Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)

Ms 83, 1886

Sermon/At Grimsby, England

Grimsby, England

September 1886

Portions of this manuscript are published in 3SM 420; 8MR 104; 9MR 256-259; CTr 42.

(Philippians 2:1) and onward. Now this is the esteem that we should have one for another, and we should take these words right home to ourselves. Supposing that we should become perfect in this, would there not be a very different state of things among us? It is a great thing not only to believe God’s Word, but to be doers of that Word, to carry out the injunctions of God in our lives in all things. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 1

We read a little further: “Do all things without murmuring and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” Verses 14, 15. Now this is not merely the position for those who preach the Gospel, though they in a special manner should carry out the principles of the Word of God, but it means every one of us who claim to have the love of God in our hearts and to be connected with Jesus Christ. We need to have it enjoined upon us that we are in a crooked and perverse generation, and we need to have it impressed continually upon our minds what we are to do in that nation. We are to shine as lights in the world. Are we indeed members of the royal family? Are we indeed children of the heavenly King? Are we of that number of whom it is said that Christ is not ashamed to call them brethren? Are we in such close relation to Jesus Christ that He looks upon the work and labor that we perform? We want to know how we stand. We want to know what is our position before God. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 2

We know that the Lord has always had a light in the world. Noah in his day was the light to that crooked and perverse generation. We know that God gave him special light, it was to tell the world that a flood was coming upon the earth, and that they must find refuge in the ark. But how few heeded this warning! 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 3

We take another case: There was Enoch. What a blessed thing it is that we have an Enoch! It is stated that he walked with God three hundred years. Notwithstanding the corruption was so great all around him, yet he walked with God, and his light shone out to that degenerate age. And if Enoch walked with God then amid corruption, why cannot men and women walk with God today, in this age of the world? 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 4

Many of us know something of this experience. We know that in sadness and grief we feel very frail, but we know that Jesus is right by our side to sympathize with us, and He will help us. We can commune with our best Friend. He is right by our side. We need not go into the heavens to bring Him down, for He is right by us to help us. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 5

As we walk in the streets with those who care not for God or heaven or heavenly things, we can talk to them of Jesus. We have something more precious than they to look upon—it is Jesus. He is with us in the moral darkness of this age. We can tell Him of the afflictions of our soul and the wickedness in the world, and none of these things need hinder us. We can talk with Jesus. We can talk with Jesus as Enoch talked with God; he could tell his Lord all about his trials. Here was the way Enoch walked with God, and when the light shone out upon his pathway, he did not expect to say, “Why, what will my friends and relatives say of me if I take this course?” No, he did that which was right whatever the consequence. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 6

Now Enoch sought to have a connection with God, and those who do not have a connection with God have a connection with some one else who will lead them away from everything good. All of us have a character to form. Enoch formed a righteous character, and the result was that he was translated to heaven without seeing death. When the Lord shall come the second time, there will be some who will be translated without seeing death, and we want to know if we will be among that number. We want to know if we are wholly on the Lord’s side—partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust—not by trying to make a clear path for our feet where we shall have no trials or difficulties to meet, but by placing ourselves in right relation to God and letting Him take care of the consequences. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 7

Enoch was the light to the world in his day, and how far that light extended! The light that Enoch reflected from God was broad and deep, and there were those who walked in this light, were blessed in this light, and died in this light, and will come up in the first resurrection. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 8

And there was the message of Noah which the world could not endure. They said it could not be that a flood was to come upon the world, and they laughed, and mocked, and scoffed at the preacher of righteousness. Did that make the message of none effect? No. But we see that none but Noah and his family were saved in the ark. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 9

Abraham was a light to the world, and the Lord said of him, I know Abraham, that he will command his children and his household after him. [Genesis 18:19.] Abraham walked in the ways of the Lord. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 10

Now it is the same with the people of this age. They can be on the side with Abraham and be blessed with him, or they can be on the other side and suffer the consequence. Jesus was the One who was communing with Abraham, and thus we see Christ in the Old Testament; then down through the New Testament we see Him constantly giving the apostles light, and we want to be gathering all the rays of light that have been shining down through the prophets and apostles. We have the advantage of all the light they had. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 11

Great beams of light were brought to Daniel, opening to him the great future that was to come upon this world. We have the benefit of this light and, having all this light, ought to do much better than they. We know how Daniel stood in the midst of that crooked and perverse generation. We know he took his position on the right side because it was right. He did not eat at the king’s table, because he had had an education from his childhood that the brain must not be beclouded with improper diet. He was the precious light in that crooked and perverse nation, and they saw that light in Daniel. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 12

When his enemies sought to find some accusation against him, they could not. They said, “We can find no accusation against him because his life is one of equity.” Therefore they said, “The only thing we can do is to bring an accusation against him concerning his religion,” and they tried to get him to dishonor God by separating from Him. When we indulge in sin we dishonor God. [Daniel 6:4, 5.] We are so thankful that we have the example of Daniel, and what gratitude should fill our hearts for such an example. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 13

When the decree went forth that no one should offer any prayer except to the king, Daniel attended to his business faithfully, but when his time for worship came, he went to his chamber and there bowed before God three times a day and would let no man come between him and his God. Here was something to be immortalized and handed down to succeeding generations. And what was the result of Daniel’s integrity and earnestness? God did not leave him. Although he was cast into the lion’s den, there was not a stain upon his character, and the angels of God were cast into that den with him to care for him. And they closed the lions’ mouths so they did not hurt him. Now we see what those before us have suffered for the truth’s sake. The worthies who refused to bow to the golden image were cast into a burning fiery furnace, but Christ was with them there, and the fire did not consume them. There was not even the smell of fire upon their garments. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 14

Now some of us may be brought to just as severe a test. Will we obey the commandments of men, or will we obey the commandments of God? This is a question that will be asked of many. The best thing for us is to come into close connection with God; and if He would have us martyrs for the truth’s sake, it may be the means of bringing many more into the truth. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 15

But here is the power of self-indulgence, the love of the world, and pride. We want to break away from these and, like Daniel, take a position so that the Lord can help us. Daniel did what he could on his part, and the Lord did not leave him. And it is the same today; when men have done all they can, God will impart unto them that wisdom that is sufficient for them to have. God gave Daniel wisdom and knowledge above all the astrologers there were in that realm. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 16

And it comes down to us through that man who chose to obey God rather than man. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 17

We must put on the whole armor of God and stand on the battle field and fight valiantly the battles of the Lord. We are not here to be butterflies, and to gratify self, but we are here to be lights to a crooked and perverse nation. We are to be loyal to God and heaven. We are gathering light not only for today, but for some special occasion; we are having increased light, and we must let it shine upon all around us. Many whom we try to reach with the truth of God will not accept it, and why? Because it involves a cross. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 18

We will lay Daniel aside and take another character. We will take the Majesty of heaven. You will never be required to make such a great sacrifice as did He to lift man up. He has encircled the race with His human arm, while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite, and thus unites earth to heaven and fallen, finite man with the infinite God. Through divine power Jesus gives strength to every one of us that we may overcome. Now there is a work devolving upon each of us. We see how the King of glory left His high command, clothed Himself with humanity, and took upon Himself the nature of man in order that He might redeem him from the disgraceful fall. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 19

The very ones who ought to have acknowledged Him, the very ones who should have received Him, refused to have anything to do with Him, were upon His track to slay Him, and they made it as hard for Him as they could. And not only did they refuse themselves to have anything to do with Him, but they hindered everyone whose intelligence was convinced that He was the Christ. They covered Him with shame and said He was casting out devils through Beelzebub, the prince of devils. What greater insult could be brought upon Jesus than was brought upon Him? 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 20

Now we take His character and life. The Saviour of the world who came to make us better, to give us strength to overcome everything that is unlike Christ—that precious Saviour is leading us, and we can follow where He leads. It is a path of sacrifice, but what if it is? That is just what we need, because we are all full of self, all full of defects and errors and sin; and we want to separate from our own inclinations and self-indulgence and go where Jesus leads the way. And as we follow, Jesus says, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I am the Light of the world. [John 14:6; 8:12.] If we follow in His footsteps, we shall be a light to the world. He left the commission with His disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to all nations. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 21

This light cost something; it cost the life of the Son of God. And why? Because He loved us with a love that was infinite. By following that light, we walk with Christ as Enoch walked with God, and we are fitting for that company of angels above, and that great reward which awaits the faithful; and what is that reward? It is an eternal weight of glory, but we can only get it by being partakers with Him in His suffering. And if partakers of His sufferings, we shall also be partakers with Him in His glory. I do not want any more exalted position than this. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 22

If we serve mammon we cannot serve God, and if we serve God we will be separate from the service of Baal. And just as soon as we decide that we will forsake sin and evil, and decide not to try to bring down the Lord’s standard, but come up to it, then we can say as we follow in the path to eternal life, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 23

What we want is religion. What we want is that peace that comes from heaven. When Christ entered that upper chamber where His disciples were assembled, He said to them, Peace be unto you. [John 20:19.] This is what we want, the peace of Christ. Your friends may bring you happiness, but that is not the peace of Christ, and we want to take that course in this life that may be a light to this crooked and perverse nation. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 24

You are seeking a better country. The world may look at you and say, Why don’t you go to this party of pleasure and dress more like the world? You can tell them you are seeking to be like Christ. Did He try to imitate the world in dress and practice? Then I will not. There is a perfect pattern given to the world. We know there was pride and fashion when Christ was upon earth. The priests had their splendid dress, but here was Christ who could not wear that splendid dress. He came to help the poor and needy. And our work is to do as Christ did, to seek to do His work. It is to take some of the extras from off our dress and put it upon some of the needy. It is our work to help those who have known nothing but suffering and bereavement. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 25

Brethren and sisters, there are souls to save. And, oh, when I think of those words in Daniel, I find myself waking up in the night and repeating them over and over, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.” [Daniel 12:3.] Look at the sun and the stars marshalled in the heavens and known by their names. The Lord says, They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever. Well, now I want to know if you will fold your hands and take things easy? Will you sit down in the devil’s easy chair, deceived, and say, “I have always had an easy time and will take things easy now”? We have a great deal more to do to care for the inward training that we may have the spirit of Christ. We do not want to find any with the spirit of murmuring and complaining. If you have Christ’s spirit you will find that when you are wounded you will not rise up in rebellion. What we want is the inward training. I want the Spirit of Christ abiding in me, and Christ says, If any man will hear My voice and open the door, I will come in and sup with him, and he with Me. We have been piling up the rubbish before the door of our hearts, and this must all be cleared away. Christ cannot enter there until we do. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock,” He says. [Revelation 3:20.] Clear away the barriers that have been piled up around the door of the heart. He wants you to clear them away, and He will come in. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 26

Now let us see if there is not something for us to do. Let us see if we have not bound ourselves about with iron bands. Every one of us must come in that position where Christ can work with us. We must get where we will respect the judgment of others and not think that “My way is the only right way in the world.” They say to me in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, “You cannot labor here as you do in America.” But I tell them I will give them the message as God has given it to me. God has not changed since I came to Europe, and I will bear my message just as He has given it to me; and if I fail of meeting the ideas of the people in this place, I want them to remember that God has not changed; He is the same here as in America, and He can give the same message here. It is Christ and Him crucified, and the Christ in me will respond to the Christ in you. Here is the Bible and the truth, and we must come to the platform of eternal truth and seek to be partakers of the divine nature, and then the true light will come into this nation. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 27

The trouble is, more men have their own ways and follow their own will instead of God’s will and ways. They cripple God’s work and have their own ways and customs. But God wants us to have new and increased light every day, and scatter this light upon the pathway of others; may God help us. When the Spirit of Christ comes into our hearts, this feeling will melt away like frost in the sun. What we want is the sweet, subduing influence of the Spirit of God, and we want self to die and Christ to live in us. We want to grasp the rich promises of God, take up the cross, and yoke up with Christ. He says, “Take My yoke upon you.” [Matthew 11:29.] There is but one yoke for any of us, and just as soon as we submit ourselves to Christ, then the first song that will break forth from our lips is, “The yoke of Christ is easy and His burdens are light.” [Verse 30.] But if you manufacture a yoke of your own, you will find it is heavy and grievous to be borne. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 28

Christ says, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] It is not because a man is poor that he is of no value to Christ. What does God care for your riches? Does He make any difference in these things? Instead of this, it is the man who is poor and needy that is of high value in the eyes of Heaven. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 29

Now, my brethren, we want to come to the Lord just as a child to an earthly parent and come in meekness because we have the light that He has given us, and He will help us. If any of you are in darkness, it is because you are not yoked up with Christ. I love Jesus. There is immortality and eternal life for every one of us. I love Him, I love Him, and there is no attraction so great as Christ. It is our duty to have light. We sin if we do not have it. There should be no feeling that others are poorer than I and I will have nothing to do with them. But let me see that Christ is with them, and let me see that they are giving their hearts to God, and that their voices are raised in praise to God and to the Lamb, and it is enough. 4LtMs, Ms 83, 1886, par. 30