Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)

408/457

Ms 144, 1897

Words to Churches

NP

December 30, 1897

Previously unpublished. +Note

I would now speak, not only of ever power we have, voice, pen, words, influence, each of which should be consecrated to God; but I would speak of the talent of means. Let no one rob God in tithes and offerings. Those who do this weaken their spiritual influence and turn away from a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” They will not receive the blessing of the Lord by retaining His money. They will grow more and more selfish, and will have less and less to give. They will feel provoked that the Lord has in His word made His will so plain that a child of five <years> can understand that His requirements embrace the giving of tithes and offerings, which are to be brought as consecrated gifts, to be handed back to the Giver. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 1

The world is committing robbery, wide and deep, against God. The churches are growing worldly. They are embezzling the Lord’s goods, that they may indulge appetite and gratify their own taste and pleasure. But shall Seventh-day Adventists be guilty of robbing God? We are a part of the Lord’s great firm. We are handling His goods. Trace all you have as coming from the Giver, or as Nehemiah expresses it, from “the good hand of my God.” [Nehemiah 2:8.] The goods we have are ours only in trust. They are lent to us, to be honestly and faithfully returned, both principal and interest. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 2

We are living in a very solemn period of this earth’s history. We are to prepare the way for the second appearing of our Lord. We are to warn the world that they are soon to meet the great Lawgiver. Shall it be over His broken law? As Christians we must be one with Christ. He gave His life that we might be saved. He requires us to give our influence, our means, our life service, to Him. “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price,” He declares. [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] Any physical strength with which He has endowed us, any mental capability, any energy of purpose and character, is to be properly appreciated, because it is all required in the Lord’s service. All the ability, all the influence, all the means we have, creates for us a standing place in God’s great firm. He has personal and individual dealing with us, for He has apportioned to each one of us our work. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 3

Time is passing, and many are neglecting to work with holy determination to exert a continually increasing influence for Christ because He is formed within, the hope of glory. Many are hiding the Lord’s money. Then, after robbing Him, they find fault with Him, just as did the slothful servant in the parable. If they gave to the Lord His own in tithes and offerings, the original talent would multiply; for talents increase by exercise. The very humblest may have a share in the work of God. They may do their work according to their several ability. God needs every one of us in His service. We are to co-operate with heavenly intelligences by becoming a channel of influence to communicate light and knowledge to those who are in darkness. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 4

Our churches are in no wise to be neglected. Whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, they are to be instructed in regard to their duty, which is plainly specified in the third chapter of Malachi. The entire chapter should be brought before those who do not realize their duty, for their souls cannot be free, they cannot receive the blessing of God, unless they take up their neglected duties and no longer rob God in tithes and offerings. Shall church members then be left to pass along, robbing God of His own? “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” [Verses 8, 9.] 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 5

The promise of obedience is abundant. “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sake, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts.” [Verses 10-12.] 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 6

Those who are disobedient to the voice of God are the greatest murmurers and doubters and complainers. Those who do the least to supply the treasury of God claim the most attention <and labor> from the ministers. They refuse to heed the voice of the Lord, specifying definitely the portion He claims as His, and <likewise> they will refuse to hear any voice that presents the necessity of returning to the Lord His own. They are not benefited by the words the Lord addresses to them by His appointed pastors and teachers. They represent the class of which we read in sacred history. “Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 7

“Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts. And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.” [Verses 13-15.] These are the sentiments of those who venture to refuse to hear Him that speaks from heaven, and who choose to walk after their own devices. “Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” [Isaiah 50:10, 11.] 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 8

Let those who are worried and troubled because efforts are not constantly put forth to enlarge the church of which they are members read Christ’s words. “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:18-20.] “For the promise is unto you and to your children,” Peter declared, “and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” [Acts 2:39.] 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 9

God declares through His prophet Joel, “It shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions; and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” [Joel 2:28-32.] 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 10

No idlers in the Lord’s vineyard will find an abundant entrance into the kingdom of Christ. To every one God has given a work. If He places men in positions of trust, He will supply the points of character required for His service in the varied responsibilities connected with the human family. We are not to selfishly use our means or our powers as our own unsanctified human desires shall dictate. We are to exercise in God’s service all the powers that He has given us, that they may be felt outside and beyond our own home. Every member of the family should be educated to work for the Master. By continually working in Christ’s lines we learn of Him how to do more efficient work and how to use our influence so that it will be a blessing to others. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 11

The wider the sphere of our usefulness, the more good we may accomplish by making known the unsearchable riches of Christ. We are to show all with whom we come in contact that the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Daily our work is passing out of our hands beyond recall. This is a most solemn consideration. From hour to hour we are deciding our destiny for eternity. Today in the love and fear of God we must be in touch with divinity, that we may co-operate with God in the grand and wonderful work of saving souls. Day by day opportunities to speak and act in behalf of others are being brought to us. By speaking words of truth, handing tract, presenting a book, we may exert a saving influence upon those with whom we associate. Our time is a precious talent. Ii is not to be squandered. If we keep our hearts uplifted to God, we shall have strength and grace every moment. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 12

A missionary spirit is to be cherished. The message of mercy is to be given to those that have not heard it. By many this message will be received. They will reflect to others the light and truth that has been graciously bestowed on them. Thus the church may enjoy the reflex influence of extending the work to regions beyond. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 13

The Good Shepherd would not have His ambassadors hovering over one church, to prop up those in whose behalf efforts have already been made, <[and] who have had much light.> They have accepted a theory of the truth, but their own words, deportment, and influence will determine whether they are possessors of the spirit of truth, or whether they only have a name to live when in reality they are dead. All who have not only joined the church in name, but who are truly united with Christ, become one with Christ. They are laborers together with God. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 14

I wish to impress upon the members of our churches that belonging to the church is not an evidence that our names stand on the records of heaven. We must be washed, cleansed from all sin by the blood of Christ. To be united to Christ means everything to the human agent. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 15

In every church we shall find tares among the wheat. Christ says, “Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.” [Matthew 13:30.] There will be those who have had every opportunity to become sons and daughters of God. But they decided that they would not wear Christ’s yoke of obedience. Their names were on the church books, but they did not live a Christian life. They did not at the very start knit their souls with Christ. Let all unite with Christ first, and then unite with the church. Those who place their names on the church record without surrendering all to Christ, expecting to take with them their own habits and practices, dishonor their Saviour. Their words are against Christ, their actions, are contrary to Him. Yet they expect a great amount of labor to be devoted to them. They expect to be towed along by <others’> preaching and praying, while they do not receive the engrafted Word into their hearts. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 16

It is not for any church to dictate to the servants of God where they shall labor. The Lord has given to every man his work. All are to have and must have an experience in the things of God, for they will need it in His service. They must go to God in prayer, asking for grace and spirit food, that they may grow thereby. If they do not live in Christ and eat the living bread, they need to be converted like any other sinner. Those who name the name of Christ many dead, even though they profess godliness, unless they are submissive to the voice of God’s Word. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 17

In a church where there are consecrated sons and daughters of God, there is a web of mutual influences at work under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. This is too complicated to explain or unravel. It appears as a wheel within a wheel. But the infinite Hand sets all in motion according to His mind and His will. All is brought into harmonious working order. The members receive blessings from the Lord because they ask Him in faith, and express their grateful thanks to Him for answering their prayers. But Christ says of some, “Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss.” [James 4:3.] 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 18

Brethren and sisters, You may be connected with the church, but you may not be joined to Christ. Do you feel your need of spiritual grace? Do you look tot he ambassador of Christ to revive and strengthen you. If so, you will be disappointed, for you cannot be sustained and upheld by human beings. Can you, the members of the church in different localities, go to your Saviour as a little child goes to his parents when he wants help in anything? Those who have not been in the habit of praying to God need now to kneel before Him with brokenness of heart. Let the poor souls who are full of complaint go to God, and tell Him all their troubles. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 19

The words in the first Psalm need to be committed to memory. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” [Verses 1-3.] 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 20

“Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. ... But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not; commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. ... Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord. There be many that say, Who will show us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance on us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. I will both lay me down in peace and sleep, for thou, Lord, only makest me to dwell in safety.” [Psalm 4:1, 3-8.] 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 21

“Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King and my God; for unto thee will I pray. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” “For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favor wilt thou compass him as with a shield.” [Psalm 5:1-3, 12.] 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 22

This will be the experience of the sons and daughters of God who receive and believe in Christ as their Redeemer. What does the world’s Redeemer say? “The words of the Lord are as pure words; as silver tried in a furnace of earth purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever.” [Psalm 12:6, 7.] The children of Christ heed the words, “Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.” [Matthew 26:41.] 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 23

The charge given to Timothy comes sounding down along the line to our time: “I charge thee therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season and out of season; reprove; rebuke; exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from hearing the truth, and shall be turned into fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” [2 Timothy 4:1-5.] 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 24

A clear cut testimony is to be borne. The ministers of God are to be sincere and in earnest, working and watching for souls as they that must give account. Every church should be watching, waiting, and praying for the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It is no time now for those who know the truth to work contrary to the word. Let the individual members of the church consecrate themselves to God. Each one should now stand with his armor on, ready to do his best. There are many who are not called to the ministry. But all may press close to the side of Christ. A holy atmosphere surrounds the souls of those who do this. They are daily converted to Christ, and they adorn the doctrines of their Saviour in their home life. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 25

But many professed Christians are more worldly than spiritual. They need the transforming power of grace, else they will make a decided failure. Many do not live so close to Christ that they are spiritually minded. They live so much in the bustle of the world that they do not discern spiritual things. Oh, so many of those who profess to be church members are not members of the body of Christ. They bring little to the Lord’s side. So little do they adorn the doctrine of Christ their Saviour, that in the place of convincing souls of the truth by their well ordered lives and godly conversation, the atmosphere that surrounds their souls is as a poisonous malaria, in the home and in the church. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 26

Our churches will never be complete in Christ until they cease to be self-centered. Many meet together on the Lord’s day without any spirit of worship or service. They listen to sermons, but they are not benefited. The words of truth lose their influence on them. The time spent on these is in vain. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 27

Special meetings have been held. Money has been expended. The truth has been proclaimed in the demonstration of the Spirit and the power of God. But has this expenditure gained the object hoped? No. Why? Because the word preached did not profit <them,> not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. Had the same amount of money and anxiety and earnest labor been devoted to establishing the standard of truth in new fields, to sending the gospel into regions beyond, the work of God would be much further advanced. Those who have never heard the message would have had the privilege of hearing the reasons of our faith for themselves. Souls would have been converted, and some among them would have become laborers together with God. They would have felt the value of souls, and would have made every exertion to save those ready to perish. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 28

Those in our churches who have accepted a theory of truth, who have not been truly converted, who have refused to co-operate with God by giving Him their tithes and offerings, should read the third chapter of Malachi. The members of the churches have had great advantages. Yet some refuse to obey God’s plainest requirement. They refuse to help to support the ministers in their labor for the churches. The spiritual life of these corresponds with their failure to fulfill their obligations. They think that the ministers should devote their time to keeping the breath of life in them. They think that God’s servants should look upon themselves as highly favored if those for whom they thus labor continue in the faith at all. They think that they should be allowed to disregard the provisions God has made whereby His blessing may rest upon the church. They do nothing to bring the peace and approval of God to their souls. They do nothing to gain the ministration of the heavenly angels. They are under the cloud of God’s disapproval, for the Lord cannot work with and bless those who walk directly contrary to His special arrangements. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 29

If the people care nothing for God’s requirements, what can be expected from them by the ministers who labor in their behalf? They refuse to hear Him who speaks to them from heaven, and what will the words of the Lord’s delegated servants do for them. If the time of the ministers were occupied wholly in the churches, while some of the members fail to do what the Lord requires them to in sustaining and carrying forward His work, how would the ministry be supported? 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 30

“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he showed them his hands and his feet. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus unto them again, Peace be unto you; as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” [John 20:19-23.] “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.” [Matthew 28:16, 17.] Thus it will ever be. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 31

There are in the church those who are not cured of their doubts. They nourish and cherish unbelief, as though it were a commendable commodity. They do not cherish faith. They live the life of a doubter. Therefore they are no help to the church. They cannot co-operate with the servant of God, whose work it is to watch for souls as he that must give an account. Any faithful words of reproof, spoken when they are sitting down to a repast of unbelief, any attempt to lead them to cherish correct ideas, irritates, but does not convert them. Shall this condition of things be looked upon as an advantage to the church? It should ever be regarded as a great hindrance, and faithful, straight work in dealing with such members is in no wise to be neglected. 12LtMs, Ms 144, 1897, par. 32