Are You a Stable Christian?

Let him [who lacks wisdom] ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways.” James 1:6– 8.

It is important that we become stable Christians. Our experience really is not a Christian experience, if we are being tossed to and fro, being controlled by the circumstances around us, or conforming ourselves to fit whatever situation in which we are found. A person who seeks to follow his own will, while professing to follow the will of God, is a double-minded man. A double-minded person knows the claims and the promises of God, yet fails to do them. He knows what God says, but he refuses to do it. James says such a person is unstable in all of his ways, and he is not going to receive anything from the Lord. James says, “let him ask in faith.” Faith is the necessary element we need to keep ourselves stable. In this article, we will look at a couple of other things that will also help us keep stable.

“For ye have need of patience [endurance], that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” Hebrews 10:36. Are you going to receive the promise if you refuse to do the will of God? No! “The just shall live by faith: but if [any man] draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Verse 38. We need to be stable. We must become stable Christians, so no matter what situation we are in, we will act like a Christian. As I was thinking about this, I realized an example in my daily life. I battle with allergies. Like Paul’s thorn in the flesh (11 Corinthians 12:7), I feel like allergies are a thorn in my flesh. Sometimes they get so bad that I have to lie down with a cool washcloth on my face. But that is no excuse for me to not have a smile on my face. Nothing should keep us from having a smile on our face; we should not be gloomy Christians at any time. There are some times to be solemn, but not when we are under the infirmities of our bodies.


If I were to take a pitcher of water and pour some of it into a round glass and pour the remaining into a square container, what would happen to that water? It would be conformed to the shape of the container. Remember what James said. A man who is unstable in all of his ways is like a wave of the sea— tossed to and fro. In its liquid form, water is unstable. Jacob told his son, Reuben, “Thou [art] my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.” Genesis 49:3, 4.

Do you ever find yourself being conformed to the circumstances in which you find yourself? If someone gets angry with you, do you immediately want to lash out at them? If some of your friends are telling jokes around you, will you soon be doing the same thing? We become unstable as water, conforming, just like water, to the shape that is around us. We become like the people with whom we associate. God does not want us to remain in that condition. He wants us to be stable in every circumstance. In every way He wants us to show forth that we are Christians, not in profession only, but in living faith in Christ.

God tells us what His ideal is for each one of us: that “we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” Ephesians 4:13, 14. God’s will for us is to be the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. When we obtain that goal, we will be like Christ in character. Jesus never once compromised in difficult situations while He was here on this earth. Even when He knew that the people were going to try to kill Him, to stone Him, He did not compromise His principles. ( John 10:31–39.) Never once! He never conformed to the situation around Him; He was stable; He was solid as a rock in every situation, and friends, that is the way you and I have to be. That is what the Lord wants to make of us, if we are willing to be made willing. Never once did Jesus compromise one principle in a given situation, even though it cost Him His life.

Broaden the Path

Notice what the Lord is going to provide for us, so we can be stable: “Thou hast broadened my path beneath me; so that my feet do not slip.” 11 Samuel 22:37 (Hebrew text). If I were to walk on top of the back of a church pew, how stable would I be? How about if I step down and walk on the pew seat, which is going to be more stable? God said He was going to broaden the path beneath our feet that our feet do not slip. We want to find out how the Lord is going to do that.

When hiking in the Grand Canyon in Arizona, I discovered that you sometimes must walk along sheer cliffs, and sometimes the path gets very narrow. At those times, you find yourself being more careful about where you put your feet. You slow your pace down. As the path broadens, you pick up your pace again. This is what the Lord wants to do for us.

God wants us to have stability; He wants us to be stable Christians. He wants to enlarge the path beneath us, so we are on solid ground—not on shaky ground, not on narrow ground, but on solid ground. “Hold up my goings in thy paths, [that] my footsteps slip not.” Psalm 17:5. Do you want to have an experience where you never slip in your personal experience? That is what God has promised us in Jude 24. He is able to keep us faultless and present us blameless before the throne of God. That is what He is able to do for us, if we are willing to be made willing. He will broaden our path beneath us, so we are on solid ground, not wavering, not tossed to and fro, not conformed into whatever situation we are in, and not compromising, and no matter what our situation, we will be faithful Christians just as Jesus was.

“It is a perilous thing to allow an unchristian trait to live in the heart. One cherished sin will, little by little, debase the character, bringing all its nobler powers into subjection to the evil desire.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 452. That is powerful. Just one sin cherished will debase the entire character. Friends, we have to be searching our hearts. Is there one sin that we are refusing to give up, one defect of character that we refuse to change? If we continue to refuse to surrender these things to the Lord, we will become unstable and our whole character will be debased. “The removal of one safeguard from the conscience, the indulgence of one evil habit, one neglect of the high claims of duty, breaks down the defenses of the soul and opens the way for Satan to come in and lead us astray.” Ibid. All of a sudden we are going to find ourselves on shaky ground, on a narrow path, becoming as unstable as water. There is a safeguard, a way for the Lord to enlarge our path: “The only safe course is to let our prayers go forth daily from a sincere heart, as did David.” Ibid. Prayer is going to broaden the path beneath us; it is going to give us stability, and it is going to give us solid ground upon which to walk.

Power of Prayer

How many of us have learned how to pray? The disciples had been with Jesus for almost three years when they came to Him and asked Him to teach them to pray. How many of us spend time in prayer—not just in formal, five minute prayers, but down on our knees agonizing with God? The Bible tells us we are supposed to pray without ceasing. (See Luke 18.) If our heart is not lifted up in an attitude of prayer all day long, the devil is going to find an entrance into our heart. Friends, how many of us have learned, in our closets, in that secret place where we go to meet with the Lord every morning, how to overcome sin?

Jesus gave us an example of prayer. After the disciples asked Him to teach them to pray (see Luke 11) He gave an example of a man who kept coming to his neighbor’s door asking for food for some people he needed to feed. Did that man go away after the first time? No, it says that he kept coming back again and again. He was persistent. How many of us pray and agonize for the Holy Spirit every day? Without the Holy Spirit, we are not going to be saved. How many of us do not get off our knees until we have the strength that we desire of the Lord? As Christians, I think that we get off our knees too soon. We go through our normal routine, praying for people and situations, which is good, but how many of us stop and ask ourselves, Am I strengthened by this prayer? Do I have His Spirit living within my heart? Do you stay on your knees until that happens? Most of us do not, and we are not strengthened by the Lord; we do not have the blessing that we desire. Jacob did not give up. He said, I will not give up until I receive your blessing. (See Genesis 32.) We need to keep agonizing and agonizing until the break of day, until that light shines into our hearts just as it did for Jacob.

Sin is not to have dominion over us, friends. The only way that we are going to keep from sin is to have our minds lifted up to the Lord in prayer. That will broaden our path and give us stability, because God will continually guide us.

In the Bible, we are given the example of Christ spending all night in prayer. (See Luke 6:12.) The reason He was braced for conflict and did not become unstable or compromise His principles is because He often spent whole nights in prayer. He was not going to get off His knees until He had the desired strength to meet the conflicts for the next day. That was Christ’s strength, and since He is our example in all things, we should pray more than we do. I am not suggesting that we spend every night in prayer, for I know that we have to sleep, but if there is a crisis in our lives or some sin in our lives “The only safe course is to let our prayers go forth daily from a sincere heart . . .” that we need to get rid of in order to be ready for heaven, it might be a needful thing to do. “The strength of Christ was in prayer. . . . As Christ is our example in all things, if we imitate His example in earnest, importunate prayer to God that we may have strength in His name who never yielded to the temptations of Satan to resist the devices of the wily foe, we shall not be overcome by him.” Sons and Daughters of God, 136. How is it going to be? We need to learn to spend time in importunate prayer, agonizing with the Lord, pleading, Lord give me Your blessings; give me the strength that I need so I can meet the temptations of the day. When the disciples came to Jesus asking Him to teach them to pray, they had been watching the Pharisees pray for years and years. What was the difference between Jesus’ prayer and the Pharisees’ prayers? When Jesus prayed, things happened! They saw how He reacted in certain situations, and it was His prayer life that made Him stable and kept Him from being tossed to and fro. God’s Word What else does the Lord give us to keep us stable? “Order [or direct] my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” Psalm 119:133. How does it say that we are to be directed?

By God’s Word

David said, Lord, direct me by Your Word so that sin will not have dominion over me. How many of us are spending time in study? Someone once told me that they spent an hour a day in study, not counting their prayer time, so I decided that I was going to do that. My resolve was strengthened by the following statement: “Your success as a minister depends upon your keeping your own heart. You will receive more strength by spending one hour each day in meditation, and in mourning over your failings and heart corruptions and pleading for God’s pardoning love and the assurance of sins forgiven, than you would by spending many hours and days in studying the most able authors, and making yourself acquainted with every objection to our faith, and with the most powerful evidences in its favor.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 433, 434.

We do not know for ourselves what the Bible says. As a result, our minister can tell us anything he wants; he can lead us in the path of destruction, and we will never know it. Why? Because we are not spending time in Bible study. I always tell my congregations, Do not take my word for anything. You go home and check it out for yourself. I do not want anyone taking my word, because I am fallible, just like everyone else. But I could hoodwink every one of you, if you are not spending time in study. The devil is a wily foe, cunning, crafty. He knows just the deception for each one of us, but God’s Word exposes the deception. The reason that we are deceived and tricked into sin is because we are not studying God’s Word as we should.

Make a commitment today to spend at least one hour each day studying God’s Word. It would be well worth it, and I guarantee you will receive a blessing. David says, Direct my steps by Thy Word— not by the minister, not by the deacon, or the Sabbath School teacher—but by Your Word! We need to know what God’s Word says. Before we read anyone else’s material we better be spending time in God’s Word first. We can read the different ministries’ magazines, and we can say, Praise God, that was an inspiring article, but by spending time in God’s Word, the light of God’s truth will continually get broader and broader. It will never cease. Do not ever think that you have everything figured out in God’s Word. You may have the 27 fundamental doctrines all stored up in your mind, but friends, we have not even scratched the surface. We should be digging through God’s Word as for treasure hidden in a mine, comparing Scripture with Scripture, studying out things. We cannot allow study and prayer to be neglected. It is not something to do occasionally when we have a spare moment. This is something that we must plan for every day, something that we schedule into our day. We may have to bump some other activity off the schedule, but we better not be neglecting God’s Word, and we better not be neglecting prayer. It is better to deny ourselves of the other responsibilities, while we spend time in God’s Word. We are weak because we have not spent this time, and we have allowed our ministers to do our studying for us.

“The Bible is our guide in the safe paths that lead to eternal life. . . . The minds of all who make the Word of God their study will enlarge.” Mind, Character and Personality, vol. 1, 98. God promises He will enlarge our paths beneath us; He is going to give us stability of mind so we will not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. There are so many winds of doctrine, but Ellen White tells us, “Those who are close students of the Word, following Christ in humility of soul, will not go to extremes.” Gospel Workers, 317. Never! Whether it is in diet, dress, or theological issues, never will we go to extremes if we are close students of God’s Word. We must follow Jesus in humility of soul.

Memorize Scripture

When I open up God’s Word, I am stepping into the audience chamber of God. His Word should be opened prayerfully. We should not just flip it open and begin reading. We need to have a plan when we study God’s Word. What are we going to study? If we are trying to overcome a habit or some defect in our character, we should stop and pray for victory over that defect and then continue studying God’s Word until we have the victory. If we are continuing to cherish some sin in our life, Psalm 66:18 tells us, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me].” We need to battle with the Lord. We need to ask Him for all the strength that we need so that we can overcome.

“Thy word [is] a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105. As we approach the Second Coming of Jesus, that light will become brighter and brighter. Think with me for a second. If you are up in the woods and it is completely dark and you are trying to follow a trail with the help of a little candle, how good of a job will you be able to do? But what if that candle is a flashlight? How about a spotlight? You would then be able to see everything around you, and that is what God’s Word is going to do. If we are continuing to follow Jesus in humility of soul, continuing to follow His Word, accepting the light as it comes to us, conforming our lives to the Word, our path will get broader and broader and broader, and we will have a safe path on which to walk.

“When thou goest [or when you walk] thy steps [or your Christian experience] shall not be straitened [hindered]; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.” Proverbs 4:12. Why? Because you have a broad path beneath your feet and a bright light will help you see the pitfalls of Satan; you will see his temptations coming, and you will know how to resist him.

How did Jesus resist temptation? By the Word of God. Remember when the devil came to Jesus in the wilderness after He had fasted for 40 days? Put yourself in Jesus’ place—you have fasted; you have had nothing to eat for six weeks. How do you think you would feel? How do you think your mind would be? You would not be in good shape. But Jesus had ingrained God’s Words in His mind. The Bible says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11. Jesus hid those words so deep in His heart that no matter what the situation, He had a “Thus saith the Lord” to say to the devil. We must be spending time in prayer, Bible study, and memorizing Scripture. We must do this, if we are going to be stable Christians.

Light of the World

Jesus says, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13–16. Christ has not bid His followers, strive to shine. Does any one of us have anything within us that can shine out? No, we have nothing. All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, or as a leaf that fades away. (Isaiah 64:6.) He says, Let your light shine. If we have received the grace of God, the light is in us. God’s grace transforms our character; it transforms our thoughts, our affections, our pursuits, and our aims. It transforms the entire being, and when that is operating in our lives, the only thing we can do is to let the light shine.

Here are a few ways that we can let our light shine:

“Let your light shine forth in pleasant words, in soothing tones of voice.” Child Guidance, 240.

Are you letting your light shine, or are  you hiding it under a bushel?

“In no better way can you let your light shine to others than in your simplicity of dress and deportment.” Ibid., 417.

“Wherever you are, let your light shine forth. Hand out papers and pamphlets to those with whom you associate.” Counsels on Health, 435.

We know that without the grace of God there is nothing within us to shine, but we need to ask for the grace of God to operate in our lives so that we are able to shine. It becomes something that we want to do, rather than something that we have to do.

“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. Do you want to have that experience? Do you want the Lord to present you faultless before His throne? God wants to give us a path to walk upon so that we are not just wobbling around in our Christian experience, so that we are not compromising, even in difficult situations. When we are being pressed, He wants us to be stable. God has given us prayer; He has given us Bible study; we can memorize His Word, and as that light shines brighter and brighter, our path is going to grow wider and wider. If we daily participate in these activities, we soon will have that experience where Jesus presents us faultless, without one defect, without one spot or wrinkle. How exceedingly joyful we will be then.

Mike Bauler pastors the Historic Message Church in Portland, Oregon. He may be contacted by e-mail at

Blessings Received from Heresies

There is no doubt that there are many religious theories being passed around by voice, by e-mail, on video tapes, on cassette tapes, and even by phone. One may wonder why and how God would permit such a thing, even among His own people.

In the first place, we do know that God is not arbitrary and therefore would not manipulate man’s thoughts and actions. He has given the human race freedom of thought that they may choose what they want to believe or think. Then, we might query, How can He work with all these heresies and false doctrines?

I know that Satan and God do not work together, but God does turn the works of Satan around to advance God’s own plans. We are told in the Bible “that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose.” Romans 8:28. So heresies must fit into the program some place. I read the following quotation in the Spirit of Prophecy that caused me to think about false doctrines.

“The perversion and misinterpretation of the Scriptures by the Pharisees, and even by those who claimed to believe His words, made it necessary for Christ to speak plainly. It is thought by some to be a misfortune when erroneous theories are advanced, but the Lord has said, ‘All things work together for good to them that love God.’ The contention among the Corinthians made it necessary for Paul to write his wonderful epistles to them. If the Gentiles had not backslidden from the faith, Paul would not have written, ‘I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you out of the grace of Christ unto another gospel, which is not another.’ It was a misapplication of the Scriptures, to prove falsehood and error true. If the Thessalonians had not misinterpreted the instruction they received, they would not have entertained the belief that the Lord was immediately to be revealed in the clouds of heaven, thus making it necessary for Paul to present the truth as it is in Jesus, leaving on record truth important for all time. And so opposition against light and truth called from Christ a clearer definition of the truth. Every time that error is advanced, it will work for good to those who sincerely love God; for when the truth is shadowed by error, those whom the Lord has made His sentinels will make the truth sharper and clearer. They will search the Scriptures for evidence of their faith. The advancement of error is the call for God’s servants to arouse, and place the truth in bold relief.” The Signs of the Times, January 6, 1898.

After reading the above quotation, I began to think that I should seek for a blessing from the theories that are propounded. Such theories as the Feast Days, the name Yahweh, the Trinity; what is the Store House; what is the Church; what is New Theology; and a host of other theories, some true and some false.

I surely do not have time to study all these things, and it would be damaging to my experience to delve into false theories, so how can they be a blessing to me? How can I distinguish between what is truth and what is error? How does God use these heresies? He must have a purpose, or He surely would not allow them to come into His church.

God is Sifting

Let us read a statement from the pen of Ellen White. “God will arouse His people; if other means fail, heresies will come in among them, which will sift them, separating the chaff from the wheat. The Lord calls upon all who believe His word to awake out of sleep. Precious light has come, appropriate for this time. It is Bible truth, showing the perils that are right upon us. This light should lead us to a diligent study of the Scriptures, and a most critical examination of the positions which we hold.” Gospel Workers, 299.

In Amos 9:9 we read, “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as [corn] is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.” So, God is sifting.

Have you ever watched wheat being sifted? They may not all do it the same way, but what I have seen is that, first the wheat is winnowed. Then the chaff is blown away before the wheat is put through a sifting process. A screen that is graduated to just the right size to let the wheat go through is used. It shakes until all the wheat is shaken through and the remaining large pieces of refuse are discarded. After that process the wheat is put in a screen that is graduated to just the right size so the kernels of wheat will stay in the sieve, and any smaller, undesirable items, such as pieces of sand, will go through the sieve. After this process the wheat is considered clean.

Can you imagine what it would be like to make bread out of flour from wheat that had not been sifted? You might get a piece of bread made from flour containing straw or chaff or even some sand or gravel. The same thing is true about other grains.

Then think what the fruit would be like if it were not sorted before being sent to the store. You might get fruit that has been half eaten by the birds or have worms in it or be spoiled. So the sorting and the sifting is very essential to provide good food.

God’s Eternal Purpose

Now let us consider heaven and what it would be like to have people who still have a love for sin enter the pearly gates and live forever. The whole plan of salvation would soon be ruined, and we would be in the same situation of death and misery that has been in this world for about 6,000 years. So we must never lose sight of God’s eternal purpose, which is to rid the universe of sin and establish a kingdom that operates on the principle of love.

God uses even the wrath of man to praise Him, for we are told in Psalm 76:10, “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” So when we look at all these different theories, we may know that “We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” 11 Corinthians 13:8. God is in control; therefore all things will work together for good.

Reasons for Sifting

The sifting is necessary, and we need to know how we fit into the program. There are at least three reasons God has for the sifting process. Number one is to sift out the false-hearted. Number two is to sift out those who are over-confident in their own reasoning. Number three is to cause God’s people to study and pray until they are rooted and grounded in the truth to the place where nothing can shake them out. We must never forget that it is the chaff that is blown away and not the least grain will fall to the ground.

The False-Hearted

Let us look at the false-hearted. Who are they, and how does this affect them? The false-hearted are the ones who are in the church only by professing the truth—not by practicing what they know to be true. Their conscience may be bothering them a little bit, and when they hear of a doctrine that accepts them and promises them salvation while they are still sinning a little bit, they fall for it. Jesus describes them as “stony ground” hearers. (Mark 4:5, 6.)

John describes the false-hearted in 1 John 2:19: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would [no doubt] have continued with us: but [they went out], that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” This is the situation with the false-hearted who are shaken out; they were really not part of the program. They were really in it only for their own benefit and did not realize the depths of the love of God.

Shaking out the false-hearted is a necessary program. We are told that we must go through a time of trouble and that the antichrist will come. How will the false-hearted have the courage to stand for the truth if it means sacrificing their worldly possessions and maybe even giving their lives for it? It is better for them to fall out before the fearful time of trouble, when the desertion of such a multitude would be discouraging to the true-hearted.

Overconfident in Self

The second reason for the sifting process is being overconfident in self. This is very prevalent in the human family. There is a fine line between being overly self-confident and having abilities to perform the necessary tasks of life. We must realize that our strength and mental abilities all come to us from Jesus, and if it were not for Him, we could do nothing. When Jesus was here on earth, He said, “for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:5. Self-confidence and self-righteousness are close companions. And we do know that all our righteousness is only filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6.)

Self-righteousness and Christ’s righteousness are not always distinguishable by us human beings, but God reads the heart and sorts out the true from the false. He sorts by the truth or by trials, or He may even use heresies. However, He will have a true and faithful people to take to heaven with Him when He comes.

The apostle Peter fell on the point of self-confidence. He said he would die with Jesus, and he really thought that he would, because his love for Jesus was strong, but of himself he could do nothing. He did not realize that his strength and goodness came from God. And when he was taunted in the courtroom at Jesus’ trial, he denied His Lord because he did not have the courage within himself to stand up. Trials do sift out the self-confident.

From volume 5 of the Testimonies, we may read such words as this, “Nothing is more essential to communion with God than the most profound humility. ‘I dwell,’ says the High and Holy One, ‘with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit.’ While you are striving to be first, remember that you will be last in the favor of God if you fail to cherish a meek and lowly spirit. Pride of heart will cause many to fail where they might have made a success. ‘Before honor is humility,’ ‘and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.’ . . . ‘Many are called but few are chosen.’ Many hear the invitation of mercy, are tested and proved; but few are sealed with the seal of the living God. Few will humble themselves as a little child, that they may enter the kingdom of heaven.

“Few receive the grace of Christ with self-abasement, with a deep and permanent sense of their unworthiness. They cannot bear the manifestations of the power of God, for this would encourage in them self-esteem, pride, and envy. This is why the Lord can do so little for us now. God would have you individually seek for the perfection of love and humility in your own hearts. Bestow your chief care upon yourselves, cultivate those excellencies of character which will fit you for the society of the pure and holy.” Ibid., 50, 51.

Study and Pray

Now for the third reason, to cause God’s people to study and pray until they are rooted and grounded in the truth and beyond being shaken out. We have been warned by prophecy that, “None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict.” The Great Controversy, 593, 594. It is wise to take note of the warnings given us through inspiration, and follow the instructions.

When we come in contact with theories that are called “New Light,” it is time to pray and study. The Lord will never allow us to be led astray, if we humble our hearts and pray and study His inspired Word.

David said, in Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” This is the thing we must do, if we are not going to be deceived or fail in the end.

Show Yourself Approved

Many people go to church and take it for granted that they are Christians, waiting for the Lord’s return. However, if asked why they keep the Sabbath or why they believe that the dead are asleep until Jesus awakens them, they could not even give you one text, let alone a Bible study on their beliefs. These individuals must either study to show themselves approved or they will be sifted out. Often when confronted with some heresy that they cannot refute, they will get in and study. Thus one of the purposes of heresies being sent into the church is fulfilled.

If you and I are going to be saved from many of the erroneous theories that are floating around, we need to study the Word of God along with the Spirit of Prophecy. And in order to comprehend the truth, we must spend much time in prayer as spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Without the help of the Holy Spirit it is impossible for our carnal minds to comprehend the truths of the Bible.

Oh! That God would arouse our people to the solemnity of the days in which we live and to the necessity of cleansing our hearts from all worldliness and filling them with the Word of God. May He help us to lay our own opinions aside and with a humble spirit accept what He has given us in His inspired Word.

Ruth Grosboll is an employee of Steps to Life. A retired, registered nurse, she worked for many years with her husband in the mission field. She may be contacted by e-mail at:

The Crisis in Adventism

“The warfare against God’s law, which was begun in heaven, will be continued until the end of time. Every man will be tested. Obedience or disobedience is the question to be decided by the whole world. All will be called to choose between the law of God and the laws of men. Here the dividing line will be drawn. There will be but two classes. Every character will be fully developed; and all will show whether they have chosen the side of loyalty or that of rebellion. Then the end will come.” The Desire of Ages, 763.

What is the last great crisis that is facing the world? Not the symptoms, but what is the fundamental issue in the last great crisis facing the world? It is the Law of God. “That the Law which was spoken by God’s own voice is faulty, that some specification has been set aside, is the claim which Satan now puts forward. It is the last great deception that he will bring upon the world. He needs not to assail the whole law; if he can lead men to disregard one precept, his purpose is gained . . . By consenting to break one precept, men are brought under Satan’s power.” Ibid.

When Jesus was on earth, the disciples asked what was going to be the sign of the end of the age. “And Jesus answered, and said to them: Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ and will deceive many.” Matthew 24:4. The first thing that Jesus said to His disciples was a warning about being deceived. This was so important that Jesus repeated the warning at least three times in Matthew 24.

Who was it that Jesus warned could be deceived? He said, “For false Christs and false prophets will rise up and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24. Jesus warned the elect against being deceived. Who are the elect? They are the godly. They are the church. They are the Seventh-day Adventists.

The devil has a special plan for deceiving Seventh-day Adventists. He is causing a great crisis in Adventism, because he wants to deceive those who have been given the greatest light—the elect.

This clear warning has been given to Seventh-day Adventists. “In the last vision given me I was shown the startling fact that but a small portion of those who now profess the truth will be sanctified by it and be saved.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 608, 609.

That is not good news to me. I grew up in the Adventist Church. I went entirely through the Adventist educational system. All my friends, when I was growing up, were part of the Adventist Church. Those are my best friends today, scattered all over the world. It is startling to read that only a few of those who now profess the truth will be sanctified by it and be saved. The great majority of Seventh-day Adventists will be deceived by the devil’s sophistries. I repeat God’s warning because I do not want you to be one of the many people who are going to be lost.

What will be the test for those who will be among the faithful who stand strong despite the devil’s greatest deceptions? “To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few—this will be our test.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 136.

What is the great crisis for Adventism? “Satan hopes to involve the remnant people of God in the general ruin that is coming upon the earth. As the coming of Christ draws nigh, he will be more determined and decisive in his efforts to overthrow them. Men and women will arise professing to have some new light or some new revelation whose tendency is to unsettle faith in the old landmarks.” Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 295.

This great crisis in Adventism is predicted in Matthew 24. “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:12. The antichrist power teaches people to break part of God’s law. Revelation and 2 Thessalonians 2, show clearly that almost the whole world is going to be deceived.

God’s people are going to be living in the midst of an ocean of lawlessness. In that environment, Jesus said the love of many will grow cold. This does not take place suddenly. You do not go from a position of spiritual health and strength, filled with the Holy Spirit, then immediately turn and be ready for ruin and destruction. It happens over a period of time.

The message to the Laodiceans is that they need to repent, because they are lukewarm. They are no longer hot. Their love has grown cold. This is the great crisis in Adventism. Many are in the process of going from hot to cold, but sadly, they do not realize the change, because they do not feel any different today than they felt yesterday. How does the devil work it so that someone can go from hot to cold and not even know anything has happened? That is the incideousness and the subtleness of the crisis in Adventism.

The story is told of a Seventh-day Adventist minister in California who lost his life in a tragic vehicle accident. When the autopsy was performed, the physicians found that he was full of cancer. He would have died in a short time anyway, but neither he nor his wife knew it.

Why did he not know about it? Because the cancer, itself, does not hurt. The results of cancer can hurt as a nerve is eaten up, or pressure from a tumor pushes on something and causes unbearable pain. The cancer itself does not hurt. You can be full of it and not know that you are sick.


Safeguard Against Deceptions


If you have the truth and the devil is trying to involve you in the ruin that is coming upon the world, how is he going to do it? “It is not alone those who openly reject the Testimonies, or who cherish doubt concerning them, that are on dangerous ground. To disregard light is to reject it . . . Many are going directly contrary to the light which God has given to His people, because they do not read the books which contain the light and knowledge and cautions, reproofs, and warnings.” Testimonies to the Church, vol. 5, 680, 681.

Many people go directly contrary to God’s instructions because they do not read. Your pastor, Sabbath School teacher, and elder cannot teach you everything in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. God holds us responsible when we do not take advantage of the light available to us. God expects you to learn on your own.

As we approach the end, there will be people who will say, “I am a Seventh-day Adventist. I believe the Bible. I believe the Spirit of Prophecy.” But they will be involved in the ruin coming on all the world because they are not following God’s instruction. They do not read. They choose not to understand.

We are living in the most deceptive time in the world’s history. How will you know if you are deceived? (Always remember, that no one who is deceived knows he is deceived.) If you do not want to be deceived you must study for yourself. No one can do it for you. If you are not studying, watching, and praying for yourself, the devil will bring a deception for you, and cause you to lose confidence in the truth.

We are living in a time of unbelief and doubt. All throughout Adventism, and especially on Seventh-day Adventist college campuses, skepticism is running rampant. The devil is using his cleverly developed methods to secure his end. He rarely makes a frontal attack, because he is a deceiver. To gain control of us, he starts to chip away at our belief, to undermine our confidence in the inspired writings.

You and I are no match for the devil. We are not as intelligent as he is, or as old. The devil knows that the only way we can escape is by reading the inspired writings, believing them and acting upon them. (See James 2.)

The chapter called “Snares of Satan,” in the book The Great Controversy, shows how the devil tries to rob people of their faith. We have had attack, after attack, in Adventism on this point. For instance, in 1976 an Adventist scholar wrote a book called, Ellen G. White, Prophetess of Health. Many Adventist, intellectual people, lost their confidence in Ellen White on the basis of this book. This book asks a lot of questions to bring in doubt.

We need to learn that if we involve ourselves in asking questions that no one can answer, we will eventually lose our faith, become skeptics, and lose our souls. This was the devil’s first tactic after he rebelled in heaven. He planted doubt in the minds of his fellow angels, by asking questions.

Ellen White warned us that this is one of the principle deceptions of the devil. “It is a masterpiece of Satan’s deceptions to keep the minds of men searching and conjecturing in regard to that which God has not made known and which He does not intend that we shall understand.” The Great Controversy, 523.


Mysteries in the Bible


Seven mysteries are mentioned in the New Testament. One of the seven mysteries is the incarnation—God manifested in flesh. That is spoken of as a great mystery in 1 Timothy 3:16. When an inspired writer says that something is a great mystery, in other words, it is something you and I are never going to be able to explain fully. Yet, I get letters from Seventh-day Adventists who want me to explain the Godhead, and every detail about the nature of Christ. They want the unexplainable explained for their finite minds.

The early church, between the second and sixth centuries, wanted the same thing. Large church councils were called over and over again, to try to settle the controversy. In the end fighting broke out, and there was actually war over the issue. All this took place because people were trying to explain what God had not revealed.

The devil uses philosophical and scientific arguments that are pleasing to the mind to lead many astray. Friend, if the devil can rob you of your faith and confidence in inspired writings, he will prevail. You may not know that he has won, because you will be deceived, but you will still be lost. He leads many people to think that if they can ask a question that cannot be answered, they have gained some point. These people put their own finite mind above the infinite mind of God.

Many today are like the Greeks, who required a rational explanation for everything, or like the Jews, who wanted a sign before they would believe. But faith is not based on demonstration. It is based on evidence. “The Word of God, like the character of its Author, presents mysteries that can never be fully comprehended by finite beings. But God has given in the Scriptures sufficient evidence of their divine authority. His own existence, His character, the truthfulness of His Word, are established by testimony that appeals to our reason; and this testimony is abundant. True, He has not removed the possibility of doubt; faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration; those who wish to doubt have opportunity; but those who desire to know the truth find ample ground for faith.” Education, 169.




The Word of God is the only thing in this world that you can really depend upon all the time. Are you asking, “Pastor John, what is the evidence?” If so, study carefully the following two evidences from the Bible.

The first is the evidence that God Himself is the One true God. He gives this as a challenge in Isaiah 44 and 45, and especially in Isaiah 46:9, 10. He supports His claim with the evidence that He can do something that no one else can ever do. He says, “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” Isaiah 46:9, 10. God says that not only has He created everything that exists, He also knows the end from the beginning, and can reveal the future.

Several months ago we held a Prophecy Seminar in Wichita and we went over these things the first night. A young woman came to this Prophecy Seminar. Her mother, who was a Christian, upon learning that her daughter was attending our meetings, became worried that she might be becoming involved with a cult. I am sure she had heard some of the things that Seventh-day Adventists are called today. The mother said, “I should go and be sure that my daughter is not becoming a cultist.”

The mother came about the sixth or seventh session. By that time we were studying the Sabbath and the Law of God and what prophecy said about it. The mother listened carefully the first night. She could not find anything cultic in the messages she heard from the Bible. She came every single night after that. After several nights, she realized that there was a message in Bible prophecy that she could see was being fulfilled all over the world. The prophecy was true, and the evidence was overwhelming.

In many seminars I have conducted, I have watched people from many religions, non-Christians, Catholics, Lutherans—people from many other churches, and when the seminar is completed, they will tell you the same thing. The evidence that what you have taught is Bible prophecy and that it is true, is overwhelming. The evidence is there if you want to see it.

There is an evidence of the truthfulness of God’s Word that is far more profound than simply prophecy or the ability to foretell the future. This powerful evidence is found in this text: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” Romans 8:16. The evidence that Jesus is the Messiah, that the gospel is true, that the Bible is an inspired book and that Ellen White was a prophetess, comes as you study these things. The Holy Spirit comes into your life and changes your heart. Then the Lord can use you to win others who do not know Him, even if they do not know anything about prophecy. If you have been changed, and you can share your testimony with others, you can be a mighty witness for the Lord.


The Holy Spirit’s Power


What changes does the Holy Spirit make when He comes into your heart? First, the Holy Spirit gives you power to witness. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8.

Second, the Holy Spirit gives you power to overcome sin. “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:4, 5. (See Romans 8:1–14.)

Sometimes people say, “Pastor John, I have a besetting sin and I cannot overcome it.” Of course, you cannot overcome it. No one can overcome a besetting sin in their own power. When the Holy Spirit comes into your life, he gives you the power to overcome. Your thoughts will be pure, your language will be pure and your actions will be in harmony with God’s law. You will begin to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and your neighbors as yourself. You will be a different person. Then you become a powerful witness.

Are you having that experience? Is the Holy Spirit inside? Or is the Holy Spirit outside, pleading with you to give your heart in surrender to Jesus, not only as your Savior but as the Lord of your life? The Holy Spirit is with all who have not committed the unpardonable sin.

Jesus told His disciples that up to that time the Holy Spirit had just been with them, but in the future it was going to be different. “The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:17.

What is your condition today? Is the Holy Spirit just with you? Or is the Holy Spirit in you? If the Holy Spirit is in you, you will be living a sin-free life, bearing witness to the gospel. It will have a powerful effect on other people. That is the most powerful sign that God’s Word is true, that Ellen White is a prophet, that Jesus is the Christ and that He is coming soon to take the faithful home.