Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 22 (1907)

253/354

Ms 43, 1907

Exhortation to Faithfulness

NP

March 12, 1907 [typed]

This manuscript is published in entirety in 7MR 353-361.

Exhortation to Faithfulness to Church Members and Elders

We greatly desire that the work of the Lord shall move forward in right lines. As a people we are to make an entire surrender of ourselves to God. God calls upon every church member to enter His service. Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted to others, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. Every one must learn to work and to stand in his place as a burden-bearer. Every addition to the church should be one more agency for the carrying out of the great plan of redemption. The entire church, acting as one, blending in perfect union, is to be a living, active missionary agency, moved and controlled by the Holy Spirit. 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 1

When the early Christians of the church at Antioch ministered before the Lord, and fasted, the Lord directed them in the sending forth of their laborers. “The Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they being sent forth by the Holy Ghost departed.” [Acts 13:2-4.] 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 2

After making a missionary tour, Paul and Barnabas retraced their steps, visiting the churches they had raise up, and selecting men to unite with them in their work. “And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how He had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. And there they abode long time with the disciples.” [Acts 14:27, 28.] 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 3

“And it came to pass that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on Him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve. And he went into the synagogue and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God.” [Acts 19:1-8.] 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 4

The experience of Paul and Barnabas is recorded for the instruction of the churches today. “Arise, shine,” the Lord commands, “for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” [Isaiah 60:1.] The Holy Spirit was given to these disciples who were especially set apart, and the same presence will go with every one who will be a laborer together with God, seeking His counsel and surrendering the will to His will. The Holy Spirit—this is the sacred endowment of those who humble their hearts before God and submit to His guidance; this is the secret of their power. Much prayer and a humbling of the heart, a constant surrender of the will to God, will bring the help pledged to every worker by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Angels of God will work for those who yield themselves to the leading of the Spirit. 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 5

Believers must not expect to gain eternal life without meeting trial and difficulty. They are to prepare to do the work that Christ did and to meet the trials that He daily experienced. Christ and Belial are at work in the world, and there is no peace or unity between them. The enmity which in the garden of Eden God declared should exist between the serpent and the Seed of the woman is very apparent. Satan is constantly seeking to lead men into error. He is the god of all dissension, and he has no lack of isms to bring forward to delude. New sects are constantly arising to lead from the truth; and instead of being fed with the bread of life, the people are served with a dish of fables. The Scriptures are wrested and, taken from their true connection, are quoted to give falsehood the appearance of truth. The garments of truth are stolen to hide the features of heresy. 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 6

Paul planted the pure truths of the gospel in Galatia. He preached the doctrine of righteousness by faith, and his work was rewarded in seeing the Galatian church converted to the gospel. Then Satan began to work through false teachers to confuse the minds of some of the believers. The boasting of these teachers, and the setting forth of their wonder-working powers, blinded the spiritual eyesight of many of the new converts, and they were led into error. Writing to them in this experience, Paul said: 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 7

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble [you] and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? ... He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” [Galatians 1:6-8; 3:1-3, 5.] 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 8

For a time Paul lost his hold on the minds of those who had been deceived; but relying on the Word and power of God, and refusing the interpretations of the apostate teachers, he was able to lead the converts to see that they had been deceived, and thus defeat the purposes of Satan. The new converts came back to the faith, prepared to take their position intelligently for the truth. 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 9

Paul’s object was to preach the righteousness that comes by faith on Jesus Christ. He took the position that every soul must have a genuine experience in this righteousness. The burning zeal in the heart of Paul compelled him to give the message. He gave assurance of his own faith in the message he bore, and the Holy Spirit accompanied his words with convincing power. 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 10

It was a tremendous step for Paul to take when he first acknowledged Christ as the Son of God; but he knew that which he affirmed. In heavenly vision God revealed to him a knowledge of the Word. This revelation led him to speak with assurance of his faith. In clear and unanswerable argument he set forth Christ as the resurrection and the life to all who would believe in Him. The enemies tried again and again to take the life of Paul, but truth bore away the victory. Angels of God were on the ground to fight for the one who would not fight for himself. 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 11

Those who engage in the work of God’s cause today will meet just such trials as Paul endured in his work. By the same boastful and deceptive work Satan will seek to draw converts from the faith. Theories will be brought in that it will not be wise for us to handle. Satan is a cunning worker, and he will bring in subtle fallacies to darken and confuse the mind and root out the doctrines of salvation. Those who do not accept the Word of God just as it reads will be snared in his trap. Today we need to speak the truth with holy boldness. The testimony borne to the early church by the Lord’s messenger His people are to hear in this time: “Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” [Galatians 1:8.] 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 12

The man who makes the working of miracles the test of his faith will find that Satan can, through a species of deceptions, perform wonders that will appear to be genuine miracles. It was this he hoped to make a test question with the Israelites at the time of their deliverance from Egypt. The instruction given to Moses for Israel is timely instruction for us: “These words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thine house, and on thy gates.” [Deuteronomy 6:6-9.] 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 13

When we bring our lives to complete obedience to the law of God, regarding God as our supreme Guide, and clinging to Christ as our hope of righteousness, God will work in our behalf. This is a righteousness of faith, a righteousness hidden in a mystery of which the worldling knows nothing, and which he cannot understand. Sophistry and strife follow in the train of the serpent; but the commandments of God, diligently studied and practiced, open to us communication with heaven and distinguish for us the true from the false. This obedience works out for us the divine will, bringing into our lives the righteousness and perfection that was seen in the life of Christ. 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 14

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but as ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” [1 Peter 5:1-4.] 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 15

Those who occupy the position of undershepherds, as elders of the church, are to exercise a watchful diligence over the Lord’s flock. This is not to be a lording, dictatorial vigilance. They are to encourage and strengthen. 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 16

“Likewise ye younger, submit yourselves to the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you. 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 17

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” [Verses 5-10.] 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 18

Those who receive the holy calling to bear God’s message to the world will exalt the message, not self. They will walk humbly with God day by day. If they will work under the guidance of the Great Shepherd, proving themselves caretakers, worthy of such responsibility, God will exalt them in due time. Whatever his position, man is never to teach his fellow man to look to him for wisdom. Human beings are never to take the place of God; man is never to put his trust in man, nor make flesh his arm. The Lord is to be our trust. We are to look to Him for guidance. And when we receive counsel from the Lord, we are to follow that counsel. 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 19

Heresies are now arising among the people of God, and they will continue to arise. As we near the end of time, falsehood will be so mingled with truth, that only those who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be able to distinguish truth from error. 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 20

We need to make every effort to keep the way of the Lord. We must in no case turn from His guidance to put our trust in man. The Lord’s angels are appointed to keep strict watch over those who put their faith in the Lord, and these angels are to be our special help in every time of need. Every day we are to come to the Lord with full assurance of faith and to look to Him for wisdom. The ministers who teach the truth for this time are to strengthen their hearts by studying the Word of God. “It is the spirit that quickeneth,” Christ said, “the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” [John 6:63.] Those who are guided by the Word of the Lord will discern with certainty between falsehood and truth, between sin and righteousness. 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 21

“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” [2 Corinthians 2:14-17.] 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 22

These words of Paul do not denote a spiritual pride, but a deep knowledge of Christ. As one of God’s messengers sent to confirm the truth of the Word, he knew what was truth; and with the boldness of a sanctified conscience he gloried in that knowledge. He knew that he was called of God to preach the gospel with all the assurance which his confidence in the message gave him. He was called to be God’s ambassador to the people, and he preached the gospel as one who was called. 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 23

“I thank my God always on your behalf,” he wrote, “for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you; so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 24

“Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” [1 Corinthians 1:4-10.] 22LtMs, Ms 43, 1907, par. 25