Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 19 (1904)

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Ms 161, 1904

Sermon/Thoughts on Revelation 1-3

College View, Nebraska

September 17, 1904

Portions of this manuscript are published in CTr 101.

“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.” [Revelation 1:1, 2.] 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 1

Let those who desire a special blessing heed the following words: “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 2

“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits of which are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 3

“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 4

“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” [Verses 3-9.] 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 5

John had a message for the people in his day. But the people became so tired of hearing of Jesus and of the characters they were to perfect through Him, that they even thought to kill the faithful messenger. This plan being thwarted, they banished him to the lone, rocky isle of Patmos. They thought that if he were separated from his fellow men, his testimony would be silenced and he would live out the remainder of his life in mournful solitude. But God was with the lonely exile, and opened to his view the glories of heaven, and the things that “must shortly come to pass.” [Verse 1.] 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 6

John bore no uncertain message. “That which was from the beginning,” he says, “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the Word of life; (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto that eternal life, which was with the Father, and which was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” [1 John 1:1-3.] 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 7

We have, as did John, a message to bear of the things that we have seen and heard. God is not giving us a new message. We are to proclaim the old message that brought us out of the churches in 1843 and 1844. We need the Holy Spirit to kindle in our hearts anew the zeal and earnestness that were then manifested among God’s people. I thank God that there are yet a few living who can remember those days, and who know whereof we speak. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 8

John continues: “These things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” [Verse 5.] 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 9

The Lord does not want us to walk in darkness and perplexity. He desires us to know the truth as it is in Jesus, and wherever we go to proclaim that truth. By word of mouth and also by our life practice, we must reveal Jesus unto the world. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 10

“If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 11

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” [1 John 1:7-10; 2:1-6.] 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 12

We need individually to take heed that in our hearts may abide the truth as it is in Jesus. God has placed none of us on the judgment seat to pronounce sentence against any of the brethren. There is only one Judge—the One who died for us, who took upon Himself our nature, and all the infirmities of humanity, that we might stand on vantage ground with God. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 13

Let us read further concerning John’s message as found in the book of Revelation: 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 14

“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia: unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” [Revelation 1:10, 11.] 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 15

These churches represent the complete church of God—all who shall be saved. We are not to confine our labors to those who have nominally united with the church. We are not to make a Jerusalem center in any place, not even in College View. We have a work to do for those who have never heard the truth, and we should seek earnestly for the power of the Holy Spirit, that as faithful servants of God we may act our part in giving the message to every nation on the earth. Then we shall see the work of salvation accomplished. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 16

To John was given a revelation of God as He will appear to us when He comes in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. He saw a personal being; not an essence. “I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks: and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in His strength. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 17

“And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; the mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches; and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” [Verses 12-20.] 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 18

Every church should be a light in the world. If there is in your church a deadness and a stagnation, come together, as the disciples came together before the day of Pentecost, and plead with God until you receive the light of life. Then let the light shine to all around you. Do not go on from week to week and year to year without knowing whether or not you are in the love of God. When Jesus went away, He promised to send the Holy Spirit, and we have a right to claim that promise. God wants us to work with the power of the Holy Spirit. We need a living, abiding principle within, a principle that will keep us in the truth. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 19

Are we to sit still and say nothing? Let your voice utter the praises of God. Let the world see that you have a living zeal, a living tongue and voice, and let them know that you are heavenbound. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 20

“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” [Revelation 2:1-4.] 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 21

Will you consider your first love, the experience you had when, if you were genuinely converted, you saw, as it were, the face of Him who is invisible, and the brightness of His countenance was upon you? O what light, what power, what love filled your heart! Have you lost that love? We want to carry with us every day the light and power of our first experience. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 22

There are grave responsibilities resting upon us as a people. Every one is to help the one next to him. Every one must strive earnestly to keep his own soul in the love of God, that he may not be a hindrance to others, and that his example shall not cause roots of bitterness to spring up in the hearts of others. It will not pay to lead others into strange paths. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 23

Make Friday a true preparation day for the Sabbath. Make it a rule that when Friday comes you will think over the events of the week, and consider what you have said or done that would misrepresent Christ, or that might be a stumbling block in the way of your neighbor. Make all such things right, and then when you come to the Sabbath meetings, your hearts will not be as cold as a stone, unresponsive to the love of God. You will be susceptible to the influences of the Holy Spirit, and filled with the praise of God. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 24

We must ennoble and lift up the Sabbath if we would keep it holy unto the Lord. God wants to purify and cleanse us. If we are careless about the observance of the Sabbath, doing unnecessary work because we do not realize its sacredness, we need to be converted on this point. Then when we meet together, Christ will be in our midst as He has promised to be with those who have met together in His name. Like John, we will be in the Spirit on the Lord’s day. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 25

God expects greater things of us than we now reveal. He is not glorified by our dwelling on the lowlands; He calls us to a higher platform, that His church may be the light of the world. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 26

Bring your cases to the Lord, and cast your helpless souls upon Jesus Christ. Wrestle as did Jacob, until you will obtain the victory. You remember how he wrestled all night with an enemy, as he supposed. God could have easily taken away his strength, but finally He touched Jacob’s thigh, and it was put out of joint. Then Jacob realized that this was no enemy, and in response to the entreaty “Let me go, for the day breaketh,” Jacob responded, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” [Genesis 32:26.] And when we seek with such an intensity for the blessing of God, we shall receive it. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 27

Return to your first love. We want a revival of our old message and experiences. Let no man take this message from you. Let no one come in with his masterly sophistries and steal away your Lord, leaving you without Christ and without God. Cling to the mighty One, and you will see His power again manifested as we have not seen it for many years. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 28

When we first received the message that Christ was to come in the clouds of heaven, we had the power and the Spirit of God, as we proclaimed these truths. We lived the truth, and the truth made us free. Praise and thanksgiving to God were heard in our meetings, and as the people went home from those meetings, their voices would be heard in the streets praising God. But we have lost our first love, and we must revive it. When the love of Christ is in your hearts, there will be thanksgiving and praise. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 29

“Remember therefore from whence thou are fallen.” This is a moral fall. “Repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” [Revelation 2:5.] There is a reformatory work to be done in our churches. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 30

“And 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 161, 1904, par. 31

When Christ lives in us, we will reveal, both in our home, and outside of our home, His love, His grace, and His power. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 32

“Be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.” [Verse 2.] 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 33

Eternal interests are at stake with every one of us. We shall all be tried and tempted. Many act as though there were no devil, no tempter, no conflict between good and evil. Unless you realize that you have something to contend against, your feet will slip from under you. Some one will come to your churches with a message, and you will be unable to discern light from darkness, and be just as likely to accept the darkness as the light. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 34

“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.” [Verse 3.] 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 35

Many are bringing themselves into close affinity to the world. Many have not heeded the light that has called upon us to place our children under the best influences, where they will hear the truth. Many have not yet heeded the instruction of the Lord to take their children from the public schools, and place them in schools where they can learn the truths of the Word of God, line upon line, and precept upon precept. Their education should be made preparatory to the education that is to be continued in the higher school above. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 36

When the judgments of God were about to fall upon the land of Egypt, Christ gave instruction through Moses that the children of Israel were to call their children in and keep them under their own roof. If any should be found in the houses of the Egyptians, they would not escape the plagues. Keep your children close to you, and, so far as possible, away from worldly and evil influences. The Lord wants you to prepare your children for the future, immortal life. Unless we are careful, our children will imbibe the same spirit of unbelief that was revealed among the Israelites of old, by reason of which God could not bring them into the promised land. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 37

Let us put on the whole armor of God and act like men who are waiting for their Lord to come in the clouds of heaven. When you do this, souls will be converted. Your ministers will not labor month after month and bring no one into the truth. We are to hunt and fish for men. Sometimes you will catch fish, and sometimes you will not, but we are to persevere in the work of God, knowing that He has given us a message to unbelievers, a message that will win its way to many hearts. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 38

“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. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” [Verses 4, 5.] Do we need greater inducement than this? 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 39

“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.” [Verse 7.] 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 40

Do not cast your helpless soul on any one but Jesus Christ. He is the One that openeth. He is the One that closeth. But be sure that you enter the open door that Christ has opened that you may approach unto Him. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 41

“I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou has a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” [Verse 8.] 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 42

Cannot the Lord say more of us than that we have a little strength? He acknowledges even the little strength, but we want a greater power. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 43

“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou has 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. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 44

“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 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.” [Verses 9-12.] 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 45

The rest of the chapter I will not read today, but I ask you to consider the message to the Laodicean church. Its members are neither cold nor hot. They get angry when they please, they do wickedly when they please, and they are so obnoxious to God that He says He will spue them out of His mouth. Yet He gives them precious counsel and speaks words of hope. Notwithstanding their terrible condition, He says, “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 sup with him, and he with me.” [Verse 20.] 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 46

I leave you to think of these words of Christ. And remember that during this meeting is a good time to seek the Lord with all your heart. 19LtMs, Ms 161, 1904, par. 47