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    Dedicatory Sermon.

    Prospect Church, N.S.W.
    Sept. 16, 1894
    EA 188.1

    (716) “And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: and when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep and the oxen: and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise.”EA 188.2

    This was the first cleansing of the temple. Just prior to His crucifixion, the Saviour cleansed the temple a second time, and at that time, he said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” As Christ stood looking upon the scene, his appearance attracted the attention of the multitude. Suddenly every voice was (717) hushed, every eye was fastened upon Christ. Once their attention was attracted to Him, they could not take their eyes from His face; there was something in His countenance that awed and terrified them. Who was He, this humble Galilean? Some knew Him as the son of a Nazarene carpenter, who had worked at the trade with His father. But as they gazed upon Him now, they felt as if arraigned before the judgment bar. The priests were clad in their rich temple robes, for display, and to mark them as priests of God. The garments of Christ were worn and travel-stained. He bore the appearance of a youthful Galilean; but as He took up the scourge of small cords, and stood on the temple steps and said, “Take these things hence,” none could resist the authority with which He spoke. The people looked upon him spell bound; for divinity flashed through humanity. Such dignity, such authority was revealed in his person that they were convinced that he was clothed with power from heaven.EA 188.3

    Why was it that Christ’s indignation was so aroused as he looked upon this scene in the temple? In the courts converted into a place of merchandise, He saw the dishonor of (718) God and the oppression of His people. He heard the lowing of the cattle, the bleating of the sheep, the altercations between buyers and sellers. He saw even the priests and rulers engaged in traffic. Oxen and sheep and doves were being sold to those who wished to offer to God a sacrifice for their sins. There were many poor among the multitude, and they had been taught that in order to have their sins forgiven they must have an offering and a sacrifice to present to God. Christ saw the poor and distressed and afflicted in trouble and dismay because they had not enough to purchase even a dove for an offering; because of the exorbitant prices put upon them. They knew they were sinners, and needed an offering, but how could they obtain one. It seemed to them that there was no hope to have their sins pardoned.EA 188.4

    When Christ expelled those who sold doves, he said, “Take these things hence. He had not driven out the doves as he had the sheep and oxen. Why? Because these were the only offering of the poor. He knew their necessities. As the sellers were driven from the temple, the suffering and afflicted were left in the courts. Their only hope had been that they might come (719) present their offering at the temple that God would bless them in their homes, in their children and in their fields and crops. EA 188.5

    At the words of Christ the priests and rulers and money-changers fled, terrified and awed. Their merchandise was robbery of the people; they had made the house of God a den of thieves. These men beheld in Christ a messenger of vengeance, and they fled from the temple as though a band of robbers were on their track. The priests and rulers also fled. In their flight they met others on their way to the temple, and they told them how a man having authority had driven out the sheep and oxen and had expelled them from the temple, and they told them to go back.EA 188.6

    Christ looked after the fleeing multitude with a heart of the tenderest pity. His heart was filled with grief that the temple service had been polluted, and that His character and mission had been misinterpreted. In His pitying love, He longed to save them from their errors. He longed to save the priests and rulers who, while claiming to be the guardians of the people, had oppressed them and turned aside the needy from their right.EA 189.1

    Christ’s prophetic eye took in the future, not only the (720) years but the ages. He saw Jerusalem given up to avarice. He saw priests and rulers and men in high position turn away the needy from their right, and even forbid that the gospel be preached to the poor. He saw the time when the protecting power of God would no longer be exercised for the rebellious city. He saw the angel of mercy fold her wings, and take her departure. He heard the tramp of the Roman armies, and saw the downfall of Jerusalem.EA 189.2

    He looked even beyond this and saw the inhabitants of the world just before His second coming, and declared that the condition of the world at that time would be similar to that at the time of the flood. “As it was in the days of Noe,” He said, “so shall it be in the days of the coming of the Son of man.” For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, and knew not until the flood came and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” What was it that caused the destruction of the world in the time of the flood? It was the sins of the people; “the thoughts and imaginations of their heart was only evil continually.” They trampled upon the commands (721) of God, as did the Jews after them; and for this they suffered God’s retributive judgments. “Even so shall it be when the Son of man cometh.”EA 189.3

    Recovering from their dismay, the flying priests stopped, and asked one another, “Why did we flee thus from the presence of that one man?” They did not know that this was the representative of the Father, that in Christ divinity was clothed in humanity. “We will return and challenge Him,” they said, “and ask him by what authority he has presumed to expel us from the temple.”EA 189.4

    As they approached the temple, they heard acclamations of joy and songs of praises. When they entered the courts what a scene met their eyes. Christ was ministering to the poor, the suffering, the afflicted. . These people had heard of Jesus, of his compassion and love; how he healed the sick, opened the eyes of the blind, and made the lame to walk; and because they could find relief from their affliction and sin in no other source, one cry for pity went up from their lips. One after another they told to Jesus of their affliction; and Jesus bent over each as a mother bends over (722) her suffering child, giving to the suffering ones tender comfort, and bidding the sick and afflicted receive health and strength. When the priests and rulers reached the temple, men were glorifying God for the wonderful works he had done among them; mothers were bidding their children praise their Deliverer, and give thanks to Him who had brought comfort and relief, health and peace.EA 189.5

    In this very work Christ was giving evidence of His divine mission; He was doing the very work that it had been foretold the Messiah would do. In the synagogue at Nazareth he had opened the book of Isaiah, and read there the description of His mission. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” The priests and rulers should have known that He was the anointed of the Lord; for they claimed to be the expositors of the prophecies.EA 189.6

    The Jewish people were taught to have great respect for the prophets, and the power displayed by Christ at this time convinced (723) may who had not closed their hearts against the light that Jesus was the sent of God. The Holy Spirit also wrought to present the prophecy of Isaiah to the minds of those who witnessed his wonderful work in the temple. “He is the Messiah” some said. But those who desired riches, and determined to have them no matter how, stifled the voice of conscience, and closed the door of their hearts against Him. They money changers were displeased with His action. “What business,” they questioned, “had He to interrupt their work? The stalls were their own; they had paid a sufficient sum for them to the temple authorities, that they might sell the sacrificial offerings to the people. Their hearts were full of avarice and selfishness. They had oppressed the poor, and the widow and fatherless, refusing to give them an offering at the small sum they could pay. When the poor had presented their distress to them, they had turned away as unfeelingly as though the poor had no souls to save. They had pointed the finger of scorn at them, charging them with sin, and declaring that their suffering and poverty was curse from God on account of transgression. Men who could deal thus with the afflicted were not above planning (724) the murder of the Son of God. And this they had done. On the way to the temple they had said they would kill the Saviour, and be rid of the troubler.EA 190.1

    “What sign showest thou that thou doest these things?” they asked. Had Christ not given them a sign? Had Christ not given them a sign? Had he not flashed heaven’s light into the soul of these men? He had given them heaven’s evidence of his mission; but he “did not commit himself unto them, because He knew all men; for He knew what was in man.” He had to watch them continually, for they were ever on His track, seeking for something by which they might accuse Him. “Destroy this temple,” Jesus said, “and in three days I will raise it up again.” Then said the Jews “Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it in three days.” They were speaking of the temple at Jerusalem, but “He spake of the temple of His body. When therefore He was risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this unto them; and they believed the Scriptures, and the word which Jesus had said.” But the Jews did not believe on Him. They hated Him; for he had interfered with their gain-getting, and they knew He read their hearts like an open (725) book.EA 190.2

    Coming down to our own day, we would ask the question, How do the inhabitants of the world now treat the house of God? Have they not filled the churches with sacrilegious things? They have failed to learn the lesson of Christ, and have made His Father’s house, instead of a house of prayer, a den of thieves. . Today every voice should be proclaiming, “Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.” In the highways and byways the people of God should be proclaiming the message of truth. Some will hear and be converted. Others will not heed the message.EA 190.3

    In the time of Christ there were many priests and rulers who believed on Him, but they would not acknowledge lest they should be turned out of the synagogues. They feared that they would not be popular, that they would be disgraced, if they followed in the footsteps of Christ. We thank God that there are a few today who will take their position on the commandments of God, even though it place them on the unpopular side.EA 190.4

    We are glad that we have been able to unite our mites and (726) erect this house for the worship of God. Let us praise him for this with heart and soul and voice. You have taken hold of the truth for the truth’s sake, and have decided to obey the word of God. You have decided to keep the seventh day according to the commandment: It requires moral courage to take a position to keep the commandments of God. An opposer of the truth once said that it was only weak-minded people, foolish, ignorant persons, who would turn away from the churches to keep the seventh day as the Sabbath. But a minister who had embraced the truth replied, “If you think it takes weak minded persons to take this step, just try it.” It takes moral courage, firmness, decision, perseverance, and very much prayer to step out on the unpopular side.EA 191.1

    We hope that this house will be a house of prayer, and that those who enter it may realize that they are coming to meet with God. Christ has said, “Where two or three are met together in my name, there am I in their midst.” We do not expect to be able always to furnish you with a minister; you must have root in yourselves. You must learn to draw yourselves from the fountain of life.EA 191.2

    (727) You have not dared to trample underfoot the commandments of God, and you have stepped out on an unpopular truth, let the result be what it may. Will the Saviour leave you to struggle alone? No, never. He does not tell you that you will have no trials to endure, no sacrifices to make. Your master was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, how that though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich.” Poverty is coming upon this world, and that there will be such a time of trouble as was not since there was a nation. There will be wars and rumors of wars, and the faces of men will gather paleness. You may have to suffer distress. You may go hungry sometimes; but God will not forsake you in your sufferings. He will test your faith. We thank God that in your poverty and in your trials you can call God your Father.EA 191.3

    We are not to live to please ourselves. We are here to manifest Christ to the world, to represent Him and His power to mankind. We have been hewn as rough stones from the quarry of the world. He will not leave us with our rough edges—to practice (728) close dealings and reveal selfishness in our lives. He brings us into His workshop to be hewed and squared, polished and finished, for the heavenly building: for we are to be framed into a holy temple in the Lord. When the truth is received, the rough character changes, and worldliness, selfishness, pride, are worked out of the heart, we are not to remain so. Was Christ ignorant? He was the greatest Teacher the world ever saw. Why did he not chose as his representatives the scribes and Pharisees? It was because He could not trust them. He said of them, “In vain ye do worship Me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.” He chose the unlearned fisherman to be his disciples, in order that they might learn of Him and become wise unto salvation. Why is it that the Lord does not choose the wise and popular today, and work through the churches of the world. It is because they follow the same course as did the scribes and Pharisees. This teacher says to you, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy lade, and I will give you rest; take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and we shall find rest unto your (729) souls; for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”EA 191.4

    We hope that this house shall be a place where the honor of God will dwell. Let those who come for worship here surrender themselves to God with all their affections and desires. Satan will try to work upon human hearts to cause dissension among brethren, and to weaken faith. We need faith. Faith and works go together; and faith is made perfect by works. We want the faith that works by love, and purifies the soul. If our hearts are aglow with love for the Saviour, we shall do the works of God. The dissension will not enter; for you will be one with Christ as He is one with the Father. Your passions will be put away; you will be cleansed by the working of the Holy Spirit, and Christ will abide in the heart. Through Him you will be able to do all things. Standing under the broad shield of Omnipotence, you will not feel that you are in the minority. God is a majority.EA 192.1

    Wherever we shall go, we shall remember those who worship here, and we shall pray that others may unite with you. We must bear in mind that God has set us as a light amid the moral (730) darkness of the world. We are not to misinterpret the character of God; we are not to be fretful, to blame, and criticize and censure. The office of the Holy Spirit is to work the man; we are not to work the Holy Spirit. We are to let the Holy Spirit fashion the character after the similitude of Christ.EA 192.2

    Christ said, “I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” Christ is testing today to see if we will be obedient to the law of God as He was. God wants a loyal people. Rebellion originated in heaven; but it is not to be found there again. If we are willing to inquire what is the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment, to seek mercy, and walk humbly with God, we shall hear Him say, “Child, come up higher.” He hath builded for us a city, and he will gather the strangers and pilgrims into it. He is not ashamed to call us brethren.EA 192.3

    Do not expect that the world will love you if you go contrary to its customs and maxims. Do expect to be treated better than your Master. In His prayer for His disciples Christ declared, “These things I speak in the world, that they might have their joy fulfilled in themselves. I have (731) given them thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.”EA 192.4

    “Neither pray I for these alone,” the Saviour continued; “but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” You have received the truth. You must not hide it. Let it be known to others; let your light shine that others may be saved and sanctified through it. The words of those who believe are to be as seed sown in the hearts of others that will spring up and bear fruit unto eternal life.EA 192.5

    Christ prays for the unity of His people, “that they all may be one, as Thou Father, art in Me, and I in thee; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” In this unity divine credentials are presented to the world that the world too may believe in Jesus. “And the glory—[the character]—which thou gavest Me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one.” Christ within is the glory of God, the hope big with immortality and life. “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; that the world may know that (733) I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.”EA 192.6

    Praise God, brethren, with heart and soul and voice. Even amid trials, you may be the happiest people on the face of the earth, because your life is hid with Christ in God. And when He shall appear, you also will appear with Him in glory. We are not living for the applause of the world; we are living for the future immortal inheritance. We are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away. When sorrow takes hold of your soul, when you are persecuted and afflicted, lift up your head; for your redemption draweth nigh, when you are to have a life that measure with the life of God. When you are met with sneers and ridicule, rejoice that your names are written in heaven, and that you have an abundant entrance into the kingdom of God, where you will see the King in his beauty, and dwell with him throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.EA 192.7

    You are not to seek to meet the world’s standard, but to be a commandment-keeper, to become a member of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. Climb the ladder heavenward. (734) Christ is the ladder. Its base rests on the earth; its topmost round reaches to heaven. God is above the ladder, and His glory shine on every round. You must climb by clinging to Christ, and finally you will reach His everlasting kingdom. I pray you, in the name of Jesus Christ, to put on every piece of the armor of God, and fight manfully the battles of the Lord. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”EA 193.1

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