The Signs of the Times

March 3, 1890

Jesus Knocking at the Heart

[Sermon at Torre Pellice, Italy, December 3, 1885.]


“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” ST March 3, 1890, par. 1

Christ is willing to take possession of the soul temple, if we will only let him. He is represented as knocking at the door of our hearts for admission, but Jesus never forces himself upon us; he will come in only as an invited guest. If we seek him, we shall certainly find him. Many seem to have an idea that Christ is a great way off. It was difficult for the children of Israel to understand that Christ was their divine leader, and that he was enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day, and in the pillar of fire by night. If we could only realize that we do not have to ascend into the heavens to bring Christ down, nor descend into the earth to bring him up, but that he is near us, how different would be our actions. There would not be so much trifling conversation. We would not be so easily led into temptation, and there would not be so many things in our lives to displease Jesus. We would realize that the divine eye is upon us, and that the record is passing up to heaven which we must meet again in the day of final accounts; for the judgment is to sit, the books are to be opened, and everyone is to be judged according to the deeds done in the body. ST March 3, 1890, par. 2

In order to let Jesus into our hearts, we must stop sinning. The only definition for sin that we have in the Bible is that it is the transgression of the law. The law is far-reaching in its claims, and we must bring our hearts into harmony with it. Men may wrap themselves about with their own righteousness, they may reach their own standard of character, but they do not reach the standard that God has given them in his word. We may measure ourselves by ourselves, and compare ourselves among ourselves; we may say we do as well as this one or as that one, but the great question is, Do we meet the claims that Heaven has upon us? The reason why iniquity prevails to such an alarming extent is that the law of God is made void in the earth. His law spoken from Sinai and exemplified in the life of Christ, is perfect, converting the soul. It condemns every sin, and requires every virtue. Not only does it demand a correct outward deportment, but its principles reach even to the thoughts and affections of the heart. “Behold,” said the psalmist, “thou desirest truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” In the light of the law, covetousness is seen to be idolatry, lust adultery, and anger murder. No wonder that the carnal mind is enmity against God, and not subject to his law. ST March 3, 1890, par. 3

Those who are loyal to God's law will not always find the way smooth. God has not promised his people exemption from trials, but he has promised that which is far better. He has said: “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” “The God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation.” “As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth.” All who love and fear God will suffer persecution. But Jesus will be near to sustain everyone who is afflicted for the truth's sake. When in the prison of Philippi, the scourged and heavily-manacled servants of Christ had such divine consolation that they sang praises to God, and the walls resounded with their triumph. To these faithful messengers, that cold dungeon, reeking with dampness, was made as the gate of heaven. The glory of the Sun of Righteousness beamed forth into that inner prison, making it radiant with a divine effulgence. Christ, the royal messenger, came to John when on his sea-bound isle, and gave him the most wonderful revelations of himself, and of what was to take place in the world's history prior to his second appearing. Jesus revealed himself to Stephen while he was surrounded with pitiless foes. The martyr was given a view of the glory of God with Jesus standing at his right hand to give help to his suffering servant. ST March 3, 1890, par. 4

Like Paul and the worthies who suffered for the truth's sake, we may be brought into positions of great trial because of our fidelity to God. But Christ is a tender, pitiful Saviour, and will never forsake his children. When on earth, his heart was ever touched with human woes. On every occasion he relieved the afflicted and suffering that were brought to him; he turned none away. A woman who had suffered for years believed that Christ had power to heal her of her infirmity if she could only go to him and tell him her great need. The multitude thronged him as he passed on his way, but she pressed her way through the crowd, and as Jesus came near, she reached forth her hand, and succeeded in touching the hem of his garment, and in a moment she felt that she was made whole. Hers was not the casual touch; it was the touch of faith. This should impress us all with the importance of having living faith in Jesus as our personal Saviour. Many say that all we have to do is to believe, but they make the service of Christ altogether too superficial. They are satisfied with a nominal belief in Christ; but it is not enough to merely assert that Jesus is the Son of God. We must abide in him as the branch abides in the vine. We must have an experimental faith, a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Then we have evidence that we bear fruit to the glory of God. What is it to bear fruit to the glory of God? It is to manifest the love of Jesus in our daily life, to be kind and courteous and forbearing to those around us, and to try to lead them to the Saviour. The divine light that shines in the face of Jesus shines also in the heart of the believers, and they walk in the light as he is in the light. That same Jesus represents himself as standing at the door of our hearts and knocking for entrance. Every one of us has a work to do to open the door, if we would have Jesus as our guest. The work of perfecting the soul through obedience to all God's requirements must be constantly going on in our lives. If we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear us. Will you open the door of the heart, and let the light of heaven in? Will you just now invite Jesus as a welcome guest to take possession of your heart? We should desire his presence above everything else on the earth. We should regard him as the one altogether lovely, the chief among ten thousand. Why do we keep the door of the heart closed, when he has given us such a gracious invitation to open the door and let him in? ST March 3, 1890, par. 5

Some seem to think that if they accept the religion of Christ, they will take a step down; but that is not so. Those who receive honors from earthly kings feel that they are exalted; how much more are they exalted who receive honors from the King of heaven! The Monarch of the universe has promised to adopt into his family all who come out from the world and are separate. All who are faithful in his service will become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. Is not this an exalted privilege? We should seek to increase in knowledge and wisdom; for we are to take our talents of intellect into the future world. Our minds should become strengthened, and our hearts refined and elevated, that Jesus may take possession of them. We must imitate his character if we would find ourselves in the society of holy angels in the kingdom of glory. All who enter there will be obedient to the law of God. That law may be trampled under foot here by those who are rebels to God's government, but Jesus said, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” It would be a terrible thing to meet the Lawgiver over the broken law. We should pray, as did David, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” ST March 3, 1890, par. 6