Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)


Ms 47, 1908

Sermon/As Little Children

Lodi, California

May 7, 1908

This manuscript is published in entirety in 2SAT 299-304. +Note

“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto Him and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily, I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the midst of the sea.” [Matthew 18:1-6.] 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 1

The child in its simplicity manifests a humility that should be manifest among the children of God. How can we but feel humble when we consider how Jesus Christ, the Majesty of heaven, took it upon Himself, even at the cost of His own life, to rescue a fallen race? In doing this He took upon Himself the nature of weak, sinful humanity and came to this world to battle with the powers of darkness. In His work of overcoming sin, He opened the way, so that every one that will receive Him as his Saviour may also be an overcomer. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 2

Let us be careful that we do not offend one of the little ones that believes in Jesus. All about us are souls that are tempted. They know not how to receive from Christ the grace and help that He can give. As Christians we are ever to stand ready to help such ones. With all the powers of our influence we are to seek to draw to Jesus Christ those that are in need of His grace. We are not to stand in indifference and coldness, with no sympathy for those who are tempted. We must work one for another. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 3

We are laborers together with God. Jesus says of His disciples, “Ye are the light of the world.” “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 5:14, 16.] Those who have a knowledge of the Scriptures are not to hide their light under a bushel. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 4

There are souls to be saved. It was at a tremendous sacrifice that the Father gave His only begotten Son to die a shameful death. Jesus’ experience on earth was necessary, in order that no one might truthfully say that Christ could not enter into sympathy with him in his temptations. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 5

While Christ was hanging in agony on the cross, one of the thieves that at first railed on Him repented, and said to Him, “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee today, Thou shalt be with Me in paradise.” [Luke 23:42, 43.] Satan then trembled for his kingdom. He knew it would be destroyed. Jesus had withstood all his temptations, He had patiently endured cruel persecution, and now with a note of triumph in His voice, He could promise salvation to a poor, repentant sinner. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 6

Christ has paid the debt of sin for the whole world. In His great sacrifice, He embraces old and young. He endured the <inconvenience of> poverty, in order that He might bring to mankind the priceless riches of the heavenly home. He who was the Son of God, equal with His Father, He who made the worlds has died to save every soul that will come to Him. How terrible it is for any one to refuse to co-operate with Him, <and> to work against Him! 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 7

Every one who will help these little ones is doing the will of God. “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones,” Christ declares, “it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea.” [Matthew 18:6.] It is a very serious matter to lay stumbling blocks in the way of others. Especially should we seek to keep the little ones in our own families, as far as possible, from the temptations of Satan. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 8

Fathers and mothers, you are responsible for your children. Be careful under what influences you place them. Do not, by scolding or fretting, lose your own influence over them for good. You are to guide them, not to stir up the passions of their mind. Whatever provocation you may have, be sure that the tone of your voice betrays no irritation. Do not let them see in you a manifestation of the spirit of Satan. This will not help you to fit and train your children for the future, immortal life. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 9

“Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” [Verses 7-9.] 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 10

If anything stands in the way of our surrender to Christ, even though it be as dear to us as a hand or a foot or an eye, it will be to our interest to let it go, rather than to lose eternal life. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 11

“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do alway behold the face of My Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to seek and save that which was lost.” [Verses 10, 11.] 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 12

The children are God’s property, and it is the duty of every church member to take an interest in their salvation. Because some children do not belong to your own family is no excuse for neglecting or mistreating them. You are to co-operate with Christ in seeking and saving that which has been lost. Let us not shrink from bearing responsibilities. I thank the Lord that I have in the past taken some responsibilities in caring for children. I have taken several into my own home, and have done my best to educate and train them for God. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 13

The work of saving the children must begin in the home. If the mother has a hasty temper, she should seek earnestly to overcome it. Let her remember that she is not to provoke her children to wrath. By exercising patience under trial, she may be the means of bringing her children under the influence of the Spirit of God, so that they may respond to it. The father and the mother are responsible for the maintenance of religion in the home. We should pray to God much more than we do. There is great strength and blessing in praying together in our families, with and for our children. When my children have done wrong, and I have talked with them kindly and then prayed with them, I have never found it necessary after that to punish them. Their hearts would melt in tenderness before the Holy Spirit that came in answer to prayer. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 14

I see great possibilities for the proper training of children situated, as you are here, away from the contaminating influences that are found in the large cities. You are not so crowded together, but that you can keep your children under your own influence. O what a gain it will be if you can so educate and train your children, that when you come up to the gates of the city of God, a blessing may be pronounced upon you and upon your children! 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 15

God has a tender regard for the children. He wants them to gain victories every day. Let us all endeavor to help the children to be overcomers. Do not let offenses come to them from the very members of their own family. Do not permit your actions and your words to be of a nature that your children will be provoked to wrath. Yet they must be faithfully disciplined and corrected when they do wrong. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 16

“How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, He rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” [Verses 12-14.] 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 17

Will our ministers remember that it is not the particular duty of a minister of the gospel to hover over the churches? Those who do not labor for the salvation of others will soon lose their own confidence in God. All who profess to understand the plan of salvation have a special work to do for those around them, ever to be ready to speak a word in season to them that are ready to perish. If it is your desire to honor and glorify, not yourself, but God, He will give you a work to do that will result in the salvation of souls. But you yourselves must be in right relation with God before you can lead others to Him. You must have a humility that God can accept. Then He will be able to impress your mind and give you a fitness for His service. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 18

“Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he will hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” [Verses 15-18.] 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 19

If these directions were faithfully carried out whenever a brother or a sister is thought to be in wrong, there would be fewer church trials. God would be pleased to have His people cease to criticize their brethren one to another. We must come into unity with God and with one another. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 20

“Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” [Verses 19, 20.] 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 21

If when you find the battle is strong, you would go to one of two of your brethren and sisters, and unite with them in seeking the Lord, you might often find peace and comfort. The holy angels would be with you, and your prayers would be heard by your Father in heaven. You would be better fitted for your responsibilities in the home. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 22

We do not half believe the Lord. Suppose we try to come into right relation with Him, and know that He will surely teach us, and lead us, and guide us, and bless us. Let us cast our helpless souls on Jesus Christ. If you are provoked, remember that silence is eloquence. Do not become angry. Here in this world we are in our preparatory school, being fitted to enter the school in the higher courts above. One of the lessons that we must learn here is the lesson of self-control. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 23

In all our troubles and difficulties it is our privilege to look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. He wants us to unite with Him in finishing His work on the earth. If we act our part faithfully now, we shall, when He comes, receive a crown of life. We shall obtain the reward that is granted to every overcomer. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 24

We cannot bear the thought that the King of glory, the mighty Counselor shall have come to our world and died for us in vain. We want to accept the great gift, and to be laborers together with God in obeying the principles of His Word. Let us live a life of simplicity. We are not living for the world. We are not seeking its flattery or its compliments. There is a world to save. Christ has done all that He can do for its salvation, and He desires us to do what we can do to raise up churches for Him in new places. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 25

“Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” [1 John 3:1-3.] 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 26

Here is our work today. We are to carry on constantly a work of soul purification. We must cling to the mighty One and walk in humility. God wants parents and children to be overcomers. He desires them to conquer their own natural spirit, and to gain the victory over the great enemy of righteousness, who is playing the game of life for our souls. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 27

We are told that “whoso offereth praise glorifieth God.” [See Psalm 50:23.] How much do we glorify God by our praises? We frequently hear the expression, “I am so sorry.” Have we not heard enough sorry stories? Let us tell some stories that will uplift and bring cheer and courage. Let us tell what it means to be an overcomer. With the sunshine of heaven in our hearts, let us praise and glorify God. Let there be no quarrelling among us, no differences. With sanctified lips and tongues, let us sing the praises of God, even though we may feel discouraged. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 28

In times of discouragement, there are evil angels by our side. But angels of heaven are also with us; and as soon as we strike a note of praise to God, His angels shed their light about us, and the evil angels are driven back. Then we find our discouragement giving way to a feeling of hope and courage in the Lord. Shall we not, instead of fretting and complaining, use our voice to praise God? Then we shall see more of His salvation, and He will let His rich blessing rest upon us. 23LtMs, Ms 47, 1908, par. 29