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Accountability for Unbelief [message #1801] Sat, 12 November 2016 07:37
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(God gives sufficient evidence for ALL to believe)

4T Testimonies for the Church Volume Four (1876-1881)
Chap. 21 Opposition to Faithful Warnings

Christ warned His disciples: "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Here is a test, and, Brother G, you can apply it if you will. You need not go in uncertainty and doubt. Satan is at hand to suggest a variety of doubts, but if you will open your eyes in faith you will find sufficient evidence for belief. But God will never remove from any man all causes for doubts. Those who love to dwell in the atmosphere of doubt and questioning unbelief can have the unenviable privilege. God gives sufficient evidence for the candid mind to believe; but he who turns from the weight of evidence because there are a few things which he cannot make plain to his finite understanding will be left in the cold, chilling atmosphere of unbelief and questioning doubts, and will make shipwreck of faith. You have seemed to consider it a virtue to be on the side of the doubting rather than on the side of the believing. Jesus never praised unbelief; He never commended doubts. He gave to His nation evidences of His Messiahship in the miracles He wrought, but there were some who considered it a virtue to doubt and who would reason these evidences away and find something in every good work to question and censure. {4T 232.1}

The centurion who desired Christ to come and heal his servant felt unworthy to have Jesus come under his roof; his faith was so strong in the power of Christ that he entreated Him just to say the word and the work would be done. "When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour." {4T 233.1}

Here Jesus exalted faith in contrast with doubt. He showed that the children of Israel would stumble because of their unbelief, which would lead to the rejection of great light and would result in their condemnation and overthrow. Thomas declared that he would not believe unless he put his finger into the prints of the nails and thrust his hand into the side of his Lord. Christ gave him the evidence he desired and then reproved his unbelief: "Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." {4T 233.2}
In this age of darkness and error, men who profess to be followers of Christ seem to think that they are at liberty to receive or reject the servants of the Lord at pleasure and that they will not be called to an account for so doing. Unbelief and darkness lead them to this. Their sensibilities are blunted by their unbelief. They violate their consciences and become untrue to their own convictions and weaken themselves in moral power. They view others in the same light with themselves. {4T 233.3}

RH The Review and Herald
January 24, 1899 The Sin of Unbelief

Was the unbelief of the Jews excusable? Were they guiltless?--Christ's word to them made them responsible. He addressed them as responsible agents, setting before them their duty. He healed the sick, comforted the sorrowing, and relieved the distressed. The dead obeyed his voice, and came forth to life. But his grand work of mercy and compassion was unheeded. The rulers of Israel closed their hearts against their Messiah. Lessons and appeals fell from his lips with so convincing a power that they were convicted of the truth; but they resisted the impressions of the Holy Spirit, and Christ said to them, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." {RH, January 24, 1899 par. 5}

In rejecting Christ, the Jewish nation put from them the blessings which he came to bring them. They bound themselves in everlasting chains of unbelief and resistance. They placed themselves in a position where the calamities predicted must come upon them, because they knew not God, nor Jesus Christ, whom he had sent. {RH, January 24, 1899 par. 6}

God gives sufficient evidence to every soul. He does not promise to remove every doubt, but he gives a reason for faith. And sufficient evidence was given to the Jews. On the day of Pentecost the message of the apostle Peter was: "Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." "Ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses." {RH, January 24, 1899 par. 7}

"I wot that through ignorance ye did it," said Peter; but this ignorance did not excuse the action; for they had had great light. Peter says that had they known Jesus to be the Prince of life, they would not have crucified him. But why did they not know?--Because they did not choose to know. They had no interest to search and study, and their ignorance proved their eternal ruin. The ignorance of the Jews was inexcusable, and involved a fearful responsibility. They had had the strongest evidence on which to base their faith, and they were under obligation to God to accept the evidence he had given them. Their unbelief made them guilty of the blood of the only begotten Son of the infinite God. {RH, January 24, 1899 par. 8}

The followers of Christ will experience the same kind of treatment that their Master received at the hands of men. Men who have had light and evidence will turn as determinedly from Christ as did the Jewish nation. Christ declares: "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world; therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me." {RH, January 24, 1899 par. 9}

"It is enough for the disciple," said Christ, "that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." {RH, January 24, 1899 par. 10}

There should be no reluctance on the part of man to make known the truth of the word of God, because his neighbors are not pleased with his difference of opinion. This will be a trial of faith, and there will be a temptation to shirk responsibilities because the duties presented are not agreeable. Your neighbors may choose to stand with those who do not love God with the whole heart, who selfishly serve their own interests; but is that sufficient reason why you should do the same? When the invitation is given, "Come; for all things are now ready," will you say, "I can not come to the gospel feast; I can not heed your invitation: my neighbors will think me foolish, and will ridicule me, and I can not bear ridicule"? Will you say, "I must not displease my neighbors; I must attend to my farm; I must work on the Sabbath: if I keep the commandments of God, I can not be in harmony with my neighbors"? Jesus says that those who slight the gospel invitation,--an invitation purchased at the cost of the life of the Son of God,--shall not taste of his supper. {RH, January 24, 1899 par. 11}

The Lord is sending an invitation in our day.
Who will gladly accept it?
Who will venture to refuse?

RH The Review and Herald
December 23, 1890 - "Be Zealous and Repent."

The Lord has seen our backslidings, and he has a controversy with his people. Their pride, their selfishness, their opening of the mind to doubt and unbelief, are manifest in his sight, and grieve his heart of love. Many gather darkness about their souls as a garment, and virtually say,"We want not a knowledge of thy way, O God; we choose our own way." These are the things that separate the soul from God. There is in the soul of man an obstacle which he holds there with stubborn persistency, and which interposes between his soul and God. It is unbelief. God gives sufficient evidence, but man, with his unsanctified will, refuses to receive evidence unless it comes in his own way, to favor his own ideas. With a spirit of bravado he cries, "Proof, proof, is what we want," and turns away from the evidence that God gives. He talks doubt, unbelief, sowing the seeds of evil which will spring up and yield their harvest. He is separating his soul farther and farther from God. {RH, December 23, 1890 par. 1}

Is it proof that such men need? Is it evidence that is wanting?--No; the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is given to help all such souls who are turning away from positive evidence, and crying, "Proof"! The rich man asked that one might be sent from the dead to warn his brethren, lest they come to the place of torment. "Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." {RH, December 23, 1890 par. 2}

Why is it that men do not believe upon sufficient evidence?--Because they do not want to be convinced. They have no disposition to give up their own will for God's will. They are unwilling to acknowledge that they have cherished sinful unbelief in resisting the light that God has given them. They have been hunting for doubts, for pegs upon which to hang their unbelief. They have been ready to accept testimony which is weak and insufficient, testimony which God has not given them in his word, but which pleases them because it agrees with their ideas, and is in harmony with their disposition and will. These souls are in great peril. If they will bow their proud will, and put it on God's side of the question; if they will with humble, contrite hearts seek for the light, believing that there is light for them, then they will see light, because the eye is single to discern the light which comes from God. They will acknowledge the evidence of divine authority. Spiritual truths will shine forth from the divine page. But the heart must be open for the reception of light, for Satan is ever ready to obscure the precious truth which would make them wise unto salvation. If any do not receive it, it will forever remain a mystery of mysteries to them. {RH, December 23, 1890 par. 3}

We should earnestly seek to know and appreciate the truth, that we may present it to others as it is in Jesus. We need to have a correct estimate of the value of our own souls; then we would not be as reckless in regard to our course of action as at present. We would seek most earnestly to know God's way; we would work in an opposite direction from selfishness, and our constant prayer would be that we might have the mind of Christ, that we might be molded and fashioned after his likeness. It is in looking to Jesus and beholding his loveliness, having our eyes steadfastly fixed upon him, that we become changed into his image. He will give grace to all that keep his way, and do his will, and walk in truth. But those who love their own way, who worship their idols of opinion, and do not love God and obey his word, will continue to walk in darkness. O, how terrible is unbelief! As well let light be poured upon the blind, as to present truth to these souls; the one cannot see, and the other will not see. {RH, December 23, 1890 par. 4}

DA The Desire of Ages (1898)
Chap. 31 The Sermon on the Mount

"No man can serve two masters." We cannot serve God with a divided heart. Bible religion is not one influence among many others; its influence is to be supreme, pervading and controlling every other. It is not to be like a dash of color brushed here and there upon the canvas, but it is to pervade the whole life, as if the canvas were dipped into the color, until every thread of the fabric were dyed a deep, unfading hue. {DA 312.3}

"If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness." Purity and steadfastness of purpose are the conditions of receiving light from God. He who desires to know the truth must be willing to accept all that it reveals. He can make no compromise with error. To be wavering and halfhearted in allegiance to truth is to choose the darkness of error and satanic delusion. {DA 312.4}

Worldly policy and the undeviating principles of righteousness do not blend into each other imperceptibly, like the colors of the rainbow. Between the two a broad, clear line is drawn by the eternal God. The likeness of Christ stands out as distinct from that of Satan as midday in contrast with midnight. And only those who live the life of Christ are His co-workers. If one sin is cherished in the soul, or one wrong practice retained in the life, the whole being is contaminated. The man becomes an instrument of unrighteousness. {DA 313.1}

CCh Counsels for the Church (1991)
Chapter 14 The Testimonies for the Church

Satan's Aim Is to Cause Doubt

In many cases the Testimonies are fully received, the sin and indulgence broken off, and reformation at once commences in harmony with the light God has given. In other instances sinful indulgences are cherished, the Testimonies are rejected, and many excuses which are untrue are offered to others as the reason for refusing to receive them. The true reason is not given. It is a lack of moral courage--a will, strengthened and controlled by the Spirit of God, to renounce hurtful habits. {CCh 93.3}

Satan has ability to suggest doubts and to devise objections to the pointed testimony that God sends, and many think it a virtue, a mark of intelligence in them, to be unbelieving and to question and quibble. Those who desire to doubt will have plenty of room. God does not propose to remove all occasion for unbelief. He gives evidence, which must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit, and all should decide from the weight of evidence. God gives sufficient evidence for the candid mind to believe; but he who turns from the weight of evidence because there are a few things which he cannot make plain to his finite understanding will be left in the cold, chilling atmosphere of unbelief and questioning doubts, and will make shipwreck of faith. {CCh 93.4}

It is Satan's plan to weaken the faith of God's people in the Testimonies. Satan knows how to make his attacks. He works upon minds to excite jealousy and dissatisfaction toward those at the head of the work. {CCh 93.5}

The gifts are next questioned; then, of course, they have but little weight, and instruction given through vision is disregarded. Next follows skepticism in regard to the vital points of our faith, the pillars of our position, then doubt as to the Holy Scriptures, and then the downward march to perdition. When the Testimonies, which were once believed, are doubted and given up, Satan knows the deceived ones will not stop at this; and he redoubles his efforts till he launches them into open rebellion, which becomes incurable and ends in destruction. By giving place to doubts and unbelief in regard to the work of God, and by cherishing feelings of distrust and cruel jealousies, they are preparing themselves for complete deception. They rise up with bitter feelings against the ones who dare to speak of their errors and reprove their sins. {CCh 94.1}

It is not alone those who openly reject the Testimonies, or who cherish doubt concerning them, that are on dangerous ground. To disregard light is to reject it. {CCh 94.2}

If you lose confidence in the Testimonies you will drift away from Bible truth. I have been fearful that many would take a questioning, doubting position, and in my distress for your souls I would warn you. How many will heed the warning? {CCh 94.3}

Your brother in Christ
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