The Review and Herald

255/1902

April 15, 1884

The Christian's Refuge

[Remarks addressed to the ministers assembled in General Conference at Battle Creek, Mich., in their morning meeting held November 9, 1883.]

EGW

On this morning there was a spirit of earnest intercession for the Lord to reveal himself among us in power. My heart was especially drawn out in prayer, and the Lord heard and blessed us. Testimonies were borne by many discouraged ones, who felt that their imperfections were so great that the Lord could not use them in his cause. This was the language of unbelief. RH April 15, 1884, par. 1

I tried to point these dear souls to Jesus, who is our refuge, a present help in every time of need. He does not give us up because of our sins. We may make mistakes and grieve his Spirit; but when we repent, and come to him with contrite hearts, he will not turn us away. There are hindrances to be removed. Wrong feelings have been cherished, and there have been pride, self-sufficiency, impatience, and murmurings. All these separate us from God. Sins must be confessed; there must be a deeper work of grace in the heart. Those who feel weak and discouraged may become strong men of God, and do noble work for the Master. But they must work from a high standpoint; they must be influenced by no selfish motives. RH April 15, 1884, par. 2

No work that can engage our attention is of greater importance than a preparation for the future immortal life. We must watch unto prayer. We must learn in the school of Christ. Nothing but his righteousness can entitle us to one of the blessings of the covenant of grace. We have long desired and tried to obtain these blessings, but have not received them, because we have cherished the idea that we could do something to make ourselves worthy of them. We have not looked away from ourselves, believing that Jesus is a living Saviour. We must not think that our own grace and merits will save us; the grace of Christ is our only hope of salvation. Through his prophet the Lord promises, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” We must believe the naked promise, and not accept feeling for faith. When we trust God fully, when we rely upon the merits of Jesus as a sin-pardoning Saviour, we shall receive all the help that we can desire. RH April 15, 1884, par. 3

Our hearts have grown unfeeling and unimpressible through lack of faith. We look to self, as though we had power to save ourselves; but Jesus died for us because we were helpless to do this. In him is our hope, our justification, our righteousness. We are to look and live. We should not despond, and fear that we have no Saviour, or that he has no thoughts of mercy toward us. At this very time he is carrying on his work in our behalf, inviting us to come to him in our helplessness, and be saved. We dishonor him by our unbelief. It is astonishing how shamefully we treat our very best Friend, how little confidence we repose in Him who is able to save to the uttermost, and who has given us every evidence of his great love. My brethren, let us teach faith by precept and example. RH April 15, 1884, par. 4

What a sacred trust God has committed to us in making us his servants to aid in the work of saving souls. He has intrusted to us great truths, a most solemn, testing message for the world. Our duty is not simply to preach, but to minister, to come close to hearts, to put forth personal efforts by the fireside. We should use our intrusted talents with skill and wisdom, that we may present the precious light of truth in the most pleasing manner, the way best calculated to win souls. RH April 15, 1884, par. 5

Paul thus speaks of the ministry of the new covenant: “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints; to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you the hope of glory; whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” What a responsibility is this! A work is here brought to view that is more laborious than merely preaching the word; it is to represent Christ in our character, to be living epistles, known and read of all men. RH April 15, 1884, par. 6

We may be cheerful; for there is nothing gloomy in the religion of Jesus. While all lightness, trifling, and jesting, which the apostle says are not convenient, are to be studiously avoided, there is a sweet rest and peace in Jesus that will be expressed in the countenance. Christians will not be mournful, depressed, and despairing. They will be sober-minded; yet they will show to the world a cheerfulness which only grace can impart. RH April 15, 1884, par. 7

“The love of Christ constraineth us.” We must cherish love; and if those for whom we labor do not appreciate our efforts, we must not allow discontent or wrong feelings to rule in our hearts. Murmuring thoughts, jealousies, and evil surmisings will imbitter the life and mar the labors. Unless firmly and persistently resisted, we must, as laborers in the Lord's vineyard, persevere in our efforts. It is the Lord who has called us to this work, and we should have an eye single to his glory. We must not trust to our own efforts, as though we could do the work of converting souls; for this is impossible. God alone can convict and convert. Jesus invites sinners to come to him with all their burdens and perplexities, and he will give them rest and peace. RH April 15, 1884, par. 8

Let us never forget that Jesus loves us. He died for us, and now he lives to make intercession in our behalf. And the Father also loves us, and desires our happiness. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Brethren, you should set an example of faith, confidence, and love to the churches over which the Lord has made you overseers. Will you do your work with fidelity in the fear of God? Will you feel that you must avail yourselves of every opportunity to obtain grace and power from on high, that you may render to God the very best and highest service possible? If he has made us his agents to bless and save souls, we must keep in the heavenly current. At an infinite cost, every provision has been made for us, that we might not be bodies of darkness, but all light in the Lord; and we should lead the people to the light, bringing them nearer the standard, until every man is presented perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end let us labor in hope, ever remembering the Source of our strength. RH April 15, 1884, par. 9

As you make the prayer, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law,” the claims of God will be plain and distinct. The vices and wickedness of society will grieve the soul that views sin from the Bible standpoint. This sense of sin should not be lessened, but the love of souls increased. Light from the word of God is shining upon us and all around us; and we should try by every means in our power to bring this light before others, remembering that the religion of Jesus may be to every one a glorious, divine reality. RH April 15, 1884, par. 10

If, as laborers in the cause of God, you feel that you have borne greater cares and trials than have fallen to the share of others, remember that for you there is a peace unknown to those who shun these burdens. But do not force your trials upon others; do not groan over them. There is comfort and joy in the service of Christ. The Christian gives the Lord his entire affections, but he takes as well as gives; and his language is not that of a murmurer or a constant backslider. He makes no effort to appear righteous, but his life shows that he is led by the Holy Spirit. He can speak with assurance of his hope in Christ; for has he not the promise of God? RH April 15, 1884, par. 11

We honor God most when we trust him most. Anxiety and worriment in his service, talking fears and doubts as to whether we shall be saved, savors of selfishness. True faith is more solicitous to know what can be done today. As we take up our duties one by one, each will come in its proper place; and the faithful discharge of these duties, however small, opens a field where all the powers of the mind can be employed in the service of God. His will will be known and obeyed. RH April 15, 1884, par. 12

Brethren, you have expressed many doubts; but have you followed your Guide? You must dispense with him before you can lose your way; for the Lord has hedged you in on every side. In the darkest hour, Jesus will be our light. “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” It is an exalted privilege to be connected with Jesus. In every condition of trial, we may have the consolation of his presence. We may live in the very atmosphere of Heaven. Our enemies will thrust us into prisons, but prison walls cannot cut off the communication between Christ and our souls. One who sees our every weakness, who is acquainted with every trial, is above all earthly powers; and angels can come to us in lonely cells, bringing light and peace from Heaven. The prison will be as a palace, for the rich in faith dwell there; and the gloomy walls will be lighted up with heavenly light, as when Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises at midnight in the Philippian prison. Bunyan was confined in Bedford jail; and from thence issued a light that has illuminated the pathway to the celestial city. RH April 15, 1884, par. 13

God is the “Rock of our salvation,” a present help in every time of need. Then let us be no longer babes in Christ, but bold and firm soldiers of the cross, rejoicing in suffering the will of God. RH April 15, 1884, par. 14