The Review and Herald

873/1902

March 23, 1897

Co-Workers With Christ

EGW

The mission of the followers of Christ is to save perishing sinners. It is to make known the love of God to men, and to win them to Christ by the efficacy of that love. And in proportion as the love of Christ fills the heart and controls the life, it will be our pleasure to do the will of Christ, whose servants we claim to be. Divine wisdom has appointed, in the plan of salvation, the law of action and reaction, making the work of benevolence, in all its branches, twice blessed. God could have accomplished his object in saving sinners without the help of man, but he knew that man could not be happy without acting a part in the great work of redemption. That man might not lose the blessed results of benevolence, our Redeemer formed the plan of enlisting him as his co-worker. RH March 23, 1897, par. 1

In sending out the twelve, Christ sent none alone. They were to go forth two and two, invested with a power from himself to heal the sick and rebuke Satanic agencies as a proof of their mission. Galilee was to be their principal field of labor. In Jerusalem and Judea, where Christ himself had labored, and where they would be sure to meet the bigoted Pharisees, their efforts would avail but little, and bring discouragement to themselves. The population of bigoted religionists made this a hard, forbidding field. The disciples were to avoid, as far as possible, stirring up the prejudices of the religious leaders. Therefore they were to confine their labors to their own nation. Christ's injunction to them was, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” RH March 23, 1897, par. 2

The education of the disciples and their Jewish prejudices unfitted them for work among the Samaritans or the heathen. They made this manifest on Christ's last journey to Jerusalem. On that journey, he “sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.” They did not open their doors to the heavenly Guest, and did not urge him to abide with them, although they beheld him weary with his journey, and the night was drawing on. The disciples knew that he designed to tarry there that night, and they felt keenly the slight thus put upon their Lord. In their anger, they prayed Jesus to call down fire from heaven to consume those who had thus abused him. But Christ rebuked their indignation and zeal for his honor, and told them that he came not to visit with judgment, but to show mercy. These disciples were not yet fitted to work outside their own nation. RH March 23, 1897, par. 3

In the parables of Christ to the scribes and Pharisees and the priests and rulers, he explained their position of unbelief and opposition in its varied forms. Some of them were thoroughly self-centered. They had no room in their hearts for Jesus. Self was constantly appearing, leading them to manifest a harsh, domineering spirit. Another phase of their unbelief was expressed in their proud, perverted fanaticism. In all these lessons Christ was teaching his disciples, line upon line, precept upon precept. Those traits of character which Christ condemned, they were not to bring into their lives, but they were to weed from their hearts every wrong thought and practise. RH March 23, 1897, par. 4

When the twelve were sent out, they were undertaking their first mission without the personal presence of Christ. Their preparation for the journey was to be of the simplest kind. Nothing must be allowed to divert their minds from their great work, or in any way occasion opposition, and close the door for future work. They were not to adopt the dress of the religious teachers, nor use any guise in apparel to distinguish them from the humble peasants. They were not to enter into the synagogues, and call together the people for public service; their efforts were to be put forth in house-to-house labor. They were to accept the hospitality of those who were worthy, those who would welcome them heartily, as if entertaining Christ himself; and such would be blessed by their prayers, their songs of praise, and the opening of the Scriptures in the family circle. These disciples were to be heralds of the truth, to prepare the way for the coming of the Master. The burden of their message was a repetition of that of John the Baptist and of Christ himself, “The kingdom of God is at hand.” RH March 23, 1897, par. 5

In thus sending the workers out two and two, it was God's design that by their prayers, their counsel, and their conversation, they should be a help to each other,—that when one should be perplexed and confused by difficult questions, the other might be prepared to aid his brother worker. RH March 23, 1897, par. 6

The instruction of the divine Teacher is for his followers in all time. The teaching given to his disciples was given also to all who receive the truth through their word. The word of God is to be their constant instructor. They are to feed upon it, to see and understand and appropriate the reproofs, the correction, and the instruction given to them through it. Every phase of Christ's teaching is as essential for those who are carrying forward God's work in the earth today as it was for the chosen twelve, from John, the beloved disciple, to Judas, who would not be benefited thereby. And all who, seeing their defects of character, their great need of the transforming grace of Christ, who desire to overcome their faint-heartedness and irresolution, their desire to be first, and become molded after the divine Pattern, may become co-workers with Christ. RH March 23, 1897, par. 7

As children of God, none of us are excused from taking a part in the great work of Christ for the salvation of our fellow men. It will be a difficult work to overcome prejudice, and to convince the unbelieving that our efforts to help them are disinterested. But this should not hinder our labor. There is no precept in the word of God that tells us to do good only to those who appreciate and respond to our efforts, and to benefit only those who will thank us for it. God has sent us to work in his vineyard. It is our duty to do all we can. “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that.” We have too little faith. We limit the Holy One of Israel. We should be grateful that he condescends to use any of us as his instruments. For every earnest prayer put up in faith, an answer will be returned. It may not come just as we have expected; but it will come at the very time when we most need it. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” RH March 23, 1897, par. 8

We should work as did our divine Teacher, sowing the seeds of truth with care, anxiety, and self-denial. We must have the mind of Christ if we would not become weary in well-doing. His was a life of continual sacrifice of others’ good. We must follow his example. We must sow the seed of truth, and trust to God to quicken it to life. The precious seed may lie dormant for some time, but the grace of Christ will convict the heart, and the seed sown be awakened to life, and spring up to bear fruit to the glory of God. Missionaries in this great work are wanted to labor unselfishly, earnestly, and perseveringly, as co-workers with Christ and the heavenly angels, for the salvation of their fellow men. RH March 23, 1897, par. 9