The Review and Herald

808/1902

January 14, 1896

Spirit and Life for the Colored People

EGW

The psalmist says, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” Heavenly intelligences are close by the side of every one who is seeking to open the word of God to the understanding of the simple, or to those who are really desirous of becoming acquainted with the will of God. Those who open the Scripture to others should teach them the word of life, realizing the solemn, sacred work that they are doing; for they are bringing souls in contact with God, and with Jesus Christ whom he has sent. Any trifling, jesting, or joking over the word of God is dishonoring to him, and leaves an influence that is anything but good upon the mind. But if we desire to enlarge a man's mind, let us turn his attention to the Scriptures. In the Bible, we behold Him who is the way, the truth, and the life. Through understanding the word of God, efficiency is obtained for both the practical and the religious life. RH January 14, 1896, par. 1

Jesus said: “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you; for him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. They said therefore unto him, What sign showest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life; he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.... I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.... Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” Jesus explained what he meant by eating his flesh and drinking his blood. He meant that his disciples were to partake of his word. He said, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” RH January 14, 1896, par. 2

The word of Christ is the bread of life that is furnished for every soul that liveth. To refuse to eat this bread is death. He that neglects to partake of the word of God shall not see life. Receiving the word is believing the word, and this is eating Christ's flesh, drinking his blood. To dwell and abide in Christ, is to dwell and abide in his word; it is to bring heart and character into conformity to his commands. In the parable of the vine and the branches, Jesus shows the vital connection that must exist between himself and his followers. He says: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” RH January 14, 1896, par. 3

The branches represent the believers in Jesus Christ. Those who truly believe, will do the same works that he did. They are united to Christ by the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. As the branch is nourished by the sap which flows from the parent stock, so the believer in Christ is sustained by the life of Christ. The branches represent the very youngest of the followers of Christ, as the branch includes all the tiny tendrils that belong to it. Jesus is our center. He is the parent stock that bears the branches. In him our eternal life is centered. The words that he has spoken unto us are spirit and life, and those who feed upon his word, and are doers of his word, represent him in character. His patience, meekness, humility, and love pervade their hearts. Jesus said, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” If we are indeed grafted into the True Vine, we shall bear fruit similar to that of the parent stock. RH January 14, 1896, par. 4

Those who love Christ will do the works of Christ. They will go forth to seek and to save that which was lost. They will not shun those who are despised, and turn aside from the colored race. They will teach them how to read and how to perform manual labor, educating them to till the soil and to follow trades of various kinds. They will put forth painstaking efforts to develop the capabilities of the people. The cotton field will not be the only resource for a livelihood to the colored people. There will be awakened in them the thought that they are of value with God, and that they are esteemed as his property. The work pointed out is a most needful missionary enterprise. It is the best restitution that can be made to those who have been robbed of their time and deprived of their education. The fact that this is the case leaves a heavy debt upon the American nation. As a nation, we have been made the depositary of sacred truth, and we are to impart the precious knowledge of the word of God to others. Every earthly blessing has come to us because of the infinite price that has been paid in our behalf. If it has cost so great a price to redeem man, so that he should not perish, but have everlasting life, how we should rejoice that we are privileged to become co-workers with Christ in saving those for whom he has given his precious life! The Lord Jesus loves those for whom he has made the greatest sacrifice. He gave his own most precious life to bring life and immortality to light to all those who should believe. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Those who receive Christ are in co-partnership with him, and will not mistake their life work. They will heed the words spoken by Christ. They will be guided by the Holy Spirit, and become more and more intelligent in regard to the requirements of God, and will reveal the love and grace that were revealed in the life of Christ toward those with whom he came in contact. RH January 14, 1896, par. 5