The Review and Herald

400/1902

May 3, 1887

To the Workers

[Morning talk at Orebro, Sweden, June 23, 1886.]

EGW

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. Having a good conscience; that whereas they speak evil of you, as of evil-doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing than for evil-doing.” 1 Peter 3:15-17. We are enjoined to sanctify the Lord in our hearts, and be prepared to give a reason of the hope that is within us with meekness and fear. RH May 3, 1887, par. 1

Now, this is a rebuke to those who would attempt to teach the truth in their own unsanctified manner. If Christ is indeed enshrined in our hearts, we will teach others in the meekness of Christ. In order for us to give a reason of the hope that is within us, we must first have an understanding of the truth ourselves. The time has come when we cannot depend upon the doctrine which comes to our ears, unless we see that it harmonizes with the word of God. There are dangerous heresies that will be presented as Bible doctrines; and we are to become acquainted with the Bible so that we may know how to meet them. The faith of every individual will be tested, and every one will pass through a trial of close criticism. RH May 3, 1887, par. 2

It is the privilege and the duty of all to closely investigate the doctrine presented to them before they embrace it. And the most effectual way to find access to those whom we wish to educate in the truth, is to have them bring their Bibles, and point them to the chapter and verse, that they may see for themselves that these things are so. The people are so utterly deceived in regard to what the Bible does teach, that when you tell them these things, they will say, “It does not read so in my Bible.” But you ask them to bring their Bibles, and show them the very chapter and verse you wish to impress upon their minds, and they will be surprised at the plain statements of revealed truths which they read out of their Bibles. RH May 3, 1887, par. 3

It is the privilege of the young men and the young women before me to tax their minds with the reason of our faith. Carey, one of the greatest missionaries, was at one time a humble shoe-maker. He felt deeply for a class that he saw were in darkness and knew not the Scriptures. He was obliged to work at his trade, but at the same time he had his dictionary before him, and as he worked he diligently studied. He put his mind to the task with earnest prayer, and, procuring more books, did not cease until he had mastered three languages. He finally became a missionary to a foreign country, and was very successful. RH May 3, 1887, par. 4

It is impossible for the youth to tell what they can accomplish until they have set themselves to the task. You want first to lay a good foundation by having a virtuous character; and this work of character building will cost you a determined effort; for you must escape the corruptions in the world through lust. This will be answering the very requirements brought to view in my text, to sanctify the Lord in your hearts, that you may be able to give a reason of the hope that is within you with meekness and fear. RH May 3, 1887, par. 5

The exhortation that Paul gave to Timothy, was, “Take heed,” first to yourself and then to the doctrine. Do not let your heart become hardened with sin. It is very important that our youth should commence the work right. You need wisdom from heaven to read the Scriptures aright. The youth should decide the aim and object and purpose of their life, and make their standard high; if they have a low standard, they will not rise above that for which they aim. Closely examine your manners and habits. Compare them with the word of God, and then separate from you every wrong and sinful habit and indulgence for God will not hear your prayers if you regard iniquity in your heart. Christ has said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” Every one of you want to be sure that Christ is in you and abiding with you. Then you can do all things. If you go in self-sufficiency, without prayer, without watchfulness, and without relying wholly upon God, you will make a sad failure. RH May 3, 1887, par. 6

Isaiah had a message from the God of heaven to give to the backsliding people of Israel, and he gave them this message. He knew what elements he had to deal with; he knew the stubbornness and perversity of the heart, and how hard it would be to make any impression upon them. As he stood in the portico of the temple, the Lord revealed himself to him. The vail of the temple was withdrawn, the door lifted, and he had a view of the holy of holies within the vail. He saw the God of Israel before the throne high and lifted up, and the train of his glory filled the temple. As Isaiah senses his own sinfulness, he cries out, “I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” And there was seen the hand that took the live coal from off the altar, and touched his lips, and bade him be clean. Then he was ready to go with the message, and he said, “Send me;” for he knew that the Spirit of God would be with the message. RH May 3, 1887, par. 7

To those who are engaged in the work of God, in the conversion of souls, it would seem as though it was impossible to reach the obdurate heart. This is how Isaiah felt, but when he saw that there was a God above the cherubim, and that they were ready to work with God, he was ready to carry the message. We have a great work to accomplish here in our world. RH May 3, 1887, par. 8

The Saviour of the world chose his disciples from among the humble fishermen, and thus the foundation of the Christian church was laid by these humble men connecting themselves with Jesus Christ. As they entered the school of Christ they became learners in that school. They profited by the lessons that Jesus was continually giving them to fit them for the great trials and the important work that would come to them after the burial and resurrection of the Redeemer. Their hopes, although for a time seemingly blighted, still existed; and after the resurrection of Jesus these hopes revived. Now these unlearned men could stand before princes and kings and councils of the learned, and give to them the reasons of their faith which even their adversaries could not gainsay or resist. They were astonished at the boldness and fluency of their speech, and took knowledge of them, saying, These men have been with Jesus and learned of him; for they talk like him. These men were able to stand bravely for the truth. They stood before the council, and declared, This is the Prince of life, whom wicked hands have taken and have crucified, and who is risen from the dead as he told us he would rise before his crucifixion. RH May 3, 1887, par. 9

We may have a knowledge of the truth, but this is not enough. We must bring its living principles into our lives, and it must sanctify our characters and flow out to others. If we ourselves are conscious that our lives are not right, how can we help those who are around us? How can we have faith to come to God for help? The belief in Jesus is to be of that divine character that will bring Jesus into our life and actions, and will flow out in righteous actions to others. When we do this we will have an influence for good on all around us. The God of heaven understands all about the difficulties that we have to meet in this world, which are no more favorable for the perfection of Christian character than when Enoch was in the world. And yet Enoch walked with God, and communed with God, and God communed with him. He kept God's commandments. He kept in mind that the God of heaven was by his side, and he must do nothing to grieve his Lord. The Lord honored Enoch, and translated him to heaven without seeing death. RH May 3, 1887, par. 10

Now, with your Bibles you want to go before God, open them before God, and plead with God. You want your understanding quickened; you want to know that you know the real principles of the truth, and then when you meet with opponents you will not have to meet them in your own strength. The angel of God will stand right by your side to help you in answering every question that may be asked you. But at the same time Satan will stand right by your opponents to stir them up to say things hard for you to bear, in order to provoke you to speak unadvisedly; but let your conversation be such that Satan can take no advantage of your words. RH May 3, 1887, par. 11

We read that Christ did not bring a railing accusation against Satan when contending in regard to the body of Moses, because in so doing he would have placed himself on Satan's ground; and therefore you want to keep this meekness before you wherever you present the truth. One passionate word will give Satan the advantage and often wound your own soul and turn others away from the light. You want to be walled in, as it were, with Jesus; and as you hold yourself in this position, it will have a telling influence upon the people. Remember the work is to present the truth as it is in Christ Jesus, and you will just as surely have success as God rules in the heavens. Although many will not hear you, yet there are those who will hear, who are honest inquirers after truth, and who are far from being satisfied with the spiritual declension that is existing in the churches at the present time, and are hungry for the bread of life. RH May 3, 1887, par. 12