Testimonies to the Church Regarding Individual Responsibility and Christian Unity


Chapter 2—“Perfect Through Sufferings”

Sanitarium, Cal.,

August 22, 1906.

I have a message to bear to our laborers in San Francisco and Oakland, and in Mountain View. SpTB09 8.2

God has a solemn work to be done in San Francisco. Much more needs to be done there than has yet been done, in proclaiming the warning message of Revelation 14 to the people of that city. SpTB09 8.3

It has been presented before me that the work in Oakland and in Mountain View needs to be carried forward in the Lord's own way, with much more self-denial and self-sacrifice than has been manifested in the past. SpTB09 8.4

I am instructed to say to the laborers in San Francisco and Oakland, and also in Mountain View: Let every worker remember that he is under most solemn obligation to labor in accordance with the Lord's plan. Let our brethren and sisters engaged in the Lord's work realize their great accountability to God at this time, in view of the special calamities that have come to San Francisco and to the Office in Mountain View. Let them consider, and take heed. Let every one engaged in the work examine his individual standing before God. SpTB09 8.5

My brother, my sister, have you been entrusted with certain duties and responsibilities?—Give yourself unreservedly to God, and realize your individual responsibility. There is a Watcher who is pleased or displeased with the manner in which your work is done. The Lord calls for those who will carry their load of responsibility with fear and trembling, looking to Him for wisdom, and praying for counsel and continual grace, that no mistakes shall be made. SpTB09 9.1

Those who are engaged in the Lord's service are to make Jesus their Pattern. Diligently they are to study His life and His words, and bring into their life-practise the principles that actuated Him in His service while upon this earth. SpTB09 9.2

When Jesus came into our world, the Jewish nation were not ready to receive Him. “The world knew Him not.” “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” They had lost sight of the character that He would reveal, and the manner of His coming, although these were plainly delineated in the Word. As a nation, they had become estranged from the pure spirituality attained through obedience to God's law. And so, when the Lord Jesus came to the world, His chosen people did not recognize their Deliverer; and they continued to teach for doctrine the commandments of men. SpTB09 9.3

At the age of twelve, Jesus accompanied Joseph and Mary to Jerusalem to attend the Passover. Here, for the first time during His child-life, He looked upon the temple. He saw the white-robed priests performing their solemn ministry, and witnessed the impressive rites of the paschal service. Day by day He saw their meaning more clearly. Every act seemed to be bound up with His own life. New impulses were awakening within Him. Silent and absorbed, He seemed to be studying out a great problem. The mystery of His mission was opening to the Saviour. The work that He was to accomplish for the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the appointed heirs of the promises of the covenant, began to dawn upon His mind. SpTB09 10.1

When the services of the Passover were ended, Jesus lingered in the temple courts; and when the worshipers departed from Jerusalem, He was left behind. It was then that He found the learned rabbis, and plied them with questions regarding the coming of the Messiah. He presented Himself before them in the attitude of a humble learner, and yet the doctors of the law were astonished at His questions. They could not always answer Him. In reality He revealed perfection of character, and although He had not been taught by the rabbis, He was more learned than they. SpTB09 10.2

The mother of Jesus, after a long search, found Him in the school of the rabbis. When He was alone with His parents, the mother said, in words that implied a rebuke, “Son, why hast Thou thus dealt with us? behold, Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing.” SpTB09 10.3

“How is it that ye sought Me?” answered Jesus. “Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?” And as they understood not His words, He pointed upward. In the answer to His mother, Jesus showed for the first time that He understood His relation to God. SpTB09 10.4

Through childhood, youth, and manhood, Jesus walked alone. He carried the awful weight of responsibility for the salvation of men. None could appreciate the burden of His soul. Filled with intensity of purpose, He carried out the design of His life, that He Himself should be the light of men. SpTB09 11.1

In the light of this infinite sacrifice in our behalf, how can we do otherwise than yield all to the Saviour, that we may be led and taught of Him? SpTB09 11.2

To those who are laboring in the various branches of the Lord's work I would say: Let every one carry with him a sense of the sacredness of God's work. Let no one be satisfied with a shallow development of spiritual knowledge in the religious life. Let every soul seek for a reconversion. God calls upon men and women, beginners in the work and also those of long experience, to labor interestedly in an effort to do better and still better work, under the supervision of the divine Teacher. SpTB09 11.3

Unless there is a decided change spiritually in the lives of many of the workers, they will never have a true sense of the sacredness of God's cause. More and more it must be understood that our work is to be done under Divine direction. Into the lives of the workers there must be brought frequent periods of reflection, study, and prayer. This is positively essential. Let the first and the last thought of the day be, Have I honored God today? A radical reform is called for. Now is your time for developing deep spirituality. Partake of the clear, pure truth of the Word of God, which is as a deep well-spring from which every one may drink freely. The thoughts awakened by a reception of the Word, sanctify the soul in perfect obedience to the law of the Lord. SpTB09 11.4

To every laborer I would say, Let light shine forth in your home church. In the congregation assembled for worship, discharge every duty faithfully. And in all your official duties, let unselfish integrity characterize every act. All tithes, all moneys, entrusted for any special purpose, should promptly be placed where they belong. Let every penny that is received be entered carefully upon the books for the purpose specified. Money coming in for the cause of God should not be used in meeting a special emergency, with the thought that it can be replaced later on. This kind of unfaithful work the Lord forbids. It is a temptation coming from one who worketh evil. The enemy of our souls is constantly seeking to exercise a power that leads astray, and that, if unchecked, will prove the ruin of many. SpTB09 12.1

The Lord, He is God. All His commandments are to be strictly obeyed. There will be no vindication of any soul who continues in transgression and sin. The truth practised in the life, in words, in actions, is the test whereby every man is to be judged. SpTB09 12.2

To the workers in Mountain View I am bidden to say: Let every one stand clear from the impenitence that brought destruction upon San Francisco. Be faithful in ridding your individual self of all the sins that marked the inhabitants of that doomed city. You need not try to forget that the judgments of God will soon fall upon all that are ungodly. None will then have the opportunity that you now have, of gaining a preparation for the future, immortal life. Who is now ready to have his life-work close suddenly? SpTB09 12.3

Grave responsibilities rest upon the leaders and upon the departmental superintendents. I am instructed to warn you, my brethren, that your faithfulness or unfaithfulness will have a strong influence either in advancing or in hindering the work of God. SpTB09 13.1

The terms of the law are plainly specified. If you love God with your whole heart and soul and strength and mind, and your neighbor as yourself, you are making sure of life eternal; for Christ has said of those who keep His commandments, “Ye shall live.” Will you do the very work you must do in order to be saved? If you are careful, prompt, and conscientious in your homelife; if in your prayers you claim the Lord's promises, and expect an answer; if you discharge your duties faithfully, you will not be left to stumble on in darkness. The Lord of heaven will be present with you; by His Holy Spirit He will guide you. Every one who is to receive the overcomer's reward must first overcome every sin; and not until he overcomes through divine grace, can he entertain hope of entering the haven of eternal bliss. SpTB09 13.2

Every Christian, as a wise steward, is to preserve Christlikeness of character by sanctified obedience to all the words of Holy Writ, which are spirit and life to the receiver. He is to partake of the flesh and drink of the blood of the Son of God. SpTB09 13.3

In Christian experience, the Lord permits trials of various kinds to call men and women to a higher order of living and to more sanctified service. Without these trials there would be a continual falling away from the likeness of Christ, and men would become imbued with a spirit of scientific, fanciful, human philosophy, which would lead them to unite with Satan's followers. SpTB09 13.4

In the providence of God, every good and great enterprise is subjected to trials, to test the purity and the strength of the principles of those who are standing in positions of responsibility, and to mold and substantiate the individual human character after God's model. This is the highest order of education. Perfection of character is attained through exercise of the faculties of the mind, in times of supreme test, by obedience to every requirement of God's law. Men in positions of trust are to be instrumentalities in the hands of God for promoting His glory; and in performing their duties with the utmost faithfulness, they may attain perfection of character. In the lives of those who are true to right principles, there will be a continual growth in knowledge. They will have the privilege of being acknowledged as colaborers with the great Master-worker in behalf of the human family, and will act a glorious part in carrying out the purposes of God. Thus, by precept and example, as laborers together with God, they will glorify their Creator. SpTB09 14.1

Ellen G. White