Sermons and Talks, vol. 1


Preparation for the Judgment (Sermon by Mrs. E. G. White June 27, 1886, Orebro, Sweden.)

Revelation 20:11-15. Here is presented before us the great and solemn day when the judgment is to set and the books be opened, and the dead are to be judged according to the things that are written in the books. I have questioned in my mind, as I have seen the people in our cities hurrying to and fro with business, whether they ever thought of the day of God that is just upon us. Every one of us should be living with reference to that great day which is soon to come upon us. 1SAT 25.1

The inhabitants of the old world had the message of warning sent to them 120 years, but it did not suit their inclination to heed that warning, therefore they turned away from the message of truth which God sent to them. It was for their interest to heed that message and find a refuge from the coming storm of God's wrath. 1SAT 25.2

Do we consider from day to day that a record is going up to heaven of all our actions here? If we would take heed to our ways, and if we would have the fear of God before us, our lives would be far better than they are today. We are here as probationers, on trial. God is testing us; God is proving us to see what characters we shall build up. Angels of God in heaven are sent to our earth to weigh moral worth. And our heavenly Father has sent us the message of warning, that we shall get ready for that day of final reckoning. He has bid us to watch and pray lest we enter into temptation that surrounds us. He has bid us to “search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” [John 5:39]. 1SAT 25.3

It is our privilege to understand the great responsibilities that God has placed upon us, so that we shall not be in darkness as to what is coming upon our world. We cannot afford to meet that day without a preparation. But when we think of this great and solemn event of Christ's coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, we should live in great humiliation before God lest we fail of the grace of God and prove ourselves unworthy of eternal life. When we see that the world is given up to the seeking of pleasure and the indulgence of appetite, we should weep between the porch and the altar, crying “Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach” [Joel 2:17]. 1SAT 26.1

We see that the world at large have no thoughts of this great day, and many of them do not care to hear anything about it. But we must meet the record of our lives. We must remember that there is a witness to all our works. An eye like a flame of fire beholds us in all our actions of life. Our very thoughts and the intents and purposes of our hearts are laid bare to God's inspection. As the features are produced upon the polished plate of the artist, so are our characters upon the books of record in heaven. 1SAT 26.2

We ask you, “How stands your character in the sight of God today? Are you preparing your souls for the grand review, that you may have the white robe of character in that day?” You cannot afford to indulge in sin and iniquity; you cannot afford to be found a transgressor of God's great moral rule of righteousness. 1SAT 26.3

If God had no law as a moral standard, whereby every case must be judged, there could be no judgment, and the cases of men and women could not be tried. If we have not been found in harmony with God's requirements in this life, we will not be in harmony with His requirements in the future life. 1SAT 26.4

What excuses have we today that we are not in harmony with the laws of God's government? And what excuse can we render in the day of God for the disobedience of His requirements? Will you say “The whole world was in disobedience to the law of God, and I thought I would not be singular”? In that day, this excuse will not be accepted. You may present excuses now, but you will not venture to present them before the judge of all the earth, for just as soon as the books are opened and the characters that are written there are brought out, every mouth will be stopped, for the guilt of all stands as plainly revealed to themselves as to God. Everyone then will see just where he departed from the right way. Everyone will then discern the influence he had upon his fellow-men by his own departure from God's righteousness, to turn them away from the ways of truth and right. Everyone then will understand just what he did to dishonor the God of heaven by breaking His law. 1SAT 27.1

Everyone who comes forth from the dead when Christ comes in the clouds of heaven, and those who are living, will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. The deeds and acts which we have thought to have been done in secret where no eye could see, are made known. There was an eye that saw and registered the deeds done by man. 1SAT 27.2

When Belshazzar had his great sacrificial feast, there was a witness present which he did not discern. They were drinking their wine and having their luxurious feast, and praising the gods of silver and gold, extolling their own wisdom, but right over against the wall facing the king a bloodless hand traced the terrible characters testifying of his true condition. The message came, “Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting.” Now the Lord is weighing characters in the sanctuary, and the deeds of those who are careless and indifferent, rushing on in the paths of sin and iniquity, are being registered in the books of heaven. 1SAT 27.3

The God of heaven has given us reasoning powers and intellect, and He wants us to use them. He has given us this body which He wishes us to preserve in perfect health so that we can give Him perfect service. The Lord God is an ever present witness to the deeds of wickedness done among the children of men upon this earth. How does He look upon men and women for whom He has paid an infinite price but who yet refuse to obey His laws? They refuse to be saved in His appointed way, which is entire obedience to His commandments. 1SAT 28.1

Here are youth right here in our midst in this large city, but do these youth appreciate the powers that God has given them, that they should return Him service for all that He has done for them? The future of society is indexed by the youth of today. Some of the youth are making their aim high, as did Joseph. They have aimed to keep themselves unspotted from the world. The Lord God of heaven is looking upon the children of men with intense interest, and what are we doing? Are we keeping, as did Abraham, the ways of the Lord? Are we teaching our children to love and obey God? We want to be in such a position that we can educate these young men brought within the reach of our influence, and leave them a good example. We should be in such a position here that the notes of counsel and warning will be given them as from God, and that what God has given them through His messengers, may come back to Him in souls saved. 1SAT 28.2

But suppose these youth frequent the saloon, and take their drink of beer and wine and strong drink? Nadab and Abihu were in holy office and they drank wine and strong drink. The influence upon them beclouded their perceptive powers so that they could not discern sacred things. Those who are forming habits of intemperance are beclouding their reasoning powers so that they cannot discern between truth and error. It is the great work of Satan for this time to tempt the appetite so that error shall be placed on a level with truth. We want all the sharp powers of our intellect to be engaged in the work of conflict against the deception of Satan, and we must keep the spiritual and moral powers unperverted, so we will know what is truth. God asks for all the entrusted capabilities and talents He has lent us. Will you give them to Him? 1SAT 28.3

Our sisters cannot afford to use their God-given time on unimportant things which will give them no spiritual strength, but will, if they continue, separate them from God. It is a solemn thing to die, but it is a far more solemn thing to live. Here is a world that is lying in wickedness around us, and what are we, as men and women who claim to be sons and daughters of God, doing to save the souls of those around us? God requires that we shall give back to Him in willing service all the powers that He has given to us. Let us look forward to the day of final reckoning. How will our case stand in that day. Will it make us unhappy then that we have served God and kept His commandments? God has given us rules to regulate our lives so that we shall have His care and protection in this life. 1SAT 29.1

The lawyer came to Christ and asked Him, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” [Luke 10:25]. This was a positive question, and was just as decidedly answered. “What is written in the law? How readest Thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself. And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live” [Verses 26-28]. This means to keep the first four commandments, which show the duty of man to his God, and the last six which show the duty of man to his fellowmen. 1SAT 29.2

Here is the work that is before us. The soul anxiously inquiring, “What shall I do to be saved?” is answered. The way is laid open. It is to love God above all things, and our neighbor as ourself. We ask you, Are you doing this? Are we who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ, imitating His life? Are we following His example? If we are, we are in such a position that we can have a living connection with heaven. We are channels of light to the world. 1SAT 30.1

Christ said to 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]. It may seem to you that you have shown great self-denial and self-sacrifice in obeying God's law. Does He require more self-denial on your part than He has shown for you, that you should not perish but have eternal life? He has led the way, will you follow? He says, “I have kept my Father's commandments” [John 15:10]. Will you keep the commandments of God? He left the royal throne in heaven, and changed the crown of glory for one of thorns. He placed His feet in the blood-stained path which led the way to Calvary. He has told us that those who will be partakers with Him in His sufferings, will be made partakers with Him in His glory also. 1SAT 30.2

We may never have to suffer as He did; but we should ever keep before us the Author of our salvation, and never exalt self, never be lifted up in pride or self-sufficiency. 1SAT 30.3

He was despised and rejected of men. Those He came to save could not see in Him anything that they should desire in Him. Should He come into our world today without earthly honor or princely power, who would receive Him as the king of glory, the majesty of heaven? How many proud church members would be so ashamed of Jesus and the reproach that would be likely to be attached to them should they accept Him, that they would refuse to follow Him? Oh what love, what matchless love, has been displayed by the Son of man! And all this the Son of God endured that He might bring many sons and daughters to glory. Who is willing today to be on the Lord's side? 1SAT 31.1

We cannot wait until the judgment before we consent to deny self and to lift the cross. We cannot then form characters for heaven. It is here in this life that we must take sides with the humble, self-denying Redeemer. It is here that we must overcome envy, strife, selfishness, love of money, and love of the world. It is here that we must enter the school of Christ, and learn of the Master the precious lessons of meekness and lowliness of mind. And here it must be our aim and earnest effort to be loyal and true to the God of heaven by obeying all of His commandments and thus be fitting up for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for all who love God. Christ says, “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... that where I am, there ye may be also” [John 14:1-3]. Now the mansions are being fitted up in heaven. Are we being fitted with pure elevated holy characters for those mansions? 1SAT 31.2

All heaven is interested in our salvation. God's angels are in this very congregation. Could your eyes be opened, you would see not only good angels who are trying to impress hearts, but you would see also evil angels who are seeking to make of none effect the message of truth God has in mercy sent. 1SAT 31.3

While we are in this world we are not safe unless our petitions are continually ascending to the God of heaven that He will keep us unspotted from the corruptions of the world. Our Saviour has told us what would be in these last days. Iniquity will abound, but the souls that are open to the influence of the Spirit of God will receive strength to withstand the corruptions of this degenerate age. 1SAT 32.1

Enoch walked with God three hundred years previous to his translation to heaven, and the state of the world was not then more favorable for the perfection of Christian character than it is today. And how did Enoch walk with God? He educated his mind and heart to ever feel that he was in the presence of God, and when in perplexity his prayers would ascend to God to keep him. He refused to take any course that would offend His God. He kept the Lord continually before Him. He would pray, “Teach me Thy way, that I may not err. What is thy pleasure concerning me? What shall I do to honor Thee, my God?” Thus he was constantly shaping his way and course in accordance with God's commandments, and he had perfect confidence and trust in his heavenly Father, that He would help him. He had no thought or will of his own; it was all submerged in the will of his Father. 1SAT 32.2

Now, Enoch was a representative of those who will be upon the earth when Christ shall come, who will be translated to heaven without seeing death. But be sure that if your hearts are inclined not to do God's will, not to keep the way of the Lord but to follow your own way, then you are not in harmony with the God of heaven. We want to pray with David, “Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law” [Psalm 119:18]. Many close their eyes lest they shall see the truth. They do not want to see the defects in their life and character, and they are disturbed if you mention anything about God's law. In this they show that they have a human standard of their own; that their will is not the will of God. We want that you should not be deceived by Satan, the first great adversary of God's law. We want to bear in mind that God's law is the only standard by which He will judge man. 1SAT 32.3

If we are to enter heaven at last, we must bring all of heaven into this life that we can. The religion of Christ never degrades the receivers; it never brings them down upon a low level. Truth is ever elevating in its influence, lifting them up on the high platform of truth. The religion of Jesus Christ has a refining influence upon men and women. When the truth of God finds access to the heart, it commences its refining process upon the character. Men who are coarse and rough become humble, teachable, learning, ever learning, in the school of Christ. The mighty cleaver of truth has taken them out of the world. Then there is the work to be done for them to fit them for God's temple. They are hewed and squared and chiseled and fitted for the mansions in heaven. Those who are naturally full of self-esteem become meek and lowly; they have a change in character. In the beginning, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” But sin has almost obliterated the moral image of God in man. Jesus came down to our world that He might give man a living example, that he might know how to live and how to keep the way of the Lord. He was the image of the Father. His beautiful and spotless character is before man as an example for him to imitate. We must study the copy and follow Jesus Christ, then we shall bring His loveliness and beauty into our character. In doing this we are standing before God through faith, winning back by conflict with the powers of darkness the power of self-control, the love of God that Adam lost. We are through Jesus Christ living and keeping the laws of God. 1SAT 33.1

When the judgment shall set, and the books be opened, and every one be judged according to the deeds done in the body, those who have imitated Christ in obedience to God's commandments, will be blessed. “And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged according to their works” [see Revelation 20:12]. 1SAT 34.1

John also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, with its twelve gates and twelve foundations, coming down from God out of heaven. He was shown that city and saw the streets of transparent gold clear as crystal. Every one that goes into that city is changed and sanctified in character here in this life. The nations that have kept the truth enter in to the city of God, and a voice is heard, clear and distinct, “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]. 1SAT 34.2

There the crown of immortal glory is placed upon the head of the overcomer. Then how earnest should be our work here that we may win souls to Jesus Christ. We cannot afford to devote our God-given powers to our own pleasure, for one moment. We must devote our lives to our Master. You must expect to carry on this battle with self-denial and self-sacrifice. The Word of God says through His apostles, “Ye are laborers together with God” [see 1 Corinthians 3:9]. 1SAT 34.3

Our work may seem at times to be very discouraging, but if one soul is turned from the error of his way to righteousness, there is joy in heaven. The Father and the Son rejoice in the presence of the angels. The song of triumph and victory is sung and echoed and re-echoed through the courts of heaven. Then why should we not be wise in this life, and work for the glory of God? “They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever” [Daniel 12:3]. We want that our lives here shall be refined, ennobled, elevated, like Jesus Christ's. When Christ is formed in you the hope of glory, you will begin to lay aside your favorite sins. You will fear to offend God, and you will love His law. 1SAT 34.4

I see before me today the purchase of the blood of Christ. There is value in every soul. Said the Lord through His prophet, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir” [Isaiah 13:12]. 1SAT 35.1

It is the truth of God received in the heart and practiced in the life that makes man thus precious in the sight of God. As John sees this precious company refined and purified around the throne of God, the angel inquires, “What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” And John answers, “Sir, thou knowest.” And the angel answers, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them” [Revelation 7:13-15]. 1SAT 35.2

Now is the opportunity for us through repentance toward God, to wash our robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb that we may stand in white raiment before the throne of God. We are to wash our robes of character, and have our names registered in the Lamb's Book of Life; and He says, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” [Verses 16, 17]. 1SAT 35.3

We want you to live for the future immortal life, and we want you to decide, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Now is the time for you to give yourselves without reserve to Jesus. Be determined that you will have Christ at the loss of everything else. The very obstacles and difficulties you meet here are to strengthen your faith by overcoming these obstacles, and every victory gained is registered in the books of heaven. Every good deed you do, leading souls to walk in the way of God's commandments, is also registered in the books of heaven. 1SAT 36.1

Let not the enemy deceive you. He has filled the world with his heresies. You want to plant your feet upon the Word of God; then you will be all ready to come under His rules and commandments in the kingdom of bliss. If you ever sing the song of triumph and redemption in the kingdom of God, you must first learn that song here. Is Jesus abiding in your heart? If he is, you will talk about Him. You will reveal Him in life and character. You will talk of His power and make melody to God in your heart. The sweet spirit of meekness will be cherished; self will be crucified. Purity and holiness will be developed in the character. 1SAT 36.2

I speak because I know what I am talking about. For more than forty years I have stood in the desk proclaiming salvation to sinners, and my heart has yearned over them. God has opened before me the glory of heaven, and I have obtained a sight of the majesty and glory of my Redeemer. I have obtained a sight of the angels in glory. I was very young when the physicians said, “You must die, you cannot live more than three months.” It was then that God gave me a sight of His glory, and said, “Go proclaim the message I give you, to the people.” I started out in my weakness. I could hardly stand. I had not spoken aloud for weeks, but when I stood before the people, God's power came upon me. Voice was given me and I talked from two to three hours with clearness. But when I had finished, my voice again was gone. I traveled for three months in this way and then the pain of the lungs ceased, and ever since I have been doing the work which the Master has given me to do. I have traveled and labored and God has given me strength to continue unto this day. 1SAT 36.3

I want to say to whomsoever the glory of God has been revealed, “You will never have the least inclination to say, ‘I am holy, I am sanctified.’” After my first vision of glory, I could not discern the brightest light. It was thought that my eyesight was gone, but when I again became accustomed to the things of this world I could see again. This is why I tell you never to boast, saying, “I am holy, I am sanctified,” for it is the surest evidence that you know not the Scriptures or the power of God. Let God write it in His books if He will, but you should never utter it. 1SAT 37.1

I have never dared to say, “I am holy, I am sinless,” but whatever I have thought was the will of God, I have tried to do it with all my heart, and I have the sweet peace of God in my soul. I can commit the keeping of my soul to God as unto a faithful Creator, and know that He will keep that which is committed to His trust. It is my meat and drink to do my Master's will. 1SAT 37.2

And now I present before you the cross of Calvary. If you will come to that cross in penitence, in faith, in obedience to God's commandments, you will come in the only appointed way. If you lose heaven, you lose everything. If I can only see the King in His beauty, it is all I desire. Let me listen to the sweet music of His voice, saying “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” [Matthew 25:34]. Who of you in this congregation shall we meet there? We want to see you crowned in the city of God. We want to see when the judgment shall sit and the books be opened, that you can stand with the glory of God shining in your countenance. If we can only have that life in the city of God we shall be eternally blessed. 1SAT 38.1

I warn you, Do not place your influence against God's commandments. That law is just as Jehovah wrote it in the temple of heaven. Man may trample upon its copy here below; but the original is kept in the ark of God in heaven; and on the cover of this ark, right above that law, is the mercy seat. Jesus stands right there before that ark to mediate for man. We want you to keep God's commandments and live. Seek for immortality, and the crown of life, and then you will have heaven at last.—Ms 6a, 1886. (Sermon by Mrs. E. G. White, June 27, 1886, Orebro, Sweden.) (MR 900.5) 1SAT 38.2