Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6, pp. 69-78 Day 345

This was the method of Christ’s teaching. As He spoke to the people, they would question as to His meaning. To those who were humbly seeking for light, He was always ready to explain His words. But Christ did not encourage criticism or caviling, nor should we. When men try to provoke a discussion of controverted points of doctrine, tell them that the meeting was not appointed for that purpose.

When you do answer a question, be sure to have the hearers see and acknowledge that it is answered. Do not let a question drop, telling them to ask it again. Feel your way step by step, and know how much you have gained.

In such meetings those who understand the message can ask questions which will bring out light on points of truth. But some may not have wisdom to do this. When any put questions that serve only to confuse the mind and sow the seeds of doubt, they should be advised to refrain from such questioning. We must learn when to speak and when to keep silent, learn to sow the seeds of faith, to impart light, not darkness.

A Word in Season

Those who keep in a prayerful frame of mind will be able to speak a word in season to those who are brought within the sphere of their influence; for God will give wisdom whereby they may serve the Lord Jesus. “When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.” Proverbs 2:10, 11. You will open your mouth with wisdom, and in your tongue will be the law of kindness.

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If those who claim to be Christians will heed the word of Christ, all who come in contact with them will acknowledge that they have been with Jesus and have learned of Him. They will represent Christ, and eternal things will be their theme. The realities of eternity will be brought near. They will watch for souls as they that must give an account. This means much more than many seem to think. It means to go out and search for the lost sheep.

Raising Funds

None are to take advantage of the camp meetings, when the greatest number of people may be reached, in order to introduce special interests or to raise means for the various benevolent objects that are becoming so numerous. The work of God in the ministry of the word, the promulgation of the truth in the regions beyond, the great interests of educational work in new fields, and the establishment of sanitariums in connection with the work of the gospel ministry–these are objects that should be presented to the people at our camp meetings.

Results of Camp Meeting Work

A great work is to be accomplished by our camp meetings. The Lord has specially honored these gatherings, which He has called “holy convocations.” To these meetings come thousands of people, many merely from curiosity to see and hear some new thing. But as they hear the message of truth and come in contact with those who believe it, many are impressed. They see that this people are not what they have been represented. Prejudice, opposition, and indifference are swept away, and with candid interest they listen to the word spoken.

The Lord has His representatives in all the churches. These persons have not had the special testing truths for

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these last days presented to them under circumstances that brought conviction to heart and mind; therefore they have not, by rejecting light, severed their connection with God. Many there are who have faithfully walked in the light that has shone upon their pathway. They hunger to know more of the ways and works of God. All over the world men and women are looking wistfully to heaven. Prayers and tears and inquiries go up from souls longing for light, for grace, for the Holy Spirit. Many are on the very verge of the kingdom, waiting only to be gathered in.

As the lessons of Christ, the truths of the Bible in their simplicity, are placed before these souls, they recognize the light and rejoice in it. Their perplexities vanish before the light of truth as dew before the morning sun. Their conceptions of Bible truth are expanded, and the revelation of God in Christ comes to them, showing them the depth, breadth, and height of divine, spiritual mystery that they did not before discern, that cannot be explained, but only exemplified in Christlike character.

Many who are not connected with any church, and who appear wholly unmindful of the claims of God, are not at heart as indifferent as they seem. Even the most irreligious have their hours of conviction, when there comes to them a longing for something they have not. In every town and city there are large numbers who do not attend any place of worship. Many of these are attracted to the camp meeting. Many come who are slaves of sin, the helpless victims of evil habits. Many are convicted and converted. As they by faith grasp the promise of God for the forgiveness of their sins, the bondage of habit is broken. Forsaking their sinful indulgences, they become freemen in Christ Jesus, and rejoice in the liberty of the sons of God. This is the work to be done in all our camp meetings. Through this means thousands will be won to Christ.

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After the Camp Meeting

By camp meetings held in the cities thousands will be called out to hear the invitation to the feast: “Come; for all things are now ready.” Luke 14:17. After arousing the interest of the people, we should not cut these meetings short, pulling down all the tents and giving the impression that the meeting is over. Just at the time when hundreds have become interested, the greatest good may be accomplished by faithful and earnest work. Therefore the meetings should be so managed that the public interest may be maintained.

After one of the camp meetings the question as to the continuance of tent meetings was under consideration. I told the brethren a dream I had had. I dreamed that I saw a partially completed building. The workmen were gathering up their tools, preparing to leave it unfinished; but I entreated them to consider the matter. “The building is not finished,” I said; “come back, and keep at work until it is roofed.” Then they came back and continued the work. So the brethren heeded my counsel to remain and continue the work of the camp meeting. As the result a number accepted the truth.

There need not be so many failures in the expensive efforts put forth in camp meetings and tent meetings; there need not be so few sheaves to bring to the Master. In places where the standard of present truth has never been lifted, more souls will now be converted as the result of a certain amount of work than ever before. For everyone whose hands seem to be weakening and losing their hold I have the word: “Grasp the standard more firmly.” Faith says: “Go forward.” You must not fail nor be

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discouraged. There is no weakness of faith in him who is constantly advancing.

After a camp meeting it may sometimes be difficult to hold the principal speakers for several weeks to develop the interest awakened. It may be expensive to retain the ground and to keep a sufficient number of the family tents standing to maintain the appearance of a camp meeting. It may be at a sacrifice that several families remain on the ground to assist the ministers and Bible workers in visiting and Bible study with those who come to the meetings, and in visiting the people at their homes, telling of the blessings received at the meetings and inviting them to come. No doubt it will be difficult to secure a sufficient number of workers to carry forward the work successfully. But the results will justify the effort. It is by such earnest and energetic efforts as these that some of our camp meetings have been instrumental in raising up strong working churches. And it is by just such earnest work that the third angel’s message must be carried to the people of our cities.

Sometimes a large number of speakers attend a camp meeting for a few days, and just when the interest of the people is fully aroused, nearly all hurry away to another meeting, leaving two or three speakers behind to struggle against the depressing influence of the tearing down and removal of the family tents. How much better it would be if the meetings were continued for a longer time; if persons would come from each church prepared to remain a month or longer, helping in the meetings and learning how to labor acceptably. Then they could carry a valuable experience to their churches when they return home. How much better if some of the same speakers who aroused the interest of the people during the largest attendance at the meeting would remain to follow up the work by a

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thoroughly organized protracted effort. To conduct meetings in this way would require that several be in progress at the same time, and this would not permit a few men to attend all the meetings. But we must remember that the work is to be accomplished “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6.

The work should not stop when the meetings on the camp ground close. Doctrines have been presented that are new and strange to the people. Those who are convicted and who desire to accept the truth, will have to meet the most determined and subtle opposition. Ministers, friends, and acquaintances will put forth every effort to catch away the seeds of truth sown in the heart. We must not leave the seed to be thus caught away. We must not allow it to wither for want of moisture.

Changes tend to weaken the influence of the meetings. Continue the meetings on the camp ground whenever practicable. But when it seems advisable to move, let the large tent be removed to some favorable location, and let the services in it be continued. A mission should be established. Secure a suitable place, and let a number of workers unite to form a mission family. This should be in charge of a man and his wife who are persons of ability and consecration and whose influence will give character to the work.

In following up the interest after a camp meeting, helpers are needed in various lines, and these occasions should be as a training school for workers. Let young men work in connection with experienced laborers who will pray with them and patiently instruct them. Consecrated women should engage in Bible work from house to house. Some of the workers should act as colporteurs, selling our literature and giving judiciously to those who cannot buy.

Let some of the workers attend religious gatherings in

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other churches and, as there is opportunity, take part in them. Jesus when only twelve years old went into the school of the priests and rabbis at the temple and asked questions. In this temple school, studies were conducted daily, somewhat as we conduct Bible studies. Jesus asked questions as a learner, but His questions furnished new matter for those learned priests to think upon. Similar work might be done today. Judicious young men should be encouraged to attend the meetings of the Young Men’s Christian Association, not for the sake of contention, but to search the Scriptures with them and suggest helpful questions.

Had work in these various lines been done earnestly and vigorously after all our camp meetings, many more souls would have been gathered in as the fruit of the seed sown at the meetings.

Let the workers become acquainted with the people and read to them the precious words of Christ. Lift up Jesus crucified among them, and soon those who have listened to the messages of warning from the ministers at the tent, and have been convicted, will be drawn out to ask for further information. This is the time to present the reasons of our faith with meekness and fear; not a slavish fear, but a cautious fear lest we speak unadvisedly. Present the truth in all its loveliness, in simplicity and sincerity, giving meat in due season, and to everyone his portion of meat.

This work requires you to watch for souls as they that must give an account. The tenderness of Christ must pervade the heart of the worker. If you have a love for souls you will reveal a tender solicitude for them. You will offer humble, earnest, heartfelt prayers for those whom you visit. The fragrance of Christ’s love will be revealed in your work. He who gave His own life for the life of the

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world will co-operate with the unselfish worker to make an impression upon human hearts.

The Work of the Evangelist

Teaching the Scriptures, praying in families–this is the work of the evangelist, and this work is to be mingled with preaching. If it is omitted, preaching will, to a great extent, be a failure. Come close to the people by personal efforts. Teach them that the love of God must come into the sanctuary of the home life.

Take no glory whatever to yourself. Do not work with a divided mind, trying to serve self and God at the same time. Keep self out of sight. Let your words lead the weary and heavy-laden to carry their burdens to Jesus. Work as seeing Him who is at your right hand, ready to give you His efficiency and omnipotent power in every emergency. The Lord is your Counselor, your Guide, the Captain of your salvation. He goes before your face, conquering and to conquer.

In the Highways and Hedges

The command of Christ to His people is: “Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled.” Luke 14:23.

The call to the gospel feast is first to be given in the highways. It must be given to those who claim to be in the highways of Christian experience–to the members of the different churches. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Revelation 2:7. In these churches there are true worshipers and there are false worshipers. A work must be done for those who have fallen from their first love, who have lost their first zeal and interest in spiritual things. We must bring the warning before professed Christians who are transgressors

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of the law of God. To them the message must be given.

The Lord says: “Unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith He that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” Revelation 3:1-3.

The warning for the last church also must be proclaimed to all who claim to be Christians. The Laodicean message, like a sharp, two-edged sword, must go to all the churches: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Verses 15-19. It is our work to proclaim this message. Are we putting forth every effort that the churches may be warned?

We have a work to do for the ministers of other churches. God wants them to be saved. They, like ourselves, can have immortality only through faith and obedience. We must labor for them earnestly that they may obtain it. God wants them to have a part in His special

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work for this time. He wants them to be among the number who are giving to His household meat in due season. Why should they not be engaged in this work?

Our ministers should seek to come near to the ministers of other denominations. Pray for and with these men, for whom Christ is interceding. A solemn responsibility is theirs. As Christ’s messengers we should manifest a deep, earnest interest in these shepherds of the flock.

The call to be given in “the highways” is to be proclaimed to all who have an active part in the world’s work, to the teachers and leaders of the people. Those who bear heavy responsibilities in public life–physicians and teachers, lawyers and judges, public officers and businessmen –should be given a clear, distinct message. What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36, 37.

We talk and write much of the neglected poor; should not some attention be given also to the neglected rich? Many look upon this class as hopeless, and they do little to open the eyes of those who, blinded and dazed by the power of Satan, have lost eternity out of their reckoning. Thousands of wealthy men have gone to their graves unwarned because they have been judged by appearance and passed by as hopeless subjects. But, indifferent as they may appear, I have been shown that most of this class are soul-burdened. There are thousands of rich men who are starving for spiritual food. Many in official life feel their need of something which they have not. Few among them go to church, for they feel that they receive no benefit. The teaching they hear does not touch the soul. Shall we make no personal effort in their behalf?

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 6 pp. 69-78

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