Lt 125, 1903

1903

Lt 125, 1903

Brethren in the Med. Miss. Work & in the Review & Herald

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

June 11, 1903

Portions of this letter are published in Ev 102; 7BC 969.

To my brethren bearing responsibilities in the medical missionary work and in the Review and Herald,—

From letters received, I hear that you have had an excellent meeting. I rejoice that the spirit of unity came into your councils. But I must tell you that the spiritual condition of things at the heart of the work is not such as God would have it. You have but touched the wrongs that need to be made right. You are in positive danger, and this danger will increase unless you earnestly, perseveringly carry forward the work of reformation. The gospel of Christ must touch your hearts, that the transforming influence of the truth may be revealed. I dare not hold my peace. I entreat you to make thorough work for repentance. Do not sop with the superficial beginning that has been made. Make steady advancement, as workmen who are imbued with the spirit of the cross of Calvary. Repent, repent, and do the first works, or your candlestick will be removed out of its place. Lt125-1903.1

“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write: These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks: I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars; and hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Revelation 2:1-5.] Lt125-1903.2

At one time Ephesus was a church distinguished for her good works. But she had a spiritual fall. God declared, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” [Verse 4.] This was a most serious loss. Lt125-1903.3

Although He had ascended to heaven, Christ had an intimate acquaintance with the church at Ephesus. He was present in their assemblies. He took pleasure in their faithful discharge of duty, and He commended them for it. But He saw in them a serious lack, and He told them of this lack. “Thou hast left thy first love,” He said. [Verse 4.] Lt125-1903.4

Please read, in connection with the message to the church at Ephesus, Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Paul had labored much for the church at Ephesus. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence.” [Ephesians 1:1-8.] Lt125-1903.5

The first chapters of this epistle are words of commendation. Mark the outflowing of the apostle’s love in the words: “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles, the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Jesus Christ our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him. Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” [Ephesians 3:7-21.] Lt125-1903.6

How precious the prayer offered in behalf of the Ephesians! How large and full the encouragement given them! Lt125-1903.7

The fourth chapter contains warnings that show us the peculiar privileges and dangers of the Ephesian church. Lt125-1903.8

The gospel of Christ was designed to lead all to believe and practice the truth. The Christian is ready to sacrifice everything for His Master. He does not live to himself. From the cross of Calvary the sentence has gone forth, He who lives to himself is not a Christian. Every one who truly accepts Christ will co-operate with Christ. He will follow the Saviour’s example; for he is created anew in Him. Lt125-1903.9

Upon every human being the Lord has a claim. Man is not his own proprietor. Every power of his being, every moment of his time, has been bought with a price, even the precious blood of the only begotten Son of God. Lt125-1903.10

And so Paul writes to the Ephesians: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” [Verses 1-6.] Lt125-1903.11

Paul speaks of himself as the prisoner of the Lord. But he was not a prisoner because of unfaithfulness. He had committed no crime. He was not an evildoer. He was suffering for the steadfastness of his faith. Why then, should he or his brethren be ashamed of his bonds? Lt125-1903.12

Paul presents before the Ephesians the wonderful privileges granted them. He calls upon them to remember what God had done for them. He tells them of the fruit that they are to bear by maintaining unity, “with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” [Verses 2, 3.] Their words and works were to be an evidence of the presence of the grace of Christ in their hearts. Lt125-1903.13

Mark the stress that Paul lays upon unity. “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace,” he says. [Verse 3.] A man cannot live in unity with his fellow men without stern endeavor on his part. He must put forth untiring effort to control his perverse disposition. He must heed the words of the great Teacher sent from God, who gave His life to make it possible for human beings to live Christian lives, each believer working in his place, the gifts of one blending with the gifts of another, and no man standing apart to judge or criticize. Lt125-1903.14

There are so many who pick flaws in their fellow workers. From those who do this Christ removes His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is trying to obtain access to the souls of men and women, that they may not be led astray by the cunning, crafty schemes of men. He sees what is done to hurt and destroy those whom He is seeking to save and bless and comfort. Let us now turn our attention to the saving of our souls. Christ would not have any one perish. He is our Advocate. He stands before God pleading in our behalf. It becomes us all to watch and pray, lest we enter into temptation and work on Satan’s side, making of no effect the mediation of Christ in our behalf. We are to confess Christ by standing in such a position that He can work through us. Lt125-1903.15

In order to honor God, we must steadfastly maintain our allegiance to Him. We cannot yield to worldly influences without dishonoring our Leader. We must be united with Christ and with one another. We must guard carefully against any betrayal of the sacred trust that has been committed to us. Each believer is to strengthen the other, helping him to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith he is called. Lt125-1903.16

Every Christian, at his baptism, pledges himself to love his brethren, as Christ has loved him. Day by day he is to live out the principles of the gospel. Christ is the source of the divine love that His children are to receive and impart. His disciples are to be afraid to exhibit traits of character resembling Satan’s traits. The life of the one who claims to believe in Christ, and yet spends his time in arousing strife and dissension, is a falsehood, a deception. God abhors his evil practices. He has never learned the meaning of sanctification through the truth. Lt125-1903.17

God has made provision for man to be a partaker of the divine nature. It is the eternal purpose of God that His children shall reveal for one another the love that Christ has revealed for them. Selfishness is the fruit borne by the tree nourished by Satan’s corrupting influence. In this world of selfishness and sin, Christians are to demonstrate the power of the love of Christ. A Christian life speaks louder than words possibly can, declaring that Christ’s followers have learned of Him, and that the power of His love has made them steadfast and persevering, enlarging their comprehension of His love, because they themselves have tasted that love. The love that Christ puts into the hearts of His disciples will enlarge their comprehension of His love, and this will be still more fully opened to them in the eternal ages. Lt125-1903.18

Truth sanctifies the soul. No error is of the truth. Brought into the daily life, truth makes men and women more like Him who is Truth, until at last they will be complete in Christ, in word and deed revealing His likeness. Lt125-1903.19

I am instructed to say that had the people of God walked in love and unity, they would now be standing high in moral and spiritual power, and the message would have gone to all parts of the world. A greater zeal would have distinguished believers from unbelievers. The world would not have been soothed and flattered in its transgression of God’s law. The line of demarcation between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not would have been plainly discerned. Lt125-1903.20

Christ is our Teacher. To Him we are to go for instruction. We are to heed His invitation, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:29.] My brethren, try the wearing of Christ’s yoke. Come down from your spiritual stilts, and practice the grace of humility. Put away every evil surmising, and be willing to see the value of the gifts God has bestowed on your brethren. Remember that Christ is the Advocate of every man with whom you refuse to unite in service. Lt125-1903.21

The Holy Spirit will come to you if you will give Him opportunity. Are you standing on the side of those who wear Christ’s yoke of restraint and obedience? He is an all-sufficient Helper. The prophet Isaiah says, “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” [Isaiah 9:6.] Let us leave our case in His hands. Let us refuse to be enticed by the glowing pictures and representations of human beings who are led by the adversary to counterwork the works of God. Do you realize that in every institution Satan has his agencies who work as he worked? Through them he strives to entice men and women away from their first love. Lt125-1903.22

“There is one body, and one Spirit,” Paul declares, “even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” [Ephesians 4:4-6.] Lt125-1903.23

One Lord, Christ Jesus is working upon different minds. The lives of those who respond to this working will reveal its power. The Holy Spirit will dwell in their hearts. All will rejoice in one hope—having the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. By the power that Christ gives they become sons of God. For them there is one baptism. They are baptized into Christ, and they become partakers of the divine nature, “having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” [2 Peter 1:4.] Lt125-1903.24

Paul continues: “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. ... And He gave some apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” [Ephesians 4:7, 8, 11-13.] Lt125-1903.25

“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ.” [Verses 14, 15.] Speaking the truth in love means walking in the truth, being truthful in word and deed. “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” [Verse 16.] Lt125-1903.26

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians outlines the privileges granted them by the Lord, and it shows how earnestly the apostle labored for them. But they left their first love. They ceased to depend on Christ as their Teacher, and as a result they became cold and indifferent. Lt125-1903.27

To those who today profess to believe the truth, the faithful and true Witness is bearing the message borne to the church at Ephesus: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Revelation 2:4, 5.] Lt125-1903.28

The Lord would have the principles of His kingdom plainly proclaimed by His people. And this I testify in the Lord, that our publishing houses, our schools, our sanitariums, are to be witnesses for Christ—witnesses that we are living in the world through the grace given by Christ. God’s law is to be the foundation of the principles followed in our institutions. When this law is ignored, as it has been, the Lord removes His favor from those who thus dishonor Him. He will deny them as they have denied the principles of heaven. As they deal with the truth for this time, so will the Lord deal with them in the day that He makes up His jewels. They will be cast aside as worthless stones, which do not reflect rays of light to a corrupt, godless world. Lt125-1903.29

Those who come out from the world, to stand distinct from worldlings in words and works, those who realize that it is an honor to bear God’s sign, will receive power to become His sons. The Lord will have men who can be depended on. No one will enter the courts above who does not bear the sign of God. Those who in this sin-cursed earth bear this sign in holy boldness, looking upon it as an honor, will be recognized and honored by Christ in the courts above. Lt125-1903.30

God will acknowledge those workers who are humble and contrite. He will fill them with light and will give them power that will prevail with God and man. Although God is in heaven, He walks in the midst of His churches on this earth. He knows and watches over every one who is trying to do something to save souls. Of these faithful workers He says, “I have graven them upon the palms of My hands.” [Isaiah 49:16.] Lt125-1903.31

To us comes the message sent to the church at Ephesus, and to us also comes the message of Revelation 3:14-22. The colder and more formal men are in regard to religious things, the more self-confident they are and the more determined to carry out their ideas and plans. To all such comes the gracious call: Lt125-1903.32

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” [Verses 15-22.] Lt125-1903.33

This is the last call to repentance made to a backslidden church. Who will heed the warning? God abhors indifference in religious things. Lt125-1903.34