(All Bible texts are in the NKJV Bible unless otherwise indicated)
12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to givea defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness,
3 But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The Lord will hear when I call to Him.
12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.
3 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.”
1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.
5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.
14 Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says the Lord God.
11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.
6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain.
8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things arelovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
“Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him. And going on from thence, He saw two other brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.” [Matthew 4:18-22.]
The prompt, unquestioning obedience of these men, with no promise of wages, seems remarkable; but the words of Christ were an invitation that carried with it an impelling power. Christ would make these humble fishermen, in connection with Himself, the means of taking men out of the service of Satan, and placing them in the service of God. In this work they would become his witnesses, bearing to the world His truth unmingled with the traditions and sophistries of men. By practicing His virtues, by walking and working with Him, they were to be qualified to be fishers of men.
Thus were the first disciples appointed to the work of the gospel ministry. For three years they labored in connection with the Saviour, and by His teaching, His works of healing, His example, they were prepared to carry on the work that He began. By the simplicity of faith, by pure, humble service, the disciples were taught to carry responsibilities in God’s cause.
There are lessons for us to learn from the experience of the apostles. These men were as true as steel to principle. They were men who would not fail nor be discouraged. They were full of reverence and zeal for God, full of noble purposes and aspirations. They were by nature as weak and helpless as any of those now engaged in the work, but they put their whole trust in the Lord. Wealth they had, but it consisted of mind and soul culture; and this every one may have who will make God first and last and best in everything. They toiled long to learn the lessons given them in the school of Christ, and they did not toil in vain. They bound themselves up with the mightiest of all powers, and were ever longing for a deeper, higher, broader comprehension of eternal realities, that they might successfully present the treasures of truth to a needy world.
Workers of this character are needed now, men who will consecrate themselves without reserve to the work of representing the kingdom of God to a world lying in wickedness. The world needs men of thought, men of principle, men who are constantly growing in understanding and discernment. There is great need of men who can use the press to the best advantage, that the truth may be given wings to speed it to every nation, and tongue, and people.
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
21 Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,
“This is the way, walk in it,”
Whenever you turn to the right hand
Or whenever you turn to the left.
12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,
11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
33 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
I have felt very anxious to see you and talk with you before I left Battle Creek, but I was too sick to have any care of this matter. But since I have found a moment of spare time, I feel urged to write you. I feel a deep interest in you, my dear sister. I have been shown some things in reference to you which I dare not withhold longer, because I feel you to be in danger. God loves you and He has given you unmistakable evidences of His love. Jesus has bought you with His own blood. And what have you done for Him? You might be fitted for a good work to glorify His name if you would surrender all to God.
You are affected too easily by a wrong influence. Your heart has not been sanctified to God. You love yourself, [you] love to enjoy pleasure, and love the society of young men; and you fail to discriminate between the worthy and the unworthy. You have not experience and judgment and are in danger of taking a course which will prove to be all wrong and result in your ruin. You have strong affections, but your inexperience would lead you to have them placed upon improper objects. You should be guarded and not follow the bent of your own mind.
We are, my dear child, living amid the perils of the last days. Satan is intent upon corrupting the minds of youth with thoughts and affections and sympathies that they think are real genuine love which must not be interfered with. This I was shown was your case. You little know how very anxious and how great burdens your parents have borne for you. You may think that you have been restrained too much but it is a mistake. I have been shown that your parents have been proud of their children and they have indulged you too much. They have not restrained you as thoroughly as was their duty. They have allowed you to do too much as you pleased. And you have not submitted to parental authority as was your duty. You have not honored your father and your mother as God requires of you. The sin which exists in this generation among children is disobedience to parents, unthankful, unholy, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” [2 Timothy 3:2-4.] And this state of things exists to such an extent it is made a subject of prophecy as one of the signs that we are living in the last days of time.
If you expect to be loved of God and to retain the presence of holy angels, you must have a submissive spirit. Be willing to be instructed and to be led. And seek to follow in the path of virtue and holiness.
God has claims upon you. He has blessed you with life and with health and with capabilities, reasoning powers that you may, if you will, greatly improve or you may abuse by yielding these powers or qualities of mind to the control of Satan. You are responsible for the ability which God has given you. You may, be making the most of your privileges, fit yourself for [a] position of usefulness and duty. You need not be aspiring to do a great work, aspiring after great things. But you may be doing your work, small though it may be, feeling your responsibility of doing this work to God’s acceptance, and when you do this small work all right, God will entrust to you a still greater work. There is importance attached to the course you pursue. Angels of God are watching Mary to see what character she develops. God is weighing moral worth and a record is kept in heaven of your acts, of all your deeds, and you will meet this record by and by.
Remember, God will make use of all of His children if they will surrender to Him. He has a place and work for all. There are many, you among the number, who think it not possible that God can use you. Think not this longer. You may do your little work in a manner to glorify God. The rill does not refuse to pursue its narrow channel because it is not a river. The grass does not refuse to grow because it has not the proportions of stately trees. The star does not refuse to shine because it is not the sun. Oh, no. Everything in nature has its appointed work and murmurs not at its position. In spiritual things every man and woman has his or her own peculiar sphere and vocation. The interest God requires will be proportionate to the amount of entrusted capital according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Mary, you are in great danger of throwing yourself away and bringing upon yourself great unhappiness which you cannot redeem if you would. But now is your time and privilege to redeem yourself and show a stability of character that will make you of real moral worth. Christ has a right to your service. Yield to Him heartily. Let not the unconsecrated lives of any, influence you. Be true to principle. I said, Jesus loves you. I meant it. You have grieved His Spirit time and again. You have grieved the heavenly angels by your willful course; but it is not too late to redeem the time. Your future happiness depends upon a different course of action entirely. Be sober, watchful, and prayerful, yet cheerful. Make Jesus your confiding friend.
I was shown in my last vision that there are many of the young in Battle Creek who have not the fear of God before them, who are not at all religiously inclined. And there is still another class who are scoffers. Among the latter is Preston Kellogg. He has all his life been rebellious. He has dishonored his father and his mother. The restraint of home and of parental authority he has despised and rebelled against. He has not been subdued. A rebellious spirit is as natural as his breath. He is quarrelsome at home, disobedient, heady, highminded, unthankful and unholy. Such a spirit you are favoring. You are allowing your affections to go out after this boy. Stop just where you are. [Do not] allow this matter to go one step farther. I told my husband all this before he went into the office, but my husband said if we would give him a favorable position, he might reform. He was encouraged, but he has not reformed.
I was shown that he was a scorner of religion, a miserable unbeliever, a skeptic. He has a strong influence for evil over the young. He has nearly ruined the principles and morals even of my sister’s children as well as many others. He makes sport of religious things. He puts on a fair exterior to keep favor with you, but his entire life has been rebellious at home and rebellious against God. His habits are corrupt, iniquity, secret iniquity he practices. I have seen his case and I speak understandingly.
Even if this young man was of himself other than I have described, I should as one who has love for you, warn you to never link yourself with such a family. There is no happiness or harmony in the family. But as it is, you would be the most miserable girl that lives if you should give your affections to such a worthless object. No matter how he talks and deceives you, God looks upon him as he is, and I warn you to not cherish feelings of affection for this young man. He is worthless. I understand what I say. I know many young men more worthy of your love whom God loves and who would love you with affections pure and virtues untainted.
I have much to say but no more now. Heed the counsel of your friend and sever all intimate and close connection with the young man. He is unworthy of your love. He would not respect you if he will not respect and honor his parents. You must not be ready to dispose of your heart’s affections. You are young and you are unsuspecting. You will surely be deceived unless you are more guarded. God has purposes for you which Satan wishes to defeat. Give yourself unreservedly to God, connect with heaven. Do not be led away from your Redeemer by an irreligious young man, a scorner of sacred things. Sever the intimacy existing between you at once. Do not follow your inclination, but follow your Saviour. Eternal life, my dear child, eternal life you want at any cost. Do not sacrifice this for your pleasure to follow your own feelings. But give yourself to Jesus, love Him and live to His glory. Sit like Mary of old at His feet and learn of Him. You may do good in the world. You may be fitting for a higher and more responsible work. You cannot afford to sacrifice yourself.
I have much more to say to you, but no more now. Take these words written, act upon them and God will bless you abundantly. Take reproof as from God, take counsel and advice given in love and turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?
God has given you golden opportunities. Improve them. Make the most of the time you have now while at Battle Creek. Set your soul to seek God earnestly, humble your heart before Him and in the simplicity of humble faith, take up your cross and your responsibilities and follow the Pattern given you. Heaven will be cheap enough. The precious immortal life will be given to all who choose the path of humble obedience. It is now your day of privileges and opportunities. It is now your time to know the things which belong to your peace. Will you, my dear sister, turn square about? Will you from this time make an entire change in your life and seek to know what is the will of God concerning you? Neglect not this time of privilege, but here, right here, lay all at the feet of Jesus and serve Him with your individual affections.
God help you to break from off you the shackles Satan has sought to bind upon you.
In haste and much love,
Dear Mary, a few words more. I have been shown that the young like yourself who are wayward, do not naturally choose the company of the sober and sensible and discreet, but the society of those who are pleasure-loving, vain, and conceited. Such a woman as Mrs. Sawyer, James Sawyer’s wife, has a far greater influence for evil on such a mind as yours than the influence of those who are right and have firm principle. Your nature is impressible. You move thoughtlessly without consideration. Battle Creek is no place for you without someone shall have a tender care for your soul and shall watch over you as a mother.
When young people go to Battle Creek, there are two classes of society—the discreet and those of firm principle, and the vain and proud and unconsecrated. We find that those who come to Battle Creek generally choose the society of the latter. This lays upon the church an additional burden. All young who choose to be molded by the last class are not the persons to be sent from home to obtain an education in Battle Creek. They need first to learn good behavior at home, obedience and respect to their parents at home before they are sent abroad to influence others in a wrong direction and to be influenced.
Mary, you should study and consider before you move. You are impulsive and do not study the result of your course. You do not take time to think and to pray and you do not watch unto prayer. You will make some terrible mistakes unless you think and meditate and consider where such a course will lead you and what will be the result of your course on your future life and what effect does your influence have upon others.
Is God pleased with your course? Is Jesus, your Redeemer, honored by your life?
It is time you thought seriously, candidly. God help you to press to the light.
13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.
30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
6 just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
And when He was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to Him, and asked Him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"
The young man who asked this question was a ruler. He had great possessions, and occupied a position of responsibility. He saw the love that Christ manifested toward the children brought to Him; he saw how tenderly He received them, and took them up in His arms, and his heart kindled with love for the Saviour. He felt a desire to be His disciple. He was so deeply moved that as Christ was going on His way, he ran after Him, and kneeling at His feet, asked with sincerity and earnestness the question so important to his soul and to the soul of every human being, "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"
"Why callest thou Me good?" said Christ, "there is none good but One, that is, God." Jesus desired to test the ruler's sincerity, and to draw from him the way in which he regarded Him as good. Did he realize that the One to whom he was speaking was the Son of God? What was the true sentiment of his heart?
This ruler had a high estimate of his own righteousness. He did not really suppose that he was defective in anything, yet he was not altogether satisfied. He felt the want of something that he did not possess. Could not Jesus bless him as He blessed the little children, and satisfy his soul want?
In reply to this question Jesus told him that obedience to the commandments of God was necessary if he would obtain eternal life; and He quoted several of the commandments which show man's duty to his fellow men. The ruler's answer was positive: "All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?"
Christ looked into the face of the young man, as if reading his life and searching his character. He loved him, and He hungered to give him that peace and grace and joy which would materially change his character. "One thing thou lackest," He said; "go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow Me."
Christ was drawn to this young man. He knew him to be sincere in his assertion, "All these things have I kept from my youth." The Redeemer longed to create in him that discernment which would enable him to see the necessity of heart devotion and Christian goodness. He longed to see in him a humble and contrite heart, conscious of the supreme love to be given to God, and hiding its lack in the perfection of Christ.
Jesus saw in this ruler just the help He needed if the young man would become a colaborer with Him in the work of salvation. If he would place himself under Christ's guidance, he would be a power for good. In a marked degree the ruler could have represented Christ; for he possessed qualifications, which, if he were united with the Saviour, would enable him to become a divine force among men. Christ, seeing into his character, loved him. Love for Christ was awakening in the ruler's heart; for love begets love. Jesus longed to see him a co-worker with Him. He longed to make him like Himself, a mirror in which the likeness of God would be reflected. He longed to develop the excellence of his character, and sanctify it to the Master's use. If the ruler had then given himself to Christ, he would have grown in the atmosphere of His presence. If he had made this choice, how different would have been his future!
"One thing thou lackest," Jesus said. "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me." Christ read the ruler's heart. Only one thing he lacked, but that was a vital principle. He needed the love of God in the soul. This lack, unless supplied, would prove fatal to him; his whole nature would become corrupted. By indulgence, selfishness would strengthen. That he might receive the love of God, his supreme love of self must be surrendered.
Christ gave this man a test. He called upon him to choose between the heavenly treasure and worldly greatness. The heavenly treasure was assured him if he would follow Christ. But self must yield; his will must be given into Christ's control. The very holiness of God was offered to the young ruler. He had the privilege of becoming a son of God, and a coheir with Christ to the heavenly treasure. But he must take up the cross, and follow the Saviour in the path of self-denial.
Christ's words were verily to the ruler the invitation, "Choose you this day whom ye will serve." Joshua 24:15. The choice was left with him. Jesus was yearning for his conversion. He had shown him the plague spot in his character, and with what deep interest He watched the issue as the young man weighed the question! If he decided to follow Christ, he must obey His words in everything. He must turn from his ambitious projects. With what earnest, anxious longing, what soul hunger, did the Saviour look at the young man, hoping that he would yield to the invitation of the Spirit of God!
Christ made the only terms which could place the ruler where he would perfect a Christian character. His words were words of wisdom, though they appeared severe and exacting. In accepting and obeying them was the ruler's only hope of salvation. His exalted position and his possessions were exerting a subtle influence for evil upon his character. If cherished, they would supplant God in his affections. To keep back little or much from God was to retain that which would lessen his moral strength and efficiency; for if the things of this world are cherished, however uncertain and unworthy they may be, they will become all-absorbing.
The ruler was quick to discern all that Christ's words involved, and he became sad. If he had realized the value of the offered gift, quickly would he have enrolled himself as one of Christ's followers. He was a member of the honored council of the Jews, and Satan was tempting him with flattering prospects of the future. He wanted the heavenly treasure, but he wanted also the temporal advantages his riches would bring him. He was sorry that such conditions existed; he desired eternal life, but he was not willing to make the sacrifice. The cost of eternal life seemed too great, and he went away sorrowful; "for he had great possessions."
His claim that he had kept the law of God was a deception. He showed that riches were his idol. He could not keep the commandments of God while the world was first in his affections. He loved the gifts of God more than he loved the Giver. Christ had offered the young man fellowship with Himself. "Follow Me," He said. But the Saviour was not so much to him as his own name among men or his possessions. To give up his earthly treasure, that was seen, for the heavenly treasure, that was unseen, was too great a risk. He refused the offer of eternal life, and went away, and ever after the world was to receive his worship.
Thousands are passing through this ordeal, weighing Christ against the world; and many choose the world. Like the young ruler, they turn from the Saviour, saying in their hearts, I will not have this Man as my leader.
Christ's dealing with the young man is presented as an object lesson. God has given us the rule of conduct which every one of His servants must follow. It is obedience to His law, not merely a legal obedience, but an obedience which enters into the life, and is exemplified in the character. God has set His own standard of character for all who would become subjects of His kingdom. Only those who will become co-workers with Christ, only those who will say, Lord, all I have and all I am is Thine, will be acknowledged as sons and daughters of God. All should consider what it means to desire heaven, and yet to turn away because of the conditions laid down. Think of what it means to say "No" to Christ. The ruler said, No, I cannot give You all. Do we say the same? The Saviour offers to share with us the work God has given us to do. He offers to use the means God has given us, to carry forward His work in the world. Only in this way can He save us.
The ruler's possessions were entrusted to him that he might prove himself a faithful steward; he was to dispense these goods for the blessing of those in need. So God now entrusts men with means, with talents and opportunities, that they may be His agents in helping the poor and the suffering. He who uses his entrusted gifts as God designs becomes a co-worker with the Saviour. He wins souls to Christ, because he is a representative of His character.
To those who, like the young ruler, are in high positions of trust and have great possessions, it may seem too great a sacrifice to give up all in order to follow Christ. But this is the rule of conduct for all who would become His disciples. Nothing short of obedience can be accepted. Self-surrender is the substance of the teachings of Christ. Often it is presented and enjoined in language that seems authoritative, because there is no other way to save man than to cut away those things which, if entertained, will demoralize the whole being.
When Christ's followers give back to the Lord His own, they are accumulating treasure which will be given to them when they shall hear the words, "Well done, good and faithful servant; . . . enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." "Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Matt. 25:23; Heb. 12:2. The joy of seeing souls redeemed, souls eternally saved, is the reward of all that put their feet in the footprints of Him who said, "Follow Me."
Human beings belong to one great family,—the family of God. The Creator designed that they should respect and love one another, ever manifesting a pure, unselfish interest in one another’s welfare. But Satan’s aim has been to lead men to self first; and yielding themselves to his control, they have developed a selfishness that has filled the world with misery and strife, setting human beings at variance with one another. Selfishness is the essence of depravity, and because human beings have yielded to its power, the opposite of allegiance to God is seen in the world today. Nations, families, and individuals are filled with a desire to make self a center. Man longs to rule over his fellow men. Separating himself in his egotism from God and his fellow beings, he follows his unrestrained inclinations. He acts as if the good of others depended on their subjection to his supremacy.
Selfishness has brought discord into the church, filling it with unholy ambition. If Christians are sanctified through a belief in God’s Word, why do they so often speak words that would bruise the hearts of others? Why do they acknowledge no law but the law of selfishness? Under the baleful influence of selfishness, men have lost the sense of what it means to love one another with a Christlike love.
Love for Christ unites man to his fellow man in unselfish interest. This is the science of benevolence. He whose heart is filled with the love that centers in God, realizes that he must deal justly and tenderly with his fellow beings because they have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. Supreme love for God leads us to seek the highest good of humanity.
Selfishness destroys Christlikeness filling man with self-love. It leads to continual departure from righteousness. Christ says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” But self-love is blind to the perfection which God requires.
How great the love of God is! God made the world to enlarge heaven. He desired a larger family. And before man was created, God and Christ entered into a covenant that if he fell from his allegiance, Christ would bear the penalty of transgression. Man fell, but he was not left to the power of the destroyer. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” To the Redeemer was given all power to impart to fallen human beings for their benefit and blessing.
While on this earth, the Saviour was sorely tried. He was tempted in all points like as we are. He poured out his soul with strong crying and tears as he looked upon the backslidden condition of the people he had brought out of bondage. He saw them full of pride and self-exaltation, full of selfishness and covetousness. All this he must labor to overcome. He must live among them the life that God requires all his children to live. He must stand free from the slightest taint of impurity. Not in the least particular must he deviate from the principles of righteousness.
The gulf made by sin has been bridged. All may come boldly to the throne of grace, seeking help in every time of need. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. He took the place of the sinner, that he might present the repentant sinner to the Father, saying, “Lay his guilt on me. I have espoused his cause.” Holding out his hands, bearing the marks of his crucifixion, the Saviour says, “I have graven that sinner upon the palms of my hands. No longer look upon him as guilty. Let him stand before thee guiltless; for I have borne his iniquity.” At the cross, justice and mercy met together, and righteousness and peace kissed each other. God bowed his head in recognition of the completeness of the offering made for sin, and said, “It is enough.”
As we contemplate the great love of God, shall not our hearts be subdued and softened, yea, broken? Shall we not be filled with patience, long-suffering, and love? Shall we not die to self?
Christ came to this world to reveal the love of God. His followers are to continue the work which he began. Let us strive to help and strengthen one another. Seeking the good of others is the way in which true happiness can be found. Man does not work against his own interest by loving God and his fellow men. The more unselfish his spirit, the happier he is, because he is fulfilling God’s purpose for him. The breath of God is breathed through him, filling him with gladness. To him life is a sacred trust, precious in his sight because given by God to be spent in ministering to others.
“Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love.... If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God loves his brother also.”
The last years of probation are passing into eternity. The great day of the Lord is right upon us. Every energy we possess should now be used to arouse those dead in trespasses and sins....
It is time that we gave heed to the teaching of the word of God. All His injunctions are given to do us good. He calls upon those who stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel to give evidence that they realize their dependence on God and their accountability to Him, by returning to Him a certain portion of that which He entrusts to them. This money is to be used in advancing the work that must be done to fulfill the commission given by Christ to His disciples....
God’s people are called to a work that requires money and consecration. The obligations resting upon us hold us responsible to work for God to the utmost of our ability. He calls for undivided service, for the entire devotion of heart, soul, mind, and strength.
There are only two places in the universe where we can place our treasures,—in God’s storehouse or in Satan’s; and all that is not devoted to God’s service is counted on Satan’s side, and goes to strengthen his cause. The Lord designs that the means entrusted to us shall be used in building up His kingdom. His goods are entrusted to His stewards that they may be carefully traded upon, and bring back a revenue to Him in the saving of souls. These souls in their turn will become stewards of trust, cooperating with Christ to further the interests of God’s cause.
Wherever there is life in a church, there is increase and growth. There is also a constant interchange, taking and giving out, receiving and returning to the Lord His own. To every true believer God imparts light and blessing, and this the believer imparts to others in the work that he does for the Lord. As he gives of that which he receives, his capacity for receiving is increased. Room is made for fresh supplies of grace and truth. Clearer light, increased knowledge, are his. On this giving and receiving depend the life and growth of the church. He who receives, but never gives, soon ceases to receive. If the truth does not flow from him to others, he loses his capacity to receive. We must impart the goods of heaven, if we would receive fresh blessing.
The Lord does not propose to come to this world, and lay down gold and silver for the advancement of His work. He supplies men with resources, that by their gifts and offerings they may keep His work advancing. The one purpose above all others for which God’s gifts should be used is the sustaining of workers in the harvest field. And if men will become channels through which heaven’s blessing can flow to others, the Lord will keep the channel supplied. It is not returning to the Lord His own that makes men poor; withholding tends to poverty....
God calls upon His people to awake to their responsibilities. A flood of light is shining from His word, and there must be a meeting of neglected obligations. When these are met, by giving to the Lord His own in tithes and offerings, the way will be opened for the world to hear the message that the Lord designs it to hear. If our people had the love of God in the heart, if every church member were imbued with the spirit of self-sacrifice, there would be no lack of funds for home and foreign missions; our resources would be multiplied; a thousand doors of usefulness would be opened; and we should be invited to enter. Had the purpose of God been carried out in giving the message of mercy to the world, Christ would have come, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God.
If ever there was a time when sacrifices should be made, it is now. My brethren and sisters, practice economy in your homes. Put away the idols that you have placed before God. Give up your selfish pleasures. Do not, I beg of you, spend means in embellishing your houses; for your money belongs to God, and to Him you must give an account for its use. Do not use the Lord’s money to gratify the fancies of your children. Teach them that God has a claim on all they possess, and that nothing can ever cancel this claim.
Money is a needed treasure. Do not lavish it upon those who need it not. Someone needs your willing gifts. There are those in the world who are hungry, starving. You may say, I cannot feed them all. But by practicing Christ’s lessons of economy, you can feed one. “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” These words were spoken by Him whose power wrought a miracle to supply the needs of a hungry multitude.
If you have extravagant habits, cut them away from your life at once. Unless you do this, you will be bankrupt for eternity. Habits of economy, industry, and sobriety, are a better portion for your children than a rich dowry.
We are pilgrims and strangers on the earth. Let us not spend our means in gratifying desires that God would have us repress. Let us fitly represent our faith by restricting our wants. Let our church members arise as one man, and work earnestly, as those who are walking in the full light of truth for these last days....
Of what value is untold wealth, if it is hoarded in expensive mansions, or in bank stock? What do these weigh in the scale in comparison with the salvation of the souls for whom Christ, the Son of the infinite God, has died?
The most solemn truths ever entrusted to mortals have been given to us to proclaim to the world. The proclamation of these truths is our work. The world is to be warned, and God’s people are to be true to the trust committed to them. They are not to engage in speculations, neither are they to enter into business enterprises with unbelievers; for this would hinder them in doing the work given them.
Christ says of His people, “Ye are the light of the world.” It is not a small matter that the counsels and purposes and plans of God have been so clearly opened to us. It is a wonderful privilege to be able to understand the will of God as revealed in the sure word of prophecy. This places on us a heavy responsibility. God expects us to impart to others the knowledge He has given us. It is His purpose that divine and human instrumentalities shall unite in the proclamation of the warning message.
The sympathies of God’s people should be aroused in every church throughout our land, and there should be unselfish action to meet the necessities of different mission fields. Men should testify to their interest in the cause of God by giving of their substance. If such an interest were manifested, the bond of Christian brotherhood would exist and increase in strength between all the members of Christ’s family.
This work of faithfully bringing in all the tithes, that there may be meat in the house of God, would supply laborers for both home and foreign fields. Although books and publications upon present truth are pouring out their treasures of knowledge to all parts of the world, yet missionary posts must be established at different points. The living preacher must proclaim the words of life and salvation. There are open fields inviting workers to enter. The harvest is ripe, and the earnest Macedonian cry for laborers is heard from every part of the world.
5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’