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JimB

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The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« on: January 09, 2016, 02:02:22 PM »
The True Sign

    "Again He went out from the borders of Tyre, and came through Sidon unto the Sea of Galilee, through the midst of the borders of Decapolis." Mark 7:31, R. V. 
     It was in the region of Decapolis that the demoniacs of Gergesa had been healed. Here the people, alarmed at the destruction of the swine, had constrained Jesus to depart from among them. But they had listened to the messengers He left behind, and a desire was aroused to see Him. As He came again into that region, a crowd gathered about Him, and a deaf, stammering man was brought to Him. Jesus did not, according to His custom, restore the man by a word only. Taking him apart from the multitude, He put His fingers in his ears, and touched his tongue; looking up to heaven, He sighed at thought of the ears that would not be open to the truth, the tongues that refused to acknowledge the Redeemer. At the word, "Be opened," the man's speech was restored, and, disregarding the command to tell no man, he published abroad the story of his cure. 
     Jesus went up into a mountain, and there the multitude flocked to Him, bringing their sick and lame, and laying them at His feet. He healed them all; and the people, heathen as they were, glorified the God of Israel. For three days they continued to throng about the Saviour, sleeping at night in the open air, and through the day pressing eagerly to hear the words of Christ, and to see His works. At the end of three days their food was spent. Jesus would not send them away hungry, and He called upon His disciples to give them food. Again the disciples revealed their unbelief. At Bethsaida they had seen how, with Christ's blessing, their little store availed for the feeding of the multitude; yet they did not now bring forward their all, trusting His power to multiply it for the hungry crowds. Moreover, those whom He fed at Bethsaida were Jews; these were Gentiles and heathen. Jewish prejudice was still strong in the hearts of the disciples, and they answered Jesus, "Whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?" But obedient to His word they brought Him what they had,--seven loaves and two fishes. The multitude were fed, seven large baskets of fragments remaining. Four thousand men, besides women and children, were thus refreshed, and Jesus sent them away with glad and grateful hearts. 
     Then taking a boat with His disciples, He crossed the lake to Magdala, at the southern end of the plain of Gennesaret. In the border of Tyre and Sidon His spirit had been refreshed by the confiding trust of the Syrophoenician woman. The heathen people of Decapolis had received Him with gladness. Now as He landed once more in Galilee, where His power had been most strikingly manifested, where most of His works of mercy had been performed, and His teaching given, He was met with contemptuous unbelief. 
     A deputation of Pharisees had been joined by representatives from the rich and lordly Sadducees, the party of the priests, the skeptics and aristocracy of the nation. The two sects had been at bitter enmity. The Sadducees courted the favor of the ruling power in order to maintain their own position and authority. The Pharisees, on the other hand, fostered the popular hatred against the Romans, longing for the time when they could throw off the yoke of the conqueror. But Pharisee and Sadducee now united against Christ. Like seeks like; and evil, wherever it exists, leagues with evil for the destruction of the good. 
     Now the Pharisees and Sadducees came to Christ, asking for a sign from heaven. When in the days of Joshua Israel went out to battle with the Canaanites at Bethhoron, the sun had stood still at the leader's command until victory was gained; and many similar wonders had been manifest in their history. Some such sign was demanded of Jesus. But these signs were not what the Jews needed. No mere external evidence could benefit them. What they needed was not intellectual enlightenment, but spiritual renovation. 
     "O ye hypocrites," said Jesus, "ye can discern the face of the sky,"--by studying the sky they could foretell the weather,--"but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" Christ's own words, spoken with the power of the Holy Spirit that convicted them of sin, were the sign that God had given for their salvation. And signs direct from heaven had been given to attest the mission of Christ. The song of the angels to the shepherds, the star that guided the wise men, the dove and the voice from heaven at His baptism, were witnesses for Him. 
     "And He sighed deeply in His spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign?" "There shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas." As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, Christ was to be the same time "in the heart of the earth." And as the preaching of Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so Christ's preaching was a sign to His generation. But what a contrast in the reception of the word! The people of the great heathen city trembled as they heard the warning from God. Kings and nobles humbled themselves; the high and the lowly together cried to the God of heaven, and His mercy was granted unto them. "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation," Christ had said, "and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here." Matthew 12:40, 41.
     Every miracle that Christ performed was a sign of His divinity. He was doing the very work that had been foretold of the Messiah; but to the Pharisees these works of mercy were a positive offense. The Jewish leaders looked with heartless indifference on human suffering. In many cases their selfishness and oppression had caused the affliction that Christ relieved. Thus His miracles were to them a reproach. 
     That which led the Jews to reject the Saviour's work was the highest evidence of His divine character. The greatest significance of His miracles is seen in the fact that they were for the blessing of humanity. The highest evidence that He came from God is that His life revealed the character of God. He did the works and spoke the words of God. Such a life is the greatest of all miracles.   
     When the message of truth is presented in our day, there are many who, like the Jews, cry, Show us a sign. Work us a miracle. Christ wrought no miracle at the demand of the Pharisees. He wrought no miracle in the wilderness in answer to Satan's insinuations. He does not impart to us power to vindicate ourselves or to satisfy the demands of unbelief and pride. But the gospel is not without a sign of its divine origin. Is it not a miracle that we can break from the bondage of Satan? Enmity against Satan is not natural to the human heart; it is implanted by the grace of God. When one who has been controlled by a stubborn, wayward will is set free, and yields himself wholeheartedly to the drawing of God's heavenly agencies, a miracle is wrought; so also when a man who has been under strong delusion comes to understand moral truth. Every time a soul is converted, and learns to love God and keep His commandments, the promise of God is fulfilled, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." Ezekiel 36:26. The change in human hearts, the transformation of human characters, is a miracle that reveals an ever-living Saviour, working to rescue souls. A consistent life in Christ is a great miracle. In the preaching of the word of God, the sign that should be manifest now and always is the presence of the Holy Spirit, to make the word a regenerating power to those that hear. This is God's witness before the world to the divine mission of His Son. 
     Those who desired a sign from Jesus had so hardened their hearts in unbelief that they did not discern in His character the likeness of God. They would not see that His mission was in fulfillment of the Scriptures. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus said to the Pharisees, "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." Luke 16:31. No sign that could be given in heaven or earth would benefit them. 
     Jesus "sighed deeply in His spirit," and, turning from the group of cavilers, re-entered the boat with His disciples. In sorrowful silence they again crossed the lake. They did not, however, return to the place they had left, but directed their course toward Bethsaida, near where the five thousand had been fed. Upon reaching the farther side, Jesus said, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." The Jews had been accustomed since the days of Moses to put away leaven from their houses at the Passover season, and they had thus been taught to regard it as a type of sin. Yet the disciples failed to understand Jesus. In their sudden departure from Magdala they had forgotten to take bread, and they had with them only one loaf. To this circumstance they understood Christ to refer, warning them not to buy bread of a Pharisee or a Sadducee. Their lack of faith and spiritual insight had often led them to similar misconception of His words. Now Jesus reproved them for thinking that He who had fed thousands with a few fishes and barley loaves could in that solemn warning have referred merely to temporal food. There was danger that the crafty reasoning of the Pharisees and the Sadducees would leaven His disciples with unbelief, causing them to think lightly of the works of Christ. 
     The disciples were inclined to think that their Master should have granted the demand for a sign in the heavens. They believed that He was fully able to do this, and that such a sign would put His enemies to silence. They did not discern the hypocrisy of these cavilers. 
     Months afterward, "when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another," Jesus repeated the same teaching. "He began to say unto His disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." Luke 12:1. 
     The leaven placed in the meal works imperceptibly, changing the whole mass to its own nature. So if hypocrisy is allowed to exist in the heart, it permeates the character and the life. A striking example of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, Christ had already rebuked in denouncing the practice of "Corban," by which a neglect of filial duty was concealed under a pretense of liberality to the temple. The scribes and Pharisees were insinuating deceptive principles. They concealed the real tendency of their doctrines, and improved every occasion to instill them artfully into the minds of their hearers. These false principles, when once accepted, worked like leaven in the meal, permeating and transforming the character. It was this deceptive teaching that made it so hard for the people to receive the words of Christ.
     The same influences are working today through those who try to explain the law of God in such a way as to make it conform to their practices. This class do not attack the law openly, but put forward speculative theories that undermine its principles. They explain it so as to destroy its force.
     The hypocrisy of the Pharisees was the product of self-seeking. The glorification of themselves was the object of their lives. It was this that led them to pervert and misapply the Scriptures, and blinded them to the purpose of Christ's mission. This subtle evil even the disciples of Christ were in danger of cherishing. Those who classed themselves with the followers of Jesus, but who had not left all in order to become His disciples, were influenced in a great degree by the reasoning of the Pharisees. They were often vacillating between faith and unbelief, and they did not discern the treasures of wisdom hidden in Christ. Even the disciples, though outwardly they had left all for Jesus' sake, had not in heart ceased to seek great things for themselves. It was this spirit that prompted the strife as to who should be greatest. It was this that came between them and Christ, making them so little in sympathy with His mission of self-sacrifice, so slow to comprehend the mystery of redemption. As leaven, if left to complete its work, will cause corruption and decay, so does the self-seeking spirit, cherished, work the defilement and ruin of the soul.
     Among the followers of our Lord today, as of old, how widespread is this subtle, deceptive sin! How often our service to Christ, our communion with one another, is marred by the secret desire to exalt self! How ready the thought of self-gratulation, and the longing for human approval! It is the love of self, the desire for an easier way than God has appointed that leads to the substitution of human theories and traditions for the divine precepts. To His own disciples the warning words of Christ are spoken, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees." 
     The religion of Christ is sincerity itself. Zeal for God's glory is the motive implanted by the Holy Spirit; and only the effectual working of the Spirit can implant this motive. Only the power of God can banish self-seeking and hypocrisy. This change is the sign of His working. When the faith we accept destroys selfishness and pretense, when it leads us to seek God's glory and not our own, we may know that it is of the right order. "Father, glorify Thy name" (John 12:28), was the keynote of Christ's life, and if we follow Him, this will be the keynote of our life. He commands us to "walk, even as He walked;" and "hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." 1 John 2:6, 3. 


_________________________________________________ __________________________________________

I read this a few days ago and all I could think of was if the disciples were like this while in the very physical presence of Christ, I wonder how many times my own deficiencies have kept me from growing and understanding the things I should.

Their lack of faith and spiritual insight had often led them to similar misconception of His words. Now Jesus reproved them for thinking that He who had fed thousands with a few fishes and barley loaves could in that solemn warning have referred merely to temporal food. There was danger that the crafty reasoning of the Pharisees and the Sadducees would leaven His disciples with unbelief, causing them to think lightly of the works of Christ. 
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2016, 09:30:16 AM »
Yes, Jim.   Like Eve, the disciples would reject truth Jesus spoke, in their case because of the influence of the Laodicean leadership. Satan used Judas also to leaven His disciples. It is part of the reason why Jesus could not educate them that He was the Lamb that had to die.

Here is another truth that I find so helpful:


 Every miracle that Christ performed was a sign of His divinity. He was doing the very work that had been foretold of the Messiah; but to the Pharisees these works of mercy were a positive offense. The Jewish leaders looked with heartless indifference on human suffering. In many cases their selfishness and oppression had caused the affliction that Christ relieved. Thus His miracles were to them a reproach. 
     That which led the Jews to reject the Saviour's work was the highest evidence of His divine character. The greatest significance of His miracles is seen in the fact that they were for the blessing of humanity. The highest evidence that He came from God is that His life revealed the character of God. He did the works and spoke the words of God. Such a life is the greatest of all miracles.  


When the Spirit of God enters the human heart, and creates a new heart that was promised in Genesis 3:15, this is also a revelation of the greatest of all miracles. We will see that same oppression rise up against this truth in our church also. Many will be surprised at where it comes from.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2016, 07:07:48 PM »
The highest evidence that He came from God is that His life revealed the character of God. He did the works and spoke the words of God. Such a life is the greatest of all miracles.  

When I think of all the miracles that Christ did. Healing and raising the dead and than am told that Christ simply lived and revealed the character of His Father was a greater miracle should tell me how much value is placed upon character even our own characters.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2016, 06:08:54 AM »
The scribes and Pharisees were insinuating deceptive principles. They concealed the real tendency of their doctrines, and improved every occasion to instill them artfully into the minds of their hearers. These false principles, when once accepted, worked like leaven in the meal, permeating and transforming the character. It was this deceptive teaching that made it so hard for the people to receive the words of Christ.
    The same influences are working today through those who try to explain the law of God in such a way as to make it conform to their practices. This class do not attack the law openly, but put forward speculative theories that undermine its principles. They explain it so as to destroy its force.
     The hypocrisy of the Pharisees was the product of self-seeking. The glorification of themselves was the object of their lives. It was this that led them to pervert and misapply the Scriptures, and blinded them to the purpose of Christ's mission. This subtle evil even the disciples of Christ were in danger of cherishing. Those who classed themselves with the followers of Jesus, but who had not left all in order to become His disciples, were influenced in a great degree by the reasoning of the Pharisees. They were often vacillating between faith and unbelief, and they did not discern the treasures of wisdom hidden in Christ. Even the disciples, though outwardly they had left all for Jesus' sake, had not in heart ceased to seek great things for themselves. It was this spirit that prompted the strife as to who should be greatest. It was this that came between them and Christ, making them so little in sympathy with His mission of self-sacrifice, so slow to comprehend the mystery of redemption. As leaven, if left to complete its work, will cause corruption and decay, so does the self-seeking spirit, cherished, work the defilement and ruin of the soul.


Where do we see this same principle working today? Is it possible we have partaken of a false teaching, and therefore have made excuses for our sins, thinking they are not sins that condemn us? What is the "true sign" of faithfulness to God and how does the "leaven of the Pharisees" work against it?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2016, 08:34:10 AM »


Where do we see this same principle working today? Is it possible we have partaken of a false teaching, and therefore have made excuses for our sins, thinking they are not sins that condemn us? What is the "true sign" of faithfulness to God and how does the "leaven of the Pharisees" work against it?

The deceptive teaching of our day that obscures the beauty of the gospel and the law of God is the idea that when one sins, he or she retains justification/salvation. But the true sign is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life (as was brought out in this beautiful chapter!)--and we can go further in this same book, from Chapter 73, that "when we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {DA 676.4}

God is faithful--truth WILL triumph over error! Jesus is coming again!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2016, 09:01:47 AM »
Amen!! Pastor Sean said that this truth is brought out in this beautiful chapter. Let's take a look.

 That which led the Jews to reject the Saviour's work was the highest evidence of His divine character. The greatest significance of His miracles is seen in the fact that they were for the blessing of humanity. The highest evidence that He came from God is that His life revealed the character of God. He did the works and spoke the words of God. Such a life is the greatest of all miracles.   

Is it possible for us to reveal such a character? Can we manifest all of the fruits of His Spirit today?

     When the message of truth is presented in our day, there are many who, like the Jews, cry, Show us a sign. Work us a miracle. Christ wrought no miracle at the demand of the Pharisees. He wrought no miracle in the wilderness in answer to Satan's insinuations. He does not impart to us power to vindicate ourselves or to satisfy the demands of unbelief and pride. But the gospel is not without a sign of its divine origin. Is it not a miracle that we can break from the bondage of Satan? Enmity against Satan is not natural to the human heart; it is implanted by the grace of God. When one who has been controlled by a stubborn, wayward will is set free, and yields himself wholeheartedly to the drawing of God's heavenly agencies, a miracle is wrought; so also when a man who has been under strong delusion comes to understand moral truth. Every time a soul is converted, and learns to love God and keep His commandments, the promise of God is fulfilled, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." Ezekiel 36:26. The change in human hearts, the transformation of human characters, is a miracle that reveals an ever-living Saviour, working to rescue souls. A consistent life in Christ is a great miracle. In the preaching of the word of God, the sign that should be manifest now and always is the presence of the Holy Spirit, to make the word a regenerating power to those that hear. This is God's witness before the world to the divine mission of His Son. 


Yes, we can!  It is the sign there is a God in heaven that loves us and has transformed us. Listen to the prophet Ezekiel on this subject:

 36:19   And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. 
 36:20   And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These [are] the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of his land. 
 36:21   But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. 
 36:22   Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not [this] for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 
 36:23   And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.


This is "present truth"!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2016, 06:39:42 AM »
Who does not want to see a miracle of God? We all do. The Jews also wanted to see a miracle that they might believe. They wanted a sign that Jesus was sent of God. But, they had before them all they needed to see. The character of Jesus was the revelation of the greatest miracle they would ever see.

Why is it that we are so blind to recognize that very same miracle in those who are truly converted? The Words of Jesus are true. As a people we are "miserable, wretched, poor, blind and naked." We do not know the power of God to change sinners into saints. And when we see it, we do not recognize it.

Satan is at work with deceptions that are intended to hide the truth about who we are apart from Christ (unconverted), and what Christ does in us when we make a full surrender of the whole heart. "Is it not a miracle that we can break from the bondage of Satan? Enmity against Satan is not natural to the human heart; it is implanted by the grace of God." Some do not believe this. They go so far as to teach that the "enmity" is planted in the human heart at birth. Such a deception. The human heart prior to conversion is at enmity with God, not with Satan. Genesis 3:15 is the promise of a new heart. It is when we are converted that we receive this enmity towards Satan and sin. It when we make a full surrender of the whole heart that it is planted in the heart and mind. It is then that the law of God is written on the heart.

Many have been deceived into believing Romans 7 is the converted Christian. They believe the convert is still in bondage to sin. But, this cannot be. The repentant sinner is no longer in bondage to sin, his carnal heart has been cleansed and made new. The Spirit of God has taken possession of it.

When one who has been controlled by a stubborn, wayward will is set free, and yields himself wholeheartedly to the drawing of God's heavenly agencies, a miracle is wrought; so also when a man who has been under strong delusion comes to understand moral truth. Every time a soul is converted, and learns to love God and keep His commandments, the promise of God is fulfilled, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." Ezekiel 36:26. The change in human hearts, the transformation of human characters, is a miracle that reveals an ever-living Saviour, working to rescue souls. A consistent life in Christ is a great miracle. In the preaching of the word of God, the sign that should be manifest now and always is the presence of the Holy Spirit, to make the word a regenerating power to those that hear. This is God's witness before the world to the divine mission of His Son.

We notice that when one is converted, it is then that there is a change in character. It is then that the robe of Christ's righteousness is not only imputed (stands in place of), but is also imparted (actually given) to the repentant sinner. This is the greatest miracle God can do. And for understanding this, and for teaching this truth, the messenger is looked upon as fanatical. And, as with Jesus, they are hated and despised. The simple truth of the power of grace to transform sinners into saints is rejected by a world loving church. But, the message will succeed. The church will be revived and reformed. Let the love of Jesus be revealed in the sinner and the world and the church will know there is a God in heaven who loves them.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2016, 06:48:45 AM »
I love how God's Spirit leads in unity--the very section in the beginning I was going to comment on, as enmity is a gift from Christ--the effectual working of God's Spirit! I praise God for this miracle today of a new heart in my life--and pray for all in His church to experience it!!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2016, 05:52:05 AM »
I love how Jesus is so clearly revealed here in our reading today, and how the gospel is unmistakably an entire transformation of nature! God has the power by divine grace to ENTIRELY cleanse us from selfishness, and unless that has happened, we are not truly surrendered and converted. We need Jesus constantly, and need to look to Him incessantly! Praise God for the true sign of faith--the fruits of the Spirit in the life without one missing!

The religion of Christ is sincerity itself. Zeal for God's glory is the motive implanted by the Holy Spirit; and only the effectual working of the Spirit can implant this motive. Only the power of God can banish self-seeking and hypocrisy. This change is the sign of His working. When the faith we accept destroys selfishness and pretense, when it leads us to seek God's glory and not our own, we may know that it is of the right order. "Father, glorify Thy name" (John 12:28), was the keynote of Christ's life, and if we follow Him, this will be the keynote of our life. He commands us to "walk, even as He walked;" and "hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." 1 John 2:6, 3. 
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2016, 09:13:34 AM »
I love how Jesus is so clearly revealed here in our reading today, and how the gospel is unmistakably an entire transformation of nature! God has the power by divine grace to ENTIRELY cleanse us from selfishness......Praise God for the true sign of faith--the fruits of the Spirit in the life without one missing!

  He commands us to "walk, even as He walked;" and "hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." 1 John 2:6, 3. 

Amen, Pastor Sean!!

Many seek after miracles in regards to answered prayer, and God does perform wonderful miracles in answer to our prayers, as we abide in Him. But, what are those miracles compared to turning sinners into saints!!! This is the greatest of all miracles!  Yet, so many do not believe God can cleanse them of all sin. How very sad!  There are so many "teachers" that are actually convincing many that they cannot keep God's commandments. Yes, it is hard to believe God can transform sinners into saints. But, if we will believe God and His Word, then He can change us, He can give us grace to love the unlovable! We can love our neighbor as ourselves. We can love God more than we love self. It is the greatest of all miracles!

The highest evidence that He came from God is that His life revealed the character of God. He did the works and spoke the words of God. Such a life is the greatest of all miracles.  And we, through the power of an indwelling Savior can "walk, even as He walked."  Amen!! Have faith my friends. Believe it, because God has promised it to all who will come just as they are seeking to know Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2017, 07:43:36 AM »
When given opportunity to work within God's Laodicean church, what is most influential to reach those who are deceived? Miracles are very persuasive. But, even the greatest of all miracles did not work with most of the religious leaders in Christ's day.

     That which led the Jews to reject the Saviour's work was the highest evidence of His divine character. The greatest significance of His miracles is seen in the fact that they were for the blessing of humanity. The highest evidence that He came from God is that His life revealed the character of God. He did the works and spoke the words of God. Such a life is the greatest of all miracles.   
     When the message of truth is presented in our day, there are many who, like the Jews, cry, Show us a sign. Work us a miracle. Christ wrought no miracle at the demand of the Pharisees. He wrought no miracle in the wilderness in answer to Satan's insinuations. He does not impart to us power to vindicate ourselves or to satisfy the demands of unbelief and pride. But the gospel is not without a sign of its divine origin. Is it not a miracle that we can break from the bondage of Satan?


Here, God is pointing to conversion. At the moment when a heart is fully surrendered to Jesus, we see the greatest of all miracles. It was easy for God to pick up some clay, form a human, and breathe life in Adam. But, it is impossible for God to force one to love Him with the whole heart. Man is given free will to choose whom he will serve.

Will we, as a people, continue to resist His great love? Will we as a people deny Jesus His reward for all He has suffered? We may have great influence in His church and in the world if we will allow His grace to transform our character. Jesus is looking for witnesses that will be a powerful influence in convincing others there is a God in heaven. "And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes." Eze. 36:23. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2017, 09:14:58 AM »
Amen, Richard! Jesus is an ever-living Savior, ever able to work the greatest of all miracles in converting hearts to the truth, that the life may reveal all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing. Only in Christ are we safe from the unhallowed effects of pride, self-love, and self-deception. We must have an abiding Savior to do any good thing.

Those who desired a sign from Jesus had so hardened their hearts in unbelief that they did not discern in His character the likeness of God. They would not see that His mission was in fulfillment of the Scriptures. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Jesus said to the Pharisees, "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." Luke 16:31. No sign that could be given in heaven or earth would benefit them. 

Character--this is the important thing revealed in Christ. May we have our hearts in such a receptive, tender condition before God that the light of His word, and the work of His Spirit showing us His character is enough to lead us to conversion, and to help that converted expereince continue in sanctification. Only when we have Jesus in the heart are we enabled to truly glorify God. God is love! And when we love Him and our neighbor as as ourselves, when we receive every ray of light He has for us willingly and gladly, we show that He lives! This is the evidence that the world needs today! Let us so live that it may be clear that He lives in us!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2017, 06:50:29 AM »
Amen!  We must be born again of His Spirit before we can be saved or do any good thing. We are evil by nature and must remain connected to Christ if we want to glorify Him who gave all for us.

     The gospel is not without a sign of its divine origin. Is it not a miracle that we can break from the bondage of Satan? Enmity against Satan is not natural to the human heart; it is implanted by the grace of God. When one who has been controlled by a stubborn, wayward will is set free, and yields himself wholeheartedly to the drawing of Godís heavenly agencies, a miracle is wrought; so also when a man who has been under strong delusion comes to understand moral truth. Every time a soul is converted, and learns to love God and keep His commandments, the promise of God is fulfilled, ďA new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.Ē Ezekiel 36:26. The change in human hearts, the transformation of human characters, is a miracle that reveals an ever-living Saviour, working to rescue souls. A consistent life in Christ is a great miracle. In the preaching of the word of God, the sign that should be manifest now and always is the presence of the Holy Spirit, to make the word a regenerating power to those that hear. This is Godís witness before the world to the divine mission of His Son. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2017, 09:51:45 AM »
Amen, Richard!

As Christ lived the law of God--the character of unselfish love for the blessing of others in His life, so we may do if we will take hold of His strong arm for strength, by beholding the loveliness of Christ's character and having Christ enthroned within our hearts--the hope of glory!

    That which led the Jews to reject the Saviour's work was the highest evidence of His divine character. The greatest significance of His miracles is seen in the fact that they were for the blessing of humanity. The highest evidence that He came from God is that His life revealed the character of God. He did the works and spoke the words of God. Such a life is the greatest of all miracles.  

As we receive the Holy Spirit into the soul, this great miracle of a character revealing all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing, and doing what is the will of God in finite flesh will be seen by men and angels to be the true sign that we are branches connected to the living Vine!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2017, 04:15:23 AM »
I love how powerful the truth of the gospel is to transform the heart from being sinful and selfish to pure, holy, and selfless when Christ abides within by His Spirit!

"When the message of truth is presented in our day, there are many who, like the Jews, cry, Show us a sign. Work us a miracle. Christ wrought no miracle at the demand of the Pharisees. He wrought no miracle in the wilderness in answer to Satan's insinuations. He does not impart to us power to vindicate ourselves or to satisfy the demands of unbelief and pride. But the gospel is not without a sign of its divine origin. Is it not a miracle that we can break from the bondage of Satan? Enmity against Satan is not natural to the human heart; it is implanted by the grace of God. When one who has been controlled by a stubborn, wayward will is set free, and yields himself wholeheartedly to the drawing of God's heavenly agencies, a miracle is wrought; so also when a man who has been under strong delusion comes to understand moral truth. Every time a soul is converted, and learns to love God and keep His commandments, the promise of God is fulfilled, 'A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.' Ezekiel 36:26. The change in human hearts, the transformation of human characters, is a miracle that reveals an ever-living Saviour, working to rescue souls. A consistent life in Christ is a great miracle. In the preaching of the word of God, the sign that should be manifest now and always is the presence of the Holy Spirit, to make the word a regenerating power to those that hear. This is God's witness before the world to the divine mission of His Son."  {The Desire of Ages, page 407, paragraph 1}

It is so amazing to realize that each of us may experience the power of true conversion if we will behold the loveliness of Jesus and surrender fully to Him moment-by-moment. God works a miracle to convert the soul, but what is amazing is that the miracle continues as we abide in Him and reveal His character instead of the weakness of our fallen flesh. That is why we need to ever be partakers of the "divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2017, 04:55:30 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean!

     The change in human hearts, the transformation of human characters, is a miracle that reveals an ever-living Saviour, working to rescue souls. A consistent life in Christ is a great miracle. In the preaching of the word of God, the sign that should be manifest now and always is the presence of the Holy Spirit, to make the word a regenerating power to those that hear.


Why is this a "great miracle"? Because it is radical transformation of character in a human living in sinful flesh. It is not understood, and underestimated by much of professing Christianity. The new birth is rare because of false teaching in the church.

Calling conversion a "great miracle" may be better said that it is the greatest of all miracles.

    That which led the Jews to reject the Saviour's work was the highest evidence of His divine character. The greatest significance of His miracles is seen in the fact that they were for the blessing of humanity. The highest evidence that He came from God is that His life revealed the character of God. He did the works and spoke the words of God. Such a life is the greatest of all miracles.   


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2017, 12:17:28 AM »
     It was easy for God to create Adam. But, it is much harder to re-create sinners into His image. Why?  Because once Adam sinned, we all come into the world with an evil nature and selfish hearts. He cannot force our hearts to be surrendered. We must learn of Him so that we will trust Him with all we are and all we have. Then, His grace will transform our very nature. This is His greatest miracle, to cleanse our carnal hearts from sin. It requires an effort on our part in order for God to re-create us. We must learn to love Him before He can perform His greatest miracle!

      Is it not a miracle that we can break from the bondage of Satan? Enmity against Satan is not natural to the human heart; it is implanted by the grace of God. When one who has been controlled by a stubborn, wayward will is set free, and yields himself wholeheartedly to the drawing of God's heavenly agencies, a miracle is wrought; so also when a man who has been under strong delusion comes to understand moral truth. Every time a soul is converted, and learns to love God and keep His commandments, the promise of God is fulfilled, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." Ezekiel 36:26. The change in human hearts, the transformation of human characters, is a miracle that reveals an ever-living Saviour, working to rescue souls.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2017, 04:59:49 AM »
God is a miracle-worker. But what is the greatest miracle He wants to do today? He desires to give you a thorough conversion, a consistent life in Christ, and to empower you to live above the clamors of your fallen nature to have true enmity (hatred) against sin, and to love God and your fellow human beings with your whole heart. Such a miracle--a radical change in character--is the work of the Holy Spirit in all who will come learn of Christ, that by beholding they are changed into His image, and will reflect His loveliness of character--all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing!

    "When the message of truth is presented in our day, there are many who, like the Jews, cry, Show us a sign. Work us a miracle. Christ wrought no miracle at the demand of the Pharisees. He wrought no miracle in the wilderness in answer to Satan's insinuations. He does not impart to us power to vindicate ourselves or to satisfy the demands of unbelief and pride. But the gospel is not without a sign of its divine origin. Is it not a miracle that we can break from the bondage of Satan? Enmity against Satan is not natural to the human heart; it is implanted by the grace of God. When one who has been controlled by a stubborn, wayward will is set free, and yields himself wholeheartedly to the drawing of God's heavenly agencies, a miracle is wrought; so also when a man who has been under strong delusion comes to understand moral truth. Every time a soul is converted, and learns to love God and keep His commandments, the promise of God is fulfilled, 'A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.' Ezekiel 36:26. The change in human hearts, the transformation of human characters, is a miracle that reveals an ever-living Saviour, working to rescue souls. A consistent life in Christ is a great miracle. In the preaching of the word of God, the sign that should be manifest now and always is the presence of the Holy Spirit, to make the word a regenerating power to those that hear. This is God's witness before the world to the divine mission of His Son." {The Desire of Ages, page 407, paragraph 1}
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #18 on: January 31, 2018, 05:37:00 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean. The greatest miracle is the conversion of a fallen human. It is only God's grace allowed into the heart that can do this.

     The religion of Christ is sincerity itself. Zeal for God's glory is the motive implanted by the Holy Spirit; and only the effectual working of the Spirit can implant this motive. Only the power of God can banish self-seeking and hypocrisy. This change is the sign of His working. When the faith we accept destroys selfishness and pretense, when it leads us to seek God's glory and not our own, we may know that it is of the right order. "Father, glorify Thy name" (John 12:28), was the keynote of Christ's life, and if we follow Him, this will be the keynote of our life. He commands us to "walk, even as He walked;" and "hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments." 1 John 2:6, 3. 


When we are in a converted state, the Holy Spirit is in the heart. This is the true sign of conversion. Every one of the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in the life, not one will be missing. Love for Jesus lifts us above the trials of this world. Love, joy, and peace are ours through an indwelling Savior!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Dorine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--44-The True Sign
« Reply #19 on: January 31, 2018, 06:15:16 AM »
The passage about the leaven is important for all to understand. Hypocrisy is deadly.


"The hypocrisy of the Pharisees was the product of self-seeking. The glorification of themselves was the object of their lives. It was this that led them to pervert and misapply the Scriptures, and blinded them to the purpose of Christ's mission. This subtle evil even the disciples of Christ were in danger of cherishing......Even the disciples, though outwardly they had left all for Jesus' sake, had not in heart ceased to seek great things for themselves. It was this spirit that prompted the strife as to who should be greatest."


What is the remedy?


"When the faith we accept destroys selfishness and pretense, when it leads us to seek God's glory and not our own, we may know that it is of the right order. "Father, glorify Thy name" (John 12:28), was the keynote of Christ's life, and if we follow Him, this will be the keynote of our life."


Today as I reflect on this chapter and on my life I ask the Lord to forgive the unbelief that may be lurking in my heart and cleanse it so that I will walk the talk and not be deceived by the leaven of the Pharisees.
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14