Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 36, 1902

Make Full Proof of Thy Ministry


March 5, 1902 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in CTr 48.

“Make full proof of thy ministry.” [2 Timothy 4:5.] 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 1

Enoch was an active worker for God. He did not seek ease and comfort. Nor did he spend his time in idle meditation or in striving to gain happiness for himself. He did not participate in the festivities and amusements constantly engaging the attention of the pleasure lovers of the antediluvian world. In his day the minds of many were absorbed in worldly pleasures—pleasures that tempted them to go astray. But Enoch was terribly in earnest. He did not idly saunter along the streets or linger near places of amusement, as if he were an indifferent worldling. He never engaged in common conversation with those who were corrupt, as if he were one of them. With the sinful and with the workers of iniquity he mingled only as God’s messenger, to warn them to turn with abhorrence from their evil ways and to repent and seek God. 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 2

Enoch lived an active, zealous life of self-denial. He walked with God in a world so corrupt that the Lord afterward destroyed it by the flood. And he walked with men as one among them, but not as one of them; as one whose purposes and works and hopes were based not only on time, but on eternity. He did not give the worldly-wise any reason to question his profession and his faith. By earnest words and by decided actions he showed that he was separate from the world. After periods of retirement he would mingle with the ungodly to exhort them to abhor the evil and to choose the good. As a faithful worker for God, he sought to save them. He warned the world. He preached faith in Christ, the Saviour of sinners, the sinner’s only hope. 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 3

Enoch was an Adventist. He carried the minds of men forward to the great day of God, when Christ will come the second time, to judge every man’s work. Jude tells us, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.” [Jude 14-16.] 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 4

Like Enoch, we must walk with God, bringing the will into submission to His will. We must be willing to go where Jesus leads, willing to suffer for His dear sake. In seeking to save the souls for whom Christ has died, in conquering difficulties, and in keeping ourselves unspotted from the world, we reveal the genuineness of our religion. The faithful Christian does not seek the easiest place, the lightest burdens. He is found where the work is hardest, where his help is most needed. 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 5

The responsibility of each Christian is proportionate to his entrusted talents. Christ’s true followers are fruit-bearing trees. They work as He worked, going about doing good. Thus they bear testimony that His Spirit is dwelling in their hearts. 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 6

Very many who claim to be Christians act as if they were in this world merely to please themselves. They forget that Jesus, their pattern, pleased not Himself. They forget that the self-denial and self-sacrifice that characterized His life must characterize their lives, else in the day of God they will be found wanting and will hear from His lips the irrevocable sentence, “Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth!” [Matthew 25:30.] Fearful sentence! Let every professing Christian, by zealous activity in the Master’s cause, seek to avert this fearful doom. 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 7

Like Enoch, we should earnestly proclaim the message of Christ’s second coming. “The day of the Lord,” the Scriptures declare, cometh “as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, ... and they shall not escape.” [1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3.] In these words is emphasized the importance of being constantly prepared for this great event. “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye (those who in the light of the Scriptures are brethren) are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love (these attributes are always united); and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.” [Verses 4-13.] The whole of the fifth chapter of first Thessalonians should be read and heeded. Carried into practice, this Scripture would bring about a great change in the lives of those who now are inspired by the spirit that works in the children of disobedience. This chapter should receive more attention, and should be read in every church before, as well as during, seasons of prayer. Concerning his first letter to the Thessalonian church Paul wrote, “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.” [Verse 27.] 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 8

With this chapter should be connected the first chapter of second Thessalonians. Let the words of this Scripture sink deep into every heart. Notice especially the first few verses: “Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity (love) of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure.” [Verses 2-4.] The entire chapter is a lesson of greatest importance. 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 9

Let the following Scripture also be read in our churches: “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in everything ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no diversions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” [1 Corinthians 1:1-10.] 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 10

“Now God Himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” [1 Thessalonians 3:11-13.] 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 11

The ministers of the Word and the teachers in our schools are under the most solemn obligation to walk in harmony with these words. In these verses very much is comprehended. The character of a tree can be judged only by its fruit. All who are doers of the Word will bear evidence that they are co-laborers with Jesus Christ. 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 12

“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; and that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.” [1 Thessalonians 4:9-12.] 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 13

Let all take heed how they read and hear these words, and how they put them into practice. The gospel minister should be a faithful guardian of the truth. He should tenderly care for the flock entrusted to him, guarding them against falling into error. 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 14

To every minister and to every teacher is given the charge that Paul gave to Timothy: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” [2 Timothy 4:1-5.] 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 15

The apostle Paul suffered from unworthy men. Pleading for true fellow laborers to be sent to him, he wrote: “Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: for Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. ... Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory forever and ever.” [Verses 9-11, 14-18.] 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 16

We are not to think that in these last days we shall not pass through experiences similar to those through which Paul passed. Those who have the mind of Christ do not avoid difficulties. For His sake they go without the camp, bearing reproach and enduring hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. They fight manfully for truth in places where the conflict is most trying. They labor in the closest sympathy with Him who came to seek and to save the lost; and they become trees of righteousness. Goodness and faithfulness is the fruit they bear. To every such worker Christ will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” [Matthew 25:23.] 17LtMs, Ms 36, 1902, par. 17