Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Lt 134, 1899

Brethren in America

Strathfield, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

September 8, 1899

Portions of this letter are published in 7BC 933; TMK 260. +Note

Dear Brethren in America:

We thank the Lord for the good work that is going forward in this part of the Lord’s great moral vineyard. We thank God that we can trust Him as we advance. We have a humble house of worship in Cooranbong, and three buildings for the school of God’s appointment. We have advanced step by step in faith and confidence in God. 14LtMs, Lt 134, 1899, par. 1

We have not been satisfied with planting the standard of truth in one or two places, and then hovering over these places and giving them all the advantages, while the world, which is God’s vineyard, is left unworked. We must not remain in a few places, as if it depended on the minister to hold the church together lest it fall to pieces. Individually church members must heed the invitation of Christ, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” [Matthew 11:29.] Every soul must take Christ’s yoke and learn of Him, His meekness, His patience, His piety and goodness. When God’s people are meek and lowly of heart, they will be able to stand in any place and under any circumstances. They have taken the yoke of restraint and self-denial, and are seeing daily the necessity of trusting not in man, but in God. 14LtMs, Lt 134, 1899, par. 2

Through their lack of faith, ministers have contributed to make the churches dependent upon ministerial labor. Are the individual members converted to the truth? Does the truth abide in their hearts? Let those who have been long in the faith and have had experience feel that they are their brother’s keeper. Let the sisters also feel that they have a work to do in comforting the feeble-minded, encouraging and praying with their sisters of like faith. Thus the love that should exist in the church will be cherished in its purity and simplicity. This is the work that should have been done, but has not been done. How long shall this continue? 14LtMs, Lt 134, 1899, par. 3

The men who bear the last message of mercy to a perishing world must broaden their labors and seek earnestly to lift the standard of righteousness in advancing lines of truth among those who know not the truth for this time. The church members must be educated to stand by the grace given by God alone. They are to understand that nothing weakens a church so much as for the members to suppose that they can trust in the minister to do their repenting and praying and witnessing for God. 14LtMs, Lt 134, 1899, par. 4

Many think when they are in perplexity or trouble that the minister should be on hand to talk to them and pet them. Let the minister teach each member of the church that though Daniel or Job or Noah were in the land they could not save one soul of them. The can only save their own souls by their own righteousness. These weak, dependent souls need spiritual exercise. Their spiritual sinews and muscles need to become strong by exercising them for their own good and for the blessing of others. 14LtMs, Lt 134, 1899, par. 5

Church members should be shown that God speaks to every individual saying, Go, work in My vineyard. It is spiritual work that gives spiritual knowledge and tact and skill to forget self and remember Jesus, who was a constant worker. The Lord needs your undivided hearts. You must receive His grace every day for this you must have before you can impart it. Let every weak member of the church begin to co-operate with the Lord Jesus Christ without any further delay. Every soul is to become a channel to receive, that he may communicate. 14LtMs, Lt 134, 1899, par. 6

You need not be dependent upon the minister for your experience. You are not to be a useless member of the Lord’s body, living without God and without hope in the world. Put on the whole armor of Christ’s righteousness. Begin the work, little though it may be, and you will find a helper in God. Christ declares, “I am at your right hand to help you. Tell all your trials and perplexities to your God, as He has invited you to do. He will never betray your confidence.” This is the first lesson to be learned in your religious life. Do not let your thoughts dwell upon yourselves. Think of Jesus. He is in His holy place, not in a state of solitude and grandeur, but surrounded by ten thousand times ten thousand of heavenly beings who wait to do their Master’s bidding. And He bids them go and work for the weakest saint who puts his trust in God. High and low, rich and poor, have the same help provided. 14LtMs, Lt 134, 1899, par. 7

When the minister teaches the members of his church to look to him for help, he is weakening in the place of strengthening them. We must have strong churches. Tell the members of the church over which you preside that Christ has said, “I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must have charge of many more than now believe in Me. I want you to help those who know Me not to become acquainted with Me. By living in close connection with Me, you are to learn how to do the work that will reveal Me to those who know Me not. I must have communication with every part of My vast territory. I must work through various channels, through human instrumentalities. One worker for the truth is to take up the work right where he is, and seek to interest others.” 14LtMs, Lt 134, 1899, par. 8

Christ is represented as stooping from His throne and bending earthward, to send help to every needy soul who asks Him in faith. His ear is listening to every cry from needy souls. He is approving or condemning the actions of human beings. He is raising up the fallen, bringing hope to the hopeless, and placing their feet in sure paths. Let God work more largely with His church and reveal Christ to the people. 14LtMs, Lt 134, 1899, par. 9

Ministers and men in responsible places are altogether too officious. Move from between God and the people, and let them view God as the all-sufficient One, and the minister as the delegated servant. Your work is to preach the Word, “to be instant in season, out of season, to reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and doctrine.” [2 Timothy 4:2.] When the church shall come in close relationship with Christ, then they will find that which they have lost—“their first love.” [Revelation 2:4.] They will not be causing trials in the church by their wrong course of action. They will not draw upon the minister’s strength and vitality to keep them converted. If they are not bound by strong cords of love to Christ, all the ministry in the world will not help them. They will not feel that the minister of God must be continually preaching to them lest they be lost, but they will themselves work to help others, and every church member will become a living stone to emit light. 14LtMs, Lt 134, 1899, par. 10

The church should stand in partnership with Christ, in a firm brotherhood in which God and man have a part to act. Many church members are blind in their understanding of matters which concern their personal accountability to God. “In returning and rest shall ye be saved,” God declares, “in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” [Isaiah 30:15.] Many who profess religion have not the genuine article. There is not revealed in their lives the fruits of a genuine conversion. The same old habits, the same jealousies and evil surmisings and evil speaking, the same faultfinding and criticism, and selfishness and covetousness, is seen. With such attributes, how can the church prosper? The Holy Spirit is ever working to bring the human agencies in harmony with God. Without genuine conversion, not one soul will enter the city of the King of glory. 14LtMs, Lt 134, 1899, par. 11

My burden is that ministers of the gospel shall preach the truth as to what constitutes true conversion. They are not to lead down into the water souls who are not converted. The church is becoming composed of men and women who have never realized how sinful sin is. The Lord have mercy upon the churches. All the ministerial labor in the world will never convert a soul from the error of his ways, unless the power and grace of God shall work within, cleansing the heart from all the defiling, degrading influences of sin. 14LtMs, Lt 134, 1899, par. 12

Having his name written in the church books will not make a man any more of a Christian than he was before he made any profession. In true conversion the soul is born again. A new spirit takes possession of the soul temple, and a new life commences. Christ takes possession, and is revealed in the character. Christ is sought unto, submitted to, and the spirit of a new life works within. His faith passes into knowledge, and there is an understanding of the Word. A partnership is entered into uniting man with God and God with man. The branch grows into real, living oneness with the vine. A church composed of such members as this has life in itself. The believers can help one another. They will be living stones in the building, all united in receiving light and emitting light. 14LtMs, Lt 134, 1899, par. 13

I am alarmed for those members of the church who feel no weight of responsibility. They expect to be helped, but they do not help others. There is work to be done, but they are only useless hangers on. All need to awaken to life. What changes could be wrought in the church if every member would become a working member! There is no such thing as a truly converted person living a helpless, useless life. The fruitfulness of a church depends on its oneness with Christ. Our life is hid with Christ in God. 14LtMs, Lt 134, 1899, par. 14

As we become branches of the living vine, we have a work to do, and God has a work to do. God does His part through the agency of the Holy Spirit, working upon us to do our part. And while this work is silently going on in the human agent, man will act his part. A distinct work is assigned to every true Christian. When a soul is converted, and exercises faith in Christ; when prayer is offered, and obedience rendered in accordance with the prayer, the active working of the Holy Spirit is revealed. The spiritual quickening and strengthening of the soul come from above. “I know in whom I have believed,” will be the testimony borne, as we work out the divine purpose for us. [2 Timothy 1:12.] 14LtMs, Lt 134, 1899, par. 15