The Review and Herald

1186/1902

April 15, 1902

The Evidence of Apostleship

EGW

“Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?” RH April 15, 1902, par. 1

These words were written by the apostle Paul to the Corinthian church. Some had charged Paul with self-commendation in writing his former epistle. Paul refers to this by asking the members of the church if they thus judge his motives. Did he or his fellow laborers need any recommendation or testimony as to their Christian character? There were those who had come to Corinth with letters of commendation from other churches; but the leading workers, the founders of these churches, the apostles of Christ, had no need of such commendation. The Corinthians, who had been led from the worship of idols to the faith of the gospel, were themselves all the recommendation Paul needed. Their reception of the truth, and the reformation seen in their lives in response to the labors of the apostle, was a testimony that spoke to all nations, tongues, and peoples. RH April 15, 1902, par. 2

Paul regarded the Corinthian brethren as his testimonial. He loved them; for they were the fruit of his labor. The reformation wrought in them was sufficient evidence of his authority to counsel, reprove, exhort, and command as a minister of Christ. “Ye are our epistle,” he says, “written in our hearts, known and read of all men. Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart.” RH April 15, 1902, par. 3

The conversion of sinners and their sanctification through the truth, is the very best proof a minister can have that God has called him to the ministry. If these evidences attend his labors, he needs no other recommendation. The evidence of his apostleship is written upon the hearts of the ones converted, and is witnessed to by their reformed lives. Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. They are zealous for the truth they have received. They realize that their lives must harmonize with this truth. RH April 15, 1902, par. 4

True Measure of Usefulness

The usefulness of a minister of Christ is measured by the results of his labors. When men and women receive the truth, and in their lives adorn it, following the example of their Lord, they recommend the truth and the minister who presented it. The minister is greatly strengthened by these seals of his ministry. RH April 15, 1902, par. 5

In this age there are many preachers, but there is a great scarcity of able, holy ministers, men filled with the love that dwelt in the heart of Christ. Today the ministers of Christ should have the same witness as that which the Corinthian church bore to Paul's ministry. But pride, self-confidence, love of the world, fault-finding, bitterness, envy, are the fruit borne by many who profess the religion of Christ. Their deportment is in sharp contrast to the character of Christ. Such an epistle, known and read of all men, is, alas, a sad testimony to the character of the ministerial labor under which these souls received their spiritual mold. With such conversions Christ had no connection. In some instances, it is true, men may dishonor God by their claim to be his followers, while the minister under whose labor they professed to receive the truth was faithful, sincere, and thorough in his work. But this is seldom the case. RH April 15, 1902, par. 6

There is no greater honor than to be accepted by God as an able minister of the gospel. But those whom the Lord blesses with power and success do not boast. They acknowledge their entire dependence on God, realizing that of themselves they have no power. With Paul they say, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament.” RH April 15, 1902, par. 7

There are many ministers who lose their efficiency because they do not make God their trust. They do not depend on his strength. RH April 15, 1902, par. 8

Many church members act unwisely toward the minister. Often when a teacher of truth has a measure of success in his labor, he is spoiled by those for whom he has worked. Petted and praised, he begins to cherish self-admiration. Thinking that he has superior qualifications, he grows careless in regard to asking God for help. He does not watch unto prayer; and Satan obtains an easy victory over him. RH April 15, 1902, par. 9

The true minister does the work of the Master. He feels the importance of his work as one who has charge of the flock of God, realizing that in a degree he sustains to the church and to the world the same relation that Christ sustained. He is interested in everything that concerns the salvation of souls. He works to lead sinners from a life of sin to a nobler, higher life, that they may obtain the reward of the overcomer. RH April 15, 1902, par. 10

The Minister Is God's Watchman

Weighty is the responsibility resting on ministers of the gospel. The Lord calls them his watchmen. The watchmen anciently placed on the walls of the cities occupied a most important position. Upon their faithfulness depended the safety of all within the walls. When danger was apprehended, they were not to sleep day or night. Every few minutes they were required to call to one another, to see that all were awake, and that no harm had come to any. From one to another the cry of warning or good cheer was to be sounded, till it went the entire rounds of the city. RH April 15, 1902, par. 11

These watchmen represent the ministers of Christ, upon whose fidelity depends the salvation of souls. These ministers are to stand as watchmen on the walls of Zion, and if they see the sword coming, they are to sound the warning. RH April 15, 1902, par. 12

“O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.” The watchmen are to live very near to God, where they can hear his word and be impressed by his Spirit, that the people may not look to them in vain. “When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” RH April 15, 1902, par. 13

If the man who feels that he is called of God to be a minister will humble himself and learn of Christ, he will become a true preacher. If his lips are touched with a live coal from the altar, he will lift up Jesus as the sinner's only hope. When the heart of the speaker is sanctified through the truth, his words will be living realities to himself and to others. Those who hear him will know that he has been with God, and has drawn near to him in fervent, effectual prayer. The Holy Spirit has fallen upon him, his soul has felt the vital, heavenly fire, and he is able to compare spiritual things with spiritual. Power will be given him to tear down the strongholds of Satan. Hearts will be broken by his presentation of the love of God, and many will inquire. “What must I do to be saved?” RH April 15, 1902, par. 14