Question & Answer – Did Ellen White plagiarize from other sources when writing on health reform?

The following question was directed to her. Did you receive your views upon health reform before visiting the health institute at Dansville, New York, or before you had read works on the subject?


“It was at the house of Brother A. Hilliard, at Otsego, Michigan, June 6, 1863, that the great subject of Health Reform was opened before me in vision. I did not visit Dansville till August, 1864, fourteen months after I had the view. I did not read any works upon health until I had written Spiritual Gifts, volumes 3 and 4, Appeal to Mothers, and had sketched out most of my six articles in the six numbers of How to Live. I did not know that such a paper existed as the Laws of Life, published at Dansville, New York. I had not heard of the several works upon health, written by Dr. J. C. Jackson, and other publications at Dansville, at the time I had the view named above. I did not know that such works existed until September, 1863, when in Boston, Massachusetts, my husband saw them advertised in a periodical called the Voice of the Prophets, published by Elder J. V. Himes. My husband ordered the works from Dansville and received them at Topsham, Maine. His business gave him no time to peruse them, and as I determined not to read them until I had written out my views, the books remained in their wrappers. As I introduced the subject of health to friends where I labored in Michigan, New England, and in the State of New York, and spoke against drugs and flesh meats, and in favor of water, pure air, and a proper diet, the reply was often made, ‘You speak very nearly the opinions taught in the Laws of Life, and other publications, by Drs. Trall, Jackson, and others. Have you read that paper and those works?’ My reply was that I had not, neither should I read them till I had fully written out my views, lest it should be said that I had received my light upon the subject of health from physicians, and not from the Lord. And after I had written my six articles for How to Live, I then searched the various works on hygiene and was surprised to find them so nearly in harmony with what the Lord had revealed to me. And to show this harmony, and to set before my brethren and sisters the subject as brought out by able writers, I determined to publish How to Live, in which I largely extracted from the works referred to.” The Review and Herald, October 8, 1867.

Inspiration – The Third Angel’s Message

As the ministration of Jesus closed in the holy place, and He passed into the holiest, and stood before the ark containing the law of God, He sent another mighty angel with a third message to the world. A parchment was placed in the angel’s hand, and as he descended to the earth in power and majesty, he proclaimed a fearful warning, with the most terrible threatening ever borne to man. This message was designed to put the children of God upon their guard, by showing them the hour of temptation and anguish that was before them. Said the angel, “They will be brought into close combat with the beast and his image. Their only hope of eternal life is to remain steadfast. Although their lives are at stake, they must hold fast the truth.” The third angel closes his message thus: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). As he repeated these words, he pointed to the heavenly sanctuary. The minds of all who embrace this message are directed to the most holy place, where Jesus stands before the ark, making His final intercession for all those for whom mercy still lingers and for those who have ignorantly broken the law of God. This atonement is made for the righteous dead as well as for the righteous living. It includes all who died trusting in Christ, but who, not having received the light upon God’s commandments, had sinned ignorantly in transgressing its precepts.

After Jesus opened the door of the most holy, the light of the Sabbath was seen, and the people of God were tested, as the children of Israel were tested anciently, to see if they would keep God’s law. I saw the third angel pointing upward, showing the disappointed ones the way to the holiest of the heavenly sanctuary. As they by faith enter the most holy, they find Jesus, and hope and joy spring up anew. I saw them looking back, reviewing the past, from the proclamation of the second advent of Jesus, down through their experience to the passing of the time in 1844. They see their disappointment explained, and joy and certainty again animate them. The third angel has lighted up the past, the present, and the future, and they know that God has indeed led them by His mysterious providence.

It was represented to me that the remnant followed Jesus into the most holy place and beheld the ark and the mercy seat, and were captivated with their glory. Jesus then raised the cover of the ark, and lo! the tables of stone, with the ten commandments written upon them. They trace down the lively oracles, but start back with trembling when they see the fourth commandment among the ten holy precepts, with a brighter light shining upon it than upon the other nine, and a halo of glory all around it. They find nothing there informing them that the Sabbath has been abolished, or changed to the first day of the week. The commandment reads as when spoken by the voice of God in solemn and awful grandeur upon the mount, while the lightnings flashed and the thunders rolled; it is the same as when written with His own finger on the tables of stone: “Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God” (Exodus 20:9, 10). They are amazed as they behold the care taken of the ten commandments. They see them placed close by Jehovah, overshadowed and protected by His holiness. They see that they have been trampling upon the fourth commandment of the decalogue, and have observed a day handed down by the heathen and papists, instead of the day sanctified by Jehovah. They humble themselves before God and mourn over their past transgressions.

I saw the incense in the censer smoke as Jesus offered their confessions and prayers to His Father. And as it ascended, a bright light rested upon Jesus and upon the mercy seat; and the earnest, praying ones, who were troubled because they had discovered themselves to be transgressors of God’s law, were blessed, and their countenances lighted up with hope and joy. They joined in the work of the third angel and raised their voices to proclaim the solemn warning. But few at first received it; yet the faithful continued with energy to proclaim the message. Then I saw many embrace the message of the third angel and unite their voices with those who had first given the warning, and they honored God by observing His sanctified rest day.

Many who embraced the third message had not had an experience in the two former messages. Satan understood this, and his evil eye was upon them to overthrow them; but the third angel was pointing them to the most holy place, and those who had had an experience in the past messages were pointing them the way to the heavenly sanctuary. Many saw the perfect chain of truth in the angels’ messages, and gladly received them in their order, and followed Jesus by faith into the heavenly sanctuary. These messages were represented to me as an anchor to the people of God. Those who understand and receive them will be kept from being swept away by the many delusions of Satan.

Early Writings, 254–256.

Keys to the Storehouse – Identifying the Blotches

When Satan was cast into this earth he usurped ownership through his evil principles, deceiving our first parents which has resulted in an ugly blotch on this planet. He offered the planet to Christ if He would just pay him the coveted homage, but Christ rejected his offer. Failing to conquer Christ, all the efforts of the satanic host are now directed at Christ’s followers. Never jeopardize the life our Saviour offers us by considering anything offered by Satan worth the risk, or you will pay the price.

“By the one who had revolted in heaven the kingdoms of this world were offered Christ, to buy His homage to the principles of evil; but He would not be bought; He had come to establish a kingdom of righteousness, and He would not abandon His purpose. With the same temptation Satan approaches men, and here he has better success than with Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 130.

Has Satan been successful in putting blotches in your life? “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” II Peter 5:8.

“To men he offers the kingdom of this world on condition that they will acknowledge his supremacy. He requires that they

  • sacrifice integrity,
  • disregard conscience,
  • indulge selfishness.

“Christ bids them seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; but Satan walks by their side and says: Whatever may be true in regard to life eternal, in order to make a success in this world you must serve me.

  • I hold your welfare in my hands.
  • I can give you riches, pleasures, honor, and happiness.
  • Hearken to my counsel.
  • Do not allow yourselves to be carried away with whimsical notions of honesty or self-sacrifice.
  • I will prepare the way before you.

“Thus multitudes are deceived. They consent to live for the service of self, and Satan is satisfied. While he allures them with the hope of worldly dominion, he gains dominion over the soul. But he offers that which is not his to bestow, and which is soon to be wrested from him. In return he beguiles them of their title to the inheritance of the sons of God.” Ibid.

Search your heart and ask Jesus to identify any blotches that Satan has left on you. Don’t be intimated into thinking that it is okay to yield to your desires or feelings according to your own wishes, regardless of others. Stand with integrity and uncompromising adherence to moral and ethical principles.

Satan is a defeated foe; he is a loser! He chose his own way and lost an eternity of happiness and longs to deceive others out of an eternity of bliss and to share his own misery. “Never can the cost of our redemption be realized until the redeemed shall stand with the Redeemer before the throne of God.” Ibid., 131.

Heavenly Father: Grant me spiritual discernment and grace that I may never sacrifice integrity, disregard conscience or indulge in selfishness. I want no part of Satan’s character. Please cleanse the blotches that stain my life with the precious blood of Jesus. Let the mind of Christ direct my actions through Thy Holy Spirit that I may receive the inheritance of an eternity of happiness. Amen.

The River of God

There flows from the throne of God a mighty river, tinctured with all the elements for the sustenance of all the mighty works of His hands. What, of this river, may be seen by the angels of God, is past the comprehension of man. Man knows naught of the powerful tides flowing out from God to sustain the mighty orbs of heaven. To man no intelligence conveys an idea of the power that controls the motions of myriads of incomprehensibly immense planets which are hung apparently on nothing. What a stream of power must flow continuously to every orb, to say nothing of every possible inhabitant of every orb, is a theme not to be solved by the dwellers of earth, at least not in this life; but to us it is but a theme of wonder and an awe forever.

Yet man sees his small share of that mighty stream. Daily do its gracious drops sustain him; daily he basks in the reflection of its crystal tides; daily he carols in unison with its pulsating harmony, and bathes in the sparkling essence of its splendor. In and through and around man is the river of God ever flowing. On the sinking shores of time man stands and views the ever-flowing stream. Now he sees the silent eddy; then perhaps the rapids dash past him, covering the underlying rocks, yet showing by an uneven surface that they are there; then the mighty cataract thunders, dashes, foams, writhes, and hisses as if, in its mad fury, it would long to grasp every object, movable or immovable, and hurl it into the untold ruin beneath.

This is the portion of the stream of God that is placed immediately before the vision of man. This is that portion of the stream that we are told shall not last. It is a broad stream, even what we can see of it, so broad that we cannot see the other side. A Guidebook has been left us giving a description of some features of the other side. Some have been said to have crossed over, and we believe that Enoch and Moses and Elijah have done so. The Guidebook tells us that many of us also shall see the other side; not that in our present state we shall see it, but that, recreated and changed to incorruption and immortality, we shall cross over, and that there we shall see the Fountain Head of the great stream.

There are many strange features in this Guidebook that distinguishes it in nature from all other guidebooks ever written. It was not written by the diction of man, and no man has been, nor can ever be, able to write a work that will faithfully detail the nature of the other shore nor give any valuable directions as to how to reach it. Neither can any, by following any other book, ever reach, in a satisfactory state, that mysterious shore where we are told that the “surges cease to roll.” Chance will direct no one over. The Guidebook was placed here by the gracious Ruler of the mysterious province, because He wished to see mankind successfully conducted to His realm, and He knew there was no other knowledge on earth able to discern the way across the trackless waters.

Thousands have started without the proper directions, to reach the other shore. Those who have remained behind, and are acquainted with the directions given in the Book, are enlightened upon what must have been the fate of the rash adventurers. How many bodies have fallen into the angry grasp of the mad waters at the falls; how many have plunged headlong into the mighty confusion beneath, where the stream from above never ceases to pour its mighty weight, nor will till the close of time, remains one of the mysteries of the stream. As though to confirm the record of all its past doings, that mighty cataract thunders unceasingly down upon the insensible mass of all it has buried during the past ages. Into its keeping have been delivered all those who have attempted to pass without the Guidebook’s illuminations. Some who have read the Guidebook have dared to spurn its directions. Rash children of the angry waves! Where, oh, where are the bones and flesh that once supported thy proud spirits?

Those who have followed the Guidebook have found therein individual instructions. This is another peculiarity of the Book. While following the same general plan of instruction with all, it enforces certain points upon the very persons who need them. Also the Spirit of the Author of the Book accompanies the work, and this of itself is a powerful and indispensable factor in mastering the directions. Some unwisely have not valued this prime factor, but have tried to master the Book by their own understanding. Of these, some have carelessly given up; some have done so despairingly; but some, happy to relate, have discovered what was wanting and have wisely and cheerfully united their own intelligence with that of the Spirit, and have thereby gained the secrets of the pilotage.

Many who have launched out upon the river we are still able to discern. Invariably their first motion on the water has carried them under, but, as we have seen, this rather strengthened than weakened their confidence in the Book, for as each one has recovered from his submersion, he has been heard to quote words from the Book which, by the aid of the Spirit, seemed to be to him full of meaning. As nearly as I can quote the words, their substance is this: “Like as we have been buried beneath the water, so shall we rise from the earth.”

Some have gone beyond the limit of our observation. The last we saw of these, they were sunken into a peaceful slumber and were being carried by some of their friends. Garlands of flowers were about them, but they seemed to be asleep, and seemed not to be noticing their surroundings. By the aid of the Guidebook’s Spirit we were able to make out the following words, which seemed to be hanging over the presence of each sleeper, and in which we could almost imagine the sleeper himself was interested: “I shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness.”

The Signs of the Times, December 11, 1893.

Laodicea and the World

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.”

Revelation 3:15–18

We are living in the last days of earth’s history and it would be beneficial to study carefully the topic of the Laodicean church. Ellen White gave the church this warning: “A living church will be a working church. Practical Christianity will develop earnest workers for the advancement of the cause of truth. There is a great lack of this practical religion among us as a people. Worldliness and pride, love of dress and display, are steadily increasing among those who profess to be keeping God’s commandments, and to be waiting for their Lord.

“The great sin of ancient Israel was in turning from God to idols. This is also the great sin of modern Israel.” The Review and Herald, June 3, 1889.

What does it means to turn from God to idols? What is an idol? Is it something made of gold, silver, stone, wood, or something that sits in a place of prominence in the home and is worshipped? Satan is far too subtle and deceptive for that.

The reality is, anything that separates us from God is an idol. In the book, Patriarchs and Prophets, 305, we are told: “Whatever we cherish that tends to lessen our love for God or to interfere with the service due Him, of that do we make a god.” Even our thoughts and ideas concerning religion and spirituality can become an idol.

The following thought is from Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, 183: “The same spirit of resistance is to be found even among those who claim to believe the truth for this time. The gospel of Christ, His lessons, His teachings, have had but very little place in the experience and the discourses of those who claim to believe the truth. Any pet theory, any human idea, becomes of the gravest importance and as sacred as an idol to which everything must bow.”

“The central theme of the Bible, the theme about which every other in the whole book clusters, is the redemption plan, the restoration in the human soul of the image of God.” Education, 125.

This sin of idolatry is rampant in the church, even amongst those who consider themselves more enlightened. As we continue reading this statement, it becomes abundantly clear that unless all is surrendered, unless God has first place in our entire lives, we cannot be a true follower of Christ, and when weighed in the balances will be found wanting.

“The people of God should awaken to a keen perception of the grievous character of transgression. Sin is disguised, and many are deceived in regard to its nature. Satan has planned it thus, that the understanding may be clouded, the spiritual vision obscured, the perceptive faculties of the soul blunted. But God would not have one of us to be ensnared, therefore the nature of sin is faithfully portrayed in the inspired pages—its offensive character before God, its corruption, its shame, and its results. Everything has been done that God could do to save man from the power of sin, which defaces the divine image, frustrates God’s purpose in man’s existence, degrades his God-given powers, narrows his capacity, leads to unholy imaginations, and gives loose rein to unsanctified passions. Sin! how hateful in the sight of God! Holy angels look upon it with abhorrence.” The Review and Herald, June 3, 1880.

This is serious. We should awaken, indicating that we are asleep! Does that remind you of a parable Jesus once told as recorded in Matthew 25? Were not the virgins, the church, sleeping? We need to awaken, to what? To the grievous character of sin! Satan wants to cloud and obscure our spiritual vision! What about the message to Laodicea? Does not Jesus advise Laodicea to buy eye salve that they might see? That means to wake up to spiritual realities!

But God has given us all we need to be spared from the effects of sin. What are the effects of sin? It is offensive, it brings corruption, shame, and it defaces the divine image, frustrates God’s purpose in man’s existence, degrades God-given powers, narrows our capacity, leads to unholy imaginations and allows unsanctified passions! Oh, my friends, how we should hate and shun sin.

Is sin abhorrent in your eyes? Do you loathe sin and the stain that it leaves on your soul? Do you ardently avoid that which would bring suffering to your Lord and Saviour? Would you do anything necessary to abstain from partaking of sin and reaping the deadly curse which follows? This is what God requires.

“What is sin? The transgression of God’s law. God wants all connected with Him to loathe sin, to hate anything that approaches to it. Transgression is a serpent with a deadly sting. Grant it no indulgence, for it will imperil the soul. Rather choose privation, suffering, hunger, reproach, imprisonment, and death, than the indulgence of sin.

“Will the professed followers of Christ cleanse the soul-temple of its defilement? Will those who profess to be His representatives sacrifice anything and everything rather than offend God? A deep-settled conviction is needed in every soul to strengthen the abhorrence of sin. Meditation should be encouraged. We should view ourselves as ever in the presence of God, whose eye searches the soul and reads the most secret thoughts. Since we know this to be true, why is there such a careless disregard of God’s claims? Why such thoughtlessness in regard to the solemn realities of life?

“I call upon you, my dear brethren and sisters, to cultivate spirituality, to put away your idols, and in the fear of God, to work for time and for eternity. Again and again have our sisters been warned against indulging pride of dress, which is idolatry; yet they pass on, making no change, and their example is leading others away from Christ, instead of leading to Him.” Ibid.

Jesus said the consequences of leading others astray is that it would be better if that one had a millstone around their neck and thrown into the sea.

“Why is it so hard to arouse the conscience upon this subject, when the inspired apostle has spoken so explicitly upon this point? Will my sisters dress plainly for Christ’s sake? for the love of souls for whom He died? Will they remember that they must meet their life-record at the bar of God, and must answer for the money and the time squandered in needless adornment?” Ibid.

And men you are not exempt. God calls you to sacrifice for Him. Are your eyes and heart in heaven, or are they maybe on the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the position you have in life, your theories or ideas, your house, your education, the game or show on TV, that extra serving of food, or any number of other things? Is your life a fit representative of the meek and lowly Jesus who, though owning the universe had not where to lay His head, and was often footsore and weary from His travels by foot on His missions of mercy and love, or who often went hungry to provide for another? Or, and this is for all of us, adults and children, what about the forms of “recreation” that we choose? Do we study to show ourselves approved in every moment of our day? Are you willing to change your lifestyle for a life of consecration to Jesus?

“Those who seek by earnest study of God’s word and fervent prayer the guidance of his Spirit, will be led by Him. The pillar of cloud will guide them by day, the pillar of fire by night; and with an abiding sense of God’s presence it will not be possible to disregard His holy law. The reason why there is so much transgression is that little time is devoted to meditation and prayer. Dress and display and sinful gratification put God out of the thoughts, and sin does not appear exceeding sinful. Satan’s angels are at hand to gloss it over with a semblance of righteousness. If the light from the burning glory of the throne of God should shine forth upon the sinful practices of professors of religion, how terrible would sin appear, how perilous would seem its indulgence. Oh, how soon the desire for sinful gratifications would perish in the withering light of the glory from the Divine Presence!” Ibid.

And now we go even deeper than the outward manifestations of our lives. Now we go to the core of our being.

“We are in great danger of looking upon sin as a small matter, unworthy of notice. Sins of unkindness, of impatience, of fault-finding, of unthankfulness, of pride in imitating the fashions of a doomed world, should not be lightly regarded. The channels of thought and action are worn deep and broad by repetition. The longer one pursues a given course of conduct, the greater is the probability that he will continue the same course during life. Evil habits are like chains, to hold one to a wrong course. Then how earnestly should we begin the work of reformation.

“Let the habits be formed in a safe line of conduct. And for the very reason that religious habits are not so easily established as are those of an opposite character, the more earnest efforts should be put forth to form habits of devotion, of studying the Scriptures, of strict integrity. This will require deliberate purpose, and persistent effort; for the natural heart is opposed to such an education. These habits must be acquired by performing Christian duties with faithfulness and regularity. Make it a habit to attend the prayer-meeting, to be willing and earnest in doing good to others. Let it become a habit to engage in profitable conversation, instead of indulging in idle talk upon temporal concerns, upon dress, or upon the faults of others. ‘Our conversation is in Heaven,’ says the apostle, ‘from whence also we look for the Saviour.’ God has given us our talents, and requires that they be used to glorify Him and not ourselves.

“What grief to the Saviour who bought us with His own blood, that multitudes who profess His name have formed habits which bring them directly under the control of the Prince of darkness!” Ibid.

Oh, if we, even almost unconsciously hold on to those things which separate us from God in the slightest degree, see the results. We will be brought “directly under the control of the Prince of darkness!” There is no halfway. We either belong 100 percent to Jesus, or we are under the control of Satan. Frightful thought! And these habits that chain us to Satan are not suddenly formed, but rather almost invisibly.

“These habits are formed gradually, and almost imperceptibly. Little duties have been neglected. The professed followers of Christ have shunned his cross. Worldly influences have corrupted their purity of soul. … Selfish indulgence has hardened the heart and weakened the moral faculties. …

“I lift my warning voice against such a life, and beseech my brethren and sisters to diligently search their own hearts, and see if they have a living faith, which works, yes, works by love, and purifies the soul. … True conversion of soul is essential; theoretical religion will not take the place of heart-work. We all need to connect more closely with God, and then we may teach others the art of believing. The true, humble, earnest Christian will be receiving the mold of a perfect character, and his heart will ever be conforming to the image of Christ. His life will flow out in channels of beneficence and love. Such will be established in God. The work which grace began, if combined with earnest effort to press close to Jesus, glory shall finish in the kingdom of God.

“How can I impress upon our dear people, whom God has made the depositaries of His law, a sense of how much is at stake with them. If they sin in words or deportment, they bring dishonor upon the cause they profess to love, and by their example many will be encouraged to turn away from the mirror which discovers the defects of their moral character. What an account will the professed followers of Christ have to render in the day when the Lord will make inquiry for the souls lost in consequence of their unrighteous course. Let us, as the peculiar people of God, elevate the standard of Christian character, lest we come short of the reward that will be given to the good and the faithful. Our probation will soon be ended. We must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. It is those who hold fast the beginning of their confidence steadfast unto the end, that will receive the crown of immortal glory. Those who make so exalted a profession of truth must answer for the intrusted capital. Simplicity, purity, forbearance, benevolence, and love should characterize our Christian experience. We must labor continually, by study of the Scriptures and earnest prayer, to keep ourselves unspotted from the world.

“Jesus has gone to prepare mansions for those who are waiting and watching for his appearing. There they will meet the pure angels and the redeemed host, and will join their songs of praise and triumph. There the Saviour’s love surrounds His people, and the city of God is irradiated with the light of His countenance—a city whose walls, great and high, are garnished with all manner of precious stones, whose gates are pearls, and whose streets are pure gold, as it were transparent glass. ‘There shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life’ (Revelation 21:27). The shadows of night never fall on that city; it has no need of the sun, neither of the moon; its inhabitants rejoice in the undimmed glory of the Lamb of God.” Ibid.

Can you hear the plaintive pleadings of our Lord and Saviour in the message to Laodicea? He loves you. He wants to save you. He said to His people, “Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel (Ezekiel 33:11)?” And on the crest of Olivet, days before His own incomprehensible suffering He wept in uncontrollable agony over His favored people, refusing His message of love and mercy. “Jesus gazes upon the scene, and the vast multitude hush their shouts, spellbound by the sudden vision of beauty. All eyes turn upon the Saviour, expecting to see in His countenance the admiration they themselves feel. But instead of this they behold a cloud of sorrow. They are surprised and disappointed to see His eyes fill with tears, and His body rock to and fro like a tree before the tempest, while a wail of anguish bursts from His quivering lips, as if from the depths of a broken heart. …

“The tears of Jesus were not in anticipation of His own suffering. Just before Him was Gethsemane, where soon the horror of a great darkness would overshadow Him. The sheep gate also was in sight, through which for centuries the beasts for sacrificial offerings had been led. This gate was soon to open for Him, the great Antitype, toward whose sacrifice for the sins of the world all these offerings had pointed. Near by was Calvary, the scene of His approaching agony. Yet it was not because of these reminders of His cruel death that the Redeemer wept and groaned in anguish of spirit. His was no selfish sorrow. The thought of His own agony did not intimidate that noble, self-sacrificing soul. It was the sight of Jerusalem that pierced the heart of Jesus—Jerusalem that had rejected the Son of God and scorned His love, that refused to be convinced by His mighty miracles, and was about to take His life. He saw what she was in her guilt of rejecting her Redeemer, and what she might have been had she accepted Him who alone could heal her wound. He had come to save her; how could He give her up? …

“Jesus raised His hand—that had so often blessed the sick and suffering—and waving it toward the doomed city, in broken utterances of grief exclaimed: ‘If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace’ (Luke 19:42)!— Here the Saviour paused, and left unsaid what might have been the condition of Jerusalem had she accepted the help that God desired to give her—the gift of His beloved Son. If Jerusalem had known what it was her privilege to know, and had heeded the light which Heaven had sent her, she might have stood forth in the pride of prosperity, the queen of kingdoms, free in the strength of her God-given power.” The Desire of Ages, 575–577.

Do you hear, in the message to Laodicea the same pathos, the same longing in the message? It is the same compassionate, long-suffering, merciful Saviour who is speaking through His servant. His heart of love is still asking, “How can I give thee up? How can I see thee devoted to destruction? Must I let thee go to fill up the cup of thine iniquity?” Ibid.

Oh, let us awake. Let us not again cause our Jesus the anguish of soul He endured that day on the crest of Olivet, and throughout His life on account of His wayward, self-centered, prideful people. Let us go to work with a zeal and an energy to cleanse our soul temples such that we are fit representatives of our lovely, loving, pure and holy Jesus, Who gave all that we might have all.

Brenda Douay is a staff member at Steps to Life. She may be contacted by email at:


Man was created in the image of God. Satan, consumed by his jealousy of the relationship between the Father and His Son, has determined to destroy that image in those whom He created, His people. Since his success in deceiving Eve in the Garden of Eden, Satan’s radar has been set to destroy every succeeding generation, and as a result, ungodliness is apparent in the human race far more than is seen godliness.

If Satan can convince Christians that they are already living Christian lives while there are critical areas that need to be transformed to reflect God’s glory, the result will be that they have no need for a Saviour. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” John 14:6. The desire of the Christian should be a willingness to change and become like Jesus. He has revealed in His word the kind of life to live, while on this earth, to be prepared for the kingdom of heaven. But, while Jesus has delayed His return, many have become complacent and distracted, focusing their attention on things that are not heavenly.

Those who do not want to follow the word of God are like a person who decides to go somewhere on their own without direction. He does not want to use public transportation because of the rigid time limits in departure and arrival. Instead he asks the Lord for a comfortable four-wheel drive automobile that he can be in control of and be able to go anyplace, on his own direction and according to his own timing. However, for the Christian journey, the Lord has specific instructions: He has said that to arrive safely at the destination one must remain on the tracks that have been laid out just as a train needs to remain on the tracks to reach its allotted destination. At the end of life’s journey there is an eternity waiting for those who remain faithful.

The car can choose a multitude of ways, many of which end in detours, delays and dead ends, but there is safety on those predetermined tracks with the certainty of reaching the correct destination. Those willing to be instructed by God will find themselves saying, “Lord, put me on the right track so I will not become derailed.” That willingness to collaborate with God instead of fighting Him is a gift.

Godliness is to fear God. This does not mean to be intimidated, but to have respect and honor for Him. To fear Him means to have reverence towards Him. Those who live for the honor and glory of God fall deeply in love with Him. As that relationship develops they will come into the unity that Jesus prayed for before He left this earth. “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, … and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” John 17:21, 23.

Paul tells us, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” Galatians 5:1. This freedom liberates the Christian from being imprisoned by the desires of the flesh. The Lord says, I came to make you free. You are no longer a slave, shackled by your sins, but free to continue the pursuits in this life that lead to eternal glory. That freedom does not mean choosing again the old life and becoming once more entangled with the yoke of bondage. “They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Verse 21. Why would anyone choose again to be a slave, shackled and trapped?

Godliness is the high calling of everyone who calls himself a Christian. Many professed Christians today are deceived into thinking that merely by attending church they are God’s people. The Lord says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ ” Matthew 7:21–23 NKJV. Only those who give honor and glory to His name will inherit the kingdom of heaven. We do not give honor and glory to God’s name by acting selfish, rude, and entering the church with an attitude of pride and self importance. God is going to cleanse the earth and make all things new and only those whose hearts have been cleansed will enter there.

All evil will be destroyed, and anyone who holds on to a grudge or anger against his brother will be destroyed with it. A transformation of character is needed in God’s people that reflects the beauty and holiness of Jesus, the same character that He revealed when He was on this earth.

God has provided a channel or help by which everyone may become Christlike. Only through the dwelling of the Holy Spirit in the life is that possible. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convert and transform the human being into the person that God intended him to be. “Being confident of this very thing, that He Who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 NKJV.

By following the example of Jesus, the Christian gives witness for the Lord, not by forcing the conscience of others with words, but by genuine love and active behavior he lives his life aiming to please the Lord in everything, showing kindness to all in his sphere of influence with an attitude of “Lord, Thy will be done, not mine.”

We are living in the anti-typical Day of Atonement—the Day of Judgment. However, it is not to look around and judge another’s actions or words or dress. It is a time for each person to afflict his own soul and enquire if there be any sin that needs to be removed. Soon Jesus will leave the most holy place and will utter the final proclamation: “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11 NKJV.

Probation for this earth is about to close. Paul says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.” Galatians 5:1. “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ ” Verses 13, 14.

There is no time to be side-tracked by entertainment or exciting parties, mingling with those with no more interest than shallow small talk about things that won’t last. The devil is raging like a roaring lion ready to devour whomever deviates from the track. Constantly remind yourself to live a life that will give glory to God. Stay focused! Christ is waiting at the end of the track that leads you to where there is hope, prosperity and peace. There is no sickness there and no more diseases. At the end you will hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant … . Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:23.

“Every church member needs to feel the converting power of God upon heart and mind; then spiritual development will be experienced. Christ has for every true believer grace sufficient to make him a son of God. Angels are working in behalf of God’s people, that Satan may not gain the victory over them.” The Upward Look, 184.

“He who comes to the Lord in simple trust will learn how to uplift the Saviour before men. Practical Christianity is the revealing in word and action of the will of God. …

“The professing follower of Christ is to overcome every selfish trait of character. By well-doing he is to form a correct pattern, and testify in his life to the character of Christ, and to God’s unselfish love for the human race.” Ibid. Every selfish trait of character is to be overcome. Though some people may not be friendly or even have an attitude, it is not for you to judge. Pray for that person and heap coals of kindness on their head and watch God work.

“Christ demands that those who take His name honor that name in spirit and word and deportment. In thought, word, and deed they are to be Christlike. Those who claim to be Christians and yet do not reveal in the life the virtues of Christ’s character bear witness against the Saviour. They dishonor Him, putting Him to open shame.” That I may Know Him, 128.

Man is a free moral agent and though the devil is a tempter, he cannot force anyone to do anything. Sin is committed as a result of choice. Satan’s power to deceive is broken as the Christian calls on the name of the Lord. James says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7. He is no match for the heavenly host that stands ready at the Lord’s command to protect and encourage even the weakest of sinners.

The promise of Jesus is that He will not leave your comfortless: He will come to you in your time of need by the agency of the Holy Spirit (John 14:17, 18). Whatever situation we find ourself in, it is very important to understand that we are never alone. “We have a character to maintain, but it is the character of Christ. Having the character of Christ, we can carry on the work of God together. The Christ in us will meet the Christ in our brethren, and the Holy Spirit will give that union of heart and action which testifies to the world that we are children of God.” God’s Amazing Grace, 211.

We are pilgrims and are passing by in this world. All that we own is a gift from God, loaned to us in trust so we can be partakers with Him in doing good for others. When we leave this earth, either by death or translated, we take nothing with us except the character we have formed here and those whom we have been privileged to assist in their walk with the Lord.

In his letter to Titus, Paul wrote: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:11–14.

The bottom line is that the actions of the professed Christian speak more loudly than any words they utter. Souls are being saved or lost by the witness of their actions. Should this not make him examine himself, whether he be in the faith (II Corinthians 13:5)?

Fall in love with your Saviour and you will not be able to discount others. Jesus said, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14:15.

“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:16–18.

The price for sin has been paid. Jesus is getting ready to return to this earth. Our destination is in sight and there is light at the end of this tunnel so stay on track until we reach the heavenly shore.

Pastor Domingo Nuñez is director of Outreach Ministry for Steps to Life. He is involved in the coordination of world mission projects and he travels extensively, encouraging the many home churches supported by Steps to Life. He may be contacted at: 316-788-5559 or by email at:

Identifying the Christian

In previous articles in this series (LandMarks September 2013 – January 2014), the focus was concentrated on the paradigm for Christianity that Jesus exemplified in His life here on earth. This message looks at one of Paul the apostle’s statements concerning who really is a Christian and what this religion called Christianity is all about.

Jonathan Edwards, the great Puritan preacher and theologian who lived in the early eighteenth century made the following remarks in one of his sermons: “They who give themselves to God, He’ll give Himself to them, and only those who refuse to give themselves to God shall fail to have Him for their portion. The truly righteous dedicate themselves to God; they give themselves up, body and soul, with all that they have. To such, God gives Himself, with all that He is and has, to be their heritage. He gives Himself with all His glory and perfection, so far as they are capable of enjoying them or receiving good by them. His power shall be theirs to deliver them from evil and to promote their welfare. His wisdom shall be theirs to guide and instruct them, and to contrive and to order things for them. His holiness, His beauty, and His love shall be theirs to be seen and enjoyed by them.” A Just and Righteous God, (Soli Deo Gloria Ministries, Michigan), 130.

In my analysis of true Christianity there is a word which keeps popping up in my mind which I never liked and which from my observation most human beings do not like, that word is submit or submission. To submit, according to Webster’s Dictionary, means to yield, as something, in surrender, compliance, or obedience; to subject to imposed conditions or treatment; to allow oneself to be subjected to something imposed or to be undergone; to yield to the decision or opinion of another. Synonyms for submit or submission are subject or subjection and this word subjection is what I would like to focus on as it relates to being a Christian. The word subject or subjection, according to Webster’s Dictionary, means to bring under dominion, rule, or authority.

Paul Sets an Example

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian Christians, we read these words: “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” I Corinthians 9:27. In this verse we see the apostle emphasizing the absolute importance for the Christian, bringing his or her being under authority, under rule! It was necessary for Paul to speak plainly and pointedly to these believers. The Corinthians, who considered themselves mature Christians, had been claiming that they are in such a privileged position that they are free to eat meat offered to idols if they like. Their Christian freedom gives them—as they think—a special position in which they could do things, which might not be permissible to other men. Paul’s way of answering that argument was to set forth the many privileges, which he himself had a perfect right to claim, but which he did not claim, in case they should turn out to be stumbling-blocks to others and hindrances to the effectiveness of the gospel.

So, after Paul had addressed the Corinthian Christians concerning frictions in the church; the practice of incest among them, their practice of litigation in secular courts, issues concerning marriage and issues concerning meats offered to idols, he then seeks to establish the way of life in which the Christian should conduct himself. The apostle wanted to correct the false notion that the Corinthian Christians held about what it really means to be a Christian! Fundamentally, the Christian is not free to please himself or herself, to do whatever he or she wishes, inspite of how it might impact others!

Here is Paul’s argument, I Corinthians 9:19–27: “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

Notice what the apostle states in verse 19: “For though I be free.” Paul returns to his theme of chapter 8:9–13 that he will not permit his liberty to become a stumbling block to them that are weak. Simply put, being a Christian is interpreted to mean living for Jesus, which means living for others! Therefore the true Christian will always seek to possess a Christlike attitude in order to influence non-Christians to Christ. The emphasis in his or her life is not self-gratification, rather it will be as Paul states, “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.”

The apostle was willing to enslave himself for the salvation of his fellowmen, total self-renouncement, total self-forgetfulness so that by his Christlike life he may win some to Christ! This is the challenge we all have today, to forget about ourselves and to remember who we are and whose we are. Dr. Albert Schweitzer describes the kind of moment that brought him the greatest happiness. Someone suffering intensely is brought into his hospital. He soothes the man by telling him that he will put him to sleep and will operate on him and all will be well. After the operation he sits beside the patient waiting for him to regain consciousness. Slowly he opens his eyes and whispers in sheer wonderment, “I have no more pain.”

If, by a life of selfless love, you and I can mend one shattered life, restore one wanderer to the right way, heal one broken heart, bring back one lost soul to Christ, to find ourselves at last in eternity and to have one person say to us I have no more pain, all the self-denial and self-sacrifice we made would have been worth it!

Paul makes it very clear to the Christian that we are in a real fight. “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” I Corinthians 9:24–27.

Paul insists to those Corinthians who wanted to take the easy way that no man will ever get anywhere without the sternest self-discipline. Just as how the athlete must discipline himself/herself if he or she intends to win the game, how much more should the Christian discipline himself/herself to win the crown, which is eternal life. In verse 27 the apostle uses the word subjection, he states, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

In relation to the word subjection, the apostle says, “I keep under my body … .” The Greek word hupopiazo literally means to strike under the eye, or to give one a black eye. Here we now learn who Paul’s opponent is, namely his own body with its desires and its weak inclinations, which are so ready to militate against his high calling. So, likewise, the Christian’s opponent is self. Paul therefore states, I give myself a black eye. The boxing gloves worn by the fighters were not gloves in the modern sense of the word; they were often made of oxhide bands, which were sometimes fortified with brass knuckles. Hupopiazo vividly portrays the severity and harshness that the genuine Christian is to exercise towards his sinful nature. It shows the rigid discipline and self-denial that must be exercised in order that victory may be gained over all the corrupt passions of man’s evil tendencies.

Paul also states, “bring it into subjection.” The literal meaning is to lead into slavery, hence, to make a servant of. The picture the apostle has painted is this, to hit a powerful blow under the eye is to knock the body out; this is a momentary victory. The more forceful point is, “I make my body a slave” and keep it as a slave so that it is unable to assert itself again and to regain any mastery over me even as much as to my control for one moment. This for Paul is permanent victory!

Therefore, bringing one’s self under subjection, is the acknowledgment of another’s authority over you, over me. Paul frequently uses the term servant or slave to express his relationship as a believer to Christ. We see this in a few verses of Scripture: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.” Romans 1:1. “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10. “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.” Philippians 1:1. “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness.” Titus 1:1.

The Greek word for servant in all these texts just quoted is doulos meaning slave, or one bound, hence a bond servant. The word involves the idea of belonging to a master and rendering bondman service to him. Paul taught that Christians belong to Christ by purchase, hence are His slaves. Here are a few texts: “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Corinthians 6:20. “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” I Corinthians 7:22, 23. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:7. “Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” Ephesians 6:6. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Romans 6:22.

So then, for all of us who declare ourselves to be Christians it is most important that we understand that we are subjected to Jesus Christ and that for us to remain Christians we must constantly bring ourselves under His authority. Therefore such expression as “doing my own thing,” “I do whatever I want” or “I take orders from no one” and “I listen to no one” is not a part of the vocabulary of the Christian. The true Christian does whatever Christ, his/her Master desires and orders him/her to do!

In conclusion, in I Corinthians 9, the apostle points out to the believers a brief philosophy of the Christian life.

  1. The Christian life is a battle.
  2. To win the fight and to be victorious in the race demands discipline. From the pen of inspiration we are told: “Those who enter into a contest of physical strength for a corruptible prize realize the necessity of rigid abstinence from every indulgence that would weaken the physical powers. They eat simple food at regular hours.
    “How much more should those who enter for the gospel race, restrain themselves from the unlawful indulgence of appetite and ‘abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul’ ( I Peter 2:11). They must be temperate at all times. The same restraint that gives them the power to obtain the victory at one time will, if practiced constantly, give them a great advantage in the race for the crown of life.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1089.
  3. We need to know our goal.
  4. We need to know the worth of our goal. Why are we Christians? What are we working towards? Paul says it beautifully, “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air.” I Corinthians 9:26. Also, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” I Corinthians 15:19.
  5. We cannot save others unless we master ourselves. Sigmund Freud once said, “Psycho-analysis is learnt first of all on oneself, through the study of one’s own personality.” The Greeks declared that the first rule of life is, “Man know thyself.” Certainly we cannot save others until we have mastered ourselves, we cannot teach what we do not know; we cannot bring others to Christ until we ourselves have found Him.

In quoting I Corinthians 9:24-27, the servant of the Lord commented as follows: “Thus Paul presents the conditions which God imposes upon every soul who enlists in His service. The apostle fears for himself, lest he shall fail of bearing the examination test, and be found wanting, and he places himself under severe training. So the Christian today needs to keep strict guard over his appetite. He needs to subject himself to severe training, that he may not run uncertainly or at random, without seeing his standard and striving to reach it. He must obey the laws of God. The physical, mental, and moral powers must be kept in the most perfect condition if he would obtain the approval of God. ‘I keep under my body,’ the apostle says. This means literally to beat back its desires and impulses and passions by severe discipline, even as did those competing for an earthly prize.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1089.

Pastor Ivan Plummer ministers through the Emmanuel Seventh Day Church Ministries in Bronx, New York. He may be contacted by telephone at: 718-882-3900.

Do You Love Your Brother?

One of the most fundamental truths of the Christian religion is summed up by what Jesus said to His disciples the night of His betrayal. He told them He was going to leave and that they could not follow and the thought of being left alone terrified them. He told them, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34, 35.

They were about to witness the depth of that love they were commanded to have toward each other. In less than 24 hours they would see Jesus scourged and crucified. While the soldiers drove the nails through His hands and feet they would hear Him say, over and over again, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34.

While hanging on the cross in His agony, they would hear His words to the repentant thief: “Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.” Verse 43. After witnessing those scenes, in 36 hours they would see Jesus again, risen from the dead. Then they would understand why He endured the suffering—because He loved them and wanted them to be with Him for eternity. Before the events of that weekend were over, the disciples would clearly understand God’s love and the depth to which He would stoop to save lost man. When this same love is exhibited towards their brethren, those who belong to Jesus will be clearly identified.

Several texts in the New Testament urge the importance of this subject. Paul says, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8–10.

The Bible says that angels keep faithful records of everything you say, think, and feel. You are to love your neighbor as yourself, and Paul says that love does no harm to a neighbor. A neighbor includes the people around you as well as those in your family. How is your record? How have you treated those close to you lately?

There are many people who are very inconsiderate towards the feelings of others, simply saying what they think regardless of the consequences. What they say may be the truth, but it is spoken in a way that will destroy any hope of a good relationship. Let’s think that through. If you are determined not to do any harm to your neighbor, you will try to avoid hurting their feelings. There are some times when it is necessary to bring some truth out that will cause pain. However, consider the example of Jesus, Who dealt so delicately with issues never bringing unnecessary pain to a sensitive soul.

We should study and understand the whole chapter of Romans 12. Paul says, “Let love be without hypocrisy [without pretense]. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” Verses 9, 10. Notice that if you love your brother as you love yourself and in the way Christ loves you, several things will happen. Love does not deal in evil, but clings to what is good. Love is kind and affectionate. That means being tender with other people’s feelings.

Love gives honor. The habit that some develop of being a joker can become a cruel instrument, used at the expense of others to hurt them. The talent of speech is too precious a talent to waste telling jokes. A joke at somebody else’s expense is usually designed to embarrass them. When we love one another, we do not set out to embarrass, but “… with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”

One of the favorite texts of Ellen White was I Peter 1:22, quoting it in many contexts. “ ‘See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.’ The word of God—the truth—is the channel through which the Lord manifests His Spirit and power. Obedience to the word produces fruit of the required quality—‘unfeigned love of the brethren.’ This love is heaven-born and leads to high motives and unselfish actions.” The Acts of the Apostles, 520. A pure love gives security and will never lead a person to break the fifth or the seventh commandment.

“But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.” I Thessalonians 4:9–12.

There are several interesting points in this passage of Scripture. While we should have love for all men, a special care and concern and love should be manifest toward those who are of the household of faith. That is why it is called brotherly love. Brotherly love means love for the brother, and we have brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul urges that that love should continue to “increase more and more.”

Some people think that if you have love, then you don’t need to do anything. Paul says that does not mean that you relax and do nothing. You still need to mind your business, be productive, work with your hands, support yourself, and not depend on the other people in the church to support you. The Thessalonian church did not get the point. Paul sent another letter, written more bluntly, to remind the people in the church, saying, “When we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” II Thessalonians 3:10. The New Testament does not support the idea of a “free lunch.” Lunch only comes because somebody has done some work. Paul says that if you follow these instructions, you will lack nothing (I Thessalonians 4:12).

The loved apostle John specializes in this area of love, writing more about it than any of the other apostles. He says, “And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” Revelation 1:5.

Jesus loved us so much that He washed us from our sins, He set us free from our sins by His own blood. “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” I John 4:17–21.

The most fundamental truth of the Christian religion is the love of God for man and our reciprocal love for Him. The by-product is to love your brother. Some people say, “Well, you just don’t know how awful he is.” You can be so glad Jesus didn’t say that about you, because He did know how awful you are and He loved you anyway, so much that He paid the penalty and made a way that you could be delivered from your sins. That same love He manifested to you, you owe the one who is trapped in the bondage of sin. If Jesus had looked down the stream of time and looked at you in your natural state and said, “Well, he’s so bad, just let him go to hell,” well, then, you would have gone to hell. The whole human race would have been lost because of how awful we are, but He extended mercy, and so should we also.

Mark tells one of my favorite stories, in chapter nine of his book. Jesus came down from the Mount of Transfiguration and there was the boy possessed of demons. Ellen White describes this boy as frothing at the mouth and screaming in agony from the torment of the devil. It was an awful sight. He had no control over his muscles or his body and at the command of Jesus, the evil spirit left him to never enter him again (The Miracles of Christ, 122, 123). The persons you meet with terrible characters, who have done awful things, are under the control of the devil and can be saved. Don’t cast them off as lost souls, but pray for their release and work for them. They do not have to remain that way. All of the awfulness could be taken away from them, and they could become pure and holy people. The Lord desires to work a miracle in their lives, just like He desires for us. When we believe that, we will change the way we perceive them and talk to them. We will learn to talk like Jesus. He was always courteous, even to His enemies. Remember, Jesus said that we will be forgiven for our sins as we forgive others (Luke 11:4).

One of the most heinous things that a human being could do is what Judas Iscariot did in his betrayal of Jesus. To be betrayed by one who has been in your innermost circle and manifest love for many years and then to discover that their love has been all fake is to experience something most terrible. But Jesus, responding to him in love, said, ”Friend, why have you come?” Matthew 26:50. Jesus demonstrated perfect love, even to His enemies.

John says, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [to pay the price] for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” I John 4:10–12.

Theologians have written books that all disagree about the subject of perfection, causing it to be a subject of tremendous theological controversy. But for the apostle John, it was not complicated. He says, “If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” When I have perfect love, for my neighbor, God’s love has been perfected in me. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not [grievous or] burdensome.” I John 5:2, 3. Many people are confused thinking they can love their neighbor without loving God and serving Him. But John says this is not possible without keeping His commandments.

“In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brothers righteous. Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.” I John 3:10–14.

If you do not love your brother you abide in death and you have no hope of eternal life. This is a strong message that needs to be understood. You cannot go around as a cold, uncaring, unloving person to your fellow man and expect to go to the kingdom of heaven. It is simply not going to happen!

John says, “Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.” I John 2:7–11.

Notice that the person who hates his brother and is in darkness does not know that he is in darkness, nor does he know where he is going. These people are deceived and really believe they are on the narrow way but are in darkness. They could be people who believe the same as you, but blinded by darkness. Pray for the Lord to open your eyes. Ask Him to reveal if your mind is playing tricks and there is somebody that you actually hate. This passage of Scripture reveals that the person who hates his brother will tell you that they love him while their actions prove otherwise. They are as spiritually blinded as one who is physically blind. John says the person who hates his brother doesn’t know he is in the dark and does not know where he is going. This is a sobering thought about which we need to pray.

The experience that is needed is found in I John 1:5–7: “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Is that the experience for which you are praying? Are you walking in the light? Remember, the person that is walking in the light is the one that loves his brother. It is lack of love that causes churches to split; it causes divorces, and it causes unhappiness between brothers and sisters.

“The cultivation of a uniform courtesy, a willingness to do to others as we would wish them to do to us, would annihilate [do away with] half the ills of life.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 132. How simple the remedy to cut down by fifty percent all of life’s trouble!

Jesus told His disciples of a new commandment that they love one another as He loved them. That was fresh in their minds after the resurrection, and the result was something that had never happened before. All squabbling and jealousy faded in view of the love that Jesus had displayed for them at the cross. It changed everything. The church today is in need of that same vision—we need to be anointed with eyesalve to heal our blindness and see the love of Jesus.

“Such a love the believers were ever to cherish. They were to go forward in willing obedience to the new commandment. So closely were they to be united with Christ that they would be enabled to fulfill all His requirements. Their lives were to magnify the power of a Saviour who could justify them by His righteousness.

“But gradually a change came. …” The Acts of the Apostles, 547, 548.

By the end of the first century:

  • They lost their first love and began to look for defects in others.
  • They dwelt upon mistakes.
  • They gave place to unkind criticism.
  • They lost sight of the Saviour and His love.
  • They became more strict in regard to outward ceremonies.
  • They became more particular about the theory than the practice of the faith. In their zeal to condemn others they overlooked their own errors.
  • They lost the brotherly love that Christ had enjoined.
  • And the saddest of all, they were unconscious of their loss. They didn’t know. They lost it, and they didn’t even know it.

“They did not realize that happiness and joy were going out of their lives and that, having shut the love of God out of their hearts, they would soon walk in darkness.” Ibid., 548.

O, friend, study that paragraph for yourself, The Acts of the Apostles, 548, and say, Lord, help me to not have that experience. Help me to get back my first love, and to love my neighbor like Jesus loves me, including those who are presently possessed of the devil.

Christianity has been wandering in a desert; the wilderness of this world, and most of the world, do not understand what Christianity really is, because they have never seen it in living form. Pray that we may receive the Holy Spirit, that we may exhibit brotherly love to those around us and prepare for the kingdom of heaven so others may be attracted to the Saviour.

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church of Free Seventh-day Adventists in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Editorial – The Bitterest Disappointment

The Bitterest Disappointment

When Jesus comes, many people who expect to go to heaven will be told that they are disallowed from entering there. In fact, this will happen to the great majority of professed Christians:

“The great mass of professing Christians will meet with bitter disappointment in the day of God. They have not upon their foreheads the seal of the living God. Lukewarm and halfhearted, they dishonor God far more than the avowed unbeliever. They grope in darkness, when they might be walking in the noonday light of the Word, under the guidance of One who never errs.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 970.

Jesus said that many who would call Him Lord would not be allowed into the kingdom of heaven even though they claimed that they had been filled with the Holy Spirit and had worked miracles and cast out demons. (See Matthew 7:21–23.)

This will be a more bitter disappointment than any previously experienced. “Saddest of all words that ever fell on mortal ear are those words of doom, ‘I know you not.’ ” Christ’s Object Lessons, 413.

“Among those to whom bitter disappointment will come at the day of final reckoning will be some who have been outwardly religious, and who apparently have lived Christian lives.” The Review and Herald, October 29, 1908.

How is it with you, friend? The Bible says we are to make our calling and election sure. How can we do this? Notice especially the emphasized words:

“Inquire every day: Am I sound to the core, or am I false-hearted? Entreat the Lord to save you from all deception on this point. Eternal interests are involved. While so many are panting after honor and greedy of gain, do you, my beloved brethren, be eagerly seeking the assurance of the love of God and crying: Who will show me how to make my calling and election sure?

“Satan carefully studies the constitutional sins of men, and then he begins his work of alluring and ensnaring them. We are in the thickest of temptations, but there is victory for us if we fight manfully the battles of the Lord. All are in danger. But if you walk humbly and prayerfully you will come forth from the proving process more precious than fine gold, even than the golden wedge of Ophir. If careless and prayerless, you will be as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.” [Emphasis added.] Testimonies, vol. 5, 97, 98.