Sermons and Talks, vol. 1


Having Our Conversation In Heaven (Sermon by Ellen G. White in Copenhagen, Denmark, July 24, 1886)

1 Peter 1:13-16. The apostle Peter here gives instruction for believers to gird up the loins of their minds. We are to have special care over the thoughts of the mind. We are not to allow our minds to be diverted and allured by different things, because there is something more important for us. If we would allow the mind to take its natural turn, it might dwell upon unimportant things and we receive no benefit thereby. 1SAT 39.1

Here is presented before us the one great event—the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, when the graves are to be opened and the dead be raised, and we are to be changed. This event should fill our mind and crowd out everything else. We want to make the most of the privileges and opportunities we have to prepare for the future immortal life. 1SAT 39.2

The truth of God has taken us out of the quarry of the world to fit us up for the heavenly temple of God. We may look upon one another and think, “There is a great work to be done for that brother and for that sister,” but we may not take into consideration the work that is to be done for ourselves. And if Satan can get in among the people [and produce] a spirit of criticism, then he is satisfied, for a root of bitterness springs up in these [members] wherewith he will be satisfied. We are not all of the same character, but we are brought together in church capacity and we count ourselves as children of God, and we talk of having a home in the city of God. 1SAT 39.3

Our faith is that if we perfect a Christian character we shall be numbered as the family of God in the mansions that He has gone to prepare for us. Now, our heavenly father brings us together in church capacity that we may gain in knowledge and be fitting up for the community of heaven. “Well,” some may say, “All I want is that everyone should see eye to eye.” But there are those who want everyone to see just as they do. They do not consider that they have traits of character that must be changed. Then, what is the work before us in order to be ready to be among those who are waiting for their Lord to come in the clouds of heaven? It is for us to be in a position of humility before God. “Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1SAT 39.4

The Lord has not placed before one individual the trade of becoming a church tinker, but we want individually to feel that we have a responsibility before God to be a blessing to everyone with whom we associate. And we are to consider that every brother and sister is the purchase of the blood of Christ. Here we are, living stones out of the quarry, and we are to be chiseled and fitted for the new Jerusalem. Do not let any of us think that we are all right. As soon as we are taken out of the quarry, we have a work to do for ourselves. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh,” and we want to be considering those things that will give us solidity of character. We do not want to have a high estimate of ourselves, but we want to esteem others better than ourselves. We want that our souls shall be uplifted to God every moment for help, for fear we shall fall. And while some are so diligent to look after others, they will forget the work there is for their own soul. 1SAT 40.1

We are to heed the exhortation of the apostle, that we are to be holy in all manner of conversation. And as we separate those things from us which will be a hindrance to our advancement, the Holy Spirit will come in. We want to be filled with the spirit of Jesus, and if you are not closely connected with Christ, then the thoughts of your mind will be upon unimportant things; but if you are connected with Jesus, you will just as surely be a channel of light as Jesus is light, for Jesus has said to His followers, “Ye are the light of the world.” 1SAT 40.2

Now, we are by living faith to keep our eyes fixed upon the Author and Finisher of our faith. “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” 1SAT 41.1

Before we become acquainted with Jesus, the conversation is upon the dress, and what shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and what shall we wear? And we find fault with one another. But as soon as we become acquainted with Christ, our conversation changes. 1SAT 41.2

Here we are, objects of His love. Has the change taken place in us? Namely, have we passed from death unto life? Have we died indeed to self? Have we fastened our hearts and affections upon the great God? He is all light and power. 1SAT 41.3

Every provision has been made for us that can be made by our precious Saviour, that we may have that abundant grace so that we may overcome every defect in our character. And we cannot afford to satisfy ourselves in this life, but we want the fullness that is in Jesus, and we must train ourselves to talk of those things which will bring to us peace and light. As we have our conversation upon heaven and heavenly things, the angels of God are all around us; and when we are, in our thoughts and with our hearts, drawing near to God, then He is drawing nigh to us. His love is in our hearts, and then we speak it from our lips. 1SAT 41.4

It is not only our duty to train our minds upon heavenly things, but we are to talk of these things, for it is our duty to bind about our mind, to gird up the loins of our mind, and say, “I will not think of these things.” Then it is our duty to guard our conversation. 1SAT 42.1

We would think, from the shadow that many walk in, that they had no Saviour. But I want to speak to those, and say “Christ is risen! He is not in Joseph's new tomb, but He has arisen and has ascended up on high to make intercession for us!” We have a risen Saviour interceding for us, and we must walk in harmony with God. He is seeking to “purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” If we seek with all our hearts to be obedient children, conforming our will to the will of God, then the work can go forward in us without interruption. Let us not forget for one moment that we are living for the future immortal life, and let us put away from us everything like complaint and faultfinding. Let our words, our conversation, reveal to the world that we have a hope that is big with immortality. 1SAT 42.2

We want that His will shall be our will. We do not want that our will shall be such that it will control all that [are] around us. One brother said to me, “Sister White, we must see eye to eye. Now, I view matters in this light and my brethren in another light, and I cannot make them see everything as I do. Their habits and ways are altogether different from mine.” 1SAT 42.3

“Thank God, Brother,” said I, “that there is only one like you in the world, for if we were all like you we could not live in the world long, for there would be no harmony. Your brother's ways are just as precious to him as yours are to you.” 1SAT 42.4

God wants us to go through the mill. Here this man's sharp character must be burnished off, and here is one who has taken hold of the truth who has always been coarse in his conversation, and he must overcome that. This is the very thing the apostle means when he says, “You must overcome in order to have a home in heaven.” Jesus must be in my whole work to transform my character. We must accept the truth as it is in Jesus, and then how kind will we be to one another, how courteous, for this was the work of my Master. We shall see the precious mold of Jesus upon the character, and when we learn the precious lessons He has for us to learn, we will be like Jesus. “Come unto Me,” says He, “all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 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.” 1SAT 42.5

Here you are with your variances and differences. Now, “Come to Me,” says He, “and learn of Me.” Nine-tenths of all our trouble comes from our esteeming ourselves too highly. But just as soon as we begin to look and see how many virtues we can find in others with whom we associate, then we will not be so ready to see their defects, and we will dwell upon the good in their character in place of their faults. In doing this, we bind them closer to our hearts by the firm cords of love. 1SAT 43.1

The question was asked me, “Sister White, why is it you have such control over your children and those you bring up?” The answer was given, “Gain their confidence and love, and you can have perfect control.” Let every member in the church be working in such a manner that he can gain the confidence of his brethren and sisters, then the precious light that emanates from Jesus will be reflected upon his life and character. There is something meant in this expression, “Building up yourselves in the most holy faith.” And whenever you shall have the consolation of the Spirit of God, you should feel an earnest desire to give that consolation to others. 1SAT 43.2

If you have the precious light from heaven, talk about it. And have we not everything from Jesus to talk about? I could give you subjects that would put to the stretch your thoughts and mind, and yet there is a great deal more. The great plan of redemption is not half comprehended. If we could only understand the plan of salvation, we would be the happiest people upon the face of the earth. The truth that God has given us would so fill our minds that we could not talk of earthly things. And then it is almost impossible for you to explain to others the greatness of salvation that you feel in your own heart. Jesus wants you to dwell upon this salvation. 1SAT 44.1

Our precious Saviour has died to bring us to God. He has suffered as our Sacrifice, and all this was that we could stand freed from sin, cleansed from all iniquities. The cleansing blood of Christ is enough for us to talk about from morning until night, if you will only let your minds run in this direction. We want an intelligent faith. We want to understand how much of the blessing of God we can claim. Hear the word of God on this point. And if He has given us His Son, “How shall He not also with Him freely give us all things?” 1SAT 44.2

It is through the Son of God that we claim the promises that He has left on record for us. Here we have come out, and are keeping His commandments, because we see it is His requirement. We make ourselves peculiar from the world in this respect; and as we follow the best light we have in keeping His commandments, it is our privilege to claim His blessing, and then lay your whole burden upon Jesus Christ and claim by faith His rich salvation. While Satan will press upon your soul his darkness and tell you [that] you cannot be saved, tell him, “Jesus died for me; it was a whole sacrifice that was made in my behalf, and I claim a whole salvation. The Master would have me joyful, for He has said it (John 15). The Word of God declares plainly and positively, ‘Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.... These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. ’” 1SAT 44.3

Not that they should feel that they were under bondage to the law. “This is My commandment, That ye love one another as I have loved you.” We want to believe the words of Christ, for they are spirit, they are life. We want to take Him at His word. We want to walk right out upon the narrow plank of faith. We want to serve God with all the heart, might, mind, and strength, and then it is our privilege to claim to be children of God. 1SAT 45.1

God wants to pour into your souls the light and glory of His presence. He wants that His joy shall remain in you and that your joy may be full, that when you meet with your brethren and sisters you can say, “Hear what the Lord has done for me. He has given me a rich experience, and if I seek Him for His blessing it will come.” Then you begin to talk of Christ's coming, and the end of all things at hand, and how we are getting ready for His appearing. Then you talk of that heavenly city; you talk of the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God, and you talk of the King in His beauty, with His kingly crown, and of the riches that are to be given to the children of God; you talk of that stream that goeth out from the throne of God; and then you say “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me give Him glory.” 1SAT 45.2

Why, if we were such a people today, what impressions would we make upon the world! They would say that we have something that they have not, and they would begin to inquire, “What can I do to be as happy as that man?” My brethren and sisters, God is your strength, and He does not want you to go crippling along in this life. And when you enter the gate of the New Jerusalem you will read over the gate, “Blessed are they that do His commandments.” 1SAT 45.3

Jesus will welcome you, and with His own hand place the crown upon the brow of all those who enter there. Then they sing the song of Moses and the Lamb in the kingdom of glory. Well, now, is there not inducement enough that God has set before us so that we should think upon heavenly things? And the best of it is, we do not enter the city as convicts, but as sons and daughters of the Most High God. The Father stands at the gate and welcomes everyone to His bosom. There we shall show forth the matchless charms of our Redeemer. And the song will echo and re-echo through the courts of heaven, “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” 1SAT 46.1

I ask you, is not this enough to talk about? Shall we go mourning, just as though God's wrath was about to break upon us, or shall we talk of that infinite love that has been brought to us by the infinite sacrifice of the Son of God? When you think of these things, and of the love of Jesus, you will love one another, and you cannot help it. 1SAT 46.2

Christ has manifested His interest in humanity. He says, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” We are dealing with Jesus in the person of His saints. Then be very careful how you wound the hearts of your brethren and sisters. We are almost home, pilgrims and strangers only a little longer. All heaven is interested in the salvation of men, and, in harmony with them, we should be interested for those around us. We should be getting ready for the heavenly city. 1SAT 46.3

Oh, I praise God with all my soul, because Jesus has died for us, and He has wrought out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory that we shall have in that day! Then, brethren and sisters, be getting ready to move. Keep your mind upon the better country, even the heavenly. Learn to sing the song here upon this earth. The best song you can learn is to speak kindly to one another, for in heaven the business of the inhabitants is to please one another. Bring all of heaven that you can into this life. We have a living Jesus, and let us triumph in a living Saviour. He saves us with an everlasting salvation.—Ms 9, 1886. (MR 900.54) 1SAT 46.4