I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God -- Romans 12:1, 2.
There is now need of men who, like Daniel, will do and dare. A pure heart and a strong, fearless hand are wanted in the world today. God designed that man should be constantly improving, daily reaching a higher point in the scale of excellence. He will help us if we seek to help ourselves. Our hope of happiness in two worlds depends upon our improvement in one. . . .
Dear youth, God calls upon you to do a work which through His grace you can do. "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Stand forth in your God-given manhood and womanhood. Show a purity of tastes, appetite, and habits that bears comparison with Daniel's. God will reward you with calm nerves, a clear brain, an unimpaired judgement, keen perceptions. The youth of today whose principles are firm and unwavering will be blessed with health of body, mind, and soul -- Adventist Home, pp. 301, 302.
The sanctification set forth in the Scriptures embraces the entire being--spirit, soul, and body. Paul prayed for the Thessalonians that their "whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Again he writes to believers: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God." Romans 12:1. In the time of ancient Israel every offering brought as a sacrifice to God was carefully examined. If any defect was discovered in the animal presented, it was refused; for God had commanded that the offering be "without blemish." So Christians are bidden to present their bodies, "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God." In order to do this, all their powers must be preserved in the best possible condition. Every practice that weakens physical or mental strength unfits man for the service of his Creator. And will God be pleased with anything less than the best we can offer? Said Christ: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." Those who do love God with all the heart will desire to give Him the best service of their life, and they will be constantly seeking to bring every power of their being into harmony with the laws that will promote their ability to do His will. They will not, by the indulgence of appetite or passion, enfeeble or defile the offering which they present to their heavenly Father -- Great Controversy, pp. 473, 474.
So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness -- Romans 12:5-8.
The advancement of the church is retarded by the wrong course of its members. Uniting with the church, although an important and necessary act, does not make one a Christian nor ensure salvation. We cannot secure a title to heaven by having our names enrolled upon the church book while our hearts are alienated from Christ. We should be His faithful representatives on earth, working in unison with Him. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God." We should keep in mind this holy relationship and do nothing to bring dishonour upon our Father's cause. . . .
A most solemn message of warning has been entrusted to God's faithful few. We should show by our words and works that we recognise the great responsibility laid upon us. Our light should shine so clearly that others can see that we glorify the Father in our daily lives; that we are connected with heaven and are joint heirs with Jesus Christ, that when He shall appear in power and great glory, we shall be like Him.
We should all feel our individual responsibility as members of the visible church and workers in the vineyard of the Lord. We should not wait for our brethren, who are as frail as ourselves, to help us along; for our precious Saviour has invited us to join ourselves to Him and unite our weakness with His strength, our ignorance with His wisdom, our unworthiness with His merit. None of us can occupy a neutral position; our influence will tell for or against. We are active agents for Christ or for the enemy. We either gather with Jesus or scatter abroad. True conversion is a radical change. The very drift of the mind and bent of the heart should be turned and life become new again in Christ -- Testimonies, vol. 4, pp. 16, 17.
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; -- Romans 12:9, 10.
The history of the Israelites presents before us the great danger of deception. Many do not have a sense of the sinfulness of their own natures nor of the grace of forgiveness. They are in nature's darkness, subject to temptations and to great deception. They are far from God; yet they take great satisfaction in their lives, when their conduct is abhorred of God. This class will ever be at war with the leadings of the Spirit of God, especially with reproof. They do not wish to be disturbed. Occasionally they have selfish fears and good purposes, and sometimes anxious thoughts and convictions; but they have not a depth of experience, because they are not riveted to the eternal Rock. This class never see the necessity of the plain testimony. Sin does not appear so exceedingly sinful to them for the very reason that they are not walking in the light as Christ is in the light.
There is still another class who have had great light and special conviction, and a genuine experience in the workings of the Spirit of God; but the manifold temptations of Satan have overcome them. They do not appreciate the light that God has given them. They do not heed the warnings and reproofs from the Spirit of God. They are under condemnation. These will ever be at variance with the straight testimony because it condemns them.
God designs that His people shall be a unit, that they shall see eye to eye and be of the same mind and of the same judgement. This cannot be accomplished without a clear, pointed, living testimony in the church. The prayer of Christ was that His disciples might be one as He was one with His Father. "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me." -- Testimonies, vol. 3., pp. 361, 362.
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; -- Romans 12:11, 12.
Parents, do not neglect the work waiting for you in the church in your own family. This is your first field of missionary effort. The most important work you can do is to place your children on the Lord's side. When they err, deal with them tenderly, yet firmly. Let them unite with you in opposing the evil by which Satan seeks to destroy the souls and bodies of human beings. Share with them the secret of the cross, the secret that to you means sanctification, redemption, and eternal victory. As you take your children with you into the service of the Lord, what a victory you gain.
If the families around you are opposed to the truth, strive to lead them to yield to the claims of Christ. Work patiently, wisely, considerately, winning your way by the tender ministry of love. Present the truth in such a way that it will be seen in all its beauty, exerting an influence that cannot be resisted. Thus the walls of prejudice will be broken down.
If this work were faithfully done, if fathers and mothers would work for the members of their own families, and then for those around them, uplifting Christ by a godly life, thousands of souls would be saved. When God's people are truly converted, when they realise the obligation resting on them to labour for those within their reach, when they leave no means untried to rescue sinners from the power of the enemy, the reproach will be removed from our churches.
We have now only a little time in which to prepare for eternity. May the Lord open the closed eyes of His people and quicken their dulled senses, that they may realise that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to them that believe. May they see the importance of giving so pure and righteous a representation of God that the world shall see Him in His beauty. May they be so filled with the Spirit that dwells in Him that the world will have no power to divert them from the work of presenting to men the wonderful possibilities before every soul who receives Christ -- Testimonies, vol. 7, pp. 11, 12.
Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not -- Romans 12:13, 14.
You need to cultivate love and affection for your parents and for your brothers and sisters. "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality." Young men, you cannot afford to sacrifice your eternal interests for your school studies. Your teachers may stimulate you by applause, and you may be deceived by the sophistry of Satan. You may be led on step by step to seek to excel and to obtain the approbation of your teachers, but your knowledge in the divine life, in experimental religion, will grow less and less. Your names will stand registered before the holy, exalted angels and before the Creator of the universe and Christ, the Majesty of heaven, in a very poor light. Opposite them will be a record of sins, of mistakes, failures, neglects, and such ignorance in spiritual knowledge that the Father and His Son, Jesus our Advocate, and ministering angels will be ashamed to own you as children of God.
In attending school you are exposed to a variety of temptations to which you would not be exposed at home in your father's house, under the watchcare of God-fearing parents. If while at home you prayed by yourselves twice or three times a day for grace to escape the corruptions that are in the world through lust, you need to pray as much more earnestly and constantly when at school, exposed to temptations and the contaminating influences which prevail in schools in this degenerate age, as your surroundings are more unfavourable to the formation of Christian character -- Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 224
Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits -- Romans 12:15, 16.
The world needs today what it needed nineteen hundred years ago--a revelation of Christ. A great work of reform is demanded, and it is only through the grace of Christ that the work of restoration, physical, mental, and spiritual, can be accomplished.
Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, "Follow Me."
There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. If less time were given to sermonising, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counselled. We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice. Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit -- Ministry of Healing, pp. 143, 144.
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men -- Romans 12:17, 18.
Again I say: Rejoice in the Lord. Rest in Him. You need His power, and this power you may have. Go forward firmly, valiantly, courageously. You may err in judgement, but do not lose your hold on Jesus. He is wisdom, He is light, He is power. He is to you as a great Rock in a weary land. Rest under His shadow. You need wisdom, and Jesus will give it to you. Do not be unbelieving. The more you are jostled, misapprehended, misstated, misrepresented, the more evidence you have that you are doing a work for the Master, and the more closely you must cling to your Saviour. In all your difficulties be calm and undisturbed, patient and forbearing, not rendering evil for evil, but good for evil. Look to the top of the ladder. God is above it. His glory shines on every soul ascending heavenward. Jesus is this ladder. Climb up by Him, cling to Him, and erelong you will step off the ladder into His everlasting kingdom.
I want you to have heaven. I know of no one who would appreciate heaven more than you, who have worked so untiringly to relieve suffering humanity, depriving yourself of sleep, neglecting to take food, bringing but little enjoyment into your life. At times there does not seem to be much sunshine in your path, only one long, continuous shadow. The afflictions you see, the dependent mortals looking and longing for help, your contact with depraved, corrupted human beings --this experience is of a character to undermine your faith in humanity.
You must, indeed, look to Jesus, keeping your eyes fixed on the glory at the top of the ladder. Through Christ alone can you make sure of heaven, where all is purity, holiness, peace, and blessedness, where there are glories that mortal lips cannot describe. The nearest we can come to a description of the reward that awaits the overcomer is to say that it is a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. It will be an eternity of bliss, a blessed eternity, unfolding new glories throughout the ceaseless ages -- Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 130, 131.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord -- Romans 12:19.
We are to co-operate with the Lord Jesus in restoring the inefficient and the erring to intelligence and purity. This work ranks equally in importance with the work of the gospel ministry. We are called upon by God to manifest an untiring, patient interest in the salvation of those who need divine polishing.-- Letter 113, 1905.
When you jostle against the elements manifested by those who have no Bible religion, but only a profession, do not forget that you are a Christian. You greatly lower your influence and mar your own Christian experience when you lose your self-control and give them the least occasion to think that you have ill-treated them. Leave not this impression upon their minds if you can possibly avoid it. In this probationary time we are forming our characters for the future immortal life; but that is not all, for in this very process of character building we need to be extremely cautious how we build, for others will build after the pattern we give them.
We may never know until the judgement the influence of a kind, considerate course of action to the inconsistent, the unreasonable, and unworthy. If, after a course of provocation and injustice on their part, you treat them as you would an innocent person, you even take pains to show them special acts of kindness, then you have acted the part of a Christian; and they become surprised and ashamed, and see their course of action and meanness more clearly than if you plainly stated their aggravated acts to rebuke them.
If you had laid their wrong course of action before them, they would have braced themselves in stubbornness and defiance. But to be treated in tenderness and consideration they feel more deeply their own course of action, and contrast it with yours. Then . . . you occupy vantage ground; and when you show a solicitude for their souls, they know that you are no hypocrite, but that you mean every word you say -- Medical Ministry, pp. 209, 210.
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good -- Romans 12:20, 21.
We cannot afford to let our spirits chafe over any real or supposed wrong done to ourselves. Self is the enemy we most need to fear. No form of vice has a more baleful effect upon the character than has human passion not under the control of the Holy Spirit. No other victory we can gain will be so precious as the victory gained over self.
We should not allow our feelings to be easily wounded. We are to live, not to guard our feelings or our reputation, but to save souls. As we become interested in the salvation of souls we cease to mind the little differences that so often arise in our association with one another. Whatever others may think of us or do to us, it need not disturb our oneness with Christ, the fellowship of the Spirit. "What glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God." 1 Peter 2:20.
Do not retaliate. So far as you can do so, remove all cause for misapprehension. Avoid the appearance of evil. Do all that lies in your power, without the sacrifice of principle, to conciliate others. "If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." Matthew 5:23, 24.
If impatient words are spoken to you, never reply in the same spirit. Remember that "a soft answer turneth away wrath." Proverbs 15:1. And there is wonderful power in silence. Words spoken in reply to one who is angry sometimes serve only to exasperate. But anger met with silence, in a tender, forbearing spirit, quickly dies away -- Ministry of Healing, pp. 485, 486.
We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me -- Romans 15:1-3.
Brother K has not the sin of evilspeaking to repent of, as very many have, but he lacks a willingness to help those who most need help. He is selfish. He loves his home, loves quiet, rest, freedom from care, perplexities, and trials; therefore he pleases himself too much. He does not bear the burdens which Heaven has assigned him. He shuns disagreeable responsibilities, and shuts himself up too much to his love of quietness. He has been quite liberal with means, but when it is necessary to deny self to do some needed good, when real sacrifice on his part is called for, he has but little experience, and must gain it.
He fears that he will be blamed if he ventures to help the erring. "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not Himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell on Me." All who are partakers of this great salvation have something to do to help those who are hanging on the skirts of Zion. They should not cut off their hold and thrust them away without making an effort to help them to overcome and prepare for the judgement. No, indeed! While these are bleating around the fold, they should be encouraged and strengthened by all the aid which it is in our power to bestow. You as a family have too rigid rules and set ideas which cannot be made to fit every case. You lack love, gentleness, tenderness, and pity for those who do not move as fast as they should. This spirit has prevailed to such an extent that you are withering spiritually instead of flourishing in the Lord. Your interest, and efforts, and anxieties are for your family and your relatives. But you have not entertained the idea of reaching out for others around you, overcoming your reluctance to exert an influence outside of a special circle. You idolise yours, and shut yourselves within yourselves. That the Lord may save me and mine is the great burden. This spirit will have to die before you can flourish in the Lord and make spiritual advancement, before the church can grow and souls be added unto them of such as shall be saved.
You are all narrowed up as to labour for others, and must change your base of operations. Your relatives are no dearer in the sight of God than any other poor souls who need salvation. We must put self and selfishness under our feet, and exemplify in our lives the spirit of self-sacrifice and disinterested benevolence manifested by Jesus when He was upon earth. All should have an interest for their relatives, but should not allow themselves to be shut up to them as though they were the only ones whom Jesus came to save -- Testimonies, vol. 7, pp. 76, 77.