Sermons and Talks, vol. 2


Chapter 17—God's Truth and Spirit to Control and Purify the Life; Self to Be Subdued; Faith to Be Exercised

Letter 108, 1898

[Written November 25, 1898, “To the Brethren and Sisters in Rockhampton,” Queensland.]

How gloriously appareled those who claim to believe the truth might be, if they would forsake their own ways and take the Lord's ways. Under the sway of the King of peace will be seen a most pleasant change from the present. When those people who claim that they know and understand the truth see that the truth must sanctify the whole man—his mind, his thoughts, his heart, his strength—his vital powers will not be consumed upon his own lustful practices. These must be overcome, or they will overcome him. 2SAT 130.1

Read the third chapter of First Corinthians, for it contains a lesson for the church in every place. The apostle says,“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20]. 2SAT 130.2

The Word of God presents before us the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were wise, and five foolish. The wise virgins took oil in their vessels with their lamps. This was the oil of grace. The prophet Zechariah brings this to view. Read the fourth chapter carefully: [verses 1-6, quoted]. 2SAT 130.3

Here then is the strength of every child of God. He is to feel that the only power that can heal him is found in God. He must place himself in a right relation to God if he would make a success of any of his human plans. This is the privilege of the church of God in every age. If she will put her trust in God, she will advance. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” 2SAT 130.4

“Who art thou, O great mountain?” Satan is constantly at work to make as forbidding as possible the establishment of the kingdom of God in our world. There will be difficulties to obstruct the work of God, for Satan through his masterly power will use unconsecrated hearts to present the characters of the professed people of God to the world as a stumbling block. The precious trusts which they hold are not practiced in their lives. While there are those who will advance, there are others who think so much of their individual selves that they cannot see that which needs to be done at the right time. There is no harmony of spirit or action. They magnify the difficulties. But as those who seek to carry out God's plans advance, the great mountain becomes a plain. “Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.” 2SAT 130.5

The prophet continues: “Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” 2SAT 131.1

The work will go forward in Queensland if those who claim to believe the truth will sanctify themselves through the truth and seek to adorn the doctrine they claim to believe by revealing to the world that which the truth has done for them. All the powers of darkness represented by the great mountain will melt away as God's people move forward with the mind of Christ. I charge my brethren and sisters in Rockhampton to be doers of the word, and not hearers only. God calls upon you to have a heart open to receive the oil of grace. Satan is not to be permitted to sow the seeds of unbelief in the hearts of those who claim to believe the truth, who say, ‘We cannot do this, we cannot do that,” who exalt every molehill into a great mountain of difficulty. 2SAT 131.2

These are no difficulties but that which unsanctified, unconsecrated hearts create. When self is hid with Christ in God, we shall draw in even cords together. 2SAT 131.3

The truth of the third angel's message is bound to triumph, and those who purify their souls from all defilement will triumph with it. When the human agent will give up his own important ideas in regard to himself, when he will bear in mind that he is working in sight of the universe of heaven, then his piety will be sweet and fragrant. It will not be of that kind which tastes so strong of the dish (his own human feelings and attributes). True piety is power, but sin is the weakness and ruin of the souls who claim to be Christians. 2SAT 131.4

The prophet continues: “Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof. And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.” 2SAT 132.1

Here is the explanation of the olive trees. They take of the Holy Spirit of God, and empty the holy oil out of themselves into the clean, pure, sanctified souls that are prepared to receive it. This is the kind of oil that the wise virgins had, oil that one could not communicate to another. Each individual must prepare his soul for himself through humbleness of mind, by wearing Christ's yoke and learning of Him. 2SAT 132.2

When the people of God in Rockhampton shall understand their position, they will commence the work over against their own house. And they will find in doing this work that they have no time nor disposition to become church tinkers. They will engage in a work of decided reformation, that they may be purified and made white. 2SAT 132.3

My brethren, you have no time to fill your mouths with arguments to prove that someone is doing wrong. Leave Satan to do his own work of accusing. Do not furnish him with arguments to show the defects in your brethren and in your sisters. All have come far short of the glory of God. Our individual powers need to be elevated, purified, sanctified, then the moral taste will be changed. The scent of self will not spoil our influence. All our talents are to be cherished as a precious, entrusted gift. They are to help us to meet the very highest standard. Every effort should be made to bring other minds under the power of the truth. 2SAT 132.4

All work in business lines should be done on scriptural lines. The tact that the Lord has given us should be used not to defraud but to encourage holiness unto the Lord. Of one whom the Lord chose to do a certain work, He said, “I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship” [Exodus 31:3-5]. Here we have assurance that from God comes the talent of wisdom to do the work He has appointed. Read verses 6-11. There was no need for any man to be exalted in this matter. It was the Holy One of Israel who had commissioned these men to do this work, and who had given them wisdom to accomplish it after His own plan. 2SAT 132.5

The reason that there is not increased capabilities is because the powers God has given are not put into exercise. Men stop short of seeking wisdom and knowledge of how to do the work with readiness of mind. In our homes, on our premises, there is not that tact and ingenuity and sharp discernment seen that would lead us to make the most of our possessions. Those who are willing to sink down into a low, common level greatly displease God. Parents who follow this course are a dishonor to God, for they carry their children with them. Many youth are compelled to work against inherited evils in this direction, and frequently they never recover from the abuse placed upon them through a perverted education at home. Parents and children have to eat the bitter fruit of wrong ideas, wrong plans. Whole families become nonentities, hopeless of reform. This need not be so, but they do not have in them the traits of character essential to brace against these inherited and cultivated tendencies, these slack, untidy habits. If they would take themselves in hand, they could say, “I will not sink down to this low level. I will arise; I will make diligent efforts. I will not be pushed downward by circumstances. I will not fail nor be discouraged.” 2SAT 133.1

To every man is given his work. Each has a place in the eternal plan of heaven. It is the duty of fathers and mothers to overcome their own lawlessness, their untidy habits. Truth is clean and pure and of great value and needs to be brought into the character building. Those who have the truth, the love of the truth in their hearts, will make any and every sacrifice that this truth may have the first place in everything. 2SAT 133.2

God has given to every man his measure of faith, and each is to walk in faith. He is to show that he has that faith that will rely upon God for help. As God has given to every man his measure of faith, he is to put it into exercise. He is to let his light shine. Whole families might be helped and blessed if parents would find something for their children to do. Why are not ministers and teachers more explicit on this subject that means so much to physical health and spiritual soundness? The boys and girls of the family should feel that they are a part of the home firm. They should strive to keep the premises cleansed from every unpleasant sight. Instruction in these lines should be given line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. 2SAT 133.3

There are those in our churches who have much to say in regard to Christianity, but in whose presence we should always be guarded, for they dismiss the Word of God from their business transactions. When there is buying and selling to be done, God is not by their side. The enemy is on the ground, and he takes possession of them. Christian brotherhood and love is laid a sacrifice on the altar of greed. God, heaven, the precepts of Jehovah, His oft- repeated injunctions, are obliterated from the soul. They know not what it means to practice the principles laid down in the Word of God. They sell their souls for unlawful gain. So thick is the veil which blinds their eyes that they can see only the fraudulent gain. So hard is the incrustation that envelops the heart that it feels not the love and tenderness and pity of Christ for their fellow men. The holiness and truth of God are shut out from their souls. 2SAT 134.1

Will the people of God frown down all this corrupting influence? Will they give their hearts to God? Will they deal mercifully with their fellow men? Will Seventh-day Adventists bear in mind that they cannot swerve from truth in their dealings with their fellow men, that they cannot violate justice, or let go their integrity without forsaking God. Anything that dishonors Him will never benefit you. The man who expects to prosper by violating the eternal principles of righteousness is laying up for himself a harvest he will not care to reap. He places himself in the enemy's ranks and brings degradation upon himself. Although for a time he may seem to prosper, he can never help to compose the family of God.—Letter 108, 1898 (MR 900.62). 2SAT 134.2