6. Harvest of Dissension

By John Thiel, Facing Last Day Perils Conference, Study 6, mp3

As we look at the harvest of this earth we see that whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. What is sown is also reaped. God does not arbitrarily deal with the wicked or with anybody that disobeys Him. It is the consequences of what we have been harboring in our mind, in our heart, that will finally punish us. We get to know God correctly when we study the sowing and the harvest correctly.

Psalm 9:16 The LORD is known [by] the judgment [which] he executeth:

When the executing takes place it seems to us that now God is executing us, chop. Well, yes, but how? He is known by the judgment which He executeth.

Psalm 9:16 …the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands.

What a man soweth, that he shall reap. It is his own actions, his own words, his own activity of mind that will finally do its destructive work.

The disobedient and unthankful have great reason for gratitude for God’s mercy and long-suffering in holding in check the cruel, malignant power of the evil one. But when men pass the limits of divine forbearance, that restraint is removed. {GC 36.1}

God is restraining people. Have you ever felt that? You wanted to really give somebody something, and the Lord says, uh uh, and you might say, let me go, I want to give it to him, and the Lord says, uh uh. If you respond to the Lord you will calm yourself down. But if you harbour the resentment, you’ll just wait for the next opportunity and then you’ll say, ah, now I’ll give it to him. The Lord may say, uh uh, and you come to the point ultimately when the Lord will say, okay then, I’m letting go now, and then all hell is let loose.

God does not stand toward the sinner as an executioner of the sentence against transgression; but He leaves the rejectors of His mercy to themselves, to reap that which they have sown. {GC 36.1}

Is God a dictator? Does He give you freedom? He does, but sometimes you wish He wouldn’t. Because if He gives us the freedom to choose what we want and it’s the wrong thing, then we are going to suffer the consequences badly, but God says, have your choice. And as a man soweth he will reap. We must get this picture very clear in our mind as then we have a different relationship in the church of God.

Every ray of light rejected, every warning despised or unheeded, every passion indulged, every transgression of the law of God, is a seed sown which yields its unfailing harvest. The Spirit of God, persistently resisted, is at last withdrawn from the sinner. {GC 36.1}

I’ll never forget the words of a dear brother who once said; the Holy Spirit is as gentle as a deer. When He gets rebuffed, He’s like a deer. If the Holy Spirit is consistently rebuffed, He will depart.

…and then there is left no power to control the evil passions of the soul, and no protection from the malice and enmity of Satan. The destruction of Jerusalem is a fearful and solemn warning to all who are trifling with the offers of divine grace and resisting the pleadings of divine mercy. Never was there given a more decisive testimony to God’s hatred of sin and to the certain punishment that will fall upon the guilty. {GC 36.1}

When you study the history of the fall of Jerusalem, you have your picture. God is known by that way. If we harbour dissension or if we sow dissension, what will we harvest?

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty;

We have liberty. In the church we have liberty. You are free.

Galatians 5:13 …only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

Do you know what it means to be consumed of each other? Have you ever gone through an experience where you are being hacked on, you are being accused, you are being attacked mentally? What happens to you then? Are you dying inside? Are you stressed? Does it eat at you deep inside? You are dying. You’re being consumed. If this consuming behaviour does not stop whether in the church or in the world, what will be the harvest? Destruction. People will die of diseases and Sister White writes that 90% of the diseases are caused by what happens in the mind (Counsels on Healing, p.324). What people do to each other in their attacks upon character is destructive. When God lets go, it just takes off.

It says that you have been given liberty. Oh, I’m free. That’s a release in itself. But then he says, only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. Here is the admonition that will bind God’s people in the golden chain of love. But if we do not heed this, if we indulge and engage in murmuring, complaining, nitpicking, this, that and the other thing that is happening in my experience and I’m not happy with this and I’m not happy with that and I’m going to draw conclusions about this, that and the other thing, then ultimately I’m going to reap that. Bite and devour one another.

We think with horror of the cannibal who feasts on the still warm and trembling flesh of his victim; but are the results of even this practice more terrible than are the agony and ruin caused by misrepresenting motive, blackening reputation, dissecting character? Let the children, and the youth as well, learn what God says about these things: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” {AH 440.5}

The spirit of gossip and talebearing is one of Satan’s special agencies to sow discord and strife, to separate friends, and to undermine the faith of many in the truthfulness of our positions. {AH 441.1}

The spirit of gossip, not just gossip, but the spirit of gossip. Think carefully what this is saying. The truthfulness of what we preach, we know it is absolutely pure and beautiful truths, but Satan uses the spirit of gossip and talebearing to undermine the faith of many in the truthfulness of our position. In other words, all the beautiful things we teach will become hazy and confused in people’s mind because of the spirit of dissension, the spirit of gossiping and talebearing, discord and strife.

Is there a difference between the spirit of gossiping and gossiping? If you have a predisposition to gossip – “report and we will report”, talebearing – if you’ve got that disposition you don’t even have to gossip, it comes out of your atmosphere. It’s a spirit of. You know what it’s like when you come into the presence of people with whom you can feel an atmosphere. This is called the spirit of. If we harbour a fascination for listening to stories of people, misrepresentation of motive, blackening of reputation, dissecting of character, if we take that on, then we are entering into the very spirit of this. By doing that, we will readily say, can you see such a person? Look at that personality there, this is terrible isn’t it? What is that? Or, did you see such and such a person doing such and such a thing? Or, did you hear what he just said? All that kind of thing. This is the spirit of talebearing, the spirit of gossiping.

The cannibal eating the flesh of its victim is not as bad as the other.

We think with horror of the cannibal who feasts on the still warm and trembling flesh of his victim; but are the results of even this practice more terrible than are the agony and ruin caused by misrepresenting motive, blackening reputation, dissecting character? {AH 440.5}

What happens if you mean something and somebody says, you didn’t mean that, I know what you meant? What goes on inside of you? The motive is misrepresented. Or somebody has preached a sermon, or made a statement in a meeting and they have said something in perfect trust just to express their thoughts and somebody says, see that? He’s just blowing his own trumpet. That is judging motive. In our experience in these last times, if this is engaged in, it creates the final storm, both in the church and in the world. What does the practice of talebearing, gossiping, dissecting of character, blackening reputation, and misrepresenting motive sow? It sows discord and strife.

Yes, discord and strife is in the world. But is it in the church too?

Leviticus 19:16 Thou shalt not go up and down [as] a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I [am] the LORD.

Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among My people. How do you do that today besides going to visit people? Have you been on Facebook? You read something about a certain person and then you see another person comes back, yeah, blah-blah. Then people come to me and say, did you hear what they said on Facebook? I don’t want to know. I’m happy to let them talk without me knowing about it. Don’t you even spend time looking at it, because you are actually experiencing the undermining, destructive force of biting and devouring. If you do it, I had to counsel one person, your spiritual life is going down, I know, I can see it going down, because you’re so occupied with this and that. It’s destroying your focus on Jesus. We must not be without the picture of Jesus for one moment. The moment that we enter into Facebook and read all that rubbish, Jesus is out of your mind.

This is what it means here, thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer; don’t enter into this area.

Proverbs 11:12 He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace. 13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

Think prayerfully about these words. He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbor. What does despising your neighbor mean? It simply means that I am despising, I am running him down in my mind, there is something wrong with him and I’m going to crush him. Your voice tells you when you’re doing that: listen to that, did you hear that? You’re despising your neighbour, that’s what it means. Then you’re void of wisdom.

A man of understanding holdeth his peace. He sees it happening and he doesn’t even hone in on it. But the one without wisdom is a talebearer and he revealeth secrets, but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter. Here is one example: Sister White knew a secret about a member of the church, and she is writing to this person, and that person is a paramour – a mistress – and Sister White writes to her to tell her what the Lord knows about her, and she says, I will not say a word to anybody, the Lord is giving you your opportunity. Was she doing something that was a secret thing? Absolutely. Sister White says, I will not expose you to the church.

If we are trying to restore somebody and they are doing something evil, then are we going to tell the story to anybody? According to Sister White no. But there is sin in the camp! Steady. The sin in the camp is when there is a sin that has been rebuked but it is continued, and there is no confession there. Sister White knew this person. She wrote to that person and she waited and said nothing. That person, we would hope that she took the notice of that and corrected herself. The person who is of an understanding holdeth his peace, he concealeth a matter.

Proverbs 26:20 Where no wood is, [there] the fire goeth out: so where [there is] no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. 21 [As] coals [are] to burning coals, and wood to fire; so [is] a contentious man to kindle strife. 22 The words of a talebearer [are] as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

What is the harvest? A fire. You don’t want any fires in the church? Put them out. Don’t communicate with each other the negatives that are known. Don’t talk about them. If you don’t, then strife stops. You want strife to stop? There is the answer. If you don’t want a fire, don’t add coals, if you don’t want wounds, don’t tale-bear. Simple cause to effect.

Proverbs 16:27 An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips [there is] as a burning fire. 28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

All good proverbs, aren’t they? But they’re not just proverbs, they are something we need to pay attention to, to deeply understand what we want to avoid in the church, or what we want to avoid in our relationships with the people in the world. If you don’t want to end up in the terrible storms that are already racing around us in the social activities, then follow the instructions, and you’ll be amazed. If you don’t say a word, it’s all peaceful. Then the question comes; but aren’t we meant to correct the wrong? That’s what the problem is many times, we think we have to step in there and correct the wrong, and we only create fire, when we can leave it with the Holy Spirit and we hear the word of God, and if the cap fits it will do its work. If they don’t like the fit, they will resist the warning. They will reject it and let them meet their consequences, don’t you join in because you’ll get dragged into it yourself. This is the hard reality.

Proverbs 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth [very] friends.

Are we not to bind together in love and be friends within the church? Why do we want to separate friends? How beautiful it is for people to dwell together in unity. Why do you want to destroy unity? Why do we want to create something just because there are some faults there, or somebody is misjudging a motive? Why even talk about it? By refusing to talk about it peace will reign. These are the counsels of God’s word and if they are not heeded, then we will have to suffer the harvest. When God has been holding His hands on it, it eventually comes to the point where He says, alright then, let the wind blow.

An unjust insinuation is started, a conjecture is set afloat; {RH, August 28, 1883 par. 7}

A conjecture, an insinuation, a judging of motive is insinuated. It doesn’t even have to be talked much about. Just, did you notice the implication that is suggested here? An insinuation. As the insinuation comes to you, you might go, well I didn’t quite see that, but I suppose, hmmm, maybe. And then it goes on. Somebody else says it, and somebody else says it, and it gathers momentum; and what others hadn’t even thought of is now brought to their attention.

An unjust insinuation is started, a conjecture is set afloat; and it gathers strength as it passes from one to another of those who desire it to be true. These evil reports are received with great satisfaction by some who have been reproved for heinous sins or grave defects of character. They smarted under the reproof, and yet did not reform. Now their consciences are eased; they learn that the reprover cannot be trusted; somebody has circulated a damaging report; somebody has brought an accusation. They leave the distasteful work of caring for their own souls and repenting of their own sins, and climb upon the judgment seat to condemn another. {RH, August 28, 1883 par. 7}

This is part of biting and devouring one another. The Spirit of prophecy expands it in such a way that you can’t be mistaken. We see that it is an unjust insinuation, a conjecture, and then it strengthens. You will now see the way it strengthens and the way people finally say, ah, I’ve got something now that I can pin against that person.

All have defects of character, {5T 94.3}

Do you have a defect of character? I have too. Everyone has a defect of character.

…and it is not hard to find something that jealousy can interpret to their injury. “Now,” say these self-constituted judges, “we have facts. We will fasten upon them an accusation from which they can not clear themselves.” They wait for a fitting opportunity and then produce their bundle of gossip and bring forth their tidbits. {5T 94.3}

An insinuation, a judgment of motive is started and it’s being talked about. If somebody suggested something to you that you never saw before and they say, see that person? Do you see that? No, I didn’t see that. And then because your attention has been drawn to that, you suddenly see something, oh yes, that’s right, that person said this, and now I can see it. Then it goes on until finally there is an accumulation of the talebearing tidbits, and when it is finally come to its crescendo and it has strengthened, all of sudden, see! Now we’ve got it! Now we’ve got the facts. We will fasten upon them an accusation from which they can not clear themselves. Gotcha! That’s the mentality that destroys church unity.

“I’ve got wind of something.” Do you hear that? Do you get wind of something? If you pick the wind of it, what is the harvest of that? What is the harvest of picking up the wind and fanning it for the church?

Hosea 8:7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind:

What is going to happen at the end of the world when the angels let go of the winds of the four corners of the earth? A great whirlwind will come from the coasts of the earth and that will be the destructive whirlwind, the terrible storm. Already we are seeing the tornadoes and the cyclones in the world and if we engage in that kind of sowing, we will reap the whirlwind. You will not escape it. I have seen it happening throughout all my years in Adventism. A beautiful company starts, so beautiful, precious fellowship, reading the word of God. Everybody is really happy; and in come the complaints. Then I saw company after company folding up through this avenue.

If you choose to open the door to the suggestions of the evil one, your mind will be filled with distrust and rebellious questioning. You may talk out your feelings, but every doubt you utter is a seed that will germinate and bear fruit in another’s life, and it will be impossible to counteract the influence of your words. {OHC 319.4}

It will be impossible to counteract the influence of your words.

We will all reap that which we have sown. They that sow to the wind, will reap the whirlwind. {13MR 100.1}

You won’t be able to stop the whirlwind. It’s going. It becomes a huge tornado, and the tornado sweeps through the church, and you can’t stop it.

The conflict is to wax fiercer and fiercer. Satan will take the field and personate Christ. He will misrepresent, misapply, and pervert everything he possibly can, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. {TM 411.2}

Satan will work to affect the very elect, if possible that they would respond to that.

Even in our day there have been and will continue to be entire families who have once rejoiced in the truth, but who will lose faith because of calumnies and falsehoods brought to them in regard to those whom they have loved and with whom they have had sweet counsel. They opened their hearts to the sowing of tares; the tares sprang up among the wheat; they strengthened; the crop of wheat became less and less; and the precious truth lost its power to them. For a time a false zeal accompanied their new theories, which hardened their hearts against the advocates of truth as did the Jews against Christ. {TM 411.2}

The Jews pushed Christ out, and she says that in every succeeding generation this has happened. It happens along this vein. Satan comes along and brings in the seeds, the wedges that get in between brethren who were having a precious, united fellowship. Satan comes in with his suggestions and we listen to the suggestion and we engage in accusation and we’re right on the track, I’ve just got a wind of something, and we begin to let the whirlwind develop.

Evilspeaking is an insinuation, a judgment of motive which is then communicated; and that is called evilspeaking, talebearing.

Evilspeaking is a twofold curse, falling more heavily upon the speaker than upon the hearer. He who scatters the seeds of dissension and strife reaps in his own soul the deadly fruits. How miserable is the talebearer, the surmiser of evil! He is a stranger to true happiness. {5T 176.2}

In contrast to that:

“Blessed are the peacemakers.” Grace and peace rest upon those who refuse to join in the strife of tongues. {5T 176.3}

What must we do if we are going to be peacemakers? We will refuse to join in the strife of tongues.

When vendors of scandal are passing from family to family, those who fear God will be chaste keepers at home. The time that is so often worse than wasted in idle, frivolous, and malicious gossip should be given to higher and nobler objects. If our brethren and sisters would become missionaries for God, visiting the sick and afflicted, and laboring patiently and kindly for the erring,–in short, if they would copy the Pattern,–the church would have prosperity in all her borders. {5T 176.3}

Here we have sowing and harvest in regards to the harvest of dissension, in regards to what can happen in a church family.

As the seed sown produces a harvest, and this in turn is sown, the harvest is multiplied. {COL 85.1}

A seed is sown, it produces and then we pick it up and put it in again. An insinuation, a suggestion is passed on, then the other person receives it and then he sows another seed, it’s multiplied.

In our relation to others, this law holds true. {COL 85.1}

It is a law that a seed sown produces a harvest, and if you then take that seed and sow it again it multiplies.

Every act, every word, is a seed that will bear fruit. Every deed of thoughtful kindness, of obedience, or of self-denial, will reproduce itself in others, and through them in still others. So every act of envy, malice, or dissension is a seed that will spring up in a “root of bitterness” (Hebrews 12:15), whereby many shall be defiled. And how much larger number will the “many” poison. Thus the sowing of good and evil goes on for time and for eternity. {COL 85.1}

The roots of bitterness will defile many, and those many will poison some more. This is the gathering storm. Is there a way to negate the whirlwind before it strikes? Is there a way to stop it from gathering more and more momentum? Just take the wind out of them. You know how they say, oh, you’ve just taken the wind out of my sails. Just take the wind out. This is how you do it:

James 5:16 Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

If we have sown to the whirlwind, then we must confess it quickly and it will die down.

Joel 2:11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp [is] very great: for [he is] strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD [is] great and very terrible; and who can abide it? 12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye [even] to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he [is] gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14 Who knoweth [if] he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; [even] a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?

How can you prevent the whirlwind? How can we within the church, prevent the storms of what has been sown? A dissension, an evil suggestion, an insinuation has sprouted and gathered momentum, how to stop it? Confess, and then, as the day of the Lord increases with all its consequences, turn to the Lord with all your heart and come to Him and rend your heart over these things, and you will be surprised of what the Lord can do. He will restore.

After the horrendous realisations of the sowing of dissension, we have a precious answer. When we shudder to think that we may have been cannibals, devouring one another, the promise for this time for God’s people is there:

Joel 2:23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first [month]. 24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

What will He do with the cankerworm? With this canker in the experience of God’s people that has crowded out the wheat in all the terrible, frosty experience of the church?

Joel 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

The great army which He sent? When He permits something to happen, it’s as though He sent it. When He takes away His protective care and people are left in their liberty to do what they want to do, if they really want to go along and gossip and tale-bear, He lets them do it. Then we suffer the consequences, and in this time of the gathering of the storm we wake up, Lord, please help us out of this. If we do what He says He will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm.

May God grant us this in these last days.


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Posted on 28/03/2014, in Facing Last Day Perils (Conference), The Harvest and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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