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General Conference Bulletin, vol. 1

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    IN our study this morning we will take up the third division of the first chapter, and consider the question, How may we be filled with a knowledge of his will? In John 7:17 we read: “If a man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.” That is, he shall know of the teaching. And the original word gives the added idea that he may know of the process of the teaching, he may know thing taught. Let us read another text, 1 John 4:14: “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us.” Now keep these ideas in your mind, and think of them as we go on doing his will, filled with an understanding of his will, asking and receiving according to his will. Read also Mark 3:35. “For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and my mother.” By this text we learn of the close relationship that exists between those that do the will of Christ. And why not, when Christ himself delights to do the will of his Father? We may now go in advance of the portion of the epistle assigned for this lesson, and read the 9th and 10th verses of the second chapter. “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” Also Ephesians 3:19: “That ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Then, to be filled with knowledge of his will, is to be filled with himself, which is receiving Christ.GCB February 8, 1895, page 56.1

    The word knowledge as used here in Colossians 1:9, means more than in some other texts. The word in the original is not gnosis, but epignosis, and it means clear, exact or accurate knowledge. Some of the versions read that way, or nearly so. In the Emphatic Diaglott the passage is rendered, “That ye might be filled as to the exact knowledge of his will.” Dr. Bullinger says of the word epignosis, “It is more emphatic than gnosis because it expresses a more thorough participation on the part of the knower with the object of knowledge.” He further defines it as a knowledge that has a powerful influence on the knower. Now that is the kind of knowledge that we want to be filled with; one that will have a decided effect upon our lives.GCB February 8, 1895, page 56.2

    The same word, epignosis, is used also in Romans 1:28. “Even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.” We sometimes talk of people not liking to retain a knowledge of God in their mind, but here the expression is that they did not like to retain God in their knowledge. God is in his word, and the retaining of the word retains God. So our study of the book of Colossians should not be simply a mental work, but the truths of the epistle should become a real part of ourselves, and be lived out in our daily lives. Perhaps I can illustrate it in this way: Suppose I were to instruct a class in physical culture, and use a text book on the subject, thus making the class very familiar with all the definitions and directions given in the book so that they can pass a very creditable examination, answering every question that could be put to them. Their theoretical knowledge of the subject would then be very good, but could I, without having given them an opportunity for actual practice, expect them to lay aside their books, and go through the exercises from the beginning without any mistakes. No, they would be entirely unfit for that. And why? Because they never have done the practical work, therefore they are not able to put their instruction into practice. It is just so in studying the word of God. We want to be filled with the knowledge that makes us act it out in our daily lives. We want Christians to-day who are light-houses in which the word of God is the light.GCB February 8, 1895, page 56.3

    Please read 1 Thessalonians 4:3: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.” Sanctification is from a word that means to make holy. If a thing is unclean, sanctifying it makes it clean. Let us get away from the idea of sanctification that is held among professed Christians at the present time, which means simply to say Amen, feel good, and praise the Lord. But while we shun the false, let seek for the genuine. There sanctification is defined as follows: “To deliver from a state of uncleanness, if already in that state, and put into a state corresponding to the nature of God.” But this is divine nature, which gives divine strength. The Saviour said: “Sanctify them through thy word. Thy word is truth.”GCB February 8, 1895, page 57.1

    I will read an extract on the work of sanctification from Testimony 31, pp.44,45,46:—GCB February 8, 1895, page 57.2

    Are you in Christ? Not if you do not acknowledge yourselves erring, helpless, condemned sinners. Not if you are exalting and glorifying self. If there is any good in you, it is wholly attributable to the mercy of a compassionate Saviour. your birth, your reputation, your wealth, your talents, your virtues, your piety, your philanthropy, or anything else in you or connected with you, will not form a bond of union between your soul and Christ. Your connection with the church, the manner in which your brethren regard you, will be of no avail, unless you believe in Christ. It is not enough to believe about him; you must believe in him. You must rely wholly upon his saving grace.GCB February 8, 1895, page 57.3

    Every one who is united to Christ will depart from all iniquity. I tell you, in the fear of God, I have been shown that many of you will fail of everlasting life because you are building your hopes of heaven on a false foundation. god is leaving you to yourselves, “to humble thee, to prove thee, and to know what is in thine heart.” You have neglected the Scriptures. You despise and reject the testimonies, because they reprove your darling sins, and disturb your self-complacency. When Christ is cherished in the heart, his likeness will be revealed in the life...... The life of the Christian will be divested of all pretense, free from all affectation, artifice and falsehood. It is earnest, true, sublime. Christ speaks in every word. He is seen in every deed. The life is radiant with the light of an indwelling Saviour. In converse with God, and in happy contemplation of heavenly things, the soul is preparing for heaven, and laboring to gather other souls into the fold of christ. Our Saviour is able and willing to do for us more than we can ask or even think.GCB February 8, 1895, page 57.4

    In “Christian Education” the following expression is given:—GCB February 8, 1895, page 57.5

    Let no one suppose that conversion is the beginning and end of the Christian life. there is a science of Christianity that must be mastered. There is to be growth in grace, that is, constant progress and improvement. the mind is to be disciplined, trained, educated; for the child of God is to do service for God in ways that are not natural, or in harmony with inborn inclination. Those who become the followers of Christ find that new motives of action are supplied, new thoughts arise, and new actions must result. p.122.GCB February 8, 1895, page 57.6

    In the Bible every vital principle is declared, every duty made plain, every obligation made evident...... The Bible contains the science of salvation for all those who will hear and do the words of Christ.GCB February 8, 1895, page 57.7

    The Bible is its own expositor. One passage will prove to be a key that will unlock other passages, and in this way light will be shed upon the hidden meaning of the word.GCB February 8, 1895, page 57.8

    Let us now examine 2 Peter 1:3, 4. “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”GCB February 8, 1895, page 57.9

    That is for us who are present this morning. It matters not how little you may think of yourself, or how small is your capacity, God has provided just as much for you in the Christian life as for any other man or woman living. The only question is whether we will appropriate these things, and let God work them out in us. Here we are told that these exceeding great and precious promises are given unto us in order that we might become partakers of the divine nature. Thus it is a work of sanctification, which, as I said a little before, is putting men into a state corresponding to the nature of God.GCB February 8, 1895, page 57.10

    In Ephesians 1:9 occur the words: “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will.” But, some will say, “A mystery is a thing I cannot understand, and no one else can understand it either. It is of no use to try to go any further.” That is the way many treat the word of God at the present time. It need not be thus. a mystery is a thing that is revealed only to those initiated, but every child of God is initiated into the will of God, and so it is not hidden from them. And the apostle here expressly says that God has made known to us this mystery. What is the mystery? “Christ in you the hope of glory.” That is the gospel.GCB February 8, 1895, page 57.11

    But the gospel embraces all that God ever gave to the world to save man. I am quite well satisfied that in studying the Scriptures, we have many times put a vail right over our eyes. We have talked about the law and the gospel. let us have the gospel all the way through. Then we talk about the gospel and the covenants. But the covenants are the gospel. We talk about the will of God and the gospel. i thank God this morning that the will of God is his gospel.GCB February 8, 1895, page 58.1

    We read in the 9th verse that Paul desired the Colossians to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. In the following verse he mentions their increasing in the knowledge of God. How can we increase in that knowledge after we have been filled, and are consequently full? The answer is, that our capacity is increased. In Psalm 119:32, David says: “I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.” We can be filled with the knowledge of God every day, and can rejoice in it, and never fear that there will be a lack to-morrow.GCB February 8, 1895, page 58.2

    But we are also to be filled with wisdom, which is the right use of knowledge. What does James tell us of the Lord’s willingness to give wisdom to us? “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Did you ever stop to think that the Lord works with every one of us every day of our lives, to get us to take what he wants to give us? he is more willing to give than we are to receive.GCB February 8, 1895, page 58.3

    We read in 1 Corinthians 1:30, that Christ is made unto us wisdom. to develop that a little further, I would like to read to you from the eighth chapter of Proverbs, beginning with the 22nd verse.GCB February 8, 1895, page 58.4

    The Lord created me as the beginning of his way, the first of his works from the commencement. From eternity was I appointed chief, from the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth. When there was yet no depths, was I brought forth; when there was yet no springs, laden heavily with water. Before the mountains were yet sunk down, before the hills was brought forth. While as yet he had not made the land and open fields, nor the chief of the dust of the world. when he prepared the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle over the face of the deep...... Then was I near him as a nursling; I was day by day (his) delights, playing before him at all times. — Vs. 22-30, Hebrew Version.GCB February 8, 1895, page 58.5

    This language evidently refers to Christ, and accords with Colossians 2:3, where the apostle says of Christ, “In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” If we would have wisdom let us take Christ. But Christ is divine strength.GCB February 8, 1895, page 58.6

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