World Mission Report, Round Table Discussion

Howard Anderson and Hector Perez: We are co-pastors of the Living Waters Church in Mount Dora, Florida. Our church is about four months old, and we are moving forward. We have established a prayer meeting and have Bible studies going with 25 to 30 people. We have plans to begin neighborhood literature distribution soon and cooking classes by early August. For a long time, Pastor Perez has had a burden to do a work for the Spanish people. There are millions and millions of Spanish speaking people who have never heard this message, and it is our responsibility to fulfill the gospel commission. We have people who are sincere and are willing to help, but we need your help. Our local church has already voted to sponsor time on one of the short wave radio stations, but we need some equipment with which to make recordings to supply the radio stations with. If you would like to help us in this endeavor, please contact us at the Living Waters Church (904)735-4897.

Ron Woolsey: I was born and raised a Seventh-day Adventist. I graduated from Southern Missionary College with a degree in theology, but that very year I left the faith and went into the world. During the years that followed, my family never stopped praying for me.

When I did accept the Lord about three years ago, I came to Steps to Life to take the Bible Worker training program and was rebaptized here.

Prior to my baptism, I had committed my life to the Lord and had said, “Wherever You ask me to go, I will go. Whatever You ask me to do, I will do.” The night I was baptized, some people from Arkansas asked me to come help them organize a church and be their pastor. I was still a student at STL, but every third week I would go to Arkansas and help them with their church. When I finished my training in May, I went full-time.

A few months later, Lena Falk, from Denmark, called to ask if I would come over and visit Romania. Since that time, I have been to Europe four times; and I will be going again in a few days. The burden of my message to those people has been victory over sin because of what the Lord has done for me.

It is the work of the synagogue of Satan to mingle evil with good. Have you ever heard somebody say, “There’s a lot of good in that,” and then they make excuses for what they are doing or listening to or eating because there is a lot of good in that? If there is a lot of good about something, there is probably a little bit of evil mixed in. In Europe we find that our beautiful Adventist message of victory over sin is being corrupted. As I gave my testimony in Romania, where everyone sits poker-faced without showing any expression, their faces lighted up when they heard about victory over sin. They started showing expression. Jesus promised in Genesis 3:15 that He would create hatred in the hearts of His people for sin. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” People around the world are finding this hatred for sin welling up within them as they respond to the work of the Holy Spirit. “Through all ages and in every nation those that believe that Jesus can and will save them personally from sin, are the elect and chosen of God; they are His peculiar treasure. They obey His call, and come out of the world and separate themselves from every unclean thought and unholy practice.” Review and Herald, August 1, 1893

Are you the elect? The elect of God are a people who believe in victory over sin. As the elect, once we fully believe that victory is ours, we can have victory in our lives and Christ can cleanse His sanctuary and us. This is only possible, however, as by faith we accept it.

The Narrow Way is trying to support three Bible workers in Romania. They are not accepted by the church. It is not that they are teaching error—they are bringing people to the Lord—but because they did not get permission to do the work that they are doing. As a result, these young men are facing some persecution.

One of them was receiving an allowance of $30 to $35 a month from his parents in Germany. With that, he was living in Romania, supporting another couple and their young son, and still managing somehow to save a little money. On our last trip, I learned that his parents were returning to Romania. I asked, “How are you going to continue your work and support?” He said, “I don’t know. The Lord always provides. I saved up some money and we will just try to keep on going.” I asked him if it would be all right if we supported him. He just looked at me and said, “Well, it really doesn’t matter because the Lord is going to take care of it.” I was humbled very quickly.

We had taken over about $800. We were able to support these two Bible workers in full-time Bible work for a whole year for $720.

I received a letter last week from a believer in the Czech Republic. He wrote to tell us that his whole church had just been expelled because they were inviting people like me to speak. He also mentioned John Grosboll and others of the Historic Adventist ministries.

When we were first over in Eastern Europe, the very thought of working outside the confines of the structure just terrified these people. As more people like ourselves visit them, they are finding that even if they are disbanded, they can still work for the Lord. It was because they had no concept of what it meant to be self-supporting workers, to work directly for the Lord, that they were so easily controlled. But as they have talked with us and found out that it is possible to work for the Lord without anyone’s permission, they are becoming greatly encouraged.

On our last trip in Romania, these laypeople were holding an evangelistic series in a small town of about 2,500 people. On their opening night they had 700 people in attendance. Three weeks later they still had over 500 people coming. The Calvinist church in the community began holding some meetings. Rather than have turmoil between the two churches, the Adventists ended their meetings after three weeks; but three weeks later, when the Calvinists were done, the people wanted more of the Adventist message, so meetings were begun again. Over 400 people attended.

One night during the week, we drove an hour and a half to a small town in which there were only four Adventists. They were all members of one family and had started a church in their home. The meeting was supposed to start at 7:30, but the hostess came out and asked, “Can you start the meeting at 8:00 instead?” I asked, “Yes, but if we start too late, we will get home really late.” She said, “The Calvinists are having their Easter week and they are all going to their church to prepare for services, but they want to be here.”

At five minutes till 8:00, there was nobody there; but by 8:00 the house was packed. I counted seventy people in the living room and later found out that there were more than twenty in the next room. They were all Calvinists, but I preached about victory over sin and they loved it.
My Romanian host said to me, “Ron, within a year we think that many Seventh-day Adventists are going to be disfellowshiped here in our country. When you come back, there will probably be many home churches.” Friends, I believe the Lord is raising up home churches all around the world. I think He is preparing places to bring the people out of Babylon. He is raising up places where they can come and find a home with God’s people. We need to remember these people in our prayers.

John Grosboll: I was recently sharing with a person about some of the different mission projects that Steps to Life is engaged in, television, radio, and short wave radio, and he asked me this question, “Is not the structure doing all those things?”

The devil is trying to confuse God’s people with all kinds of deceptions, and one of them is territorialism. We are not competing with each other. Several of us are doing some of the same things, but we are not embarrassed about that. There is plenty of work for everyone.

When we first published Bible lessons and started our Bible Correspondence School, there had been others that had Bible correspondence schools and that had published Bible lessons and Bible studies before; but we did not say, “Well, somebody else has done it, so we will not do it.” Do you realize, friends, that for almost any kind of evangelism, there is someone else who has at least tried it? Do not let the devil deceive you into thinking that you can just relax because someone at one of these ministries is going to get on television or radio and finish the work. Friends, we need to realize that every single one of us has a part. While we believe it is important, the work is not going to be finished by a few people. Every one of us has to have a part. I hope that while you are reading these reports that you are thinking in your mind, what can I do?

From the beginning, one of our objectives at Steps to Life, has been to help God’s people to have a part in finishing the work. There are a lot of God’s people who want to do something but who do not know what to do. If there is anyone reading this who wants to help to finish God’s work in their area by using television or radio, we want to help you. We can supply you with tapes of radio scripts. We can get you video tapes that can be shown on television.

To be successful on TV or radio, you need a hook in your program. You need to advertise something that will attract the people who are interested in what you have to say. It was to meet this need that we started our first Bible correspondence school in conjunction with our TV program. We can help you to start a Bible correspondence school, even if you have no television or radio program. While television and radio are very helpful in putting you in contact with people, you can get a Bible correspondence school started without them.

Several years ago we started publishing small booklets. While some are for Adventists, some were written for non-Adventist people. My brother was very interested in the space program; and because he was a pastor on the East Coast, he personally knew some of the people in the space program. He was in California when the Challenger space shuttle went down and later preached two sermons on the uncertainty of life and how to have eternal life. We took those two sermons and published them in a booklet titled The Uncertainty of Life.

Somebody Cares is another booklet that Marshall wrote a few days before he died. It has had a phenomenal acceptance, not just in the U.S. but also in Europe. It has been translated into German, Hungarian, Romanian, and Latvian.

The very first booklet that Marshall wrote was How to Study the Bible. We have found that it is a very excellent missionary booklet to get Bible studies started. We have also published the booklet How to Stop Smoking. All of these booklets are excellent books for outreach.

After you have given the Bible studies and the people have accepted Jesus as their personal Saviour, then what are you going to do? They are little babes in Christ, and now they need to grow. Friends, you might need to organize a home church in your area. If you do, we are here to help you.

If I understand the Spirit of Prophecy correctly, before the Lord comes, during the time of the latter rain and the loud cry, there are going to be memorials to God raised up in every city and town. This does not necessarily mean that there will be a church building, but there will be many home churches like it was in the days of the apostles.

If the Holy Spirit is speaking to you, telling you that there needs to be a lighthouse, a memorial to God, where you live, listen to His voice. You do not have to have a great number of people to start a home church. Jesus said that you only need to have two. (See Matthew 18.) If the Holy Spirit is impressing your mind that you need to start a home church and you do not know why or how to do it, please contact us.

Bob Trefz: We would like to work with Hector on getting him started in Spanish broadcasting. We know of a radio station in Honduras that broadcasts targeting the East Coast of the United States; and in so doing, they hit the Caribbean area and Inter-America, but they are heard regularly in Europe and Japan. Biblical Studies Institute is going to finance Hector as soon as we can make the arrangements with the radio station. We will provide him with a musical soundtrack for his opening and closing. We encourage you to send your funds in to Hector and Howard’s ministry to promote this work. As the funds come in, he will be able to go on other stations. There is a big station in Miami that targets South America, WRMI, and we have been in contact with them.

There are tens of millions of Spanish-speaking people that need to get the message. We have the software, but we have been so busy taking care of the English that we have had no time yet to get into the Spanish.

My sister and her husband sent out cards advertising The Great Controversy. I cannot believe the response they are getting. Not only are people ordering The Great Controversy by the hundreds, but people are requesting Bible studies. Their home church spends hours on Sabbath afternoon grading the papers and sending them out, but they can hardly keep up with it. It is absolutely astounding. Also, they are showing Steps to Life on television every Sunday in their area.

We have a home church in Oklahoma that is sponsoring Biblical Studies Institute’s radio tapes over their local station. These are tapes that we prepared for short wave radio and can be obtained for use on a station in your area.

Though the negotiations are not yet closed, we are negotiating with a giant station in the area that used to be the Soviet Union. This station hooks together three 500 kilowatt transmitters equaling 1.5 mega-watts of transmitter power. As far as we know, this station is three times as powerful as any station in North America. We are at the stage now of giving them the time slots that we are interested in. The Lord willing, Steps to Life, Modern Manna, and Biblical Studies Institute are all planning to purchase time on this station. For this project, as well as the Spanish radio program, funds are now needed.

The End

Life and Health – Raisin Pecan Whole Wheat Bread

Bread is a universal language! Bread has played a vital role in history for thousands of years, and each country has its various types. In the Middle East we find the Pita Bread which has become so popular here. From Mexico we have the Tortilla, likewise popular. We find the Hunzas and Indians with Chapati; the Chinese with Pao Ping, and the Arabic with Balady and Tannouri. In the United States alone over 40 million loaves are produced by the bakers every 24 hours! interestingly we find that about a fourth of the world likes its bread baked without leavening—India, Iran, Armenia, and parts of Scandanavia.

With this interesting history we turn to our own beloved Spirit of Prophecy and read: “There is more religion in a good loaf of bread than many think.” CDF pg. 316. “It is a religious duty for every Christian girl and woman to learn at once to make good, sweet, light bread from unbolted wheat flour.” ST pg. 684. “Bread should be thoroughly baked, inside and out. The health of the stomach demands that it be light and dry.” MS 34 (1899) Does it seem possible in this day and age of modern invention and so much apparently “good” bread on the market, that this instruction could be a little antiquated? Do we really KNOW what is in the bread that we buy? One thing that is of vital importance to our health, is to begin at once to READ the labels of EVERYTHING we purchase and be knowledgeable concerning their contents. It might be quite shocking to you to know that in some “high fiber” bread the high fiber turned out to be cellulose derived from wood! Equally distressing to a vegetarian comes the knowledge that Mono and Diglycerides which add the incredible softness to your breads and baked goods are derived from animal sources, including the pig, unless otherwise stated.

A few years ago there appeared an article in one of the popular magazines labeled, “Expert Calls Bread Not Fit For Rats.” Another, “Bread Buyers, Beware!” Surely we cannot improve on God’s instructions to the Remnant! The good news is that bread is a necessity, from Bible times it has been the “staff of Life” and the Lord has told us what ingredients are the most healthful. Did you know that ONE piece of whole wheat bread contains as much fiber as FIVE heads of lettuce. And we are all aware of the necessity of fiber in our diet and the latest medical findings about low fiber diets and cancer. “White flour is not the best, its use is neither healthful nor economical. Fine-flour bread is lacking in nutritive elements to be found in bread made from the whole wheat.” MR pg. 300 “All wheat flour is not best for a continuous diet. A mixture of wheat, oatmeal, and rye would be more nutritious.” Letter 91, 1898 “Zwieback, or twice-baked bread, is one of the most easily digested and most palatable of foods. Let ordinary raised bread be cut in slices and dried in a warm oven till the last trace of moisture disappears. In a dry place this bread can be kept much longer than ordinary bread, and if reheated before using, it will be as fresh as when new.” MH pg. 300-302.

Oh, how I look forward to that glorious day when we shall eat the bread from Heaven, when Jesus Himself will take us to that table of pure silver, and we hear Him say, “Come, my people, you have come out of great tribulation, and done My will; suffered for me; come in to supper, for I will gird Myself, and serve you. And we shall see the Manna on that exquisite table, and eat of Angel’s Food. May God help each of us to be willing to give up all in this life that would hinder us from obtaining that immortal prize!


Mix Together:

3 Cups Whole Wheat Flour 3 Tablespoons Do-Pep

1 Cup Oat flour ¼ Teaspoon Vitamin C Powder

1 ½ Teaspoons Sea Salt


2-3 Tablespoons Fruit Source Syrup or Honey with enough distilled water to equal 2 Cups. Warm this liquid to proper temperature for yeast to work.

Add this to the dry ingredients, stir well, and knead for 10 minutes.

Add 1 Cup Raisins, and l Cup Pecans, or Walnuts,

and knead thoroughly to distribute nuts and raisins evenly.

Allow to rise until double in bulk, push down and let rise the second time.

Then place in pans to bake and let rise double in bulk, and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

If you have an automatic Bread Maker, this is an ideal recipe.

Follow the instructions on last month’s recipe page.

Enjoy with us this delicious, healthful Bread!

Happy baking,
Marjorie Coulson

The Early Hussite Wars

Jerome, hearing of the arrest of Huss, quickly made his way to Constance in the hope of being able to be of some help to him. Upon his arrival, it became apparent to him that he was not going to be able to help his beloved master, but that he was in great danger himself. He attempted to flee and was well on his way to Prague when he was arrested and returned in chains to Constance.

Soon thereafter, a letter arrived from the barons of Bohemia, which convinced the council that it had been self-deceived when it had convinced itself that it was done with Huss when it threw his ashes into the Rhine. Very clearly a storm was brewing; and should they plant a second stake, it would all too certainly burst upon them. It was, therefore, decided that it would be most prudent to induce Jerome to recant, and to this the council now directed its efforts. They brought Jerome before them, depressed in mind and sick in body from four months of confinement in a noisome dungeon. When offered the alternative of recanting or the stake, he yielded to the council.

The retraction that Jerome gave was, however, a very qualified one. He submitted himself to the council and subscribed to the justice of its condemnation of the articles of Wycliffe and Huss, saving and excepting the “holy truths” which they had taught; and he promised to live and die in the Catholic faith.

There were men, however, who were determined that Jerome should pay the penalty for his errors, and a new list of charges were preferred against him. Meanwhile, from his cell, Jerome had an opportunity to reflect on what he had done. As he contrasted the peace of mind he had enjoyed before his retraction with the doubts that now darkened his soul, he realized that it was a gulf with no bottom into which he was about to throw himself. As he looked to His Saviour, his faith grew strong and peace returned to his soul.

The new charges were communicated to Jerome in prison, but he refused to answer and demanded a public hearing. On May 23, 1416, he was taken to the cathedral church where the council had assembled to consider his cause.

Greatly fearing the effect of his words, the fathers demanded a simple “Yes” or “No” answer. ” ‘What injustice! What cruelty!’ exclaimed Jerome. ‘You have held me shut up three hundred and forty days in a frightful prison, in the midst of filth, noisomeness, stench, and the utmost want of everything. You then bring me out before you, and lending an ear to my mortal enemies, you refuse to hear me. If you be really wise men, and the lights of the world, take care not to sin against justice. As for me, I am only a feeble mortal; my life is but of little importance; and when I exhort you not to deliver an unjust sentence, I speak less for myself than for you.’ ” Wylie, The History of Protestantism, vol. 1, 171

The uproar that followed his words drowned out any further words. When the storm had abated, it was decided that he should be fully heard three days later.

At his earlier hearing, Jerome had subscribed to the justice of Huss’s condemnation; and at his second hearing he bitterly repented of this wrong, done in a moment of cowardice. Having known Huss since childhood, he stated that he knew him to be of a most excellent character. He continued, “Of all the sins that I have committed since my youth, none weighs so heavily on my mind, and causes me such poignant remorse, as that which I committed in this fatal place, when I approved of the iniquitous sentence recorded against Wycliffe, and against the holy martyr John Huss, my master and my friend. . . . You condemned Wycliffe and Huss, not because they shook the faith, but because they branded with reprobation the scandals of the clergy—their pomp, their pride, and their luxuriousness.” Ibid., 172

These words signaled another tumult in the assembly. From all sides the cry was raised: “What need is there of further proof? The most obstinate of heretics is before us.”

“Unmoved by the tempest, Jerome exclaimed: ‘What! do you suppose that I fear to die? You have held me for a whole year in a frightful dungeon, more horrible than death itself. You have treated me more cruelly than a Turk, Jew, or pagan, and my flesh has literally rotted off my bones alive; and yet I make no complaint, for lamentation ill becomes a man of heart and spirit; but I cannot but express my astonishment at such great barbarity toward a Christian.’ ” The Great Controversy, 114

Jerome was carried back to his cell to await sentencing.

On May 30, 1416, Jerome was brought out to receive his sentence. The townspeople, drawn from their homes by the rumor of what was about to take place, crowded to the cathedral gates to watch.

As Jerome was conducted through the city and out to the place of execution, with a cheerful countenance he began to loudly sing. As they arrived at the place, he kneeled down and began to pray. He was still praying when his executioners raised him up, and with cords and chains, bound him to the stake, which had been carved into something that was a rude likeness of Huss.

When the executioner, about to kindle the pile, stepped behind him, the martyr checked him: ” ‘Come forward,’ said he, ‘and kindle the pile before my face; for had I been afraid of the fire I should not be here.’ ” Wylie, The History of Protestantism, 2, vol. 1, 176

Though the light bearers had perished, the light to the truths they proclaimed could not be extinguished.

In Bohemia, the deaths of Huss and Jerome sent a thrill of indignation and horror throughout the country. All ranks, from the highest to the lowest, were stirred by what had taken place; and every day the flame of popular indignation burned more fiercely. It was evident that a terrible outburst of pent-up wrath was about to be witnessed.

But deeper feelings were at work among the Bohemian people than those of anger. The faith which had been so notably evident in the lives of the martyrs was contrasted with the faith of those who had so basely murdered them, and the contrast was found to be very unfavorable to the latter. The writings of Wycliffe, which had escaped the flames, were read and compared with such portions of Holy Writ as were accessible to the people, resulting in a wide acceptance of the evangelical doctrines. The new ideas gained ground daily, and the adherents came to be known as Hussites.

The throne of Bohemia was at that time filled by Wenceslaus, who gave loose reins to his low propensities and vices. He cared little whether his subjects remained within the paths of orthodoxy or strayed into heresy. His dislike for the priests led him to turn a deaf ear to their pleadings that he forbid the preaching of the new doctrines, and he secretly rejoiced at the progress of the gospel teaching.

Meanwhile, back in Constance, the most pressing matter was the selection of a new pope; and on November 14, 1417, the cardinals announced that they had chosen Otho de Colonna. Upon receiving the position, he chose the name of Martin V.

Though the citizens of Bohemia were aflame with indignation, they had no one to organize or lead them. It was at this time that a most remarkable man came to the forefront to organize the nation and lead its armies. John Trocznowski, better known as Ziska, who was chamberlain to Wenceslaus, came to the rescue.

The shock that the martyrdom of Huss gave to the nation was not unfelt by Ziska in the palace. The gay courtier suddenly became thoughtful and quiet. One day the monarch, surprised by his thoughtful mood, exclaimed at finding him so. ” ‘I cannot brook the insult offered to Bohemia at Constance by the murder of John Huss,’ replied the chamberlain. ‘Where is the use,’ said the king, ‘of vexing one’s self about it? Neither you nor I have the means of avenging it. But,’ continued the king, thinking doubtless that Ziska’s fit would soon pass off, ‘if you are able to call the emperor and Council to account, you have my permission.’ ‘Very good, my gracious master,’ rejoined Ziska, ‘will you be pleased to give me your permission in writing?’ Wenceslaus, who liked a joke, and deeming that such a document would be perfectly harmless in the hands of one who had neither friends, nor money, nor soldiers, gave Ziska what he asked under the royal seal.” Ibid., 183

Ziska , who accepted the authorization as no joke, bided his time until the right opportunity should present itself. It soon came. The pope had sent his legate to Bohemia to ascertain how matters stood. In his report, the legate stated that the tongue and pen were no longer of any use and that without further ado, it was high time to take arms against such obstinate heretics. This further stimulated the excitement already felt in Prague where the burghers were assembled to deliberate on the measures to be adopted in avenging the nations’ insulted honor and defending its threatened independence.

Suddenly, Ziska appeared, armed with the royal authorization. The citizens were embolden when they saw one who stood so high, as they believed, in the favor of the king, putting himself at their head. They were led to conclude that Wenceslaus was also with them, but in this they were mistaken. The factions within the city became more embittered every day, and a tumult and massacre broke out against the Catholics. The king, hearing the news of the outrage, was so excited that he had a fit of apoplexy and died a few days later.

Once the king was dead, the queen espoused the side of the Catholics and the tumults broke out anew. For a whole week the fighting continued, resulting in considerable bloodshed and the pillaging of the convents. Emperor Sigismund, brother of the deceased Wenceslaus, now claimed the crown of Bohemia and marched on Prague to take possession of the crown. The Bohemians, however, resolved on resistance, and the pent-up tempest burst.

The Hussites had agreed to meet on Michaelmas Day, 1419, on a plain not far from Prague to celebrate the Eucharist. On the day appointed, 40,000 from all the surrounding towns and villages assembled and partook of the Communion. It was a very simple affair; and when it was concluded, they took up a collection to give to the man on whose ground they had met. Before parting, they agreed to a second meeting to take place before Martinmas.

The matter became known, and it was determined that the second meeting would not be allowed to pass so quietly. A body of the emperor’s troops were sent to lie in ambush. The knowledge of this was given to the approaching Hussites. Being armed only with walking staves, they sent messengers to the towns behind them, begging assistance. A small body of soldiers was dispatched to their aid; and in the conflict which followed, the imperial cavalry, though a superior force, was put to flight.

The die had been cast; and the Bohemians were involved in a conflict, the scope of which they but little dreamed. The Turks, with no thought of intentionally aiding them, struck the empire from the opposite side, thus dividing the emperor’s forces. Ziska, recognizing this Providential occurrence, hurriedly rallied the whole of Bohemia before the emperor could ease the situation with the Moslems and before the bands of Germany, summoned by the pope, should arrive. He at once issued a manifesto in which he invoked both the religion and the patriotism of his country men. In it he said, “Remember your first encounter, when you were few against many, unarmed against well-armed men. The hand of God has not been shortened. Have courage, and be ready. May God strengthen you!” Ibid., 185

The appeal put forth by Ziska was responded to with a burst of enthusiasm. From all parts of the country, the people rallied to the standard. Unfortunately, these hastily assembled masses were but poorly disciplined, and still more poorly armed. This shortage was, however, supplied in a way that they but little dreamed of.

They had but scarcely begun their march toward the capital when they encountered a body of imperial cavalry. They quickly routed, captured, and disarmed them, thus gaining the weapons they so desperately needed. Marching on to Prague, they entered the city and proceeded to sack the monasteries which were known for their beauty. The treasure taken, which was immense, went a long way to defray the expenses of the war.

Sigismund deemed it prudent to come to terms with the Turks that he might more effectively deal with the Hussites. Assembling an army of 100,000 men of various nationalities, he marched on Prague, now in possession of the Hussites, and laid siege to it. The citizens, under the brave Ziska, drove them with disgrace from the field. The imperial forces avenged themselves by committing atrocities in their retreat.

A second attempt was made to take Prague the same year, resulting only in further disgrace to the imperial forces, who again marked their retreat by outrages against the populace.

In the war that followed, the small nation of Bohemia was pitted against the combined nations of Europe. No one can doubt that the hand of Providence covered them as Ziska won battle after battle. He completely outmaneuvered the armies of the emperor, overwhelming them by surprises and baffling them by new and masterly tactics.

The cause for which they fought had a hallowing effect on the conduct in the camps of the Hussites. Often in their marches they were preceded by their pastors, reminiscent of the march of Jehoshaphat against the combined forces of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir when the priests led the army with singing. In the rear of the army the women followed, tending the sick and wounded; and in cases of necessity, working on the ramparts.

This struggle by the Bohemians, reluctant to unsheathe the sword, taught their enemies a lesson long remembered. Their struggle paved the way for the quiet entrance of the Reformation a century later. Charles V long pondered the situation before lending his sword to the cause of the papacy, well remembering the terrible price that had been extracted from those who sought by conflict of arms to crush the Hussites.

Ziska , the greatest general that ever lived, had been deprived of the sight in one of his eyes by an accident in boyhood. During the course of the war, at the siege of Raby, ziska lost the other and was now entirely blind. In spite of this apparent setback, he demonstrated a marvelous genius for arranging an army and directing its movements. When an action was about to take place, he would call a few officers around him and have them describe the nature of the ground and the position of the enemy. His arrangement was instantly made as, if by intuition, he saw the course the battle must run and the successive maneuvers by which victory was to be gained. His inner eye surveyed the whole field and watched every movement.

One contributing factor to his brilliant successes was his manner of arranging his defense. The wooden wagons were linked to one another by strong iron chains, and, ranged in line, were placed in front of the army. This fortification, ranged in the form of a circle, at times enclosed the whole army. Behind this first rampart rose a second wall formed by the long wooden shields of the soldiers, stuck in the ground. The movable walls were formidable obstructions to the German cavalry. Mounted on heavy horses and armed with pikes and battle-axes, they had to force their way through this double fortification before they could close with the Bohemians. All the while they were hewing their way through the wagons, the Bohemian archers were plying them with their arrows. It was a thinned and exhausted force that at length was able to join battle with the foe.

Even when engaged in battle, they found themselves at a disadvantage. The Bohemians were armed with long iron flails which they swung with great force and accuracy, allowing them to crash through the brazen helmet of their opponents. Moreover, they carried long spears which had hooks attached with which they speedily brought the German horsemen to the ground and dispatched them. In addition to numerous skirmishes and many sieges, Ziska fought sixteen pitched battles, all from which he returned a conqueror.

Suddenly Ziska ’s career was ended. It was not in battle that he fell but by the plague. He died October 11, 1424. By his hand, God had humbled the haughty pride of that power which had sought to trample the convictions and consciences of his countrymen in the dust, filling Europe with the fear of his name. The little nation laid him to rest with a sorrow more universal and profound than that with which she had buried any of her kings.

The End

Anti Sacerdotalism

“Sacerdotalism” comes from the French word for a priest, sacerdos. Sacerdotalism is the belief in the holiness or higher spiritual level of a priesthood. Raised a Roman Catholic, I can well testify to the elevation of the priesthood above the level of mere mortals. Roman Catholics firmly believe, “Once a priest, always a priest.” This concept requires the belief that the act of ordination confers on a man superior spiritual power and status that he does not naturally have.

An outgrowth of this theology is that priests can virtually do no wrong, but it was Jesuits who took the idea of the sacredness of the priests to new levels. Father Benzi even reasoned, starting from the premise of sacerdotalism, “It is only a slight offense [for a priest] to feel the breasts of a nun.” The Secret History of the Jesuits, 65

Martin Luther recognized the true essence of Roman Catholicism: “The authority of the Roman Catholic Church is built on the sacraments as the exclusive channel of grace and on the exclusive control of these by the clergy. The Church has become synonymous with the clergy; the congregation was not considered an integral part of it, merely an outside beneficiary and subject to it.” Luther Alive, Simon, Doubleday 1968, 223. Thus he clearly recognized that sacerdotalism, the prerequisite for sacramentalism, leads to a papal, authoritarian church.

“Above all, he [Luther] tried to carry out two fundamental innovations: the abolition of celibacy and the transfer to congregations of the right to elect pastors.” Road to Reformation, Boehmer, Muhlenberg Press, Philadelphia, 1946, 337

In attacking celibacy, Luther was really attacking church authoritarianism; but he went even farther. He said, “Every Christian is himself able and empowered to proclaim the Word of God. But just because everyone has this right, no individual may put himself forward and exercise this right without the approval and command of the others. The official exercise of this right is to be regarded as a service entrusted to someone by the Christian community, and consequently it can also be withdrawn again. In this respect it is like the office of burgomaster or other offices of shorter or longer tenure. If a clergyman is removed from his office by the community for any cause whatsoever, he once again becomes a peasant or burgher like other people.” Ibid., 338, 339

In his Notes on the New Testament (comments on Revelation 13:6, 1812 edition, 363), John Wesley cites the fact that in 1143, Celestine II was “by an important innovation, chosen to the popedom without the suffrage of the people, the right of choosing the pope is taken from the people, and afterwards from the clergy, and lodged in the cardinals alone.” Wesley cited this as evidence that the rise of the papacy was identical to the rise of the beast of Revelation 13! Thus he evaluates the action of removing the choice of pastor from the local congregation as satanic.

In about 1510, the French Reformation began at the Sorbonne with Lefavre. His doctrines, derived from Scripture, were essentially identical with those of Luther, even though Luther was not heard of in France for another five years. Lefavre passed the Protestant faith on to many disciples, one of whom was bishop Briconnet of the city of Meaux.

Briconnet embraced and spread the truth of the reformed doctrine until he was brought face to face with the threat of being burned at the stake. Sadly to say, he recanted; but “among the disciples at Meaux was a humble wool-comber of the name of Leclerc. Taught of the Spirit, he was ‘mighty in the Scriptures,’ and being a man of courage as well as knowledge, he came forward when Briconnet apostatised, and took the oversight of the flock which the bishop had deserted. Leclerc had received neither tonsure nor imposition of hands, but the Protestant Church of France had begun thus early to act upon the doctrine of a universal spiritual priesthood.” Wylie, History of Protestantism, vol. 2, 143 [Emphasis supplied]

Clearly, in choosing a layman who had neither been a monk nor ordained, the simple Protestants of France have left us their record of their rejection of the doctrine of sacerdotalism.

The pinnacle of sacerdotalism is the popery. Wylie, in History of Protestantism, vol. 1, chapter 6, 88–93, documents one evil perpetrated upon the English people in the fourteenth century by this system. The pope claimed the right to appoint all religious officers throughout the world, and therefore would appoint whomever he chose to the pastorate of English churches. It was not uncommon for him to appoint nine and ten year old Italians, who spoke neither Latin nor English, to the pastorate of English churches, setting a large price for their sustenance. In the absence of the official “pastor,” an Englishman, willing to take the job for considerably less money, was appointed to act in behalf of the official pastor. The difference between that which was charged by Rome and that which the English pastor actually received was part of the revenue received by the pope. Using today’s monetary values, it might work like this. Pick out an ignorant Italian lad and set a annual salary of $100,000. Then delegate the job out to an Englishman for $30,000 per year. The pope then collects a net of $70,000 a year for nothing and keeps complete control of all of the churches in England.

In 1372, the English Parliament estimated that the pope was extracting five times as much revenue from England as was the King of England! Worse yet, as the pope was a Frenchman living in France at Avignon, and as there was a war going on between England and France, part of the English gold was being used to pay mercenaries to fight for France!

Sacerdotalism demands that the higher class have greater privileges. The Jesuits, who seem to outdo all other Catholics at carrying theology to extremes, have concluded that,

“If a Father, yielding to temptation, abuses a woman and she publishes what has happened, and, because of it, dishonors him, this same Father can kill her to avoid disgrace!” Secret History of the Jesuits, 65

Unfortunately, the plague of sacerdotalism has entered the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Even pastors who commit open sins, such as adultery, and even outright crimes, such as theft, go virtually unreproved. A case in point occurred in Arizona in 1988–1989. A pastor, with whom I am familiar, was caught in the act of stealing material with a value in excess of $400 from the local Sears store. The evidence strongly suggested that this was not the first time that he had been involved in such activities. Bail was posted, however, and after spending a night in jail, he was released. At the request of parties unannounced, a closed trial was held. Though by his own admission the pastor was found guilty, he apparently received only probation. Incredibly, this pastor never missed a single paycheck during the whole affair and was rapidly relocated to Southern California where he continued to serve as pastor!

New theology comes from the pastorate.

It is clear that the source for the new theology entering our churches is the pastors. In every case that I have personally seen, it is only the laymen who stand up and fight against the perverted new theology of the pastors. This is no accident. It is a product of sacerdotalism.

Let us not forget that it was not lay members who preached to Soviet Adventists that they should break Sabbath by sending their children to school on Sabbath. It was also the leadership of Soviet Adventism that told Adventists to break the sixth commandment by bearing arms in the military in the 1920s. It was the German Division officials of Adventism who told Adventists to take up arms in the First World War. The pattern is clear.

Celebration is introduced from the top down.

An even greater evil than the new theology is the celebration movement. This movement, by its very nature, contradicts the concept of an ongoing judgment in heaven. It was introduced, promoted, and pushed on our people by the leaders and pastors.

But the plot against the truth by the leaders of the organized structure goes much further. A friend of mine, before taking part in a conference-sponsored trip to Magadan (eastern seaboard of the former Soviet Union), reported that he was forbidden to bring any Russian materials not previously approved by the conference. When he arrived at his destination, all of the American arrivals were warned during their orientation session that two people from the previous group were sent home because they had brought literature to distribute. My friend, however, had taken a backpack loaded with Bible studies in Russian, as well as Russian Bibles. In addition, I had furnished him with a plasticized card that said, “Hi! I am a dumb American who does not speak Russian, and I have a free Bible and a set of Bible studies for you. If you want them, just smile and shake my hand.”

On a day when he had no work, my friend took his backpack with the ten Bibles and sets of lessons he had brought with him, out on the streets of Magadan. He soon met a young couple walking down the street and presented his card to them. They read the message and reread it again. After a brief consultation between themselves, they gave him a big smile and pumped his hand. Taking off his backpack he placed it on the ground. By the time he got it open and reached up to hand out the promised Bible and studies, there were ten sets of hands reaching out to receive the treasure!

Worse yet, a worker at a major independent Adventist facility reported on her recent (1993) trip to Odessa (in the Ukraine on the Black Sea) that upon questioning the people coming for baptism, it was revealed that they had no knowledge of the mark of the beast, the significance of Babylon in the Bible, and had not so much as heard of the seventh-day Sabbath. Not only did those people, prepared for baptism by Seventh-day Adventist evangelists, not have any knowledge of the three angels’ messages, they did not even know about the biblical Sabbath!

Scriptural authority for anti sacerdotalism is plentiful. Jesus said, “Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister.” Mark 10:42, 43

Peter wrote, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5

The Bible firmly supports the priesthood of all believers, not the priesthood of a small minority. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” 1 Peter 2:9

“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:6

Martin Luther reasoned it this way: “The Christian does not need a human mediator to enter into relationship with God; and God, for His part, does not need such mediators to communicate with man. Every Christian is himself able and empowered to proclaim the Word of God. But just because everyone has this right, no individual may put himself forward and exercise this right without the approval and command of the others. The official exercise of this right is to be regarded as a service entrusted to someone by the Christian community, and consequently it can also be withdrawn again. In this respect it is like the office of burghomaster or other offices of shorter or longer tenure. If a clergyman is removed from his office by the community for any cause whatsoever, he once again becomes a peasant or burgher like other people. What distinguishes the clergyman from his fellow-burghers is merely the service which has been entrusted to him, not a special supernatural faculty (character indelibilis) which is bestowed in ordination and never again lost.” Road to Reformation, Boehmer, Muhlenberg Press, Philadelphia, 1946, 332, 333

Luther also explicitly denied the authority of the church to claim the power over sacraments: “But cannot the church, that is, the communion of true believers, create new sacraments of her own making?

“She cannot, for the church is not the creator of revelation, but the creature of revelation. She does not stand above, but under, the Word of God to which she owes her existence.” Ibid., 324

The Spirit of Prophecy speaks directly against both hierarchy and sacerdotalism.

“Special instruction has been given me for God’s people, for perilous times are upon us. . . . In the church, man’s power is gaining the ascendancy; those who have been chosen to occupy positions of trust think it their prerogative to rule.

“Men whom the Lord calls to important positions in His work are to cultivate a humble dependence upon Him. They are not to seek to embrace too much authority; for God has not called them to a work of ruling but to plan and counsel with their fellow laborers.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 270

The real job of the pastor in the church is spelled out for us. “Just as soon as a church is organized, let the minister set the members at work. They will need to be taught how to labor successfully. Let the minister devote more of his time to educating than to preaching.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 20

Clearly the Spirit of Prophecy yields a different view of the church than does the papacy!

It is the right and duty of the congregation to choose their own pastor. Considering the theological brain damage being inflicted on the unsuspecting by the pastors, it behooves all Seventh-day Adventist congregations to thoroughly inspect and test the theology of any pastor appointed them by the conference.

I have earlier cited the position and practice of the great Reformers in regard to laymen in the pulpit. The Spirit of Prophecy goes even farther. “There are times when it is fitting for our ministers to give on the Sabbath, in our churches, short discourses, full of the life and love of Christ. But the church members are not to expect a sermon every Sabbath.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 19

In closing, if we Adventists had put into practice what we have learned here, it would have put a rapid end to the errors and abominations brought in by sacerdotalism. In simply refusing to accept conference pastors who fail to preach unadulterated truth, we would have put a stop to their ability to introduce error and lead the people astray. This would have nullified the impact of the wolves that are currently running rampant among the flock and would have destroyed the main conduit for the new theology that is coming down from non-Adventist theologians that have instructed Seventh-day Adventist teachers and pastors.

May we Historic Adventists learn from the past!

The End

The Indifferent Church Of Laodicea

In this study, I would like to consider the indifferent church. I believe that God has a people who are going to be ready to meet Him when He comes and that this is going to be His church. What, however, would happen if these people were to become indifferent—indifferent to the gospel, indifferent to the signs of the times, indifferent to things that are going on in the world? What if they even became indifferent to one another? Perhaps we have adopted the attitude that we could care less whether we did anything or not to hasten the coming of the Lord. Very few people will admit that; but sometimes, by our fruits we are known. If, however, we understand by Scripture that we can hasten the coming of the Lord, then we should be looking around for something that we can do to hasten that coming. Is not that right?

Being raised in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, one of the hard things for me to do is to admit that Laodicea, the lukewarm church that really needs to be revived, is talking about us. It is hard to put ourselves in the right position and to say that this is the church that God was speaking about, to admit that we are lukewarm and need a change—a revival. There is counsel throughout the Spirit of Prophecy identifying our church as being in the Laodicean state. When we read how lukewarm we are and of our need for a revival, we say, “Well, yes, but it can not be quite that bad.” It is horrible! In fact, it is worse than that. We need a change. God wants that change to come about in our lives. To be indifferent and lukewarm is to be taken by the enemy.

Satan wants to trap God’s church. What does a person do when he is setting a trap? Does he just set the trap out in the open and say, “Hey, come on; get in this thing”? No! He camouflages it, hides it, puts things over it. And so, you are caught before you know it. You did not intend to get in that trap. You really did not want to make that mistake; but, dear friends, somewhere along the line, you took your eyes off of Jesus.

We have to realize that we are to be a witness to all the world; and when we are the kind of witness we need to be, Jesus will come. When the light of the Holy Spirit burns within us, we are going to see that it will draw people to us. Is it not sad that we, as God’s last-day church, having the last message going to all the world, find it so difficult to find people who even want to study the Bible with us? Could it be, dear friends, that we are not in the right relationship where God can use us to study with someone? Could it be that we need a change in our lives? When we are changed, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit of God, then God can use us to reach out and touch others.

People say, “I have been in the church for years, and I have never led a soul to Christ.” Dear friends, what is wrong? I am not trying to scold you; I am wanting you to think with me. The purpose for our being here is to win souls for God’s kingdom. Is that not right? Are we usable for Christ, or are we used up? If you love your fellowman like you say you do, you are going to be praying, begging, and pleading that God will give avenues, open up doors, that you may be able to reach some souls for Him before it is everlastingly too late. I cannot help it; it is always impressed on my mind how many thousands have gone to Christless graves. They are going to burn in hell, dear friends. Why? Because we did not do our job.

When we get to the kingdom, will there not be those who will be there who will come up to us and say, “It is because of what you said or what you did that I am here”? We will, of course, realize that we could do nothing of ourselves, so we will point them to Jesus; but they will recognize us as a willing vessel that Jesus used. They will recognize us as the one who put our arm around them when they needed someone, as the one who mentioned the name of Jesus, or who smiled at them. People have made my day sometimes when they just smiled. They do not have to say anything, just smile.

Oh, how we need to be pleading on our knees. We are either going to heaven or we are going to hell; it is just that simple. And you will have to decide where it is going to be. Only you can decide; salvation is very individual. It would be nice if we could go as couples and groups. Every person is going to have to give an account. Every person has to give an account to God individually; so I can never apologize, dear friends, for advocating that God must be first in our lives. Jesus said, “If you put anyone before Me, you are not worthy of Me.”

I get so tired of hearing people say that they have to sow their oats. You sow some oats and you are going to reap a crop. The crop does not come up overnight. Many times it comes up a lot later; but what you sow will eventually surface, and people will know what you have been sowing. Now is the time, dear friends, to be sowing righteousness and the love of Jesus and instilling it in the hearts of our children and in the church, when we so desperately need changes.

Satan knows what is going on. He knows what will take place when he causes us to neglect secret prayer. He knows what will take place when we are not searching the Scriptures, so he keeps us away from that.

Very few who believe that Jesus is coming are spending sufficient time in prayer each and every day. Now do not ask me what sufficient time is. The Bible does not say that we have to spend so many minutes or so many hours, but we need to recognize that we need more help than ever before since the enemy is consolidating and coming together and is going to throw everything at God’s people. Our only safety is in keeping our hand in the hand of God, staying on our knees, and spending time in the Word of God.

Every day we need to be putting on the whole armor of God. That is our protection. I think of the armor as being something like the manna. If you did not get out and get that manna, when the sun come up, it melted. If a person slept in, he did not eat. We ought to have a little bit more of that today. As with the fresh manna, we must go out and get it every day. The fact that you put that armor on last week or you prayed on Sabbath is not relevant to your condition today.

Yet, most people get up late to go to work. They just barely get to work on time. They do not know what is going on until nearly noon. They have spent no time with God or studying the Word; the enemy is working them over right and left, and they do not even know it.

How is your relationship with Jesus? As we read, the devil wants to keep us in sin. Someone will say, “Well, I am not committing those big sins over here. I’m not doing this.” We may be acting selfishly, but we do not think about selfishness as being sin. We think of selfishness, pride, and pride of our own opinion as being separate from sin.

One day I went to visit someone, and I knocked on the door. She saw me standing at the door, and it was obvious that she was not pleased to see me. (Now it is sad when you think that, as a pastor, you have to warn the people before you come to visit. You almost feel like you have to call and tell them that you are coming because you do not know what they will be up to.) I said nothing, just walked in the door. The TV was blaring and a soap opera was on. I did not think much about it until she jumped me.

“Oh, so you think I’m a sinner because I watch soap operas.” I did not say anything, and she continued, “So you think I’m a horrible, terrible person.”

I said, “No, it never entered my mind. I never thought about it. Give me a chance here.”

“Well,” she replied, “I will just tell you right up front, right now. That is the only fault that I have.”

I said, “I wish I could say that. If that were the only fault I had, I would just put my foot through that screen right quick, and then I would not have any.”

Do you see how people reason? Their conscience is bothering them, and it causes them to think that other people are condemning them.

The more you study the Word and the closer you get to Jesus, the more filthy you become. It is getting close to Jesus that helps us to see ourselves as we really are. If we stay away from Jesus, we cannot see the changes that need to be made. But when we have a real relationship with Jesus, those changes come out and we are able to see them. We can submit them to Jesus and gain the victory.

Now is the time to put the whole armor of God on. Put it on every day; put it on fresh and clean. Do it by spending some time in prayer. If your schedule is hectic, get up a few minutes early. It will not hurt you. If you find that you can not get up any earlier, then go to bed earlier.

“The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 11. Now the enemy is well aware that the last movements are going to be rapid. He knows that if the agencies for evil combine together, he will be stronger. I do not know how the devils have unity, but evidently they have some. Somehow, it says, they are consolidating; they are combining. Yet here we are, the people of God, and we are having a difficult time finding unity. Dear friends, there is unity in consolidating—working together—and this is what God wants us to do.

“Satanic agencies are in every city, busily organizing into parties those opposed to the law of God.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 42

If you say that you love Jesus and that by God’s grace we can keep the law, the devil hates you. Is not that interesting? Now some people get concerned and they say, “Oh, we do not want to get the devil mad at us.” He is already angry with you. “I do not want to get the neighbors upset.” They are already upset. “I do not want to get all Protestants angry at me.” They are already angry at you. “I do not want to get the papacy or Romanism upset with me.” They are already upset. It is just going to get worse. The Protestants are not going to love you before it is all over; the Roman church is not going to love you when it is all over; and your next door neighbor is not going to love you when all is said and done—not if you are faithful to Jesus Christ. Jesus tells us that they hated Him before they hated you.

Somehow, too many of God’s people are trying to get out in the world where everybody loves them. If you can get out in the world and everybody loves you, dear friends, you will be going to the wrong place. Now think about it. If you stand for what is truth, people do not like you. If you tell them about God’s Sabbath, they do not like you. They look at you like you have some type of disease. They avoid you. They were fine until you began to talk about Jesus or you changed your lifestyle.

The evil angels are combining their forces, organizing, to get rid of those “who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.” So let us admit it; you are on the bad list, not the good list, as far as the evil angels are concerned.

“To hold the people in darkness and impenitence till the Saviour’s mediation is ended, and there is no longer a sacrifice for sin, is the object which he seeks to accomplish.” The Great Controversy, 518. What does the devil want to do with us? He wants to hold us in darkness, or in sin, until probation closes. And when probation closes, it is all over; he has us.

Dear friends, let me challenge you today. We must be born again if we are going to see Jesus. We have to be willing to say, “Lord, I want to change. I want to be more and more like You.” Be willing to submit your life to Jesus each and every day. Let Him come in and reveal the things that need to be changed in your life. He will do it, dear friends. He wants to do it because He wants to spend eternity with you.

Let us not become weary in well-doing. Let us continue to fight the good fight of faith, and let us spend eternity together. That is my prayer today.

The End

Stress the Hidden Killer

There was once a time when the term “stress” was used mostly within the confines of engineering and was in reference to building design, as in the careful calculations that have to be made in determining how much stress a structure can withstand. More recently, however, the term stress began to creep into the arena of human life as it became increasingly recognized that people, like bridges, airplanes, and ships, can also “fall apart” if the stresses of life prove too great for them to handle.

Until his death just a few years ago, Dr. Hans Selye was recognized as the world’s leading authority on the subject of stress. When Dr. Selye entered the field of medicine, he very soon became fascinated with some of the more abstract and nonspecific aspects of disease. While examining and reviewing the case histories of patients, he would ask his professors perplexing questions which they found to be very frustrating and difficult to deal with. Selye wanted to know, for example, where the general feeling of unwellness came from that accompanied disease and why certain diseases presented themselves without any apparent cause. Unable to give any reasoned answers that would satisfy his inquiring mind, his professors and teachers would tell him not to ask such foolish questions. But Selye did not think his questions were so foolish; and in pursuing the answers, he was destined to discover the relationship of stress to disease, greatly broadening the horizons of medical science.

While working in Montreal, Canada, Selye began experimenting and documenting the effects of stress upon live rats. For example, he devised various means that would subject them to such things as the extremes of cold and physical exertion. Autopsies later revealed that as a consequence of ongoing unresolved stress the rats had developed such conditions as inflamed joints, internal ulcers, kidney and blood vessel disease. Selye found himself looking at certain disease conditions that are so often found in human beings today. He also noted that the rats had enlarged adrenal glands—evidence of excessive hormone production in response to stress. It was then that his mind began to ponder the question: Could it be that certain diseases so common today in humans can also be caused or initiated by stress?

Today, thanks to the pioneering research of Hans Selye and others, we now know that stress can indeed initiate certain disease processes and that it can destroy both a person’s quality and length of life. It can also produce a vague, non-specific feeling of general unwellness that individuals sometimes experience. We must bear in mind that stress in itself is not the only cause of disease; but it is a major component that, along with other causative factors, should not be overlooked. We know, for example, that cancer can be initiated or caused by certain chemicals, irritants, or even viruses. The body also produces a small volume of precancerous, abnormal cells on an ongoing basis, yet this does not mean that a person will necessarily succumb to cancer. If they live a healthy life style and have a strong immune system that aggressively destroys abnormal cells or harmful invasive organisms, they can successfully ward off the deadly killer.

As a result of stress, however, the immune system can become depressed, reducing its capacity to deal with carcinogens. When this takes place, the body’s defenses lose the high ground and cancer or some other disease overcomes the body’s weakened defense system.

As mentioned earlier, Selye discovered that many of his laboratory rats had enlarged adrenal glands. This was indicative of excessive hormonal production, triggered in response to high levels of unresolved stress. We might well ask why the adrenal glands should also figure prominently in the question of stress. A well-known illustration should help to answer this question.

Let us imagine that your cat, having just enjoyed a restful snooze, majestically walks across the lawn, feeling at peace and enjoying the dominion of her front yard. Little does she realize that her dominion is about to be invaded and her sovereignty challenged. Suddenly, the neighbor dog, having slipped his leash, bounds rudely and unannounced into your yard. Like some uncouth ruffian devoid of all etiquette, he propels his uninvited self toward the cat, announcing with yelps and snarls that he is here for “some fun” with Miss Kitty.

As we would expect, Miss Kitty is not amused. In fact, she is far from amused. In an instant, the startled cat’s placid and stately demeanor is changed. Like a lightning flash, she raises her hackles, shows her claws, and hisses at the bold intruder. As the dog draws closer and the situation becomes more desperate for the cat, she raises her shoulders and arches her back yet more. With hair on end like porcupine quills, the little feline is now fully prepared to fight or run for her life! Assuming that Miss Kitty decides that the latter option is the wisest, we see her hastily take off to find refuge up in the apple tree.

Later, after Kitty’s canine friend has left the scene, she ventures earthward to continue to go about her business, just as serenely and placidly as before. The threat has gone; the stress of the whole affair has now subsided; but it would be well for us to get the inside story of what actually happened in order to better understand how the adrenal glands figured in all of this.

As Miss Kitty spied the dog coming into the yard, her brain immediately interpreted this as a danger signal. As quick a flash, the brain shot nerve impulses down line, stimulating the sympathetic nervous system. This triggered a response in the cat known as the flight or fight mechanism. Sympathetic impulses passing quickly down the spinal cord also impinged upon the mid-portion of the adrenal glands, causing them to release adrenaline directly into the bloodstream, which greatly accentuated the cats flight or fight response to danger. This physiological phenomenon, also seen in humans, is a built-in lifesaving mechanism, allowing for a more ready response, accompanied by an increase in strength and speed.

As a result of this automatic and involuntary action, the heart rate is increased, increasing the blood supply to the skeletal muscles. In response, the arteries supplying blood to the extremities dilate to allow increased circulation to these areas. The smaller air passages in the lungs (bronchioles) also dilate to allow an increased flow of air, permitting the blood to become more rapidly supercharged with oxygen.

The metabolism is stimulated and increased amounts of glucose are released, providing energy-rich fuel. The pupils of the eyes also dilate to admit more light, and the coagulability of the blood increases in readiness to impede blood loss should injury arise. Other bodily functions not vital to the preservation of life, such as digestion, are shut down or greatly reduced. It is at such times, when the body is thus reacting to stress, that people find themselves capable of some extraordinary feats of strength and speed.

There is, however, another aspect of this same flight or fight mechanism that can prove counterproductive if allowed to remain operative for long periods of time. The problem is that long after the crisis has passed, some people continue to relive the event from memory and keep the adrenaline and other hormones, in lesser but significant amounts, continuing to trickle into the bloodstream. Though few people are physically threatened, yet with many, the stress hormones are just as readily pumped out when they find themselves confronted with other circumstances which they view as just as hostile and threatening.

For some, the overbearing shop foreman or manager in the work place can create a great deal of emotional stresses. For others, a quarrelsome or abusive spouse who nightly devours them piece by piece may be an ongoing source of stress. Home sweet home is not so sweet and not much of a home to many who suffer the devastating stress of such hostile relationships. In many ways, the short-term, physical threat that can be responded to by direct action may, in the long run, be far less damaging than to emotionally run the marathon day in and day out with problems that just will not let you outrun them, no matter how hard you try. It may be stress caused through relationships at work, home, or school, or in any situation that we face that is emotionally intense but which remains an unresolved difficulty in life. Whatever the cause, it is always there, threatening any moment to overtake you, overpower you, and finally to destroy you!

It is in such situations of ongoing, unresolved stress, where the flight or fight mechanism remains in the on mode. Though it may not necessarily show itself, or be acutely felt, it has the subtle effect of affecting you internally, keeping the system from working as it should. The chronic effect of excessive hormone secretion in response to unresolved stress begins, eventually, to break the body down. Energy decreases, resistance to disease is lowered, and the body becomes vulnerable to sickness and premature death, as Selye noted in his laboratory rats. How important, therefore, that we learn to identify the major stress factors that confront us and, more so, how to deal with them.

“God has endowed us with a certain amount of vital force. He has also formed us with organs suited to maintain the various functions of life, and He designs that these organs shall work together in harmony. If we carefully preserve the life force, and keep the delicate mechanism of the body in order, the result is health; but if the vital force is too rapidly exhausted, the nervous system borrows power for present use from its resources of strength, and when one organ is injured, all are affected. Nature bears much abuse without apparent resistance; she then arouses and makes a determined effort to remove the effects of the ill-treatment she has suffered. Her effort to correct these conditions is often manifest in fever and various other forms of sickness.” Ministry of Healing, 234

If we have lived properly and in accordance with Divine law and in harmony with the physical, mental, and emotional laws that govern our being, we should not prematurely exhaust this priceless endowment of life energy. Unhealthy life practices, however, and such factors as stress can prematurely deplete a person’s measure of this vital commodity.

The body is so marvelously designed and engineered by God that it seeks to function as economically as it can in order to preserve its own supply of vital force. After a person may have literally escaped from a raging bull or some other life threatening episode, the body will soon seek to slow down the machinery again. The excess adrenalin in the bloodstream is dissipated. The pulse rate and blood pressure come down and are brought within their normal ranges of operation. The same happens with all other organs or systems that were affected during the flight or fight response to stress. This act of the body in returning its vital functions to normal and maintaining them within their normal ranges is known as restoring homeostasis.

Stress, unfortunately, affects the body’s homeostasis. The long-term effects of excessive hormone production keep a person and some of his vital, bodily functions flying high. As a consequence, he uses up excessive amounts of vital force. Someone has likened this precious endowment of energy to a special kind of bank account that will allow you to make withdrawals but will not permit you to make deposits. While you have money in the account, you can withdraw as much as you want; but once it is gone, there is no more. So with this life and the precious energy that God has given to us to live this life. Sadly, there are many who have exhausted their supply too early in life because unresolved stress wrote too many checks on the account. It literally robbed them of life.

It is well for us to remember that not all stress is bad. We all need the stimulating challenge of life to prevent us from vegetating. If life was otherwise, there would exist no possibility of developing strength of mind and body and especially development of Christian character. However, it is when the stresses of life exceed our ability to cope with them that, as someone once said, stress becomes distress!

The factors, or stressors, that induce stress may well be different for different people. For example: takeoff and landing for a veteran pilot may be a routine part of life causing only mild stress levels for a few moments. However, should his poor wife for some reason have to take control of the aircraft, it would be sufficient reason to place her under extreme stress. On the other hand, once safely home again, it could be the stressful undoing of her husband to have him prepare a meal for the family—a task which under normal conditions would be routine and low stress for the lady of the house—while she retires to bed with shattered nerves and an aching head.

Several years ago two stress researchers by the names of Holmes and Raye developed a special chart that listed certain stressing life-events that most people experience at one time or another. Each event was given a score. The highest scoring life-events were death of a spouse and divorce. Other events, such as going on vacation, getting married, and changing employment, came lower on the scale. It was noted, however, that if a person’s accumulated score exceeded a certain point, they often came down with a serious illness within the space of two years. While this life-events chart is not infallible, it is a useful tool to show how excessive stress takes its toll. It also enables a person to recognize the importance of taking remedial action to reduce the stress level in his life if he recognizes that he has already accumulated a high score.

Thus far as we have examined this question, we may have looked in a negative fashion at the various stressors that confront us on a daily basis. We must remember, however, that many things that arise to challenge and may cause us stress may not in themselves be negative or unpleasant. The point is, however, all events, even the pleasant ones, draw upon our energy reserves and challenge our coping ability. According to Holmes and Raye, even birthdays notch up a few points on their chart.

In pursuing this aspect of “pleasant stress” a little further, we know it is not uncommon for those who really enjoy their work to push themselves to the extreme. They love what they do, and they do it very well. Promotions and pay raises just get them cranked up even more. Production climbs and soars, and there appears no limit; but given time, in most cases, they eventually reach a plateau. They push harder and longer; but somehow the production, instead of increasing, begins to decline. Though they may have enjoyed every minute, as the old saying goes, you cannot burn your candle at both ends. To be even more correct, you can if you want, but you will burn up your candle much more quickly. “Burnout,” a term that came into use well over a decade ago, applies just as forcefully with people who burned out having a good time as to those who burned out having a bad one. The simple reality is that in the first category, those who finally burn out and crumble under the stress of their job find that their good time ultimately evolved into a bad time. The relentless drive to achieve, the constant pressure of deadlines, enjoyable as it was initially, finally lost its lustre. Energy and enthusiasm ultimately waned and the production curve declined. The honeymoon had turned into a nightmare, and there seemed no way out. It is at such times as these that a person may look beyond and outside of himself for a solution; but in the majority of cases, he seeks escape through drugs and alcohol, or in some cases, even suicide. It is not only what we eat but what eats us that determines the length and quality of our life.

Whatever the causes and the level of stress in a person’s life, it is not God’s wish that he should lose control and finally be consumed by the monsters of his own or someone else’s making. God has a way prepared to bring relief. We will examine this next time.

To be continued…

Lord, Is It I ?

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.” Revelation 14:9. This warning is not restricted in its application. It applies to any individual, church, or group of individuals who worships the beast and who receives his mark. I would like you to consider with me the question: “Lord, is it I?”

As the disciples were seated around the table eating the last meal they would all share together, they were sorrowful. Earlier in the day there had been strife among them as to who would be the greatest; and now, absorbed in their own conflicting thoughts, they were suddenly startled to hear Jesus addressing them with the words, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me.” John 13:21. He then added, “But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth Me is with Me on the table.” Luke 22:21

“At these words amazement and consternation seized them. They could not comprehend how any one of them could deal treacherously with their divine Teacher. For what cause could they betray Him? and to whom? Whose heart could give birth to such a design? Surely not one of the favored twelve, who had been privileged above all others to hear His teachings, who had shared His wonderful love, and for whom He had shown such great regard by bringing them into close communion with Himself!” The Desire of Ages, 654. But as they reasoned thus, they remembered how true His sayings had been in the past, and fear and self-distrust seized their hearts. Matthew gives this graphic description: “They were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto Him, Lord, is it I?” Matthew 26:22

As each of the disciples searched the faces of his companions, “with the most painful emotion, one after another inquired, ‘Lord, is it I?’ But Judas sat silent.” The Desire of Ages, 654

Friends, the question that comes to each one of us is, Whom are you worshipping today? Are you worshipping self? If this is the case, you are preparing yourself to receive the mark of the beast. There are only two voices to which we can listen. One is the voice of God speaking to us in His Ten Commandments; and the other is the voice of Satan, seeking to lead us to place anything else first in our lives.

Finally, John asked the question, ” ‘Lord, who is it?’ And Jesus answered, ‘He that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish, the same shall betray Me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of Him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed; it had been good for that man if he had not been born.’. . . And now the silence of Judas drew all eyes to him.” Ibid. Amid the confusion of all the questioning, Judas did not hear what Jesus had said. He missed it. “But now, to escape the scrutiny of the disciples, he asked as they had done, ‘Master, is it I?’ Jesus solemnly replied, ‘Thou hast said.’

“In surprise and confusion at the exposure of his purpose, Judas rose hastily to leave the room. ‘Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. . . . He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.’ Night it was to the traitor as he turned away from Christ into the outer darkness.” Ibid.

This brings us to one of the most important questions in the Scriptures. “Who can understand his errors?” Psalm 19:12. Human nature can so readily detect the errors in others, but it is with great difficulty that we see our own.

Let us consider what it was that led to Judas’s downfall.

“Judas was highly regarded by the disciples, and had great influence over them. He himself had a high opinion of his own qualifications, and looked upon his brethren as greatly inferior to him in judgment and ability.” The Desire of Ages, 717

In comparing himself to the other disciples, Judas was led to have a far greater appreciation for his own condition than was warranted; and it led to a false experience. Friends, if we are looking at and comparing ourselves to anyone other than our perfect Example, we will be deceived as to our real condition. The human heart is “deceitful above all things.” Jeremiah 17:9

The Spirit of Prophecy, speaking of Judas, uses the term “false disciple.” The prayer of our hearts must be, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me.” Psalm 139:23, 24

Judas felt the satisfaction that always comes in working for others, and while he might have developed an unselfish spirit in ministering to them, he did not. Blinded by his own selfish desires, Judas never allowed that light to penetrate his own soul, revealing the deformity of his own heart. (See The Desire of Ages, 718.) He knew the truth, but a knowledge of the truth that is kept out of the inner soul will never save anyone. Here is the seriousness of looking to one another. Unless the Lord reveals to us our true condition, we will come to a false experience just as Judas did. “When sin has deadened the moral perceptions, the wrongdoer does not discern the defects of his character nor realize the enormity of the evil he has committed; and unless he yields to the convicting power of the Holy Spirit he remains in partial blindness to his sin. His confessions are not sincere and in earnest. To every acknowledgment of his guilt he adds an apology in excuse of his course, declaring that if it had not been for certain circumstances he would not have done this or that for which he is reproved.” Steps to Christ, 40. The spirit of self-justification is a human tendency which has been exhibited in every son and daughter of Adam. For this reason, we need to plead with the Lord, “Is it I?”

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6:22, 23. A partial blindness is worse than complete blindness because when you are partially blind, you think for sure that you can see.

“Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” Isaiah 50:11. You see, friends, we can, of our ownselves, generate what we believe to be light. “But when the light from Christ shines into our souls, we shall see how impure we are; we shall discern the selfishness of motive, the enmity against God, that has defiled every act of life. . . . One ray of the glory of God, one gleam of the purity of Christ, penetrating the soul, makes every spot of defilement painfully distinct, and lays bare the deformity and defects of the human character. . . . The sinner’s acts of disloyalty in making void the law of God, are exposed to his sight. . . . He loathes himself as he views the pure, spotless character of Christ.” Steps to Christ, 28, 29

Many come to depend on an experience they have had in the past, but this will lead us to a false experience. “When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.” Ezekiel 33:13. God is no respecter of persons, and of the highest and most exalted man is required the same obedience and repentance as that of the lowest. No one can disregard the least commandment of God and excuse it because of his temperament or on the basis of his position of the work that God has called him to do. We must overcome.

There is another aspect of the false experience that we need to guard against. Just as there is a false security that comes with comparing ourselves with others, there is also a false humility that leads to a false confession. True confession is not just coming and saying, “I am sorry for everything. You know, I am just sorry.” That is not true confession.

Until we have humbled our hearts before God in acknowledgment of our guilt, we have not fulfilled the first condition of acceptance. “True confession is always of a specific character, and acknowledges particular sins. They may be of such a nature as to be brought before God only; they may be wrongs that should be confessed to individuals who have suffered injury through them; or they may be of a public character, and should then be as publicly confessed. But all confession should be definite and to the point, acknowledging the very sins of which you are guilty.” Steps to Christ, 38 [Emphasis supplied]

There is a confession that is unacceptable to God. “Confession will not be acceptable to God without sincere repentance and reformation. There must be decided changes in the life; everything offensive to God must be put away. This will be the result of genuine sorrow for sin.” Ibid., 39. You see, true confession does not say, I know I did this wrong, but I was really pressured that day and. . . No, if we are doing that, if our confession is not accompanied by a change in our life, we are still partially blind, and we need to pray for the light of God to flow into our soul.

“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge!” 2 Corinthians 7:10, 11

Are you praying for this godly sorrow, which is the true sorrow for sin? It says in James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” Friends, this is the greatest gift that you can ask for. When you receive it, it will cause your heart to be broken over sin.

Great care needs to be exercised that you do not try to judge either your own, or someone else’s sincerity. Appearance can be very deceiving. Judas had a good appearance.

“Had Judas died before his last journey to Jerusalem he would have been regarded as a man worthy of a place among the twelve, and one who would be greatly missed.” Desire of Ages, 716.

Not all proper-appearing conduct finds its basis in a true experience. “It is true that there may be an outward correctness of deportment without the renewing power of Christ. The love of influence and the desire for the esteem of others may produce a well-ordered life. Self-respect may lead us to avoid the appearance of evil. A selfish heart may perform generous actions.” Steps to Christ, 58

Clearly, it is possible to do the right things for all of the wrong reasons. If we are looking to others to determine our standing, we will then certainly be deceived. A selfish heart may perform generous actions. Here, then, is the question: By what means can we determine whose side we are on?

“Who has the heart? With whom are our thoughts? Of whom do we love to converse? Who has our warmest affections and our best energies?” Ibid. These are the test questions. What are you talking about? Are you justifying yourself? Are you talking about the failings of others? Are you looking to one another and either getting depressed because you do not think you are as good, or being like Judas and getting elated because you think you are better? Who has the heart? What do you think about during the day? “If we are Christ’s, our thoughts are with Him, and our sweetest thoughts are of Him. All we have and are is consecrated to Him. We long to bear His image, breathe His spirit, do His will, and please Him in all things.” Ibid.

Before we will be able to give the third angel’s message to the world with power, this message must have accomplished its work in our own hearts. We must each humbly ask the question, “Lord, is it I?”

The End

The Meaning of the Cross

Ellen White tells us that we are going to spend all eternity studying the meaning of the cross; it is the focal point of everything else. My freshman composition teacher used to say that when you are writing a paper, you need to limit your subject so that you can cover it adequately; but the cross is a subject that we can never fully cover. We still need, however, to understand all that our minds can grasp.

There was a theory going around in the days of Jesus that the soul, or the spirit, hovered over the dead body for three days after death. Jesus, however, waited and did not arrive at Lazarus’ home until he had been dead four days. Thus, even according to the false theories of the Jews, he was really dead. Because Lazarus was raised in the presence of a large group of people, there was no way to deny what had taken place. Some of those present related to the Pharisees what had taken place. A meeting of the Pharisees and chief priests was quickly called. The record of that meeting begins in John 11:45 and continues to the end of the chapter.

“If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” John 11:48. They were afraid of the Romans. Are people afraid of the Romans, today? Yes, they are. God’s true church is afraid of the Roman power today just as the people in Jesus’ day were afraid of the Romans. Interestingly, the very thing that they believed would bring the Roman power to destroy them was the thing that would have delivered them from its power. It is an amazing thing.

On this occasion, the church leaders decided they were going to have to kill Jesus to prevent the Romans from destroying them. Ironically, by that very act, they brought destruction on themselves by the Romans. As we continue our study, keep in mind that something similar could happen again.

“And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people and not that the whole nation should perish.’ Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.” John 11:49–52. What is the reason that the apostle John gives for the cross? The children of God were scattered all over the world, but John said that Jesus was going to die so that all of the people of God who were scattered abroad could be brought together into one. What a wonderful thought.

God’s people are still scattered all over the world; and we are going to continue to be so for a little while, because Ellen White said, concerning the 144,000 during the time of trouble, that they will be scattered all over the world. But when Jesus comes again, they are going to be gathered together into one church. I love to think about it.

Have you noticed that people sometimes do not like it at one church, so they go to another one? It is not usually because they did not like the building but because they did not get along with some of the people. Have you ever seen that happen? I have never seen anybody decide to go to another church because something was wrong with themselves; but I have seen a lot of people want to go to another church because they said that something was wrong with someone else. Well, now here is my question, What if this were to take place in heaven? This has to do, friends, with the meaning of the cross. You see, as a result of sin, people are alienated from one another. According to the apostle John, God’s children will be gathered into one.

The Bible is a spiritual book, and when it says that God’s children will be gathered into one, it is not speaking of them being gathered into one building. “He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” 1 Corinthians 6:17. “For He Himself is our peace, Who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation.” Ephesians 2:14

I have always had a fascination to understand the American Civil War. It was the most disastrous war the United States has ever fought. As I was in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the whole matter became crystal clear in my mind. At the time of the war, our whole country was separated into two armed camps that were totally alienated from one another. All wars are the result of alienation. By the way, there is a great deal of alienation in the world today. There is even alienation among the professed people of God.

Is the cross just a story, or are we experiencing its spiritual meaning? Let me tell you something—this is something very serious—if there is one other person in this world from whom you are alienated, at least one of you is not going to heaven unless that problem is solved. It is just that simple. Now it could be both of you, but it might only be one. You might have somebody who is alienated from you and you might not be at fault at all; but if there are two people who are alienated, there is something wrong with at least one of them, and they cannot go to heaven unless that situation is taken care of. The purpose of the cross is to destroy this alienation and bring reconciliation.

Today, with many Christians, the cross is just like the law was for the Jewish nation. The Jewish nation taught the law, talked the law, and yet Jesus said to them, “Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law?” John 7:19. Today, wherever I travel, I see crosses on churches; I see crosses around people’s necks; but people fail to understand what it means. If the cross has not destroyed the enmity in your heart, it has not done the work in your heart that must be done if you are to be saved.

“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.” Colossians 1:19–21

Why did Jesus have to go to the cross? “Christ died for our sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:3. Now, when I understand that, if I choose to sin, what have I chosen to do? I have chosen to do the very thing that sent Jesus to the cross. By wicked works I am alienated, expressing hatred for the Son of God. You cannot love sin and love Jesus. “You who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” Colossians 1:21, 22. When we come to the cross and we see the spiritual meaning of it, the sin that we used to love we learn to hate. Everyone who has that experience, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is going to be reconciled into one.

“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry [or service] of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:18–21

Oh, friend, is the story of the cross just a story to you, or have you had this experience? Have you been reconciled to God so that you are no longer at enmity with Him, so that you can be taken to heaven and will feel perfectly at home there because you are in harmony with the whole system? We are living in a time when we need to get down on our knees and say, “Lord, I am choosing to surrender, to submit to the cross of Jesus Christ.”

When you are no longer alienated from God, you are in a position to be reconciled, not only to God but to your fellow man. You will no longer live for self but for Him who died for you.

“Satan is the originator of sin. In heaven he resolved to live to himself. He resolved to be leader. He determined to make himself a center of influence. . . . Head he would be, to control, not to be controlled.” Review and Herald, April 14, 1901. It is this character trait, or desire, in people that splits up churches. When I was a young man, they used to have a popular song in which the words went something like this: There are too many chiefs and not enough Indians around this place. This is the root cause of all manner of troubles.

It is said that Julius Caesar was once walking along a mountain road when, in the distance, he saw a small village. He is said to have remarked, “I would rather be number one in that village than to be number two in Rome.” This is why Julius Caesar was willing to kill millions of people—he wanted to be number one.

If space permitted, we could go through the gospels and see that this was the same problem that the disciples had. They never got over it until Jesus was crucified. After that, you never again find them contending as to who would be the greatest. Though they had been alienated, they were reconciled by the blood of His cross.

If you have a desire in your heart to control other people, you have the same problem. It is possible for you to be the most respected person in town and still have this problem. If you have this desire to control other people, you have not yet been reconciled. The person who lives for himself is not a Christian because he has never experienced the cross. “No one can live for himself and at the same time be united with Christ. Conformity to the world, attachment to the world, manifests a decided denial of Christ.” Signs of the Times, June 13, 1892

When His disciples were struggling and quarreling over who would be next to Him in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus said; “The princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.” Matthew 20:25, 26 KJV

In the English speaking countries, we are not used to having servants, so we have only one or two words to express the concept. We talk about servants and slaves and that is about all; but in the Roman Empire, they had many servants of various categories and used a number of different words to denote a servant. There were some servants who were what we would call managers. It was one of these, by the way, who struck Jesus when He was being tried before Caiaphas. This was a high-class servant, someone who had some authority. There was, however, a lower level of servant. The Greek word for these servants is deakenos. This is where we get the word deacon. Jesus said, “He that will be great among you, let him be a deakenos.”

In the Roman Empire, there was one category that was the lowest of all servants. They would be what we would call slaves. In the old King James Version, this word is usually translated servant, and in modern translations, it is translated as bond servant or slave. It is the lowest category of servanthood. The Greek word is doulos. Jesus said, “He that will be great among you, let him be a deakenos [that is a middle level of servant], but the one that will be first among you, let him be a doulos [that is the lowest level of servant], even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister [Or, a more literal translation, “Even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve.”], and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26–28

Philippians tells us how Jesus followed this principle. He started out as the highest, “but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:7, 8. I say this reverently, friend, He went lower for you and for me than we will ever be able to go for Him. You will never be able to go as low for Jesus as He has already gone for you. And I want to tell you, once the Holy Spirit drives that thought home into our consciousness, we will never be the same again. We cannot go on in this alienated form of life, fighting and bickering, with all that is going on among professed Christians today. We cannot do it!

The apostles did not all think the same on every matter after the cross. The cross did not take away their ability to think, but they were no longer alienated from one another.

Friends, there is going to be a people when Jesus comes who are no longer alienated. They are no longer going to be fighting. The 144,000 will be perfectly unified, in harmony. It is going to happen, all right. The question is, Who is going to experience the experience of the cross so that they can be part of it?

He died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and rose again. Oh, friend, is this your experience? The cross must be an experience, no longer just a story. It must change the inner wellspring of the life so that we no longer live for ourselves. This is such a big problem in human nature that our daily prayer to God needs to be that He will divest us of selfishness. See Our High Calling, 242.

The servant of the Lord would not tell us to pray that every day if we did not need to do so. We are talking about a big problem. This is why we need to go to the cross over, and over, and over again, until the message soaks in. I want to invite you, just now, to kneel down and pray that through the power of the Holy Spirit, this will be your experience.

The End

Editorial – Little Company

In all ages there have been an Israel, [church] according to the flesh and in addition, a much smaller group who are the true Israel—the children of the promise. “For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called’ that this, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.” Romans 9: 6-8. This truth Jesus clearly addressed when speaking to the church leaders of His day, He said, “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill me, because my word has no place in you, ‘I speak what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.’ They answered and said unto Him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said unto them, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of you father.’” John 8:37–41.

“The Jewish people cherished the idea that they were the favorites of heaven, and that they were always to be exalted as the church of God. They were the children of Abraham, they declared, and so firm did the foundation of their prosperity seem to them that they defied earth and heaven to dispossess them of their rights.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 294

This smaller group is, and always has been, the true church of God. “From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth.” The Acts of the Apostles, 11. “Those who keep God’s commandments, those who live not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, compose the church of the living God.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 949.

Will you be a part of this little company that comprises the true church? See Testimonies Vol. 9, 231. If you choose to do so, you must have the following characteristics:

  1. You must be willing to endure opposition from the professed Seventh-day Adventist church: “If we hope to wear the crown, we must expect to bear the cross. Our greatest trials will come from those who profess godliness. It was so with the world’s Redeemer; it will be so with his followers. . . . The opposition which Christ received came from his own nation, who would have been greatly blessed had they accepted him. In like manner the remnant church receive opposition from those who profess to be their brethren.” Review and Herald, August 28, 1883
  2. You must contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the Saints: “Satan claims the world, but there is a little company who withstand his devices, and contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Satan sets himself to destroy this commandment-keeping company. But God is their tower of defense. He will raise up for them a standard against the enemy. He will be to them ‘as an hiding place from the wind,’ and ‘as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.’ He will say to them, ‘Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” ‘And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.’ ” Review and Herald, September 17, 1901
  3. While filled with remorse for those professors who are in apostasy, you must remain in the light. “The leaven of godliness has not entirely lost its power. At the time when the danger and depression of the church are greatest, the little company who are standing in the light will be sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land. But more especially will their prayers arise in behalf of the church because its members are doing after the manner of the world.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 209, 210
    You must be bound together by the truth of the three angels’ messages: “He bade me look in an opposite direction, and I saw a little company traveling a narrow pathway. All seemed to be firmly united, and bound together by the truth, in bundles, or companies. Said the angel, ‘The third angel is binding them (sealing them) in bundles for the heavenly garner.’ ” Supplement to Christian Experience and Views Ellen G. White, 6

The End