To our dear brethren around the world:
Dear brothers and sisters,
Christian greetings from the inspired words found in18, “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever.”
“We are nearing the end of time. Trials will be abundant from without, but let them not come from within the church. Let God's professed people deny self for thetruth's sake, for Christ's sake. ‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.’ Everyone who truly loves God will have the spirit of Christ and a fervent love for his brethren. The more a person's heart is in communion with God, and the more his affections are centered in Christ, the less will he be disturbed by the roughness and hardships he meets in this life. Those who are growing up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus, will become more and more like Christ in character, rising above the disposition to murmur and be discontented. They will despise to be faultfinders.” Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 483, 484.
“A vital connection with the Chief Shepherd will make the under-shepherd a living representative of Christ, a light indeed to the world. An understanding of all points of our faith is essential, but it is of still greater importance that the minister be sanctified through the truth he presents.
“The worker who knows the meaning of union with Christ has a constantly increasing desire and capacity to grasp the meaning of service for God. His knowledge enlarges; for to grow in grace means to have an increased ability to understand the Scriptures. Such a one is indeed a laborer together with God. He realizes that he is but an instrument, and that he must be passive in the Master's hands. Trials come to him; for unless thus tested, he would never know his lack of wisdom and experience. But if he seeks the Lord with humility and trust, every trial will work for his good. He may sometimes seem to fail, but his apparent failure may be God's way of bringing him true advancement, and may mean a better knowledge of himself and a firmer trust in Heaven. He may still make mistakes, but he learns not to repeat these mistakes. He becomes stronger to resist evil, and others reap benefit from his example.” Gospel Workers, p. 142.
The year 2015 is practically over, and 2016 is just around the corner. As we listen to the news from around the world, we see that Bible prophecies are fast fulfilling before our eyes. Violence, cruelty, immorality, and unbelief are affecting the great proportion of the world population. How about our spiritual condition as a church? Let us remember that the spirituality of the church depends on the condition of its members and families.
In many places we have visited, we can see that the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy books are not receiving proper attention. The use of modern technology—which should be just a powerful instrument to spread the gospel—in many cases is taking the place of studying the Bible. What is the practical result? Indifference regarding the vital truths so necessary for our eternal salvation.
How about the family altar? Are we as individual families seeking the Lord with our loved ones in the morning and evening? Are we making these seasons a special occasion to unite the family ties with the Lord and with one another?
How about the faithful keeping of the Sabbath? Are we welcoming the sacred hours to enjoy deep communion with the Lord and to strengthen the family institution? Have our children joy when we receive the Sabbath or are they just tolerating the sacred hours as merely a duty and a routine? Do we have time to take them to nature in order to deepen their joy with their Creator?
“We should jealously guard the edges of the Sabbath. Remember that every moment is consecrated, holy time.
“There is another work that should receive attention on the preparation day. On this day all differences between brethren, whether in the family or in the church, should be put away. Let all bitterness and wrath and malice be expelled from the soul. In a humble spirit, ‘confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.’.” Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 356.
Are we talking with our children about Jesus and His free salvation? Do we ourselves know our Lord Jesus Christ? Unless we do, we cannot talk about Someone whom we do not know. Are we giving proper attention to the lambs—our little ones in the family and the church?
How about Health Reform? Are we progressing in the knowledge and practice of this important part of the third angel’s message or are we happy with our limited experience with vegetarianism? Let us remember that the health message is the right arm of the third angel’s message!
Dear brethren, as we end this year and begin another one, let us seek the Lord more earnestly. Let us take time to pray and to study the Bible individually and with our family. By God’s wonderful grace, let us make the Sabbath the most enjoyable day of the week, and take more time to know Him by personal experience. Let us take active part in the missionary projects of the church by distributing our literature and talking about Jesus with our fellow workers and students. Above all, let us give a healthy example to our children and youth in general. Let us especially preach with our practical life!
Let us grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Savior, Advocate, High Priest and Lord, Jesus Christ who is coming soon to take us home.
Your brother in the blessed hope,
Davi Paes Silva