Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 22: Saying and Doing
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There is more hope for publicans and sinners than for
those who know the word of God but refuse to obey it.
He who sees himself a sinner with no cloak for his sin, who
knows that he is corrupting soul, body, and spirit before
God, becomes alarmed lest he be eternally separated from
the kingdom of heaven. He realizes his diseased condition,
and seeks healing from the great Physician who has said,
"Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out."
John 6:37. These souls the Lord can use as workers in His
The son who for a time refused obedience to his father's
command was not condemned by Christ; and neither was
he commended. The class who act the part of the first [p. 281] son in refusing obedience deserve no credit for holding this
position. Their frankness is not to be regarded as a virtue.
Sanctified by truth and holiness, it would make men bold
witnesses for Christ; but used as it is by the sinner,
it is insulting and defiant, and approaches to blasphemy.
The fact that a man is not a hypocrite does not make him
any the less really a sinner. When the appeals of the Holy
Spirit come to the heart, our only safety lies in responding
to them without delay. When the call comes, "Go work
today in My vineyard," do not refuse the invitation. "Today
if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts."
Heb. 4:7. It is unsafe to delay obedience. You may never
hear the invitation again.
And let none flatter themselves that sins cherished for
a time can easily be given up by and by. This is not so.
Every sin cherished weakens the character and strengthens
habit; and physical, mental, and moral depravity is the
result. You may repent of the wrong you have done, and
set your feet in right paths; but the mold of your mind
and your familiarity with evil will make it difficult for you
to distinguish between right and wrong. Through the
wrong habits formed, Satan will assail you again and again.
In the command, "Go work today in My vineyard," the
test of sincerity is brought to every soul. Will there be
deeds as well as words? Will the one called put to use
all the knowledge he has, working faithfully, disinterestedly,
for the Owner of the vineyard?
The apostle Peter instructs us as to the plan on which
we must work. "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you,"
he says, "through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our
Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all
things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the
knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious [p. 282] promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine
nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world
"And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your
faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge
temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience
godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to
brotherly kindness charity." 2 Peter 1:2-7.
If you cultivate faithfully the vineyard of your soul, God
is making you a laborer together with Himself. And you
will have a work to do not only for yourself, but for others.
In representing the church as the vineyard, Christ does not
teach that we are to restrict our sympathies and labors to
our own numbers. The Lord's vineyard is to be enlarged.
In all parts of the earth He desires it to be extended. As
we receive the instruction and grace of God, we should
impart to others a knowledge of how to care for the
precious plants. Thus we may extend the vineyard of the
Lord. God is watching for evidence of our faith, love, and
patience. He looks to see if we are using every spiritual
advantage to become skillful workers in His vineyard on
earth, that we may enter the Paradise of God, that Eden
home from which Adam and Eve were excluded by transgression.
God stands toward His people in the relation of a father,
and He has a father's claim to our faithful service.
Consider the life of Christ. Standing at the head of humanity,
serving His Father, He is an example of what every son
should and may be. The obedience that Christ rendered
God requires from human beings today. He served His
Father with love, in willingness and freedom. "I delight to
do Thy will, O My God," He declared; "yea, Thy law is
within My heart." Ps. 40:8. Christ counted no sacrifice
too great, no toil too hard, in order to accomplish the work
which He came to do. At the age of twelve He said, "Wist [p. 283] ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" Luke
2:49. He had heard the call, and had taken up the work.
"My meat," He said, "is to do the will of Him that sent
Me, and to finish His work." John 4:34.
Thus we are to serve God. He only serves who acts up
to the highest standard of obedience. All who would be
sons and daughters of God must prove themselves
co-workers with God and Christ and the heavenly angels.
This is the test for every soul. Of those who faithfully
serve Him the Lord says, "They shall be Mine. . . in that
day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a
man spareth his own son that serveth him." Mal. 3:17.
God's great object in the working out of His
providences is to try men, to give them opportunity to develop
character. Thus He proves whether they are obedient or
disobedient to His commands. Good works do not purchase
the love of God, but they reveal that we possess that love.
If we surrender the will to God, we shall not work in order
to earn God's love. His love as a free gift will be received
into the soul, and from love to Him we shall delight to
obey His commandments.
There are only two classes in the world today, and
only two classes will be recognized in the judgment—those
who violate God's law and those who obey it. Christ gives
the test by which to prove our loyalty or disloyalty. "If
ye love Me," He says, "keep My commandments. . . .
He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it
is that loveth Me. And he that loveth Me shall be loved of
My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself
to him. . . . He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings;
and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the
Father's which sent Me." "If ye keep My commandments,
ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father's
commandments, and abide in His love." John 14:15-24;
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