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Soul Winning, Best Practice.

posted Oct 14, 2011, 7:29 AM by PlainvilleSDA   [ updated Oct 14, 2011, 7:29 AM ]

“Tactfulness,” pp. 117–119, in Gospel Workers Ellen G White

In the work of soul-winning, great tact and wisdom are needed. The Saviour never suppressed the truth, but He uttered it always in love. In His intercourse with others, He exercised the greatest tact, and He was always kind and thoughtful. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave unnecessary pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He fearlessly denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity, but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He never made truth cruel, but ever manifested a deep tenderness for humanity. Every soul was precious in His sight. He bore Himself with divine dignity; yet He bowed with the tenderest compassion and regard to every member of the family of God. He saw in all, souls whom it was His mission to save. {GW 117.1}

Paul’s Discretion

The minister must not feel that the whole truth is to be spoken to unbelievers on any and every occasion. He should study carefully when to speak, what to say, and what to leave unsaid. This is not practicing deception; it is working as Paul worked. “Though I be free from all men,” he wrote to the Corinthians, “yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as 118without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” [1 Corinthians 9:19-22.] {GW 117.2}

Paul did not approach the Jews in such a way as to arouse their prejudices. He did not at first tell them that they must believe in Jesus of Nazareth; but dwelt upon the prophecies that spoke of Christ, His mission and His work. Step by step he led his hearers on, showing the importance of honoring the law of God. He gave due honor to the ceremonial law, showing that it was Christ who instituted the Jewish economy and the sacrificial service. Then he brought them down to the first advent of the Redeemer, and showed that in the life and death of Christ every specification of the sacrificial service had been fulfilled. {GW 118.1}

The Gentiles, Paul approached by exalting Christ, and then presenting the binding claims of the law. He showed how the light reflected by the cross of Calvary gave significance and glory to the whole Jewish economy. {GW 118.2}

Thus the apostle varied his manner of labor, shaping his message to the circumstances under which he was placed. After patient labor he was successful to a large degree; yet there were many who would not be convinced. Some there are today who will not be convinced by any method of presenting the truth; and the laborer for God is to study carefully the best methods, that he may not arouse prejudice or combativeness. This is where some have failed. By following their natural inclinations, they have closed doors through which they might, by a different method of 119labor, have found access to hearts, and through them to other hearts. {GW 118.3}

God’s workmen must be many-sided men; that is, they must have breadth of character. They are not to be one-idea men, stereotyped in their manner of working, unable to see that their advocacy of truth must vary with the class of people among whom they work and the circumstances they have to meet. {GW 119.1}

There is delicate work for the minister to do as he meets with alienation, bitterness, and opposition. More than others, he needs that wisdom which “is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” [James 3:17.] As the dew and the still showers fall gently upon withering plants, so his words are to fall gently when he proclaims the truth. He is to win souls, not to repulse them. He is to study to be skillful when there are no rules to meet the case. {GW 119.2}

Many souls have been turned in the wrong direction, and thus lost to the cause of God, by a lack of skill and wisdom on the part of the worker. Tact and good judgment increase the usefulness of the laborer a hundred-fold. If he will speak the right words at the right time, and show the right spirit, this will exert a melting power on the heart of the one he is trying to help. {GW 119.3}

In New Fields

In laboring in a new field, do not think it your duty to say at once to the people, We are Seventh-day Adventists; we believe that the seventh day is the Sabbath; we believe in the non-immortality of the soul. This would often erect a formidable barrier between 120you and those you wish to reach. Speak to them, as you have opportunity, upon points of doctrine on which you can agree. Dwell on the necessity of practical godliness. Give them evidence that you are a Christian, desiring peace, and that you love their souls. Let them see that you are conscientious. Thus you will gain their confidence; and there will be time enough for doctrines. Let the heart be won, the soil prepared, and then sow the seed, presenting in love the truth as it is in Jesus. {GW 119.4}

God will surely help those who seek Him for wisdom. We are not to wait until opportunities come to us; we are to seek for opportunities, and we are to be ready always to give a reason for the hope that is in us. If the worker keeps his heart uplifted in prayer, God will help him to speak the right word at the right time. {GW 120.1}

In seeking to correct or reform others, we should be careful of our words. They will be a savor of life unto life, or of death unto death. In giving reproof or counsel, many indulge in sharp, severe speech, words not adapted to heal the wounded soul. By these ill-advised expressions the spirit is chafed, and often the erring ones are stirred to rebellion. {GW 120.2}

All who would advocate the principles of truth need to receive the heavenly oil of love. Under all circumstances reproof should be spoken in love. Then our words will reform, but not exasperate. Christ by His Holy Spirit will supply the force and the power. This is His Work. {GW 120.3}

“Manuscript Release 898,” pp. 1092, 1093, in 1888 Materials, vol. 3

One man may be conversant with the Scriptures, and some particular portion of the Scripture may be especially appreciated by him; another sees another portion as very important, and thus one may present one point, and another, another point, and both may be of highest value. This is all in the order of God. But if a man makes a mistake in his interpretation of some portion of the Scripture, shall this cause diversity and disunion? God forbid. We cannot then take a position that the unity of the church consists in viewing every text of Scripture in the very same light. The church may pass resolution upon resolution to put down all disagreement of opinions, but we cannot force the mind and will, and thus root out disagreement. These resolutions may conceal the discord, but they cannot quench it and establish perfect agreement. Nothing can perfect unity in the church but the spirit of Christlike forbearance. Satan can sow discord; Christ alone can harmonize the disagreeing elements. Then let every soul sit down in Christ’s school and learn of Christ, who declares Himself to be meek and lowly of heart. Christ says that if we learn of Him, worries will cease and we shall find rest to our souls. {1888 1092.1}

The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1092.2 (EGW)

The great truths of the Word of God are so clearly stated that none need make a mistake in understanding them. When as individual members of the church, you love God supremely and your neighbor as yourself, there will 1093be no need of labored efforts to be in unity, for there will be oneness in Christ as a natural result. The ears will no longer be open to reports that will injure your neighbor, and no one will take up a reproach against his neighbor. The members of the church will cherish love and unity, and be as one great family. Then we shall bear the divine credentials to the world, that will testify that God has sent His Son into the world. Christ has said, “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one for another” (John 13:35). The divinity of Christ is acknowledged in the unity of the children of God. {1888 1092.2}

The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1093.1 (EGW)

Brethren, when you humble your hearts before God, you will see that there is danger of Pharisaism in every church, danger of thinking and praying as did the self-righteous Pharisee: “I thank God that I am not as other men are.” Oh, that there may be a breaking up of the fallow ground of the heart, that the seeds of truth may take deep root and spring up and bear much fruit to the glory of God! My brethren, when you would accuse one of the brethren, consider the words of Jesus, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone” (John 8:7). Your sin may not be the particular sin that is under consideration, but Jesus’ words mean that when you are free from sin you may cast the first stone. When Jesus spoke these words to the accusers, their guilty consciences were aroused. They could not answer Him; they were convicted each in his own conscience, and they went out one by one, beginning at the oldest even to the youngest. {1888 1093.1}

The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 1093.2 (EGW)

What can Christ who is so forgiving, so patient with all our mistakes, so rich in mercy and love, think of our hard-hearted criticism and fault-finding? Love for your erring brethren will produce far greater effect in 1094reforming them than all your harsh criticisms. Let all the faults and emotions of the heart be after Christ’s order. Let self be put out of sight. The Lord would have the thoughts and the language and the experience of Christian life far more attractive than it is today. If they are not more like Jesus they can never be the light of the world. Our work is between God and our own individual souls. What are you thinking of, my brethren? There is work to be done in the saving of souls around you, and precious time is passing. The hours of probation will soon close. Is your work for the Master of that character that you will hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21)? {1888 1093.2}

 

The Sabbath and the Marriage Bed

posted Sep 8, 2011, 3:10 PM by PlainvilleSDA   [ updated Sep 8, 2011, 3:14 PM ]

Originally posted at the Sabbath School Network

Posted on September 7, 2011 by Andrew S Baker

One of the most popular questions that is posed concerning Sabbath observance is whether or not it is proper for a husband and wife to engage in sexual relations during the Sabbath hours. This question was raised in response to a posting I made on the significance of the Sabbath.  (Also found on SSNET.org)

Although the Bible doesn’t answer this question directly, it does provide some key guidelines and principles that can help each couple come to a mutually satisfaction resolution.

The most commonly quoted texts against sexual intimacy on the Sabbath are Exodus 19:10-15 (especially verse 15) and Isaiah 58:13,14.

The Mount Sinai Experience

I have not been able to determine what day of the week that God came down to Mount Sinai, but the injunction that Moses placed upon the people to abstain from sexual activity as they awaited the appearance of God on the mountain was clearly a special and isolated event. Note that they had to prepare for God to come three (3) days hence, and that throughout the entire preparation time, they were to abstain. There is nothing to suggest that this is a precedent for how to keep the weekly Sabbath on a continuing basis, and if we were, that would rule out Thursday, Friday and the Sabbath. God’s visit to Mount Sinai was an  extraordinary event, and the things associated with it should be considered just as extraordinary.

The fact that only Exodus 19:15 contains a prohibition against sexual relations, when none of the many Sabbath commandments do, should be proof enough that the Mount Sinai event was very special one, and not a precedent for Sabbath keeping in general.

Doing Your Pleasure

The phrase “doing your own pleasure” of Isaiah 58 would seem to be more applicable, but consider the context of the chapter. Nothing else in Isaiah 58 appears to be covering personal relationships in this fashion. Isaiah 58 is a call to God’s people, informing them that, while they are going through the motions of worship and religious experience, they are busy fighting, oppressing the poor and weak, and failing to provide for the needs of others. While there is nothing wrong with evaluating marital relations within the context of these two verses (Isaiah 58:13,14), it does not automatically flow from the context.

Furthermore, while sexual intercourse is intended to be pleasurable for each participant, the goal of each person should be to express love and give pleasure to one’s spouse. For Christians, it is not supposed to be about finding one’s own pleasure.

The Sanctity of the Marriage Bed

The Apostle Paul makes several references to marriage and the marital relations.  In Hebrews 13:4, he indicates that marriage and the marital bed are honorable.  In 1 Corinthians 7, which is a chapter with a lot of counsel pertaining to marriage and relationships, Paul recommends that a married couple should not abstain from intimacy with each other unless mutually agreed upon for some reason, such as prayer and fasting (v5). In Ephesians 5:21-33, Paul expounds on how we should treat one another, focusing primarily on the marital relationship. In verses 31 and 32, he even goes so far as to compare the joining together of a husband and wife, with the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church. The books of Isaiah and Revelation are replete with references to God and His people in a marital context, which is why Israel was said to have committed whoredom whenever they turned to worshiping idols.

When you consider the sacredness of the marriage institution as God gave it to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, and you add the fact that all throughout the Bible, this same level of intimacy between a man and his wife is compared to the relationship that God has with His people, it is hard to conclude that sexual intimacy during the Sabbath hours – particularly during the night-time of the Sabbath – is forbidden by Scripture.

There is nothing to suggest that there has ever been any injunction against it, and I personally have a hard time looking at Genesis 1:28 and coming to the conclusion that God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful, but didn’t explain exactly how to go about it until the first day of the next week.  Smile

In that vein, Christian couples should consider how special a gift it was that God gave to mankind, and engage in it in a way which reflects its precious and holy origins.

Preferring One Another

The Bible speaks extensively about sex and about the Sabbath, but never about the former being inappropriate during the latter. Now, if your options are choosing being sexual intimacy vs going to church during the morning hours of the Sabbath, I might have to question your priorities. But, as for the night time, there is no biblical prohibition.

Having said all that, please note that 1 Corinthians 7, Romans 12, and Ephesians 5 highlight a major principle that should govern this discussion:

Ephesians 5:21 KJV
(21)  Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

1 Corinthians 7:3-4 KJV
(3)  Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
(4)  The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

Romans 12:10 KJV
(10)  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

We are to give preference to the needs and desires of our spouses over ourselves. This works best, of course, when both spouses are honoring and preferring one another, so that no one is being taken advantage of. Forcibly persuading or attempting to guilt spouses into doing something that they feel is wrong or inappropriate is completely unChristlike.

If your spouse feels very strongly that sexual intimacy on the Sabbath is not in line with Biblical principles, then all attempts to convince her that she is wrong – whether using the Bible or not – would be wrong.  And, you have to ask yourself just how effective it will be to bond with your spouse under those circumstances. This is equally true of a wife trying to convince a husband, lest anyone conclude that this is a one-sided issue.

If the sanctity of marriage were more universally appreciated, and the joy of the Sabbath were better understood, this issue might soon become far less of a contention among Christian couples.

 

Gospel Dance

posted Sep 8, 2011, 3:02 PM by PlainvilleSDA   [ updated Sep 8, 2011, 3:09 PM ]

Sabbath School September 3, 2011

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”

Philippians 2:5


Sunday August 28 lessons

“Apostasy does not happen overnight; whole peoples do not fall away in a day, a week, even in a year. The process is much slower; a little change here, a little compromise there; a little less rigidity in order to keep up with the times, or to be relevant, or to fit better with the trends of society and culture. Bit by bit, step by step, and, before long a whole nation is doing things that, perhaps a generation or two ago, would have been looked upon in horror. Such was the fate of the ancient Israel and Judah; such was the fate of early Christianity. Such can be the fate of any church, including ours, that does not carefully and jealously guard the sacred truths and practices given it by the Lord.”

Gospel Dance:

2 Samuel 6:14 - And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.

 

The Review and Herald

June 14, 1887

But above everything else it should be impressed upon the individuals who have decided to become God’s servants, that they must be converted men. The heart must be pure. Godliness is essential for this life and the life which is to come. The man without a solid, virtuous character will surely be no honor to the cause of truth. The youth who contemplates laboring together with God, should be pure in heart. In his lips, in his mouth, should be no guile. The thoughts should be pure. Holiness of life and character is a rare thing, but this the worker must have or he cannot yoke up with Christ. Christ says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” If those who purpose to work for others’ good and for the salvation of their fellow-men rely on their own wisdom, they will fail. If they are entertaining humble views of themselves, then they are simple enough to believe in God and expect his help. “Lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Then we have the privilege of being directed by a wise counselor, and increased understanding is given to the true, sincere seeker for truth and for knowledge.

The reason why we have no more men of great breadth and extended knowledge, is because they trust to their own finite wisdom, and seek to place their own mold upon the work, in the place of having the mold of God. They do not earnestly pray and keep the communication open between God and their souls, that they can recognize his voice. Messengers of light will come to the help of those who feel that they are weakness itself, without the guardianship of Heaven. The word of God must be studied more, and be brought into the life and character, fashioned after the standard of righteousness God has laid down in his word. Then the mind will expand and strengthen, and be ennobled by grasping the things that are eternal. While the world are careless and indifferent to the message of warning and mercy given them in the Bible, God’s people, who see the end near, should be more decided and more devoted, and work more earnestly, that they may show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Knowledge is power, either for good or for evil. Bible religion is the only safeguard for human beings. Much attention is given to the youth in this age, that they may enter a room gracefully, dance, and play on instruments of music. But this education is denied them, to know God and to answer to his claims. The education that is lasting as eternity, is almost wholly neglected as old fashioned and undesirable. The educating of the children to take hold of the work of character-building in reference to their present good, their present peace and happiness, and to guide their feet in the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in, is considered not fashionable, and, therefore, not essential. In order to have your children enter the gates of the city of God as conquerors, they must be educated to fear God and keep his commandments in the present life. It is these that Jesus has pronounced blessed: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

 

Mind, Character, and Personality Volume 1, Page 314

The Fashionable Modern Dance—David’s dancing in reverent joy before God has been cited by pleasure lovers in justification of the fashionable modern dance, but there is no ground for such an argument. In our day, dancing is associated with folly and midnight reveling. Health and morals are sacrificed to pleasure. By the frequenters of the ballroom, God is not an object of thought and reverence; prayer or the song of praise would be felt to be out of place in their assemblies.

This test should be decisive. Amusements that have a tendency to weaken the love for sacred things and lessen our joy in the service of God are not to be sought by Christians. The music and dancing in joyful praise to God at the removal of the ark had not the faintest resemblance to the dissipation of modern dancing. The one tended to the remembrance of God, and exalted His holy name. The other is a device of Satan to cause men to forget God and to dishonor Him.—

 

 View the following example of gospel dance

 

The question is:

“Is a whole nation is doing things that, perhaps a generation or two ago, would have been looked upon in horror?” More importantly, are you doing things today that God would look upon in horror?

The purpose of this and any ministry is to get you to think not to think for you. What do you think? Does it belong in the church?


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