The Review and Herald

494/1902

August 6, 1889

A Lively Hope

[Sermon at Chicago, April 6, 1889.]

EGW

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Is there any reason why this lively hope should not give us as much confidence and joy at this time, as it gave the disciples in the early church? Christ is not inclosed in Joseph's new tomb. He is risen, and has ascended up on high, and we are to act out our faith, that the world may see that we have a lively hope, and may know that we have a Friend at the heavenly court. RH August 6, 1889, par. 1

We are begotten again unto a lively hope, and to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us. Our hope is not without foundation; our inheritance is not corruptible. It is not the subject of imagination, but it is reserved in heaven for us “who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 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.” RH August 6, 1889, par. 2

In seasons of temptations we seem to lose sight of the fact that God tests us that our faith may be tried, and be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus. The Lord places us in different positions to develop us. If we have defects of character of which we are not aware, he gives us discipline that will bring those defects to our knowledge, that we may overcome them. It is his providence that brings us into varying circumstances. In each new position, we meet a different class of temptations. How many times, when we are placed in some trying situation, we think, “This is a wonderful mistake. How I wish I had stayed where I was before.” But why is it that you are not satisfied?—It is because your circumstances have served to bring new defects in your character to your notice; but nothing is revealed but that which was in you. What should you do when you are tried by the providences of the Lord?—You should rise to the emergency of the case, and overcome your defects of character. RH August 6, 1889, par. 3

It is coming in contact with difficulties that will give you spiritual muscle and sinew. You will become strong in Christ if you endure the testing process, and the proving of God. But if you find fault with your situation, and with everybody around you, you will only grow weaker. I have seen people who were always finding fault with everything and everybody around them, but the fault was in themselves. They had need to fall upon the Rock and be broken. They felt whole in their own self-righteousness. The trials that come upon us, come to prove us. The enemy of our souls is working against us continually, but our defects of character will be made manifest to us, and when they are made plain, instead of finding fault with others, let us say, “I will arise and go to my Father.” RH August 6, 1889, par. 4

When we begin to realize that we are sinners, and fall on the Rock to be broken, the Everlasting arms are placed about us, and we are brought close to the heart of Jesus. Then we shall be charmed with his loveliness, and disgusted with our own righteousness. We need to come close to the foot of the cross. The more we humble ourselves there, the more exalted will God's love appear. The grace and righteousness of Christ will not avail for him who feels whole, for him who thinks he is reasonably good, and is contented with his condition. There is no room for Christ in the heart of such a person; for he does not realize his need of divine light and aid. RH August 6, 1889, par. 5

Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” There is fullness of grace in God, and we may have his Spirit and power in large measure. Do not feed on the husks of self-righteousness, but go to the Lord. He has the best robe to put upon you, and his arms are open to receive you. Christ will say, “Take away the filthy garments, and clothe him with a change of raiment.” RH August 6, 1889, par. 6

The prophet Zechariah presents a scene before us that reveals the condition of the sinner, and shows the resistance of Satan against the work that Christ would do for his repenting children. The prophet says, “And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair miter upon his head. So they set a fair miter upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by. And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” RH August 6, 1889, par. 7

Satan hates those who have taken hold of the strength of Christ, but those who have made a full surrender are reconciled to God, and he will be their defense. He promises that they shall have places to walk among these that stand by. Who are these that stand by?—They are the angels of God that are sent to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. We shall never know what dangers, seen and unseen, we have been delivered from through the interposition of the angels, until we shall see in the light of eternity the providences of God. Then we shall better understand what God has done for us all the days of our life. We shall know then that the whole heavenly family watched to see our course of action from day to day. You should remember when trials come, that you are a spectacle to angels and to men, and that every time you fail to bear the proving of the Lord, you are lessening your spiritual strength. You should hold your peace from complaining, and take your burden to Jesus, and lay your whole soul open before him. Do not carry it to a third person. Do not lay your burden upon humanity. Say, “I will not gratify the enemy by murmuring. I will lay my care at the feet of Jesus. I will tell it to him in faith.” If you do this, you will receive help from above; you will realize the fulfillment of the promise, “He is on my right hand that I should not be moved.” “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” RH August 6, 1889, par. 8

Do you believe that Jesus is your Saviour? There are many who have merely a nominal faith; but you should have that faith that was displayed by the suffering woman who said, “If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.” Jesus knew of her desire, and her faith called him forth to help her. He would give her the opportunity she wished. When he was on his way to the ruler's house to heal his child, he passed through the town where this suffering woman lived. She came to where he was; but the multitude thronged him, and it seemed impossible for her to reach him. She pressed her way through, and reached forth her hand, and touched his garment, and her faith was rewarded; she felt she was healed. “Jesus said, Who touched me?” The disciples were astonished that he should ask such a question, and they said, “Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me; for I perceived that virtue is gone out of me.” He knew the touch of faith. “And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” RH August 6, 1889, par. 9

Jesus is willing that we should come to him today. He is willing that we should touch him with the touch of faith, and receive virtue from him. We should have more health today, if, instead of running to the physicians, we would come to Christ for the balm of Gilead, and apply it to our souls. RH August 6, 1889, par. 10

“While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not; believe only, and she shall be made whole.” When he came to the ruler's house, he found the mourners weeping and bewailing her, but he said, “Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.” They had been impatient that he had not come before, and now they thought it was too late. God tries our faith. He says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” Jesus took the maid by the hand, and said unto her, “Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway, and he commanded to give her meat.” We should not doubt the power of our Lord, but commit the keeping of our souls to him as unto a faithful Creator. RH August 6, 1889, par. 11

There is a great work to be done in the Lord's moral vineyard; but in all the different branches of the work our faith will be tried. Who will endure the test? Who will hold the beginning of their confidence steadfast unto the end? There are many of the professed people of God who scarcely know the voice of the True Shepherd. We may have a rich experience in the things of God. We may have an experience similar to that of the prophet Isaiah. He was to go forth with the message of God, and the Lord revealed his glory to him. When he saw the Majesty of heaven, he felt wholly unworthy and unfit for the work, and he cried out, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar, and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.” Then he was ready to give the message, and when the Lord asked, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” he could respond, “Here am I; send me.” RH August 6, 1889, par. 12

O, that we could understand the solemnity of the message intrusted to us! Frivolity would cease. We should feel as did the prophet, and cry out, “I am undone.” But as soon as the live coal from off the altar touched our lips, instead of complaining and talking of our gloom, we should rejoice that we were begotten again unto a lively hope, and called into the service of the King, the Lord of hosts. RH August 6, 1889, par. 13