Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Ms 17, 1887

Sermon/Practical Godliness

Moss, Norway

June 11, 1887

Portions of this manuscript are published in 6MR 13, 196-197; 8MR 32. +Note

Text: “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21. It is not enough to say, “I am a child of God,” but it’s our works that will <bear> witness if we are children of God. Every one who is a child of God will do the will of God. Profession is of no value unless it is followed by true practical godliness. Our Savior has a right to the service of every one of us. Our heavenly Father has made man in His own image. Who is it that has been supplying the <temporal> necessities of the human race all these years? Who is it that has given us <all> the things that are beautiful in nature? It is the Creator of heaven and earth that has done this, and the God who made man and who made the earth, that man might inhabit it, requires our service every day. 5LtMs, Ms 17, 1887, par. 1

Many seem to think it just according as they please whether they shall render Him any service or not. Well, our heavenly Father does not compel anyone to enter His service. He has given to man reasoning powers. Our Savior has consented to become our friend. He paid an infinite price in order to redeem the fallen race, and how blind must mortal man be that he will not accept the sacrifice that God has given. Our precious Savior has laid out the plan of redemption for our race. It was at an infinite cost to Himself, and it is a very solemn reflection that man is of infinite value. I will make Him more precious than fine gold! And how is value to be placed upon man? It is good that the sinless Son of man has imparted to man His righteousness. Here every human being has a value placed upon him. It is almost impossible for him to appreciate; and while every provision has been made for him to come to Christ, yet none are compelled to go against their own will. Our precious Savior laid aside His royal robes that He might save the race that was fallen, and it is only with the light which is reflected from Christ on Calvary that we can estimate the cost of our salvation. 5LtMs, Ms 17, 1887, par. 2

There are many who speak of coming to Christ who will leave the matter indistinct and indefinite. The question is asked, “What shall I do to be saved?” And Christ answers the question positively. He asks, “What is written in the law?” And the answer comes to this, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself.” Luke 10:25-27. 5LtMs, Ms 17, 1887, par. 3

Now we can see that the conditions are not made on emotions, but it is by taking a distinct course that is laid out for us. It is a very important question with every one of us what we shall do in order to be saved. How particular are you men of business that all your business transactions are made according to law? How careful are you that you shall not invest your money and it prove to be a bad investment? Well, these business matters only relate to temporal matters, but here the matter which concerns our eternal interest is such as will last through eternity. And it is not safe to run any risk in regard to our soul’s salvation. 5LtMs, Ms 17, 1887, par. 4

We want an intelligent knowledge upon that which pertains to our eternal welfare. There is an eternal reward that is presented to those that shall find eternal life. You think much of your pieces of land that you have here in this earth, but we read of a building that is made by God and not by human hands that is for the obedient, and we want that inheritance that is not corruptible. [2 Corinthians 5:1.] We want a home on the earth made new. 5LtMs, Ms 17, 1887, par. 5

All that we have in this life is uncertain. We may meet with losses and discouragements, but in that home all is made new and shall be forever and ever. How shortsighted must mortals be to place their affections on this life and lose sight of the things eternal! How important that we understand the conditions of obtaining this eternal inheritance! Such scenes as we have on this ground cheers my heart, and I want to know how many of us look upon the lofty things of nature and then return thanks to the God of nature. Do we see in the things of earthliness the hand of the Creator? It is the Christian that can set the true value upon everything that God has given us on this earth. Every flower and every shrub, everything beautiful in nature calls our mind away from nature to nature’s God. Who gave that beautiful flower its tint, its color? It was our heavenly Father. And you can teach your children that here is an expression of the love of God to fallen man. You can look upon the beautiful things of nature, blighted now by the load of the curse, and they represent but feebly the joys that are to come. You visit the most beautiful places on earth and delight yourself in them, and yet eye hath not seen and ear hath not heard what things God hath prepared for those that love Him! 5LtMs, Ms 17, 1887, par. 6

How many there are that do not think of those things that God has given us. Now if we could readily appreciate these blessings, then we would always be happy; but there is an enemy who is always working against us so that the praise and gratitude which should flow forth from our lips are often withheld. Now, if we note the language of our text and do what it indicates, then we would appreciate these blessings. 5LtMs, Ms 17, 1887, par. 7

As we walk in obedience to God’s commandments, then our hearts are in harmony with His works. Those who really believe in God will show by their actions that they are children of God, and to be a child of God is to do His will just as it is done in heaven. And then there is a gratitude daily springing up on our hearts. Says Christ to His disciples, “Ye are the light of the world.” [Matthew 5:14.] It is the light that we are receiving from our heavenly Father which we are diffusing to those around us, and we shall reveal to the world whether we are the children of God or of the evil one. Do you carry your religion to the meetinghouse and drop it when you go home? We urge upon such to enlist in the Lord’s army. We do not urge or compel you to go. We ask you, Who will be on the Lord’s side? We ask, Who will today choose whom ye will serve? You are not to wait one moment. Accept the cross of Christ. Here the life is set before you. Will you choose to enlist in the Lord’s army? 5LtMs, Ms 17, 1887, par. 8

God has given you reasoning powers, and He expects you to use them. You are to see that the way of life is in every respect preferable to the one that leads to hell, and then how simple it is for us that we decide that we will no longer stand under the black banner. Is it heaven that we want? Then let us show in this life that it is heaven we must present. We do not present to any of you any light standard. To be Christians means that you are to be laborers together with God. It is not to sit down in an easy chair and be borne up to heaven. There is earnest work for every one of us to do. If we are workers for Christ, as is represented in the Scriptures, we are to fight the good fight faithfully and run the race with patience and be temperate in all things if we would at some time obtain an eternal crown. Christ declares that those who shall acknowledge Him in this world, of Him will I not be ashamed. Christ came as a babe in the manger, and He holds out salvation for man to accept. His life was a sacrifice, and who will profess to be a child of God and not accept the cross? 5LtMs, Ms 17, 1887, par. 9

Are you imitating the pure life and the faultless character of your Saviour? He was a man of sorrows, wounded for our transgressions. With His stripes we are healed. But He is coming again the second time with power and great glory. While on earth He had but few sympathizers; but the whole heavenly hosts accompany Him as He comes to earth the second time, and a crown within a crown encircles that brow that was once crowned with thorns. He comes to wake the dead. Now I ask you, who is prepared to meet the Lord our Saviour? If you reign with Him in heaven, then it is certain that you must suffer with Him here on earth. 5LtMs, Ms 17, 1887, par. 10

True followers of Christ appreciate how precious souls are. They will not forget how precious man’s soul is, but every one will be workers together with God, and every one who claims to be a Christian should be Christlike. And if they bring all that is heavenly into their life here, they will be directed of the Lord to heaven. We want the power and the Spirit of God to come into our midst, we want the burdens for souls that Christ had; and when the Judge shall sit and the books be opened, we want to see that we have been laborers for Christ. 5LtMs, Ms 17, 1887, par. 11

Brethren and sisters, are you not ashamed that you have done so little for Christ when you consider that He has done so much for you? Shall we not from this time do more? And in order to do this, you must drink of the fountain of life. You must set aside your own inclinations, your ease, and all your pleasures, and you must get your eye fixed on your pattern Jesus. And after Christ has done so much for us, what will you do for Him? Now we will inquire if there are not those here that have done very little for Christ. Are there not those that have complained? Will you not this day put these things away? Come, flee over on the Lord’s side, repent of your lukewarmness, and make your calling and election sure! If your heart were held open before God, I ask, how would it read? I beg of you today, humble your hearts before God. We want, at this the first camp meeting that has been held in Europe, that God shall reveal His power among us. Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. “Let the wicked forsake his ways, 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. We want to have the precious light of heaven shine into our hearts, that we can let it shine to others, and we invite those who have never given their hearts to God to come forward here on these front seats, and we will try to seek the Lord with all our hearts. 5LtMs, Ms 17, 1887, par. 12