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The Review and Herald Articles
for the Year 1957
(Vol. 134, #6)
We have the assurance that in this age of the world the Holy Spirit will work with mighty power, unless by our unbelief we limit our blessing, and thus lose the advantages we might obtain. . . .
In times past holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. In ancient times the prophets searched what the Spirit of God which was in them signified. The Spirit was not then given in power because Jesus was not yet glorified. Dating from the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was to be poured forth on sons and daughters, on servants and handmaidens. In every hill country, every lowland, every valley, humble workmen for the Lord are to be raised up. The divine, sacred influence of the Holy Spirit working in our world is to be as signs and wonders, because God's people are a peculiar people, an holy nation, shining amid moral darkness as living stones in the Lord's building. The weakest and feeblest, if they exercise faith in God, and improve their entrusted powers, will be elevated, refined and perfected in character under the Holy Spirit's working. Humble and contrite, they submit to the moulding and fashioning of the Spirit, and they will know what His eternal fulness means.
We need an enlarged faith. The Lord desires His will to be done in the hearts of all who believe in Him. But many who might be laborers together with God will never be, because they cling to their imperfections of character. One clings to a cherished fault. Still another enjoys his hereditary and cultivated defects, and makes it his lifework to build himself up and glorify himself, until at last he is found to be filled, not with the Holy Spirit, but with self.
The great day of the Lord is right upon us, and God calls for messengers who will be worked by the Holy Spirit, who will not want to work the Spirit. Such messengers will be guided by the Spirit, moulded, refined, and beautified in righteousness because they are willing to be worked. But those who are satisfied to carry with them a vast amount of selfishness, faultfinding, suspicion, distrust, and strife, will be so deceived that they will not know their short measurement. They are filled with their own doings. They have not the least idea of what it means to be crucified with Christ. To humble self is an experience strange to them. Before they can serve God acceptably, self must die. Christ's words, "Ye must be born again," "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," must come home to them with power.
Nicodemus, to whom these words were addressed, was a master in Israel, a member of the Sanhedrin; and a learned counsellor: yet when Christ told him of the new birth, he said, "How can these things be?" Christ answered, "Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Why do we not have more of the faith that works by love and purifies the soul? There is a work to be done in every one of our institutions. Genuine conversion is needed, conversion of heart, mind, soul, and body. Self should die daily. Said the great apostle, "Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." Into this work every individual needs to put all the intensity of his entire being. Personal religious experience is needed in every church. Why?--Because those who are not under the working of the Holy Spirit will not stand amid the perils of the last days.
Genuine conversion is needed. . . . God's Word declares, "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth." The success of the ministry of Elias was not due to any inherited qualities he possessed, but to the submission of himself to the Holy Spirit, which was given to him as it will be given to all who exercise living faith in God. In his imperfection man has the privilege of linking himself up with God through Jesus Christ.
Candidly and seriously we are to consider the question, Have we humbled ourselves before God, that the Holy Spirit may work through us with transforming power? As children of God, it is our privilege to be worked by His Spirit. When self is crucified, the Holy Spirit takes the broken-hearted ones, and makes them vessels unto honor. They are in His hands as clay in the hands of the potter. Jesus Christ will make such men and women superior in mental, physical, and moral power. The graces of the Spirit will give solidity to the character. They will exert an influence for good because Christ is abiding in the soul.
Unless this converting power shall go through our churches, unless the revival of the Spirit of God shall come, all their profession will never make the members of the church Christians. There are sinners in Zion who need to repent of sins that have been cherished as precious treasures. Until these sins are seen, and thrust from the soul, until every faulty, unlovely trait of character is transformed by the Spirit's influence, God cannot manifest Himself in power. There is more hope for the open sinner than for the professedly righteous who are not pure, holy, and undefiled.
I am instructed to bear a message to those who minister by holding forth the Word of God to others. You must be converted. This is surely what you need. The spiritual anointing of the Lord will never come to self-sufficient men and women. Many who are in God's service, proclaiming the truth by pen and voice, are not worked by the Holy Spirit. Self has grown to large proportions. Until the soul is emptied of self and the Holy Spirit takes possession, you will be unready for the coming of Christ. You will certainly be weighed in the golden scales of the heavenly sanctuary and be found wanting.
God's promise is to us and to our children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. We may claim this promise for ourselves, and receive the Holy Spirit in His fulness. Then shall not we who preach the word be clothed with the power of God? Shall we not be in truth His messengers?
Who is willing to take himself in hand? Who is willing to lay his finger upon his cherished idols of sin, and allow Christ to purify the temple by casting out the buyers and sellers? Who is prepared to allow Jesus to enter the soul and cleanse it from every thing that tarnishes or corrupts? The standard is, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." God calls upon men and women to empty their hearts of self. Then His Spirit can find unobstructed entrance. Stop trying to do the work yourself. Ask God to work in and through you until the words of the apostle become yours: "I live; ye not I, but Christ liveth in me."
The whole being must hunger and thirst after righteousness. The soul's desire must be to be drawn to God, to be bent in perfect conformity to His will. Then the cold, hard heart will be melted by the grace and love of God, which will appear in power. God will be glorified through the human instrumentalities. Self is the great hindrance to this work. . . .
"From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. . . . Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
"If ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." These lessons every church member should learn. There is need of close self-examination in the light of the word of God, that we may do the work essential to be done.
Having complied with the word of God, do not depend on your feelings for evidence of acceptance with God. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1). If you have complied with the conditions, believe God, whether or not you feel any different. Christ declared, "As the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. . . . If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." Let all who understand the abiding claims of the law of God, yield implicit obedience to every requirement given in the Word. The convictions of the Holy Spirit are warnings which it is dangerous to disregard.
The Two Houses -- Christ declares that those who do His words are like a man who built his house upon a rock. This house the tempest and flood could not sweep away. Those who do not do Christ's words are like the man who built his house upon the sand. Storm and tempest beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. It was an entire wreck. The result of professing to keep the law of God, yet walking contrary to the principles of that law, is seen in the wrecked house. Those who make a profession while failing to obey cannot stand the storm of temptation. One act of disobedience weakens the power to see the sinfulness of the second act. One little disregard of a "Thus saith the Lord" is sufficient to stop the promised blessing of the Holy Spirit. By disobedience the light once so precious becomes obscure. Satan takes charge of the mind and soul, and God is greatly dishonored.
"If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword." These words are true. Exact obedience is required, and those who say that it is not possible to live a perfect life throw upon God the imputation of injustice and untruth.
"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." A neglect to feed the hunger of the soul leaves it weak and strengthless, unable to do the will of God. The life of such a one is like the barren fig tree, destitute of fruit. Rely upon no human being for words of comfort. Seek the Lord most earnestly, while you read His rich promises and apply them. Then you will not be consumers but providers.
The indwelling Saviour is always revealed by the words. The Holy Spirit does not abide in the heart of the man who is peevish if others do not grasp his ideas and plans, which appear to him to be the sum and substance of everything desirable. From the lips of such a man there come scathing remarks, which grieve the Holy Spirit away, and produce attributes which are satanic rather than divine. The Lord would have those connected with His work speak at all times with the meekness of Christ. If you are provoked, do not become impatient. Manifest the gentleness of which Christ has given an example in His precious life. Christ took our nature that He might set us an example, showing those who receive Him the fruit they must bear.
The Lord requires those who serve Him to show by word and action that they are sons of God. To show by the daily life that we are members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King, is of more value in God's sight than all learning, all wisdom, all high attainments. Any other course of action is dishonesty to the family of God, and will certainly be divorced from it.
When a man is filled with the Holy Spirit, the more severely he is tested and tried, the more clearly he proves that he is a true representative of Christ in word, in spirit, in action. Christ declares, "He that believeth on me, the words that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." What is the promise to every true believer?--"Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." Might we not better, my brethren and sisters, take ourselves to task for our unlikeness to Christ? He says, "Ye are my witnesses." What kind of witnesses are we for truth and righteousness? Are we striving with all our God-given powers to reach the measure of the stature of men and women in Christ? Are we seeking for His fulness, ever reaching higher and higher, trying to attain to the perfection of His character?
When God's servants reach this point, they will be sealed in their foreheads. The recording angel will declare, "It is done." They will be complete in Him whose they are by creation and by redemption.
There is nothing in the natural world that has life but what grows and produces fruit. And in the spiritual world there is no life without growth in grace. Spiritual impulse is not growth. Impulse is feeling, and to depend on feeling is to be as changeful as circumstances. The professed Christian who does not draw life from Christ's life is not a doer of the word. He is a paralyzed member, only connected in name with the body. At times fitful, convulsive movements will be seen, with no permanent activity. Let no one think that the grace of Christ inspires these shortlived, impulsive actions.
Many people are the subjects of impressions which are not liable. Many have what they think are good impressions, wonderful exaltation of feeling, but the life does not represent an abiding Christ. They do not draw life from the source of all life. They are not drinking of the living water, which springs up into eternal life. God's grace is the living water of which we must drink. It quickens the whole being into spiritual life, the life of the Son of God.
Personal religion means perfect conforming to the life of Christ. When we possess this religion, we shall show sound, spiritual growth, because we are partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Advance, is the watchword. There are no idlers in the Lord's vineyard. We must be laborers together with God, else we shall fail in the work of overcoming, and our irreligious influence will cause other souls to fail. No soul is lost that does not draw other souls down with it. Let every one who names the name of Christ depart from all iniquity, that Christ may not be ashamed of us.
In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I appeal to church members to arise and closely criticize themselves. Feel that this work is so important that you cannot engage in criticizing others. Reveal an indwelling Saviour. Then you will understand what it means to be a true missionary. You will bring a Christlike intensity into your work, and many souls will be saved through your earnest prayers and interested labors.--Manuscript 148, 1899.