There are times when a distinct view is presented to me of the condition of the remnant church, a condition of appalling indifference to the needs of a world perishing for lack of a knowledge of the truth for this time. Then I have hours, and sometimes days, of intense anguish. Many to whom have been committed the saving truths of the third angel’s message fail of realizing that the salvation of souls is dependent upon the consecration and activity of God’s church. Many are using their blessings in the service of self. Oh, how my heart aches because Christ is put to shame by their un-Christlike behavior! But, after the agony is past, I feel like working harder than ever to arouse them to put forth unselfish effort for the saving of their fellow men.
God has made His people stewards of His grace and truth, and how does He regard their neglect to impart these blessings to their fellow men? Let us suppose that a distant colony belonging to Great Britain is in great distress because of famine and threatened war. Multitudes are dying of starvation, and a powerful enemy is gathering on the frontier, threatening to hasten the work of death. The government at home opens its stores; public charity pours forth; relief flows through many channels. A fleet is freighted with the precious means of life and is sent to the scene of suffering, accompanied by the prayers of those whose hearts are stirred to help. And for a time the fleet sails directly for its destination. But, having lost sight of land, the ardor of those entrusted with carrying food to the starving sufferers abates. Though engaged in a work that makes them colabourers with angels, they lose the good impressions with which they started forth. Through evil counselors, temptation enters.
A group of islands lies in their course, and, though far short
of their destination, they decide to call. The temptation that has already entered grows stronger. The selfish spirit of gain takes possession of their minds. Mercantile advantages present themselves. Those in charge of the fleet are prevailed on to remain on the islands. Their original purpose of mercy fades from their sight. They forget the starving people to whom they were sent. The stores entrusted to them are used for their own benefit. The means of beneficence is diverted into channels of selfishness. They barter the means of life for selfish gain, and leave their fellow beings to die. The cries of the perishing ascend to heaven, and the Lord writes in His record the tale of robbery.
Think of the horror of human beings dying because those placed in charge of the means of relief proved unfaithful to their trust. It is difficult for us to realize that man could be guilty of so terrible a sin. Yet I am instructed to say to you, my brother, my sister, that Christians are daily repeating this sin.
In Eden, man fell from his high estate and through transgression became subject to death. It was seen in heaven that human beings were perishing, and the compassion of God was stirred. At infinite cost He devised a means of relief. He "so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. There was no hope for the transgressor except through Christ. God saw that "there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him; and His righteousness, it sustained Him." Isaiah 59:16.
The Lord chose a people and made them the depositories of His truth. It was His purpose that by the revelation of His character through Israel, men should be drawn to Him. To all the world the gospel invitation was to be given. Through
the teaching of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before the nations, and all who would look unto Him should live.
But Israel did not fulfill God’s purpose. They forgot God and lost sight of their high privilege as His representatives. The blessings that they had received brought no blessing to the world. All their advantages were appropriated for their own glorification. They robbed God of the service He required of them, and they robbed their fellow men of religious guidance and a holy example.
God finally sent His Son to reveal to men the character of the Unseen. Christ came and lived on this earth a life of obedience to God’s law. He gave His precious life to save the world and made His servants His stewards. With the gift of Christ all the treasures of heaven were given to man. The church was freighted with the food of heaven for starving souls. This was the treasure that the people of God were commissioned to carry to the world. They were faithfully to perform their duty, continuing their work until the message of mercy had encircled the world.
Christ ascended to heaven and sent His Holy Spirit to give power to the work of His disciples. Thousands were converted in a day. In a single generation the gospel was carried to every nation under heaven. But little by little a change came. The church lost her first love. She became selfish and ease-loving. The spirit of worldliness was cherished. The enemy cast his spell upon those to whom God had given light for a world in darkness, light which should have shone forth in good works. The world was robbed of the blessings that God desired men to receive.
Is not the same thing repeated in this generation? Many in our day are keeping back that which the Lord has entrusted to them for the salvation of a world unwarned, unsaved. In the word of God an angel is represented as flying in the midst of heaven, "having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them
that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." Revelation 14:6,7.
The message of Revelation 14 is the message that we are to bear to the world. It is the bread of life for these last days. Millions of human beings are perishing in ignorance and iniquity. But many of those to whom God has committed the stores of life look upon these souls with indifference. Many forget that to them has been entrusted the bread of life for those starving for salvation.
Oh, for consecrated Christians, for Christlike consistency, for the faith that works by love and purifies the soul! May God help us to repent and change our sluggish movements into consecrated activity. May He help us to show in our words and works that we make the burden of perishing souls our own.
Let us be thankful every moment for God’s forbearance with our tardy, unbelieving movements. Instead of flattering ourselves with the thought of what we have done, after doing so little, we are to labor still more earnestly. We are not to cease our efforts or relax our vigilance. Never is our zeal to grow less. Our spiritual life must be daily revived by the stream that makes glad the city of our God. We must be always on the watch for opportunities to use for God the talents He has given us.
The world is a theater; the actors, its inhabitants, are preparing to act their part in the last great drama. With the great masses of mankind there is no unity, except as men confederate to accomplish their selfish purposes. God is looking on. His purposes in regard to His rebellious subjects will be fulfilled. The world has not been given into the hands of men, though
God is permitting the elements of confusion and disorder to bear sway for a season. A power from beneath is working to bring about the last great scenes in the drama--Satan coming as Christ, and working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in those who are binding themselves together in secret societies. Those who are yielding to the passion for confederation are working out the plans of the enemy. The cause will be followed by the effect.
Transgression has almost reached its limit. Confusion fills the world, and a great terror is soon to come upon human beings. The end is very near. We who know the truth should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise.
John writes: "And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And 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." Revelation 20:11, 12.
Are we as a people asleep? Oh, if the young men and young women in our institutions who are now unready for the Lord’s appearing, unfitted to become members of the Lord’s family, could only discern the signs of the times, what a change would be seen in them! The Lord Jesus is calling for self-denying workers to follow in His footsteps, to walk and work for Him, to lift the cross, and to follow where He leads the way.
Many are readily satisfied with offering the Lord trifling acts of service. Their Christianity is feeble. Christ gave Himself for sinners. With what anxiety for the salvation of souls we should be filled as we see human beings perishing in sin! These souls have been bought at an infinite price. The death of the Son of God on Calvary’s cross is the measure of their
value. Day by day they are deciding whether they will have eternal life or eternal death. And yet men and women professing to serve the Lord are content to occupy their time and attention with matters of little importance. They are content to be at variance with one another. If they were consecrated to the work of the Master, they would not be striving and contending like a family of unruly children. Every hand would be engaged in service. Everyone would be standing at his post of duty, working with heart and soul as a missionary of the cross of Christ. The spirit of the Redeemer would abide in the hearts of the laborers, and works of righteousness would be wrought. The workers would carry with them into their service the prayers and sympathy of an awakened church. They would receive their directions from Christ and would find no time for strife and contention.
Messages would come from lips touched with a live coal from the divine altar. Earnest, purified words would be spoken. Humble, heartbroken intercessions would ascend to heaven. With one hand the workers would take hold of Christ, while with the other they would grasp sinners and draw them to the Saviour.
"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." Matthew 24:14.
"If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? and He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it? and shall not He render to every man according to his works?" Proverbs 24:11, 12.