The people of God will be tested and proved. A close and searching work must go on among Sabbathkeepers. Like ancient Israel, how soon we forget God and His wondrous works, and rebel against Him. Some look to the world and desire to follow its fashions and participate in its pleasure, just as the children of Israel looked back to Egypt and lusted for the good things which they had enjoyed there, and which God chose to withhold from them to prove them and thereby test their fidelity to Him. He wished to see if His people valued His service, and the freedom He had so miraculously given them, more highly than the indulgences they enjoyed in Egypt while in servitude to a tyrannical, idolatrous people.
All true followers of Jesus will have sacrifices to make. God will prove them and test the genuineness of their faith. I have been shown that the true followers of Jesus will discard picnics (in 1800s picnics consisted of extravagant feasting and frivolity), donations, shows, and other gatherings for pleasure. They can find no Jesus there, and no influence which will make them heavenly minded and increase their growth in grace. The word of God obeyed leads us to come out from all these things and be separate. The things of the world are sought for, and considered worthy to be admired and enjoyed, by all those who are not devoted lovers of the cross and spiritual worshipers of a crucified Jesus.
There is chaff among us, and this is why we are so weak. Some are constantly leaning to the world. Their views and feelings harmonize much better with the spirit of the world than with that of Christ’s self-denying followers. It is perfectly natural for them to prefer the company of those whose spirit will best agree with their own. And such have quite too much influence among God’s people. They take part with them, and have a name among them, and are a text for unbelievers and the weak and unconsecrated ones in the church. These persons of two minds will ever have objections to the plain, pointed testimony which reproves individual wrongs. In this refining time these persons will either be wholly converted, and sanctified by obeying the truth, or they will be left with the world, where they belong, to receive their reward with them.
“By their fruits ye shall know them (Matthew 7:20).” All the followers of Christ bear fruit to His glory. Their lives testify that a good work has been wrought in them by the Spirit of God, and their fruit is unto holiness. Their lives are elevated and pure. Those who bear no fruit have no experience in the things of God. They are not in the Vine. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:4, 5).
If we would be spiritual worshipers of Jesus Christ, we must sacrifice every idol and fully obey the first four commandments. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37, 38). The first four commandments allow no separation of the affections from God. Nor is anything allowed to divide, or share, our supreme delight in Him. Whatever divides the affections, and takes away from the soul supreme love to God, assumes the form of an idol. Our carnal hearts would cling to our idols and seek to carry them along; but we cannot advance until we put them away, for they separate us from God. The great Head of the church has chosen His people out of the world and requires them to be separate. He designs that the spirit of His commandments shall draw them to Himself and separate them from the elements of the world. To love God and keep His commandments is far from loving the world’s pleasures and friendship. There is no concord between Christ and Belial. The people of God may safely trust in Him alone and without fear press on in the way of obedience.
Testimonies, vol. 1, 287–289.