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|HONESTY TOWARD MEN AND TOWARD GOD [message #2931]
||Sat, 20 June 2020 05:28
Registered: September 2015
HONESTY TOWARD MEN AND TOWARD GOD
(Lay it to Heart)
"Harken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a law shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people. My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner; but my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness [which is his holy law, the transcript of his character] shall not be abolished. Harken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings. For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool; but my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation."
The whole of the fifty-first chapter of Isaiah is worthy of close, earnest study, and we would do well to commit it to memory.
It has a special application to those who are living in the last days.
"And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of Hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings; yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart." "The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy; for I the Lord your God am holy. . . . Turn ye not unto idols. . . . I am the Lord your God."
The Lord requires of all who claim to be his people far more than they give him. He demands that all who claim to believe on Christ shall reveal to the world, in their lives, that Christianity which was exemplified in his life and character. If the word of God is enshrined in their hearts, they will make manifest the power and purity of the gospel. A practical example of the power of the gospel in the daily life is of much more value to the world than sermons or professions of godliness that are not accompanied by good works. Let all who name the name of Christ remember that, individually, they are making an impression, favorable or unfavorable to Bible religion, on the minds of all with whom they come in contact.
Christ declared: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind. . . . This do, and thou shalt live." This commandment, which he gave when enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, he again lays down as the condition of eternal life.
In Leviticus 19 are recorded words given by Christ to Moses to speak to the children of Israel. Read what the people of God in ancient times were commanded to do, and what not to do; for these are the principles contained in the royal law: "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment; thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty; but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor." Personal preferences and partiality are not to appear in the life-practise of the Christian.
"Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lord." "The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. Therefore shall ye observe all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: I am the Lord." "Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am the Lord your God. And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the Lord which sanctify you." "And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine." "Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess."
Here is shown the work of the minister of righteousness: "The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips; he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of Hosts." But a solemn charge is made by the God of Israel: "Ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of Hosts. Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law.
Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers? Judah hath dealt treacherously and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god. The Lord will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the Lord of Hosts. And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good-will at your hand. . . . Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them: or, Where is the God of judgment?"
The words of the Lord in Malachi 3:1-3 lay down the work essential to be done in the church of God: "Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." A message which is as a two-edged sword must be given to the people, to clear away the evils that are seen among them. A living testimony that will awaken the paralyzed conscience is to be borne.
"And I will come near to you to judgment: and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts." All the sins here specified have been coming in among the people who claim to be the people of God; and it is high time that there was a reformation, a transformation, of character. Who among us, who are called commandment-keepers, have been "partial in the law," neglecting the living principles which are a transcript of the character of God? Has not the imperfect example of those who have departed from the law of God caused many to stumble at the law? "Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept my ways, but have been partial in the law."
The Lord commands his people, "Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him." Here faithful dealing with the sins of those who claim to be children of God is enjoined. Be they men in the most humble condition, or men entrusted with power and responsibility, no partiality is to be shown to those in the wrong, no hypocrisy is to be practised in dealing with them. If a man's position involves sacred interests, God's watchmen are to be the more earnest and faithful in dealing with him. Not one evil principle will pass uncorrected. If those in the wrong refuse to repent, and to correct their errors, let them be separated from the Lord's work; for the corrupting principles of evil will leaven all with whom they are connected.
The Jews claimed to obey the law of God, and they appeared to be very strict in observing some portions of the law;
but the precepts that interfered with their personal interests were unheeded.
The people offended God by lightly esteeming the requirements that touched their earthly treasures.
Beware, brethren, lest while professing to honor the law of God, you fall into the same error as did the Jews;
beware lest the love of earthly treasure shall draw your hearts from God.
No man can make an offering to the Lord in righteousness until practical right-doing is brought into the daily life. When does the Lord say that the offering of Judah and Jerusalem shall be pleasant unto him as in the former years? When "he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness."
"Then I turned," writes Zechariah, "and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll. And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth; for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it. I will bring it forth, saith the Lord of Hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name; and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof."
In our dealings with our fellow men, as well as in our relations with God, we are to show strict justice and honesty. Every human being is to be estimated according to the price that Christ has paid for his redemption. Our fellow men are of as much value as we are, and God calls upon us to treat them as we would be treated. He wants no sharpers connected with his work. He wants no man to take advantage of others, in order to bring means into his treasury. He will sanction no man in appropriating to himself more than he has justly earned. The Lord will not sustain men in his service who are self-indulgent, and who do not represent the character and work of Christ.
Those who indulge in any sort of unfair dealing, either with God or with their fellow men, are sowing the seed for a very bitter harvest. The Lord requires those who claim to be his servants to reveal the principles of heaven in all their work. They are to show kindness to all men, cherishing patience, long-suffering, forbearance, generosity. This is living the gospel, and only to those who thus serve him will God say: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
God has revealed his interest in fallen men by giving them a Saviour. He covenanted not to stir up his wrath against the perversity of his children, not to censure them in his hot displeasure, until every advantage had been given them through all their period of probation. And even when they shall refuse his warnings, his messages of invitation, the presentation of his righteousness; when they continue to sin in the face of light and evidence, still he will not break forth upon them in his great anger. He leaves all judgment to his Son, whom he gave as a sin offering for the world.
God has a yearning desire to save the purchase of the blood of Christ from the sure result of a wrong course of action; for sin, if persisted in, will bring upon them the wrath of the rejected Lamb. Mercy, rich and free, is presented in the gift of Christ's righteousness. Those who scorn this precious gift, who despise and reject the Saviour, who refuse the invitation, "Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me," reject the offer of the attributes of character which will constitute them sons and daughters of God. For "as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name [What name?--Immanuel, the Son of God]: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth."
The Word is our instructor. All who will be doers of the word, in sincerity and truth, will behold his glory,--"the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Then there is indeed a new birth, a transformation of character. "Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace." This makes us living epistles, "known and read of all men." "He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
"It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness." "Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of Hosts."
This is the message which must be proclaimed; "Return unto me, and I will return unto you." "But ye said, Wherein shall we return?" God gives his people reproofs, warnings, and instruction, because there is a manifest neglect of righteous principles. He sends messengers to bear to the churches his reproofs and warnings, that their wrongs may be corrected. He gives the invitation, "Return unto me, and I will return unto you," and yet self-vindication is shown in the words, "Wherein shall we return?"
The reproof and warning and promise of the Lord are given in definite language in Malachi 3:8; "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee?" The Lord answers, "In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation." The Lord of heaven challenges those whom he has supplied with his bounties to prove him. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
This message has lost none of its force.
It is just as fresh in its importance as God's gifts are fresh and continual.
There is no difficulty in understanding our duty in the light of this message, given through God's holy prophet.
We are not left to stumble along in darkness and disobedience.
The truth is plainly stated, and it can be clearly understood by all who wish to be honest in the sight of God.
A tithe of all our income is the Lord's.
He lays his hand upon that portion which he has specified that we shall return to him, and says,
I allow you to use my bounties after you have laid aside the tenth, and have come before me with gifts and offerings.
The Lord calls for his tithe to be given in to his treasury.
Strictly, honestly, and faithfully, let this portion be returned to him. Besides this, he calls for your gifts and offerings. No one is compelled to present his tithe or his gifts and offerings to the Lord. But just as surely as God's word is given to us, just so surely will he require his own with usury at the hand of every human being. If men are unfaithful in rendering to God his own, if they disregard God's charge to his stewards, they will not long have the blessing of that which the Lord has entrusted to them.
"Your words have been stout against me, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, it is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully [in black] before the Lord of Hosts?" God does not require his people to do this. Christ is the light of the world, and he says, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." But the mournful complaint continues: "And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered." This is the language of a soul in darkness. The condition here revealed is the sure result of disobedience. Those who make the complaint are neglecting their obligation to give to the Lord his own. It is because so little heed is given to the Lord's special injunctions that darkness and temptation and trial are brought upon the church.
The tithe is set apart for a special use. It is not to be regarded as a poor fund. It is to be especially devoted to the support of those who are bearing God's message to the world; and it should not be diverted from this purpose. The great object of our work is to carry the light to those who are in darkness. Our work is world-wide. God's delegated messengers are not to hover about the people who have been long in the truth. Altogether too much labor is devoted to the churches. God's people are not to depend on others to do their work for them. Let the Lord's messengers carry the triumphs of the cross into the regions beyond, calling upon the members of the church to send their prayers as sharp sickles into the harvest-field. Let the church appoint pastors or elders who are devoted to the Lord Jesus, and let these men see that officers are chosen who will attend faithfully to the work of gathering in the tithe. If the pastors show that they are not fitted for their charge, if they fail to set before the church the importance of returning to God his own, if they do not see to it that the officers under them are faithful, and that the tithe is brought in, they are in peril. They are neglecting a matter which involves a blessing or a curse to the church. They should be relieved of their responsibility, and other men should be tested and tried.
The Lord's messengers should see that his requirements are faithfully discharged by the members of the churches. God says that there should be meat in his house, and if the money in the treasury is tampered with, if it is regarded as right for individuals to make what use they please of the tithe, the Lord cannot bless He cannot sustain those who think that they can do as they please with that which is his.
The Lord has given to every man his work. His servants are to act in partnership with him. If they choose, men may refuse to connect themselves with their Maker; they may refuse to give themselves to his service, and trade upon his entrusted goods; they may fail to exercise frugality and self-denial, and may forget that the Lord requires a return of what he has given them. All such are unfaithful stewards. A faithful steward will do all he possibly can in the service of God; the one object before him will be the great need of the world. He will realize that the message of truth is to be given, not only in his own neighborhood, but in the regions beyond. When men cherish this spirit, the love of the truth and the sanctification they will receive through the truth, will banish avarice, overreaching, and every species of dishonesty.
It will not be long before probation will close. If you do not now serve the Lord with fidelity, how will you meet the record of your unfaithful dealing? Not long hence, a call will be made for a settlement of accounts, and you will be asked, How much owest thou unto my Lord?" If you have refused to deal honestly with God, I beseech you to think of your deficiency, and if possible to make restitution. If this cannot be done, in humble penitence pray that God for Christ's sake will pardon your great debt. Begin now to act like Christians. Make no excuse for failing to give the Lord his own. Now, while mercy's sweet voice is still heard, while it is not yet too late for wrongs to be righted, while it is called today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
God calls for fathers, mothers, and children to become partners with him in the great work of rescuing their own souls from Satan's power. Let them unite with Christ, and strive with heart and mind and strength to save themselves through faith. When through the grace of Christ you have been converted, God calls upon you to wear his yoke, and labor in his lines to save other souls who are bound up with Satan, and who do not realize their peril. Hear me, for Christ's sake, hear me. The season of God's mercy will soon be ended. The call for sinners to repent and be converted will soon be heard no more. That God whose invitation you have refused, that Saviour whose Spirit you have grieved and insulted, will soon rise in his anger to punish transgressors. Dare we think what the wrath of the Lamb means?
Every day you remain in sin you are grieving God by your impenitence. Will you not remember that the time is just upon you when the last day of mercy will come? Then God will rise up out of his place to punish the world for its iniquity. Then the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. The clouds of wrath which have been gathering will burst with pitiless fury upon the world. I beg of you who shall read these words to hear for your soul's sake. Venture not one step further in your impenitence. "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little."
RH – The Review and Herald
December 1, 1896 - Honesty Toward Men and Toward God.
By Mrs. E. G. White.
Your brother in Christ
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