For consider him - Αναλογισασθε - ἱνα μη καμητε, ταις ψυχαις - εκλυμενοι· Attentively observe and analyze every part of his conduct, enter into his spirit, examine his motives and object, and remember that, as he acted, ye are called to act; he will furnish you with the same Spirit, and will support you with the same strength. He bore a continual opposition of sinners against himself; but he conquered by meekness, patience, and perseverance: he has left you an example that ye should follow his steps. If ye trust in him, ye shall receive strength; therefore, howsoever great your opposition may be, ye shall not be weary: if ye confide in and attentively look to him, ye shall have continual courage to go on, and never faint in your minds.
Here is a continued allusion to the contenders in the Grecian games, who, when exhausted in bodily strength and courage, yielded the palm to their opponents, and were said καμνειν, to be weary or exhausted; εκλυεσθαι, to be dissolved, disheartened, or to have lost all bravery and courage.
For consider him - Attentively reflect on his example that you may be able to bear your trials in a proper manner.
That endured such contradiction of sinners - Such opposition. The reference is to the Jews of the time of the Saviour, who opposed his plans, perverted his sayings, and ridiculed his claims. Yet, regardless of their opposition, he persevered in the course which he had marked out, and went patiently forward in the execution of his plans. The idea is, that we are to pursue the path of duty and follow the dictates of conscience, let the world say what they will about it. In doing this we cannot find a better example than the Saviour. No opposition of sinners ever turned him from the way which he regarded as right; no ridicule ever caused him to abandon any of his plans; no argument, or expression of scorn, ever caused him for a moment to deviate from his course.
Lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds - The meaning is, that there is great danger of being disheartened and wearied out by the opposition which you meet with. But with the bright example of one who was never disheartened, and who never became weary in doing the will of God, you may persevere. The best means of leading a faithful Christian life amidst the opposition which we may encounter, is to keep the eye steadily fixed on the Saviour.
When the Saviour finally appeared “in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7), and began His ministry of grace, Satan could but bruise the heel, while by every act of humiliation or suffering Christ was bruising the head of His adversary. The anguish that sin has brought was poured into the bosom of the Sinless; yet while Christ endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself, He was paying the debt for sinful man and breaking the bondage in which humanity had been held. Every pang of anguish, every insult, was working out the deliverance of the race. PK 701.1
Could Satan have induced Christ to yield to a single temptation, could he have led Him by one act or even thought to stain His perfect purity, the prince of darkness would have triumphed over man's Surety and would have gained the whole human family to himself. But while Satan could distress, he could not contaminate. He could cause agony, but not defilement. He made the life of Christ one long scene of conflict and trial, yet with every attack he was losing his hold upon humanity. PK 701.2
In the wilderness of temptation, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross, our Saviour measured weapons with the prince of darkness. His wounds became the trophies of His victory in behalf of the race. When Christ hung in agony upon the cross, while evil spirits rejoiced and evil men reviled, then indeed His heel was bruised by Satan. But that very act was crushing the serpent's head. Through death He destroyed “him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Hebrews 2:14. This act decided the destiny of the rebel chief, and made forever sure the plan of salvation. In death He gained the victory over its power; in rising again, He opened the gates of the grave to all His followers. In that last great contest we see fulfilled the prophecy, “It shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15. PK 701.3Read in context »
Brother A, God loves you and desires to save you and bring you into working order. If you will be humble and teachable, and will be molded by His Spirit, He will be your strength, your righteousness, and your exceeding great reward. You may accomplish much for your brethren if you will hide in God and let His Spirit soften your spirit. You have a hard class to meet. They are filled with bitter prejudice, but no more so than was Saul. God can work mightily for your brethren if you do not allow yourself to get in the way and hedge up your own path. Let melting love, pity, and tenderness dwell in your heart while you labor. You may break down the iron walls of prejudice if you only cling to Christ and are ready to be counseled by your more experienced brethren. 3T 434.1
You must not, as God's servant, be too easily discouraged by difficulties or by the fiercest opposition. Go forth, not in your own name, but in the might and power of Israel's God. Endure hardness as a good soldier of the cross of Christ. Jesus endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself. Consider the life of Christ and take courage, and press on in faith, courage, and hope. 3T 434.2
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He whose heart is fixed to serve God will find opportunity to witness for Him. Difficulties will be powerless to hinder him who is determined to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. In the strength gained by prayer and a study of the word, he will seek virtue and forsake vice. Looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of the faith, who endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself, the believer will willingly brave contempt and derision. And help and grace sufficient for every circumstance are promised by Him whose word is truth. His everlasting arms encircle the soul that turns to Him for aid. In His care we may rest safely, saying, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.” Psalm 56:3. To all who put their trust in Him, God will fulfill His promise. AA 467.1
By His own example the Saviour has shown that His followers can be in the world and yet not of the world. He came not to partake of its delusive pleasures, to be swayed by its customs, and to follow its practices, but to do His Father's will, to seek and save the lost. With this object before him the Christian may stand uncontaminated in any surroundings. Whatever his station or circumstances, exalted or humble, he will manifest the power of true religion in the faithful performance of duty. AA 467.2
Not in freedom from trial, but in the midst of it, is Christian character developed. Exposure to rebuffs and opposition leads the follower of Christ to greater watchfulness and more earnest prayer to the mighty Helper. Severe trial endured by the grace of God develops patience, vigilance, fortitude, and a deep and abiding trust in God. It is the triumph of the Christian faith that it enables its followers to suffer and be strong; to submit, and thus to conquer; to be killed all the day long, and yet to live; to bear the cross, and thus to win the crown of glory. AA 467.3Read in context »
Let us, then, cheerfully suffer something for Jesus’ sake, crucify self daily, and be partakers of Christ's sufferings here, that we may be made partakers with Him of His glory, and be crowned with glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life. EW 114.1
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It becomes every minister of Christ to use sound speech, which cannot be condemned. I was shown that a solemn work is to be accomplished for the ministers of Christ. This cannot be done without effort on their part. They must feel that they have a work to do in their own cases which no one else can do for them. They must seek to gain the qualifications necessary, in order to become able ministers of Christ, that in the day of God they may stand acquitted, free from the blood of souls, having done all their duty in the fear of God. As their reward, the faithful undershepherds will hear from the Chief Shepherd: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” He will then place the crown of glory upon their heads and bid them enter into the joy of their Lord. What is that joy? It is beholding with Christ the redeemed saints, reviewing with Him their travail for souls, their self-denial and self-sacrifice, their giving up of ease, of worldly gain, and every earthly inducement, and choosing the reproach, the suffering, the self-abasement, the wearing labor, and the anguish of spirit as men would oppose the counsel of God against their own souls; it is calling to remembrance the chastening of their souls before God, their weeping between the porch and the altar, and their becoming a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. All this is then ended, and the fruits of their labors are seen; souls are saved through their efforts in Christ. The ministers who have been co-workers with Christ enter into the joy of their Lord and are satisfied. 2T 709.1
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Ministers are too forgetful of the Author of their salvation. They think they endure much, when they bear and suffer but little. God will work for ministers if they will let Him work for them. But if they feel that they are all right and do not need a thorough conversion, and will not see themselves and come up to the measurement of God, He can do better without their labors than with them. 2T 709.2
God requires ministers to come up to the standard, to show themselves approved unto God, workmen that need not be ashamed. If they refuse this strict discipline, God will release them and select men who will not rest until they are thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Our hearts are naturally sinful, and slothful in the service of Christ; and we need to be guarded constantly, or we shall fail to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ; and we shall not feel the necessity of aiming vigorous blows against besetting sins, but will readily yield to the suggestions of Satan and raise a standard for ourselves rather than accept the pure and elevated standard that God has raised for us. 2T 710.1Read in context »