Instruction for Men in Positions of Responsibility
MR No. 1098—Instruction for Men in Positions of Responsibility
Although a man may be entrusted with great responsibilities, his high position may not be the measure of his character. The responsibilities accepted do not make him perfect or trustworthy. His acceptance with God depends upon his fear to offend, and his obedience to God's requirements. If he departs from the counsel of God, he is no longer under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
When men who profess to keep God's commandments, often dwelling on the importance of obeying the law of God, fail to work righteousness and walk against the law of God, He sends messengers to warn them and turn them to the paths of righteousness. But many who have not that faith that works by love and purifies the soul will refuse to heed God's warnings.
To all who seek Him God will grant special manifestations of His presence and favor. But to those who forsake Him He gives the warning, I also will forsake them. At times the Lord sends His messengers to warn His servants not to do the things that they think are best. God sees the end from the beginning, and He would save them from the difficulties and entanglements that would come as a result of their own planning. He would have their influence kept clean, and powerful for good, not injured by human errors.
A man may make plans that as far as he can discern appear to him to be faultless. How merciful God is to reach forth a restraining hand, saying, Follow not that course, for it will bring trouble to your own soul and confusion and perplexity to other minds, leading them to wrong conclusions. If, after the Lord has said, Do not advance in that direction, the man disregards the warning, the evil results from which God wished to save him will certainly follow.
The Lord would have all men walk humbly with God. If men will engage in His service and with much prayer persevere in well doing, the Lord will abundantly reward them. Their confidence in the wisdom of God's leading will increase. They will not be left in uncertainty, but, walking in the way of the Lord, they will become steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. God is well pleased with their obedience to all His requirements.
If a man will walk in the fear of the Lord, with perfect respect for all His counsels, the Lord will cause his influence to be felt. If, notwithstanding a dark outlook, man will choose the right instead of the wrong, the Lord will make multitudes to be at peace with him. As he sees the goodness of God in barring the way which would have led to embarrassment, he will give God the honor and glory due to His holy name.
Our natural affection for relatives and friends should not lead us to connive in the least at their sins, nor prevent us, when they are in the wrong, from taking decided measures to change their course and prevent the evil influence of their mistakes from being felt. When men, following their own course, become involved in perplexity thereby, they often rely upon men to relieve the situation, and feel aggrieved if their expectations are not realized. But God would not be pleased to have them relieved, because they are to be chastened for their disobedience. [2 Chronicles 17:3, 7, 9, 10, quoted.]
Obedience to the Lord always brings favor, and a faithful discharge of righteous principles will bear the divine credentials; but the Lord is dishonored when those who are placed as stewards, guardians of God's flock, sustain and sanction an evil work.
The outward signs of fasting and prayer, without a broken and contrite spirit, are of no value in God's sight. The inward work of grace is needed. Humiliation of soul is essential. God looks upon this. He will graciously receive those who will humble their hearts before Him. He will hear their petitions and heal their backslidings.
Ministers and people need the work of purification in their souls, that God's judgments may be turned away from them. God is waiting, waiting for humiliation and repentance. He will receive all who will turn unto Him with their whole heart.
God's Purpose for His Church.—God gives men the light, but many are filled with a self-sufficient, masterly spirit; and they strive by carrying out their own ideas to reach a height where they will be as God. They place their mind first, as if God must serve with them. Herein lies the danger in this: Unless God shall in some way make these men understand that He is God, and that they are to serve Him, human inventions will be brought in that will lead away from Bible truth, notwithstanding all the cautions that have been given.
The Lord Jesus will always have a chosen people to serve Him. When the Jewish people rejected Christ, the Prince of life, He took from them the kingdom of God and gave it unto the Gentiles. God will continue to work on this principle with every branch of His work. When a church proves unfaithful to the word of the Lord, whatever their position may be, however high and sacred their calling, the Lord can no longer work with them. Others are then chosen to bear important responsibilities. But if these in turn do not purify their lives from every wrong action; if they do not establish pure and holy principles in all their borders, then the Lord will grievously afflict and humble them, and, unless they repent, will remove them from their place and make them areproach.
When parents sanction and thus perpetuate the wrongs in their children as did Eli, God will surely bring them to the place where they will see that they have not only ruined their own influence but also the influence of the youth whom they should have restrained. And when children sanction and perpetuate the sins of their fathers, the Lord will recompense them both together. They will have bitter lessons to learn.
God is not “worshipped with men's hands, as though He needed anything” [Acts 17:25]. No magnificence of outward display can please God when the heart is serving idols and the hands are polluted with iniquity. The Holy Spirit will unite with those in the church who, with contrition of heart, will walk humbly with God. To all who look to Him and walk in the footsteps of Christ, He gives sanctification, comfort, and victory over the world.
The people of God, His chosen kingdom, are not as a stagnant pool. They are as a river, constantly flowing, and as it advances becoming deeper and wider until its life-giving waters are spread over all the earth. Whenever the gospel of God is received, its grace heals the maladies that sin has produced. The Sun of Righteousness arises with healing in His beams. Light, strength, and refreshing come from the Lord, and the good fruit borne bears witness to a work of righteousness.—Manuscript 33, 1903.
Ellen G. White Estate
Washington, D. C.,
October 9, 1984.