Chapter 6—Lifestyle and Activities of the Remnant
A Spirit of Service and Self-Sacrifice
Long has God waited for the spirit of service to take possession of the whole church so that everyone shall be working for Him according to his ability. When the members of the church of God do their appointed work in the needy fields at home and abroad, in fulfillment of the gospel commission, the whole world will soon be warned, and the Lord Jesus will return to this earth with power and great glory.—The Acts of the Apostles, 111 (1911).
Everywhere there is a tendency to substitute the work of organizations for individual effort. Human wisdom tends to consolidation, to centralization, to the building up of great churches and institutions. Multitudes leave to institutions and organizations the work of benevolence; they excuse themselves from contact with the world, and their hearts grow cold. They become self-absorbed and unimpressible. Love for God and man dies out of the soul.
Christ commits to His followers an individual work—a work that cannot be done by proxy. Ministry to the sick and the poor, the giving of the gospel to the lost, is not to be left to committees or organized charities. Individual responsibility, individual effort, personal sacrifice, is the requirement of the gospel.—.
“Occupy Till I Come”
Christ says, “Occupy till I come” . It may be but a few years until our life's history shall close, but we must occupy till then.— .
Christ would have everyone educate himself to calmly contemplate His second appearing. All are to search the Word of God daily, but not neglect present duties.—.
Christ declared that when He comes some of His waiting people will be engaged in business transactions. Some will be sowing in the field, others reaping and gathering in the harvest, and others grinding at the mill. It is not God's will that His elect shall abandon life's duties and responsibilities and give themselves up to idle contemplation, living in a religious dream.—.Crowd all the good works you possibly can into this life.—.
As If Each Day Might Be Our Last
We should watch and work and pray as though this were the last day that would be granted us.—.
Our only safety is in doing our work for each day as it comes, working, watching, waiting, every moment relying on the strength of Him who was dead and who is alive again, who lives forevermore.—.
Each morning consecrate yourselves and your children to God for that day. Make no calculation for months or years; these are not yours. One brief day is given you. As if it were your last on earth, work during its hours for the Master. Lay all your plans before God, to be carried out or given up, as His providence shall indicate.—.
Conscientious Sabbath Observance
[See “The Observance of the Sabbath,” in ] Our heavenly Father desires through the observance of the Sabbath to preserve among men a knowledge of Himself. He desires that the Sabbath shall direct our minds to Him as the true and living God, and that through knowing Him we may have life and peace.— .
All through the week we are to have the Sabbath in mind and be making preparation to keep it according to the commandment. We are not merely to observe the Sabbath as a legal matter. We are to understand its spiritual bearing upon all the transactions of life....
When the Sabbath is thus remembered, the temporal will not be allowed to encroach upon the spiritual. No duty pertaining to the six working days will be left for the Sabbath.—.
The necessities of life must be attended to, the sick must be cared for, the wants of the needy must be supplied. He will not be held guiltless who neglects to relieve suffering on the Sabbath. God's holy rest day was made for man, and acts of mercy are in perfect harmony with its intent. God does not desire His creatures to suffer an hour's pain that may be relieved upon the Sabbath or any other day.—.
Faithful in Tithes and Offerings
The tithe is sacred, reserved by God for Himself. It is to be brought into His treasury to be used to sustain the gospel laborers in their work.... Read carefully the third chapter of Malachi and see what God says about the tithe.—
The New Testament does not re-enact the law of the tithe, as it does not that of the Sabbath; for the validity of both is assumed, and their deep spiritual import explained.—
The Lord now calls upon Seventh-day Adventists in every locality to consecrate themselves to Him and to do their very best, according to their circumstances, to assist in His work. By their liberality in making gifts and offerings, He desires them to reveal their appreciation of His blessings and their gratitude for His mercy.—.
Dying charity is a poor substitute for living benevolence.—
The wants of the cause will continually increase as we near the close of time.—
We are placed on trial in this world, to determine our fitness for the future life. None can enter heaven whose characters are defiled by the foul blot of selfishness. Therefore, God tests us here, by committing to us temporal possessions, that our use of these may show whether we can be entrusted with eternal riches.—.
Establish New Institutions
Some may say, “If the Lord is coming soon, what need is there to establish schools, sanitariums, and food factories? What need is there for our young people to learn trades?”
It is the Lord's design that we shall constantly improve the talents He has given us. We cannot do this unless we use them. The prospect of Christ's soon coming should not lead us to idleness. Instead, it should lead us to do all we possibly can to bless and benefit humanity.—
A great work must be done all through the world, and let no one conclude that because the end is near there is no need of special effort to build up the various institutions as the cause shall demand.... When the Lord shall bid us make no further effort to build meetinghouses and establish schools, sanitariums, and publishing institutions, it will be time for us to fold our hands and let the Lord close up the work, but now is our opportunity to show our zeal for God and our love for humanity.—.
Medical Missionary Work
As religious aggression subverts the liberties of our nation, those who would stand for freedom of conscience will be placed in unfavorable positions. For their own sake they should, while they have opportunity, become intelligent in regard to disease, its causes, prevention, and cure. And those who do this will find a field of labor anywhere. There will be suffering ones, plenty of them, who will need help, not only among those of our own faith but largely among those who know not the truth.—
I wish to tell you that soon there will be no work done in ministerial lines but medical missionary work.—.
God's People Value Their Health
The health reform, I was shown, is a part of the third angel's message and is just as closely connected with it as are the arm and hand with the human body.—
Tea, coffee, tobacco, and alcohol we must present as sinful indulgences. We cannot place on the same ground, meat, eggs, butter, cheese, and such articles placed upon the table. These are not to be borne in front, as the burden of our work. The former—tea, coffee, tobacco, beer, wWhatever injures the health not only lessens physical vigor but tends to weaken the mental and moral powers. Indulgence in any unhealthful practice makes it more difficult for one to discriminate between right and wrong and hence more difficult to resist evil.— .
True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful.—
Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power—these are the true remedies.—
Whatever injures the health not only lessens physical vigor but tends to weaken the mental and moral powers. Indulgence in any unhealthful practice makes it more difficult for one to discriminate between right and wrong and hence more difficult to resist evil.—.
Return to the Original Diet
God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to His original design—that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth. Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord meat eating will eventually be done away; flesh will cease to form a part of their diet. We should ever keep this end in view and endeavor to work steadily toward it.—
Greater reforms should be seen among the people who claim to be looking for the soon appearing of Christ. Health reform is to do among our people a work which it has not yet done. There are those who ought to be awake to the danger of meat eating who are still eating the flesh of animals, thus endangering the physical, mental, and spiritual health. Many who are now only half converted on the question of meat eating will go from God's people, to walk no more with them.—.
Time for Fasting and Prayer
Now and onward till the close of time the people of God should be more earnest, more wide-awake, not trusting in their own wisdom, but in the wisdom of their Leader. They should set aside days for fasting and prayer. Entire abstinence from food may not be required, but they should eat sparingly of the most simple food.—
The true fasting which should be recommended to all is abstinence from every stimulating kind of food, and the proper use of wholesome, simple food, which God has provided in abundance. Men need to think less of what they shall eat and drink of temporal food, and much more in regard to the food from heaven, that will give tone and vitality to the whole religious experience.—
The leaven of godliness has not entirely lost its power. At the time when the danger and depression of the church are greatest, the little company who are standing in the light will be sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land. But more especially will their prayers arise in behalf of the church because its members are doing after the manner of the world.—.
Entire Trust in God
Because of unconsecrated workers, things will sometimes go wrong. You may weep over the result of the wrong course of others, but do not worry. The work is under the supervision of the blessed Master. All He asks is that the workers shall come to Him for their orders, and obey His directions. All parts of the work—our churches, missions, Sabbath schools, institutions—are carried upon His heart. Why worry? The intense longing to see the church imbued with life must be tempered with entire trust in God....
Let no one overtax his God-given powers in an effort to advance the Lord's work more rapidly. The power of man cannot hasten the work; with this must be united the power of heavenly intelligences.... Though all the workmen now bearing the heaviest burdens should be laid aside, God's work would be carried forward.—.
Evening and morning join with your children in God's worship, reading His Word and singing His praise. Teach them to repeat God's law.—
Let the seasons of family worship be short and spirited. Do not let your children or any member of your family dread them because of their tediousness or lack of interest. When a long chapter is read and explained and a long prayer offered, this precious service becomes wearisome, and it is a relief when it is over....
Let the father select a portion of Scripture that is interesting and easily understood; a few verses will be sufficient to furnish a lesson which may be studied and practiced through the day. Questions may be asked, a few earnest, interesting remarks made, or [an] incident, short and to the point, may be brought in by way of illustration. At least a few verses of spirited song may be sung, and the prayer offered should be short and pointed. The one who leads in prayer should not pray about everything, but should express his needs in simple words, and praise God with thanksgiving.—.
Guard Association With the World
[, quoted.] While this message is sounding, while the proclamation of truth is doing its separating work, we as faithful sentinels of God are to discern what our real position is. We are not to confederate with worldlings, lest we become imbued with their spirit, lest our spiritual discernment become confused and we view those who have the truth and bear the message of the Lord from the standpoint of the professed Christian churches. At the same time we are not to be like the Pharisees and hold ourselves aloof from them.— .
Those who are watching and waiting for the appearing of Christ in the clouds of heaven will not be mingling with the world in pleasure societies and gatherings merely for their own amusement.—.
To bind ourselves up by contracts or in partnerships or business associations with those not of our faith is not in the order of God.—
We should unite with other people just as far as we can and not sacrifice principle. This does not mean that we should join their lodges and societies, but that we should let them know that we are most heartily in sympathy with the temperance question.—.
Recreation That Christ Approves
It is the privilege and duty of Christians to seek to refresh their spirits and invigorate their bodies by innocent recreation, with the purpose of using their physical and mental powers to the glory of God.—
Christians have many sources of happiness at their command, and they may tell with unerring accuracy what pleasures are lawful and right. They may enjoy such recreations as will not dissipate the mind or debase the soul, such as will not disappoint and leave a sad after-influence to destroy self-respect or bar the way to usefulness. If they can take Jesus with them and maintain a prayerful spirit they are perfectly safe.—.
Our gatherings should be so conducted, and we should so conduct ourselves, that when we return to our homes we can have a conscience void of offense toward God and man, a consciousness that we have not wounded or injured in any manner those with whom we have been associated or had an injurious influence over them....
Any amusement in which you can engage, asking the blessing of God upon it in faith, will not be dangerous. But any amusement which disqualifies you for secret prayer, for devotion at the altar of prayer, or for taking part in the prayer meeting, is not safe, but dangerous.—.
Music That Elevates
As the children of Israel journeying through the wilderness cheered their way by the music of sacred song, so God bids His children today gladden their pilgrim life. There are few means more effective for fixing His words in the memory than repeating them in song. And such song has wonderful power. It has power to subdue rude and uncultivated natures, power to quicken thought and to awaken sympathy, to promote harmony of action, and to banish the gloom and foreboding that destroy courage and weaken effort.—.
Music forms a part of God's worship in the courts above, and we should endeavor in our songs of praise to approach as nearly as possible to the harmony of the heavenly choirs.... Singing, as a part of religious service, is as much an act of worship as is prayer.—.
The use of musical instruments is not at all objectionable. These were used in religious services in ancient times. The worshipers praised God upon the harp and cymbal, and music should have its place in our services.—.
Television and the Theater
Among the most dangerous resorts for pleasure is the theater. Instead of being a school of morality and virtue, as is so often claimed, it is the very hotbed of immorality. Vicious habits and sinful propensities are strengthened and confirmed by these entertainments. Low songs, lewd gestures, expressions, and attitudes, deprave the imagination and debase the morals.
Every youth who habitually attends such exhibitions will be corrupted in principle. There is no influence in our land more powerful to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical amusements. The love for these scenes increases with every indulgence, as the desire for intoxicating drink strengthens with its use.—.
The blessing of God would not be invoked upon the hour spent at the theater or in the dance. No Christian would wish to meet death in such a place. No one would wish to be found there when Christ shall come.—.
The only safe amusements are such as will not banish serious and religious thoughts. The only safe places of resort are those to which we can take Jesus with us.—.
Dress and Adornments
There is no need to make the dress question the main point of your religion. There is something richer to speak of. Talk of Christ, and when the heart is converted everything that is out of harmony with the Word of God will drop off.—.
If we are Christians, we shall follow Christ, even though the path in which we are to walk cuts right across our natural inclinations. There is no use in telling you that you must not wear this or that, for if the love of these vain things is in your heart your laying off your adornments will only be like cutting the foliage off a tree. The inclinations of the natural heart would again assert themselves. You must have a conscience of your own.—.
I beg of our people to walk carefully and circumspectly before God. Follow the customs in dress so far as they conform to health principles. Let our sisters dress plainly, as many do, having the dress of good, durable material, appropriate for this age, and let not the dress question fill the mind. Our sisters should dress with simplicity. They should clothe themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety. Give to the world a living illustration of the inward adorning of the grace of God.—
The outside appearance is an index to the heart.—.
The Need for Publications
Publications should be issued, written in the plainest, simplest language, explaining the subjects of vital interest, and making known the things that are to come upon the world.—
The first and second messages were given in 1843 and 1844, and we are now under the proclamation of the third, but all three of the messages are still to be proclaimed.... These messages we are to give to the world in publications, in discourses, showing in the line of prophetic history the things that have been and the things that will be.—.
Unvarnished truth must be spoken in leaflets and pamphlets, and these must be scattered like the leaves of autumn.—.
Patriarchs and Prophets, Daniel and the Revelation, and The Great Controversy are needed now as never before. They should be widely circulated because the truths they emphasize will open many blind eyes.—.
As long as probation continues there will be opportunity for the canvasser to work.—.
No Sharp Thrusts in Our Papers
Let not those who write for our papers make unkind thrusts and allusions that will certainly do harm and that will hedge up the way and hinder us from doing the work that we should do in order to reach all classes, the Catholics included. It is our work to speak the truth in love and not to mix in with the truth the unsanctified elements of the natural heart and speak things that savor of the same spirit possessed by our enemies....
We are not to use harsh and cutting words. Keep them out of every article written, drop them out of every address given. Let the Word of God do the cutting, the rebuking; let finite men hide and abide in Jesus Christ.—.
We should weed out each expression in our writings, our utterances, that, if taken by itself, could be misinterpreted so as to make it seem antagonistic to law and order. Everything should be carefully considered lest we place ourselves on record as uttering things that will make us appear disloyal to our country and its laws.—
Christianity is not manifested in pugilistic accusations and condemnations.—.
Beware of Side Issues
God has not passed His people by and chosen one solitary man here and another there as the only ones worthy to be entrusted with His truth. He does not give one man new light contrary to the established faith of the body. In every reform men have arisen making this claim.... Let none be self-confident, as though God had given them special light above their brethren....
One accepts some new and original idea which does not seem to conflict with the truth. He ... dwells upon it until it seems to him to be clothed with beauty and importance, for Satan has power to give this false appearance. At last it becomes the all-absorbing theme, the one great point around which everything centers, and the truth is uprooted from the heart....
I warn you to beware of these side issues, whose tendency is to divert the mind from the truth. Error is never harmless. It never sanctifies, but always brings confusion and dissension.—.
Emphasize Unity, Not Differences
There are a thousand temptations in disguise prepared for those who have the light of truth, and the only safety for any of us is in receiving no new doctrine, no new interpretation of the Scriptures, without first submitting it to brethren of experience. Lay it before them in a humble, teachable spirit, with earnest prayer, and if they see no light in it, yield to their judgment, for “in the multitude of counselors there is safety”....
Men and women will arise professing to have some new light or some new revelation whose tendency is to unsettle faith in the old landmarks. Their doctrines will not bear the test of God's Word, yet souls will be deceived. False reports will be circulated, and some will be taken in this snare.... We cannot be too watchful against every form of error, for Satan is constantly seeking to draw men from the truth.—.
We must make it appear essential to be united, not that we are to require others to come to our ideas, but if all are seeking the meekness and lowliness of Christ they will have the mind of Christ. Then there will be unity of spirit.—.
I urge those who claim to believe the truth to walk in unity with their brethren. Do not seek to give to the world occasion to say that we are extremists, that we are disunited, that one teaches one thing, and one another. Avoid dissension.—.
How to Meet Critics
Those who have departed from the faith will come to our congregations to divert our attention from the work that God would have done. You cannot afford to turn your ears from the truth to fables. Do not stop to try to convert the one who is speaking words of reproach against your work, but let it be seen that you are inspired by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and angels of God will put into your lips words that will reach the hearts of the opposers. If these men persist in pressing their way in, those who are of a sensible mind in the congregation will understand that yours is the higher standard. So speak that it will be known that Jesus Christ is speaking through you.—.
Exalt the Word of God
If we work to create an excitement of feeling, we shall have all we want, and more than we can possibly know how to manage. Calmly and clearly “Preach the Word.” We must not regard it as our work to create an excitement. The Holy Spirit of God alone can create a healthy enthusiasm. Let God work, and let the human agent walk softly before Him, watching, waiting, praying, looking unto Jesus every moment, led and controlled by the precious Spirit, which is light and life.—.
We must go to the people with the solid Word of God, and when they receive that Word, the Holy Spirit may come, but it always comes, as I have stated before, in a way that commends itself to the judgment of the people. In our speaking, our singing, and in all our spiritual exercises, we are to reveal that calmness and dignity and godly fear that actuates every true child of God.—.
It is through the Word—not feeling, not excitement—that we want to influence the people to obey the truth. On the platform of God's Word we can stand with safety.—.
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Jesus showed His disciples through His daily life how to maintain a connection with His Heavenly Father. What He taught them is also vitally important for us today. We pray that you are blessed by this short devotional sharing time with Elder Wilson.