Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16

322/447

Ms 78, 1901

Sermon/“I have words to speak to our ...”

Oakland, California

June 1901 [Typed August 13, 1901]

Portions of this manuscript are published in LHU 292; 1BC 1081; 9MR 380. +Note

June [8 or 15], 1901

Campground, Oakland

I have words to speak to our people this Sabbath morning. Let us on this holy day eat simply, speak wisely, and pray most earnestly. Let us magnify the truth for this time. We are living amid the corruption of a degenerate age. Men and women have lost sight of the fact that the God of heaven is the sovereign of the world. It is our privilege to make straight paths for our feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. We are to avoid the very appearance of evil, lest those who lack moral strength be deceived into calling sin righteousness. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 1

We need to humble our hearts before God. We need to seek for that humility of mind which forbids selfishness, pride, envy, and jealousy. It was jealousy that brought sin into our world. Lucifer, the angel next to Christ in the heavenly courts, gave way to feelings of jealousy. He aspired to the throne of God. He was determined to rule independent of God. He sought for prerogatives which cannot be given to any created being. This led him to revolt against God. Of this we read, “There was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.” [Revelation 12:7, 8.] 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 2

Jealousy caused the first death in our world. After sin came, man was to show his faith in the promised Redeemer by offering as a sacrifice a lamb without blemish. Thus he was to show his belief in the truth that without shedding of blood there is no remission for sin. The innocent lamb slain pointed forward to Christ, the sinless, spotless offering for the sin of the human race. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 3

“And in process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.” [Genesis 4:3, 4.] 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 4

God had specified a lamb without blemish as the offering to be brought. But Cain, a tiller of the ground, did not wish to add to his firstfruits a lamb from his brother’s flock. His offering was abundant, he thought. But it lacked the very thing which would have made it of value. Without the lamb, all that he brought was worthless. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 5

When Cain presented his offering, he saw nothing to signify that it was accepted by God. But when Abel presented his offering, fire from heaven consumed the sacrifice. “The Lord had respect unto Abel and his offering; but unto Cain and his offering he had not respect.” [Verses 4, 5.] 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 6

“And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth; and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” [Verses 5-7.] 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 7

“And Cain talked with Abel his brother.” He argued about his offering, refusing to see that it was not accepted because of his disobedience. He was angry that the offering of Abel, his younger brother, should have been accepted, while his was rejected. He was angry with Abel for maintaining that God is just. “And it came to pass ... that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” [Verse 8.] 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 8

“And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not; am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. And now thou art cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; when thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” [Verses 9-12.] 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 9

“In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the devil; whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God; neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” [1 John 3:10-12.] 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 10

“Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. ... If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” [1 John 4:7, 8, 20, 21.] 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 11

After Satan’s expulsion from heaven, he came to this earth filled with the determination to establish a kingdom entirely independent of God. In the world which God had created he determined to show his power. His aim has ever been to lead men to forget God. He has worked against the fourth commandment, for this commandment plainly draws the attention to God. It says, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. ... For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” [Exodus 20:8, 11.] The Sabbath is God’s memorial of creation. It points to Him as the Creator and Sovereign of the world. It is given to men and women to remind them of God. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 12

Satan saw that if he could destroy in men’s minds the sacredness of the day which pointed to the true God, and lead them to look upon another day as sacred, he could assert his authority. Thus he has worked to supersede God. With an intensity of effort he has striven to break down God’s memorial and to place himself before the world as the supreme ruler. For the holy Sabbath of Jehovah he has substituted a spurious rest-day. The results of his deception are plainly seen. Through him have come sins of every kind—idolatry, sensuality, unbelief of the truth. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 13

All selfishness comes from Satan. Human beings belong to one great family, the family of God. They are to respect and love one another. They are not to speak words which wound and bruise. No one is to be unfair in his dealings, causing his fellow beings to lose confidence in him. Selfishness and injustice bring unhappiness. Under their baleful influence men lose the sense of what it means to love one another as Christ loves us. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 14

All are to work in love and unity, looking to God as the great Center. Love for Christ is the principle which unites man to his fellow man. Those who are disconnected from God will be disconnected from one another, and will strive for the supremacy. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 15

The opposite of allegiance to God is seen in the world today. Every kingdom, every province, every family, has a desire to make itself a center. Men long to rule over their fellow men. They act as though the consciences of their fellow men had been given into their control. Separating themselves from God and from their fellow beings, they follow in the egotism of their nature their unrestrained inclinations. They act as though the good of their fellow beings depended on their subjection to their supremacy. Self is the mainspring of action. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 16

Human beings are to reveal a pure and holy interest in their fellow men. God’s followers are to have no selfish interests. There is a wide difference between the love which proceeds from God and the selfishness which is inspired by a power from beneath. The water of life in the soul is as a well of water, springing up unto everlasting life. This is the science of benevolence. He whose heart is filled with the love which centers in God, because it is created by God, realizes that he must deal justly and tenderly with his fellow beings, because they have been redeemed by the blood of Christ. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 17

God declares, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” [Leviticus 19:18.] The love which proceeds from God works no ill. It is a principle which fills a man with a desire to promote goodness. Man does not work against his own interest by loving God and his fellow man. The more unselfish his spirit, the more purity, righteousness, and justice he reveals, the happier he is, because he is fulfilling God’s purpose for him. The breath of God is breathed through him, filling him with joy and gladness. The love of God flows through him. To him life is a sacred trust, precious in his sight because given him by God to be employed in doing the will of heaven. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 18

True pity leads [a] man to bind up his interests closely with those of his fellow men. Supreme love to God leads us to seek the highest good of humanity. It places the whole being under God’s control. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 19

Selfishness destroys the moral image of God in man, filling him with self-love. It leads to continual departure from righteousness. Christ says, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” [Matthew 5:48.] But self-love is blind to the perfection which God requires. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 20

Those who exalt self are idolaters. They worship self. Clothed with a robe of supposed superiority, they are impatient of contradiction. God wants men to benefit their fellow men. No one will be guiltless who lays stumbling blocks in the way of another, discouraging and disheartening him, causing him to lose confidence in himself. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 21

There must be no dissension among God’s commandment-keeping people. Heavenly angels are constantly working to keep us from falling. Christ has made every provision that we may be partakers of the divine nature, overcoming the corruption that is in the world through lust. “From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence of your own lusts?” [James 4:1.] Why are not professed believers sanctified through the truth? Why do they so often speak words which wound and bruise? Why do they cherish the spirit which acknowledges no law but the law of selfishness, which refuses to reveal the perfection of Christ’s character? Selfishness is the very essence of depravity. Selfishness has filled the world with strife, setting human beings at variance with one another. Selfishness has brought discord into the church, filling it with unholy ambition. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 22

The Lord calls upon His people to put far from them every stumbling block. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. To unite man with God and with his fellow men, to restore to human beings the benevolence lost through sin, this is the glory of the gospel. Let the church arise and shine; for her light has come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon her. Let the members strive earnestly to obtain the victory over self. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 23

Infinite love—how great it is! God made the world to enlarge heaven. He desires a larger family of created intelligences. And before man was created God and Christ entered into a covenant that if man fell from his allegiance, Christ would bear the penalty of transgression. Man fell, but he was not left in the power of the destroyer. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] And when God gave Christ, He gave all heaven. To the Redeemer was given all power in heaven and in earth. He was given all the treasures of heaven to impart for the benefit and blessing of mankind. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 24

While on this earth the Saviour was sorely tried. He was tempted in all points like as we are. He poured out His soul with strong crying and tears as He looked upon the backslidden condition of the people He had brought out of Egyptian bondage. He saw them full of pride and self-exaltation, full of selfishness and covetousness. All this Christ must labor to overcome. He must live among His people the life God requires His children to live. He must stand free from the least taint of sin. Not in the slightest particular must He deviate from the principles of righteousness. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 25

The gulf made by sin has been bridged. All may come boldly to the throne of God, seeking help in every time of need. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He took the place of the sinner, that He might present the repentant sinner to the Father, saying, “Lay his guilt on me. I have espoused his cause.” Holding out His hands, bearing the nail prints of the crucifixion, the Saviour says, “I have graven that sinner upon the palms of my hands. No longer look on him as guilty. Let him stand before you guiltless. I have borne his iniquity.” At the cross justice and mercy met together; righteousness and peace kissed each other. God bows His head in recognition of the offering made for sin, saying, “It is enough.” 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 26

As we contemplate the great love of God, should not our hearts be melted and subdued, yea, broken? Should we not be filled with love, patience, longsuffering, kindness, meekness, and benevolence? Should we not die to self? 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 27

Christ is our strength, our sufficiency. He died that we might live. To those who receive Him <to them gave He power to> become sons of God. Accepting Him, we become members of the royal family, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ to an immortal inheritance. A far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory awaits those who fight manfully in the warfare against evil. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 28

Christ came to this earth to reveal the love of God. His followers are to continue the work which He began. The world’s Redeemer gives to all the invitation, “Come unto me, 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.] Rest comes to us as we seek to make others happy. Let us strive to help and strengthen one another. Seeking the good of others is the only way to find true happiness. Christ’s disciples will receive and impart His love, constantly receiving a fresh supply to impart. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 29

God works untiringly through His heavenly messengers to make the members of His church of one heart and one mind. Jealousy and evil surmising are from Satan. We cannot be one with Christ until the heart is cleansed from selfishness. Let every church member put away this sin, replacing it with Christlike love. 16LtMs, Ms 78, 1901, par. 30