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Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers : Page 159

9. Human Needs and Divine Supply

I would address those who preach the word: "The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." All the advantages and privileges that may be multiplied for your benefit, that you should be educated and trained, rooted and grounded in the truth, will be no real help to you personally unless the mind and heart are opened so that truth shall find entrance, and you make a conscientious surrender of every habit and practice, and every sin that has closed the door against Jesus. Let the light from Christ search every dark corner of the soul; with earnest determination adopt a right course of action. If you hold onto a wrong course, as many of you are now doing; if the truth does not work in you with transforming power, so that you obey it from the heart because you love its pure principles; be sure that for you the truth will lose its vitalizing power, and sin will strengthen.

This is why many are not efficient agents for the Master. They are constantly making provision to please and glorify themselves, or they cherish lust in the heart. True, they assent to the law of Ten Commandments, and many teach the law in theory, but they do not cherish its principles. They do not obey the command of God to be pure, to love God supremely, and their neighbor as themselves. While constantly living a lie, can such have strength, can they have confidence, will such become efficient workers for God?

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The Saviour prayed for His disciples, "Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth." But if the receiver of Bible knowledge makes no change in his habits or practices to correspond to the light of truth, what then? The spirit is warring against the flesh, and the flesh against the spirit; and one of these must conquer. If the truth sanctifies the soul, sin is hated and shunned, because Christ is accepted as an honored guest. But Christ cannot share a divided heart; sin and Jesus are never in copartnership. He who accepts the truth in sincerity, who eats the flesh and drinks the blood of the Son of God, has eternal life. "The words that I speak unto you," said Jesus, "they are spirit, and they are life." When the receiver of truth cooperates with the Holy Spirit, he will go weighted with the burden of the message to souls; he will never be merely a sermonizer. He will enter heart and soul into the great work of seeking and saving that which is lost. Practicing the religion of Christ, he will accomplish a good work in winning souls.

Under Bonds to God

Every believer is under bonds to God to be spiritually minded, keeping himself in the channel of light, that he may let his light shine to the world. When all those who are engaged in the sacred work of the ministry shall grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, they will hate sin and all selfishness. A moral renovation is constantly going on; as they continue looking to Jesus, they become conformed to His image, and are found complete in Him, not having their own righteousness, but the righteousness that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The great advantage of the ministerial institutes [* SEE APPENDIX.] is not

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half appreciated. They are rich in opportunities, but do not accomplish half what they should because those who attend them do not practice the truth which is presented before them in clear lines. Many who are explaining the Scriptures to others have not conscientiously and entirely surrendered mind and heart and life to the control of the Holy Spirit. They love sin and cling to it. I have been shown that impure practices, pride, selfishness, self-glorying, have closed the door of the heart even of those who teach the truth to others, so that the frown of God is upon them. Cannot some renovating power take hold of them? Have they fallen a prey to a moral disease which is incurable because they themselves refuse to be cured? Oh, that everyone who labors in word and doctrine would heed the words of Paul, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."

How my heart goes out in rejoicing for those who walk in humility of mind, who love and fear God. They possess a power far more valuable than learning or eloquence. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;" and His love and fear are like a thread of gold uniting the human agent to the divine. Thus all the movements of life are simplified. When the children of God are struggling with temptation, battling against the passions of the natural heart, faith connects the soul with the only One who can give help, and they are overcomers.

May the Lord work upon the hearts of those who have received great light, that they may depart from all iniquity. Behold the cross of Calvary. There is Jesus, who gave His life, not that men might continue in sin, not that they may have license to break the law

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of God, but that through this infinite sacrifice they may be saved from all sin. Said Christ, "I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified," by the perfection of His example. Will those who preach the truth to others be sanctified by the truth themselves? Will they love the Lord with heart and mind and soul, and their neighbor as themselves? Will they meet the highest standard of Christian character? Are their tastes elevated, their appetites controlled? Are they cherishing only noble sentiments, strong, deep sympathy, and pure purposes, that they may indeed be laborers together with God? We must have the Holy Spirit to sustain us in the conflict; "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."

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We have been asked why it is that there is so little power in the churches, why there is so little efficiency among our teachers. The answer is that it is because known sin in various forms is cherished among the professed followers of Christ, and the conscience becomes hardened by long violation. The answer is that men do not walk with God but separate company with Jesus, and as a result we see manifested in the church selfishness, covetousness, pride, strife, contention, hard-heartedness, licentiousness, and evil practices. Even among those who preach the sacred word of God, this

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state of evil is found; and unless there is thorough reformation among those who are unholy and unsanctified, it would be better that such men should leave the ministry, and choose some other occupation, where their unregenerate thoughts would not bring disaster upon the people of God.

Waiting and Watching

The apostle exhorts the brethren, saying, "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 . . . in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Oh, what a day is before us! What sifting will there be among those who claim to be the children of God! The unjust will be found among the just. Those who have great light and who have not walked in it will have darkness corresponding to the light they have despised. We have need to heed the lesson contained in the words of Paul, "But I keep under my body, and bring it in subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." The enemy is diligently working to see whom he can add to the ranks of apostasy; but the Lord is soon coming, and erelong every case will be decided for eternity. Those whose works correspond with the light graciously given them will be numbered on the Lord's side.

We are waiting and watching for the grand and awful scene which will close up this earth's history. But we are not simply to be waiting; we are to be vigilantly working with reference to this solemn event. The living church of God will be waiting, watching, and working. None are to stand in a neutral position. All are to represent Christ in active, earnest effort to save perishing souls. Will the church fold her hands

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now? Shall we sleep as is represented in the parable of the foolish virgins? Every precaution is to be taken now; for haphazard work will result in spiritual declension, and that day will overtake us as a thief. The mind needs to be strengthened to look deep and discern the reasons of our faith. The soul-temple is to be purified by the truth, for only the pure in heart will be able to stand against the wiles of Satan.

Our Relation to the World

We are not to copy the world's practices, and yet we are not to stand aloof from the people of the world; for our light must shine amid the moral darkness that covers the earth. There is a sad lack in the church, of Christian love one for another. This love is easily extinguished; and yet without it we cannot have Christian fellowship, nor love for those for whom Christ died.

Our brethren need to take heed to the injunction: "But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." We shall have to meet crooked elements in the world and in the church. Men will come claiming to have great light; but those who have experience in the cause of God will see that what they present as light is great darkness. Men of this class will have to be treated according to the specifications of the word of God. Those who are in error may become excited in advocating their views, but those who are walking in the light can afford to be calm, gentle with the

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erring, "apt to teach," making manifest the fact that they have asked and received wisdom of God. They will have no occasion to move excitedly, but occasion to move wisely, patiently, "in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves."

The time has come when those who are rooted and grounded in the truth may manifest their firmness and decision, may make known the fact that they are unmoved by the sophistry, maxims, or fables of the ignorant and wavering. Without foundation men will make statements with all the positiveness of truth; but it is of no use to argue with them concerning their spurious assertions. The best way to deal with error is to present the truth, and leave wild ideas to die out for want of notice. Contrasted with truth, the weakness of error is made apparent to every intelligent mind. The more the erroneous assertions of opposers, and of those who rise up among us to deceive souls, are repeated, the better the cause of error is served. The more publicity is given to the suggestions of Satan, the better pleased is his satanic majesty; for unsanctified hearts will be prepared to receive the chaff that he provides for them. We shall have to meet difficulties of this order even in the church. Men will make a world of an atom and an atom of a world.

Using God-Given Talents

Cannot we do more for the churches, that they may be aroused to act upon the light already given? God has appointed to every man his work. The lowliest as well as the mightiest have been endowed with influence that should tell on the Lord's side, and they should devote their talent to Him, each working in his appointed place of duty. The Lord expects everyone to do his best. When light shines into the heart,

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He expects our work to correspond with our light, to be in accordance with the measure of the fullness of Christ which we have received. The more we use our knowledge and exercise our powers, the more knowledge we shall have, the more power we shall acquire to do more and better work.

Our talents are not our own, they are the Lord's property with which we are to trade. We are responsible for the use or the abuse of the Lord's goods. God calls upon men to invest their entrusted talents, that when the Master cometh He may receive His own with usury. With His own blood Christ has purchased us as His servants. Shall we serve Him? Shall we now study to show ourselves approved unto God? Shall we show by our actions that we are stewards of His grace? Every effort put forth for the Master, prompted by a pure, sincere heart, will be a fragrant offering to Him.

We are walking in the sight of unseen intelligences. A witness is by our side constantly to see how we trade with the Lord's entrusted goods. When the good steward returns his talents with usury, he will claim nothing. He will realize that they are the talents that God delivered unto him, and will give glory to the Master. He knows that there would have been no gain without the deposit, no interest without the principal. He will say, "Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more." Let the church now consider whether they are putting out to usury the capital the Lord has given. Without the grace of Christ every soul would have been bankrupt for eternity; therefore we can rightfully claim nothing. But while we can claim nothing, yet when we are faithful stewards, the Lord rewards us as if the merit were all our own. He says, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful

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over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

How many will mourn for lost opportunities when it is eternally too late! Today we have talent and opportunity, but we know not how long these may be ours. Then let us work while it is day; for the night cometh, in which no man can work. "Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing."

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The reason so many fail to have success is that they trust in themselves altogether too much, and do not feel the positive necessity of abiding in Christ as they go forth to seek and save that which is lost. Until they have the mind of Christ and teach the truth as it is in Jesus, they will not accomplish much. I walk with trembling before God. I know not how to speak or trace with pen the large subject of the atoning sacrifice. I know not how to present subjects in the living power in which they stand before me. I tremble for fear lest I shall belittle the great plan of salvation by cheap words. I bow my soul in awe and reverence before God, and say, Who is sufficient for these things? How can I talk, how can I write to my brethren, so that they will catch the beams of light flashing from heaven? What shall I say?

The atmosphere of the church is so frigid, its spirit is of such an order, that men and women cannot

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sustain or endure the example of primitive and heaven-born piety. The warmth of their first love is frozen up, and unless they are watered over by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, their candlestick will be removed out of its place, except they repent and do their first works. The first works of the church were seen when the believers sought out friends, relatives, and acquaintances, and with hearts overflowing with love told the story of what Jesus was to them and what they were to Jesus. Oh, that the Lord would awaken those who are in responsible positions, lest they undertake to do work, relying upon their own smartness. The work that comes forth from their hands will lack the mold and superscription of Christ.

Perverting Power of Selfishness

Selfishness mars all that unconsecrated workers do. They have need to pray always, but they do not. They need to watch unto prayer. They have need to feel the sacredness of the work, but they do not feel this. They handle sacred things as they do common things. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, and until they can drink of the water of life, and Christ be in them as a well of water springing up unto everlasting life, they will refresh no one, bless no one; and except they repent, their candlestick will be removed out of its place. There is need of enduring patience, of invincible charity, of omnipotent faith in the work of saving souls. Self must not be prominent. Wisdom from Christ must be exercised in dealing with human minds.

Every worker who deals with souls successfully must come to the work divested of self. There can be no scolding or fretting, no arbitrary authority exercised, no putting forth of the finger and speaking vanity; but come to the work with hearts warmed

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with love for Jesus and for precious souls for whom He died. Those who are self-sufficient cannot conceal their weakness. They will come to the trial with overweening confidence in themselves, and make manifest the fact that Jesus is not with them. These self-sufficient souls are not few, and they have lessons to learn by hard experience of discomfiture and defeat. Few have the grace to welcome such an experience, and many backslide under the trial. They blame circumstances for their discomfiture, and think their talent is not appreciated by others. If they would humble themselves under the hand of God, He would teach them.

Essentials in Service

Those who do not learn every day in the school of Christ, who do not spend much time in earnest prayer, are not fit to handle the work of God in any of its branches; for if they do, human depravity will surely overcome them and they will lift up their souls unto vanity. Those who become co-workers with Jesus Christ, and who have spirituality to discern spiritual things, will feel their need of virtue and of wisdom from Heaven in handling His work. There are some who neither burn nor shine, yet are contented. They are in a wretchedly cold and indifferent condition, and a large number who know the truth manifestly neglect duty, for which the Lord will hold them accountable.

God has given us Jesus, and in Him is the revelation of God. Our Redeemer says: "If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him." "Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you,

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ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father." If we know God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, unspeakable gladness will come to the soul. Oh, how we need the divine presence! For the baptism of the Holy Spirit every worker should be breathing out his prayer to God. Companies should be gathered together to call upon God for special help, for heavenly wisdom, that the people of God may know how to plan and devise and execute the work.

Especially should men pray that the Lord will choose His agents, and baptize His missionaries with the Holy Spirit. For ten days the disciples prayed before the Pentecostal blessing came. It required all that time to bring them to an understanding of what it meant to offer effectual prayer, drawing nearer and nearer to God, confessing their sins, humbling their hearts before God, and by faith beholding Jesus, and becoming changed into His image. When the blessing did come, it filled all the place where they were assembled, and, endowed with power, they went forth to do effectual work for the Master.

Choosing Men for the Ministry

Altogether too light a matter is made of selecting men to do the sacred work committed to our hands. As a consequence of this carelessness, unconverted men are at work in missionary fields, who are full of passionate lusts, who are unthankful, who are unholy. Though some of them have been often reproved, they have not changed their course, and their lustful practices bring reproach upon the cause of God. What will be the fruit of such labor? Why do not all our workers remember that every word, good or evil, must be met again in the judgment? Every inspiration of the Holy Spirit leading men to goodness and to God

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is noted in the books of heaven, and the worker through whom the Lord has brought light will be commended in the day of God. If the workers realized the eternal responsibility that rests upon them, would they enter upon the work without a deep sense of its sacredness? Should we not expect to see the deep movings of the Spirit of God upon men who present themselves to enter the ministry?

The apostle says, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." Let every soul heed these words, and know that the Lord Jesus will accept of no compromise. In accepting and retaining workers who persist in retaining their imperfections of character, and do not give full proof of their ministry, the standard has been greatly lowered. There are many in responsible positions who do not heed the injunction of the apostle, but make provision for fulfilling the lust of the flesh. Unless the worker puts on the Lord Jesus Christ and finds in Him wisdom, sanctification, and redemption, how can he represent the religion of Jesus? All his efficiency, all his reward, is found in Christ. There must be evidence on the part of those who take the solemn position of shepherds that they have, without reservation, dedicated themselves to the work. They must take Christ as their personal Saviour. Why is it that those who have been long engaged in the ministry do not grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus? I have been shown that they gratify their selfish propensities and do only such things as agree with their tastes and ideas. They make provision for indulgence in pride and sensuality and carry out their selfish ambitions and plans. They are full of self-esteem. But although their evil propensities may seem to them as precious as the right hand or the right eye, they

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must be separated from the worker, or he cannot be acceptable before God. Hands are laid upon men to ordain them for the ministry before they are thoroughly examined as to their qualifications for the sacred work; but how much better would it be to make thorough work before accepting them as ministers, than to have to go through this rigid examination after they have become established in their position and have put their mold upon the work.

A Consecrated Life

The following quotation shows what true consecration will do, and this is what we should require of our workers:

"Harlan Page consecrated himself to God, with a determination to live and labor to promote the Lord's glory, in the salvation of the perishing. 'When I first obtained hope,' he said on his dying bed, 'I felt that I must labor for souls. I prayed year after year that God would make me the means of saving some.' His prayers were signally answered. Never did Page lose an opportunity of holding up the lamp to souls. By letters, by conversation, by tracts, by prayers, by appeals and warnings, as well as by a holy and earnest example, did he try to reclaim the wandering, or edify the believer. In factories, in schools, and elsewhere did this mechanic labor, and only the mighty power of grace can explain how one so humble could achieve so much. His life is a speaking comment on the words, 'God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are.' 'Our

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faith in eternal realities is weak,' he cried, 'and our sense of duty faint, while we neglect the salvation of our fellow beings. Let us awake to our duties, and while we have tongue or pen, devote them to the service of the Most High, not in our own strength, but with strong faith and firm confidence.'"

We have increased light. We have a solemn, weighty message to bear to the world, and God designs that His chosen disciples shall have a deep experience, and be endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit. "The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." This was a lesson that David never forgot, and in his dying testimony to Solomon he said, "And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off forever."

We are living in an important period of this earth's history; and with the light of truth shining upon us, we cannot now be excused for a moment in meeting a low standard. As co-workers with Christ, we are privileged to share with Christ in His suffering. We are to look at His life, study His character, and copy the pattern. What Christ was in His perfect humanity, we must be; for we must form characters for eternity.

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Just prior to His leaving His disciples for the heavenly courts, Jesus encouraged them with the promise of the Holy Spirit. This promise belongs as much to us as it did to them, and yet how rarely it is presented before the people, and its reception spoken of in the church. In consequence of this silence upon this most important theme, what promise do we know less about by its practical fulfillment than this rich promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit, whereby efficiency is to be given to all our spiritual labor? The promise of the Holy Spirit is casually brought into our discourses, is incidentally touched upon, and that is all. Prophecies have been dwelt upon, doctrines have been expounded; but that which is essential to the church in order that they may grow in spiritual strength and efficiency, in order that the preaching may carry conviction with it, and souls be converted to God, has been largely left out of ministerial effort. This subject has been set aside, as if some time in the future would be given to its consideration. Other blessings and privileges have been presented before the people until a desire has been awakened in the church for the attainment of the blessing promised of God; but the impression concerning the Holy Spirit has been that this gift is not for the church now, but that at some time in the future it would be necessary for the church to receive it.

All Other Blessings

This promised blessing, if claimed by faith, would

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bring all other blessings in its train, and it is to be given liberally to the people of God. Through the cunning devices of the enemy the minds of God's people seem to be incapable of comprehending and appropriating the promises of God. They seem to think that only the scantiest showers of grace are to fall upon the thirsty soul. The people of God have accustomed themselves to think that they must rely upon their own efforts, that little help is to be received from heaven; and the result is that they have little light to communicate to other souls who are dying in error and darkness. The church has long been contented with little of the blessing of God; they have not felt the need of reaching up to the exalted privileges purchased for them at infinite cost. Their spiritual strength has been feeble, their experience of a dwarfed and crippled character, and they are disqualified for the work the Lord would have them to do. They are not able to present the great and glorious truths of God's Holy Word that would convict and convert souls through the agency of the Holy Spirit. The power of God awaits their demand and reception. A harvest of joy will be reaped by those who sow the holy seeds of truth. "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."

The world have received the idea from the attitude of the church that God's people are indeed a joyless people, that the service of Christ is unattractive, that the blessing of God is bestowed at severe cost to the receivers. By dwelling upon our trials, and making much of difficulties, we misrepresent God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent; for the path to heaven is made unattractive by the gloom that gathers about the soul of the believer, and many turn in disappointment from the service of Christ. But are those who

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thus present Christ believers? No, for believers rely upon the divine promise, and the Holy Spirit is a comforter as well as a reprover.

The Christian must build all the foundation if he would build a strong, symmetrical character, if he would be well balanced in his religious experience. It is in this way that the man will be prepared to meet the demands of truth and righteousness as they are represented in the Bible; for he will be sustained and energized by the Holy Spirit of God. He who is a true Christian combines great tenderness of feeling with great firmness of purpose, with unswerving fidelity to God; he will in no case become the betrayer of sacred trusts. He who is endowed with the Holy Spirit has great capacities of heart and intellect, with strength of will and purpose that is unconquerable.

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My brethren, you are required by our Saviour to take heed how you witness for Him. You need to go deeper and still deeper in the study of the world. You have all classes of minds to meet, and as you teach the truths of the sacred word, you are to manifest earnestness, respect, and reverence. Weed out storytelling from your discourses, and preach the word. You will then have more sheaves to bring to the Master. Remember that in your audience there are those who are constantly harassed by temptation. Some are wrestling with doubt, almost in despair, almost hopeless. Ask God to help you to speak words that will strengthen them for the conflict.-- Review and Herald, December 22, 1904.