Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Ms 194, 1898

True and False Gods; Abiding in Christ

Campground, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

December 1898

Portions of this manuscript are published in HP 55, 84, 277.

Slept well last night but all night was in constant labor. The burden was, Have ye received the Holy Spirit? This, the burden of the meetings, I write now, at a quarter before eleven o’clock. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 1

The Lord would have the people confess their sins and ask for His pardon. Like the prodigal, He would have them say, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee,” and He will not only pardon, but call on angels to rejoice. “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” Luke 15:18, 24. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 2

Will we choose Jehovah or Baal, the living God or idols? We may disclaim that we worship idols, because we raise no outward shrine. It is a constant temptation to fashion an idol of our own creating, our own ideas, our own mind and will, as to make idols out of wood and stone. Many have their own ideas and conception of duty and of God. They conceive false characters, false attributes, and gather their worship about a being that is not God, that is no more like the true and living God than an idol. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 3

Even among those who claim to be Christians the question might be asked, What god are you worshiping? Is it the true and living God you are worshiping, or an idol? Are you worshiping the true God as He revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, in His Word, in nature and in the soul, or is your God one of your own creation, an idol in His place? What god are you worshiping, an unsympathetic being entirely opposite to Christ, one who has no heart to blend with others because these souls do not fit in the groove you have made? God is not heartless, cold, and dictatorial. The cold love, like an arctic winter, is satanic in its character. You can say, We will not bow the knee. This god is not our God. The true God is infinite in tenderness, in sympathy, in compassion. Our God is revealed in the tender attributes of Christ. The love of God is represented in Christ. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 4

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:16, 17. All who love God will reveal that love for those whom Christ died to save. “I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God.” [Ezekiel 18:32.] 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 5

“Abide in me,” comes to every soul from the lips of Jesus Christ. [John 15:4.] Who is He that thus so heartily gives us the invitation? This invitation is genuine. It has no deception in it. His Word is truth. He is the propitiation for not only your sins, but the sins of the whole world. He would have you obey His Word that all His promises may be fulfilled in you. If you come to Him in penitence and repent of your sins, His pardon is full and free. His love is greater than the love of a parent for his child. He longs to make you a partaker of His blessings, and of the joy of His love, most sweet and precious. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 6

Have you wandered from your Saviour into paths of disobedience? The blessings He bestows are all upon condition that you “come to me.” These blessings cannot be enjoyed apart from Christ, but will be freely, gladly imparted and enjoyed when you shall come to Him in close fellowship. With Christ your peace is assured. You are to come to Christ, to stay with Christ. He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. You must abide with Christ if you find rest to your poor, sin-burdened souls. He extends a constant invitation to all who will to come unto Him. Here is your rest, in the assurance of His reception. He invites you to abide with Him that you might have the great privilege of unbroken communion with Himself. What words more tender, more assuring, could be spoken? “Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” John 15:4, 5. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 7

It is not a casual touch with Christ that is needed, but it is to abide with Him. He called you to abide with Him. He does not propose to you a short-lived blessedness that is realized occasionally through earnest seeking of the Lord and passes away as you engage in the common duties of life. Your abiding with Christ makes every necessary duty light, for He bears the weight of every burden. He has prepared for you to abide with Him. This means that you are to be conscious of an abiding Christ, that you are continually with Christ, where your mind is encouraged and strengthened because you have put on Christ; then you can “quit you like men, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 8

“Abide in me.” Do not stand outside of Christ, as many professed Christians of today. To “abide in me, and I in you” is a possible thing to do, and the invitation would not be given if you could not do this. [John 15:4.] Jesus our Saviour is constantly drawing you by His Holy Spirit, working with your mind that you will abide with Christ. You have wandered from Him who is your light, your life, your salvation. The blessings He bestows are all connected with your own individual action. Shall Christ be refused? He says, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37. Of another class He says, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:40. The Lord Jesus knew man could not save himself. He must be saved by a power outside of himself. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 9

Have you, have I, fully comprehended the gracious call, “Come unto me”? [Matthew 11:28.] He says, “Abide in me,” not Abide with Me. [John 15:4.] “Do understand My call. Come to Me to stay with Me.” He will freely bestow all blessings connected with Himself upon all who come to Him for life. He has something better for you than a short-lived blessedness that you feel when you seek the Lord in earnest prayer. That is but as a drop in the bucket, to have a word with Christ. You are privileged with His abiding presence in the place of a short-lived privilege that was not lasting as you engaged in the duties of life. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 10

The Lord Jesus will abide with you and you with Him in every place. You must not leave Christ in the outer court, neither keep yourself away from Christ in the outer court. Will anxiety, perplexity, and cares drive you away from Christ? Are we less dependent upon God when in the workshop, in the field, in the marketplace? Any man who runs greedily after gain and forgets to consecrate his all to God is a worshiper of earthly things. It is recorded in regard to the churches of Macedonia, “How that in a great trial of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. ... And this they did, not as we had hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.” 2 Corinthians 8:2, 5. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 11

This is our work at this meeting, the first step of the process in order to file under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel. We place ourselves under Christ’s banner and watch and be attentive, obedient to His command. We acknowledge that all we have belongs to our Creator, our Redeemer. We will present our bodies “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,” which is our “reasonable service.” Romans 12:1. When we read and practice the written Word, we will regulate all our business transactions by the rule given us in the Word of God. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 12

The great temptation comes from Satan to make the kingdom of this world first. If any soul does this, making the things of this life first, he will learn to his sorrow that his life, his happiness consists not in the abundance of the things he shall acquire in worldly goods, that the kingdom of God does not consist in meat and in drink; for then the Bible, the Word of God, would be discarded and the god of this world would assume the supremacy and become the object to be worshiped. The commandment of God declares, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”—Christ. [Exodus 20:3.] 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 13

Every one who loves God supremely will love his neighbor as himself, and he will not have a burning desire to acquire property in lands or in money. We may, through love of the truth, know what poverty means, because the world loves not the truth, and those who are abiding in the truth must suffer for the truth’s sake. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 14

Here the test and trial come: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4. The world does not care to take heed to this, although the words proceeding from the mouth of God are eternal wisdom. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 15

When men and women are in the busy activities of life and are pressed with numerous cares, they cannot live upon their knees. But even in the marketplace there is a watcher constantly present to witness every transaction, and the books of heaven record every penny of unlawful gain as fraud. And it is in just such places that there are ministering angels on guard over those who are compelled to be there, marking the life deal and the willful exactions of the speculators. The very place where there is so much fraud and robbery is the very place where God and angels are the most needed. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 16

While men cannot live upon their knees in the marketplace, yet the silent heart’s earnest desire presented to heaven finds access to the Father through the watchers. The way to the throne of God is open, and all who have the fear of God before them and desire to walk in His counsel will seek His strength to do His will in crowded companies as well as in the chapel. It is in these very places that the men in large responsibilities may hear the voice of Christ saying in His Word, “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” Revelation 3:8. There is a chance for every man who loves and fears God, with every temptation that shall come in the business transactions of life, to know how to retreat into the secret place of the Most High’s pavilion, so that he can remain there and be safe. Then he will honor God because he feels the strength and fullness of power of Him who is back of the promises. He communes with God where no eye saw and no ear heard but His. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 17

All the Lord requires is a willing mind to walk in the way of the Lord. If there be a pure heart he shall see God and will feel His keeping power even in the busiest, most excitable crowd, if duty requires him to be there. If he sets the Lord ever before him he has an abiding Christ, and he will have crosses to lift because he claims to be a Christian. In such places every true, genuine receiver of Christ, believing Him to be his personal Saviour, carries the lamp of life. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 18

It will not be for the best to drop Christ out of your counsel, thinking this will diminish your cares and cure you of your perplexities. Remain steadfast. Cling by faith to the Mighty One. God has His sentinels, providing for loved ones who will hold fast their integrity. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 19

We must not have a religion that is retained only in favorable circumstances. A religion dependent on circumstances will surely fail when it is most needed, in the most difficult surroundings. The religion of the Bible will require the Gospel lamp to be kept burning brightly in unfavorable surroundings—in the market place, in the workshop—just as verily as in the place where prayer is wont to be made. Purest Christian principles may be preserved in every place. Loving and believing in Christ as our personal Saviour, we can claim His grace and His guardian care wherever we may be. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 20

“Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy.” [Verse 4.] Revelation 3:5. Let all bear in mind that the Christian ministration is not a work for drones. God calls for men who will do and dare danger. Hold no parleying with Satan, but meet him with “It is written.” “Quit you like men, be strong.” [1 Corinthians 16:13.] Faith alone, unfeigned, can be the basis of our actions and prove by a clean, pure example that it is possible to be active, “Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11) and then all commercial enterprises will be conducted on Bible principles, in God’s way, and the fabric will stand on a solid foundation. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 21

When the blessing is pronounced upon all honesty and true godliness, then completion of character will be cultivated and receive the reward of well doing. We wish to repeat over and over again, until it is indelibly imprinted upon the heart, the blessed invitation, “Abide in Me.” [John 15:4.] Read the Word, and in the light of a “Thus saith the Lord,” meditate upon it. Pray until the lesson and meaning of abiding in is fully learned, accompanied with its claims and its promises. The Holy Spirit, which is Christ’s representative, is now in our world to bring all things to our remembrance, that His claims shall not be forgotten or neglected. Read the Word and pray. Meditate on the Scriptures until the understanding, the gate to the door to the heart, is opened to comprehend its requirements and our dependence. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 22

Those who will wait to hear what the Spirit saith unto them shall not hear in vain. Fix the eye upon Christ alone in quiet waiting upon Him to hear His voice saying, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things I have spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.” John 15:4, 10-12. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 23

Who of those who claim to be Christians obey this commandment, “That ye love one another, as I”—your Lord and Saviour—“have loved you.” [Verse 12.] “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends if ye do what soever I command you.” Verses 13, 14. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 24

There are many who come to the Saviour in a feeble way. They receive baptism and yet there is no apparent change in their character. We would invite all to come, all to abide in Christ, to advance daily in the perfection of character by abiding in Christ. As they do this, they find that rest that can come only through perfect obedience. 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 25

But I warn you, be careful how you settle down in the middle walk between spirituality and worldliness. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24. You will be wholly on one side or for the other. “Come unto me,” says Christ, “all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me ... and ye shall find rest to your souls.” [Matthew 11:28, 29.] Christ draws to His side; Satan hangs out every attraction to draw on his side. Whom will you choose? Under whose banner will you stand? 13LtMs, Ms 194, 1898, par. 26