Ms 147, 1906

Ms 147, 1906

Sermon/“Behold What Manner of Love”

Oakland, California

December 15, 1906

Previously unpublished.

“Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” [1 John 3:1, 2.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 1

Would that we all might truly “behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” [Verse 1.] I praise the Lord for these precious words. They bring me great comfort. Do all of us who profess to be children of God really know Him? Do we all, by well-ordered lives and godly conversation, represent Him? 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 2

There are many here today who have been listening to the Word of God, who have had an opportunity to know more of what that Word says, and who are just beginning to understand the hope that is in the gospel. “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” [Verse 3.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 3

Notice especially what is said of those who abide in Christ: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.” [Verses 4-6.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 4

Christ made an infinite sacrifice in order that we might enjoy the great privilege of being called the sons of God. Before the world was created, the Father and His Son conferred together as to how man, if he should sin, might be reinstated as a member of the heavenly family. Christ then offered Himself as a ransom for the human race. The privilege secured for us at such an infinite cost, the privilege of becoming children of God, is the greatest privilege that could be conferred upon us. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 5

Consider the exalted position of Him who gave His life for the redemption of a sinful, fallen race. Like His Father, He was immortal. He was the beloved Commander of the hosts of heaven. How sad it is that so many will treat the Saviour indifferently. Thus their eyes become blinded to the eternal realities, and they cannot behold God. They cannot understand that “He so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” to be rejected of men and put to an ignominious death. [John 3:16.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 6

A time had come when it seemed as though Satan was doing in the world about as it pleased him. He reigned in the hearts of men and had filled the world with disease and woe and human misery. But Christ came to break the power of the enemy and to redeem man as His purchased possession. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 7

In every detail, Christ fulfilled the prophecies that spoke of His advent as the Messiah. To a humble band of shepherds, angels announced His birth and the place where He might be found. With joyful hearts the shepherds went to find Him, that they might worship Him. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 8

Let those who are striving for a high position consider the condescension of Christ. He left the riches of heaven and came to this earth in poverty, assuming the form of humanity. He might have made His advent attended by a retinue of angels. But He did not come thus. He was born as a babe in Bethlehem. His parents were unable to find room, except in a stable, and there the Prince of heaven was born. His life was ever one of humility. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 9

At every step He was withstood by the archenemy. Our Saviour was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. No human being will ever be called upon to endure what He endured for our sakes. Because of His experience, He knows how to succor them that are tempted. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 10

It was through the union of the divine and the human in Christ that power was imparted to men to become partakers of the divine nature. He gives this power to every one that receives Him. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” [John 1:12.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 11

He was the Word made flesh, dwelling among men. In Him all fulness dwells, and those who believe in Him will become workers together with Him. It is the privilege of every one to follow the Pattern set before us. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 12

“Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God.” [1 John 3:1.] Behold Him as revealed in His Word. Behold Him revealed in the prophecies. Study carefully the record that is left of His life on earth. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 13

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him. When Herod the king heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem, of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule My people Israel.” [Matthew 2:1-6.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 14

Then follows the account of how Herod tried to kill Jesus. Satan sought continually to stir up men against Jesus, that His life might be taken. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 15

In the third chapter of Matthew is brought to view the work of John, the forerunner of Christ. “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” [Verses 1-3.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 16

The prophecies that speak of the second coming of Christ are just as verily being fulfilled today. Our message today is, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Verse 2.] And there is a work of decision before every one of us. Shall we accept the infinite sacrifice that Christ has made for us, or shall we reject Him? This is a life and death question. The Lord desires to save everyone. He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life. But some will not come to Him that they may have life. We desire to see many turning for salvation to Him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 17

“And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 18

“Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” [Verses 4-12.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 19

O, how our hearts are pained as we see so much of the chaff that must be consumed with fire. The Bible is full of predictions relating to the coming of Christ, but there are many whose eyes are blinded to the truth. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 20

“Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered Him. And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” [Verses 13-17.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 21

The Father thus signified His acceptance of the Son. In accepting Christ, the Father gave a pledge to all the human family that they through Christ might also be accepted. Those who will intelligently and understandingly receive His Word will certainly see of the salvation of God. Now follows a record of the temptations of Christ: 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 22

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But He answered and said, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” [Matthew 4:1-4.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 23

Jesus gave no answer to the enemy, except to quote the words of God. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 24

“Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city, and setteth Him on a pinnacle of the temple, and saith unto Him, If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee; and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.” [Verses 5, 6.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 25

Here the enemy quotes Scripture, but he does not repeat it all. He leaves out one qualification. The Scripture to which he referred says, “He shall give His angels charge over Thee, to keep Thee in all Thy ways,”—that is in the ways that God would mark out. [Psalm 91:11.] Jesus again answered him with Scripture: 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 26

“It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” [Matthew 4:7.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 27

“Again, the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.” [Verses 8, 9.] Here the enemy reveals his real purpose. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 28

“Then Jesus saith unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” [Verse 10.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 29

Let us consider carefully the example of our Lord. Weary, fainting with the want of food, He yet resisted the temptations of Satan at every point. It seemed that He would die under the strain, but He obtained the victory, and that victory is for us. Then the devil left Him, and “angels came and ministered unto Him. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 30

“Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, He departed into Galilee: and leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” [Verses 11-16.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 31

On such occasions as we have seen here in Oakland, when the truths of the Bible are clearly presented, it is light springing up, and let those who receive that light be joyful. Those who have received Christ as their Saviour should be the most happy people in the world. They should not be hesitating over what they are giving up, for they are gaining life, eternal life in the kingdom of glory. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 32

“From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 33

“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And He saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” [Verses 17-19.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 34

Jesus desired these fishermen to learn of Him, to become fellow workers with Him in saving souls. So He calls each one of us today. Shall we respond as did these men? “They straightway left their nets, and followed Him.” [Verse 20.] Then Jesus called others, and they also responded without a question. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 35

“Going on from thence, He saw two other brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.” [Verses 21, 22.] 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 36

I am so thankful that there are some here today who have responded to the call of the Saviour. O that we might see hundreds and thousands here in this city who would realize that they are facing a life-and-death question. Christ will stand by every one who will receive Him. He will break the power of the enemy over them, and He will be their Helper. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 37

I know what it means to suffer under the thought that I never should be saved. When I was but a child, eleven years old, I could not believe that Christ would save me. I was filled with a sense of my unworthiness. It seemed too great a thing for me to grasp the truth that Jesus would save me. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 38

For three weeks I was in a state of despair. Then I had a dream that seemed to give me new hope. I seemed to be sitting in a state of abject despair, with my face in my hands, reflecting like this: If Jesus were upon earth, I would go to Him, throw myself at His feet, and tell Him all my sufferings. He would not turn away from me, He would have mercy upon me, and I should love and serve Him always. Just then the door opened, and a person of beautiful form and countenance entered. He looked upon me pitifully and said, “Do you wish to see Jesus? He is here, and you can see Him if you desire to do so. Take everything you possess and follow me.” 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 39

I heard this with unspeakable joy and gladly gathered up all my little possessions, every treasured trinket, and followed my guide. He led me to a steep and apparently frail stairway. As I commenced to ascend the steps, he cautioned me to keep my eyes fixed upward, lest I should grow dizzy and fall. Many others who were climbing up the steep ascent fell before gaining the top. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 40

Finally we reached the last step and stood before a door. Here my guide directed me to leave all the things that I had brought with me. I cheerfully laid them down; he then opened the door, and bade me enter. In a moment I stood before Jesus. There was no mistaking that beautiful countenance. Such a radiant expression of benevolence and majesty could belong to no other. As His gaze rested upon me, I knew at once that He was acquainted with every circumstance of my life and all my inner thoughts and feelings. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 41

I tried to shield myself from His gaze, feeling unable to endure His searching eyes; but He drew near with a smile, and, laying His hand upon my head, said: “Fear not.” The sound of His sweet voice thrilled my heart with a happiness it had never before experienced. I was too joyful to utter a word, but, overcome with ineffable happiness, sank prostrate at His feet. While I was lying helpless there, scenes of beauty and glory passed before me, and I seemed to have reached the safety and peace of Heaven. At length my strength returned, and I arose. The loving eyes of Jesus were still upon me, and His smile filled my soul with gladness. His presence filled me with a holy reverence and an inexpressible love. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 42

My guide now opened the door, and we both passed out. He bade me take up again all the things I had left without. This done, he handed me a green cord coiled up closely. This he directed me to place next to my heart, and when I wished to see Jesus, take it from my bosom, and stretch it to the utmost. He cautioned me not to let it remain coiled for any length of time, lest it should become knotted and difficult to straighten. I placed the cord near my heart and joyfully descended the narrow stairs, praising the Lord and joyfully telling all whom I met where they could find Jesus. This dream gave me hope. The green cord represented faith to my mind, and the beauty and simplicity of trusting in God began to dawn upon my benighted soul. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 43

And it was in my youth that the work was laid upon me of bearing messages to the people. I have had many precious messages, but sometimes I have been bidden to speak words of correction or reproof. This has always been painful to me. Some have rejected the words of counsel or warning, but still I have continued to labor on without losing courage. When I was but a child, physicians told me that I could live but a few months. They said I had consumption, and I had even lost my voice. The first time I tried to deliver my message before an audience, I was unable to articulate a word. I stood before them for several minutes, vainly endeavoring to speak. Then my voice came to me, and I was able to speak distinctly for above two hours. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 44

I thought that my voice had returned to me, but as soon as I had finished speaking before the people, I once more found myself unable to speak. For some time I was obliged to labor thus, always waiting for my voice to come to me before I could address an audience. Then the Lord gave me my voice permanently, and I have never since been unable to speak. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 45

Then I was bidden to write out the things that had been revealed to me. Oh, I thought, how can I write? On account of an accident I had been obliged to leave school when I was twelve years old, and for months I had hovered between life and death. I had tried to learn to write, but my hand was too unsteady to hold a pen. Still the word came to me that I should write. So I began to write; and by the Lord’s help, I have since written thousands of pages. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 46

The Lord often chooses very frail instruments to do His work. He does not look to those who have the greatest capabilities or the most learning. He can use those who will yield to Him. These He will teach and lead. All who will submit to Jesus Christ—giving up self-will, and making a covenant with Him by sacrifice—will know that He will not disappoint them. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 47

The trouble with many is that they try to fill an important position. In their effort to place themselves where they will accomplish a great work, they often fail. Let all begin to work humbly, pleading with God to help them. Then they will find that they have a Helper, One who will never leave nor forsake. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 48

To those who will tomorrow go down into the water in full faith in Jesus Christ, to be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I would say: These three great heavenly powers are pledged in your behalf. Give yourselves unreservedly to God. You are buried in the likeness of Christ’s death and raised in the likeness of His resurrection. The powers of heaven will be with you if you will follow on step by step to know the Lord. Act as though you were raised from the dead—a new creature. Reveal that your mind is changed into conformity with the mind of Christ. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 49

Do not complain or become discouraged when the tempter comes to you with thoughts of discouragement. Take your Bible and read there some of the words of praise and thanksgiving. The Bible is full of such words. With these you may rise above the power of the enemy. Your power is not in your own feeble self, but help is laid on One who is mighty to save. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 50

Let no one feel that because he is weak and ignorant that he may as well give up in despair. It is your privilege to go right to the Lord and cast your helpless soul on Him. Go to Him just as you are, saying, “Here, Lord, I give myself to Thee; ‘tis all that I can do.” When you come to the Saviour as a repentant sinner, do you think He will turn you empty away? No, indeed. Whatever your sins may have been, if you will come to the compassionate, tender, merciful Saviour, His arms of love will encircle you. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 51

Here are these large cities of Oakland and San Francisco. They must be warned. For years the importance of the work in these cities has been kept before me, but there has seemed to be among church members a settling down, a failure to reach out for souls. The Lord calls for an awakening among His people. He will greatly bless them as they go forth in His service—humbly and with meekness and lowliness of heart. Will you now consecrate your lives to God? Will you empty yourselves of the spirit of envy and jealousy? Let Jesus cleanse the soul temple and the sweet peace of heavenly love will fill your heart. There is a world to be warned, and God calls for every one of us to work hand in hand with Him. Labor for those around you, and give of your means for the support of laborers in other parts of the world. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 52

Shall we not lay aside jealousy and envy and become humble children of God? Shall we not labor diligently in His service? Let us seek to cultivate the spirit of Christ. If we will walk humbly with God, we shall finally see the King in His beauty. 21LtMs, Ms 147, 1906, par. 53