The Review and Herald

554/1902

November 25, 1890

How the Truth Should Be Presented

EGW

“Though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ), that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” RH November 25, 1890, par. 1

Thus the apostle Paul describes his manner of labor. He did not approach the Jews in a way to stir up their prejudice. He did not run the risk of making them his enemies by telling them in his first effort that they must believe on Jesus of Nazareth; but he dwelt on the promises of the Old Testament Scriptures, which testified of Christ, of his mission, and of his work. Thus he led them along step by step, showing them the importance of honoring the law of God. He also gave due honor to the ceremonial law, showing that Christ was the one who instituted the whole system of sacrificial service. After dwelling upon these things, making it manifest that he had a clear understanding of them himself, he brought them down to the first advent of Christ, and proved that in the crucified Jesus every specification of the prophecies had been fulfilled. This was the wisdom that Paul exercised. RH November 25, 1890, par. 2

He approached the Gentiles, not by exalting the law at first, but by exalting Christ, and then showing the binding claims of the law. He showed them plainly how the light from the cross of Calvary gave significance and glory to the whole Jewish economy. Thus he varied his manner of labor, always shaping his message to the circumstances under which he was placed; and though after patient labor he was successful to a large degree, many would not be convinced. There are some who will not be convinced by any presentation of the truth. The laborer for God should, nevertheless, study carefully the best method, in order that he may not arouse prejudice or stir up combativeness in his hearers. RH November 25, 1890, par. 3

Christ said to his disciples, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” As the result of their early education, their ideas upon many points were incorrect, and they were not then prepared to understand and receive some things which he would otherwise have taught them. His instructions would have confused their minds, and raised questioning and unbelief that would have been difficult to remove. RH November 25, 1890, par. 4

Christ drew the hearts of his hearers to him by the manifestation of his love, and then, little by little, as they were able to bear it, he unfolded to them the great truths of the kingdom. We also must learn to adapt our labors to the condition of the people,—to meet men where they are. While the claims of the law of God are to be presented to the world, we should never forget that love, the love of Christ, is the only power that can soften the heart, and lead to obedience. All the great truths of the Scriptures center in Christ; and rightly understood, all lead to him. Let Christ be presented as the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, of the great plan of redemption. Present to the people such subjects as will strengthen their confidence in God and in his word, and lead them to investigate its teachings for themselves. And as they go forward, step by step, in the study of the Bible, they will be better prepared to appreciate the beauty and harmony of its precious truths. RH November 25, 1890, par. 5

God's workmen must have breadth of character. They must not be men of one idea, stereotyped in their manner of working. They must be able to vary their efforts, to meet the needs of the people under different circumstances and conditions. God would have his servants, young and old, continually improving, learning better how to minister to the wants of all. They should not settle down contented, thinking that their ways are perfect, and that others must work just as they do. RH November 25, 1890, par. 6

Those who are appointed to open the work in new fields should be careful that their defects are not exalted as virtues, thus retarding the work of God. These are testing truths that we are bringing before the people, and they should be presented in their real beauty. The laborer should not throw about the truth the peculiarities of his own character or manner. Keep self in the background; let it be lost sight of in Jesus. Let the work of God bear the impress of the divine. RH November 25, 1890, par. 7

Much has been lost by our people through following such narrow plans that the more intelligent, better educated classes are not reached. Too often the work has been so conducted as to impress unbelievers that it is of very little consequence,—some stray off-shoot of religious enthusiasm, entirely beneath their notice. Much has been lost for want of wise methods of labor. Every effort should be made to give character and dignity to the work. It requires much wisdom to reach ministers and men of influence. But why should they be neglected as they have been by our people? These men are responsible to God just in proportion to the talents intrusted to them. Where much is given, much will be required. Should there not be deeper study and much more prayer for wisdom, that we may learn how to reach these classes? Should not wisdom and tact be used to gain these souls, who, if truly converted, will be polished instruments in the hands of God to reach others? RH November 25, 1890, par. 8

We would not be actuated by mere worldly policy; but from love to God, and to souls for whom Christ died, we should seek to reach those who in their turn will labor for others. If we can win to Christ and the truth souls to whom God has intrusted large capabilities, our influence will, through them, be constantly extending, and will become a far-reaching power for good. RH November 25, 1890, par. 9

God has a work to be done which the workers have not yet fully comprehended. Ministers and the world's wise men are to be tested by the light of present truth. The third angel's message is to be set before them judiciously, in its true dignity. There must be most earnest seeking of God, most thorough study; for the mental powers will be taxed to the utmost in laying plans which will place the work of God on a more elevated platform. That is where it should always have stood, but men's narrow ideas and restricted plans have limited and lowered it. RH November 25, 1890, par. 10

When the importance of laboring to reach the higher classes is urged, let none receive the idea that the poor and unlearned are to be neglected. Right methods of labor will not in any sense exclude these. It was one of the evidences of Christ's messiahship that the poor had the gospel preached to them. We should study to give all classes an opportunity to understand the special truths for this time. RH November 25, 1890, par. 11

Be sure to maintain the dignity of the work by a well-ordered life and godly conversation. Never be afraid of raising the standard too high. The families who engage in the missionary work should come close to hearts. The spirit of Jesus should pervade the soul of the worker; it is the pleasant, sympathetic words, the manifestation of disinterested love for their souls, that will break down the barriers of pride and selfishness, and show to unbelievers that we have the love of Christ; and then the truth will find its way to the heart. This is our work, and the fulfilling of God's plan. All coarseness and roughness must be put away from us. Courtesy, refinement, Christian politeness, must be cherished. Guard against being abrupt and blunt. Do not regard such peculiarities as virtues; for God does not so regard them. Endeavor not to offend any unnecessarily. RH November 25, 1890, par. 12

There is great danger that young men who are associated with older workers in the cause, will copy even the defects of the older ministers. This should be guarded against by both old and young. All should seek to have the softening, subduing influence of the Spirit of God, Christ-like tenderness, and love for souls. Those who are sent out to labor together, should put self away, lay aside their own peculiarities, and seek to unite, heart and soul, in carrying out God's will. In order to work to advantage, they must work in harmony. RH November 25, 1890, par. 13

We want more, much more, of the spirit of Christ, and less, much less, of self and the peculiarities of character that keep us apart from our fellow-men. We can do much to break down these barriers by revealing the grace of Christ in our own lives. Jesus has intrusted his goods to the Church, age after age. One generation after another, for over 1,800 years, has been gathering up this hereditary trust, until the increasing responsibilities have descended to the people of our time. Do we now realize our responsibility? Do we feel that we are stewards of God's grace? Do we believe that the humblest service will be accepted, if it is only directed to doing, not our own, but our Master's will, to promote his glory? We must be clothed, not with our own garments, but with the robe of Christ's righteousness. RH November 25, 1890, par. 14