The Review and Herald

521/1902

March 25, 1890

Open the Heart to Light

[Morning talk at Battle Creek, Mich., February 6, 1890.]

EGW

As Jesus was on his way to Gethsemane with his disciples, he pointed them to a vine that was growing by the way. The vine was greatly admired by the Jews, and Jesus said to his disciples, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away.” Here is a truth for us to study. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away.” We now have an opportunity to be fruit-bearing branches of the True Vine; but if we are careless and indifferent, what will be our condition?—We shall be fruitless; we shall be taken away. We can do nothing without Christ; we shall have no sap or nourishment except as we get it from the living Vine. No branch can bear fruit except through a connection with Christ. RH March 25, 1890, par. 1

“And every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” Jesus says, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” If we are branches of the living Vine, we shall be distinct branches, although united to one common parent stock. Suppose that each of the branches of the vine had a voice, would they talk to the shrubs and weeds about them, and fail to commune with the parent stock? If we are in Christ and he in us, will not our conversation, our deportment, have reference to Him whom we love? Will we not look upon him as our Master? RH March 25, 1890, par. 2

One of the great troubles with us has been that we have looked upon men as infallible. But no matter how high a position a man may hold, it is no reason that he should be looked upon as incapable of making mistakes. The Lord may have given him a work to do, but unless Christ abides with him continually, unless he abides in Christ without a moment's separation, he will make mistakes and fall into error. But if men do make mistakes and fall into error, it is no reason that we should withdraw our confidence from them; for God alone is infallible. We must have the truth abiding in our hearts; we must draw nigh to God continually; for we shall have the powers of darkness to meet just as long as time shall last. We shall have to battle with the enemy of our souls until the coming of the Lord. When Christ was upon the earth, he contended with the enemy for the salvation of men, and when he left the world, he committed the conflict to his followers, to be carried forward in his name; and we are to wage this war day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. To every soul of us belongs the battle. We do not know what God has for us to do. If we have only one talent, we should put it out to the exchangers; for if we are faithful in that which is least, in the future we shall be made ruler over many things. We should bring glory to God, and not make ourselves a center, and God will make us fruitful branches. We must center in Christ, as the branch is in the vine, and then we shall be in a position to bless all who come within the sphere of our influence. RH March 25, 1890, par. 3

“I am the vine, ye are the branches,” said Jesus. We do not half understand the preciousness of this lesson; we must learn more and more the significance of these words. We need our eyes anointed that we may see the light of truth. We must not think, “Well, we have all the truth, we understand the main pillars of our faith, and we may rest on this knowledge.” The truth is an advancing truth, and we must walk in the increasing light. A brother asked, “Sister White, do you think we must understand the truth for ourselves? Why can we not take the truths that others have gathered together, and believe them because they have investigated the subjects, and then we shall be free to go on without the taxing of the powers of the mind in the investigation of all these subjects? Do you not think that these men who have brought out the truth in the past were inspired of God?” I dare not say they were not led of God, for Christ leads into all truth; but when it comes to inspiration in the fullest sense of the word, I answer, No. I believe that God has given them a work to do, but if they are not fully consecrated to God at all times, they will weave self and their peculiar traits of character into what they are doing, and will put their mold upon the work, and fashion men in religious experience after their own pattern. It is dangerous for us to make flesh our arm. We should lean upon the arm of infinite power. God has been revealing this to us for years. We must have living faith in our hearts, and reach out for larger knowledge and more advanced light. RH March 25, 1890, par. 4

Do not trust to the wisdom of any man, or to the investigations of any man. Go to the Scriptures for yourselves, search the inspired word with humble hearts, lay aside your preconceived opinions; for you will obtain no benefit unless you come as children to the word of God. You should say, “If God has anything for me, I want it. If God has given evidence from his word to this or that brother that a certain thing is truth, he will give it to me. I can find that evidence if I search the Scriptures with constant prayer, and I can know that I do know what is truth.” You need not preach the truth as the product of another man's mind, you must make it your own. When the woman of Samaria was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, she hastened to tell her neighbors and townsmen. She said, “Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.... And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.... And many more believed because of his own word; and said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying; for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ.” RH March 25, 1890, par. 5

Brethren, we must sink the shaft deep in the mine of truth. You may question matters with yourselves and with one another, if you only do it in the right spirit; but too often self is large, and as soon as investigation begins, an unchristian spirit is manifested. This is just what Satan delights in, but we should come with a humble heart to know for ourselves what is truth. The time is coming when we shall be separated and scattered, and each one of us will have to stand without the privilege of communion with those of like precious faith; and how can you stand unless God is by your side, and you know that he is leading and guiding you? Whenever we come to investigate Bible truth, the Master of assemblies is with us. The Lord does not leave the ship one moment to be steered by ignorant pilots. We may receive our orders from the Captain of our salvation. RH March 25, 1890, par. 6

We must be able to present the precious truth at the right time. We do not claim that in the doctrines sought out by those who have studied the word of truth, there may not be some error, for no man that lives is infallible; but if God has sent light, we want it; and God has sent light, and let every man be careful how he treats it. As the truth is proclaimed, men will say, “Be careful now, do not be too zealous, too positive; you want the truth.” Of course we want the truth, and we want it as it is in Jesus. RH March 25, 1890, par. 7

When Nathanael came to Jesus, Jesus exclaimed, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” Nathanael said, “Whence knowest thou me?” Jesus answered, “When thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee.” And Jesus will see us also in the secret places of prayer, if we seek him for light that we may know what is truth. Our brethren should be willing to investigate in a candid way every point of controversy. If a brother is teaching error, those who are in responsible positions ought to know it; and if he is teaching truth, they ought to take their stand at his side. We should all know what is being taught among us, for if it is truth, we need to know it. The Sabbath-school teacher needs to know it, and every Sabbath-school scholar ought to understand it. We are all under obligation to God to know what he sends to us. He has given directions by which we may test every doctrine,—“To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” But if it is according to this test, do not be so full of prejudice that you cannot acknowledge a point when it is proved to you, simply because it does not agree with your ideas. Do not catch at every objection, however small, and make it as large as possible, and preserve it for future use. No one has said that we shall find perfection in any man's investigations, but this I do know, that our churches are dying for the want of teaching on the subject of righteousness by faith in Christ, and for kindred truths. RH March 25, 1890, par. 8

No matter by whom light is sent, we should open our hearts to receive it in the meekness of Christ. But many do not do this. When a controverted point is presented, they pour in question after question without acknowledging, without admitting a point when it is well sustained. O may we act as men who want light! May God give us his Spirit day by day, and let the light of his countenance shine upon us, that we may be learners in the school of Christ. RH March 25, 1890, par. 9