The Review and Herald

1744/1902

April 4, 1912

Service for Christ; Its Meaning

EGW

Practical Christianity means laboring together with God every day; working for Christ, not now and then, but continuously. A neglect to reveal practical righteousness in our lives is a denial of our faith and of the power of God. God is seeking for a sanctified people, a people set apart for his service, a people who will heed and accept the invitation, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me.” RH April 4, 1912, par. 1

How earnestly Christ prosecuted the work of our salvation! What devotion his life revealed, as he sought to give value to fallen man by imputing to every repenting, believing sinner the merits of his spotless righteousness! How untiringly he worked! In the temple and the synagogue, in the streets of the cities, in the market-place, in the workshop, by the seaside, among the hills, he preached the gospel and healed the sick. He gave all there was of himself, that he might work out the plan of redeeming grace. RH April 4, 1912, par. 2

Christ was under no obligation to make this great sacrifice. Voluntarily he pledged himself to bear the punishment due to the transgressor of his law. His love was his only obligation, and without a murmur he endured every pang and welcomed every indignity that was part of the plan of salvation. The life of Christ was one of unselfish service, and his life is our lesson book. The work that he began we are to carry forward. With his life of toil and sacrifice before them, can those who profess his name hesitate to deny self, to lift the cross and follow him? He humbled himself to the lowest depths that we might be lifted to the heights of purity and holiness and completeness. He became poor that he might pour into our poverty-stricken souls the fulness of his riches. He endured the cross of shame that he might give us peace and rest and joy, and make us partakers of the glories of his throne. RH April 4, 1912, par. 3

Should we not appreciate the privilege of working for him, and be eager to practise self-denial and self-sacrifice for his sake? Should we not give back to God all that he has redeemed, the affections he has purified, and the body that he has purchased, to be kept unto sanctification and holiness? RH April 4, 1912, par. 4

The apostle Paul had learned the meaning of true service when he wrote the words, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” RH April 4, 1912, par. 5

In what sense was Paul debtor both to the Jew and to the Greek? To him, as to every disciple of Christ, had been given the commission, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” In accepting Christ, Paul accepted this commission. He realized that upon him rested the obligation of laboring for all classes of men,—for Jew and Gentile, for learned and unlearned, for those occupying high positions and for those in the most lowly walks of life. From a zealous persecutor of the followers of Christ, Paul became one of the Saviour's most devoted and effective workers. Suddenly arrested in his career of persecution, he was given a view of the Saviour, and a complete transformation took place in him. Henceforth his life was wholly devoted to the crucified One. RH April 4, 1912, par. 6

Paul's calling demanded from him service of varied kinds,—working with his hands to earn his living, traveling from place to place, establishing churches, writing letters to the churches already established. Yet in the midst of these varied labors, he declared, “This one thing I do.” One thing he kept steadfastly before him in all his work,—to be faithful to Christ, who, when Paul was blaspheming his name and using every means in his power to make others blaspheme it, had revealed himself to him. The one great purpose of his life was to serve and honor him whose name had once filled him with contempt. RH April 4, 1912, par. 7

Paul's one desire was to win souls to the Saviour. Jew and Gentile might oppose him, but nothing could turn him from his purpose. Henceforth his testimony was, “Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” RH April 4, 1912, par. 8

Christian reader, let the great purpose that constrained Paul to press forward in the face of hardship and difficulty, lead you to consecrate yourself wholly to God's service. Whatever your hands find to do, do it with your might. Let your daily prayer be, “Lord, help me to do my best. Teach me how to do better work. Help me to bring into my service the loving ministry of the Saviour.” RH April 4, 1912, par. 9

The responsibility of each human agent is measured by the gifts he holds in trust. All are to be workers; but upon the worker who has had the greatest opportunities, the greatest clearness of mind in understanding the Scriptures, rests the highest responsibility. Every receiver should hold himself accountable to God, and use his talents for God's glory. RH April 4, 1912, par. 10

Success in the work of God is not the result of chance, of accident, or of destiny; it is the outworking of God's providence, and the award of faith and discretion, of virtue and persevering labor. It is the practise of the truth that brings success and moral power. The bright rays of the Sun of Righteousness are to be welcomed as the light of the mind; the principles of the character of Christ are to be made the principles of the human character. All man's attainments, all his capabilities, are to be laid at the foot of the cross of Calvary. His own righteousness is to be surrendered. Counting all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus the Lord, with the meekness and humility of a little child, he is to receive the engrafted word, which is able to save the soul. RH April 4, 1912, par. 11

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This is the love that is the fulfilling of the law. He whose heart is filled with compassion for fallen man, who loves to a purpose, will reveal that love by the performance of Christlike deeds. True Christianity diffuses love through the whole being. It touches every vital part,—the brain, the heart, the helping hands, the feet,—enabling men to stand firmly where God requires them to stand, lest the lame be turned out of the way. The contemplation of him who loved us and gave himself for us, will make the life fragrant, and give power to perfect a Christian experience. RH April 4, 1912, par. 12

We can, we can reveal the likeness of our divine Lord. We can know the science of spiritual life. We can glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits, which are his. Christ has shown us what we may accomplish through cooperation with him. “Abide in me,” he says, “and I in you.” This union is deeper, stronger, truer, than any other. The heart must be filled with the grace of Christ. His will must control us, moving us, by his love, to suffer with those who suffer, to rejoice with those who rejoice, to feel a deep tenderness for every soul in weakness, sorrow, or distress. RH April 4, 1912, par. 13

If we are partakers of the divine nature, we shall reach forth a helping hand to those in need. Christ's heart was ever touched with pity at the sight of woe. He died on Calvary to lift from men the penalty of transgression. He came to our world to make it possible for sinful human beings to obtain salvation. He wept over the sorrow and suffering he saw on every hand. But he would not fail nor be discouraged. He must believe, and press forward, that a fallen race might gain eternal life. RH April 4, 1912, par. 14

Laborer for God, cease not to pray. If the answer tarry, wait for it. Lay all your plans at the feet of your Redeemer. Let importunate prayers ascend to God. If it be for his name's glory, the words will be spoken, Be it unto thee according to thy word. RH April 4, 1912, par. 15

“All things, whatsoever ye ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” These words are a pledge that all that an omnipotent Saviour can bestow will be given to those who trust in him. As stewards of the grace of heaven, we are to ask in faith, and then wait trustingly for the salvation of God. We are not to step in before him, trying in our own strength to bring about that which we desire. In his name we are to ask, and then act as if we believed in his efficiency to send the answer. RH April 4, 1912, par. 16