Ellen G. White Writings

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The Home Missionary

August 1, 1896

There is Work for All

There is a great work to be done in this country (Australia). I have spoken to the people upon the camp-ground, and have told them that the work cannot be done by the ordained minister alone. God will accept of any of those who love and serve him, in their efforts to educate those who are in the darkness of error, and thus win souls to Christ. Hundreds and thousands who profess the truth, who are now idlers in the market-places, might be engaged in the work of the Lord. The voice of Christ speaks to them, asking, “Why stand ye here all the day idle?” and adds, “Go work today in my vineyard.” Why is it that many more do not respond to this call? Is it because they think themselves excused in that they do not stand in the pulpit? Let them understand that there is a large work to be done outside of the pulpit. God calls upon all who have been drinking of the water of life, to lead others to the Fountain. Jesus said: “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Christ is to be your light, Christ is to be your sufficiency and power. Christ is the root, and he sustains every branch by his power. If you make finite men your dependence, you will certainly fail. He is the bright and morning star. He says, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” This commission to bid others to come embraces the entire church, and applies to every one who has accepted Christ as his personal Saviour. Of those who received Christ it is written, “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name ... and of his fulness have we all received, and grace for grace.”

Every converted soul has a work to do. We are to receive grace in order to freely give grace. We are to let the light shine forth from the bright and morning Star, to shed forth light in works of self-denial and self-sacrifice, following the example that Christ has given us in his own life and character. We are to draw from “the Root” that substance that will enable us to bear much fruit. Every soul who has heard the divine invitation, is to echo the message from hill and valley, saying to those with whom he comes in contact, “Come.” From the moment of conversion, those who receive Christ are to become the light of the world. They are to reflect the glory of the bright and morning Star. Jesus would impress upon the church the fact that they are his brethren, that they are to unite with him as laborers together with God. They are to be a brotherhood for the saving of humanity. Christ expects a very different work from the churches than that which has been given to him. The people of God will not answer the expectation of Christ until they are converted and prepared to obey the commandment of Christ. He says, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” Again he says, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” When this commandment is obeyed, envy, evil surmising, evil thinking, and evil speaking will be banished. In the character of those who love God, these evils will have no part. Love means spiritual growth after the divine model. Christ has given us a pattern in his own example. He would bind his followers to one another and to himself. Their oneness with Christ makes them love one another; for love is the sure fruit of unity with Christ. Christ declared that their love one for another was a sure badge of their discipleship. He is the root, his disciples are the branches.

I would that I had the power to present the subject to others as it has been presented to me. Just before he descended to the greatest depths of humiliation, the Saviour lifted up his eyes to heaven, and prayed that his disciples might be one. He said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they may all be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” The church will never as a whole receive the latter rain unless they shall put away all envy, evil surmising, and evil speaking. Those who have cherished hatred in the heart until it has strengthened and become part of their character, must have a different experience if they would share in the latter rain. Many are not awake to the fact that the Lord is testing and proving them to make it manifest whether or not they really love Jesus. The spirit and attitude manifested to their brethren, tells their spirit and attitude toward God. Great dishonor is done to Jesus Christ by those who claim to be his disciples. Those who are not branches of the divine Root, who are not partakers of the divine nature, will not and cannot love those for whom Christ has given his life. The evidence that we are accepted in the Beloved, that we have passed from death unto life, is that we “love the brethren.” “He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.” “He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” This is the decision of One who cannot lie. “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” But notwithstanding these positive utterances, how little love is expressed among those who profess to be sons and daughters of God! “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” The inference to be drawn from this question is that it is impossible for one to have the love of God, and fail to have compassion for his fellow men. The love of Jesus in the heart will always be revealed in tender compassion for the souls of those for whom Christ paid so dear a price. “Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.... And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” There is no such thing as a loveless Christian. He who is in unity with Christ, in word, in life, and in action, bears the living testimony that he has the mind and spirit of Christ.

Those who are truly the followers of Christ love as brethren, and are the salt of the earth, the light of the world. Every true believer catches the beams from the Morning Star, and transmits the light to those who sit in darkness. Not only do they shine amid the darkness in their own neighborhoods, but as a church they go forth to regions beyond. The Lord expects every man to do his duty. Every one who unites with the church is to be one with Christ, diffusing the beams of the Morning Star, and becoming the light of the world. Christ and his people are to be copartners in the great work of saving the world.

The churches have not been educated altogether as they should have been educated. They have been educated to depend upon the ministers to pray and open the Scriptures to the people who assemble to worship God. God would have the people hear the voice of God, and go to work for the Master. Thousands might be at work who are not ordained to preach the gospel. If the love of God was a living, abiding element in the soul, there would be love among the brethren, and many who have been indifferent to the great Teacher's commandment, who now bite and devour one another, would be convinced of their mistake, and draw into fellowship. God has made every provision for better things. God's people have close, severe battles to fight; but these battles are not to be against their brethren. All desire to hurt and weaken and destroy the influence of even the weakest of God's workers, is registered in the books of heaven as desire to weaken the influence of Jesus Christ. The warfare we are to undertake is to be waged against the confederacy of evil, which is arrayed against the people of God. But woe unto those who shall turn their implements of warfare against their own brethren. God reminds us that we are to fight in unison with the angels of heaven, and that more than angels are engaged in the warfare.

The Holy Spirit, Christ's representative, arms the weakest with might to press forward unto victory. God has organized his instrumentalities to draw all men unto him. He sends forth to his work many who have not been dedicated by the laying on of hands. He answers objections that would arise against this method of labor, even before they arise. God sees the end from the beginning. He knows and anticipates every want, and provides for every emergency. If finite men to whom he commits his work, do not bar the way, God will send forth laborers into his vineyard. To every converted soul he says: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” It is not necessary that the Lord should first sit in earthly legislative councils, and inquire of those who think they must plan for his work, “Will you permit men whom I have chosen, to unite with you in working in some part of my moral vineyard?” Christ was standing only a few steps from his heavenly throne when he gave his commission to his disciples, and included as missionaries all who would believe on his name. Jesus wants every minister to whom he has committed a sacred trust, to remember his injunctions, to consider the vastness of his work, and to place the obligation of preaching the gospel to the world upon the large number to whom it belongs. “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” The power of God was to go with those that proclaimed the gospel. If those who claim to have a living experience in the things of God, had done their appointed duty as God ordained, the whole world would have been warned, and the Lord Jesus would have come to our world with power and great glory.

God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world. Christ tells us when that day will be ushered in, and says, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness, ... and then shall the end come.” Satan has worked in such a way as to blind the understanding of men, and to cause those who profess to be followers of Christ to neglect their weighty responsibilities, and to lose their first love. He has worked in such a way that a hard, selfish, Satanic spirit has taken possession of many who have loved souls for whom Christ died. They might have worked in a variety of ways as God's instrumentalities. They might have visited from house to house, and opened the Scriptures to those whose understanding is darkened. Angels of God would have been close beside them to impress the hearts of those who were thirsting for the waters of life. God would have imbued the workers with his Holy Spirit as they sought to diffuse the light that he had given them. He who works with an eye single to the glory of God will have increased light as he imparts light. He will see and realize the value of souls, and contact with an unconverted soul will lead him to kindle his taper at the divine altar, and bear its light to his fellow men. God will use the most humble men, even if they have not been ordained. Let all open the heart to the voice and the knock of Jesus, and let him in. The Lord has waited long for the missionary spirit to pervade the church, so that every one would work as in the sight of the hosts of heaven. “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” Determined effort to oppose the spread of the message will be aroused, but we are to remember that Jesus, who is our example, did not fail, and was not discouraged. His method of labor must be our method of labor. He did not hesitate or sermonize, but he instructed men with authority, as a teacher sent from God.

Mrs. E. G. White

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