Sermons and Talks, vol. 1


The Ministry

Sermon by Ellen G. White, August 30, 1898, a portion of which appears in Evangelism.

[Colossians 1:25-29, quoted.] 1SAT 292.1

The ministry is a sacred office. Christ crucified is the power of God unto salvation to all who will believe. A Saviour lifted up—a Saviour full and complete to all who accept Him—is the science of salvation. The subject is never exhausted. It is always fresh; for today Christ is a living Intercessor before the Father in the heavenly courts. Christ, the propitiation for the sins of the world, is a living subject instinct with divinity, and always fresh and new. 1SAT 292.2

It is through His merits, through an example of suffering, that the chosen disciples of Christ are fitted for every work of ministry and for every trial and discouragement in this work. Looking unto Jesus—His self-denying life, His sacrifice, His humiliation in their behalf—they are ready to follow in His footsteps, to endure the cross, despise the shame, and go without the camp bearing His reproach. The Holy Spirit makes them one with Christ, their divine Leader. The truth enthroned in the heart sanctifies the soul, and the power and grace of God within manifests itself in the life as the power and wisdom of God. 1SAT 292.3

Christ promised His followers, “If I go away, I will send another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever” [cf. John 14:16]. With this divine endowment the human agent is qualified to work in Christ's lines. Christ continued, “He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” [Verse 26]. 1SAT 293.1

Individually living the life of Christ, His followers become living working agencies. They possess the character of Christ. They have the love of Christ, His faith, His hope, His oneness with the Father. They lean on Christ as their only staff and sufficiency. They are Christ's living witnesses. By their words, their spirit, their true courtesy, their influence, by their every action, they testify of Christ. A power goes out from these human agencies, bearing the testimony that they are laborers together with God, that they have communion with their Saviour. 1SAT 293.2

The preaching of the Word is not to be undervalued. The work for the salvation of souls is a sacred, holy work. Says the prophet, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth” [Isaiah 52:7]. 1SAT 293.3

What honor is conferred upon men in that they may be laborers together with God, His messengers, to proclaim as did the forerunner of Christ, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Lift up the risen Saviour, and say to all who will hear, Come to Him who has loved us and died for us. Let the self-denial, the compassion, the great love wherewith Christ has loved us in purchasing us with His own life, be unfolded before men. The science of salvation is to be the burden of every sermon, the theme of every song. Let it be poured forth in every supplication. 1SAT 293.4

Let nothing be brought into the preaching of the Word to supplement Christ, the Word and power of God. Let His name, the only name given under heaven whereby we may be saved, be exalted in every discourse, and from Sabbath to Sabbath let the trumpet of the watchmen be given a certain sound. Christ is the science and eloquence of the gospel, and His ministers are to hold forth the word of life, presenting hope to the penitent, peace to the troubled and desponding, and grace and completeness and strength to the believing. 1SAT 294.1

Encouragement should be given to the precious lambs of the flock. Said the Majesty of heaven, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God” [Mark 10:14]. He does not send those children to the rabbis. He does not send them to the Pharisees. He says, The mothers who have brought their children to Me have done well. “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.” 1SAT 294.2

Then let the mothers accept the invitation, and lead their children to Christ. Let the ministers of the gospel take the children in their arms and bless them. In the name of Jesus let words of tenderness and love be spoken to the little ones, because Christ took the lambs of the flock in His arms and blessed them. 1SAT 294.3

Our expectation is from God who in the crucified One, has given us rich and powerful truths and weighty arguments to move the hearts of men. The simple prayer indited by the Holy Spirit will ascend through the gates ajar, the open door [of] which Christ has declared, “I have opened, and no man can shut” [cf. Revelation 3:7]. Those prayers, mingled with the incense of the perfections of Christ, will ascend as fragrance before the Father, and answers will come. The Holy Spirit will descend, and souls will come to a knowledge of the truth. Sinners will be converted, and their faces turned from the world and earthly things toward heaven. The Sun of righteousness will inspire them with motives for action, and they will realize that they are witnesses for Christ. 1SAT 295.1

We are to be judged according to the deeds done in the body. “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” [Matthew 12:37]. The watchmen are not to slumber and sleep in their important mission. They must not only preach, but minister, educating the souls who have turned from error to truth, by personal labor, by precept and example teaching them that “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: who gave His life for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” [Titus 2:12-14]. 1SAT 295.2

Ministers of God, great is your responsibility to go forward in Christian experience and righteousness, from light to still greater light, walking conscientiously, striving to reach a high and exalted standard. As the powers of darkness with intense activity work from beneath, the agencies of God should be more and more vigilant in cooperating with the divine, in giving the trumpet a certain sound. In earnest tones, distinct and startling, they are to proclaim the righteousness of the law, that no watchman may fail to catch the sound of alarm, and in their turn sound the warnings coming from heaven. All must be aroused from their lethargy to wakeful, earnest, watching for souls as they that must give an account. 1SAT 296.1

Light, increased light from heaven, is waiting to be imparted to those who will walk and work in the light which they already have. There is to be quick and earnest thought, talent, and tact displayed in enterprises that will communicate light to those who are near and afar off. Careful consideration should be made of every way that is not the way of the Lord. No sleepy watchman must be tolerated. Under their leader the principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness of this world are at work. 1SAT 296.2

Because it has been so difficult to arouse from their lethargy the many who have long professed to know the truth, spiritual wickedness in high places has increased. Men have taken their stand to hedge up the way of the Lord's army of workers. They have taken souls unaware and led them into strange paths. May the Lord show these men who have long been hindrances, who, whenever opportunities have presented themselves, have placed a stumbling block in the way of others, [by] whose side they have worked, and make diligent work of repentance. They have weakened the hands of others, and given the enemy every advantage. 1SAT 296.3

Time, precious time, has been lost. Golden opportunities have passed by unimproved, because of a lack of clear spiritual eyesight and wise generalship to plan and devise ways and means to frustrate the enemy and preoccupy the field. These men think they have been doing a very wise work, but the Judgment will show what has been the character of their warfare and what has been lost to Christ through their maneuvering. Let us now wake up. There is earnest work to be done. If we will draw nigh to God, He will draw nigh to us. 1SAT 297.1

Slumbering watchmen, what of the night? Do you not know the time of night? Do you feel no burden to lift the danger signal and give the warnings for this time? If you do not, come down from the walls of Zion, for God will not entrust you with the light He has to give. Light is only given to those who will reflect that light upon others. “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” [2 Corinthians 3:18]. 1SAT 297.2

Lift the standard. The minister of the gospel must not give all his attention to sermonizing. The church of God must be kept in order. There is ministering to be done. The sick are to be visited. Men and women are to be educated after the divine model. “It is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” [Romans 13:12]. 1SAT 297.3

The grace of Christ received in the soul will work as an educator. The trust received in the heart will purify the soul. The religion of Jesus Christ never makes the receiver coarse and rough and uncourteous. Truth is delicate and elevating. It acts as a refiner. It sanctifies the soul. The constant influence of truth trains the soul after Christ's pattern, and molds and fashions the character for the courts above. It is a grand principle which must be brought into the daily practical life. 1SAT 298.1

There is no danger of belittling the mind by giving attention to the little things of life with which we have to do. Any negligence of acts of politeness and tender regard on the part of brother for brother, any neglect of kind, encouraging words in the family circle, parents with children and children with parents, confirms habits which make the character unChristlike. But if these little things are performed, they become great things. They increase to large proportions. They breathe a sweet perfume in the life which ascends to God as holy incense. An angel presence is in the home. Love is manifested in kindness, gentleness, forbearance, and longsuffering. 1SAT 298.2

The man who accepts the position of being [a] mouthpiece for God should consider it highly essential that he present the truth with all the grace and intelligence he can, that the truth may lose nothing in his presentation of it to the people. Those who consider it a little thing to speak with an imperfect utterance, dishonor God. God is not glorified when His servants, in holding forth the word of life pitch their voices to a high key, and talk in loud, unnatural tones. By so doing they abuse the organs of speech. God enjoins us, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” [Matthew 5:48]. “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” [Colossians 1:28]. 1SAT 298.3

The apostle Paul could say: [Acts 20:18-20, quoted].—Manuscript 107, 1898. (MR 900.30) 1SAT 299.1