The Mission To Seek And Save The Lost
By Adolph Saphir
If the church wishes to keep herself unspotted from the world, and to grow in grace and heavenly-mindedness, she must enter into the mind of her Lord, who, sent by the Father, came to seek and to save that which is lost, who went about doing good, and declared to all, Pharisees and publicans, the evangel of divine love. The church who feels no compassion for perishing souls, who is not constrained by the love of Him who died for the guilty, who does not walk in the footsteps of the great Deacon who came to minister unto others, has already become worldly; the spirit of selfishness and unbelief has already entered into her heart, and is endangering her very life.
If the light does not shine before men, it will soon be extinguished; if the salt does not benefit the mass, the salt itself will soon be worthless and trodden under foot. The man who obeys not the command of his leader, and in cowardice and ignoble sloth stays away from the battle, does not merely deprive himself of a share in the joy and reward of victory, but is in danger of losing the approbation of him who has called him to be a soldier.
True Intensity of Love and Devotion
Thus we find that when the church was most active she was most prayerful, most fervent in love, most concentrated in her aim, most heavenly-minded and spiritual. Rejoicing in mercy, she was merciful to the needy and sorrowful, the ignorant and guilty; triumphing in love, she was constrained by love to testify of the Savior, and to direct the erring and perishing sheep to the Good Shepherd.
True intensity of love and devotion, and true expansiveness and work, go together. There may be an appearance of activity and influence, a semblance of energy and laborious zeal, without inward collectedness, prayer, and love. There is sometimes an appearance of devotion, spirituality, and fervor, without the ministry of love and the works of mercy. But where the true light shines within, and the true love dwells in the heart, the Father seeth that which is in secret, and the world beholds good works; it is when the joy of salvation reigns in the church that sinners are taught God’s ways and transgressors are brought to repentance and faith.
Strongest When Most Pure
The church resists the world by conquering love. She keeps herself pure by going into the world, preaching glad tidings by word and work. And in this aggressiveness she is strongest when she is most pure. When loyal to her heavenly Bridegroom, she keeps herself unspotted from the world, and is most skillful and most blessed in gaining souls. She loves the world most, and is its true benefactor, when most obedient to the apostolic precept, “Love not the world.” She cannot influence unless her standpoint is heavenly. As Archimedes said, “Give me where I can stand, and I will move the earth,” the church can attract and conquer only when she remembers her heavenly position and character. When we seek the praise, and yield to the spirit of the world, our light loses its light, our salt its savor. David cannot fight with Goliath in Saul’s armor. Our sufficiency is of God; our weapons are spiritual.