Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16

281/447

Ms 42, 1901

Revealing the Christlikeness

NP

June 2, 1901

Portions of this manuscript are published in TMK 199; 1BC 1110; 3BC 1149; 4BC 1148; 7BC 928-930; Ev 653-654; 6MR 119-121; 7MR 183; 8MR 192.

The Lord has a work for each one to do. We are to find out for ourselves what this work is, that we may have the assurance that we are working under the authority of God, as His appointed agencies. No one is excusable for remaining in ignorance. Every man should know his post of duty. He should stand in his lot and in his place, working unselfishly, earnestly, devotedly, with an eye single to the glory of God. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 1

The instruction given by Christ is clear and easy to be understood. It is the duty of every soul to understand for himself his appointed work. He is not to grope his way along in darkness and uncertainty, depending on human guidance. Christ has said, “I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” [John 8:12.] Let God’s workmen feel that every hour they are in need of divine guidance. Those who have not been looking to Jesus, inquiring, “Is this the way of the Lord?” should commence at once to do this. We are daily to realize that God has given us a part in His great work, and that He expects us to act intelligently. We are not to try to get up something new and singular, something odd and strange, in order to create a sensation. We are to be perfectly content to give the instruction Christ has given. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 2

Let each one in the service of Christ feel the need of His grace. As we study His lessons, line upon line, precept upon precept, we shall gain from them encouragement and strength. Do not seek to rise above the simplicity of Christ. Make Him your pattern, your confidant. In your simplicity lies your safety. When you strive to rise above the meekness and lowliness of the Saviour, you are weakness itself. Remember that you are to advance in the path which Christ has marked out for you. He says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Matthew 16:24.] 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 3

The uncultivated, non-producing wastes in the Lord’s vineyard are a sad testimony to unfaithful service. The Lord’s voice is heard, calling, “Go, work today in my vineyard.” [Matthew 21:28.] Self-denial and self-sacrifice are to be brought into the daily experience of those who work for the Master. Then the parts of the Lord’s vineyard which are now so barren and unproductive will be sown with the seeds of truth. Souls will be won to Christ. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 4

Every servant of God is to be guided by the Holy Spirit. It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. Our path, however rugged it may be, is marked out for us by the Lord; and in it we must walk. We must believe in Christ as a personal, sympathizing Saviour. He loves us and gave Himself for us. He doeth all things well. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 5

Our faith must pierce beyond the veil, seeing things that are invisible. No one else can look for you. You must behold for yourself. In the place of murmuring for blessings that are withheld, let us remember and appreciate the blessings already bestowed. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 6

God calls for human instrumentalities through which to work out His divine purposes. And while His messengers go forth into the harvest field, let those who remain at home give themselves to prayer. Let them, by speaking encouraging words, hold up the hands of those engaged in breaking the bread of life to hungry souls. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 7

Those in the home field must not think themselves capable of making decisions for those in foreign fields, when they do not understand the situation. It is their duty to say to their fellow workers in foreign fields, “You are on the ground. You know better than we what should be done in an emergency. Take counsel among yourselves. The Lord has given you a certain work to do. Ask help from Him who ‘giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.’ ‘If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, ... and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.’ [James 1:5-7.]” 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 8

More dependence has been placed in erring men than in the living God. Thus the ministry has become weak and the churches under their care have become weak. The idea that has prevailed—that when those in foreign fields desire to make advance steps, they must ask permission of a board or committee thousands of miles away—is not according to the will of the Lord. At such a distance it is not possible for the members of the board to comprehend the situation. The work has been greatly marred by unwise counsel, because those on the ground were not willing to take the responsibility of deciding certain questions. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 9

Those in foreign fields should be encouraged to make God their Counsellor, to believe that He is at their right hand to help them. So many mistakes would not be made if the workers would make God their dependence, believing that He who never makes a mistake will prepare their way before them. In every place there should be men wise in counsel, who are able to handle the matters that will come up for decision. And God must be consulted at every step. He knows the great necessities of the different fields, and He will guide all who desire to understand His will and follow in His footsteps. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 10

Canvassing-evangelists will open the work in many new places, remote from any church. These workers should have all authority to work for the conversion of souls and to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, those who believe. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 11

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. ... Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” [Hebrews 4:9, 11.] The rest here spoken of is the rest of grace, obtained by following the prescription, “Labor diligently.” Those who learn of Jesus His meekness and lowliness find rest in the experience of practicing His lessons. It is not in indolence, in selfish ease and pleasure-seeking, that rest is obtained. Those who are unwilling to give the Lord faithful, earnest, loving service will not find spiritual rest in this life or in the life to come. Only from earnest labor comes peace and joy in the Holy Spirit—happiness on earth and glory hereafter. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 12

Let us therefore labor. Speak often words that will be a strength and an inspiration to those who hear. We are altogether too indifferent in regard to one another. We forget that our fellow laborers are often in need of words of hope and cheer. When one is in trouble, call upon him and speak comforting words to him. This is true friendship. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 13

Labor for those who are loitering away their lives, accomplishing only half of what they might for the Master. Strive to arouse them to a sense of their responsibility. Pray for and exhort one another, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching. Let brother say to brother and sister to sister, “Come, my fellow laborer, let us put all earnestness into our work; for the night is at hand, wherein no man can work.” Let no one lose minutes by talking when he should be working. Let the talkative man remember that there are times when he has no right to talk. There are those who take time to stand still. Let the voice of the faithful sentinel be heard, “Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” [Romans 12:11.] Have you work to do for the Master? Is it building a house in which His work may be carried forward? Close your lips. Make not others idle by tempting them to listen to your talk. The time of many is lost when a man uses his tongue instead of his tools. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 14

Brethren, the present is our time for work. Let those who work for the Lord, in whatever line it may be, put all diligence into their labor. Pray for grace to overcome shiftlessness in temporal and spiritual matters. Rise above indolence. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 15

Faith in God and a love for souls gives men a genuine motive for faithfulness. It leads them to work faithfully that others may not be ruined by the example of unbelief which has ruined so many souls. Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Why? Because they failed to work diligently. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 16

Let us heed the words of the apostle, “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; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” [Ephesians 6:16-18.] 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 17

“The word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” [Hebrews 4:12, 13.] 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 18

The truths of the Bible, treasured in the heart and mind and obeyed in the life, convince and convert the soul, transform the character, and comfort and uplift the heart. “Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” [2 Corinthians 10:3-5.] The Word makes the proud humble, the perverse meek and contrite, the disobedient obedient. The sinful habits natural to man are interwoven with the daily practice. But the Word cuts away the fleshly lusts. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the mind. It divides the joints and marrow, cutting away the lusts of the flesh, making men willing to suffer for their Lord. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 19

Some to whom conviction comes refuse to change their way of life, because to change would be an acknowledgment that they had been wrong. To them the conviction is useless. They do not allow it to work in them true reformation. In order to repent, the sinner must see himself as he is. He must realize that by following wrong principles he has marred the work God has given him to do. When he is willing to see in God’s light all that the Lord presents to him, he will be filled with shame, distress, and humiliation. Then God will come to his relief. He will be led to look to Jesus, and, beholding the sacredness of the Saviour’s office and the perfection of His character, he will humble himself before Him, filled with remorse to think that in working against his own spiritual health and the spiritual health of others, he has worked against Christ. As he looks into the Word, as into a mirror, and sees his character as it is, he abhors himself. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 20

It is Christ who searches the hearts and tries the reins of the children of men. “All things are naked and open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do,” “neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight.” [Hebrews 4:13.] In the days of ancient Israel the sacrifices brought to the high priest were cut open to the backbone to see if they were sound at heart. So the sacrifices we bring today are laid open before the piercing eye of our great High Priest. He opens and inspects every sacrifice brought by the human race, that He may prove whether it is worthy of being presented to the Father. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 21

In Christ, divinity and humanity are united; therefore “he is able to succor all who are tempted,” “able to save to the uttermost all who come to God by Him.” [Hebrews 2:18; 7:25.] “He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” [Hebrews 4:15.] Though so high and holy, He pities our weakness and stoops to succor us, “for it pleased the Lord to bruise him.” [Isaiah 53:10.] Satan assailed Him in every point, yet He sinned not in thought, word, or deed. “He did no violence, neither was guile found in his mouth.” [Isaiah 53:9; 1 Peter 2:22.] Walking in the midst of sin, He was “holy, harmless, undefiled.” [Hebrews 7:26.] He was wrongfully accused, yet He opened not His mouth to justify Himself. How many now, when accused of that of which they are not guilty, feel that there is a time when forbearance ceases to be a virtue, and losing their temper, speak words which grieve the Holy Spirit? 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 22

“Seeing then that we have a great high priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” [Hebrews 4:14.] What is our profession? We profess to be following Christ. We claim to be Christians. Do we, then, reveal the Christlikeness? Do we serve the Saviour intelligently? Does the love of God continually flow from us to others? Do we in word and action, confess our Redeemer? Do we conform our lives to His holy principles? Are we pure and undefiled? Christians must hold the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end. It is not enough to profess the faith. There must be a patient endurance of all trials and a brave resistance to all temptations. Faith can be maintained only by bringing the Christian religion to the test of practice, thus demonstrating its transforming power and the faithfulness of its promises. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 23

“We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need.” [Verses 15, 16.] 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 24

In order that no one need make a mistake in his life work, God has placed before us the perfect example of Christ. The Son of God died that men might not perish, but have everlasting life. He has fulfilled His pledge, and has passed into the heavens, to take upon Him the government of the heavenly host. He fulfilled one phase of His priesthood by dying on the cross for the fallen race. He is now fulfilling another phase by pleading before the Father the case of the repenting, believing sinner, presenting to God the offerings of His people. Having taken human nature, and in this nature having overcome the temptations of the enemy, and having divine perfection, to Him has been committed the judgment of the world. The case of each one will be brought in review before Him. He will pronounce judgment, rendering to every man according to his works. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 25

God’s workers are to be united in the bonds of sympathy and kindness. Those who minister in Christ’s stead must ever manifest tender compassion for those who need help. They must show the sympathy of Jesus for those who are out of the way. They must put far from them every selfish consideration. They must remember that they are to be faithful stewards, having compassion on those who are committing sins of ignorance. Those who are connected with our institutions are to cultivate patience, brotherly kindness, forbearance. The spirit which has led to acts of oppression, which injure and bruise those who should be treated with Christian love and tenderness, is an offence to God. It is Satan who leads men to be unfeeling, without compassion or tenderness. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 26

Paul writes, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” [1 Corinthians 13:1-6.] 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 27

Those in responsible positions are to be subdued, converted, sanctified by obedience to the truth. Of Christ it is written, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” [Hebrews 5:8, 9.] Those who are engaged in Christ’s service will not want to hurt and condemn. Instead of destroying, they will seek to restore. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 28

Reverence for a “Thus saith the Lord” has been so poorly shown that hearts have become steeled in indifference. There is sharpness in deal between brother and brother. God is much displeased. He will not tolerate this spirit. “Therefore, seeing we have received this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” [2 Corinthians 4:1, 2.] Let the hidden things of dishonesty be no longer cherished as virtues. Let those who have practiced craftiness in trade, thinking to do God service, know that He despises all such work. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 29

Christ has been greatly dishonored because the truths which His people have known have not sanctified their lives. When they see themselves as they are, they will despise the sight as a representation entirely unchristlike. Through the operation of the Spirit they will be brought into conformity to the mind of Christ. They will represent the Saviour in word and deed. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 30

“We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” [2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:6, 7.] 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 31

Let those who occupy positions of trust rid themselves of the unmerciful spirit which so greatly offends God. Justice and judgment are the habitation of His throne. Let no one suppose that God has given to men the power of ruling their fellow men. He will accept the service of no man who hurts and discourages Christ’s heritage. Now is the time for every man to examine himself, to prove himself, that he may see whether he is in the faith. Investigate closely the motives which prompt you to action. We are engaged in the work of the Most High. Let us not weave into the web of our work one thread of selfishness. Let us rise to a higher plane in our daily experience. God will not serve with the sins of any man. 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 32

“We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” [Ephesians 2:10.] “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.” [Ephesians 3:14-21.] 16LtMs, Ms 42, 1901, par. 33