Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

December 6, 1898

Christ's Prayer for Us

Mrs. E. G. White

In the prayer of Christ recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John is plainly defined the relation that it is the privilege of man to sustain to God. This prayer has instruction for every soul who will heed its lessons. If the people of God will have no other gods before the Lord, if they will refuse to have their minds diverted to strange gods that are no gods, they will respond to that prayer. They will not allow themselves to act contrary to its teachings. Those who claim to be followers of Christ will honor and exalt the work of their Leader. Will our people work away from this prayer, or will they work to it, answering to their duty as intelligent beings?

“I have given them thy word,” Christ prayed; “and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

We need to take these words home to our hearts. Our minds need not dwell so largely upon what the world is doing. Our question should be, What am I individually doing to let my light shine forth to the world? What am I doing to dispel its moral darkness? Should we not eat and drink the words of Christ? His word is truth, which he represents by his flesh and blood, which he has given for the life of the world.

“As thou hast sent me into the world,” Christ continued, “even so have I also sent them into the world.” Would we understand Christ's purpose in sending us into the world? He says: “Ye are the light of the world.” “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” This is our work. Our earnest activities are to be signalized before the world by an unselfish life and a purified character.

A great responsibility rests upon all who in this age of the world's history claim to be followers of Christ. The example of Christ is before us. “For their sakes,” he said, “I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may 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.”

Why do not those who have the word of God work out its glorious principles? It rests upon us not merely to use the great gift of speech in the service of the Master, but to bring glory to God by a consistent life and a godly conversation. The fallen world needs the light of heavenly sanctification demonstrated in a glorified character; and it is our duty, before the heavenly universe and a fallen world, to reach the perfect unity which this prayer presents. It is our duty to reflect the light of heaven upon a world that is under the scepter of Satan.

Who among us are arousing themselves to understand the wonderful science of salvation? The unity of the people of God constitutes their credentials to the world that they stand on vantage-ground; that they are members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. To those who cultivate this unity, the promise is given that God will love them as he loves his only begotten Son. What an exalted position those will occupy whose life here responds to the life of Christ! Christ declares: “The glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.... And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

As a part of God's great heritage, we are to represent the character of those who shall compose the family of God. Said Christ: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” When so much is at stake, shall we not, for Christ's sake, exercise our talent of speech in expressing our love and devotion and whole-heartedness for Christ,—in revealing to others the love that Christ has expressed for all the world?

Again, Christ said: “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another.”

These blessed assurances are for every one who will respect them, and who will, in character, reveal to the world their interpretation. “If ye love me,” Christ said, “keep my commandments.” If we are doers of the Word, we can come to God with full assurance of faith, saying, “Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.” When we zealously obey God's word from the heart, we may make that word our plea. The Lord always works in accordance with his word.

The weakness of our Christian experience is wholly due to the perversity of the human heart. The Lord has prepared great things for those who will partake of his likeness. He is longing to represent himself in the individual members of his church, if they will walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. But he can not strengthen and bless a people who are full of self, and who have no room for him. There are many who will not comply with the conditions of salvation, because they desire to keep the world and its advantages first; and those things that are greater than any worldly consideration are treated with indifference. This constant slipping down into a worldly current, while bearing the name of Christians, is dishonoring to God. If our actions reveal that we do not believe God's word, we can receive nothing from Christ. Our prayers are insincere. God says, “Let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.”

The religion of the Bible calls for a deep earnestness, that will exalt the spiritual and eternal. Christ taught the truth. He taught as One who knew that man could reach a higher standard in divine things. He knew that all whom he addressed had the power given them of God to respond to the divine requirements. His call was: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Man will find rest in complying with the conditions of the invitation. And the call is not to a few, but to all. Christ is the Redeemer of the world. His greatest message to the world was, “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” “If any man will come after me,” he said, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Jesus accepted that cross, with all its humiliation and suffering, that he might make it possible for every member of the human family to follow in his footsteps. He requires of human beings nothing which, in his own humanity, he has not himself borne. He knows that the strength of man in itself is wholly inefficient; but he also knows that the provision made is ample and abundant, able to strengthen him, and make him capable of responding to the call.

When human beings turn aside from the righteousness of Christ to exalt their fellow men, and lay their laurels at their feet, they lose their view of Christ. And when the men thus raised to a pinnacle have not discernment to understand the requirements of the word of God; when, with all their capabilities, they can not read their duty to their God; when they can not discern that the invitation, “Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart,” is for them; when they take a path that leads away from Christ in any line, they encourage disobedience rather than obedience. All the high and honorable positions that they may gain by disobedience, they will sometime know to be the path over which Satan has traveled before them.

The earnestness that Christ reveals in this matter should not be disregarded. He urges all to unite with him, that their interests may be wrapped up in him, and that they may become one with the Father. Then man will not take glory to himself or to any of his fellow men. God alone will receive the glory. There are heights which we all have the privilege of reaching, but they can be gained only by partaking of the humility of the Redeemer. In yoking up with Christ, man becomes a constant worker with God; and through Christ he is strengthened to rise to the heights to which God calls him.

December 6, 1898

Supp.—Letter to Sister Henry

Sister Henry,

I am so pleased, and gratified, and thankful that the Lord has raised you up from sickness to do his work. I am more rejoiced than I can express. I have thought, with your experience, under the supervision of God, you could exert your influence to set in operation lines of work where women could unite together to work for the Lord.

There certainly should be a larger number of women engaged in the work of ministering to suffering humanity, uplifting, educating them how to believe—simply believe—in Jesus Christ our Saviour. And as souls give themselves to the Lord Jesus, making an entire surrender, they will understand the doctrine. I have not a bit of concern in regard to those souls who are reaching out, after they have been enlightened, but that they will know of the doctrine. We find it so here, and we know it is to be so in all places. The first glance must be Jesus Christ, the sin-bearer, the One who “taketh away the sin of the world.” “Look and live.” Then, if they follow the Lamb of God, as they remain learners, they will have an intelligent knowledge of what is truth.

I am pained because our sisters in America are not more of them doing the work they might do for the Lord Jesus. Abiding in Christ, they would receive courage and strength and faith for the work. Many women love to talk. Why can't they talk the words of Christ to perishing souls? The more closely we are related to Christ, the more surely the heart will learn the wretchedness of souls who do not know God, and who do not feel the dishonor they are doing to Christ, who has bought them with a price.

When believing women shall feel the burden for souls,—the burden of sins not their own,—they will work as Christ worked. They will consider no sacrifice too great to win souls to Christ. Every one who has this love for souls is born of God, and is ready to follow his footsteps; and his words and voice will become talents employed in the Master's service: and the very nourishment coming from the parent stock to his own soul will flow out in distinct currents of love to souls that are withered and dried up.

In this work is a constant education. The desire to be a blessing, discovers the weakness and inefficiency of the worker, and drives the soul to God in prayer; and the Lord Jesus gives light and his Holy Spirit, and the worker understands that it is Christ who does the melting and breaking of the hard hearts.

Believing the teachings of Christ, that through you, the human agency, he communicates his light, his truth, you are the frail instrument through whom the hidden power of God does work, that his strength may be perfected and made glorious in your weakness.

(Signed) Mrs. E. G. White.

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