Refuse to be Corrected

poor-dress-girl

“God has not altered nor changed. He is a jealous God, and will not look upon sin now with any more allowance than He did among ancient Israel. Sin is sin. Sins have not been held forth in their sinfulness, but it has been made to appear as though sins have been lightly regarded by God.” (TSB, p.247)

Several weeks ago the spirit urged me to speak to a young lady in our church. I had noticed her for quite a while as she was well established in the worldly attire routine. As we have posted many times before when sin is placed in front of us we have two choices, turn and ignore it or decide to face it, for the betterment of the afflicted. I chose the latter.

As my wife and I were leaving the church lunch, she excused herself to the ladies room. A few moments later the Lord had placed the young lady in my path, now was my time to act. I gently said hello, then I asked if I could speak to her for a moment. She agreed politely.

I started out, “You know dear sister if you were invited to the president of the United States office, you would want to dress nice and modest , yes?” She nodded in the affirmative. “You would want to be conservative and presentable. So when we go to our church and into God’s sanctuary are we not going in front of Someone who is much more important than president of the United States, the God of the universe?” Again she nodded. “So maybe next time you might want to dress a little more conservative in His presence, is that ok?” She said yes,and thanked me for the chat.

Now we must understand that this really should not be my duty, it should be the leaders (ie, the Pastor, elders, deacons). But Inspiration warned us a long time ago–

“Men and women are in the last hours of probation, and yet are careless and stupid, and ministers have no power to arouse them; they are asleep themselves. Sleeping preachers preaching to a sleeping people!” (Testimonies, vol.2, p.337) 

The next time I saw her at church, she had on her typical alluring worldly attire. Nothing changed. The warning is done it’s now up to her.

“I have been shown that the greatest reason why the people of God are now found in this state of spiritual blindness is that they will not receive correction. Many have despised the reproofs and warnings given them.” (Testimonies, vol. 3, p.255)

This dress problem is not solely with the ladies but with some of us men as well. Sometimes we dress like we are going on some kind of fishing expedition. Casual T-shirt, jeans, tennis shoes or loafers, etc.  Again would we dress like that if called to  a one on one meeting with the president of the USA? Not even!

“All should have a special sabbath suit, to be worn when attending service in God’s house.” (Testimonies, vol. 6, p.355)

There are two great messages concerning these things. The Lord saw that these very situations would occur within our churches. Let’s read from our two last church prophets some specific counsel.

“Sabbath my husband spoke in the forenoon, and I followed for two hours before taking food. The meeting was then closed for a few moments, and I took a little food, and afterward spoke in a social meeting for one hour, bearing pointed testimonies for several present. These testimonies were generally received with feelings of humility and gratitude. I cannot, however, say that all were so received.

The next morning, as we were about to leave for the house of worship to engage in the arduous labors of the day, a sister for whom I had a testimony that she lacked discretion and caution, and did not fully control her words and actions, came in with her husband and manifested feelings of great unreconciliation and agitation.

She commenced to talk and to weep. She murmured a little, and confessed a little, and justified self considerably. She had a wrong idea of many things I had stated to her. Her pride was touched as I brought out her faults in so public a manner. Here was evidently the main difficulty. But why should she feel thus?

The brethren and sisters knew these things were so, therefore I was not informing them of anything new. But I doubt not that it was new to the sister herself. She did not know herself, and could not properly judge of her own words and acts. This is in a degree true of nearly all, hence the necessity of faithful reproofs in the church and the cultivation by all its members of love for the plain testimony.

Her husband seemed to feel unreconciled to my bringing out her faults before the church and stated that if Sister White had followed the directions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17 he should not have felt hurt: “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”

My husband then stated that he should understand that these words of our Lord had reference to cases of personal trespass, and could not be applied in the case of this sister. She had not trespassed against Sister White. But that which had been reproved publicly was public wrongs which threatened the prosperity of the church and the cause. Here, said my husband, is a text applicable to the case: 1 Timothy 5:20: “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.”The brother acknowledged his error like a Christian and seemed reconciled to the matter. It was evident that since the meeting of Sabbath afternoon they had got many things about the matter wonderfully magnified and wrong.

It was therefore proposed that the written testimony be read. When this was done, the sister who was reproved by it, inquired: “Is that what you stated yesterday?” I replied that it was. She seemed surprised and quite reconciled to the written testimony. This I gave her, without reserving a copy. Here I did wrong. But I had such tender regard for her and her husband, and such ardent desires and hopes for their prosperity, that, in this case, I broke over an established custom.

Already meeting time was passing, and we hastened one mile and a half to the waiting congregation. The reader may judge whether the scene of that morning was well adapted to aid us in the collection of thought and nerve necessary to stand before the people. But who thinks of this? Some may, and show a little mercy, while the impulsive and careless will come with their burdens and trials, generally just before we are to speak, or when perfectly exhausted by speaking. My husband, however, summoned all his energies, and by request spoke with freedom on the law and the gospel.

I had received an invitation to speak in the afternoon in the new house of worship recently built and dedicated by the Methodists. This commodious building was crowded, and many were obliged to stand. I spoke with freedom for about an hour and a half upon the first of the two great commandments repeated by our Lord, and was surprised to learn that it was the same from which the Methodist minister had spoken in the forenoon. He and his people were present to hear what I had to say.

In the evening we had a precious interview at Brother Spooner’s with Brethren Miller, Hatch, and Haskell, and Sisters Sturges, Bliss, Harrison, and Malin. We now felt that our work for the present was done in Tuscola County. We became very much interested in this dear people, yet feared that the sister referred to, for whom I had a testimony, would let Satan take advantage of her and cause them trouble. I felt an earnest desire that she might view the matter in its true light.

The course she had been pursuing was destroying her influence in the church and outside of it. But now, if she would receive the needed reproof, and humbly seek to improve by it, the church would take her anew into their hearts, and the people would think more of her Christianity. And what is better still, she could enjoy the approving smiles of her dear Redeemer. Would she fully receive the testimony? was my anxious inquiry. I feared that she would not and that the hearts of the brethren in that county would be saddened on her account.

After returning home, I sent to her for a copy of the testimony, and on the 15th of April received the following, dated at Denmark, April 11, 1868: “Sister White: Yours of the 23d ult. is at hand. Am sorry I cannot comply with your request.”

I shall still cherish the tenderest feelings of regard for this family, and shall be happy to help them when I can. It is true that such treatment from those for whom I give my life casts a shade of sadness over me; but my course has been so plainly marked out for me that I cannot let such things keep me from the path of duty.

As I returned from the post office with the above note, feeling rather depressed in spirit, I took the Bible, and opened it with the prayer that I might find comfort and support therein, and my eye rested directly upon the following words of the prophet: “Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them. For, behold, I have made thee this day a defensed city, and an iron pillar, and brazen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land. And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the Lord, to deliver thee.” Jeremiah 1:17-19. (Testimonies, vol. 2, p.15-18)

The Responsibility of Those Who Bear the Message.

Since Ezekiel represents those whose hearts the message has reached, then to them the Lord is speaking when He says: “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me.  When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.  Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

   “Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because  thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.  Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” Ezek. 3 :17-21.

   Because of the unfaithfulness of the former watchmen, the Lord makes the antitypical Ezekiel — he and she who “sigh and cry for the abominations  that be done in the midst thereof” (the church) — a “watchman” (Ezek. 3:17) in their stead.  Be careful, therefore, Brother, Sister, lest you also betray your trust and find yourself thrust out.  “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Cor. 10:12.  Only those who thus humble themselves now, will the Lord exalt in due time to be His Faithful Watchmen to Stand Before the Unfaithful.(Tract 1, no.41-42)

 In closing my brothers and sisters, time is short, any little or big thing we can do to strike a heart, to warn a wrong course, we should do. Those souls shall not stand in the surprise church judgment if they do not turn from their careless and sinful behavior. If we love them and truly care for their souls –we will make the effort somehow some way.

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