The Review and Herald

517/1902

February 25, 1890

Need of Earnestness in the Cause of God

EGW

The Lord knocks at the door of your heart, desiring to enter, that he may impart spiritual riches to your soul. He would anoint the blind eyes, that they may discover the holy character of God in his law, and understand the love of Christ, which is indeed gold tried in the fire. There are old, yet new truths still to be added to the treasures of our knowledge. We do not understand or exercise faith as we should. Christ has made rich promises in regard to bestowing the Holy Spirit upon his church, and yet how little these promises are appreciated! We are not called to worship and serve God by the use of the means employed in former years. God requires higher service now than ever before. He requires the improvement of the heavenly gifts. He has brought us into a position where we need higher and better things than have ever been needed before. The slumbering Church must be aroused, awakened out of its spiritual lethargy, to a realization of the important duties which have been left undone. The people have not entered into the holy place, where Jesus has gone to make an atonement for his children. We need the Holy Spirit in order to understand the truths for this time; but there is spiritual drought in the churches, and we have accustomed ourselves to be easily satisfied with our standing before God. We say that we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing, while we are poor, and wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked. RH February 25, 1890, par. 1

It is essential that we study the Scriptures far more earnestly than we do. With fervent prayer we should earnestly and thoroughly examine the pillars of our faith, to see that we have no false support. God will not bless men in indolence, nor in zealous, stubborn opposition to the light he gives to his people. Many who have come to the faith have received the truths from the lips of teachers, and have not sought a knowledge of the truth themselves. They are content with mere surface evidence. They have not obtained increased light by diligent investigation of the Scriptures, and are not quick to discern the temptations and delusions of Satan. Some are described in the words of Malachi: “Ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.” RH February 25, 1890, par. 2

Those who claim to keep and teach the holy law of God, and are continually transgressing that law, are stumbling-blocks not only to sinners, but also to believers in the truth. They oppose they know not what, because, unfortunately, they are leavened with the spirit of opposition. The loose, lax way in which many regard the law of Jehovah and the gift of his Son, is an insult to God. The only way in which we can correct this wide-spread evil, is to closely examine every one who would become a teacher of the word. Those upon whom this responsibility rests, should acquaint themselves with his history since he has professed to believe the truth. His Christian experience and his knowledge of the Scriptures, the way in which he holds the present truth, should all be understood. There has been too little done in examining ministers, and for this very reason churches have had the labors of unconverted, inefficient men, who have lulled the members to sleep, instead of awakening them to greater zeal and earnestness in the cause of God. RH February 25, 1890, par. 3

The truth has been represented as a “treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.” The man who had bought the field would plow every part of it to make himself possessor of the treasure. Thus it is with the word of God. It is filled with precious things; it is a field containing the unsearchable riches of Christ. Yet many who teach the truth have no ambition to become Bible students, and do not work the mine that contains the precious jewels of truth. They get a runway of a few discourses which they think will make them pass as preachers, but it is impossible for them to bring from the treasure-house of God's word, things new and old. They are not thoroughly furnished for every good work, and are unable to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ. RH February 25, 1890, par. 4

Let our prayers ascend to God for his converting, transforming grace. Meetings should be held in every church for solemn prayer and earnest searching of the word to know what is truth. Take the promises of God, and ask God in living faith for the outpouring of his Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit is shed upon us, marrow and fatness will be drawn from the word of God. Ministers will not handle it carelessly, but prayerfully, reverently, as the guide-book of heaven. They will see the altar upon which they are to present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is their reasonable service. When self-denial becomes a part of our religion, we shall understand and do the will of God; for our eyes will be anointed with eye-salve so that we shall behold wonderful things out of his law. We shall see the path of obedience as the only path of safety. God holds his people responsible in proportion as the light of truth is brought to their understanding. The claims of his law are just and reasonable, and through the grace of Christ he expects us to fulfill his requirements. The demands of his law must be fully met. Men must advance in the path of duty from light to a greater light, for light unimproved becomes darkness, and a means of treasuring up wrath for themselves against the day of wrath. RH February 25, 1890, par. 5

Every member of the church is responsible for the talents intrusted to him; and in order to meet his responsibilities he needs to be instructed diligently, patiently, and with the spirit of Christ. This work devolves largely on the minister, but often his work is so slightly done that it cannot be acceptable to God or accomplish his purpose. Talent must be trained that the very highest service may be rendered by individual members of the church. When the churches become living, working churches, the Holy Spirit will be given in answer to their sincere request. Then the truth of God's word will be regarded with new interest, and will be explored as if it were a revelation just from the courts above. Every declaration of inspiration concerning Christ will take hold of the inmost soul of those who love him. Envy, jealousy, evil surmising, will cease. The Bible will be regarded as a charter from heaven. Its study will absorb the mind, and its truths will feast the soul. The promises of God now repeated as if the soul had never tasted of his love, will then glow upon the altar of the heart, and fall in burning words from the lips of the messengers of God. They will then plead with souls with an earnestness that cannot be repulsed. Then the windows of heaven will be open for the showers of the latter rain. The followers of Christ will be united in love. RH February 25, 1890, par. 6

The only way the truth can be presented to the world, in its pure and holy character, is for those who claim to believe it, to be exponents of its power. The Bible requires the sons and daughters of God to stand on an elevated platform; for God calls upon them to represent Christ to the world. As they represent Christ, they represent the Father. Unity of believers testifies of their oneness with Christ, and this unity is required by the accumulated light which now shines upon the pathway of the children of God. It is not the want of knowledge, or of spiritual understanding, that will separate us from the divine presence, and witness against us in the last day, but the truth that has reached the understanding, the light that has shone upon the soul and has not been appreciated, will judge and condemn us before God. My brethren, if we were blind, we would not sin, but we have been privileged to look upon great light. The treasures of truth and knowledge have been bestowed upon us without limit, and we are guilty in proportion to our failure to live up to the truth that has been placed within our reach. The character and work of many of the professed followers of Christ will not bear the test of God's holy law. The Spirit of God is not in their worship, and the worship is not acceptable to God. There is no excuse for their present coldness. They have the riches of the truth, and make a boast of their knowledge, but they are content to make no advancement. Many plead that their fathers believed certain things, that they loved God and were favored by him, and therefore we shall be favored in taking a like position. But we cannot stand where our fathers stood. We cannot be accepted of God in rendering the same service that our fathers rendered. In order to have our life-work blessed of God, we must be as faithful, as zealous, in our time as they were in theirs; we must improve our light as they improved theirs, and do as they would have done if the increased light shining upon us had shone upon them. RH February 25, 1890, par. 7

We should not open the sacred volume with a light and trifling spirit. We should study God's word with humility, with hope, with prayerful hearts, grateful that such a treasure has been vouchsafed to us. Every doctrine must be brought to the Bible. Every perplexing question must be settled by a “thus saith the Lord.” RH February 25, 1890, par. 8

The truth should be woven into our life, that it may influence our spirit and govern our actions. I declare to you in the name of the Lord, that the ministry must be elevated. We are not anything like as efficient as we might be. Some of the ministers do not teach the truth as it is in Jesus. They do not eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God. Christ says, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” His words must become a part of our very life; then we shall offer fervent, effectual prayers with that faith which will bring returns. Then if ministers see that their labors are not effectual to the saving of souls, they will fast and pray, and the Holy Spirit will come upon them. They will work diligently to correct what may be wrong in their character. The sincerity of their prayers will be determined by the earnest efforts they make to place themselves in right relation to God. When they see in themselves sins and wrongs that must be confessed and renounced, they must exercise faith that when they repent of their sins, God forgives; that renovating power is given to the soul. By faith, living faith, the victory will be gained. In this work there should be no indolence indulged in, for God calls upon men for the exercise of every power, that he may work with their efforts. Man can never be saved himself, or be an instrument for the salvation of others, until he exercises living faith, and with determined effort acts his part in the work of God. He must take hold upon the strength of Christ, which will subdue every unholy passion, and enable him to conquer self. God has given to his people the light of great and solemn truths. He has opened to their understanding the mysteries of salvation; and if these truths are not improved, the favor of God will be withdrawn. RH February 25, 1890, par. 9