The Review and Herald

1551/1902

July 9, 1908

Conflict and Victory

[Sermon at the Workers’ Institute, Oakland, Cal., March 7, 1908.]

EGW

“Unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. 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. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” RH July 9, 1908, par. 1

The expression, “He that overcometh,” indicates that there is something for every one of us to overcome. The overcomer is to be clothed in the white raiment of Christ's righteousness, and of him it is written: “I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” O, what a privilege it is to be an overcomer, and to have our names presented before the Father by the Saviour himself! And when, as overcomers, we shall be “clothed in white raiment,” the Lord will acknowledge our faithfulness as verily as in the days of the early Christian church he acknowledged the “few names even in Sardis” who had “not defiled their garments;” and we shall walk with him in white, for through his atoning sacrifice we shall be accounted worthy. RH July 9, 1908, par. 2

My dear friends, in view of these encouraging promises, how earnestly should we strive to perfect a character that will enable us to stand before the Son of God! Only those who are clothed in the garments of his righteousness will be able to endure the glory of his presence when he shall appear with “power and great glory.” RH July 9, 1908, par. 3

It means much to be an overcomer. The besetments of the enemy and all his evil agencies must be firmly resisted. Every moment we must be on guard. Not for one instant are we to lose sight of Christ, and of his power to save in the hour of trial. Our hand must be placed in his, that we may be upheld by the power of his might. RH July 9, 1908, par. 4

We read further: “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet; and to know that I have loved thee.” RH July 9, 1908, par. 5

A battle is continually going on between the forces for good and the forces for evil, between the angels of God and the fallen angels. We are beset before and behind, on the right hand and on the left. The conflict that we are passing through is the last we shall have in this world. We are now in the midst of it. Two parties are striving for the supremacy. In this conflict we can not be neutral. We must stand either on one side or on the other. If we take our position on the side of Christ, if we acknowledge him before the world in word and work, we are bearing a living testimony as to whom we have chosen to serve and honor. In this important period of earth's history, we can not afford to leave any one in uncertainty as to whose side we are on. RH July 9, 1908, par. 6

The True Witness declares: “Behold, I have set before thee an open door.” Let us thank God with heart and soul and voice; and let us learn to approach unto him as through an open door, believing that we may come freely with our petitions, and that he will hear and answer. It is by a living faith in his power to help, that we shall receive strength to fight the battles of the Lord with the confident assurance of victory. RH July 9, 1908, par. 7

“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” In this scripture is brought to view the hour of temptation that is to try them that dwell upon the earth. We are now living in this trying hour. There is no escape for any from this conflict. If in your life there are defective traits of character that you are not striving to overcome, you may be assured that the enemy will endeavor to take advantage of them; for he is watching vigilantly, seeking to spoil the faith of every one. In order to gain the victory over every besetment of the enemy, we must lay hold on a power that is out of and beyond ourselves. We must maintain a constant, living connection with Christ, who has power to give victory to every soul that will maintain an attitude of faith and humility. If we are self-sufficient, and think that we may go on just as we please, and yet hope to come out on the right side finally, we shall find that we have made a terrible mistake. As those who hope to receive the overcomer's reward, we must press forward in the Christian warfare, though at every advance we meet with opposition. RH July 9, 1908, par. 8

“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Here again we are admonished to faithfulness, in view of the conflict. We must not yield any point that we have already gained. From now on till Jesus comes, the battle will wax fiercer and still fiercer. We shall have to meet and resist men who are regarded as very wise and learned, but who are not spiritually wise unto salvation. Our only hope of saving our own souls and of helping others to be saved, is to receive the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We are seeking for a crown, a crown of glory that fadeth not away. As overcomers we are to reign with Christ in the heavenly courts; and we are to overcome through the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. RH July 9, 1908, par. 9

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and” he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and “the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” RH July 9, 1908, par. 10

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” RH July 9, 1908, par. 11

Those who profess to serve Christ, while in life they deny him, are not thoroughly converted, and are regarded by Christ as very offensive. To every such one he says. “I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. RH July 9, 1908, par. 12

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 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. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” RH July 9, 1908, par. 13

It will profit us to study carefully the book of Revelation. There are in this book many precious truths that we should bring into our daily experience. RH July 9, 1908, par. 14

We are not to rest quietly, with the thought that the devil will have nothing to do with us; but we can have the assurance that we shall not be left helpless, to be overcome by him. Yet if we, like many others, put forth no special efforts to resist him, he will work to lead us away from the truth. If we give him the least encouragement, he will not wait for a further invitation to come into our hearts. He will take possession of the mind, and then, although we may even think that we are being wonderfully led by the Lord, we shall be deceived. Our minds have been bought with an infinite price, and we can not afford to give them over to the control of the enemy. We have no right to follow impulse, and regard it as the guidance of heaven. We must have evidence that we are receiving the stamp of the divine character, such as will be acknowledged in the heavenly courts. RH July 9, 1908, par. 15

The Lord desires us to know what is our work in this world. Those who have come into right relation to God will have a living experience in carrying out his purposes. They will be enabled to help those who are tempted. Angels of God will open the way before them, and as they follow the leadings of the Holy Spirit, they will work for their neighbors and friends. RH July 9, 1908, par. 16

If, while professing to know the truth, we lead others away from Christ by our example, there rests upon us a terrible accountability. It is a sad truth that some are carrying out plans and methods of their own devising, believing these to be right, when in reality they are working contrary to the purposes of God. Because they fail of maintaining a living connection with God, they are led by a spirit that is at enmity with God and his work. O that these deceived souls may yet repent and be converted! RH July 9, 1908, par. 17

Why should we be so particular in regard to our life-conduct? O, there is a world lying in darkness, waiting for the Light of life, a world for whom Christ has given his life! In his plans for the redemption of the fallen race, Jesus came to the earth, and was subject to the same temptations wherewith man is beset. No one will be called to pass through temptations so severe as were those our Saviour endured. Because of this, our great High Priest knows how to succor those who are tempted. He knows how to sympathize with us when in our great need we call for help. There are severe trials before every one of us, yet we need not fail. In the hour of temptation, Christ will not leave his children, but will send his angels to minister unto us. He will answer our prayers for deliverance. RH July 9, 1908, par. 18

(To be concluded.)