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Acts 20:28

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Made you overseers - Εθετο επισκοπους, Appointed you bishops; for so we translate the original word in most places where it occurs: but overseers, or inspectors, is much more proper, from επι, over, and σκεπτομαι, I look. The persons who examine into the spiritual state of the flock of God, and take care to lead them in and out, and to find them pasture, are termed episcopoi, or superintendents. The office of a bishop is from God; a true pastor only can fulfill this office: it is an office of most awful responsibility; few there are who can fill it; and, of those who occupy this high and awful place, perhaps we may say there are fewer still who discharge the duties of it. There are, however, through the good providence of God, Christian bishops, who, while they are honored by the calling, do credit to the sacred function. And the annals of our Church can boast of at least as many of this class of men, who have served their God and their generation, as of any other order, in the proportion which this order bears to others in the Church of Christ. That bishop and presbyter, or elder, were at this time of the same order, and that the word was indifferently used of both, see noticed on Acts 20:17; (note).

Feed the Church of God - This verse has been the subject of much controversy, particularly in reference to the term Θεου, of God, in this place; and concerning it there is great dissension among the MSS. and versions. Three readings exist in them, in reference to which critics and commentators have been much divided; viz. εκκλησιαν του Θεου, the Church of God; του Κυριου, of the Lord; Κυριου και Θεου, of the Lord and God. From the collections of Wetstein and Griesbach, it appears that but few MSS., and none of them very ancient, have the word Θεου, of God; with these only the Vulgate, and the later Syriac in the text, agree. Κυριου, of the Lord, is the reading of ACDE, several others, the Sahidic, Coptic, later Syriac in the margin, Armenian, Ethiopia, and some of the fathers. Κυριου και Θεου, of the Lord and of God, is the reading of the great majority; though the most ancient are for Κυριου, of the Lord: on this ground Griesbach has admitted this reading into the text, and put Κυριου και Θεου in the margin, as being next in authority.

Mr. Wakefield, who was a professed and conscientious Unitarian, decides for του Θεου, of God, as the true reading; but, instead of translating του ιδιου αἱματος, with his own blood, he translates, by his own Son, and brings some passages from the Greek and Roman writers to show that αἱμα and sanguis are used to signify son, or near relative; and, were this the only place where purchasing with his own blood occurred, we might receive this saying; but, as the redemption of man is, throughout the New Testament, attributed to the sacrificial death of Christ, it is not likely that this very unusual meaning should apply here. At all events, we have here a proof that the Church was purchased by the blood of Christ; and, as to his Godhead, it is sufficiently established in many other places. When we grant that the greater evidence appears to be in favor of του Κυριου, feed the Church of the Lord, which he has purchased with his own blood, we must maintain that, had not this Lord been God, his blood could have been no purchase for the souls of a lost world.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Take heed, therefore - Attend to; be on your guard against the dangers which beset you, and seek to discharge your duty with fidelity.

Unto yourselves - To your own piety, opinions, and mode of life. This is the first duty of a minister; for without this all his preaching will be vain. Compare Colossians 4:17; 1 Timothy 4:14. Ministers are beset with unique dangers and temptations, and against them they should be on their guard. In addition to the temptations which they have in common with other people, they are exposed to those special to their office - arising from flattery, and ambition, and despondency, and worldly-mindedness. And just in proportion to the importance of their office is the importance of the injunction of Paul, to take heed to themselves.

And to all the flock - The church; the charge entrusted to them. The church of Christ is often compared to a flock. See the John 21:15-17 notes. The word “flock” here refers particularly to the church, and not to the congregation in general, for it is represented to be what was purchased with the blood of the atonement. The command here is:

(1) To take heed to the church; that is, to instruct, teach, and guide it; to guard it from enemies Acts 20:29, and to make it their special object to promote its welfare.

(2) to take heed to all the flock the rich and the poor, the bond and the free, the old and the young. It is the duty of ministers to seek to promote the welfare of each individual of their charge not to pass by the poor because they are poor, and not to be afraid of the rich because they are rich. A shepherd regards the I interest of the tenderest of the fold as much as the strongest; and a faithful minister will seek to advance the interest of all. To do this he should know all his people; should be acquainted, as far as possible, with their unique needs, character, and dangers, and should devote himself to their welfare as his first and main employment.

Over the which the Holy Ghost - Though they had been appointed, doubtless, by the church, or by the apostles, yet it is here represented as having been done by the Holy Spirit. It was by him:

(1)Because he had called and qualified them for their work; and,

(2)Because they had been set apart in accordance with his direction and will.

Overseers - ἐπισκόπους episkopous“Bishops.” The word properly denotes those who are appointed “to oversee or inspect anything.” This passage proves that the name “bishop” was applicable to elders; that in the time of the apostles, the name “bishop” and “presbyter,” or “elder,” was given to the same class of officers, and, of course, that there was no distinction between them. One term was originally used to denote “office,” the other term denotes “age,” and both words were applied to the same persons in the congregation. The same thing occurs in Titus 1:5-7, where those who in Titus 1:5 are called “elders,” are in Titus 1:7 called “bishops.” See also 1 Timothy 3:1-10; Philemon 1:1.

To feed - ποιμαίνειν poimaineinThis word is properly applied to the care which a shepherd exercises over his flock. See the notes on John 21:15-16. It is applicable not only to the act of feeding a flock, but also to that of protecting, guiding, and guarding it. It here denotes not merely the “duty” of instructing the church, but also of “governing” it; of “securing” it from enemies Acts 20:29, and of “directing” its affairs so as to promote its edification and peace.

The church of God - This is one of three passages in the New Testament in regard to which there has been a long controversy among critics, which is not yet determined. The controversy is, whether is this the correct and genuine reading. The other two passages are, 1 Timothy 3:16, and 1 John 5:7. The mss. and versions here exhibit three readings: “the church of God” τοῦ Θεός tou Theosthe church of the Lord τοῦ Κυρίου tou Kuriouand the church of the Lord and God Κυρίος καὶ Θεός . The Latin Vulgate reads it “God.” The Syriac, “the Lord.” The Arabic, “the Lord God.” The Ethiopic, “the Christian family of God.” The reading which now occurs in our text is found in no ancient mss. except the Vatican Codex, and occurs nowhere among the writings of the fathers except in Athanasius, in regard to whom also there is a various reading.

It is retained, however, by Beza, Mill, and Whitby as the genuine reading. The most ancient mss., and the best, read “the church of the Lord,” and this probably was the genuine text. It has been adopted by Griesbach and Wetstein; and many important reasons may be given why it should be retained. See those reasons stated at length in Kuinoel “in loco”; see also Griesbach and Wetstein. It may be remarked, that a change from Lord to God might easily be made in the transcribing, for in ancient mss. the words are not written at length, but are abbreviated. Thus, the name Christ Χριστός Christosis written ChoS; the name God θεός theosis written ThoS; the name Lord κύριος kuriosis written KOS; and a mistake, therefore, of a single letter would lead to the variations observable in the manuscripts. Compare in this place the note of Mill in his Greek Testament. The authority for the name “God” is so doubtful that it should not be used as a proof text on the divinity of Christ, and is not necessary, as there are so many undisputed passages on that subject.

Which he hath purchased - The word used here περιεποιήσατο periepoiēsatooccurs but in one other place in the New Testament - 1 Timothy 3:13, “For they that have used the office of deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree and great boldness in the faith.” The word properly means “to acquire or gain anything; to make it ours.” This may be done by a price, or by labor, etc. The noun ( περιποίησις peripoiēsis) derived from this verb is used several times in the New Testament, and denotes “acquisition:” 1 Thessalonians 5:9, God hath appointed us “to obtain” (unto the obtaining or acquisition of) salvation”; 2 Thessalonians 2:14, “Whereunto he called you by our gospel to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ”; 1 Peter 2:9; Titus 2:14; Ephesians 1:14. In this place it means that Christ had “acquired, gained, or procured,” the church for himself by paying his own life as the price. The church is often represented as having thus been bought with a price, 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Corinthians 7:23; 2 Peter 2:1.

With his own blood - With the sacrifice of his own life; for blood is often put for life, and to shed the blood is equivalent to faking the life. See the notes on Romans 3:25. The doctrines taught here are:

(1) That the death of Christ was an atoning sacrifice; that he offered himself to purchase a people to his own service.

(2) that the church is, therefore, of special value a value to be estimated by the price paid for it. Compare 1 Peter 1:18-19.

(3) that this fact should make the purity and salvation of the church an object of special solicitude with ministers of the gospel. They should be deeply affected in view of that blood which has been shed for the church; and they should guard and defend it as having been bought with the highest price in the universe. The chief consideration that will make ministers faithful and self-denying is, that the church has been bought with a price. If the Lord Jesus so loved it; if he gave himself for it, they should be willing to deny themselves; to watch, and toil, and pray, that the great object of his death the purity and the salvation of that church - may be obtained.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
If the Holy Ghost has made ministers overseers of the flock, that is, shepherds, they must be true to their trust. Let them consider their Master's concern for the flock committed to their charge. It is the church He has purchased with his own blood. The blood was his as Man; yet so close is the union between the Divine and human nature, that it is there called the blood of God, for it was the blood of Him who is God. This put such dignity and worth into it, as to ransom believers from all evil, and purchase all good. Paul spake about their souls with affection and concern. They were full of care what would become of them. Paul directs them to look up to God with faith, and commends them to the word of God's grace, not only as the foundation of their hope and the fountain of their joy, but as the rule of their walking. The most advanced Christians are capable of growing, and will find the word of grace help their growth. As those cannot be welcome guests to the holy God who are unsanctified; so heaven would be no heaven to them; but to all who are born again, and on whom the image of God is renewed, it is sure, as almighty power and eternal truth make it so. He recommends himself to them as an example of not caring as to things of the present world; this they would find help forward their comfortable passage through it. It might seem a hard saying, therefore Paul adds to it a saying of their Master's, which he would have them always remember; "It is more blessed to give than to receive:" it seems they were words often used to his disciples. The opinion of the children of this world, is contrary to this; they are afraid of giving, unless in hope of getting. Clear gain, is with them the most blessed thing that can be; but Christ tell us what is more blessed, more excellent. It makes us more like to God, who gives to all, and receives from none; and to the Lord Jesus, who went about doing good. This mind was in Christ Jesus, may it be in us also. It is good for friends, when they part, to part with prayer. Those who exhort and pray for one another, may have many weeping seasons and painful separations, but they will meet before the throne of God, to part no more. It was a comfort to all, that the presence of Christ both went with him and stayed with them.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 352

Paul sometimes worked night and day, not only for his own support, but that he might assist his fellow laborers. He shared his earnings with Luke, and he helped Timothy. He even suffered hunger at times, that he might relieve the necessities of others. His was an unselfish life. Toward the close of his ministry, on the occasion of his farewell talk to the elders of Ephesus, at Miletus, he could lift up before them his toilworn hands, and say, “I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:33-35. AA 352.1

If ministers feel that they are suffering hardship and privation in the cause of Christ, let them in imagination visit the workshop where Paul labored. Let them bear in mind that while this chosen man of God is fashioning the canvas, he is working for bread which he has justly earned by his labors as an apostle. AA 352.2

Work is a blessing, not a curse. A spirit of indolence destroys godliness and grieves the Spirit of God. A stagnant pool is offensive, but a pure, flowing stream spreads health and gladness over the land. Paul knew that those who neglect physical work soon become enfeebled. He desired to teach young ministers that by working with their hands, by bringing into exercise their muscles and sinews, they would become strong to endure the toils and privations that awaited them in the gospel field. And he realized that his own teachings would lack vitality and force if he did not keep all parts of the system properly exercised. AA 352.3

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 391-6

Sailing from Philippi, Paul and Luke reached their companions at Troas five days later, and remained for seven days with the believers in that place. AA 391.1

Upon the last evening of his stay the brethren “came together to break bread.” The fact that their beloved teacher was about to depart, had called together a larger company than usual. They assembled in an “upper chamber” on the third story. There, in the fervency of his love and solicitude for them, the apostle preached until midnight. AA 391.2

In one of the open windows sat a youth named Eutychus. In this perilous position he went to sleep and fell to the court below. At once all was alarm and confusion. The youth was taken up dead, and many gathered about him with cries and mourning. But Paul, passing through the frightened company, embraced him and offered up an earnest prayer that God would restore the dead to life. His petition was granted. Above the sound of mourning and lamentation the apostle's voice was heard, saying, “Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.” With rejoicing the believers again assembled in the upper chamber. They partook of the Communion, and then Paul “talked a long while, even till break of day.” AA 391.3

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Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 154

In many places self-supporting missionaries can work successfully. It was as a self-supporting missionary that the apostle Paul labored in spreading the knowledge of Christ throughout the world. While daily teaching the gospel in the great cities of Asia and Europe, he wrought at the trade of a craftsman to sustain himself and his companions. His parting words to the elders of Ephesus, showing his manner of labor, have precious lessons for every gospel worker: MH 154.1

“Ye know,” he said, “after what manner I have been with you at all seasons: ... and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house.... I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:18-35. MH 154.2

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1064

19. Value of the Books Sacrificed—When the books had been consumed, they proceeded to reckon up the value of the sacrifice. It was estimated at fifty thousand pieces of silver, equal to about ten thousand dollars (Sketches from the Life of Paul, 137). 6BC 1064.1

33. See EGW on 2 Timothy 4:13, 14. 6BC 1064.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 141-3

In this degenerate age many will be found who are so blinded to the sinfulness of sin that they choose a licentious life because it suits the natural and perverse inclination of the heart. Instead of facing the mirror, the law of God, and bringing their hearts and characters up to God's standard, they allow Satan's agents to erect his standard in their hearts. Corrupt men think it easier to misinterpret the Scriptures to sustain them in their iniquity than to yield up their corruption and sin and be pure in heart and life. 5T 141.1

There are more men of this stamp than many have imagined, and they will multiply as we draw near the end of time. Unless they are rooted and grounded in the truth of the Bible, and have a living connection with God, many will be infatuated and deceived. Dangers unseen beset our path. Our only safety is in constant watchfulness and prayer. The nearer we live to Jesus, the more will we partake of His pure and holy character; and the more offensive sin appears to us, the more exalted and desirable will appear the purity and brightness of Christ. 5T 141.2

In order to cover his corrupt life and make his sins appear harmless, this man will bring up instances recorded in the Bible where good men have fallen under temptation. Paul met with just such men in his day, and the church has been cursed with them in all ages. At Miletus Paul called the elders of the church together and warned them in regard to what they would meet: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears.” 5T 141.3

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 223

Those teachers who have not a progressive religious experience, who are not learning daily lessons in the school of Christ, that they may be ensamples to the flock, but who accept their wages as the main thing, are not fit for the solemn, awfully solemn, position they occupy. For this scripture is appropriate to all our schools established as God designed they should be, after the order or example of the schools of the prophets, imparting a higher class of knowledge—mingling not dross with the silver, and wine with water—which is a representation of precious principles. False ideas and unsound practices are leavening the pure, and corrupting that which should ever be kept pure, and looked upon by the world, by angels, and by men, as the Lord's institution—schools where the education to love and fear God is made first. “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” “Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” FE 223.1

Let the teachers who claim to be Christians be learning daily in the school of Christ His lessons. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” I ask you, Is every educator in the school wearing the yoke of Christ, or manufacturing yokes of his own to place upon the necks of others, yokes which they themselves will not wear, sharp, severe, exacting; and this, too, while they are carrying themselves very loosely toward God, offending every day in little and larger matters, and making it evident in words, in spirit, and in actions, that they are not a proper example for the students, and are not having a sense that they are under discipline to the greatest Teacher the world ever knew? There needs to be a higher, holier mold on the school in Battle Creek, and on other schools which have taken their mold from it. The customs and practices of the Battle Creek school go forth to all the churches, and the pulse heartbeats of that school are felt throughout the body of believers. FE 223.2

It is not in God's order that thousands of dollars shall be expended in enlargements and additions in institutions in Battle Creek. There is altogether too much there now. Take that extra means and establish the work in suffering portions of other fields, to give character to the work. I have spoken the word of God upon this point. There are reasons many do not see, that I have no liberty to open before you now; but I tell you in the name of the Lord, you will make a mistake in your adding building to building; for there are being centered in Battle Creek responsibilities that are altogether too much for one location. If these responsibilities were divided and placed in other localities, it would be far better than crowding so much into Battle Creek, robbing other destitute fields of the advantages God would have them privileged with. FE 224.1

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Ellen G. White
Reflecting Christ, 245.5

Paul, as well as laboring publicly, went from house to house preaching repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. He met with men at their homes, and besought them with tears, declaring unto them the whole counsel of God. Jesus came in personal contact with men. He did not stand aloof and apart from those who needed His help.... We must come close to the hearts of those who need our ministry. We must open the Bible to the understanding, present the claims of God's law, read the promises to the hesitating, urge the backward, arouse the careless, strengthen the weak.—The Review and Herald, April 24, 1888. RC 245.5

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Ellen G. White
Confrontation, 79.2

At an infinite cost Christ our Redeemer has purchased every faculty and our very existence, and all our blessings in life have been purchased for us with the price of His blood. Shall we accept the blessings, and forget the claims of the Giver? Can any of us consent to follow our inclination, indulge appetites and passions, and live without God? Shall we eat and drink like the beast, and no more associate the thought of God with every good we enjoy than the dumb animals? Con 79.2

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Ellen G. White
Confrontation, 91.1

We are not to attend their circles, neither are our ministers to engage in controversy with them. They are of that class specified whom we should not invite into our houses or bid them Godspeed. We have to compare their teachings with the revealed will of God. We are not to engage in an investigation of spiritualism. God has investigated this for us, and told us definitely that a class would arise in the last days who would deny Christ who has purchased them with His own blood. The character of spiritualists is so plainly described that we need not be deceived by them. If we obey the divine injunction we shall have no sympathy with spiritualists, however smooth and fair may be their words. Con 91.1

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Ellen G. White
Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 282

Let the teachers learn daily lessons in the school of Christ. “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me,” He says; “for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:29. There is altogether too little of Christ and too much of self. But those who are under the dictation of the Spirit of God, under the rule of Christ, will be ensamples to the flock. When the Chief Shepherd shall appear, these will receive the crown of life that fadeth not away. CT 282.1

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” 1 Peter 5:5, 6. CT 282.2

All self-uplifting works out the natural result—making character of which God cannot approve. Work and teach; work in Christ's lines, and then you will never work in your own weak ability, but will have the co-operation of the divine. CT 283.1

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Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 99

These self-sent messengers are a curse to the cause. Honest souls put confidence in them, thinking that they are moving in the counsel of God and that they are in union with the church, and therefore suffer them to administer the ordinances, and, as duty is made plain that they must do their first works, allow themselves to be baptized by them. But when light comes, as it surely will, and they are aware that these men are not what they understood them to be, God's called and chosen messengers, they are thrown into trial and doubt as to the truth they have received and feel that they must learn it all over again; they are troubled and perplexed by the enemy about all their experience, whether God has led them or not, and are not satisfied until they are again baptized and begin anew. It is much more wearing to the spirits of God's messengers to go into places where those have been who have exerted this wrong influence than to enter new fields. God's servants have to deal plainly, act openly, and not cover up wrongs; for they are standing between the living and the dead and must render an account of their faithfulness, their mission, and the influence they exert over the flock of which the Lord has made them overseers. EW 99.1

Those who receive the truth and are brought into such trials would have had the truth the same if these men had stayed away and filled the humble place the Lord designed for them. God's eye was upon His jewels, and He would have directed to them His called and chosen messengers—men who would have moved understandingly. The light of truth would have shown and discovered to these souls their true position, and they would have received the truth understandingly and been satisfied with its beauty and clearness. And as they felt its powerful effects, they would have been strong and shed a holy influence. EW 99.2

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 220

To the Teachers and Students in Our College at Battle Creek, and in All Our Educational Institutions

In the night seasons messages have been given to me to give to you in Battle Creek, and to all our schools. While it is in the order of God that the physical powers shall be trained as well as the mental, yet the physical exercise should in character be in complete harmony with the lessons given by Jesus Christ to His disciples. That which is given to the world should be seen in the lives of Christians, so that in education and in self-training the heavenly intelligences should not record in the books that the students and the teachers in our schools are “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” This is the record now being made of a large number. “Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” Thus Satan and his angels are laying their snares for your souls, and he is working in a certain way upon teachers and pupils to induce them to engage in exercises and amusements which become intensely absorbing, but which are of a character to strengthen the lower powers, and create appetites and passions that will take the lead, and counteract most decidedly the operations and working of the Holy Spirit of God upon the human heart. FE 220.1

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Ellen G. White
Letters to Young Lovers, 53.1

I have been shown some things in reference to you which I dare not withhold longer because I feel you to be in danger. God loves you and He has given you unmistakable evidences of His love. Jesus has bought you with His own blood, and what have you done for Him? LYL 53.1

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Ellen G. White
Letters to Young Lovers, 84.3
Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 207

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us. 1 John 4:10. LHU 207.1

The Pharisees said that if Jesus were a true prophet, He would harmonize with them, and voice their precepts and maxims, and treat the wretched publicans and sinners as they treated them. In giving His Son to die for the sins of the world, the Lord God made manifest what was the estimate He placed upon men; for in giving Jesus to the world, He gave heaven's best gift. For this costly sacrifice the most profound gratitude is demanded from every soul. Whatever may be the nation, kindred, or tongue, whether a man is white or black, he still bears the image of God, and “the proper study of mankind is man,” viewed from the fact that he is the purchase of the blood of Christ. To show contempt for, to manifest hatred toward any nation, is to reveal the characteristic of Satan. LHU 207.2

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 210.4

All heaven is interested in the work of saving the lost. Angels watch with intense interest to see who will leave the ninety and nine, and go out in tempest and storm and rain into the wild desert to seek the lost sheep. The lost are all around us, perishing and sadly neglected. But they are of value to God, the purchase of the blood of Christ.... We are to seek to save those that are lost. We are to search for the one lost sheep, and bring him back to the fold; and this represents personal effort (The Review and Herald, June 30, 1896). LHU 210.4

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 215.5

The soul is through the Lifegiver capable of living through eternal ages, and man is to take special care of the soul which Christ has purchased with His own blood. With Christ is Omnipotence. He also is able to keep that which I have committed to His trust against that day. If the preciousness of the soul has not been appreciated, if its temple courts have been defiled with buyers and sellers, and with committing it to the rule and indwelling of Satan in thought or in feeling, I would in deep earnestness beseech you to make no delay, but come before God in sincere prayer without one moment's speculation or hesitation, and say, “O Lord, I have opened the door of my heart to Thy worst enemy, and the worst enemy of my soul. I have acted as though I could save my own soul, as if I could sin and then reform when I choose to do so; but I find a power holding me in his keeping. Thou alone can save me that my soul shall not be eternally ruined.... No longer will I withhold it from Thee. I dare not trust it with any power but Thine.... I lay it at Thy feet. Thou Lamb of God, wash my soul in the blood of the Lamb; clothe it with Thine own garments of purity and righteousness (Manuscript 73, 1893). LHU 215.5

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 238.3

Those who have an experimental knowledge of the grace of Christ will feel their obligation to Him to be representatives of His power to the world. They will realize that He who knew no sin was made to be sin for them, that they might be made the righteousness of God in Him. An appreciation of this fact will enable us to get correct views of the work of our Redeemer. True believers will realize that while they were separated from Him through impenitence and sin, He did not forsake them, but rather interceded for them, that they might have the benefits of the salvation which He had purchased for them at an infinite sacrifice. In accepting Christ they know that they must come out from the world, and be separate, and touch not the unclean, that they may be the children of God. They must love Christ supremely. LHU 238.3

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 325.4

God has made the advancement of His cause in the world dependent upon the labors and sacrifices of His followers. The salvation of our souls was purchased by the infinite gift of the Son of God. Jesus left heaven, laid aside His glory, left the communion and adoration of the sinless angels, and for our sake humbled Himself, even to the death of the cross. And now we, who have become partakers of His great gift, are to be partakers also of His sacrifice, extending to others the blessings of salvation. LHU 325.4

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 358.4

Everyone who believes in Christ as a personal Saviour is under bonds to God to be pure and holy, to be a spiritual worker, seeking to save the lost, whether they are great or small, rich or poor, bond or free. The greatest work on earth is to seek and to save those who are lost, for whom Christ has paid the infinite price of His own blood. Everyone is to do active service.... The sheep unsought is not brought back to the fold. LHU 358.4

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Ellen G. White
Medical Ministry, 205

If those who hold positions of trust in the institution are persons who love and fear God, they will realize that a sacred responsibility is theirs because of the measure of authority and the consequent influence which their position gives them. They are dealing with human minds, being brought into connection with all classes of society; and they should move discreetly, for they are regarded as representatives of the institution. They should be kind and courteous, ever exercising Christian politeness to all with whom they are brought in contact, both believers and unbelievers. Brethren, you should watch for souls as they that must give an account. We should never forget that Jesus, in the infinite sacrifice He has made for them, has proved His love for these men, women, and children, and shown what value He sets upon them. They are the purchase of His blood. The rich and the poor are to be treated alike, with unvarying kindness. MM 205.1

Let your influence be persuasive, binding people to your heart because you love Jesus, and they are His. This is a great work. If, by your Christlike words and actions, you make impressions that will kindle in their hearts a hungering and thirsting after righteousness and truth, you are a colaborer with Christ. Your words and deportment are representing Jesus. MM 205.2

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Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 52.3

Minds Not to Be Crowded With Useless Things—Education, as it is conducted in the schools of today [1897], is one-sided, and therefore a mistake. As the purchase of the Son of God, we are His property, and everyone should have an education in the school of Christ. Wise teachers should be chosen for our schools. Teachers have to deal with human minds, and they are responsible to God to impress upon those minds the necessity of knowing Christ as a personal Saviour. But no one can truly educate God's purchased possession unless he himself has learned in the school of Christ how to teach. 1MCP 52.3

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Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 175.3

The Peace Principle—There is no fretfulness seen in the home if Christ is the peace principle exercised in your soul. There is no uncourteousness there. There is no roughness or sharp speech there. Why? Because we believe and act out that we are members of the Royal Family, children of the Heavenly King, bound to Jesus Christ by the strongest tie of love—that love which works by faith and purifies the soul. You love Jesus and you are constantly at work to overcome all selfishness and to be a blessing, and comfort, and strength, and a support to the souls He has purchased with His blood. 1MCP 175.3

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Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 451.2

How One Gains Freedom From Guilt—This feeling of guiltiness must be laid at the foot of the cross of Calvary. The sense of sinfulness has poisoned the springs of life and true happiness. Now Jesus says, Lay it all on Me; I will take your sin, I will give you peace. Destroy no longer your self-respect, for I have bought you with the price of My own blood. You are Mine; your weakened will I will strengthen; your remorse for sin I will remove. 2MCP 451.2

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Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 582.4

Learn the Eloquence of Silence—When one once gives place to an angry spirit, he is just as much intoxicated as the man who has put the glass to his lips. Learn the eloquence of silence and know that God respects the purchase of the blood of Christ. Educate yourselves; we must learn every day. We must come up higher and higher and closer to God. Clear the rubbish away from the King's highway. Make a way that the King may walk in our midst. Put away filthy communications out of your mouth (see Colossians 3:8).—Manuscript 6, 1893. 2MCP 582.4

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Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 792.3

When the Power of God Is Lost—Men and women have been bought with a price, and what a price! Even the life of the Son of God. What a terrible thing it is for them to place themselves in a position where their physical, mental, and moral power is corrupted, where they lose their vigor and purity. Such men and women cannot offer an acceptable sacrifice to God. 2MCP 792.3

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Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 812

Many who love God and who seek to honor God fear that they have no right to claim His rich promises. They will dwell upon their painful struggles and the darkness which encompasses their path, and in so doing they lose sight of the light of the love that Jesus Christ has shed upon them. They lose sight of the great redemption that has been purchased for them at infinite cost. Many are standing afar off as if they were afraid to touch even the hem of Christ's garment, but His gracious invitation is even extended to them, and He is pleading, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).—Manuscript 61, 1894. 2MCP 812.1

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Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 341

The drunkard is capable of better things. He has been entrusted with talents with which to honor God and bless the world; but his fellow men have laid a snare for his soul and built themselves up by his degradation. They have lived in luxury while the poor victims whom they have robbed, lived in poverty and wretchedness. But God will require for this at the hand of him who has helped to speed the drunkard on to ruin. He who rules in the heavens has not lost sight of the first cause or the last effect of drunkenness. He who has a care for the sparrow and clothes the grass of the field, will not pass by those who have been formed in His own image, purchased with His own blood, and pay no heed to their cries. God marks all this wickedness that perpetuates crime and misery. MH 341.2

The world and the church may have approval for the man who has gained wealth by degrading the human soul. They may smile upon him by whom men are led down step by step in the path of shame and degradation. But God notes it all and renders a just judgment. The liquor seller may be termed by the world a good businessman; but the Lord says, “Woe unto him.” He will be charged with the hopelessness, the misery, the suffering, brought into the world by the liquor traffic. He will have to answer for the want and woe of the mothers and children who have suffered for food and clothing and shelter, and who have buried all hope and joy. He will have to answer for the souls he has sent unprepared into eternity. And those who sustain the liquor seller in his work are sharers in his guilt. To them God says, “Your hands are full of blood.” MH 341.3

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Ellen G. White
The Retirement Years, 27.1

The Lord has not laid the burden upon men to revive the mistakes and errors of the living or the dead. He would have His laborers present the truth for this time. Speak not of the errors of your brethren who are living, and be silent as to the mistakes of the dead. Let their mistakes and errors remain where God has put them—cast into the depths of the sea. The less that is said by those who profess to believe present truth in regard to the past mistakes and errors of the servants of God, the better it will be for their own souls, and for the souls of those whom Christ has purchased with His own blood.—The Review and Herald, November 30, 1897. RY 27.1

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 171.2

The Spirit of Many Burdened Ellen White—My burden during the meeting was to present Jesus and His love before my brethren, for I saw marked evidences that many had not the spirit of Christ. My mind was kept in peace, stayed upon God, and I felt sad to see that a different spirit had come into the experience of our brother ministers, and that it was leavening the camp. There was, I knew, a remarkable blindness upon the minds of many, that they did not discern where the Spirit of God was and what constituted true Christian experience. And to consider that these were the ones who had the guardianship of the flock of God was painful. The destitution of true faith, the hands hung down, because not lifted up in sincere prayer! 3SM 171.2

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 195.4

Christ Makes Up for Our Unavoidable Deficiencies—1891—Jesus loves His children, even if they err. They belong to Jesus and we are to treat them as the purchase of the blood of Jesus Christ. Any unreasonable course pursued toward them is written in the books as against Jesus Christ. He keeps His eye upon them, and when they do their best, calling upon God for His help, be assured the service will be accepted, although imperfect. 3SM 195.4

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 3, 347.1

Let their mistakes and errors remain where God has put them—cast into the depths of the sea. The less that is said by those who profess to believe present truth, in regard to the past mistakes and errors of the servants of God, the better it will be for their own souls, and for the souls of those whom Christ has purchased with His own blood. Let every voice proclaim the words of the first and the last, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. John heard a voice saying, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (Revelation 14:13).—The Review and Herald, November 30, 1897. [This counsel was written to a worker who had published two articles in The Review and Herald, April 3 and 10, 1894 under the title “Danger of Adopting Extreme Views.”—Compilers.] 3SM 347.1

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Ellen G. White
Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 124-5

Says Paul, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” 3SG 124.1

All those professing to be shepherds, who feel that to minister in word and doctrine, and bear the burdens, and have the care which every faithful shepherd should have is a disagreeable task, are reproved by faithful Paul, “Not by constraint, but willingly, not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.” All such unfaithful shepherds, the chief Shepherd would willingly release. The church of God is purchased with the blood of Christ, and every shepherd should realize that the sheep under their care cost a priceless sum. They should be diligent in their labor, and persevering in their efforts to keep the flock in a healthy, flourishing condition. They should consider the sheep intrusted to their care of the highest value, and realize that they will be called to render a strict account of their ministry. And if they are found faithful they will receive a rich reward. “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” 3SG 125.1

Jacob says, “Thus have I been twenty years in thy house. I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy cattle, and thou hast changed my wages ten times. Except the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac had been with me, surely thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine affliction, and the labor of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight.” 3SG 125.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 618-9

I never realized more than I do today the exalted character of the work, its sacredness and holiness, and the importance of our being fitted for it. I see the need in myself. I must have a new fitting up, a holy unction, or I cannot go any further to instruct others. I must know that I am walking with God. I must know that I understand the mystery of godliness. I must know that the grace of God is in my own heart, that my own life is in accordance with His will, that I am walking in His footsteps. Then my words will be true and my actions right. 2T 618.1

But there is another point that I had almost forgotten. It is the influence which the preacher should exert in his ministry. His work is not merely to stand in the desk. It is but just begun there. He should enter the different families, and carry Christ there, carry his sermons there, carry them out in his actions and his words. As he visits a family he should inquire into their condition. Is he the shepherd of the flock? The work of a shepherd is not all done in the desk. He should talk with all the members of the flock, with the parents to learn their standing, and with the children to learn theirs. A minister should feed the flock over which God has made him overseer. It would be agreeable to go into the house and study; but if you do this to the neglect of the work which God has commissioned you to perform, you do wrong. Never enter a family without inviting them together, and bowing down and praying with them before you leave. Inquire into the health of their souls. What does a skillful physician do? He inquires into the particulars of the case, then seeks to administer remedies. Just so the physician of the soul should inquire into the spiritual maladies with which the members of his flock are afflicted, then go to work to administer the proper remedies, and ask the Great Physician to come to his aid. Give them the help that they need. Such ministers will receive all that respect and honor which is due them as ministers of Christ. And in doing for others their own souls will be kept alive. They must be drawing strength from God in order to impart strength to those to whom they shall minister. 2T 618.2

May the Lord help us to seek Him with all the heart; I want to know that I daily gather the divine rays from glory, that emanate from the throne of God and shine from the face of Jesus Christ, and scatter them in the pathway around me. I want to be all light in the Lord. 2T 619.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 552

*****

The fear of the Lord will do more for the patrons of the sanitarium than any other means that can be employed for the restoration of health. Religion should in no case be kept in the background, as though detrimental to those who come to be treated. On the contrary, the fact should ever be made prominent that the laws of God, both in nature and revelation, are “life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” 4T 552.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, 471

The fact that the acknowledged people of God are represented as standing before the Lord in filthy garments should lead to humility and deep searching of heart on the part of all who profess His name. Those who are indeed purifying their souls by obeying the truth will have a most humble opinion of themselves. The more closely they view the spotless character of Christ, the stronger will be their desire to be conformed to His image, and the less will they see of purity or holiness in themselves. But while we should realize our sinful condition, we are to rely upon Christ as our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption. We cannot answer the charges of Satan against us. Christ alone can make an effectual plea in our behalf. He is able to silence the accuser with arguments founded not upon our merits, but on His own. 5T 471.1

Yet we should never be content with a sinful life. It is a thought that should arouse Christians to greater zeal and earnestness in overcoming evil, that every defect in character, every point in which they fail to meet the divine standard, is an open door by which Satan can enter to tempt and destroy them; and, furthermore, that every failure and defect on their part gives occasion to the tempter and his agents to reproach Christ. We are to exert every energy of the soul in the work of overcoming, and to look to Jesus for strength to do what we cannot do of ourselves. No sin can be tolerated in those who shall walk with Christ in white. The filthy garments are to be removed, and Christ's robe of righteousness is to be placed upon us. By repentance and faith we are enabled to render obedience to all the commandments of God, and are found without blame before Him. Those who shall meet the approval of God are now afflicting their souls, confessing their sins, and earnestly pleading for pardon through Jesus their Advocate. Their attention is fixed upon Him, their hopes, their faith, are centered on Him, and when the command is given, “Take away the filthy garments, and clothe him with change of raiment, and set a fair miter upon his head,” they are prepared to give Him all the glory of their salvation. 5T 472.1

Zechariah's vision of Joshua and the Angel applies with peculiar force to the experience of God's people in the closing up of the great day of atonement. The remnant church will be brought into great trial and distress. Those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus will feel the ire of the dragon and his hosts. Satan numbers the world as his subjects, he has gained control of the apostate churches; but here is a little company that are resisting his supremacy. If he could blot them from the earth, his triumph would be complete. As he influenced the heathen nations to destroy Israel, so in the near future he will stir up the wicked powers of earth to destroy the people of God. All will be required to render obedience to human edicts in violation of the divine law. Those who will be true to God and to duty will be menaced, denounced, and proscribed. They will “be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends.” 5T 472.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 323

There are some who are adapted to the work of the colporteur and who can accomplish more in this line than by preaching. If the Spirit of Christ dwells in their hearts, they will find opportunity to present His word to others and to direct minds to the special truths for this time. Men suited to this work undertake it; but some injudicious minister flatters them that their gifts should be employed in preaching instead of in the work of the colporteur. Thus they are influenced to get a license to preach, and the very ones who might have been trained to make good missionaries to visit families at their homes, to talk and pray with them, are turned away from a work for which they are fitted, to make poor ministers, and the field where so much labor is needed and where so much good might be accomplished is neglected. 6T 323.1

The preaching of the word is a means by which the Lord has ordained that His warning message shall be given to the world. In the Scriptures the faithful teacher is represented as a shepherd of the flock of God. He is to be respected and his work appreciated. Genuine medical missionary work is bound up with the ministry, and the canvassing work is to be a part both of the medical missionary work and of the ministry. To those who are engaged in this work I would say: As you visit the people, tell them that you are a gospel worker and that you love the Lord. Do not seek a home in a hotel, but stay at a private house and become acquainted with the family. Christ was sowing the seeds of truth wherever He was, and as His followers you can witness for the Master, doing a most precious work in fireside labor. In thus coming close to the people you will often find those who are sick and discouraged. If you are pressing close to the side of Christ, wearing His yoke, you will daily learn of Him how to carry messages of peace and comfort to the sorrowing and disappointed, the sad and broken-hearted. You can point the discouraged ones to the word of God and take the sick to the Lord in prayer. As you pray, speak to Christ as you would to a trusted, much-loved friend. Maintain a sweet, free, pleasant dignity, as a child of God. This will be recognized. 6T 323.2

Canvassers should be able to give instruction in regard to the treatment of the sick. They should learn the simple methods of hygienic treatment. Thus they may work as medical missionaries, ministering to the souls and the bodies of the suffering. This work should now be going forward in all parts of the world. Thus multitudes might be blessed by the prayers and instruction of God's servants. 6T 324.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 129

Let not the unkind speeches of men hurt you. Did not men say unkind things about Jesus? You err, and may sometimes give occasion for unkind remarks; but Jesus never did. He was pure, spotless, undefiled. Do not expect a better portion in this life than the Prince of glory had. When your enemies see that they can make you feel hurt, they will rejoice, and Satan will rejoice. Look to Jesus, and work with an eye single to His glory. Keep your heart in the love of God. 8T 129.1

It may be that even the members of the church to which you belong will say and do that which will grieve you. But move right on, calm and peaceful, ever trusting in Jesus, remembering that you are not your own, that you are Christ's property, the purchase of the blood of God's beloved Son, and that you are engaged in His work, seeking to bless humanity. This is a great work. Do not let the perversity of men move you from firm trust and abiding faith in the promises of God. 8T 129.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 45.2

Value of a Christlike Life—Grace is not inherited. A very bad father may have a godly son; a Christian father a profligate son. Let mothers take up the burdens made doubly heavy for them by the course of the head of the household. This makes your work plain, to let your light shine in the household where Satan is at work to secure your children to himself. Shall he have them? Let the missionary spirit rise to the emergency and say, “No, no; my children, although they have a godless father, are the purchase of the blood of Christ. I am their mother. I will seek the Lord in faith, in humility, that He will not only save my children, but [also] their father, to repentance.” Talk not and plead not for the sympathy of your husband and your children, but simply live the life of Christ. In words, in spirit, in character, in meekness, in patience and forbearance, in cheerfulness, be a signpost pointing out the way, the path that leads heavenward. TSB 45.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 126.3

These bodies that you tamper with are the purchased property of Jesus Christ. I knew this was your sin, but I knew also that if the truth was enthroned in your heart it would make this sin appear to you in its true enormity, for truth brought into the soul temple will expel lust and defilement from the heart.... TSB 126.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 247.4

Said the angel, “The ax has not been laid at the root of the tree.” Those who have indulged in the wicked passions of the heart have been fellowshiped. If God had made Brother Ross an overseer of the flock, he would have seen the evil and corruption among the people. The ax has not been laid at the root of the tree. God has not altered nor changed. He is a jealous God, and will not look upon sin now with any more allowance than He did among ancient Israel. Sin is sin. Sins have not been held forth in their sinfulness, but it has been made to appear as though sins have been lightly regarded by God. TSB 247.4

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 259.1

Offer of Free Pardon—Jesus sees the guilt of the past, and speaks pardon, and we must not dishonor Him by doubting His love. This feeling of guiltiness must be laid at the foot of the cross of Calvary. The sense of sinfulness has poisoned the springs of life and of true happiness. Now Jesus says, “Lay it all on Me. I will take your sins. I will give you peace. Banish no longer your self-respect, for I have bought you with the price of My own blood. You are Mine. Your weakened will I will strengthen; your remorse for sin I will remove.” TSB 259.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 18

At the time of the organization of the General Conference in 1863, a General Conference Committee of three men was chosen. The major interests of the church consisted of the several state conferences and a publishing house located at Battle Creek, Michigan. In the evangelistic field, increasing success came to Seventh-day Adventist ministers. Their work consisted mainly in preaching the distinctive truths of the gospel message, including the Sabbath, the state of the dead, the second advent, and the sanctuary. Many of the men were drawn into discussions and debates involving the law of God and other vital Bible truths. Imperceptibly, not a few of those who engaged in such discussions became self-reliant, and there developed in their hearts a spirit of sureness, self-dependence, and argumentativeness. In time this bore unwholesome fruit. TM xviii.1

Institutional development followed quickly on the heels of the organization of the General Cnference. In the vision given to Ellen White in December, 1865, a medical institution was called for, and in response the leaders opened a small health institute in Battle Creek in September, 1866. Less than a decade later, in the messages which came from the pen of Ellen White, a school was called for. In 1874, Battle Creek College was built. Thus three major institutional developments forged ahead in Battle Creek, drawing an ever-enlarging number of Seventh-day Adventists into a rapidly growing denominational center. Men of business experience were called in to care for the business interests of the institutions. As the business interests expanded and developed and prospered, some of these men came to trust more in their business acumen than in God's messages of guidance. To them, business was business. TM xviii.2

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 70.2

“In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). Men need to understand that Deity suffered and sank under the agonies of Calvary. Yet Jesus Christ, whom God gave for the ransom of the world, purchased the church with His own blood. The Majesty of heaven was made to suffer at the hands of religious zealots, who claimed to be the most enlightened people upon the face of the earth. TMK 70.2

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 160.4

Jesus is the sin bearer. He takes away our sins, and makes us partakers of His holiness. O what tender, pitying love dwells in the heart of Christ toward the purchase of His blood! He is able to save unto the uttermost all who come unto God by Him. There is power in these precious promises, and we should cooperate with the working of Christ, devoting all our God-given talents to the service of the Master, that the Holy Spirit may work through us to the glory and honor or Christ. TMK 160.4

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 177.4

John was constantly learning to copy the life of Jesus. He was learning in Christ's school.... Lesson after lesson Christ gave to His disciples, that they might know the will of the Father and shine as lights in the world. John and Peter were men whom God could trust, but Judas was not. They had received and heeded the lessons and gained the victory, but Judas had failed at every trial. He saw his faults, but instead of correcting them revenged himself by picking flaws in others around him.... Paul says to Timothy, “Take heed unto thyself”; that is, seek God first for thyself. Let us individually turn our attention to ourselves, diligently guard our own souls, and set a Christlike example before those whom we would criticise.28 TMK 177.4

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