Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists


The Light of the World

“Ye are,” says Christ, “the light of the world.” As the sun goes forth upon its errand of mercy and love, as the golden beams of day flood the canopy of heaven and beautify forest and mountain, awakening the world by dispelling the darkness of night, so the followers of Christ should go forth upon their mission of love. Gathering divine rays of light from the great Light of the world, they should let them shine forth in good works upon those who are in the darkness of error. HS 140.2

Do you, my brethren and sisters, realize that you are the light of the world? Do you, in your words and deportment at home, leave a bright track heavenward? What is it to be the light of the world? It is to have God for your guide, to have the companionship of holy angels, and to reflect to others the light that shines upon you from above. But if you fail to exercise Christian courtesy, forbearance, and love in your families, God and holy angels are grieved away; and instead of being the light of the world, you are bodies of darkness. HS 140.3

It is possible, through the grace of Christ, to have control over yourselves at all times. If a dear friend, one whose good opinion you greatly desired, should come into your home, you would not be found fretting and scolding; but you would control your words and actions, and would seek in every way to so conduct yourselves as to gain his respect and confidence. Shall we take more care in the presence of a comparative stranger than in the presence of those who are dear to us by the ties of nature; or in the presence of Jesus and heavenly angels? God forbid; for by so doing we fail to meet the claims of high heaven upon us. HS 140.4

It is not the will of God that we should be gloomy or impatient; nor that we should be light and trifling. It is Satan's studied plan to push persons from one extreme to the other. As children of the light, God would have us cultivate a cheerful, happy spirit, that we may show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. A lady once lived in our family nine years, and during all this time we did not hear an impatient word or a light expression from her lips; and yet she was the most cheerful person I ever saw. Hers was not a life of darkness and gloom, nor of lightness and frivolity. In this respect our lives should be like hers. God would not have us live under a cloud, but as in the light of his countenance. HS 140.5

Some are naturally of a reticent disposition; a smile is seldom seen upon their faces, and they seem more like statues than human beings. Such should open their hearts to the Sun of righteousness, and gather precious rays of light from Jesus, that they may reflect them to others. God wants you, brethren and sisters, to have this light in your hearts, and then you will be channels of light wherever you are. Like the sunflower, which turns its face constantly toward the sun, you must look continually toward the Source of light, that you may catch every ray possible. HS 141.1

Many who profess to be followers of Christ are as worlds without the sun. If these would leave their darkness and unbelief, and press forward in faith, they would become light in the Lord. Who would think of distrusting a dear friend who promised that if we would follow him he would lead us safely through the darkest forest? Much less ought we to doubt the word of Jesus, who has said, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” He will not leave those who trust in him to fall under the temptations of Satan. This is not his way of dealing with his children. He has promised to lift upon them the light of his countenance. HS 141.2

The law of God is made void in the land, but here is a little company who have come out from the world and are standing in defense of that law. To these Jesus says, “Ye are the light of the world.” Now, suppose that you keep your minds dwelling upon self and your darkness; how can you be the light of the world? You keep yourselves in darkness by looking at your own imperfections, instead of the willingness and power of Jesus to save to the uttermost all that come unto him in faith. You hug your darkness so close that there is no chance for the light to get in. HS 141.3

I want to say to those who have been desponding, When Satan comes in to tempt you, and you have no evidence that the Lord accepts you, do not look to see how dark you are, but look up to the light. Begin to praise God for the plan of salvation, and hold every victory gained through Christ. As you repeat the confidence you have in Jesus, Satan will flee; for he cannot bear the name of Jesus. Thus, step by step, you can fight the fight of faith. Remember that Jesus has borne long with you, and he does not want you to be lost. He says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock. If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” By this he shows that he wants to take possession of your hearts. HS 141.4

Satan may tell you that you cannot be blessed; but Jesus says that he will come in, if you will open the door of your hearts. Which will you believe? Here is another precious promise that all may claim. It is not addressed to those who are perfect, but to sinners; to those who have wandered away from Christ. “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Is there one here who dares not claim this promise? Is there one who will say, “I am so sinful that this does not mean me”? Put away such thoughts. Christ will accept you, polluted by sin though you may be, if you will come to him with contrition of soul. He invites all to come into the light of his presence. Then why should you remain away? We want these doubting ones to go from this meeting strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. HS 141.5

The word of God says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” It will require an effort on your part to walk with God. Jesus said to the man with the withered hand, “Stretch forth thine hand.” The afflicted man might have said, “Lord, I have not used it for years; heal it first, and then I will stretch it forth.” But instead of this, when Jesus commanded him to stretch it forth, he exercised the power of his will, and moved it just as if it were well. The very exercise of the will power was evidence to Jesus that the man believed; and his hand was healed in the act of stretching it forth. God would have you put away your darkness, and show that there is a power in the Christian religion that there is not in the world. He wants to make you all light in him; he wants to fill your hearts with love, and peace, and hope. If, then, you continue to cling to your darkness, you dishonor him; for you do not correctly represent to the world a sin-pardoning Saviour. If you are gloomy, desponding, hopeless, you are a poor representative of the Christian religion. Christ died for all. The sacrifice was complete. It is your privilege and duty to show to the world that you have an entire, all-powerful Saviour. It was the Son of the infinite God who died to purchase a full and free salvation for all that would accept it. Then why not take him as your Saviour? He rebukes your unbelief; he honors your faith. HS 142.1

Go into a cellar, and you may well talk of darkness, and say, “I cannot see; I cannot see.” But come up into the upper chamber, where the light shines, and you need not be in darkness. Come where Christ is, and you will have light. Talk unbelief, and you will have unbelief; but talk faith, and you will have faith. According to the seed sown will be the harvest. If you talk of heaven and the eternal reward, you will become lighter and lighter in the Lord, and your faith will grow, because it is exercised. Fasten your eyes upon Jesus, dear friends, and by beholding you will become assimilated to his image. Do not allow your thoughts to dwell continually upon things of the earth, but place them upon things that are heavenly, and then, wherever you are, you will be a light to the world. HS 142.2

Live the life of faith day by day. Do not become anxious and distressed about the time of trouble, and thus have a time of trouble beforehand. Do not keep thinking, “I am afraid I shall not stand in the great testing day.” You are to live for the present, for this day only. Tomorrow is not yours. Today you are to maintain the victory over self. Today you are to live a life of prayer. Today you are to fight the good fight of faith. Today you are to believe that God blesses you. And as you gain the victory over darkness and unbelief, you will meet the requirements of the Master, and will become a blessing to those around you. HS 142.3

From every member of the church a steady light should shine forth before the world, so that they shall not be led to inquire, “What do these people more than others?” Religion is not to be held as a precious treasure, jealously hoarded, and enjoyed only by the possessor. True religion cannot be thus held; for such a spirit is contrary to the gospel. “Freely ye have received, freely give,” are the words of the Master. While Christ is dwelling in the heart by his Spirit, it is impossible for the light of his presence to be concealed or to grow dim. On the contrary, it will grow brighter and brighter, as day by day the mists of selfishness and sin that envelop the soul are dispelled by the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness. HS 143.1

Christians may learn a lesson from the faithfulness of the light-house keeper. “A gentleman once visited a light-house that was placed in a very dangerous position to warn men of the perils that threaten them on the trackless sea. The keeper was boasting of the brilliancy of his light, which could be seen ten leagues out at sea, when the visitor said to him: You speak with enthusiasm, sir; and that is well. I like to hear men tell what they are sure they know; but what if one of the lights should go out?’ HS 143.2

“‘Never, never! absurd! impossible!’ replied the sensitive watchman, in consternation at the mere supposition of such a thing. ‘Why, sir,’ he continued, pointing to the ocean, ‘yonder where nothing can be seen, there are ships going by to every port in the world. If, tonight, one of my burners should go out, within six months would come a letter, perhaps from India, perhaps from Australia, perhaps from a port I never heard of before,—a letter saying that on such a night, at such an hour, at such a minute, the light at such a point burned low and dim; that the watchman neglected his post, and that vessels were consequently put in jeopardy on the high seas. Ah, sir,’ and his face shone with the intensity of his thought, ‘sometimes in the dark nights, and in the stormy weather, I look out upon the sea and feel as though the eye of the whole world were looking at my light. Go out? Burn dim? That flame flicker low or fail? No, sir, never!’ HS 143.3

“And shall Christians, shining for tempted sinners, allow their light to fail? For, ever out upon life's billowy sea are souls we see not, strange sailors in the dark, passing by, struggling, it may be, amid the surges of temptation. Christ is the great light, and Christians are appointed to reflect that light. The ocean is vast, its dangers are many, and the eyes of far-away voyagers are turned toward the light-house,—the church of Jesus Christ.” If the world intervenes between the church and Christ, its light will burn dim, and souls will be lost because of a lack of that light. Shall it not be the language of every heart here this morning, What! let the light that is in me go out or burn dim! Never! never! HS 143.4

We are all woven together in the great web of humanity, and God holds us responsible for the influence we exert over others. Throw a pebble into the lake, and a wave is formed, and another, and another; and as they increase, the circle widens, until they reach the very shore. Thus our influence, though apparently insignificant, may continue to extend far beyond our knowledge or control. It is as impossible for us to determine the result as it was for the watchman to see the ships that were scattered upon the sea. HS 143.5

God in his providence does not permit us to know the end from the beginning; but he gives us the light of his word to guide us as we pass along, and bids us to keep our minds stayed upon Jesus. Wherever we are, whatever our employment, our hearts are to be uplifted to God in prayer. This is being instant in prayer. We need not wait until we can bow upon our knees, before we pray. On one occasion, when Nehemiah came in before the king, the king asked why he looked so sad, and what request he had to make. But Nehemiah dared not answer at once. Important interests were at stake. The fate of a nation hung upon the impression that should then be made upon the monarch's mind; and Nehemiah darted up a prayer to the God of heaven, before he dared to answer the king. The result was that he obtained all that he asked or even desired. HS 144.1

This is the course that God would have us pursue under all circumstances. He wants us to be minute men and women. He wants us to be ready always to give to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is within us with meekness and fear. Why with fear? It is with a fear lest we shall not make a right impression upon the mind of the inquirer; with a fear lest self shall not be out of sight, and the truth not be made to appear as it is in Jesus. HS 144.2

I feel an intense desire that our brethren and sisters shall be correct representatives of Jesus. Do not pierce his wounds afresh, and put him to an open shame, by an inconsistent life. Become thoroughly acquainted with the reasons of our faith, and show by word and act that Christ is dwelling in your hearts by faith. May God help you to walk with Jesus. If you do, you will be the light of the world, and in the time of trouble he will say, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” HS 144.3

Monday morning, September 28.