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    Sermon 6—A Few Fragments

    THERE are some phases of the Christian life and experience that are hard to put into words, and I fear sometimes that we shall make difficult that which is simple in itself, and may becloud with many words that which would be plainer if we said less about it. I do not want to do that. The purpose of our study is not to enlarge upon and draw out some theory. It is to grow in Christ; it is to get help in the Christian life, and although we may elaborate a very nice theory, if it is left there, the whole thing fails; let us not forget that.DHF 71.1

    We will read first this evening from Ezekiel 36:25-28: “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”DHF 71.2

    The best comment on this scripture is in Hebrews 8:8-10: “Be-hold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: not ac-cording to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.”DHF 71.3

    That is the same result as is spoken of in Ezekiel. “I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” And that is to put the law of God into the mind and write it upon the heart. And we have been studying in this very line, as to the way in which God works with us, and how he reaches us through the mind. Now, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their heart.” Two or three scriptures will make the meaning of that perfectly clear.DHF 72.1

    Read first in Psalm 40:6-8, a prophecy of Christ. “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”DHF 72.2

    “I delight to do thy will,” or “I delight to fulfill thy will,” as given in one translation. This is in harmony with the thought in Matthew 5:17: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” So the prophecy was, “I delight to fulfill thy law, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”DHF 72.3

    I call attention to an expression in Vol. 4 of “Spiritual Gifts,” first part, page 101, in speaking of the ark of God: “The ark was a sacred chest made to be the depository of the ten commandments, which law was the representation of God himself” [4aSG 101.1]. Now that “law is within my heart,” not the two tables of stone, but the law itself, which was the will of God; which was the mind of God; which was God himself in the heart. So we read in 2 Corinthians 5:19 that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself;” and God was in Christ because the law of God was in the heart of Christ.DHF 72.4

    The new covenant promises, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts,” which would bring God in Christ into the heart of the believer; thus that would be “Christ in you the hope of glory;” that would be putting the mind of God in Christ in the place of our mind; that would be giving a new heart. That would be as is described in 2 Corinthians 3:3.DHF 73.1

    “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart.” The gospel becomes a personality in those who believe, and they become living epistles known and read of all men. But you observe that the whole operation by which this change is brought about is through the mind and the heart, by putting the law of God through the agency of the Spirit of God into the mind and into the heart; and that gives the new mind and the new heart.DHF 73.2

    Perhaps some have wondered what was the difference in the Scriptures between the word mind and the word heart. I do not know that I can lay down any fixed rule with reference to these words in the Scriptures. This is more difficult from the fact that our English translation is not uniform in its rendering; but this thought has been some guide to me in studying, and that is: while “mind” refers to the intellect, the reason, “heart” goes beyond that, and includes the affections and the will. We do not find any statement in the Scriptures that with the mind man believeth unto righteousness; but the Scriptures do say that “with the heart” man believeth unto righteousness.” So whatever may be meant in general use by the word “heart,” this is true, that according to the Scripture statement it is that with which we believe unto righteousness; and here comes the difference between a true faith and a mere assent, or between Protestant faith and Catholic faith. Protestant faith, or genuine faith, is more than an assent of the mind that a certain statement is true; it includes that, but it goes beyond that, and the faith of which the Bible speaks includes the submission of the heart, the placing of the affections, the yielding of the will to God. That cannot all be done simply by the intellectual faculties; it must go beyond that and must include the affections and the will; and the placing of the will in our religious experience, in the new birth, and in Christian growth, is a very important one. It may be worth the while to read a few statements bearing upon this. “Steps to Christ,” page 48:-DHF 73.3

    “What you need is to understand the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve him. You can give to him your will. He will then work in you to will and to do according to his good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ, your affections will be centered upon him, your thoughts will be in harmony with him” [SC 47.1]DHF 74.1

    Also from “Testimony” No. 33, pages 41-43:- “Pure religion has to do with the will. The will is the governing power in the nature of man, bringing all the other faculties under its sway. The will is not the taste or the inclination, but it is the deciding power, which works in the children of men unto obedience to God, or unto disobedience. … You will be in constant peril until you understand the true force of the will. You may believe and promise all things, but your promises or your faith are of no value until you put your will on the side of faith and action. If you fight the fight of faith with all your will power, you will conquer. Your feelings, your impressions, your emotions, are not to be trusted, for they are not reliable, especially with your perverted ideas; and the knowledge of your broken promises and your forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in yourself, and the faith of others in you. But you need not despair. You must be determined to believe, although nothing seems true and real to you. I need not tell you it is yourself that has brought you into this unenviable position. You must win back your confidence in God and in your brethren. It is for you to yield up your will to the will of Jesus Christ; and as you do this, God will immediately take possession, and work in you to will and to do of his good pleasure. Your whole nature will then be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; and even your thoughts will be subject to him. You cannot control your impulses, your emotions, as you may desire, but you can control the will, and you can make an entire change in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, your life will be hid with Christ in God, and allied to the power which is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from God that will hold you fast to his strength; and a new life, even the life of living faith, will be possible to you. But your will must co-operate with God’s will, not with the will of associates through whom Satan is constantly working to ensnare and destroy you. [5T 513.1-4].DHF 74.2

    “You must remember that your will is the spring of all your actions. This will, that forms so important a factor in the character of man, was at the fall given into the control of Satan; and he has even since been working in man to will and to do of his own pleasure, but to the utter ruin and misery of man. But the infinite sacrifice of God in giving Jesus, his beloved Son, to become a sacrifice for sin, enables him to say, without violating one principle of his government, Yield yourselves up to me; give me that will; take it from the control of Satan, and I will take possession of it; then I can work in you to will and to do of my good pleasure. When he gives you the mind of Christ, your will becomes as his will, and your character is trans-formed to be like Christ’s character” [5T 515.1].DHF 75.1

    God has given us the power to yield the will up to him and then he will work both to will and to do of his good pleasure. That is all made possible from the fact that Jesus Christ was made flesh and dwells in us. Now another line of thought: How do we know that we are “in him”?DHF 75.2

    “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” 1 John 2:5. “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” 1 John 3:24. “Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” 1 John 3:24. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9. “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God.” 1 John 4:15.DHF 75.3

    Just a comment upon that last scripture. “No one can truly confess Christ before the world unless the mind and spirit of Christ live in him.” How do we know that we are in him? In the above scriptures we are told just exactly how we know that we are in him and he in us.DHF 76.1

    And this work that is thus begun “in him” is to be carried for-ward and made perfect in the same way. Let us read a scripture that will teach this lesson: “Ye rulers of the people, and elders, If we this day are examined concerning a good deed done to an impotent man, by what means this man is made whole; Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even in him, doth this man stand here before you whole. Acts 4:9, 10, R.V.”DHF 76.2

    When the miracle was performed, Peter said, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” There is the beginning and the continuance of Christian life. The man arose, he walked, and he was there before the council and he still stood, that is, he still had strength in his feet and ankle bones. But how did he retain that strength? In him, “Even in Him, doth this man stand.” It is exactly so in our Christian experience. We receive strength at the first “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.” We rise in him, we walk in him, we stand, we continue in our Christian experience, in Him. So, from first to last and all the way through, it is always in him. Always in Him. And the Saviour has given us a very striking lesson to illustrate and enforce this idea.DHF 76.3

    The 15th chapter of John. “I am the true Vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch” Where? “in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away, and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it [or cleanseth it] that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me and I in you; as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without me” apart from me, severed from me “ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”DHF 77.1

    There are many lessons suggested in this scripture. First the closeness of the union between the branch and the vine. What kind of union must that be in order that fruit shall be brought forth? It must be a life union; it is not sufficient to bring them near together; to have them touch one another. There must be a living connection between them. What furnishes the life for the branch? The vine furnishes the life. If it is not a living connection, the branch withers. It cannot bring forth any fruit. There must be life passing back and forth between the vine and the branch, and in order that it shall be this way, the branch must abide in the vine. Does a branch abide in a vine when you have it out to-day, and put it in to-morrow, and out next week, and once a week or once a month it is taken out and set aside, is that branch abiding in the vine? The idea is that it must remain there permanently; that it is a union that cannot be broken off at pleasure and reunited at pleasure with the idea that you can get the same results as though it remained firm in that life connection.DHF 77.2

    You know you can maintain a semblance of life by putting a branch in water, but suppose you forget to pour water into the glass, it will soon wither away. That is, it will lose the appearance of life. Suppose you fill up the glass periodically with water, will that branch bear fruit? How many church members are simply branches stuck into a glass of water who require a periodical refreshing; who claim to be branches and yet never bring forth fruit! And if there is not a periodical stirring up with a revival service, they will begin to lose the appearance of life, and if neglected too long without such a periodical stirring up, even the appearance is gone. Abide in me; that is the only secret of Christian life. Abide in Christ. You cannot expect fruit from a professed Christian who does not abide in Christ, remain in Christ, live in Christ, in daily, constant union with Christ: cut off entirely from the world, and wholly given to Christ. That is the only way to have a genuine Christian experience.DHF 77.3

    Now there is one more thought to which I will direct your attention, and perhaps that will close our consideration of this special line of thought. Will you turn to the book of Ruth? The story in the book of Ruth, simply as a story, is a very beautiful one, but when we understand the purpose of this narrative, it adds a hundred fold to the beauty and value of the book. This whole book is to teach us the lesson of the nearness of Christ to us, and that by blood relation; that is the whole purpose of the teaching of the book of Ruth. Of course time will not permit me to read the whole book of Ruth, and I will only outline some of the thoughts in it, and then call attention to the principal points in the story.DHF 78.1

    After Naomi had returned to her own land, and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, had returned with her, then Ruth went out into the field of Boaz to glean. When she returned, 19th verse of the 2nd chapter, “And her mother-in-law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to-day? and where wroughtest thou? Blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee. And she showed her mother-in-law with whom she had wrought, and said, The man’s name with whom I wrought to-day is Boaz. And Naomi said unto her daughter-in-law, Blessed be he of the Lord who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her [Dr. Young’s translation], the man is a relative of ours, he is of our redeemers.” (See also the marginal reading.) That is, this man Boaz is one who is so closely related to us by flesh and blood relationship that ac-cording to the Levitical law he can step in and redeem our inheritance that went away from us when we went out into the land of the Moabites.DHF 78.2

    Now pass into the third chapter. When Ruth went to lie down in the threshing floor and Boaz made inquiry (9th verse), he said who art thou, and she answered, “I am Ruth, thine handmaid. Spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid for thou art [Dr. Young] a redeemer.” Going on with the same chapter, “And he said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my daughter: for thou hast shown more kind-ness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as thou followedst not the young men, whether poor or rich, and now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.” Now we will read from Dr. Young’s translation, and see what it was that she suggested in that statement that “thou art a redeemer,” 12th verse: “And now surely, true that I am a redeemer: but also there is a redeemer nearer than I. Lodge to-night, and it hath been in the morning if he doth redeem thee, well; he redeemeth, and if he de-light not to redeem thee, then I have redeemed thee, -- I; Jehovah liveth.”DHF 79.1

    When she said, “Thou art a redeemer,” she really asked him in that way to redeem their inheritance that was lost by their going out among the Moabites. Now he said, “I will do what thou requirest. I am a redeemer, but also there is a redeemer nearer than I. Lodge to-night, and it hath been in the morning, if he doth redeem thee, well; he redeemeth, and if he delight not to redeem thee, then I have redeemed thee, -- I; Jehovah liveth.”DHF 79.2

    Now the next day Boaz went up into the gate where all such business was transacted in the Eastern cities. Fourth chapter, first verse, Dr. Young’s translation: “And Boaz hath gone up to the gate and standeth there, and, lo, the redeemer is passing by to whom Boaz hath spoken.” Third verse: “And he saith to the redeemer;” sixth verse: “And the redeemer saith;” eighth verse: “And the redeemer saith.” It turned out that the one who was nearer of kin than Boaz did not dare to undertake to redeem the inheritance for Ruth and for Naomi, and so he stood aside and then it fell to Boaz. It was his right then, as being the next of kin, as being the redeemer who dared undertake to redeem the lost inheritance. So we read in the fourth chapter, fourteenth verse: “And the women saith unto Naomi, Blessed is Jehovah who hath not let a redeemer cease to thee to-day.”DHF 79.3

    The more you read the book of Ruth on that basis, the more clearly you will see that the whole teaching of the book is to give us in an object lesson this teaching that Jesus Christ, the redeemer of the lost inheritance, was one near of kin, next of kin, one who of right could redeem, and one who was able to redeem. And Blessed be the Lord. He did not let a redeemer cease from us.DHF 80.1

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