Ellen G. White Writings

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The Signs of the Times

August 21, 1901

The Need of Missionary Effort

The last message of mercy is to be given to the world by the proclamation of Gospel truth. Truth, Bible truth,—this is what the people need. On our knees we are to claim the promises of God's Word, asking that we may receive pure, unadulterated truth, and that we may realize the necessity of giving this truth to others. Then men and women will be converted. The hand of God will be recognized in the raising up of new churches. The Lord will baptize with the apostolic spirit many who will go forth to do missionary work in places where the people know not the truth.

True missionary work will furnish the churches with a sure foundation, a foundation having this seal, “The Lord knoweth them that are His.” Then God will be glorified in His people. Christian missions will be built upon Jesus Christ. Under the supervision of God the work will go forward, and innumerable evidences will be given of the genuineness of the work. The workers will not seek to glorify self, but will praise God as the designer and organizer of every holy, ennobling work. They not only profess to be believers; they are believers. They are sanctified by the truth; for truth acted as well as preached has a purifying influence upon the character.

In the home and in the church the true missionary is a living exposition of truth. He eats the flesh and drinks the blood of the Son of God, and his life is moulded according to the divine similitude. He digests and assimilates the Word, saying, “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” True missionary work leads those engaged in it to bow before God in humiliation and unfeigned gratitude for the past and present manifestations of His power. They hide self in Christ, praising and glorifying Him as the One altogether lovely.

Christian missionary work is of great value to the home churches. By it the members are inspired with holy, sanctified zeal to deny self, to lift the cross of Christ, to labor with self-sacrificing effort to send the truth to regions beyond. Christian missionary work has a reflex influence upon the churches, an influence uplifting and sanctifying. It has a salutary influence upon unbelievers; for as the workers labor under divine superintendence, worldlings are led to see the greatness of the resources God has provided for those who serve Him. God's truth, demonstrated by the working of grace in the heart, multiplies the agencies of Christian usefulness and makes a decided impression upon the world.

God desires His people to be living examples of the purifying influence of the truth. He desires them to reveal in their lives its power to elevate and ennoble. Thus they are to illustrate the excellence of the truth, raising the standard of Christian courtesy, tenderness, and love. With an intensity of effort they are to seek to save those who are perishing. Let the heart yearn even to breaking over those who know not the truth. Let not believers center their thoughts upon themselves. Let them go to work for others, forgetting self in the loving desire to help those around them. Let them think and plan and work for those who know not God. It is not only the learned, the talented, who are to work for others. All who claim to believe in Jesus should do this. This is Christian usefulness. And in this work let us show a holy dependence upon God. Dependence upon God, sanctification of purpose, earnestness in service,—these distinguish between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. We who believe are to illustrate in our lives the excellence of the Christ-life. Church-members are to arise and shine amid the moral darkness of the world. If we are connected with the Light of the world, we shall reflect light to others. If we partake of the Saviour's rich grace, we shall be a blessing to those around us.

God calls upon us to show a hallowed patriotism, to reveal the attributes of the Saviour in the home and in the church, to deny self that we may have to give to the work in the fields afar off. Let all seek to manifest the benevolence of Christ. He gave His life to save a fallen world, and shall Christians, those who claim to be His representatives on the earth, be unwilling to deny self? Shall they remain weak and inefficient because they are too selfish to make sacrifices for Him who gave His life as a sacrifice for them?

God help us to arise and take a most decided stand in the center of a large circle of benevolent work. Thus we may glorify and magnify the name of Him who is truth. We are laid under the most solemn obligations to furnish, in Christian missions, a grand illustration of the principles of the kingdom of God. The church is to work actively as an organized body to spread abroad the influence of the cross of Christ. Those who work unselfishly to give the truth to those nigh and afar off are registered in the courts above, “Laborers together with God; ... God's husbandry, ... God's building.” Controlled by the great Designer, they show what human beings can be when they wear the yoke of Christ, learning His meekness and lowliness.

It is because so many of Christ's professed followers seek to be first that He can not trust them. Were they humble, willing to be taught by Him, they would be a power in showing to the world the influence of the truth upon human character. Those who work in Christ's lines, never seeking to exalt self, will reveal constant activity and steady progress in missionary enterprises. They will not be satisfied unless church is added to church.

God expects those in His service to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. Our aggressive missionary work is to be more abundant than it has been in the past. More territory is to be annexed; the standard of truth is to be planted in new places; churches are to be established; all is to be done that can be done to fulfil the commission, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

The life of a church depends on the interest which its members manifest in those outside the fold. Let the church of God remember that Christ gave Himself as a sacrifice to save a world from destruction. For our sake He became poor, that we through His poverty might come into possession of eternal riches. Shall those whom God has blessed with a knowledge of the truth become narrow in their plans? Let them arouse to a sense of their vast obligations, cutting away every thread of selfishness, that the Lord may pour upon them His Holy Spirit. Let them seek the Lord while He may be found, and call upon Him while He is near. They have no reason for being faithless and complaining. Let them cease all fault-finding and murmuring, and encourage a spirit of gratitude for past mercies and blessings. Let them praise the Lord in unfeigned gratitude for the light of His Word, which shines upon their pathway, to be received into heart and mind, and reflected upon those in darkness. Thus they will be prepared to work to the praise and glory of Christ, and to inscribe upon their banners, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”

Mrs. E. G. White

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