Greetings MOL Family!
We pray that you have been blessed by this series, “Preparing for Marriage”. Although we are coming to the end of this particular series, we do have more inspired studies that we will be sharing with you! Don’t forget to share them with those that you know, and invite others to benefit from all of “The Christian Home” classes! Maranatha!
–These Are They–
Let us turn to Revelation the fourteenth chapter. I love the book of Revelation, don’t you? It is focused especially on this last generation. The first five verses of the fourteenth chapter of Revelation give us a picture of the 144,000, the special company that are developed by the threefold message of Revelation 14:6-12.
You notice in the first verse that they are seen standing on Mount Zion with the Lamb, having His name and His Father’s name written in their foreheads. In other words, they reflect the image of Jesus fully. In verses two and three we hear them singing that wonderful song, that song that no man can learn but the 144,000, the song of their experience.
Now in the fourth verse we read:
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. – Revelation 14:4
This, of course, is dealing with the symbols of the book of Revelation. In the seventeenth chapter of Revelation we have the fallen churches represented by a mother and her daughters who are impure. The 144,000 will be those who have become fully cleansed from all the errors, the false doctrines, and the wicked practices of the fallen churches. That is, they have a pure faith and a pure heart.
These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. – Revelation 14:4
They follow Him in the world to come. They go with Him through the universe. But those who follow Him there will first follow Him here.
These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. – Revelation 14:4
That expression, “first fruits,” as used in the Bible, refers not merely chronologically, – to the time of ripening – it refers especially to the quality, the first fruits, that is the very best, the choicest. God is developing in this generation a group of people that will be exhibited to all the universe as the cream of the crop.
And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. – Revelation 14:5
Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing to be a part of that company, friends? This is our destiny. For this we have been born. Oh, that we may not miss our destiny!
–Blessed Are The Pure In Heart–
Now let’s take another view. Matthew 5:8. Here in the sermon on the mount Jesus is speaking of the blessings that various attributes bring, and here in Matthew 5:8, He speaks a blessing especially for whom? The pure in heart.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. – Matthew 5:8
Any of us who wear glasses have had the experience, at times, of things looking a bit hazy, and we take the glasses off and we see that they have gotten pretty dirty. And isn’t it interesting how a little time spent in cleansing the lenses improves the view? Yes. In order to see God our hearts must be pure. Dirty thinking fogs the vision. Impure thoughts make it impossible to appreciate, to even see the character of God.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. – Matthew 5:8
The 144,000 will be absolutely pure in a world which has gone the limit in impurity. You remember in His sermon on the mount, Jesus likened the days just before His second coming to what time? The days of Noah. And that was a time distinguished by violence and impurity. Polygamy, adultery, iniquity of every kind walked brazen and bold. So it is becoming today. But in this wicked and impure generation God is going to have men and women, boys and girls, who are as pure as Jesus.
Galatians 5:24. Notice what we must do in order to have this experience. What do those who are Christ’s do? What does this say? They crucify what? The flesh, with the what? Affections and lusts. The margin for “affections” says “passions.” Both are correct.
Turn, please, in your Adventist Home to page 127, and we will read a comment on this. Let’s see what this flesh is, that is to be crucified.
“They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” – Galatians 5:24
Are there some affections that need to be crucified? Apparently. Some passions, some lusts.
“The lower passions have their seat in the body and work through it. The words ‘flesh’ or ‘fleshly’ or ‘carnal lusts’ embrace the lower, corrupt nature; the flesh of itself cannot act contrary to the will of God.” – Adventist Home, pg. 127
Notice that: The sin is actually committed by the human will, isn’t it? And yet we have in our bodies certain cravings. Take the craving of appetite. Within certain bounds that is a healthy, proper thing. But the way men have perverted it today, some people are wanting to eat all day long. That isn’t a natural thing. It is an unnatural lust or appetite. But the person who has that craving to eat when it isn’t time to eat, what does he have to do with it, if he is going to live for health and for God? Crucify it. And so with affections which are not proper, or passions which are going out in the wrong way.
The words ‘flesh’ or ‘fleshly’ or ‘carnal lusts’ embrace the lower, corrupt nature; the flesh of itself cannot act contrary to the will of God. We are commanded to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. How shall we do it? Shall we inflict pain on the body? No; but put to death the temptation to sin. The corrupt thought is to be expelled. Every thought is to be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul. – Adventist Home, pg. 127
Oh, this is a wonderful sentence, dear friends. Victorious living does not mean that a man never has a craving that is wrong. It means that he is in control. By the grace of God, he is in control. He is in control of his eyes, his ears. He is in control of his feelings, his thoughts. He is in control of his appetites and affections, and passions.
When I say he is in control of his eyes and his ears and his thoughts, I don’t mean that nothing wrong ever comes to his vision, or his hearing, or his thinking. But by the grace of God he has the power to decide whether to linger over the wrong scenes, or to expel them. And victorious living means that through the Holy Spirit he resists those wrong things that come to the eyes, the ears, the mind. He has victory.
We are told by inspiration that there are thoughts and feelings inspired by satan that annoy even the best of men, but if they are repulsed as hateful, if they are not cherished, then the soul is not contaminated with guilt and no other one is injured by their influence (See “Review and Herald”, Mar 27, 1888.). Oh, that is a wonderful thing, dear friends.
All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul. The love of God must reign supreme; Christ must occupy an undivided throne. Our bodies are to be regarded as His purchased possession. The members of the body are to become the instruments of righteousness. – Adventist Home, pg. 127
Turn to 1 Corinthians 9 and we will see how Paul put it concerning his own experience. 1 Corinthians 9:27.
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. – 1 Corinthians 9:27
What did Paul say he did with his body? He kept it under. What was on top? Why, his mind, his character, his spiritual life. His body was the servant instead of the master.
Are there millions of people today whose bodies rule them? Why, yes. Appetite, affection and passion tell them what to do. The impulses just keep them coming here, there, and yonder, in that race after trying to satisfy their cravings. And the pitiful thing is, they never become satisfied. They sometimes become satiated and cynical, but the only true satisfaction is in the life of victory, in which the soul is on top, the body is in subjection.
Proverbs 4:23. The margin says “above all keeping.” Keep what? Keep your heart. Can you keep your heart? You know, in the world they have these pictures of Cupid shooting a dart into people’s hearts. What a silly thing! What does the wise man say? Keep your heart.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. – Proverbs 4:23
Ah, friends, perhaps the greatest thing in deciding whether a man spends his life happily, is whether his affections go out after the proper objects or improper objects – it is what we love, what we cherish, what we desire and seek to get. If it is the proper thing and we work with God to achieve, to attain, to receive that which is worthy of our affections, oh, then life has abundant satisfaction. But few people are doing that.
Adventist Home page 54, has a wonderful comment on this wonderful verse. (I wish in your notes you would make a special underlining or some way to call attention to this reference I am giving you now. I hope you will study it over and over. It is the key to the solution of many problems.)
Gird up the loins of your mind, says the apostle; then control your thoughts, not allowing them to have full scope. The thoughts may be guarded and controlled by your own determined efforts. – Adventist Home, pg. 54
Do you have to think about every idea that comes into your mind? Do you have to linger on every picture that is presented to your eye? Oh, no.
The thoughts may be guarded and controlled by your own determined efforts. – Adventist Home, pg. 54
You know one of the great lessons to be mastered during the teen years is guarding and controlling the affections. It is a very natural thing for young men during the teens to begin to think about young women as attractive, as desirable. It is a very natural thing for young women to begin to think about young men as handsome, as this young man or that young man as someone who has desirable traits. But the great lesson of the teens, my friends, is to learn how to relate oneself to those feelings. During the teen years the great lesson is to learn to control those feelings instead of expressing them, to have them under restraint instead of manifesting them. And why? Because all through life that lesson of self-control must continue to be carried.
God has established certain barriers of reserve. And in marriage one man and one woman go into this sacred circle of marriage and nobody else is to go in there, just this one man and this one woman. Before marriage this barrier between the world of men and the world of women stands there, and after marriage it still stands there as we will study.
The standards of conduct, the standards of behavior both for the single and the married are very high and are designed to preserve purity. Purity in what we are studying means regarding this sacred institution of marriage as something that belongs to just two individuals, the one man and the one woman who are brought together by God and united in holy matrimony.
Both before marriage, I repeat, and after, this man and every other man, all men, are to hold their affections and not pour them out over on this one and that one and the other one. That is reserved for that one – that one. And so with the woman with the men.
The thoughts may be guarded and controlled by your own determined efforts. Think right thoughts, and you will perform right actions. You have, then, to guard the affections, not letting them go out and fasten upon improper objects. – Adventist Home, pg. 54
Does God ever tell us anything that is impossible? He tells us many things that are impossible without His grace. But everything He has commanded us to do, dear friends, if we look to Him for grace, we can have the power to do it.
You have, then, to guard the affections, not letting them go out and fasten upon improper objects. Jesus has purchased you with His own life; you belong to Him; therefore He is to be consulted in all things, as to how the powers of your mind and the affections of your heart shall be employed. – Adventist Home, pg. 54
Invite a friend and join us next week for the conclusion of “Preparing for Marriage”…
* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.