The Review and Herald

791/1902

September 10, 1895

Witnesses for Christ

EGW

We need to watch the signs of the times; for unless we are continually on guard, the enemy will steal a march upon us. There is no need of our being discouraged; for the heart is to be the dwelling-place for Jesus, but we are to keep the heart “with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” RH September 10, 1895, par. 1

We have been taken as rough stones out of the quarry of the world by the cleaver of truth, and placed in the workshop of God. He who has genuine faith in Christ as his personal Saviour, will find that the truth accomplishes a definite work for him. His faith is a working faith, and faith works by love, and purifies the soul. The Lord Jesus has paid the ransom money for us; he has given his own life, in order that those who believe on him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Those who receive the truth by faith will bear testimony to the quality of the faith they exercise. They will continually make improvement, looking unto Jesus, who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. We cannot create our faith; but we can be co-laborers with Christ in promoting the growth and triumph of faith. RH September 10, 1895, par. 2

The Lord does not desire us to be sad and disconsolate. Jesus says: “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” If we ask him, the Lord will give us the Holy Spirit to cleanse the habitation of the soul; for every room of the temple of God must be entered and purified. We need to compare our life and character with the great moral standard,—the ten commandments. We have enlisted in the service of Jesus Christ, and under the banner of the Prince of life, we are to exercise every spiritual and physical power. RH September 10, 1895, par. 3

The work of Christ in the heart does not destroy man's powers. Christ directs, strengthens, ennobles, and sanctifies the faculties of the soul. It is through personal acquaintance with him that we become qualified to represent his character to the world. John says, “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” And again, “Of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” Christ is to be represented in the home circle. Fathers and mothers bear a weighty responsibility; for they will be held accountable for giving correct lessons to their children. They are to speak kindly to them, to be patient with them, to watch unto prayer, praying the Lord to mold and fashion the hearts of the children; but while asking God to mold and fashion the characters of the children, let mothers and fathers act their part, presenting to their offspring a living representation of the divine Pattern. God will not accept haphazard work at your hands. Your children are God's heritage, and heavenly angels are watching to see that both parents and children are co-laborers with God in building up character after the divine Model. “Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching.” RH September 10, 1895, par. 4

There are some excellent lessons in the book of Malachi for those who profess to be followers of Christ. Two classes of witnesses are presented in the prophet's words. Of the first class it is written: “Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?” These words describe those who ought better to have represented the precious truth, who ought to have been an example to those newly come to the faith. For all who follow him, the Lord has prepared a rich feast of heavenly things. He has ordained that those who follow him shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life, and walk in the light as he is in the light; for in him is no darkness at all. The Lord does not call upon his believing, obedient followers to cover the altar with tears; but to walk cheerfully and happily along. But what complainings are represented by Malachi! These witnesses say, “It is vain to serve God.” What kind of testimony do they give to the world? They continue, “And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.” When any one who loves and fears God hears men making a similar complaint, let him not respond in giving a testimony against our good and gracious Heavenly Father. Malachi turns away from the dark picture which Satan presents to these professed followers of Jesus Christ; for it is a libel on the paternal character of God. Satan has framed this picture for the contemplation of poor, unbelieving, mourning souls, and they have hung it up in memory's hall, where they can gaze upon it; but the Lord has presented another picture for the contemplation of every believer. “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.” RH September 10, 1895, par. 5

Do the believers who meet in their small assemblies in humble churches or in private houses, often look upon this picture framed by the Lord of hosts? Do they hang it in memory's hall, and contemplate it with hope and joy and courage? What a hope-inspiring picture is this where the Lord is represented as bending down and hearkening to the testimonies borne by his witnesses! What inspiration it should give us to consider the fact that all the heavenly universe is represented as listening with pleasure to the words that are spoken exalting the name of God in the earth. They may not be words of oratory, and they are not words that express doubt, unbelief, and complaint; for such words do not honor the Redeemer. The words to which God and the angels listen with delight are words of appreciation for the great Gift that has been made to the world in the only begotten Son of God. Every word of praise for the blessing of the light of truth which has come in messages of warning, and which has dispelled the darkness of error, is written in the heavenly records. Every word that acknowledges the merciful kindness of our Heavenly Father in giving Jesus to take away our sins, and to impute to us his righteousness, is recorded in the book of his remembrance. Testimonies of this kind “show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Of such witnesses the Lord says, “And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” RH September 10, 1895, par. 6

The fact that the Lord is represented as hearkening to the words spoken by his witnesses, tells us that Jesus is in the midst of us. He says, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst.” One person is not to do all the witnessing for Jesus; but every one who loves God is to testify of the preciousness of his grace and truth. Those who receive the light of truth are to have lesson upon lesson to educate them not to keep silent, but to speak often one to another. They are to keep in mind the Sabbath meeting, when those who love and fear God, and who think upon his name, can have opportunity to express their thoughts in speaking one to another. Let not the little companies think that they can have no meeting when they have no minister. Let them not think that one of their members must stand in the pulpit and preach to them. The time and season are very precious. The assembled believers are in the audience chamber of the universe of Heaven. They are to witness for God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave his life for the world. The little company are to do service to God by offering to him spiritual worship. When there is no delegated minister to speak to the little companies, let each one witness to the truth, and be faithful to speak often one to another of the love of God, and thus train and educate the soul. Let each one seek to become an intelligent Christian, bearing his responsibility, and acting his personal part to make the meeting interesting and profitable. RH September 10, 1895, par. 7

The world is not to hold the highest place in our esteem. God desires that we so train the intellect and the affections that we shall be able to render to him pure and holy service. We are to seek for precious jewels of truth as for hidden treasure. We are to have light, that we may diffuse light to others. Those who do this, will be among that company who think upon the name of the Lord, and who speak often one to another. They will study the character of God, and will become acquainted with their Redeemer. “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Let the character of God be the theme of your thought; for the Lord Jesus calls the attention of his church to himself, and would have his people think upon his name, and impart the knowledge they receive of him to those who are around them. RH September 10, 1895, par. 8

The Majesty of heaven identifies his interests with those of the believers. However humble may be their circumstances, and wherever they are privileged to meet together, it is appropriate that they speak often one to another, giving utterance to the gratitude and love that result from thinking upon the name of the Lord. Thus shall God be glorified as he hearkens and hears, and the testimony meeting will be regarded the most precious of all meetings; for the words spoken are recorded in the book of remembrance. RH September 10, 1895, par. 9

The Lord calls the attention of his people to the world above, which has been lost from view, and brings it again within the range of our vision. He presents before us the privilege of being taught by the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. As we open our Bibles, seeking to know the meaning of the word of God, and asking, What is truth? the Spirit of truth is pledged to take of the things of Christ and show them unto us. Every moment of life is to be weeded of vanity, and to be as a seed that will bear eternal fruit; for our intrusted talents are to be used and increased by use, in order that we may bring glory to God. Thus in the social meeting, let no one fail to improve his opportunity to testify to the praise of the Lord, for failing to take up this duty, he fails to obtain the experience that the Lord would have him. Let all remember that the Lord is hearkening, and that angels are recording in the book of remembrance every word that vindicates the character and mission of Christ. Of those who testify of the love of God, the Lord says, “They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” RH September 10, 1895, par. 10

Those who speak of the goodness of God, who talk of the plan of salvation, who relate their personal experiences, who speak often one to another, are serving God in his own ordained way, and are honoring their Redeemer, and he says that such shall be honored, even as a father honors a son who is faithful and affectionate. Let every one consider the value of the social meetings, and let not large or small companies of believers think that they cannot have an enjoyable season unless they are entertained by a preacher. Where this dependence on the minister exists, the people fail to obtain that vigorous religious experience which they so much need wherever their lot may be cast. If the minister alone does all the witnessing, then those who have newly come to the faith become dwarfed and sickly for lack of opportunity to use their spiritual muscle. They have need to learn how to testify, how to pray, how to sing, to the glory of God: but failing to do this, they have only a one-sided experience. The children of God are to grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. They are to be faithful in their service to God. They are to learn the trade of being spiritual worshipers of God, and it is only by practice that we learn to speak and pray to the edification of those who listen. Let us remember that angels are in the assembly of the saints, Christ in the midst to impress the mind with spiritual truths. The humblest believer, who may regard his talent as of little value, will find that by exercise of his powers, his talents will increase, and using the mites, he may gain pounds by trading with his abilities for the glory of God. Consecrate to God your mental, spiritual, and physical powers, and they will grow as they are used in the service of the Master. RH September 10, 1895, par. 11

Let each precious soul divest himself of the idea that the preacher of the gospel must always be in the sacred desk to sermonize, or the meeting will not be beneficial. Our meetings should take more of the form of training classes to teach the young convert what it is to do service in the house of God. Every effort made by the believers to glorify God, every comforting thought expressed, strengthens the soul of the speaker, and results in the benefit of those who listen. RH September 10, 1895, par. 12

In these small gatherings the Lord will use his human agents if they will surrender all to him, and the soul will gain spiritual strength. I greatly desire that every individual child of God may realize that he is a laborer together with God. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. The Holy Spirit will take the passions of the heart and bring them into subjection to Jesus Christ. RH September 10, 1895, par. 13