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My Father in heaven, I thank You that I have the privilege of addressing You as Father. I freely acknowledge that I am worthy only of such a privilege by grace in Jesus Christ, not in myself. Oh, Father, I thank You that we, myself and my blood-bought brothers and sisters here, are accepted in the Beloved {Eph 1:6}, reckoned by Your gracious reckoning to be Your sons and your daughters through adoption. {Audio starts from this point:} Thank you, Father. We know that You love us infinitely with a Father’s love that far transcends any father’s love in the human realm. {Lk 11:11-13} And so we come in confidence, as needy children, knowing that You will not reject us because You love us and You want to bless us. And what we come asking for this morning, Father, is that what we need so much just now, and that is the illuminating, quickening, energizing power of Your Spirit to invade our minds. Sin has so damaged and darkened our mental faculties, Father, that unless we have that Spirit present, active, working within us, we cannot possibly understand the truth to the point of freedom. {Jn 8:32} Oh, yes, we may be able to give intellectual assent to certain abstract truths, but Father, we’re not satisfied with that. We want a knowledge of truth that will transform us. We want to know the truth in a way that will make us like Him who is the truth, Jesus Christ. {Jn 14:6} We want not only to understand the truth, but we want to stand under the truth. We want to submit, to yield to its claims upon our lives, that it might mold us and shape us into the lovely likeness of Him who is the truth. Father, by the Spirit of truth {Jn 15:26}, I pray, may this be our experience. Plant seeds of truth in the garden of our mind that they might be germinated by the consent of our will, and that they might bear fruit {MH 42.3}, the fruit of a Christ-like character to your glory. This is my prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

The title of our study this morning is: “The Earth . . . Will Teach You.” Does anyone know where that’s found? All of the titles of our studies, by the way, if you haven’t noticed, are taken from Scripture. Let me give it to you in its little larger context. “Speak to the earth and it will teach you.” Where is it found? It’s found in the book of Job, yes, indeed. Job 12:8. And it is a profound truth. Job 12:8: “Speak to the earth and it will teach you.”

{3’25”} I read from Manuscript 153, 1903: “God designed that nature should be to man a lesson-book to guide him from the path of disobedience back to God. There is need of a close study of nature, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Lord is giving object-lessons, He is making holy truths familiar to the human mind, through the most simple things in nature.” {SD 241.3} “Speak to the earth and it will teach you.” In beautifully simple and understandable terms, nature teaches us.

Now, brothers and sisters, it’s no coincidence that it is one and the same word that refers to human nature as refers to the realm about us, because there are very direct parallels and insights that we can gain from the natural order regarding our own natures. So when we speak to the earth, it teaches us much about whom? Ourselves. You see, the earth has been cursed. The nature that we look upon has been cursed {Gen 3:17}, but so has our own nature been cursed. {SC 9.3} With what? With sin.

Turn with me to Genesis, please, chapter 3. And by the way, the reason we need to study again the condition of the human agent that which is his condition in his natural state, is because we must clearly understand that before we can correctly come to conclusions regarding the human nature of Jesus Christ. And that, of course, is the main purpose of our study. And the title of our series, just as a reminder, is “Our Sinless Yet Sympathetic Saviour.” We need to understand what He was in nature to be both our sinless, yet sympathetic Saviour; to be both our sinless Substitute and our sympathetic Elder Brother and Example.

So, with that goal in mind, consider with me nature, both the created order that we look upon and our own human nature. What can we learn from the created order regarding our own human nature as affected by sin? {6’39”} Genesis 3:17-19: “Then to Adam He said, because you have heeded the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree, which I commanded you, saying, You shall not eat of it, cursed is the ground,” what? “for thy sake.” Very interesting. “Cursed is the ground for your sake. In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life, both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you. And you shall eat the herb of the field, in the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the,” what? “ground. For out of it you were taken, for you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

Isn’t it very interesting that immediately after pronouncing a curse upon the earth, the ground, the dust, He reminds Adam that he’s, what? he’s dust. He will return to the ground for from it he was taken. What is God signaling to us? He’s saying to us that, as it is in the natural realm, so it is in your own heart now, Adam. This is an object lesson. Please learn from it. Because of sin, this is the way it is with your own nature. What will human nature now naturally produce? Thorns and thistles. {Gen 3:18}

{8’33”} Listen, Testimonies, vol. 4, page 606: “The mind is the garden, the character is the fruit.” {4T 606.2-3} Hang onto that. But tell me now, on account of the curse of sin, on account of man’s fall, what is it that the mind garden will naturally produce in the realm of character? What is it? Thorns and thistles. Weeds.

{9’14”} In the book, Amazing Grace, the morning watch book, page 223: “All defects of character originate in the heart.” The mind is the garden, the character is the fruit. “All defects of character originate in the heart. Pride, vanity, evil temper and covetousness proceed from the carnal heart, unrenewed by the grace of Christ.” {AG 223.4} What does the carnal heart, or the natural heart, unrenewed by the grace of Christ produce? Weeds. Pride, vanity, evil temper and covetousness. That’s what the carnal heart now produces.

{10’01”} Testimonies, vol. 4, page 202 and 203: “The soil of the heart, like that of a garden, will produce weeds and brambles unless the seeds of precious flowers are planted there and receive care and cultivation. As in visible nature, so is it with the human soul.” {4T 202.4} Speak to the earth and it will what? It will teach you. “As in the visible nature, so it is with the human soul.”

Now, all of you are probably familiar with gardening. Tell me. What have you learned from your experience in your garden? What is the easiest thing to grow in your garden plot? Weeds. Do you have to put forth any effort to grow weeds in your garden? Quite the opposite. Do you have to go down to the store and ask the nurseryman to sell you a packet of weed seeds, if you want to grow weeds? No. They are inherent in the soil. They come with the garden plot. Do you understand the spiritual object lesson there? You don’t have to put them there; they already are there, and all you have to do to grow those ugly character traits is to let things go their own natural way. Right? Does it take any work to produce these character traits of pride, vanity, evil temper and covetousness? Absolutely not. It’s what comes totally and spontaneously, naturally, to the human in his fallen condition.

{12’15”} I read from Mind, Character and Personality, page 7: “The similarity between an uncultivated field and an untrained mind is striking. Children and youth already have in their minds and hearts corrupt seed…” Do you have to put it there? It’s already there. They already have in their minds “…corrupt seed, ready to spring up and bear its perverting harvest; and the greatest care and watchfulness are needed in cultivating and storing the mind with precious seeds of Bible truth.” {1MCP 7.3}

What has to be placed there? Truth. If you want to grow something of value in your garden, you go get seeds and you put them in, right? Because they’re not naturally there. “Speak to the earth and it will teach you,” {Job 12:8} dear brother, dear sister, about your own nature, your own heart. As in the visible realm, so it is with human nature. {4T 202.4} So it is with human nature.

Now, tell me, these “corrupt seed” that are already there, how did they get there? They were inherited. Now, the particular variety and virility of those weed seeds is determined by our immediate inheritance, namely, back to the third and fourth generation: visiting the iniquities of the third and fourth generation onto them. {Ex 20:5} That is how the specific variety and virility of the seeds are determined.

But how were weed seeds in general placed in human nature, the seeds of selfishness? By whom? By Adam. {14’28”} Listen. Letter 165, 1901: “All sin is selfishness.” Please note that phrase. “Satan’s first sin was selfishness. … And the temptation which led Adam to sin, was the false statement of Satan that it was possible for him to attain to something more than he already enjoyed—possible for him to be as God Himself.” Now here’s the line. Listen to it. “Thus seeds of selfishness were sown in the human heart.” {3MR 331.2} When were seeds of selfishness sown in the human heart? When Satan deceived Adam into believing that there was something better that he should grasp for himself. Seeds of selfishness at that point were planted in the human heart.

And Adam, brothers and sisters, was to beget, or was to procreate in his own likeness, in his own image. {Gen 5:1-3} So that little garden plot that he parceled off, if you like, to Cain and Abel and Seth had in it already what? Seeds. What kind of seeds? Seeds of selfishness. So they had a mind garden that already inherent within it seeds of selfishness. These are inherited tendencies to self-indulgence, self-gratification, self-glorification.

Now tell me, are seeds of selfishness sin? All sin is selfishness. All sin is selfishness. {3MR 331.2} What does the servant of the Lord tell us about seeds? In the seed is the what? Is the whole plant, right? {MB 56.2} She also speaks of God being able to see the whole flower enfolded in the plant. {SC 67.3; PP 43.1; COL 38.1} He can also see the whole ugly weed enfolded in the weed seed, can’t He? Seeds of selfishness are themselves sin for they are the–what’s the word I’m looking for?–they are the seed of the very reality, the embryo, using another realm. And by the way, these are very parallel, and I’m going to have to try to resist moving into that realm because it’s pregnant with truth, that realm; it really is.

Seeds of selfishness are, brothers and sisters, themselves sin for all sin is selfishness. Now, here is a vitally important point. Is the existence of those seeds of selfishness something that we are condemned for when we refuse to germinate those seeds with the consent of our will? Oh, be careful; wait a minute. Bless your hearts. Are we condemned for the presence of those inherited tendencies to evil if we, with a sanctified will, refuse to consent to them? Are we condemned for their presence? No, we’re not. Why? Because they aren’t condemnable? No. Because there is provision in the atonement to free us from the condemnation of it. Do you see that? They are condemnable, my brother, my sister, but it is a condemnation for which we are not held responsible because we can’t do anything about it. It’s an unavoidable deficiency. {3SM 195.4} But what can we do something about? The germination, the consent of the will to it. {Messenger April 26, 1893, par. 3-5} That is a vitally important point to recognize.

{19’13”} Bible Commentary, vol. 5, page 1128: “Because of sin,” this is back to where the origin of these seeds came from. “Because of sin his posterity (Adam’s) was born with inherent propensities of disobedience.” {5BC 1128.4} There’s our phrase again. What is our condition at birth? We are full of weed seeds, inherent propensities of disobedience. These are the inherited tendencies to sin that we receive as a birthright from our parents.

{20’00”} And listen. Bible Commentary, vol. 4, page 1154: “God hates hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong.” {4BC 1154.9} He what? He hates hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. Why does he hate them? What does God only hate? Sin. He hates them because even the tendencies, even the seeds of selfishness are themselves sin. But praise His Name, He has made provision in the atonement to free us from the condemnation of that, if we by His enabling grace, refuse to conceive–and there I slipped into that realm again–refuse to germinate, to consent with the will to those inherited tendencies to evil.

Now we’ve said it again, and I’ll probably say it several more times, but I want to clearly define for you what is sin, what aspect of sin we are responsible for, and how we can keep from incurring guilt upon ourselves. {21’10”} Ministry of Healing, page 173: “Many have to battle against strong hereditary tendencies to evil. Unnatural cravings, sensual impulses were their inheritance from birth.” {MH 173.3} From birth. Strong hereditary tendencies to evil.

{21’39”} I read from the morning watch book, In Heavenly Places, page 195: “Bad habits are more easily formed than good habits.” Can you say “amen” to that? Have you ever wondered why? You don’t have to wonder long if you listen to what the earth is telling you. “Speak to the earth and it will teach you.” {Job 12:8} What is easiest to grow in your garden? “Bad habits are more easily formed than good habits, and the bad habits are given up with more difficulty.” Is it hard to get rid of those beautiful flowers that you grew in the garden or the ugly crop of weeds; which one is it harder to get rid of? Weeds. “And bad habits are given up with more difficulty. The natural depravity of the heart accounts for this well-known fact…” We’re cursed with sin, the sin of selfishness. And selfishness is the essence of, what? Depravity. {CS 24.2} Remember? “The natural depravity of the heart accounts for this well-known fact, that it takes far less labor to demoralize the youth, to corrupt their ideas of moral and religious character than to engraft upon their character the enduring pure and uncorrupted habits of righteousness and truth. Self-indulgence, love of pleasure, enmity, pride, self-esteem, envy, jealousy will grow spontaneously without example and teaching.” Isn’t that the truth, parents? In our present fallen state, all that is needed is to give up the mind and character to its natural tendencies. In the natural world, give up a field to itself and you will see it covered with briars and thorns, but if it yields precious grain or beautiful flowers, care and unremitting labor must be applied.” {HP 195.4} Oh, what profound insights we get from nature.

Now, “hereditary and cultivated tendencies” {4BC 1154.9}; think on this with me for just a moment. Hereditary tendencies are those seeds of selfishness that are inherent in the soil of the mind garden, right? What are cultivated tendencies? The ones that we have germinated and started to grow in the mind garden, cultivated tendencies. Okay? Now, those which we have received, those tendencies we received as a natural inheritance, our will will naturally, in its natural condition, germinate, won’t it? Because the will, as you recall {Lesson 045T 515.1}, is by nature committed to the lusts of the flesh. And it is not until we consciously give our will to the lordship of Jesus Christ that we can cease to germinate those seeds.

So what invariably will happen as we grow up, before we are aware of what is right and wrong? As little children, what will invariably happen? With our will we will conceive those seeds of selfishness, and they quickly evidence themselves, don’t they, in selfish behavior, dear parents? But what do we have to do to help our children? We have to weed their gardens for them because they can’t at that point do it for themselves. Right?

Now, think in terms of the child, Jesus Christ. We will study that later but think in terms of Christ, please. As a child growing up, did His mother have to weed His garden of those evil habits? Brothers and sisters, had there been any evidence of selfishness in His life at all, even as an infant, He would have been what? A sinner under condemnation. So then what did the condition of His mind have to be? Free of what? Seeds of selfishness. Free of inherited tendencies to evil. Does this not only become obvious? What are–that was parenthetical, by the way, we will address that issue a good deal more in depth. But I want you to be thinking with me as we study about human nature, be thinking with me what that tells us about the nature of Jesus Christ in humanity. Okay?

What is the origin of these weeds? {27’09”} Here’s a very interesting insight that we have from Bible Commentary, vol. 1, page 1086: “Not one noxious plant was placed in the Lord’s great garden.” {1BC 1086.2} In other words, what does that tell us about man’s nature before the fall? There were no weeds whatsoever. It was holy flesh. {4BC 1176.3-4} Are you with me? What is holy flesh? Holy flesh is a nature that is totally free from even the seeds of selfishness.

Man by creation had holy flesh. Do we? When will we alone have holy flesh? When we’re translated. {LDE 268.3} Back to our statement: “Not one noxious plant was placed in the Lord’s great garden. But after Adam and Eve sinned, poisonous herbs sprang up.” Note the parallel? “After Adam and Eve sinned, poisonous herbs sprang up,” just as God said they would, as an object lesson to them. “Cursed is the ground for your sake.” {Genesis 3:17} To teach you something. I keep interjecting here. Forgive me. “But after Adam and Eve sinned, poisonous herbs sprang up.” I read again: “In the parable of the sower the question was asked the Master, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? How then hath it tares? The Master answered,” what? “An enemy hath done this.” {Mt 13:27-28} Now listen. “All tares are sown by the evil one. Every noxious herb is of his sowing. And by his ingenious methods of amalgamation, he has corrupted the earth with tares.” {1BC 1086.2} Where did these weeds come from in the natural realm? An amalgamation or perversion of that which God gave. Right?

How about these inherited tendencies to evil? What are they? They are a perversion, an amalgamation, if you like, of God-given appetite and passions with selfishness. {29’36”} Listen. I read from Manuscript 47, 1896: “Often Satan conquers us by our natural inclinations and appetites. These were divinely appointed and when given to man were pure and holy.” When given to man they were what? They were pure and holy, there was nothing condemnable about them, the appetites and passions that God gave him, the natural inclinations and appetites. Pure and holy. I read again: “It was God’s design that reason should rule appetites and that they should minister to our happiness. And when they are regulated and controlled by a sanctified reason, they are holiness to the Lord. But men’s natural appetites have been perverted by indulgence. Through unholy gratification, they have become fleshly lusts, which war against the soul. Unless the Christian watches unto prayer, he gives loose rein to habits, which should be overcome. Unless he feels the need of constant watching, ceaseless vigilance, his inclinations, abused and misguided, will be the means of his backsliding from God.” {14MR 294.3-4}

Do you see then that these fleshly lusts that we receive as a natural inheritance, that are inherent in the soil of the mind, do you see how they are an amalgamation of God-given appetites and passions with selfishness, unlawful indulgence of them? And God gave them to us to bring us, what? Happiness. And herein, brothers and sisters, are their power to attract us. This is the ugly thing about sin. It takes what God gave us to bring us pleasure and it piggybacks on it to bind us and bring us to ruin and death. Scripture speaks of the pleasures of sin. {Heb 11:25} Right? Why are they pleasurable? Because they are using God-given capacities to bring pleasure in a selfish, God-forbidden way. And these pleasures are only for a what, though? For a season, when they are unlawfully indulged. Only for a season.

{32’42”} Manuscript 48, 1897: “Our natural tendencies, unless corrected by the Holy Spirit of God, have in them the seeds of moral death.” What tendencies do? Our natural tendencies have in them the seeds of moral death, unless corrected by the Holy Spirit. I read on: “The flesh with all its promptings ‘lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.’” {Gal 5:17; 10MR 288.1}

And brothers and sisters, Galatians 6:7 and 8. You know it. What does this tell us about our mind garden and the crop that we sow? {33’30”} Galatians 6:7-8: “Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows that will he also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap,” what? “corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” What does it mean to sow to the flesh? It means to consent to, to germinate the seeds that are inherent in the flesh. And to thereby develop a selfish character. And if we develop a selfish character, that is sin. And what is the wages of sin? Death. {Rom 6:23} But praise God, there’s an alternative. We must sow to the Spirit.

How do we refuse to sow to the flesh? {34’37”} I read from Adventist Home, page 127: “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.” So when we’re talking about this flesh, what are we talking about? This actual stuff here? {pointing to flesh on the hand} No. We’re talking about the lower, corrupt nature. Mind you, it is intimately related with this stuff. It has its seat in the body and works through it. It’s all tied together with the nervous system, the hormonal system, everything; all of our appetites and passions are intimately related with the physical organism. But it’s not synonymous with the physical organism, this flesh. It’s the lower, corrupt nature. It’s that realm of the mind where those appetites and passions register themselves for consideration in our thought life. That’s the flesh. That’s the lower, corrupt nature. Now, when we are aware of these lower, corrupt tendencies, these appetites and passions, what are we to do with them? How are we to deal with this flesh? Listen. I read on: “We are commanded to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. {Gal 5:24} 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. {2 Cor 10:5} All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul.” {AH 127.2}

And brothers and sisters, if we expel those corrupt thoughts, are we condemned for having had them? No. But does that mean again that that corrupt thought is not itself condemnable? No, it doesn’t. The only reason we aren’t condemned for it is because, what? There is provision in the atonement to cover it. It is part of the unavoidable deficiency of our inheritance from Adam.

{36’52”} Review and Herald, March 27, 1888: “There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt, and no other is defiled by their influence.” {RH March 27, 1888, par. 15}

{37’17”} Christ’s Object Lessons, page 84: “Every seed sown produces a harvest of its kind. {Gen 1:11} So it is in human life. We all need to sow the seeds of compassion, sympathy, and love; for we shall reap what we sow. {Gal 6:7} Every characteristic of selfishness, self-love, self-esteem, every act of self-indulgence, will bring forth a like harvest. He who lives for self is sowing to the flesh, and of the flesh he will reap corruption. {COL 84.3} Oh, how important, brothers and sisters, that we do not sow unto the flesh.

Now, by natural inheritance, do we only have seeds of selfishness in the garden of our mind, or are there some good seeds as well? There are some good seeds as well. {38’20”} Listen. Mind, Character and Personality, page 144: “Children inherit inclinations to wrong, but they also have many lovely traits of character. These should be strengthened and developed, while the tendencies to evil should be carefully guarded against and repressed.” {1MCP 144.4}

But tell me, are these good vestiges, if you like–remember, the image of God is marred and well nigh obliterated {PP 595.2}, but not what? Totally obliterated. Are these vestiges of the image of God that are in the human heart able in and of themselves to thrive? No.

{39’13”} Listen. Education, page 29: “As through Christ every human being has life, so also through Him every soul receives some ray of divine light. Not only intellectual but spiritual power, a perception of right, a desire for goodness exists in every heart.” Did you hear that? “… a desire for goodness, exists in every heart. But against these principles there is struggling an antagonistic power. The result of the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is manifest in 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 in his inmost soul he accepts as alone worthy, he can find help in but one power. That power is Christ. Co-operation with that power is man’s greatest need. In all educational effort should not this co-operation be the highest aim?” {Ed 29.1}

Those desires for goodness, brothers and sisters, that are still vestiges of the image of God in the heart of man are powerless to thrive in the heart that is naturally prone to be overwhelmed with weeds. It won’t be long before that will be totally overwhelmed.

{40’46”} I read from Adventist Home, page 468: “Fathers and mothers too often leave their children to choose for themselves their amusements, their companions, and their occupation. The result is such as might reasonably be expected. Leave a field uncultivated, and it will grow up to thorns and briers. You will never see a lovely flower or a choice shrub peering above the unsightly, poisonous weeds. The worthless bramble will grow luxuriantly without thought or care, while plants that are valued for use or beauty require thorough culture. Thus it is with our youth. If right habits are formed and right principles established, there is earnest work to be done. If wrong habits are corrected, diligence and perseverance are required to accomplish the task.” {AH 468.4}

If we’re going to grow a beautiful character in the garden of our mind, it is only by the what? By the sweat of our brow. Only by the sweat of our brow. {Gen 3:19} Those vestiges of the image of God cannot possibly thrive naturally; it requires absolutely diligent effort and enabling grace at the same time.

{42’16”} Listen. I read from Amazing Grace, page 145: “…the grace of God subdues the selfishness inherent in the natural heart.” {AG 145.3} The selfishness what? Inherent in the natural heart. Selfishness is inherent in our natural heart. But what is it that subdues it? The grace of God. But brothers and sisters, can we expect grace to do it for us, or to do it with us? We can only expect grace to do it with us. God does not propose to do it for us. He proposes to enable us to do it for ourselves.

{43’06”} Please note. Romans 8:13: “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Who puts to death the deeds of the body? We do. But how? By the Spirit. Does the Spirit propose to put to death the deeds of the body for us? No. The Spirit proposes to enable us to put the deeds of the body to death for ourselves.

{43’40”} Review and Herald, January 4, 1881: “…we must remember that our hearts are naturally depraved, and we are unable, of ourselves, to pursue a right course. It is only by the grace of God combined with the most earnest efforts on our part, that we can gain the victory.” How is the victory gained? By grace alone? No. By grace combined with the most earnest efforts on our part. By the what? By the sweat of your brow. {Gen 3:19} “Keep the heart with all,” what? “diligence.” “Keep the heart with all diligence.” {Pr 4:23}

Brothers and sisters, it requires all diligence because the natural production of that mind garden is selfishness, and we have to constantly stay on top of the weeds. Right? How long does it take for your little garden plot to get way ahead of you? Not long at all. That is an object lesson. Keep on top of it. Keep on top of it in the garden of your mind.

How long will we have to deal with this? Until we have holy flesh. {45’10”} Testimonies, vol. 4, page 496: “In the human heart there is natural selfishness and corruption, which can only be overcome by most thorough discipline and severe restraint; and even then it will require years of patient effort and earnest resistance.” {4T 496.1}

{45’27”} Testimonies, volume 4, page 439: “…gird on the armor for a life (long) conflict with hereditary tendencies…” {4T 438.2} How long? Life-long. Why? Because we don’t have holy flesh and we can never trust the flesh, because the flesh is full of seeds of selfishness.

{45’51”} In the book, My Life Today, page 52, morning watch book: “If you will battle against selfish human nature, you will go forward steadily in the work of overcoming heredity and cultivated tendencies to wrong.” {ML 52.4} Steadily.

{46’08”} Again, Counsels to Teachers, page 108: “Soul culture, which gives purity and elevation to the thoughts and fragrance to word and act, requires more painstaking effort. It takes patience to keep every evil motive weeded from the garden of the heart.” {CT 108.3}

No, brothers and sisters, there is no holy flesh this side of glorification. You know, it’s interesting that some of us have developed gardening techniques where we use only sand and chemicals or sawdust and chemicals, and it’s totally free from weeds. Right? Wouldn’t it be nice–won’t it be nice to have a garden of the mind that by nature produces no challenge to us at all? Oh, I long for that time. But in the meantime, I must weed. Weed. Weed. And I must refuse to germinate those seeds.

No, there is no holy flesh, brothers and sisters. And even when we come to the place where we are consistently refusing to germinate, even when we are coming to the place where our will is so habitually and constantly submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ that we are not consenting to the desires of the flesh, even in the private recesses of our thought life {Mt 5:28}, are we at that point sinless? No, we are not. Why? Because we are still sinful by nature.

Let me read the statement that I have referred to in passing, but it’s vitally important truth to keep in mind. {48’09”} Acts of the Apostles, page 561: “None of the apostles and prophets ever claimed to be without sin.” And what does John tell us, by the way? He who says he is without sin is, what? Is a liar and the truth is not in him. {1 Jn 1:8} “None of the apostles and prophets ever claimed to be without sin.” By the way, could Jesus claim to be without sin? Absolutely. Why? Because indeed He was, brothers and sisters, in the fullest sense of the word. Listen. “None of the apostles and prophets ever claimed to be without sin.” Why did they not claim to be without sin? Because they were willfully sinning? No. Listen. I read on: “Men who have lived the nearest to God, men who would sacrifice life itself rather than knowingly commit a wrong act, …” That’s what? That’s character perfection. That’s what that is. “…men who would sacrifice life itself rather than knowingly commit a wrong act, men whom God has honored with divine light and power have confessed the sinfulness of their nature. They put no confidence in the flesh and have claimed no righteousness of their own, but have trusted wholly in the righteousness of Christ.” {AA 561.1} No confidence in the flesh. Why? Because they recognize that it is inherently sinful and selfish. They confess the sinfulness of their nature. They claim the provision of the atonement for that dimension of their sin problem for which they can do nothing about. And they rejoice in the fact that there is therefore now no, what? condemnation for those who, what? are in Christ Jesus, who do, what? who walk not after the flesh but, what? after the Spirit. {Rom 8:1} Praise God for the provision of the atonement.

{50’16”} Bible Echoes, December, 1887: “We are sinful by nature and so are commanded to be zealous and repent.” {ST August 21, 1884, par. 4} Brothers and sisters, did Jesus Christ ever have to be zealous and repent? Why? I want to read that statement again. “We are sinful by nature and so are commanded to be zealous and repent.” We repent not only of our willful sins but we repent of, what? Our sinful nature. Did Jesus ever have to repent of such? Why? Because He did not have a sinful nature that needed to be repented of. Did you note the qualifier? He did not have a sinful nature that needed to be repented of.

Remember the two dimensions that we talked about in one of our earlier studies regarding man’s fallen, sinful nature, the two dimensions of the problem? {Lesson 03} There were those innocent infirmities and there were those what? Sinful propensities. Think on those things. Jesus did not have a sinful nature that He needed to repent of. But we can say in a very real sense that He took our what? Our weaknesses and infirmities, and in that sense He took our what? Our fallen sinful nature. Think on these things with me, please. We will consider them in the future but I want to plant seeds in your minds to consider and test, constantly test these things. I don’t ask you to accept them just because you’ve heard them. Test them.

{52’31”} The morning watch book, The Faith I Live By, page 91: “Do you realize your sinfulness? Do you despise sin? Then remember that the righteousness of Christ is yours if you will grasp it. Can you not see what a strong foundation is placed beneath your feet when you accept Christ? God has accepted the offering of His Son as a complete atonement for the sins of the world.” {FLB 91.4} What kind of atonement? A complete atonement. For what? The sins of the world. Even, my brother, my sister, inbred sin. Praise His name. There is provision in the atonement for inbred sin. And as long as we do not consent to those inherited tendencies to evil, we are not under condemnation for them because of the precious provision of the atonement. Shall we pray?

Father in heaven, if You were to lay us fallow, we would become hopelessly entangled with the briars and the thorns and thistles of sin. Oh gracious God, don’t leave us fallow we pray. Plow down on us a furrow with the plowshare of truth, whatever it takes Father. Break up that mat of weeds that is ours by nature, and prepare our hearts to receive the seeds of truth. Then water those seeds by Your Spirit that they might germinate and take root and bear the fruit of Christ-like character. May our wills comply with the principles of Your Word that we might bear the fruit of the Spirit. {Gal 5:22, Jn 15:8} Lord, as we consider from the natural realm what we are by nature, it makes us all the more grateful for the supernatural power of the Master Gardener. Thank You for sending us Jesus. Help us to evermore actively and intelligently cooperate with Him in the gardening of our minds that we might bear the fruit of the Spirit and glorify Him {Rev 14:7}, both now and forever, is our prayer in His name. Amen.

Quotes from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy as used in this lesson for your reference. 😉

Job 12:8 “Speak to the earth and it will teach you.”

Manuscript 153, 1903 “God designed that nature should be to man a lesson book to guide him from the path of disobedience back to God.  There is need of a close study of nature under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  The Lord is giving object lessons.  He is making holy truths familiar to the mind through the most simple things of nature.”

Gen 3:17-19 “Then to Adam He said, because you have heeded the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree, which I commanded you saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’, cursed is the ground for your sake.  In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life, both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you.  And you shall eat the herb of the field, in the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken, for you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

4T 606 “The mind is the garden, the character is the fruit.”

AG 223 “All defects of character originate in the heart.  Pride, vanity, evil temper, and covetousness proceed from the carnal heart, unrenewed by the grace of Christ.”

4T 202,3 “The soil of the heart, like that of the garden, will produce weeds and brambles, unless the seeds of precious flowers are planted there and receive care and cultivation.  As in the visible nature, so it is with the human soul.”

1MCP 7 “The similarity between an uncultivated field and an untrained mind is striking.  Children and youth already have in their minds and hearts corrupt seed, ready to spring up and bear its perverting harvest, and the greatest care and watchfulness are needed in cultivating and storing the mind with precious seeds of Bible truth.”

Job 12:8 “speak to the earth and it will teach you.”

4T 203 “As in the visible realm, so it is with human nature.”

Ex 20:5 “visiting the iniquities of the third and fourth generation onto them.”

Letter 165, 1901 “All sin in selfishness.  Satan’s first sin was selfishness, and the temptation which led Adam to sin was the false statement of Satan that it was possible for him to attain to something more than he already enjoyed, possible for him to be as God himself.  Thus seeds of selfishness were sown in the human heart.”

5BC 1128 “Because of sin his posterity (Adam’s) was born with inherent propensities of disobedience.”

4BC 1154 “God hates hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong.”

MH 173 “Many have to battle against strong hereditary tendencies to evil.  Unnatural cravings, sensual impulses were their inheritance from birth.”

HP 195 “Bad habits are more easily formed than good habits, and the bad habits are given up with more difficulty.  The natural depravity of the heart accounts for this well-known fact–that it takes far less labor to demoralize the youth, to corrupt their ideas of moral and religious character, than to engraft upon their character the enduring, pure, and uncorrupted habits of righteousness and truth.  Self-indulgence, love of pleasure, enmity, pride, self-esteem, envy, jealousy, will grow spontaneously, without example and teaching.  In our present fallen state all that is needed is to give up the mind and character to its natural tendencies.  In the natural world, give up a field to itself and you will see it covered with briers and thorns, but if it yields precious grain or beautiful flowers, care and unremitting labor must be applied.”

1BC 1086 “Not one noxious plant was placed in the Lord’s great garden.  But after Adam and Eve sinned, poisonous herbs sprang up.  ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake.’ (Gen 3:17)  In the parable of the sower the question was asked the Master, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field?  How then hath it tares?  The Master answered, an enemy hath done this.  All tares are sown by the evil one.  Every noxious herb is of his sowing.  And by his ingenious methods of amalgamation, he has corrupted the earth with tares.”

Manuscript 47, 1896 “Often Satan conquers us by our natural inclinations and appetites.  These were divinely appointed and when given to man were pure and holy.  It was God’s design that reason should rule appetites and that they should minister to our happiness.  And when they are regulated and controlled by a sanctified reason, they are holiness to the Lord.  But men’s natural appetites have been perverted by indulgence.  Through unholy gratification, they have become fleshly lusts which war against the soul.  Unless the Christian watches unto prayer, he gives loose rein to habits which should be overcome.  Unless he feels the need of constant watching, ceaseless vigilance, his inclinations, abused and misguided, will be the means of his backsliding from God.”

Manuscript 48, 1897 “Our natural tendencies, unless corrected by the Holy Spirit of God, have in them the seeds of moral death.  The flesh with all its promptings lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.”

Galatians 6:7,8 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows that will he also reap.  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption.  But he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”

AH 127 “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.  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.  (2 Cor 10:5)  All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul.”

RH March 27, 1888 “There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men, but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt, and no other is defiled by their influence.”

COL 84 “Every seed sown produces a harvest of its own kind.  So it is in human life.  We all need to sow the seeds of compassion, sympathy and love, for we shall reap what we sow.  Every characteristic of selfishness, self-love, self-esteem, every act of self-indulgence will bring forth a like harvest.  He who lives for self is sowing to the flesh, and of the flesh will reap corruption.”

1MCP 144 “Children inherit inclinations to wrong, but they also have many lovely traits of character.  These should be strengthened and developed, while the tendencies to evil should be carefully guarded against and repressed.”

Ed 29 “As through Christ every human being has life, so also through Him every soul receives some ray of divine light.  Not only intellectual but spiritual power, a perception of right, a desire for goodness exists in every heart.  But against these principles there is struggling an antagonistic power.  The result of the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is seen in 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 in his inmost soul he accepts as along worthy, he can find help in but one power.  That power is Christ.  Cooperation with that power is man’s greatest need.  In all educational effort, should not this cooperation be his highest aim.”

AH 468 “Fathers and mothers too often leave their children to choose for themselves their amusements, their companions, and their occupation.  The result is such as might reasonably be expected.  Leave a field uncultivated and it will grow up to thorns and briars.  You will never see a lovely flower or a choice shrub peering above the unsightly poisonous weeds.  The worthless bramble will grow luxuriantly without thought or care, while plants that are valued for use or beauty require thorough culture.  Thus it is with our youth.  If right habits are formed and right principles established, there is earnest work to be done.  If wrong habits are corrected, diligence and perseverance are required to accomplish the task.”

AG 145 “The grace of God subdues the selfishness inherent in the natural heart.”

Rom 8:13 “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die.  But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

RH Jan 4, 1881 “We must remember that our hearts are naturally depraved and we are unable, of ourselves, to pursue a right course.  It is only by the grace of God, combined with the most earnest efforts on our part that we can gain the victory.”

Gen 3:19 “by the sweat of your brow.”

Prov 4:23 “keep the heart with all diligence.”

4T 496 “In the human heart there is natural selfishness and corruption which can only be overcome by most thorough discipline and severe restraint, and even then it will require years of patient effort and earnest resistance.”

4T 439 “Gird on the armor for a life-long conflict with heredity tendencies.”

MLT 52 “If you will battle against selfish human nature, you will go forward steadily in the work of overcoming heredity and cultivated tendencies to wrong.”

CT 108 “Soul culture, which gives purity and elevation to the thoughts and fragrance to word and act, requires more painstaking effort.  It takes patience to keep every evil motive weeded from the garden of the heart.”

AA 561 “None of the apostles and prophets ever claimed to be without sin.  Men who have lived the nearest to God, men who would sacrifice life itself rather than knowingly commit a wrong act, men whom God had honored with divine light and power have confessed the sinfulness of their nature.  They put no confidence in the flesh and have claimed no righteousness of their own, but have trusted wholly in the righteousness of Christ.”

1 John 1:8 “he who says he is without sin is a liar and the truth is not in him.”

Rom 8:1 “there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”

ST Aug. 21, 1884 “We are sinful by nature and so are commanded to be zealous and repent.”

FLB 91 “Do you realize your sinfulness?  Do you despise sin?  Then remember that the righteousness of Christ is yours if you will grasp it.  Can you not see what a strong foundation is placed beneath your feet when you accept Christ?  God has accepted the offering of His Son as a complete atonement for the sins of the world.”

😉

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Outline of the lesson 5:

1) There are very direct parallels and insights that we can gain from the natural order regarding our own natures {Job 12:8}

1.1) What will human nature now naturally produce? Thorns and thistles. {Gen 3:18; 4T 606.2-3}

1.2) “The soil of the heart, like that of a garden, will produce weeds and brambles unless the seeds of precious flowers are planted there and receive care and cultivation. As in visible nature, so is it with the human soul.” {4T 202.4}

1.3) “The mind is the garden, the character is the fruit.” {4T 606.2-3}

2) These corrupt seeds that are already there, how did they get there? They were inherited. {1MCP 7.3}

3) By whom were the seeds of selfishness placed in human nature? By Adam. And Satan planted them into his heart. Are seeds of selfishness sin? All sin is selfishness. {3MR 331.2}

4) “Because of sin his posterity (Adam’s) was born with inherent propensities of disobedience.” {5BC 1128.4} “God hates hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong.” {4BC 1154.9} “Many have to battle against strong hereditary tendencies to evil. Unnatural cravings, sensual impulses were their inheritance from birth.” {MH 173.3} Can you attach to Jesus the same inheritance from birth? Look also at the point 5) and see if you can attach these elements to Him:

5) I want to clearly define for you what is sin, what aspect of sin we are responsible for, and how we can keep from incurring guilt upon ourselves.

5.1)“Many have to battle against strong hereditary tendencies to evil. Unnatural cravings, sensual impulses were their inheritance from birth.” {MH 173.3}

5.2)“The natural depravity of the heart … Self-indulgence, love of pleasure, enmity, pride, self-esteem, envy, jealousy will grow spontaneously without example and teaching. In our present fallen state, all that is needed is to give up the mind and character to its natural tendencies.” {HP 195.4}

5.3) “We are commanded to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. {Gal 5:24} 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. {2 Cor 10:5} All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul.” {AH 127.2}

5.4)“There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt, and no other is defiled by their influence.” {RH March 27, 1888, par. 15}

5.5)“The result of the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is manifest in 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 in his inmost soul he accepts as alone worthy, he can find help in but one power. That power is Christ. Co-operation with that power is man’s greatest need.” {Ed 29.1}

6) “…the grace of God subdues the selfishness inherent in the natural heart.” {AG 145.3} But brothers and sisters, can we expect grace to do it for us, or to do it with us? “…we must remember that our hearts are naturally depraved, and we are unable, of ourselves, to pursue a right course. It is only by the grace of God combined with the most earnest efforts on our part, that we can gain the victory.” {RH, January 4, 1881}

7) How long will we have to deal with this? Until we have holy flesh. “In the human heart there is natural selfishness and corruption, which can only be overcome by most thorough discipline and severe restraint; and even then it will require years of patient effort and earnest resistance.” {4T 496.1}

8) “None of the apostles and prophets ever claimed to be without sin. Men who have lived the nearest to God, men who would sacrifice life itself rather than knowingly commit a wrong act, men whom God has honored with divine light and power have confessed the sinfulness of their nature. They put no confidence in the flesh and have claimed no righteousness of their own, but have trusted wholly in the righteousness of Christ.” {AA 561.1} This certainly can not apply to Jesus!

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