Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)


Ms 41, 1908

Sermon/Lessons From the First Chapter of Second Peter

Oakland, California

March 12, 1908

Portions of this manuscript are published in 2MCP 387, 389-390, 434-435, 493-494, 673; Te 139, 162.

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 1:1.] 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 1

Here is our dependence. We are not to be dependent on men to direct us. We cannot lean on human agencies, but it is our privilege to look to and trust in Jesus Christ. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 2

“Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” [Verses 2-4.] 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 3

Corruption abounds in our world. It is all around us; and unless we watch diligently, we shall become corrupted and be unable to discern what we must be or what we must do in order to win eternal life. We must be wide-awake. In the matter of our eating and drinking we must use wisdom, denying ourselves of everything that would corrupt the mind or turn our thoughts away from the clear knowledge that we may have in Jesus Christ. Notice the words “exceeding great”—“whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” [Verse 4.] 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 4

We may escape this corruption; but if we do, it will not be by indulgence in harmful or unnecessary desires. We must have all the strength of our minds, in order to know what saith the Lord. We are to study His Word diligently. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 5

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance.” [Verses 5, 6.] Notice that temperance is placed before patience. An intemperate man is seldom a patient man. The drunkard and the tobacco user have by harmful indulgence injured their brain nerve power. One who indulges freely in eating, who overloads the digestive organs until they are unable properly to care for the food eaten, is also an intemperate man and will find it impossible to discern clearly spiritual things. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 6

We must be temperate in our eating and drinking. We must care for the digestive organs and not force upon them a great variety of food. He who gorges himself with many kinds of food at a meal is doing himself injury. It is more important that we eat that which will agree with us than that we taste of every dish that may be placed before us. There is no door in our stomach by which we can look in and see what is going on, so we must use our mind, and reason from cause to effect. If you feel all wrought up and everything seems to go wrong, perhaps it is because you are suffering the consequences of eating a great variety of food. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 7

The digestive organs have an important part to act in our life happiness. God has given us intelligence, that we may learn what we should use as food. Shall we not, as sensible men and women, study whether the things we eat will be in agreement, or whether they will cause trouble? People who have a sour stomach are very often of a sour disposition. Everything seems to be contrary to them, and they are peevish and irritable. If we would have peace among ourselves, we should give more thought than we do to having a peaceful stomach. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 8

We should practice temperance in our labor. It is not our duty to place ourselves where we shall be overworked. Some may at times be placed where this is necessary, but it should be the exception, not the rule. We are to practice temperance in all things. If we honor the Lord by acting our part, He will on His part preserve our health. We should have a sensible control of all our organs. By practicing temperance in eating, in drinking, in dressing, in labor, and in all things, we can do for ourselves what no physician can do for us. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 9

We need to exercise good judgment. We should work out the principles of health reform decidedly, not in a half-way manner, but whole-heartedly, positively. Then we shall be less likely to speak words in the heat of passion. Our words will be studied. We shall consider what effect our words may produce upon those who hear them. We may be speaking to persons who have had trials and difficulties, or who are despondent. Unless we are constantly on guard, we are in danger of speaking words that would better be left unsaid; for they will tempt others to respond in a manner corresponding to our unkind words. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 10

The Lord wants us to be sanctified. We shall have to contend with people of varied dispositions, and we should be in a position where we know how to deal with human minds. We must ask Christ to impress us with words to speak that will be a blessing. And as we help others, we shall be blessed ourselves. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 11

We cannot afford to be in any way a hindrance to others. Each has his own peculiar temptations and trials, and we are to stand in a position where we can help and strengthen the tempted. We are to encourage and, if possible, lift up those what are weak in the faith. By speaking of the promises of God, we may sometimes remove depression from the minds of those who are in trial and difficulty. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 12

When I was visiting the Paradise Valley Sanitarium, about three years ago, I spoke nearly every morning at five o’clock to the workers, and at a later hour to the patients. There was among the patients one man who seemed always depressed. I learned that he believed the theory of the Bible doctrines, but could not exercise faith to appropriate to himself the promises of God. Morning after morning I would speak to the patients about faith and urge them to believe the words of God. Yet this poor man seemed unable to admit that he had faith. I talked with him alone. I would present the truth in every way possible, then I would ask him if he could not believe that Christ was his individual Saviour and would help him. He has said to all who are weary and heavy laden, “Take My yoke upon you.” Do not wear a yoke of your own framing. “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.” [Matthew 11:29.] 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 13

Finally the time came when I must leave. I said to him, “Now, my friend, can you tell me that you have learned to trust that Saviour who has taken so much pains to meet the situation of every soul? Can you and will you trust in Him? Can you tell me, before I leave, that you have received faith to believe God?” He looked up and said, “Yes, I believe. I have faith.” “Thank the Lord,” I replied. I felt that although there were others who had been present and had listened to my talks in the parlor, I had in this case been amply rewarded for all my efforts. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 14

We do not realize how much we lose through unbelief. Without faith we shall be engaged in a losing battle. We have a Saviour who understands every phase of our life. He knows our discouragements, and He knows just what help we need. We want a faith in Him, a faith that works by love and purifies the soul. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 15

We are individually to do what we can for ourselves. We are, so far as possible, to be our own physicians. Many pay large sums of money for one thing or another to help them, when, if they would only deny themselves, and refrain from wrong habits in eating and living, they might save many dollars. When you sit at table, be careful. Do not eat things that disagree; for if you do, you are likely to get into a disagreement with somebody before long. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 16

There was one time in my experience when it was expected that I would live but a little while. I was then a meat-eater and thought I could not possible live without it. I had frequent fainting spells, when it was difficult to restore me to consciousness. Then the light came me: “Use no flesh meat as food. You do not need the flesh of dead animals. There are simple foods that you can eat that will not create a disturbance, and cause fermentation, as does the meat.” 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 17

So I gave up eating meat. I did not like bread, but I began to educate my appetite till I could eat those things that were harmless. Since that time, I have had but very few of those fainting spells, and then only when I have become exhausted or have been poisoned by the breaths of large congregations. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 18

“And to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness.” [2 Peter 1:6, 7.] Do we understand what brotherly kindness means? As those whom Christ has died to redeem, we should be like a family of brothers and sisters. We should treat one another kindly, tenderly. How does God regard those whom He desires to redeem? We read that He “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 19

“If thee things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [2 Peter 1:8.] 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 20

Many times I have praised the Lord for that promise. We have a right to claim it as our own. If we do our part, adding to our characters the virtues that have been spoken of, we may trust the Lord to fulfil His promise that we “shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 21

“But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [Verses 8-11.] 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 22

Here is our everlasting life insurance policy—“If ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” [Verse 10.] It is our privilege to have the reward that remains for the faithful; but we must co-operate with God. Merely talking the truth will not save men who refuse to co-operate with God, who will not place themselves in a position where they can obtain the insurance policy for eternal life. Let us do all we can to secure this everlasting life insurance policy in the kingdom of glory. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 23

“Give diligence to make your calling and election sure.” [Verse 10.] When we manifest diligence in this line, we shall have fewer church trials. There will not be in the church the difficulties that have been seen in some places. Those trials were caused by men who did not heed the words that God sent to them. Their eyes were blinded, and they stumbled in the pathway. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 24

“Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me. Moreover I will endeavor that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 25

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye witnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 26

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” [Verses 12-21.] 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 27

Now I have read these things from the Word of God. How do we regard these promises? Are our hearts softened? I pray the Lord that you may have grace and strength to be free from all the difficulties and disturbances that are caused by finding fault, or charging faults upon others. Shall we not put all such things away? We want Christ formed within, the hope of glory. He loves us with a love that is infinite. 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 28

May the Lord bless the little talks I have given you from morning to morning. I desire that every soul here may enjoy all that it is his privilege to enjoy. I desire that you may all stand where you will have the eternal life insurance policy, so that “an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” [Verse 11.] 23LtMs, Ms 41, 1908, par. 29