Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Ms 6, 1888

Sermon/A Living Connection With God

Minneapolis, Minnesota

October 11, 1888

This manuscript is published in entirety in 1888 69-73. +Note

I am thankful, brethren and sisters, that God has spared me to come to this meeting. I have been sick nigh unto death; but prayer was offered by those assembled at the Oakland camp meeting, and the Lord heard them. It was not by my faith, for I had none, but they exercised faith in my behalf, and the Lord gave me strength to bear my testimony to the people in Oakland. Then I started, as it were, at a venture to come on this journey. I had but one sinking spell on the way, but the Lord helped me, and when we reached Kansas City, I went out to the campground where they were holding their meeting and spoke to the people. In this I realize and know that the Lord has strengthened me, and He shall have all the glory. 5LtMs, Ms 6, 1888, par. 1

Now as we have assembled here, we want to make the most of our time. I have thought again and again [that] if we would only make the most of the precious opportunities God has given us, they would do us so much more good, but we too often let them slip away, and we do not realize that benefit from them that we should. 5LtMs, Ms 6, 1888, par. 2

My mind has been directed to the words of the apostle Paul. He says in the 20th [chapter] of Acts and 17th verse, “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. And when they were come to him he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears and temptations, which befell me in lying in wait of the Jews; and how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” [Verses 17-21.] 5LtMs, Ms 6, 1888, par. 3

I have thought again and again, brethren and sisters, if we were Bible believers as well as Bible readers and would carry out just what God has given us, we would be far better than we are at the present time. But we do not realize that it is the loving voice of God speaking to us from His Word and [that] we are to think everything of it and take it home to our hearts. Then he goes on to say in (verse 24), “Neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” [Verses 26, 27.] What a testimony is that—“free from the blood of all men.” 5LtMs, Ms 6, 1888, par. 4

Now here is the exhortation to them: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with his own blood.” [Verse 28.] Now what is the necessity of watching them? Why, says he, “For I know this, that after my departing, shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” [Verse 29.] 5LtMs, Ms 6, 1888, par. 5

Brethren, if we would be [in earnest], the power of the Holy Ghost would attend our efforts and we would see a different state of things among us. We are placed in trust with the most solemn truths ever committed to mortals, but the course of some is of that character that God cannot answer their prayers. Their prayers are offensive to His holiness, and should He hear and answer their prayers, they would be confirmed in a wrong course and others would be led away from the straight paths. Why cannot we take the truth God has revealed and weave it into our very life and character? If we have the spirit of Christ in our hearts, we will have a burden for the perishing souls around us as Paul had and we will leave such an impression upon the young men and women who claim to believe the truth that they will feel that there are important responsibilities resting upon them. They will feel that their faith must be increased and [that] they must take up the work lying directly in their pathway, and be a blessing to others—humble, diligent, obedient; and when they meet their associates, it will be to talk of Jesus. They will carry Jesus into their homes and testify to all of His mercy. 5LtMs, Ms 6, 1888, par. 6

If Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, you will put away all vanity and foolish speaking. You will be sanctified through the truth. You will so labor for God that you can have an approving conscience in your ministerial work and you can say with the devoted Saint Paul that you are clean from the blood of all men. But you cannot say this unless you are constantly gaining wisdom and knowledge from God as the branch draws nourishment from the living vine—unless His Holy Spirit is resting upon you, and you are taking Jesus into your heart, thinking and talking of Jesus and doing His work wherever you are. This is the only way that we can work successfully in these last times. Christ was Himself the example we should follow, not merely in outward form, but as He was in purity, self-denial, meekness, and love, so we should follow Him in the world. His humiliation, His reproach, His crucifixion and His cross He gave to His disciples. He also gave to them the glory that was given Him. He said, “The works that I do shall ye do also, and greater works than these shall ye do because I go to my Father.” [John 14:12.] 5LtMs, Ms 6, 1888, par. 7

Brethren, it is a positive necessity that we come up to a higher and holier standard. We must meet the difficulties in our Christian warfare as Paul met them when the Jews were lying in wait for him. We shall have to come through trying places, for there will be spies watching on our track and lying in wait for us. We shall not only be brought before councils, but we shall be thrust into prison, and we must be in that advanced position of faith that we will know God and the power of His grace, where we can lift up holy hands to Him without wrath and doubting; and we must learn how to believe that God hears us. 5LtMs, Ms 6, 1888, par. 8

I know that God hears the prayers of His people. I know that He answers them. But He cannot bless us while we are cherishing selfishness; and what saith the Scriptures? “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me.” [Psalm 66:18.] But if we put away all self-exaltation, all self-righteousness, and come in living connection with God, the righteousness of God will be imputed to us. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” [Psalm 103:12.] 5LtMs, Ms 6, 1888, par. 9

The wisdom from above is abiding with us just so surely as we ask Him for it. The Lord has not forsaken us, but it is our sins and our iniquities that hath separated us from God. We want in the name of Jesus to break down the barriers between our souls and God, and then the peace of Christ will abide in our hearts by faith. We want to present ourselves in all humility before God and get rid of everything like pride, selfishness, evil surmising, evil speaking, and all iniquity. Jesus will not take His abode in the heart where sin is enthroned. We want less of self and more of Jesus. We want to learn how to believe—that it is simply taking God at His word—but it is impossible to learn this unless we place ourselves in that position where we will be submissive to God. Our will must be on God’s side, not on the side of Satan. The result of proving the forgiving love of God is to be perfectly reconciled to God’s will. Then the human will and the divine become united. Every faculty must be kept in its place, all consecrated to God, every faculty working in God’s order, performing His will and purpose. 5LtMs, Ms 6, 1888, par. 10

We need not feel anxious and troubled as though the work was in our hands alone to manage. The Lord is standing at the helm. The Infinite has His hand on the machinery. If we humbly do our work with fidelity, the Lord will take care of the results. Have faith in God. This faith will enable us to have perfect trust and to look upon every movement in God’s own light. Nothing that is taking place or that can take place needs to excite in us fearful apprehensions, for God the great Master worker has charge of His own work; and if men will not interfere, but leave the work to God’s own control, He will do this work well. Now, Christ would have you who minister in sacred things to be holy as He is holy. Do not forget that your power is in God. Be sure [that] if God has called you to open His work to the people, He has called you to purity and goodness. 5LtMs, Ms 6, 1888, par. 11

You should have a clear apprehension of the gospel. The religious life is not one of gloom and of sadness, but of peace and joy coupled with Christlike dignity and holy solemnity. We are not encouraged by our Saviour to cherish doubts and fears and distressing forebodings; these bring no relief to the soul and should be rebuked rather than praised. We may have joy unspeakable and full of glory. Let us put away our indolence and study God’s Word more constantly. If we ever needed the Holy Ghost to be with us, if we ever needed to preach in the demonstration of the Spirit, it is at this very time. If we will not work without it now, we shall have it in every emergency in the future and be prepared for what is coming upon the earth. We need to dwell more upon present truth and the preparation essential in order that sinners may be saved. If the spirit of God works with our efforts, we shall be called out to present not only repentance in its true light, but pardon also, and [to] point to the cleansing fountain where all pollution may be washed away. 5LtMs, Ms 6, 1888, par. 12

We have a far more solemn work resting upon us in preaching the gospel of Christ than we have imagined. If we have the truth abiding in the heart we shall be growing up to the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. Let us think of these things more earnestly. Let there be no more cramping of the intellect. There are greater wonders to be opened to our senses, consistent with the progress of the work. More earnest and penetrating will be the vision of God’s people if they walk in the light. The mystery of revelation challenges investigation, for there are mines of truth to be opened to God’s people. We must put off self-righteousness; we must reach loftier heights. God will direct the soul action, if we seek the righteousness of Christ so that God can be pleased with our efforts. We want none of self and all of Jesus. The baptism of the Holy Ghost will come upon us at this very meeting if we will have it so, but you must not shut off in giving as to what is truth. Search for truth as for hidden treasures. The key of knowledge needs to be held in every hand that it may open the storehouse of God’s treasury which contains stores of precious gems of truth. When the man is craving for truth from God’s Word, angels of God are by his side to lead his mind into green pastures. 5LtMs, Ms 6, 1888, par. 13

If the truth rested with greater weight upon ministers of God, they would not handle the Word of God deceitfully. They seem to have a burden for souls while speaking to the people, but when out of the desk, they are destitute of spirituality. Be afraid of such. They preach but do not practice. They show by their manner that the truth has not sanctified their souls and what they have said has had no weight upon them. God’s laborers will carry the burden of souls with them. God will not work with the man who preaches the claims of God in the desk and gives a lie to the truth out of the desk. We want to be clean from the blood of all men, that the blood of souls will not be found upon us, that we can say with Paul, “I am pure from the blood of all men.” [Acts 20:26.] 5LtMs, Ms 6, 1888, par. 14

Let us commence right here in this meeting and not wait till the meeting is half through. We want the Spirit of God here now; we need it, and we want it to be revealed in our characters. We want the power of God here, and we want it to shine in our hearts. Brethren, let us take hold of the work as never before. Let us inquire, How is it with my soul? Is it in that condition that it will be well with me? Shall Christ come and find me as I am now? May God help us to be clean in spirit, pure and holy in all manner of conversation and godliness. 5LtMs, Ms 6, 1888, par. 15