Work to Show Christ to the World
A sermon by Ellen G. White
Greenville, Michigan, April 18, 1891.
"But ye shall receive power, after
that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in
Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the
earth. And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up;
and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly
toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This
same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like
manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:8-11).
These words of Jesus were spoken just
before He ascended to heaven. Immediately after His ascension the disciples
returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, and with a few others had a
most wonderful meeting, as recorded in the verses following. A cloud of holy
angels had escorted Jesus into the heavens, and the disciples returned with
joy. Why were they so joyful? Not because Jesus had left them, but because of
the promise to come again. Just a short time before He had told them that in
His Father's house were many mansions, and that He would go to prepare a place
for them, and if He went, He would come again and receive them unto Himself,
that where He was, there they might be also. This promise, renewed by the
angels, gave great joy to the disciples.
We expect the same. Does it fill our
hearts with hope and joy? If our friends go on a long journey, their promise of
return gives us great joy. But here the Friend of all friends promises to come
again. Are we pleased at His coming? We are to do just as the disciples did,
meet together and be of one mind.
He said if He went away He would send
the Comforter, and this Comforter "shall teach you all things, and bring all
things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you" (John 14:26). And
when the Holy Spirit should come upon them they would testify of Him. Human
beings were to become partakers of the divine nature. But it is impossible to
connect with heaven and communicate light to others while you are careless in
words and actions. Truth has its work to do upon the heart and life. It
sanctifies the receiver.
We hear much talk about faith. We
want faith that amounts to something. What we need is faith that works. And how
does it work? By love. And what does it do? It purifies, sanctifies, the soul.
As we look to the cross erected on Calvary, love takes possession of the soul.
It brings the will of man into subjection to God. "If ye love Me, keep My
commandments." These words are from the lips of the divine Teacher, and He
further promises, "And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another
Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom
the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye
know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you
comfortless" (John 14:15-18).
Do you believe it? I do, and I
believe it because I have the evidence in me, the sure promise of One who is
Truth. I have no right to be comfortless in this world, for it needs light.
Neither have you. All should be where they can lay hold of Him by living faith.
When Christ was upon earth, the people flocked to Him and were comforted in His
presence. After He ascended, He fulfilled His promise. He sends the Comforter
to be with every believing, obedient child, wherever he may be.
We ought to be the most happy people
in the world, because He is all in all to us. He has told us He would be a
counselor, guide, strength, support, and a tender, sympathizing friend. He is
everything we need, the first, last, and best in everything. We want to praise
Him in the morning, at noon, and at night; ever having the door of our hearts
open and inviting Jesus to come and there abide. "If a man love Me, he will
keep My words: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make
our abode with him" (John 14:23).
We are glad to see so many here
today. But how many present have brought the Comforter with them? Is Jesus
shining forth in their life and character, and are their hearts filled with
praise and thanksgiving? There is work for everyone to do for Jesus. How many
take into account the record of our works kept in the books in heaven? How many
feel the responsibility of perishing souls? How many come into close connection
with Jesus and sense the need of forming a perfect character after the likeness
of Christ? This character is not to be dropped upon you by and by from heaven,
but it is to be developed here.
Here we see ministers in the
congregation, but how few [there are] compared with the many who are without
God and without hope in the world. The vast field takes in the whole world.
When the Master went away He gave to every man his work. Not a soul of you
present, who believes in Jesus Christ, has done his duty unless he labors most
interestedly for the salvation of others, realizing the price paid for their
The present time is our day, our
opportunity to work. We are not to live for self. It is of the highest
consequence to us that we improve our opportunities and privileges to be
honored as laborers together with God. Time is precious, and should be filled
with earnest work, the worker constantly improving.
Jesus knew our danger. He tells us in
John 15:16, "Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you,
that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain:
that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you." He
ordains that you individually shall bear fruit.
Some are satisfied to spend their
whole time in laying upon the foundation hay, wood, and stubble, and what does
it amount to? Nothing; their lifework is lost for time and lost to God for all
eternity. If lost, our portion will be with unbelievers and hypocrites. There
will be no reward for a mere profession of faith. (1 Cor. 3:9-14.) The fruit
which remains will be as gold and silver. Fires cannot consume these. This is
what our work must be.
What kind of work is to be of value
and abide? The same work is to be manifest to the world that Christ did, when
He was in the world. Our minds must be drawn away from self and centered upon
Jesus. There should be organized effort in every church in the land; yes, it is
greatly needed in every church in Michigan (John 4:35, 36). There is work for
every soul of you. You don't need to wait to be forced into the work.
We need an experience similar to that
which Isaiah had when he saw the cherubim calling "Holy, holy, holy." "In the
year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and
lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each
one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered
his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said,
Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.
"And the posts of the door moved at
the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I,
Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in
the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the
Lord of hosts.
"Then flew one of the seraphims unto
me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off
the altar: and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy
lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the
voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said
I, Here am I; send me" (Isa. 6:1-8). When he caught sight of the throne of God
he said, "Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips." Every worker chosen of
God will feel thus. But the seraphim touched his lips with the live coal from
off the altar and told him that his iniquity was taken away and his sin purged.
And then as Isaiah heard the call, Whom shall I send? and who will go for us?
he answers, Here am I; send me. He did not feel fit to be sent till the
refining Spirit came upon him.
We want that the hearts of all in
this congregation shall be stirred. Is it not time we should awake out of
sleep? How long before you will realize your great need of divine power? Not
the ministers only; there is work for every soul.
Lift up Jesus, the Man of Calvary.
Lift Him up in prayer, lift Him up in song. We have something to do to let the
light flash into our own minds and hearts, and then to let it shine forth to
others. In the judgment, when brought face to face with souls with whom you
have come in contact, what can be your feelings when you realize that you have
not warned those who were perishing in their sins? How will it appear to you in
that great day--the little effort you have made in self-denial, in
self-sacrifice, for the salvation of others? What is the matter? Haven't we
reason given us of God? Have we not hearts to feel, minds to consider and to
use to His glory?
Who enters through the gates into the
city of God? Those who keep His commandments. "Blessed are they that do His
commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in
through the gates into the city" (Rev. 22:14). What constitutes the
commandments of God? The first four are to love God supremely, the last six, to
love our neighbor as ourselves. And can you do this and not show them the way
of salvation in and through Christ Jesus?
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent
in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever
believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:15). The
value of life is illustrated by the efforts made by man to save and retain
this, the present, physical life. But this life in Christ Jesus, for which we
are striving, is eternal. We hear a great deal about faith. We want to be sure
that we have a genuine faith, the faith that works, that beholds the uplifted
Saviour. That faith lays hold upon infinite power and labors to bind souls to
the great heart of Jesus. With Jesus in the heart you cannot repress words of
If Jesus abides in you, it is to some
purpose. You cannot then enjoy light and trifling conversation. Said Isaiah, I
am a man of unclean lips. And how true this is of many who profess to be
Christians. If you talk as any worldling talks and act as any worldling acts,
you dishonor the Christ you profess to love. You need to be converted daily, to
honor Christ by every word. Be ye holy in all manner of conversation. When you
sit at the table, you are to eat, giving thanks to God, of the very best foods
for making the best blood and the clearest intellect. We want sharp-thinking
men and women.
It is not right for us to devote
time, brain, bone, and muscle to gathering in the things of earth and drop
eternity out of our reckoning. We should gather sheaves for the Master's
garner. The Lord may say, Whom shall I send? But your earthly ears do not hear.
The Lord wants us to expand, to grow like the seed introduced into the
soil--first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. Progress is
Some have asked, What shall I do to
receive the Holy Ghost? Ask God to search your hearts as with a lighted candle.
Do nothing for selfish gratification. Suppose that Christ's professed followers
were representatives of Christ in our earth, would not worldlings see this and
take knowledge of such that they had learned of Jesus? Will not such be a
power? We want the religion of Christ. This will bring forth the fruits of
love, joy, and peace. The desire of the Master is not for a scanty supply, but
to bear it in abundance.
John 15:17-21 points to the
opposition between Christ and the world, and to the persecution inflicted upon
Christ and His followers. The world does this because they know not the Father
who sent Jesus into the world. We do not want to be so ignorant. We want to
know Christ, whom to know aright is life eternal.
In John 15, He points you to trials,
to conflicts. He asks if you can endure the conflict; then He points to eternal
realities and shows you the thousands of angels sent to be ministers to those
who are heirs of salvation. Though He shows the armies arrayed against you, yet
He tells you that you need not be discouraged, for the Captain of the Lord's
host is with you as with the Lord's people in Joshua's time. There is the
Captain of our salvation who is at work for everyone. What we want is to know
how to fight the battle. The victory is not in the minister or the layman, but
in the Captain of the Lord's host who fights the battle for us. He dwells with
him who is of a contrite spirit. We are to humble our hearts.
We fight not against flesh and blood,
but against principalities, and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high
places, and God is with us. We are not to consider that the smartness of men
will bring success. One may have all the learning possible for a human being to
comprehend, and yet he may be alone, and without Christ he can do nothing. Do
you walk humbly before Him? Have you a cherishing of inward sins, heartburnings
against any? Are you seeking God with all your heart? Now, we can bear to be
separated from everything else but the Spirit of God. We want the inspiration
of the cross, making us to fall helpless, and the Lord will lift us up. Christ
prayed not that His followers should be taken out of the world, but that they
might be kept from the evil that is in the world. We can go through the world
as did Enoch. The world was then no more favorable for the formation of
Christian character than it is in our time.
Because iniquity abounds, the love of
many is growing cold; but shall we cover our light on account of this? The
prevalence of greatest iniquity should be the time of the greatest earnestness
of the people of God. As you see the love of many waxing cold, you should work
to show Christ to the world.
The law and the gospel are interwoven
as warp and woof. Here mercy and truth have met together, and righteousness and
peace have kissed each other. We want to come to God's standard. He has a law
governing human intelligences and it is for our happiness to observe it. We are
to love God. Love leading to disobedience is the inspiration of the devil; love
leading to obedience is the inspiration of Heaven.
Come out from among them and be ye
separate, says the Lord; and again, Cleanse yourselves. But how are we to know
that we have impurity? The law of God shows this. The first four commandments
point out duty to God, and the last six allow no selfishness toward our fellow
men. When I see that I fail, I flee to the Stronghold. I know that He pardons
sins of ignorance. Jesus is a sin-pardoning Saviour. Jesus kept His Father's
commandments, and He says, Blessed are they that do; they shall enter in.
When we obey we shall have happy
families. Teach the children the commandments of God forever. This was
important in Israel's time and it is none the less so now. All your profession
of keeping the commandments will not give you an entrance to the city. Bind
them on your heart and carry them out in every act. There is One who sees it
all, and He says, I have set before thee an open door. Through this was shown
the throne of God, overshadowed by the rainbow of promise, the token of the
everlasting covenant, showing that mercy and truth are met together, and
drawing from the beholder praise to the Lord.
Will you not from this very day try
to represent Christ to the world? You will have a refuge. You will be sunny
Christians. We have been gloomy long enough. Had we not better come out of the
cave, stand with God, and we will have Christ with us so that we can talk of
redemption as did the disciples when they had been with Jesus and learned of
Carry the light of Jesus. Carry it to
your neighbors. When we bring Christ into our experience, there will be a
loving of one another, there will be an unlocking of the hardest hearts. God
can take a worm and thrash a mountain. If we humble ourselves and have His
converting power every moment, His righteousness will be our covering. "Then
shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth
speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; and the glory of the Lord
shall be thy rereward" (Isa. 58:8).
Printed in Sermons and Talks,
volume two, pp. 92-98.
Word Our Assurance
Our Righteousness A Morning Talk
Faith Alone Part 1
Faith Alone Part 2
Was Secured by the Death of Christ
Those Things Which are Above Part 1
Those Things Which are Above Part 2
Our Loving Comforter and Restorer
to Show Christ to the World
Him Take Hold of My Strength"
G. White's Last Recorded Letter
Joy of Giving
New Year's Day Letter
Letter of Comfort and Assurance
Prayer of Consecration
for the Tempted
Fair Flowers of Promise
Godís Love is Manifested, Part 1
Godís Love is Manifested, Part 2
are Complete in Him," Part 1
are Complete in Him," Part 2
are Complete in Him," Part 3
Will Give You Rest"
as Christ Worked
Character of God Revealed in Christ
God Desires Us to Be
Plans the Best
and it shall be given you, Part 1
and it shall be given you, Part 2
Meaning of God's Pardoning Love, Part 1
Meaning of God's Pardoning Love, Part 2
Foundation of Our Peace
Thing Impossible With God
Spans the Gulf of Sin, Part 1
Spans the Gulf of Sin, Part 2
New Year's Day Letter
Mighty and Inspiring Conflict
Word a Treasure House
You May Trust
Filled with Thankfullnes to God
and Godís Love; Sin, Judgment, and the Shortness of Time
for the New Year