Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 5 (1887-1888)


Ms 25, 1887

Sermon/A Peculiar People

Wellingborough, England

July 14, 1887

Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 209; EGWE 311.

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:11-14. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 1

Here is subject matter for several discourses. Our time is limited, so that it will be impossible to deal with all the text contains this evening. We wish to present before you the great sacrifice that has been made in man’s behalf, that we might have eternal life. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 2

The object and purpose of Christ’s mission is before us—that He might purify us, and make us a peculiar people. Why are this people specified as peculiar? Because they are not like the world. The world in their aims and pursuits are taken up with their own earthly, temporal things. They are absorbed in seeking to obtain the things of this life. They are so interested in these matters that they have no time to think of their future life and they neglect the all-important work of the salvation of their souls. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 3

Christ has laid out the only safe course for us to pursue. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.” [Matthew 6:33.] The question comes home to us, Will we save our souls or lose them? If we gain heaven, we gain everything. If we lose heaven, we lose everything. If we appreciate the plan of salvation, and the great sacrifice that has been made for us by the Majesty of heaven that we might be elevated, ennobled, sanctified, then we will reveal by our works that we co-operate with Christ and will seek to do those things that please God. Unless we are constantly striving for purity, meekness, and holiness, we shall not be benefited by the great sacrifice Christ has made in our behalf. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 4

When the plan of salvation was opened up before me and I saw that Jesus had died, the Just for the unjust, I was determined that Christ should not die in vain for me. To think that Christ should leave heaven and His glory and take human nature and come to this earth to save man! What did He do this for? That He might bring to man moral power to overcome temptation and become a partaker of His divine nature. The redemption that was wrought out for us by our Lord on the cross of Calvary was to bring us to obedience to the law of God, making it possible, through His righteousness imputed to us, to keep the law of God. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 5

Now this is a wonderful subject. No man’s work, no matter what his position may be, can bear any comparison with this great work for fallen man. The subject is so great, so important. Then why is it that so few pay attention to it? Men act as though they had no souls to save, no heaven to win, no hell to shun. What does it mean? 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 6

Says the apostle Paul, “Who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” Galatians 3:1. The truth was to the apostle so great, so clear, so important, because eternal interests were involved, that he could only ascribe to the bewitching power of Satan the continued impiety and neglect of this great salvation. Now are there not many who are so bewitched with Satan’s wiles that they do not obey the truth? that they do not see the advantages of obedience? Who is thus unwise? It is those who have not sought the Lord for help that they may cease to longer transgress His law. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 7

There is nothing so offensive to God as sin. Instead of making void the law of God by continuing in sin, every truly converted soul will be walking in the path of humble obedience to all of God’s commandments. They will search the Scriptures that they might know the truth. Who hath bewitched the impenitent, the transgressor, that sin is chosen rather than obedience? It is the power of Satan that came to Adam and Eve in Eden, the deceiving, bewitching power of the fallen angel. They believed the lie he brought to them. The natural heart is so perverted that a large class love the lie more than they love the truth. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 8

Satan knows that if men and women accept the truth they are lost to him, they will be on the Lord’s side. He does not want that a single soul shall be brought back to his allegiance to God in keeping His commandments. Therefore it is his work to bring about every delusive attraction to make sin more agreeable to man. Man will follow on in transgression, notwithstanding God has said, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” [Ezekiel 18:4.] But who believes God’s word before the word of Satan, “Ye shall not surely die”? [Genesis 3:4.] 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 9

The holy God hates sin. He will not tolerate in the Christian that which He condemns in the sinner. Then must the race perish? No. Thank God, we can answer, No. Hope is brought to them through Jesus Christ. A ransom has been provided. Christ has consented to become man’s substitute and surety. He will pass over the ground where Adam failed; He will redeem Adam’s disgraceful failure and fall, and through His perfect obedience to God’s law give man an opportunity to return to his allegiance to God. He will give him moral power that he may have strength to gain the victory over sin. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 10

How few talk about this great sacrifice of the life of Jesus to save the guilty sinner! If we appreciated this love manifested by God for our souls, we would be elevated by taking hold of the merits of Jesus Christ; for without the righteousness of Christ, man could not give to God perfect obedience. Christ takes upon Himself man’s sin. Christ imputes to man His righteousness. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 11

“Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4, 5. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 12

He condescended to this great sacrifice, not that sin in man should become a virtue, not that sin might be made righteousness. He took the steps that man is required to take in conversion. He went forward in baptism, and when He came up out of the water, He kneeled down and offered up such a prayer to His Father as heaven had never heard before. The heavens were opened, and light came from the open heavens like a dove of burnished gold and enshrouded the Son of God, and a voice from heaven was heard, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 13

How many of us read and appreciate this wonderful transaction? How few ever look at this work as it really is! This demonstration of God was for our benefit that we might have comfort and hope. It tells us that though man has been separated from God by sin, finite man is again connected with God through the merits of Jesus Christ. In Christ a substitute has been furnished for us, that man may have access to the Lord whose law he has transgressed. The gates of heaven are open. Light and power are vouchsafed to men. There is no excuse for us to remain in sin now. The glory of God is to be brought to man that he may overcome sin in the flesh. Christ was our surety and substitute, and God again communicates to man to show man that he is accepted in the Beloved. If we come back to God, we shall have that Eden which Adam lost. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 14

Christ gave Himself for us that He might purify unto Himself “a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” [Titus 2:14.] Why then do not men accept this great gift of salvation? They do not arouse themselves to see where they are, that in continued sin is no comfort, no satisfaction, and that the gift of God is eternal life. Why did Christ maintain that long, painful fast? He did it that He might break the power Satan had over man on the point of appetite. He, our substitute, passed over the same ground where Adam fell. He commenced the work of redemption just where the ruin began, that He might gain the victory over Satan’s temptation, making it possible for man to overcome in His name. There are three great leading temptations wherewith man is beset—the point of appetite, presumptuous sins, and love of the world. Satan hopes to gain the victory over man in these temptations. These are carrying thousands of persons down to destruction. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 15

Now we want that men and women should see their weakness in these things. Christ overcame; then there is a possibility that every one of us may overcome. Man, co-operating with divine influence, can stand forth. Now Christ overcame in our behalf. He commenced just where man failed, i.e., appetite. You see wherever you go the effects of indulged appetite. Satan controls the mind and is dragging men and women down to ruin. He knows that he must enslave men if he can hold them from connecting with Christ. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 16

Daniel would not defile himself with the king’s meat. He refused to eat of it, or to drink of his wine. Why? Because they would weaken him for God’s work. He purposed in his heart that he would not yield. He was tried, yet he was firm to his principles. He used every effort in his power to keep from defiling himself. He was brought before the king, that he might be examined. How did he appear? Why, his appearance was much more favorable than that of those who had indulged in eating the king’s meat and drinking his wine. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 17

How is it with the human race today? God will give you help. If we are true to the principles of truth the Lord will give us the victory in carrying out these principles. Some think that it is no matter what we believe if we are honest in our belief. This is a mistake. We may believe a lie like Adam. We have a Bible, and we have souls which must be lost or saved. Every one of us must stand before God in judgment. We want that our deeds shall be such that they will stand in that day. Satan knows that if he can get men to use tobacco that their powers will be weakened. It is weakening to moral power. Indulging in the use of strong drink constantly drains the physical powers, which lessens the capacity for comprehending God’s truth. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 18

Satan is carrying the world with him. Such will not stand under Christ’s bloodstained banner. What are you doing to save your own souls? I ask you what is it that leads men to be so paralyzed? Nadab and Abihu are examples to us of those who are self-willed and who fight against God. They come before the Lord with strange fire and are consumed by Him whom they did not fear. God is no respecter of persons now any more than He was then. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 19

Christ was so interested in us that He fasted forty days that He might bring light to the world on overcoming appetite. Who appreciates it? It is, “What shall I eat?” and “What shall I drink?” [Matthew 6:25.] When Sunday comes, where is our life? The mind is beclouded by an overburdened stomach, and we have no freedom in prayer. In this meeting are two parties. Here are Christ and His angels. They are here to help the truth find our hearts. Here are Satan and his angels to rob us of the blessings we might receive. In the morning evil angels will try to cause you to lose all these things. How important it is that we be under Christ’s banner, that we may have more than human strength to overcome. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne.” Revelation 3:21. What does this little life amount to? This earth will soon pass away. If we build on hay and stubble, the fires of the last days will consume our work. But if we build on gold and precious stones, all will stand in that day. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 20

The apostle says of Christ, “Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” [Titus 2:14.] We are to be a peculiar people. Not a people who are using tobacco, but a people who are purified and zealous of good works. I want to be with that people. In order to do this I must keep my body pure from these defilements. How do we expect we can lift up the human race? How can we expect Christ can do this work for us? 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 21

We must give an account of our money. Take that which is spent upon our bodies, that which we spend to please the perverted appetite, and how far could the gospel go in the land! Ignorance is parent to all vice. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 22

If Christ has done so much for us, why should not we do our part? May God help us to overcome! Somebody is going into the city of God. It is those who are pure. The prophet Isaiah says, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18. Will He do this work for us if we defile ourselves? “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. When I consider how much Christ has done for me, I do not want to see my members in sin. I do not want to give myself to sin. We want to know what we should do. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 23

Here are God’s commandments. Will we obey them and put ourselves in God’s hands? “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they ... may enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14. In the city we shall not find tobacco on the tree of life. There will be no need of this narcotic. Its effects unfit men for a place in the kingdom. It stimulates and raises men up above par, but when the stimulating effect is gone, they fall further below par than they were raised above that point. The mind is lowered by this stupefying narcotic until the tobacco devotee must resort to something stronger to satisfy the cravings of the depraved appetite. Oh, let us arouse and put off this soul-destroying poison! Then you may stand and say, Here Lord, I have done what I can do. I ask for Thy help that I may resist evil. You must place your will on the side of God’s will. We want to seek for God’s help. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 24

I see charms in Jesus. I want to partake of His love. I want that Jesus shall dwell in me here, and that all who are around me shall bear His name. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 25

There was a great excitement in London last week. The Queen was coming. All wanted to see their sovereign. But there is One greater than the Queen coming. “The glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” [Titus 2:13.] Can we not get up an excitement on this subject? Jesus will bring the dead from their graves, and they shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. They shall enter into the city of God. There they shall see the gates open wide to receive them, and shall eat of the tree of life. There are angels there, who never fell. The saints of all ages are to be there, and take the kingdom, and it shall be theirs. Why cannot we make some excitement on this subject? “In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2, 3. 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 26

Now there is a great reward to be given to the saints. It is eternal life. Is it not enough to cause gladness in our hearts? [Remainder missing.] 5LtMs, Ms 25, 1887, par. 27