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The Need of Earnest Effort

By Dan Vis
May 04, 2020
Comments: 20

This month, I want to post a series of memos on the importance ministry, and doing ministry strategically. Rather than lamenting what we can't do right now, let's focus on using this time as an opportunity to prepare for when things open back up!

PS. This was originally posted by my wife some time back on her Looking to Jesus mail list. She sends out regular devotionals, recipes, and other goodies. Give Vi your email here to get on her list.

We are far behind in our missionary work, both at home and in foreign countries. We have in our keeping the most sacred truth ever committed to mortals, and our work should correspond to our profession of faith. The world is becoming more and more lawless. Soon great trouble will arise among the nations,—trouble that will not cease until Jesus comes.

What are we as a people doing at this important time? Are we purifying our souls by obedience to Christ’s words? Are we humbling our hearts before God, and confessing our sins? Are we seeking with earnestness and sincerity for help from him who is the source of strength? Are we claiming the promises, believing that Jesus pardons our transgressions? Are we educating ourselves to overcome all temptation to murmur and complain?

My brethren and sisters, as never before we need to press together, unitedly following him who has prepared his throne in the heavens, and whose kingdom ruleth over all. God has not forsaken his people, and our strength lies in not forsaking him.

Christ died to redeem us. By the infinite price with which he ransomed us he has shown his love for us. He is not willing that any should perish. He desires all to believe on him, that they may have eternal life.

With pity and compassion, with tender yearning, the Lord is looking upon his tried, tempted people. For a time the oppressors will be permitted to triumph over those who obey God’s commandments. All are given the same opportunity that was granted to the first great rebel, the opportunity to show what spirit is prompting them to action. It is God’s purpose that every one shall be tested, to see whether he will be loyal or disloyal to the laws that govern the kingdom of heaven. To the last God gives Satan opportunity to reveal his character. Thus the final triumph of his people will be made more marked, more glorious, more complete. The words of the prophet will be fulfilled: “The day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.” “The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble; he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved. The Lord is great in Zion; and he is high above all the people.”

Now and onward till the close of time the people of God should be more earnest, more wide-awake, not trusting in their own wisdom, but in the wisdom of their Leader. They should set aside days for fasting and prayer. Entire abstinence from food may not be required, but they should eat sparingly of the most simple food. No one should lift up his soul unto vanity, walking in pride and self-indulgence. We are living in a time that demands genuine humiliation and most earnest prayer. We are nearing the most important crisis that has ever come upon the world. If we are not wide-awake and watching, it will find us unprepared.

“Now and onward till the close of time the people of God should be more earnest, more wide-awake, not trusting in their own wisdom, but in the wisdom of their Leader.”

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There is in our churches a decided lack of love for Christ and for one another. Christlike simplicity is looked upon as weakness. There is a lack of clear spiritual discernment. Wrongs remain unconfessed. The transgression condemned in the law of God is on the increase in our borders. Sin is cherished, and the result is hardness of heart. When those who are handling sacred things do not walk in the light, the light becomes darkness to them, and how great is that darkness! Men are making strange mistakes in reading character. Those who do not possess moral worth are exalted, while those who are endeavoring to seek the Lord and walk in his steps are not appreciated. This danger will become more and more apparent. We must awake to the perils that are thickening around us. All pharisaism, all self-righteousness, must be separated from the soul. Then we shall realize that we need Christ’s righteousness, and we shall accept it by faith.

There is among us a manifest lack of searching the Scriptures. We must know the reasons of our faith. The importance and solemnity of the scenes opening before us demand this. And on no account must the spirit of complaint be encouraged. Do you cherish malice, bitterness, and wrath if plans are introduced that do not harmonize with your ideas? Is not this indulging a spirit of war, rather than a spirit of meekness and humility? If ever we needed to manifest kindness and true courtesy, it is now. We may have to plead most earnestly before legislative councils for the right to worship God according to the dictates of conscience. Thus in his providence God has designed that the claims of his law shall be brought before men in positions of highest authority. But as we stand before these men, we are to show no bitterness of feeling.

Constantly we are to pray for divine aid. It is God alone who can hold the four winds until his servants shall be sealed in their foreheads.

The Lord will do a great work in the earth. Satan makes a determined effort to divide and scatter God’s people. He brings up side issues to divert minds from the important subjects that should engage our attention. Individually we are to feel the importance of uniting in the bonds of Christian fellowship. With one heart and one mind we are to prepare for the conflict, by faith laying our petitions before the mercy-seat. The throne of God is arched by the bow of promise, and the prayers offered in faith and simplicity are heard. It is God’s glory to answer the supplications of his people.

I have been especially instructed in regard to the danger of drawing apart. Let us leave to Satan the cruel work of accusing and faultfinding. Let us bow before God in repentance because of our want of love for one another and for him who died for us. The gold of love and faith is wanting in our ranks. Christ declares, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” Many are holding on to the truth with only the tips of their fingers. They have had great light and many privileges. Like Capernaum, they have in this respect been exalted to heaven. But unless they put away their pride and self-confidence, in the time of trial that is approaching they will become apostates. Unless they have an entire transformation of character, they will never enter heaven.

“Set your mark higher. Let your work be in harmony with the work of Christ. It is the privilege of all to grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ.”

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You strike too low, my brethren. Set your mark higher. Let your work be in harmony with the work of Christ. It is the privilege of all to grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ. “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” Is it your will also? My brethren, with intensity of desire long after God; yea, pant after him, as the hart panteth after the water brooks. Press toward the mark of the prize of your high calling in Christ.

Why do not those who name the name of Christ reveal the earnestness and the self-denial that he revealed? Why do they not arouse from their indifferent, self-satisfied condition? God’s people must have a fixed purpose to honor him. They will never be holy until they put all their energies into his work.

Reprinted from Review & Herald, February 11, 1904


When you read these words, what resonates most with you? Do you sense the increasing urgency of the hour? Of the need for deeper commitment? For repentance, revival, renewal, reformation? How important is it to make seeking God at this time our first priority?

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Posted by Dan Vis on 06/17/20
Nice post Qing, about the importance persevering in our pursuit of God, and of the need for our desire for sanctification to align with Him. That's the heart of the battle isn't it?

Our church attendance is still down but climbing. We're very fortunate to live in a very rural area with few cases of the virus. We've gradually been returning to a more normal service--with only minimal restrictions. It's not safe to do that in some places, I'm sure!
Posted by Qing Ling on 06/17/20
Dan how has church attendance been ?
We reopen soon in Australia and the many conditions for reopening are overwhelming some people, making it a barrier.
Posted by Qing Ling on 06/17/20
“This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” Is it your will also?

What a pointed question that's worth considering and answering truthfully.
I Thessalonians 4:3For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: is the original reference.

I definitely need deeper commitment to making my relationship with God more of a priority. It's easy to know that God desires sanctification for me. It's not as easy to allow His desire for me to align with my actual day to day decisions. I thank God for the days that I seem to be connected with Him better than others. It's important to persevere in seeking Him.   
Posted by Dan Vis on 05/06/20
That's a huge observation John. I too am concerned many will find staying at home just as easy as going to church, and not make the effort to resume attending once restrictions are lifted. We're in the process of resuming worship services here in North Dakota. We'll see what happens...
Posted by John Gilmore on 05/06/20
Reading "I have been especially instructed in regard to the danger of drawing apart", it struck me that many of our church members are at risk. The devil may have an edge during this restriction on gathering, because they are not even superficially drawing together with other believers. I've heard many times that some members have drifted away for less significant reasons, and once not attending, they just don't bother to come back. In the meantime, may God help us to make earnest effort to pull together through other means.
Posted by Dan Vis on 05/05/20
That's a powerful thought, isn't it Nan? That salvation (forgiveness) prepares us for and leads us into a labor for souls. And I like that sentence you highlighted too: "They will never be holy until they put all their energies into His work." Nice comment!
Posted by Nan Rice on 05/05/20
Great article. So many good comments. We are truly in the same state as the Israelites were on the Day of Atonement. We need to do a lot of serious praying, and soul searching. We need to pray as David prayed in Psalm 51, particularly Verse 12 and 13, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then I will teach transgressors thy ways and sinners shall be converted unto Thee." After David asks for a clean heart and a right spirit and to be purged of sinmhe recognizes the next step, which is going out to save others. This ties in perfectly with that last paragraph in the article, and indeed the last sentence "They will never be holy until they put all their energies into His work."

Posted by Dan Vis on 05/04/20
Nice comment, Georgia. We do need to be more intentional both about sharing Christ, and about preparing ourself to share more effectively. But I especially like that final note: "it is God’s glory to answer the supplications of His people". Exciting thought...

It's definitely true the world is becoming polarized Jeanie. And I have no doubt that is the enemy's strategy to have us fighting against each other. So important to make sure we stay focused on Christ, and not fall into the devil's traps...

Great verse Deborah! Definitely fits in well with this reading. And thanks for emphasizing the kind of character we need right now. I've always seen you as an example of that character. :)
Posted by Terri Krovoza on 05/04/20
Deborah thanks for sharing those verses from Romans. They are a powerful command for us. The last paragraph of the article has really caused me to do some contemplation ...”Why do not those who name the name of Christ reveal the earnestness and self-denial that He revealed? Why do they not arouse from their indifferent, self-satisfied condition?...”. I realize I have taken for granted the truths that I have known all my life and become comfortable in the work that I have been doing but not searching for the true revival that I need.
Posted by Deborah Gutierrez on 05/04/20
Georgia’s post resonates with me. I’m reminded of this verse I have recently memorized.

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:11-14

I want to have a deeper closeness with Christ and pray for wisdom to best know how to redeem the time ..

Also, I like how the post mentioned how we should not carry a bitterness of feeling toward those who are against us or not in the faith - I pray that I would have this gentle spirit of Christlike meekness
Posted by Jeanie Stivers on 05/04/20
The world has become so polarized that it is evident that people are becoming either filled with one spirit or the other. I liked how this said we are to be fixed on Jesus during these times.
Posted by Georgia Kenny on 05/04/20
I was only yesterday studying Revelation 12, and it occurred to me that if the remnant is persecuted by the dragon because they carry on the work that Christ did, then I need to be more active in doing His work - just as the article emphasised. I certainly have felt the need to better understand Bible truth for myself so I can be “approved unto God”, “ready always to give an answer” (II Timothy 2:15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. and I Peter 3:15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:).

Since we “must have a FIXED purpose to honour Him” and only when we put “ALL our energies into His work” will we be holy, I am challenged to take a firmer stand and make more intentional efforts to share the everlasting Gospel.
I also feel unprepared - there seems to be so much I could’ve learned and haven’t been faithful over the years to learn and apply. And there are so many loved ones not yet in Christ... Time to redeem the time - Ephesians 5:16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.. Therefore I’m grateful for the article’s emphasis on the fact “it is God’s glory to answer the supplications of His people”.
Posted by Dan Vis on 08/16/19
You're very welcome Floride! I like your conclusion--that the only way to be shielded against the attacks of the enemy is to continually seek the Lord's face. That's really what Revival Keys is all about. Hope you got signed up for that!
Posted by Floride Leonce on 08/14/19
This is so powerful! Thank you, Dan, for sharing it with us!

It is imperative at this final phase of the earth history that we depart from our sinful ways and seek sanctification, whiteout which no one will be able to see the Lord’s face. Like Jeremiah puts it, we have to seek “continually his face”. That’s the only way we can be shielded against the attacks of the enemy.

This was a blessing. I really
Enjoyed reading it.
Posted by Dan Vis on 08/13/19
Posted by Marion Coppock on 08/13/19
Posted by Dan Vis on 08/13/19
You are very welcome Carole! And I think you are right. Messages like this need to be read a couple times for what it is saying to really sink in. :)
Posted by Carole Bliss on 08/12/19
This message is so important. We need to read it more than once, to grasp the full meaning. We need to pray earnestly
To focus on our walk with Jesus.
Getting in His Word, seeking to serve Him, more earnestly, and sharing His love to others. Thank you. Blessings Carole
Posted by Dan Vis on 08/12/19
That was my thought exactly. Now is the time for God's people to get serious about seeking Him! And those are definitely some big takeaways from the article Laurie. Thanks for highlighting them!
Posted by Laurie Wissink on 08/12/19
This is the perfect time in our worlds history to repost this article! I heard the call to put away my "murmuring and complaining" and to make the relationship with Christ and my fellow humans paramount!

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