Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9

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A Lack of Sympathy

Among professing Christians of today there is a fearful lack of the sympathy that should be felt for souls unsaved. Unless our hearts beat in unison with the heart of Christ, how can we understand the sacredness and importance of the work to which we are called by the words: “Watch for ... souls, as they that must give account”? We talk of Christian missions. The sound of our voices is heard, but do we feel Christ's tender heart-longing for souls? 9T 45.1

The Saviour was an untiring worker. He did not measure His work by hours. His time, His heart, His strength, were given to labor for the benefit of humanity. Entire days were devoted to labor, and entire nights were spent in prayer, that He might be braced to meet the wily foe in all his deceptive working, and fortified to do His work of uplifting and restoring humanity. 9T 45.2

The man who loves God does not measure his work by the eight-hour system. He works at all hours and is never off duty. As he has opportunity he does good. Everywhere, at all times and in all places, he finds opportunity to work for God. He carries fragrance with him wherever he goes. A wholesome atmosphere surrounds his soul. The beauty of his well-ordered life and godly conversation inspires in others faith and hope and courage. 9T 45.3

It is heart missionaries that are needed. Spasmodic efforts will do little good. We must arrest the attention. We must be deeply in earnest. 9T 45.4

By aggressive warfare, in the midst of opposition, peril, loss, and human suffering, the work of soulsaving is to be carried forward. At a certain battle, when one of the regiments of the attacking force was being beaten back by the hordes of the enemy, the ensign in front stood his ground as the troops retreated. The captain shouted to him to bring back the colors, but the reply of the ensign was: “Bring the men up to the colors!” This is the work that devolves upon every faithful standard-bearer—to bring the men up to the colors. The Lord calls for wholeheartedness. We all know that the sin of many professing Christians is that they lack the courage and energy to bring themselves and those connected with them up to the standard. 9T 45.5

From all countries the Macedonian cry is sounding: “Come over, ... and help us.” God has opened fields before us, and if human agencies would but co-operate with divine agencies, many, many souls would be won to the truth. But the Lord's professing people have been sleeping over their allotted work, and in many places it remains comparatively untouched. God has sent message after message to arouse our people to do something, and to do it now. But to the call, “Whom shall I send?” there have been few to respond, “Here am I; send me.” Isaiah 6:8. 9T 46.1

When the reproach of indolence and slothfulness shall have been wiped away from the church, the Spirit of the Lord will be graciously manifested. Divine power will be revealed. The church will see the providential working of the Lord of hosts. The light of truth will shine forth in clear, strong rays, and, as in the time of the apostles, many souls will turn from error to truth. The earth will be lighted with the glory of the Lord. 9T 46.2

Heavenly angels have long been waiting for human agents—the members of the church—to co-operate with them in the great work to be done. They are waiting for you. So vast is the field, so comprehensive the design, that every sanctified heart will be pressed into service as an instrument of divine power. 9T 46.3

At the same time there will be a power working from beneath. While God's agents of mercy work through consecrated human beings, Satan sets his agencies in operation, laying under tribute all who will submit to his control. There will be lords many and gods many. The cry will be heard, “Lo, here is Christ,” and, “Lo, there is Christ.” The deep plotting of Satan will reveal itself everywhere for the purpose of diverting the attention of men and women from present duty. There will be signs and wonders. But the eye of faith will discern in all these manifestations harbingers of the grand and awful future, and the triumphs that await the people of God. 9T 47.1

Work, oh, work, keeping eternity in view! Bear in mind that every power must be sanctified. A great work is to be done. Let the prayer go forth from unfeigned lips: “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us.... That Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations.” Psalm 67:1, 2. 9T 47.2

Those who realize, even in a limited degree, what redemption means to them and to their fellow men, will walk by faith and will comprehend in some measure the vast needs of humanity. Their hearts will be moved to compassion as they see the widespread destitution in our world—the destitution of the multitudes who are suffering for food and clothing, and the moral destitution of thousands who are under the shadow of a terrible doom, in comparison with which physical suffering fades into nothingness. 9T 47.3

Let church members bear in mind that the fact that their names are registered on the church books will not save them. They must show themselves approved of God, workmen that need not be ashamed. Day by day they are to build their characters in accordance with Christ's directions. They are to abide in Him, constantly exercising faith in Him. Thus they will grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ—wholesome, cheerful, grateful Christians, led by God into clearer and still clearer light. If this is not their experience, they will be among those whose voices will one day be raised in the bitter lamentation: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved! Why did I not flee to the Stronghold for refuge? Why have I trifled with my soul's salvation, and done despite to the Spirit of grace?” 9T 48.1

“The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly.” Zephaniah 1:14. Let us be shod with the gospel shoes, ready to march at a moment's notice. Every hour, every minute, is precious. We have no time to spend in self-gratification. All around us there are souls perishing in sin. Every day there is something to do for our Lord and Master. Every day we are to point souls to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world. 9T 48.2

“Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as we think not the Son of man cometh.” Matthew 24:44. Go to your rest at night with every sin confessed. Thus we did when in 1844 we expected to meet our Lord. And now this great event is nearer than when we first believed. Be ye always ready, in the evening, in the morning, and at noon, that when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him,” you may, even though awakened out of sleep, go forth to meet Him with your lamps trimmed and burning. 9T 48.3