Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12 (1897)


Ms 138, 1897

The Gospel Message


December 2, 1897

Portions of this manuscript are published in 7ABC 478; VSS 339-340; Ev 291-292; 10MR 290-291.

The angels told the disciples of the time and place of their meeting with their Lord in Galilee after His resurrection. Christ also had designated the time and place of this meeting. This was to be made known to the disciples far and near. With intense interest all looked forward to the interview. The disciples came from all directions, earnestly talking of the news that had reached them concerning Christ’s humiliation. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 1

At the time appointed about five hundred believers were collected in little knots on the mountainside, eager to see and know all that could be known from those who had seen Christ since His resurrection. Suddenly He appeared in their midst. They saw that He was the same teacher that had been with them before, who had given them the great truths of the kingdom of God. In His hands and feet they saw the marks of the crucifixion. But His countenance was as the face of God, and when they saw Him, they worshiped Him. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 2

Some of those whom He has not seen since His resurrection, doubted. So it will always be. There are those who find it hard to exercise faith, who place themselves on the doubting side. These lose much because of their unbelief. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 3

This was the only interview Jesus had with many of them before His ascension. He came and spake to them, saying, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” [Matthew 28:18.] The disciples had worshiped Him before He spoke, but His words, falling from lips that had been closed in death, thrilled with the peculiar power. He was now the risen Saviour. They had seen Him exercise His power in healing the sick and controlling satanic agencies. They believed that He possessed power to set up His kingdom in Jerusalem, power to quell all opposition, power over the elements of nature. He had stilled the angry waters; He had walked upon the white-crested billows. He had raised the dead to life. Now he claims that “all power” is given to Him. His words carried the minds of the people above earthly and temporal things to the heavenly and eternal. They were lifted from the lower to the highest conception of His dignity and glory. Every word spoken by Him was as heavenly music in their ears. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 4

“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” [Verse 18.] This power was given Him by the Father. In His life and character He had magnified and highly exalted the law. It was not relaxed one iota to reconcile man to God. Instead of annulling the law by His death, Christ showed its immutability and changeless character. But through Christ’s sacrifice a way was prepared for the fallen race to receive pardon. All who are made partakers of His divine nature will be crowned with honor and glory with Him. By the suffering of the Son of God, who bore the penalty of transgression, it was made possible for the minds of repentant sinners to be elevated and made loyal. Through His power they may be brought to the divine level, into sanctified and holy surrender to the mind of God. This is Christ’s work. This is why He died for a guilty world. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 5

No one can fully enter into or understand the suffering of Christ, the Son of the infinite God. Proportionate to His majesty, His purity, His innocence, His exalted character, was the depth of His suffering as a substitute and surety for the human race. When the sinner realizes the aggravated character of sin, the transgression of the law, he will cease to sin. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 6

The Father loved His Son in His abasement. Through all Christ’s humiliation, God’s love knew no variableness neither shadow of turning. Now Christ had conquered. Now He could say to His disciples, “All power is given unto me.” [Verse 18.] Thus the divine Teacher’s truth and love and goodness were pledged to those who receive Him. This is the assurance that His power will be exercised forever in behalf of those who believe in Him as their Lord and their Redeemer. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 7

Christ’s words on the mountainside were the announcement that His sacrifice in behalf of man was full and complete. The conditions of the atonement had been fulfilled; the work for which He came to this world had been accomplished. He had won the kingdom. He had wrested it from Satan, and had become heir of all things. He was on His way to the throne of God, to be honored by angels, principalities, and powers. He had entered upon His mediatorial work. Clothed with boundless authority, He gave His commission to the disciples, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Verses 18-20.] 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 8

The Jewish people had been made the repository of sacred truth, but Pharisaism had made them the most exclusive, the most bigoted, of all the human race. Everything about the priests and rulers—their dress, customs, ceremonies, traditions, made them wholly unfit to be the lights of the world. They looked upon themselves, the Jewish nation, as the world. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 9

For four thousand years sacrifices appointed by God had been offered by the Jewish nation. Christ Himself was the designer and foundation of these sacrifices. It was His purpose that they should rivet in every heart the truth that without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. Each bleeding victim was to impress the lesson, “A body hast thou prepared me.” [Hebrews 10:5.] The truth that a lamb without blemish was one day to be offered for the world was to be taught by every ceremony. The priests were to teach the people the great truth that through the blood of Christ alone there is forgiveness of sin. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 10

But the Jews had lost sight of the true meaning of the offerings and sacrifices. They had perverted and dishonored the law of Jehovah. They taught their own customs and traditions as the commandments of God. They exalted themselves. But their costly apparel, their imposing dress, covered hearts that were full of envy, hatred, deception, jealousy. This was revealed in the trial of Christ. Their religion was an inherited faith, bequeathed to them from generation to generation. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 11

From this nation One was born in the humblest circumstances whose message was to be of a character altogether different from any the world had heard. This One was the Son of God. He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. All centered in Him. He had now fulfilled His mission, and was about to ascend to His Father; and He commissioned His disciples to proclaim a faith and worship that would have in it nothing of caste or country, a faith that would be adapted to all people, all nations, all classes of men. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 12

When Christ expired on the cross, He cried out with a loud voice, “It is finished.” [John 19:30.] Then the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom, signifying that a new and living way had been opened for all tongues and people. The great sacrificial offering had been made, type had met antitype in this perfect offering, to which all the sacrificial offerings pointed. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 13

As the light of the world, Christ shone amid the moral darkness. He displaced the types and shadows of the Jewish church that He might occupy the place Himself as the substance to which these typical services pointed. He began His work as a Teacher sent from God to lead the people to correct ideas of what constituted true service. By leaving His disciples and going to the Father, He would reveal His glory to them, and through them it would be revealed to the world. He had come to the world to sow the seeds of truth. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 14

Before leaving His disciples Christ plainly stated the nature of His kingdom. He called to their minds things He had previously told them in regard to it. He declared to them that it was not His purpose to establish in this world a temporal kingdom, but a spiritual kingdom. He was not appointed to reign as temporal king on David’s throne. This was not His purpose in coming to the world. He opened the Scriptures to His disciples, leading them on step by step, showing them that all that He had passed through had been ordained in the councils between the Father and the Son. This was foretold by prophets and men inspired by the Holy Ghost. Christ said, You see that all that I have said to you in regard to my being refused and rejected and the Messiah has come to pass. What I said in regard to the humiliation I should receive and the death I should die, has been verified. On the third day I rose again. Search the Scriptures more diligently, and you will see that every specification of the prophecies concerning me have been fulfilled. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 15

The truths of the Old Testament are to be sacredly cherished. Christ showed His disciples the remarkable vividness of the representations of what they had witnessed and what He had suffered in His own person that the salvation of the human race might be secured. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 16

Christ commissioned His disciples to do the work He had left in their hands, beginning at Jerusalem. After His suffering, death, and resurrection, those who had been deceived by priests and rulers were to have the truth presented to them in the lessons Christ had given His disciples. They were to be called to repentance. The truth that the remission of sins could be obtained only through Christ was to be impressed on them. From Jerusalem, the disciples were to widen the sphere of their influence to the earth’s remotest bounds. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 17

You are My disciples, Christ said. You are witnesses of My humiliation, My life of self-denial, My self-sacrifice on behalf of the Jewish people. Although they would not come unto Me that they might have life, although priests and rulers have done to Me as they have done, although they have rejected Me as the Scriptures declared they would do, they will have still another opportunity to accept the Son of God, and confess Him before men. All who come to Me confessing their sins I will freely receive. Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. I empower you, My disciples, to be My witnesses through whom this message of mercy shall be given to all nations, tongues, and peoples. It is to be given to Jews, Gentiles, and heathen. All who believe are to be gathered into one church. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 18

Christ knew how much opposition the disciples would meet from the priests and rulers who had crucified their Lord. When He said, “Go forth in my name to gather into the church all who believe,” He plainly set before them the necessity of maintaining simplicity. The less ostentation and show seen, the greater would be their influence for good. The simple gospel of the grace of God was to be given. The disciples were to speak with the same simplicity that Christ had spoken. They were to impress upon their hearers the lessons He had given them. The truth as a sanctifier was to be presented in its pure simplicity. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 19

The grace of Christ was to be given to the disciples to fit them for their work, for in their assemblies would be all classes of men, and if they themselves were receiving grace from Christ, they could give grace for grace. The Holy Spirit’s power would attend the appeals made. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 20

In giving His commission to His followers, Christ did not tell them they would be left alone. He assured them that He would be near them. He spoke of His Omnipresence in a special way. Go to all nations, He said. Go, to the farthest portion of the habitable globe, but know that My presence will be there. Labor in faith and confidence, for the time will never come when I shall forsake you. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 21

The assurance of His abiding presence was the richest legacy Christ could give His disciples. Having the High Priest of our profession close by our side, we need not imperil our souls by opening the secrets of our hearts to priest or minister. In all confidence we may open our heart to the head over all the church. Take every matter, small or great to Jesus. “Come unto me,” He says, “all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] Precious assurance. Let us show that we honor the invitation by obeying the call. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 22

“All power is given unto me, in heaven and in earth.” [Matthew 28:18.] Christ has every resource at His command, and He is willing and rejoices to give His blessings to those that appreciate them. He knows that His followers need His love, His care, His grace, His righteousness, in order correctly to represent Him in character. The power He gave His disciples made their calling of men to repentance a success. The Holy Spirit can use consecrated men, and the Lord Jesus, full of mercy, tenderness, and love, shows His perfect willingness to forgive transgressions and sins if men will accept the conditions—repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 23

After Christ rose from the dead the subject of the resurrection was no longer a mystery to the believers. Christ the Son of God was risen, to be the first fruits of them that sleep in Him. It was no longer thought to be a difficult matter to obtain the favor of God. It was not obtained through temple service or sacrifices. A new and direct way was laid open, revealed by God, through which all who will may enter into full comfort and hope. This is the commission God’s people are to bear till the close of time. The Saviour would not have His message of a full and free salvation made intricate by words of human learning. His lessons are full of simple illustrations. All are invited to come. It is the very simplicity of salvation through Christ that is its attraction. The persuasiveness of Christ must be seen in our hearts and in our words. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 24

Direct application must be made. And ever the speaker must remember that he is only the instrument. It is the Holy Spirit that impresses the hearts of high and low, the most dignified and the most hopelessly abandoned. The Word must be spoken in simplicity. Men must be addressed as sinners in peril of losing their souls. All distinctions must be overlooked, for all need the same truth. All need a crucified and risen Saviour, who died that they might be saved. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 25

Present the Word of God as the way in which a holy faith and a pure character may be attained. Offer a full and free salvation, not as coming from yourselves, but from Christ. Show your hearers their need of returning through repentance and faith to their loyalty, for all are on a level; all are condemned alike by that great moral standard of righteousness. Proclaim remission of sins through Christ, the only Sin-bearer, the only Sin-pardoner. Proclaim the remission of sins through repentance toward God and faith in Christ, and God will ratify your testimony. With all assurance you can proclaim the means by which a holy character may be obtained—as Enoch obtained it, through Christ Jesus. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 26

Every messenger of God can proclaim pardon and remission of sins through the name of Christ, who died to redeem the sinner. The Lord’s full favor comes to those who seek Him with the whole heart, and are willing to follow Him in doing God’s will, enthroning Christ in the heart, planting His attributes deep in the life practice. These have a constraining motive, a supreme love for Christ our Saviour, which brings even the thoughts into captivity to Him. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 27

What is the evidence of conversion? “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” [John 14:15.] If you love Me, let not your love be merely like the supposed feeling of attachment between people. Genuine love lies in the keeping of My commandments. The love that will yield willing obedience is not a fickle thing, but a strong, fixed principle, revealed in word and action. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 28

The true beauty of the soul is found in obedience to the will of God. Adam and Eve’s disobedience in a very small matter lost Eden to them. God’s commands are for the regulation of the human heart. If we observe them, our lives will be lives of obedience because we love Jesus. “Ye are my friends,” He said, “if ye do whatsoever I command you.” [John 15:14.] Enoch was a friend of God, and he walked with God. Christ’s followers will esteem every precept He has given them to be right. They have the guarantee, “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:20.] 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 29

As the blood is in the body, so the life of Christ must be in those that present the Word, circulating through them as a vitalizing power. The man is not to be exalted. It is the Holy Spirit that changes the sinners heart, and pardons his transgression and sin, giving him peace, and joy, and light in the Lord. No power but the truth as it is in Jesus can sanctify the heart. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 30

The Lord’s ministers need the keenness of true discernment, in order to make sure that the souls for whom they labor are on the Lord’s side, that the truth is in the heart. Their words and works will testify if this is so. The shepherd of the flock of God in whose heart Christ abides has discernment which enables him to recognize the fruits of the working of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of those that express repentance and faith in Christ. The truth becomes the property of the receiver, and evidence is given that Christ is indeed received by faith as a Saviour. The Lord pardons the transgressions of such a one, because he has repented and believed in Christ; and words of encouragement are highly proper. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 31

Those who watch for souls as they that must give account need the continual working of the Holy Spirit in their hearts, that they may win souls to Christ, and encourage every inclination to surrender unreservedly to God. “Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] No dilatory, uncertain movements are to be made. If the servant of God is not wide awake, Satan will work upon the hearts of those that are almost persuaded, and he will gain the victory over them. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 32

Through ceaseless vigilance and earnest prayer, the co-worker with Jesus may beat back the deceiver of souls. But no power but the truth as it is in Jesus can win the victory, and place the tempted one under the canopy of truth. It is not oratory, it is not eloquence, it is the simple truth of God spoken in the demonstration of the spirit that elevates and ennobles the soul. If the truth be not rooted in the heart, no man can stand. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 33

This is not merely to be said by those who watch for souls as they that must give account. It is to be demonstrated by the life and character. By this they are to show from whence come their wisdom and sanctification and righteousness. There is only one power that can make man steadfast and keep him so—the grace of God in truth. Teach this to all inquirers after truth. There is only one power that can turn the soul from sin to holiness—the power of Jesus Christ. He is the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. He alone can forgive transgression and sin. The grace of God can come to man only through Christ. He alone can by His power make man steadfast in the truth and keep him so. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 34

“I give thee charge in the sight of God,” Paul writes, “who quickeneth all things, and before Jesus Christ, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession, that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; which in his time he shall show, which is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen nor can see: to whom be glory and power everlasting.” [1 Timothy 6:13-16.] 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 35

The men of faith who from hour to hour put their hand to the work of God must depend on the blessing and wisdom that comes only from God. Man may be ignorant and unlearned, but if he gives evidence that he is born again, not of flesh and blood, but of the Spirit, he is clothed and in his right mind. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 36

The Holy Spirit makes the presentation of the Word powerful. The truth as it is in Jesus changes the temper and habits of man. He who submits to its working is changed from a sinner to a child of God. The truth has wrought upon his mind and character. He has repented of his sins. The servants of God, through whom the Holy Spirit has worked to present a sin-pardoning Saviour can take by the hand these truly converted ones, whom God has raised from moral degradation and sin. When the one who has besought the sinner in Christ’s stead to be reconciled to God has evidence that the Holy Spirit is working in his heart by faith, he can clasp his hand, and say, we are one in Christ. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 37

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, ... nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God.” [1 Corinthians 6:9-11.] 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 38

“Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us; for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised.” [Hebrews 10:15-23.] 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 39

“If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” [John 14:23.] What a promise is this. Christ has given it to His church, yea, to all who shall believe on Him. “We will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” Can we ask more than this? This efficiency is waiting our reception. Why do we then distrust? Why do we walk in darkness and unbelief? Where is our faith? 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 40

We have an ever present help in every time of need. If we feel our great necessity, and draw nigh to God, He will respond by drawing nigh to us, that His power and His grace may find a channel through which may be communicated the vital energies that will arouse souls from their slumber to call upon God before it is too late. It is because of the lack of faith that no more of the power and spirit of truth is communicated to the people of God. Humble, sincere prayer is needed. We need earnest, living faith, faith that will take fast hold of the promises made to the disciples in Christ’s parting interview with them, which embraces every disciple in our world. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 41

A weight of responsibility rests upon every worker. Look carefully at Christ’s words: “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me, and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” [Verse 21.] Meditate upon these words. If they are truly believed, the messengers sent by God will be endued with power from above. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 42

How important it is that God’s messengers walk worthy of the truth they present to the people. When they do this, the Spirit will work through them, and the people will be willing in the day of His power. This will be because the messengers are men of prayer and faith, obedient to all God’s commands. God can teach them His way, and work upon them from within, drawing them to Himself. His power is brought into full and living operation. It works according to the faith of those who are teaching the Word of life. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 43

The messenger of God is to call men to repentance. His own soul must commune with God in prayer. Open the situation before your heavenly Father. Come before the people fresh from converse with God, your own soul imbued with His love. Let nothing divert your mind from your work. Cling to God the mighty One, saying, I will not let thee go except Thou bless me. Give me this soul as a sheaf to lay at Thy feet. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 44

There is not one tithe of the pleading with sinners to come to Jesus that there will be when Christ breathes into the soul, and says, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” [John 20:22.] Be assured that God’s Spirit will plead for the conversion of souls with groanings that cannot be uttered. Be instant in season and out of season, warning the young, pleading with sinners, with the love for them that Christ has. When there comes from the lips of the sinner the cry, “O my sins, my sins, I fear that they are too grievous to be forgiven,” encourage faith. Hold Jesus up, higher and still higher, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God,” which taketh away the sins of the world. [John 1:29.] When the cry is heard, God be merciful to me a sinner, point the trembling soul to a sin-pardoning Saviour as a refuge. 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 45

The veil has been rent from top to bottom. A new and living way has been opened. And now, all who will may reach forth their hand unto God, and take hold of His strength and make peace with Him, and they shall make peace with Him. The heathen world is no longer to be wrapped in darkness. Midnight superstition and gloom are to disappear before the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The powers of hell have been overcome. The truth of the words have been proved. “I am sought of them that asked not for me: I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.” [Isaiah 65:1.] 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 46

“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with me; for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.” [Isaiah 63:1-4.] 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 47

Go; teach and preach Christ. Instruct and educate all who know not of His grace, His goodness, and His mercy. Teach the people. “How shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.” [Romans 10:14, 15.] 12LtMs, Ms 138, 1897, par. 48