"LET THERE BE LIGHT" Ministries
November - December, 1996
"There are many precious truths contained in the Word of God, but it is `PRESENT TRUTH' that the flock needs now." Early Writings, p 63.
Elder: robert sessler
E-mail address: email@example.com
Dear brothers and sisters,
1 John 3:1.
An essential, but overlooked area vitally necessary in overcoming all sin is the will. But what is the will?
"This (the will) is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will." Steps to Christ, p 47.
The will is our power of choice, of decision, and it is the governing power or force in our natures. We are constantly using our will in every act of life. We cannot do one thing without our will. When we wake up in the morning until we fall asleep at night, we are constantly using our will to make decisions. Thus our lives are made up from the different choices we make. When we continually choose to repeat a certain action we begin to form habits. And our character will be made up according to the particular habits we form.
So we become exactly what we choose ourselves to be. If we choose to form bad characters, then we will reap everlasting destruction. But if we choose to form good, righteous characters, then we will reap everlasting life. And it means everything to the Christian to be able to spend eternity close beside our King and our merciful Saviour. That is why "everything depends on the right action of the will."
God created you and I to represent Him, not just in outward appearance, but especially in character! (see Patriarchs and Prophets, p 45). But because of Adam's sin, human nature fell and became sinful, full of evil lusts and desires, with a strong inward driving inclination to continue on sinning. Thus when faced with a temptation, our fallen nature, with all its evil desires and inclinations, exerts an almost overpowering desire to give in to that temptation and commit sin, while our conscience is telling us to resist the temptation and do good. Thus a war builds within us either to give in and commit sin or to resist and follow the will of God. Which means that we are forced to use our will to decide which pathway to follow.
But after the fall, our will was given into Satan's control!
"This will, that forms so important a factor in the character of man, was at the fall given into the control of Satan; and he has ever since been working in man to will and to do of his own pleasure, but to the utter ruin and misery of man." Testimonies, vol 5, p 515.
So with Satan having the mastery over our will, and with man's fallen nature exerting an almost overpowering urge and desire to sin, we certainly would stand no chance of overcoming sin. We would continue to lack enough strength and power on our own, to stand against temptation, and we would continually find ourselves yielding to temptation and choosing sin even though we didn't want to. Paul says this very thing in Romans 7:18-19, 22-24.
Is there any hope for the human race under these conditions? No, we would continue to be the servants of sin and remain under bondage to the devil. All the good things that we would do; all our righteousness would be as filthy rags to God. Satan would continue to claim us as his own, and he would be our master and father.
Then where could humanity look for help out of this dark pit of despair? The New Age teaches that we need to look within for the power to escape this pit of despair and become like God. But the Bible states that the only thing we will find if we look within is only evil continually (Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9). The advocates of the New World Order declare that humanity must look to each other and their community for the collective consciousness and power to escape the pit of despair and become like God. But the Bible states that we would be cursed and the enemies of God if we trusted to the arm of flesh (Jeremiah 17:5; James 4:4). The apostate churches teach that humanity must look to them for the power to escape the pit of despair and become like God. But the Bible teaches that if humanity trusts their salvation to the polluted church, they will be destroyed along with their sinful church (Micah 2:10; Isaiah 52:11; Revelation 18:1-4).
Thus the only hope for the entire human family would be help from above--from God!
"The result of the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is manifest in the every man's experience. There is in his nature a bent to evil, a force which, unaided he cannot resist. To withstand this force, to attain that ideal which his inmost soul he accepts as alone worthy, he can find help in but one power. That power is Christ." Education, p 29.
After the fall, our will was bent downward toward evil. Thus our only hope of salvation is from God. But God cannot just pardon man and his sin, because it would prove the penalty to be useless, and sin would be allowed to live forever. The only way to break Satan's claim and bondage upon us and save humanity, would be for a son of the human race to choose to live his entire life without sinning. To continually war, struggle, and fight against the almost overpowering desire and lusts of a fallen human nature; to continually force his will to overcome all temptations, relying upon God for help, and then to walk in the path of humble obedience to God's commands perfectly. This is the only way to break Satan's control over our will and his claim upon us, because it would then prove that the law of God is holy, just and good, and that it could be obeyed perfectly by humanity. There is no other way for man's salvation and freedom from the bondage of Satan and sin!
God, our merciful and blessed Father, gave His only begotten Son to become bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh; to be our Substitute, our Surety and Sacrifice for sin; to wrestle with and overcome the strong foe.
But did Christ overcome the devil with man's fallen human nature upon Him, or did He overcome with the unfallen nature that angels and Adam had before the fall?
"For verily he (Christ) took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham." Hebrews 2:16.
So Christ had man's nature from Abraham onward, which means that Christ had to have the nature of man after the fall. But the church and its leadership interpret and reason these scriptures otherwise to say that Christ did indeed take the human nature and became man, but He did not partake of and did not overcome sin through, the sinful, fallen nature that we possess. They then reason that Christ does not know what any of us are going through when we are tempted, and so we have no help to overcome sin. This leads to the belief that no one can keep all of God's commandments perfectly and overcome all sin in this life; that Christ did it all for us on the cross; and that Christ will give us a righteous character when He comes in the clouds of heaven and grant us eternal life. This doctrine is nothing more than the original lie told to Eve--the immortality of the soul!
The Bible states: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" Ezekiel 18:20. But the apostate church teaches: "The soul that sinneth, it shall live for ever." Thus the church is teaching the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, which is the foundation of all spiritualism.
So did Christ really overcome all sin through a fallen, sinful human nature?
"For in that he (Christ) himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted." Hebrews 2:18.
Christ suffered by being tempted. Now why would Christ suffer by being tempted if He had the unfallen nature of man? Can God be tempted to do evil? No (see James 1:13). Yet Christ was tempted to do evil. Then in what nature did Christ have to be living in to be tempted and to suffer by these temptations? He had to be living in a fallen, sinful human nature.
Our dear Saviour had the same nature, the same fallen, sinful, human nature as you and I inherited, so that He could be tempted just like you and I are tempted; and yet He overcame them all.
"For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15.
So in all areas, Christ was "tempted like as we are" with the same fallen nature, with the same driving and almost overpowering desires to commit sin, yet He did not sin in one instance.
"Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." Hebrews 2:17.
"He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin." SDA Bible Commentary, vol 4, p 1147 col 2.
"He would take man's fallen nature and engage to cope with the strong foe who triumphed over Adam." Review and Herald, vol 1, p 140 col 3.
"...He was ever pure and undefiled, yet He took upon Him our sinful nature." Review and Herald, vol 3, p 421.
The suffering that Christ experienced when tempted was by Him fighting against it and using all the power of His being in grabbing hold of His will, forcing it upward to resist and overcome the clamors of a fallen nature, choosing instead to follow the will of God in all things and doing the will of God perfectly. Thus Christ crucified self; He denied the downward inclinations of a fallen nature, and this caused internal suffering, but gained the victory over the temptation.
Christ did not commit sin to obtain our fallen nature, but He took it upon Himself in order to endure the same strong inward inclinations of the fallen nature; and He overcame them all--being our perfect example in all things. Thus He can indeed help us overcome these same downward inclinations in every time of need!
"He knows how strong are the inclinations of the natural heart, and He will help in every time of temptation." Testimonies, vol 5, p 177.
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13.
Praise be to God! Let us then come boldly to the throne of grace, knowing that we will find the help in Christ that we need to overcome every temptation and resist every sin! (Hebrews 4:16).
Christ has made us free from the power of the devil and sin, setting us a perfect example of how to also overcome sin and perfect our own characters. And we can! But we must surrender ourselves to God, become converted to Him, and we must understand the power of the will.
"It is through the will that sin retains its hold upon us." Mount of Blessings, p 61.
"The stronghold of sin is in the will." Letter 24a, Jan 27, 1890 (Manuscript Release (MR) #448, p 12-13).
Since it is through the will that sin's stronghold upon us is found, then knowing how to force our will into the pathway of righteousness would break sin's stranglehold upon us! And if we continually forced our will to do God's good pleasure, instead of our will being the stronghold of sin, it would become the stronghold of righteousness!
But some just do not know how to give themselves completely to Jesus and become converted to Him--being born again and obtaining the new heart. Yet it is very simple.
"What is the new heart? It is the new mind. What is the mind? It is the will. Where is your will? It is either on Satan's side or Christ's side. Now it is up to you. Will you put your will today on Christ's side of the question? That is the new heart. It is the new will. A new mind. `A new heart will I give thee.' Then let us begin right here.
"Conversion is simple, very simple. Let us commence right here to come into the kingdom of heaven. How? As a little child. Just as simple as simple can be. You may get all your mysteries of the new birth, and you cannot make anybody understand it, or understand it yourself. But the best way for you is to give your mind to Jesus Christ, and the mind is the will..." Manuscript 36, September 19, 1891 (MR #551 p 3).
"Many are inquiring, `How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?' You desire to give yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him.
"Desires for goodness and holiness are right as far as they go; but if you stop here, they will avail nothing. Many will be lost while hoping and desiring to be Christians. They do not come to the point of yielding the will to God. They do not now choose to be Christians.
"Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, you ally yourself with the power that is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from above to hold you steadfast, and thus through constant surrender to God, you will be enabled to live the new life, even the life of faith." Steps to Christ, p 46-47.
Overcoming our habits and patterns of sin, striving to enter in at the straight gate, is not going to be easy. It is going to take all the power and strength that God has given us in order to use our will effectively in warring successfully against the sins which so easily beset us. And it will be only those who do this who will obtain the kingdom of heaven.
Our Saviour has showed us how to overcome every temptation, and it is by yielding our will to God's will every moment of our life. That is exactly how we overcome and are able to sit with Christ on His throne!
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame..." Revelation 3:21.
How did Christ overcome? When temptation came His way, He met it with a "Thus saith the Lord," and instead of following His own will and the inclinations of a fallen nature, He chose to always follow the will of His Father. He forced His will to obey, drawing divine strength from His Father to continue walking the straight and narrow pathway. The same with us.
This whole process is taught in example throughout the scriptures. One example is when the children of Israel came to the Jordan River. It was overflowing its banks and so swift that it was humanly impossible to swim across it without drowning. The promised land was just on the other side, yet to all human eyesight it was impossible to overcome this obstacle and gain it. But God told them to go forward! What did they have to do? They had to show faith in God, and put forth the effort in union with their faith by taking the first step in obedience to God--they had to place their feet in the water. Then God's power came through, parted the Jordan River, and they were able to overcome that great obstacle by continuing to walk and cross over on dry land. That is how they gained the victory and entered the promised land! The exact same process is for us today! We may overcome all sin today! How? By forcing our will to obey God in taking the first step in obedience, and thus united with God's divine power through Christ, we may continue walking on to victory!
"There is but one power that can bring us into conformity to the likeness of Christ, that can make us stead-fast and keep us constant. It is the grace of God that comes to us through obedience to the law of God." My Life Today, p 100.
"The Son of God came to our world in human form to show men that divinity and humanity combined does not commit sin." Manuscript Releases, vol 8, p 291 (Manuscript 16, February 10, 1898).
Oh, brothers and sisters, we have been given the exalted honor of uniting together with our Lord and putting forth earnest efforts to perfect holiness in the fear of God--bending our will upward and walk hand-in-hand with Christ up that straight and narrow pathway of perfection (2 Timothy 3:17; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Matthew 5:48; Hebrews 6:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:3).
"...every temptation resisted is a priceless victory gained in subduing self; it bends the powers to the service of Jesus, and increases faith, hope, patience, and forbearance." Review and Herald, vol 1, p 291.
We have also been given the exalted privilege of showing our deep love for God by developing the faculties of our mind into the highest possible development. And how high is that?
"For the mind and the soul, as well as for the body, it is God's law that strength is acquired by effort. It is exercise that develops. In harmony with this law, God has provided in His word the means for mental and spiritual development....
"He who with sincere and teachable spirit studies God's word, seeking to comprehend its truth, will be brought in touch with its Author; and, except by his own choice, there is no limit to the possibilities of his development." Education, p 123-25.
Now how high is that?
"Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God's ideal for His children. Godliness--godlikeness--is the goal to be reached." Education, p 18.
And how high is that?
"God created man that every faculty might be the faculty of the divine mind..." Christ's Object Lessons, p 355.
Oh, dear friends, this is God's highest ideal for us, that we develop our faculties of mind and our characters into the exact image of our Creator and God! (see Philippians 2:5).
But we can choose not to follow God's highest ideal for us, and instead of perfecting and building up our faculties, we choose to sin and abuse this precious treasure hidden within us. But if we do such a thing, we must then suffer the eternal consequences.
"Every sin, every unrighteous action, every transgression of the law of God tells with a thousandfold more force upon the actor than the sufferer. Every time one of the glorious faculties with which God has enriched man is abused or misused that faculty loses forever a portion of its vigor and will never be as it was before the abuse it suffered. Every abuse afflicted upon our moral nature in this life is felt not only for time but for eternity. Though God may forgive the sinner yet eternity will not make up that voluntary loss sustained in this life. To go forth into the next, the future life, deprived of half the power which might be carried there is a terrible thought. The days of probation lost here in acquiring a fitness for heaven is a loss which will never be recovered. The capacities of enjoyment will be less in the future life for the misdemeanors and abused moral powers in this life. However high we might attain in the future life we might soar higher and still higher if we had made the most of our God-given privileges and golden opportunities to improve our faculties here in this probationary existence." This Day With God, p 350.
That's quite a solemn thought! But we do not have to continue in sin. WE CAN CHOOSE NOT TO!
(For those wanting to study this issue of the will more thoroughly, there is a booklet available, titled The Will: your power of choice. Please write to us for a copy.)
--Our next NEWSLETTER will focus on "Catholic Adventists."
The past two months have found us quite busy. We have finished printing the Spanish editions of our booklets Why Are We Held Responsible for Personal, Social, and Corporate Sin, and The Will: Your Power of Choice. We also have translated, and will soon have printed, the following booklets Jeremiah: The Message Then, is the Message Now; The Transmutation of the Three Angels; The Wheat and Tares; and others will soon follow. We are indebted to sister Elizabeth Cain of Warning! Last Call Ministry, as well as brother Dick Graves, for their excellent talent of translating! Your continued prayers and financial support are needed for these booklets to spread like wild-fire and bring many of our Spanish brethren into the present truth. God is allowing the doors to be opened into this fruitful field now. Then let us do all we can to reach out with the present truth before these doors shut.
Warning! Last Call Ministry and "Let There Be Light" Ministries have just returned from holding two weeks of joint meetings on the Spanish speaking Islands of Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic. Sisters Elizabeth and Lizary Cain graciously offered their talents in translating for brother Gary Cain and myself while we were there. All of our messages had to be translated from English to Spanish, and any questions had to be translated from Spanish to English. Without the unselfish help of these two sisters, we would not have been able to conduct the meetings so effectively.
The Island of Puerto Rico is a U.S. possession under a U.S. economy. Upon arrival, we were taken to a house in the country which also was the place were the meetings occurred. The first meeting was expected to attract about 6 individuals, but over 25 showed up. The Lord was definitely working! The rest of the meetings were also well attended (over 40 on Sabbath), and the messages of present truth were also well accepted. But sadly to our surprise, we found that the majority of those who attended were caught up in fanaticism (God does not kill, and the feast days must be kept today). We all took strong stands against these two false doctrines, and hopefully many will study for themselves and cast away these fallacies for the pure truth as it is in Jesus.
The Island of Dominican Republic is very much poorer in ecomony. Brother and Sisters Cain had previously held meetings there for 3 weeks back in 1992, and they were eager to see if any had remained faithful to the Lord and present truth. When we arrived, we were greeted with smiling faces, and the Cains recognized a couple faces they had met earlier. What a joy it was to see some who were still holding to the faith after 4 years!
When we left the airport, we asked if we could visit the Light House which the Catholic Church spent so much money to build. We took the tour through several rooms on the first and second levels of this massive building. It is composed of 9 stories which taper down to 6 stories at the far end. The length of the building is approximately 750 feet, and is made up of 6 huge sections linked together. A massive lazar machine crowns the top story, along with other lasers which run down each side of the length on the top of the building. Every weekend at night the lasers are turned on to reveal a giant cross shining up in the clouds. This cross of light can be seen for many miles in the sky.
The people we stayed with, until the camp meeting began, lived way back in the country. We arrived at 10:30 p.m. at a house at the end of a dirt road. We were told that we would not be staying here, but would need to walk about 30 minutes farther along a path to get to where we would be staying. So we left our luggage, took our books and some changes of clothes, and hiked with flashlights to the homes of our hosts.
The camp meeting was well attended and the messages of present truth were also well attended. But again, we found that many of those present were involved in the same fanatical doctrines we encountered in Puerto Rico. Both Ministries again took strong stands against these fanaticisms. The Lord gave brother Cain a clear message that showed how these two fanaticisms, as well as others, were directly attacking and weakening the pillars of our faith, and thus could not be from God. (Brother Cain is currently working to get this needed study into print so that it can be shared far and wide!) Before we left, we made contact with some of those whom the Cains had met with previously. To our great joy and happiness, there were others who had kept the faith these 4 long years and who were not involved in any fanaticism, including a brother whom we feel comfortable with and are considering supporting as a full time minister in the future. We passed out free over $500 in materials as these precious people were too poor to give, and we pray that many souls will be garnered to the Lord. We are praying that the Lord will graciously break through the spell of these fanaticisms and deliver His faithful honest ones from this specious darkness into His marvelous light.
All the people we met on both Islands were very gracious and hospitable toward all of us--even those who strongly disagreed with the stands we took. Yet, out of all those who came to the meetings, we knew that God has His faithful few, and we were keeping our eyes open to find these precious jewels. We made some good contacts with a few faithful brethren whom we will be keeping in close contact with, and, Lord willing, these will continue to live and spread the truth till their whole Island is filled with the glory of God!
We are currently involved in supporting 3 full time ministers in the Philippines, and are eager to be supporting many more in various countries. Those who are financially helping in this needed area, especially a beloved home church on the West Coast, please know that this Ministry, along with these ministers, are most grateful for your unselfish giving, and you will be a partaker in all the souls won to the Lord though these faithful workers.
TO OUR READERS AND DONORS: "Let There Be Light" Ministries is not concerned with using your prayers and donations to build itself into a kingdom, but is concerned with getting the present truth into the hands of the common people quickly, effectively, and wisely. Instead of working towards acquiring expensive video and T.V. production equipment or satellite or shortwave facilities, we would rather use the Lord's money in supporting many full-time ministers and workers around the world who have proven themselves to be reliable and stable. With their monthly support supplied, these ministers and workers then have the ability to more effectively spread the truth, establish our people in the present truth, and carry the truth into the homes of those who sit in darkness. This is how the Loud Cry will be spread, and is now being spread! If the Lord so impresses you to help in this endeavor, your donations will be greatly appreciated--not just by this Ministry, but many others as well! MAY GOD RICHLY BLESS YOU!
LETTERS to "LET THERE BE LIGHT" MINISTRIES
Dear brother Sessler,
You have made considerable work about the truth for Adventist people in these days and I praise God for all that....God bless you!
Sincerely yours in Christ, J.D. France
Pastor Robert Sessler:
Commendable job on the enclosed sheet (page 2 from our September-October Newsletter). A concise brief on Daniel & Revelation, relative to the understanding of the pioneers!
Yours, for the lost, D.R. Michigan
Dear bro Bob & Family,
We got your note and ect in the mail yesterday. Thank you very much....Our little church group [is] doing well....Keep looking upward. The Lord is coming very soon now. Please keep us in your prayers.
Love, C & L Arizona
I have come across reading some of your publications given to me by a friend. The messages are so inspiring and has really opened my eyes and increased my knowledge....I am requesting if you could send me more of your publications to share with my families and friends.
May God bless you all, I.B. Fiji
Dear Robert Sessler,
I was working for the Conference for the last six years--as a pastor and a chaplain to tertiary students. However, I was dismissed from my employment last year--because of attending the Loud Cry camp in Brisbane (Australia) in 1994...We'll remember your ministry in our prayers. May the Lord keep you.
Yours in His love, P.K. Papua New Guinea
L"Every act of justice, mercy, and benevolence makes melody in Heaven." 2T 25.
L"To every person is committed some peculiar gift or talent which is to be used to advance the Redeemer's kingdom." 4T 618.
L"When tempted to become unbelieving and discouraged, you will find the very best cure for this in talking faith to others, and in presenting the truth to those who are in darkness." Signs of the Times, September 4, 1879.