LandMarks Magazine  
   

February 2008 Table of Contents

 
 

Restoring the Withered Right Arm, Part II
By Thomas jackson

I

In Psalm 89:13, the Bible says, “Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, [and] high is thy right hand.”

When the Bible makes reference to the mighty arm and the right hand, it is primarily referring to Jesus who has the mighty arm to save us.  You may read other texts that make reference to Jesus in Psalms 89:10; 80:1–3, 15; 60:5; 98:1; 118:15, 16; Isaiah 62:8–12. 

 

Ellen White also references “the arm”: “The medical missionary work has never been presented to me in any other way than as bearing the same relation to the work as a whole as the arm does to the body.  The gospel ministry is an organization for the proclamation of the truth and the carrying forward of the work for sick and well.  This is the body, the medical missionary work is the arm, and Christ is the head over all.  Thus the matter has been presented to me.”  Medical Ministry, 237.

 

Note that Christ is the head, the gospel is the body, and the medical missionary work is the arm.  It is important to note that with Christ as the head of this work, no man can tell you your work.  God gives you your work. 

“The right hand is used to open doors through which the body may find entrance.  This is the part the medical missionary work is to act.  It is to largely prepare the way for the reception of the truth for this time.  A body without hands is useless.”  Ibid., 238.

 

“A body without hands is useless.”  That means that any church, any body of people that professes to believe in the Three Angels’ Messages but is not engaged in medical missionary work is useless. 

“In giving honor to the body, honor must also be given to the helping hands, which are agencies of such importance that without them the body can do nothing.  Therefore the body which treats indifferently the right hand, refusing its aid, is able to accomplish nothing.”  Ibid.  The body can do nothing without the right hand.  

 

Mercenary or Missionary

 

“The gospel of health has able advocates, but their work has been made very hard because so many ministers, presidents of conferences, and others in positions of influence have failed to give the question of health reform its proper attention.  They have not recognized it in its relation to the work of the message as the right arm of the body. … The Lord has shown His regard for it by giving it abundant prosperity.  When properly conducted, the health work is an entering wedge, making a way for other truths to reach the heart.  When the third angel’s message is received in its fullness, health reform will be given its place in the councils of the conference, in the work of the church, in the home, at the table, and in all the household arrangements.  Then the right arm will serve and protect the body.”  Testimonies, vol. 6, 327.

 

There are medical mercenaries and medical missionaries!  Do you know what a medical mercenary is?  That is the person who can present the whole delineation of how the body works and what it needs.  Then he or she spreads out on a table all the multi-level products they say you need to take in order to be well.  There is a place for such products, but that is not medical missionary work. 

 

The health message is not a gimmick to get people to buy a product.  The purpose of the health message is not to entice people to spend money on things that they might not need.  The purpose of the health message is to lead people to Jesus.  “When properly conducted, the health work is an entering wedge, making a way for other truths to reach the heart.”  If we want to protect the body, we need medical missionary work.  It needs to be active among God’s people.  “The body which treats indifferently the right hand, refusing its aid, is able to accomplish nothing.”  Medical Ministry, 238. 

 

Around the World

 

“In new fields no work is so successful as medical missionary work.”  Ibid., 239.  This is why we need to learn more about it.  It can go to North America, to South America; it can go all over the world. 

 

In Papua, New Guinea, we conducted evangelistic meetings on health for one month.  The meetings were held in a tent that had been erected on a coffee plantation.  The owner of the coffee plantation sold it after the meetings to serve the living God.  In that area, some men have more than one wife, but after the meetings, those who attended chose to have just one wife.  One gentleman who attended the meetings belonged to what is called a Four Square Church.  After attending the medical missionary meetings, he decided that he needed to join God’s remnant church.  In fact, the Four Square Church became a Sabbath-keeping church as a result of this medical missionary work. 

 

In the Solomon Islands, the people reached with the medical missionary work committed their lives to the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

 

Another month-long series of medical missionary meetings in Australia resulted in a branch Sabbath School.  We do not know how many people will accept the gospel message as a result of that, but what a golden opportunity was given to reach people through the health message. 

 

In Montreal, Canada, we held four weeks of meetings for the English-speaking people.  Evangelistic work is not done in Canada, but a close friend believed that the health message could reach the people in Montreal.  Some of the people wondered whether or not the meetings could hold the people’s interest for that long a period of time.

 

In most campaigns of that period of duration, the numbers of attendees decrease.  But for four weeks the numbers increased!  My wife was asked to give a food demonstration, one of the first given in the area, and 400 people attended it.  Over 300 people in that area are now taking Bible health studies. 

 

The sponsors in Montreal have sent people to our health ministry for training so they can return to their communities and share the health message.  The people are so excited that they sponsored a radio program featuring our health presentations for a year. 

 

The medical missionary work is the gospel illustrated.  It is the gospel in action.  It reveals the love of God.  It is a work of mercy.  Medical missionary work is not just hydrotherapy and herbs; it is benevolent work.  Medical missionary work is reaching the felt needs of the people that they might come to know Jesus Christ. 

 

The Gospel Illustrated

 

If the medical missionary work is indeed the gospel illustrated, how, then, is it going to be carried out?  Who is called to do this work of mercy and compassion? 

 

Jesus came to this earth.  He clothed Himself with humanity to reach humanity.  He was able to touch the lives of others.  A person who lives to himself or herself will eventually die.  You see, a true Christian does not have to be loved, but a true Christian cannot live without showing love.  We all need love; do not get me wrong, but our lives are not predicated on that.  Our lives are based on the fact that God has already validated our self worth.  God has already validated our dignity.  Because of that, we reciprocate by showing Him our love by working for others. 

 

A number of years ago, I read a book by Douglas Cooper entitled Living God’s Love.  (Pacific Press Publishing Association, Nampa, Idaho, 1995.)  In it, Mr. Cooper stated that what we need today is love with skin on it.  See, God is love, and in the Book of Hebrews 10:5, the Bible says, “A body thou hast prepared me.”

 

When Jesus walked on this earth, He exhibited love.  Because people are visual, they could identify this love.  Therefore, when we embrace the gospel and the gospel embraces us, we are going to demonstrate the power of this love, and we are not going to be shaken by ridicule, by insult, or by slander.  We are going to move forward.  Inspiration says that many people will not go into this work because of inconveniences and reproach.  (See Testimonies, vol. 2, 46.) 

 

Cry Aloud

 

When I first read Isaiah 58, especially verse 1—“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression . . . ,”—I went into the church, and I cried aloud to everyone and spared not.  I had on my spiritual boxing gloves!  But as I gained an understanding of Isaiah 58, I learned that this chapter is an indictment of the church for its selfishness and formalism.  Read the chapter.  In verse 3 we read that the people fasted for show: “Wherefore have we fasted, [say they], and thou seest not?”  They were looking for the glory themselves. 

 

Regarding this passage, Ellen White wrote: “The fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah contains present truth for the people of God.  Here we see how medical missionary work and the gospel ministry are to be bound together as the message is given to the world.  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.”  Evangelism, 516, 517.

 

Do you believe Isaiah 58 is a message for the time?  Yes, it is.  “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice.” 

 

God says, “Show my people their transgression” and their sins.  He is saying that worship without dedication, prayer without action, and knowledge without practice equals sin of formalism and selfishness.  This is the message of Isaiah 58.  God is saying that we should wake up; there is work to be done.  We must get out of our formalism of going to the church once a week, going through the motion of worship, and, when the service is over, going back to business as usual.

 

In verses 6 and 7, God outlines His work: “[Is] not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?  [Is it] not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?”  As I travel round the world, going from large churches to home churches to little churches, I see that only a few people are doing the work of God. 

 

When we see a destitute brother or sister, and all we do is say, “I am praying for you,” when it is in our hand to help that person, then woe is to us.  God is not saying for us to set up a rescue mission or home for the homeless, but He is saying that we are to reach out to the poor that they might come to know Jesus Christ.  To have soup kitchens just to feed people is not what God is calling us to do.  If the gospel is not also presented, we are not doing our work.  The purpose of our work is to lead people to accept Jesus Christ through the Three Angels’ Messages.  This is medical missionary work.   This is the work of benevolence.  This is the work that will starve selfishness out of us.  This is the work that will clothe us with the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

 

Verse 8 continues, “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.”

 

What is the pivotal word in that verse?  It is the word then.  What does that word then mean?  It means that until we do what is before, we cannot experience the “then.” 

 

Walk As Christ Walked

 

The true fast is not mere formal service.  The Scripture describes the fast that God has chosen.  Here is set forth the very spirit and character of the work of Christ.  His whole life was a sacrifice of Himself for the saving of the world.

 

“We can walk as Christ walked only when we abide in Him.  We can do medical missionary work in a Christlike manner only when we are one with Him, only when we wear His yoke. . . .

 

“Yoked up with Christ, we receive spiritual life and power, for then we are ‘laborers together with God.’   Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, 106.

 

If we are Christians, then we will walk as Christ walked.  He designs that the medical missionary work should prepare the way for the presentation of the saving truths for this time, the proclamation of the third angel’s message.  If this design is met, the message will not be eclipsed nor its progress hindered.  We can expect great things through this avenue.  By doing medical missionary work, we will gain access to the hearts of the people.  The way will be prepared for more decided proclamation.  We will find that relieving their physical sufferings will give an opportunity to minister to their spiritual needs.

 

“When human sympathy is blended with love and benevolence, and sanctified by the Spirit of Jesus, it is an element which can be productive of great good.  Those who cultivate benevolence are not only doing a good work for others, and blessing those who receive the good action, but they are benefiting themselves by opening their hearts to the benign influence of true benevolence.  Every ray of light shed upon others will be reflected upon our own hearts.  Every kind and sympathizing word spoken to the sorrowful, every act to relieve the oppressed, and every gift to supply the necessities of our fellow beings, given or done with an eye to God’s glory, will result in blessings to the giver.  Those who are thus working are obeying a law of heaven and will receive the approval of God.  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.”  Testimonies, vol. 4, 56.

 

A Final Test

 

“The word of God in His law is binding upon every intelligent mind.  The truth for this time, the third angel’s message, is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, meaning with increasing power, as we approach the great final test.  This test must come to the churches in connection with the true medical missionary work, a work that has the Great Physician to dictate and preside in all it comprehends.  Under the great Head we are to present God’s word requiring obedience to the system of Bible truth, which is a system of authority and power, convicting and converting the conscience.  The demand of the Word to obedience is a life-and-death question.”  Manuscript Releases, vol. 10, 31. 

 

Medical missionary work is part of the last work that will go forth when we can no longer buy and sell.  This is one work, one job that will not be downsized!  Medical missionaries will be employed until Jesus comes in the clouds of glory. 

 

I am never concerned about being laid off of work.  I am not even worried about my support, because even the retirement is out of this world.  God has already promised that this work will succeed.  All we need to do is to become engaged in this work. 

 

Ellen White wrote, “In the days of Christ there were no sanitariums in the Holy Land.  But wherever the Great Physician went, He carried with Him the healing efficacy that was a cure for every disease, spiritual and physical.  This He imparted to those who were under the afflicting power of the enemy.  In every city, every town, every village through which He passed, with the solicitude of a loving father He laid His hands upon the afflicted ones, making them whole and speaking words of tenderest sympathy and compassion.  How precious to them were His words!  From Him flowed a stream of healing power which made the sick whole.  He healed men and women with unhesitating willingness and with hearty joyfulness, for He was glad to be able to restore suffering ones to health.”  Counsels on Health, 526. 

 

Think of it!  There were no sanitariums.  Soon, all such institutions in our time will be closed down.  Mrs. White essentially said that wherever Christ went, He Himself was a sanitarium.  Whether you are a secretary or a mechanic, you too can be a sanitarium.  You do not have to have an institution; you are the institution.  You are the sanitarium on two legs.  You are love in action. 

 

“The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good.  He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence.  Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’  The Ministry of Healing, 143.  He did not say to a person, when He first met that person, “Come and join my church.”  He ministered to them.  He won their confidence.  He socialized.  He sympathized.  He served.  He saved.  That is what He did.

 

In Your Hand

 

“God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this [is] my name for ever, and this [is] my memorial unto all generations.  Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and [seen] that which is done to you in Egypt.”  “And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee.  And the Lord said unto him, What [is] that in thine hand?  And he said, A rod.  And he said, Cast it on the ground.  And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.  And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail.  And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.”  Exodus 3:15, 16; 4:1–5. 

 

I am sure you remember the story of Moses.  The first 40 years of his education were spent in Egypt, and he thought that he was prepared to deliver the children of Israel.  But then he killed an Egyptian, and the next 40 years he spent taking care of sheep.  When God called him, he was about 80 years of age. 

 

God asked him to go to Pharaoh and tell him, “Let my people go.”

 

But Moses protested, “I [am] not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I [am] slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.”  Exodus 4:10.  Moses was demonstrating a sense of pride, even though it was not boastful pride.  Many times when we are called, we shrink back, because we feel incapable, as did Moses.  We do not want to be embarrassed. 

 

God is not going to ask you or me to do something that He will not give us power to do.  His biddings are our enabling.  So, when God calls you, do not question, do not look at your inefficiency; look at God’s sufficiency. 

 

Then Moses said, “Lord, how will they know that You sent me?”

 

And the Lord asked him, “What is in your hand?  That is what I am going to use.”

 

Today, God is asking you and me, “What is in your hand?”

 

If you can write, if you can speak, if you can sing, if you can type, if you can do carpenter work, what is in your hand?  Do not look at what is not in your hand.  Whatever is in your hand, God will use it for His glory.  Whatever is in your hand He will sanctify, if you will give it to Him.

 

We are not to compare ourselves among ourselves, and then excuse ourselves, saying, “I cannot speak,” or “I cannot do this or that.”  What is in your hand?  God can use whatever is there.

When you are not sure of what God has called you to do, reach out to help somebody else, and God will reveal to you what to do.  Let the perplexed one seek out others who are in perplexity and speak a word of encouragement to them.  When you begin to do this, then you will no longer be in obscurity.  You will be helped out of all your troubles.

 

God is calling us to be medical missionaries, to renew the right arm of the gospel, for medical missionary work is the gospel in practice. 

 

Thomas Jackson is a health evangelist and Director of Missionary Education and Evangelistic Training (M.E.E.T.) Ministry in Huntingdon, Tennessee.  He may be contacted by e-mail at: godsplan@meetministry.org, or by telephone at: 731-986-3518.

February 2008 Table of Contents

 

       
 

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