The Review and Herald

637/1902

September 27, 1892

Need of Dependence on God

[Sermon at Harbor Heights, Mich., Sabbath afternoon, July 25, 1891.]

EGW

Jesus said: “I am the true Vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” RH September 27, 1892, par. 1

We should constantly feel our dependence upon the Lord God of Israel, and know that God is our strength, and that the more we depend upon him, the more we shall draw from Christ, the living Vine, and have the mind that was in Christ. Our experience will be after the character of that upon which we feed spiritually. If we feed upon Christ, we shall have a Christlike experience: and we cannot afford to make any mistake in regard to our experience here in the things of God; for eternal interests are involved. In the path of life we may go carelessly, stumbling along; we may make crooked paths for our feet; but it will be at the terrible loss of our own souls and the souls of others. We are running the risk of losing the eternal weight of glory when we do not follow Christ, and we cannot afford to do this, because it would have been better for us had we never been born, than to lose eternal life. RH September 27, 1892, par. 2

We need to know and may know that Christ is abiding in our hearts by faith, and that we are abiding in Jesus by faith. Jesus says, “I am the Vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.” Now listen to the conclusion of the verse: “For without me ye can do nothing.” From this you can see how our Lord Jesus Christ regards unsanctified, human ability. We may have an education in the sciences, we may have all the knowledge in the world, and yet if it is not sanctified, if it is not brought under contribution to God, if we are not depending upon his merits every moment, if we are not continually drawing from Christ, we cannot live the life of Christ; we can do nothing worthy of his name. We want to hear the voice of Jesus and invite his presence. We should open the door of the heart to Christ, and invite him to come in. He says, “Without me ye can do nothing.” Is it because men work without Christ that we see so many efforts made without accomplishing any good? Is it because man depends upon his own efforts, and his own power, and thinks that he can do great things of himself? I know that this is why the Lord can do so little for man. He uses the gifts of God as weapons to destroy himself. We want Jesus simply, Jesus who offers himself to us as a free gift; and if we accept the offering with the whole heart and soul, we shall praise God at every step, we cannot help it, because he has given us this manifestation of his love and condescension. What we want is Jesus, and the power of his grace; and may God baptize us with his Holy Spirit. “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” RH September 27, 1892, par. 3

That is a wonderful promise, “If ye abide in me, and my words”—be careful to take that in—“my words abide in you.” How are we to know that the words of Christ are abiding in us? how are we to understand them? It is by appropriating his promises to our souls that we feed upon Christ. We are to study his words carefully, and be doers of his word. Many trust in a flight of feeling, and think that in order to be accepted of God, they must have some special emotion come upon them, or they do not have the grace of Christ. But this is not what we are to look for. Jesus came that we might obey as well as receive; but we must believe in him, and receive, in order to obey. We are to ask, Are his words cherished by us? Are we doers of the word of Christ? This is an important question. If we are following the light just as far as it shines upon our pathway, if we are seeking to do the will of our heavenly Father, just so surely shall we be prepared for greater light to come into the heart and mind. Especially will this be the case when we are prayerfully searching the Scriptures. We have had the Spirit of God here in this meeting; we would dishonor God if we did not appreciate this, and praise his holy name that we have felt the manifestation of his Spirit in power. RH September 27, 1892, par. 4

Jesus said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life, I am that bread of life.... I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.... Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, Verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” When some of the disciples were offended at these sayings of Christ, he said: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The word of Christ is spirit and life, and the more knowledge we have of his word, the more vigorous will be our spiritual growth. RH September 27, 1892, par. 5

Many are singing beautiful songs in the meetings, songs of what they will do, and what they mean to do; but some do not do these things; they do not sing with the spirit and the understanding also. So in the reading of the word of God, some are not benefited, because they do not take it into their very life, they do not practice it. We listen to the presentation of truth, it is all good; but do we listen to it as we would to a pleasant song, or receive it as the voice of God to us, and obey its precepts? Many go away after listening to the most solemn messages of truth, and pursue the same careless, unsanctified course they did before, as though they had not heard the appeal of God to them. They go away and live to please themselves, live to suit their own fancy, in a way directly opposed to the way and will of God. We should not seek to follow our own way; we have had enough of that; it amounts only to weakness. We need to have the Holy Spirit of God with us moment by moment. And where are we to find our soul consolation? In a happy flight of feeling?—O no; we are by faith to partake of the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow thereby, becoming partakers of the divine nature, and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. RH September 27, 1892, par. 6

I want to know more and more of God's word and of his works. I do not want to build myself up in myself; for I am nothing. What I desire is to know the ways of the Lord. I do not wish to be so particular as to how my house is furnished; spending unnecessary time and money, so that everything may be just to my taste in this or that arrangement, and neglect the all-important question, Is it well with my soul? What is the order of my soul? Is the soul temple pure? Is the defilement of sin in my heart? Have I felt the necessity of cleansing my heart from all impurity? It is of the greatest importance to understand and practice the truth; for this sanctifies the soul. Our greatest anxiety should be to stand perfect before the Lord, clothed in the spotless garments of Christ's righteousness. RH September 27, 1892, par. 7

Souls are perishing for the bread of life, and every one of us should be engaged in earnest work for the Master. Jesus came into the world to be our example, and we should study and imitate his life. Moments are golden, and we should constantly guard ourselves, lest we make a world of an atom, and an atom of a world. We should guard ourselves, lest we fail to magnify the things of eternal interest, and fail to appreciate the blessings of heaven. Why is it that the truth as it is in Jesus is made of so little importance? The words of Paul to the Galatians apply to those who fail to discern the worth of spiritual things, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth?” Why is it that you do not walk in the light? Why is it that you permit the bewitching power of Satan to paralyze your spiritual energies? The influence of the world holds many of you in captivity. Satan has his allurements presented before every one professing the name of Christ, that if possible he may attract the mind from Jesus, and fasten it on the things of this world. He is the master of manifold temptations, and is prepared to find access to the hearts of those who have not made a complete surrender to Christ. Shall the enemy of all righteousness have possession of our souls? RH September 27, 1892, par. 8

The Christian should continually realize that every moment of life should be spent for the Master. We should not live to glorify ourselves; for it would be sin to serve self. Our life must be hid with Christ in God, that every power of our being, every talent given of God, may be used to aid on the influences that are constantly flowing heavenward. It is for us to fulfill the command, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Christ must be our only master, abiding in our hearts by living faith, that we may be laborers together with God. We should seek to know more of him day by day, dwelling upon his matchless charms, till by beholding, we become changed into his glorious image. We are to keep our eyes fixed upon the Author and Finisher of our salvation. RH September 27, 1892, par. 9

John says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” No language can express this love; we can describe but a faint degree of love that passeth knowledge. It would require the language of the Infinite to express the love that has made it possible for us to be called the sons of God. In becoming a Christian, a man does not step down. There is no shame in having connection with the living God. Jesus bore the humiliation and shame and reproach that justly belonged to the sinner. He was the Majesty of heaven, he was the King of glory, he was equal with the Father; and yet he clothed his divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity, that divinity might lay hold of divinity. Had he come as an angel, he could not have been a partaker with us of our sufferings, could not have been tempted in all points like as we are, he could not have sympathized with our sorrows; but he came in the garb of our humanity, that as our substitute and surety, he might overcome the prince of darkness in our behalf, and make us victors through his merits. Standing under the shadow of the cross of Calvary, the inspiration of his love fills our hearts. When I look upon Him whom my sins have pierced, the inspiration from on high comes upon me; and this inspiration may come upon each one of you through the Holy Spirit. Unless you receive the Holy Spirit, you cannot have the love of God in the soul; but through a living connection with Christ, we are inspired with love and zeal and earnestness. We are not as a block of marble, which may reflect the light of the sun, but cannot be imbued with life. We are capable of responding to the bright beams of the Sun of righteousness; for as Christ illuminates our souls, he gives light and life. We drink in the love of Christ as the branch draws nourishment from the vine. If we are grafted into Christ, if fiber by fiber we have been united with the living Vine, we shall give evidence of this fact by bearing rich clusters of fruit. If we are connected with light, we shall be channels of light, and in our words and works we shall reflect light to the world. Those who are truly Christians, grasp the golden chain which links earth to heaven, which binds finite man to the infinite God. The light that shineth in the face of Jesus, shines in the hearts of his followers, to the glory of God. RH September 27, 1892, par. 10