The Review and Herald

260/1902

May 6, 1884

Believers Christ's Representatives

EGW

The gospel is designed for all, and it will bring together in church capacity men and women who are different in training, in character, and in disposition. Among these will be some who are naturally slack, who feel that order is pride, and that it is not necessary to be so particular. God will not come down to their low standard; he has given them probation, and the necessary directions in his word, and he requires them to be transformed, to perfect holy characters. Every one who is converted from sin to righteousness, from error to truth, will exemplify in words and acts the sanctifying power of the truth. RH May 6, 1884, par. 1

The people of God have a high and holy calling. They are Christ's representatives. Paul addresses the church in Corinth as those who are “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints.” And he adds: “For we are laborers together with God; ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” Again he says to them: “What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” To the saints at Ephesus he writes: “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.” Says Peter, “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” RH May 6, 1884, par. 2

These passages are calculated to impress the mind with the sacred, exalted character of God's work, and with the high and holy position his people are to occupy. Could these things be said of those who do not seek to be refined by the truth? RH May 6, 1884, par. 3

The Jewish temple was built of hewn stones quarried out of the mountains; and every stone was fitted for its place in the temple, hewed, polished, and tested, before it was brought to Jerusalem. And when all were brought to the ground, the building went together without the sound of an ax or hammer. This building represents God's spiritual temple, which is composed of material gathered out of every nation and tongue and people, of all grades, high and low, rich and poor, learned and ignorant. These are not dead substances, to be fitted by hammer and chisel. They are living stones quarried out from the world by the truth; and the great Master-builder, the Lord of the temple, is now hewing and polishing them, and fitting them for their respective places in the spiritual temple. When completed, this temple will be perfect in all its parts, the admiration of angels and of men; for its builder and maker is God. Truly, those who are to compose this glorious building are “called to be saints.” RH May 6, 1884, par. 4

It was indeed a ministration of glory, when, veiled by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, the Majesty of heaven led his people through the wilderness; when the symbol of the divine presence covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle; but the blessings and privileges granted to God's people in the present age exceed those bestowed upon ancient Israel. Christ has been manifested in the flesh; his blood has been poured out, the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world; and now our Mediator stands before the mercy-seat making an atonement for his people. In view of the increased light and greater privileges which we enjoy, we are laid under greater responsibilities than were the Israelites. God has given a light to the world in every soul who is brought to a knowledge of the truth and accepts his service; and he designs that each light shall be the means of lighting many others. We are not to let our light burn dim; we are to catch bright beams from the Sun of Righteousness, and reflect light to the world to the glory of God. RH May 6, 1884, par. 5

All that was recorded in sacred history in regard to the journeyings of the children of Israel was written for our profit upon whom the ends of the world are come; but how shall we be warned, instructed, and encouraged by these lessons, if we do not search the Scriptures? As a people, we are sadly deficient here. We do not search the Scriptures, neither the Old Testament nor the New, as diligently and carefully as we should. We are not as earnest as we should be to learn what is the will of God concerning us. During their wanderings in the wilderness, while living in tents, the Israelites were required to observe specified rules and regulations, and to be careful in regard to cleanliness, both in their personal habits and in their surroundings; and in these particulars God will require no less of his people now. Especial care should be taken in regard to order and neatness at our large camp-meetings, where we are observed by multitudes. These meetings are important, and no pains should be spared that our faith may be properly represented. God is a God of order, and there should be no confusion in his work. These large gatherings should be made training schools, where the people are taught their duty to God and how they may help their fellow-men by letting their light shine to the world. RH May 6, 1884, par. 6

Our people do not come up to the standard that God requires of them. By their imperfections, many are causing the lame to be turned out of the way. When the truth is presented in a new place, some may take hold of it who are uncultured and rough. They may be untidy in dress, and careless in their conversation and surroundings. Such persons can never become subjects of Christ's kingdom without reforming in these particulars. If they feel that there is no need of reformation, be assured that the truth has not taken deep root in their hearts; for when it commences its refining process upon the receiver, there will be decided changes in the character and habits. The untidy housekeeper will become care-taking, neat, and orderly; for is she not to entertain angels of God, that minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation? And these heavenly messengers will not be attracted to untidy homes. The people of God profess to be pilgrims and strangers, seeking a better country, even a heavenly, and while here they should resemble its inhabitants as nearly as possible. The testimonies borne by ministers of the gospel should be calculated to educate. Patiently, step by step, they should carry forward those who are defective in character, until they shall become worthy representatives of Christ, such as he is not ashamed to call his brethren. RH May 6, 1884, par. 7

Brethren and sisters, if we have habits of speech and deportment that do not rightly represent the Christian religion, we should at once set about the work of reform. As we represent Christ to the world, let us form such habits as will honor him. Everywhere hidden from observation, agencies are at work to draw souls from Christ; and God would have still more powerful agencies at work among his people to attract souls to Christ. If our lives are the visible expression of God's word; if we manifest to the world the wisdom, purity, and nobility of the Master whom we serve, we shall have a compelling power to win souls. RH May 6, 1884, par. 8

Our observance of the seventh-day Sabbath makes us unpopular, and many false reports are circulated in regard to us as a people. Men who have heard the truth, and been convinced of its claims, have closed their hearts against it, and are filled with hatred of reform and reformers. These men are selfish, and their motives corrupt. They see that should they accept the truth, they would be in danger of losing their position, influence, and authority, and they choose to cling to what they call established authorities. Having rejected the plainest truths of the Bible, they try to influence others to reject them. They are of the class Christ denounced, who would not enter the kingdom of heaven themselves nor suffer others to enter. The masses of the Christian world have not searched the Scriptures, and they are deceived by those whom they have hired to explain the word to them. They are taught the customs and traditions of men, while the law of God is ignored; and the prevailing corruption in our large cities, the depravity that abounds everywhere, and is constantly breaking out in multiplied crimes, testify to the result of making void this holy law. RH May 6, 1884, par. 9

The people whom God has made the depositaries of his law are generally from the poorer classes, and they have not had the advantages of wealth and culture. As they wish to make a good impression, and win souls to the light of truth, they must become intelligent and refined. They should stop at no low standard; for they will be hated and criticised by all who choose darkness rather than light. RH May 6, 1884, par. 10

Brethren and sisters, you are “workers together with God.” You have not come into the church to let your talents rust, while others do the work. You should obey the apostolic injunction, “Seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” You are as a camp of armed men, soldiers enlisted under the banner of the cross, whose duty is to go out into a revolted world and bring back as many as possible to allegiance to Christ. Every new volunteer must learn to endure hardness as a good soldier, to keep the armor on, to wield the sword of the Spirit, and to gain victories for the Captain of our salvation. RH May 6, 1884, par. 11