The Review and Herald

346/1902

March 16, 1886

Christ Our Great Sacrifice

[Sermon delivered at Basel, Switzerland, Sabbath, September 12, 1885.]

EGW

Text: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:11-14. RH March 16, 1886, par. 1

While we were under the power of the enemy, in slavery to him, Christ gave his life a sacrifice for us. We are not our own; he has purchased us with the price of agony and blood. The object of this great sacrifice was to bring us into the liberty of sons and daughters of God. But if we cherish iniquity in our hearts, we defeat the purpose of our Saviour, and rob God of the service that is his due. Jesus came not to save men in their sins, but from their sins. “Sin is the transgression of the law,” and if we fail to obey the law, we do not accept our Saviour. The only hope we have of salvation is through Christ. If his Spirit abides in the heart, sin cannot dwell there. RH March 16, 1886, par. 2

The love of Christ in the soul not only sanctifies the life and character, but it creates a desire on the part of its possessor to bring others to see and rejoice in that love. Christ came to draw all men unto himself and if we accept him, we shall, by the power of his grace working in us, attract others to him. But when those whom we thought to be our best friends resist our efforts for them, and turn upon us a cold shoulder, how apt we are to think that we are having a hard time, that we endure many trials and make great sacrifices for the truth. RH March 16, 1886, par. 3

At such times we should do well to think of Jesus. He left his throne in glory, came to earth, and died the ignominious death of the cross, “that he might redeem us from all iniquity.” But he was despised and rejected by the very ones whom he came to redeem. Can the servant expect better treatment than was received by his Master? When we are disappointed in men, let us think how many times Jesus has been disappointed in those whom he came to save. How often he has sought fruit upon the fig-tree of his own planting, and found nothing but leaves! Shall we then become discouraged when personal friends forsake us, or when those whom we seek to bring to Christ choose a life of sin rather than of holiness? RH March 16, 1886, par. 4

Jesus said to those who refused his love, “Ye will not come to me that ye might have life.” He presented before them no worldly honor, no earthly bribe; but he tried to impress them with the fact that it was to their advantage to possess this heavenly treasure; it was their only hope of being rescued from the slavery of sin and the cruel power of Satan. But when his teachings came close home and reproved their darling sins, many closed their eyes to the light. RH March 16, 1886, par. 5

Shall we, like the Jewish nations, reject the light, and turn from the eternal reward? God forbid! It is said of Moses, that he “had respect unto the recompense of the reward;” and why not we? What is this recompense?—It is being made partakers with Christ of his glory. But only those will be made partakers of his glory who have also been partakers of his sufferings. Are we willing to drink of the cup that he drank of? RH March 16, 1886, par. 6

How is it in our home experience? Do we bear the little vexations and disappointments of life without complaint? If we do not, neither would we endure greater trials. Compared with the great sacrifice of the Majesty of heaven, our petty trials sink into insignificance. But if these are rightly borne, we shall realize the truthfulness of the apostle's words, “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” RH March 16, 1886, par. 7

We all need to cultivate a firm trust in Jesus. When our eyes are fixed upon him, we shall not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are unseen. He says, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” Our faith is altogether too weak. Severe trials will soon come upon the people of God in this and other countries. The present is the time for them to learn to exercise strong faith in God, and to obtain a better understanding of his word. RH March 16, 1886, par. 8

What greater evidence can we have that Jesus loves us than that he died for us? And because he lives we shall live also. He is to us not a Saviour in Joseph's new tomb, that tomb closed with a great stone, and sealed with a Roman seal. Mourn not, brethren and sisters, as those who are hopeless and helpless; but from grateful hearts, and lips touched with holy fire, let the glad song ring out, “Jesus is risen; he lives to make intercession for us.” “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” Grasp this hope, and it will hold the soul like a sure, tried anchor. Believe, and thou shalt see the glory of God. RH March 16, 1886, par. 9

This is a world of darkness. Those to whom the precious truths of God's word have been presented are to search the Scriptures for themselves, that they may, in turn, present the truth to others. The loyal and true are now called upon to come to the front, and let their light shine forth in firm, steady rays to those who are in darkness. None of us can meet the darkness of the world unless we rely firmly upon Jesus, our mighty helper. All heaven is interested in the salvation of the human family; and when God sees that we are interested in the salvation of others, he will work with us and for us. I entreat you, my brethren and sisters, to go to work to save the souls for whom Christ died. Do not wait for a strong impulse before you move. If I had waited for feeling, one-half of my life would have been spent without doing anything. Feeling is not to be our criterion. As soldiers of the cross of Christ, we must put on the whole armor of God. We have his promise, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” RH March 16, 1886, par. 10

When Jesus ascended to heaven, he appointed men as his representatives to carry forward, in his name, the work which he had begun, promising them that, as they engaged in this work, they should have special help and strength. In view of this promise, and the great love of God for man, it has been difficult for many to understand why he permits his followers to suffer as the martyrs did through the Satanic cruelty of men professing to be the successors of Christ. This question troubled me for years. But when I saw how the angels of God hovered over these precious jewels, even as they hovered over the cross of Christ, my feelings were changed. By faith these faithful ones saw the crown of immortal glory, the white robe, and the palm branch of victory, and Jesus, their loved commander, watching over them. I then understood why our heavenly Father permits temptations, trials, and afflictions, to come to his loved ones. These are designed to give his children a deeper sense of his presence and providential care. They are also his providences, visitations of mercy, to bring back those who stray from his side. The peace that passeth understanding is not for those who try to shirk trials and self-denial. We cannot fully appreciate peace and joy in Christ, and the gift of eternal life, unless we are called to make some sacrifice to obtain these great blessings. RH March 16, 1886, par. 11

Let not the Christian feel that he is forsaken in the hour of trial. Not even a sparrow falls to the ground without the notice of our Father in heaven. He loves and cares for the feeblest of his creatures. We cannot dishonor him more than to doubt him. We need that living faith that will trust him in the hour of darkness and trial. RH March 16, 1886, par. 12

I wish I could impress every soul before me today with the importance of having a close connection with God. If the heart is pure, we can come with boldness to the throne of grace. Believing that God hears us, we shall act just as though we knew that he heard. This is faith. If we wait for a special feeling, we may be disappointed. Feeling has nothing to do with faith. The conditions of acceptance are, that we come out from the world and be separate, that we put away secret sins, and that we cease to transgress knowingly any of God's requirements. RH March 16, 1886, par. 13

What a heaven we would have if each were to go there with his peculiar temperament, his desire to have his own way! How unhappy would such persons be, even in heaven, if they could not always do as they pleased! The love of right must be inwrought in us while on the earth. The light of heaven will then come in, our hearts will open to Jesus, and we shall have perfect submission to the will of God. RH March 16, 1886, par. 14

Jesus gave us a perfect pattern. Let us study it carefully, and as we study and pray, we shall come into close connection with Heaven. Shall we not try harder to be like Jesus? Shall we not pray more? Shall we not make more earnest efforts for others? There is no time to be idled away. Every one who enters heaven will have, as the result of his labor, some soul to present to Jesus. The “well done” will never be said to those who have not done well. We must be faithful, we must be active, if we would receive the reward promised to the faithful. RH March 16, 1886, par. 15

The religion of Christ does not consist in merely having our names written on the church book; they must be written in the Lamb's book of life. Examine again the text. From this it will be seen that there is a decided difference between the followers of Christ and the world. They are a peculiar people; Jesus came to make them thus. The great motive presented to them is, “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” Let us keep our minds fixed upon the glorious appearing of him “who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people zealous of good works;” and let us act every day of our life as though we believed that his coming was near at hand. RH March 16, 1886, par. 16

Let us open the door of our hearts, that Jesus may come in and that sin may go out. Let us forsake the evil and choose the good, remembering that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” All who enter the city of God will do so as conquerors. Jesus overcame; and we may overcome, if we will fight our battles in his name. RH March 16, 1886, par. 17