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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903)

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    Ms 74, 1903

    Lessons From Paul’s Ministry

    NP

    July 27, 1903 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in 6BC 1088-1089, 1106.

    “Art thou called being a servant? care not for it.” [1 Corinthians 7:21.] Do not complain and make yourself unhappy because you occupy a humble position. In your service you may glorify God. By obedience and faithfulness in the daily duties, you may be a witness to the power of the truth.18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 1

    “But if thou mayest be free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; but be not ye the servants of men. Brethren, let every man wherein he is called, therein abide with God.” [Verses 21-24.]18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 2

    “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” [1 Corinthians 9:19-22.]18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 3

    Paul did not vacillate. He was established and grounded in the faith. But as far as possible he sought to make himself one with those for whom he labored.18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 4

    As a gospel minister, it was Paul’s privilege to claim a support from those for whom he labored. But though he became the servant of all, yet he worked with his hands to support himself, that none might find occasion to charge him with selfishness. He did not receive wages for his labor, though as a minister of the gospel this was his right. Thus he made it evident that he was working for souls, not for money.18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 5

    “What is my reward then?” he asks. “Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.” [Verse 18.]18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 6

    Paul did not depend upon man for his ordination. He had received from the Lord his commission and ordination. He regarded his ministerial labor as a privilege. To him it was not a duty performed in return for money. He labored for the souls of men. “For though I preach the gospel,” he said, “I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel.” [Verse 16.] He studied constantly how to make his testimony of the greatest effect. He sought the approval of God.18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 7

    Would that today men might be found with faith to do as Paul did, men who would preach the gospel, not looking to men for their reward, but willing to receive their reward in souls.18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 8

    A Christian Contest.

    “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain. And every one that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” [Verses 24-27.]18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 9

    This glorious contest is before us. The apostle seeks to inspire us to enter into a noble emulation, a competition in which will be seen no selfishness, unfairness, or underhanded work. We are to use every spiritual nerve and muscle in the contest for the crown of life. No one who does his best will fail in this contest.18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 10

    All who seek for the prize are to place themselves under strict discipline. “Every man that strives for the mastery is temperate in all things.” [Verse 25.] Those who enter into a contest of physical strength for a corruptible prize realize the necessity of rigid abstinence from every indulgence that would weaken the physical powers. They eat simple food at regular hours. How much more should those who enter for the gospel race restrain themselves from the unlawful indulgence of appetite and “abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul.” [1 Peter 2:11.] They must be temperate at all times. The same restraint that gives them the power to obtain the victory at one time will, if practiced constantly, give them a great advantage in the race for the crown of life. “If any man will come after Me,” said Christ, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” [Luke 9:23.]18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 11

    Satan’s Enmity Against God

    “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will also sit upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.” [Isaiah 14:12-14.]18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 12

    The enemy against whom we have to contend was in the courts of heaven an angel of the highest intelligence. As the covering cherub, he stood next to Christ Himself. But he rebelled against the law of God. His heart became lifted up because of his beauty, and he aspired to be like the Most High. He diffused among the angels the spirit of discontent. He endeavored to excite dissatisfaction concerning the laws that governed the heavenly beings, intimating that these laws imposed an unnecessary restraint. He urged that angels, since their natures were holy, should obey the dictates of their own will. He claimed that in aspiring to greater power and honor, he was not aiming at self-exaltation, but was seeking to secure liberty for the inhabitants of heaven, that by this means they might attain to a higher state of existence.18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 13

    Many of the angels were deceived and followed Satan in his evil course. There was war in heaven, and those who trusted in Satan’s wisdom and supported him in his rebellion were with him shut out of heaven. Let this serve as a warning to all not to put their trust in princes, nor to sanction in any one, however exalted his position may be, a course that tends to weaken faith in the principles of God’s Word. Those who have been placed in responsible positions have great power and, if they pursue a wrong course, will lead many souls astray with them.18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 14

    Satan claims as his subjects all who allow their minds to be controlled by him. Unless we recognize Christ as our Master, and let His mind work in us, our thoughts will be prompted by Satan, and our characters will become like his. “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.]18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 15

    Satan seeks to retain his power and authority. He endeavors to hold every soul once brought under his control. This is illustrated by the scene presented by Zechariah: “And He shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the Angel. And He answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him He said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.” [Zechariah 3:1-5.]18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 16

    “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:10-12.]18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 17

    Every one who has enlisted under the bloodstained manner of Christ has entered upon a warfare that demands constant vigilance. Satan is determined to keep up the warfare to the end. Coming as an angel of light, claiming to be the Christ, he will deceive the world. But his triumph will be short. No storm or tempest can move those whose feet are planted on the principles of eternal truth. They will be able to stand in this time of almost universal apostasy.18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 18

    *****

    “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” [Isaiah 24:1-6.]18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 19

    We are living very near the time when these things shall take place. Shall we, as a church, remain in the indifference pictured in the message to the Laodicean church? On which side shall we stand when the “Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity” when “the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain”? [Isaiah 26:21.]18LtMs, Ms 74, 1903, par. 20

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