Ellen G. White Writings

<< Back Forward >>

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»

The Review and Herald

August 16, 1898

Witnesses for Christ

Mrs. E. G. White

“But 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 part of the earth.”

Christ gave this commission to his disciples just before, in his risen and glorified body, he ascended to his Father. This charge he gives to every one who has an intelligent knowledge of the plan of salvation. It is the privilege of his followers to reveal Christ and the Father to the world. The work of Christ in the world was to reveal the Father; and when praying for his disciples, he said: “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.”

This is the knowledge that every true witness will have. Upon this rock will he stand. His faith in Christ as the Son of the infinite God, the mighty Counselor, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, will give him assurance. And resting his faith in Christ, he will become one with the Father. He will have an experimental knowledge of what Christ is to the believer. He will realize that no member of the human family can, of himself, meet the claims of God's law or satisfy his justice, but that Christ is the justifier of those who believe.

We have an infinite Redeemer, and how precious are the gems of truth that testify to this in God's word. But these precious jewels have been buried beneath a mass of rubbish, of tradition, of heresies, which Satan himself has originated. His schemes are working with a strange power upon human minds to eclipse the value of Christ to those who believe in him. The enemy of God and man has cast a spell over those who profess to be the followers of Christ, until of many it can be said, They know not the time of their visitation.

In the sacrifice of Christ for our world, his mediation is made visible. This is the evidence of things unseen, and makes faith the gift of God. “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; ... having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

It was by this means that Christ acquired the power to lay under tribute to himself man's entrusted talents, influence, and wealth to carry forward this great work in the world. It is contrary to the Lord's plan that one soul should withhold from him his ability, his means, or his influence. Every soul to whom the Lord has given a knowledge of the truth is a thread in the great web of humanity. He is to fill his position, to act his part, holding himself under the orders of the Captain of his salvation. Each is to bear a part in the work of saving souls, that there may be no hindrance to the upbuilding of the kingdom of God.

The Lord's Spirit is grieved when any of his servants withhold their tribute of service. When this is done, additional burdens fall on those who are willing to labor. To all who are converted to God, and who, through faith, become partakers of the divine nature, are entrusted talents, to be employed in the salvation of souls. Each is commanded, “Go work today in my vineyard.” And in working as a colaborer with Christ, man is educated for the work. As a faithful servant looks to his master, and a handmaid to her mistress, so the servant of God will look in earnest prayer to Christ. He will be a doer of the Word. He will obey orders. If the Christian is to be the light of the world, he must shine; he must be a faithful worker for Christ, holding forth the word of life, lifting up Jesus before the people, and repeating his lessons.

“Charge them that are rich in this world,” says the apostle, “that they be not high-minded, and trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

By precept and example, the followers of Christ are to preach Christ. They are to entreat their fellow men not to provide for themselves only an earthly portion, and deprive themselves of eternal happiness. “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,” says Christ, “where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” He who secures his treasure beside the eternal throne, becomes a partaker of the heavenly attributes. Divine attributes and temporal blessings are appreciated and enjoyed in a sense that the worldling can not understand.

When the Lord asked Solomon what he should give him, Solomon said: “Thou hast showed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O Lord my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that can not be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?

“And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honor: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.”

This is a lesson for us. Our petitions to God should not proceed from hearts that are filled with selfish aspirations. God exhorts us to choose those gifts that will redound to his glory. He would have us choose the heavenly instead of the earthly. He throws open before us the possibilities and advantages of a heavenly commerce. He gives encouragement to our loftiest aims, security to our choicest treasure. When the worldly possession is swept away, the believer will rejoice in his heavenly treasure, the riches that can not be lost in any earthly disaster. Then why should we not let our property go before us to heaven? By our works here below we lay up for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come.

Why are so many who profess to be children of God devoting their God-entrusted capabilities to selfish purposes? They are stewards of the grace of Christ, and should lift up Jesus before the world. They should talk of Christ. His praise should be on their lips because the Sun of Righteousness is shining in their hearts. Through them his holy name should be exalted in the earth. Many, many, become the subjects of Satan's temptations because they do not disinterestedly and energetically engage in the service of Christ, but take their position in opposition to the great worker. The names of such can not be registered in the books of heaven as laborers together with God. They are numbered with the idlers.

The True Witness says, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” In the ardor of the first love, what testimonies were poured forth for Christ! what entreaties were made from souls overflowing with love! what joyous gratitude filled the heart and flowed forth from the soul, when the believer first became conscious of the love of Jesus! With tears and prayers, he offered his petitions to God, and entreated his friends to accept Jesus. His yearning sympathy was revealed in the love he manifested for the souls for whom Christ had died.

Sinners will not always respond to the Heaven-born pity revealed by the laborer in his first love. Minds may seem unimpressed; we may meet with coldness. But the example of Christ is placed before us, that we may not fail nor be discouraged. Faith—living, active faith—must work through apparent discomfiture and contempt. The love of Christ in the heart must not be quenched, but show itself invincible through God. In seeking wisdom from God in the work of saving souls, unwavering faith must be manifested.

Yet how many in our churches have lost their first love! With many it is almost extinct. Shall not the Christian graces be brought back? The Lord expects his stewards to be faithful, educating and training all their powers, that when the Lord comes to scrutinize his talents, they may return his own with usury. Unless Christlike humility is brought into the life, the believer will grow away from the simplicity of the work. He will bring in spiritual pride and self-sufficiency to supply the place that should be filled with the love of Jesus. Bungling work will be done, because the worker is not disposed to act a self-denying, self-sacrificing part. This he leaves for some one else to do. The love of Christ is scarcely mentioned. The minister whose heart is unsubdued by the grace of Christ can not give his attention to the people. He has not the Christ-love in his own soul, and therefore it can not flow out in rich currents to others.

The Lord makes every effort to reclaim those who place themselves out of the rank of workers, as if they were not responsible for the salvation of their own souls and of the souls of others. But if these men continue in this position, Christ can not become responsible for their salvation; for they hide their Lord's talents, and bind themselves to the side of the enemy. “He that is not with me,” says Christ, “is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”

In the work of redemption, all heaven is constantly employed. Angels are actively engaged in executing God's plans, to bring men back from their rebellion to reconciliation with him. With intense earnestness they are co-operating with God to bring to man moral efficiency, that, in and through Christ, he may be more than conqueror! Jesus left the heavenly courts and came to our world, bringing with him the sympathies of the angels. He advanced from the manger to Calvary, with all the heavenly intelligences in his train. In the dying victim on Calvary, mercy answered the claims of justice with a full compensation.

All who are partakers of this great salvation wrought out by Jesus Christ are under obligation to work as laborers together with God. In the heavenly courts the roll is called, on which every name is registered, and the heavenly agencies respond to the call. The service given by every human being upon earth is there recorded. If any are negligent, it is recorded; if diligent, the same is reported; if idlers, the fact stands against their names. In all the great mass of humanity, not one is lost sight of. Then let every one be ready to answer the call, saying, “Here, Lord, ready for action.”

The world has claims upon you. If you fail to shine as lights in the world, some will rise in the Judgment, and charge upon you the blood of their souls. It will be seen that you were an agent in the hands of the enemy of God and man to mislead and deceive by your profession of Christianity. You did not lead souls to piety and devotion. You had a name to live, but were spiritually dead. You had not the vitalizing influence of the Spirit of God, which is abundantly provided for all who, in faith, make demands upon it.

If man turns away, and does not act his part, he not only imperils his own soul, but deprives those who are in darkness of the light he could bring them. Man must watch constantly for opportunities to do good. Then he will co-operate with the heavenly agencies. The spirit of Christ will lead men to impart to others the light given them of God. Truth in the heart longs for diffusion. According to our appreciation of its value, will be our desire to impart it.

«Back «Prev. Pub. «Article   Article» Next Pub.» Forward»