The missionary spirit needs to be revived in our churches. Every member of the church should study how to help forward the work of God, both in home missions and in foreign countries. Scarcely a thousandth part of the work is being done that ought to be done in missionary fields. God calls upon His workers to annex new territory for Him. There are rich fields of toil waiting for the faithful worker. And ministering angels will co-operate with every member of the church who will labor unselfishly for the Master.
The church of Christ on earth was organized for missionary purposes, and the Lord desires to see the entire church devising ways and means whereby high and low, rich and poor, may hear the message of truth. Not all are called to personal labor in foreign fields, but all can do something by their prayers and their gifts to aid the missionary work.
An American businessman who was an earnest Christian, in conversation with a fellow worker remarked that he himself worked for Christ twenty-four hours of the day. “In all my business relations,” he said, I try to represent my Master. As I have opportunity, I try to win
others to Him. All day I am working for Christ. And at night, while I sleep, I have a man working for Him in China.”
In explanation he added: “In my youth I determined to go as a missionary to the heathen. But on the death of my father I had to take up his business in order to provide for the family. Now, instead of going myself, I support a missionary. In such a town of such a province of China, my worker is stationed. And so, even while I sleep, I am, through my representative, still working for Christ.”
Are there not Seventh-day Adventists who will do likewise? Instead of keeping the ministers at work for the churches that already know the truth, let the members of the churches say to these laborers: “Go work for souls that are perishing in darkness. We ourselves will carry forward the services of the church. We will keep up the meetings, and, by abiding in Christ, will maintain spiritual life. We will work for souls that are about us, and we will send our prayers and our gifts to sustain the laborers in more needy and destitute fields.”
Why should not the members of a church or of several small churches unite to sustain a missionary in foreign fields? If they will deny themselves of selfish indulgences, dispense with needless and hurtful things, they can do this. Brethren and sisters, will you not help in this work? I beseech you to do something for Christ, and to do it now. Through the teacher whom your money shall sustain in the field, souls may be saved from ruin to shine as stars in the Redeemer’s crown.
Section Two – Evangelistic Work
“How beautiful upon the mountains are
the feet of him that bringeth good tidings,
that publisheth peace; . . . that
saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth.”
The Camp Meeting
The camp meeting is one of the most important agencies in our work. It is one of the most effective methods of arresting the attention of the people and reaching all classes with the gospel invitation. The time in which we live is a time of intense excitement. Ambition and war, pleasure and money-making, absorb the minds of men. Satan sees that his time is short, and he has set all his agencies at work, that men may be deceived, deluded, occupied, and entranced, until probation shall be ended and the door of mercy be forever shut. It is our work to give to the whole world–to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people–the saving truths of the third angel’s message. But it has been a difficult problem to know how to reach the people in the great centers of population. We are not allowed entrance to the churches. In the cities the large halls are expensive, and in most cases but few will come out to the best halls. We have been spoken against by those who were not acquainted with us. The reasons of our faith are not understood by the people, and we have been regarded as fanatics who were ignorantly keeping Saturday for Sunday. In our work we have been perplexed to know how to break through the barriers of worldliness and prejudice, and bring before the people
the precious truth which means so much to them. The Lord has instructed us that the camp meeting is one of the most important instrumentalities for the accomplishment of this work.
We must plan wisely, that the people may have an opportunity of hearing for themselves the last message of mercy to the world. The people should be warned to make ready for the great day of God, which is right upon them. We have no time to lose. We must do our utmost to reach men where they are. The world is now reaching the boundary line in impenitence and disregard for the laws of the government of God. In every city of our world the warning must be proclaimed. All that can be done should be done without delay.
And our camp meetings have another object, preparatory to this. They are to promote spiritual life among our own people. The world in its wisdom knows not God. The world cannot see the beauty, the loveliness, the goodness, the holiness of divine truth. And in order that men may understand this, there must be a channel through which it shall come to the world. The church has been constituted that channel. Christ reveals Himself to us that we may reveal Him to others. Through His people are to be manifested the riches and glory of His unspeakable gift.
God has committed to our hands a most sacred work, and we need to meet together to receive instruction, that we may be fitted to perform this work. We need to understand what part we shall individually be called upon to act in building up the cause of God in the earth, in vindicating God’s holy law, and in lifting up the Saviour as the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. We need to meet together and receive the divine touch, that we may understand our work in
the home. Parents need to understand how they may send forth from the sanctuary of the home their sons and daughters so trained and educated that they will be fitted to shine as lights in the world. We need to understand in regard to the division of labor and how each part of the work is to be carried forward. Each one should understand the part he is to act, that there may be harmony of plan and of labor in the combined work of all.
Reaching the Masses
In the Sermon on the Mount Christ said to His disciples: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16. If our camp meetings are conducted as they should be, they will indeed be a light in the world. They should be held in the large cities and towns where the message of truth has not been proclaimed. And they should continue for two or three weeks. It may sometimes be advisable to hold a camp meeting for several successive seasons in the same place; but as a rule the place of meeting should be changed from year to year. Instead of having mammoth camp meetings in a few localities, more good would be done by having smaller meetings in many places. Thus the work will be constantly extending into new fields. Just as soon as the standard of truth is lifted in one locality, and it is safe to leave the new converts, we must plan to enter other new fields. Our camp meetings are a power, and when held in a place where the community can be stirred, they will have far greater power than when for the convenience
of our own people they are located where, because of previous meetings and the rejection of truth, the public interest is deadened.
A mistake has been made in holding camp meetings in out-of-the-way places and in continuing in the same place year after year. This has been done to save expense and labor, but the saving should be made in other lines. In new fields especially, a dearth of means often makes it difficult to meet the expense of a camp meeting. Careful economy should be exercised and inexpensive plans devised, for much can be saved in this way. But let not the work be crippled. This method of presenting the truth to the people is by the devising of our God. When souls are to be labored for, and the truth is to be brought before those who know it not, the work must not be hindered in order to save expense.
Our camp meetings should be so conducted as to accomplish the greatest possible amount of good. Let the truth be properly presented and represented by those who believe it. It is light, the light of heaven, that the world needs, and whatever manifests the Lord Jesus Christ is light.
An Object Lesson
Every camp meeting should be an object lesson of neatness, order, and good taste. We must give careful regard to economy, and must avoid display; but everything connected with the grounds should be neat and tidy. Taste and tact do much to attract. And in all our work we should present the discipline of organization and order.
Everything should be so arranged as to impress both our own people and the world with the sacredness and importance of the work of God. The regulations observed in the encampment of the Israelites are an example
to us. It was Christ who gave those special instructions to Israel, and He intended them for us also, upon whom the ends of the world are come. We should study carefully the specifications of God’s word and practice these directions as the will of God. Let everything connected with the encampment be pure, wholesome, and cleanly. Special attention should be given to all sanitary arrangements, and men of sound judgment and discernment should see that nothing is permitted to sow the seeds of sickness and death throughout the encampment.
The tents should be securely staked, and whenever there is liability of rain, every tent should be trenched. On no account let this be neglected. Serious and even fatal illness has been contracted through neglect of this precaution.
We should feel that we are representatives of truth of heavenly origin. We are to show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. We should ever bear in mind that angels of God are walking through the encampment, beholding the order and arrangement in every tent. To the large numbers of people who come to the ground, all the arrangements are an illustration of the belief and principles of the people conducting the meeting. It should be the very best illustration possible. All the surroundings should be a lesson. Especially should the family tents, in their neatness and order, giving a glimpse of home life, be a constant sermon as to the habits, customs, and practices of Seventh-day Adventists.
As we were preparing to hold a camp meeting near a large city where our people were but little known, I seemed one night to be in an assembly met for consultation
as to the work to be done before the meeting. It was proposed to make large efforts, and incur heavy expense for distributing notices and papers. Arrangements were being made to do this, when One who is wise in counsel said: “Set your tents, begin your meetings, then advertise; and more will be accomplished.
“The truth as spoken by the living preacher will have greater influence than the same matter will have when published in the papers. But both methods combined will have still greater force. It is not the best plan to follow one line of effort year after year. Change the order of things. When you give time and opportunity, Satan is prepared to rally his forces, and he will work to destroy every soul possible. Do not arouse opposition before the people have had opportunity to hear the truth and know what they are opposing. Reserve your means to do a strong work after the meeting rather than before. If a press can be secured to be worked during the meeting, printing leaflets, notices, and papers for distribution, it will have a telling influence.”
At some of our camp meetings strong companies of workers have been organized to go out into the city and its suburbs to distribute literature and invite people to the meetings. By this means hundreds of persons were secured as regular attendants during the last half of the meeting who otherwise might have thought little about it.
We must take every justifiable means of bringing the light before the people. Let the press be utilized, and let every advertising agency be employed that will call attention to the work. This should not be regarded as nonessential. On every street corner you may see placards and notices calling attention to various things that are going on, some of them of the most objectionable character; and
shall those who have the light of life be satisfied with feeble efforts to call the attention of the masses to the truth?
Those who become interested have to meet sophistry and misrepresentation from popular ministers, and they know not how to answer these things. The truth presented by the living preacher should be published in as compact a form as possible, and circulated widely. As far as practicable, let the important discourses given at our camp meetings be published in the newspapers. Thus the truth which was placed before a limited number may find access to many minds. And where the truth has been misrepresented, the people will have an opportunity of knowing just what the minister said.
Put your light on a candlestick, that it may give light to all who are in the house. If the truth has been given to us, we are to make it so plain to others that the honest in heart may recognize it and rejoice in its bright rays.
Nathanael prayed that he might know whether or not the One announced by John the Baptist as the Messiah was indeed the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. While he was laying his perplexities before God and asking for light, Philip called him, and in earnest, joyful tones exclaimed: “We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” John 1:45.
But Nathanael was prejudiced against the Nazarene. Through the influence of false teaching, unbelief arose in his heart, and he asked: “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip did not try to combat his prejudice and unbelief. He said: “Come and see.” This was wise; for as soon as Nathanael saw Jesus, he was convinced that Philip was right. His unbelief was swept
away, and faith, firm, strong, and abiding, took possession of his soul. Jesus commended the trusting faith of Nathanael.
There are many in the same condition as was Nathanael. They are prejudiced and unbelieving because they have never come in contact with the special truths for these last days or with the people who hold them, and it will require but attendance upon a meeting full of the Spirit of Christ to sweep away their unbelief. No matter what we have to meet, what opposition, what effort to turn souls away from the truth of heavenly origin, we must give publicity to our faith, that honest souls may see and hear and be convinced for themselves. Our work is to say, as did Philip: “Come and see.”
We hold no doctrine that we wish to hide. To those who have been educated to keep the first day of the week as a sacred day, the most objectionable feature of our faith is the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. But does not God’s word declare that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord our God? True, it is not an easy matter to make the required change from the first to the seventh day. It involves a cross. It clashes with the precepts and practices of men. Learned men have taught the people tradition till they are full of unbelief and prejudice. Yet we must say to these people: “Come and see.” God requires us to proclaim the truth and let it discover error.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6 pp. 29-38