(All Bible texts are in the NKJV Bible unless otherwise indicated)
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
36 Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” 37 Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. 39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus;
13 Now when Paul and his party set sail from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem.
"Sent forth by the Holy Ghost," Paul and Barnabas, after their ordination by the brethren in Antioch, "departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus." Thus the apostles began their first missionary journey.
Cyprus was one of the places to which the believers had fled from Jerusalem because of the persecution following the death of Stephen. It was from Cyprus that certain men had journeyed to Antioch, "preaching the Lord Jesus." Acts 11:20. Barnabas himself was "of the country of Cyprus" (Acts 4:36); and now he and Paul, accompanied by John Mark, a kinsman of Barnabas, visited this island field.
Mark's mother was a convert to the Christian religion, and her home at Jerusalem was an asylum for the disciples. There they were always sure of a welcome and a season of rest. It was during one of these visits of the apostles to his mother's home, that Mark proposed to Paul and Barnabas that he should accompany them on their missionary tour. He felt the favor of God in his heart and longed to devote himself entirely to the work of the gospel ministry.
Arriving at Salamis, the apostles "preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. . . . And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-Jesus: which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith."
Not without a struggle does Satan allow the kingdom of God to be built up in the earth. The forces of evil are engaged in unceasing warfare against the agencies appointed for the spread of the gospel, and these powers of darkness are especially active when the truth is proclaimed before men of repute and sterling integrity. Thus it was when Sergius Paulus, the deputy of Cyprus, was listening to the gospel message. The deputy had sent for the apostles, that he might be instructed in the message they had come to bear, and now the forces of evil, working through the sorcerer Elymas, sought with their baleful suggestions to turn him from the faith and so thwart the purpose of God.
Thus the fallen foe ever works to keep in his ranks men of influence who, if converted, might render effective service in God's cause. But the faithful gospel worker need not fear defeat at the hand of the enemy; for it is his privilege to be endued with power from above to withstand every satanic influence.
Although sorely beset by Satan, Paul had the courage to rebuke the one through whom the enemy was working. "Filled with the Holy Ghost," the apostle "set his eyes on him, and said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord."
The sorcerer had closed his eyes to the evidences of gospel truth, and the Lord, in righteous anger, caused his natural eyes to be closed, shutting out from him the light of day. This blindness was not permanent, but only for a season, that he might be warned to repent and seek pardon of the God whom he had so grievously offended. The confusion into which he was thus brought made of no effect his subtle arts against the doctrine of Christ. The fact that he was obliged to grope about in blindness proved to all that the miracles which the apostles had performed, and which Elymas had denounced as sleight of hand, were wrought by the power of God. The deputy, convinced of the truth of the doctrine taught by the apostles, accepted the gospel.
Elymas was not a man of education, yet he was peculiarly fitted to do the work of Satan. Those who preach the truth of God will meet the wily foe in many different forms. Sometimes it will be in the person of learned, but more often of ignorant, men, whom Satan has trained to be successful instruments to deceive souls. It is the duty of the minister of Christ to stand faithful at his post, in the fear of God and in the power of His might. Thus he may put to confusion the hosts of Satan and may triumph in the name of the Lord.
Paul and his company continued their journey, going to Perga, in Pamphylia. Their way was toilsome; they encountered hardships and privations, and were beset with dangers on every side. In the towns and cities through which they passed, and along the lonely highways, they were surrounded by dangers seen and unseen. But Paul and Barnabas had learned to trust God's power to deliver. Their hearts were filled with fervent love for perishing souls. As faithful shepherds in search of the lost sheep, they gave no thought to their own ease and convenience. Forgetful of self, they faltered not when weary, hungry, and cold. They had in view but one object--the salvation of those who had wandered far from the fold.
It was here that Mark, overwhelmed with fear and discouragement, wavered for a time in his purpose to give himself wholeheartedly to the Lord's work. Unused to hardships, he was disheartened by the perils and privations of the way. He had labored with success under favourable circumstances; but now, amidst the opposition and perils that so often beset the pioneer worker, he failed to endure hardness as a good soldier of the cross. He had yet to learn to face danger and persecution and adversity with a brave heart. As the apostles advanced, and still greater difficulties were apprehended, Mark was intimidated and, losing all courage, refused to go farther and returned to Jerusalem.
This desertion caused Paul to judge Mark unfavorably, and even severely, for a time. Barnabas, on the other hand, was inclined to excuse him because of his inexperience. He felt anxious that Mark should not abandon the ministry, for he saw in him qualifications that would fit him to be a useful worker for Christ. In after years his solicitude in Mark's behalf was richly rewarded, for the young man gave himself unreservedly to the Lord and to the work of proclaiming the gospel message in difficult fields. Under the blessing of God, and the wise training of Barnabas, he developed into a valuable worker.
Paul was afterward reconciled to Mark and received him as a fellow laborer. He also recommended him to the Colossians as one who was a fellow worker "unto the kingdom of God," and "a comfort unto me." Colossians 4:11. Again, not long before his own death, he spoke of Mark as "profitable" to him "for the ministry." 2 Timothy 4:11.
39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus;
10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me.
11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave norfree, but Christ is all and in all.
16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.
9 with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here.
5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: 2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumbidols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
12 For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us—a sphere which especially includes you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves (as though our authority did not extend to you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; 15 not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere,
9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.
18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?
20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
31 For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?”
32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
And they divided His garments and cast lots.
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,
4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
In dealing with erring church members, God's people are carefully to follow the instruction given by the Saviour in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew.
Human beings are Christ's property, purchased by Him at an infinite price, bound to Him by the love that He and His Father have manifested for them. How careful, then, we should be in our dealing with one another! Men have no right to surmise evil in regard to their fellow men. Church members have no right to follow their own impulses and inclinations in dealing with fellow members who have erred. They should not even express their prejudices regarding the erring, for thus they place in other minds the leaven of evil. Reports unfavorable to a brother or sister in the church are communicated from one to another of the church members. Mistakes are made and injustice is done because of an unwillingness on the part of someone to follow the directions given by the Lord Jesus.
“If thy brother shall trespass against thee,” Christ declared, “go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone.” Matthew 18:15. Do not tell others of the wrong. One person is told, then another, and still another; and continually the report grows, and the evil increases, till the whole church is made to suffer. Settle the matter “between thee and him alone.” This is God's plan. “Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbor hath put thee to shame. Debate thy cause with thy neighbor himself; and discover not a secret to another.” Proverbs 25:8, 9. Do not suffer sin upon your brother; but do not expose him, and thus increase the difficulty, making the reproof seem like a revenge. Correct him in the way outlined in the word of God.
Do not suffer resentment to ripen into malice. Do not allow the wound to fester and break out in poisoned words, which taint the minds of those who hear. Do not allow bitter thoughts to continue to fill your mind and his. Go to your brother, and in humility and sincerity talk with him about the matter.
Whatever the character of the offense, this does not change the plan that God has made for the settlement of misunderstandings and personal injuries. Speaking alone and in the spirit of Christ to the one who is in fault will often remove the difficulty. Go to the erring one, with a heart filled with Christ's love and sympathy, and seek to adjust the matter. Reason with him calmly and quietly. Let no angry words escape your lips. Speak in a way that will appeal to his better judgment. Remember the words: “He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” James 5:20.
Take to your brother the remedy that will cure the disease of disaffection. Do your part to help him. For the sake of the peace and unity of the church, feel it a privilege as well as a duty to do this. If he will hear you, you have gained him as a friend.
All heaven is interested in the interview between the one who has been injured and the one who is in error. As the erring one accepts the reproof offered in the love of Christ, and acknowledges his wrong, asking forgiveness from God and from his brother, the sunshine of heaven fills his heart. The controversy is ended; friendship and confidence are restored. The oil of love removes the soreness caused by the wrong. The Spirit of God binds heart to heart, and there is music in heaven over the union brought about.
As those thus united in Christian fellowship offer prayer to God and pledge themselves to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God, great blessing comes to them. If they have wronged others they continue the work of repentance, confession, and restitution, fully set to do good to one another. This is the fulfilling of the law of Christ.
“But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” Matthew 18:16. Take with you those who are spiritually minded, and talk with the one in error in regard to the wrong. He may yield to the united appeals of his brethren. As he sees their agreement in the matter, his mind may be enlightened.
“And if he shall neglect to hear them,” what then shall be done? Shall a few persons in a board meeting take upon themselves the responsibility of disfellowshiping the erring one? “If he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church.” Verse 17. Let the church take action in regard to its members.
“But if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” Verse 17. If he will not heed the voice of the church, if he refuses all the efforts made to reclaim him, upon the church rests the responsibility of separating him from fellowship. His name should then be stricken from the books.
No church officer should advise, no committee should recommend, nor should any church vote, that the name of a wrongdoer shall be removed from the church books, until the instruction given by Christ has been faithfully followed. When this instruction has been followed, the church has cleared herself before God. The evil must then be made to appear as it is, and must be removed, that it may not become more and more widespread. The health and purity of the church must be preserved, that she may stand before God unsullied, clad in the robes of Christ's righteousness.
If the erring one repents and submits to Christ's discipline, he is to be given another trial. And even if he does not repent, even if he stands outside the church, God's servants still have a work to do for him. They are to seek earnestly to win him to repentance. And, however aggravated may have been his offense, if he yields to the striving of the Holy Spirit and, by confessing and forsaking his sin, gives evidence of repentance, he is to be forgiven and welcomed to the fold again. His brethren are to encourage him in the right way, treating him as they would wish to be treated were they in his place, considering themselves lest they also be tempted.
“Verily I say unto you,” Christ continued, “whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Verse 18.
This statement holds its force in all ages. On the church has been conferred the power to act in Christ's stead. It is God's instrumentality for the preservation of order and discipline among His people. To it the Lord has delegated the power to settle all questions respecting its prosperity, purity, and order. Upon it rests the responsibility of excluding from its fellowship those who are unworthy, who by their un-Christlike conduct would bring dishonor on the truth. Whatever the church does that is in accordance with the directions given in God's word will be ratified in heaven.
Matters of grave import come up for settlement by the church. God's ministers, ordained by Him as guides of His people, after doing their part are to submit the whole matter to the church, that there may be unity in the decision made.
The Lord desires His followers to exercise great care in dealing with one another. They are to lift up, to restore, to heal. But there is to be in the church no neglect of proper discipline. The members are to regard themselves as pupils in a school, learning how to form characters worthy of their high calling. In the church here below, God's children are to be prepared for the great reunion in the church above. Those who here live in harmony with Christ may look forward to an endless life in the family of the redeemed.
God's love for the fallen race is a peculiar manifestation of love—a love born of mercy, for human beings are all undeserving. Mercy implies imperfection of the object toward which it is shown. It is because of sin that mercy was brought into active exercise.
It may be that much work needs to be done in your character building, that you are a rough stone, which must be squared and polished before it can fill a place in God's temple. You need not be surprised if with hammer and chisel God cuts away the sharp corners of your character until you are prepared to fill the place He has for you. No human being can accomplish this work. Only by God can it be done. And be assured that He will not strike one useless blow. His every blow is struck in love, for your eternal happiness. He knows your infirmities and works to restore, not to destroy.
We are of good courage in the Lord. I have spoken four Sabbaths in succession in the upper room of the saw mill, and have realized the presence of the Holy Spirit in our meetings. If we expect success in any line of our work, we must have faith. We realize in part of the world that we need to keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus. If we constantly put our trust in Him, believing that He will be our strength, we shall see of His salvation.
We rejoice that in every meeting we see those who have heard the truth, and although they have not yet decided to obey, yet they attend the meetings. We also feel thankful that at our meeting of September 3, some were present who have lately decided to obey the truth. One family is fully convinced, but if the husband accepts the truth, he loses his position. This is a heavy cross, and they hardly dare venture, but we must have faith. We must pray that the Lord Jesus Christ will give them His grace and reveal Himself to them as their Redeemer, as One who loves them and cares for them, and who will not leave them to perish.
In several localities here Bible readings are being held, and some are interested in the truth. We hope that they will hear and receive and obey the truth. Since the Institute which was held here last March and April, several have decided to obey the Lord and keep His commandments.
We see that there is much work to be done, and at this time, when outward appearances are not the most flattering, we are drawn out to recount the experiences of the past. We see that in every country the same ground must be travelled over. We can call to mind many times when, after lifting, as we supposed, all that we could possibly lift to advance the work, we have not realized all that we hoped we should. We dared not relax our efforts, for this would have given the enemy an advantage. But God has not changed, and He will work for us if we give Him opportunity. We can now see reasons why the Lord has not wrought in our behalf as we longed to see Him work. We are sure that there has not been among the workers that consecration, that faith, that self-denial, that spirit of sympathy and unity and love which there should have been.
If the workers in the Lord’s moral vineyard do not cherish faith, confidence, and love for their fellow laborers, they cannot expect that the heavenly showers of grace will descend on the barren portions of the Lord’s vineyard, to revive it, to cause hearts to be softened and subdued by the Holy Spirit’s power.
Whatever their calling or mission, men who are presenting the truth to others must keep contrite and humble, laboring in the spirit of Christ wherever they are. If they subdue self, and walk humbly before God, He will reveal Himself to them. They will not only repeat, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” [2 Timothy 3:16, 17], but they will believe and experience it. This experience is essential for all who are seeking to be laborers together with God.
Our Saviour said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:4, 5.]
There must be less working in self, and more working in and by and through Jesus Christ. When the Lord Jesus, who can never misjudge, sees men and women opening and explaining the Scriptures, while they themselves are disregarding the principles which would lead them to cultivate a most tender regard and respect for their fellow laborers, He cannot give them the victories He would be glad to bestow. When He sees that success would injure the human agent and lead him to glorify himself instead of giving God the glory, He withholds the blessing which insures success. Then the large amount of means expended does not accomplish what so many hoped and prayed that it might. Disappointment comes, and faith is lost. But there is seldom a close self-examination in regard to what spirit was manifested by the workers.
Christ prayed for His followers, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; and that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory (character) which thou gavest me, I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” [John 17:17-23.]
Here is the sum proved. When the laborers have an abiding Christ in their own souls, when all selfishness is dead, when there is no rivalry, no strife for the supremacy, when oneness exists, when they sanctify themselves, so that love for one another is seen and felt, then the showers of grace of the Holy Spirit will just as surely come upon them as that God’s promise will never fail in one jot or tittle. But when the work of others is discounted, that the workers may show their own superiority, they prove that their own work does not bear the signature it should. God cannot bless them.
To all who humble their hearts before Jesus, putting self out of sight, not in pretension but in genuine humility, the Lord will manifest Himself. There need not be so many failures seen in the expensive efforts put forth in camp meetings and tent meetings; there need not be so few sheaves to bring to the Master. “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” [John 6:29.]
Jesus, our Sacrifice, is the price of heaven; faith in Him is the way to heaven. He asks you first to believe in Him, and then to work in and through Him. When we understand that we must daily conquer temptation, that we must daily refrain our tongues from evil, that they shall speak no guile, then we will show true earnestness in the work of God. Each one of us should put forth definite efforts in this line.
We must show no deadly apathy in respect to examining ourselves in the light of God’s standard of righteousness, His holy law; because it is for our eternal interest that we keep our own souls in the love of God as vessels unto honor. This is no indifferent matter; it cannot be trifled with. By our course of action we are determining whether the Holy Spirit can abide with us. If self is the supreme object of attention, if we seek to be first, the sure result of such a spirit will be seen, and we shall find ourselves last.
The Bible is the voice of God speaking to the souls of all who will obey its teachings, and it declares, “Seeing ye have purified your souls through obeying the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently; being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” [1 Peter 1:22, 23.]
In this country money is greatly needed; more laborers are needed, but the greatest need of all is a vital connection with Jesus Christ. We are to occupy for Christ till He comes. Christ has ordained that His children shall live in such close, loving relation to Himself that they will embrace their brethren in this Christlike love. It is the purpose of the Holy Spirit to make those who believe in Jesus Christ one with Him, that they may radiate upon one another nothing but a cementing spirit of unity. Christ’s divine charge is that we should illustrate before the world the power and excellence of His likeness and character.
My dear son Willie,
Maggie has just informed me that you will receive a letter from me, if I send it in the morning’s mail. It is now four o’clock in the afternoon. I must write to you to let you know that my entire trust is in God. By figures and symbols I have been deeply impressed that we need not take upon ourselves any burdens that we do not know how to manage in detail. Satan is a cunning, deceptive general, and we must not give heed to everything that shall be devised by him. We need not feel compelled to work out the solution of every problem that we cannot understand in order to meet Satan’s wiles. Nor am I to keep my mind reigned up to thwart Satan’s devices. Why?—Because God is supreme. He is our stronghold in time of trouble and perplexity. If we put our entire trust in Him, we shall find that He is an all-sufficient Guide.
We are not to consider what we can do, but what the Lord Jesus can do for us, if we exercise faith and fear not, neither become discouraged. We must have confidence in that which God can do for us.
Last Friday I was stirred strongly to write out some things; and I had this manuscript copied, thinking that I must send out a message of warning at once; but afterward the Lord signified to me, Lay it aside for future use. If men do not evidence that they have changed, you will be prepared to give instruction in regard to their cases. Look unto Jesus. There are those who are as full of assurance and self-confidence as the human agent can well be that their course is right. But such ones should study carefully the record of the last evening the Saviour spent with His disciples.
After the last passover supper, Jesus said: “Behold, the hand of him that betrayeth Me is with Me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom He is betrayed! And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.
“And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And He said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. Ye are they which have continued with Me in My temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as My Father hath appointed unto Me; that ye may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto Him, Lord, I am ready to go with Thee, both into prison, and to death. And He said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest Me. And He said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said He unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in Me, and He was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning Me have an end.” [Luke 22:21-37.]
Peter, in his self-confidence, was presumptuous and fell. Let us learn a lesson from this. Let us not keep our eyes too much on the things that those who know the truth will attempt to do. We need faith—strong, persevering faith; we need entire trust in our Leader. Our strength lies not in what we—poor, finite beings—suppose we are able to do, but in what we know Christ will do for us. This we may learn from the teachings of Christ.
“One came and said unto Him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And He said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? there is none good but One, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto Him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith unto Him, All these things have I kept form my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
“Then said Jesus unto His disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When His disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
“Then answered Peter and said unto Him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed Thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” [Matthew 19:16-30.]
Men and women are to labor for Christ in accordance with the commission given them. Just before He left His disciples, “Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” [Matthew 28:18-20.] In Mark we read: “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.” [Mark 16:20.]
The angels of the Lord excel in strength. One angel appeared before the Roman guard appointed to watch Christ’s tomb and caused them to fear and quake and to become as powerless as dead men. Yet the whole scene was forever stamped on their minds. A mighty angel, with exceeding great glory, descended from the heavens to the earthly sepulcher and, laying hold on the sealed stone, removed it as he would a pebble. Then the mighty angel, with a voice that caused the earth to quake, was heard to say, “Jesus, Thou Son of God, Thy Father calls Thee.” Then He who had earned the power to conquer death and the grave came forth and proclaimed over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the resurrection and the life.” [John 11:25.]
The soldiers hastened to the priests and with quaking hearts told them what had happened. The faces of the priests were as those of the dead. Caiaphas tried to speak. His lips moved, but they uttered no sound. The soldiers were about to leave the council room when a voice stayed them. Caiaphas had at last found speech. Wait, wait, he said. Tell no one the things you have seen.
A lying report was given to the soldiers. “Say ye,” said the priests, “His disciples came by night, and stole Him away while we slept.” [Matthew 28:13.] The soldiers sold their integrity for money. They came in before the priests burdened with a most startling message of truth; they went out with a burden of money, and on their tongues a lying report which had been framed for them by the priests.
The lying report was spread far and near. But there were witnesses to Christ’s resurrection whom the priests could not silence. Certain of the dead who came forth with Christ appeared to many and declared that He had risen. And Christ Himself remained with His disciples for forty days after He rose from the dead and before His ascension gave them their commission, bidding them go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
In this age, a time of satanic wonders, everything conceivable will be said and done to deceive if possible the very elect. Let believers say nothing to extol Satan’s power. The Lord will distinguish His commandment-keeping people with signal marks of His favor, if they will be molded and fashioned by His Spirit and built up in the most holy faith, hearkening strictly to the voice of His Word.
Let us humble our souls before God. Let us work with an eye single to His glory. Let His praise be continually on our lips; for the benefits that He bestows are daily renewed and should be acknowledged with thanksgiving.
God is longsuffering and of tender mercy. Should He deal with us according to our perversity, according to our foolish, erratic course, our changeableness, where would we be? But “He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” [Psalm 103:14.]
Remember that no human being is of himself sufficient to stand against the wily foe. Hide in God; and be sure that the Holy Spirit is with you. You can conquer the enemy only as the Lord goes before you.
If we stand in the great day of the Lord, with Christ as our refuge, our high tower, we must put away all envy, all strife for the supremacy. We must utterly destroy the roots of these unholy things; that they may not again spring up into life. We must place ourselves wholly on the side of the Lord. Tribulation and wrath will surely come upon those who profess to be Christians, yet who accept the principles of Satan, departing from the commandments of God, in the daily life living a lie.
Can we not see the uncertainty and shortness of time? There are many, many who are unready for the Lord’s appearing. If they continue to act like the wicked, to cherish the principles of the wicked, they will be punished with the wicked. If they betray the truth of God, causing the messages given by Him to become an uncertain thing, can He shield them from disasters by sea and by land? No, no!
Awake, my brethren, awake. Seek righteousness, and stand under the broad shield of Omnipotence. This is your only safety. God calls upon you to seek Him with humility of heart. Read Daniel’s prayer, and see if your experience will stand the test of fire. God will richly bless those who humble themselves before Him. His mercy and grace will be extended to all who wear the yoke of Christ, responding to the invitation, “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29, 30.]
My dear son, I can write no more tonight; for it is growing late. I thank the Lord that I am as well as I am. I shall not, unless specially directed, go to any place to attend meetings; for this takes time that I need for the preparation of matter that should come before the people.
We must not allow ourselves to be chilled to death by those who know not what it means to walk with God. We must have increased faith. Then we shall understand what it means to be true medical missionaries. So many use this name, but do not do the works signified by it. May God help His people to arouse from their lethargy and come to the living fountain.
We must not allow ourselves to enter into contention. We are to speak words that make for peace and grace and truth. We are to search our hearts diligently, humbling ourselves before God. We are to respect our brethren, but we are not to place them where God should be; for they are but men.
I miss you much in my work and shall be very glad to see you again. Come home as soon as you can.
In much love.
12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.