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Life Sketches of Ellen G. White

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    The Lost Sheep

    The Lord is giving the erring, the weak and trembling, and even those who have apostatized from the truth, a special call to come fully into the fold. But many have not learned that they have a special duty to go and search for these lost sheep.LS 187.2

    The Pharisees murmured because Jesus received publicans and common sinners, and ate with them. In their self-righteousness they despised these poor sinners who gladly heard the words of Jesus. To rebuke this spirit in the scribes and Pharisees, and leave an impressive lesson for all, the Lord gave the parable of the lost sheep. Notice in particular the following points:LS 187.3

    The ninety and nine sheep are left, and diligent search is made for the one that is lost. The entire effort is made for the unfortunate sheep. So should the effort of the church be directed in behalf of those members who are straying from the fold of Christ. And have they wandered far away? do not wait till they return before you try to help them, but go in search of them.LS 187.4

    When the lost sheep was found, it was borne home with joy, and much rejoicing followed. This illustrates the blessed, joyful work of laboring for the erring. The church that engages successfully in this work, is a happy church. That man or that woman whose soul is drawn out in compassion and love for the erring, and who labors to bring them to the fold of the Great Shepherd, is engaged in a blessed work. And, oh, what a soul-enrapturing thought, that when one sinner is thus reclaimed, there is more joy in heaven than over ninety and nine just persons! Selfish, exclusive, exacting souls who seem to fear to help those in error, as though they would become polluted by so doing, do not taste of the sweets of this missionary work; they do not feel that blessedness which fills all heaven with rejoicing upon the rescue of one who has gone astray.LS 187.5

    That church or those persons who shut themselves away from bearing burdens for others, who shut themselves up to themselves, will soon suffer spiritual feebleness. It is labor that keeps the strong man strong. And spiritual labor, toil, and burden bearing, is what will give strength to the church of Christ.LS 188.1

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