Friends, I believe that right now is preparation time in which we need to put into practice everything that we have been preaching for years. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Romans 6:16. The Bible tells us in this verse that there are only two ways that you can yield yourself, “whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness.” You see, the one way of yielding is to yield to sin that leads to death, and the other way is the way of righteousness that leads to eternal life. (See Romans 5:21.) You cannot serve two masters. Whose servants are ye?
“We believe without a doubt that Christ is soon coming. This is not a fable to us. It is a reality. We have no doubt, neither have we had a doubt for years, that the doctrines we hold today are present truth, and that we are preparing for the Judgment. We are preparing to meet Him who is to appear in the clouds of heaven with the holy retinue of angels, to escort Him on His way, to give the faithful and the just the finishing touch of immortality. When He comes He is not to cleanse us of our sins. He is not then to remove from us the defects in our characters. He will not then cure us of the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. He will not do this work then. Before that time this world will all be accomplished, if wrought for us at all. Then those who are holy will be holy still. They are not to be made holy when the Lord comes. Those who have preserved their bodies, and their spirits, in holiness, and in sanctification, and honor, will then receive the finishing touch of immortality. And when He comes, those who are unjust, and unsanctified, and filthy, will remain so forever. There is then no work to be done for them which shall remove their defects, and give them holy characters. The Refiner does not then sit to pursue his refining process, and remove their sins, and their corruption. This is all to be done in these hours of probation. It is now that this work is to be accomplished for us.” Signs of the Times, September 18, 1879
The message contained throughout Romans is a message about the gospel and righteousness by faith. It is a message that tells us that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God; and there is no one who is righteous, no not one. But when we look in Romans 6:12, the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is? “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.” We do not have to yield to the lusts of this sinful nature. The good news is that you do not have to serve sins and the lusts thereof.
When I was in the world, before I knew the power of the gospel, I was controlled by my lusts. Lust is a product of the sinful, carnal heart. It is part of the fallen nature. If you look at my Bible, you will find that the book of Romans is the most marked up book in it. I have said occasionally that I love this book because it was Paul’s message to the Italians.
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” John 18:44. It says right here in the very beginning of this verse that lusts are from the devil. He feeds our carnal hearts with lies. Who will you yield yourselves servants to obey? Your lusts, or your Lord? Whose servants are ye?
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5:17. Do you notice the word contrary in this verse? It does not say they are similar, they blend; it says they are contrary one to the other. They are opposites. This verse is also telling us that of our own strength, we cannot do the things that we would.
“’If we indulge anger, lust, covetousness, hatred, selfishness, or any other sin, we become servants of sin. ‘No man can serve two masters’ (Matthew 6:24). If we serve sin, we cannot serve Christ. The Christian will feel the promptings of sins, for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit; but the spirit striveth against the flesh, keeping up a constant warfare. Here is where Christ’s help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength, and faith exclaims, ‘Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 516
I think about my own life, when I was living in times past, when the old man and all the lusts of the flesh did control my mind. It is stated so well here: “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air.” Ephesians 2:2, 3. That is a heavy statement, isn’t it? When I was walking according to the way of the world, I was walking in the path of and controlled by the devil.
“The spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past.” Ibid. Remember, that Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; and now these verses are saying that we all have had our conversation in times past, “in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Ibid. Friends, my flesh controlled my mind whether it was drugs, alcohol, or sex. It pulled me this way and that way, and I had no freedom. No matter how much I wanted to be free from my flesh, I could not break loose! When the Holy Spirit called me and He began to woo me, what did he say to me? “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” Ephesians 4:22. “Danny, put off the old man.”
When I began to understand the Bible, I hungered and thirsted after righteousness. I went to the foot of the cross and said, “Lord, God, I am a deceitful, wicked man. I am controlled by the lusts of my flesh. My conversation is that of the old man, and I do not know how to do the things that I would. I do not know how to do what is right.” And the Word of God said, “Be renewed [Danny], in the spirit of your mind; and that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ibid., verses 23, 24
“’What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirits, which are God’s.’ This expression, ‘bought with a price’ means everything to us. In consideration of the price paid for us, shall we not yield our bodies and souls up to Him who has bought us with His blood? Shall not that which he has redeemed be kept in a wholesome and pure and holy a condition as possible?” Spalding and Magan Collection, 209
Not only are we to yield our mind to Him, but we are also to take care of this temple which he has blessed us with; and that incorporates the health message and the eight laws of health.
John the Baptist ate simple food, locusts and honey. Daniel in the courts of Babylon chose pulse. Today, we have more light on health than any people on the face of the earth, but how are we walking? Are we walking according to times past, according to the way of the world, or according to a new man who is renewed in righteousness and right doing? This statement goes on and shares here some interesting thoughts. “Christ has redeemed us; our very flesh he has saved at an infinite cost, giving His own flesh for the life of the world. The lower passions have their seat in the body, and work through it. The words, ‘flesh,’ or ‘Fleshly lusts’ or Carnal lusts,’ embrace the lower, corrupt nature: we are commanded to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. How shall we do it? Shall we inflict pain on the body? [Martin Luther did that.] No; but put to death the temptation to sin. The corrupt thought is to be expelled. Every thought is to brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the divided throne. Our bodies are to be regarded as Christ’s purchased possession. The members of the body are to become the instruments of righteousness.” Ibid. [All emphasis supplied.] If we are yielding to the lusts of the flesh, we do not really have the mind of Christ.
“None can glorify God in their body, as He requires, while they are living in transgression of the law of God. If the body violates the seventh commandment, it is through the dictation of the mind. If the mind is impure the body will naturally engage in impure acts.” Review and Herald, March 8, 1870
From reading this statement, do you better understand now why she always said to guard the senses? Do not look at pornography. Do not watch television that shows you adultery or using the Lord’s name in vain. If the mind is impure, the body will naturally engage in impure acts.
“Purity cannot exist in the soul of one who yields his body to impure acts. If the body is serving lust, the mind cannot maintain consecration to God. To preserve a sanctified mind, the body must be preserved in sanctification and honor. The mind will serve the law of God, and yield willing obedience to all its claims. Then, with the apostle, such can yield their members as instruments of righteousness unto God. ‘Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, that ye should obey it in the lust thereof.’ The freedom which the apostle describes as the privilege of Christ’s followers will never be experienced by those who delight to trample underfoot the law of God…. ‘There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Sprit.’ The apostle charges the Galatians to ‘walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh.’ He further states: ‘And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.’” Ibid.
“‘The prince of this world cometh,’ said Jesus, ‘and hath nothing in Me.’ [John 14:30] There was in Him nothing that responded to Satan’s sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us.” The Desire of Ages, 123
This is the gospel. Not that Jesus came only to justify sinners, but He came to set the captives free!—that we do not even have to yield to sin, not even by a thought.
“Christ’s humanity was united with divinity; he was fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And He came to make us partakers of the divine nature. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us. God reaches for the hand of faith in us to direct it to lay fast hold upon the divinity of Christ, that we may attain to perfection of character.” Ibid.
How did Christ overcome? “And how this is accomplished, Christ has shown us. But what means did He overcome in the conflict with Satan?—By the word of God. Only by the word could He resist temptation. ‘It is written,’ he said. And unto us are given ‘exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.’ [2 Peter 1:4] Every promise in God’s Word is ours.” Ibid.
Paul tells us: “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1. Purify our hearts is the message from the Lord. Follow righteousness. Realize that when you follow sin and lust, you are not following Christ. It is only when you follow righteousness that you are following Him.
When Paul tells us to exhort with longsuffering and doctrine, he tells us this because the day is coming “when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3, 4. When will people turn away from the Word of God and turn to fables? Basically, it is because when they did not love the truth, they were deceived. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11) You see, friends, people want their own way.
“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts.” 2 Peter 3:3
I believe that we are living in a very dangerous time right now because I believe that these scoffers, these men who are giving messages today, are also spoken of in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. It says here about these ministers of unrighteousness, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And not marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
I will not give you fables. I love you all too much. I have to tell you again that you cannot serve two masters and be in a safe condition with God.
There are two more inspired statements from Ellen White that I want to share with you.
After quoting 2 Timothy 4:3, 4 she says, “The apostle does not here refer to the openly irreligious, but to professed Christians who have indulged inclination until they are enslaved by their own ungoverned passions—‘led away with divers lusts.’ Such desire to hear doctrines that will not interfere with their sinful curse, or condemn their pleasure-loving propensities. Hence they are offended by the plain words of the faithful servants of Christ, and choose those teachers who will praise and flatter them instead of rebuking their sins. These teachers ‘they heap to themselves’ as special favorites. Even among the professed ministers of Christ, there are many who do not preach the word, but the opinions of men. They have turned away their ears from truth. The Lord has spoken to them in His Word; but they do not care to hear His voice, because it condemns their practices.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 323
“Sins exist in the church that God hates, but they are scarcely touched for fear of making enemies. Opposition has risen in the church to the plain testimony. Some will not bear it. They wish smooth things spoken unto them. And if the wrongs of individuals are touched, they complain of severity, and sympathize with those in the wrong. As Ahab inquired of Elijah, ‘Art thou he that troubleth Israel?’ they are ready to look with suspicion and doubt upon those who bear the plain testimony, and like Ahab overlook the wrong which made it necessary for reproof and rebuke. When the church departs from God they despise the plain testimony, and complain of severity and harshness. It is a sad evidence of the lukewarm state of the church.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 283, 284
When the church does not want to hear rebuke, when they do not want to hear, “Put your sins away. Be careful of lust. You cannot serve two masters,” if they will not accept the message, it is evidence that they are in a lost condition!
You cannot serve two masters; you cannot be part the world’s and part Christ’s; it must be one or the other. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” James 4:7, 8
To be of a divided mind is unfaithfulness in God’s eyes (See James 4:4), because when you are not following Christ all of the way, you are trying to serve two masters. It is like being married to two husbands, and God says, “I want a pure wife. I want one who will follow Me all of the way and not be caught up in spiritual adultery.”
One way or the other, God’s people have to get off the fence. If you take the course of sin, it will lead to greater sin, until you will finally be lost. But friends, choose the way of righteousness to true holiness, because very soon the Lord is coming for those who are holy. When He returns, whose servant will you be?