Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

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Ms 7, 1900

The Importance of Camp Meeting Work

NP

January 15, 1900 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in Ev 137, 151; CTr 236. +Note

Camp meetings are one of the Lord’s means for the warning of the world. They are one of the most effective methods for reaching all classes with the gospel invitation. At these meetings are gathered high and low, rich and poor, sinners of all degrees, and all hear the message of mercy given by the Lord’s delegated servants. There is a variety of Bible subjects presented, and a variety of exercises during the meeting. Old and young are called, and the Lord impresses the hearts of the hearers. By this means the call to the supper, as presented in the parable, is given to all. Some who, according to their own confession, have not entered a church for twelve, fourteen, and even sixteen years, are convicted and converted. Church members are deeply stirred, and listen with astonishment to the sermons and Bible readings explaining the Scriptures. And in the social meetings there is found something appropriate for every case. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 1

The Lord has in a special manner honored these gatherings, which He has called holy convocations. These meetings should in every way be made as effective as possible. The Scriptures testifying of Jesus should be presented in the most simple manner. Every true doctrine makes Christ the center, every precept receives force from His work. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 2

The camp meetings should be regarded as special seasons for seeking the Lord and for working personally for souls. The Lord will work with all who will be worked upon by His Holy Spirit. Christ is to be presented both to those who know Him not and to those who have once known Him but have lost that knowledge through disregarding His Word. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 3

Every day, praise meetings should be held—simple services of thanksgiving to God—and opportunity should be given, that those who are troubled and want rest in spirit may find help. Those who hear the message of truth will certainly be impressed. During the camp meeting is the time to labor most earnestly for the salvation of souls. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 4

All who believe the truth should realize that these are special seasons when all can work. They should make it their business to become acquainted with those who attend the meetings and to show a kind interest in all. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 5

The camp meetings afford the very best representation of the belief and principles of Seventh-day Adventists that can be given to the large numbers that come to the ground. Nothing can be equal to these meetings for making an impression upon the people. As they listen to the sermons and Bible studies, they see that a plain “Thus saith the Lord” is given for the faith and doctrines that we hold. And all the surroundings have their lesson. The family tents, so neat and orderly, giving a glimpse of home life, are a constant sermon as to the habits, customs, and practices of Seventh-day Adventists. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 6

How important that every impression should be just such as God would have it! Let there be no lightness, no jesting or joking. There should be manifest cheerfulness without foolishness, joy in Christ Jesus. Our words should be cheerful. Bible religion is not only to be enjoyed but to be expressed. And there can be no more appropriate place than the camp meeting for manifesting our true relation to God and to heavenly things. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 7

We need to consider the parable of the vine, which Christ gave to His disciples. When the Father is spoken of as the Husbandman, there is implied the thought of ownership as well as of cultivation. Christ says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” “Herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” [John 15:1, 2, 8.] The Lord Jesus is the root, and His believing people are the branches. If there was ever a place where the branches should bear much fruit, it is at our camp meetings. At these meetings the words, the actions, the spirit of the believers is marked, and their influence is as far-reaching as eternity. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 8

The Lord expects His servants who attend the camp meetings to show that they are fruit-bearing branches of the True Vine. They are to testify that the redeeming power of grace can work upon the faulty character and cause it to develop in symmetry and abundant fruitfulness. God has given Jesus to the world, and all His redeeming power is to be appreciated and drawn upon, that we may reveal the riches and glory of the Lord’s unspeakable gift. All the grace, all the riches of heaven, are to be revealed through God’s people. It is to be made manifest that He is the source of all blessings, that all grace and love descend from Him. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 9

The Lord is the one who works upon the earth. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” [Psalm 24:1.] All who are solidly converted will be fruit-bearing branches of the vine. Every believer will, in true renunciation of self, glorify God and not himself. The world’s methods, customs, [and] plans are not to come into our manner of labor. Give to the Lord His own. “Ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 10

We are God’s property in a peculiar sense. Christ assumed our nature, and thus became our Elder Brother and our Redeemer. He is united to us by the tie of human relationship, and He draws us into a union with God which is closer than that into which angels can be brought. Then let those who are consecrated to God not wait for some special evidence that He has accepted their consecration. We know that the gift will be accepted as soon as it is made. Then maintain the sacredness of the gift by keeping the heart, mind, soul, and body free from contamination, free from any pollution of thought, or of sight, free from the leaven of evil. God expects His people to receive the heavenly gift of grace. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 11

Will our brethren and sisters come up to the camp meetings to use all their God-given tact and talents of influence, not only to receive but to impart? This is required of every soul who has an intelligent knowledge of the truth. It is required of all who believe in Christ. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:12.] This is a privilege that we should all appreciate, knowing that we have pledged our whole soul, mind, heart, and strength to serve God, to be laborers together with God. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 12

Let there be far more wrestling with God for the salvation of souls, and then live your prayers. Work disinterestedly, determinedly, with a spirit to never let go. Compel souls to come in to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Let there be more praying, believing, and receiving, and more working together with God. This is the highest, purest, and most spiritual method of labor. Never bring the truth down to a low level in order to obtain converts, but seek to bring the sinful and corrupted up to the high standard of the law of God. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 13

After everything has been done that can be done during the two or three weeks of a camp meeting, let not the work come to a standstill. Services in the large tent should be continued as long as this is thought advisable. Let a number of workers remain, forming a mission family. As many laborers should be employed as the funds will admit. These should engage in house-to-house labor, reading and praying with the people, and explaining the Word in a simple manner. This is the way we have worked in this country. Sometimes several families come together, and there is a little reading circle. Thus many are won to the truth who after their conversion unite with the force of workers and help others to accept it. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 14

The medical missionary work is united with the gospel ministry as the arm is united with the body. The body needs a head; an intelligent, sanctified mind is needed to control every member of the body. So there is need of wise guidance in the medical missionary work. It will be necessary to guard every point, that God’s sacred truth may not be soiled or tarnished, but stand forth in its elevated purity. The sacred, elevated character of the truth is ever to be maintained. Those who embrace the truth, yet have no appreciation of its purity and holiness, will do only harm to the truth unless they become sanctified through its pure principles. Truth received never degrades the receiver, it never makes him coarse and rough, unkind, envious, faultfinding, critical, or accusing. All these are the fruits that grow on the trees planted by Satan. The great truths of the Word of God received will elevate and sanctify the soul. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 15

When work is started in a new locality, or revived in places where the truth has been made known, and a church is established, a meetinghouse should be built. Then there are duties to be done as presented in Isaiah 58. The money is not to be absorbed in erecting buildings to be used as homes for infant children or for the care of the most degraded classes. Satan is seeking to divert men and money from the special work of God for this time, and to bring discredit upon it. He points to the kind of work Seventh-day Adventists are doing, what filthy subjects they are gathering in. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 16

The Lord has a work to do in our world, but He will not trust His work in the hands of men who know nothing of the Bible or of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. The Lord presents in parables the rise and progress of the work which results from the preaching of His Word, the present truth for this time. He brings before us the fashioning of a church which shall stand before the world as chosen and faithful. The parable of the sower shows the manner in which we should work. The work of the gospel ministry is the sowing of the seed. Important as is the work of the camp meeting, the after work, the house-to-house labor, is even more essential. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 17

There are souls who will be converted by the labor put forth for the degraded class; but the Lord’s work is not to be restricted as it has been. The means invested in medical missionary work makes it an impossibility to build up the very work God has given us in the proclamation of the third angel’s message. Nearly all the available means have been absorbed in the so-called medical missionary work. The large institutions, costing so much for their support, were not established under the direction of God. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 18

These things have brought heavy burdens upon our physicians. Their minds have been diverted and their labor spent in lines that God has not called them to. The sanitariums have needed the very men God has abundantly blessed with talent to do a special work. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 19

The parable of the wheat and the tares shows the mystery of the divine and the satanic agencies working in direct opposition, in vital conflict. The conflict continues till the close of this earth’s history. The incorruptible seed is the living Word of God, which works in the personal sanctification of the receiver, elevating him by bringing him into the participation of the divine nature. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 20

Many matters need to be considered. Those who have all their lifetime been the servants of sin, desiring to act in direct opposition to the divine will, need to be most thoroughly converted. Otherwise the leaven of evil will work under cover, as Satan, appearing like an angel of light, tempted Christ to oppose the divine will. God’s great standard of righteousness is obnoxious to the tastes and appetites of sinful men and women. The active energy of the Savior and that of the destroyer are in conflict. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 21

The wheat is to be gathered for Christ’s garner. The tares have the appearance of wheat, but when the harvest comes, they must be rejected. Yet there is an imitation of the wheat through a long period of time. Satan puts forth a determined effort to deceive and lead into strange paths those who have any connection with the Word of God, and he will devise every possible scheme to lengthen the period of his control. The Lord God of heaven gives no sanction to mix and corrupt church associations. The Lord would have His work in the preaching of the gospel so done that there will be no encouragement to evil workers, no toleration of evil associations in Christian assemblies. 15LtMs, Ms 7, 1900, par. 22