By Pastor Hal Mayer
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Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry. Thank you for joining me today as we study how prophecy is being fulfilled in our time. I’m sure you will find today’s study rather interesting because it is based on a prophecy embedded in a parable of Jesus. But it is also a development in our modern world that you should know about, so that you may find ways to help build up the kingdom of God and win souls before the close of human probation.
My friends, the entire Latin world is changing. A subtle, yet open development has taken root among Latino Christians. They are leaving the Catholic Church in droves. And Rome is on the defensive. In North America, Catholic Latinos are abandoning their connections to the Catholic Church and joining Evangelical, Protestant, Pentecostal, and other churches.
In Latin America, the Catholic Church is dwindling rapidly, leaving gigantic, once full churches and cathedrals nearly empty. This change is the Latino Protestant Reformation. It’s not the same kind of reformation that convulsed Germany and Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. There’s not that public confrontation with Rome. The motivations for change are under the surface. They are like the powerful tides of the ocean that cannot be seen, but they can be felt. Often God works this way. You can see the results. And they are dramatic.
There is a different culture involved than in the 16th century Reformation nearly 500 years ago. It’s gentle and stays out of the spotlight. There is a different set of issues and a different context. But it is nevertheless a huge sea change that we should understand. The powerful movement is paving the way for God to win hundreds of thousands of eleventh-hour workers to take the last and final warning to the world just before Jesus comes again.
But before we continue, let us bow our heads in prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to teach us. Our Father in heaven, Thank You for Jesus Christ who loves all of us with more love than any of us can imagine. Thank You for revealing the details of end time events so that we may be prepared for the coming of Christ and the challenging spiritual crisis that must come before. Please send Your Holy Spirit today so that we may understand our times. Show us the way in which God’s word is being fulfilled. Please teach us what we must do to win souls for the Master. This we ask in Jesus name, Amen.
Turn with me in your Bibles to Matthew 20. Here is a parable that Jesus gave us concerning the last days. It is a parable for the disciples in their times. But today, this parable has special application for our times. Listen to Jesus’ words beginning with verse one.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.”
Think about this householder for a minute. He is not an ordinary householder. He has properties and lands, with vineyards and other crops, no doubt. He is a good businessman with a good measure of means at his disposal. Vineyards require a lot of manual labor to keep the vines staked up properly and pruned. And when the harvest comes, they have to be attended so that all the grapes are picked and then processed properly. This always, even today, requires a lot of manual labor. Do you think that perhaps Jesus’ parable was speaking to manual laborers and to common people? I like how Jesus teaches. He doesn’t directly tell you who He’s talking about, but if you think about the story and what He says, it becomes very clear.
I want you to notice also that many of these laborers were standing around waiting to be hired for the day. Today we call them day laborers, at least in the U.S. And in some countries they are everywhere. We certainly have them in the United States. Most of them are Latinos, the subject of our study today.
They are also available in Australia, especially in the agriculture industry. They are called Woofers. And I know some of them. And I’m sure there are people like that in many countries. They move from place to place, working in agriculture, building trades, and other service industries. Could Jesus have been speaking of our own times? Somehow I think He was.
Let us read on. “And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.”
Notice that these people agreed to be paid a certain amount. There was a negotiation with the householder. They were concerned about the pay or the reward.
Reading on, “And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.”
So, with the second, third and fourth set of workers, he did not offer them a specific amount of pay for them to work. He just said that he would give them a wage that was right. They trusted him. They went and worked without knowledge of how much they would be paid. This is important to remember. In the work of the gospel, we are not to worry about the temporal benefits we will receive. We are to trust that God will richly satisfy us for our labor. In the end, the householder gave them the same wage as he gave all the others. And that caused some discontent.
Then, when the day was almost over; at the eleventh hour, he goes out to the market again. There is only about one hour left of the working day. But the harvest isn’t completed and he needs more laborers to work in His vineyard to quickly finish the harvest.
“And about the eleventh hour he went out,” the Bible says, “and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.”
These eleventh-hour workers had been idle all the day long. Their attention was not on the householder’s vineyard. But at the last hour, just before the end of the day; just before “the night cometh, when no man can work,” (See John 9:4) the householder calls them to his vineyard to help with the final harvest. They jump into action and help the landlord finish the harvest before nightfall.
You see, my friends, this is a parable of the gospel day. This parable is referring to the time during which the gospel can be given from the time of Christ until the close of human probation just before the second coming of Christ. And as the end of its proclamation is near, Jesus needs more workers to help finish the harvest. That is what the eleventh-hour workers are all about. They come in at the very end of the day. They work hard. The harvest might not have been completed if it were not for them. This extra boost at the end of the gospel commission is conducted under the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain.
There are many who are presently idle. They don’t realize that God needs them, at least not yet. Many of them are Christians but have never really done any kind of soul winning. They have been taught that it is the priest’s job or pastor’s job to look after the soul winning work, not the laymen. They have been taught that you have to have some sort of theological degree from a famous university to be able to be successful in God’s work. They think you have to be ordained by the church to work for the Lord. Many have been discouraged from becoming active for the Lord by the very ones who stand as representatives of God, but who themselves will hardly lift a finger to reach out to lost souls. When some go out to do their own missionary work, such has spreading literature around; they are criticized by the very ones who should be encouraging them. They are even told some times that this is not the way to reach people for the Lord. It is as if some people do not want the lost to find their way to salvation. They want to keep them sleeping in a deep slumber.
Some people think that we should not present the prophecies because they tend toward sensationalism. But friends, we are living in unusual and sensational times. The last days are upon us. We must give the full message that God has entrusted to us for these perilous times. We must give the trumpet a certain sound! We should not hold back, but with strength and power, under God’s precious Spirit, we should be anxiously working to persuade with earnestness and tears those who are in the valley of decision. We have a startling message. Like Jonah’s message to Nineveh, it must awaken the people to their danger. Like Noah, Lot and John the Baptist, we are to powerfully and strikingly proclaim the warning. This is not a subtle message. It is pointed and powerful.
So, under the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain, many will rise up and become those eleventh-hour workers. They suddenly realize the call of God upon them and the Holy Spirit moves them to action. They are turbo-charged. They come from the humble and common pursuits of life. And now they see the importance of following Christ all the way, bringing His character, or the Ten Commandment law into their hearts. They see that Jesus is coming soon, and that the multitudes are not ready for the judgment. Notice what it says in
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.”
Get ready, my friends, dramatic things are going to happen. And it is going to change everything. The Holy Spirit is not going to use the usual channels of religious authority during this time. They will blockade Him if they can, because He doesn’t work in the way that they imagine that He will. The Holy Spirit is not limited to the established channels for soul-winning, or funding, or personnel. He will use all resources available to Him, even those not controlled by the usual religious authorities. He will work around those who stand in His way. But if you are humble and willing to be used by God, you can be part of this too. You just have to get used to the idea that you aren’t likely to have the support of the religious establishment.
Here is what the book Great Controversy has to say about the latter rain of the Holy Spirit upon the earth. This is from page 606. “As the time comes for it to be given with greatest power, the Lord will work through humble instruments, leading the minds of those who consecrate themselves to His service. The laborers will be qualified rather by the unction of His Spirit than by the training of literary institutions.”
You see, my friends, God can use common people who do not have university degrees, or theology degrees, to work powerfully under the latter rain to reach souls with the message. I’m not saying that having a university degree will disqualify you to work for God. But it often does. The philosophy that is taught in the universities these days is dangerous to your walk with God and your fitness for His work. Even religious universities run by churches these days are full of worldliness and phony philosophies like evolution, secularism, alternatives to Biblical lifestyles and marriage, and other ideas that are in conflict with God’s law. Many who would otherwise be good workers for God, and who once had a desire to work in God’s vineyard have lost their vision and their focus on God’s work by going to university. They do not desire to put all their energies into preparing God’s vineyard for the harvest. They are more interested in making money, or gaining influence instead of saving souls. They lose their way and lose their salvation in the process. And the eleventh-hour workers will take their places.
It takes personal discipline, diligence and perseverance to overcome the worldly influence of most university studies. And only a few there be who will find their way through it to the true principles of heaven and salvation. Jesus appeals to them too. He wants them to help Him with the harvest.
But the gospel is humbling and often pride gets in the way of humbling yourself. Some people have more barriers to humility than others. But it can be done if the soul is surrendered to Christ. But it is only humble people that the Lord can use. And most humble people are simple, often uneducated, or less educated, and more willing to follow where He leads. After all, Jesus chose mostly humble fishermen and other common people to proclaim His message, didn’t he? Often the very ones who are responsive to the Holy Spirit are the ones neglected by the proud and sophisticated.
I will continue to read from this statement. “Men of faith and prayer will be constrained to go forth with holy zeal, declaring the words which God gives them. The sins of Babylon will be laid open. The fearful results of enforcing the observances of the church by civil authority…” That is talking about government-enforced worship laws, like Sunday laws.
“…The inroads of spiritualism…” That’s talking about the concept of immediate life after death, which is not in the Bible, Spiritual Formation, eastern mysticism, etc.
“…The stealthy but rapid progress of the papal power…” That is certainly happening today, isn’t it?
“…all will be unmasked. By these solemn warnings the people will be stirred. Thousands upon thousands will listen who have never heard words like these. In amazement they hear the testimony that Babylon is the church, fallen because of her errors and sins, because of her rejection of the truth sent to her from heaven.”
Babylon is the Church all right, it is the Church of Rome, and all churches that follow in her footsteps, through the ecumenical movement and Sunday reverence, whether they realize it or not, these are the daughters of Babylon and part of the papal family of churches.
The Bible clearly portrays the very characteristics of the fallen churches that are fulfilled in the Papacy and her extended family. There is no other global entity on the planet that meets the Bible description of the apostate religious power mixed with civil authority and political prowess than the Vatican.
Reading on from Great Controversy, “As the people go to their former teachers with the eager inquiry, Are these things so? the ministers present fables, prophesy smooth things, to soothe their fears and quiet the awakened conscience.”
Does this happen today? Perhaps there is nothing more accurate than this prophetic statement. Smooth things are heard on every hand. No one wants to think about the spiritual disaster that is ahead of the people of this planet. No one wants to prepare for the spiritual austerity that will descend on most of the planet.
There are many ways to quiet the conscience. Often anxious souls are diverted to bogus alternatives to salvation. On one hand the Catholic Church tells them to do some good works in order to overcome their internal evil. Even the new pope recently said that atheists can be saved if they do good works. So if an atheist finds himself insecure about his future, all he has to do is do some good works and he can be assured of a place in heaven – if he can bring himself to believe that such a place exists. He doesn’t have to accept Christ. He doesn’t have to change his lifestyle or his attitudes. As long as he is doing good works, according to the Babylonian pope, he will be in the kingdom of heaven.
On the other hand, the Protestant Churches tell them that all they need to do is believe in Jesus. You don’t have to earnestly follow Him in everything, just believe on him, and your sins will be forgiven, past, present and future. It’s merely an intellectual belief, not a character change to the deepest recesses of the heart.
Reading on from Great Controversy, “But since many refuse to be satisfied with the mere authority of men and demand a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ the popular ministry, like the Pharisees of old, filled with anger as their authority is questioned, will denounce the message as of Satan and stir up the sin-loving multitudes to revile and persecute those who proclaim it.”
You see, my friends, it will be humble people who will stand steadfastly before the Lord in the last days. They will be common people, mostly. They will be those who don’t have a lot of money or influence in organizations. But they will represent heaven and powerfully present the message to come out of Babylon that is found in Revelation 18:4.
Notice the suggestion that the religious authorities will be bypassed. If the final message were to come through them, why would they oppose it, or persecute its followers? The Holy Spirit has to bypass most religious leaders precisely because they are preparing to fight the message. And they will excuse themselves for fighting it because it doesn’t come through them. They will think it is too sensational. They will see it as unloving and not inclusive. They think they are the gate-keepers of heaven’s messages, and anything that doesn’t come through their channel, they will fight.
Here is what God says about them. “Stand out of the way, Brethren. Do not interpose yourselves between God and His work. If you have no burden of the message yourselves, then prepare the way for those who have the burden of the message, for there are many souls to come out of the ranks of the world, out of the churches—even the Catholic church—whose zeal will far exceed that of those who have stood in rank and file to proclaim the truth heretofore.”
Did you hear that? There will be people who will come out of the Catholic Church. That is exactly what is happening today. But most of them have not yet found the full message of truth for this time. They are on their way however, as you will soon see.
I’ll continue reading. “For this reason the eleventh hour laborers will receive their penny. These will see the battle coming and will give the trumpet a certain sound. When the crisis is upon us, when the season of calamity shall come, they will come to the front, gird themselves with the whole armor of God, and exalt His law, adhere to the faith of Jesus, and maintain the cause of religious liberty which Reformers defended with toil and for which they sacrificed their lives.” That’s from Manuscript Releases, Vol. 16, page 238.
There are many of God’s people in Babylonian confusion. They need to be warned. So God sends them the very last warning found in Revelation 18:4. Here is what it says about God’s people still in Babylon: “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
Here is another statement from the little devotional book This Day with God, page 115.
“Unexpected talent will be developed in those in the common walks of life. If men and women can only have the message of truth brought to them, many who hear will receive it. Those of every rank of life, high and low, rich and poor, will accept the truth for this time. Some who are regarded as uneducated will be called to the service of the Master, even as the humble, unlearned fishermen were called by the Saviour. Men will be called from the plow, as was Elisha, and will be moved to take up the work that God has appointed them. They will begin to labor in simplicity and quietness, reading and explaining the Scriptures to others. Their simple efforts will be successful.”
Notice that these are not the people who are well recognized. These are simple people who go from door to door to explain the scriptures. Notice that they do their work quietly. They don’t make a big splash. They just keep on going, out of sight mostly, out of the awareness of the religious authorities. They don’t have to get permission from the pastor, or get their plans passed through some committee. They just do it under the power and unction of the Holy Spirit. He is the one that approves their simple plans. And they are successful.
Here is another statement that is worth hearing. It’s from the book Education, page 269.
“In this closing work of the gospel there is a vast field to be occupied; and more than ever before, the work is to enlist helpers from the common people. Both the youth and those older in years will be called from the plow, from the vineyard, and from various other branches of labor, and sent forth by the Master to give His message. Many of these have had little opportunity for education. To human wisdom the outlook for them would seem discouraging. But Christ sees in them qualifications that will enable them to take their place in His vineyard. If they put their hearts into the work, and continue to be learners, He will fit them to labor for Him.”
Now, let us go back to consider the eleventh hour workers in the parable that Jesus gave us. The work they are called to do is more difficult than the work throughout the day. Here is an interesting thought.
“At the eleventh hour, when the work grows harder and the people are more hardened, there will be a variety of talent brought in. These workers will prove faithful and receive their penny.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 10, page 170
I think it is important to understand that as the issues in the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan mature, people’s hearts are either softened or hardened. This also means that the times will become more dangerous and the conflict will strengthen between these two groups of people. That is when the eleventh hour workers will have a very hard work to do.
Let us read the last section of the parable of the vineyard. “So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.”
Now, think about what Jesus was saying. He was saying that those who have been involved in God’s work for many, many years, will be dissatisfied with Him for giving the same reward to those who came at the very last moments of time. Heaven is offered to everyone. It is not something that comes by degrees. Either you gain heaven, and all that it is, or you don’t. You can’t have just part of heaven because you were late in coming into God’s truth. The Master will reprove those who begrudge heaven to those who come at the last minute, instead of rejoicing. Those who have worked all day will lose their own place because of their selfishness. They complain because they don’t think they have been treated fairly. They think they should be getting much more reward. But this is the spirit of selfishness.
But the eleventh hour workers are not worried about the pay. They are just glad they could help the Master finish the harvest. They rejoice to see the fruit brought into the barns. Your own attitude, my friends, will determine what kind of worker you are.
Let us then consider the changes that are happening to many hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Latinos. For centuries Rome ruled the Hispanic world. From the age of discovery when the great Spanish and Portuguese explorers left their home ports and sailed to the America’s, Rome has controlled the religion, for the most part, of Latin America. Her priests, Jesuits and other missionaries, like the Franciscans, Dominicans, and Augustinians came with them.
It is well known that many of the native Americans in what is Latin America today were forcefully converted to Catholicism by the edge of the sword and by the aggressive work of these Catholic orders. Along with the missionaries came the infamous Inquisition. The History books are replete with the log of the cruel deeds of the inquisition in the name of protecting the faith of the Catholic Church. These dear people have been under the thralldom of Rome for a long time. They naturally think that if the priest says so, it must be true. They also think, naturally, that if the priest tells you not to do something, you must not do it, otherwise your salvation is in jeopardy. They would rather obey the priest than the word of God.
And I am amazed at how many Protestants think that way too these days. It is incredible to think that there are people who will trust their salvation and their spiritual life to a human being.
But once they see that the Bible is in complete conflict with the catechism; once they understand that the Bible has more authority than tradition, they are ready to follow the Bible. And that is what is happening to hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans.
Rome cannot bear to give them the truth of scripture. In fact, in Latin America, the official Catholic Bible, published by the International Catholic Bible Society, and used in Spanish speaking countries like Argentina, blatantly promotes evolution rather than teaching the facts of creation as found in the Bible. According to one source, the writers present evolutionary theory of the origins of man in the forward to the book of Genesis, and suggest that the Genesis account of creation, the flood, and other stories, cannot be taken as fact.
But this should be nothing new. Rome has continually undermined the authority of scripture for centuries. Rome has been feeding Latinos the husks that have no spiritual nutrition in them. And this has been going on for hundreds of years. Now, many Latino Roman Catholics want to know God instead of merely ritual. And Rome is on the defensive.
The Holy Spirit continues to work on their hearts, making them dissatisfied with their spiritual experience and with the teachings of Babylon. And now, there is something happening of which you should be aware, and it is happening in North America as well as in Latin America. And you should be prepared to do something about it.
Across the globe, according to a recent Pew Research study, Roman Catholics have declined by 20 percentage points since 1974, while Protestants have increased by more than 10 percentage points.
More than two-thirds of the 52 million Latinos in the United States are Roman Catholic, but by 2030 say researchers, that percentage will be closer to only 50%. Many of the people leaving the Roman Catholic Church are migrating to Evangelical or Protestant denominations. Among the young people, the shift is even more dramatic and rapid. These new Latino Protestants have a name; Evangélicos. They are Protestants really, because they are accepting principles that are opposed to Rome’s teaching. It will lead them further and further from Rome.
Latin America is changing like the United States and is becoming decidedly less Catholic. Rome is losing its traditional hold on the “religious market.” This problem has the Catholic Church alarmed. So concerned are the cardinals that in a bold counterstrike they elected the first pope from Latin America in papal history during the recent papal conclave. Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires hopes to change the fortunes of the Catholic Church in Latin America.
While Rome is working to bring dissatisfied Anglicans back into the Catholic Church through creative ordinariates just for them, Rome now has to contend for every member in the Latin world that it once considered to be solidly in her fold.
And the battle for these people is on. The Southern Baptist Convention has set a goal of 7,000 Baptist Hispanic churches by 2020 in the United States. They are already almost half way there with more than 3,200. Latino Evangelical Churches are growing by leaps and bounds too.
Though the churches tend to be Pentecostal in nature or style, with a lot of physical and emotional features, the underlying reasons for their switch involve the desire to know God personally for themselves, one of the very same reasons for the Reformation of the 16th century. They want to experience God without a priest as a middleman. Nor do they want someone to dictate to them what the truth of God is. In other words, they don’t want a priest to get between them and God for forgiveness of sins or for an understanding of God’s will.
They are strongly attracted to the Bible doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, which was a powerful tool in the hands of the 16th century reformers. These Latinos hunger for more understanding of the Bible, which Rome has not given them, and which again was one of the core principles of the Reformation. “They may have had religion [in the Catholic Church] but they did not have an experience with God…”
The priesthood of all believers strikes right at the heart of Roman Catholic teaching. It undermines the idea of papal supremacy, and offers an alternative to Rome’s instruction concerning salvation. If every believer has a direct communion with God, what need have they of a pope, or the priesthood of Rome?
Moreover, if every man, woman and child on the planet has direct access to the High Priest in heaven, the Catholic Church has no purpose or meaning, no appeal.
This leads right into the throne room in heaven where Jesus Himself is our High Priest. This leads directly to the heavenly sanctuary and its principles. And it encompasses the message of the final atonement in the most holy place before the close of human probation. If Latinos can grasp the true principles of the Bible concerning our High Priest, they have come to the great central principle of the last generation on earth; that they can live a truly holy life by the grace and power of Christ while still on this earth. It means that they can then understand God’s full and complete message of righteousness by faith. And it means that they will be prepared to give the last warning to the world as part of the eleventh hour workers.
Satan has always wanted to distract people from worshipping God in the way that God requires. And while many of the churches they join or many of the churches they build have a limited understanding of the full truth of God for these last days; and while most are on shaky theological ground, the Latinos leaving the Catholic Church are, nevertheless, open to more understanding of the Bible. God is leading them. And if they are willing to follow, He will lead them right to the understanding of the sanctuary in heaven and its implications; the revelation of the fullness of Christ’s character in their lives. If they understand the sanctuary message about what our High Priest is doing in the heavenly tabernacle, the full meaning of scripture and God’s purpose for His people in these last days will take them further in their experience with God than they can possibly go as Evangélicos.
Many of these people don’t know it, my friends, but they are preparing to be the eleventh-hour workers in God’s great vineyard to bring the last and most mature message of warning to the world.
But in order to help these people come to the full understanding of God’s will in these last days, you have to understand their culture. There are Latinos in every western country as immigrants. They have left their homelands and their families behind. They need a sense of belonging. And church is where they find it. They have their own distinct culture and way of thinking. Reaching their hearts for the Master and offering them the opportunity to work for Him can be very thrilling to them. After all, they have been doing all manner of work and manual labor for people. Now they can work for God.
They may be of the common pursuits of life like hotel maids, groundskeepers, landscapers, maintenance men, painters and builders, but they are practical and humble, the very kind of people God can use. Many have access to individual homes of their employers and some have access to the wealthy. God is preparing for something big, my friends. Now is the time to work for Latinos who are on a spiritual search for the full truth as it is in Jesus.
On a global scale, Catholicism has more than 1 billion members, but in terms of growth, compared to the global population, the church has not expanded. It is losing a lot of ground in most western countries such as Europe, Australia, the United States, etc., partly because of its traditionalism and authoritarianism, but also because of the seemingly endless sex-abuse scandals, which have accelerated the exit. People are disgusted with Rome and they no longer want any part of it.
Whether in Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador or Brazil, the Holy Spirit continues to work on the hearts of many Roman Catholics to make them dissatisfied for one reason or another with their experience, and break their thralldom with the idolatry and ritualism of Rome.
In Brazil, for instance, a decade ago Catholics made up 73 percent of the population, while today it is only 64 percent overall. The Catholic Church in Brazil is losing more than half a million members every year. At the same time Evangelicals have increased by 16 million members, going from six percent to 22 percent. The decline in the Catholic population is dramatic and affects the whole country. Though some Brazilian youth leave religion altogether and just live secular lives, most switch to churches that help them deal with their problems.
A similar decline in Roman Catholic adherents is happening in Mexico. Get this; there is one priest in Mexico for every 7,200 church members on the books; Let me say that again. That’s 7,200 church members for every priest. On the other hand, Evangelicals have one pastor for every 230 members. In addition, the average age of Evangelical pastors is 32, while the average age of their counterparts in the Catholic Church is 65. What does that tell you about the future of the Catholic Church in Mexico? And in Colombia, only two thirds of the population is Roman Catholic, while in the 1950s almost 100 percent of the nation was Catholic.
And the problem is most “extreme” in Guatemala. One third of the population has left the Catholic Church, mostly to join Protestant, Evangelical Churches. And in just over a year, Costa Rica’s Catholic population declined from 77 percent to 71 percent. That represents a loss of 678 people a day. Some are even predicting the collapse of Catholicism in 15 years if the church doesn’t make serious changes to its authoritarian system, which seems distant from the people.
Perhaps that is one reason why a man like Jorge Bergoglio was elected pope in a desperate move to make the church look more connected to the people in Latin America. Perhaps the papal move was more desperate than most people think. Bergoglio was known for his personal touch, visiting slums, traveling by public transportation, and constantly reaching out to the poor. And as pope, he has impressed the world with his personal and charismatic style. But in Argentina, his own home turf, only 20 percent of the population actually practices the Catholic faith.
“…The Vatican has become too distanced from the daily lives of the people, their earthly tribulations, and their need for compassion and love,” said one commentator. “And this has created a void that the evangelical Protestant churches have rapidly positioned themselves to fill.”
Friends, I think God is doing something. He is preparing these people for a great work at the end of time.
Hispanic Evangelical Protestant Churches, which are relatively free of hierarchy, have experienced spectacular growth, and are getting larger and larger in these nations. The mega-churches however, cannot give them the full light. They will eventually tire of its superficial nature. As the Holy Spirit continues to drive them further into the word of God, some will hear the call to come fully into the message for these last days.
What has attracted these people to Evangelical Churches is multi-faceted. In addition to the desire for a deeper understanding of God and the Bible, there is also the desire for a sense of community. Once they have left Rome and develop a better understanding of the Bible, Latinos will inevitably come to the place where they want to have a true understanding of prophecy.
And prophecy is where God’s full message begins. That message is rooted in the understanding of our great High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary. With these two principles, they can go all the way with Jesus, and He can then make them eleventh hour workers. I’m not saying that Latinos will be the only eleventh hour workers, but I’m saying that they fit the description in the parable, and it is obvious that the Holy Spirit is working very effectively among them.
The decline in membership in the papal church, however, is not matched by a decline of papal power in politics, economics and other sectors of society. Papal power is actually increasing. While her members are disappointed with their religious experience in the Church of Rome, politicians and global elites view Rome quite differently. They love to be publically seen with the pope, and since there are still many Catholic voters among them it is still politically helpful to be associated with Rome. World leaders often owe a debt of gratitude to Rome for putting them in the political positions they hold. Others are dedicated to an idea of resurrection of papal control of worldly governments, such as in Europe with the European Union. They see the Papacy, not as a religious disaster, but as a political success. These elites help him look good. They are committing spiritual “fornication” with the Papacy by helping her build her power, as the scripture say repeatedly.
God is preparing thousands, tens of thousands, and maybe hundreds of thousands, my brothers and sisters, to join in the final movement to get ready for Jesus to come. What is happening in the Latino communities and nations across the Americas and in other parts of the world makes sense. God is working to separate them from Rome, and then give them the full truth so that they will be able to come fully into God’s message. He may not be able to take all of them all the way in one step. Like the reformers of the 16th century, the full message would have blinded them. But He mercifully takes them step by step and leads them deeper and deeper into His truth. But they will not get that in the Evangelical Churches who have not taken the fullness of the Bible as their foundation.
Now is the time to armor up. Now is the time to plant the seeds of truth in their minds. Become friends, reach out, reach across the cultural divide and open your heart to these dear brothers and sisters. You will find them very responsive to the three angels’ messages. Give them literature and other resources. And the Lord will not disappoint you.
Listen to this powerful statement from the Review and Herald, June 15, 1897. “There are diligent students of the word of prophecy in all parts of the world, who are obtaining light and still greater light from searching the Scriptures. This is true of all nations, of all tribes, and all peoples.”
So there you have it. It isn’t just Latinos that will come to the full light. There are people in every place and every culture and every nation. God needs eleventh hour workers from every nation, kindred, tongue and people it says in Revelation 14:6.
Reading on; “These will come from the grossest error, and will take the place of those who have had opportunities and privileges and have not prized them…”
So, many of those who have known the truth; who have had great light, will leave the full message and join those in error. Is this happening today? It is. Are many people losing their hold on the God’s truth? Oh yes. Are there many apostasies? Certainly. Now we can see that God is planning to replace them with those who are faithful to His message. And my guess is He will replace them with even more faithful souls. He is planning to replace them with those with whom He can work.
Continuing with this statement… “The one-hour labourers will be brought in at the eleventh hour, and will consecrate their ability and all their entrusted means to advance the work. These will receive the reward for their faithfulness, because they are true to principle and shun not their duty to declare the whole counsel of God. When those who have had abundance of light throw off the restraint which the Word of God imposes, and make void His law, others will come in to fill their place, and take their crown.” That’s from something called Testimonies for South Africa, page 50.
My, friends, I hope you will be more faithful now than ever in this time when the full message must be given. Reach out to your acquaintances, neighbors and even strangers. Reach across from your culture to theirs. Find ways to befriend and help them.
We are coming up to one of the most compelling times in history and the Holy Spirit is working to prepare hearts for the final harvest. I hope you are earnestly following all the light that God has given you, and that you are seeking for more light, by His grace.
Let us pray. Our Father in heaven, thank you for moving on hearts. Thank You for working in many different ways all at once to bring souls into the kingdom of heaven. We pray that we may be able to help You in Your vineyard as faithful workers, and be a witness to those around us, realizing that they may one day be the eleventh hour workers. Help us to live exemplary lives so that they can see that we truly love Jesus and that He is our Master and Lord. Give us victory over our sins and may we represent His fullness in these perilous times. Be with our families and keep us faithful, we pray. In Jesus’ name, amen.