further development of justification by faith parallel to and consistent with the unique Adventist idea of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. It was "the beginning" of the message of Revelation 18 and thus initial "showers from heaven of the latter rain." [6]

Since the true Spirit of God only comes from our High Priest in the Most Holy and thus far we have not impressed upon other Christians the importance of the sanctuary truth, it motivates us to study the 1888 message so that we can share it with them in a convincing manner.

The "fruit of the Spirit" comes from the holiest because that is where Jesus is. "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me" (John 15:4). Engrafted [7] into the Vine by the husbandman, a bad tree now produces good fruit. Faith works by agape (Gal. 5:6). Jesus receives the reward for which He died--a body of people prepared to welcome His return.

--Paul E. Penno

[1] Revelation 3:7.
[2] Ellen G. White, Early Writings, p. 55. Note these are the fruit of the Spirit.
[3] Revelation 14:12.
[4] “Servants of God, with their faces lighted up and shining with holy consecration, will hasten from place to place to proclaim the message from heaven. By thousands of voices, all over the earth, the warning will be given. Miracles will be wrought, the sick will be healed, and signs and wonders will follow the believers” (Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 612).
[5] Ibid., p. 56.
[6] The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1478.
[7] “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).