Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)



Ms 5, 1886

Sermon/Striving to Enter in

Orebro, Sweden

June 19, 1886

Portions of this manuscript are published in HP 118, 263; CTr 220. +Note

June 19, 1886

(Discourse by Mrs. E. G. White, Orebro,)

Luke 13:23, 24. “Then said one unto Him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And He said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” When we read that many shall seek to enter in and shall not be able, then we want to understand what we shall do in order to succeed. This to us is a mournful statement, that there are those who will fail to enter in at the strait gate because they only seek to enter in, and do not strive. And to those who will make a success in the work of overcoming, it will require a great effort on their part. They must realize the burden of the work that is resting upon them individually. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 1

We are in a world where sin and iniquity prevail, and we want to know what we shall do in order to inherit eternal life. We cannot any of us afford to miss the great reward that is presented before the overcomer. We want to know that the steps that we are taking are heavenward instead of earthward. The truth which we profess will be of no avail to us unless we are sanctified through it. Christ prayed that His disciples might be sanctified through the truth. “Thy word,” said He, “is truth.” [John 17:17.] And while that error is prevailing to such an extent in our land, we want to know what is truth, because we cannot be sanctified by error. The better we understand the truth as it is in God’s Word, the better we shall know how to sanctify our lives through God’s Word. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 2

We are in this world as probationers, and God is proving us by giving us an opportunity to obey His truth. It is a very solemn thing to live in this age of the world, and we should not be satisfied unless we have a living connection with the God of heaven, and we should have a sense of our accountability to Him every day of our lives. We cannot press against the tide of moral evil that is in our world unless we have the grace that is mentioned in our text. We see the practices and customs of men around us who profess to be God’s children, but their lives do not correspond with their profession. We want to stand out against all these things that are not in accordance with God’s requirements. A great and solemn responsibility rests upon us who profess to obey God’s commandments, to show to the world around us that we are bending our steps heavenward. And as we press against the current that is bearing all down, then we should know for what we should strive. We are to press toward the mark of the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus. We cannot remain in listless resistance and yet gain the prize. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 3

There are voices that we shall hear all around us to divert us away from the truth, but if we have an eye single to the glory of God and are striving to do His will, we shall hear His voice and know it is the voice of the Good Shepherd. It is very important that we understand the voice that speaks to us. We hear the voice of Christ here that says, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many shall seek to enter in and shall not be able.” [Luke 13:24.] We must live a life of constant watchfulness and of constant prayer to God. We must purify our souls by obeying the truth. We must cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 4

For a few weeks past I have had a deep sense of the promises of God and the hope of the Christian. The Bible never seemed to me so full of rich gems of promises as within the last few weeks. It seems that the dews of heaven are ready to fall upon us and refresh us, if we will only take the promises to ourselves. We can never overcome our own natural tendencies without the help of Heaven, and the precious Jesus places Himself right by our side to help us in this work. He says, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:20.] Well now, we want to believe just what Christ has said. We want that our faith shall compass the promises. We want to throw it wide open, the door of our hearts, that Jesus can come in and dwell with us. He says, “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” [John 15:7.] 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 5

If we are indeed the privileged people of God with whom He has entrusted precious truth, He would have us in that position that we can reflect that Word to the world. We would be inclined to think that these promises refer only to the preachers of the Word for the very reason that every individual member of the church does not let his light shine to the world. Every one who has been partaker of the blessing of Jesus Christ and has received the light, it is his duty to try to show others the good way. And when the Lord has thrown open before us the rich promises of heaven, then how deficient we show ourselves if we do not grasp these blessings. It is because we do not receive this light by living faith ourselves that we do not reflect it to others, for those who partake of this great salvation cannot keep it to themselves. They see a world in darkness that is perishing for want of the light that cometh from Jesus Christ, and they are not satisfied to drink once from the Fountain of life, but they are constantly drinking. Christ says, “I will be in you a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” [John 4:14.] And how is this work accomplished? It is by refreshing others with the waters that come from heaven. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 6

There is not one in our midst but has reasoning faculties. God has given you reason and intellect to use to His glory. He would not have you abuse any faculty that He has given you. There are temptations that will come to every one of us. We all have our different dispositions to overcome; and how are we to know that we are doing this work day by day? We must look into the mirror—God’s holy law—and there discover the defects in our character. It is a very difficult thing for one to understand himself. We must examine closely to see if there is not something that must be laid aside, and then as we make an effort to put away self, why our precious Saviour will give us the help we need that we may be overcomers. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 7

Do our works correspond with our faith? “Faith without works is dead.” [James 2:26.] We must reveal to the world that we have the most precious truth ever committed to the world, and that God has given us this solemn trust. I ask, How are you using it? We want to be in right relation with God, and we want to strive and pray and watch lest the enemy shall overcome us with his deceptions. We are living in a day when the enemy will work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, and the only safety for us is to crucify self. We must remember that our natural inclination is to depart from God and righteousness; but every one of us must be judged according to the deeds done in the body. Just according to the light which God has permitted to shine upon our pathway will be measured our punishment. If we neglect this great salvation, we shall understand what it is to have great trials in consequence of our peculiar faith; but if the faith which we profess does not accomplish anything for the receiver in the sanctifying of his life and character, then we ask what profit is it to us? We have a peculiar and holy faith which brings us out and distinct from the world. This line of demarcation is plain and sharp and clear. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” [Matthew 6:24.] Ye cannot partake of the world and have its pleasures in view, and yet be Christ’s. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 8

In your efforts to overcome, you will meet with many temptations; but if you continue to strive, Christ will give you great success. The more serious the trials, the more precious the victory you gain. If you will only flee to the Source of your strength, then you will receive a great blessing. But we must learn to cast all our cares upon Jesus Christ who is our Helper. All our sorrow and grief, take it to the Lord in prayer. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 9

It is a great thing to believe in Jesus. We hear many say, “Believe, believe; all that you have to do is to believe in Jesus.” But it is our privilege to inquire, What does this belief take in? and what does it comprehend? There are many of us who have a nominal faith, but we do not bring that faith into our character. The statement is made that the devil believed and trembled. He believed that Christ was the Son of God while he was in heaven; and when upon this earth he was in conflict with Him here on the field of battle, he believed on Christ; but could this save him? No, because he did not weave Christ into his life and character. We must have that faith that works by love and purifies the soul, that this belief in Christ will lead us to put away everything that is offensive in His sight. Unless we have this faith that works, it is of no advantage to us. You may admit that Christ is the Saviour of the world; but is He your Saviour? Do you believe today that He will give you strength and power to overcome every defect in your character? 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 10

There must be a greater striving in you to overcome every failure and sin, and to stand right before God. There are many today who might be far in advance of what they now are had they had this faith. God wants us to be standing upon the platform of eternal truth, and He would have us in that position where our lives will preach to the world that they must love God and keep His commandments if they shall ever enter heaven. Not a taint of sin shall ever enter heaven. The Spirit warreth against the flesh. His servants ye are to whom ye yield obedience; and when His Spirit shall cleanse the soul temple, Christ will come in and dwell there. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 11

We are to grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus, and we are thus growing up a precious temple unto the Lord. He says, “I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God and they shall be My people.” [2 Corinthians 6:16.] What we want, my brethren and sisters, is religion. What we want is the Spirit of God in our souls. We want our faces set constantly heavenward. And when we see that sin in us is striving for the mastery, then we must strive. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 12

Let us have a burden for the souls that are around us. Every particle of light that you get from Jesus, remember that it is not for you alone, but for those that are around you. And as soon as you have this spirit of labor for those around you, then will you feel the necessity for striving for souls as never before. Why, you will look at these souls and say, I must be a light to them. If you make crooked paths for your feet, then will you turn the lame out of the way. I must have the Spirit of Christ with me from morning until night, or I will be the means of turning some soul out of the way. Why, it makes every difference with us whether we are living righteously or in sin. To some of us Christ may say that He is ashamed to call us brethren; but to those who are loaded down with burdens, why, the pitying Saviour stands right by their side to help them. He would send every angel out of glory while you are struggling to overcome sin, so that Satan cannot have the victory over you. Christ has sympathy for the weak; and we should be so thankful that we have One to redeem us who is called the Son of God. Why, He took man’s human nature upon Him, that He might come right down to man in the temptation wherewith man is beset. The pitiful Redeemer knows just how to help us in every one of our strivings. Then shall we not accept Him as our Saviour? If you feel the wound and sting of sin, then it is for you to cry to the Saviour to help you. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 13

But we have individually this lesson to learn of special trust in our Saviour. We are to trust our heavenly Father just as a child trusts its earthly parents and believe that He is working for our good in all things; and that every struggling cry and every effort against the adversary of our soul enters into the ears of the God of Sabaoth, and He will send us help every time we need it; He will help us over every temptation if we call upon Him in faith. Now this is the lesson we must learn. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 14

I can trust my Saviour; He saves me today; and while I am struggling to overcome the temptations of the enemy, He will give me grace to conquer. We will have no excuse to offer in the day of God because we did not serve Christ. We are to be partakers of the divine nature; we are to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust; and this is what Christ means when He says, “Ye must eat My flesh and drink My blood, or ye have no life in you,” “for My flesh is meat indeed and My blood is drink indeed.” [John 6:53-55.] And this Christ is the Word of God; and we must take this Word and bring it into our nature, and thus we are receiving nourishment from Jesus Christ as the natural stalk receives nourishment from nature. So we are to connect with Christ if we would have a part with Him. We must live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 15

God help us that we may strive with all the powers He has given us to enter in at the strait gate. But if you fail, it will be yourselves alone that must bear the failure. Jesus has made provision for every one of you, that you may enter into the city. But you must advance, brethren and sisters, more than you have done. It is a tremendous responsibility that rests upon you. You must so live that you will show to the world around you that you are leaving a bright track heavenward. If you at last have the white robe and crown of life, will it not pay for all the trials and perplexities you have had here? This world is not heaven, it is the preparation place; it is the workshop of God where we are to be hewed and chiseled and fitted up for the heavenly mansions. Then do not be satisfied with a mere sense of the truth; God calls for a reformation at every step. It is to have a fitness for the mansions that Christ has gone to fit up for us. And if we can only be of the heavenly family in the kingdom of glory, then we shall have the eternal reward. May God help you to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of His testimony. 4LtMs, Ms 5, 1886, par. 16