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    June 20, 1895

    “How to Obey” The Signs of the Times, 21, 24.

    E. J. Waggoner

    In the record of the call of the apostles, we have a lesson on how the Lord wishes men to obey his call, “Follow me.” Simon and Andrew were fishers. Jesus said, “Come, and follow me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” Not a moment did they hesitate, but “straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.” Mark 1:17, 18.SITI June 20, 1895, page 369.1

    Peter and John were also fishers. They were in their boat mending their nets, which had been broken by the great number of fish that they had just taken. See Mark and Luke 5:6. Jesus called them, “and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.”SITI June 20, 1895, page 369.2

    “And after these things he went forth, and a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt custom, and he said unto him, Follow me. And left all, rose up and followed him.” Luke 5:27.SITI June 20, 1895, page 369.3

    There are two great difficulties that confront people when they are asked to follow Christ. That is, most people are confronted by one or the other of them. One of them is the poverty of the one called, and the other is the wealth. One man hesitates because he has hard work to make a living, and he doesn’t know how his family will be provided for if he obeys the Lord. Another man has so extensive a business on his hands that it is impossible to leave it, at least until he had time to arrange his affairs.SITI June 20, 1895, page 369.4

    Both these classes of people are represented in the above calls, but they took no account of the difficulties. We know that Peter had a family, and, being a humble fisherman, could not have been wealthy. Yet he did not stop to consider how he should supply his family if he obeyed the voice of Jesus, but left his nets, and went with him.SITI June 20, 1895, page 369.5

    Levi was wealthy, for the office of publican was a very lucrative one; yet he left his business at a moment’s notice, when Jesus called to him, “Follow me.”SITI June 20, 1895, page 369.6

    So it was with Paul. He says, “when it pleased God, who separated me from my mothers womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.” Galatians 1:15, 16.SITI June 20, 1895, page 369.7

    That is the way the Lord wishes men to obey his voice. He reveals himself in the Sabbath of the fourth commandment-the seventh day, see Exodus 20:8-11-and says to them, “Follow me.” Many hesitate. With some it is their poverty that stands in the way. They don’t see how they can live if they keep the Sabbath, forgetting that people who do not keep the Sabbath also die, and forgetting that it is the Creator of the heaven and the earth who calls them, forgetting that he who calls them to obey him, says, “The silver is mine, and the gold is mine” (Haggai 2:8), and also, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1). Of his power to provide for his followers, we have a striking proof in the wonderful draught of fishes that the disciples took at his word.SITI June 20, 1895, page 370.1

    The more wealthy are still more inclined to hesitate to obey the call which Jesus sends them in the Sabbath, because the Sabbath is the best day for business. They do not reflect that it is he who gives them power to get wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18), and that he is just as able to give wealth to those who obey him as he is to give it to those who disobey him; and that, after all, “a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”SITI June 20, 1895, page 370.2

    Men cannot be too slow to follow strange and doubtful voices; they cannot be too cautious about moving when God has not spoken; but they cannot be too quick to obey the voice of the Lord. David said, “I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.” Psalm 119:60. And then he declared that he would run in the way of the commandments of God. God’s will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven; and in heaven the angels “do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.” E. J. W.SITI June 20, 1895, page 370.3

    “Willing and Able” The Signs of the Times, 21, 24.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The teachings of the epistles of the New Testament are all illustrated by the life of Christ. For instance, we read in Galatians 1:4 that Christ “gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” The will of the Father was manifest in the Son, and that will is that we might be delivered from this present evil world.SITI June 20, 1895, page 270.1

    This is practically illustrated by the miracle of cleansing the leper, which is recorded in Luke 5:12-15. The leper said to Christ, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.” Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, “I will; be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.”SITI June 20, 1895, page 270.2

    Here we see the effect of the will of God in Christ Jesus, upon one who submitted to it. “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3. How easily that will is accomplished is seen in the case with which the leper was cleansed. From that we are to learn how to be cleansed from the leprosy of sin. Knowing that it is the will of God that we should be cleansed from sin, and that he has given Christ power over all flesh (John 17:2), we may approach him with confidence. The apostle says:—SITI June 20, 1895, page 270.3

    “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us; and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” 1 John 5:14, 15.SITI June 20, 1895, page 270.4

    So we may come to the Lord, not as the leper did, saying, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean,” but saying, “Lord, I am unclean; thou canst cleanse me, and it is thy will to do so; therefore I know that thou dost hear and answer, and I have cleansing from thee.” For the promise is, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” E. J. W.SITI June 20, 1895, page 270.5

    “Working With Him” The Signs of the Times, 21, 24.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Behold in the miraculous draught of fishes, recorded in the fifth of Luke, the difference between working without the Lord and working with him. Jesus said, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.” Peter answered,” Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.” The result was that “they inclosed a great multitude of fishes.”SITI June 20, 1895, page 271.1

    This miracle, which immediately preceded the calling of four of the apostles, was designed as a lesson for them, and for us as well. We may learn that work under the direction of the Lord, and with his presence, will bring great results, even after much more serious toil in the same place, without him, has accomplished nothing.SITI June 20, 1895, page 271.2

    We hear a great deal in these days about working for the Lord, but very little about working with him. Now this latter is what the Bible speaks of, while it says nothing about the former. There is a vast difference. Many people, in their zeal to work for the Lord, set tasks for themselves which he has not required. This is not always the case; but if one is content to work only with the Lord, such a mistake can never be made.SITI June 20, 1895, page 271.3

    He who works for the Lord often labors with all his might, but with only his own might, and then asks the Lord to bless his efforts. He who labors with the Lord asks the Lord to work in him “both to will and to do of his own good pleasure.” He who speaks only the words of the Lord, needs not to ask the Lord to “give power to the word,” because he knows that “no word from God shall be void of power.” His word will accomplish that which he pleases, and prosper in the thing whereto he sends it.SITI June 20, 1895, page 271.4

    “We, then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” E. J. W.SITI June 20, 1895, page 271.5

    “Grass and Trees” The Signs of the Times, 21, 24.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The message which God send to prepare a people for his coming is briefly summed up in these words: “All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field; the grass withereth, the flower fadeth; ... but the word of our God shall stand forever.” Isaiah 41:6-8. “For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth; so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.” James 1:11. Such is man-as frail and as helpless as the grass. His breath is in his nostrils, and he is nothing to be accounted of (Isaiah 2:22), for his life is but “a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14). Yet God does not despise the grass, but clothes it with wondrous beauty, surpassing the glory of Solomon. See Matthew 6:28-30. And so we are to learn that God does not despise our low estate, but cares for us, even to the extent of clothing us with his own beauty. He who does not forget the grass will surely remember man.SITI June 20, 1895, page 271.6

    Even in the grass the mighty power of God is shown,—power to push aside all obstacles. As long as it is rooted in the soil in which God has placed it, his power works through it, till it has accomplished his purposes. So the power of God may be manifested in the feeblest of men, until they have been brought to the standard that he has designed for them,—even to “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”SITI June 20, 1895, page 271.7

    But when God thus accomplishes his purpose in them—as he did it in all who are as passive in his hand as is the grass—they cease to be considered as grass, and are called trees. The message which tells us that we are grass is a message of comfort, in that it reveals to us the word of power. Now to all those who receive that comforting message from the Lord, comes this further message of comfort, that he has come:—SITI June 20, 1895, page 271.8

    “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3.SITI June 20, 1895, page 271.9

    “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.” Psalm 92:12, 13.SITI June 20, 1895, page 271.10

    And so we have this wonderful growth of grace, that, whereas we start as grass, we develop into tress, which cannot be withered nor wrenched from their place, nor even bent by the mightiest blasts that may blow. What wondrous possibilities there are for those who are rooted in Christ! E. J. W.SITI June 20, 1895, page 271.11

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