Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)

Ms 43, 1886

Sermon/Search the Scriptures

Nimes, France

October 21, 1886

This manuscript is published in entirety in 3MR 88-93.

3 p.m., October 21, 1886

(Sermon at Nimes,)

Text: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man; but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:19-21. 4LtMs, Ms 43, 1886, par. 1

We see and feel the importance of each having an understanding of the Scriptures. There may be those who will tell us of the things contained in the Word of God, but that will not meet the requirements. We must search the Scriptures for ourselves. There are special points that we must understand pertaining to our own time. We are living in an age of error and heresy on every hand. Christ has told us that “there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, who shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24:24. These teachers spoken of by Christ will come in sheep’s clothing and will delude the people with their heresies, and this we shall see more and more as we draw nearer the end. Consequently it is of the greatest necessity that we search the Scriptures for ourselves and learn their contents. 4LtMs, Ms 43, 1886, par. 2

Our text tells us that we have something sure, and that is the Scriptures that are revealed to us, and this is the voice of God that is speaking to us. One may come and say that he has truth, and such teachers will multiply, but we must not take their word in the matter. We must go directly to the Word. Feelings should not be our guide. The plain declaration of the Word is what is required. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. 4LtMs, Ms 43, 1886, par. 3

You could not make a greater mistake than to take the voice of man. Those who will not hear truth, when it crosses their pet theories, will often place themselves out of the reach of hearing when they should be the very ones to hear. The same thing is acted over today as it was in the days of Christ. The Pharisees then turned a deaf ear to the instructions of the divine Teacher. But it is our duty and privilege to be learners in the school of Christ. We want to learn of Him who is meek and lowly in heart, who said, “Come unto Me ... and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. 4LtMs, Ms 43, 1886, par. 4

Everyone should feel that he is responsible to God. There are great interests at stake. It will make a great difference whether we walk in condemnation or not. When we are walking contrary to God’s Word we are stirring up rebellion, and thus we bring the displeasure of God upon us. When Christ comes we want to be found on the side of the loyal and true. If the whole world were in opposition to God’s law, it should make no difference to us. 4LtMs, Ms 43, 1886, par. 5

In the time of the flood, nearly all the inhabitants of the world thought that they were right and that Noah was wrong. They claimed that they knew more than that faithful servant of God, and thus closed their ears to words of truth, and darkness came upon them. There were those then, as today, who explain away the truth by false science. They branded Noah as a fanatic. They explained to the people the foolishness of Noah’s statement that a rain would come upon the earth, when no signs of such had ever existed. God’s message was to come to them through Noah, but they laughed and mocked at his words, and said, Does he not speak in parables? But their unbelief did not prevent the flood, and they finally drank the waters that covered the earth. We do not want to be like them. 4LtMs, Ms 43, 1886, par. 6

When Christ made His first advent, the same unbelief was manifested, and it has always been the same—that unbelief rejects the very truth that is necessary to their salvation. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. We must encourage faith and abandon unbelief, for it is a barrier to our spiritual prosperity. We must listen to the message of the third angel. This message is now due, and it presents to us a present truth. Therefore we must search the Scriptures and lay aside our opinion and be governed by the teachings of the Bible. We need to seek God in prayer that we may not be deceived, for it is a matter of great consequence that we take hold of truth. 4LtMs, Ms 43, 1886, par. 7

There is to be a mighty angel to assist the third angel in his work. The whole earth is to be lighted with his glory. The proclamation as presented represents a people crying the very words. Christ’s riding into Jerusalem when the people cried “Hosanna to the Son of David” (Matthew 21:15) was a fulfilment of prophecy. The Pharisees were disturbed to see the attention paid to the Son of God. Their understanding was so blunted that they could not see in this very act the fulfilment of prophecy, and some of the Pharisees said, “Master, rebuke Thy disciples. And He answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” Luke 19:39, 40. God has shown John in vision the work in the future. It was while the apostle was on the isle of Patmos that these truths that are now due were presented before his mind, and no man can stop the proclamation any more than they could stop the voices of those that cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” [Matthew 21:9, 15, 16; Luke 19:39, 40.] 4LtMs, Ms 43, 1886, par. 8

We must not be discouraged if there are only a few that believe the present truth. It is not the great numbers that follow Christ. In answer to the question, “Are there few that be saved?” the reply was, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Luke 13:23, 24. “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14. Now we see only a few who regard the commandments of God, and those who will not lift the cross after having a knowledge of their duty will finally meet their destruction. We should not turn to the right or to the left, for if we do we shall find a dish of fables in place of truth. 4LtMs, Ms 43, 1886, par. 9

The whole world perished in the flood. Only two or three were saved at the destruction of Sodom, but they had the warning. We must not follow the majority, for if we do so we shall not see heaven. Daniel and his three companions stood alone, yet they would not yield to the influence that surrounded them. Daniel had purposed in his heart not to partake of the portion allotted. Finally the test came. But when the leading men of the realm had conspired against Daniel, he could not be turned away from God. He prayed as firmly as before, with the window opened towards Jerusalem, and he showed to his enemies that he was no coward because he had learned to depend upon God. Daniel did not try to save his life. “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” Matthew 16:25. 4LtMs, Ms 43, 1886, par. 10

Now we want every one to count the cost, not from impulse, but search the Scriptures and thus learn your duty. We should dig deep and obtain the precious jewels that can be found in God’s Word. Christ says that “the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field: the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.” Matthew 13:44. This parable of Christ’s shows us that the truth is worth digging for. Everything should be secondary compared with the Holy Writ. 4LtMs, Ms 43, 1886, par. 11

We are pilgrims seeking a better country, a city whose Builder and Maker is God. Is our conversation in heaven? Are we preparing to receive the Majesty of heaven when He shall come with all His holy angels to raise the righteous dead and translate the righteous living to heaven? Satan will try to becloud our minds on this important subject. But we must so live that we can say as did Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7. 4LtMs, Ms 43, 1886, par. 12

Let us increase our faith and cling close to our divine Lord, because Satan will oppose. But we should rejoice in the thought that the angels in heaven are sent to strengthen us, and we have not to fight our battles alone. And if we have these heavenly messengers with us, even if trials do come, we shall feel like Paul when he said, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” 2 Corinthians 4:17. 4LtMs, Ms 43, 1886, par. 13

We must learn to stand upon the principles of God’s Word: “To the law and to the testimony.” [Isaiah 8:20.] We need the Spirit of God to enlighten us. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20. We want to let the Saviour into our hearts, give Him our best affections, and let the work go on of sanctifying and purifying the heart, and then we shall see the King in His beauty. Let us rely upon God and realize the great sacrifice that has been made for us, and we shall wear the crown throughout an endless eternity. 4LtMs, Ms 43, 1886, par. 14