God sifting his Church
God is always sifting his church. Through out history God has been separating the faithful from the faithless. The question is how does God sift his Church.
God allows situations to present itself to try his followers. These circumstances reveal their true character, it reveals their ignorance or erroneous ideas that must be replaced. He reveals to them that they must be taught or he sends them reproof. God does not allow these situations or even trials to overwhelm his children but they are designed to guide them to his loving outstretched arms thus they can receive the much needed help. Sometimes God will remove his blessings to allow us as his children to realize it is he that is blessing us and keeping us and not our jobs, or the things we possess, nor our strong arm.
Cain was faced with a situation where his sacrifice was rejected by God because, he failed to comply with God’s requirements. God then revealed to Cain his mistake and the results if he should continue in that way. Cain rejected God’s reproof until he committed murder and then left the presence of God.
For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. - Amos 9:9
Life Sketches of Ellen G. White Ch.9 pg.316.1
God is sifting his people. He will have a clean and holy church. We cannot read the heart of man. But the Lord has provided means to keep the church pure.
Messages to Young People 226.3
Do all in your power to gain perfection; but do not think that because you make mistakes you are excluded from God's service. The Lord knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. As you use faithfully the talents God has given you, you will gain knowledge that will make you dissatisfied with self. You will see the need of sifting away harmful habits, lest by a wrong example you injure others.
Selected Messages Book 2. Pg317.1
Every true child of God will be sifted as wheat, and in the sifting process every cherished pleasure which diverts the mind from God must be sacrificed.
Satan is also working against God and he is also sifting his people. Satan is not working to strengthen the brethren but to shake there faith and thus wedge himself between them and God.
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
What can we learn from this conversation. While Gods seeks to build the faith of his people Satan aims to wreck it.
Sons and Daughters of God pg.91
The reason so many of Christ's professed disciples fall into grievous temptation is that they have not a correct knowledge of themselves. Here is where Peter was so thoroughly sifted by the enemy. If we could understand our own weakness, we should see so much to do for ourselves that we would humble our hearts under the mighty hand of God. Hanging our helpless souls upon Christ, we would supplement our ignorance with His wisdom, our weakness with His strength, our frailty with His enduring might. Peter fell because he did not know his own frailty. He thought himself strong....
Peter being sifted was in a lost condition but he had not gone beyond the reach of mercy. Therefore only God can judge the eternal destiny of one even when they appear to be in a lost condition. It may just be, that they have not gone beyond the call of mercy and the Good Shepherd may be wooing them back to him.
God’s sifting prepares the soul. Satan’s sifting aims to destroys the soul.
Is God actively sifting his church now ?
The fact is that it has always been part of God’s method to purify his people.
However there’s a particular time in earths history when there will be a great sifting of God’s people and many will leave the Church. The Bible gives us a heads up of when this will be.
2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word,
nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Whilst there has always been and will always be a sifting amongst God’s people until the close of probation, there is a great and significant sifting to come to God’s Church that has not yet unfolded before us. It is this that Paul is referring to in the verse mentioned before. It will be very prominent and visible, people who we thought would have surely been able to stand may disappoint us and those who we thought was sure to fail will be found standing.
When will the Sifting end ?
The sifting will end when it has produced the results that God is looking for. A pure
Let’s look at history. Gideon made a call for men to come to fight, 32,000 showed up. From that 32,000 it was reduced to 22,000. From 22,000 it was reduced to 300. This is what a close observation given by “Patriarchs and Prophets” reveals.
Patriarchs and Prophets Ch.53 pg. 549.3
By the simplest means character is often tested. Those who in time of peril were intent upon supplying their own wants were not the men to be trusted in an emergency. The Lord has no place in His work for the indolent and self-indulgent. The men of His choice were the few who would not permit their own wants to delay them in the discharge of duty.
The three hundred chosen men not only possessed courage and self-control, but they were men of faith. They had not defiled themselves with idolatry. God could direct them, and through them He could work deliverance for Israel. Success does not depend upon numbers. God can deliver by few as well as by many. He is honored not so much by the great numbers as by the character of those who serve Him.
God knows what he is looking for.
By sifting the dross from his soldiers he is creating an army that will have to stand at midnight. When will his army be ready? I do not know only God see’s the heart and only he can know when our training will come to an end.
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. - 1 Samuel 16:7
Can you be sifted and not know?
To be eternally sifted, means to be outside of the fold. It means that as an individual you would have had to make a choice to reject God’s work in your life. You would have to refuse God’s work of stripping away sin from your life.
Many in the Church have chosen to be ignorant of the Scriptures and thus have a minimal knowledge of God. They have not found strength through prayer and thus are prime candidates for the attacks of satan. God in his mercy will do his best to awake them from their perilous slumber, but if they will not awake, they will then be deceived. In such a condition they could find themselves outside of the fold of God.
Against all reason and pleading they will persist in their way until it is too late to turn back and mercy has stopped pleading. The door of probation is closed and only then will they realize their true condition, only to find it is too late. Many their will be who are blinded by satan and know not where the path will lead which they have chosen. These will be sifted and be ignorant of their current state.
Why ? Because they have spurned the only means by which they can see through satan’s deceptions and so they are incapable at this stage to discern between right and wrong. Only when the final destruction shall be upon them shall they lament their course not because they are sorry for their actions but because of the consequences.
One such case was Judas.
Desire of Ages Ch.71 pg.645.1
Before the Passover Judas had met a second time with the priests and scribes, and had closed the contract to deliver Jesus into their hands. Yet he afterward mingled with the disciples as though innocent of any wrong, and interested in the work of preparing for the feast.
The disciples knew nothing of the purpose of Judas. Jesus alone could read his secret. Yet He did not expose him. Jesus hungered for his soul. He felt for him such a burden as for Jerusalem when He wept over the doomed city. His heart was crying, How can I give thee up? The constraining power of that love was felt by Judas. When the Saviour's hands were bathing those soiled feet, and wiping them with the towel, the heart of Judas thrilled through and through with the impulse then and there to confess his sin.
But he would not humble himself. He hardened his heart against repentance; and the old impulses, for the moment put aside, again controlled him. Judas was now offended at Christ's act in washing the feet of His disciples. If Jesus could so humble Himself, he thought, He could not be Israel's king. All hope of worldly honor in a temporal kingdom was destroyed. Judas was satisfied that there was nothing to be gained by following Christ.
After seeing Him degrade Himself, as he thought, he was confirmed in his purpose to disown Him, and confess himself deceived. He was possessed by a demon, and he resolved to complete the work he had agreed to do in betraying his Lord.
The Sifting and the National Sunday Law
When sunday sacredness is imposed by law, it is not a time to now get ready. What it will produce is two classes of people occupying the house of the Lord. Those who are sealed will be given the courage to stand for truth in the face of certain imprisonment and death. Those who have not been sealed will yield to the law of the land and disobey God. The world and those who have no prior knowledge of God’s law are not yet tested but will be given an opportunity to make a choice based on a knowledge of God’s word revealed by his chosen ones at this time.
When the law forces the conscience of men to disobey God, his chosen people will reveal at this time, what God has recorded against their names in the books of heaven. Our probationary period on this earth would have been ended and the world will be given a chance to make their final choice.
The NSL will reveal all those who allowed God to sift away the chaff from there lives and have humbled themselves to his leading. Those who have not been able to endure this process will then be finally and thoroughly sifted by satan. Like Peter in the judgement hall they will deny their faith and turn from Christ.
Almighty God please save us from self, in these trying times.
May the coming Crisis find us ready.