Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)

417/420

Ms 200, 1898

Sermon/Thoughts on Colossians 2

Stanmore, Australia

Sabbath, July 9, 1898

First part missing.

“I am the good shepherd. ... I lay down my life for the sheep.” [John 10:14, 15.] He is the only one to whom we can look to give His sheep eternal life. “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” [Verse 10.] The apostle lifts up Jesus and declares, “In him are hid all treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” [Colossians 2:3.] Why do so large a number seek wisdom from those who have never sought wisdom of Jesus Christ, those who have never learned in the school of Christ? Why not come to Christ in faith? 13LtMs, Ms 200, 1898, par. 1

Read the fullness expressed in the language of the apostle, verse 2. Here is the connection between the receiver and the giver. The hearts of the receiver must not be estranged one from the other. They are to have the assurance in themselves in understanding and testifying of the mystery of godliness, “and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” [Verses 2, 3.] There is made this assurance by the apostle that he speaks thus for their good, that the Father and Christ is their efficiency. 13LtMs, Ms 200, 1898, par. 2

Temptations will come in the form of enticing words to mislead the children of God. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” [Verses 6, 7.] There is, with some, constant danger of their becoming unsettled and seeking originality. They think they see something that is on another line, and they take up with ideas that are new and strange, and flatter themselves they have new truth, a new message to bring before the people, when it is only a snare to captivate their minds and withdraw them from the truth which is the mystery of godliness. 13LtMs, Ms 200, 1898, par. 3

In these last days we need large faith, increasing in the growth of knowledge and wisdom, which cannot be derived from any other source than from the treasure of knowledge in God and Jesus Christ. The warning comes down along the line to our time, for we are living amid the perils of the last days. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” [Verse 8.] Will we all heed these warnings and not be too ready to accept the production from human minds that is presented as new light? 13LtMs, Ms 200, 1898, par. 4

We have the truth in the Word of God and the Lord has given to His people the first, second, and third angel's messages. The burden of these messages in the past is the burden of the messages shown to be proclaimed until the close of the work. We are to heed the injunction, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” [Verses 6-10.] 13LtMs, Ms 200, 1898, par. 5

If we have accepted the truth of the third angel's message, we are to hold it fast by faith and it will hold us fast from drifting into superstitions and theories that will disconnect us from one another and from the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord would have all walk and work in perfect unity. There seems to be a burning desire [with some] to move out on an independent track in some new thing and withdraw themselves from the unity of the faith and love with their brethren, listening to fair words and soft speeches that they cannot discern is false doctrine—unsettling their faith and cutting them adrift to become the sport of Satan's temptations. [They] watch to see if there is not something which they can criticize of the positions of doctrines and faith that have stood the criticism of the world, of the “wandering stars.” [Jude 13.] His name, Christ Jesus, is to be our watchword; His example, the badge of our distinction; His word, the foundation and principle of our piety and the binding together of our hearts in unity and love. In unity is our strength and action. The unity of those who believe the Word is to carry its credentials before the world. Nothing is to be allowed to divide hearts and create dissension. 13LtMs, Ms 200, 1898, par. 6

There will be those who will give heed to seducing spirits. Satan moving on human minds will frame little differences in the interpretation or application of Scripture—some differences of opinion. [Such persons] stake their faith upon suppositions and false theories which are sure to take minds that have become weakened and warped by some action or words at which they felt hurt. [They have] yielded their minds to be worked by a spirit not of God to become disaffected and alienated from their brethren, closing themselves in walls of separation, and thinking themselves following in the true path. The natural stubbornness of the human heart led to the resistance of light, the natural pride of opinion led to holding the ideas that they had advanced and clung to—their own human suppositions and human philosophy—and unless they fall on the rock and are broken they will be left where were the Jews, in blindness and unbelief of the truth which sanctifies the soul. 13LtMs, Ms 200, 1898, par. 7

We must needs see that one may start up with a new theory in regard to what is truth, and still another, seeking to make their ideas prominent as the truth, irrespective of the influence which these things [they have] advocated in the church must have on human minds. They launch out in contradiction to the truth which has been held by the people called Seventh-day Adventists, which has brought us out from the world into separate churches. The Lord would have everyone who has seen adequate reasons to take their positions and rest their belief in that which they has been convicted of and received as the truth not be lured from the faith by human sophistries and become spoiled through philosophy and vain deceit after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. They cut themselves adrift from their brethren and work directly contrary to Christ's prayer for His disciples, that they may be one as He was one with the Father. Then the unity that is existing with believers gives the credentials to the world that God has sent His Son into the world. Surrounded with His true believing disciples, He was surrounded with His divine credentials that He was the Sent of God. He took His stand as a living Oracle, demanding faith and credence of all whom He addressed. 13LtMs, Ms 200, 1898, par. 8

As a people we have received a faith in the foundation principles through the Holy Spirit's working upon human minds, bringing the mind and heart to the living oracles—a “Thus saith the Lord.” The science of the theology of truth we love as Seventh-day Adventists has not been a chance experience. It has been reached by most earnest, careful research of the words of inspiration which has led to faith and obedience. Christ spoke as one having authority, addressing Himself to humanity, enjoining humility, obedience, and implicit faith, rooted, and grounded, and stablished in the faith in strong terms. 13LtMs, Ms 200, 1898, par. 9

When we read of witnesses we know some points are disputed; it may be to settle some matters of importance, as that of sonship. All our present and future hopes depend on this fact; therefore there is with the apostle words to confirm the reality of the Spirit of God, the indwelling of the grace of God in the heart. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; ... for ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” Now the conditions: “If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together with him.” [Romans 8:15-17.] 2 Timothy 2:11, 12: “It is a faithful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.” 13LtMs, Ms 200, 1898, par. 10

We are called in Christ Jesus to come out of the world and be separate, [living] holy and just lives. The heart is draws nigh to God and the working of the Holy Spirit is life through Christ Jesus. Every true disciple of Christ will reveal the grace of His love in the heart. There is life in Christ. In the place of being in co-partnership in estrangement from God—in harmony with Satan—through learning their lessons of Christ they become partakers of His divine nature, workers of righteousness, preparing to be complete in Christ Jesus, showing to the angels and to men conformity to His character—the soul positively and firmly united with Christ. 13LtMs, Ms 200, 1898, par. 11

The Holy Spirit dwelling in the heart by faith [will bring] everyone into fellowship with his fellow men, in and through the sanctifying influence of the truth. Those who enlist in the army of the Lord and consider that they [will] have an easy, comfortable time of serving God—[being] paid abundantly in this world for all their service and help to others—will be disappointed. [They] have lessons to learn, that self is alive and not dead. “He that will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me.” [Mark 8:34.] 13LtMs, Ms 200, 1898, par. 12

The Holy Spirit, dwelling in the heart, produces the fruit unto righteousness. If so be that we suffer with Him, we deny ourselves for His sake, bearing with patience the trying part of the service with cheerfulness and patience—the trials He permits to refine and purify. Then we are prepared to be glorified with Him together. The sufferings and trials in the aggressive Christian warfare in this present time is not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us, “for we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” [Romans 8:18, 24, 25.] Have we this trying process to go through without help? No! No! “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” [Verses 26, 27.] 13LtMs, Ms 200, 1898, par. 13

This we are to consider, that there is continual battle going on between two powers. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood ...” (Bear this always in mind, for it is best to be wide awake, not soothing ourselves in comfortable, easy lives.) “... But against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.” [Ephesians 6:10-13.] 13LtMs, Ms 200, 1898, par. 14

[Read] Romans 8:28-36. The conflict we shall, of necessity, understand is often terrible, but bear in mind a symbol God has given of the burning bush. God was a consuming fire in that insignificant bush. Moses could look upon an unseen God in representation. God is a consuming fire in the bush, and [yet] the bush is not consumed. Moses hears the voice speaking to him; he knows it is God because the bush is not consumed. Thus it is with all who believe in Him. His power worketh as a refining fire to consume the dross but the human agent is not consumed. Hereby we do know that we have known Him, if we keep His commandments. 13LtMs, Ms 200, 1898, par. 15