Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903)


Ms 55, 1903

A Cause of Spiritual Weakness


May 22, 1903 [typed]

This manuscript is published in entirety in The Southern Watchman, 06/18/1903; The Southern Watchman, 07/09/1903. +Note

The servants of Jesus Christ are to carry forward His work solidly and unitedly. Never are they to cherish a criticizing, faultfinding spirit. When such a spirit is cherished, a door is opened for the powers of darkness, and there comes into the work darkness that kills Christian activity. The Holy Spirit is grieved because of the disregard of the prayer that Christ offered just before His trial and crucifixion, that His disciples might be one. Men often act as if God had made them judges, instead of fellow helpers. The time that might be spent in encouraging one another, in suggesting ways and means for advancing the work of God in hard and difficult places, is spent in judging and condemning. Why are we not more spiritually minded? Why do we so readily yield to the temptation to bite and devour one another? It is because Satan is allowed to enter the heart with his temptations. His suggestions are received and acted upon, and hearts are grieved and wounded. The time and energy that should be wholly on the Lord’s side is used for the enemy. God’s working forces are robbed of strength and courage, and their burdens are increased. Precious time is worse than wasted, and minds are filled with sadness and distrust. All this, when every jot of strength, every power of mind and body, should be employed in a concerted action against the enemy of God and man. 18LtMs, Ms 55, 1903, par. 1

The only safe course for God’s servants to pursue is to work with an eye single to His glory, that the whole body may be full of light. To do this means to keep Christ’s lessons ever in mind and to do all in a way that He can approve, revealing the spirit that he revealed for those He calls His little children. 18LtMs, Ms 55, 1903, par. 2

“A new commandment I give unto you,” Christ said, “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” [John 13:34, 35.] 18LtMs, Ms 55, 1903, par. 3

If it is by the manifestation of this love that we are to convince the world that we are Christ’s disciples, is it not time that we changed our course of action? Is it not time that we gave the world proof that we are Bible Christians, that we are keeping God’s commandments? Shall we not cease to judge and despise and condemn one another? 18LtMs, Ms 55, 1903, par. 4

We have our Bibles. Why, then, do we not practice the teachings of Christ? He says, “He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him. Judas saith unto Him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words; and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings; and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me.” [John 14:21-24.] 18LtMs, Ms 55, 1903, par. 5

Again we read: “Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him that sent Me. ... I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear My words and believe not, I judge him not; for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth Me and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of Myself, but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is life everlasting; whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto Me, so I speak.” [John 12:44, 46-50.] 18LtMs, Ms 55, 1903, par. 6

I entreat those who claim to believe that Christ is their personal Saviour to practice His teachings. Shall we not, from this time, believe in Christ, and show our faith by obeying His words? Will not those who proclaim the gospel to sinners believe the gospel, and by their obedience to every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, testify to its power? Will not those who preach Christ live the Christ life? God calls upon those who have the light to walk in the light. Then their souls will be all light in the Lord. True Christians find their happiness in obeying the words of the Saviour. They place no dependence upon worldly maxims. Their whole dependence is placed upon the Source of all power. By beholding Christ, they become changed. Of what character, then, will be their speech? The following Scripture shows: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” [Philippians 1:9-11.] 18LtMs, Ms 55, 1903, par. 7

Shall we not unite with the prayer of Christ and the prayer of Paul, and, in such holy companionship, make our experience rich in precious words of love and true courtesy and Christian politeness, “being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the praise and glory of God.” [Verse 11.] 18LtMs, Ms 55, 1903, par. 8

Bear in mind, my brethren, that here in this world we are being tested and tried. God calls upon the presidents of our conferences, upon our ministers, and upon those in positions of trust in our institutions to reveal clearly to the world the miracle-working power of God, to show that they are true followers of Christ, “filled with the fruits of righteousness.” [Verse 11.] 18LtMs, Ms 55, 1903, par. 9

Instruction From Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians

Study the first chapter of Ephesians, and unite with the prayer of the great apostle, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places.” [Verses 17-20.] 18LtMs, Ms 55, 1903, par. 10

Let none be zealous to exalt self and find fault with others. This has been done, and it has brought in coldness and indifference and hardheartedness and dissension. Let us pray for reconversion. Let us show sincere repentance, and the Lord will pardon our transgressions and forgive our sins. Power will come to us through connection with Christ. The conscience will find rest in Christ. He is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] As we believe in Him, we are changed into His likeness, His image is engraven on the heart. His love is reflected to the world in our words and deeds. Thus is revealed to the world the power that the truth has to sanctify the receiver. Under the bright, glorious beams of Christ’s righteousness, the human soul is made pure and holy. 18LtMs, Ms 55, 1903, par. 11

I point you to the words of the apostle Paul in the fourth chapter of Ephesians. This whole chapter is a lesson that God desires us to learn and practice. The apostle beseeches us to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called, “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; 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.” [Verses 14-16.] 18LtMs, Ms 55, 1903, par. 12

Study the closing words of the chapter: “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers. And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” [Verses 29-32.] 18LtMs, Ms 55, 1903, par. 13

“Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient; but rather giving of thanks. ... Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be ye not therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light; ... proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” [Ephesians 5:1-4, 6-8, 10, 11.] 18LtMs, Ms 55, 1903, par. 14

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” [Verses 15-17.] Too often those claiming to be Christians allow the enemy to gain access to their minds. They readily receive his suggestions, and this causes a dearth of spiritual power and a great and lamentable confusion. Mistakes are made, and precious, golden moments are taken to remove the results of Satan’s working. Shall we not confess the sins that have dishonored God, imperilled souls, and wasted the hours that ought to have been devoted to proclaiming present truth. 18LtMs, Ms 55, 1903, par. 15