The Great Need of the Holy Spirit
July 16, 1895
The Great Need of the Holy Spirit
By Mrs. E. G. White
"Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." God has left nothing undone that could in any way work for the recovering of man from the toils of the enemy. He poured upon the disciples the Holy Spirit, in order that they might be enabled to co-operate with divine agencies in reshaping and remodeling human character. Of the Holy Spirit Jesus said, "He will reprove ["convince," margin] the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment." The Holy Spirit is not only to sanctify but to convict. No one can repent of his sins until he is convicted of his guilt. How necessary, then, it is that we should have the Holy Spirit with us as we labor to reach fallen souls. Our human abilities will be exercised in vain unless they are united with this heavenly agency.
Men have fallen low, they are sunk in depths of sinful degradation, and it is because of a lack of knowledge, of the want of connection with vitalizing truth, and because they are contaminated by the corrupting influence of error. In the work of saving men, men and angels are to work in harmony, teaching the truth of God to those who are unlearned therein, in order that they may be set free from the bonds of sin. Truth alone can make men free. The liberty that comes through a knowledge of truth is to be proclaimed to every creature. Our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the angels of heaven are all interested in this grand and holy work. To man has been given the exalted privilege of revealing the divine character by unselfishly seeking to rescue man from the pit of ruin into which he has been plunged. Every human being who will submit to be enlightened by the Holy Spirit, is to be used for the accomplishment of this divinely conceived purpose. Christ is the head of his church, and it will glorify him the more to have every portion of that church engaged in the work for the salvation of souls.
Our Saviour is to be more distinctly recognized, and acknowledged as the all sufficiency of his church. He alone can perfect the faith of his people. There is to be no wrestling for the supremacy among us, no exalting of self. No, brethren, let us lift up Jesus, and we shall reap a rich harvest. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." Lift him up, then; exalt the Holy One; proclaim him "the Desire of all nations," the "chiefest among ten thousand," the one "altogether lovely." Let every church of every clime take hold with an intense interest to help advance the cause. And while you labor for your own locality, pray for the general prosperity and upbuilding of the church throughout the vast harvest-field.
There is more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents, than over the ninety and nine who suppose they need no repentance. When we hear of the success of the truth in any locality, let the whole church join in songs of rejoicing, let praises ascend to God. Let the name of the Lord be glorified by us, and we shall be inspired with greater zeal to become workers together with God. The Lord urges us to fulfill the injunction, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." But we need to leave more room for the working of the Holy Spirit, in order that laborers may be bound together and may move forward in the strength of a united body of soldiers. Let all remember that we are "a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men." Therefore each one should inquire with meekness and fear, What is my path of duty? Entire consecration to the service of God will reveal the molding influence of the Holy Spirit at every step along the way. When apparent impossibilities arise in your path, present the ever-ready, complete efficiency of the Holy Spirit before your unbelieving heart, that it may shame away your over-cautious spirit. When your faith is weak, your efforts feeble, talk of the great Comforter, the Strength of heaven. When you are inclined to doubt that God is working by his Holy Spirit through human agents, remember that God has used the church and is using it to the glory of his own name. If men will not obstruct the way, God will move upon the minds of many more to engage in active service for him.
Note: Let us ever remember the true definition of the church:
"God has a church. It is not the great cathedral, neither is it the national establishment, neither is it the various denominations; it is the people who love God and keep His commandments. 'Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.' Where Christ is even among the humble few, THIS IS CHRIST'S CHURCH, for the presence of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth eternity can alone constitute a church." Upward Look, p. 315. End note.
Christ's prayer to his Father in behalf of his followers was not in the interest of a few; it embraced every believer in the Son of God. "Neither pray I," said Christ, "for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." The words of this prayer are very precious. Notice what follows: "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
Of all persons on the earth the true Christian is the one that the world has the most need of. But while they remain in the world, they are not to be of the world. The Saviour prayed: "I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil." The religion of the Bible is to be revealed in this world, in order that souls may be led to discern Christ, the Light of the world. As light is revealed, by following that light we may escape from all darkness; for He has said, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." The rays of the Light of life shining from the Lord Jesus enable humanity to pick their ground, to wage successful warfare, and triumph over the powers of darkness. This glorious Light reveals the abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Walking in its beams we find ready admittance there.
The great General is not only leading a few soldiers; but the Captain of the Lord's host is leading the armies of both heaven and earth to battle; they are marching on to a glorious victory. Every soldier is to put on the whole armor of God, and fight courageously, realizing that he is battling in full view of the invisible universe. If the Lord's army will obey orders, they will find themselves influenced by the Holy Spirit to work the works of God. The battlefield is glorified with the light shining from the cross of Calvary.
The prayer of Christ; "that they may be one in us," should be responded to by every Christian. Each one should show an example of holy devotion, of unreserved consecration, to his service. They should be models of self-denying, self sacrificing laborers, after the example of Jesus, that God may be glorified on the earth, and that, beholding the love which binds the believers together, the world may realize that God has sent his Son to save them from their sins; and that, believing, many souls may be sanctified through the truth.
The promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit is not comprehended as it should be. The privileges to be enjoyed through its acceptance are not appreciated as they might be. God desires that his church shall lay hold by faith upon his promises, and ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to help them in every place. He assures us that he is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him, than parents are to give good gifts unto their children. Since it is possible for every one to have the heavenly unction, "ye need not that any man teach you," and there is no excuse for shunning responsibilities. No duty should be unwelcome, no obligation evaded. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally." Place more confidence in "Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." The work of God is retarded by criminal unbelief in his power to use the common people to carry forward his work successfully. Because men cannot see every step forward distinctly marked out before them, they question, doubt, and hesitate, under the plea of caution. They will not walk by faith, but move by sight alone. O that frail man would realize that it is the General of the armies of heaven that is leading and directing the movements of his allies on earth. Christ himself is the renewing power, working in and through every soldier by the agency of the Holy Spirit. Every individual is to become an instrument in his hands to work for the salvation of souls. Not one who desires to labor for the Master is to be refused a place, if he is a true follower of Christ. Every one has his responsibilities to bear in the cause of Christ. The efficiency of the Spirit of God will make effective the labors of all who are willing to submit to his guidance. Therefore, how careful every officer in the Lord's army should be that he does not interpose the commandments and rulings of men between the soldier and his Captain. "Without me," says Christ, "ye can do nothing." If the officers abide not in Christ, they can do nothing. How careful, how humble, should every soul be that is enrolled in the Lord's army; how meek and free from self-sufficiency should all his officers prove themselves to be.
The end of all things is at hand. God is moving upon every mind that is open to receive the impressions of his Holy Spirit. He is sending out messengers that they may give the warning in every locality. God is testing the devotion of his churches and their willingness to render obedience to the Spirit's guidance. Knowledge is to be increased. The messengers of Heaven are to be seen running to and fro, seeking in every possible way to warn the people of the coming judgments, and presenting the glad tidings of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. The standard of righteousness is to be exalted. The Spirit of God is moving upon men's hearts, and those who respond to its influence will become lights in the world. Everywhere they are seen going forth to communicate to others the light they have received as they did after the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. And as they let their light shine, they receive more and more of the Spirit's power. The earth is lighted with the glory of God.
But O, sad picture! those who do not submit to the influence of the Holy Spirit soon lose the blessings received when they acknowledged the truth as from Heaven. They fall into a cold, spiritless formality; they lose their interest in perishing souls: they have "left their first love." And Christ says unto them, "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." He will take his Holy Spirit from the church, and give it to others who will appreciate it.
There is no greater evidence that those who have received great light do not appreciate that light, than is given by their refusal to let their light shine upon those who are in darkness, and devoting their time and energies in celebrating forms and ceremonies. Thoughts of the inner work, the necessary purity of heart, are not entertained. The absence of harmony with God becomes apparent. The light grows dim, goes out; the candlestick has been removed. There is much exercising of man-made authority by those to whom God has not given his wisdom because they did not feel the need of the wisdom from above. This wisdom, "first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy," is contrary to their disposition. They have not the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, with which the believer in Jesus should be adorned. They do not represent the meek and lowly Carpenter of Nazareth. The set aside as of little value that which God has said "is of great price."
(Concluded next week.)
July 16, 1895
A Word to Parents
By Mrs. E. G. White
As parents who profess to love the Lord Jesus Christ, we should see to it that the spirit of peace is in our households. God commands us to take our children and fashion them after the divine similitude. From their earliest life children should be taught to obey their parents, to respect their word, and to reverence their authority. But many allow Satan to take their children under control, and in their early life the spirit of Satan manifests itself in the little ones in passionate screams or in sullen manners. One child under the control of this evil disposition will disturb the whole household, and banish peace from its borders. Parents should take time to discipline their children. Our most precious time belongs to our own flesh and blood. Never let your child hear you say, "I cannot do anything with you." As long as we may have access to the throne of God, we as parents should be ashamed to utter any such a word. Cry unto Jesus, and he will help you to bring your little ones to him, and to keep them out of the power of the enemy. If Satan cannot succeed in ruling the fathers and the mothers, he will try with all his power to control the children, and make them rebel against God, and become disturbers of the peace of a family.
Parents, you have a solemn responsibility resting upon you. It is your duty to co-operate with Christ in aiding your children to form right characters. Jesus can do nothing without your co-operation. It is not mercy or kindness to permit a child to have its own way, to submit to its rule, and to neglect to correct it on the ground that you love it too well to punish it. What kind of love is it that permits your child to develop traits of character that will make him and every one else miserable? Away with such love! True love will look out for the present and eternal good of the soul.
How much corruption we see in the world because parents neglect to do their duty, and sin lies at their door. Satan stands by exulting as you permit your children to pass into his hands. Do not indulge your children in evil ways, but from their very infancy let them see that you love the Lord, and that you mean to train them up as he would have you. Our blessed Saviour taught us to pray, "Our Father, which art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name." Do we realize what is the meaning of this prayer? Do we realize that we must hallow that name in our families, and that if we allow our children to manifest the attributes of Satan, that name is not hallowed in our households? If we want the holy angels to take charge of our little ones, we must bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and teach them to hallow the name of God. We teach them to say, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." But do you teach them the meaning of this prayer? Do you teach them that the kingdom of God must be seen in your household, and that the will of God must be done by them and you? Do you break the force of this petition by shaking them, by striking them in anger, by speaking harsh words, and by manifesting passion? Do not do this, but be merciful, kind, and tender-hearted. Let the will of the Lord be done in your family, not the will of the enemy. If mild measures will not avail, you must use the rod, you must give your children to understand that God must be honored in your house; but this work is sadly neglected. Do you wonder that God does not walk through the midst of us when we allow Satan to work his way in our households, and when we neglect the solemn obligations that God has placed upon us? Of what avail will be a list of church resolutions, if we have not the Spirit of God in our homes? Christ is watching to see who are training their families for the great family above. Suppose one of your little children whom you have failed to correct, should be taken away in one of its fits of temper, what would be the result? I leave you to answer the question.
What are we to do? Let us look carefully, and begin to catch up our dropped stitches. Let us break down the strongholds of the enemy. Let us mercifully correct our loved ones, and keep them from the power of the enemy. Do not be discouraged. Eternal interests are at stake. Do not feel downcast by the rebuke; for the Lord says, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten." The church needs men of a meek and quiet spirit, who are long-suffering and patient. Let them learn these attributes in dealing with their families. Let parents think a great deal more of their children's eternal interests than they do of their present comfort. Let them look upon their children as younger members of the Lord's family, and train and discipline them in such a way as will lead them to reflect the divine image.”