Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

311/339

Ms 78, 1900

“I Know Thy Works.”

NP

December 19, 1900 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in Ev 155; 2MR 181-182; 13MR 339-340. +Note

“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write, These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil, and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars; and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Revelation 2:1-5.] 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 1

We should study these words with humble, contrite hearts, or we shall fail to understand them. The teachers in the church are here addressed. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 2

“These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand.” [Verse 1.] Read these words with a desire to understand them. God has supreme authority over His workmen, over those who by appointment fill positions of trust in His church. They are to receive responsibilities with a self-distrust, and are to work under God’s ministration. They are to receive power from Him to increase the talents lent them in trust. They are to strive to become wise, faithful workers, possessing clear discernment and wise mastership. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 3

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” [2 Timothy 2:15.] “Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way, but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord; looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” [Hebrews 12:12-15.] 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 4

The honor of God is to be recognized. The sweet influences which are to be abundant in the church are bound up with God’s ministers, who are to represent the precious love of Christ. The stars of heaven are under the control of Christ. He fills them with light. He guides and directs their movements. If He did not do this, they would become fallen stars. So with His ministers. They are but instruments in His hand, and all the good they accomplish is done through His power. Through them His light is to shine forth. It is to the honor of Christ that He makes His ministers greater blessings to the church, through the working of the Holy Spirit, than the stars are to the world. The Saviour is to be their sufficiency. If they will look to Him as He looked to His Father, they will do His works. As they make God their dependence, He will give them His brightness to reflect to the world. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 5

“Who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.” [Revelation 2:1.] This shows Christ’s relation to the churches. He watches them with an intense interest to see whether they are in such a condition spiritually that they can advance His kingdom. Christ is present in every assembly of the church. If those who have maintained an attitude of proud self-sufficiency, who have domineered over God’s people, failing entirely to reveal Christlike love, could see how their conduct has grieved the Saviour, how quickly would they leave their place to be filled by someone who would better represent the Redeemer! 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 6

Christ walks in the midst of His churches through the length and breadth of this earth. He takes great pleasure in those who faithfully cultivate His vineyard. He is acquainted with every one who is connected with His service. He knows those whose hearts He can fill with the holy oil, that they may impart it to others. Those who faithfully carry forward the work of Christ in our world, loving Him and the purchase of His blood, representing in word and works the character of God, fulfil the Lord’s purpose for them. Christ takes pleasure in them as a man takes pleasure in a well-kept garden and the fragrance which comes to him from the flowers which he has planted in it. Let those who are as stars in the hand of Christ remember that they are ever to preserve a sacred, holy dignity. They are Christ’s representatives. Simplicity in Christ is the pure, sacred dignity of the truth. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 7

“I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars; and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.” [Verses 2, 3.] He who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks is conversant with the history and experience of every one who has subscribed His name as receiving and believing in Him. His commendation and reproof are to be highly respected. Of His people He says, “I have graven them upon the palms of my hands.” [Isaiah 49:16.] He cherishes carefully every act of love and endurance performed by them. God calls for diligence in His service. Be patient; endure hardness as good soldiers of the cross. Those who are in sacred office must control self and endure patiently. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 8

“And how thou canst not bear them which are evil.” [Revelation 2:2.] While we should not find fault and criticize, we are never to give encouragement to evil. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 9

“And thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.” [Verse 2.] There are those who are vain talkers. Their mouths need to be stopped. Their influence is misleading. When their pretensions are examined, they will be weighed in the balances and found wanting. Then faithful reproof may save them. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 10

“Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” [Verse 4.] At the first, the experience of the church of Ephesus was marked by childlike fervor and simplicity. A lively, earnest, heartfelt love for Christ was expressed. The believers talked and prayed and rejoiced in the love of God because Christ was an abiding presence in their hearts. O how this warmth of love glorified His name! The praise of God was on their lips, and their attitude of thanksgiving was in perfect accord with the thanksgiving of the heavenly family. The world took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus and learned of Him. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 11

Sinful men, repentant, pardoned, cleansed and sanctified, were brought into partnership with God through the grace of Christ. All the believers were united in the same firm, laboring earnestly to receive and obey every word of God. They were filled with ardent love for their Redeemer, and their highest aim was to win souls to Him. They did not think of hoarding the precious treasure of the grace of Christ. They felt the importance of their calling, and weighted with the precious message of the gospel—peace on earth and good will toward men—they were filled with a burning desire to call upon all to come to Christ. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 12

The church was united in sentiment and action. Love for Christ was the golden chain which bound them together. They followed on to know the Lord more and still more perfectly, and brightness and comfort and peace came into their lives. They trusted in the Lord. Visiting the fatherless and the widow was a part of their daily experience. They kept themselves unspotted from the world. They knew that a failure to do this would be a contradiction of their profession and a denial of their Redeemer. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 13

In every city the work was carried forward. Souls were converted, and in their turn felt that they must tell of the inexhaustible treasure. They could not rest until the beams of light which had illumined their minds were shining into the minds of others. Multitudes of unbelievers were made acquainted with the reason of the hope held by the Christians. Precious light was flashed upon minds clouded by error. Warm, inspired personal appeals were made to the sinful and erring, to the outcast, and to those who professed to know the truth, but were lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 14

After a time coldness crept into the church. Differences unworthy of notice sprung up, and the eyes of the believers were taken from beholding Jesus as the Author and Finisher of their faith. Their love for one another began to wane. The masses that might have been convicted and converted by a faithful practice of the truth were left unwarned. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 15

How is the church of today which has received a knowledge of the truth of God using this knowledge? Christ sees that it has lost something—the love for souls which Christ revealed to them when they first saw His unspeakable mercy for the fallen race. Then they could not keep silent. They were filled with a longing desire to give to others the blessings they had received. Thus it is with all who are truly converted. Those who love sinners with the love of God will work the works of God. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 16

In the prayer which Christ offered to His Father just before His crucifixion, Christ speaks of the work which should be done by His church. This prayer is a lesson for all believers. Read the first part of the seventeenth chapter of John with a desire to know by experience what it means to every one in service. God’s servants are to preach His Word to the people. Under the Holy Spirit’s working, they will come into order as stars in the hand of Christ, to shine forth with His brightness. “This is life eternal,” He said, “that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” [Verse 3.] 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 17

Let those who claim to be Christ’s ministers arise and shine, for their light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon them. Let them understand that Christ expects them to do the work that He has done. Let them leave the churches which know the truth, and go forth into the harvest field to establish new churches, to present the Word of truth to those who are in ignorance of God’s warning message. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 18

“I have glorified thee on the earth,”—by doing all Thou commandest Me to do. “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” [Verse 4.] Has not God given a work to those who today minister for Him in Word and doctrine? “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me, and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.” How did they know this? “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” [Verses 6-9.] 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 19

The leaven of truth needs to be introduced into society. The means of God’s people should be used to carry forward His work in new fields. But many have selfishly grasped for themselves all the means they dared, and then have coveted more. Grave evils have snapped the life and zeal and virtue of the church. Let us change quickly, or He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, will say to us as He said to the church of Ephesus, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place.” [Revelation 2:4, 5.] The work that God desires to see done by Seventh-day Adventists is not done. Unless there is a decided change, the people will accept as truth that which is not truth. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 20

Great light has been shining in regard to medical missionary work. Had our people accepted this light when first presented, what a change would now be seen in the ranks of Sabbathkeepers. If we do not heed this light, our candlestick will certainly be removed out of its place. The Lord has been withdrawing His presence from some who have had great light, but who have failed to walk in accordance with this light. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 21

The medical missionary work is to be to the Lord’s cause as the arm is to the body. The gospel and the medical missionary work are to advance together. The gospel is to be bound up with the principles of true health reform. Christianity is to be brought into the practical life. Earnest, thorough reformatory work is to be done. True Bible religion is an outflowing of the love for God for fallen man. God’s people are to go forward in straightforward lines to impress the hearts of those who are seeking for truth, who desire to act their part aright in this intensely earnest age. We are to present the principles of health reform before society, doing all in our power to lead men and women to see the necessity of these principles, and to practice them. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 22

At this time indulgence of appetite and intemperance is making our world like the world in the time of Noah, when the wickedness of the people was beyond all remedy, and God swept them away by a flood; and like Sodom, when men were universally corrupted, where old and young followed sinful practices, until in all Sodom there could not be found ten righteous people, and God destroyed the city by fire from heaven. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 23

Let those who read their Bibles understand these things. Let them seek to shine as stars in the right hand of God, to lighten those who are seeking for light, as well as to denounce the sinful practices of this generation. Nigh and afar off the laws of God’s kingdom are to be proclaimed. The ministry is to be sustained. The strictest vigilance is to be shown by those who preach the Word. They are to practice the truth in every detail of life. By their self-denial and their victory over appetite they are to represent the truth, bearing witness by their lives to its sanctifying, elevating, ennobling influence. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 24

Before the flood God was forgotten. The laws of His kingdom were transgressed. Intemperance in eating and drinking was universal. Ungodly revelling was heard on every side. Man corrupted his way until he reached the limit of wickedness, and the Lord said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man.” [Genesis 6:3.] Yet He gave him a probation of one hundred and twenty years. Under the supervision of God Noah built the ark, thus warning the people of what was coming on the earth, and calling them to repentance. But when the time came for God’s wrath to be poured out, only one family was prepared to enter the ark which had been built as a refuge from the coming deluge. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 25

Christ declared, “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” [Matthew 24:37-39.] 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 26

This is the message of warning we are to give to our world. In this work we should employ all our energies. The sins which existed in Noah’s day exist now, and God calls upon His ministers to carry forward a work of decided reform. He is seeking to lead His people to a higher plane of action. Let the church arise and shine. Let every family practice self-denial, doing all they can to improve their own condition. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 27

Those who are truly on the Lord’s side will be self-denying and self-sacrificing. They will eat and drink to the glory of God, refusing to corrupt soul and body by intemperance. Then the condition of the church will testify that her light has not been removed. But if church members do not act the part God has assigned them, the movement of health reform will go on without them, and it will be seen that God has removed their candlestick out of its place. Those who refuse to receive and practice the light will be left in the background. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 28

Let not this matter be treated indifferently. Those who explain the truth to others are themselves to be examples of the work that God requires to be done in the individual character. They are to be a living exposition of the Word: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” [James 1:27.] 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 29

In this time of moral declension God calls upon His people to show a marked distinction between their habits and practices and the habits and practices of the world. Let not those who claim to be Christians, who are professedly walking in the way of God’s commandments, take the side of idolaters by indulging self. The advancement of the principles of health reform and medical missionary work are to engage the energies of God’s people. Those who are to be a sign to the world are to learn their lessons from the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. In their work they are ever to follow Christ’s example. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 30

It is high time that those in our churches made decided efforts to sustain the men who are giving the last message of mercy to the world. Let church members, by a manifestation of practical religion, give weight to the message of warning which is being borne to the world by God’s messengers. Intelligent people are alarmed at the outlook in the world. If those who have a knowledge of the truth will practice Bible principles, showing that they have been sanctified by the truth, that they are true followers of the meek and lowly Jesus, they will exert an influence which will win souls to the truth. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 31

The faith of those who are set as watchmen on the walls of Zion is never to be eclipsed. They are to watch for souls as they that must give an account. Over and over again Christ repeats the words, “I know thy works.” [Revelation 2:2.] “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches: To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” [Verse 7.] 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 32

This message is of great value to all who will receive it. The second chapter of Revelation contains lessons which the church needs to learn. Let the members hear and receive and show a faith corresponding to their profession by a sanctified activity in the Lord’s work. Let not ministers hover over the churches, but go outside the camp to warn unbelievers. Let young men, going forth into the harvest field, prove themselves to be called and chosen and faithful. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 33

Christ said to His disciples, “Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” [Matthew 10:16.] Fruit will follow the work of those who obey this injunction. Let the churches wake up. Let the ministers clothe themselves with zeal as with a garment, and bear to the world the message to be given at this time. “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” [Isaiah 58:1.] Study and seek to understand the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 34

Anything less than active, earnest service for the Master gives the lie to our profession of Christianity. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Only the Christianity that is revealed by earnest, practical work will make an impression upon those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Praying, humble, believing Christians, who show by their actions that their greatest desire is to make know the saving truth, which is to test all people, will gather a rich harvest of souls for the Master. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 35

We need to break up the monotony of our religious labor. We are doing a work in the world, but we are not showing enough activity and zeal. If we were more in earnest, men would be convinced of the truth of our message. The tameness and monotony of our service for God repels many souls of a higher class, who need to see a deep, earnest, sanctified zeal. Legal religion will not answer for this age. We may perform all the outward acts of service, and yet be as destitute of the quickening influence of the Holy Spirit as the hills of Gilboa were destitute of dew and rain. We all need spiritual moisture; and we need also the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness to soften and subdue our hearts. We are always to be as firm as a rock to principle. Bible principles are to be taught, and then backed up by holy practice. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 36

Those in the service of God must show animation and determination in the work of winning souls. Remember that there are those who will perish unless we as God’s instrumentalities work with a determination that will not fail or become discouraged. The throne of grace is to be our continual dependence. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 37

How many of our young men will enter the service of God, not to be served, but to serve? In times past there were those who fastened their minds upon one soul after another, saying, “Lord, help me to save this soul.” But now such instances are very rare. How many act as though they realized the perils of sinners? How many take those they know to be in peril in prayer to God, supplicating Him to save them? 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 38

If the apostle could say of the early church, “They glorified God in me,” shall we not strive to live so that the same words can be said of us? [Galatians 1:24.] The Lord will provide ways and means for those who will seek Him with all the heart. He desires us to acknowledge the divine superintendence shown in preparing fields of labor and preparing the way for the successful occupation of these fields. God needs many more laborers in His vineyard. Those who work for Him will meet with discouragement, but the promise is always theirs, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:20.] God will give a most wonderful experience to those who will say, “I believe Thy promise, I will not fail nor become discouraged.” 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 39

Let those who gain such an experience in working for the Lord write an account of it for our papers, that others may be encouraged. Let the canvasser tell of the joy and blessing he has received in his ministry as an evangelist. These reports should find a place in our papers, for they are far-reaching in their influence. They will be as sweet fragrance in the church, a savor of life unto life. Thus it is seen that God works with those who co-operate with Him. Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 40

We know that as canvassers go forth into the field full of earnest activity, and with humble hearts, they will find many opportunities to speak a word in season to souls ready to die in their discouragement. After laboring for these needy ones, they will be able to say, “Ye were darkness; but now are ye light in the Lord.” [Ephesians 5:8.] As they see the sinful course of others, they will say, “Such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” [1 Corinthians 6:11.] 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 41

Let ministers and evangelists have more seasons of earnest prayer with those who are convicted by the truth. Remember that Christ is always with you. The Lord has in readiness the most precious exhibitions of His grace to strengthen and encourage the sincere, humble worker. Then reflect to others the light God has caused to shine upon you. Those who do this bring to the Lord the most precious offering. The hearts of those who bear the good tidings of salvation are aglow with the spirit of praise. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 42

Let there be less dependence on human counsel and advice. Why turn from the One who is all-sufficient to ask counsel of finite human beings. Why not make God your confidence, saying, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” [John 6:68.] Have we not all acted disrespectfully and uncourteously toward the One to whom we owe our life and all we have? Let us no longer turn from the light which lighteth every man to the uncertain wisdom of those who have no power except that which they first receive from God. Christ has invited us to come to Him, saying, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, ... and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:29.] 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 43

There is no excuse for the faith of our churches to be so faint and feeble. “Turn you to the Stronghold, ye prisoners of hope.” [Zechariah 9:12.] There is strength for us in Christ. Then let us worship God in the beauty of holiness. Let us enter His sanctuary with praise and thanksgiving. Christ speaks to us, saying, “I know thy works.” “I am he that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.” [Revelation 3:15; 1:18.] Our Saviour is not lying in Joseph’s new tomb. He has proclaimed over the sepulcher, “I am the resurrection and the life.” [John 11:25.] Then do not take your sorrows and difficulties to man. Present yourself to Him whose you are by creation and by redemption. Ask, and ye shall receive. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 44

When you need help, go to Him who alone is able to take away the sin of the world. No human being can do this work. Then why do you appeal to men for wisdom? “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given you.” [James 1:5.] In your unworthiness and helpless, come to Christ, saying, “Lord, save, or I perish.” [Matthew 8:25.] From Him you can learn the manifold wisdom of God, wisdom more precious and important than words can tell. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 45

Christ is our Advocate before the Father. He dispatches His messengers to every part of His dominion to communicate His will to His creatures. He walks in the midst of His churches. He desires to sanctify, elevate, and ennoble His followers. The influence of those who truly believe in Him will be a savor of life in the world. Christ holds the stars in His right hand, and it is His purpose to let this light shine forth through these to the world. Thus He desires to prepare His people for higher service in the church above. He has given us a great work to do. Let us do it with accuracy and determination. Let us show forth in our lives what the truth has done for us. 15LtMs, Ms 78, 1900, par. 46