The Review and Herald

830/1902

June 16, 1896

The Work of the Soldiers of Christ

EGW

“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” RH June 16, 1896, par. 1

The lessons contained in the words of Paul to Timothy are of the greatest importance to us today. He charges him to “be strong”—in his own wisdom?—No, but “in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” He who would be a follower of Christ is not to rely upon his own capabilities, or to feel confident in himself. Neither is he to be dwarfed in his religious efforts, to shun responsibilities, and remain inefficient in the cause of God. He is to draw strength from a sure and safe source, that never fails those who would have divine power. The exhortation to us is, “Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” If the Christian feels his weakness, his inability, by putting his trust in God, he will find the grace of Christ sufficient for every emergency. RH June 16, 1896, par. 2

The soldier of Christ must meet many forms of temptation, and resist and overcome them. The fiercer the conflict, the greater the supply of grace to meet the need of the soul; and the very nature of the grace received will enlarge the capacity of the servant of Christ to know God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. The soul of the believer will go out in intense longing to know and understand more of the truth and righteousness of Christ. All who advance in the divine life will have increased ability to search for truth as for hid treasure, and will appropriate the truth to their own souls. The true Christian will understand what it means to pass through severe conflicts and trying experiences; but he will steadily increase in the grace of Christ to meet successfully the enemy of his soul, who works through human agency to cause the ruin of the servants of Christ. By passing through severe ordeals of trial, the follower of Christ will better understand the ways of God and the plan of redemption, and will not be ignorant of the devices of the enemy. The darkness will press upon his soul at times; but the true light will shine, the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness will dispel the gloom; and although Satan seeks in every way to discourage him by presenting obstacles before him, through the grace of Christ he will be enabled to be a faithful witness of the things which he has heard from the inspired messenger of God. He does not despise or neglect the message received, but commits his knowledge to faithful men, who in their turn are to be able to teach others also. In communicating the light to others, the Christian proves the truth of the word that “the path of the just is as the shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” RH June 16, 1896, par. 3

He who receives and diffuses light puts out his talents to exchangers for the benefit of his fellow men, in order that they may see and understand the things by which he has been blessed. By thus communicating truth to others, the worker for Christ obtains a clearer view of the abundant provisions made for all, of the sufficiency of the grace of Christ for every time of conflict, sorrow, and trial. Through the mysterious plan of redemption, grace has been provided, so that the imperfect work of the human agent may be accepted in the name of Jesus our Advocate. Man has little power, and can accomplish but a small work at his very best. When the ability of humanity is considered in its true light, when the soul is under the shadow of the cross of Calvary, he who would be a worker for God will consecrate himself, spirit, soul, and body, without reservation, to the cause of Christ, knowing that, at his best and fullest, his own power is small. But to him who has entirely surrendered his life to God, the assurance is given that the Holy Spirit will be his helper. Jesus said, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive.” “The Comforter ... whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” RH June 16, 1896, par. 4

God is omnipotent, and at every point where we need divine help and seek for it in sincerity, it will be given. God has pledged his word that his grace will be sufficient for you in your greatest necessity, in your sorest distress. Christ will be to you a present help if you appropriate his grace. The Lord expects his servants to excel others in life and character. He has placed every facility at the command of those who serve him. The Christian is looked upon by the whole universe as one who strives for the mastery, running the race set before him, that he may obtain the prize, even an immortal crown; but if he who professes to follow Christ does not make it manifest that his motives are above those of the world in this great contest where there is everything to win and everything to lose, he will never be a victor. He is to make use of every entrusted power, that he may overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil through the power of the Holy Spirit, by grace abundantly provided that he shall not fail nor be discouraged, but be complete in Christ, accepted in the Beloved. Those who would be victors should contemplate and count the cost of salvation. Strong human passions must be subdued; the independent will must be brought into captivity to Christ. The Christian is to realize that he is not his own. He will have temptations to resist, and battles to fight against his own inclinations; for the Lord will accept no half-way service. Hypocrisy is an abomination to him. The follower of Christ must walk by faith, as seeing him who is invisible. Christ will be his dearest treasure, his all and in all. RH June 16, 1896, par. 5

This experience is essential to those who profess the name of Christ, for its influence pervades the conduct, and sanctifies the influence of the Christian's life in its effect upon others. The business connections and intercourse of Christians with the men of the world will be sanctified by the grace of Christ; and wherever they are, a moral atmosphere will be created, that will have power for good; for it will breathe the spirit of the Master. RH June 16, 1896, par. 6

He who has the mind of Christ knows that his only safe course is to keep close to Jesus, following the light of life. He will not accept work, or engage himself in business, that will hinder him from reaching the perfection of Christian character. Probation has been given to the human family,—not that they may receive worldly honor, not that they may lay up for themselves treasures upon earth, but that they may be complete in him who has given his own life for this end. They are to shine as lights in the world; they are to bring eternal realities before the indifferent, the careless, and the disloyal. The golden beams of the light of truth are to be reflected in their words and actions, for in this way they are to represent Christ to the world. They are to be earnest, thorough missionaries. RH June 16, 1896, par. 7

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Earnest work for the Master will bring trials; but will the true disciple be moved from his purpose? Will he faint at any tribulation? Will he snatch himself away from Christ, refusing to wear his yoke because outward troubles come upon him? Will he become disheartened? When Satan stirs up his human agents to oppose and discourage him, will he withdraw himself from the assembly of the saints, when he has the assurance that at the house of prayer he will meet with Him whom he loves? Will he go back to the world, and by his actions declare to men that the business of the world is of higher character and more worthy of his strength of body and mind than the service of God? Will he give to the worship of God a poor, sickly, tired-out service, and expect God to receive it at his hand? Hear the words that the inspired apostle has received from heaven for our instruction. He says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” RH June 16, 1896, par. 8

Those who would be soldiers for Christ should closely estimate what will be the influence of accepting positions of trust in advancing worldly enterprises. They should consult the Lord Jesus, and at every step ask him, Will this work serve to advance, to save, my spiritual interest, or will it hinder me from attaining perfection of character? If large gain is presented as an inducement to entangle you and imperil your soul, you have but one answer to give; “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Satan presented this inducement to the world's Redeemer, knowing that if he accepted it, the world would never be ransomed. Under different guises, Satan presents this temptation, knowing that those who are beguiled by it, will never stand among those who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. We would suppose that those who yield to one temptation and are disappointed in their expectations, would see that they have chosen a work which would continually draw them into evil, and bind them away from Christ. But instead of seeing their delusion, many go on in their blindness, and Satan has his bait all ready, and entangles them more deeply in the world, binding them up with an interest that will lead them away from the service of the Master. They cannot see afar off, but are blinded by the glamour of the flattering prospect that the world presents before them. They do not follow the light of the world, but another leader, and they walk in darkness, and they know not at what they stumble. RH June 16, 1896, par. 9

The Christian is enlisted to fight in the cause of God, to be a soldier of Jesus Christ; and he is bound by his vows to God to do good service in the army of Christ. To be loyal to his Master, he must refuse to engage in any business which will imperil his soul and dishonor God. He stands under the blood-stained banner of Prince Immanuel, and his best powers are to be devoted to God, his first duty is to be faithful to his Master. He is not to place himself in any position that will shut him away from the channel of light; for he must have light from heaven if he would walk in the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. Through business relations, Satan has laid his snare for thousands of the professed followers of Christ. Through his temptations he leads them to place themselves where they think they cannot attend the social meetings, and they breathe in the atmosphere of satanic agency. The light becomes darkness, so that they forget that they were purged from their old sins, and their moral power degenerates until they have a name to live, and are dead. They have no spiritual life. The light that was in them has become darkness, and how great is that darkness. RH June 16, 1896, par. 10

God calls upon his people to become luminous, and to reflect the light of his love upon the world. He calls upon them to be found in the assembly of the saints, bringing with them every soul that they can influence to go. The soldiers of Jesus Christ must arise to do the work of the Master, for in the army of the Lord there is much to be done that they have entirely neglected. Were they alive to the interest of the work, they would see souls close by their side to whom they could speak a word in season, of warning, encouragement, or comfort. There are tempted, tried souls all about us for whose ruin Satan is much more interested than are the professed brethren of Christ for their salvation. But it is the work of the servant of Christ to sow beside all waters, and the promise is, that “he that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” RH June 16, 1896, par. 11