The Review and Herald

866/1902

February 2, 1897

“Love Not the World”

EGW

“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.... It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.” RH February 2, 1897, par. 1

In the providence of God, men and women are brought into positions favorable for them to become acquainted with the precious message of truth, and with the messenger who bears this truth. They are given sufficient evidence to settle doubts, to encourage faith, and to inspire them with confidence; but God never removes from their minds the possibility of doubting. RH February 2, 1897, par. 2

Thus Jesus had associated with himself, men who he knew were dwelling in an atmosphere of doubt and unbelief. Though day by day they listened to his all-important lessons, which they must obey if they would have eternal life, Christ found them misinterpreting and misapplying these sacred truths. They were confident that they had clear penetration and discernment, but they could not see afar off. The merest atom placed before their eyes was magnified into an object of vast proportions; but they could not discern spiritual things. Their moral eyesight was defective, and there was every danger that they would be overcome by the devices of Satan. RH February 2, 1897, par. 3

Jesus saw that those who were walking and talking with him, and listening to his instructions, were not being benefited by them. He saw that they were mistaking phantoms for realities and realities for phantoms, calling a world an atom and an atom a world; and he presented before them saving truth. Without heaven sent wisdom they could not fathom his words. If they had removed the atom placed before their eyes, if the truth had been received, the evil would have been remedied. But they would not look at the future realities of eternity. They did not, in imagination, grasp the unseen world. In order that he might practise upon them an endless succession of delusions, Satan presented before them the things of this world as all-attractive and all-absorbing; and they listened to his temptations. RH February 2, 1897, par. 4

Jesus declared that he knew from the first, those who united with him, who had not faith in him as their Saviour. Yet he did not repulse them. He gave them evidence sufficient to establish their faith in his message and in his claims as the Son of God. But when he saw that the influence of these skeptics was leavening the minds of those who would receive and believe the truth and be converted, he made the truth in reference to himself more plain and forcible. This brought matters to a crisis. The Saviour then presented before them the alternative,—a remedy for their unbelief, or a separation from him. “From that time,” we read, “many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” Judas remained, though Jesus knew that he would betray him. RH February 2, 1897, par. 5

Those who follow Christ today will encounter the same difficulties, the same unbelief, the same attempts to pervert the meaning of the truth. They will meet the same tendency to raise the world and the things of the world above eternal interests. As they bear the message of truth, they will continually meet those who use their influence to counteract and misconstrue the truth. These have ears, but they hear not aright; eyes have they, but they see not correctly; and Satan uses them to accomplish his purpose. RH February 2, 1897, par. 6

In his teaching, Christ sought to adjust the claims of heaven and earth. In his lessons of instruction, this was an all important subject. He saw that men are in danger of cherishing an inordinate love for the world. The love of God is supplanted by a love for the world. Nothing but the power of the omnipotent God can dislodge this love. The things which are earthly and temporal lead men away from God, although the advantages to be gained are but an atom in comparison with eternal realities. They have eyes, but they see not aright. Instead of keeping the heavenly world in view, the things of this world are ever before their eyes, and are magnified till they eclipse the world of bliss. RH February 2, 1897, par. 7

Turning away from heavenly attractions, from imperishable wealth, from peace, from nobility of soul, man pours out his affections on unworthy, unsatisfying things; and by constantly beholding this world, he becomes conformed to it. His mind, capable of elevation, and privileged to grasp the eternal blessedness of the saints, turns away from an eternity of greatness, and allows its powers to be chained like a slave to an atom of a world. It is humiliated and dwarfed by allegiance to worldly things. RH February 2, 1897, par. 8

Jesus came to change this order of things, to correct this wide-spread evil. He lifts up his voice as the voice of God in warnings, reproofs, and entreaties, seeking to break the spell which infatuates, enslaves, and ensnares men. He presents before them the future eternal world, and addressing them in decided language, says, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” RH February 2, 1897, par. 9

God would have us lift ourselves above the world. Jesus, the world's Redeemer, presents before us the eternal inheritance, the immortal riches, saying: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” He takes the world from its position of boasted supremacy, placing it where it should be, subject to the spiritual and eternal world. “The love of money is the root of all evil,” writes Paul. While money is of value if rightly used, it is not to be worshiped. Christ tells us that we are not to please ourselves, but that we must weed our lives of all vanities. He commands us to cultivate those attributes which will make every moment of our lives fragrant with good works. RH February 2, 1897, par. 10

God does not design that eternity shall overwhelm us, and unfit us for the duties of this life; and it will never do this if we accustom our minds to dwell upon the themes of eternity, and mingle them with our life duties. The contemplation of eternal realities will not disqualify us for the duties of this life. All the useful pursuits and activities of life are to stand revealed to us as encircled with the hallowed rainbow of promise. Christians are to be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” They are not to spend their time in meditation; neither are their lives to be all bustle, zeal, and excitement. These qualifications are to be blended. RH February 2, 1897, par. 11

The gospel of Christ is and ever will be aggressive. Christ gave himself a sacrifice for the world. He cheerfully gave his own life as a ransom for an apostate world; and he does not design that selfishness and worldliness shall exist in the hearts of his followers. Conformity to the world is expressly forbidden by the word of God. But the grievous sin of idolatry exists in many of the churches today. They are not in harmony with God. Defilement, which should be washed away with the blood of a sin-pardoning Saviour, exists. RH February 2, 1897, par. 12

Christians have an important work to do in this world. Their light is to shine forth to those who are in darkness. The gospel is to be preached to every creature. They are to imitate the example of Christ; his words and actions are to be their pattern. They are to bear his image, and follow him in all his ways. He lived not for himself; his life was spent in doing good to others, and his children are to follow where he has led the way. With their labors, their prayers, and their money they are to bless those who need help. In the world, but not of the world, they are to work as Christ worked, representing him by a sanctified life. But in this work they must have the fear of God, which his word tells us is the beginning of wisdom. RH February 2, 1897, par. 13

The Master has employed us as his servants, and we are to be vigilant workers until he shall return the second time to this earth. We are to wait for the coming of the Lord, and work diligently to prepare the way for him. Waiting alone is not all that is required; we are to wait and watch and pray and work. This combination of waiting, watching, praying, and working constitutes us true Christians. To those who stand in idle expectancy, Christ says, “Why stand ye here all the day idle?” “Work while it is called today.” “The night cometh, when no man can work.” RH February 2, 1897, par. 14

Paul wrote to Timothy, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” This exhortation is applicable to all who live in these last days. The Lord requires thorough, entire service. The mind and the affections must be given to him. The light must be kept burning in the inner sanctuary of the soul. Then Christians will be given a spiritual eyesight. They will be enabled to understand and to do the requirements of God. RH February 2, 1897, par. 15

Christ has given a commission to his servants, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” This commission lays every member of the church of Christ under a solemn weight of responsibility. The conversion of sinners is entrusted to the followers of Christ, and this work is not to be relinquished while there is a sinner unconverted. The words of instruction, “We are laborers together with God,” are of great importance. All, both laymen and ministers, are under tribute to God. Our capabilities are entrusted gifts, which the Lord expects us to multiply by constant use; and our responsibility is in exact proportion to the gifts entrusted. God has given to us freely of his goods, and we are to show unswerving fidelity to him. RH February 2, 1897, par. 16

No selfishness is to find a place in the heart of the Christian. “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” “I beseech you therefore, brethren,” writes Paul, “by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” God's chosen ones are to be just what he meant they should be, and what the apostle declares they are,—“a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.” RH February 2, 1897, par. 17