The Signs of the Times


July 25, 1892

The Necessity of Receiving the Holy Spirit

[Sermon at Healdsburg, Cal., September 26, 1891.]


“Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” This was the promise that Jesus made to his disciples just prior to his ascension, and he bade them tarry in Jerusalem until they should be endowed with power from on high. Jesus had said: “It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.... I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” ST July 25, 1892, par. 1

The disciples were unable to comprehend the meaning of the words of Christ, and needed the heavenly enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. This is the condition of the followers of Christ in these days just before his coming in the clouds of heaven. The things of earth have the supreme place in the heart, while the things of heaven are held in subordination. The people of God need the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, that the instruction of Christ may be brought to their remembrance. They need to have their understanding enlightened, that they may understand the Scriptures. ST July 25, 1892, par. 2

After the crucifixion of our Lord, two of his disciples were traveling towards Emmaus, and as they walked together, they noticed a man toiling along the road with them; but they had no thought that it was their risen Lord. Jesus drew near, and joined himself to them, and asked, “What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?” And they answered: “Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and has not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people; and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel; and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher; and when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulcher, and found it even so as the women had said; but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken; ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went; and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and break, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures? ... Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.” ST July 25, 1892, par. 3

What was it that made their hearts burn within them as they talked by the way?—It was the illumination of the Holy Spirit. When we take hold of the Scriptures as truth, the word will kindle within us the love of God, and our hearts will burn within us. Have we not experienced this when we have studied the word of God? Have we not found out that faith in the word of God brought gladness to the heart? We need to be touched with the enthusiasm that is kindled by love of God in the heart. Why is it that we do not manifest more of this enthusiasm in the service of God?—It is because those who profess to love God do not serve him with undivided heart. ST July 25, 1892, par. 4

Christ has said, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” No man can serve two masters. No matter how long you have been a Christian, if you do not seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, you do not know Christ or the power of God. If you do not make the service of God your first business, you commit robbery toward God. The question you should ask your soul is: “What right have I to rob God of intelligent service? What right have I to take God's gifts of strength and intellect and devote them simply to advancement of self?” You may have a position of trust and responsibility, and be crowded with work and care, but should you permit yourself to be so burdened that you cannot take time to understand what is your relation to God? Jesus says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” Then of what benefit are you to your fellow-men unless you have a connection with Christ? When you become absorbed in the temporal things of life, eternal things are dropped out of your reckoning, and because of your interest in the fleeting things of earth, you rob God of your ability to serve him in sending the gospel to all the world. “Will a man leave the snow of Lebanon which cometh from the rock of the field? or shall the cold flowing waters that come from another place be forsaken? Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up.” ST July 25, 1892, par. 5

The disciples asked: “Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” In order to go in the path of destruction, there is no necessity for searching for the way; the gate is wide, and the way is broad, and the feet naturally turn in the path that leads to death. Those who go in this way are intoxicated with the spirit of the world, and how sad it is to see those that profess to be children of God walking in the road that leads to perdition. ST July 25, 1892, par. 6

The line of demarkation between the church and the world has been well nigh obliterated; and unless there is reformation, unless the eyes of those who have been blinded by the enemy are opened, they will be lost. Jesus has given us a warning for this time. He says: “Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore; for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” ST July 25, 1892, par. 7

We need to watch that the enemy may not steal a march upon us and allure us away from allegiance to Christ by attracting us to the things of the world, that the things of eternal interest shall be looked upon as of minor importance, so that we shall make an atom of a world and a world of an atom. ST July 25, 1892, par. 8

The enemy leads those who do not yield entirely to God to exalt self, to seek for supremacy and power. When the eye is not single to the glory of God, eternity is dropped out of your reckoning. Oh, we need to pray for the vitalizing influence of the Spirit of God. Unless the professed people of God yield themselves to the influence of God's Holy Spirit, they will be overcome by the temptation of Satan; they will have a name to live and be dead, be a curse to the world; for while professing to be the children of God, they will lead men in the path to death. Their record in the books of heaven will be hard to meet. Souls are to be saved. The messengers of God are to fulfill the words of the prophet: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” ST July 25, 1892, par. 9

What we need is a conscience quickened by the Spirit of God; for with many, conscience has been stupefied by indulgence in sin and unbelief. We must know what religion is, and realize that we must have a living connection with the God of heaven; for “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” ST July 25, 1892, par. 10

Why do we devote so little time to prayer? Would you not be surprised if you should know God when you do not seek his face? The message to you is, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” You have often been taught of the love of God, and you know that it was a whole Saviour who died on Calvary's cross; but the fact that so great a sacrifice was made in our behalf will condemn our poverty and lukewarmness before God. What excuse can you offer to God that you have had a murmuring spirit, that you have represented your Saviour to the world as a hard master, that you have been exacting and severe with others, domineering over those who were under your control? What excuse can you give to God for manifesting cruelty to dumb creatures that were provided for your use? The spirit of unkindness, of pomposity, of complaining, is not the manner of spirit that will find an entrance into the kingdom of heaven. ST July 25, 1892, par. 11

Religion is a personal matter. We are not to be saved as churches, but as individuals who have appropriated the merits of Christ. The question each one should ask is: “Is it well with my soul? Has the transforming grace of Christ renewed my heart? Have I a kind, tender, compassionate spirit? Am I like Him who, though he was rich, yet for my sake became poor, that I through His poverty might be made rich? What sacrifice have I made for Him who died for me?” ST July 25, 1892, par. 12

(To be Continued.)