Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 4, 1885

Sermon/Christian Fellowship

Christiania, Norway

November 9, 1885

This manuscript is published in entirety in 2SAT 20-25.

(Hebrews 12:12-17): “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way: but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” The Lord would have His people come very close to Himself. It is important that everyone who professes to be a child of God should carry the spirit and teachings of Christ into his every day life. Let us look critically to ourselves, compare our characters with the only standard of righteousness, lest we shall make any crooked paths for our feet and many shall, through our want of faith and intelligent knowledge of the Scriptures, be turned out of the way. 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 1

We want much more of the love of God in our hearts than we have today; and unless we do have the graces of the Spirit of Christ, we shall be channels of darkness. It is our privilege to have the witness of the Spirit that our ways please God. We should not be satisfied unless we have this evidence. We must be pure in heart, and our works must be wrought in God. We need the special working of the Spirit of God upon our hearts. All the profession of the truth that we can make will be of no avail to us unless we have Christ abiding with us. We have altogether too little faith and firm reliance upon God. 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 2

We are in days of trial, and the adversary of souls is upon our track; and while we stand out separate from the world, how tenderly we should press close together in faith, in love, doing one another good. United we are strong, divided we are weak. When Christ is abiding in us, we shall have sweet communion with Him. We shall not be seeking to build up self and will not have an overestimate of our own abilities; we will humble ourselves. We will not find fault with others, and we shall be very careful lest we entertain thoughts in our hearts against our brethren and injure their influence. Satan will constantly tempt us to do this. How can it look in the sight of heaven, in the presence of holy beings, to be continually finding fault with your brethren? In the place of being jealous, and thinking that your own ways are right in the sight of God, you should be jealous for your brother’s feelings. Now if every one will make straight paths for his own feet to travel in, then he will be able to help his brother. We should take heed to our ways and draw nigh to God day by day. If we have the spirit of prayer then we shall press our petition to the throne of grace; and if we pray more and search the Scriptures with far greater diligence, we will not be denied the blessing God has promised to bestow. We will not then be jealous of one another. God has not set any of you upon the track of your brother, to find fault with him. Keep your own feet in the straight path and then you will by your example encourage your brother. 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 3

When Christ told Peter what he should do, Peter answered, “Lord, and what shall this man do?” Jesus said, “What is that to thee? follow thou Me.” [John 21:21, 22.] We want to be very jealous of ourselves. We want to examine ourselves and see if we are in the love of God. Unless Jesus is in us, we are reprobates. Every one of us will be tried; and unless we are closely connected with God, the trials that will come upon us will weaken our already weak faith, and we shall become the sport of Satan’s temptations. But if we are connected with Christ and draw close to Jesus when these trials come, He will draw nigh to us. Satan will have no victory over us. “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.” [James 4:8.] We must commit the keeping of our souls to God as unto a faithful Creator. 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 4

We should not allow any feelings to come into our hearts against any of our brethren, for this is not the spirit of Christ; it is not the principle of truth to be finding fault and thinking evil of our brethren. If there are any difficulties that arise in your midst, seek every way that you can to adjust them; this is your Christian duty. You may think that your brother is wholly in the fault, but if your brother does not come to you, you must go to him and try to come together. You must be in harmony; unless you are in harmony one with another, Christ cannot abide in your heart. Will you bow before God in prayer every day and ask Him to let the light of His Holy Spirit come into your hearts, and do not cease pleading with God until every evil thought and feeling is overcome. Christ says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” [James 5:16.] How much of this work have you done? Should the spirit of confession come into the church, you would surely see of the salvation of God. 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 5

We want to retain Christian fellowship and love in our midst. And remember that Christ has said, “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples if ye have love one for another.” [John 13:35.] Can we take this all in? How much has Christ loved us? He denied Himself and was willing to endure every sacrifice, that we might have eternal life. He for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich; and He says, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” [Verse 34.] Then let us put Satan out of our hearts and invite Christ to come in. 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 6

If we allow envy and hatred in our hearts, Christ cannot abide there. We should every one seek to build one another up in the most holy faith, and individually we should look to Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith. Then you can lead others to the Saviour. Christ has said, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat.” [Luke 13:24; Matthew 7:13.] We must urge our way through the crowd that is making their way in the broad road; we must be firm to obey God. We must purify our souls by obeying the truth; and the nearer we get to Jesus, the more we reflect upon His lovely character, the more we will reflect His divine image upon those around us. When others see that you are determined to be right yourselves, they will see that the truth of God has an influence upon your life and character; then you will be a bright light to the world. I beg of you to seek most earnestly to be a help to others, complying with the conditions in the Word of God, “Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:29.] 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 7

The trouble with many is they have lost sight of Jesus and fail to see the self-denial and love and mercy in His character, and therefore they do not imitate His life. But Jesus wants us to be one with Him as He was one with the Father, and He wants us to be united one with another. We want to show to the world that we have a faith that is elevating, that it makes us kind, courteous, self-denying, and begets in us love and reverence for God, and makes us Christian ladies and gentlemen. We must pray more earnestly for the grace of Christ which is essential for us if we preserve our integrity and spiritual life. If any one comes to you and begins to tell you of the faults of another, if you cannot stop that voice in any other way, lift your voice and sing the doxology. Vain talkers and mischief-makers are Satan’s agents in doing his work. There is a great work to be done for this church, and the sad part of it is there are so many well satisfied with themselves. They must be converted, their thoughts must be directed in a divine channel. We have a mighty soul-purifying truth, and this truth is to sanctify us individually. Satan has come down with great power, knowing that his time is short. He will overthrow the faith of some in this assembly unless we keep close to Jesus. We are warned that he will work with all power and signs and lying wonders, and therefore we want to be building up a firm character. All our powers should be trained to war against the enemy, for as Christ’s faithful soldiers, we want to be minutemen and give no place to the devil. 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 8

Satan’s work will be manifested in such power that if it were possible he would deceive the very elect. And if he can, he will get your minds confused, and you will lose sight of the truth and separate yourselves from the God of your strength. God wants you to be in that position where He can do a great work for you. He wants you to have an intelligent faith. You do not want to present to the people a pattern mingled with defects of your character and give the world false views of Jesus. It is our duty as Christians to represent Christ. 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 9

There are many who have professions of faith and doctrines who are not converted; and unless they shall humble their hearts before God, and bring the truth into the inner sanctuary of the soul, they will not represent Jesus, but dishonor His name and make of none effect the truth of God. They talk much about the power of the enemy, but do not bring their minds to God. Now if you will open your hearts to the truth, then your understanding will be clear, and you can present the truth to others. But if there are doubts and unbelief entertained, Christ cannot bring His light and the glory of His presence into your souls. Cannot you now begin to cultivate faith, and talk of the mercies of God, and praise God with all your hearts? It is by prayer that you will receive strength to resist temptation. Christ will supply your wants and relieve your doubts and fill your soul with gladness. 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 10

If we are to do as the apostle recommends us to do—give to every man a reason of the hope that is within us with meekness and fear—then we want the truth stamped upon our hearts. Here is where the great lack has been with many, very many. They have a nominal faith. There has been too much time devoted to small things unworthy of the least thought, and the mind is dwarfed and bound about with the things it dwelt upon. Shall we have the converting power of God in our midst? Christ says, “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.] Clear away the rubbish you have piled before the door of your heart, and let Jesus come in. 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 11

There is something for every one of us to do to clear the King’s highway. We want to confess and forsake our sins and have them go beforehand to judgment, that when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord, and He shall send Jesus, our sins will be blotted out. What we want is pure and undefiled religion before God. We read in the Scriptures that pure and undefiled religion before God is this: that we visit the widow and fatherless in their affliction, and that we keep ourselves unspotted from the world. [James 1:27.] It is not outward show that makes the Christian. But it is the sanctifying power of the grace of God upon the soul. By their fruits ye shall know them. [Matthew 7:20.] If a man is meek and Christlike, he will reflect this; and if he is puffed up and thinks he knows it all, he takes the position that he does not need to learn in the school of Christ, and the very lessons he needs to learn he does not learn; at last he is weighed in the balances and found wanting. It is too late then for wrongs to be righted. The days of probation was the time for him to learn these lessons. Now is the time to do God’s will; and in seeking to conform your will to the will of God, you will have that love for your fellow men that Christ had for you, and you will be indeed a light to the world. 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 12

Whenever your lips are inclined to find fault with your brethren’s ways and manners, just think that you, too, have sins to overcome; look to Jesus, and pattern after His character. Christ is coming. I remember when we thought that the end was to come in 1844; and when we came together in our meetings, the question would be asked by one and another, “Brethren, have you seen anything in me that is not right? I know that we cannot see our own faults; and if any of the brethren have seen anything wrong in me, I want them to tell me.” Sometimes there would be wrongs confessed, and we would bow before God and ask His forgiveness. Then you would see brethren who had had some difficulty going away alone in some barn or orchard and pleading with God together; and then they would come arm in arm, loving one another, and at peace among themselves. We felt that we could not separate unless everything was in harmony. The sweet spirit of peace was in our midst, and the glory of God was around us. You could see faces shine. 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 13

[Part of manuscript missing here.] 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 14

We must get closer to God, and then Christ will be our light, and the light of truth will reflect upon the world. We want to educate ourselves to talk of the truth, talk of heaven and heavenly things; converse of the Saviour’s love; and then we shall be fitting up for a holy heaven. If Christ when He shall come should find us with all the defects of character we have today, there will be no such thing as our getting into the courts of heaven, and there will be no chance for us to reform then. Christ does not promise to transform our characters then, after He shall come. We must seek righteous characters now. But if we have built up ourselves in our own righteousness, He does not change the character. The change must be here. We must wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb in this world, and then we shall have the white linen which is the righteousness of the saints. But if we go on in our sins, Christ can never take such to heaven. It is only those who are holy who can see a holy God. 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 15

And I pray for you, my brethren, that you may make sure work for eternal life. As a messenger of Jesus Christ, I entreat of you to let love come into your hearts. Every soul that shall be saved must be holy and pure in this world. Every soul that falls upon the Rock and is broken, Christ with His everlasting arms gathers him to His bosom. Put your heart into the work. There are many of you grasping the truth with the ends of your fingers, and here is the world looking upon you and witnessing that you are not Christians. If you gather the precious rays of light that God has given you, you can scatter these blessed beams upon the pathway of others. May God wake you up, that you may seek your closets and pray to God, and believe that He hears you; for He says, “Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” [Verse 7.] 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 16

Then come just as you are, and He will help you. He will save to the uttermost all who come unto Him. He wants to wash you from every stain of sin. I love Him because He first loved me; I see in Jesus matchless charms, and I want a part with Him in His heavenly kingdom. 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 17

And now, my brethren, “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call ye upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” [Isaiah 55:6, 7.] 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 18

May God help us to seek Him and to realize that He will do just as He has said He would. This is the victory, even your faith. 4LtMs, Ms 4, 1885, par. 19