Author Julian Archer
Public Speaker, Seminar Presenter and Author of Faith vs Finance
So you are an Adventist. What does that mean? Who are you and what defines you?
More than twenty million people from every walk of life call themselves Seventh-day Adventists. Standing side-by-side, with our arms outstretched and hands joined, we could form a globe-circling human chain reaching from Melbourne to Auckland to Santiago to Buenos Aires to Johannesburg to Perth and, with this year’s baptisms included, right back to Melbourne!
From the poorest of the poor to multi-billionaires, from people on life-support machines to Olympic athletes, Adventists wear every skin colour known and worship God in more than 900 languages. We are as multi-cultural and diversely assorted as any group of people on earth, yet we are also one — or at least we try to be.
Our unity is found in Jesus Christ, the One who prayed in John chapter 17 that His followers would also be ‘one’. He wants us to be united in joy (v.13), in mission (v.18) in truth (v. 14, 17, 19), in witness (v.20), in glory (v.22) and in love (v.26).
More than sixty years after that prayer Jesus spoke again, through John the Revelator, clearly revealing that the Seventh-day Adventist movement which began in the 1800s is a prophetically appointed, ‘Last Days’ remnant people, raised up by God for such a time as this (1). No other movement or denomination on the planet today can make this same Biblically true claim.
But what exactly has God raised us up for? Do we really have a unique calling that is different to other Christian denominations who also share the gospel? The Bible’s answer is ‘Yes, absolutely.’
Like Noah, Elijah and John the Baptist we have been assigned one of the most exciting missions ever. We are the forerunners — those appointed to announce the soon coming King. And what’s our cry? Well, in its purest form the Three Angels’ Messages of Revelation 14 loudly announce “The greatest rescue event in the history of our planet is soon to take place. Be ready!” The original Greek words describing the ‘loud voice’ with which these messages are given is basically megaphone. That’s us, God’s megaphone of love!
The Adventist movement has been entrusted with the task, the privilege, of being used by the Holy Spirit to tell the world. We are called to announce Christ’s return not just theologically and doctrinally, though these are absolutely integral and essential to our message, but holistically through loving acts of kindness, one-to-one sharing, evangelistic campaigns, media ministries, centres of influence, humanitarian service, schools, hospitals and the list goes on.
John the Baptist prepared the way of the Lord by announcing the soon coming of Jesus, calling people to repentance and helping them to prepare their hearts and characters for Jesus’ arrival. So too today, those who ‘keep the commandments of God’, ‘have the testimony of Jesus Christ’ and ‘the faith of Jesus’(2) have been elected—by grace and grace alone—to be the forerunners who loudly and clearly announce the soon arrival of Jesus the second time.
As Adventists, God has gifted us with a deep understanding of ‘the prophetic word confirmed’ (3) and the absolute certainty that we are living in the last days of earth’s history. However knowing this truth and being convicted of it is just the beginning of our calling, not the end. We are called to take the everlasting Gospel, in the framework of the Three Angels’ Messages, to the whole world (4).
As I visit with Adventists across the globe I am encouraged and inspired by the reports and testimonies I hear.
For example, eating lunch with a couple in New Zealand who googled their way into the Adventist faith while watching and checking the claims of television ministries like Hope Channel and Amazing Facts.
Or praying all night with hundreds of young adults in the Philippines as they humbly pled for the Holy Spirit and the courage to be missionaries.
And learning that Adventist World Radio is the largest foreign language supplier to iTunes with more than 17.5 million podcast downloads per day — and the most popular messages listened to are in Chinese and Arabic!
Or hearing of untrained lay people prayerfully running hundreds of evangelistic meetings where tens of thousands gave their hearts to God.
And listening to the testimony of a European professional who sold everything he owned, except his bicycle, and went to serve the Lord in North Korea.
So many stories like that of my own family, who were loved into Christ by an ordinary person who chose to share the extraordinary message of our soon-coming Jesus with us.
The Bible describes God’s end-time front-line troops, His remnant-gathering people (5), in many ways. They ‘keep the commandments of God’ and ‘have the testimony of Jesus.’ They’re also described as ‘pure’, ‘enduring’, ‘patient’ and ‘faithful’. Is that us? Really? Yes, well… sort of.
How easy it would be to become proud and feel smug or superior as we ponder these glowing descriptions of God’s prophetically appointed, end-time people. Fortunately, but sadly, the Bible also accurately describes us as ‘poor, miserable, blind and naked’, ‘sleeping’ and totally unable to purify, sanctify, unite or heal ourselves—a people in desperate need of a Saviour. Yes, that’s us.
The good news, the absolutely incredible news, is that there is a Saviour and He wants to work through us — even us! — to try to save every person on the planet. As crazy as it might sound, the God of the Universe has personally chosen you and I to be His megaphone of love and grace as we announce Jesus’ soon return, the greatest rescue event in the history of our planet.
I am, you are, we are, the Seventh-day Adventist church is, God’s remnant-gathering people. But let us never forget that we, like the Jewish Christians in Paul’s day, are only a ‘remnant according to the election of grace.’ That’s us, ‘elected by grace’, not by anything we have done. Just amazing grace! (6)
Let’s truly live and share God’s love and grace—boldly, extravagantly, tirelessly, loudly—every day in every way until He comes to rescue all His faithful people. It won’t be long.
(1) For a thorough study of God’s remnant throughout history see Ángel Miguel Rodríguez’s paper at https://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/sites/default/files/pdf/remnantSDAchurch_0.pdf See also the SDA Bible Commentary on Revelation chapters 10 to 14. (2) Revelation 12:17; 14:12; 19:10 (3) 2 Peter 1:19 (4) Revelation 14:6-12 (5) Revelation 13:10c; 14:6-12; 18:4 (6) Romans 11:5-6