Sermons and Talks, vol. 1


The Importance of Exercising Faith

(A talk presented at Harbor Heights, Michigan, July 22, 1891.)

Matthew 7:1-7. [Verse 7 says, “Ask, and it shall be given you.] Are there any “ifs” in this matter? There is no “if” except “if ye ask.” There is no condition of the mind that excludes from asking, if only you desire those things for which you ask. [There are] no conditions spiritually. So, if we desire the things of God we must comply with the condition of seeking them. [Verses 8-11.] “Good things,” according to Luke, is [the gift of the] Holy Spirit, and that is what we want, to thirst after godliness. [Verse 12.] 1SAT 150.1

This morning we want to dwell especially upon the importance of our exercising that simple faith which takes God at His word. We feel sorry that there is a necessity of presenting this matter again. I do not know as we are sorry that it is presented, but [that] notwithstanding that it is presented that minds fail to grasp it. But our minds must be broad enough to comprehend the promises made to us. 1SAT 150.2

I have taken one of the very promises so simple that a child can understand it [Verse 11], and we are told what kind of asking this is. If we ask, there is a possibility of our having the things promised; is that the way it is put? Is there any hesitancy in this matter? We would think so from the actions of those who ask, but there is no need of it; there is no excuse for one doubt. We receive the things we ask, not because we are good; if you expect to wait until you are good enough to receive the blessing, you will never receive it. If you are going to wait until you are good enough to receive the promise, you will wait until after Christ comes, and it will be too late. You may come just as you are, because He is your Saviour; He died for you; in Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and because He has the whole heaven of gift, of light, of power, of blessings, that He may bestow on every one who will seek them and open the door for Jesus to come in. Do you want it enough to open the door? If you will open the door to receive these blessings, there will be an emptying out of the love of the world, of the pride of life, and the vacuum must be supplied by the Holy Spirit just as soon as there will be an emptying of the heart of its idols. 1SAT 150.3

We want to be very particular to stand on the very ground on which the Lord wants us to stand—that is, to recognize that all the blessings that we receive come through the mercy and compassion and goodness of our God, while we are undeserving. It is not because we regard ourselves good in many particulars, but it is because “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It is not one now and then in one hundred or one thousand, in five or ten thousand [who] may have life. No. Whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. 1SAT 151.1

Now, have we that inward faith? It rests with us. There are two classes to the end of time—a party to be separated on the left hand He calls “goats,” and there is a party to be on the right hand He calls “sheep.” Every soul may be saved if he believes in Christ as his personal Saviour. [But] not all will be saved. Not because Jesus does not want them to be saved, for He is drawing every soul. Whatever may be their position, whatever may be their education, their nationality, or their training, He is drawing every soul to Himself. Why? Because in Him is life and light and truth, and all of these are essential to us for our happiness daily in this present life; and all these things are going to help us bear with greater ease the burdens and trials and perplexities of life, and Christ says in His invitation, “Come unto Me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” 1SAT 151.2

Now, I receive letters constantly, so many that I could do nothing else than answer them, begging me to pray the Lord that He may have mercy upon them. Now, I am not their Mediator, and do not ever expect to be, and I am not one who shall open my heart to those individuals as though I was capable of blessing them. I am riding in the same boat with yourself, trusting for salvation in the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. I want salvation, I want eternal life, and I must know the conditions of my obtaining life eternal. You must know it. 1SAT 152.1

How is it so natural for us to pour out all our soul troubles and perplexities upon finite beings as ourselves? I leave you to answer the question. Why do we do this? [The practice might be excusable] if we had not the promise, “Ask and receive,” and “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” It is not “My yoke” that makes your work so hard, that makes your journey so difficult. 1SAT 152.2

What is “My yoke”? It is perfect submission to God. Our wills must be submerged in the will of God. In coming to Jesus it is to feel that there is no help for us except in Jesus; (therefore when the Father) gave His Son for the life of the world He is of no avail to anyone who does not receive Him by faith as their personal Saviour. When the worried, perplexed souls come to human, finite mortals for relief, conduct them to Jesus, pray with them and for them in faith, and educate them by precept and example to bring every trial, great and small, to Jesus. We can help these poor souls who bring their troubles to us, only by leading them to Him, to take their cares and burdens to Jesus, and leave them there. I want to be able to stand in that position where I can be a help, and all that I can do is to recommend them to Jesus, pointing them to Calvary. 1SAT 152.3

John pointed the people to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world. He said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” There is a great deal in that “taketh away.” The question is, Shall we keep on sinning as though it were an impossibility for us to overcome? How are we to overcome? As Christ overcame. He prayed to His heavenly Father; we can do the same, and that is the only way. Then we are to overcome something, for it is stated that those who shall see Him in His beauty shall be “without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.” Now, if there is a spot or wrinkle in your character, is it not now the very time for you to begin to understand what that defilement is, that you may trust in the blood of Christ to wash it away? 1SAT 153.1

“How shall I,” says the trembling one, “put it away?” You are to say, “I will try.” But you are to put it away by believing that Christ is your Saviour today, and that He cleanseth you from all unrighteousness. You have the lesson in the word that was spoken. When tempted to speak wrong, and do wrong, resist Satan and say, “I will not surrender my will to your control.” I will cooperate with divine power, and through grace be conqueror.” 1SAT 153.2

Satan says to Christ [in the wilderness], “It is certain that the angels shall have charge over You and bear You up in their hands lest at any time You shall dash your foot against a stone.” But what did he leave out of that quotation? He was to be kept in the way; in all Thy ways. That was not His way at all. God's way is Christ's way. There is a plan of salvation laid for the race that Christ should not work a miracle on His own account to relieve Himself of any of the necessities of humanity and He was kept in all His ways. The enemy did not quote that at all, but [he did quote that] the angel shall keep Thee lest at any time Thou shalt dash Thy foot against a stone; he was to bear him up. 1SAT 153.3

Now, the enemy will have all these attractions for us, and the question is which has the most weight with us. Is it to put ourselves in the channel of the bright rays of the Sun of Righteousness? Is it to go into a meeting and consider that there is the place to be a Christian and that out of the meeting we are to lay it off as a man lays off his overcoat? Are we thus to lay off our religion? Watch unto prayer, says Christ; “watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” 1SAT 154.1

The temptations will surround us just as long as we live. Satan will try us in one way, and if he doesn't overcome us he will try us in another way. And thus his efforts will never cease. But we are always to remember that we are members of the royal family, subjects of the heavenly King, and we are born anew with a new character unto God. The old cheap character, the frivolous character, the character which leads to the world, to pride, to vanity, and to folly, we have parted with that. We have left that, but not in our own strength. We have asked wisdom of God, and He says He giveth to all men—how? In such a stinted measure? No, liberally; and what? Upbraideth not. 1SAT 154.2

And what does He say? You ask in faith, and do not waver about it. There is the trouble. We go from our petitions and do not know whether we are blessed or not. We say, “I wish that I did know.” What does that mean? “You said it, Lord, but I don't believe it.” You must ask without wavering, “for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” He is tossed right between the waves. One wave after another comes, and our faith goes out like water out of a leaky vessel. It is to believe and to watch unto prayer.—Ms 83, 1891. (MR 900.53) 1SAT 154.3