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Christís Object Lessons
by
Ellen G. White

Christís mission was not understood by the people of His time. The gospel of Christ was a stumbling block to them because they demanded signs instead of a Saviour. They expected the Messiah to prove His claims by mighty deeds of conquest, to establish His empire on the ruins of earthly kingdoms. This expectation Christ answered in the parable of the sower. Not by force of arms, not by violent interposition, was the kingdom of God to prevail, but by the implanting of a new principle in the hearts of men.

Christ had come, not as a king, but as a sower; not for the overthrow of kingdoms, but for the scattering of seed; not to point His followers to earthly triumphs and national greatness, but to a harvest to be gathered after patient toil and through losses and disappointments.

The Pharisees perceived the meaning of Christís parable, but to them its lesson was unwelcome. They affected not to understand it. The disciples themselves had not understood the parable, but their interest was awakened. They came to Jesus privately and asked for an explanation. This was the desire which Christ wished to arouse, that He might give them more definite instruction. He explained the parable to them, as He will make plain His word to all who seek Him in sincerity of heart. Those who study the word of God with hearts open to the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, will not remain in darkness as to the meaning of the word. All who come to Christ for a clearer knowledge of the truth will receive it.

"The sower soweth the word." Christ came to sow the world with truth. Ever since the fall of man, Satan has been sowing the seeds of error. It was by a lie that he first gained control over men, and thus he still works to overthrow Godís kingdom in the earth and to bring men under his power. A sower from a higher world, Christ came to sow the seeds of truth. He who had stood in the councils of God, who had dwelt in the innermost sanctuary of the Eternal, could bring to men the pure principles of truth. Ever since the fall of man, Christ had been the Revealer of truth to the world. By Him the incorruptible seed, "the word of God, who liveth and abideth forever," is communicated to men. In that first promise spoken to our fallen race in Eden, Christ was sowing the gospel seed.

Many professed ministers of the gospel do not accept the whole Bible as the inspired word. In our day, as of old, the vital truths of Godís word are set aside for human theories and speculations. One wise man rejects one portion; another questions another part. They set up their judgment as superior to the word; and the Scripture which they do teach rests upon their own authority. Its divine authenticity is destroyed. Thus the seeds of infidelity are sown broadcast; for the people become confused and know not what to believe. There are many beliefs that the mind has no right to entertain. In the days of Christ the rabbis put a forced, mystical construction upon many portions of Scripture. Because the plain teaching of Godís word condemned their practices, they tried to destroy its force. The same thing is done today. The word of God is made to appear mysterious and obscure in order to excuse transgression of His law. Christ rebuked these practices in His day. He taught that the Word of God was to be understood by all. He pointed to the Scriptures as of unquestionable authority, and we should do the same.

The Bible has been robbed of its power and the results are seen in a lowering of the tone of spiritual life. Christís favorite theme was the paternal tenderness and abundant grace of God; He dwelt much upon the holiness of His character and His law. He presented Himself to the people as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Let these be the themes of Christís ministers.

Here is presented the great principle which should underlie all educational work. "The seed is the word of God." But in too many schools of our day Godís word is set aside. Other subjects occupy the mind. The study of infidel authors holds a large place in the educational system. Scientific research becomes misleading, because its discoveries are misinterpreted and perverted. The word of God is compared with the supposed teachings of science, and is made to appear uncertain and untrustworthy. Thus the seeds of doubt are planted in the minds of the youth, and in time of temptation they spring up. When faith in Godís word is lost, the soul has no guide, no safeguard.

And here, too, is the great cause of mental weakness and inefficiency. In turning from Godís word to feed on the writings of uninspired men, the mind becomes dwarfed and cheapened. It is not brought in contact with deep, broad principles of eternal truth. The understanding adapts itself to the comprehension of the things with which it is familiar, and in this devotion to finite things it is weakened, its power is contracted, and after a time it becomes unable to expand.

All this is false education. All teachers should help to fasten the mind of the youth upon the grand truths of the word of Inspiration. This is the education essential for this life and for the life to come. And let it not be thought that this will prevent the study of the sciences, or cause a lower standard in education. The knowledge of God is as high as heaven and as broad as the universe. There is nothing so ennobling and invigorating as a study of the great themes which concern our eternal life. Let the youth seek to grasp these God-given truths, and their minds will expand and grow strong in the effort.

Christ specified the things that are dangerous to the soul. As recorded by Mark He mentions the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things. Luke specifies the cares, riches, and pleasures of this life. These are what choke the word, the growing spiritual seed.

The cares of this world: No class is free from the temptation to worldly care. To the poor, toil and deprivation and the fear of want bring perplexities and burdens. To the rich come fear of loss and a multitude of anxious cares. Many of Christís followers forget the lesson He has bidden us learn from the flowers of the field. Christ cannot carry their burden, because they do not cast it upon Him.

The deceitfulness of riches: The love of riches has an infatuating, deceptive power. Too often those who possess worldly treasure forget that it is God who gives them power to get wealth. They say "My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth." Deut. 8:17. Their riches, instead of awakening gratitude to God, lead to the exaltation of self. They lose the sense of their dependence upon God and their obligation to their fellow men. Instead of regarding wealth as a talent to be employed for the glory of God and the uplifting of humanity, they look upon it as a means of serving themselves. Instead of developing in man the attributes of God, riches thus used are developing in him the attributes of Satan. The seed of the word is choked with thorns.

And pleasures of this life: There is danger in amusement that is sought merely for self-gratification. All habits of indulgence that weaken the physical powers, that becloud the mind, or that benumb the spiritual perceptions, are "fleshly lusts, which war against the soul." 1 Peter 2:11.

And the lusts of other things: These are not necessarily things sinful in themselves, but something that is made first instead of the kingdom of God. Whatever attracts the mind from God, whatever draws the affections away from Christ, is an enemy to the soul.

 

 

 

 

 

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