The Review and Herald

628/1902

July 12, 1892

The Privilege of the Follower of Christ

(Continued.)

EGW

“And the Devil, taking him up into a high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the Devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will, I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” How many are listening to this temptation today! How many are ambitious, desirous of honor and power, that they may be exalted in the eyes of the world! How many are aspiring to be something great and high, ever reaching forward, restless and unreconciled to their lot, while neglecting the very things which God has given them to do! They do not see the importance of making their home a happy one. They do not see the necessity of performing those things that will make their lives efficient for good. They neglect what they call “the little things;” for they do not realize that there is nothing unimportant or insignificant. God calls upon men to be faithful in little things. There is no excuse for unfaithfulness. We should be true to principle in carrying forward the work God has put into our hands. RH July 12, 1892, par. 1

I want to tell the children how they may be faithful as Christ would have them to be. They can have his approving smile by being obedient and respectful to father and mother. Children, you are under the eye of Christ, and he is watching you to see if in the future he can intrust to you sacred responsibilities. Do not be satisfied to do superficial work, or to work as an eye-servant, simply busying yourself because some one is watching you; work as a servant of God, and be faithful wherever you are, when God alone knows what you are doing. RH July 12, 1892, par. 2

Parents, your first work for your children should be to teach them that God will not accept superficial work. Teach them concerning the great sacrifice that Jesus has made in their behalf, in order that they might be happy in the mansions which he has gone to prepare for those who love him. Satan is at work to ruin our youth in every institution that we have, by leading them to do superficial work. O that we all might understand that we cannot afford to do surface work; for it will entail upon us loss in this life and in that which is to come. Paul instructed Timothy in that in which all our youth should be instructed. He said: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” RH July 12, 1892, par. 3

We should seek to have others understand all that we understand, and not be envious when others excel us, but rather rejoice that the best of talent can be brought into the service of God. Your first duty is to yield your powers to God, that he may use you in his service, but you are not to yield to the temptations of the evil one, and aspire for high position, and the honor of the world. RH July 12, 1892, par. 4

The work of overcoming is in our hands, but we are not to overcome in our own name or strength; for of ourselves we cannot keep the commandments of God. The Spirit of God must help our infirmities. Christ has become our sacrifice and surety. He has become sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Through faith in his name, he imputes unto us his righteousness, and it becomes a living principle in our life. The apostle shows unto us what is the privilege of the Christian. He says, “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ... that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Christ imputes to us his sinless character, and presents us to the Father in his own purity. There are many who think that it is impossible to escape from the power of sin, but the promise is that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. We aim too low. The mark is much higher. Our minds need expansion, that we may comprehend the significance of the provision of God. We are to reflect the highest attributes of the character of God. We should be thankful of that we are not to be left to ourselves. The law of God is the exalted standard to which we are to attain through the imputed righteousness of Christ. We are not to walk according to our own ideas, and present before others in our example a human standard which they will follow; but we are to follow in the footsteps of Christ, and make straight paths for our feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. We are to keep the commandments and live. RH July 12, 1892, par. 5

Jesus suffered the full penalty of sin. On Calvary's cross the weight of the sins of the world rested upon his soul. He received in his bosom the arrow of lost humanity. Have you followed him in the garden of Gethsemane? Have you seen the bloody sweat bedew the ground? Have you heard the anguished prayer he offered to heaven, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt”? Three times was this petition offered to heaven, but the cup was not removed. The destiny of a lost world trembled in the balance, but Jesus decided to drink the bitter cup to the very dregs. RH July 12, 1892, par. 6

During the Master's agony of soul, the disciples slept. Again and again he came to them, desiring even the sympathy that humanity could have given him, but he had to tread the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with him. When the bitter hour was over, he waked his followers and said: “Behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me. And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.” “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.” Divinity flashed through humanity, and the soldiers were powerless before him. Had he spoken the word, twelve legions of angels would have come to his defense, and delivered him from his foes, and every one of that cruel company would have been destroyed at his word. But no, he had come to save man, and at any cost he would carry out his purpose. He permitted them to take him and drag him away as they would have taken any common criminal. They brought him to the judgment-hall, and his disciples all forsook him and fled. Peter had declared, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.” But now Peter followed afar off, and when he ventured into the hall, and a maid said: “This man was also with him,” he denied him, saying, “Woman, I know him not. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him; for he is a Galilean.” It was then that with cursing and swearing, Peter denied his Lord. How this cut to the heart of Jesus! There was the Man of sorrows, surrounded by his enemies, accused by false witnesses, buffeted and insulted by the mob, but the denial of Peter cut deeper than all the mockings of his foes. RH July 12, 1892, par. 7

To see how his disciple would sacrifice his integrity, and deny his Master, wounded the heart of Jesus. Then the Lord turned, and looked on Peter with a look of pitying compassion mingled with grief, and that look broke Peter's heart. He remembered what Jesus had said to him, that before the cock should crow he would deny him thrice, and he went out from the judgment-hall in shame and grief. He hurried to the garden of Gethsemane, and prostrated himself on the very spot where Jesus had prayed in agony, where the bloody sweat had bedewed the soil, and there he wept bitterly. Jesus saw the anguish of his heart, and forgave Peter for his sin. Thus it is whenever a sinner draws nigh to God in repentance and contrition of soul, Jesus draws nigh to him; for when a soul repents, it is an evidence that Jesus is drawing him to himself. RH July 12, 1892, par. 8

It was in man's behalf that Jesus suffered, taking the steps of humiliation from the throne of glory to the cross of shame. When Jesus was brought before the Roman ruler, Pilate examined him, and said: “I find in him no fault at all.” And he would have released him, but he feared for his life. The follower of Christ must reach a point where he would rather sacrifice his life than betray the cause of Christ. Jesus said: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” Satan and his angels are at work influencing the children of disobedience to bring about a state of affairs which will place the follower of Christ in positions of peril, where his fidelity will be tested to the utmost. RH July 12, 1892, par. 9

Although Pilate pronounced Jesus innocent, he scourged him and sent him to Herod. Jesus was mocked and insulted, robed in purple, and crowned with thorns, and the soldiers bowed to him in mock homage, and said: “Hail, King of the Jews!” O, what a spectacle for the universe to behold! O what a scene for those who kept the commandments of God! And yet it was necessary that Satan should manifest his enmity toward the Son of God, in order that the real character of the evil one might be understood, and that he might be uprooted from the affection of men and angels. When Jesus died on Calvary, men and angels beheld the malignity of Satan, and the love of God for a fallen world. On this atom of a world the great controversy between Christ and Satan is waged, but Christ is conqueror. In his name and through his strength, his followers obtain the victory. RH July 12, 1892, par. 10

(Concluded next week.)