At ASi convention, General Conference president calls members to embrace and share God’s message.
“What a time to be alive — just before Christ’s soon return!” Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists told a crowd of more than 2,000 people on August 7, 2021. His remark came at the opening of his Saturday (Sabbath) message to the members and guests attending the 2021 Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries (ASi) International Convention in Orlando, Florida, United States.
“The end of time is upon us. Now is the time, through the Holy Spirit’s power, to proclaim the three angels’ messages ‘into all the world,’ ” Wilson emphasized.
Like other Adventist preachers, Wilson highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought what he called “strange restrictions and limitations.” At the same time, he noted, it moved Adventists to work more efficiently to promote God’s last-day message, using electronic means as they recognize the urgency of the times. “It is a privilege for Seventh-day Adventist members worldwide to redouble our efforts through the power of the Holy Spirit,” he said.
A Witnessing Opportunity
Wilson reiterated that according to what has been revealed in Bible prophecy, humanity is entering the end of time. “Signs tell us that the prophecies of the Bible are being fulfilled before our very eyes,” he said.
Against this backdrop, those who do not know what the Bible teaches seem disoriented, which presents an opportunity to witness, Wilson explained. “People during this pandemic will ask questions like: ‘What happened? What should I do? Is life going to become always unstable? What does God say? Is there a God?’” Wilson said. He added, “You can enthusiastically respond … ‘I have great news for you. There is a God who has a plan and message for you. He gave His life so we might have eternal life. Let me share my personal testimony and what the Bible says.’ ”
It is the reason, Wilson said, why Adventists should be sure about what they believe. He advised, “Don’t stray from the Bible or allow strange voices to influence you to be unsure about what we believe. Let me categorically say [that] we have strong, biblical, foundational truths that God has given us from the beginning of our Advent movement, and they are to be delivered to the world. Never get distracted from the central mission focus that God has entrusted into our hands.”
Embracing the Messages
Wilson said that, as recorded in Revelation 14, the three angels’ messages are special messages that God’s people must share at the end of time. At their very core, they are based, he explained, on the gospel. “The amazing, everlasting gospel is at the very core of it,” he said. “The very core of the three angels’ messages, and especially the third angel’s message … is based upon Jesus Christ and not on you and me.”
It is what prompts us to respond to the gospel message, becoming followers of Christ, he said. “That’s why we do good things, because we’re connected to Christ. That’s why sanctification takes place. That, again, is Christ’s righteousness working in you to will and to do of His own good pleasure and helping you to become more and more like Him through His power.”
Congregational singing preceded the Sabbath program on the last day of the 2021 ASi convention in Orlando. [Photo: Adventist Review]
Ellen G. White Estate associate director Chantal Klingbeil and Adventist Review Ministries associate editor Gerald Klingbeil lead the discussion of the Sabbath School lesson for August 7, “Finding Rest in Family Ties,” on the last day of the 2021 ASi International Convention. [Photo: Adventist Review]
Special music was brought by Adventist pastor and singer Wintley Phipps. [Photo: Adventist Review]
Wilson reviewed the messages of the three angels. The first one calls every person to worship God as the Creator. “We are to worship Him not only in spirit and truth but on the day that He has asked us to worship Him, which is the seventh-day Sabbath — the sign of His authority,” he said.
The second angel calls people to leave Babylon, which is “a symbol of complete confusion and the mixing of truth and error,” Wilson said. “Babylon is all about chaos and confusion.” Quoting Adventist Church co-founder Ellen White, he explained that Babylon is confusion manifested in false teachings that are not based on the Bible, including the immortality of the soul and the sacredness of Sunday.
According to Bible prophecy, Wilson shared, those false teachings will lead to a time when the rights of conscience will be trampled, even in the United States. “Make no mistake about what the Bible and [Ellen White’s writings] clearly indicate about last-day events and prophecy,” he said. “The final prophetic fulfillment is coming soon.”
Finally, the third angel calls people to choose to obey God to avoid receiving “the mark of the beast,” which scores of Bible scholars, Wilson said, have historically identified as the keeping of a false day of worship in defiance of God’s commands.
Sharing the Messages
Now that we have that knowledge, Wilson said, the question is what each of us will do about it. “What are you going to do with this message?” he asked. He suggested, “We are not to go around beating people over the head with it, but we are to share it with love and hope. The three angels’ messages not only have a strong warning but great hope in the righteousness of Christ, because God has a plan.”
The realization of God’s plans for each human being calls each one to personal participation in the mission of spreading the news far and wide. “God wants you to be involved in His last-day saving proclamation of the three angels’ messages,” Wilson said. “It doesn’t matter who you are; the Lord wants you to respond.”
He closed with an appeal. “I invite you … to say, ‘Yes, Lord. I will go and share this message. I will be part of God’s last-day message to this world.”