Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Ms 102, 1901

Sermon/“We give thanks to God ...”

St. Helena, California

September 21, 1901

Portions of this manuscript are published in HP 246, 247; 2MCP 579; AH 323; CG 95; 7MR 130, 376-377. +Note

Sermon, Mrs. E. G. White, Sanitarium Chapel

“We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: as ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.” [Colossians 1:3-8.] 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 1

These words, written by Paul to the Colossians, show the relation which we should sustain to one another. The hope we have in Jesus Christ will lead us to manifest His mind. We are to be “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” [2 Peter 1:4.] And “for this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” [Colossians 1:9.] To have a knowledge of His will is worth everything to us. Because Christ was made an atonement for our sins, it is our privilege to stand on vantage ground. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 2

After Christ had broken the fetters of the tomb, prior to ascending on high, leading captivity captive and giving gifts unto men, He declared to His disciples: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 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.” [Matthew 28:18-20.] 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 3

This is the commission given to every Christian. Some may say, “How can we give our attention to this work, and at the same time obtain a livelihood?” It is because we do this, that He gives to us His promised blessing. He says, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” [John 16:24.] If we come to Him in living faith, He will impart to us His power in all its fulness. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 4

Place yourselves in a position where you will have the Spirit of “all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” [Colossians 1:9, 10.] Those who have spiritual understanding will walk worthy of the Lord. Those who are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, who follow on to know the Lord, will increase in strength and in a knowledge of God. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 5

There is to be continual advancement. “If we follow on to know the Lord, we shall know that his going forth is prepared as the morning.” [Hosea 6:3.] I know something about the coming of the morning, for usually I arise at two or three o’clock. If I can, I sleep till three. I am often in a position where I can see the morning as it comes. At first I can see just a little light, which gradually increases. The day is dawning. The light constantly increases, until the sun appears and, rising higher and still higher, shines in glorious splendor—the king of the heavens. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 6

That we may be fruitful in every good work, and increase in the knowledge of God, we are “strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.” [Colossians 1:11.] Let the nurses consider these words. Those who care for the sick should not go about with long faces, condoling with those who are suffering. Cheer them with words of comfort, hope, and joyfulness. Tell them that in Jesus Christ they have a greater Physician than any one connected with the Sanitarium. Let them understand that you who give them treatment are only finite beings, but that you have a living connection with God, and are there to help them to co-operate with Him in combating disease. Tell them that this institution is an object of the prayers of God’s people. Show that God has filled your hearts with sympathy and tenderness for every suffering individual who is here. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 7

Fasten your faith upon Christ, who in giving His life for you has so plainly evidenced His love. That your joy may be full, He offers to share with you His glorious power. Be joyful in the Lord. At times you will have opportunity to softly sing the praises of our God, helping the sin-sick soul to accept by faith the words, “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.” [Isaiah 27:5.] 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 8

“Strengthened with all might.” [Colossians 1:11.] This is not might to speak hasty words, which hurt and bruise others, and which injure us more than any one else, making us ashamed when we think afterward of what we have said. Cease to fret. I beseech those who claim to believe that Jesus has died for them, those who have been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, to come to Christ, believing that He will give them power to resist the enemy. If by our compassion and generosity, by our kind, tender words, we manifested His sweet Spirit, His righteousness, we should truly be lights in the world. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 9

“Longsuffering with joyfulness.” [Verse 11.] Wherever you are, you may be tantalized, and reproach may come upon you. If I were to undertake to hunt up a thousandth part of what has been said against me, I should have no time to do anything else. I have said, “God knows all about this, and I will let Him take care of it.” I am not at all troubled by what other people say concerning me. I desire to live in Christ. If I lose my self-control, and flash out in anger, I would in so doing give people some reason to say that the representation of my accusers is correct. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 10

I know what it is to cultivate self-control. In my girlhood I obtained the mastery over a nervous temperament, so that I could control myself. And although I am now seventy-three years old, I still am striving to have control over my words and actions. Since I have chosen to be a child of God, I must be clothed with the righteousness of Christ, notwithstanding what others may say. It is useless for me to talk of being a child of God, if I allow the spirit of the evil one to flash out in words that are not unto salvation. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 11

Never should we lose control over ourselves. Let us ever keep before us the perfect Pattern. It is a sin to speak impatiently and fretfully, or to feel angry—even though we do not speak. We are to walk worthy, giving a right representation of Christ. The speaking of an angry word is like flint striking flint: it at once kindles wrathful feelings. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 12

Never be like a chestnut bur. In the home do not allow yourself to use harsh, rasping words. You should invite the heavenly Guest to come into your home, at the same time making it possible for Him and the heavenly angels to abide with you. You should receive the righteousness of Christ, the sanctification of the Spirit of God, the beauty of holiness, that you may reveal to those around you the Light of Life. When others are impatient, fretful, and complaining, because self is not subdued, begin to sing some of the songs of Zion. While Christ was working at the carpenter’s bench, others would sometimes surround Him, trying to cause Him to be impatient; but He would begin singing some of the beautiful Psalms, and before they realized what they were doing they had joined with Him in singing, influenced, as it were, by the power of the Holy Spirit which was there. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 13

God desires us to be patient in tribulation and affliction, content to rest in His great arms of infinite love, believing that He is working for us all the time. It is our privilege to be joyful in the Lord. Let us praise Him more. By our joyfulness we reveal that our life is hid with Christ in God; that in Him we find the most blessed companionship; and that through His grace we have a living connection with heaven. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 14

What does long-suffering with joyfulness lead us to do? To give thanks unto the Father, “which hath made us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” [Verse 12.] How full is this language! If you attempted to measure it, you would find that in these words are measureless depths of meaning. We are now being fitted up to dwell in the mansions which Christ has gone to prepare for those who love Him. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 15

“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness.” [Verse 13.] If this is true, what excuse <then> have we for talking discouragement and unbelief and doubt—drawing darkness around us as a mantle? Let us roll back the dark shadow of doubt, casting it aside to be borne by Satan, the originator of all doubt and discouragement. He is seeking to cast his hellish shadow across our pathway. Our faith must penetrate the dark cloud of doubt and unbelief, taking hold of the arm of Christ beyond. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 16

If I should look at the dark clouds—the troubles and perplexities that come to me in my work—I should have time to do nothing else. But I know that there is light and glory beyond the clouds. By faith I reach through the darkness to the glory. At times I am called to pass through financial perplexities. But I do not worry about money. God takes care of my affairs. I do all that I can, and when the Lord sees that it is best for me to have money, He sends it to me. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 17

The more you talk faith, the more faith you will have. The more you dwell upon discouragement, talking to others about your trials, and enlarging upon them to enlist the sympathy which you crave, the more discouragements and trials you will have. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 18

Why mourn over that which we cannot avoid? God is inviting us to close the windows of the soul earthward and open them heavenward, that He may flood our hearts with the glory which is shining across the threshold of heaven. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 19

God “hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” [Verse 13.] We are to be “conformed to the image of his Son.” “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” [Romans 8:29; 12:2.] In this world we are to be transformed by the Holy Spirit of God. We are left free to choose to follow the One who said, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” [Matthew 28:18], or to turn away from Him to the world. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 20

Whether we are in the grave or alive on the earth, when Christ comes we will go just where we have chosen to go while on probation. If we have loved heavenly things and have lived for Christ, throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity we shall enjoy heaven, and shall have a life which measures with the life of God. Oh, how happy and grateful I am, when I realize that God knows far better than we can tell Him who we are, where we are, and what we need! 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 21

We are preparing for promotion, from the school in this world in which we are forming characters for the future immortal life, to the higher grade, the school of heaven. But man is not to depend upon his own finite strength to wrestle with difficulty. In faith he is to look to God, believing that all the resources of heaven are at his command to help him overcome. Thousands upon thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand of heavenly angels are ministering unto those who shall be heirs of salvation. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 22

God “hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” [Colossians 1:13, 14.] In place of our sins, Christ gives us His righteousness. He does not cover our sins with His robe; therefore a man who cannot bear the slightest temptation without exhibiting passion is not wearing this robe. God does not want us to be in that position. He desires us to be clothed with Christ’s righteousness. Those covered with this robe of righteousness hold passion under control. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 23

“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.” [Verse 15.] By beholding, we become changed into the divine image from glory to glory—from character to character. We never retain exactly the same character; for there must be growth in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. Continually the Spirit of God is working in us and by us and through us, giving us a deeper and more solid experience as we follow on to know the Lord. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 24

“For by him [Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” [Verses 16-18.] 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 25

After creating us, Christ loved us so much that He gave His own life in order that He might bear our sins. How, then, can we help loving Him in return? Throughout His life of toil and suffering, He bore the strokes of divine retribution which in justice we should bear. After having paid so great a price for our redemption, will He not give us the help and grace and power necessary for victory? 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 26

He who gave us Christ has placed at our demand all the resources of heaven. By living faith we should grasp the hand of infinite power, which is able to keep us from falling. We have a right to claim the blessing of God. We have a right to ask of Him the things we need. He is honored when we commit the keeping of our souls unto Him as unto a faithful Creator. It is our privilege to be free in Christ; for He has given His life to make us free. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 27

I desire to show you the importance of having the Holy Spirit of God to help you in every emergency. I have chosen to be under the blood-stained banner of Prince Emmanuel. I have chosen to keep the commandments of God, and live, and to keep His law as the apple of the eye. I have chosen to obey all the requirements of God. If Christ gave His life for me, why should not I give my life to Him? Is my life more precious than His? Oh, I have only a finite life, and yet He promises that He will work for the salvation of that life! 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 28

Before us is presented the hope that during this life Christ will prepare us for heaven, so that should we die we shall rise from the grave to enjoy a life of glorious immortality. How I value this blessed hope! I want to live in a better place than this sin-cursed earth. It would be a pleasant place in which to live if all sin and violence and crime were removed from it; but we have no hope that they will be before Christ comes; for we read, “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, ... so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” [Matthew 24:37-39.] 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 29

There is nothing wrong of itself in eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, if done under the control of the Holy Spirit, if the commandments of God are written in the heart. When Christ is in the heart, He is brought unto the family. The father and mother feel the importance of living in obedience to the Holy Spirit, so that the heavenly angels, who minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation, will minister to them as teachers in the home, educating and training them for the work of teaching their children. In the home it is possible to have a little church which will honor and glorify the Redeemer. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 30

What an important work it is to properly instruct children in the home! This work must be done, not only that they may escape the corruption that is in the world through lust, but that through Christ and through a knowledge of the Word of God they may have “all power” to proclaim to others that it is their privilege to accept the gift of everlasting life. [See Matthew 28:18.] 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 31

Let us teach to our children the beautiful lessons of God’s Word, that they may have a knowledge of Him. Let them understand that they should do nothing which is not right. Tell them that as their teacher and guardian, you cannot let them take a wrong course. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, present them in prayer at the throne of grace. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 32

Encourage them to form characters fashioned after the divine similitude. Let them know that Jesus still lives to make intercession for them. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 33

To every one has been given the wonderful talent of speech. Let us cultivate this talent, never misrepresenting Christ, never casting a shadow on those with whom we speak. We are to speak the truth in love. This truth may cut those to whom we tell it, because they are not in harmony with it; but the truth must be spoken. If while we are talking we see the Spirit of God exerting an influence upon human hearts, we are to take no glory to ourselves; for it is Christ Himself working through the human instrumentality. He says, “Lo, I am with you alway.” [Verse 20.] “Without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] In the presence of such a Companion, we ought to walk worthy, realizing that as His representatives we are in this world to glorify Him. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 34

We do not talk half enough about the infinite sacrifice of Christ. He who has given Himself for us is saying, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Matthew 16:24.] He does not say, “Let him indulge himself in worldly pleasures, let him go to the theater and to horse races, let him engage in the worldly games and pleasures.” Those who make a covenant with Him must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 35

Those who use tobacco, thus benumbing the sensibilities of the brain, are not following Christ. Who told them to form this habit which has no foundation in nature? Such a habit is the most difficult for some to wrestle with and to overcome. We desire something better. “I am the bread of life,” said Christ. “This is the bread which came down from heaven: ... he that eateth of this bread shall live forever. ... He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” [John 6:35, 58, 47.] How does he have it? “The flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [Verse 63.] In His Word is found eternal life. How many of us study the Scriptures, feeling that opened before us is a living fountain from which we may freely drink? How many of us hunger and thirst for the bread of life and the water of salvation? “Verily, verily I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” [Verses 53-55.] 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 36

“A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” [Matthew 5:14.] As I lie in my room at night, I can see the bright lights of this institution, which is truly like a city set on an hill; for it cannot be hidden. “Ye are the light of the world. ... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Verses 14, 16.] There is something for us all to do. Every one is amenable to God. The Lord declared to the children of Israel, “Ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take all sickness away from the midst of thee.” [Exodus 23:25.] The Lord has solemnly covenanted with us that if we walk in His ways and do righteousness, He will preserve us. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 37

In this world we are on test and trial, forming characters for the future immortal life. We need a light that is continually burning—a light kindled from the glorious light flashing from the threshold of heaven. The truth must dwell in us with all its purifying and refining influence. The whole world is to be enlightened by the brightness of those who are partakers of the divine nature. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 38

You are on this hillside to glorify God. Search the Scriptures. In them you will find the comfort and hope which you need in doing your work. Constantly, persons are coming and going to and from this Sanitarium. Every one connected with this institution, whether working on the grounds, or in the food factory, or nursing the sick—a most responsible position—is to have in his own heart the consolation of Jesus Christ, that in word and deed this consolation may be revealed to the afflicted and suffering ones in our midst. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 39

During this coming week take hold of the Spirit and power of God, walking circumspectly before Him. Let this be a week during which you will remember Jesus Christ, taking Him at His word and believing just what He says. See that victories can be gained in the name of our Lord and Saviour. Live in Christ and be free in Him, having His sweet peace in your soul, and walking worthy of the blessed hope which you profess to have. See how much of His glory you can bring into your life, asking Him to take away all frivolity, weakness, and passion from your nature, giving you His righteousness, that you may live in Him, having His help and strength to sustain you. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 40

We desire to see the healing power of God in this Sanitarium. Let those who are sick have hope and courage to bring their cases to the Master. The angels of God are here. While the physicians and the helpers are doing everything they can in your behalf, Christ Himself is the Healer of your diseases. He it is who combats the disease you have brought on yourself by an imprudent, sinful course of action. He, the Sin-bearer, is the only One who can successfully combat disease. Oh, link up with the Great Physician! He is ready to place His everlasting arms underneath you. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 41

My soul goes out in yearning and deep longing that everyone connected with this institution shall look to Jesus. If you take the power of unconsecrated self out of this Sanitarium, you can bring in the power of God. A heavenly light will shine into your soul and be reflected from your countenance. Thus the glory of God will be revealed, sinners will be converted, and this will be a place where God reigns. May God help everyone to work to this end. 16LtMs, Ms 102, 1901, par. 42