(All Bible texts are in the NKJV Bible unless otherwise indicated)
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;
John was called to do a special work; he was to prepare the way of the Lord, to make straight His paths. The Lord did not send him to the school of the prophets and rabbis. He took him away from the assemblies of men to the desert, that he might learn of nature and nature’s God. God did not desire him to have the mold of the priests and rulers. He was called to do a special work. The Lord gave him his message. Did he go to the priests and rulers and ask if he might proclaim this message?—No, God put him away from them that he might not be influenced by their spirit and teaching. He was the voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain; and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it” (Isaiah 40:3-5). This is the very message that must be given to our people; we are near the end of time, and the message is, Clear the King’s highway; gather out the stones; raise up a standard for the people. The people must be awakened. It is no time now to cry peace and safety. We are exhorted to “cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 5:1).
The light of the glory of God shone upon our Representative, and this fact says to us that the glory of God may shine upon us. With His human arm, Jesus encircled the race, and with His divine arm He grasped the throne of the Infinite, connecting man with God, and earth with heaven.
The light of the glory of God must fall upon us. We need the holy unction from on high. However intelligent, however learned a man may be, he is not qualified to teach unless he has a firm hold on the God of Israel. He who is connected with Heaven will do the works of Christ. By faith in God he will have power to move upon humanity. He will seek for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. If divine power does not combine with human effort, I would not give a straw for all that the greatest man could do. The Holy Spirit is wanting in our work. Nothing frightens me more than to see the spirit of variance manifested by our brethren. We are on dangerous ground when we cannot meet together like Christians, and courteously examine controverted points. I feel like fleeing from the place lest I receive the mold of those who cannot candidly investigate the doctrines of the Bible.
Those who cannot impartially examine the evidences of a position that differs from theirs, are not fit to teach in any department of God’s cause. What we need is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Without this, we are no more fitted to go forth to the world than were the disciples after the crucifixion of their Lord. Jesus knew their destitution, and told them to tarry in Jerusalem until they should be endowed with power from on high. Every teacher must be a learner, that his eyes may be anointed to see the evidences of the advancing truth of God. The beams of the Sun of Righteousness must shine into his own heart if he would impart light to others.
No one is able to explain the Scriptures without the aid of the Holy Spirit. But when you take up the Word of God with a humble, teachable heart, the angels of God will be by your side to impress you with evidences of the truth. When the Spirit of God rests upon you, there will be no feeling of envy or jealousy in examining another’s position; there will be no spirit of accusation and criticism, such as Satan inspired in the hearts of the Jewish leaders against Christ. As Christ said to Nicodemus, so I say to you, “Ye must be born again.” “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:7, 3). You must have the divine mold before you can discern the sacred claims of the truth. Unless the teacher is a learner in the school of Christ, he is not fitted to teach others.
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
4 “The Lord God has given Me
The tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak
A word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear
To hear as the learned.
5 The Lord God has opened My ear;
And I was not rebellious,
Nor did I turn away.
4 But you who held fast to the Lord your God are alive today, every one of you.
4 But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ”
8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
10 For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you,’
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”
12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”
45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,
10 For this is he of whom it is written:
‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’
45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.
26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.
45 Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.
27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne;
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
23 And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.
7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
1 Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
2 He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.
5 My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
The Lord Himself directed the education of Israel. His care was not restricted to their religious interests; whatever affected their mental or physical well-being was also the subject of divine providence, and came within the sphere of divine law.
God had commanded the Hebrews to teach their children His requirements and to make them acquainted with all His dealings with their fathers. This was one of the special duties of every parent—one that was not to be delegated to another. In the place of stranger lips the loving hearts of the father and mother were to give instruction to their children. Thoughts of God were to be associated with all the events of daily life. The mighty works of God in the deliverance of His people and the promises of the Redeemer to come were to be often recounted in the homes of Israel; and the use of figures and symbols caused the lessons given to be more firmly fixed in the memory. The great truths of God’s providence and of the future life were impressed on the young mind. It was trained to see God alike in the scenes of nature and the words of revelation. The stars of heaven, the trees and flowers of the field, the lofty mountains, the rippling brooks—all spoke of the Creator. The solemn service of sacrifice and worship at the sanctuary and the utterances of the prophets were a revelation of God.
Such was the training of Moses in the lowly cabin home in Goshen; of Samuel, by the faithful Hannah; of David, in the hill dwelling at Bethlehem; of Daniel, before the scenes of the captivity separated him from the home of his fathers. Such, too, was the early life of Christ at Nazareth; such the training by which the child Timothy learned from the lips of his grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15), the truths of Holy Writ.
Further provision was made for the instruction of the young, by the establishment of the schools of the prophets. If a youth desired to search deeper into the truths of the word of God and to seek wisdom from above, that he might become a teacher in Israel, these schools were open to him. The schools of the prophets were founded by Samuel to serve as a barrier against the widespread corruption, to provide for the moral and spiritual welfare of the youth, and to promote the future prosperity of the nation by furnishing it with men qualified to act in the fear of God as leaders and counselors. In the accomplishment of this object Samuel gathered companies of young men who were pious, intelligent, and studious. These were called the sons of the prophets. As they communed with God and studied His word and His works, wisdom from above was added to their natural endowments. The instructors were men not only well versed in divine truth, but those who had themselves enjoyed communion with God and had received the special endowment of His Spirit. They enjoyed the respect and confidence of the people, both for learning and piety.
In Samuel’s day there were two of these schools—one at Ramah, the home of the prophet, and the other at Kirjath-jearim, where the ark then was. Others were established in later times.
The pupils of these schools sustained themselves by their own labor in tilling the soil or in some mechanical employment. In Israel this was not thought strange or degrading; indeed, it was regarded a crime to allow children to grow up in ignorance of useful labor. By the command of God every child was taught some trade, even though he was to be educated for holy office. Many of the religious teachers supported themselves by manual labor. Even so late as the time of the apostles, Paul and Aquila were no less honored because they earned a livelihood by their trade of tentmaking.
The chief subjects of study in these schools were the law of God, with the instructions given to Moses, sacred history, sacred music, and poetry. The manner of instruction was far different from that in the theological schools of the present day, from which many students graduate with less real knowledge of God and religious truth than when they entered. In those schools of the olden time it was the grand object of all study to learn the will of God and man’s duty toward Him. In the records of sacred history were traced the footsteps of Jehovah. The great truths set forth by the types were brought to view, and faith grasped the central object of all that system—the Lamb of God that was to take away the sin of the world.
A spirit of devotion was cherished. Not only were students taught the duty of prayer, but they were taught how to pray, how to approach their Creator, how to exercise faith in Him, and how to understand and obey the teachings of His Spirit. Sanctified intellects brought forth from the treasure house of God things new and old, and the Spirit of God was manifested in prophecy and sacred song.
Music was made to serve a holy purpose, to lift the thoughts to that which is pure, noble, and elevating, and to awaken in the soul devotion and gratitude to God. What a contrast between the ancient custom and the uses to which music is now too often devoted! How many employ this gift to exalt self, instead of using it to Glorify God! A love for music leads the unwary to unite with world lovers in pleasure gatherings where God has forbidden His children to go. Thus that which is a great blessing when rightly used, becomes one of the most successful agencies by which Satan allures the mind from duty and from the contemplation of eternal things.
Music forms a part of God’s worship in the courts above, and we should endeavor, in our songs of praise, to approach as nearly as possible to the harmony of the heavenly choirs. The proper training of the voice is an important feature in education and should not be neglected. Singing, as a part of religious service, is as much an act of worship as is prayer. The heart must feel the spirit of the song to give it right expression.
How wide the difference between those schools taught by the prophets of God and our modern institutions of learning! How few schools are to be found that are not governed by the maxims and customs of the world! There is a deplorable lack of proper restraint and judicious discipline. The existing ignorance of God’s word among a people professedly Christian is alarming. Superficial talk, mere sentimentalism, passes for instruction in morals and religion. The justice and mercy of God, the beauty of holiness and the sure reward of rightdoing, the heinous character of sin and the certainty of its terrible results, are not impressed upon the minds of the young. Evil associates are instructing the youth in the ways of crime, dissipation, and licentiousness.
Are there not some lessons which the educators of our day might learn with profit from the ancient schools of the Hebrews? He who created man has provided for his development in body and mind and soul. Hence, real success in education depends upon the fidelity with which men carry out the Creator’s plan.
The true object of education is to restore the image of God in the soul. In the beginning God created man in His own likeness. He endowed him with noble qualities. His mind was well balanced, and all the powers of his being were harmonious. But the Fall and its effects have perverted these gifts. Sin has marred and well-nigh obliterated the image of God in man. It was to restore this that the plan of salvation was devised, and a life of probation was granted to man. To bring him back to the perfection in which he was first created is the great object of life—the object that underlies every other. It is the work of parents and teachers, in the education of the youth, to co-operate with the divine purpose; and in so doing they are “laborers together with God.” 1 Corinthians 3:9.
All the varied capabilities that men possess—of mind and soul and body—are given them by God, to be so employed as to reach the highest possible degree of excellence. But this cannot be a selfish and exclusive culture; for the character of God, whose likeness we are to receive, is benevolence and love. Every faculty, every attribute, with which the Creator has endowed us is to be employed for His glory and for the uplifting of our fellow men. And in this employment is found its purest, noblest, and happiest exercise.
Were this principle given the attention which its importance demands, there would be a radical change in some of the current methods of education. Instead of appealing to pride and selfish ambition, kindling a spirit of emulation, teachers would endeavor to awaken the love for goodness and truth and beauty—to arouse the desire for excellence. The student would seek the development of God’s gifts in himself, not to excel others, but to fulfill the purpose of the Creator and to receive His likeness. Instead of being directed to mere earthly standards, or being actuated by the desire for self-exaltation, which in itself dwarfs and belittles, the mind would be directed to the Creator, to know Him and to become like Him.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10. The great work of life is character building, and a knowledge of God is the foundation of all true education. To impart this knowledge and to mold the character in harmony with it should be the object of the teacher’s work. The law of God is a reflection of His character. Hence the psalmist says, “All Thy commandments are righteousness;” and “through Thy precepts I get understanding.” Psalm 119:172, 104. God has revealed Himself to us in His word and in the works of creation. Through the volume of inspiration and the book of nature we are to obtain a knowledge of God.
It is a law of the mind that it gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is trained to dwell. If occupied with commonplace matters only, it will become dwarfed and enfeebled. If never required to grapple with difficult problems, it will after a time almost lose the power of growth. As an educating power the Bible is without a rival. In the word of God the mind finds subject for the deepest thought, the loftiest aspiration. The Bible is the most instructive history that men possess. It came fresh from the fountain of eternal truth, and a divine hand has preserved its purity through all the ages. It lights up the far-distant past, where human research seeks vainly to penetrate. In God’s word we behold the power that laid the foundation of the earth and that stretched out the heavens. Here only can we find a history of our race unsullied by human prejudice or human pride. Here are recorded the struggles, the defeats, and the victories of the greatest men this world has ever known. Here the great problems of duty and destiny are unfolded. The curtain that separates the visible from the invisible world is lifted, and we behold the conflict of the opposing forces of good and evil, from the first entrance of sin to the final triumph of righteousness and truth; and all is but a revelation of the character of God. In the reverent contemplation of the truths presented in His word the mind of the student is brought into communion with the infinite mind. Such a study will not only refine and ennoble the character, but it cannot fail to expand and invigorate the mental powers.
We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. Hebrews 8:1, 2.
The natural eye can never behold the comeliness and beauty of Christ. The inward illumination of the Holy Spirit, revealing to the soul its true hopeless, helpless condition without the mercy and pardon of the Sin-bearer—the all-sufficiency of Christ—can alone enable man to discern His infinite mercy, His immeasurable love, benevolence, and glory.
No one ever came to our world on such an errand of grace, infinite compassion, and unspeakable love, as our Saviour; and none ever received such treatment at the hands of fallen man. “Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price” (see 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). We are Christ’s by creation, His by redemption. He is the only sinless Being who endured suffering, shameful humiliation, and rejection in our behalf.
Then, how should those who become new creatures in Christ Jesus, saved by His merits, conduct themselves before the universe of heaven? Shall they complain? Shall they accuse one another? Would not a meek and submissive spirit be more becoming? “Learn of me,” said the great Teacher, “for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Shall we reveal this spirit in our characters? Shall we wear His yoke, and lift His burdens?
Could all see Christ before the throne, waiting for their prayers, waiting for them to surrender their will, to cease their rebellion and come back to their allegiance to God, in deep penitence they would pray the Father to forgive their transgression of His law, and forgive them for the influence they have exercised in causing others to disregard the law of Jehovah. The confederacies of the enemy’s army are triumphing in their delay. Will they longer remain under the condemnation of the law? Or, will they stand on the side of Christ, and with their influence help the betrayed, rebellious race by their own experimental knowledge? Will they now become co-workers with Jesus Christ, who is making personal intercession for them before the Father? Angels are keeping back the destroying agencies, for they have an intense interest for these rebellious sons, and they want to help them to return to the fold in safety and peace, that they may finally be overcomers, and be saved, eternally saved with the family of God in heaven.—Manuscript 29, May 21, 1900, “Faithful Stewardship.”
God requires that we confess our sins and humble our hearts before him; but at the same time we should have confidence in him as a tender Father, who will not forsake those who put their trust in him. We do not realize how many of us walk by sight and not by faith. We believe the things that are seen, but do not appreciate the precious promises given us in his word. And yet we cannot dishonor God more decidedly than by showing that we distrust what he says, and question whether the Lord is in earnest with us or is deceiving us.
There are many who are really troubled because low, debasing thoughts come into the mind, and are not easily banished. Satan has his evil angels around us; and though they cannot read men’s thoughts, they closely watch their words and actions. Satan takes advantage of the weaknesses and defects of character that are thus revealed, and presses his temptations where there is the least power of resistance. He makes evil suggestions, and inspires worldly thoughts, knowing that he can thus bring the soul into condemnation and bondage. To those who are selfish, worldly, avaricious, proud, fault-finding, or given to detraction,—to all who are cherishing errors and defects of character,—Satan presents the indulgence of self, and leads the soul off upon a track that the Bible condemns, but which he makes appear attractive.
For every class of temptations there is a remedy. We are not left to ourselves to fight the battle against self and our sinful natures in our own finite strength. Jesus is a mighty helper, a never-failing support. His followers should develop symmetrical characters by strengthening weak traits. They must become Christ-like in disposition and pure and holy in life. None can do this in their own strength, but Jesus can give the daily grace needed to do this work. None need fail or become discouraged, when such ample provision has been made for us.
The mind must be restrained, and not allowed to wander. It should be trained to dwell upon the Scriptures, and upon noble, elevating themes. Portions of Scripture, even whole chapters, may be committed to memory, to be repeated when Satan comes in with his temptations. The fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah is a profitable one for this purpose. Wall the soul in with the restrictions and instructions given by inspiration of the Spirit of God. When Satan would lead the mind to dwell upon earthly and sensual things, he is most effectually resisted with “It is written.” When he suggests doubts as to whether we are really the people whom God is leading, whom by tests and provings he is preparing to stand in the great day, be ready to meet his insinuations by presenting the clear evidence from the word of God that this is the remnant people who are keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
It is natural for us to have much self-confidence and to follow our own ideas, and in so doing we separate from God; and we do not realize how far we are from him, until the sense of self-security is so firmly established that we are not afraid of failure. We should be much in prayer. We need Jesus as our counselor; at every step we need him as our guide and protector. If there was more praying, more pleading with God to work for us, there would be a greater dependence on him, and faith would be strengthened to take him at his word. It would be easier to believe that if we ask for grace or wisdom, we shall receive it; because his word says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
Ministers would be more successful in their labor, if they would talk less of self and more of Christ. Of ourselves, we have no power to reach hearts; it is only by divine aid that we can find access to them. Brethren, teach the people to rely upon Jesus; lead them to feel that they are not dependent on the minister, but must have an experience for themselves. The minister is not infallible. He may err; ambition and unhallowed passion may burn in his heart; the vampire of envy may mar his work; he may defraud God of the glory due to his name by so laboring that the credit will be given to the poor, erring, finite instrument. The true laborer will take care that his hearers understand the leading points of our faith, and that they keep distinctly in mind the old landmarks, the way by which the Lord has led his people. He will teach them to look to God for themselves, expecting the outpouring of his Spirit. If those who profess to be teachers of the truth teach their own ideas independent of the opinions of their brethren, they should be labored with as unfaithful in their work. One who feels at liberty to advance what he chooses and keep back what he chooses, should not be encouraged to labor in the ministry; for he is failing to prepare a people to stand in the day of the Lord.
It is not the best way to have one or two ministers go over the same ground again and again. There should be an interchange of laborers. They should not be confined to one field, but should labor in different Conferences, that the churches may have the benefit of their differing gifts. When this was done in the past, greater success attended the laborers.
Some fail to educate the people to do their whole duty. They preach that part of our faith which will not create opposition and displease their hearers; but they do not declare the whole truth. The people enjoy their preaching; but there is a lack of spirituality, because the claims of God are not met. His people do not give him in tithes and offerings that which is his own. This robbery of God, which is practiced by both rich and poor, brings darkness into the churches; and the minister who labors with them, and who does not show them the plainly revealed will of God, is brought under condemnation with the people, because he neglects his duty.
Brethren, the Lord will help you, if you seek his help; but do not exalt self, do not call the attention of the people to self. There is a spirit of worldliness coming into the church, and it must be firmly met and rebuked. If this is not done, there is a failure to make known the whole counsel of God. Unless we humble our hearts before God, unless we seek him earnestly, we shall be overcome by the temptations of Satan; and those whom we neglect to warn, to reprove, to exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine, will be ensnared by his devices, and we shall not be guiltless. Our duty is not done when we preach the word. We are to labor for souls; we are to bring to bear every means within our power to reach them. Let us labor in the Spirit of the living God; let us love souls; let us pray for them, and weep over them. Come close to your brethren when you see them in danger. It is time that there was more personal labor done in the churches. If one-half of the time spent in sermonizing was devoted to this kind of labor, the churches in the several Conferences would be in a more healthful condition. Take your Bibles, and devote one-half of the time now given to discourses to educating the people to understand the Scriptures and the claims of God upon them. We have no time to lose; we must be in earnest. May the Lord help us to put on the whole armor of God, and labor for time and for eternity.