The Review and Herald

608/1902

February 23, 1892

“Sanctify Them Through Thy Truth”

[Sermon at Sydney, Australia, December 12, 1891.]

EGW

“Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” This was the prayer of Christ in behalf of his disciples just prior to his crucifixion on Mount Calvary, and his words refer not only to those who heard him at that time, but they have reference also to us who believe on his name; for he said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” This is what we are seeking to do, striving to be followers of our Lord Jesus, doers of his commands. If we would be sanctified through the truth, we must believe his message, and receive his messengers; for his word comes down along the lines to us from patriarchs and prophets, from one generation to another, that we may know the truth of God. RH February 23, 1892, par. 1

But in these days of peril we are not to accept everything that men bring to us as truth. As professed teachers from God come to us declaring that they have a message from God, it is proper to inquire carefully, How do we know that this is truth? Jesus has told us that “false prophets shall arise and shall deceive many.” But we need not be deceived; for the word of God gives us a test whereby we may know what is truth. The prophet says, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” RH February 23, 1892, par. 2

From this statement it is evident that it becomes us to be diligent Bible students, that we may know what is according to the law and the testimony. We are safe in no other course of action. Jesus says, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Then how very important it is that we sanctify ourselves through the grace given us by Christ, that we may exert a sanctifying influence upon all those with whom we associate. RH February 23, 1892, par. 3

The work of sanctification begins in the heart, and we must come into such a relation with God, that Jesus can put his divine mold upon us. We must be emptied of self in order to give room to Jesus, but how many have their hearts so filled with idols that they have no room for the Redeemer of the world. The world holds the hearts of men in captivity. They center their thoughts and affections upon their business, their position, their family. They hold to their opinions and ways, and cherish them as idols in the soul; but we cannot afford to yield ourselves to the service of self, holding to our own ways and ideas, and excluding the truth of God. We must be emptied of self. But this is not all that is required; for when we have renounced our idols, the vacuum must be supplied. If the heart is left desolate, and the vacuum not supplied, it will be in the condition of him whose house was “empty, swept, and garnished,” but without a guest to occupy it. The evil spirit took unto himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they entered in and dwelt there; and the last state of that man was worse than the first. RH February 23, 1892, par. 4

As you empty the heart of self, you must accept the righteousness of Christ. Lay hold of it by faith; for you must have the mind and spirit of Christ, that you may work the works of Christ. If you open the door of the heart, Jesus will supply the vacuum by the gift of his Spirit, and then you can be a living preacher in your home, in the church, and in the world. You can diffuse light, because the bright beams of the sun of righteousness are shining upon you. Your humble life, your holy conversation, your uprightness and integrity, will tell to all around that you are a child of God, an heir of heaven, that you are not making the world your dwelling-place, but that you are a pilgrim and a stranger here, looking for a better country, even a heavenly, living with an eye single to the glory of God. RH February 23, 1892, par. 5

When Jesus came to this world, he found that the things of time had taken possession of the human heart, and occupied men's minds to the exclusion of an appreciation of eternal realities. Jesus does not despise the world, for he made the world; but he does not design that his children shall center their hopes and affections on earthly things that will pass away. He places the world in subordination to the things pertaining to the future, immortal life. When Christ came to earth, the world was covered with the darkness of error and superstition, and men had lost sight of eternal interests, and Jesus parted the darkness with the white beams of his righteousness, and eternity was brought to view, that men might not drop from their reckoning the interests of the life that measures with the life of God, that temporal things might not be permitted to outweigh the exceeding and eternal weight of glory. RH February 23, 1892, par. 6

In order to keep the world in its proper subordination, it is necessary to have more than a mere casual, nominal faith in Christ. Many might give assent to the fact that Jesus was the Son of God, and yet fail to have saving faith. Jesus must be all in all to the soul. You must believe in him as your personal and complete Saviour; for unless you take him for all that he is,—a complete Saviour,—you will not represent him to the world as he is. Everywhere throughout the churches of Christendom there is a dearth of spirituality, a lack of vital godliness, and those who profess religion are many of them like dry bones. They need the breathing of the Spirit of God upon them, that they may live. It is because the aid of the Holy Spirit is not united with the efforts of men, that there is not more true piety in the church; for the Holy Spirit is to convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come. But even in the church sin is suffered in our brethren. Men are not faithful to rebuke evil in the professed servants of Christ. One does not go to another in the spirit of love and meekness, seeking to restore such as are erring from the faith. They do not go to the erring one, and say, “My brother, you are not representing the character of Christ. You do not manifest his self-denial and self-sacrifice. You need tenderness of heart, Christian politeness, that you may manifest the courtesy that Jesus has enjoined upon us in his word.” But instead of going to your brethren when you see defects of character, you go to others to talk over their imperfections. This is not fulfilling the commands of Christ. RH February 23, 1892, par. 7

While we are to deal kindly and lovingly with our brethren, we are only to follow them so far as they follow Christ. We are to pattern our lives after the divine Model. We cannot afford to imitate others. We cannot afford to measure ourselves by human standards. The standards of men are as various as the men who make them. One has one standard, and another has another. You may copy some one whose standard you regard as perfect, but fall below his example; and some one else may imitate you, and fall below the mark; and so human imperfections are passed along, and measuring yourselves among yourselves, proves that you are not wise. The sacredness has been lost from our labors, and we do not appreciate divine realities as we should, because we have lost sight of Jesus, and fastened our eyes upon humanity. We must awake from our sleep, that Christ may give us life; for we cannot afford to live in a state of stupidity. We must become representatives of our divine Master. RH February 23, 1892, par. 8

Christ said, “I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified.” We are a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. Angels and men are taking note of us to see what manner of spirit we are of, to see whether we are meeting the approval of heaven. You may feel that you cannot meet the approval of heaven. You may say, “I was born with a natural tendency toward this evil, and I cannot overcome.” But every provision has been made by our heavenly Father whereby you may be able to overcome every unholy tendency. You are to overcome even as Christ overcame in your behalf. He says, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” It was sin that imperiled the human family; and before man was created the provision was made that if man failed to bear the test, Jesus would become his sacrifice and surety, that through faith in him, man might be reconciled to God, for Christ was the lamb “slain from the foundation of the world.” Christ died on Calvary that man might have power to overcome his natural tendencies to sin. But one says, “Can I not have my own way, and act myself?—No, you cannot have your way, and enter the kingdom of heaven. No “my way” will be there. No human ways will find place in the kingdom of heaven. Our ways must be lost in God's ways. RH February 23, 1892, par. 9

Abraham was a man who kept the way of the Lord, and he is called the father of the faithful, the friend of God. God said of Abraham, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” Do fathers and mothers follow the example of Abraham, or do they indulge their children in evil ways, and suffer wickedness in their households? Do they pass over sin in their children, and forget that they are younger members of the Lord's family? RH February 23, 1892, par. 10

Mothers, you should begin to discipline your child when it is a babe in your arms. Through childhood to youth, through youth to manhood, you should train your children for the family above. God does not desire you to take up your time in adorning your garments and decorating your homes, to the neglect of the education of your children. You should take your children out into the gardens, and show them the beautiful flowers that God has made. God is the great master artist, and the pictures which are painted by human artists and admired by the world, are only feeble imitations of the works of God. God daily works miracles before us in the unfolding of the blossoms; for no human hand can paint such delicate hues, or fashion such graceful plants. All this speaks of the work of the divine Artist, and each flower is an expression of the love of God to us. God has designed to make us happy. He has covered the earth with the beautiful green verdure; for he knew that this color would be grateful to our senses. Each beautiful thing in nature is a token of God's love and care. So take your children out into the open air beneath the canopy of the heavens, under the noble trees, into the gardens, and point them through nature up to nature's God. Carry their minds up to contemplate the works of God in nature that they may learn to love him in their childhood and youth. Do not weary them with long prayers and tedious exhortations, but teach them to be obedient to the law of God. Teach them to be kind and courteous, tell them that if they are rude and unlovely in disposition, they cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven where all is peace and love. We are here to be trained for the family above. RH February 23, 1892, par. 11