Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

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Ms 19, 1900

A Perfect Ministry; Its Purpose

NP

March 5, 1900 [typed]

This manuscript is published in entirety in AUCR 06/01/1900.

After Christ’s ascension to heaven and the descent of the Holy Spirit, His disciples called to mind His lessons which they had before been unable to comprehend. The words of Christ found an entrance to their hearts, and they awoke as from a deep sleep. They knew for a certainty that they had been in daily communion with the Majesty of heaven. Scene after scene of His wonderful life passed before them. As they meditated upon His words and deeds, they felt that these could never be recorded as they really were. No human language could express their beauty. The disciples must in their lives bear witness to the loveliness of Christ’s character. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 1

And this they did. The Saviour by His Spirit was abiding in their hearts, and His love and light and power shone out through them. Men, beholding, marvelled, and they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. And as the disciples witnessed to the mission of Christ, they bore witness also of the Father, for Christ had said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” [John 14:9.] 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 2

This is the work of God’s people today. God designs to manifest through them the principles of His kingdom. Through them the attributes of God are to be unfolded, and the truths of His Word, in all their glory and excellence, will be made to appear more vivid. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 3

The great final crisis is just before us, when the destiny of every human being will be forever decided. A great work is to be done in setting before men the saving truths of the gospel. To present these truths is the work of the third angel’s message. The Lord designs that the presentation of this message shall be the highest, greatest work carried on in our world at this time. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 4

All the light of the past, which shines unto the present and reaches forth into the future, as revealed in the Word of God, is for every soul who will receive it. But the glory of this light, which is the very glory of the character of Christ, can never be expressed in words. Human language is inadequate to reveal it. It must be made manifest in the life. It is to be manifest in the individual Christian, in the family, in the church, in the ministry of the Word, and in every institution established by God’s people. All these the Lord designs shall be symbols of what can be done for the world. They are to be types of the saving power of the truths of the gospel. They are agencies in the fulfillment of God’s great purpose for the human race. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 5

Ministry in the Home

As workers for God, our work is to begin with those nearest. It is to begin in our own home. There is no more important missionary field than this. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 6

God designs that the families of earth shall be a symbol of the family of heaven. Christian homes, established and conducted in accordance with His plan, are among His most effective agencies for the formation of Christian character. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 7

In the home the foundation is laid for the prosperity of the church. The influences that rule in the home life are carried into the church life. Church duties are to begin in the home. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 8

Christ died to save the children, and He is ready to do a great work for them if parents will co-operate with Him by training and educating them according to His instruction. While parents should be firm in requiring respect and obedience, they should make the religion of Christ attractive by their cheerfulness, their Christian courtesy, their tender, compassionate sympathy. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 9

Christ was once a little child. For His sake honor the children. Look upon them as a sacred charge, not to be petted and idolized, but to be taught to live pure, noble lives. They are God’s property. He loves them, and He calls upon you to co-operate with Him in teaching them to form perfect characters. The Lord requires perfection from His redeemed family. He expects from us the perfection which Christ revealed in His humanity. Fathers and mothers especially need to understand the best methods of training children that they may co-operate with God. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 10

In the home the Saviour is to be uplifted, thought of, talked of. When He dwells in the heart, family worship will not be a form of dry, set phrases. The heart will be imbued with love for Jesus. This love will be expressed in prayer and praise. Words of discouragement and hopelessness will not be spoken. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 11

Let the members of every family bear in mind that they are closely allied to heaven. The Lord has a special interest in the families of His children here below. Angels offer the smoke of the fragrant incense for the praying saints. Then in every family let prayer ascend to heaven both in the morning and at the cool sunset hour, in our behalf presenting before God the Saviour’s merits. Morning and evening the heavenly universe takes notice of every praying household. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 12

Let parents teach their little ones the truth as it is in Jesus. The children in their simplicity will repeat to their associates that which they have learned. In Christ’s day the children sang in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” [Matthew 21:9.] So in these days children’s voices will be raised in giving the last warning to a perishing world. By them God’s message will be made known, and His saving health to all nations. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 13

The children can take a part in medical missionary work. They can do many things to help the sick and suffering, and by their offerings they can aid in carrying forward the work. By the efforts of children and youth, many souls will be won to the truth. And the children themselves will be forming characters after Christ’s similitude, in preparation to dwell forever in His presence. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 14

The Ministry of the Word

The third angel’s message is to be given with power. In the Revelation John says, “I saw another angel come down from heaven having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. ... And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” [Revelation 18:1, 2, 4, 5.] 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 15

The whole of the gospel is embraced in the third angel’s message, and in all our work the truth is to be presented as it is in Jesus. In the preaching of the word the first and most important thing is to melt and subdue the soul by presenting the Lord Jesus Christ as the sin-pardoning Saviour. We are to keep before the people the cross of Calvary. We should teach them that Christ’s death was caused by the transgression of the law of God, that Christ died to give men an opportunity of becoming loyal subjects of His kingdom. Never should a sermon be preached, or Bible instruction in any line be given, without pointing the hearers to the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 16

But we should be careful not to lessen the force of the warning which God has given for this time. We are in danger of giving the message in so indefinite a manner that it does not impress the people. So many other interests are brought in that the very message which should be proclaimed with power becomes tame and voiceless. While the churches profess to believe in Christ, they are violating the law which Christ Himself proclaimed from Sinai. The Lord bids us, “Lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” [Isaiah 58:1.] The trumpet is to give a certain sound. Lift up the standard, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Make this the important theme. Then by your strong arguments wall it in, and make it of still greater force. Dwell more on the Revelation. Read, explain, and enforce its teaching. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 17

Our warfare is aggressive. Tremendous issues are before us, yea, and right upon us. Our prayers should ascend to God that the four angels may be commissioned to hold the four winds, that they may not blow to injure or destroy until the last warning has been given to the world. Then let us work in harmony with our prayers. Let nothing lessen the force of the truth for this time. The third angel’s message must do its work of separating from the churches a people who will take their stand on the platform of eternal truth. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 18

Our message is a life and death message, and we must let it appear as it is—the great power of God. We are to present it in all its telling force. Then the Lord will make it effectual. It is our privilege to expect large things, even the demonstration of the Spirit of God. This is the power that will convict and convert the soul. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 19

Personal Effort

Public effort alone will not suffice for the work that is to be done. By personal, house-to-house labor, ministers should seek to reach the people where they are. And they should visit the families of the church, coming close to their hearts as one touched with the feeling of their infirmities. Give each one some work to do for others. Show them that as receivers of the grace of God all are under obligation to work for Him. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 20

All should be taught how to work. Especially should those who are newly come to the faith be educated to become laborers together with God. If this duty is neglected, the work of the minister is incomplete. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 21

But God does not want His people to hang their weight upon the ministers. As a steward of the grace of God, every church member should feel an individual responsibility to have life and root in himself. All who are ordained unto the life of Christ are ordained to work for the salvation of their fellow men. He who loves God supremely and his neighbor as himself cannot rest content with doing nothing. The Lord expects every believer to take hold of the work, to be self-denying as was the Master, to engage body, soul, and spirit in the work of saving souls. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 22

Did the professed believers in the truth live the truth, they would today all be missionaries. Some would be working in the islands of the sea, some in the different countries of the world. Some would be serving Christ as home missionaries. Not all are called upon to go abroad. Some may be successful in business lines, and in this work they may represent Christ. They may show to the world that business may be conducted on righteous principles, in strict fidelity to the truth. There may be Christian lawyers, Christian physicians, Christian merchants. Christ may be represented in all lawful callings. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 23

Though you are not be called to public labor for Christ, you may still do a most precious work by giving of your means to sustain His work. The following incident has a good suggestion for those who cannot go in person to foreign missionary fields: An American businessman who was an earnest Christian, being in conversation with a fellow believer, remarked that he himself worked for Christ twenty-four hours of the day. “In all my business relations,” he said, “I try to represent my Master. I am working for Christ all day. And at night, while I sleep, I have a man working for Him in China.” 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 24

In explanation he added, “In my youth I determined to go as a missionary to the heathen. But on the death of my father I had to take up his business in order to provide for the family. Now instead of going myself, I support a missionary. In such a town of such a province in China, my worker is stationed, and so, even while I sleep, I am, through my representative, still work for Christ.” 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 25

Are there not Seventh-day Adventists who will do likewise? If you cannot yourself go as a missionary to foreign fields, select some earnest, promising youth, and educate him for the work. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 26

Upon our churches rests a solemn responsibility in this line. The youth who wish to become workers for God should be given an opportunity to obtain a knowledge of Bible truth. Many workers are needed in home missions as well as in foreign fields. They are needed as Bible workers, as canvassers, nurses, teachers in church schools, and in many other lines. Will you not aid them in gaining a preparation for the work? Through the teacher your money had prepared for the field, souls may be saved from ruin, to shine as stars in the Redeemer’s crown. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 27

The Medical Missionary Work and the Gospel Ministry

In preparing a people for the Lord’s second coming, a great work is to be done through the promulgation of health principles. We are to relieve suffering by the use of the natural agencies that God has provided. We should teach the people how to prevent sickness by obedience to the laws of life. And while we work for the healing of the body, we should seize every opportunity to work for the healing of the soul. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 28

This was Christ’s method. He worked to restore both the physical and moral image of God in man. Both physical and moral health is to be communicated from the mighty Healer. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 29

The medical missionary work God has set in operation as a practical illustration of the gospel. He has signified that this work shall be closely united with the ministry of the Word. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 30

Every physician, nurse, and medical missionary may, through faith in Christ, have in his possession a cure of the highest value—a remedy for the sinsick soul. Countless are the opportunities of the physician and his helpers for warning the impenitent, cheering the disconsolate and hopeless, and prescribing for the health of mind and body. Thus they are acting their part in the great work of making ready a people prepared for the Lord. Many who through their care and teaching regain health will be led to accept the special truths for this time. And in their turn they will aid in spreading the light. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 31

Every duty that calls for reform involves repentance, faith, and obedience. It means the uplifting of the soul to a new and nobler life. Thus every true reform has its place in the work of the third angel’s message. It demands our attention and support. Especially should prominence be given to the temperance reform. We should call attention to this work, and make it a living issue. We should present to the people the principles of true temperance, and call for signers to the temperance pledge. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 32

There are Christians in other churches who are standing in defense of the principles of temperance. We should seek to come near to these workers, and make a way for them to stand shoulder to shoulder with us. We should call upon great and good men to aid us in our Christian Endeavour work. They should be invited to second our efforts in seeking to save that which is lost. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 33

But in coming in contact with those not of our faith, none should feel that they must conceal the peculiar characteristics which sanctification through the truth gives them. Those who unite with the work of God are to cooperate with God as His appointed instrumentalities; they are to give all their power and efficiency to magnifying the work of His commandment-keeping people. Those who in their human wisdom try to conceal the peculiar characteristics that distinguish God’s people from the world will lose their spiritual life, and will no longer be upheld by His power. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 34

Never let the idea be entertained that it is essential to make an appearance of being wealthy. Let none suppose that expensive buildings, dress, or furniture is needed in order to give character to the work. We are to give character to the work, not by display, but by being, ourselves, living stones in God’s building. All the beauty of art cannot bear comparison with the beauty of temper and character that is to be revealed in those who have to do with sacred things. It is the atmosphere of grace which surrounds the soul of the believer, the Holy Spirit working upon mind and heart, that makes him a savor of life unto life, and enables God to bless his work. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 35

The Lord requires that those who are engaged in His service shall keep their minds ever directed to Him. We are to put to the stretch every faculty in order to bring saving truth to the attention of perishing human beings. This work must be carried on in connection with the ministry to the sick. Then the work will stand before the world in the strength which God designs it should have. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 36

In the Highways and Hedges

The command of Christ to His people is, “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” [Luke 14:23.] 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 37

The call to the gospel feast is first to be given “in the highways”—to those who have an active part in the world’s work, to the teachers and leaders of the people. Those who bear heavy responsibilities in public life, who act as ministers, lawyers, and judges, should be given a clear, distinct message. “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” [Mark 8:36, 37.] 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 38

We talk and write much of the neglected poor; should not some attention be given also to the neglected rich? Thousands of rich men are starving for spiritual food. Many in official life feel their need of something which they have not. Few among them go to church, for they receive no benefit. The teaching they hear does not touch the soul. Are we to make no personal effort in their behalf? 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 39

Some will ask, “Can we not reach them with publications?” No; there are many who cannot be reached in this way. It is personal effort that they need. Are they to perish without any special warning? It was not so in ancient times. God’s servants were sent to tell those in high places that they could find peace and rest only in the Lord Jesus Christ. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 40

From the light given me I know that a plain “Thus saith the Lord” should now be spoken to men who have influence and authority in the world. If they will repent and be converted, God will use them in His cause. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 41

We have a work to do for the ministers of other churches. Our ministers should seek to come near to them. Pray for and with these men, for whom Christ is interceding. A solemn responsibility is theirs. As Christ’s messengers, we should manifest a deep, earnest interest in these shepherds of the flock. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 42

God calls for earnest, humble workers who will carry the truth to the higher classes. Are there not among us those who will take the burden of this work, and who will qualify themselves to labor successfully for these classes? 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 43

God will bless the workers who faithfully do this work. The righteousness of Christ will go before them, and the glory of the Lord will be their rereward. The greatest men of the earth are not beyond the power of a wonder-working God. He will convert men who occupy responsible places, men of intellect and influence, if those who are workers together with Him will be men of opportunity, doing their duty bravely and faithfully. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 44

Christ instructs His messengers to go also to those in the byways and hedges, to the poor and lowly of the earth. Many of these do not understand what they must do to be saved. Many are sunken in sin. Many are in distress. Disease of every type afflicts them, both in body and in soul. They long to find a solace for their troubles, and Satan tempts them to seek it in lusts and pleasures that lead to ruin and death. They are spending their money for that which is not bread, and their labor for that which satisfieth not. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 45

Many who appear wholly indifferent to religious things are in heart longing for rest and peace. Although they may have sunken to the very depths of sin, there is a possibility of saving them. Many can be reached only through acts of disinterested kindness. Their physical wants must first be cared for. They must be fed, cleansed, and decently clothed. As they see the evidence of our unselfish love, it will be easier for them to believe in the love of Christ. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 46

This is not to be done by expensive institutions. We are not called to center all our interest and all our means in working in the slums of the great cities. The last message of warning must be given to the whole world, the ministry to the poor and neglected is but one part of the great work. This we are to do individually, working for individuals as God gives us opportunity. He who created all, cares for all. Those who have fallen the lowest are not beyond the reach of His love and pity. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 47

God delights to take apparently hopeless material, those through whom Satan has worked, and make them the subjects of His grace. He rejoices to deliver them from the wrath which is to fall upon the disobedient. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 48

John Bunyan was redeemed from profanity and reveling, John Newton from slave-dealing, to proclaim an uplifted Saviour. A Bunyan and a Newton may be redeemed from among men today. There are those who have had very meager opportunities, who have walked in ways of error because they know no better way, to whom beams of light will come. Many will come from the grossest error and sin, and will take the place of those who have had privileges and opportunities but have not prized them. They will be accounted the chosen of God, elect, precious; and when Christ shall come into His kingdom, they will stand next His throne. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 49

*****

The Lord will do wondrous things for the truth’s sake, and that His name may be glorified. When God’s people give themselves to Him, and work in His lines, they will see of His salvation. The truth will be magnified. It will go forth as a lamp that burneth. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 50

In obedience to the commands of God, we shall receive the best of everything. His richest blessings will be received when heart and mind and soul are consecrated to His service. Only thus can our service for Him be complete—a perfect ministry. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 51

This is an individual work. The laborer together with God must live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Let us individually draw nigh to the mount, that we may understand what the Lord commands, and then obey. 15LtMs, Ms 19, 1900, par. 52