February 8, 2015

‘Shake Africa for Christ — Jesus Is Coming Soon!’

The following is the sermon that Ted N.C. Wilson, leader of the Adventist world church, gave at the East-Central Africa Division’s Mission Extravaganza on Feb. 7 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Read news report here.

My dear friends, this is one of the most important decisions you will ever make: placing yourselves in Christ’s hands through the Holy Spirit’s power and joining with millions around the world in God’s remnant church to proclaim the soon coming of Jesus Christ in the East-Central Africa Division.

This is just the beginning of a mighty movement that God will direct in finishing His work on this Earth through the falling of the latter rain of the Holy Spirit. In this new year of 2015 right here in Dar es Salaam, God is now calling on you to shake Africa for Christ in preparation for His soon return. He asks you to tell someone else about your relationship with Him.

Shake Africa for Christ! Explain to your loved ones, neighbors and friends what Jesus has done in your life and what He can do in their lives to become changed people through His blood and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Shake Africa for Christ! Tell them of Christ’s righteousness, His justifying power to cover our sins with His robe of righteousness, and His sanctifying power to help you grow on a daily basis to become more and more like Him through the Holy Spirit’s power. The marvelous promise of God in John 1:12 is yours and mine today, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”

Shake Africa for Christ! He has called you in this enormous evangelistic festival to help your growing church of more than 18 million fellow brothers and sisters around the world to proclaim the truth of God in anticipation of the glorious second coming of Jesus.

Since you are taking this important step to proclaim the distinctive three angels’ Advent message to the continent, listen to God’s instruction about your Earth-shaking work found in Acts 17:1-6. Luke, the author of Acts, indicates in chapter 16 that Paul and Silas had been terribly mistreated and imprisoned. However, God used the imprisonment to bring about the conversion of the jailer. Brothers and sisters, God can use any difficult situation you face to bring about a positive ending! Shake Africa for Christ!

A woman pumping water from an ADRA-built well in the Babati District in Tanzania, part of the East-Central Africa Division. “Use simple health promotion methods to share with others that they can live life and live it more abundantly," Wilson said. "Proclaim this precious Seventh-day Adventist message and shake Africa for Christ!" Photo: ANN

Share the Bible and Your Testimony

As Paul and Silas left Philippi, chapter 17 indicates they came to Thessalonica where there was a Jewish synagogue. Verse 2 indicates that Paul went to the synagogue on the Sabbath, as his custom was. You see, Paul was a Sabbath-keeper and a Seventh-day Adventist! Paul went there for three Sabbaths to reason with them from the Scriptures.

Brothers and sisters, shake Africa for Christ by using the Holy Word of God, the Scriptures. God will bless your explanation of the Bible as you share it with your family, neighbors, work associates and community. Verse 3 says that he was “explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying ‘This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.’” In verse 4 we are told that there was a good result from this evangelistic meeting right in the synagogue. A great number of Greeks and leading women were converted but not the Jews in the congregation. They became envious and took some rough people from the marketplace to create a mob setting the city in an uproar.

Verse 5 says they attacked Jason, one of the converts thinking they could find Paul and Silas there. Verse 6 continues the story indicating, “But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out ‘These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.’”

What a wonderful testimony to hear someone say that you are part of a church that has turned the world upside down for Christ — that you are shaking Africa for Christ! After the episode died down, I’m sure Jason and the others went right back to turning the world upside down. Brothers and sisters in the East-Central Africa Division, turn the word upside down in the best sense of the word and proclaim Christ’s soon second coming. Shake Africa for Christ!

In Acts of the Apostles, page 230, we read, “Those who today teach unpopular truths need not be discouraged if at times they meet with no more favorable reception, even from those who claim to be Christians, than did Paul and his fellow workers from the people among whom they labored. The messengers of the cross must arm themselves with watchfulness and prayer, and move forward with faith and courage, working always in the name of Jesus.”

Why is it that Christ’s disciples turned the world upside down? What caused their revolutionary, Earth-shaking success? How did they change the lives of people to become gentle, loving, law-abiding, zealous believers? It was due to their belief in the saving grace of Jesus Christ and the power He promised of the Holy Spirit coming to them in response to their commitment to Him after His ascension.

Jesus told His disciples in John 16:7, “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” It came in response to earnest prayer for unity in the Lord in the upper room by the disciples after Christ’s ascension to heaven. Acts 1:14 says, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.”

It came in their receiving the Holy Spirit in that upper room. Acts 2:1-2, “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.”

It came in the disciples’ willingness to respond to the Holy Spirit’s power and go out and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ calling on all to repent and be baptized. Acts 3:38 records Peter’s bold preaching, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

The disciples responded to Jesus’ great commission in Matthew 28:19, 20, “’Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”

A Maasai woman working at a bakery established by Adventist AIDS International Ministry for those living with HIV/AIDS in Maasailand, Kenya, part of the East-Central Africa Division. “God can use any difficult situation you face to bring about a positive ending!” Wilson said. “Shake Africa for Christ!” Photo: ANN

5 Steps for Shaking the Earth

God is calling you to follow in the footsteps of Christ and the disciples. He is calling you to “Go” into the East-Central Africa Division territory and He will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will stand by you forever until His soon return.

You see my friends, the disciples turned the world upside down and shook the Earth with heavenly success changing the lives of people all through their connection with Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. God calls for you, His modern-day disciples, to do the same.

Understand the sequence that happened to shake the Earth with God’s power and why you can shake Africa for Christ:

1. Christ went up;

2. Prayers went up;

3. The Holy Spirit came down;

4. The church went out;

5. And they turned the world upside down!

The experience of the early Christian church recorded in Acts 4 tells us that people will resend your proclamation of the full Advent message. It is recorded that the captain of the temple and the Sadducees arrested Peter and John. However, they were not discouraged but received Holy Spirit power from on high to proclaim the message so that verse 13 records, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”

My dear friends at this giant Mission Extravaganza in Dar es Salaam, can people see that you and I have been with Jesus? Do you spend time with Him every day in Bible study and earnest prayer? Do you spend time reading the Spirit of Prophecy, which points you back to the Bible to gain a clearer picture of God’s mission for you? Are you compelled by your daily revived and reformed relationship with Christ to share your testimony with others in personal and public witnessing and evangelism? Are you one of Christ’s disciples? Remember, the Lord went up, the Holy Spirit came down, the church went out — and turned the world upside down! Shake Africa for Christ!

God will give you the boldness you need. After Peter and John were let go, Acts 4:29-31 shares the disciples’ prayer for boldness which is to be our prayer, “’Now, Lord, look on their threats and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.’ 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.”

Friends, don’t ever be afraid to let people know who you are and Who you represent. Let your life and work always be a bold credit to the God who has saved you and whom you serve. Don’t ever be ashamed of your church or who you are. When someone asks you what church you belong to, don’t say, “Well, it’s a small church and you probably have never heard of it.” Then you tell them the name of our church in a muffled voice so they can’t really hear it. No, look them straight in the eye with a smile on your face and boldly tell them, “I am a Seventh-day Adventist and let me tell you about it!” Don’t be ashamed of your God and His church. Be bold in standing for God and His truth.

Shake Africa for Christ! Turn the continent upside down by the life-changing power that comes into a life through the supernatural conversion that takes place when Christ and His righteousness take control of a person. Understand your total reliance on Christ to control your life as you lean upon His mighty arm to repel the devil. The victory that Christ can give is found in allowing Christ to dwell in our hearts through the Holy Spirit and take control of our actions and reactions.

ADRA workers providing urgently needed food to a mother and her children during a drought in Somalia, part of the East-Central Africa Division. “God calls you to shake Africa for Christ!” Wilson said. “Be in connection and communion with Him every day, being revived and reformed in Him every moment of your life.” Photo: ANN

Learn From 2 Children

Learn from the mouth of a little child. The story is told about a little girl who said she knew how to control temptation. She said, “When Satan comes knocking at my heart’s door, I tell Jesus to go answer it. When Satan sees Jesus, he gets frustrated and says, ‘Excuse me, I have the wrong door!’”

Learn from the mouth of a little child. A nurse on the pediatric ward, before listening to a child’s heartbeat through the child’s chest, would put the stethoscope into the ears of the child and let him or her listen to their own heart. Children’s eyes would always light up with awe. But the nurse never got a response from a child like the one she got from a little 4-year-old boy named David. Gently she tucked the stethoscope into his ears and placed the disk over his heart. “Listen,” she said. “What do you suppose that knocking sound is?” Little David drew his eyebrows together in a deeply puzzled gaze and looked up as if lost in the strange tap-tap-tapping and knocking sound deep in his chest. Then, his face broke out in a wondrous grin as he excitedly exclaimed, “Is that Jesus knocking at my heart?”

Yes, my dear friends, Christ says in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

Our Savior is calling you to be part of His great proclamation to introduce people to Jesus who is knocking at the door of our heart. Through your wonderful personal testimony about Jesus and what He has done in your life, shake Africa for Christ!

When we, as ambassadors for Christ, proclaim to the world our love for Jesus and people accept Him into their lives, a miraculous Spirit-filled conversion takes place and Christ changes them into His likeness. Christ justifies them and connects them to Him through His sanctifying power so that they become more and more like Him. That is why drunkards become sober, why loose-living people become moral, why mean-spirited individuals become peacemakers, why liars become honest, why filthy-minded people become pure, why evolutionists become creationists, and why selfish, self-centered people become selfless, generous benefactors. That is why the unconverted become converted. It is all due to the power of God, which produces the fruit of the Spirit so we can turn the world upside down in the name of Jesus Christ!

Brothers and sisters of the East-Central Africa Division, shake Africa for Christ! Be part of God’s mission in the East-Central Africa Division! Proclaim the powerful Advent message God has entrusted into your hands!

We praise God for this precious biblical message of truth for this end-time setting. From a prophetic perspective, the world will get worse before it gets better. But when it does get better, it will be the best. As you have experienced God working in your life, you realize that the second advent of Christ is approaching! Jesus is coming soon!

Observing world events, we immediately recognize that Matthew 24 and Revelation 13 are being fulfilled. So many things happening point to a rapid fulfillment of prophetic messages indicating the final days of Earth’s history. The end of time is upon us. The world is in disarray. No one can solve the insurmountable problems facing countries and people groups.

Every week we can see the horrible results of unrest, killing, butchery and treachery. We better understand Luke 21:26 when it recounts “men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things, which are coming on the Earth.”

Signs of uncertainty are all around us. Social trends continue to defy biblical truth and heavenly principles. Economic instability is everywhere. Ecumenical trends are pointing to the fulfillment of Revelation 13:3 which says, “All the world wondered after the beast.”

God calls you to shake Africa for Christ! Be in connection and communion with Him every day, being revived and reformed in Him every moment of your life.

Shake Africa by pointing people to Christ, to His Holy Word, to His church, to His prophetic movement, to His biblical plan for the family, to His sanctuary message, to public and personal witnessing for Him, to belief in and use of the Spirit of Prophecy, to the proclamation of His three angels’ messages, to Christian stewardship, to living a healthy Christian life, to Christian humanitarian service and to sharing the promise of Christ’s soon return. Shake Africa for Christ!

Adventist women participating in “Kinshasa for Christ” meetings during a Mission to the Cities initiative in the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, part of the East-Central Africa Division. “Through your wonderful personal testimony about Jesus and what He has done in your life, shake Africa for Christ!” Wilson said. Photo: ANN

Proclaim Your “Seventh-day” Distinctiveness

Our message outlined in our church’s name is so distinctive. The “seventh-day” refers to God’s power in creating this Earth in six literal, consecutive, contiguous, 24-hour days and capping it with a memorial of that creation, the seventh-day Sabbath. This reminds us that we are a direct creation of God and not some chance happening or impersonal evolutionary process.

Saying you are a Seventh-day Adventist identifies you as a believer of this truth that is made so plain in Scripture! God has instructed us in Exodus 20:8-11 to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh-day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

Listen to what Selected Messages, Book II, page 385, says about attempts to de-emphasize our distinctive beliefs: “I was told that men will employ every policy to make less prominent the difference between the faith of Seventh-day Adventists and those who observe the first day of the week. In this controversy the whole world will be engaged, and the time is short.”

As Seventh-day Adventists living on the very brink of eternity, we are not to minimize our “seventh-day” distinctiveness, we are to accentuate it, giving the trumpet a certain sound. We are told in Selected Messages, Book II, page 370, “The Lord has permitted the enemy of truth to make a determined effort against the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. He designs by this means to awaken a decided interest in that question which is a test for the last days. This will open the way for the third angel’s message to be proclaimed with power.”

The third angel shows us that the Sabbath will be God’s special seal or sign of His people in the last days and anyone worshiping on another day than the seventh-day Sabbath will receive the mark of the beast. That is how important the Sabbath is to God and how important it should be for us. Therefore, we should not align ourselves with any other religious organizations or ecumenical bodies. Of course, we should show ourselves friendly and treat all with respect, but in we are cautioned in Selected Messages, Book II, page 371, “There is to be no compromise with those who make void the law of God. It is not safe to rely upon them as counselors. Our testimony is not to be less decided now than formerly; our real position is not to be cloaked in order to please the world’s great men. … While we should not seek for controversy, and should not needlessly offend, we must present the truth clearly and decidedly, and stand firm to what God has taught us in His Word. You are not to look to the world in order to learn what you shall write and publish or what you shall speak.”

The Bible tells us in that wonderful text of 2 Chronicles 20:20, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”

A tailor working on a street in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, part of the East-Central Africa Division, with equipment and training from Adventist AIDS International Ministry. “What a wonderful testimony to hear someone say that you are part of a church that has turned the world upside down for Christ — that you are shaking Africa for Christ!” Wilson said. Photo: ANN

Declare Where You Are Going

In the same way that the “Seventh-day” part of our name reminds us of where we came from, the second part, “Adventist,” tells us where we are going. We are waiting for the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ, and look forward to it as the culmination of all of Earth’s history. The literal return of Christ is the great objective and goal of every Seventh-day Adventist. It is that Blessed Hope to which we cling. Let the pulpits of all Seventh-day Adventist churches in the East-Central Africa Division ring with the loud and exciting proclamation that Jesus is coming soon! Seventh-day Adventist preachers and elders, preach on the second coming of Jesus Christ, not just once in a while, but often!

Remind our members that we are awaiting expectantly the soon return of our Creator and Redeemer. Tell the public that we are a people who await the literal return of the King of Kings who will take us home to heaven. Tell them that every eye will see this incredible return of Jesus and that He will not set foot on this Earth but that we rise to meet Him in the air. Unashamedly proclaim those precious words of Paul found in I Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

That powerful, heaven-sent name, “Seventh-day Adventist,” is a two-word sermon of hope. It points to God as the Author and Finisher of our faith. It uplifts Christ in all His beauty. It proclaims the Great Controversy theme from the beginning to the end.

Share this message in the large cities of the East-Central Africa Division as you engage in Mission to the Cities using every means possible to proclaim the prophetic messages of Daniel and Revelation and show the love of Christ in kind Christian service to others.

Use comprehensive health ministry to bring physical, mental, social and spiritual blessings to those in your community. Christ spent more time in healing and teaching than He did in preaching. Use simple health promotion methods to share with others that they can live life and live it more abundantly as they follow God’s health rules and His moral rules. Brothers and sisters, proclaim this precious Seventh-day Adventist message and shake Africa for Christ!

Lean completely on the Lord in your faithful proclamation of the Advent message. Shake Africa with complete dedication as you proclaim the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 with Holy Spirit power. Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, page 19, says, “In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. … They have been given a work of the most solemn import — the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.”

So proclaimers of God’s truth and mission in the East-Central Africa Division, I challenge you as we face the last days of Earth’s history, to proclaim God’s truth through the power of the Holy Spirit and your daily walk with Jesus in Bible study, prayer and witnessing. God will reward your faithfulness. Accept God’s plea in Revelation 2:10, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Take Christ’s words seriously in Revelation 3:11, “Behold I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”

Realize that you are the inheritors of God’s great commission to proclaim the truth to the final generation and shake Africa for Christ. As Revelation 17: 14 says, “The Lamb will overcome them, for He is the Lord of lords and the King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

You are chosen to shake your church, your community, your nation and this continent, by God’s grace, and to testify of His goodness. Stand firm for God’s truth, proclaim His Word and turn this world upside down in the East-Central Africa Division! This is why we are celebrating God’s mission in the East-Central Africa Division.

We need Holy Spirit power from heaven. Last month, the General Conference participated in the 10 Days of Prayer at the office by spending one hour every morning during our workweek in prayer. That next week in January, senior leadership of the General Conference and division presidents met in special administrative planning meetings taking serious time in the morning for Bible study and prayer and then time in the evening to pray together. What a great blessing to pray together!

Sandra Owusu-Antwi, a student from Andrews University in the U.S., giving a ride to a child at an orphanage in Arusha, Tanzania, part of the East-Central Africa Division. “Remember, the Lord went up, the Holy Spirit came down, the church went out — and turned the world upside down!” Wilson said. “Shake Africa for Christ!” Photo: ANN

Mission Extravaganza Is a Final Call

What a blessing to participate in the final proclamation of God’s mission in the East-Central Africa Division. He is calling you to join in the proclamation of the wonderful news that Jesus is offering His salvation to all who receive Him, that He is coming soon and that He wants us to help tell others about this good news and shake Africa for Him.

Let us believe God’s Word, believe His prophets, believe the prophetic books of Daniel and Revelation. Jesus is coming soon! What a day that will be! Saved through the justifying and sanctifying power of Jesus Christ and Him alone, saved through His righteousness. What a privilege to share this prophetic message and humbly ask God for revival and reformation through the power of the Holy Spirit. Here at this extraordinary Mission Extravaganza, are we willing to renew our commitment to sharing the distinctive, prophetic messages of Daniel and Revelation, following in Christ’s steps of sharing His love, warning the world and turning the world upside down?

Your church leaders in the East-Central Africa Division have planned wonderful evangelistic activities for you. They are leading you to shake Africa for Christ. This follows the counsel in the Spirit of Prophecy for the last days of Earth’s history. 

We are urged in the Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9, pages 116, 117, to understand that, “The leaders in God’s cause, as wise generals, are to lay plans for advance moves all along the line. In their planning they are to give special study to the work that can be done by the laity for their friends and neighbors. The work of God in this Earth can never be finished until the men and women comprising our church membership rally to the work and unite their efforts with those of ministers and church officers. … We are standing upon the very borders of the eternal world. We have no time to lose. Every moment is golden and altogether too precious to be devoted merely to self-serving. Who will seek God earnestly and from Him draw strength and grace to be His faithful workers in the missionary field?”

Soon our work will be finished. God’s mission in the East-Central Africa Division will be accomplished. The goals of the Mission Extravaganza will have succeeded through God’s power. For one of these days very soon, we will look up and see a small, dark cloud about half the size of a man’s hand. It will get larger and larger and brighter and brighter, all of heaven poured out for this climactic event, all of the millions of angels making up that marvelous cloud with a brilliant rainbow above and lightning beneath.

Right in the middle of that incredible cloud will be the One we have waited for, the One who is altogether lovely, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, coming as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We will look up and say, “This is the God we have waited for,” and Christ will look down and say, “Well done, good and faithful servants, enter into the joy of your Lord.”

We will rise up to meet Him in the air after those who have died in Christ will have risen at His call and we will go to heaven to be with Him forever. What a day that will be! I want to be there that day by the grace and righteousness of Christ.

If that is your wish and you want to humbly submit to Christ and His righteousness, asking Him to use you in helping to shake Africa by sharing His love and prophetic messages in this end-time hour of Earth’s history, would you join me in standing right now in commitment to Christ and His wonderful Advent movement?

Related stories from Adventist Church leader Ted N.C. Wilson's ongoing trip to seven countries:

"Spicer University Teaches Mission and Compassion on 100th Birthday"

"With Wilson’s Pledge, Flood-Hit Indian School Is Fully Restored"