The Reformation Herald Online Edition

Ambassadors for Christ

Lights in the World
Lights in the World
Compiled from the writings of E. G. White

The followers of Christ are to be coworkers with their Master; they must be “blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom,” says Paul, “ye shine as lights in the world.” We are to receive the bright beams from the Sun of Righteousness, and by our good works let them shine forth to others in clear, steady rays, never fitful, never growing dim. We cannot be sure that we are doing no harm to those about us unless we are exerting a positive influence to lead them heavenward.1

The call of the hour

The unbelieving world is waiting for your testimony, and I beseech you by the mercies of God to arise and meet their expectation. Darkness is covering the earth, and gross darkness the people; and amid the moral night that is settling upon the world, I beseech you who believe, to testify to those who sit in darkness that there is light, and that none need walk in darkness; for the true light now shineth.2

As nearly all around us are being enveloped in the thick darkness of error and delusion, it becomes us to shake off stupidity and live near to God, where we can draw divine rays of light and glory from the countenance of Jesus. As darkness thickens and error increases, we should obtain a more thorough knowledge of the truth and be prepared to maintain our position from the Scriptures.3

How readily do we speak in endearing words of our friends and relatives, and yet how slow we are to speak of Him whose love has no parallel, set forth in Christ crucified among you.

The love of our heavenly Father in the gift of His only begotten Son to the world, is enough to inspire every soul, to melt every hard, loveless heart into contrition and tenderness, and yet shall heavenly intelligences see in those for whom Christ died, insensibility to His love, hardness of heart, and no response of gratitude and affection to the Giver of all good things? Shall affairs of minor importance absorb the whole power of the being, and the love of God meet no return? Shall the Sun of righteousness shine in vain? In view of what God has done, could His claims be less upon you? Have we hearts that can be touched, that can be impressed with divine love? Are we willing to be chosen vessels? Has not God His eye upon us, and has He not bidden us to send forth His message of light? We need an increase of faith. We must wait, we must watch, we must pray, we must work, pleading that the Holy Ghost may be poured out upon us abundantly, that we may be lights in the world.4

Led by the Spirit of God

What was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit upon the day of Pentecost?—The glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the utmost bounds of the inhabited world. The hearts of the disciples were surcharged with the benevolence so full, so deep, so far-reaching, that it impelled them to go to the ends of the earth, testifying, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” As they proclaimed the truth as it is in Jesus, hearts yielded to the power of the message. The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Backsliders were reconverted. Sinners united with Christians in seeking the pearl of great price. Those who had been the bitterest opponents of the gospel became its champions. . . . Every Christian saw in his brother the divine similitude of love and benevolence. One interest prevailed. One subject of emulation swallowed up all others. The only ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.

Notice that it was after the disciples had come into perfect unity, when they were no longer striving for the highest place, that the Spirit was poured out.5

The need of earnest labor for others

Christ did not tell His disciples that their work would be easy. He showed them the vast confederacy of evil arrayed against them. They would have to fight “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12. But they would not be left to fight alone. He assured them that He would be with them. . . . So long as they obeyed His word, and worked in connection with Him, they could not fail. Go to all nations, He bade them. Go to the farthest part of the habitable globe and be assured that My presence will be with you even there. Labor in faith and confidence; for the time will never come when I will forsake you. I will be with you always, helping you to perform your duty, guiding, comforting, sanctifying, sustaining you, giving you success in speaking words that shall draw the attention of others to heaven.6

Those who become children of God are under obligation to Him to do all in their power to seek and to save the lost. They are to make use of every possible means to give to sinners the word of life and the saving grace of Christ. Remembering the sacrifice that Christ made that He might give to men a perfect example, church members are to follow His example of self-denial and self-sacrifice, that they may save the souls that are perishing in unbelief and sin. . . .

And yet how many church members there are who feel little responsibility to make Christ known to their friends and neighbors. If all had carried the love of Christ in their hearts, and the truth on their lips, if we had been diligent in opening the word of life to those about us, showing what Christ is to us, and what He is willing to be to them, hundreds more would be rejoicing in the truth today. But we shut ourselves up within ourselves. We seem to think that it is well with us, and that it is not in our line to speak of Christ. Is He not all in all to us? If we obtain any victories, is it not through His grace that they are wrought? Then why should we not lift Him up? The parables of the lost piece of silver and the lost sheep teach most precious lessons. They deal with the subject of man lost and man recovered. Many, many more would be recovered if they were labored for as represented in these parables.

Growth in grace is shown in an increasing ability to work for God. He who learns in the school of Christ will know how to pray, and how to speak for the Master. Realizing that he lacks wisdom and experience, he will place himself under the training of the Great Teacher, knowing that only thus he can obtain perfection in God’s service. . . .

God’s people are to stand as lights in the world.

Church members, ask God to give you a burden to open the Scriptures to others, and to do missionary work for those who need help. Some will be rescued in one way, and some in another, but the work must always be done as the Lord shall lead.

Let us prepare to raise the standard of the Lord, the standard of purity and holiness. Let every soul purify his own heart, and prepare for the Lord when He shall come in power and great glory. Let believers be quickened by the grace of Christ to work for the saving of their fellow beings. . . .

O, how solemn and important is the work entrusted to us! How far reaching this work is in its results! How are we to obtain strength and wisdom necessary for its successful accomplishment? As Daniel sought the Lord, so we are to seek Him. Daniel declares, “I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.” We are to seek the Lord in humility and contrition, confessing our own sins, and coming into close unity with one another. Brethren and sisters, pray, pray, for your own sakes, and for the sake of others.

We are to come to God in faith, and pour out our supplications before Him, believing that He will work in our behalf, and in behalf of those we are seeking to save. We are to devote more time to earnest prayer. With the trusting faith of a little child, we are to come to our Heavenly Father, telling Him of all our needs. He is always ready to pardon and help. The supply of divine wisdom is inexhaustible, and the Lord encourages us to draw largely from it. . . .

O that we might have a consuming desire to know God by an experimental knowledge, to come into the audience chamber of the Most High, reaching up the hand of faith, and casting our helpless souls upon the One mighty to save. His loving-kindness is better than life.

If we but realized how earnestly Jesus worked to sow the world with the gospel seed, we, living at the very close of probation, would labor untiringly to give the bread of life to perishing souls. Why are we so cold and indifferent? Why are our hearts so unimpressible? Why are we so unwilling to give ourselves to the work to which Christ consecrated His life? Something must be done to cure the terrible indifference that has taken hold of us. Let us bow our heads in humiliation as we see how much less we have done than we might have done to sow the seeds of truth.

My brethren and sisters, I speak to you in word of love and tenderness. Arouse, and consecrate yourselves unreservedly to the work of giving the light of truth for this time to those in darkness. Catch the spirit of the great Master worker. Learn from the Friend of sinners how to minister to sin-sick souls. Remember that in the lives of His followers must be seen the same devotion, the same subjection to God’s work of every social claim, every earthly affection, that was seen in His life. God’s claims must always be made paramount. Christ’s example is to inspire us to put forth unceasing effort for the good of others.

God calls upon every church member to enter His service. Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted to others, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. Everyone must learn to work, and to stand in his lot and place as a burden bearer. Every addition to the church should be one more agency for the carrying on of the great plan of redemption. The entire church, acting as one, blending in perfect union, is to be a living, active, missionary agency, moved and controlled by the Holy Spirit.

As surely as we seek the Lord earnestly, He will make the way plain before us. All around us are doors open for service. Let us prayerfully study the work to be done, and then enter upon it with full assurance of faith. We are to labor in quietness and humility, in the meekness and lowliness of Christ, realizing that there is a trying time before us, and that we shall always need heavenly grace in order to understand how to deal with minds. It is the patient, humble, godlike worker who will have something to show for his labors.

As a people, and as individuals, our success depends, not on numbers, on standing, nor on intellectual attainments, but on walking and working with Christ. The more fully we are imbued with His Spirit, the greater will be our love for the work, and the greater our delight in following in the footsteps of the Master. Our hearts will be filled with the love of God; and with earnestness and power we shall speak of the crucified Saviour. And as He is uplifted before the people, as they behold His self-sacrifice, His goodness, His tender compassion, His humiliation, and His suffering, their hearts will be melted and subdued, and they will be won to His cause.”7

Worthy of our best energies

What will be the gratitude of souls that will meet us in the heavenly courts as they understand the sympathetic, loving interest which has been taken in their salvation! All praise, honor, and glory will be given to God and to the Lamb for our redemption; but it will not detract from the glory of God to express gratitude to the instrumentality He has employed in the salvation of souls ready to perish.

The redeemed will meet and recognize those whose attention they have directed to the uplifted Saviour. What blessed converse they have with these souls! “I was a sinner,” it will be said, “without God and without hope in the world, and you came to me, and drew my attention to the precious Saviour as my only hope. And I believed in Him. I repented of my sins, and was made to sit together with His saints in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Others will say: “I was a heathen in heathen lands. You left your friends and comfortable home, and came to teach me how to find Jesus and believe in Him as the only true God. I demolished my idols and worshiped God, and now I see Him face to face. I am saved, eternally saved, ever to behold Him whom I love. I then saw Him only with the eye of faith, but now I see Him as He is. I can now express my gratitude for His redeeming mercy to Him who loved me and washed me from my sins in His own blood.”

Others will express their gratitude to those who fed the hungry and clothed the naked. “When despair bound my soul in unbelief, the Lord sent you to me,” they say, “to speak words of hope and comfort. You brought me food for my physical necessities, and you opened to me the word of God, awakening me to my spiritual needs. You treated me as a brother. You sympathized with me in my sorrows and restored my bruised and wounded soul so that I could grasp the hand of Christ that was reached out to save me. In my ignorance you taught me patiently that I had a Father in heaven who cared for me. You read to me the precious promises of God’s word. You inspired in me faith that He would save me. My heart was softened, subdued, broken, as I contemplated the sacrifice which Christ had made for me. I became hungry for the bread of life, and the truth was precious to my soul. I am here, saved, eternally saved, ever to live in His presence, and to praise Him who gave His life for me.”

What rejoicing there will be as these redeemed ones meet and greet those who have had a burden in their behalf! And those who have lived, not to please themselves, but to be a blessing to the unfortunate who have so few blessings—how their hearts will thrill with satisfaction!8

Let us purify our souls by obeying the truth, lifting up “holy hands, without wrath and doubting,” that we may obtain this heavenly gift, and realize, by a blessed experience, what is the meaning of the words of the apostle: “filled with all the fullness of God.”9

Starting here, right now

God’s people are to stand as lights in the world. They are to realize that upon them rests the solemn responsibility of reflecting rays of light upon the pathway of those who are not keeping the commandments of God. Christ Himself has declared, “Ye are the light of the world.” We are to seek to be light bearers. And when the light of divine truth shines forth with distinctness from the words and works of God’s children, will there be seen any quarreling, any backbiting, among the light bearers? The world will see no dissension in the lives of those from whom the light of heaven is shed abroad. Brethren and sisters, as you let your light shine before men, they will “see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” As the result of these good works, an influence will go forth that will bring salvation to those who behold it. God desires us to keep our light constantly shining.

Church members, ask God to give you a burden to open the Scriptures to others, and to do missionary work for those who need help. Some will be rescued in one way, and some in another, but the work must always be done as the Lord shall lead.

In the night season God has revealed to me the spiritual condition of the church members living in Oakland and the nearby cities. A large standard was uplifted at a time when many were complaining and finding fault and speaking to the detriment of one another; and this standard was turned around until it appeared before them as a great looking-glass [mirror], from the face of which everyone who looked saw reflected himself with all his faults and sins. The whole erring company, convicted of the sinfulness of their course, prostrated themselves before God, and immediately began to confess their own wrongdoing; and, O, what a scene of repentance and confession there was! A most wonderful cleansing of the camp followed, and the mighty power of God was revealed.

I shall never be satisfied until just such an experience comes into the church here. We want to see the salvation of our God. We want the truth to go forth with mighty power; and why, O why, do we continue to stand in the way? Why do we grieve the Holy Spirit of God? Why do we put Him to open shame, by carrying with us our selfish, unconverted dispositions, and yet all the while claiming to be Christians? God grant that every one of us may have clear eyesight to discern what we can do, by looking unto Jesus and by realizing how our course must appear in His sight, and how He must regard envy and strife. God help us to put away our individual defects of character. We want to see the power of God revealed in this community. If it were not for this, I should not leave my home and come down here to speak to you so often. But night after night I cannot sleep more than a few hours; and often, in the hours of the night I find myself sitting up in bed, praying to God in behalf of those who do not realize their spiritual condition; and then I arise and walk the room, and say, O Lord, set thy people in order, before it shall be everlastingly too late!10

References
1 Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 366, 367.
2 The Home Missionary, September 1, 1892.
3 Early Writings, pp. 104, 105.
4 The Review and Herald, December 15, 1891.
5 Ibid., April 30, 1908.
6 The Acts of the Apostles, p. 29.
7 The Review and Herald, April 29, 1909.
8 Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 310–312.
9 The Signs of the Times, February 24, 1888.
10 The Review and Herald, December 13, 1906.