Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 8 (1893)


Ms 16, 1893

Sermon/Conflict Between Christ and Satan. Opera Hall, 8:15 p.m.

Auckland, New Zealand

February 12, 1893

Portions of this manuscript are published in CTr 209.

1 John 3:1-3. Here John has a view of the measureless love of an infinite God. John cannot find language to express it, and he calls upon [the] world to behold it. There were types and shadows that prefigured Christ in the Old Testament. Those who had been with Christ through His ministry recorded His works in the New Testament. For three years and a half the disciples were learning lessons from the lips of Christ, the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. We have it from their lips, and we believe it. Christ had come to our world. What brought Him here? Adam and Eve had transgressed the law of God in Eden. Genesis 2:16, 17. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 1

God told them not to touch the tree of knowledge. But here the tempter came in, and instead of obeying the words of God they listened to the tempter and obeyed his words. What was the result? They were excluded from their Eden home. When God made inquiry, they told Him about it. The voice said to them to eat and they obeyed it. Then was the first gospel sermon preached to Adam and Eve in Eden. Genesis 3:15. Well now, let us thank God for this, that the serpent cannot touch our head unless we give it to his control. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 2

Christ looked upon our world before He came to it, and He saw that Satan’s power was exercised upon the human family. And because of the transgression of Adam he claimed the whole human family. He pointed to their calamities and diseases and reflected [them] upon God. He said God would have no mercy upon them and they might as well be under his control. Jesus had enlisted to give His own life for the salvation of men. He laid aside His royal robe [and] royal crown that He might clothe humanity with divinity. He was a babe in Bethlehem. Again His love was exercised to bring human beings under His sway that they might not follow the example of Adam. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 3

Since the law of God was transgressed, the sentiment prevailed that it was impossible for man to keep the law of God. And so Christ Himself takes human nature upon Him, and He gives to men a probation, places them on trial to teach them in His own nature. The human and divine were combined in Jesus Christ. He came to our world to elevate humanity in the scale of moral value with God. He passed over [the] ground where Adam fell. He stood against the temptations of Satan and came off conqueror. He [Satan] approached the Son of God as an angel of light, just as he may tempt you. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 4

Jesus Christ came off conqueror in the wilderness of temptation. And when upon Jordan’s banks, He offered such a prayer to heaven as heaven had never listened to before. His prayer penetrated through [the] darkness around him and reached the highest heavens. The heavens were opened and a dove, in appearance like burnished gold, [descended upon Him,] and from the lips of the Infinite One was heard these words, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” [Matthew 3:16, 17.] We have not understood how much this was saying to us. “You are accepted in the Beloved.” [See Ephesians 1:6.] His prayer ascended to the highest heavens. There [our] petitions will be heard. Jesus Christ, [our] Intercessor, will give [ear] to the [petitioner], and he will have grace [and] power through the Substitute, and surety that his petitions shall be honored in the highest heavens. How precious to every son and daughter of God, to every father and every mother who stands with burdens of responsibility to their children. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 5

Christ has come to our world to redeem it. Our work is to make Him the Center. Our hopes are centered in Jesus Christ, He is first, best and everything to us. Christ came here to our atom of a world, and He honored it by taking [the] nature of man upon Himself. He honored humanity in the sight of all the created intelligences. And this work of salvation that He was working out in behalf of human race. Angels of God were to come at His bidding. Where? Right to our world. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 6

We read in [the] Word of God, “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.” [John 3:16.] That means you and me. It means every one of us. That is wonderful; we ought to see enough in this to have a thankful heart continually. “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant.” See Isaiah 53:2. Why, His human form must be so attractive, and it was; but His purity cut right across their pathway, cut directly across their human attractions. Read also verses 2 and 3. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 7

The Jews thought if He had only come with power; and in arms, and to restore their kingdom to them, and break the yoke off their necks, they would have accepted Him. He did not even come in the light of an angel; but He humbled Himself before the angels. Divinity took humanity upon Him that humanity might touch humanity. If He had come in any other way, they could not endure it. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 8

[When] the angel came to Daniel to make known unto him that he was greatly beloved and to give him skill and understanding, why, he could not endure the sight of the angel; the angel bade him to be strengthened, but he had to reveal himself as a man. So we can see what wisdom, what knowledge God had in laying [the] plan that Christ should come as a man, the Prince of Life to dispute the power of the prince of darkness. Jesus said in Nazareth that, “He came to break every yoke, and to preach the gospel to the poor.” [See Luke 4:18.] He was born of poor parentage. Who was it? The Majesty of heaven. He was subject to His parents, and He learned the carpenter’s trade, thus honoring labor. The poor took hold of Jesus Christ as their Saviour. He drew them to Himself. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 9

But Christ came to take the prey out of the hands of the enemy. Christ, the Prince of Life, to take the prey from Satan, the prince of darkness. He came to heal the sick. He raised the dead and healed those suffering from diseases. He came to represent the Father. He loves the human family. Now Satan may cast upon God his own attributes of sternness, [but] Christ came to represent the Father that we might come in close relation to our heavenly Father. Satan casts reflection on God by saying that the distress, misery, and suffering in our world is caused by God. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 10

While many look at Adam and bewail his weakness, they follow in his footsteps, and break the law of God, and the laws of their own being, notwithstanding they have the examples of those who have done that very thing. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 11

Wicked hands took the Prince of Life, and crucified Him. He died for our sakes. How many open the door of their hearts to Jesus? How many close the door of the heart to the enemy? [Oh,] that we may see the Saviour in His humiliation in taking human nature upon Him. He stooped lower and still lower until we behold Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. There is where He offered the prayer, “If it is possible ....” [Matthew 26:39.] (See Scripture.) It was here He prayed three times. Why, the bloody sweat that came from His pores moistened the sods of Gethsemane. The destiny of a lost world was balanced. He could have said, “I cannot take the sins of the world.” But no, no, the misery and weight of [a] lost world comes up before Him, and He accepts the cup. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 12

Pilate seeks to release Him, and Pilate presents Him as an innocent man. After scourging Him he brings Him forward, and with Christ on one hand and Barabbas on the other, he asks the people which is their choice, which shall he release unto them. Barabbas, whose countenance expresses depravity and every mark of cruelty, and who was such a notable robber, is placed forward so that they can make their choice: [Barabbas or] Christ, [who] loved mercy and compassion, and who did not cast one reproachful look upon His enemies. Pilate thought the contrast was so evident that they would choose Christ, but hear the coarse cry to release Barabbas. Pilate says, “What shall I do with Christ?” “Crucify him, crucify him,” came from their coarse voices. [Matthew 27:22; Luke 23:21.] Now I ask you, men and women, what confidence have you in human nature unless controlled by the grace of Christ? Christ’s human arm encircled the human race while with His divine arm He grasped the throne of the Infinite One. And this world, that had been separated from the continent of heaven, He throws it back into favor with God. Here the human family may look to heaven and say, “I see its battlements. O, what path shall I tread that I may reach its happiness?” Many of you are saying this. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 13

When Jacob had left his father’s house, and felt that he was alone and discouraged, God gave him a wonderful dream. He saw a ladder. The base of [the] ladder rested on the earth, and the topmost round reached into heaven. The light of the glory of God was shining the whole length of that mystic ladder. And the angels in their shining brightness were ascending and descending upon it. What an impression was left upon him! He recalled the teachings of Abraham, and Isaac. He realized that he was not forsaken. He said, “Why this is the house of God, and the gateway to heaven.” [Genesis 28:17.] Heaven was near to him. And heaven is nearer to us than many of us suppose. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 14

An angel from heaven was sent to Cornelius saying, “Thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are come up in remembrance in the sight of God.” [Acts 10:31.] Can you not see that [though] we are few, [we may be more than conquerors] if we have the angels to co-operate with us? God knows you by name, and where you live. Every dishonesty, and every thing is open to His eye. God’s eye is upon His people. Light will come as they live it. God is at work in our behalf. He gave all heaven with His Son. God did not want the confederacy of evil to say that He could do more than He had done. Worlds that He had created, intelligent angels in heaven, can testify that nothing more could be done in behalf of man. We can be “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” [2 Peter 1:4.] We are to be in the world and not of the world. We are to be witnesses for God. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 15

Christ is not in Joseph’s new tomb. The angel from heaven rolled away the mighty stone. The panoply of heaven came, and the Roman guards fell as dead men to the earth. They saw the glory and the Son of God. He had risen and ascended to heaven above, and the angels were singing with glory and admiration. And as they reach the gates of the city of God they cry out, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the king of glory shall come in.” [Psalm 24:7.] And the sentinels at the gates inquire, “Who is this King of glory?” The reply comes, “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.” See also Psalm 24:8, 10. And the heavenly gates are opened and they pass within the city. Angels on every side would worship Him, but Christ motions them back as they worship Him, waves them back, and He presents this petition to the Father, “I will that they also, ... be with me where I am.” [John 17:24.] And the Father grants the petition. Then the angels of God worship Christ and they touch their heavenly harps and the strain echoes and re-echoes through the courts of heaven. And Jesus is inaugurated to stand as our substitute and surety. Does He tell you that you shall go into heaven without any battles? He shows you that you will have battles to fight. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 16

Satan fights against the army of Jesus Christ. Jesus stands at the head of the army. None of us are left without special help from God. There is a world to save, and we should be laborers together with God. You must come out from the world and be separate. Draw the line of distinction plainly between you and the world. Educate your children for God. Teach them of His love and tell of His power. Christ said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” [Revelation 3:20.] Gracious invitation! Let him in. Emptied of envy, let the vacuum be supplied by grace of Jesus Christ. Be one of the families where the angels of God can minister. Be parents of prayer. Divine power will come to you as it came to Jesus Christ. Work with earnestness and zeal for the unconverted. 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 17

There will [be] a class stand before the judgment seat of Christ of whom Christ will say, “I was hungry and ye fed me not.” [Matthew 25:42.] Everything rests upon what character we develop. You shall become changed into His likeness if you have chosen Him as your Counselor. Your confessions should be to Christ. Never confess to any man unless you have wronged him. Jesus Christ is the one that bears our sins. Many think they do not want religion if it would do no more for them than it does for Brother X. The Bible, the garden of God, is full of rich promises. Search its pages. No matter if the devil says you are a sinner. Christ came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Let us believe He has come to save us from our sins. I feel so grateful to Him that I can commit my soul to Him; and He will keep that which I have committed to His trust. Let the world see that there is matchless charm in Jesus. Christ says, “I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33.] And you can have the same victories. And hear at last, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” [Matthew 25:21.] 8LtMs, Ms 16, 1893, par. 18