Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 4 (1883 - 1886)


Ms 45, 1886

Sermon/God’s Law the Standard of Character

Nimes, France

October 23, 1886

This manuscript is published in entirety in 3MR 99-104.

3 p.m., October 23, 1886

(Sermon: 7th discourse at Nimes,)

“Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself.” John 7:14-17. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 1

Now we want to know and understand what is the will of God. This will is expressed in the ten commandments, and if we obey them, we shall know of the doctrine. The Lord God of heaven has a kingdom, and this kingdom is controlled by laws, and it is of great consequence that these laws be obeyed. God is the ruler of the universe and stands as head, and all should respect Him as such, and obey His mandates. A father stands at the head of his family, and he requires that his laws regulating his family should be obeyed. If the family do respect his requirements, then you will see order and happiness in that family; but if it is otherwise, there will be confusion. So it will be in the government of God. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 2

Some will tell us that the Word of God is like a fiddle and any construction can be put on it. This belief is due to the rejection of God’s law, and confusion follows. If the law were kept, this statement could not be made. But when men tear down the commandments, how can they know the will of God? The law was given at the foundation of the world, and it will exist through all generations; but when man forgets God by disobedience, then he places himself where he does not know the doctrine. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 3

When the children of Israel were in Egypt, surrounded by idolatry, God saw that it was necessary to bring them out of Egypt in order to renew His law to them. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 4

When people will acknowledge the claims of God by obedience, then they have a standard. If every individual would acknowledge the law, confusion would be swept away. We must do the will of God. They that do not accept the law erect a standard of their own; and as there are many minds, diverse from each other, there will be many standards, and this will establish many doctrines. In this age we see determined efforts to ignore God’s law, and consequently the doctrine will not be understood. But if we know and do God’s will, He will not leave us in darkness, but will lead us to know the doctrine, and that will bring happiness. Obedience is the only course to take. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 5

When Christ taught His disciples, He showed them the magnitude of the law by applying it to all our acts and then showed our duty to our fellow men. The scribes and Pharisees murmured at Christ’s teaching and accused Him of doing away with the law of His Father. With what astonishment they must have heard from His lips, “Think not that I have come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Christ continued, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-20. He addresses these words to His disciples, and they will apply all the way down through the stream of time. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 6

Christ’s sermon upon the mount was designed to enter into our everyday life. The commandments are so broad that they take hold of even our thoughts. But how few take heed to the words of our Saviour! Consequently we shall have objections to meet. Some will claim that they are wholly led by the Spirit, and consequently they have not much use for the law of God or any portion of God’s Word. Those who claim great light and are not sanctified through the truth are dangerous people, but they can be easily tested. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20. We want to be in that condition that we can discern between light and darkness. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 7

Christ has said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” Matthew 7:15-17. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 8

We must not be guided by impulse. The Bible is our guide to lead us to heaven. We do not want anyone to take our word, but go to the Scriptures for light, for we cannot trust to finite man. This thing is to me a living reality. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 9

We must expect to be assailed by the powers of darkness, but if we successfully resist, then there will be rejoicing in heaven. The souls of men are valued by the heavenly host. They know of the great sacrifice that has been made for man. When Satan sees a soul struggling for light, then he doubles his energies to bring him back under his banner. Satan is playing the game of life. I feel distressed when I realize the trials that will meet those who desire life; but these things will come, and the question is, Who will be on the Lord’s side? It will be those who go to the Standard for their counsel. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 10

We must not be under any one’s banner but Christ’s. The great Teacher has given us His testimony that not a jot or tittle of the law shall in any wise fail. Sin and misery are all around us because of disobedience. If God’s law were obeyed, we should see a different society than we now see in families. What is needed is to follow Christ in self-denial and cross-bearing. We need the tenderness of His spirit to rule our hearts, and then we shall comply with the requirements and enter in through the gates into the city. If we fail, we shall be classed with those outside of the city. “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” Revelation 22:15. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 11

“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: and they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” Revelation 22:1-5. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 12

Dear friends, I desire to receive the reward that awaits the faithful. I want a place in glory, and this we can all obtain if we keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. While there are so many deceptions, let me persuade you to plant your feet on the Word of God; and when the light is received, you are responsible to let it shine, and your example will tell—but you cannot expect to have the good will of those in darkness. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 13

Can you tell me why the Son of God came to die for us? It was because of the transgression of Adam. In this he forfeited all right to heaven. Man then became separated from God, but Christ’s love for man caused Him to come to this earth, and He clothed His divinity with humanity that man might be reconciled to the Father and brought back to His law. Christ says that He came not to destroy the law, but He came to honor it, to give dignity to it. [Matthew 5:17.] He opened His bosom to suffer for the transgression. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 14

Satan will tell us that Christ did all for us. This we must meet by God’s Word. If Satan tells the truth, then it would not have been necessary for Christ to have made the sacrifice. But it is through the doing of the commandments that we can come to God through Christ. And He paid the debt for past transgressions. Christ was accepted as our sacrifice, and on the banks of Jordan the Father declared: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” [Matthew 3:17.] Here heaven was opened to man, and heaven and earth were again united. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 15

Now let the love of God flow out of our hearts for the gift of His Son. It is our work to come out of darkness and grasp the rays of light that continue to shine upon our pathway, and thus in turn let them shine upon the pathway of others. We have great light. Shall it be established at Nimes? Let us cling to the mighty arm of Jesus by faith and obedience and stand firm for truth, and then we shall know of the doctrine. 4LtMs, Ms 45, 1886, par. 16