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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 24 (1909) - Contents
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    Ms 115, 1909

    Sermon/Thoughts on Matthew 3

    New York City, New York

    June 19, 1909

    Previously unpublished.

    One week ago I spoke to the people where there was a small house of worship. Two hundred people collected, but the house had not proper ventilation, and after speaking one hour, we dispersed. I have not had that health and strength since to stand in the desk before today. We must have good air to breathe, but we had not the air that day. How many were injured by the close atmosphere, I know not. We must make every effort to have fresh air.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 1

    (Matthew 3) chapter. “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.” [Verses 1-6.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 2

    We see the necessity of the steps taken to identify ourselves with Jesus Christ. We are to forsake sins, then to go down into the water and to be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 3

    “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the ax is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down.” [Verses 7-10.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 4

    Understand this, a profession is not enough. Let every one understand it is the possession of the Holy Spirit of God that we receive, that we retain through obedience, that numbers us and owns us in the heavenly courts as children of God.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 5

    “And now also the ax is laid unto the roots of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire.” [Verse 10.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 6

    Now, a false profession is not worth anything. Unless the life of Christ is brought into the soul, unless the heart is brought into the state of humility that will make us to be obedient to the words of Christ, teachable to His word and practice, why then, baptism does not amount to anything. We are to live our baptism. We are to show that we have unity with Jesus Christ and that we have identified our interest with Christ through baptism, to live a new life under God.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 7

    “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier that I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” [Verses 11, 12.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 8

    Now we have the two lives presented, a supposition life and we have the true life, and if we suppose that we are children of God, and carry along our own dispositions—we are not humble, we are not meek and lowly, we are not representatives of Jesus Christ in character—why then we shall find our baptism will not save any of us. Do we live out the faith that we claim when we are led down into the water and receive baptism, and are brought up out of the water? Why, then we are to walk in newness of life. That is the representation that is to be given to the world.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 9

    “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” [Verse 11.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 10

    Well, now we want such a baptism as that to be honored every day of our lives. We cannot afford to be loose and careless and worldly minded, after we have received such a baptism as is here represented.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 11

    “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner: but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and cometh thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he suffered him. [Verses 12-15.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 12

    “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 13

    “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” [Verses 16, 17; 4:1-3.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 14

    What would He do, if He should obey the suggestion of Satan? He puts an “if” in there. Satan raises a doubt whether He is the Son of God. But He answered and said, “It is written.” He does not go over and repeat the argument of Satan—and I wish every body would remember this when they are assailed by doubt and begin to argue and begin to dissect it. Why, they have given the enemy the right of way. We are not to give the enemy the right of way—not at all. It is granted, Christ is the Son of the living God. We are His children and we are to follow every example He has left in His Word.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 15

    “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” [Verse 4.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 16

    Well that tells everything to us. Some come to me, “What can I do, Sister White? What can I do that I may live the religious life?” I take them right over this ground. I tell them it is just as simple—a little child can understand it, if they want to.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 17

    “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on the pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” [Verses 5, 6.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 18

    You see the “if.” If Christ should take up his temptations and repeat them and answer them, He gives the doubt, He accepts the doubt. It won’t answer for any of us to do that.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 19

    “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee; and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” [Verse 6.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 20

    Well now, what did he leave out there? “He shall give his angels charge concerning thee in all his ways.” All the ways that God leads Him, not to go on the tramps of Satan, to follow his temptations, and, “in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” [Psalm 91:11, 12.] There was the temptation. And let me tell you, men who think themselves very wise are very foolish to repeat the temptations of the enemy, and repeat them and repeat them. We will have nothing to do with them. Go right on and voice the truth with all the strength of your being.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 21

    “Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” [Matthew 4:7.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 22

    By showing him, giving him an evidence. Why, we are not to do any such thing.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 23

    “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 24

    “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan.” He lets him know that He is acquainted with his character. “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” [Verses 8-10.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 25

    How many of us believe that? How may in their Christian experience, in their worship of God, make God first, the best, and all and in all? Here He says, “Get thee hence Satan.” [Verse 10.] He rebukes him right there, notwithstanding he presents before Him the whole kingdoms of the world, if He would serve him. Well, the whole kingdoms of the world were not his to give. But the Lord Jesus always takes the affirmative. The affirmative of righteousness, the affirmative of the power of reasoning. He takes the affirmative. If many of us would stop our getting into argument with infidels, and with those who do not live the righteousness of Christ, if we would follow the example of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, why then we would be on safe vantage ground and the enemy could not touch us. Will we think of this? Don’t, I beg of you get into controversy with Satan. Go right on and advance a higher truth. Go right on and proclaim a higher truth.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 26

    “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” [Verse 10.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 27

    Do we know how much that comprehends? There are but very few that consider it. They can consider many things, but when it comes to the very points that they should consider, they let the enemy come in and lead them, and lead them into controversy. They have given themselves into his power. Don’t get into controversy with those who will only sap your strength, but make an advanced assertion, make an advanced appeal of the future life. If we could have just genuine common sense, when we do take up the subject that is of such intense interest to us, we should find churches everywhere that are strong and efficient and could be trusted in every respect, anywhere, to lead the people. What we want is leaders. We want leaders—those that will stand by the truth as firm as a rock and that will not be misled.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 28

    “Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” [Verse 10.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 29

    This means that when they come to Christ, that they are to demonstrate their faith in the profession that they have made, and have been baptized in the profession, and have been numbered as the children of the living God. And now here, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him only shalt thou serve.” [Verse 10.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 30

    “Then the devil leaveth him: and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” [Verse 11.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 31

    Forty days and forty nights without food and then He had to meet the wily foe that supposed he could get the victory. “Then the devil leaveth him and behold angels came and ministered unto him.” [Verse 11.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 32

    Now when you are in those controversies with unbelievers, don’t go over their ground and repeat the very words that they say. Go right on and advance another point of truth, and another point of truth. Don’t stop, don’t give your time, don’t give your speech to even repeat the words that they repeat. The angels of God are watching every one of these controversies, and they don’t want you to be in a position to lose your faith. It is worth something to us to gain victories in the name of Him who our heavenly Father donated to the world. He gave His only begotten Son. For it says, that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.” [John 3:16.] And how He suffered you know just how, if you have studied your Bibles.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 33

    To be discarded and all this, what was it for? That man might with the capability of serving God be partakers of the divine nature. You think of that. With every temptation resisted, men become partakers of the divine nature, have overcome the temptations that are in the world through lust. Now what we want is the “ifs” and “ands” of what we are to be in our world, to let our light shine forth to the world in its bright rays, that we shall not be overcome with the temptations of the devil. How? Why, because you can be a partaker of the divine nature in Christ. That is what we are to be.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 34

    In Christ it is our privilege to come to God and to lay hold of Him with living faith, and to say, “I believe in myself I can do nothing, but through the provision thou hast made, I believe that humanity can grasp divinity. I grasp it in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” Now that is the very work many neglect to do. What is at stake? Your souls.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 35

    It meant something when God gave Christ to our world. It means everything to suffer. Christ to suffer, for Christ to suffer, Christ to pass over the ground that He passed over; and we want you to remember that now is the time for us to form characters for the future, eternal life; a life that measures with the life of God. Will you consider that?24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 36

    Now he obtained no victory over Christ. But the temptation was so strong, lest there should be one word of intimation that He was not kept by the power of God through faith, that He fainted after His long fast. Did He die? No, no.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 37

    “Then the devil leaveth him; and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” [Matthew 4:11.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 38

    Well now, that is the lesson we are to learn. It is our privilege to carry the battle in the very same way and manner. In every point we are to consider how Christ stood firmly and yet in His weakness, forty days and forty nights without food and tempted of the devil. You just consider it. We want to know who in this congregation is determined to make a business of serving God. We want to know who will be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 39

    Now the subject changes.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 40

    “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of the death light is sprung up.” [Verses 12-16.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 41

    Now here is what we want you to understand. And it seems we act as though we had not sufficient victories to gain. It is everything to us to gain victories every day over that temptation of the enemy. “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.” [Verse 16.] Yes, from the very light that Christ had brought them.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 42

    “And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, And Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” [Verses 18, 19.] Well, they don’t stop and reason and bring up things why they cannot comply with the conditions.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 43

    “And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their net, and followed him.” [Verses 19, 20.] And many would straightway leave if they could only understand the virtue of believing in, and walking in the footsteps of Christ Jesus.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 44

    “And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.” [Verses 21, 22.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 45

    Now, if we want, rays of light will shine upon our pathway, and we will recognize that light as coming from One that clothed His divinity with humanity; that laid aside His royal robe; that laid off His kingly attire and clothed himself with the simple garments of humanity, and came into our world in order that we may have an example, every one of us. Now obedience in these disciples is just what Christ wants to present.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 46

    “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people.” [Verse 23.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 47

    “And his fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.” [Verse 24.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 48

    A mighty power had God given to the human family, but whoever you are, you can lay hold of Him by a simple faith and trust in His promises, and believe, and then what? Work out his salvation, just as the disciples were called to work out with Christ.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 49

    “And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 50

    “And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him.” [Verse 25; 5:1.]24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 51

    And then here is the lesson that He taught.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 52

    (How long have I spoken? Answer, “Three-quarters of an hour.”)24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 53

    Well, I will leave the rest of this. There is much that connects this with the living experience of those who will weigh the subject as they should, whether eternal life is of that value that they will accept the assertion of Christ and believe His words in simplicity spoken; whether they will accept these words and become converted. You will not be free from trials, for we have a devil that is full of humanity and weakness, and therefore we may expect temptations of the devil. When I speak to you again, I will carry that thought further.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 54

    But I want to say to everyone here, as Christ has been given to our world, an immense sacrifice from heaven. As you trace His suffering life, nailed upon the cross of Calvary, with the nails driven through His hands and feet, no human being in our world could suffer any more than our Saviour suffered. Yet He had to hang His helpless soul, like any sinner, upon the very thing that God gave to our world. He follows out the suggestion, and it is for every one of us if you think you can get into heaven, with having the world, and pleasing the world, and glorifying the world, and let the things of the world come in and take possession of the mind, where is the representation of Christ? Where is the divinity, where is it? Why you don’t show it?24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 55

    Well now, shall we look sensibly upon the plain, common, simple truths and teach them to our children? It is not the show, it is not the parade or any of these things that is going to bring us into covenant with God, but it is practicing the life that He has given us. We may act very loosely in this matter, but mind, every loose action weakens your hold upon Jesus Christ, and you cannot afford it, and neither can I. We want heaven, and we want it at any cost, because the Majesty of glory didn’t fail us in a single point, but carried the life right through. There He hung with the representation before Him of the sinner dammed, and He took the sinner’s portion, and He had taken it here in His representation of humanity.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 56

    We are to act out as far as we possibly can, that we will understand that we must be partakers of the divine nature, if we shall be overcomers through the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. And don’t let us stop and think we can indulge in this luxury and that luxury. All things in our dress that cost means, we want you to understand that that very means is needed in order to bring the truth to foreign countries, and to the world.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 57

    I almost felt like weeping aloud as I came through the passage, only two hours’ ride, and I saw enough to convince me that there is reform work that is neglected. Missionary work is to be taken up in the name of Jesus Christ and then never, never drop back, but move right forward in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to work wherever we can. And when the trials come, for they will come, and you obtain the victory, you may know that the angels of God are right by your side, and are working with you to obtain that victory.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 58

    So that victory is of highest value to you, because you can see that you are in connection with One that is fully capable of bringing you out conqueror, yea, more than conqueror, through Him that dost loveth you. We want now to begin to make earnest work. Day and night my mind is traveling. Day and night I am working up plans; what can I do to save the perishing souls out of Christ who don’t have a sense of that humanity? The great sacrifice was made that humanity might grasp divinity, and thus divinity gives us the victory as we lay hold of it by the living principle of works, and faith, and by the living testimony that we shall bear to the world.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 59

    Now, I am not going to detain you any longer. But I want to say, I have felt intensely on these points. I want to know if there are those in this congregation, and I know there are by their countenances, I want to know who will stand with me in the battle. In November I shall be 82 years old, and I have been in the battle ever since I was 15 years old, and now I want to say I have no more thought of giving up the work than I had when God bid me go to work in His name, and He would be with me, and I know He has. I want to tell you, my dear friends, we have a living Saviour; we have an almighty power in Jesus Christ, and He will work out our salvation with us, and we may stand on vantage ground, if we will. But there are to be missionaries in such a congregation as this that will give themselves to the work of bringing the truth before the people. We are not to sit in our homes enjoying what has cost Christ so much. No, no; humanity must grasp divinity, and then push the battle to the gates. Push the battle at every step for souls to join the ranks on the Lord’s side.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 60

    We want to know today who will, during this meeting, give themselves to most earnest effort to lead other lives, their own minds being led.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 61

    The minds of children can be led. A little girl came to me, and she said, “Sister White, are you going to speak this afternoon?” “Why?” I said, “I only came from the desk.” She looked at the company; I think there was about a dozen. “I told them if they would come, they could understand every word you said, and that I could understand it.” I said, “Tomorrow morning is my time, bring all your class mates, sit right down in front, and if you do not understand everything I say, speak right up and ask me, and I will tell you what it is.” That seemed to satisfy her and she consented to give it up for that time.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 62

    Here is the Word, the precious Word of God. It comes to us. Some one is talking of sending their children where they can get a higher education than what our schools can give them. Well, dear friends, they don’t know what higher education is. Why, just as soon as you accept the words of Christ you have the highest education that can ever be given to our world. He has given His life to bring that evidence to you. We want to know who will start with the commencement of this meeting and be determined they will seek the Lord through this meeting. How many will make an effort right here to give themselves to Him that gave His life on Calvary’s cross, the cruel nails driven through His hands, His side pierced, His face marred with the bruises they placed upon Him, while the contemptuously treated Him, and there He yielded up His life for us, and now I want to know who of us will be laborers together with God? Human agency is to be brought into the work—a hundredfold, a thousand hundredfold, is to be brought in, in order to do the work that is necessary.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 63

    Now I ask you, will you make a determined effort during this meeting to act your part? In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, will you at this very meeting take a new hold and seek to help them, and then pray with them? And may we all have evidence that the Lord Jesus will be with us. If you will do this, will you rise up on your feet? Whoever will do it, whoever will take hold of it, rise up on your feet. (Congregation arose.)24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 64

    [Praying:] “Heavenly Father, we take these pledges as true, and we ask Thee to put Thy Spirit upon every one that shall act a part in this service, for it is not they that are acting but the angels of God are sent to minister unto all those shall be brought to a knowledge of the truth by, yes, by the very effort that may be borne in this meeting.”24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 65

    We want now to humble our hearts before God. Bring your children with you. It means everything to have a life, for humanity to lay hold upon divinity and divinity to obtain the victory for us and for our children. God help us is my most earnest prayer.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 66

    I will carry this suggestion along at another time.24LtMs, Ms 115, 1909, par. 67

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