The Signs of the Times


September 2, 1889

The Christian's Commission


“Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” ST September 2, 1889, par. 1

I wish to call your attention especially to the commission which Christ gave to his disciples. He said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me ... unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” But they were not fitted to present the gospel of Jesus to the world until they received the gift of the Holy Spirit. The commission Christ gave his disciples then, is our commission today. We are to be witnesses of him to the world; but we cannot impart Heaven's light, unless we have received it. We cannot reveal a Saviour of whom we have no knowledge. ST September 2, 1889, par. 2

There are many who have a legal, casual faith. They have nominally accepted Christ as the Saviour of the world, but they have no evidence in their hearts that he is their personal Saviour, that he has forgiven their sins, that they have a living connection with God, the source of all light. You cannot teach others of Jesus and his righteousness, you cannot portray his matchless love, and the fullness of his grace, you cannot picture him as the Christian's all in all, as the comforter and guide of man, unless your own heart is filled with his love. You will not be able to present God as a God of compassion and love unless you can say, “I have tasted and know that the Lord is good.” ST September 2, 1889, par. 3

The fact that others receive blessings will not benefit your soul; unless you exercise faith in Christ on your own behalf, you will be unblessed. That others partake of food will not serve to nourish your physical strength, neither will it nourish your spiritual strength to see others rejoicing in God and his love. You yourselves must partake of the feast which your Saviour has provided. Every one of you must wash and be clean. But you say, How can I do this? Have you not told us we have no power of ourselves to cleanse our souls from one spot or stain of sin? Yes, I have told you this, and yet I say unto you, “Wash you, make you clean.” God has provided a way of salvation at an infinite cost to Heaven. A fountain for sin and uncleanness has been opened for Judah and Jerusalem. ST September 2, 1889, par. 4

The Father “gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” There are many who act as though Christ was the friend of men, but that the Father was their enemy. If this were so, would God have delivered his Son to death that man might have life? Jesus says, “I and my Father are one,” Philip said to Christ, “Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” Jesus turned to him and said, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet thou hast not known me Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” ST September 2, 1889, par. 5

Christ came into the world to do a special work. He did not come to originate truth. It was already originated. He did not come to set aside what patriarchs and prophets had spoken; for he himself had spoken through these representative men. He himself was the originator of truth. Every jewel of truth came from Christ. But these priceless gems had been placed in false settings. Their precious light had been made to minister to error. Men had taken them to adorn tradition and superstition. Christ came to take them out of the false settings of error and to put them into the framework of truth. He came from Heaven to give the world a correct representation of the Father. Through Satan's suggestions and temptations, the Father had been represented as a being of a stern and unforgiving nature. The Christian life had been represented altogether too much as a life of hardship and sorrow. God was pictured as a being who was watching with jealous eyes, spying the mistakes and errors of men that he might delight himself in punishing them by the severest discipline, and that there could be no peace or joy in his service, Satan clothed the Father in his own forbidding attributes of character. All this was a false representation, and Christ came to reveal the character of God, and the nature of his service. ST September 2, 1889, par. 6

Christians misrepresent their heavenly Father when they go mourning and groaning, as though they were burdened with an enormous load, when their countenances are expressive of gloom and despondency, and the shadow encompasses their souls. But let them not think they are serving God in so doing; they are doing Satan's work in misrepresenting God and his service. They should go before the Father, and plead with him for a view of his goodness. They have lost sight of Jesus and his love. Let them go to Christ and study his character, for he came to represent the Father. Shall we receive Satan's misrepresentations of our God, and go on in discouragement, lacking peace and joy in the Holy Ghost? Shall we go on mistrusting our heavenly Father's love and doubting his goodness? What greater injury could we do to our children and our friends than to give them such false impressions of Christian life? It was at an infinite cost to the Father that man's salvation was purchased. The Father suffered with the Son to bring salvation within our reach. It is not his will that one soul should perish, but that all should come to repentance and receive eternal life. He has done all that it is possible to do to save fallen man. There was no other way by which man could be brought into harmony with his unchangeable law, save by the death of Christ. Christ became our surety, our sacrifice, Saviour, and example, and when all Heaven has been poured out to us in this gift of God, how shall he not with him freely give us all things? ST September 2, 1889, par. 7

How much we lose by doubting the love of God! Why do we not come boldly to a throne of grace, and by living faith lay hold of the merits of the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour? This must be an individual work. I cannot be saved by another's faith, nor can another be saved by my faith. Every soul must be saved by his own righteousness. Can we manufacture this righteousness? No. But Jesus has furnished it for us. When the sinner comes to him he takes his load of sin, and gives him his righteousness. The vilest sinner may claim all that was provided in the plan of salvation through the merits of Christ. He may have the attributes of the Saviour. He may go forth to tell of a living Saviour, and to win men to the truth; for he knows what it is to lay hold of Christ by living faith. He has taken the requisite steps in repentance, confession, and restitution, and he can teach others the way of salvation. He can present Christ as one who left his royal throne, who clothed his divinity with humanity that he might save fallen man. He can present him as one who was rich and yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. He can go without the camp, bearing his reproach. He is willing to deny self that others may be saved. ST September 2, 1889, par. 8

Suppose that Christ had always remained in Heaven, there would have been no salvation for man; but he came from Heaven to represent the Father, to tell us of the glory and riches of eternity, and to save sinners by the sacrifice of himself. He died that we might live; that we might lay hold of his righteousness, and by faith claim his merits. Have you an experimental religion? Are you laborers together with God? Have you received the endowment of the Holy Spirit? Those who have received a knowledge of Christ cannot hold their peace. It is those who have not tasted the love of Jesus that can fold their hands in carnal security, and have no burdens for souls. It is those who are not laborers together with God. ST September 2, 1889, par. 9

Those who are living branches of the True Vine, will seek to fulfill the commission of Christ, to be witnesses of him unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Jesus has said, “Ye are the light of the world.” Has God given you intellect? You should use it to his glory. You should connect yourself with him who is the source of all light, if you are to be a light in the world. Jesus has said, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” When we come into straitened places, he will be with us. He will be at our right hand to uphold us. Those who keep a connection with God, may be as was Nehemiah in the king's court. One day the king asked him a question that involved consequences of the greatest importance to God's people, and Nehemiah felt his weakness and he darted up a prayer to Heaven. Help came to him in a moment. The very answer that was appropriate for the occasion was on his lips. It will be so with those who follow Christ. In a time of great need they will not be left to themselves. They can send up a prayer to Heaven, and God will provide the needed grace and wisdom. If we are to be laborers together with God, if we are to fulfill Christ's commission, we must come to the fountain of life. We must drink of the well of salvation ourselves, if we would refresh others. Brethren, let us open our hearts to Heaven's light, that we may be able to flash its bright rays on the pathway of others. Let us kindle our tapers at the divine altar, that we may be light-bearers in a world of spiritual darkness. ST September 2, 1889, par. 10