Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might -- Ephesians 6:10.
Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on God.
Not alone for men in positions of large responsibility is the lesson of Elijah's experience in learning anew how to trust God in the hour of trial. He who was Elijah's strength is strong to uphold every struggling child of His, no matter how weak. Of everyone He expects loyalty, and to everyone He grants power according to the need. In his own strength man is strengthless; but in the might of God he may be strong to overcome evil and to help others to overcome. Satan can never gain advantage of him who makes God his defence. "Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength." Isaiah 45:24.
Fellow Christian, Satan knows your weakness; therefore cling to Jesus. Abiding in God's love, you may stand every test. The righteousness of Christ alone can give you power to stem the tide of evil that is sweeping over the world. Bring faith into your experience. Faith lightens every burden, relieves every weariness. Providences that are now mysterious you may solve by continued trust in God. Walk by faith in the path He marks out. Trials will come, but go forward. This will strengthen your faith and fit you for service. The records of sacred history are written, not merely that we may read and wonder, but that the same faith which wrought in God's servants of old may work in us. In no less marked manner will the Lord work now, wherever there are hearts of faith to be channels of His power -- Prophets and Kings, p. 175.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil -- Ephesians 6:11.
In this time of trial we need to be encouraged and comforted by one another. The temptations of Satan are greater now than ever before, for he knows that his time is short and that very soon every case will be decided, either for life or for death. It is no time now to sink down beneath discouragement and trial; we must bear up under all our afflictions and trust wholly in the Almighty God of Jacob. The Lord has shown me that His grace is sufficient for all our trials; and although they are greater than ever before, yet if we trust wholly in God, we can overcome every temptation and through His grace come off victorious.
If we overcome our trials and get victory over the temptations of Satan, then we endure the trial of our faith, which is more precious than gold, and are stronger and better prepared to meet the next. But if we sink down and give way to the temptations of Satan, we shall grow weaker and get no reward for the trial and shall not be so well prepared for the next. In this way we shall grow weaker and weaker, until we are led captive by Satan at his will. We must have on the whole armour of God and be ready at any moment for a conflict with the powers of darkness. When temptations and trials rush in upon us, let us go to God and agonise with Him in prayer. He will not turn us away empty, but will give us grace and strength to overcome, and to break the power of the enemy. Oh, that all could see these things in their true light and endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus! Then would Israel move forward, strong in God, and in the power of His might -- Early Writings, p. 46.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places -- Ephesians 6:12.
As men seek to come into harmony with God, they will find that the offence of the cross has not ceased. Principalities and powers and wicked spirits in high places are arrayed against all who yield obedience to the law of heaven. Therefore, so far from causing grief, persecution should bring joy to the disciples of Christ, for it is an evidence that they are following in the steps of their Master.
While the Lord has not promised His people exemption from trials, He has promised that which is far better. He has said, "As thy days, so shall thy strength be." "My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Deuteronomy 33:25; 2 Corinthians 12:9. If you are called to go through the fiery furnace for His sake, Jesus will be by your side even as He was with the faithful three in Babylon. Those who love their Redeemer will rejoice at every opportunity of sharing with Him humiliation and reproach. The love they bear their Lord makes suffering for His sake sweet.
In all ages Satan has persecuted the people of God. He has tortured them and put them to death, but in dying they became conquerors. They revealed in their steadfast faith a mightier One than Satan. Satan could torture and kill the body, but he could not touch the life that was hid with Christ in God. He could incarcerate in prison walls, but he could not bind the spirit. They could look beyond the gloom to the glory, saying, "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17 -- Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, pp. 29, 30.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places -- Ephesians 6:12.
It is Satan's work to dethrone God from the heart, and to mould human nature into his own image of deformity. He stirs up all evil propensities, awakening unholy passions and ambitions. He declares, All this power, these honours, and riches and sinful pleasures will I give thee; but his conditions are that integrity shall be yielded, conscience blunted. Thus he degrades the human faculties, and brings them into captivity to sin.
God calls upon men to oppose the powers of evil. He says, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."
The Christian life is a warfare. But "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." In this conflict of righteousness against unrighteousness we can be successful only by divine aid. Our finite will must be brought into submission to the will of the Infinite; the human will must be blended with the divine. This will bring the Holy Spirit to our aid; and every conquest will tend to the recovery of God's purchased possession, to the restoration of His image in the soul -- Messages to Young People, pp. 54, 55.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand -- Ephesians 6:13.
Let us, under all circumstances, preserve our confidence in Christ. He is to be everything to us,--the first, the last, the best in everything. Then let us educate our tongues to speak forth His praise, not only when we feel gladness and joy, but at all times.
Let us keep the heart full of God's precious promises, that we may speak words that will be a comfort and strength to others. Thus we may learn the language of the heavenly angels, who, if we are faithful, will be our companions through the eternal ages. Every day we should make advancement in gaining perfection of character, and this we shall certainly do if we press toward the mark of the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus. Let us not talk of the great power of Satan, but of the great power of God. . . .
In every soul two powers are struggling earnestly for the victory. Unbelief marshals its forces, led by Satan, to cut us off from the Source of our strength. Faith marshals its forces, led by Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. Hour by hour, in the sight of the heavenly universe, the conflict goes forward. This is a hand-to-hand fight, and the great question is, Which shall obtain the mastery? This question each must decide for himself. In this warfare all must take a part, fighting on one side or the other. From the conflict there is no release. . . . We are urged to prepare for this conflict. "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." The warning is repeated, "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
He . . . to whom all power in heaven and earth has been given, will come to the help of those who trust in Him -- Sons and Daughters of God, p. 328.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness -- Ephesians 6:14.
From the stern punishment meted out to those perjurers, God would have us learn also how deep is His hatred and contempt for all hypocrisy and deception. In pretending that they had given all, Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit, and, as a result, they lost this life and the life that is to come. The same God who punished them, today condemns all falsehood. Lying lips are an abomination to Him. He declares that into the Holy City "there shall in no wise enter . . . anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie." Revelation 21:27. Let truth telling be held with no loose hand or uncertain grasp. Let it become a part of the life. Playing fast and loose with truth, and dissembling to suit one's own selfish plans, means shipwreck of faith. "Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth." Ephesians 6:14. He who utters untruths sells his soul in a cheap market. His falsehoods may seem to serve in emergencies; he may thus seem to make business advancement that he could not gain by fair dealing; but he finally reaches the place where he can trust no one. Himself a falsifier, he has no confidence in the word of others.
In the case of Ananias and Sapphira, the sin of fraud against God was speedily punished. The same sin was often repeated in the after history of the church and is committed by many in our time. But though it may not be attended by the visible manifestation of God's displeasure, it is no less heinous in His sight now than in the apostles' time. The warning has been given; God has clearly manifested His abhorrence of this sin; and all who give themselves up to hypocrisy and covetousness may be sure that they are destroying their own souls -- Acts of the Apostles, p. 76.
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace -- Ephesians 6:15.
How can our brethren and sisters continue to live close to large numbers of people who have never been warned, without devising methods of setting to work every agency through whom the Lord can work to the glory of His name? Our leaders who have had long experience will understand the importance of these matters, and can do much to increase the working forces. They can plan to reach many in the highways and in the hedges. As they put forth calm, steady, devoted effort to educate the church members to engage in personal work for souls wherever there are favourable openings, success will mark their labours -- Manuscript 53, 1910.
The truth will triumph gloriously. Let the churches begin to do the work that the Lord has given them-- the work of opening the Scriptures to those who are in darkness. My brethren and sisters, there are souls in your neighbourhood who, if they were judiciously laboured for, would be converted. Efforts must be made for those who do not understand the Word. Let those who profess to believe the truth become partakers of the divine nature, and then they will see that the fields are ripe for the work that all can do whose souls are prepared by living the Word -- Australasian Union Conference Record, March 11, 1907.
Brethren and sisters, will you put on the Christian armour? "Your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace," you will be prepared to walk from house to house, carrying the truth to the people. Sometimes you will find it trying to do this kind of work; but if you go forth in faith, the Lord will go before you, and will let His light shine upon your pathway. Entering the homes of your neighbours to sell or to give away our literature, and in humility to teach them the truth, you will be accompanied by the light of heaven, which will abide in these homes -- Review and Herald, May 24, 1906.
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked -- Ephesians 6:16.
True faith lays hold of and claims the promised blessing before it is realised and felt. We must send up our petitions in faith within the second veil and let our faith take hold of the promised blessing and claim it as ours. We are then to believe that we receive the blessing, because our faith has hold of it, and according to the Word it is ours. "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." Mark 11:24. Here is faith, naked faith, to believe that we receive the blessing, even before we realise it. When the promised blessing is realised and enjoyed, faith is swallowed up. But many suppose they have much faith when sharing largely of the Holy Spirit and that they cannot have faith unless they feel the power of the Spirit. Such confound faith with the blessing that comes through faith. The very time to exercise faith is when we feel destitute of the Spirit. When thick clouds of darkness seem to hover over the mind, then is the time to let living faith pierce the darkness and scatter the clouds. True faith rests on the promises contained in the Word of God, and those only who obey that Word can claim its glorious promises. "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." John 15:7. "Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight." 1 John 3:22.
We should be much in secret prayer. Christ is the vine, ye are the branches. And if we would grow and flourish, we must continually draw sap and nourishment from the Living Vine; for separated from the Vine we have no strength.
I asked the angel why there was no more faith and power in Israel. He said, "Ye let go of the arm of the Lord too soon. Press your petitions to the throne, and hold on by strong faith. The promises are sure. Believe ye receive the things ye ask for, and ye shall have them." I was then pointed to Elijah. He was subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly. His faith endured the trial. Seven times he prayed before the Lord, and at last the cloud was seen. I saw that we had doubted the sure promises, and wounded the Saviour by our lack of faith. Said the angel, "Gird the armour about thee, and above all take the shield of faith; for that will guard the heart, the very life, from the fiery darts of the wicked." If the enemy can lead the desponding to take their eyes off from Jesus, and look to themselves, and dwell upon their own unworthiness, instead of dwelling upon the worthiness of Jesus, His love, His merits, and His great mercy, he will get away their shield of faith and gain his object; they will be exposed to his fiery temptations. The weak should therefore look to Jesus, and believe in Him; they then exercise faith -- Early Writings, pp. 72, 73.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God -- Ephesians 6:17.
-As the worker seeks to give to others the light God has given him, the Lord imparts increased light; and doing his best, with an eye single to the glory of God, he realises the value of souls. As he visits from house to house, opening the Scriptures to those whose understanding is darkened, angels of God will be close beside him to impress the heart of the one who is athirst for the water of life -- Review and Herald, Oct. 6, 1896.
Let strong reasons for our faith be presented from the Word of God, and let the truth in its sanctifying power melt its way to the hearts and minds of those who are under conviction. As the helpers give Bible readings in the homes of the people, the Lord just as surely works on minds as He does in the public services -- Letter 160, 1901.
There will constantly be a struggle in order to gain access to the hearts of the ignorant and wicked. But do we individually try as earnestly and faithfully by personal effort as we should? Do we not hold ourselves too much aloof from the poor souls dead in trespasses and sins? Can we not, every one of us, arm ourselves with the intense earnestness of Christ, and do more?
I fear that there is not that faith that is essential. Shall we not brace ourselves against disappointments and temptations to be discouraged? God is merciful, and with the truth rejoicing, purifying, ennobling the life, we can do a sound and solid work for God. Prayer and faith will do wonderful things. The Word must be our weapon of warfare. Miracles can be wrought through the Word; for it is profitable for all things -- Letter 75, 1896.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints -- Ephesians 6:18.
You have brought children into the world who have had no voice in regard to their existence. You have made yourselves responsible in a great measure for their future happiness, their eternal well-being. The burden is upon you, whether you are sensible of it or not, to train these children for God, to watch with jealous care the first approach of the wily foe and be prepared to raise a standard against him. Build a fortification of prayer and faith about your children, and exercise diligent watching thereunto. You are not secure a moment against the attacks of Satan. You have no time to rest from watchful, earnest labour. You should not sleep a moment at your post. This is a most important warfare. Eternal consequences are involved. It is life or death with you and your family. Your only safety is to break your hearts before God and seek the kingdom of heaven as little children. You cannot be victors in this warfare if you continue to pursue the course you have pursued. You are not very near the kingdom of heaven.
Some who have not professed Christ are nearer the kingdom of God than are very many professed Sabbathkeepers in -----. You have not kept yourselves in the love of God and taught your children the fear of the Lord. You have not taught them the truth diligently, when you rose up, and when you sat down, when you went out, and when you came in. You have not restrained them. You look to other children and solace yourselves by saying: "My children are no worse than they." This may be true, but does the neglect of others to do their duty lessen the force of the requirements which God has especially enjoined upon you as parents? He has placed upon you the responsibility to bring these children up for Him, and their salvation depends in a great degree upon the education they receive in their childhood. This responsibility others cannot take; it is yours, solely yours, as parents. You may bring to your aid all the helps you can to assist in the solemn and important work; but after you have done this, there is a power above every human agency, that will work with you through the means which it is your privilege to use. God will come to your aid, and upon His power you can rely. This power is infinite. Human agencies may not prove successful, but God can make them fruitful by working in and through them -- Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 398.