Sabbath, August 13, 2016
“… The Lord has shown me in vision some things concerning the church in its present lukewarm state, which I will relate to you. The church was presented before me in vision. Said the angel to the church: ‘Jesus speaks to thee, “Be zealous and repent.“ ‘ This work, I saw, should be taken hold of in earnest. There is something to repent of. Worldly-mindedness, selfishness, and covetousness have been eating out the spirituality and life of God’s people.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 141.
Counsel of the Faithful Witness
1. Being conscious of our perilous condition and of the investigative judgment, what counsel of the Faithful Witness should be earnestly heeded?
Revelation 3:18 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.
“Heed the counsel of the True Witness…. Make some effort. These precious treasures will not drop upon us without some exertion on our part. We must buy–‘be zealous and repent’ of our lukewarm state. We must be awake to see our wrongs, to search for our sins, and to zealously repent of them.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 142.
“The gold here recommended as having been tried in the fire is faith and love. It makes the heart rich; for it has been purged until it is pure, and the more it is tested the more brilliant is its luster. The white raiment is purity of character, the righteousness of Christ imparted to the sinner. This is indeed a garment of heavenly texture, that can be bought only of Christ for a life of willing obedience. The eyesalve is that wisdom and grace which enables us to discern between the evil and the good, and to detect sin under any guise. God has given His church eyes which He requires them to anoint with wisdom, that they may see clearly; but many would put out the eyes of the church if they could; for they would not have their deeds come to the light, lest they should be reproved. The divine eyesalve will impart clearness to the understanding.’ ” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 88.
2. Knowing that sin will have no place in the eternal kingdom and that the sinner will perish along with sin at the coming of the Lord, what should we do while there are still a few moments left?
Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
1 Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.
Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
1 Timothy 6:12, first part Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called….”
“Yet we should never be content with a sinful life. It is a thought that should arouse Christians to greater zeal and earnestness in overcoming evil, that every defect in character, every point in which they fail to meet the divine standard, is an open door by which Satan can enter to tempt and destroy them; and, furthermore, that every failure and defect on their part gives occasion to the tempter and his agents to reproach Christ. We are to exert every energy of the soul in the work of overcoming, and to look to Jesus for strength to do what we cannot do of ourselves.
“No sin can be tolerated in those who shall walk with Christ in white…. By repentance and faith we are enabled to render obedience to all the commandments of God, and are found without blame before Him. Those who shall meet the approval of God are now afflicting their souls, confessing their sins, and earnestly pleading for pardon through Jesus their Advocate.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 472.
A terrible risk
3. What risk is there in delaying even a moment to turn away from sin?
Hebrews 3:7-13 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. 11So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) 12Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
“Beware of procrastination. Do not put off the work of forsaking your sins and seeking purity of heart through Jesus. Here is where thousands upon thousands have erred to their eternal loss. I will not here dwell upon the shortness and uncertainty of life; but there is a terrible danger–a danger not sufficiently understood–in delaying to yield to the pleading voice of God’s Holy Spirit, in choosing to live in sin; for such this delay really is. Sin, however small it may be esteemed, can be indulged in only at the peril of infinite loss. What we do not overcome, will overcome us and work out our destruction.” –Steps to Christ, p. 32.
Call to repentance
4. After one becomes aware of his sin through application of the eyesalve, what is a person invited to do by the Faithful Witness? What does true repentance consist of?
Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
James 4:7-10 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
“Who is desirous of becoming truly repentant? What must he do? He must come to Jesus, just as he is, without delay. He must believe that the word of Christ is true, and, believing the promise, ask, that he may receive. When sincere desire prompts men to pray, they will not pray in vain. The Lord will fulfill His word, and will give the Holy Spirit to lead to repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. He will pray and watch, and put away his sins, making manifest his sincerity by the vigor of his endeavor to obey the commandments of God. With prayer he will mingle faith, and not only believe in but obey the precepts of the law. He will announce himself as on Christ’s side of the question. He will renounce all habits and associations that tend to draw the heart from God.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 393.
5. What does Jesus desire from every sinner for whom He gave His life?
Revelation 3:20 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.
“I saw that many have so much rubbish piled up at the door of their heart that they cannot get the door open. Some have difficulties between themselves and their brethren to remove. Others have evil tempers, selfish covetousness, to remove before they can open the door. Others have rolled the world before the door of their heart, which bars the door. All this rubbish must be taken away, and then they can open the door and welcome the Saviour in.
“After all our lukewarmness and sins He says: ‘Return unto Me, and I will return unto thee, and will heal all thy backslidings.’ This was repeated by the angel a number of times. ‘Return unto Me, and I will return unto thee, and will heal all thy backslidings.’ “ –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 143.
“How willing is Christ to take possession of the soul temple if we will let Him! He is represented as waiting and knocking at the door of the heart. Then why does He not enter? It is because the love of sin has closed the door of the heart. As soon as we consent to give sin up, to acknowledge our guilt, the barrier is removed between the soul and the Saviour.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 325.
Two possible responses to the Laodicean message
6. What will happen to all who will not repent?
Revelation 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
“Some, I saw, would gladly return. Others will not let this message to the Laodicean church have its weight upon them. They will glide along, much after the same manner as before, and will be spewed out of the mouth of the Lord. Those only who zealously repent will have favor with God.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 144.
“There are those who, though professedly serving God, are witnessing against Him. To them the message to the Laodicean church is given. Christ says to them, ‘I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot.’ When the avenging angel shall pass through the land, Christ cannot say of them, ‘Touch them not. I have graven them upon the palms of my hands.’ No; of these halfhearted ones He says, ‘I will spew them out of my mouth. They are offensive to Me.’ “ –(Letter 44, 1903) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 963.
7. What will be the happy future of every overcomer who heeds the Faithful Witness’ counsel?
Revelation 3:21 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.
“We can overcome. Yes; fully, entirely. Jesus died to make a way of escape for us, that we might overcome every evil temper, every sin, every temptation, and sit down at last with Him.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 144.
“Those who would overcome must put to the tax every power of their being. They must agonize on their knees before God for divine power. Christ came to be our example, and to make known to us that we may be partakers of the divine nature. How? By having escaped the corruptions that are in the world through lust. Satan did not gain the victory over Christ. He did not put his foot upon the soul of the Redeemer. He did not touch the head though he bruised the heel. Christ, by His own example, made it evident that man may stand in integrity. Men may have a power to resist evil–a power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master; a power that will place them where they may overcome as Christ overcame. Divinity and humanity may be combined in them.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 409.
For personal study
The Upward Look, p. 283.
“All who have a true sense of the sacrifice made by Christ in leaving His home in heaven to come to this world that He might by His own life show man how to resist temptation will cheerfully deny self and choose to be partakers with Christ of His sufferings.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 491.