A Little Heaven…What Home should be…

“A Little Heaven to Go to Heaven In”

“Society is composed of families and is what the heads of families make it. Out of the heart are ‘the issues of life’; and the heart of the community, of the church, and of the nation is the household. The well-being of society, the success of the church, the prosperity of the nation, depend upon home influences.” The Adventist Home, 15

The members of the home, through their speech and interactions with each other, will prove to be a blessing or a curse. Thus, much is at stake in the home. Now, more than ever, Satan is attempting to sabotage this critical establishment of society that God Himself instituted in Eden. The goal of any home should be to provide “a little heaven to go to heaven in.” The Review and Herald, April 21, 1891.

“The family on earth should be a type of the family in heaven. The home that is beautified by love, sympathy, and tenderness is a place that angels love to visit, and where God is glorified. The influence of a carefully guarded Christian home in the years of childhood and youth is the surest safeguard against the corruptions of the world. In the atmosphere of such a home, the children will learn to love both their earthly parents and their heavenly Father.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 10, 206.

“The home in which the members are polite, courteous Christians exerts a far-reaching influence for good. Other families will mark the results attained by such a home, and will follow the example set, in their turn guarding the home against Satanic influences. The angels of God will often visit the home in which the will of God bears sway. Under the power of divine grace such a home becomes a place of refreshing to worn, weary pilgrims. By watchful guarding, self is kept from asserting itself. Correct habits are formed. There is a careful recognition of the rights of others. The faith that works by love and purifies the soul stands at the helm, presiding over the whole household. Under the hallowed influence of such a home, the principle of brotherhood laid down in the word of God is more widely recognized and obeyed.” The Adventist Home, 31.

The devil does not want you to have such a home. He is determined to destroy the happiness in your home. One of the principal ways he does this is by influencing the members of the family, including the husband and the wife, to speak in an unsanctified way to each other. Here is an inspired description of this transgression. Notice that Satan’s ultimate goal is to destroy the church by destroying the family.

 “Well does Satan know what heaven is, and what the influence of the angels is. His work is to bring into every family the cruel elements of self-will, harshness, selfishness. Thus he seeks to destroy the happiness of the family. He knows that the spirit governing in the home will be brought into the church.” The Upward Look, 163.

Another method Satan uses to attempt to destroy the happiness of the home is by leading the husband into a misunderstanding between what it means to be the head of the house and what it means to be God. God has absolute authority. When God told Abraham to kill his son, Abraham was under moral obligation to obey. But no human being, whether husband or wife or employer or ruler, has absolute authority. All human authority is to be subservient to God’s authority and under the rule of His government. The following statements clarify this subject that is widely misunderstood.

“If the husband is tyrannical, exacting, critical of the actions of his wife, he cannot hold her respect and affection, and the marriage relation will become odious to her. She will not love her husband, because he does not try to make himself loveable. The Lord Jesus has not been correctly represented in His relation to the church by many husbands in their relation to their wives, for they do not keep the way of the Lord. They declare that their wives must be subject to them in everything.

“But it was not the design of God that the husband should have control, as head of the house, when he himself does not submit to Christ. He must be under the rule of Christ that he may represent the relation of Christ to the church. If he is a coarse, rough, boisterous, egotistical, harsh, and overbearing man, let him never utter the word that the husband is the head of the wife, and that she must submit to him in everything; for he is not the Lord; he is not the husband in the true significance of the term.

“If the wife should have the same mold of character as her husband, woe be to the children; the whole family would be a blot upon the earth. Instead of being a house-band, to bind the family together into the unity that is symbolized by the unity of Christ and the church, he will break every tie of affection, and the members of the family will be scattered, filled with bitterness and hatred one toward another.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 215, 216.

Not only does the husband bear a critical responsibility to represent the character of Christ in his family relationships, every member of the family is to bear a degree of responsibility as well.

“Unless we control our words and temper, we are slaves to Satan. We are in subjection to him. He leads us captive. All jangling and unpleasant, impatient, fretful words are an offering presented to his Satanic majesty. And it is a costly offering, more costly than any sacrifice we can make for God, for it destroys the peace and happiness of whole families, destroys health, and is eventually the cause of forfeiting an eternal life of happiness.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 310.

We need to remember always that the words that we speak will be one of the major factors that determines our eternal destiny.

If our speech is to be reformed and changed, it must happen in this world before the coming of the Lord. This cannot be done in an instant and is why Ellen White told some people that they did not have a moment to lose. She cautioned that if they did not live long enough so that their speech could be reformed, they would be excluded from heaven. This idea is very unpopular today. Most people, including probably the vast majority of clergymen, believe and teach in effect that you can live like the devil without overcoming your character defects, but if the moment before you die you say, “Lord save me,” you will be saved. Wherever this idea originated it is not in the Bible and it is not true. The story of the thief on the cross does not substantiate this theory—see the description of that person who was saved at the 11th hour in The Desire of Ages, pages 749–751.

Notice how clearly the Spirit of Prophecy warns against the error of delay in self-reformation.

“Few have that genuine faith which works by love and purifies the soul. But all who are accounted worthy of everlasting life must obtain a moral fitness for the same. ‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself, even as He is pure’ (1 John 3:2, 3). This is the work before you, and you have none too much time if you engage in the work with all your soul.

“You must experience a death to self, and must live unto God. ‘If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God’ (Colossians, 3:1). Self is not to be consulted. Pride, self-love, selfishness, avarice, covetousness, love of the world, hatred, suspicion, jealousy, evil surmisings, must all be subdued and sacrificed forever. When Christ shall appear, it will not be to correct these evils and then give a moral fitness for His coming. This preparation must all be made before He comes. It should be a subject of thought, of study, and earnest inquiry, What shall we do to be saved? What shall be our conduct that we may show ourselves approved unto God?

“When tempted to murmur, censure, and indulge in fretfulness, wounding those around you, and in so doing wounding your own soul, oh! let the deep, earnest, anxious inquiry come from your soul, Shall I stand without fault before the throne of God? Only the faultless will be there. None will be translated to heaven while their hearts are filled with the rubbish of earth. Every defect in the moral character must first be remedied, every stain removed by the cleansing blood of Christ, and all the unlovely, unlovable traits of character overcome.

“How long a time are you designing to take to prepare to be introduced into the society of heavenly angels in glory? In the state which you and your family are in at present, all heaven would be marred should you be introduced therein. The work for you must be done here. This earth is the fitting-up place. You have not one moment to lose. All is harmony, peace, and love in heaven. No discord, no strife, no censuring, no unloving words, no clouded brows, no jars there; and no one will be introduced there who possesses any of these elements so destructive to peace and happiness. Study to be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that you may lay hold on everlasting life.

“Forever cease your murmurings in regard to this poor life, but let your soul’s burden be, how to secure the better life than this, a title to the mansions prepared for those who are true and faithful to the end. If you make a mistake here, everything is lost. If you devote your lifetime to securing earthly treasures, and lose the heavenly, you will find that you have made a terrible mistake. You cannot have both worlds. ‘What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul’ (Mark 8:36, 37)? Says the inspired Paul: ‘For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal’ (2 Corinthians 4:17, 18).” Testimonies, vol. 1, 705, 706.

In this world we are actually in an all or nothing warfare of which there is no escape. It is a war in which we either win everything or lose everything. Our speech in our families, to stress a point already made, will be one of the most decisive factors as to where our eternal destiny is going to be.

There is an excellent testimony written to “Brother M” in volume 2 of the Testimonies, pages 84–88, in which strong counsel is given that details many of the errors made within the family that prevent the home from becoming “a little heaven to go to heaven in.”

The concluding paragraph of this testimony provides food for thought that all who have a deep yearning for heaven—not just a heaven-like atmosphere in their homes, but an eternal abode—should give deep thought and make a matter of earnest prayer:

“If you lose heaven, you lose everything; if you gain heaven, you gain everything. Do not make a mistake in this matter, I implore you. Eternal interests are here involved. Be thorough. May the God of all grace so enlighten your understanding that you may discern eternal things, that by the light of truth your own errors, which are many, may be discovered to you just as they are, that you may make the necessary effort to put them away, and in the place of this evil, bitter fruit may bring forth fruit which is precious unto eternal life.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 88.

We may not carry all of the errors that Inspiration pointed out to Brother M in this testimony, but it is true for everyone that “if you lose heaven, you lose everything.” May God, in His providence, guide us as we seek to make our homes “a little heaven to go to heaven in.”

(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: historic@stepstolife.org, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Friendly Fire

Many people are unaware that friendly fire is a serious problem. We think that because of modern technology, friendly fire is a sad fact of the past. However, the statistics tell a different story. During six years of the Vietnam War, there were over 29,000 casualties due to friendly fire. In operation Desert Storm, 45% of all American casualties were due to friendly fire.* The government spends enormous amounts of money on research focused on inventing and utilizing devices that can prevent friendly fire, because, in a war, one of the most dangerous problems is not knowing who the enemy is and who he is not.

We all know what literal friendly fire is. It is when a person, or military unit is fired upon by one of his own side. It is impossible to win a war if you are wounding or killing your own men and not the enemy, thus in a war, if you are going to be victorious you must know who the enemy is and who the enemy is not.

Although this is a problem that many in the military and government are concerned about, literal friendly fire is not where my concern lies. What concerns me is that friendly fire is not isolated to the military world; spiritual friendly fire has become a problem of large magnitude in the church today.

In Galatians 4:14–16, Paul gave us an example of spiritual friendly fire. He wrote this about his experience with the Galatian Christians: “And my trial, which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. What then was the blessing you enjoyed? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your own eyes and given them to me. Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”

Paul here is asking a very interesting question of the Galatian believers. He recounts how, when he first brought the gospel to them, they received him “as an angel of God.” If it were possible, he said, they would have even plucked out their own eyes and given them to him. However, a change took place. A change in the Galatian church, that caused them to look at Paul as their enemy instead of their beloved teacher and friend. The Galatians forgot who the real enemy was and they began using spiritual friendly fire. They turned their weapons, not only upon their brother, but upon the very one who had brought the precious truths of salvation to them. They became confused about who the enemy was and as a result became guilty of spiritual friendly fire.

Since friendly fire involves firing upon your comrade, instead of your enemy, it is imperative that we understand very clearly the true identity of the enemy. Jesus had many objectives when He came to this earth, but one of them was to reveal to us who the enemy is and who he is not. Sister White wrote, “While on earth Christ sought to sweep away the distinction that had been made by the Jews as to who was their neighbor and who was their enemy.” Home Missionary, June 1, 1897. This topic is something that we, as humans, have had a problem with for a long time. It is so easy for us to become confused about the true identity of the enemy.

The entire parable of the Good Samaritan was given to correct the erroneous belief the Jews held concerning who was their neighbor. “Among the Jews the question, ‘Who is my neighbour?’ caused endless dispute. They had no doubt as to the heathen and the Samaritans. These were strangers and enemies. But where should the distinction be made among the people of their own nation and among the different classes of society? Whom should the priest, the rabbi, the elder, regard as neighbor?” Christ’s Object Lessons, 376. The Jews were certain that the heathen and Samaritans were their enemies, but Jesus came to reveal a higher order of love. Through the teaching of this parable, He swept away the prevalent thoughts of the day about who their neighbor was and who their enemy was. And the lesson He taught the Jews then is just as applicable to us today. “He teaches us to regard every man as our neighbor who is in need of our sympathy, of our assistance and our love.” Home Missionary, June 1, 1897. Who is in need of our sympathy, our assistance and our love? That encompasses nearly every person alive today and we need to regard each one, not as our enemy, but as our neighbor.

Who is Not the Enemy?

The first group that is not the enemy are those people that are in Babylon and that do not know this precious truth that we know. Like the Jews we are inclined to think that the “heathen” are our enemies, but if we think this, we are just as wrong as they were. We can never preach the truth in love, as God desires, if we regard the people in Babylon as enemies. We must come to the realization that although they do not believe the truth from the Word of God, they are not our enemies. They are the ones most in need of our assistance, our sympathy and our love. It is our work to do everything in our power to bring them to a knowledge of the truth; that they may not just be our neighbors, but our brothers and sisters also.

The second group that is not the enemy is even more subtle than the first. This group is made up of those who believe some heresy or fanaticism. Once again, it is not difficult to develop a mindset that looks upon these people as the enemy. We must not sanction heresy or error, and there are times that discipline is essential, but those that have been deceived into accepting false doctrines are not our enemies. They are in need of our assistance to show them the truths from the Bible. They are in need of our sympathy and love. None will ever be rescued from error if they are contemptuously treated as enemies!

Paul counseled us about exactly how we should deal with cases like this. “And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” II Thessalonians 3:14, 5.

The last class who are not our enemies is perhaps the most difficult for us to deal with. These are those who believe the truth, and are striving to live it, but who think or work differently than we do. Although they think, act, and work differently from us they are not our enemies. This is often very hard for us to handle because we are often brought in contact with them every day, but it is essential that we learn not to regard them as our enemies, because, if we do, we will eventually become guilty of spiritual friendly fire.

“Christ said, ‘Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.’ Matthew 10:16. If we are to meet opposition from our enemies, who are represented as wolves, let us be careful that we do not manifest the same spirit among ourselves.” Ibid. Let us be careful that we do not become guilty of spiritual friendly fire. Are we being careful? Or have we started firing our weaponry at our brothers and sisters? Is historic Seventh-day Adventism being riddled with friendly fire because we have manifested the same spirit toward each other that our enemies manifest toward us? Are we confused about who we are fighting?

Who is the real enemy behind the error and fanaticism in the world today? Jesus said: “The enemy who sowed them is the devil.” Matthew 13:39. It is true that there are “children of the wicked one” (Matthew 13:38) in the church and in the world, but they are not the enemy. They are the very ones whom we need to love and help so that they may become “children of the kingdom.” Matthew 13:38.

How to Prevent Friendly Fire

In 1 John 4:7, 8, we read: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” What must we do so that we are not guilty of spiritual friendly fire? We must learn to love one another. And, this is not something that comes naturally to us; it is contrary to our nature, and thus it is possible only through the grace of Christ combined with much effort on our part.

Jesus came to this earth, not only to die that our sins might be forgiven, but He “took the nature of humanity, in order to reveal to man a pure, unselfish love, to teach us how to love one another.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1126. It was one of Jesus’ special missions to teach us how to love one another, how to be free from friendly fire. Have we learned the lesson yet? Or are we still in the combat zone with one another?

Sometimes we think it is enough to have the truth, but we must not only have the truth, we must live it as well. The truth lived out in our lives is going to lead us to have deep brotherly love for one another. Speaking of the power of the word of God, Jesus said, “Sanctify them by Your truth: Your word is truth.…That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us.” John 17:17, 21. If we do not have this love among ourselves, those in the world will not be attracted to the truth, instead they will be driven away. (John 13:35.)

While I was in Ghana, earlier this year, I talked with a man who was a minister from another denomination. As we were talking, I discovered that he had previously been educated and served for many years as a minister of a Sabbath-keeping church, but he had left that church and joined a Sunday-keeping church. This aroused my curiosity. Why had he abandoned the Sabbath to join another church? It was not because he no longer believed in the Sabbath truth. He still knew that the Sabbath was the day God had sanctified. He told me that he left the Sabbath-keeping church because he did not see very much love among the members and leaders, and he found a loving atmosphere in the Sunday keeping church. How many others are there like this? Are people drawn to our churches because of the brotherly love they see there or do they spurn the truth because of the friendly fire that exists?

Learning Brotherly Love

Inspired writings contain counsel on many practical ways that we can learn to love one another. However, there are three main guidelines that, if applied to our lives, will bring about a transformation in our homes and in our churches.

The first and most important of the three is found in I Corinthians 13:5. In this verse it gives the following description of love: Love “does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil.” This is the most important thing to remember in our study on how to love one another. We must think no evil of one another. Spiritual friendly fire originates in our thoughts. In the military, no one can be guilty of friendly fire by only thinking about it, but this is how spiritual friendly fire most often occurs. If we are going to overcome friendly fire, this is where we must begin. Fortunately for us, the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy give us much instruction on what steps we need to take in order to think no evil of our brothers and sisters.

In Our High Calling, 178, we read, “See how you can forgive those who trespass against you, even as you want your Father in heaven to forgive your trespasses.” Probably all of us have had a brother or sister do something to us that hurt or offended us in some way. It is important, then, that we learn to forgive, because that is one of the first steps in thinking no evil and learning to love one another. Forgiveness is a much large topic than most people realize. It must go deeper than just saying that we forgive one another—it must come “from the heart” (Matthew 18:35) and be as deep and full as the forgiveness that the Lord freely gives to us.

God freely forgave Paul, who assisted in the murder of His appointed messenger. Can we forgive the one who wrongs us that much? God’s forgiveness is not just lip service, it is full and deep. At the close of the judgment, all the sins of the truly penitent will be “blotted out.” (Acts 3:19.) Can we blot from our memory the wrongs that have been committed against us? If we are going to have the love for one another that Jesus prayed would exist, we must.

“Jesus, who died for us, loves us with a love that is infinite; and we must love one another. We must put away all selfishness, and work together in love and unity. We have loved and petted ourselves, and excused ourselves in waywardness; but we have been unmerciful toward our brethren, who may not be as faulty as ourselves. The Lord loves us, and bears with us, even when we are ungrateful to Him, forgetful of His mercies, wickedly unbelieving; but consider, brethren, how relentless we are to one another, how pitiless; how we hurt and wound one another, when we should love as Christ has loved us. Let us make a complete change.” Gospel Workers, 429. If we are going to love one another, we must put away our selfishness. We must not look on our own things, but on the things of others. (Philippians 2:4.) We have loved, petted and excused ourselves while we are unmerciful toward our brethren. All of these things originate in how we think about one another. We must consider our own deplorable condition and how God deals with us and then deal with our brethren in the same manner.

“Then let us feast upon Christ. Let us enjoy His love, and praise God for this great salvation. Then we shall come together, heart to heart. When we shall subdue our pride, when we shall pluck from the garden of the soul every fiber of the root of bitterness, our hearts will flow together as the heart of one.” General Conference Daily Bulletin, April 13, 1891. Pride must come out of our hearts. It was pride that caused the great division in heaven and pride will continue to do so here. Also every fiber of bitterness must be thoroughly uprooted. If we are harboring bitterness of any kind in our minds, we will not be loving our brethren as we must and we will be defiled. (Hebrews 12:15.)

“Then all this heart burning and distrust must cease, and in place of it, there will be love and union, courtesy, kindness, and tenderness.” Ibid.

In Our High Calling, 178, we are told, “Press together. Do not make little wedges of slight differences of opinion, and drive them in to separate heart from heart, but see how you can love one another even as Christ has loved you.” The slight differences of opinion that will inevitably arise among us can become little wedges. Just as a wedge begins by making an ever so slight crack and continually increases it until the wood is split in two, so slight differences of opinion can drive us far apart. At first they may be ever so small, but if harbored and dwelt upon, they can separate the dearest of friends.

Our natural tendency is to be lenient with our mistakes, but to be harsh on others. This also must change if we are going to stop using friendly fire. “We must be kind, forbearing, patient with one another’s errors; we must keep our sharp criticisms for ourselves, but hope all things, believe all things, of our brethren.” Gospel Workers, 429.

“Then how dare you allow one thought of opposition against one child of God? How dare you do it? We want melting mercy to fall upon us. And Jesus says it is not possible for the Father to love us if we do not love one another. It is possible to love one another. Therefore you must not make up your minds you cannot do it.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 16. If we are striving to not think evil of our brethren, then we must not allow thoughts of opposition against a child of God to fester in our minds.

Speak No Evil

The second main point that we must adhere to, if we are going to cease our friendly fire, is found in 1 Peter 2:1. “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking.” If we have learned to think no evil of our brethren, the second step will be a natural result; we will speak no evil.

“How the enemy has brought his own spirit into our work! We do not love one another, as Christ has enjoined upon us, because we do not love Christ. If your track is crossed in any way, if any one differs in opinion from you, then in place of feeling humility of mind, in place of carrying your burden to Christ, and asking Him for wisdom and light to know what is truth, you draw from Him, and are tempted to present your brother’s views in a false light, that they shall not have influence.” Review and Herald, August 27, 1889.

If you have ever heard two sides of the same story, you realize the relevancy of this counsel. We always tend to present our side in the best colors possible and our brother’s side in as dark hues as we can, but this must stop. We must learn to go to Jesus for wisdom and light and leave the enemy’s spirit out of our work.

“Those who learn His meekness and lowliness learn also how to love one another as He has loved them. They reach the place where they refuse to criticize and condemn others.” Upward Look, 359. Have we come to that place yet? If we are going to learn to speak no evil of our brethren, we must reach this place.

Love Shown In Our Actions

Lastly, if we have applied the other two points, our actions will show our love to one another. Jesus spoke about this high ideal in the sermon on the mount. He said, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” Matthew 5:44. It is difficult not to think or speak evil of those with whom we do not see eye to eye. However, Jesus’ ideals are even higher than simply not thinking or speaking evil. He says that we must love, bless, do good, and pray for those with whom we have differences.

Jesus exemplified this in His life when, as the Roman soldiers drove the spikes through His hands, He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” We can and must reach the point where we too can say when someone drives those figurative spikes through our hands, “Father forgive them for they do not realize what they are doing. They do not realize that I am not the enemy.”

The very top of the ladder of brotherly love is found in 1 John 3:16. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Jesus demonstrated that perfect love for us by dying for us while we were yet His rebellious children, and He desires that love to be perfected in us. If we are finding it difficult to love someone, we need to go to our closet and plead with the Lord to give us love enough to die for that person. The Lord will answer that prayer if we are only willing to follow the steps that He has already walked before us.

* These statistics were taken from the following web sites: www.members.aol.com/warlibrary and www.members.aol.com/amerwar

Facing The Crisis – When God Speaks Seven Times

Ready or not we have finally arrived in the end time when every person who is alive on earth will behold the most thrilling event ever witnessed by mortals. The Bible portrays this in these cataclysmic words found in 2 Peter 3:10–12. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.”

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13. As we envision the Second Coming of Jesus, as pictured by inspiration, we need God’s mighty Spirit to impress us with the conviction that now is the time to prepare for the final revival and reformation that will enable us to go home with Jesus when He comes.

Preparing for the Second Coming

Let us contemplate how God has invited you and me to prepare for the Second Coming by giving us three separate messages as found in Revelation 14 which, if followed and obeyed, will prepare us to be ready for this cataclysmic event.

The First Angel begins with the good news of the everlasting gospel, revealing a loving Saviour who made possible on Calvary the redemption for every nation, kindred, tongue and people. This angel declares that a judgment is now taking place in heaven’s sanctuary in which Christ, our High Priest, is able to forgive and take away our sins. It is a call to those who would be saved to worship God as Creator by keeping holy the seventh day Sabbath.

The Second Angel sounds an alarming message, warning us of a worldwide structure of religious systems which have become drunk with the traditions of paganism by drinking of the cup extended through the ecumenical movement which has been brewed by Roman Catholicism. God declares that this world power is Babylon, which has fallen from Biblical truths.

God’s Last Call

Finally a Third Angel gives God’s last call, to all who would be saved, to totally separate from Babylon’s pagan doctrines, because God’s wrath is soon to be poured out upon all who worship the beast of Babylon or who make an image to her customs and traditions. This is absolutely God’s last call for every individual to never accept the mark of the beast when Babylon will make it a law to keep Sunday as a holy sabbath day.

Such pleadings of God, who desires all to be saved, concludes with a call for each individual to become a part of His remnant church. This church is described by the angel as a people who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus. They believe that, through His mighty power, He can give you victory over every known sin and make ready a people who stand unafraid when they hear God speak seven times at the Second Coming of Christ.

These people will be ready, together with God’s sleeping saints, to be gathered together with Jesus to go to the eternal home that He has prepared for them. The following details I have gleaned from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy and especially from the chapter in The Great Controversy entitled, “God’s People Delivered.” Everyone loves a thrilling story of what has taken place in the past, but this amazing true story is yet to take place.

Some day very, very soon, in a day just like our days, when people are buying and selling, building homes and mighty skyscrapers, conducting weddings and getting divorced; in a day of unstoppable crime of every description, men’s thoughts continually dwelling on evil. In such a time when the majority defy God and His law by preaching that God is such a God of love that all anyone needs to do is just believe, in such a time as this, suddenly a darkness, deeper than any night ever experienced, will come to this old world, and to the amazement of all, a great rainbow will be seen in the heavens that will encircle the entire earth.

God Speaks

And that is not all. A small rainbow will hover over each small group of commandment keepers. Then it happens. God speaks for the first time. As He speaks, He will shake the earth with just two words, “Look up!”

Immediately the black clouds of total darkness will part, and the living saints obey God’s command. They will look up into the heavens and see God the Father and Christ the Son seated on their thrones. The saints will listen to the conversation between the Father and the Son as Jesus speaks: “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.” John 17:24.

When we hear these words, we shall give a shout of victory not heard since the deliverance at the Red Sea in the days of Moses. The time is at midnight. Signs and wonders will appear as the sun shines forth in all its glory. The wicked will be filled with terror. Streams will cease to flow. Angry clouds will fill the heavens, but there remains one clear spot filled with indescribable glory.

God Responds to Christ’s Plea

This is the moment when God speaks the second time with these unforgettable words: “It is done!” Just three short words in answer to the request of Jesus. Suddenly there is a mighty worldwide earthquake as foretold in Revelation 16:18. “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” Mountains are shaken like blades of grass in the wind. The whole earth convulses in destruction. Ragged rocks are hurled in every direction. The sea boils like a pot.

Mountains sink beneath the earth’s surface and islands disappear. The whole earth heaves and swells like the ocean. Seaports, which have become like Sodom in wickedness, are swallowed up. Great hailstones, over 50 pounds in weight, drop from the sky and the earth’s proudest cities are destroyed.

Prison walls crumble, setting free God’s faithful who have been imprisoned for their faith. Then another wonderful surprise. A special resurrection takes place as some of the graves open all over the earth as the Bible foretold. “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Daniel 12:2.

At this time all who have died in the faith of the Third Angel’s Message arise, glorified. What a moment! There will also be a special resurrection of those who condemned and crucified Jesus. This resurrection will include a third class who were the most violent oppressors of God’s truth. They are to see the redeemed rescued and honored.

Thundering Doom Pronounced

Revelation 1:7 tells us “Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.” As sheets of flame envelope the earth, God now speaks for the third time, declaring the doom of the wicked. His words are not comprehended by all, but they are distinctly understood by the false teachers who are overwhelmed in fear. Even the demons are terrified.

This is the moment spoken of by the prophets of old, “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:…In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” Isaiah 2:10-12, 20, 21.

Amid the wails of these false watchmen and the fear of demons who now openly acknowledge the deity of Christ, God does not forget His faithful few. Amid a rift in the clouds a star shines forth four times brighter than the darkness. This is to encourage the saints with hope and joy amid such cataclysmic events. The faithful become aglow with wonder and faith and love.

They repeat the promise; “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Psalm 46:1-3.

Pen of Fire

As God listens to His saints, He commands the clouds to part so that the glory of the New Jerusalem shines upon His faithful. Oh, what a God! How wonderful! Next God spreads His TV screen across the heavens. Two hands will be seen, each holding a table of stone. As every living soul watches, a pen of fire traces each word of the Ten Commandments. Can you see them as they are traced one by one in the heavens?

“Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” Instantly millions will realize that there god has been the riches of gold and silver. Others will see that they have worshipped sports, sex, even the theater as their god.

And now the second commandment: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.…Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them.” Too late the pagans and the misled Catholics will see that God means exactly what He says in His law.

Next the finger of fire traces, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. …” Those who have made a habit of swearing discover how wrong they were.

And then the wicked will tremble as the finger of fire traces the words, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

Billions of the earth’s inhabitants will discover that God has not altered these words from His lips. Too late they see that Sunday keeping has been inspired by Satan.

And then the youth will tremble for they shall see the words “Honor thy father and thy mother.”

Then appear the words traced in fire, “Thou shalt not kill,” followed by the words, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” These commanding words disprove beyond question the present consensus that abortion makes things right with God. Now they see that it is a terrible lie. Those who live together, without benefit of marriage, will be speechless.

Then the pen of fire concludes, “Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not covet ….” Too late all will recognize that God’s law is eternal, a transcript of His character, that this law is the basis upon which God judges between life and death. It is impossible to describe the hour of despair of those who have trampled upon God’s requirements.

Too Late, Too Late!

Too late the enemies of God’s law, especially the false ministers and priests, see that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the very seal of the living God. Too late they now see the true nature of Sunday keeping, that it is the mark of the beast which God warned against. Now the voice of God is heard for the fourth time, declaring the day and the hour of the coming of Christ.

Hope fills the heart of every saint. Their faces shine like that of Moses as he descended the mount. God also pronounces a blessing upon Sabbath keepers. The saints respond with a shout of victory. Soon there appears in the east a small cloud. It is a cloud of angels surrounding the Saviour. Because of the distance, it appears shrouded in darkness, but it soon becomes brighter and more glorious as they behold the King of kings, coming as a mighty Conqueror surrounded by countless angels.

Who Shall be Able to Stand?

Every eye beholds Him. As the saints see the beauty of His character, they cry out, “Who shall be able to stand before Him?” Suddenly the angels stop their singing. The whole universe awaits God’s answer. It is here that God speaks for the fifth time in answer to the saints’ question. He speaks those loving words; “My grace is sufficient for you.” At these words the angels rejoice in songs of victory.

The righteous are filled with unutterable joy as the Saviour descends in clouds wrapped in flaming fire. “Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him.” Psalm 50:3. This is the time when “…the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.” Revelation 6:15, 16.

And now God speaks for the sixth time, not to the righteous but to the wicked, to awaken their memory that He has done everything possible that they might be saved. He declares, “…I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof.” Proverbs 1:24, 25.

These words bring to memory warnings despised, invitations refused, privileges slighted. As Pilate listens, he remembers his own words when he said, “I find no fault in Him.” Haughty Herod recalls how he mocked the Saviour. Those very hands which placed the crown of thorns on Jesus now tremble. The soldiers, who drove the nails and pierced His side, try to hide.

The very same priests who cried “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” are now speechless. These, together with today’s ministers who declare that you do not have to obey God’s law and that you can sin until Jesus comes, all such, together with the earth’s wicked, are consumed with the brightness of Christ’s coming.

A Mighty Army Awakes

And now for the seventh and last time the voice of God loudly cries out, “Awake! Awake! Ye that sleep in the dust of the earth. Arise.” Instantly the whole earth rings with the tread of an exceeding great army from every nation, kindred and tongue. Together these risen, immortal righteous and the remaining living righteous unite in a great shout of victory. Oh, what wonderful victory over sin and death for these living righteous are now made immortal in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.

“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17. For the next seven days we shall travel to heaven. All will celebrate the Sabbath before entering the Holy City. As our journey ends on the Sea of Glass just outside the City, Jesus gathers the redeemed around Him.

Home at Last!

Try to catch this picture with me. Jesus is crowned with seven crowns and with His own hand he places a crown upon each saint, upon which is imprinted a new name. Then the angels give a golden harp to each of the redeemed who will skillfully play and sing in unison.

“And I saw as it were a Sea of Glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the Sea of Glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” Revelation 15:2, 3.

And now the city becomes the center of attraction. Standing on the Sea of Glass we shall behold its walls made of jasper with twelve foundations. It is a city with no night, just never-ending day. Jesus opens those great pearly gates and bids us enter in to walk on streets of gold, which lead us to that great white throne. Picture with me the rainbow above the throne and the river of life flowing out beneath the throne.

It is here that Jesus presents us to God the Father that we may take the place of the fallen angels. Adam, who is some 14 to 16 feet tall, represents the redeemed. He stands but a little lower than Jesus. The Saviour points him to the Garden of Eden, and “Transported with joy, he beholds the trees that were once his delight—the very trees whose fruit he himself had gathered in the days of his innocence and joy. He sees the vines that his own hands have trained, the very flowers that he once loved to care for. His mind grasps the reality of the scene; he comprehends that this is indeed Eden restored, more lovely now than when he was banished from it. The Saviour leads him to the tree of life and plucks the glorious fruit and bids him eat. He looks about him and beholds a multitude of his family redeemed, standing in the Paradise of God. Then he casts his glittering crown at the feet of Jesus and, falling upon His breast, embraces the Redeemer. He touches the golden harp, and the vaults of heaven echo the triumphant song: ‘Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and lives again!’ The family of Adam take up the strain and cast their crowns at the Saviour’s feet as they bow before Him in adoration.” The Great Controversy, 648.

Oh, beloved, never forget. What Jesus did for Adam He can do for you and for me. “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” Jude 24.

Come Sit with Me in My Father’s Throne

And now a most precious promise is to take place. Are you ready for this? It is unbelievable but true. Christ now assumes His place with the Father on the great white throne. As He looks over the redeemed, that number as the stars of heaven, as He looks over the vast multitude, He sees you, and He lovingly asks you to come up to the throne, to ascend the stairs and to sit on the throne with God.

Are you astonished? Do you not remember? “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.” Revelation 3:21. Oh, what a marvelous salvation! Praise the Lord!

Dear Child of God, I cannot, I must not conclude this godly message without making a special appeal to you in the name of Jesus. Will you just now give your heart anew to such a loving Saviour who died for you that you might live with Him? I urge you to determine right now, this moment, that when the mark of the beast, so soon to be enforced by law, is passed, that you will stand firm and be faithful to God’s commandments no matter what the cost may be.

Be Ye Holy in all Manner of Conversation

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13–16.

“The apostle Peter here gives instruction for believers to gird up the loins of their minds. We are to have special care over the thoughts of the mind. We are not to allow our minds to be diverted and allured by different things, because there is something more important for us. If we would allow the mind to take its natural turn, it might dwell upon unimportant things and we receive no benefit thereby.

“Here is presented before us the one great event—the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when the graves are to be opened and the dead be raised, and we are to be changed. This event should fill our mind and crowd out everything else. We want to make the most of the privileges and opportunities we have to prepare for the future immortal life.

“The truth of God has taken us out of the quarry of the world to fit us up for the heavenly temple of God. We may look upon one another and think, ‘There is a great work to be done for that brother and for that sister,’ but we may not take into consideration the work that is to be done for ourselves. And if Satan can get in among the people [and produce] a spirit of criticism, then he is satisfied, for a root of bitterness springs up in these [members] wherewith he will be satisfied. We are not all of the same character, but we are brought together in church capacity and we count ourselves as children of God, and we talk of having a home in the city of God.

“Our faith is that if we perfect a Christian character we shall be numbered as the family of God in the mansions that He has gone to prepare for us. Now, our heavenly father brings us together in church capacity that we may gain in knowledge and be fitting up for the community of heaven. ‘Well,’ some may say, ‘All I want is that everyone should see eye to eye.’ But there are those who want everyone to see just as they do. They do not consider that they have traits of character that must be changed. Then, what is the work before us in order to be ready to be among those who are waiting for their Lord to come in the clouds of heaven? It is for us to be in a position of humility before God. ‘Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.’

“The Lord has not placed before one individual the trade of becoming a church tinker, but we want individually to feel that we have a responsibility before God to be a blessing to everyone with whom we associate. And we are to consider that every brother and sister is the purchase of the blood of Christ. Here we are, living stones out of the quarry, and we are to be chiseled and fitted for the new Jerusalem. Do not let any of us think that we are all right. As soon as we are taken out of the quarry, we have a work to do for ourselves. ‘The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh,’ and we want to be considering those things that will give us solidity of character. We do not want to have a high estimate of ourselves, but we want to esteem others better than ourselves. We want that our souls shall be uplifted to God every moment for help, for fear we shall fall. And while some are so diligent to look after others, they will forget the work there is for their own soul.

“We are to heed the exhortation of the apostle, that we are to be holy in all manner of conversation. And as we separate those things from us which will be a hindrance to our advancement, the Holy Spirit will come in. We want to be filled with the spirit of Jesus, and if you are not closely connected with Christ, then the thoughts of your mind will be upon unimportant things; but if you are connected with Jesus, you will just as surely be a channel of light as Jesus is light, for Jesus has said to His followers, ‘Ye are the light of the world.’

“Now, we are by living faith to keep our eyes fixed upon the Author and Finisher of our faith. ‘As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.’

“Before we become acquainted with Jesus, the conversation is upon the dress, and what shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and what shall we wear? And we find fault with one another. But as soon as we become acquainted with Christ, our conversation changes.

“Here we are, objects of His love. Has the change taken place in us? Namely, have we passed from death unto life? Have we died indeed to self? Have we fastened our hearts and affections upon the great God? He is all light and power.

“Every provision has been made for us that can be made by our precious Saviour, that we may have that abundant grace so that we may overcome every defect in our character. And we cannot afford to satisfy ourselves in this life, but we want the fullness that is in Jesus, and we must train ourselves to talk of those things which will bring to us peace and light. As we have our conversation upon heaven and heavenly things, the angels of God are all around us; and when we are, in our thoughts and with our hearts, drawing near to God, then He is drawing nigh to us. His love is in our hearts, and then we speak it from our lips.

“It is not only our duty to train our minds upon heavenly things, but we are to talk of these things, for it is our duty to bind about our mind, to gird up the loins of our mind, and say, ‘I will not think of these things.’ Then it is our duty to guard our conversation.

“We would think, from the shadow that many walk in, that they had no Saviour. But I want to speak to those, and say ‘Christ is risen! He is not in Joseph’s new tomb, but He has arisen and has ascended up on high to make intercession for us!’ We have a risen Saviour interceding for us, and we must walk in harmony with God. He is seeking to ‘purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’ If we seek with all our hearts to be obedient children, conforming our will to the will of God, then the work can go forward in us without interruption. Let us not forget for one moment that we are living for the future immortal life, and let us put away from us everything like complaint and faultfinding. Let our words, our conversation, reveal to the world that we have a hope that is big with immortality.

“We want that His will shall be our will. We do not want that our will shall be such that it will control all that around us.…

“God wants us to go through the mill. Here this man’s sharp character must be burnished off, and here is one who has taken hold of the truth who has always been coarse in his conversation, and he must overcome that. This is the very thing the apostle means when he says, ‘You must overcome in order to have a home in heaven.’ Jesus must be in my whole work to transform my character. We must accept the truth as it is in Jesus, and then how kind will we be to one another, how courteous, for this was the work of my Master. We shall see the precious mold of Jesus upon the character, and when we learn the precious lessons He has for us to learn, we will be like Jesus. ‘Come unto Me,’ says He, ‘all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.’

“Here you are with your variances and differences. Now, ‘Come to Me,’ says He, ‘and learn of Me.’…”

Sermons and Talks, Book 1, 40–43.

He That Hath an Ear, Part I

As the story goes, an elderly Christian man, who attended prayer meeting faithfully, consistently confessed the same things during prayer and testimony time. His prayer always went something like this: “O Lord, since last we gathered, the cobwebs have come between me and Thee. Clear away the cobwebs, that I may again see Thy face.”

One night, after the old man had prayed this prayer for the umpteenth time, another church member whispered to the person sitting next to him, “Why doesn’t he just ask the Lord to kill the spider?”

Good question! Several thoughts came to mind the first time I heard this story. First of all, is it not true that we allow too many things, usually trivial things, to come between our Saviour and ourselves? And secondly, have you ever noticed yourself getting into a habit of saying things that you do not even realize you are saying?

Words. What a powerful medium of communication! We can hardly drive down the street without being bombarded by words on signs. Turn on the radio and television and you are certain to hear lots of words. TV and radio marketers sell airtime, so advertisers can sell products to people who watch and listen. It is big business. It makes a lot of money and sells a lot of products. Time is money, and money is time. Squeeze as many words into as few seconds as possible. Do you realize that the rate of words coming at you from the radio and/or TV can be double or even higher than that of a normal conversation? Advertisers seem to count on an overload of auditory stimulation. Too much, too fast. The ears cannot hold on to it long enough to make sense of it, but it goes into the brain and is processed just the same. Scary thought, is it not? Powerful, nonetheless.

Strangers in Paradise

Despite what the evolutionists say, our ancestors did not slither out of oceanic slime. Neither were their earliest communications guttural grunts. I am so thankful that our Creator, the true God, has a wonderful plan for us. From the beginning, Adam and Eve held direct communion with God. They walked and talked with Him in the Garden. They spoke with Him face to face. How glorious that must have been, and how wonderful it will be for the redeemed in the earth made new to once again hold communion with Him, to walk and talk with God. Awesome!

Thankfully, there is yet time, though not much time, for us to consider these things. For the most part, we are still too much of this world. By our thoughts, by our actions, and especially by our words, we reveal to the universe what is in our hearts. It is from the abundance of our hearts that our mouths speak. (Luke 6:45; Matthew 12:34.)

Inspired Words

“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” 1 Peter 1:15.

Here are some words, written by the Pen of Inspiration for God’s people living in the last days of this earth’s history: “If ever a people needed to walk before God as did Enoch, Seventh-day Adventists need to do so now, showing their sincerity by pure words, clean words, words full of sympathy, tenderness, and love.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 155.

“Those who are occupied with earthly things, enjoy a low, cheap level, and their souls could not bear the purity of the saints in light. The conversation of heaven would be a language which they could not understand, and they could not endure the purity of infinite holiness.” The Signs of the Times, October 3, 1895.

“You do not know the sentiments and principles of heaven; its language is almost a strange language to you . . . .” Testimonies, vol. 5, 437.

” ‘Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom’ [James 3:13]. My brethren and sisters, how are you employing the gift of speech? Have you learned so to control the tongue that it shall ever obey the dictates of an enlightened conscience and holy affections? Is your conversation free from levity, pride and malice, deceit and impurity? Are you without guile before God? Words exert a telling power. Satan will, if possible, keep the tongue active in his service. Of ourselves we cannot control the unruly member. Divine grace is our only hope. Those who are eagerly studying how they may secure the pre-eminence, should study rather how they may gain that wisdom which is ‘first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy’ [verse 17]. He who has Christ formed within, the hope of glory, will ‘show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.’ ” The Signs of the Times, February 8, 1883.

“The light given me by the Word of God is that the speech needs to be converted and sanctified. The Lord requires that education should be given in the science of conversation. This faculty has been much abused and perverted. It has not been held as a precious gift from God, to be used to glorify His name. The words are a power for good or evil, a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death. Choice words must be spoken by those who would do service for Christ. Haphazard words, hasty, common words, talking for the sake of talking, when silence would be better, is a sin. . . . Manuscript 74, 1897.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 30, 31.

“I have heard loose language, careless, vulgar words, and slang phrases from the lips of parents. I have heard these words taken up and repeated by their children; and my heart has been pained; for I knew that these parents had sown the seed which Satan delights to cultivate. I knew that they had sown seeds that would produce a harvest of corruption. And oh, how Jesus is pained by the cruel work of these parents!” The Health Reformer, July 1, 1889.


“A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.” Proverbs 18:7.

In researching this topic, I spent some time at the library looking through the reference section. Surprisingly, they had several slang dictionaries. From these volumes, the following is a list of some slang words with their definitions. Many of them, such as darn, fooey, fudge, and screw, I choose not to print here.

slang: a cant clipped form of language; originally, the specialized vocabulary and idioms of those in the same type of work, way of life, etc.; now usually called “shop talk,” jargon, lingo. Colloquial language that is outside of conventional or standard usage and consists of both coined words (blurb, whoopee), and those with new or extended meanings (rubber-neck, sap, screw); slang develops from the attempt to find fresh and vigorous, colorful, pungent or humorous expression.

gee: corruption of Jesus; spoken as an oath or exclamation

gee whiz: euphemism for Jesus Christ

golly: corruption of God

gosh: corruption of God

guy: euphemism of God

heck: corruption of hell

jiminy cricket: euphemism of Jesus Christ

my goodness: vain corruption of “my God;” spoken as an oath or exclamation

shoot: euphemism for [expletive]

shucks: [expletive]

son-of-a-gun: euphemism for [expletive]

The servant of the Lord has much to say about the use of slang.

“The good man, from the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things. [Matthew 12:35.] Why? Because Christ is an abiding presence in the soul. The sanctifying truth is a treasure-house of wisdom to all who practice the truth. As a living spring it is springing up unto everlasting life. The one who has not Christ abiding in his heart will indulge in cheap talk, exaggerated statements, that make mischief. The tongue that utters perverse things, common things, slang phrases, that tongue needs to be treated with the hot coals of juniper. Manuscript 17, 1895.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 577.

“Let it be seen that your life is hid with Christ in God. Let there be no hasty speech, no cheap words, no slang phrases. Let it be demonstrated that you are conscious of a Companion whom you honor, and that you will not make Him ashamed of you. Only think, we are representatives of Jesus Christ! Then represent His character in words, in deportment. . . .” That I May Know Him, 198.

Offerings to Satan?

“An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.” Proverbs 16:27.

“Unless we control our words and temper, we are slaves to Satan. We are in subjection to him. He leads us captive. All jangling and unpleasant, impatient, fretful words are an offering presented to his satanic majesty. And it is a costly offering, more costly than any sacrifice we can make for God; for it destroys the peace and happiness of whole families, destroys health, and is eventually the cause of forfeiting an eternal life of happiness.” The Adventist Home, 437.

“Among the members of many families there is practiced the habit of saying loose, careless things; and the habit of tantalizing, of speaking harsh words, becomes stronger and stronger as it is indulged, and thus many objectionable words are spoken that are after Satan’s order and not after the order of God. . . . Burning words of passion should never be spoken, for in the sight of God and holy angels they are as a species of swearing.” Ibid., 439.

“Of the unsanctified tongue the apostle James writes: ‘The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.’ Satan puts into the minds thoughts which the Christian should never utter. The scornful retort, the bitter, passionate utterance, the cruel, suspicious charge, are from him. How many words are spoken that do only harm to those who utter them and to those who hear! Hard words beat upon the heart awaking to life its worst passions. Those who do evil with their tongues, who sow discord by selfish, jealous words, grieve the Holy Spirit; for they are working at cross-purposes with God.” Review and Herald, May 12, 1910.

Happy The Home

There is no other place on earth where our true characters are more fully exposed than in our very own homes. In the book, The Adventist Home, Chapter 71 is devoted entirely to “Speech,” and it would do us well to spend time in serious contemplation of the counsel found therein.

“Unhappiness is often caused by an unwise use of the talent of speech. The word of God does not authorize anyone to speak harshly, thereby creating disagreeable feelings and unhappiness in the family. The other members of the family lose their respect for the one who speaks thus, when if he would restrain his feelings, he might win the confidence and affection of all.” The Adventist Home, 437.

“Hard words beat upon the heart through the ear, awakening to life the worst passions of the soul and tempting men and women to break God’s commandments. . . . Words are as seeds which are planted.” Ibid., 439.

“The husband or the wife may utter words that are liable to provoke a hasty reply, but let the one who is spoken to keep silence. In silence there is safety. Often silence is the severest rebuke that could be given to the one who has sinned with his lips . . . .” Ibid., 442.

“Words that intimidate, creating fear and expelling love from the soul, are to be restrained . . . .” Ibid., 308.

“A lack of courtesy, a moment of petulance, a single rough, thoughtless word, will mar your reputation, and may close the door to hearts so that you can never reach them.” Ibid., 38

“Passionate words sow seeds that produce a bad crop which no one will care to garner. Our own words have an effect upon our character, but they act still more powerfully upon the characters of others. The infinite God alone can measure the mischief that is done by careless words. These words fall from our lips, and we do not perhaps mean any harm; yet they are the index of our inward thoughts, and work on the side of evil. What unhappiness has been produced by the speaking of thoughtless, unkind words in the family circle! Harsh words rankle in the mind, it may be for years, and never lose their sting. As professed Christians, we should consider the influence our words have upon those with whom we come into association, whether they are believers or unbelievers. Our words are watched, and mischief is done by thoughtless utterances. No after association with believers or unbelievers will wholly counteract the unfavorable influence of thoughtless, foolish words. Our words evidence the manner of food upon which the soul feeds.” The Youth’s Instructor, June 27, 1895.

I Want to Be Like Jesus

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight . . . .” Psalm 19:14.

Before we leave the subject of the incorrect use of the tongue, it is important for us to take a look at our Example. So often I hear people say “I just want to be like Jesus.” And this is good. Unfortunately, we seldom have the proper understanding of Jesus. Most people want us to believe that Jesus never raised His voice, that He never rebuked anyone. Inspiration says differently.

Speaking of John, the Son of Thunder, “Jesus rebuked this self-seeking, disappointed his ambitions, tested his faith.” The Acts of the Apostles, 539.

“Jesus rebuked the disciples and commanded the crowd to make way for these faithful mothers with their little children . . . .” The Adventist Home, 273.

“Jesus rebuked his disciples, saying ‘Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of . . . .’ ” Review and Herald, February 15, 1881.

Of course, there are also many accounts where Jesus rebuked the religious leaders of His day, the scribes, Pharisees, priests, etc.

“The scribes and Pharisees claimed to be invested with divine authority similar to that of Moses. They assumed to take his place as expounders of the law and judges of the people. As such they claimed from the people the utmost deference and obedience. Jesus bade His hearers do that which the rabbis taught according to the law, but not to follow their example. They themselves did not practice their own teaching.

“And they taught much that was contrary to the Scriptures. Jesus said, ‘They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.’ [Matthew 23:4.] The Pharisees enjoined a multitude of regulations, having their foundation in tradition, and unreasonably restricting personal liberty. And certain portions of the law they so explained as to impose upon the people observances which they themselves secretly ignored, and from which, when it served their purpose, they actually claimed exemption.” The Desire of Ages, 612.

The Lord Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, likening them to sepulchers that do not appear, hidden from sight, but full of corruption. The Lord hates all deception, secrecy, and guile. This is Satan’s work; the work of God is open and frank.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 274.

“Many who listened to the teachings of Christ said, ‘Never man spake like this man.’ [John 7:46.] But his words, that comforted, strengthened, and blessed the needy, that were as bread to the hungering soul, were as bitterness to the scribes and Pharisees. . . .

“Jesus spoke as one having knowledge and authority. The denunciation he uttered against the Jews condemned their formalism and hypocrisy. His scathing rebukes and denunciation of formalism have the same force today as they had in the days of the scribes and Pharisees, and apply to those who have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.” Sabbath School Worker, December 1, 1894.

Some of the most memorable incidents were when Jesus pronounced woes upon the scribes and Pharisees, and when He cleared the temple—twice. I have actually had people try to convince me that Jesus did not raise His voice nor demonstrate any passion while doing this. However, to the contrary, in many places Inspiration recounts the scenes of Jesus’ words and actions in vivid detail:

“Dishonest dealing was practiced by the men who brought cattle to sell in the temple courts; but the word of command was given; divinity flashed through humanity, and not trafficker or priest in his gorgeous dress looking on that countenance dared to remain. In haste all fled from the temple courts. Now under the symbol of the blighted tree Christ presents before His disciples the righteous anger of God in the destruction of Jerusalem.” The Signs of the Times, February 15, 1899.

“Divinity flashed through humanity, and the evil one could not resist the authority of the divine voice, as Jesus said, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan; for it is written . . . .’ ” Review and Herald, October 29, 1895.

“In His weakness, Christ laid hold of God. Divinity flashed through humanity. Christ stood revealed as the commander of heaven, and His words were the words of One who has all power . . . .” The Signs of the Times, December 10, 1902.

“His divinity flashed out before them with unmistakable power . . . .” Prophets and Kings, 712.

“Divinity flashed through humanity, and the soldiers were powerless before him . . . .” Review and Herald, July 12, 1892.

“There was a restraint upon these rulers [Pharisees]. They did not dare to do the things they longed to do; for divinity flashed through humanity as he spoke to the people . . . .” The Youth’s Instructor, September 30, 1897.

“As Jesus looked upon the people, it seemed to them that He read their very souls. Divinity flashed through humanity. There was indignation and anger in His look because of their hypocrisy and the hardness of their hearts. He hated their duplicity, their ingenious methods for resisting truth and righteousness. . . .” Review and Herald, August 10, 1897.

“As the eye of Jesus swept over the scene of busy traffic, divinity flashed through His humanity. He ‘cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.’ [Matthew 21:12, 13.] The traffic suddenly stopped, and the throng of buyers and sellers fled as though a company of armed men were pursuing them.” The Signs of the Times, August 6, 1885.

“Divinity flashed through the garb of humanity. When Christ had made a scourge of small cords, ‘he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.’ [John 2:15.] He drove out the sacrilegious robbers, saying, ‘It is written.’ [Luke 19:46.]” Ibid., September 16, 1897.

Speaking of the second cleansing of the temple, Ellen White wrote: “the priests and rulers fled as if pursued by an armed band of soldiers, or by the presence of an offended God.” Ibid., February 10, 1898.

“Christ came suddenly into the temple courts; divinity flashed through humanity, and, raising a whip of small cords in his hands, with a voice that they will hear again in the execution of the judgment, he said, ‘Take these things hence.’ [John 2:16.] . . . These priests and rulers saw as it were an avenging angel with a flaming sword, such as guarded the way to the tree of life.” Special Testimonies for Ministers and Workers, No. 7, 54.

“Twice Christ’s displeasure was evidenced against them. Divinity flashed through humanity, and he drove out the buyers and sellers from the temple courts. . . . It was here divinity flashed through humanity, and the priests and rulers fled from before Him; for there was as the appearance of a flashing sword, turning every way like the sword to guard the tree of life.” Pamphlet 146, 28, 17.

[All emphasis supplied.]

To be concluded . . .

The Power of Speech, Part I

[Editor’s Note: Steps to Life Ministries, just as every Christian ministry and church, occasionally struggles through a crisis. More often than not, a contributing factor, and perhaps the major component of such crises, has to do with speech. Believing this to be a spiritual problem, we have chosen to seek counsel from the Bible and from the Pen of Inspiration. God is able to heal all of our wounds and to bring us into the harmony and unity that we need to do His work, if we comply with certain conditions laid down in inspired writings. If you have been experiencing strife in your relationships, it is our prayer that you will find the counsel presented in this series beneficial.]

“Many, many times I have wished that there might be circulated a pledge containing a solemn promise to speak only those words that are pleasing to God. There is as great need for such a pledge as there is for one against the use of intoxicating liquor.” Review and Herald, May 26, 1904.


I will “guard against speaking words that discourage.” I “resolve never to engage in evil-speaking and backbiting.” I “refuse to serve Satan by implanting seeds of doubt.” I will make a “solemn promise to speak only those words that are pleasing to God.” I will, by the grace of God, “begin to discipline the tongue, remembering always that [I] can do this only by disciplining the mind.” “No evil reports will be carried” by me. “Tattling and gossip will cease.” By the grace of God, I will “abstain [from evil] speaking and evil surmising.”



“Through the help that Christ can give, we shall be able to learn to bridle the tongue. Sorely as he was tried on the point of hasty and angry speech, he never once sinned with his lips. With patient calmness he met the sneers, the taunts, and the ridicule of his fellow workers at the carpenter’s bench. Instead of retorting angrily, he would begin to sing one of David’s beautiful psalms; and his companions, before realizing what they were doing, would unite with him in the hymn. What a transformation would be wrought in this world if men and women today would follow Christ’s example in the use of words!” Review and Herald, May 26, 1904.

“Little do we realize the prevalence of evil among those who claim to be Christians.” Ibid.

“Unitedly we are to help one another gain perfection of character. To this end, we are to cease all criticism. . . . Supposing we were to cherish a remembrance of the bright chapters in our Christian experience, and dwell upon these in our testimony meetings; would not this be pleasing to God?” Ibid.

“Let us talk faith, and not unbelief; let us praise God, and go forward. The Lord is good, and greatly to be praised. At every step let us praise him from whom all blessings flow.” Ibid.

“An earnest effort should be made in every church to put away evil-speaking and a censorious spirit. Severity and fault-finding must be rebuked as the work of Satan. Mutual love and confidence must be encouraged and strengthened in the members of the church. Let all close their ears to gossip and censure. Direct the tale-bearer to the teachings of God’s word. Bid him carry his complaints directly to those whom he thinks in error. This united action would bring a flood of light into the church, and close the door to a flood of evil.” Ibid., November 30, 1886.

“Selfishness, pride, envy, malice, evil surmising, back-biting, gossiping, and tattling, have been cherished among them, until the Spirit of God has but little to do with them. The prayers of some who profess to know God are, in their present state, an abomination in the sight of the Lord. . . . While they profess to be servants of Jesus Christ, they are servants of the enemy of righteousness, and their works testify of them that they are not acquainted with God, and that their hearts are not in obedience to the will of Christ.” Pamphlet 159, 69, 70.


Backbiter is defined as: (1) one who attacks the good name of another or is an evil speaker, and (2) to go about as a slanderer or a spy. A slanderer is one who makes statements injurious to another’s reputation or well-being or makes a malicious statement or report of another.

1 No backbiters will be in heaven.

“The teacher can do much to discourage that evil habit, the curse of the community, the neighborhood, and the home—the habit of backbiting, gossip, ungenerous criticism. In this no pains should be spared. Impress upon the students the fact that this habit reveals a lack of culture and refinement and of true goodness of heart; it unfits one both for the society of the truly cultured and refined in this world and for association with the holy ones of heaven.” Education, 235.

2 Backbiters are as bad or even worse than cannibals.

“We think with horror of the cannibal who feasts on the still warm and trembling flesh of his victim; but are the results of even this practice more terrible than are the agony and ruin caused by misrepresenting motive, blackening reputation, dissecting character? Let the children, and the youth as well, learn what God says about these things.” Ibid.

3 Backbiting is a sin worthy of death.

“In Scripture, backbiters are classed with ‘haters of God,’ with ‘inventors of evil things,’ with those who are ‘without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful,’ ‘full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity.’ It is ‘the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death.’ Romans 1:30, 31, 29, 32. He whom God accounts a citizen of Zion is he that ‘speaketh the truth in his heart,’ ‘that backbiteth not with his tongue,’ ‘nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor.’ Psalm 15:2, 3.” Ibid., 235, 236.

4 We are not to cooperate with the evil speaker.

“Spirituality has been almost killed, because the spirit of backbiting has been allowed to enter. Why do we speak words of blame and censure? To be silent is the strongest rebuke that you can give to one who is speaking harsh, discourteous words to you. Keep perfectly silent. Often silence is eloquence.” Child Guidance, 551.

5 James White classed the backbiter with those having an evil spirit.

“In a vision given me at Saratoga Springs I was shown a company in Vermont with a woman among them who was a deceiver, and the church must be enlightened as to her character lest poisonous error should become deeply rooted among them. I had not seen the brethren in that part of the State with my natural eyes. We visited them, and as we entered Brother B.’s dwelling a woman came forward to receive me whom I thought to be Sister B.’s mother. I was about to salute her when the light fell upon her face and lo! it was Mrs. C., the woman I had seen in vision. I dropped her hand instantly and drew back. She noticed this and remarked upon it afterwards. The church in Vergennes and vicinity collected together for meeting. There was confusion of sentiment among them. Brother E. E. held the age to come and some were in favor of S. Allen, a notable fanatic, who held views of a dangerous character which if carried out would lead to spiritual union and breaking up of families. I delivered the message in the Sabbath meeting which the Lord had given me. Sunday noon Mrs. C. was talking quite eloquently in regard to backbiting. She was very severe, for she had heard that speeches had been made against her fanatical proceedings. Just then Sister B. entered saying, ‘Will you please walk out to dinner?’ Mrs. C. instantly replied, saying, ‘This kind goeth not out save by fasting and prayer. I do not wish any dinner.’ In a moment my husband was upon his feet. The power of God was upon him, and the color had left his face. Said he, ‘I hope it will go out! In the name of the Lord, I hope it will go out!’ and said he to Mrs. C., ‘That evil spirit is in you, and I hope it will go out! I rebuke it in the name of the Lord!’ She seemed to be struck dumb. Her glib, smart tongue was stilled for once.” Life Sketches of James White and Ellen G. White (1880), Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, Battle Creek, MI, 1880, 285, 286.

6 We are not to discourage others by engaging in evil speaking and backbiting.

“Let us guard against speaking words that discourage. Let us resolve never to engage in evil-speaking and backbiting. Let us refuse to serve Satan by implanting seeds of doubt. Let us guard against cherishing unbelief, or expressing it to others. Many, many times I have wished that there might be circulated a pledge containing a solemn promise to speak only those words that are pleasing to God. There is as great need for such a pledge as there is for one against the use of intoxicating liquor. Let us begin to discipline the tongue, remembering always that we can do this only by disciplining the mind, for ‘out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.’ Matthew 12:34.” Our High Calling, 291.

7 Backbiting drives away the Holy Spirit.

“The church in —— need sifting. A thorough conversion is necessary before they can be in working order. Selfishness, pride, envy, malice, evil surmising, backbiting, gossiping, and tattling have been cherished among them, until the Spirit of God has but little to do with them. While some who profess to know God remain in their present state, their prayers are an abomination in His sight. They do not sustain their faith by their works, and it would have been better for some never to have professed the truth than to have dishonored their profession as they have. While they profess to be servants of Christ, they are servants of the enemy of righteousness; and their works testify of them that they are not acquainted with God and that their hearts are not in obedience to the will of Christ. They make child’s play of religion; they act like pettish children.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 52.

8 We are not to listen to a speaker who is backbiting.

“When we listen to a reproach against our brother, we take up that reproach. To the question, ‘Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?’ the psalmist answered, ‘He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbor, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbor.’ [Psalm 15:1–3.]” Ibid., vol. 5, 58.

9 All backbiters are disapproved of God.

“[Psalm 15:1–5.] Here the backbiter is excluded from abiding in the tabernacle of God and dwelling in the holy hill of Zion. He that taketh up a reproach against his neighbor cannot receive the approval of God.” Ibid., 615.

10 Backbiting is one of the reasons the church is feeble.

“Envy, evil surmising, backbiting, and faultfinding—let these not be named amongst Christ’s disciples. These things are the cause of the present feebleness of the church. We have a perfect pattern, even the life of Christ. It is to be our eager desire to do as He has done, to live as He lived, that others, seeing our good works, may be led to glorify God. The Lord’s blessing will rest upon us as we seek to bless others by doing the work that Christ came to this world to teach us how to do.” The Upward Look, 117.

11 Satan, if he can, will keep us backbiting one another until Jesus comes.

“My brethren, clear your souls before God. Cease your criticizing and fault-finding. Satan will keep you at this till the Lord comes, if he can. He knows that thus he can most effectually hinder the Lord’s work. Backbiting is cannibalism. God calls upon His people to have nothing to do with it, but to come to Him, that they may have light and life and salvation. We need the wisdom that comes from above. Pure, this wisdom is, ‘peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated.’ [James 3:17.] If it were not, the love of the Father would not have been so constantly exercised toward us.” The General Conference Bulletin, April 2, 1903.

12 We can be rid of the spirit of back-biting today.

“There are churches in which the spirituality has been almost killed, because the spirit of backbiting has been allowed to enter. Why do we speak words of blame and censure? To be silent is the strongest rebuke that you can give to one who is speaking harsh, discourteous words to you. Keep perfectly silent. Often silence is eloquence. My brethren, you will never enter heaven with a spirit of faultfinding. I ask you to get rid of this spirit before you leave this meeting. Do not take it back with you to your home churches. Ibid., April 6, 1903.

13 We are not to listen to a complaint until we have positive evidence that it is true.

“Here not only the one who makes the complaint is condemned, but the ones who take up this reproach, who cherish it, and repeat it. If reports come to you against the Sanitarium [a ministry; a person], do not receive them till you have positive evidence that they are true.” Review and Herald, September 15, 1885.

14 Refuse to listen to a tale about your neighbor until the Bible rule is followed.

“When any one comes to you with a tale about your neighbor, you should refuse to hear it. You should say to him, ‘Have you spoken of this matter to the individual concerned?’ If he has not done so, tell him he should obey the Bible rule, and go first to his brother, and tell him his fault privately, and in love. If the directions of God were carried out, the flood-gates of gossip would be closed.” Ibid., August 28, 1888.

15 There is no rest or happiness as long as we retain unsanctified traits of character.

“There are those who have only a nominal faith; they draw nigh to God with their lips, while the heart is far from him; but the true wrestler for the victory has a real, living faith, which is implanted in his heart by the Holy Spirit, and it makes every difference in the world with his life and words and actions. He has an aim in life, a living purpose, which shapes the character. This hope is not vague; it rests on a solid basis, which is the truth. It braces the soul for trial, and nerves it for duty, irrespective of inconvenience or inclination. A stubborn, willful spirit is not of Christ, but of Satan; hence, it will not be cherished by him who has the mind of Christ. All impurity of thought will be overcome, and the mind will be trained to pure and holy thoughts. Backbiting and evil speaking will be put away. Jealousy and selfishness will be overcome, for they are Satanic, and not Christlike. Bitter are the fruits of self-indulgence, of unsanctified traits of character. There is no rest or happiness in a life of opposition to God. But sweet is the joy and peace experienced by those who close the door to Satan, and open it to Christ.” The Signs of the Times, October 12, 1891.

16 We can become agents of Satan even while professedly in the Lord’s service.

“When the converting power of God is felt upon the heart, altogether different results will be seen. A person who will allow any degree of suspicion or censure to rest upon his fellow workers, while he neither rebukes the complainers nor faithfully presents the matter before the one condemned, is doing the work of the enemy. He is watering seeds of discord and of strife, the fruit of which he will have to meet in the day of God. He is backbiting; he is taking up a reproach against his neighbor; he is doing a work that will separate very friends. He is striking directly at the reputation of his brother; and envy, jealousy, and evil surmisings are awakened, which endanger the soul’s salvation. He is hedging up his brother’s way, binding his influence; and God will hold him accountable for this work.” Pamphlet 066, 26.

17 What will happen when we really have the love of Christ within?

“Let no one become so self-centered that he will fail to see that the Lord has appointed to every one a work. Let each do his best. This is all that the Lord requires of any one. Let our people read to a purpose the instruction given in the seventh chapter of John. The lessons of this chapter are not carried out in their daily practise. The Lord is not glorified in their lives, because they do not cherish love for one another. When their hearts are filled with the love of Christ, backbiting and criticizing will cease. No longer will Seventh-day Adventists weaken one another’s hands; for they will love one another as Christ has loved them.” Pamphlet 151, 49.

18 We must have a thorough repentance.

“I feel deeply concerning the church at Battle Creek, where are located our important institutions. This great heart of the work sends forth to every branch of the work either a healthy or a sickly and diseased influence. The true condition of the cause of God in Michigan is deplorable. But few realize the spiritual lethargy that prevails. The church at Battle Creek have not made thorough work in repenting and confessing their past sins. Many today hate the light which discovers their wrongs and errors. False repentance is deceiving souls to their ruin. Persons will make spasmodic efforts and appear to feel remorse for their course of action, but do not become converted and soon evidence that the heart is untouched. All the good impressions are soon effaced, and they will return to their same course of fault-finding, whisperings, backbiting, and reporting evil which they have felt troubled over. They declare to others by their own course of action that their repentance is not genuine, that their sorrow was not godly sorrow.” Pamphlet 155, 12.

19 When peace flees and God’s servants are martyred . . .

“How far you will be left to work as Satan’s agents to oppress, to accuse, to wound, and bruise the soul, we cannot determine. But the Lord’s eye is over all. He knows every thought, every deed, every action, and he will judge you as your works have been. I never so longed for Jesus to come as at this time, that the wickedness of the wicked might come to an end. If every member of the church would try to find what good there is in one another, what a Heaven we should have on earth! Cherishing bitterness and suspicion toward one person makes us feel hard and cold and distrustful of everybody. The peace of Christ has no place in the heart that thinketh evil. The mischievous talk about Prof. Bell, Dr. Kellogg, and different ones, is purely the work that Satan instigates. Division, distrust, jealousy, evil-surmising, are sown as thistle seeds are cast to the winds. Satan puts his magnifying glass before your eyes, and everything is viewed as he wills it. Peace flees away. The false tongue should be treated with hot coals of juniper. Dr. Kellogg has made mistakes,—he has erred. His errors have injured my husband. Dr. Kellogg sees his mistakes and feels them, and has confessed them; while those who were more guilty than he is abusing his mind in placing things before him in an exaggerated light, and relating as facts things which had no foundation in truth, led him to feel an assurance that his feelings were correct. His mind was kept stirred up by reporters, tattlers, mischief-makers, and false reporters. My husband was hunted to death, and those who have acted their part faithfully for Satan saw him in his coffin removed from the strife of tongues. He died of a broken heart, and the Lord let him rest. I hold no grudge against any one. I felt to the very depths of my soul over the treatment my husband received, and I have forgiven those who have done this work. I pray the Lord to forgive them. I warn you not to do to another as you have done to him. And when you begin your attacks upon one and then another that do not agree with your ways and please your fancies, I am determined to resist your influence and stand up for the oppressed. Will you send others to their death by your persecuting tongues, your suspicions, your envies, your jealousies? Will you cultivate the worst traits of character in indulging in censuring, backbiting, and falsehood? Is this the element that you love, and will you choose this atmosphere which is the poison of hell? What think you of Jesus? You may talk of his love, you may praise and bless his name, you may adore him all you please; but cease your praise and your flatteries of finite men, and also cease your wicked fault-finding, cease to murder character.” Pamphlet 155, 20, 21.

20 How to make things harder for the evil-tongued persons.

“If these steps [Matthew 18] have not been taken, do not listen to a word, close the ears, and refuse to take up a reproach against your neighbor; listening to the reports of evil is lifting or taking up the reproach. If there were no brethren and sisters to take up the reproach against their neighbors, evil tongues would not find so fruitful a field in which to labor, backbiting and devouring one another.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 281.

21 The need of looking on the bright side.

“God is displeased to have brethren suspiciously pick up an item here, and a jot and tittle there, and construe these tidbits into grave sins. Complaining, faultfinding, and backbiting will be carried on to a large extent among the people when encouraged by the influence of the men engaged in the solemn work of the ministry. To disdain another’s work because it is not in your line of work is an offense to God. It is no less a sin when men who occupy positions of trust engage in it. If you, my brother, were to go into a field where are precious things, shrubs and flowers, and pass these by unnoticed, and begin to complain of the thistles and the briers and unsightly shrubs, and present these as the representation of what was in that field, would it be just? Should you not rather have gathered the roses, the lilies, and the precious things and carried these away, thankful that such blessings did exist, acknowledging that there were things of precious value in that field?” Ibid., 381.

22 Do not listen to reports of faults of your brethren.

Ministers and lay members of the church displease God when they allow individuals to tell them the errors and faults of their brethren. They should not listen to these reports, but should inquire, ‘Have you strictly followed the injunction of your Saviour? Have you gone to the offender and told him his faults between you and him alone, and has he refused to hear you? Have you carefully and prayerfully taken two or three others, and labored with him in tenderness, humility, and meekness, your heart throbbing in love for his soul? If the Captain’s orders, in the rules given for the erring, have been strictly followed, then an advance step is to be taken. Tell it to the church, and let action be taken in the case according to the Scriptures. Then it is that heaven will ratify the decision made by the church in cutting off the offending member if he does not repent.

“If these steps have not been taken, close the ear to their complaints, and thus refuse to take up a reproach against your neighbor. Listening to the reports of evil is taking up a reproach. If there were no brethren and sisters to do this, evil tongues would soon cease, for they would not find so fruitful a field in which to work in backbiting and devouring one another. . . . ” Ibid., vol. 15, 138.

23 Why Satan will constantly tempt us to backbite.

“The unity of the church is the convincing evidence that God has sent Jesus into the world as its Redeemer. This is an argument which worldlings can neither withstand nor controvert. Therefore Satan is constantly working to prevent this union and harmony, that unbelievers, by witnessing backbiting, dissension, and strife among professed Christians, may become disgusted with religion, and be confirmed in their impenitence. God is dishonored by those who profess the truth while they are at variance and enmity with one another. Satan is the great accuser of the brethren, and all who engage in this work are enlisted in his service.” Ibid., 143.

24 How to lose the Holy Spirit and the blessing of God on the church.

“There are those who cherish a spirit of envy and hatred against their brethren, calling it the Spirit of God. There are those who go up and down as talebearers, accusing and condemning, blackening character, inspiring hearts with maliciousness. They carry false reports to the doors of their neighbors, who, as they listen to the slander, lose the Spirit of God. Not even the messenger of God, who bears to the people His truth, is spared.

“This sin is worse than the sin of Achan. Its influence is not confined to those who cherish it. It is a root of bitterness, whereby many are defiled. God cannot bless the church till it is purged of this evil that corrupts minds and spirits, the souls of those who do not repent and change their course of action.” Ibid., vol. 18, 147.

25 Judge by the fruits on the tree.

“ ‘The tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! . . . The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. . . . The tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison’ (James 3:5, 6, 8). [Psalm 15:1–3 quoted.]

“In a letter to my husband you express surprise that he judges of you as he has, but your fruits have testified of you. You may feel friendless, but if you do you may thank yourself for it. ‘For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God’ (1 Peter 2:20).” Ibid., vol. 19, 33.

26 Do not talk of the deficiencies of your brethren.

“For Christ’s sake, for your soul’s sake, I entreat you, do not talk of the deficiencies of your brethren! Go to work for yourself. Do not any longer grieve the Holy Spirit of God. . . . [Psalm 15 quoted.]

“The ministers whom you condemn God has ordained to do a work for which He has not qualified you. Money cannot supply your deficiency. Your prejudices, preferences, dislikes, your sweeping condemnation of both the Healdsburg College and the Health Retreat, have been active influences in encouraging fault-finding, jealousy, evil surmising throughout all the churches. When your ideas and expectations are not met, you have talked out your dissatisfaction, but God has not prompted you in your independent spirit, in your accusation of His instrumentality. There can be no unity where such things exist. Confidence cannot live amid suspicion and evil surmisings.” Ibid., vol. 20, 97.

27 Breaking the third commandment . . .

“We may make mistakes, and we may have to ‘admonish one another.’ [Romans 15:14.] But there has come into the churches at Oakland and the surrounding community a spirit of backbiting, of faultfinding and evil-speaking, which demonstrates that you are not converted. Words are uttered that never should pass the lips of a Christian. My brethren and sisters, when you have nothing better to speak of than something about the faults of others, remember that ‘silence is eloquence.’ Cease to dwell upon the shortcomings of others. Keep the tongue sanctified unto God. Refrain from saying anything that might detract from the influence of another; for by indulging in these words of criticism, you blaspheme God’s holy name as verily as you would were you to swear. I am instructed to present these things before you, that you may see how you dishonor the name of Christ Jesus. [Verses 15, 16, quoted.]” Sermons and Talks, Book 1, 367.

28 Spirit of the devil.

“What testimony does Peter bear? ‘Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.’ [1 Peter 2:1–3.] Here again the same principle is brought out distinctly. No one need make a mistake. If as new born babes you desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, you will have no appetite to partake of a dish of evil speaking, that all such food will be at once rejected, because those who have tasted that the Lord is gracious cannot partake of a dish of nonsense, and folly, and backbiting. They will say decidedly, ‘Take this dish away. I do not want to eat such food.’ It is not the bread from heaven. It is eating and drinking the very spirit of the devil; for it is his business to be an accuser of the brethren.” The Kress Collection, 64.

[All emphasis supplied.]

To be continued . . .

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

The Power of Speech, Part II

Editor’s Note: Steps to Life Ministries, just as every Christian ministry and church, occasionally struggles through a crisis. More often than not, a contributing factor, and perhaps the major component of such crises, has to do with speech. Believing this to be a spiritual problem, we have chosen to seek counsel from the Bible and from the Pen of Inspiration. This article continues with a collection of counsel compiled to help heal wounds and bring harmony and unity.]

One sin unconfessed and unrepented of, will close for you the gates of the city of God.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 40.

The Measure of Forgiveness

“If your brethren err, you are to forgive them. When they come to you with confession, you should not say, I do not think they are humble enough. I do not think they feel their confession. What right have you to judge them, as if you could read the heart? The word of God says, ‘If he repent, forgive him. And if he trespasses against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.’ Luke 17:3, 4. And not only seven times, but seventy times seven—just as often as God forgives you.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 249, 250.

No Compromise with Evil

“The gospel makes no compromise with evil. It cannot excuse sin. Secret sins are to be confessed in secret to God; but, for open sin, open confession is required. The reproach of the disciple’s sin is cast upon Christ. It causes Satan to triumph, and wavering souls to stumble. By giving proof of repentance, the disciple, so far as lies in his power, is to remove this reproach.” The Desire of Ages, 811.

Sincere Confession Essential

“Many, many confessions should never be spoken in the hearing of mortals; for the result is that which the limited judgment of finite beings does not anticipate. . . . God will be better glorified if we confess the secret, inbred corruption of the heart to Jesus alone than if we open its recesses to finite, erring man, who cannot judge righteously unless his heart is constantly imbued with the Spirit of God. . . . Do not pour into human ears the story which God alone should hear. . . .

“Your sins may be as mountains before you; but if you humble your heart, and confess your sins, trusting in the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour, He will forgive, and will cleanse you from all unrighteousness. . . . Desire the fullness of the grace of Christ. Let your heart be filled with an intense longing for His righteousness.” The Faith I Live By, 128.

Pentecostal Energy Needed

“The Lord calls for a renewal of the straight testimony borne in years past. He calls for a renewal of spiritual life. The spiritual energies of His people have long been torpid, but there is to be a resurrection from apparent death. By prayer and confession of sin we must clear the King’s highway. As we do this, the power of the Spirit will come to us. We need the pentecostal energy. This will come; for the Lord has promised to send His Spirit as the all-conquering power.” Gospel Workers, 307, 308.

Search Heart for Lurking Sin

“In this great day of atonement our work is that of heart-searching, of self-abasement, and confession of sin, each humbling his own soul before God, and seeking pardon for himself individually. Anciently every one that did not on the day of atonement afflict his soul, was cut off from the people. God would have us work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. If each will search and see what sins are lurking in his own heart to shut out Jesus, he will find such a work to do that he will be ready to esteem others better than himself. He will no longer seek to pluck the mote out of his brother’s eye while a beam is in his own eye.” Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 213.

Destroy Root of Bitterness

“The prejudices and opinions that prevailed at Minneapolis are not dead by any means; the seeds sown there in some hearts are ready to spring into life and bear a like harvest. The tops have been cut down, but the roots have never been eradicated, and they still bear their unholy fruit to poison the judgment, pervert the perceptions, and blind the understanding of those with whom you connect, in regard to the message and the messengers. When, by thorough confession, you destroy the root of bitterness, you will see light in God’s light. Without this thorough work you will never clear your souls. You need to study the word of God with a purpose, not to confirm your own ideas, but to bring them to be trimmed, to be condemned or approved, as they are or are not in harmony with the word of God. The Bible should be your constant companion. You should study the Testimonies, not to pick out certain sentences to use as you see fit, to strengthen your assertions, while you disregard the plainest statements given to correct your course of action.” Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 326.

“Take your brother right by the hand, and ask him to forgive you. It will not hurt you to get down on your knees, if necessary to do so. Get all the roots of bitterness out of the way. Have all these feelings blotted out by hearty confession one to another. Do not be satisfied with a sort of general confession. Come right to the point. Let the blood of Jesus cancel your wrongs in the Book of Life. You want to be set free, that you may perfect holiness in the fear to God.” Review and Herald, August 14, 1888.

Confession of Sin

“The Scripture bids us, ‘Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.’ James 5:16. To the one asking for prayer, let thoughts like these be presented: ‘We cannot read the heart, or know the secrets of your life. These are known only to yourself and to God. If you repent of your sins, it is your duty to make confession of them.’ Sin of a private character is to be confessed to Christ, the only mediator between God and man. For ‘if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’ 1 John 2:1. Every sin is an offense against God and is to be confessed to Him through Christ. Every open sin should be as openly confessed. Wrong done to a fellow being should be made right with the one who has been offended. If any who are seeking health have been guilty of evilspeaking, if they have sowed discord in the home, the neighborhood, or the church, and have stirred up alienation and dissension, if by any wrong practice they have led others into sin, these things should be confessed before God and before those who have been offended. ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ 1 John 1:9.” The Ministry of Healing, 228, 229.

Danger of Rebellion

“It is hardly possible for men to offer greater insult to God than to despise and reject the instrumentalities He would use for their salvation. The Israelites had not only done this, but had purposed to put both Moses and Aaron to death. Yet they did not realize the necessity of seeking pardon of God for their grievous sin. That night of probation was not passed in repentance and confession, but in devising some way to resist the evidences which showed them to be the greatest of sinners. They still cherished hatred of the men of God’s appointment, and braced themselves to resist their authority. Satan was at hand to pervert their judgment and lead them blindfold to destruction.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 402.

“The enmity that is cherished toward the servants of God by those who have yielded to the power of Satan changes at times to a feeling of reconciliation and favor, but the change does not always prove to be lasting. After evil-minded men have engaged in doing and saying wicked things against the Lord’s servants, the conviction that they have been in the wrong sometimes takes deep hold upon their minds. The Spirit of the Lord strives with them, and they humble their hearts before God, and before those whose influence they have sought to destroy, and they may change their course toward them. But as they again open the door to the suggestions of the evil one, the old doubts are revived, the old enmity is awakened, and they return to engage in the same work which they repented of, and for a time abandoned. Again they speak evil, accusing and condemning in the bitterest manner the very ones to whom they made most humble confession. Satan can use such souls with far greater power after such a course has been pursued than he could before, because they have sinned against greater light.” Ibid., 662, 663.

Disposal of Sin

“Some men’s sins are open beforehand, confessed in penitence, and forsaken, and they go beforehand to judgment. Pardon is written over against the names of these men. But other men’s sins follow after, and are not put away by repentance and confession, and these sins will stand registered against them in the books of heaven.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 916.

True Confession

“Confession of sin, whether public or private, should be heartfelt and freely expressed. It is not to be urged from the sinner. . . .

“True confession is always of a specific character, and acknowledges particular sins. They may be of such a nature as to be brought before God only; they may be wrongs that should be confessed to individuals who have suffered injury through them; or they may be of a public character, and should then be as publicly confessed. But all confession should be definite and to the point, acknowledging the very sins of which you are guilty.” Steps to Christ, 38.

“Confession will not be acceptable to God without sincere repentance and reformation. There must be decided changes in the life; everything offensive to God must be put away.” Ibid., 39.

“The examples in God’s word of genuine repentance and humiliation reveal a spirit of confession in which there is no excuse for sin or attempt at self-justification.” Ibid., 41.

Erroneous Ideas of Confession

“There are confessions of a nature that should be brought before a select few and acknowledged by the sinner in deepest humility. The matter must not be conducted in such a way that vice shall be construed into virtue and the sinner made proud of his evil doings. If there are things of a disgraceful nature that should come before the church, let them be brought before a few proper persons selected to hear them, and do not put the cause of Christ to open shame by publishing abroad the hypocrisy that has existed in the church. It would cast reflections upon those who had tried to be Christlike in character. These things should be considered.

“Then there are confessions that the Lord has bidden us make to one another. If you have wronged your brother by word or deed you are first to be reconciled to him before your worship will be acceptable to heaven. Confess to those whom you have injured, and make restitution, bringing forth fruit meet for repentance. If anyone has feelings of bitterness, wrath, or malice toward a brother, let him go to him personally, confess his sin, and seek forgiveness.

“I [Ellen White] recognize, on the other hand, the danger of yielding to the temptation to conceal sin or to compromise with it, and thus act the hypocrite. Be sure that the confession fully covers the influence of the wrong committed, that no duty to God, to your neighbor, or to the church is left undone, and then you may lay hold upon Christ with confidence, expecting His blessing. But the question of how and to whom sins should be confessed is one that demands careful, prayerful study. We must consider it from all points, weighing it before God and seeking divine illumination. We should inquire whether to confess publicly the sins of which we have been guilty will do good or harm. Will it show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of the darkness into His marvelous light? Will it help to purify the minds of the people, or will the open relation of the deceptions practiced in denying the truth have an after influence to contaminate other minds and destroy confidence in us?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 645, 646.

Unforgiving Receive no Mercy

“He who is unforgiving cuts off the very channel through which alone he can receive mercy from God. We should not think that unless those who have injured us confess the wrong we are justified in withholding from them our forgiveness. It is their part, no doubt, to humble their hearts by repentance and confession; but we are to have a spirit of compassion toward those who have trespassed against us, whether or not they confess their faults. However sorely they may have wounded us, we are not to cherish our grievances and sympathize with ourselves over our injuries; but as we hope to be pardoned for our offenses against God we are to pardon all who have done evil to us.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 113, 114.

Set Things in Order

“God requires things to be set in order. He calls for men of decided fidelity. He has no use in an emergency for two-sided men. He wants men who will lay their hand upon a work, and say, This is not according to the will of God. It is this miserable thing in dealing with wrongs that God has condemned. The work that will meet the mind of the Spirit of God has not yet begun in Battle Creek [Michigan]. When the work of seeking God with all the heart commences, there will be many confessions made that are now buried. I do not at present feel it my duty to confess for those who ought to make, not a general, but a plain, definite confession, and so cleanse the Lord’s institutions from the defilement that has come upon them.” General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 2, 1899.

“It is not yet too late to redeem the neglect of the past. Let there be a renewal of the first love. Search out the ones you have driven away; bind up by confession the wounds you have made. Many have become discouraged in the struggle of life whom one word of kindly cheer and courage would have strengthened to overcome. Come close to the great heart of pitying love, and let the current of that divine compassion flow into your heart and from you to the hearts of others. Never, never become cold, heartless, unsympathetic. Never lose an opportunity to say a word that will encourage hope. We can not tell how far-reaching may be the influence of our words of kindness, our efforts to lighten some burden.” Pacific Union Recorder, April 10, 1902.

Be Reconciled to Thy Brother

“I [Ellen White] am instructed to say that there are sins between man and his God that no other human being need know anything about. If the one on whom such sins rest will make his peace with God, the Lord will forgive him, and the burden will roll off his soul. He will then make confession to his fellow-men, if he has wronged them, and as he confesses, God will be merciful, and will forgive his sin.

“One such confession is an evidence of the presence of the miracle-working power of God, and it leads to other confessions, not general confessions, but confessions of particular wrongs that have existed between brethren. God values above gold or silver the one who makes such a confession. ‘I will make a man more precious than fine gold,’ He says, ‘even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.’ [Isaiah 13:12.]” Ibid., December 1, 1904.

“During the past night I [Ellen White] seemed to be standing before a large company of believers. I was saying to them, Now, at the very beginning of this meeting, is the time for you individually to search your own hearts and discern your individual needs. Have you committed wrongs and concealed them? If so, you have a work of confession to do. You have not to confess the sins of your neighbor or your brother, but you need to come to God in repentance and confession of your own wrong-doing.” Ibid., May 6, 1909.

“A brother said he was laboring to find rest for his soul, but he does not feel free. He said that he had felt an antipathy to a certain brother. He begged his brother to give him his hand and forgive him for his feelings. This confession was well wet down with tears.” Review and Herald, May 4, 1876.

“Now, as the old year is passing away and the new year coming in, is a good time for those who have cherished alienation and bitterness to make confession to one another.” Ibid., December 26, 1882.

An Individual Work

“Are we by repentance and confession sending our sins beforehand to Judgment, that they may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come? This is an individual work,—a work which we cannot safely delay. We should take hold of it earnestly; our salvation depends upon our sincerity and zeal. Let the cry be awakened in every heart, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ ” Ibid., August 28, 1883.

“We each have a work to do that no one can do for us. The Lord would be pleased to see us humble our hearts before him, confessing our sins, and righting every wrong that exists between us and our brethren. There is danger that the adversary will suggest that we need not humble our hearts before God; that we need not make confession to our brethren of the wrongs we have done them in speaking of their faults, magnifying their errors, putting wrong constructions upon their words, and letting into our hearts enmity against them. Some have entertained such feelings. Alienation, prejudice, and jealousy have ruled in hearts, and love for Jesus and for one another has been supplanted by these weeds of Satan’s planting. Brethren, shall we let the enemy triumph by allowing these wrongs to go uncorrected?” Ibid., March 4, 1884.

To be continued . . .

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

The Power of Speech, Part III

[Editor’s Note: This article continues a compilation of counsel given to strengthen and encourage anyone who is struggling through a crisis caused by the “Power of Speech.”]

One brother said that he had been impatient, and had not kept up the family altar. He thought that his wife would now be in the faith had he set before her such an example as a Christian should. Another had cherished hard feelings against his brother, and he made this confession that the wound might be healed.” Review and Herald, October 28, 1884.

Neglect Not Duty

“Whatever the neglect of duty, of parents to children or of neighbor to neighbor, let it now be understood and repented of. If we have sinned against the Lord, we shall never have peace and restoration to his favor without full confession and reformation in regard to the very things in which we have been remiss. Not until we have used every means in our power to repair the evil, can God approve and bless us. The path of confession is humiliating, but it is the only way by which we can receive strength to overcome. All the dropped stitches may never be picked up so that our work shall be as perfect and God-pleasing as it should have been; but every effort should be made to do this so far as it is possible to accomplish it.” Ibid., May 22, 1888.

“Suppose that one brother misjudges another. He might have had opportunity to learn whether his suspicions were well founded; but instead of waiting to do this, he repeats to others his surmisings. Thus evil thoughts are stirred in them, and the evil becomes wide-spread. And all the time the one pronounced guilty is not told of the matter; there is no investigation, no inquiry is made directly of him, so that he may have an opportunity either to acknowledge his fault or to clear himself from unjust suspicion. A serious wrong has been done him because his brethren had not the moral courage to go directly to him and talk with him freely in the spirit of Christian love. From all who have thus neglected their duty, confession is due; and none will shrink from it who deem it of any importance for them to seek to answer the prayer of Christ. . . . How can this prayer be answered by one who has wronged his brother, and whose heart is not softened by the grace of Christ so that he will make confession? How can his brethren, who know the facts, still have unshaken confidence in him, while he seems to feel no conviction of the Spirit of God? He is doing a wrong to the whole church, and especially if he occupies a position of responsibility; for he is encouraging others to disregard the word of God, to pass along with sins unconfessed. Many a one will say in heart, if not in words, ‘There is an elder of the church; he does not make confession of his errors, and yet he remains an honored member of the church. If he does not confess, neither will I. If he feels that it is perfectly safe for him not to show any contrition, I, too, will risk it.’ ” Ibid., December 16, 1890.

Sin Will Stand Until . . .

“There are sins and mistakes and errors to be confessed. The record has been made in the books of heaven, but when confession is made from contrite hearts, the words of the apostle are fulfilled, ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ [1 John 1:9.] God requires repentance and confession, and restitution will always follow genuine repentance. If you have prevaricated, if you have borne false witness, if you have misjudged and misinterpreted your brother, if you have misstated his words, ridiculed him, if you have injured his influence in any way, go right to the persons with whom you have conversed about him, with whom you have united in this work, and take all your injurious misstatements back. Confess the wrong that you have done your brother; for your sin will stand charged against you in the books of record until you do all that lies in your power to correct the evil your words have wrought. When you have done all that God requires of you, pardon will be written against your name.” Ibid., May 28, 1889.

Stubbornness of Heart

“By repentance and confession you can have pardon registered against your name; or you can resist the conviction of the Spirit of God, and, during the rest of your life, work to make it appear that your wrong feelings and unjust conclusions could not be helped. But there stands the action, there stands the evil committed, there stands the ruin of those in whose hearts you planted the root of bitterness; there are the feelings and words of envy, of evil-surmising, that grew into jealousy and prejudice. All these testify against you.” Ibid., December 16, 1890.

“If you indulge stubbornness of heart, and through pride and self-righteousness do not confess your faults, you will be left subject to Satan’s temptations. If when the Lord reveals your errors you do not repent or make confession, his providence will bring you over the ground again and again. You will be left to make mistakes of a similar character, you will continue to lack wisdom, and will call sin righteousness, and righteousness sin. The multitude of deceptions that will prevail in these last days will encircle you, and you will change leaders, and not know that you have done so.” Ibid.

“You who have erred and have made crooked paths for your feet, so that others who look to you for an example have been turned out of the way, have you no confession to make? You who have sowed doubts and unbelief in the hearts of others, have you nothing to say to God or to your brethren? Review your course for years in the past, you who have not formed a habit of confessing your sins. Consider your words, your attitude, you whose influence has counteracted the message of the Spirit of God, you that have despised both the message and the messenger. After seeing the fruit borne by the message, what have you to say? Weigh your spirit, your actions, in the balance of eternal justice, the law of God: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, . . . and thy neighbor as thyself.’ [Mark 12:30, 31.] Unless your sins are canceled, they will testify against you at that day when every work shall pass in review before God.” Ibid.

An Appeal to the Churches

“There is to be in the churches a wonderful manifestation of the power of God, but it will not move upon those who have not humbled themselves before the Lord, and opened the door of the heart by confession and repentance. In the manifestation of that power which lightens the earth with the glory of God, they will see only something which in their blindness they think dangerous, something which will arouse their fears, and they will brace themselves to resist it. Because the Lord does not work according to their ideas and expectations, they will oppose the work.” Ibid., December 23, 1890.

“If we would offer acceptable prayer, there is a work to be done in confessing our sins to one another. If I have sinned against my neighbor in word or action, I should make confession to him. If he has wronged me, he should confess to me. So far as is possible, the one who has wronged another is to make restitution. Then in contrition he is to confess the sin to God, whose law has been transgressed. In sinning against our brother, we sin against God, and we must seek pardon from him. Whatever our sin, if we but repent and believe in the atoning blood of Christ, we shall be pardoned.” Ibid., February 9, 1897.

“Our names are registered as Christians. We go to the Lord’s table; we profess to be sons and daughters of God, members of the Lord’s family, children of the Heavenly King. But too often those who claim to love Jesus, deny him by their lack of confidence in one another. Too often evil is watched for, actions are viewed in the worst light, words are misconstrued and misinterpreted. Many talk earnestly about the faults of others, but their own faults trouble them little. If they would devote their voices to the confession of their own sins, it would be better. God knows the ways of his children. Every word, every thought, every motive, is open before the eyes of him who sees all things.” Ibid., April 27, 1897.

“Holiness to God through Christ is required of Christians. If there are wrongs in the church, they should receive immediate attention. Some may have to be sharply rebuked. This is not doing the erring one any wrong. The faithful physician of the soul cuts deep, that no pestilent matter may be left to burst forth again. After the reproof has been given, then comes repentance and confession, and God will freely pardon and heal. He always pardons when confession is made.” Ibid., December 11, 1900.

Act Your Part

“My brethren and sisters, prepare the way, that you may come to God and be forgiven. Act your part in the work of confession. It is not your brother’s sin that you are to confess, but your own.” Ibid., April 8, 1902.

“Those who have laid stumbling-blocks before the feet of the inexperienced, clouding with doubt the minds of those who have not a personal knowledge of the Lord’s dealing with his people in the past, can undo their work only by making their confession as broad as their influence for wrong has been, reaching all to whom, by their resistance of the Holy Spirit, they have brought uncertainty and confusion.” Ibid., June 3, 1902.

Words of Penitence

“On the day of Pentecost the Infinite One revealed himself in power to the church. By his Holy Spirit he descended from the heights of heaven as a rushing, mighty wind, to the room in which the disciples were assembled. It was as if for ages this influence had been held in restraint, and now heaven rejoiced in being able to pour upon the church the riches of the Spirit’s power. And, under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession were mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven. Words of thanksgiving and of prophecy were heard. All heaven bent low to behold and to adore the wisdom of matchless, incomprehensible Love. Lost in wonder, the apostles and disciples exclaimed, ‘Herein is love.’ 1 John 4: 10. They grasped the imparted gift. And what followed?—Thousands were converted in a day. The sword of the Spirit, newly edged with power, and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, cut its way through unbelief.” Ibid., January 13, 1903.

“We are living in the great day of atonement, when every person should confess his sins, that the conviction of the Spirit of God may come to his heart. If you think that there is something standing between you and God, go to him, and ask him to help you to make the confession necessary in order that the wrong, whatever may be its character, may be taken out of the way. And ask him to help you not to repeat the wrong.” Ibid., May 18, 1905.

“God will always accept confession, if the evil that has been done is repented of.” Ibid., May 31, 1906.

Repair the Evil

“I write plainly, in the hope that every effort may be made on the part of all to remove from them the frown of God. Whatever the neglect of duty, of parents to children, or of neighbor to neighbor, let it now be understood and repented of. If we have sinned against the Lord, we shall never have peace and restoration to his favor without full confession and reformation in regard to the very things in which we have been remiss. Not until we have used every means in our power to repair the evil, can God approve and bless us. The path of confession is humiliating, but it is the only way by which we can receive strength to overcome. All the dropped stitches may never be picked up so that our work shall be as perfect and God-pleasing as it should have been; but every effort should be made to do this so far as it is possible to accomplish it.” Ibid., November 19, 1914.

“The record of every life is written in the books of heaven. Every sin that has been committed is there registered. Every regret for sin, every tear of repentance, every confession of guilt, and the forsaking of every darling sin, is also recorded. When the judgment shall sit and the books are opened, every case will have to stand the test of the law of God. God has a law by which he governs intelligences both in heaven and in earth. Jehovah is the supreme Governor of nations, and no greater or more fatal deception could take hold on human minds than that which leads men to declare that the law of God has been abolished. Were this so there could be no judgment; for there would be no rule by which character could be tested, and actions weighed. But we read that the judgment is to sit, and that the books are to be opened, and that every man is to be rewarded according as his works have been. If God has no moral standard by which to measure character, there can be no judgment, no reward.” The Signs of the Times, May 16, 1895.

“Make confession to the ones you have injured. If others manifest wrong feelings toward you, or have injured you, carry them some token of regard. Tell them that you do not want anything of contention or division to exist between you; for this dishonors God. Then, tho you may not be able to soften the heart of the one who has wronged you, tho your kindness may be repulsed, you have done your duty, and God will bless you. He will give you His peace of mind and His grace. He will increase your trust in Him. Then you can bring your offering to God. Bring soul and voice and being to His altar, to be used to glorify Him, and He will accept the offering.” Ibid., March 15, 1899.

Forsake the Sin

“We must never forget that God ascribes sin to the one who transgresses; it is not registered against Satan, but against the sinner. God never accepts the agency of Satan as an excuse for the committal of one sin. When there is any excuse for a seemingly wrong act, it is not sin. Satan triumphs when he hears the professed follower of Christ offering excuses for his defects of character. Sin unrepented of, unconfessed, can never be blotted from the books of God’s record. Through faithful, thorough confession of sin, the heart is cleansed from its moral impurity. There must be a forsaking of the sins the Lord has reproved, before the soul can stand acquitted before God, humbled and repentant, realizing that he has served Satan, pleased him, glorified him, and dishonored his Lord.” Ibid., December 13, 1899.

“If a hasty word is spoken, take it [back] by confession as soon as possible, and heal the wound and keep in the sunshine and you will not only be happy yourselves, but be a blessing to others.—Letter 22, 1870, pp. 3–5. (To Edson and Emma White, December 16, 1870.)” Manuscript Releases, vol. 3, 297.

Spirit of God Insulted

“The words and actions of every one who took part in this work will stand registered against them until they make confession of their wrong. Those who do not repent of their sin will, if circumstances permit, repeat the same actions. I know that at that time the Spirit of God was insulted, and now when I see anything approaching to the same course of action, I am exceedingly pained. The people of God have had an opportunity to see what is the work these agents are doing, and yet those who are opposed to the points of truth which they brought out will, if occasion affords them a chance, make it appear that they are not in harmony with them, as much as to say, Beware of what they teach, for they carry matters to the extreme; they are not safe men.” Ibid., vol. 15, 83, 84.

“I have had to vindicate myself and my brethren, press with all my powers against the prejudice, unbelief, false statements and misrepresentations until it almost gives me a nervous chill to think of the blindness and unreasonable Phariseeism that has been adjusted as a garment about men in prominent positions. If they have changed their course of criticism and scattering the seeds of doubt and unsettling the confidence of the churches in the testimonies, I ask, who is the wiser for it? What confession and restitution and restoring of confidence have they done? Will the past be blotted out of the books of heaven where they are registered without one humiliation on their part for wounding and bruising the souls of God’s people by their jealousies, evil surmisings and opposition to that which is pure Bible truth, just because they were unwilling it should come from the source which the Lord chose to send it?” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 2, 676, 677.

Do Not Censure Others

“You must confess your faults without censuring any other one.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 322.

“You have been very close with us in regard to your true feelings, but have sympathized with others, and expressed great dissatisfaction of James’ [White] course, and have received sympathy in return. Your manifesting so much suffering of mind has awakened strong sympathy in others, when you had no foundation for such feelings but your own imagination wrought upon by a tempting enemy. Your appearance has exerted the worst possible influence. If you had felt aggrieved, Bro. White was the one for you to have gone to and freely unburdened your mind to him, then you would have been convinced that your feelings arose from prejudice, misunderstanding, and misconstruction of his words. God’s frown is upon these things. That a company so closely connected in his work as Uriah [Smith], Harriet [Smith], and James, should be so exclusive and secretive as you have been. Those who labor together in that Office, their souls must be one, every separate interest should be laid aside, and they should have perfect confidence in each other, and perfect frankness and openness. And I saw that this must be so. Your influence has been against this. I saw that things in that Office must go forward with entirely different feelings and from different principles or God will have everything in that Office turned upside down. For months Harriet, you have felt wrong, acted wrong, spoken wrong, and been controlled by the enemy. You may call your feelings grief, but you have not realized your condition. You have at times manifested anger, and you have been selfish. The present truth has rested very lightly upon you, and selfishness has woven itself closely with nearly all you do. It is the natural besetment of your family, and it is a sin which God has rebuked them for, but which they would not confess. You have never realized it as it is. Your influence instead of strengthening and helping Uriah has hindered him, and planted in his breast feelings which would never have existed there if you had been consecrated to God. Your influence, appearance and actions have had just that strong influence on the wrong side that the Lord showed me two years ago that they would have, unless you stood in the counsel of God, consecrated to his service, with your judgment sanctified by his Spirit. Had you heeded the vision given you and Uriah two years ago you would have saved much; but you neglected all that light, chose your own views of matters, have been free to make confidants of those you should not, but have been very close and secretive to us, whom of all others you should confide in. This is the greatest injustice.” Pamphlet 016, 15–17.

God Wants to Save Us

“The Lord is anxious to save us. He is anxious that everything separating us from Him should be put away, that our hearts may beat in unison with heaven. It is time to be in harmony with God. Let us spend a little while in clearing the King’s highway. If we have been indulging in the sin of telling others’ faults, let us confess it before the Lord and before our brethren. When probation ends it will come suddenly, unexpectedly—at a time when we are least expecting it. But we can have a clean record in heaven today, and know that God accepts us; and finally, if faithful, we shall be gathered into the kingdom of heaven.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 378.

“In Oakland, in Battle Creek, and in other places where the deep movings of the Spirit of God have been felt, the people confessed their sins, and made restitution for their wrongs. The servants of God desired to make clean work for eternity. They confessed their jealousies, evil-speaking, mur-murings, and uncleanness. They desired to have Jesus dwell in their souls, but he can never abide in hearts that are full of uncleanness. We must brush out the corners with the dust-brush. We must not hide our evils. Of course we should not expose evils to the public that are matters to be confessed to God alone. But while it is a disgrace to sin, it is no disgrace to confess sins. I entreat you, Do not rest until your souls stand free before God. You may have ten-fold more success in influencing others than you have had in the past.” Review and Herald, March 12, 1889.

To be continued . . .

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

The Power of Speech, Part IV

[Editor’s Note: This article continues a compilation of counsel given to strengthen and encourage anyone who is struggling through a crisis caused by the “Power of Speech.”]

1 What should we do if someone has wronged us?

“Let us take the words of Christ. If the man has done you an injury, go to him, and between you and him alone seek to set the matter right. Do not go to any one but himself. If he refuses to hear you, then take two or three others, and go to him again; but do not publish it in the church or out of the church. When you have done your duty, if he still refuses to hear you, then let the church take it up; but let them deal gently with the erring. Do not even listen to the gossiping tongue. If one comes to you with an evil report, ask him if he has been to the offending brother, as the Bible directs. If he has not, refuse even to hear him. Nine-tenths of the church trials might be avoided, if all would, in the spirit of kindness and love, pursue the course marked out by Inspiration. This can only be done by breaking down everything like a spirit of self-righteousness.” The Signs of the Times, January 6, 1887.

2 Whose name are we pledged to protect?

“Only that which is pure and lovely and of good report is it safe for us to follow. Human beings are under the most sacred obligations to God to be holy and uncorrupted; for they have been bought with a price, even the precious blood of the Son of God. By their baptismal vows they are solemnly pledged to do nothing which will bring an evil report upon the Christian name. Before the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the professing Christian pledges himself to discourage pride, covetousness, unbelief. And as the true Christian seeks to fulfill this pledge, he grows in self-distrust. Constantly he places more dependence upon God. His reverence and love for the Saviour continually increase, and he is a living witness for his Master. He realizes what it means to be a child of God. He has a realizing sense that the cleansing blood of Christ secures for him pardon and elevation of character. In spirituality he grows like the lofty cedar. Daily he holds communion with God, and he has a treasure-house of knowledge from which to draw. He is mighty in the knowledge of the Scriptures. His fellowship is with the Father and the Son, and he knows more and still more of the divine will. He is filled with a constantly increasing love for God and for his fellowmen.” Medical Ministry, 127, 128.

3 What created the frenzy that resulted in the crucifixion of Jesus?

“I [Ellen White] had been, during the forty-five years of experience, shown the lives, the character and history of the patriarchs, and prophets, who had come to the people with messages from God, and Satan would start some evil report, or get up some difference of opinion or turn the interest in some other channel, that the people should be deprived of the good the Lord had to bestow upon them. . . . I could but have a vivid picture in my mind from day to day of the way reformers were treated, how slight difference of opinion seemed to create a frenzy of feeling. Thus it was in the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. All this had passed before me point by point.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 121.

4 What feelings are we not to allow to arise?

“Our ministering brethren are too often imposed upon by the relation of trials in the church, and they too frequently refer to them in their discourses. They should not encourage the members of the church to complain of one another, but should set them as spies upon their own actions. None should allow their feelings of prejudice and resentment to be aroused by the relation of the wrongs of others; all should wait patiently until they hear both sides of the question, and then believe only what stern facts compel them to believe. At all times the safe course is not to listen to an evil report until the Bible rule has been strictly carried out. This will apply to some who have worked artfully to draw out from the unsuspecting, matters which they had no business with and which would do them no good to know.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 96, 97.

5 What is our moral obligation in regard to our countenance?

“While we are exhorted not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, these assemblies are not to be merely for our own refreshing. We are to be inspired with greater zeal to impart the consolation we have received. It is our duty to be very jealous for the glory of God and to bring no evil report, even by the sadness of the countenance or by ill-advised words, as if the requirements of God were a restriction upon our liberty. Even in this world of sorrow, disappointment, and sin the Lord desires us to be cheerful, and strong in His strength. The whole person is privileged to bear a decided testimony in every line. In features, in temper, in words, in character, we are to witness that the service of God is good. Thus we proclaim that ‘the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.’ Psalm 19:7.” Ibid., vol. 6, 365.

6 What are we to do with any evil report that we hear?

“When Jesus was on earth, and saw a scene of contention and strife, He would raise His voice in the notes of a melodious song, praising God. The presence of God would be felt; the hearts of those who had been contending would respond to the influences of the Spirit; and they would unite in the song. When some one comes to you with an evil report of some one else, do not take up the reproach and talk it over, either in the family or in the church. Do not add your complaints to those of others.” The General Conference Bulletin, April 6, 1903.

7 What other words and actions are a breaking of God’s Law?

“Every unkind criticism of others, every word of self-esteem, is ‘the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity.’ [Isaiah 58:9.] The lifting up of self in pride, as if you were faultless, the magnifying of the faults of others, is an offense to God. It is breaking the law which says, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ [Matthew 19:19.] The injunction is given, ‘Be kindly affectioned one to another.’ [Romans 12:10.] We have no right to withdraw our confidence from a brother because some evil report comes to our ears, some accusation is made or supposition is suggested that he has done wrong. Frequently the evil report that is brought to us is made by those who are at enmity with God, those who are joining the enemy in his work of accusing the brethren. Those who are unmindful of the Saviour’s words, ‘Take heed therefore how ye hear’ [Luke 8:18], allow their unsanctified ears to hear wrong, their perverted senses to imagine wrong, and their evil tongues to report wrong.” Review and Herald, May 7, 1895.

8 What underhanded method will Satan use to destroy God’s people?

“Satan well knows that all his strength, together with that of his angels and evil men, is but weakness when opposed to the faithful, united servants of the Great King, even though they may be few. In order to overcome the people of God, Satan will work upon elements in the character which have not been transformed by the grace of Christ; he will make these the controlling power of the life. Unless these persons are converted, their own souls will be lost, and others who regarded them as men led of God, will be destroyed with them, because they become guilty with them. Satan endeavors to create suspicion, envy, and jealousy, leading men to question those things that it would be to their soul’s interest to believe. The suspicious ones will misconstrue everything. They will call an atom a world, and a world an atom. If this spirit is allowed to prevail, it will demoralize our churches and institutions.” The Home Missionary, January 1, 1892.

To be continued . . .

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

The Power of Speech, Part V

[Editor’s Note: This article continues a compilation of counsel given to strengthen and encourage anyone who is struggling through a crisis caused by the “Power of Speech.”]

In the previous segment of this series, the first eight points of “The Evil Report” were given. In summary, they are:

1 What should we do if someone has wronged us?

2 Whose name are we pledged to protect?

3 What created the frenzy that resulted in the crucifixion of Jesus?

4 What feelings are we not to allow to arise?

5 What is our moral obligation in regard to our countenance?

6 What are we to do with any evil report that we hear?

7 What other words and actions are a breaking of God’s Law?

8 What underhanded method will Satan use to destroy God’s people?

We continue now with Points 9-18:

9 What is another way that we break the Law of God in our speech about another?

“To speak evil of another secretly, leaving the one accused in ignorance of the wrong attributed to him, is an offense in the sight of God. Let those who have been drawn into this work repent before God, confess their sin, and then nourish the tender plant of love. Cultivate the graces of the spirit, cultivate tenderness, compassion for one another, and do not longer work on the enemy’s side of the question.” The Home Missionary, January 1, 1892.

10 Before we believe any evil report, what should we do?

“Before giving credence to an evil report, we should go to the one reported to be in error, and ask, with all the tenderness of a Christian, if these statements are true. A few words spoken in brotherly kindness may show the inquirer that the reports were wholly without foundation, or that the evil was greatly magnified.” Ibid.

11 Before we pass judgment on another, what should we do?

“And before passing unfavorable judgment upon another, you should go to the one whom you think has erred, tell him your fears, with your own souls subdued by the pitying love of Jesus, and see if some explanation cannot be made that will remove your unfavorable impressions.” Ibid.

12 How can a professed child of God become a servant of Satan?

“Christ prayed that his disciples might be one, even as he is one with the Father. Then every one who claims to be a child of God should labor for this oneness. When it exists, the followers of Christ will be a holy, powerful people, united in love. But if you let love die out of the soul, and accept the accusations of Satan’s agents against the children of God, you become servants of sin, and are helping the devil in his work.” Ibid.

13 What will happen when we love our neighbor as ourselves?

“When the members of God’s church see eye to eye, they will constantly guard the tongue, in order that they may not misuse the talent of speech. This talent is a precious gift. Let us study our words with care, and be a blessing to mankind by refusing to bring reproach upon one of our brethren by passing on to others some evil report that we may hear. If we speak evil of another, reproach will lie at our door. When we all love our neighbor as ourselves, idle, mischievous whisperings will cease. May the Lord by his converting power sanctify our talent of speech, that we may use it to his glory, and in no wise to the injury of souls.” Review and Herald, January 6, 1903.

14 The vultures gather wherever the carcass is?

“When the claims of God are presented, those who love sin evince their true character by the satisfaction with which they point to the faults and errors of professed Christians. They are actuated by the same spirit as their master, Satan, whom the Bible declares to be the ‘accuser of the brethren.’ [Revelation 12:10.] Let an evil report be started, and how rapidly it will be exaggerated and passed from lip to lip! How many will feast upon it, like vultures upon a heap of garbage. Whether the slanderous tale comes with or without proof, they give it ready credence, showing a strength of faith that is surprising. And yet these very persons will refuse to believe the truths of God’s word so long as there is the semblance of an excuse for doubt.” The Signs of the Times, March 9, 1882.

15 How a person says and does things of which he thought he was incapable?

“Saul had cut himself off from every means whereby the Lord could work in his behalf to save him from himself. In the facts of sacred history, there are lessons showing what a dangerous thing it is to cherish a jealous, revengeful spirit. It is impossible to determine to what length this spirit will lead its possessor if it is not overcome. When an evil report is circulated concerning the character of those who are striving to serve God, a power from beneath seems to move the minds of those who cherish enmity. He who has prided himself on possessing a high sense of honor, by taking this path of enmity will often fall into error, and will say and do things of which he deemed himself incapable. If a prophet of God should portray before him the course he would be led to pursue by cherishing such a spirit, he would indignantly inquire as did Hazael, ‘Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing?’ [11 Kings 8:13.] But let him turn from the straight path of right, and follow where the promptings of Satan would lead him, and he will manifest the spirit of his captain until truth, honor, and justice are sacrificed through the lusts of passion.” Ibid., October 5, 1888.

16 The tiny seed of doubt?

“I had been, during the forty-five years of experience, shown the lives, the character and history of the patriarchs and prophets who had come to the people with a message from God, and Satan would start some evil report, or get up some difference of opinion or turn the interest in some other channel, that the people should be deprived of the good the Lord had to bestow upon them. And now in this case a firm, decided, obstinate spirit was taking possession of hearts, and those who had known of the grace of God and had felt His converting power upon their hearts once, were deluded, infatuated, working under a deception all through that meeting, and it took but a tiny seed of doubt and questioning to find fruitful soil in the hearts of those who had no living connection with God, whose hearts were hard and un-impressionable. Their base passions were stirred and it was a precious opportunity to them to show the mob spirit.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 1, 309.

17 What happens when the satanic spirit takes control?

“I could but have a vivid picture in my mind from day to day of the way reformers were treated, how slight difference of opinion seemed to create a frenzy of feeling. Thus it was in the betrayal, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus—all this had passed before me point by point. The Satanic spirit took control and moved with power upon the human hearts that had been opened to doubts and to bitterness, wrath and hatred. All this was prevailing in that meeting. I decided to leave the meeting, leave Minneapolis.” Ibid.

18 What we are not to listen to?

“Ministers and lay members of the church displease God when they allow individuals to tell them of the errors and faults of their brethren. They should not open their ears to these reports. They should inquire, ‘Have you strictly followed the injunction of your Saviour? Have you told him his faults between you and him alone? And then if he refused to hear, have you carefully and prayerfully taken two or three others and labored with him in tenderness, in humility, in meekness, your heart throbbing in love for his soul?’ If you failed here, there was only one more step you could take—tell it to the church, and let action be taken in the case according to the Scriptures. Then it is that heaven will ratify the decision made by the church in cutting off the offending member.

“If these steps have not been taken, do not listen to a word, close the ears, and refuse to take up a reproach against your neighbor; listening to the reports of evil is lifting or taking up the reproach. If there were no brethren and sisters to take up the reproach against their neighbors, evil tongues would not find so fruitful a field in which to labor, backbiting and devouring one another.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 280, 281.

To be continued . . .

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