Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 16, 1886

Sermon/The Privilege of Being a Christian

Grimsby, England

September 19, 1886

This manuscript is published in entirety in 2SAT 31-38.

(Sermon by Mrs. E. G. White, Grimsby, England, Sept. 19, 1886)

1 John 3:1-3. Here the beloved disciple is trying to present before us the great love of God to fallen man. He cannot find language broad enough and deep enough to express this wondrous love, and he calls upon the world to behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God. How can we behold this love? By looking to the cross of Calvary. The light from the cross expresses the love God had for fallen man. John says, “Behold, what manner of love.” Behold the Man of Calvary; behold Him who is equal with the Father; behold the Majesty of heaven; behold the King of glory. God’s own dearly beloved Son—He gave Him, a freewill offering for us, and here we see the wonderful condescension of the Father. We dwell much upon the love of Christ, but we frequently lose sight of the love of the Father in giving His only beloved Son to die that we might live. We want to call your attention to the love of God for fallen man in that He did not withhold His only beloved Son, but gave Him as a freewill offering for us; and how much more will He not with Him freely give us all things? 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 1

After the fall of Adam and Eve the race was plunged in hopeless misery, and it was then that this great plan of redemption was advanced. It was then the Son of God consented to leave His Father’s throne, lay aside His royal crown, clothe Himself with humanity, take upon Him the nature of man, and become a man among men. He became a Man of sorrow and acquainted with grief; wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities. Then shall we not say with John, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God!” [Verse 1.] Many in our world seem to think that to be a Christian is to step down very low, getting upon a very low level. But this is a very mistaken idea. What is it to be a Christian? It is to be like Christ. Who is Christ? The Son of the living God. He is the One who wrought out the plan of salvation for the fallen race. Every blessing we have comes through this Source, through Jesus Christ. Anyone who would entertain the idea that it is a great sacrifice to become a Christian should remember, when seated around the family board partaking of the bounties there, that all these blessings come from Jesus Christ. It was in consequence of sin that man was shut out from the throne of God, but Christ steps in and pays the price; and through His merits man is brought back in favor with God. 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 2

As Christ bowed upon Jordan’s banks after His baptism, there was a bright light that descended like a dove of burnished gold and lighted upon Him, and from heaven was heard a voice, saying, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” [Matthew 3:16, 17.] We read over these words, but do not take in their significance. We do not seem to understand their value to us. They are stating to you that you are accepted in the Beloved. Christ with His long human arm encircles the fallen race, while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Almighty, thus uniting earth with heaven, and fallen, finite man with the Infinite God. And this earth, which was divorced from heaven, is again united with heaven. A communication is opened with heaven through Jesus Christ that man, who was fallen, is brought back again into favor with God. Here Jesus passed into the wilderness of temptation, and the trial is brought to bear upon Him one hundred times more trying than that brought upon Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. And will He endure the temptation? 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 3

Satan comes with his temptation upon the point of appetite, the same point upon which Adam stumbled and fell. Christ fasted forty days and forty nights. The race had degenerated and had been growing weaker and weaker. The Son of God saw it was impossible for man to overcome in his own behalf, and therefore He comes to our world and gives man divine power that he might obtain the victory. Here we see that Satan’s first attempt was upon the point of appetite, and he seeks to overcome Him. But Christ was to pass over the ground where Adam fell and redeem his disgraceful fall. He met Satan every time with, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” [Matthew 4:4.] If human beings for whom Christ has died would take these words to heart and live them out in their lives, we would see a different state of things in our world today. There would be less selfishness, less love of the world, and more love for God. He has entrusted man with talents that he might carry the knowledge of the truth and of Christ to all nations in our land. If Adam and Eve had lived by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God, they never would have fallen, never lost the right to the tree of life. All who will live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God now will be brought back to the Eden home. 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 4

And now the question is, Will man fasten his thoughts upon the things of eternal interest and work in harmony with God? Is it any condescension on our part to accept the cup of salvation? To us it is no condescension to accept of the crucified and risen Saviour. Do we consider the sacrifice and take hold of the only chain let down from heaven for man to grasp? We answer, No; but it is the highest exaltation that can be placed upon us. Heaven we want, every one of us. You cannot afford to lose heaven. You cannot afford to have the gates of paradise closed to you. 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 5

You want heaven, eternal life. Then what will you do in order to obtain it? You must be obedient to all of God’s commandments. It is the only moral standard and rule that God has given for the use of His subjects. He has rules and statutes, and it is for man to obey them. It was because Adam and Eve did not obey that they lost the paradise of God. Now He says, “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” [Revelation 22:14.] Then there is something to gain; it is a right to the tree of life; a right to the tree that Adam and Eve were forbidden to partake of after their transgression. Now how much more study is given to what kind of hats to wear, and to the house, what shall I eat and what shall I drink, than to the things that pertain to the eternal interests and the salvation of the soul. These things will soon pass away. 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 6

We want to seek with all the powers that God has given us to unfold the Scriptures to those who are in darkness. There is happiness, hope, and peace for the desponding. We cannot afford to give our God-given ability and devote it to the commonplace things of this earth. We want a faith that will grasp the promise set before us in the gospel. What if we should lose our soul? It would be better for us had we never been born. One soul is worth more than all the gold and silver that could be heaped up on this earth. 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 7

Think of a world to perish because they will not give their attention to the things that are unseen. The things which are eternal do not seem to have any charm for them; it is the things of this earth that attract them. But where does the skill and knowledge you possess come from? Have you manufactured it? No, it comes from the God of heaven, and He will require it of you again. What have you done with the gift of reason God has given you? Have you studied the Scriptures and trusted your souls to the Master? We want to understand how to keep this house in order that we can serve God acceptably. 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 8

We remember Calvary. We remember who endured temptation in the wilderness, faint, pale, and hungry on the field of battle that He might work out for man a glorious victory. And when we are tempted to indulge appetite at the expense of reason and health, we remember how Christ overcame Satan that man might become victor on his own account and in his own behalf. We want to bear these things in mind. You know not how soon any of you may be called to lie down on a bed of sickness and death. We want to know if you are ready? We want to know if you are seeking to purify yourselves soul and body from every spot and stain of sin? We want to know if you have a hope full of immortality? 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 9

I see matchless charms in Jesus. I never talk of any trials I cannot bear, or any self-sacrifice that I cannot make; I see One who died in my behalf, and He shall not die for me in vain. I will place myself in right relation to God, and I will have a right hold from above. I am not studying what the world will say of me, but my study is, Lord, how shall I please Thee? How shall I perform my mission in this world? How shall I save the precious souls around me? Here it says, “They shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and those that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” [Daniel 12:3.] I want the eternal weight of glory; I want to see Jesus who suffered and died a shameful death on the cross of Calvary; I want to cast my crown at His feet; and I want to touch the golden harp and fill all heaven with sweetest music. 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 10

If we are overcomers at last, there are battles for us to fight, and we will find that the flesh warreth against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh. It is for us to say which will triumph. But our carnal hearts will not submit to God’s will, but refuse to obey. Christ said, “I have kept My Father’s commandments” [John 15:10], and He is our example in all things. What shall we do when trials come? We must flee to the Mighty Helper. Christ never leaves us to fight these battles alone. He came into this world of darkness to fight with the prince of darkness, and when He cried out, “It is finished,” there was joy in heaven. [John 19:30.] “He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.” [Hebrews 4:15.] Then what are we to do? Come to Christ as a child would to its earthly parents and believe that He will hear us. He says, If thy son asks bread, wilt thou give him a stone? and if he asks a fish, wilt thou give him a scorpion? [Luke 11:11, 12.] 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 11

We want to cultivate living faith in God. We want to have our eyes turned away from the attractions of this earth and centered upon heaven and heavenly things. We do not want the earth to intervene between us and God, but we want an eye single to the glory of God. We talk of heaven and of its blessing, and it would be a great loss to lose it. Well then, if it is so lovely, so desirable, bring it into this life; bring it into your families and educate your children not to live for this world, but for the future immortal life. You want to weave Jesus into their experience from their very childhood and teach them Jesus will help them to overcome their evil desires. 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 12

I have been where I have had children of my own to educate, and I know how hard they have to struggle to gain the victory. I know how hard it was in times when Satan was tempting them to evil. We want a practical, living Jesus with us every day of our lives, and then we can educate and train our children, and peace will be in our house. God says, I know Abraham that he will command his household and his children after him. [Genesis 18:19.] And this is the work we want to teach parents to do in this age of the world, just like Abraham, to command their children and their household after them. God says, I know him that he will command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord. Abraham knew God had commandments, and he would keep them. He knew God had a law, and he would obey it. He would not deviate from it himself nor allow his children to. 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 13

We don’t want to make Jesus ashamed of us. There are many ways we can dishonor Christ, by the love of self, love of the world—what shall we eat and what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed?—when Christ has promised to provide for us if we will only put our trust in Him. But all this will pass away if you educate yourselves to wait upon Christ, and you can reflect light to all around you. Now in the place of talking of these things and dwelling upon them, turn your mind to the paradise of God and the riches and glory that are to be given to the saints of the Most High God; and if this is to be our home, why should we not talk about it? If you are to join the heavenly choir and sing the praise of God in heaven, why not learn to sing it here? You never can sing it there unless you learn it here. How much praise do you give to God? 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 14

Why not educate yourselves to talk of Jesus?—Him in whom our hope of eternal life is centered; Him who has shown so much love for us that He has given His life to redeem us. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God!” [1 John 3:1.] The world knows us not because it knew Him not. You see how the world treated Jesus; does it treat you any better than it did Jesus? If you have conformed your life to Jesus, you will have the privilege of being a light-bearer to the world. Why? Because you represent Him in character, you are saying, Behold Him. By precept and example you are representing Christ. And He is not ashamed to call you His brethren. I appreciate the favor of God more than all the praise that men or women could bestow upon me in this world. 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 15

I love Jesus. I see in Him matchless charms. I hold up before you the Man of Calvary. I want you to become acquainted with Him; and if you bring Him into your daily life, let me tell you, you will lose sight of the little perplexities here. Jesus says, “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] There is rest in Jesus. And if you see poor souls fretting and worrying, it is because they have not the yoke of Jesus on. Perhaps in that extra ruffle and that extra trimming they have neglected to let Jesus in. Says He, “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.] 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 16

You can have a little heaven here below if you will only get your eye fixed upon God—not looking at Christ half the time and at the world the other half. When you live for God, He will put His everlasting arm beneath you, and then He says, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:30.] Do you believe it? I can testify this is so. By my past experience I can testify that I would not have one trial less, one sorrow less, for Paul says, “These light afflictions which are but for a moment, work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but the things which are unseen.” [2 Corinthians 4:17, 18.] We want to look at the things of eternal interest, that we may think seriously in regard to what use we have made of our reasoning powers, whether we have tried to strengthen them with idle things that we cannot take with us when we shall be caught up to meet Christ in the air. 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 17

We want to learn the lesson that Christ has told us we must learn—meekness and lowliness of spirit. And we want to be fitting that we may have an abundant entrance into the city of God, that we may have a life that measures with the life of God. Everything compared with this is of no consequence compared with that which God has in store for us if we will only do His will. 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 18

In the last days there are to be only two parties, the one on the right hand and the other on the left; and Christ says unto one, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.” And they answer, When saw we Thee thus and ministered unto Thee? And Christ says, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” But to those on the left He says, “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” The first class had Christ interwoven into their character, and they were not conscious of anything they had done. “Come, ye blessed of My Father,” is the benediction, “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 19

So we see Christ identifies His interests with fallen man. He turns to those on the left hand and says, “I was an hungered, and ye gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in: naked, and ye clothed Me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited Me not.” And when they ask Him, “When saw we Thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto Thee?” the answer comes, “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.” Matthew 25:34-46. Not the greatest, but the least. Well now, we want to bring Christ into our everyday life. Those who had not fed the hungry or clothed the naked or visited the sick were not conscious of it. Why? Because they had educated and trained themselves in the school of self-indulgence, and the result was they lost heaven and the eternity of bliss which they might have had, had they devoted their powers to God. 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 20

Has He given you power? Give it to Him. All your body and soul belongs to God; give it to Him. In the place of devoting all your time to the pleasures of this world, in eating and drinking and dressing, give it to God. And the light God has given you, use it to bring souls to God. Remember that Daniel says, “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.” [Daniel 12:3.] Oh, say you, that belongs to the minister; I beg to be excused. It belongs to every disciple of Christ, however weak they are. You will be judged according to the light given you. You have taken Christ into your life to represent Him to the world. What we want is more of Jesus and less of self. 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 21

A little longer and we shall see the King in His beauty. The work will be over, and we shall hear the words, “Child, come up higher. Enter into the city and have a right to the tree of life, and behold the matchless charms of Jesus.” Will you be there? Will the crown of glory be placed upon your brow? and will the white robe of righteousness be placed upon you? Shall we eat of the tree of life? God grant that we shall every one be there. You cannot afford to lose this. God bless you here tonight; and may God come into your souls and shine around you here; and may you walk in the light as He is in the light! 4LtMs, Ms 16, 1886, par. 22