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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903) - Contents
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    Ms 68, 1903

    Answering Christ’s Prayer for Us by Obeying His Law

    Healdsburg, California

    July 6, 1903

    Previously unpublished.

    We claim to be Christians. What are we doing to answer the prayer of Christ, as recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John? Are we attaining to the standard set before us? This standard of perfect unity is portrayed in the words: “I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” [Verse 23.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 1

    From the light God has given me, I know that this chapter has not been fully appreciated, and that the principles it teaches have not been generally believed and practiced. Why has not His Word been gladly received and obeyed by all? Why has it not made upon the hearts of many professing Christians the impression that He desired to see made?18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 2

    “O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me.” [Verse 25.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 3

    Christ is not known by the world. But upon the hearts of those who know Him is mirrored His image, which in their daily life is constantly reflected in word and deed upon those who know Him not. By the perfection of our Christian walk, we are to make Christ known to the world; for we are His chosen representatives. By spiritual adoption we are children of God.18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 4

    In no way are we to unite with the world in wrongdoing. The systems of commercial life, the money-making schemes, even the profound study of commercial investments—all these are alike undesirable. The theater, the concert, the ballroom, the billiard room, the card table, the race course, the drinking saloon, and numerous other places and forms of amusement that might be mentioned, divert the attention of many men and women from the Lord’s service. But such persons are not seeking for those things that would give peace to the soul. Thousands and tens of thousands are making no special effort to attain perfection of character. They seem to reason that since mere pleasurable gratification is denied them by the teachings of God’s Word, this Word has been written in vain.18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 5

    I am assured that when believers are truly converted, they will be transformed in character, and that then the prayer of Christ will be regarded by them as of far greater value than all the favors the world can bestow.18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 6

    A Study of the Prayer

    What a prayer is Christ’s petition for His disciples! How high it reaches! How much it embraces! “What shall we do to answer this prayer?” is the question that should be our constant study.18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 7

    “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee.” [Verse 1.] What does this mean?—That this prayer is the petition of humanity for humanity; a sinless humanity for a sinful humanity.18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 8

    “As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent. I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me; and they have kept Thy word.” [Verses 2-6.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 9

    “They have kept Thy word.” [Verse 6.] This is the standard that every one who desires to walk with the heavenly Father must reach.18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 10

    “Now they have made known that all things whatsoever Thou hast given Me are of Thee.” [Verse 7.] Every believer in Christ is to manifest to a sinful world all that these words imply. He should remember his solemn baptismal vows. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, he was buried with his Lord in baptism, signifying that henceforth he would be dead unto the world. His resurrection from the watery grave was symbolic of the new birth that took place at the time of his conversion.18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 11

    To those who have passed through this experience is given the instruction:18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 12

    “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” [1 Peter 2:1-8.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 13

    A better, even a holy, appointment was given them, but they did not take into consideration, nor did they value, the possibilities and the probabilities connected with obedience to Jehovah’s law. They chose not “to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God,” and were therefore among those who “stumble at the word, being disobedient.” [Verses 5, 8.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 14

    “Unto you therefore which believe He is precious. ... Ye are a chosen generation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” [Verses 7, 9-12.] This appeal should be heeded by every soul who claims to be a child of God.18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 15

    Read, in this connection, the whole of the seventeenth of John. Notice verses fifteen to eighteen: “I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. ... As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.”18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 16

    Let us seek to understand the spiritual truths comprehended in this assertion. God sends us into the world, even as He sent His Son into the world. And of us Christ said, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” [Verse 16.] Let us endeavor to discern the meaning of this comparison.18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 17

    “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth. ... And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” [Verses 17, 19.] Those who cease to follow worldly practices, and choose to stand in the world as Christ’s followers, will understand the mystery of godliness—Christ within, “the hope of glory.” [Colossians 1:27.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 18

    “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.” [John 17:20.] This includes us. Through faith in Christ, we are blessed with all spiritual blessings.18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 19

    “That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” [Verse 21.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 20

    From the light given in this Scripture, cannot we understand the relation that Christians should sustain to one another? Then with what strictness we should guard our every word and act, in order to foster the unity that we are to manifest to the world! This unity is the love spoken of by Christ when He said to His disciples: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” [John 13:34, 35.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 21

    “As I have loved you.” Not until after their Master’s great humiliation and suffering in Gethsemane, in the presence of the High Priest, in Pilate’s judgment hall, and on Calvary’s cross did the disciples understand these words. Our Saviour was subjected to humiliation such as few are called upon to bear. The hopes of the disciples died with the death of their Lord. But after He came forth from Joseph’s new tomb and over the rent sepulcher proclaimed, “I am the resurrection and the life;” “behold, I live forevermore” [John 11:25; Revelation 1:18], His disciples understood more fully the meaning of the words: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” [John 13:34, 35.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 22

    Shall not we strive to glorify God by manifesting toward one another the same compassionate love that Christ manifested toward those whom He came into this world to save and make one with Himself?18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 23

    “And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” [John 17:22, 23.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 24

    What a wonderful statement is this! Shall we show that these words mean all that they say, by proving them true? Only by living lives that will reveal to sinners the power that God’s grace has upon the human mind and character can we give evidence to the world that God has sent His Son to be the Saviour of mankind. Thus only can we reveal our heavenly Father in His true character—a miracle-working God.18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 25

    “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me (as the Redeemer of the fallen race): for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” [Verses 24-26.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 26

    Wonderful prayer! It is our privilege to answer this prayer by molding our character in accordance with the principles that this Scripture teaches. Christ Himself defines the use that should be made of His words. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth,” He declares; “the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [John 6:63.] Since this is true, how important it is that we daily partake of the Scriptures as our spiritual food.18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 27

    Let those who claim to believe the truth for this time remember constantly that Satan is not dead, neither is he asleep. He is working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness; for unless he can deceive Christ’s followers in some unguarded moment, he cannot overcome them.18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 28

    Glorifying God by Obeying His Law

    My brethren and sisters, what more can I say to lead you to discern your privileges? These privileges, so freely granted you, were secured at the cost of the life of the only begotten Son of God. We must guard the soul with diligence. Those who hold the beginning of their confidence steadfast unto the end reveal in their lives the Christ-life by obeying every precept of God’s law. The gospel has not abrogated the law: the gospel is the law, practiced. The gospel demands perfect obedience. Paul asks the question, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” [Romans 3:31.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 29

    God’s law is the transcript of His character. Constantly the Lord is speaking to the human family, saying, “Holier; yes, holier still.” This is His work—to gather out from the fallen inhabitants of this world a righteous people. “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.” [Isaiah 32:17.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 30

    “Blessed are they, whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” [Romans 4:7, 8.] “Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” [Matthew 7:17-20.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 31

    The Saviour, instructing His disciples in regard to their work, declared:18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 32

    “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 33

    “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:14-20.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 34

    “Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in Him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.” [1 John 2:3-12.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 35

    “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. ... Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life.” Let us “abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” [Verses 21, 24, 25, 28.]18LtMs, Ms 68, 1903, par. 36

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