I wish you a happy New Year. 1897 with its burden of record has passed into eternity. Today W.C.W. spoke to the people here in Cooranbong. The discourse was, I understand, appropriate for the occasion. The ordinances were administered. The meeting was a profitable one. . . .
There is need of fifty labourers now in Melbourne and Sydney. We have not enough efficient workmen, and there is also a dearth of means to carry forward the work essential to be accomplished for this time. If those who knew the truth, the present truth for this time, would individually realise that a responsibility rests upon them to communicate to those who know not the truth, the light the Lord has graciously given them, they would more nearly meet the mind of Christ. They would be His light, penetrating the darkness of error which covers the religious world, and which is as dense as the darkness that enveloped the Jewish nation in the days of Christ.
Shall Seventh-day Adventists walk in the same path as did the Jewish nation? Shall the message to the Laodicean church be applicable to this people? Shall those who have seen great light, who have had large opportunities and many privileges, cease to do service as witnesses for Christ? Those who know the truth, but who feel no special burden to reveal corresponding works, will be like that servant who knew his Master's will, but did it not.
The Lord has appointed every converted soul to witness for Him. The light that has been given to the individual members of His church is to shine forth, not merely in much talk, but in good works. Every talent entrusted to every soul is to be traded upon. The talents that might have been put out to the exchangers by those who have done nothing in the service of God will be required again with the improvements that the Lord required His stewards to make. Every jot of light, of ability, of influence, is to be used, not for self-pleasing, but for the Lord. We are to be yoked up with Christ in perfect obedience to the Lord our God, who is holy, just, and good. Thus God's people may develop characters of increasing consecration, efficiency, and tact, and act their part as labourers together with God.
Why are so many so slow in recognising the work they ought to do in seeking to save that which is lost? Consider prayerfully what is to be done. Kill indolence. Lay hold of personal labour. Too much labour is done by those who minister in word and doctrine in behalf of churches that should be set to work themselves. The church members should carry a weight of responsibility. They should keep their own souls in the love of God by exercising all the powers they have. By precept and example they should bear witness of the power of the truth and grace of Christ upon human hearts. This will commend the truth that the seventh-day Sabbath is a sign between them and their God. Obedience in the observance of the Sabbath testifies of the sanctification received through its observance.
In many of our organised churches the banner of truth is trailing in the dust because the members are not doing service to God, but are serving their own pleasure. They work through the influences that surround the soul. By precept and example, in self-indulgence, in their worldly habits of dress, in their words and actions, they testify against the truth, against self-denial, against the meekness of Christ. They are cold spiritually, and far separated from Christ. If they followed in the footsteps of Christ, they would be partakers of His self-denial, of His self-sacrifice, that they might lift up and save the souls that are ready to perish.
The talents entrusted to men may be used in an unconsecrated manner, by doing a good action from impulse in a haphazard way, refusing to see opportunities that are close by and that should claim the attention. Many practice self-denial and self-sacrifice by fits and starts. They need to seek the wisdom that comes from God alone. They need to consult their Leader. They need to do much praying, much trusting in Jesus Christ that His Holy Spirit may work in them, revealing a straightforward course of service which God will approve, and which will be a benefit and blessing to many souls. The consecration of all our words and actions to God makes us His witnesses. It develops a character that is the result of cherishing the truth in all its principles. Truth is not a cheap commodity; it is as precious gold, tried in the fire.
We pass through this world but once. Let every step taken by those who claim to be sons and daughters of God be forward. Listen to the words of Christ: He that "will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Matthew 16:24. This alone will designate each of us as His disciples. Are we witnessing before the angels of heaven and before the worlds unfallen that we as human beings recognise that we understand what this means, "Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's"? 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
Entire consecration to God, living an undivided heart-life of service, this is a living testimony to the world that you recognise your accountability to improve. Every entrusted talent is to be treated as absolutely and really belonging to Him whose you are by Creation and redemption. Consecration of words, of voice, of every work, is needed. This act of sanctification of soul, body, and spirit is not an act on the part of the human agent of creating anything and rendering it to God. All we have is from God and by Him. It is just as much His, if we do not recognise it thus and take some credit to ourselves. By consecrating all to God, you are simply showing the angels of heaven that you recognise that soul, body, and spirit belong to the Lord, and are to be devoted to His service.
The talent given to the unprofitable servant, which he wrapped in a napkin and buried in the earth, was the Lord's own, entrusted to the servant for use. It was to be so used that it would gain other talents. Our life is to be a life of earnest, thoughtful service to God. Those who feel no real obligation to represent the truth in life and character, who do not testify to the power of the grace of Christ by revealing the reformation it has wrought in them, fail to exalt the law of God before those whose characters are demonstrated in making that law void by their wrong principles.
The true commandment-keeping people of God show to the world a character of unspotted integrity, testifying by their own course of action that the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Thus the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, through His obedience to the law of God, exalted and made that law honourable. God will surely condemn every member of every church claiming to be Seventh-day Adventist, who is not doing Him service, but through pride, selfishness, and worldliness, is showing that the truth of heavenly origin has not worked a reformation in his character.
Please read carefully Revelation 3:15-18. The voice of Jesus Christ is heard.
"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore [not half-hearted], and repent. Behold, I [your Saviour] stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." Revelation 3:19-21.
Will the churches heed the Laodicean message? Will they repent, or will they, notwithstanding that the most solemn message of truth--the third angel's message--is being proclaimed to the world, go on in sin? This is the last message of mercy, the last warning to a fallen world. If the church of God becomes lukewarm, it does not stand in favour with God any more than do the churches that are represented as having fallen and become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird. Those who have had opportunities to hear and receive the truth and who have united with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, calling themselves the commandment-keeping people of God, and yet possess no more vitality and consecration to God than do the nominal churches, will receive of the plagues of God just as verily as the churches who oppose the law of God. Only those that are sanctified through the truth will compose the royal family in the heavenly mansions Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him and keep His commandments.
"He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." 1 John 2:4. This includes all who claim to have a knowledge of God, and to keep His commandments, but who do not manifest this by good works. They will receive according to their deeds. "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him." 1 John 3:6. This is addressed to all church members, including the members of the Seventh-day Adventist Churches. "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother." 1 John 3:7-10.
All who claim to be Sabbath-keeping Adventists, and yet continue in sin, are liars in God's sight. Their sinful course is counter-working the work of God. They are leading others into sin. The word comes from God to every member of our churches, "And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." Hebrews 12:13-17.
This is applicable to many who claim to believe the truth. Rather than give up their lustful practices, they venture on in a wrong line of education under Satan's deceiving sophistry. Sin is not discerned as sinful. Their very consciences are defiled, their hearts are corrupted, even the thoughts are continually corrupt. Satan uses them as decoys to lure souls to unclean practices which defile the whole being. "He that despised Moses' law [which was the law of God] died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Hebrews 10:28-31.
Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 171-178.