Bible Studies

Danger of Rejecting Truth

You are here

Danger of Rejecting Truth
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p.63-82

Cooranbong, Australia, May 30, 1896.

Dear Brother-----:

     I have returned from our season of prayer. The spirit of intercession came upon me, and I was drawn out in most earnest prayer for souls at Battle Creek. I know their peril. The Holy Spirit has in a special manner moved me to send up my petitions in their behalf.

     God is not the author of anything sinful. None should fear to be singular of the fulfillment of duty requires it. If it makes us singular to avoid sin, then our singularity is merely the distinction between purity and impurity, righteousness and unrighteousness. Because the multitude prefer the path of transgression, shall we choose the same? We are plainly told by Inspiration, "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil." Our position should be clearly stated, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

     "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not." "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." Would that everyone whose name is written in the church books could from the heart utter these words. The church members need to know from experience what the Holy Spirit will do for them. It will bless the receiver, and make him a blessing. It is sad that every soul is not praying for the vital breath of the Spirit, for we are ready to die if it breathe not on us.

     We are to pray for the impartation of the Spirit as the remedy for sin-sick souls. The church needs to be converted, and why should we not prostrate ourselves at the throne of grace, as representatives of the church, and from a broken heart and contrite spirit make earnest supplication that the Holy Spirit shall be poured out upon us from on high? Let us pray that when it shall be graciously bestowed our cold hearts may be revived, and we may have discernment to understand that it is from God, and receive it with joy. Some have treated the Spirit as an unwelcome guest, refusing to receive the rich gift, refusing to acknowledge it, turning from it, and condemning it as fanaticism.

     When the Holy Spirit works the human agent, it does not ask us in what way it shall operate. Often it moves in unexpected ways. Christ did not comes as the Jews expected. He did not come in a manner to glorify them as a nation. His forerunner came to prepare the way for Him by calling upon the people to repent of their sins, and be converted, and be baptized. Christ's message was, "The kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." The Jews refused to receive Christ, because He did not come in accordance with their expectations. The ideas of finite men were held as infallible, because hoary with age.

     This is the danger to which the church is now exposed--that the inventions of finite men shall mark out the precise way for the Holy Spirit to come. Though they would not care to acknowledge it, some have already done this. And because the Spirit is to come, not to praise men or to build up their erroneous theories, but to reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment, many turn away from it. They are not willing to be deprived of the garments of their own self-righteousness. They are not willing to exchange their own righteousness, which is unrighteousness, for the righteousness of Christ, which is pure, unadulterated truth. The Holy Spirit flatters no man, neither does it work according to the devising of any man. Finite, sinful men are not to work the Holy Spirit. When it shall come as a reprover, through any human agent whom God shall choose, it is man's place to hear and obey its voice.

Manifest Working of the Holy Spirit

     Just before He left them, Christ gave His disciples the promise, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." While these words were upon His lips, He ascended, a cloud of angels received Him, and escorted Him to the City of God. The disciples returned to Jerusalem, knowing now for a certainty that Jesus was the Son of God. Their faith was unclouded, and they waited, preparing themselves by prayer and by humbling their hearts before God, until the baptism of the Holy Spirit came.

     "And when the Day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And their appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." In that assembly there were mockers, who did not recognize the work of the Holy Spirit, and they said, "These men are full of new wine.

     "But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: for these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel." Read the history. The Lord was at work in His own way; but had there been such a manifestation among us, upon whom the ends of the world are come, would not some have mocked, as on that occasion? Those who did not come under the influence of the Holy Spirit knew it not. To this class the disciples seemed like drunken men.

 Witnesses of the Cross

     After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the disciples, clothed with the divine panoply, went forth as witnesses, to tell the wonderful story of the manger and the cross. They were humble men, but they went forth with the truth. After the death of their Lord they were a helpless, disappointed, discouraged company--as sheep without a shepherd; but now they go forth as witnesses for the truth, with no weapons but the word and Spirit of God, to triumph over all opposition.

     Their Saviour had been rejected and condemned, and nailed to the ignominious cross. The Jewish priests and rulers had declared, in scorn, "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He be the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him." But that cross, that instrument of shame and torture, brought hope and salvation to the world. The believers rallied; their hopelessness and conscious helplessness had left them. They were transformed in character, and united in the bonds of Christian love. Although without wealth, though counted by the world as mere ignorant fishermen, they were made, by the Holy Spirit, witnesses for Christ. Without earthly honor or recognition, they were the heroes of faith. From their lips came words of divine eloquence and power that shook the world.

     The third, fourth, and fifth chapters of Acts give an account of their witnessing. Those who had rejected and crucified the Saviour expected to find His disciples discouraged, crestfallen, and ready to disown their Lord. With amazement they heard the clear, bold testimony given under the power of the Holy Spirit. The words and works of the disciples represented the words and works of their Teacher; and all who heard them said, They have learned of Jesus, they talk as He talked. "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."

     The chief priests and rulers thought themselves competent to decide what the apostles should do and teach. As they went forth preaching Jesus everywhere, the men who were worked by the Holy Spirit did many things that the Jews did not approve. There was danger that the ideas and doctrines of the rabbis would be brought into disrepute. The apostles were creating a wonderful excitement. The people were bringing their sick folk, and those that were vexed with unclean spirits, into the streets; crowds were collecting around them, and those that had been healed were shouting the praises of God and glorifying the name of Jesus, the very One whom the Jews had condemned, scorned, spit upon, crowned with thorns, and caused to be scourged and crucified. This Jesus was extolled above the priests and rulers. The apostles were even declaring that He had risen from the dead. The Jewish rulers decided that this work must and should be stopped, for it was proving them guilty of the blood of Jesus. They saw that converts to the faith were multiplying. "Believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women."

Arrest and Imprisonment of the Apostles

     "Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,)" who held that there would be no resurrection of the dead. The assertions made by the apostles that they had seen Jesus after His resurrection, and that He had ascended to heaven, were overthrowing the fundamental principles of the Sadducean doctrine. This was not to be allowed. The priests and rulers were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. The disciples were not intimidated or cast down. The words of Christ in His last lessons to them were brought to mind: "He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him." "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with Me from the beginning. These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor Me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them."

Preaching Contrary to Established Doctrines

     "The angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life." We see here that the men in authority are not always to be obeyed, even though they may profess to be teachers of Bible doctrine. There are many today who feel indignant and aggrieved that any voice should be raised presenting ideas that differ from their own in regard to points of religious belief. Have they not long advocated their ideas as truth? So the priests and rabbis reasoned in apostolic days: What mean these men who are unlearned, some of them mere fishermen, who are presenting ideas contrary to the doctrines which the learned priests and rulers are teaching the people? They have no right to meddle with the fundamental principles of our faith.

     But we see that the God of heaven sometimes commissions men to teach that which is regarded as contrary to the established doctrines. Because those who were once the depositaries of truth became unfaithful to their sacred trust, the Lord chose others who would receive the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness, and would advocate truths that were not in accordance with the ideas of the religious leaders. And then these leaders, in the blindness of their minds, give full sway to what is supposed to be righteous indignation against the ones who have set aside cherished fables. They act like men who have lost their reason. They do not consider the possibility that they themselves have not rightly understood the word. They will not open their eyes to discern the fact that they have misinterpreted and misapplied the Scriptures, and have built up false theories, calling them fundamental doctrines of the faith.

     But the Holy Spirit will, from time to time, reveal the truth through its own chosen agencies; and no man, not even a priest or ruler, has a right to say, You shall not give publicity to your opinions, because I do not believe them. That wonderful "I" may attempt to put down the Holy Spirit's teaching. Men may for a time attempt to smother it and kill it; but that will not make error truth, or truth error. The inventive minds of men have advanced speculative opinions in various lines, and when the Holy Spirit lets light shine into human minds, it does not respect every point of man's application of the word. God impressed His servants to speak the truth irrespective of what men had taken for granted as truth.

Present Dangers

     Even Seventh-day Adventists are in danger of closing their eyes to truth as it is in Jesus, because it contradicts something which they have taken for granted as truth but which the Holy Spirit teaches is not truth. Let all be very modest, and seek most earnestly to put self out of the question, and to exalt Jesus. In most of the religious controversies the foundation of the trouble is that self is striving for the supremacy. About what? About matters which are not vital points at all, and which are regarded as such only because men have given importance to them. (See Matthew 12:31-37; Mark 14:56; Luke 5:21; Matthew 9:3.)

     But let us follow the history of the men whom the Jewish priests and rulers thought so dangerous, because they were bringing in new and strange teaching on almost every theological subject. The command given by the Holy Spirit, "Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life," was obeyed by the apostles; "they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. Then came one and told them, saying Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people. Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned." If the priests and rulers had dared act out their own feelings toward the apostles, there would have been a different record; for the angel of God was a watcher on that occasion, to magnify His name if any violence had been offered to His servants.

Answer of the Apostles

     "And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood upon us." (See Matthew 23:34, 35.) "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him. When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them."

     Then the Holy Spirit moved upon Gamaliel, a Pharisee, "a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people." His advise was, "Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. And to him they agreed."

Prejudice of Those in Authority

     Yet the attributes of Satan so controlled their minds that, notwithstanding the wonderful miracles that had been wrought in healing the sick and in releasing God's servants from prison, the priests and rulers were so filled with prejudice and hatred that they could hardly be restrained. "When they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ."

Mercy of God Exemplified

     We can see what evidence was given the priests and rulers, and how firmly they resisted the Spirit of God. Those who claim superior wisdom and piety may make most terrible and (to themselves) fatal mistakes if they allow their minds to be molded by another power, and pursue a course in resistance to the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus, represented by the Holy Spirit, was in the presence of that assembly, but they did not discern Him. For a moment they had felt the conviction of the Spirit, that Jesus was the Son of God; but they stifled conviction, and became more blind and hardened than before. Even after they had crucified the Saviour, God in His mercy had sent them additional evidence in the works wrought through the apostles. He was giving  them another call to repentance, even in the terrible charge brought against them by the apostles, that they had killed the Prince of life.

     It was not alone the sin of putting to death the Son of God that cut them off from salvation, but their persistence in rejecting light and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The spirit that works in the children of disobedience worked in them, leading them to abuse the men through whom God was giving a testimony to them. The malignity of rebellion reappeared, and was intensified in every successive act of resistance against God's servants and the message He had given them to declare.

Resistance of Truth

     Every act of resistance makes it harder to yield. Being the leaders of the people, the priests and rulers felt it incumbent on them to defend the course they had taken. They must prove that they had been in the right. Having committed themselves in opposition to Christ, every act of resistance became an additional incentive to persist in the same path. The events of their past career of opposition are as precious treasures to be jealously guarded. And the hatred and malignity that inspired those acts are concentrated against the apostles.

     The spirit of God revealed its presence unto those who, irrespective of the fear or favor of men, declared the truth which had been committed to them. Under the demonstration of the Holy Spirit's power, the Jews saw their guilt in refusing the evidence that God had sent; but they would not yield their wicked resistance. Their obstinacy became more and more determined, and worked the ruin of their souls. It was not that they could not yield, for they could, yet would not. It was not alone that they had been guilty, and deserving of wrath, but that they armed themselves with the attributes of Satan, and determinedly continued to be opposed to God. Every day, in their refusal to repent, they took up their rebellion afresh. They were preparing to reap that which they had sown. The wrath of God is not declared against men merely because of the sins which they have committed, but for choosing to continue in a state of resistance, and, although they have light and knowledge, repeating their sins of the past. If they would submit, they would be pardoned; but they are determined not to yield. They defy God by their obstinacy. These souls have given themselves to Satan, and he controls them according to his will.

     How was it with the rebellious inhabitants of the antediluvian  world? After rejecting the message of Noah, they plunged into sin with greater abandon than ever before, and doubled the enormity of their corrupting practices. Those who refuse to reform by accepting Christ find nothing reformative in sin; their minds are set to carry their spirit of revolt, and they are not, and never will be, forced to submission. The judgment which God brought upon  the antediluvian world declared it incurable. The destruction of Sodom proclaimed the inhabitants of the most beautiful country in the world incorrigible in sin. The fire and brimstone from heaven consumed everything except Lot, his wife, and two daughters. The wife, looking back in disregard of God's command, became a pillar of salt.

     How God bore with the Jewish nation while they were murmuring and rebellious, breaking the Sabbath and every other precept of the law! He repeatedly declared them worse than the heathen. Each generation surpassed the preceding in guilt. The Lord permitted them to go into captivity, but after their deliverance His requirements were forgotten. Everything that He committed to that people to be kept sacred was perverted or displaced by the inventions of rebellious men. Christ said to them in His day, "Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?" And these were the men who set themselves up as judges and censors over those whom the Holy Spirit was moving to declare the word of God to the people. (See John 7: 19-23, 27, 28; Luke 11:37-52.)

The Holy Spirit to be Left Untrammeled

     Read these scriptures to the people. Read carefully, solemnly, and the Holy Spirit will be by your side to impress minds as you read them. But do not fail to read with the true sense of the word in your own heart. If God has ever spoken by me, these scriptures mean very much to those who shall hear them.

     Finite men should beware of seeking to control their fellowmen, taking the place assigned to the Holy Spirit. Let no men feel that it is their prerogative to give to the world what they suppose to be truth, and refuse that anything should be given contrary to their ideas. This is not their work. Many things will appear distinctly as truth which will not be acceptable to those who think their own interpretations of the Scripture always right. Most decided changes will have to be made in regard to ideas which some have accepted as without a flaw. These men give evidence of fallibility in very many ways; they work upon principles which the word of God condemns. That which makes me feel to the very depths of my being, and makes me know that their works are not the works of God, is that they suppose they have authority to rule their fellowmen. The Lord has given them no more right to rule others than He has given others to rule them. Those who assume the control of their fellowmen take into their finite hands a work that devolves upon God alone.

     That men should keep alive the spirit which ran riot at Minneapolis is an offense to God. All heaven is indignant at the spirit that for years has been revealed in our publishing institution at Battle Creek. Unrighteousness is practiced that God will not tolerate. He will visit for these things. A voice has been heard pointing out the errors and, in the name of the Lord, pleading for a decided change. But who have followed the instruction given? Who have humbled their hearts to put from them every vestige of their wicked, oppressive spirit? I have been greatly burdened to set these matters before the people as they are. I know they will see them. I know that those who read this matter will be convicted.

A Faithful Message
Hobart, Tasmania, May 1, 1895.
 Many Have Outgrown Their Advent Faith

     Because iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold. There are many who have outgrown their advent faith. They are living for the world, and while saying in their hearts, as they desire it shall be, "My Lord delayeth His coming," they are beating their fellow servants. They do this for the same reason that Cain killed Abel. Abel was determined to worship God according to the directions God had given. This displeased Cain. He thought that his own plans were best, and that the Lord would come to his terms. Cain in his offering did not acknowledge his dependence upon Christ. He thought that his father Adam had been treated harshly in being expelled from Eden. The idea of keeping that sin ever before the mind, and offering the blood of the slain lamb as a confession of entire dependence upon a power outside of himself, was torture to the high spirit of Cain. Being the eldest, he thought that Abel should follow his example. When Abel's offering was accepted of God, the holy fire consuming the sacrifice, Cain's anger was exceedingly great. The Lord condescended to explain matters to him; but he would not be reconciled to God, and he hated Abel because God showed him favor. He became so angry that he slew his brother.

     The Lord has a controversy with all men who by their unbelief and doubt have been saying that He delays His coming, and who have been smiting their fellow servants, and eating and drinking with (working from the very same principle as) the drunken; they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. Satan has controlled their reason, and they know not at what they stumble.

Result of Separation from God

     Just as soon as a man separates from God so that his heart is not under the subduing power of the Holy Spirit, the attributes of Satan will be revealed, and he will begin to oppress his fellowmen. An influence goes forth from him that is contrary to truth and justice and righteousness. This disposition is manifested in our institutions, not only in the relation of the workers to one another, but in the desire shown by one institution to control all others.  Men who are entrusted with weighty responsibilities, but who have no living connection with God, have been and are doing despite to His Holy Spirit. They are indulging the very same spirit as did Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and as did the Jews in the days of Christ. (See Matthew 12:22-29, 31-37.) Warnings have come from God again and again for these men, but they have cast them aside and ventured on in the same course.

     Read the words of Christ in Matthew 23:23: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone." These denunciations are given as a warning to all who "outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within" "are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." They say, We are delivered to do all these things. They also say, "If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore," said Jesus, "ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets." What lessons are here; how fearful and decisive! Jesus said, "Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city." This prophecy was literally fulfilled by the Jews in their treatment of Christ and of the messengers whom God sent to them. Will men in these last days follow the example of those whom Christ condemned?

     These terrible predictions they have not as yet carried out to the full; but if God spares their lives, and they nourish the same spirit that marked their course of action both before and after the Minneapolis meeting, they will fill up to the full the deeds of those whom Christ condemned when He was upon the earth.

     The perils of the last days are upon us.  Satan takes the control of every mind that is not decidedly under the control of the Spirit of God.  Some have been cultivating hatred against the men whom God has commissioned to bear a special message to the world. They began this satanic work at Minneapolis. Afterward, when they saw and felt the demonstration of the Holy Spirit testifying that the message was of God, they hated it the more, because it was a testimony against them. They would not humble their hearts to repent, to give God the glory, and vindicate the right. They went on in their own spirit, filled with envy, jealousy, and evil surmisings, as did the Jews. They opened their hearts to the enemy of God and man. Yet these men have been holding positions of trust, and have been molding the work after their own similitude, as far as they possibly could. . . .

Exhortation to Repentance

     Those who are now first, who have been untrue to the cause of God, will soon be last, unless they repent. Unless they speedily fall upon the Rock and be broken, and be born again, the spirit that has been cherished will continue to be cherished. Mercy's sweet voice will not be recognized by them. Bible religion, in private and in public, is with them a thing of the past. They have been zealously declaiming against enthusiasm and fanaticism. Faith that calls upon God to relieve human suffering, faith that God has enjoined upon His people to exercise, is called fanaticism. But if there is anything upon the earth that should inspire men with sanctified zeal, it is the truth as it is in Jesus. It is the grand, great work of redemption. It is Christ, made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

     The Lord has often made manifest in His providence that nothing less than revealed truth, the word of God, can reclaim man from sin or keep him from transgression. That word which reveals the guilt of sin has a power upon the human heart to make man right and keep him so. The Lord has said that His word is to be studied and obeyed; it is to be brought into the practical life; that word is as inflexible as the character of God— the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The True Inspiration to Enthusiasm

     If there is anything in our world that should inspire enthusiasm, it is the cross of Calvary. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not." "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Christ is to be accepted, believed on, and exalted. This is to be the theme of conversation--the preciousness of Christ.

Truth to be Enthroned in the Heart

     There is in Battle Creek a class that have the truth planted in the heart. It is to them the power of God unto salvation. But unless the truth is enthroned in the heart, and a thorough transition takes place from darkness to light, those who handle sacred responsibilities are ministers of darkness, blind leaders of the blind. "Clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots." God requires that every soul that names His name shall have the truth enthroned in the heart. The time in which we live demands it. Eternity demands it. Pure religion demands it.

Page Categories: