Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)

331/345

Ms 158, 1904

Sermon/Thoughts on John 17

Omaha, Nebraska

September 10, 1904

Previously unpublished.

“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee; as Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him.” [John 17:1, 2.] 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 1

Now we come to a very important verse. Bear in mind that these words were spoken in the last prayer that Christ made with His disciples just before His trial and crucifixion. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 2

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou has sent. I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” [Verses 3-5.] 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 3

These words were spoken by Christ, as He realized that the very next turn of the wheel would bring Him to the bitter experience of Gethsemane. It was but a very short time after, He was praying to His Father: “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” [Matthew 26:39.] The cup of humiliation and suffering was trembling in the Saviour’s hand. Should He drink of it? Should He take upon His divine soul the sins of the world? Should He take upon His soul the weight of the sins of the world, that man might have another opportunity of eternal life? 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 4

Christ, the King of glory, laid aside His royal robe, laid off His kingly crown, clothed His divinity with humanity, that He might stand at the head of the human family. O I want that every one here shall consider the great sacrifice that our Lord and Saviour has made in our behalf! The cup trembled in His hand. The enemy tempted Him with the suggestion that if He should take upon Him the sins of the world He would be lost forever; that He could never again have the favor of His Father, for He knew how offensive sin was to Him. Great drops of perspiration fell from Him brow and moistened the sod of Gethsemane. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 5

In His agony, He staggered to the place where He had left His disciples, hoping that at least He might find them praying. But they were all asleep. Only a little while before Peter had asserted that he would go with his Master even to death, but he was sleeping with the others. Jesus, knowing the trials before them, bade them to watch and pray lest they enter into temptation. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 6

We shall all have to meet strong temptations, but the important question is, Shall we enter into the temptations that may come? Shall we do wrong because we are tempted? Or shall we so closely connect ourselves with God that the tempter may have no victory over us? 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 7

Jesus continues His prayer: “I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gave them Me; and they have kept Thy word.” [John 17:6.] 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 8

O what a blessed commendation! May the Lord of heaven open our understanding, that we shall know what it means to be a practical Christian. We all need the deep movings of the Spirit of God upon our hearts, that we may possess the mind of Christ, that we may reveal His sweetness and His overcoming grace. Then we shall not grieve the One who has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 9

Only think of what He bore for us! Three times He came to His disciples, finding them asleep each time. The third time He said, “Sleep on now, and take your rest.” [Matthew 26:45.] 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 10

When the enemy comes in like a flood, shall we be able to lift up a standard against him? Shall we be deceived by the work of the enemy in his endeavors to undermine the foundations of the faith that we have preached for over half a century? Can we not discern the power of God that has wrought for us as we have carried the truth to every nation and kindred and tongue and people, as far as we could reach them? We must keep in close harmony with Christ Jesus. Every conceivable sophistry will be brought into the world in these last days of peril. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 11

We must be so rooted and grounded in faith that we shall not be deceived even by the strongest miracle-working power of Satan. The sick will appear to be healed. Agents of Satan will appear and pretend that they are Christ. Apparently they will do His work in healing the sick. The devil has power to bring on disease. He withdraws his power from an individual, and lo, he is wonderfully healed. We cannot depend upon the miracle-working power of healing the sick as an evidence to mark the people of the living God. What then can we rely upon? 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 12

Jesus said, “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life.” What is it to eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God? “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [John 6:54, 63.] You see that your souls are firmly established in regard to the truth for this time, as revealed in the Word of God, and you will never be moved by the sophistries that are flooding our world. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 13

One great deception that is coming in is what is known as hypnotism. Institutions are being established for the purpose of teaching how to control the minds of men and women. But the mind that has been given up to the control of another mind can never again be as it was before. It has been surrendered. I want you to remember this, for you may be invited to obtain relief from sickness by giving up your mind to be controlled by some one else. But neither he who takes the control of another’s mind nor he who surrenders his mind to the control of another can ever be in the condition he was before this experience. This is a work that God has never appointed any human being to do for another. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 14

What shall we do in our distress and trouble? “Come unto me,” says Jesus, “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.] As you bear His yoke, you will find by experience the truthfulness of the words, “For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Thank God for this. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 15

“James, a servant of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall in divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” [James 1:1-4.] O, we have an experience to gain in the religious life that we have not yet gained. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 16

“If any of you lack wisdom,”—you see it does not merely address the ministers or the medical missionaries—“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” [Verse 5.] 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 17

He upbraideth not! O the beauty of that! Is it hard for you, if any one comes to ask counsel of you, not to upbraid because of the mistakes made, especially if his trouble has come because he has done a certain thing that you cautioned him against doing? 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 18

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” [Verse 5.] While I was in Australia, letters were sent to me from hundreds and thousands of miles, to ask counsel in regard to some little family trouble. The ones who sent these letters might have taken counsel with the ministers of their churches. But there was Someone else from whom they could have received wisdom. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” He is well acquainted with you. He knows everything connected with your life. He understands your heart, better than you yourself. He giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not. And if he asks God for wisdom, “It shall be given him.” [Verse 5.] 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 19

Supposing I should tell you, “If any of you get into trouble, let me know about it, and I will get you out of that trouble.” You would remember that. You would remember my name, you would find out where I lived, and all about how you might obtain this deliverance. You have One who knows and understands all about your afflictions, and He has promised that He will give liberally, and He upbraideth not. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 20

“But let him ask in faith.” [Verse 6.] That is the one condition upon which the promise of answer to prayer is based. You are to exercise faith in Christ, and believe that He will give you what you have asked. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 21

“Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” [Verses 6-8.] 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 22

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” [Verse 12.] 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 23

Shall we be deceived by some one who has made a study of sophistries, who may say to us, You are mistaken in your belief? Here is something else you should investigate. You must be so well established upon the Word of God that you will not be wavering, like a wave of the sea. Take the Word of God just as it reads, and thank Him for the wonderful revelation of truth He has given us. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 24

Before I came here, it seemed a question as to whether I ought to come to his place. I dread the cars. And I dread also to stand before a company of people who have known the truth for years, and yet who are easily moved away, by the false sentiments which some may bring to their attention. “We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” [Hebrews 3:14.] Your confidence in the truth should increase every day, and it will if you live the truth. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 25

I ask you if you think that the enemy, who has had the experience of thousands of years in his great work of deception, who has vast armies at his command, will allow these last days of earth’s history to pass by without bringing into action all his deceptive powers to bear upon men who are seeking to exalt themselves? 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 26

You cannot afford to exalt yourselves. John writes to the church, and addresses all as “my little children.” [1 John 2:1.] I would address you all, gray-haired men and women, as God’s little children. Our Father is in the heavenly courts, but He has not left us alone. He has sent His Holy Spirit to this earth. We are to believe in the agency of the Holy Spirit, as well as to believe in the Father and the Son. At our baptism we went down into the water, and were baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. We made a solemn pledge to God, and these three highest powers of heaven were pledged in our behalf, that we should be overcomers. Now, it would be a terrible thing if, with this power at our command, we fail to perfect a character that will fit us for eternal life. Shall we yield to the little annoyances of life, to pride and pleasure, when a whole heaven of power is at our command? 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 27

Do we realize how we grieve the heart of God by our sinfulness? I feel so thankful that your hearts have been stirred to give liberally at this meeting to the cause of God in needy fields. Jesus has said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” [Matthew 6:19-21.] A few months ago, I wrote to a brother, and asked him to lend me some money on interest, that I might invest it in the work of God. He had given his sons their portion of money, but they had persuaded him to invest all he could spare in some land. The father had set the money aside for the Lord, but he wrote me that to save trouble in his family, he had yielded to his sons’ wishes in this matter. That was God’s money that had been entrusted to him as a steward, but like the servant in the parable, he has buried his money in the earth. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 28

As Christ hung on the cross of Calvary, the thief said to Him, “Lord, remember me, when thou comest in thy kingdom.” [Luke 23:42.] Christ could not reach out His hand to him; it was nailed to the cross, but ever in that hour He revealed His power to forgive sins. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 29

The Lord is soon coming in the clouds of heaven with power and with great glory. His terrible judgments are soon to fall upon our world. Are we doing all we can to warn earth’s inhabitants of these things? While I was in the South a few months ago, I had a very impressive dream. I seemed to see a great ball of fire come from heaven and strike the earth. Great houses were in flames, and many were looking on in great distress. Some one said, “I knew that this was coming. I knew that God’s judgments were soon to fall.” “You knew that these things were coming?” said another. “Why did you not tell us? Why did you not warn us, and show us the prophecies, that we might also know?” 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 30

I am so thankful to meet you all here today, and I hope that we may meet in the kingdom of God. Will you not go from this place with your hearts burning with love of God? Do not go away with the same spirit that you came. God has better things for us than we have yet seen. 19LtMs, Ms 158, 1904, par. 31