Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9 pp. 219-228 Day 469

A Time of Preparation

We are living in the great antitypical day of atonement. We must individually seek God. This is a personal work. Let us draw near to God, allowing nothing to come into our efforts that would misrepresent the truth for this time. Let everyone confess, not his brother’s sin, but his own sin. Let him humble his heart before God and become so filled with the Holy Spirit that his life will show that he has been born again. We read: “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” John 1:12.

The gospel of Christ is to be lived, practiced in the daily life. The servants of God are to be cleansed from all coldness, all selfishness. Simplicity, meekness, lowliness are of great value in the work of God. Try to unite the workers in confidence and love. If you cannot do this, be right yourselves, and leave the rest with God. Labor in faith and prayer. Select Christian youth, and train them to be, not workers with hearts like iron, but workers who are willing to harmonize.

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I pray that the Lord will change the hearts of those who, unless they receive more grace, will enter into temptation. I pray that He will soften and subdue every heart. We need to live in close fellowship with God, that we may love one another as Christ has loved us. It is by this that the world is to know that we are His disciples. Let there be no self-exaltation. If the workers will humble their hearts before God, the blessing will come. They will all the while be receiving fresh, new ideas, and there will be a wonderful revival of gospel medical missionary work.

The great work before us all, as Christians, is to extend Christ’s kingdom as rapidly as possible, in accordance with the divine commission. The gospel is to advance from conquest to conquest, from victory to victory. The greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, and they shall take the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever and ever.

The Warfare Before Us

God’s servants are to put on every piece of the Christian armor. We are not wrestling simply with human foes. God calls upon every Christian to enter the warfare and fight under His leadership, depending for success on the grace and help of Heaven.

We are to go forward in the strength of the Mighty One. Never are we to yield to Satan’s attacks. Why should not we, as Christian warriors, stand against principalities and powers, and against the rulers of the darkness of this world? God calls upon us to press forward, using the gifts entrusted to us. Satan will place temptation before us. He will try to overcome us by stratagem. But in the strength of God we are to stand firm as a rock to principle.

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In this warfare there is no release. Satan’s agents never pause in their work of destruction. Those who are in Christ’s service must watch every outpost. Our object is to save perishing souls from ruin. This is a work of infinite greatness, and man cannot hope to obtain success in it unless he unites with the divine Worker.

From eternity Christ has been man’s Redeemer. Ever since the Fall there has come to those uniting with Him in His great work the word: “Be not weary in well-doing.” 2 Thessalonians 3:13. Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58.

The Christian is encouraged to show patient perseverance in carrying forward the work of the gospel ministry in connection with the medical missionary work. As he gains an experience in genuine religion, he obtains a spiritual knowledge that makes character.

The life of a true Christian is one continuous round of service. “We are laborers together with God.” Every day brings to the one in God’s service duties proportionate to his powers. His usefulness increases as, under the guidance of a supreme Power, he performs these duties. The fulfillment of one duty makes us better prepared to take up another. Those who have a true sense of what is to be done will place themselves in the direct light of the word of God, in union with His other working forces. Every day, clothed with the whole armor, he will go forth into the battle. With prayer and watchfulness and perseverance he will labor, determined that the close of his lifework shall not find him unprepared, not having done all that he could for the salvation of perishing souls.

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If Christians were to act in concert, moving forward as one, under the direction of one Power, for the accomplishment of one purpose, they would move the world.

The principles that should actuate us as workers in God’s cause are laid down by the apostle Paul. He says: “We are laborers together with God.” 1 Corinthians 3:9. “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Colossians 3:23. And Peter exhorts the believers: “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 4:10, 11.

There are great laws that govern the world of nature, and spiritual things are controlled by principles equally certain. The means for an end must be employed, if the desired results are to be attained. God has appointed to every man his work according to his ability. It is by education and practice that persons are to be qualified to meet any emergency which may arise; and wise planning is needed to place each one in his proper sphere, that he may obtain an experience that will fit him to bear responsibility.

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God wants us to help one another by a manifestation of sympathy and unselfish love. There are those who have inherited peculiar tempers and dispositions. They may be hard to deal with; but are we faultless? They are not to be discouraged. Their errors are not to be made common property. Christ pities and helps those who err in judgment. He has suffered death for every man, and because of this He has a touching and profound interest in every man.

A man may be trying to serve God, but temptations from within and from without assail him. Satan and his angels urge and coax him to transgress. Perhaps he falls a prey to their temptings. How then do his brethren treat him? Do they speak harsh, cutting words, driving him further from the Saviour? What a sad sight for Christ and the angels to behold!

Let us remember that we are struggling and falling, failing in speech and action to represent Christ, falling and rising again, despairing and hoping. Let us beware of dealing unkindly with those who, like ourselves, are subjects of temptation and who, like ourselves also, are the objects of Christ’s unfailing love.

God deals with men as responsible beings. He will work by His Spirit through the mind He has put in man if man will only give Him a chance to work and will recognize His dealings. He designs that each shall use his mind and conscience for himself. He does not intend that one man shall become the shadow of another, uttering only another’s sentiments.

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Chapter 25—Consideration for Colored Laborers

The religion of the Bible recognizes no caste or color. It ignores rank, wealth, worldly honor. God estimates men as men. With Him, character decides their worth. And we are to recognize the Spirit of Christ in whomsoever it is revealed. No one need be ashamed to speak with an honest black man in any place or to shake him by the hand. He who is living in the atmosphere in which Christ lives will be taught of God and will learn to put His estimate on men.

Our colored ministers are to be treated with consideration. This has not always been done. These men are to be encouraged to obtain a thorough knowledge of the truth. They are to learn how to be efficient in teaching the truth to others. And when they are faithfully engaged in work they should receive their hire. Remember that they must have bread.

The Lord desires His people in the North to maintain a kindly attitude toward the colored brethren and sisters. We should not be hasty in finding fault with them. We cannot expect them to be in all respects like those who have enjoyed greater advantages. We should remember the disadvantages under which the colored people have lived. Far different from the surroundings of the white race have been their surroundings. The Northern people have lived in a clearer, purer moral atmosphere than have the colored people of the South. We cannot expect that, in all things, they will be as firm and clear in their ideas of morality. Were Christ on earth today, He would teach the Negro race in a way that would surprise us. He calls upon us to remember that even those who have had great advantages in many things often feel hurt if their errors are unduly noticed and if words of counsel and admonition are spoken in an unsympathetic manner.

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When things of an objectionable nature take place among the colored people, remember that the Lord desires you to act with the wisdom of a faithful shepherd. Remember that kindness will accomplish more than censure. Let the colored brethren and sisters see that their brethren want them to reach the highest standard and that they are willing to help them. And if in some things the colored people fail, do not be quick to condemn them and separate them from the work.

Exact and impartial justice is to be shown to the Negro race. Christ demands from His servants tender compassion for the suffering, sympathy for the unfortunate, and a generous consideration for misdemeanors.

The poor are not excluded from the privilege of giving. They, as well as the wealthy, may act a part in this work. The lesson that Christ gave in regard to the widow’s two mites shows us that the smallest willing offerings of the poor, if given from a heart of love, are as acceptable as the largest donations of the rich. In the balances of the sanctuary, the gifts of the poor, made from love to Christ, are not estimated according to the amount given, but according to the love which prompts the sacrifice.

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Chapter 26—The Needs of a Mission Field

For many years the Lord has been keeping before His people the needs of the work among the colored people in the Southern States of America. The moral darkness of this field is, in itself, a powerful plea for the exercise of liberality. In the past some have done what they could to support this branch of our work, and their beneficence has borne fruit in the conversion of many souls.

Although much remains to be done for the colored people, we have cause for rejoicing over the good beginning that has been made. In a recent number of The Gospel Herald [1907] it is reported that “fifteen years ago there were not over twenty colored Seventh-day Adventists south of Mason and Dixon’s line; but today there are seven hundred. Twelve years ago there was only one colored Seventh-day Adventists church; today there are fifty, not counting those in Africa and the West Indies…. The tithe of the colored people last year in the United States amounted to five thousand dollars; fifteen years ago it was not over fifty dollars.”

Let us thank God, dear brethren and sisters, and take courage! God is laying bare His arm to do a mighty work in this mission field within the borders of our own land. He is now giving His people unusual opportunities to extend the message rapidly in the South. Especially should we reveal a spirit of beneficence at the time the yearly offering for the support of the colored work is taken up. God has reposed confidence in us by making us stewards of means and of His rich grace; and He now points us to the poor and suffering and oppressed, to souls bound in chains of superstition and error, and assures us that if we do good to these, He will accept the deed as though done to Himself. “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren,” He declares, “ye have done it unto Me.” Matthew 25:40.

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Thousands of colored people in the South may now be uplifted, and become human agents to help their own race, if they can receive the help God is calling upon us to give them. Multitudes of men and women in this field feel their deep poverty and their need of uplifting. And when faithful teachers shall come in to open to them the Scriptures just as they read, presenting truth in its native purity, the darkness will disappear. Bright beams of light will shine upon the soul searching for truth. And with those who have had advantages, a close and intelligent investigation will take place upon the subjects of truth revealed in the Scriptures. Many will be taught of God. They will learn aright from the Great Teacher, and will accept with joy the truths that will sanctify and uplift. The moral image of God will be restored in the soul, and many will be eternally saved.

My dear brethren and sisters, Christ is now saying to you: “Lift up your eyes and look on this Southern field; for it needs workers—sowers of the seed, and reapers. It needs your means for the maintenance of these workers.” The grace of Christ is unlimited, it is God’s free gift. Then why should not this neglected people have some hope and courage and faith brought into their lives? There is sunshine in the heart for all who will accept Christ.

September, 1907.

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Section 7—The Religious Liberty Work

[In this section, portions of only a few manuscripts (hitherto unpublished) are given. For other important matter having a direct, vital bearing on religious, liberty work, see Testimonies for the Church 5:449-454, 467-476, 711-720; Testimonies for the Church 6:394-410; also The Great Controversy, chapters 2, 16, 25, 36, 38-40. ]

“Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” “Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Leviticus 25:10; Matthew 10:16.

Chapter 27—A Time of Trial Before Us

A season of great trial is before us. It becomes us now to use all our capabilities and gifts in advancing the work of God. The powers the Lord has given us are to be used to build up, not to tear down. Those who are ignorantly deceived are not to remain in this condition. The Lord says to His messengers: Go to them and declare unto them what I have said, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.

The time is right upon us when persecution will come to those who proclaim the truth. The outlook is not flattering; but, notwithstanding this, let us not give up our efforts to save those ready to perish, for whose ransom the Prince of heaven offered up His precious life. When one means fails, try another. Our efforts must not be dead and lifeless. As long as life is spared, let us work for God. In all ages of the church God’s appointed messengers have exposed themselves to reproach and persecution for the truth’s sake. But wherever God’s people may be forced to go, even though, like the beloved disciple, they are banished to desert islands, Christ will know where they are and will strengthen and bless them, filling them with peace and joy.

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Soon there is to be trouble all over the world. It becomes everyone to seek to know God. We have no time to delay. With earnestness and fervor the message must be given: “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Isaiah 55:1. “Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the Son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.” Isaiah 56:1, 2.

God’s love for His church is infinite. His care over His heritage is unceasing. He suffers no affliction to come upon the church but such as is essential for her purification, her present and eternal good. He will purify His church even as He purified the temple at the beginning and close of His ministry on earth. All that He brings upon the church in test and trial comes that His people may gain deeper piety and more strength to carry the triumphs of the cross to all parts of the world. He has a work for all to do. There must be constant enlargement and progress. The work must extend from city to city, from country to country, and from nation to nation, moving continually onward and upward, established, strengthened, and settled.

“The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, … full of grace and truth.” But those whom Christ came to save, would have none of Him. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” John 1:14, 11. Yielding themselves to Satan’s control, they rejected the Messiah and sought opportunity to put Him to death.

Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 9 pp. 219-228

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