Blessed Are the Pure

Probably anyone who has studied microbiology and hygiene understands the value of cleanliness to prevent sickness, but physical cleanliness is not the only kind of cleanliness. Spiritual cleanliness is even more important. Without it, no one can receive the gift of eternal life, but the question is, “How can an impure mind become pure?”

Jesus introduced the sixth step of the spiritual ladder that will lead a person into the kingdom of God in Matthew 5:8: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Purity of heart and life is developed as a result of living the spiritual experience of the first five beatitudes. The person who first of all recognizes his spiritual poverty and mourns over his sinful condition until God makes him humble or meek, and who has thirsted for a righteousness that he cannot generate and becomes merciful will then be purified from pride, malice, deceit, and other heart-defiling sins. There is no other road to purity of heart than the beatitude road, and the steps need to be taken in that order. This beatitude, like the others, is not introducing something new. It actually is a restatement of a truth that is as old as the plan of salvation.

In Psalm 15, David asks the question Who is going to be saved? “Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle? Who may dwell in Your holy hill” (verse 1)? He answers: “He who walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and speaks the truth in his heart” (verse 2). Upright walking, righteous working and truthful speaking from the heart are the outworking of a pure heart. The person who does these things will be saved.

After David had fallen into sin, he recognized that a divine miracle was needed in his life. Notice what he said in Psalm 51: “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom” (verse 6). Thinking of all the awful things he had done and how he had sinned, David said in verse 5: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” He understood that he had been conceived and born in sin and because of this understanding, he continues in verse 10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” David was afraid that because of his grievous sins, he had committed the unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit and that he was lost. He pleads, “Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me” (verse 11). I know that my heart is wicked, lustful and impure, but Lord, I want a different heart. I want You to recreate my heart. The Lord heard his prayer and gave him a new heart and a new spirit.

Receiving a new heart and spirit is so important that Jesus said that unless it happens, there is no chance for any of us being saved. Speaking to Nicodemus Jesus said, “ ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’ ” (John 3:3). Notice, a birth represents a new creation, like a new being is coming into the world when a baby is born. And here Jesus is saying that if you haven’t been born again, you won’t be in the kingdom of God. Nicodemus responded in verse 4, “ ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ ”

“Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God’ ” (verse 5). Unless you have been born, not just of water, but of the Holy Spirit, you cannot enter the kingdom of God. You see, our hearts are impure, wicked, and unholy. The only way we can have a pure heart is by God’s creative power; He makes us a new creature. The apostle Paul talked about this in 2 Corinthians 5:17 when he said, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

If you and I are ever to have a pure heart, we must be a new creation. The Lord must create within us a clean heart, a new mind, and a new spirit. That is what being born again is all about. It is through the Holy Spirit that the heart is made pure. Many people are confused today about the work of the Holy Spirit. They think that the work of the Holy Spirit is the ability to do some kind of magic or miracles, or speaking in tongues, or doing some scientific wonder that unconverted people can’t explain. But the work of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus pointed out to Nicodemus, is to give you a new heart and a new spirit and to cause you to be born again. Unless that happens, Jesus said there’s no chance for you to be in the kingdom of heaven.

Only he who becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus can have a new heart, a new spirit, new thoughts, new feelings, new motives, all created by the Holy Spirit in that person’s mind. The wise man Solomon said in Proverbs 22:11, “He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend.” The heart is the emotional center of a person, the fountain of life. The character and conduct are determined by the spiritual condition of a person’s heart.

The Bible says in Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” What a person is in his heart determines the kind of a character he will have. It is for this reason that the wise man counsels us to guard our hearts. Notice what it says in Proverbs 4:23: “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Another version of the Scriptures translates it this way: “Keep your heart above all that thou guardest.” The heart is a fortress, a citadel that is to be guarded against the attacks of the enemy. The chambers of the heart should be most diligently and heavily guarded. Why? Because out of the fountain of the heart flows the stream of character and conduct. Our words and our actions are simply the result of what is in our hearts. Jesus said in Matthew 12:34, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” All the evil in our world has its source in an evil heart. The evil nature of the human heart is a part of our inheritance from Adam and Eve, our first parents.

When the Lord spoke to Noah after the flood He said, “And the Lord smelled a soothing aroma. Then the Lord said in His heart, ‘I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done’ ” (Genesis 8:21). Notice, the Lord said the imagination of a man is evil from his youth. How evil is our imagination? How evil is our heart? Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” During His life on earth, Jesus made it very clear that the heart is the source of all evil. In Mark 7:21–23, Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness [licentiousness], an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile the man.”

That was the cause of the terrible wickedness that came on the world in Noah’s time, before the flood, and brought the judgment of a world-wide deluge. The Bible says in Genesis 6:5, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” And continuing in verse 11, “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.”

Jesus stated very clearly that this same condition of wickedness would occur in the world before His second coming (Matthew 24). Prophecy explains, to a large extent, the cause of the present tidal wave of crime and iniquity, hatred and lawlessness that is sweeping over all the earth today. The source of it all is the corrupt and unregenerate hearts of mankind.

The patriarch Job asked, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one” (Job 14:4)! No human being can bring a clean heart out of an unclean heart. No one is able to cleanse the heart. The purpose of the gospel is to tell the world that there is one power in the universe that can give you a new heart and spirit and make you a new creation. Jesus is the great purifier and cleanser from sin and that is the genius of the Christian religion. The core of the Christian religion is that when you accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord of your life, the Holy Spirit will recreate your heart and your mind.

All forms of false religion tend toward corruption. Purity of heart does not find any prominent place in the teachings of Socrates or Aristotle, or other heathen philosophers. The wisest and the greatest of them were impure and they knew it. They were corrupt in their teachings and in their practice. But the gospel will produce purity and holiness, not just on the outside, but in the heart. It brings the heart and the life into conformity with the divine law which is the standard of righteousness.

During His life on this earth, Jesus Christ was the very incarnation of purity. He said in John 8:46, “Which of you convicts Me of sin?” They had no response. The Bible says that if we accept Him and hope to meet Him, we will be made pure as He is pure (1 John 3:3).

Only the pure in heart will see God. This purifying process cleanses our motives. When right principles are enthroned in the heart, then we will do what is right because it is right. The pure in heart aren’t controlled by sinful nature, only doing right because of policy or expediency, or to escape punishment, or for hope of reward.

Here is a question that many Christians should ask themselves, and many likely would be shocked by what they discover. Why do I obey God’s law? Is my obedience for the purpose of avoiding punishment, or because of an inborn love of what is good and right? This beatitude says that the pure in heart will see God. If my heart is full of sin, then my vision is beclouded and I cannot see or understand God. The disease of sin produces spiritual blindness and the Bible talks about that in many places (see 2 Peter 1; Revelation 3:17). Sadly, this spiritual blindness leaves you ignorant of your true spiritual condition.

Spiritual blindness is the reason that the majority of the Jews failed to recognize Jesus. Their spiritual blindness prevented them from seeing anything in Him that would lead them to desire Him and this is true with the mass of mankind today. It explains the reason why there are so many modern thinkers or philosophers who see Jesus only as a man. Oh, they may believe He was a very good man, but still only a man. To them, the beauty of His matchless character is no evidence that He is the Son of God. To them, Jesus is just the same as they are. You see, sin dims our vision of God. But when we have a vision of God, sin is revealed and we are given a vision of ourselves and our condition. The Bible says that without holiness, no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). When Job saw the Lord, He said, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). A vision of the Lord’s glory had the very same effect upon other Bible writers: Isaiah (Isaiah 6), Daniel (Daniel 10), Peter (Luke 6), Paul (Acts 26) and the apostle John (Revelation 1).

We can never know the blackness of our sin until we see the purity of the character of Christ. And once we really see that, the contrast awakens us to the realization that we need a complete change in character. We will say with Isaiah, “Lord, I’m all undone.” In response, the Lord says, “I will purge your iniquity and give you a new heart and a new mind.”

Jacob was a crooked dealer, a cunning trickster, a person that you would not want to do any kind of business with. His very name meant deceiver or supplanter, and he lived up to that name. But his character was completely changed one night when he wrestled with the Lord Himself (Genesis 32). He was a spiritually bankrupt man, but he was changed into a prince of God. What was the secret of the wonderful transformation that he experienced?

The apostle Paul had that same experience. It was the vision of the crucified One on the road to Damascus that transformed him into a different person and changed the whole course of his life. From that day forward, he sought only to behold Jesus and to be changed into His image.

Paul tells us that by beholding we will become changed (2 Corinthians 3:18). Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face …” (Genesis 32:30). This is the secret of the wonderful transformation that must be accomplished in our lives.

Have you beheld the purity of Christ? The spiritual vision of God must eventually involve seeing Him face to face. We must see Him now with the eye of faith and then we will see Him in the kingdom of glory, because He has promised to His people, “Your eyes will see the King in His beauty” (Isaiah 33:17).

But when Jesus comes, only those who are pure in heart and have seen the beauty of His character in the present life will see Him face to face. They have seen God with the eye of faith in this life and they will be blessed with a vision of His immaculate loveliness when He returns and they will have fellowship with Him in the future immortal life. Everyone else will be calling for the rocks and mountains to fall on them (Revelation 6:16) so that they will not have to see Him. They will be destroyed by the brightness and glory of His person.

Friend, are you reading your Bible and studying to understand not just the words, but to see the character of Jesus Christ? How else will you know His character? You must become like Him if you are going to be with Him. The apostle Paul says, “Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12, last part). He says, “Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face” (verse 12, first part, KJV). Those who are pure in heart, in whom the Holy Spirit has created a new heart and a new spirit, only these will see Him face to face.

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

Editorial – Opened the Door

Nobody can be saved unless he has been transformed in character and his sins have been forsaken and forgiven. (Proverbs 28:13; Colossians 1:27). What prevents people from being saved is their love of sin.

“Every man is free to choose what power he will have to rule over him. None have fallen so low, none are so vile, but that they can find deliverance in Christ. The demoniac, in place of prayer, could utter only the words of Satan; yet the heart’s unspoken appeal was heard. No cry from a soul in need, though it fail of utterance in words, will be unheeded. Those who will consent to enter into covenant relation with the God of heaven are not left to the power of Satan or to the infirmity of their own nature. They are invited by the Saviour, ‘Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me’ (Isaiah 27:5).” The Desire of Ages, 258, 259.

So many people want to manage themselves and are not willing to forsake their darling sins and unaware that their lives are actually being controlled by the devil.

“He [Jesus] says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me’ (Revelation 3:20). How willing is Christ to take possession of the soul temple if we will let Him! He is represented as waiting and knocking at the door of the heart. Then why does He not enter? It is because the love of sin has closed the door of the heart. As soon as we consent to give sin up, to acknowledge our guilt, the barrier is removed between the soul and the Saviour.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 325.

Referring to a wonderful work that could have been done in the vast company gathered in Battle Creek at the General Conference of 1901, Ellen White said: “The work that all heaven was waiting to do as soon as men prepared the way, was not done; for the leaders in the work closed and bolted the door against the Spirit’s entrance. There was a stopping short of entire surrender to God. Hearts that might have been purified from error were strengthened in wrong doing. The doors were barred against the heavenly current that would have swept away all evil. Men left their sins unconfessed. They built themselves up in their wrong doing, and said to the Spirit of God, ‘Go Thy way for this time; when I have a more convenient season, I will call for Thee’ (Acts 24:25, last part).” The Kress Collection, 95.

Very soon the invitation of mercy will end forever so don’t let this also be your experience.

A Song for You

It happened in 1829 to a young girl by the name of Susanna Foster. She had a younger sister by the name of Elisa who lived to be very old. She also had some brothers, one of which was Steven Foster, a famous song writer from the last century. Susanna was a very promising musician and singer, but while she was still young, she contracted tuberculosis, a disease of the lungs. She was seriously ill and was expected to die. Some of her friends stayed up all night with her, not knowing at the time that it would be her last. At 4:30 in the morning, she awoke and sang a song. Her voice was clear and crisp; however, a short time after, she died, never to sing again.

Her family mourned her loss. Steven Foster was so young when she died that he never really got to know his sister personally, but the memory of her song on the night she died lived on.

There are often discouraging experiences in life that we simply do not understand. Some years ago, another young woman with two young daughters and a little baby boy died. After having a surgery for cancer, she went through a course of chemotherapy followed by some other treatments in an effort to help her get better. However, she did not get better; she got worse. When you are only 29 years old and you have two beautiful daughters and a beautiful baby boy, the last thing you want to do is die.

In the Bible, there is a story about a man who was told that he was going to die. The prophet Isaiah came to Hezekiah and told him to get his house in order, thus he was given forewarning. Hezekiah did not want to die right then so he turned his face towards the wall and he said, “Lord, I do not want to die.”

Hezekiah pleaded with the Lord that he would live a little longer and the Lord answered his prayer telling him that he would lengthen his life another fifteen years. However, a very sad thing happened during that time. Hezekiah fathered a child by the name of Manasseh who was one of the most wicked kings that ever ruled Judah. It was Manasseh who was responsible for martyring Isaiah the prophet and it was because of his influence that the children of Israel were taken into captivity.

This was the terrible consequence that resulted because Hezekiah did not die at the right time, at God’s appointed time.

Sometimes it is hard to accept God’s will when we do not understand the big picture. This young lady, only 29 years old, did not want to die either, but her condition worsened. The last time I saw her at church she was so sick that she was in a wheelchair and on oxygen. Her husband, standing beside her, too sad for words, just gave a nod of recognition. No words were exchanged; it was just too sad to say anything. Unknown to me then, it was the last time I would see her alive; a few days later she died. I visited her husband with his three children and felt the emptiness and the hollowness inside their home. The light of that house was no longer there; this man’s crown of rejoicing was no longer with them.

Jesus said, “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear his voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (John 5:28, 29, literal translation).

This young lady had deteriorated so much that she had to be taken to a hospital. The family all knew she was dying, but still every effort was made to try and save her life and help her to stay a little longer. As the evening grew on, her husband decided to stay there with her all that night. In the afternoon she had asked him, “Who are all these people in my room?” He looked around and said, “I don’t see anybody; there’s nobody here.” She was insistent that there was, that the room was full of bright shining beings who were all around her bed, but he did not see anybody.

Pretty soon it was supper time. Surprisingly, for being in her condition, she ate a good supper and after supper they had a wonderful conversation together. They did not know then, but it would be their last conversation together, and then she went to sleep.

This lady had prayed, “Lord, if I have to die, because this is so distasteful to me leaving my children, please let me die in my sleep.” The Lord that night answered her prayer, and she went to sleep. About 5:00 o’clock in the morning, her husband who was sleeping in a chair by her bed, woke up with a start. He felt her and saw that she was not breathing. Ten minutes before, the nurse had checked on her and had seen that everything was fine. The doctors tried to resuscitate her, but it was too late; she was gone. She was only 29 years old, leaving two beautiful girls, a two-year-old baby boy, and a loving husband. Who can understand?

Life is so uncertain. At every opportunity show the members of your family the affection that you ought, so that if something should happen and they are taken suddenly from you, you will have some pleasant memories of the way you talked to them, and the way you treated them.

A physician was working in his office when his wife stopped by on her way to do some business downtown. She had wanted some time with him but was brushed off because he was “too busy.” A few minutes later he received the telephone call that everyone dreads. A policeman was on the other end of the line informing him that his wife had been involved in a serious car accident. A few minutes before, he had been impatient and “too busy.” Would those words be the last he would ever speak to her, words of impatience?

What if something happened to somebody you love? Would the last words you spoke be words that you would want to remember? Always make sure that your parting words are a pleasant exchange and never impatient or fretful. Life is uncertain and none of us know how long we have our loved ones with us. We need to take advantage of every opportunity to show love, sympathy and affection to those we love.

“Home should be made all that the name implies. It should be a little heaven upon the earth, a place where the affections are cultivated instead of being studiously repressed. Our happiness depends upon this cultivation of love, sympathy, and polite courtesy to one another. The reason why there are so many hard-hearted men and women in our world, is because true affection has been regarded as weakness, and has been discouraged and repressed. The better part of the nature of those of this class was perverted and dwarfed in childhood; and unless rays of divine light can melt away their coldness and hard-hearted selfishness, the happiness of such is buried forever. If we would have tender hearts, such as Jesus had when He was upon the earth, and sanctified sympathy, such as angels have for sinful mortals, we must cultivate the sympathies of childhood, which are simplicity itself. Then we shall be refined, elevated, and directed by heavenly principles.” The Review and Herald, June 22, 1886.

We need to express love and affection in our homes so that our children don’t grow up to be hard-hearted. What kinds of words do you speak with your spouse and with your children, with your brothers, and with your sisters?

That Sunday morning, I was on the way to the prison and needed to get all the sadness from my mind for the prisoners needed to be encouraged. I had been going to this jail for some time and I knew there would be between 15–25 inmates who would be there to sing songs and hear the gospel. Out of that jail ministry there were people who had accepted Christ, some who had become Seventh-day Adventists, and I was going there to be an encouragement to them and cheer them up. Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1–3).

Promises like this we would share with the people in the prison and tell them that there are no jails in heaven. Neither will there be hospitals or any other trouble at all in heaven. The prisoners loved to hear about heaven and they loved to sing the song, “Power in the Blood.”

As Jesus comforted His disciples when they were in trouble, He left us an example. In the first chapter of 2 Corinthians you can read how Paul also comforted those who found themselves in all kinds of trouble. While behind bars many inmates reach out for hope of a better life. This can be a very fruitful field for evangelism for Christians who are able to comfort prisoners and give them hope.

As I was on my way to the jail, I was preoccupied with thoughts about these children who had just lost their mother from cancer. I just could not shake it out of my mind as I went up into the cell block that morning. One of the prisoners, whom I knew quite well, recognized a different expression on my face at once and asked, “What’s the matter with you, preacher?”

My purpose for being there that day was to encourage these people and not to tell them my troubles. He had asked a direct question, so not to tell a lie, I told him about my friend whose wife had just died from cancer, that she was only 29 years old with three children, two older girls and a little baby boy, two years old, and that when he grows up he will not even be able to remember his mother.

That whole cell block went quiet. Though I was only talking to this man who had asked me the question, everybody else was listening. I came right up to the bar that divided us and he did the same, and looking up into my face he began to tell me the story of his life.

He said, I have two older sisters, and when I was two years old my mother died from cancer. She was only 29 years old. When my mother died, my father could not cope and as a result became an alcoholic. There was nobody to take care of the children, so we were separated. My two sisters were raised somewhere else and I was taken to an orphanage.

This man had heard the Gospel presented a number of times with never a response, but now, all of a sudden, I understood what had happened to this boy, what had happened to this man. He had grown up deprived of a mother to love him, without the special tender love of a family, and no one to express that love and sympathy and affection that is so needed. With his mother, whom he never knew, and his father an alcoholic as a result, he had become hard-hearted, and as he became a man he had gotten into trouble with the law and ended up in jail.

Never before had this man responded after hearing the Gospel, but this time his heart was touched. I had been given the key to his heart as he had told me the story of his life, and he was now ready to respond and receive hope and comfort.

“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are glad. Bring back our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the South. They who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:3–6).

With all the prisoners still listening, even though I was just talking to this one man, I asked him if his mother was a Christian. He said that his sisters had told him that she had been a Bible believing Christian. Then I asked him if he would like to see his mother again some day, and he said, “Yes.” I commenced to tell him how that could happen. Someday Jesus is going to come back to this world; He is going to come back from heaven. The Bible says that every eye is going to see Him and when He returns, He is going to look down on this world, and He is going to say, “Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust” (Isaiah 26:19).

I told him that when Jesus comes in the clouds and says, “Awake, awake, awake, ye that sleep in the dust and arise” (Ephesians 5:14), your mother is going to awake and come out of the grave, and she is going to look for you. If you surrender your heart and life to Jesus, you are going to be there. Your mother is going to look for you when she wakes up when Jesus returns.

By the way friend, when Jesus comes, is there anyone who is going to wake up and look for you? Are you going to be there? If you are there, then they are going to sing.

I believe one of the persons who will awake in the first resurrection and will look for me, is my father. My father died as a result of being hit by a car in April 2000. I remember when I was a small boy at home, over and over again I heard my father pray during family worship. He would ask the Lord that our family might be saved, without the loss of one. My father did not want anybody in his family to be lost. He continually worked for all people wherever he lived in the world to share the Gospel with them, but he always prayed that all his family would be saved.

Who is going to look for you? Are they going to sing? Are they going to have a song in the night for you because you are there?

In Isaiah 30:29 the Lord says that you are going to have a song in the night.

Isaiah 21 talks about the watchmen: “Watchman, what of the night? … The watchman said, ‘The morning comes, and also the night. If you will inquire, inquire; Return! Come back’ ” (Isaiah 21:11, 12)!

The night of sin, friends, is almost over and the eternal morning is going to break very soon for the righteous. It will be eternal night for the wicked. So, because the night of sin is about over and the morning is going to come soon, the watchman says, “If you return, inquire and come.”

The context of the verses in Isaiah 21 is the fall of Babylon. In Revelation 18, when Babylon falls, the morning is coming. That is one of the reasons why people are going to sing, because the night is over. They will have a song in the night because the eternal morning is coming. With it, however, is also the night; eternal night for the wicked.

“Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times.” The Great Controversy, 464.

In order for the night of sin to end there must be a return to primitive godliness. As Jeremiah puts it, “ask for the old paths” (Jeremiah 6:16).

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Come out from among them and be separate. God wants a peculiar people who reflect His image, a people who will return to primitive godliness, a people who will reject worldly ways and its entertainments, adornments, and lifestyles. God wants people who are not afraid to be known as Christians and turn away from harmful substances like alcohol, and delight in the Sabbath, the special day that God gave to man for rest and worship.

The worldly ways that have been allowed to fester in the church have caused confusion and strife. Proverbs 13:10 says, “By pride comes nothing but strife.”

The Lord is coming! He is going to end this night of sin and we are going to have a song. But the people who have the song are going to be the people who beforehand had an experience in primitive godliness.

Make sure you are among that group of people, the ones who have a song, and are ready to meet their Lord and Savior when He returns (Isaiah 30:29, 30).

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

Fall on the Rock

Many years ago, at a General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, one of the most powerful and successful evangelists gave his personal testimony. People were surprised to hear that although he was successful and looked up to as a leading minister for many years, he had become convicted that he was not converted.

This is not a rare situation. Over the years I have heard of many similar cases. It often takes a catastrophic event for a person to realize their true position with God and their need for a deeper conversion. It is easy for the heart to be divided. You may think you have a heart for the Lord, but often there is still something in this world that has a hold on you.

After a prophecy seminar in North Dakota, I was visiting the home of some of the attendees with another minister who at that time was a very successful evangelist. It was clear that these people understood the truths that had been shared and had no objection to anything, but they would not go the extra step and make a commitment to follow Jesus all the way. Something in the world had a hold on them.

I have found myself in that same scenario many times. From a very young age I had been taught that once we preached the gospel in all the world for a witness to all nations, Jesus would come and we could all go to Heaven. It seemed easy if we would all get busy. But I got a reality check from a retired missionary to South America while visiting with him one morning. He said that if it were just the information of the three angels’ messages that was needed, God could give it to every single person in the world in one night in a dream. The trouble is, it takes more than information to finish God’s work.

In order for God’s work to be finished, those spreading the three angels’ messages need a change of heart, what we call conversion. There is division amongst God’s people. Some people have become upset with some Bible translations because the word converted in the King James Bible is translated turned in many modern translations. However, the Greek word used actually means to turn around and go a different way. It is not enough to have the information, to have an intellectual knowledge of the truth unless the truth has changed my life.

Pastor David Kang was another well-known minister who experienced a deeper conversion. He was born in Korea and immigrated into the United States with his wife in 1975. After studying at Andrews University, he became a very successful Seventh-day Adventist pastor in Florida pastoring a number of Korean churches.

In 1984 as he was studying, he said the Holy Spirit convicted him of being a hypocrite. When the Holy Spirit convicts you, a choice must be made. Either you accept the conviction and the reproof, or you reject it. Pastor Kang began to spend many hours each day in serious study of the Spirit of Prophecy. Those privileged to have heard him preach know that his preaching was intensely practical. He preached about practical godliness and the blessing of really experiencing the gospel and living the life of Christ. He saw the need of reflecting to the world an image of the character of Jesus.

The theme of Pastor Kang’s message came from 2 Peter 3 where the apostle Peter tells us that the day of the Lord is going to come as a great surprise. It says, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (verses 10–13).

The new earth in which righteousness dwells is what we are expecting and looking for. So Peter says, “Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless” (verse 14).

Pastor Kang would repeat to his staff the necessity of being without spot and blameless to be ready for the Lord to come. He preached so much about practical godliness that he had to resist the criticism from people all over the world that his message was too strict.

Another preacher, Elder Fordyce Detamore, one of my favorites, had another style of preaching and burden to share. It is important to allow each preacher to share what the Lord has put on his heart. In making his appeals at camp meetings, it was not uncommon at all for him to spend 30 minutes in an appeal. To those whose hearts were warmed with his message, it seemed like just a few moments.

At the end of the meeting on one occasion while making his appeal he called for those who knew somebody in the congregation that needed to make a decision to follow the Lord all the way, to go up to them and tell them that if they would go forward, you will go forward with them. He suggested that if you encourage them to make a commitment, they will not hold it against you in the day of judgment.

It just so happened that while sitting in the back of the meeting I noticed a lady to whom I had given Bible studies sitting probably two or three rows from the front. She believed the truths that I had shown her, but I had been unable to help her to make a decision. As Elder Detamore made his appeal I was convicted that I had nothing to lose if I encouraged her to go forward. Even if she might get mad at me, she would not hold it against me in the day of judgment. So I walked up to her and made the offer to go forward with her if she should choose. She made a decision and went forward and was baptized just a few days later.

If you are almost saved, you are still totally lost. On the day of judgment there will be many people like Felix Agrippa (Acts 26:28). He heard the gospel and he believed it but put off making a decision until a convenient time that never came. Consequently, he will be lost.

A mere intellectual knowledge of the truth will not save you. The Pharisees knew the truth better than anyone, but they refused the power necessary for that truth to change their hearts and lives.

After Pastor Kang’s deeper conversion experience in 1984, he started to preach that unless our characters are without spot and blameless, we will not be fit to go to heaven, even if we know the truth. This teaching infuriated the church leaders who accused him of fanaticism and smeared his reputation as a proponent of heresy. At his funeral, a man who had attended the seminary in Korea with him said that for many years he would not listen or read anything from Pastor Kang solely because the church had been told not to have anything to do with him. However, when he did investigate, he found that Pastor Kang did speak truth and wondered why the church was so against it.

Pastor David Kang had such a conviction, not just to get information out, but for the need to show people by example what has to happen in their heart to be ready for Jesus to come. As a result of the mission projects that he started, there are seven hundred literature evangelists working in China under very dangerous conditions. In fact, Pastor Kang came in danger and narrowly escaped being put in prison himself on a number of occasions.

Hundreds of Sunday keeping pastors from different countries in the Far East that attended Pastor Kang’s sanctuary seminars found out that God has a sanctuary in heaven, and that within the veil of that Most Holy Place of the sanctuary in heaven there is an ark that contains the ten commandments. The news about the unchangeable character of God’s law has been fearlessly presented in Korea, China, and other Asian countries and is spreading underground like wildfire.

It is not enough to know truth; the truth must change lives to be effective. If the knowledge of the truth you know has not yet changed your life, it is not too late for you to have a conversion experience. Maybe your conversion is just superficial, and you need a deeper experience in your life. The good news is that the door of salvation is still open, and Jesus is standing at the door of your heart knocking and longing to be invited in. Now is the time to open that door, for the time is coming when the door of salvation will be closed.

God’s offer of salvation is made even to the world’s most wicked, to the people that the world most despises because of their crimes, if only they would hear and respond to God’s Spirit. We can read in the writings of Ellen White that on one occasion salvation was offered to Nero. Nero was one of the most wicked men that has ever lived yet salvation was still offered to him but he did not accept it. Nero was guilty of killing his own mother as well as murdering at least one of his wives and who knows how many other people.

We wonder how someone as wicked as Nero could ever be saved, but Jesus came into the world to save sinners and if Nero had accepted the invitation and allowed the Holy Spirit to transform his life he could have been saved. But like most, he saw no value in the gift that was offered. However Saul, who later became the apostle Paul, considered himself “the chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). He had chased down the saints of God who feared him and would set out to capture them to be imprisoned or even put to death. When salvation was offered to him on the Damascus Road, he repented and was forgiven. His former companions, the Pharisees, all turned against him. Now if you really have a change of heart so that you go full out for the Lord; in other words, you are fully committed to God and His cause, you are going to have some opposition in this world. Some people that used to be your friends will not be your friends anymore. That is just the way it will happen so do not be too surprised when it does happens.

When your life is fully surrendered to Jesus you are no longer in charge of your life, because you are walking in a different way. Sins that once had an attraction and a hold on you are discarded as you walk the narrow path.

Thank God that our sins can be forgiven. We are told in Romans 3:25, 26, “Whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”

Notice that when you come to Jesus, you are forgiven for the sins that you have previously committed, but this does not give license to go on sinning. Forgiveness is always in the past. There is no such thing as being forgiven for a sin that you are going to commit tomorrow. This is contrary to what some Roman Catholic theologians believe.

When the woman was taken in adultery and brought to Jesus in John the 8th chapter, Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:11). There were people in the early church who had a hard time with that story and were afraid that if everybody knew about that, it would give people a license to sin. They feared that people would be at liberty to go and sin because they knew they could be forgiven. They thought that the Lord was being too lenient with the woman. But notice that when Jesus forgave that woman of everything that she had done in the past, He said to her, “Go and sin no more.” He did not say to go on a 5-day plan to stop sinning or to cut down on her sin. He said to not do it anymore.

No matter how bad a sinner you are, if you are willing to quit, the Lord can forgive you for what is in your past. Maybe you have a besetting sin that nobody knows about, not even your husband or your wife. Be sure that God knows about it and that your secret sin of which no one else knows is written down in His book. Sins that are not erased by confession and repentance will come up again in the judgment and even though you may profess Christ and go to church every week they will cause you to be lost.

The Bible contains warnings about being ready for the end of the world and for the second coming of Jesus:

“Take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare [a trap] on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34–36).

“Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch” (Mark 13:35– 37)! Are you sleeping like the foolish virgins? Pray that the Lord will keep you alert and awake.

“When the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:11–14). No one is allowed into the wedding feast of the Lamb without the wedding garment, a righteous Christ-like character.

“And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3).

“The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: ‘Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?’ He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, he who despises the gain of oppressions, who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil: He will dwell on high; his place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; bread will be given him, his water will be sure” (Isaiah 33:14–16). There are some people who need to pay special attention to Isaiah 33:15.

Zephaniah 2 was always a very scary passage to my mother. She would talk to me about what it could mean, but I had no answer. “Gather yourselves together, yes, gather together, O undesirable nation, before the decree is issued, or the day passes like chaff, before the Lord’s fierce anger comes upon you, before the day of the Lord’s anger comes upon you! Seek the Lord, all you meek of the earth, who have upheld His justice, seek righteousness, seek humility, it may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger” (verses 1–3).

The part of the text that was so scary to my mother is where it says, “it may be that you will be hidden in the day of the Lord’s anger” which does not sound like a guarantee.

Isaiah 4 describes a time coming when all human pride will be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day, and everyone that is left among the living in Jerusalem will be holy. At that time when only those who are holy are alive, where will you be?

“And they shall call them The Holy People, The Redeemed of the Lord; and you shall be called Sought Out, A City not Forsaken” (Isaiah 62:12).

God is preparing a holy people who are ready to meet Him, ready to meet the Lord when He comes.

A time is coming when there will be no more weeping. But right now it is the time to say, Lord, I am surrendering myself totally, completely to you. Whatever change needs to be made in my life, I am surrendering myself totally and completely to the control of Your Holy Spirit. If you are willing to make that kind of a decision, God is willing to answer your prayer and transform your life. The time will come when there will not be any more tears because the former things will be in the past and will never be repeated. It will be a time of rejoicing for those who have kept their garments white and are ready to meet the Lord in peace.

May the Lord prepare our hearts for what is going to break upon this world as an overwhelming surprise; that we might not only know truth, but that the truth will change us from the inside out by the power of His Holy Spirit.

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

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

Restoring the Temple – Nutrition, Eat Well and Live Well, Part II

“In all labour there is profit” Proverbs 14:23

Do you remember learning in school about the second law of thermodynamics, the law of entropy? Basically, entropy is the physical world’s way of always moving toward states of greater disorder. Natural systems tend to move to the lowest energy state possible. Does that sound like you? Shoelaces untie, ice cream melts, and people end up on the couch.

Up to half of all American adults are sedentary.1 Other countries’ statistics may vary, but Americans surely cannot be proud of their behavior! Life provides many distractions and excuses not to exercise. Just the normal routines of daily life make little time to fit in exercise.

“Whatever their business and inclinations, they should make up their minds to exercise in the open air as much as they can. They should feel it a religious duty to overcome the conditions of health which have kept them confined indoors, deprived of exercise in the open air. Some invalids become willful in the matter and refuse to be convinced of the great importance of daily outdoor exercise. . . they persist, from year to year, in having their own way and living in an atmosphere almost destitute of vitality. It is impossible for this class to have a healthy circulation.” Counsels on Health, 173

If Ellen White were able to observe modern life she may indeed classify the lot of us as invalids!

Why should I exercise? Think flabby muscles and failing organs. Regular exercise keeps the blood flowing. Blood is the transportation system for all the nutrients, oxygen, and water our cells need, from our brains to our toenails. Lack of exercise weakens the circulatory system causing blood to pool, thus oxygen and nutrients cannot get to their destinations. Organs are not getting the fuel they need for proper functioning. No wonder lack of exercise contributes to heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity, to name but a few.2

Exercise also helps prevent osteoporosis. The bones and joints require weight-bearing exercise to stimulate the body to make more osteocytes—bone cells. Sedentary lifestyles lead to porous, brittle bones.3

“The chief if not the only reason why many become invalids is that the blood does not circulate freely, and the changes in the vital fluid, which are necessary to life and health, do not take place. They have not given their bodies exercise nor their lungs food, which is pure, fresh air; therefore it is impossible for the blood to be vitalized, and it pursues its course sluggishly through the system. The more we exercise, the better will be the circulation of the blood. More people die for want of exercise than through overfatigue; very many more rust out than wear out.” Counsels on Health, 173

With depression and anxiety major health concerns today, it is no wonder that a link between emotional well being and exercise has been found. You may have heard about endorphins, which is a substance naturally produced by the body that is hundreds of times more potent than morphine.4 Exercise causes your body to release endorphins and perhaps serotonin which causes an individual to feel a sense of well-being. Not to mention that having a more fit body can make anyone feel better about themselves.

Exercise not only strengthens your cardiovascular system; it reduces the amount of harmful cholesterol (LDL) in your blood and actually can help reverse atherosclerosis– hardening of the arteries. Insufficient physical activity is a known risk factor leading to ischemic heart disease and stroke, that together account for more than 40% of deaths in the United States.5

What is considered exercise? It is recommended that one get at least 30 minutes of accumulated exercise on most or all days of the week. This includes many activities of daily living such as doing the laundry, walking the dog, and gardening. But for optimal health, aerobic exercise must become part of your exercise regime. Aerobic—or oxygen providing—exercise is considered any exercise that raises the heart rate, and keeps it up, for a minimum of 20–30 minutes. This can include, but is not limited to, brisk walking, bicycling, swimming, and rowing. How can you determine whether or not your exercise is intense enough to transport oxygen to all of your body systems? Calculate your target heart rate with the formula provided (your heart rate during exercise should fall between the minimum and maximum rates). Another more general guideline is that it should be possible for you to speak a few words during exercise but the activity should be intense enough that you are unable to carry on a conversation. Aerobic exercise is recommended three to five times a week.

Today, obesity is not only a problem in adults for even childhood obesity is on the rise. Exercise burns off calories and when we burn more calories than we eat, we lose weight. Also, after exercising, your metabolism speeds up, making you feel more energetic and burns calories faster for the remainder of the day. Being at an ideal weight reduces the likelihood that you will have heart disease and is very beneficial in preventing and treating diabetes.

You now know that exercise leads to greater health and prevents disease. Exercise is your weapon for combating the law of entropy and moving toward greater states of health instead of disease and disorder. You know who you are, get off the couch!

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.” Psalm 23:4

Target Heart Rate Formula

To calculate your Target Heart Rate, first find your pulse or your resting heart rate (best when taken just as you get out of bed in the morning) and count the beats for one entire minute. Use this number in the following formula.

Minimum Exercise Heart Rate:

220 – age______ = ______ – resting heart rate______ = ______ x .5 + resting heart rate______ = _______

Maximum Exercise Heart Rate:

220 – age______ = ______ – resting heart rate ______ =______ x .85 + resting heart rate______ = ________

Example: (age = 20, resting heart rate = 70)

220 – 20 = 200 – 70 = 130 x .5 + 70 = 135
220 – 20 = 200 – 70 = 130 x .85 + 70 = 180

Identification and Spirit of Antichrist – Part II

We have been looking at the spirit of antichrist, and we want to look further at his philosophy and purpose.

Daniel 7:25 says, concerning the antichrist, that he “shall intend [in other words, he will do this deliberately, on purpose, intentionally] to change times and law.”

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, he is called “the man of sin.” In verse 7, he is called “the mystery of lawlessness,” and in verse 8, he is called “The lawless one.” One more text about the antichrist says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits.…” 1 John 4:1. One of the great tragedies, one of the great disasters of our time is that almost the whole Christian world is in violation of this verse.

Apparitions and Wonders

When there is an apparition, when there is a spiritual happening, when there is a wonder, when there is a miracle, people gawk at it and say, Is that not wonderful? But what does the Bible say? The Bible says, do not believe every spirit. It says to test the spirits. If you are going to make it through the times just ahead, every spirit, every miracle, every teaching, every wonder, every sign must be tested by the Word of God.

“Test the spirits.” Obviously all the spirits are not good, because the Bible says to test them “whether they are of God” or not. “…because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.” Verses 1–5.

Now, verse 3 is explicit and exact. It says, “every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.” That is an unequivocal, general, absolute statement. Furthermore, he says, “This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”

In 1 John 2:18, 19 the apostle John makes it clear that there are many antichrists. He also makes it clear that these many antichrists are people who came out of the bosom of the Christian church. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” Verse 19.

Even though he acknowledges that there are many antichrists, he also acknowledges that there is one power that he calls “the antichrist.” He says, “You have heard that the Antichrist is coming.” Verse 18 (NKJV.)

The spirit of the antichrist is the spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. (See 1 John 4:3.) This has to do with the philosophy and the purpose of antichrist. What is it all about? The question is, of course, what does it mean to say that Jesus Christ has not come in the flesh, or to not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh?

The Word “Flesh”

There has been much controversy over this text for many, many centuries. The reason that it is difficult for people to understand is because the word, flesh, is a technical term in the New Testament. In every branch of knowledge, we have technical terms. Whether you are studying medicine, aviation, electricity, chemistry, every branch of knowledge has certain technical terms to explain certain things that you are studying. The same is true in religion. The Christian religion has some technical terms, and to understand the Bible, you must understand what these technical terms mean. When the apostles talk about the flesh, they have something very specific in mind. Let us examine a few texts and see if we can figure out what this technical term means.

The Basis for All Sin

The word flesh, comes from the Greek word sarx. In the Latin equivalent, it is carnal and the English equivalent is flesh. What does this technical term mean in the New Testament? We will let the apostle John answer that. “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16. John says there are only three things in the world, and one of those things is the lust of the flesh.

So obviously, flesh is a technical term. It is one of only three things that even exist in this world. Now let us see what the apostle Paul says about it. He uses this term probably more than any other Bible writer does. “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” Galatians 5:16, 17.

Paul says there is a fight going on in your mind, and that fight is between the flesh and between the spirit. Because of that battle, you cannot just do what comes naturally. “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident.” Verses 18, 19.

If the lust of the flesh is expressed in works, what will happen and what are the works?

Paul lists about 17 things that tell what the works of the flesh are: “The works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Ibid.

Paul lists all these things and then he adds, and all the other things like that. Those are the works of the flesh. People who live and manifest the works of the flesh are not going to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Do you now understand what the apostles mean when they talk about the flesh?

In our modern, English speech, the modern equivalent expression to “the flesh” and all these things that he listed here, would be sin! Carnal equals flesh, self. This is our fallen, sinful human nature. Ellen White says that is what we have inside. (See Education, 29.) This is important for young people to understand. She says that we have within us “a bent to evil” that we cannot resist if we do not have help. Is that true?

The Deceitful Heart

Have you ever heard a young person say, Well, I do not want to be a Christian, but I am going to be a good person. Oh, no, you are not! You may be a good person outwardly, but your heart will not be pure and holy without the power of Christ within you. It will not happen.

The Bible says that the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked and who can know it? (See Jeremiah 17:9.) In other words, nobody can know it. That is the flesh is—your sinful, fallen, human nature. The apostle Paul talks about this extensively in Romans 8:1–14. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.…For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded [that is fleshly minded] is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind [that is the fleshly mind, the unconverted mind] is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. [Notice, it is impossible.] So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”

Fallen Human Nature

When we are converted, we receive the Holy Spirit. Then a warfare takes place in the heart and the mind, the warfare between the Spirit and the flesh. Paul says you will live, if according to the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, the sinful, carnal, fallen human nature; that bent to sin that you cannot resist on your own without divine help. That is why Jesus came, to give you that help.

Notice in verse 3, that God sent “His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,” and He condemned sin in the flesh.” So when the New Testament talks about the flesh, it is talking about our fallen, human nature. Does that make sense? We see that repeatedly—in Galatians 5, Romans 8, and many other places in the New Testament.

I want you to see something very interesting in 1 John 4:3. It says, “every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist.” This has to do with the basic philosophy and the purpose of the antichrist.

Again, the word flesh is talking about our fallen human nature. So let us look at that text again, replacing the word flesh, with the words our fallen human nature. “Every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the fallen human nature is not of God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist.”

A Religion of Human Nature

The antichrist power does not acknowledge that Jesus came in fallen sinful nature. In fact, that is one of the foundational points of their theology, and anyone who has studied and understands the Roman Catholic faith will confess that.

Ellen White says that the Roman Catholic religion is the religion of human nature. (See Signs of the Times, February 19, 1894.) It is a very logical religion, and it has tremendous appeal to human nature. Here is why. If Jesus did not come to this world in the likeness of sinful flesh, if He was not tempted on every point like we are tempted, if He did not come in fallen human nature, then He was different than we are. Does that make sense? If He came in the unfallen nature of Adam in the Garden of Eden, then He is different than we are.

Now let us just think this through a minute. If Jesus is different than we are, if He did not even participate in the kind of temptations that we have, because of that difference, it would mean He was not tempted in every point like we are. But the Bible says that He was. (See Hebrews 4:14–16.) If He was not tempted in every point just like we are, if He did not have a nature like we have, He cannot understand us, so there is a gulf between Jesus Christ and us. How would you like to pray to somebody who could not understand you?

You need help. Who can help? There were some holy people who lived in the world who were just like you. We call them saints and they can speak to Jesus and talk to Him about your need. They can feel the way you feel. That is part of the reason for the development of the doctrine of the theology of the intercession of the saints. It is why people pray to saints. They know that the saints understand them, because they are alike.

They do not believe that Jesus understands, because He was different than they are. The intercession of saints is just the beginning. Christ is thereby removed far from human beings, far from the sinner. Sinners are afraid to even approach Christ. They think that they must approach somebody who is more like themselves. They would like to approach Mary. They think she would understand a little better, however, even Mary is not enough, because they believe that she was immaculate.

Becoming Like Jesus

There is another problem that comes in. If Jesus was completely different than we are, not only can He not understand us, but how could we ever be expected to become like He is, because His nature is different than ours.

A few select people will become like Him. We call them saints. What the great mass of mankind will have to do is to simply keep their sins confessed. There are hundreds of millions of sincere people who know nothing else about the Christian religion except that Jesus is different than they are. They can never become like Jesus and they can never overcome.

A Terrible Delusion

They do not understand the gospel. The gospel teaches, not only forgiveness of the guilt of sin, but also that you will overcome your sins. In fact, Scripture promises salvation only to those who overcome. (See Revelation 3:5.) No one else is promised salvation. (See John 8, 1 John 3, and Romans 8.)

But people do not know that. They believe that you can be saved in sin as long as you keep your sins confessed, so they go to confession every day, every week, and keep confessing their sins. These people do not expect to overcome their sins. They know that they are going to sin for the rest of their lives, but they think if they keep their sins confessed, then they will go to heaven.

It is a terrible, terrible delusion that has taken almost the whole Christian world captive, and I am sorry to tell you that there are Adventists today who have been taken captive by this delusion, too. They think if they just keep their sins confessed, they will go to heaven.

A Great Disappointment

Jesus addresses this theory in Matthew 7:21–23. These are Christians who believe that they are going to be saved. But they are not going to be saved, and the day of God is going to bring to them the most bitter disappointment. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’”

These people believe that they have received the Holy Spirit. They have been working miracles, speaking in different languages, prophesying in Christ’s name. These are the people who have participated in the great revival of antichrist at the end of the world, and they cannot believe that they are not saved. They say, You have to have made a mistake, Lord. But from lips that never make a mistake comes the following reply: “‘And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”’ Verse 23.

The Lie of Antichrist

What is their problem? They are breaking God’s law. They thought that they could be saved in sin; this is the lie of the antichrist. 11 Thessalonians 2:9–12 says, “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all powers, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie.”

The lie is that you can be saved in sin. That is the lie of antichrist. That is the philosophy of antichrist. That is the objective of antichrist. “That they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Verse 12.

There was a time when Seventh-day Adventists did not believe the lie. Some time ago I looked over the notes of sermons that I first preached as a young minister, before we had such things as the new theology in the Adventist Church. I was surprised how clear the message was. If you wanted to be saved, you had to overcome sin. That is just the way it was. That is the way it still is, but we have been influenced by the lie, the teaching of antichrist that you can be saved in sin, just by keeping your sins confessed. We cannot be saved without overcoming sin!

A Terror to Evil-doers

Have you read about the early Christians in The Great Controversy, chapter two? It says that their doctrines were a terror to evil-doers. Is what you believe a terror to evil-doers? If it is not, then what you believe is not what the early church believed.

Seventh-day Adventists have been affected by antichrist. We have been affected by the lie. I am praying that, by the grace of God, I can help people remove the blinders from their eyes, so they can see the truth. The truth is that not one of us are going to be saved in sin. Not one! If there is any sin in our mind or in our character, that we have not overcome, we are not going through the pearly gates. It is just that simple.

People have heard the lie for so long that when they first hear that they cannot be saved in sin, they are shocked, they can hardly believe it! The lie of antichrist has gone all over the world. It has affected almost all Christian churches and even non-Christian churches, but it is still a lie. It is the lie of the antichrist power.

People say that nobody can be perfect. In other words, everybody is going to sin a little bit. Yes, almost all the people in the world are going to sin, but they are not going to heaven. The only people going to heaven are the people who quit sinning. And, oh, friend, do not believe it because I said so. Read your own Bible.

This is not an obscure Scriptural theory. Read John 8, Romans 6, Romans 8, Galatians 5, 1 John 3, the book of James, and Revelation 2, 3, 21 and 22. It is there! Scripture makes it very clear, that when Jesus comes again, He is going to have a people who are without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish. They are the only people He is going to save.

A Complete Change

Maybe someone is saying, There is always someone who is sinning. I guess I will just not be able to go to heaven then. No, you will not be able to go to heaven if you do not let the Lord work in your life so that there is a complete change. The Lord wants to save you. He has the power to save the most vile, degraded sinner. (See The Desire of Ages, 258.) Matthew 22 relates the story of a wedding for a king’s son. After the people who were first invited would not come, the king said, Go into the highways and byways and bring in all the people. That is happening right now.

When I was preaching the gospel in New Guinea in 1996, a lot of the church people did not accept it. Do you know what happened to the people who would not accept it? The Lord bypassed them and picked someone else. He picked the vile sinners, and they came and accepted the gospel. While I was there they had a baptism, and one of the persons baptized was the former leader of a drug gang. He found the gospel, or the gospel found him, he gave up his lucrative drug business and became a Seventh-day Adventist.

When we come right down to the end, there are going to be people on the inside of the city, who, in their past have been vile, degraded sinners, but they came to the Lord and said, Lord, please change me. Their biggest sin, they bring to the Lord and say, I am willing to give it up.

The Smallest Sin

We need to think as well about the other side of the coin, because most of us have probably never been the leader of a drug gang, the head of a house of prostitution, or have done some other horrible thing; but the smallest sin, that we are not willing to forsake, will keep us out of the Kingdom. The smallest sin! The sin that nobody knows about. The sin that you just enjoy. Perhaps you are a deacon, an elder, an evangelist, or some other church leader, and no one knows about this small sin. But the smallest sin that you will not forsake will keep you out of heaven, because God is going to have a people who are without spot or wrinkle.

You might be going to a Seventh-day Adventist Church and still have the lie of antichrist in your mind, because you do not realize that all sin must be given up, forsaken, and overcome. Jesus has promised to give you power to overcome. Do you believe that? Many people have told me that they could not overcome. Yes, you can! The Lord said that you can do it. Why do you not put God to the test, and say, Lord, here I am; I am going to give it everything that I have.

The Lord will not answer your prayers if you just give Him half of your heart, but if you make a total and complete surrender and bring your vile sin to Him, you will have victory!

Immediate Deliverance!

The God that we serve is powerful! Do not ask if it is His will. Ellen White says when you are asking for victory over sin, you do not need to ask whether it is God’s will, because it is His will to deliver us immediately. (See The Desire of Ages, 266.)

If there is sin in your life that you have never overcome; if you will come to the Lord today and say, Lord, I am willing to give up that sin now, today, the Lord will give you the power to give it up, the chance to be changed today!

If we are going to go to heaven, we are going to have to get serious. Ellen White wrote that when God sees that we are really serious, He will attract the heart to Himself as a magnet. (See Our High Calling, 337.) Do you want that to happen in your life?

God wants to do that for you, but unlike the antichrist, He never uses force. God will not operate in violation or your choice. Friend, are you going to escape the lie that you can be saved in sin? The reason people like the lie is because it is so attractive. 11 Thessalonians 2:12 says there is pleasure in unrighteousness.

If you are having pleasure in unrighteousness, you are lost. Do not fool yourself. The fact that you are in a Seventh-day Adventist Church is not going to save you at all when the plagues begin to fall.

I have met people, with a sin in their life, and when I urge them, encourage them, to allow the Lord to deliver them, they say, Well, the Lord knows how I feel. Yes, the Lord does know how you feel, but you are not going to heaven with those kinds of feelings, thoughts, and actions. It is not going to happen.

God Longs to Set Us Free

The Book says that you are not going through the pearly gates with sin. There are going to be a few people who say, I believe what God says. He has promised that He can deliver me from every sin; every darling sin He can take away from me, and I am willing to cooperate.

Do not fool yourself. Do not think, Oh, I know what the Bible says, but I can still divorce my wife and marry somebody else and go to heaven. Watch out! Read the Sermon on the Mount. (See Matthew 5.) Jesus did not promise salvation to anybody in that kind of a situation. Watch out! Do not commit the sin of presumption. Do not say, I know the Bible says this, but the Lord knows I have this habit that I cannot overcome and I just have to do it. Watch out!

God is powerful, and He wants to heal you and me. I do not know what the passion is in your life, that the devil has put in your heart and in your mind, that you cannot overcome. I do not know what your heredity or your past environment has been so that you have a certain problem in your life. I do not know, but God knows all about it. And God is waiting to set us free.

If we are going to be set free at all, we are going to be set free in this life, friends, because we are not going to heaven in chains to be set free there. If you want to be set free, bring your sin to the Lord. He is just waiting for you to ask.

Heart Obedience

Have you ever known someone who is always questioning things? Surely we have all been around an inquisitive youngster whose every other word, it seems, is “Why?” Asking questions is how we learn.

Perhaps you have wondered what makes a Christian a Christian or contemplated about the experience into which the true gospel would lead you. Perhaps you have pondered sanctification and what comprises it, or mused about the experience you must have that will allow God to redeem you. Have you wanted to know what makes God’s people on this earth distinct and separate from the world?

An Alternative to Sin

Interestingly, each of these queries are answered with the same three-word phrase: Obedience to God.

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Romans 5:19. That statement tells us that there is an alternative to sin. It also tells us what sin is—it is disobedience. God is going to redeem us through obedience, by the experience of obedience. Do you notice it says, “So by the obedience of one . . . .” Who was that One? Jesus! Jesus’ obedience was perfect. Jesus’ obedience took Him to the cross, where He paid the penalty for our disobedience!

God Prepared the Way

Could we say that righteousness is obedience? Yes, and we are not taking anything away from it. God has made a way through His Son, Jesus Christ, to make us obedient to His will, to His law.

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4. So, God said, I am going to make you righteous, obedient to My law. It is a wonderful thing that God has given us an alternative to disobedience. That alternative is obedience. God says, “I am going to make you righteous through My Son, through His sacrifice for you. I want to bring you back into harmony with My will, My law; I want you to be an obedient child.”

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Romans 6:16. That text tells us that obedience is our choice. Another thing that text reveals is that everybody in this wide world of ours is obeying someone.

Learning Obedience

As we look at these statements, inspired by God through the apostle Paul, we are looking at how encompassing is obedience to the plan of salvation. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” Hebrews 5:8. This text tells us that Jesus himself, coming into this world as a human being, learned obedience.

We just saw in Romans 6 that we learn obedience by first choosing it. So Jesus chose to obey, and He learned it through the things which He suffered. Sometimes, when we obey God, we may suffer, but if we continue to choose to obey God, we are going to grow up in that suffering; we are going to truly learn what it means to obey God.

Now notice, “And being made perfect, he [Jesus] became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Verse 9. Do you see how encompassing the word and the action of obedience is in regard to the plan of redemption? You cannot get around it. It is there. Obedience is the issue of salvation.

Our Saviour was obedient, and He says that He is able to save every one who will obey Him. Now if we hear of a gospel that eliminates obedience from the plan of salvation, do you think that that is the true gospel? No, and we have not even looked at the whole of the subject yet.

Making a Choice

God clarifies even more fully what obedience means and what the end will be to those who choose not to obey. “But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile.” Romans 2:8, 9. This is not an arbitrary decree on the part of God, because we are making the choice. God is just confirming our decision and saying, this is where your decision is leading you; do you want to continue in that direction?

We are told in Galatians 6 that God will not be mocked. What a man soweth, that is what he is going to reap. And that is all we are seeing here in Romans 2. Do you see how God reiterates things to us in various ways? I was told early on in my life that a good teacher is a teacher who always reiterates.

There is a difference between redundancy and repetition. God is not redundant, but He is repetitious. Repetition is telling us over and over again what is necessary for us to know. Being redundant is telling us over and over again that which is not necessary. God is very repetitious with us, because He loves us.

Notice what the people are who choose not to obey: “But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth . . . .” Verse 8. The truth is what God wants us to obey.

Rejecting Truth Rejects Jesus

The truth goes far beyond mere doctrine. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life . . . .” John 14:6. Did you know that all truth that we read about in God’s word has its origin in a Person? Every truth.

Every truth has its origin in Jesus! All the light we have comes from Him. Should we respond with warmer hearts? Oh, yes! He wants us to obey not merely the letter of the doctrine, He wants us to obey Him. He is able to give eternal life to all those who obey Him. (See Hebrews 5:9.)

Even though it is truth, if we try to obey it to the letter, not sensing it has come from Jesus, we will never obey in the manner in which God wants us to obey.

True obedience is where the true gospel leads us—into an experience in order that God can save us some day. Out there in the universe where there are innumerable worlds that have never fallen into sin—they obey God. It is interesting to learn, as we study Scripture, that everything which God created obeys Him, except man.

Even the demons and unclean spirits obey God. (See Mark 1:23–26.) Inanimate nature obeys Him; the wind and the sea obey Him. (See Mark 4:37, 39.) The angels in heaven obey Him. (See Testimonies, vol. 2, 271.) So if you and I are planning to go to heaven, where everybody is in obedience to God because they love Him for the kind of God that He is, then we are going to have to have that kind of experience. “All true obedience comes from the heart. [Where you see the word “true,” you can always know that there is a counterfeit.] It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience.” The Desire of Ages, 668.

Did you notice that obedience is linked up with knowing God? That is why, if we obey Him, we obey all the truth as it is in Him, as He gives it to us. But we are going to have true obedience only if we are motivated by a knowledge of Him, not just merely a knowledge of doctrine. A popular message from pulpits today is one of a relationship gospel. There is a lot of truth in that, because if we know God, we are going to love Him, and when we love Him, we are going to obey Him and keep all of His commandments. It is going to be our highest delight to please Him, and part of that pleasing Him is obeying.


Hebrews 11 is known as the faith chapter. You may wonder why this is not called the obedience chapter, but faith precedes all true obedience.

Notice verse 4: “By faith Abel offered . . . .” Verse 7: “By faith Noah . . . prepared an ark . . . .” Verse 8: “By faith Abraham . . . obeyed . . . .” Verse 28: “Through faith he [Moses] kept the passover . . . .” Verse 30: “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down . . . .” What followed faith in every instance? Obedience! Genuine obedience will always be preceded by genuine faith.

Is Justification Enough?

We hear a lot today in Christianity about justification by faith. There are those who believe that justification in and of itself is enough. That is the theology that accepts that Calvary is sufficient. When we take that concept, we negate the work in the sanctuary by Jesus after He left this earth and went back to heaven.

Is Calvary enough? Is justification enough? Is it enough just to be forgiven? No, we already read in Romans 5:19 that God has made a way through the death of His Son, through His obedience, to make us a righteous or obedient people. That deals with sanctification. Peter says, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience . . . .” 1 Peter 1:2.

God wants to justify us through the obedience of His Son and His sacrifice in our behalf for our past, and now He wants to bestow upon us His Spirit by which He will sanctify us unto obedience. So the whole plan of redemption focuses on bringing us back into an attitude of complete obedience to God’s will. If we are hearing any other gospel, and sad to say, many are, it is not the true gospel.


God, by His Spirit, sanctifies us, and that sanctification is unto obedience. The messenger of God tells us that obedience, true sanctification, maintains our justification experience for us: “As the sinner looks to the law, his guilt is made plain to him, and pressed home to his conscience, and he is condemned. His only comfort and hope is found in looking to the cross of Calvary. As he ventures upon the promises, taking God at His word, relief and peace come to his soul. He cries, ‘Lord, Thou hast promised to save all who come unto Thee in the name of Thy Son. I am a lost, helpless, hopeless soul. Lord, save, or I perish.’ His faith lays hold on Christ, and he is justified before God.

“But while God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ’s righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 366.

Grace is the Way

God says, through the apostle Paul, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9. We have said this before—our total salvation comes by way of God. Every step we make in progress is from Him as we choose to respond.

Do you see that it is by grace only that we are saved? We are not saved by what we do for ourselves. It is by allowing God’s grace to work in us through His Spirit unto sanctification (see 1 Peter 1:2), unto obedience, that we are saved.

Grace is the only way that we can be brought back into harmony with God. God is trying to tell us what He wants to do for us. Paul says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works . . . .” Ephesians 2:10. Good works is just another way of saying obedience. The end of grace is obedience.

“What shall we say, then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid.” Romans 6:1, 2. You do not continue to disobey because you have grace. Notice verse 17: “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.”

That is a “from the heart” experience. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under [condemned by] the law, but under grace.” Verse 14. If we are receiving the grace of God, then we have been pardoned—forgiven. That is why we are not under the condemnation of the law. “What then? shall we sin [continue to disobey], because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” Verse 15.

Means to the End

Put that thought [that we can be saved in our sins] far from you, Paul says, yet that thought is the theology of the day! What the theologians are preaching in the churches of Christianity today is a twisting and a perversion of Scripture. When preachers say, “Justification is all;” when they say, “Calvary is enough;” when they say, “Just to be forgiven is sufficient;” when they say, “Grace is all there is,” they are wrong. Grace is not the end. It is the means to the end, which is obedience.

The New Covenant is not new; it is the original covenant. Abraham and Moses were saved in the same manner as we are saved—by grace, through faith, unto obedience.

But God gives a wonderful promise, “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” Hebrews 8:10. If you and I are going to be the people of God, His law will be in our minds and in our hearts. Who puts it there? God does. Who chooses to have Him put it there? You and I do.

Jesus gives another wonderful promise to the Laodicean church (us) in Revelation 3:21: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

The question is, What did Jesus overcome? He overcame the temptation to sin! He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15. What is sin? It is the transgression of God’s law, or disobedience.

If Jesus was tempted in all points as we are yet without sin, what does that tell us? He never disobeyed! Then how did He overcome sin? By obedience. “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book [it is] written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart.” Psalm 40:7, 8. God’s law was in His heart and He continually chose to obey His Father. This is the experience He wants us to have, the experience of overcoming sin by being obedient to God’s Word.

Obedience Brings Victory

Jesus says, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” John 15:10. Keeping the commandments will give us victory over sin. Obedience is the means by which God gives us victory over sin. He writes His law upon our hearts and we are brought into harmony with His law by our choice.

“Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. . . . Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” 1 John 3:6, 9. The experience that Jesus had in regard to obedience to His Father’s will, His law, is the experience that He has called us to have. Any experience other than that will not allow us to some day be a part of His kingdom. That is the only experience that will give us victory over sin.

“Christ came to this world and lived the law of God, that man might have perfect mastery over the natural inclinations which corrupt the soul. . . . Obedience to God is liberty from the thralldom of sin, deliverance from human passion and impulse.” The Ministry of Healing, 130, 131.

“When one surrenders to Christ, the mind is brought under the control of the law; but it is the royal law, which proclaims liberty to every captive,” if we choose to obey it. Ibid., 131.

It is very obvious that obedience is not an optional experience in the Christian life. It is required. If we are going to be brought back into harmony with God’s will, we must be obedient.

Two Forms of Obedience

There are two forms of obedience between which all professed Christians can choose. There are only two, so it is not a hard decision. We know that if there is a true obedience, there is also a counterfeit or false obedience. It appears to be genuine, but it does not lead to heaven.

In an encounter Jesus had with a young man, both forms of obedience are shown. One is inferred; the other is directly brought to view. “And, behold, one came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Matthew 19:16.

This young man was sincere and earnest, but these qualities were not enough to inherit eternal life. Jesus responded: “Why callest thou me good? [There is] none good but one, [that is,] God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Verse 17.

Obedience! That is what Jesus told him. The young man wanted to know for certain which commandments Jesus meant. So Jesus made it very clear to him, as He always does for anyone who is sincere. He repeated to him what we recognize as the last six of the ten commandments. (See verses 18, 19.) Jesus said, “If you keep these commandments, you shall have life eternal.”

But the young man responded: “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?” Verse 20. Did he have obedience? Yes, he had a form of obedience. However, he was not satisfied with the obedience that he was offering to God, because he was not gaining complete victory in his life. Complete victory over sin comes by way of true, perfect obedience to God.

The next verse tells us what constitutes true obedience: “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me.” “Follow me” means to obey. Jesus got right to the heart of the issue. He pointed out to this young man that true obedience is heart obedience; it is spiritual obedience. Physical obedience is necessary, but God’s law goes beyond physical obedience—it goes right to the heart, and the heart of the issue with this rich, young man was selfishness—covetousness.

Jesus presented him the opportunity of true obedience. “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” Verse 22. He was a sorrowful Christian when he left Jesus, because he chose to retain a form of obedience that would not lead to complete victory over sin. He chose compromising obedience.

Head or Heart Obedience

Where are we in our personal experience with God in regard to obedience? Do we have merely a head obedience like that rich, young man, or do we have the heart obedience that Jesus had?

True obedience does not compromise. Jesus did not compromise a bit with this young man. He did not tell him to go and give 80 percent of what he had to the poor. It was all! He did not say, “Come and follow Me one day a week.” He said, “Sell all that you have, and come follow Me all the time.”

Do you know what the joy of Jesus is? It is overcoming. He overcame the temptation to sin through complete obedience to His Father’s law. Heart obedience is what we need. True obedience will always express God’s love in our life to others.

Paul said, in Romans 13:10, “Love [is] the fulfilling of the law.” We could say it this way: Love is the fulfilling of all true obedience to God. If we are someday going to reach our final destination—heaven—obedience is necessary. No matter what any man may say, obedience is not an option!

Restoring the Temple – The Cardiovascular System

Centuries ago, scholars believed that the heart was the seat of thoughts and emotions. They believed this mainly because when you think of something, and become emotional, your heart rate speeds up. William Harvey, an English Physician, first described blood circulation in 1628, and although great strides had been made toward understanding the cardiovascular system, it was not until the middle to last part of the twentieth century that scientists came to understand its functions. Ellen White said, much earlier, “The more active the circulation the more free from obstructions and impurities will be the blood. The blood nourishes the body. The health of the body depends upon the healthful circulation of the blood.” Healthful Living, 178.

Your heart is about the size of your fist, no matter what age or size you are. Its duty is to pump blood through blood vessels (arteries) and to receive the blood again from the veins and repeat the process.

Blood circulation has two main purposes. First, it delivers oxygen, nutrients, water, hormones, and other essentials to each cell of the body. Second, it transports all the carbon dioxide and other waste products of the cells to the lungs to be expired or to the kidneys to be excreted. The adult heart beats approximately 70 times per minute and pumps 2,000 gallons (7,570 liters) of blood each day. There are about 60,000 miles (96,560 km) of blood vessels in the human body, or enough to encircle the Earth more than twice over.

The heart is a muscle, made by God as a different kind of muscle than those that move the skeleton. It has four chambers, the two atria and the two ventricles. It is really like two pumps in one. The right side of the heart receives circulated blood from the body. Blood drains from veins into the right atrium and then flows through a valve (tricuspid valve) into the right ventricle when the valve is opened. The blood then is shunted through another valve (pulmonary semilunar) to the lungs where it will drop off its carbon dioxide load and pick up inhaled oxygen. Blood and inspired air do not directly mix. Oxygen and carbon dioxide are transported across a special thin membrane in the lungs. When the blood is oxygenated, it becomes bright red. It then continues its journey back to the heart where its first stop is the left atrium. As the valve (bicuspid or mitral) opens, blood flows into the left ventricle. The left ventricle is the largest chamber in the heart and has a large portion of muscle surrounding it.

Only when a blood vessel is damaged, such as in a cut, is blood ever not contained within the circulatory system. Even when it flows through organs, such as the brain or liver, blood is always inside a blood vessel. Arteries are the vessels that carry blood away from the heart to the body. Blood is highly pressurized as it travels away from the heart, so arteries do not need valves. Arteries get smaller and smaller the farther they are from the heart, becoming arterioles. As blood arrives at the tissues, the vessels become so small that only one blood cell can fit through at a time. These tiny vessels are called capillaries. This is where the oxygen/carbon dioxide and nutrient/waste exchange takes place. The oxygen and nutrients are dropped off, and the blood picks up its load of carbon dioxide and other waste and continues its journey back to the heart. As the blood vessels start to get bigger, nearer the heart, they are called venules and then veins. Blood is much less pressurized by now, and its journey to the heart is assisted through skeletal muscle contraction and the use of valves. One-fifth of the blood goes to the kidneys to drop off its waste load and then continues to the right side of the heart.

Why do you hear your heart beating but you cannot hear your other muscles when they contract? It is not the muscle contraction that you are hearing. The sound that is heard when the heart beats, lub-dub, comes from the heart valves. The first sound, the “lub,” occurs when the tricuspid and mitral valves shut after the blood has gone through. The “dub” occurs when the pulmonic and aortic valves close. The lub-dub can be heard through a stethoscope or if you put your ear to someone’s chest.

Prior to 1900, heart disease was rare. Before machines made life easier, people plowed their fields, milked cows and did laundry by hand. The main method of transportation was walking. Rich meats were available only to the wealthy on a regular basis, and refined grains were unheard of. As the Industrial Age brought new methods to improve life, it also brought new ways to eat. Meats, refined foods, and high-fat foods became a staple of daily life, and the common people developed and died of rich man’s diseases. Between 1940 and 1967, the rate of heart disease increased so sharply that the World Health Organization called it the world’s most serious epidemic. The role of diet and exercise in heart disease prevention and treatment was finally discovered. Much earlier, Ellen White noted that “The more we exercise, the better will be the circulation of the blood. . . . Those who accustom themselves to proper exercise in the open air will generally have a good and vigorous circulation.” Healthful Living, 186.

God is not only the architect of your heart, but He maintains every beat that sends blood through your body and every breath that fills your lungs with oxygen. The daily care of this system lies in your hands.

“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.” Psalm 31:24.

Relationship between the Cardiovascular System and Other Systems

Integumentary: skin cell stimulation produces local changes in blood flow; delivers immune system cells to injury; clotting seals breaks in skin; removes toxins; provides heat.

Skeletal: provides calcium needed for normal heart muscle contraction; protects blood cells developing in bone marrow; provides calcium and phosphorous for bone maintenance; delivers hormones and nutrition to bone cells.

Muscular: skeletal muscle contractions help move blood through veins; protects superficial blood vessels; muscles make up most of the heart organ; delivers oxygen and nutrients, removes carbon dioxide, lactic acid, and heat during muscle activity.

Nervous: controls patterns of circulation; modifies heart rate and regulates blood pressure; certain cells in blood vessels maintain blood-brain barrier; helps to make cerebrospinal fluid.

Endocrine: helps regulate production of red blood cells; involved in elevating blood pressure; adrenaline stimulates cardiac muscle, elevating heart rate and contraction force; distributes hormones throughout the body; heart secretes hormone ANP.

Lymphatic: defends against pathogens or toxins in blood; fights infections of cardiovascular organs; returns tissue fluid to circulation; distributes white blood cells; carries antibodies; clotting response aids in slowing spread of disease-causing germs.

Respiratory: provides oxygen and removes carbon dioxide; transports oxygen and carbon dioxide between lungs and other body tissues.

Digestive: provides nutrients; absorbs water and ions essential to maintenance of normal blood volume; distributes digestive tract hormones; carries nutrients, water, and ions away from sites of absorption; delivers nutrients and toxins to liver.

Urinary: releases hormones to elevate blood pressure and accelerate red blood cell production; removes waste products delivers blood to capillaries where filtration occurs; accepts fluids and solutes reabsorbed during urine production.

Reproductive: estrogens may maintain healthy vessels and slow development of hardening of the arteries with age; distributes reproductive hormones; provides nutrients, oxygen, and waste removal for developing fetus.

Sheryle Beaudry, a certified teletriage nurse, writes from Estacada, Oregon where she lives with her husband and twin daughters.

From the Pen of Inspiration – My Son, Give Me Thy Heart

The heart belongs to Jesus. He has paid an infinite price for the soul; and he intercedes before the Father as our Mediator, pleading not as a petitioner, but as a conqueror who would claim that which is his own. He is able to save to the uttermost, for he ever lives to make intercession for us. A young heart is a precious offering, the most valuable gift that can be presented to God. All that you are, all the ability you possess, comes from God a sacred trust, to be rendered back to him again in a willing, holy offering. You cannot give to God anything that he has not first given you. Therefore when the heart is given to God, it is giving to him a gift which he has purchased, and is his own.

There are many claimants to the time, the affections, and the strength, of youth. Satan claims the youth as his property, and a vast number render to him all the ability, all the talent, they possess. The world claims the heart; but that heart belongs to the one who redeemed it. If given to the world, it will be filled with care, sorrow, and disappointed hopes; it will become impure and corrupted. It would be the worst kind of robbery to give to the world your heart’s affections and service, for they belong to God. You cannot with profit give your heart to pleasure-seeking. The enemy of righteousness has every kind of pleasure prepared for youth in all conditions of life; and they are not presented alone in crowded cities, but in every spot inhabited by human beings. Satan loves to secure the youth in his ranks as soldiers. The arch fiend well knows with what material he has to deal; and he has displayed his infernal wisdom in devising customs and pleasures for the youth which will separate their affections from Jesus Christ. The various amusements of society have been the ruin of thousands and tens of thousands who, had it not been for these attractions, would have been obedient children, respectful to their parents, upright, pure, and noble in their pursuits and in their character. In order to break away from the fascinations of pleasure, they will have to make a desperate effort. They will have to arise in all their strength, taking hold by faith of the Divine power in their efforts to be Christ’s only.

The lesson of the prodigal is given for the instruction of youth. In his life of pleasure and sinful indulgence, he expends his portion of the inheritance in riotous living. He is friendless, and in a strange country; clad in rags, hungry, longing even for the refuse fed to the swine. His last hope is to return, penitent and humbled, to his father’s house, where he is welcomed, forgiven, and taken back to a father’s heart. Many youth are doing as he did, living a careless, pleasure-loving, spendthrift life, forsaking the fountain of living waters, the fountain of true pleasure, and hewing out to themselves broken cisterns, which can hold no water.

God’s invitation comes to each youth, “My son, give me thine heart; I will keep it pure; I will satisfy its longings with true happiness.” God loves to make the youth happy, and that is why he would have them give their hearts into his keeping, that all the God-given faculties of the being may be kept in a vigorous, healthful condition. They are holding God’s gift of life. He makes the heart beat; he gives strength to every faculty. Pure enjoyment will not debase one of God’s gifts. We sin against our own bodies, and sin against God, when seeking pleasures which separate our affections from God. The youth are to consider that they are placed in the world on trial, to see whether they have characters that will fit them to live with angels.

When your associates urge you into paths of vice and folly, and all around you are tempting you to forget God, to destroy the capabilities God has intrusted to you, and to debase all that is noble in your nature, resist them. Remember that you are the Lord’s property, bought with a price, the suffering and agony of the Son of God.

God says, “My son, give me thy heart.” Will you refuse him that which you cannot give with merit because it is his already,—that which you cannot refuse without ruin to your own soul? He asks your heart; give it to him, it is his own. He asks your intellect; give it to him, it is his own, lent you in trust. He asks your money; it is his own, give it to him. “Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price.”

The Lord Jesus claims your service. He loves you. If you doubt his love, look to Calvary. The light reflected from the cross shows you the magnitude of that love which no tongue can tell. “He that keepeth my commandments, he it is that loveth me.” We are to become acquainted by diligent study with the commandments of God; and then show that we are his obedient sons and daughters.

The mercies of God surround you every moment; and it would be profitable for you to consider how and whence your blessings come every day. Let the precious blessings of God awaken gratitude in you. You cannot number the blessings of God, the constant loving-kindness expressed to you, for they are as numerous as the refreshing drops of rain. Clouds of mercy are hanging over you, and ready to drop upon you. If you will appreciate the valuable gift of salvation, you will be sensible of daily refreshment, of the protection and love of Jesus; you will be guided in the way of peace.

Look upon the glorious things of God in nature, and let your heart go out in gratitude to the Giver. There is in nature’s book profitable study for the mind. Be not thankless and reckless. Open the eyes of your understanding; see the beautiful harmony in the laws of God in nature, and be awed, and reverence your Creator, the supreme Ruler of heaven and earth. See him, by the eye of faith, bending over you in love, saying with compassion, “My son, my daughter, give me thy heart.” Make the surrender to Jesus, and then with grateful hearts you can say, “I know that my redeemer liveth.” Your faith in Jesus will give strength to every purpose, consistency to the character. All your happiness, peace, joy, and success in this life are dependent upon genuine,trusting faith in God. This faith will prompt true obedience to the commandments of God. Your knowledge and faith in God is the strongest restraint from every evil practice, and the motive to all good. Believe in Jesus as one who pardons your sins, one who wants you to be happy in the mansions he has gone to prepare for you. He wants you to live in his presence; to have eternal life and a crown of glory. The Youth’s Instructor, January 5, 1887.

Ellen G. White (1827–1915) wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. Today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Mrs. White was appointed by God as a special messenger to draw the world’s attention to the Holy Scriptures and help prepare people for Christ’s second advent.

Clean Hands and Pure Hearts, Part I

We, in historic Adventism, have been involved in a spiritual war. The most painful thing about this war is that it involves our own brethren. It involves people who we have loved so dearly, those who we just cannot bear to fight, and yet we must because of the apostasy. We have been fighting, not because we enjoy it, but because a war is going on, and we must fight in order to have a clear conscience. We must proclaim the truth to have a clear conscience.

Ministers have been teaching in Seventh-day Adventist churches that all one must do to be saved is just believe in Jesus—one can go on sinning and be saved anyway. There are ministers who are telling people that they will sin until Jesus comes, and then they will go to heaven.

That is not what the Bible says, and that is not what the Spirit of Prophecy says.

Because people will go to hell as a result of what they have been taught and believed, historic Seventh-day Adventist preachers have said, “We have to tell people the truth, and we have to engage in a war with this false doctrine.” That is what we have been doing.

When you attend historic Seventh-day Adventist meetings, you will hear about the New Testament doctrine of perfection. You will hear about the necessity of overcoming sin. I have been studying Psalm 24 for quite some time and investigating the Spirit of Prophecy on the subject of clean hands and pure hearts. There are many Spirit of Prophecy quotations on this subject. There are also many Bible verses that apply to this study. Jesus is coming to take a people, and these people are going to have clean hands and pure hearts, without one spot or blemish. While all of this is true, I want to give you a word of encouragement.

All Things Are Possible

Sometimes people become discouraged. They are presented the standard, and they begin to weep. They become depressed, and they feel discouraged. They think they will never make it and believe they are stuck. If that is how you feel, consider what happened the morning after the transfiguration of Jesus.

The record of the transfiguration of Jesus is recorded in Mark 9:2–13. Jesus and the three disciples—Peter, James, and John—are coming down from the mountain, and it says, in verses 14–23, “Coming to the disciples [that is the rest of the disciples] they saw a great crowd around them and scribes arguing with them. And immediately the crowd, seeing him, was greatly amazed, and running towards him they greeted him. And he said to them, ‘What are you arguing with them about?’ And a certain one answered him, out of the crowd, ‘Teacher, I brought my son to you having a dumb spirit [that is, he could not speak]; And wherever he seizes him it dashes him and he foams at the mouth and he gnashes his teeth and he wastes away. And I brought him to your disciples that they might cast it out, but they were not able.’ And answering, he says to them, ‘Oh faithless generation, how long am I going to be with you? how long am I going to endure you? bring him to me.’ And they brought him to him; and seeing him, the spirit immediately convulsed him and falling upon the earth he wallowed, foaming, and Jesus questioned the father saying, ‘How long a time is this that he has been like this?’ And he said, ‘Since childhood. And often times he has cast him into the fire and into the water that he might destroy him. And if you are able to do anything, please help us and have compassion on us.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘If you are able, all things are possible to the one who believes.’ ”

This is a man whose son has had a problem since childhood that he cannot overcome. Have you ever met somebody who has a besetting sin in his or her life that they cannot overcome, and that person declares, “I am going to quit”? Mark Twain said, “It is not hard to quit smoking; I have quit a thousand times.” So the individual quits the sin for a week; then the habit overcomes them again. Or maybe they are more successful than that. Maybe they quit for a month; then it overcomes them again. Maybe they quit for three months, and then it overpowers them again. They quit; they start again—repeatedly. Friend, this is the real world. I am not talking about something imaginary. I talk with such people. I visit with them in their homes and in the hospitals. After this pattern has been repeated over and over again, people sometimes become discouraged.

Envy and Jealousy

That is what happened to the father in Mark 9. He had already brought this boy to the leaders of the Christian church. I do not know if you have ever been in a situation where you have dealt with someone who has been possessed of an evil spirit. I have. Surely there is no situation where a human being feels more helpless. The elders of the church gather around, and when the evil spirit takes control of the person, the church leaders begin to pray, because they know that they cannot cast that evil spirit out; there is no human power that can take an evil spirit out of somebody.

If you are a minister, an elder, or a teacher, study what Ellen White says in The Desire of Ages concerning those nine disciples who were at the base of the mountain and why they could not cast out the devil.

These nine disciples had a real problem with feelings of envy and jealousy, because three of the disciples were given certain privileges that these nine did not have. Can you see how easy that would be? Let’s say you are a disciple; Jesus calls Peter, James, and John and takes them off separately for a special trip, and you are not asked to go. That happened quite a few times, did it not? It certainly did.

Because the nine disciples had feelings of envy and jealousy in their hearts, when they tried to cast out the evil spirit, the spirit just mocked them.

My dear friend, there is a reason. When people possessed of evil spirits call upon Seventh-day Adventist ministers, elders, and deacons to pray for them to cast out the demons, there is a reason why they are not successful. It is a reason for which every one of us who is a minister or an elder or a deacon in the church needs to go to the Lord. We need to pray, “Lord, are there any feelings or thoughts in my heart, in my mind, or in my life—are there any sinful thoughts, any sinful feelings, any sinful words, or any sinful actions in my life—that prevent You from working through me?”


You see, if we go to meet these situations in our own natural temperaments, we are in this situation. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things.” The next Hebrew word in this text is a very interesting one. It is the word ‘anash, which means incurable. What does the Bible say about the heart of man? It says that it is deceitful above all things and is incurable. That is the way the Bible describes your heart and my heart.

What hope is there, if it is incurable? The text continues, “Who can know it?” Well, who can know it? Ellen White states that one of our problems is that “the vileness of the human heart is not understood.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 295. So when humans, with hearts like this, come into contact with an evil spirit, it is just going to mock them, even if it is more evil than they are.

Our only hope is that there is a Divine Physician that specializes in incurable diseases. The Bible says, in both the Old and New Testaments, that the natural man has to be crucified and has to die. It is so bad that you cannot improve it. You just have to get rid of it and get a new heart, because it says, “the heart of man is deceitful above all things;” it is incurable.

David’s Prayer

That is what David was praying about in Psalm 51. David’s experience has been a stumbling block to Christians ever since that time. It has been difficult for a lot of people to understand. You see, there will be people on the outside of the Holy City who are lost and who will burn up in hellfire that never killed a man and took his wife. Yet, what David did has been used as an excuse. The Lord told him that from then on the wicked would blaspheme his name because of what he had done. He also told him that the sword would never leave his house. It is true to this present day. But if the Holy Spirit ever reveals to you how incurable and deceitful your own heart is, then the story of David will take on a new meaning, because you will discover that as sinful as you are, you can be saved.

One of the reasons people become discouraged is because the Holy Spirit has been speaking to their hearts. The first thing the Holy Spirit does, if there is sin in your heart, is to point out the sin. John 16 teaches that. And people, when they begin to get just a little inkling of how vile they are, say, “There is no hope for somebody this bad.” That would be true for all of us, if there was not Someone that specializes in people who have hearts that are incurable and desperately wicked.

A Pure Heart

Psalm 51 is the Psalm that David prayed after Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had been with Bathsheba. (See 11 Samuel 11:2, 3.) In verse 10, he says, “Create in me, Oh God, a pure heart.” He knew he did not have one. It is a very interesting word he used here, bara’. It is the very same word that is used in Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created [bara’] the heavens and the earth.” How did He create it? He spoke it. Psalm 33:9 says: “He spoke and it was.” (See also verse 6.) There was nothing there before, but He spoke and then it was. David used the same word. He knew that his heart was so bad it could not be improved, so he said, “I need You to create a pure heart for me, because I need a new one.”

Friend, you and I need new hearts too. We need pure hearts. Maybe God has allowed you to become discouraged so you would realize what you needed. You need what David needed. You need a new heart, a pure heart, and the only way that you are going to get one is if God creates one, because the natural one you were given in your first birth is not pure. It is “deceitful above all things,” and it is incurable.

You can pray the same prayer as David prayed. God will hear the prayer, because you are praying it right out of His Word. It says, “Create,” and that means speak. Create something out of nothing. Ask God to create a new heart for you. Tell Him that the one you have is deceitful and incurable, and you need a new one. David said, “Create in me a pure heart.” That is the kind of heart you must have to go to heaven. Nobody with a deceitful heart can go to heaven. Nobody with a wicked heart can go to heaven. But you cannot change your heart. Only Someone else can create in you a pure heart.

Humble Spirit

David had been in the true church for a long time when he had become involved with Bathsheba. He was so scared when he realized how bad he really was. He was afraid that he had committed the unpardonable sin. He was afraid that the Lord would take the Holy Spirit from him, and he would be lost. He said, “Lord, Lord, please help me. If You want me to give You sacrifices, I will, but I know that will not help. That is not what You want.” You see, David was a rich man. It would not have been any problem for him to give a great number of sacrifices. He was the king. But he knew the Lord desired someone with a humble and broken spirit. My friend, if you are willing to study this prayer and if you are willing to humble your spirit and if your spirit is broken because the Holy Spirit has revealed to you how bad you are, ask God to create in you a pure heart.

Steadfast Spirit

David prayed, “And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. That word steadfast means to stand firm, to be established, to be faithful, to be fixed—a spirit that cannot be moved. He had not had a steadfast spirit. He knew he needed a new spirit; he needed a pure heart, and he asked the Lord to give it to him.

Speech Changed

Friend, if you and I have received new hearts, pure hearts, our speech is going to change. We do not know our hearts. We do not know, many of us, whether we have the old, deceitful, incurable heart or whether we have the new heart, so the Lord, in His inspired writings, gives us some clues. We cannot read other people’s hearts; we cannot even read our own hearts. They are so desperately wicked; they deceive us with self-deceit, and we do not even know what is the condition of our hearts. The Lord gives us some pointers so we can begin to understand our hearts by what is on the outside.

Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Matthew 12:34. If you start praying about this and begin evaluating your speech, it will reveal whether or not your heart has been changed. If David’s heart had been changed, he would rather have died than to take another man’s wife. The way you can know if your heart has been changed is to monitor how you talk about your neighbor.

If you do anything to diminish your neighbor’s reputation, you do not have a new heart—yet. You still have the old, deceitful heart that is incurable. If you see that I have a problem and you do not come talk to me about it but go tell somebody else, that is proof you do not yet have a new heart. Not yet. When you have the new heart, you will love your neighbor as yourself, and you will never do anything to hurt them, even if they sin. Oh, you may say that it will hurt them if you go and talk to them about the problem. Yes. That is the same as getting a thorn in your finger when you were a child and going to your mother and asking her to remove the thorn, even though you knew that it would hurt to get it out. Why? It was going to hurt less to get it out at the time than to leave it in there. For sure, it is going to hurt if you go talk to somebody because they have a sin problem in their life, but it is going to hurt less than if you do not go to them.

What is going to have to happen? Oh friend, I long to see the day when, among God’s people, we have pure hearts and clean hands. We will be filled with the Holy Spirit as a result! We will have unity and harmony like we have never before seen. And when we come into contact with people who are possessed with evil spirits, we will be just like the apostles. When the apostle Paul came into contact with that girl who was possessed with an evil spirit, Scripture says that he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he turned around and commanded the spirit to leave, and it left. (Acts 16:16–18.)

We are not like that today. There is a reason for it. We are just like those nine disciples. We gather around and pray, and may the Lord be praised, and may we be gracious and thankful for His mercy, but I can tell you, friend, we do not have the power the apostles had. We do not have it. We might as well recognize that we do not have it. We need to pray that we will come into a condition that we can have it, like they had it. There will be a time before probation closes when there will be a primitive godliness amongst God’s people that has not been since apostolic times. And friend, I am willing to be the doorkeeper, to perform any lowly office, as long as I can be part of it.

A Way Out

The nine disciples could not cast out the demon, because they had the wrong spirit. They were jealous and envious of the privileged three. That was the same problem the devil had in heaven. He was jealous of Christ.

The devil goes around trying to get all of us. No matter who you are, the devil can find somebody of whom you can be jealous. That was their problem, and they could not cast out the evil spirit.

The father was discouraged. His son had a problem that they could not overcome. No matter what they did, it came back. This is like the person who has a besetting sin that he cannot overcome. He may quit it for a month, but then it comes back. Maybe he quits it for three months, but it comes back, until finally he is so discouraged that, like this father, he says to Jesus, “Lord, if you can do anything, please have compassion on me, and help me.” Jesus promised, “If you are able to believe, all things are possible to the one who believes.” Mark 9:23. All things are possible.

Does that include the drug addict? Yes. I work with drug addicts. Does it include the alcoholic? Yes. Does it include the prostitute? Yes. Actually, as bad as that is, I am not as concerned for their eternal salvation. A lot of prostitutes have been saved in Jesus’ time and our time. I am not as concerned about the prostitutes as the people who go to the prostitutes.

Oh friend, where are you? Somebody needs a word of encouragement, because the devil has you in a situation where you think there is no way out. That is where this father was. He was in a situation where he thought there was no way out. But if you come to Jesus, there is a way out, because He is the way out. And He said, “If you are able, all things are possible to the one who believes.”

To be continued . . .