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Faithful Reprover ( 15 )
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Quotations from the writings of Ellen G. White with the phrase . . .
 
faithful  reprover
 
The faithful reprover that is sent of God to make known the mistakes and errors that are binding the souls of those who are deceived, is treated with contempt. They would crucify the minister simply because he has taken the course which he felt was right, and could not neglect as a faithful steward of the grace of God. Let the church-members realize that the ministers are called to do a special work, not to be men-pleasers, but to speak the truth in love, and to watch for souls as they that must give an account. A true shepherd has a very important part to act. He must reprove. He dare not keep silent when he sees souls in danger of bringing upon themselves eternal ruin. The wayward heart will take exception to his message; for the love of God has grown cold, and he is incapable of discerning spiritual things. He will misjudge, criticise, and weigh the reprover's words in his own finite human scales, and denounce the messenger, and thus grieve Jesus in person of his servant. Another minister may come along who is not as conscientious, who is not as faithful and true, who flatters the members of the church, calling that righteous and good and holy which God has pronounced unrighteous and unholy; yet this man will be highly esteemed, and enshrined in the hearts of the people. They will pass their judgment that he has a good spirit; and because he did not discern and correct their errors, they may pass on in spiritual darkness, and die in their sins.  {RH, July 25, 1893 par. 7}
 
 
There were two other false prophets, Ahab and Zedekiah, who prophesied lies in the name of the Lord. These men professed to be holy teachers; but their lives were corrupt, and they were slaves to the pleasures of sin. The prophet of God had condemned the evil course of these men and warned them of their danger; but, instead of repenting and reforming, they were angry with the faithful reprover of their sins and sought to thwart his work by stirring up the people to disbelieve his words and act contrary to the counsel of God in the matter of subjecting themselves to the king of Babylon. The Lord testified through Jeremiah that these false prophets should be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon and slain before his eyes, and in good time this prediction was fulfilled.  {4T 173.2}
 
 
If this work is neglected by one, it has to be done by some other under more unfavorable circumstances; for those who are in error think the faithful reprover is exacting and uncharitable by comparing him to the first laborer. Oh, how important it is that every one should be faithful to his God-given trust! It is not enough to be simply a minister in the desk. You must reprove, rebuke, exhort, give full proof of your ministry, ever showing your disapproval of iniquity and your sorrow for sin. But all efforts must be made in the spirit of meekness, of long suffering love and untiring patience. Nothing will be gained by manifesting impatience  or unholy anger. You must cherish the spirit of the meek and lowly Jesus. If there seems to be but little good resulting from your work, you are not to be discouraged. It will work for your good; for the long-suffering will make you patient, and give you an experience in trusting God in dark hours. Keep working, be discreet, be discerning when to speak and when to be silent; watch for souls as they who must give an account--watch for the devices of Satan, lest you be beguiled from doing the disagreeable duty. Difficulties must not dishearten or intimidate you. With strong faith, with well-balanced minds, with intrepid purpose, meet the difficulties and overcome them. Do the work of an evangelist; and that is to water the seed already sown.  {RH, April 24, 1888 par. 9}
 
Joseph illustrates Christ. Jesus came to his own, but his own received him not. He was rejected and despised, because his acts were righteous, and his consistent, self-denying life was a continual rebuke upon those who professed piety, but whose lives were corrupt. Joseph's integrity and virtue were fiercely assailed, and she who would lead him astray could not prevail, therefore her hatred was strong against the virtue and integrity which she could not corrupt, and she testified falsely against him. The innocent suffered because of his righteousness. He was cast into prison because of his virtue. Joseph was sold to his enemies by his own brethren for a small sum of money. The Son of God was sold to his bitterest enemies by one of his own disciples. Jesus was meek and holy. His was a life of unexampled self-denial, goodness and holiness. He was not guilty of any wrong. Yet false witnesses were hired to testify against him. He was hated because he had been a faithful reprover of sin and corruption. Joseph's brethren stripped him of his coat of many colors. The executioners of Jesus cast lots for his seamless coat.  {3SG 174.2}
 
In visiting the churches, ministers often find two existing evils among the professed people of God, which cause them sorrow of heart. On the one hand, there is a class to whom the servants of God have borne a testimony that has cut across their prejudices, and wounded their pride, and they are ready to condemn the faithful reprover. On the other hand, there is a class, who, because the minister has not specified their errors, or reproved them in any personal way, idolize the minister, and are ready to flatter and admire him, proclaiming him as a perfect minister of Christ. It is difficult to handle these evils, and so treat upon both dangers that no harm will be done to those who have a knowledge of the theory of the truth, and yet are not sanctified through it. If the minister seeks to correct these evils, both classes are likely to misunderstand and misinterpret his motive and words. In whatever way the matter is dealt with, unless the mind and heart of the people are under the direct influence of the Spirit of God, Satan will make subtle suggestions in such a way that his agency is not recognized, and whatever is said and done in the way of reproof, admonition, or instruction, will be misapplied or misinterpreted. Those whose minds are not spiritual will put a false construction upon the words of the reprover, and make a world out of an atom, and an atom out of a world. They have so little respect for the messenger and his message, that if they imagine that there is something in the human line that does not meet their measurement and judgment, they pronounce sentence against it, and the message which they needed, and which God sent, is discarded. They will receive neither the messenger nor his message, and fail to be benefited by that which they hear. The respect which they should cherish and cultivate for God's chosen interest steadily diminishes, in place of increasing. Unless this mistake is corrected, disastrous results will ensue. The love of God will become extinct in the soul; and instead of spiritual power in the church, there will only be dry theories, without sap or nourishment.  {RH, July 25, 1893 par. 5}
 
As far as human wisdom could see, the event predicted by Noah was not likely to occur. Rain had never fallen; a mist or dew had watered the earth. The brooks and rivers had safely flowed along their channels, emptying into the sea. The bodies of water had been kept in their place by God's decree, "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further." Men then talked about the fixed laws of nature, that could not be set aside to bring about any such event as Noah had foretold. They wished to believe, and to have all others believe, that God could not change the order of the natural world; thus they sought to prescribe the limits of his power, making him a slave to his own laws. The people in Noah's day possessed sharp intellects, and they sought to show, on scientific grounds, that it was impossible for his prophecy to be fulfilled. Noah was laughed to scorn because of his warnings; he was regarded as a fanatic. Noah's implicit trust in God annoyed while it condemned them; but they could not move this faithful reprover from his position. The Lord had given the warning, and that was enough for Noah. The arguments of the philosophers were nothing to him, when the message of God was sounding in his ears, "The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth."  {ST, February 27, 1879 par. 14}
 
Joseph illustrates Christ. Jesus came to His own, but His own received Him not. He was rejected and despised, because His acts were righteous, and His consistent, self-denying life was a continual rebuke upon those who professed piety, but whose lives were corrupt. Joseph's integrity and virtue were fiercely assailed, and she who would lead him astray could not prevail, therefore her hatred was strong against the virtue and integrity which she could not corrupt, and she testified falsely against him. The innocent suffered because of his righteousness. He was cast into prison because of his virtue. Joseph was sold to his enemies by his own brethren for a small sum of money. The Son of God was sold to His bitterest enemies by one of His own disciples. Jesus was meek and holy. His was a life of unexampled self-denial, goodness, and holiness. He was not guilty of any wrong. Yet false witnesses were hired to testify against Him. He was hated because He had been a faithful reprover of sin and corruption. Joseph's brethren stripped him of his coat of many colors. The executioners of Jesus cast lots for His seamless coat (Ibid.,  174).  {1BC 1096.2}  {1SP 157.2}
 
David does not manifest the spirit of an unconverted man. If he had possessed the spirit of the rulers of the nations around him, he would not have borne from Nathan the picture of his crime before him in its truly abominable colors, but would have taken the life of the faithful reprover. But notwithstanding the loftiness of his throne, and his unlimited power, his humble acknowledgment of all with which he was charged is evidence that he still feared and trembled at the word of the Lord.  {TSB 96.3}
David does not manifest the spirit of an unconverted man. If he had possessed the spirit of the rulers of the nations around him, he would not have borne, from Nathan, the picture of his crime before him in its truly abominable colors, but would have taken the life of the faithful reprover. But notwithstanding the loftiness of his throne, and his unlimited power, his humble acknowledgement of all with which he was charged, is evidence that he still feared and trembled at the word of the Lord (1SP 378, 381).  {2BC 1023.6}
 
 
 
Christ  was  a  faithful  reprover
 
Christ was a faithful reprover. Never lived there another who so hated evil; never another whose denunciation of it was so fearless. To all things untrue and base His very presence was a rebuke. In the light of His purity, men saw themselves unclean, their life's aims mean and false. Yet He drew them. He who had created man understood the value of humanity. Evil He denounced as the foe of those whom He was seeking to bless and to save. In every human being, however fallen, He beheld a son of God, one who might be restored to the privilege of his divine relationship.-- Ed 78, 79.  {PM 267.1}
 
 
Christ was a faithful reprover.... To all things untrue and base His very presence was a rebuke. In the light of His purity, men saw themselves unclean, their life's aims mean and false. Yet He drew them. He who had created man, understood the value of humanity....  {AG 223.2}
 
Christ was a faithful reprover. Never lived there another who so hated evil; never another whose denunciation of it was so fearless. To all things untrue and base His very presence was a rebuke. In the light of His purity, men saw themselves unclean, their life's aims mean and false. Yet He drew them. He who had created man, understood the value of humanity. Evil He denounced as the foe of those whom He was seeking to bless and to save. In every human being, however, fallen, He beheld a son of God, one who might be restored to the privilege of his divine relationship.  {Ed 79.1}
 
Christ told the Jews at Nazareth a fearful truth when He declared that with backsliding Israel there was no safety for the faithful messenger of God. They would not know his worth or appreciate his labors. While the Jewish leaders professed to have great zeal for the honor of God and the good of Israel, they were enemies of both. By precept and example they were leading the people farther and farther from obedience to God -- leading them where He could not be their defense in the day of trouble.  {AA 417.1}
 
 
Faithful  reproofs
 
I saw that many souls will sink in darkness because of their covetousness. The plain, straight testimony must live in the church, or the curse of God will rest upon His people as surely as it did upon ancient Israel because of their sins. God holds His people, as a body, responsible for the sins existing in individuals among them. If the leaders of the church neglect to diligently search out the sins which bring the displeasure of God upon the body, they become responsible for these sins. But to deal with minds is the nicest work in which men ever engaged. All are not fitted to correct the erring. They have not wisdom to deal justly, while loving mercy. They are not inclined to see the necessity of mingling love and tender compassion with faithful reproofs. Some are ever needlessly severe, and do not feel the necessity of the injunction of the apostle: "And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire."  Testimonies, Vol. 3, page 269.2
 
 
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