The Review and Herald

665/1902

April 11, 1893

Address to the Church

(Continued.)

EGW

What more can I say than I have said to impress upon our churches, and especially upon the church at Battle Creek, the eternal loss they are liable to in not arousing and putting to use the executive ability that God has given them? If the members of the churches would but put to work the powers of mind that they have, in well-directed efforts, in well-matured plans, they might do a hundredfold more for Christ than they are now doing. If they went forth with earnest prayer, with meekness and lowliness of heart, seeking personally to impart to others the knowledge of salvation, the message might reach the inhabitants of the earth. How many more messages of reproof and warning must the Lord send to his chosen people before they will obey? I tell you in the name of the Lord Jesus, who gave his life for the life of the world, that as a people we are behind our privileges and opportunities. What rich feasts have been provided for the people of Battle Creek! What opportunities have been given them! The people have been convinced that they should be laborers together with God, but have they been converted to the idea? The dangers of their course, the duties required at their hands, have all been presented; earnest appeals have been made to their understanding and to their conscience, and light has been given them so that they are without excuse. They can have no cloak for their sinful neglect, but the Lord does not urge men and women to the work by presenting to them flattering inducements. They can work for him only as they work willingly, giving hearty co-operation. RH April 11, 1893, par. 1

The truth for this time has been presented from the holy oracles, and has been witnessed by the power of the Holy Spirit. It has been clearly shown that in the righteousness of Christ is our only hope of gaining access to the Father. How simple, how plain has the way of life been made to those who have a disposition to walk therein. Would greater evidence, more powerful manifestations, break down the barriers that have been interposed between the truth and the soul?—No. I have been shown that sufficient evidence has been given. Those who reject the evidence already presented would not be convinced by more abundant proof. They are like the Jews to whom Christ said, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” The greatest miracles performed before them would not sweep away their caviling and unbelief. They have sown stubbornness, and it has borne fruit according to the design of Satan. Unless the transforming grace of Christ cleanses and purifies the soul, they will go on from darkness to greater darkness. RH April 11, 1893, par. 2

If we would see light in God's light, we must abide in Christ. The soul must receive strength and nourishment from the living Vine. The apostle says, “Know ye not your ownselves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” But stubbornness effectually bars the way to the entrance of the Spirit of God. Stubbornness does not profit; it is the fruit of selfishness, and the only cure for it is to cut it up from the heart by the roots. Often the outward manifestation of selfishness is done away for a time, but its hateful fruit will again appear as do the leaves of a tree that has been cut down, but whose root remains. If a fiber of selfishness is left, it will spring forth again, and bear a harvest after its kind. RH April 11, 1893, par. 3

The Spirit of God cannot work effectually in any heart where pride and self-esteem exist. But without the aid of the Spirit of God the soul cannot be renewed, a new heart cannot be created within. The Lord is at work seeking to purify his people, and this great work is retarded by unbelief and stubbornness. Many think that had they lived in Christ's day, they would have been among his believing followers; but if all the miracles of Christ were presented before those whose hearts are not subdued by the Spirit of God, their convictions would not be followed, nor their faith increased. Light has been shining upon the church of God, but many have said by their indifferent attitude, “We want not thy way, O Lord, but our own way.” The kingdom of heaven has come very near, and they have caught glimpses of the Father and the Son, but they have barred the door of the heart, and have not received the heavenly guests; for as yet they know not the love of God. RH April 11, 1893, par. 4

Think how great was the light that was given to the Jews, and yet they rejected the Lord of life and glory. Jesus says, “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin.... If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.” The light became brighter and brighter, until there was no escaping the conclusion that Christ was no ordinary teacher; but when conviction is disregarded, when evidence is rejected, men are forced to take a position of active opposition and stubborn resistance. The Spirit of God followed the impenitent, with warnings and entreaties, the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness illuminated the mind; but many refuse the compassion of a loving Saviour, and would not permit their hearts to break and melt under the beams of his love. They refused the message of mercy, refused to do what God required in the way that God required, and their offerings were as devoid of merit as were the offerings of Cain; for they mingled not with them the virtue of the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour. RH April 11, 1893, par. 5

It is beyond the power of man to please God apart from Christ. We may make resolutions and promises, but the carnal heart overpowers all our good intentions. We may control our outward conduct, but we cannot change the heart. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint, and yet the sinner will brace himself in pride, and set up his will against the will of God. Though Christ is working upon human hearts, men utterly annul the work the Lord would do. If they resist, question, and cavil, they will place themselves in a position where it will not be easy to yield to the persuasion of the Spirit of God. There is a bewitching power that holds them under deception; for the father of lies works with the unsanctified heart. Over these deceived souls the cry is raised, O that thou hadst known “in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace.” And shall the irrevocable sentence be passed, “But now they are hid from thine eyes”? RH April 11, 1893, par. 6

There is less excuse in our day for stubbornness and unbelief than there was for the Jews in the days of Christ. They did not have before them the example of a nation that had suffered retribution of their unbelief and disobedience. But we have before us the history of the chosen people of God, who separated themselves from him, and rejected the Prince of life. Though they could not convict him of sin, though they could not fail to see their own hypocrisy, they hated the Prince of life because he laid bare their evil ways. In our day greater light and greater evidence is given. We have also their example, the warnings and reproofs that were presented to them, and our sin and its retribution will be the greater, if we refuse to walk in the light. Many say, “If I had only lived in the days of Christ, I would not have wrested his words, or falsely interpreted his instruction. I would not have rejected and crucified him as did the Jews;” but that will be proved by the way in which you deal with his message and his messengers today. The Lord is testing the people of today as much as he tested the Jews in their day. When he sends his messages of mercy, the light of his truth, he is sending the spirit of truth to you, and if you accept the message, you accept of Jesus. Those who declare that if they had lived in the days of Christ, they would not do as did the rejectors of his mercy, will today be tested. Those who live in this day are not accountable for the deeds of those who crucified the Son of God; but if with all the light that shone upon his ancient people, delineated before us, we travel over the same ground, cherish the same spirit, refuse to receive reproof and warning, then our guilt will be greatly augmented, and the condemnation that fell upon them will fall upon us, only it will be as much greater as our light is greater in this age than was their light in their age. RH April 11, 1893, par. 7

(Concluded next week.)