The Little Company Who Are Sighing and Crying

The following thoughts are derived from what Ellen White wrote about the little company who would be sighing and crying toward the end of time. The main source of these statements is in volume 5 of Testimonies for the Church pages 207–216.

We are living in that period of time described by the prophet when the great crisis of the ages is fast approaching, when the rapidly increasing wickedness shows that God’s visitation has about come, when every one of the Lord’s children must do his duty to labor diligently to save others. The danger and depression of the church are hastening toward their greatest point and at this time it is predicted that there will be a little company who are standing in the light and will be sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land. The land where these awful abominations are done is the land of the church.

What we want to know is (1) who is this little company and what are their identifying characteristics and (2) what is this sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the church.

First we must understand that the church which Ellen White speaks about here is not the true church in reality but the professed people of God, most of whom are not living out the truth they profess. This can easily be shown. Just as there was an Israel according to the flesh and a true Israel of the promise (Romans 9:6-8) so there is a modern Israel according to the profession and there is within this a true Israel whose character lines up with their profession. Notice during this time, “But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 210. God’s power and presence were lacking from the church (the professed church) but concerning the true church the prophet writes, “To the end of time the presence of the Spirit is to abide with the true church.” The Acts of the Apostles, 54, 55.

So there will be a large professed church (those who profess the Seventh-day Adventist faith) and within this large group there is a little company. As we will see, this little company will emerge as the church triumphant at the end. We now turn our attention to this little company. What qualifications must one have to be a part of this group?
The little company has the following characteristics:

  1. They keep the commandments, including the Sabbath. They have come out from the world and stand in defense of God’s law.
  2. They are standing in the light—they are obeying the counsels of God’s spirit to the remnant church. They are bound together by the truth. They have preserved the faith in its purity. (They are Historic Adventists!)
  3. They are sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land. They will have a soul anguish, expressed in lamentation and weeping, reproofs and warnings.
  4. More especially their prayers are arising in behalf of the professed church whose members are doing after the manner of the world.
  5. They have kept themselves unspotted from the world.
  6. They have reproved, counseled and entreated, holding forth the words of life to the professed church.
  7. They will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any.
  8. They are filled with grief and alarm because they are powerless to stop the rushing torrent of iniquity (in God’s professed church).
  9. They mourn and lament because religion is despised in the homes of God’s professed people and pride, avarice, selfishness and deception of almost every kind are in the professed church.
  10. The spirit of God which prompts these people to reprove is trampled underfoot. The servants of Satan triumph, God is dishonored and the truth is made of none effect.
  11. They receive the seal of God.
  12. They make God their defense in the deadly conflict with the powers of earth who command them to worship the beast and receive his mark or die.
  13. Their character defects are remedied by the grace of God and their own diligent efforts. They do not yield to circumstances but engage in the conflict of overcoming.
  14. They are distrustful of self and are humbling themselves before God and purifying their souls by obeying the truth, they are being purified, overcome worldly ambition, love of the world and a false tongue and a deceitful heart—they are without spot before God.

In the same articles where Ellen White describes the true church (the little company) who are obeying the truth, she describes a much larger group. This group, though professing the Adventist faith, (they are the true church by profession) their character does not agree with their profession. They lose their souls at the end even if they have been Adventists all their lives! Here is the inspired description of them.


  1. They are contaminated by the prevailing iniquity.
  2. They lose their reverence for God’s law.
  3. They live after the manner of the world.
  4. They continue the forms of religion.
  5. They throw a cloak over the existing evil and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent. (When you are listening to sermons telling you to go back where you were disfellowshipped or forced out for conscience sake, remember who this group is described in #5.)
  6. This group triumphs over the little company.
  7. This group does not feel grieved over it’s own spiritual declension.
  8. They do not mourn over the sins of others.
  9. This group includes leaders who stand as guardians of the spiritual interests of the people.
  10. They take the position that we need not look for miracles and marked manifestation of God’s power as in former days. They say that “times have changed.”
  11. They cry peace and safety and talk about the mercy of God. (They overlook His justice.)
  12. They do not show God’s professed people their transgressions and sins.
  13. Those who have been regarded as worthy and righteous will be discovered by God as leaders in apostasy and examples in indifference.
  14. They have been used powerfully by God in the past but they have departed from God and led others into error.
  15. They link in sympathy with the world.
  16. Many among the leaders of God’s people will be in this category and will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads.
  17. These leaders understand every point of our faith (they are not heretics in the usual sense of the word) but had not corresponding works.
  18. They failed to reach a high religious standard by their lack of devotion and piety.
  19. Those who followed them did not see that in patterning after these men (these leaders in the big group of professed Adventists) they will surely endanger their souls.
  20. They yield to circumstances rather than engage in the conflict of overcoming.
  21. They are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast.


From the context of the article it is clear that the small group described first are the Historic Adventists and the large group described last are the vast majority of those professing the Adventist faith. At first reading, this thought is so imponderable as to escape reflection—certainly such a thing seems impossible, yet it is the truth of prophecy.

It is not pleasant to contemplate the destruction of the majority of God’s professed people but many prophecies clearly predict this. (See for example Testimonies, vol. 1, 608, 609; Testimonies, vol. 5, 136.) How can such a thing happen? Do not these people expect to be ready to meet Jesus when He comes and go home with Him? Of course they do. So why will many be bitterly disappointed? Part of the reason is described in the quotations below. We must go to our closet and plead with God to be delivered from self-deception—thinking we are saved when we are not.

Our great danger today is the same danger that the Jews had—the danger of being self-deceived. In crucifying Christ they thought that they were doing God service. (See Signs of the Times, January 10, 1900.)

“The Jews pursued their course of rejecting Christ until, in their self-deceived, deluded state, they thought that in crucifying Him they were doing God a service. Thus it will be with all who resist the entreaties of the Spirit of God, and persist in doing what they know to be wrong. The Spirit once resisted, there will be less difficulty in resisting it a second time. If we maintain the independence of the natural heart, and refuse the correction of God, we shall, as did the Jews, stubbornly carry out our own purposes and ideas in the face of the plainest evidence, and shall be in danger of as great deception as came on them. In our blind infatuation we may go to as great lengths as they did, and yet flatter ourselves that we are doing work for God. Those who continue in this course will reap what they have sown. They were afforded a shelter, but they refused it. The plagues of God will fall, and He will prevent them not.” Review and Herald, July 27, 1897.

“If the worldly element is allowed to take possession of the heart, things that are not approved of God will seem right, and the religious life will be mixed with error. The perceptions will not be clear and distinct to understand the word and will of the Lord. There is danger of pursuing this course of disobedience until the wrong is gilded over, conscience is blunted, and the self-deceived one believes himself on the highway of holiness when he is on the downward road to perdition.” Signs of the Times, August 6, 1885.

“It is difficult for us to understand ourselves, to have a correct knowledge of our own characters. The Word of God is plain, but often there is an error in applying it to one’s self. There is liability to self-deception and to think its warnings and reproofs do not mean me. ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?’ (Jeremiah 17:9). Self-flattery may be construed into Christian emotion and zeal. Self-love and confidence may give us assurance that we are right when we are far from meeting the requirements of God’s Word.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 332, (1885).

The same events that happened in Jesus’ day are to happen again by those who must have their own way and as a result deceive not only others but themselves:

“Some who profess righteousness will, like Judas, betray their Lord into the hands of His bitterest enemies. These self-confident ones, determined to have their own way and to advocate their own ideas, will go on from bad to worse, until they will pursue any course rather than to give up their own will. They will go on blindly in the way of evil, but, like the deluded Pharisees, so self-deceived that they think they are doing God’s service. Christ portrayed the course which a certain class will take when they have a chance to develop their true character: ‘And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 5, 690, 691.

Our only chance of avoiding self-deception is to become humble and teachable like a little child, casting away all pride of opinion and choosing to follow the way of the Lord with humility and patience. (See Testimonies, vol. 5, 214.)

“There is danger, great danger with all men of becoming self-deceived.” Manuscript Release, vol. 13, 28.

“From the light that God has given me, I know that men’s great danger is in being self-deceived. Satan is watching his chance. He will come to men in human form, and will speak to them most entrancing words. He will bring against them the same temptations that he brought against Christ. Unless their minds and hearts are filled with the pure, unselfish, sanctified love that Christ revealed, they will fall under Satan’s power, and will do and say and write strange things, to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect.” Upward Look, 295.

We have been warned. The shaking taking place now, which will indeed intensify, was predicted and described by God’s messenger to the remnant in the most graphic terms. Unless you are a diligent student of inspired writings, unless the study of the Word of God has resulted in filling your heart with the love of Jesus and the faith of Jesus, if you are looking and trusting to the arm of flesh or anything that you can see or perceive in the flesh, not walking by faith alone, the snare will sweep you off your feet—you will be deceived with the majority and not know it until it is too late.

“Some who have been deceived by men in responsible places will repent, and be converted. And in all our dealings with them, we must remember that none of those who are in the depth of Satan’s snares know that they are there.” Battle Creek Letter, 125.

Life Sketches – Will You Stand?

Many people would obey and follow God if He would only remove the struggles and tribulations that they are going through. But since God does not immediately remove their trials, they remain uncommitted and follow the path of least resistance. But the question is still asked, “Why do Christians worldwide suffer so many troubles?”

Jesus said that whatever we give to others will eventually be returned to us. He said, “Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:37, last part, 38).

This is an eternal principle that God has established in the universe. As we give to others, the same will come back to us, whether we give good or evil.

Before his conversion, the apostle Paul was the leading persecutor of Christians in the world. He was responsible for having men and women put in prison just because they were Christians, and also for the death of many of whom we do not know the number.

The Bible says Paul was present and consenting to the death of Stephen, the first Christian martyr who was stoned to death. However, when he was converted on the road to Damascus, the Lord said to Ananias concerning him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:15).

Saul’s name was changed and he became the apostle Paul. He suffered many things for Christ’s name sake. He was beaten, put in prison, shipwrecked a number of times. He even suffered the same fate that he had consented done to Stephen when on his very first missionary journey he was stoned. The persecutors left him for dead, but after a while he came to and then left town. There is no doubt that during that experience he remembered what he had allowed to be done to Stephen and thought his end had come, but it was not his time to die yet.

After that experience, Paul went back through the cities where he and Barnabas had preached the gospel. Acts 14:21, 22 says, “When they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra (where Paul had been stoned), Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.’ ”

This is troubling to many people who wonder why it is that if they choose to become a Christian, the only way they can get to the Kingdom of God is through many tribulations.

There are several texts in the New Testament that explain why this is so. In John 7, Jesus’ brothers told Him to go and show people what He was doing and declare Himself to the world as the Messiah (see verses 3, 4). Then it says, “For even his brothers did not believe in Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil’ ” (verses 5–7).

In John 15:18–25, on the night that He was betrayed, Jesus said to His disciples, “ ‘If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, “A servant is not greater than his Master.” If they’ve persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, “They hated Me without a cause.” ’ ”

Jesus told His followers that they were following Him because He chose them out of the world and because the world hated Him they would also hate His followers. The apostle John, in his letter in 1 John 3:10–15 explains why they are hated: “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”

In 1 John 5:19, literal translation, John says, “The whole world lies in wickedness.” The Christian, without even saying anything, by the very fact that he exists and is living in harmony with the law of God, his life is a rebuke to those who are transgressing the law of God. So, according to worldlings, something must be done to get this disturbing element out of the way. That is exactly what happened with Cain and Abel. Cain wanted to get Abel out of the way so he would not show him up. This resulted in Cain killing his brother.

John says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15–17). Before He left them, Jesus said to His disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). His followers soon found these words to be true. Paul was stoned. Peter was crucified. James was killed with the sword. In fact, the Jews tried to kill all of Christ’s apostles. Every one of them was martyred except for the apostle John. The Jews tried without success to kill him but God still had a work for him to do – write the book of Revelation on the lonely Isle of Patmos.

Christ’s followers stood out from the crowd. The way they lived was a rebuke to the Jews so they did their best to eliminate them. So, the world today does not like to be rebuked for its lifestyle.

There is a story that has been told of a man who lived in the southern United States before the emancipation proclamation, who had slaves, one of whom was a Christian. He said to this slave, “Why are you having so much trouble? Look at me, I’m not a Christian and I do not have all the trouble that you have.” The slave replied, “When you go hunting with your bird dogs and you shoot a bird and it falls down dead, the bird dog doesn’t go over to it because the bird is dead. But then you shoot another bird, and it is not dead but just wounded, the bird dog goes after that one.” He continued, “That is like you and me. The devil is not after you, because he’s already got you. But he is after me, because I am just wounded and that is why I am having a lot of trouble.” The devil is the one that brought suffering, sickness and sin into this world that results in death.

As long as the devil exists there will be conflict in our world between good and evil. Eventually, every person is going to be totally on either one side or the other. Today there are still many people who are in the valley of decision trying to figure out on what side of the great controversy between good and evil they want to be. Do they love sin so much that they are willing to do whatever they can to be on that side? Or, would they like to have eternal life? Eternal life can only be given to the person who chooses to surrender his sinful nature and follow the Lord.

O, friend, what is happening in your life? Are you like the bird that is dead, or like the one that is wounded, and having a lot of trouble? Remember, it is the devil that causes so much trouble for those who are on the path that leads to everlasting life, but they are not alone in their journey. Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5, last part).

If you’re not following the Lord, Jesus said, “All those who hate me love death” (Proverbs 8:36). “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). In Matthew 10:34–39, Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; And ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake, will find it.”

The apostle Paul said, “… all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). But do not be discouraged for God has promised His people who are suffering trouble because they have chosen to be Christians that, “As your days, so shall your strength be.” “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:25, 27).

God has promised to never forsake His own. He has promised to be with them to strengthen and help them in all the troubles and trials that they go through. In Psalm 9:9, 10, it says, “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Isaiah says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord, forever, for in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength” (Isaiah 26:3, 4).

Reading the New Testament we find promises equally comforting. Notice what the apostle Paul said about the Christian who is suffering trouble and trial because he has chosen to follow the Lord: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:12, 13).

Peter also speaks to those who suffer because they are Christians: “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19). God is a faithful Creator; He does not forsake His own. Even though they go through trials and troubles, He has promised to be with them, to support them, to sustain them, to help them, right up to the moment of death.

However, there is coming a time when the tables are going to be completely turned. Jesus will say, “Enough!” God will avenge His people, when all cases have been decided. He is going to judge this world and bring judgments upon it because of its sin.

The book of Revelation is very clear that in the last days, because of the wickedness of the world, the Lord God of heaven is going to come down and walk through the whole earth, spreading desolation everywhere. (See Revelation 16.) That is called the “seven last plagues.” These plagues will come upon the people who deliberately choose to remain in violation and rebellion against the law of God. To be in rebellion against the law of God means you are in rebellion against the government of God, and against God Himself.

As we approach the time of the end of the world, it is going to become more and more wicked. Jesus talked about it Matthew 24. Paul talked about it in 2 Timothy 3. John talked about it in the last half of the book of Revelation how the wickedness in this world would become so great that God would finally say, “It’s not going to go on anymore.”

The Lord is going to come to this world in judgment. When that happens, those who have been obedient will not suffer the plagues that are to come upon the rest of the world. In the Old Testament, foreseeing what would happen at the end of time, the Lord predicted the protection that He was going to put around His own. Notice Psalm 91:4–7: “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.”

Then the Lord will say to His people, “Come, My people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past. For behold, the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain” (Isaiah 26:20, 21). Up until now, when people die, we bury them and the earth covers up the dead. But there is coming a time when the earth is not going to cover the slain anymore. It says, “ ‘And the songs of the temple shall be wailing in that day,’ says the Lord God—‘Many dead bodies everywhere, They shall be cast out in silence’ ” (Amos 8:3).

Jeremiah 25:32, 33 says, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Behold, disaster shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the farthest parts of the earth. And at that day the slain of the Lord shall be from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall become refuse on the ground.’ ”

When that time comes, the Lord says to His people, “A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling” (Psalm 91:7–10).

O, friend, although Christians suffer a lot in the world and have for thousands of years, there is coming a time when the tables are going to be turned. Those who break God’s law and persist in their wickedness are going to receive God’s judgments while His people are protected. When that time comes, where will you be? Whatever troubles, or trials, or tribulations that you are suffering right now because you are following Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, they are temporary. That is a wonderful thought. All of a Christian’s troubles are temporary; they will all be over soon. The question is, “Will you be one of those who is accounted ready when your Lord comes?”

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Keys to the Storehouse – Prove yourself Faithful

The most miserable people are “Those who are absorbed in their own sorrows, who can enjoy only their own blessings, and labor only for their own good … . As we receive the gifts of God, we should impart to others the blessings Heaven has so richly bestowed upon us. To be happy ourselves we must live to make others happy.” The Signs of the Times, December 12, 1878.

Those who are proving themselves faithful will

  • speak words of kindness
  • perform deeds of love to the poor
  • carry comfort to the homes of the desolate.

The people that do these things “will be the ones upon whom the Master will call to make sacrifices to carry the truth to those who are in darkness.” Ibid. Will the Master call upon you?

“A wise improvement of the talents bestowed will make the faithful doer great in the sight of God. The work of faithfulness must begin

  • at their own door;
  • in their own home must they show an unselfish spirit in all their acts,
  • to those of their own households.” Ibid.

“ ‘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.’ Matthew 7:21. The test of sincerity is not in words, but in deeds. Christ does not say to any man, What say ye more than others? but, ‘What do ye more than others?’ Matthew 5:47. Full of meaning are His words, ‘If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.’ John 13:17. Words are of no value unless they are accompanied with appropriate deeds. This is the lesson taught in the parable of the two sons.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 272.

A false profession? “In the parable [Matthew 21:28–31] the son who said, ‘I go, sir,’ represented himself as faithful and obedient; but time proved that his profession was not real. He had no true love for his father.” Ibid., 278.

Do not be deceived and prove yourself unfaithful. “Do not think that because you do not manifest decided hostility to Christ you are doing Him service. We thus deceive our own souls. By withholding that which God has given us to use in His service, be it time or means or any other of His entrusted gifts, we work against Him.” Ibid., 279, 280.

Did you know that by leaving duties undone and words unspoken, you have allowed Satan to gain control of souls who might have been won for Christ? We must prove faithful!

“Elisha had taken up the work that lay nearest. While possessing the capabilities of a leader among men, he received a training in life’s common duties. In order to direct wisely, he must learn to obey. By faithfulness in little things, he was prepared for weightier trusts.” Education, 58.

“He (Elisha) is spoken of as pouring water on the hands of Elijah, his master. As the prophet’s personal attendant, he continued to prove faithful in little things.” Ibid., 59.

Because he proved faithful: “Henceforth Elisha stood in Elijah’s place. And he who had been faithful in that which was least, proved himself faithful also in much.” Ibid., 60.

We must remember, “None can know what may be God’s purpose in His discipline; but all may be certain that faithfulness in little things is the evidence of fitness for greater responsibilities. Every act of life is a revelation of character, and he only who in small duties proves himself ‘a workman that needeth not to be ashamed’ (II Timothy 2:15) will be honored by God with weightier trusts.” Ibid., 61.

Father: Give me the strength to prove faithful in every area of my life. Put words of kindness in my heart that will flow out in deeds of love to others. Keep me faithful in the little things of life as Elisha was. Amen.

Little Things

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.” Matthew 25:14. The one with the five talents worked with them by trading and made five more talents. “His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’ ” Matthew 25:21. The same thing happened to the man with two talents.

What happened to the man with one talent? Why did he not work it? He just had one talent, and he complained. He received no commendation from the Lord. “The Lord said to him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.” Matthew 25:26, 27

What will it take for the Lord to say “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” to me? Will the Lord say, “Well done” if I am hard-hearted?

Do You Have a Talent?

“To every man is committed individual gifts. Some regard these talents as being limited to certain men who possess superior mental endowments and genius. But God has not restricted the bestowal of His talents to a favored few.” Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1100

“To every one is committed some special endowment for which you will be responsible by the Lord.” Ibid. Six different things are listed, one may be your gift. “Time, reason, means, strength, mental powers and tenderness of heart all are gifts from God and trusted to be used in the great work of blessing humanity . . . The Lord is watching everyone to see whether he will use his talents wisely and unselfishly, or whether he will seek his own advancement. The talents are distributed to every man according to his several ability that he may add to them by wise investment. Each one must give an account to the Master for his own actions . . . The Lord will not require from those who are poor that which they have not to give. No one need mourn because he cannot glorify God with talents that were never intrusted to him. But if you only have one talent, use it well and it will accumulate.” Ibid.

How Do You Spend Your Time?

The goods we have received are not our own and that includes our time. Also, the reason, the means, the strength, and the mental powers, are not ours. They belong to the Lord. He will require of us an account. We are only stewards for all these things that God has given to us.

At one time I worked as a colporteur in Germany. A lady we were trying to sell the magazines to told us she had no time to read. We asked, “Why not?” She replied that she worked from 6:00 AM until 10:00 PM. We asked her, “What’s wrong with before 6:00 and after 10:00?” She bought the magazine.

Ellen White says, “Of no talent He has given will He require a more strict account than our time. The value of time is beyond computation. We have no time to waste. We have no time to devote to selfish pleasures. We have no time for the indulgence of sin.” Christ Object Lessons, 342. Why do people devote their time to selfish pleasures? We do things because we like them, and that is our problem. The question is, how do I reform? If we are expecting to hear the words “Well done,” it is required of us to be faithful in the little things. Jesus says in Luke 16:10, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.”

Little Things

Inspiration tells us about little things.

“Holy angels whose work it is to watch the development of character and weigh moral worth make a record of every transgression in the books of heaven. In the day of judgment many will be shut out of the city of God by sins which they supposed to be unworthy of notice.” Signs of the Times, December 17, 1896

“Faithfulness in little things should characterize the life. True integrity should mark every course of action. It is conscious attention to what the world calls little things that makes a great beauty and success of life. Little deeds of charity, little words of kindness, little acts of self-denial and wise improvement of little opportunities, a diligent cultivation of little talents, make great men in the sight of God.” Youth Instructor, April 21, 1898

Count the Cost

“Well done” includes such things as our commitments. When we make a commitment, the Lord expects us to keep it. Before we make a commitment, we should first think it over. We should count the cost.

Do not make a commitment you know that you cannot meet later. Many times people make commitments because it makes them feel good. Sometimes that is why people get married. It feels good right now and they do not count the cost. But we need to count the cost.

Do you think that men count the cost before they commit sin? The Bible says the wages of sin is death. If people realized that when they sin, they are working for the wages of eternal death, would they think twice? Jesus says, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” John 8:34.

Is sin a choice? No one is forcing us to sin. We have a choice. “It is Satan’s act to tempt you, but your own [choice] act to yield.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 623. The devil tempts and we yield. This statement continues, “It is not in the power of all the host of Satan to force the tempted to transgress.” Ibid. The devil cannot make you do it.

“Satan cannot touch the mind or intellect unless we yield to him.” Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1105. The devil is not able to force us against our will. He can only do it if we allow him to. When we are under pressure, we should call upon the name of the Lord, who is our strong tower.

100% Commitment

Jesus expects total commitment. “He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37, 38. What does it mean to take up the cross of Christ? “To bear the cross of Christ is (first) to control our sinful passions, (second) to practice Christian courtesy even when it is inconvenient to do so, (third) to see the wants of the needy and distressed and deny ourselves in order to relieve them, and (fourth) to open our hearts and our doors to the homeless orphan, although to do this may tax our means and our patience.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 627. That is what the prophet said it means to bear the cross of Christ. “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33

Little Things

“He who does not give himself wholly to God is under the control of another power.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessings, 94.

If I do not give myself 100% to God, I am under the control of Satan. It is going to be either 100% or nothing. “Satan takes control of every mind that is not decidedly under the control of the Spirit of God.” Testimonies to Ministers, 79. “Almost but not wholly saved, means to be not almost but wholly lost.” Christ Object Lessons, 118. If you think about these statements, what does it take for Jesus to say, Well done, thou good and faithful servant”?

There will be a group of people who will be wholly and totally committed to Jesus Christ. They are described in Revelation 14:1-5. They will follow the Lamb wherever He goes.

Inspiration says, “Half-hearted Christians are worse than infidels. For their deceptive words and non-committal positions lead many astray. The infidel shows his colors, the lukewarm Christian deceives both parties. He is neither a good worldling nor a good Christian and Satan uses a lukewarm Christian to do a work that no one else can do.” Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 963. We must be 100% for Jesus because He will not tell us “Well done,” if we are only half and half, lukewarm, sitting on the fence, halting between two opinions.

God will not say to Laodicea, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” unless Laodicea is converted. We need to make a total commitment to Jesus. We need to be consecrated to Him and by His grace we shall conquer.

Do You Pass the Test?

Here is a self-test. “Let no one deceive his own soul in this matter. If you harbor pride, self-esteem, a love for the supremacy, vainglory, unholy ambition, murmuring, discontent, bitterness, evil speaking, lying, deception, slandering . . . you have not Christ abiding in your heart, and the evidence shows that you have the mind and character of Satan, not of Jesus Christ . . . You may have good intentions, good impulses, can speak the truth understandingly, but you are not fit for the kingdom of heaven.” Testimonies to Ministers, 441. God gave us these instructions to help us. We must be totally committed to Jesus Christ. When we have that type of commitment, then Jesus can give us the welcome as expressed in Matthew 25:21, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

Meek but Unyielding

James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and He will flee from you.”

Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1003, says, “True Christian character is marked by a singleness of purpose, an indomitable determination which refuses to yield to worldly influences which will aim at nothing short of the Bible standard. Moses stood for the right, but he was meek at the same time.”

“Those who can be bribed or seduced or terrified will be of no service in the Christian warfare. Those who set their affections on worldly treasures or worldly honors will not push the battle against principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places. All who would be soldiers of Christ must gird on the whole armor and prepare for the conflict. They should not be intimidated by threats, or terrified by dangers. They must be cautious in peril, yet firm and brave in facing the foe and doing battle for God. The consecration of Christ’s followers must be complete. Father, mother, wife, children, houses, land’s, everything must be held secondary to the work and to the cause of God.” Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1003.

We Must Sacrifice All

In Testimonies to the Church, vol. 1, 126, it says, “Those who are willing to make any sacrifice for eternal life, will have it.” If we are committed to gain eternal life, we will get it. The problem is that if we are not committed 100%, we will not get it.

In Messages to Young People, 29, it says, “Make it the law of your life from which no temptation or side interest shall cause you to turn, to honor God.” How often do we have to make that decision? Every day.

You remember the vision Ellen White had about the two roads. There was a wide and a narrow road. She saw people walking on the wide road that had written on their garments, not “Adventist”, but something equivalent. But where were they? On the wide road. They made a great profession, but what did she say? Where were they going? They were going to eternal destruction. She says in Testimonies to the Church, vol. 1, 127, “The roads are distinct, separate, in opposite directions. One leads to eternal life, the other to eternal death. I saw the distinctions between the roads, also the distinction between the companies traveling them.” And what does she say about the distinctions—the two groups were different in four areas— “in character, in life, in dress, and in conversation.” Ibid. They looked different, they acted different, they talked different, and their hearts were different.

That was written in 1856. The general conference was not organized until 1863. So it was seven years before the general conference was organized. It says here in the first sentence, “I was shown in vision some things that concern the church generally.” Ibid. What was the church? It was not the general conference or any local conference (the first local conference was organized in 1861) But the church was there already. There is a statement in Testimonies, vol. 4, 402 that says, “Men who are not half converted, who are self-confident and self-sufficient in character, preach the truth to others. But God does not work with them, for they are not holy in heart and life.” What was the problem? The truth made no change in the life.

The Testing Place

How do you know if you are a Christian? Where is the best place to prove it? At home. There you find out if you are a Christian or not. How you treat your wife, your husband and your children? Inspiration tells us if we want to be saints in heaven, we must be saints first in our own families. This is how we can find out if we are Christians. We can check ourselves for what comes out of our mouth and how we treat others at home.

We live in the Day of Atonement. Inspiration tells us, “The great work is before us of leading the people away from worldly customs and practices, up higher and higher in spirituality.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 520

Jesus says if your right eye troubles you and it keeps you from entering the kingdom of heaven, get rid of it. (See Matthew 5:29.) So if our television gives us trouble, what should we do with it? Get rid of it, if it keeps us from heaven.

I believe it is time for God’s professed people to wake up and to make a total commitment to Jesus Christ, to be faithful to His work, to His law, to His instruction. It is time that we are concerned about the things of God instead of trying to be “nice guys” toward the world loving. The majority are concerned about the people around them and in pleasing them, but God is calling us to stand for something, to be counted on to preach the Word—the whole counsel of God. Doing this will not offend those who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness.

Forty Men of God

During the years of the pagan persecutions forty men of God were dragged on a cold winter night, out in the middle of a frozen lake and then they were soaked with water and put in a place out on the lake where the wind howled unobstructed against their form. They huddled together knowing that they could not live very long. On the shore, the Romans pitched camp and built huge fires and sent words to those 40 men, out there on that lake freezing to death that if any of them were ready to recant, they could simply indicate the same by walking out of that group, [that little unpopular minority] and take the stand with the majority. “Come over and join us at the fire. That’s all you have to do and warm up with us.”

Those men stood shivering and praying and they began to sing together, “Forty men of God are we, faithful forever we shall be. Forty men of God are we, faithful forever we shall be.” Their clothes began to harden on their bodies. It was not long before one had fallen over unconscious to await the voice of the Lifegiver, and the men put him just outside the group on the ice. But though there was one death, they continued to sing of him and of themselves, “Forty men of God are we, faithful forever we shall be.”

That song split the night air and floated across the frozen ice to the Romans where the captain heard it and he was disturbed. They kept on singing as they piled up the dead, one after another. “Forty men of God are we, faithful forever we shall be.” The Romans stood solemn, hearing, haunted, provoked, disturbed. They wouldn’t do that for their god. And the captain was impressed. The Holy Spirit began to work and to move on his heart and finally there was, among those Christians, one fellow who decided that he could not take it any longer. He would become a defector. He announced his intentions to his brethren, to their pity, and then he went walking across the ice towards that fire and they stood in silence watching him go.

When they saw him taken into the circle of the Romans, others were about to become discouraged when someone brought up the song again, “Thirty-nine men of God are we, faithful forever we shall be.” When the captain heard it, the power of heaven touched his heart and the love of Jesus, which is the only power that can save us and make us witnesses, came upon him and penetrated his armor and his very soul. He turned to his lieutenant and said, “You take charge here. You look after things.” He threw down his shield and his sword, dropped his buckler and went out across the ice. When he had taken his place among the frozen Christians, the song was heard again in greater volume, “Forty men of God are we, faithful forever we shall be.”

When we stand up and stop being like everybody else, when we are committed to His cause and quit being hypocrites, we will bring Romans out of their armor. Men will cry, “What shall I do to be saved?”

The End

True Courage

Most persons speak of the acts of those who in battle may storm forts or stand undaunted before the enemy’s fire, as “very brave,” or possessed of “true courage.” And yet, in many instances, it may be ambition for honor, or a selfish pride which actuates such in their course. Let them examine carefully their own hearts, and they may find that a desire for earthly glory, and to gain the applause of their fellow men is the mainspring of their actions. That is really true courage, which is apparent in those who choose the right, although the course they pursue may call down the frowns of their fellow men upon them. All candid people can but admire the answer of the great Kossuth in his reply to the Sultan of Turkey, who offered him wealth and power if he would embrace the Moslem faith. Said Kossuth, “Welcome if need be the axe or gibbet; but curses on the tongue that dares to make to me so infamous a proposal!” This he said when and where the Sultan might kill him if he saw fit.

Of a similar nature also, is the answer that Zwingli, the Swiss reformer, gave the Papists when they offered him wealth and honor if he would adhere to the Romish faith. “Do not think that for any money I would suppress a single syllable of the truth.”

Here are cases of true moral courage. No honor or worldly praise did they expect for the words they said; but to say what they did was placing them in jeopardy of their own lives.

Christ has laid down what I will call a great rule of true courage. It is this: “He that seeks to save his life shall lose it, but he that will lose his life shall keep it unto life eternal” (John 12:25). Again, He says: “He that will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). To follow in a course, which is in perfect harmony with all around us, does not so test our courage as to be brought to the knowledge of truths which clearly point out to us duties, which in many respects are at variance with the habits and customs of the people around us. This is the self-denial of Christ’s cause.

When duties are presented for our acceptance that conflict with our natural feelings of ease seeking, then is the time to dare to do right, and to be true, to our convictions of duty, let the consequences be what they may. We have heard many sing with zeal the old hymn,

“Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
Whilst others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?”
And especially as they came to the stanza:
“I’ll bear the cross, endure the shame
Supported by Thy Word.”

One would think, to hear them sing, that they were about to be burned at the stake; but alas! when their courage is tested, as to their readiness to deny self or make a real sacrifice in the cause of God, they are found wanting.

How many such we meet who, when the clear light of truth comes, and they see the claims of God’s law, and admit them all binding, and even admit that it is their duty to keep His commandments, and yet refuse to obey because it conflicts with their business. Let me ask right here, “Can a man who fails to deny self for the purpose of obeying God in what he knows and admits to be right, be of that class who would lose their lives for God’s cause?”

The words of Christ are forcible right here, “He that is faithful in the least is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10). That is, that he would deny himself for God’s cause; might possibly die for it if necessary. While he who will not deny himself for the sake of obeying the truth, never need talk of dying for his faith, until some other principle actuates him.

It’s not many months since I heard a very earnest person in a social meeting, make remarks like the following: “God knows I would be willing to give Him my head in His cause.” Again he said, “I would be ready to die in a minute for my faith in God.” It was not many days after this, however, that this same person was brought to see a point of duty, relative to the keeping of the fourth commandment. What did he do? Admitted his duty to keep it, and then said, “I cannot keep the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, because it conflicts with my business.” I wonder if he had stopped to think how it would conflict with his business to die for his faith, and be obliged to leave all his business. Here is where true courage is needed.

In conclusion, I would say, we must learn to call that true courage which leaves a person to do that this his judgment and an enlightened conscious show him to be right, if all the world frowns upon him.

N. Loughborough, The Signs of the Times, June 25, 1874.

Keys to the Storehouse – Oh, To Be Faithful!

Throughout the ages God has had many people who have been His appointed witnesses; who, under dire circumstances, stood faithful to Him and to His word. Oh, for you and me to be faithful under all circumstances!

“In the experience of the apostle John under persecution, there is a lesson of wonderful strength and comfort for the Christian. God does not prevent the plottings of wicked men, but He causes their devices to work for good to those who in trial and conflict maintain their faith and loyalty. Often the gospel laborer carries on his work amid storms of persecution, bitter opposition, and unjust reproach. At such times let him remember that the experience to be gained in the furnace of trial and affliction is worth all the pain it costs. Thus God brings His children near to Him, that He may show them their weakness and His strength. He teaches them to lean on Him. Thus He prepares them to meet emergencies, to fill positions of trust, and to accomplish the great purpose for which their powers were given them.” The Acts of the Apostles, 574, 575.

  • “Joseph was maligned and persecuted because he preserved his virtue and integrity.
  • David, the chosen messenger of God, was hunted like a beast of prey by his enemies.
  • Daniel was cast into a den of lions because he was true to his allegiance to heaven.
  • Job was deprived of his worldly possessions, and so afflicted in body that he was abhorred by his relatives, and friends; yet he maintained his integrity.
  • Jeremiah could not be deterred from speaking the words that God had given him to speak; and his testimony so enraged the king and princes that he was cast into a loathsome pit.
  • Stephen was stoned because he preached Christ and Him crucified.
  • Paul was imprisoned, beaten with rods, stoned, and finally put to death because he was a faithful messenger for God to the Gentiles.
  • John was banished to the Isle of Patmos ‘for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ’ (Revelation 1:9).” Ibid., 575.

“These examples of human steadfastness bear witness to the faithfulness of God’s promises—of His abiding presence and sustaining grace. They testify to the power of faith to withstand the powers of the world. It is the work of faith to rest in God in the darkest hour, to feel, however sorely tried and tempest-tossed, that our Father is at the helm. The eye of faith alone can look beyond the things of time to estimate aright the worth of the eternal riches.” Ibid., 575, 576.

Father in heaven: I rejoice in the blessed hope You have placed in my heart. Help me to be patient in trials and to always bear witness to the faithfulness of Your promises. I am awed at how You have sustained my brothers in all of their tribulations and I am so thankful for Your words of promise which will continue to sustain each of us through faith as we walk with You. Amen!