Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4

213/448

Ms 33, 1885

Sermon/Sermon at Christiania, Norway

Christiania, Norway

November 10, 1885

Portions of this manuscript are published in HP 289; 5MR 435.

Colossians 3:12-17. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 1

We have here presented before us the genuine fruit of righteousness. Christ has said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:20.] Let every one present closely examine his own heart to see if these graces are cultivated. Do you cherish kind thoughts and feelings for one another? Have you cultivated a meek and lowly spirit? Are you long-suffering, forbearing one another and forgiving one another? If you possess these graces, you are indeed holy and beloved. All who have a living connection with Christ will manifest the spirit of Christ. We possess varied traits of character, and when we are brought together in church capacity, as children of God, we have a work given us of God—to seek to harmonize, to be of one mind, of one judgment, to speak the same things, that there be no division among us. Not one can be excused from a part in this practical work. We have, individually, an experience to obtain for ourselves. One cannot obtain an experience for another, but we must have an individual experience, for which we will require constant watchfulness and unceasing prayer. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 2

We cannot save our own souls, but Christ has died to redeem us. He gave His life a ransom for us. Christ alone can cleanse us from all sin; and when we are in right relation to God, when we feel our weakness, our great need of the grace of Christ, we are brought into that place where we can have an influence over one another for good, and, in the exercise of simple faith and unlimited trust, become as little children. We are made partakers of the divine nature. We will be like Jesus—pure, holy, harmless, and undefiled. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 3

We are instructed in this lesson to have bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering. Let the soul be united by faith and love to God, and then we shall enjoy this precious experience. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 4

“Great peace have they who love Thy law, and nothing shall offend them.” [Psalm 119:165.] Can this be the feeling of many here today? Are you not easily offended, nervous, irritable, passionate? If the truth dwells in the heart, it will sanctify your life. We are not placed here in this world to please ourselves. Christ lived not to please Himself. He was constantly working to bless and save others, and not one of us should feel satisfied unless we can have a good influence over each other. We are in a world where we can see faults in the characters of other, while we do not see our own faults or realize our own dangers. We should be like Christ. He was true in every purpose, feeling, and thought. This we must individually be if we are followers of Christ. Jesus despises all pretense, falsehood, unreality. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 5

We have no right to judge one another. God has not placed any one of you on the judgment seat. You have souls to save or souls to lose. We have before us a work to do for our own souls. If we neglect this work, it is to our ruin. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 6

[Left side of page torn away in this paragraph:] We should have an ... united with us in church capacity, and I will tell you how you can. If you see one who is becoming weak in ... errors to others and place them in the worst light. ... in loving kindness and try to help him. It ... for you to spread through the church that such ... the sayings and doings of your brother that you consider objectionable. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 7

But you must go to your brother or sister in love and show them that you have an interest for their souls. Those who are really the most erring are in greatest need of your help. Do not gossip about them and make remarks about their character, but go to them in the love of Jesus and the love of the truth and try to help them. Then you will be doers of the Word, acting the spirit of Christ. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 8

When you are troubled with doubts, and darkness compasses your own soul, the very best course you can pursue to get out of this darkness is to help someone else who is discouraged. As you try to lift others up, behold, you lift up yourself into close connection with God. As you show kindness to others, you will help yourself, for the same will be reflected back upon you. The man who has the most of Christ in the soul will manifest the tenderest sympathy for the souls who need help. If he believes and loves and obeys the truth, he will be the most genuine man on the face of the earth. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 9

We want to present to the world the purity and holiness of our faith; and in order to show the truth of God to those who are in darkness of error, we must have it in our own hearts. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 10

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” [Colossians 3:15.] Do we consider how little gratitude we bring into our lives, how few thoughts we give to our heavenly Father, how readily the words of fretful repining and complaining fall from our lips? How many of my hearers love to dwell upon and to tell of their trials! And how little we offer praise to God! We do not take into consideration all the blessings He bestows upon us from day to day. If we should take this view of the matter and recount our blessings, many of our supposed trials would disappear. We have every reason to be thankful, to praise God. We should not complain, but we should show our gratitude. “Rejoice in the Lord.” [Philippians 4:4.] 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 11

You know the trouble with the children of Israel was murmuring, and when Moses told them of their murmurings, they were displeased and said, Has God spoken only by Moses and not by us? You can see what desperation came upon them. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram gathered together two hundred fifty princes, men of renown, and came against Moses and Aaron and said to them, “Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord? And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face.” Numbers 16:3, 4. He told Korah and his company that tomorrow the Lord would show who were His and who were holy. [Verse 5.] Then he said, “If these men die the common death of all men, ... then the Lord hath not sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them and they go down quickly into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord.” Verses 29, 30. The earth did open and swallowed up these men and all that appertained to them. Why were they angry with Moses? He was giving them just what God had given him. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 12

Notwithstanding the judgment of God upon these men, the next morning some of the people came to Moses and Aaron and charged them with destroying the people of the Lord. God had sent His message to the people that they should put away their sins from them; but the very same sins were manifest in these people, and God brought plagues upon those who murmured. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 13

Now, my brethren and sisters, I beg of you to let gratitude spring up in your hearts for all the blessings God has bestowed upon you. You will always have erring ones among you, and here is where you can show a Christian character. Do not push them away from you; but if you have light, seek to let it shine upon them, and in this way you can help them toward heaven. Every soul that has the spirit of Christ will work the works of Christ. And if any sees one wandering away from Christ, he will feel as Christ did about the lost sheep. There were ninety and nine in the fold, but He went out after the one that had strayed away. This is the spirit we should manifest. As children of God, we should walk in the light; and as we follow in the light, we shall lighten the path for others. Let us cultivate gratitude to God, and then we shall not get our eyes upon little difficulties. And although our brethren and sisters may err, shall we err? We have faults, as well as they, and we want compassion as well as they; we should have compassion for one another. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 14

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” [Colossians 3:16.] Here is the privilege of the Christian. We want to be drawing nearer and nearer to Jesus Christ. We want to look away from the things of this life to the future immortal life. Says Paul, “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 33, 1885, par. 15

I wish we could have a pledge in our hearts that we would not utter one word against a brother or a sister. Remember that they also are tempted, it may be more strongly than you; and if you will keep your tongue as with a bridle, then you show that you love God. The very best thing for us all is to have more of the love of God in our hearts, and this we can have if we will study our Bibles. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 16

Elder Andrews, when he was driving his oxen, had his Bible with him, and he would take it out and read a few words and then think of these while he went on with his work. Thus he obtained a knowledge of the Scriptures and of the love of God to man. We can all have our Bibles with us; and when we have a spare moment, we can read a verse and thus keep our minds fixed upon God. If you have your hearts filled with Bible truths, there will not be room for those idle thoughts; and when the enemy comes with his temptations, you can meet him as Christ met him with, “It is written;” you can throw the Word of God in his face. But you do not all see the importance of strengthening your mind with the Word of God. There is more time spent in eating and drinking than in studying the Word of God, and we want you to reform in this. If an angel of God should come right into your midst to help you, you would not be conscious of his presence, because your minds are so taken up with the little things of this life, and in criticizing one another’s actions. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 17

Now it is your privilege to keep your minds in a right channel, and let your hearts be in a condition to receive God’s Word. Then you can be a light to those around you. We must remember that the end of all things is at hand, and there are important events to transpire in the near future. It is now that we must gain an experience in order to stand the test of the trials that will be brought upon us. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 18

Although you may see your sins, do not be discouraged. We want to encourage in you a living faith in Jesus Christ; when discouragements come, exercise this faith. But you cannot do this unless you have a knowledge of the promises of God and walk out upon these promises. Remember that feeling is not faith; if you follow your feelings, you will be led astray. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 19

I know what it is to be tempted of the devil. Sometimes when sickness comes upon me I begin to feel that I cannot go before the people in my weakness. Then come the promises of God, and I venture out upon His promises. I would not dare to venture out without the help of God; but I go to Him and say, I will walk out by faith; and I find that God always sustains me when I follow by living faith. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 20

There are many who do not understand what faith is. It is to take God at His word and do just as He says. I do not know a friend of my acquaintance who, if I should send a letter, asking him—or her—to do a certain thing for me, and tell him what I would do for him, but that he would do it. Now our heavenly Father has sent us a letter from heaven, telling us what we must do and what He proposes to do for us. But we must follow out the conditions. One is, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] Then we are to comply with the condition and say, “Here, Lord, I come to Thee with all my cares and burdens.” 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 21

If you imagine your brother or sister has slighted you, do not go and tell someone else, but go to Jesus and tell it to Him, and take His yoke upon you. If you take His yoke, He says, Ye shall find rest to your souls. [Verse 29.] It is not the yoke of Christ that makes the way so hard; it is the yoke you have manufactured for yourselves. You bring burdens upon yourselves, and these are grievous to be borne. God wants you to take your mind off from these things. You will see defects all around you, but you must remember that we are all liable to fail in some things. It will do no good to think of the defects of others; but when you are tempted to speak evil of one another, think of the love of God to you, and you will find that the peace of heaven will come into your souls. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 22

I want you to learn that you must come to God just as a child comes to a kind father and ask your heavenly Father for just what you want. He says He is more willing to bestow His blessing upon you than an earthly parent is to give good gifts to his children. [Matthew 7:11.] I have found great comfort in taking God at His word. He never has failed me in any instance. Now open your hearts, and as children of God speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, and make melody in your hearts to the Lord. You cannot do this unless you cultivate love one for another, and you must have it in your mind to speak in psalms. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 23

You remember when you first accepted Jesus, how happy you were in your first love, and how you loved to meet with your brethren and sisters and speak of Jesus. Well, now you want more of this love in your midst today. Heaven is at your hand if you will only follow Christ. Do not, I beg of you, manufacture yokes for yourselves. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 24

Listen to the testimony: “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” Psalm 126:3. You are to give this testimony to the world. He will do great things for us if we will let Him. But if we allow our minds to take a low channel, the angels of God cannot impress our minds. We must labor constantly to have our minds upon heaven, then we can make melody in our hearts to the Lord, and through Jesus we can be more than conquerors because we have taken hold of His power. “And let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me, and he shall make peace.” [Isaiah 27:5.] How can we doubt His word for one moment? 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 25

You cannot expect help from Christ unless you have faith in His promises. He is my Saviour, should be the language of every heart. He died for me, and He will give me rich blessings, that I may overcome. He does not want any one of us to perish, but that all may have life. And God has laid help upon One that is mighty. I love Him because He first loved me. And I see in Him matchless charms. I want to talk of His love. I do not want to grieve His Spirit. I would not in my heart crucify Him anew and put Him to an open shame. He has done everything for me that He could do. What could a God do more than He has done to awaken love in our hearts? 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 26

He wants to do great things for you, if you will only come to Him and give Him a chance. He wants you to lay all your burdens at the foot of the cross. I testify to you tonight that His yoke is easy and His burdens light. Separate sin from you, come and wash in the fountain, that you may stand in that company around the throne at last. “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:13, 14. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 27

Now as you have faults and sins, separate them from you. Christ says, “If thine hand offend thee, cut it off and cast it from thee! It is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands to be cast into everlasting fire.” [Matthew 18:8.] If you have darling sins, separate them from you, that you may have a right relation to God. Let every one cleanse the soul temple and invite Jesus in to take possession, and then we shall have strength to follow after Christ. He is the light, and we can make melody in our hearts to the Lord. Jesus wants to be entertained in our hearts, and will we let Him in? We want, every one of us, to fix our eyes upon the Author and Finisher of our faith, and may God help you. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 28

We want to inquire if there are any here who feel that they are backslidden and are sinners? If we can have these two front seats cleared, we will give such a chance to come forward. We want to see a break here. The God of heaven has spoken with His own voice, and all who would seek God must repair to the temple; therefore we take this step. We want the Spirit of God to come into our midst with power, and now we invite our friends to come; and let the children come forward. 4LtMs, Ms 33, 1885, par. 29