The Review and Herald

471/1902

January 8, 1889

God's Demands Upon His Servants

EGW

Water is necessary to life, and Christ uses it as an emblem of salvation. Let God withhold water from our earth, even for a little time, and what a state of wretchedness would result. A wild cry of indescribable woe would come from the suffering inhabitants. How much more terrible would be the result, if the light of truth, which is essential to the health and life of the soul, were withheld! Many in this world of mortality are perishing for the water of life. The loss of the natural life is not so lamentable; but the loss of that life which is eternal, which measures with the life of God, is terrible to contemplate; this is an eternal loss. Then why is there so great indifference? Why are those who have a knowledge of Jesus Christ resting at ease? RH January 8, 1889, par. 1

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 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 a 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.” “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them. Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” Now mark the explanation of this statement clothed in such mystery: “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 8, 1889, par. 2

May these words be carefully pondered, for they are of deep import. First, we can have no living connection with Christ unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood. We are to come into as close relationship to Christ as the branches bear to the vine; for as the sap, flowing through the parent stalk, is taken up by the branches, and nourishes them, so every word that proceeds from God gives life to the child of God. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” All who are doers of the word will be one with Christ, and will walk with God, as did Enoch. RH January 8, 1889, par. 3

Christ has identified his interests with those of suffering humanity; and he has shown how much he estimates the worth of the soul, in that he left all the glory and honor he had enjoyed in heaven, and for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. He came to our world to suffer reproach, mockery, rejection, and crucifixion, that he might bring salvation within the reach of all,—the rich and the poor, the high and the low. What, I ask you, are we who have been so highly favored by the Son of God, doing toward accomplishing the work left us to do,—that of bringing the light to others, that they may have eternal life? What are we doing to save our fellow-men? The Saviour declares, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” RH January 8, 1889, par. 4

Without Christ the soul is “dead in trespasses and sins,” and unless it shall become one with Christ, and be quickened by the grace of God, it must be lost. It is important for each individual to know that he is abiding in Christ. If we are indeed in Christ, we shall have a deep, settled purpose to do all that is in our power to reveal the truth to those who are far off, and to those who are near. Christ says to his followers, “Ye are the light of the world.” Having a knowledge of the truth ourselves, we must practice its principles, or it will be only a curse to sink us deeper in perdition. We must not only be prayerful, and anxious to know what is right, but we must love to do the right. RH January 8, 1889, par. 5

God is life, and love, and light. The gospel of truth, emanating from God, must be appropriated by his followers, as the branch appropriates the nourishment in the sap flowing from the true vine. The mind and heart will then be, not only enlightened, but cleansed and purified. All who are abiding in Christ will do the work of Christ. The earnest invitation comes down along the lines to our time, “Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely;” and it embraces all,—young and old, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, bond and free. RH January 8, 1889, par. 6

What are we doing to proclaim Christ to the world? What sacrifices are we making to second his efforts? Who is putting forth every effort to bring the light of truth to others, that they may be enriched by its imperishable treasure? Millions of human beings are perishing for the water of life; and what excuse will many have to give in the judgment for their love of ease and amusement, and for indulging in self-gratification? They put forth no personal effort, neither do they give of the money which the Lord has intrusted to their keeping for the very purpose of blessing their fellow-men and bringing salvation to the doors of those who are ignorant of truth and righteousness. A free gospel, and yet bound away from hungering souls for want of money and self-denying, self-sacrificing workers! The Rock of salvation was smitten for you to drink. For Christ's sake, drink, and he will be in you a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. If you drink, and your soul is refreshed, you will want others to drink, that they may be refreshed. Your hearts will be softened, your souls invigorated. RH January 8, 1889, par. 7

The world and the churches are breaking God's law, and the warning must be given, “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation.” With such a curse hanging over the transgressors of God's holy Sabbath, should we not show greater earnestness, greater zeal? Why are we so indifferent, so selfish, so engrossed in temporal interests? Is our interest separated from Jesus? Has the truth become too pointed, too close in its application to our souls; and like the disciples of Christ who were offended, have we turned away to the beggarly elements of the world? We spend money for selfish purposes, and gratify our own desires, while souls are dying without a knowledge of Jesus and the truth. How long shall this continue? RH January 8, 1889, par. 8

All should have a living faith,—a faith which works by love, and purifies the soul. Men and women are ready to do anything to indulge self, but how little are they willing to do for Jesus, and for their fellow-men who are perishing for the want of the truth! Claim not to be a member of the royal family unless you can show your holy pedigree,—that you are eating Christ's flesh and drinking his blood, and are a partaker of the divine nature. Let us see what Jesus, our Redeemer, has said: “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothed the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (for after all these things do the Gentiles seek); for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” RH January 8, 1889, par. 9

“Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching; verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed be those servants. And this know, that if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also; for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” RH January 8, 1889, par. 10

Has not the time come when we should begin to cut down our possessions? May God help you who can do something now to make an investment in the bank of heaven. We do not ask a loan, but a free-will offering,—a return to the Master of his own goods which he has lent you. If you love God supremely, and your neighbor as yourself, we believe you will give tangible proofs of the same in free-will offerings for our mission work. There are souls to be saved, and may you be co-workers with Jesus Christ in saving these souls for whom Christ has given his life. The Lord will bless you in the good fruit you may bear to his glory. May the same Holy Spirit which inspired the Bible take possession of your hearts, leading you to love his word, which is Spirit and life. May it open your eyes to discover the things of the Spirit of God. The reason there is so much dwarfed religion today is because people have not brought practical self-denial and self-sacrifice into their lives. We must needs be stimulated by calling to mind the life of the martyrs and holy men of God, who appreciated the truth above gold, silver, and earthly possessions, and even above life itself. They had vigorous faith and piety, unbending principle, for they were eating daily of Christ's flesh, and drinking his blood. They read the word of God; they meditated upon it, and believed it. They obeyed that word, and were therefore practical Christians. Such will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” from the lips of the Master. Our nourishment must be drawn from the Bible, and such sustenance will be as enduring as eternity. RH January 8, 1889, par. 11