Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15

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Ms 67, 1900

Words of Instruction to the Church

NP

November 29, 1900 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in TDG 342; 3MR 40-41; 5MR 449. +Note

There is a decided work to be done in our churches. Those chosen as elders of the churches are to be men of experience, who have a knowledge of the truth and are sound in the faith. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 1

In his letter to Titus, Paul points out the qualifications which should be possessed by those placed in charge of the flock of God. “To Titus, mine own son after the common faith,” he writes, “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.” [Titus 1:4, 5.] 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 2

“If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God, not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convert the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, especially they of the circumcision: whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.” [Verses 6-11.] 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 3

“Ye Are Not Your Own”

The Lord calls for the service of the souls He has redeemed from Satan by taking their guilt upon Himself. We are not our own; we have been bought with a price, therefore we are responsible for the use we make of our redemption papers. Christ claims our affections, our intellect, our time, our means, our all. He has a right to make this claim, for we are His, redeemed by His boundless love and by the agony of the cross of Calvary from the service of sin and Satan. In Him we live and move and have our being. On no account are we to devote our powers to self-serving. The service of God comes first. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 4

This service should occupy the entire lifetime of the Christian. Each detail of his daily business should be marked by pure principles, for he is a member of Christ’s body. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 5

The gospel testifies to God’s great love for fallen humanity. He gave His dear and only begotten Son to the human race, to live and die for them. Christ assumed human nature and came to this world to receive the penalty of transgression. In our behalf He was numbered with the transgressors. By His infinite sacrifice He has made it possible for men to be partakers of His divine nature. Christians are to reveal the attributes of the Redeemer. They are to be bound up—heart, mind, and soul—with Christ. Then they can exert a living, elevating influence. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 6

The year 1900 is about to close. Who is prepared to show in a more decided manner than ever before that they are on the Lord’s side? The Lord God of Israel gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. The Most High gave to our world the greatest gift in His power to bestow. Thus He has shown the estimate which He places upon His creatures. The treasures which He has placed within our reach are without a parallel. His tender mercies are over all His works. Creation proclaims with myriad voices the forbearance, love, and compassion of the Almighty. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 7

A large number of God’s subjects have taken their position under the banner of rebellion, but God has not treated them as they deserve. They have declared of Christ. “We will not have this man to reign over us” [Luke 19:14], but the Lord’s hand of love is stretched out still. Men have become bondsmen of Satan, but the Lord is entreating them to enlist in His army. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 8

God desires every soul to engage in the warfare against evil. Just before His ascension Christ said to the disciples, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:18-20.] 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 9

This is the work God has given His people to do. In his record Mark says, “He said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” [Mark 16:15, 16.] And Luke bears his testimony saying, “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” [Luke 24:45-47.] 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 10

This is the work before believers. It includes not only a few ordained ministers, but all God’s people. A work is laid out before every man, woman, and child who has enlisted in the Lord’s army. When He calls, let them respond, “Here am I: send me.” [Isaiah 6:8.] 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 11

Let all read carefully and prayerfully the eleventh chapter of Romans. It closes with these words, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him are all things: to whom be glory forever.” [Verses 33-36.] 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 12

“I beseech you therefore,” Paul continues, “that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye conformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” [Romans 12:1, 2.] The instruction given in the twelfth chapter of Romans condemns many who claim to be Christians. Study this instruction, remembering that it is not reading but receiving and practicing the Word which gives it efficiency to cleanse our lives. “Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart.” [Psalm 97:11.] 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 13

The first, second, and third chapters of First Corinthians contain instruction which is of the greatest importance to all who have entered the Lord’s army. After earnestly declaring that the reason [for] the weakness of the church was the envy and strife cherished by the members, Paul points with pain to the result of their course. “Are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” he asks. “For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?” Does not this condemn withdrawing from some, for no reason but that which exists in the imagination, and binding up with others? “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos?” the apostle asks, “but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man. I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase.” [1 Corinthians 3:3-7.] 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 14

“Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one.” Although their work may differ in some respects, yet their object is to be the same. “And every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.” [Verse 8.] It may be that one of God’s ministers does not dwell upon the very same things as his brother ministers, but emphasizes some other phase of the truth, or presents the Word in a different way. Should he be condemned for this? And should that minister be afraid of his brethren, thinking that they do not regard him and his exposition of truth as of the highest consequence? Those who allow discord to enter their hearts, who cherish envy and jealousy against their brethren, act as did the Corinthians to whom Paul is speaking. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 15

Why do we allow prejudice, envy, jealousy, and evil surmisings to separate us from our brethren and thus separate us from God? God will not tolerate such differences. He will not send His Spirit as a Comforter and Strengthener until His people obey the Word, “Be ye all of one mind, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.” [1 Peter 3:8.] Let us remember that we greatly hinder the manifestation of the Spirit of God when we yield to the temptation to create disaffection. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 16

Read carefully and prayerfully the tenth chapter of Acts. There is pointed out the work which God approves. None need walk in darkness. Cornelius is spoken of as “a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.” [Verse 2.] This sincere, truthful man was especially well pleasing to God, although he had not a full knowledge of Jesus Christ. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 17

“He saw in a vision, evidently about the ninth hour of the day, an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.” Cornelius recognized the speaker as a messenger from heaven, “and when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.” This was the answer to his prayer. “And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter, he lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.” [Verses 3-6.] 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 18

Here we are given positive evidence that the Lord does not leave in darkness those who follow all the light given them, but sends his angels to communicate with them. Cornelius was living in accordance with the instruction given in the Old Testament Scriptures, and the Lord sent a messenger to tell him what to do. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 19

God could have given Cornelius all the instruction he needed by the angel, but this was not his plan. His purpose was to place Cornelius in connection with those who had been receiving knowledge from on high, whose work it was to impart this knowledge to those seeking for light. Thus God always deals with his people. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 20

“Send men to Joppa,” the angel said, “and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: he lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.” [Verses 5, 6.] 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 21

Cornelius obeyed the instruction given. He united with the church, and became a useful and influential laborer together with God. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 22

This instance should be a comfort and strength to us. Let those who are in the service of God study closely the relation existing between heaven and earth. Heavenly and earthly instrumentalities are to unite in the great work of communicating light to those who are in darkness. Heavenly angels are to communicate blessings to us, and we in turn are to impart them to our fellow beings. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 23

Notice the commendation given to Cornelius: “Thy prayers and thine alms are come up before God as a memorial.” [Verse 4.] His faithfulness was recognized in heaven. God saw that he was a man fit to be entrusted with greater light and larger responsibilities, because he had made a right use of the talents lent to him. We are to regard our stewardship as a sacred responsibility. We are to trade diligently upon the talents entrusted to us. As we do this, God will recognize our faithful endeavor, and will give us increased ability for service. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 24

God is seeking to prepare His people to bear fruit to His glory. Paul says, “We are laborers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry; ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 25

“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereupon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest, for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work, of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” [Verses 10-15.] In the day of judgment every man’s work will be seen just as it is. God will then place His estimate upon the work of each one. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 26

The desire to be original will lead men into strange paths. God desires every human being to represent Christ. We are never to take credit to ourselves for the good we are enabled to do, but are to realize that all our ability is the gift of God. Nehemiah gained a remarkable influence over the monarch in whose courts he served, as well as over the people of his own nation. But he knew that his influence over the king and the people was not due to him, that the Lord, for His own name’s glory, had given him favor in their eyes. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 27

The grace of Christ, accepted and imparted, will lead to true Christian courtesy. Those who receive wisdom from God will reveal patience and charity and an integrity of character which cannot be bought or sold. They are controlled by the pure principles of Christianity. This makes them sound in the faith, and brings health to the soul. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 28

A healthy church is composed of healthy Christians, Christians who are not bound in slavery to appetite and disposition. Upon every one of us the Word of God enjoins freedom in Christ, freedom from the bondage of sin. We are in Christ’s service, and we are to wage an unceasing warfare against Satan’s devices. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 29

We have a work to do which distinguishes us from the world. God calls upon us to put away all sinfulness, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord. We are stewards of the grace of God, and we must make a voluntary surrender of all to Him. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 30

We are to carry on a determined warfare against satanic agencies. Christ is our General. Let us each ask ourselves the question, What can I do for God? There is work, earnest work, to be done for the Master. Go to the ignorant all around you, and teach them the truth. Visit the sick and afflicted, and tell them of the loving Saviour. Seek out the needy, and supply them with food and clothing. Thus you will win souls to Jesus. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 31

The words of Paul to the Ephesians are for us all: “Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:10-12.] We need to understand in regard to the evil agencies we have to meet. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 32

God’s people have been called out of the world, that they may be separate from the world. It is not safe for them to take sides in politics, whatever preferences they may have. They are ever to remember that they are one in Christ. God calls upon them to enter <their names as under> His theocracy. He cannot approve of those who link up with worldlings. We are entirely out of our place when we identify ourselves with party interests. Let us not forget that we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven. We are soldiers of the cross of Christ, and our work is to advance the interests of His kingdom. There are evil agencies to be met on all sides. In all ages the life of the Christian has been a battle, and at this time more than ever before we should show our colors. 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 33

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked: and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” [Verses 13-17.] 15LtMs, Ms 67, 1900, par. 34