The Review and Herald


January 21, 1902

Words to Ministers


“Unto the angel of the Church in Sardis write: These things saith He that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” RH January 21, 1902, par. 1

The minister of the gospel of Christ is to watch for souls as he that must give an account. He is to be often on his knees in prayer, asking for heavenly wisdom, that he may strengthen “the things which remain, that are ready to die.” By living in accordance with the will of God, he is to place himself under divine power. The word of God is to be his guide. In this word there are promises, directions, warnings, and reproofs, which he is to use in his work as the occasion may require. With a humble heart and a willing mind he is to search this word, that for the benefit of others he may draw from the storehouse of truth things new and old. He is ever to seek to lead minds to gain a personal knowledge of the truth. Many are sorely tempted and ready to die because they have not a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. RH January 21, 1902, par. 2

In every congregation that gathered about Jesus, there were souls who were hungering and thirsting for a knowledge of God. As they listened to the truths that fell from the lips of the divine Teacher, truths so different from the traditions of the rabbis, hope sprang up in their hearts. In the Saviour's teaching there was a power that sent the truth home to the heart. God's ministers are to learn Christ's method of teaching, that, like Him, they may present the great principles of truth in the power of the Spirit. RH January 21, 1902, par. 3

And the minister's work does not end with the presentation of truth from the pulpit. He is to do earnest, personal, house-to-house work, studying the Scriptures with the people, and praying with them. Thus many will be brought to a knowledge of God. Souls ready to perish will be imbued with the Spirit of Christ. But this work has been neglected; and therefore the churches are lacking in power. There are many ordained ministers who have never yet exercised a shepherd's care over the flock of God, who have never watched for souls as they that must give an account. The Church, instead of developing, is left to be a weak, dependent, inefficient body. The members of the Church, trained to rely upon preaching, do little for Christ. They bear no fruit, but rather increase in selfishness and unfaithfulness. They put their hope in the preacher, depending on his efforts to keep alive their weak faith. Because the church-members have not been properly instructed by those whom God has placed as overseers, many are slothful servants, hiding their talents in the earth, and still complaining of the Lord's dealing toward them. They expect to be tended like sick children. RH January 21, 1902, par. 4

The best help that ministers can give the members of our churches is not sermonizing, but planning work for them. Give each one something to do for others. Help all to see that as receivers of the grace of Christ they are under obligation to work for Him. And let all be taught how to work. Especially should those who are newly come to the faith be educated to become laborers together with God. If set to work, the despondent will soon forget their despondency, the weak will become strong, the ignorant intelligent, and all will be prepared to present the truth as it is in Jesus. They will find an unfailing helper in Him who has promised to save all that come unto Him. RH January 21, 1902, par. 5

I am pained, my brethren, as the weak, sickly condition of our churches is presented before me. “Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?” I have been instructed that our ministers are not as efficient as God desires them to be. He has made every provision that they may have His grace and power for the accomplishment of His work. But He is disappointed in them, because they do not co-operate with Him. The lifeless condition of many of the churches in our Conferences testifies to the lack of the grace of Christ in the hearts of the men appointed to act as His ambassadors. RH January 21, 1902, par. 6

Brethren, I appeal to you to change this order of things. To whom have you been looking for strength? Have you not been trusting in your own efficiency? Have you not been looking to men, and making flesh your arm? What a difference there would be in the character of your work if you kept before you a realization of the abiding presence of a just and holy God, who requires you not merely to go through the form of preaching, but to give full proof of your ministry by revealing clusters of precious fruit. RH January 21, 1902, par. 7

It is from God that we are to receive power for service. And He has promised to give this power to all who ask in faith. “If any of you lack wisdom,” the apostle declares, “let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” RH January 21, 1902, par. 8

Obedience to this word is the secret of success. God is the source of wisdom. From Him we must receive our supplies. What precious experiences would have been gained if those who have been trusting in man had trusted in God, relying on Him to do that which they cannot do. They would have found that His word is Yea and Amen. They would have been encouraged to ask, and ask again. They would have gained a knowledge of the Lord and Saviour; for they would have been brought into close companionship with Him. Love for Him would have burned more and more brightly on the altar of the heart as they proved Him, and found Him to be a very present help in every time of need. RH January 21, 1902, par. 9

“Come unto me,” Christ said, “all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” No human being is wise enough or strong enough to sustain you. Take all your burdens to Jesus. You may lean your whole weight on Him, and He will uphold you; for He is all-powerful. He will not sink under the burdens placed on Him. RH January 21, 1902, par. 10

The parable of the wise and foolish virgins comes as a solemn warning to every church. In the parable, all the ten virgins went out to meet their lord. All had lamps, and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the Church that lives just before Christ's second coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard the message of Christ's soon approach, and confidently expect His appearing. But as in the parable, so it is now. A time of waiting intervenes, faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, “Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him,” many are unready. They have no oil in their vessels with their lamps. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit. RH January 21, 1902, par. 11

Working, waiting, watching, and praying,—this constitutes genuine Christianity. Our work is not to be all waiting in idle expectancy; neither is it to be all bustle and excitement, to the neglect of personal piety. Working, waiting, watching, and praying are to be blended in the life of God's minister. He is to be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” The needs of his soul must be supplied with the oil of grace. Constantly he is to increase in spiritual power. RH January 21, 1902, par. 12

He who taught the disciples is willing to teach His servants today. Christ is the true Light, “which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” If our labors amount to more than beating the air, we must have a close union with Christ. He must be an abiding presence in the heart. And in order for Him to enter the heart, it must be cleansed from defilement. RH January 21, 1902, par. 13

The minister of the gospel who is a laborer together with God will learn daily in the school of Christ. By his wisdom in dealing with minds, he will give full proof of his ministry. He will become acquainted with the parents and children in his congregation, and will speak kind, earnest words to them. No light, trifling words will fall from his lips; for is he not an ambassador for Christ, bearing a divine message to perishing souls? All jesting and joking, all lightness and trifling, is painful to the cross-bearing disciple of Christ. He is weighed down by the burden he feels for souls. Constantly his heart is drawn out in prayer to God for the gift of His grace, that he may be a faithful steward. He prays to be kept pure and holy, and then refuses to rush heedlessly into temptation. He heeds the injunction, “As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” Daily he grows in grace, ever gaining a deeper knowledge of God. He overcomes selfishness. His affections are elevated and ennobled. Not only a Bible reader, but a Bible believer, he gives a portion of meat to every man in due season. Keeping close to his Master, he receives words from Him to speak to the people. Lifting as Christ lifts, loving as Christ loves, working as Christ works, he goes about doing good. He strives with all his power for self-improvement, that by precept and example he may lead others to a purer, higher, nobler life. RH January 21, 1902, par. 14