The Review and Herald

425/1902

February 14, 1888

The Condition of Acceptance

[Sermon preached at Moss, Norway, June 11, 1887.]

EGW

Text: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven.” Matthew 7:21. RH February 14, 1888, par. 1

A profession of religion is of no value unless good works testify to the sincerity and reality of its claim. Those who are the children of God will work the works of God, and show “forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” They will reflect the light of his countenance, and manifest the Spirit of Christ. If we do not live for the good of others, seeking the salvation of souls and obeying the commandments of God, our religion is vain. Those who make great professions, and do not bear the fruits of godliness, make it manifest that they are not abiding in the True Vine; for “by their fruits ye shall know them.” They are dead branches; for “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” It is not those who cry “Lord, Lord,” who are accepted; but those who do the will of the Heavenly Father. RH February 14, 1888, par. 2

We were made in the image of God, after his likeness; but because of sin we have lost our resemblance to the Creator and Redeemer. We are out of harmony with the will of God; but the Son of God has bought us, at infinite cost to himself, that we might serve him, and do the will of Heaven. The moral image of God may be restored in our fallen natures, through faith in Christ, and obedience to the commandments of Jehovah. RH February 14, 1888, par. 3

Through the goodness of God, we have been surrounded with innumerable blessings. There are tokens of his love on every hand. Nature seems to be rejoicing before us. The beautiful things in heaven and earth express the love and favor of the Lord of hosts toward the inhabitants of the world. The sunshine and the rain fall on the evil and the good. The hills and seas and plains are all speaking eloquently to the soul of man of the Creator's love. It is God who brings the bud to bloom, the flower to fruit, and it is he who supplies our daily needs. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without the Father's notice. Our minds should go up in gratitude and adoration to the Giver of every good and perfect gift. We should teach our children to consider the works of God. They should be instructed of his love, and the provision he has made for their salvation. Lead them to give their young hearts as a grateful offering, fragrant with love, to Him who has died for them. Point out the attractive loveliness of the earth, and tell them of the world that is to come, that shall never know the blight of sin and death, where the face of nature will no more wear the shadow of the curse. Lead their young minds to contemplate the glories of the reward that awaits the children of God. Cultivate their imaginative powers by picturing the splendor of the new earth and the city of God; and when they are charmed with the prospect, tell them it will be more glorious than their brightest imagination can portray; for “it is written. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” RH February 14, 1888, par. 4

The poet and the naturalist have many things to say about nature; but it is the Christian who enjoys the beauty of the earth with the highest appreciation, because he recognizes his Father's handiwork, and perceives his love in flower and shrub and tree. No one can fully appreciate the significance of hill and vale, river and sea, who does not look upon them as an expression of the love of God to man. Should we hesitate a moment in deciding that we will serve him who so graciously provides for our happiness? Why should we not do the will of such a Father? RH February 14, 1888, par. 5

God does not compel any one to love him and obey his law. He has manifested unutterable love toward man in the plan of redemption. He has poured out the treasures of his wisdom, and has given the most precious gift of heaven that we might be constrained to love him, and come into harmony with his will. If we refuse such love, and will not have him to rule over us, we are working our own ruin, and we shall sustain an eternal loss at last. God desires the willing service of our hearts. He has endowed us with reasoning faculties, with talents of ability, and with means and influence, to be exercised for the good of mankind, that we may manifest his Spirit before the world. Precious opportunities and privileges are placed within our reach, and if we neglect them, we rob others, we defraud our own souls, and dishonor our Maker. We shall not want to meet these slighted opportunities and neglected privileges in the day of Judgment. Our eternal interests for the future depend on the present diligent performance of duty in improving the talents that God has given into our trust for the salvation of souls. RH February 14, 1888, par. 6

How inclined is man to set his affections on earthly things! His attention is absorbed in houses and lands, and his duty to his fellow-man is neglected; his own salvation is treated as a matter of little consequence, and the claims of God upon him are forgotten. Men grasp the treasures of earth as tenaciously as if they could hold on to them forever. They seem to think that they have a right to do with their means just as it pleases them, no matter what the Lord has commanded, or what may be the need of their fellow-men. They forget that all they claim as theirs, has simply been intrusted to them. They are stewards of the grace of God. God has committed this treasure to them to prove them, that they may manifest their attitude to his cause, and show the thoughts of their heart toward him. They are not only trading for time, but for eternity, with their Lord's money, and the use or abuse of their talent will determine their position and trust in the world to come. If it is used to glorify themselves, they transfer their affections from God to his gift, and it becomes an idol. They will have to give an account of their work before the righteous Judge. All that you have and are, belongs to God, to be used in blessing humanity, and in advancing the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. RH February 14, 1888, par. 7

Position and influence, be they ever so exalted, should not be made an excuse for misappropriating the Lord's goods. The special favors of God should stimulate us to render whole-hearted and affectionate service to him; but many who are thus blessed forget their Giver, and become reckless, defiant, and profligate. They dishonor the God of heaven, and wield an influence that curses and destroys their associates. They do not seek to lessen the sufferings of the needy. They do not build up the work of God. They do not seek to redress the wrongs of the innocent, to plead the cause of the widow and the orphan, or to reveal a lofty pattern of character before high and low, showing a spirit of beneficence and virtue. But on the contrary, they oppress the hireling; they keep back by fraud the just recompense for labor, cheat the innocent, rob the widow and heap up treasure corroded with the blood of souls. They will have to render an account at the bar of God. This class are not doing the will of the Father in heaven, and they will hear the stern command, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” RH February 14, 1888, par. 8

True religion works out the principles of God's law,—love to God and love to man. Those who will be accepted of heaven, will have put their talents out to the exchangers for the glory of God and the good of humanity. They will have become laborers together with God, and will receive the approval of the Master when he comes in the clouds of heaven. Religion is something more than a profession, something deeper than an impulsive feeling. It is doing the will of God through faith in Christ. RH February 14, 1888, par. 9

Conversion has become a matter of perplexity to many, because of the confusing doctrines that are taught in regard to what is religion. Coming to Christ means something more than belonging to the church. There are many whose names are registered on the leaves of the church record, but whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life. Coming to Christ does not require a severe mental effort and agony. It is simply accepting the terms of salvation that God has made plain in his word. RH February 14, 1888, par. 10

It is faith in Jesus that works in your life obedience to all the commandments of God. Will you not accept Christ as your captain, and enlist in his army? Will you not leave the black banner of the prince of darkness, and march under the blood-stained banner of the Prince Emmanuel? Will you not take a solemn vow that you will obey the commands of your Captain, endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life? Will you not come from a state of transgression to a state of obedience and love? Those who believe in Jesus have no enmity toward the law of God. They delight in his law, and count self-denial as of small consequence, if they may only honor their Master, and win souls for his kingdom. We must lift the cross daily, and follow in the steps of our dear Redeemer. RH February 14, 1888, par. 11

When man placed himself in opposition to the will of the Father, infinite pity filled the breast of the Son of God. He offered his life to pay the penalty of the broken law, that man might have another trial. He promised to give those who believed in him grace to resist temptation, and power to build up a righteous character, through keeping the commandments of God. Our Saviour purchased this privilege for us at an infinite cost. How blind must man be to his own interests, that he does not accept the terms of God, and receive eternal life! It is a solemn thought that the condition of man required the sacrifice of the Son of God in order that he might be redeemed from a life of sin to a life of faith and obedience. Though the race has fallen in rebellion, and ruin awaits those who neglect so great a salvation, Christ has promised to “make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” This honor will be conferred upon man, because the Son of God, as his substitute and surety, has imparted to him his own righteousness. Our precious Saviour laid aside his royal robes, stepped down from his royal throne, and was made man, that he might bring man into harmony with his God. RH February 14, 1888, par. 12

It is only in the light of Calvary's cross that we can estimate the value of our salvation. And after the Son of God has taken step after step of self-denial and humiliation, even to Calvary and the death of the cross, have we nothing to do? Christ has commanded, “Let this mind be in you, that was also in Christ Jesus.” If we have the love of Christ abiding in our hearts, we cannot enjoy it alone. We shall have a deep anxiety to present the precious news of salvation to others. Our daily steps will leave a bright track heavenward. We shall become lights in the world. We want you to fasten your eyes on the perfect Pattern. We want you to comply with the conditions of salvation. Are you loving God with all your heart, and your neighbor as yourself? It is not those who say they believe in Jesus, and yet are not laborers in his vineyard, that he will confess before his Father and the holy angels; but he will own those who humbly seek his grace, and do the will of his Father. They shall have eternal life, and be heirs with Christ in a world without end. RH February 14, 1888, par. 13