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Gospel Workers (1915 ed.)

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    Houses of Worship

    When an interest is aroused in any town or city, that interest should be followed up. The place should be thoroughly worked, until a humble house of worship stands as a sign, a memorial of God's Sabbath, a light amid the moral darkness. These memorials are to stand in many places as witnesses to the truth. God in His mercy has provided that the messengers of the gospel shall go to all countries, tongues, and peoples, until the standard of truth shall be established in all parts of the inhabited world.GW 430.3

    *****

    Wherever a company of believers is raised up, a house of worship should be built. Let not the workers leave the place without accomplishing this.GW 431.1

    In many places where the message has been preached, those who have accepted it are in limited circumstances, and can do but little toward securing advantages that would give character to the work. Often this renders it difficult to extend the work. As persons become interested in the truth, they are told by the ministers of other churches,—and these words are echoed by the church-members,—“These people have no church, and you have no place of worship. You are a small company, poor and unlearned. In a short time the ministers will go away, and then the interest will die down. Then you will give up all these new ideas which you have received.” Can we suppose that this will not bring strong temptation to those who see the reasons of our faith and are convicted by the Spirit of God in regard to present truth?GW 431.2

    It has to be often repeated, that from a small beginning large interests may grow. If wisdom and sanctified judgment and skilful generalship are manifested by us in building up the interests of our Redeemer's kingdom, we shall do all in our power to assure the people of the stability of our work. Humble sanctuaries will be erected, where those who accept the truth may find a place to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience.GW 432.1

    *****

    Whenever it is possible, let our church buildings be dedicated to God free of debt. When a church is raised up, let the members arise and build. Under the direction of a minister who is guided by the advice of his fellow-ministers, let the newly converted ones work with their own hands, saying, “We need a meeting-house, and we must have it.” God calls upon His people to make cheerful, united efforts in His cause. Let this be done, and soon will be heard the voice of thanksgiving, “See what the Lord hath wrought!”GW 432.2

    There are some cases, however, in which a young church may not be able at once to bear the whole burden of erecting a house of worship. In these cases let the brethren in other churches help them. In some cases it may be better to hire some money than not to build. If a man has money, and, after giving what he can, will make a loan, either without interest or at a low rate, it would be right to use the money until the indebtedness can be lifted. But I repeat, If possible, church buildings should be dedicated free of debt.GW 432.3

    In our churches the pews should not be rented. The wealthy are not to be honored above the poor. Let no distinction be made. “All ye are brethren.” [Matthew 23:8.]GW 432.4

    In none of our buildings should we seek to make a display, for this would not advance the work. Our economy should testify to our principles. We should employ methods of work that are not transient. Everything should be done solidlyGW 433.1

    *****

    The lax way which some churches have of incurring debts and keeping in debt, was presented before me. In some cases a continual debt is upon the house of God. There is a continual interest to be paid. These things should not and need not be. If there is that wisdom and tact and zeal manifested for the Master which God requires, there will be a change in these things. The debts will be lifted. God calls for offerings from those who can give, and even the poorer members can do their little. Self-denial will enable all to do something. Both old and young, parents and children, are to show their faith by their works. Let the necessity that each act a part be most strenuously impressed upon the members of the church. Let every one do his best. When there is a will to do, God will open the way. He does not design that His cause shall be trammeled with debt.GW 433.2

    God calls for self-sacrifice. This will bring not only financial but spiritual prosperity. Self-denial and self-sacrifice will work wonders in advancing the spirituality of the churchGW 433.3

    *****

    The test question for every Christian to ask himself is, “Have I, in my inmost soul, supreme love for Christ? Do I love His tabernacle? Will not the Lord be honored by my making His sacred institution my first consideration? Is my love for God and my Redeemer strong enough to lead me to deny self? When tempted to indulge in pleasure and selfish enjoyment, shall I not say, No, I will spend nothing for my own gratification while the house of God is burdened with debt?”GW 433.4

    Our Redeemer claims far more than we give Him. Self interposes its desire to be first; but the Lord claims the whole heart, the entire affections. He will not come in as second. And should not Christ have our first and highest consideration? Should He not demand this token of our respect and loyalty? These things underlie our very heart-life, in the home circle and in the church. If the heart, the soul, the strength, the life, is surrendered wholly to God, if the affections are given wholly to Him, we shall make Him supreme in all our service. When we are in harmony with God, the thought of His honor and glory comes before everything else. No person is preferred before Him in our gifts and offerings. We have a sense of what it means to be partners with Christ in the sacred firm.GW 434.1

    The house where God meets with His people will be dear and sacred to every one of His loyal children. It will not be left crippled with debt. To allow such a thing would appear almost like a denial of your faith. You will be ready to make a great personal sacrifice if only you may have a house free from debt, where God can meet with and bless His people.GW 434.2

    Every debt upon every house of worship among us may be paid if the members of the church will plan wisely and put forth earnest, zealous effort to cancel the debt. And in every case where a debt is lifted, let there be a service of thanksgiving, which shall be as a re-dedication to God of His house.—Testimonies for the Church 6:100-104.GW 434.3

    *****

    The need for a meeting-house where there is a newly formed company of believers, has been presented before me in a panoramic view. I saw workmen building humble houses of worship. Those newly come to the faith were helping with willing hands, and those who had means were assisting with their means. In the basement of the church, above ground, a schoolroom was prepared for the children, and a teacher was sent there to take charge. The numbers in the school were not large, but it was a happy beginning. I heard the songs of children and of parents: “Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that built it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” “Praise ye the Lord. Praise the Lord, O my soul. While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” [Psalm 127:1; 146:1, 2.]GW 435.1

    The establishment of churches, the erection of meeting-houses and school-buildings, was extended from city to city, and the tithe was increasing to carry forward the work. Plants were made not only in one place, but in many places, and the Lord was working to increase His forces.GW 435.2

    *****

    In this work all classes will be reached. When the Holy Spirit works among us, souls who are unready for Christ's appearing are convicted. Many come to our meetings and are converted who for years have not attended meetings in any church. The simplicity of the truth reaches their hearts. The tobacco devotees sacrifice their idol, and the liquor drinker his liquor. They could not do this if they did not by faith grasp the promises of God for the forgiveness of their sins.GW 435.3

    The truth as it is in the Word comes before high and low, rich and poor, and those who receive the message become workers with us and with God, and a strong force is raised up to labor harmoniously. This is our work. It is not to be neglected in any of our camp-meeting labor. It is a part of every gospel mission. Instead of setting every talent to work for the lowest outcasts, we should seek in every place to raise up a company of believers who will unite with us in uplifting the standard of truth, and working for rich and poor. Then as churches are established, there will be an increase of helpers to labor for the destitute and the outcast.—General Conference Bulletin, March, 1899.GW 436.1

    *****

    Many not of our faith are longing for the very help that Christians are in duty bound to give. If God's people would show a genuine interest in their neighbors, many would be reached by the special truths for this time. Nothing will or ever can give character to the work like helping people just where they are.—Testimonies for the Church 6:280.GW 436.2

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