The Reformation Herald Online Edition

Ambassadors for Christ

The Pioneer Work of the Gospel
The Pioneer Work of the Gospel
Emil Barbu

The great Gospel commission of Jesus Christ to His disciples is: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matthew 28:19, 20).

What is the Gospel in this commission? The Gospel is the Good News. News is transmitted through words. So, the Gospel or the Good News is all the words that are incarnated in Jesus Christ. “And the Word was made flesh” (John 1:14). In fact, all the things that surround us are nothing else but the result of the words of God. The Bible says, “God said, Let there be light: and there was light. . . . And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so” (Genesis 1:3, 9). Even matter was made by His word!

The apostle John says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1, 3).

The apostle Paul explains that “by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17).

Even nowadays, words have creative power. For instance, when we pronounce a word, its sound goes to the external ear, then into the middle ear and in the inner ear it is transformed into a nervous impulse; through the acoustic nerve it travels into the temporal lobe where, because of the connections with the frontal lobes and the other cerebral hemispheres, the sounds are integrated and the information is stored in the neural system as matter. So, the words are transformed into matter in our brain.

This matter will remain there. The words that we hear are the source of thoughts, of the way we react; they lead to deeds, the deeds to habits, the habits form the traits of the character; and the character is in fact the person. So, we are the words that we choose to listen to.

The gospel is all those words that create in the human mind the character of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This is the divine image that humanity lost when sin entered our race.

In the beginning, when God created the world, everything was perfect, in perfect order and in subject to laws that were meant to maintain life in perfect and impressive harmony thus reflecting the character of the Creator.

All things were made by the Word and are upheld by the Word.

“The Lord made man upright in the beginning. He was created with a perfectly balanced mind, the size and strength of all its organs being perfectly developed. Adam was a perfect type of man. Every quality of mind was well proportioned, each having a distinctive office, and yet all dependent one upon another for the full and proper use of any one of them.”1

“He who created the mind and ordained its laws, provided for its development in accordance with them.”2

Health and sickness

According to medical science, health is a state of complete physical, mental, psychical, social and moral well-being.

This perfect state of physical, mental and moral well-being has only one secret: complete obedience to the laws that govern the universe, our galaxy, our solar system, the earth and our body—the macro- and micro-cosmos.

“The same power that upholds nature, is working also in man. The same great laws that guide alike the stars and the atom control human life. The laws that govern the heart’s action, regulating the flow of the current of life to the body, are the laws of the mighty Intelligence that has the jurisdiction of the soul. From Him all life proceeds. Only in harmony with Him can be found its true sphere of action. For all the objects of His creation the condition is the same—a life sustained by receiving the life of God, a life exercised in harmony with the Creator’s will. To transgress His law, physical, mental, or moral, is to place one’s self out of harmony with the universe, to introduce discord, anarchy, ruin.”3

Ever since I began studying how the human organism works and how we get sick, I have been in a dilemma: What gets first sick, the organism that holds the mind, or the mind that controls the organism?

All the words we hear create our thoughts. We know that a nourished thought can become an action, a repeated action becomes a custom and a repeated custom a trait of character, and the sum of the traits form the complete character. And the character is what the person is.

This means that disorder or illness appears when that disorder takes place in a person’s mind or way of thinking. The wise Solomon says that, “God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions” (Ecclesiastes 7:29).

Human degradation starts with the sin or the sinful thought. What is sin? Listening to a lie or a half-truth, or listening to words told in a way that produce doubt or to untrue words will lead to wrong actions (sins) that will degrade health.

“A continual transgression of nature’s laws is a continual transgression of the law of God. The present weight of suffering and anguish which we see everywhere, the present deformity, decrepitude, disease, and imbecility now flooding the world, make it, in comparison to what it might be and what God designed it should be, a lazar house [i.e., leper colony]; and the present generation are feeble in mental, moral, and physical power. All this misery has accumulated from generation to generation because fallen man will break the law of God. Sins of the greatest magnitude are committed through the indulgence of perverted appetite.”4 A perverted appetite is not merely intemperance concerning our food, work, or rest but also a perverted visual, auditory, and intellectual appetite.

The mind is altered by what it hears and sees and it becomes identical with the things it meditates upon. “Like the body, the mind derives its strength from the food it receives. It is broadened and elevated by pure, strengthening thoughts; but it is narrowed and debased by thoughts that are of the earth earthy.

“Parents, you ... cannot keep their [children’s] active minds unoccupied; neither can you frown away evil. Only by the inculcation of right principles can you exclude wrong thoughts. . . . Good, sound instruction is the only preventive of the evil communica-tions that corrupt good manners. Truth will protect the soul from the endless temptations that must be encountered. . . .

“Encourage your children to store the mind with valuable knowledge, to let that which is good occupy the soul and control its powers, leaving no place for low, debasing thoughts. Restrict the desire for reading matter that does not furnish good food for the mind. . . .

“Never should books [Editor: or electronic media] containing a perversion of truth be placed in the hands of children or youth. Let not our children, in the very process of obtaining an education, receive ideas that will prove to be seeds of sin.”5

Nowadays, the mind is perverted by a tool readily refined by evil. It is that “window” that, besides a few good things, offers a large view about what is infamous and degrading. But naturally, the human mind chooses what is evil. Sitting on this window (like Eutychus during the apostle Paul’s sermon), people will fall not inside but outside—and they will be led to degradation and ruin. We can find this window (screen) everywhere—in our tablets, smart phones and laptops. This habit of watching everything at any time exhausts people into such a degree that they lose their ability to discern between good and evil.

One of the most important functions of the brain is its capacity to discern between evil and good. In the psychiatric science this is called consciousness. It is benumbed then when we get psychically tired (by moving images), when we are in trance (induced by long watching of a screen).

The first act of disobedience was also caused by the inducement of a hypnotic state, an allurement—a speaking serpent. This first sin opened the door to disorder, degeneration, and death.

“God created man perfect and holy. But man fell from his holy estate because he transgressed God’s law. Since the Fall there has been a rapid increase of disease, suffering, and death. Yet notwithstanding man has insulted his Creator, God’s love is still extended to the race; and He permits light to shine that man may see that in order to live a perfect life he must live in harmony with those natural laws which govern his being. Therefore it is of the greatest importance that he know how to live so that his powers of body and mind may be exercised to the glory of God.”6

Pioneering for restoration

This work is wonderful. It is nothing else than the work of restoration of the mind through heavenly power—the power of the human will to choose under any circumstances the things that bring us closer to the heart of the Heavenly Father.

The work of the Gospel is to recreate/bring back order into the mind. The willing acceptance of that information contained in the Gospel, that operates in full harmony with the human mind, helping to guide and restore the body from sickness to health.

Christ’s mission in this world was to open a way through which humanity, though degraded by sin, could be brought back and integrated into the universal harmony of Heaven as a perfect being. This work of healing the mind and leading to the healing of the body and soul is the best good news. The Gospel revealed in Jesus Christ is the first treatment for fallen humanity. There is no healthy person in this world. The moral or spiritual degradation leads to degradation of the body. The only way through which we can be changed is by accepting into our mind that life changing information, that is, Jesus Christ.

Renowned researchers of the world have decided that Jesus Christ, with His perfect character, should be placed in the center of the time axis measuring human history. Everybody relates to Him.

He is not only the One who sustains the history, but also the One who uplifts people from their state of degradation and brings them back into heavenly places. This uplifting starts the moment we accept His words. Referring to this, the apostle Paul says: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

What is this Gospel and how does it represent the first step in the restoration of humanity?

“[Jesus] went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed by Satan. There were whole villages where there was not a moan of sickness in any house; for He had passed through them, and healed all their sick. His work gave evidence of His divine anointing. Love, mercy, and compassion were displayed in every act of His life; His heart went out in tender sympathy to the children of men.”7

The most important thing for everyone is the restoration of the human to reflect the image of God. This restoration begins by accepting the heavenly principles received by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No miraculous drug, no complex surgical intervention can produce those extraordinary changes that transform a sinful person into a good one, or that will destroy the traces of illness and death. This happens only by accepting Jesus Christ as the foundation of our thinking, as the seed for all our thoughts.

If we permit the hand of God that works in nature to govern our being, then illness will disappear and health will be restored.

“It is not by inherent power that year by year the earth yields its bounties and continues its march around the sun. The hand of the Infinite One is perpetually at work guiding this planet. It is God’s power continually exercised that keeps the earth in position in its rotation. It is God who causes the sun to rise in the heavens. He opens the windows of heaven and gives rain.”8

“The children of God are those who are partakers of His nature. It is not earthly rank, nor birth, nor nationality, nor religious privilege, which proves that we are members of the family of God; it is love, a love that embraces all humanity. Even sinners whose hearts are not utterly closed to God’s Spirit, will respond to kindness; while they may give hate for hate, they will also give love for love. But it is only the Spirit of God that gives love for hatred. To be kind to the unthankful and to the evil, to do good hoping for nothing again, is the insignia of the royalty of heaven, the sure token by which the children of the Highest reveal their high estate.”9

Whether we accept it or not, our presence is either a blessing, a remedy for our neighbors or, on the contrary, a poison, a savor of death unto death. This difference is made by what we cherish in our minds. If Jesus is there, this will be seen; if He is not, then both we and those who do not know God will be disappointed.

In the early church, the work of the apostles was far-reaching and profound. The beginning of every missionary effort is in fact the work of restoration of the body ruined by illness and suffering. Only after these sufferings were eased, could people experience a new life in Jesus Christ. By accepting Christ, their whole being was filled with His presence and they became channels of light for their neighbors. This spirit of life that filled them and effused to others came from that well of eternal life of which we can freely drink.

Practical science

The Gospel is not a theory. It is practical life. While I was working as an intern doctor in France, a surgeon colleague asked me over breakfast: “Why are you a vegetarian?” I answered, “Because of a piece of biblical information that is scientifically proven: Genesis 1:29.” Elaborating further in purely scientific terms with which, he, as a doctor, was familiar—the actual chemistry of how efficiently the elements of plant-based foods are assimilated into our system—this technical explanation, with God’s help, turned out to be an ideal “entering wedge” for him. He answered: “Wow! I have never thought of this! That’s really amazing!” The perfect chemical reactions of God’s design declare the greatness of His divine wisdom and about the plan made before creation. It is also why, as time passes, humanity discovers truths that the gospel made known centuries ago.

The power of any means of cure cannot be found in itself or in the person that uses it. Jesus Christ is the Healer. If this truth were understood by the medical community as well as the preachers of the Gospel, then the work of salvation would soon encompass the whole world as at the beginning of the early church. None can allow themselves to proudly believe they can heal. The health practitioner can only help, but the healing comes from the well of eternal life.

Most people are careless with their bodies; they eat without reason and their life is ruled by no order, they are greedy; they only want to gratify their appetite and lust, without realizing that their existence is owed to a Sacrifice. Other times they are only negligent or indifferent. They do not care what they introduce into their bodies. If they could understand the following statement, their life would be changed:

“Our Lord has said, ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. . . . For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed’ (John 6:53–55). This is true of our physical nature. To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food, but he is nourished by the body and the blood of Christ. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf. It is reflected in every water spring. All this Christ has taught in appointing the emblems of His great sacrifice. The light shining from that Communion service in the upper chamber makes sacred the provisions for our daily life. The family board becomes as the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament.”10

Conclusion

Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary. Our existence is a balm and a blessing. The presence of every human being that is saved through the mercy of the Lord Jesus is a place where life abounds. “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God” (Psalm 84:5–7). May all enjoy this happiness!

References
1 Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 72.
2 Education, p. 41.
3 Ibid., pp. 99, 100.
4 Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 30.
5 The Adventist Home, pp. 410, 411, 413.
6 Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 162, 163.
7 Steps to Christ, pp. 11, 12.
8 The Ministry of Healing, p. 416.
9 Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 75.
10 The Desire of Ages, p. 660.