Tuesday, November 27, 2012

"The Church: Rites and Rituals"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Growing in Christ
Lesson 9: "The Church: Rites and Rituals"
Rather than "rites and rituals," the Seventh-day Adventist Church uses the term "ordinance" when commemorating Christ's baptism, and the Lord's Supper, which is preceded by the "ordinance of preparation," [1] the washing of feet. In Ellen G. White's writings, marriage and tithing are also included as ordinances. [2] (These will be discussed later in the quarter.) Several 1888 "most precious message" dynamics are found in the three ordinances discussed in this lesson, among them: God's agape love for us, the practical godliness truth implicit in the ministry of the heavenly High Priest in the Most Holy Apartment, the power of the Holy Spirit, the two covenants, the nearness of our Saviour, and the concept of justification by faith. Please keep these in mind as you study not only this little essay, but foremost, the Bible and the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. May we all receive insights into these truths is our prayer.
Baptism: When Jesus came to John asking for baptism, he refused. Jesus had to give him a Bible study there in the water, convincing John that He was the antitypical Lamb of the daily service. "Then he suffered Him" (Matt. 3:15).
Two lambs were offered "daily" on the altar of burnt offering, morning and evening, in behalf of everyone within the boundaries of Israel. "Strangers" and Gentiles were included as the beneficiaries. No repentance was required, no confession; no questions were asked; the lambs were "offered continually," whether anybody believed or not (Ex. 29:38-42). All you had to do was to be a human being, and you were under the umbrella of God's abounding grace. This was the gospel by "moonlight" (Rev. 12:1). As we come to the "sunlight" of the New Testament, the meaning is made clear: "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself" (2 Cor. 5:19). The daily service of the two lambs was a ministry for the whole world.
When Jesus was dripping wet from His baptism in the River Jordan, a Voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17). So, when the Father put His arms around Jesus, at the same time He put His arms around you, too. Ellen G. White has written, "The word spoken to Jesus at the Jordan ... embraces humanity. God spoke to Jesus as our representative. With all our sins and weaknesses, we are not cast aside as worthless. 'He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.' Eph. 1:6. The glory that rested upon Christ is a pledge of the love of God for us" (The Desire of Ages, p. 113).
The day after Jesus was baptized, John introduced Him, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). Not "maybe," "perhaps," or "He takes away the sin of a few." Why this universal sacrifice of atonement? "He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2). Those promises and that declaration are the New Covenant to your soul.
The "incense" offered on the altar of incense daily or continually was also a type of a universal ministry of intercession. Only the blood of Jesus continually ministered keeps this wicked world from being destroyed (Rev. 8:3-5; when He ceases to minister His blood, then will come the time of trouble). Thank God He still ministers today in the Most Holy Apartment! That has to be Good News!
The Ordinance of Preparation: When the disciples entered the upper room the pitcher, basin, and towel were there, in readiness for the feet washing, but no servant was present, so it was the disciples' duty to perform it. But each of the disciples, yielding to wounded pride, determined not to act the part of a servant. By their silence they refused to humble themselves. The disciples made no move toward serving one another. Jesus waited to see what they would do. Then He rose from the table, took a towel, and girded Himself. With surprised interest the disciples looked on, and in silence waited to see what was to follow. "After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded." This action opened the eyes of the disciples. Bitter shame and humiliation filled their hearts. They understood the unspoken rebuke, and saw themselves in a new light.
Christ had expressed His love for His disciples. Their selfish spirit filled Him with sorrow, but He entered into no controversy with them regarding their difficulty. Instead He gave them an example they would never forget. His love for them was not easily disturbed or quenched. He had laid aside His royal crown and kingly robes, and had taken the form of a servant, one of the last acts of His life on earth.
By this act of our Lord this humiliating ceremony was made a consecrated ordinance. It was to be observed by the disciples, that they might ever keep in mind His lessons of humility and service. [3]
The Lord's Supper: That last meal that Jesus ate with His disciples illustrates the idea of "substitution" that the New Testament teaches (yes, and the Old Testament, too), a shared experience with Him. Jesus did not say to his disciples, I am eating this Bread instead of you, nor did He say, I am drinking from this cup instead of you. He ate with them, He drank with them; they ate and drank with Him. Using the clearest illustration possible of intimate oneness He represented His believers as "drinking My blood, eating My body." "Abide in Me, and I in you," He pleads. You are branches and I am the Vine (John 15:4, 5). "Ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you." In sending the Holy Spirit to dwell with those who believe in Him, Jesus represents Himself as not leaving them orphans, "I will come to you" (14:20, 18). Open your heart, receive His Spirit; you receive Him.
Jesus does not want us to think of Him as separate from us, doing everything "instead of us," while we look on in childish wonder, uncomprehending. He did indeed die instead of us, He died our second death so we don't have to die our own second death--that is all true; but it is only part of the truth He obviously wants us to understand and experience. He wants intimate oneness with us where we enter into His feelings and His experience as a branch enters into the life processes of the Vine.
And then coming down to the last days of history just before Christ's return, Revelation introduces us to a oneness with Him even more intimate, even closer to our human understanding. We see how He wants us to sense an even deeper identification with Himself--a Bride's nearness to her Husband. Here is a shared experience with Him, one in which human pride can have no place. When "I am crucified with Christ" all my "glory" (yes, even pastoral!) is laid in the dust forever.
Since the cross the Father could "make His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and send rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matt. 5:45). He was now free to treat "every man" as though he had not sinned. Now the truth of the Lord's Supper could make heartfelt sense: Christ Himself is "the bread of God … which ... giveth life unto the world" (John 6:33). "The bread that I will give," says Jesus, "is My flesh which I will give for the life of the world. ... Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you" (vss. 51, 53). This is equally true of "all men," believers and unbelievers alike. [4] Christ gave the gift of real life to the world, to the human race; if only "all men" would receive the gift with faith, it would be to them the beginning of eternal life.
But this truth articulated in the 1888 message does not mean that everyone will go to heaven. It is not the heresy of Universalism. By His sacrifice, Christ has given to every one of us the freedom to resist and reject what He has given us. And sadly, many do. The lost ask for their own final destruction. Those who are saved at last are simply those who gladly receive the gift.
God's plan was, that once Seventh-day Adventists could learn to proclaim this truth--what Christ has accomplished for the human race--then honest hearts would experience what the Bible calls "justification by faith." That's what the gospel accomplishes in hearts and lives changed forever. By proclaiming what Christ accomplished on His cross, the honest heart is won.
--From the Writings of Robert J. Wieland
and Ellen G. White as noted
[1] Ellen G. White, Counsels for the Church, p. 300.
[2] See Comprehensive Index to the Writings of Ellen G. White, p. 1929.
[3] Excerpted from Counsels for the Church, pp. 299-301.
[4] The Desire of Ages, p. 660. Written in the after-years of glow from the 1888 preaching.
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

SST #8 | 'The Church : In Service To Humanity' Nov. 24, 2012

"The Church: In Service to Humanity"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic
Growing in Christ
Lesson 8: "The Church: In Service to Humanity"
Many say they like Jesus and they like the Bible, but they have no use for "organized religion." We now face a "vegetarian" version of this within the Seventh-day Adventist Church--people who like the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, but are doubtful about the "organized church." Is the true church merely a non-cohesive, unorganized scattering of "faithful souls"?
Abraham's descendants were elected by God to be the ancient equivalent of today's organized church. "I will make you a great nation" (Gen. 12:2). They were publicly to share and exemplify his faith. That nation became known as Israel. Her history records a series of ups and downs, with many dark episodes of corporate failure. (The "downs" were the direct result of the old covenant idea they had embraced on their own.) But her terrible backslidings, such as in the days of Elijah and Jeremiah, did not cancel the original election of God. Although they were severely punished for their apostasies, neither Israel nor Judah ever became Babylon. Even while they were captives in Babylon they remained Israel. Baal-worship was a disease that afflicted the body but did not transform it into Babylon.
Who is "Israel" today? From the beginning, Abraham's true "seed" were never merely natural descendants. Not in Ishmael but "in Isaac shall thy seed be called" (Rom. 9:7). Righteousness by faith was as true in Abraham's day as in Paul's.
Isaiah saw ahead of time what would happen in Israel's final test:
"It shall come to passThat the glory of Jacob will wane,And the fatness of his flesh grow lean. ...Yet gleaning grapes will be left in it,Like the shaking of an olive tree,Two or three olives at the top of the uppermost bough,Four or five in its most fruitful branches" (Isa. 17:4-6).
We have frequently heard a popular saying that the church will never experience repentance and reformation until persecution hits us. But the test for ancient Israel was not brought about by external force from the Roman Empire but by the gospel. What brought the nation to her final crisis was the life and death of Christ and the apostles' clear testimony at Pentecost of what it all means.
In 34 A.D. the physical nation of Israel was rejected, but the true Israel repented at Pentecost because of faith in Christ, for "if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's sees, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29). That's how these contrite believers became the new Israel, the church, the true "nation bearing the fruits." The church was not an appendage or off-shoot from Israel; it was the true descendants of Abraham (Dan. 9:24; Matt. 21:42-45; Luke 20:16; Acts 13:46; Rom. 9:7, 8; 11:17, 25-27).
Likewise, it will be a revelation of the truth of righteousness by faith that precipitates the final shaking today, not persecution from the world. The Lord will do the work, not Satan. Persecution will come, but it's impossible that a lukewarm church can be persecuted by Satan. He wants to keep that church lukewarm! Only those "who live godly in Christ Jesus" can be persecuted.
It's natural for some to fear that the church and its institutions are now too big and complicated ever to be successful. But the Bible gives no hint that the growth of the body makes the Holy Spirit's work difficult or impossible. Overall, what will unify the church is pure, unadulterated truth promulgated wholeheartedly and unreservedly by its leadership.
Since the true Head of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is Christ Himself, His honor and vindication are involved. He knows the way to bring healing and unity to His "body." Ellen White clearly identifies the organized SDA church as this "remnant": "In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light-bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world, ... [the] proclamation of the first, second, and third angels' messages. ... The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given us to proclaim to the world (Testimonies to the Church, vol. 9, p. 19).
"The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out--the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place" (Selected Messages, book 2, p. 380).
How has Christ regarded this organized church? As He called Abraham and his descendants to witness to His truth in a world of paganism, so He has called Seventh-day Adventists to witness to the apostate Christian churches and to the entire world, including Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and paganism.
But, if we have a firm faith that the Lord Jesus is the true Leader of this church, then we can have confidence that he will cleanse and purify it as He has promised to do. If it was the Lord Jesus who initiated this church's calling, we can be sure that He knows how to see it through.
The prophecy of Revelation 3:19 calls for a people to be raised up in the last days who fulfill the will of God and bring honor and glory to the Lamb. They will provide a convincing answer to the long-delayed Lord's prayer, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." They share executive authority with Christ in the conclusion of the great controversy. Their loyalty to Christ in no way merits salvation, but it gives convincing evidence that the gospel has the power Christ claims for it.
The Lord needs human agents through whom He can work to "set everything in order." It is not His plan to work independently of them. It is not appropriate for us to pray, "Lord please do something," and then sit back and do nothing. Those who cooperate with Christ in this work are not made of sterner or better stuff than others; they have simply seen something that others have not--the reality of the cross of Christ. This is true faith, and it has nerved them to stand for the right wherever they are, even though the heavens fall. They are the true Israel who exercise the faith of Abraham.
In a word, it is genuine righteousness by faith that has transformed these naturally timid, shy people into brave Christlike servants of truth. (In Elijah's day, there were "seven thousand" who did not bow the knee to Baal.) They may appear to be hidden, but they await only the revelation of the full truth of righteousness by faith to support fully and fearlessly its regenerating, life-giving work. The Lord needs millions of "Elijahs" who will lovingly yet firmly stand for the right, who have received and appreciated that agape which casts out fear.
The foundation text of the Seventh-day Adventist Church declares that for once in history, history will not be repeated: "Unto two thousand and three hundred days [years]; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed" (Dan. 8:14). That cleansing or making right has not yet taken place for the body of the church. In order for the heavenly sanctuary to be cleansed, the Lord's sanctuary on earth must first be cleansed. The books of heaven can never record the "blotting out of sins" until this work is first accomplished in the hearts of His people on earth.
Let us spend our lifetime energies and all that we have in working with Him. "We are in the day of atonement, and we are to work in harmony with Christ's work of cleansing the sanctuary from the sins of the people. Let no man who desires to be found with the wedding garment on, resist our Lord in His office work" (Review and Herald, Jan. 21, 1890). God grant that never under any circumstances or under any pressure may we let ourselves work at cross purposes with Him.
--Excerpts from "Will the Seventh-day Adventist Church Ever Become Babylon?"Grace on Trial, by Robert J. Wieland

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Lesson 7: "'Arming' for Victory"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Growing in Christ
Lesson 7: "'Arming' for Victory"

The 1888 message dynamic that underlies this lesson is the Bible teaching that righteousness is by faith alone. "Therefore the only element that God's people need in order to prepare for the second coming is genuine faith. The message the world needs to hear is the truth of righteousness by faith in light of the cleansing of the sanctuary--"the third angel's message in verity." Faith is understood in its true Biblical sense--a heart appreciation of the agape of Christ." [1]
When we are crucified with Christ we no longer live, but Christ lives in us. It is His life. Therefore it is His tried and true faith, His power, His righteousness (armor) and His victory that come with His indwelling through the Holy Spirit.
The terms "armor of God," "armor of light," "put on the Lord Jesus," are all synonymous with righteousness by faith. We understand that this faith of Jesus is what works in us by and through the power ofagape. When one is made righteous he is cleansed from sin, thus the statement above linking the cleansing of the sanctuary with righteousness by faith.
For "in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Rom. 8:37). Thanks be to God who has given us the victory through Christ.
"Let us put on the armor of light" (Rom. 13:12). The apostle further says, "Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:11). With all the armor on, the Christian becomes impossible to harm, and with the weapons furnished from the Divine armory, he is too powerful for his foes.
"For," continues the apostle, "we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Eph. 6:12). It is a mistake to think that our warfare is against flesh and blood. The controversy is not between men, but between the "rulers of the darkness of this world" and Him who is the light of this world.
"Stand therefore," continues the apostle, "having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith with which you are able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:14-17). The first requisite mentioned is truth. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Therefore whoever has not truth has not Christ, and does not know Him.
But truth does no good unless it justifies the individual, hence the necessity for "the breastplate of righteousness." The wise man has said, "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it springs the issues of life" (Prov. 4:23). The only sure safeguard for the heart is the breastplate of God's righteousness. "Behold," says the psalmist, "You desire truth in the inward parts" (Psalm 51:6). This truth is what cleanses and sanctifies and guards from the entrance of evil.
For the feet God gives "the preparation of the Gospel of peace."Here the word "preparation" caries the meaning of already having been made ready. (See how Joshua was made ready before hand with the whole armor of God, Zech. 3:1-5.)
With "the shield of faith," the Christian is protected against "all the fiery darts of the wicked one." Faith is the heart appreciation of theagape love of Christ demonstrated on the cross. It is the confidence that God has already delivered us from all the power of darkness.
The "helmet of salvation" is "the hope of salvation," upon which the Christian's mind must ever be fixed. The Apostle Peter writes, "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13). "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11; notice the past tense of this verse). To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation" (Heb. 9:28).
Now we are to take "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." We must remember that it is the sword of the Spirit, and not our sword; and so the Spirit must wield it. It is only the Spirit, dwelling in us, that understands how to use this sword; we cannot do it.
God's armor has been fitted to every man. "The Man Christ Jesus," was God made flesh, and He, "for every man," fought the battle against the enemy and won it. It is this armor, His righteousness, tried and invulnerable that Christians are to wear and to stand fast in.
He has given us His peace, and peace follows victory, so the victory has been gained already. Having Christ, we have His victory, for Christ comes with His faith, victories, power, strength, and His righteousness (armor). This is the mystery of God, which is "Christ in you, the hope of Glory" (Col. 1:27).
This assurance is given to the children of God: "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He that is in you is greater than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4). And "this is the victory that has overcome the world, even faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:4, 5).
We believe that Christ has conquered everything and that when we have Him we have everything and that there is no power of darkness that can do us any harm.
When we are crucified with Christ our own lives have been given up to Him. Then it must be some other life that we live, and that life is the life of Christ. That is the life in which we glory. Christ is our life, and He comes with His righteousness and His victory and therefore we have it. "Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Eph. 6:11).
What is it to put on the whole armor? To stand in Christ complete, that is what we mean. Having had our old garments removed, we are dressed in the robe of Christ's righteousness. This is what "putting on the whole armor of God" means.
"Put on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 13:14). "For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38).
--Daniel H. Peters
From the writings of Ellet J. Waggoner
[1] Robert J. Wieland, Ten Great Gospel Truths That Make the 1888 Message Unique, p. 30.
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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"Victory Over Evil Forces"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Growing in Christ
Lesson 6: "Victory Over Evil Forces"

There are only two religions in the world. (1) The religion of self-love is invented by Lucifer. It is an attempt to overthrow the government of God. (2) The religion of self-denying love is the foundation of God's law. In the great controversy Lucifer sought to enlist others in a mutiny against God's love and assert individual selfishness. The religion of self is Spiritualism. It's foundation is the teaching of the "immortal soul." If the soul is immortal, then it is "god."
The question that faces us in this week's lesson is: How does the 1888 message help us discern the most sophisticated form of Spiritualism by which Satan seeks to undermine the faith of the church?
Christ has conquered the forces of evil. The last church, Laodicea, has been diagnosed by Jesus as having the "Baal flu." It doesn't know its true condition. It is "wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked" because it has not that true "gold tried in the fire" and "white raiment" (Rev. 3:17, 18). Satan has stolen her "faith," and consequently her "righteousness" is only a mere legal "cover" for her self-centeredness. This subtle form of Spiritualism which has invaded the church is Baal worship. It is the worship of self disguised as the worship of Christ. [1]
Laodicea is engaged in the most intense phase of the great controversy. Christ's purpose for her is to overcome and "sit with Me in My throne, even as [He] overcame" (Rev. 3:21). Laodicea is to be given executive authority to fully manifest the principles involved between the forces of evil and "the faith of Jesus." Christ already sits in "heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named" (Eph. 1:20, 21). Christ has conquered the forces of evil and He is now giving that victory to His frontline troops in battle on this earth.
We wrestle against "principalities and powers, … spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph. 6:12). This "spiritual wickedness" is the principle of sin and addiction that is within our human nature. They are forces of evil that tug at our souls, that sweep us into deep water over our heads like a rip tide.
The question is: has the sacrifice of Christ effectively conquered that rip-tide power? If we say "No," then we join Satan in his accusations in the great controversy! If we say "Yes" and allow the Holy Spirit to demonstrate that it is indeed God who both wills and does His good pleasure in us, then we are in fellowship with the High Priest in His closing work of atonement.
"Principalities and powers" formerly entrenched in our sinful nature, evil habits, and darkness of soul that rendered us incapable of obedience, have been "spoiled," gotten "rid of," defeated. Slaves of evil appetites, drugs, and darkness of soul are delivered from these demonic powers that held them captive, says Paul. You are free from all these "principalities" that dragged you down! Like captives conquered in a Roman war they are displayed "openly" as in a triumphal procession of victory (Col. 2:15).
All of this is made possible through Christ's "intercession for us" (Rom. 8:34). What does it mean that Jesus as our High Priest has to "make intercession" for us before the Father (Heb. 7:25)? "Intercession" implies that someone thinks bad of us and needs persuasion to change his mind to think good of us.
Does the Father need to be persuaded to think good of us? Wasn't it the Father who took the initiative to "so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son" for us (John 3:16)? "If God be for us, who can be against us" needing intercession (Rom. 8:31)?
Is Jesus interceding with the devil? Will he or his angels ever be persuaded to be nice to us? Hardly! Then who has to be persuaded to "accept" us, to stop condemning us? The good angels? No, they are "all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for" us, not against us (Heb. 1:14).
Then who is left who needs to be "persuaded," interceded with to "accept" us, except we ourselves? We may believe that God forgives our sin, but because of our recidivism of offenses we cannot forgive ourselves. We think the Father must have a club behind His back, about to let us have it, and then Jesus steps up and says, "Look, Father, at the wounds in My hands. Please be nice to these people!" But this is not the case. So it is we who are the ones needing Christ's intercession. We need to hold our head high, to join Paul in being "persuaded" that nothing will ever "separate us from the love of God" (Rom. 8:38, 39).
Peter says that "your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). Most of us believe in defeatism--if you get in a fight with the devil, since he is so much stronger than you, you just have to lose. But No! you have help! You can't lose this battle with the devil unless you want to.
James says, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). But you say, "That's my problem--I don't have the strength to resist!" Then read the first part of the same verse: "Submit yourselves therefore to God." Come to the Saviour, singing:
"Just as I am, without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me,"
and you will find that "it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13). That is freedom. It's a miracle, but it's true. You have a Saviour. Let Him deliver you out of the mouth of the lion. If you have scars, don't worry about them; getting delivered is enough reason for songs of praise. The scars may help you not to forget.
We cannot cherish one sin if the heart appreciates the length, and breadth, and depth, and height of the love that led the Son of God to go to hell to find us there. That is what "believing" is defined to be in John 3:16. Say "No!" to temptation (Titus 1:12, NIV), a thousand times a day if necessary. Let the good news set you free in glorious liberty. Christ "was in all points tempted like as [you] are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15), and even though you are tempted you too may overcome "even as [He] also overcame" (Rev. 3:21). And that's today; you don't need to wait until your deathbed. Like Christ, you will learn instantaneously to tell the devil, "Get thee behind me!"
The grace of God teaches you to stamp your foot and cry out "No!" to every alluring temptation. Satan cannot force you to transgress; even if he tries to frighten you by stamping his foot, you don't need to put up with him. You don't need to suffer either allurement or terror from Satan!
--Paul E. Penno
[1] The Laodicean church can never be characterized as "Babylon" for a number of reasons, chief of which is she holds to the cleansing of the sanctuary truth and protests the pagan-Christian teaching of the immortal soul. It is "Babylon's" anti-law gospel and immortal soul teachings which have caused her moral collapse.
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