Ellen G. White Writings

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The Review and Herald

April 1, 1909

The Need of the Holy Spirit in Our Lives

[Sermon preached at Oakland, Cal., Monday, February 8]

Mrs. E. G. White

My mind has been much exercised of late in regard to our need of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The promise is given us, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you;” and the assurance is repeated, “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” The thought is enforced upon us that our dependence must be more fully upon God. He is ready and willing to do for us the very things that we need. Let us trust him as his children.

Christ instructed his disciples that they should not leave Jerusalem until the power of God should come upon them. The disciples obeyed the command, continuing “in prayer and supplication.” “And when the day of pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

How desirable it is that we be of one accord, of one mind, established in the word of the living God, and having our feet planted on the platform of eternal truth! Let us take the Bible as our guide and director, and seek to fulfil the word of the Lord. The grace of God will be upon all who will stand upon the platform of the sacred truths of his Word.

“And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed, and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? ... And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: for these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my hand-maidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke: the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

We are living in the last days, in a time when we may expect much from the Lord. These words should bring us to the throne of grace to claim great things of him. Here the promise is given that on the men and women and on our sons and daughters the Holy Spirit is to come; and “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” This brings to view a wonderful work to be done, for which we need the converting power of God in our hearts every day. It is our privilege to experience this. Heaven is full of blessings, and it is our privilege to claim the rich promises of God for our individual selves. We need to seek the Lord day and night that we may know just what steps to take, and just what we ought to do.

The Lord has a special work to do for us individually. As we see the wickedness of the world brought to light in the courts of justice and published in the daily papers, let us draw near to God, and by living faith lay hold of his promises, that the grace of Christ may be manifest in us. We may have an influence, a powerful influence, in the world. If the convicting power of God is with us, we shall be enabled to lead souls that are in sin to conversion.

Our simplicity will accomplish much in this work. We are not to try to climb up to high positions or to gain the praise of men. Our aim should not be to be the greatest. We are to have an eye single to the glory of God. We are to work with all the intelligence that God has given us, placing ourselves in the channel of light, that the grace of God can come upon us to mold and fashion us to the divine similitude. Heaven is waiting to bestow its richest blessings upon those who will consecrate themselves to do the work of God in these last days of the world's history. We shall be tested and tried; we may be called to spend wakeful nights; but let such times be spent in earnest prayer to God, that he may give understanding, and quicken the mind to discern the privileges that are ours.

Let us not reveal an untoward religion. Let there be no strife as to who shall be greatest, but let each seek for greatness in humility, for an understanding of the will of the Lord. God wants us to stand as free men and women in these last days of earth's history. While wickedness of every kind is being practised by those who do not take God into their counsel, we are to stand as a people who are endued with the Spirit of God, because we seek him with all the heart.

The early disciples prayed for the Holy Spirit, and they received it; and then what did they do? They preached the word. “Ye men of Israel, hear these words,” Peter declared, “Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God among you with miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”

My brethren and sisters, this is our work. We are to be his witnesses, not merely by word of mouth, not simply by preaching Christ, but by living the truth, by having the living Witness in our hearts. When the great day of God comes, and those who have followed Christ stand clearly revealed with the light of God shining upon them, those who have at that time proved unfaithful will ask themselves the questions, Why did I not tell the truth as I knew it? Why did I not live it? Why did I not proclaim the truth with sanctified heart and soul and voice? These will be the thoughts that will come as they consider what they might have done, but did not do. My brethren and sisters, I beseech of you in the name of Jesus of Nazareth that you spend much time in prayer, and in searching the Word, that you may understand the promises that have been held out before you.

Promise after promise is given, assuring us of the fulness of power that God has, and yet we are so weak in faith that we do not grasp the power. O how much we need a living, earnest faith in the truths of God's Word! This great need of God's people is constantly before me. What shall we do, I ask, to impress them with their need? What can we do to arouse them to see that we are living in the very evening of this earth's history? Heaven is full of the blessings that we need, and yet but a small portion of the Spirit's power is manifest among us. O, we need to awake! We need to be converted anew each day. We need to seek for a faith that will lay hold of the arm of Jehovah.

When I heard last year that certain of our brethren were moved upon by the Holy Spirit at Fresno, I felt as if I could not close my eyes in sleep. I wanted to praise God from the time I lay down until I should arise again. In the night season I would awaken to find myself exhorting our people with all the powers of my being, telling them of the riches of the grace of God, and appealing to them not to close their senses to the blessings which they might have. Night after night there were presented to me precious victories that the people of God were gaining, and I would awaken, and kneeling up in bed would glorify God for these manifestations of his Spirit. My brethren and sisters, it is the Spirit of God that can arouse men and women from their sleepy spirituality to be a living, working power in the world, revealing wherever they go that they are followers of Jesus Christ. Shall we not arouse, and come into right relation to God? Shall we not seek for that faith that works by love and purifies the life from every stain of sin?

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly,” Peter continued, “that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” “Whom ye have crucified.” I hope none here are crucifying Christ by a wrong course of action, but I pray that we may have a clear sense of what God is to us, and of what we may be to him as his messengers to a people that are ignorant of his will. The message is not only unto “you, and to your children,” but “to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” When the people heard these words, they were pricked in their hearts, and said to Peter and the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

In the experience that followed, we may learn what a right testimony will accomplish when it is borne under the influence of the Holy Spirit. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

(To be concluded.)

April 1, 1909

The Teacher an Evangelist

The work of educating our youth as outlined for us in the instruction given of God, is to be sacredly maintained. For this reason we must select as teachers those who will educate in right lines. Said my Instructor: “Let not teachers be chosen to educate and train the youth who will not maintain the simplicity of Christ's methods. His teachings contained the very essence of sanctified simplicity.”

Those teachers who present matters to the students in an uncertain light are not fitted for the work of educating the youth. No man is qualified for this work unless he is daily learning to speak the words of the Teacher sent from God. Now is the time to sow the gospel seed. The seed we sow must be clean and pure, and that which will produce the choicest fruit. We have no time to lose. The work of our schools is to become more and more in character like the work of Christ. Only the power of the grace of God working on human hearts and minds will make and keep the atmosphere of our schools and churches clean.

There have been teachers in our schools who could pass well in a worldly institution of learning, but who were unfitted for the training of our youth because they were ignorant of the truths of the gospel of Christ. They were unable to bring the simplicity of Christ into their labors. It should be the work of every teacher to present those truths that have called us out to stand as a peculiar people before the world, and which are able to keep us in harmony with heaven's laws. In the messages that have been sent to us from time to time, we have truths that will accomplish a wonderful work of reform in our characters, if we will give them place. They will prepare us for entrance into the holy city of God. It is our privilege to make continual advancement to a higher grade of Christian living.

I have been instructed to present these things before our teachers. We need to be converted from our faulty lives to the faith of the gospel. Christ's followers have no need to try to shine. If they will behold constantly the life of Christ, they will be changed in mind and heart, into the same image. Then they will shine without any superficial attempt. The Lord asks for no display of goodness. In the gift of his Son he has made provision that our inward lives may be imbued with the principles of heaven. It is the appropriation of this provision that will lead to a manifestation of Christ to the world. When the people of God experience the new birth, their honesty, their uprightness, their fidelity, their steadfast principles, will unfailingly reveal it. O, what words were spoken to me! What gentleness was recommended through the grace abundantly given. The greatest manifestation that men and women can make of the grace and power of Christ, is made when the natural man becomes partaker of the divine nature, and through the power that the grace of Christ imparts, overcomes the corruptions that are in the world through lust.

Mrs. E. G. White

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