Review and Herald, November 25, 1890
How the Truth Should Be Presented, EGW
“Though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ), that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
Thus the apostle Paul describes his manner of labor. He did not approach the Jews in a way to stir up their prejudice. He did not run the risk of making them his enemies by telling them in his first effort that they must believe on Jesus of Nazareth; but he dwelt on the promises of the Old Testament Scriptures, which testified of Christ, of his mission, and of his work. Thus he led them along step by step, showing them the importance of honoring the law of God. He also gave due honor to the ceremonial law, showing that Christ was the one who instituted the whole system of sacrificial service. After dwelling upon these things, making it manifest that he had a clear understanding of them himself, he brought them down to the first advent of Christ, and proved that in the crucified Jesus every specification of the prophecies had been fulfilled. This was the wisdom that Paul exercised.
He approached the Gentiles, not by exalting the law at first, but by exalting Christ, and then showing the binding claims of the law. He showed them plainly how the light from the cross of Calvary gave significance and glory to the whole Jewish economy. Thus he varied his manner of labor, always shaping his message to the circumstances under which he was placed; and though after patient labor he was successful to a large degree, many would not be convinced. There are some who will not be convinced by any presentation of the truth. The laborer for God should, nevertheless, study carefully the best method, in order that he may not arouse prejudice or stir up combativeness in his hearers.
Christ said to his disciples, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” As the result of their early education, their ideas upon many points were incorrect, and they were not then prepared to understand and receive some things which he would otherwise have taught them. His instructions would have confused their minds, and raised questioning and unbelief that would have been difficult to remove.
Christ drew the hearts of his hearers to him by the manifestation of his love, and then, little by little, as they were able to bear it, he unfolded to them the great truths of the kingdom. We also must learn to adapt our labors to the condition of the people,—to meet men where they are. While the claims of the law of God are to be presented to the world, we should never forget that love, the love of Christ, is the only power that can soften the heart, and lead to obedience. All the great truths of the Scriptures center in Christ; and rightly understood, all lead to him. Let Christ be presented as the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, of the great plan of redemption. Present to the people such subjects as will strengthen their confidence in God and in his word, and lead them to investigate its teachings for themselves. And as they go forward, step by step, in the study of the Bible, they will be better prepared to appreciate the beauty and harmony of its precious truths.
God's workmen must have breadth of character. They must not be men of one idea, stereotyped in their manner of working. They must be able to vary their efforts, to meet the needs of the people under different circumstances and conditions. God would have his servants, young and old, continually improving, learning better how to minister to the wants of all. They should not settle down contented, thinking that their ways are perfect, and that others must work just as they do. . RH November 25, 1890, par. 8-RH November 25, 1890, par. 6
"What does your witness look like? How are you reaching people? Do you proclaim Jesus first, that all men may be drawn to Him. Once we present His great love through our words, our actions, our thoughts and our attitudes, then we will win their confidence, and they will desire what we have!" ~Teresa F.