Section 1—Acceptable Service
“Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2.
Chapter 1—The Work of Soulsaving
God has given me a message for His people. They must awake, spread their tents, and enlarge their borders. My brethren and sisters, you have been bought with a price, and all that you have and are is to be used to the glory of God and for the good of your fellow men. Christ died on the cross to save the world from perishing in sin. He asks your co-operation in this work. You are to be His helping hand. With earnest, unwearying effort you are to seek to save the lost. Remember that it was your sins that made the cross necessary. When you accepted Christ as your Saviour you pledged yourself to unite with Him in bearing the cross. For life and for death you are bound up with Him, a part of the great plan of redemption.
The transforming power of Christ’s grace molds the one who gives himself to God’s service. Imbued with the Spirit of the Redeemer, he is ready to deny self, ready to take up the cross, ready to make any sacrifice for the Master. No longer can he be indifferent to the souls perishing around him. He is lifted above self-serving. He has been created anew in Christ, and self-serving has no place in his life. He realizes that every part of his being belongs to Christ, who has redeemed him from the slavery of sin; that every moment of his future has been bought with the precious lifeblood of God’s only-begotten Son.
Have you so deep an appreciation of the sacrifice made on Calvary that you are willing to make every other interest subordinate to the work of saving souls? The same intensity of desire to save sinners that marked the life of the Saviour marks the life of His true follower. The Christian has no desire to live for self. He delights to consecrate all that he has and is to the Master’s service. He is moved by an inexpressible desire to win souls to Christ. Those who have nothing of this desire might better be concerned for their own salvation. Let them pray for the spirit of service.
How can I best glorify Him whose I am by creation and by redemption? This is to be the question that we are to ask ourselves. With anxious solicitude the one who is truly converted seeks to rescue those who are still in Satan’s power. He refuses to do anything that would hinder him in his work. If he has children he realizes that his work must begin in his own family. His children are exceedingly precious to him. Remembering that they are the younger members of the Lord’s family, he strives with all his power to place them where they will stand on the Lord’s side. He has pledged himself to serve, honor, and obey Christ; and he puts forth patient, untiring effort so to train his children that they will never be hostile to the Saviour.
On fathers and mothers, God has placed the responsibility of saving their children from the power of the enemy. This is their work, a work that they should on no account neglect. Those parents who have a living connection with Christ will not rest until they see their children safe in the fold. They will make this the burden of their life.
Parents, do not neglect the work waiting for you in the church in your own family. This is your first field of missionary effort. The most important work you can do is to place your children on the Lord’s side. When they err, deal with them tenderly, yet firmly. Let them unite with you in opposing the evil by which Satan seeks to destroy the souls and bodies of human beings. Share with them the secret of the cross, the secret that to you means sanctification, redemption, and eternal victory. As you take your children with you into the service of the Lord, what a victory you gain.
If the families around you are opposed to the truth, strive to lead them to yield to the claims of Christ. Work patiently, wisely, considerately, winning your way by the tender ministry of love. Present the truth in such a way that it will be seen in all its beauty, exerting an influence that cannot be resisted. Thus the walls of prejudice will be broken down.
If this work were faithfully done, if fathers and mothers would work for the members of their own families, and then for those around them, uplifting Christ by a godly life, thousands of souls would be saved. When God’s people are truly converted, when they realize the obligation resting on them to labor for those within their reach, when they leave no means untried to rescue sinners from the power of the enemy, the reproach will be removed from our churches.
We have now only a little time in which to prepare for eternity. May the Lord open the closed eyes of His people and quicken their dulled senses, that they may realize that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to them that believe. May they see the importance of giving so pure and righteous a representation of God that the world shall see Him in His beauty. May they be so filled with the Spirit that dwells in Him that the world will have no power to divert them from the work of presenting to men the wonderful possibilities before every soul who receives Christ.
In all lines of our work there is need of greater earnestness. Time is passing. God’s servants are to be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” People need the truth, and by earnest, faithful effort it is to be communicated to them. Souls are to be sought for, prayed for, labored for. Earnest appeals are to be made. Fervent prayers are to be offered. Our tame, spiritless petitions are to be changed into petitions of intense earnestness. God’s word declares: The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
The world is our field of missionary toil, and we are to go forth to labor surrounded with the atmosphere of Gethsemane and Calvary.
Chapter 2—The Signal of Advance
It is an eternal law of Jehovah that he who accepts the truth that the world needs is to make it his first work to proclaim this truth. But who is there that makes the burden of perishing sinners his own? As I look upon the professed people of God, and see their unwillingness to serve Him, my heart is filled with a pain that I cannot express. How few are heart to heart with God in His solemn, closing work. There are thousands to be warned, yet how few consecrate themselves wholly to the work, willing to be or to do anything if only they may win souls to Christ. Jesus died to save the world. In humility, in lowliness, in unselfishness, He worked and is working for sinners. But many of those who ought to co-operate with Him are self-sufficient and indifferent.
Among God’s people today there is a fearful lack of the sympathy that should be felt for souls unsaved. We talk of Christian missions. The sound of our voices is heard; but do we feel Christ’s tender heart longing for those outside the fold? And unless our hearts beat in union with the heart of Christ, how can we understand the sacredness and importance of the work to which we are called by the words: “Watch for … souls, as they that must give account”? Hebrews 13:17.
God is waiting for men and women to awake to their responsibilities. He is waiting for them to link themselves with Him. Let them mark the signal of advance, and no longer be laggards in working out the will of the Lord.
Do we realize how large a number in the world are watching our movements? From quarters where we least expect will come voices urging us forward in the work of giving to the world the last message of mercy. Ministers and people, wake up! Be quick to recognize and seize every opportunity and advantage offered in the turning of the wheel of providence. God and Christ and the heavenly angels are working with intense activity to hold in check the fierceness of Satan’s wrath, that God’s plans may not be thwarted. God lives and reigns. He is conducting the affairs of the universe. Let His soldiers move forward to victory. Let there be perfect unity in their ranks. Let them press the battle to the gates. As a mighty Conqueror, the Lord will work for them.
Let the gospel message ring through our churches, summoning them to universal action. Let the members of the church have increased faith, gaining zeal from their unseen, heavenly allies, from a knowledge of their exhaustless resources, from the greatness of the enterprise in which they are engaged, and from the power of their Leader. Those who place themselves under God’s control, to be led and guided by Him, will catch the steady tread of the events ordained by Him to take place. Inspired with the Spirit of Him who gave His life for the life of the world, they will no longer stand still in impotency, pointing to what they cannot do. Putting on the armor of heaven, they will go forth to the warfare, willing to do and dare for God, knowing that His omnipotence will supply their need.
An Ever-Widening Work
God’s servants are to make use of every resource for enlarging His kingdom. The apostle Paul declares that it is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth,” that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.” 1 Timothy 2:3, 4, 1. And James says: “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” James 5:20. Every believer is pledged to unite with his brethren in giving the invitation, “Come; for all things are now ready.” Luke 14:17. Each is to encourage the others in doing wholehearted work. Earnest invitations will be given by a living church. Thirsty souls will be led to the water of life.
The apostles carried a weight of responsibility to enlarge their sphere of labor, to proclaim the gospel in the regions beyond. From their example we learn that there are to be no idlers in the Lord’s vineyard. His servants are constantly to enlarge the circle of their efforts. Constantly they are to do more, never less. The Lord’s work is to widen and broaden until it encircles the world.
After making a missionary tour, Paul and Barnabas retraced their steps, visiting the churches they had raised up and selecting men to unite with them in the work. Thus God’s servants are to labor today, selecting and training worthy young men as colaborers. God help us to sanctify ourselves, that by our example others may be sanctified, enabled to do successful work in winning souls to Christ.
We are nearing the close of this earth’s history; soon we shall stand before the great white throne. Soon your time for work will be forever past. Watch for opportunities to speak a word in season to those with whom you come in contact. Do not wait to become acquainted before you offer them the priceless treasures of truth. Go to work, and ways will open before you.
At the day of judgment there comes to the lost a full realization of the meaning of the sacrifice made on Calvary. They see what they have lost by refusing to be loyal. They think of the high, pure association it was their privilege to gain. But it is too late. The last call has been made. The wail is heard: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jeremiah 8:20.
Upon us rests the weighty responsibility of warning the world of its coming doom. From every direction, from far and near, are coming calls for help. God calls upon His church to arise and clothe herself with power. Immortal crowns are to be won; the kingdom of heaven is to be gained; the world, perishing in ignorance, is to be enlightened.
The world will be convinced, not by what the pulpit teaches, but by what the church lives. The minister in the desk announces the theory of the gospel; the practical piety of the church demonstrates its power.
Enfeebled and defective, needing constantly to be warned and counseled, the church is nevertheless the object of Christ’s supreme regard. He is making experiments of grace on human hearts and is effecting such transformations of character that angels are amazed and express their joy in songs of praise. They rejoice to think that sinful, erring human beings can be so transformed.
As the third angel’s message swells into a loud cry, great power and glory will attend its proclamation. The faces of God’s people will shine with the light of heaven.
The Lord will fit men and women—yes, and children, as He did Samuel—for His work, making them His messengers. He who never slumbers or sleeps watches over each worker, choosing his sphere of labor. All heaven is watching the warfare which, under apparently discouraging circumstances, God’s servants are carrying on. New conquests are being achieved, new honors won, as the Lord’s servants, rallying round the banner of their Redeemer, go forth to fight the good fight of faith. All the heavenly angels are at the service of the humble, believing people of God; and as the Lord’s army of workers here below sing their songs of praise, the choir above join with them in thanksgiving, ascribing praise to God and to His Son.
Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on the merits of the Saviour. God would send every angel in heaven to the aid of such a one, rather than allow him to be overcome.
The battle cry is sounding along the line. Let every soldier of the cross push to the front, not in self-sufficiency, but in meekness and lowliness, and with firm faith in God. Your work, my work, will not cease with this life. For a little while we may rest in the grave, but, when the call comes, we shall, in the kingdom of God, take up our work once more.
Chapter 3—Work for Church Members
We have a message from the Lord to bear to the world, a message that is to be borne in the rich fullness of the Spirit’s power. Let our ministers see the need of seeking to save the lost. Direct appeals are to be made to the unconverted. “Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” the Pharisees asked Christ’s disciples. And the Saviour responded: “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew 9:11, 13. This is the work He has given us. And never was there greater need of it than at the present time.
God has not given His ministers the work of setting the churches right. No sooner is this work done, apparently, than it has to be done over again. Church members that are thus looked after and labored for become religious weaklings. If nine tenths of the effort that has been put forth for those who know the truth had been put forth for those who have never heard the truth, how much greater would have been the advancement made! God has withheld His blessings because His people have not worked in harmony with His directions.
It weakens those who know the truth for our ministers to expend on them the time and talent that should be given to the unconverted. In many of our churches in the cities the minister preaches Sabbath after Sabbath, and Sabbath after Sabbath the church members come to the house of God with no words to tell of blessings received because of blessings imparted. They have not worked during the week to carry out the instruction given them on the Sabbath. So long as church members make no effort to give to others the help given them, great spiritual feebleness must result.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7 pp. 9-18