of the Church
Jesus puts Himself in the place of His injured, oppressed children.
In His life Christ has given an example of how we should treat one another. He went about “doing good,” ministering to the suffering and teaching the ignorant. He did not come to this world to save the righteous; for there was none righteous. He came to save all who felt their need of a Saviour. For this end He worked untiringly, never thinking of Himself.
Christ labored unceasingly to save men from delusion. To this end His servants must work. God has given to every man a measure of light, and he is to let this light shine forth to others. No Christian lives to himself. He who is devoted to self-serving has not yet learned of the divine Teacher, though he may profess to be a Christian. It is one thing to passively assent to the truth, and another to apply the truth to the practical life. There are many hearers, but few doers.
God is measuring the temple and the worshipers therein. There are those who in the providence of God have been placed in positions where they have opportunity to do much good with the blessings they have received. Upon these He places the responsibility of ministering to those who have few blessings and little encouragement. “Freely ye have received,” He says; “freely give.” Human beings in their suffering are crying to God, and their prayers are just as surely ascending before Him as did the blood of Abel. God is not indifferent to the needs of His children, wherever they may be; and His angels are waiting to see what testimony they can carry to the courts above regarding the help which those who are highly privileged have given to these suffering ones.
God never forsakes His children. Jacob obtained his birthright by fraud, and then fled to escape his brother’s wrath. He knew that he had sinned. Sad and despondent, he lay down to sleep. But God had not forsaken him. That night he saw a ladder reaching from heaven to earth, the base of it planted firmly on the earth, and the topmost round reaching to the highest heaven. And continually angels of shining brightness ascended and descended this ladder. Jacob understood the meaning of this dream, and he said: “This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.”
There are in our Lord’s discourses numerous places where He speaks of being personally injured by an injustice done to His followers. He is affected by all that befalls them; for He has identified Himself with them. He is never an indifferent spectator of the doings of men. He puts Himself in the place of His injured, oppressed children. His soul throbs with compassionate pain as the members of His body suffer; for He is the great sympathetic nerve of the church. All the suffering of the members is felt by Him. At the last great day He says to the selfish, “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.”
In the “new commandment” Christ has laid down the rule we are to follow in dealing with our fellow-men. “A new commandment I give unto you,” He said, “That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” If we do not obey this command, we shall not glorify our Redeemer. It should be our ambition to excel in all that is noble and good and unselfish. Never should we do anything that will mar our representation of God’s character. We are to hold the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end. The friends of the truth are friends of one another. By the golden links of love they are bound with one another and with Christ. Each one is to labor earnestly for the highest good of his brother.
We need as never before to pray with heart and voice for the indwelling of the Spirit, that we may be used in God’s service. We are to unite with our fellow-workers in the upbuilding of God’s kingdom. We are never to be satisfied with present attainments, but are ever to press upward and onward, seeking greater fervency and purer zeal. Our greatest desire should be to be found faithful to the Master.
Do you wish your heart to overflow with the love of God? Then cultivate grateful thanksgiving for the unspeakable privilege of knowing the truth. Lose sight of self by beholding Christ. Then you will be changed from glory to glory into His image. Bridle your disposition. Then peace and contentment will fill your soul.
God desires His church to be firmly united in the bonds of Christian unity. The want of harmony is the result of the development of the root of bitterness. Unless every fiber of this is eradicated, many will be defiled.
James wrote to his brethren: “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.”
The spirituality of many is being killed by their selfishness. Many cherish a spirit of self-sufficiency, which leads them to treat harshly the purchase of Christ’s blood. Unless such are converted, they can never see the kingdom of heaven. God says: “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” “The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, . . . to the end He may stablish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
This article first appeared in the February 13, 1901, edition of theSigns of the Times, the oldest continuously published Adventist evangelistic magazine. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry.