Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. Matthew 3:8.
I feel an earnest interest that those who have been creating dissension and strife shall be convicted of their wrong, and shall repent and be converted. Tell this to the people: “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you” (John 12:35). Because the time is short we need to follow diligently the King’s business.
Two nights ago in visions of the night, I seemed to be addressing a company of our people…. I was saying: “I have a message for those who have been working to destroy the influence of the messages that the Lord has been giving to His servants. There are some who for years have been spreading their roots far, but their fruit-bearing for Christ is represented by the barren fig tree.” …
The lesson of the barren fig tree is one that we should keep continually before us. It is not profession of righteousness that will meet the needs of the world today and fulfill the will of God for the human family. God is looking for fruit-bearing branches. “Feed My sheep with pure provender” is the Lord’s command to those who stand as teachers of the gospel of salvation. He has made provision that the gospel’s saving power shall be represented in all places.
I was shown that mistakes have been made that have left wrong impressions upon minds, because men were allowed to preside over important interests who were deficient of the saving grace of the gospel, who had not made its purity and simplicity a part of their lives, and who did not seek God often in humble, earnest prayer. Righteous, self-denying works were not considered by them to be a necessary part of Christian experience. They did not see the necessity of having the spirit of Christ and of emulating His example in their work of ministry. I heard words of warning and entreaty spoken to young men, imploring them to make a full surrender and to obtain a thorough conversion. Ministers were exhorted to make decided changes.
The Saviour was presented to me as standing before the congregation, and addressing those who had stood to discourage and hinder others. The words were spoken, “Break every yoke. You are years behind where you should be in the carrying out of the plan of redemption. Let each seek his orders from the One in whom dwelleth truth and righteousness. Let all come into right relation to God, making thorough work of repentance.”
Let us press our case to the throne of grace…. I pray that thorough conversions may now be experienced.—Letter 202, June 23, 1908, to S. N. Haskell, president of the California Conference.
The Upward Look p. 188
—-Pray for God’s leading in several situations. B
—-I need prayer. LS
My grandfather, Ed Harmon, spent much of his growing-up years living the life of a hobo traveling up and down the eastcoast of the USA by “riding the rails” in a boxcar. He met many interesting characters along the way. Some of these homeless men were very nice to him, shared their food with him, and taught him ways of survival. He grew up tough and wiry but kept his tender heart.
The years passed by and my grandfather grew up and worked for a time at the Review and Herald Publishing Company as a bookbinder. He met and fell in love with a beautiful young lady named Rose Mudderspach. Sadly, Rose died of tuberculosis which was rampant in those far off days. Brokenhearted, he left his job at the Review and wandered around for awhile trying to heal from his broken heart.
Since he had grown up riding the rails as a hobo, he went back to that way of life. Times had changed, however. The railroad companies had tried in vain for years to stop these hobos from hopping into the boxcars. Now they had a different strategy. They hired men to catch all who were riding for free.
One particular security guard had quite a reputation because of his size and the hard look in his face. All of the men who road the rails were afraid of him and warned my grandfather. As they would tell one another about this man, the stories grew and grew until he became something of a legend.
When my grandfather heard all of the stories about the mean security guard, he hoped that he would never meet him. He had faced many dangers throughout his life and was well able to take care of himself, but those exaggerated stories of this man’s cruelty filled him with fear.
One day, he decided to catch a ride on the particular train line where this security guard worked. He would have to be extra careful not to get caught. Sneaking into the railway yard, he grabbed the ladder that was at the end of a boxcar as the train went slowly by.
The now infamous security guard saw him. My grandfather held onto the ladder for a few moments before climbing up onto the boxcar. Just as his head was peeking over the top, he saw the dreaded guard coming his way. Immediately he ducked down, hoping that he had not been seen. In the few moments he had before the guard got to him, he had a decision to make. The train was going too fast for him to jump off without being hurt. He had to face the strong man. What should he do?
Climbing up the ladder when he was sure the guard was right above him, he sprung up onto the top of the boxcar right in front of the guard. Looking his meanest, he faced this huge strongman. The guard’s menacing look made the hair on Ed’s neck stand up, but he did not let the fear that he felt show.
The guard declared that he was going to throw him off the train which by then had picked up even more speed. Without a moment’s hesitation, my grandfather did the old trick of sticking his hand in his pocket in such a way that it looked like a gun and told the man that he was going to put an end to the guard once and for all.
Suddenly, that big guard’s attitude changed. He showed that he was a coward at heart. Even though that guard had not seen a gun, he was afraid at the mere mention of the word. The frightening look on his face turned to one of fear. His whole demeanor changed. Slowly. He backed away and left my grandfather alone for the rest of the trip.
Ed was greatly relieved but could not relax. He was sure that at the next stop this guard would have the sheriff waiting for him. As soon as the train slowed down while going up a steep grade, he jumped off.
How many times we are like that guard. We profess one thing, but we are quite different within. Jesus tells us, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matt 7:21-23 Fearful thought!
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for being all show (like that security guard) and having no real walk with God. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Matt 23:25-28
Profession does no good when there is no change in our heart. Profession is worthless without the love of God dwelling inside. How much we need to have a new heart. How much we need that cleansing that only Jesus can give. Praise God! Our Great Creator promises, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” “I will put my laws into [your] hearts, and in [your] minds will I write them; And [your] sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” Eze 36:26,27; Heb 10:16,17
May we be certain that we are on the inside what we profess on the outside. May we so live that others will take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13) May we pray as did David, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” Ps 51:10-13