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General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1

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    THIS morning we enter upon the study of the third chapter of Colossians. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” Verse 1. This reminds us of the language used in the 12th verse of the preceding chapter: “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” Before a burial there should be a death. Let us also notice the thought brought out in Romans 6:1, 2. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” In the same chapter, last verse, we are told that the wages of sin is death. The sinner has his choice. He can suffer the penalty for sin, or accept the death of Christ, and die with him. In either case it is death.GCB February 17, 1895, page 181.4

    This thought is further brought out under another figure in Romans 6:5. “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection.” Here we have the idea of death again. Take two kernels of corn exactly alike. Put one in earth where it will be subjected to heat and moisture, and keep the other in a dry place. What will the result be? The one you planted will decay, and from it there will spring forth a new life. The other will remain unchanged. In the first case there was a death, and a consequent life and growth. Paul refers to the same figure in 1 Corinthians 15:36. “Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die.” In order to produce that life, there must be death. The Bible is full of figures illustrating our connection with Christ. If we would study our Bibles and study nature at the same time, we would understand these principles.GCB February 17, 1895, page 181.5

    “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed.” So in the kernel of seed that was planted, the old part died that the new growth might appear. When Christ was offered on Calvary’s cross, the Father saw in that offering the death of every individual that will be saved. When he was offered upon Calvary, it was not only for our sins, but for our sinfulness. In Christ we were recognized by God as hanging on that cross with him, and dying when he died, so that his death represents our death. When we recognize it, appropriate it, and identify ourselves with it, it becomes the same as if we had been crucified and our old life had gone out with his. Christ passed through that experience for us, and therefore says unto us, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:11. Now let us take that as a fact, and talk that way. We don’t want to hesitate, and question whether it can be so or not. It becomes a fact to us when we only accept it as such. But will not the flesh come up with its evil inclinations? Yes, but what are you to do? Reckon yourselves to be dead. You are buried with Christ, and not only buried, but you have risen with him. Some people lose a good deal of their Christian experience because they are all the time thinking about the death. Let us thank God that we are also risen with him, and that our life is hid in Christ.GCB February 17, 1895, page 181.6

    This leads to the thought of a definite appropriation of the death of Christ, not simply for the church or for the congregation, but for you personally. He died for each one of you individually just as much as though there were not another soul upon this earth. Now if you have accepted his death, what about your past-life? It is just as though you had never sinned. We are so apt to think that Christ died for the whole world, and perhaps if we do well, he will take us in. But our doing begins after we have accepted him, not before. Heaven belongs to us who are here this morning. I am glad that we do not have to say: I hope after a while to be an inheritor of the everlasting kingdom. It is your privilege and mine to say: It is mine now; because Christ is mine, and all that he has is mine.GCB February 17, 1895, page 182.1

    “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. What about his life then? It will be a new one, will it not? And his affections, appetites, aspirations, his deportment and associations, will all be new.GCB February 17, 1895, page 182.2

    The Saviour said (John 17:3): “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” He did not say that eternal life was going to heaven when you die. No; it is to know Christ. And can a man who is in this close union with Christ, spend his time in thinking of the death which awaits the ungodly? His mind is where? — Above. For his life is there, hid with Christ in God.GCB February 17, 1895, page 182.3

    Our relation to this world may be illustrated by the diver who goes down into the sea to gather pearls. He could not live down there among the fishes, but he has a work to do there; and while he is doing that work, he is kept alive by means of the air that is furnished him from above. As soon as this connection is broken off, and the air ceases to come to him, he will die. Just so it is with the Christian. His spiritual life cannot be preserved by breathing the atmosphere of this world; he must breathe the atmosphere of heaven.GCB February 17, 1895, page 182.4

    Right at this point I would like to read a few extracts from a communication by Sister White, dated July 30, 1894.GCB February 17, 1895, page 182.5

    “I would that every soul who sees the evidences of the truth would accept of Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. Those who thus accept of Christ are looked upon by God, not as they are in Adam, but as they are in Jesus Christ, as the sons and daughters of God. The Lord will no more cast off the humblest, lowliest believer in Jesus, than he will demolish his throne. We are accepted in the Beloved.”GCB February 17, 1895, page 182.6

    Not we will be, but we are. It is our privilege to say that at all times. It is the best way to meet the devil. I will read further:—GCB February 17, 1895, page 182.7

    “We are members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.GCB February 17, 1895, page 182.8

    The church of God upon the earth is one with the church of God above. Believers on the earth, and those who have never fallen in heaven, are one church. Every heavenly intelligence is interested in the assemblies of the saints, who on earth meet to worship God in spirit and in truth, and in the beauty of holiness. In the inner court of heaven, they listen to the testimonies of the witnesses for Christ in the outer court on earth. And the praise and thanksgiving that come from the church below, are taken up in the heavenly anthem, and praise and rejoicing resound through the heavenly courts because Christ has not died in vain for the fallen sons of Adam.”GCB February 17, 1895, page 182.9

    Suppose only a few come to meeting. Don’t feel discouraged; but remember that the rest of the congregation is in heaven. There are thousands of thousands, and a word for Christ makes the whole heavens ring with amens.GCB February 17, 1895, page 182.10

    “While angels drink from the fountain head, the saints on earth drink from the pure streams flowing from the throne of God, making glad the city of God. Oh, that we could all realize the nearness of heaven to earth! When the earth-born children know it not, they have the angels of light as their companions; for the heavenly messengers are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. A silent witness guards every soul that lives, seeking to win and draw it to Christ. The angels never leave the tempted ones a prey to the enemy who would destroy the souls of men if permitted to do so. As long as there is hope, until they resist the Holy Spirit to their eternal ruin, men are guarded by heavenly intelligences. Let us all bear in mind that in every assembly of the saints below, are the angels of God, listening to the thanksgiving, the praise, the supplication that is offered by the people of God in testimonies, songs, and prayers. Let them remember that their praises are supplemented by the choir of the angelic host above.”GCB February 17, 1895, page 182.11

    Brethren, let us be where we can join right in the worship. There are some other thoughts on the same point which I will read to you from a similar communication of Feb. 6, 1894:—GCB February 17, 1895, page 182.12

    “The image of Christ engraved upon the heart is reflected in character, in practical life, day by day, because we represent personal Saviour. The Holy Spirit is promised to all who will ask for it. When you search the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit is by your side, personating Jesus Christ.”GCB February 17, 1895, page 182.13

    Here are a few words from the same author which I have put in the margin of my Bible opposite Isaiah 57:15:—GCB February 17, 1895, page 182.14

    “If we will open the door to Jesus, he will come in and abide with us. Our strength will always be reinforced by his actual representative, the Holy Spirit.”GCB February 17, 1895, page 182.15

    Do we want the Holy Spirit? Do we ask for it? One way of asking for it is to search the word of God, for here we are told that when we do so, the Spirit is by our side.GCB February 17, 1895, page 183.1

    “The truth is a living principle made to shine in precious clearness to the understanding, and then, O then, it is time to speak words from the living Christ. “Ye are laborers together with God.”GCB February 17, 1895, page 183.2

    Under the showers of the latter rain, the inventions of man, the human machinery, will at times be swept away, the boundary of man’s authority will be as broken reeds, and the Holy Spirit will speak through the living, human agent with convincing power. No one will then watch to see if the sentences are well rounded off, if the grammar is faultless. The living water will flow in God’s own channels.... I am sure that there is a heaven full of the richest, enduring treasures to be freely given to all who will appropriate them to themselves, and becoming enriched, thereby, will impart freely to others. I know this to be the truth.GCB February 17, 1895, page 183.3

    We need to obtain a rich, daily experience in prayer; we should be like the importunate widow, who, in her conscious need, overcame the unjust judge by the bare force of her determined pleadings. God will be inquired of to do these things for us; for this is giving depth and solidity to our experience. The soul that seeks God will need to be in earnest. He is a rewarder of all those that seek him diligently....GCB February 17, 1895, page 183.4

    We want the truth spoken to human hearts by men that have been baptized with holy love for Christ, and for the purchase of his blood, men who are themselves thoroughly impressed with the truth they are presenting to others; and who are practicing the same in their own life. The word of God is sure, and every speaker should seek to link the hearers to Christ.”GCB February 17, 1895, page 183.5

    While God on the one hand tells us to seek those things which are above, he tells us also on the other hand to mortify our members, reckon ourselves to be dead, crucify the flesh, etc. Then he tells us (Galatians 5:19-21) what the fruits of the flesh are: “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath,” etc. Sometimes we hear people say, I wish I did not do these things. Yet all the time they are doing them. Brethren, if we want these things crucified, we must give them up.GCB February 17, 1895, page 183.6

    “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Sythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering: forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Colossians 3:9-15.GCB February 17, 1895, page 183.7

    [Alluding to verse 16, in reference to singing, the speaker said he would stop at that point as it was to be considered in a special discourse by Prof. Taggart, the following day.]GCB February 17, 1895, page 183.8

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