Diligence in the Work of Preparation

///Diligence in the Work of Preparation

Diligence in the Work of Preparation

Diligence in the Work of Preparation

Manuscript 1, 1869

[Remarks by Ellen G. White in Battle Creek, March 26, 1869.]

I do not intend to speak long enough to weary you this afternoon. I have not strength, and should I consult my own feelings, I should not be here at all. I feel deeply for the people of God, but what to say or do to arouse them from their present lethargy, I know not. It seems that the strength of my life is nearly spent, but I shall not cease pleading with you until I fall at my post, if that is to be my fate. 2SAT 1.6

The light of truth has shone in this place with great clearness. That light has been given line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. But the truth which it has been your privilege to enjoy has not been carefully cherished and carried into the practical life. This is the reason why there is so little power among us at the present time. 2SAT 1.7

There are many who inquire, Why is it that we have so little strength? Is it because heaven is sealed? Is it because there are no precious lessons in store for us? Is it because our source of strength and power is exhausted, and we can receive no more? Why is it that we are not all light in the Lord? He who was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, who was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, by whose stripes we are healed. [He] is high and lifted up, and the glory of His train fills the temple. Why is this glory withheld from us who are in a world of sin and trouble, sorrow and sadness, corruption and iniquity? 2SAT 1.8

The trouble lies with ourselves. It is our iniquities which have separated us from God. It is because we do not feel our need, because we do not hunger and thirst after righteousness, that we are not filled. The promise is that if we hunger and thirst after righteousness we shall be filled. The promise is to you, my brethren and sisters. It is to me, it is to every one of us. It is the hungering, thirsting souls who will be filled. We may come to Christ just as we are, with our weakness, our folly and imperfections, and in repentance drop at His feet, offering our petition in faith. 2SAT 1.9

In spite of our errors, our continual backsliding, the voice of the long-suffering Saviour is heard inviting us, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” To the needy, the fainting, those who are weighed down with burden and care and perplexity, the invitation is, “Come.” It is Christ’s glory to encircle us in the arms of His mercy and love, and bind up our wounds, to sympathize with those who need sympathy, and strengthen those who need strength. When we have been almost ready to sink, we have sent up the earnest cry, “Lord, save, or I perish,” and how sweet it has been to find His hand stretched out to save. He has been to us just what He promised, a present help in every time of need. 2SAT 1.10

The Lord has graciously invited all to come. When He was on earth He said to the unbelieving, obstinate Pharisees, “Ye will not come unto Me, that ye might have life.” Oh, that this may never be said of us. There is life and peace and joy in Jesus Christ. He is the sinner’s friend. There is power and glory and strength for us all in Him, and if we believe that this power and glory is ours, if we comply with the conditions laid down in His Word, we shall be strong in the strength of the mighty One. 2SAT 2.1

There are many who may well be represented by the vine that is trailing upon the ground, and entwining its tendrils about the roots and rubbish that lie in its path. To all such the message comes, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18]. 2SAT 2.2

There are conditions to meet if we would be blessed and honored and exalted by God. It is separation from the world, a refusal to touch those things which would separate our affections from God. God has the first and highest claim upon you. Set your affections upon Him and heavenly things. Your tendrils must be severed from everything earthly. You are exhorted to touch not the unclean thing, for in doing this you will yourself become unclean. It is impossible for you to unite with those who are corrupt and still remain pure. “What fellowship hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial?” God and Christ and the heavenly host would have man know that if he unites with the corrupt, he will become corrupt. If we are found mingling with the world, we shall share the fate of the world. 2SAT 2.3

The requirements of God are set plainly before us, and the question to be settled is, Will we comply with them? Will we accept the conditions laid down in His Word—separation from the world? This is not the work of a moment or of a day. It is not accomplished by bowing at the family altar and offering up lip service, neither by public exhortation and prayer. It is a life-long work. Our consecration to God must be a living principle, interwoven with the life, and leading to self-denial and self-sacrifice. It must underlie all our thoughts and be the spring of every action. This will elevate us above the world, and separate us from its polluting influence. 2SAT 2.4

All our actions are affected by our religious experience, and if this experience is founded on God, and we understand the mysteries of godliness, if we are daily receiving of the power of the world to come, and hold communion with God, and have the fellowship of the Spirit, if we are each day holding with a firmer grasp the higher life, and drawing closer and still closer to the bleeding side of the Redeemer, we shall have inwrought in us principles that are holy and elevating. Then it will be as natural for us to seek purity and holiness and separation from the world as it is for the angels of glory to execute the mission of love assigned them in saving mortals from the corrupting influence of the world. 2SAT 3.1

Everyone who enters the pearly gates of the city of God will be a doer of the Word. He will be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. It is our privilege to realize the fullness there is in Christ, and be blessed by the provision made through Him. Ample provision has been made that we should be raised from the lowlands of earth, and have our affections fastened upon God and heavenly things. 2SAT 3.2

Will this separation from the world in obedience to the divine command unfit us for doing the work the Lord has left us? Will it hinder us from doing good to those around us? No; the firmer hold we have on heaven, the greater will be our power of usefulness in the world. We should study to copy the Pattern, that the Spirit that dwelt in Christ may dwell in us. The Saviour was not found among the exalted and honorable of the world. He did not spend His time among those who were seeking their ease and pleasure. He went about doing good. His work was to help those who needed help, to save the lost and perishing, to lift up the bowed down, to break the yoke of oppression from those who were in bondage, to heal the afflicted, and to speak words of sympathy and consolation to the distressed and sorrowing. 2SAT 3.3

We are required to copy this Pattern. Let us be up and doing, seeking to bless the needy and comfort the distressed. The more we partake of the Spirit of Christ, the more we shall see to do for our fellow man. We shall be filled with a love for perishing souls, and shall find our delight in following the footsteps of the Majesty of heaven. 2SAT 3.4

Probation is about to close. In heaven the edict will soon go forth, “It is done.” “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” [Revelation 22:11, 12]. Then the last prayer for sinners will have been offered, the last tear shed, the last warning given, the last entreaty made. The sweet voice of mercy will be heard no more. 2SAT 3.5

This is why Satan is making such mighty efforts to secure men and women in his snare. He has come down with great power, knowing that his [time] is short. His special work now is to secure professing Christians in his ranks, that he may through them allure and destroy souls. The enemy is playing the game of life for every soul. He is working to remove everything of a spiritual nature from us, and in the place of the precious graces of Christ [to] crowd our hearts with all the evil traits of the carnal nature—hatred, evil surmising, jealousy, love of the world, love of self, love of pleasure, and pride of life. We need to be fortified against the incoming of the foe, who is working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, for if we are not watchful and prayerful, these evils will enter the heart and crowd out all that is good. 2SAT 4.1

Many who profess to believe the Word of God do not seem to understand the deceptive working of the enemy. They do not realize that the end of time is near. But Satan knows it, and while men sleep he works. The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life are controlling men and women. Satan is at work, even among the people of God, to cause disunion and difference of opinion. There is biting and devouring among them, and Satan designs that they shall be consumed one of another. Selfishness, corruption, and evil of every kind is taking a firm hold upon hearts. 2SAT 4.2

With many the precious Word of God is neglected. A novel or a story book engages the attention and fascinates the mind. Anything that will excite the imagination is eagerly devoured, while the Word of God is set aside. Why was it that the Jewish nation rejected and turned from Christ, insisting [that] a robber be granted them and that the Prince of life be crucified? Why did such blindness come upon the people? It was because they overlooked the Word of Life, because they failed to search the Scriptures. 2SAT 4.3

In these last days many are weighed in the balances and found wanting, because they suffer their minds to be engrossed with things of little importance, while eternal truth is neglected. The truth of God, which would elevate, sanctify, refine, and fit us for the finishing touch of immortality, is set aside for things of minor importance. Oh, that this blindness might pass away, and men and women understand the work that Satan is accomplishing among them. 2SAT 4.4

Provision has been made whereby the communication between heaven and our souls may be free and open, that we may have the influence of the holy angels. We can place ourselves where rays of light and glory from the throne of God will be given us in abundance. The light of the knowledge of the glory of God as seen in the face of Jesus Christ may shine upon us, and we may stand in the position where it can be said of us, “Ye are the light of the world.” 2SAT 5.1

Were it not for the communication between heaven and earth, there would be no light in the world. Like Sodom and Gomorrah all would perish beneath the wrath of an offended God. But the world is not left in darkness. The long-suffering and mercy of God is still extended to the children of men. It is His design that the divine rays of light which emanate from the throne of God shall be received in our hearts and reflected by the children of light. 2SAT 5.2

The love revealed in the Saviour’s life of self-denial and self-sacrifice is to be seen in the lives of His followers. We are called upon “so to walk even as He walked.” The cause of our weakness lies in our refusal to obey this command. On every side there are opportunities to work for our fellow men, not only in supplying their temporal wants, but their spiritual necessities. It is our duty to lead souls to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. It is important that we fill aright our position in the world, in society, and in the church; but we cannot do this unless we have a firm hold upon righteousness. 2SAT 5.3

Our faith must reach within the veil, whither our Forerunner has for us entered. It is possible for us to take hold by faith of the eternal promises of God, but to do this we must have a faith that will not be denied, a steadfast, immovable faith, that will take hold of the realities of the unseen world. 2SAT 5.4

It is our privilege to stand with the light of heaven upon us. It was thus that Enoch walked with God. It was no easier for Enoch to live a righteous life in his day than it is for us at the present time. The world in Enoch’s time was no more favorable to a growth in grace and holiness than it is now, but Enoch devoted time to prayer and communion with God, and this enabled him to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. It is his devotion to God that fitted him for translation. 2SAT 5.5

We are living amid the perils of the last days, and we must receive our strength from the same source as did Enoch. We must walk with God. A separation from the world is required of us. We cannot remain free from this pollution unless we follow the example of faithful Enoch and walk with God. But how many are slaves to the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. 2SAT 5.6

This is the reason why they are not partakers of the divine nature, and do not escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. They are serving and honoring self. Their constant study is, What shall I eat, what shall I drink, and wherewithal shall I be clothed. 2SAT 6.1

Many talk of sacrifice, when they do not know what sacrifice is. They have not tasted its first draught. They talk of the cross of Christ, they profess the faith, but they have had no experience in self-denial, lifting the cross and bearing it after their Lord. If they were partakers of the divine nature, the same spirit that dwelt in their Lord would dwell in them. The same tenderness and love, the same pity and compassion, would be manifested in their lives. They would not then wait to have the needy and unfortunate come to them, and be entreated to feel for their woes. It would be as natural for them to aid the needy and minister to their wants as it was for Christ to go about doing good. 2SAT 6.2

Every man, woman, and youth who professes the religion of Christ should realize the responsibility resting upon them. All should feel that this is an individual work, an individual warfare, an individual preaching of Christ in the daily practice. If each would realize this, and take hold of the work, we should be mighty as an army with banners. The heavenly dove would hover over us. The Sun of Righteousness would shine upon us, and the light of the glory of God would no more be shut away from us than it was from the devoted Enoch. 2SAT 6.3

The command is given us, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate.” It is not for you to say, I have nothing to do with my neighbor; he is buried in the world; I am not his keeper. For this very reason you should have something to say to him. The light given you, you should not hide under a bushel. You are not to keep it for yourself alone. This is entirely contrary to the will of God. Let your light shine before men, is the command. Will you let it shine—by your words, your deeds? 2SAT 6.4

It may be understood that you believe the Sabbath, that you believe in the Lord’s soon return; but what good will that do your neighbor unless you carry this belief into your daily life? You may talk of being a follower of Christ, but this will not benefit those around you unless you imitate the great Example. 2SAT 6.5

It is not merely by reading or writing that you battle for your faith, but by showing your good works, by leading sinners to the Lamb of God. Your profession may be as high as heaven, but it will not save you or your fellow men unless you are a Christian. Your example will go farther toward enlightening the world than all your profession. We want the living preacher carried out in the living example. In this way your light will shine, and others, seeing your good works, will glorify your Father which is in heaven. 2SAT 6.6

Oh, that the Lord would give us to feel as we have never felt before. If you knew that you had but one more hour of probation, you would change your course. You would not dare to stand in the position you are in today. If you knew that probation would close in one year, you would not continue the course you are now pursuing, and yet you do not know that you will live one day longer. You have not one day to call your own. We know not how soon death may be feeling for the heart-strings of any one of us. We know not how soon the axe may be laid at the root of the tree, and the sentence go forth, “Cut it down. Why cumbereth it the ground?” Will you pass on in your sinful state, with envy and jealousy and hatred in your heart? While you do this, you are no more fit for heaven than Satan himself. 2SAT 7.1

If you think you can lay down the oars, and still make your way up stream, you are mistaken. It is only by earnest effort, by using the oars with all your might, that you can stem the current. How many there are as weak as water, when they have a never-failing Source of strength. Heaven is ready to impart to us, that we may be mighty in God, and attain the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. 2SAT 7.2

But who of you in the past year has been making progress in the way of holiness? What increase of spiritual power have you gained? Who has come off conqueror over the foe? Who has been enabled to gain one precious attainment after another, until envy, pride, malice, jealousy, and every evil stain, has been swept away, and only the graces of the Spirit remain—meekness, forbearance, gentleness, charity? 2SAT 7.3

God will help us if we take hold of the help He has provided. “Let him take hold of My strength,” He says, “that he may make peace with Me, and he shall make peace with Me” [Isaiah 27:5]. This is a blessed promise. Many times, when I have been discouraged and almost in despair, I have come to the Lord with this promise, and said, “Let me take hold of Thy strength, that I may make peace with Thee; and I shall make peace with Thee.” And as I have laid hold of the strength of God, I have found a peace which passeth understanding. 2SAT 7.4

I know that the words I speak to you are truth, and that you need them. Oh, that you would arouse, and wrench yourself from the grasp of the enemy, that you would engage in the battle of life in earnest, putting on every piece of the armor, that you may war successfully against the wily foe. Satan is already weaving his net about you, and ensnaring your soul. He does not wait for his prey to be brought to him. He goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. But does he always roar? No; when it serves his purpose best, he sinks his voice to the softest whisper, and, wrapped in garments of light, appears as an angel from heaven. Men have so little knowledge of his wiles, so little understanding of the mystery of iniquity, that the enemy out-generals them almost every time. 2SAT 7.5

Many who have lived under the blazing light of truth act as though they had nothing to do. They watch another playing the game of life for the soul, and stand by as though they had nothing to do but watch how the game is carried on. God calls upon every one of you to take up life’s burdens, and engage in the warfare as you have never done before. 2SAT 8.1

You who are gossipers, who love to speak of the faults of this one and that one, arouse, I beg of you, and look into your own hearts. Take your Bibles, and go to God in earnest prayer. Ask Him to teach you to know your own heart, to understand your weakness, your sins and follies, in the light of eternity. Ask Him to show you yourself as you stand in the sight of heaven. This is the prayer we should offer. 2SAT 8.2

I would close up my instruments of music, and bowing before God, plead with Him as I had never pled before. In humility send your petition to heaven, and do not rest day or night until you can say, Hear what the Lord has done for me; until you can bear a living testimony, and tell of victories won. This is the time to sing the songs of Zion. 2SAT 8.3

Jacob wrestled with the angel all night before he gained the victory. When morning broke the angel said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. But Jacob answered, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” [Genesis 32:26]. Then his prayer was answered. “Thy name shall be no more Jacob,” said the angel, “but Israel; for as a Prince hast thou power with God, and hast prevailed” [verse 28]. 2SAT 8.4

We need the determined perseverance of Jacob, and the unyielding faith of Elijah. Time after time Elijah sent his servant to see if the cloud was rising, but no cloud was to be seen. At last, after seven times, the servant returned with the word, “I see a little cloud, as large as a man’s hand.” Did Elijah stand back and say, “I will not receive this evidence. I will wait until the heavens gather blackness”? No. He said, It is time for us to be going. He ventured all upon that token from God, and sent his messenger before him to tell Ahab that there was the sound of abundance of rain. 2SAT 8.5

It is such faith as this that we want, faith that will take hold, and will not let go. Inspiration tells us that Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are. Heaven heard his prayer. He prayed that rain might cease, and there was no rain. Again he prayed for rain, and the rain was sent. And why should not the Lord be entreated in behalf of His people today? 2SAT 8.6

Oh, that the Lord would imbue us with His Spirit. Oh, that the curtain might be rolled back, and we be made to understand the mystery of godliness. I long for God. I hunger and thirst after righteousness. As the hart pants for the water brooks, my soul pants after God. I plead with Him for His people that He may send upon us the showers of His grace. 2SAT 9.1

But this is an individual work. Every man is to build over against his own house. Do not think of any one’s faults but your own. Oh, consider this, for here eternal interests are involved. You have nothing to do with the sins of others, but you have much to do with yourself. Act as though there was not another being in the universe but yourself and a pure and holy God. 2SAT 9.2

All who profess to be children of God should be missionaries. You ought to be working in the Master’s vineyard. To one is committed five talents, to another two, and to another one. And everyone is accountable to God for these gifts. Your talents are committed to you to be improved, and unless you trade upon these talents, unless you are faithful to your trust, your fate will be similar to that of the man who hid his Lord’s money in the earth. 2SAT 9.3

“I knew thee that thou art a hard man,” said the unprofitable servant, “reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine” [Matthew 25:24, 25]. The sentence passed upon him was, “Take ye the unprofitable servant, and bind him hand and foot, and cast him into outer darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” [See verses 29, 30.] This will be the portion of many professing Christians at the present day unless they arouse and work mightily to redeem the time. 2SAT 9.4

God calls upon you to put all your strength into the work. You will have to render an account for the good you might have done had you been standing in a right position, but which you have failed to do. Oh, that you might see that it is time you were co-workers with Christ and the heavenly angels. 2SAT 9.5

Will you awake? There are souls in your midst who are in need of help. Have you felt a burden of soul to bring them to the cross? Bear in mind that just that degree of love you have for God you will reveal for your brethren, and for sinners who are lost and undone and out of Christ.—Ms. 1, 1869.

By |2019-01-04T22:08:55-08:00January 4th, 2019|2 Sermons and Talks, Misc. Collections|0 Comments

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