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    April 6, 1891

    “‘We Have Abraham to Our Father’” The Signs of the Times, 17, 14.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “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.” Matthew 3:9. These are the words which John the Baptist spoke to the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to his baptism. These men were corrupt at heart. Their character is described by our Saviour himself in Matthew 23:13-33, where they are said to have outwardly appeared righteous, while within they were full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Both John the Baptist and our Saviour called them vipers.SITI April 6, 1891, page 98.4

    These men were lineal descendants of Abraham, and were of the stock of Israel, but they had lost the spirit of Israel. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob confessed that they were pilgrims and strangers on the earth. Hebrews 11:13. They did not expect their portion in this life, nor an earthly inheritance; but they looked for a city from heaven, and an inheritance in the new earth, wherein righteousness alone should dwell. 2 Peter 3:13. And they knew that the possession of righteousness would be the only passport to that heavenly inheritance.SITI April 6, 1891, page 98.5

    The Pharisees, on the other hand, had ceased to look for a Messiah who should finally reign over a righteous nation, and who should prepare subjects for that kingdom by cleansing them from sin. They did not look at their hearts, which were corrupt, but only on the outward appearance, which was fair. Consequently, seeing no sin in themselves, they felt no need of a Saviour. And so they came to John’s baptism, not because they felt any need of flying from the wrath to come, but because they thought that by enrolling themselves in the ranks of the new leader, whose coming John announced, they would be sure of places of honor in the coming kingdom. They expected that that kingdom would bring simply emancipation from the Roman yoke, and would place the Jewish nation in the seat of dominion over the whole world; and they had not the slightest doubt but that they would have a place in the kingdom, because they were children of Abraham. Their sole anxiety was to have as high a place as possible.SITI April 6, 1891, page 98.6

    John saw through their mask of hypocrisy, and told them that they need not flatter themselves that they were children of Abraham. The promise to Abraham and to his seed would be fulfilled, but sooner than count them as the seed of Abraham, God would raise up children unto Abraham out of the stones of the ground. The inheritance was promised to Abraham, not because God regarded his person or his descent as superior to that of other men, but because he had the righteousness of faith. Consequently, those who are counted as heirs with him must be men of like character. It certainly would not be just to accept Abraham solely because of his faith in God, and to accept others solely on account of their parentage.SITI April 6, 1891, page 98.7

    Afterward, when Christ was talking to the wicked Jews, he said, “If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.” John 8:39. The apostle Paul also says, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29. The Pharisees who came to John to be baptized thought that the fact that they could prove their descent from Abraham would insure them a place in the kingdom of Christ; but Paul shows that they had turned the matter around. They could only prove themselves children by bringing forth such works of repentance as would show them to be Christ’s.SITI April 6, 1891, page 98.8

    There are many to-day who have as erroneous ideas of the kingdom of Christ as the Pharisees and the Sadducees had. There is a large party called the National Reform Association, whose members think that Christ’s kingdom is going to be established at the polls, by the votes of men. And they imagine that they are sure of a place in that kingdom, because they can trace their ancestry back to the Covenanters, or some of the Reformers. They forget that the Reformers did not follow the multitude, but took the Bible for their guide, as far as its truths were revealed to them, and that in following its teachings they suffered untold hardships. The Reformers became such solely because their love for God and his truth was so great as to lead them to endure privation and to be considered as outcasts. And yet these men imagine that they can ride into the kingdom of God on the top wave of popularity. How terribly mistaken they will some day be.SITI April 6, 1891, page 106.1

    The kingdom of Christ is promised only to the true Israel, but the true Israel are only those “whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Romans 2:29. Those who will be great in that kingdom must be content to be small here; and whosoever will be chief, must be a servant; “even as the Son of man [the King himself] came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28. He was in the form of God, and had all glory and honor, yet when he saw the lost world, he did not think his glory was a thing to be desired, so he laid it all aside, and “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” Philippians 2:7-10.SITI April 6, 1891, page 106.2

    “The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” Let none therefore imagine that he is going to get into the kingdom on the strength of a profession, nor because he is a descendant of the Reformers, nor a member of a large and influential church organization. Let none think that he can be more favored than the King, and can obtain the kingdom by any other means than humble self-denial and a godly life. Neither let any think that Christ’s reception of the kingdom depends on them. He receives his kingdom from the Father (Psalm 2:7-9; Daniel 7:13, 14), and will admit into it only those who upon the foundation of faith have built a superstructure of virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (2 Peter 1:5-11). E. J. W.SITI April 6, 1891, page 106.3

    “In Christ We Have All Things” The Signs of the Times, 17, 14.

    E. J. Waggoner

    [Extract from a discourse, at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Battle Creek, Mich., March 22, 1891, by Elder E. J. Waggoner.]SITI April 6, 1891, page 106.4

    “What shall we say then to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Take this verse and read it, and commit it to memory, and then remember to say, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:11. And remember that Christ gave the example of defeating Satan by the word of the testimony; every time the temptation came, he said, “It is written.” So when the clouds of darkness come, and the thick darkness gathers around, just say, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” And God is for us, as is shown in that he gave Christ to die for us, and raised him again for our justification.SITI April 6, 1891, page 106.5

    There is peace in the thought that God works out all things after the counsel of his own will, and that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Then it does not matter what comes against us, for in that it comes against us, it comes against the purpose of God, and that is as sure and firm as the existence of the Almighty can make it.SITI April 6, 1891, page 106.6

    Now who is against us? Satan is against us. That does not make any difference if he is. Satan has tried his power with Christ, and it has proved itself to be nothing. “All power in heaven and earth is given to me,” says Christ. Then if all power has been given to Christ in heaven and in earth, and it has been given, where is there any left for Satan?—There is none. In a contest with Christ, Satan has no power; so if we have Christ for us, nothing can be against us.SITI April 6, 1891, page 106.7

    Some of us have been talking about the power of Satan in the past; but he has none, there is none left for him. Technically speaking, Satan is against us. Who is he?—“The prince of the power of the air.” He brings pestilence, he brings disease, he puts things in our way, and arrays them against us. But the very things which he arrays against us to work our ruin, God takes and makes for us. They are all good. We often sing:—SITI April 6, 1891, page 106.8

    “Let good or ill befall,
    It must be good for me.
    Secure of having Thee in all.
    Of having all in Thee.”
    SITI April 6, 1891, page 106.9

    But we often sing things that we do not believe at all. Now I would not have anyone sing these things any less, but I would have you believe them more. It is often the case that if you believe them more. It is often the case that if you took the words from the music, and put them into plain prose, there would not be anyone in a whole congregation who would believe or dare to say them. Let us believe them, not because they are in the hymn, but because they are Bible truth.SITI April 6, 1891, page 106.10

    We are like the people who are represented by the prophet Ezekiel: “Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against [about] thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, everyone to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord.” That is it,—they say, Come, let us go to meeting, and hear the sermon. “And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument; for they hear thy words, but they do them not.” Ezekiel 33:30-32.SITI April 6, 1891, page 106.11

    I say that a great many of these truths are just a song to many people. They hear them and are interested in them, and then pass on, but they do not believe or do them. But the Lord has given them for us, to both believe and to do, and they will be our strength. So everything works for good to them that love God. We cannot always see how, or tell how, but God has said it, and we know it is so. There are many things that we cannot tell why we believe, and to our very senses they do not appear to be so; but the very fact that God has promised that if we do believe them they will be so makes them so, when we take hold and believe them. We can never know this till we do believe; but when we do believe, then we will know. So if God be for us, who can be against us?SITI April 6, 1891, page 106.12

    Think of that lone prophet of God, Elisha. He was down in Samaria; the mountains were all around him. A whole host of armed men had come to take him. He stood alone with his servant, and that servant was afraid. He did not think in that moment, nor did he say, that the king of Israel ought to send a troop of horse, or some infantry, to defend him. The young man came to him, and said, “Alas, my master! How shall we do?” Elisha prayed, “Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes.” And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold the mountains were full of horses and chariots of fire round about.SITI April 6, 1891, page 106.13

    The whole mountain and plain were filled with chariots and horses, and any one of them was stronger than the whole host of the enemy. It is as true in our case as in that of Elisha that “they that be for us are more than they that be against us,” and the only thing for us to do is to get our eyes open so that we may see that this is so. What opens our eyes?—The word; it is a lamp unto our feet and a light to our path, and if we believe it, we will know that they that are for us are more than they that are against us.SITI April 6, 1891, page 106.14

    He who is with us is the living God of Israel, who has power to turn darkness into light, and weakness into strength; and every evil thing that comes against us, he turns into a blessing to help us on our way.SITI April 6, 1891, page 108.1

    “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him freely give us all things?” Why will he with Christ also give us all things?—Because all things are in him. Note Ephesians 1:23, “Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.SITI April 6, 1891, page 108.2

    He that hath put on Christ is “strengthened with all might.” Why?—Because God has placed Christ “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come; and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.” Therefore everything is in Christ. In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He has all power given him in heaven and in earth. Do you not see that, this being the case, it is a foregone conclusion that when God gave Christ for us, and freely delivered him up for us all, in him he does give us all things?SITI April 6, 1891, page 108.3

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