The Home Missionary

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July 1, 1897

“Ye are the Light of the World”

[Fourth Sabbath Reading for July.]

EGW

The Lord has made his people the repository of sacred truth. Upon every individual who has had the light of present truth devolves the duty of developing that truth on a higher scale than it has hitherto been done. But should we be in trust of sacred, advanced truth, and yet be satisfied to work in narrow, selfish lines? The Lord will hold us accountable for the influence we might have exerted but did not, because we have not earnestly tried to understand our accountability in this world. We shall either glorify or dishonor God. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 1

“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil-speakings, as new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner-stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 2

God has set his people on an elevated position, above the world. He declares of them, “Ye are the light of the world: a city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” And again, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 3

“Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.” HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 4

We need not think that because we are only a tiny light, we need not be particular about shining. The great value of our light lies in its consistency in shining amid the moral darkness of the world, in shining not to please and glorify ourselves, but to honor God with all there is of us. If we are doing service for God, and our work is corresponding with the ability God has given us, that is all he expects of us. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 5

“And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, and said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: and two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof.... Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.... Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 6

We know that the lamps which give us light have no light in themselves. They cannot fill themselves. So the holy, appointed ones must empty the golden oil into the golden tubes. And the heavenly fire, when applied, makes them burning and shining lights. Our hearts cannot reflect light until there is a vital connection with heaven. This alone can make them burn steadily with holy, unselfish love for Jesus and for all who are the purchase of his blood. And unless we are constantly replenished with the golden oil, the flame will die out. Unless the love of God is an abiding principle in our hearts, our light will go out. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 7

“Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The tiniest lamp, kept replenished with the golden oil, which sends forth its bright beams and discovers the darkness, is of far more value than the large lamp which flashes with brilliancy for a time, then sputters and goes out, leaving souls in darkness, to stumble their way along as best they can. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 8

We see children, they may be brothers and sisters, who, if they chance to be pleased, and circumstances are all favorable for them, are in good spirits, kind and courteous; but wait until something unavoidable comes that does not please them, crossing their ideas, and see how passion is expressed in the voice, and their attitude assumes such a character that Satan can control and make most disagreeable impressions. All that you can judge of the tree is by its fruit. Where is the affection, the love, the true Christian politeness? The countenance expresses hatred. Satan delights in these exhibitions. He delights in extinguishing love and kindness. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 9

But how does God look upon these things?—Only with grief and sadness, even in inexperienced children. But when all these objectionable attributes are expressed in grown-up children, when those who have come to years of maturity, who have had great light and knowledge and experience, shall act like children in their fits of malice, it is a sad thing. These are piercing Christ afresh, and putting him to open shame before his adversary. Satan and his confederate angels point to those who profess to be children of God, but who by their disposition and actions show that they are after the similitude of the apostate, and taunt Christ and the heavenly angels. How long shall we thus crucify the Son of God afresh, so that God is ashamed to call us his sons and daughters? Is it not time that we put away childish things? Shall we be of the number who are ever learning, yet never able to come to a knowledge of the truth? HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 10

It is the golden oil that the heavenly messengers empty into the golden tubes, to be conducted into the golden bowl, that creates a continuous, bright, and shining light. It is the love of God continually transferred to the human agent that keeps him a bright and shining light for God. Then he can communicate light and truth to all who are in darkness and error and sin. The golden oil is not manufactured by any human skill. It is the unseen power of the holy messengers who wait before the throne of God to communicate to every one who is in darkness, that they may diffuse heaven's light. Into the hearts of those united to God by faith, his golden oil of love flows freely, to flow forth again in good works, in real, heartfelt service for God, in being a blessing to their fellow men. Thus they are enabled to shine. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 11

The sin of much talking is not small in its result. Words bitter as gall may be spoken in the heat of satanic passion; but when these poor, deluded souls come to their senses, and are as ashamed as they ought to be of their words, why do they not acknowledge their sin, and thus disappoint the enemy? It may be that they have cultivated a spirit of evil-surmising, and communicate their suppositions to others. But those whose hearts are right with God will say, “I cannot hear these evil reports.” If you know evil of your brother or your sister, go in the spirit of Christ, and talk it over with them. Get it out of the way. Kill the dragon, and hurry him out of sight, where he will never have a resurrection. Let no flaw in your speech, no defection in your spirit, break the friendship and love which Christ has enjoined upon you to cultivate. Then the golden oil will be emptied into the tubes and conducted into the bowl, that the lamp may burn brightly. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 12

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor.” In that wonderful prayer of Christ's recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John, he said, “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 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. 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.” HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 13

“For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life: but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Here is the whole question settled. All who are eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God, are abiding in Christ, and Christ in them. “The flesh profiteth nothing,” Christ said, “the words that I speak unto you they are spirit and they are life.” If there is an appreciation of the word, then the word will be obeyed. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 14

“Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy,” were the words spoken by Christ to his disciples. He besought them to take heed, and not receive the doctrines which were not from God. And of the Pharisees he said, Ye do teach for doctrine the commandments of men. In his lessons Christ used the figure of leaven in two entirely different senses. He likened the gospel, the kingdom of heaven, to leaven. And again he speaks of the leaven of evil-surmising and evil-thinking. As the leaven spreads through the meal in which it is hidden, so will the leaven of evil-surmising and malice pervert the entire being—thoughts, actions, and character—where it is received. With the good leaven, the word of God, true goodness, righteousness, and peace are introduced. This brings the entire affections into conformity to the mind and will of God. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 15

Our Lord taught the same truth by the grain of mustard seed. He presents the truth in parables, using varied illustrations and different figures which will meet different minds. Each parable carries its own peculiar lesson. “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” In this parable Christ would teach us that we are individually to be sowers of the seed. No one is to be idle or indifferent. Each has his or her work to do according to his entrusted capabilities; and these capabilities are to grow. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 16

“Another parable spake he unto them: The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” This is another representation of the seeds of truth which work from the inward to the outward. As leaven, or yeast, though hidden in the flour, and deposited only in one place, brings all surrounding it under its leavening process, so the working of truth continues secretly, silently, steadily, pervading all the faculties of the soul and all the kingdoms of the world. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 17

The word of truth should ever be in mind and heart, that those who believe the truth shall be prepared to speak a word in season. The seed of truth, sown in a few well-chosen words, may appear to have but a small beginning, but that word spoken from the heart may take root and spring up and bear an abundant harvest of fruit. In ourselves we can do nothing. We are all weak, but if we make the most of the Lord's entrusted talent, his divine power will give us efficiency. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 18

The great apostle exclaims, “Who is sufficient for these things?” But many, whose sphere of influence seems narrow and weak, their abilities limited, their opportunities few, their knowledge not extended, their influence small, may, if they will let the peace of God rule in their hearts, do as much good, and more, than those who have efficiency, especially if they trust to their efficiency. “It is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” The strength and talents belong to God, and who can estimate the great work that may be done in the sowing of the gospel seed? It will be as the morsel of leaven hidden in the meal. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 19

Again: the leaven of truth, wherever it goes, makes a change in mind and heart. The entire character is transformed. While there is self-denial and the cross lying directly in the pathway of the gospel missionary, there are results to be seen for their labor. All who will receive into the heart the truth as it is in Jesus, will reveal its leavening power. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” When the kingdom of heaven is established in the heart, the whole character is conformed to the character of Christ; for the truth is a life-giving principle. The power of God is working, like the leaven, to subdue the entire being. Even the thoughts are brought into captivity to the will of Christ. The true believer becomes a new man, a new woman, in Christ Jesus. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 20

And there is sure to follow a holy influence. A consistency will run through the whole life like golden threads, showing it to be a work of the heart. There is in the leaven placed in the meal, a sure process of taking hold upon the substance, and subduing it. The gospel is not like the leaven in some things. It meets in the human heart, temptations, and hindrances, and the natural and cultivated tendencies of the human agent. Therefore, Jesus has said, “Watch and pray.” We must guard against all selfishness, every species of idolatry. The consistent, pure principles of the Christian will, in pleasant or unpleasant circumstances or surroundings, do much good; for the leaven of good is in him. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 21

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” What changes are wrought all unknowingly to the one who tremblingly brings from the storehouse the precious word upon which he has been feeding. The strength is not his own, it is God's. One heart may be turned to God under the co-operation of the Holy Spirit with the human agent, and that one, converted to God, brought under the power of truth, the Holy Spirit, makes a working agency, a fresh instrument, to communicate the golden oil which has been communicated to him through divine and human agencies. That one lamp, kept steadily burning with the golden oil, will light many candles. HM July 1, 1897, Art. B, par. 22

Mrs. E. G. White