Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 127, 1902

Talk/Words to Ministers

Los Angeles, California

September 16, 1902

Portions of this manuscript are published in Ev 91, 146, 174, 346, 663, 685-686; 6MR 63-64. +Note

Report of Talk, Ministers’ Meeting, Los Angeles, California, Camp-ground, Noon, September 16, 1902. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 1

There is much that could be said in regard to the way in which the work of the Lord should be carried on. I know nothing about what you have been studying in your past meetings, therefore I will speak only in a general way on the work of the ministry. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 2

As workers, we are to be Christ’s representatives on the earth. We are to be representatives of the truth as it is in Jesus. As far as possible, every branch of the work should be carried on in the manner in which Christ carried on His work during His ministry. The mind of every one of us must be worked by His Holy Spirit. True, we may take up some line of service and seem to do a certain work without first consecrating ourselves wholly to the Lord; but the results of such a work are not eternal. All of us—and especially those of us who are leaders, we who for many years have been students of the prophetic Word—should more fully understand the responsibilities that are resting upon us. To this end, let us read a few verses from Ephesians—instruction that is right to the point and that will help us to realize our privileges and responsibilities better than almost anything else that could be read. In this epistle Paul says: “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” [Ephesians 4:1.] 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 3

Those who know the most about this vocation, those who teach others about it, are the very ones who should, in every respect, walk most circumspectly. Whatever may be their temperament, it should be so subdued that they will be able to present every feature of our faith in the spirit and in the grace that Christ gives. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 4

Let us read further in regard to the essential characteristics of those who are called to minister to the spiritual necessities of the people: They are to walk worthy of their vocation, “with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love.” [Verse 2.] 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 5

In God’s Word is an abundance to balance us on the one side and on the other side, and to give us the zeal, the earnestness, the life, that was in Christ Jesus. Our great burden should be to represent Him aright. Our work consists not in seeing how much we can do on the right hand and on the left, but rather in seeing how faithfully, as evangelists, we can represent Christ Jesus in His ministry. Both the high and the low among God’s workers are to take their position as ministers of the Word—evangelists—seeking to represent the Saviour in every place where they can reach the people. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 6

“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Let us take this into consideration. “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” [Verses 3-6.] 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 7

This Scripture embraces much. We shall all lose a great deal, if we are not learners all the time. In the school of Christ, we can never be graduated. When we are promoted to the upper grade, we shall take with us all the true knowledge that we have learned in this life. All the learning that we have gained in becoming acquainted with God, and in being brought into sacred nearness to Him in the work of saving souls, we shall carry with us, and this will give us just that much of a start in the school above. In the education that we are now obtaining, line upon line, precept upon precept, we are just beginning to understand something about God’s requirements of us. But we fall far short of reaching the high standard that we should reach. Instead of thinking that we have already attained perfection of knowledge, constantly we are to reach forward to attain more wisdom and grace; constantly we are to endeavor to secure a more full understanding of what God requires of us, so that in the heavenly courts it can be said of us, “Ye are complete in Him.” [Colossians 2:10.] 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 8

“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” [Ephesians 4:7.] And the measure of the Gift increases as we constantly trade upon the talent that God has given us. If our talent increases until it is doubled, the grace is doubled. To us will be given all the grace and power that we can use in God’s service. Daily we shall increase in strength, in knowledge of the truth, in power of comprehension, embracing more and still more as we are able to impart God’s gifts to others. His gifts to us are valueless, unless we know how to use them aright. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 9

My fellow workers, our calling is a very high and holy vocation. The Lord desires every one of us to walk worthy of it, “with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love: endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” [Verses 2, 3.] 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 10

This Scripture specifies the very work that is resting upon us. The apostle continues: “Wherefore He saith when He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men. (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.)” [Verses 8-10.] 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 11

Just before His ascension, Christ said, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” [Matthew 28:18.] Will we claim this power? If Christ should come today, I fear He would not find us prepared to meet Him. Let us all take our position in regard to the Lord’s messages to us. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 12

The apostle specifies the gifts of the Spirit: “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” [Ephesians 4:11.] All these gifts should be manifest in the church today. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 13

To every man is given his work. Those who enter the ministry engage in a special work and should give themselves to prayer and to the speaking of the Word. Their minds should not be burdened with business matters. For years, the Lord has been instructing me to warn our ministering brethren against allowing their minds to become so engrossed with business matters that they will have no time to commune with God and to have fellowship with the Spirit. A minister cannot keep in the best spiritual frame of mind while he is called upon to settle little difficulties in the various churches. This is not his appointed work. God desires to use every faculty of His chosen messengers. Their minds should not be wearied by long committee meetings at night; for God wants all their brainpower to be used in proclaiming the gospel as it is in Christ Jesus. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 14

Overburdened, a minister is often so hurried that he scarcely finds time to examine himself whether he be in the faith. He finds very little time to meditate and pray. Christ in His ministry united prayer with work. Night after night He spent wholly in prayer. Ministers must seek God for His Holy Spirit, in order that they may present the truth aright. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 15

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are bestowed “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love (we need to speak the truth in love), may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” [Verses 12-16.] 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 16

As workers for Christ, we need to learn the lessons taught in this Scripture. We should be much in prayer. In our public prayers we should come right to the point. It is our privilege to pray with confidence, the Spirit inditing our petitions. We need not make long public prayers. With heartfelt simplicity we should state our needs to the Lord, and claim His promises with such faith and confidence that the congregation will know that we have learned to prevail with God in prayer. They will be encouraged to believe that the Lord’s presence is in the meeting and that they will <open their hearts to> receive His rich blessing. Their faith in your sincerity will be increased, and they will be ready to listen with willing ears to the instruction given by the speaker. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 17

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” [Ephesians 6:10.] Our strength is in Christ Jesus. When we come before the people in His strength, they will know that God is with us, and that He upholds us by His mighty power. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 18

“Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” [Verse 11.] Ministers, especially, need to be clothed with the whole armor, in order that they may live an exemplary life before the church members and the younger laborers. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 19

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” [Verses 12-16.] 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 20

Let every minister learn to wear the gospel shoes. He who is shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace will walk as Christ walked. He will be able to speak right words and to speak them in love. He will not try to drive home God’s message of truth. He will deal tenderly with every heart, realizing that the Spirit will impress the truth on those who are susceptible to divine impressions. Never will he be vehement in his manner. Every word spoken will have a softening, subduing influence. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 21

God’s children are members of one great family. His ministers are to speak with tenderness, compassion, and meekness to the members of His family. The door will not be shut against temptation by speaking harshly, critically, in regard to the course of others. Let us learn to be sensible Christians. Let us treat with respect the younger members of the Lord’s family. The young men just entering the ministry may make many mistakes; but the older ministers are not free from errors, notwithstanding the years they have been laboring. The Lord will take these younger men in hand Himself, sometimes afflicting them and permitting them to suffer for their mistakes, but never forsaking them. He gives them opportunity to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 22

Sometimes it becomes necessary for God’s messengers to “cry aloud” and to “spare not” [Isaiah 58:1]; but even then the reproof is borne by the truth itself, and not by the human agent. In speaking words of reproof, let us put all the Christlike tenderness and love possible into the voice. The higher a minister’s position, the more circumspect should he be in word and act. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 23

My brethren in the gospel ministry, let us feed the flock of God. Let us bring encouragement and cheerfulness to every heart. Let us turn the eyes of our brethren and sisters away from the unlovely traits of character possessed by nearly every one, and teach them to behold Christ, the One altogether lovely, <the Chiefest among ten thousand>. Let us lead them to think on “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report.” [Philippians 4:8.] 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 24

God will help us as ministers to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called. He will help us to strengthen one another in the most holy faith. At times I am in an agony of distress over the indifference our ministers manifest toward God’s instruction to His ambassadors to close the windows of the soul earthward and open them heavenward, that the light flooding heaven’s threshold may shine into the chambers of every mind, <into the soul temple>. When the mind is filled with the light of heaven, the human agent is given power to reach the hearts of others. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 25

My dear fellow workers, will you die to self? Will you yield to the influence of the Holy Spirit, that you may be molded into vessels unto honor? God has entrusted to mortals precious treasures of truth. These treasures may be likened to beautiful fruit, which is to be presented to the people in vessels that are clean and pure and holy, so that they will accept this fruit and enjoy it, to the glory of God. 17LtMs, Ms 127, 1902, par. 26