Sermons and Talks, vol. 2


Chapter 24—The Christian's Hope

Manuscript 110, 1901

[Sermon presented October 5, 1901, in the Sanitarium Chapel, St. Helena, California.]

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied” [1 Peter 1:1-2]. 2SAT 171.1

These words, so full of meaning, give us assurance that grace and peace are multiplied to those who are elect “through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” Without this grace, of how much value would be all our wrestling with God? Our efforts would amount to nothing. We should greatly appreciate these words which throw such a flood of light on the relation that Jesus Christ sustains to us as our Redeemer. 2SAT 171.2

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 2SAT 171.3

After the crucifixion of Christ, His followers lost their hope. They had expected Him to reign on David's throne in Jerusalem, but they had been terribly disappointed. Late in the afternoon of the day of the resurrection, two of the disciples were on their way to Emmaus, a little town eight miles from Jerusalem. 2SAT 171.4

These disciples had no prominent place in Christ's work, but they were earnest believers in Him. They had come to the city to keep the Passover, and were greatly perplexed by the events that had recently taken place. They had heard the news of the morning in regard to the removal of Christ's body from the tomb, and also the report of the women who had seen the angels and had met Jesus. They were now returning to their homes to meditate and pray. Sadly they pursued their evening walk, talking over the scenes of the trial and the crucifixion, recounting their unfulfilled hopes concerning the One who they had verily believed would redeem Israel. 2SAT 171.5

While they were talking thus of their crucified and buried Lord, “Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know Him. And He said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?” ( Luke 24:15-17). “Have ye not heard,” they answered, “that the prophet mighty in deed and word has been taken and crucified by cruel hands, and is now buried?” Beginning at Genesis, the Stranger told them what had been prophesied from the first concerning Jesus. While He was comforting their hearts, they came to the house where they lived, and invited their Companion to come in. He acted as though He were going farther, but they constrained Him to tarry with them. 2SAT 171.6

As they sat before the repast which had been prepared, the disciples were forcibly struck by the familiar motions of their Guest's hands as He took the bread and began to ask the blessing. The movements were strangely like those of their Master. Then when He held up His hands, they saw the marks of His crucifixion. Both exclaimed, “It is the Lord Jesus! He has risen from the dead!” 2SAT 172.1

They rose to cast themselves at His feet and worship Him, but He had vanished out of their sight. Looking at the place that had been occupied by One whose body had lately lain in the grave, they said to each other, “Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures? 2SAT 172.2

But with this great news to communicate it was impossible for them to sit and talk. Their weariness and hunger were gone, and leaving their meal untasted they hurried back to the city, stumbling over the rough places along the way. They did not know that the Saviour journeyed with them. Entering Jerusalem, they went to the house where the disciples were assembled, gave the signal for unlocking the doors, and were admitted. The disciples were listening to a story of the women who had been to the sepulcher and who declared that Christ had risen from the dead. But those in the room did not believe the story. 2SAT 172.3

Then the two disciples told their experience. They said that Christ had walked with them, and that their hearts had burned within them while He opened the Scriptures to their understanding. Still some could not believe that their Lord had indeed risen. Some were saying that they could not believe the story, when behold, another person stands before them. Every eye turned to the stranger. Then the disciples heard the voice of their Master. Clear and distinct the words fell from His lips, “Peace be unto you.” 2SAT 172.4

“But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And He said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have.” 2SAT 172.5

“Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord” [John 20:20]. Faith and joy took the place of unbelief, and with feelings which no words could express they acknowledged their risen Saviour. 2SAT 173.1

After the Saviour was placed in the sepulcher of Joseph, a great stone was rolled before it and sealed. While Roman soldiers who had been commanded to guard the tomb stood at their post of duty, lo, a mighty angel, commissioned to roll back the stone from the sepulcher, came in bright, heavenly glory, parting the darkness from his track. The astonished guard saw him roll back the stone as easily as if it had been a pebble. The glorious light caused them to fall as dead men to the earth, but they were sensible enough of what was occurring to see that Christ rose from the tomb. 2SAT 173.2

Over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, Christ proclaimed, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Let us rejoice that we have a risen Saviour. Just before He ascended on high, leading captivity captive and giving gifts unto man, He said to His disciples, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” [Matthew 28:19, 20]. With outstretched hands He blessed them before He was taken up to join the glorious angels waiting to escort Him on His upward way. 2SAT 173.3

Two angels remained behind. While the disciples were looking at the cloud taking away their Lord, and listening to the music of the angels, “Behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10, 11). 2SAT 173.4

In our love for Christ we long to see Him as He is. And the time is soon coming when we shall see Him. Concerning this time John the Revelator says, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” [Revelation 22:1, 2]. 2SAT 173.5

Those who work against the natural laws of the being must suffer the penalty of transgression. But the Saviour pities us even when we suffer from infirmities caused by our own wrong course of action. In Him there is a healing power for us. Let us praise God for the tree of life, the leaves of which are for the healing of the nations. 2SAT 173.6

“And there shall be no more curse.” Everywhere the effects of the curse are seen. Let us praise God that in the earth made new “there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him” (verse 3). Some little know what true service means. Those who expect to sing in an entertainment spend time in practicing, to familiarize themselves with the music and the words. That we may learn how to serve the Lord in heaven we must enter His service now, becoming acquainted with Him and learning to be faithful servants. No one can do service for another by exercising a controlling influence over another's mind. Every individual must learn for himself the meaning of God-fearing service. 2SAT 174.1

Notice particularly the next verse: “And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” When the glory of God rests upon the redeemed, they recognize Christ, for they see Him as He is. And the happiness revealed in their countenances is indescribable. 2SAT 174.2

“And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” They will reign on His throne, because they have obediently served Him in this world, forming characters for the future, immortal life. “And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book” (verses 5-7). 2SAT 174.3

It is our privilege to understand the blessed Word of God. We have fallen, it is true; but we are not always to remain in sin. We have been placed on vantage ground. The Lord God of heaven “so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” What a precious hope we have in Christ! 2SAT 174.4

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 2SAT 174.5

We are not kept by our intelligence, by our words, or by our riches. In these we find no safety. We are kept only by the power of God through faith unto salvation. We are living in a period of time during which we must by faith be allied with an infinite God or else we cannot overcome the strong powers of darkness seeking to destroy us. The Holy Spirit is as a light shining on our pathway. Let us put our trust in Christ who is ever at our right hand to help us. Let us take courage, placing our confidence and our trust in Him. He has not left us destitute. 2SAT 174.6

“Wherein (in the prospect of the second coming of Christ), ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” [1 Peter 1:6, 7]. 2SAT 175.1

Temptations will come. But when Satan throws his hellish shadow before us, we should reach in faith through the shadow to the Light of life—to Him who has not only created man but who by His own blood has redeemed him. We are Christ's cherished heritage. In living faith we must cooperate with Him in working out our own salvation. Amid trials and temptations His hand upholds and sustains us. Those who rest in Christ Jesus are never restless or uneasy. He means just what He says when He bids us commit the keeping of our souls unto Him, as to a faithful Creator. 2SAT 175.2

Those who hold fast their faith unto the end will come forth from the furnace of trial as fine gold seven times purified. Of this work the prophet Isaiah says, “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir” [Isaiah 13:12]. When in trouble, remember that faith tried in the furnace of affliction is more precious than gold tried with fire. Remember that there is One watching every movement to see when the last particle of dross is taken away from your character. It is then that you are counted more precious than the golden wedge of Ophir. By hiding with Christ in God, fallen man reaches this state of purity. 2SAT 175.3

Those who love the riches of this world should remember that faith in Christ is more precious than gold, for gold perishes. The saints of the living God have a glorious hope, the fruition of which is a life of immortality. I am so grateful for a sure hope of eternal life. 2SAT 175.4

“[Jesus Christ] “whom having not seen [with natural eyes], ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” [1 Peter 1:8]. 2SAT 175.5

Do you suppose that after Christ gave His precious life to redeem the beings He created He would fail to give them sufficient power to enable them to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony? He has power to save every individual. At the time of His ascension He said, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). For our redemption all power is given to Him who stood at the head of humanity. For nearly six weeks the Sinless One fought a battle with the powers of darkness in the wilderness of temptation, overcoming not on His account, but on our account, thus making it possible for every son and daughter of Adam to overcome through the merit of His sinlessness. 2SAT 175.6

In Christ “ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:8-12). The angels communicated the prophecy to men, but did not see it unfolding as now we see it. Every generation has realized the power and glory of God, but especially has this generation most clearly seen and realized the fulfillment of prophecy. 2SAT 176.1

“Wherefore,” considering these things, “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; 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; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (verses 13-16). 2SAT 176.2

Only those who practice holiness in this life will see the King in His beauty. Put away all vain, trifling talk, and everything of a frivolous and sensational nature. Do not engross your mind with thoughts of worldly entertainments and pleasures. Engage in the work of saving your soul. If you should lose your soul, it would have been better for you never to have been born. But you need not lose your soul. You may use every moment of this God-given life to His name's glory. Strengthen yourself to resist the powers of darkness, that they shall not obtain a victory over you. 2SAT 176.3

“And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” (verse 17). This does not mean a slavish fear. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. If you begin to fear Him, you are one of the wisest men on earth, for His everlasting arms are about you, and the enemy cannot deceive or harm you. A faith that is centered in God cannot be moved. 2SAT 176.4

“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God” (verses 18-21). 2SAT 177.1

Notice the result: “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (verses 22, 23). 2SAT 177.2

If we dealt kindly and tenderly and compassionately with one another, loving others as Christ has loved us, what a change would take place in our world! What a transformation would be brought about in the home life! In this church there are whole families who need to be educated and trained for the future, immortal life. All the power that can be obtained from above is needed to lead their feet in safe paths. 2SAT 177.3

The members of this church need to study the Bible. Feed on the Word of God, and you will find that it is indeed the bread of life. Christ declared, “Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life” (John 6:54). In explanation He said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (verse 63). 2SAT 177.4

The Scriptures are as leaves from the tree of life. From beginning to end the Bible is full of promises. For nearly four weeks I have not been able to sleep later than about one o'clock. Night after night I have been awake, pleading with God for His blessing to come to me so that I should be enabled to present the truth in its beauty and loveliness to the people, helping them to realize its force and power. 2SAT 177.5

Christ cannot cooperate with a dead church. He desires His church to be full of vitality, to take hold by living faith of His power. Trials will come upon the true church. Some members will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits. Satan himself will personate Christ, declaring that he is the Son of God. One will say, “Christ is here”; another, “He is there”; and still another, that He is somewhere else; but we should know individually that He is abiding with us, and that He will save us by His righteousness. 2SAT 177.6

We do not begin to reach the high standard that God has set before us. We may be “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” It is our privilege to stand on vantage ground with God, to be full of hope, praise, cheerfulness, joy, thanksgiving. Let us educate ourselves to praise Him and to glorify His name. Let us by feeding upon His Word bring more spirituality into our hearts. 2SAT 178.1

In our behalf Christ bore the test of denial of appetite. Shall we bear this test in His behalf, and in our behalf as well? We ruin the digestive organs by wrong eating. Many ruin their minds by using tobacco, liquor, and other stimulants. This none are compelled to do. God desires us to take ourselves in hand, to allow His Spirit to purify us. He will strengthen us to resist the devil, who tries through lust to destroy us. May God help us to consider these matters. 2SAT 178.2

Those who come to the sanitarium on this hillside should see in the helpers of the institution the highest exemplification of true Christianity. The helpers, whether working in the buildings or on the grounds, should reveal by word and action that they cherish the blessed hope given to the disciples. Their hearts should be drawn out in love for the salvation of those who have no hope. They should carry a burden of soul for the afflicted ones, praying with them to help them overcome the lust of appetite. 2SAT 178.3

Nurses should be familiar with the Scriptures, that from this rich storehouse they may draw for their patients words of comfort and consolation. Christ desires them to eat the bread of life, the leaves of the tree of life, that they may have something to give to the sick and the suffering around them. It is their privilege to pray for the sick, asking that the blessing of God may rest upon them. This institution should be permeated with the Spirit of the living God. 2SAT 178.4

There are periods when it is necessary to pass through strait places. But when sorely tried, do not place your trust in the arm of flesh, but in the living God. Have faith in the One who is by your side ready to tell you what steps to take in times of perplexity and trial. He has everything marked out, and if His people trust in Him He will reveal to them His power and glory. 2SAT 178.5

We are living in the last days. The closing scenes of this world's history, which our Saviour foretold would take place just prior to His coming, are now being enacted before us. Concerning this time He said, “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” The inhabitants of the antediluvian world were utterly unconcerned, and at the appointed time the flood came and took them all away. Had they believed the warning given by Noah, they would not have risked everything by going on in wickedness. Notwithstanding their unbelief, destruction came. Unbelief will not change the certainty of Christ's second coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 2SAT 178.6

We are looking for the second coming of Christ. Our hope of His soon appearing in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory fills our hearts with joy. When the Saviour comes, those who are prepared to meet Him will exclaim, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation” (Isaiah 25:9). 2SAT 179.1

I love the Lord because He first loved me. I praise my heavenly Father that I can know that Christ is by my side at all times, for His promise is, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Think you there is anything in this world that tempts me to go astray from the Word of God? Oh, no! I have so firm a faith in Jesus Christ that I am looking forward to the time when I shall behold the King in His beauty, and see His matchless charms. Soon the gates of the city of God will be thrown back upon their glittering hinges, and the nations that have kept the truth will enter in and hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servants, enter ye unto the joy of your Lord.” Touching their golden harps, they will fill all heaven with rich music and with songs to the Lamb. 2SAT 179.2

A crown of life that fadeth not away is reserved in heaven for the redeemed, who in heaven will be kings and priests unto God. This is the hope set before us. What a hope it is! Oh, that everyone may be ready for Christ's coming! God grant that you may be overcomers.—Ms 110, 1901 (MR 900.69). 2SAT 179.3

Ellen G. White Estate
Silver Spring, Maryland
May 9, 1991. Entire Ms.