The World’s Redeemer Rejected By His Own People, September 23Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? Matthew 27:17. CTr 273.1One other course suggested itself to Pilate whereby he might save Him whom he dared not give up to that maddened power, knowing that for envy they had brought Jesus to the judgment hall. Pagan invention, without one particle of justice in it, had made a custom that at the great national festival there should be set at liberty one prisoner who had been condemned to death. Could the convicted Pilate make use of this subterfuge and bring about that which he desired—save an innocent man, whose power, even while bound and under accusation, he knew to be the power of no common man, but of God? His soul was in terrible conflict. He would present the true and innocent Christ side by side with the notable Barabbas, and he flattered himself that the contrast between innocence and guilt would be so convincing that Jesus of Nazareth would be their choice. CTr 273.2Barabbas had pretended to be Christ and had done great wickedness. Under satanic delusion he claimed that whatever he could obtain by theft and robbery and murder was his own. A most striking contrast was presented between the two. Barabbas was a notorious character who had done wonderful things through satanic agencies. He claimed to have religious power, a right to establish a different order of things…. CTr 273.3This false Christ was claiming what Satan claimed in heaven—a right to all things. Christ in His humiliation was possessor of all things. In Him was no darkness at all…. CTr 273.4Barabbas and Christ stood side by side, and the whole heavenly universe beheld them. The people looked upon the two. Where now were the voices that a few days before were loud in proclaiming the wonderful works that Christ had done? … Then the fickle multitude had been imbued with the enthusiasm of heavenly impulse to pour forth in sacred song their praise and hosannas as Christ rode into Jerusalem. Now the choice was given them. Pilate asks, “Whom will ye that I release unto you, Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?”… CTr 273.5There arose to heaven a cry of tremendous significance to all the world. All heaven heard that cry in which all seemed to join with a zeal and desperation born of their choice. “Not this man,” they said, pointing to Jesus, “but Barabbas.”… The world’s Redeemer was rejected, the guilty murderer spared.—Manuscript 112, 1897. CTr 273.6
Your hate or your love to God will only affect you. Your breath is in His hands. Heaven and earth are His. Have you created anything since you were created? You are mud my friend plus God’s breath. If He takes His breath away, some guy would plant a tomato on your soil. You live by God’s grace. Unless you don’t want to go to heaven, you can still have those zero thoughts, the nil feelings that are bankcrupt of any reason or intelligence. Thoughts from beneath, from the abyss, the abode of the devil
This is a response to some guy who said that they hate God
Work to Be Done in Large Cities, September 23
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. Isaiah 9:2, NKJV. BLJ 281.1
Every Christian will have a missionary spirit. To bear fruit is to work as Christ worked, to love souls as He has loved us. The very first impulse of the renewed heart is to bring others also to the Savior: and just as soon as a person is converted to the truth, he or she feels an earnest desire that those in darkness should see the precious light shining from God’s Word…. BLJ 281.2
Missionaries are needed to spread the light of truth in … great cities, and the children of God—those whom He calls the light of the world—ought to be doing all they can in this direction. You will meet with discouragements; you will have opposition. The enemy will whisper, What can these few poor people do in this great city? But if you walk in the light, you can every one be light bearers to the world. BLJ 281.3
Do not seek to accomplish some great work, and neglect the little opportunities close at hand. We can do very much by exemplifying the truth in our daily life. The influence which we may thus exert cannot be easily withstood. BLJ 281.4
People may combat and defy our logic; they may resist our appeals; but a life of holy purpose, of disinterested love in their behalf, is an argument in favor of the truth that they cannot gainsay. Far more can be accomplished by humble, devoted, virtuous lives than can be effected by preaching when a godly example is lacking. You can labor to build up the church, to encourage your fellow believers, and to make the social meetings interesting; and you can let your prayers go out, like sharp sickles, with the laborers into the harvest field. Each should have a personal interest, a burden of soul, to watch and pray for the success of the work. BLJ 281.5
You can also in meekness call the attention of others to the precious truths of God’s Word. Young men should be instructed that they may labor in these cities. They may never be able to present the truth from the desk, but they could go from house to house, and point the people to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. The dust and rubbish of error have buried the precious jewels of truth; but the Lord’s workers can uncover these treasures, so that many will look upon them with delight and awe.—Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, 181, 182. BLJ 281.6
375 – Work, for the Night Is Coming
Major Key: E Flat
Work for the night is coming,
Work through the morning hours;
Work while the dew is sparkling;
Work ‘mid springing flow’rs.
Work when the day grows brighter,
Under the glowing sun;
Work for the night is coming,
When man’s work is done.
Work for the night is coming,
Work thro’ the sunny noon;
Fill brightest hours with labor,
Rest comes sure and soon.
Give every flying minute
Something to keep in store;
Work for the night is coming,
When man works no more.
Work for the night is coming,
Under the sunset skies;
While their bright tints are glowing,
Work for daylight flies.
Work till the last beam fadeth,
Fadeth to shine no more;
Work for the Lord is coming
When man’s work is o’er.
059 – Fanyeni Kazi Zenu
“Work For The Night Is Coming”
Fanyeni kazi zenu, usiku si mbali;
Kesheni saa zenu vumilieni;
Kwa Yesu tumikeni na hiyo injili.
Sana wahubirini watu wa mbali.
Fanyeni kazi zenu, giza yasongea;
Na wengi wenzi wenu wamo gizani.
Msipoteze moja dakika ni hizi:
Bwana atarejea mwisho wa kazi.
Fanyeni kazi zenu, hivi jua lachwa;
Wote walio kwenu apenda Mungu:
Na sisi tumjuaye na tuwafundishe
Ili Yesu ajaye tumfurahishe.
Against Overwhelming Evidence Pilate Still Wavered, September 22And from henceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. John 19:12. CTr 272.1After Herod had done his satanic work, he sent Christ, without having pronounced judgment upon Him, back to Pilate, a man convinced, a man convicted, of the truth but unwilling to yield. Pilate seemed wrought upon by unseen influences to acknowledge his convictions in regard to the Holy One of Israel. His wavering mind was compelled to acknowledge that Christ was no pretender, that not a single trace of deception could be found in His words or deportment…. Before that satanic, maddened throng, he pleaded for the scourge in the place of the cross. CTr 272.2The determined priests and rulers designed that the scourge should not be left out, but nothing short of the cross would they consent to be His punishment. This is human nature today when under the control of Satan…. CTr 272.3Pilate was unwilling to condemn Christ, and he thought he could, irrespective of the rulers, make an appeal to the sympathy of the human side of the character of the mob. He knew he had nothing to hope for in this line from the priests and rulers. He made a short speech declaring that he found no fault in Christ at all. He confirmed the testimony of Herod that the witnesses against Christ were worthless—they did not agree…. CTr 272.4Pilate was moving against light and overwhelming evidence and conviction. The priests and rulers saw that they could obtain all that they desired. Pilate had evidence and justice on his side, and if he had taken his stand firmly on the ground of Christ’s innocence, he would have saved himself the after remorse and despair of a man who had sacrificed innocence to the deadly enmity and hatred of an envious, professedly religious people. Jesus was scourged. CTr 272.5A message from God warned Pilate from the deed he was about to commit…. While Pilate was examining the prisoner, his wife was visited by an angel from heaven, and in a vision of the night she beheld Jesus and conversed with Him…. She heard the condemnation of Pilate and saw him give Christ up to His murderers. She awoke with a cry of horror. Calling for pen and paper, she wrote him words of warning. Now, in Pilate’s dilemma, a messenger makes his way to him with the message from his wife, “Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.”Manuscript 112, 1897. CTr 272.6
Paul. God chosen vessel
10And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.11And the Lord said to him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prays,12And has seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.13Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem:14And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on your name.15But the Lord said to him, Go your way: for he is a chosen vessel to me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:16For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’ sake.17And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared to you in the way as you came, has sent me, that you might receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.18And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight immediately, and arose, and was baptized.19And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.20And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
28Be it known therefore unto you, that this salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles: they will also hear.29[And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, having much disputing among themselves.]30And he abode two whole years in his own hired dwelling, and received all that went in unto him,31preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, none forbidding him.
16And behold, one came to him and said, Teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?17And he said unto him, Why askest thou me concerning that which is good? One there is who is good: but if thou wouldest enter into life, keep the commandments.18He saith unto him, Which? And Jesus said, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,19Honor thy father and mother; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.20The young man saith unto him, All these things have I observed: what lack I yet?21Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.22But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sorrowful; for he was one that had great possessions.23And Jesus said unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.24And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through a needle
s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.25And when the disciples heard it, they were astonished exceedingly, saying, Who then can be saved?26And Jesus looking upon [them] said to them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.27Then answered Peter and said unto him, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee; what then shall we have?28And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.29And every one that hath left houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or children, or lands, for my names sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit eternal life.30But many shall be last [that are] first; and first [that are] last.
1For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that was a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard.2And when he had agreed with the laborers for a shilling a day, he sent them into his vineyard.3And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing in the marketplace idle;4and to them he said, Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.5Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.6And about the eleventh [hour] he went out, and found others standing; and he saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?7They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard.8And when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and pay them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.9And when they came that [were hired] about the eleventh hour, they received every man a shilling.10And when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received every man a shilling.11And when they received it, they murmured against the householder,12saying, These last have spent [but] one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.13But he answered and said to one of them, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a shilling?14Take up that which is thine, and go thy way; it is my will to give unto this last, even as unto thee.15Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? or is thine eye evil, because I am good?16So the last shall be first, and the first last
17And as he was going forth into the way, there ran one to him, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?18And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good save one, [even] God.19Thou knowest the commandments, Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor thy father and mother.20And he said unto him, Teacher, all these things have I observed from my youth.21And Jesus looking upon him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.22But his countenance fell at the saying, and he went away sorrowful: for he was one that had great possessions.23And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!24And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!25It is easier for a camel to go through a needle
s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.26And they were astonished exceedingly, saying unto him, Then who can be saved?27Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for all things are possible with God.28Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.29Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or lands, for my sake, and for the gospels sake,30but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.31But many [that are] first shall be last; and the last first.
.18And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?19And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, [even] God.20Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and mother.21And he said, All these things have I observed from my youth up.22And when Jesus heard it, he said unto him, One thing thou lackest yet: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.23But when he heard these things, he became exceeding sorrowful; for he was very rich.24And Jesus seeing him said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!25For it is easier for a camel to enter in through a needle
s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.26And they that heard it said, Then who can be saved?27But he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.28And Peter said, Lo, we have left our own, and followed thee.29And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or wife, or brethren, or parents, or children, for the kingdom of Gods sake,30who shall not receive manifold more in this time, and in the world to come eternal life
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might become rich.
And he forsook all, and rose up and followed him.
Chapter 28—The Reward of Grace
This chapter is based on Matthew 19:16-30; Matthew 20:1-16; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30.
The truth of God’s free grace had been almost lost sight of by the Jews. The rabbis taught that God’s favor must be earned. The reward of the righteous they hoped to gain by their own works. Thus their worship was prompted by a grasping, mercenary spirit. From this spirit even the disciples of Christ were not wholly free, and the Saviour sought every opportunity of showing them their error. Just before He gave the parable of the laborers, an event occurred that opened the way for Him to present the right principles. COL 390.1
As He was walking by the way, a young ruler came running to Him, and kneeling, reverently saluted Him. “Good Master,” he said, “what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” COL 390.2
The ruler had addressed Christ merely as an honored rabbi, not discerning in Him the Son of God. The Saviour said, “Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.” On what ground do you call Me good? God is the one good. If you recognize Me as such, you must receive Me as His Son and representative. COL 390.3
“If thou wilt enter into life,” He added, “keep the commandments.” The character of God is expressed in His law; and in order for you to be in harmony with God, the principles of His law must be the spring of your every action. COL 391.1
Christ does not lessen the claims of the law. In unmistakable language He presents obedience to it as the condition of eternal life—the same condition that was required of Adam before his fall. The Lord expects no less of the soul now than He expected of man in Paradise, perfect obedience, unblemished righteousness. The requirement under the covenant of grace is just as broad as the requirement made in Eden—harmony with God’s law, which is holy, just, and good. COL 391.2
To the words, “Keep the commandments,” the young man answered, “Which?” He supposed that some ceremonial precept was meant, but Christ was speaking of the law given from Sinai. He mentioned several commandments from the second table of the Decalogue, then summed them all up in the precept, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” COL 391.3
The young man answered without hesitation, “All these things have I kept from my youth up; what lack I yet?” His conception of the law was external and superficial. Judged by a human standard, he had preserved an unblemished character. To a great degree his outward life had been free from guilt; he verily thought that his obedience had been without a flaw. Yet he had a secret fear that all was not right between his soul and God. This prompted the question, “What lack I yet?” COL 391.4
“If thou wilt be perfect,” Christ said, “go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow Me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.” COL 391.5
The lover of self is a transgressor of the law. This Jesus desired to reveal to the young man, and He gave him a test that would make manifest the selfishness of his heart. He showed him the plague spot in his character. The young man desired no further enlightenment. He had cherished an idol in the soul; the world was his god. He professed to have kept the commandments, but he was destitute of the principle which is the very spirit and life of them all. He did not possess true love for God or man. This want was the want of everything that would qualify him to enter the kingdom of heaven. In his love of self and worldly gain he was out of harmony with the principles of heaven. COL 392.1
When this young ruler came to Jesus, his sincerity and earnestness won the Saviour’s heart. He “beholding him loved him.” In this young man He saw one who might do service as a preacher of righteousness. He would have received this talented and noble youth as readily as He received the poor fishermen who followed Him. Had the young man devoted his ability to the work of saving souls, he might have become a diligent and successful laborer for Christ. COL 392.2
But first he must accept the conditions of discipleship. He must give himself unreservedly to God. At the Saviour’s call, John, Peter, Matthew, and their companions “left all, rose up, and followed Him.” Luke 5:28. The same consecration was required of the young ruler. And in this Christ did not ask a greater sacrifice than He Himself had made. “He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9. The young man had only to follow where Christ led the way. COL 393.1
Christ looked upon the young man and longed after his soul. He longed to send him forth as a messenger of blessing to men. In the place of that which He called upon him to surrender, Christ offered him the privilege of companionship with Himself. “Follow Me,” He said. This privilege had been counted a joy by Peter, James, and John. The young man himself looked upon Christ with admiration. His heart was drawn toward the Saviour. But he was not ready to accept the Saviour’s principle of self-sacrifice. He chose his riches before Jesus. He wanted eternal life, but would not receive into the soul that unselfish love which alone is life, and with a sorrowful heart he turned away from Christ. COL 393.2
As the young man turned away, Jesus said to His disciples, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God.” These words astonished the disciples. They had been taught to look upon the rich as the favorites of heaven; worldly power and riches they themselves hoped to receive in the Messiah’s kingdom; if the rich were to fail of entering the kingdom, what hope could there be for the rest of men? COL 393.3
“Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure.” Now they realized that they themselves were included in the solemn warning. In the light of the Saviour’s words, their own secret longing for power and riches was revealed. With misgivings for themselves they exclaimed, “Who then can be saved?” COL 394.1
“Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” COL 394.2
A rich man, as such, cannot enter heaven. His wealth gives him no title to the inheritance of the saints in light. It is only through the unmerited grace of Christ that any man can find entrance into the city of God. COL 394.3
To the rich no less than to the poor are the words of the Holy Spirit spoken, “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. When men believe this, their possessions will be held as a trust, to be used as God shall direct, for the saving of the lost, and the comfort of the suffering and the poor. With man this is impossible, for the heart clings to its earthly treasure. The soul that is bound in service to mammon is deaf to the cry of human need. But with God all things are possible. By beholding the matchless love of Christ, the selfish heart will be melted and subdued. The rich man will be led, as was Saul the Pharisee, to say, “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” Philippians 3:7, 8. Then they will not count anything their own. They will joy to regard themselves as stewards of the manifold grace of God, and for His sake servants of all men. COL 394.4
Peter was the first to rally from the secret conviction wrought by the Saviour’s words. He thought with satisfaction of what he and his brethren had given up for Christ. “Behold,” he said, “we have forsaken all, and followed Thee.” Remembering the conditional promise to the young ruler, “Thou shalt have treasure in heaven,” he now asked what he and his companions were to receive as a reward for their sacrifices. COL 395.1
The Saviour’s answer thrilled the hearts of those Galilean fishermen. It pictured honors that fulfilled their highest dreams: “Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” And He added, “There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake, and the gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” COL 395.2
But Peter’s question, “What shall we have therefore?” had revealed a spirit that uncorrected would unfit the disciples to be messengers for Christ; for it was the spirit of a hireling. While they had been attracted by the love of Jesus, the disciples were not wholly free from Pharisaism. They still worked with the thought of meriting a reward in proportion to their labor. They cherished a spirit of self-exaltation and self-complacency, and made comparisons among themselves. When one of them failed in any particular, the others indulged feelings of superiority. COL 396.1
Lest the disciples should lose sight of the principles of the gospel, Christ related to them a parable illustrating the manner in which God deals with His servants, and the spirit in which He desires them to labor for Him. COL 396.2
“The kingdom of heaven,” He said, “is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.” It was the custom for men seeking employment to wait in the market places, and thither the employers went to find servants. The man in the parable is represented as going out at different hours to engage workmen. Those who are hired at the earliest hours agree to work for a stated sum; those hired later leave their wages to the discretion of the householder. COL 396.3
“So when even was come, the Lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.” COL 396.4
The householder’s dealing with the workers in his vineyard represents God’s dealing with the human family. It is contrary to the customs that prevail among men. In worldly business, compensation is given according to the work accomplished. The laborer expects to be paid only that which he earns. But in the parable, Christ was illustrating the principles of His kingdom—a kingdom not of this world. He is not controlled by any human standard. The Lord says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways…. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8, 9. COL 396.5
In the parable the first laborers agreed to work for a stipulated sum, and they received the amount specified, nothing more. Those later hired believed the master’s promise, “Whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.” They showed their confidence in him by asking no question in regard to wages. They trusted to his justice and equity. They were rewarded, not according to the amount of their labor, but according to the generosity of his purpose. COL 397.1
So God desires us to trust in Him who justifieth the ungodly. His reward is given not according to our merit but according to His own purpose, “which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 3:11. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” Titus 3:5. And for those who trust in Him He will do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20. COL 397.2
Not the amount of labor performed or its visible results but the spirit in which the work is done makes it of value with God. Those who came into the vineyard at the eleventh hour were thankful for an opportunity to work. Their hearts were full of gratitude to the one who had accepted them; and when at the close of the day the householder paid them for a full day’s work, they were greatly surprised. They knew they had not earned such wages. And the kindness expressed in the countenance of their employer filled them with joy. They never forgot the goodness of the householder or the generous compensation they had received. Thus it is with the sinner who, knowing his unworthiness, has entered the Master’s vineyard at the eleventh hour. His time of service seems so short, he feels that he is undeserving of reward; but he is filled with joy that God has accepted him at all. He works with a humble, trusting spirit, thankful for the privilege of being a co-worker with Christ. This spirit God delights to honor. COL 397.3
The Lord desires us to rest in Him without a question as to our measure of reward. When Christ abides in the soul, the thought of reward is not uppermost. This is not the motive that actuates our service. It is true that in a subordinate sense we should have respect to the recompense of reward. God desires us to appreciate His promised blessings. But He would not have us eager for rewards nor feel that for every duty we must receive compensation. We should not be so anxious to gain the reward as to do what is right, irrespective of all gain. Love to God and to our fellow men should be our motive. COL 398.1
This parable does not excuse those who hear the first call to labor but who neglect to enter the Lord’s vineyard. When the householder went to the market place at the eleventh hour and found men unemployed he said, “Why stand ye here all the day idle?” The answer was, “Because no man hath hired us.” None of those called later in the day were there in the morning. They had not refused the call. Those who refuse and afterward repent, do well to repent; but it is not safe to trifle with the first call of mercy. COL 399.1
When the laborers in the vineyard received “every man a penny,” those who had begun work early in the day were offended. Had they not worked for twelve hours? they reasoned, and was it not right that they should receive more than those who had worked for only one hour in the cooler part of the day? “These last have wrought but one hour,” they said, “and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.” COL 399.2
“Friend,” the householder replied to one of them, “I do thee no wrong; didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way; I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? COL 399.3
“So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many be called, but few chosen.” COL 399.4
The first laborers of the parable represent those who, because of their services, claim preference above others. They take up their work in a self-gratulatory spirit, and do not bring into it self-denial and sacrifice. They may have professed to serve God all their lives; they may have been foremost in enduring hardship, privation, and trial, and they therefore think themselves entitled to a large reward. They think more of the reward than of the privilege of being servants of Christ. In their view their labors and sacrifices entitle them to receive honor above others, and because this claim is not recognized, they are offended. Did they bring into their work a loving, trusting spirit, they would continue to be first; but their querulous, complaining disposition is un-Christlike, and proves them to be untrustworthy. It reveals their desire for self-advancement, their distrust of God, and their jealous, grudging spirit toward their brethren. The Lord’s goodness and liberality is to them only an occasion of murmuring. Thus they show that there is no connection between their souls and God. They do not know the joy of co-operation with the Master Worker. COL 399.5
There is nothing more offensive to God than this narrow, self-caring spirit. He cannot work with any who manifest these attributes. They are insensible to the working of His Spirit. COL 400.1
The Jews had been first called into the Lord’s vineyard, and because of this they were proud and self-righteous. Their long years of service they regarded as entitling them to receive a larger reward than others. Nothing was more exasperating to them than an intimation that the Gentiles were to be admitted to equal privileges with themselves in the things of God. COL 400.2
Christ warned the disciples who had been first called to follow Him, lest the same evil should be cherished among them. He saw that the weakness, the curse of the church, would be a spirit of self-righteousness. Men would think they could do something toward earning a place in the kingdom of heaven. They would imagine that when they had made certain advancement, the Lord would come in to help them. Thus there would be an abundance of self and little of Jesus. Many who had made a little advancement would be puffed up and think themselves superior to others. They would be eager for flattery, jealous if not thought most important. Against this danger Christ seeks to guard His disciples. COL 400.3
All boasting of merit in ourselves is out of place. “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23, 24. COL 401.1
The reward is not of works, lest any man should boast; but it is all of grace. “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Romans 4:1-5. Therefore there is no occasion for one to glory over another or to grudge against another. No one is privileged above another, nor can anyone claim the reward as a right. COL 401.2
The first and the last are to be sharers in the great, eternal reward, and the first should gladly welcome the last. He who grudges the reward to another forgets that he himself is saved by grace alone. The parable of the laborers rebukes all jealousy and suspicion. Love rejoices in the truth and institutes no envious comparisons. He who possesses love compares only the loveliness of Christ and his own imperfect character. COL 402.1
This parable is a warning to all laborers, however long their service, however abundant their labors, that without love to their brethren, without humility before God, they are nothing. There is no religion in the enthronement of self. He who makes self-glorification his aim will find himself destitute of that grace which alone can make him efficient in Christ’s service. Whenever pride and self-complacency are indulged, the work is marred. COL 402.2
It is not the length of time we labor but our willingness and fidelity in the work that makes it acceptable to God. In all our service a full surrender of self is demanded. The smallest duty done in sincerity and self-forgetfulness is more pleasing to God than the greatest work when marred with self-seeking. He looks to see how much of the spirit of Christ we cherish, and how much of the likeness of Christ our work reveals. He regards more the love and faithfulness with which we work than the amount we do. COL 402.3
Only when selfishness is dead, when strife for supremacy is banished, when gratitude fills the heart, and love makes fragrant the life—it is only then that Christ is abiding in the soul, and we are recognized as laborers together with God. COL 402.4
However trying their labor, the true workers do not regard it as drudgery. They are ready to spend and to be spent; but it is a cheerful work, done with a glad heart. Joy in God is expressed through Jesus Christ. Their joy is the joy set before Christ—“to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.” John 4:34. They are in co-operation with the Lord of glory. This thought sweetens all toil, it braces the will, it nerves the spirit for whatever may befall. Working with unselfish heart, ennobled by being partakers of Christ’s sufferings, sharing His sympathies, and co-operating with Him in His labor, they help to swell the tide of His joy and bring honor and praise to His exalted name. COL 402.5
This is the spirit of all true service for God. Through a lack of this spirit, many who appear to be first will become last, while those who possess it, though accounted last, will become first. COL 403.1
There are many who have given themselves to Christ, yet who see no opportunity of doing a large work or making great sacrifices in His service. These may find comfort in the thought that it is not necessarily the martyr’s self-surrender which is most acceptable to God; it may not be the missionary who has daily faced danger and death that stands highest in heaven’s records. The Christian who is such in his private life, in the daily surrender of self, in sincerity of purpose and purity of thought, in meekness under provocation, in faith and piety, in fidelity in that which is least, the one who in the home life represents the character of Christ—such a one may in the sight of God be more precious than even the world-renowned missionary or martyr. COL 403.2
Oh, how different are the standards by which God and men measure character. God sees many temptations resisted of which the world and even near friends never know—temptations in the home, in the heart. He sees the soul’s humility in view of its own weakness; the sincere repentance over even a thought that is evil. He sees the wholehearted devotion to His service. He has noted the hours of hard battle with self—battle that won the victory. All this God and angels know. A book of remembrance is written before Him for them that fear the Lord and that think upon His name. COL 403.3
Not in our learning, not in our position, not in our numbers or entrusted talents, not in the will of man, is to be found the secret of success. Feeling our inefficiency we are to contemplate Christ, and through Him who is the strength of all strength, the thought of all thought, the willing and obedient will gain victory after victory. COL 404.1
And however short our service or humble our work, if in simple faith we follow Christ, we shall not be disappointed of the reward. That which even the greatest and wisest cannot earn, the weakest and most humble may receive. Heaven’s golden gate opens not to the self-exalted. It is not lifted up to the proud in spirit. But the everlasting portals will open wide to the trembling touch of a little child. Blessed will be the recompense of grace to those who have wrought for God in the simplicity of faith and love. COL 404.2
Some Verses Here and There.
25And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?26He said to him, What is written in the law? how read you?27And he answering said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.28And he said to him, You have answered right: this do, and you shall live.29But he, willing to justify himself, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor?30And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.31And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.32And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.33But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,34And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.35And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said to him, Take care of him; and whatever you spend more, when I come again, I will repay you.36Which now of these three, think you, was neighbor to him that fell among the thieves?37And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus to him, Go, and do you likewise.
Then said the woman of Samaria to him, How is it that you, being a Jew, ask drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.
Then answered the Jews, and said to Him, Say we not well that you are a Samaritan, and have a devil?
These things I command you, that you love one another.
A new commandment I give to you, That you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
But now in Christ Jesus you who sometimes were far off are made near by the blood of Christ.
Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,
Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.
Thus said the LORD of hosts; If you will walk in my ways, and if you will keep my charge, then you shall also judge my house, and shall also keep my courts, and I will give you places to walk among these that stand by.
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Some Important Verses26If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.27And whoever does not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my discipleLuke.14:26-27So likewise, whoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple. Luke.14:3334Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his flavor, with which shall it be seasoned?35It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that has ears to hear, let him hear.Luke.14:34-35 21/9/2020But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; 1 Pet.2:913Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ;14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.15These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise you.Titus.2:13-1522/9/2020Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John.3:3He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. Luke.16:10No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Luke.16:1315And he said to them, You are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knows your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.16The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presses into it.17And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one pronunciation mark of the law to fail.18Whoever puts away his wife, and marries another, commits adultery: and whoever marries her that is put away from her husband commits adultery.Luke.16:15,16,17,1819There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:20And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,21And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’ table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.22And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’ bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;23And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and sees Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.24And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.25But Abraham said, Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and you are tormented.26And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from there.27Then he said, I pray you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’ house:28For I have five brothers; that he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment.29Abraham said to him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.30And he said, No, father Abraham: but if one went to them from the dead, they will repent.31And he said to him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.Luke.16:19-31
Win Souls Through the Sabbath School, September 22
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3, NKJV. BLJ 280.1
The Sabbath school teacher should be a laborer together with God, cooperating with Christ. Do not be content with a lifeless, formal religion. The object of Sabbath school work should be the ingathering of souls. The order of working may be faultless, the facilities all that could be desired; but if the children and youth are not brought to Christ, the school is a failure; for unless souls are drawn to Christ, they become more and more unimpressionable under the influence of a formal religion. BLJ 280.2
The teacher should cooperate, as He knocks at the door of the heart of those who need help. If pupils respond to the pleading of the Spirit, and open the door of the heart, that Jesus may come in, He will open their understanding, that they may comprehend the things of God. The teacher’s work is simple work, but if it is done in the Spirit of Jesus, depth and efficiency will be added to it by the operation of the Spirit of God. BLJ 280.3
There should be much personal work done in the Sabbath school. The necessity of this kind of work is not recognized and appreciated as it should be. From a heart filled with gratitude for the love of God, which has been imparted to the soul, the teacher should labor tenderly and earnestly for the conversion of the scholars. BLJ 280.4
What evidence can we give to the world that the Sabbath school work is not a mere pretense? It will be judged by its fruits. It will be estimated by the character and work of the pupils. In our Sabbath schools the Christian youth should be entrusted with responsibilities, that they may develop their abilities and gain spiritual power. BLJ 280.5
Let the youth first give themselves to God, and then let them in their early experience be taught to help others. This work will bring their faculties into exercise and enable them to learn how to plan and how to execute their plans for the good of their associates. Let them seek the company of those who need help, not to engage in foolish conversation, but to represent Christian character, to be laborers together with God, winning those who have not given themselves to God.—Testimonies on Sabbath School Work, 47, 48. BLJ 280.6