Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 63, 1898

Home Missionary Work


May 18, 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in TDG 147. +Note

Relating his experience, the apostle Paul said, “Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. ... Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” [Acts 20:18-21, 26-28.] 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 1

This is home missionary work. Ministers are to strive faithfully to do this work. They are not only to preach; they are to minister by going from house to house, becoming acquainted with the different families in the church, some of whom may be converted, while others are still without God and without hope in the world. It is possible to preach many sermons without accomplishing the work essential for the well-being of the people of God. The discourses given in the house of God are to be followed by personal labor. A work may be done by visiting people in their homes, and speaking helpful, encouraging words to them, which will be far more effective than the work done by preaching. 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 2

The enemy of righteousness presents strong inducements to men and women, that he may if possible, lead them to yield to his alluring temptations. Therefore great care and vigilance must be shown by the ministers of the church of God in caring for their flock. They must watch for souls as they that must give an account, showing the same interest in their brethren and sisters in the faith that brothers and sisters of the same family show in each other. In Christ we are all members of one family. God is our Father, and He expects us to take an interest in the members of His household, not a casual interest, but a decided, continual interest. As branches of the parent vine, we derive nourishment from the same source, and by willing obedience, we become one with Christ. 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 3

If one member of Christ’s household falls into temptation, the other members are to look after him with kindly interest, seeing to arrest the feet that are straying into false paths and win him to a pure, holy life. This service God requires from every member of His church. Some, because they do not receive and impart light, have no genuine spiritual experience. They are often surprised by temptations that come in such fascinating forms that they do not recognize them as deceptions of the wily foe. How important that they obtain the experience necessary for them to have. The members of the Lord’s family are to be wise and watchful, doing all in their power to save their weaker brethren from Satan’s concealed nets. 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 4

This is home missionary work, and it is as helpful to those who do it as it is to those for whom it is done. The kindly interest we manifest in the home circle, the words of sympathy we speak to our brothers and sisters, fit us to work for the members of the Lord’s household, with whom, if we remain loyal to Christ, we shall live through eternal ages. “Be thou faithful unto death,” Christ says, “and I will give thee a crown of life.” [Revelation 2:10.] Then how careful should the members of the Lord’s family guard their brethren and sisters! Make yourself their friend. If they are poor, and in need of food and clothing, minister to their temporal as well as their spiritual wants. Thus you will be a double blessing to them. 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 5

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” [Romans 5:1-5.] 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 6

It is a wonderful thing for the sinner to be brought to God through Christ, to learn to know Christ by experience. This is true conversion. Then how tender we should be in our dealings with those who are striving for the crown of life. He who in love and tenderness has helped a soul in need may at another time be himself in need of compassionate words of hope and courage. Then the one who has been helped should in turn manifest loving, patient interest in the one who is in need of help. Our daily prayer should be, “Help us to help each other, Lord, each other’s woes to bear.” We need to do our best to encourage the young to seek earnestly for a deeper experience in the Christian life. By appropriate words from the Scriptures help them to know the One who is our peace, our joy, our strength, our shield, our Guide and Counsellor, the source of all our comfort, our all and in all. 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 7

All who come to Jesus with true purpose of heart, surrendering themselves to His service, will know the blessedness of perfect trust. Have you turned from your idols to God? If you have in truth enlisted in Christ’s service, you will find in him all that is required for the perfection of Christian character. By His fulness your soul-hunger will be satisfied. It is your privilege to follow on to know the Lord, that you may know that His goings forth are prepared as the morning. 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 8

It is not only those of the household of faith that are to be cared for. There are many not with us in the faith who are to be labored for. Christ died for them. They are the purchase of His blood, and are of value in God’s sight. They need to be pointed to the Saviour. This you may do by speaking words of courage and hope to them, giving tangible proof of your interest in them by helping to procure food and clothing for them, if need be. Many could thus be reached by the truth if God’s people gave proof that their interest in them is genuine. 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 9

Christ declared, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” [Luke 5:31.] It is not according to Christ’s teaching to expend undue time and attention upon those who know the truth, for there is danger of thus creating selfishness and helplessness. We are to remember that the souls of all are of value with God. Let those who have a knowledge of the truth inquire, How can I best meet these souls who take no interest in religious things? 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 10

You meet many people, talk with them, visit them, but have you spoken any words which show an interest in their spiritual welfare? Have you presented Christ to them as a sin-pardoning Saviour? If you have not, how will you meet these souls—lost, eternally lost—when with them you stand before the bar of God? 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 11

This work is strangely neglected. Who can say with the apostle Paul, “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ”? [Acts 20:20, 21.] 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 12

Those who have gained a knowledge of the truth are to teach others, engaging in house to house work, that others may receive the knowledge of Christ, and turn from their idols to serve God by doing the same missionary work. But large portions of the Lord’s vineyard are left to lie uncultivated and neglected. Thousands might today be rejoicing in the truth if those who claim to love God and keep His commandments would work as Christ worked and as the apostle Paul worked, going from house to house, and in all humility declaring the need of repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 13

“I have showed you,” Paul writes, “that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” [Verse 35.] “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.” [Romans 15:1-3.] 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 14

“God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” [Romans 5:8.] Then shall we not individually turn over a new leaf and labor earnestly for those around us, whose souls are just as precious in God’s sight as our own? Many may be converted by the instrumentality of those who are laborers together with God. The heavenly intelligences stand close beside every soul who is earnestly laboring to win souls to Christ, that these souls may in their turn glorify God, as it is written, “For this cause I will confess thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.” [Romans 15:9.] When souls are converted, both the laborer and those labored for glorify God, and it rejoices His heart of love that the heavenly intelligences have found channels through which they can communicate the riches of Christ’s mercy and grace. 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 15

Those who receive and impart Christ’s grace, receive grace for grace. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name,” “having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” [John 1:12; Ephesians 1:5-7.] 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 16

What rich blessings are here given us! It is God’s purpose, by His dealing with those who receive Christ as a personal Saviour, to glorify His name through the eternal ages. By giving heaven’s richest treasure, His only begotten Son, to die for man, He would demonstrate before all created intelligences, how much He loves the fallen race. 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 17

There is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that turns from sin to show repentance toward God and faith toward Christ. All heaven is made glad, and seraphs and cherubs touch their golden harps, and sin praises to God and the Lamb for their mercy and lovingkindness to the children of men. Then why are we not more in earnest? 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 18

“I have declared unto them thy name,” Christ said in His wonderful prayer, “and will declare it, that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them and I in them.” [John 17:26.] The knowledge that such possibilities and privileges lie before humanity should stir us to greater activity, leading us to make more self-denying, self-sacrificing efforts in behalf of those who know not Christ. Shall not those whose hearts are warmed by the love of Christ show how much they prize that love by telling others about it, seeking in every possible way to arrest the attention of the unconverted, and point them to Jesus? Show them by precept and example that you appreciate God’s love. Wherever you are, in whatever society you may be, do what you can to declare the name and love of God, and to impress minds with the great loss they sustain by not enlisting in Christ’s service. 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 19

“Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 18:3.] These words apply to each one of those who compose the great web of humanity. What is conversion? It is a change of heart. Those who are converted are doers of Christ’s words. “He that saith I know him, and keepeth not his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” [1 John 2:4.] 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 20

We do not half work for the Master. He would have us watch for souls as they that must give an account. In His great love for us, “he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] Knowing this, let us use every entrusted talent for God, seeking earnestly to get recruits for his army. Do not fail, in the gentleness of Christ, to make personal appeals. Ye are laborers together with God. Can the angels say this of us? 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 21

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach without they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.” [Romans 10:13-15.] 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 22

Christ walked on this earth in the midst of men, uplifting the weak, the halting, the suffering, and making glad the hearts of the desponding and discouraged. To all He gave the gracious invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] We are privileged to draw from Christ’s resources. In Him there is an inexhaustible supply of grace and light and love. The more we impart, the more we receive. And as we supply the necessities of others, our own souls are refreshed and satisfied by the love of Jesus. 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 23

“He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth forever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply the seed sown, and increase the fruit of your righteousness) being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.” [2 Corinthians 9:6-11.] 13LtMs, Ms 63, 1898, par. 24