2013-03-23 – Paul Godfrey – Babylon, Worldliness and the Church


By Paul Godfrey Audio: mp3 – youtube
This is a continuation of last weeks sermon, and asks the questions:

Are you relying on your position in a church for salvation?  What is Babylon?  This sermon covers how the modern church is repeating history.  This is not designed to make people leave any organisation, but rather for them to leave what Babylon actually is… in some cases people may be forced to leave their churches, however this is not the purpose of this sermon.  This is for every Adventist no matter what strand… be it Reform / IMS / liberal SDA / conservative SDA / Independant: we need to stop squabbling and name calling and learn from the past.  We need to look at ourselves and see if we be in the faith.

1 Corinthians 10:10-12 (KJV)

Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. [11] Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. [12] Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

Synopsis

The church is Babylon is a dangerous thing. But what is the church? The institution? Can an institution become Babylon?

Jesus was not a leader in the Jewish church. He started a ministry that shook the foundation of the Jewish church.

He preached in his home church… Remembering the Jewish people were God’s people. They were the chosen church of God.

Luke 4:15-29 (KJV)
And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. [16] And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. [17] And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, [18] The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, [19] To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. [20] And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. [21] And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. [22] And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? [23] And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. [24] And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. [25] But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; [26] But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. [27] And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. [28] And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, [29] And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.

Christ told them that they were going to miss out on the promises of God.
They tried to kill him.

They loved Christ until he challenged the church organisation. This is written for us to take heed to.

Then there was the sermon on the mount:

He showed them they were not keeping the law.

He later goes into the temple and throws the tables down and physically cleans the temple. He wasn’t even a priest. What would happen today if we smashed an abomination that was in our churches? They would say he wasn’t Christ like.

It is replayed today.

John 8:31-34 (KJV)
Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; [32] And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. [33] They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? [34] Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.

He said: If you continue in action to follow the words of Christ, you will be free.
They couldn’t accept that when they knew they were God’s remnant people. But we’re they in bondage? Yes. To the Romans, the the Medes, etc, but they did not believe they were bound by sin. If you are sinning, you are in bondage. Doesn’t matter what church you are in. That is what he was saying.

John 8:36-42 (KJV)
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. [37] I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. [38] I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. [39] They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. [40] But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. [41] Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. [42] Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.

Essentially he was saying there is no merit in being a part of the church. There is only merit in turning from sin. Christ was loved as a preacher, until this time. Their patriotism was welled up, just as it is today in the SDA church. But do we get offended the same about the sins we commit? In the flesh the Jews were Abraham’s children… But did that make them Jews? No… Their works determine who’s they are. Same goes for us.

John 8:44-45 (KJV)
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. [45] And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

Today if we dare say the SDA Church is Babylon, what does it bring on? Hatred? Hatred is what? Murder. Jesus did that to the Jewish church, and they killed him for it.

Many liked him, so they couldn’t kill him. But no one would stand up for him for fear of the Jews. He gave them this parable:

Matthew 21:33-46 (KJV)
Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: [34] And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. [35] And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. [36] Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. [37] But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. [38] But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. [39] And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him . [40] When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? [41] They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. [42] Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? [43] Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. [44] And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. [45] And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. [46] But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.

So would God ever cast his people away? Did this parable make them upset?
Is it wrong to examine myself if I am in the faith? No, but people take it personally, and don’t act on the message. Would the Jews have been God’s people to day if they accepted the message? Yes.

Christ’s purpose was to destroy sin, but people don’t like their sin being exposed. People love sin, so loyalty to an organisation becomes a sorry substitute for piety.

The truth, if we follow it, will make us free… But if we reject it, it cannot.

When the fruits of the spirit come, then God can come get us.

Me being a part of God’s people depends on us allowing God to change us. If we don’t do this then we are not God’s people.

Matthew 23:37-39 (KJV)
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! [38] Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. [39] For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

At this point, with great sadness, He rejected their church.

Luke 19:42-44 (KJV)
Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. [43] For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, [44] And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

They didn’t understand the prophecies.

They didn’t listen to all the prophet has said. Has Adventism done the same thing? Have they read all the convenient prophecies, but not all the hard sayings?

Matthew 23:29-36 (KJV)
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, [30] And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. [31] Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. [32] Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. [33] Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? [34] Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: [35] That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. [36] Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

Basically, He was saying they will receive the old time prophets, but they wouldn’t trust the modern ones, which showed they didn’t really trust the older ones.

Would we like it if Jeremiah came here today, and bashed the church in the same way he did in the past? Would we accept his reproof? How does the church take Ellen White?
When Ellen White says they church of God is not Babylon, we love that? But are there other parts we are missing … Or perhaps ignoring?

The Jews were told the temple would be destroyed. But did they believe Jesus.

The Jewish forces, pursuing after Cestius and his army, fell upon their rear with such fierceness as to threaten them with total destruction. It was with great difficulty that the Romans succeeded in making their retreat. The Jews escaped almost without loss, and with their spoils returned in triumph to Jerusalem. Yet this apparent success brought them only evil. It inspired them with that spirit of stubborn resistance to the Romans which speedily brought unutterable woe upon the doomed city. – {GC 31.1}

See, God is for us… Jesus was wrong? The church is clean of the heretics, which was a prophecy fulfilment. But did they get it wrong? Yes, it was wrong.

1 Corinthians 10:11 (KJV)
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Be careful with our crusades and all the wonders being produced that we don’t miss the reality.

The destruction of Jerusalem is a fearful and solemn warning to all who are trifling with the offers of divine grace and resisting the pleadings of divine mercy. Never was there given a more decisive testimony to God’s hatred of sin and to the certain punishment that will fall upon the guilty. – {GC 36.1}

God hates sin. If we are willing to let sin go, we need reproving… And to take it.

The Saviour’s prophecy concerning the visitation of judgments upon Jerusalem is to have another fulfillment, of which that terrible desolation was but a faint shadow. In the fate of the chosen city we may behold the doom of a world that has rejected God’s mercy and trampled upon His law. Dark are the records of human misery that earth has witnessed during its long centuries of crime. The heart sickens, and the mind grows faint in contemplation. Terrible have been the results of rejecting the authority of Heaven. But a scene yet darker is presented in the revelations of the future. The records of the past,—the long procession of tumults, conflicts, and revolutions, the “battle of the warrior … with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood” (Isaiah 9:5),—what are these, in contrast with the terrors of that day when the restraining Spirit of God shall be wholly withdrawn from the wicked, no longer to hold in check the outburst of human passion and satanic wrath! The world will then behold, as never before, the results of Satan’s rule. – {GC 36.2}

Would a Jew think he was trampling on God’s law… But didn’t they keep the sabbath? Is the modern church any different?

Luke 24:25 (KJV)
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

Not some … All the prophets have spoken.

Do we believe the church will be cleansed, and the church will be revived… All that aren’t loyal will be gone… Then the loud cry will happen?

The old standard-bearers knew what it was to wrestle with God in prayer, and to enjoy the out-pouring of his Spirit. But these are passing off from the stage of action; and who are coming up to fill their places? How is it with the rising generation? are they converted to God? Are we awake to the work that is going on in the heavenly Sanctuary, or are we waiting for some compelling power to come upon the church before we shall arouse? Are we hoping to see the whole church revived? That time will never come. – {RH March 22, 1887 Par. 2}

Could it be we have false hope in prophecy in our church. Could we have it all wrong?

Here is another prophecy:

Ezekiel 9:1-7 (KJV)
He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. [2] And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. [3] And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; [4] And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. [5] And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: [6] Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. [7] And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city.

Should we be afraid? The people who sigh, don’t the get kicked out of the church? But just because you complain, doesn’t mean you are saved. Sometimes people are just whiners and have pride about it. We need to be careful.

The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God. The Lord commissions His messengers, the men with slaughtering weapons in their hands: “Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.” – {5T 211.1}
Here we see that the church—the Lord’s sanctuary—was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God. The ancient men, those to whom God had given great light and who had stood as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people, had betrayed their trust. They had taken the position that we need not look for miracles and the marked manifestation of God’s power as in former days. Times have changed. These words strengthen their unbelief, and they say: The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too merciful to visit His people in judgment. Thus “Peace and safety” is the cry from men who will never again lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God’s people their transgressions and the house of Jacob their sins. These dumb dogs that would not bark are the ones who feel the just vengeance of an offended God. Men, maidens, and little children all perish together. – {5T 211.2}

This will be a dark day. The church is the first to be judged.

We need to trust all the prophets have spoken.

James 4:4 (KJV)
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

Could I personally be a part of Babylon, and still be a part of the church? What does Babylon mean? An adulterer and adulteress … It is not mystical. When we include the world into the church.

1 John 2:15-16 (KJV)
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

What are the w orks of the flesh:
Galatians 5:19-21 (KJV)
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these ; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, [20] Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, [21] Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Will the churches heed the Laodicean message? Will they repent, or will they, notwithstanding that the most solemn message of truth—the third angel’s message—is being proclaimed to the world, go on in sin? This is the last message of mercy, the last warning to a fallen world. If the church of God becomes lukewarm, it does not stand in favor with God any more than do the churches that are represented as having fallen and become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird. Those who have had opportunities to hear and receive the truth and who have united with the Seventh-day Adventist church, calling themselves the commandment-keeping people of God, and yet possess no more vitality and consecration to God than do the nominal churches, will receive of the plagues of God just as verily as the churches who oppose the law of God. Only those that are sanctified through the truth will compose the royal family in the heavenly mansions Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him and keep His commandments. – {19MR 176.1}

Do we want to hear this? It is hard to hear.
The world must not be introduced into the church and married to the church. Through union with the world the church will become corrupt,—“a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” The customs of the world must not have a place; for they will be open doors through which the prince of darkness will find access, and the line of demarkation will become indistinguishable between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. Jesus presented a parable to his followers concerning a field in which it was supposed there was nothing sown but good wheat. But those to whom the field had been intrusted looked upon it with disappointment, for with the wheat came up also a crop of tares. They inquired of the owner, “Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?” The owner of the field replied, “An enemy hath done this.” – {RH February 26, 1895 Par. 4}

Can we tell the difference between a SDA and a worldling?
This prophecy has happened.

Revelation 18:1-5 (KJV)
And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. [2] And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. [3] For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. [4] And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. [5] For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

This prophecy is not about the church, it is about sin. People who hang onto sin, they will fail. The name of the church is irrelevant, it is if we cherish sin and continue in it.

If you are called Babylon and are not… Why do you care? But if you are, then maybe that is why it hurts.

Revelation 3:12,16-17 (KJV)
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. [16] So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. [17] Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Because we are blind we will be spewed out. We need to stop being blind and trust everything the prophets say.

Who are standing in the counsel of God at this time? Is it those who virtually excuse wrongs among the professed people of God, and murmur in their hearts, if not openly, against those who would reprove sin? Is it those who take their stand against them, and sympathize with those who commit wrong? No, indeed! These, unless they repent, and leave the work of Satan in oppressing those who have the burden of the work, and holding up the hands of sinners in Zion, will never receive the mark of God’s sealing approval. They will fall in the general destruction of all the wicked, represented by the five men bearing slaughter weapons. Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those “that sigh and cry for all the abominations that are done” in the church. Their love for purity and the honor and glory of God is such, and they have so clear a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that they are represented as being in an agony, even sighing and crying. Read Ezekiel, chapter nine. – {RH September 23, 1873 Par. 5}

The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand, who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people. This is forcibly set forth by the prophet’s illustration of the last work under the figure of the men, each having a slaughter weapon in his hand. One man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side. “And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” – {RH September 23, 1873 Par. 4}

We are to save people from sin, not bring them into the church.

The leaven of godliness has not entirely lost its power. At the time when the danger and depression of the church are greatest, the little company who are standing in the light will be sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land. But more especially will their prayers arise in behalf of the church because its members are doing after the manner of the world. – {5T 209.3}

In the time when His wrath shall go forth in judgments, these humble, devoted followers of Christ will be distinguished from the rest of the world by their soul anguish, which is expressed in lamentation and weeping, reproofs and warnings. While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for God’s honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any. Their righteous souls are vexed day by day with the unholy works and conversation of the unrighteous. They are powerless to stop the rushing torrent of iniquity, and hence they are filled with grief and alarm. They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored, the truth made of none effect. – {5T 210.3}

There is a little company. Are you part of that little company or are you cloaking the iniquity in the church.

Revelation 22:17 (KJV)
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

We must be out, to call out… Of sin, not any church.

John 8:47-48 (KJV)
He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. [48] Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?

John 10:27-28 (KJV)
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: [28] And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Do not be loyal to a church at the expense of the truth.

Revelation 14:4 (KJV)
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.