Seventh-day Adventists: A People of Hope

Seventh-day Adventists: A People of Hope

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I vividly recall that in 2010, the world church leadership encouraged the entire membership to celebrate the 150th anniversary of our church’s name, Seventh-day Adventist. Today, some five years later I feel that it is still necessary that we celebrate the name Seventh-day Adventist. In fact, I feel that it is something that should be done each day. As such, it begs certain questions and discussions, for example: “Who are Seventh-day Adventists?”  “What is meant by the name?” or “Why was it chosen?”
 
Looking Back
One hundred and fifty-five years ago, when the name Seventh-day Adventist was chosen, it was done to address certain legal and organizational concerns as the movement was growing. Once it was agreed to choose a name, it was important that the name reflect “the true features of our faith in front” and hence “Seventh-day Adventist” was selected (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p.224). Right away one sees two distinct doctrines coming out namely, the seventh-day Sabbath and the second coming. However, upon closer reflection, one is likely to see more such as the creation of a 7-day weekly cycle, and above all creation’s God.  Essentially, there is a beginning point to man, thus refuting the theory of evolution. For that reason the question of “Who am I?” is addressed. 
 
Looking Ahead
There is also a future application to the name. Implied and underscored in the term “Adventist” is a pointing to the Lord’s return. Therefore, we have not only a beginning but also a future and thus Seventh-day Adventists ought to be people of hope, for we know the answer to “Where am I headed?” There is a sense of expectation and assurance. Equally, there is a sense of responsibility and accountability; for to be a Seventh-day Adventist is to live what is implied in the name.
 
Living the Name
Back in 1860, after the name Seventh-day Adventist was chosen, Ellen White explained to the members that the name would “convict the inquiring mind” (ibid.). I pray for the same result now.
Today, there are many who make inquiry about Seventh-day Adventists. They ask, “Who are they?”  “Why do they worship on Saturday?”  “Why do they not eat pork?” “How is it that they live longer?” “How is it that they keep out of prison to a large degree?” Shouldn’t these be opportunities to proclaim our reasons for all of the above? Could they not be summarized by a true focus on God and the way He has established and led this movement?  Essentially, people are seeking hope and meaning in a world where there are so many people who apparently give little value to life. There is no need to be apologetic or timid, as God will do His work if we would but cooperate with Him.
The numerous health and family seminars, revivals and crusades provide us opportunities daily to explain who we are and whose we are thus pointing to God.  Then there are the daily opportunities in our homes and work places.  Do folks know that we are Seventh-day Adventists? To be a Seventh-day Adventist is to be what is implied in the name.  I think this is a good time to ask the question, “Am I truly a Seventh-day Adventist?”  “Do I support the church with my presence, my finances, and otherwise?” “Do I support Adventist Education?” “Do I value the ‘Spirit of Prophecy’ as manifested in the life and writings of Ellen White?” “Do I believe in healthful and wholesome living?” “Do I manifest a spirit of gratitude, considering God’s grace toward me?” “Do I truly look forward to the second coming of Christ?”
If my answers to these questions are not in the affirmative, it means that I need to address the issues that they highlight; otherwise it is possible that I could be a hindrance to the spread of the gospel. Ellen White observes, "Had the Sabbath always been sacredly observed, there could never have been an atheist or an idolater” (PP 336.1). My prayer is that God convicts our hearts to be Seventh-day Adventists in name and more so in practice. Says Christ “by this (love) shall all men know that you are my disciples.”