Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jeremiah 6:16
The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant. Psalm 25:14
Vol. 10, No. 9 Straight and Narrow September 2001
By Howard Williams
God has given to each and every one of us something special. To some He has given the talent to sing, but not all of us can sing. There are those who can preach, but not all have that ability. There are others who can write, and do much more, but that special something that God has given, has been given to singers, preachers and writers alike. We all possess it regardless of who we are.
God gave to all of us that something within, when, according to Genesis, in the beginning He bowed down and formed man from the dust of the ground and He breathed into man the breath of life and man became a living soul. Then man was able to access material, facts, information, documentation, data, truth and act upon it. That is the Something Within. Man was now able to freely think, to make decisions and choose for himself.
Do you know, as you read this article now, you are the direct product of the decisions you have made? We are what we are today because of the decisions we have made or not made. Our status in society today can be traced back to decisions we have made or not made. The sicknesses in our bodies, the pains that we feel, can be traced back to decisions we have made or not made. The problems in society, and the church, are directly based on the decisions we have, or have not made! Many homes are broken and marriages are on the rocks and the reason can be traced back to decisions we have made or not made, or made too early or made too late.
Thus, I think decision-making is something we must consider, and do well to understand, because we have taken this ability for granted and the result is what we are experiencing in our lives today.
I would like to challenge us in our Christian experience to examine our lives in the light of the Scriptures to see whether or not we are growing in the grace that God has given to us. For many of us, all we desired was to become Christians. Oh, I want to be a Christian, we said. When we joined a church and got baptized, that was it for us; we had arrived. We were now Christians, our desires had been met and we were satisfied. The Bible tells us that as Christians we must grow in Christ. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18) Our growth then must be a development from a lower or simpler to higher and greater. Simply put, our experience must show improvement, moving onward and upward. Becoming a Christian then is only the beginning of a life of growth in Jesus, Till 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. (Ephesians 4:13)
In the book of Joel, we read of a great number of people who are not able to make decisions at the end of time. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. (Joel 3:14)
What could have caused such indecision among the people at a time such as this? Why can people not choose the way of God and Christ? Obviously, they have for too long lived in the world, and the customs and principles of the world have been engraved in their hearts. Now to follow the ways of Christ would cause some uncertainty as to be likened to slavery.
The very first step in making a decision is to be given a choice. I want us to see the way that God deals with us. He gives us a choice. Let us look at Deuteronomy 30:19: I call on heaven and earth to record against you this day that I have set before you life and death, blessings and cursing, therefore choose life that both thou and thy seed may live. As we read this verse we see love bursting forth. Beloved, those who are undecided have not seen or experienced Gods love for them. In this verse God calls on heaven and earth to be His witnesses, which means He can go no further, so He uses the ultimate. Then God gives us a choicelife and death, blessing and cursing. We are now thinking that we would choose life and blessings, arent we, but the truth is God does not stop here because He knows our makeup, He remembers that we easily forget, so He helps us further in making the right decision. He says, choose life that both you and your seed may live. Is this not love? I think it is love in its purity. Do we appreciate this love? We sing the song, I love thee, I love thee, I love thee my lord . but how much I love thee my actions will show. In the choices we make every day, do we really choose life? The decisions we make, do we make them for blessing or cursing? Are we choosing life in the things we do, or is it death? We need to examine the things we do, and the choices we make. When I make a decision, will it be for life or for death? God has given us this ability, but many times we abuse it without even recognizing it, and the results that follow sometimes years after, impact in a negative way upon our children and us.
The Example of Lot
I want us to take a quick look at an example of decision-making found in Genesis13. This chapter speaks of the patriarch Abraham and his nephew Lot. The Bible says these two men had great possessions, that it was not possible for them both to dwell at the same place at one time, and to add to that, there was division between the herdsmen of Abram and the herdsmen of Lot. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. (Genesis 13:8-9)
I think that was a reasonable argument from Abram, dont you? Since we cannot dwell together, then look around you and choose the area you would rather be, and anywhere you choose, I will go the opposite way. Let us take special note of the things Lot saw and how they impacted on the decision he made.
And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. (Genesis 13:10-11)
Lot was a lover of beauty just like the rest of us. He was looking for the beautiful; that with splendor, that which was the best! Someone said Lot should have given the best to his uncle who was older, but the question really is, would you give up the best to someone else? It is easy to teach the principles of Christianity, but the real test comes when we must apply these principles to our lives.
Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. (Genesis 13:12)
Lot clearly choose the luscious green pastures that were well watered, because of their beauty, and he was probably thinking of how well fed his flocks would flourish in this area. So Lot, at first, lived in the cities of the plain, but later, the Bible says that he pitched his tent toward Sodom. Lot never went to live in Sodom; he only pitched his tent toward, or in the direction of, Sodom.
My question to all of us, including myself, is, Where have you pitched your tent? The fact is that wherever our tent is now pitched, that is the direction in which we are heading. After a few short years Lot was living in Sodom. It is very important that we make careful decisions, and not decisions based on looks that please the eyes. We must keep the spirituality of our families and ourselves always before us. How many fathers and mothers wish they could turn back the hands of time for bad decisions they have made, that have impacted negatively on their families. For example, many parents thought that a television set was well pleasing to the eye and they intended only to allow the family to watch good wholesome shows. Sadly, they became too busy to carry through the intended purpose. Their children chose to view and listen to material that corrupted their minds and led them to become menaces in society. Twenty years after his first wrong choice, Lot lost everything, including his family. This tragedy was the result of poor decisions he made when he choose to live towards Sodom and later in Sodom.
Are you beginning to see how important decision-making is? It is easier for us to make good decisions when we have the support of brethren around us, but it is much harder when we must stand alone to make our decisions for principle.
Decide for Christ Today
I want for us to look at a few examples of some decisions that were made in Bible times. These decisions are important because they are the same type of decisions that we need to make in our time.
Joshua, in his farewell speech to Israel, gathered together all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God. (Joshua 24:1) Joshua then recounted the goodness of God towards Israel from the days of Abraham their father, and showed them how God had seen them through all the bad times and had always been there to guide and protect them even when armies from other countries stood up against them. He showed to Israel the kind of God they served and how much He had done for them even to the present time. Through Joshua He said, And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat. (Joshua 24:13)
Gods request to them was: Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. (Joshua 24:14)
Joshua knew that even though they all had benefitted from Gods goodness, not all were willing to choose to follow God all the way, so he said, And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15)
Joshua was not concerned with tomorrow; he wanted the decision to be made today, so he said, choose you THIS DAY! Beloved, we must not wait until tomorrow to show to the world who we are, because tomorrow just might never come. TODAY, this day, is the day to decide.
The Bible does not talk about tomorrow; it says choose today. To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (Hebrews 3:15) Behold, now [today] is the accepted time; behold, now [today] is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2) We need to make a decision now. Joshua made it known openly what his decision was, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Our decision today should be, I too, will serve the Lord.
Are We Hopping Between Opinions?
Elijah, the prophet of God, found that all Israel was going after other Gods because of fear of a woman called Jezebel who had killed the prophets of God and had crowned Baal as the God of Israel. It is possible that the people served Baal out of fear for their lives. Many, not grounded in Gods love, recanted from truth in the time of trouble because they feared for their lives. Elijah saw that the people needed to make an open confession of faith, so he asked for all Israel, the prophets of Baal, and the prophets of the groves to be gathered on Mount Carmel for the expressed purpose of showing who the true God is and why He must be served. As the people gathered, Elijah thought that some would gain courage by seeing him and would stand with him. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. (1Kings 18:21) How long halt ye between two opinions? Literally, how long hop ye about on two branches? This is a metaphor taken from birds hopping about from branch to branch, not knowing on which to settlebalanced between opposing claims. To halt is to stopto hesitate between opposite interests. Just as Elijah asked that question, we may need to ask the same question to ourselves, because many of us are halting between different opinions, and angels are being disappointed every day because we choose not to make the right choice with the help God has provided.
Pleasure Over Life?
Why cant we give up, and give it over to God. I was told of an experiment done in a laboratory with some rats. Scientists placed some electrical connections to the pleasure center of the brain. These connections were wired to a switch. However, there was also another switch that placed the most wholesome, and delicious rat food in the same cage. The rats were trained to know what activating each switch would do. To the surprise of those doing the experiment, the rats went constantly to touch the switch that gave them pleasure, until they died from hunger.
We were born with a sinful nature with all of its inclinations. It is not that there is no pleasure in worshipping or seeking God, but that it does not touch that pleasure center of the brain. We sin and indulge in sin every moment, so we have grown to love sin. We have not chosen the path of God, righteousness, or indulging in Gods goodness, mercy, and grace, and for this reason the things of God have no connection to the pleasure center of our brains. Our minds are mixed up and we cannot decide for God. In our own lives we know that there is something between full surrender and us, we know that! A lady once told me that when she decided to become a Christian, there was a little thing, just a little problem. She told the minister, I want to be baptized, but I might not be coming to church because I have just a little problem. At the final meeting with the minister he said, Sister, if that problem is so little, why cant you give it up? Sometimes we think that there is just a little thing in our life, and that when the right time comes we will get it over with; but it is really a big thing, for its the prevention of a full surrender to God. In fact, it will cause us to lose our souls eventually if we dont choose to give it up NOW!
The Sons of Levi
We profess to have a message that will lighten the earth. This message will lighten the world; this message of Gods love will be brought to every shore of the world. In our lives today are we conquering the things that so easily beset us: our temper, our selfish desires, our indulgences that we know are wrong? Are our sins getting the better of us, or are we daily giving them to Jesus and asking for help?
We are the ones who God has entrusted with this message, but for some reason, we seem not to be doing the work that we are called to do, or we are not doing enough. Much more light has been given to us on the message of Gods love for fallen man than has been given to any denomination. Yet are we giving to God our service in making know the truth about Him to those individuals with whom we come in contact on the streets, in our neighborhoods, the shopping malls, and our workplaces? Why dont they know what we stand for?
After forty days with God, Moses came down from the mountain to find the camp of Israel in sin. Except for the tribe of Levi, they all went back to sinning and idol worship. How could a people turn from the Lord so soon? Forty days, thats all it took. In a mob, only one person thinks and all the rest follow, and for that reason we having the proverbial saying, The majority is not always right. The problem is that sometimes the decisions that we make are not our own, they are propelled by someone else, or because someone else has decided to take a certain course, we follow. That was the problem that Israel had. The mixed multitude were among them, and they were not converted; they were not true Israelites; they were people who followed their neighbors. When the call came for the Israelites to paint their doorpost and lintels with blood, the Egyptians saw them doing it and did it too. When the time came for the Israelites to leave Egypt, they heard them moving in the night and went along too. The fact is, they did not have an experience. They did not know what they were doing. They were moving from the call that was given to Israel. The same thing happens to us today; we follow the counsels of the unconverted person.
Moses came down from the mount and his heart must have been heavy. Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORDS side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. (Exodus 32:26)
Only the tribe of Levi responded positively to Moses call for decision. They were open and brave enough to show to all Israel that they were on Gods side. God says, them that honour me will I honour. (1 Samuel 2:30) God honored the tribe of Levi with the priesthood and the ministry of sanctuary because of their decision to honor Him.
Can you openly defend your position today declaring whose side youre on? The Bible says that when God shall come to His temple He is going to do something wonderful.
And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:3)
Are we the sons of Levi today? Then we should be obedient to every word of our Father in heaven. When the question is asked, or the situation arises, for us to declare where we stand, then we should be ready to make our position clear.
Today, the greatest cancer of decision-making is procrastination, which means delay. How many of us have, today, put off the decisions we should have made for another day? How many times have we left the things that could have been done yesterday, for another day? This attitude brings us into the place that Joel saw in our opening verse: people in the the valley of decision.
A Lesson from Cows
Another terrible failure on our part is that when we make decisions, we find it difficult to follow through, and we fall back to our old ways of life. In Jamaica we have a lot of cows. At almost any given time, you will find cows along the public roads that we drive on. Sometimes they will cross the road from one side to the other for more feeding or better pasture. It is a common occurrence to have cars wrecked because a cow was crossing the road, and most times the wrecks could be avoided if the drivers would have learned one simple thing about cows that I learned years ago. Cows dont turn back when they are crossing roads. For this reason, cows, in Jamaica, are called true Christians by the non-Christians, because the cow, they say, is a perfect example of what a Christian should be. Once you decide to walk with Jesus, there should be no turning back. We have to make the decision now to follow Christ all the way. It is Christ or the devil. The Scriptures plainly teach that we cannot serve two masters; we will hate one and love the other. (See Matthew 6:24.) The seesaw, up and down syndrome, is a failure. It is a downward path that will get us nowhere. Today, I am in Christ. Today I am feeling good. Tomorrow I feel like I should not pray. This is what I call the yo-yo syndrome; up and down, up and down.
The Sum is Equal to the Total of the Parts
The decisions we make everyday add up to who we are and what we will become. The day we choose Lord help me to make everyday decisions for life and for good, is the day well begin to grow. Most of the time we allow ourselves to think that we can make decisions on our own: God does not need to help me in this one, and that is where we make the mistake.
Sin began because someone believed they could make a decision on their own wisdom instead of Gods wisdom.
Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, [MADE A DECISION] and did eat. (Genesis 3:1-6)
The decision of one individual has led every person on planet earth to become a sinner. One decision, thats all it took.
I am happy to tell you that in the end of time, which is our time, God will be looking for people who have decided to serve Him and Him alone, regardless of the circumstances. Lets take a look at a wonderful passage:
And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. (Revelation 7:2-3) Please take the time to note that the passage did not say, on their foreheads, it says, in their foreheads. I am told that behind our forehead is where we find the cerebral cortex of the human brain. In this area of the brain all the decisions are made.
If I should do a paraphrase of the above passage it would read thus, And I saw another angel ascending from the east, with Gods stamp of approval: and he spoke with a strong voice to the four angels who were holding back the destructive forces, saying, do no harm as yet to anything until we have acknowledged those who have made a decision in their hearts to follow God and his Son all the way, and have given to them the Spirit of God in latter rain showers.
We have an opportunity in this day and age to be a part of those that will receive the special gift of God in these last days, but it depends on the decisions we are making every day.
Jesus says, Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16) The question then is, will you choose Jesus today? Will you forsake the world and its pleasures for One who has chosen you before you even knew Him? For all that God has done for us through His dear Son, in providing for us so great a salvation, is it unreasonable for Him to ask for our lives to be given to Him in full service in return? I think not! ?
(The message, Something Within, was presented at the 2001 West Virginia camp meeting. You may request an audio or video copy of this message. Please state tape number CM 2001-02 when requesting.)
Pastors Ben Vela of Miami, Florida and Willis Smith of Cleveland, Ohio will be traveling to Peru this month on a missionary trip. The dates are September 6th through September 17th. As Brother Vela wrote: We love the fact that the readers of Old Paths will be praying for us, and we are thrilled that the people of Peru will be seen as a missionary field for our Father. Ben and Willis will be working with two Messianic congregations that have accepted the truth about our heavenly Father and His only begotten Son.
The messages Ben and Willis plan, by the grace of God, to share are: The message of the sanctuary, the state of the dead, and the relationship of these truths to the sacrifice of the Father and the Son, as well as the practical benefit of these truths to the victory over sin.
In addition to the presentation of the Gospel message, the brethren are planning to take clothing to an orphanage in Peru. Ben and Willis hope to help the sick, and assess the true need of these new friends in the gospel work.
Smyrna, along with some of the brethren in South Carolina, are helping with the travel expenses. Smyrna is also providing literature for the trip, especially Spanish literature. Those who have been contacted in Peru have already been sharing a lot of literature from Smyrna, in Spanish, in their community.
Aland, Ashton a local worker who is learning the message and growing it, will be their translator while in Peru. The work will be centered near the city of Chaclacayo. Willis and Ben humbly request your prayers as they go to work for the Master in Peru.
We would also like to remind our readers that at the time of this publication, Brothers Lynnford Beachy and Howard Williams are in Africa. They left the United States on August 20th and will return September 14th. Upon arriving, Lynnford sent an e-mail:
Howard and I made it here to Zimbabwe safely. We have been very warmly greeted. We like it here very much. There were about fifteen people here to meet us at the airport when we came. We have been fed well, and we are planning for some meetings tomorrow and some visits.
We had a wonderful four-hour Bible study with a man on the airplane. It went very well. Please pray for him. His name is Tshala. He lives in Congo [Zaire], and is going to school here in Zimbabwe at a Methodist school
We will keep you informed of how the meetings are going. Give our greetings to everyone.
Please especially lift them up in prayer at this time. We praise God that He has, and is, providing so many open doors for the message in these last days. Editor
A Letter on the Holy Spirit
(The following edited letter was written in response to a discussion on the Godhead. Editor)
Dear Brother F____,
I think it is strange that you should accuse people like me of being unable to count up to three. You, who think that one really means three. You, who think that God is a they instead of a He. You, who think that God is a committee instead of a Father. You say the holy spirit is a third person in a three-part God.
Well, one thing is certain, if the Holy Spirit is a person, we dont need to know him, for Jesus said:
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee (the Father) the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
If he is a person, we have no fellowship with him for,
truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3)
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one. (John 17:23)
If he is a person, he is not worshipped, or honored, or glorified:
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9,10)
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (Revelation 5:13)
If he is a person he has no place in the city in the new earth, for,
And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. (Revelation 21:22)
If he is a person he is neither known, worshipped, fellowshipped with, nor glorified; and yet if he is God, how is it possible that God should not be worshipped, known, loved, and fellowshipped with? But I suppose all this would require some reasoning to work out, and from what I see of your attitude and that of others like you, reasoning does not come into your scheme of interpretation. I would suggest that you do not throw quotes at people until you are ready to also think about the other quotes which seem to say something else. To suggest that Ellen White taught that God is a three-part being, without examining honestly all the other anti-trinitarian statements she made, is not reasonable or honest. What are you suggesting? That she changed her mind or contradicted herself? The fact is that a sincere effort to compare, and to understand, all her statements on both sides of the issue would reveal that Ellen White was in harmony with the Bible in teaching that Jesus was the true and literal Son of God, and that the holy spirit is an extension of the Fathers life and personality. One statement alone (among many others) would make this clear to the unbiased reader.
All things Christ received from God, but He took to give. So in the heavenly courts, in His ministry for all created beings; through the beloved Son, the Fathers life flows out to all; through the Son it returns, in praise and joyous service, a tide of love, to the great Source of all. And thus through Christ the circuit of beneficence is complete, representing the character of the great Giver, the law of life. (Desire of Ages, p.21)
F____, do not be so mentally enslaved by the concept that the S.D.A. denomination is infallible; that when it comes to the teachings and the behavior of the church you simply refuse to either think, or to question. If the church decided that you should keep Sunday, I suppose you, along with the millions of other poor people who have sold their liberty to a man-made organization, would mindlessly go along with the dear old church. Are you so much like the Jews that you cannot see the difference between Gods church and mans imposter? It is sad that too many of us have been trained only to be reflectors of other mens thoughts. Thank God that His Son did not follow the religious misconceptions. Thank God that He could find, among untutored fishermen and common people, some who were willing to reject traditional thinking in the light of overwhelming evidence.
Perhaps after reading this, you will ask me also to remove you from my mailing list. However, this will not settle the differences between you and people of my persuasion, neither will it help to enlighten you or me any better. The only thing which will do this is careful, and prayerful, AND HONEST, examination of the issues in the light of ALL the Word of God.
from the 2001 West Virginia Camp Meeting
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“Let God be True
By Allen Stump
All my family, and many of the readers of Old Paths, know that I have an only son named Hans. Yet how do you really know that I have a son and his name is Hans? You were not present when he was born. You have never seen a birth certificate. The truth of the matter is, you only have my word to go on.
Let us assume that my family was to visit a group of people who knew of me, but did not know Hans. After speaking to the people for a few minutes, I might say, By the way, let me introduce you to my only son, his name is Hans. Hans then introduces himself to all the visitors as my son. Finally, before the evening is over, Hans is personally introduced to several people by friends of mine who already know him, and each time he is introduced as being my son. What do you think the people would believe about my relationship to him? Thats right, he is really my son!
Now while I do wish to be an honest person, I believe that it is extremely interesting that many accept my word for something that does not affect their salvation, while rejecting what God says about His son, which does affect their salvation! You see, many times in the Scriptures, Jesus Christ is declared to be Gods only Son, yet so many disbelieve God and also disbelieve the testimony of own Son as well as the testimony of Gods prophets!
The Fathers Testimony
Let us notice what Gods direct testimony is concerning Jesus Christ. Just after Jesus was baptized by John, the Bible says that a voice was heard from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:17) God said (for only the Father could say this), that Jesus was His son! Later, on the mount of transfiguration, God made the same declaration! (See Matthew 17:5.) Please carefully consider this. In two, of the three times the New Testament records the Father speaking directly to humanity, it is a declaration that Jesus is His Son!
Remember this, your heavenly Father loves you so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for your sins. He loves humanity. He loves you. We were created for fellowship with Him. He longs to have us near Him and communicate with us. He, much more then we, looks forward to the end of sin when we can meet face to face. He greatly desires to draw close to us. He chooses to speak to humanity three times in the New Testament. Can we not expect Him to have something very important for us? Can we not expect a message that is important to our salvation? Of course we can, and God tells us that Jesus is His beloved Son, and that we should hear him. (Matthew 17:5) Good, lets hear what Jesus Himself had to say on the matter of His identity.
The Sons Testimony
Speaking to Nicodemus, Jesus described Himself in the most loved, most famous, but sadly, perhaps the most unbelieved Bible verse ever. Why do I call this verse the most unbelieved verse? Because the vast majority of Christian people deny the saving truth Jesus declared, by the acceptance of the trinity doctrine. What does that most loved text say? For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) Jesus declared that He was Gods only begotten Son.
While on trial before the high priest Jesus, was asked many things. He remained silent to the questions, fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7) Yet, when directly questioned concerning His relationship to God, Jesus gave a clear answer. Caiaphas asked Jesus, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. (Matthew 26:63) This was tantamount to asking Jesus, under, oath if He was the Son of God. Jesus replied, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. (Mark 14:62) Commenting upon this gospel incident, Ellen White wrote:
At last, Caiaphas, raising his right hand toward heaven, addressed Jesus in the form of a solemn oath: I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God.
To this appeal Christ could not remain silent. There was a time to be silent, and a time to speak. He had not spoken until directly questioned. He knew that to answer now would make His death certain. But the appeal was made by the highest acknowledged authority of the nation, and in the name of the Most High. Christ would not fail to show proper respect for the law. More than this, His own relation to the Father was called in question. He must plainly declare His character and mission. Jesus had said to His disciples, Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. Matt. 10:32. Now by His own example He repeated the lesson.
Every ear was bent to listen, and every eye was fixed on His face as He answered, Thou hast said. (Desire of Ages, pp. 706, 707)
Jesus said that He was the Son of God, and even this testimony of great truth was received from the Father. (See John 8:47; 14:10;17:8.)
The Apostles Testimonies
We have seen the Fathers direct testimony that Jesus is His son. We have seen the testimony of Jesus, even under oath, that He is the Son of God. Let us now proceed to the testimony of those inspired with the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus asked the disciples who He was, Peter replied, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Matthew 16:16) To this reply Jesus declared, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 16:17) While Jesus did not always correct every misconception of the disciples at first, He certainly never pronounced a blessing upon error!
After the conversion of the Apostle Paul, the Bible says that straightway [or immediately] he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. (Acts 9:20) The very truth that Paul had denied was the very first truth that Paul preached!
John the Baptist declared Jesus to be the Son of God, And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. (John 1:34)
Nathanael said, to Jesus, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. (John 1:49)
The disciples as a group declared Jesus to be the Son of God, Then they that were in the ship [the disciples] came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. (Matthew 14:33)
The eighth chapter of Acts records the incident of Philip meeting the Ethiopian eunuch. After Philip expounded on the prophecies concerning Jesus, the Ethiopian was converted and wished to be baptized. He said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? (Acts 8:36) The Ethiopian already worshipped the Father to the best of his ability. What more was necessary? What confession and profession did Philip, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit require? Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Acts 8:37) Notice that Philip did not require the Ethiopian to believe in a trinity or a triune God, but rather that Jesus was the Son of God! How dare we require any less, or any more than the Scriptures!
The Roman centurion, and those around the cross, acknowledged Jesus to be the Son of God. Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. (Matthew 27:54)
Even the demons could not help but declare the truth about Jesus when in His presence. And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. (Mark 3:11) And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? (Matthew 8:29)
The Vital Importance of Receiving the Testimony of God
How important is it to know God and His Son? Jesus said, And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3) What will those who overcome the world believe? Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:5)
If we wish for God to dwell in us by His spirit, we must believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. (1 John 4:15)
The Scriptures declare that the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23a) However, it also says that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23b) God has provided life, even eternal life, to us through His only begotten Son. John writes:
He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:10-13)
Ironically, many theologians attempt to use the gospel according to John to prove that Jesus is the second person of the Trinity. However, John states, But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31)
John says his gospel was written not to show that Jesus was a part of some man-made god, but was written rather to show that Jesus was the Son of God.
There is but one way of escape for the sinner. There is but one agency whereby he may be cleansed from sin. He must accept the propitiation that has been made by the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world. The shed blood of Christ cleanseth us from all sin. ... A complete offering has been made; for God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, not a son by creation, as were the angels, nor a son by adoption, as is the forgiven sinner, but a Son begotten in the express image of the Fathers person, and in all the brightness of his majesty and glory, one equal with God in authority, dignity, and divine perfection. In him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, May 30, 1895)
Beloved, you believed me when I told you that Hans was my son. You would believe it if he told you he was my son. You would believe that Hans was my son if everyone who personally knew him told you so. Why not believe God when He says that Jesus is His Son? Why not believe Jesus when He says He is the Son of God? Why not believe the Apostles testimony when they declare Jesus is the Son of God? It is life eternal to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31)
When preparing to journey to Europe, I found, among the articles of clothing I needed, some woolen goods which at first appeared all right, but when brought to the light and shaken thoroughly, revealed the destructive work of moths. Had we not made close inspection, we should not have discovered their depredations. The moth is so small a creature as to be scarcely observable; but the traces of its existence are apparent, and the destruction that it makes with fur and woolen goods shows that it is a practical worker, although out of sight and unsuspected.
Thinking of the secret but destructive work of these moths, reminded us of some human beings we had known. How often our hearts have been pained by some sudden revelation in the outward actions of those for whom we had hoped better things, bringing to light their true character, that had heretofore been hidden from the sight of all! When held up before the light of God's word, the character is found to be like the moth-eaten garment, which, when shaken out and examined, reveals the destructive work that has been going on secretly for years. While they have a form of godliness, sins small in their eyes have been eating into the warp and woof of their character; and that which at a casual glance appeared lovely, is unsightly and disgusting to look upon. Could the actor, as he entered upon this path of wrong, have seen himself as he appeared when his true character was opened to the light, he would have been as terrified and startled as was Hazael when Elisha told him what a wicked and cruel course he would pursue in the future. He made answer, "What, is thy servant a dog that he should do this great thing?" Little sins oft repeated become habit, and demoralize the soul. They work for a time unperceived, but are at length brought to the light.
The formation of character is a work that is steadily advancing, and how careful children and youth should be in regard to the habits they form! You will be for time and eternity what the habits you now form make you. Your principles and practices once formed determine your character. No one suddenly develops, as did Hazael, into a deep-dyed sinner, cruel and merciless. It took time for the moth to do its work of destruction so quietly in the dark; and it takes time, little by little, for a child or youth to be easy and happy and feel secure in a course of prevarication, a course of sin hidden from human eyes. Any one act, either good or evil, does not form the character, but thoughts and feelings indulged, prepare the way for acts and deeds of the same kind. A single glass of wine may lead to the formation of a habit most difficult to overcome, and is the first step which may lead to dishonesty, theft, and murder. What you do once, children and youth, you will do more readily the second time. It is the starting in any wrong course that must be guarded against. Be careful not to let your feet take the first step in any evil way. If you will lay the foundation for your character in a pure, virtuous life, seeking help and strength from God, your character will not be like the moth-eaten garment, but it will be firm and solid.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. If you are indeed a child of God, you will be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Let the youth ever remember that there is something to escape, evils to shun. God has given his children faculties, the right employment of which would make them happy. The Lord never designed that they should be employed for our destruction. The structure of a strong, well-balanced character is made by a faithful performance of individual acts of duty in little things. You need, dear youth, to be particular in regard to your words. Your deportment, the spirit and feelings that you cherish, care and thoughtfulness in the things which are least in every-day life, form the true test of character.
This life is full of gracious opportunities, which you can improve in the exercise of your God-given abilities to bless others, and in so doing bless yourself, without considering self in the matter. Trivial circumstances oftentimes prove a decided blessing to the one who acts from principle, and has formed the habit of doing right because it is right. Seek for a perfect character, and let all you do, whether seen and appreciated by human eyes or not, be done with an eye single to God's glory; because you belong to God, and he has redeemed you at the price of his own life. Be faithful in the least as well as in the greatest; learn to speak the truth, to act at all times the truth. Let the heart be fully submitted to God. If controlled by his grace, you will do little deeds of kindness, take up the duties lying next you, and bring all the sunshine into your life and character that it is possible to bring, scattering the gifts of love and blessing along the pathway of life. Your works will be far-reaching as eternity. Your life-work will be seen in heaven, and there it will live, through ceaseless ages, because it is found precious in the sight of God. (Mrs. E. G. WhiteYouths Instructor, December 15, 1886)
Sara and I were very impressed by your Bible-based worship and by Br. Claytons messages. Everything was right to the point and biblical. Here is a $20 check donation made to Smyrna Gospel Ministries. May the good Lord bless you and your ministry. CA
Thank you for all the work you have put into making this camp meeting. VA
I pray that everything went well during your camp meeting. I am sorry that I was unable to come this year as planned. Hopefully next year. I would like to order the following books and videos. Thank you and may God continue to bless you and keep your faith strong. CO
Our prayers go out for everyone there at Smyrna Ministries. We will especially remember Hans Stump and know many prayers are ascending on high for him and his family. Thank you for the very good Old Paths excellent articles! FL
I was terribly sorry to hear of Hans regression but rejoice to hear that his attitude and walk with the Lord is strong which we know will sustain all of you. My prayer will continue for him, you and the family. PA
How is Hans doing? God has really blessed this young man. I pray his health will improve daily as he grows closer to God and His only Son. NC
(Hans will be going to the University of Virginia soon for another surgery. We would appreciate all the brothers and sisters lifting him up in prayer. Allen)
I would like the Adventist version of the two latest videos, The Father and the Son and The Death of Christ. Im continuing to pray for Hans and your ministry. KS
Please send the two videos The Father and the Son and The Death of Christ. FL
Please send me Adventist versions of the video tapes The Father and the Son and The Death of Christ. Enclosed is my check or $25 to cover the costs. Thank you and God bless you. CA
Many thanks for Allens video [The Death of Christ]. FL
I found a pamphlet called Jesus Wants a God-fearing Church in a book I got from a garage sale. On the back it says that a free copy of America in Prophecy could be obtained from your ministry. I do not know how old this pamphlet is, but if the book is still available I would like a copy. Thank you. WY
We are so blessed by the ministry that God has given to you. We want to have a part in sharing the vital true historical Seventh-day Adventist messages to the world, starting with our own community. Of all the tracts we have received, the one which most sufficiently presents the truth about Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, is the tract entitled Which God. Please send us 100 of these, so we can mail them to our church family and friends. Thanks. WA
I would like to receive the book, The Foundation of Our Faith, ASAP. GA
Smyrna Gospel Ministries. I want to thank you very, very much for all the booklets I have received. I would like to order Foundation of Our Faith and What Did the Pioneers Believe? CA
We understand you have two more tapes ready. The materials from Smyrna Gospel Ministries are such a blessing to us. We are really uplifted by reading your publications.Keep up the good work. This work is so needed. I can send this literature to others knowing they will be blessed. I recently sent some to Walla Walla jail and I understand even the guards were reading the literature on the Love of God. Keep up the good work. WA
A friend gave me three booklets on the subject of the Trinity. I found them very helpful and would like to obtain a few more copies of each one. What Did the Pioneers Believe? by Lynnford Beachy, Gods Mystery Finally Understood by Joe Harricharan and The Spirit of Antichrist by Pastor David Clayton. Would you please send me a price list so I can order some. Thank you. VA
We are praying daily for those trips that will be taken to Africa and Australia. FL
I am delighted you are going to the great continent of Africa. This money is for printed material and/or videos, whatever is needed for Africa. I look forward to your report. Remembering to pray for Br. Stumps son. WA
(Please also remember the Peru trip, as well as all men everywhere.)
I really enjoyed the May magazine [Old Paths] about Pastor Bob. I wrote him to tell him I was from the same mountain. I hope he will write articles on other subjects, too. I gave him a name of a person you folks sent a package to about the Trinity. Do you have a book or a tape about the Return of the Fourth Angel. Is there a book about the heresy that Pastor Bob talked about? I enjoyed what David Clayton wrote. NC
(We hope to have the video tape, The Return of the Fourth Angel finished by fall.)
Thanks so much for the monthly Present Truth and Old Paths and also for printing Hearth to Hearth and sending it out. I would like to request The Good News About God Series. I want the ones for non-SDA.
Please put me on your mailing list. I would like to receive your past and present newsletter. GA
Hello. I am very excited about the new cassettes you are offering. I have enjoyed listening to the ones from last years camp meeting and, oh what a blessing they have been to me. I have enjoyed hearing all the brothers including Willis Smith, Gary Richmond, and Howard Williams. Everyone has such a humble and reverent delivery. Praise God for all your efforts in sending out these vital messages.
This months Smyrna Gospel article especially touched my heart. I have no one of like faith to fellowship with. I do not feel comfortable assembling with anyone who is not totally in the Godhead message and a true believer of the Spirit of Prophecy. I thank God for all your wonderful cumulative worksfrom all sincere and ardent believers.
Please send me every tape on your list available. Im sending a small offering to help with the cost. Thank you again. I love your monthly publication and Im thrilled to be able to relive your blessed camp meeting via the miracle of cassette tapes. TN
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I just have read the article, The Bigger Picture, by Lynnford Beachy in the recent issue of Old Paths, which was done well. I would like to make some comments on the subtitle of above article, Gods Forgiveness of All Sins. While it is true that God cannot forgive our future sins with confession, nevertheless we must remember Christ paid with His death for all our sins, past, present and future. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity. Titus 2:14, first part. Also in Psalms 103:3 we read the same, Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases. David, in many Psalms, prayed for deliverance from his enemies, i.e. Psalm 18:48 and in Psalm 136:24 he wrote, and has redeemed us from our enemies (first part).
Our sins are our worst enemies and a terrible disease that plagues the humanity. Our Heavenly Fathers and His Christs desire is to deliver us from our sins and bring us to completion (perfection). Till 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. Exp. 4:13. Additional scriptures: 2 Tim. 4:18 and Jude 24, 25.
May the Lord bless your labor for others as you teach the fundamental truth about one God and His Son Jesus. NJ
(Thank you for helping place emphasis on the complete sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross.)
I just received the August Old Paths. I wanted you to know how truly grateful I am to get Old Paths. I read it over and over. It is the only study I have to uplift me and help me view things as they truly are. I dont go to church because I dont believe in the Trinity. I realize God has his people everywhere, but I hate to hear a sermon messed up. I havent been able to order tapes from you. As soon as I can see my way clear to do so, I will request some. Keep sending me Old Paths. Thank you. NC
You are in my prayers. OH
Old Paths is published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. It is sent free upon request. Office phone: (304) 732-9204. Web site: http://www.smyrna.org.
Editor: Allen Stump -
Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013