Sermons and Talks, vol. 1


Keep the Commandments

Sermon at Williamstown (a suburb of Melbourne), Victoria Sunday, 4:00 p.m., February 11, 1894

“For God 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). Suppose that we had not another promise in all the lids of the Scripture. Is not this enough to condemn every soul that has not a living faith in a personal Saviour? Whosoever believeth in Him. He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever—and that whosoever means you and me; it means parents and children. For whom did Christ die? Was it for a select few? It was for the whole world, the world that was fallen because of transgression. 1SAT 227.1

Adam and Eve became sinners because of transgression, and now the Lord has given to the world His only begotten Son. That He might abolish the law? That law that Adam transgressed? Do you read it thus? I do not. Well then, what was the matter with Adam? Adam ventured to transgress one prohibition of God which was the test that God gave to man to try his loyalty and obedience. There was nothing in the fruit of the tree of knowledge that was dangerous in itself, but the danger was in Adam and Eve listening to Satan and venturing to transgress. Here was Eve listening to the voice of the tempter. His words were contradicting the words of God that death was the penalty of transgression. Satan says, “Ye shall not die.” God says, “If ye eat of it ye shall die.” Whom shall we believe? 1SAT 227.2

God declares that He came not to destroy the law or the prophets. Why, if God could have changed or altered one precept of His law to meet man in his fallen condition, Christ need not have left the royal courts; He need not have laid off His kingly crown and royal robe, and yielded up His position as Commander in the heavenly court. He gave up all. For our sakes He became poor. Why? That we through His poverty might be made rich; that man should have another test of his loyalty and be brought back to obedience to the law of God. This infinite sacrifice was not to be made to immortalize sin. 1SAT 228.1

It is the privilege of every sinner to ask his teacher what sin really is. Give me a definition of sin. We have one in 1 John 3. “Sin is the transgression of the law.” Now this is the only definition of sin in the whole Bible. We are going to read it to you right out of the Book, so that you need not have the idea that it is not in the Bible, that it is another Bible that we preach to you. We will just read it out of the good Book, and we will begin at the beginning of the chapter. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” That is our privilege. 1SAT 228.2

“Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” Now this knowledge does something for us. It is faith in Jesus Christ that is the living, working element. What does it do? “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” Now there are a good many who have this faith tied on the outside, but it needs to be in them, a living, working element in the soul. It needs to be Christ enthroned in the heart. Well, “every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” Wonderful, wonderful! By beholding Christ, by talking of Him, by beholding the loveliness of His character, we become changed. Changed from glory to glory. And what is glory? Character—and he becomes changed from character to character. Thus we see that there is a work of purification that goes on by beholding Jesus. 1SAT 228.3

If the enemy makes us believe his presentations and assertions, we begin to behold another character. We will entertain his suggestions, and put him in the place of God. God is the one that we are to believe. We are to live on every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Here the enemy brought in a lie, and man believed it. What we are to do is to purify our souls by obeying the truth, and we are to educate ourselves in a certain faith. What is that certain faith? It is the faith that works by love to purify the soul from every idol that we have enthroned there. We cannot afford to entertain an error because it has been handed down from generation to generation till it has come down to our time. What we want is truth, and we want it on every point. 1SAT 229.1

As we listen to the words of Christ we will get truth. It is light; it is the way we are to travel to reach the heaven of eternal rest. It is the truth, and let us hang our helpless souls upon it. Not upon the minister, for you will find this a broken reed. Whom shall we hang our souls upon? Upon Him whose arm is strong to save to the utmost all that come to Him. How shall we come? Well, we will read a little farther: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” This is away down this side of the crucifixion of Christ. Is not His law there? “God [had] no law to govern in heaven the angelic host, and on earth the inhabitants of the earth!” Did He ever mean that such a statement should come from human lips? Never, never. This is the reason that the earth has fallen to the depths that it has. For this reason it is that the souls of parents and children are in danger. For this reason we read of robbery and murder and the depravity that everywhere comes to our notice. 1SAT 229.2

We want to understand the character of sin. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” Where there is no law there is no sin. What kind of world have we? What kind of world is it that will people heaven in their lawlessness? A people that will enter in through the portals of the city and have another world just as we have it here? 1SAT 230.1

Christ died, not to immortalize sin, not to perpetuate transgression, but He died as the only hope for the transgressor; to make a perfect sacrifice and offering; and there was not an angel in heaven that could do that work. Not one of the angelic throng would be accepted as an offering but Jesus Christ. He that was one with the Father, and was in the express image of His person. He was full of grace and truth, and when He came to our earth He found transgression everywhere. And He found that the traditions and customs of men were taught as—what? The commandments of God. They had the truth mixed with such a mass of error that it was brought down to the very dust. He came to teach the truth in its purity and tear away the error enveloping the commandments of God. He showed the true character of the law of Jehovah. 1SAT 230.2

In the sermon on the mount He showed its far-reaching claims. He presented it in a manner that the people had never heard before, for the scribes had dwelt upon technicalities. And the great principles, what are they? The first four and the last six commandments. 1SAT 230.3

The lawyer asked, “What may I do that I may inherit eternal life?” What did Christ tell him? He said, “What of the law? How readest thou?” and put the burden right upon the law. The Jews had sent him to Christ hoping they could find something whereby they could catch Christ in His words. The question was put on the lawyer's lips by the scribes and the Pharisees, but, said Christ, “What saith the law and the prophets? How readest thou?” (See Luke 10:26.) Thou shalt love the Lord with one-quarter of your heart? No. One-half of your soul? That is all we can expect from those who are serving Christ and mammon. Two-thirds? No. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Mark 12:30). All there is of us. “And thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (V. 31). 1SAT 231.1

That is for every one of you to take hold of, for it is of great consequence to us whether we are striving for the crown of immortal glory or whether we are having a form of godliness without the power. The forms, traditions, and customs of men making void, as Christ charged upon them, the commandments of God. 1SAT 231.2

Have you a tradition that has come down through the ages? Have you such a tradition? Will the baptism sanctify it and make it whole, that by observing it you may save your soul from death? Will it do it? No, decidedly not. Christ says, “I am the true witness. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (See Revelation 1:8.) “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14). I want to be there. I want to see the King in His beauty. The King that died a victim on Calvary's cross for me, that I should not be found, when he comes in power and great glory to be admired of all them that believe, under the bondage of sin. 1SAT 231.3

We must see in Christ a perfect representation of the law of Jehovah. He came to this earth to remove every vestige of excuse from every mortal living on the earth to deride the character of God. What is His law? An expression of His character; a transcript of His character. Jesus came that everyone that would believe in Him, everyone that would repent of their transgressions and accept of the righteousness of Christ, could come back to their loyalty; everyone upon whom the light shone. 1SAT 232.1

But what if my father did not know that the seventh day was to be kept as the Sabbath? Every soul that has lived in every age is accountable for the light that has shone upon his pathway. When the light comes it tests their character and proves their loyalty. If you see that all these years you have been trampling upon the commandments running all through the Bible, then determine that you will do so no longer. It is those that obey that will be blessed of God. He says that He will bless your children and your lands and all that you lay your hand unto. Do you think that Satan is going to allow this without making a struggle for the mastery? 1SAT 232.2

He is determined that he will be master. When in heaven he said, “What need have the angels of any law?” “Why hast thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer?” Because he wanted to be equal with Christ, and when he fell he brought many of the angels with him. They took his side. The enemy is working just as sharply and decidedly now as he worked upon the minds of Adam and Eve in Eden. The people are gathering under his banner, and he is encircling them with his power. But everyone that sees that the law of God is changeless in its character will decide on the side of Christ. If God could have changed one precept of His law to meet fallen man, then Jesus Christ need never have come to our earth to die. 1SAT 232.3

Did Christ die to let loose the whole of humanity to worship idols instead of God, when the commandment said, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.”? “And the Lord made the heaven and the earth,” and what then? “And rested the seventh day and sanctified it,” and gave it to you to observe as God's memorial—a memorial that He is the living God that created the heavens overhead and the earth upon which we stand. (See Exodus 20.) He made the lofty trees, and put the covering upon every flower. He gave to each one its tints, and the Lord of heaven made man and gave him the Sabbath. What for? For all the posterity of Adam. It was a gift to all his posterity. 1SAT 233.1

If man had always obeyed the fourth commandment there never would have been an infidel in the world, because it testified that the Lord made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that in them is; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it. (See Exodus 20:11.) 1SAT 233.2

And because the children of Israel went down into Egypt, they lost the knowledge of God. Moses went to bring them out with a strong arm, and the Lord told Moses to say, “I am sent unto thee. Let my son go that he may serve me.” (See Exodus 4:23.) Afterwards he says, “Reprove them because they have not kept my Sabbath.” And he brought them to Sinai, and the law of God was spoken from the Mount. There God through His son, Jesus Christ, was the Founder of the whole Jewish economy. The sacrifices typified the wonderful Antitype. Jesus Christ was to come and give His life that He might set man free from Satan's claims, that He might unlock the prison houses and bring forth those that plead for a glorious immortality. When type met Antitype in the death of Christ, what was done? What need was there for any more sacrificial offerings? Type had met antitype. No more need for any sacrificial offerings, because the great antitypical offering had been made to save every transgressor of the law if they would believe on Jesus Christ as their Saviour and return to their loyalty. Then every sin and transgression would be forgiven. 1SAT 233.3

Christ in the mount proclaimed the far-reaching principles of the law of God to be carried out in every transaction of life. I worship the true and living God. His hands are over His creative works. Can you wonder that the devil wants to make void the law of God, the standard of His character? It will be the standard in the judgment when the books shall be opened, and every man judged according to the deeds that are done. And the names are written—what does He say?—“Engraven upon the palms of my hands.” The marks of the crucifixion have engraven them. They are His property, and you are God's by creation and by redemption. Then we want to know whether you are giving your whole heart to Him, whether you are serving Him with all the power and strength of your intellect; for on these great principles hang all the law and the prophets. The first four commandments define man's duty to His Maker—supreme love to God; the last six define the duty of man to his fellow man. What do we give to Satan when we concede the point that the law of God needs to be taken away? We give the whole creative universe a defective God, a God that made a law and it was so defective that He had to take it away. That is all Satan wants. Can we afford to be working on any side but that of God? 1SAT 234.1

Can we afford to say, My father did not keep the commandments, and I think he was right? Well, if your father lived today, and he was a Christian living according to every ray of light, when the light came that the law of God was being transgressed, he would on his knees inquire, is this so? and then he would have said, “Children, we have made a decided mistake. We have been keeping an institution that has not a single syllable for its sanctity in the Word of God. I am sorry that I have not been a man of the Bible before. I am sorry that I have not seen the precious light of truth. Now it has come to me and I am responsible for it, I do not want to be found a lawbreaker but a subject of the King. I want to hear Him say to me, ‘Sit ye on my right hand.’ ‘Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and enter in through the gates into the city.’” (See Revelation 22:14.) 1SAT 235.1

He will teach them the truths of the Scriptures as we have never seen them before, and it will take all eternity to understand the word that has been crowded out of the mind by false teachers. God has been made of no effect by their tradition. But He will give us increased light, and wipe all tears from our eyes. 1SAT 235.2

I want to say this to you because we have all been transgressing the law of Jehovah. Live up to every ray of light that you have received. Your eternal interests are involved here, and that is why I say, “Cherish every ray of light.” On your knees ask Christ to impress your heart by His Holy Spirit, and turn not away from His law. 1SAT 235.3

We read that many of the priests believed on Jesus, but it stopped right there. They did not confess Him because they were afraid of being turned out of the Sanhedrin. Are there any here today who say, “Do you think that if I had lived then I would have united with those that cried ‘Crucify Him’?” Well, prove it by obeying the light of today. You are not responsible for those that with hoarse voice cried out when Pilate said, “Who shall I deliver unto you?” Who do you suppose it was that led those minds to say that? It was Satan, and when men reject light, when they grieve the Spirit of God, there is somebody ready to pick them up. It is the prince of darkness in our world striving for every soul, and we do not want to file under his banner. We want to stand under the blood-stained banner of Prince Emmanuel. 1SAT 236.1

In the judgment, when we stand around the great white throne, what evidence will be presented for the law of God? The victim of Calvary's cross testifies that God could not change His law, but that He “so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son” in order to give man another trial to see if he would keep the commandments. This will decide our destiny for eternity, because if we are obedient children here we will be obedient children there. He will not take those to heaven who have no respect for the law. He has a law to govern in heaven. But God will not force anyone to keep the commandments, because every soul is elected to be saved if they will obey the light that falls upon their pathway. 1SAT 236.2

We want parents to awake from their lethargic sleep. Awake and see that at this time you must put on the beautiful robe of Christ's righteousness. “Buy of me,” He says, “gold tried in the fire that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed.” (See Revelation 3:18.) What was the matter with Adam and Eve? They saw that they were naked. The covering of God was not enveloping them. God says, “Buy of me.” Well, what? Buy of Me My righteousness. “Buy of me gold tried in the fire, and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed.” Are you clothed with it, or are you transgressing the commandments of God by your traditions and by the maxims of men? 1SAT 237.1

The righteousness of God never covers a soul all polluted with sin. John says, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Will you let Him take it away? You cannot bear your own sin. Christ says He will take your sin if you lay hold of the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. Christ came and suffered for our sins “that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Believe on Him as One upon whom the sins of the whole world are laid that man might have another trial. That trial we are having today. Shall it be that Christ shall not have died for us in vain? Shall we give to the world the evidence of the character of God because of our rectitude in keeping His commandments? May God help us to be loyal servants of His. 1SAT 237.2

How careful we are with all our property. You are very careful to keep all the laws of the land, and to see that your deeds are made right. Be as careful that you get a deed [the following two lines have been over-typed and are not readable]. Those who have been careless regarding the law will lose heaven. We do not want to lose the place in the world that is to be purified—Abraham's farm. 1SAT 237.3

You are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ to riches that will be imperishable. Christ says, “I go to prepare a place for you that where I am, there ye may be also.” (See John 14:2, 3.) Then we will be with Christ until the city of God comes upon the earth and we will take possession of our home. We will build houses and inhabit them, and plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. Heaven is worth something to us. We want you to have a place in the earth made new. That is why we have been talking so plainly to you today. We want to tell every one of you who have been sinning against the law of God, Repent of your transgressions and come to Jesus for mercy, and He will abundantly pardon. He will cleanse you from every stain of sin. 1SAT 238.1

You will be the happiest people while you know that you are not in conflict with the law of God, and there is a crown laid up for every one of you. We have only touched on a few points of the truth, but we want you to be doers of the Word of God, that when He comes your house will not fall because it will be founded upon a Rock. The one built upon the sands will be swept away. 1SAT 238.2

May God help us to keep all His commandments, that we may cast our glittering crowns at His feet. He will forgive every one of our sins if we come to Him with contrition, and then we can sing the song of Moses in the city of God. (MR 900.10) 1SAT 238.3