The Review and Herald

624/1902

June 14, 1892

Gospel Hearers—No. 3

Stony-ground Hearers

(Continued.)

EGW

Instead of trusting to good works, the soul who would be saved must trust in the righteousness of Christ; for only in Christ can he work the works of God. Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Christ is the sinner's only hope. There is no comfort for the soul in looking at the good works he has done; for they are all mixed with pride and sin, and by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. In the righteousness of Christ the sinner may find refuge; for the repenting soul may lay hold of the merits of Christ, and find a remedy for sin, a healing for the wounds of the soul. RH June 14, 1892, par. 1

Those who would understand the way of salvation should study the word of God. In the Bible they will find the most precious instruction, and the richest promises whereby they may become partakers of the divine nature. In time of need the Comforter will bring the admonitions and promises of God to your remembrance, and so the mind may be clothed with the “whole armor of God,” and having done all, the soul may stand. In time of trial you may stand, not moved away from your position of faith, not deprived of hope and courage in God, but you may be like valiant soldiers, able to endure hardness for the Captain of your salvation. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,” and then what?—“And watching thereunto, with all perseverance.” Those who would not be numbered with stony-ground hearers, must heed the instruction given them in the word of God. They must watch on the right hand and on the left, praying, and not giving up when they are tempted to think that their prayers are not answered. RH June 14, 1892, par. 2

The beginning of yielding to temptation is in the sin of permitting the mind to waver, to be inconsistent in your trust in God. The wicked one is ever watching for a chance to misrepresent God, and to attract the mind to that which is forbidden. If he can, he will fasten the mind upon the things of the world. He will endeavor to excite the emotions, to arouse the passions, to fasten the affections on that which is not for your good; but it is for you to hold every emotion and passion under control, in calm subjection to reason and conscience. Then Satan loses his power to control the mind. The work to which Christ calls us is to the work of progressive conquest over spiritual evil in our characters. Natural tendencies are to be overcome; for the natural disposition is to be transformed by the grace of Christ. Appetite and passion must be conquered, and the will must be placed wholly on the side of Christ. This will not be a painful process, if the heart is opened to receive the impression of the Spirit of God. “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” RH June 14, 1892, par. 3

Sinners may understand the gospel in theory, they may be stirred under the preaching of the word, and be disposed to do much for the cause of God, and may appear to be Christians, but they may do all this and yet be strangers to Christ, because they have not opened the door of the heart for his entrance there. Their hearts are not placed upon spiritual things; they do not mind the things of the Spirit. Many, many who profess to be Christians, choose the things that please themselves, instead of the things that please Christ. They prefer the things of time and sense to the invisible, the carnal to the spiritual, the temporal to the eternal, and they walk in the sparks of their own kindling. They are in a state of false security, and unless they repent and come to Christ, they shall lie down in sorrow. RH June 14, 1892, par. 4

Let the parable of the sower be carefully studied by all who make a profession of religion, that you may ascertain whether you are a stony-ground hearer. Let us put the questions to our souls, “Are we carnally minded? Do we mind the things of the flesh, or the things of the Spirit?” Stony-ground hearers endure only for a time; for when persecution ariseth because of the word, they are offended. I warn you that profess to be Christians, not to allow any worldly motive to influence you while considering the question of your eternal welfare. Be true to your allegiance to Christ; for it is in half-heartedness in the Christian life that you become feeble in purpose, changeable in desire, and find no rest for your soul. This seeking to serve Christ and the world makes you a stony-ground hearer, and you will not endure when the test comes upon you. The religion of Christ permits no compromise, no yielding to the influences of the world. “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” RH June 14, 1892, par. 5

There is a disposition among those who are half-hearted followers of Christ to make much of the ignorance of those who believe the truth for this time. They are continually pleading for the development of a more pleasing kind of religion than we see in our churches. But if they mean that they desire the followers of Christ to meet the world's standard, to try to be attractive to the world from their point of view, we say, No, no. It should be our aim ever to be more and more familiar with the character of Jesus, that we may follow in his footsteps, and not shape our course of action so that we shall commend ourselves to the devotees of fashion. The religion that is fashionable, that is popular in the world, is not the religion of the meek and lowly Jesus. RH June 14, 1892, par. 6

Many of those who feel that they have much polish because of their education or advantages in society, do not make it manifest in a way that would commend it to the true Christian. Too often they manifest an unchristlike spirit toward those whom they do not regard as their equals. They are proud, prejudiced, cold, and full of Pharisaical spirit that has not the slightest resemblance to the love of Christ. They show an interest in those of “our set,” but others have no part in their interest and affection. They have a theory of what the standard should be, but it is false, and leads away from the simplicity of the gospel, from the meekness and lowliness of Christ. If the persons with whom they are brought in contact meet their standard, they will be courteous to them; but if they do not, they treat them with indifference or contempt. In their narrowness they chill and kill the life of true godliness from the soul. They are self-righteous, self-centered, too tenacious of their own ideas to learn anything from others. RH June 14, 1892, par. 7

The religion of Christ is not after this bigoted order. The Prince of glory left his exalted throne that he might become the friend of sinners. He died for the salvation of the world, and if we would be his followers, we must labor for the same end as did the Master. Whoever will be a worker with Christ in the broad field to which he has called his followers, must learn of him how to present the truth in an attractive light, and in a manner that will meet the people where they are. The believers in Christ will manifest the characteristics of Christ, and by their fruits they are known to be the children of God. RH June 14, 1892, par. 8

The work we have to do calls for consecrated energy. It demands the whole heart, the faculties of the mind, and the physical powers. The truth of God must be presented with soul fervor. Not much can be accomplished without it. Let enthusiasm be kindled in the church, and let her God-given powers be roused to activity. But a small proportion of her intellect or wealth is enlisted in active effort for the glory of God. There is enough to do in places where the truth has not been preached. As you look at the cross of Calvary, work, O, work with burning enthusiasm. This enthusiasm means the fullness of divine inspiration, a consecration of the whole soul to the work. Beholding the life of Jesus, his self-denial and sacrifice, his matchless love, man becomes transfigured, uplifted, filled with the fullness of God. To be an enthusiast in Christ's work is to be a partaker of the divine nature. The Holy Spirit has taken possession of the soul; the Sun of righteousness has shone into the chambers of the mind and heart, and all-absorbing truths have sanctified the mind. Let none fear this, but pray for it most earnestly, and live for it perseveringly. It will make you strong as workers together with God. With such laborers, the church will arise and shine, for her light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon her. I call upon you, my brethren, to practice self-denial, to lift the cross, and plant the standard of truth in places far and near. RH June 14, 1892, par. 9