Courage of a Hero-Faith of the Martyrs
“We are living in the time of the end. The fast-fulfilling signs of the times declare that the coming of Christ is near at hand. The days in which we live are solemn and important. The Spirit of God is gradually but surely being withdrawn from the earth. Plagues and judgments are already falling upon the despisers of the grace of God. The calamities by land and sea, the unsettled state of society, the alarms of war, are portentous. They forecast approaching events of the greatest magnitude.
“The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.
“The condition of things in the world shows that troublous times are right upon us. The daily papers are full of indications of a terrible conflict in the near future. Bold robberies are of frequent occurrence. Strikes are common. Thefts and murders are committed on every hand. Men possessed of demons are taking the lives of men, women, and little children. Men have become infatuated with vice, and every species of evil prevails.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 11.
We know that Satan will work as never before because he knows that his time is very short on this earth. He will work more and more miracles to deceive all of the people on this planet, but there will be a remnant who follow the Lamb and obey His voice and do His commandments.
The scripture describes the condition of the world at the end of time. Because of the condition of this world, the Bible asks the question, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” As I looked at this very text about the experience of Isaiah and his response, “Here am I, send me,” my wife Mae Joy and I decided to go to the place known as Bitaog, Surop, Davao Oriental in the Southern Philippines. Some of our other brethren were also willing to cooperate in the work.
It takes a many hours to travel from Davao city to Davao Oriental. Most of the people there are fisherman and have abundant fish and are very busy with their work. I noticed that they are ignorant about the truth, but they are sincere about their faith. I also knew that they were Sunday keepers.
I started visiting from house to house with the elder of the church and also Brother Jacinto Obeda and Brother Wen-Wen Landong. As we started visiting, we used the method of Christ, medical missionary work. As we started the work, many people gathered together for a free blood pressure check, and we advised them on how to treat the disease through simple remedies that God has given. Many were blessed.
After conducting the medical missionary outreach, we noticed that there was one group who taught that we need not obey the Law of God because we are now in the time of grace. When I heard about that, I remembered the word of the Lord through David in Psalm 11:3, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” As a people we are to stand firm on the platform of eternal truth that has withstood test and trial. We are to hold to the sure pillars of our faith. The principles of truth that God has revealed to us are our only true foundation.
“Men will arise with interpretations of Scripture which are to them truth, but which are not truth. The truth for this time, God has given us as a foundation for our faith. He Himself has taught us what is truth. One will arise, and still another, with new light which contradicts the light that God has given under the demonstration of His Holy Spirit….
“We are not to receive the words of those who come with a message that contradicts the special points of our faith.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 31, 32.
One day, I visited the pastor who believed that since we are saved by grace it not necessary to obey the law of God, which is the Ten Commandments, because it was nailed in the cross. When we talked together, I presented to him the love of God and that the people today are obliged to keep the commandments of God through love. We also read the promise of God in Jeremiah 33:3. After we talked, I noticed that he had a problem with his heart and could not breathe well, so I advised him that we must follow the laws of heath and abstain from the foods that are not healthy, including the flesh foods which God said are unclean, and follow the simple remedies that God designed. After we talked, I left his house with gladness and understood that through medical missionary work we can easily spread the gospel.
Another day, I met a young man who was devoted member of the Bible Baptist Church. He said that Leviticus 11 is not applicable today because of Acts 10:15, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” After he gave me this verse, we solved this problem by the help of the Almighty. I explained to him about this chapter in which Peter, in a trance, saw a sheet let down from heaven, tied at the four corners. In this sheet were all manner of unclean creatures; and as he was looking, he was told to arise, kill and eat. Peter told the Lord, “I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” (verse 14) He had never heard from Jesus, either before or after the resurrection, that it was permissible to eat unclean animals. Peter wondered what the dream meant. While this happened, the men from Cornelius came before the gate; and the Holy Spirit spoke to Peter and said, “Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.” (verse 19, 20) The following day they came to Caesarea, and Cornelius was waiting for them and had called his friends and relatives. Then Peter said, “Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” (verse 28) Peter did not start eating unclean foods at this point. He understood that God was trying to teach him to not call any man common or unclean. After I discussed this verse, he understood that it is not animals that God cleansed but that a man is cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. After we studied, he suggested that we start regular Bible studies, and I praised God.
On February 3rd, after our house-to-house visitation, we started the public crusade. Satan made a surprise attack on us that night. He never wants anyone to hear the everlasting gospel. On that night, the weather was good and the stars shone; but suddenly a strong wind began to blow, and the tent was broken. The hearers began to get afraid, and some started going home; but by the help of our Lord through prayer, the wind died down. We repaired the broken tent and continued until the subject was finished. On the second day, again the devil tried to cut the meeting short. Suddenly there was a brown out, and the bulbs no longer gave their light. It was very dark that night, but by the help of our Lord, because He did not want His message to be hindered, He touched the heart of a person who had a generator and heartily loaned his generator on that night. Again we were able to continue until the subject was ended.
In the midst of the crusade, it was very interesting because many hearers were asking questions about the subjects presented, and I praise God that He gave me wisdom to answer all of the questions.
On the last night of the crusade, I presented “The Mark of the Beast”; and by the help of the Lord, the subject was presented in a proper way. But before the presentation, one of the brethren suggested that it is not necessary to present the mark of the beast. He said that the people would become angry if they heard that the beast in Revelation 13 is the papacy and that Sunday is her mark. But I told him that “we need the courage of a hero and the faith of the martyrs.” By the mercy of God, the people on that night were listening. The crusade was ended on February 17, after 15 nights of many hearing the everlasting Gospel.
We now have Bible students who are accepting Jesus Christ.
As we know that we are now in the final conflict, “we are to move forward in faith and hope, expecting large things from God. The enemy will seek in every way to hinder the efforts that are being made to advance the truth, but in the strength of the Lord you may gain success.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 404.
“The Lord desires to see the work of proclaiming the third angel’s message carried forward with increasing efficiency. As He has worked in all ages to give victories to His people, so in this age He longs to carry to a triumphant fulfillment His purposes for His church. He bids His believing saints to advance unitedly, going from strength to greater strength, from faith to increased assurance and confidence in the truth and righteousness of His cause.” Ibid., 407.
The work here in Davao Oriental and Zamboanga is still going forward by the grace of God, and we pray together that the Lord will continue to provide means for the support the work. May God bless you all.
By Edmar Vertudez.