"Ye are Complete in Him," Part 3
Abstract of a sermon at Melbourne, Australia, December 19, 1891
by Mrs. E. G. White
When Moses prayed, "Lord, show me thy glory," the Lord took this atom of humanity, and yet this mighty man of faith, and placed him in the cleft of the Rock, and covered him with His hand, and the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, "The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty." He first puts Moses in the cleft of the Rock, and this is where each one of us must be placed before we can see the glory of the Lord, for no man knoweth "the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." The glory of the Lord is His goodness and love. Then do not teach your children that God frowns upon them, but that when they sin they grieve the Spirit of Him who always loves them. Draw your children to Jesus.
But if you would draw your children to Jesus, you must not enter your home with cross words, with a frown upon your brow. If you come from your business weary and worn, just plead with God for His grace, for His restful Spirit, that your heart may be melted into tenderness, that your lips may be filled with words of kindness and comfort. Bind your children to your heart. Recommend your religion to them by its pleasantness. Your children are a part of you, and you do not want to have them separated from you in the day of Christ's coming. Give them a representation of the character of Christ, and let your home be as a heaven upon earth. Do not live in such a way that your children will feel that they do not want to go to heaven if father is to be there. Do not live in such a way that your wife will think heaven is an undesirable place if you are to be there, and let not the wife manifest such a spirit that husband and children will feel a relief in being away from her presence.
The religion of Christ will take away all the ruggedness of the character, and will melt and subdue the soul. It is the Spirit of God that we need, and we are looking for its revelation among us, even at this conference, and if this is to be, we must now begin the work of reformation by turning unto the Lord with full purpose of heart. Let the work begin, that the heart may be softened, and that Christ may mould and fashion you after His own divine image. But many feel that they cannot go to Jesus in confidence. They say: "It does not seem as if God heard my prayers. I have tried and tried to rid my soul of sin, but I cannot do it." Then say, "Lord, I am powerless, and I cast my helpless soul on Thee." That is what Jacob did. All night long he had been wrestling with One whom he supposed was his enemy, but it was the great I AM, the mighty God, the Prince of peace, and just as long as he continued his wrestling, he found no comfort, no hope. It was a life-and-death question with him, and his strength was almost exhausted. Then the Angel touched his thigh, and he knew that he wrestled with no common adversary. Wounded and helpless, he fell upon the One with whom he had wrestled, just as you and I must do, just as any soul does when he falls upon the Rock and is broken. "Let me go, for the day breaketh," pleaded the Angel, but Jacob ceases not his intercession, and Christ has to make terms with this helpless soul. He cannot tear Himself away from a soul wounded and helpless, and crying unto Him for help. And Jacob pleads, with determined spirit, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." Who was it that inspired his spirit of persistence?--It was He who wrestled with him, it was He who gave him the victory, who changed his name from Jacob to Israel, and said, "As a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed."
But many of you say, "The nearer I seek to come to Christ, the worse I feel." Did not Jacob have this very experience? Will you not be bruised and wounded as you see the wounds and bruises that sin has made in you and in your divine Redeemer in your behalf? Have you not felt distressed again and again as you have looked to yourself for merit? I have. And now the question is, What will you do? You can say, "I cannot wash away one stain of sin from my soul, I must come to Jesus
'Just as I am, without one plea,
I can only come, saying:--
'Nothing in my hand I bring,
You might say, "I'll give all my goods to feed the poor; I'll give my body to be burned," but that would not better your case. Man can do nothing to merit the favor of heaven. That which avails for the sinner is to accept with gladness the sacrifice that Christ has made, to appreciate His love, and to lay hold of His righteousness by faith. You are to realize that He loves you, and that you love Him because He first loved you. Then you will feel that every power belongs to Him. You take His free gift to you, and then come to Him and give yourself freely to Him. Say, "I come to present myself to God in the name of Him who has died for me. I give my heart to Jesus, and I desire His blessing and His Spirit;" and the power of God will come upon you.
But when you ask God for His blessing, do not mark out a way in which you think the Lord must give you that blessing. You will not always receive the blessing in just the way you think it will come. Just ask the Lord to give you the very blessing you need, in the very way in which He sees it will be for your best good. Let your prayer be, "Give me that which my soul needs in order that I may be a faithful sentinel for God."
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Can we not believe the promise of God, and know that He will do just that for us which He has declared? That which we need is the vital touch of faith, that we know that the mercy of God is extended toward us. God accepts us through Christ, and we are not to feel that we are of no value in His sight. He sent His only-begotten Son into the world to die for us, and we are to value ourselves in the light of the cross of Calvary. Jesus declares, "I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir." And we may all be made precious in Christ, for He says, to those who feel their own weakness, "Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me."
If the life of Jesus were in you, you would be filled with vital energy. The church would not be in a cold, backslidden state, but we should see the revival of the missionary spirit. You would not rest in ease, taking the privileges of the gospel as if they were meant exclusively for you, but you would seek to extend the glad tidings of salvation to this and that relative, to this and that neighbor or friend. You would go to them, not in a Pharisaical spirit, but in the spirit of love, seeking to break down all opposition. You would melt your way into their hearts by telling them of the love of Jesus. You would select those for whom you carried a burden to present to the Lord in prayer, praying Him to give you this or that soul as a precious sheaf for the heavenly garner, to bring to the feet of the Master.
We are all to be missionaries, and we are now on missionary soil, and it is essential for every one of us that we have the righteousness of Christ to go before us, and the glory of the Lord to be our rearward. My heart is lifted up as I think of the blessings that are in store for those who rightly relate themselves to God, and it causes a hope to spring up within me that we may be baptized with the Holy Ghost in this place. Jesus is holding out His precious gift to you, and will you receive it? It is the Comforter that He promised should come and abide with you forever. Thank God for this precious promise.
I want to glorify Him by my words and in my character. I want to reveal to others that do not know Him what a Savior I have found, that they too may love Him. How important it is that we reveal the fact that we have been with Jesus and learned of Him. Do any of us who profess to know Him indulge in light, trifling conversation? Oh, do not permit your lips to utter that which will be as a stumbling-block to those who are looking to see what benefit you have received by your faith in Christ. Lift the minds of those around you to dwell upon eternal realities. God will work with the church, but not without their cooperation. "Ye are laborers together with God." May every soul of you who has tasted of the good word of God, "let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
The Father knows how you represent Him to the world. He knows just what impression you make upon those around you. Your words and actions are all written in the books of heaven, and in order to rightly represent Jesus to the world, the converting power of God must be felt upon your own heart from day to day. When you go forth to the people, in the market-place, as you walk the street, in whatever occupation you are engaged, you are to have a living connection with God, and represent the character of Christ to the world. Jesus said, "As the Father hath sent me, so have I sent you." As Christ was to represent the Father, so the followers of Christ are to represent their Lord to men. Your life is to be hid with Christ in God.
Self must be hidden in Christ. There is to be no great I in heaven except the great I AM, and we must learn to lift up Christ before the people, realizing and rejoicing in the fact that He must increase and we must decrease. I would glorify His name before you, for I want you to be like Him, to love Him. Jesus says, "Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men." The saving salt, the savor of the Christian, is the love of Jesus in the heart, the righteousness of Christ pervading the soul. If the professor of religion would keep the saving efficacy of his faith, he must ever keep the righteousness of Christ before him, and have the glory of God for his rearward. Then the power of Christ will be revealed in life and character.
Oh, when we come to the pearly gates, and have an entrance into the city of God, will any who enter there find room to regret that they devoted their lives unreservedly to Jesus? Let us now love Him with undivided affections, and co-operate with the heavenly intelligences, that we may be laborers together with God, and, partaking of the divine nature, be able to reveal Christ to others. Oh, for the baptism of the Holy Spirit! Oh, that the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness might shine into the chambers of mind and heart, that every idol might be dethroned and expelled from the soul temple!
Oh, that our tongues might be loosed to speak of His goodness, to tell of His power! If you respond to the drawing of Jesus, you will not fail to have an influence on somebody through the beauty and power of the grace of Christ. Oh, let us behold Him and become changed into the image of Him in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the godhead, and realize that we are accepted in the Beloved, "complete in Him which is the head of all principality and power."
Published in Signs of the Times, February 8, 15, 22, 1892.