Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 21

293/340

Ms 97, 1906

Sermon/A New Commandment

San Jose, California

July 2, 1905

Portions of this manuscript are published in CTr 214. +Note

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” [John 14:1-3.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 1

Christ was nearing the time of His crucifixion, and these last chapters of the book of John contain a precious record of His last interviews with His disciples. He desired them to be prepared for the trials that were before them. In the later part of the previous chapter we read: 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 2

“Therefore when he (Judas) was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him. Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek Me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go ye cannot come; so now I say to you.” [John 13:31-33.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 3

“Little children”—how tenderly Christ regarded these disciples who had been so closely associated with Him for three years! Now He was about to leave them, and He said: 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 4

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another;” and how much?—“as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 5

“Simon Peter said unto Him, Lord, whither goest Thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go thou canst not follow Me now; but thou shalt follow Me afterwards. Peter said unto Him, Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now? I will lay down my life for Thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for My sake? Verily, verily I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied Me thrice.” [Verses 34-38.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 6

Can we not, from Peter’s experience, see the danger of self-confidence, without a reliance and a faith that can stand the test of temptation? 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 7

Now I read further from the fourteenth chapter: 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 8

“And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 9

“Thomas saith unto Him, Lord, we know not whither Thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also: and from henceforth ye know Him, and have seen Him. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 10

“Philip saith unto Him, Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip? He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father.” [Verses 4-12.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 11

What an assurance is this! Christ is in heaven working in our behalf. He presents our petitions to the Father, pointing to His wounded hands and pierced side. “I have graven them upon the palms of My hands,” He says. [Isaiah 49:16.] A true belief in the work of the Father and of the Son in our behalf is worth everything to us. It is a pledge of our salvation. The wounded hands, the pierced side of our Lord stand as a revelation of infinite love—love expressed for you and for me. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 12

In view of such love, what is our duty?—We are to seek for that spirit of love expressed in the words: 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 13

“Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek Me; and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” [John 13:33, 34.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 14

Why was this a new commandment? Christ, in His death on the cross, was about to give a manifestation of His love—such an expression of love as had never before been heard of. “A new commandment”—it is to “love one another, as I have loved you.” [Verse 34.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 15

With many it has become a habit to seek for something to condemn in some one else. What God wants you to do is to take care of number one. And when you get in right relation to God, when you see the necessity of that faith and love that is expressed in this “new commandment,” which is illustrated by the death of Christ, I say to you that there will be a great change in the character of believers. There will be a mighty awakening among God’s people. Among officers in the church and officers in the conference, there will be a manifestation of the love of Christ in their hearts. They will study to know the meaning of the new commandment. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 16

“As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” [Verse 34.] Christ’s love for us led Him to Calvary. Laying off His royal robe, stepping down from the high command of the angels in heaven, He came as a lowly babe, born and laid in a manger in Bethlehem. He might have brought with Him to this world legions of angels. But, no. He came to fill the humblest position, to bear all the temptation to which men are subject. Thus He gave an example to our world of what humanity may become. He was tempted just as strongly as any one of the human family can be tempted. Through His ministration He has made it possible for us to become partakers of the divine nature. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 17

“As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” [Verse 34.] Then what is our work?—It is to seek earnestly for that love in the heart that Christ will give to each of His followers who will eat of His flesh, and drink of His blood—which means to receive His words. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 18

Christ spoke of our duty to love God and man in His interview with a certain lawyer. This lawyer hoped that Christ might be condemned by something that would proceed from His lips. He “stood up, and tempted Him saying, Master, What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” [Luke 10:25.] To his surprise, the question was thrown back upon him: 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 19

“What is written in the law? How readest thou?” [Verse 26.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 20

The lawyer answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” [Verse 27.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 21

“Thou hast answered right,” said Jesus, “this do, and thou shalt live.” [Verse 28.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 22

To every soul in this congregation is given a promise of a life that measures with the life of God. “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” [Verse 25.]—The answer to this question was not given alone to the lawyer: it is for every one of us. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 23

“And thy neighbor as thyself.” [Verse 27.] Let no one do injustice to his neighbor, especially to the children of God, who are working with all the strength of their being to do His will. Do not, I beg of you, do or say anything that may bring sadness and sorrow and grief to their hearts; for Christ will regard it as though it were done to Himself. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 24

We need to practice this new commandment, “As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” [John 13:34.] That is what we need, and God will help us if we will only do as He bids us. He has opened before us a new and wonderful chapter of love—“Love, as I have loved you.” Nothing short of this can be an adequate response to the great sacrifice of Christ in coming to our world to give His life for us, to stand at the head of humanity, that humanity may take hold of divinity. With His long human arm He has encircled the race, while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite. Thus we are linked through Him to the Father. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 25

If each one will now humble his own heart, take heed to his own individual course of action, and take the Word of God just as it reads, we shall see one of the greatest reformations passing through all of our churches that we have ever seen. God calls upon us to take hold upon Him and to work intelligently. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 26

“Philip saith unto Him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip?” [John 14:8, 9.] The quivering lips of Christ testified of His grief because they did not know Him better in this their hour of trial. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 27

“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father, that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to My Father. And whatsoever ye ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 28

“If ye love Me, keep My commandment. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” [Verses 10-18.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 29

When you feel discouraged or disconsolate, do not run to your neighbor with your troubles. This is not right. Man leaning upon man, man dealing with man as though he were appointed to a work of lifting up or of casting down his brethren, as he thinks best. God calls for every one to stand in a sanctified knowledge that Christ is abiding in him, and he is Christ. Then what will he do when he is in trouble? He will come right to the Word and see what it says. “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 30

“Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more; but ye see Me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you. He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.” [Verses 18-21.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 31

Why do we not take Christ at His word? When I was in Australia some would write to me, sending letters across the waters of the Pacific asking for counsel. Oh, did they not know that there was One by their side who was inviting them to believe in Him, to trust in Him, to receive the knowledge that He longed to impart? They should not trust in man, nor make flesh their arm. I tried to persuade these poor souls to look to God for counsel, but such letters continued to come all the time I was there. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 32

Every one of us should have in ourselves a sure and a blessed hope. We should love Jesus Christ according as He has loved us. Then we may go to Him freely, even as children go to their parents to ask them for the things they need. He says, “I will love him, and will manifest Myself unto him.” [Verse 21.] Do you believe it? You may come to Christ, saying, “Lord, you have said it, and I take You at Your word.” 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 33

You may say, I do not feel any particular blessing in my heart. What do you want? Do you want more than the Word of God Himself? Feeling is just as distinct from faith as the east is from the west. It is not feeling that we want; it is faith, a living faith. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 34

As you follow in the line of duty, as you seek to save souls ready to perish, as you go out in the different towns and localities around here, as you labor in Oakland and different cities, teaching others to serve God and to glorify Him, do you not believe that the light of heaven will come into your souls? Christ will stand close beside you. He will impress and convict the minds of those for whom you labor. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 35

“Judas saith unto Him, (not Iscariot) Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him. He that loveth Me not keepeth not My sayings: and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent Me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father shall send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” [Verses 22-26.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 36

You may have the presence of the Comforter, if you will only believe it. We want a deeper and a richer and a more elevated experience in the things of God. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 37

“And He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” [Verse 26.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 38

All the precious lessons of instruction that Jesus had given to His disciples were to be brought to their memory. They would search the Scriptures. They would study the Scriptures of the Old Testament; for they had not the New Testament then. Some of them wrote a record of what Jesus had said and done. They carried in their minds not only the words themselves, but they remembered the force of the emphasis and the love that was in the voice that spoke them. By faith they grasped the divine truths and brought them into their lives. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 39

Jesus continues, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved Me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for My Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me. But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so do I. Arise let us go hence.” [Verses 27-31.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 40

Here is outlined the very work that we individually are to do. My dear friends, if I could see the converting power of God come into our churches, it seems to me I should be the happiest mortal alive. They have the Bible, the truth of the Word. They have had it line upon line, precept upon precept, but they have not in their hearts that love which Christ desires—“As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” [John 13:34.] They love themselves; they live for themselves. Oh, they need to open the heart to the love of Christ. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 41

Then when we associate together, we shall not pick flaws in one another. This makes souls weak and sick spiritually. But we will encourage one another, we will labor for each other’s conversion, we will pray for and with each other, we will speak words of kindness, words that will help others to come in right relation to God. May the Lord let His Holy Spirit rest upon every one of us, and may we see the salvation of God, as we have not seen it yet. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 42

I will now read a few words from the first chapter of Revelation: 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 43

“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.” [Verse 1.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 44

Where did the angel find John?—He found him on the isle of Patmos. Wicked men had tried to take his life, but they could not do it, so they had banished him to that rocky isle. They thought that he would be discouraged and soon die, and that they would not be troubled further by his testimony. But it was a happy place for the aged disciple. Every day he communed with God, and words of praise fell from his lips, even on that lonely, rocky isle. God revealed Himself to John in a most signal manner, and the words he there wrote under the inspiration of God have lived through the ages. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 45

John “bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 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.” [Verses 2, 3.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 46

Then comes the testimony to the seven churches: “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 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 forever and ever.” [Verses 4-6.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 47

What is our obligation to Him who has died for us? We are to manifest the traits of His character. We are to wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. We are to reveal the blessedness of the character of our Redeemer. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 48

He “hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.” [Verse 6.] In the book of Hebrews in studying the priesthood, we find that the priests were those who presented to the Father their own case, and also the cases of others. They were to work diligently for the salvation of souls. But there are some today, even among those who are preaching the gospel, who need a new conversion. And unless they are converted, they will dishonor their Redeemer. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 49

“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. 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.” [Revelation 1:7-9.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 50

We ourselves will soon know something about trials, and we shall want a living experience in and through the sanctification of the truth. I beg of every teacher of the Word to consider himself one with Christ’s little ones, to learn of Him continually. God would have us consider that every slight that is placed on one of His little children is placed upon Him. He wants every soul of us to put on the whole armor, including the gospel shoes. He does not ask any one to take off his shoes and put them on to some one else. Every one of us must have our own feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. This we must have today and every day. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 51

What is soon coming upon us?—Seducing spirits are coming in. If God has ever spoken by me, you will hear before long of a wonderful science—a science of the devil. Its aim will be to make of no account God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. Some will exalt this false science, and through them Satan will seek to make void the law of God. Great miracles will be performed in the sight of men in behalf of this wonderful science. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 52

But in the midst of these great deceptions, it is our privilege to hide ourselves in Jesus Christ. It is possible for us to seek and to obtain salvation. But God calls upon us now to take off from His workers every dominating hand. Let each understand his individual duty before God and not feel himself a master and a controlling power. For God forbids this. He has not appointed man to rule. He who is himself under control to God will know his place. No man is to be a denominating power, for God alone can be this. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 53

We have a God who is our Commander and our Ruler. We have a Saviour, and we are not to exchange them for the word of any man that lives. Now God wants us to come into right relation to Him. He wants every voice to be sanctified. He wants all there is of us—soul, body, and spirit—to be fully sanctified. It is time that we began to know that we are fastened to the Lord Jesus Christ by a living, active faith, and to take hold of Christ and the Holy Spirit of God. Let our petitions come up before God. Let us believe in Him, and trust in Him, and we shall see His mighty power working among us. I will read further: 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 54

“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.” [Verses 10, 11.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 55

Almost the last view that John had seen of Christ was when He was hanging in human agony upon the cross, and the priests and rulers who had caused His death were mocking Him: “If Thou be the Christ, come down from the cross, and we will believe on Thee.” “He saved others; Himself He cannot save.” [Matthew 27:40, 42.] These words were true. But in His very death He was making provision to save you and me. He suffered the death penalty for us, that we may take hold of His life and have a life that measures with the life of God. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 56

Since Christ has done so much for us, why should we not labor, as He has bidden us, to “go into all the world, and preach the gospel,” teaching to men, “whatsoever I have commanded you.” “And lo,” He adds, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:19, 20.] Why shall we not do the work that God has left for us to do? 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 57

If you feel a spirit of controversy with any one, just go out somewhere and speak of the love of Christ to souls who need a testimony in favor of the truth. Speak of the loveliness of Christ, and the wicked spirit that has been in your heart will depart. What we need is an experience in overcoming the enemy, and in clinging to the Mighty One. We cannot afford to lose everlasting life. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 58

I must tell you that heaven is to be sought for, to be prayed for, to be worked for. We cannot, with our unconverted traits of character, drift into heaven. Will you ask God to let His Spirit rest upon you, and will you believe that He gives it to you? Exercise faith, and praise God: do not wait till you feel it. God will perform His word, but He wants us to believe Him. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 59

John beholds the seven candlesticks, and in their midst he sees the Son of God, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt with a golden girdle. Oh, He has not on the poor garments that He put on for our sakes. He is clothed in glory and brightness. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 60

“His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a 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 two-edged sword; and His countenance was as the sun shining in his strength. 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 forevermore, 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.” [Revelation 1:14-20.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 61

As you read the next two chapters critically, you will see that there is a power that will come as you humble your hearts before God, a power such as you have not yet realized. God wants His love to abide in us. We can have it, every one of us. We may have a love for the souls for whom Christ has died. Our loveless, cold indifference must pass away. No one must feel that it is his privilege to set up or cast down others as he sees fit. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 62

Do not spend time in controversy with those who bring up objections; for the enemy will suggest to other minds enough to occupy your time in combatting them. Your strength is to keep to the affirmative. When the devil met Christ in the wilderness, Christ did not enter into controversy with him. Satan tempted Him to perform a miracle to create bread. Had Christ done this, He would have given the enemy a decided advantage; for Satan might have given a similar evidence of his own power. But what did Christ say, “It is written,” “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” [Matthew 4:4.] 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 63

So today if men bring to you objections to the truth, and try to stir you up, do not became excited. Keep on the track of the affirmative. Affirm the truth, Thus saith the Lord, and let me tell you, the enemy will soon desire to get out of your presence. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 64

I am charged with a message to our ministers and our people everywhere. For Christ’s sake, let us lay aside the warfare the enemy would have us put on. Let us begin to work in earnest to overcome our hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil. Let us plead with God to take away the wicked propensity to faultfinding, and in its place to give us the life and the love of Christ. Then you will see the salvation of God in large measure. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 65

We have a heaven to win, and Christ wants us to have it. He died that we might have it. Every soul who is saved in the kingdom of God will give the glory to Him, not to any man. Christ will open for us the golden gates; He will invite you to enter. A golden harp will be placed in your hand, and you will sing a song of triumph: “Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to win us to God and to heaven.” 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 66

And we must enter heaven here below, or we shall never enter the heaven hereafter. Right here on this earth we must begin to live the life of Christ, and then it will be a heaven to you and it will be a heaven to those who associate with you. Then you will desire to help others, to lift up those who are cast down and despondent. And at last you will see the King in His beauty, you will behold His matchless charms, and, touching the golden harp, fill heaven with rich music and songs to the Lamb. 21LtMs, Ms 97, 1906, par. 67