Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)

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Ms 102, 1904

Sermon/“Now before the feast of the Passover ...”

Nashville, Tennessee

July 2, 1904

Portions of this manuscript are published in RC 243, 250, 261, 283; Ev 274.

July 2, 1904

Sermon, Mrs. E. G. White, Office Chapel, Nashville, Tennessee

“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself.” [John 13:1-4.] 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 1

The disciples had just been disputing as to who should be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. They could not agree. One would claim the honor for himself; another for himself. None of the disciples were in a proper frame of mind to comprehend the significance of coming events or to appreciate the solemnity of the present occasion. They were not prepared to participate in the Passover supper. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 2

Christ looked upon them sadly. Trials, He knew, were before them, and His great heart of love went out to them in tender pity and sympathy. As a manifestation of His love for them, He “took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.” [Verses 4, 5.] This was a great rebuke to them all. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 3

“Then cometh He to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto Him, Lord, dost Thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto Him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me. Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all. For He knew who should betray Him; therefore said He, Ye are not all clean. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 4

“So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 5

“I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but, that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with Me hath lifted up his heel against Me. Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am He. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth Me; and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me. When Jesus had thus said, He was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me.” [Verses 6-21.] 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 6

By the ordinance of humility we are taught an impressive lesson. Christ has shown to us the necessity of walking humbly before God and of realizing what He has done for us by the gift of His Son. Christ knew that His disciples would never forget the lesson on humility given them at the last supper. In taking upon Himself the humblest form of service, He administered to the twelve the sternest rebuke that could have been given them. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 7

In the eighteenth of Matthew there is recorded another lesson on humility. These lessons in the Word are given for our admonition. Those who neglect to profit by them are inexcusable. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 8

The disciples came “unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” [Verses 1-4.] 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 9

Many do not realize that by walking humbly with God, we place ourselves in a position where the enemy cannot take advantage of us. Some may seek to place us in a disagreeable position, but so long as we sustain a right relation with God, and have in our hearts a desire to do His will, we shall not afflict our souls over the efforts of the enemy. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 10

“Whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” [Verses 5, 6.] 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 11

In this scripture is plainly revealed the relation that Christ’s disciples should sustain to one another. If we will, we can learn the lesson of Christian humility; but if we constantly worry for fear we shall not be given the highest place, we shall find that we are finally in the lowest place. This is the sure result of neglecting to heed Christ’s instruction to become as little children. Only when we submit, as willing children, to be trained and disciplined, can God use us to His glory. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 12

“Woe unto the world because of offenses! for it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!” [Verse 7.] 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 13

Words of reproach react on one’s own soul. The training of the tongue should begin with ourselves personally. Let us speak evil of no man. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 14

“Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.” [Verse 8.] 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 15

There may be cherished by us certain wrong things that are seemingly as dear as a hand or a foot. These things are to be put away from us forever. Never are our peculiar, unsanctified ideas to be pressed upon others. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 16

“And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” [Verse 9.] 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 17

There is a great work to be done among church members. Many who are not called upon to enter the public ministry may do much good in their home church by speaking advisedly with their lips. The talent of speech should be used to glorify God. Too often it is used to convey evil reports. This grieves away the Holy Spirit. Let us remember that we have a Saviour who has bidden us come unto Him with all our burdens. He will give us peace of mind, and He, too, will adjust that which to us seems so full of entangling difficulties. “Come unto Me,” He pleads, “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.] 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 18

Temperance workers try to induce the drunkard to sign a pledge that henceforth he will not use intoxicating liquor. This is well; and there is as urgent a necessity that those who have indulged in words of complaint and criticism shall sign a solemn pledge that henceforth, by the Lord’s help, they will not speak evil of their brethren and sisters, but will take everything to God in prayer and follow out the instruction He has given regarding the pointing out of wrongs in our fellow men. Every church member may in his daily conduct be so exemplary, so prudent and careful in speech, so kind and compassionate, that he will be esteemed by all as one who fears and loves God. Such a man will have an influence for good over all his associates. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 19

We are fallible and have erred many times. Let us return to the Lord with repentance and confession. As we assemble to participate in the ordinances of the Lord’s house, let us make every wrong right, so far as lies in our power. When bowing before a brother, washing his feet, ask yourself, “Have I aught in my heart that separates me from this brother? Have I said or done anything that estranges us?” If so, take it away by heartily confessing your sin. Thus heart will be cemented to heart, and the blessing of God will be manifest. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 20

In the early days of the Advent movement, when our numbers were few, the celebration of the ordinances was made a most profitable occasion. On the Friday before, every church member endeavored to clear away everything that would tend to separate him from his brethren and from God. Hearts were closely searched; prayers for a divine revelation of hidden sin were earnestly offered; confessions of overreaching in trade, of ill-advised words hastily spoken, of sins cherished, were made. The Lord came near, and we were greatly strengthened and encouraged. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 21

“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 18:10.] 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 22

The whole heavenly universe are intensely interested in every penitent soul that comes to Jesus; and they are interested, too, in the impenitent—in those whom they hope to see saved by repentance and reformation. Angels are watching our every act. They are familiar with every word uttered. They are intensely desirous of seeing us value above all else the instruction of God’s Word. They desire us to learn Christ’s meekness and lowliness—the highest of all sciences, the science of gladness and humility and love through Christ Jesus. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 23

The angels desire that we shall learn that “the Son of man came to save that which was lost.” [Verse 11] Christ came not to save that which is good and righteous, but “that which was lost.” Brethren and sisters, when you see a soul slipping away from the truth, and endangering his hope of eternal salvation, press close to his side, and seek to help him in every way you can. Inquire into his needs; pray with him; labor kindly, patiently with him; never despair of helping him. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 24

Church members have a work to do along the line of taking an interest in the youth. They should shake hands with them, and manifest a kindly interest in their welfare. Let us shield the youth, so far as possible, from worldly temptations and allurements. If possible, let us find some employment for them, whereby their minds may be occupied with that which is ennobling. This is genuine ministry—a ministry that God approves, and that lifts up before the one who ministers, as well as before the one ministered unto, a standard against the enemy. Satan cannot overcome by his wiles those who in word and deed are ministers of righteousness. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 25

“How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, He rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.” [Verses 12, 13.] 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 26

In like manner, there is rejoicing in heaven over the erring one who has been rescued from Satan’s grasp. To every man is given his work. To every one is given the privilege of helping his fellow men to place their feet on the Rock of Ages. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 27

“Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” [Verse 14.] 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 28

Often our efforts in behalf of others may apparently be void of results; but we are not to become tired and discouraged of well-doing. Christ never ceases to seek us when we wander from the fold. With unwearying steps He searches until He finds us and brings us back to His fold. Again and again we would have perished, had it not been for His loving care. He bids us do our part by working out our own salvation with fear and trembling and assures us that God will work through us to will and to do of His good pleasure. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 29

Little do we realize the strength of the forces that are now at work in this world. The whole heavenly host are seeking to save that which was lost; the fallen angels are working with a power from beneath to counteract the efforts of Christ and His co-laborers. Shall not we be faithful in doing our part? Shall we not strive to do everything in our power to carry the truth for this time to those who are in ignorance of God’s commandments? Shall we not open the Scriptures to the understanding of those who have not yet learned the importance of obeying every precept and of preparing for the Lord’s soon coming? Shall we not labor as do those that must give an account? 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 30

Last night a scene was presented before me. I may never feel free to reveal all of it, but I will reveal a little. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 31

It seemed that an immense ball of fire came down upon the world and crushed large houses. From place to place rose the cry, “The Lord has come! The Lord has come!” Many were unprepared to meet Him, but a few were saying, “Praise the Lord!” 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 32

“Why are you praising the Lord?” enquired those upon whom was coming sudden destruction. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 33

“Because we now see what we have been looking for.” 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 34

“If you believed that these things were coming, why did you not tell us?” was the terrible response. “We did not know about these things. Why did you leave us in ignorance? Again and again you have seen us; why did you not become acquainted with us and tell us of the judgment to come, and that we must serve God, lest we perish? Now we are lost!” 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 35

Every church member is to train the intellect, in order that he may gain a clear understanding of the will of God concerning him; every one is to educate the voice, that he may communicate a knowledge of the Scriptures to those who are in ignorance. May God help us to stand, like Daniel, in our lot and place during the days of probation that remain. Parents, teach your children regarding the things that are coming upon the earth, and lead them to prepare to meet their Lord in peace. Gain a knowledge of the Scriptures. Do not fill the head with the nonsense of novels. Brain nerve power is required by those who desire to comprehend the truth so clearly that they can teach it intelligently to others. We have none too much brainpower. Never can we afford to use tobacco, or alcoholic liquors, or any other injurious substance; for we must strive to keep our minds clear for the work of saving souls. The Lord is pleased with those who manifest fervid earnestness in His service. It is the privilege of every one to cultivate faithfully every God-given power. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 36

In that glad day when the Lord will say to every earnest laborer for Him, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” [Matthew 25:23], the ransomed ones will exclaim: “Worthy, worthy, is the Lamb that was slain, and lives again, a triumphant Conqueror.” What joy the worker will then feel in going to those to whom he has spoken with trembling and in fearfulness—those to whom he has opened the Scriptures and with whom he has prayed, thus balancing their souls on the right side. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 37

All true knowledge obtained in this life will be retained by us in heaven. There our education is to be perfected. In the new earth Christ will lead us by the side of the living waters and explain the dark passages of Scripture that we have never been able to understand. All His providences will then be made plain. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 38

We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The youth are to live in accordance with this principle. Their religious influence should be so genuine, their faith in Christ as a personal Saviour so unwavering, that they will never betray their Master as did Judas. This is the experience that we all need to gain. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 39

Before partaking of the sacrament, let us clear the King’s highway by confessing and forsaking every sin. Let us make everything right with our brethren. This will bring joy and peace to our hearts. “If ye keep My commandments,” Christ says to His disciples, “ye shall abide in My love. ... These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” [John 15:10, 11.] 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 40

May God help us to fight the good fight of faith and to clothe ourselves with the whole armor, and, having done all, to stand. The powers of darkness are striving to obtain the mastery of human minds and to educate them in satanic delusions. Where is the church? Where are those who profess godliness? What are the Lord’s people doing to rescue souls from perdition? May God help us to receive the Holy Spirit and to impart our blessings to others. Rich experiences are in store for those who receive of Christ His blessings, that they, in turn, may impart to those in great need of a personal Saviour. Let us watch for souls as do those that must give an account. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 41

May the Lord’s blessing rest upon you, is my prayer. 19LtMs, Ms 102, 1904, par. 42