We have most precious promises in the word of God, which ought to give us courage and confidence. They should enable us to come out of uncertainty and darkness, to come where we may know that the Spirit beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. There is nothing wanting in the store-house of our God.
Jesus has said, “Believe me, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do, shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” The disciples of Christ are to do greater works that Jesus himself has done. He says further: “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” “If ye ask anything in my name, I will do it.” Christ spoke these words for the comfort of all who should have faith in him, and it is our privilege to believe that God will do just as he has said he would.
It is not enough to say, “I believe;” we must exercise the living faith that claims the promises of God as our own, knowing that they are sure and steadfast. The enemy of our souls would be glad to steal away these precious promises from us, and cast darkness before our eyes, so that we should not be able to appropriate the good things that God means that we shall have. God is waiting to do great things for us as soon as we come into a right relation with him; but if we hold ourselves in doubt and unbelief, the enemy can keep the control of our minds, and intercept the promises of God. Unbelief always results in a great loss to our souls. It was said concerning one place where Christ visited, “He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” Christ cannot work in our behalf if we do not manifest faith in him. We should train our souls to have faith in God. But instead of this, how many there are who educate themselves to doubt. I have heard testimony after testimony in meeting in which there did not seem to be one word of genuine faith, but which cast a shadow over the whole congregation. It is not God’s will that we should be in this position. Brethren and sisters, it is our privilege to walk in the light, as Christ is in the light. He is at our right hand to strengthen us, and he tells us that greater works than he has done shall we do, because he goes to the Father. He is ready to impart unto us the rich blessing and grace of God.
How shall we encourage you to have faith in God? You say, “How can I talk faith, how can I have faith, when clouds and darkness and despondency come over my mind? I do not feel as though I could talk faith; I do not feel that I have any faith to talk.” But why do you feel in this way?—It is because you have permitted Satan to cast his dark shadow across your pathway, and you cannot see the light that Jesus sheds upon your pathway. But another says: “I am very frank; I say just what I feel, I talk just as I think.” Is that the best way to do?—No; God wants us to educate ourselves so that we shall speak right words,—words that will be a blessing to others, that will shed rays of light upon their souls.
Suppose that at times we are destitute of the joy we should like to experience, can we not feel assured that the promises of God are still yea and amen in Christ Jesus? The promises of God do not rest upon feeling. They have a foundation as distinct from feeling as light is from darkness. We must learn to move from principle, and when we learn to do this, we shall move understandingly, and not be controlled by varying emotions.
Christ has said, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Brethren, can you explain why we are not more efficient in ministering to others, and why we are not better able to help the church, than we were ten years ago? There is no reason why we should not be growing in efficiency and power to do the work of God. The Lord wants us to use every iota of the ability he has given us, and, if we do this, we shall have improved and increased ability to employ. God desires that we shall have a thorough understanding of the truth as it is in Jesus. We should dig in the mine of truth for the rich treasures of knowledge that are hidden in God’s word. If we employ our talents in searching the Scriptures, and in imparting knowledge to others, we shall become channels of light. You should not allow the channel between God and your soul to become obstructed. You should not be moved by circumstances. You should refuse to listen to the suggestions of Satan, that he may not paralyze your efforts to do good.
What we need is Bible religion; for if Christ is abiding in us, and we in him, we shall be continually advancing in the divine life. If we are connected with the source of all wisdom and power, we shall not fail of becoming strong men and women in Christ Jesus. If we fully receive the truth of heavenly origin, we shall not fail of becoming sanctified through it; and when trials come we shall not go to complaining, as did the children of Israel, and forget the source of our strength. We must gather up the divine rays of glory, not to hide our light by putting it under a bushel or under a bed, but to set it on a candlestick, where it will give light to others. We must put our talents out to the exchangers, that we may accumulate more talent to bring to Jesus. In this way we shall be growing Christians, and every word we speak will be ennobling and sanctifying. We should educate ourselves to speak in such a way that we shall not have cause to be ashamed of our words when we meet them in the judgment. We should seek to have our actions of such a character that we will not shrink from having our Saviour look upon them. Christ is here this morning; angels are here, and they are measuring the temple of God and those who worship therein. The history of this meeting will be carried up to God; for a record of every meeting is made; the spirit manifested, the words spoken, and the actions performed, are noted in the books of heaven. Everything is transferred to the records as faithfully as are our features to the polished plate of the artist.
We must fight the good fight of faith. Satan will try to sever the connection which faith makes between our souls and God. He will seek to discourage us by telling us that we are unworthy of the grace of God, and need not expect to receive this or that favor because we are sinners. These suggestions should not cut off our confidence; for it is written: “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” There is no reason why we should not claim the promises of the Lord. There is no reason why we should not be light-bearers. There is no reason why you should not advance, why you should not become more and more intelligent in prayer and testimony, and make manifest that God hears and answers your petitions.
We should have more wisdom and confidence today than we had yesterday. Why are we so well satisfied with our feeble attainments? Why do we settle down content with our present deficient experience? We should not always be fed upon the milk of the word; we must seek for meat, that we may become strong men and women in Christ. God will give you everything that you are prepared for, everything that will minister to your strength. He will make peace with you if you lay hold of his strength. But he will not let his power drop upon you without effort on your part. You must co-operate with God in the work of salvation.
We need to grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We must educate ourselves to talk faith, to pray in faith, and to abstain from dropping one seed of doubt and discouragement. We desire that young men shall go forth from this conference to become experienced workers in the cause of God. Let the older ministers take heed that they make straight paths for their feet, that the lame be not turned out of the way. Let no watchman or shepherd of the flock place himself on the judgment-seat, to criticise others, to pick flaws and find fault with the brethren. Oh, that everyone at this meeting would take his position on the Lord’s side! We must have light in ourselves. Do not believe anything simply because others say it is truth. Take your Bibles, and search them for yourselves. Plead with God that he will put his Spirit upon you, that you may know the truth and understand its principles. If you gain an experience of this kind, there is nothing that will turn you from the truth. You will be like Daniel in the lions’ den, and like Joseph in Pharaoh’s prison.
From the light that God has given me, I can say that not half of those who profess to believe the present truth have a thorough understanding of the Third Angel’s Message. Many believe the truth because they have heard it preached by someone in whom they had confidence. When our people search the word of God for themselves, we shall hear less murmuring than we hear today. We need that faith that will lead us to study the Bible for ourselves, and take God at his word.
Christ says: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do: because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever.”
Brethren, you must take advanced steps. God wants every one of you to turn from your iniquity, and connect with him, the source of all wisdom and truth, that when you open your lips the words of Christ may flow forth. Shall we not let the Spirit of God come among us, and flow from heart to heart? The Spirit of God is here this morning, and the Lord knows how you will receive the words that I have addressed to you on this occasion.[Morning talk at Minneapolis, Minn., October 19, 1888.]
By Mrs. E. G. White.