The Cause of Dearth in the Church
He who is appointed to act a part in the work for this time should feel the solemn responsibility resting upon him. We are working for eternity. If we eat of the bread which came from heaven we shall be Christlike in spirit and character. We are living in an age when there is to be no spiritual idleness. Every soul is to be charged with the heavenly current of life. The question is often asked: “What is the cause of the dearth of spiritual power in the church?” The answer comes: “The members allow their minds to be drawn away from the word of God.” We are built up physically from that which we eat, and in like manner the character of our spirituality is determined by the food given to the mind. We are to give the mind and heart proper nourishment by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God.
Christ declares: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life…. I am the living Bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world…. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.” John 6:47-57.
We must abide in Christ, and Christ must abide in us; “for we are laborers together with God.” The work of the Christian is an individual work. Let God’s workers cease to find fault, for this is sin. Let them improve themselves as they think that their fellow workers should improve. It is their privilege to live in Christ by eating the bread of life. Those who do this will have a healthy, growing experience, and the righteousness of God will go before them as they do the work specified in the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah.
To Every Man His Work
Every branch of the work of God is to have recognition. “He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11, 12. This Scripture shows that there are to be different workers, different instrumentalities. Each has a different work. No one is required to lay hold of another’s work, and, though untrained, try to do it. God has given to each according to his ability. One man may think that his position gives him authority to dictate to other workers, but this is not so. Ignorant of their work, he would enlarge where he should retrench, and retrench where he should enlarge, because he can see only the part of the vineyard where he is working.
Live for God. Make the Saviour’s teaching a part of your life. Your pathway will be brightened by clear, shining light. You will have the heavenly anointing and will be kept from making grave blunders. Do not be so intent upon the work you are doing in one portion of the Lord’s vineyard that you cannot appreciate the work that others are doing in other parts of the vineyard. They may be faithfully cultivating their talents so that they can return them, doubled, to their God. Let every man look well to his own work, making sure that it is complete, without spot or wrinkle to mar its perfection. Then leave it with God to say: “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Matthew 25:23.
Chapter 28—Unity of Effort
Cooranbong, N. S. W.,
April 17, 1899
To a Physician in Perplexity:
My Dear Brother,
I have a deep interest in you and your work, and I pray that the Lord will guide my pen as I write to you. The Lord has made you a man of His appointment, and angels of God have been your helpers. The Lord has placed you in the position that you occupy, not because you are infallible but because He desires to guide your mind by His Holy Spirit. He desires you to impart to those with whom you come in contact a knowledge of present truth. Grave responsibilities have been entrusted to you, and on no account should you allow yourself to be entangled in work that will weaken your influence with Seventh-day Adventists. The Lord has chosen you to fill a place of His appointment, to stand before the medical profession, not to be molded by worldly influences, but to mold minds. Every day you are to be under the supervision of God. He is your Master, your Redeemer. He has a work for you to do, not separated from Seventh-day Adventists, but united with them. You are to be a great blessing to your brethren by giving them the knowledge that He has given you.
Through you God has worked and desires still to work, honoring you by entrusting to you important responsibilities. “We are laborers together with God.” 1 Corinthians 3:9. He will use you and me and each human being who enters His service, if we will submit to His guidance. Each one is to stand in his watchtower, listening attentively to that which the Spirit has to say to him, remembering that his every word and act makes an impression, not only on his own character, but on the characters of those with whom he is connected.
“Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Verse 9. This figure represents human character, which is to be wrought upon, point by point. Each day God works with His building, stroke upon stroke, to perfect the structure, that it may become a holy temple for Him. Man is to co-operate with God. Each worker is to become just what God designs him to be, building his life with pure, noble deeds, that in the end his character may be a symmetrical structure, a fair temple, honored by God and man. There is to be no flaw in the building, for it is the Lord’s. Every stone must be perfectly laid, that it may endure the pressure placed upon it. One stone laid wrong will affect the whole building. To you and to every other worker God gives the warning: “Take heed how you build, that your building may stand the test of storm and tempest, because it is founded on the eternal Rock. Place the stone on the sure foundation, that you may make ready for the day of test and trial, when all will be seen just as they are.”
A Temple of Living Stones
This warning God presents to me as especially necessary for your welfare. He loves you with a love that is immeasurable. He loves your brethren in the faith, and He works with them to the same end as that to which He works with you. His church on earth is to assume divine proportions before the world as a temple built of living stones, each one reflecting light. It is to be the light of the world as a city set on a hill, which cannot be hid. It is built of stones laid close together, stone fitting to stone, making a firm, solid building. Not all the stones are of the same form or shape. Some are large, some are small; but each has its own place to fill. And the value of each stone is determined by the light that it reflects. This is God’s plan. He desires all His workers to fill their appointed places in the work for this time.
We are living amidst the perils of the last days. We are wisely to cultivate every mental and physical power; for all are needed to make the church a building that will represent the wisdom of the great Designer. The talents given us by God are His gifts, and they are to be used in their right relation to one another so as to make a perfect whole. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; man forms the character.
The Lord has wrought with you, enabling you to act your part as His workman; but there are other workmen also who are to act their part as His instrumentalities. These help to compose the whole body. All are to be united as parts of one great organism. The Lord’s church is composed of living, working agencies, who derive their power to act from the Author and Finisher of their faith. They are to carry forward in harmony the great work resting on them. God has given you your work. But He has other instrumentalities, and to them He has given their work, that all may become, through sanctification of the truth, members of Christ’s body, of His flesh and of His bones. Representing Christ, we act for time and for eternity; and men, even worldly men, take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus and have learned of Him.
Truth a Unit
God’s people are not to be in confusion, lacking order and harmony, consistency and beauty. The Lord is greatly dishonored when disunion exists among His people. Truth is a unit. The unity that God requires must be cultivated day by day if we would answer the prayer of Christ. The disunion that is striving for existence among those who profess to believe the last message of mercy to be given to the world, must find no place; for it would be a fearful hindrance to the advancement of God’s work. His servants are to be one, as Christ is one with the Father; their powers, illuminated, inspired, and sanctified, must be united to make a complete whole. Those who love God and keep His commandments are not to draw apart; they are to press together.
Words of Cheer
The Lord does not forsake His faithful workmen. Bear in mind that our life in this world is but a pilgrimage, that heaven is the home to which we are going. Have faith in God. If my words have wounded and bruised your soul, I am sorry; I am wounded and bruised also. Our work, a strange work, a great work, given us by God, links us heart and soul together. You dare not throw off your armor. You must wear it till the end. When the Lord releases you, it will be time for you to lay your armor at His feet. You have enlisted in His army to serve till the close of the battle, and you would not disgrace yourself and dishonor God by deserting.
May the Lord open to you many matters that He has opened to me. Satan is watching his opportunity to dishonor the cause of God. I have been shown your peril, and I have also been shown your guardian angel preserving you again and again from yourself, keeping you from making shipwreck of faith. My brother, lift up the standard, lift it up, and be not fainthearted or discouraged.
I have given the leading men in the General Conference and the Mission Board the light given me by God: that you and they should counsel together; that, instead of holding themselves aloof, they should be your fellow helpers; that you had been ordained by God to stand in a position of trust, and you needed help instead of censure.
In the intensity of my desire that you should make straight paths for your feet, I have written earnest words to you, but never, never, to denounce or condemn you. Oh, that God would make you understand that my deep interest in you has not changed in the least. I have a most earnest desire that you shall stand fast in God, firm, tried, and true. I know that the Lord wants you to have the crown of victory.
“When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men…. And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 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 fullness 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, 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. Ephesians 4:8-16.
Chapter 29—Christ the Medium of Prayer and Blessing
Balaclava, Victoria, Australia,
March 25, 1898
To a Sanitarium Physician:
My Dear Brother,
I have just received your letters. I see that you are having a close battle financially. I am so glad that you can heed the encouragement in the words: “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.” Isaiah 27:5. Let us have faith in God. Let us put our trust in Him. He understands all about the situation in which we are placed, and He will work in our behalf. He is honored when we trust in Him, bringing to Him all our perplexities. “Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name,” Christ says, “that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13. God’s appointments and grants in our behalf are without limit. The throne of grace itself is occupied by One who permits us to call Him Father.
“God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Jehovah did not deem the plan of salvation complete while invested only with His love. He has placed at His altar an Advocate clothed in our nature. As our Intercessor, Christ’s office work is to introduce us to God as His sons and daughters. He intercedes in behalf of those who receive Him. With His own blood He has paid their ransom. By virtue of His merits He gives them power to become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. And the Father demonstrates His infinite love for Christ by receiving and welcoming Christ’s friends as His friends. He is satisfied with the atonement made. He is glorified by the incarnation, the life, death, and mediation of His Son.
In Christ’s name our petitions ascend to the Father. He intercedes in our behalf, and the Father lays open all the treasures of His grace for our appropriation, for us to enjoy and impart to others. “Ask in My name,” Christ says. “I do not say that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loveth you. Make use of My name. This will give your prayers efficiency, and the Father will give you the riches of His grace. Wherefore ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”
Christ is the connecting link between God and man. He has promised His personal intercession. He places the whole virtue of His righteousness on the side of the suppliant. He pleads for man, and man, in need of divine help, pleads for himself in the presence of God, using the influence of the One who gave His life for the life of the world. As we acknowledge before God our appreciation of Christ’s merits, fragrance is given to our intercessions. As we approach God through the virtue of the Redeemer’s merits, Christ places us close by His side, encircling us with His human arm, while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite. He puts His merits, as sweet incense, in the censer in our hands, in order to encourage our petitions. He promises to hear and answer our supplications.
Yes, Christ has become the medium of prayer between man and God. He has also become the medium of blessing between God and man. He has united divinity with humanity. Men are to co-operate with Him for the salvation of their own souls, and then make earnest, persevering efforts to save those who are ready to die.
We must all work now, while the day lasts; for the night cometh, in which no man can work. I am of good courage in the Lord. There are times when I am shown distinctly that there exists in our churches a state of things that will not help but hinder souls. Then I have hours, and sometimes days, of intense anguish. Many of those who have a knowledge of the truth do not obey the words of God. Their influence is no better than the influence of worldlings. They talk like the world and act like the world. Oh, how my heart aches as I think of how the Saviour is put to shame by their un-Christlike behavior! But after the agony is past, I feel like working harder than ever to restore the poor souls, that they may reveal the image of God.
Pray, yes, pray with unshaken faith and trust. The Angel of the covenant, even our Lord Jesus Christ, is the Mediator who secures the acceptance of the prayers of His believing ones.
Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 8 pp. 169-178