The Signs of the Times


December 22, 1887

The Preparation for Heaven

[Sermon at Orebro, Sweden, June 27, 1886.]


If we would enter Heaven we should strive to bring all that we can of Heaven into our lives on earth. The religion of Christ never degrades the receiver. It exerts a heavenly influence upon the minds and manners of men. When the word of God finds access to the hearts of the rough and coarse, it commences a process of refining upon the character, and those who endure it become humble and teachable, like little children. The mighty cleaver of truth has severed them from the world, and then the work to be accomplished, to mould them after the divine Pattern, is begun. They are to be living stones in the temple of God, and are hewed, and squared, and chiseled, to fit them for God's building. Those who are naturally full of self-esteem become meek and lowly of heart. They have a change of character, and are transformed by the renewing of their minds, and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. ST December 22, 1887, par. 1

God said in the beginning, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;” but sin has almost obliterated the moral image of God in man. This lamentable condition would have known no change or hope if Jesus had not come down to our world to be man's Saviour and Example. In the midst of a world's moral degradation he stands, a beautiful and spotless character, the one model for man's imitation. We must study, and copy, and follow the Lord Jesus Christ; then we shall bring the loveliness of his character into our own life, and weave his beauty into our daily words and actions. Thus we shall stand before God with acceptance, and win back by conflict with the principalities of darkness, the power of self-control, and the love of God that Adam lost in the fall. Through Christ we may possess the spirit of love and obedience to the commands of God. Through his merits it may be restored in our fallen natures; and when the Judgment shall sit and the books be opened, we may be the recipients of God's approval. ST December 22, 1887, par. 2

John saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, with its twelve gates of pearl and twelve foundations of precious stones, coming down from God out of Heaven. The streets are of transparent gold, clear as crystal. Everyone who shall enter those gates and walk those streets will here have been changed and purified by the power of the truth; and the crown of immortal glory will adorn the brow of the overcomer. ST December 22, 1887, par. 3

The nations that have kept the truth shall enter in, and the voice of the Son of God will pronounce the glad welcome, “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.” ST December 22, 1887, par. 4

Then how can we afford to devote our God-given powers to our own pleasure for one moment? We must yield our whole service to our Master. We must wage, continuously, the battle of self-denial and sacrifice. Christ died that we might live, and with the same spirit of love we should seek to win souls as the purchase of his blood. The word of God, through his apostle, declares, “We are laborers together with God.” Our work may seem at times 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 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 salvation of man to 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.” Your lives must here be refined, ennobled, elevated; and Christ, the hope of glory, must be formed within you. Your favorite sins will be laid aside; you will fear to offend God, and you will love his law. ST December 22, 1887, par. 5

For more than forty years I have stood in the desk proclaiming salvation to sinners, and my heart has yearned over them with pitying compassion. I saw before me 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.” It is the truth received in the heart and practiced in the life that makes men so valuable in the sight of God. ST December 22, 1887, par. 6

John beholds an innumerable company, precious, refined, purified, around the throne of the Majesty of Heaven. The angel inquires of John, “What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?” and John answers, “Sir, thou knowest.” Then the angel declares: “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.” Now we have the precious opportunity of washing our robes of character in the blood of the Lamb till they are spotless in his purity. To all who shall do this the promise is, “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.” ST December 22, 1887, par. 7

We want you to lift your minds from the things of earth to the heavenly glories. We want you to live for the future, immortal life, and decide, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Now is the accepted time. Now give yourselves, without reserve, to Jesus. Be determined that you will have Christ, even if this requires the loss of everything else. The very obstacles and difficulties of the way are for the purpose of making you mighty in faith and giving you spiritual strength. Every effort you make to lead others in the path of God's commandments is registered in the imperishable records. Let not the enemy deceive you. He has filled the world with heresies; but the word of the Lord endureth forever. Plant your feet on his immutable counsels, then you will be all ready to come under God's rules of government in the kingdom of bliss. If you ever sing the song of triumph and redemption, you must now be learning its notes. Is Jesus abiding in your hearts? If he is there you will talk about him, you will reveal him in life and character. You will sing his praise, making melody in your hearts unto the Lord. The sweet spirit of meekness will be cherished, and self will be crucified. When you come to Christ you will not boast, “I am holy.” Let God, alone, say that of you, for you know not your own heart. This boast is a sure evidence that you know not the Scriptures nor the power of God. Let God write in his books, if he will, that you are an obedient child, keeping his statutes with a cheerful heart, and the records will reveal it before angels and men at the day of reward. ST December 22, 1887, par. 8

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 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 I know that he will keep that which I have committed to his trust. It is my meat and drink to do my Father's will, to present before a dying world the cross of Calvary, to preach repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, to point the way of the commandments of God, that path that leads to the open gates of the eternal city. 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.” ST December 22, 1887, par. 9

Who of you shall we meet in the congregation of the blessed? We want to see you crowned in the city of God. When the Judgment is set and the records searched, may your names not be blotted out of the book of life. This life is of great consequence to us, for in it we have the privilege of preparing for an unending life. I beseech you, therefore, see to it that your influence is not against the commandments of God. The law is just as Jehovah wrote it, in the temple of Heaven. Man may trample upon its copy here on earth, but the original is kept in the ark of God in Heaven. Above it is the mercy-seat, and Jesus, our great High Priest, stands before the ark, to mediate in man's behalf. We want you to keep God's commandments and live, and his law as the apple of your eye; for, “whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.” Seek immortality and the crown of life; then the eternal treasures shall be yours, and an inheritance in the kingdom which God hath promised to those that love him. ST December 22, 1887, par. 10