Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899)


Ms 157, 1899

A Message to the Battle Creek Church


December 4, 1899 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in HP 283; Ev 512. +Note

The work God has given us to do in this country is of the same character that the work of God has ever been. The Lord has shown me that it is similar to the work we have done in America. We are to carry it forward in advanced lines and with increased knowledge. A great and solemn truth, the last message of mercy and warning ever to be given, is to be carried to the world. What is our position in this work? On whose side do we stand? 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 1

The church of Christ is to be in the world, but not of the world. In calling His people together in church capacity, God designs that they shall form one Christian family, and daily be fitting for membership [in] the family above. God thus forms the believers in His Word in one body, that their influence may be a blessing to one another and to the world. Each member converted reveals a transformation of character, and he is strengthened and sustained by the courage and faith of the whole. The weakest saint, if he believes in Christ, is a member of Christ’s body; and if he lives in humble dependence upon God, he will become strong; for he has a right to all the privileges of a child of God. 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 2

Christ, as the head of the church, calls His people to work together in unity and faith and love. His people dishonor their Maker when they are at variance one with another. The influence for good which we might have on one another has been perverted by sin, making man a power to destroy, rather than to save; but under the reign of Christ an altogether different state of things may exist. Christ uses the unity and co-operation of His people in the salvation of man. They receive Christ’s divine power, and impart the same to their fellow men. Then a unity of action is seen. All their capabilities are called into the work of bringing those who have been under Satan’s rule back to their loyalty to God. 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 3

The third chapter of Ephesians is full of instruction. Paul would have us understand his teaching. “How that by revelation,” he says, “he made known unto me the mystery; (which I write afore in few words; whereby when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ;) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy prophets and apostles by the Spirit, that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs and of the same body, and partakers of his promise by Christ in the gospel.” [Verses 3-6.] 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 4

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto all the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be made known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” [Verses 8-11.] 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 5

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth are named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages world without end.” [Verses 14-21.] 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 6

Again Paul writes: “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. ... I long to see you that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established. That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ in himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 7

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace, wherein he hath abounded in us all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in himself; that in the dispensation of the fulness of time he might gather in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are in earth, even in him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ: in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession to the praise of his glory.” [Ephesians 1:3-14.] 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 8

The instruction God gave His apostles, He gave for the benefit of the church in these last days. When professing Christians reach the high standard which it is their privilege to reach, the simplicity of Christ will be maintained in all their worship. Forms and ceremonies and musical accomplishments are not the strength of the church. Yet these things have taken the place that God should have, even as they did in the worship of the Jews. The Lord has revealed to me that when the heart is cleansed and sanctified, and the members of the church are partakers of the divine nature, a power will go forth from the church, <who believe the truth,> that will cause melody in the heart. 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 9

Men and women will not then depend upon their instrumental music but on the power and grace of God, which will give fulness of joy. There is a work to be done in clearing away the rubbish which has been brought into the church. Let the services of the tabernacle be conducted in humility and repentance. Your adorning, “let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, and of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” [1 Peter 3:3, 4.] 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 10

This message is not only for the church at Battle Creek, but for every other church that has followed her example. The apostle Peter sets before us the work to be done by every one who claims to be a child of God. Hear what the Lord says through His appointed servant: “Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 1:5-8.] 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 11

As we work on the plan of addition, God will work on the plan of multiplication. “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you,” He says, “through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto as all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” [Verses 2-4.] 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 12

“Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if ye do these things ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [Verses 10, 11.] 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 13

Professing Christians, will you not see your work, and do it, that you may be Christians not only in name, but in reality? If you do this, your pipe organ and other musical instruments will be placed second and not first. If you would close your instruments of music, and seek the Lord as you have never sought Him before, if you will put away the evil of your doing, the spirit of the Lord will cleanse you from all defilement, and put the melody of heaven in your hearts. Your music does not commend you to God. It is the doing of His Word which He accepts. Holiness is the end of all God’s dealings with us. In His work for finite man, He reveals His power by redeeming him from apathy and backsliding and everything that is a reproach to the cause of truth. 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 14

The truth as it is in Jesus is the Lord’s mighty cleaver to separate a people from the quarry of the world. This separation is so complete as to attract the attention of the world. Then God works upon His precious material, hewing, squaring, and polishing, until it is fit for a place in His building. “Wherefore laying aside all malice,” the apostle Peter writes, “and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envyings, and all evil speakings, as new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be that ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” [1 Peter 2:1-5.] 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 15

“The sincere milk of the word.” [Verse 2.] This is the pure spiritual truth of the gospel, which will be imbibed by every soul who is truly converted. He eats the flesh and drinks the blood of the Son of God, which is eternal life to all who believe, and the power of the truth is demonstrated in a transformed life and character. 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 16

“Wherefore also it is contained in the Scriptures, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious, but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is become the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even unto them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should show forth the praises of him that hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” [Verses 6-9.] 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 17

“For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people: for ye were the fewest of all people. But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he hath sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen. Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” [Deuteronomy 7:6-9.] “Now therefore if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation.” [Exodus 19:5, 6.] 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 18

Let the disaffected ones, the grumblers, and those who study how they shall reach the highest place stop and consider. In the name of the Lord, I ask you to cease your bitter complaints, curb your ambitious desires, and show a Godlike faithfulness in dealing with your Lord’s goods. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, you who are dissatisfied ones. It is God that worketh in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. The man who stands before the Lord in fear and trembling lest he dishonor His name, God can trust, for such a man will show no self-confidence. He will tremble under a sense of his responsibilities and will move forward in faith and trust in God. He learns that in every experience he must do rational thinking, and have faith in God to give success. He will not fold his hands in idleness, but will work with all the energies God has given him. 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 19

Have faith in God, my brethren and sisters. Move forward and upward. The cause of God calls for men of self-reliance, men who will stand firm as a rock to principle under every circumstance, men who sense their responsibilities and know the source of their strength. That man who prays and depends upon God will never imperil his own spiritual interests or the work and cause of God. His faculties will not be misapplied. A self-trained, self-disciplined man, his whole character is transformed. His thoughts are educated, his passions are softened, subdued, and sanctified. Jesus Christ is his companion, and he works with Christ. No selfish spirit is manifested in harsh words or unkind actions; for he looks in love and confidence to his Companion and says, “Thy gentleness hath made me great.” [Psalm 18:35.] True and worthy motives inspire him, for he is sanctified by the spirit of the Master Worker. 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 20

God has chosen us from eternity, that we might be holy. Christ died for us, that He might cleanse us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. He is waiting to pour out His Spirit on the humble, contrite soul who makes God his trust. Will you who claim to know the truth see that you must be doers of the Word of God? Go not forth to the battle without the armor of Christ’s righteousness. It is the duty of every soul to make a daily prayerful, careful study of the Word and bring practical godliness into the life. 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 21

Christ has given you His own life in humanity as an example of what your lives must be. Catching the bright rays from the Sun of Righteousness, you will gain power to form your characters aright. The light that has been given you, let it become your efficiency. Then the influence of your holy, cheerful consecrated life will bring glory to God. 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 22

To allow selfishness to come into any branch of the work of God is an offense to your Creator and a libel on the religion of Christ, which should ever be free from the defilement of sin. Those who have a knowledge of the Scriptures are not merely to believe the Word. They are to be obedient to all of God’s commandments, bringing the principles of the law into every business transaction. This God requires of every soul, that the law may stand before the world in its true character, holy, just and good. Thus God’s people magnify the law and make it honorable. Let the prayer go forth from unfeigned lips, “Sanctify me through thy truth; thy word is truth.” [John 17:17.] 14LtMs, Ms 157, 1899, par. 23