Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 10, 1885

Sermon/The Price of Eternal Life

Orebro, Sweden

October 27, 1885

Previously unpublished. +Note

The Price of Eternal Life

The cross of self-denial lies directly in the path that leads to eternal life. There is in the natural heart that which is opposed to God’s rule of government, and those who follow in the path of obedience must even at sacrifice deny self. They must not follow their own inclinations, because in seeking self-gratification, they walk away from Christ, and their influence is with the enemy. Those who do this make worldly gain and worldly pleasure the object of life, and the glories of the eternal world are eclipsed by the fleeting show of the present world. In order for a man rightly to estimate the value of eternal life, he must not allow the things of this world to interpose between him and God. 4LtMs, Ms 10, 1885, par. 1

Those who follow Christ must lift the cross. When we realize the cost of the sacrifice that Christ made for us, we shall comprehend the meaning of the words, “Whosoever shall save his life shall lose it.” [Matthew 16:25.] Christ gave up His own life to provide a way for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. He says, “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” [Matthew 7:13, 14.] 4LtMs, Ms 10, 1885, par. 2

It is natural for man to follow where the multitude is leading. It is hard for him to separate from the world, from worldly associates and worldly customs. Satan is at enmity with God, and he is trying by every device in his power to win man to his side. There are only two parties in the world, and those who are making earthly gain and pleasure their highest aim are walking in the road that leads to eternal destruction. 4LtMs, Ms 10, 1885, par. 3

How can man be led to estimate aright the value of his soul? How can he be led to turn away from the attractions of the world, and fix his eyes upon heaven? Only by studying and striving to understand the great plan of redemption. Those who realize something of the cost of the sacrifice that Christ made in order to uplift and ennoble the human race will count no sacrifice too great that will help them to fulfil His purpose of love to save them, that they should not perish, but have eternal life. They will lay at the feet of Christ all that they are, all that they possess, and their highest aim will be to be doers of His Word. Luke 18:18-30. 4LtMs, Ms 10, 1885, par. 4

In order to be a follower of Christ, you need not wait for great occasions; you need not ask for extraordinary powers. Use diligently your powers of mind, soul, and body. Go forward in faith, and let your daily life be a living testimony to the power of divine grace. As you do this, God will be with you; and as long as life shall last, your spiritual experience will widen and deepen and strengthen. 4LtMs, Ms 10, 1885, par. 5

There are many who see what God requires of them, but they know that in obeying His injunction they will lose the love and praise of the world, and they are unwilling to lift the cross, unwilling to be Christ’s disciples. Those who truly love the Saviour will account it a privilege to give up all for the sake of Him who made the great sacrifice to come to our world to seek and save the lost. They will not for a moment think that in order to be a Christian, they must reach downward. They realize that the religion of Christ never degrades the receiver, but uplifts, and ennobles him, refining his tastes, sanctifying his judgment, and giving him a beauty of character that will fit him to live with the angels in the city of God. Christ is the ladder. Round after round, all are to climb heavenward, making every sacrifice. 4LtMs, Ms 10, 1885, par. 6

“Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters.” [2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.] “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. ... And it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifieth himself even as He is pure.” [1 John 3:1-3.] You would think it a great honor to be noticed by an earthly monarch; but these words promise that you may become sons and daughters of the King of heaven. God promises to take into this close relationship those who love and serve Him, if they choose Him above any earthly treasure. We must follow Jesus in obedience. If we are meek and lowly, then we shall here know the comfort of His grace; and at last we shall see Him as He is and be granted a place in the city of God and a life that measures with the life of God. 4LtMs, Ms 10, 1885, par. 7

Christ will accept all who come to Him. But there are many who feel no need of coming, and they sell their souls in a very cheap market. Their time, their strength, their abilities they use in gathering together earthly possessions. But at last they die and must part with these. Others will take the wealth for which they have bartered their hope of eternal life. Every soul will be tempted and tried upon this point. Will they have eternal life, at the sacrifice of earthly possessions? 4LtMs, Ms 10, 1885, par. 8

Money cannot buy the life that measures with the life of God; intellect cannot obtain it; the highest education cannot grasp it. It is a free gift to all. The rich may have it; the poor may rejoice in it. Christ offers the precious gift to all who will accept it. All that He asks is compliance with certain conditions. Men are to use their earthly possessions to win souls to Christ. The gospel message is to be carried to all parts of our world. But men seek so intently to amass worldly riches that they lose sight of the reward that is promised to those who lift the cross. How much better it would be to be unrecognized and unhonored by the world than to lose an eternity of bliss. All superfluity is to be cut away from the soul and all earthly treasures to be employed to win men to love God and keep His commandments. 4LtMs, Ms 10, 1885, par. 9

“What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” [Mark 8:36, 37.] If I should ask you, “What price do you place upon your soul?” you would look at me in astonishment, and ask, “What good would money be to me if I had sold my soul?” And yet there are thousands who are selling their souls to Satan for worldly gain or worldly pleasure. So engrossed are they with the things of this life that they have no time to think of heaven or heavenly things. 4LtMs, Ms 10, 1885, par. 10

All through the ages God’s servants have met this question and have refused to barter heaven for the things of this world. “Moses ... refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” [Hebrews 11:24, 25.] Daniel, when told that he must choose between his life and his worship of God, did not hesitate, but three times a day, as had been his wont, offered his petition to Jehovah. [Daniel 6:10.] Death in the lions’ den confronted him, but he counted it better to lose this present life than to lose eternal life. The three Hebrew worthies, when told that they must either worship the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up, or be cast into the fiery furnace, declared, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Daniel 3:17, 18. They were willing to lose this life, but they could not afford to lose the life to come. 4LtMs, Ms 10, 1885, par. 11

“Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24. This does not mean that those who serve God must sever all business connections. It means that all that they do in securing the earthly is to be made secondary to the business of serving God, and that in their business they are to show that they have a sacred connection with heaven. It means that they are to use their entrusted means as the Lord’s means to win souls to Christ (and to) shed light on all around them, keeping their lives pure and upright, and bringing the nobility of Christ into all that they do. Never are they to forget that they are living epistles to be known and read of all men. Never are they to allow anything to come between them and obedience to God. Do riches look desirable to you? Christ promises you eternal riches in the kingdom of heaven. Do you desire to prolong your life? Christ promises you immortal life if you will believe on Him and obey His words. Those who suffer with Him in this life will one day be crowned with glory and honor and will be given an abundant entrance into the city of God, to live forever with the redeemed. 4LtMs, Ms 10, 1885, par. 12