Is Jesting & Joking Appropriate for God's People?

Ministers, Jesting & Joking?

  When a minister bearing the solemn message of warning to the world, receives the hospitable courtesies of friends and brethren, and neglects the duties of a shepherd of the flock, and is careless in his example and deportment, engaging with the young in trifling conversation, in jesting and joking, and in relating humorous anecdotes to create laughter, he is unworthy of being a gospel minister, and needs to be converted before he should be entrusted with the care of the sheep and lambs. Ministers who are neglectful of the duties devolving on a faithful pastor, give evidence that they are not sanctified by the truths they present to others, and should not be sustained as laborers in the vineyard of the Lord, till they have a high sense of the sacredness of the work of a minister of Christ.--{3Testimonies 233}

There is a great and solemn work devolving upon ministers; but many have not felt its weight sufficiently to balance them, and lead them to walk circumspectly. Out of the desk, their ministerial labors cease almost entirely, and their example is not worthy of imitation. Their light, jesting conversation may entertain and provoke mirth; but both believers and unbelievers lose confidence in them as Christ's ambassadors. Such ministers may present a theory of truth to the people; but they have not felt its sanctifying power on their own souls, and the word spoken has but little effect.  {Gospel Workers 1892,  415} 

I presented before those present [at a ministers' council in the Battle Creek Tabernacle church] the sacred responsibilities connected with the office of publication, telling them that those who accept these responsibilities should be men of faith, men of piety and deep experience. Jesting and joking should not be sanctioned in the office, neither should harshness or sourness be shown to those employed or those seeking counsel.  {PM 70} 

  Ministers cannot be too guarded, especially before the young. They should use no lightness of speech, no jesting or joking, but should remember that they are in Christ's stead, and that they must illustrate by example the life of Christ. "For we are laborers together with God." "We then as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain."  {4bSG 126} 

The people look to the ministers and imitate their example and they are responsible to God for the influence they exert. They must render an account to God for their words and acts. If they are unskillful workmen, they have mistaken their calling. The lives of the holy apostles were presented before me. They were ensamples, and it was safe for the flock to follow them. I was shown that while you could present some points of truth clearly, you lack personal piety and humility. Your former associations and labors have led you to rely upon your own sufficiency instead of depending at all times upon God for strength. Since you embraced the third angel's message, you have not realized that unless God's special power attends this message, your labors are vain. You have too exalted an opinion of yourself. The success of this message does not depend upon those who are called smart men. God can raise up men and fit them to carry this message in the power and the Spirit. Although they are lowly, yet in humble obedience they will learn of God and receive counsel of him. I was shown that you have but little experience in this your new work. In your former manner of preaching you could pass along with a superficial work, and it would pass off well. Not so in this solemn message. God requires of his ministers purity of soul, holiness of heart and life, constant watchfulness, and almost unceasing prayer. All your boasting, jesting, joking, and foolish talking must be laid aside, and you earnestly seek the grace of God that you may overcome these evils which destroy your influence. God will not bear with your folly. Unless you can exert a holy influence and be a living example to those for whom you labor, you had better cease laboring to win souls to Christ; for they follow your example, and entirely fail to come up to God's requirements. You feel that your testimony is crippled that your brethren take too rigid a course with you; but when you are converted to this message you will be a free man in the pulpit,--you will not feel under restraint. From the cleansed fountain will proceed only pure, sweet water. Your brethren are none too particular. God is particular, and his angels who are sent forth to do his will are grieved with your lack of spirituality, pureness, and godliness. You must bring yourself under strict discipline, and reform in life, or your labors will prove a curse instead of a blessing.  {Review & H, August 0, 1862 par. 5} 

There are ministers who claim to be teaching the truth, whose ways are an offense to God. They preach, but do not practice the principles of the truth. Great care should be exercised in ordaining men for the ministry. There should be a close investigation of their experience. Do they know the truth, and practice its teachings? Have they a character of good repute? Do they indulge in lightness and trifling, jesting and joking? In prayer do they reveal the Spirit of God? Is their conversation holy, their conduct blameless? All these questions need to be answered before hands are laid upon any man to dedicate him to the work of the ministry. We should heed the words of inspiration, "Lay hands suddenly on no man." We need to lift the standard higher than we have done hitherto, when selecting and ordaining men for the sacred work of God.  {Review & Herald, October 21, 1890 par. 10} 

Every one, whether ministers or lay members, are God's ambassadors, executing his work. The flippant speech, the jesting and joking, are all out of place now. The Judge standeth before the door. Our accountability to God, fully accepted and faithfully met, will balance our characters. We shall outgrow the tendencies to be superficial. We shall be, through the grace given unto us, raised above everything that is mean and selfish and impure. It will make us have an interest for our brethren, for they are the purchase of the blood of Christ. It will make us realize that we have something great and good to live for. This close connection with God will make our lives earnest, cheerful, and strong under difficulties, hopeful amid discouragements that will be the lot of all.  {PH155 22} 

I have been pained to hear so much jesting and joking among old and young as they are seated at the dining table. I have inquired, Are these men aware that there is by their side a Watcher who is disgusted with their spirit and the influence which they exert, and is making a record of their words and actions? Will our ministers, young and old, countenance these things? Shall not we who name the name of Christ take heed to the words, "In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works, in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned"? If the truth as it is in Jesus abides in our hearts, it will sanctify our lives. Our speech will not be evil. Obeying the truth we shall work the works of righteousness.  {1888 137} 

Levity Inappropriate--The minister of God is not to speak words which will create levity. We have been bought with the price of a great sacrifice, even the sacrifice of God's only begotten Son.--Ms 19, 1910. 

     No Light, Trifling Words--The minister of the gospel who is a laborer together with God, will learn daily in the school of Christ. . . .No light, trifling words will fall from his lips; for is he not an ambassador for Christ, bearing a divine message to perishing souls?  All jesting and joking, all lightness and trifling, is painful to the cross-bearing disciple of Christ.--Evangelism 206, 207. 

     Conversation in Heaven--All lightness and trifling is positively forbidden in the Word of God. His conversation should be in heaven, his words seasoned with grace.--2Testimonies 338. 

A Worthy Example for Youth--Ministers should set the youth a worthy example, one corresponding to their holy calling. . . . They are to put away all coarseness, all trifling, ever remembering that they are educators; that, whether they will or not, their words and acts are to those with whom they come in contact a savor of life or of death.--Gospel Workers 126. 

     Decorum in the Sacred Desk--What can the minister do without Jesus? Verily, nothing. Then if he is a frivolous, joking man, he is not prepared to perform the duty laid upon him by the Lord. "Without Me," says Christ, "ye can do nothing." The flippant words that fall from his lips, the trifling anecdotes, the words spoken to create a laugh, are all condemned by the Word of God, and are entirely out of place in the sacred desk.--Testimonies to Ministers 142. 

     No Slang Phrases--The minister should be free from every unnecessary temporal perplexity, that he may give himself wholly to his sacred calling. He should be much in prayer, and should bring himself under discipline to God, that his life may reveal the fruits of true self-control. His language should be correct; no slang phrases, no cheap utterances, should fall from his lips.--Gospel Workers 145. 

     No Jesting in the Pulpit--The minister who is ready to engage in frivolous conversation, ready to jest and laugh, does not realize the sacred obligations resting upon him, and if he goes from such an exercise to the pulpit, the Lord cannot stand by his side to bless him. . . . Flowery discourses will not be sufficient to feed the soul of the famishing child of God.--RH June 23, 1891. 

On the Enemy's Ground--As soon as a preacher comes down from the position a minister should ever occupy, and descends to the comical to create a laugh over his opponent, or when he is sarcastic and sharp, and rails upon him, he does that which the Saviour of the world did not dare to do; for he places himself upon the enemy's ground.--3Testimonies 220. 

-The preaching of the Word should appeal to the intellect, and should impart knowledge, but it should do more than this. The words of the minister should reach the hearts of the hearers. Neither is it the object of preaching to amuse. Some ministers have adopted a style of preaching that has not the best influence. It has become a habit with them to weave anecdotes into their discourses. The impression thus made upon the hearers is not a savor of life unto life. Ministers should not bring amusing stories into their preaching. The people need pure provender, thoroughly winnowed from the chaff. "Preach the Word," was the charge that Paul gave to Timothy, and this is our commission also.  {VSS 272.3}

     The minister who mixes storytelling with his discourses is using strange fire. God is offended, and the cause of truth is dishonored, when His representatives descend to the use of cheap, trifling words.  {VSS 273.1}

My brethren, you are required by our Saviour to take heed how you witness for Him. You need to go deeper and still deeper in the study of the Word. You have all classes of minds to meet, and as you teach the truths of the sacred Word, you are to manifest earnestness, respect, and reverence. Weed out storytelling from your discourses, and preach the Word. You will then have more sheaves to bring to the Master. Remember that in your audience there are those who are constantly harassed by temptation. Some are wrestling with doubt, almost in despair, almost hopeless. Ask God to help you to speak words that will strengthen them for the conflict.--RH Dec. 22, 1904. 

     Irrelevant Anecdotes--Ministers should not make a practice of relating irrelevant anecdotes in connection with their sermons; for this detracts from the force of the truth presented. The relation of anecdotes or incidents that create a laugh or a light thought in the minds of the hearers is severely censurable. The truth should be clothed in chaste, dignified language; and the illustrations used should be of a like character.--Gospel Workers 166. 

     Comic Illustrations--A minister of the gospel should not be regardless of his attitude. If he is the representative of Christ, his deportment, his attitude, his gestures, should be of such a character as will not strike the beholder with disgust. Ministers should possess refinement. They should discard all uncouth manners, attitudes, and gestures, and should encourage in themselves humble dignity of bearing. They should be clothed in a manner befitting the dignity of their position. Their speech should be in every respect solemn and well chosen. I was shown that it is wrong to make coarse, irreverent expressions, relate anecdotes to amuse, or present comic illustrations to create a laugh. Sarcasm and playing upon the words of an opponent are all out of God's order.--1Testimonies 648, 649. 

     Amusing Stories--My brother, you need to examine more closely the discourses you present to the people. The object of your ministerial labors is not to amuse. It is not to convey information alone, not merely to convince the intellect. The preaching of the Word should appeal to the intellect and impart knowledge, but it comprises much more than this. The heart of the minister must reach the hearts of the hearers. Some have adopted a style of preaching that does not have a right influence. It has become a habit with them to cheapen their discourses by the relation of anecdotes. The impression thus made upon the hearers is not a savor of life unto life. You should not bring amusing stories into your preaching. The people need pure provender, thoroughly winnowed from all that is not food. "Preach the Word," was the charge that Paul gave to Timothy, and this is your commission.--Lt 61, 1896.  {VSS 274.1}

     No Clowns in the Pulpit--I warned you against clownishness in the desk or before the people. Do you not sometimes bring this acting into the sacred desk? You please the world; you attract the world. Is this an evidence that you are having a deep spiritual piety, sanctified to God through the Spirit?--Lt 9, 1889.  {VSS 275.1}

here is a bit I am sure you are familiar with, maybe some not yet...

Acts 6:7, 10:44, 11:15
Gal. 3:2, 5, 14...based on Romans 10:17

**Gal 3:5-> we minister the spirit, the word...Acts 10:44, 11:15

Hebrew poetry: Proverbs 1:23 
                      add I Peter 1:23
We are may be conduits for our Living God 

I Cor 6:17   add John 17:21
Eph 2:18  add John 14:6, I Cor 15:45, II Cor 3:17...John 6:63 + 14:24...John 1:14 Eph 2:18 -> James 1:21   see Acts 4:12

Jeremiah 15:16  + John 6: 33, 35, 48, 51

Hebrews 10:16-20 then II Cor. 3:5,6 also Acts 6:4go back to **

I Cor 2:11-16...........HOW DO WE HAVE PEACE? Is there multiple ways?
Phill. 2:5...ISA 26.3, Gal. 5:22-25 (16, 17of course), Phil. 1:11

Eph. 1:17-20
Isa. 55:8-11...Rom 12:1,2    

Praise and glory be to the master artist, we are His handiwork, Amen.

 II Peter 1:13...to Rom. 1:5, II Peter 1:2

Romans 16:25, 26
I Cor 1:10...Eph 4:13


 THINK UP AND BELIEVE!

Pray "Lord, I believe, but help thou my unbelief."

I WAS RECENTLY REPROOVED BY A FRIEND FOR NOT APPRECIATING CERTAIN LANGUAGE AND MAKING IT KNOWN TO THE PERSON USING IT..THIS IS WHAT I WAS TOLD IN RETURN...: 
 
  ' LIFE IS SHORT, you need to LIGHTEN UP!'
 
TRUE, LIFE IS SHORT, BUT LIFE IS SERIOUS.  WE ARE COMMANDED OF GOD NOT TO BE SILLY...TELL JOKES, SPEAK IDLE WORDS. 
 
NO TEASING EITHER, I THINK...WOULD THAT NOT  BE JESTING? THIS LED ME TO ANOTHER STUDY TIME WHICH WAS GOOD FOR ME AND I FEEL THE NEED TO SHARE .  WE ARE ALL FACING THE JUDGEMENT.  AND OUR WORDS HAVE A WHOLE LOT TO DO WITH WHERE WE WILL BE SPEINDING ETERNITY.    MUCH MORE SERIOUS THAN MOST OF US REALIZE FROM WHAT I READ HERE.
 
  EMPHASIS MINE...FOR ME AS WELL AS OTHERS.  AMAZING AND ALL ENCOMPASSING COUNSEL FROM THE LAST DAY PROPHET OF GOD.
 
 
OUR WORDS AND HOW WE DENY CHRIST............
 
 
        O that every one of our youth  (THIS GOES FOR EVERYONE...NOT JUST YOUTH ) would realizethe evil of foolish conversation, and correct the habit of speaking idle words! Let every one who has indulged in this sin repent of it, confess it before God, and put it far from him. In speaking foolish words, you have dishonored the name of Christ; for you have misrepresented him in character. No word of guile was found in his lips, no word of prevarication or falsehood. The people that are described as making up the one hundred and forty-four thousand, have the Father's name written in their foreheads, and of them it is said: "In their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." If they had been speaking foolish, senseless, false words, they would not have been found without guile, and without fault before the throne of God......."  {YI, June 27, 1895 par. 4}
      O that all our youth (AGAIN, THIS GOES FOR ALL AGES) would form characters after the divine similitude! O that Christ may be in you a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. Begin at once the work of soul-purificationPut from you all nonsense, and refrain from trifling words. Every word you speak is as a seed that will germinate and produce either good or bad fruit, according to its character. The words we utter encourage the feelings that prompted them. Exaggeration is a terrible sinPassionate words sow seeds that produce a bad crop which no one will care to garner. Our own words have an effect upon our character, but they act still more powerfully upon the characters of othersThe Infinite God alone can measure the mischief that is done by careless words. These words fall from our lips, and we do not perhaps mean any harm; yet they are the index of our inward thoughts, and work on the side of evil. What unhappiness has been produced by the speaking of thoughtless, unkind words in the family circle! Harsh words rankle in the mind, it may be for years, and never lose their sting. As professed Christians, we should consider the influence our words have upon those with whom we come into association, whether they are believers or unbelievers. Our words are watched, and mischief is done by thoughtless utterances. No after association with believers or unbelievers will wholly counteract the unfavorable influence of thoughtless, foolish words. Our words evidence the manner of food upon which the soul feeds. {YI, June 27, 1895 par. 5}  
                                                          Mrs. E. G. White. 
                                                                -

 
    The people of God should be careful to depart from all iniquity. Christ is denied in many ways. We may deny him by speaking contrary to truth, or by speaking evil of others, or by foolish talking or jesting, or by words that are idle. In these things we manifest little wisdom. We make ourselves weak. Then with our feeble efforts we cannot resist the great enemy, and we are conqueredFrom the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, and through lack of watchfulness we confess that Christ is not in us.  {SW, September 8, 1908 par. 5} 
 

 
    We are not to be tattlers, or gossipers, or talebearers; we are not to bear false witness. We are forbidden by God to engage in trifling, foolish conversation, in jesting, joking, or speaking any idle words. We must give an account of what we say to God. We will be brought into judgment for our hasty words that do no good to the speaker or to the hearer. Then let us all speak words that will tend to edification. Remember that you are of value with God. Allow no cheap, foolish talk or wrong principles to compose your Christian experience.--MS 68, 1897. (FE 458.)  {1MCP 113.1} 
 
  
    In our mingling in society, in families or in whatever relations of life we are placed, either limited or extended, there are many ways wherein we may acknowledge our Lord and many ways wherein we may deny Him. We may deny Him in our words, by speaking evil of othersby foolish talking, jesting and joking, by idle or unkind words, or by prevaricating, speaking contrary to truth. In our words we may confess that Christ is not in us. In our character we may deny Him by loving our ease, byshunning the duties and burdens of life which someone must bear if we do not, and by loving sinful pleasureWe may also deny Christ by pride of dress and conformity to the world, or by uncourteous behavior. We may deny Him by loving our own opinions and by seeking to maintain and justify self. We may also deny Him in allowing the mind to run in the channel of lovesick sentimentalism and to brood over our supposed hard lot and trials.{CCh 81.2} 
82
    No one can truly confess Christ before the world unless the mind and spirit of Christ live in him. It is impossible to communicate that which we have not. The conversation and the deportment should be a real and visible expression of grace and truth within. If the heart is sanctified, submissive, and humble, the fruits will be seen outwardly and will be a most effectual confession of Christ. 93 {CCh 82.1}
 
 
JESUS SAID, 'THE WORDS THAT I SPEAK UNTO YOU, THEY ARE SPIRIT AN THEY ARE LIFE'.  THAT IS SERIOUS TO THINK ABOUT WHEN WE ARE TOLD WE ARE TO BE HIS REPRESENTATIVES ON THIS EARTH AND THE LIGHT OR SALT OF THE EARTH!
 
  
    The tenor of the conversation carried on at many social gatherings reveals what the heart is set upon.The trifling talk, the foolish witticisms, spoken only to create a laugh, do not rightly represent Christ. Those who utter them would not be willing to meet a record of their words. Wrong impressions are made upon the listeners, and reproach is cast upon Christ. O that the youth (WE ALL)  would guard well their words! For by them they will be justified or by them condemned. Remember that Jesus is beside you wherever you go, noting your actions and listening to your words. Would you be ashamed to hear His voice speaking to you, and to know that He hears your conversation? . . .  {MYP 388.1}  
     The once earnest Christian who takes part in worldly amusements is on dangerous ground. He has left the region pervaded by the vital atmosphere of heaven, and has plunged into an atmosphere of mist and fog; for in many cases pleasure parties and gatherings for amusement are a reproach to the religion of Christ.  {MYP 388.2}  
     He who maintains his connection with God cannot in heart participate in them. The words he hears are not congenial to him; for they are not the language of Canaan. The speakers do not give evidence that they are making melody in their hearts to God.  {MYP 388.3}
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THE FOLLOWING QUOTE IS WHY I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER JUST FINDING COUNSEL FROM THE PROPHET OF GOD, THAN IN USING MY OWN FEEBLE, AND WHAT IS FELT TO BE, CRITICAL' PERSONAL OPINION'.   I HAVE HAD TO FIGHT A 'QUICK WIT' AND 'FAST ANSWER' SINCE I WAS A TINY CHILD.....THE TONGUE IS NOT AN EASY 'MEMBER' TO CONTROL....I KNOW WHEREOF I SPEAK!  BUT WE ALSO NEED TO 'BUILD ONE ANOTHER UP' WITH  ENCOURAGEMENT AND  EDIFICATION.   IF WE DO NOT KNOW HOW GOD FEELS ON A SUBJECT, HOW CAN WE REPENT AND REFORM?  HENCE, THIS STUDY!  THE WORLD IS ALL LIGHTNESS AND JOKING WHEN IT COMES TO SERIOUS THINGS, IT SEEMS.  WE  MUST NOT REFLECT THE WORLD, BUT JESUS, AND  THE LANGUAGE OF HEAVEN!  I AM NOT OUT TO HURT FEELINGS.  THIS HAS BEEN AN AMAZING STUDY FOR ME TO DO AGAIN...STEPS ON MY TOES IN MANY WAYS.  A GREAT REMINDER!!
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    In seeking to correct or reform others we should be careful of our words. They will be a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. In giving reproof or counsel, many indulge in sharp, severe speech, words not adapted to heal the wounded soul. By these ill-advised expressions the spirit is chafed, and often the erring ones are stirred to rebellion. All who would advocate the principles of truth need to receive the heavenly oil of love. Under all circumstances reproof should be spoken in love. Then our words will reform but not exasperate. Christ by His Holy Spirit will supply the force and the power. This is His work.  {COL 337.1}  
     Not one word is to be spoken unadvisedly. No evil speaking, no frivolous talk, no fretful repining or impure suggestion, will escape the lips of him who is following Christ. The apostle Paul, writing by the Holy Spirit, says, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth." Ephesians 4:29A corrupt communication does not mean only words that are vile. It means any expression contrary to holy principles and pure and undefiled religion. It includes impure hints and covert insinuations of evil. Unless instantly resisted, these lead to great sin.  {COL 337.2} 
 
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   A PART OF OUR  RECENT MORNING DEVOTIONAL READING  FROM 4 SOP - (THE GREAT CONTROVERSY...1884 EDITION)
 
    Great and small, high and low, rich and poor, are to be judged "out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works." Day after day, passing into eternity, bears its burden of records for the books of Heaven. Words once spoken, deeds once done, can never be recalled. Angels of God have registered both the good and the evil. The mightiest conqueror upon the earth cannot call back the record of even a single day. Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny for weal or woe. Though they may be forgotten by us, they will bear their testimony to justify or condemn. They go before us to the Judgment.  {4SP 311.1}  
     The use made of every talent will be scrutinized. Have we improved the capital intrusted us of God? Will the Lord at his coming receive his own with usury? No value is attached to the mere profession of faith in Christ; nothing is counted as genuine but that love which is shown by works.  {4SP 311.2}  
     As the features of the countenance are reproduced with marvelous exactness in the camera of the artist, so is the character faithfully delineated in the books above. If Christians were as solicitous to stand faultless in the heavenly records as they are to be represented without a blemish in the picture, how different would their life-history appear
     Could the vail which separates the visible from the invisible world be swept back, and the children of men behold an angel recording every word and deed to meet them again in the Judgment, how many words that are daily uttered would remain unspoken; how many deeds would remain undone. When all the details of life appear in the books that never contain a false entry, many will find too late that the record testifies against them. There their hidden selfishness stands revealed. There is the record of unfulfilled duties to their fellow-men, of forgetfulness of the Saviour's claims. There they will see how often were given to Satan the time, thought, and strength that belonged to Christ. Sad is the record which angels bear to Heaven. Intelligent beings, professed followers of Christ, are absorbed in the acquirement of worldly possessions or the enjoyment of earthly pleasures.Money, time, and strength are sacrificed for display and self-indulgence; but few are the moments devoted to prayer, to the searching of the Scriptures, to humiliation of soul and confession of sin.  {4SP 312.1}  
     Satan invents unnumbered schemes to occupy our minds that they may not dwell upon the very work with which we ought to be best acquainted. The arch-deceiver hates the great truths that bring to view an atoning sacrifice and an all-powerful Mediator. He knows that with him everything now depends on his diverting minds from Jesus and his truth.  {4SP 312.2}  
     Those who would share the benefits of the Saviour's mediation should permit nothing to interfere with their duty to perfect holiness in the fear of God. The hours heretofore given to pleasure, to display, or to gain-seeking, should now be devoted to an earnest, prayerful study of the word of truth. The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwiseit will be impossible for them to exercise the faith essential at this time, or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill.  {4SP 312.3}  
     We are to bear testimony of the great truths which God has committed to usThe sanctuary in Heaven is the very center of Christ's work in behalf of men. It concerns every soul living upon the earth. It opens to our view the plan of redemption, bringing us down to the very close of time, and revealing the triumphant issue of the contest between righteousness and sin. It is of the utmost importance that all who have received the light, both old and young, should thoroughly investigate these subjects, and be able to give an answer to every one that asketh them a reason of the hope that is in them.  {4SP 313.1}  
     The intercession of Christ in man's behalf in the sanctuary aboveis as essential to the plan of salvation as was his death upon the cross. By his death he began that work which after his resurrection he ascended to complete in Heaven. We must by faith enter within the vail, "whither the forerunner is for us entered." There the light from the cross of Calvary is reflected. There we may gain a clearer insight into the mysteries of redemption. The salvation of man is accomplished at an infinite expense to Heaven; the sacrifice made is equal to the broadest demands of the broken law of God. Jesus has opened the way to the Father's throne, and through his mediation the sincere desire of all who come to him in faith may be presented before God.  {4SP 313.2}  
     "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." [Proverbs 28:13.] If those who hide and excuse their faults could see how Satan exults over them how he taunts Christ and holy angels with them, they would make haste to confess their sins and to put them away. Satan is continually seeking to deceive the followers of Christ with his fatal sophistry that their defective traits of character render it impossible for them to overcome.But Jesus pleads in their behalf his wounded hands, his bruised body; and he declares to all who would follow him, "My grace is sufficient for thee." "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." [Matthew 11:29, 30.] Let none, then, regard their defects as incurable. God will give faith and grace to overcome them.  {4SP 314.1} 
     All who would have their names retained in the book of life, should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin, and true repentance. There must be deep, faithful searching of heart.The light, frivolous spirit indulged by the majority of professed Christians must be put away. There is earnest warfare before all who would subdue the evil tendencies that strive for the mastery.  {4SP 314.2}  
     Solemn are the scenes connected with the closing work of the atonement. Momentous are the interests  therein involved. The Judgment is now passing in the sanctuary above. Forty years (this was written in 1884)has this work been in progress. Soon--none know how soon--it will pass to the cases of the living. In the awful presence of God our lives are to come up in review. At this time above all others it behooves every soul to heed the Saviour's admonition, "Watch and pray, for ye know not when the time is." "Watch ye therefore, . . . lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping." [Mark 13:33, 35, 36.]  {4SP 314.3} 
     "If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief; and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." [Revelation 3:3.] How perilous is the condition of those, who, growing weary of their watch, turn to the attractions of the world. While the man of business is absorbed in the pursuit of gain, while the pleasure-lover is seeking indulgence, while the daughter of fashion is arranging her adornments,--it may be in that hour the Judge of all the earth will pronounce the sentence, "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting."  {4SP 315.1} 
     
Every soul that has named the name of Christ has a case pending at the heavenly tribunal. It is court week with us, and the decision passed upon each case will be final. {4SP 315.2} 
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  The eternal God has drawn the line of distinction between the saint and the sinner, between converted anunconverted. The two classes do not blend into each other imperceptibly, like the colors of a rainbow, but are as distinct as midday and midnightGod's people cannot with safety enter into intimate associations with those who know the truth, but do not practise it. The patriarch Jacob, when speaking of certain deeds of his sons,which he contemplated with horror, exclaimed, "O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united." He felt that his own honor would be compromised if he associated with sinners in their doings. He lifted the danger signal, warning us to shun wrong associations, lest we become tainted with evil. And the Holy Spirit, through the apostle Paul, utters a similar warning, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."          
 Mrs. E. G. White.     {YI, February 4, 1897 par. 10} 
 
THE FOLLOWING SONG SHOULD BE OUR DAILY EXPERIENCE SONG:
 
                HIGHER GROUND
 
  1. I’m pressing on the upward way,
    New heights I’m gaining every day;
    Still praying as I onward bound,
    “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
                 CHORUS:
                     Lord, lift me up, and let me stand
                     By faith on Canaan’s tableland;
                     A higher plane than I have found,
                     Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
  1. My heart has no desire to stay
    Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
    Though some may dwell where these abound,
    My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.
  1. I want to live above the world,
    Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
    For faith has caught the joyful sound,
    The song of saints on higher ground.
  1. I want to scale the utmost height
    And catch a gleam of glory bright;
    But still I’ll pray till rest I’ve found,
    “Lord, lead me on to higher ground.”


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