Evangelism

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Presenting Health and Christian Standards

[See also The Medical Evangelist, 513-551 and pp. 657-665, “Health and Health Principles.”]

Presenting Health Reform—Our work is to be practical. We are to remember that man has a body as well as a soul to save. Our work includes far more than standing before the people to preach to them. In our work we are to minister to the physical infirmities of those with whom we are brought in contact. We are to present the principles of health reform, impressing our hearers with the thought that they have a part to act in keeping themselves in health. Ev 260.4

The body must be kept in a healthy condition in order that the soul may be in health. The condition of the body affects the condition of the soul. He who would have physical and spiritual strength must educate his appetite in right lines. He must be careful not to burden the soul by overtaxing his physical or spiritual powers. Faithful adherence to right principles in eating, drinking, and dressing is a duty that God has laid upon human beings. Ev 261.1

The Lord desires us to obey the laws of health and life. He holds each one responsible to care properly for his body, that it may be kept in health.—Letter 123, 1903. Ev 261.2

A Part of the Last Message—The principles of health reform are found in the Word of God. The gospel of health is to be firmly linked with the ministry of the Word. It is the Lord's design that the restoring influence of health reform shall be a part of the last great effort to proclaim the gospel message.—Medical Ministry, 259. Ev 261.3

As a people we have been given the work of making known the principles of health reform. There are some who think that the question of diet is not of sufficient importance to be included in their evangelistic work. But such make a great mistake. God's Word declares, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31. The subject of temperance, in all its bearings, has an important place in the work of salvation.—Testimonies For The Church 9:112 (1909). Ev 261.4

Fully Established in Health Reform—Those who live in the last days of this earth's history need to be fully established in the principles of health reform.... Ev 262.1

Sickly men and sickly women need to become health reformers. God will co-operate with His children in preserving their health, if they eat with care, refusing to put unnecessary burdens on the stomach. He has graciously made the path of nature sure and safe, wide enough for all who will walk in it. He has given for our sustenance the wholesome and health-giving productions of the earth.... Ev 262.2

Many have done the body much injury by a disregard of the laws of life, and they may never recover from the effects of their neglect; but even now they may repent and be converted. Man has tried to be wiser than God. He has become a law unto himself. God calls upon us to give attention to His requirements, no longer to dishonor Him by dwarfing the physical, mental, and spiritual capabilities.—Letter 135, 1902. Ev 262.3

Health Reform Progressive and Practical—The Lord desires our ministers, physicians, and church members to be careful not to urge those who are ignorant of our faith to make sudden changes in diet, thus bringing men to a premature test. Hold up the principles of health reform, and let the Lord lead the honest in heart. They will hear and believe. Nor does the Lord require His messengers to present the beautiful truths of healthful living in a way that will prejudice minds. Let no one put stumbling blocks before the feet that are walking in the dark paths of ignorance. Even in praising a good thing, it is well not to be too enthusiastic, lest you turn out of the way those who come to hear. Present the principles of temperance in their most attractive form. Ev 262.4

We must not move presumptuously. The laborers who enter new territory to raise up churches must not create difficulties by attempting to make prominent the question of diet. They should be careful not to draw the lines too closely, for impediments would thus be thrown in the pathway of others. Do not drive the people; lead them. Ev 263.1

Wherever the truth is carried, instruction should be given in regard to the preparation of wholesome foods. God desires that in every place the people shall be taught by skillful teachers how to utilize wisely the products that they can raise or readily obtain in their section of the country. Thus the poor, as well as those in better circumstances, can be taught to live healthfully.—Gospel Workers, 233 (1915). Ev 263.2

Keep It to the Front—The work of health reform is the Lord's means for lessening suffering in our world and for purifying His church. Teach the people that they can act as God's helping hand, by co-operating with the Master worker in restoring physical and spiritual health. This work bears the signature of heaven, and will open doors for the entrance of other precious truths. There is room for all to labor who will take hold of this work intelligently. Ev 263.3

Keep the work of health reform to the front, is the message I am instructed to bear. Show so plainly its value that a wide-spread need for it will be felt. Abstinence from all hurtful food and drink is the fruit of true religion. He who is thoroughly converted will abandon every injurious habit and appetite. By total abstinence he will overcome his desire for health-destroying indulgences. Ev 263.4

I am instructed to say to health-reform educators, Go forward. The world needs every jot of the influence you can exert to press back the tide of moral woe. Let those who teach the third angel's message stand true to their colors.—Testimonies For The Church 9:112, 113 (1909). Ev 264.1

Total Abstinence From Liquor and Tobacco—Men and women have many habits that are antagonistic to the principles of the Bible. The victims of strong drink and tobacco are corrupted, body, soul, and spirit. Such ones should not be received into the church until they give evidence that they are truly converted, that they feel the need of the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. The truth of God will purify the true believer. He who is thoroughly converted will abandon every defiling habit and appetite. By total abstinence he will overcome his desire for health-destroying indulgences.—Letter 49, 1902. Ev 264.2

Conversion the Secret of Victory—The very first and the most important thing is to melt and subdue the soul by presenting our Lord Jesus Christ as the sinbearer, the sin-pardoning Saviour, making the gospel as clear as possible. Ev 264.3

When the Holy Spirit works among us, as it surely has done at the camp meeting in _____, souls who are unready for Christ's appearing are convicted. Many come to our meetings and are converted who for years have not attended meetings in any church. The simplicity of the truth reaches their hearts. It touches all classes. The tobacco devotees sacrifice their idol and the liquor drinker his liquor. They could not do this if they did not grasp by faith the promises of God for the forgiveness of their sins. Is it not worth a decided effort to save these souls?—Letter 4, 1899. Ev 264.4

Begin Reform at the Foundation—Liquor drinking encourages the vilest debauchery and strengthens the most Satanic propensities.... As we face these things, and see the terrible consequences of liquor drinking, shall we not do all in our power to rally to the help of God in fighting against this great evil? At the foundation of liquor drinking lie wrong habits of eating. Those who believe present truth should refuse to drink tea or coffee, for these excite a desire for stronger stimulant. They should refuse to eat flesh meat, for this too excites a desire for strong drink. Wholesome food, prepared with taste and skill, should be our diet now. Ev 265.1

Those who are not health reformers treat themselves unfairly and unwisely. By the indulgence of appetite they do themselves fearful injury. Some may think that the question of diet is not important enough to be included in the question of religion. But such make a great mistake. God's Word declares, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” The subject of temperance, in all its bearings, has an important place in the working out of our salvation. Because of wrong habits of eating, the world is becoming more and more immoral.—Letter 49, 1902. Ev 265.2

Personal Labor for Intemperate—Missionary work does not consist merely of preaching. It includes personal labor for those who have abused their health and have placed themselves where they have not moral power to control their appetites and passions. These souls are to be labored for as those more favorably situated. Our world is full of suffering ones. Ev 265.3

God has written His law upon every nerve and muscle, every fiber and function of the human body. The indulgence of unnatural appetite, whether for tea, coffee, tobacco, or liquor, is intemperance, and is at war with the laws of life and health. By using these forbidden articles a condition of things is created in the system which the Creator never designed. This indulgence in any of the members of the human family is sin.... The eating of food that does not make good blood is working against the laws of our physical organism, and is a violation of the law of God. The cause produces the effect. Suffering, disease, and death are the sure penalty of indulgence.—Letter 123, 1899. Ev 265.4

The Quest for Pleasure—Multitudes are vainly seeking happiness in worldly amusements. They crave something which they do not have. They are spending their money for that which is not bread, and their labor for that which satisfieth not. The hungering, thirsting soul will continue to hunger and thirst as long as it partakes of these unsatisfying pleasures. O that every such one would listen to the voice of Jesus, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.” Those who drink of the living water will thirst no more for frivolous, exciting amusements. Christ, the wellspring of life, is the fountain of peace and happiness. Ev 266.1

God bestows various talents and gifts upon men, not that they may lie useless, nor that they may be employed in amusements or selfish gratification, but that they may be a blessing to others by enabling men to do earnest, self-sacrificing missionary work.—The Youth's Instructor, November 6, 1902. Ev 266.2

Shows and Theaters—Satan's ruling passion is to pervert the intellect and cause men to long for shows and theatrical performances. The experience and character of all who engage in this work will be in accordance with the food given to the mind. Ev 266.3

The Lord has given evidence of His love for the world. There was no falsity, no acting, in what He did. He gave a living gift, capable of suffering humiliation, neglect, shame, reproach. This Christ did that He might rescue the fallen. While human beings were instituting schemes and methods to destroy Him, the Son of the Infinite God came to our world to give an example of the great work to be done to redeem and save man. But today the proud and disobedient are striving to acquire a great name and great honor from their fellow men by using their God-given endowments to amuse.—Manuscript 42, 1898. Ev 267.1

Working for Pleasure Lovers—Instead of disparaging Jacob's well, Christ presented something infinitely better.... He offered the woman something better than anything she possessed, even living water, the joy and hope of the gospel of His kingdom. Ev 267.2

This is an illustration of the way in which we are to work. It is of little use for us to go to pleasure lovers, theatergoers, horse racers, drunkards, gamblers, and scathingly rebuke them for their sins. This will do no good. We must offer them something better than that which they have, even the peace of Christ, which passeth all understanding.... Ev 267.3

These poor souls are engaged in a wild chase after worldly pleasure and earthly riches. They have no knowledge of anything more desirable. But games, theaters, horse races, will not satisfy the soul. Human beings were not created to be satisfied in this way, to spend their money for that which is not bread. Show them how infinitely superior to the fleeting joys and pleasures of the world is the imperishable glory of heaven. Seek to convince them of the freedom and hope and rest and peace there is in the gospel. “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst,” Christ declared.—Manuscript 12, 1901. Ev 267.4

Instructions on Dress and Pleasure—The principles of the Christian life should be made plain to those who have newly come to the truth. Faithful, Christian men and women should have an intense interest to bring the convicted soul to a correct knowledge of righteousness in Christ Jesus. If any have allowed the desire for pleasure or the love of dress to become supreme, so that any portion of their mind, soul, and strength is devoted to selfish indulgences, the faithful believers should watch for these souls as they that must give an account. They must not neglect the faithful, tender, loving instruction so essential to the young converts, that there may be no half-hearted work.—Manuscript 56, 1900. Ev 268.1

Instructing New Converts on Idolatry of Dress— One of the points upon which those newly come to the faith will need instruction is the subject of dress. Let the new converts be faithfully dealt with. Are they vain in dress? Do they cherish pride of heart? The idolatry of dress is a moral disease. It must not be taken over into the new life. In most cases, submission to the gospel requirements will demand a decided change in the dress. Ev 268.2

There should be no carelessness in dress. For Christ's sake, whose witnesses we are, we should seek to make the best of our appearance. In the tabernacle service, God specified every detail concerning the garments of those who ministered before Him. Thus we are taught that He has a preference in regard to the dress of those who serve Him. Very specific were the directions given in regard to Aaron's robes, for his dress was symbolic. So the dress of Christ's followers should be symbolic. In all things we are to be representatives of Him. Our appearance in every respect should be characterized by neatness, modesty, and purity. But the Word of God gives no sanction to the making of changes in apparel merely for the sake of fashion,—that we may appear like the world. Christians are not to decorate the person with costly array or expensive ornaments. Ev 268.3

The words of Scripture in regard to dress should be carefully considered. We need to understand that which the Lord of heaven appreciates in even the dressing of the body. All who are in earnest in seeking for the grace of Christ will heed the precious words of instruction inspired by God. Even the style of the apparel will express the truth of the gospel. Ev 269.1

All who study the life of Christ and practice His teachings will become like Christ. Their influence will be like His. They will reveal soundness of character. As they walk in the humble path of obedience, doing the will of God, they exert an influence that tells for the advancement of the cause of God and the healthful purity of His work. In these thoroughly converted souls the world is to have a witness to the sanctifying power of truth upon the human character.—Testimonies For The Church 6:96, 97 (1900). Ev 269.2

In Keeping With Our Faith—Self-denial in dress is a part of our Christian duty. To dress plainly, and abstain from display of jewelry and ornaments of every kind is in keeping with our faith. Are we of the number who see the folly of worldlings in indulging in extravagance of dress as well as in love of amusements? If so, we should be of that class who shun everything that gives sanction to this spirit which takes possession of the minds and hearts of those who live for this world only, and who have no thought or care for the next.—Testimonies For The Church 3:366 (1875). Ev 269.3

Conformity to Christ or the World—A sister who had spent some weeks at one of our institutions in _____, said that she felt much disappointed in what she saw and heard there.... Before accepting the truth, she had followed the fashions of the world in her dress, and had worn costly jewelry and other ornaments; but upon deciding to obey the Word of God, she felt that its teachings required her to lay aside all extravagant and superfluous adorning. She was taught that Seventh-day Adventists did not wear jewelry, gold, silver, or precious stones, and that they did not conform to worldly fashions in their dress. When she saw among those who profess the faith such a wide departure from Bible simplicity, she felt bewildered. Had they not the same Bible which she had been studying, and to which she had endeavored to conform her life? Had her past experience been mere fanaticism? Had she misinterpreted the words of the apostle, “The friendship of the world is enmity with God, for whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God”? Ev 270.1

Mrs. D, a lady occupying a position in the institution, was visiting at Sr. _____'s room one day, when the latter took out of her trunk a gold necklace and chain, and said she wished to dispose of this jewelry and put the proceeds into the Lord's treasury. Said the other, “Why do you sell it? I would wear it if it was mine.” “Why,” replied Sr. _____, “when I received the truth, I was taught that all these things must be laid aside. Surely they are contrary to the teachings of God's Word.” And she cited her hearer to the words of the apostles, Paul and Peter, upon this point, “In like manner, also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but, as becometh women professing godliness, with good works.” “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel. But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.” Ev 270.2

In answer, the lady displayed a gold ring on her finger, given her by an unbeliever, and said she thought it no harm to wear such ornaments. “We are not so particular,” said she, “as formerly. Our people have been overscrupulous in their opinions upon the subject of dress. The ladies of this institution wear gold watches and gold chains, and dress like other people. It is not good policy to be singular in our dress; for we cannot exert so much influence.” Ev 271.1

We inquire, Is this in accordance with the teachings of Christ? Are we to follow the Word of God, or the customs of the world? Our sister decided that it was the safest to adhere to the Bible standard. Will Mrs. D and others who pursue a similar course be pleased to meet the result of their influence, in that day when every man shall receive according to his works? Ev 271.2

God's Word is plain. Its teachings cannot be mistaken. Shall we obey it, just as He has given it to us, or shall we seek to find how far we can digress and yet be saved? Would that all connected with our institutions would receive and follow the divine light, and thus be enabled to transmit light to those who walk in darkness. Ev 271.3

Conformity to the world is a sin which is sapping the spirituality of our people, and seriously interfering with their usefulness. It is idle to proclaim the warning message to the world, while we deny it in the transactions of daily life.—The Review and Herald, March 28, 1882. Ev 271.4

A Work of the Heart—There are many who try to correct the life of others by attacking what they consider are wrong habits. They go to those whom they think are in error, and point out their defects. They say, “You don't dress as you should.” They try to pick off the ornaments, or whatever seems offensive, but they do not seek to fasten the mind to the truth. Those who seek to correct others should present the attractions of Jesus. They should talk of His love and compassion, present His example and sacrifice, reveal His Spirit, and they need not touch the subject of dress at all. There is no need to make the dress question the main point of your religion. There is something richer to speak of. Talk of Christ, and when the heart is converted, everything that is out of harmony with the Word of God will drop off. It is only labor in vain to pick leaves off a living tree. The leaves will reappear. The ax must be laid at the root of the tree, and then the leaves will fall off, never to return. Ev 272.1

In order to teach men and women the worthlessness of earthly things, you must lead them to the living Fountain, and get them to drink of Christ, until their hearts are filled with the love of God, and Christ is in them, a well of water springing up into everlasting life.—The Signs of the Times, July 1, 1889. Ev 272.2

Cleanse the fountain, and the streams will be pure. If the heart is right, your words, your dress, your acts, will all be right.—Testimonies For The Church 1:158 (1857). Ev 272.3

Simplicity of Dress—We are nearing the close of this world's history. A plain, direct testimony is now needed, as given in the Word of God, in regard to plainness of dress. This should be our burden. But it is too late now to become enthusiastic in making a test of this matter. The dress of our people should be made most simply.... No one precise style has been given me as the exact rule to guide all in their dress.... Ev 272.4

Our sisters should clothe themselves with modest apparel. They should dress with simplicity. Your hats and dresses need not the extra trimmings that are put upon them. You are to be clothed with modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety. Give to the world a living illustration of the inward adorning of the grace of God. Let our sisters dress plainly, as many do, having the dress of good material, durable, modest, appropriate for this age, and let not the dress question fill the mind.—Manuscript 97, 1908. Ev 273.1