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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 24 (1909) - Contents
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    Ms 111, 1909

    Sermon/Thoughts on 1 Corinthians 2

    Lodi, California

    November 6, 1909

    Previously unpublished.

    Sermon at Lodi, California, Sunday, November 6, 1909

    “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” 1 Corinthians 2:1-13.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 1

    “Comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” [Verse 13.] Now this requires that we make a study of the Word.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 2

    “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Verse 14. We must have a spiritual knowledge, a spiritual experience in order to be in a position to face the future, to meet opposition, and finally to be transferred to the future life—if alive, to be changed; if in the grave, to be brought up from the grave.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 3

    Now here are things that relate to our eternal interest, and we want to understand them. We do not want to make any mistake here. We cannot afford to make mistakes now. We never could afford it, but we can afford it less now. We are facing eternal realities. We are fitting for the kingdom. We are preparing for a future, eternal life. We are getting ready that we may see the King in His beauty, and we want now to make the very best of our opportunities to prepare for that kingdom. We want to make every effort to understand what is the will of God concerning you and me. Each one wants to know whether he is in a condition to be transferred to the future, immortal life. Are we prepared to stand the trials of these last days? Are we making that preparation? Are we keeping our eye fixed upon the Author and Finisher of our faith?24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 4

    Now we want to make the preparation. We want, every one of us, to be in a right position before God. In your families you want to be ready. Your children—they want to be fitting up for the coming of God. You want to see what missionary work you can do around you. If Christ be in you the hope of glory, you will reveal that fact to all around you. If we are preparing ourselves and our families to stand the test that is just before us, we want to know that we have the preparation, that we shall not fall behind. We want to get ready; for He that is to come will come, and will not tarry.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 5

    We want to ask every one, when you shall go to your homes, to read this second chapter of First Corinthians. Now I will read some of the third:24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 6

    “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:1. Paul could not speak to the Corinthians as if they were in the advanced state, because they had not been laboring to place themselves in right relation to truth, to obtain a right experience that would bring them in close connection with God. We want to learn all that we should learn. It is high time that we trim our lamps, that we be all ready with the oil of grace in our hearts, that we not be taking a nap, as is represented of the ten virgins, five of whom were wise and five foolish. We cannot be of the foolish order. We must be where we can recognize Christ, where we can understand His will concerning us, that we shall fear to offend God. We want to stand in that position where we know that we shall have a right to the tree of life. Why will we have a right to the tree of life? Because we have eaten of the bread of life here. We have been fed with the heavenly manna from the Word, we have searched its pages, and we know what it says.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 7

    We do not want to be in the position of babes in Christ. We have grown up in the truth, many of us, and we want to stand in a right relation to God, where we can discern what we need and lay hold upon it.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 8

    “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat; for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” Verse 2. Shall this be said of us? Shall we let earthly things, temporal things, and the things that are outside of our eternal interest absorb so much of our time and attention that we shall not have the preparation that is essential for us, that Christ may reveal Himself to us day by day? Why will He reveal Himself to us? Because we are seeking Him. He gave His life for us (John 3:16). Now face the subject; keep it in the mind; carry it with you when you go home: We are preparing to be translated.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 9

    The wickedness that is in our cities, it is impossible for you who are not living there to comprehend. What we want are the benefits that come from serving God. What we want daily is the Bread of Life. What we want is to behold that we may become changed into His likeness, into His image. How do we behold Him? By reading of Him out of His Word, and then dwelling upon the traits of His character, and what His words mean. We ought to understand them, every one of us.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 10

    “For ye are yet carnal: For whereas there is among you envying,”—oh, what a miserable trait that is—“and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” [1 Corinthians 3] Verse 3. We won’t have any of that—“strife, and divisions.” We won’t allow it. We will come right in unison with Christ, and we will reprove anything of this deleterious order.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 11

    “For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?” Verse 4. Showing your preference to men, and leaning upon them as though your eternal life depended upon them, will not do.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 12

    “Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” Verses 5, 6. It is God that is the backing of it all. It is His power that makes us. If we are sincere and earnest, and feel determined to believe the truth, then we shall have the truth in rich measure.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 13

    The angels of God are watching. They see every action; they hear every word, every testimony, every prayer; anywhere in any meeting, or wherever you may be, the Lord and His angels are there. He is in this meeting this morning, and we want to be in a position where we shall glorify God.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 14

    “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.” Verses 7, 8. “God that giveth the increase.” It is God that is to make the application of it all.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 15

    “Every man shall receive his own reward.” [Verse 8.] Now here is a lesson you need not go to any of your neighbors to find out. Bear in mind that just according to the interest that you take in religious things you will be enlightened continually. Why? Because the angels of God are around about you to make the impression. Your individual course, your untiring efforts, your earnest prayer, your devotion to seek God—it is these which will give you spiritual understanding to know the truth when it is proclaimed. Each one has to know for himself where he stands.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 16

    “For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Verse 9. We all labor together. We are laborers together with God. “Ye are God’s husbandry; ye are God’s building.” Now let us take this into consideration.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 17

    Watch in your family. Don’t speak a cross word. Don’t raise the ire of your children when you should not, because this will not reform them. Take them aside and converse with them and pray with them, and read the Scriptures to them. What a work is this! This is what you want to do. Take time for it. You may say, My farm. Yes, but cannot God bless your farm better if you have a united family, to speak the same things, to work the same order? And will not the Lord let His rich grace rest upon you in wisdom and righteousness?24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 18

    God is working all the time to build up your character. God is working continually to take everything out of your character that will hinder you from having a firm understanding of the Scriptures, from knowing what is required of you, that you may be prepared, when the temptations of the enemy come, to resist them in the name of the Lord God of Israel.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 19

    “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” Verse 10. “Wise masterbuilder.” God will teach the master builder, if he will understand that he is co-operating with God, and God is co-operating with him. “I have laid the foundation.” Don’t go and get up some fallacy, and think that that means more than all the church profession, and you want to bring in your fallacy. No; that has been done too many times in our midst. We cannot build upon another man’s foundation. We have got to have a foundation of our own, a peculiarity of character that binds us up with the God of Israel.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 20

    “Let every man take heed how he buildeth.” [Verse 10.] That is what is required of us. We want heaven, and we are too near the ending of this earth’s history to fail now. We must have heaven, or we will lose everything.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 21

    “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” Verses 11-13. Christ is to be the hope of our calling. Now what is the fire? It is the fire of Satan’s temptations, and he lays a snare for the feet of this one and that one and the other one. If you yield to temptation, then you have lost the battle.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 22

    “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” Verse 14. Thank the Lord.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 23

    “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” Verses 15-17. When you get up in the morning and things do not go just exactly as you want, have you just stepped aside into a room and prayed to the Lord to give you His Spirit? Have you received orders from above? What we want is a living, active, working faith; and if we have this, then we shall grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 24

    “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?” [Verse 16.] Now remember that. He gives you words, He gives you courage, He builds you up. He is doing a great deal more to perfect your character than you have any idea of, that you shall not lose eternal life by your carelessness or your foolishness, or entering into things that you have no business with.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 25

    “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.” Verse 18. That is, let him be called a fool by the world. Let him be willing to be called foolish. There will be a good many tell you that you are a fool if you do this or that, but when it is the right thing to do, let no man deceive himself.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 26

    “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” Verses 19-23.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 27

    Now here is the work before us. I have read the second chapter, and I have read the third chapter, and I want you, when you go home, to think these things over, because there are a great many of us who think they are prepared for the Lord’s coming, but they are not. No, they are not. If you will just make an application of these chapters, God will help you to understand them.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 28

    Now I did not expect to dwell on this at all here this morning, but I just opened the Bible, and there it was. I had planned something else, but I will take that something else some other time, and this is enough for you to think of now. And I want every one of you, if you want to bear any testimony here, to bear testimony, and every one be gaining something while you are here. Bear your testimony in the name of the Lord God, and seek in every way you can to separate from you all hindrances, and to know the will of God, and then travel in that pathway and see what it will do for you. You will be free men. You will be all light in the Lord.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 29

    I want that you should have an opportunity to speak in this meeting, for every one of us is to confess Christ. Every one of us is to acknowledge his experience, and every one of us is to make his way out of darkness into His marvelous light. God help you at this time.24LtMs, Ms 111, 1909, par. 30

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