The Review and Herald

838/1902

August 11, 1896

Who Are Representing Christ?

EGW

We are living in times that try men's souls. Those in high positions of trust, whom we may call—as God called some in the days of Noah—mighty men, men of renown, know little of the causes that underlie the present state of society. Many do not care to know; others do not study from cause to effect. Those who hold the reins of government are not able to solve the problem of moral corruption, poverty, pauperism, and increasing crime of every type, manifest in all classes, from the highest to the lowest. Many are struggling vainly to place business operations on a more secure basis. The great extremes of wealth and want produce unnumbered evils. RH August 11, 1896, par. 1

In our large cities there exists an appalling condition of poverty. Multitudes are destitute of food, clothing, or shelter fit for a human being. In the same cities are men of wealth, who have more than heart could wish; who live luxuriously, spending their money upon richly furnished houses and personal adornment; or worse, upon the gratification of the sensual appetites,—upon tobacco, liquors, and other things that destroy the power of the brain, unbalance the mind, and debase the soul. While they are thus selfishly indulging themselves, all heaven is looking down upon these unfaithful stewards. God and angels mark how the means given to men with which to honor the Creator by blessing the world, is turned to the gratification of self, to the dishonor of God, and the neglect of his heritage. RH August 11, 1896, par. 2

The Lord declares: “Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; that lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; that chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of music, like David; that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed. The Lord God hath sworn by himself, saith the Lord the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein.” RH August 11, 1896, par. 3

Israel had transgressed the law, violated the Sabbath, and oppressed the poor, turning away the stranger from his right. They had given themselves to indulgence of appetite, to wine-drinking, and to similar things. The Lord put his rebuke upon them, and foretold their degradation. Through indulgence in wine and strong drink, they were confusing their judgment, and deteriorating their character. “Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? for ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock: ye which rejoice in a thing of naught, which say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength? But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the Lord the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hemath unto the river of the wilderness.” This whole prophecy presents lessons upon temperance, reproving selfishness, luxurious living, indulgence in those things that pervert the senses, and lead to extravagance and sin. RH August 11, 1896, par. 4

The prince of darkness has set in operation every device to ruin and destroy man. He has legions of evil workers uniting with him to obliterate the image of God in our youth. I ask those who are acquainted with truth, who know righteousness, What are you doing? Are you using your influence to bring into the ranks of the Lord's army all whom you can possibly reach? Have you yourself enlisted to fight the battles of the Lord? As Christians it is our work to represent Christ. We are to set an example that shall be in striking contrast to the practises of this evil age. He that is selfish will neglect to do the very work he ought to do, and take up a work that God has not given him to do. “He that loveth pleasure [“sport,” margin] shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.” “He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honor.” “The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labor. He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.” RH August 11, 1896, par. 5

“He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.” This breaks up worldly policy, and sets aside worldly maxims. “That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee? Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate.” Consider also these words: “For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoil them. Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go.” Why?—“Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” RH August 11, 1896, par. 6

While distrust and alienation are pervading all classes of society, Christ's disciples are to reveal the spirit that reigns in heaven. Because the world was ruined through sin, God gave his Son to draw men back to him. He “so loved the world, that he gave” all that heaven could give for the saving of the lost. In every soul who receives that love it will manifest itself in like manner. God so loved that he gave. If we love with his love, we, too, shall give all. We shall be co-workers with him whose mission it is to “preach the gospel to the poor; ... to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” We shall do the work he has set before us,—“to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke; ... to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house; when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh.” RH August 11, 1896, par. 7

Again the Lord says: “Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way: but let it rather be healed.” All about us are souls that have gone out of the way,—souls that have been wounded and bruised by the enemy, and that feel a craving for help, for comfort, for sympathy. These souls, when brought in contact with us, should find a strong hand stretched out to clasp their hand,—a strong, living faith that will help them to put their trust in Jesus. RH August 11, 1896, par. 8

All who pray in sincerity, “Be thou my pattern,” will work in Christ's lines; they will reveal that they themselves are striving to follow Christ, and as the natural result, they will lead others to seek the higher life. The power of speech is a precious gift of God, and if used in speaking words of hope and courage to the oppressed, it will be a savor of life unto life. But it may be a savor of death unto death. Harsh or even thoughtless words may be a great hindrance to the struggling, fainting soul. They may sting and bruise until the soul shall be driven upon Satan's ground, never again to listen to the voice of Christ. RH August 11, 1896, par. 9

The Saviour marks all our work as though done unto himself; for he identifies his interest with that of suffering humanity. Every one who names the name of Christ is called, so far as it lies in his power, to help every other soul in the heavenward way. But let none feel that Christ has placed them on the judgment-seat to pass judgment on a brother or sister who is unfortunate, or who falls into error. Many hearts are sorely stricken, to whom words fitly spoken might bring peace and rest. These souls are a test to their brethren and sisters, revealing what is in the heart. All heaven is looking to see how we treat those that need our help. It is this that reveals whether the glowing fire of the first love is still burning upon the altar of the heart. What a power the church would have in it if all its members were so imbued with the Spirit of Christ as to speak to one another only words of comfort and peace and hope; if none felt it their prerogative to judge, to oppress, to cast a dark shadow on the soul of another! RH August 11, 1896, par. 10

When the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” the Saviour “called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of sea. Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” RH August 11, 1896, par. 11

My brethren, be not deceived in regard to your own souls. They that are hearers and doers of the words of Christ are the only ones who have built on the eternal Rock, and whose house will stand secure when the storms beat upon it. What kind of foundation have you been building upon,—sliding sand or solid rock? If you are not doers of the words of Christ, your house is sure to fall. Do you seek to save souls that are perishing? or do you fold your arms, and leave those unhelped whom you could help? You will gain no strength or encouragement to your own soul in neglecting to work the works of Christ. RH August 11, 1896, par. 12

“Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him,” said Jesus, “shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” “If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” RH August 11, 1896, par. 13