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Colossians 1:23

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

If ye continue in the faith - This will be the case if you, who have already believed in Christ Jesus, continue in that faith, grounded in the knowledge and love of God, and settled - made firm and perseveringly steadfast, in that state of salvation.

And be not moved away - Not permitting yourselves to be seduced by false teachers.

The hope of the Gospel - The resurrection of the body, and the glorification of it and the soul together, in the realms of blessedness. This is properly the Gospel Hope.

To every creature which is under heaven - A Hebraism for the whole human race, and particularly referring to the two grand divisions of mankind, the Jews and Gentiles; to both of these the Gospel had been preached, and to each, salvation by Christ had been equally offered. And as none had been excluded from the offers of mercy, and Jesus Christ had tasted death for every man, and the Jews and Gentiles, in their great corporate capacity, had all been invited to believe the Gospel; therefore, the apostle concludes that the Gospel was preached to every creature under heaven, as being offered without restrictions or limitations to these two grand divisions of mankind, including the whole human race.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

If ye continue in the faith - In the belief of the gospel, and in holy living. If this were done, they would be presented unblameable be fore God; if not, they would not be. The meaning is, that it will be impossible to be saved unless we continue to lead lives becoming the gospel.

Grounded - On a firm foundation; see the notes at Ephesians 3:17, where the same word occurs.

And settled - Greek, “firm;” as a building is that is founded on a rock; compare Matthew 7:25.

And be not moved away from the hope of the gospel - By the arts of philosophy, and the allurements of sin.

Which was preached to every creature which is under heaven - It cannot be supposed that it was literally true that every creature under heaven had actually heard the gospel. But this may mean:

(1) That it was designed to be preached to every creature, or that the commission to make it known embraced everyone, and that, so far as the provisions of the gospel are concerned, it may be said that it was a system proclaimed to all mankind; see Mark 16:15. If a vast army, or the inhabitants of a distant province, were in rebellion against a government, and a proclamation of pardon were issued, it would not be improper to say that it was made to every one of them, though, as a matter of fact, it might not be true that everyone in the remote parts of the army or province had actually heard of it.

(2) the gospel in the time of Paul seems to have been so extensively preached, that it might be said that it was proclaimed to everybody. All known countries appear to have been visited; and so zealous and laborious had been the heralds of salvation, that it might be said that the message had been proclaimed to all the world; see Colossians 1:6; compare the notes at Matthew 24:14.

Whereof I Paul am made a minister - See the notes at Ephesians 3:1-7. Paul here pursues the same train of thought which he does in the Epistle to the Ephesians, where, having shown the exalted nature of the Redeemer, and the design of the gospel, he adverts to his own labors and sufferings in making it known. The object seems to be to show that he regarded it as the highest honor to be thus intrusted with the message of mercy to mankind, and considered it as a privilege to suffer in that cause.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christ in his human nature, is the visible discovery of the invisible God, and he that hath seen Him hath seen the Father. Let us adore these mysteries in humble faith, and behold the glory of the Lord in Christ Jesus. He was born or begotten before all the creation, before any creature was made; which is the Scripture way of representing eternity, and by which the eternity of God is represented to us. All things being created by Him, were created for him; being made by his power, they were made according to his pleasure, and for his praise and glory. He not only created them all at first, but it is by the word of his power that they are upheld. Christ as Mediator is the Head of the body, the church; all grace and strength are from him; and the church is his body. All fulness dwells in him; a fulness of merit and righteousness, of strength and grace for us. God showed his justice in requiring full satisfaction. This mode of redeeming mankind by the death of Christ was most suitable. Here is presented to our view the method of being reconciled. And that, notwithstanding the hatred of sin on God's part, it pleased God to reconcile fallen man to himself. If convinced that we were enemies in our minds by wicked works, and that we are now reconciled to God by the sacrifice and death of Christ in our nature, we shall not attempt to explain away, nor yet think fully to comprehend these mysteries; but we shall see the glory of this plan of redemption, and rejoice in the hope set before us. If this be so, that God's love is so great to us, what shall we do now for God? Be frequent in prayer, and abound in holy duties; and live no more to yourselves, but to Christ. Christ died for us. But wherefore? That we should still live in sin? No; but that we should die to sin, and live henceforth not to ourselves, but to Him.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 48

What was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost? The glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the uttermost parts of the inhabited world. As the disciples proclaimed the message of redeeming grace, hearts yielded to the power of this message. The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Backsliders were reconverted. Sinners united with believers in seeking the pearl of great price. Some who had been the bitterest opponents of the gospel became its champions. The prophecy was fulfilled, “He that is feeble ... shall be as David; and the house of David ... as the angel of the Lord.” Zechariah 12:8. Every Christian saw in his brother a revelation of divine love and benevolence. One interest prevailed; one subject of emulation swallowed up all others. The ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ's character and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom. AA 48.1

“With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33. Under their labors were added to the church chosen men, who, receiving the word of truth, consecrated their lives to the work of giving to others the hope that filled their hearts with peace and joy. They could not be restrained or intimidated by threatenings. The Lord spoke through them, and as they went from place to place, the poor had the gospel preached to them, and miracles of divine grace were wrought. AA 48.2

So mightily can God work when men give themselves up to the control of His Spirit. AA 49.1

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 578

In the days of the apostles the Christian believers were filled with earnestness and enthusiasm. So untiringly did they labor for their Master that in a comparatively short time, notwithstanding fierce opposition, the gospel of the kingdom was sounded to all the inhabited parts of the earth. The zeal manifested at this time by the followers of Jesus has been recorded by the pen of inspiration for the encouragement of believers in every age. Of the church at Ephesus, which the Lord Jesus used as a symbol of the entire Christian church in the apostolic age, the faithful and true Witness declared: AA 578.1

“I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.” Revelation 2:2, 3. AA 578.2

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Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 593

More than eighteen centuries have passed since the apostles rested from their labors, but the history of their toils and sacrifices for Christ's sake is still among the most precious treasures of the church. This history, written under the direction of the Holy Spirit, was recorded in order that by it the followers of Christ in every age might be impelled to greater zeal and earnestness in the cause of the Saviour. AA 593.1

The commission that Christ gave to the disciples, they fulfilled. As these messengers of the cross went forth to proclaim the gospel, there was such a revelation of the glory of God as had never before been witnessed by mortal man. By the co-operation of the divine Spirit, the apostles did a work that shook the world. To every nation was the gospel carried in a single generation. AA 593.2

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Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 120

Then the glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the uttermost bounds of the inhabited world. The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Believers were reconverted. Sinners united with Christians in seeking the pearl of great price. The prophecy was fulfilled, The weak shall be “as David,” and the house of David “as the angel of the Lord.” Zechariah 12:8. Every Christian saw in his brother the divine similitude of benevolence and love. One interest prevailed. One object swallowed up all others. All hearts beat in harmony. The only ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ's character, and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom. “The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.... With great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus; and great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:32, 33. “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 2:47. The Spirit of Christ animated the whole congregation; for they had found the pearl of great price. COL 120.1

These scenes are to be repeated, and with greater power. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the former rain, but the latter rain will be more abundant. The Spirit awaits our demand and reception. Christ is again to be revealed in His fulness by the Holy Spirit's power. Men will discern the value of the precious pearl, and with the apostle Paul they will say, “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” Philippians 3:7, 8. COL 121.1

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Ellen G. White
Christian Service, 254

After the descent of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were so filled with love for Him [Christ] and for those for whom He died, that hearts were melted by the words they spoke and the prayers they offered. They spoke in the power of the Spirit; and under the influence of that power, thousands were converted.—The Acts of the Apostles, 22. ChS 254.1

There is no limit to the usefulness of the one who, putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart, and lives a life wholly consecrated to God.—The Southern Watchman, August 1, 1905. ChS 254.2

What was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit upon the day of Pentecost?—The glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the utmost bounds of the known world.... Under their labors there were added to the church chosen men, who, receiving the word of life, consecrated their lives to the work of giving to others the hope that had filled their hearts with peace and joy. Hundreds proclaimed the message, “The kingdom of God is at hand.” They could not be restrained or intimidated by threatenings. The Lord spoke through them; and wherever they went, the sick were healed, and the poor had the gospel preached unto them. So mightily can God work when men give themselves up to the control of His Spirit.—The Southern Watchman, August 1, 1905. ChS 254.3

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 633

Christ continues, pointing out the condition of the world at His coming: “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the Flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Christ does not here bring to view a temporal millennium, a thousand years in which all are to prepare for eternity. He tells us that as it was in Noah's day, so will it be when the Son of man comes again. DA 633.1

How was it in Noah's day? “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5. The inhabitants of the antediluvian world turned from Jehovah, refusing to do His holy will. They followed their own unholy imagination and perverted ideas. It was because of their wickedness that they were destroyed; and today the world is following the same way. It presents no flattering signs of millennial glory. The transgressors of God's law are filling the earth with wickedness. Their betting, their horse racing, their gambling, their dissipation, their lustful practices, their untamable passions, are fast filling the world with violence. DA 633.2

In the prophecy of Jerusalem's destruction Christ said, “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” This prophecy will again be fulfilled. The abounding iniquity of that day finds its counterpart in this generation. So with the prediction in regard to the preaching of the gospel. Before the fall of Jerusalem, Paul, writing by the Holy Spirit, declared that the gospel was preached to “every creature which is under heaven.” Colossians 1:23. So now, before the coming of the Son of man, the everlasting gospel is to be preached “to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” Revelation 14:6, 14. God “hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world.” Acts 17:31. Christ tells us when that day shall be ushered in. He does not say that all the world will be converted, but that “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” By giving the gospel to the world it is in our power to hasten our Lord's return. We are not only to look for but to hasten the coming of the day of God. 2 Peter 3:12, margin. Had the church of Christ done her appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would before this have been warned, and the Lord Jesus would have come to our earth in power and great glory. DA 633.3

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Ellen G. White
Education, 96

The same Spirit that in His stead was sent to be the instructor of His first co-workers, Christ has commissioned to be the instructor of His co-workers today. “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20), is His promise. Ed 96.1

The presence of the same guide in educational work today will produce the same results as of old. This is the end to which true education tends; this is the work that God designs it to accomplish. Ed 96.2

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Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 141

The work of the disciples was to spread a knowledge of the gospel. To them was committed the work of proclaiming to all the world the good news that Christ brought to men. That work they accomplished for the people of their time. To every nation under heaven the gospel was carried in a single generation. MH 141.1

The giving of the gospel to the world is the work that God has committed to those who bear His name. For earth's sin and misery the gospel is the only antidote. To make known to all mankind the message of the grace of God is the first work of those who know its healing power. MH 141.2

When Christ sent forth the disciples with the gospel message, faith in God and His word had well-nigh departed from the world. Among the Jewish people, who professed to have a knowledge of Jehovah, His word had been set aside for tradition and human speculation. Selfish ambition, love of ostentation, greed of gain, absorbed men's thoughts. As reverence for God departed, so also departed compassion toward men. Selfishness was the ruling principle, and Satan worked his will in the misery and degradation of mankind. MH 142.1

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Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 47.1

Publications to Go in Every Language—To give all nations the message of warning—this is to be the object of our efforts. A way will be prepared for the faithful worker to labor at all times and seasons for the conversion of souls. Upon all who have received the word of God there rests the burden of doing this work. From city to city, and from country to country, they are to carry the publications containing the promises of the Saviour's soon coming. These publications are to be translated into every language; for to all the world the gospel is to be preached. To every worker Christ promises the divine efficiency that will make his labors a success. PM 47.1

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Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 151.1

Those who connect with the office of publication should be men of sterling principle; men who will look to God daily; men who have learned thoroughly the fact that eternal vigilance is their only means of safety. If those who will be chosen to connect with the office choose to confederate with others to do the works that are now being done there, they will lose their integrity. Whoever dares to seek counsel of God and to put not his trust in the pretended purity and false piety of some of the workers now in the office will find it exceedingly difficult to maintain right principles; but the only safe course for any to pursue is to work in accordance with gospel principles, and to allow nothing to swerve him from them.—Manuscript 24, 1891. PM 151.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 15

Giving the disciples further directions, Christ said: “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” “But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Acts 1:8; Luke 24:49. 8T 15.1

In obedience to the word of their Master the disciples assembled in Jerusalem to wait for the fulfillment of God's promise. Here they spent ten days, days of deep heart searching. They put away all differences and drew close together in Christian fellowship. 8T 15.2

At the end of ten days the Lord fulfilled His promise by a wonderful outpouring of His Spirit. “Suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” “And the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” Acts 2:2-4, 41. 8T 15.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 19

God does not ask us to do in our own strength the work before us. He has provided divine assistance for all the emergencies to which our human resources are unequal. He gives the Holy Spirit to help in every strait, to strengthen our hope and assurance, to illuminate our minds and purify our hearts. 8T 19.1

Just before His crucifixion the Saviour said to His disciples: “I will not leave you comfortless.” “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever.” “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.” “He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” John 14:18, 16; 16:13; John 14:26. 8T 19.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 26

But Israel did not fulfill God's purpose. They forgot God and lost sight of their high privilege as His representatives. The blessings that they had received brought no blessing to the world. All their advantages were appropriated for their own glorification. They robbed God of the service He required of them, and they robbed their fellow men of religious guidance and a holy example. 8T 26.1

God finally sent His Son to reveal to men the character of the Unseen. Christ came and lived on this earth a life of obedience to God's law. He gave His precious life to save the world and made His servants His stewards. With the gift of Christ all the treasures of heaven were given to man. The church was freighted with the food of heaven for starving souls. This was the treasure that the people of God were commissioned to carry to the world. They were faithfully to perform their duty, continuing their work until the message of mercy had encircled the world. 8T 26.2

Christ ascended to heaven and sent His Holy Spirit to give power to the work of His disciples. Thousands were converted in a day. In a single generation the gospel was carried to every nation under heaven. But little by little a change came. The church lost her first love. She became selfish and ease-loving. The spirit of worldliness was cherished. The enemy cast his spell upon those to whom God had given light for a world in darkness, light which should have shone forth in good works. The world was robbed of the blessings that God desired men to receive. 8T 26.3

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 318.3

Let the question be asked seriously and with intense interest, “How is it with my soul? Am I by my habits and practices working against my Redeemer?” Inquire, “Do I bring glory to Christ? Do I show to a disobedient and crooked generation that I choose to suffer reproach for the sake of Jesus?” ... Will the professed followers of Christ aim high, and reach the standard of holiness? Better be a worldling than a common, cheap, professed Christian. Dare to come out from the world and be separate. Dare to be singular because you love Jesus better than the world, and righteousness with persecution better than disobedience with worldly prosperity. Holy and entire obedience through dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ will strengthen the soul to be steadfast in the faith and hope of the gospel. TMK 318.3

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 247.1

And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? Isaiah 8:19. TDG 247.1

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