Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)


Ms 50, 1904

Sermon/Lessons From the Third Chapter of Revelation

Berrien Springs, Michigan

May 21, 1904

Portions of this manuscript are published in OHC 19; 2MCP 436-437; 5MR 407-408.

A Form of Godliness Without the Power

“Unto the angel of the church in Sardis write: These things saith He that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars, I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” [Revelation 3:1.] 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 1

These words outline a very pitiful condition. They describe those who have a form of godliness without the power thereof, those who have a profession of religion, but do not practice the principles of heaven. Such ones name a name to live, but they are dead. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 2

There is a death that is necessary to growth in grace—the death which we experience when we are buried with Christ in baptism, and rise to live in newness of life, putting away all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong. “Ye are dead,” Paul says, “and your life is hid with Christ in God. And when He who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory.” [Colossians 3:3, 4.] But this is not the death spoken of in the text that I have read. It is the death of self—to the desires and inclinations that would dishonor Christ—that is necessary to growth in grace. God wants us to have this death; for it means eternal life. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 3

Strengthening One Another

“Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die.” [Revelation 3:2.] Here is a duty that we are to perform. When we see one doing wrong, we are to go to him and tell him of the mistakes that he is making. We are not to go to some one else with the report of his wrongdoing. “If thou bring thy gift to the altar,” said Christ, “and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” [Matthew 5:23, 24.] Shall we not heed these words? Shall we not make earnest efforts to help one another by making straight paths for our feet? 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 4

If when one begins to think that some one else has erred, he would look at himself, at his own mistakes, and would then go to the one whom he thinks in error, and in the spirit of Christ, with a heart full of tenderness, talk and pray with him, many misunderstandings would be removed, and many hearts would be filled with hope and courage. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 5

“Hold Fast, and Repent”

“Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white; for they are worthy.” [Revelation 3:3, 4.] 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 6

I thank God that there are those who, even amidst the fearful moral pollution of these last days, have, through the grace of Christ, kept their garments pure and undefiled. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 7

“He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed with white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.” [Verse 5.] 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 8

“And Hast Not Denied My Name”

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth, and no man shutteth, and shutteth, and no man openeth. I know thy works; behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it; for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.” [Verses 7, 8.] 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 9

What is it to deny the name of Christ? It is to profess to believe in Him, and at the same time work directly contrary to His teaching, exerting an influence that draw souls away from Him. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 10

There rests upon each one of us an awful responsibility. We are placed in this world to be witnesses for Christ, to lead others to Him. We are not to live for self, but for the good of others. We have no time for harsh or trivial words, no time for carelessness and indifference, no time to act as the world acts. We have something higher than this to live for. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 11

Have you been converted? Have you taken part in the solemn rite of baptism? And have you since then been dead to the world’s enticements, that you might win those in the world to Christ? When you were baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, you made a solemn pledge that henceforth you would stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel, living a life separate from the customs and fashions of the world. Are you keeping this pledge? 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 12

God does not ask you to do this in your own strength. At your baptism the three highest powers of heaven pledged themselves to aid you in your endeavors to keep separate from the evil practices and habits of the world. In the strength received from above you may live the new life in Christ. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 13

The Light on Health Reform

God’s purpose for His children is that they shall grow to the full stature of men and women in Christ. In order to do this, we must use aright every power of mind and soul and body. We cannot afford to waste any mental or physical strength. Whether we eat or drink or whatsoever we do, we must do all to the glory of God. We must understand and live up to the light that God has given us on health reform. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 14

The principles of health reform mean a great deal to us. When the message first came to me, I was weak and feeble, fainting once or twice a day. I was pleading with God for help, and He opened before me the great subject of health reform. He instructed me that those who were keeping His commandments must be brought into sacred relation with Himself, and that by temperance in eating and drinking they must keep mind and body in the most favorable condition for His service. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 15

I was instructed that the use of flesh meat has a tendency to animalize the nature and to rob men and women of the love and sympathy which they should feel for every one. We are built up from that which we eat, and those whose diet is largely composed of animal food are brought into a condition where they allow the lower passions to assume control of the higher powers of the being. I accepted the light on health reform as it came to me. It has been a great blessing to me. I took my position knowing that the Lord would strengthen me, and He has strengthened me. I have better health today, notwithstanding I am seventy-six years old, than I had in my younger days. I thank God for the principles of health reform, and if there are any here today who have backslidden in this respect, I say to them that God calls upon them to be converted and to take their position in accordance with the light He has given. In denying perverted appetite, you will place yourself where God can co-operate with you. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 16

We do not mark out any precise line to be followed in diet. There are many kinds of wholesome food. But we do say that flesh meat is not the right food for God’s people. It animalizes human beings. In a country such as this, where there are fruits, grains, and nuts in abundance, how can one think that he must eat the flesh of dead animals? 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 17

We have been baptized into Christ, and if we will act our part by separating from everything that would drag us down, and make us what we ought not to be, strength to grow up into Christ will be given us, and we shall see of the salvation of God. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 18

The Hour of Temptation

“Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” [Verse 10.] 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 19

This hour of temptation has come, and it will continue to increase in force and intensity until Christ shall say, “It is done.” “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” [Revelation 16:17; 22:11.] 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 20

“Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” [Revelation 3:11.] 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 21

Satan has summoned the hosts of darkness to war against the saints. We cannot afford to be indifferent to his attacks. He comes in many ways, and we must have clear spiritual discernment, that we may be able to discern when he is seeking to gain possession of our minds. God calls on those on whom the light of truth is shining to take their stand in His army. He calls upon them to show their loyalty by walking in the light He has given. There is a crown of immortal life for us to gain, and we need clear minds, that we may understand plainly what we must do in order to overcome the evil that is striving for the mastery. How can we understand this if we becloud our minds with tea and coffee and unwholesome food. God speaks to us, saying that we must turn away from these things, and let the light of truth shine brightly upon the path of others. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 22

“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God; and I will write upon him My new name.” [Verse 12.] 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 23

What a wonderful, wonderful possibility. Let us study the Word of God more closely than ever before and ask the Lord to give us an understanding of the truths that it contains. “He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood,” Christ says, “hath eternal life.” “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” [John 6:54, 63.] 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 24

“Neither Cold Nor Hot”

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.” [Revelation 3:14-16.] 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 25

These words apply to halfhearted Christians who are not willing to follow Christ, but desire to follow the fashions of the world. The Saviour says, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” [Matthew 16:24.] “So shall he be My disciple.” [See John 15:8.] Deny yourself. Take up the cross that hinders you from perfecting a Christian character. Look to Him whose life was one of constant self-denial and self-sacrifice. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 26

Your profession may be as high as heaven, but if your practice does not correspond to it, if you are lukewarm, God has no place for you in His work. Christ declares, “He that is not with Me is against Me, and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.” [Matthew 12:30.] I would rather take the truth to unbelievers, to poor, ignorant sinners, than to those who have already heard it, but have not purified their hearts by obedience to it. Such ones are very difficult to reach. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 27

“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” [Revelation 3:17.] Are there any here to whom these words apply? If there are, will you not resolve that from this time you will live wholly for God? Will you not change your life of lukewarmness for a life of intense earnestness in the service of God? Will you not separate entirely from the world, and consecrate yourselves to the Lord’s work? 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 28

Many who profess to be Seventh-day Adventists are without the robe of Christ’s righteousness. Were He to come today, they would be unready to meet Him. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 29

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” [Verses 19-22.] 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 30

What Christians Are To Be

In all our dealings, wherever we may be, we are to be perfectly straight forward. We cannot afford to break one of the commandments of God for the sake of worldly gain. Who are we? Christ said to His disciples, “Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is henceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men.” [Matthew 5:13.] 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 31

We are Christians—disciples of Christ—and we are to be as salt that has not lost its savor. We are to exert an influence on the side of right, against the powers of darkness. We are to honor God in all that we do and say; for we belong to Him. Christ has given His life for us, and we owe Him the service of our life. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 32

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” [Verse 14.] We are to stand where the light of truth can shine upon us, and then we are to reflect this to those in darkness. My brethren and sisters, why do you not let your light shine. Why do you withhold from God your offerings of prayer and praise? Why do you not glorify Him? He expects His people to reach the very highest standard of righteousness. They have been given a message of saving truth, and this message they are to give to others. God wants His gospel medical missionaries to stand where He can work through them. He has chosen human beings as His representatives, to make known His power, His goodness, and His love. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 33

What we need is the essence of religion in our hearts. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Verse 16.] These words show what we are to be in the world. We are not to shut ourselves away from the world, neither are we to mingle with worldlings for selfish pleasure, giving them no reason to think that in dress or deportment we are different from them. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 34

The Sign Between God and His People

We are to bear the sign which shows that we are God’s people. What is this sign? We are told very definitely in the thirty-first chapter of Exodus: 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 35

“The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily My sabbaths ye shall keep; for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you.” [Verses 12, 13.] 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 36

It is our privilege to know that we have been sanctified by the Spirit of God. In the strength of Christ we may cleanse ourselves “from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” [2 Corinthians 7:1.] 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 37

“Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you; every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death; for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord; whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.” [Exodus 31:14-16.] 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 38

What then is the sign that we are to bear? It is not an outward badge; but the keeping of the seventh-day Sabbath. This is the sign between us and God that we are His people. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 39

There are many who do not keep the Sabbath as they ought. They break the commandment by polishing their shoes on the Sabbath, or by doing some other work that might have been done the day before. I have been instructed to warn our people to be more careful in regard to their observance of the Sabbath. My brethren and sisters, keep this day holy unto the Lord. Make your preparations on Friday for the Sabbath, and be ready when the Sabbath comes to worship God in quietness and to study His Word. Closely united with Christ, you will be preparing to dwell in the abodes of holiness. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 40

All through the week you are to remember the Sabbath. Your transactions are to be such that when the day of rest comes, you can indeed keep it holy unto the Lord. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 41

Let us begin to serve God in earnest. Let us each night pitch our tents a day’s march nearer home. We cannot afford to forfeit a place in the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for those that love Him. God desires us by our example to teach others the meaning of self-denial and self-sacrifice. There are many cities that have not yet heard the message of truth. Deny yourself, that you may have something to give to hasten the proclamation of truth in these places. They must be worked. Christ gave His life for us. What are we giving Him in return? Do we begrudge the smallest offering, the feeblest effort? 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 42

God calls for firm, steadfast Christians to come to the front now. He calls upon His people to buy of Him the heavenly eyesalve, that they may not move like blind men, stumbling at every step; and the white robe of Christ’s righteousness, that they may be clothed. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 43

May the Lord help you to prepare for the life that measures with the life of God. You cannot afford to lose this life; for it means everlasting happiness and a joy and power and glory that no words of mine can describe. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 44

How many will today pledge themselves to serve God with heart and mind and strength? Do you not want God and Christ and the Holy Spirit to co-operate with you? They are pledged to do this if you will keep your covenant with God. Will you not seek the Lord more earnestly than ever before? I ask those who will promise to do this to stand on their feet and show that they pledge themselves, by the help of God, to obey the principles of truth. (The whole congregation arose.) 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 45

I thank you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. May His Holy Spirit attend the words that have been spoken to you today. I want the help of the Spirit of God every moment, and I want you to have it every moment also. 19LtMs, Ms 50, 1904, par. 46