The Review and Herald

538/1902

July 22, 1890

“Go and Tell Him His Fault Between Thee and Him Alone”

EGW

Those who are at variance should act out the Bible directions to the letter. The Saviour has said, “If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” “Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” This is a kind of work that requires the grace of Christ in the heart. There is alienation and division where none should exist, among those who profess to be the children of God; and the reason of this is that men are hearers, readers, of the words of Christ, but not doers. RH July 22, 1890, par. 1

How much suffering would be prevented, if those who claim to know and believe the truth, would practice its precepts! In living out the lessons of Jesus, we make it manifest that we are not careless, inattentive, unfruitful hearers of the word. If those who claim to be the followers of Christ were only obedient to the truth, the door that is now open where Satan finds access and enters to wound and bruise the soul, would be closed. How careful we should be not to offend one of the little ones that belong to God! The Saviour said, “It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” Let every member of the church try to save the souls of others, and not through criticism and evil reports discourage or destroy them. How many and how great evils would be extinguished in the church if men followed Christ's rule of dealing with the erring, instead of following the impulse and passion of their unsanctified hearts! RH July 22, 1890, par. 2

If matters of difficulty between brethren are not laid open to others, but frankly spoken of between themselves, in the spirit of Christian love, the difficulty will, in most cases, be healed, and the offending brother won. Misunderstandings have arisen that have been thus explained in Christian tenderness, and the breach has been healed. RH July 22, 1890, par. 3

When brethren come together in harmony with the directions of Christ, Jesus himself is a witness to the scene, and the whole universe looks with intense interest upon those who not only believe, but do the words of Christ. The Spirit of God will move upon the heart of him who has erred, when Christ's words are carried out, and the one at fault will be convicted of his error. But if he is too proud, too self-sufficient, to confess his mistake and heal the wrong, other steps are to be taken in order to follow out the complete directions of the word. “If he will not hear thee [in that private interview], then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” The matter of difficulty is to be confined to as small a number as possible. But two or three are to labor with the one who is in error. They should not only talk with the one at fault, but should bow in prayer, and with humble hearts seek the Lord. RH July 22, 1890, par. 4

“And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church; but if he neglect to hear the church [if he persists in his unreasonable course and will not be corrected, then there is only one more step to be taken, and that is a very sorrowful one], let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” When every specification that Christ has given is carried out in the true, Christian spirit, then, and then only, heaven ratifies the decision of the church, because its members have the mind of Christ, and do as Christ would do if he were upon earth. RH July 22, 1890, par. 5

Brethren, it must be made manifest that we are not only Bible readers, but also doers of the words of Christ. Those who fully trust in the Lord Jesus, will be obedient children, and will have guidance from above. The mind and will of God are made plain in the living oracles. RH July 22, 1890, par. 6

In our churches we should not act as though we were groping our way in the dark. Clear light has been given us. The Lord has spoken to every one in his word, and that word is luminous with light, and weighty with the precious ore of truth. In the Bible we have a perfect rule of conduct, and we are safe in humbly following it. With reverent hearts we should bow to God's expressed will. We are not left in uncertainty; for in all the varied circumstances of life we may walk according to the instructions of God, which are based upon golden principles of truth, and revealed in the precepts of his law. In the Bible there are rules to meet every case. A complete system of faith has been revealed, and correct rules for practice in our daily life have been made known. Those who turn from the beaten path marked out in God's word, because it suits their feelings better to do so than to walk according to the commandment, leave the light, and are enshrouded in darkness. Peace of mind, happiness, and heaven are sacrificed for the sake of maintaining human pride and indulging stubbornness of will. RH July 22, 1890, par. 7

We are not to place dependence upon man, nor expect homage from our fellow-men. Jesus says, “Be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” We should remember that the best and most intelligent of men have only limited ability, and we should pray for discernment to understand what is each man's true place. We are not to be blind; we may see the prejudices which are cherished by those with whom we associate, we may see the errors that hinder their religious growth, we may discern their instability of opinion, their partiality of action; but because we see thus, we should not feel that we are superior to them, measuring ourselves among ourselves, and leaning to our own understanding. As we see the deficiencies of others, it should lead us to be less self-confident, to be jealous of our own spirit and action. RH July 22, 1890, par. 8

No living man should come in to take the place of God in your mind. “Call no man your father upon the earth.... Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself, shall be exalted.” These words of Christ are not only to be read, but are to be obeyed to the letter. Those who meekly and humbly pursue their course of duty, not to be praised, petted, and honored of men, but to glorify God, will receive as their reward glory, honor, and eternal life. But many are so lifted up in spiritual pride, that they act as if it were not enjoined upon them to live in harmony with the instructions of Christ. RH July 22, 1890, par. 9

We are to walk in humility before God, and we can do this as the clear light of heaven reveals the perfection of Christ's character, and we see in contrast the weakness and imperfection of our own. Those who have a view of Christ in contrast with self, will not feel like boasting. They will not lift up self, but will appreciate the value of souls for whom Christ has died. I have great sorrow of heart that the rules of Christ have been so strangely neglected by those who profess to be his followers. Reading the Bible, believing the Bible, will not save any of us; for it is the doers of the word that shall be justified. RH July 22, 1890, par. 10

I know of nothing more injurious to the soul than this habit of talking of one another's errors, of reporting every unfavorable tale that is brought to your ears, and of magnifying the mistakes of a brother. When a brother's fault comes to your notice, how much better it would be to go to him with it, following out the Bible rule that has been given by Him who owns the souls of all men! An infinite price has been paid to ransom the souls of men from the power of the enemy, and how terrible it is for one who professes to love God, to set forth the mistakes and errors of his brethren in high colors, doing a wicked work against Jesus in the person of his saints. The rebuke of God is upon every one that engages in such work; it is the work of Satan. The Lord has declared, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” RH July 22, 1890, par. 11

When Christians accuse and condemn their brethren, they show themselves to be in the service of the accuser of the brethren. When they talk of their faults and failings, they plant roots of bitterness, whereby many shall be defiled. It is through this kind of work that brother becomes suspicious of brother, and variance arises in the church. Love cannot exist where the conversation of the professed people of God is largely made up of talk concerning the errors and mistakes of others. When this is done, the words of Christ are treated with indifference and contempt, as though frail, erring man had found some other way to heaven save the one appointed by the Lord,—obedience to the commandments of God. We should remember that we are all brethren, seeking the same home in heaven; but if Christ is not formed within, if you have not the mind of Christ, and do not practice the words of Christ; if you are fully satisfied with your own peculiar ways, so that you feel justified in complaining of your brethren, you will never reach heaven. If you cannot live in harmony on the earth, how could you live throughout eternity in love and peace? There must be kindness, love, courtesy, and delicate regard shown for one another here and now. To practice the principles of love will not prevent us from dealing plainly with our brethren, in brotherly kindness pointing out wrongs and short-comings when it is necessary to do so. But we should do this in harmony with the directions of Christ. When you are yourself connected with God, you may speak plainly to those who by their crooked course are turning the lame out of the way. The apostle gives this instruction concerning this class: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” RH July 22, 1890, par. 12

Satan designs to keep the church in a state of wrangling, envy, jealousy, and evil surmising, so that brethren cannot pray or work in harmony; while thus at variance, they fail to bring the saving power of the truth to bear upon the heart of unbelievers. People become disgusted with our religion when they witness the way in which a brother treats an offending brother. RH July 22, 1890, par. 13

It is the duty of every true follower of Christ to reflect light to the world. God has laid upon us a responsibility for the souls of those who are unsaved. As an ambassador of Christ, I would tell you, brethren, that if you talked more of the merits of Christ, if you engaged more frequently in humble prayer, and said less to your brethren of the weaknesses of others, you would advance in spirituality and be far ahead of where you now are. You must give the precious plant of love some chance to grow. Jesus has said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Jesus told the disciples to tarry at Jerusalem until they should be endued with power from on high. “Without me,” he said again, “ye can do nothing.” But Paul declares, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” RH July 22, 1890, par. 14

We should be often in prayer. The outpouring of the Spirit of God came in answer to earnest prayer. But mark this fact concerning the disciples. The record says, “They were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” They were not assembled to relate tidbits of scandal. They were not seeking to expose every stain they could find on a brother's character. They felt their spiritual need, and cried to the Lord for the holy unction to help them in overcoming their own infirmities, and to fit them for the work of saving others. They prayed with intense earnestness that the love of Christ might be shed abroad in their hearts. This is our great need today in every church in our land. For “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” That which was objectionable in the character is purified from the soul by the love of Jesus. All selfishness is expelled, all envy, all evil-speaking, is rooted out, and a radical transformation is wrought in the heart. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” “The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” RH July 22, 1890, par. 15

Paul says that “as touching the law,”—as far as outward acts were concerned,—he was “blameless,” but when the spiritual character of the law was discerned, when he looked into the holy mirror, he saw himself a sinner. Judged by a human standard, he had abstained from sin, but when he looked into the depths of God's law, and saw himself as God saw him, he bowed in humiliation, and confessed his guilt. He did not go away from the mirror and forget what manner of man he was, but he exercised genuine repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. He was washed, he was cleansed. He says, “I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” RH July 22, 1890, par. 16

Sin then appeared in its true hideousness, and his self-esteem was gone. He became humble. He no longer ascribed goodness and merit to himself. He ceased to think more highly of himself than he ought, and he ascribed all the glory to God. He was no longer ambitious for greatness. He ceased to want to avenge himself, and was no longer sensitive to reproach, neglect, or contempt. He no longer sought earthly alliance, station, or honor. He did not pull others down to uplift himself. He became gentle, condescending, meek and lowly of heart, because he had learned his lesson in the school of Christ. He talked of Jesus and his matchless love, and grew more and more into his image. He bent his whole energy to win souls to Christ. When trial came upon him because of his unselfish labor for souls, he bowed in prayer, and his love for them increased. His life was hid with Christ in God, and he loved Jesus with all the ardor of his nature. Every church was dear to him; every church-member was a person of interest to him; for he looked upon every soul as the purchase of the blood of Christ. RH July 22, 1890, par. 17

This should be the experience of every member of our churches. We are to bear the precious fruits of the Spirit of God to his glory, even rich clusters of good fruit that will make us more precious than the golden wedge of Ophir. Brethren, you need to humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, and he will lift you up. If a fountain that has been rank and bitter loses its corrupt qualities, those who drink of it, will recognize the change. The water will be pure and sweet, and the streams that flow from it wholesome and refreshing. RH July 22, 1890, par. 18

We are to be constantly seeking for precious pearls of truth. There must be a dying to the world. There must be no cowardice, no compromise. There must be an earnest seeking for the wisdom that is from above. The apostle asks, “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” RH July 22, 1890, par. 19

Brethren, God would work for us if he could do it safely; he wants to do great things for his people, but the strife of tongues has dishonored God, weakened the hands of his professed children, and brought dearth and feebleness into the church. Is it not time to arise, to open the heart to receive the rays of light that are shining forth from the living oracles? Is it not time that the love of God should be permitted to make its impress upon the soul, that Jesus may be glorified among those who claim to be his followers? RH July 22, 1890, par. 20