Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 11 (1896)

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Ms 13, 1896

Faithfulness in Confessing Christ

NP

1896

This manuscript is published in entirety in 12MR 227-231.

“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 10:32.] Do you confess Christ in your expenditure of His entrusted means? Is He confessed when most of your income is spent on self, when the Lord’s tenth is withheld, and when gifts and offerings are used for your own pleasure and benefit? It would not be out of place for you to head a column in your domestic account book “Charity.” Had you done this, and had you put down all that you have spent for self, and all that you have used for charity, the list of that spent for self would make a large amount, but how would your column set apart for charity come out? Again I urge you to ask yourself, Do I confess Christ in my expenditure? Heading a column of your account book “Charity,” would make a revelation to you. No other human eye may see that book but yourself, but the Lord Jesus Christ sees it, and your reward in the day of reckoning will be in accordance with your works. 11LtMs, Ms 13, 1896, par. 1

When the question is asked those who have professed to be Christians, “How much owest thou unto my Lord?” [Luke 16:5] many will stand silent and convicted, unprepared to answer, because they have not considered the Lord’s dues and have set apart nothing for charity. Have you been forward with gifts and offerings? Would not an examination of your account book reveal that you have neglected your duty in this respect? 11LtMs, Ms 13, 1896, par. 2

If Christ had that which is His own in tithes and offerings, so much would not be left for selfish outlay on nicknacks and display. Less would be spent for dress, for pleasure excursions, for entertainments, or for display in table fare. We may confess Christ by making no elaborate preparations for visitors; we may deny Him by making more than ordinary preparations, which takes time that rightly belongs to the Lord. Not only do you rob your family of the attention they need in order to prepare an elaborate entertainment, but the practice is followed by others whom you have influenced by your example. The Lord does not judge us according to the highness and elevation of our various spheres, but according to the faithfulness with which we fill them. Before you enter into amusement for the gratification of self, ask yourself the question, Is not this God’s time and money that I am expending needlessly? Open your account book and see how your account stands with God, with your household, and with the world. 11LtMs, Ms 13, 1896, par. 3

Have you confessed Christ by faithfully tithing the mint, the anise, and the rue? When we give the Lord the tithe, we are only giving Him that which is His own, to withhold which is theft and robbery. When we withhold the tithe, we keep back that which God designs shall sustain His work on the earth. For this work of redemption God gave the richest gift of heaven; can we not give one tenth of what we have? Many have forgotten God, and have kept back the tithe. Does your account book reveal that you have faithfully paid the Lord? Are you poor? Then give your little. Have you been blessed with abundance? Then be sure to lay aside that which the Lord registers as His own. 11LtMs, Ms 13, 1896, par. 4

By dealing truly with God, we really deal much more benevolently with ourselves; for when the great day of reckoning comes, every man will be asked, What have you done with the goods which I lent you? As we consider this question many of us need to walk more humbly and with greater self-denial before God. All who feel it a cross not to keep up an appearance in the eyes of the world, I would point to the life and work of Christ, who for our sake became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. The fear of not keeping up an appearance need not exist, for an appropriate course of action will bring honor rather than discredit from all sensible minds. Confess Christ in this particular, for He has said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” [Luke 9:23.] The neglect to confess Christ in your account books cuts you off from the great privilege of having your name registered in the Lamb’s book of life. 11LtMs, Ms 13, 1896, par. 5

Do you confess Christ by visiting the sick, the needy, and the poor? “Pure religion and undefiled before the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and the widow in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” [James 1:27.] Do your works testify, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” [Galatians 2:20.] 11LtMs, Ms 13, 1896, par. 6

As Christ represented the Father to the world, so we are to represent Christ; and every inducement is presented to us that we may represent Christ by keeping the way of the Lord, and faithfully living out every requirement of His Word. This is the power of the Gospel. By doing this we will be as lights shining in a dark place, and will be of more value to the world than sermons or religious ceremonies. The world is watching us, and will criticize us severely. We are constantly making an impression, favorable or unfavorable, upon those with whom we associate. Through us others will look at Christ, but unless we practice the lessons of Christ, we are none of His, and cannot properly represent Him. Cheerfulness will be the fruit borne by the Christian tree, but levity and coarse, unruly conduct are as thorn berries. 11LtMs, Ms 13, 1896, par. 7

The religion of Jesus Christ is a religion of practical godliness, and while the grace of God abides in the heart, the Christian will produce the fruit of industry, frugality, economy; he will not waste, but will gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost. In the lives of those who have Christ abiding in the heart will be seen no avarice, no dishonesty in trade, no over-reaching, for all covetousness is pronounced idolatry; but every species of dishonesty will be put away from the character. Unkindness of disposition will be overcome, for they are made new men in Christ Jesus, and sin no longer reigns in their mortal bodies. Everyone who has thus been renewed will manifest kindness, forbearance, and generosity; in this, confessing that Christ, the hope of glory, is formed within. 11LtMs, Ms 13, 1896, par. 8

The cause of God should be kept in a healthful condition; the treasury should be supplied with means for carrying forward the work of God. Institutions which are established to help orphans, those who are dependent and destitute, the infirm and the aged, should be aided. Those who have the blessing of health should co-operate with Christ by helping the weak. The blessing of God rests upon those who represent Christ by doing this work. Christmas and New Year celebrations can and should be held in behalf of those who are helpless. God is glorified when we give to help those who have large families to support. 11LtMs, Ms 13, 1896, par. 9

But no man who can earn his own livelihood has a right to live on the produce of others. The proverb, “The world owes me a living,” has in it the essence of falsehood, fraud, and robbery. The world owes no man a living who is able to work to gain a living for himself. 11LtMs, Ms 13, 1896, par. 10

“Therefore as ye abound in everything, in faith and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace (liberality) also. I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. And herein I give my advice; for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 11LtMs, Ms 13, 1896, par. 11

“For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened. But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality.” “As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.” [2 Corinthians 8:7-15.] “But this I say, He that soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” [2 Corinthians 9:6-8.] 11LtMs, Ms 13, 1896, par. 12

Christ demands the entire service of the soldiers in His army. In His Word He has given the principles of action: “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” [Romans 12:11.] These principles should govern our conduct at all times. No allowance is made for lazy, negligent work, or for want of zeal. God has a righteous claim to constant service and supreme love. Your body, your soul, your life, all your God-given capabilities should be consecrated to God for the promotion of His glory. 11LtMs, Ms 13, 1896, par. 13

No one can be a sincere Christian unless he is a laborer together with God, unless he belongs to the family of workers. We must ever bear in mind that we are in co-partnership with God. His work and His cause demand the first consideration. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” [Matthew 6:33.] 11LtMs, Ms 13, 1896, par. 14