The Review and Herald

640/1902

October 25, 1892

The Necessity of Co-operation With God

EGW

“Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” We are living in a time when we should individually ask ourselves, “How do I stand related to God and eternity?” It will not matter to what nation we may have belonged, or what sect we have followed; but it will matter upon which side we have stood between good and evil. Daily you should ask yourself, “Am I a Christian? Am I a servant of sin, or am I following Christ? Am I renewed in the image of Christ by his transforming grace? Has a moral change taken place in me? Do I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ? Do I feel that I am not my own, but that I have been bought with the precious blood of Christ, and must consecrate myself to his service?” RH October 25, 1892, par. 1

Let no soul risk his eternal future upon a supposition. The Lord never designed that any one should go blindfolded to heaven. He who sincerely desires to know, may understand whether his steps are tending heavenward or earthward. In the living oracles of God a description is given of the road leading heavenward, and the road leading to perdition, and no one need be deceived as to which one he is traveling. There is no need that one should be lost. God willeth not the misery of any one of his creatures. It is his desire that all men should come to repentance and to the acknowledging of the truth. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The Lord has provided ample means for our salvation; but he can do nothing for us without our co-operation. Paul says, “We are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” RH October 25, 1892, par. 2

What honor has been bestowed upon man, in that he is privileged to come into fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ; for if we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him in glory. The command is given, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;” but this encouragement is added: “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” “We, then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” A power above and outside of man is to work upon him, that solid timbers may be brought into his character building. In the inner sanctuary of the soul the presence of God is to abide. “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” “What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.” RH October 25, 1892, par. 3

Man does not build himself into a habitation for the Spirit, but unless there is a co-operation of man's will with God's will, the Lord can do nothing for him. The Lord is the great Master worker, and yet the human agent must co-operate with the divine worker, or the heavenly building cannot be completed. All the power is of God, and all the glory is to redound to God, and yet all the responsibility rests with the human agent; for God can do nothing without the co-operation of man. When a man believes in Jesus as his personal Saviour, and accepts of his righteousness by faith, he becomes a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust; and he escapes from corruption through the indwelling of the holy Spirit. Without divine nature, without the influence of the Spirit of God, man cannot work out his own salvation. Said Christ, “Without me ye can do nothing.” When human effort does not combine with divine agency, how deficient is its influence; but he who is endowed with divine power can present Christ to the world as one who is able to save unto the uttermost all who come unto God through him. The angels of heaven are commissioned of the Lord God of hosts to co-operate with human agency in lifting up the standard of the gospel in every city, village, and town, both at home and in foreign lands. RH October 25, 1892, par. 4

In every home there is missionary work to be done; for the children in every family are to be brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Evil propensities are to be controlled, evil tempers subdued, and the children are to be instructed that they are the Lord's property, bought with his own precious blood, and that they cannot live a life of pleasure and vanity, have their own will and carry out their own ideas, and yet be numbered among the children of God. The children are to be instructed with kindness and patience. They are to be taught, line upon line and precept upon precept, the requirements of a holy God. Let the parents teach them of the love of God in such a way that it will be a pleasant theme in the family circle, and let the church take upon them the responsibility of feeding the lambs as well as the sheep of the flock. Let the church take a special care of the lambs of the flock, exerting every influence in their power to win the love of the children, and to bind them to the truth. Ministers and church-members should second the efforts of parents to lead the children into safe paths. The Lord is calling for the youth; for he would make them his helpers to do good service under his banner. RH October 25, 1892, par. 5

How sad it is that many parents have cast off their God-given responsibility to their children, and are willing that strangers should bear it for them. They are willing that others should labor for their children, and relieve them of all burden in the matter. From the indifference of their parents, many children are left to feel that their parents have no care for their souls. This ought not to be so, but those who have children should so manage their domestic and business affairs that nothing may come in between them and the children, that would lessen the parents’ influence in directing them to Christ. You should teach your children the lesson of the love of Jesus, that they may be pure in heart, in conduct, and conversation. Teach them how to seek divine aid, how to give themselves unreservedly to God. RH October 25, 1892, par. 6

The Lord would work upon the hearts of the children if the parents would but co-operate with the divine agencies; but he will not undertake to do that which has been appointed as your part of the work. Parents, you must awake from your death-like slumber. The church must arise from the dead, that Christ may give her life. RH October 25, 1892, par. 7

The work of God is not divided; it is one vast plan in which all have a part to act. God would have you laborers together with him for the saving of your own children. The children must not be left to themselves to become the slaves of Satan; those who have taken the responsibility of bringing them into the world will be held responsible to a large degree for the characters they form. In order to do their God-given work to save their own households, parents will have to search the Scriptures to know the ways of the Lord. They should be much in secret prayer, that they may be holy in all manner of conversation. Their hearts should be filled with cheerfulness and thanksgiving, that there be no tale-bearing, no false accusation, but only such themes of conversation as will elevate and ennoble those who hear and take a part in it. RH October 25, 1892, par. 8

Parents should work to this end, that themselves and their children may become missionaries for God. This means that you should be vigilant, diligent in searching and teaching the Scriptures, pouring out your soul before God in your closet, that you may not fail nor be discouraged. RH October 25, 1892, par. 9

Children are brought into the world without a voice in the matter, and if parents do not work faithfully to save them for Christ, Satan will supply their neglect by his own devices, that he may win them to rebel against God, and war against his kingdom. Parents, unless you are workers together with God, to save the souls of your children, they may be lost. If they are, it will be through no fault of the Lord; for he loved your children, and has given his only begotten Son, that they should not perish, but have everlasting life. When Jesus was upon earth, and mothers brought their children to him, he placed his hand upon their heads and blessed them. He would do the same today; for he hath said, “Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” RH October 25, 1892, par. 10

The mother's work begins when her child is a babe in her arms, and she should realize that heaven is looking upon her with intense interest, ready to co-operate with her efforts to rear her child for God. In view of the responsibility that devolves upon parents, it should be carefully considered whether it is best to bring children into the family. Has the mother sufficient strength to care for her children? And can the father give such advantages as will rightly mold and educate the child? How little is the destiny of the child considered. The gratification of passion is the only thought, and burdens are brought upon the wife and mother which undermine her vitality, and paralyze her spiritual power. In broken health and with discouraged spirits, she finds herself surrounded by a little flock whom she cannot care for as she should. Lacking the instruction they should have, they grow up to dishonor God and to communicate to others the evil of their own natures, and thus an army is raised up whom Satan manages as he pleases. RH October 25, 1892, par. 11

You cannot bring up your children as you should without divine help; for the fallen nature of Adam always strives for the mastery. The heart must be prepared for the principles of truth, that they may root in the soul, and find nourishment in the life. Parents, lay hold upon divine help, and bring no more children into the world than those to whom you can give a training and education that will fit them for this life and the life which is to come. Follow the example of Abraham. The Lord said of him, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.” Human effort alone will not result in helping your children to perfect a character for heaven; but with divine help a grand and holy work may be accomplished, and you may be able to present yourselves and your children before God, saying, “Here am I, and the children whom thou hast given me.” RH October 25, 1892, par. 12