Special Testimony to Our Ministers—No. 2

Need of Divine Power and Wisdom

We have been asked why it is that there is so little power in the churches, why there is so little efficiency among our teachers. The answer is that it is because known sin in various forms is cherished among the professed followers of Christ, and the conscience becomes hardened by long violation. The answer is that men do not walk with God, but separate company with Jesus, and as a result we see manifested in the church selfishness, covetousness, pride, strife, contention, hardheartedness, licentiousness, and evil practices. Even among those who preach the sacred word of God, this state of evil is found, and unless there is thorough reformation among those who are unholy and unsanctified, it would be better that such men should leave the ministry, and choose some other occupation, where their unregenerate thoughts would not bring disaster upon the people of God. SpTA02a 12.1

The apostle exhorts the brethren, saying, “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 in the evil day, and having done all to stand.” O what a day is before us! What sifting will there be among those who claim to be the children of God! The unjust will be found among the just. Those who have great light and who have not walked in it, will have darkness corresponding to the light they have despised. We have need to heed the lesson contained in the words of Paul, “But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” The enemy is diligently working to see who he can add to the ranks of apostasy; but the Lord is soon coming, and ere long every case will be decided for eternity. Those whose works correspond with the light graciously given them, will be numbered on the Lord's side. SpTA02a 12.2

We are waiting and watching for the grand and awful scene which will close up this earth's history. But we are not simply to be waiting; we are to be vigilantly working with reference to this solemn event. The living church of God will be waiting, watching, and working. None are to stand in a neutral position. All are to represent Christ in active, earnest effort to save perishing souls. Will the church fold her hands now? Shall we sleep as is represented in the parable of the foolish virgins? Every precaution is to be taken now; for hap-hazard work will result in spiritual declension, and that day will overtake us as a thief. The mind needs to be strengthened, to look deep, and discern the reasons of our faith. The soul-temple is to be purified by the truth; for only the pure in heart will be able to stand against the wiles of Satan. SpTA02a 13.1

We are not to copy the world's practices, and yet we are not to stand aloof from the people of the world; for our light must shine amid the moral darkness that covers the earth. There is a sad lack in the church, of Christian love one for another. This love is easily extinguished, and yet without it we cannot have Christian fellowship, nor love for those for whom Christ died. SpTA02a 13.2

Our brethren need to take heed to the injunction, “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” We shall have to meet crooked elements in the world and in the church. Men will come claiming to have great light; but those who have experience in the cause of God, will see that what they present as light is great darkness. Men of this class will have to be treated according to the specifications of the word of God. Those who are in error may become excited in advocating their views, but those who are walking in the light can afford to be calm, gentle with the erring, “apt to teach,” making manifest the fact that they have asked and received wisdom of God. They will have no occasion to move excitedly, but occasion to move wisely, patiently, “in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves.” SpTA02a 14.1

The time has come when those who are rooted and grounded in the truth may manifest their firmness and decision, may make known the fact that they are unmoved by the sophistry, maxims, or fables of the ignorant and wavering. Without foundation men will make statements with all the positiveness of truth; but it is of no use to argue with them concerning their spurious assertions. The best way to deal with error is to present the truth, and leave wild ideas to die out for want of notice. Contrasted with truth, the weakness of error is made apparent to every intelligent mind. The more the erroneous assertions of opposers, and of those who rise up among us to deceive souls, are repeated, the better the cause of error is served. The more publicity is given to the suggestions of Satan, the better pleased is his Satanic majesty; for unsanctified hearts will be prepared to receive the chaff that he provides for them. We shall have to meet difficulties of this order even in the church. Men will make a world of an atom and an atom of a world. SpTA02a 14.2

Cannot we do more for the churches, that they may be aroused to act upon the light already given? God has appointed to every man his work. The lowliest as well as the mightiest have been endowed with influence that should tell on the Lord's side, and they devote their talent to him, each working in his appointed place of duty. The Lord expects every one to do his best. When light shines into the heart, he expects our work to correspond with our light, to be in accordance with the measure of the fullness of Christ which we have received. The more we use our knowledge and exercise our powers, the more knowledge we shall have, the more power we shall acquire to do more and better work. Our talents are not our own, they are the Lord's property with which we are to trade. We are responsible for the use or the abuse of the Lord's goods. God calls upon men to invest their intrusted talents, that when the Master cometh he may receive his own with usury. With his own blood Christ has purchased us as his servants. Shall we serve him? Shall we now study to show ourselves approved unto God? Shall we show by our actions that we are stewards of his grace? Every effort put forth for the Master, prompted by a pure, sincere heart, will be a fragrant offering to him. SpTA02a 15.1

We are walking in the sight of unseen intelligences. A witness is by our side constantly to see how we trade with the Lord's intrusted goods. When the good steward returns his talents with usury, he will claim nothing. He will realize that they are the talents that God delivered unto him, and will give glory to the Master. He knows that there would have been no gain without the deposit, no interest without the principal. He will say, “Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents; behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.” Let the church now consider whether they are putting out to usury the capital the Lord has given. Without the grace of Christ, every soul would have been bankrupt for eternity; therefore we can rightfully claim nothing. But while we can claim nothing, yet when we are faithful stewards, the Lord rewards us as if the merit were all our own. He says, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” How many will mourn for lost opportunities when it is eternally too late! Today we have talent and opportunity, but we know not how long these may be ours. Then let us work while it is day; for the night cometh in which no man can work. “Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” SpTA02a 15.2

Ellen G. White

July 3, 1892.