Chapter 1—God's Call to Service
Depending on Human Agents
A distinct work is assigned to every Christian.—The Southern Watchman, August 2, 1904 (The Review and Herald, July 30, 1901).
God requires everyone to be a worker in His vineyard. You are to take up the work that has been placed in your charge, and to do it faithfully.—The Bible Echo, June 10, 1901 (The Review and Herald, May 1, 1888).
Were every one of you a living missionary, the message for this time would speedily be proclaimed in all countries, to every people and nation and tongue.—Testimonies for the Church 6:438.
Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary. He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.—The Desire of Ages, 195.
God expects personal service from everyone to whom He has intrusted a knowledge of the truth for this time. Not all can go as missionaries to foreign lands, but all can be home missionaries in their families and neighborhoods.—Testimonies for the Church 9:30.
Christ was standing only a few steps from the heavenly throne when He gave His commission to His disciples. Including as missionaries all who should believe on His name, He said, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” God's power was to go with them.—The Southern Watchman, September 20, 1904 (The Review and Herald, October 6, 1896).
To save souls should be the life work of everyone who professes Christ. We are debtors to the world for the grace given us of God, for the light which has shone upon us, and for the discovered beauty and power of the truth.—Testimonies for the Church 4:53.
Everywhere there is a tendency to substitute the work of organizations for individual effort. Human wisdom tends to consolidation, to centralization, to the building up of great churches and institutions. Multitudes leave to institutions and organizations the work of benevolence; they excuse themselves from contact with the world, and their hearts grow cold. They become self-absorbed and unimpressible. Love for God and man dies out of the soul. Christ commits to His followers an individual work,—a work that cannot be done by proxy. Ministry to the sick and the poor, the giving of the gospel to the lost, is not to be left to committees or organized charities. Individual responsibility, individual effort, personal sacrifice, is the requirement of the gospel.—The Ministry of Healing, 147.
Everyone who has received the divine illumination is to brighten the pathway of those who know not the Light of life.—The Desire of Ages, 152.
To everyone work has been allotted, and no one can be a substitute for another. Each one has a mission of wonderful importance, which he cannot neglect or ignore, as the fulfilment of it involves the weal of some soul, and the neglect of it the woe of one for whom Christ died.—The Review and Herald, December 12, 1893.
We should all be workers together with God. No idlers are acknowledged as His servants. The members of the church should individually feel that the life and prosperity of the church are affected by their course of action.—The Review and Herald, February 15, 1887.
Every soul whom Christ has rescued is called to work in His name for the saving of the lost. This work had been neglected in Israel. Is it not neglected today by those who profess to be Christ's followers?—Christ's Object Lessons, 191.
There is something for everyone to do. Every soul that believes the truth is to stand in his lot and place, saying, “Here am I; send me.” Isaiah 6:8.—Testimonies for the Church 6:49.
It is the privilege of every Christian, not only to look for, but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.—Christ's Object Lessons, 69.
He who becomes a child of God should henceforth look upon himself as a link in the chain let down to save the world, one with Christ in His plan of mercy, going forth with Him to seek and save the lost.—The Ministry of Healing, 105.
All may find something to do. None need feel that there is no place where they can labor for Christ. The Saviour identifies Himself with every child of humanity.—The Ministry of Healing, 104.
Those who have united with the Lord in the covenant of service are under bonds to unite with Him in the great, grand work of soul saving.—Testimonies for the Church 7:19.
So vast is the field, so comprehensive the design, that every sanctified heart will be pressed into service as an instrument of divine power.—Testimonies for the Church 9:47.
Men are instruments in the hand of God, employed by Him to accomplish His purposes of grace and mercy. Each has his part to act; to each is granted a measure of light, adapted to the necessities of his time and sufficient to enable him to perform the work which God has given him to do.—The Great Controversy, 343.
Long has God waited for the spirit of service to take possession of the whole church, so that everyone shall be working for Him according to his ability.—The Acts of the Apostles, 111.
When He sent forth the twelve and afterward the seventy, to proclaim the kingdom of God, He was teaching them their duty to impart to others what He had made known to them. In all His work, He was training them for individual labor, to be extended as their numbers increased, and eventually to reach to the uttermost parts of the earth.—The Acts of the Apostles, 32.
Not upon the ordained minister only, rests the responsibility of going forth to fulfil this commission. Everyone who has received Christ is called to work for the salvation of his fellow men.—The Acts of the Apostles, 110.
The real character of the church is measured, not by the high profession she makes, not by the names enrolled upon the church book, but by what she is actually doing for the Master, by the number of her persevering, faithful workers. Personal interest and vigilant, individual effort will accomplish more for the cause of Christ than can be wrought by sermons or creeds.—The Review and Herald, September 6, 1881.
Wherever a church is established, all the members should engage actively in missionary work. They should visit every family in the neighborhood, and know their spiritual condition.—Testimonies for the Church 6:296.
The members of the church are not all called to labor in foreign lands, but all have a part to act in the great work of giving light to the world. The gospel of Christ is aggressive and diffusive. In the day of God not one will be excused for having been shut up to his own selfish interests. There is work for every mind and for every hand. There is a variety of work, adapted to different minds and varied capabilities.—Historical Sketches, 290, 291.
He has intrusted you with sacred truth; Christ abiding in the individual members of the church is a well of water springing up into everlasting life. You are guilty before God if you do not make every effort possible to dispense this living water to others.—Historical Sketches, 291.
We are not, as Christians, doing one-twentieth part that we might do in winning souls to Christ. There is a world to be warned, and every sincere Christian will be a guide and an example to others in faithfulness, in cross-bearing, in prompt and vigorous action, in unswerving fidelity to the cause of truth, and sacrifices and labors to promote the cause of God.—The Review and Herald, August 23, 1881.
So far as his opportunities extend, everyone who has received the light of truth is under the same responsibility as was the prophet of Israel to whom came the word: “Son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Me.”—Testimonies for the Church 9:19, 20.
To everyone who becomes a partaker of His grace, the Lord appoints a work for others. Individually we are to stand in our lot and place, saying, “Here I am; send me.” Upon the minister of the word, the missionary nurse, the Christian physician, the individual Christian, whether he be merchant or farmer, professional man or mechanic,—the responsibility rests upon all. It is our work to reveal to men the gospel of their salvation. Every enterprise in which we engage should be a means to this end.—The Ministry of Healing, 148.
When the master of the house called his servants, he gave to every man his work. The whole family of God are included in the responsibility of using their Lord's goods. Every individual, from the lowest and most obscure to the greatest and most exalted, is a moral agent endowed with abilities for which he is accountable to God.—The Bible Echo, June 10, 1901 (The Review and Herald, May 1, 1888).
Combined Christian Forces
Brethren and sisters in the faith, does the question arise in your hearts, “Am I my brother's keeper?” If you claim to be children of God, you are your brother's keeper. The Lord holds the church responsible for the souls of those whom they might be the means of saving.—Historical Sketches, 291.
The Saviour has given His precious life in order to establish a church capable of ministering to the suffering, the sorrowful, and the tempted. A company of believers may be poor, uneducated, and unknown; yet in Christ they may do a work in the home, in the community, and even in the “regions beyond,” whose results shall be as far-reaching as eternity.—The Ministry of Healing, 106.
Enfeebled and defective as it may appear, the church is the one object upon which God bestows in a special sense His supreme regard. It is the theater of His grace,
in which He delights to reveal His power to transform hearts.—The Acts of the Apostles, 12.
Someone must fulfil the commission of Christ; someone must carry on the work which He began to do on earth; and the church has been given this privilege. For this purpose it has been organized. Why, then, have not church members accepted the responsibility?—Testimonies for the Church 6:295.
He calls upon the church to take up their appointed duty, holding up the standard of true reform in their own territory, leaving the trained and experienced workers to press on into new fields.—Testimonies for the Church 6:292.
The Thessalonian believers were true missionaries.... Hearts were won by the truths presented, and souls were added to the number of believers.—The Acts of the Apostles, 256.
It was at the ordination of the twelve that the first step was taken in the organization of the church that after Christ's departure was to carry on His work on the earth.—The Acts of the Apostles, 18.
God's church is the court of holy life, filled with varied gifts, and endowed with the Holy Spirit. The members are to find their happiness in the happiness of those whom they help and bless. Wonderful is the work which the Lord designs to accomplish through His church, that His name may be glorified.—The Acts of the Apostles, 12, 13.
Our work is plainly laid down in the Word of God. Christian is to be united to Christian, church to church, the human instrumentality co-operating with the divine, every agency to be subordinated to the Holy Spirit, and all to be combined in giving to the world the good tidings of the grace of God.—The General Conference Daily Bulletin, February 28, 1893, p. 421.
Our churches are to co-operate in the work of spiritual tilling, with the hope of reaping by and by.... The soil is stubborn, but the fallow ground must be broken up, the seeds of righteousness must be sown. Pause not, teachers beloved by God, as though doubtful whether to prosecute
a labor which will grow as performed.—Testimonies for the Church 6:420.
The church is God's appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. From the beginning it has been God's plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fulness and His sufficiency. The members of the church, those whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory.—The Acts of the Apostles, 9.
Let no church think it is too small to exert an influence and do service in the great work for this time.
Go to work, brethren. It is not alone the large camp meetings or conventions and councils that will have the especial favor of God; the humblest effort of unselfish love will be crowned with His blessings, and receive its great reward. Do what you can, and God will increase your ability.—The Review and Herald, March 13, 1888.
We are Christ's witnesses, and we are not to allow worldly interests and plans to absorb our time and attention.—Testimonies for the Church 9:53, 54.
“Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord.... I have declared, and have saved, and I have showed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are My witnesses.” “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”—The Acts of the Apostles, 10.
The people of the world are worshiping false gods. They are to be turned from their false worship, not by hearing denunciation of their idols, but by beholding something better. God's goodness is to be made known. “Ye are My witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.”—Christ's Object Lessons, 299.
All who would enter the city of God must during their earthly life set forth Christ in their dealings. It is this
that constitutes them the messengers of Christ, His witnesses. They are to bear a plain, decided testimony against all evil practices, pointing sinners to the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world.—Testimonies for the Church 9:23.
The disciples were to go forth as Christ's witnesses, to declare to the world what they had seen and heard of Him. Their office was the most important to which human beings had ever been called, second only to that of Christ Himself. They were to be workers together with God for the saving of men.—The Acts of the Apostles, 19.
The divine Teacher says: My Spirit alone is competent to teach and to convict of sin. Externals make only a temporary impression upon the mind. I will enforce truth on the conscience, and men shall be My witnesses, throughout the world asserting My claims on man's time, his money, his intellect.—Testimonies for the Church 7:159.
Our confession of His faithfulness is Heaven's chosen agency for revealing Christ to the world. We are to acknowledge His grace as made known through the holy men of old; but that which will be most effectual is the testimony of our own experience. We are witnesses for God as we reveal in ourselves the working of a power that is divine. Every individual has a life distinct from all others, and an experience differing essentially from theirs. God desires that our praise shall ascend to Him, marked by our own individuality. These precious acknowledgments to the praise of the glory of His grace, when supported by a Christlike life, have an irresistible power, that works for the salvation of souls.—The Desire of Ages, 347.
God cannot display the knowledge of His will and the wonders of His grace among the unbelieving world unless He has witnesses scattered all over the earth. It is His plan that those who are partakers of this great salvation through Jesus Christ should be His missionaries, bodies of light throughout the world, to be as signs to the people, living epistles, known and read of all men, their faith and works testifying to the near approach of the coming Saviour and showing that they have not received the grace of God in vain. The people must be warned to prepare for the coming judgment.—Testimonies for the Church 2:631, 632.
As they [the disciples] meditated upon His pure, holy life, they felt that no toil would be too hard, no sacrifice too great, if only they could bear witness in their lives to the loveliness of Christ's character. O, if they could but have the past three years to live over, they thought, how differently they would act! If they could only see the Master again, how earnestly they would strive to show Him how deeply they loved Him, and how sincerely they sorrowed for having ever grieved Him by a word or an act of unbelief! But they were comforted by the thought that they were forgiven. And they determined that, so far as possible, they would atone for their unbelief by bravely confessing Him before the world.—The Acts of the Apostles, 36.
The two restored demoniacs were the first missionaries whom Christ sent to preach the gospel in the region of Decapolis. For a few moments only, these men had been privileged to hear the teachings of Christ. Not one sermon from His lips had ever fallen upon their ears. They could not instruct the people as the disciples who had been daily with Christ were able to do. But they bore in their own persons the evidence that Jesus was the Messiah. They could tell what they knew; what they themselves had seen and heard and felt of the power of Christ. This is what everyone can do whose heart has been touched by the grace of God. John, the beloved disciple, wrote: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; ... that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you.” As witnesses for Christ, we are to tell what we know, what we ourselves have seen and heard and felt. If we have been following Jesus step by step, we shall have something right to the point to tell concerning the way in which He has led us. We can tell how we have tested His promise and found the promise true. We can bear witness to what we have known of the grace of Christ. This is the witness for which our Lord calls, and for want of which the world is perishing.—The Desire of Ages, 340.