The Signs of the Times


September 18, 1901

“Your Reasonable Service”


We have considered the obligation resting upon those who have not accepted Christ as a personal Saviour. But how are they to be convinced of the importance of obedience to the truth? Is it not by the work of unselfish, self-sacrificing Christian men and women? “There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” ST September 18, 1901, par. 1

Is it not time for the church to arise and shine because her light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon her? ST September 18, 1901, par. 2

In order to reflect light to those in darkness, we must receive the bright rays of the Sun of Righteousness. In order to give the bread of life to starving souls, we must ourselves receive this bread from the hand of the Saviour. In order that the soul may be surrounded with the pure atmosphere of heaven, we must breathe His spirit. ST September 18, 1901, par. 3

For the health and vitality of the soul the divine Physician has prescribed communion with Christ. Spiritual health is dependent on the food which is given to the heart and mind, and on the atmosphere which is breathed. The soul needs food, and in order to get this food, the Word of God must be studied. Christ declares: ST September 18, 1901, par. 4

“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 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.... 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.... It is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” ST September 18, 1901, par. 5

The breathing of pure air is essential for physical health. And it is no less true that the air we breathe in the spiritual life must be pure if we would make healthy growth in grace. Breathe the atmosphere which produces pure thoughts and noble words. Choose Christian society. The Christian will not be spiritually healthy unless he carefully guards his associations. ST September 18, 1901, par. 6

Exercise is essential to growth in grace. When the spiritually diseased are given exercise in spiritual things, there is seen a transformation of character. But spirituality can not grow while the heart is full of the corrupting sores of selfishness. The soul must be cleansed and purified by the refining grace of God. The channel of communication between earth and heaven must be kept free from all obstruction, that the soul may receive from Christ a supply of living water. Every spiritual muscle and sinew must be put to the test. God has given us many opportunities to work for Him. Unless we improve these opportunities, we can not be growing Christians. When Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, a decided change will be seen in the religious experience of professing Christians. ST September 18, 1901, par. 7

The young convert to truth must not always remain a child in spiritual knowledge. A child, however beautiful as a child, is a dwarf if it makes no development as years pass by. And every Christian who is indeed a Christian, must grow. He must constantly increase in wisdom and knowledge. Day by day he must approach more nearly to the full stature of a man in Christ Jesus. He must advance into a deeper appreciation of the love of God, and a clearer knowledge of His will. If his light does not shine more and more brightly, his faith becomes weak, his love grows feeble; and unless he seeks and acknowledges his danger, he is doing the cause of God more harm than an avowed unbeliever. Piety leaves the soul-temple. The man turns carelessly from duties and responsibilities. By him the Son of God is crucified afresh and put to open shame. ST September 18, 1901, par. 8

We are living in an age of doubt. The Christian life has been cheapened by unbelief. Even those who claim to be looking for their Lord's return are not all true to principle. The truth may be taught with so little life, so coldly and so heartlessly, as to make it of none effect. Unless church- members arouse and repent, and consecrate themselves to God, their influence will do more harm than good to unbelievers. ST September 18, 1901, par. 9

“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.” ST September 18, 1901, par. 10

God calls upon us to draw near to Him. As we do this we resist the devil, and he flees from us. Unless we follow on day by day to know the Lord, unless our faith increases, and holiness comes into the daily experience, we shall lose our first love. Its freshness and power will disappear. The candlestick will be moved out of its place. ST September 18, 1901, par. 11

Before we can enter the heavenly courts, we must be refined, purified, elevated, and ennobled. In order to preserve the purity which God requires, the truth must be brought into constant contact with mind and heart. God calls upon His people to walk with Him, as did Enoch. Study His Word, if you desire to have Christ abiding in you, the life-blood of the soul. ST September 18, 1901, par. 12

The Christian church needs to be purged and purified. The members must be consecrated to a higher office than they have hitherto occupied. “Go,” said Christ, “and preach the Gospel to every creature.” God calls for a decided reform. You call yourselves Christians. Are you Christians? Are you not afraid that you misrepresent Christ by taking His name, and saying, “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord” are we, while you allow the love of money to lead you to withhold your tithe, your offering, and your service from Him? The neglect and indifference of professed Christians are cast by the world as a reproach upon God. ST September 18, 1901, par. 13

How can we, men and women who have a knowledge of present truth, be so listless and indifferent, so careless in regard to the work which must be done to warn souls perishing in sin? Christians need a clear conviction of duty. The heart needs to be filled with the childlike faith which takes God at His word. Then the deathlike stupor resting upon the church will be removed. The Lord will work upon hearts. The soul-temple will be purified. There will be no fungus growth. Sloth and stupidity will no longer endanger faith. There will be seen spiritual elasticity and vigorous growth. ST September 18, 1901, par. 14

God calls for a decided change in His people. Heart-conversion is needed. The Lord calls upon us to reveal to the world the sanctifying power of the truth. He calls upon us to lay ourselves upon His altar, a living sacrifice, consecrating all that we have and are to His service. ST September 18, 1901, par. 15

Mrs. E. G. White