The Lord would have his people divested of everything unscriptural in regard to the ministry. The men called to the ministry should not be made idols of; they should not be looked upon with superstitious reverence; and because of the power vested in them through their office, sin in them should not lose its offensiveness. Their very office makes sin in them more exceedingly sinful; for in committing sin they make themselves the ministers of sin, the agents of Satan, through whom he can work with success to perpetuate sin.
All should bear in mind that Satan’s special efforts are directed against the ministry. He knows that it is but a human instrumentality, possessing no grace or holiness of its own. He knows that it is an agent that God has ordained to be a powerful means for the salvation of souls, and is efficacious only as God, the eternal Spirit, makes it so. He knows that the treasure of the gospel is in earthen vessels, that it is God’s power alone that can make them vessels of honor. They may cultivate the vineyard; a Paul may plant and an Apollos water; but God alone can give the increase.
God has never left his church without a witness. In all the scenes of trial and proving, of opposition and persecution amidst moral darkness, through which the church has passed, God has had men of opportunity who have been prepared to take up his work at different stages, and carry it forward and upward. Through patriarchs and prophets he revealed his truth to his people. Christ was the teacher of his ancient people as verily as he was when he came to the world clothed in the garments of humanity. Hiding his glory in human form, he often appeared to his people, and talked with them “face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” He, their invisible Leader, was enshrouded in the pillar of fire and of cloud, and spoke to his people through Moses. The voice of God was heard by the prophets whom he had appointed to a special work and to bear a special message. He sent them to repeat the same words over and over again. He had a message prepared for them that was not after the ways and will of men, and this he put in their mouths and had them proclaim. He assured them the Holy Spirit would give them language and utterance. He who knew the heart would give them words with which to reach the people.
The message might not please those to whom it was sent. They might not wish for anything new, but desire to go right on as they had been doing; but the Lord stirred them up with reproofs; he rebuked their course of action. He infused new life in those who were sleeping at their post of duty, who were not faithful sentinels. He showed them their responsibility, and that they would be held accountable for the safety of the people. They were watchmen who were not to sleep day nor night. They were to discern the enemy, and give the alarm to the people, that every one might be at his post, that the watching foe might not obtain the least advantage.
And today the Lord declares to his watchmen that if they are unfaithful, and do not warn the
people who are in peril, they will be taken away in their sins. “His blood,” he says, “will I require at thine hand.” But if his messengers lift up their voices in reproof and warning, to turn men from their wicked ways, and those souls who will not hear, then the watchman is clear; the offender against God will be taken in his sins; his blood will be upon his own soul.
These solemn matters are set before me in clear lines. God has appointed apostles, pastors, evangelists, and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith. God declares to his people, “Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” There must be a continual advancement. Step by step his followers must make straight paths for their feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way. Those who would labor for God must work intelligently to replenish the deficiencies in themselves and glorify the Lord God of Israel by standing in the light, working in the light of the Sun of Righteousness. Thus they will carry the church forward and upward and heavenward, making its separation from the world more and more distinct. As they assimilate their character to the Divine Pattern, men will not guard their own personal dignity. With jealous, sleepless, loving, devoted interest, they will guard the sacred interest of the church from the evil which threatens to dim and cloud the glory that God intends shall shine forth through her. They will see that Satan’s devices have no place or countenance in her by encouraging fault-finding, gossiping, evil-speaking, and accusing of the brethren; for those things would weaken and overthrow her.
There never will be a time in the history of the church when God’s worker can fold his hands and be at ease, saying, “All is peace and safety.” Then it is that sudden destruction cometh. Everything may move forward amid apparent prosperity; but Satan is wide awake, and is studying and counseling with his evil angels another mode of attack where he can be successful. The contest will wax more and more fierce on the part of Satan; for he is moved by a power from beneath. As the work of God’s people moves forward with sanctified, resistless energy, planting the standard of Christ’s righteousness in the church, moved by a power from the throne of God, the great controversy will wax stronger and stronger, and will become more and more determined. Mind will be arrayed against mind, plans against plans, principles of heavenly origin against principles of Satan. Truth in its varied phases will be in conflict with error in its ever-varying, increasing forms, and which, if possible, will deceive the very elect.
Our work must be an earnest one. We are not to fight as those that beat the air. The ministry, the pulpit, and the press demand men like Caleb, who will do and dare, men whose eyes are single to detect the truth from error, whose ears are consecrated to catch the words from the faithful Watcher. And the Spirit from the throne of God will make itself felt upon a degenerate Christianity, a corrupt world, ready to be consumed by the long-deferred judgments of an offended God.
There is danger now of men losing sight of the important truths applicable for this period of time, and seeking for those things that are new and strange and entrancing. Many, if reproved by the Spirit of God through his appointed agencies, refuse to receive correction, and a root of bitterness is planted in their hearts against the Lord’s servants who carry heavy, disagreeable burdens. There are men who teach the truth, but who are not perfecting their ways before God, who are trying to conceal their defections, and encourage an estrangement from God. They have not the moral courage to do the things that it is for their special benefit to do. They see no necessity for reform, and so they reject the words of the Lord, and hate him who reproveth at the gate.
This very refusal to heed the admonitions which the Lord sends, gives Satan every advantage to make of them the bitterest enemies of those who have told them the truth. They become falsifiers of those who have borne to them the message from the Lord.
The man who rejects the word of the Lord, who endeavors to establish his own way and will, tears to pieces the messenger and message which God sends in order to discover to him his sin. His own inclinations have influenced his conduct, and he has built himself up in a wrong way. The divine rule is, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” But he would not do this. As a man thinketh, so is he. From within, out of the heart, proceed evil thoughts inspired by Satan. He begins to quibble at technicalities and manners. The spirit of Satan links him up with the enemy to bear a word of criticism on less important themes. The truth becomes of less and still less value to him. He becomes an accuser of his brethren, etc., and changes leaders. The outside world has a greater weight with him than has the flood of light that God has poured in upon the world in messages that he has given, and which he once rejoiced in.
O, how many things have developed since he become so full of hatred against God, because his dangers and wrongs were brought before him! He has allowed wicked thoughts to strengthen and prevail because, day by day, he has not eaten of the flesh and drunk of the blood of the Son of God, because he has not become a partaker of the divine nature. The things which come from within defile the man. How corrupt then must be the source from which these evils have taken their rise!
Unsanctified ministers are arraying themselves against God. They are praising Christ and the god of this world in the same breath. While professedly they receive Christ, they embrace Barabbas, and by their actions say, “Not this man, but Barabbas.” Let all who read these lines, take heed. Satan has made his boast of what he can do. He thinks to dissolve the unity which Christ prayed might exist in his church. He says, “I will go forth and be a lying spirit to deceive those that I can, to criticize, and condemn, and falsify.” Let the son of deceit and false witness be entertained by a church that has had great light, great evidence, and that church will discard the message the Lord has sent, and receive the most unreasonable assertions and false suppositions and false theories. Satan laughs at their folly; for he knows what truth is.
Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan. If doubts and unbelief are cherished, the faithful ministers will be removed from the people who think they know so much. “If thou hadst known,” said Christ, “even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.”
Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure. The Lord knoweth them that are his. The sanctified minister must have no guile in his mouth. He must be open as the day, free from every taint of evil. A sanctified ministry and press will be a power in flashing the light of truth on this untoward generation. Light, brethren, more light we need. Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm in the holy mountain. Gather the host of the Lord, with sanctified hearts, to hear what the Lord will say unto his people; for he has increased light for all who will hear. Let them be armed and equipped, and come up to the battle,–to the help of the Lord against the mighty. God himself will work for Israel. Every lying tongue will be silenced. Angels’ hands will overthrow the deceptive schemes that are being formed. The bulwarks of Satan will never triumph. Victory will attend the third angel’s message. As the Captain of the Lord’s host tore down the walls of Jericho, so will the Lord’s commandment-keeping people triumph, and all opposing elements be defeated. Let no soul complain of the servants of God who have come to them with a heaven-sent message. Do not any longer pick flaws in them, saying, “They are too positive; they talk too strongly.” They may talk strongly; but is it not needed? God will make the ears of the hearers tingle if they will not heed his voice or his message. He will denounce those who resist the word of God.
Satan has laid every measure possible that nothing shall come among us as a people to reprove and rebuke us, and exhort us to put away our errors. But there is a people who will bear the ark of God. Some will go out from among us who will bear the ark no longer. But these can not make walls to obstruct the truth; for it will go onward and upward to the end. In the past God has raised up men, and he still has men of opportunity waiting, prepared to do his bidding,– men who will go through restrictions which are only as walls daubed with untempered mortar. When God puts his Spirit upon men, they will work. They will proclaim the word of the Lord; they will lift up their voice like a trumpet. The truth will not be diminished or lose its power in their hands. They will show the people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.
The conflict is to wax fiercer and fiercer. Satan will take the field and personate Christ. He will misrepresent, misapply, and pervert everything he possibly can, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Even in our day there has been and will continue to be entire families who have once rejoiced in the truth, but who will lose faith because of calumnies and falsehoods brought to them in regard to those whom they have loved and with whom they have had sweet counsel. They opened their hearts to the sowing of tares; the tares sprang up among the wheat; they strengthened; the crop of wheat became less and less; and the precious truth lost its power to them. For time a false zeal accompanied their new theories, which hardened their hearts against the advocates of truth as did the Jews against Christ.
Under the zeal of Satan, some have for a time the appearance of men in a flourishing condition; but it is only for a season. Satan carried them so far that they do despite to the Spirit of God. They spread themselves like a green bay tree. The Lord suffers them for a time. He allows them to manifest their envy and hatred against the people of God, as he has allowed Satan to develop his character, that he might stand before the heavenly universe, before the world unfallen, and the fallen world, in his true attributes, as a deceiver, an accuser of the brethren, a murderer at heart.
Many who now claim to believe the truth, but who have no anchor, will be bound up with Satan’s party. Those who have not worked on God’s side of the question will be left to prove a stumbling-block to those who have gained a living experience for themselves. Let every minister, in the place of standing to criticize and question, to doubt and oppose, if there is the semblance of a chance to do so, be now employed in erecting barriers against the wily foes. Rather than fight against those whom the Lord has sent to save these, let his people pray fervently and continually for the power of God’s grace, and that the Captain of the Lord’s Host will take the field. Rather than sit in judgment upon men whom God has accepted to do him service, let the burden of their prayer be, night and day, that the Lord may send forth more laborers into his vineyard. Ministers, do not dishonor your God and grieve his Holy Spirit, by casting reflections on the ways and manners of the men he would choose. God knows the character. He sees the temperament of the men he has chosen. He knows that none but earnest, firm, determined, strong-feeling men will view this work in its vital importance, and will put such firmness and decision into their testimonies that they will make a break against the barriers of Satan.
God gives men counsel and reproof for their good. He has sent his message, telling them what was needed for the time–1897. Did you accept the message? Did you heed the appeal? He gave you opportunity to come up armed and equipped to the help of the Lord. And having done all, he told you to stand. But did you make ready? Did you say, “Here am I; send me”? You sat still, and did nothing. You left the word of the Lord to fall unheeded to the ground; and now the Lord has taken men who were boys when you were standing at the foremost of the battle, and has given to them the message and the work which you did not take upon you. Will you be stumbling-blocks to them? Will you criticize? Will you say, “They are getting out of their place?” Yet you did not fill the place they are now called to fill.
O, why will men be hindrances, when they might be helps? Why will they block the wheels, when they might push with marked success? Why will they rob their own soul of good, and deprive others of blessing that might come through them? These rejecters of light will remain barren deserts, where no refreshing, healing waters flow, and their ministrations as barren of moisture as were the hills of Gilboa, where there was neither dew nor rain. They are not clothed with divine unction, and convey no blessing to others. They might humble their hearts and confess their wrongs, and break Satan’s hold upon them. They might break the fetters which education, prejudice, or habits have forged. Would they only inquire of God, in the spirit of penitence, they would find him. Then they would not set up their own will, but go where the Spirit of the Lord leads; they would be guided by him.
The purging and cleansing will surely pass through every church in our land that has had great opportunities and privileges, and has passed them by unheeded. More evidence is not what they want. They need pure and sanctified hearts to gather up and retain all the light that God has given, and then they will walk in that light.
We need not say, “The perils of the last days are soon to come upon us.” Already they have come. We need now the sword of the Lord to cut the very soul and marrow of fleshly lusts, appetites, and passions. May it pierce and divide in a far greater degree than it has ever yet done. May all the proud be cast down. May the carnally secure be drawn from the refuge of lies with which they have sought to deceive the people of God. May it cut away their self-righteousness, and open the eyes of the blind that they may see that they are not whole in the sight of God.
I address the people of God who today are holding fast their confidence, who will not depart from the faith once delivered unto the saints, who stand amid the moral darkness of these days of corruption. The word of the Lord to you is:
“I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people.” Can we not here see the paternal love of God expressed to those who hold fast to the faith in righteousness? The closest relationship exists between God and his people. Not only are we objects of his sparing mercy, his pardoning love; we are more than this. The Lord rejoices over his people. He delights in them. He is their surety. He will beautify all who are serving him with a whole heart, with the spirit of holiness. He clothes them with righteousness. He loves those who do his will, who express his image. All who are true and faithful are conformed to the image of his Son. In their mouth is found no guile, for they are without fault before the throne of God.1White, E.G. (1897). God’s Messengers. Special Testimony for Ministers and Workers, No. 11, pp. 2-12
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||White, E.G. (1897). God’s Messengers. Special Testimony for Ministers and Workers, No. 11, pp. 2-12|