4 – Condition of the Few

4 – Condition of the Few 2016-11-27T17:36:36+00:00

Sabbath, July 26, 2014 

“The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real, sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain dealing with sins which easily beset the people of God. Especially in the closing work for the church, in the sealing time of the one hundred and forty-four thousand who are to stand without fault before the throne of God, will they feel most deeply the wrongs of God’s professed people.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 266.

Strive to enter 

1. What did Jesus reply when He was asked how many would be saved? Why is this so?

Luke 13:23, 24 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, 24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 

“It is not possible for us to drift into heaven. No sluggard can enter there. If we do not strive to gain an entrance into the kingdom, if we do not seek earnestly to learn what constitutes its laws, we are not fitted for a part in it. Those who refuse to cooperate with God on earth would not cooperate with Him in heaven. It would not be safe to take them to heaven.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 280.

“Man is allotted a part in this great struggle for everlasting life; he must respond to the working of the Holy Spirit. It will require a struggle to break through the powers of darkness, and the Spirit works in him to accomplish this. But man is no passive being, to be saved in indolence. He is called upon to strain every muscle and exercise every faculty in the struggle for immortality; yet it is God that supplies the efficiency. No human being can be saved in indolence. The Lord bids us: ‘Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.’ ‘Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.’ Luke 13:24; Matthew 7:13, 14.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 65.

A very small remnant

2. What proportion of the population was obedient in the time of ancient Israel? How does that compare to today?

Isaiah 1:9; 4:3 Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah…. 4:3 And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem.

Romans 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

“The outlook was particularly discouraging as regards the social conditions of the people…. Iniquitous practices had become so prevalent among all classes that the few who remained true to God were often tempted to lose heart and to give way to discouragement and despair. It seemed as if God’s purpose for Israel were about to fail and that the rebellious nation was to suffer a fate similar to that of Sodom and Gomorrah.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 306.

“A train of cars was shown me, going with the speed of lightning. The angel bade me look carefully. I fixed my eyes upon the train. It seemed that the whole world was on board, that there could not be one left….

“I asked the angel if there were none left. He bade me look in an opposite direction, and l saw a little company traveling a narrow pathway. All seemed to be firmly united, bound together by the truth, in bundles, or companies.” –Early Writings, pp. 88, 89.

3. How many of the millions in Noah’s day were saved?

1 Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

“Of the vast population of the earth before the flood, only eight souls believed and obeyed God’s word through Noah. For a hundred and twenty years the preacher of righteousness warned the world of the coming destruction, but his message was rejected and despised. So it will be now.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 102.

The Lord can work by few

4. Does it take large numbers to achieve victories in God’s cause? Why, or why not?

Judges 7:6, 7 And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water. 7 And the Lord said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place. 

1 Samuel 14:6, last part … There is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.

“The three hundred chosen men not only possessed courage and self-control, but they were men of faith. They had not defiled themselves with idolatry. God could direct them, and through them He could work deliverance for Israel. Success does not depend upon numbers. God can deliver by few as well as by many. He is honored not so much by the great numbers as by the character of those who serve Him.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 549, 550.

5. Why is it not right to compare the size of God’s church with that of other organizations?

Deuteronomy 7:7 The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people.

Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

“If you lower the standard in order to secure popularity and an increase of numbers, and then make this increase a cause of rejoicing, you show great blindness. If numbers were evidence of success, Satan might claim the pre-eminence; for, in this world, his followers are largely in the majority.” –Counsels on Education, p. 42.

“Concerning Israel, the Lord declared: ‘The people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.’ Numbers 23:9. To us, as well as to ancient Israel, these words apply. God’s people are to stand alone.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 109.

“Never be ashamed of your faith; never be found on the side of the enemy. ‘Ye are the light of the world.’ Your faith is to be revealed as precious truth, truth which all should have and all must have if they are saved. As a people, we are in the minority. We are not popular. Our enemies will be watching us for evil, to betray us and to ruin our souls. They will not appreciate our motives.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 520, 521.

A remnant that will do God’s will 

6. Is it sufficient to be baptized and a member of a church? Give your thoughts concerning this.

Matthew 22:14; 7:21 For many are called, but few are chosen…. 7:21 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.

“The word of God plainly tells us that few will be saved, and that the greater number of those, even, who are called will prove themselves unworthy of everlasting life. They will have no part in heaven, but will have their portion with Satan, and experience the second death.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 293, 294.

“A mere profession of faith in Christ, a boastful knowledge of the truth, does not make a man a Christian. A religion that seeks only to gratify the eye, the ear, and the taste, or that sanctions self-indulgence, is not the religion of Christ….

“It is not enough to believe the theory of truth, to make a profession of faith in Christ…. ‘He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments,’ John wrote, ‘is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.’ ‘He that keepeth His commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him.’ 1 John 2:4, 5; 3:24.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 317, 562.

7. In what spiritual condition will true believers be found at the end of time?

Zephaniah 3:12, 13 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. 13 The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. .

Revelation 14:5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

“Every man through whom God works will have to learn that the living, ever-present, ever-acting God is supreme, and has lent him talents to use–an intellect to originate; a heart to be the seat of His throne; affections to flow out in blessing to all with whom he shall come in contact, a conscience through which the Holy Spirit can convict him of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment….

“Before honor is humility. To fill a high place before men, Heaven chooses the worker who … takes a lowly place before God. The most childlike disciple is the most efficient in labor for God.” –My Life Today, p. 332.

“Oh, how many I saw in the time of trouble without a shelter! They had neglected the needful preparation; therefore they could not receive the refreshing that all must have to fit them to live in the sight of a holy God…. I saw that none could share the ‘refreshing’ unless they obtain the victory over every besetment, over pride, selfishness, love of the world, and over every wrong word and action…. Let all remember that God is holy and that none but holy beings can ever dwell in His presence.” –Early Writings, p. 71.

8. What special characteristic marks the remnant church?

Ezekiel 9:4 And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

“The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God….

“At the time when the danger and depression of the church are greatest, the little company who are standing in the light will be sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land. But more especially will their prayers arise in behalf of the church because its members are doing after the manner of the world.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 211, 209, 210.

A remnant that mourns for sin

9. Why should every person weep and mourn over his sins?

James 4:7-10 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

“Real sorrow for sin is the result of the working of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit reveals the ingratitude of the heart that has slighted and grieved the Saviour, and brings us in contrition to the foot of the cross. By every sin Jesus is wounded afresh; and as we look upon Him whom we have pierced, we mourn for the sins that have brought anguish upon Him. Such mourning will lead to the renunciation of sin.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 300.

10. What experience did the disciples need to make? What similar experience is necessary for us today?

Acts 1:13, 14 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

“Putting away all differences, all desire for the supremacy, they came close together in Christian fellowship. They drew nearer and nearer to God….” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 37.

“Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death.” –(Review and Herald, February 25, 1902) Selected Messages, book 1, p. 128.

“I have been deeply impressed by scenes that have recently passed before me in the night season. There seemed to be a great movement–a work of revival–going forward in many places. Our people were moving into line, responding to God’s call. My brethren, the Lord is speaking to us. Shall we not heed His voice?” –(General Conference Bulletin, May 19, 1913, p. 34) Selected Messages, book 2, p. 402.