The Signs of the Times

June 17, 1889

Christ's Comforting Assurance

[Sermon at Washington, D. C., January 25, 1889.]


“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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” ST June 17, 1889, par. 1

This comforting assurance was given to the disciples when their hearts were weighed down by sorrow because Christ had told them that he was soon to leave them. They were filled with distress at the thought of losing the presence of their beloved teacher. Although the Saviour's feet were in the path that led to Calvary, his thoughts were not on himself, nor on the suffering that he was to endure. His sympathy was drawn out to his beloved disciples, who were to bear a severe test. He thought of their disappointment and loneliness, and while he was on the way to Gethsemane, he sought to cheer them, saying, “Let not your heart be troubled.” He tells them that his object in leaving them is to prepare homes, mansions, for them, that he will not always remain away, but will come again, and receive them unto himself. He will not leave them alone to battle with the trials and afflictions of this world, but he will come again and take them to himself, that where he is there they may be also. ST June 17, 1889, par. 2

After his resurrection he spoke words of encouragement and instruction to them. He said: “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, 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.” ST June 17, 1889, par. 3

This promise of the return of the Saviour did not make the disciples feel unhappy and gloomy. They were filled with joy to think that Jesus was coming again. And if the disciples of Christ were filled with joy then, why should not his followers on earth today rejoice that their redemption draweth nigh? Our Lord is coming with clouds and great glory, and all the angels of Heaven will escort him on his way. ST June 17, 1889, par. 4

When he ascended on high after his resurrection, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. Those who had transgressed the law of Jehovah had fallen in death. Although they had confessed and forsaken their sins, Satan had claimed them as his lawful subjects and prisoners. He said they were his victims; but when Christ came out of the grave, he led forth from the prison-houses of the enemy a multitude of captives as a sample of the general resurrection. And when he comes again, it will be to break the fetters of the tomb, to call forth the prisoners of hope from their prison-houses, to clothe them with a glorious immortality. ST June 17, 1889, par. 5

As Christ ascended from the earth, a cloud of angels escorted him on his way to the city of God. As they neared the gates they sang, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the king of glory shall come in.” Then the sentinel angels inquired, “Who is this king of glory?” and the ascending host rolled back the response, “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.” As the heavenly train pass within the city, the angelic throng come forth to bow in adoration before him. The Saviour waves them back, he cannot yet receive their homage. He has a request to present before the Father. He remembers those that he has left in the world alone. He says, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” Then the Father gives the command to the waiting host, “Let all the angels of God worship him,” and they bow in adoration before him, saying, “Worthy, worthy, is the Lamb that was slain, and lives again, a triumphant conqueror.” ST June 17, 1889, par. 6

Satan had not triumphed over Christ, although he had inspired wicked men to take his life. He had gained nothing by his rebellion. Even in the very act of crucifying the Prince of life, he himself had been conquered. Christ had gained the victory in every contest. ST June 17, 1889, par. 7

The sin of Adam and Eve had divorced earth from Heaven, and finite man from the infinite God, but Christ had passed over the very ground where Adam had failed, and at every step he was a conqueror. Every victory he gained elevated humanity in the scale of moral value before Heaven. It was impossible for man to redeem himself, and this was the reason that Jesus took human nature upon himself, that through humanity his divine nature might reach and lift up humanity. ST June 17, 1889, par. 8

When Christ came to the world, he found that Satan had almost everything under his own control. Christ announced his mission at Nazareth. He said, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to teach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken- hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” This was his work. He went about doing good, and healing all those who were oppressed of the devil. There were whole villages where there was not a moan of sickness in any house, for he had passed through them and healed all their sick. His work gave evidence of his divine anointing. He had come to represent his Father to the world; and love, mercy, and compassion were displayed in every act of his life. His heart went out in tender sympathy to the children of men. This was his work in our world, to elevate humanity by combining divinity with humanity. He took man's nature that he might reach man's wants. With his human arm he encircled the race, and with his divine arm he grasped the throne of the Infinite, and united finite man with the infinite God, and earth with Heaven. Here was man, plunged in degradation, sin, and ruin, and Christ was willing to resign all his glory in order to offer to man the cup of salvation. Astonishment filled Heaven to see man's indifference, to see man so lacking in appreciation of the things that would make for his peace. ST June 17, 1889, par. 9

When the Son of God received baptism in the river Jordan, “the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him,” and a voice, richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, came from the excellent glory declaring, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Did the voice of God come alone for the sake of Christ?—No; it came in behalf of the humanity that he represented. It came to assure man that he could be accepted in the beloved. Heaven was opened by the prayer of Christ, and it was opened for all who would come unto God by him. Thus divine power is given that it may be combined with human effort. ST June 17, 1889, par. 10

How often we have read over the description of Christ's baptism with no thought that there was any particular significance in it for us. But it means everything to us. It means that there can be no excuse for our living in alienation from God. You may claim much leniency because of your human nature, of your temptations and trials, and seek to excuse yourself for sin because of inherited tendencies, but Christ gave himself in behalf of humanity, and there is no reason for failure. Christ bore temptations such as you will never be called upon to bear. He suffered as you will never suffer. He knew all your griefs, he has carried your sorrows. He has made it possible for you to be an overcomer. Do not say it is impossible for you to overcome. Do not say, “It is my nature to do thus and so, and I cannot do otherwise. I have inherited weaknesses that make me powerless before temptation.” We know you cannot overcome in your own strength; but help has been laid upon One who is mighty to save. When God gave his only begotten Son, he provided everything essential to your salvation. And “he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” The resources of Heaven are open to us. We should believe this precious truth. And when the enemy comes in like a flood to discourage and to dishearten, the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against him. When sorrows press you, cling closer to the Mighty One. Instead of faltering and losing faith, praise God that Jesus has died for you. A brother came into meeting at one time and related his difficulties, and trials, and sorrows. I said to him, “Brother, haven't you anything to praise God for? has not Jesus died that you might live? Is there any reason that you should be discouraged?” How does Heaven look upon our doubts and discouragements, when God has given his beloved Son to die on Calvary's cross, that we might have peace in this life, and everlasting joy in the life to come? How does Heaven regard us when we speak and act as though it were a very difficult path through which God was leading us? How must it seem to the angels when we act as though we doubted whether it would pay to be a Christian? All Heaven was poured out to us in Christ, and he that spared not his own Son will not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly. ST June 17, 1889, par. 11