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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)

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    Ms 162, 1902

    Diary/The Ministry is Ordained of God


    December 11, 1902 [typed]

    Previously unpublished.

    The Lord will work with humble men who reveal that they are ever learning, ever under the control of the Holy Spirit. Such men are not of the class represented as “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” [2 Timothy 3:7.] True learners of Jesus Christ learn to a purpose, becoming more and more Christlike in word and action.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 1

    The great enemy of the church is determined to introduce among God’s people things that will create disunion and variance. The prayer for unity that Christ offered to His Father just before His suffering and death is given to impress every heart. Jesus will work with those who by earnest watchfulness and prayer are daily converted. God will surely hear the prayers of His people. He will not permit one of His praying children to be overcome by the enemy.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 2

    “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for naught; and ye shall be redeemed without money. For thus saith the Lord God, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. Now therefore, what have I here, saith the Lord, that My people is taken away for naught? They that rule over them make them to howl, saith the Lord; and My name continually every day is blasphemed. Therefore My people shall know My name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am He that doth speak: behold, it is I.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 3

    “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.” [Isaiah 52:1-8.]17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 4

    These words portray the happiness and overcoming grace revealed in families where unity and peace and love abide. The Lord is honored by these peaceful homes—symbols of the purity of our heavenly home.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 5

    When professing Christians are united as one—one with Christ in God—they are representatives of the Church of the Firstborn. Unity should ever be the element of preservation in the Christian church. Men and women are united in church capacity by a most solemn covenant with God to obey His Word and to unite in an effort to strengthen the faith of one another.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 6

    God deals with man in accordance with his faith. Those who, having united with the church, still feel at liberty to find fault with their brethren, are doing their own souls a great injury. Every time they work in this way, they place themselves on Satan’s side of the controversy, becoming channels through whom he communicates darkness, creating doubt and suspicion among God’s children. Satan has many, many men and women of opportunity. If they are members of God’s church, the enemy is better served than if they made no profession of Christianity. They may go through the outward form of worship, but in word and deed they reveal the spirit of Satan and, unless converted, will by his devices be led on and on to final ruin.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 7

    Unconverted church members may do the same things that Christians do with altogether a different spirit and different motives. The words and acts of a Christian are a savor of life unto life; the words and acts of a hypocritical church member are a savor of death unto death.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 8

    Contention in the church is always attended with a dearth of spirituality. The Lord cannot be glorified by a contentious church. “All ye are brethren.” [Matthew 23:8.] Cultivate the grace of God. Lift up your hearts in prayer to Him for His keeping power. Avoid all contention among yourselves. Use every means within your reach to restrain the unsanctified words that are ever upon the tongue—words that would cast a reflection upon others. Be true to one another. We are bought with a price; therefore in word and act we should glorify God.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 9

    When the members of God’s church see eye to eye, they will constantly guard the tongue, in order that they may not misuse the talent of speech. This talent is a precious gift. Let us study our words with care, and be a blessing to mankind by refusing to bring reproach upon one of our brethren by passing on to others some evil report that we may hear. If we speak evil of another, reproach will lie at our door. When we all love our neighbor as ourselves, idle, mischievous whisperings will cease. May the Lord by His converting power sanctify our talent of speech, that we may use it to His glory and in no wise to the injury of souls.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 10

    Every watchman on the walls of Zion is under sacred obligation to watch for souls as one that must give an account. Through God’s grace he can do a work that heaven shall approve, in laboring to keep the church in unity and peace. The work of a gospel teacher is to proclaim the truth. Let him remember that he is to publish peace, “endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” [Ephesians 4:3.]17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 11

    The church should respect the gospel ministry; for it is God’s appointed means of communicating His messages to the people. Let the church members sustain the ministers in their work as ambassadors for Christ. God’s ministers open to men and women the living Oracles of truth. Let no one venture to make a tirade on any minister; for it would be a tirade against Christ in the person of His messenger.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 12

    “The Lost Sheep of the House of Israel”17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 13

    When Jesus sent forth the twelve, He “commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” [Matthew 10:5, 6.]17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 14

    Christ instructed the disciples plainly not to go “into the way of the Gentiles” until they had first borne their testimony to the Jews. If the Jews refused to hear them, they were to go into new territory. The work before them was an important one. The time had come for the light of truth to be carried to the Jewish nation and to the whole world. But if those sent forth had at first worked among the Samaritans and the Gentiles, the doors of entrance to the Jews would have been closed.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 15

    Afterward, the disciples were commissioned to go into all the world, and teach all nations.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 16

    Christ Himself, in all His ministry, gave the Jewish nation the first opportunity to receive Him as the Saviour. Upon the Jews was bestowed the honor of first hearing from the lips of Christ His message of salvation. The Lord Jesus gave a special and very wonderful gospel to the Jews. He regarded them as lost sheep, which He, as their Shepherd, came to seek and to save, gathering them out from the bypaths and the highways of sin and error and bringing them back to his fold.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 17

    The work that the apostles were to do was clearly defined: “As you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves; for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. And when ye come into an house, salute it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.” [Verses 7-15.]17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 18

    Our Attitude Toward the Erring

    Instructing the twelve in regard to the opposition they would meet, Christ declared, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” [Verse 16.]17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 19

    Christ is represented in the person of the saints whom He sends forth to work for Him; therefore in opposing His representatives, man shows animosity to Him. This is just as verily the case when those who claim to have experience in the things of God pursue a course that hinders and afflicts one of the Lord’s servants by misrepresentations, misstatements, and false charges, exalting themselves as judges of that which has been represented to them and which they cannot understand.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 20

    Let all our people realize that it means much to them how they treat the Lord’s workers who, in some respects, do not do as they think they would do under similar circumstances. Let every one attend to his own work and not regard himself as appointed by the Lord to watch for something to criticize in the work that his brother does. If you think a fellow laborer is in any danger of doing wrong, go directly to him. If you listen to and pass on to others a reproach against one of the Lord’s servants, you will be called to an account for this by God. How much better it would be for you to speak to your brother personally and listen respectfully to his explanation of his course of action.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 21

    My brother, my sister, you are forbidden to make the mistakes of your fellow worker a subject of conversation. By speaking evil of another, you sow seeds of criticism and denunciation. How dare you do this? First go to the one that you think is in the wrong, and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he will hear you, and can make the matter plain to you, then you are not in danger of becoming guilty of the sin of tale-bearing. You yourself are the one that is helped, and you will be thankful that you have not spoken words of reproach against one of the Lord’s servants before you went to him, as the Lord has told you to do when you find your brother in a fault.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 22

    Christ gave His life to redeem perishing souls. Let us cast no one aside indifferently upon hearing an evil report concerning him. Christ has pointed out the course that we should pursue in such cases, and no man is at liberty to follow any other way. The reputation of men and women is held in high value by Him who knows the cost of the soul. The Redeemer has given instruction in regard to the manner in which church members should deal with one another when found in a fault. No one is sufficiently wise to improve upon God’s plan.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 23

    In the gospel commission we read: “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. 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.” [Matthew 28:18-20.]17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 24

    One of the commands which Christ has given is that which relates to our duty toward the erring. “If thy brother trespass against thee,” the Saviour declares, “go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” [Matthew 18:15-18.]17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 25

    This lesson should be studied by parents and taught to their children. Children should be instructed not to be eager to catch up unreliable reports from the lips of their associates. Christ has lifted the danger signal. Christians should teach their children to speak ill of no man, but to follow the instruction of Christ. Insinuations, corrupt words that defile the garments of one who is doing the Lord’s work, must be repented of and confessed. A leaf from the tree of life will heal the soul, making free the guilty, penitent one. No other method of healing has ever been devised.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 26

    Let every one be very careful about his words. “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” [Matthew 12:37.] To those who have educated themselves to speak unadvisedly I am instructed to say, Unless you cease encouraging the speaking of evil words in the home, the school, and the church; unless you guard as Christians should the reputation of your fellow workers, you are endangering your own souls and the souls of many others. No longer talk with one another in regard to the wrong things that some one else is doing. Never, never, repeat a scandal. Go to the one assailed, and ask him in regard to the matter. If he is guilty, the wrong can be righted then and there by confession and prayer. Not another soul needs to know the mistake.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 27

    To every man God has given his work, according to his several ability. God has not appointed any man to be the judge of any other man’s motives and work. He who feels at liberty to dissect the character of another, he who watches for evil, is a commandment-breaker as verily as if he should openly disregard the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. He who intentionally detracts from the influence that God has given to one of his fellow men is committing a sin. He is enlisting under the black banner of the prince of evil; he is joining the forces of the great accuser of the brethren. Whatever his calling and his profession, he will be treated as was the tree that bore no good fruit.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 28

    God has ordained that in the association of man with his fellow man there is to be mutual blessing. Christ has made this possible. To be a man in God’s sight, and recorded as such in the books of heaven, places man under a heavy weight of responsibility to glorify his Creator in this life, which he can do with excellent effect by loving God supremely and his neighbor as himself.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 29

    “Thou has left thy first love.”17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 30

    My brethren, I have been instructed that until your first work is done, as is plainly stated in the second chapter of Revelation, your council meetings will amount to naught. The message to the church at Ephesus is the message that God is sending to his church today:17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 31

    “These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.” [Verses 1-3.]17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 32

    After specifying their good works, Christ declares: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent.” [Verses 4, 5.] Something more than the mere admission of wrong is required. Genuine repentance must be manifested, and this will be shown when the proud in heart take upon themselves Christ’s yoke and heed His invitation, “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.” [Matthew 11:29, 30.]17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 33

    “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works”—the works of Christian love and fellowship. [Revelation 2:5.] Of Christians it is said, “In honor preferring one another.” [Romans 12:10.] It would be a blessing to every man to feel that he is exalted by cultivating the grace of humility. Man has nothing but that which he receives from his Creator. If he becomes puffed up with conceit, he cannot honor God. Without Christ, good works amount to nothing. Man may come to have so little love for Christ that he fails of comprehending the value that his Saviour places on the human soul. Many are performing good works without the savor that makes them of value in God’s estimation. The Lord is calling upon those who have lost their first love to repent and to engage heartily in the work of recovering the loss that they have sustained. “Repent,” He pleads, “and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Revelation 2:5.] The removal of the candlestick is always followed by a loss of spiritual perception in regard to God’s estimation of the value of man.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 34

    A deep spiritual revival should take place in the Church. The professed people of God should be aroused to a realization of the loss that they have suffered spiritually. Many, many have lost the love that gives value to good works. They must repent and do their first works, else they cannot be saved.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 35

    Let the ones who are so ready to criticize and condemn consider what they were before the Lord Jesus lighted the candle of love in their darkened souls. Those in whom this light is still burning, though feebly, are to look back to the rock from whence they were hewn. They should examine themselves often, to ascertain whether they be in Christ, and Christ in them—whether they are wearing His yoke, or a yoke that men have placed on their necks. Those who desire to keep humble must wear Christ’s yoke. Their traits of character will not then savor of the hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong that formerly made them unable to comprehend the necessity of cherishing the love of God.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 36

    How many will, with earnest solemnity, appropriate to themselves the admonition to “repent, and do the first works”? To every impenitent one who once cherished the love of God in his heart, the Lord is saying, “I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Verse 5.] God’s professed people are to be sifted as wheat is sifted from the chaff.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 37

    A Lesson From Christ’s Attitude Toward Judas

    Among the chosen disciples of Christ there was a representative of Satan. Judas was not a disciple at heart. Often he led the followers of Jesus to form opinions contrary to the teachings of the Master. He criticized Christ’s words and asked questions that led the thoughts of the disciples away from the subjects brought them. In every instance Christ counterworked this satanic work. It was because of the opposing influence of Judas in deceiving the disciples that Christ had to repeat so many of His lessons.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 38

    Judas did not come out boldly in opposition to Christ, and therefore he was able to deceive the other disciples. Christ knew that Judas was possessed of the demon of selfishness when He connected him with Himself as one of the twelve. He hoped that the lessons presented from day to day would bring conviction to the heart of Judas.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 39

    But Judas remained impenitent. Christ knew that this disciple would betray Him, yet He did not separate him from the other disciples and send him away. Jesus foresaw that if He were to dismiss Judas at the time when He was preparing the minds of the disciples for His death and ascension, Satan would use Judas to spread to the world reports difficult to meet and explain. The leaders of the17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 40

    Jewish nation were watching and searching for something that they could use to make of none effect the words of Christ. The Saviour knew that Judas, if dismissed, could so misconstrue and mystify His statements that the Jews would accept as true Judas’s version of His words, using it to bring terrible harm upon the other disciples and to leave upon the minds of Christ’s enemies the impression that the Jews were justified in their attitude toward Jesus and His followers.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 41

    If Christ had sent Judas away from His presence, the vilest scandal might have been reported for truth. After such an assertion by a former disciple, society would have been in a state of mind difficult to influence. Christ therefore kept Judas by His side, where He could counterwork every influence that might be brought to bear against His work.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 42

    All the way along in the history of the third angel’s message, there have been amongst us men who have done much harm to God’s cause. These men are spots in our feasts of charity; tares among the wheat; wolves among the sheep, ready to tear and devour. Every such an one will be rewarded “according to his works.” [Matthew 16:27.] God “hath appointed a day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness.” [Acts 17:31.] Then the separation will be made between the wheat and the tares. In that day it will be revealed that those who tear down and destroy the reputation of God’s servants are hypocrites. By their own lips they will bear a testimony that clears of suspicion those against whom they have reported evil. All the time they have known that they were dealing unjustly, cruelly injuring the reputation of their fellow man, simply because they delighted to create lies and to bear false witness against their neighbors.17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 43

    Had not Christ borne with Judas as He did, His followers would have been in great peril after His ascension. But men were afraid to lay hands on the disciples because of the fate of the betrayer of innocent blood. The enemies of Christ could not help but notice the terrible result of Judas’s traitorous act. A deep impression was made upon their minds by his final confession of guilt, when he “repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood.” Judas “cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” “Falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.” [Matthew 27:3-5; Acts 1:18.]17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 44

    All these developments, in addition to the scenes of the crucifixion and the resurrection, gave the disciples courage. The raising of Jesus from the dead and His ascension to heaven, as well as the horrible death of Judas, placed the disciples on vantage ground. If Christ had not borne with Judas until the end, the results of the betrayer’s course would not have been impressive enough to stay the hands of the persecutors, and the most terrible scenes would have been witnessed after Christ’s ascension. Instead of putting to death only Stephen, they would have made an effort to destroy all the apostles. But God worked by His Holy Spirit, and five thousand were converted in one day. Let God be true and every man a liar. Christ Jesus stands at the helm. “Lo,” He declares, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:20.]17LtMs, Ms 162, 1902, par. 45

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