What constitutes having our heart’s door stay open? Faith opens the door; obedience, or a positive response to what God says, keeps the door open. Obedience always follows true faith. They never walk apart from each other. If they do, it is because faith is not genuine but is presumption. There will always be obedience, a positive response to God’s Word, if there is true faith.
That is what is meant by a good-ground hearer, and that is the only thing we can offer God in our Christian experience. We have no power within ourselves to make ourselves new. There are many professed Christians relying upon something other than the power of God in their lives to make them Christians.
Eventually, the tempest is going to come; trouble is going to come; the storm is going to rage. What is going to happen to those people who are relying upon a supposed hope, leaning on a prop like a tomato plant leaning on a rotten stake? What is going to happen when the tempest breaks? They are going to fall!
Tremendous Exodus from Adventism
We are told, and we cannot be told too often, that in the times in which we find ourselves there is going to be a tremendous exodus from Adventism. Now the question is, Are we going to be prepared to stay within the truth, within this message—this tremendous light that we have? Are we going to allow Jesus to stay within our hearts and to work in us the kingdom of God, whereby when trouble comes, we are able to stand, no matter what?
The Psalmist says,
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Psalm 46:1–3.
Receive God’s Word
In regard to this matter of opening the door by faith and having the door remain open by obedience, Christ’s Object Lessons, 61, says, “Our part is to receive God’s Word and to hold it fast, yielding ourselves fully to its control, and its purpose in us will be accomplished.”
Our part is to receive the Word of God. We do that by faith, and we retain it by obedience. Do you want to know what those two are theologically? They are justification and sanctification. However, you can pick up books that have been written by Seventh-day Adventists today, that totally contradict what this says. May I say, it is very startling to read contradictions to the truth in Adventism today. It is unbelievable! I believe it is indeed the omega of apostasy that we see in our very midst.
Born Again Do Not Sin
If you want to be aroused out of your sleepiness or sluggishness, this will do it. It will startle you and cause you to awake. 1 John 3 gives us a tremendous statement. I do not know what New Theology does with this statement. It must sit there with an eraser trying to get it out of the way. They have to cut that out, because they do not know what to do with it! 1 John 3:9 says, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” So if the seed is allowed to remain in me, by faith and by obedience, allowing Jesus to do upon my heart that which only He can do, that seed is going to develop, and I am going to have a character that is perfect before God. Perfect in an imperfect world. A character that is righteous in an unrighteous world. Do you see that God has called us higher than merely sitting in pews? He has called us to something much higher than that, much higher than church membership, much higher than any position one can hold in the church.
God has called us to have a character like His. His seed is able to produce that. Tremendous statement—whosoever is born of God, whoever has that new nature, does not commit sin!
I think the New Theologians need to go back and study the simplicity of the Word of God. They may need to get a hoe and a rake and go out into the garden and learn the simple lesson of salvation as Jesus did. You and I need to learn the same. “First the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” Mark 4:28.
Is that an echo of 1 John 3:9? “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.” “First the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.” Do you see any disease there? Do you see any sin there in the growth of that plant? No! God says, let Me put My hand on it.
“The germination of the seed represents the beginning of spiritual life, and the development of the plant is a beautiful figure of Christian growth. . . . At every stage of development our life may be perfect; yet if God’s purpose for us is fulfilled, there will be continual advancement.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 65.
Perfect at Every Stage
We continually move onward as we grow. At each stage we can be perfect in our character before God. Righteousness in an unrighteous world. Perfection in a world of imperfection. Kindness in a world that is not kind. Love where the world knows only hatred. God’s people are to stand out. As true Christians, with God’s Word in our hearts, we reveal a nature that is contrary to our original nature.
God uses Paul again. Galatians 3:16: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He [God] saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to Thy seed, which is Christ.” Christ is the seed, the incorruptible seed of God, whereby He is able to produce a new Creation in us.
Jesus Wants to Reproduce Himself in Us
The ultimate goal of every seed is to produce seed of its own kind. Who is the incorruptible Seed? Christ. He has put His seeds in the catalog book, the Holy Bible. He says, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63. Whose spirit and whose life do you think that they are? They are Christ’s, the incorruptible Seed.
Jesus wants to reproduce His Seed in us. If that is true and if that happens, we will reflect in character the character of Jesus, because a seed only reproduces itself and its own kind. “Every seed brings forth fruit after its kind. Sow the seed under right conditions. . . .” Christ’s Object Lessons, 38.
When planting seeds, there are really, basically only four conditions. Three of them only God can deal with, we have no part, and one condition is ours. So we get 25 percent of the obligation. The conditions are sun, water, air, and good ground.
“Every seed brings forth fruit after its kind. Sow the seed under right conditions, and it will develop its own life in the plant. Receive into the soul by faith the incorruptible seed of the Word, and it will bring forth a character and a life after the similitude of the character and the life of God.” Ibid.
An amazing truth! Should we not be determined to make our calling and election sure by opening the door and keeping it open, allowing Jesus to do the work, through His Word, on our hearts whereby we become new creations?
I am more determined to become what He wants me to be and to do it in the manner which meets the conditions He has given. We are not to be satisfied with just being a professed Christian, not satisfied with just being baptized or having our membership in a church. The kingdom of God begins within us, and it works out from there!
It does not happen by observation. Jesus wants to reproduce us, and He can only do that through His Seed, the Word of God. Notice this promise that God made in the Garden after Adam and Eve chose to lay aside the incorruptible for the corruptible: “And I [God] will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15. It was going to cost God something. His heel was going to be bruised, and we know what that meant—Calvary. But I want you to notice that God was going to put enmity between Satan and the woman.
The woman, representing the spiritual church, would carry the incorruptible seed. Who is the incorruptible seed? Christ and His Word. Enmity or hatred towards sin and Satan only comes by our reception and our response to the Word of God. It does not come any other way. We can be on our knees all day, but if we get up and walk contrary to what God has told us and to what we know, we will never be at enmity with Satan or sin.
Where is the Power?
Genesis 3:15 is a tremendous promise God has given to us. The seed is spiritual; the woman is spiritual. It is in regard to the body of the believers. God has always had a body of believers who have chosen to be good-ground hearers, to open by faith and to keep open by obedience, the door to their heart, and He has them today. The question is, Are you one of them, or are you a membership Christian, or just a baptized Christian, or a pew-sitting Christian? Are you satisfied with a form that denies the power? Where is the power? It is in the Word of God. It is in the Seed, and God has promised to put it in our hearts, if we are willing to open them.
Let us link it up right with our time. “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17.
Is God revealing a physical remnant here, in regard to the physical structure or physical church, or is He revealing a body of believers and a spiritual church? It is the spiritual. Why? Because it is the seed of the woman. God deals with a spiritual church in Revelation 12:17. You may say, Wait a minute, the Seventh-day Adventists have been given the testimony of Jesus Christ, which we are told in Revelation 19:10 is the Spirit of Prophecy.
Yes, I agree totally. The vessel into which God has put His truth in the last days, interestingly enough, has been a physical organization. But God reveals His true church as a spiritual church in Revelation 12:17. He does not want us to be deceived into thinking like the Jews in Jesus’ day were thinking.
What did they say? They demanded “. . . when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation.” Luke 17:20. It is not something you are going to be able to see.
It is not something you are going to be able to point out and to feel physical substance. He even clarifies it in verse 21: “Neither shall they say, Lo here [right over there, that church on the corner]! or, lo there [no, it is not that one over there; it is this one over here]! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” It is a spiritual seed; it is a spiritual church; it is a spiritual kingdom. God wants no one to be deceived in the last days in regard to this issue.
We have been given, with the Spirit of Prophecy, more light than the Jewish nation had in Jesus’ day, and to turn away from that light into darkness is a startling act. We do not have to walk in darkness; we do not have to walk in apostasy, if we open our hearts by faith and allow the Seed to have its way upon our hearts and, by obedience, continue to walk with Him.
Revelation 12:17 speaks about the testimony of Jesus, as pertaining to the Spirit of Prophecy, physically speaking. Spiritually speaking, it means the witness of Jesus Christ.
In the original Greek, the word testimony means witness. So we are seeing the Seed reproduced in His people. They have the witness of Jesus Christ in their lives. When other people listen to His people, when they watch them, they hear and see Jesus.
Growing in Jesus
When Jesus was on earth, He cleansed leprosy immediately. Leprosy is represented in the Word of God as sin. When we have sin in our lives, all we need to do is confess our sins, and He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us. (See 1 John 1:9.) How long do we have to wait? We do not have to wait. It is immediate. But sanctification, this growing in grace, this growing into His likeness and having His likeness reproduced in us, is a lifetime experience.
We must do our part by keeping the door of our heart open by faith and letting it stay open by obedience, allowing God to do His work, because it is not going to happen, apart from Him. He is the one Who has the power over the seed. So let us determine to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and never forget that the kingdom of God begins in us.