Unless men study God’s word and practice his teachings, to the letter, rendering willing obedience to him, they will have no more moral wisdom to discern the spiritual impact of the words of Christ than had the disciples who were offended, and left him. Messages may be brought to them from the Lord, but these messages will be just as incomprehensible as the words spoken by our Saviour to his disciples. Like the disciples, they will see some ideas that offend them.
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You may have the witness of the Spirit that your ways please God. This is obtained by believing in the Word of God, by appropriating that Word to yourown soul. This is eating of the bread of life, and this will bring eternal life. Compare scripture with scripture. Study the representation of the life of a true Christian as delineated in the Word of God.
The word of God is solid rock, and we may plant our feet securely upon it. Every soul must needs be tested, every faith and doctrine must needs be tried by the law and the testimony. Take heed that no man deceive you. The warnings of Christ on this matter are needed at this time; for delusions and deceptions will come in among us, and will multiply as we near the end. “Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch and remember.” Bear in mind that trials of this character are to come upon us, not only from without, but from within our own ranks. Our individual safety is in entire consecration to God. … God alone can keep His people from the snare of putting confidence in self, and of failing to feel their dependence upon Him moment by moment. There are men and women who will exalt the messenger above the message, who will praise and extol the messenger, forgetting that it is God working wondrously through him for His own name’s glory. They should give God praise that many souls are receiving through the human agent instruction that is making them wise unto salvation. They should give glory to God because they see through the interpretation of the word from the lips of the messenger, marvelous things out of the living oracles.
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As God called the children of Israel out of Egypt, that they might keep his Sabbath, so he calls his people out of Babylon, that they may not worship the beast or his image. The man of sin, who thought to change times and laws, has exalted himself above God, by presenting a spurious Sabbath to the world; the Christian world has accepted the child of the papacy, and cradled and nourished it, thus defying God by removing his memorial, and setting up a rival Sabbath.
How shall we search the Scriptures? Shall we drive our stakes of doctrine one after another, and then try to make all Scripture meet our established opinions, or shall we take our ideas and views to the Scriptures, and measure our theories on every side by the Scriptures of truth? Many who read and even teach the Bible, do not comprehend the precious truth they are teaching or studying. Men entertain errors, when the truth is clearly marked out, and if they would but bring their doctrines to the word of God, and not read the word of God in the light of their doctrines, to prove their ideas right, they would not walk in darkness and blindness, or cherish error. Many give the words of Scripture a meaning that suits their own opinions, and they mislead themselves and deceive others by their misinterpretations of God’s word. As we take up the study of God’s word, we should do so with humble hearts. All selfishness, all love of originality, should be laid aside. Long-cherished opinions must not be regarded as infallible. It was the unwillingness of the Jews to give up their long-established traditions that proved their ruin. They were determined not to see any flaw in their own opinions or in their expositions of the Scriptures; but however long men may have entertained certain views, if they are not clearly sustained by the written word, they should be discarded.
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Christ has said: “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” The duty of searching the Scriptures is enjoined upon every son and daughter of Adam. Jesus says, “And they are they which testify of me.” The Father was revealed in the Son, and in studying Christ we shall learn of the Father. Then let us come to search the word of God with softened, subdued hearts, and read the testimony concerning our Lord and Master. Shall we not with intense interest seek to catch his spirit, copy his example, and breathe in the atmosphere of his presence, which is light and love? How eagerly should we study every lesson that fell from his divine lips! How we should cherish his instruction! How ardently we should seek to imitate his character and life, and press on to know more and more of the heavenly truths he taught. If we would but practice the truths he has given, we should perfect an experience that would be of the highest value to us, and to the world.
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