The Review and Herald


April 21, 1891

“What Shall We Do That We Might Work the Works of God?”

[Sermon at workers’ meeting, Grand Rapids, Mich.]



When Philip had found Jesus, he was not content to keep the knowledge of the Messiah to himself. “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.” This is the best way to test the truth. With softened and subdued hearts, with the Holy Spirit resting upon you, come to the oracles of truth; see for yourselves what is truth. We do not ask you to believe because we present truth to you, but believe because you have proved for yourself that it is truth. RH April 21, 1891, par. 1

“Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.” Nathanael had been praying to God, and Christ beheld his devotions. How many of us have been offering prayer to Heaven? God sees us wherever we are, and he knows the intents and purposes of our hearts; nothing escapes his notice. Do we believe in Christ? Do we believe that he laid aside his glory, his majesty, his high command, his royal robes, to become a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief? Then how can we sin against him? How can we grieve the Holy Spirit of God? How can we bruise Jesus, and put him to an open shame? If you were eating of his flesh and drinking of his blood, you would not do this. Christ has presented before us eternal life, but we can have it only by thorough identification with Christ, by showing that Christ's life is woven into our experience, that we have passed from death unto life. If we are eating Christ's flesh and drinking his blood, his life will be in us, and we shall bear the same relation to him as the branch does to the vine. The branch receives nutriment from the parent stock, and those united with Christ receive nourishment from him. The branch bears fruit of the same kind as that of the vine. If you are a part of Christ, and identified with him, you are eating his flesh and drinking his blood, and through this living experience you become sons and daughters of God. RH April 21, 1891, par. 2

But the children of God need not think to reach heaven without suffering, for we are to be partakers of Christ's sufferings. Christ says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” There is work to be done for those around you, that cannot be neglected. Your children are to be educated in the truth. Parents should talk to their little ones of Jesus, and of the plan of salvation. They should weave precious lessons of the life and character of Christ into their children's minds that they may become the followers of Christ and heirs of eternal life. There is much talk of foreign missionary work, but the home work is neglected. The greatest mission field is right at your fireside, and the great need is that of fathers and mothers in Israel. When parents begin to realize the great responsibility that rests upon them, they will take up this home missionary work, and train their children for heaven. They will give their little ones line upon line, and precept upon precept. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” It is in this way that parents are to keep ever before themselves and their children the great standard of righteousness. If they are condemned in their course of action, if the defects of their character are pointed out to them, they are to cleanse themselves, to overcome by the blood of the Lamb. RH April 21, 1891, par. 3

The professed people of God should pray more, and talk less; for we are altogether too earthly. Our minds dwell too much on earthly things. We are to be as pilgrims and strangers on the earth, passing on to a better country. We are to be in earnest in our efforts for gaining eternal life. The blessed Saviour has a crown waiting for us. It is to be decided by us whether or not we shall have that crown. Christ must be revealed in your daily life. There must be no angry words spoken in the home, no seeds of coarse, common talk sown in your children's hearts, or they will have no confidence in you when you speak in meeting. God help us to have the peace of Christ in our hearts, that we may teach our children the way of life and peace! We may have a little heaven to go to heaven in, if Christ breathes upon us his Holy Spirit. His love will be with us, and we shall be acquainted with him, and can bring him into our families. RH April 21, 1891, par. 4

We should abstain from all evil-speaking and evil-surmising. Our children will be in danger of losing all respect for religion if we indulge in criticism of others. Let us talk of the love of Christ, of the commandments of God. Teach your children to be kind and courteous to all, and especially to respect the old. If you do all that God has given you to do, you will have no time to criticise your neighbors. You have your own little plat of ground to work upon; the unsightly weeds must be removed from your own dooryard. You must teach your children the way of life, and educate them to bear burdens at home. In this way they will be educated to bear burdens in the church, and will become lightbearers for God. You have a work to do to see that Satan does not sow his poisonous seeds in the hearts of your children. You may not have time for adorning your houses, but if the characters of your children are made beautiful, you will meet the approval of God. You will not have time to put ruffles and unnecessary ornaments upon your garments, for you will realize that you have a great work to do for Christ. If parents desire their children to have noble characters, they must guard against light and trifling talk, and give them line upon line, and precept upon precept of truth. May God help you to take hold of the work intelligently; for if there is not a work to be done in this direction, then God has never spoken by me. RH April 21, 1891, par. 5

Instead of indulging in jesting and joking, suppose you begin to exalt Jesus, talking of his wonderful charms. Make your children acquainted with the divine Redeemer of mankind; for they do not know him. If you had good home religion, you would be a bright and shining light, and represent Christ to a lost world. Let no murmuring escape your lips, but talk of the love of God. Christ is soon coming, and is it not time that we were getting ready for his glorious appearing? RH April 21, 1891, par. 6

Enoch walked with God 300 years, and we can walk with God from day to day. He had in his heart the living principles of the law of God, and the Holy Spirit rested upon him. He looked forward to the coming of Christ, and prophesied of the appearing of our Lord that is now so near at hand. If we believe that Christ is soon coming, we shall talk of our hope. Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Christ has warned us to watch and pray that we may be ready for his coming; and shall we not watch and be patient? Shall we be deceived by the powers of darkness? May God help us that our lamps may be found trimmed and burning! RH April 21, 1891, par. 7

In the parable of the virgins, five were found wise, and five foolish. Can it be possible that half of us will be found without the oil of grace in our lamps? Shall we come to the marriage feast too late? We have slept too long; shall we sleep on, and be lost at last? Are there those here who have been sinning and repenting, sinning and repenting, and will they continue to do so till Christ shall come? May God help us that we may be truly united to Christ, the living vine, and bear fruit to the glory of God! Many feel rich, and regard themselves as in need of nothing; but may such confess their sins, and let the Spirit of God into their hearts. O, let us fear to go on in our evil, unrepenting state, lest we become like Judas, and finally betray our blessed Lord! RH April 21, 1891, par. 8

Shall we not break off our sins by righteousness, and have our conversation in heaven, whence we look for our Saviour? Shall we not talk of our Saviour until it becomes natural for us to do so? If we do not order our conversation aright, we shall not see the salvation of God. Satan will take possession of the heart, and we shall become low and sensual. Let us elevate the thoughts, and take hold upon things that are of real value, gaining an education here that will be of value in the world to come. Shall we not seek the Lord with earnestness, repent of our backslidings, mourn that we have neglected his word, that we do not know the truth better, and turn to him with all the heart, that he may heal us, and love us freely? Today let us take a step toward heaven. Christian character is not achieved in an instant, but day after day we are to add to our faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity. It is in this way that we are to be made ready for the coming of Christ. If we do not advance in the light, we shall be among that company who sit in darkness, for whom no place is found in heaven. RH April 21, 1891, par. 9

John says, “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.... And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. RH April 21, 1891, par. 10

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” This is the company with whom we desire to stand. Then let us show it by our works, and remove from our hearts everything that will shut out Jesus. The latter rain is to fall upon the people of God. A mighty angel is to come down from heaven, and the whole earth is to be lighted with his glory. Are we ready to take part in the glorious work of the third angel? Are our vessels ready to receive the heavenly dew? Have we defilement and sin in the heart? If so, let us cleanse the soul temple, and prepare for the showers of the latter rain. The refreshing from the presence of the Lord will never come to hearts filled with impurity. May God help us to die to self, that Christ, the hope of glory, may be formed within! I must have the Spirit of God in my heart. I can never go forward to do the great work of God, unless the Holy Spirit rests upon my soul. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” The day of judgment is upon us. O that we may wash our robes of character, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb! RH April 21, 1891, par. 11