It’s a great
privilege to study God’s Word with you; it’s a wonderful privilege
that the Lord has given us to extend our time. We are not in caves;
our religious liberty has not been suppressed that we can not have
freedom of assembly. I hope that this study will be a great
encouragement to you.
Isaiah 30:29 says:
“You shall have a song as in the night when a holy festival is kept,
and gladness of heart as when one goes with a flute, to come into
the mountain of the Lord,
to the Mighty One of Israel.” Did you notice in the text that the
Lord said you are going to have a song in the night? You are going
to have a song in the night, friend, if you are one of God’s
children. The night is coming soon, and I want to sing that song!
It happened in
1829. It happened to a young girl by the name of Susanna Foster.
You have probably heard of her younger brother, Steven Foster, a
famous songwriter from the last century. His older sister, Susanna,
was a very promising musician, a promising singer, but while she was
still young, she contracted tuberculosis and, as a result, she came
to the last night of her life. Her family knew she was going to
die, because she was seriously ill, but they didn’t know that the
end would be that night. Some of her friends were with her that
night, and they stayed up with her all night. They talked about
that night after she died how—even though Susanna’s lungs had been
badly damaged by the tuberculosis and she was dying—that night she
would sing. They said that at 4:30 in the morning the song was
still clear and crisp, but a short time after she sang that song she
died; she never sang again.
Her family mourned
her loss, but they had a memory. Steven Foster had that memory of
his older sister whom he never really knew, since he was quite small
when she died. She was a very dedicated Christian. If you are
saved, one day you will almost for sure, from what I’ve read about
her life, meet Susanna in heaven.
happen to us; we go through discouraging experiences in life that we
don’t understand. Some years ago, when I was teaching at
College, the wife of one of my friends developed breast cancer. She
was just a young woman with three children—two young daughters and a
baby boy—when this happened. The doctors did surgery; they treated
her; they tried to help her get better. She took chemotherapy, but
she didn’t get better; she got worse. You know, when you are 29
years old and you have two beautiful girls and one beautiful baby
boy, you don’t want to die, do you? She didn’t want to die. That
was the last thing that she wanted to do, but sometimes we don’t
know what’s best; we don’t understand.
I think of a story
in the Old Testament of the Bible about a man that was told to get
his house in order, because he was going to die. (II Kings 20:1.)
He turned his face toward the wall, and he said, “Lord, I don’t want
to die.” Who was that? That was Hezekiah.
Hezekiah, “Get your house in order, because you are going to die.”
Hezekiah said, “I
don’t want to die!” He pleaded, “Lord I’ve been faithful to you.
Think of what I’ve done. I’ve served you; I haven’t been a wicked
person; I have done what is right. Please, Lord, don’t let me die
now.” Verse 3.
Every time I think
of that story I say in my heart, “Lord, if you see it’s time for me
to die, help me not to make a mistake like that!”
with the Lord, and the Lord answered his prayer. The Lord said,
“I’m going to lengthen your life 15 years.” Verses 4–6.
Do you know what
happened during those 15 years? He had a child by the name of
Manasseh. Are you aware of the fact that Manasseh was one of the
most wicked kings that Judah ever had? It was Manasseh who was
responsible for martyring Isaiah the prophet.
He caused so much
innocent blood to be shed in Jerusalem that God said, “Because of
Manasseh, this nation is going into captivity.” II Kings 21:11–14.
After Manasseh, when his grandson, Josiah, was a good king, the Lord
said, “I won’t make it happen during your time, but because of what
Manasseh did, this nation has to go into captivity.” II Kings
That was a result of
Hezekiah not dying at the right time. Sometimes it is hard to
accept God’s will, when we don’t understand it. This young wife, 29
years old, didn’t want to die either, but she got worse.
My family attended
the same church as this young woman and her family, and I remember
one Sabbath, on the way out of church, as I approached one of the
exit doors, I looked to my right and there she was. She was so bad
by that time that she was in a wheel chair, and she was on oxygen.
Her husband was standing beside her. I looked up at him; he was too
sad for words. I just gave him a nod of recognition, and he nodded
back; nothing was said. It was just too sad to say anything. I
didn’t know at the time that that would be the last time I would see
her alive. A few days later while I was out-of-town, my wife told
me on the telephone that this lady had died. I just felt terrible.
I went to visit her
husband, her widower. When I walked into the house, the three
children were there; he was there. You could feel the emptiness and
the hollowness inside that house, because the light of that house
was not there, his crown of rejoicing was not there.
As a Christian, I
felt I had a Christian duty to encourage my friend, so I opened my
Bible and read the following passage to him: “Do not marvel at this,
because the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will
hear His voice, and they will come out—those who have done good unto
the resurrection of life and those who have done evil unto the
resurrection of condemnation.” John 5:28, 29.
I tried to comfort
him. It’s hard to comfort someone in a situation like that, but I
tried. He told me about the last night, the last day that she was
alive. Her condition had become so bad that they took her to a
They knew she would die eventually, but the doctors were going to
try to save her life and help her a little longer. She was in the
hospital, and he decided that he would stay there with her all
night. In the afternoon, she said to him, “Who are all these people
in my room?”
He looked around and
said,” I don’t see anyone; there’s nobody here.”
She said, “Yes there
is. This room is full of bright, shining beings, and they are all
around my bed. They are all over this room.” He didn’t see
After a while, it
was suppertime and supper was brought to his wife and to him. A
person in her situation often doesn’t have a very good appetite, but
surprisingly, she ate a good supper. After supper, they had a
wonderful conversation together. They didn’t know it was going to
be the last conversation they would have, but they shared a
wonderful conversation together, and then she went to sleep.
She went to sleep as
her husband was sitting in a chair by her bed, and after a while, he
went to sleep also. About 5 o’clock in the morning he woke up with
a start; he felt her and saw that she wasn’t breathing. Immediately
he called a nurse. When the nurse came in, she was in a state of
shock. She said that she had just been in the room ten minutes
before, and everything was fine. Well, everything wasn’t fine.
They tried to resuscitate, her but it was too late—she was gone.
She had prayed to
the Lord, “Lord, this is so distasteful to me leaving my children,
but if I have to die, let me die in my sleep.” And the Lord
answered her prayer.
It was hard for all
of them—not just hard for their family but hard for all of their
friends. I was one of those friends. My wife and I invited him and
his children over to our house for Sabbath dinner. We tried to be
friendly. We tried to ease the pain a little bit.
A few days after
that, I was in my car early Sunday morning. In those days, I was
participating in an inter-denominational jail ministry, and as I was
driving to the jail early Sunday morning all of these things were
going over in my mind. I didn’t really want to think about it; I
wanted to think about what I needed to be doing. I was going to
need to be encouraging and helping to the prisoners, but somehow
this morning I couldn’t get all this out of my mind. One of the
things that was going through my mind was that this little
two-year-old boy, when he grew up, wouldn’t even be able to remember
his own mother. It really got me.
Do you show the
people in your family the affection that you ought to show them? If
sometime something should happen and your mother or father, your
spouse, or your brother or sister, or your children were not there
any more, would you have some pleasant memories of the way you
talked to them and the way you had treated them?
I remember a story I
heard of a busy physician who was in his office and his wife stopped
by the office. She had to do some business downtown so she stopped
by to see him. Before she left, she asked her husband to kiss her.
This should not have been an unacceptable request, but he gave her
just a peck on the cheek. Surprised, she asked, “Can’t you do
better than that?” He said something to the effect that he was busy
and had to earn a living.
A few minutes after
she left, he received a telephone call. A policeman was on the
other end of the line, and he said, “Your wife has just been in a
serious car accident.”
A few minutes before
he had been impatient and said, “I’m busy.” Now he was thinking,
Oh, no! what if I never see her again, and the last words I spoke to
her were words of impatience.
What if something
happened to someone that you love? Would the last words that you
spoke to them be words that you would want to remember? See to it
that whenever you tell your husband or wife goodbye in the morning
that you exchange pleasant words, not impatient words, not fretful
I’m not saying this
to be negative or sarcastic, but it’s just facing the facts that, in
this world, none of us knows how long we will have our loved ones.
We don’t know these things, so we need to take advantage of the
opportunity that we have. We need to take advantage while we have
the opportunity to give love and sympathy and affection to the
people in our family.
Let me read a
statement to you from the pen of Ellen White that is very
appropriate along these lines. This is what she wrote in the June
22, 1886, Review and Herald: “Home should be made all that
the name implies. It should be a little heaven upon the earth, a
place where the affections are cultivated instead of being
studiously repressed. Our happiness depends upon this cultivation
of love, sympathy, and polite courtesy to one another. The reason
why there are so many hard-hearted men and women in our world, is
because true affection has been regarded as weakness, and has been
discouraged and repressed. The better part of the nature of those
of this class was perverted and dwarfed in childhood; and unless
rays of divine light can melt away their coldness and hard-hearted
selfishness, the happiness of such is buried forever. If we would
have tender hearts, such as Jesus had when he was upon the earth,
and sanctified sympathy, such as the angels have for sinful mortals,
we must cultivate the sympathies of childhood, which are simplicity
itself. Then we shall be refined, elevated, and directed by
heavenly principles.” We need to express love and affection in our
homes so that our children don’t grow up to be hard-hearted.
Did you get it? If
we don’t express love and affection at home, what is going to happen
to our children? They will grow up hard-hearted. Well, we need to
think about that. What kind of words are we speaking with our
spouse, with our children, with our brothers, with our sisters?
I was on my way to
the jail Sunday morning, and all this was going over in my mind, and
I needed to get it out of my mind, because I was going to the jail
to visit people who were already in plenty of trouble. I had taught
and preached at this jail for quite some time. A Sunday morning
worship service was held in the different cellblocks. There were
between 15 and 25 people in each cellblock. At night they would be
locked up in individual cells, and then in the day time they would
be let out to the bigger room, and we would go there to sing with
them, read the Bible, and teach them the gospel. We would be on one
side of the bars; the prisoners would be on the other side of the
bars, and anybody who wanted to come could come. Nobody had to
come, but some prisoners always would come, and we would teach the
gospel to them and appeal to them to give their hearts to Christ.
Out of that jail
ministry there were people that accepted Christ. There were some
that became Seventh-day Adventists, and I was going there to be an
encouragement to them, to cheer them. Jesus did that. Remember
when his disciples were troubled and He was going to go away, He
said to them, “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God,
believe also in Me. In My Father’s house there are many mansions,
if it wasn’t so I would have told you. I’m going, and I’m going to
prepare a place for you, and I will come again and receive you to
Myself that where I am ye may be also.” John 14:1–3.
We used to quote
those promises to the people in the prison and tell them that if
they were saved and they were going to heaven, there were no jails
in heaven—there wouldn’t be any hospitals in heaven; they wouldn’t
have any trouble in heaven. They liked to hear about heaven. I can
still remember some of their favorite songs. One of their favorite
songs that they asked to sing over and over again was called
“There’s Power in the Blood.” Do you know that song?
Jesus comforted His
disciples when they were in trouble. In II Corinthians 1 the
apostle Paul talks about how he tried to comfort people that were in
any kind of trouble. Christians should be able to comfort people
that are in jail and give them hope, don’t you think so?
When we go to visit
someone in prison, they should feel encouraged after we leave,
because there is hope. Let me tell you, friend, there are going to
be millions of people that are saved out of prisons. Because of the
nature of my work after I left Southwestern Adventist College,
started working for the Texas Conference, and now working for Steps
to Life, I cannot be involved in a prison ministry like I was at
that time. If you have opportunity to get involved in prison
ministry, do it. It’s a very fruitful field of evangelism, and
remember, the people that are in prison have relatives that are
outside of prison, so you can get in contact with a lot of people by
being in contact with prisoners.
Right now in our
Bible Correspondence School we are giving Bible lessons to prisoners
all over the country. In fact, right now there is a prisoner that
has been taking Bible studies, and he has given his heart to the
Lord. He has told us, “I want to be trained as a minister, and when
I get out of prison, I’m going to become a self-supporting
minister. I will go to any place in Africa that you want to send
me, and it won’t cost you any money. I will support myself.” And
he has the skills that he can support himself. That is an example
of what’s happening to a prisoner right now.
At Steps to Life, we
have a course that will give people academic training to become
ministers. It’s a six-unit course with about 800 pages of material.
It’s a basic course. We hope to enlarge it later, but we have a
basic course that will teach people about evangelism and Bible
doctrines and what to teach and how to preach, so they can become
ministers. This prisoner wants to take this course and become a
By the way, there
are a lot of people in prison that have some rare talents. There
are a lot of people in prison less guilty than a lot of people out
on the street. The prison is a very fruitful field for evangelism
and we should be exploiting that field much more than we are.
So, I was on my way
to the jail, and I could not stop thinking about this friend of mine
and his wife that had just died and how her two girls, less than 10
years of age, would miss her and her baby boy would not remember his
mother, and how empty and sad the house felt when I was in it. All
of this kept going around in my mind. Usually I’m not a morbid
person, but that morning I couldn’t shake it. I couldn’t get all
these thoughts out of my mind.
Although I always
tried to be cheerful, when I went up into the cell block that
morning to talk to the prisoners, my face gave me away. As soon as
I walked in, one of the prisoners that I knew quite well, because I
had presented the gospel to him a number of times, looked straight
at me and said, “What’s the matter with you, preacher? What’s
happened to you?”
I felt really
embarrassed, and I thought, I’m supposed to be here to encourage
these people; I’m not supposed to be here to tell them my troubles.
But he had asked me a direct question, and I was not going to tell a
lie. So I decided I would have to tell him what had happened to
this young woman and what my thoughts had been as I drove to the
jail that morning.
When I told the
story, that whole cellblock became very quiet. I wasn’t talking to
everybody; I was just talking to the man that asked me the question,
but everybody else was listening. I came right up to the bar, and
this prisoner came right up to the bar on the other side. He looked
up into my face, and he began to tell me the story of his life.
He said, “I have two
older sisters, and when I was two years old, my mother died from
cancer. She was only 29 years old.” Then he said, “When my mother
died, my father couldn’t take it. He became an alcoholic. Then
there was nobody to take care of my sisters and me. We were
separated. My two sisters were taken somewhere, and I was taken to
an orphanage in Fort Worth, Texas. I was raised there.”
I had presented the
gospel to this man a number of times and had never gotten a response
from him. All of a sudden I understood what had happened to this
man as a boy. He had grown up without any mother to love him. I’m
not criticizing the people in the orphanage. I’m sure they were
doing the best they could. They always provided him with food and
clothing, but the people managing an orphanage cannot take the place
of a mother. So this man grew up without a mother’s love; he grew
up without that tenderness.
Do you remember what
we read earlier? What did Ellen White say the reason was that there
are so many hard-hearted men and women? When they were growing up,
there was nobody that could express love and sympathy and affection
to them. They grew up without that tenderness, that kindness, that
love. Oh, friend, don’t let any of your children grow up that way.
This prisoner grew
up in an orphanage. His mother was dead; his father was an
alcoholic as a result. He became hard-hearted, and when he became a
man, he got in trouble with the law and now he was in jail.
I had presented the
gospel to him more than once, but I’d never been successful. Now
the Lord had done something for me; He had given me the key to this
prisoner’s heart. He had told me the story of his life. I want to
tell you, friend, if you are working for somebody and you have never
been able to reach them, you have never touched them, you need to
pray and say, Lord, if it is your will, give me the key to their
heart. When you have the key to their heart, they will respond. I
had the key to this man’s heart now. He’d opened up to me.
Psalm 126 talks
about the people who go out weeping but sowing seed and who are
going to come back rejoicing with their sheaves. Although everyone
else was listening, I was talking only to this man, and I was pretty
sure I had the key to his heart, so I asked him a set-up question.
You know what a set-up question is don’t you?
A set-up question is
the question you ask to get the person ready for the real question.
Anybody that’s been in sales has learned to ask set-up questions.
There’s nothing wrong with asking a set-up question; you are just
getting the person ready for the real question.
I asked him, “Was
your mother a Christian?”
He said, “Yes, my
mother was a Bible-believing Christian.” He knew that because his
older sisters later on had told him. Now he was ready for the real
I asked, “Would you
like to see your mother again someday?”
“Yes,” he said, “I
“You can!” I told
him, and I began to tell him how that could happen. I said,
“Someday Jesus is going to come back to this world; He is going to
come back from heaven. The Bible says every eye is going to see
Him, and when He comes back, He is going to look down on this world
and say, ‘Awake, awake, awake, you that sleep in the dust and
arise.’ It talks about this in Isaiah 26:19. It says, ‘Awake you
that sleep in the dust, awake and sing.’ When Jesus says that, your
mother is going to awake and come out of the grave. She is going to
look for you, and if you surrender your heart and life to Jesus, you
are going to be there.”
By the way, friend,
let me ask you something. When Jesus comes, is there anyone who is
going to wake up and look for you? Are you going to be there? If
you are there, then they are going to sing. It says so in Isaiah.
If you are not there, then maybe they will cry.
One of the persons
that I believe will wake in the first resurrection and will look for
me is my father. My father died as a result of being hit by a car
in April 2000. I remember, when I was a small boy at home, hearing
my father pray repeatedly during family worship that our family
might be saved without the loss of one. My father didn’t want
anybody in his family to be lost. He worked for all people;
everywhere he lived in the world he worked for other people to try
to get the gospel to them, but he always prayed that his family
would be saved without the loss of one.
Who is going to look
for you? Are they going to sing? Are they going to have a song in
the night because you are there?
We read in Isaiah
30:29, 30 that the Lord says you are going to have a song in the
night. Isaiah 21:11, 12 talks about this night and also the day
that is coming: “The burden of doom. He calls to the watchmen,
‘Watchmen, what of the night?’ The watchman said, ‘The morning is
coming and also the night. If you will inquire, inquire; Return!
Come!’ ” What’s that talking about? It says the morning is coming
but also the night. The night of sin, friend, is almost over, and
the eternal morning is going to break very soon for the righteous.
It will be eternal night for the wicked. So because the night of
sin is about over and the morning is going to come soon, the
watchman says, “If you will inquire, inquire; Return! Come!”
If you look at the
context of this passage, you will see, in the earlier verses of
Isaiah 21, that the context is the fall of Babylon. The fall of
Babylon, of course, is what happens at the end of the world. You
can read about it in Revelation 18. When Babylon falls, the morning
is coming. That’s one of the reasons the people are going to sing,
because the night is over. They are going to have a song in the
night, because the night is just about over and the eternal morning
is coming. But the night is coming also—the eternal night for the
A lot of things have
been happening among God’s people recently. First of all, we have
in Adventism a great apostasy. You know about that; we don’t have
to talk about it, but that’s not all we are dealing with. We also
have to deal with fanaticism; do you know how dangerous fanaticism
is? Do you realize that Ellen White says that fanaticism almost
destroyed the Reformation of the sixteenth century? (See The
Acts of the Apostles, 348.) Fanaticism was considered even more
dangerous for them than the papacy. Do you think the devil has
forgotten that, or do you think he still knows that?
We have apostasy and
we have fanaticism and the Lord says the morning is coming. The
watchman says, the morning is coming; the night is coming. “If you
will inquire, inquire; Return! Come!” Return from all this
fanaticism, from all this apostasy, get back to primitive
godliness. Are some people going to return and come back? Yes,
they are. I want to be part of it.
Great Controversy, 464, says: “Before the final visitation of
God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the
Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed
since apostolic times.”
Would you like to be
part of that? That’s what has to happen in order for the night to
end, and it’s at the end of the night that we are going to have the
Come back, come
back, the prophet says. The watchman says, inquire, return, come
back, come back to primitive godliness, or as Jeremiah puts it, seek
for the old paths. (Jeremiah 6:16)
What are the old
paths? What did Seventh-day Adventists used to believe? Things
used to be a lot different; I can remember. We were already in
apostasy when I was a young pastor. I can remember that we used to
read texts from the Bible in the New Testament like I Timothy 2: 9,
10 which forbids the use of the wearing of gold and pearls and
costly array. Have you read that? We used to read that, and I
remember, as a young pastor in the North Dakota conference, our
conference president told us that we were not to baptize anyone with
any jewelry on. Do you know Adventists used to believe that?
I was forbidden as a
young pastor to even baptize a woman that had on a wedding ring.
That was forbidden! We used to have people in those days that
didn’t become church members because they didn’t want to take off
their jewelry. That happened a lot, but we had some standards. Now
that is all changed. I can remember when it changed. I can
remember the debate that happened and what the articles in the
Review said and everything that went along with it.
People say that we
were too strict and too straight-laced then. Well, I’m sure we’ve
made lots of mistakes; I know I’ve made lots of mistakes in
presenting to people the standards in God’s Word. Either we were
wrong back then or we are wrong now in our basic position, and you
need to decide in your own mind what you think is right and wrong
when you read the Scriptures. Were we wrong for 130 years and then
finally got straightened out in 1983, or are we wrong now?
I Timothy 2:9, 10
always says the same thing every time I read it. The watchman says,
“If you will inquire, inquire; Return! Come!” and people say we have
to go farther than the pioneers. Let me tell you something, friend,
we will never go farther than the pioneers if we don’t even get to
the place where the pioneers were.
Have you ever read
Philippians 4:8 recently? Is it true? In other words, if it’s
fiction, don’t read it.
My mother went to a
Seventh-day Adventist school and was severely disciplined for
reading fiction. In fact, the principal of the school told her,
after he found out that she had read fiction, that he wanted her to
read the entire book, The Desire of Ages. He told her
that if she understood that book she would never want to read
fiction again. She quit reading fiction.
People say that’s
too narrow. We just believe Philippians 4:8 literally and believe
it means what it says. By the way, that’s not the only text on that
point. There are lots of other texts.
We believe the Bible
when David said: “I will not put any wicked thing in front of my
eyes.” Psalm 101:3. Drama is the acting out of something that’s
fiction almost every time, and the Spirit of Prophecy condemns drama
in no uncertain terms and tells us that we shouldn’t have anything
to do with it. Seventh-day Adventists used to believe that and did
not allow its young people to go to the theater. I wonder, do you
remember when Seventh-day Adventists said, you cannot be a
Seventh-day Adventist and attend a theater?
When my mother was
young, no Adventist went to the theater. None! That was forbidden,
but now there is a theater right in most homes, and what can be seen
in the home is much worse than what was in the public theater when
my mother was young. But, people say, we are just too
Well, either we were
dead wrong then or we are dead wrong now in our practice. You will
have to read the Word of God and decide which it is. The watchman
said, “If you will inquire, inquire; Return! Come!”
There used to be a
time—maybe it was somewhat over a hundred years ago—when Seventh-day
Adventists believed in modesty. Did you know that there was a
time—I could tell you all sorts of incidents about this—when
Seventh-day Adventists in its schools and its churches would never,
ever condone anything like mixed swimming? That was considered to
be of the world—evil, wicked. Were we right then or are we right
If you want to read
what the Bible says about that, look at the last verse in Exodus 20,
it talks about the priests; it’s talking there about men not about
women. The Lord was very strict with the priests. He said, “If you
display your nakedness, you’ll die.” Read Leviticus 18. That’s so
plain about this subject that we don’t even read it in public, but
it’s in the Bible.
There used to be a
time when Seventh-day Adventists believed in strict Sabbath
observance. There is a verse in the Bible—and I was taught this
text when I was a boy because my father and mother were Seventh-day
Adventists—that says that on the Sabbath you are not to speak your
own words. You are not to go in your own ways, and you are not to
do your own pleasure on the Sabbath, because that’s God’s day. That
is what it says in Isaiah 58:13, 14.
There used to be a
time when Seventh-day Adventists used to be afraid of kingly power.
James White was very strong on this point. He taught that we were
all brethren. He said the ministers were not to allow the
conference to be a god to them; that’s wrong. Did you know that
James White taught that?
Adventists believed in New Testament church organization, but the
church got away from that as soon as James White died. Ellen White
is quite clear on that if you read the 1888 material.
There used to be a
time when Seventh-day Adventists did not engage in competitive
sports. Some people don’t even know that. There used to be a time
that what the worldly schools were doing, was not for us to do as
Christians. Do you know what Ellen White said when they decided to
play cricket one day at the Avondale School in Australia? They only
did it one day. She said they were practicing idolatry. (See
Ellen G. White, Volume 4, The Australian Years, 1891–1900, 442,
443.) There was a time when we, as Adventists, said that we
should not get involved in competing with one another or competing
with other schools or all these things like the world does.
I’m not being
sarcastic; I’m not trying to be common or vulgar either, but just to
make you think, let me say it real quick and then get on to
something else: They don’t play football in heaven!
There used to be a
time when Seventh-day Adventists did not use fermented wine or
alcoholic beverages for any reason at any time. They didn’t take
fermented wine and spike the punch or anything like that. They said
that was wrong. Adventists used to teach that the Bible did not
teach moderation in alcoholic beverages—it taught absolute
abstinence. I’m here to tell you that if you read the Bible in the
Greek, in the New Testament you will see that it teaches abstinence
from alcohol. The Greek New Testament teaches abstinence from
alcohol, it does not teach moderation, and whatever you’ve heard to
the contrary, I can prove it to you if you want to know. One verse
would be Ephesians 5:18; I Corinthians 6:9, 10 would be another one;
I Peter 5:8 would be another one. There are about 20 verses
altogether which speak of this.
Did you know that
there was a time when the Seventh-day Adventist Church did not have
the strife among its members that it has today? Why was that?
Proverbs 13:10 tells us why. The Bible tells us there is only one
thing that causes strife, that’s pride. Nobody that has pride is
going to go to heaven.
Malachi 4:1 says
that all the proud are going to burn up. Nobody with pride is going
to go to heaven. It is only because of pride that we have strife.
That’s what Proverbs teaches over and over again.
The watchman says,
“If you will inquire, inquire; Return! Come!” Come back to
primitive godliness. We need to pray for humility among us so that
we can have a difference of opinion and still not fight. We can
think, and as long as people think, people will have differences of
opinion. That will always be, but we don’t need to fight. When we
get to the place where we don’t have pride, we won’t have strife.
There used to be a
time in the Seventh-day Adventist Church that the week before
communion, members would investigate their lives and ask, “Is there
any contention, is there any trouble between me and some other
brother or sister in the church?” If there was any trouble or
variance, the member would go to that person and confess it, and
they would pray together and make it right. We still, in our
church, announce communion a week before for this very purpose.
Guess what? When you have a church full of people that, before they
go to communion, clear all variances and make things right, you
begin to have brotherly love in that church. We need that back
There has to be
someone, friend, that has a song in the night. As the night draws
to an end, we have been promised that. We read it in Isaiah 30, and
it’s mentioned also in Isaiah 26:19. The Lord is coming. He is
going to end this night of sin, and we are going to have a song.
But the people that have the song are going to be the people that
before hand had an experience in primitive godliness. I want to be
part of that people; I want to be part of that song, do you?
When the Lord comes
and calls the people out of their graves and the people are shouting
and singing, I want to be shouting and singing, too, do you? If we
are going to be shouting and singing at that time, we are going to
have to learn some primitive godliness first.