WCAS Principles of Action #7

Kent Knight

Vol. 2, No. 15

Principle #7:  Participants commit themselves to pray for faithful workers, and for Heaven to provide godly, decisive leaders for the harvest.

This principle is broad in its scope and what follows represents a limited consideration at best.

That God’s people need to commit themselves to pray for His faithful workers is made clear in the following two passages:

Hebrews 13:18  "Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably."
2 Thessalonians 3:1, 2  "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith."

In the first text we see that we are to pray that our leaders will maintain a good conscience before God and man.  In verse 2 of the second text the apostle makes clear the urgent need for intercessory prayer for faithful workers, and this specifically because of the nefarious actions of unfaithful workers (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:2 “letter purporting to be from us” i.e., Paul and company).

Many of us who embrace the principles of World Church Affirmation Sabbath (WCAS) are painfully cognizant of a comparable scenario that’s playing out in our beloved church today--thus another reason for the mission of WCAS and this highlighting of Principle #7.

In what follows I am going to draw upon inspired counsel to characterize what it means to be a faithful worker.  In doing this, what constitutes unfaithfulness in the work of God will also be evident.

Inspiration reminds us that He who called the fishermen of Galilee is still calling people into His service. Though there are exceptions, when we examine the Bible’s witness of God’s call to serve as a gospel worker, there is an emphasis on extending that call to those who are yet in their youth.  Note the following words for us regarding Samuel:  “If the youth of today will consecrate themselves as did Samuel, the Lord will accept them and use them in His work. Of their life they may be able to say with the psalmist, “O God, You have taught me from my youth:  and to this day I declare Your wondrous works.”  Psalm 71:17 [NKJV] (Gospel Workers, p.69).

Inspiration directs us to “educate the youth; and as they seek to do this, they will gain an experience that will qualify them to become consecrated workers in a larger sphere” (Gospel Workers, p. 212)

Faithful workers in relating to our youth, in the words of Dr. Michael Oluikpe (Ministry, June 2018, p. 22) must help youth define their identity and make godly life choices; involve them in the mission of the church and be godly mentors and models of real Christianity to ensure their service in the cause of Christ through His church.

Faithful workers, in their preaching and teaching will be mindful of the Apostle Paul’s counsel in Hebrews 6:1-3a provided here in the Clear Word Paraphrase:

"Let’s not keep going over the more obvious truths of our faith which we learned when we first became Christians, but let’s go on to some more mature teachings of the Scriptures.  We shouldn’t have to lay the foundation again and again, telling you about the need for repentance, the uselessness of works, the importance of faith and obedience, about baptism, the laying on of hands, the certainty of the resurrection and the coming judgment.  By God’s grace and with the help of the Holy Spirit, I’ll try to help you look beyond these basic beliefs while holding on to them."

Yes, we are to “hold on” to these gospel truths that minister to our need of assurance of salvation.  Paul is objecting to the preoccupation of many ministers in preaching only the elementary truths (the “milk”) and not the more mature (“solid food”) teachings of the Scriptures. Honestly, Paul’s complaint is widely applicable today in what is happening Sabbath after Sabbath in our churches.

Adding to the above, faithful workers will remember that the Apostle Paul’s message of salvation by grace through faith was always framed by that prophetic message (the solid food) that has come down through the ages (Noah, Moses Daniel, John the Baptist, Jesus, apostles, reformers) now entrusted to Seventh-day Adventists. Paul’s loving rebuke of the Christians in Thessalonica (2 Thessalonians 2:1-7) demonstrates this in the ‘man of sin’ prophecy--vs. 5 “Don’t you remember that while I was with you, I was telling you these things?”  Can those who would be faithful workers today do any less?

Faithful workers in their preaching and teaching will not presume to create a false dichotomy, between law and grace, and faith and works, and thus, justification and sanctification. Note the clarity of God’s word on this in three synonymous passages from the Apostle Paul:

Galatians 6:15  "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation."
Galatians 5:6  "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love."
I Corinthians 7:19  "Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters."

Faithful workers in their teaching and preaching always present God’s law within the context of grace; and, conversely, they always present grace within the context of God’s law. I state this because without God’s help, we are all left to struggle with unresolved, underlying needs and weaknesses; without God’s help we as leaders are prone to imbalanced emphases in our various approaches to truth.

Faithful workers will strike that needed balance between the office and the field, between their administrative responsibilities and personal labor—visitation of members and engagement among those who have yet to take their stand for Jesus and His everlasting gospel.

When pastoring, I aimed to have four or five personal Bible studies with non-members going on weekly. Those weekly contacts often generated my sermon topics where I would invite that person to attend. This approach often elicited my missionary contact’s first steps towards regular attendance followed with baptism a good number of months later.  My sermons were always geared towards the non-members and local visitors who might drop in, and in that one visit, decide whether to return (this is an essential measure of the effectiveness of the worship experience that must revolve around the spoken word).

Unless God’s servants give the trumpet that certain sound, local prospects’ first visit may be their last. Jesus, in His preaching and teaching brought His hearers “things new and old.” If visitors get nothing new but just another “Sunday sermon” why return? Jesus sought to restore “the key of knowledge” giving His hearers a way to discern and embrace “present truth.” His hearers were empowered to apprehend and assimilate gospel truths for themselves.  Faithful workers must do the same.

As addressed earlier in this series, faithful workers from the local to the global must uphold the voted positions of the General Conference.

Organizationally, the ultimate authority in the Seventh-day Adventist Church rests with the membership as a whole….One of the chief duties of the pastor, therefore, is to instruct the members in the right practices and policies of Adventist church management. (https://www.ministryagazine.org/archive/1952/10/adventist-concepts-of-c…)

“Every member of the church has a voice in choosing officers of the church [and conference].” 8T p. 236

Faithful workers give evidence that they are totally into the message that we are to be living and giving in this, the great antitypical day of atonement, by preaching that our sins, by confession and repentance, are to go beforehand to judgement (I Timothy 5:24; cf. Dan. 8:14).  “The cases of the righteous dead have been passing in review before God [1844].  When that work shall be completed, judgment is to be pronounced upon the living (1 SM pp. 124-125).  Question:  When did you last hear this message from the pulpit?  With regard to this remarkable truth and those associated with it, comes this rebuke to those who neglect to present it:  “God does not now accept a tame, spiritless testimony from His ministers. … The message for this time must be meat in due season to feed the church of God.  But Satan has been seeking gradually to rob this message of its power, that the people may not be prepared to stand in the day of the Lord” Ibid., pp. 124-125).

If you, the reader, can’t remember the “when” of the above question, have your church board assign your pastor this and related topics for Sabbath sermons. Surely, a faithful worker, a servant/leader, will honor such a request.

Inspiration makes it clear “no one can preach Christ, and present the truth as it is in Jesus, unless he presents the truths that are to come before the people at the present time….”  (Ellen G. White, MS 33, 1897).

With no time to lose, join our WCAS team in praying that there will be more faithful workers to lead us towards the final harvest and the return of Jesus!