The Review and Herald

454/1902

September 4, 1888

“In Demonstration of the Spirit”

EGW

Text: “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” RH September 4, 1888, par. 1

We want to obtain the same experience as had the inspired apostle. He does not disparage the human understanding. Every jot of ability is necessary in the work of the ministry, but all the capability that is in your possession should be sanctified, “because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Two great forces are united. Through living faith, divine influences are combined with human effort. It is by this co-operation of man with God, that we become laborers together with him. RH September 4, 1888, par. 2

Those who labor in word and doctrine, are not to be novices. The word of God gives directions for their course. The Bible is in our hands, and the task of searching for a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus, is appointed us. It is at the peril of our souls, that we neglect the duty of searching for the truth, as for hidden treasures. We are not safe when we are content to float along with the current, believing because some one else believes. The questions of truth that are submitted to us, are of vital interest, in contrast with the idle traditions that are sustained by human authority and church pretension; and we must, through fervent prayer and deep and earnest research, become established and settled, rooted and grounded in the faith, and know, each for himself, that we have the truth. If we are thus established, we shall not depart from the faith when tested and tried, as some have done. Those who put their trust in God, and not in human effort, will be sustained under fierce temptation and trial, and will come forth from the conflict with firm faith and unshaken confidence. Their words will not be the enticing words of men's wisdom, but they will be words spoken in the demonstration of the Spirit and the power of God. If the works of the ambassadors of Christ are wrought in God, they will not be elated by praise from human lips; neither will they be depressed because they think they are not appreciated. Their work is to learn what is the mind of God, that they may show themselves approved unto God. RH September 4, 1888, par. 3

There can be no greater peril to the souls of those who profess to believe the truth, than to cease their research for light and knowledge from the Scriptures. God has put the truth into our hands; and with faithful, thoughtful, prayerful study, and with the counsel of God-fearing teachers, we may become able in the exposition of the word of truth. You are to pray, and search for the truth on every point of faith and doctrine. You will be brought before critical, opposing councils. You will be tried for your faith, and you will want to know that you have good ground for every point of doctrine. God enjoins upon all men to search the Scriptures; but how doubly important is this injunction to those who teach the word to others. There will be apostasies from our own ranks, because men and women, even those who are teachers of the truth, have not brought the truth into their lives; and have not become sanctified through it. They have no living connection with God; and so slight is their hold upon the doctrine for the present time, that when trials come upon them, they depart from the faith, thinking that error is preferable to the truth. There should be most fervent, earnest work done in our several Conferences. Unconsecrated, unconverted men, who attempt to open the Scriptures to others, men whose lives and characters do not correspond with their teachings, will be a curse rather than a blessing to the cause. They present arguments in their own human wisdom, but they do not speak in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. They hold the truth in unrighteousness. RH September 4, 1888, par. 4

In order to have prosperous Conferences, there must be in the several churches, laborers who are consecrated to God, having pure hearts and clean hands,—laborers who have purified their souls by obedience to the truth, and are vessels of honor, fitted for the use of the Master. The heavenly unction comes upon men unseen, to quicken those who love and fear God, and to make them powerful in the word of God. All heaven is interested in the work of saving souls, and if the teacher of Bible truth will seek the Lord, the promise is given he “shall find.” If he asks, he shall receive. If he knocks, it shall be opened unto him. There is no excuse for any one's being destitute of divine help. There is no reason why any one should be stumbling upon the dark mountains of unbelief. The word of God is pledged in his abundant promises; and if we fail, the responsibility rests upon us individually, who have accepted the solemn position that makes us a mouth-piece for God; for the promises are made upon plainly stated conditions; and if we perish, we have no one to blame but ourselves. RH September 4, 1888, par. 5

We must depart from all iniquity. We must accept the invitation and come to Christ and learn in his school; for we cannot become efficient teachers, unless we learn daily from the great Teacher. We must bruise Satan under our feet. We must lay hold on eternal life. The forgiveness of sin is promised to him who repents, and the crown of life will be given to him who is faithful unto the end. In order to receive an increase of spiritual grace, we must improve wisely what we already have. If we would be found without spot before the throne of God, we must keep ourselves unspotted from the world. RH September 4, 1888, par. 6

Faith and works must go hand in hand, but either alone is dead. The whole work of God in the human soul is accomplished through the cooperation of the divine Spirit with the effort of humanity. “Without me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” There are many Christless sermons preached, which are wholly destitute of the power and Spirit of God. The speaker may please the ear; but his words do not impress the soul. God will work through humble men, who love and fear him, and who will not ascribe the glory to themselves; but will give all the praise of their being a light in the world to the Source of all light. O, for less of self, and more of Jesus! It is human pride and self-confidence, mingled with human depravity, that has enfeebled the churches, until they are sickly, and ready to die. RH September 4, 1888, par. 7

The ministers of these churches need to be converted. They need divine wisdom to take the place of human wisdom. The church may have divine enlightenment. The Lord God and the Lamb must be its light; for no church can live by its own light, or by sparks of its own kindling. It may be that the mechanical working of the church is like well-adjusted machinery, and this is as it should be; for it is necessary to have order and discipline; but it is not right to let everything stop at this point, and to rest satisfied while destitute of the power of vital godliness. Light must come from God to the people, as the word is preached in demonstration of the Spirit and with power. The members of the church must diffuse their derived glory all around them; for they cannot retain the light, unless they reflect its bright and heavenly evidences upon the pathway of others. The bitterest woe will be pronounced upon false shepherds, and upon those who profess to walk in the light of divine truth, and yet make themselves centers to absorb all the God-given rays, resting satisfied in the knowledge that they possess, and making no effort to enlighten others. The parable which our Lord has given, condemning the faithless servant who hid his Lord's money, condemns every member of the church who is not making a right use of his ability to communicate light and truth to others. Those who do not let the light which God has given them, shine upon the darkened pathway of others, are traitors to their Lord, and a burden to the church. They make it manifest that they do not care for the salvation of others, but only for themselves. Those who have had precious opportunities and privileges, and who possess talents, which they will not use in the service of God, will finally lay them all at the feet of Satan, to be employed as he shall direct. They will become receptacles of darkness, of whom it is written, “If the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” RH September 4, 1888, par. 8

In the time of Christ, and in the days of the apostles, there were unfaithful disciples, who were led from the truth,—some through love of the world, others through love of approbation,—who deemed that their superior ability was not appreciated as it should be, by their brethren in the church. And there were still others who were led away through lasciviousness. This last sin was existing in the church in the days of Paul, and he made vigorous battle upon it, that it might be destroyed from the midst of the early Christians. Some who may have been looked upon as special lights in the church and in the world, may cease to shine, and become bodies of darkness. “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.” If one star goes out in darkness, another will fill its place. RH September 4, 1888, par. 9

We may learn the truth of the Bible by living up to all the light that we have, in doing the will of God; or we may do as many others are doing, darken and pervert our belief, and corrupt our faith by disobedience. Men turn away from God's great moral standard of righteousness, and try to doubt that it is “holy, and just, and good.” They want liberty to sin, and at length they come to doubt that the claims of the law are binding. Because their carnal hearts desire to transgress its precepts, the law of God has become to them a yoke of bondage. Such may, after some disappointment, return to the truth; but they will leave it again, for their hearts are not thoroughly changed. The most useful men in the world have not been the exalted, self-sufficient ones, who have been praised and petted by society; but those who have walked humbly with God, who have been unassuming in manner and guileless in conversation, who have given all the glory to God, not taking any of it to themselves, are the ones who have exerted the most decided and healthful influence upon the church. When they stand before the people, as a mouth-piece for God, everything around them is forgotten. Their words come forth in the demonstration of the Spirit and with power. They exert their God-given ability to set things in order in the church, whether it makes them friends or foes. When straight, solemn testimony is needed, in rebuking sin and iniquity, even though it be in those of high position, they will not hold their peace, but will heed the instruction of the God of truth, when he commands, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins.” They will stand as faithful watchmen upon the walls of Zion,—not to hide sin, not to flatter the wrong-doer, not to obtain the sympathy of their brethren, but to meet the approval of God. They will not suppress one syllable of truth that should be brought out, in reproof, or warning, or in vindication of the righteousness of the oppressed, in order to gain the favor and influence of any one. In a crisis, they will not be found in a neutral position, but they will stand firmly on the side of righteousness and truth, even when it is difficult to take this position; and to maintain it may imperil their prosperity, and deprive them of the friendship of those whom they love. RH September 4, 1888, par. 10

Self has been petted and favored altogether too much. Those who should have been unselfish and uncorrupted, have permitted self to wield a controlling influence over their lives. O that our ministering brethren would copy the model! O that they would learn in the school of Christ, lessons of the Master's meekness and lowliness of heart! If the eye were single to the glory of God, the Lord would bless them with his Spirit and power, and it would not then be their ruin. There is great need of the sanctification that comes through obedience to the truth. All resistance of God, all departures from virtue and truth, pervert the faith as well as the morals, while conformity to God's revealed will always increases faith and knowledge. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God.” Those who are workers together with God, must be men of blameless habits, and most unambitious pretensions. Their highest ambition must be, to be found sons of God, and partakers of the divine nature. It was for the glory of God that the excellent treasure of his truth was committed to earthen vessels. “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” No one should enter the ministry until he clearly understands his own faith, so that he can give an intelligent answer to any man that asketh the reason of his hope. It is his privilege, as well as his duty, to believe in a near and present Saviour,—one who is by our side, in our hearts. His presence is far more efficacious than the most eloquent sermons, and it is our right to expect that he will be with us in seasons of worship, for he promised when he commissioned his disciples to go and “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” and added, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” RH September 4, 1888, par. 11

It is the presence of Jesus that is needed in our assemblies, to make the preaching of the word effectual to the salvation of souls. Preaching, in itself, has no natural power to renew the heart, and yet this is the object of preaching. It is the divine influence accompanying the word, that brings souls in penitence to the foot of the cross. O that Christ's ambassadors would feel their need of Jesus, that their preaching might not be in vain, nor their ministry unsuccessful. When the minister hears the voice of the great Shepherd saying, “Lo, I am with you alway,” he works as if in the presence of Jesus; and out of weakness he is made strong. The word becomes quick and powerful, and, in proportion as faith appreciates the divine presence, and honors it, and trusts it, the preaching is in the demonstration of the Spirit and with power. RH September 4, 1888, par. 12

If we hide self in Jesus, if we lift up and exalt the Saviour, if we take no credit to ourselves, the preaching will not be in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God. Jesus, the world's Redeemer, will be presented before the people as the one who “is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercessions for them.” “We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.” Then let us do those things that are pleasing in his sight. Let us come in full assurance of faith. Let us draw from the heavenly store-house, and present to the people things new and old, giving to every man his portion of meat in due season; “and when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” RH September 4, 1888, par. 13