Manuscript Releases, vol. 21 [Nos. 1501-1598]

10/99

MR No. 1509—Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians; Medical Work to Be Connected to the Church

(Written in 1898 to J.H. Kellogg.)

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace: wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence” [Ephesians 1:1-8]. 21MR 51.1

These promises are not made to a few, but to all who will come to the heavenly banquet that God has prepared by sending His Son to our world to die in our behalf, that through faith in Him we should become one with God. The praise and glory of His grace, power, and wisdom is the effectual salvation of a peculiar people. Wonderful possibilities are provided for every one who has faith in Christ. No walls are built to keep any living soul from salvation. The predestination of which God speaks includes all who will accept Christ as a personal Saviour, who will return to their loyalty, to perfect obedience to all God's commandments. This is the effectual salvation of a peculiar people, chosen by God from among men. All who are willing to be saved by Christ are the elect of God. It is the obedient who are predestinated from the foundation of the world. 21MR 51.2

There is a serious, solemn work to be done at this time. In all places the standard is to be lifted. God has “made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times, He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will: that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth” [verses 9-13]. The word of truth, Bible truth, present truth, is to be presented calmly, soberly, in the demonstration of the Spirit, for the angels of God are making impressions upon minds. “The gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believe, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.” 21MR 51.3

What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption. The intelligent mind has seen the sign of the cross of Calvary in the Lord's adopted sons and daughters. The sin of the transgression of the law of God is taken away. They have on the wedding garment, and are obedient and faithful to all God's commands. 21MR 52.1

“Which is the earnest of our inheritance,” Paul continues, “until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory. Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of His glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power” [verses 14-19]. 21MR 52.2

You are engaged in a great work, but you are treating yourself unwisely. You must guard yourself and those who look to you for instruction, that you may not work away the healthy tone and fragrance which reveals the sound, sensible principles that make sound, sensible workers who can advance God's cause. This thing you must remember: every standard raised in the work is to be founded on the Book, that storm and tempest may be unable to sweep it away. 21MR 52.3

“According to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all” [verses 19-23]. 21MR 52.4

You must not educate your students to look to and depend on you. Do not tell them, as a master does his servant, what work they are to do. You may advise, but let them go to the Lord for counsel. He has given to every man his work. 21MR 52.5

If you should follow your human judgment, you would do the very things that would be out of harmony with God's purposes and plans. Warn every student against placing dependence on you, for you are not beyond temptation. Even now, though doing the very work the Lord designs to have done, you are embracing too much. The light of Christian instruction may be turned in wrong channels, and the work God would have done may become too scattered, thus bringing confusion and discouragement upon the workers. 21MR 53.1

The Lord alone must be your counselor. Remember that Satan has come down with great power to work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they yield to his plans. You are not above temptation. You are not to feel confidence in your own strength. Your only dependence must be in God. Lean hard on Jesus Christ. You have worked hard to bring about good results. Do not now make any mistakes. 21MR 53.2

You must never, never seek to lift one pin, remove one landmark, that the Lord has given to His people as truth. You can manipulate matters to suit your own plans and devices. But just as soon as you allow your influence to lead away from the strait and narrow path that the Lord has cast up for His people, in order to accommodate yourself, your prosperity will cease; for God will not be your guide. The record of Nebuchadnezzar's life has been presented to me again and again to present to you, that you may be warned not to trust in yourself and your own wisdom, or to make flesh your arm. Never seek for popularity. Never let the banner be lowered or drop from your hands in order to blend in the wording of the message for these last days anything but that which will keep the features of our faith prominent. “Here are they which keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” [Revelation 14:12]. 21MR 53.3

You are in positive danger. You are placing too many duties upon yourself and those connected with you. Unless you give yourself time for prayer and for study of the Scriptures, you will be in danger of accommodating the Scriptures to your own ideas. Take heed that in the work you are doing you do not misapply your powers, giving all you have to a work which is not a whole but only a part of the work to be done. Keep the part you are doing in symmetrical proportion with the other lines of the work, that the structure we are building may be firm and solid, able to withstand the stress of circumstances and temptation. 21MR 53.4

The Lord's church is to Him the dearest object on earth. Creation itself was originated in the purpose of God that He might glorify Himself in the redemption of His people. Your work is not to shape itself. It is not to be separated from the church. Neither are you in any way to demerit the ministry and exalt the work you are doing above the church. You are not to allow the students to suppose your work is separate, because in doing this you will show that you are not a co-worker with God. You may carry things in such a way that those connected with you will be led to think that should you be taken away, all that you had advised, planned, and set in operation would have to go forward just as you had planned. 21MR 53.5

We hope that the blessing of God will attend you because you walk humbly with God, yoked up with Christ, that He will spare your life to accomplish a work that will be as enduring as eternity. The apostle teaches us God's purpose when He calls the gospel “the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:9-11). 21MR 54.1

Rest assured that God has a church, and that you are to be a colaborer with Him. “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” [Ephesians 4:1-6]. 21MR 54.2

By Christ the work upon which the fulfillment of God's purpose rests was accomplished. This was the agreement in the councils of the Godhead. The Father purposed in counsel with His Son that the human family should be tested and proved to see whether they would be allured by the temptations of Satan, or whether they would make Christ their righteousness, keeping God's commandments, and live. God gave to His Son all who would be true and loyal. Christ covenanted to redeem them from the power of Satan, at the price of His own life. We have the condition of this covenant. “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities” [Isaiah 53:10, 11]. 21MR 54.3

In giving Christ, God gave heaven's choicest gift. He has given us all the rich blessings presented in the Word. When Christ ascended to heaven, the Holy Spirit took His place, and was a perfect representation of Him. It is the work of the Spirit to minister the richest grace, and make it effectual in the hearts of God's people, that the elect may be gathered into one family. We need more quiet, abiding trust in God, and then the very best and highest activities will be put forth. Not one false movement will be made. We need to cultivate a calm and obedient trust in God. To young and old, this is worth more than tongue can tell. 21MR 55.1

Genuine religion brings its sanctifying influence into all a man thinks, says, and does. Let everyone connected with you, my brother, see that you are discharging aright the duties God has laid upon you, that you are keeping your heart free from every scheme of selfishness. You may say, “What does Sister White mean?” Look carefully, my brother, for there are schemes that savor of selfishness. You may be sure that these must be purged away if, in that work that is a right work, you strive lawfully. Loving God supremely and your neighbor as Christ has loved you, you fulfill the divine law. In any business transaction, in any line of service, be sure that not one thread of selfishness is drawn into the fabric. 21MR 55.2

The work you have entered upon is good, but you are carrying it to excess. Thus you are absorbing talent and means which should be devoted to other lines of work, which are suffering. 21MR 55.3

There are many things that need to be lifted and strengthened in various ways. The amount of work done for the needy and destitute is to be equally divided. You should gather less upon yourself, and do some real work to place workers in destitute fields, where they can work in the same lines in which you are working. You are becoming dizzy; you are losing your clear, firm, healthful conception of the work of God for this time. Know your limitation, for the sake of those who have been trying to plant the standard in fields where they have nothing. Know what you can do and what you cannot do. 21MR 55.4

There is an importance attached to every phase of the work done now. You are not to break the coupling pin. This may seem to you not of much value, but it means a great deal to you. For the safety of those you would educate, God has given the coupling pin, and you and your students need to be educated and trained not to make the mistake some have made by breaking the coupling pin which unites you and your work firmly with the body of God's commandment-keeping people. 21MR 55.5

The spirit of fidelity must be taught and practiced. Remember that in all your work that is done under the sun, the spirit in which the work is done will appear, whether it be good or evil. Work so that your neighbor shall not suffer the least injustice in any particular by any of your arrangements. 21MR 56.1

The work you have hold of is only a piece of the work God would have done. Say to your students, I can give you only what the Lord has given me. As you go forth from this school, look to God as your companion, your counselor. Whether you preach the Word, whether you teach in our schools, whether you practice as a physician, whether you cultivate the soil or follow a trade, look to the Lord as your guide, your helper, your friend. 21MR 56.2

You may be called to act in councils. You may be called upon to go to foreign lands. Remember that you can never go beyond the domain of God. Give to what you do all the tact and strength of mind and heart, sinew and muscle. Do your best. You are not to seek to be controlled by men. Christ is your Master. Remember that you are only one member of the body, and that the different members of the body are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. “Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord” [Isaiah 52:11]. Keep yourselves unspotted from the world. It is only as the different members of the body perform their several offices that the unity of the body is preserved. You can never be an independent whole. There is only one head. I am not your master. Call not any man master. You have one Master, who is in heaven. 21MR 56.3

“And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: from whom the whole body, fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” [Ephesians 4:11-16]. 21MR 56.4

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.... For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light: (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” [Ephesians 5:1, 2, 8-11]. 21MR 56.5

These Scriptures were given me to give to you. Especially were the principles laid down in the twelfth chapter of Romans enjoined upon you for careful study. The men of God's appointment will not be sustained if they are not doers of His Word, in small matters as well as large. You are in positive danger. Satan is trying by every device to weaken you, so that you will become exalted in your own opinion. Thus you will permit the enemy to gain power over you. God, who is high and lifted up, will use men as His instruments as long as they will work humbly, seeking wisdom from Him. 21MR 57.1

The Lord has a church upon this earth. He has a people who are working with an undivided interest, a people who is dear to His heart because they are consecrated to Him. There are also men whose names are on the church books who are not serving God, who are robbing Him by withholding the tithes and offerings which He, as the householder, requires as His portion. But because there are tares among the wheat, shall we disparage the church of God? Never! We may disparage ourselves, but never disparage those who are striving amid temptation and trial. These are the ones whom God loves. 21MR 57.2

The medical missionary work is not to be divorced from the church. Men of power and strength of mind are to grasp every opportunity of becoming acquainted with the Word of God. This Word each individual who would win eternal life must eat and drink as the flesh and blood of the Son of God. All our new converts need training. Well-directed labor should be put forth that they may receive light. There is constant need of men with well balanced minds, who will not step aside either into the fire or into the water. 21MR 57.3

Some who read the Word catch at ideas which they suppose give them great light. They present this supposed light as truth, but as they have not really studied the Word, as some have done, they will, full of ardor and zeal, present theories which, if received, will counterwork the efforts which have been put forth since 1844 to give the people of God a connected chain of truth. They do not know what they are doing, but they disturb those who suppose they have a solid foundation. These crave for new ideas and suppositions, which mar the symmetrical development of character. Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, those with this enthusiastic temperament would be enabled to do the highest service. The quickening influence of the life in their message would give character to the work, and advance it, diffusing the grace and spirit of truth in all its lines. But let such a one put his whole mind upon some idea which is not correct, and deformity rather than symmetry is developed. 21MR 57.4

This is the danger now existing in the medical missionary work. Many who go to school to be educated in this line do not obtain as much as they thought they would. If they had not placed themselves in a school, but had remained where they could be constantly receiving and constantly giving, they would have received increased light. 21MR 58.1

There is a great work to be done in calling for volunteers for the canvassing work. Canvassers are not to be restricted by being told that they must not talk upon subjects of the truth, that they are to give no Bible readings. They are to put all their energies and enlightenment into the work, and if they can help anyone by speaking to him directly and personally, let them do it. They should be perfectly free to speak or to pray with those who are awakened. Some have not the burden to do this work, and they should not try to converse with those they meet, for they would be unable to enlighten them. The truth must go forward. The church militant is not the church triumphant. It has been shown me that those who are fitted to enlighten minds will often have opportunity to read from the Bible or from books which teach the truth, and thus bring the evidence of truth to enlighten souls. 21MR 58.2

The youth should be encouraged to learn what they can do in medical missionary lines. They should be taught how to reach the masses who are sunken so low that their condition is apparently hopeless. And they should not be restricted in regard to working with ministers. This is not the Lord's mind or will. I speak decidedly, for these questions are constantly coming up for decision. The people of God are called now to do a sacred work.—Letter 126, 1898. 21MR 58.3

Ellen G. White Estate

Silver Spring, Maryland,

May 10, 1990.

Entire Letter.