Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 15 (1900)

232/339

Ms 7a, 1900

Last Words of Instruction to the Disciples

Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia

January 25, 1900 [typed]

Portions of this manuscript are published in Ev 647-648. +Note

On Sabbath I spoke from the fourteenth chapter of John. I feel how important these truths are to every believer in Christ, and this morning I shall write out that which I have spoken. 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 1

Christ was giving His last words of instruction to His disciples. He sought to comfort them as He broke to them the news that He must soon leave them. “Let not your hearts be troubled,” He said, “ye believe in God, believe also in me. 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.” [Verses 1-3.] 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 2

This teaching was so different from that which the disciples had received from the priests and rulers, that they could scarcely take it in. Indeed every truth which Christ presented was so opposite to their former education, that they found them difficult to comprehend. These teachers and leaders had listened to the instruction of Christ, and had almost believed Him to be the Son of God. But their minds were blinded as the minds of men are blinded today. They had interpreted the Scriptures in the light of their pride. While claiming the privileges and blessings of the children of Abraham as their natural right, they failed to do the works of Abraham. 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 3

Christ said to them, “Ye know not the scriptures nor the power of God.” “Ye teach for doctrine the commandments of men.” [Matthew 22:29; 15:9.] Because of this, the truths Christ uttered fell upon the world with the strangeness of a new revelation. True, the disciples had the teachings of Christ in the Old Testament Scriptures, but these had been so misinterpreted, by those to whom they had been educated to look to for instruction, that they were ignorant of the real meaning of the Word. They could not take in the truths which fell from the lips of the heaven-sent Teacher. 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 4

Christ’s announcement to His disciples of His approaching betrayal and death was more than the disciples could believe. After His ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit, they called to remembrance the things which He had told them. Then little by little they took in the meaning of His words. Truths which had passed completely from their memory were brought to their minds again by the Holy Spirit, and these the disciples repeated one to another. They reproached themselves for their misapprehension of Christ. How many times they had grieved His heart by their unbelief. During the ten days in which they were waiting for the fulfillment of the promise, they humbled their hearts in true repentance, and confessed their unbelief. 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 5

Then the words of Christ found an entrance into their hearts, and they awoke as from a deep sleep. They knew for a certainty that they had been in daily companionship with the Commander of the heavenly host. Like a procession, scene after scene of His wonderful life passed before them. Never could they forget the scene of His ascension. Never would fade from their memory the words of the heavenly beings, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner, as ye have seen him go into heaven.” [Acts 1:11.] 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 6

As they meditated upon His words and deeds, and pure, holy life, they felt that these could never be recorded as they really were. No human words could express their beauty. In their lives they must bear witness to the loveliness of Christ’s character. And this they did. “The word was made flesh,” they declared, “and dwelt among us, ... full of grace and truth. ... And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” [John 1:14, 16.] “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life; ... that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us.” [1 John 1:1, 3.] And as they witnessed to the name of Christ, they bore witness of the Father also; for had not Christ declared, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” [John 14:9.] All that is comprehended in Deity was represented in the human life of Christ. 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 7

On one occasion Christ had declared to His disciples, “He that believeth in me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto the Father.” [Verse 12.] As their Advocate, He was going to plead their cause before the Father, and place to their account His virtues. “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name,” He said, “that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye ask anything in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. ... These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you; but the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father shall send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” [Verses 13-19, 25-27.] 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 8

Enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the disciples saw things altogether differently. They could speak of the name of Jesus with assurance, for was He not their Friend at Court, was He not even then pleading at the Father’s throne in their behalf? That name was like no other name among men. O, if they could only have the past three years to live over again, they thought, how differently they would act. If they could only see Him, they would show Him how they loved Him, how they sorrowed for ever having grieved His heart by an act of unbelief. But they were comforted with the thought that they were forgiven. And now they would atone as far as possible by confessing Him before the world. 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 9

“Ye are my friends,” Christ declared, “if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you: and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he may give it you. These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 10

“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my sayings, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. ... But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, he shall testify of me. And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” [John 15:14-21, 26, 27.] 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 11

The disciples understood the significance of their enlistment in Christ’s army. They must render implicit obedience. Their will must be surrendered to the will of their Commander. But they would not be terrified by their adversaries. Presenting the cross of Christ as their mighty argument, they would refute every false theory. They would show to the world that the greatness of Christ teachings had made of none effect the teachings of scribes and Pharisees. His name should be uplifted every where. And if called to suffer for His sake, they would count it the highest honor that could come to them. 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 12

The interests of Christ’s kingdom call for diligence and faithfulness in as much greater degree as spiritual and eternal things are of more importance than temporal things. There must be no feeble working, no sluggish, tardy action, for this would imperil our own souls and the souls of others. The directions of Paul to Timothy should be carefully considered: “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus. And the things which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the things of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier ... Consider what I say: and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” [2 Timothy 2:1-4, 7.] 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 13

What general would undertake the command of an army while the officers under him refused to obey until they had satisfied themselves that his command was a reasonable one? Such a course would mean loss to the entire army. It would weaken the hands of the soldiers. The question would arise in their minds, Is there not a better way? But even though there be a better way, the orders must be obeyed, or defeat and disaster would result. A moment’s delay, and the advantage that would have been gained is lost. 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 14

Every good soldier is implicit and prompt in the obedience he renders to his captain. The will of the commander is to be the will of the soldier. Sometimes the soldier may be surprised at the command given, but he is not to stop to inquire the reason for it. When the order of the captain crosses the wishes of the soldier, he is not to hesitate and complain, saying, I see no consistency in these plans. He must not frame excuses and leave his work undone. Such soldiers would not be accepted as fitted to engage in earthly conflicts, and much more will they not be accepted in Christ’s army. When Christ commands, His soldiers must obey without hesitation. They must be faithful soldiers, or He cannot accept them. 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 15

Freedom of choice is given to every soul, but after a man has enlisted, he is required to be as true as steel, come life, or come death. 15LtMs, Ms 7a, 1900, par. 16