The Review and Herald

651/1902

January 10, 1893

“Let Both Grow Together”

(Concluded.)

EGW

“Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.” RH January 10, 1893, par. 1

We have great need to search the Scriptures that we may be representatives of Christ, and act our part as laborers together with God to build up the church in the most holy faith. There is not enough careful, prayerful, painstaking investigation in accepting members into the church. We cannot follow the example of the world, or allow their criticisms to sway us from the path of duty. They will blame us if we refuse to admit certain persons into church fellowship, and on the other hand, they condemn the church for its unworthy members. They will say, The church is no better than the world; for its members deceive and cheat and bear false witness; so the world's say so in this matter of who shall be admitted into church fellowship, should have no weight with us. There is one thing that we have no right to do, and that is to judge another man's heart or impugn his motives. But when a person presents himself as a candidate for church membership, we are to examine the fruit of his life, and leave the responsibility of his motive with himself. But great care should be exercised in accepting members into the church; for Satan has his specious devices through which he purposes to crowd false brethren into the church, through whom he can work more successfully to weaken the cause of God. RH January 10, 1893, par. 2

It should be the earnest desire of every heart to keep the church pure, and individually we are to keep our hearts in the love of God, and practice the truth daily, that this may be accomplished. The question is asked in regard to the tares, “Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.” We are not required to criticise, to condemn, or root out all that we suppose to be tares, lest we root out also the wheat. The church will not be free from those whose influence is out of harmony with that which should characterize the servants of Christ. The children of God will be stirred in spirit by the doings of these unworthy members, and they will desire to do something to cleanse the church, that its members may be a light to shine in the world; but even under these circumstances, let them be careful to heed the words of the great Teacher: “Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.” There is such a thing as zeal not according to knowledge; and could all the circumstances be opened which surround these souls, the zealous church-members might have their ideas modified, and be led to pursue an entirely different course. They would see that a work devolved upon them to seek and save instead of to destroy, to manifest longsuffering, gentleness, patience, and love, to those whose character and life are below the standard. To cut them off from the church would, perhaps, extinguish their last hope. And who can determine how God looks upon these manifestly erring ones? In many cases it is evident that those who are most zealous to see the church without blemish, have serious defects of character which they do not discern. Because of their own mistakes and failings, unconsciously to themselves, they may be doing greater harm than the one they judge unworthy to remain in fellowship with the church. RH January 10, 1893, par. 3

Many a church trial is the result of personal likes and dislikes. Evil surmisings have led to evil speaking and accusing. Because of some mistake in business dealing, men have become suspicious of their brethren. Instead of going to their brethren privately, and speaking plainly to them of their errors, thus manifesting true love, and removing the cloud of difficulty, they have brought about a church trial, and would have the questions which vex them settled by the church by digging up the supposed tares. Many have been severed from the church because of these personal spites, and have been thrown upon the enemy's battle-ground, where they have become discouraged, and through manifold temptations, have fallen into the very sins of which they were accused. RH January 10, 1893, par. 4

Let the words of Christ be carefully studied, “Let both grow together till the harvest.” Let there be no triumphing over a brother that has stumbled, but rather let there be a following of the Scripture injunction: “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. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” RH January 10, 1893, par. 5

The scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman whom they accused as guilty of breaking the seventh commandment. They said to him, “Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.” Curiosity led them to draw near, and read what was written on the ground. There they saw their own sins plainly stated,—sins of a far more aggravated character than that into which she had been betrayed; for her accusers had induced her to sin, that they might lay a snare for Christ. And they which heard the words of Christ, “being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last.” RH January 10, 1893, par. 6

Those who are most guilty of wrong, are the first to see wrong; therefore let every church-member see to it that his own heart is pure before God, that his name is not only written on the church books, but registered in the Lamb's book of life. Then he will not be a judge of his brethren, he will not be a despiser of those whom he considers defective. He will remember the words of the apostle, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.... And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” RH January 10, 1893, par. 7

The spirit that instigates accusation and condemnation in the church which results in uprooting those that are looked upon as evil-doers, has manifested itself in seeking to correct wrongs through the civil power. This is Satan's own method for bringing the world under his dominion; but the Lord Jesus Christ has given us no such example for thus dealing with the erring. God has been misrepresented through the church by this very way of dealing with heretics; he has been represented as the one who empowered the church to do these wicked things. RH January 10, 1893, par. 8

Those who have differed from the established doctrines have been imprisoned, put to torture and to death, because the dignitaries of the church could not endure those who dissented from ideas which these leaders deemed to be true. Satan himself is the sower of tares; but even though he is the sower of them, they are not to be rooted up, lest by chance the wheat be rooted up with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and the harvest is the end of probationary time. Fiendish zeal has been manifested in excluding dissenters from the fellowship of the church, and passing upon them the sentence of excommunication by which the Roman Church asserted its power of excluding them from all possibility of entering heaven. RH January 10, 1893, par. 9

How does heaven look upon such things? With what amazement do angels hear men judging and condemning their brethren, causing them most cruel suffering of body and mind, and claiming that they do it under the sanction of God? Instead of being under the leadership of Christ, they are following the leadership of Satan. Paul at one time pursued this course, actually believing that he was doing God service; but Jesus spoke to him, and told him that in persecuting his saints he was persecuting him. All persecution, all force employed to compel conscience, is after Satan's own order; and those who carry out these designs are his agents to execute his hellish purpose. In following Satan's cruel proposals, in becoming his agents, men become the enemies of God and his church, and will be judged in that great day by that man whom God hath ordained; for he hath committed all judgment into the hands of his Son. RH January 10, 1893, par. 10

The time is at hand when the judgment will sit, and the books will be opened, and every one will be judged according to the deeds that have been done in the body. What an hour that will be! What human depravity will come to light even among those who claim to be Christians, but whose practical life has testified that they had not a saving knowledge of Christ! Today many of these are members of the church, and are fellowshiped as Christians; but they are self-deceived, as was the young man who came to Christ asking what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answered, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, which? Jesus said: Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up, what lack I yet?” Jesus looked upon the young man, and loved him, knowing that he was sincere, and had no knowledge of his own defects. This young man had preserved an unblemished outward character; for he had not been tried by circumstances to bring out the selfishness of his heart. And he verily thought his life perfect, as he asked, “What lack I yet?” Then Jesus touched the plague spot of his heart, saying, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.” RH January 10, 1893, par. 11

The words of Jesus tried his heart; for he had an idol there,—the world was his god. He professed to have kept the commandments, but he revealed the fact that he did not love God supremely, or his neighbor as himself. This want meant the want of everything that would qualify him to enter the kingdom of heaven. Love of self and worldly gain controlled his modes of thought and modes of life. And he was registered in the books of heaven as wanting, although Christ saw in him lovable traits of character. But genuine Christlikeness cannot be manifested in the character until Christ is received by faith, and formed within, the hope of glory. Jesus looked upon the young man, and longed after his soul, desiring that every intrusted talent might be recognized as the gift of God, might be sanctified to his use, and employed to his glory. Jesus desired to see the young man seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, that he might be a light to the world, imparting to others the knowledge of Christ, by precept and example. RH January 10, 1893, par. 12

The young man wanted eternal life; but he could not accept the conditions upon which Christ offered it to him, and he turned away from Christ with a sorrowful heart. And yet Christ was not asking of him a sacrifice which he had not made himself, for he had left his glory, his riches, his honor, and for our sake had become poor, and of no reputation, that he might win for us eternal riches and immortal glory. He enlightened this young man in regard to his own heart, showing him that he could not hoard up his treasures for personal gratification, and yet possess a Christian character. Christ says, “Sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” But the young man was not ready to follow the Prince of life, to become poor that he might make others rich. RH January 10, 1893, par. 13

The love of the world disqualifies a man for the service of God. Those who would be servants of God must give their best energies to the work, planning ways and means by which the cause of truth may be made successful. If a man's best thought is concentrated in devising ways and means to gather in earthly treasure, his heart is with his treasure, and he minds earthly things. Those who consecrate themselves to God, and constantly seek wisdom from on high, know that they cannot engage in business where their whole energies are devoted to the world, and still be the servants of God; for everything they do must be to his glory. Spiritual advancement in no wise disqualifies men for engaging in worldly business; for where Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, they can do their business as in the sight of the Lord and for his honor. RH January 10, 1893, par. 14

But the servants of Christ cannot bind themselves up with the world; they cannot belong to secret societies, without binding themselves in with the tares. He who has placed himself under the banner of Christ, has pledged himself to follow no pursuit, to engage in no enterprise, that shall interfere with his service to the Lord of heaven. Christ is to be his all, and in all. RH January 10, 1893, par. 15

Christ requires personal faithfulness of his servants, and we are to show that we have no fellowship with the secret, hidden things of darkness. The wheat is not to sow itself among the tares; for although we may not practice the works of some of the members of the secret orders, in joining them we are registered in heaven as partakers of their evil deeds, responsible for their works of evil, and bound up in bundles with them as tares. Thank God, it is not too late for Christians to sever themselves from all unholy connections, and come fully unto the side of Christ. But while the church is to separate itself from evil-doers, to come out from among them, and be separate, and touch not the unclean, the Lord would not have his people judge and condemn others. The tares are permitted to grow among the wheat, to have all the advantage of sun and shower; but in the time of the harvest, “shall ye return, and discern between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not;” for then every soul will be revealed in his true character. The tares will be bound into bundles to be burned, the wheat gathered into the heavenly garner. RH January 10, 1893, par. 16