Hello friends, welcome to the Ocala Seventh-day Adventist Church. During this series on Theodicy, we’ve been discussing the problem of evil, and how God will conclusively solve this problem once and for all. We’ve established the biblical fact that evil does not come from God (James 1:13). We’ve also identified that evil ultimately comes from Satan, God’s archenemy, and because of this we are behind enemy lines, as it were (Matthew 13:28). We came to these conclusions by recognizing that God is a God of love––love requires freewill––and freewill entails risk (1 John 4:8,16; James 1:14-15; Ezek 28:14-15; Gen. 3). This doctrine is known as The Great Controversy, and while it may provide a certain intellectual satisfaction, we may find ourselves asking, “why is it taking so long for this cosmic conflict to end?” When pondering the same question, Ellen White had these words to say, “The earth was dark through the misapprehension of God. That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satan’s deceptive power was to be broken. This could not be done by force. The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened.“ You see, the Great Controversy is not a battle of strength, rather it is a battle of character. It is God’s desire that everyone should be saved, and He is doing everything He can to make that happen (1 Timothy 2:3-6). The good news is that Jesus came to suffer with us and for us, so that after He eradicates sin once and for all, we may live with Him again in heaven forever and ever throughout all eternity. How has God touched you today? Moreover, since we cannot add our works to our salvation, what act of service will you do as a way to merely say thank you to Jesus? Thank you for joining us. Stop by the Welcome Center in the foyer to see how you can get connected with our church family and join a ministry to serve the Ocala community today! Blessings, Pastor Kevin Messina.
How oft in the conflict, when pressed by the foe, I have fled to my Refuge and breathed out my woe; How often, when trials like sea billows roll, Have I hidden in Thee, O Thou Rock of my soul. -- Cushing