Sermons and Talks, vol. 2

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Chapter 23—Seek God for Wisdom and Power; Feed on the Bread of Life

Manuscript 144, 1901

[Sermon at an early morning meeting, April 3, 1901, in the Battle Creek Tabernacle.]

I thank the Lord that so many have come out to this early five-o'clock meeting to worship God. I desire that my heart shall be drawn out to God. It is our privilege to feel the deep movings of His Spirit. 2SAT 163.1

We read in James, “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:1-4). This is a wonderful position. And it is our privilege to occupy this position. 2SAT 163.2

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: but the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him” (verses 5-12). 2SAT 163.3

Let us take in the idea of the privilege we have. There are so many who, when they are in trouble, fall into temptation and lose their bearings. They forget the invitations God has abundantly given, and begin to look and plan for human help. They go to human beings for aid, and this is the way in which their experience becomes feeble and confused. In all our trials we are directed to seek the Lord most earnestly, remembering that we are His property, His children by adoption. No human being can understand our necessities as Christ. We shall receive help if we ask Him in faith. We are His by creation; we are His by redemption. By the cords of divine love we are bound to the Source of all power and strength. If we will only make God our dependence, asking Him for what we want as a little child asks his father for what he wants, we shall obtain a rich experience. We shall learn that God is the source of all strength and power. 2SAT 163.4

If when you ask you do not immediately feel any special exercise of feeling, do not think that your prayer is not answered. The One who says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” [Matthew 7:7, 8], will hear and answer you. Let then His Word be your trust; ask and seek and have the privilege of finding. Christ has encouraged you. He says, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you”—the yoke of restraint and obedience—“and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” [Matthew 11:28, 29]. 2SAT 164.1

We are to find rest by wearing His yoke and bearing His burdens. In being co-workers with Christ in the great, grand, work for which He gave His life, we shall find true rest. When we were sinners He gave His life for us. He wants us to come to Him and learn of Him. Thus we are to find rest. He says He will give us rest. Then do not lay your burdens upon any human being. “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” In doing this you will find in your own experience the rest that Christ gives, the rest that comes from wearing His yoke and lifting His burdens. 2SAT 164.2

God has been greatly dishonored by His people leaning upon human beings. He has not told us to do this. He has told us that He will teach us, He will guide us. We may come to Him and receive help. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,” and upbraideth you not for your ignorance. 2SAT 164.3

I cannot tell you how many letters came to me across the broad Pacific, when I was in Australia, asking for counsel. What did Christ promise His disciples if they would believe in Him as their personal Saviour? “Lo, I am with you alway,” He said, “even unto the end of the world” [Matthew 28:20]. Again He says, “I am at thy right hand to help thee” [see Psalm 16:8]. Think of how many promises He has given us, which we may grasp by the hand of faith. When we go to the Source of power, we know that we shall receive that intelligence and wisdom which comes from the pure source, which is not mixed with anything of humanity. As we pray, it is our privilege to know that God wants us to pray, to ask Him for help. “Ask, and ye shall receive” [John 16:24]. It is for you to believe that you will receive. He wants us to become acquainted with Him, to speak to Him, to tell Him of our difficulties, and obtain an experience in asking of One who never misjudges and never makes a mistake. 2SAT 164.4

Christ took humanity upon Himself. He laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, and stepped down from His high command in the heavenly courts. Clothing His divinity with humanity, Christ encircled the race with His long human arm. He stands at the head of humanity, not as a sinner but as a Saviour. It is because there is no spot or stain of sin upon His divine soul that He can stand there as the sinner's surety. Because He is sinless He can take away our sins and place us on vantage ground with God, if we will believe in Him and trust Him as the One that will be your sanctification and righteousness. 2SAT 165.1

When I open a letter beginning, “I am sorry to trouble you, Sister White, but I am in trouble, and I wish to know something in regard to my family and in regard to myself,” I feel so sad at heart. When it is essential for you to know, God will let you know. He has promised that if you ask wisdom from Him, He will give it to you. But it is not always essential for us to know all the whys and wherefores. We dishonor God by striving to get someone who we think understands our case to help us. Has He not given us His only begotten Son? Is not Christ close beside us, and will He not give us the help we need? “Lo, I am with you alway,” He says, “even unto the end of the world.” His Word repeats the promise over and over again. “If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it” [John 14:14], He says. “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.” 2SAT 165.2

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” [James 1:5-8]. 2SAT 165.3

It is no marvel to me that at the present time there is so much weakness where there should be strength. The reason for this is that instead of drinking of the pure water of Lebanon, we are seeking to quench our thirst from cisterns in the lowlands, which contain not the water of life. We trust in human beings and are disappointed and often misled. 2SAT 165.4

I want to tell you, dear friends, that we have done great dishonor to our Master in turning away from Christ to seek wisdom from finite human beings. Shall we continue to cherish the sin of unbelief, which doth so easily beset us, or shall we cast away this weight of unbelief and go to the Source of strength, believing that we shall receive pity and compassion from the One who knows our frame, who loves us so well that He gave His own life for us, who bore in His own body the strokes which fell because of our transgression of the law of God? All this He did that we might become prisoners of hope. 2SAT 165.5

We are not polite to Christ. We do not recognize His presence. We do not realize that He is to be our honored guest, that we are encircled by His long human arm, while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite. We forget that the threshold of heaven is flooded with the glory proceeding from the throne of God, that the light may fall directly on those who are seeking the help that Christ alone can give. He said to the woman of Samaria, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.... Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” [John 4:10, 14]. 2SAT 166.1

I ask you, do you in this early morning hour recognize Christ? He does not want us to be as a band of mourners moving in a funeral train, bearing upon us the marks of care and perplexity and hopelessness. He wants us to commit the keeping of our souls to Him. He wants us to put our trust in the naked promise. But, you say, I do not feel like it. Tell me what value there is in feeling, if it keeps you away from your only Helper and you turn to erring mortals for help. Is feeling stronger than the faith which it is your privilege to exercise in God? Feelings change with almost every circumstance; but the promises of the Eternal are as solid rock. Let us build our house upon the sure foundation, and rivet our souls to the eternal Rock, the Rock of Ages. If we do this we shall find that it will become habitual for us to remember that we have a Companion. Wherever we are, we are to talk with God. This is the way Enoch walked with God. He talked with Him. He recognized the divine Presence. And in the days of Enoch the world was no more favorable for the perfection of Christian character than in 1901. 2SAT 166.2

There is no dependence to be placed in humanity. Where do you get your mental food? Do you get it from the newspapers of today, which are filled with the most disgusting and horrible representations? We have something better than this, and we are to show to the world that we know the Source of power and efficiency and hope and comfort. The grace of God which passes knowledge is imparted to us and to all who will believe His Word. He longs to satisfy our soul's desire with peace and grace and with His love, which passeth all knowledge. 2SAT 166.3

The Lord can take every one of us in His embrace, for His arm encircles the race. Let us remember this. After Christ (in behalf of the human race) had taken the necessary steps in repentance, conversion, and faith, He went to John to be baptized of him in Jordan. “John forbad Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?”Jesus answered, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness” [Matthew 3:14, 15]. When He came up out of the water, He knelt down on the banks of the Jordan and offered a prayer such as had never before entered heaven. While He was praying, the heavens opened and the glory of God in the form of a dove of burnished gold rested upon Him, and from the highest heaven was heard the voice of the infinite One, God the Father, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 2SAT 167.1

Have you thought of what this means to us; that in this prayer is included every son and daughter of Adam who will believe in Christ as a personal Saviour, and take the requisite steps [of] repentance, conversion, faith, and baptism? We are baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and these three great, infinite Powers are unitedly pledged to work in our behalf if we will cooperate with them. 2SAT 167.2

We are buried with Christ in baptism as an emblem of His death. We are raised from the water as an emblem of His resurrection. We are to live as newborn souls, that we may be raised at the last great day. You are pledged to live in newness of life; for you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” [Colossians 3:1]. This is where you are to place your treasure. Finite man cannot do your believing. Come to the great source of power for your strength. 2SAT 167.3

Christ's prayer on the banks of the Jordan includes everyone who will believe in Him. The promise that you are accepted in the Beloved comes to you. Hold it with the grip of unyielding faith. God said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” [Matthew 3:17]. This means that through the dark shadow which Satan has thrown athwart your pathway Christ has cleaved the way for you to the throne of the infinite God. He has laid hold of almighty power, and you are accepted in the Beloved. 2SAT 167.4

In every respect you are to honor God by being partakers of His divine nature that you may have the assurance of sins pardoned, which would testify of the love of God. But there is not in our experience that pleasantness and joyousness that there should be. Christ says that if He is in us our joy will be full. Let us, then, be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Let us not, by living inconsistent, earthly, sensual lives, heap reproach upon Christ. Let us rise above the malarious atmosphere that pervades the world, and breathe the breath of God. Let us feed upon the bread of life. 2SAT 168.1

Christ declares that if we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we shall have eternal life. His Word will be to us as the leaves of the tree of life if we will believe in Christ as our personal Saviour. If we eat the bread that came down from heaven, we shall have a life connection with God. We shall bring eternity into our reckoning. We shall live as in the presence of the whole heavenly host. The angels are watching and guarding us. 2SAT 168.2

God loves us, but we fail to cherish that love. We are losing in spirituality. God wants us to recognize His ownership in every human being. He has His claims. They are Mine, He says. I have bought them with a price. “Ye are not your own.... Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20]. Will you do this? Will you pray in faith? Will you honor Christ by taking Him at His word? 2SAT 168.3

Shall we not take hold of our privileges? Let us not dwell upon the dark side of the picture, saying that we do not know how things are coming out, that everything seems to be torn up and broken to pieces. It is not so. We may place ourselves under the molding hand of God. He will make of us vessels unto honor, if we are willing to be made thus. God wants us to expect large things, to remember that the prayer which ascended to heaven at the Saviour's baptism embraces every one of us. We are accepted in the Beloved. 2SAT 168.4

Christ has pledged Himself to keep all who will look to Him and trust in Him with an abiding faith. Then commit the keeping of your souls to Him as unto a faithful Creator. Repeat the words aloud, “I will commit the keeping of my soul to Him.” We would better talk with God even though our words are heard by others. When there are those around you who are stirred by passion, do not retaliate to their hasty words, but repeat the words of Scripture. You should do this more in your dealing with your brethren and sisters. When untrue words are spoken about us, shall we flare up? Were not a great many untrue things spoken concerning the Saviour, and did He retaliate? He was charged with being a devil. 2SAT 168.5

God wants us to stand in moral dignity, our life hid with Christ in God, recommending the divine power that enables us to possess our souls in patience. God wants His people to show to the world that they have opened the windows of the soul heavenward, that the Sun of Righteousness is shining into the soul-temple, and that the windows are closed earthward. 2SAT 169.1

We need an increase of faith and confidence in God. To the poor souls who have been leaning on the broken staff of humanity I would say, Oh, that God would show you that there is a power above the power of humanity! May God help every one of us to work on the plan of faith, believing that the Lord wants to be represented in our world, that He wants His power to be revealed in His people. He will reveal His power through you if you will only place yourselves where He can give you this power. You may have hope and joy and strength. Open the heart to God, looking and believing and confiding in God. Look, oh, look heavenward. You have trusted too much to human help. Now consecrate self wholly, in faith believing in the One who invites you. Unite with your brethren but draw continually from Christ who is your refuge and your dependence and exceeding great reward. 2SAT 169.2

The love of God in your heart will lead you to love your brethren. God wants you to manifest His love that your life may be hid with Christ in God. The Father loves you as He loves His Son because His Son has averted [for you] the sword of justice by offering Himself as a sacrifice. Christ purchased you at an infinite cost, and He wants you to show that you appreciate what has been done to place you on vantage ground. He says to the Father, “Here is a poor sinner. I have given My life for him. He is saved by My grace. Receive him as Your child.” Do you think the Father will refuse? 2SAT 169.3

Let us at this conference make it an individual work to seek God with all the heart that we may find Him. Do not hunt up the sins someone else has committed. God has not made any one of you a sinbearer. You cannot even bear your own sins. Christ must take your sins and the sins of every other mortal. Let us show that we appreciate His sacrifice in our behalf. Let us reveal in our lives the fragrance of His character. Be fragrant in your words. Remember that you are either a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. Let us be as fragrant flowers. Let the love of Christ pervade your lives. Let your words be such that they will be as apples of gold in pictures of silver. 2SAT 169.4

This is the work the Lord wants us to do. Cannot you think of enough to praise the Lord for? Cannot you praise Him because He died for you, because He has spared you for so long, because you have His Word which is so full of precious promises? He offers you the bread of life. He says, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life” [John 6:63]. Eat His Word, search it, dig deep for the hidden treasure. 2SAT 170.1

Do not talk, but pray. We have always had so much to say; in faith apply it to yourself. God says, “Be still, and know that I am God” [Psalm 46:10]. Be still long enough to know that God is God. Remember that you are to help everyone around you. Forget yourself, your bruises and wounds and difficulties. Praise God, and He will receive you because He lives, and you may live also.—Ms 144, 1901 (MR 900.60). 2SAT 170.2