As the medical missionary work becomes more extended, there will be a temptation to make it independent of our conferences. But it has been presented to me that this plan is not right. The different lines of our work are but parts of one great whole. They have one center.
In Colossians we read: "The body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshiping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God." Colossians 2:17-19. Our work in all its lines is to demonstrate the influence of the cross. The work of God in the plan of salvation is not to be done in any disjointed way. It is not to operate at random. The plan that provided the influence of the cross provided also the methods of its diffusion. This method is simple in its principles and comprehensive in its plain, distinct lines. Part is connected with part in perfect order and relation.
God has brought His people together in church capacity in order that they may reveal to the world the wisdom of Him who formed this organization. He knew what plans to outline for the efficiency and success of His people. Adherence to these plans will enable them to testify of the divine authorship of God's great plan for the restoration of the world.
Those who take part in God's work are to be led and guided by Him. Every human ambition is to be merged in Christ, who is the head over all the institutions that God has established. He knows how to set in operation and keep in operation His own agencies. He knows that the cross must occupy the central place because it is the means of man's atonement and because of the influence it exerts on every part of the divine government. The Lord Jesus, who has been through all the history of our world, understands the methods that should be invested with power over human minds. He knows the importance of every agency and understands how the varied agencies should be related one to another.
"None of us liveth to himself." Romans 14:7. This is a law of God in heaven and on earth. God is the great center. From Him all life proceeds. To Him all service, homage, and allegiance belong. For all created beings there is the one great principle of life--dependence upon and co-operation with God. The relationship existing in the pure family of God in heaven was to exist in the family of God on earth. Under God, Adam was to stand at the head of the earthly family to maintain the principles of the heavenly family. This would have brought peace and happiness. But the law that none "liveth to himself" Satan was determined to oppose. He desired to live for self. He sought to make himself a center of influence. It was this that incited rebellion in heaven, and it was man's acceptance of this principle that brought sin on earth. When Adam sinned, man broke away from the heaven-ordained center. A demon became the central power in the world. Where God's throne should have been, Satan had placed his throne. The world laid its homage, as a willing offering, at the feet of the enemy.
Who could bring in the principles ordained by God in His rule and government to counterwork the plans of Satan and bring the world back to its loyalty? God said: I will send My Son. "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16. This is the remedy for sin. Christ says: "Where Satan has set his throne, there shall stand My cross. Satan shall be cast out, and I will be lifted up to draw all men unto Me. I will become the center of the redeemed world. The Lord God shall be exalted. Those who are now controlled by human ambition, human passions, shall become workers for Me. Evil influences have conspired to counterwork all good. They have confederated to make men think it righteous to oppose the law of Jehovah. But My army shall meet in conflict with the satanic force. My Spirit shall combine with every heavenly agency to oppose them. I will engage every sanctified human agency in the universe. None of My agencies are to be absent. I have work for all who love Me, employment for every soul who will work under My direction. The activity of Satan's army, the danger that surrounds the human soul, calls for the energies of every worker. But no compulsion shall be exercised. Man's depravity is to be met by the love, the patience, the long-suffering of God. My work shall be to save those who are under Satan's rule."
Through Christ, God works to bring man back to his first relation to his Creator and to correct the disorganizing influences brought in by Satan. Christ alone stood unpolluted in a world of selfishness, where men would destroy a friend or a brother in order to accomplish a scheme put into their hands by Satan. Christ came to our world, clothing His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity and divinity grasp divinity. Amid the din of selfishness He could say to men: Return to your center--God. He Himself made it possible for man to do this by carrying out in this world the principles of heaven. In humanity He lived the law of God. To men in every nation, every country, every clime, He will impart heaven's choicest gifts if they will accept God as their Creator and Christ as their Redeemer.
Christ alone can do this. His gospel in the hearts and hands of His followers is the power which is to accomplish this great work. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" By Himself becoming subject to Satan's misrepresentations, Christ made it possible for the work of redemption to be accomplished. Thus was Satan to show himself to be the cause of disloyalty in God's universe. Thus was to be forever settled the great controversy between Christ and Satan.
Satan strengthens the destructive tendencies of man's nature. He brings in envy, jealousy, selfishness, covetousness, emulation, and strife for the highest place. Evil agencies act their part through the devising of Satan. Thus the enemy's plans, with their destructive tendencies, have been brought into the church. Christ comes with His own redeeming influence, proposing through the agency of His Spirit to impart His efficiency to men, and to employ them as His instrumentalities, laborers together with Him in seeking to draw the world back to its loyalty.
Men are bound in fellowship, in dependence, to one another. By the golden links of the chain of love they are to be bound fast to the throne of God. This can be done only by Christ's imparting to finite man the attributes which man would ever have possessed had he remained loyal and true to God.
Those who, through an intelligent understanding of the Scriptures, view the cross aright, those who truly believe in Jesus, have a sure foundation for their faith. They have that faith which works by love and purifies the soul from all its hereditary and cultivated imperfections.
God has united believers in church capacity in order that one may strengthen another in good and righteous endeavor. The church on earth would indeed be a symbol of the church in heaven if the members were of one mind and of one faith. It is those who are not moved by the Holy Spirit that mar God's plan. Another spirit takes possession of them, and they help to strengthen the forces of darkness. Those who are sanctified by the precious blood of Christ will not become the means of counterworking the great plan which God has devised. They will not bring human depravity into things small or great. They will do nothing to perpetuate division in the church.
It is true there are tares among the wheat; in the body of Sabbathkeepers evils are seen; but because of this shall we disparage the church? Shall not the managers of every institution, the leaders of every church, take up the work of purification in such a way that the transformation in the church shall make it a bright light in a dark place?
What may not even one believer do in the exercise of pure, heavenly principles if he refuses to be contaminated, if he will stand as firm as a rock to a "Thus saith the Lord"? Angels of God will come to his help, preparing the way before him.
Paul wrote to the Romans: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:1, 2. This entire chapter is a lesson which I entreat all who claim to be members of the body of Christ to study. Again Paul wrote: "If the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest He also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." Romans 11:16-22. Very plainly these words show that there is to be no disparaging of the agencies which God has placed in the church.
Sanctified ministry calls for self-denial. The cross must be uplifted and its place in the gospel work shown. Human influence is to draw its efficacy from the One who is able to save and to keep saved all who recognize their dependence on Him. By the union of church members with Christ and with one another the transforming power of the gospel is to be diffused throughout the world.
In the work of the gospel the Lord uses different instrumentalities, and nothing is to be allowed to separate these instrumentalities. Never should a sanitarium be established as an enterprise independent of the church. Our physicians are to unite with the work of the ministers of the gospel. Through their labors souls are to be saved, that the name of God may be magnified.
Medical missionary work is in no case to be divorced from the gospel ministry. The Lord has specified that the two shall be as closely connected as the arm is with the body. Without this union neither part of the work is complete. The medical missionary work is the gospel in illustration.
But God did not design that the medical missionary work should eclipse the work of the third angel's message. The arm is not to become the body. The third angel's message is the gospel message for these last days, and in no case is it to be overshadowed by other interests and made to appear an unessential consideration. When in our institutions anything is placed above the third an gel's message, the gospel is not there the great leading power.
The cross is the center of all religious institutions. These institutions are to be under the control of the Spirit of God; in no institution is any one man to be the sole head. The divine mind has men for every place.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, every work of God's appointment is to be elevated and ennobled, and made to witness for the Lord. Man must place himself under the control of the eternal mind, whose dictates he is to obey in every particular.
Let us seek to understand our privilege of walking and working with God. The gospel, though it contains God's expressed will, is of no value to men, high or low, rich or poor, unless they place themselves in subjection to God. He who bears to his fellow men the remedy for sin must himself first be moved by the Spirit of God. He must not ply the oars unless he is under divine direction. He cannot work effectually, he cannot carry out the will of God in harmony with the divine mind, unless he finds out, not from human sources, but from infinite wisdom, that God is pleased with his plans.
God's benevolent design embraces every branch of His work. The law of reciprocal dependence and influence is to be recognized and obeyed. "None of us liveth to himself." The enemy has used the chain of dependence to draw men together. They have united to destroy God's image in man, to counterwork the gospel by perverting its principles. They are represented in God's word as being bound in bundles to be burned. Satan is uniting his forces for perdition. The unity of God's chosen people has been terribly shaken. God presents a remedy. This remedy is not one influence among many influences and on the same level with them; it is an influence above all influences upon the face of the earth, corrective, uplifting, and ennobling. Those who work in the gospel should be elevated and sanctified, for they are dealing with God's great principles. Yoked up with Christ, they are laborers together with God. Thus the Lord desires to bind His followers together, that they may be a power for good, each acting his part, yet all cherishing the sacred principle of dependence on the Head.
Christ was bound up in all branches of the work of God. He made no division. He did not feel that He was infringing on the work of the physician when He healed the sick. He proclaimed the truth, and when the sick came to Him to be healed, He was just as ready to lay His hands on them as He was to preach the gospel. He was just as much at home in this work as in proclaiming the truth.