The Review and Herald

746/1902

November 6, 1894

Missionary Enterprise the Object of Christ's Church

EGW

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” To be connected with Jesus Christ is an exalted privilege. He who understands that he is not his own, but that he belongs to Christ, and keeps his eye fixed upon him, grows into oneness with him, and has the mind of Christ. Through this connection he is led to improve his talents, his influence widens, and he becomes responsible not only for his original talent, but for that which he has gained through a wise use of that which was at first given. He who has two talents is not only accountable to God for what has been given him, but for what he may gain; for he is to render to the Lord interest on his intrusted capital. He is not to study selfish gratification, but to deny himself for Christ's sake, who gave every day of his life for the saving of the soul. RH November 6, 1894, par. 1

Jesus does not present to his followers the hope of attaining earthly glory and riches, and of having a life free from trial; but he presents to them the privilege of walking with their Master in the path of suffering, self-denial, and reproach because the world knoweth them not. He does not hold out to them any false hopes of living at ease. He takes them to an eminence and shows them the confederacy of evil arrayed against them under the leadership of Satan, the great adversary. But while showing to them the foes with which they will have to contend, he also assures them that they will not have to fight alone. They will have the fellowship of heavenly intelligences, and though the world lieth in darkness, they are to catch the radiance from the throne of God, and diffuse the light of heaven amid the moral darkness of the world. RH November 6, 1894, par. 2

Not only are they to shine to illuminate the immediate darkness, but through the united endeavors of the church of Christ they are to be the light of the world. It was the object kept in view through all Christ's ministry that the church should be united in one, and be one with himself and the Father in the great work of recovering souls from the slavery of sin and the dominion of Satan, to translate them into the kingdom of God. In this work he encourages them with the thought that heavenly intelligences will mingle with their ranks, and at every point of danger the mighty Captain of their salvation will be present to strengthen them with his might, and to lead them on to success. Just before his ascension, Christ gave his last commission to his disciples. As he was about to leave the earth and enter the portals of heaven, he said: “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 part of the earth.” “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” RH November 6, 1894, par. 3

Christ urges again and again upon his disciples the obligation to make known the gospel to the world. When within one step of the throne of God, he opened their understanding, that they might know the Scriptures, repeating again the old commandment to go forth and preach the message of salvation. And he said unto them: “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” The great work committed to them required great efficiency, even the endowment of the Holy Spirit; for the tide of evil ran strong against them. A determined, vigilant leader was in command of the agencies of evil, and the followers of Christ could resist and overcome the powers of darkness only through the help that God could give them. But through the power of the Holy Spirit they were to be successful witnesses of Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth. Beginning at Jerusalem, they were to widen the scene of their operations until all nations should hear the sound of the gospel. RH November 6, 1894, par. 4

In the plan of Christ for the enlightenment of the world, there is, first, home missionary work to be done. The disciples were to begin at Jerusalem, though it would be the very darkest field for their operations. The most unpromising fields are those where much light has been given. Peculiar dangers will beset the feet of him who carries the lamp of life, searching for hidden jewels among the dark rubbish of earth. Yet Christ directed them to do this work, and assured them that they would be under the shield of Omnipotence, as they worked first for those nigh at hand, and afterward for those who were afar off. He bade them to strengthen their forces by uniting, and by working as one, as he and the Father were one, and said: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Thus the Lord Jesus makes every provision whereby the aggressive work may be carried on both nigh at hand and afar off, and he takes upon himself the responsibility of conducting the warfare, of supplying the qualifications, and of eventually giving success to his great missionary enterprise. RH November 6, 1894, par. 5

The last words of Christ were, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” And spreading his hands above them in benediction, he ascended to heaven, surrounded by hosts of heavenly angels who had come to escort him on his way to the portals of God. His last commission to his disciples made them the agents whereby his gospel of glad tidings was to go to the nations. This was Christ's last will and testament to his followers who walked with him during the years of his earthly ministry, and to those who should believe on him through their word. His first work in heaven was in harmony with his last commission on earth; for he sent the promise of the Father upon them. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the praying disciples, and they testified as to its source to all, wherever they went. RH November 6, 1894, par. 6

The missionary spirit was poured out in unlimited supplies, and the disciples testified of a crucified and risen Saviour, and convinced the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come. They did just as their risen Lord had directed them to do, and began at Jerusalem to publish the gospel, in the very place where the deepest prejudice existed, and where the most confused ideas prevailed in regard to Him who had been crucified as a malefactor. Three thousand received the message, and were converted. They were not intimidated through persecution, imprisonment, and death; but they continued to speak with all boldness the words of truth, setting before the Jews the work and mission and ministry of Christ, his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension; and believers were added daily to the Lord, both of men and women. It was demonstrated that angels were in the assemblies of the saints, and their presence was made visible to some of the soldiers of Christ. “The high-priest rose up, and they all that were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors and brought them forth.” The priests and rulers had forbidden them to speak any more in the name of Jesus; but what said the heavenly messenger? “Go stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.” When Peter was held in prison to be offered the next day as a sacrifice for his faith, angels of heaven came and opened the strongly barred gates, wakened Peter, and led him forth to be a witness for the Master. RH November 6, 1894, par. 7

We have everything to encourage us in engaging in the work of the Lord, in seeking to save souls for whom Christ died. What we need is whole-hearted missionaries, who will give themselves to the work of God without reserve, and work for those who are nigh, and for those who are afar off. Now is the time to co-operate with the angels of heaven in bringing the light of present truth before the people. Wake up, brethren and sisters; for the night is far spent, and the day is at hand. Work while the day lasts, for the night cometh in which no man can work. While mercy still lingers, go forth to rescue souls that are perishing, lest while you linger, it become everlastingly too late. “And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal.” RH November 6, 1894, par. 8