E. G. White Report on Response to the Ottawa Sermon
REPORT OF CAMP MEETING AT OTTAWA, KANSAS, PRINTED IN THE REVIEW AND HERALD, JULY 23,
1889, AND IN SELECTED MESSAGES, BOOK ONE, PP. 355-358 .
At the Kansas meeting my prayer to God was that the power of the enemy might be broken
and that the people who had been in darkness might open their hearts and minds to the
message that God should send them, that they might see the truth, new to many minds, as
old truth in new framework. The understanding of the people of God has been blinded, for
Satan has misrepresented the character of God. Our good and gracious Lord has been
presented before the people clothed in the attributes of Satan, and men and women who have
been seeking for truth have so long regarded God in a false light that it is difficult to
dispel the cloud that obscures His glory from their view. Many have been living in an
atmosphere of doubt, and it seems almost impossible for them to lay hold on the hope set
before them in the gospel of Christ. . . .
On Sabbath [May 11] truths were presented that were new to the majority of the
congregation. Things new and old were brought forth from the treasure-house of God's Word.
Truths were revealed that the people were scarcely able to comprehend and appropriate.
Light flashed from the oracles of God in relation to the law and the gospel, in relation
to the fact that Christ is our righteousness, which seemed to souls who were hungry for
truth as light too precious to be received.
But the labours of the Sabbath were not in vain. On Sunday morning there was decided
evidence that the Spirit of God was working great changes in the moral and spiritual
those assembled. There was a surrendering of the mind and heart to God, and precious
testimonies were borne by those who had long been in darkness. One brother spoke of the
struggle that he had experienced before he could receive the good news that Christ is our
righteousness. The conflict was severe, but the Lord was at work with him, and his mind
was changed, and his strength renewed. The Lord presented the truth before him in clear
lines, revealing the fact that Christ alone is the source of all hope and salvation.
"In Him was life; and the life was the light of men." "And the Word was
made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only
begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:4, 14).
One of our young ministering brethren said that he had enjoyed more of the blessing and
love of God during that meeting than in all his life before. Another stated that the
trials, perplexities, and conflicts which he had endured in his mind had been of such a
character that he had been tempted to give up everything. He had felt that there was no
hope for him unless he could obtain more of the grace of Christ, but through the influence
of the meetings he had experienced a change of heart and had a better knowledge of
salvation through faith in Christ. He saw that it was his privilege to be justified by
faith; he had peace with God, and with tears confessed what relief and blessing had come
to his soul. At every social meeting many testimonies were borne as to the peace, comfort,
and joy the people had found in receiving light.
We thank the Lord with all the heart that we have precious light to present before the
people, and we rejoice that we have a message for this time which is present truth. The
tidings that Christ is our righteousness has brought relief to many, many souls, and God
says to His people, "Go forward." The message to the Laodicean church is
applicable to our condition. How plainly is pictured the position of those who think they
have all the truth, who take pride in their knowledge of the
Word of God, while its sanctifying power has not been felt in their lives. The fervour
of the love of God is wanting in their hearts, but it is this very fervour of love that
makes God's people the light of the world.
The Laodicean Message
The True Witness says of a cold, lifeless, Christless church, "I know thy works,
that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou
art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth" (Revelation
3:15, 16). Mark the following words: "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased
with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and
miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Here is represented a people who pride
themselves in their possession of spiritual knowledge and advantages. But they have not
responded to the unmerited blessings that God has bestowed upon them. They have been full
of rebellion, ingratitude, and forgetfulness of God; and still He has dealt with them as a
loving, forgiving father deals with an ungrateful, wayward son. They have resisted His
grace, abused His privileges, slighted His opportunities, and have been satisfied to sink
down in contentment, in lamentable ingratitude, hollow formalism, and hypocritical
insincerity. With pharisaic pride they have vaunted themselves till it has been said of
them, "Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of
nothing" (verse 17).
Has not the Lord Jesus sent message after message of rebuke, of warning, of entreaty,
to these self-satisfied ones? Have not His counsels been despised and rejected? Have not
His delegated messengers been treated with scorn, and their words been received as idle
tales? Christ sees that which man does not see. He sees the sins which, if not repented
of, will exhaust the patience of a long-suffering God. Christ cannot take up the names of
those who are satisfied in their own
self-sufficiency. He cannot importune in behalf of a people who feel no need of His
help, who claim to know and possess everything.
The great Redeemer represents Himself as a heavenly merchantman, laden with riches,
calling from house to house, presenting His priceless goods, and saying, "I counsel
thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment,
that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint
thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten:
be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear
My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with
Me" (Revelation 3:18-20).
Let us consider our condition before God; let us heed the counsel of the True Witness.
Let none of us be filled with prejudice, as were the Jews, that light may not come into
our hearts. Let it not be necessary for Christ to say of us as He did of them, "Ye
will not come to Me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).
In every meeting since the General Conference, souls have eagerly accepted the precious
message of the righteousness of Christ. We thank God that there are souls who realise that
they are in need of something which they do not possess--gold of faith and love, white
raiment of Christ's righteousness, eyesalve of spiritual discernment. If you possess these
precious gifts, the temple of the human soul will not be like a desecrated shrine.
Brethren and sisters, I call upon you in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to work
where God works. Now is the day of gracious opportunity and privilege.