The Review and Herald

518/1902

March 4, 1890

Draw Nigh to God

[Morning talk at Battle Creek, Mich., February 5, 1890.]

EGW

The exhortation is given to “draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” We should seek to understand what it means to draw nigh to God. We are to come near to him, not to stand a great way off; for in that case we shall not be able to feel the influence of his divine Spirit. Those who came into the presence of Christ, drawing nigh to him, could more readily breathe in the atmosphere that surrounded him, catch his spirit, and be impressed with his lessons. We are engaged in a serious, solemn work, and we should seek to be in that humble position, to have that teachable spirit, that the Lord can impress our hearts, and that we may feel his drawing power. We never draw nigh to God but that he is drawing us. RH March 4, 1890, par. 1

Is it not astonishing that we cannot believe that our loving Father means us well? Is it not amazing that our senses are so perverted that we do not understand that our Lord would take us by the hand to lead us upward and forward where we may be fitted to join those who have been washed and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb? We should be in a position where we can realize that we shall meet those with whom we associate, face to face in the kingdom of heaven. O, if this expectation had the force of reality to us here, what love would be inspired in our hearts one for another! We should feel the greatest tenderness for those around us. We should feel that every soul is the purchase of the blood of Christ, and is of infinite value. If Christ has valued us so highly as to give himself for us, we should value ourselves in a certain way, for all our powers belong to God. We should value the precious privileges and opportunities he gives us. We should follow on to know the Lord, that we may realize his goings forth are prepared as the morning. RH March 4, 1890, par. 2

The Lord wants every one of us to have a deeper, richer experience in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He desires that we shall grow in knowledge, not earthward, but heavenward, upward to Christ our living Head. How high, how great is this knowledge to be?—To the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. We cannot grow too much, we cannot gather up too many of the precious rays of light that God sends us. The Lord wants every one of us to be sanctified through the truth. He wants us to stand in a position where Jesus can move, upon our hearts, where his Spirit shall be poured out upon us, where we shall be representatives of Christ as he is a representative of the Father. The Lord would have us to be lights amid the moral darkness that prevails in the world. We should not be light and trifling, but have solidity of character. What faith must come in, what love one for another must exist! If we draw nigh to God, we shall draw nigh to one another. We cannot draw nigh to the same cross without coming into unity of spirit. Christ prayed that his disciples should be one as he and the Father are one. We should seek to be one in spirit and in understanding. We should seek to be one that God may be glorified in us as he was glorified in the Son, and God will love us as he loves his Son. But can God love us as he loves his Son when we quibble and find fault with the truth because it does not agree with our opinions, and for fear we shall understand something as our brother understands it, and so come into harmony with him? God designs that his children shall be one. If this unity did but exist, it would speak to the world of the power of God manifested in his children. Christ has said: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” If this unity existed, we should bear to the world our divine credentials; Christ would be represented by his children; Christ would be speaking through us to men, and we should carry an atmosphere about us that would breathe of heaven. We should not only be gathering light, but also diffusing light, constantly flashing new rays of glory among the churches. RH March 4, 1890, par. 3

The small churches have been presented to me as so destitute of spiritual food that they are ready to die, and God says to you, “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard; and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” RH March 4, 1890, par. 4

When you leave this meeting, it should be to open the truth to others; it should be to go to these churches to flash light, not from some other man's brain, but from the light you have received by diligent search of the word of God. You should know that your taper is kindled at the divine altar, and that you can flash bright rays in the pathway of those who are in darkness. When you go from here, it should be to confirm the weak, to strengthen the feeble hands, to say to those that are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God, with a recompense; he will come and save you.” You should go forth to strengthen the things that remain that are ready to die, that there may be a living testimony revived throughout our ranks, and men may say, “Hear what the Lord hath done for my soul.” RH March 4, 1890, par. 5

Those who were at South Lancaster last winter know that the church and the school were moved upon by the Spirit of God. Nearly every student was swept in by the heavenly current, and living testimonies were given that were not surpassed even by the testimonies of 1844 before the disappointment. Many learned at South Lancaster what it meant to surrender their hearts to God—what it meant to be converted. Many said, “I have for years professed to be a follower of Jesus, but I never knew before what it meant to know Jesus or the Father. I have learned from this experience what it means to be a Christian.” RH March 4, 1890, par. 6

We want to say to you that God has the richest blessings to impart to his children, but no one can go to heaven on a casual faith. Many talk of faith, but it is only a lifeless faith. You must have faith that will claim Jesus as your Saviour today, that rests in the promises of God because they are the promises of God. You must be able to plant your feet on the eternal Rock, on the word of the great I AM. Brethren, there is light for us; there is light for the people of God, “and the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” The reason men do not understand is because they fasten themselves in a position of questioning and doubt. They do not cultivate faith. If God gives light, you must walk in the light, and follow the light. Light is flashing from the throne of God, and what is this for?—It is that a people may be prepared to stand in the day of God. You who have devoted time and money to the adornment of your apparel and to the decoration of your homes, I would ask you, “Is Christ formed within you the hope of glory?” It is too late in the day to be taken up with the frivolous things of the world,—too late for any superficial work to be done. It is too late in the day to cry out against men for manifesting too much earnestness in the service of God; to say, “You are excited; you are too intense, too positive.” It is too late to caution your brethren in studying the Bible for themselves, because they may be deceived by errors. We know falsehoods are coming in like a swift current, and that is just the reason why we want every ray of light that God has for us, that we may be able to stand amid the perils of the last days. Brethren, the Lord is coming! and it is time to lift up your “voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” RH March 4, 1890, par. 7

The people do not like to hear the message of reproof in condemnation of wrong, but it is necessary; we need it; the soul temple must be cleansed from its defilement. I was up at two o'clock this morning, pleading with God for the people,—pleading with him as to how the tide of unbelief could be stayed; and the message seemed to come to me, “Do the best you can, go forward and upward. I will be at thy side; I will sweep back the darkness that is beclouding the perceptions of those who are honest in heart.” It is time that the trumpet had a certain sound. The Lord is coming, and we must be ready! Every moment I want his grace,—I want the robe of Christ's righteousness. We must humble our souls before God as never before, come low to the foot of the cross, and he will put a word in our mouths to speak for him, even praise unto our God. He will teach us a strain from the song of the angels, even thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father. We can do nothing of ourselves, but God wants to touch our lips with a living coal from off the altar. He wants to sanctify our tongues—to sanctify our whole being—that we may do those things that are pleasing in his sight. O how Christ longs to open before us the mysteries of redemption! He longed to do this for his disciples when he was among them on earth, but they were not far enough advanced in spiritual knowledge to comprehend his words. He had to say to them, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” O how much better could they have borne the terrible ordeal through which they had to pass at his trial and crucifixion, if they had advanced, and been able to bear the instruction of Christ! Shall we not let Jesus open our understanding? Shall we not let him abide in our hearts by faith? Shall we not consecrate ourselves to God without any reserve? The trouble is, we only make half work of our consecration; we do not submit ourselves to carry the burden, to wear the yoke of the Master. May God help us that we may do this without delay. RH March 4, 1890, par. 8

I want you to know, brethren, that while you are here at this meeting I am praying for you. As I am writing on the “Life of Christ,” I lift up my heart in prayer to God that light may come to his people. As I see something of the loveliness of Christ, my heart ascends to God, “O, let this glory be revealed to thy servants! Let prejudice and unbelief vanish from their hearts.” Every line I trace about the condition of the people in the time of Christ, about their attitude toward the Light of the world, in which I see danger that we shall take the same position, I offer up a prayer to God: “O let not this be the condition of thy people. Forbid that thy people shall make this mistake. Increase their faith.” And as I pray and work, the peace of God comes flowing back to my heart. We shall have to meet unbelief in every form in the world, but it is when we meet unbelief in those who should be leaders of the people, that our souls are wounded. This is that which grieves us, and that which grieves the Spirit of God. RH March 4, 1890, par. 9

We are on the borders of the eternal world, and we must have a testimony with which all heaven shall be in harmony. The angel has spoken to us, “Get ready, press together; the Lord is at the door!” If you will only do your part and bow at the cross of Calvary, you will receive the blessing of God. God loves you. He does not wish to draw you nigh to him to hurt you, oh, no; but to comfort you, to pour in the oil of rejoicing, to heal the wounds that sin has made, to bind up where Satan has bruised. He wants to give you the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Will you let Jesus in? Will you fall on the Rock and be broken? Will you bow low at the foot of the cross? Jesus will place his arms around you, and comfort you. Will you do this without further delay? God grant that you may move with his providence and be prepared for the Lord's coming. RH March 4, 1890, par. 10