Journey to Rome
THIRD QUARTER 2018
SABBATH SCHOOL INSIGHT #13
SEPTEMBER 29, 2018
“JOURNEY TO ROME”
Memory Text: "Do not be afraid, Paul: you must stand before Caesar." Acts 27:24
This lesson has tremendous spiritual and symbolic meaning, beyond the literal reading of the text. It certainly depicts historical events in the life of Paul, leading him to his rendezvous with destiny and his ultimate fate. Yet, there is a deeper meaning, and it is found in a strange place. Acts 27:14. But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. The word means an easterly wind.
People are on a ship, they meet a storm, before their rendezvous with Rome, and if they listen to the prophetic guidance, none will perish.
We as a church are approaching our day in which we must fully preach the Gospel in the warning message of the Three Angel's, and the trumpet blown against the deception and fall of Babylon. We have a rendezvous with destiny, in which against the storm of the final events, the "winds of strife", we will speak the truth in love. It was an easterly wind that parted the Red Sea, and Jesus is coming from the East.
We are facing a time, a "time of trouble such as never was", in which the Holy Spirit will be grieved away by a majority of the world, and the winds that blow will be demonic in nature,
For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Revelation 16:14
We are being called to the final battle between good and evil, the final resolution of the Great Controversy, and we need to be fully engaged, putting on the full armor of God, to be advancing spiritually, mentally, physically to handle that day.
The time for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is now. We can pray for the Latter Rain, but unless we are being daily endowed with the power of God's love, we will not be ready for that final outpouring. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Godhead, as much a person as God is, and works with our minds to teach us, convict us, and to lead us to a full surrender, in receiving, by faith, the Gospel of Christ, and the experience of peace and freedom from guilt that keeps us in bondage. The Holy Spirit speaks not of its own, but comes to bring to us the truth of the Life and Mind of Christ. It is the "spirit of Christ" for the word was used then to mean the life of Christ. It convicts us of sin, and of the power of love itself. The Holy Spirit, as the Third Person of the Godhead, works to bring us to receive the truth of what Christ did, and does for us, to give us victory over sin. The Spirit is not some wispy "essence", it is one of the Three Great Powers in Heaven, the Heavenly Trio, the Godhead. It is a Godhead consisting of three persons. As Kellogg brought in pantheism, a form of spiritualism, we are warned in prophetic counsel, and in Revelation, against spiritualism in the last days. Do not reduce the Holy Spirit to a force, He is far more than that. And Jesus is in all respects Divinity from all eternity. The relationship they have, in love, is described by the warm concepts brought by Father and Son. There is no greater love, than to give up one's own life for a friend. If Jesus is not Divinity, then God did not have the greatest love, but gave the responsibility of that greatest love to another, and that is the height of blasphemy. We cannot fully understand the Godhead, but we can experience the power of the Life of Christ in us, brought to us through the work of the Holy Spirit.
If we follow the counsel, all will make it to port safely. The Omega of Apostasy is coming. Many bright lights will go out. Apostasies amongst us will be startling. Under many guises, many will leave us. As Kellogg and his followers apostatized, in the alpha, so there will be great apostasy from the church and faith at the end, and this false teaching on the Godhead, along with others, is what is drawing people away. But what is the real cause?
We do not understand Laodicea. I see self-righteousness, an independent spirit, a pulling away from others, taking hold in many people. The pharisee said "Thank God I am not like other men." We are to press together, to put away our differences, as they did at Pentecost, and unite in the great final work. Pride and self-sufficiency needs to totally die. "Have mercy on me, a sinner." I have a great need, as we all do, of humility, meekness, and peace in the soul. We need to be converted.
When Paul handles the snake and is unharmed, ultimately, that is a symbol that in spite of all Satan will throw at us in the storm, we can make it to port, unharmed, for "greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world." Acts 28:1-6
We can have peace and faith in the storm, and the "ship will go through." No one needs to be lost, but we must receive, and retain the Gospel, the message, and the prophetic counsel that has been given unto us, which is our protection against deception, for they all embody Christ.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Revelation 12:11.
The Book of Acts has shown us the early church, its surrender and sacrifice to evangelize the known world, its unselfish giving of its resources to help others, its deep faith in Christ, its experience of martyrdom for some, and effort throughout life by others, to spread the Gospel. There will be a revival or primitive Godliness in the church, and there will be those who choose to be a Paul, a John, a Peter, to be faithful throughout life.
Paul was the powerful missionary that he was because he allowed himself to be sanctified by the truth as it is in Christ. He beheld the matchless charms of Christ, perceived the redemption of the human race, and experienced the freedom and power of the gospel in his life.
Listen to his faith. Acts 27:25. "I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me."
The Gospel will be victorious. Our individual lives are not the issue. The honor and glory of God, the safety and security of the universe, the triumph of good over evil, and the restoration of all things to the Harmony and Peace the human race had before sin, are the issues.
We need to surrender fully to a reality far greater than ourselves. God is greater than the storm. He is greater than the antichrist. He is greater because of the power of love.
“Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide, in the strife of truth and falsehood, for the good or evil side; ….By the light of burning martyrs, Christ, Thy bleeding feet we track…“Though the cause of evil prosper, Yet ‘tis truth alone is strong; Though her portion be the scaffold, And upon the throne be wrong; Yet that scaffold sways the future, And, behind the dim unknown, standeth God within the shadow, Keeping watch above His own.”
(Hymn 606, SDA Hymnal).
I was talking with my Bible worker the other day, and he has decided to develop a movement, a group in the church, entitled "I Choose." We do not fully understand the power of the will, but we are told in prophecy the importance of the choices we make, that Paul had to make, in surrendering self to the cause of God.
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Daniel 1:8
If it be, our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Daniel 3:17-18
I recently did a study of my ancestry, and learned some things which are applicable even to this study. My family once had a famous nun, who left the church of Rome, beginning to protest against it, and our family crest had "ava maria" taken off the crest at some point, and the family motto now is "In God is my Hope." My name originally is Italian, from a Roman General.
I have a destiny, and we all do, in the last days, in confronting evil, and to overcome evil with good, the good of love, faith, loyalty to God, and to the truth as it is in Christ.
AT Jones, Sermon #6, 1893 "And therefore, whoever would stand for God, must have a power greater than all the power of the world."
EGW - "Brethren and sisters, would that I might say something to awaken you to the importance of the time and the significance of the events that are now taking place about us. I point you to the aggressive movements now being made for the restriction of religious liberty."
"The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ....This is the beginning of the light of the third angel, whose glory shall fill the whole earth."
~Pastor Tom Cusack