The Review and Herald

848/1902

October 20, 1896

Laboring in the Spirit of Christ

EGW

“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” RH October 20, 1896, par. 1

Here are presented souls that might have been saved if the watchman had spoken to them the words of life. But this he neglected to do. He chose his own course, was indolent and self-indulgent; and although brought into close contact with souls, he made no personal effort to save them. The work of the watchman is to speak as from the lips of God. By so doing he might save a soul from death; but, neglecting his God-given work, the soul is left to perish in his iniquity. But God declares, “His blood will I require at thine hand.” It is not enough for the minister to preach; he is to be a watchman. The duty of a watchman is arduous; he is to show untiring vigilance. He is to be a discerning man, able to see the dangers and understand the peril of souls. RH October 20, 1896, par. 2

Many love to preach, but shun the labor that is required to lift souls out of sin. Men are dying all around us, and we have not made any special efforts to address them earnestly, interestedly, affectionately, as Christ would have done had he been on the earth. We are Christ's ambassadors, watchmen unto the house of Israel, to see the dangers that await souls, and give them warning. The pastor is a shepherd of the sheep, guarding them, feeding them, warning them, reproving them, or encouraging them, as the case may require. There is visiting to be done, not to have a pleasant chat, but to do the work required of a watchman. There should be earnest conversation and prayer with these souls. This is the kind of work that gains valuable experience in the upbuilding of Christ's kingdom. RH October 20, 1896, par. 3

But if this work is neglected, the wolves will find access to the flock. They will work for their master, as the watchman has failed to work for his. The sheep will be wounded and bruised, owing to the cold indifference and irresponsible course pursued toward them by the shepherd. RH October 20, 1896, par. 4

God has enjoined upon the watchmen to watch for souls as they that must give an account. Said the apostle Paul: “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” RH October 20, 1896, par. 5

Joseph felt the need of strength from God in his youth. He sought the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Although a lonely exile, his life was marked with fidelity. He sought to do others good, and the beauty of holiness, of faith and trust in God, manifested in his life, was a living illustration of a child of God, an heir of heaven. RH October 20, 1896, par. 6

Jesus, our precious Saviour, was the majesty of heaven. But what a life was his, marked with self-denial, with love, with tenderest compassion for the fallen race! He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. With his own special sorrows?—No; but with the griefs and sorrows of men. Jesus was a living illustration of what man must become. That which he experienced and exemplified in his life he expects us to practise in our lives. He made himself of no reputation; he was holy, harmless, undefiled; his life was glorified by the light that shines from the throne of God. RH October 20, 1896, par. 7

The kingdom of God must be our first consideration. There must be obedience to God's requirements. With sorrow for sin, and patient love, we must have that faith which works by love and purifies the soul; we must work as Christ worked. We shall have greater earnestness and zeal when we take in the plan of redemption, and what a great sacrifice has been made to save the fallen race. We must participate in that sacrifice. Ministers must arouse from their lethargy, and labor for the salvation of the souls for whom Christ has paid so infinite a price. RH October 20, 1896, par. 8

This work is done leisurely and indifferently. There must be more earnest and determined effort. John Welch, a faithful minister of Christ, felt so great a burden for souls that he often arose in the night, and sent up to God his earnest supplication for their salvation. His wife pleaded with him on one occasion to regard his health, and not venture on such exposure. Mark his answer: “O woman, I have the souls of three thousand to answer for, and I know not how it is with them.” John Knox, when in an agony of prayer for his beloved land, cried out in the burden of his soul, “O God, give me Scotland, or I die!” RH October 20, 1896, par. 9

In a town in New England a well was being dug; and when the work was nearly finished, while one man was still at the bottom, the earth caved in and buried him beneath an avalanche of sand and gravel. Instantly the alarm went forth, and mechanics, farmers, merchants, lawyers, and ministers hurried breathlessly to the rescue. Ropes, ladders, spades, shovels—all that could be needed and used were soon brought by eager and willing hands. “Save him! O, save him!” was the cry. They worked with desperate energy, till the sweat glistened like beads upon their brows, and their arms trembled with exertion. At length a tin tube was thrust down, through which they shouted to the man to answer if he was still alive. The response came, “Alive, but make haste! It is fearful here.” With a shout of joy they renewed their efforts, and at last he was reached and saved, and the joyful cheer went up that seemed to reach to the very heavens, “He is saved!” and the cry was taken up and echoed through every street and alley in the town. RH October 20, 1896, par. 10

Was this too great zeal and interest, too great enthusiasm, to save the life of one man? It surely was not; but what is the loss of one life in comparison with the loss of a soul? If the threatened loss of one life will create such intense excitement in human hearts, should not the loss of a soul create greater and deeper solicitude in the hearts of men who claim to realize their danger? Shall we not show as great zeal and perseverance in laboring for the eternal salvation of souls as were manifested for the life hanging in the balance, of that man buried beneath the sand and rubbish? RH October 20, 1896, par. 11

The Son of God, who was equal with the Father, gave his life to save the souls of men; and he has enjoined upon his followers that they love one another as he has loved them. Souls are perishing around us for the want of light. They are to be labored for, prayed for, attracted to God by the good works of those who profess the truth. Thus shall we follow the injunction, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” “Ye are the light of the world.” Then let the light shine in true goodness, in the beauty of holiness, leaving a bright track heavenward. Reflect light, and it will be reflected back to God in thankful praise from men whose hearts are quickened, whose imagination is kindled, to grasp the glories that eye hath not seen and hear the melodies which ear hath not heard. Grasping the things that are unseen, let heaven's glory shine forth upon others. RH October 20, 1896, par. 12

A Presbyterian lady once made the remark: “O that we could have the pure gospel as it used to be preached from the pulpit! Our minister is a good man; but he does not take in the wants of the people. He clothes the cross of Calvary with beautiful flowers, which hide all its shame, conceal all its reproach. My soul is starving for the bread of life which came down from heaven. How refreshing it would be to hundreds of poor souls like me to listen to something simple, plain, and Scriptural, that would nourish our souls. The ministers do not have what we want. We want light, and peace, and holiness.” RH October 20, 1896, par. 13

The cross of Calvary alone can reveal the worth of the soul. No man can correctly estimate its value unless he is able to comprehend the height and depth of the glory from which Christ descended that man might be saved and join in the glad song of triumph and everlasting praise to God and the Lamb. The price of man's ransom could be paid only by One equal with God, the spotless Son of the infinite Father. Unless this sacrifice had been made, souls would have perished. RH October 20, 1896, par. 14

The greatest blessing that God can give to man is the spirit of earnest prayer. All heaven is open before the man of prayer. The prayers offered in humble faith will be heard. “The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” The ambassadors of Christ will have power with the people after they have, with earnest supplication, come before God. RH October 20, 1896, par. 15

Jesus has a deep, earnest interest in every sinner. He withheld not himself. We see him constantly engaged in earnest labor. He did not excuse himself from bearing burdens. He toiled; he was often weary and hungry. The souls he came to save were of such value that he could not leave them in peril unwarned; and this is the way that his representatives must labor, coming close to their fellow men. Christ's true ambassadors will labor with the spirit of earnestness and zeal of which he has given an example in his life. They will labor not alone for time, but for eternity. They will look to Calvary, and present Christ and him crucified as the sinner's only hope. RH October 20, 1896, par. 16

Those who have the love of God in their hearts, will, in exact proportion to their love, feel a solicitude for souls. The love of Christ will be revealed in earnest efforts to bring sinners from darkness to the light of truth. Ministers who feel the burden of the work upon them will not hesitate at any sacrifice, at weariness or toil, that they may present those for whom they labor perfect in Christ Jesus. RH October 20, 1896, par. 17