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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 24 (1909)

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    Ms 85, 1909

    Sermon/Lessons of Self-Denial, Trust, and Co-Operation

    Nevada, Iowa

    August 21, 1909

    Portions of this manuscript are published in UL 247; VSS 220; SD 268; 8MR 291.

    Sermon by Mrs. E. G. White, Sabbath, August 21, 1909, Nevada, Iowa.

    “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth,” the Saviour said, “where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust doth not corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” [Matthew 6:19-21.]24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 1

    The riches of this world will never advance us in the knowledge of God or in a Christian experience. The Saviour bids us seek for the true riches that are laid up in store for the righteous. The man or woman who truly follows Christ will look upon his earthly possessions as a gift of God, to be used in advancing His honor in the earth.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 2

    To one who came to Him, saying, “We will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest,” Christ said, “The foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.” [Luke 9:57; Matthew 8:20.] Christ owned nothing in this world, and yet the world was His. Let us study His holy, self-denying example. We have no time to spend on the vanities and follies of this world. If we seek for these things, we give an example that reveals a lack of harmony with the character of Christ. There is a world to be saved, and we should carefully consider the example we give to those around us. We should conform our lives to the life of Him who became a child of humanity, that He might give a perfect example to every human being. From a study of His life and labors and His struggles with temptation, we are to learn how to become partakers of the divine nature and overcome the corruption that is in the world through lust. Nowhere shall we find anything that will help our spiritual life as will a study of the life of Christ. And as we seek to walk in His footsteps, there will come to us a supply of divine grace such as sustained Christ in every circumstance.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 3

    “The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness.” [Matthew 6:22, 23.]24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 4

    There are many who profess to be followers of Christ who do not have an eye single to His glory. They have their own ideas and standards, and they keep these before them instead of the standard of the Word of God. What we need is pure and undefiled religion. We need to plead for the righteousness that comes to the truly converted soul who accepts the life of the Redeemer as his example. Let us not think that we can pass through this world doing just as we please, and yet be accepted by God as followers of His Son. The gates of the city of God will never be thrown open to those who have not lifted the cross and followed after Christ in self-denial and self-sacrifice. We are never to lose sight of the fact that if ever we come into possession of the kingdom of glory, we must accept by faith the merits of Jesus Christ; we must be partakers of His nature, and through His grace overcome.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 5

    We are to present to the world a life of overcoming—overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. But in order to do this, we must seek the Lord daily that our natural temperaments and desires may be brought under the converting power of the Holy Spirit and into harmony with the life of Christ. When you submit to these conditions, you will realize Christ’s power and sufficiency. Denying self, and walking humbly with God, you will experience the truth of the words of the Saviour, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” [John 14:6; 8:12.]24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 6

    “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” [Matthew 6:24-29.]24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 7

    As you consider the beauties and grace of the flowers of the field, you are to remember that Christ wants you to perfect a character that will represent the beauties of Christ’s character just as the lily represents the workmanship of God. And Christ drew another lesson also: “Wherefore,” He said, “if God so clothe the grass of the field, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Wherefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat, or, What shall we drink? or, wherewithal shall we be clothed; (for after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” [Verses 30-34.]24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 8

    O ye of little faith, Christ speaks these words to you—you for whom He has given His precious life, that soul, body, and spirit may be sanctified through the truth. Some who pass through hardship and discouragements may feel that theirs is a joyless lot. Let them remember that Christ passed through similar experiences. He knew what poverty and hardship was. He bids you believe in His love and follow in His footsteps. He will work through those who have means to provide for those who need.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 9

    My brethren and sisters, there is a world to be saved. What are you doing to co-operate with Christ? What are you doing to represent His humility of spirit? Are you seeking to become acquainted with those who are afflicted and suffering, and who need your help? Are you using your opportunities and advantages and means in winning souls to Christ? You may say, I am not a minister, and therefore cannot preach the truth. You may not be a minister in the generally accepted sense of the word. You may never be called to stand in the desk. Nevertheless you can be a minister for Christ. If you will have your eyes opened to see the opportunities that present themselves for speaking a word to this soul and to that, God will speak through you to lead them to Christ. Christ took human nature, that you might approach Him and learn of Him how to labor for your fellow men. Make use of your knowledge in bringing souls to Christ. Drop a word here and a word there that will lift up Christ before men and lead them to higher and holier purposes.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 10

    From the light that God has given me, I see that there is a great work to be done for every church. Many of us have neglected to study the Scriptures; we have failed to develop such characters as Christ can use. The Son of God left the courts of glory and came to our world to partake of its temptations and hardships, that He might lift us up and make us sons and daughters of God. He calls upon us individually to take up our appointed work wherever we are. We are to watch for souls as they that must give an account. We are to do what we can to minister to the spiritual needs of mankind.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 11

    Christ worked for us when we were unbelievers. What are we doing for our friends and neighbors who do not believe? Christ expects us to become acquainted with the spiritual needs of these souls, and to work for them in meekness and lowliness of heart. Time is passing. Satan is boasting to his evil agencies that he will take possession of the world; and he encourages them to work through every possible means for the accomplishment of this purpose. At this time the followers of Christ should bring a strong counterinfluence to meet the influence of evil.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 12

    My brethren and sisters, let us take God at His word and seek Him in simple faith. Heaven is waiting to open opportunities before those who will walk before God in true simplicity. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” [Matthew 7:7, 8.] We do not go to God and ask Him in simplicity for the things that we need. Let us cultivate a truer humility and a firmer dependence upon Him than we have. Until we come to Him as the disciples came before the day of Pentecost, He cannot co-operate with us as fully as He desires. When we yield ourselves fully to Him, He will work as the case requires. All our needs are embraced in the promise, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” [John 16:24.]24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 13

    “What man is there of you,” Christ asked, “whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” [Matthew 7:9-11.]24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 14

    “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” [Verse 12.] If you want others to do these self-denying works for you, do these acts for them. I am instructed that comparatively few of our people believe the Word of God and carry out its teachings.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 15

    My brethren, you have these promises before you. Do not return to your homes and forget all about them. You may feel that you are unable to do anything; but if you will place yourselves in right relation to the One who made these promises, you will find them fulfilled in your experience. God laid upon His Son to give His life for the life of the world, that man might co-operate with Him in the salvation of the human family. You can stand side by side with the Saviour, working with Him in self-denial and self-sacrifice at every step.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 16

    “Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth unto destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” [Verses 13, 14.]24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 17

    “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so 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.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 18

    “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say unto Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 19

    “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rains descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them not, I will liken him unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand. And the rains descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house; and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” [Verses 16-27.]24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 20

    Every day we are building character. Let us build on the rock Christ Jesus. This sure foundation will stand for every one of us.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 21

    Parents, let no fretful words be spoken. If your children need correction, do it in such a way that you will not leave the devil in their hearts. Read the Word of God to those who understand; and to those who cannot, explain the requirements of Christ. If you will do this, you will find that the light of heaven will come into your homes, and the rich blessing of God will abide with you. You can co-operate with God in the salvation of your family if you will follow the instruction of His Word.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 22

    There are some among us who feel that they must study in the schools of the world in order to receive what the world calls the higher education. But I have been instructed that our people have no need to seek the education that the world gives. Christ has given us everything we need in order to be saved. The instruction of God’s Word is the highest instruction that can be given to men.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 23

    I am bidden to repeat this message again and again. As the professed followers of Christ, we are seeking for a life that measures with the life of God. Then let us search the Scriptures. “Search the Scriptures,” said Christ, “for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Me.” [John 5:39.] All the education we can gain from men of the world will do little for our Christian experience but confuse our faith. Let us come into right relation to God, come, just as we are, needy and dependent, and say, Lord, teach me out of Thy Word. Give me the spiritual help I must have if I carry out in my life the principles of righteousness. If we will take hold of the life of Christ and study His teachings, He will show us how to accept the attributes of His divine nature.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 24

    Ministers, in your discourses do not climb up so high that the people cannot understand what you say. I have been instructed that we get altogether too high in our representation of Bible truth. We lose much by not coming to the simplicity of true godliness. God has given us all we need to enable us to reach the souls around us; yet the reformations that were made in Christ’s day, as the result of the presentation of the gospel, are rare today. We need the converting power of God in our hearts to teach us simplicity in words and works.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 25

    We need to have the simple faith in the power of Christ that was manifested by the poor woman who had been afflicted so many years, but when she reached the place where the Saviour was, could not get near enough to Him to present her petition. She said, “If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole.” [Matthew 9:21.] Acting upon her faith in the Saviour’s power, she reached forward in the crowd as He passed, and succeeded in touching the border of His garment. Immediately she was made whole.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 26

    With a grateful heart she was about to steal away from the throng, but suddenly Jesus stopped. He turned, and looking about Him asked, “Who touched Me?” [Luke 8:45.]24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 27

    The people were astonished at His question, and one of the disciples asked, “Master, the multitude throng and press Thee, and sayest Thou, Who touched Me?” [Verse 45.] But Christ could distinguish between the casual touch of the multitude and the touch of faith, and He desired to make known the story of this woman’s unquestioning belief. He would teach the lesson that it is those who are earnest, those who pant for the salvation of God, who shall be satisfied.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 28

    Seeing that she was discovered, the woman came forward, and falling at the feet of Christ, told her pitiful story. Jesus said to her, “Daughter, be of good comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” [Verse 48.]24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 29

    I pray that this meeting will not close until impressions are made upon the hearts of believers that will cause them to carry with them to their homes a firm determination to labor for others. As overcomers through faith in Christ, you may take hold of a life that measures with the life of God. When this experience of overcoming is yours, your labors for others will not be without fruit. Your position may be ever so humble; but through the co-operation of heavenly agencies, you may take with you through the gates of the city of God many who have accepted the truth through your efforts.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 30

    May God help us to understand that we must be laborers together with Him. Let us begin right here to be coworkers with heaven. Put away the foolish reading matter, and study the Word of God. Commit its precious promises to memory, so that when we shall be deprived of our Bibles, we may still be in possession of the Word of God. Cultivate the attributes of earnestness, bringing into all your labors for others the simplicity of true godliness. This will help you to reach the hearts of those you are trying to help.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 31

    I am burdened for our large cities, and for your neighbors and friends who have not the light. I pray that God will open the understanding of those who have a knowledge of the truth for this time, that they may act a part in the great, grand work of salvation. Will you not come in lowliness of heart and offer yourselves for service to God? That lowliness is true dignity. Will you not unite in labor for your families and for your friends and acquaintances? If you will do this, you will have a different testimony to bear next time you assemble at camp-meeting.24LtMs, Ms 85, 1909, par. 32

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