Sabbath, January 17, 2004
“Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth…” John 1:45.
• To discover what condition we are in when under the power of sin.
• To remember what keeps us out of heaven so that we may stop doing those things.
OUR CONDITION UNDER THE POWER OF SIN
1. Why is it impossible for man to resist the power of evil? Romans 7: 14, 18, 23. In what condition does the unregenerated heart of man since the fall of Adam and Eve find itself in?
Romans 7: 14, 18, 23-24.For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 18. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 23. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Genesis 3:10. And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
“Man was originally endowed with noble powers and a well-balanced mind. He was perfect in his being, and in harmony with God. His thoughts were pure, his aims holy. But through disobedience, his powers were perverted, and selfishness took the place of love. His nature became so weakened through transgression that it was impossible for him, in his own strength, to resist the power of evil. He was made captive by Satan, and would have remained so forever had not God specially interposed.…
“In his sinless state, man held joyful communion with Him ‘in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’ Colossians 2:3. But after his sin, he could no longer find joy in holiness, and he sought to hide from the presence of God. Such is still the condition of the unrenewed heart. It is not in harmony with God, and finds no joy in communion withHim.” – Steps to Christ, p. 17.
2. What was and continues to be the specific purpose of the tempter towards man?
Genesis 3:5 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.
“It was the tempter’s purpose to thwart the divine plan in man’s creation, and fill the earth with woe and desolation. And he would point to all this evil as the result of God’s work in creating man.” – Steps to Christ,p. 17.
TO HAVE A NEW LIFE
3. Who must dwell in us, so that a new life may be seen in us?
John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
“There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.
“The Saviour said, ‘Except a man be born from above,’ unless he shall receive a new heart, new desires, purposes, and motives, leading to a new life, ‘he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ John 3:3, margin.” – Steps to Christ, p. 18.
4. What other thing do I need to do after understanding the love and goodness of God?
Acts 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
“It is not enough to perceive the loving-kindness of God, to see the benevolence, the fatherly tenderness, of His character. It is not enough to discern the wisdom and justice of His law, to see that it is founded upon the eternal principle of love. Paul the apostle saw all this when he exclaimed, ‘I consent unto the law that it is good.’ ‘The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.’ But he added, in the bitterness of his soul-anguish and despair, ‘I am carnal, sold under sin.’ Romans 7:16, 12, 14. He longed for the purity, the righteousness, to which in himself he was powerless to attain, and cried out, ‘O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?’ Romans 7:24, margin. Such is the cry that has gone up from burdened hearts in all lands and in all ages. To all, there is but one answer, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ John 1:29.” – Steps to Christ, p. 19.
THERE IS NO COMMUNION BETWEEN LIGHT AND DARKNESS
5. What would happen if God would permit me to enter heaven in my degraded condition?
Habakkuk 1:13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity
2 Corinthians 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
“The sinner could not be happy in God’s presence; he would shrink from the companionship of holy beings. Could he be permitted to enter heaven, it would have no joy for him. The spirit of unselfish love that reigns there–every heart responding to the heart of Infinite Love–would touch no answering chord in his soul. His thoughts, his interests, his
motives, would be alien to those that actuate the sinless dwellers there. He would be a discordant note in the melody of heaven. Heaven would be to him a place of torture; he would long to be hidden from Him who is its light, and the center of its joy.” –Steps to Christ, pp. 17, 18.
6. Is it a decree of the Lord’s that the wicked should be excluded from heaven?
Revelation 6:15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains.
“It is no arbitrary decree on the part of God that excludes the wicked from heaven; they are shut out by their own unfitness for its companionship. The glory of God would be to them a consuming fire. They would welcome destruction, that they might be hidden from the face of Him who died to redeem them.” –Steps to Christ, p. 18.
• Why is it that after all my good intentions, I am still not able to free myself from the slavery of sin?
• If living with kind people makes me happy, how much more should I long for Jesus to dwell in me?
• Have I realized that sin can change me in such a manner that I will no longer have the desire for the fellowship of the saints or want to be in the presence of God?
• What is essential to prevent myself from reaching thisnegative state?