September 26, 2012

Second Sabbath: Revival and Mission

We have a sacred message to bear to the world. The third angel’s message is not a theory of man’s inventing, a speculation of the imagination; but it is the solemn truth of God for these last days. It is the final warning to the perishing souls of men.

. . . The commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus must be brought to the attention of the world. The tidings of the coming of the Savior must be proclaimed. The judgment scenes must be portrayed before the unenlightened minds of men, and hearts must be aroused to realize the solemnity of the closing hours of probation, and prepare to meet their God.

The light that has shone upon your pathway has been given you, not simply that you may rejoice in it, and better understand the Scriptures, and see more clearly the way of life; but that you may become a light-bearer, and carry the torch of truth into the darkened pathways of those around you. We are to be colaborers with Christ. We are to follow the example that He has left us in the daily steps of His life on earth. His was not a life of ease and devotion to Himself; but He toiled with persistent, untiring, earnest effort for the salvation of lost mankind. . . . He said: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).*

Christ’s Example of Mission
When but twelve years of age, the Son of God was found among the learned rabbis, executing His mission; and when asked as to why He had remained after the feast, He replied, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). This was the one great object of His life. Everything else was secondary and subservient. It was His meat and drink to do the will of God, and to finish His work. Self and selfish interest had no part in His labor. Love to God and man demands the whole heart, and leaves no place for selfishness to flourish in the life. Jesus declared, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). . . . 

2012 1527 page20There is a great work before us. The work that engages the interest and activity of heaven is committed to the church of Christ. Jesus said: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). The work for our time is attended with the same difficulties that Jesus had to meet, and that the reformers of every age have had to overcome; and we must set our wills on the side of Christ, and move forward with firm confidence in God.

Key to Revival
The work of the apostles of Christ was to educate and train men and women to publish the good tidings of the crucified and risen Savior. Every soul converted to the gospel felt under solemn obligation to the Lord Jesus, to teach others the way of salvation. This is the spirit that should animate us; but there is a marked indifference upon this point in our churches, and this is the reason why there is not more spirituality and vigor in our Christian life. If you would go to work as Christ designed that His disciples should, and win souls to the truth, you would feel the need of a deeper experience and greater knowledge in divine things, and would hunger and thirst after righteousness. You would plead with God, and your faith would be strengthened, and your soul would drink deeper draughts at the well of salvation. Encountering opposition and trials would drive you to the Bible and to prayer, and then you would go forth as laborers together with God, to open the Scriptures to the people. You would grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the truth, and your experience would be rich and fragrant. . . .

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 blessing, and receive its great reward. Do what you can, and God will increase your ability. Let no church think it is too small to exert an influence and do service in the great work for this time. Let no one excuse himself because there are others who have talents to employ in the cause. Do your part. God will excuse no one. Jesus has given to “each his work” (Mark 13:34), and every man will be rewarded “according to his work” (Rev. 22:12). Everyone will be judged “according to what he has done” (2 Cor. 5:10), and will “give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). . . .

Take up the work anywhere and everywhere. Do that which is the nearest to you, right at your own doors, however humble and uncommended it may seem. Work only for the glory of God and the good of men. Let self sink out of sight, while with earnest purpose and solemn prayers of faith you work for Him who has died that you might live. Go to your neighbors one by one, and come close to them till their hearts are warmed by your unselfish interest and love. Sympathize with them, pray for them, watch for opportunities to do them good, and as you can, gather a few together and open the Word of God to their darkened minds. Keep watching, as he who must render an account for the souls of men, and make the most of the privileges that God gives you of laboring with Him in His moral vineyard. Do not neglect speaking to your neighbors, and doing them all the kindness in your power, that you “might by all means save some” (1 Cor. 9:22). . . .

Revival Begins With One
When churches are revived, it is because some individual seeks earnestly for the blessing of God. He hungers and thirsts after God, and asks in faith, and receives accordingly. He goes to work in earnest, feeling his great dependence upon the Lord, and souls are aroused to seek for a like blessing, and a season of refreshing falls on the hearts of men. The extensive work will not be neglected. The larger plans will be laid at the right time; but personal, individual effort and interest for your friends and neighbors will accomplish much more than can be estimated. . . .

Those who have been most successful in winning souls were men and women who did not pride themselves in their ability, but who went in humility and faith, and the power of God worked with their efforts in convicting and converting the hearts of those to whom they appealed. Jesus did this very work. He came close to those whom He desired to benefit by personal contact. . . .

He did not wait for congregations to assemble. The grandest truths were spoken to single individuals. The woman at the well in Samaria heard the wonderful words, “Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).

The interview with the humble Samaritan was not in vain. The words that fell from the lips of the divine Teacher stirred the heart of the listener. She gladly acknowledged Him. She felt the power of His holy character and the heavenly influence that went with His words of truth. Perfect trust filled her heart. Forgetful of her errand to the well, she hastened to publish His fame to her townsmen. Many left their employment to come to the stranger at Jacob’s well. They plied Him with questions, and eagerly received the explanation of many things that had been dark to their understanding. The perplexity of their minds began to clear away. They were like people in darkness tracing up a sudden ray till they had found the day; and the result of the work of Jesus, as He sat weary and hungry at the well, was widespread in blessing. The one soul for whom He had labored became a means of reaching others and bringing them to the Savior of the world.

Questions for
Reflection and Sharing
1. What is the link between revival and mission? Instead of calling for a revival, should we not focus our resources on spreading the gospel and "getting the job done?"

2. Read the story of the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. What principles did Jesus sue to reach her heart? How are these principles relevant in our mission outreach?

3. We often feel that our contribution to mission is insignicant and feeble. What do you think Jesus would tell us when we feel like thsi? What lies at the center of mission?


Revival Fuels Mission—and Mission Revival
This is ever the way the work of God has made progress in the earth. Let your light shine, and others will be kindled.
. . . Idleness and religion do not go hand in hand; and the cause of our great deficiency in the Christian life and experience is inactivity in the work of God. The muscles of your body will become weak and useless if they are not kept in exercise, and it is so with the spiritual nature. If you would be strong, you must exercise your powers. Exercise faith in God by proving His promises as you take up your cross and lift your burden. Put on the yoke of Christ, and prove His words that “you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29). Open the Scriptures to someone that is in darkness, and you will not complain of weariness and lack of interest in the cause of truth. Your heart will be awakened to an anxiety for souls, and joy in the evidences of the faith will fill your heart, and you will know that “he who waters will also be watered himself” (Prov. 11:25). With living faith claim the promises of God. . . .

There are too many talents hid in a napkin, and buried in the earth. . . . When Jesus went away, He left to every man his work, and “nothing to do” is an unwarrantable excuse. “Nothing to do” is the reason of trial among brethren; for Satan will fill the minds of idlers with his own plans, and set them to work. Your unemployed heart and mind afford him a plat to sow the seeds of doubt and skepticism. Those who have nothing to do find time for gossiping, tale-bearing, backbiting, and mischief-making. “Nothing to do” brings evil testimony against the brethren, and dissension into the church of Christ. Jesus says, “He who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matt. 12:30).

The law of God is being trampled underfoot, the blood of the covenant is being despised; and can we fold our hands and say that we have nothing to do? Let us arouse! The battle is waging. Truth and Error are nearing their final conflict. Let us march under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel, and fight the good fight of faith, and win eternal honors; for the truth will triumph, and we may be more than conquerors through Him who has loved us. The precious hours of probation are closing. Let us make sure work for eternal life, that we may glorify our heavenly Father, and be the means of saving souls for whom Christ died.  

* Texts in this article are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

This article has been excerpted from a piece first published in The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, March 13, 1888. Seventh-day Adventists 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 September 27, 2012.