Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 156, 1898

The Need of Self-Sacrificing Effort


December 5, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in 5MR 370-371; 1NL 99-100.

Christ gave His disciples the commission, “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 alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:19, 20.] 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 1

“This is the will of him that sent me,” Christ said again, “that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. ... It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God: he hath seen the Father. 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 2

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. ... I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. ... Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth in me and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me ... It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” [John 6:40, 45-47, 51, 54-57, 63.] 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 3

When church members are imbued with Christ’s Spirit, they will be able to fulfill His commission. But unless they strive with all their capabilities to answer the prayer, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee” [John 17:20, 21], they are not bound up with Him. The spirit developed by the natural character will not lead us to work as Christ worked. There can be no unity while this spirit is cherished. The pure principles of God’s Word, which are essential to our moral health and purity, cannot be followed while self is upheld. Individual consecration means that the whole being, mind, soul, heart, and strength, is placed on the side of Christ. This is genuine sanctification, and is brought about through obedience to the truth. This sanctification every individual must have who would overcome as Christ overcame. Each must possess that faith that works by love and purifies the soul. This will produce true unity. 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 4

The unity that God requires cannot be secured or maintained by any human methods. But all who are united to the parent stock, as the branch is united to the vine, will be one in Christ. The Christian who lives in love and unity with his brethren shows to the world the credentials that God sent His Son to die for the fallen race. 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 5

Christ declared, “The glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one.” [Verse 22.] How many are seeking with determination to answer this prayer? How many are striving for complete unity? How many desire to be one with Christ, even as the Father and the Son are one? Unless this unity had been essential and possible, Christ would never have made this prayer. But Satan strives to set men at variance. He would induce even Christ’s professed disciples to seek for the supremacy. Those who count themselves as disciples of Jesus should learn and practice the lessons given by the Master. “Take my yoke upon you,” He says, “and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:29.] Every ambitious thought and plan is to be cut away. Self is to be regarded as a secondary matter, as far as selfish purposes are concerned. 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 6

Will young men and young women accept the holy trust from the Master’s hands? Will they offer themselves for service, and put all the fervor of the soul into the work of reforming themselves, that they may labor acceptably for the youth who are wholly given to pleasure and self-gratification? 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 7

Because of our artificial civilization people are sick; they need a physician who can cure them. Each human being is entrusted with talents. These talents are to be appreciated; they are to be used, not abused. The love of Christ alone can enable us to properly appreciate our talents. In every school established, the most simple theory of theology should be taught. In this theory, the atonement of Christ should be the great substance, the central truth. The wonderful theme of redemption should be presented to the students. 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 8

“The glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” [John 17:22, 23.] If received aright, the message we bear will do this work. The love of Christ is to be revealed, not only as the motive of action, but as the pattern for all plans, all sacrifices. If the truth is received into good and honest hearts, it will lead the receiver to see that day by day he is to make an entire, unreserved surrender of every faculty, every capability. The powers of soul, body, and spirit are to be given in willing, wholehearted service to Him who bought the human family with His own blood. “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 9

Those who claim to believe the truth do not possess that power that God would bestow upon them if they really believed, and were striving for conformity to His image. The church is in the Laodicean state. The presence of God is not in her midst. If Christ were formed within, the hope of glory, conformity to His image would be seen, and the church trials which separate the members from Christ would disappear. 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 10

“Without me,” Christ said, “ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] The worldliness of the church accumulates worldliness. Pleasure-loving, selfish love of ease and display, decreases the fund of gifts and offerings which should be brought to the church treasury. Church members withhold the tithe, God’s own reserved portion, with which He would sustain the gospel ministry in its various lines. God cannot bless them while this neglect is revealed. 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 11

Church members should be given missionary work to do. They should be taught to bring others to a knowledge of the truth. Women can and should be brought in, to work intelligently on right lines. But the members of the church are not likely to be aroused to make special efforts to supply the church with funds when they see no advancement being made, no desire manifested, to obey the command, “Go forward.” [Exodus 14:15.] 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 12

“And they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.” [Mark 16:20.] The doing of the Lord’s work cannot but require an increased expenditure of means. Success in any mission necessarily means support, and brings increased responsibilities and liabilities, in order to increase and widen the work. But souls are converted to the truth, and these return the means invested. Mission work must not cease because of limited means. Let every church member practice self-denial. The Word of God gives the commission, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” [Verse 15.] There is no restriction, no limit, to the work. And the promise is, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:20.] 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 13

Abridge the work, limit your labors, and you remove your Helper. The sickly, unhealthy state of the church reveals a church afraid to work, fearing that self-denial will be required. 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 14

The presence of the Lord is ever seen where every energy of the church is aroused to meet the spiritual responsibilities. But many of the churches who have had the light of present truth are dwarfed and crippled by the evils existing in their mist, but the selfishness cherished, by spending on self that which should be given to the Lord. Because of self-indulgence, they have nothing to give toward the work of saving souls. 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 15

Angels of God are sent to measure the temple and the worshipers therein. The Lord looks with sadness upon those who are serving their idols, with no care for the souls perishing in darkness and error. He cannot bless the church who feels it no part of their duty to be laborers together with God. What a terrible thing it is to exclude Christ from His own temple! What a loss to the church! 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 16

Our Redeemer sends His messengers to bear a testimony to His people. He says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” [Revelation 3:20.] But many refuse to receive Him, because they fear that He will be an expensive guest. The Holy Spirit waits to soften and subdue hearts, but they are not willing to open the door and let the Saviour in, for they fear that He will require something from them. And so Jesus of Nazareth passes by. He longs to bestow on them His rich blessings and gifts of grace, but they refuse to accept them. 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 17

The Lord requests His church to have a higher grade of piety, a more just sense of duty, a clear realization of their obligation to their Creator. All who will read the third chapter of Malachi will see that God calls for systematic contributions from His people. The funds so given will be abundantly blessed. If all whose names are on the church books would give to the Lord a tenth of their increase, as He has prospered them, abundant resources would swell the revenues of the church. God desires even the poorest to give their gifts, small though they may be. By giving as we have been prospered, we acknowledge God’s mercy and liberality in supplying our necessities. 13LtMs, Ms 156, 1898, par. 18