During my long life, I have known many pastors and evangelists, but I have never known any that have been privileged to do all the wonderful things that Jesus told His disciples to do:
(1) “Heal the sick.” We pray for them, we give them treatments, we take them to doctors and clinics—thank the Lord we can do something. But we lack the wonderful healing gifts that Jesus gave His disciples.
(2) “Cleanse the lepers.” That gift we also lack.
(3) “Raise the dead;” that gift for sure we lack.
(4) “Cast out devils.” Yes, thank the Lord, the ministry of the pure gospel of Jesus does accomplish this wonderful work. The gospel if proclaimed purely, does it.
Heart compassion for suffering humanity—that’s a gift we can all experience if we will open our hearts to the teaching of the Holy Spirit. That is where Jesus and we have a close bond of fellowship together—a bond that can never be broken.
The love of Christ (agape in the ) brings with it the same compassion that Jesus felt for suffering humanity. Our prayers for the Lord to do something to help suffering people do not move Him to compassion He has not already felt for them; but seeing that we have that compassion makes the Lord happy. The Psalmist says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul ...” The word “bless” means to make happy; but how can we make the Lord to be happy? When we share His compassion for suffering, it does!
In the Lord’s prayer we pray, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” Forgiveness is a gift from the Holy Spirit; for us to receive forgiveness of our sins is the lifting of an enormous burden from us; by His sacrifice on His cross, the Lord Jesus has effected a forgiveness for the world (but many don’t know it yet).
Some object; they say it is not fair that the Lord should give the gift to everyone; but His giving the gift does not mean that they have received the gift. It’s not a matter of being fair—if the Lord were strictly fair with us we would all perish; but His much more abounding grace (cf. Rom. 5:20) goes way beyond being fair; He has already died the world’s second death. That is a store of abounding grace that is infinite!
It’s our blessed privilege to minister that abounding grace to sinners: tell them that the Lord has already forgiven them by virtue of His cross. Don’t worry that this will encourage them to go on sinning; the Lord has told it, let us not fear to tell people what He has done. He will take care of them if they misuse His grace. We must not fear; we must proclaim the grace.
Is it possible that in the one true “remnant church” of Bible prophecy (cf. Rev. 12:17) we should be ostracizing or marginalizing some pure and true servants of the Lord? We wish we could answer with a resounding “No!” but the Lord’s servant tells us frankly that when “the Lord in His great mercy sent to His people a most precious message” 120 years ago, the facts are that “we” corporately did ostracize the messengers (who had “heavenly credentials,” Ellen White said!). Over a hundred times she said that “we” in that corporate sense treated them as the Jews treated Jesus.
Let the Lord give you and me the courage to stand up unashamed for the ostracized and marginalized who are loyal to Him when the majority despise them! Ellen White stood up bravely for A. T. Jones and E. J. Waggoner in the 1888 era! (And some of the elders thought she was losing her sense of direction.)
Our Lesson 13 reminds us of something very important: was never a pure DNA progeny of Abraham. The true Israel was always “by faith.” The lesson for us today is this: of the millions, yes billions of the world today who appear not to care for Christ, we have no idea how many will step forward and be loyal to that fourth angel who lightens the earth with the glory of Christ’s closing message (Rev. 18:1-4). Time for us to be humble!
We have been trying to preach the message for a long time; let’s not forget that God’s word will not “return unto Him void”(Isa. 55:11). Let’s not be like Jonah who doubted that his preaching had been blessed by the Lord! He is “not unrighteous to forget” what we have done for Him, even though we may forget (Heb. 6:10). Especially should those who have labored unselfishly to proclaim the glorious truths of the message the Lord gave us 120 years ago must not doubt His loving care; their work will never be in vain.
—Robert J. Wieland
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