The Great Shaking

Scripture: Exodus 20:18, Isaiah 6:1
Date: 07/03/2004 
This sermon begins with a parable of traveling down rapids in rafts which illustrates that prior to Jesus' second coming there will be a tremendous shaking. Losing the sense of God's holiness will cause us to be shaken out. As we go through these "difficult rapids" you want to "stay in the raft."
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

I’m going to do something I don’t typically do. I’m going to begin with a little parable. You'll see a few pictures that I gleaned to help visualize it but they’re maybe not exact. A large group of tourists went to a long river in the west to go rafting down the river because they heard that it is the adventure of lifetime. A number of companies operated rafts that went down the river and it was all done as a day trip and this was very rugged country. It started out in the trees and went through some very rugged tall canyons beautiful country but the rapids they were warned are dangers.

Matter of fact, as the people were signing up for their respective companies that were offering the rafting trips they were all asked to sign a piece of paper that said they realize that this is a dangerous tour and the company is not held responsible if they should lose their property or their lives. Well, that made a few of them nervous and right there at the bank of the river they changed their minds and got back in their vehicles and drove away. As people were selecting the various companies rumor had it that the best company that ran the safest operation was Josh’s River Trips. And so several people went as they were looking at the different river companies that were offering the trips down the river and some of them chose to go with Josh and his river captain leaders and others looked at some of the river guides and they said, “Well, that others said are others said others said good looking. I’m going with his company.” Others said, “Well I’m going with, look at the muscles on that guy! I’m going with that river guide.” Some of them had boats that were decorated more elaborately than others and some of them had newer boats.

As they were getting prepared to get in their boats they brought a lot of stuff with them and Josh told those who were with his crew, he said, “You’re not going to need all that stuff. We’ve got everything you need to get down to our destination. We are taking our group all the way to Paradise Beach. There’s a number of camping spots along the way, but we never stop at those spots. They’re not safe. We go all the way to Paradise Beach.” Well, some of them said, “Well, I’ve got to take my ice chest. It’s a hot day and I need some beer.” He said, “That’s not a good idea. You will need your wits about you as you go through the rapids. Some of these rapids are ranked everything from one to six.” Now those of you who have been kayaking or river rafting you realize one is just floating along. Six is dropping like a rock off a waterfall. Pastor Doug has done all categories so I know what I’m talking about. And so they’re getting prepared to get in their boats, they’ve got all this stuff they’re bringing with them. And someone else said, “You don’t mind if I bring my cigarettes.” He said, “Yes, I do. You can burn holes in the raft.

They’re not allowed.” Someone else said, “But I’ve got to bring my walkman. I want music to listen to as we float down the river.” And he said, “It’s going to get baptized after the first rapids. You better leave it behind.” And they had all this. “Bring my movie camera?” And Josh says, “We have a professional photographer who records the whole trip. It’ll be played back for you when we get to Paradise Beach. You don’t need your stuff. It’s going to be lost a ways down the boat. It’s not safe.” Well, some of them didn’t listen and they slipped their stuff in with their lunch bags and tried to take it along. And eventually they began to make their way down the river. As they were gliding through the first gentle session of the river they were told, “Make sure and keep your life jackets on. Keep your helmets on.” Matter of fact, Josh recommended that they wear the cold water jackets and people said, “We don’t want these helmets and these life jackets because I want an even suntan. I’ve got a designer bathing suit. What good is it if I cover it with this ugly wet jacket that you’re providing?” He said, “Well, it may seem nice and warm now, but you get into this water it’s from melted snow. You’re going to be very thankful you’ve got that jacket because you can get hypothermia if you fall out of the boat.”

Well some of them said, “We’re not falling out of the boat.” Gave them very careful instructions, he said, “As you go through the rapids,” he said, “the first ones seem easy enough, but they’re going to get rough so keep your knees in the raft. Don’t ride along too close to the edge. If you stay too close to the edge you can bounce out. And whatever you do, if you get discouraged by the fury of the rapids don’t go to shore.” He said, “People make a very common mistake of panicking or they get discouraged. You will see others camped at various camping spots along the way down the river. Don’t go there. They are not safe camping spots. This river in these mountains thunderstorms in the afternoon are common and flash floods and those camping spots have sheer rock behind them and there’s no way out. You’ll get scoured right out of the river. Stay with the raft. We’re going to Paradise Beach.” So they began to make their way down the river and some of them of course who wanted to get the suntan they took off their wet jackets and they went through the first rapids and got completely baptized.

It wasn’t that bad but they started to shiver for the rest of the trip. And as they went around a little further some of them had picked their boats and they didn’t pick them very carefully. The rafting companies had boats with lots of patches in them and they were leaking and are if you don’t have enough air in the boat… some of them went down around those rocks and pretty soon the boat was wrapped around rocks like a wet hot dog bun, and they all fell out in the water and started swimming towards some of the base camps. As they continued down the river the rapids got progressively worse. First it was a number one rapid and then you just coast along in between and there was a number two rapid and some them thought that was actually exciting, but then it got a little bit scary. Then they got to a number three rapid and folks were not really wanting to go any further and they noticed that on the shore there were some people who had already pitched camp.

It wasn’t even afternoon yet and they looked like they were having a good time, nice beach, barbecue already cooking, music playing over some sound system somebody had brought, people dancing and having… and they said to Josh and his river guides, “Why don’t we take a break and rest?” He said, “Don’t stop there.” Some of them began to complain and said, “I’m sorry I ever went with your company.” And they jumped off the side of the boat and last time they were seen they were trying to swim towards one of these dangerous beaches. They went down through the number three rapids and that was pretty wild. A few of them who were too close to the edge bounced out. He had told them before they got to the number three rapids, he said, “Kneel in your raft. Have both hands on your paddle and keep the boat going straight.” But they thought that they could hang off near the edge and some of them bounced out and drifted down.

After they went through the number three rapids, the number four rapids they came to a spell of water that was fairly gentle and they thought, “You know there’s a wind blowing,” that was actually blowing them up canyon and they said, “Look we can just stay here and float for a while.” And Josh said, “Keep paddling.” “Oh, we shouldn’t have to paddle. The river is running down. If the river doesn’t take us, I mean, we don’t want to seem like we’re responsible for getting to Paradise Beach. Let the current take us.” And he said, “No, as long as you’ve got the wind blowing you upstream and the current is pulling downstream in the calm water you’ll go the wrong way.” Even though the water was going down, the wind was blowing them up. You’ve got to paddle sometimes to get down the river. “Oh, that wouldn’t be right. We paid for this trip. We should just be carried by the river.” Well, some of them got discouraged by that and they decided to stay with their boats and just float around in some of those pools until they drifted ashore. They went down through the number five rapids and something really strange happened.

A few of the captains who were good looking and muscular, the river guides, they panicked, they left their boats and they swam ashore. Some of the people who were in their boats were now left alone and they had the best of intentions of obeying all the rules but now they had a raft with no river guide and they bounced out. Well, as providence would have it before they went down through rapids number six Josh and some of his rafts were short some of their tourists who had gotten discouraged. You see as they went through some of the rapids their boats were shaken so bad their walkman and their movie cameras bounced out and the last some of the tourists were seen they were diving over trying to retrieve their stuff. One man was floating down the river hanging onto his ice chest full of beer going over without his lifejacket or his helmet. So as they, some of them were just drifting along they got caught in the wind or in whirlpools because they refused to paddle.

Others were picked up who had been bounced out of boats. They had been wearing their helmets and wearing their jackets but their river guides, and some of these seemed like such talented river guides, they got scared, of all things, and they abandoned ship. Josh was good about that and so the ones who were still floating he retrieved them and so his boats still had enough passengers with them. And then they went down through rapid number six and that was really exciting. They bounced and they shook but they found as long as they kept their knees in the boat and hung onto their paddles they were able to make it. Finally as they neared the last rapids Josh gave them some interesting instructions. He says, “The only way that we can make it through this last category six series of rapids, we need to strap our boats together and it stabilizes us. Otherwise we’ll capsize.” And so as they were preparing to go over this final, big rapid filled with falls that you would think nobody would survive they strapped their boats together and they went over like a string of hot dogs and kept them from capsizing and they all made it down into the placid waters and in the distance they saw the beautiful Paradise Beach and they rejoiced that they had made, survived their trip down the rapids. Now that’s a parable. Don’t come up to me later and say, “Where do I read about this?”

I made it up. I’m trying to illustrate the point. There is a teaching that you find in the Bible and in the Spirit of Prophecy that prior to the second coming of Jesus there is going to be a tremendous shaking that the church will experience, something like the rapids. Matter of fact, I’d like to begin as I sometimes do with a definition. What does shake mean? This is a long one. “To cause to move to and fro with irregular, jerky movements; to cause to quiver, tremble, vibrate, rattle or rock; to lose stability, totter or waiver; to remove or dislodge by jerky movements; to disturb or agitate, unnerve; to tremble as from cold or in anger; to be unsteady, quivering; to move something vigorously up and down or from side to side as in mixing.” The church is going to go through a great shaking before Jesus comes. Now if you want to understand something about what the shaking is going to be like look at when Jesus came the first time to his church. Many were shaken out and some were shaken in. Some of the people who you would least expect to be in were shaken in and those who you might have expected to lead were shaken out.

You remember of course it was not the scribes and the lawyers and the Pharisees principally who became the leaders in the New Testament church. The church that Jesus formed had gone through a tremendous shaking and it came out the other side of the rapids not looking at all the way you would expect. There were a few original people still in the raft. A lot of them were shaken out along the way and they were replaced with others, of all things, fishermen, shepherds, tax collectors and prostitutes. The church is going to go through a similar shaking prior to the second coming of the Lord. Now one of the things that shakes the church is the holiness of God and a concept of the holiness of God. When we lose the sense of the reverence of God people are shaken out. It is the reverence of God and an understanding of the awesomeness of God that causes believers to tremble at his word. When we lose that sense of awe we usually are shaken out of the church.

Let me illustrate. Exodus 20:18, “Now all the people,” when God gave the law from Mount Sinai, they “witnessed the thundering, and the lightning, the flashes, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off.” The Bible says that he shook the mountain too. When Isaiah had his vision of the Lord in Isaiah chapter six, he saw these angels that were completely absorbed with the holiness of God and they’re saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is full of his glory!” and the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who spoke and the temple was filled with smoke and Isaiah said, “Woe is me!” This concept of the holiness of God causes a shaking. And I’ll submit to you that those who lose their appreciation for “Our Father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name” they are shaken out of the church because it is through an understanding of the holiness of God that we then say, “Woe is me!” and we turn from our sins. When we lose the concept of how holy God is we are among those who are shaken out. The Bible also calls the shaking a sifting.

Now we’ll spend a few moments on this. God’s people are going to be sifted. Amos 9:9-10, I like some of you, I like seeing you look down and write these things or look them up. “For surely I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel” that’s the church “among all nations, as a grain is sifted in a sieve; yet not the smallest grain” not a single little kernel of wheat or corn “will fall to the ground. All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, who say, ‘The calamity shall not overtake nor confront us.’” Notice that. He says “the sinners of my people.” There are some who call themselves by Jesus’ name, but before the Lord comes they will be sifted out. It’s a shaking process. Now, a little lesson on wheat and how this works (we grow up where we get most of our food from the supermarket) wheat when it comes in the field, and I’ve got a picture here that helps illustrate this, when it’s on the head of grain it’s covered with a sheath of chaff.

You don’t want to eat that. Granted it’s high in fiber but it gets stuck in your teeth and it probably would be pretty hard going down. Good wheat is shaken and beaten and sifted and one way they do this is they shovel the wheat, it’s agitated, they shovel it up on a windy day and it is blown and sometimes they’ll even turn a fan as I think you saw in one of the pictures earlier where they’ll use a winnowing fan and they create a little breeze and as you throw the wheat up in the air, or they do it with rice, the chaff is blown aside because it has no substance. You listening? It doesn’t have any substance. It’s all foam and air and light. And it is blown aside and the wheat and the corn and the rice it falls down. The wind, the tribulation, blows aside the chaff. God says this is what’s going to happen to the church. Now you know, any of you ever microwave popcorn? Let me give you a tip.

How many of you would prefer not to break your teeth on the kernels that don’t pop? Some people like those. They’ve got different names for them, but what I do is when I microwave popcorn I’ll pull it out and I tear just a little hole about that wide, just about, you don’t want it any wider than about half an inch in the bottom of the bag, you know the main opening. Don’t open it all the way first. And I turn the bag up over the garbage disposal in the sink and I shake it. And if you sit there and you shake it a little bit eventually the kernels work their way down and they are shaken out and so of course if you buy Orville Redenbacher all of them pop so you don’t have to do this, but we buy the cheap stuff. And so you shake it like this and they’re all shaken down and they come out and then you don’t have big dental bills for your kids when they crack their teeth on popcorn or for yourself. And so you can sift it out.

It’s the same principal, but it’s not only the Lord that tries to sift the bad out the devil even tries to sift the good out. You know one of the ways you get the good apples off the tree is by shaking it. And you know the devil would like to shake people out of the church as well. You can read in the Bible, Luke 22:31, Jesus said, “Simon, Simon!” speaking to Peter. “Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he might sift you as wheat.” Trying to sift him out. “But I prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you return to Me, strengthen the brethren.” Just because you’re going through a shaking doesn’t mean that the Lord is trying to shake you out. The devil might be trying to shake you out and you need to remember that Jesus has prayed for you that you do not get shaken out. He wants you to stay in. The devil is trying to get you out so put your hand to the plow and hold on. This was one of the messages that Jesus gave when he came the first time.

It’s not everybody that you would normally expect. Matthew 8:11-12, “I say to you many will come from east and west, and sit down in the kingdom with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Let’s all face it, there are a lot of hypocrites in the church and virtually everybody here or listening to my voice has played that part at some time. Say amen, please. But you know you’re going to have to be consistent before Jesus comes. While Jesus loves the hypocrite he does not love hypocrisy. He doesn’t want us just to draw near with our mouth and have our hearts far away. He wants our heart and our mouth to be in the same place. And so there needs to be consistency before the Lord comes where we are willing to practice what we preach and not be pretentious and pretend our religion. It needs to be genuine. Peter had first said, “Though all men forsake thee, I’ll not forsake thee.” He meant well, but his mouth and his heart were not in the same place, were they? He didn’t even know his own heart, but after he was converted he was willing to die for his faith.

He was consistent. We need to go through that experience and by the way it was the cross that sifted Peter into the church. It changed him. It shook him up. Sometimes we need that kind of shaking. The shaking isn’t all bad. The shaking is a means of purifying wheat. It purifies the grain, the corn, the rice. How many of you have ever prayed for persecution? But the fact is that persecution traditionally is what purifies the church. All that live godly will suffer persecution. If you are in an age in a church where there’s no persecution it’s probably because our lives are not a threat to the devil and there’s very little godly living. But when we are consistent with the teachings and the behavior of Jesus we’ll be hated by the devil, we’ll be persecuted. “Many will come from the east and the west, and sit down in the kingdom with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Strangers come in hypocrites go out.

Many of the children who are by heritage church members or children of Israel they’re out. Others are in. This was a very disturbing message that Jesus gave during his first coming, and that history is going to be repeated. One of the things that brings the shaking is prayer. What did I say? Prayer. Prayer causes revival and revival is a result of this kind of a shaking. Prayer shakes things up. You read in Acts 16:26, “Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.” Paul and Silas went through this terrible trial and in prison, in their shackles they prayed and praised God and while they’re doing that it shook the prison and others were liberated because of their prayers. You can see that prayer also does it in Acts 4:31, the Holy Spirit came and caused a shaking there, shaken by the Spirit. Acts 4:31, “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

Sometimes in order for us to speak the word boldly we need to pray and be shaken up a little bit. Makes a difference. And that takes us back to our scripture reading in Haggai 2:6-7, “For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (in a little while) I’ll shake the heaven and the earth, and the sea and the dry land; and I’ll shake all the nations, and they will come to the Desire of Nations.’” Conversions will take place. Jesus is the Desire of Nations. That’s where the title comes from for that classic The Desire of Ages from this verse. And they will come to the Desire of Nations after this shaking, many are converted and it’s through prayer and the outpouring of the Spirit that these things happen. “‘…and I’ll fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts.”

Remember Isaiah the temple was filled with glory, chapter 6, and it shook. Now probably the best scripture I can share with you that helps to itemize what the essence of this shaking is is in Ezekiel chapter 9, a very troubling passage. Turn with me, please. Ezekiel 9 and we’ll start with verse one. “Then He called out in my hearing with a loud voice,” Ezekiel is having these visions, “saying, ‘Let those who have charge over the city draw near, each one with a deadly weapon in his hand.’” A destroying weapon. “Suddenly six men came from the direction of the upper gate,” this vision takes place in the house of the Lord, “which faces north, each of them with a destroying weapon...” Some translate it a battle-ax. They’re not even sure what it was. These angels have got some kind of deadly weapon. “…in his hand.” It’s a lethal weapon. “One man among them…” This may be a seventh individual. “…was clothed with linen and he had a writer’s inkhorn at his side. And they went in and they stood beside the bronze altar.” Is it clear this is happening in the temple? “Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been….”

Remember Isaiah saw the glory from the angels. “…on the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side; and the Lord said to him, ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem…’” These are God’s people. “…and put a mark on the foreheads…” Oh! Stop! Now if someone comes up to you and they want to mark you in the last days what would you think? Does that sound good or bad? By traditional ideas you’d think, “Don’t let anyone mark your forehead! No!” But are you aware that unless you’re marked in the forehead you can’t be saved? People always forget that. You must have the seal of God in your forehead or you can’t be saved. Notice who’s saved here.

It’s not the ones who are marked that are lost. It’s the ones who are marked that are saved. You correct me if I’m wrong. And it says, “put a mark on the foreheads of the men…” meaning the people “…who sign and cry over the abominations that are done within it.” In their prayers they are agonizing with God for victory over sin. They are grieved over the sin that are among God’s people and they’re in the temple and they’re praying and God knows who those are that want holiness and a mark is placed on them. They’re yearning for holiness in their own lives. They’re yearning for holiness among God’s people. What did Isaiah say when he saw the glory of the Lord and the temple was shaken? He said, “Woe is me! I am undone! I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” He was grieved over his sin and the sin in the church. He wanted to be holy. And did God cleanse his sin?

So Isaiah would be one of those who would have that mark in his forehead. Are you complacent and indifferent about sin in your life, about sin in the church? Or does it grieve you? You listen to the prayer of John and Daniel, Ezekiel and others, they’re praying for holiness, amen? They’re praying for purity of heart. Blessed are the pure in heart, Jesus said, they will see God. And these men who were sighing and crying for the abominations that are done are the ones that received that mark. Now what does it say about that mark? “To the others in my hearing” the ones who have the weapons “He said, ‘Go after him…’” Follow the one who has the writers inkhorn that’s making the mark and it’s obviously some kind of invisible magic marker that he’s using but angels see it. “…and utterly slay; go after him, do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. Utterly slay,” completely slay, “old and young… maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary.” You remember where Peter says, “Judgment must begin at the house of God.”

When the wicked stood around Mary accusing her in the temple the Bible says that Jesus wrote their sins in the dust and beginning at the eldest even unto the least they went out one by one, beginning at the eldest. Notice what it says here next, “‘…begin at My sanctuary.’ So they began with the elders who were before the temple.” Do you see the tie over here? This is a judgment that begins with God’s people who should know better. God judges the lost that don’t know last because he’s giving them as much opportunity as possible, but those who have not embraced and appreciated the truth they’re going to be judged first because they’re not doing anything with what they have. This is serious business, friends, but I need to be faithful to share it with you. And it says so they went out and they did it. They defiled the temple and filled the courts with the slain. Go out, and they went and they killed in the city.

They started in the temple then they went out from beyond there. It was a real time of shaking, a time of judgment and those that are spared are the ones who are yearning to be like Jesus. That’s what a Christian is, amen? Now I’m going to do something that I almost never do. First of all, I try not to read very much to you because I know that unless I’ve got pictures with arrows and do animated things I lose you. But this is, I’ve got it on one piece of paper, this is a vision that Ellen White had in the book Early Writings and I believe it’s from God and it’s titled “The Shaking.” I’m not going to read all of it to you, but I’d like to read some of it to you. Would that be okay? She said there’s a shaking coming to God’s people and by the way I don’t find anything in it that’s inconsistent with what I see in the Bible. I believe it ties in perfectly. “I saw some with strong faith and agonizing cries pleading with God.”

They’re pleading for that holiness. “Their countenances were pale and marked with deep anxiety expressive of their internal struggle. Firmness and great earnestness was expressed in their countenance. Large drops of perspiration fell from their foreheads. Now and then their faces would light up with the marks of God’s approbation. And again the same solemn, earnest, anxious look would settle upon them. Evil angels crowded around pressing darkness upon them to shut out Jesus from their view that their eyes might be drawn to the darkness that surrounded them and thus be led to distrust God and murmur against him. Their only safety was in keeping their eyes directed upward. Angels of God who had charge over his people and the poisonous atmosphere of evil angels…” Let me see. “…angels of God had charge over his peoples and as the poisonous atmosphere of evil angels was pressed around these anxious ones the heavenly angels were continually wafting their wings over them to scatter the thick darkness. As the praying ones continued their earnest cries at times rays of light from Jesus came to them to encourage their hearts and to light up their countenance.

Some I saw did not participate in this work of agonizing and pleading. They seemed indifferent and careless. They were not resisting the darkness around them and it shut them in like a thick cloud. The angels of God left these and went to the aid of the earnest praying ones.” You’ve got to stay on your knees if you want to make it through the rapids. “I saw angels of God hasten to the assistance of all who were struggling to do all within their power…” God does not ask you to do anything outside your power, but to do what is within your power. They were doing all in “their power to resist the evil angels and to try to help themselves by calling upon God with perseverance. But his angels left those who made no effort to help themselves and I lost sight of them.” They went over the rapids and disappeared. “I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the true witness to the Laodiceans.” What is the message of the true witness to the Laodiceans? Repent of your lukewarm, indifferent condition.

Those who are complacent and indifferent about their worldliness; they think they’re rich and increased with goods, they think that everything is okay, they’re just drifting along and they don’t realize that a flash flood is coming. All those that are left behind are going to be scoured out. It is called forth by the testimony of the true witness to the Laodiceans. “This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver and will lead them to exalt the standard...” It involves exalting the standards of God. “…and to put forth the straight truths.” The straight message must be given. “Some will not bear this straight testimony.” They’ll rise up against it and they’ll probably call it legalism. They’ll call it “salvation by works” and by a variety of names. And this is what will cause the shaking among God’s people. There will be a rift, a shaking among the people based upon those who are striving for purity of heart and mind, who want to reflect Jesus in their lives and those who simply take the name of Christ and believe that they are saved not from their sins but with their sins.

That’s where the rivers part. “The solemn testimony upon which the testimony of the church hangs and has been lightly esteemed if not entirely disregarded, this testimony must work deep repentance.” What was the message of Jesus? Not the church, not a denomination, not a pastor, what was the message of Jesus when he began preaching? Repent. Repent of what? Repent of your sins. How did John the Baptist begin? Repent. What did the disciples do after the Holy Spirit was poured out? Peter said, “Repent.” The message of repentance for our sins is almost never heard and God is telling us that we need to repent because I can hear the rapids coming. This is what will cause a shaking among God’s people. There’s a lot more here. I don’t know that I have time to read the whole thing. The angel said, “Look!” My attention was turned to the company that I had seen that were mightily shaken. I was shown those whom I had seen before weeping and praying in agony of spirit.” The ones who “sigh and cry” for sin. “The company of guardian angels around them had been doubled and they were clothed with an armor from their head to their feet.

They moved in exact order like a company of soldiers. Their countenances expressed the severe conflict through which they had endured, the agonizing struggles that they had passed through, yet their features marked with severe internal anguish now shown with the light and the glory of heaven. They had obtained the victory and it called forth from them the deepest gratitude and holy, sacred joy.” Those who do repent that strive to be like Christ will come forth victorious and rejoicing. What’s the alternative? Get swallowed up in the rapids or a flash flood. “The numbers of this company had lessoned. Some who had been shaken out and left by the way, the careless and indifferent who did not join with those who prized victory and salvation enough to perseveringly plead and agonize for it did not obtain it and they were left behind in darkness and their places were immediately filled by others taking hold of the truth and coming into the ranks.

Evil angels still pressed about them but they could have no power over them.” And then it says, “Soon I heard the voice of God that shook the heavens and the earth and there was a mighty earthquake” and they see Christ coming in the clouds. And I’m rushing through, but I recommend you read that. It’s in the book Early Writings, page 269 through 272. Now we already touched on it, but what is it that caused the shaking? Well, it’s the truth. People are shaken by the truth. You ever heard the expression “the truth hurts”? And as God’s people are preaching the truth in the last days it causes a shaking not only out there in the world but, sad as it might seem, the church is shaken by the truth. When Jesus came to his own people that had the Bible were they shook up by his message? So much so they could not bear it. They killed him. The truth can have a shaking effect. They’re shaken by his word which is in keeping with that. Hebrews 12:25-29, “See that you do not refuse Him who speaks.” It’s talking about him who speaks the word. “For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on the earth, much more shall they not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth…” The word of God is going to shake the earth. “…but now He is promising, ‘Yet once more I’ll shake not only the earth, but the heaven.’

Now this, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates a removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that things which cannot be shaken may remain.” Some things, no matter how you shake them, they don’t go away, they stay. Your faith, if it’s anchored in the Lord cannot be shaken. It’s rooted. The truth cannot be shaken. Heaven and earth can pass away but God’s truth cannot be shaken out of its place. “…let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.” Shaking often reveals the contents. One reason God allows this shaking to take place is because there are a lot of counterfeits among his people and it’s only when things are shaken that you know. Any of you ever seen a kid during, as Christmas is approaching or they’ve got a birthday and they find a present and they don’t want to unwrap it but they want to know what’s inside. What do they do? Hold it up to their ear and… They can almost always tell if it’s Lego or Playdough. They don’t’ make the same noise, right? You can shake it and tell what’s inside. I’ve discovered that’s also true with people.

Bump a Christian in the parking lot and you’ll find out whether they’re a Christian or not. Shake them. You shake a vessel and what’s inside comes out. Shaking reveals the contents. II Thessalonians 2:3, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless there come a falling away first.” Falling away where? In the world or the church? The world is already fallen. Before the Lord comes there’s a shaking in the church that causes a great falling away. And there’s going to be a great falling away among God’s people. Good news is that those who fall out will be replaced with sincere people who appreciate the truth that come in. Oh, Lord, I want to be one of those that stays in. I Timothy 4:1, “Now the Spirit speaks expressly that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.” You want to hear a doctrine of devils? A doctrine of devils is that Jesus doesn’t want to save you from your sin but with your sin, that all you’ve got to do is name it and claim it and you can just float along and you’re somehow going to get to Paradise Beach, that you don’t need to have your helmet and your life jacket on, you don’t need to listen to the river guide, you can just float along, go to wherever you hear the sound of dancing and music and you’ll make it.

It’s sometimes known as floppy agape or cheap grace. It’s a doctrine of devils. God is calling for us to be holy. Jesus is our example. You know how you find gold? Any of you ever pan for gold? I actually found some once. It was on the river trip. A friend and I were kayaking down the north fork. Let me tell you about this. A friend and I were kayaking. Were you with us on that first trip, dear? The north fork? The north fork when we went and we drug our boats, yeah, I think you went. Yeah we went. Karen actually went kayaking with me one time when she was like six or seven months pregnant with Stephen and she put on a wet suit and she looked like a boa constrictor that swallowed a pig. But I just wanted to share that with you. She’s brave. So we were going down the north fork of the Eel River, and I’ll tell you, friends, this is beautiful. But there are places… once we got going you know you can turn back.

We actually, we had no idea how much water was going down and it scared us and we decided at one point we stopped and built a fire and we thought, “We ought to call a helicopter.” But there was no way out. We had sheer rocks going up, river going down over these very perilous you know four and five some six category falls. It was pretty scary. But at one point we stopped and we did a little panning and we found a fleck of gold up on the north fork. I’m probably gonna cause a gold rush here in Sacramento. All of you are going to go up to the north fork of the Eel River now. And we found a fleck. We were so excited. We didn’t want lose it so we took some duct tape and you know how… First of all, let me back up. You know how you find it? We had a gold pan. We actually brought it with us. You scoop up some sand and you shake it, and the gold the valuable, shakes to the bottom and the chaff and the sand and the useless material washes out the top.

So we took this and gold and we put some duct tape on it; we taped it to the boat just to make sure we wouldn’t lose it. But the falls were so rough it ripped the tape off and we lost our gold on the way down. Aw, wouldn’t that devastate? It was probably worth all of $5.00, but it’s just finding it was what was so exciting. So sometimes shaking helps you find out what is precious. Job 23:10, “He knows the way that I take; and when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” Gold is purified sometimes by shaking, sometimes by fire, but it is a purifying process. One of the final thoughts I want to leave with you on this subject is that there are a lot of people who are sitting on this fence and they are trying to be neutral. You know during World War Two Switzerland tried to stay out of it and it was called the neutral country and I understand the main reason that they were able to stay out of it is because they controlled… they had so much money and the banks of the world were there and it was almost like a subject, a country, that nobody even Hitler, Mussolini, nobody wanted to touch Switzerland because you, you know there’s a very short nerve that runs between the head and the wallet and so they said, “Don’t mess with Switzerland.” And it was sort of an understanding. But it was neutral and if you could get to Switzerland you could stay out of the conflict and a lot of people who wanted to just sort of politically remain neutral and detached they went to Switzerland. And I suppose there were some other countries.

In the war between Christ and Satan there is no Switzerland. And there are lot of people that are sitting on this proverbial fence. They really want to serve the Lord. They want to be like Jesus, but they’re kind of like the world too and you know it is tough resisting temptation and trying to be holy and so they find themselves on this fence and they’re looking with longing, yearning towards Paradise Beach, but they can also hear the music from the marimba band on the deadly beach in the background and they’re trying to serve two masters. They are caught between these two destinations. Now Jesus said, “Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life. Few there be that find it. Broad is the way that leads to destruction.” I’ve got this theory that really there are not two ways. There’s one road and two directions. One goes up to the City of God and the other goes down to the valley of perdition and you’ve got to decide which way you go. You can’t serve two masters. There is going to be a shaking that will come to the church and that shaking, I think, has already begun, friends. I see it. There is a split in philosophies. Now I’m going to get very specific and this is probably one of these messages we probably won’t broadcast publicly. It’s more of an in-house message if you haven’t picked that up already.

I know we had a lot of fanfare today. I’ll quit a little earlier than I normally would. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is not another denomination. We are a movement of prophesy. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is the equivalent of spiritual Israel today into which all people are being called from all backgrounds and many different Christian backgrounds. We are not the same as other churches. I appreciated the article that Elder Mostit wrote in a recent Recorder where he said, “Why are we trying to be like everybody else? We’re not. We’ve been called out to be a peculiar and a separate people.” But there are some who may mean well in their desire to be accepted broadly in the community they are ashamed of certain distinctive beliefs that we have and they’re hiding them. They’re afraid of the distinctive testimony that we’ve received and the straight testimony and they’re trying to fit in. You know there’s a trend in North America that is sweeping around the world.

I have seen it, friends. It’s in Africa, it’s in India, and everywhere I go. There is a new denomination that is forming… Let me tell you about cereal. You can go to the supermarket and you can buy Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. They made the original corn flakes. They probably make the best corn flakes. They’ve got the recipe. Then I don’t know how copyright laws work with corn flake recipes or whether it’s a patent or how they do that, but you go to almost any supermarket in town, you test me and see if I’m right, Albertsons will have their brand of corn flakes, Raleys will have their brand of corn flakes and Lucky and Safeway and they’ve all got their brand. All of their corn flakes are made at the same factory and put in a different box. Did you know that?

I hope that didn’t devastate you to know that, that Albertsons and Safeway selling the same corn flakes. There’s one big generic corn flake factory somewhere that cranks them out and they dump them in boxes and they put different labels on them and they’re never quite as good. You know I bought some store brand grape-nuts not too long ago. I am disappointed. They’ve been sitting on the shelf getting stale because after a few bowls I said, “This isn’t like Post Grape-nuts.” They’re all powdery and they don’t have that crunch. I was really disappointed. The devil is doing that with churches. It seems like you can almost go to any church in town and they’re all saying sort of the same thing. It’s like they’ve all come from the same factory. It’s this generic form of Christianity that’s forming where in order for us to work together and have this unified feeling of love and maybe so we could fight to together to certain social issues and moral issues that we think that we ought to join arms on we’re laying aside certain distinctive teachings because it’s called dogmatic and legalistic. I’m not just talking about the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

I’m talking about, I can name a bunch of denominations that are downplaying their distinctive differences so that we can fit into this generic form of Christianity, and we're doing the same thing. We’re trying to fit in. We don’t want to stand out. And you know what? This attempt to fit in eventually those that do that are going to be shaken out because they will capitulate the Sabbath truth, our positions on salvation and holiness, everything from the state of the dead to the resurrection, the second coming of Jesus until pretty soon this is soup of generic Christians that just has a very veneer understanding of what it means to be a Christian and a very superficial knowledge of the Bible. God forbid that should happen to us. It’s only those that are praying and sighing and crying for victory that are studying God’s word that are not going to be shaken during that time. It’s begun. It doesn’t always look the way you think it might look. Sometimes these things happen very subtly. It could be happening all around you. There were people who lived through the ministry of Jesus in Jerusalem that didn’t know what happened, but something dramatic had happened.

Pentecost was poured out in that upper room and there were people four blocks away that had no idea that had been in the church all their lives. Meanwhile, Acts chapter 2, the place was shaken, sound of a mighty, rushing wind. A few blocks away folks had no idea what was going on. And there were people who had heard the teachings of Jesus during his earthly ministry that missed out on Pentecost. It can happen under your nose and that’s why we now need to be repenting and praying that God will fill us with his Spirit. I believe that the Lord wants to use us to shake and that’s how the gold is found; that’s how revival is found; that’s how people come in is when we pray that God will shake the temple. Would you like to be shaken?

I want to get to Paradise Beach and there’s only one way and it’s through the rapids, friends. We may as well get going, right? I’ll make a confession. Many times in kayaking down the river you’ll come to a number four or number five rapids and you can see it. You can hear it. You can see the spray and the splash and you can spend an awful lot of time just circling in the placid waters above it because you’re afraid, but your alternative is to just, you know, die from starvation there circling or to head for the waters, head down towards Paradise Beach and sometimes you’ve just got to go through it. I heard an illustration I think that C. D. Brooks used that I could probably use because it’s true. You ever been on a plane when it got turbulent and it starts to bounce around? I’ve noticed something when frequent travelers are sitting on a plane and the flight attendant is doing the run up, telling you about your seat belts and pointing out the exits and the mask that drops down, most people are reading magazines, they’re sleeping, they’re talking to the person in the seat next to them.

They don’t pay very much attention to that stuff because they’re sitting on the ground. It’s usually pretty calm on the ground. But then you get up into some rough weather. I remember flying back from India we were out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it’s not like you could land somewhere, and the plane started bouncing around so much… and I’m a pilot you know. When the plane first starts shaking a little bit I’m humored sometimes because I’ll see folks around me and they’ll reach over and they’ll buckle up their belt. It’s always a good idea to keep that buckled any way because sometimes you have no warning and you can hit your head on the cargo compartment overhead. I’ve seen people it starts to bounce a little bit and it’s just what they call light or moderate turbulence, a few bumps, they’ll pull out their rosary beads. They start counting the beads and they cross themselves. Bless their heart.

I appreciate that, but they’re praying you know they’re a little worried. And but when you see the crew getting nervous that’s a sign and I remember one time when a bunch of people were gathered at the back bathrooms and the plane started bouncing and it really started bouncing, the cart was leaving the ground and I remember the flight attendants saying to the people gathered, “Sit down.” They all started going back to their seats, she said, “No! Sit there! Right now!” And they went, “What?” She said, “Said down!” They sat on the floor. You ever seen that? It was bouncing like that she would even let them walk back to their seats. She made them sit on the floor right where they were.

Then people started pulling out those cards in the seat compartments and you’ll notice that they are making mental notes of the exits and you see them tap the passenger service unit overhead just wondering if it’s stuck or if it’s going to bring down the oxygen should it be necessary. And you know when you’re going through something like that the last place in the world you want to be is on a jet over the middle of the Pacific Ocean in the winter bouncing around like that especially when people around you are reaching for their airsick bags. It’s not pleasant, but you don’t get off the plane do you? And so as we’re going through these rapids it may not be fun but you want to stay in the raft. It’s a lot better going through in the raft than going through without the water, friends, and so we need to tie our boats together and head for Paradise Beach. Amen? I’d like to invite you to turn to our closing hymn. And it’s “Watch Ye Saints” 598. Let’s stand together as we sing. We’ll sing the first and third and last verse.

Watch, ye saints, with eyelids waking; Lo! the powers of heaven are shaking; Keep your lamps all trimmed and burning, Ready for your Lord’s returning. Lo! He comes, lo! Jesus comes; Lo! He comes, He comes all glorious! Jesus comes to reign victorious, Lo! He comes, yes, Jesus comes.

Kingdoms at their base are crumbling, Hark! His chariot wheels are rumbling; Tell, O tell of grace abounding, While the seventh trump is sounding. Lo! He comes, lo! Jesus comes; Lo! He comes, He comes all glorious! Jesus comes to reign victorious, Lo! He comes, yes, Jesus comes.

Sinners, come, while Christ is pleading; Now for you He’s interceding; Haste, ere grace and time diminished Shall proclaim the mystery finished. Lo! He comes, lo! Jesus comes; Lo! He comes, He comes all glorious! Jesus comes to reign victorious, Lo! He comes, yes, Jesus comes.

Amen! There’s good words in that song. I hope you read all five verses someday when the sermon is boring. There’s a good message in there. I want to receive the seal of God. I want to be marked as one of those who yearns to be like Christ. Let’s not become complacent, friends. Don’t become infected by the world and those who might be partying on the beach, but let’s keep our eyes headed towards our destination and fixed on Jesus. Is that your prayer friends?

Father in heaven, Lord, we believe that we have considered truth today and sometimes it is disturbing, but we know that you have called us to follow Christ. He is our example. You’ve provided the power and the blood to help us be pure in heart and mind. I pray, Lord, you’ll forgive our hypocrisy, forgive our lukewarm condition. Help us, dear Jesus, to be revived. I pray that we can be shaken by your Spirit and awakened to our condition before heaven. Help us, Lord, to make it through the rapids and not become discouraged. I pray that we’ll take advantage of every provision you have made, to keep those helmets of salvation on, and those breastplates and vests of righteousness and to be covered with Christ’s coat of righteousness. Lord, I pray that you will be with each person here and help us to keep our eyes fixed on our savior and to make it through the rapids in this time of shaking. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

You may be seated.

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