by A. M. S. Gooding
THE BLESSED HOPE
by D. M. Martin
GODS SUMMER TIME
by The Late W. W. Fereday
THE PROPHECY OF NAHUM
by E. R Bower
by E. W. Rogers
WORDS OF JESUS
by Charles Stanley
by J. E. Todd
A WORKMAN’S MOTTO
MY CONVERSION AND CALL
by J. E. Fairfield
Yes, He will come! The second Advent of the Lord Jesus is one of the main themes of the word of God. Both Old and New Testaments vibrate with the hope of the coming of the Lord Jesus. His lovely promise rings in our ears and warm our hearts.
The map of the world is rapidly changing. The political outlook of nations is in some places almost being turned upside down. Situations that we thought were permanent, established are changing almost overnight. What changes have taken place in Russia, Poland, Hungary, East and West Germany, Austria, Rumania, the Baltic States. One wonders what will happen next!
For our comfort the word of God does not change! Our God still "Works all things after the counsel of His own will" and we know that "all things do work together for good to them that love God."
Sadly, many foolish interpretations of the prophetic scriptures are constantly being made. These bring prophetic study into disrepute. How important to recognise that the scriptures should be interpreted by facts inside the book and not by the changing events of this world—the Lord preserve the dear saints from fantastic interpretations and applications of the Word of God.
While the world scene may be changing and fanciful interpretations of Holy Scriptures are being discredited before our eyes — The Word of God and its sure prophecies remain — Let us rest in them and the God who made the promises and therefore be: ‘Steadfast, Unmoveable always abounding in the work of the Lord.’
Let us remind our hearts again of the simplicity of these promises and rest in what God has said;
- "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
- —John 14.3.
- "Heaven, from whence we look for the saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change these bodies of humiliations, that they may be fashioned like unto this glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself."
- —Philippians 3.20,21.
- "The Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
- —1 Thess. 4.16,17.
Wishing; you all the Lord’s blessing till He comes. Maranatha!
THE BLESSED HOPE
by D. M. MARTIN, Dorset
Part V — THE JUDGEMENT-SEAT OF CHRIST
We ALL must appear before the judgement-seat of Christ (2 Cor.5.10.) Any pre-judgement of the motives of believers before this occasion is unscriptural, however, ‘justified’ the pronouncement may be, for the following reasons.
It is not safe to do so, "Judge not that ye be not judged. (Matt.7.1,) "Wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself. (Rom 2.1.) To pass judgement on others is to invite a similar process with respect to oneself. Secondly, we are not qualified. When the woman taken in adultery was brought to Jesus, he said "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her". (John.8.7.) He counselled the man with a ‘beam’ in his eye not to concern himself with casting the ‘mote’ from his brother’s eye until he had first dealt with his own condition. (Luke. 6.41.) Our own consciences are hardly so at rest that we can indulge in judging others. Such judging is actually harmful, since it distracts us from that self-examination which is the primary duty of the believer. Thirdly, judging others does not come within our province, "Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant"? to his own master he standeth or falleth. (Rom.14.4.) Judging is God’s business, not ours "He that judgeth his brother……….judgeth the law; but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge (James.4.11.) To pass judgement on others is to usurp a divine function. Lastly such judging is irrelevant. Neither Paul’s view of himself, or others view of him matter in the slightest: "He that judgeth me is the Lord". Thus Paul commands "Judge nothing before the lime". (1 Cor.4.3-5.) All of this, of course, does not detract from the solemn responsibility, so clearly taught in 1 Cor.5., of assembly discipline which is dealt with later. Paul includes in his statement of 2 Cor. 5.10 undoubtedly, both believers and unbelievers, though there is a long intervening period between the judgement of the two classes; there is no foundation in the word of God for the common idea that saints and sinners will appear at the same time before the judgement-seat. It is with believers that we are now concerned, and their appearance before the tribunal of Christ which will take place between His coming and His appearing, (Article II differentiated these two events.) Caught up, to meet the Lord in the air, we are then like Christ, we will see Him as He is, (1 John.3.2.) and will be with Him for ever. (1 Thess.4.v.l7.) The place where we will be with the Lord, is the Father’s house. This we know from the Lord’s own words (John. 14.2,3.) There our blessed Lord will conduct all His own, and, if we may adapt the words, will present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy (Jude.24.) With what joy will He and the children God has given Him appear before His Father and their Father, and His God and their God! And with what joy will God Himself behold the fruit and perfection of His own counsels, the redeemed all conformed to the image of His son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren! (Rom.8.29.) The saints, then, will dwell in the Father’s house during the interval that will elapse between the coming of Christ FOR, and His return WITH,, His saints; and as before remarked, it is during this time that we will be manifested before the judgement-seat of Christ. The proof of this is found in Rev. 19. Just on the eve of returning WITH Christ (vv. 11 -14), John also tells us, "I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints", (Rev.19.6-8.) Here then we find the saints robed in their (not God’s) righteousness, the fruit of their practical ways, produced and brought about by the Holy Spirit, but nevertheless counted as theirs in the wonderful grace of God; an d since the judgement-seat of Christ for believers is concerned with things done in the body, this can only be the result of declared judgement. The arraying the Lamb’s wife in fine linen, clean and white, will therefore follow upon the manifestation of the saints before Christ’s tribunal; and both take place, as it would seem from this chapter, preparatory to, and immediately before, the appearing of the Lord with His saints.
The character of the judgement must be distinctly observed, and one or two preliminary remarks will greatly help to prevent mistake and to the understanding of the subject.
Firstly, the believer will never be judged for sins. In the passage before us it is not sins, but deeds done in the body; and to suppose that the question of our guilt, our sins, could be again raised is to overlook, not to say falsify, the character of grace and work of redemption. "Truly, truly, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgement, but is passed from death unto life". (John.5.24.) Again we are told, "By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified".(Heb.l0.14.) The question of sin was settled, and closed for ever, at the cross; and every believer is before God in all the abiding efficacy of the sacrifice there offered, yes accepted in the Beloved. Even now we are without spot before God, and our sins and iniquities will be remembered no more. (Heb.10.17.)
Secondly, this will be at once seen when it is remembered that we shall have our glorified bodies before we are manifested before His judgement-seat; for as already pointed out, the resurrection of the saints who have fallen asleep in Christ, and the change of the living, and the rapture of both into the presence of the Lord, will precede our judgement. This is unspeakable consolation; for being already like Christ, we shall have full fellowship with Him in every judgement He passes upon our works; and we shall rejoice at the exposure and rejection of all that flowed, in our lives down here, from the flesh, and not from the Holy Spirit. This answers the question sometimes put, whether we shall not tremble and be ashamed as all the deeds of our Christian life are brought up and shown out in their real character? Indeed, as another has said, "We are in light by faith when the conscience is in the presence of God. We shall be according to the perfection of that light when we appear before the tribunal of Christ. It is a solemn event, for everything is judged according to that light; but it is that which the heart loves, because, thanks to our God, we ARE light in Christ!
But there is more than this. When the Christians is thus manifested he is glorified already, and, perfectly like Christ, has no remains of the evil nature in which he sinned; and he can now look back at all the way God has led him in grace – helped – lifted up – kept from falling, not withdrawn His eyes from the righteous. He knows as he is known. What a story of grace and mercy! If I look back now, my sins do not rest on my conscience, though I have a horror of them; they are put away behind God’s back. I am the righteousness of God in Christ; but what a sense of love and patience, and goodness and grace! How much more perfect then, when all is before me! Surely there is great gain as to light and love in giving an account of ourselves to God, and not a trace remains of the evil in us. We are like Christ.
Bearing these things in mind, we may consider more closely the nature of the judgement itself. It is not we ourselves who have to be judged, nor, as already explained, will our sins reappear against us, but, as the scripture itself says "we must all appear (be manifested), before the judgement-seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether good or bad". The body of the believer is the Lord’s, a member of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor.6.15-19), and is therefore to be used in His service for the display of Christ Himself.(Rom.l2.1; Cor.4.10.) The apostles earnest expectation and hope was that Christ should be magnified in his body, whether by lift; or by death. (Phil. 1.20.) It is on this account that we are responsible for the deeds done in our body, so that while we are perfected for ever through the one offering of Christ, and there can not be any further imputation of sin to us, every act of our lives, not only as service, but every deed which we have done, will be manifested, tested, and judged when before the judgement-seat of Christ. The good will be seen, and declared to be such; although brought about through the grace of God, and the power of His Spirit, they will be reckoned as ours, and as such we shall receive the recompense.
The bad, however fair they appeared here, will receive their just condemnation, the time for concealments will then be gone. It is a question worthy of consideration whether this truth occupies its due place in our souls. Knowing grace and the fullness of redemption, there is danger of overlooking or forgetting our responsibility. The prospect of the Judgement-seat of Christ, while it holds no apprehension for the believer, is intended to exert a practical influence on our souls. The very connection in which it is found shows this to be the case "Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him". This prospect braced the soul of the apostle, stimulating him with zeal in all that he did to seek the approbation of Christ. This is precisely what it does for us, helping us to do them for and unto Himself. Herein lies our strength. Satan is very subtle, often tempts us to be men pleasers; when we remember that all will be manifested at the judgement-seat, we are impervious to his snares, knowing that if we commend ourselves to others, it may be at the cost of displeasing Christ. To be acceptable to Christ will be our aim just as we have His tribunal before our souls. It will also help us to be patient under misconception and in the presence of wrong-doing or evil. The Lord give us to live more continually under the power of this truth, that all that motivates our words and acts may be spoken and done in the light of that day.
ADDENDUM — ASSEMBLY DISCIPLINE.
It may have been mistakenly thought by the foregoing, that the writer was suggesting that Assembly Discipline de deferred, until the Judgement seat of Christ, this is not the case, for the following reasons:
(a) There is scriptural teaching which instructs elders that excommunication be insisted upon those guilty of any of the catalogue of sins listed in 1 Corinthians 5.11. and verse 13 teaches that such be put away from ourselves.
(b) For anyone guilty of doctrinal error, 2 John 9-11. Any person who sins and does not remain in the truth, HATH NOT GOD. He who does not sin and who remains in the truth has BOTH the Father and the Son. This warns of backsliding and losing rewards (v8). As well as not having God and Christ(v9). We must reject such people.
(c) 1 Tim. 5.20. teaches public rebuke for sin, the original means test; trial; examine, it is to convince, convict, refute, expose such to shame, the person reproved.
(d) There should be avoidance and disassociation for disorderly conduct. 1 Thess. 5.14. "unruly" in this context means those who are out of step with what we acknowledge to be N.T. Church teaching, "feebleminded" should be rendered faint-hearted, i.e. those who lose heart in any battle.
(e) Another discipline should be against those who form factions. Titus. 3.10. One who maintains opposition to truth, the word "sect" raises its ugly head here, although the word itself has not an evil meaning, it simply refers to a doctrinal view or belief at
not an evil meaning, it simply refers to a doctrinal view or belief at variance with the recognized and accepted tenets of a system, church, or party. The word heretic is used once in scripture (Titus 3.10) and means one who holds a heresy; a dissenter, nonconformist, it only takes on an evil meaning when sound doctrine is rejected and fallacy is accepted and taught in preference to truth. If the doctrine is unsound and one dissents from the main body who hold the fallacy, then they are a heretic in a good sense. All deviation from truth is heresy (Gal. 5.20; 1 Cor. 11.19; 2 Pet. 2.1.).
(f) Silencing of vain and unprofitable talkers: Titus 1.10,11. This is the duty of the elders of each fellowship, Titus was reminded that the saints lived among Cretans who, are described as being "always Liars."
(g) Lastly, withdrawal of recognition for defiance of the church, Matt. 18.15-17. Trespass an unforgiving spirit. (Matt. 18.15-17.). False doctrines and offences. (Rom. 16.17.) Hating Christ. (1 Cor. 16.22.) Disorderly conduct and Disobedience. (2 Thess. 3.6,14,15.) Apostacy. (1 Tim. 1.19-20; 4.1-8; 2 Tim. 3.5; 4.1-4.) Heresy. (Tit. 3.10; 1Tim. 6.3-5.) Fornication and other gross sins. (1 Cor. 5.1-13; 6.9-11; Gal. 5.19-21; Mark 7.19-21; Rom. 1.18-32; Col. 3.5-10; 1 Tim. 6.3-5.)
GOD’S SUMMER TIME
By the late W. W. FEREDAY, Rothesay.
Our Lord used a very interesting simile in the course of His talk with the disciples on the Mount of Olives two days before he suffered. Here it is: "Behold the fig tree and all the trees: when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that Summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, Know ye that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand" (Luke 21.29—31).
From His words we gather that the promised Kingdom of God, when it is established, will be …
The World’s Summer Time.
The suggestion is attractive. We all welcome the returning Summer; we rejoice that Winter’s darkness and storms are over, and we enjoy the happy increase of light and warmth.
As every one knows, Summer and Winter are determined by the earth’s position in relation to the sun. The physical sphere is in this respect an illustration of the moral and spiritual. In Malachi 4.2 the Lord Jesus is described as "the Sun of Righteousness," destined yet to shine forth with healing in His beams. During long, dreary centuries the Nations of the world have striven to carry on without Him; and, to speak quite frankly, the multitudes do not want Him today.
This evil attitude towards God’s Christ …
Is the True Cause of all the World’s Troubles.
There is no real peace. When the storms of war are not actually raging, the whole atmosphere is more or less electrical, with threats and alarms of war, and belter disposed of the world’s statesmen are continually exercising their minds as to how fresh disastrous outbursts may be averted.
God will not allow this calamitous condition of things to continue indefinitely. "The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Psa.24.1). Men are thus only tenants here …
By Permission of the Great Proprietor
of the universe. He will not allow His property to be perpetually desecrated. The oceans of tears and blood which men have caused one another to shed are beyond all our computation, and the Creator’s beautiful earth has become a vast cemetery, as the fruit of sin.
God intends to take definite possession of the earth ere long and to reverse all these conditions, and we may learn from the Second Psalm that he will commit the administration of it to His Son. He laughs derisively at all opposition to this, whether it comes from the kings, the masses, or Satan.
The Son of God is not at present insisting upon His rights. He sits patiently in Heaven, awaiting the time that is already settled in the Divine Counsels. When that time comes. God will say, …
"Give this Man Place,"
… and all the would—be mighty ones of earth will have to stand back for the One who was crucified (Luke 14.9).
The Man who humbled Himself must be exalted, and all who exalt themselves must be abased. His present glory in Heaven is not a sufficient answer to His Cross and shame, for He has never been dishonoured there. The purpose of God is to glorify Him also in the very scene of His rejection. He will yet enter triumphantly into the city through whose gates He once carried His own gibbet, and the people will cry: "Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord" (Matt.23.39). He is destined to be King of kings and Lord of lords and no power, earthly or infernal, will be able to prevent this happy consummation.
"Thy people shall be willing in the Day of Thy power." Thus wrote David nearly three thousand years ago (Psa.110.3). This marks an entire change of attitude on the part of men towards Christ. The earth, so to speak, will turn towards the Sun once more, and …
God’s Summer Time will set in.
An absolutely perfect Government will be experienced, all wrongs will be righted, God will scatter the people who delight in war, and peace will prevail from pole to pole. There will even be physical changes. "The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose" (Isa.35.1), "instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree" (Isa.55.13) and " there shall be abundance of com in the earth upon the top of the mountains (what a marvel!), the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon" (Psa.72.16).
The World’s Troubles throughout all Ages,
have been self—inflicted. Had God been accorded His rightful place in the hearts and lives of men, all would have been well from first to last. Happy and wise is the individual who understands this, and who seeks to be himself right with God. The great heart of love which led Him to give His only begotten Son for the salvation of sinners is prepared to welcome and pardon all who bow humbly before Him. Those who take this becomingly low place get right with God while as yet the world is all wrong, and they are entitled to say, "being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," and they may add, not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the reconciliation" (Rom.5.1,11,R.V.).
"THE PROPHECY OF NAHUM"
by E. R. Bower.
CHAPTER TWO — The Fall Of Nineveh.
(a) The initial attack. Vv.1-10.
V.7 could well be the ‘text’ to sum up this chapter. "It is decided. He is laid bare. He is removed away" (as some read). Nineveh fell, and with it the Assyrian empire. Babylon, too, was to come under the decree of the "watchers and the holy ones" and go the way of Nineveh. Persia, Greece and Rome were to follow. We read what has been divinely recorded of the histories of these empires, and our thoughts are drawn forward to the word of God and its ultimate Revelation (Ch. 18) and we see a repeat of the visions of the prophets concerning Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar assisted in the fall of Nineveh, and Jeremiah (50.18) records, "Behold, I will punish the King of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria." Nahum’s epic poem is so graphic that it requires little imagination for us to see the horrors of the last days of Nineveh, mirrored for us in current events (1983) in the Lebanon. Comment upon that seige is almost unnecessary. Nahum is so descriptive. In v.l we see him "that dasheth in pieces", the disperser or hammer (margin) and his army at the gates, prepared for the final assault, and the ironic cry of the prophet is, "Be on your guard; strengthen the defences; watch; prepare yourselves," (cf.v.10; 3.14). For (v.12) Jehovah is going to restore His vineyard, the magnificence of Judah as the ancient splendour of Israel, though plundered and the vine marred by the enemies of God. God had given His permission for this, but Jehovah’s vineyard would flourish again, cf. Ps.80 particularly vv.8-16. As we have said, Nahum looks beyond Nineveh; he sees the suffering of Israel the firstborn (Ex.4.22-23); he sees the glory that will follow, (cf.l Pet. 1.11.). v.3. is the scene from walls; vv.4,5 the panic within the walls as the defenders are mustered and the besiegers prepare the "storming shields" – the protective covers for scaling ladders and battering rams. It is then (v.6) that the walls, undermined by the swollen waters of the Tigris, collapse and the citadel dissolves.v.7. is perhaps more easily read as, "And it is decreed. She is removed away". Some see "Huzzab" as either the name of a queen ("the Lady") or goddess, or as a name symbolic of Nineveh. The maidens or slavegirls would be either the dependent or tributary cities or the temple prostitutes.v.8. describes the panic as a flood of swirling waters; people, civilians and soldiers rushing everywhere from the flood waters of the river and from the besiegers pouring through the breached walls. The officers of the people and of the army were shouting, "Stop! Slop!" in an endeavour to stop the panic, but no one paid attention. The battle seems to be over (vv.9-10). Now it is sack the city and away with the booty! The population agonizes in fear; knees are knocking; faces pale.
(b) After the battle. The Lion of Assyria. Vv.11-13.
The lion, we are told, was prominent upon Assyrian monuments, and m ight even have been a national emblem. Assyrian records bear evidence of their rapacity and of the heavy burden of tribute placed upon those they had conquered. Nahum portrays the city as a ravaging beast of prey; a pride of lions, but the Lord of hosts Himself goes out against the lions, even as David pictures for us. "I am against you, the sword shall devour your young; your plunder will be taken away: your ambassadors will no longer speak, Cf.2 Kings 18 and 19 and the words of Rab- shakeh.
(c) The Battle – and the reason. Vv.1-7.
As the prophet paints the vivid picture of the battle and its aftermath, he says (v.4.) "BECAUSE". The historians tells us that included in the idolatrous worship of the Ninevites was the worship of the Babylonian Beltis with its practise of ritual prostitution. God has dealt with the lion of Nineveh; now he deals with its filth. And the Story of Balaam and his ‘way’ or counsel, and how Phinehas dealt with it comes to mind. (Num.19). In recent history, we saw the shameful end of a dictator and his mistress, and v.6. gives us a similar picture of Nineveh. Revelation 18 has a like picture of Babylon-to-be.
(d) The example of Thebes. Vv.8-11.
The father of Sennacherib has once dealt severely with Thebes, of No-Amon, capital of Upper Egypt. Sennacherib’s son and also his grandson also dealt hardly with Thebes. The city had been sacked and great booty was transferred to Nineveh. Thebes, the city of a hundred gates and protected by water had fallen. Was Nineveh any tetter? Nineveh would drink the cup of Jehovah’s indignation to the full. (cf.Hab.2.16); her strongholds would fall like first-ripe figs.
(e) The useless preparation, (vv.12-18).
Again Nahum waxes ironical. "Look at your people" says he, "they are as weak as women. Your gates are useless, for fire has burned their bars. Draw water; make clay and build up the walls. Call up your reserves." The very fire of the brick kiln would devour them; the sword cut them off; the fire and the sword are as hungry as locusts. And speaking of locusts, go and multiply yourselves as locusts; multiply your merchants as the stars; they spread themselves like the locusts, and go away leaving everything bare. Your tributary kings and your officers are like the locusts; they hide from the cold, but go on their way to fresh fields as other opportunities for plunder open up.
(f) The address to the king of Assyria. Vv. 18-19.
Nineveh disappeared from history for about 2,400 years; it had become a desolation; empty and void; waste. (1.8; 2.10). A second century writer wrote of the once great city, "Nineveh has perished, and there is no trace left where it was." (cf. Zeph.2.13-15). Not until the mid 1800’s was the site identified and its ruins excavated, the prophet cogitates upon the fall of the city "great unto God" and he addresses the king of Assyria, (cf.Is.10.5; 14.25), "your nobles lie still; your leaders sleep (see Jer.51.57); your people are irretrivably scattered; your bruise cannot be healed; your wound has no remedy. The news of your downfall is greeted with joy for who has not felt your cruel oppression."
As we have read this short prophecy we have become aware of the possibility that Nahum has at least three future happenings (future that is to him) in mind – the assassination of Sennacherib, the fall of Nineveh, and something far away beyond his ken.
Many of the references to "the Assyrian" refer to the ever present enemy of Judah and Jerusalem, but such passages as Isa.8.1-10; 10.5-19; 14.24-27; take us into the days of the remnant of Israel. Some writers equate "the Assyrian" with the antichrist and Micah’s prophecy (5.1-15) may give colour to the thought for it deals with the future reign of the Messiah (Matt.2.6) and, "This (emphatic) will Himself be our peace when the Assyrian shall come into our land, and he shall tread in our palaces" cf. Dan.8.9-11; 11.36-41. Micah’s reference is the last in the O.T. for the Assyrian, and Nahum’s the last reference to the king of Assyria.
VITAL VERITIES (7)
by E. W. ROGERS
The Book, The Message and the Power
Luke 24, vv. 44-49
Three things are mentioned in this message: the preacher’s book, his message, and his power.
- The preacher without "the book" is left to his own ideas, or to the ideas and opinions of others, all of which are of no essential worth, being merely blind guesses.
- The preacher without "a Message" for the generation in which he lives is but a "vain talker," whose preaching fails to deal with existing conditions and needs.
- The preacher without "power" is non-effective, whose energies are expanded with no satisfactory results.
The Book, the Message and the power are, therefore, three essentials to the servant of the Lord wheresoever he labours.
It will be observed that the lord refers His apostles only to one volume, namely, the Old Testament, expounding from its three parts the things "concerning Himself." In the Scriptures His servants have all that is requisite for positive preaching. The New Testament has now been added to the Old Testament, and has equal rights to the Old in claiming our submission. In the entire volume known to us as the "Holy Scriptures" is everything which is necessary for authoritative God-pleasing preaching.
From the Scriptures the Lord expounded to His disciples "all things concerning Himself; the central theme of the Scripture, around which all else revolves, is Christ. This was entirely new to those to whom He spake. It is important that we should ever keep it in mind, and give Christ the central Place in our preaching.
This Book gives perfect assurance. The Lord pointed out to His disciples that "all things written concerning" Him "must be fulfilled". Not one point could fail: He explained to them how its statements had all been accomplished in respect of His death and resurrection, thus demonstrating to them the absolute reliability of the book. It is none the less reliable to-day despite all the attacks which have since been made upon it: it still stands and will stand.
The Lord "opened their mind to understand the Scriptures." The Book which hitherto had been wrapt in mystery became now an open and plain volume. What a different Book the Scriptures must have seemed to them! Adam’s coat, and Abel’s lamb, and Noah’s ark, and David’s psalms, and Isaiah’s prophecy, indeed the whole content of the Old Testament became clear with divine light as the mind was opened to HIM.
The mere possession of the Book, however, is not sufficient: Its message has to be heralded. It is not intended that its contents should be enjoyed only by the few in secret It should be announced to all.
The message is authoritative: it is "upon His name" – This preposition being used to indicate that the Name, the Person, is the foundation upon which the superstructure of the declared message is built. He authorises its dissemination; He commands His servants to go forth "in His name," supported by His sanction and His presence. .
The message is scriptural for the heralding of the good news to all nations was, as the Lord states, foreshadowed in the Old Testament writings. This was the imperative issue of His death and resurrection. It is not optional whether or not we declare the gospel: we must: the Old Testament Scriptures foretold such propaganda, and the Lord commands it..
The message is comforting: note what its terms are. They are (a) That God hates sin and calls upon all men to repent. It is not the sin of rejecting Christ which is in view, but it is sin in general which requires repentance. Here the preacher is apt to fail and in his zeal to spread the news of the love of God he is apt to omit to emphasize the holiness of God and His hatred of sin. This haired was, then but so recently, seen in its fullness at the Cross: for that Cross clearly manifests what God thinks of sin.
The next term item of the message is that (b) God remits sin. Not merely does He forgive it, but, as the words used both in Old Testament and the New Testament imply, He removes it irrecoverably and eternally. "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" reminds us of this. Further, (c) That God is ready to forgive the sin of anyone irrespective of the nation to which he may belong, for the apostles were enjoined to go "all nations". The cases of the sons of Shem, Ham and Japheth in Acts, chapters ix., viii. and x., confirm this. Lastly, (d) That God forgives the worst of sinners, as indicated by the phrase "beginning at Jerusalem," where the actual murderers of His sons were living.
Nor must we omit to observe that the very preachers themselves were living witnesses of the truth of their preaching, for they themselves were forgiven sinners, forgiven in virtue of the death, proved! efficacious by the resurrection, of their Lord.
In view of the immensity of such task, a task of convicting men of the heinousness of sin, and of opening their eyes to the redeeming love of God: a task the geographical extent of which is worldwide: a task which involved dealing with all races, kinds and dispositions of both men and women, one may well ask, "Who is sufficient for these things?" The task is too great for the men themselves, they need an external source of power to enable them to undertake it. Such power the Lord asserts would be available.
It was useless to start work without it. "Sit here (as the word literally is) until ye are "clothed with power" is the command.
The servant’s need of Divine power is provided for by the three persons of the Holy Trinity, who work harmoniously for the eternal good of the sinner. The Father promises to send the Spirit: the Son says, "I will send Him," emphasizing the pronoun "I," thus manifesting His interest in the work to be done: and the Spirit Himself, who would make His abode on earth, enabling and cooperating with the Lord’s servants.
The word "endue" is instructive. The Spirit of God clothes the individual whom He takes up and thus enables such individual to effect: things which are ordinarily outside of the power of man; in the Old Testament the case of Samson is to the point: "the spirit of the Lord clothed him"; in the New Testament the Book of the Acts is full of exemplary cases.
The words "from on high," too, are instructive. They show that the source of power is not discoverable on earth, or in any of the schemes of men. This we ever do well to remember; it would save wastage of energies by adopting worldly methods. The power must come from another source: "FROM ON HIGH"
WORDS OF JESUS
by Charles Stanley
"And ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life." — John v.40.
Jesus had spoken of two periods—one of wondrous grace, the other of judgement. He has also spoken of two resurrections—one of life, the other of judgement. He has also spoken so plainly, that no one need doubt to which of these periods, or of these two resurrections, he belonged. Of the period of grace he had thus spoken: "Verily, Verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the son of God; and they that hear shall live." That hour, or period, has lasted nearly nineteen hundred years, and we are in it. In the beginning of the chapter we see divine grace seeking the blind, halt, withered—the helpless. But here grace is seeking its objects amongst the morally dead—the dead in trespasses and sins. Even there the voice of Jesus, Son of God, in freest grace reaches them; and they that hear shall live.
After this hour of richest grace shall come another. "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in the which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgement." Jesus said it, and the day of grace is now; Jesus said it, and the period of judgement shall surely come. The words of the Lord Jesus must be heard in grace, or in judgement. There can be no escape. One of these must be the portion of the reader. We beg, then, your attention as a deeply interested person. Nineteen centuries have run their course, and not one who has heard and received the words of the Lord Jesus has been lost; not one who has come to Him has been refused, or cast out. Mark, it is the most absolute grace: "The DEAD shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live." There is neither merit nor motion in the dead. And does not the death of Jesus prove the state we were in? " We thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead."
The reader may say, How am I to know whether I am dead, or have life? I have made many efforts, but am not sure yet. Do you make efforts to be dead? Nay; those efforts rather prove that you do not believe in the grace that reaches the dead; nay, the grace that has reached us by dying for us. "How, then, am I to know?" do you say? Hearken to the words of Jesus. He says, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgement, but passed from death unto life." (Ver.24.)
Is it not thus clear, whether you are still a state of spiritual death in sin, or have passed from that state to life? If you have heard the words of the Lord Jesus, or lest you should say, "I may have been mistaken in the past," then mark, it is, "He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath." Hath what? Eternal life. Not merely life for a day, or a year, but, hath eternal life. The Lord Jesus says, "Hath eternal life." He says "shall not come into judgement." He says, "is passed from death unto life."
Could the Lord Jesus speak more plainly, or make it more clear and certain? To hear Him is to hear God; to believe Him, is to believe God. If you hear His word, and believe God that sent Him, then He just represents these three things exactly as they are: you have eternal life; you shall not come into judgement; you are passed from death unto life. You have now to walk as a new creature in a new creation; yes, passed from death unto life. Now walk as such, alive from the dead, to live unto God.
If, then, you have life, you belong to the resurrection of life. Should you die, or fall asleep, as surely as you have heard the voice of the Son of God, raising you from the death of sin, so surely "all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life." In 1 Corinthians xv. this resurrection is fully described. This resurrection of life will take place at the coming of the Lord. "But every man in his own order Christ, the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming." This resurrection of life is very glorious. Believers, we have seen, as to the soul, have now eternal life. But then the body of corruption will be raised in incorruption and glory. "As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." What tongue can tell, or pen describe, the glory of the resurrection unto life? But, reader, will it be yours? Or, if you are alive and remain, will you be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and be caught up to meet the Lord, with all those who have heard His voice, and come forth from the grave to rise to meet Him in the air?
It is quite certain, as we write these lines, that we are still in that period, or time of grace, which began when Jesus took the book, and proclaimed the acceptable year of the Lord. But can you tell when that period will close? May it not be this very year—nay, this very day? And then, if you die, and are not raised at the resurrection of life, you must be raised, or come out of the grave, a thousand years after, at the resurrection of judgement.
Is not this plainly declared in Revelation xx.? Remember, all that are in their graves must come forth. . .. "and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgement." "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works . . . They were judged EVERY MAN according to their works.
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." At the beginning Jesus said, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only—begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him Should not perish, but have everlasting life." This is blessedly true, after nineteen hundred years. It is also as true that the dead who have rejected this love, have not eternal life. "And WHOSOEVER was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Yes, at the resurrection of judgement, every man will be judged according to his works. Well might the heart of the Lord Jesus be grieved when He said, "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life." He knew what would be the eternal consequences of rejecting Him, in the lake of fire.
And now, He gives four distinct witnesses of His Person and work. He says, "Ye sent unto John, and he bore witness unto the truth." He thus pleads with them that they might be saved. They could not deny that they had regarded John as a prophet of God. They had gone out to be baptised, confessing their sins. And John was a burning and a shining light, and they were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. But had not John pointed to Him, and said, "Behold the Lamb of God"? And now the Lord Jesus had to say, "And ye will not come unto me that ye might have life."
The reader may have rejoiced for a season to sit under some ministry, it may have been a burning and a shining light; but does the Lord Jesus say to you, "And ye will not come unto me that ye might have life." Are you still without life?
But the Lord Jesus had greater witness than that of John: "For the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me that the Father hath sent me." Was there ever another man on this earth that did the works that He did? Where did he live, and what was his name? The men who saw Him do these works bare record, even at the cost of all things, and often unto death. He calmed the raging sea, He give sight to the blind, unstopped the deaf ear, cleansed the lepers, healed the sick, raised the dead, proclaimed the glad tidings to the poor. But, ah, far more, He offered Himself the sacrifice for our sins, according to the will of the Father. Yes, Yes His own works bear unmistakable evidence that the Father had sent Him. "And ye will not," He says, "Come unto me, that ye might have life."
Still further witness: "And the father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me."
At His baptism the heavens were opened, "And a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved son, in whom I am pleased." Again, on the mount of transfiguration: "Behold, a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved son: hear ye him." And again, in answer to that solemn cry of Jesus, "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." But, oh, that still more glorious witness:: When He had borne our sins in His own body on the tree, the Substitute for us, God the Father raised Him from the dead, thereby bearing witness that He had accepted the atonement by His precious blood. And still the Lord Jesus says, "And ye will not come unto me that ye might have life."
Lastly, Jesus appeals unto a fact. He does not say, "search," as a command, but, "Ye search the scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me." Is not this equally so at this day? men possess and read the scriptures; they think the scriptures have the truth of eternal life in them; they send them abroad, they preach from them. Is there any other Saviour in them but Jesus? The scriptures are full of Him. Do not all the sacrifices of the law, the tabernacle, and all its furniture; the high priest, and his dress, his breastplate, with Urim and Thummim; the psalms and the prophets, the gospels and the epistles—all proclaim Jesus Jehovah, the Saviour of sinners? Every book, every chapter, bears witness to Him. "And ye will not come to me that ye might have life."
Oh, by the resurrection unto life, by the resurrection unto judgement, by the witness of John, by the witness of the works the Father gave His Son to do, by the witness of the Father in raising Him from the dead, by the whole overwhelming witness of the inspired word of God, scriptures which you profess to believe—we beg of you answer the question, Is it true that you will not come unto the Lord Jesus that you might have life? Are you vainly seeking to attain to life by works of law? How can this be, since we have seen that the grace of God comes in the voice now that speaks to, and is heard by, the dead in sins? Do you say, Lord Jesus, I come to thee now; but I am so bad, I am not fit to come? Do you come? Yes, just as you are! Then hear His words: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will in nowise cast out." Do you hear the voice of the Lord Jesus? Do you believe God that sent Him? Then remember—"Will in nowise cast out," "hath eternal life," "shall not come into judgement," "is passed from death unto life." All precious words of Jesus.
The Millennium — (5)
by J. E. TODD
Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, but, being himself a Jew, the national unbelief in the gospel by Israel was a constant burden to him. He refers to this burden at length in his letter to the Roman church, chapters 9, 10 and 11. It is understandable that Paul was distressed because the majority of his fellow Jews had rejected the gospel (Rom.9:1-5). ‘For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh’ (verse 3).
If then the nation of God’s own people rejected His son, has God rejected His people? ‘No!’ (11:1-27). The answer is a two-fold ‘No!’. First, a substantial remnant had been saved. A remnant numbering thousands, ‘I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace’ (verses 4-5). ‘Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe’ (Acts 21:20). But what about the rest of the nation? ‘Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded’ (Rom. 11:7). Is their failure, as a nation, to obtain God’s blessing permanent? ‘I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid’ (verse 11). No, it is temporary, while the Gentiles have the opportunity to obtain God’s blessing in the gospel, ‘But rather through their (Israel’s ) fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles’ (verse 11).
Second, in the parable of the olive tree (11:16-24), the Jewish branches in the olive tree of divine blessing have been broken off to make way for the Gentile branches to be grafted in. But the time will come when the national Jewish branches will be grafted back into their own olive tree of divine blessing. ‘For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?’ (11:24).
This national blessing will take place at the second advent of Christ, ‘There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob’ (verse 26). Although Israel broke the covenant God made with them through Moses at Sinai, now replaced by the new covenant of the gospel (see Jer. 31:31-34 and Heb. 8:7-13); although they have, nationally speaking, also rejected the gospel, yet Israel is still the heir of the covenant which God made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. ‘As concerning the gospel, they (Israel) are enemies for your (Gentiles) sake: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes’ (Rom. 11:28). What exactly did God promise to their forefathers? The covenant with Abraham, passed on to Isaac and Jacob, contained three promises (Gen.12). One, Abraham’s descendants would become a great nation (verse 2, Israel). Two, they would be the means of blessing for the entire human race (verse 3, the gospel, Gal. 3:8). Three, they would occupy the land of Canaan (verse 7). Also God promised King David that one of his descendants would reign over Israel for ever (2 Sam. 7:16). Also God continually promised through the prophets that ultimately Israel would dwell in the land in permanent peace under the prosperous reign of that king (see a previous article ‘The Prophets).
So by the temporary breaking off of the nation of Israel from divine blessing, salvation has come to all, both Jews and Gentile (11: 30-32). ‘For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all’ (verse 32). Such is the wisdom of God (11:33-36).
But at the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ the mystery will be revealed. ‘For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob’ (11:25-26).
A WORKMAN’S MOTTO
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 15.58.
Here we have an uncommonly fine motto for the Christian workman—and every Christian ought to be a workman. It presents a most valuable balance for the heart. We have immovable stability linked with unceasing activity.
This is of the utmost possible importance. There are some of us such sticklers for what we call principle that we seem almost afraid to embark in any scheme of large—hearted Christian activity. And, on the other hand, some of us are so bent on what we call service, that in order to reach desired ends, and realise palpable results, we do not hesitate to overstep the boundary line of sound principle.
Now, our motto supplies a divine antidote for both these evils. It furnishes a solid basis on which we are to stand with stedfast purpose and immoveable decision. We are not to be moved the breadth of a hair from the narrow path of divine truth, though tempted to do so by the forcible argument of a plausible expediency. "To obey is better than sacrifice; and to hearken, than the fat of rams."
Noble words! may they be engraved, in characters deep and broad, on every workman’s heart. They are absolutely invaluable; and particularly so in this our own day, when there is such wilfulness in our mode of working, such erratic schemes of service, such self-pleasing, such a strong tendency to do that which is right in our own eyes, such a practical ignoring of the supreme authority of holy scriptures.
It fills the thoughtful observer of the present condition of things with the very gravest apprehensions to mark the positive and deliberate throwing aside of the word of God, even by those who professedly admit it to be the word of God. We speak not now of the insolence of open and avowed infidelity; but of the heartless indifference of respectable orthodoxy. There are thousands, nay millions, who profess to believe that the Bible is the word of God, who nevertheless, have not the smallest idea of submitting themselves absolutely to its authority. The human will is dominant. Human reason bears sway. Expediency commands the heart. The holy principles of divine revelation are swept away like autumn leaves, or the dust of the threshing—floor, before the vehement blast of popular opinion.
How immensely valuable and important, in view of all this, is the first part of our workman’s motto! "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast and immovable". The "therefore" throws the soul back upon the solid foundation laid in the previous part of the chapter in which the apostle unfolds the most sublime and precious truth that can possibly engage the Christian’s heart—truth which lifts the soul completely above the dark and chilling mists of the old creation, and plants it on the solid rock of resurrection. It is on this rock we are exhorted to be stedfast and immoveable. It is not an adherence to our own notions—to some favourite dogma or theory which we have adopted—or to any special school of doctrine, high or low. It is not aught of this kind; but a firm grasp and faithful confession of the whole truth of God of which a risen Christ is the everlasting centre.
But then we have to remember the other side of our motto. The Christian workman has something more to do than to stand firmly on the ground of truth. He has to cultivate the lovely activities of grace. He is called to be "always abounding in the work of the Lord." The basis of sound principle must never be abounding; but the work of the Lord must be diligently carried on. There are some who are afraid of doing mischief that they do nothing; and others, who rather than not be doing something will do wrong. Our motto corrects both. It teaches us to set our faces as a flint, where truth is, in any wise, involved; while on the other hand, it leads us to go fourth, in largeness of heart, and throw all our energies into the work of the Lord.
And let the Christian reader specially note the expression, "The work of the Lord." We are not to imagine for a moment that all that which engages the energies of professing Christians is entitled to be designated "the work of the Lord." Alas! alas! far from it. We see a mass of things undertaken as service for the Lord with which a spiritual person could not possibly connect the holy name of Christ. We do not attempt to go into details; but we do desire to have the conscience exercised as to the work in which we embark. We deeply feel how needful it is in this day of wilfulness, laxity, and wild latitudinarianism, to own the authority of Christ in all that we put our hands to in the way of work service. Blessed be His name, He permits us to connect Him with the most trivial and commonplace activities of daily life. We can even eat and drink in His holy name, and to His glory. The sphere of service is wide enough, mostly surely; it is only limited by that weighty clause, "The work of the Lord" The Christian workman must not engage in any work which does not range itself under that most holy and all— important head. He must, ere he enters upon thy service, ask himself this great practical question, "Can this honestly be called ‘the work of the Lord?’" (selected).
Divine preservation is assuredly something to be marvelled at. Where would the saint or company of saints be without it? Each day testifies to it and the beginning of another year causes us again to look back in thankfulness for the preserving hand of a faithful God. Not only preserving but providing in every way for His people and His work.
On the other hand we do well to remember there is another who works, not to preserve, but to destroy, not to build up, but to pull down, not for our good, but for our ill. Our implacable enemy is never slow to stir up strife among the saints, to take advantage of failure, and as from the beginning, to oppose and hinder in every way the work of God. Sadly we are too often "ignorant of his devices". Paul and Peter respectively in Ephesians 6.11-16 and 1 Peter 5.8-9 exhort regarding the armour and vigilance necessary to deal with Satanic attacks. We ignore such exhortations at our peril.
Obedience to the word of God by the individual believer or assembly brings its own preservation and joy, and more importantly such obedience is God honouring. Dissemination of the word is, therefore, vital. This, together with doctrinally sound ministry, is essential for the establishing and maintaining of godliness among the saints.
Our aim has been to assist in this ministry through the Assembly Testimony magazine, and we appreciate all who have contributed either by their articles, their prayers, or their finance. We recognize too the invaluable work of the editor, assistant editor, secretary and the accountant, all of whom give of their time and talent freely, and we express our thanks accordingly. Objectives stated are one thing but objectives achieved are another, and in this we are completely dependant upon God to make good the ministry of the magazine to all readers. May it be so — and to Him be everlasting praise and glory.
MY CONVERSION AND CALL (5)
by J. E. Fairfield (Venezuela)
(b) MY CALL
After my conversion on 9th January 1921 I returned to my church and one day a friend asked me to go with him to the Gospel Hall one Sunday afternoon. Mr. Moneypenny and a Mr. Leer, from the Argentine, were ministering the Word of God. It was all strange to me, two men without clerical garb opening up and expounding the Scriptures, but it was really good. It was so good I decided to return that night.
Unknown to the friend who asked me I had been enquiring of the Lord what Church I should join. I did not know I was in the Church, a member of the body of Christ. There were a lot of different groups in the town and I knew with all the confusion they all could not be right.
That night I was found again in the Gospel Hall. Mr. Money-penny preached with Mr. James Geddis, who was preaching his farewell sermon before he left for Africa on his first journey. The hall was packed and the meeting was good. An open air meeting was announced to follow the meeting in the hall. I went down High Street and stood on the opposite side of the street and to my surprise, out of the packed hall six lonely men arrived to preach Gospel!! I could not reconcile a wee weak company in the open air and a great big crowd in the hall where nobody could see them. I took pity on them and went and stood beside them. After the meeting one of the men approached me and discovered that we both lived in the same area and so we walked home together.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night I was back to the meetings. I was like the dove Noah let loose — which initially found no rest for the sole of her foot, but did so eventually. So it was with me — I seemed to have found a resting place. After the meeting on Wednesday night a brother approached me and introduced himself— he was Bertie Douglas. He eventually went to Venezuela to serve the Lord. That began a friendship which was deep. I can say I loved Bertie Douglas with all my heart.
I was regular in my attendance at the meetings and one Sunday Dr. Darling said to me "What do you want?" I was quite taken back and I replied "I want in". He said "Do you want to come into this meeting?" I said "That’s what I want". "Well you know we generally baptise people. Would you mind?" he asked. (If he had said I had to be baptised six times I would have obeyed him because I had not learned the truth of baptism at that time.) "No Sir" I replied and arrangements were made for me to be baptised.
I’ll not forget that occasion. The hall was packed to see this spectacle. I was going to be "dipped" they said. It was like a fresh conversion. To obey the Lord brought such joy it was like being saved again. The following Lord’s day I sat down with the saints in Lurgan to remember the Lord for the first time.
A few Sundays later I missed Bertie Douglas and discovered he had a Sunday School in a place called Kilmore and I was invited to join him. One of the wee boys he was teaching at that time was our brother Mr. Albert McShane. It was in Kilmore that I first took a Sunday School class. I was eventually taken by older brethren to give a word in the gospel on Sunday evenings and thus began preaching here and there. I was exercised about the Lord’s work and what I should do but had no thought of Venezuela. I was still working by day and preaching by night in barns, tents and halls around the locality. The brethren in the assembly approached me and said that it was time for me to make a decision to either leave work or leave the preaching. I was working every day, leaving for a meeting without a meal, preaching every night and not getting home until around midnight and this had been going on for about a year. The brethren said if I was thinking about the Lord’s work they would commend me. I did not tell what I was thinking.
I had been considered Acts 16. There were three parties — Timothy, Paul and the brethren. To me they were the three lights a pilot gets in line when going into harbour. Timothy was willing to go, Paul was willing to take him, and the brethren were willing to let Timothy go. I thought that if ever that happens, — three lights in line, with me I would go.
The brethren in Donegall Road, Belfast had invited me for a series of meetings and Mr. Robert Hawthorne agreed to help me. We preached together and the hall was filled but at the close of six weeks, not a soul was saved. However on the Wednesday night of the seventh week God began to work and when the meetings finished, after ten weeks, nine souls were consequently added to the assembly at Donegall Road. This formed a partnership with Mr. Hawthorne and we preached together for almost a year. I thought "I am like Timothy, Mr. Hawthorne like Paul — if he asks me I will go and the brethren will commend me, thus the three lights will line up"!!
The night we closed the meetings in Kingsbridge Gospel Hall, Belfast and were walking to the bus Mr. Hawthorne said to me that he was leaving for the Orkney Islands. I was just bursting for him to ask me to go with him but he never asked. I went home and cried and cried. I longed to go but was somehow held back. The third light was not in place!
About that time Mr. Williams came home from Venezuela. I was told that the first time he came home he took Bertie Douglas back, the second time John Wells and this third time he was going to take me. Well I thought there was no possibility of me going to a Roman Catholic Country that requires the mastering of a foreign language. Now ‘Paul’ wanted ‘Timothy’ to go, the brethren would let ‘Timothy’ go, but ‘Timothy’ would not go!!
It was the 11th July, 1933. A big tent has been erected in Ballybolan for the conference the next day. I had never been there before. That night Mr. Williams and I walked up the road behind a haystack and brother Williams prayed that the Lord would help me to make up my mind to go to Venezuela. Eventually I went to bed and did not sleep too well. It was like being saved — a crisis was reached and a decision had to be made. I thought if I go to Venezuela who would pay the rent if I get married it would be worse. I watched the sun rising, a beautiful dawn it was was, and looked out to see the cows lying chewing the cud. The verse came ‘the cattle on a thousands hills are mine’. I thought well if that is the case the Lord can pay the rent. I got up early and was on my knees reading in Isaiah chapter seven. I came to verse 9 "… if ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established". The margin reads "Do ye not believe? It is because ye are not stable". I thought that is just what I am — "not stable". The Lord has given me what I wanted from Him and yet I am not prepared to take it and as I looked at that verse I just burst out weeping and I cried "Lord I believe, help Thou mine unbelief using the words of the father of the dumb child Mark 9.24, and I got peace.
Just then there was a knock at the door and Mr. Williams came in. After a little chat he said "Well, what is it?" I said "I’m, not going." Even after having a word from the Lord I was still afraid!! He said "What is the matter with you?" Some people need to be held back and some need to be pushed. Wilt thou go with this man?" Just like my conversion once again I said "I will". It was all over. The burden lifted and soon I was in the tent for the conference. Mr. McCracken got up to make some announcements and he said "I have heard news which has touched me today as if it were my own son —Eddie Fairfield is going to Venezuela". I thought that he might as well have put it in the newspaper and to make it worse he continued, "we’re going to give him a little while at the beginning of the meeting to tell his story". I got up in weakness and took a few minutes and as I told my story a voice boomed out "and God will prove you". It was Mr. John Knox McEwan a veteran pioneer of The Gospel, and at the end of the meeting he put £2.00 into my hand and said "The Lord bless you". It was the first gift, I received.
We left Belfast by ship the S.S. Montrose on 11th, August 1933 and after spending some time in Canada until all was clear with the Venezuelan Government, we arrived at last in Venezuela September 1934 and have enjoyed the blessing of the Lord in our labours. There are now over one hundred assemblies gathered to the Name of the Lord Jesus in that Land and fourteen couples, all National workers and commended by their own assemblies. As to these brethren I am happy that I can say that they all work happily with us. Please pray for the preservation of the work and workers so that the Lord may continue to be glorified.
PRAY FOR VENEZUELA.
Tune – Blest be the tie that binds 184.108.40.206
- And shall we see His face
- Without a cloud between?
- Sweet thought of soul-transporting grace
- Through years that intervene.
- And shall our eyes behold
- The Man of Sychars’ well?
- Did ever lips such grace unfold
- Or tongue such mercy tell?
- We long to see the One
- Who at the gate of Nain
- Restored a widow’s only son
- Into her arms again.
- The One who stilled the waves
- And walked upon the deep,
- Unto the uttermost He saves,
- Unto the end He’ll keep.
- And shall we see His face,
- The Lamb for sinners slain?
- Oh! this will all our grief erase,
- All mysteries explain.
- To see the One who died,
- That will be bliss indeed,
- Twill be our longing satisfied,
- The end of all our need.
- The glory now He bears,
- Those wounds of Love Divine
- Shall be our theme when endless years
- Engulf the sands of time.
— J. M. Jones (Toowoomba)