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. 14, No. 1 Straight and Narrow January 2005
The Cost of True Revival
By David Clayton
(The following study is an edited sermon preached in Jamaica. .... Editor)
I am very conscious of the fact today that the Lord wants to say something to us that is not something new, but something that is badly needs to be emphasized. In fact, I believe our subject is the key to everything that we hope for as Christians. Maybe we have said this before, that is fine. (See Philippian3:1) But I am saying it again and I am confident that my words are not being exaggerated. I would like us to pray as we go along that I might be able to share what is in my heart.
Many times the Lord sends a blessing to me when I am feeling low. This may be because this is the time I really feel a need for Him and seek Him most earnestly. One morning I was feeling very much like a failure, very much like nothing was happening, and wondered, “Where are we going?” It caused me to pray very earnestly and ask the Lord for a blessing. He led me to a very familiar passage and I was enabled to look at it and, maybe for the first time, to apply it personally. It has done so much for me that I am hoping I can recapture some of that inspiration to share with you. A lot will depend on how well we are praying and how carefully we listen.
Who is the Laodicean Message Really For?
I was lead to the message that we are told applies peculiarly to Gods church in the last days and it is a message to the Laodiceans. Now, I have read this passage through many times. I have studied with various groups. I have presented messages on it many times, But, I had never taken that message and applied it to myself. Usually when we look at this message, we apply it to the church as a body. I discovered that there is something there for me personally. I would just like us today to go through that message and see what personal word our Lord has in this message for us.
Let us go to Revelation chapter 3. Since I know there are some people here who have never examined this message before or who have never understood its significance before, I am just going to go through a little bit of background, just to give us a little idea of the significance of this message. Revelation was written especially for the people living in the last days. At the beginning of this book, in chapters 2 and 3, Jesus sends messages to seven churches. They are Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Many who study prophecy have come to the conclusion that the seven churches represent seven periods in the history of the Christian church, from the time of Christ until the end of the world. The last of these churches is Laodicea. Now it is very interesting that Jesus gives a special message to each of these churches. To every one of them He says what He finds good about them, and then He reveals the fault that He finds. There is only one church that He cannot find anything good to say about. The one that gets the next worst message is the church of Sardis. Jesus says of Sardis, “You have a name that you live, but you are dead.” Then He says, “Nevertheless, there are some in Sardis who have not defiled their garments and they shall walk with Me in white for they are worthy.”
As we read through the message to the Laodiceans, we see that there is not one good thing that Christ can find to say. This is the last church. Inasmuch as we are living in the last moments of time, we must recognize that the message to the Laodiceans applies to us. In fact, the Seventh-day Adventist Ellen White (for the benefit of those who don’t know), says that the message to the Laodicean Church applies with peculiar force to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I am going to expand this and say to the Seventh-day Adventist movement, as many of us are not really members of the corporate Seventh-day Adventist church anymore, having been disfellowshipped or having chosen to worship separately, but we are part of the movement, aren’t we? And sometimes we do get that secure feeling that because we are no longer a part of the organization, this message no longer applies to us. Therefore in examining it again, I want us to focus particularly on what Christ is saying to us individually, regardless of our status with the church.
The Church’s Destiny Hangs on this Message
The message to the church of Laodicea begins in verse 14 of Revelation chapter 3. I am going to tell you, without any fear of being proven wrong, that if each of us today will ask for the touch of the Holy Spirit to apply this Word to our life, there will be a power in this message to change our lives. Sister White calls it, The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs. (Early Writings, p. 270) Please notice the significance of this. Sometimes words dont really make the impression in our minds that they should, but when she says that the destiny of the church hangs upon this message, what she is trying to tell us is that whether the church is lost forever or saved forever depends upon this message. It depends upon the response to this message. She also says, I was shown that the pointed testimony must live in the church. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 260) It was something that was to be kept continually alive in the church and before the people. “This alone will answer to the message to the Laodiceans.” We have not really kept this message in focus.
Let’s start with verse 14. I will read through to the end and let us observe carefully each thing the Lord says as we read.
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Revelation 3:14-22)
This message is addressed to the angel, or the messenger, of the church of the Laodiceans. Do you know the meaning of Laodicea? It literally means a judging of the people. This is of peculiar significance to Seventh-day Adventists, because we believe that we are living in the time of God’s judgment, the investigative judgment. So the church that is living in the judgment hour is the church that gets this message. It is addressed to the people who are being judged. That is the first significant point. It is our message. Jesus identifies Himself as “the Amen,” and the word “amen” means, so let it be. It is a positive assertion of something. The word literally means truly. When Jesus said over and over in the book of John, “verily, verily,” it could have been translated, “amen, amen.” It is more than a prophecy because Jesus is the one who will make it happen. When He says, “So let it be,” it is not just a wish. It is a prophecying of something that will happen because all the forces of God are given in fulfilling that thing. So, amen is agreement, but much more than agreement.
Jesus is the Amen, the One who makes things happen. He is the certitude, the surety of what will take place. Next, Jesus says He is the faithful and true witness. That is so significant because in the world today we tend to exaggerate. A man says, Boy, a car just passed me on the road a while ago and it missed me by the breadth of a hair. We exaggerate, dont we? It may have been about a foot. We human beings are like that. Jesus identifies Himself as the faithful and true witness. He doesnt exaggerate. Anything that Christ says, you can be sure it is absolutely that way. He doesnt stretch the point. Whatever we are about to listen to, whatever we are about to read is coming from the One who is faithful and true. Sometimes you read a report in the Adventist Review of the wonderful works that the church is doing, of how the church is expanding and prospering. Listen to the faithful and true witness. He is the only One you can depend upon to get an accurate assessment of our true state. So, He tells us from the very beginning that He is a faithful and true witness.
Jesus Knows our Works
We read on in verse 15, “I know thy works.” Interesting. He does not say, “What are your works?” Because if He said “David, what are your works,” I might say, “Lord you know that I am studying Your Bible. Lord I am visiting the brethren. Lord, you know that I am giving out tracts. Lord, you know that I am doing my best to change people and let them know Your ways.” He doesn’t ask any questions. He says, “I know your works.” When somebody says, “I know your works,” all you can do is be quiet and listen. He is not asking questions because we always make ourselves appear pretty. We see ourselves through rose-colored spectacles, but He sees exactly the way we are and He asks no questions. He says, “I know your works, and knowing your works, I am going to tell you what your works are. Thou art neither cold nor hot. I would that thou were cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm and neither cold nor hot I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
Now, I am going to ask an honest question and I want you to think. Don’t do this, but all the Christians here who are hot, please put up your hands. I don’t think anybody would put up a hand if I permitted it. And If I asked you to raise your hand if you were a cold Christian, I don’t think you would put yourself in that category, because cold means that you are out in the dark. Cold means that you are desperately in need of getting warm. A cold person cannot sit still.
The first time I went to Blue Mountain peak I didn’t know what it was like. I am accustomed to Jamaica. I didn’t know anywhere in Jamaica could be that cold. The first time I went up there, I took a little old blanket, and that night, three of us (my brother, a friend, and I) tried to sleep one on top of the other in a desperate attempt to get warm. I say sleep, but we didn’t sleep. It was too cold. All of us shivered and huddled together. Before daylight, at four o’clock in the morning, we got up and went around desperately hunting for some water. Somebody told us there was water on the peak, but there was no water. We hunted around until we found an old ice cream jug with something in it that looked like water. We were cold. We made a fire and made some tea, because we needed to get warm. We couldn’t take it anymore. With the first crack of dawn, we took off as fast as possible down the hill. When a person is cold, he seeks warmth, doesn’t he? A cold person is a seeking person. A cold person cannot be lackadaisical or at ease and comfortable. Cold is an extreme that makes you search for something. Jesus says He would prefer that we were cold. When He says, “I would,” He means, wish. He is saying, “I would like if you were in a certain condition.” It is something to consider that our Lord is speaking to you and me and saying, “I wish.” When somebody I love says “I wish for something,” such as when Jenn says to me, “I wish I could have an apple,” when I go to Mandeville, I try my best to get her an apple because I love her.
Once when David was out in the wilderness hiding from Saul, on an impulse he said, “Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” (2 Samuel 23:15) Three of his men risked their lives to go down there in the midst of their enemies to draw a pan of water to bring back to David for him to drink. His wish was enough for men who loved him to put their lives on the line. David couldn’t drink the water. He poured it out as an offering saying the water was the blood of those men and he wouldn’t drink it.
Jesus says, “I wish,” and we have not heard His voice. He says “I wish they were hot or they were cold, because cold and hot are two extremes in which people cannot remain at ease. If you boil hot water and forget to add a little cold water, when you step into it, you will know that you are into something hot. You will react. Very quickly you will leap out of it. Hot makes people respond. You can’t be comfortable in hot. Throw some lukewarm water in, place a child into it and he might fall asleep because when you are lukewarm or warm, all you want to do is relax and take it easy. Get into bed and if the bed is just the right temperature, at four o’clock in the morning when you want to get up and pray, you can’t move. It just feels too nice. That is the problem with Laodicea—too comfortable and lukewarm, just the right temperature to put us to sleep. Jesus says, “I wish you were hot or cold.”
Now, please listen to the startling next line. He says, “Because you are lukewarm, I will spue you out of my mouth.” Hot is alright with Christ. Cold, He will accept, but lukewarm He will spit out. He will vomit it out. I was reminded by a child a couple of weeks ago, that when you vomit something out, only a dog will take it back up. When Christ says He will spue us out of His mouth, He is saying we are on the verge of being lost forever. Lukewarm is the one condition that Christ somehow cannot break through. In that case, the only thing that we are fit for is rejection. Now, I have always applied this to the church or a group, but I am looking at me, and I am wondering if I am a hot Christian.
When I talk about hot Christianity, I have to go back to the Bible to find hot Christianity. I have to go back to the apostle Paul. That was hot. You know when a Christian is really hot. If I were to stand here today and say, “Brethren, I know that I am living a good life, a pure, clean life and I know God is pleased with me,” all of you would begin to wonder if things are flying to my head. You would realize that this couldn’t be true and you would begin to lose faith in what I am saying. Yet, the Apostle Paul standing before the chief priests said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” (Acts 23:1) When he came to the end of his life, he could say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7) He spoke those words. Nobody accused him of being self-righteous because his life abundantly demonstrated that it was absolutely true, but I don’t know any Christian today who would dare to make such a statement, because we know instinctively that somehow those words just do not apply to us. We know that we are in this lukewarm, abominable condition, and if we are in this condition, Jesus says I must spit you out. Do you realize that this is a lost state? Perhaps you have allowed popular Christianity to blind your eyes to that fact, that you settle down as comfortably as everybody else, believing that it is alright because of the mercy of God, even though you are not seeing what the Lord is saying? Haven’t we all done this? We have allowed the wine of Babylon, the wine of Laodicea, or the twentieth century abomination that passes for Christianity to effect us subtly as to cause us to creep into the same kind of compromise and ease, and to believe that because we know a little bit, God is pleased with us.
The Deceit of Laodicea
As we go through this message, it becomes more and more clear that we are in a lost state and Jesus has come to us in mercy with a wonderful love, trying to help us see ourselves and to stir us up out of this state that we find ourselves in. So He says, in verse seventeen, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked…” Now, He finds a few faults with Laodicea. First of all He compares what we are to what we think we are, and secondly we are faulted because we don’t know what we are. Something is blinding our eyes so that we don’t know our true state. Now, I look at this very closely. I wonder how is it possible for a little boy to be running around naked and not know that he is naked. How is it possible for Laodicea to be poor and blind. Doesn’t every blind man know that he cannot see? Doesn’t every naked person know that he needs to be clothed? Nakedness was the first feeling of shame that came upon Adam and Eve when they first sinned. They ran to hide from God. They knew instinctively that they were naked, yet Laodicea doesn’t know. Why? What could bring a person to that state where he cannot see himself as he is?
Well, I will give you a clue. Have you ever seen these young ladies on the street wearing very revealing clothes? They are walking around half naked on the street and they are not embarrassed. You are embarrassed for them and they are not embarrassed! Why? Because they have allowed the thinking of their friends and their companions, and the styles and the fashion of their culture to get them to think a certain way so that they just cannot see how other people, who are outside of that culture, look at them. Their friends think it is alright. Their society thinks it is alright, so because of looking at the standards of those they mix with, they eventually come to accept something previously unacceptable, such as men wearing earrings. Those who are outside of that culture can look on and say, “What a blindness, what a slackness, what a loose way of life,” because you are looking at a different standard than they are. A person can be blinded to his circumstances if he focuses on the wrong thing. Do you see what I am saying?
Now, Laodicea thinks that she is rich, but she is poor. Why? Because she must be looking at the wrong standard. Let me personalize it. If I look at Walt, if I look at Charles, I could say, “Well, I am not such a bad Christian, because we live basically the same kind of lifestyle. We know basically the same things. We work basically at the same rates. We love the Lord perhaps the same way. Our lives reveal it, and so I am not such a bad Christian.” And, if I look at any other Christian around me, many of us who call ourselves reformers, we sit down and we study together, and we grumble about the problems in the system together and we are enlightened together, and I am not really any worse than the rest of you. By keeping my eyes on the wrong standard, I become satisfied to be like the rest. That is the problem where I come to think that I am clothed, because surely we are God’s people, and surely if we are not right, then where can we find right? That is the way we think. So, we believe we are rich. We have applied it to the church, and said that the church believes that it is rich because it has material goods, and that is one application, but I am not interested in that now, because God has not given me a message for the church this morning, but I know God has given me a message for my brothers and sisters who are right here, and as applied to us, I do not think many of us are materially rich, but we do have that complacent attitude that makes us believe that we are spiritually enlightened. We have knowledge. We see things that the other people are not seeing and we believe that this knowledge amounts to the true riches, and so we have settled with it right there and we have not moved on. Jesus says, “I have a problem with you because of that. You think you are rich when you are really wretched, miserable, poor, blind, naked.” How can any condition be worse than that? And, you don’t know it! You don’t know it!
Let us look at verse 18 very carefully because it is the heart of the whole message and I am praying that God will help me. Verse 18 has something hard in it, very hard, but I am hoping that the Lord will bring it across with a forcefulness that ought to come with it. “I counsel thee…” Now, when I say to Charles, “Charles, I counsel you to do so and so, he has every right to ignore my counsel because after all he hasn’t seen the benefit that I have. If I say, “I counsel you, Charles, don’t take that road,” and he takes that road, well, it is his opinion against mine, but when Jesus says, “I counsel you,” how dare you not respond? How dare you wait a little longer? “I counsel you,” He says. These are words from our Savior, the One who sees and knows all and looking at our condition, He tells us this is My remedy, this is My counsel for you. Do you dare ignore it or reject it? Now, He says, “I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire that thou mayest be rich.”
Gold Tried in the Fire
Lets take it one point at a time. The first thing I want you to notice is that He says He wants us to have gold that is tried in the fire. Apparently we have gold that makes us think we are rich, but this gold has not been tried in the fire. This is such an important point that I am going to expand on it in a moment. He says that He wants us to have gold. Sister Ellen White tells us that this gold represents faith and love. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 88) It represents those most precious graces of Christianityfaith and love. She says, The gold here recommended as having been tried in the fire is faith and love. (Ibid.) Now He says that He wants us to have gold tried in the fire. Now, what is faith that is tried in the fire? What does it mean to try something in fire? You look back at the old illustration of the refining process for gold. Gold is put under intense heat and melted down until it runs like water, and under that process, impurities rise to the top and can be skimmed away. I have never seen it happen to gold, but I have done it with lead. As a boy, we used to get old batteries and take the lead out of them and put it to melt in a fire. In a little while, it would run like water and you would see the dross or the impurities rise to the top. You would skim it away and what would appear would be something glistening and clear like a looking glass. I understand that is how it is done with gold as well. But, first of all, before gold can be purified, it must pass through fire.
And fire here…Well, I don’t want to dwell too long on it, but there are two passages in the Bible that we often neglect. There is one in Luke 3:16 where John the Baptist said he would baptize with water, but there was One who would come after him who would baptize with the Holy Ghost and fire. Now, many times people have emphasized the Holy Ghost but they have neglected to talk about the fire part of it. Or maybe they thought the fire was what came down on the disciples’ heads at Pentecost, but perhaps we could just glace quickly at Luke 12 to get a clearer idea of what this fire is. Luke 12:49-53, the words of Christ Himself. He says,
“I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” (Luke 12:49-53)
By the words of Christ Himself, He didn’t come to this earth to bring peace. He didn’t come to bring a soothing, easy life, a bed of roses, but He came to bring fire, to divide people, to bring problems and difficulties into people’s lives. He came here for that purpose. How we have avoided the cross! How we have striven to make things easy, to turn down the work that we have to do, to make things as soft as possible so that we can go through the world and have salvation without rocking the boat too much. Jesus says I didn’t come for that. I came to kindle a fire on the earth.
In the Old Testament when an offering was offered to God, the sign that God accepted that offering was that He would send fire from heaven to devour that sacrifice. It happened with Cain and Abel. It happened when Solomon dedicated the temple and he offered that sacrifice to God. It happened with Elijah on Mount Carmel, fire came down and devoured it, as a sign that God had accepted the sacrifice. In Romans 12:1, the apostle Paul says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…unto God.” If you truly do that, what do you think will be the consequence? What do you think will be the sign that God accepts your offering? He is going to burn it with fire. Brothers and sisters, it appears unreasonable that a young babe in Christ should come to God and say, “Take my life, Lord,” and the next thing that happens is that God brings problems into that person’s life. How unhappy and unreasonable it seems to do a thing like that! Friends, God is not a parent who spoils His children. Every wise parent knows that if you keep your child in a crib all day long, he will never learn to walk, that if you walk along and follow him and prevent him from falling down and getting into little difficulties and learning to help himself, he will never develop into a normal child who can help himself. You have to give him that leeway to hurt himself. The Lord knows that the best way for a Christian to grow is for your faith to be put to the test. Like our sister in Montego right now, Monday morning she will probably lose her job. She works at the bank. I baptized her a little over a month ago. She has been working there all her life, but now all of a sudden she cannot let Friday evening at sunset keep her at work, so she says, “Please, let me go home.” They said, “No, we can’t do it for one person.” She said, “I’ll work through my lunchtime, if you will let me off one hour earlier.” “No.” So, when Friday evening came, she said, “I am going home.” The supervisor said, “If you leave, you are walking off the job,” so, she packed her things and she left. Now, Monday morning she is going back to find out if she has a job. I spoke to her last night, and she said, “David, praise God.” You know, I have been praying that her faith doesn’t fail, because she has a little boy to support, and she has rent to pay, and her mother has turned against her because of the Sabbath, and so she is in the fire up to her neck. A brand-new Christian. I know God won’t let her down, but He is going to let her go through the fire, and you know something burns within me and says, “Where is the fire for the rest of us?” Most of us make that initial sacrifice, but as time goes along, we fit in with the crowd around us. We notice that other Christians around us are not suffering and not feeling any fire. The sacrifices that we feel compelled to make, the things that God calls us to do, we don’t see as necessary because the brethren are not doing those things. Why should I alone be doing them? And so, no fire comes into our life. But, I tell you, if you begin to follow the impulses of the Holy Spirit right now, fire will come into your life immediately. That person next to you that God wants you to speak to, that wrong thing in a friend or a loved one that you are trying to be diplomatic and not speak about, but you should be faithful and rebuke sin in those that you love. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend,” says the Scripture, “but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:6)
You know it was brought home to me because there was something that I should have spoken to Howard about that I thought wasn’t too right, and I said, “Well, Howard is my friend and I don’t want to offend him.” Something personal. You know, he might not take it the right way, and so I struggled, and I didn’t say it to him. After a time was passed, the Lord brought this message to me and I saw where I had sinned. I mentioned it to him afterwards, and he said, “Why didn’t I say it?” He wouldn’t have felt that way. But look, the possibility that it could have caused a rift between us made me hold my peace. Isn’t that one way of avoiding the fire that God wants to bring into my life? Standing for the truth, obeying God always brings a little more difficulty, a little more opportunity for God to show us His hand.
The other day I was reading about Joseph going down to Egypt and there was the famine and he became ruler of Egypt. He made a rule when the Egyptians had paid all their money and they had nothing left, he bought the Egyptians and he bought their lands for pharaoh and afterwards Joseph gave them corn to plant in the fields, and he said, “Look here, from now on, whenever you plant your crops, one-fifth of everything you grow belongs to pharaoh.” You know, the Lord said to me, “David, imagine, one-fifth for pharaoh, and God’s people only give him one-tenth.” Pharaoh, the false god, got one-fifth from the Egyptians and they still lived. The thought came to me, should those Egyptians love pharaoh more than I love God? Or should they serve pharaoh more faithfully than how I serve God? Now, right there, between God and I, maybe a little fire that He wants to bring into my life. How do I respond? I can take up or I can leave it. Nobody compels me. It is God and I. But look here, the Lord says that if we go with Him, we will experience the gold tried in the fire.
We Must Buy the Gold
Now, I want to go back to that word that we didnt use, buy, because it is a most important word and I never saw it before because I was always saying, Look here, come to Jesus and ask Him and you will get the gold. Ask Him, and so we have been asking Him. The church has been asking for more than one-hundred-fifty years. I have been asking for many years of my life. Where is the gold? Why are there not more trials in my life, more persecution? I am supposed to be a child of God, and His Word says, “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 4:12) The Word of God says in this world you shall have tribulation, and yet I am not having more tribulation than the rest of man, or the Christian in the other church, or the ordinary citizen. The Word of God is not fulfilled in my life. Why? Jesus says, “Buy of Me.” I am to buy, but wait a minute. I thought salvation was free. Isaiah 55:1 says, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Why do you spend your money for what does not satisfy and your labor for what is not bread? So, it is free and yet Jesus says here, “Buy.” So, as this Word came to my mind, I began to think and I remembered that Jesus told a story about a man who was digging in a field, in Matthew 13, when he came upon a treasure of great price. What does it say that the man did next? He went and he sold all that he had and bought that field. Then He tells about a pearl merchant who was looking for goodly pearls and he found one pearl of great price. Again, this man went and he sold everything that he had and he bought that field. So, I realized that salvation is not really free. I realized that Jesus does not present Himself as Santa Claus. He is not giving anything away free. Listen to me. It is the truth. We are required to buy the gold. It is not just to pray and pray and pray and try to bleed God’s heart. There is something that Christ requires us to do. If we are to have the gold, He says sell all that you have.
Now, what does He mean by this? What does He mean by selling all that you have? Ellen White says. Eternal life is of infinite value and it will cost us all that we have. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, page 255) Let us look at how Christ Himself put it in Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” In verse 33, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” What is the meaning of this word, forsake? What is the meaning of this word, hate? He even says we are to forsake and if we don’t do this, you cannot be my disciples.
I want to show you practically how some people in the Bible accepted this message. Let’s look first of all at Luke 9:60, where Jesus Himself gave an illustration of what he meant by forsaking all. Let’s start with verse 59, “And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” Now, if you were that man, what would you have done in the light of what Christ said? Did the man say, “I will not follow you?” Did he mean to follow Christ? He meant to do something else first. Jesus said let the dead bury their dead, you go and preach the kingdom. Now, you being that man, what does Christ expect of you? Are you to go back home and bury your father first? Having heard those words, would you have felt at liberty to go back home and bury your father? I don’t think in the words of Christ there is allowance made for that. He is saying to the man, “I have called you to do something, and you want to go and do something else first.” He is saying, “Look here, if you are spiritually dead, you can go back, but if you are spiritually alive or you want to be a hot person, go and put first things first.” Am I exaggerating it or am I putting it out of context? Am I misunderstanding it? I don’t think so. He is talking about priorities, isn’t He? First things first. Burying a dead person is an important duty, but how does that compare against the great commission of going into all the world and preaching the gospel to every creature. A dead man is dead already, so, sad to say, you must put him in an expensive, well-decorated box. You must have a big service, take hundreds of people off their business and waste hours of their time to put this man in the ground. Of how much value and importance is that compared to the winning of souls. This is what Christ is talking about. This man wanted to bury his father first. He had his priorities wrong, didn’t he?
What about us? Look here, it is not an isolated message. I want to show you over and over in the Scripture. Let’s look at how the disciples understood this command. Luke 5:11, shows how the disciples responded when Christ called them to forsake all, to give all for His sake, it says, “And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.” What does it mean that they forsook all? Does it mean that they only made up their mind that they were going to put Christ first? No. They literally did something. They abandoned something. They gave up something. They put down something for good, and they took up a different lifestyle for good. This first lifestyle was one where they had their daily bread. They were comfortable. They were secure. This new lifestyle was wandering about as itinerants behind this man, not certain of what would happen from day to day, but they took that up for Christ’s sake.
Heaven Will Cost Us Everything!
“And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him.” (Luke 5:27) Now Levi, you know, was a tax collector and he was working at the tax office. All of a sudden Christ passed by. I don’t know what he had heard about Christ, what relationship he had had with Him before Jesus said, “Follow Me.” He gets up off the government’s job and he leaves his books and his receipts and his cash behind, and immediately he follows Christ. He leaves his job instantly, completely, totally, and forever. He never goes back to it. That’s how he understood the call of Christ. Not just in a mental assent, but there was a practical applying of the principle of forsaking all. Now don’t misunderstand me, I am not trying to say, I still have not come to the understanding that God is saying all of us are to get up and leave our jobs. I am not saying that. If I seem to be saying that, let me correct myself. What I know is that many times we don’t do things that we should do because of our own convenience. I cannot leave my wife for a month to go into an area to work because I can’t stand the separation. What did Jesus mean when he said forsake wife? I can’t leave my wife for a couple of weeks. I can’t change my job because I am getting more here. I can’t change my job where I get more time for the Lord. All that you are in is a rat race to survive. All you are in is to live in this world and to make a living. What have we forsaken for Christ, really? For most of us the only sacrifice we ever made was to give up going to the market on Sabbath. The Lord is not pleased. He says it will take all to enter glory.
Now, I want us to go to another place that brings out perhaps more clearly the principle that I am talking about. The real problem is that these carnal, temporal considerations have become the most important things in our lives. We don’t have time for the duties of Christ because we are busy looking about things. Let us go to Matthew 22 and I want to compare it with Luke 14. Matthew 22 has a very familiar parable about a king who made a wedding supper for his son. I usually use this parable to demonstrate that self-righteousness is one of the things that God abhors, but there is something else in this passage that I want to look at this morning. Let’s start with verse 2, “The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.” Notice God is inviting people to come to the wedding. Ellen White says the wedding represents the union of divinity and humanity. It is a oneness experience with God. God calls us to this experience, but he says that he calls those who were invited and they wouldn’t come. It is significant—they wouldn’t come. They wouldn’t go into that experience. What is keeping them from it? Verse 4, “Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.” God is saying I have done everything that I possibly could do. Everything is ready. It is your move, now, My people. Come into the experience. “But they made light of it.” How do you make light of something? If you think something is trivial or not very important, you don’t pay much attention to it. God, the Almighty One, calls His people to the most wonderful experience of all eternity, and they make light of it. Why do they make light of it? Read the next lines, brothers and sisters, “…and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise.” You have a job to go to. You have a business to run. You have life to look about. You make light of God’s call because you are too busy with worldly considerations. Am I exaggerating what the Word of God is saying?
This is brought out in a little more detail in Luke chapter 14 where it says, “And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.” (vs. 17, 18) This one is buying house and land and is busy in accumulating property. He is too busy dealing with business that he cannot come. “And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” (vs. 19, 20) Starting a family, honeymooning, and so wrapped up in an earthly love relationship that you neglect the greatest love of all. These are the excuses that people make.
Now I want to show you something. Let’s go back to Matthew, chapter 22 verse 6, “And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.” Now, notice, the people who reject the invitation and are too busy are not the same people who murder His servants. Two different sets of people, am I right? The remnant take these people and they slay them. The first set of people, all they said was, “Boy, I don’t have the time. I can’t come.” “But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth His armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.” Now, who gets burned? Everybody, those who didn’t have time, as well as those who murdered and persecuted God’s servant got burned. Mark those words. It is not just those who persecute God’s people who are lost. It is also professed people of God who didn’t have time for Him who are lost as well. It says, “Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.” (Matthew 22:8) They were not worthy because they made light of God’s invitation. They were not worthy because they did not place the right value upon eternal things. Because they made food and drink, clothing, house and land business the most important things in their life. God says they are not worthy. They are not fit. And for the sentence let’s go back to Luke 14, where the sentence is clearly enunciated. It says in verse 24, “For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” Do you understand the sentence? It says none of those invited who made light of it and were too busy, and who persecuted my servants, none of them is going to taste of my supper.
Now, knowing the parable, can you tell me which people actually partook of the supper? He said, “Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.” (Luke 14:21) Why did He call those people out? Those people, do they have any house or land? They don’t have an ox to go and try. They have nothing to tie them down. They are the people who have nothing in this world and they are the ones who finally come.
Ellen White says the destiny of the church hangs upon this message. Jesus says I wish you were hot. When we start looking around for a hot Christian, we have to go back about two thousand years. Maybe you could stretch a point and go back a hundred and odd years to Ellen White and some of the pioneers, but when you talk about a hot church, a hot church, a hot people, you have to go back two thousand years.
You cannot look at anybody today and say I see a hot Christian. You only see a few little feeble flickers of light now and then, but hot? No. I’m telling you according to the Word of God, there is no possible way it can happen, unless you divorce yourself from the things that bind you to this life. No man can serve two masters. You can’t have something holding you here and something holding you here. Just in terms of the time that it takes, we don’t have it. And Christ knew it, and that is why He was so uncompromising.
The rich young man came to Him and said, “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18) Jesus says, “Keep the commandments.” His conscience troubled him like ours are troubling us. He wasn’t satisfied. Lord, I’ve done all this, but I am lacking something. I feel the lack. Isn’t that true for all of us? We are feeling that lack though we have kept the commandments, though we worship on Sabbath, don’t you feel that lack? Now, he came to Christ—What do I still lack? Jesus says, “Okay. You want to be perfect? You really want that higher experience?” And I suppose the eyes of Christ lit up with joy to find here a seeking heart. He says, “I’m going to tell you what it is going to take. Sell everything and come and follow Me.” Did He mean it? He meant every word of it. He was not joking. He meant it because that is what He told Peter and the other apostles. They were fishermen, but when they obeyed they didn’t have anything much to lose. Well, Matthew had a little more to lose, but Matthew obeyed as well. But this man, he just couldn’t do it, and he turned back. But if he had followed Christ, he might have been the one that took Judas’ place. Can you think of that. But he died with his earthly treasure. He died committed to earthly things because he couldn’t make the necessary move. When the disciples saw it, they said, “Who, then, can be saved?” (v. 26) Then they said something that I want you to think again. They said, “Lo, we have left all, and followed thee.” They wanted to know what they would receive. Now, they understood that in leaving all they had literally abandoned their earthly commitments. Peter literally left his wife at home to wander about Galilee and Judea with this itinerant preacher, Jesus. He literally left her behind. We are told that she didn’t lack anything and he didn’t lack anything, but he gave up everything literally, and went to follow Christ around. Jesus said, “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. (Matthew 19:28, 29)
Now, God gives us the option to make our living in this world. Fine. We have that to do, but He also shows us that His ideal is that the less entanglement we have with this life the better we can be as Christians. And so, as He calls us higher, mark this point with care. We might pray and pray and pray for revival, but Jesus is telling us over and over, “Buy of Me. It is your move.” It is us who are to make the next move.
Christs message to Laodicea isnt over. I want us to just continue down the last few verses. I just want to make a quick comment on the last line of Revelation 3:18. It says, anoint thine eyes with eye-salve that thou mayest see. Perhaps I have been watching Howard as my ideal of what a Christian should be. Maybe I have been watching David Mould. Maybe I have been watching John Grosboll, or Ron Spear, because these are big men in the independent movement. We might be watching these men and wish that someday our experience might be like theirs. Jesus says anoint your eyes with eye-salve. The eye-salve is not the Firm Foundation magazine. The eye-salve is not Landmarks magazine or Open Face or Old Paths! The eye-salve is the Word of God! Come to the Word of God and see what Christianity is. Come to the Word of God. Don’t look at any of these other feeble human beings. Come to the Word of God and anoint your eyes with eye-salve and you will see what you are. Can you compare yourself to Christ and feel that you are somebody? Look at the Bible. When I do, I will not be satisfied to be like my brethren. With my eyes on Christ and His Word, I must aim for the stars. Whatever it takes to be perfect, Lord Jesus, that is what God wants of us and we are told to anoint our eyes so that we may see because we have been blinded by Babylon. We have been blinded by the twentieth-century imposter that calls itself Christianity. It is not Christianity. It is a lukewarm dead thing that is in danger of being spued out of the mouth of Christ.
Gods Chastisement is from Love
I could not understand Revelation 3:19 until I read it over and over. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” You know, I always asked this question, “What do you mean, Lord? Are you saying you are going to chastise us because you love us? So how come I don’t see any chastisement? How come we have it so easy? Are you saying that we are not being chastised; therefore, I don’t love you? Is that what you are saying?” But, the last time I read it, when the Lord blessed me the other day that I was telling you about, I understood what He was saying at last. What is the chastisement? What is the rebuke? It is the message. You are saying, “Lord why are you talking to me so hard? God, why are you telling me that you are about to spit me out. Lord, why are you treating me so hard? Aren’t you my friend?” He says, “Listen my child, I love you, that is why I am telling you this. I am giving you this message because I love you. I don’t want to spit you out. I don’t want you to be lost, so I am telling you these things because I love you.” Oh, my heart melted when I read that. It was like Jesus was talking to me personally, saying David, I love you. I don’t want to spit you out. That is why I brought this to your attention. I want you to change. I want you to see what I want you to be and I want you to make a move so that I don’t have to reject you. So He says, when you understand that it is love why I have left this message in the Bible for two thousand years for you, when you understand that, what are you to do? You are to repent.
Repentance from the World
Repentance is a genuine sorrow for sin. What sin? The sin is that of putting worldly things first; of looking at the wrong standard; the sin of neglecting Christ. He says be sorry for that sin and then do what? I am to have a godly sorry for sin and a turning away from it. That is repentance. It is not just a sorrow about our sins, we must turn away from them! You must do something positive. You must abandon the things you have been doing. You must stop doing them and you must start doing something else right now. Because, Jesus says you are to be zealous. Zeal is fire, energy, determination, forcefulness, and something that is unstoppable. Jesus says, “Look here, you have been zealous in following the world cup team. You have been zealous in all the things that you do. Now I want you to put that zeal into doing something else, in stopping what you have been doing and starting to do something else. I don’t want you to do it tomorrow. I don’t want you to do it next week. I want you to do it now. Be zealous, because I have taken the time to warn you and you are in a dangerous position. You must do something about it. Be zealous. Manifest that energy, that forcefullness, that determination. Take hold of my promise and change your life now. Do what needs to be done.” That is His challenge to us.
Perhaps you have been at home on a Sunday evening when hundreds of thousands are out there who dont know the truth and you are watching T.V., doing something of no use, or working around the yard, putting the dead first over the call of the Lord. You have been waiting on somebody else to move. You have your eyes on the wrong standard. We have committed ourselves to making a success in this life, but have not cared for the kingdom of God. Surely, the Lord has been merciful in sparing us this long in this wretched state, but He says, Look now, be zealous and repent. Change! Jesus is speaking to us today and He wants us to change.
No wonder Sister White said that the destiny of the church hangs upon this message, because if we accept it, we can become hot Christians as God wants us to be. We have been too committed to trivial things.
Jesus Knocks at the Door of Our Hearts
Finally, listen to what Jesus says in Revelation 3:20, “Behold I stand at the door, and knock…” Again it is such a wonderful picture. Let me ask you something. Does He say, I am standing in the street knocking? Does He say I am calling at the veranda gate? No. He says, “I stand at the door.” Now, when somebody comes into your yard, comes through your gate, comes up on your veranda and gets to the door, and he knocks, whose move is it? Your move! When a man has gone that far to see me, he has done everything that is possible. If I refuse to open the door, the only thing he can do next is to break down the door to get to see me, right? Christ will never do that. He doesn’t represent Himself as standing in the street. He says, “I stand at the door. I am doing everything possible to reach you. It is your move, My children. I stand at the door. I am knocking.” Knocking for what? Knocking to come in and have a kind of experience with us that we have neglected to have with Him. Standing there, why? Because He can’t come any closer without infringing upon our rights and our free will. So, He has to stand there, but He is knocking and we have not heard His voice, but He says I am standing there knocking.
Jesus says, “If any man hear my voice…” Have you heard His voice. Are you listening? Can you hear Christ calling you to something more intimate and wonderful? Here is a life of sacrifice, a life of hardship, a life of fire. He says, “In this world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) He says as long as you live in this life, I don’t promise you that it is going to be easy. If you walk with Me, I guarantee you it is going to be hard, but every bit of hardship that I bring into your life I will make it sweet for you by being there with you. Someone who looks like the Son of God will walk with you in the furnace. The angel of God will shut the lion’s mouth when you are in the lion’s den. I will be with you, but I guarantee fire will be in your life every step of the way. If you want the fire, come, because, look here, I am going to come into you and I will sup with you.
Now, I understand that in the middle east the most intimate meal was the supper. That was the meal when the family gathered around and in an informal way they would talk, not like lunch and breakfast. The supper was the most intimate meal. That was the meal where the disciple John leaned on Jesus’ bosom, isn’t that right? They all gathered around like friends, and He says that is what you are going to have with Me if you open the door. I am going to come in. We are going to be friends, but, I will not walk with you that way unless you buy of Me by making the sacrifices that I require of you. You have to give up the things that have been binding you and tying you to trivial things. You have to learn to put your trust in God, and sometimes you will have to leave something that will make you a little more money. And so, you are going to find that things are a bit tighter and ends are harder to meet. Before your bank accountant worked on your behalf, guess what, God is now going to have to work on your behalf. Now you are going to lose some friends, but guess what? The loss of those friends and the persecution of those friends is going to drive you closer to Christ. So you are going to have fellowship with the Lord sweeter than you ever experienced before and that is what He wants. He says, “If you will open the door, I will sup with you and you are going to understand what it means that the Lord Himself will manifest Himself to you.
The Shaking and the Message to Laodicea
You should read the chapter entitled The Shaking, in Early Writings, pages 269-273. Ellen White saw a group of people who were praying earnestly. Great drops of sweat stood out on their foreheads. As they prayed, she noticed that there were some other people who were not so concerned. She says they were careless and indifferent, taking things lightly. She says she saw the angels of God leaving those who were careless and indifferent. Brothers and sisters, do we believe those words? They went to the assistance of those who were crying with strong faith and agonizing cries. These were concerned about their condition. The others were careless. She says she asked the meaning of the shaking that she had seen. I did not realize this before. The shaking is simply this—that some people are concerned and some are not. Do you get that? The unconcerned ones are shaken out because the angels of God leave them. Read the chapter. She says the angel told her that the shaking would be caused by the Laodicean message. She saw that this message would cause those that received it to exalt the standard. Yes, the standard of Christianity must be exalted. Not as we see around us today. They exalted the standard and they poured forth the straight truth and this would cause a shaking among God’s people. Then she says that after awhile she saw those who were shaken clothed with an armor from head to foot and they marched like a band of soldiers. She asked what had caused this great change and she was told it was the latter rain. It is the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel. So, we can see, brothers and sisters, we have been praying about the latter rain, and the loud cry, and the infilling of the Spirit, but the key to this is that it begins with recognizing your state and with the Laodicean message. It begins in seeing and understanding this message.
Unselfish Christian Service to Each Other
Finally, I just want to read three more verses for you because I want to show you what happens when people really accept this message and really forsake and give up all they have for the cause of God. I want to show you in a practical way how this Christianity manifests itself. I want to show you that we have not even dreamed of seeing this yet. Let’s turn to Acts, chapter 4 and we find here the example of some of those who did indeed forsake all for the Lord’s cause. This is what God wants to bring back—a red-hot Christianity. Let’s start with verse 32, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.”
Look here, you have to give up everything before you say this is not mine anymore, it is ours. Sometimes we use the words, but we really feel offended if someone interferes with your things and you need it to use. I think the disciples, as it is described here in the Bible really reached a place where they gave up personal possessions. Whatever they had was ours. It says further “Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” (vs, 34, 35)
Shall we Continue as we are, or shall we Heed the Counsel?
Somebody says to me, it is not time to do that again. I don’t know. I am telling you that when the church was hot, that was what it was like. I don’t know if it is time to do that again or not. I am telling you that the church will never be hot again without this kind of deeds accompanying it and without this kind of lifestyle. Is it because we are not hot that we have not come to this place of doing these things, or is it because we have not done these things while we are not hot? I don’t know which is cause and which is effect, but I tell you they go hand in hand.
As we are looking at the final work, we can continue to live as we are and to put off making the complete sacrifice, because nobody else is making it and I don’t want to run ahead. But, as long as we continue to live in this state we will continue to be in a lukewarm state and ultimately we will be spued out of the mouth of Christ. I tell you John the Baptist was a hot Christian. You could say people like the Samaritan woman and the Syrophonecian women were cold, would you say that? The Syrophonecian woman wasn’t even an Israelite, who had a demon-possessed daughter, and she cried after Jesus. The woman at the well who had had five husbands, she was dead cold, wasn’t she. Zaccheus, the tax collector, he was cold, wasn’t he? Because they were cold, they were absolutely receptive to the first little sign of light and welcome and Christ could help them. The hot ones like John the Baptist were already there. Who is it that Christ couldn’t reach? The scribes and Pharisees, and the Jews who felt that they had it all and that they were already God’s people. He couldn’t reach them. They were the ones that were eventually spit out of His mouth.
May God help that all of us take the warning that He has given us today.
(David Clayton ministers in Jamaica. You may contact him by writing to: Restoration Ministries, PO Box 23, Knockpatrick, Manchester, Jamaica. His email address is:David@restorationministry.com)
We want share a prayer of thanks that the Lord brought back our family and friends who traveled to Africa during parts of November and December to minister to orphans, refuges, and their families as well as to share the message. Please continue to pray for the dear souls they were ministering to. We hope to have a report for you in next month’s edition
We are currently laying plans for our summer camp meeting that need the guidance of the Lord, and we are also laying plans for a witness at the 2005 General Conference Session of Seventh-day Adventists at St. Louis, Missouri. If you are interested in helping please contact us.
The following request was first published in the November 2004 edition of Old Paths. We are asking for your continued prayers concerning the noted matter.
We are asking you to continue to pray that the Lord will help us with this urgent need we have for a believer to be able to do the printing for us. While Lynnford and I are both well able to perform this function, we both feel as the apostles did when asked to help with the daily ministration to the widows as mentioned in Acts 6. The apostles stated, “It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.” (Acts 6:2) Their desire was to devote themselves “continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4) Of course we are not speaking of literal tables today, but the principle is that the “minister” should be able to devote his time and energies to spiritual matters and allow other aspects of the work to be covered by those who are able, but have not been called to the ministry, in the same sense, as the “minister.”
While we are able to train someone to do this work, that is a time extensive project by itself and we pray that God will provide someone with some experience in offset printing who can help. We would appreciate your prayers concerning this as our supply of many materials is quite low due to neither Lynnford nor I having the time to print while pressing matters of ministry, as well as personal family needs, require our time. Allen Stump
A Request from Brother Beachy:
God has been gracious enough to give me an excellent secretary who has been very kind and helpful to me for several years. Esther McDaniel, is not only my secretary, she is my mother-in-law, and I could not ask for a better secretary nor mother-in-law, so I have really been blessed.
As you may know, Esther is also very involved with the Hearth to Hearth magazine as well as an orphanage project in Africa, so the time she can dedicate to performing the tasks as my secretary has become increasingly limited. She really loves the African orphans, and wishes to dedicate even more time to helping them. She has informed me that she will not be able to continue to work as my secretary for much longer.
I would appreciate it if you would pray that the Lord will provide just the right person who can assist me in this work. Lynnford
Revival Held at the Smyrna Chapel
On December 8-12 a series of revival meetings was held at the Smyrna Sabbath Chapel. The goal of these meetings was threefold. 1. We realized that as a church we were not living the Christian life as fully as it was our privilege to. We were asleep to many spiritual matters and needed awakened. We recognized that the counsel of the faith and true witness was for us. 2. We wanted to have a series of presentations on the gospel that we could invite our friends and neighbors to that might help them to give their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ or live closer to Jesus if they had already given their lives to Him. 3. Knowing that many of our readers do not have the opportunity to attend meetings such as these, and knowing that many who come to camp meeting want something in the middle of the year to help spiritually tide them over, we wanted to have these meetings so we could record them for those who needed or wished encouragement or wanted some new witnessing materials.
The meetings were very timely and I know that I was greatly blessed by each presentation. Several testified that the meetings were a real blessing to them as well. The presentations of the topics were especially designed to appeal to the newborn in Christ. However, there was a depth and spiritual atmosphere about each meeting to give the more mature in Christ a rich blessing as well. A list of the Meetings is given below:
These meetings have been recorded and are available on a variety of media including regular VHS video cassettes and audio cassettes. We also have converted each presentation to MPEG2 format and put them on DVD. Besides these formats we have both audio and MP3 CD’s available as well as MPEG4 video.
VHS Tape (1 Message per tape) $7.00/tape
DVD (1 Message per disc) $10.00/ disc
Audio Cassette (1 Message per tape) $2.00/tape
Audio CD (1 Message per disc) $3.00/disc
MP3 Disc (All six message [audio] on one disc. Must have MP3 player or computer with ability to play MP3 format) $3.00/disc
MPEG4 Disc (Not as good quality as DVD, but much smaller file sizes.) Each disc must be played on a Windows XP equipped computer. The needed codec is supplied with the disc. Each presentation is put on one computer data disc. Suggested donation is $5.00/CD. All the presentations are also available on one DVD data disc and the suggested donation is $10.00/disc.
When requesting any or all of the presentations, please be sure to note which presentations you would like and the specific media format you are interested in. Allen Stump
Wherever the Word of God has been faithfully preached, results have followed that attested its divine origin. The Spirit of God accompanied the message of his servants, and the word was with power. Sinners felt their consciences quickened. The “light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” illumined the secret chambers of their souls, and the hidden things of darkness were made manifest. Deep conviction took hold upon their minds and hearts. They were convinced of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment to come. They had a sense of the righteousness of Jehovah, and felt the terror of appearing, in their guilt and uncleanness, before the Searcher of hearts. In anguish they cried out, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” As the cross of Calvary, with its infinite sacrifice for the sins of men, was revealed, they saw that nothing but the merits of Christ could suffice to atone for their transgressions; this alone could reconcile man to God. With faith and humility they accepted the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. Through the blood of Jesus they had “remission of sins that are past.”
These souls brought forth fruit meet for repentance. They believed and were baptized, and rose to walk in newness of life,—new creatures in Christ Jesus. Not to fashion themselves according to the former lusts, but by the faith of the Son of God to follow in his steps, to reflect his character, and to purify themselves even as he is pure. The things they once hated, they now loved; and the things they once loved, they hated. The proud and self-assertive became meek and lowly of heart. The vain and supercilious became serious and unobtrusive. The profane became reverent, the drunken sober, and the profligate pure. The vain fashions of the world were laid aside. Christians sought not the “outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” [1 PET. 3:3, 4.]
Revivals brought deep heart-searching and humility. They were characterized by solemn, earnest appeals to the sinner, by yearning compassion for the purchase of the blood of Christ. Men and women prayed and wrestled with God for the salvation of souls. The fruits of such revivals were seen in souls who shrank not at self-denial and sacrifice, but rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer reproach and trial for the sake of Christ. Men beheld a transformation in the lives of those who had professed the name of Jesus. The community was benefited by their influence. (Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 461, 462)
The Christian Pathway
To be a Christian means to possess the attributes of Christs character, to have a heart imbued with love for God, to delight to honor God, to reach earnestly after heavenly attainments. It means to render to God grateful songs of praise from a heart swelling with gratitude, to appreciate all that has its origin in God and heaven. The Christian loves what God loves. A heart filled with Christian love is lifted far above the atmosphere of selfishness. It lives in a pure, bright, holy atmosphere. The love that God puts into the heart is a love dictated by holy impulses, sustained by a sense of duty, and cherished by a resolute will. In the soul where this love is cherished, virtue will grow like a tree in a well-cultivated garden.
To be a Christian means to possess the Christian graces, to bear fruit unto righteousness, even the fruits of the Spirit,love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. To be a Christian means to practice religion in the home. Where is it more needed? Home influence, all-powerful for good, is such only as it is carefully cherished. It can not bear the blast of rudeness or neglect without receiving a wound which can with difficulty be healed.
The motives and tastes of the Christian are entirely opposite to those of the worldling. It is impossible to be in harmony with Christ and with the world at the same time. But among the people of God, the love of the world has been increasing to an alarming extent. We feel alarmed as we see so many who profess to accept Christ going on from day to day the same as before. Too often believers act in such a way that unbelievers have no cause to think that they are living any nearer Christ than they themselves. Their conversation is flippant, their actions are unlike Christ. Many who take upon themselves baptismal vows do not live these vows even for one day. They have not come out from the world. They do not know what it means to hold communion with God. We fear that many youth have stopped short of genuine conversion. By their actions they testify that they have no part with Christ,—that they are only pretenders.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. A genuine change of heart carries its evidence with it. The life of the one who is truly converted is separate and distinct from the life of the worldling. Instead of being absorbed in worldly pleasure, the Christian hungers and thirsts for the bread of life and the water of salvation. He is more anxious to learn the way of the Lord, and to secure his favor, than to please himself or those who are not in harmony with God.
Enter ye in at the strait gate. . . . Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. When Christ spoke these words, many of his hearers were convinced of his doctrine, but they needed to be aroused to greater earnestness in regard to their eternal welfare. They had come to the place where two roads met, the wrong one apparently the most attractive. They had good desires, but they were not wholly decided to serve God. They followed the Saviour afar off. The worlds Redeemer saw their peril, and sought to rouse them to a realization of their danger. He longed to see them making an entire surrender to God. It pained him to see them living in a state of indecision.
His voice was raised in earnest entreaty in their behalf. Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, he said, and many there be which go in thereat. This road is wide; and in it the pleasure-lovers and the proud will find abundant room. The selfish, the covetous, the hypocrite, the sons and daughters of levity, the unthankful and unholy, will find the broad road well suited to their taste.
To walk in the narrow road requires earnest, self-denying effort. It is because of the straitness of this way that so few find it. Many seek to enter, but fail because of lack of earnestness. And in the end they step into the broad road, failing to see that the narrow way has joys that would compensate for any trials.
Some who have entered the broad road hear Gods voice calling to them, Enter ye in at the strait gate, and make a decided stand, determined to proceed no farther in the broad road. Through repentance and faith in Christ they enter the strait gate. They realize that all self-indulgence must be given up, that pride must be humbled, and self crucified. They see that they must lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets them. They must urge their way through every obstacle, denying self, lifting the cross, resisting temptation, grasping all the help that God has placed within their reach. In deed and in truth they must accept the Saviour. They must press their way along the narrow path of self-sacrifice; for it is the path of salvation. Although the voices of pleasure-lovers invite them to carelessness and selfish enjoyment, they must turn neither to the right hand nor to the left. (Mrs. Ellen G. White, Youth’s Instructor, January 17, 1901)
Draw The Lines Upward
L. A. Hansen
This is not intended for a drawing lesson, but only to call attention to what the lines of our faces may say. Below are two simple illustrations, or figures, made with the fewest lines possible. No special effort is made to give the figures expression; and yet considerable expression is to be seen.
In the first figure we have a representation of one who is literally “down in the mouth.” Gloom, or sadness, causes the facial lines to droop. In some persons these downward lines are permanent, and consequently such a sone has a depressing influence.
In the second figure we have a turning, or changing, of but one line, drawing it upward; and the whole expression is changed. Notice the difference. When changing only one line in a figure otherwise so expressionless, makes such a marked difference, consider what the effect must be on a living face, where every line of the countenance may be made to speak, either for cheer or for gloom.
We have many admonitions to be joyful, to rejoice, to sing, and to be glad. Would it not be better to cultivate the lines that will speak joy to others, than to go about with long-drawn faces, casting sadness instead? “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance.” Prov. 15:13. “The fruit of the Spirit is … joy.”
This is not to say that one must be light and frivolous; but there is a rightful happiness that one may claim continually; and if he does, it will show itself in the countenance. So to those who are disposed to look on the dark side of things, we say. Draw the lines upward. Rejoice in the Lord alway. (Review and Herald, October 23, 1900)
Willing to Spend and be Spent
Greetings Brethren. My name is Curtis Kline, and I would like to share with you a vision the Lord has given to me. First though, I would like to share a statement from Sister Ellen G. White.
“To our physicians and ministers I send the message: Lay hold of the Lord’s work as if you believed the truth for this time. Medical missionary workers and workers in the gospel ministry are to be bound together by indissoluble ties. Their work is to be done with freshness and power. Throughout our churches there is to be a reconversion and a reconsecration to service. Shall we not, in our work in the future and in the gatherings that we hold, be of one accord? Shall we not wrestle with God in prayer, asking for the Holy Spirit to come into every heart? The presence of Christ, manifest among us, would cure the leprosy of unbelief that has made our service so weak and inefficient. We need the breath of the divine life breathed into us. We are to be channels through which the Lord can send light and grace to the world. Backsliders are to be reclaimed. We are to put away our sins, by confession and repentance humbling our proud hearts before God. Floods of spiritual power are to be poured forth upon those prepared to receive it
“If we but realized how earnestly Jesus worked to sow the world with gospel seed, we, living at the very close of probation, would labor untiringly to give the bread of life to perishing souls. Why are we so cold and indifferent? Why are our hearts so unimpressible? Why are we so unwilling to give ourselves to the work to which Christ consecrated His life? Something must be done to cure the terrible indifference that has taken hold upon us. Let us bow our heads in humiliation as we see how much less we have done than we might have done to sow the seeds of truth.
“My dear brethren and sisters, I speak to you in words of love and tenderness. Arouse and consecrate yourselves unreservedly to the work of giving the light of truth for this time to those in darkness. Catch the spirit of the great Master Worker. Learn from the Friend of sinners how to minister to sin-sick souls. Remember that in the lives of His followers must be seen the same devotion, the same subjection to God’s work, of every social claim, every earthly affection, that was seen in His life. God’s claims must always be made paramount. Christ’s example is to inspire us to put forth unceasing effort for the good of others.
God calls upon every church member to enter His service. Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted to others, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. Everyone must learn to work and to stand in his place as a burden bearer. Every addition to the church should be one more agency for the carrying out of the great plan of redemption. The entire church, acting as one, blending in perfect union, is to be a living, active missionary agency, moved and controlled by the Holy Spirit. (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, pp 46, 47)
Dear brothers and sisters as I’m sure you can clearly see this powerful testimony speaks for itself. I have a vision of connecting a visible, functional sanitarium to the message of present truth, and the printed material that is already going forth proclaiming the truth about God. I have several talents and a few resources and am looking for people who are interested in the same vision. Time is short and I feel the necessity to move forward rapidly in faith. The plan is still on the ground floor. If you are a believer in this present truth message on the Godhead; if you also believe in other kindred truths like the Three Angels’ Messages, and the Laodicean message; if you have something already in progress; and/or if you have any talents or any resources; even if you have nothing but a sincere desire to see the Lords work move forward, and would like to be a part of this great venture; please contact me at (434) 973-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Maranatha and blessings, Curtis Kline
In Loving Memory of Doris Marie Taylor Zaharie
We are saddened to share that Sister Doris Zaharie died on October 25, 2004. We just learned of this after going to press last month and wanted our readers who had not heard yet to know. All those who have been attending the Smyrna camp meetings the last few years will well remember Doris and her husband John who survives her. Doris was always full of happiness and encouragement.
Doris Marie Taylor was born July 21, 1931in Bakersfield, California and graduated from Lodi Seventh-day Adventist Academy in Lodi, California. She then took two years of Nursing at La Sierra College in Riverside, California. Rather than get her RN degree, she opted to get her MRS degree and married John Zaharie on January 3, 1953. By 1958 she was busy rearing their four children, Nancy Yvonne, William Brian, Nadine Diane and Robert Wade. She and John, along with their children, served as missionaries in Berlin, Brazil, and later in Kona, Hawaii, for a total of 14 years. They returned to Sacramento. She is survived by her husband, John, four children, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
The following poem was meaningful to Doris and she had copied in her own handwriting and had it in her cherished possessions.
When you are forgotten or neglected or purposefully set at nought,
And you can smile inwardly glorying in the insult or the oversight,
That is the victory!
When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed,
Your tastes offended, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed,
And you take it all in patient and loving silence,
That is the victory!
When you are content with any food and raiment,
Any climate, any society, any solitude, any interruption,
That is the victory!
When you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual
Insensibility, and endure it all as Jesus endured it,
That is the victory!
When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation,
Or to record your own good works, or to seek after commendation,
When you can truly love to be unknown,
That is the victory!
Old Paths is a free monthly newsletter/study-paper published monthly by Smyrna Gospel Ministries, HC 64 Box 128-B, Welch WV 24801-9606. U.S.A. It is sent free upon request. The paper is dedicated to the propagation and restoration of the principles of truth that God gave to the early Seventh-day Adventist pioneers. Duplication is not only permitted, but strongly encouraged. This issue, with other gospel literature we publish, can be found at our web sites. The urls are: http://www.smyrna.org and http://www.presenttruth.info. Phone: (304) 732-9204. Fax: (304) 732-7322.
Editor: Allen Stump -
Associate Editor: Lynnford Beachy - E-mail email@example.com
Please also visit our Present Truth Website!
This page was last updated: Sunday, May 26, 2013