Why Is Persecution Sleeping? Part 111

We are here in this world for one reason. Isaiah 58:12 says that we are to be repairers of the breach. However, we have stood by without raising opposition as the heart of the gospel message has been removed. We have stood by until a mess has been made; then we have tried to undo the mess. We have been too ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of the things that hurts me most in Adventism is when people—some who are in leadership positions and who know the gospel message and the Three Angels’ Messages—will not publicly identify the mark of the beast. They will not preach about the third angel’s message. This is hurtful, because it is the job that we have been given.

At your work, if you are told, “Today, what we need you to do is this over here,” and you go over and do the designated task, then, every day thereafter, when you are directed, “We need you to do this,” you respond, “Oh, I like to do this over here; it is much easier,” would you be accounted a worthy worker? I guarantee that you would not spend very many days in that job! You would be looking for another.

Well, the Lord is going to put you and me out to pasture too, if we do not start doing what He has asked us to do. He does not want to do that, but He has no other choice. We often choose to do our own thing, when He has called us to do another work.

Careless and Ungodly

Previously in this series, the careless and ungodly Christian was presented. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:1–5; The Great Controversy, 38, 48.) If you are careless in the activities of your life, dear friend, you have become ungodly. Remember this! This means that when you mow the lawn, when you wash the dishes—whatever you do—you should complete the task with care. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Ecclesiastes 9:10.

Ellen White wrote that we are to rebuke “carelessness, backsliding, and sin, that the people may be brought to repentance and confession of sin.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 380. When we see carelessness in the cause of Christ, it must be immediately rebuked.

None of us want to be careless when it comes to Jesus, do we? If Jesus were in our homes today, would we be careless in the way we treated Him and talked to Him? I do not think we would be. We would be on our very best behavior!

What a stress and strain it would be for some of us to keep our minds straight for even 30 minutes! After all, Jesus reads our minds and hearts and knows our intents. If the heart and mind are truly converted, the way they should be converted, then it would be so much easier to have Jesus around all the time, but what a bind it would put us in if our hearts and minds were not right! We would be out scurrying, doing something else, and trying to avoid closeness with Him.

Needed Revival and Reformation

“A revival and a reformation must take place under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit.” Review and Herald, February 25, 1902.

What will it take? “True holiness is wholeness in the service of God. This is the condition of true Christian living. Christ asks for an unreserved consecration, for undivided service. He demands the heart, the mind, the soul, the strength. Self is not to be cherished.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 48, 49. Are you whole in Him today? Is He your life? Do you not dare to go anywhere or to do or to say anything, unless you talk to Jesus about it first?

Principles of Heaven

How can you have a wholeness of heart? Mrs. White says that it is obtained by simply surrendering the entire heart to Christ. “Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven.” The Desire of Ages, 556. It is very simple! Just surrender! That means, give it up. Let go of it. Turn it over to Jesus. Oh, what He can then do!

Have you thought about the principles of heaven? Can heaven’s way of operation be applied down here on earth? Is this why we are told to make our homes, our surroundings, a little heaven on earth? “If this spirit [respectful demeanor] pervaded . . . leading everyone to manifest toward his fellow-workers a love that is without dissimilation, [it] would be a representation of heaven on earth.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 3, 1356. This can happen, as we totally surrender our lives and our hearts to Jesus. Only then can the principles of heaven begin to be lived out through us. As people then observe us, they will want to know more about God. They will want to be a part of this last day message.

How many of us really want this? Are we going to be careless? Are we going to be ungodly? “It is this halfhearted, indifferent, careless work that separates your souls from Jesus, the source of your strength.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 148. It separates us from God, because we get into the habit of being careless in the little things, and we are then careless in the big things. If you are careless in the things that are least, you are going to be careless in those that are much, and vice versa. God says, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” Luke 16:10. Carelessness separates us from God.

Those who shun responsibility and care-taking, who “neglect present opportunities, and let their duties and burdens fall upon others, will find that their responsibility remains the same, and they will reap in bitterness what they have sown in carelessness and neglect.” The Signs of the Times, September 9, 1886. “We want the living principle, and to daily feel individual responsibility. This is shunned by many, and the fruit is carelessness, indifference, a lack of watchfulness and spirituality.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 200.

Rewards of Carelessness

Carelessness sounds like a big thing! Regarding it, Mrs. White wrote: “The case of the man who claims to know the truth, and yet neglects to become a doer of the words of Christ, is one to be pitied. He neglects to watch and pray, neglects to make God his counselor and dependence, becomes self-sufficient, and walks in the imagination of his own heart, as if he had wisdom, knowledge, and strength in himself. He fails to improve his talents, or works in a negligent, careless way, and thereby disqualifies himself for some place of usefulness he might have filled. But although he neglects the work God has given him to do, he is not released from the responsibility of the results of not doing all he might have done to bless humanity.” The Youth’s Instructor, December 21, 1893.

Carelessness creates bad habits, and, in the end, the careless will be shaken out of the church. “The careless and indifferent, who did not join with those who prized victory and salvation enough to perseveringly plead and agonize for it, did not obtain it, and they were left behind in darkness.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 182.

“Oh, what can I say to those who are idle and careless and indifferent in regard to the work of the Master. Jesus has bought us with His own blood. Whatever may be our ability or calling, God has committed to us our individual responsibility, and to every man He has given His work. This work cannot be transferred to another. Individual effort is to be made to seek and save the lost. As he is God’s workman, he is required to become more and more efficient, by practice better qualified to work the works of God, educated and trained in the science of spiritual husbandry.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, 344. It makes sense. When you find someone who bears responsibility in the workplace, at home, in the church, and in the cause of Christ, it is an indication that they are not careless.

Conformed to the World

Does this mean that heaven is not going to become our home just because we were a little careless here on earth? Absolutely! Why is the church not in a revival mode right now? Ellen White answers this question: “The only reason is that the church has conformed to the world’s standard.” The Great Controversy, 48. If we do not want to see the worldly standards come into God’s church, we must be careful in the way we talk, the way we eat, the way we dress, and the things we take into our minds.

Unfortunately, we have conformed to the world’s standards. This is why God is not in the church. We have conformed; this is why there is not a revival. This is why Mrs. White says that we are sick. We have a disease, because we have conformed. (See Testimonies, vol. 1, 693, 694.) Why is the church not being persecuted? There is no need to persecute a church that has conformed.

But, she says, “As the churches depart more and more widely from the truth, and ally themselves more closely with the world, the time will come when those who fear and honor God can no longer remain in connection with them. Those that ‘believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness,’ will be left to receive ‘strong delusion,’ and to ‘believe a lie.’ [11 Thessalonians 2:11, 12.] Then the spirit of persecution will again be revealed.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 240.

Pastor Kenny Shelton is speaker for the television ministry of Behold the Lamb in Herrin, Illinois. He may be contacted by e-mail at: beholdthelambministries@yahoo.com, or by telephone at: 1-800-238-2856.