The Review and Herald

664/1902

April 4, 1893

Address to the Church

EGW

Christ, the true witness, addresses the church at Ephesus, saying, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” What effect have these words had upon the church? Have the professed people of God understood the import of the words, “I will come unto thee quickly [when you are at ease, careless, filled with spiritual negligence], and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” When warnings come no more to the people of God, when tender admonitions from the Spirit of God are silent, when the candle of heavenly illumination shines no longer upon their pathway, they will be left to kindle their own fire, and to walk in the sparks of their own kindling. RH April 4, 1893, par. 1

Many sermons are preached that are Christless as was the offerings of Cain, and heavenly intelligences look with amazement and sorrow upon the self-tainted, worthless offering. Could men realize how their services are regarded by heaven, they would humble themselves before God. Many workers have educated themselves as debaters and critics; but have they the example of Christ for dealing with souls in this way?—No, and unless this class of workers shall humble their hearts before God, they cannot sit with Christ upon his throne. Only those who have the Spirit of a little child will enter into the kingdom of heaven. Should Christ come to our world as he came at his first advent, many who imagine themselves to be children of God, would criticise him. Those who think they are keen, smart men, who are wise in their own conceit, need to know Jesus and him crucified. They need to understand the power of his grace. All our hope is founded and sustained by Christ, then when our ministers fall on the Rock and are broken, they will say, “More of Christ and less of theories.” RH April 4, 1893, par. 2

O how few know the day of their visitation! How few, even among those who claim to believe in present truth, understand the signs of the times, or what they are to experience before the end. We are under divine forbearance today; but how long will the angels of God continue to hold the winds, that they shall not blow? We are convinced that among the people of God there is blindness of mind and hardness of heart, although God has manifested inexpressible mercy toward us. How few there are who are truly humble, devoted, God-fearing servants in the cause of Christ, whose hearts are full of gratitude and thanksgiving because they are called to act a part in the work of God, being co-laborers with Jesus Christ, partakers with Christ of his sufferings! How few there are who can say from the heart, “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” RH April 4, 1893, par. 3

Today there are few who are heartily serving God. The most of those who compose our congregations are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. They come and go like the door upon its hinges. For years they have complacently listened to the most solemn, soul-stirring truths, but they have not practiced them. They are less and less sensible of the preciousness and value of truth, because they neglect the practice of those things which are pleasing in the sight of God. The stirring testimonies of reproof and warning do not arouse them. The sweetest melodies that come from God through human lips—justification by faith, and the righteousness of Christ—do not bring forth from them a response of love and gratitude. Though the heavenly merchantman displays before them the richest jewels of faith and love, though his voice invites them to buy of him “gold tried in the fire,” and “white raiment that they may be clothed,” and “eye-salve that they may see,” they steel their hearts against him, and fail to exchange their lukewarmness for love and zeal; but fold their hands in complacency, make a profession, but deny the power of true godliness. If they continue in this state, God will reject them with abhorrence. To praise the world and God at the same time, is in no way acceptable to God. Awake, awake, before it is everlastingly too late. RH April 4, 1893, par. 4

Brethren and sisters who have long claimed to believe the truth, I would ask you, Have your practices been in harmony with your light, with your privileges, with the opportunities granted of heaven? This is a serious question. Why is it there is so little faith, so little spiritual power? Why are there so few who bear the yoke and carry the burden of Christ? Why do persons have to be urged to take up their work for the Master? Why are there so few who can unveil the mysteries of redemption? Why is it that the imputed righteousness of Christ does not shine through his professed followers as a light to the world? RH April 4, 1893, par. 5

The people of God are called “the light of the world, a city set upon a hill that cannot be hid.” “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God.” “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved.” The Sun of Righteousness has risen upon the church, and it is the duty of the church to shine. Those who are connected with Christ will grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, to the full stature of men and women. It is the privilege of every soul to make advancement. No one is to be an idler in the vineyard. If all who claim to believe the truth had made the most of their opportunities and ability to learn all that they were privileged to learn, they would have become strong in Christ. No matter what may have been their occupation, if farmers, mechanics, teachers, or pastors, if they had wholly consecrated themselves to God, they would have been efficient agents to work for the heavenly Master. They would have fulfilled the injunction of the apostle: “Finally, my brethren be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” RH April 4, 1893, par. 6

If Christ is not abiding in the soul, another spirit rules and controls; but Christ, the precious Saviour, is to be the Christian's all in all. Every holy thought, every pure desire, every godlike purpose is from him who is the light, the truth, and the way. Christ is to live in his representatives by the spirit of truth. Jesus said, “Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.” The events of the future will be discerned by prophecy, and will be understood. “He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.” Christ is to live in the human instrument. Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” RH April 4, 1893, par. 7

The privileges, the blessings of the child of God are represented by the apostle in the following language: “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” When we realize that our hope of glory is Christ, that we are complete in him, we shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. The apostle further says, that he ceased not to pray “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” RH April 4, 1893, par. 8

O, if we as a people had improved our opportunities to gain a knowledge of the word, to obtain a vital experience in the things of God, we would have fulfilled the word, “Ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life.[”] We can impart only that which we first receive. Those who are united to the church should be living, working agents to impart light to those who are in darkness. They should declare the truth of God, revealing his love and faithfulness. When men use their powers as God directs them to, their talents will increase, their ability will enlarge, and they will have heavenly wisdom in seeking to save those who are lost. But while the church-members are listless, and neglectful of their God-given responsibility, how can they expect to receive the treasure of heaven to impart to others? When professed Christians feel no burden to enlighten the minds of those who are in darkness; when they fail to make use of the rich grace of Christ, and cease to impart the knowledge they have received, they become selfish, narrow, bigoted, and their capacity to receive more and more heavenly illumination decreases rather than increases. They become less discerning, lose their appreciation of the richness of the heavenly endowment, and failing to value it themselves, they fail to present it to others. It is only as God sees his professed people eager to be laborers together with him, that he can impart to them light and grace; for then they will make every interest secondary to the interest of his work and cause. With such workers the heavenly intelligences will co-operate. Jesus says, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me.” It is the union of the Holy Spirit and the testimony of the living witness that is to warn the world. The worker for God is the agent through which the heavenly communication is given, and the Holy Spirit gives divine authority to the word of truth. RH April 4, 1893, par. 9

(To be continued.)