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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901) - Contents
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    Ms 62, 1901

    Sermon/“Simon Peter, a servant ...”

    Battle Creek, Michigan

    July 9, 1901

    Portions of this manuscript are published in CG 120, 489-490, 561; 5MR 17.

    Sermon at the General Conference of 1901

    “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us unto glory and virtue.” [2 Peter 1:1-3.]16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 1

    Peter is addressing those of “like precious faith.” [Verse 1.] Just as soon as those he is addressing take heed to this instruction, they will have the diligence which will lead them to carry to the world the light of the knowledge of the gospel. Christ wants every one of us to be co-laborers with Him. He says, “Ye are laborers together with God.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Therefore the knowledge of Him is of great consequence to us. Is it His will that each Sabbath we shall sit here and listen to the preaching of His Word without doing anything to impart the light to others? Is it for this that you have the Word of God? No, no; the Lord has given His people the light of truth that the knowledge of Christ may be carried to every part of the world. Upon those who receive the gift of God’s grace is placed the responsibility of seeking to save their fellow beings.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 2

    Those who have a true knowledge of God and Christ know what has been done to make it possible for men and women to receive the knowledge of the truth. “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.]16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 3

    Christ wants us to stand on vantage ground with God. He gave His life that His righteousness might be imparted to us, though we are so unworthy.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 4

    John exclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.” [John 1:29.] When He takes our sins away, He supplies their place with the knowledge of the truth. This is a personal experience that all must obtain who enter in through the gates into the City. God wants us to stand in right relation to Him, because Christ has purchased us. He cut us loose from the enemy, that we might have an opportunity of obtaining a knowledge of God. The best way for you to receive this knowledge is for you to impart to others the light you have received. God will call every souls to account for the way in which they use the light He has given. He will call them to account for the way they have used the precious time He has entrusted to them, time given them to prepare for the mansions which Christ is preparing for them.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 5

    “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” It is from this that we get our power. “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance.” [2 Peter 1:4-6.] This is a very important matter. We are responsible to God for the life God has given us. He requires us to place ourselves in right relation to the laws which govern the human machinery. He who created us understands our frames and knows what we need. He desires us to have a knowledge of how wonderfully we are made.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 6

    Those who walk in the light that they have received will be temperate in all things. They will heed the words, “Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” [1 Corinthians 10:31.] We cannot live to the glory of God if we are controlled by a perverted appetite. Decided warning has been given against indulgence of appetite. For thirty years the light of health reform has been shining upon your pathway. Then if you disregard the light, and disease comes upon you, who is responsible? God’s Word declares that it is your life to keep His precepts and commandments. Your health and prosperity depend on obedience. God declares that if you keep His will, He will care for you and bless you. When will God’s people realize that angels of God are round about them, waiting to give them the holy oil of His Spirit? The angels have come from the throne of God with this oil, but what do they see? They see those upon whom the light of health reform has been shining, indulging appetite till their minds are clouded and confused. They fail to see that in order to follow Christ they must take up the cross and deny self.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 7

    This is the work before us. It is not numbers, let me tell you, that make a people strong. Give me a few devoted Christians who walk with God, “and one shall chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight.” [See Joshua 23:10; Deuteronomy 32:30.] What we need is a firm hold of a “Thus saith the Lord,” to which we will respond, “I will.” Then we shall not yield to perverted appetite. God turns away His face from those who refuse to receive and impart the light. It is high time for us to clear the King’s highway. It is high time that we took up the stumbling blocks that we have placed in the pathway of others, high time that we placed ourselves in right relation to God, so that we can say, “Thou hast said it, and we claim Thy promise as ours. We cling to Thy Word, and Thou art responsible for us, because we keep Thy commandments.”16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 8

    Temperance in all things. This does not mean that when you sit down to a meal, you are to overload your stomach by putting into it all that you can eat. You are to stand forth as people who are looking for their Lord. Let us not eat and drink with drunkards. We are to stand as minutemen, examples in our eating, drinking, dressing, and words of true temperance.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 9

    Is a man temperate who by gluttony wears out his stomach? He has indulged his appetite till he is a dyspeptic, and he has a dyspeptic religion.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 10

    To be patient, we must first be temperate, for an intemperate man cannot be patient. The brain must be clear and the stomach healthy, able to take care of the food placed in it. God did not make the human machinery in order for it to break down.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 11

    There are thousands and thousands who, when they sit down to their meals, eat twice as much as they ought. The stomach tries to care for its load, and after it has done this it is tired. Then the man says, “I am hungry.” But he is not in need of food.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 12

    We are nearing the judgment. Already the plagues of God are beginning to be poured out. Upon some parts of the world God is permitting the plagues to fall. If we would escape these plagues, we must be pure, virtuous, holy, ever remembering that we are God’s property. Because He has redeemed us, He wants us to cleanse the soul-temple from every trace of pollution. He wants His people to be healthy Christians, physically and spiritually.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 13

    “And to patience, godliness.” [2 Peter 1:6.] The Lord desires His people to be godly. That is, they are continually to ask, “How would Christ act if He were in my place?” This is godliness—keeping Christ in view as the pattern, seeking to know the will of God. O, how much we need godliness in every home!16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 14

    “And to godliness, brotherly kindness.” [Verse 7.] Those who have godliness cannot help but have brotherly kindness. But can those who make a practice of overloading their stomachs possess these attributes? Disturbed digestive organs lead to harsh, irritable words. An overloaded stomach makes a man forget in his dealing with his brethren that speech is a talent.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 15

    Let us never forget that God has entrusted to us the gift of speech, and that our words are to be few and well chosen. There are nine hundred and ninety-nine words spoken where six would answer. We need constantly to remember that round about us are good and evil angels. They are present in this room today; and as I am speaking, the evil angels will try to move upon minds to lead them to think that there is no harm in indulgence of appetite. But the good angels are near you, and if you follow on to know the Lord, you will know that His going forth is prepared as the morning. In the morning the light steadily increases till the sun shines forth in all its glory. So will the Son of Righteousness shine forth in His brightness, His glory continually increasing. And God desires His people to reflect this glory. They are not to feel satisfied with a little light. They are to continue to receive till they are established, strengthened, and settled.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 16

    I wish to inquire, How many parents in this congregation look upon their children as a sacred responsibility from God? Have you taught your children from their babyhood to keep the commandments of God? You are responsible for your children. You are to teach them to be obedient. You are to teach them to form characters after the divine similitude, that Christ may reveal Himself to them. He is willing to reveal Himself to children. We know this from the history of Joseph, of Samuel, of Daniel and his companions. Can we not see from the record of their lives what God expects from children and youth?16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 17

    I feel that our only hope of getting new life into the church, to bear the new responsibilities which must be borne, is for fathers and mothers, while it is called today, to awake to the responsibilities resting upon them. Parents, if you lose your opportunity, God pity you; for in the day of judgment God will say, “What have you done with my flock, my beautiful flock?” [See Jeremiah 13:20.]16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 18

    God calls upon parents to wake up. Instead of devoting their time and strength to battling against temperance, let parents use every jot of their influence in advancing health reform.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 19

    Mothers, fathers, your household is to be a place where angels love to dwell; the father a priest in his family, the mother a queen in her home. A well-ordered, well-disciplined family is a greater influence in favor of Christianity than all the sermons that can be preached.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 20

    Mothers, speak kindly and tenderly to your little ones. Remember that you stand in the place of God to them. Let them see that you love them. Bring them up to know that Jesus is their loving Friend and Elder Brother. Every day bow before God in family prayer. I hope that there are no parents here who neglect this duty. However pressing your business, do not fail to gather your family around God’s altar. Ask for the guardianship of holy angels in your home.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 21

    Fathers and mothers are to be perfectly united in the work of training their children. No hasty words are to be spoken. Never are you to get into a passion. You have no right to get angry, for you are educators. You are dealing with human minds.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 22

    [God] gave His only begotten Son to save your children. They are His property. Deal tenderly with them. If you are harsh, you teach them to be harsh. Make the life of your children pleasant, and at the same time teach them to be obedient and helpful, bearing small burdens as you bear larger ones. Educate them to habits of industry, so that the enemy will not make a workshop of their minds. Give your children something to think of, something to do, that they may be fitted for usefulness in this life and in the future life.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 23

    Suppose you should get to heaven and none of your children be there. How could you say to God, “Here am I, Lord, and the children which thou hast given me”? [See Hebrews 2:13.] Heaven marks the neglect of parents. It is recorded in the books of heaven.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 24

    God wants you to have happy homes. He wants every Seventh-day Adventist home to be a symbol of the home in heaven. He wants you to prepare your family to enter the higher grade. He wants you to be one with Him, that with your children you may be translated to heaven, there to learn more and still more of God.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 25

    You have so neglected the Bible that very few of you know its teachings. Let those who have begun a study of the book continue their study. It is the Word of Life. Christ says, “I am the bread of life. ... Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” [John 6:35, 54.] To study the Bible is like eating the leaves of the tree of life. Get the Word of God into your hearts and into the hearts of your children, and you will find that they will not drift away from you, as so many of the children of our people have done.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 26

    May the Lord convict and convert your souls, that you may clear the King’s highway and make straight in the desert a pathway for our God. Then you can work for those outside. A great work should have been done in Battle Creek, a work which should have extended from Battle Creek to the waste places of the earth. The standard of truth should have been planted in towns and cities. Monuments should have been established in many places. But what have you done, and what are you doing?16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 27

    God wants His people to awake to the situation. He wants them to realize that there are thousands in our world ready to perish in their sins. He wants us to take up the medical missionary work and carry it forward in the highest lines, working as Christ worked. He went from city to city preaching the gospel and healing the sick, and when the people of one city asked Him to stay with them, He said, “I must go to other cities also.” [Luke 4:43.] In His work the gospel and medical missionary work were firmly united. He wants His people to stand where angels of God can stand with them, making an impression on human hearts. He wants you to teach your children to love and keep His commandments. Do not neglect your children to do missionary work. Take them with you, or else leave them with some one who will train them wisely and tenderly.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 28

    Cultivate the grace of charity, which is love. I fear that many fail to understand that this belongs to Christianity. Many forget that it is a part of the gospel. But let me tell you that it is the gospel. “If these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” [2 Peter 1:8-10.] Here is your life insurance policy. “If ye do these things ye shall never fall.” Will you study this chapter in your homes? Remember that to you has been given the work of so training your children that they can inherit eternal life.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 29

    “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance.” [Verses 11-13.]16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 30

    I wish to say to you, brethren and sisters, Let those who entertain the friends who have come here for Conference remember that God holds them responsible for the food they place on their tables. A large number of people have come to Battle Creek to attend the Conference. If they eat a hearty meal and then go right into meeting, they will go to sleep. Propositions which should be made in the very clearest manner will be bungled over. We need clear stomachs and clear minds. We should eat enough food to sustain strength, but we should never overeat. God has given us reasoning faculties, and He wants us to use them. He wants us to have strong minds and clear brains so that our plans may be plain and clear-cut. He wants to give us in this Conference a blessing that will be as lasting as eternity. No slipshod work is to be done. God has shown me what He can do for us, and what He will do for us if we will remove the obstacles. But many of you have barred the door against the Saviour. He is knocking, knocking for entrance. How long will you let Him wait? Clear away the rubbish from the door of your heart, and let the Saviour in.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 31

    Let your words be few and well-chosen. Remember that speech is a talent. Even if you have been wronged, do not get angry. Keep your temper under the control of the sweet spirit of God. We need sweetness. Christ wants to pour upon us the bright sunshine of His presence. We are here to seek and to find God. Let us humble our hearts before Him and give Him an opportunity to fill our hearts with His grace. Shall we at this meeting dedicate ourselves to God? At your baptism you gave yourself to Him, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit pledged themselves to work in your behalf. There is power for you if you will grasp it. Bring the love of Christ into your heart and into your home, and then you will be prepared to stand in your lot and in your place. God knows you by name. He will commission His angels to give you strength and grace if you will work in His name.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 32

    We are homeward bound. Only a little longer and we shall reach the haven. God help us to be Christians. Angels are waiting for channels through which to communicate the grace of God. What are you doing here in Battle Creek, when there are deserted, unworked places in the Lord’s vineyard? These barren places are crying to God against you. God wants you to receive from Him that you may impart to others. A little while longer and the angel will have stepped down from the mercy seat. Then it will be too late, too late. Now is our time for preparation. Christ is preparing heavenly mansions for us. Are we preparing for them? God help us to put on the beautiful garments of Christ’s righteousness and proclaim His warning message in clear, distinct lines for God.16LtMs, Ms 62, 1901, par. 33

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