BY Ellen G. White
I have been instructed that in the work of proclaiming the third angel’s message, limitations are being placed to its advancement, and this is dishonoring to God. The message of the third angel is a world-wide message; it is to go to foreign lands; it is to be preached in the home country. In our large cities, in the small towns, in the villages, in the byways and the highways, earnest efforts are to be made to give to men and women the light. All around us are people who have not been warned of the nearness of the end, places in which no effort has been made to bring to men the light of present truth. Great is the need that all who have a knowledge of this truth shall be encouraged to grasp every opportunity to labor for the enlightenment of others.
All Places—All Classes
In visions of the night I was shown the difficulties that must be met in the work of warning the people in the cities; but in spite of difficulties and discouragement, efforts should be made to preach the truth to all classes. There are some who advise that our efforts begin with the abandoned classes; but this is not the wisest course. It is true that some souls would be reached by this plan; but if our workers should begin their labors in the cities with this class, they would surely be cut off from the broad work that should be done. Rather let us devise means whereby we may reach the very best class of people; then our work for the abandoned classes will follow. Physicians can do a good work in devising plans for the working out of this problem.
Wise teachers—men and women who are apt in teaching the truths of the Word—are needed in our cities. Let these present the truth in all its sacred dignity, and with sanctified simplicity. And this is a work in which many can fit themselves to have a part. Let all our people, young and old and the middle-aged, ministers and lay members, cherish the impressions made by the Holy Spirit upon their hearts, and they will be quick to grasp opportunities for obtaining an experience in the work of making known to others the truths of the Word.
No Mere Head Knowledge
A mere head knowledge will not suffice to win men and women to Christ. Head and heart must be enlisted if believers would do effectual work for God. The souls of those who listen are to be touched with the converting power of God; therefore it is essential that the hearts of those who teach shall be touched with divine power as they present the lessons of the Word.
As I consider the conditions in the cities that are so manifestly under the power of Satan, I ask myself the question, What will be the end of these things? The wickedness in many cities is increasing. Crime and iniquity are at work on every hand. New species of idolatry are continually being introduced into society. In every nation the minds of men are turning to the invention of some new thing. Rashness of deed and confusion of mind are everywhere increasing. Surely the cities of the earth are becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah.
As a people we need to hasten the work in the cities, which has been hindered for lack of workers and means and a spirit of consecration. At this time, the people of God need to turn their hearts fully to him; for the end of all things is at hand. They need to humble their minds, and to be attentive to the will of the Lord, working with earnest desire to do that which God has shown must be done to warn the cities of their impending doom.
Lessons From Elijah’s Times
Of great importance to the church is the history of Elijah. Elijah was not called from a high station in life or from a city of renown to take his place in the work of God. He was born among the mountains of Gilead, on the other side of the Jordan, and came from among a nation that was overspread with the idolatry and the abominations of the Amorites.
Elijah entered upon his work with the word of faith and power upon his lips. Here surely was the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Ever since the death of Solomon the evil of idolatry had been coming in among the Israelites, and now the tide of corruption threatened to overthrow the land like a flood. It seemed that no barrier could prevail against its ruinous influence or prevent the torrent of idolatry and general corruption from sweeping everything before it.
The labors of the prophet were not easy. His whole life was devoted to the work of reform. His was a voice crying in the wilderness to rebuke sin and press back the tide of evil. He presented his message as a converting power to all who would receive it. And while he came to the people as a reprover of sin, his message offered the balm of Gilead for the sin-sick souls of all who would be healed.
All Are Called—Not Just Ministers
The Lord desires his people to arise and do their appointed work. The responsibility of warning the world rests not upon the ministry alone. The lay members of the church are to share in the work of soul-saving. By means of missionary visits and by a wise distribution of our literature, many who have never been warned, may be reached. Let companies be organized to search for souls. Let the church-members visit their neighbors and open to them the Scriptures. Some may be set to work in the hedges, and thus, by wise planning, the truth may be preached in all districts. With perseverance in this work, increasing aptitude for it will come, and many will see fruit of their labors in the salvation of souls. These converted ones will, in turn, teach others. Thus the seed will be sown in many places, and the truth be proclaimed to all.
The Lord now calls upon those who have a knowledge of the truth for this time, to arouse from their lethargy, and become true missionaries in his service.
Time is short, and the Lord’s work must be done without further delay.
This article was first published in The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 25, 1912. Seventh-day Adventist believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. This article was published November 25, 2010.