..To ancient SDA's ............ To "What's New?"

 

I Protest - Again!!

by

Ron Parsons

Part One


 

With grateful thanks to those who communicated with me regarding the former article "I Protest" (aka Protest or Criticism), it now seems that some greater clarification is required on the subject.

What was written in the original book was that God does not intend that we should ever point out our brother’s or sister’s transgressions against Him, unless we have a specific direction from Him to do so, even if we believe we have no thought of condemnation. Only if we can approach someone with a definite "Thus says the Lord" of our own can we do this.

In other words, only as a prophet of God, speaking for God, do we have the authority. Is there such a one among us today? Even if there were, that person would not willingly do that job. Listen to these words:-

3 Selected Messages 36.4 (Letter 2, 1874)

"I have felt for years that if I could have my choice and please God as well, I would rather die than have a vision, for every vision places me under great responsibility to bear testimonies of reproof and of warning, which has ever been against my feelings, causing me affliction of soul that is inexpressible. Never have I coveted my position, and yet I dare not resist the Spirit of God and seek an easier position."

 

If she hated the job, why would we want to do it?

 

Bible authority

We need to understand that to approach some one in the church for their "own good" on the authority of the Bible ONLY, may lead to our being on the wrong side of the Sunday law when it is passed. We must not give even the appearance of "judging" Israel if we wish to remain Sabbath-keepers. Paul understood this and wrote:-

1 Corinthians 4:3-5

"But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not myself. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but He that judges me is the Lord.

"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God."

Those of us who have ONLY the words of the Scriptures should know that this is not enough to give us authority to approach a fellow Christian with the thought that he or she is falling short of God’s standard of behaviour. So we have to leave the convicting of sin to Him, which is as it should be. John 16:7-8. We may talk about doctrinal problems but nothing else.

We may not even criticise or investigate the work another is doing. When Peter tried this he was told to mind his own business!

John 21:20-22

"Then Peter, turning about, sees the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on His breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrays You?

"Peter seeing him says to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus says to him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? follow you Me."

This is what we must learn to do when dealing with fellow members of the church in their Christian work – mind our own business, unless they ask for our help, of course. Or we can give encouragement.

Go to your brother

Counsel such as that given below is explained within itself as being "sins" (actually "faults") against US and NOT against God.

Matthew 18:15-17

"Moreover if your brother [or sister] shall trespass against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone: if he shall hear you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear you, then take with you one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established [including yours]. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it to the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be to you as a heathen man and a publican [someone who needs help]."

This Scripture explains how to deal with CIVIL problems (although they may appear to be religious to us) which Christians may commit against us, and first of all refers to personal revenge (for that is what it often is), and then with organisational revenge.

We could use this procedure with someone who works for us, or with us, as well as our fellow Christians, but we do not HAVE to use it. Jesus taught us to pray that we might be forgiven "as we forgive our debtors" (Matthew 6:12), and Paul wrote that we should not go to law against each other. Not the law of the church nor the law of the land.

1 Corinthians 6:6-8

"But brother goes to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because you go to law one with another. Why do you not rather take wrong? Why do you not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, you do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren."

Yet we presume the sin is in our brother!

Acts of the Apostles 305.1-2

"Satan is constantly seeking to introduce distrust, alienation, and malice among God's people. We shall often be tempted to feel that our rights are invaded, even when there is no real cause for such feelings.

"Those whose love for self is stronger than their love for Christ and His cause will place their own interests first and will resort to almost any expedient to guard and maintain them.

"Even many who appear to be conscientious Christians are hindered by pride and self-esteem from going privately to those whom they think in error, that they may talk with them in the spirit of Christ and pray together for one another. When they think themselves injured by their brethren, some will even go to law instead of following the Saviour's rule.

"Christians should not appeal to civil tribunals to settle differences that may arise among church members.

"Such differences should be settled among themselves, or by the church, in harmony with Christ's instruction. Even though injustice may have been done, the follower of the meek and lowly Jesus will suffer himself "to be defrauded" rather than open before the world the sins of his brethren in the church."

Paul wrote that this is a common fault among us, for we should allow the Spirit of God to handle problems such as these. If we were real Sabbath-keepers, "resting" in Him, then we would do so. However, if we must clear the air ourselves, then by all means go to the individual first, and after that, if need be, to the church authorities. They may be able to inject some sense into both of us!

BUT THIS IS CIVIL PROCEDURE IN THE CHURCH, NOT RELIGIOUS IN ANY SENSE. NEVER AT ANY TIME ARE WE PERMITTED TO GO TO THE WORLD FOR A JUDGMENT!!!

 

Old Testament authority

There is an Old Testament Scripture which seems to suggest that we should not allow a brother or sister to continue in what we see as a sin, but let us look at it closely.

Leviticus 19:17

"You shall not hate your brother in your heart: you shall in any wise rebuke your neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him."

While these words do not make it obvious that this deals with "sins" against you the following comment makes this very clear.

Desire of Ages 440.2 - 442.1

"If one of these little ones shall be overcome, and commit a wrong against you, then it is your work to seek his restoration. Do not wait for him to make the first effort for reconciliation....

"In the spirit of meekness, ‘considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted,’ (Gal. 6:1), go to the erring one, and ‘tell him his fault between thee and him alone.’ [This means with great reluctance.] Do not put him to shame by exposing his fault to others, nor bring dishonor upon Christ by making public the sin or error of one who bears His name...

"Christ's instruction as to the treatment of the erring repeats in more specific form the teaching given to Israel through Moses: ‘Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in anywise rebuke thy neighbor, that thou bear not sin for him.’ Lev. 19:17, margin. That is, if one neglects the duty Christ has enjoined, of trying to restore those who are in error and sin,
he becomes a partaker in the sin. For evils that we might have checked, we are just as responsible as if we were guilty of the acts ourselves.

"But it is to the wrongdoer himself that we are to present the wrong. We are not to make it a matter of comment and criticism among ourselves; nor even after it is told to the church, are we at liberty to repeat it to others. A knowledge of the faults of Christians will be only a cause of stumbling to the unbelieving world; and by dwelling upon these things, we ourselves can receive only harm; for it is by beholding that we become changed.

"While we seek to correct the errors of a brother [against us, remember], the Spirit of Christ will lead us to shield him, as far as possible, from the criticism of even his own brethren, and how much more from the censure of the unbelieving world. We ourselves are erring, and need Christ's pity and forgiveness, and just as we wish Him to deal with us, He bids us deal with one another.

[Then come these very important words and principle!!!]

"‘Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ You are acting as the ambassadors of heaven, and the issues of your work are for eternity."

Therefore you are NOT binding God in this matter – only yourself.

 

Specific orders

In the Bible there are often two things called by the same name which are actually different, and in this case we are discussing general and specific orders. The words of the Bible abound with general commands for Christians of all times, but they do not contain one single specific order or request for an individual alive today, and we must not treat them as such. We are to receive specific daily orders on how to fulfil the general ones from the Spirit of God Himself as Jesus did.

Isaiah 50:4

"The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakens [Me] morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as the learned."

Such daily requests from the Spirit will not contradict the general orders of course, although they may appear to do so as when Abraham was told to kill his son. Genesis 22:1-2. But such an apparent violation will only come when we have had sufficient experience with the voice of God that we cannot be mistaken as to who is issuing the order, and then God will be responsible for the outcome.

Normally, we can judge the commands against the principles of the Bible, and we should do this every time because Satan can be very successful in deluding the people of God into thinking that it is their DUTY to reveal the wrongful action of a person to them, but that is not so. Peter tried to do this to Jesus when he was told that our Saviour was going to Jerusalem to be crucified. He was advised very quickly that his response came from the devil!!

Matthew 16:21-23

"From that time forth began Jesus to show to His disciples, how that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took Him [he actually laid hands on Him!], and began to rebuke Him, saying, Be it far from You, Lord: this shall not be to You.

"But He turned, and said to Peter, Get you behind Me, Satan: you are an offence to Me: for you savour [understand] not the things that be of God, but [only] those that be of men."

If we should think that we recognise a sin-situation in a fellow Christian (as opposed to one of the "nations") then our behaviour should be governed by Scriptures such as the following where we are told to PRAY for the sinner, not to approach him or her directly.

1 John 5:14-17

"And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He hears us: and if we know that He hear us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.

"If any man [or woman] see his brother [or sister] sin a sin which is not to death, he shall ask, and He shall give him life for them that sin not to death.

"There is a sin to death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

"All unrighteousness is sin: and [but] there is a sin not to death."

And that prayer should be along the lines of: "Can I help You deal with this problem, Lord?" But don’t expect too much – we are normally too hard on our brethren for God to be able to use us. So why pray? To learn to exercise love and concern for each other. And be sure that you know the difference between these two sins!!

He may send you to the sinner, He may not, but you will know WITHOUT A DOUBT if you are to go. If in any doubt DO NOT GO. You may safely leave the sinner to God’s mercy. You may not even exercise parental covering once reasonable age is reached. See Ezekiel 14:14, 16.

The will of God

The problem seems to be in the area encompassed by the words, "IF we ask anything according to His will..." and, "IF we know that He hears us..."

HOW DO WE KNOW THE WILL OF GOD?

This can be divided into two sections. EVERY promise of God in the Bible is His revealed will to us all. However, a particular promise may not be capable of fulfilment at a certain time because of circumstances beyond God’s control: for example, our will, or choice; someone else’s behaviour; the effect it might have on others at that time; etc.

So we have these situations as we have already seen:-

1. God’s will for us, His children in general.

2. God’s will for you, the individual, today.

 

The first area is not really a problem. It is one that needs increased education and faith, of course, but it should be easily seen and comprehended because it is written in the Bible in the form of promises and commands.

The second area is a day-to-day revelation, and we often confuse it with number one, to God’s sorrow. Let us try to define the two more clearly.

"Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them... teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you..." is a general order applicable to those not in the church. Matthew 28:19-20.

How, and to whom, you are to do that today, requires a specific order from the Spirit of God to you. You will need to know first of all the name of the person, or his or her whereabouts and identity so that you may approach them, the subject or action you are to use, and when you are to meet. You may not be given all of this until the last moment, but you will be given it. Philip and the eunuch are a case in point. Acts 8:26-35.

Jesus and His disciples once walked 100km to talk with a heathen woman about her daughter’s sickness. Then they walked back again! Mark 7:24-26. Christ’s mightiest works were done in Bethsaida and Chorazin, not Jerusalem. Matthew 11:21. He sometimes went to those in the church such as the widow of Nain, but that was because the people in those cases had asked God for help and He was directed to them. Luke 7:11-15.

 

Area 1.

There are no "ifs and buts" in the kingdom of heaven because God is a positive Person, with no negative aspect at all. Only in this world do we have male and female, positive and negative, give and take, and therefore any "ifs and buts" have to be on our side of any agreement we make with the Lord. We have been given "exceeding great and precious promises", and it is our belief and acceptance of these "by faith" in God’s character and creative power that we enter into, and continue therein, the precious state of Christianity. 2 Peter 1:4.

It is written "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen." Hebrews 11:1. Therefore, faith is not an airy-fairy thing with which we have no definite knowledge, nor is it blind with only a supposed hope. Again it is written that, "He that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6. The following quote, although it refers primarily to our own behaviour, is also a good guide on how to behave towards others.

Great Controversy 1888ed 598.1

"God has given us his Word that we may become acquainted with its teachings, and know for ourselves what he requires of us. When the lawyer came to Jesus with the inquiry, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" the Saviour referred him to the Scriptures, saying, "What is written in the law? how readest thou?"

"Ignorance will not excuse young or old, nor release them from the punishment due for the transgression of God's law, because there is in their hands a faithful presentation of that law and of its principles and its claims.

"It is not enough to have good intentions; it is not enough to do what a man thinks is right, or what the minister tells him is right. His soul's salvation is at stake, and he should search the Scriptures for himself.

"However strong may be his convictions, however confident he may be that the minister knows what is truth, this is not his foundation.

"He has a chart pointing out every way-mark on the heavenward journey, and he ought not to guess at anything."

Steps to Christ 63.2

"When we speak of faith, there is a distinction that should be borne in mind. There is a kind of belief that is wholly distinct from faith. The existence and power of God, the truth of His word, are facts that even Satan and his hosts cannot at heart deny. The Bible says that "the devils also believe, and tremble;" but this is not faith. James 2:19.

"Where there is not only a belief in God’s word, but a submission of the will to Him; where the heart is yielded to Him, the affections fixed upon Him, there is faith faith that works by love and purifies the soul.

"Through this faith the heart is renewed in the image of God. And the heart that in its unrenewed state is [was] not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, now delights in its holy precepts, exclaiming with the psalmist, ‘O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.’ Psalm 119:97. And the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us, ‘who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ Romans 8:1."

Thus we find that true faith is the ACTION of an enlightened reason.

 

How faith works

In a sin situation this faith works as follows.
Based on 1 Corinthians 10:13.

 

1. We recognise a temptation or situation to be unlawful.

2. We feel a strong desire to succumb to it.

3. We need the action of our will – our choice.

4. We pray and ask Jesus to save us from the urge, for this is His will and we know it.

5. He answers by coming between the attraction and ourselves, so that we may focus our attention on Him, just as a loving husband would protect a helpless wife.

6. Because of His presence the temptation no longer has any power and it loses its attractiveness. We can now walk away from it with complete victory for He has given it to us.

7. We praise His name for the evidence of our faith.

This kind of prayer is ALWAYS answered immediately for sin in us is not an option with God.

 

The call of duty

In the case of a promise or command we should follow this pattern.

1. We read a promise or a command in the Bible.

2. We ask if this is for us today, OR

we receive a communication from the Spirit that this is for us today.

3. We choose to follow His request, and make the effort to fulfil it.

4. He answers by supplying the power needed, and the promise or command happens successfully.

5. We thank Him for His confidence in us and for sharing His plans with us.

THIS IS FAITH IN ACTION.

In the case of a sin temptation it will work for the born-again Christian EVERY time. That is, every time you want it to, of course, for if you would really prefer the sin (in your heart) no amount of prayer words can bring Jesus between you and your love. Similarly, if in your heart you do not want to do the thing that God has commanded, or if you add or subtract from the specific directions, then it too will fail.

These experiences do not require much faith, or much prayer, for if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can move a mountain of difficulty. Matthew 17:20.

Faith works because He is doing it! Try it and see!

 

Ms 6, 1889. In Heavenly Places 104.3

"Faith, saving faith... is the act of the soul by which the whole man is given over to the guardianship and control of Jesus Christ.
He abides in Christ and Christ abides in the soul by faith as supreme. The believer commits his soul and body to God, and with assurance may say, Christ is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. All who will do this will be saved unto life eternal. There will be an assurance that the soul is washed in the blood of Christ and clothed with His righteousness and precious in the sight of Jesus."

Such faith is also called "love." Luke 7:47-50.

 

Ministry of Healing 62.1-3

"To the curious crowd pressing about Jesus there was imparted no vital power. But the suffering woman who touched Him in faith received healing.

"So in spiritual things does the casual contact differ from the touch of faith. To believe in Christ merely as the Saviour of the world can never bring healing to the soul. The faith that is unto salvation is not a mere assent to the truth of the gospel.

"True faith is that which receives Christ as a personal Saviour. God gave His only-begotten Son, that I, by believing in Him, ‘should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ John 3:16.

"When I come to Christ, according to His word, I am to believe that I receive His saving grace. The life that I now live, I am to ‘live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.’ Galatians 2:20.

"Many hold faith as an opinion.

"Saving faith is a transaction, by which those who receive Christ join themselves in covenant relation with God.

"A living faith means an increase of vigor, a confiding trust, by which, through the grace of Christ, the soul becomes a conquering power.

"Faith is a mightier conqueror than death. If the sick can be led to fix their eyes in faith upon the Mighty Healer, we shall see wonderful results. It will bring life to the body and to the soul."

Thus saving faith is a specific experience. (There is SAVING faith and LIVING faith and RESURRECTION faith and TRANSLATION faith).

 

We should examine ourselves

Ms 10, 1883. In Heavenly Places 105.2

"Our Saviour asks the question, "When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8), implying that true faith would be almost extinct."

He has told us in another place also that, "The love of many [of the professed believers] shall wax cold, but he that shall endure unto the end shall be saved." Matthew 24:12-13.

Therefore we would do well to carefully examine ourselves to see whether we have the true faith or just a cunning substitute which will "wax cold" under pressure. Peter thought that he would NEVER betray Jesus – some of them might, but not he!

The following has been written that we may know and exercise faith more fully.

Matthew 7:7-8

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you: for every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened."

This is what Jesus spoke to His hearers at the beginning of His ministry, for He did not want them to wait for maturity to exercise faith.

 

Area 2

When we have a specific daily order, then...

Steps to Christ, 50

.".. believe that He does this because He has promised. This is the lesson which Jesus taught while He was on earth, that the gift which God promises us, we must believe we do receive, and it is ours.... He helped them in the things which they could see, thus inspiring them with confidence in Him concerning things which they could not see..."

Steps to Christ 50-51

"The sick man... believed Christ's word, believed that he was made whole, and he made the effort at once; he willed to walk, and he did walk. He acted on the word of Christ, and God gave the power...."

The result came immediately.

Steps to Christ 51.1-2

"If you believe the promise... God supplies the fact... It is so if you believe it. Do not wait to feel... but say, ‘I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it, but because God has promised.’"

Of course, all this sounds too easy, and you may doubt that it will work for you, and you may be right, for as we should know it is also written that, "There is a condition to this promise – that we pray according to the will of God." Steps to Christ, 51.

And there is the problem again. How do you know the will of God?

It is simply answered.

By reading the promises.

They are the will of God.

He may not be able to fulfil them in you today because of your unbelief, but that does not alter His desire, His will. God is no respecter of persons, and therefore every promise in the word of God is for you – IF YOU BELIEVE IT.

Christ’s Object Lessons 38.1

"In every command and in every promise of the word of God is the power, the very life of God, by which the command may be fulfilled and the promise realized."

Review & Herald, October 25, 1892 par. 1-2

" ’Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.’ We are living in a time when we should individually ask ourselves, ‘How do I stand related to God and eternity?’ It will not matter to what nation we may have belonged, or what sect we have followed; but it will matter upon which side we have stood between good and evil.

"Daily you should ask yourself, ‘Am I a Christian? Am I a servant of sin, or am I following Christ? Am I renewed in the image of Christ by his transforming grace? Has a moral change taken place in me? Do I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ? Do I feel that I am not my own, but that I have been bought with the precious blood of Christ, and must consecrate myself to his service?’"

"Let no soul risk his [or her] eternal future upon a supposition.

"The Lord never designed that any one should go blindfolded to heaven. He who sincerely desires to know, may understand whether his steps are tending heavenward or earthward.

"In the living oracles of God a description is given of the road leading heavenward, and the road leading to perdition, and no one need be deceived as to which one he is traveling. There is no need that one should be lost. God willeth not the misery of any one of his creatures. It is his desire that all men should come to repentance and to the acknowledging of the truth. ‘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.’

"The Lord has provided ample means for our salvation; but he can do nothing for us without our co-operation. Paul says, ‘We are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.’"

Personal acceptance

But all these are general promises or commands, and this is why we need to add the words, "If it be Your will [today], Father." Not because we are not sure of the will of God, but because we are not sure that He will be able to do it just then, or through us. We may hinder His desire rather than help.

We must know the promises in the word of God and make them our very own in that we must believe that God would like to do for each one of us that which He has done for others in the Scriptures. This means to understand that to really believe a promise is to accept the fact that if we had been the one to whom Jesus had said, "Come on to the water", then even today we could do as Peter did, and literally walk on water.

"Come now, and let reason together, says the Lord." Isaiah 1:18. By using sanctified reason we can find the sure word of God which upholds the whole universe (Hebrews 1:3), and upon which we may stand.

Peter said, "Lord, if it be You, bid me to come to You on the water." Matthew 14:28. What a strange request! Of course, it was not something that Peter thought up for himself, for if so, God would not have complied with it. It was in response to an urging by the Spirit of God that he asked, and it was in response to that same Spirit that Jesus replied.

Peter’s request was based on the fulfilment of a promise which God had made through one of His prophets. There we are told that, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you." Isaiah 43:2.

He looked back on the experiences of other men of faith when they had done this very thing, and under Inspiration claimed the experience for himself without being presumptuous. Moses and thousands of Israelites had done it at the Red Sea crossing, Exodus 14:22; Joshua and the new generation repeated it at the river Jordan 40 years later, Joshua 3:14-17; Elijah and Elisha crossed at that same spot on their way to the ascension, 2 Kings 2:8; and after that experience, Elisha came back that way once more, 2 Kings 2:13-14. They all walked through separated waters while Peter walked on the surface, but this only shows how we must not limit an interpretation of Scripture, or God’s way of fulfilling a promise.

All of these men had specific direction from God to ask for these things, but that does not mean that we cannot also have that specific direction and claim the promise at the Spirit’s urging when the need arises.

The same urging came upon David while he pondered the fate of the armies of Israel confronted by Goliath. When he came to the encampment his older brother accused him of "pride and naughtiness of your heart", but David’s answer was, "Is there not a cause?" 1 Samuel 17:28-29.

He had been sent to destroy the enemy and he knew it. When he spoke to Goliath he said, "This day will the Lord deliver you into my hand, and I will smite you and take your head from you", because he had been advised by God that this would happen. Verse 46.

He did not just "hope" that God would do it!

Spiritual Gifts 4a 80.4

"David is not careful to explain to his brother that he had come to the help of Israel [he did not find it necessary to ask his permission]; that God had sent him to slay Goliath. God had chosen him to be ruler of Israel, and as the armies of the living God were in such peril, he had been directed by an angel to save Israel."

His was no boastful claim, nor a claim with an "if" or a "but" in it. It was positive declaration of God’s intention, for he knew what would happen when he kept his part of God’s plan. Of course, if he had not acted correctly then God’s strategy would have failed, but not through God’s fault. If we act as we should the promise is certain.

Isaiah goes on to say that "When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you", and it was upon this promise that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (aka Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) based their answer to king Nebuchadnezzar. At the Spirit’s leading they said to him, If this be your decision, "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us", but even if you should change your mind, "we will not serve your gods." Daniel 3:17-18.

And how literally did Jesus answer their prayer of faith! He came in person to thank them for their faith in His specific word. Verse 25.

An apparently greater response to the prayer of faith occurred in the days of Joshua when he asked God to stop the sun and the moon while he destroyed the Canaanites who at that time lived in Jerusalem. They had attacked the city of Gibeon and Joshua and his men had made a forced march all night uphill to save their allies. When Joshua saw that his enemies were fleeing downhill and the day was far gone, he cried out under specific command for the sun and the moon to halt and allow the daylight to continue in that area.

Joshua 10:14

"There was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened to the voice of a man."

Patriarchs and Prophets 507.5 – 509.1

"Joshua prepared to go at once to the relief of Gibeon... he felt himself under obligation to protect them. He did not this time move without divine counsel, and the Lord encouraged him in the undertaking...

"‘Then spoke Joshua to the Lord, . . . and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand you still upon Gibeon; and you, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon....’

"The Spirit of God inspired Joshua's prayer... Hence the request did not show presumption on the part of the great leader.... He did all that human energy could do, and then he cried in faith for divine aid. The secret of success is the union of divine power with human effort. Those who achieve the greatest results are those who rely most implicitly upon the Almighty Arm.

"The man who commanded, "Sun, stand you still... is the man who for hours lay prostrate upon the earth in prayer in the camp of Gilgal. The men of prayer are the men of power."

 

Ask for it

Why are we directed to ask God aloud for a miracle when He has already promised to do it? Jesus answers that for us.

John 11:40-44

"Jesus said to her [Martha, the sister of Lazarus], Said I not to you, that, if you would believe, you should see the glory of God?

"Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I knew that You hear Me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that You have sent Me.

"And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth..."

How fantastic the idea must have seemed to Joshua when it was first suggested, and how fantastic some of God’s promises seem to us today, but all YOU need to fulfil any promise of God at this very minute is the specific direction of the Spirit of God combined with your faith in His word. But you must know the promise before you can receive it, otherwise you may brush aside the promptings of the Spirit. You might even call it a delusion! And yet,

Steps to Christ 52.1 – 55.1

"As it is by giving yourself to God, and believing Him, that you become His child, so you are to live in Him...

"Here is where thousands fail; they do not believe... personally, individually. They do not take God at His word. It is the privilege of all who comply with the conditions to know for themselves...

"Put away the suspicion that God's promises are not meant for you....

"With the rich promises of the Bible before you, can you give place to doubt?...

"Look up, you that are doubting and trembling; for Jesus lives to make intercession for us....

"Come with your whole heart to Jesus, and you may claim His blessing.

"As you read the promises, remember they are the expression of unutterable love and pity..."

Steps to Christ 96.2

"When our prayers seem not to be answered, we are to cling to the promise; for the time of answering will surely come, and we shall receive the blessing we need most."

Remember, it was only when Peter’s faith failed because he could no longer see Jesus that he started to sink.

Abraham was told of the impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah - he knew the will of God before the event. Genesis 18:17. He pleaded with his Saviour, the Judge of all the earth, six times regarding it – why not a seventh? Genesis 18:24-33. Elijah had to ask seven times at Mt. Carmel when he was told that it would rain at his word, for he was the cause of the drought. 1 Kings 18:42-44; 17:1. Why was the repetition necessary?
To change God or Elijah?

3 Testimonies 263.1

"He went before the Lord, and, with his soul wrung with anguish, pleaded for Him to save His people [not punish them, notice] if it must be by judgments. He pleaded with God to withhold from His ungrateful people dew and rain...

"The Lord told Elijah that He had heard his prayer and would withhold dew and rain from His people until they should turn unto Him with repentance."

I wonder where he got the idea from?

The lack of dew and rain would fittingly represent the lack of the Holy Spirit in their lives and might be a means of turning them back to the truth. Their crime was ascribing these blessings to the local baals (gods of force and weather).

Continued..........


To ancient SDA's ............ To "What's New?"

 

 

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