God's Means for Diffusing Light

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God's Means for Diffusing Light

Review and Herald, March 24, 1891

By Mrs. Ellen G. White


      "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."  {RH, March 24, 1891 par. 1}


     I feel a deep interest in those who profess to be the children of God, that they may be the light of the world. If they respond to the requirements of God, there will be need of much greater watchfulness, much more untiring diligence. The responsibility of representing Christ to the world does not rest alone upon those who are ordained as ministers of the gospel. Each member of the church should be a living epistle, known and read of all men. A working church will be a living church. Those who are elected as elders and deacons should ever be on the alert that plans may be made and executed which will give every member of the church a share in active work for the salvation of souls. This is the only way in which the church can be preserved in a healthy, thriving condition.  {RH, March 24, 1891 par. 2}


     How earnestly we should search the word of God; for it is our only safe guide, our only safeguard. The gospel of God is able to make us wise unto salvation. It is not incomprehensible, and placed above us, but its plain, inspired utterances can simplify the perplexing problems of this life, and enlighten each single-hearted believer with the bright beams of heavenly wisdom. As so great a reward attends the earnest searching of the word of God, should we not with more painstaking effort seek to enter into God's plans, and strive to fulfill his designs in diffusing the light of truth? Paul writes to Timothy, "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." This is God's plan for diffusing light. Those who are called to preach the gospel, are not simply to be preachers, but they are to be teachers, to be educators. They are to look deeper than the surface, they are to realize the responsibility which rests upon them as instruments through which God would accomplish his great designs in the salvation of the lost. The servants of God have a most solemn work to do, and they should seek to comprehend the conditions upon which they are accepted to serve a crucified Redeemer.  {RH, March 24, 1891 par. 3}


     We are nearing the close of this world's history, and it is essential that every laborer in the cause of God should closely examine his heart, and strive to understand the importance of the work to which he is called. The servant of God should ever seek for higher and higher attainments, both intellectual and moral. The laborers together with God may occupy positions of influence, if God is their dependence and support. They cannot afford to be indolent, for the result will be manifest in the defects and deformity of their character, and they will leave the baleful stamp of their deficient character upon those with whom they associate. God has made it possible for his children to grow to the full stature of men and women in Christ; none need be dwarfed.  {RH, March 24, 1891 par. 4}


     If the minister is growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus, he will be able to devise plans for the advancement of the work of God, and will bring every member of the church into that place of responsibility for which he is best fitted. Young men and women should be educated for service in the cause of God. The Lord chooses the young because they are strong in body and vigorous in mind; and if the youth are rightly instructed, they will be earnest workers for the Master. God will be the counselor of the young if they put their trust in him; he will accept them, and exalt them to be co-laborers with himself, if they will yield themselves in submission to his will.  {RH, March 24, 1891 par. 5}


     A great mistake has been committed in permitting the youth to drift hither and thither with no purpose in life but that of self-gratification, when they should have been interested in the service of Christ. The young place themselves in the way of temptation, because they desire to follow inclination, and those who have had experience do not take hold of them in the right way; they do not, in pitying love, in Christ-like tenderness, seek to show them their danger. The members of the church should not be content to rest until the feet of the young are directed into the path that leads to eternal life. Let those who have the love of Christ in their hearts, who have heavenly wisdom, make it their special business to see that the youth are brought under a saving influence. Let the youth be drawn to him who died for them; let them be invited into the service of the Master.  {RH, March 24, 1891 par. 6}


    Very much has been lost to the cause of God because of inattention to the young. Ministers of the gospel should form a happy acquaintance with the youth of their congregations. There is a great reluctance on the part of many to become acquainted with the youth, but it is accounted of Heaven a neglect of duty, a sin against souls for whom Christ died. The youth are objects of Satan's special attacks; and the manifestation of kindness, courtesy, tender sympathy, and love, will often work the salvation of those who are under the temptations of the evil one. The love of Jesus will win you an entrance into the hearts of the young; and when you have obtained the confidence of the youth, they will listen to your words and take your counsel. You should bind them to your heart by the cords of love, and then instruct them how to labor in the cause of God. The youth may labor for their young companions in a quiet, unpretending way. This branch of God's work must not be neglected. Our churches are not doing what they might do for the youth. There seems to be no burden for souls for whom Christ died. Why should this labor for the youth in our borders not be thought the highest of missionary work? Why do the ministers leave the young without endeavoring to win them to Christ? Why do they not urge the young to give their hearts to God? This work will require the most delicate tact, the most thoughtful consideration, the most earnest prayer that heavenly wisdom may be imparted; for connected with the church are those who are not ignorant of our faith, yet whose hearts have never been touched by the power of divine grace. Can we who claim to love God pass on day after day, and week after week, indifferent to those who are out of Christ? If they should die in their sins, unwarned, their blood would be required at the unfaithful watchman's hands. Why is it that personal efforts are not put forth that they may be drawn to Christ by the strong cords of love? There is work for each and all to do, and will any one shrink from sacred responsibility? Shall souls be left to perish because of your unfaithfulness? Jesus has said, "Ye are the light of the world." "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven." Let your light shine in clear, steady rays, that you may represent Him who has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.  {RH, March 24, 1891 par. 7}


     The church has been appointed as the medium through which divine light is to shine into the moral darkness of this world, and the peace-giving beams of the Sun of righteousness fall upon the hearts of men. Personal labor with individuals and with families constitutes a part of the work to be done in God's moral vineyard. The meekness, the patience, the forbearance, the love of Christ must be revealed in the homes of the land. The church must arise and shine. Radiant with the spirit and power of the truth, the people of God must go forth to a world lying in darkness, to make manifest the light of the glory of God. God has given to men noble powers of mind to be employed to his honor; and in the missionary work these powers of mind are called into active exercise. Wise improvement and development of the gifts of God will be seen in his servants. Day by day there will be growth in the knowledge of Christ. He who once spake as never man spake, who wore the garb of humanity, is still the Great Teacher. As you follow in his footsteps, seeking the lost, angels will draw near, and through the illumination of the Spirit of God, greater knowledge will be obtained as to the best ways and means for accomplishing the work committed to your hands.  {RH, March 24, 1891 par. 8}


     While Christ would lead his servants out into the highways, into the homes of men, to seek and save the lost, Satan is employing his agents to lead souls to ruin. His most effective agents for this work are those whose names are on the church records, but fail of a record in "the Lamb's book of life." There are many who are blind leaders of the blind, and leaders and those who are led will come to destruction at last. Satan is ever on the alert that he may lead men into idolatry, that those who profess to love Christ may bow down to rivals of the Lord of heaven. The success which Satan has achieved in leading the religious world into idolatry, has made him bold, and much of what the world calls, "advanced thought" is simply progress into error and darkness.  {RH, March 24, 1891 par. 9}


    In order that we may meet the ranks of the adversary with success, there is earnest work to be done. We must study the word of God, we must pray in secret, we must assemble and agree as to the explicit things that we would have God do for us and for his cause. We must counsel together, and open every plan to those with whom we are connected, that every method may be critically examined, and the very best chosen. We should pray that God will direct in all our plans, that no mistake may be made. There should be a decided advance seen in our work; growing efficiency should be manifested in every department. We now see more doors open for usefulness than we can find laborers to enter; for many to whom God has intrusted ability do not employ the means within their reach for the improvement of their talents.  {RH, March 24, 1891 par. 10}


     Those who should have been the light of the world have shed forth but feeble and sickly beams. What is light?--It is piety, goodness, truth, mercy, love; it is the revealing of the truth in the character and life. The gospel is dependent on the personal piety of its believers for its aggressive power, and God has made provision through the death of his beloved Son, that every soul may be thoroughly furnished unto every good work. Every soul is to be a bright and shining light, showing forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. "Ye are laborers together with God," yes, laborers; that means doing earnest service in the vineyard of the Lord. There are souls to be saved,--souls in our churches, in our Sabbath-schools, and in our neighborhoods.  {RH, March 24, 1891 par. 11}


     We do not so much need the grand church edifice, the worshipers adorned in costly array to harmonize with the church; this will not move one soul toward the kingdom of heaven. Display will not awaken the tender sympathies whereby soul meets soul. We need faith, obedience, genuine love for God and for humanity. This alone will exert the heaven-born influence that will move the hearts of men. There are moral icebergs in our churches. There are plenty of formalists who can make an imposing display, but cannot shine as lights in the world. God looks with pitying tenderness upon a church whose worshipers, although poor and ignorant, are sincere. They may be scorned and neglected by the world, but they are beloved of God. The glory of the church of God is in the piety of its members; for there is the hiding of Christ's power. The influence of the sincere children of God may be esteemed as of little worth, but it will be felt throughout time, and rightly revealed in the day of reward. The light of a true Christian, shining forth in steadfast piety, in unwavering faith, will prove to the world the power of a living Saviour. In his followers Christ will be revealed as a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. Although scarcely known to the world, they are acknowledged as God's peculiar people, his chosen vessels of salvation, his channels whereby light is to come to the world.  {RH, March 24, 1891 par. 12}