Friday, March 17, 2017
This week's lesson is one of the most solemn of all Bible topics.
"The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit does not lie in any sudden word or deed; it is the firm, determined resistance of truth and evidence." – 1888 913.1
"An unwillingness to yield up preconceived opinions, and to accept this truth, lay at the foundation of a large share of the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord's message through Brethren [E.J.] Waggoner and [A.T.] Jones. By exciting that opposition Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit that God longed to impart to them. The enemy prevented them from obtaining that efficiency which might have been theirs in carrying the truth to the world, as the apostles proclaimed it after the day of Pentecost. The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world." – 1SM 234.6
Consequently, we are still here in this world. May God forgive us! We are counseled to repent. That light is still being kept "in a great degree" from the world. Why?
In the late 1800's, most Adventists were likely familiar with the issues pertaining to the 1888 GC session in Minneapolis. In the years following, thousands had opportunity to hear Sister Ellen White and Brothers A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner expound on these glorious gospel truths in camp meetings and schools across the land.
"The Lord has been calling his people. In a most marked manner he has revealed his divine presence. But the message and the messengers have not been received but despised. I longed that those who have greatly needed the message of divine love would hear Christ's knock at the door of the heart, and let the heavenly guest enter. But at the hearts of some Jesus has knocked in vain. In rejecting the message given at Minneapolis, men committed sin. They have committed far greater sin by retaining for years the same hatred against God's messengers, by rejecting the truth that the Holy Spirit has been urging home. By making light of the message given, they are making light of the word of God. Every appeal rejected, every entreated unheeded, furthers the work of heart-hardening, and places them in the seat of the scornful." – 1888 913.2
Is our church any closer to understanding and sharing this message today than it was then?
We note one significant difference between then and now. The issues are no longer commonly understood. A majority of Seventh-day Adventists today know little of our history or the reasons for the delay in Christ's return. Prayers for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit are commonly heard. Few seem to realize that prayer was answered over a century ago.
"How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?" Romans 10:14.
A solemn responsibility rests upon those who have been blessed to hear the most precious message of Jesus and His righteousness to share with others the wonderful truths the Lord in His mercy sent nearly 130 years ago. It isn't enough to just intellectualize these truths. They need to be studied, lived, and shared! If we claim to believe in God's agape love but exhibit traits of selfishness and pride, people will not be very open to hearing what we have to share. The message of the cross draws us to the feet of Jesus, laying our glory in the dust.
"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 come as the Jews expected. . . The Jews refused to receive Christ, because He did not come in accordance with their expectations." TM 64.2
"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 Spirt to come. Though they would not care to acknowledge it, some have already done this. . . The Holy Spirit flatters no man, neither does it work according to the devising of any man…. It is man's place to hear and obey its voice." TM 64.3
"These rejecters of light cease to recognize light. Their souls are surrounded by a malarious atmosphere, and though some may not show open hostility, those who have spiritual discernment will realize the icy coldness which surrounds their souls." – 1888 914.1
"The Holy Spirit strives to make apparent the claims of God, but men pay heed only for a moment and turn their minds to other things. Satan catches away the seeds of truth; the gracious influence of the spirit of God is effectually resisted. Thus many are grieving away the Holy Spirit for the last time and they know it not. – PC 340.3
"Now the closing of probation does not make any change in the characters of men. The character of the wicked will not be different after that time from what it has been before. He that is unjust and filthy remains so, that is all. Rev. 22:11. The only difference is that at the close of probation their choice of evil is irrevocably fixed. That is what makes their probation end — they will no longer listen to the Gospel. They could be saved if they are willing to be saved. . . The reason, and the only reason, why any will be lost, is not that they are too wicked to be saved, but that they do not wish to be saved. It is not the guilt of sin, but the love of sin, that shuts men out of the Kingdom; for if men will cease to love sin, the guilt of it, however deep will be taken away." E. J. Waggoner, Gospel of Isaiah, p. 20.
We are living in a time when darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people.
There is no other message that can lighten the earth with His glory than the true message of "Jesus' blood and righteousness." May God forgive our neglect of Jesus and our resistance to the Holy Spirit! The promise remains:
"But the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee." Isaiah 60:2
When "this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world as a testimony to all nations," then the end will come. Matthew 24:14.
When that happens, "the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." Isaiah 60:4. May that day come soon, for His sake.