Conducting Christian Warfare

Click to go to our Home Page


MR No. 1374 - Bear Witness to Christ Before the World; How to Conduct the Christian Warfare

     (Written from Norfolk Villa, Granville, N.S.W., to C. P. Bollman, no date, copied Oct. 20, 1895.)


     I have again read the letter which was sent to you, and I cannot find in it anything that needs to perplex you. We are not to be dependent on the world in a manner to compromise the truth; we are not to be bribed or to attain the world's favor by bowing to the laws of men and setting aside the law of God; we are not to be brought in bondage to the world; and yet we are in the world to live as long as God shall permit, and the Lord has given us a special work to do to save the world. He says, "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever" [Dan. 12:3]. {19MR 101.1}


     We may present pure doctrines, yet if our work is mingled with self, it depreciates the truth, so that our offering is pronounced by God "strange fire." It strengthens the prejudice of those who know not the truth; for they judge of our doctrines by the words and works of those who advocate them. If these are not such as to represent its sacredness and value, unbelievers are often led to turn from light and evidence. They may receive altogether wrong ideas, and misrepresent the truth to others because of the impressions that have been given them. {19MR 101.2}


     God has given us His holy Word, and His Word is to be presented in the grace of His Holy Spirit. When men permit their peculiar traits of character and their own unpurified spirit to misrepresent the pure and holy truths which God has committed to them, they cause the loss of many souls who might have been saved if the human agents had been meek, humble, and contrite of heart. It is only as one has learned of Jesus the precious lesson of preserving the fragrance of His character that the Spirit and Word are a savor of life unto life.{19MR 101.3}


     Jesus said in His last prayer for His disciples, "As thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world" [John 17:18]. We are to study and cherish the meekness of Christ; we are not to condemn the world, but to save the world by being the means of winning souls to Christ. The Saviour continues, "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth. . . . For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word" [John 17:15-17, 19, 20]. {19MR 102.1}


     Those who believe on Christ will bear testimony of the fact to the world. They will seek as Christ did, to save every human being, and not repulse any. They are to sanctify themselves through belief of the truth. They have that faith which works by love and purifies the soul from every spot and stain of sin. {19MR 102.2}


     The world is watching to see what manner of spirit is revealed by the men and women who claim to believe such strange doctrines. This message of truth must be so proclaimed by human lips, so represented by human character, that many by seeing our good works will glorify our Father in heaven. Your harsh speeches will not convince any soul. Christ has called us to sound the invitation, "Whosoever will, let him come." It depends very much upon how you give the invitation whether you are successful. {19MR 102.3}


     Will those who claim to believe the truth practice the principles of the truth which sanctifies the soul? In this, the closing period of the earth's history, let not men be careless in words or acts, let them not indulge a masterful spirit, and provoke the wrath of their enemies. Let not any soul who claims to believe the truth give others occasion to conclude that he is not a Christian, because he talks and acts like a sinner. {19MR 103.1}


     There are many who have never had the light. They are deceived by their teachers, and they have not received the mark of the beast. The Lord is working with them; He has not left them to their own ways. Until they shall be convicted of the truth, and trample upon the evidence given to enlighten them, the Lord will not withdraw His grace from them. Let all that hold the truth, hold it in righteousness. Let them, in words and actions, reveal what the truth is doing for these natural branches that are grafted into the olive tree. Let them at all times give evidence that they are partaking of the nourishment from the parent stock, and bear fruit exactly like that of the stock. The Spirit of Christ is our great need. {19MR 103.2}


     Let none who have received the truth cherish the spirit of the Pharisees, and make it appear prominent that they want nothing from the powers that be. God does not give any such burden. We may make a very hard time for ourselves, and bring reproach upon the cause of God, if we feel that we are doing God's service in following our own human impulse. We are not to put on the armor and battle to arouse the combative spirit of our enemies, and to provoke them to fight and to destroy. Our influence is to be of such a character that we shall not unnecessarily stir up angry feelings and arouse the enmity of those who do not believe as we do. We are bidden to be a savor of life unto life. Humanity costs too much to be treated as worthless. {19MR 103.3}


     We are not to withdraw from association with others; we cannot do this and be laborers together with God. The Lord does not desire any man to wrap himself up in Pharisaical robes, and say, "Stand apart from me: I want no favors from you." Christ says, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. . . . Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" [Matt. 5:14, 16]. {19MR 104.1}


     The inhumanity of man toward man is our greatest sin. God is yet present in our world to work through the children of men, and He would not have His people imitate the practices of the Jewish nation. They would not then be a wholesome, saving element in the world. Jesus says, "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted?" [Matt. 5:13] "Without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples. As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you: continue ye in My love" [John 15:5-9]. Now the condition, "If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love: even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you" [John 15:10-12].


This is the principle that needs to be cultivated. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you" [John 15:13, 14]. In submission to the principles of the law of God is our only safety. The world is in great need of salt, which Christian precept and practice can introduce into it. The world is following in the steps of the inhabitants of the Noachian world and of the Sodomites. Of the days of Noah it is written. "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" [Gen. 6:5]. And Jude says, "Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire" [Jude 7]. {19MR 105.1}


     Here is presented to us a state of things which has been, and history will be repeated. "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him" [Jude 14, 15]. Then Jude speaks, "But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. . . . But ye, beloved, building up yourselves," not with boastful words, and a masterful human spirit, but "on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life."


"And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh" [Jude 18, 17, 21-23]. Let those who claim to have great light and spiritual knowledge be careful that their garments are not defiled. "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever" [Jude 24, 25]. {19MR 106.1}


     Let this chapter be prayerfully and carefully considered. It is plain that aggressive warfare is to be maintained. "It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" [Jude 3]. Then, lest men should put on zeal of their own creating, born of their hereditary and cultivated traits of character, and count it true zeal for God, permitting Satan to get advantage of them in so doing, Jude presents the example of Christ. He says, "Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil He disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee" [Jude 9]. {19MR 106.2}


     These instructions are not at all contradictory, but are in perfect harmony. They enable us to see the truth, not on one side merely, but on all sides, as perfectly and harmoniously developed. All the entrusted qualifications of the human agent are to be yielded to divine influences, all are to be brought in subjection to Christ. Self is to be hid in Christ, and Christ in God. {19MR 106.3}


     The instruction given by Jude from verse twenty to the close of the chapter, will make our work a complete whole, teaching us how to conduct the warfare in the service of Christ. No one-sided extravagance is to be revealed, no indolence or shiftlessness is to be indulged. We are not to ignore any man's individuality, nor in any way to justify cold-hearted criticism or selfish practice. {19MR 106.4}


     This Scripture brings to view the fact that there is most earnest work to be done, and we need divine intuition that we may know how to work for souls ready to perish. There are souls to be plucked out of the fire; there are souls who are to be treated with the tenderest compassion. Workers are needed who have learned in the school of Christ His method of saving souls, and He has given us His way. {19MR 107.1}


     There is a wealth of instruction for us in Matthew 18. And let us give heed to the words of Paul to the Philippian brethren: "Let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them as evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake" [Phil. 1:27-29].--Letter 7, 1895.

Ellen G. White Estate Washington, D. C. May 12, 1988. Entire Letter. {19MR 107.2}


April 26, 1892 Christ's Instruction to His Followers.




By Mrs. E. G. White.




     Text.--"Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." Matt. 10: 16. {RH, April 26, 1892 par. 1}


     In the great work before us we are to cultivate those qualities of character that will make us persons of wisdom and discernment; and as we do this, we shall better understand the sacred nature of the cause in which we are engaged. Our characters must be of such a stamp that our association with the people will result in leading them to take a consistent course when they embrace the present truth. Those who labor for Christ should be men and women of great discretion, so that those who do not understand their doctrines may be led to respect them, and regard them as persons void of fanaticism, void of rashness and impetuosity. Their discourses and conduct and conversation should be of a nature that will lead men to the conclusion that these ministers are men of thought, of solidity of character, men who fear and love their heavenly Father. They should win the confidence of the people, so that those who listen to the preaching may know that the ministers have not come with some cunningly devised fable, but that their words are words of worth, a testimony that demands thought and attention. Let the people see you exalting Jesus, and hiding self. The sentiment of your heart should be, "He must increase, but I must decrease." Exalt his matchless power and grace, but let self be crucified, let self be hidden in Christ. {RH, April 26, 1892 par. 2}


     When perplexities crowd upon you, and the people oppose the truth, you are not to say indifferently or impatiently, "Well, there is no use, I can do them no good." Come to them in the Spirit of Christ, "in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;" for "the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient." You are to come to the people in sympathy, and be clothed with humility as with a garment. The Lord has set his people to be a light to others, and the grace of God should be seen in all your conversation and conduct. The spirit of kindness must characterize your dealings with all men. {RH, April 26, 1892 par. 3}


     You will be tempted to deal harshly with those who are reported to you as in error. Persons will come to you with accusations against this brother or that sister, and you may feel stirred with indignation, and feel that you must immediately set things in order, but you must remember that you are to be as wise as a serpent, as harmless as a dove. Those who are so ready to accuse their brethren might better be attending to their own defects of character instead of seeking to expose the failings of others. Do not let these reports move you to act in a hasty, unchristlike manner. Let God put his Spirit upon you, that you may not go according to human judgment, but be directed as God would have you go. Sit low at the feet of Jesus and learn of him how you are to deal with your brethren, and with the momentous truths that are committed to you to give to the world. {RH, April 26, 1892 par. 4}


     "Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." These words should have an influence on the minds of all those who profess the truth. The Lord has not sent us to criticise and condemn the world. Even Christ came not to condemn, but to redeem lost humanity. You have no right to find fault with those who do not believe as you do. You are not to criticise the minister who is sent to you, and say he is too liberal, or he is at fault in this or that, if he is preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. No matter what you may think, do not allow your tongue to utter condemnation of that which you do not understand. Do not sow the seed of unbelief and discord. Silence is eloquence, and we greatly need to learn this eloquence. When you hear your brethren speaking evil of others, tell them not to judge, not to condemn. Jesus says, "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?" Persons have criticised those who were digging deep in the mines of knowledge, and their criticism, if heeded, would crush out the very powers that God would have men develop and strengthen. This talking against others must be stopped among those who profess to be the children of God. {RH, April 26, 1892 par. 5}


     How much evil is done by unwise condemnation of others. O, whatever we do, let us not interpose ourselves between souls and God. How often has criticism of others, in the church or in the world, resulted in closing the door by which most precious truths might have found an entrance to hearts, and souls might have been converted to God. We need to humble ourselves at every step, and lift up the Man of Calvary, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Talk of the loveliness of the character of Christ. We are charged to be "holy in all manner of conversation." The Lord says, "Be ye holy; for I am holy." We must perfect a Christlike character, or we shall never enter into the kingdom of heaven. We are to have self hidden behind Jesus. We are to learn in his school meekness and lowliness of heart. All self-sufficiency must be put far from us. We are to come to a position before God where we can present the sacred, elevated truth in the demonstration of the Spirit and with power, so that there will be no savor of self about it. There is often such a mingling of self with the truth, that the hearers turn away in disgust. O, we must understand to a much greater extent the will and the way of God. {RH, April 26, 1892 par. 6}


     Jesus says, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves." But you need not meet the wolves in the same spirit that they themselves possess. You are to be "as harmless as doves." In meeting those who are fierce of spirit, you must manifest meekness and love, and the manifestation of this spirit will frequently change the spirit of the wolf, and a wonderful transformation will take place. "But beware of men." Do not open to men all your counsels. Do not put implicit confidence in those who know not God, and open to them the whole of the sacred treasure of the truth. "For they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues." This does not mean simply that you will be scourged in the synagogues with the tongue, as many of you are today in the pulpits of the land, but that men making high professions will treat you with violence. "And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles." The light is to be brought before kings and before the great men of the earth, although they may receive it in the same manner in which Pharaoh received the testimony of the servants of the Lord, and ask, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice?" {RH, April 26, 1892 par. 7}


     Kings, governors, and great men will hear of you through the reports of those who are at enmity with you, and your faith and character will be misrepresented before them. But those who are falsely accused will have an opportunity to appear in the presence of their accusers to answer for themselves. They will have the privilege of bringing the light before those who are called the great men of the earth, and if you have studied the Bible, if you are ready to give an answer to every man that asketh you of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear, your enemies will not be able to gainsay your wisdom. You now have an opportunity to attain to the greatest intellectual power through the study of the word of God. But if you are indolent, and fail to dig deep in the mines of truth, you will not be ready for the crisis that is soon to come upon us. O that you would realize that each moment is golden. If you will live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, you will not be found unprepared. If your work is wrought in God, and you will do as Christ has commanded you, your intellect will expand; for "the entrance of thy words giveth light." David exclaims, "O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts." {RH, April 26, 1892 par. 8}


     "But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you." You are now to get ready for the time of trial. Now you are to know whether your feet are planted on the eternal Rock. You must have an individual experience, and not depend upon others for your light. When you are brought to the test, how do you know that you will not be alone, with no earthly friend at your side? Will you then be able to realize that Christ is your support? Will you be able to recall the promise, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world?" There will be invisible ones all about you bent upon your destruction. Satan and his agents will seek in every way to make you waver from your steadfastness to God and his truth. But if you have an eye single to his glory, you need not take thought as to how you shall witness for his truth. "Take no thought how or what ye shall speak: . . . for it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you." How can the Spirit of God communicate with you? It is the Holy Spirit that is to bring to your remembrance whatsoever Jesus has said unto you. Are you now hearing the words of Christ? Does the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom? The reason that we do not know more of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is that men would be lifted up in self, and take the glory to themselves, if God should crown their efforts with success. O if you were hidden in Christ, if you were on the Rock of Ages, when you are brought before kings and great men, it would be evident that Jesus was at your side, and you would know just what answer to give, for the Spirit would give you what you should utter. Praise God for this promise!{RH, April 26, 1892 par. 9}


     The time is not far off when the people of God will be called upon to give their testimony before the rulers of the earth. Not one in twenty has a realization of what rapid strides we are making toward the great crisis in our history. The angels of God are holding the four winds, and this leads many to cry, Peace and safety; but there is no time for vanity, for trifling, for engaging the mind in unimportant matters. We must empty the soul temple of every defilement, and let the Spirit of God take full possession of the heart, that the character may be transformed.

                          (To be concluded) {RH, April 26, 1892 par. 10}