IN this issue of THE MINISTRY we would call our readers' attention to three items of special importance to ministers that emerged from the 1969 Autumn Council. The first has to do with proper Sabbath observance (see p. 29) and the second with healthful living (see p. 32).
As leaders in God's church a great and solemn responsibility rests upon us to rightly represent our truths through our own example and to do what we can to educate our laity to come up to God's ideals as plainly outlined in the Bible and the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy. All too frequently a careless approach to these matters of practical Christianity and witness become stumbling blocks to our believers. Yet God has spoken very plainly as to what our duty is.
The appeal comes to us, "As ministers, as Christians, we must work to take the stumbling blocks out of the way. We must remove every obstacle. Let us confess and forsake every sin, that the way of the Lord may be prepared, that He may come into our assemblies and impart His rich grace." Selected Messages, book 1, p. 123.
The church today is suffering from spiritual inertia because she is not living up to the light that has been given. There are hindrances to progress that must be re moved. Satan fears nothing more than "that the people of God shall clear the way by removing every hindrance, so that the Lord can pour out His Spirit" (ibid., p. 124).
When the conditions are met the promised blessings will come.
Proclaiming the Sabbath More Fully
The third item points to a new door of opportunity for soul winning. In Early Writings, page 85, we are reminded that before the end of time the Sabbath will be proclaimed more fully. Have we not come to such a time? The question of the Sabbath is now on the minds of multiplied thousands, many of whom have as yet had no contact with Seventh-day Adventists. Herbert W. Armstrong promotes the seventh-day Sabbath through a great chain of radio broadcasts, and through his Plain Truth magazine. Billy Graham and other prominent religious leaders are emphasizing as never before the importance of obedience to the Ten Commandments.
Recently I chanced to listen to the speaker of a radio program originating in Arizona and heard over many stations across the nation. This broadcast was given over to answering questions sent in by his radio listeners. He began with the words: "I am being deluged with questions about the Sabbath. My desk is full of letters on the subject. People want to know whether Sunday is the day we ought to be observing or if Saturday is the true Sabbath of the Bible."
Later in the broadcast he dealt at length with the subject. "I've been doing a lot of studying about this," he said. "I am still undecided. But it seems the early church did not keep Sunday." Then he spoke of the Sunday law of Constantine. He spoke in an earnest voice, closing with the words: "I'm giving thorough study to this important question. My mind is not yet made up but I will continue to study and I want to assure you that if it becomes clear to me that I've been keeping the wrong day, I will not hesitate to make the change. I want to obey the Word of the Lord in this matter as in all others."
These and other incidents that might be mentioned are leading many sincere Christians to think seriously about the true Sabbath, but most of them are ignorant of any Sabbath-keeping church that they might attend. Here is our door of opportunity. With the Sabbath question in agitation as it now is, let us invite them to our services.
The Autumn Council action recommends that ads be placed in the local newspapers boldly proclaiming the truth of the fourth commandment, and inviting these folks to worship with us. The following are suggestive:
Sample Newspaper Ads
DON'T FORGET IT! "REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY, TO KEEP IT HOLY. SIX DAYS SHALT THOU LABOUR, AND DO ALL THY WORK: BUT THE SEVENTH DAY IS THE SABBATH OF THE LORD THY GOD: IN IT THOU SHALT NOT DO ANY WORK" (Exodus 20:8-10).
Your friends, the Seventh-day Adventists, cordially invite you to worship with them on Sabbath (Saturday) in harmony with the example of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
TIME: 11:00 A.M., BIBLE STUDY GROUP, 9:30 A.M.
WHERE THE BIBLE IS READ WHERE GOD'S DAY IS HONORED WHERE CHRIST IS UPLIFTED.
__________________SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
____________ (STREET)___________________ (CITY)
REMEMBER! "REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY, TO KEEP IT HOLY. SIX DAYS SHALT THOU LABOUR, AND DO ALL THY WORK: BUT THE SEVENTH DAY IS THE SABBATH OF THE LORD THY GOD: IN IT THOU SHALT NOT DO ANY WORK" (Exodus 20:8-10).
Your friends, the Seventh-day Adventists, cordially invite you to worship with them on Sabbath (Saturday), in harmony with the divine command and the example of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
9:30 A.M. Sabbath school with Bible classes for all age groups.
11:00 A.M. Worship service.
WHERE THE BIBLE IS READ, GOD'S DAY HONORED, AND CHRIST UPLIFTED.
______________________ SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
______________________ STREET _________________ CITY
Mrs. White has said, "The words of Scripture should be printed and published just as they read. It would be well if the nineteenth and the greater portion of the twentieth chapters of Exodus . . . were printed just as they stand." Evangelism, p. 232.
These ads are in keeping with this counsel. Our regular Sabbath services can be come mighty evangelistic agencies if more is done to invite others. When they do come let the service be conducted in such a way as to leave a lasting impression for good, a service that will draw them back again and again and finally into full fellowship with us.