The gospel of Christ has little to fear from its open opponents. Its most dangerous foes are the pretended friends of Christ, who say, “I go,” but do not go. They profess to love the Lord Jesus, but through the deceptions of Satan, they work against Christ, because they are not doers of the word. He who is a friend of Christ studies the word of God, and brings its principles into his daily life, making every thought, word, and deed subject to the control of the Spirit of God. Such a man will be a man of discernment; he will have spiritual eyesight, and will not be ignorant of Satan’s devices. The love of God is in his heart, and the love of his fellow-men. Who can measure the loss we sustain by neglecting to obey the words of Christ? He is life to the dead and wisdom to the ignorant. It is by his righteousness that we are connected with God.
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The Saviour said to his professed people, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” If ever a people needed to repent because they had lost their first love, it is those who have had so great light, and have failed to live up to it. You can never understand what the loss means, until you repent of having given so little heed to the words of Christ. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” There is need of repentance, because there is a lack of love to God in his professed church. He has not been loved with the whole heart, with the whole soul. The affections have been divided, and the great commandment which says, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” has not been obeyed.
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In view of the wonderful manifestation of the love of Christ to fallen men, it is a great sin to misrepresent his character as it has been misrepresented by every soul who has left his first love. Shall we not repent of this sin? Shall we not, as young people, take these things to heart, and make diligent work? If we repent and forsake this sin, may God grant that the precious illumination of his Spirit may no longer be withheld from us. The word of God cannot be bent to men’s likings. It requires obedience, full and free. Will the youth who profess to keep the commandments of God, keep them in deed and in truth? Shall we be able to select a better guide, a better standard than that which is given us in the word of God? Why, then, do we kindle a fire and walk in the sparks of our own kindling? The Eternal One has opened a path for us to travel, which leads to the open gates of paradise. Can we, by following our own will, and choosing to walk in our own way, find a pleasanter path? What can spread sunshine through the soul, as can the knowledge of sins forgiven? What can impart true nobility, save restoration to the favor of God? Pure and undefiled religion means that we shall love God supremely, and our neighbor as ourselves.
If those who profess to believe the present truth did love God supremely, and their neighbors as themselves, would there be so little done in representing the truth to others? Every soul is to be a blessing to others. Souls are perishing for the word of life; but because the professed people of God have left their first love, they are in blindness, and are destitute of the blessings it should be their privilege to impart. Lacking the power of God, professors fail to accomplish the work of God. When we gather about the great white throne, before the Judge of the living and the dead, what excuse shall we be able to render to God for having failed to obey his word, to represent Christ before the world?
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The man whose religion is planted in his heart, is not guided by human opinions, but by the verdict of the Unchanging One. In the great judgment day it will be found that no one is able to cancel or revise the decisions of God; man cannot judge the word, the word will judge him. Every talent entrusted to men was given that it might be devoted to the work of saving the souls of the lost. If the talents have not been improved, if precious opportunities of enlightening others have been passed by unheeded, then the Lord’s gifts have been wasted. Talents are committed to every man, and if he fails to improve them, he will be dealt with as was the unprofitable servant in the parable.
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Let the youth put away every idol. Let them seek God earnestly, and with the spirit of a little child take hold of their neglected work and redeem the time. When we have less of self and more of Jesus, we shall view these things in the right light. Let selfishness be uprooted, let the love of Jesus reign in the heart, and as a result, many souls will be saved. In the past many have been repulsed, lost to God, lost to his cause, by reason of the unchristian spirit and conduct which made it manifest that the professed people of God had left their first love.