"Ye are Complete in Him," Part 2
Abstract of a sermon at Melbourne, Australia, December 19, 1891
by Mrs. E. G. White
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." Does this mean that we are not to associate with the world?--No, for how then can you bring to them the light of truth if you do not come in contact with them? But you cannot do them good if your association with the world leads you to beg the world's pardon for your faith in Christ, for then you do not mold the world, but the world molds you. Jesus has signified what is to be your position in the world. He says: "Ye are the light of the world." "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
Since God has given us this assurance, why is it that we see so many clouded, mixed experiences?--It is because many of the professed followers of Christ have given heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. It is because they have not responded to the drawing of Christ. When you respond to the drawing of Jesus, you draw others to Him by your consistent life and Christian example, for by faith you become rooted and grounded in the truth. You must search the precious Word of God, that you may know what is truth.
Jesus prayed that His disciples might be sanctified through the truth. Let no one think that he can permit himself to indulge in any sin, however secret it may be, for God requires truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part wisdom. You need not feel complacency because you are sure that your brethren do not know of your misdeeds. Does not One who is acquainted with your brethren know all about your life? Does not He read your heart as an open book? You cannot indulge in sin and still be a witness for the Lord, for in works you deny Him. Where is the holy boldness that should characterize your faith and prayers because you are not under condemnation before man or God? Where is your ringing testimony on the side of truth?
If you are indulging in any known sin, you cannot utter words to the glory of God, because there is something in your heart that condemns you. The Spirit of God is not in your soul. But let the heart, with all its affections, be surrendered to God, and you will have joy and peace in the Holy Ghost. Your intellect, your ability, your soul, body, and spirit have been purchased at an infinite price by the Son of God, and all belong to Him. And yet, though Christ has redeemed men, how few render to Him that which is His own. How many rob Him in thought. Oh, shall we not gird up the loins of our minds, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, and hope unto the end for grace that shall be given unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ?
We cannot enter heaven with any deformity or imperfection of character, and we must be fitted for heaven now in this probationary life. We want the deep movings of the Spirit of God, that we may have an individual experience, and be complete in Him who is the fullness of the Godhead. Through the power of the righteousness of Christ, we are to depart from all iniquity. There must be a living connection of the soul with its Redeemer. The channel of communication must be open continually between man and his God, that the soul may grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord. But how many do not pray. They feel under condemnation for sin, and they think they must not come to God until they have done something to merit His favor or until God has forgotten about their transgressions. They say, "I cannot hold up holy hands before God without wrath or doubting, and therefore I cannot come." So they remain away from Christ, and commit sin all the time in so doing, for without Him we can do nothing but evil. Just as soon as you commit sin, you should flee right to the throne of grace, and tell Jesus all about it. You should be filled with sorrow for sin, because through sin you have weakened your own spirituality, grieved the heavenly angels, and wounded and bruised the loving heart of your Redeemer. When you have asked Jesus, in contrition of soul, for His forgiveness, believe that He has forgiven you. Do not doubt His divine mercy, or refuse the comfort of His infinite love.
If your child had disobeyed you, and committed wrong against you, and that child should come with a breaking heart to ask your forgiveness, you know what you would do. You know how quickly you would draw your child to your heart, and assure him that your love was unchanged, and his transgressions forgiven. Are you more merciful than your merciful Heavenly Father, who "so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"? You should go to God as children go to their parents. Ask your Heavenly Father to forgive your errors, and pray that, through the grace of Christ, you may be able to overcome every defect of your character.
Jesus came to this world to save His people from their sins. He will not save us in our sins, for He is not the minister of sin. We must respond to the divine drawing of Christ, and repent of our sins, and unite ourselves to Christ as the branch is united to the vine. Jesus says, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." Jesus is drawing all men, and who will respond to this drawing? Many will be greatly influenced by the life and example of those who profess to have responded to this divine love that is drawing the hearts of men. Many will watch you who profess His name, to see whether it makes you better men and better women. They will watch to see if you are Christlike, kind and courteous in your family. The Lord has said, "By their fruits ye shall know them."
Your home life will be an index to your Christianity. A man's religion before God is no more or less than the religion that is manifested in his family. Those who profess to be followers of Christ will reveal in the home circle just what is their attitude toward Christ. As the mothers brought their children to Christ that He might place His hands upon them, and bless them, so parents should take their children to Him today.
Talk to your children as though you would have them Christ's children. The agencies of heaven will co-operate with you in your work of drawing the children to Jesus. God is a lover of the beautiful, but that which He most loves is a beautiful character. These lovely flowers on the desk today are an expression of the love of God for us and for what is beautiful. Flowers are the adornments that God has made for the earth. Christ has said, "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." Jesus tells us that there is something higher for our consideration and aim than what we shall eat, and what we shall drink, and what we shall wear, and that is beauty of character, that shall last as long as eternity.
Jesus would have the fathers and mothers teach their children of this beauty of character. He would have them teach their children that God loves them, that their natures may be changed, and brought into harmony with God. Do not teach your children that God does not love them when they do wrong; teach them that He loves them so that it grieves His tender Spirit to see them in transgression, because He knows they are doing injury to their souls. Do not terrify your children by telling them of the wrath of God, but rather seek to impress them with His unspeakable love and goodness, and thus let the glory of the Lord be revealed before them.
(Concluded Next Month)