Category Archives: Gospel Adventist

REASONS TO BELIEVE IN SABBATH KEEPING

1. The Sabbath was instituted at Creation:

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:2-3).

2. The Sabbath was given to Hebrews prior to Mount Sinai:

“How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the LORD hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day” (Exodus 16:28-30).

3. The Sabbath is part of the 10 Commandments:

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11).

4. Jesus worshipped on the Sabbath Day:

“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read” (Luke 4:16).

5. Jesus declared Himself Lord of the Sabbath day:

“For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day” (Matthew 12:8).

6. Jesus taught the Sabbath was created for all people:

“And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

7. Jesus warned about coming destruction of Jerusalem and taught that Christians in Israel should pray that the future destruction not come on the Sabbath:

“But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day:” (Matthew 24:20).

8. The disciples waited until after the Sabbath was over before finishing the burial process of Jesus Christ:

“And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment. Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them” (Luke 23:54 – 24:1).

9. The Apostle Paul continued to worship and teach on the Sabbath:

“And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures” (Acts 17:2).

10. The Moral Law–including the Sabbath–is still binding on man:

“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31).

11. Sabbath Keeping will be part of worship in the New Earth:

“And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, And from one sabbath to another, Shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD (Isaiah 66:23)

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12. The Sabbath is the gospel of Jesus that teaches us to rest in the completed work of Salvation:

“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” (Hebrews 4:9-10, ESV).

Stephen Beagles

The Principles of God’s Law

“No man who willfully disregards one principle of the law shall enter the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Ellen White, Desire of Ages pg. 309

This is one of the favorite quotes of Adventists who are mired in a legalistic attitude towards the law and gospel. They use this quotation to justify their attitude towards people they believe are not living up to the standards of the Christian life. Then there are critics of Ellen White who use this quotation to prove she did not understand the gospel of Jesus–that she made keeping the law a requirement for salvation.

The problem with taking a quotation from a paragraph without a full understanding of the entire chapter is that it can lead to applications that the author never intended. This is evident in that only two paragraphs prior to her making this statement Ellen White makes it plain how she personally viewed the law of God and its place in the plan of salvation.

1. Without the law there is no need for Christ or the gospel.

A full understanding of God’s law is essential to understanding the gospel. Rejecting the principles of God’s law affects how people view Christ and their need to be justified by faith in the merits of Jesus:

“When the law was proclaimed from Sinai, God made known to men the holiness of His character, that by contrast they might see the sinfulness of their own. The law was given to convict them of sin, and reveal their need of a Saviour. It would do this as its principles were applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit. This work it is still to do. In the life of Christ the principles of the law are made plain; and as the Holy Spirit of God touches the heart, as the light of Christ reveals to men their need of His cleansing blood and His justifying righteousness, the law is still an agent in bringing us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith.” ~ Desire of Ages pg. 308

2. God will not save people who are willfully engaging in idolatry and false religion and who are not motivated by love for God and their fellow human beings.

There is no such thing in the universe as a Christian Hindu, a Christian Pagan, a Christian Buddhist, a Christian New-ager, or a Christian Atheist. Beyond this the major principle behind the law of God is Love. Anyone who’s heart is not motivated by love for Christ cannot be full of the Holy Spirit: “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5, NKJV). “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (Romans 8:9).

Ellen White understood the difference between different types of sins and how God reacts to sins of ignorance, sins of immaturity, and sins of imperfection. But she warns of the deliberate sins of immorality, for those who cherish immoral and ungodly behavior will ultimately slip into the unpardonable sin of idolatry and false religion. While God is patient with those who engage in immoral behavior to a point, there is a dividing line that moves us into the curse of idolatry and rebellion.

3. A person who loves God will ultimately be ashamed of their sins and attempt to move towards higher standards of righteousness and holiness of life.

People who blatantly engage in rebellious behaviors with no regard for God and who take pleasure in hurting other people cannot be motivated by the Holy Spirit who implants the spirit of God’s law of love into our hearts by faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ: “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:10-11).

The major principle of every one of the 10 commands is love for God and our neighbors. But not one of us has perfect love, and we all fall short of God’s ideal of moral perfection. The law of God convicts us of sin and it condemns us all to eternal death. It is not only designed to teach us morality but to crush our self-righteous spirit to the point where all we can do is cry out to God for forgiveness and mercy. If we attempt to lower the standard of perfection to make it possible for humans to achieve then we remove the need for the cross of Christ and the plan of salvation.

“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing! (Galatians 2:21, NIV).

“Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24, NKJV).

Ellen White did not place conditions on salvation other than simple faith in Christ for this would be a blatant contradiction of the Holy Scriptures which clearly proclaim “know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16).

However, she did condemn, in no uncertain terms, those who attempt to remove the law from its central place as the unchangeable foundation of God’s character. She also condemned those who claim to be Christians who blatantly disregard God’s command against the worship of false Gods and those who are not motivated by love for Christ or for those He died to save.

Ellen White was a genuine believer in justification by faith and explained the true nature of the righteousness of God that is imputed to us the moment we place our simple faith in Jesus:

“Knowing himself to be a sinner, a transgressor of the holy law of God, he (the sinner) looks to the perfect obedience of Christ, to His death upon Calvary for the sins of the world; and he has the assurance that he is justified by faith in the merit and sacrifice of Christ. He realises that the law was obeyed in his behalf by the Son of God, and that the penalty of transgression cannot fall upon the believing sinner. The active obedience of Christ clothes the believing sinner with the righteousness that meets the demands of the law.” ~ Ellen White, Sons and Daughters of God pg. 240

“The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been – just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents, -perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.” Ellen White, Steps to Christ pg. 62

Stephen Beagles

The Mark of the Beast

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I had breakfast with George Vandeman, the famed Adventist evangelist from the It is Written television broadcast, and we talked about the Book of Revelation and the Mark of the Beast while we ate our morning pancakes at a Northern New England Camp Meeting many years ago.

We both agreed that the Mark of the Beast was symbolic and was given to people in the end-times, after the close of probation, who perverted the genuine gospel of Jesus with a gospel of works involving a forced conversion to Christianity and the worship of a false Christ. Furthermore, the Sabbath is a symbol of the free gift of salvation through resting in the completed works of Christ, and a reminder that we cannot work our way into the heavenly kingdom.

Forcing someone to worship God, or submitting to the worship of a false Christ, is a spiritual death sentence for those alive at the second coming of Jesus Christ. The Sabbath is a reminder of the gospel of Jesus.

This is the REAL meaning behind the Sabbath and the Mark of the Beast in the end times. It will be clear to all genuine Christians living in that time period that God does not force anyone to worship. Obedience that is not motivated by love for the free gift of salvation purchased by the blood of Christ is worthless, evil, and idolatrous.

Stephen Beagles

“Let us be united in Christ”

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Arthur White, grandson of Ellen G. White, related the following story about his grandmother’s influence at general conference session of the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church during the later years of her life. The SDA church had grown to 750,000 members worldwide, and a small group of general conference leaders were reluctant to restructure the church to allow a more decentralized approach to church ministry, evangelism, and world mission.

At the opening meeting of the general conference session, Ellen White moved up to the pulpit and gave the following statement:

“Every soul in every conference, in every part of the Lord’s Vinyard, has the privilege of knowing the truth. But truth is not truth to those who do not practice it. Truth is only truth to you when you live it in daily life, showing the world what those people must be who are at last saved.”

In this statement, Mrs White counselled church leaders to do more than proclaim the truth; they must also be obedient to the truth. To be the light of Christ to a dark world, our actions must be consistent with our beliefs. If we believe God is love and Christ paid the penalty for our sins on the cross, then our lives must reflect trust in Christ and His righteousness. How often has the church honored the gospel with its lips while its heart is still mired in legalism and a focus on human performance?

Our actions must reflect our love for God and our trust in the merits of Christ.

Ellen White added, ” According to the light that been given me–and just how it is to be accomplished I cannot say–greater strength must be brought into the managing force of the conference…There must be a renovation, a reorganization; a power and strength must be brought into the committees that are necessary.”

By this she meant the SDA church needed to rely on God and His wisdom. There was a need to decentralize church authority and rely on the power of God to bring people into church ministry and evangelism. If the Adventist Church was led by Christ, the church would not fail. General conference leaders needed to place more trust in Christ instead of maintaining a strangle-hold on church policy.

At the General Conference Session, after three weeks of church re-organization, Mrs White made these concluding remarks:

“Who do you suppose has been among us since this conference began?…Who has walked up and down the aisles of this tabernacle? The God of heaven and His Angels. We have been trying to organize the work on right lines. The Lord has sent His angels to minister unto us who are heirs of salvation, telling us how to carry the work forward…Press together, press together. Let us be united in Christ.”

Those words revealed Ellen White’s genuine attitude towards the Adventist movement. God was to be in charge. The King of the Universe would be actively involved in managing the church policy. Mrs. White then gave the key to maintaining organizational unity within the church.

She proclaimed, “Let us be united in Christ.”

Effective ministers of the gospel allow Christ to lead. God and His angels are available for guidance, wisdom, and courage to make difficult choices. Our ultimate success does not depend on human programs, human psychology, or human leadership programs. Ministers of Christ must be united in Christ and must acknowledge the supremacy of Christ in the daily life.

The more we are obedient to the Holy Spirit, the more effective will be our witness for Him as we proclaim the gospel to the world.

Listen to the Apostle Paul, who wrote the following while under divine inspiration: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, NIV).

Please Join me and unite under the banner of Christ and His Righteousness. Let our daily proclamation be, “Not I, but Christ!”

~Stephen Beagles

The Reality of God

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God is real. He is as real as the air we breathe and the water we drink. The creator of the universe is as real as the heavens and earth that we observe in the natural world. The divine king of creation is as real as the printed page of divine revelation that reads, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1. KJV).

God is not a philosophical idea or an educated hypothesis. God is ultimate reality. Christians who doubt the reality of God cannot possess genuine faith. Theists do not merely have faith in the existence of God; we accept the existence of the supernatural world as fact. Our belief in God is not based on probabilities or wagers, but in real history–God has revealed Himself to us in time and space.

The focus of our faith is not in the existence of God, but in the trustworthiness of His divine love. We have faith that Jesus is coming again to take the righteous to live with Him for eternity. We place our life in His hands for grace and peace. We trust His wisdom to guide us and to help us endure the tribulations of our current existence.

Ellen White, in the book Gospel Workers, stressed the importance of focusing on the reality of the truth about God: “The subjects which we present to the world must be to us a living reality” (2015, p. 299).

She also exemplifies this point by telling the following story:

“On a certain occasion, when Betterton, the celebrated actor, was dining with Dr. Sheldon, Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop said to him, ‘Pray, Mr. Betterton, tell me why it is that you actors affect your audiences so powerfully by speaking of things imaginary.’ ‘My lord,’ replied Betterton, ‘with due submission to Your Grace, permit me to say that the reason is plain; it all lies in the power of enthusiasm. We on the stage speak of things imaginary as if they were real; and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.'”– Counsels to Teachers, p. 255. (1913)

There is no room for doubting the existence of God in the 21st Century. Modern Christians need to spend more time contemplating the reality of God in an age where a constant barrage of fictional drama and philosophical speculation has become the cultural norm.

One day we will see Jesus face to face as we sit next to Him on His throne in the heavenly kingdom. Until then we wait, we dwell on the reality of God, and we pray that God continues to makes His presence known in a world where everything seems to be a matter of opinion.

The reality of God is not theory–God is a fact. Let us honor Him by acknowledging the reality of His presence in our daily lives.

~Stephen Beagles