Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

July 22, 1909

Awake, Thou That Sleepest!

Mrs. E. G. White

I am instructed to arouse our churches in every place from their sleeping condition. Those who hear the word of life, but do not practise it, can not hope to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. In the great work that is before us, we shall meet with constant temptation. Though many of us are sleeping at our post, Satan does not sleep; and he will put forth untiring efforts to bring in heresies that will turn us from a whole-hearted worship of God. Not as a fiend, not as a being that repels, but as an angel of light he will come, and those who are not watchful and grounded in the truth for this time will be overcome by his wiles.

In the wilderness of temptation Satan came to Christ as an angel from the courts of God. It was by his words, not by his appearance, that the Saviour recognized the enemy. The record states: “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”

Though he appears as an angel of light, these first words betray his character: “If thou be the Son of God.” Here is the insinuation of distrust. Should Jesus do what Satan suggests, it would be an acceptance of the doubt. “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

“Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

In quoting this scripture, Satan left out the words, “in all thy ways,” meaning, in all the ways of God. So long as Christ stayed in the path of duty, to carry out the work that God had appointed him, Satan could gain no advantage over him. Again the Saviour resisted temptation by presenting the word of God: “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God,” he said. No rash, presumptuous act would the Saviour perform to give proof to Satan of his divinity.

The circumstance was to be a lesson to every child of God. It teaches us not to accept any challenge of the enemy. As Satan was the adversary of Christ, so he is of all who believe in Christ. But to every tempted soul the words are spoken, “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.”

“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”

Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. I ask you to study his life, my brethren and sisters. He came to bring to men the gift of eternal life. In the sacrifice of his Son, the Father revealed how much he desires that sinners shall be saved. “Therefore doth my Father love me,” Christ declared, “because I lay down my life.” The Father loves us with a love that is but feebly comprehended.

It is because men and women lack the spirit of self-denial and self-sacrifice, that they can not comprehend the sacrifice made by heaven in giving Christ to the world. Their religious experience is mingled with selfishness and self-exaltation. How can such professors have anything but a meager hope of sharing the inheritance of Christ? “Verily I say unto you,” he said to his disciples, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

There are many who, while professing godliness, measure themselves among themselves, and in consequence grow weak in spiritual life. Pride is not overcome. Not until these souls fall on the Rock and are broken, will they understand their need. O, that they might confess their wrongs before God, and plead for the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives! Truth and righteousness will flow into the hearts that are cleansed from selfishness and sin, and through the lives of those in whose souls truth occupies the first place.

Let our ministers set an example of humility of spirit. My brethren, let your hearts melt as you consider the price Christ has paid for your soul's salvation. Let your conduct be governed by the pure principles that governed in the life of Christ. The meek and lowly in heart will be sanctified by their belief of the truth. This is the sign of Christ's followers, the world over.

Christ encouraged men to study the Word, and to give its truths to others, imparting, at any sacrifice of self, the light and life of heaven. This was the antidote of the incoming evil. He assumed human nature that he might save to the uttermost all who would come unto God by him. And he prayed that the sanctifying grace of truth, received into the lives of its converts, might call the attention of the world to the wonderful plan of salvation. Those who truly love Christ will not be satisfied with a cheap experience. They will work out earnestly the characteristics of the divine pattern. Their hearts will seek for purity and true holiness. To such the Lord will reveal his grace, and will give power to win souls to heaven.

The wickedness of the world is not abating. Every year evil becomes more prevalent, and is more lightly regarded. Let our gatherings together be made seasons of heart searching and confession. It is the privilege of this people who have had such great blessings to be trees of righteousness, shedding forth comfort and blessing. They are to be living stones, emitting light. Those who have received pardon for their sins should with earnest purpose lead those who are in the ways of sin into paths of righteousness. Partaking of Christ's self-denial and self-sacrifice, they will teach men and women to give up selfishness and sin, and accept in their place the lovely attributes of the divine nature.

There is great need for studying the Word of God. From one end of the world to the other the message of Christ's righteousness is to be sounded by human lips, to prepare the way of the Lord. The youth, the aged, and the middle-aged are to act a personal part in preparing their own souls for the great event that is soon to take place, even the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven, and in so doing they will reflect light upon many other souls.

“O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom.”

Like John the Baptist, we are to point men and women to Jesus, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” In the message we bear, the character of God, as revealed in Christ, is to be manifested to the world. The call is to be sounded by human lips and exemplified in human lives. By word and by action we are to repeat the divine call, “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

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