Sermons and Talks, vol. 1


“Walk in the Spirit”

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another” [Galatians 5:26]. 1SAT 271.1

Many are deceiving their own souls, because that while they assent to the truth they fail to become sanctified through the truth. To have a right religious experience it is essential not only to have an intelligent idea as to what is the theory of truth, but the heart and mind must be trained, and the habits must be in harmony with the expressed will of God. The Word, the requirements of God, must be studied; for if we weave into our experience incorrect principles, we shall cherish false ideas as to what constitutes a Christian, and shall not be found obeying the voice of God. We cannot spiritually discern the character of God, or accept of Jesus Christ by faith, unless our life and character are marked by purity, by the casting down of imaginations and of every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 1SAT 271.2

It is sin that has dragged down and degraded the faculties of the soul; but through faith in Jesus Christ as our Redeemer we may be restored to holiness and truth. All who would learn of Christ must be emptied of human wisdom. The soul must be cleansed from all vanity and pride, and vacated by all that has held it in prepossession, and Christ must be enthroned in the heart. The constant strife in the soul that results from selfishness and self-sufficiency must be rebuked, and humility and meekness must take the place of our natural self-esteem. 1SAT 271.3

I am pained beyond measure when I see men and women professing the name of Christ yet manifesting not the spirit of Christ, for I know that they are dwelling in fatal delusion. Many are satisfied with a mere semblance of religion, and they have no experimental knowledge of the virtues of Christ, no vital connection with Jesus. They listen to the most searching presentation of truth, but make no application of the truth to their own souls, because they are clothed with a garment of self-righteousness. Every salutary impression is warded off with the thought that they are Christians, and that the close, searching appeals are not meant for them. 1SAT 272.1

The most solemn message from the great Teacher through His delegated servants is lost upon them, because they do not see the need of any such warning or appeal. They have not come to the point of realizing that they are sick and in need of a physician. Christ said, “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” 1SAT 272.2

Solemn conviction of sin will lead individuals to tremble at the word of God, and surrender their ways, their ideas, and their will to God. I tremble when I see so many who feel perfectly contented. They will admit that they have little experience in religious things, and when given an opportunity to gain an experience they do not advance, because they do not feel their need; and so the matter ends where it began, for they do not seek divine enlightenment with true contrition of soul. 1SAT 272.3

It is only at the altar of God that we kindle the taper with holy fire. It is only the divine light that will reveal the littleness, the incompetence, of human ability, and give clear, distinct views of the perfection and purity of Jesus Christ. It is only as we view His righteousness that we hunger and thirst to possess it, and ask in earnest prayer, in humility and simplicity, as a little child asks an earthly parent for some good thing, that God will grant unto us our heart's desire. Such prayer is heard and answered. The Lord is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that earnestly desire it than are earthly parents to give good gifts to their children. Christ has promised the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth and righteousness and holiness. The Holy Spirit is not given by measure to those who earnestly seek for it, who by faith stand upon the promises of God. They plead the pledged word of God, saying, “Thou hast said it. I take Thee at Thy word.” 1SAT 273.1

The Comforter is given that He may take of the things of Christ and show them unto us, that He may present in their rich assurance the words that fell from His lips, and convey them with living power to the soul who is obedient, who is emptied of self. It is then that the soul receives the image and superscription of the divine. Then Jesus Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. 1SAT 273.2

“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” [Acts 20:28]. Those who are called to be shepherds of the flock of God are called to be laborers together with God. The Lord Jesus is the great Worker, and He prayed to His Father that His followers might be sanctified through the truth. If we are doers of the word of God, we shall understand that we cannot retain any sinful habit, or indulge in any crooked or guileful way. His truth, His word, must be brought with divine power into our hearts, and we must purify our hearts by obeying the truth. We must renounce all the hidden things of dishonesty, all craftiness and satanic wiles. We must be where we shall be enabled to discern the snares of him who lieth in wait to deceive. Sin must be sensed in its true, hateful character, and expelled from the soul. 1SAT 273.3

All who preach the word in verity and truth can afford to be fair in its presentation. We are not to be deceitful in any way, not handling the word of God deceitfully. We are to let the cross of Christ stand in prominence in all our teaching. We are not to hide the gospel, or cover the cross of Christ with ornamental roses, and thus make the preaching of it of no effect. Let no one shun the cross of self-denial. 1SAT 274.1

Make the instruction plain as to what it means to be a Christian. “If any man will come after Me,” said Jesus, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” “He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him.” Food is the substance of which we partake that our bodies may be strengthened and built up. In like manner we are to feed upon that which will build up spiritual nature. Jesus said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” 1SAT 274.2

Our bodies are composed of that upon which we feed, so our spiritual life will be composed of that upon which we feed. If we feed on Christ by thinking of Him, by obeying His words, we are built up in Him, and grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth unto the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. “Receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” [Hebrews 12:28]. 1SAT 274.3

As God works in us to will, we are to cooperate with God, manifesting a determination like that of Daniel to do the will of God. Teachers of the word of God are not to keep back any part of the counsel of God, lest the people shall be ignorant of their duty, and not understand what is the will of God concerning them, and stumble and fall into perdition. But while the teacher of truth should be faithful in presenting the gospel, let him never pour out a mass of matter which the people cannot comprehend because it is new to them and hard to understand. Take one point at a time, and make that one point plain, speaking slowly and in distinct voice. Speak in such a way that the people shall see what is the relation of that one point to other truths of vital importance. 1SAT 275.1

Every man who becomes a teacher must also become a learner, and daily sit at the feet of Jesus. It is impossible for anyone to rightly divide the word of truth unless he earnestly seeks wisdom from on high that he may understand what is taught in the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit must attend the word spoken to the heart. It will be difficult to create prejudice in the hearts of those who are seeking for truth as for hidden treasure if the speaker will hide himself in Christ, for he will then reveal Christ, not himself. 1SAT 275.2

“And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” [Ephesians 4:11-13]. But though God has set these different laborers in the church, there is to be no neglect on the part of one in the performance of duty. 1SAT 276.1

Let no one neglect to give faithful and plain instruction upon tithing. Let there be instruction as to giving to the Lord that which He claims as His own, for the commendation of the Lord will not rest upon a people who rob Him in tithes and offerings. There will be need of often setting before the people their duty on this matter, that they may render unto God His own. Let the one who first presents the truth be faithful in presenting this matter, and let him who follows up the interest also make plain the requirement of God on tithing, that the people may see that in all points the laborers are teaching the same truth, and are of one mind in urging them to yield obedience to all the requirements of God. 1SAT 276.2

But let laborers have discretion, and not give strong meat to those who are as babes; feed them with the sincere milk of the Word. In no case mingle your own spirit and ideas with the truth and cover up the precepts of God by traditions or suppositions. Let the people have the truth as it is in Jesus, and do not mingle it with decoctions of your own devising; for your presentation of truth will taste so strongly of self that it will disgust the hearers. 1SAT 276.3

Be able to say with Paul, “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.... 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” [Acts 20:20, 21, 26, 27]. There is most earnest work to be done, in order that you may so search the Scriptures that you may be able to declare unto those with whom you meet the whole counsel of God.—Ms. 39, 1895. (MR 900.46) 1SAT 277.1