Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7, pp. 29-38 Day 388

Chapter 5—Extending the Triumphs of the Cross

“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32.

As this wonderful, priceless Gift was bestowed, the whole heavenly universe was mightily stirred in an effort to understand God’s unfathomable love, stirred to awaken in human hearts a gratitude proportionate to the value of the Gift. Shall we, for whom Christ has given His life, halt between two opinions? Shall we return to God only a mite of the capabilities and powers lent us by Him? How can we do this while we know that He who was Commander of all heaven laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, and, realizing the helplessness of the fallen race, came to this earth in human nature to make it possible for us to unite our humanity to His divinity? He became poor that we might come into possession of the heavenly treasure, “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17. To rescue us He descended from one humiliation to another until He, the divine-human, suffering Christ, was uplifted on the cross to draw all men to Himself. The Son of God could not have shown greater condescension than He did; He could not have stooped lower.

This is the mystery of godliness, the mystery that has inspired heavenly agencies so to minister through fallen humanity that in the world an intense interest will be aroused in the plan of salvation. This is the mystery that has stirred all heaven to unite with man in carrying out God’s great plan for the salvation of a ruined world.

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The Work of the Church

To human agencies is committed the work of extending the triumphs of the cross from point to point. As the Head of the church, Christ is authoritatively calling upon everyone who claims to believe on Him to follow His example of self-denial and self-sacrifice in working for the conversion of those whom Satan and his vast army are exerting every power to destroy. God’s people are called upon to rally without delay under the bloodstained banner of Christ Jesus. Unceasingly they are to continue their warfare against the enemy, pressing the battle even to the gates. And everyone who is added to the ranks by conversion is to be assigned his post of duty. Everyone should be willing to be or to do anything in this warfare. When church members put forth earnest efforts to advance the message, they will live in the joy of the Lord and will meet with success. Triumph always follows decided effort.

The Holy Spirit our Efficiency

Christ, in His mediatorial capacity, gives to His servants the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is the efficiency of the Spirit that enables human agencies to be representatives of the Redeemer in the work of soul saving. That we may unite with Christ in this work we should place ourselves under the molding influence of His Spirit. Through the power thus imparted we may co-operate with the Lord in the bonds of unity as laborers together with Him in the salvation of souls. To everyone who offers himself to the Lord for service, withholding nothing, is given power for the attainment of measureless results.

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The Lord God is bound by an eternal pledge to supply power and grace to everyone who is sanctified through obedience to the truth. Christ, to whom is given all power in heaven and on earth, co-operates in sympathy with His instrumentalities—the earnest souls who day by day partake of the living bread, “which cometh down from heaven.” John 6:50. The church on earth, united with the church in heaven, can accomplish all things.

Power Given the Apostles

On the Day of Pentecost the Infinite One revealed Himself in power to the church. By His Holy Spirit He descended from the heights of heaven as a rushing, mighty wind, to the room in which the disciples were assembled. It was as if for ages this influence had been held in restraint, and now heaven rejoiced in being able to pour upon the church the riches of the Spirit’s power. And, under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession were mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven. Words of thanksgiving and of prophecy were heard. All heaven bent low to behold and to adore the wisdom of matchless, incomprehensible Love. Lost in wonder, the apostles and disciples exclaimed: “Herein is love.” 1 John 4:10. They grasped the imparted gift. And what followed? Thousands were converted in a day. The sword of the Spirit, newly edged with power and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, cut its way through unbelief.

The hearts of the disciples were surcharged with a benevolence so full, so deep, so far-reaching, that it impelled them to go to the ends of the earth testifying: God forbid that we should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. They were filled with an intense longing to add to the church of such as should be saved. They called on the believers to arouse and do their part, that all nations might hear the truth and the earth be filled with the glory of the Lord.

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The Same Power to be Revealed Today

By the grace of Christ the apostles were made what they were. It was sincere devotion and humble, earnest prayer that brought them into close communion with Him. They sat together with Him in heavenly places. They realized the greatness of their debt to Him. By earnest, persevering prayer they obtained the endowment of the Holy Spirit, and then they went forth, weighted with the burden of saving souls, filled with zeal to extend the triumphs of the cross. And under their labors many souls were brought from darkness to light, and many churches were raised up.

Shall we be less earnest than were the apostles? Shall we not by living faith claim the promises that moved them to the depths of their being to call upon the Lord Jesus for the fulfillment of His word: “Ask, and ye shall receive”? John 16:24. Is not the Spirit of God to come today in answer to earnest, persevering prayer, and fill men with power? Is not God saying today to His praying, trusting, believing workers, who are opening the Scriptures to those ignorant of the precious truth they contain: “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world”? Matthew 28:20. Why, then, is the church so weak and spiritless?

As the disciples, filled with the power of the Spirit, went forth to proclaim the gospel, so God’s servants are to go forth today. Filled with an unselfish desire to give the message of mercy to those who are in the darkness of error and unbelief, we are to take up the Lord’s work. He gives us our part to do in co-operation with Him, and He will also move on the hearts of unbelievers to carry forward His work in the regions beyond. Already many are receiving the Holy Spirit, and no longer will the way be blocked by listless indifference.

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Why has the history of the work of the disciples, as they labored with holy zeal, animated and vitalized by the Holy Spirit, been recorded, if it is not that from this record the Lord’s people today are to gain an inspiration to work earnestly for Him? What the Lord did for His people in that time, it is just as essential, and more so, that He do for His people today. All that the apostles did, every church member today is to do. And we are to work with as much more fervor, to be accompanied by the Holy Spirit in as much greater measure, as the increase of wickedness demands a more decided call to repentance.

Everyone on whom is shining the light of present truth is to be stirred with compassion for those who are in darkness. From all believers, light is to be reflected in clear, distinct rays. A work similar to that which the Lord did through His delegated messengers after the Day of Pentecost He is waiting to do today. At this time, when the end of all things is at hand, should not the zeal of the church exceed even that of the early church? Zeal for the glory of God moved the disciples to bear witness to the truth with mighty power. Should not this zeal fire our hearts with a longing to tell the story of redeeming love, of Christ and Him crucified? Should not the power of God be even more mightily revealed today than in the time of the apostles?

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Chapter 6—The Work in the Cities

Oakland, California,

April 1, 1874

I dreamed that several of our brethren were in counsel considering plans of labor for this season. They thought it best not to enter the large cities, but to begin work in small places, remote from the cities; here they would meet less opposition from the clergy and would avoid great expense. They reasoned that our ministers, being few in number, could not be spared to instruct and care for those who might accept the truth in the cities, and who, because of the greater opposition they would there meet, would need more help than would the churches in small country places. Thus the fruit of giving a course of lectures in the city would, in a great measure, be lost. Again, it was urged that, because of our limited means, and because of the many changes from moving that might be expected from a church in a large city, it would be difficult to build up a church that would be a strength to the cause. My husband was urging the brethren to make broader plans without delay and put forth, in our large cities, extended and thorough effort that would better correspond to the character of our message. One worker related incidents of his experience in the cities, showing that the work was nearly a failure, but he testified to better success in the small places.

One of dignity and authority—One who is present in all our council meetings—was listening with deepest interest to every word. He spoke with deliberation and perfect assurance. “The whole world,” He said, “is God’s great vineyard. The cities and villages constitute a part of that vineyard. These must be worked. Satan will try to interpose himself and discourage the workers, so as to prevent them from giving the message of light and warning in the more prominent as well as in the more secluded places. Desperate efforts will be made to turn the people from truth to falsehood. Angels of heaven are commissioned to co-operate with the efforts of God’s appointed messengers on earth. Ministers must encourage and maintain an unwavering faith and hope, as did Christ, their living Head. They must keep humble and contrite in heart before God.”

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God designs that His precious word, with its messages of warning and encouragement, shall come to those who are in darkness and are ignorant of our faith. It is to be given to all, and will be to them a witness, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear. Do not feel that the responsibility rests upon you to convict and convert the hearers. The power of God alone can soften the hearts of the people. You are to hold forth the word of life, that all may have an opportunity of receiving the truth if they will. If they turn from the truth of heavenly origin, it will be their condemnation.

We must not hide the truth in the corners of the earth. It must be made known; it must shine in our large cities. Christ in His labors took His position by the lakeside and in the great thoroughfares of travel where He could meet people from all parts of the world. He was giving the true light; He was sowing the gospel seed; He was rescuing truth from its companionship with error, and presenting it in its original simplicity and clearness, so that men could comprehend it.

The heavenly Messenger who was with us said: “Never lose sight of the fact that the message you are bearing is a world-wide message. It is to be given to all cities, to all villages; it is to be proclaimed in the highways and the byways. You are not to localize the proclamation of the message.” In the parable of the sower, Christ gave an illustration of His own work and that of His servants. The seed fell upon all kinds of soil. Some seed fell upon poor soil, yet the sower did not therefore cease his work. You are to sow the seeds of truth in every place. Wherever you can gain access, hold forth the word of God. Sow beside all waters. You may not at once see the result of your labors, but be not discouraged. Speak the words that Christ gives you. Work in His lines. Go forth everywhere as He did during His ministry on the earth.

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The world’s Redeemer had many hearers, but few followers. Noah preached one hundred and twenty years to the people before the Flood, and yet there were few who appreciated this precious, probationary time. Save Noah and his family, not one was numbered with the believers and entered into the ark. Of all the inhabitants of the earth, only eight souls received the message; but that message condemned the world. The light was given in order that they might believe; their rejection of the light proved their ruin. Our message to the world will be a savor of life unto life to all who accept it, and of condemnation to all who reject it.

The Messenger turned to one present and said: “Your ideas of the work for this time are altogether too limited. Your light must not be confined to a small compass, put under a bushel, or under a bed; it must be placed on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in God’s house—the world. You must take broader views of the work than you have taken.”

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Chapter 7—The Work in Greater New York

St. Helena, California,

September 1, 1902

The time has come to make decided efforts to proclaim the truth in our large cities. The message is to be given with such power that the hearers shall be convinced. God will raise up laborers to do this work. Let no one hinder these men of God’s appointment. Forbid them not. God has given them their work. They will occupy peculiar spheres of influence and will carry the truth to the most unpromising places. Some who were once enemies will become valuable helpers, advancing the work with their means and their influence.

In these large cities missions should be established where workers can be trained to present to the people the special message for this time. There is need of all the instruction that these missions can give.

Under the direction of God the mission in New York City has been started. This work should be continued in the power of the same Spirit that led to its establishment. Those who bear the burden of the work in Greater New York should have the help of the best workers that can be secured. Here let a center for God’s work be made, and let all that is done be a symbol of the work the Lord desires to see done in the world.

If in this great center medical missionary work could be established by men and women of experience, those who would give a correct representation of true medical missionary principles, it would have great power in making a right impression on the people.

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In every city that is entered a solid foundation is to be laid for permanent work. The Lord’s methods are to be followed. By doing house-to-house work, by giving Bible readings in families, the worker may gain access to many who are seeking for truth. By opening the Scriptures, by prayer, by exercising faith, he is to teach the people the way of the Lord.

In Greater New York the Lord has many precious souls who have not bowed the knee to Baal, and there are those who through ignorance have walked in the ways of error. On these the light of truth is to shine, that they may see Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

We are to present the truth in the love of Christ. No extravagance or display should attend the work. It is to be done after Christ’s order. It is to be carried forward in humility, in the simplicity of the gospel. Let not the workers be intimidated by outward appearances, however forbidding. Teach the word, and the Lord by His Holy Spirit will send conviction to the hearers.

After the truth has made an impression on hearts, and men and women have accepted it, they are to be treated as the property of Christ, not as the property of man. No human being should seek to bind others to himself as if he were to control them, telling them to do this and forbidding them to do that, commanding, dictating, acting like an officer over a company of soldiers. This is the way that the priests and rulers did in Christ’s day, but it is not the right way. The workers are to press together in Christian unity, but no unwise authority is to be exercised over those who accept the truth. The meekness of Christ should appear in all that is said and done.

Let the worker show his growth in grace by submission to the will of God. Thus he will gain a rich experience. As in faith he receives, believes, and obeys Christ’s words, there will be an intensity of effort; there will be cherished a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. The fruit of the Spirit will be seen in the life, and the efficiency of the Spirit will be seen in the work.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7 pp. 29-38

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