Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16

293/447

Ms 50, 1901

“What shall we render to God ...”

NP

June 9, 1901

Portions of this manuscript are published in 4BC 1182; UL 174; 3MR 333.

What shall we render to God for all His benefits to us? We are to acknowledge our dependence upon Him by returning to Him a portion of His bounty. At stated times each week we are to lay by in store, according as God has prospered us, something for the advancement of His work. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 1

“We are laborers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry; ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Let us remember that all we have is lent to us by God, to be used in His service. Did men and women remember this more faithfully, the selfishness which exists in so many hearts would be uprooted. But men refuse to give themselves to God. They act as though they had not been bought by Him with the blood of His only begotten Son. They forget that they are indebted to Him for every breath they breathe, for sunshine and shower, for every dollar they possess. They use His money in building houses and adding acre to acre, solely for self-gratification. A just God will call them to account for misapplying His means, robbing His needy children of the necessaries of life in order to gratify their expensive tastes. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 2

Those who refuse to place themselves on the Lord’s side are robbing Him of the service He claims. What rent are they paying Him for living in His house, this world? They act as though they had created the world, as though they had a right to use what they possess as they please. God marks their misuse of His talents. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 3

God graciously permits the sinner to live out his probation. But his time is appointed. He is wasting his physical, mental, and moral strength. He is squandering his God-given opportunities. Instead of using brain, bone, and muscle to accomplish all he can for the advancement of the kingdom of God, he is studying how he can indulge and glorify himself. He is closing the door to all improvement of his capabilities. The adoption of false theories has placed him in opposition to the law of God. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 4

The Scriptures speak of the large class of professors who are not doers. Many who claim to believe in God deny Him by their works. The idolatry of money, houses, and lands marks them as idolators and apostates. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 5

All selfishness, all covetousness, is idolatry. Many men of the world who have placed their names on the church roll as believers in God and the Bible are worshipping the goods the Lord has entrusted to them that they may be His almoners. They may not literally bow down before their earthly treasure, but, nevertheless, they worship it; for it is their god. They are worshipers of mammon. To the things of this world they offer the homage due to God. He who sees and knows all things records the falsity of their profession. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 6

From the soul-temple of a worldly Christian, God is excluded in order that worldly policy may have abundant room. His money is his god. It belongs to Jehovah, but he to whom it is entrusted refuses to let it flow forth in deeds of benevolence. Did he appropriate it in accordance with God’s design, the incense of his good works would ascend to heaven, and from thousands of converted souls would be heard songs of praise and thanksgiving. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 7

To advance God’s kingdom, to arouse those dead in trespasses and sins, to speak to sinners of the healing balm of the Saviour’s love—it is for this that our money should be used. But in houses and lands has been invested the means which should have been used to save perishing souls. God’s money is used by men for self-glorification. Instead of being used to bring souls to a knowledge of God and Christ, thus calling forth praise and gratitude to the Giver of all good, earthly possessions have been the means of eclipsing the glory of God and obscuring the view of heaven. By the wrong use of money, the world is filled with lustful practices. The door of the mind has been closed against the Redeemer. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 8

God declares, “The gold and the silver is mine.” [See Haggai 2:8.] He keeps a strict account with every son and daughter of Adam, that He may know how they are appropriating His means. Worldly men and worldly women may say, But I am not a Christian. I do not profess to serve God. But does that make them less guilty for burying His means, His resources, in worldly enterprises, to advance their selfish interests? 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 9

I speak to you who know not God, who may read these words; for in the providence of God they may be brought to your notice. What are you doing with your Lord’s goods? What are you doing with the physical and mental powers He has given you? Have you the power to keep the human machinery in motion? Did God speak but one word, you would at once be still in death. Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, God works by His infinite power to keep you alive. It is He who supplies the air which keeps life in the body. Should God neglect man as man neglects God, what would become of the race? Without fresh air to breathe, the lungs, the avenues of life, would be clogged. The food would be a minister of evil, and death would result. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 10

God spares the life of the sinner until He sees that the life will not be surrendered to Him. The great Medical Missionary has an interest in the work of His hands. He presents before man the peril of closing the door of the heart against the Saviour, saying, “Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?” [Ezekiel 33:11.] 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 11

We have spoken about the obligation resting upon those who have not accepted Christ as a personal Saviour. But how are they to be convinced of the importance of present truth? Is it not by the work of unselfish, self-sacrificing Christian men and women? “There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and that bring glad tidings of good things.” [Romans 10:12-15.] 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 12

Is it not time for the church to arise and shine because her light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon her? 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 13

In order for us to reflect light to those in darkness, we must be brought into continual contact with the truth of heavenly origin. We must eat the words of Christ. We must breathe His Spirit. It is this that surrounds the soul with the pure atmosphere of heaven. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 14

For the health and vitality of the soul the divine Physician has prescribed communion with Christ. We are to sit at His feet and learn of Him how to be meek and lowly in heart. Spiritual health is dependent on the food given to the mind and on the air which is breathed. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 15

The soul needs food, and in order to get this food, the Word of God must be studied. Missionary work must be done. Christ declares, “I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. ... I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; 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 6:35, 51, 54-57, 63.] 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 16

The breathing of pure air is essential for the cure of disease. And it is no less essential that the atmosphere we breathe in the spiritual life shall be pure. This is essential for a healthy growth in grace. Breathe the pure atmosphere which produces pure thoughts and noble words. Choose Christian society. The Christian will not have spiritual health unless he is guarded in regard to his associations. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 17

The young convert to truth must not always remain a child in spiritual knowledge. A child, however beautiful as a child, is a deformity if it makes no development as years pass by. And every Christian, who is indeed a Christian, must grow. He must constantly increase in wisdom and knowledge. Day by day he must approach more nearly to the full stature of a man in Christ Jesus. In order to be a follower of the Master, he must grow. He must advance into a deeper appreciation of the love of God and a clearer knowledge of His will. If his light does not shine more and more brightly, his faith becomes weak, his love grows feeble; and unless he sees and acknowledges his danger, he is doing the cause of God more harm than an avowed unbeliever. Piety leaves the soul-temple. He turns carelessly away from duties and responsibilities. The Son of God is by him crucified afresh and put to open shame. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 18

Exercise is essential to growth in grace. When the spiritually diseased are given exercise in spiritual things, there is a transformation of character. The health of the spiritual life is dependent upon exercise. But spirituality cannot grow while the heart is full of the corrupting sores of selfishness. The soul must be cleansed and purified by the refining grace of God. The channel of communication between earth and heaven must be kept free from all obstruction, that the soul may receive from Christ a supply of living water. And every spiritual muscle and sinew must be put to the tax. God has given us many opportunities to work for Him. Unless we improve these opportunities, we cannot be growing Christians. When Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, a decided change will be seen in the religious experience of professing Christians. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 19

We are living in an age of doubt. The Christian life has become cheapened. Even those who claim to be Seventh-day Adventists are not all true to principle. The truth may be taught with so little life, so coldly and heartlessly, as to make it of no effect. Unless church members arouse and repent and consecrate themselves to God, their influence will do more harm than good to unbelievers. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 20

“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.] 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 21

God calls upon us to draw near to Him. As we do this, we resist the devil, and he flees from us. Unless we follow on day by day to know the Lord, unless our faith increases, and holiness comes into our life-experience, we shall lose our first love. Its freshness and power will disappear. The candlestick will be moved out of its place. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 22

Before we can enter the heavenly courts, we must be refined, purified, elevated, ennobled. In order to preserve the purity which God requires, the truth must be brought into constant contact with mind and heart. God calls upon His people to walk with Him, as did Enoch. Study His Word if you desire to have Christ abiding in you, the life-blood of the soul. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 23

Is Christ abiding with us? If He is, His holy influence will keep our hearts pure and our minds energetic. The Holy Spirit dwelling in us checks the evil and enables us to separate righteousness from unrighteousness. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 24

“When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come.” [John 16:13.] 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 25

The Christian church needs to be purged and purified. The members must be consecrated to a higher office than they have hitherto occupied. “Go,” said Christ, “and preach the gospel to every creature.” [Mark 16:15.] God calls for a decided reform. You call yourselves Christians. Are you Christians? Are you not afraid that you misrepresent Christ by taking His name, and saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord are we, while you allow the love of money to lead you to withhold your tithe and your gifts and offerings, and to keep you from doing the work which the Lord has entrusted to you? The neglect and indifference of professed Christians is cast by the world as a reproach upon God. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 26

How can we, men and women who have a knowledge of the truth, be so listless and indifferent, so careless in regard to the work to be done in our world to bring the light of truth to the souls perishing in sin? Christians need a clear conviction of duty and the childlike faith which works by love and purifies the soul. Then the deathlike stupor now resting upon the church will be removed. The Lord will work upon mind and heart. The soul-temple will be purified. There will be no fungus growth. Sloth and stupidity will no longer endanger faith. There will be seen spiritual elasticity and vigorous growth. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 27

God calls for a decided change in His people. Heart-conversion is needed. He calls upon us to reveal to the world the sanctifying power of the truth we profess to believe. He calls upon us to lay ourselves upon His altar, a living sacrifice for Him. All that we have is to be consecrated to His service. 16LtMs, Ms 50, 1901, par. 28