The Review and Herald

478/1902

March 26, 1889

The Open Door

[Sermon at Indianapolis, Ind., February 23, 1889.]

EGW

Text: “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die; for I have not found thy works perfect before God.” “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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. And to the angel of the church of 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 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.” Revelation 3:2, 5-8. RH March 26, 1889, par. 1

Those who shall be overcomers are to be highly exalted before God and before his angels. Christ has promised that he will confess their names before his Father and before the holy angels of heaven. He has given us abundant promises to encourage us to be overcomers. The True Witness has given us the assurance that he has set before us an open door, which no man can shut. Those who are seeking to be faithful to God may be denied many of the privileges of the world; their way may be hedged up and their work hindered by the enemies of truth; but there is no power that can close the door of communication between God and their souls. The Christian himself may close this door by indulgence in sin, or by rejection of heaven's light. He may turn away his ears from hearing the message of truth, and in this way sever the connection between God and his soul. RH March 26, 1889, par. 2

You may have ears, and not hear. You may have eyes, and not see the light, nor receive the illumination that God has provided for you. You may close the door to light as effectually as the Pharisees closed the door to Christ when he taught among them. They would not receive the light and knowledge he brought, because it did not come in the way they had expected it to come. Christ was the light of the world, and if they had received the light he graciously brought to them, it would have resulted in their salvation, but they rejected the Holy One of Israel. Christ said of them that they “loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” He said, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” The way was open; but by their own course of action they closed the door, and severed their connection with Christ. We may do the same by rejecting light and truth. RH March 26, 1889, par. 3

Those who are willing to be faithful learners in the school of Christ, willing to put to the stretch every God-given power, that they may seek for truth as for hid treasure, will not only have light themselves, but will be able to impart light to those around them. Christ has said of his people, “Ye are the light of the world.” It is our privilege to advance daily in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour. By studying the life of Christ, and by patterning after his character, we may be changed into the same image. When John heard of the growing power of Jesus, he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” When Christ abides in the heart, we are able to impart to others the light and peace that have been imparted to us. Every day we have the precious privilege of connecting ourselves with Christ, who has set before us an open door. All heaven is at our command. If we are obedient children of God, we may draw daily supplies of grace. Whatever temptations, trials, or persecutions may come upon us, we need not be discouraged. Neither man nor Satan can close the door which Christ has opened for us. RH March 26, 1889, par. 4

We are to live only one day at a time. We do not have to do the work of a life-time in a few hours. We need not look into the future with anxiety; for God has made it possible for us to be overcomers every day, and he will give needed grace, that we may be conquerors. I am glad we have only a day at a time in which to work. We should not undervalue its responsibilities, and devote it to the service of the enemy. We should not spend it in arraying ourselves in fashionable attire, in decorating our homes as if we were to be permanent dwellers upon the earth. We should employ its moments in trading with our intrusted talents, in using our ability to glorify God, instead of glorifying ourselves. Our whole study should be how we may win the approbation of God. If we are doing his will, with an eye single to his glory, we shall be able to say, “‘I know that my Redeemer liveth.’ Though heart and flesh should fail, Jesus lives to be my strength and my portion forever.” One who is ever faithful and true among those who are changeable and false, will be our stay, and will prosper us in all we undertake. We shall find, as we seek to please God, that there is One who is working for us, even He whose name is “Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of peace.” RH March 26, 1889, par. 5

There is no reason for our being discouraged, no reason for talking of our trials and doubts. We have done altogether too much of this, but let us put it away. When we meet our friends, we should not strive to relate our worst experiences. Let us try to keep our minds upon the open door that Christ has set before us. Let us dwell upon the soul-comforting thought that Jesus lives to make intercession for us. It is not Christian-like to talk of your troubles and trials. It does not rightly represent Christ or his service. Angels are listening to hear what kind of report you are going to bear to the world about your heavenly Master. Christ does not cast across your pathway that dark shadow of which you complain. It is Satan who darkens your way with his own shadow, but we must not talk of his darkness. Let your conversation be of Him who liveth to make intercession for you before the Father. When you take the hand of a friend, let praise to God be on your lips and in your heart. This will attract his thoughts to Jesus. If you calmly and trustfully contemplate the promises of God, and by simple, childlike faith claim them as your own, you will find that the darkness will vanish. Search the Scriptures, and light will break upon you. Confess the peculiar sins that you have cherished; repent of them, and put them away. If you profess to be followers of Christ while you have cherished worldliness, pride, and formality, you put your Lord to an open shame. The mighty Conqueror has presented toil and struggle as the price of victory. Those who would win the crown must lift and bear the cross. If we keep before us the cross of Calvary, we shall be able to say with Paul, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” RH March 26, 1889, par. 6

By faith we should keep our eyes on Jesus our High Priest, who ministers in heaven for us. No other light has shone or ever will shine upon fallen men, save that which has been and shall be communicated by the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. We should ever recount our blessings. We should gather them together and hang them in memory's hall. What kind of picture will you hang there today? Will you clothe it in crape, and frame it in mourning? Oh, no. Jesus is not in Joseph's new tomb. He has risen. He has burst the fetters of the grave. He has led captivity captive, and given gifts unto men. He has given us an evidence of what he will do for those whom Satan has placed in the prison houses of death. At his resurrection he opened the tombs of many righteous, took the captives out of the narrow cells, and led them away in triumph to his kingdom. Those who have fallen asleep in Christ shall not be holden of death. They shall be rescued from the grave, and restored to life. RH March 26, 1889, par. 7

Why should we not think of the glorious things that God has promised to his children? You should not keep your mind fastened on the gloom of the grave. You should not mourn that God does not love you. It is Satan that puts these desponding thoughts into your mind. Jesus loves you. I have tested the love of God for many years. I know it is rich and free. He has suffered trials and afflictions to come upon me to draw me nearer to him. He has said, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” This is the work we should do at this present time. We should be more in earnest, and by living faith we should claim the promises of God. There is such a thing as proving God. Says the prophet, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the store-house, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” RH March 26, 1889, par. 8

The more we bring to God's treasure-house, the more we shall have to bring; for he will open ways before us, increasing our substance. I have found this to be true in my own experience. As God multiplies his gifts to us, we must not grow selfish, and withhold from him our tithes and offerings. We each have a part to act in the work of salvation. We are a portion of the great web of humanity, and we should not selfishly separate ourselves from our brethren. By devoting our means to the cause of God, by exercising our talents in his service, by seeking the salvation of souls, we must identify ourselves as those who are interested in the purchase of Christ's blood. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” RH March 26, 1889, par. 9

It will be known by the fruits you bear whether or not you are keeping the commandments of God. Those who are obedient children will not seek to see how little they can do and yet be saved; they will desire to obtain an abundant entrance into the kingdom of God. They will not murmur when afflictions come upon them. They will bear them with patience; for they will know that their faith is to be strengthened by the trial. Says the apostle, “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ; whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” The Lord, speaking by his prophet, says, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” Though man is a fallen being, he is to be highly exalted through the merits and righteousness of Christ. God has said it. Will we believe it? Will we submit to his refining, cleansing work in our hearts? or will we pursue such a course that our names will be blotted out of the book of life? RH March 26, 1889, par. 10

There are many who profess to believe in Christ, who have never been converted. God cannot approve of a marred, imperfect character. We cannot excuse ourselves before him for our defects and errors, because he has provided help in his Son. He has given us a loving, pitying, all-powerful Saviour, who is able to give us grace that we may overcome every defect of our characters. If we will only submit to God, he will take our minds, and fashion them after his divine mind. I have never dared to say, “I will do this or that.” I have been bought with a price. I am not my own. I have been purchased from the slavery of sin. I must have my named retained in the Lamb's book of life. RH March 26, 1889, par. 11

We read these words in Daniel's prophecy: “And at that time, Michael shall stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time; and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” I want to be among that number who shall have their names written in the book, who shall be delivered. I want the overcomer's reward. The masterly temptations of Satan will overpower many who now profess to believe the truth. Their unworthy course of action, their denial of Christ, will make it necessary for God to blot their names from the book of life. But O, may it not be so with us! Jesus has said, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” RH March 26, 1889, par. 12