Even those in most responsible positions do fall into sin, while apparently surrounded by the best religious privileges. Gehazi’s case is one that we may consider with profit. This man dwelt in the household of the holy prophet Elisha, saw his godly life, heard his fervent prayers, and his inculcation of correct principles. Yet he was not made better. He deceived Naaman in order to receive a reward. His punishment came from the Lord. The leprosy of Naaman clave unto him.
Judas was numbered among the twelve apostles. He heard the precious lessons that fall from the lips of Christ. He had a perfect example ever before him, and yet his heart was not right. He was ruined by the sin of covetousness. “They that will be rich fall into temptation, and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.”
Elisha was true to principle, true to his God. His work bore the divine credentials. And in difficulty and trial God revealed himself to him as an ever-present helper. When the sons of the prophet were enlarging their abode, a miracle was wrought to save one of them from distress. When the king of Syria was preparing an ambush against Israel, his design was revealed by the prophet. The king, learning that it was Elisha that had defeated his armies, sent an armed host to apprehend him, but God delivered his servant. All these lessons are for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
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You look upon things seen as of value, but he who is a citizen of the heavenly kingdom will be constantly looking at things not seen. The power of earth over the mind and character is broken. He has the abiding presence of the heavenly Guest according to the Saviour’s promise, “I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” He walks with God, as did Enoch, in continual communion. Only he who walks with the Lord Jesus in this life will be translated or come forth from the grave changed from mortal to immortality, to dwell with Christ in the heavenly courts through eternal ages. There must now be manifest in us the Holy Spirit’s working, a power that will enable us to withstand temptation.
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Every soul that will accept Jesus as his personal Saviour will pant for the privilege of serving God, and will eagerly seize the opportunity to signalize his gratitude by devoting his abilities to God’s service. He will long to show his love for Jesus and for his purchased possession. He will covet toil, hardship, sacrifice. He will think it a privilege to deny self, lift the cross, and follow in Christ’s footsteps, thus showing his loyalty and love. His holy and beneficent works will testify to his conversion, and will give to the world the evidence that he is not a spurious but a true, devoted Christian.
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Our work now is to confirm our souls in the faith,—that faith which is a working faith, which works by love and purifies the soul. Faith, living, active, working faith, we must have. Christ demands this of us. Verily Christ hath need of us now to represent him, not the cold, harsh, denunciatory, overbearing and ruling power of the prince of darkness. Those who are Christ’s friends will now do whatsoever he commands them. Stand, therefore, having on the whole armor, and having done all, to stand. Let the soul temple be cleansed of prejudice, of that root of bitterness, and hatred, whereby many are being defiled. Cling to the mighty one. Communicate to others light, with cheerful words, and with courage in the Lord. Labor to diffuse that faith and confidence that has been your own consolation. Let it be heard from every lip and voice, “Here is the patience of the saints, here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: “for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”
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Everything is to be shaken that can be shaken, that those things that cannot be shaken may remain. All who truly love Jesus Christ will now stand enlisted under his banner, eager to magnify his name and accomplish his will. Every opportunity is given in an open field for the manifestation of love and loyalty. There is nothing that Christ hungers and thirsts for so much as whole-hearted disciples, possessing his love and gentleness. . . God calls for cheerful co-workers, and they are not to be repressed, discouraged, and disheartened by counter-working agencies, who themselves refuse to be worked by the Holy Spirit of God.
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Bear in mind, my son, that success is not the result of chance, of accident, or of destiny, but is the out-working of God’s own providence, the award of faith and discretion, of virtue and persevering labor. It is the practice of truth that brings success and strength of moral power. In practicing the teachings of Jesus you will reveal to the angels of heaven and to men that you have learned of the great Teacher. The bright rays of the Sun of Righteousness are to be welcomed as the light of the mind; and the principles of the character of Christ are to be made the principles of our character. The Lord will certainly be with you, and will endue you with his Holy Spirit, if you seek him with all your heart.
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Whatever may have been the feeling and conduct of others toward you, let not this have a shadow of influence upon you in your contact with them. Not one of us lives to himself. Each has God’s entrusted talents to use, and consider well what is demanded of you in order to represent Christ in every place and under every circumstance. Self is to be hid with Christ in God. Without me, said Christ, ye can do nothing. But the Holy Spirit is given to help us in every time of need. Stand in humble dependence upon that power that will be given to all who seek for it and depend on it. Your capabilities will be a success in the service of Christ if you feel your own inefficiency and your dependence upon God.
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