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The Call to Complete Ministry, part 2

Dr. Thomas Jackson


Last month, we saw God’s plan of reaching out to those around us in an effort to cure the people of God from cold formalism and selfishness. We will continue our study to see what the results will be once the church members “take hold of medical missionary work”. {7T 62}


What will happen to church members when the church really begins to put God’s plan to work? The next verses unfold the personal benefits of caring and sharing: 

Isa. 58:8 “Thine health shall spring forth speedily.” 

Isa. 58:9 “Thou shalt call and the Lord will answer.”

Isa.  58:11 “The Lord  shall guide thee continually.” 


“The pleasure of doing good to others imparts a glow to the feelings which flashes through the nerves, quickens the circulation of the blood, and induces mental and physical health.”  {4T 56}


“Good deeds are twice a blessing, blessing both the giver and the receiver of the kindness. The consciousness of right-doing is one of the best medicines for diseased bodies and minds. When the mind is free and happy from a sense of duty well done and the satisfaction of giving happiness to others, the cheering, uplifting influence brings new life to the whole being.” {MH 257}


“All who consecrate body, soul, and spirit to God’s service will be constantly receiving a new endowment of physical, mental and spiritual power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own spirit, the life of His own life.  The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in heart and mind.”   {6T 306}


What will be the effect in regard to the impact of the church on the world when God’s plan is carried out? Note how truth becomes prominent through caring and sharing:

Isa. 58:8 “Thy light shall break forth as the morning. Thy righteousness shall go before thee, the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.”

Isa. 58:10 “Then Shall thy light rise in obscurity, thy darkness be as noonday.”


It is said that there are more references in the Spirit of Prophecy to Isaiah 58 than to any other complete chapter in the Bible. A glance at die Index shows 23 for Isaiah 58 compared to two for Exodus 20, one for Psalm 23, seven for Matthew 5, and three for Revelation 14. At any rate, it is clear that this chapter is of special urgency and importance to God’s people today as it contains practical instruction on how to meet the world’s needs in the finishing of God’s work. 


What are the lessons of the closing verses of Isaiah 58? The seventh-day Sabbath is a memorial of Creation. It is a sign between God and His people. It is a sign of sanctification.  By the Sabbath, God’s people are distinguished from all other people. Because, like Him, they have one common purpose. They are concerned with human need to the degree that the whole life is dedicated to the service of God and humanity. Their professions, their business, their occupations, their trades, whatever it may be, is secondary to the one great purpose of seeking and saving the lost. The training is but a means to serve more purposefully and efficiently in the cause of God. 


True  Sabbath-keeping is  not merely the cessation from the pursuit of business and physical labor every seventh day of the week. True Sabbath-keeping is synonymous with a Christ-like character and is revealed every day of the week in thought and word and deed - this is the teaching of Isaiah 58. 


This medical missionary chapter highlights the hollowness of formal religious and Sabbath worship the spiritual emptiness that results from alive fully absorbed in the daily pursuit of satisfying self— with the consequent lack of vital  contact with the living God. This according to Isaiah is sin— soul-destroying sin.


The proposition then is simple— where does the professed Seventh-day Adventist Christian stand in the light of Isaiah 58 as it brings sharply into focus the the condition of God’s people? A formal Sabbath-keeping Christian, serving self in a way that ultimately will lead to destruction - or a Christian at one with God, sealed with His seal and serving Him with meaningful purpose. True Sabbath-keeping cares and shares. The two are inseparable.


“Upon those who keep the Sabbath of the Lord is laid the responsibility of doing a work of mercy and benevolence. Medical missionary work is to be bound up with the message, and sealed with the seal of God.” {Ev 517}


What is medical missionary work? According to Counsels on Health page 533, it is the “gospel of healing and blessing and strengthening.” This is what Isaiah 58 is all about. But often this chapter has been misunderstood. The concept that Sabbath-keeping alone gives us the right to be called repairers of the breach,  and restorers of paths to dwell in is completely exploded when the whole of the teaching of Isaiah is explored and particularly when the extensive counsels on this chapter are studied in the Spirit of Prophecy teachings. We can only be genuine repairers and restorers when we apply the whole of the teaching of this scripture and follow in the steps of the Christ-the true Medical Missionary - and bring to needy humanity ministry to the whole man— to reform, heal, and restore. 


“Through Christ was to be fulfilled the purpose of which the tabernacle was a symbol... In all, God desired His people to read His purpose for the human soul.” {Ed 36}


“The Lord gave an important lesson to His people in all ages when to Moses on the mount He with God, sealed with His seal and serving Him with meaningful purpose. True Sabbath-keeping cares and shares. The two are inseparable. Upon those who keep the Sabbath of the Lord is laid the responsibility of doing a work of mercy and benevolence. Medical missionary work is to be bound up with the message  and sealed with the seal of God.  {Ev 517}


What is medical missionary work? According to Counsels on Health, p. 533, it is the gospel of healing and blessing and strengthening.” This is what Isaiah 58 is all about. But often this chapter has been misunderstood. The concept that Sabbath-keeping alone gives us the right to be called “repairers of the breach”, and “restorers paths to dwell in” is completely exploded when the whole of the teaching of Isaiah is explored and particularly when the extensive counsels on this chapter are studied in the Spirit of Prophecy teachings. We can only be genuine repairers and restorers when we apply the whole of the teaching of this scripture and follow in the steps of the Christ— the true medical missionary— and bring to needy humanity ministry to the whole man— to reform, heal and restore.


“Through Christ was to be fulfilled the purpose of which the tabernacle was a symbol… In all, God desired His people to read His purpose for the human soul.” {Ed 36}


“The Lord gave an important lesson to His people in all ages when to Moses on the mount He gave instruction regarding the building of the tabernacle.  In that work He required perfection in every detail…Into all to which the Christian sets his hand should be woven the thought of the life eternal.  If the work performed is agricultural or mechanical in its nature, it may still be after the pattern of the heavenly…" {HP 154}



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