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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Ms 31, 1901

    Sermon/The Christian Life

    “Tabernacle,” Battle Creek, Michigan

    April 14, 1901

    This manuscript is published in entirety in 1SAT 318-329.

    Sermon by Mrs. E. G. White in the Tabernacle, April 14, 1901.

    “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” [Matthew 6:19-21.]16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 1

    “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness.” [Verse 22.]16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 2

    Christ is the light of the world. In all that we do, let us walk in this light. In the Word of God our work is laid out before us. Let us not think that the Lord has given us talents to use in whatever way we please. Our talents are given us to hold in trust for Him. Our money is His. In its use we are to remember that Christ gave His precious life that we might have a probation in which to make a suitable preparation for the future life. “Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are his.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.]16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 3

    This present life is our time of test and trial. God placed Adam and Eve in the beautiful garden of Eden, saying to them, “Of every tree in the garden thou mayest freely eat.” But there was one prohibition. “Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” [Genesis 2:16, 17.] God wished to test and try the beings He had made, to see if they would be loyal and true to Him.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 4

    In this prohibition Satan saw a chance to misrepresent God. Disguised as a serpent he came to Adam and Eve, saying, “The reason God has forbidden you to eat of that fruit is because He knows that if you do eat of it, you will be as gods. You will become wise.” [Genesis 3:5.] And they did become wise—wise in knowing the evil which God meant them never to know.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 5

    After Adam and Eve had yielded to the tempter, the covering of light, their garment of innocence, was taken from them. “The eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” In the past they had been glad to see their Creator when He came to walk and talk with them. Now in their sinfulness they were afraid to meet Him. Hearing the voice of God in the garden, they “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” “Who told thee that thou wast naked?” God asked. “Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” And then Adam did that which it is natural for all human beings to do. He threw the blame on someone else. “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me,” he said, “she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” [Verses 7-12.]16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 6

    God told Adam that because of his disobedience the ground should be cursed. “In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee. ... In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” [Verses 17-19.]16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 7

    The floodgates of woe were opened upon our world. All nature must feel the effects of sin. But God did not leave Adam without a ray of hope. He gave him the promise which ever since has brightened the pathway of the faithful. He said to the serpent, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” [Verse 15.]16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 8

    Good and evil are set before us. Which are we choosing? Are we serving and glorifying self, losing sight of the light of the world, or are we denying self and following the Redeemer? Christ is the propitiation for our sins. Laying aside His royal robe and kingly crown, He stepped from His high command, and clothed His divinity with humanity. For our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 9

    To us has been given the privilege of laying up treasure in heaven. This we may do by following Christ. He came to our world to demonstrate to the universe that man, his eyes fixed upon God, can be an overcomer. Thus was fulfilled the promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head. Christ humiliated Himself to stand at the head of humanity, that we might be heirs to an immortal inheritance in the kingdom of glory.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 10

    When Christ came to John for baptism, John refused to baptize Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” “Suffer it to be so now,” Christ said; “for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” [Matthew 3:14, 15.] Provision has been made that when man repents and takes the steps requisite in conversion, he shall be forgiven. When he is baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, these three great powers are pledged to work in his behalf. And man on his part, as he goes down into the water, to be buried in the likeness of Christ’s death and raised in the likeness of His resurrection, pledges himself to worship the true and living God, to come out from the world and be separate, to keep the law of Jehovah.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 11

    When Christ bowed on the banks of Jordan and offered up prayer to heaven, it was in our behalf that He prayed. And as He prayed, the heavens were opened, and the glory of God like a dove of burnished gold rested upon Him, while from the highest heaven was heard a voice, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” [Verses 16, 17.] This is heaven’s pledge in behalf of humanity. Christ’s prayer was offered for us. We are accepted in the Beloved. What an incentive this should be to us to strive earnestly and perseveringly to please the Saviour, to live so that He shall not have died for us in vain!16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 12

    Think of the possibilities and probabilities before us. We can have all the strength of heaven; for when God gave Christ to our world, He gave all heaven. The Saviour’s long human arm encircles the race, while with His divine arm He grasps the throne of the Infinite. We are sinful, but Christ is sinless, and through Him we may stand on vantage ground with God. “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.] There is no excuse for any man or woman to lose eternal life. Every one can gain heaven, but God will not force any one to accept the provisions He has made. God forces no one to obey. Neither does He place any one in a position where he will be tempted above that he is able to bear.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 13

    We have everything to be thankful for. Never ought Christians to move along like a band of mourners in a funeral train. God does not require this of His followers. He does not ask them to spread sackcloth and ashes under them. “Is it such a fast that I have chosen?” He asks; “a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day unto the Lord?” God tells us what kind of a fast He has chosen. “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” This is the fast He wishes us to observe. “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” [Isaiah 58:5-7.] In these words our duty is outlined. God shows us where we should place our treasures. As we follow in the path of self-denial and self-sacrifice, helping the needy and suffering, we shall lay up treasure before the throne of God.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 14

    The advantage this will be to us is shown in the following words: “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily; and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am.” [Verses 8, 9.] Here is shown action and re-action. As we impart the goods the Lord has lent us on trust, we receive more to impart, and blessing comes to us. As we take hold upon Christ as a personal Saviour, we are enabled to do “all things.” [Philippians 4:13.]16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 15

    Christ is not dead. He has proclaimed over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the resurrection and the life.” [John 11:25.] Satan has thrown his dark shadow across our pathway, but let not our faith falter. Rather let it cleave through the shadow to the place where Christ sits as our Intercessor. Satan is trying to hide the light of heaven from us, but he cannot do this if we will cling to the mighty One. Call upon the Lord, and He will answer, “Here am I.” [Isaiah 58:9.] Co-operate with God in striving against the enemy. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be determined that you will be temperate in all things. Remember that there is a world to save. We are to act our part, standing close by the side of Christ as His co-laborers. He is the head; we are His helping hand. He designs that we, by doing medical missionary work, shall undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free. Let us not close our eyes to the misery around us or our ears to the cries of distress which are continually ascending. Christ is the greatest missionary the world has ever known. He came to uplift and cheer the sorrowing and distressed, and in this work we are to co-operate with Him.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 16

    Intemperance is seen on every side. What are you doing to overcome it? What are you doing to baffle the efforts of the enemy? Are you standing for the right as did Daniel in the courts of Babylon? He was tempted, but he would not swerve from the principles of right. He refused to partake of the food and wine from the king’s table, and requested that he and his companions be allowed a simpler diet. His request was granted, and ten days’ trial revealed that the Hebrew youth possessed health and fairness of countenance which were not possessed by those who had eaten of the food from the king’s table. Let us be Daniels in this world of temptation and trial, standing steadfastly for the right because it is right.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 17

    “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” [Matthew 6:24.] If you center your thoughts upon the world, you will be worldly; you cannot help but be. But if you weave into the life the principles of heaven, keeping your attention fixed on Christ, you will be prepared for association with the angels. Remember that God wants you to bring Christ into your business transactions just as surely as into the house of prayer. He wants us to bear the testimony that in a world corrupted by sin, human beings can live untainted by worldliness. He wants us to show that we are standing under the bloodstained banner of prince Emmanuel. He does not tell us that the path to heaven is a smooth one. He takes us to an eminence and shows us the powers of darkness arrayed against us. But He tells us that more than men are in the army fighting on the side of right. “Be of good cheer,” He says. “I have overcome the world.” [John 16:33.]16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 18

    After assuring us that we cannot serve two masters, Christ says, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” [Matthew 6:25.] What we need is the robe of Christ’s righteousness. Christ says that He will take away our sins, and cover us with His righteousness.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 19

    Fathers and mothers, under your care God has placed the younger members of His family. Are you fitting them to live that life which measures with the life of God? Are you teaching them by example to hide the life with Christ in God, to believe in Him, to love Him? God said of Abraham, “I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment.” [Genesis 18:19.] Now, as then, this is what God requires from parents. He wants them to educate their children in such a way that when they go forth into the world, they will resist the temptations which beset them on every side.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 20

    Parents, God desires you to make your family a sample of the family in heaven. Guard your children. Be kind and tender with them. Father, mother, and children are to be joined together with the golden links of love. One well-ordered, well-disciplined family is a greater power in demonstrating the efficiency of Christianity than all the sermons in the world. When fathers and mothers realize how their children copy them, they will watch carefully every word and gesture.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 21

    Educate your children from their babyhood to be cheerful and obedient. Teach them to help you. Tell them that they are a part of the firm, and that you need their help, so that you will be spared to care for them. “Oh,” say some mothers, “my children bother me when they try to help me.” So did mine, but do you think I let them know it? Praise your children. Teach them, line upon line, precept upon precept. This is better than reading novels, better than making calls, better than following the fashions of the world. We shall go through this life but once. We cannot afford to fail of reaching the goal for which Christ has told us to strive.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 22

    Do you teach your children to pray? It pays to be a praying household. The world is given up to horse racing and games. Are you teaching your children to run with patience the race for the crown of life? Those who run in the races of this world are temperate in all things, knowing that if they succeed they must keep the powers of the body in the best condition. How important, then, that those who are running the race for immortality be temperate in all things, that they may serve God acceptably.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 23

    Close the windows of the soul earthward and open them wide heavenward. If you let the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness flood the soul temple, you will not be cross or irritable in your home. If you put away from you tobacco and liquor and all that tends to intemperance, the Lord will help you to be cheerful and serene. He does not want us to live on the flesh of animals. He has something better for us—fruits and grains. He wants us to be strictly temperate. He wants us to teach our children to be temperate, to practice self-denial.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 24

    Let us make straight paths for our feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. If we allow our children to associate with evil companions, they will by beholding become changed. They will lose the sense of repulsion to evil. Let us do all in our power to keep them from the evil that is in the world. Some years ago, while rowing on Lake Goguac with my husband, we saw a beautiful lily. I asked my husband to get it for me, and to pluck it with as long a stem as he could. He did so, and I examined it. In the stem was a channel through which flowed the nourishment best suited to the development of the lily. This nourishment it took, refusing the vileness with which it was surrounded. It had a connection with the sand far below the surface, and from there drew the sustenance which caused it to develop in its loveliness.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 25

    Christ 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.” No artist can produce the beautiful tints which God gives to the flowers. “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?” [Matthew 6:28-30.]16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 26

    Nature is our lesson book. Christ used the objects of nature to impress truth on the minds of His hearers. Let us point our children to these things. When they are impatient and fretful, take them into the garden, and teach them the lessons found in the flowers and fruits.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 27

    “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? ... for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow; for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” [Verses 31-34.]16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 28

    Let us do all we can to show our children that there is a heaven to win and a hell to shun. Let us teach them to strive for everlasting life. And remember that you will not help them by scolding. This stirs up the worst passions of the human heart. Make home pleasant. Be kind and gentle, but at the same time, be firm, requiring obedience. I have brought up children who by others were pronounced incorrigible. I never struck them a blow. I won their love and their confidence. They knew that I would ask them to do nothing but what was for their happiness. I did not whip them, knowing that this would not make them righteous. Prayer was my strength. Bring your children up in the admonition of the Lord, and you have fitted them to work in the church, you have fitted them to go forth into missionary fields, you have fitted them to shine in the courts of the Lord.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 29

    Parents, do not try to follow the ever-changing fashions of this degenerate age. It does not pay. At the last day God will ask you, “What have you done with my flock, my beautiful flock?” [See Jeremiah 13:20.] How will you answer Him if you have betrayed your trust? For Christ’s sake I beseech of you to guard your children. Do not be cross or hasty. Give them happy things to think of.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 30

    Christ gave His life for our children and for us, because He desired us to form characters after the divine similitude, that we may enter in through the gates into the holy city, and hear from the divine lips the benediction, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” [Matthew 25:23.] Do you not want to hear these words? Strive with all the power God has given you to gain the crown of everlasting life, that you may cast it at the feet of the Redeemer, and touching the golden harp, fill all heaven with rich music. God help you to gain eternal life, that you may see His face.16LtMs, Ms 31, 1901, par. 31

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