Day by Day
17 Jun 2006, Dr Barry Wright
(Barry is Thornleigh's Church Pastor)
DAY BY DAY
It would have been a wonderful thing to be in a school where Jesus was the teacher. Such was the privilege that John and his fellow disciples were given. For those who were willing to learn from their past mistakes and were anxious to improve their characters, they were given a wonderful God given opportunity (Department of Education, 1965: 91)
The apostle John, particularly, was to treasure every lesson. His growth in the areas of meekness, humility and love was to be a day-by-day process that was seen by many who knew him to be to be absolutely remarkable (White, 1944,Vol 1: 353).
The apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3: 18, in talking about Christian growth, makes it very clear when he says, 'But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.'
He knew that by being familiar with the words and habits of Jesus, this act, in itself, would provide an opportunity to transfer His special values and character to us.
When we look at nature, we know there can be no life without growth. A plant must either grow or it will die. Its growth is silent and hardly noticeable, but it continues every day.
It is like this with the development of our spiritual being. At every step, our life can be seen by heaven as perfect, yet if we are to fulfil God's purpose for us, there has to be continual advancement. This daily work of Christian growth or Sanctification, as it is called, is to be a work of a lifetime. As our opportunities continue to multiply this will be reflected in our experience and knowledge. This will, in turn, enable us to take on greater responsibilities, and our spiritual maturity will have the opportunity to develop in proportion to those privileges (White, 1941: 65).
However, before we can begin to become a child of God, we need to have a change of heart that is referred to in the Scriptures as a new birth. John 3: 3 says that unless a man or woman is 'born from above' he cannot become a partaker of the life which Christ came to give (White, 1948: 71).
Once we accept Jesus in our hearts, it is from this point that we can begin to climb the ladder heavenward. This ladder represents Jesus and on each step are to be found all the graces of God. Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity towards others are all to be found growing within the Christian character (White, 1944, Vol 6: 147).
After talking about the new birth experience, the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 2; 1-3 urged the new believers, whom he considered to be babes in Christ, to desire, what he called, the 'milk of the word'. This was to represent the simple, basic principles of the Gospel and it was from this point of nurture that they were to advance, and thereby, grow into the likeness and character of Jesus (Jemison, 1959: 248).
Let me tell you that there will only be true success in our religious life when we recognise that god's power is just as much required for Christian growth, as it was to accept Jesus at the very beginning of our walk.
It is only with man's consent, co-operation and positive action in harmony with the will of God, that we can move forward. As suggested by the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor 7: 1, it is only through faith in Jesus and His promises, and by obedience that we can perfect holiness in the fear of God. This individual work can't be done by another person.
In other words god gives the power for Christian growth, but he expects the individual to also do his part.
The gradual change brought about by God in a person's life cannot be better illustrated than in the life of a man born in the Solomon Islands in 1905 called Sasa Rore. Named after his grandfather, Sasa Rore meant 'Little Warrior', and it was a name that had been handed down for generations from a long line of distinguished headhunters.
Not long after this little boy was born, the British Government, in its attempts to stamp out headhunting raids in the Solomons, entered the cannibal village of Dovele killing and burning everything in sight. Sasa Rore's Mother was one of those killed and it was sometime later that this little boy was rescued from their burning hut by one of the European's in charge.
Eventually placed in the care of his Grandmother, Sasa Rore's life was to return to a semblance of normality. In his games with the other village children he very early demonstrated his natural leadership skills. He was also receptive to the lessons given by the village elders that were to lead him into an understanding of the ways of the spirits. These practices were followed and promoted by the devil priest of the village.
However, his world was to radically change when he was taken to work as a cook boy for a Government Officer at Tulagi, some distance from Rore's village. He was to remain there for two years.
On return to his village for a short holiday, he discovered that a Seventh-day Adventist mission had commenced, which was now to include a small school. It was here in 1920 at the age of fifteen that Rore learnt to read and write and was introduced to the Lord of the Sabbath found in the Bible. Over the four years spent at the mission he developed the overwhelming desire to take this wonderful gospel story to the people of his country. The Lord had now begun to work on Sasa Rore and, as a result, this was to commence a lifetime of service to his people that he so often talked about.
On July 6, 1924 he became a teacher for God in the village of Paraeto, bringing about an amazing transformation to that place within a year. Step by step God was taking this young man on his walk to the kingdom of God.
From that village he married a beautiful young lady who was to remain loyally by his side throughout the difficult years that lay ahead.
In 1937 he was ordained to the Gospel ministry. Then came the disruption of war. With the coming of the allied soldiers, Rore made his impact on these servicemen, when he was asked to lead out in the chapel programs at the massive Henderson Airfield. Men of all denominations came to hear this faithful man of God and left refreshed by his simple faith. Many Seventh-day Adventist servicemen willingly gave their offerings and tithes to help pay the wages of the native teachers during that difficult period when the Japanese landed in the islands.
After the war, Pastor Rore became assistant district director of the Western Solomon's Mission and it was in 1946 that he made his first visit to Australia. In 1949 he spent time working in Papua working with the teachers in that field and later in 1950, he had the privilege of attending a General Conference session in the USA.
The work and influence of Sasa Rore over his 40 years of service would be difficult to measure. Every day since he had accepted the Lord in his life he had taken the opportunity to maintain his walk with God that was leading him step by step to the heavenly Kingdom. What a remarkable change there had been in his life as he was to allow the power of God to work through him. He was finally to retire back to the little village of Dovele where it all began (Hedges, 1966).
Sasa Rore's experience can be summed up in the words of this well-known hymn and I would like to share them with you this morning.
Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure,
Gives unto each day what He deems best.
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
Every day the Lord Himself is near me,
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counsellor and power.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
As your days, your strength shall be in measure,
This the pledge to me He made.
Help me then in every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation
Offered within thy Holy Word.
Help me, Lord when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a Father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the Promised Land.
(Hymn 532 'Day by Day')
My challenge to our Pathfinders this morning is to allow God to work within your life and let Him lead you day-by-day and step-by-step to that Kingdom he is preparing for you today.
Dept of Education General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (1965) Principles of Life. Salisbury Park, Poona 1, India: Oriental Watchman Publishing House
Hedges, U (1966) Sasa Rore. Washington DC: Review & Herald Publishing Association.
Jemison, T. H (1959) Christian Beliefs. Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association.
Brooks . L. C (1985) Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal. Warburton, Victoria: Signs Publishing Company
White, E. G. (1941) Christ's Object Lessons. Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association.
White, E. G. (1948) Steps to Christ. Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association.
White, E. G. (1944) Testimonies for the Church. Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association.
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