Wm. (Bill), John (Jack), May, Agnes, Frances (Fannie) & Primrose
Carroll Family History
Carroll Family Tree
William Charles Carroll and wife Margaret (Hastings) Carroll, Melbourne, Victoria Australia
John (Jack) Thomas Carroll, Milltown, WA
Mary (May) Georgina Carroll
Frances (Fannie) Christie Carroll, El Cerrito, CA
Agnes Josephine (Carroll) Weir and husband Harry Cecil Weir, El Cerrito, CA
Cecelia (Carroll) Perrott and husband John , El Cerrito, CA
Daughter: Wilma Anne Perrott, El Cerrito, CA
Fannie Carroll - Santee, California Convention - 1964
Fannie Carroll's Testimony Letter - 1913
May Carroll's Testimony Letter- 1913
May Carroll - Last Words of Jesus - 1949 (includes some of May's Testimony)
By Wm. (Bill) C. Carroll:
July 26, 1953
An Address On Sunday Evening 16th December, 1950 - During Preparations For Convention;
Notable quote contained in this sermon:
"Then, we preach not ourselves." We do not wish to exalt ourselves or our own name. That was the lamentable and dreadful sin of Edward Cooney. We had to come to the definite belief after many years of patience that he preached himself. His message was to exalt his own name, which has been put upon God's people and which God's people reject and resent.
Death of Jack Carroll:
Oakland Tribune Newspaper, March 29, 1957: 700 Attend rites for John Carroll (California)
Photo of Jack's Tombstone
Funeral Notes of service held in Oakland, CA
Funeral Notes of service held in Milltown, WA
By John (Jack) T. Carroll:
Photos of World War II Letters
Statements re Participation in Armed Services in World War II
Status of Workers in Foreign Countries during WWII, circa 1942
Letters (2) Warning - Wm. Irvine's New Doctrine, April 12 & 16, 1919
1930 Meeting @ West Hanney - Feud between Jack Carroll & George Walker
Letters and Sermon Notes of Jack Carroll:
New Testament Ministry - Bakersfield CA, 1934
Questionnaire - For Your Own Benefit
New Testament Ministry & Money (no place/date)
Five Things that are Fundamental - Bakersfield, 1947
Workers to Foreign Fields - Hayden Lake ID, 1932
Notable Quote contained in this sermon: "We have often said in our meetings that there are two things fundamental to the faith of Jesus: the homelessness of the preacher and the church in the home and only in the home. Whenever we depart from these two fundamentals we have departed from the faith, we have become apostate. We must contend to the very end of the chapter for the homelessness of the preacher and the church in the home and only in the home."
Ministry of Sisters in the Gospel, Church and Home
Marriage Ceremonies & Showers Instruction Letter, Feb. 12, 1942
Married Workers - Milltown WA Convention, 1923
Two Fundamentals: The Church in the Home and the Preacher without a Home - Arizona Convention. Oct. 25-28, 1951
Matthew 13 - God's Children Should be Rooted and Grounded
Philippians 1 - Silverdale BC Canada, 1956
Silverdale BC Canada -1942
A Kingdom of Sacrifice - Manhattan, Montana - 1945
Jesus is the Word (Christ/God) - Seattle, WA Sp. Mtg, 1952
Seven Conditions of Fellowship - 1921
Fellowship in the Family of God - Bakersfield - December 6, 1920
Some people are asking, "What should my attitude to be towards any man or woman who has proven untrue or unfaithful to the way and testimony of Jesus, and who is now out of fellowship and seeking to hinder others?" What attitude should I assume towards such? How should I act?
1875: William Carroll married Cecilia Christie, in Dublin South, Ireland.
1897: There were six (6) Carroll children born to William Carroll and Cecelia (Christie) Carroll. Their father was only 47 when he died on January 23, 1897. He left behind a very vulnerable family.
William C. (Bill) was 21; John T. (Jack) was 19; Mary (May) Georgina was 18; Agnes (Aggie) Josephine was 15; Frances (Fannie/Fanny) Christie was 13; and Primrose Cecelia was 7. All were unmarried.
The Irish Census taken on March 31, 1901 showed William (Bill) Charles Carroll, his mother, Cecelia, and his sister Cecelia Primrose living at House 1 in Rahinstown, Co. Meath, Ireland. Bill married Margaret (Maggie) Hastings in June, 1901.
It would only be seven (7) months later that same year, in August of 1897, that Wm. Irvine and John Long held their mission in Nenagh, Co., Tipperary, where Jack and May were working. Some of the Carrolls attended the meetings, and Jack, May and Fannie all made their choices in 1897.
1899: William Irvine came by their home and took Jack with him to Scotland on what became known as the famous 1899 Bicycle Trip.
1903: At Wm. Irvine's suggestion, May entered the Faith Mission as a Pilgrim preacher in 1899 and left in 1903 to join Wm. Irvine's growing group of workers. Bill Carroll and his wife, Maggie also went in work in 1903; and in 1905, they went to preach in Victoria, Australia.
1904: Soon after Fannie professed, she went off to boarding school. When Fannie left the boarding school, the family went to live in Dublin, where they had two business places and were kept busy; often working from seven in the morning until seven at night. In December, Jack and Fannie went to the Belfast Special Meeting. When they invited any who were willing to go in the work, Jack and Fannie offered to go, along with several others. So in 1904, six years after they professed, Jack and Fannie went in the work. Fannie entered the work on February 11, 1904, and Jack entered on February 14, 1904. Fannie's widowed mother was living when she left for New Zealand in 1905.
Jack (age 19) and May (age 17) Carroll were both working for their Uncle Pat Carroll in Nenagh when Irvine held his mission in Nenagh. It is possible Uncle Pat's business was a grocery store. The April 24, 1897 Nenagh News carried an advertisement from Carroll's Select Family Grocery at 47 Castle Street in Nenagh. View 1895 photo of Castle Street, Nenagh. Hover mouse over the far right edge and see the number "47" which appears on both sides of "Carroll." Currently this building is/was "Flynn's Bistro." View a street view photo.
By William (Bill) Charles Carroll - July 26, 1953 (no location given): “I remember when I was about 5 years old, there was a lady that lived in one of the great mansions that are so common in County Meath. She was the mother of my father’s employer, a religious lady, and she asked my parents for their consent to her coming down to our place and give some instruction of the Scriptures to us children. She seemed greatly taken with me and gave me a very handsome Bible. On the fly leaf she wrote my name and a verse (John 5:39). I never forgot that kindness or that verse, but she did not understand it fully and as many others do she took a wrong meaning out of it.
John 5:39: "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me" “Although we are indebted to holy men of old who spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance, the Bible is largely a dead book unless in the hands of the Lord’s servants and people. The Lord seems to need not only the Scriptures, but also living witnesses, so that if all the Bibles were destroyed, as they were at one time, there should remain in our hearts the Holy Spirit’s power, guidance and instruction, so that there may be a witness in the world, that His Way may be known in the earth, and His saving health to all nations.”
Note: Bill Carroll died less than 4 months after he spoke the above (Nov., 1953)
By Jack Carroll, 1948 Olympia Convention: "When I made my choice I added these two words FOREVER. I weighed and counted the cost and thought of the very worst that could happen to me and I said it was Christ for me forever. I have never regretted it. Six years later when I went forth into His harvest for Christ's sake I remembered that as I went down those steps saying good by. I said in my heart, 'Lord this too is forever.' "
Note: Jack went in the work in 1904 and he professed in August, 1898.
By Jack Carroll, 1933 Bakersfield Convention: "...when I made that first surrender to Christ there was awakened within me a desire to bring others into the Kingdom of God, and being human, it was natural for me to think first of my mother, and brother and sisters. I began to make arrangements, in my simplicity, which I thought might turn out into the furtherance of the Gospel, and I had the joy inside of three months of hearing that they had made the same choice and the same surrender to God. Inside of a few years, fourteen young men and women out of that little community went out into God's great harvest field, and many of them today are scattered throughout the world proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ."
John T. Carroll Funeral Service
March 28, 1957
Sextet: 'Peace Perfect Peace'
Obituary: Our beloved brother and fellowservant, John T. Carroll, lovingly known to thousands as 'Uncle Jack', was born in County Meath, Ireland, seventy-nine years ago, and passed away March 26, 1957, in Long Beach, California, in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Brodine.
After leaving school, he went to work in his uncle's business in County Tipperary, and during this time, he heard the Gospel which won his heart to Christ. From that day he had a great longing to tell others of what he had found. After six years, the way opened to spend his life in the Ministry, and with others preached first in-his-native Ireland; in 1904 , he came to America, preaching in the New England states and Michigan, and later on the Pacific Coast, obeying the command of Jesus, 'Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.' To the end of life, he gave himself unsparingly, proving that 'for me to live is Christ', and now we are assured, 'to die is gain'.
He is survived by three sisters, May Carroll, Frances Carroll, and Mrs. Richard Perrott, besides several nieces and nephews. Burial will be at Milltown, Washington on Saturday, March 30, 1957.
Tharold Sylvester: Psalm 126:6, 'He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.'
I feel desperately inadequate to oven express a little in this service, but I believe that I can understand a little better the message that God gave to Joshua long ago when He said, 'Moses my servant is dead'. That was an obituary of only five words, but to my mind the thing that was so outstanding is the fact that God called Moses His servant. This is a wonderful tribute. Paul the apostle, in writing, often expressed himself as the servant of Christ, and we know that was true.
To those in this audience who may not have known our brother, we can say that he was a servant of Christ. A true servant always does the will of another, and we are glad to tell you this after noon that because of the Gospel, something happened in the life of our brother that enabled him to do the will of God. I am sure most of you here will have no difficulty in remembering his own words of the first days, how as he listened to the Gospel, it won his heart, it moved him to give himself gladly and willingly unto the Lord. When he did that, he said, 'It is Christ for me forever'. I believe that he saw that to believe in Christ is to receive Christ; to receive Christ is to live Christ; to live Christ is to follow Christ.
We are very grateful today that he had the vision of Eternal possi bilities, the courage to step out on his own convictions, carrying the Gospel unto others because of what he had proved for himself. The world oftentimes stumbles over changing Christ--that's why we have all the confusion in the world today. I believe our brother saw from the beginning that God wants to change lives. Do you have any difficulty in believing that the love of God will always change the lives of men and women? Do you have any difficulty in believing that the power of God will always change lives? Do you have any difficulty in believing that regeneration, the new birth, will always change lives?
As a result of the Gospel coming to him, our brother's life was changed. Perhaps I could just put it the other way: What hope would we have today if , instead, he had chosen to live selfishly? Look at how he himself would have been robbed, how countless thousands of others would have been robbed of a living faith and Eternal Life.
What hope would we have if he had chosen just to live in pleasure? The pleasure would be past now. Long ago, the servant of God faithfully said that there are pleasures at God's right hand forevermore, and I honestly believe today that our brother has entered into that, and if he could stand here and speak to us, he would encourage us even a thousandfold more than he ever did before that we should never lose sight of what God can do for us.
Love always changes things, but love always serves. That is why this afternoon you have gathered here as a tribute to this one whose service was first of all to the One that had captured his heart's affections and had first place in his life, and who rendered a service unto others even as he did unto Christ. His was a love that served. That brings us to another step in his life: When he began to lift up his eyes to the fields white unto harvest--that requires service. Wheat isn't sown without labor; a harvest is not gathered without labor. Do we have to remind you this afternoon of the countless days in which he sowed the precious seed of the Gospel? I believe everyone that knew him best will have things that he has planted by his own hand and by his own voice in their hearts forever. That is why as he began to think of spending his life laboring in the Lord's harvest field, he said like Isaiah said, 'Behold, here am I; send me'.
How did he go? That brings us back to the mark of a servant again. A servant always accepts the master's terms. You arc familiar with the fact that Jesus asked those first twelve apostles to become homeless and poor, scattering their earthly possessions, going out to tell the Gospel story, proving their love to dying men and women. He did that. The world doesn't understand that; they say it won't work. We are here today because the promises of God have never failed. They are true. We are grateful today for the fact that his courage enabled him to step out on those promises. As a result of that, God gave him a message; it was not a set of rules, or just doctrine. That message is a message of Life. We have no difficulty in looking back over the past to realize this: that when he heard and obeyed that message, Life came to him. That's why I feel deeply grateful for his counsel through the years. I feel deeply grateful for his fellowship. I feel deeply grateful for all that he has done. He has helped to set my feet upon a foundation that is solid and sure and eternal.
God not only gives His servants a message, but also the method of sowing the Seed. You are familiar with that. Ho has told us over and over and over again that there can be no true New Testament Christianity without a true New Testament ministry. Th e thing that makes that so outstanding is the fact that he himself took those steps that proved that he was sent by God. He started poor, continued poor, and now he has finished poor. He is being buried in another man's grave; he was poor as his Master. We value his beginning, continuing, finishing, that way, and he has left us a wonderful example.
Do I have to remind you, then, that God's methods do not fail? They are best, the most effective, most powerful--His method reaches down to redeem sin-cursed men and women, lifts them, gives them a living hope--that is why we have a glorious message to give men and women today that even conquers death.
There are five points in this Gospel: (1) Christ lived for me. (2) Christ died for me. (3) Christ rose that He might live His life over again in me. (4) Christ intercedes at God's right hand for me. (5) One day He's coming back for me. This is the Gospel in five short sentences. Every one of you has heard that message over and over again, but I felt this afternoon that it wouldn't hurt just to remind you that that is the thing that makes all the difference between doctrine and formality, and what we have: a living, vital thing.
Howard Mooney: I Chron. 22:5; II Tim. 2:1-5. There is a close connection between these two portions of Scripture which we have just read; they are the last words of two very faithful servants of God who lived in days gone by. The charge that each of them left has a very close connection with our experience today. We read of two things that David mentioned he was leaving as a heritage for his son: a wonderful peace as the result of his warfare, and a wonderful future as the result of his provision. David is known in the Bible as a man of war, valiant in battle. He fought the enemy, and left a victorious peace for the generation following. While he was doing that, he was also making preparation for the future. He knew his son and others following him were young and tender, and he put his best into the preparation so that they would be able to carry on the work after he was gone.
Our hearts have been bowed in sadness at the thought of our brother depart ing from us, yet we rejoice because he has left such a rich heritage for us. Dose who have known him the best have known him to be a man of war; Truth has always been first in his life. I have been impressed as I have seen him dealing with friend or foe; he always fought for Truth. As the Lord's people, we are enjoying a wonderful era of peace as a result of his faithful warfare, and the warfare of our other older brethren in the Work. We can also rejoice in the fact that he found tine to prepare for the future.
My earliest recollection of Uncle Jack is when he was in our home. He and his companion were among the first who brought the Truth to us. I cannot think of a single visit he made but what the purpose of his coming was to give us a little more with which to prepare for the future. He never left any doubt but that the purpose for which he cane was to give us something to help prepare for Eternity. I have appreciated the provision he has also made for me in the Work. His attitude toward me was as David's toward his son: he knew his son was young and tender, and the work was great, and he did all he could to supply him with what he would be needing to carry on that work. I appreciate the fatherly, tender interest that Jack took in me, and in others of my younger fellowservants. So many times he went out of his way to counsel me, take me aside to correct or instruct me. In so many instances, he went beyond the call of duty to help me in this great work, and to fit me for the future. Like David, he prepared abundantly before his death.
I felt that if our brother could rise up and speak to us who follow in the Work, it would he the same message which Paul spoke to Timothy, 'Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.' The greatest responsibility of any soldier is to guard that which is committed to his trust. I pray for myself and for my fellowlaborers, that we will be good soldiers of Jesus Christ, carefully guarding and reverencing these things entrusted to us, that we will be able to hand them down unblemished to the generation following.
Sextet: 'Abide With Me'
Willie Jamieson: II Cor. 4:15-18; 5:1-10. This service this afternoon brings me both sadness and gladness. It brings sadness because of having lost perhaps the very best friend I have ever had in life, one that all the fifty years that I have known him had one purpose and desire toward this life of mine, and that is that he might impart to me something that would enable me in the hands of God to be a greater blessing to my fellowmen everywhere I went. To lose such a friend is losing almost everything that a man could desire in life. While we use the word 'lose', there seems to be a feeling coming into my soul today that Jack is closer to me than over he has been before. As long as I have the privilege of living this life of mine in this world, that presence of his will be by my side. The other feeling is that of extreme gladness as I think of what Jack has gone on to enjoy. I don't think it would be necessary for me to say any more about what he stood for and what he delighted in in life, and what he died for. Everyone of us who knew Jack knows that what my two brothers have said of him is absolutely true, from the first day we knew him until the other day when he said goodbye to us, and we to him.
I can't help this afternoon but look back to that Gospel call that we heard read about in his obituary, that took place in the year 1897. Jack was a very young man and like every other young man had prospects in his life and ambitions he wanted to fulfill. That call came from God Himself.
I don't know whether or not it might be good to refresh cur minds to this Eternal truth that God has planned for every man and woman that ever did live. The only reason that God created this universe is because He had this Eternal plan for every man and woman. What is that plan? I would like to take your thoughts back into Eternity before the world was created by God, and enable you by the help of the Spirit of God to picture God the Father and Christ the Son in Heaven, having fellowship with one another, and that fellowship with the Father was so wonderful and so sweet and so genuine, and His relationship with the Son brought Him so much joy and gladness, that He desired to have a great, big Family just like the One who was bringing Him so much joy. That is the reason that God created this universe. Out of the masses of humanity, God is looking for a few people that would allow Him to conform them to the image of Jesus, His only begotten and well beloved Son.
That is the reason that sixty years ago, this call came to our brother Jack as a young man. [Editor's Note: sixty years ago is 1897]God saw in that heart the qualities that would enable Him to start making him like His only begotten Son. He sent His servants to preach this everlasting Gospel to Jack and to his fellows in that little community. It is a wonderful thing that that young man was willing to respond to that call. He heard the voice of God unfolding to him that great, Eternal plan and purpose of God. His response to that call was, 'Whatever it means or costs, I mean to follow in the footsteps of this Son of God' . Six years later, the call came to labor in the harvest field, [Editor's Note: 1903-04] is and the wonderful privilege was afforded him of spreading this eternal Gospel to other men and women. He spent his life seeking to give the same example that Jesus gave--proving to men and women everywhere he went that when the power of Christ comes into a life, it breaks the power of the world, its wealth and pleasure.
The first association I had personally with our brother Jack was in San Luis Obispo fifty years ago. I remember things he said in that very first meeting which I shall never forget. Perhaps outwardly this afternoon I am what I am largely because of having heard that message fifty years ago from Jack's lips. That's one reason I can say that this is a service which brings me great gladness of soul--to look back over fifty years of having fellowship with a man like that, laboring by his side, suffering with him, praying with him, and sometimes having to weep with him. For the past ten days, I have been by his bedside, and watched that life steal from his body. I saw great physical suffering, but I knew perhaps as no other man that the physical suffering Jack was enduring was nothing compared to that I have seen him suffer in the dark hours of the night, thinking about souls that he loved who were not true as he wanted them to be true. If I wanted anything above anything else to prove that this was of God, one thing that convinces me of that fact is to go back to those hours of agony that he endured, and remember that something that lifted him above all of it. He could rise to have a message of hope and salvation to whomever he came into contact. I would feel that I have missed most everything that life offers to me had I missed the association which I am talking about -- men like our brother Jack, laboring by his side.
In these verses which I have read, there are mentioned three eternal things: (1) Unseen things which are eternal. (2) Eternal weight of glory. (3) Eternal house. I just wondered if we could picture our brother Jack as he has entered into these things which he will be enjoying forever. We heard a little while ago that when a man who is living for Christ dies, he is going home. I never saw a man afraid to go home or that didn't anticipate going home, or whose home going was not a wonderful event in his life.
There were sixteen fellowlaborers standing by that night, and we saw that face racked with pain and agony and distress. When the spark of life left that body, there seemed to steal over that countenance an expression of peace and joy and rest; the agony and suffering and pain was gone, and he was entering into a new life and experience. That is one reason that this service brings me a great gladness today. We don't know when we will be called to take that same step. When the Gospel call comes to you and me, it brings us into association with things that will never die.
I have often said that a million years from now you and I will be enjoying these eternal things in a fuller measure than we are today. I can't comprehend fully what is meant by 'eternal weight of glory'. I can understand in a little measure what Jack is enjoying, not because of any great thing he ever did, but because he accepted what God offered him and gave him freely and gladly in the life and death of His only begotten and well beloved Son. If you were to ask me if I am thankful and glad because these things were ever made a little bit real to me, I believe I could say that if I had a hundred lives to live, I would want every one of them to be lived for these eternal things. I would want to be true and faithful in living for them so that in the end that eternal weight of glory would be nine, and I would dwell in that eternal house not made with hands, built by God Himself, which is eternal in the heavens.
In a few minutes, each of us will be going out to our regular routine of life. I would like to take from this service something that will help me in the days that lie ahead not to be ashamed of the things I have been talking about this afternoon. A door has opened for our brother Jack that never opened before; it has opened into a fullness of life that he never knew before. There is no come back, no release, from that enjoyment. There is opened to you and me a door of opportunity and service which we have never entered before. It is our privilege and duty to stand for the things that Christ taught us through Jack and through others also, and to be true the one to the other. The last night that Jesus lived upon this earth, He told His disciples, ‘This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.’ Has this service put more of that love in you and me? If so, then we will be more able than ever before to follow that eternal plan which Christ came into this world to reveal to the hearts of men.
Let us ask ourselves a personal question: 'Is it worth my while any longer to live for those things which are fading and perishing and passing away, when I can be living for eternal things and earning for myself the right to that eternal weight of glory and the privilege of living in that eternal house forever and forever?' I ask myself the question: 'Are you fulfilling that plan and purpose in your life, or are you only talking about it?' It is a good thing to remember that very soon everything about us is going to perish and pass away. I'll soon be gone, and I consider it a wonderful, wonderful privilege while I still live to re-echo what our brother Jack and other servants of God have so often told us: that the only thing worthwhile to live for is that which will endure through the long, long ages of Eternity. I wish I could write upon your mind and heart the wonderful possibility and privilege that God is laying before us all--things Jack lived for, died for, and is enjoying today.
Prayer: Percy Barelli
Sextet: 'Lord, Grant Thy People Grace'
Organist: Evelyn Gerlund
Sextet: Marion MacPherson, Virginia Richmond, Viola Fridley, Irene Bement, Jim Wood, Lawrence Frank
Funeral Service for John T. Carroll
March 30, 1957
Hymn, “Peace, Perfect Peace” (No. 36, Leaflet), Ernest Nelson, Calvin Casselman, Rosetha Newman, Eileen Longley
Obituary (Read by Tharold Sylvester)
Tharold Sylvester: I would like to read just one verse this afternoon: Psalm 126:6, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” I feel that I can express my deep gratitude for the sacrifices of our brother, and what he has meant to me through the years, and I believe I can understand a little better what God told Joshua when He said, “Moses my servant is dead.” That was God’s obituary of Moses, put in five words.
The outstanding statement in this is, “My servant.” Moses truly was God’s servant. We read of Paul expressing himself as a servant of Christ, and we know that this was true. That is why this afternoon I feel that one of the greatest tributes that we can give our brother is to call him the servant of Christ. He truly was that. He has served long, willingly, faithfully, and untiringly. I don’t suppose it is necessary to remind you people of what he himself has told us so often of his first days, the days when he heard the gospel, when that gospel moved his heart and touched him and brought him to the place of true submission to Christ, when He said, “It is Christ for me,” he also said that other word, “forever.” Now he has proved that. That is why this afternoon as we are gathered here to pay our last respects to him, we are grateful for that sacrifice.
I believe we can put it this way, that he saw very clearly at the beginning that to believe Christ was to receive Christ, and he also saw that to receive Christ was to live Christ, and to live Christ was further more a privilege of following Christ. That is why in his own daily home life those first days, he followed Christ, and a few years later when had the privilege of going forth into the ministry, obeying that greatest of all commands, he also followed Christ there. The mark of a true servant is that they always want the will of the Master to be done.
You are familiar with what Jesus asked of His first disciples when He told them to “follow i.e.,” to make them apostles. We are glad for our brother’s vision that enabled him to see first of all the privilege of service, and the fields white unto harvest, and he gave himself – he started forth. That means making himself poor. He started that way, continued that way, and we are very, very grateful for that, but we are also very very grateful for the fact that he finished that way, and today he lies in another man’s coffin, he will be buried in another man’s grave. He maintained that mark of poverty and homelessness until the very end of his life. We are grateful for that, because he has given us a wonderful example of what Jesus lived and taught.
The world stumbles over the fact that they want to change Christ. Some change it one way, some change it another, and that is why we have the religious confusion in the world, but I believe he understood clearly from the very start that God wants to change lives. God did change Jack’s life. The love of God will always change lives, the power of God will always change our lives, the revelation of the Gospel will always change lives, and we are glad for what has been changed in his life, because today we are enjoying things that we would never have enjoyed if he had not made that first sacrifice. Can you just picture what it would have meant if Jack had said “no” when Christ called him? If he had lived for himself, gathered earthly things around him, could that have brought the living hope that we have today? That is why I will say this, we are grateful that when he was weighing up that cost, that choice, God was able to keep his vision clear and enable him to see what just one grain of wheat could produce.
I believe I can understand how he felt, because I faced the same things when I started out. I felt I didn’t have very much to sow, maybe just a few kernels of truth, but I wanted to sow them, and I believe he felt the same way, and as he sowed them God gave him more and more. I believe that we can say this afternoon to you people that you will value those seeds of truth planted in your hearts, planted from his own lips, and lovingly cared for by his own hands, and you will value them increasingly as the years pass. Don’t lose the vision of just one corn of wheat falling into the ground and dying. Remember that your life can be exactly the same thing. You can have a part in the greatest of all work to spread the glorious gospel of Christ. Seed sown should grow, shouldn’t it? I am glad that Jack lived long enough to not only see seeds springing up, but sheaves gathered – some that have already been gathered home. This came as the result of the corn of wheat falling into the ground, and dying.
The Scripture makes it very clear and plain that amongst them there will be some tares. We can’t hinder that – but no true servant of God will ever sow tares. We can say this afternoon that our brother didn’t sow that kind of seed. He was interested in planting a bountiful harvest to the glory of God. I am grateful that he didn’t give his life over to the pursuit of pleasures, or to any other earthly calling. I am grateful that he became as a corn of wheat, willing to fall into the ground and die that a harvest might be produced. We are enjoying today a great deal of what he has faithfully labored for.
A true servant always meets God’s terms. You know the terms on which He sent His apostles forth. Jack met those terms, and in doing that, God was able to give unto him a message, a glorious message. You have heard him speak about the message of Christ – that he became a risen, glorified, living Saviour. Isn’t that a glorious message? Isn’t that something that we appreciate? I can tell you this afternoon that you can never bury the Love of God. You can’t bury true righteousness, you can’t bury the power of God, and you can’t bury the life that God gave. That is why Christ Himself rose from the dead, rose not alone to go to Heaven but to dwell in every individual that makes a complete surrender to His will.
There is lots of need in my life for God to change me yet. I have found out through the years to whom I can go that that change might be wrought in me. That is the One that our brother has pointed us to so often. He didn’t preach himself, but he preached Christ, the power of God, the resurrection of life to enable us to enter into those things that are so precious and so real. I feel grateful that we have a glorious message, a message of resurrection. It is a message of death first, but it is also of resurrection. It is a thing that takes away the sting of death and is the promise of eternal life, the message of the resurrection.
With a glorious message, what about God’s method of carrying that message? Knowing your Old Testament, you know that the ark must always be borne upon men’s shoulders. There was a time when they made a new cart to carry it, and it ended in disaster. David said, “How shall the ark of God come to me?” When he found out how it was to be, he submitted, and when the ark was carried to its resting place it was borne upon men’s shoulders. I am grateful today that I have a little part in bearing the precious gospel. I want to keep before me God’s method.
Our brother Jack has often told us of the need of loving and serving as Christ served. That is still the standard, and as I go out from here, I hope that it might be with a definite purpose and consecration of my life to that standard, because there is just as much need today. We have the glorious message, but we have also given to us the method by which to carry it. When the messenger is right, the message is right, and the method is right, God can bless it, and that is why so many today are enjoying this.
Our brother has often told us that there are four things God’s people will enjoy forever. They will enjoy the Word of God. They love to read it today for the simple reason it comforts them, it instructs them, and it brings them into the place where their service can be acceptable. We love it today, and that is where we turn in our need, and in times of distress – to the Word of God. We will love it forever. Why? Will it not be a thrilling thing to hear the Word of God from the lips of the Son of God? Our brother has already entered there where the veil has been taken away. Now we see through a glass darkly, but for him that has been taken away.
Every child of God will love the Way of God – the way of escape from sin, bondage, and corruption, and they love the Way of God today – it is plain and clear. When you look back on first days, remember the first steps that became clear to you. Do you see it just as clearly today, or has your vision become dim? It is a time like this that can wipe away a lot of fog and mist, doubt, confusion, perplexity, and we can have our eyes lifted again to see the things that are eternal. God’s people will love the Way of God forever. They will walk in it there, because Rev. 7:17 tells us the Lamb will lead them unto living fountains of waters, He will feed them, comfort them, wipe away all tears from their eyes. Wonderful promises.
God’s people will love to do the Will of God. It is not easy for them to lay their own will aside. You must lay it down, that the will of God might be done. Is it worthwhile? Was it worthwhile for our brother to do God’s will? I believe there would be a hearty “Amen” from every heart. The children of God will love the fellowship of the people of God forever. A little foretaste of that is given to us now, but then we can have fellowship with God, with the people of God, with all the servants of God that have lived in the past. Isn’t that a wonderful possibility? Isn’t that a wonderful privilege, and don’t you want to enter into it more fully?
If our brother Jack could stand on this platform this afternoon, I believe he would encourage everyone to enter into a deeper death, a greater sacrifice, for His sake. Why? Because it is not in vain. We have a glorious message, a message of life. We have a wonderful example the example of the Son of God, and we are glad for those who have helped us to show us that, have clarified it for us, and have helped us to follow in the same way. I am thankful that Jack had the clearness of vision to choose right, courage to step out on the promises of God. I am grateful for his godly counsel, his wonderful example, his fellowship through the years, and I want to value this as I should, and put my best into His service.
Malcolm Graham: Since hearing that I was expected to have a little word in this service this afternoon, there is one verse that has been on my mind. This verse was spoken on by our brother at a meeting I was privileged to sit in. Usually when we think of some person, we think of something in connection with that person, and when I thought of our brother, there were many things I thought of, but this one that I am going to mention this afternoon seems to be outstanding to me because he put so much into one little sentence. Romans 8:29 “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren.” This is a verse familiar to all of us.
I have learned that even memorizing Scripture doesn’t reveal it to us. It is good to memorize, but even that doesn’t help us to get what we should out of it. Our brother helped me to get the meaning out of this verse in a truer sense than I had ever known before. Our brother read this verse, and then he told us this: God purposed, God planned, God predestinated, God arranged, that all His sons would be made like His Son. When He said that, I realized that that was putting the purpose of God in one sentence. God planned that every child of His would be made like His Son now. Our brother fed on Christ, he thought about Christ, he spoke about Christ, and over and over, again he would open little thoughts to us that made what was dark to us, simple, like this verse that I just mentioned.
The reason that he meant so much to me was that every time I met him, he passed on some little thought about Christ that I had failed to grasp, little thoughts that he had received because of feeding on Christ, because of making room for Christ, and because of seeking to bring Christ to others. It was the theme of his life every day, and because of that, he wanted others to partake of these things, that they might have the joy that he had himself.
Eccl. 7:1 “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” A good name doesn’t mean just what we are called by. A good name is what we are, how we live, how we act, what we do and God, using His servant in those days as He does today, said, “a good name is better than precious ointment: He sought to do good, he tried to encourage others to do the right thing because he had a vision of the beyond. He realized that if we didn’t do right now, we couldn’t be rewarded for it. Jesus said that to some will be said: Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
I couldn’t expect the judge of all the earth to say “well done” if I am not doing well now, if I am not seeking to do the right thing now. When I thought of our brother, he realized that it was necessary to do the right thing and to be the right thing so that he could encourage others to do it. The Son of God – the example of God in His Son – made this very clear, that the day of His death was much better than the day of His birth, and as we allow God to work in our hearts, then the day of our death will be better than the day of our birth. Jesus was born into a world of sin, of pain, disappointment and sorrow, just the same as we are. When He left this world it was better, because there was none of that where He was going.
I like to read the words of Jesus on the last night of His life, in John 14. He wanted them to believe what God had said, and then accept what God had given, so that when the end would come, they would have something to go on to. The disciples were feeling the pain of parting with One who was so dear to them --- like we are. He said, “If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father.” When I think of our brother, I am going to miss him perhaps more than most of you, because of the many things we shared together – we rejoiced together, we wept together, but like Jesus said, “If ye loved Me, you would rejoice because I am going to my Father.”
I think of the words of Paul, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” We are glad that our brother lived so that death was gain. Death was a reward for him. The day of his death was better than the day of his birth. Because of that we rejoice, and because he has gone on to his reward. It is an inspiration to us to think of his faithful life, his love and zeal for God’s truth, and for God’s people. I hope that as we are gathered here in honor of him, it will cause us to ask ourselves, “What are we living for?” What are we putting into it that can give us the assurance that death will be gain for us? May we do our best for His Name’s sake.
Hymn, “Oh how perplexing Life Would Be” (No. 82)
Willie Jamieson: II Corinthians 4:18, 5:1-10. It isn’t at any time an easy thing for those of us who are workers to have any funeral service, but in one sense this service is different to any other that I have had the opportunity of attending. The one to whom we are paying our last respects upon this earth, I have known for exactly fifty years, and all during those fifty years, I have been closely associated with him in almost every line of service pertaining to this wonderful Kingdom of God, and if you were to ask me what I know about Jack, it would take me a long time to tell it all, but I can put it simply in this little sentence, that everything that I knew of Jack encouraged me to put the most that I had into the service of Jesus Christ, and much of what I rejoice in, I can attribute to my association with our brother.
It has been mentioned already in the meeting here, that sixty years ago, in the country of Ireland, Jack heard the Gospel message, and it had an appeal to his own heart that enabled him to turn his back on everything that he had hoped to attain in this world as a young man. A time like this always brings me face to face once again with this great eternal plan that God has for men and women of all ages and nationalities, and I am very thankful to know that this plan never changes, it is the same today as it has ever been. Thousands of years before the world was ever made, this was God’s plan. What you and I enjoy is what has been in the mind and will of God for countless ages of Eternity before this world was ever made, and will be the plan of God through the countless ages of Eternity.
Isn’t it a wonderful thing that sixty years ago in Ireland God’s eyes were looking down upon the life of a young man, and God saw that in that heart there was a purpose to do that which was right, and He gave to that young man the opportunity and privilege of hearing that everlasting Gospel that calls a person from the power of sin and death and darkness and brings them into this wonderful fellowship and family of God.
I thank God for that call that came sixty years ago to our brother. Six years later he heard another call from God of Heaven, to leave his home, his mother, his business, all his friends, to go out into the world as Christ’s servants have always gone into the world – homeless, poor, forsaken, mistreated, misunderstood by the world. Fifty-three years ago that call came to Jack. He said, “Lord here am I, I am willing for whatever it may mean or cost to be Your true servant, and in weakness, fear, and trembling, he was led out into the great harvest field, and God began to sow that life of his as a corn of wheat, dying every day. Right to the very last day of his life, that death was still working there – that willingness to be a nobody, so that Christ’s life might be planted in the lives of men and women. We are not glorifying Jack for that, we are glorifying God that called him, and continued His work in his life.
I had a letter from him saying, “I would like you to come and see me, but I don’t want you to come for a few more weeks.” I stayed two weeks, but every message I got assured me of the fact that if I didn’t go soon, I might be too late. He wasn’t able to talk very much to me, but everything he said to me during those days was in connection with the Kingdom of God. One of the last audible things he said to me was, “I wonder who it will be right to send to a certain convention this summer.” That was the last message that I got from our brother. There were a few other words, always in connection with the Kingdom. I went away to attend a special meeting, and returned as soon as possible. The first thing he asked me was, “How did the meetings go?”
There was death working in that man to the very last of his life. Death for the Kingdom’s sake, sacrifice, self-denial, separation from all that other men and women are living for today. All those things, I said, “What a wonderful life it is to live as a servant of God, to see what it brings into a person’s life at an end.” There was a man who lived in the same city, 84 years of age, and almost every day that old man came, but never came empty-handed, but always came with some fruit or something. He was almost afraid to go out into the street lest he would drop dead, but he said, “I have never yet seen the bride that was not looking forward to meeting her bridegroom, and even if I have to drop dead on the street, I am thankful for the privilege of being associated with a man of God, a servant of God like Jack has been.”
After we had had our supper on Monday night, many of the workers gathered in. I went up to his room as usual to see how he was and it came to me, maybe tonight will be his last. As I sat there I took him by the hand, and I took his pulse. I held his hand there for hours, and I felt that pulse getting weaker, and with each breath I wondered if that was the last. I felt we should send word to all the workers in that area, and in less than half an hour, sixteen of Jack’s fellow-servants were sitting or standing around that deathbed, almost in adoration, as they watched that life struggling to stay in that body. Then there came the last gasp of breath, and his face was racked in torture because of the pain that he was enduring, but after that last breath there came onto Jack’s face the expression of an angel. You will see that expression today as you pass by the coffin. All that weakness and anxiety passed away.
The peace that passeth all understanding was stamped upon that countenance, and Jack went home to meet his God and to enjoy the reward of a faithful, true, consecrated life. “All things are for your sakes.” Can you picture this in that sense this afternoon?” “That the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.” Do you feel that God is interested in a gathering like this, and rejoicing in the fact that in this 20 th century He can call men and women away from all the ways of life to pour out their lives for the sake of others?
We had a service in Oakland, and when we went to pay the funeral director, he said, “we consider it a privilege and a pleasure to serve such people as we have been serving. Mr. Carroll must really have been a disciple of Jesus. He was never married was he, never had a home of his own, and if he had, he could never have gathered around him so many loving friends that we have seen today.” Do you think it is in vain? God doesn’t. God rejoices that a company of people are here today such as this to pay their last respects to one that they love more than anyone else in all the earth. This has taken place that God might be glorified.
Hymn, “Lord Grant My Life May Be
Sung by 123 workers present.
Prayer, Charlie Krub
Paul began to speak about eternal things. An eternal weight of glory, an eternal house built by God. I would just like to say this afternoon that it would be good for me and for you to ask ourselves, “Am I putting all that I can and all that I am into this glorious gospel work today? Do I know anything about living for those eternal things? Am I looking at eternal things, or am I looking at these temporal things? I thank God that He has put a desire in my heart to make these things my own. Eternal weight of glory. Is it worthwhile? I think so. There was no uncertainty in Paul’s mind. “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
I would like you to concentrate a little while upon that house made by God. It is not made with hands – the house that we are going to live in forever. Only God can build that house. God is building that house in your heart and life. We shall all appear before the judgement seat of Christ. We can picture our brother this afternoon having entered into this, the fulfillment of it, rejoicing in that body, that house not made with hands, and rejoicing in the thought that forever and forever that is going to be his because for sixty years he separated himself, denied himself, laid his life upon God’s altar and kept it there, and now he is receiving from God the deeds done in his body.
If I had nothing more to make Heaven, for me than just the association with the noble men and women I have known, it would be worthwhile. I think of Jack having fellowship with men like John Vint, with Mrs. Silvernail and Lester, and many many others. Do you think there is any regret or sorrow in his heart because he heeded the first call, and then the second call, and kept true to those calls to the end of his life? It was a wonderful thing to me to think that this man that I had labored beside for fifty years was dying in another man’s home, what an honor it is that he has been laid in another man’s coffin, and that we will lay away his last remains in another man’s grave. Could you want anything else more like his Master?
These are the things that enrich this Kingdom, that hold it together, that make it worthwhile, and these are the things that are going to help us to carry on in the future. Some may wonder what will happen to this because Jack is gone. This Kingdom doesn’t belong to Jack. God chose him and called him and used him, but this is still God’s Kingdom. If all of us here today were to die, it wouldn’t change God’s Kingdom, God’s Family, God’s Way. We have the privilege of being true to this that has meant so much all these years that we have known it. There is the necessity of being true and loyal to one another. Jesus prayed that we all might be one. If I am criticizing you in the presence of someone else, I am not making it easier for that one to love you as God wants them to.
We need to take a firm and true hold, and pray that by the grace of God and help of God that we will be firmer and stronger and more steadfast than ever before. We will be so close together that all the forces of the enemy will just fall off like water falls off a duck’s back. What has happened this last week will not scatter or separate us, it will bind us closer together. It will make us long and pray and labor as we have never done before. I am so thankful that in my little short lifetime, I have had the privilege of being a fellow-laborer with Jack Carroll and I wouldn’t care if all the world heard me say that.
I hope that God will find in all our hearts a purpose and desire to be true to Him and to be grateful to Him for such a wonderful salvation as was manifested in the life of Jesus and also in the life of our brother that we are paying our last respects to this afternoon. I want to re-dedicate my life and consecrate my life in a fuller measure, so that the few remaining years of my life will be spent in such a manner that God may smile upon it, that I would have the privilege of dying in another man’s home, of being laid in another man’s grave, to keep true and faithful to God to the very end.
Prayer, Reuben Bennett. Hymn, “Lord Grant Thy People Grace (No. 13)
Pall Bearers: Oliver Barene, Niels Jorgenson, Dale Bors, Bob Ingram, Jack …?
Photo of Jack's Tombstone
Buried in Fir-Conway Lutheran Cemetery, Mount Vernon, WA, located on the same road and down about a 1/2 mile from the Milltown Convention. Tombstone reads: "John T. Carroll - Born in Ireland - 1878-1957 - A Servant of Christ - He being dead yet speaketh Heb 11:4. " Many other workers are buried in this same cemetery.
Editor's Note: W.C.C. are the initials of William (Bill) Charles Carroll
You will remember our previous gatherings on Sunday evenings, that we had a little Bible reading on "Helps" and "Foundations;" and to-night I thought of drawing your attention to "Ministry."
“Minister” of course, means servant, and Christ's servants are called “ministers” in the New Testament, but we first read of ministers set apart to the Word of God in the 28th chapter of Exodus, and previous to that time of course you who are acquainted with your Bibles know that worship of God and His service is largely carried out, in fact altogether carried out, in the homes of His people wherever that might be, in tents or other places more secure, but we cannot help being struck in reading the Bible with the progressiveness of God's truth, leading from one stage to another until it comes to the consummation of all things. One would almost regret that the scenes that we have put before us in the Book of Genesis would not continue as God's way of service, and work, but while there are many noble characters there depicted, yet there seems to be inherent in the ways of men in their relationship with God, something that was corrupting and that could not continue, that state of affairs under patriarchal worship could not continue, they served their purpose and the Bible passes on.
We read then in the 28th chapter of Exodus that Moses was instructed by God to set apart certain men for His particular service. It says in the 1st verse "And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons. And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt speak unto all that are wisehearted whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office."
Just to briefly dwell upon this for a few moments, we know that in God's mind in declaring His counsel after this manner He had in view its fulfilment in the life and death and resurrection and present position of His dear Son. The only way in which we can appreciate and value the Old Testament is seeing it leading on to that full consummation of God's truth in Jesus, and when we read of these men being set apart, we know they are just typical men, it was never intended to continue for all time and eternity, it would serve its purpose in bringing to the remembrance of the children of Israel and to ourselves the wondrous way in which God's truth has unfolded itself in types and shadows and figures, so this portion has to deal with Christ and His people.
Aaron, high priest of Israel, of course represents Jesus, our High Priest, and He was set apart. Aaron was set apart by his office, and by his garments, from his sons - they had a different office from their father, and he had an office belonging to only himself, the glorious garments that were upon him distinguished him. As he entered into the Holy Place once a year with the sin offering and with the names of the children of Israel upon his breast and upon his shoulder; this just typified what we hardly dare to believe that Christ in the presence of God for us bears upon His heart and upon His shoulders the responsibility, His people before God. I sometimes marvel at the unbelief that will creep into one’s mind, and how one will take for granted these wondrous truths. If we look at things as men look at them to-day, the world's business and the world's work is the most important thing in the minds of the vast majority of men, religion may be tacked on as something that should be in a well ordered life, but the Bible insists that the principal occupation of the Lord's people is His service and His work, and unless saints and servants recognise that and devote themselves wholeheartedly to His work, even to becoming singular amongst men, they are missing the mark, they are losing out, they are in danger of being engulfed by the waters, the ever present waves of this world.
We see in these sons of Aaron representatives of ourselves, the Lord's people. Aaron and his sons, Jesus and His people; and in looking into what happened afterwards in connection with these men we can take warning. Aaron did not fail, but two of these men failed utterly. We read in the 10th chapter of Leviticus what happened to fifty per cent of these sons of Aaron. "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censor and put fire therein and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not, and there went out fire from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord."
In the previous chapter or so they had been consecrated to this great office of being God's ministers amongst His people. They had a week of service, or rather they had a week of consecration and a day of service, and then this dreadful calamity happened them. We are not to be shocked or troubled that there are failures amongst God's people. In all ages. even amongst those that had the very highest privileges, and the greatest opportunities as these men had there were failures.
We read in that chapter, if we had time to look into it, that the Lord commanded Moses that the priests were not to take wine or strong drink when they entered into the tabernacle of the congregation to serve, and undoubtedly that was the cause of these men's failure, they took strong drink, and we know that the Nazarite was commanded neither to take wine nor strong drink. Well we may not indulge in wine or strong drink in the natural sense, but men sometimes get puffed up, get conceited, get high-minded, get full of their own importance, and their own value, and it acts upon them as strong drink, they are intoxicated with their own vanities, and as a result offer strange fire before the Lord, which the Lord has not commanded.
In the previous chapter, the closing verse, it says "That fire came down upon the altar and consumed the sacrifice that had been made, and the people shouted and fell on their faces," so that was the demonstration of God's acceptance of the sacrifice that had been made by Moses, by Aaron and by his Sons, until this calamity overtook them.
They offered strange fire, they went out of the way to be defiant to God's instructions, as to the way in which His service should be conducted, and when you find people offering something through self will and their own ideas, following up their own plans in the service of God, it just amounts to the same great sin of offering strange fire before
the Lord to-day and the judgment upon that, is death. "They died before the Lord." We read that it is referred to again in the 3 rd chapter of Numbers. “These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests which were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest's office, and Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord, when they offered strange fire before the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children." It is a very significant thing that the testimony of God ceased with them, there was no productiveness, there could be no results, there was no one to follow on except the memory of their dreadful sin in taking their own way and having their own ideas, rather than being humbly obedient to the revelation of God through his servants Moses, and Aaron. They had no children and were forgotten, and Eleazar and Ithamar then ministered in the priest's office in the sight of Aaron their father. They were true to the revelation that had been already given to them.
The meaning of Eleazar I understand is "Help from God," and Ithamar, "The land of the palm," so these two who endured to the end and had the victory and were trusted by God In their holy office, were men that were in utter dependence upon God. When you find a man in dependence upon God to help Him, in himself he knows he is nothing. Paul could say "In my flesh there dwelleth no good thing," he knew himself, he knew his limitations, he knew his weakness, and his frailty, and his strong fortress was "help from God," "Having obtained help from God, we continue to this day." Ithamar then, dwelling in the land of the palm is like a palm tree in the desert which affords shelter and gives food which has its life from within, and God expects His people to be able to afford shelter and give food to the weary traveller and to draw upon the life that is within, from God. Well that is in the Old Testament, and we will now just look at one or two cases of ministry in the New Testament.
These portions that I have referred to in the Old Testament were applied to the Lord's people generally, but the priesthood in that separate office would apply particularly, I think, to the Lord's servants, so we must see what ministry is mentioned in the Yew Testament in connection with the Lord's saints and the Lord's people.
We read in Matthew 8:14 and 15, "And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever, and He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she arose and ministered unto them." That is a very nice little episode in the life of the Master. We read that He went about healing everywhere. His influence was to heal, and to help, and when He came into that fever-stricken home, there was a poor soul there tossing upon her bed, burning up with fever, and the touch of Jesus drove the fever away.
Well it was a natural happening, which also has a spiritual significance. It is when we touch the Saviour, when we come into contact with life, life is begotten in us, and the fever of life is a thing of the past, and you are now able to minister as this woman did. I hope that you have some experience of this, that you are now in spiritual health, and spiritual comfort of mind through having been in contact with our Lord and Master to-day as you worshipped Him.
In Luke's Gospel, we read of "ministry" again in the 8th chapter, "And it came to pass afterward that He went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the Kingdom of God, and the twelve were with Him." We read in Mark’s Gospel I think, that "out of His disciples He chose twelve that they might be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach." The most important thing in the view of the Maker of this world that we live in, was that men could be called from their daily toil in the affairs of this life, that they might be 'with Him,' and that He might send them forth to preach. You are here to-night because that call was obeyed by some soul, somewhere, some time; but it is of the 'ministry' that is spoken of here in Luke 8 we wish to speak, "And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits, and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, and Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna and many others, which ministered unto Him of their substance." So it was quite a little company that toured around Galilee and Judaea, twelve men and Jesus and these women, large hearted Godly women, that continued with them, and were with them in their journeys, that they might minister to them, so that the twelve might have freedom of time and opportunity to do the preaching that had been given to their trust, and these women ministered unto them of their substance.
What a different scene it is that we have here to the ways in which the work of God has been attempted to be done through the ages! The hireling and his wages, and his supporters, presents a very different scene, and sometimes we forget that our chiefest enemy is the false prophet in the false way, and that all relies of that in us, or belonging to us, must be cut off if we are to follow faithfully in the footsteps of the Master, and be content with the provision that God makes for us in the way He made provision for His dear Son and the twelve men that were with Him. Thank God the last thing we have to speak of is this provision. It is there and we are content. The cattle on a thousand hills are our Father's and if we do His work faithfully and well according to His mind and plan, and minister in the priest's office as the Lord has commanded us, there will be children born into His family that will name the name of Jesus, with sincerity, and become in their turn ministers of His truth.
It is very significant that there was a cessation of God's work in the short testimony that Nadab and Abihu bore; just a week and it was all over, nothing left, nothing but a dreadful account of their sin. Well I think it ought to cheer the Lord's people here to-night to know how to gauge their standing and their love, and what they are living for, by testing what they have in the light of what Peter's wife's mother did, ministering in natural things undoubtedly, at that time, and in spiritual things also to Jesus and His disciples, and in this portion also that women in a very good position some of them, for I think that the wife of Chuza would be a rather important person, and yet she was willing to leave her home and the surroundings of her home in order that she might be useful in helping in the Lord's Work, not leaving her home permanently, but just for the time as they journeyed through Galilee, bearing this first witness that Jesus bore with His disciples.
Again as to the ministry of His servants we read in the 4th of II Corinthians, Paul uses the word "therefore," that he is so fond of using when he has raised a point and wishes to drive it home effectively, "Therefore seeing we have this ministry." Do you look upon it as your greatest privilege to have this ministry, as saint or servant, to be called to do something for God, to let the world go by, if it will, and its ways, and its people if they will, and recognize yourself as one of God's princes, and people in the world, belonging to the Kingdom which cannot be moved or shaken, the ever lasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. “We have this ministry, as we have received mercy we faint not.” Probably we all experience fainting fits by the way, are conscious of a weakness; some of us were complaining last week of finding our knees feeble as the result of the heat and other things, and feebleness of the knees is spoken of in the 12th chapter of Hebrews, "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees," but to experience that spiritually is a very trying experience.
"We faint not, because we have obtained mercy," because we have a goodly heritage, because we know Him in whom we have believed, and here in the 2nd verse it says, "We have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience, in the sight of God. But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake."
So there you have the equipment of a true minister, what he should be, what he should aim at, and the message that he brings by the Gospel. Renounced are the hidden things of dishonesty. It is a very terrible thing to be dishonest in the things of God; it would be better for a man to have a mill stone tied around his neck and cast into the depths of the sea than that he should persist in a course of dishonesty in the things of God, walking in craftiness, always scheming as to how it will affect himself, how his conduct will affect himself, how he will surround himself with people who are like-minded and according to his own idea of things, gathering a company.
Paul knew all about some that were walking in craftiness and handling the word of God deceitfully, applying the word of God to that which God never intended it to apply to. I have heard of some applying the truth that was entirely applicable to God's servants to themselves, but it only shows the blindness and ignorance of their minds, and how little they knew of the Holy Spirit's guidance in the declaration of His truth.
"Commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God." If a man does right, speaks right, and is true with his brother and neighbour, he must commend himself to every man's conscience in the sight of God. Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and you cannot bring the two together, and if the Gospel is hid, it is hid because they are lost. If a man does not see as you see as the servant of God and as the medium whereof His truth is to be declared in the world, if he cannot see, it is because he is blind, it is hid from him because he is lost. He pursues another way, another idea, and takes his own way and burns strange fire before the Lord. The god of this world has power to blind and deceive to-day as he had in days gone by.
"Then, we preach not ourselves." We do not wish to exalt ourselves or our own name. That was the lamentable and dreadful sin of Edward Cooney. We had to come to the definite belief after many years of patience that he preached himself. His message was to exalt his own name, which has been put upon God's people and which God's people reject and resent. "We preach Christ Jesus the Lord and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake.” You ministers for Christ’s sake; why am I here, why are these brothers here, why are these sisters here, because we want to be your servants for Jesus’ sake.
Well, then, just to pass on and not keep you too long, let us read his instruction to Timothy in II Timothy 4:4-5: “Watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” The way in which we make proof of our ministry is that we are watchmen, on the walls of Jerusalem, for the good of God's people, watching in all things, dealing with difficulties as they come, not just pleasing men, or pleasing any company of men, but faithful to the trust that God has reposed, not accepting bribes, Samuel said he accepted no bribe, and people could bribe you, could bribe you with hospitality, and bribe you with money, if you were open to it, try to gain favour in many ways, people that are wrong, and it is necessary for God's servant to be watchful in all things, and endure afflictions, and at the same time do the work of an evangelist. The safety of the Lord's servants is that they continue to do the work of an evangelist, as long as God gives them strength, to endeavour with all their might and main to proclaim that message that brings peace.
Then in Colossians, just a word concerning the ministry in the 17th verse of the 4th chapter, "And say to Archippus, take heed to the ministry which thou has received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it." This man is spoken of in the little Epistle to Philemon, and he is spoken of as a fellow soldier, and here again he is mentioned, and you would almost think that there was a little feeling in the mind of the apostle of him not being just as hearty as he had been in the past; there is a little indication that there was a drawing back from that full consecration of doing the work of an evangelist that had been the mark of him when he was Paul's fellow soldier, and he gives him that kindly little hint, “Say to Archippus, take heed to the ministry which thou hast received of the Lord, that thou fulfil it," and with that little verse I will just close to-night hoping that our thoughts on the ministry may have helped us to do what we can, where and when we can for Him who hath called us out of darkness unto His marvellous Light. Amen.
My father and mother made no profession of being Christians, but they taught us to take an interest in our home. We loved our father and mother and we loved home. We were interested in all that they were interested in. If there was to be a new carpet or piece of furniture to be purchased, we were all interested and consulted. If the rooms were to be re-papered, we all searched the big sample book and our choice was considered. I can remember well the home being re-papered on one occasion, and every friend who came to see us for weeks would be taken by father to every room in the house to show him or her the new paper, and 5 or 6 of us kids at his heels, enjoying it all and sharing in father's pride. This may be a very small thing, but the memory is sweet to me today. It was this sense of partnership that made home, home to us in those days, and made it harder to face leaving it all and going out into the world to fight our own battles. One of the purposes I had in my mind when leaving home was to provide a home, a real home for my father and mother in their old age.
I am sure there is no one more glad than I am to be back here in San Diego convention. My brother Jack (Carroll) and I and a younger worker came to San Diego for the first time in the beginning of 1922, and I have been here off and on since that time. It is a good many years since I was here for convention, though I was here for special meetings about a year and a half ago.
When we think of all the goodness of God and what He has been to us as His servants, and what He is willing to be unto us as His people today, our hearts are comforted as we come together here. I believe that is the Lord’s purpose.
I have thought much lately of God’s providence, and how He has worked in all our lives. I know as I look back upon my own life, I can see how in my earliest childhood God dealt with my young heart. I am glad I was brought up in a home where our parents taught us to have a reverence for God and the things of God. I believe that is why at an early age I longed to know God.
My mother had taught us a little prayer that most children are taught—This night when I lie down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Then we would remember our father and mother, and our brothers and sisters. That used to put a fear in my young heart, lest I should die before I would wake.
When I was eight years old my sister, May (Carroll), and I happened to be away from home for one summer. A man came around giving out tracts, and he gave me a card that had a prayer on it. Then I added that prayer to the one I already knew. Then a little later, when I was eleven or twelve years old, I added the Lord’s prayer. I am glad that little by little my heart grew softer toward God and the things of God.
When I was thirteen our loved father was called from time into eternity. As any of you who have had the same loss know, that meant very deep sorrow for us. I had one sister younger than myself and there were four in the family who were older. I believe God at that time caused us to realize as never before the reality of life, the reality of death, and the reality of eternity. Though I was only thirteen, I had some very serious thoughts about these things and I longed to know God.
The day of the funeral a Roman Catholic neighbour took me on her lap and tried to comfort me. She said, "You will meet your father in heaven." I did not answer her, because I felt I did not know God; but I longed to know Him. Nine months later we heard of some Gospel meetings being held in the little town of Nenagh. My brother, Jack, was in business there, and we wondered why he was writing home as he did. My sister, May, was there, too. Many of you know both of them.
May, a girl of seventeen, came home for two weeks’ vacation. While she was at home, we were at the dinner table one day and she said to my older brother, "When I go back to Nenagh, all of the young people will have turned good." My brother said, "Well, there is one thing sure; I am going to hell." She turned and said, "Well, you will have company." I heard her tell afterwards how condemned she was after saying that, for she was not only going to a lost eternity herself, but bringing him with her.
She had attended the meetings for two weeks before she left for her vacation. When she went back on the last night of the mission, one of the workers sang, "Life at best is very brief, like the falling of a leaf, like the binding of a sheaf;" and she made her choice that night. As we read in the Scripture the rest of us, as a family, would hear the same message of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, as was spoken to them and it was something we had never heard before.
My brother had tried to do his best. When he left home at fourteen to serve his time in business for four years, he had promised my father that he would go to church. My father was very anxious that his boys would do right. He would not allow playing cards in the home lest his boys would turn to gambling.
Jack was having his vacation and one of the workers (probably William Irvine) came with him to our home, because he was taking him to Scotland for his vacation (the Bicycle Trip). When he came to our home we saw he was different to any preacher we had ever met. We were accustomed to the Episcopalian (Church of Ireland) preacher visiting us once or twice a year, but that was all. When the meetings began, the little hall was crowded with people night after night, and the way of salvation was explained to us as we had never heard it before. It was spoken of as a life within. We were told that we needed to be born of the Spirit of God. I don’t know how it happened, but I had never heard that was necessary.
One night the meeting was tested. I was sitting beside a school companion and my sister, and we were asked if we were willing, no matter what it meant or cost, to yield to the claims of God, and allow Christ to come in to dwell in our lives and be our Lord and Master and Saviour. I stood to my feet and purposed in my heart I would be willing no matter what it would mean or cost.
In that neighbourhood at that time it seemed there were more young people in their late teens and early twenties than there had been for a long time. There were whole families who made their choice to serve God. The meetings only lasted for three weeks, but fourteen workers went out of that mission. Some have gone on to their reward. A very few did not continue, but the majority continued in the great harvest field and are today in different parts of the world.
Not many who professed at that time are left, but the work goes on, and it is going on even unto the ends of the earth. Some time after we professed of course we were tried and tested, but what joy and gladness we had when we came together to have our meetings. I remember on a Wednesday night we came together in a little hall. It had a concrete floor and it was very cold, but we paid no attention to that. We knelt on that concrete floor for an hour sometimes. It was not repetitions we prayed. Our hearts were so overflowing with joy and love for God that it was a real foundation to us as we got older and faced other experiences.
Three months after I professed I went to a boarding school where there were fifty girls. I am glad for the experience of even leaving home and being with strangers. I was tested, but I am glad that I was able to even stand on my feet when I had no meetings, when I did not have the help of others.
When I returned home for vacations I remember how my older brother and I used to pray together. He was a great help to me. I felt I needed to learn more of the Scriptures. As I think back, I am glad for that today.
I got about six or seven of the girls at school to decide. My first converts never amounted to very much, but it was good for me to make known my purpose even to those young people. I have asked some young people if they didn’t give their testimony in High School. They said they didn’t. I was ashamed to think they had not spoken to others there, because often there are those who want to hear and know. We cannot see what is in the hearts of other people. We are responsible for giving a reason for the hope that is within us, with meekness and fear.
After I left that school we went to live in the City of Dublin. I was a little more tested there. We had two business places and we were kept busy. We didn’t think anything of working from seven in the morning until seven at night. As time went on there were quite a few young people professed in that city, and in the evenings we would go out riding on the country roads on our bicycles. I did that for some time, and then I found I wasn’t giving time to reading and praying and I began to feel guilty about it.
I went to spend one week end with my married brother and his wife. They used to read and pray together, and on this morning my brother said to me, "You pray." We knelt and knelt, and I could not pray. I knew I had not been giving God His time in my life. I felt that time we knelt was nearly an hour, but it wasn’t too long. Neither of them prayed, and we got up from our knees. My brother put his arms on my shoulders and looked into my face, but he said nothing. Then I vowed in my heart I would give more time to these things. I believe that was a milestone in my life.
A short time after that we were coming from a meeting one night and an
older worker said to me, "Have you ever thought of going in the work?"
I said, "Yes, I had."
He said, "There will be an opening for you, perhaps at the beginning of the year."
I said, "Well, Jack is thinking of going too. If both of us leave, what would my mother do? She being a widow, who would take care of her?"
He said, "Oh, Jack will be able to go, too."
At Christmas time Jack and I went to the City of Belfast to Special Meetings. Those meetings were tested to see how many would go in the work, and several said they would. We were amongst them. Tom Lyness was another. Sam Jones, who wrote so many of our hymns, was another. The weeks went by, and things worked out so that Jack and I left about the same time. I left February 11, 1904, and Jack left February 14.
I was with two sister workers in the County of Armagh. One of them has gone home to heaven. The other is still living, and even in her old age is seeking to do the little part she can do; and that is Dora Holland. Then I went to say good-bye to my brother, Jack, who was having a mission. We got there on a pouring wet Sunday night, but the place was packed with people. The meetings were held in a loft over a stable, and there were only planks up to it. The people sat on benches without backs, but they were anxious to hear.
Then I went with the first companion I had been with to England. My sister, May, was in Suffolk, England. We started meetings in different places. We started first of all in a Methodist Church building, and in two weeks’ time the preacher came and ended it. Then we went to the country, and I am glad we met some seeking souls there. There were six in one family, who made their choice, as well as another young man.
The very week they professed, we were tested sore. We had nothing to eat. We went out one afternoon to visit, though we weren’t able for it. We were weak, but it didn’t bother us because our hearts were filled with love and gratitude to the Lord for giving us the hearts of some hungry souls. My companion was only in the work a year and a half at that time, and I had only been in it a short time.
I went to the Post Office and received there a letter from Willie Gill. He was the first from the mission we had professed in to go into the Lord’s harvest field, and in the letter he had sent us help. I went back to my companion and told her, and then I went down to the store and got some tea and other things. That was very little in comparison with getting personally acquainted with some in that family who then ministered to our needs.
Then in 1905 many workers, over sixty of them, left for overseas. I would like to see over sixty leaving California and even going overseas for the Gospel’s sake because of what it has meant in this country, in Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and other places. When we think of the goodness of God in giving us this wonderful privilege of going even to the ends of the earth with the everlasting Gospel, we realize we have everything on our side.
When we went, we went in weakness and fear and much trembling. I heard about a young man whose mother and other relatives tried to get him to give up this way and the work. He said to his mother, "To see one man or woman whose life God is able to change is worth a life time." I hope that mother does not forget the words of that boy, her only child. She did not understand very much. As I said to him once, "You can pray for your mother and have hope that even yet she may turn to the One Who alone can satisfy her heart."
I told him about our brother, Eddie Cornock. The day he left to go in the work it was snowing. His mother came to the bedroom where he was packing his few things in his suitcase. She said, "Eddie, I would rather see this snow falling on your grave than see you doing what you are doing." Inside two years she also submitted to the claims of God upon her life, and he had the joy of having fellowship with her for many years; and he was with her at her death-bed. We have to face these things.
My mother was living when I left for New Zealand in 1905. The night I left I went upstairs and my mother came up after me. She took me in her arms and wept. Then she took out her handkerchief and said, "I must not make it too hard for you." Afterwards as I thought of those words, they wrung my heart.
It was me she was thinking of, not her self. She came to the boat to see me off as I left at 9 o’clock that night. Willie Gill was the only worker there, and he came from Scotland.
I stood there alone on the boat, and we crossed to England in four and a half hours. Then I met the other workers who were going with me. We arrived in London the next morning and got on the ship, and we sailed that afternoon. When I saw that big old gangplank being taken down something happened. I had kept up while I was in my home for the sake of my mother and sisters, but when the gangplank came down I went around the other side of the ship to be by myself.
There were eight workers going to South Africa at this time. One of the older ones, Mary Moody, came around to comfort me. I wanted to be alone, but I appreciated her kindness to me. It was three weeks’ journey from London to Cape Town, and eight workers got off there. When I was in Australia recently I was happy to meet a worker from Africa. She was Irish - from County Cork. She went to that part at 62 years of age, and told us about learning the language. In a year’s time she was able to speak it at convention. She said she had shed many bitter tears over learning that language.
You should not forget those who are struggling to learn another language, because it is hard, nerve-wracking work. It means a great deal and I sympathize with you who are doing it. We did not have to do this, because we were going to a British Colony, but going to a land where you do not understand a word the people are saying takes courage.
People who have come here from Europe have grit and courage. They are the backbone of this land today, and this generation should learn much from them. They should not be so pampered and even selfish, thinking of themselves and themselves only and not considering others, especially those who are out in God’s great harvest field.
I do not tell you these things to discourage anyone from going forth into the harvest field. It is the greatest privilege any person can have. Eternity alone will reveal what it can mean. We have the everlasting Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, which has been the same from the beginning. It has worked wonders in the lives of men and women in every age, because God did His work in them, and it was to will and to do of His own good pleasure.
Before Dan Hilton left here the other day, he said, "Fannie, if you speak in the convention, speak about the harvest field." Dan is not the only one who has this laid on his heart. The need is greater as time goes on, because this world is a world of confusion in every sense. It is a world of darkness, and we need those who are living in their homes to be up and doing.
I can never understand a person living at home and never writing to workers. I am glad when I get letters from man and wife who have spent Sunday afternoon writing to me and others. I am comforted and made happy because there are those who have the interests of the kingdom at heart, and are not merely living for the seen and temporal things instead of for the unseen and eternal.
I am not able to be as active a I once was because of a heart condition, but I have made up my mind I will impress those who have free lives to give to first of all live right in their homes and be approved of their brethren. A person who has a good job should go forth in God’s harvest field, those who have proved in their homes what they are and what is inside them; and that they are whole-hearted in their service at home and in the little church where they meet. They are burning and shining lights; they don’t put a damper on the meeting.
I have been at meetings where certain ones get up and give a big sermon, and you feel there is nothing back of it. I hate to feel like that, but you can’t help it sometimes. If a person is moved by God it helps all, and they are comforted and encouraged to give their best and all; and that fellowship is all it should be.
"Fellowship in the Gospel" means you never lose sight of those in the harvest field. Paul commended the saints at Philippi for that. He said he thanked God upon every remembrance of them, for their fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now. They never forgot him and he never forgot them.
In the last chapter he commends them because he says, "Ye sent once and again unto my necessity." He says, "Not because I desire a gift; but I desire fruit that may abound to your account." That is the way God’s people can help in this great work of the kingdom.
I am sorry to say I have asked people where certain workers were and they did not know. They had received workers’ lists, and yet they did not know where they were labouring. Let us not only be interested in those in our own state, but the world over where God’s servants are labouring. There are many poor souls who need our prayers, and though you don’t know them in the flesh you can pray for them, that they may not only begin but continue and finish in the race.
I trust our coming together at this convention may mean everlasting blessing in all of our lives. May it be so for His Name’s sake.
The subject that was on my heart and which I will speak a little about this afternoon is one that I feel very unworthy of; but it seems to be the only thing that is on my heart for the meeting this afternoon. It is the last words of Jesus as He hung upon the middle cross between two thieves. He would never have hung there if it had not been for you and I - and the burden and load of our sin was laid upon Him.
For this experience, He was fortified by what took place a little while before in the garden. He was there with three of those who seemed to have more of an understanding heart than the others. He had come to that garden more than once to commune with His Father and to get the strength that He needed to carry out His Father's will. But on this particular occasion that He visited that garden, He poured out His soul in agony to His Father - the One whom He could look to for help in the hours of great need. Others, human, had failed Him. They were sleeping when they should have been awake. When they might have understood Him and come into that hour of agony with Him, they were found asleep; but Jesus opened His heart to His Father in these words, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt." Now there is, in every Christian life, a Gethsemane sooner or later. There is a cup to be drunk.
I, too, have asked again and again for a way out when brought to some decision that was going to be hard and difficult. Something that would be death to my own flesh, my nature, the hopes and ambitions that are lawful to every human life; but it wasn't the will of God for me. I don't know how often you have passed through dark and trying hours - hours when you felt as if you were alone and you were up against problems that you had no strength to face. Alone and in the hour of need asking for a way out, but God enabled you to say, "Thy will be done." All the keenest suffering that has gone into your heart and mine is not from doing the will of God, but from not doing it, from trying to get around it.
The happiest moments of our lives have been when peace came to our hearts as a result of surrendering and saying, "Thy will be done." Peter lost the victory in the garden, but Jesus was fortified as He made that journey up to Calvary. Much took place on the road there. When He looked upon the daughters of Jerusalem weeping because of what He was going through, He said, "Weep not for Me but for yourselves."
They had made a false choice. Sometime before, they had chosen Barabbas instead of Christ. He had robbed them and brought to them distress, and Jesus knew this as He looked upon them. He was not thinking of His own suffering, but of what had come upon them. As we look upon this distressed world today, we know that it is largely the result of the decision that was made when they cried, "Release unto us Barabbas and let Him be crucified." All the suffering and anguish that has come upon His own people, it seems to me, has come upon them as the result of that fatal decision in the judgment hall.
Pilate tried to wash his hands, but it wasn't so easy. It never is, and when He was led to Calvary over Him was written in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew these Words, "The King of the Jews." Those three languages bring the whole world guilty before God of the rejection of the Son of God. All the suffering that has come upon the world and into your life and mine has come as a result of rejecting what was God's best for our lives.
He hung upon the middle cross and the first words that He uttered are words that have come from the lips of many in this tent when we first knew what it was to submit to God. It is that word, "Father." As a child, we had a book given to us in which were many prayers written, and one of them began with "Almighty God." My impression of God as a child was far from being that of a loving, understanding Father. I was afraid of God. I had an idea that He was almighty and I always thought He was waiting to punish me for every action my conscience told me was wrong.
My old grandfather once spoke to me about something he knew I did was wrong when a very little child. I said that I didn't know it was wrong, but he said, "Didn't your conscience tell you it was wrong?" But I didn't know what that conscience was. He said, "It is something that burns within you when you do wrong," and for years, I was expecting to feel something burning within me. When I was a little older, I knew more about that conscience that convicted me of doing things that I knew were wrong, and in that way, I was afraid of Almighty God.
There came a time in my life, after listening to the message of the gospel when I made the choice that was asked of me. In the last meeting of six weeks of meetings, I said, "Whatever it means, Lord, whatever it costs, I will start tonight." And the next morning when I prayed, I bowed my knees before God and the first word that came to me was, "Father." There was a new nature and it was growing up in my life. There is nothing you and I need any more than the loving protection and care of that Heavenly Father.
There are difficult roads. He knows all about them and will take us by the hand. A little while ago, I was in a place where a father was trying to coax his son to go over the plank that went across a creek, and the little chap was very much afraid to go. No matter how much his father persuaded him that it was safe, he would go so far and then turn back. But the father took him by the hand and they went over the creek; and when that little lad was on the other side, he shouted as if he had gone over by himself.
This word on the lips of Jesus is very sacred to me and very precious, too, because of the place He was in when He uttered it. It was often on His lips, but this time it proved in spite of all that had come to Him, His faith was unshaken in His Father. Some of you, when things go wrong, our faith shatters and we feel as if something had happened to our God. But in spite of all that had come to Jesus, He was able to say, "Father," and then He prayed for those who mocked Him, those who spat upon Him, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."
We were assured in the meeting this morning that there is forgiveness for every soul that comes sincerely to Jesus. There is forgiveness for everyone who comes with true repentance and asks for that forgiveness; and there isn't a man or woman, boy or girl in this meeting this afternoon that doesn't feel his need of that. The older I grow and the longer I am in God's way, the more grateful I am to Him for being able to come to Him for forgiveness of sins.
There is one thing that would keep me from having that peace and comfort that would come to us as the result of coming in this way, and that is an unforgiving spirit. Jesus said, "Forgive them for they know not what they do." I could but be glad as I read over these words because I know that He could not only forgive them, but He could find an excuse for them. How different this is from human nature. How much unrest comes into our hearts and lives as a result of being unable to forgive. Even in that dark hour, He manifested to others who God His Father was, in forgiveness and in love even for His enemies.
The next words Jesus spoke are, "Today thou shalt be with Me in paradise." This was spoken to a young man hanging by His side who had made the petition, "Lord, remember me." I am not sure if this young man had heard of Christ before, but he saw enough in that short time to convince him that He was still the friend of sinners and his only hope, and so he made that petition, "Lord, remember me." He had deserved nothing from the Lord. He was indeed a man that deserved punishment and death because he was a robber.
Some of us do not have very much opportunity to speak to others of this precious treasure that has come to us. But there is one thing we can all do, and that is manifest the Life; and in showing the Spirit that God has put within us, others will desire to know and possess what we have. It wasn't what Jesus said that brought conviction to this man; it was what He was as He hung by his side. Conviction isn't always brought to us by what people say but what people are. This man had his first chance perhaps, at least it was his last, and he had the comfort of knowing and hearing the words of assurance that, "Today thou shalt be with Me in paradise."
In the past year, I have felt on many occasions that I only had a very short time to help some to know what the way of salvation was. I have asked my companion, "What would you say to that man or woman if you knew you were never going to have another chance to give them the way of salvation?" Sometimes they have been slow to answer and sometimes they have answered in a vague way, but I have felt myself that our time is short and that there are men and women we may contact for the first and last time. And it is up to us to make manifest our interest in their souls and give them a chance, one at least, of being saved. This is our responsibility and we can do this as we make manifest the dying of the Lord Jesus in our lives.
The next word Jesus spoke was to His mother, "Woman, behold thy Son." He was looking down from the cross and saw His mother and a few other women standing by. Even in that dark hour, He was not thinking of Himself, but of others. I love to think that though He was poor and homeless, yet He was able to make intercession for the one who had been such a comfort to Him through all His experiences. She had heard that He would be great - king on the throne of David. Instead, He was on the cross. The greatness was coming to her in a way that was most unexpected.
Then there are sacrifices to be made on the part of parents that the kingdom of God might be extended in the world. And often my heart goes out to them as I feel they suffer, many of them, in seeing that lad or young girl leave the home to be in a wandering life and to know their future had no prospects so far as this life was concerned.
I remember seeing Tom Fowler say goodbye to his old parents in New Zealand. He was returning to China for the second time and it made a tremendous impression upon me as I saw Tom try to pull away from that old couple. They were old; they were feeble; they needed him; but he said, "Goodbye." I shall never forget the set look upon his face and the farewell meeting.
It touched my heart and refreshed memories in me of the time when I said goodbye to my mother for the last time. I remember in a moment of weakness saying to her that I would stay with her. She was physically ill but her spirit was strong. We know that it could not be very long when we should have to make the break and as we were together in the room with my suitcase packed, she trying to help me, I put my arms around her neck and said, "Mother, I cannot go; you need me," and I am glad she said, "You go. There are many that will take care of my sick body but few that will do what you are doing; you go." That is the mother that will get the reward - not those that are looking for earthly greatness.
It is a painful process to watch the dying of the sons and daughters. They are not presented with medals of honour; and we are glad for the mothers and the fathers who encourage those who are standing by the cross to keep on doing so. Provision was made in the home and heart of another. John took care of the mother of Jesus. I often wish we had a little more said about it.
The next words are, "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Jesus had been accustomed to being forsaken. He was misunderstood in His home. His brethren didn't believe on Him at the beginning of His ministry. He had the crowd following Him, but towards the end, He was forsaken by God.
I have sometimes wished that my younger co-workers today could just experience a little of what we did in the days when we launched forth into the harvest field. We were able to speak to crowds night after night. We had many opportunities and a real incentive to keep on in the ripened field but God has brought us to the place where we now look into the face of one man or woman, sometimes a little boy or girl unsaved. The soul in that body is worth a million. Jesus had been accustomed to being forsaken by His brethren and by His own disciples even in the hour of greatest need, but now He is forsaken by God. It was a cry from a broken heart. I never read it, but it doesn't humble me. It causes me to worship the One that took my place. I deserved to die.
"The wages of sin is death." He took my place and God had to hide His face in the hours of darkness. There was a blackout of which we have never seen even in this day. The heavens were dark. Have we ever thanked God that He made it possible for us to escape the penalty of our sin? He was made sin for us. I never read that verse but what I marvel. He died "the just for the unjust that He might bring us to God." We would never have been here today unless that was true - that He died to bring us to God.
Then He said the one word that came from His lips - physical suffering - "I thirst." How often He had offered the waters of life to others. How many times He stood and said, "If any man thirst, come unto Me." He did not save Himself or come down from the cross. He could have done it. I don't believe it was the physical pain of His body so much at this time. It was the pain of his heart; the consciousness that He was there alone, few to sympathize or understand. The thirst that He expressed there wasn't only the thirst of His body, but the thirst of His spirit. He was longing that someone might enter into this darkness with Him. There are some experiences, hours when we suffer most, we feel that we would not want any human to enter into; we want to be alone with God and fight the battle out ourselves.
In those hours of darkness as Jesus hung there, He was fighting a battle until He was able to say these words, "It is finished." The work given Him to do was finished. In John 17, He said, "I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do." It was a cry of victory - the work was finished. Very early in His life, at the age of 12, He was about His Father's business. I like to think of that. Sometimes people say, "Oh, they are too young to understand. We would rather that they would wait awhile." I have experienced that it is very safe to encourage in every little heart that desire to God which would enable them to spend the best part of their life in the service of God. We have heard young men and women testify from this platform that were saved in earliest youth.
At 30 years of age, it was Jesus' strong desire to bring men to His Father. He left His home and His work and entered His life's work. It was a short life. It isn't the length of time we have been in the way, nor the length of time we have been in the service of God, but how much we have put into it.
I have been forty-five years in God's service the 10th of October. I was very inexperienced when I launched out. My first field was Scotland. I have told you before of the first impression I made upon the meeting that I was to take part in for the first time. My companion was no older than I was. We were giving our testimony and the meeting was over in a short while. (I read a letter of a girl who is on a hospital ship. She said, "I had a little meeting in my cabin which lasted two hours." It was held at the time we were having meeting.) At the close of this meeting, one of the men said to someone, "Poor little thing, she should be home with her mother." If there was a way to go home, I think I would have gone. How many of us as servants of God will be able to say at the close of our ministry, "I have glorified Thee on the earth."
If there is any thing I don't like to see, it is a piece of work started and year after year, it remains unfinished. I went back to a house in B.C. that I had been in thirty years ago, and it was still unfinished. I was a little bit sorry for those who had to live there - unfinished work. It is true in this matter of getting people saved and in giving our lives, also. We can easily lay down and not finish. "Be not weary in well doing for in due season you shall reap if ye faint not."
The work that Jesus was speaking about here wasn't so much, I believe, the work of atoning, the atonement He made on the cross of Calvary; it included that, but it was all the will of His Father from start to finish. I would like to be able to say at the close of my life, "It is finished. I didn't turn aside." And then I would like to hear Him say, "Well done." I am not anxious to have Him say, "Well done, thou good and successful servant," as I am to hear Him say, "You were faithful to the trust committed to you." I like to contact men and women, young and old, who are glorifying the Lord, who are manifesting the spirit and grace of the Lord Jesus. They are ever a source of strength, and I would like to be this to others.
The last words Jesus said are these, "Father, into Thy hand I commend My Spirit." I know that these words from the lips of Jesus are words we are slow to use. I felt as I read over those words, "I could learn from every one of them." He was truly manifesting the life that pleased God even in death and was able to say at the last, "Father, into Thy hand I commend My Spirit."
Some people are greatly taken up with where they will be laid away, and make provision for their body when the spirit leaves it. But to me, the thing that is most worthwhile is in life, so to live that we will be able to look into the face of our Father at the close of our day and say, "Receive my spirit." There wasn't in His heart anything but love and interest in each one of us, and He wants to see those who have received His words guided by them, so that at the close of day, He will be able to say, "Well done."
**May Carroll was 70 years old, at the time of this testimony.
Santa Barbara, CA
1730 West 56th St
April 16, 1919
My dear Brother or Sister:It is with the utmost sorrow of heart that I feel compelled to write you this letter. Feeling my responsibility towards all the lambs and sheep of His flock in California, and knowing some are worried and troubled because of recent developments I feel I must write you a few lines.
During last few months, William Irvine has written many letter to saints all over U.S. and Canada urging them to sell their homes and farms and invest their money in Railroads, Fisheries, Canneries, Shipping, etc. He is under the awful delusion that he is one of the witnesses of Rev. 11 and prophecies (sic) a world wide drought and famine beginning August 1 of this year. (See Deut 18:21-22, we have only a little time to wait to prove whether this prophecy is correct or not). He is also under the delusion that the “day of grace ended in August 1914,” and that since that date “the voice of God has not been heard in any meeting on earth.” This means that, according to him none have been truly born again during the last four and a half years, and that the labors of all the workers in every field has been utterly in vain. We believe on the contrary, that during the last 4-1/2 years, in spite of greater difficulties than ever before, men and women were as truly born of God as in all the years before.
It is just 4-1/2 years ago since the older workers in old country told William Irvine that they could no longer recognize him as leader, or again as being in the ministry unless there was a complete change in his manner of life. It is sad to see a man who was once used of God fall thus into “the snare of the devil” and perhaps will succeed as Hymenaeus and Philetus in “overthrowing the faith of some”. Paul’s advice in 2 Timothy 2:16-18 is the counsel of God to all of us at that time. It has always been understood in the work that when a worker interferes with the financial or business affairs of the saints, he has departed from the faith. 2 Tim. 2:4; Luke 12:13,14.
My purpose in writing is to earnestly urge you not to be influenced by his foolish speculations and prophecies, and not to listen to him or any others who would seek to seduce or lead astray, or to cause you in any way to take steps which would wreck your home and family and make you a stumbling block to others. When Paul was writing to young converts of the Lord’s Coming in 1 Thes 4:13-18 he did not exhort them to sell their homes and farms and invest their money in other properties, but rather to (v.11) “study to be quiet, to do their own business, work with their own hands, as we commanded you, that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without and have need of nothing”. This means that whether the Lord comes soon or later, it is the duty of the saints to carry on their business as always in the fear of the Lord, and with a desire to glorify His Name. In doing this they will “not be ashamed before Him at His coming”.
His teaching on other matters is equally false and misleading and it is with much sorrow of heart that I have to add that my sister, May, W. Edwards, and wife have recently come again under the influence of William Irvine’s hypnotic personality, and for the time being at least, are deceived and not in a position to help or guide those who in simplicity of heart and true purpose seek to follow Jesus in the way.
We feel that it would give those who have “gone astray” an opportunity to say they were “persecuted”, “oppressed”, “cast out” if we were to add more. Enough has been said to warn against the delusions mentioned, and we will be glad to hear from all who desire, and will value our help and fellowship in the coming months and years.
You will understand a little of what it costs me to write this letter, but I feel it is my duty as His servant to take the saints into my fullest confidence and assuring each and all of my love and honest desire to be a faithful shepherd, I commit you to the care of the Chief Shepherd, knowing that if you follow where He leads, you will not go astray.
Your brother in His love and Service
Quoted from The Secret Sect by Doug & Helen Parker, pp 121-123
1730 West 56th Street
April 12, 1919
My Dear Clyde:
Am on train en route from Ontario to Portland. Sorry you were not able to come to the meetings in Ontario. We had a good time tho not many have professed in that district.
I enclose a list of addresses for next few weeks. Am not sure yet where Eddie will have the meetings in California but the dates for the different districts are correct. Hope you will be back in time to take in some of the meetings. Our old friend W. I. [William Irvine] is on a different tack now and shows less evidence than ever of having the anointing of God. His extravagances along prophetic lines are very foolish and have no scriptural foundation. I hope none will be disturbed in spirit or mind thro’ this last development.
2 Timothy 2:15-19 have a deeper meaning for me than ever as it is very evident poor William is now following in the footsteps of Hymenaeus and Philetus. How sad it is to see a man once honoured by God as no other now carried away by his own stubborn and unbroken spirit and under the influence of the “other spirit,” not the Spirit of God. It is a continual heart break to me to see him where he is, but I do not know a man on earth that he would be willing to take help or counsel from.
To cross him or disagree with him in the old days was fatal to a continuance of fellowship and to cross or disagree with him now means to be branded as Cain, Balaam, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and all the unworthies of the Old and New Testaments. To accept without question his revelations and follow blindly his leadership is the only way to have fellowship with him. He has been so discredited in so many different ways that to do this is now utterly impossible. We were simple enough to do this in the Old Days when there was some little evidence of the Lord’s anointing, but for a number of years, it was becoming more and more painfully evident that the Lord was not with him; and in the last two years this has been made very manifest both in his manner of life, letters and foolish wresting of the scriptures.
I should not worry you with all this but you will likely be hearing from California, and I thought it be a comfort to you to know how we felt about things.
I have appreciated your love and loyalty in the past and trust nothing will ever disturb or shake our faith and confidence in the things the Lord has made plain to us in the past years.
Hope you will enjoy the change of climate. Am glad you met the sisters and hope will be a help and encouragement to any weak babes that may be in that part.
With love in Christ,
Your brother in His service,
Quoted from The Secret Sect
by Doug & Helen Parker, pp 120-121
Many of you have been asked questions during the past year about your preachers. A number have found it hard to give satisfactory answers to these questions. Some have conveyed the impression that there are things about the ministry that they are not prepared to tell others, and they have possibly left the impression in the minds of some of their friends, that this is some kind of a secret or semi-secret fellowship that they have been brought into.
I would like to once and for all dispel any such impressions so that you will feel absolutely free to answer any question your friends may ask about God's people or about His servants. We hold nothing in secret that we are not prepared to teach openly. We hold nothing that we are not prepared to tell you from the platform and are quite indifferent as to whether or not what we say is intended for those who are not yet numbered amongst us, for everything that we hold and everything that we teach is to be found within the pages of God's own word, which are open to all men.
I want to talk to you very frankly and freely. I want to make you feel we are anxious to take you into our fullest confidence and tell you all that is in our hearts, for as I grow older I recognize more clearly and fully that our fellowship with and confidence in each other depends to a large extent upon us being absolutely frank and open, so there is no room for misunderstanding. I purpose to answer four questions that have been asked at different times during the past year. They may not have occurred to you and they may have. I am anticipating to this possibility and will endeavor to answer these four questions this afternoon. They are perhaps more practical than spiritual, but it is important that we become clear in our minds with regard to each, and to all the workers.
1. What is the fundamental difference between the New Testament ministry
and all kinds of other ministry?
2. Why do New Testament ministers travel so much?
3. Why is it necessary for these New Testament preachers who have gone to foreign countries to return again on furlough to their home country?
4. Where does the money come from that enables the workers to live, to travel to foreign countries, and to return home on furlough?
You can see that all these questions are practical, but I will try to answer them all as simply and clearly as I can. First, What is the difference, etc.? During the past year some have received questionnaires dealing with the New Testament ministry; a number sent in answers. Many of these answers indicated that there were a good many things in connection with the ministry that they were not exactly clear about and so when you are questioned by your friends you are embarrassed, and instead of clearing the minds and satisfying them your answers tend rather toward irritating them and causing them to feel as if they did not want anything to do with your ministers or with the fellowship into which you have been brought. The impression given to a very large extent was, that there are certain things we do not want to tell people; that there were certain little secrets connected with the Ministry that we wanted to keep to ourselves. There is nothing so irritating to the average man or woman as to feel that they are deliberately left out of a matter, and if they feel that there are things connected with your religion which you are afraid to talk about, they don't want to have anything to do with it at all. What I wish to say is intended to encourage you to be absolutely open and frank in speaking to your friends and answer their questions in the same way I want to encourage you to be more helpful and scriptural than in the past.
The physical needs of the true ministry and the false are the same. The true ministers need food, clothing, shelter, and money. False preachers need the same. When the question is asked "What is the difference between your preachers and ours," the reply that is usually given is "Their needs are the same we admit, but the difference lies in the way those needs are met. Your preachers take a collection, ours don't." While these differences are true and help to distinguish between the false and the true, yet none of them nor all of them together give us the fundamental difference between the false and the true ministry. When some of you are asked the question by your friends "How do your preachers live?" the answer you give is "Our preachers live by faith." While this answer is true it needs a lot of explaining by some people; or some of you say "The Lord takes care of our preachers." You leave them just as much in the dark as they were before. Some have answered this question I don't know." I heard one of our brothers having a discussion with the preacher with whom he had previously been in fellowship. He was telling him the wrongness of taking up collections and having a salary and a home of his own. The preacher then turned to this brother and said "How then do your preachers live?" This brother answered "I really don't know." This wasn't exactly true; he did know but he didn't exactly know how to answer the question.
I was discussing this subject last year before quite a company of people and asking some questions dealing with the New Testament ministry such as "How do the N.T. preachers live? Etc." A brother sitting in the front row said, "I have been in the Way seven years and haven't found out yet." I was back east a few weeks ago and was told there of a man who approached one of the workers and asked him the question "How do the workers get their clothes and money to travel with?" That man has been professing 15 years.
I have been glad to hear of people asking these questions, because it proves that the workers everywhere are very slow to discuss this subject. They would rather leave people in the dark than convey the impression that they were selfish in their motive or in this ministry or that by discussing these things they wanted something for themselves. The O.T. is very clear with regard to how the O.T. priests and Levites were cared for and the N.T. is equally clear with how God's servants are taken care of today. I want to emphasize in answering this question what to me is the actual and fundamental difference between the N.T. ministry and every other ministry. JESUS TAUGHT, "THE LABORER IS WORTHY OF HIS HIRE." That is often quoted to us. Paul in 1 Cor.9:14 said, "THE LORD HAS ORDAINED THAT THOSE WHO PREACH THE GOSPEL SHOULD LIVE OF THE GOSPEL." We make no secrets of the fact that as God's bondservants and handmaidens we "live by the gospel." And the reason we live by the gospel and are justified in so doing, is because we have fulfilled the conditions that Jesus laid down in the gospel. No man is justified in "Living by the gospel" apart from fulfilling these conditions.
When your friends ask you the question "How do your preachers live?" the proper reply is "Our preachers live by the gospel." But they say, "Our preacher does that, too." and then very gently and with grace you should go on to explain to them the reason why "our preachers live by the gospel." And we live to make it possible for them to do so, because they have fulfilled the conditions laid down in the gospel for the N.T. ministry and it is a pleasure to minister to them food, clothing, shelter, and as a means of exchange, money in His name.
When you answer questions with regard to the N.T. ministry, do it simply,
frankly, and without unnecessarily reflecting upon those whom your friends
support. In 9 cases out of 10 instead of irritating, you will have enlightened
them and awakened in them a desire to hear a little of this for themselves.
Jesus labored as a carpenter and lived by the work of his hands as a preacher
of the gospel, and just as honorable as He did when He was a carpenter.
Jesus did not live on charity. Those who live on charity give nothing
in return. Jesus always gave more than He received. If He accepted
hospitality from Matthew, the publican, He always gave more than He received,
and in this He left for us an example that we should follow in His
steps. We do not live on charity. If any of God's professing
people came to us and offered to us food and clothing and shelter, as an
act of charity, we would refuse it. But if they came to us in His name
and as an expression of their love and interest in the furtherance of the
gospel, recognizing we have fulfilled the conditions that justify us in living
by the gospel, it is our duty to accept, knowing that a cup of cold water
given to one of the least of God's servants will in no wise lose its reward
in that day.
Only those who have fulfilled the conditions laid down by Jesus for the N.T. ministry are justified in living by the gospel. This is the fundamental difference between the ministers that God sent to bring you into the family and kingdom of God and all other kinds of ministers that we know of in the world. What then are the conditions that Jesus laid down in the N.T. which He expects those to fulfill who want a part in this new ministry? I would like to think that we are very clear on what it cost our brethren to go forth into God's great harvest field. There are no people on the earth that demand more sacrifice from those who minister to them than the people of God. And this is scriptural and in line with God's plan. An article appeared in an issue of the "Good Housekeeping" last year, written by a professor in Harvard University entitled, "The Cruel Promise of Jesus." It rather surprised me to find this man of the world recognized that a large portion of the teaching of Jesus was applicable only to the ministry. It is very difficult to face. Because of this difficulty, it has been more or less explained away or watered down until it becomes absolutely meaningless. We do not wish to hide from anyone what Jesus taught with regard to the initial step into the ministry. Not all are called to enter the ministry. Not all are called to become bond-servants and handmaidens of the Lord, but none can have a part in the ministry without fulfilling the conditions that would justify them afterwards, and which, alone could justify them in living by the gospel. Any man who claims to be living by the gospel without fulfilling the conditions laid down by Jesus in the gospel is receiving money under false pretenses, and will one day come under the first condemnation of God.
What are the conditions? I will present them in the form of a question: The first is:
Are you prepared to sell all?
Are you prepared to make yourself poor?
Are you willing as the very first condition to have fellowship with Jesus in His ministry? in His poverty?
In connection with the N.T. ministry there is a very real equality. No one of us makes a greater sacrifice than the other. We each make equally the same sacrifice. We each sacrifice all, and it would be a very dishonorable thing for any of us in after years to suggest that our sacrifice was greater than the sacrifice of the brother or sister laboring by our side, in this matter of fulfilling this very first condition. There is an absolute equality amongst us so that we are placed on the same level. In order to illustrate this fact--
A few years ago 3 young men who had volunteered for the work came in to see us. All 3 of them were young and I well remember the scene; the 3 boys sitting in a row and we questioning them with regard to the purpose. We asked them if they were willing to fulfill the conditions, to sell everything, making themselves poor, and to have fellowship with Jesus in His poverty. Of course the answer was "Yes." The first boy said he didn't have much to sell. We asked him what it was and he said, "An old Model T Ford--worth about $25." The next boy said he had abut $150 in the bank. We told him it would have to be scattered, that it never could be gathered up again. The 3rd boy said, "All I have is a hog." He was the youngest of the three and had put everything he earned in helping his mother at home. Now she felt she was able to get along without him and was delighted that her boy was going forth to preach the gospel.
It didn't matter if the first boy had a Pierce Arrow or a Model T Ford, whether the second boy had $150,000 or $150 in the bank, it all had to be scattered so that they would have nothing to go back to. The first condition laid down by Jesus had to be faced and fulfilled by all.
The second condition had to do with being homeless. Are you willing to be homeless for life? That is a very serious proposition. Some of us have been preaching for a good many years and we still are homeless. On one occasion a man came to Jesus and said "I will follow thee." He volunteered for the work, and Jesus looking at him said, "The foxes have their holes, and the birds their nests, but the Son of Man hath no where to lay His head." This was the second condition. We never hear of that young man going out in the work. To be homeless for Jesus sake is a very real thing. It is just as well for those who are thinking of filling a place in the ministry to remember this. For 6 months after leaving home you 'nay suffer a very common disease -- homesickness. There are those who have been homesick during the past year. But Jesus insisted that those who were to have a part in the ministry must be prepared to be homeless as He was and to be able to say as a minister and the birds have nests, but I like the Son of Man of the gospel "The foxes have holes hath no where to lay my head."
The third condition is: Are you willing to put the preaching of the gospel before the claims of your own flesh and blood, living or dead? Sometimes when I think of this, it seems to me to be the most stern of all the conditions put before the candidates for the ministry Jesus said "Let the dead bury the dead, "when one man said to Jesus "Suffer me first to go and bury my father." What He meant to say is that no man was fit to preach the gospel, if the claims of his own flesh and blood, living or dead, were more important to him than bringing the message of Christ to those who were dead in trespasses and sins. Another man said, "Lord, I'll go, but first let me go and say goodbye to my friends." Jesus turned to him and said, "No man having put his hand to the plow and turning back, is fit for the kingdom of heaven." Instead of Jesus bribing men to enter the ministry, it would almost seem that He were trying to prevent them. Instead of promising them a nice living and good prospects, lots of time for reading and social fellowship with others, or encouraging them to believe that in the ministry they would climb up in the social scale. He made it hard. Instead of making it a pleasant thing He made it just the opposite, for He wanted to test the depth and sincerity of the purpose of those who expressed a wish to have a part in the ministry. Do you appreciate that?
The fourth question is: Are you willing to go forth without having any individual or group of individuals pledged to take care of you? And preach the gospel without money or price? Wherever you have the opportunity? If we knew of any of us ever lifting a collection or asking for money, we would immediately see to it that he would be excluded from our fellowship as a preacher of the gospel. We are glad to know that throughout the whole world God's servants have been able to go forth in His name and are preaching the gospel in many different lands, and making the gospel as it was in the N.T. days--without money and without price. The men and women who are preaching the gospel would scorn the very thought, would rather die in their tracks, than to leave it open to anyone to suggest that they were selfish or mercenary in their motives in their ministry.
The fifth question we will ask is in connection with that verse dealing with the corn of wheat. Are you willing to be a& the corn of wheat which falls into the ground and dies? Are you willing to let death work so that life may be wrought in others?
The sixth question is: How far are you willing to go in preaching the gospel?
It would be nice if we could remain in California forever, where the sun is always shining. But Jesus called men to the harvest field. He would not accept any who would set a limit on their ministry. whenever we become rooted or settled in a field, sooner or later death begins to work. There was no such thing as a fixed or settled ministry in the N.T. days. None of us are ever in one state for life. There must be a willingness to accept and obey the commission Jesus gave to His disciples. "Go ye into all the world teaching all nations and baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost."
There is another question we sometimes ask those who are desirous of going forth: Are you willing to go with any of your brethren? Those who have the responsibility of arranging this matter look upon it very seriously and do not lightly undertake the arranging year after year of those who are to labor together. When the Lord sent out the first 12, He did not do it lightly. When He sent out the 70, He did not do it lightly. When others went out in His name, this was not looked upon as a light matter. And we would like to say that it is the caution of those who have this responsibility to seek for the wisdom of God and His guidance, so that during the year, the labors of God's servants may turn out unto the furtherance of the Gospel. Only those who have fulfilled the conditions which I have enumerated are justified in living by the gospel. But those who fulfilled these conditions and are preaching the gospel, earn their bread just as honorably as when they worked with their hands.. .At their different trades, for no servant lives on charity. They are worthy of their hire and it comes to them in God's appointed way. We are not ashamed of the fact that Jesus lived by the gospel We are not ashamed to teach others to live by the gospel and we are not ashamed to proclaim to the whole world that we live by the gospel, and the reason we are justified in living by the gospel is that we have fulfilled the conditions laid down in the gospel.
Some of us were having a little discussion some time ago and the question was raised by one of the workers: How much should we tell in gospel meetings about how we live as ministers of the gospel? Someone answered: "We shouldn't tell anything." I took the opposite stand and said, "We should tell them everything."
If any man asks me any questions in regard to the ministry and desires an answer, I am prepared to give him that answer, and prove from the scriptures that my answer is according to the teaching and example of Jesus.
The second question I would like to answer is: Why do N.T. ministers travel so much?
They seem to be always going somewhere. When Jesus was preaching in a certain city in Galilee, the people of that city wanted Him to settle down, and remain in their midst, but He said, "I must preach the kingdom of God in other cities also, for therefore am I sent." The reason the workers travel so much is because they would not be N.T. preachers if they did not. For Jesus did not say "Stay and preach," but, "Go, and preach." His commission was "Go ye into all the world and teach all nations." The N.T. ministry is essentially a traveling ministry. There are those of the church whom we speak of as elders who assume a little responsibility--men who live in their homes and are settled there. But the ministry I am speaking of is a moving ministry and it could not be the N.T. ministry apart from this.
The third question I would like to answer is: Why is it necessary for workers who have gone abroad in foreign fields to return home again after a period of years? I heard a man some time ago who after a meeting went to a friend and said, "I am very glad Jack explained that to us this afternoon, for I used to look upon it as an unnecessary expense for workers to go abroad and spend several years there and then come home again." He was looking upon it purely from the standpoint of dollars and cents. It is just as necessary for workers to return to us as it is to go forth from us. No workers now in the regions abroad were sent there by any worker or group of workers. There is no group of workers that I know of that would assume that responsibility.
Those who are in different fields, in China, Japan, all over India, all over Europe, all over Africa, are not there because anyone sent them. They are there because God moved upon their hearts and caused them to lift up their eyes to behold the fields white unto harvest. He awakened an interest in their hearts in the people of other lands, and moved them that they express their desire to launch out a little farther into the deep. If we had any part in their going it was in dealing with their qualifications. Many volunteered to go whose health would not justify them in going. Many have expressed a wish to go whom we would never think of encouraging to go and those who have gone are there by their own choice. They have the glad assurance in their hearts that God sent them, and when the devil discourages them, they can fall back on this thought, "I am not here because any individual sent me, but I am here because God moved upon my heart, and by my own choice I am seeking to carry out His work in this land." We would not like any servant of God to lay his hands upon any brother and presume to say, "You go here or you go there." It would indicate we were out of God's plan if we presumed to do so.
Why is it necessary for workers to come back to us as it is for them to go from us? First for the sake of their health. That in itself ought to be sufficient. Some live under conditions which are not conducive to health and longevity, and it would be a cruel thing if we were willing to have them leave and satisfied to have them there to live or die. So for the sake of their health it is necessary for them to come back for a change.
The second reason is that most have fathers and mothers whom they love and who would like to see them, and whom they would like to see. This is not a human fellowship: it is a spiritual fellowship, but it has its human side as well as its spiritual side. There are fathers and mothers who have boys and girls in foreign lands, laying down their lives for Christ's sake, and these children are interested in their parents, and look forward after spending a reasonable time in these lands, to returning home again to tell the story of their labors to whom they love.
The third reason is that all of them were tried and tested before they left. They have friends in the gospel for whom they feel responsible, whom they would like to see and who would like to see them
The fourth reason and most important is that it is necessary for the unity of the people of God. This fellowship that is ours is more wonderful to me the older I get. We are a oody of people absolutely unorganized and a puzzle and a mystery to the world. They are prepared to leave us alone and we are prepared to be left alone. We are satisfied to be as the mustard seed, or tree, a shrub in a man's back yard to which no one would give very much attention.
God's method of uniting and holding His people together in one, is by the coming and going of His bondservants and handmaidens. The constant coming and going, their traveling from one state to another; from country to country, from continent to continent, contributes to the fulfillment of the purpose of God in uniting His people into one family, one fold, one fellowship, one kingdom, so we can truly say that we are one in Christ. Our brethren in South America have asked me to go down and visit them. I don't think it is going to be a pleasure trip by any means, and I don't intend to make it a pleasure trip. My purpose in going is to try to link our brethren in South America to our brethren in North America, to endeavor to add a little to the foundation that has been laid by others, and to build upon that foundation--no wood, hay and stubble--but gold, silver and precious stones.
Those who have read the Book of Acts will have noticed how little groups of God's servants were continually on the move going from one country to the others, from Europe to Asia. It seems to me that this was God's simple and wonderful way of uniting His people, so that in a measure at least, there would be answered the prayer of Jesus on that last night of His life "that they might all be one in Him." When we welcome our brothers from China, Japan, and other countries, their coming awakens in us a new interest in those countries. Those who have gone to other countries and return to us will bring Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and other countries a little closer to us and make us feel that we are indeed one family, one fellowship striving together for the extension of the same kingdom.
The fourth question I would like to answer is: Where does the money come from that enables the workers to live and travel to foreign countries and return? When you talk about workers coming and going, friends tell you that this all takes money and it does. When they ask you where the money comes from, you say "Oh the Lord provides it" but why not tell them plainly where it comes from? It just comes from you.
Money as the means of exchange is used to enable the workers to live and to travel to foreign countries, and it comes from the spontaneous unsolicited free will offering of God's children. You don't minister in this way because you have to or are solicited to. If you don't love to do it, the Lord doesn't accept it and we wouldn't if we knew. When the workers go forth, they get rid of everything they possess. Money thus surrendered is scattered so that it can never be theirs again. It is gone for good and used to minister to our brethren abroad, or to bring them back from the foreign field, or to send others there. Occasionally God's children who set their affairs in order and whom the Lord takes home, leave to them a piece of property, or remembers individual workers with gifts of money. But that money is scattered in the furtherance of the gospel and that property is sold and the money it brings is scattered in the same way so that no gift can ever enrich any individual worker. When you are asked then by your friends, What is the fundamental difference between our ministry and every other ministry--Why do the workers travel so much-Where does the money come from--I hope you will feel free to be frank and candid with them, so that you do not convey the impression that it comes from some kind of a secret society you are in.
- What scripture would you have in mind if seeking to find if another man's religion is true or false?
- What is the best proof you have that the Bible is true?
- What scripture would you use to a stranger if you were asked of your hope of eternal life?
- What scripture would you use to prove that you have this assurance yourself?
- What is expected of me to become a Christian?
- How can I know what is the right way?
- What is the best evidence you have that this way you are in is the right way?
- What is the name of your religious organisation?
- Are there any special reasons why you do not take a name like other religious bodies?
- Who is the head of this organisation?
- What scriptures have you to prove that the preachers you believe in are the right kind?
- Are your ministers ordained ministers of religion?
- Have they the legal authority to perform the marriage ceremony?
- Why do your ministers not apply for this authority?
- Who sends these preachers out to preach?
- What training did they have before going out to preach?
- What is the nature of their work as ministers?
- How are these ministers supported?
- What is the object of this ministry?
- What scripture would you use to prove that it is wrong to take pay?
or to take salary or collections?
- What scripture guarantees that they will be cared for?
- What scripture would you use to prove that the way Jesus started to preach was the way the apostles continued?
- What is there to prove that it is to be the same today?
- Why do you people put so much emphasis on the ministry?
- Can you give five essential differences between those in your ministry and those in other ministries?
- Does this body of Christians have any fixed place for meeting together?
- What scripture would you use to prove it is right to use a man's home [for] church meetings?
- What scripture would prove that buildings put up for the purpose of worshipping God in, is not God's will?
- What about Jesus and Paul preaching in the synagogue?
- What scripture would prove that all Christians should have part in church meetings?
- Is there any person appointed to lead these home meetings?
- Who appoints him?
- What would show these were held on the first day?
- What is the reason you cannot have fellowship with other religious bodies?
- How would you prove that baptism by immersion is the right kind?
- Why do you break bread in your meetings?
- What scripture proves that you should keep the laws of the country?
- Has this religious body any rules regarding military service?
- Doesn't the blood of Jesus pay the price for forgiveness of all sin anyway that all could be saved anyway?
- What do you consider the reason for God sending Jesus into the world?
ANSWERS TO “FOR YOUR OWN BENEFIT”
- 1 John 4:1-3
- Because it is a living book, 2 Peter 1:16-21
- Colossians 1:27
- Romans 8:14-17
- Submit to the Lordship of Christ.
- John 14:6
- Because in comparison, in fundamentals, and in detail it is the same as what Jesus lived and taught and revealed; also in the ministry of the Apostles and early Christians recorded in the Bible.
- It is not a religious organisation but rather a living organism.
- Yes, for the same reason that no true bride would take any other name than that of the husband.
- Christ is the head of the body, Eph. 1:22-23; Col.1:16
- John 10:1-14
- Because Jesus never desired such, nor the early Apostles, and also it is a purely civil ceremony.
- The Holy Ghost working through elders in the church. Acts 13:1-4.
- Attended Sunday meetings of gatherings of Christians and midweek Bible studies and 1 or 2 Christian conventions lasting three days in summer where Bible lectures are given; also several meetings of one day periods in winter for a period of several years as Christians in their homes.
- Evangelistic and pastoral work.
- Free will offerings of God's people.
- Make disciples of all nations: Matt. 28:19-20; also in pastoral work to aim at more unity in the family and more likeness to Christ.
- Matt. 10:8.
- Matt. 6:24-34.
- Acts 28:31.
- Heb. 13:8.
- Because apart from a true ministry there can be no true Church, Eph. 2:19-22; also through such as God has sent is the voice of the Good Shepherd heard today. Luke 10:16.
- There are six freedoms necessary in the lives and ministry of those who are Christ's ambassadors:
- Free from all home and family cares. Luke 12:22-31.
- Free from all business responsibilities. Luke 12:32-34, Luke 18:22-30, 2 Tim. 2:4.
- Free from the worry about personal needs. Luke 12:22-31.
- Free to seek first the kingdom of God at all times and under all circumstances; Matt. 6:33, Luke 12:31, the kingdom demands the undivided and concentrated attention of its ambassadors; Romans 1:14-16.
- Free to go anywhere any time to represent the interests of his King; Matt. 28:18-20, Mark 16:15.
- Free from the bondage of pleasing men; Gal. 1:10, 1 Thess. 2:4, 2 Tim. 2:15. New Testament preachers have nothing more to lose by preaching the truth as it is in Jesus, no home, no business, no property, no job, they had forsaken all.
- Luke 22:7-13, Romans 16:23, Col.4:15, Philemon 2.
- Acts 7:48-50, Acts 17:24, Isaiah 66:1-2.
- Jesus and Apostles preached gospel whenever opportunity presented itself.
But preaching in synagogues generally lead to their being put out of the synagogue; those who believed were also cast out; Luke 4:28-29, John 12:42-43.
- 1 Cor. 14:31.
- Yes, an elder or bishop as in 1 Tim 3:1-7.
- The servants of God as in Titus 1:5.
- Acts 20:7.
- Light hath no fellowship with darkness. 2 Cor. 6:14-18.
- Matt. 3:16.
- Because it is an Ordinance of the Lord to His disciples.
- 1 Peter 2:13-17.
- Liberty of conscience is given to each individual as to what service he wishes to render.
- Yes, 1 John 2:2 but only become the portion of individuals as they walk in the light as Jesus is the light. 1 John 1:7.
- John 3:16.
Matthew 13. There are in the four Gospels twenty - nine parables spoken by the Lord Jesus Seventeen out of the twenty-nine were spoken in connection with the Kingdom of Heaven, and seven out of the seventeen are recorded in this 13th chapter of Matthew's Gospel. The number seven in itself is suggestive. It is the perfect number. So the fact that we have here a in this chapter seven parables, all of them about the Kingdom of Heaven, suggests that we have here a complete representation of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. This expression "Kingdom of Heaven" has probably suggested to many of us that place to which the children of God go when they leave this scene, but in these seven parables we have not to do with the Kingdom of Heaven in the eternal sense but rather with the Heavenly Kingdom on earth here and now. There are portions of scripture that have to do entirely with the future, eternal, everlasting and Heavenly Kingdom but these seven parables in Matthew 13 have to do with the Kingdom of Heaven here upon the earth.One of the thoughts I would like to pass on this morning is this: That it is possible to enter the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth, and if we do not enter the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth there is no possibility of ever entering that Kingdom when we leave this earth. That is one of the reasons why these parables spoken by the Lord Jesus should be of great interest to all of us. These seven parables spoken by the Lord Jesus should be of great interest to all of us. These seven parables in Matt. 13 answer very important questions and answer these questions in the words of the Lord Jesus Himself, who "spake as never man spake." Many times, perhaps there has arisen in our minds and hearts questions such as "What is this Kingdom of Heaven like?" "What are we to understand by this expression 'Kingdom of Heaven?'" "Has it got to do with some future state or has it to do with our present lives in this world?" I would like to encourage you after this meeting to read over the 13th chap. of Matt with this thought firmly fixed in your minds, that this parable has to do particularly with the present, not the future, and that it explains to us in the words of the Lord Jesus Himself just exactly what the Kingdom of Heaven is like here and now in this world.
I might say that reading over the Gospels some of us have probably noticed that expression "Kingdom of Heaven" is peculiar to Matthew's Gospel. It does not occur in Mark, Luke or John. The expression "Kingdom of Heaven" occurs only in Matthew's Gospel. That very naturally causes a question to arise in our minds, "Why does Matthew over thirty times in twenty-eight chapters of his Gospel use the expression "Kingdom of Heaven?" "Why does he seem to insist that this Kingdom which Jesus established was a Kingdom of Heaven?" I think the answer to this question lies on the very surface if we read over the Gospel carefully.
Matthew wrote for those who were familiar with Old Testament Scriptures. That is the reason there are so many Old Testament prophesies quoted in this Gospel. He wrote for those who had been brought up in the Jewish faith and way and who had been taught from earliest infancy by the rabbis of the Jewish church to expect very soon the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven, but their conception of that Kingdom of Heaven 'was an outward, material Kingdom, a Kingdom that was for the Jew particularly, if not only, and that would lift us and exalt the Jewish nation and Jewish people and make them the greatest people and nation in the whole world. Where Jesus came, the minds of people everywhere were filled with this utterly false conception of the. Kingdom; they were looking: for, expecting, praying for; and desired an earthly Kingdom: a kingdom like the kingdoms of this world, a kingdom that could result in the power of the Roman government being destroyed and the! Roman expelled from Palestine; a kingdom that would left us, the Jewish people and nation and make them the greatest people and nation in the whole world, with Jerusalem its capital and with the leaders of the nation not merely leaders of the Jewish nation, but recognized leaders of the whole world.
In reading over Matthew's Gospel, and, in fact, the four Gospels, it is well for us to keep clear in our minds that when Jesus came men and women were expecting a kingdom, but they were expecting an earthly kingdom, an outward kingdom, a material kingdom, a kingdom which was to satisfy their carnal desires, to feed their own selfish human natures and lift them up and exalt them and make them a great, people and a great nation. When Matthew was writing this Gospel, right from the very beginning to the end, he put the emphasis upon this fact, that the Kingdom Jesus came to establish was not to be an earthly kingdom. It was a Heavenly Kingdom, a Kingdom from Heaven, and that is the reason why in the Lord's prayer in Matthew 6 we read, "Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as etc."
So Jesus came to establish a Kingdom on earth where the will of God would be done by men even as that will is being done in Heaven. In other words, the Kingdom He came to establish was not to be an outward, material kingdom, but was to be an inward and spiritual Kingdom the rule and reign of God in the hearts of men. So that from the very beginning of his ministry to the close, the establishing of this Kingdom was the one passion of His life, was the theme of every sermon: wherever He went He had just one desire and purpose, "To seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness," and He sought to put this same passion and purpose into the minds and hearts of others so that they, too, would seek first the Kingdom of God and make the extension of that Kingdom and one all absorbing and consuming passion of their lives. I feel perhaps that there are some of us (if not all of us) who have not had that real love, purpose and passion in our hearts that would move us under all circumstances and conditions to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. So that here in this Gospel of Matthew, the first book of the mew Testament, it is made clear and plain to our minds and hearts that this Kingdom of God is not something that will exalt us but will humble us; not something that will satisfy our selfishness, but will encourage us to live for Him to be unselfish; not something that will feed the natural pride of our hearts, but will move us to true humility and lowliness. It will not encourage us to live for ourselves, but to live for others so that we may "lay up treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal."
In reading over this 13th chap. of Matt. We note the question that was asked by the, disciples, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" It would seem there came a turning point in the ministry of Jesus. He didn't speak in parables at the beginning of His ministry. It seems He only began to speak in parables at the end of two years. Jesus got into a boat. pushed out a little from shore, and spoke first the parable of the sower, and afterwards the disciples asked Him, "Why do you speak in parables?" A parable is what we might call a story with two meanings; a meaning on the surface, and a meaning below the surface; a meaning that some of those who were listening could only understand from a purely human or natural viewpoint, but which others who were listening could understand its spiritual meaning and spiritual significance, and Jesus said in answer to this question, "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given.
There were numbers of people who listened to Jesus and all they heard was the story, and all they understood was the surface meaning, but there were others of that company who not only understood the surface meaning, but they could understand the real spiritual meaning that Jesus was seeking to convey to their minds, the lesson He was anxious for them to learn. At the close of this chap, after He had spoken all the parables, He asked those disciples, "Have you understood all these things?" They said, "Yes, Lord, we have understood," and then He said, "Therefore, every scribe which is instructed unto the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old." "Now that ye have understood these things, now that the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven have been made clear to your minds, you are responsible, having been instructed, to bring out of this treasure house things that are new and things that are old.
I think what He meant to convey was this; Now that they had been helped to a clearer understanding of the Kingdom of Heaven, that was like a treasure which was now enriching them, and they were henceforth responsible for taking out of that treasure things that were new and things that were old, things fresh to their minds, and things the Holy Spirit might bring to their remembrance that God had taught them in other days. I would like this morning, if I could, to fasten upon every child of God, every saint and servant of God, the serious responsibility that rests upon them after they have been instructed in the things of the Kingdom of Heaven, to see to it that they pass these things on to others, and if we do that, instead of impoverishing ourselves, by passing on to others treasures out of God's truth we will be enriching ourselves, for to everyone, said Jesus, "that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not shall be taken."
I wish this morning I could help you to understand these parables a little better, and that I myself could get help to understand them a little better. As I have said, they give to us in the very words of Jesus, a complete representation of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth, the Heavenly Kingdom in this present evil world.
There are seven of these parables. There is the Parable of the sower, the parable of the tares, of the mustard seed, of the leaven, hid treasure, pearl of great price, and then the parable of the dragnet. It would seem that the first six are joined together. The parables of the sower and tares seem to go together, also the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven, and the hid treasure and pearl of great price.
I have written opposite these different parables in my Bible a word or two which when I turn over to this chapter suggest to me at once the main lesson which these parables were intended to teach. I have sometimes thought we make a mistake in trying to read too much into any parable, There is usually but one little thought, one main lesson, which Jesus was anxious to teach in His parables, so that when we begin to read our own thoughts into every little detail of these different parables we often miss the mark altogether. Speculation is not interpretation, reading our own thoughts into the Scriptures is not interpreting them. I have written thus:
The parable of the sower - - - - - - - - - - - - - "beginning"
The parable of the tares - - - - - - - - - - - - - " opposition"
The parable of the mustard seed - - - - - - - - "outward growth"
The parable of the leaven - - - - - - - - - - - - " inward working"
The parable of the hid treasure - - - - - - - - - "finding"
The parable of the pearl of great price - - - - - "seeking
The parable of the dragnet - - - - - - - - - - - - "separation"
These will help us to understand the real meaning of every parable and to grasp more clearly the real meaning of every parable and to grasp more clearly the real purpose in the mind of Jesus when He spoke these seven parables -- beginning, opposition, outward growth, inward working, finding, seeking, separation -- ultimate and eternal.
How does the Kingdom of God begin in the human heart, in the human life? Jesus tells in this first parable that it begins by the sowing of seed. He says that seed is "the word of the Kingdom." Be Himself was the Sower, the Pattern Sower, and the seed which He sowed was "the word of the Kingdom." The soil was the hearts of men. There were four different kinds of soil, hut only one kind producing a harvest; three, parts of the seed seemingly was wasted, one part only produced a harvest, and that a harvest in proportion to the depth of the soil, thirty, sixty and one hundred fold.
Jesus was the Pattern Sower. He called out and separated unto Himself others who would be willing to follow Him in the sowing, and would just as gladly and heartily give their lives in service true to God and man as He was giving His. The seed was the word of the Kingdom. I was meditating a little on this and asked myself the question, "What were these words of the Kingdom which Jesus spoke?" We can rightly think about. them being "the word of the Kingdom," the seed of God which, sown in the hearts of men, would produce a harvest. What He said to Nicodemus in John 3 and what He spoke to different individuals was "the word of the Kingdom," and those who heard these words and gave them serious thought and consideration, were not ashamed of them, and were willing to let them sink down into their hearts and germinate, were those who became "new creatures in Christ Jesus," their lives were changed and they were delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the Kingdom of God's dear Son.
So that the preaching of the Gospel is the sowing of the seed. That is what we are trying to do today. This company of men and women is to me what a field is to the farmer. He goes out and scatters seed. Much may be wasted, but there is a hope that some will fall into hearts ready and prepared, responsive hearts, with one desire and purpose, to know God's mind and will and willing to do it whatever it means or costs. When "the word of the Kingdom" falls into such hearts, whether inside or outside, that seed will spring up and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and an hundred fold.
The next parable suggests opposition of the enemy, the adversary of God and of man. It is true that opposition is suggested in the first parable. Wayside -- hardness of heart, permitting birds of the air to pick up the seed and take it away. Opposition from our own flesh in the parable of the stony ground, unwilling to suffer and be reproached; and in the thorny ground were the thorns springing up and choking the word--the cares of this life, etc. while there is some growth for a little while, there is deep down in the hearts of such men and women an unwillingness to be broken, to have the thorns removed, and even though they may stagger on for a while, in the hour of testing and trial it will become manifest that the seed did not take root,
In this parable of the tares we read of the Son of man sowing good seed in His field, and while men slept the enemy came and sowed evil seed. Both sprang up and seemingly there was little difference for a while, but later on it became manifest. It was suggested that it might be well to dig the tares up, but the owner said, "No, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let them both grow together until the harvest, Etc."
The first two of these parables were interpreted by Jesus Himself, so that there can be no doubt in any mind about the meaning of them. The sower is the Son of man. The good seed are "the children of the Kingdom," but the evil seed are "the children of the wicked one." The evil seed are the tares. It was a kind of seed that was much the wheat. One could almost need to be an expert to know the difference. When these two seeds were sown, one by the Son of Man, the other by the adversary, the devil, they were very much like each other, It was very difficult sometimes to distinguish between the two; to some it would seem to be altogether impossible, and that difference was not in evidence until the harvest was approaching.
What Jesus meant to say here was that the devils purpose all through the ages has been to counterfeit the work of God in order that he might deceive men. This explains to me all the different false systems of religion in the world. This explains to me the many different kinds of false professors of religion that are in the world. Sometimes it is very difficult to distinguish between what is true and what is false, but the difference will be made manifest sooner or later, and that difference leads to ultimate and eternal separation.
Some of us spent a little while in Los Angles this winter, and I think if there is any city in the world where Satan has his seat it is in that city in Southern California. I think it is the city where the word "Babylon" suggests the actual religious condition that exists there. I think every known religion is represented in Los Angeles, both heathen and Christian, and I have run across some who were very like the Truth, but their very likeness to God's true Way made them all the more deceptive.
I ran across some people who were very busy in seeking to form a New Testament church. They had left a number of other churches and had united together, and now they were busy, exceedingly busy and exceedingly aggressive in seeking to found a New Testament church right there in the city of L. A. One of their leaders came across one of our brothers an elder of a church, and this elder had a very interesting conversation with him. They talked together for quite awhile, and this brother convinced him the early Christians never spent a dollar in erecting a building for the worship of God, but met together in small groups in consecrated homes and there sought to worship God in Spirit and Truth.
These people got so stirred up that they rushed to their N.T.'s and discovered to their surprise that what this brother said was true, that there were no church buildings erected by the true people of God, there were buildings, but the people of God were put out of them and did not worship in them. They met in homes consecrated to God in small groups. When they saw according to the letter of the word that the proper course was for God's children not to meet in public buildings on the first day of the week, but in homes, they said, "We will do that too; we will sell our tabernacle." Previous to this they had gotten their members to invest their money in a lot and buildings. Now they got to see that this was wrong and they were going to sell this tabernacle and give back the money. They said, "Now we are going to have a N.T. church and meet in homes."
I also spent a while with one of the leaders, and I was trying to bring home to him this fact: You can't have a N.T. church without the N.T. ministry. The N.T. ministry was the foundation of the N.T. church, and this leader was asked this question, "Have you one single individual in your fellowship who has obeyed the teaching of Jesus, "Sell all ye have etc." and has made himself poor, homeless for His sake, preaches the Gospel without money and without price?" This man had to say, "No, we have not."
They had what they thought to be a N.T, church. It was just another branch of these tares which the adversary of God and man was seeking to sow in the world, so that men and women might be deceived and that God's true children might sometimes be discouraged. When they were brought face to face with the very foundation of the N.T. church they said, "No, we don't have it; we don't want it."'
I wonder do you value the ministry? Do you value having a ministry that has the true marks of Christ? Do you value having in your fellowship men and women who have actually fulfilled these conditions, sold all, made themselves poor, homeless for His sake, preach the Gospel without money and without price, who would scorn the very thought of making merchandise of the word of God, and are just as gladly and heartily giving their lives in true service as those we read of in the N.T.? Don't be discouraged if some of the tares are very like the wheat, See to it that you are true and loyal to the ambassadors of the King, the sowers of the seed, and do your little part in seeking to promote that unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace which gladdens the heart of God and brings blessing to men.
The next parables are the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven. In this parable of the mustard seed, Jesus said that a man took it and sowed it in his garden. It grew and became a great shrub, it never became a cedar, a redwood, or an oak--just a shrub. It might be noticed in a garden, but it would be absolutely unnoticed in the forest. Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is like that. It was one of the smallest seeds. If you had a grain of mustard seed in your hand you would find it hard to see it. It was a very small seed and away back in those days when they wanted to suggest or talk about something very insignificant they used the expression, "As small as a mustard seed." This mustard seed sown in the garden would spring up, not into a might tree of the forest, but into a shrub that we might take notice of in the garden; but it would be unnoticed in the forest. What does it mean?
I remember a couple of years ago I got some of this Palestine mustard seed and I gave it to a few of the friends and encouraged them to sow it in hope some of them would be able later on to produce a real mustard tree or shrub. Some of them tried very hard, and most of them failed altogether. This mustard seed was very small and when it was sown it was a long time coming up. Some thought it would never come up, hut finally they noticed it was just beginning to show over the soil, a tiny hair, and it remained like that for weeks. They kept nursing it along and it began to grow, and later they had a fair plant.
One sister got this plant growing so well that it got a little too big for the inside of the home and she thought she would take it out and plant it in the yard, so very carefully she put it into the ground. It grew into a shrub and she wrote me, "Why, the Scriptures are being fulfilled right in my yard. The birds of the air have come and lodged in the branches of the mustard tree." I was very anxious to see one of these mustard trees, I expected to see something really worth looking at; something I would admire. I was hoping the blossoms would Be very nice to look at, but when I saw that mustard tree I was disappointed and almost ashamed of it. It wasn't worth looking at; the blossom was anything but pleasing.
What Jesus meant to convey that day to those disciples was that they need never expect this Kingdom of Heaven in the world to be very much to look at. There are some of us who are disappointed that we are not being recognized as a great people. Sometimes, perhaps, you feel like saying, "Why don't we put a little advertisement in the paper and tell what we are and bow wonderful we are, and get the world to look at us?" Jesus said that when we look at Babylon, the mother of harlots, we are filled with a "great admiration" "how great." Then we think of a little mustard shrub that there is nothing to it at all, and yet that is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like in the world, according to the teaching of Jesus.
How easy it is to Be identified with the great trees of the forest. Sometimes we are ashamed to say that instead) of being associated with these, we are associated with the little mustard shrub that there is nothing to it at all, and yet that is what the Kingdom of Heaven is like in the world, according to the teaching of Jesus.
How easy it is to be identified with the great trees of the forest. Sometimes we are ashamed to say that instead of being associated with these, we are associated with the little mustard shrub which, as far as the world is concerned, is "mean, unnoticed and unknown." Is there not something in this to make you rejoice you are mean, unnoticed and unknown? The world does not recognize us and best of all, we do not desire it. We are glad to be "outside the camp," bearing His reproach, and wish to remain there unnoticed and unknown. The mustard tree will grow in spite of the opposition of Satan, but will never become a mighty tree of the forest. It will ever remain just a mustard tree. The world knows us not. If we were recognized by the world, if the world was making room for us, it would bring home to our hearts that we had departed from the faith and that the Lord had forsaken His people.
The next parable is that of the leaven. "The Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven." If there are any religious cranks in this meeting . I am going to get into trouble right now, because there has been more discussion and argument about this parable than about any other, but I am not going to worry about it. Jesus said, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven," and that's enough for me. (Leaven does not always mean evil. See Lev. 7:13; 23:17) The mustard tree had to do with the Kingdom as a whole and the "children of the Kingdom" as a whole, and it makes clear that their growth in the world would never be much or bring any recognition from the world.
Jesus said, "The Kingdom is like leaven which a woman took and hid in 3 measures of meal till the whole was leavened." Some people say that the 3 measures of meal mean the whole world, but Jesus didn't have this in His mind. If the parable of the, mustard seed has to do with the Kingdom as a whole, this parable has to do with the individual child of God. It has to do with the individual man or woman who was willing for the word of the Kingdom," through the Gospel, to be sown in their hearts, and as they gave that word the place in their hearts it would have, it would affect their whole lives. See 1 Thes. 5:23. I think Paul had this leaven in his mind when he wrote this particular verse. Do you believe in being wholly sanctified? "Oh," you say "I don't believe in sanctification at all." If you don't believe in sanctification you are not in the Kingdom, are not yet a child in the Kingdom, and if you don't believe in being wholly sanctified it is doubtful whether you have entered at all.
I remember some years ago over in Michigan we were having meetings in mid-winter. Before going to the meeting, the woman where we stayed would get some flour, water and yeast and mix the whole together. Then we came back from the meeting she would have a look at it, and before she went to bed she would put it on the oven door and put some blankets over it. In the morning, if everything went all right, the dough was ready to be made into loaves and put into the oven to be baked. What is it that discourages leaven from working (Sometimes it would be down flat in 1n the morning) What would cause it to cease working? A lower temperature, coldness. What would encourage it to work? A little warmth. Sometimes it would get too hot and spread all over the floor. That is fanaticism. When it works normally it brings practical results.
I wonder, as an individual child of God, if you are willing for "this word of the Kingdom," this "truth as in Jesus to work in your heart and in your life, to affect your whole body, soul and spirit so that you will be more fully separated unto God; affecting your home and business life, your religious life; every detail of your life. This is what Jesus had in His mind. The woman is typical of the Holy Spirit. The leaven is typical of the "word of the Kingdom," the "truth as in Jesus," the three measures of meal are typical of what we are as individuals, body, soul and spirit. That leaven is the truth of God hidden in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which, little by little, noiselessly and ceaselessly, will affect every part of our lives until the whole is leavened.
I wonder if you know anything about this? Have you grasped this thought, God is anxious to "work in you to will and to do of His own good pleasure?" That (sic - is ) the purpose of His working is to bring into your life and experience that which will enable you to bear in your life a likeness to Him so that others can see the life of Christ lived over again in you. (Gal. 2:20) "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God which worketh in you etc. (Phil. 2:12-13)
There is no suggestion that the leaven is like the true doctrine or false doctrine, or anything else working in the world until the whole world is converted or corrupted. That is not the thought in the mind of Jesus. I don't hesitate to say this morn.(sic ) that the children of God in this mtg.(sic ) who will get the most out of life, have the deepest peace and rest of heart, and the truest joy are the men and women who are most willing to let God work in their hearts; are the men and women who most heartily make the will of God the rule of their lives, who can truly say, "I delight to do Thy will, Oh God." The devil fools and deceives men and women into thinking that by doing their own will and going their own way, carrying out their own plans and purposes they are going to get the most out of life. It may be the will of god (sic ) is sometimes hard, goes against our human nature, brings reproach and a sense of shame but the man or woman who has a true purpose; the man or woman who is willing to make the will of God the rule of their lives, will know the peace that passeth understanding and in a world of sin, misery, sorrow, and suffering, there will be that in their hearts that will make them continually rejoice in God their Saviour. The hearts that will continually rejoice in God their Saviour. The word of the Kingdom never loses its interest. Their truest joy and satisfaction is found in seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
The next is the parable of the hid treasure. There are two kinds of people in the Kingdom, those who one might say almost stumbled into it, and those who may have been seeking the "pearl of great price" for years; but whether it is the case of the man or woman who finds, you might say accidentally, or was seeking for years, it becomes to them the thing most exceeding precious, for which they are willing to make any sacrifice in order to make it their own.
It says He went and hid it and made arrangement to buy the field and make that treasure his very own. Have you ever found something you weren't looking for that was of real value? In San Diego I was getting out of a car and saw a dirty piece of paper on the ground. I picked it up, and lo and behold, it was a ten dollar bill! A worker told of an experience in Scotland. He and his companion were having meetings in a certain village and had a room rented from a woman. They had her stove to cook on (when they had anything to cook) but after a short time there was nothing left in the pantry but a few grains of tea; and at dinner time in order to suggest to the woman that they were invited out, they would go for a walk. When supper time came they would go out for another walk. This kept on for several days until those two boys were awfully hungry. They had mtgs. every night and perhaps had thoughts like this "Are we in the way of God at all?" and perhaps they got a little encouragement from the fact that the beginning of His ministry Jesus was hungry for forty days.
On Sunday morning they went out for a walk instead of having breakfast. They went up a road leading to a mountain, and as they walked they saw a big brown parcel lying in the middle of the road. They picked it up and opened the package and lo and behold there were twenty of the finest ham sandwiches you ever saw. They wrapped them up again and hurried back to where they were lodging, got those few grains of tea and sat down, and oh, how they enjoyed those ham sandwiches! The joy of finding something you didn't expect!
I was invited to a mtg. over thirty years ago. I went, not because I had any interest, but because I promised a young fellow I would go. I said, "This is just going to be like every other mtg. (meeting) I will go and listen that will be the end of it." I sat in the back seat next to the door. I listened and when the mtg. was over I was the first out and down the street, but I was a different man. As I sat in that mtg. that night I was careless, hopeless Godless and Christless, didn't care if there was a God in Heaven or a devil in hell; but I felt I had run into something I had never heard of before, and I said, "If there is a God in Heaven I am going to find Him, and will make Him my own." I stumbled on the "hid treasure." Supposing I hadn't gone, hadn't listened to the "word of the Kingdom," where would I be? But I listened and in three weeks, I paid the price and made that "hid treasure" my very own.
There are others I have met who from their earliest years have had the conviction that there was some purpose in life, who say, "I don't know and don't understand," they go here and there seeking after goodly pearls, and again and again are disappointed in their search. They don't find what they had hoped, and last of all, in God's own time, He brings them into touch with the pearl of great price, and when they hear about that "pearl of great price" from the lips of His bondservants and handmaidens, they are willing for any sacrifice and are willing to make that pearl their own, and it becomes to them their most precious possession. Is this "hid pearl" precious to you? Is this "pearl of great price" your most valued, your most treasured possession, or have you been weakening? Has your love been getting cold? Have you been feeling, "I wish I had never professed, and had never met those bondservants and handmaidens of the Lord; it is not bringing me what I had expected." Oh, my brother, my sister, what has happened?
In the city of Laodicea there were men and women neither hot nor cold. They were lukewarm, had lost that sense of value, had ceased to look upon this great treasure as the pearl of great price, and they were losing out. They had the husk but the kernel was gone. They had the form and ritual, but the King was dethroned. Oh! the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! He might have turned them down. He would have been justified in treating them as they had treated Him, but instead of that He is knocking with His nail-pierced hand at the door of their hearts, saying, "May I come in?" "Behold I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, etc." (Rev. 3:20-21) When Peter was an old man he used the word "precious" often. The trial of our faith is precious, the blood is precious the Son of God Himself is precious, the promises are precious. I wonder my brother, my sister, with the years, the promises are precious. does (sic) this heavenly treasure, the pearl of great price become more exceeding precious, and are you more anxious to walk worthy of your high calling of God's rule in the hearts and lives of men?
The next is the parable of the drag net. The net is spread carefully. It is let down and drawn in but once. One kind of fish is taken up carefully, put to one side, and of the other many kinds are taken. Jesus said this latter is a picture of men and women for whom nothing awaits but weeping, wailing etc. There is going to be a day of separation.
In those seven parables we have a full, complete picture of the Heavenly Kingdom, not on the other side of grace but on this side -- God's Heavenly Kingdom here and now, the rule and reign of God in the hearts of men established in this world, the children of the Kingdom, sown by the Son of Man, producing fruit, some thirty, sixty and an hundred fold.
May God grant that what has been said this morning from this chapter may give us a new picture of the Kingdom; may cause us to see a little more clearly the wonderful possibilities in the lives of those who are true children of the Kingdom, laying up treasures "where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt and where thieves do not break through and steal.
By John (Jack) T. Carroll
We are more anxious than ever that God's children should be rooted and grounded and established in the faith, and that they should be able to give sound and Scriptural reasons of the hope that is in them, and for all that they believe as God's children. One of the reasons why many of God's people hesitate to give their testimony and speak to their friends and relations about the things of God is because they are a little bit afraid they might not be able to prove from the Scriptures the statements they might make, and because of this fear they remain silent. there is no excuse whatever for this, because we as the people of God are building upon a sure foundation. There is absolutely nothing about the truth in Jesus that we need be ashamed of. Every child of God, and especially the younger children of God, those who will some day fill the places we are now filling, should make a special effort to master what the Scriptures teach about the New Testament church and ministry.
I have always had a feeling in my mind that I had to see before I believed, and I rejoice that from the beginning of my life as a child of God I recognized the importance of being a diligent student of God's word and wanted to prove everything I was supposed to believe, and especially the truths I was expected to contend for as the faith once for all delivered unto the saints. We have been tremendously disappointed in many of our young people that they do not show this diligence, and that they do not witness for Him among their friends and associates as they might, and in this way fit themselves for filling a place in God's great harvest field later on. We hope one of the results of this convention will be that all of us, young and old, will be more diligent in our study of God's word, and will form the habit of mastering those precious truths that have been given to us, so that we will be able to speak intelligently to our friends about the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
I believe many of us in this meeting have not ventured to give our testimony, except in Sunday morning meetings and week evening meetings, and the only time we confess Christ is in the presence of God's people. Perhaps the root reason for this is that they do not feel very sure of their ground, and that feeling can be attributed to their own lack of diligence in the matter of proving for themselves from the scriptures that we are building on a foundation that cannot be moved, and that we are in our day contending for the faith that was once for all delivered unto the saints.
Sometimes we have a little difficulty when people ask us what we call ourselves. It is very comforting and assuring to know that the word of God from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation is on our side, and that we find our way of worship and our way of service clearly defined within the covers of God's book, and within no other book. These sixty-six books talk all we need to know about God's way of salvation and worship and of service. There is nothing that we need to be ashamed of in connection with the ministry, and there is certainly nothing we need to be ashamed of telling our friends with regard to what we believe about the church. if this convention is to be of any real value in the extension of the Kingdom of God, it can only be such as we witness for Him by life and lip.
If I were to ask you a number of questions about the ministry, how many could turn over to chapter and verse in order to give me the true scriptural way? Would you be able to tell your friends just exactly the scriptures we necessarily must fulfill if we are to have any place in this ministry? In talking to our friends we are very vague. We give answers to their questions which lead them up into the air, and after they have talked to us they are just as wise as they were before. How good it would be if the younger children of God, as well as the older ones, would spend a little more time in searching the scriptures and getting to see how solid is the foundation we are building on as God's children.
While we can doubt and question every other faith, so-called, and while we recognize that men everywhere are building on sinking, shifting sand, how good it is to be able to look into the faces of men with confidence and with the deep conviction that God Himself has created within us, be able to give a sound and solid reason for the hope that is within us. I wonder if the parents here are taking any real interest in instructing their children in the way of life. Do they recognize that they have but a few brief years to sow the seeds in the hearts of their children, which may not ripen perhaps until later in life, but if it is faithfully sown they can have a hope that the seed will ultimately have the same result as in the life of Moses, who at forty years of age refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
We have a sort of knowledge of the truth. We know God's people are divided into saints and servants. Sometimes they are called sheep and shepherds; sometimes they are called saints of the Kingdom and the under-shepherds are called ambassadors. That is all fine, but are you clear in your mind with regard to the scriptural distinction between the saints and the servants of God? If I were to ask you the real New Testament difference between the saints and the servants of God what would you say? One man answering this question said the difference was that the servants of God sacrificed all and the saints of God used all in the extension of God's Kingdom. All that man had -- his home, his business, everything, was fully consecrated to God, and his greatest delight was to use his home and all he had for the extension of God's Kingdom in the world. He got real joy out of his worship and service, far more than those who are half- hearted in their self-denial.
How many of us are really clear on the conditions that must be fulfilled by those who are to have a part in this ministry? God's people demand greater sacrifices from their preachers than any other people in the world. They insist that the preachers must sacrifice all, and they say they believe in no other kind of preachers but those who sacrifice all for the Gospel's sake. That is quite right, but suppose you were asked for Scriptures to prove this, could you talk intelligently to your friends about it? There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in anything that Jesus lived and taught. Jesus said on one occasion, "If any man is ashamed of Me and My words, of Him will the Father be ashamed." We are not so bold in our witnessing for Christ as we ought to be as His people in the world. It may be that the reason for our silence is our lack of confidence and assurance, wondering if this foundation we are building on is solid and if these things are clearly taught within the pages of God's own word. I would to God that your convictions were deepened, and were so deep that you would have no hesitation whatever in telling men exactly what you believe.
Sometimes in talking to our friends we say we don't believe in a preacher who is preaching for hire and lifting a collection, but when asked what kind of a preacher we do believe in, we find it difficult to explain. There is nothing to hesitate over in connection with God's way of taking care of His bond-servants, and if we have been somewhat backward in making clear this thing, it isn't because we are ashamed of God's way, but we have hesitated to speak lest some should think we had an unworthy motive in making clear what God's method really is.
Supposing that at the close of this meeting some should come up and say they would like to go forth to preach, what conditions would we put before them? We would ask them first of all, are you willing to make yourself poor for Jesus' sake? Are you willing to become homeless for Jesus' sake? Are you willing to recognize the claims of Jesus above the claims of brother or sister, father or mother? Are you willing to go forth preaching the Gospel without any guaranteed support, and with no liberty to lift collections or to beg for money? Are you willing to go anywhere in the world to preach the Gospel? When a man makes up his mind to go forth he can set no limit, for the commission is "Go ye forth into all the world." The last question we would ask, and perhaps the most serious, Are you willing not only to go anywhere, but with anybody?
In the Kingdom of God a sacrifice is demanded on the part of the servants of the Lord that no other people in the world consider as being part of the teachings of Jesus; and yet when we depart from the simplicity of this plan of Jesus, or weaken on any of these fundamentals, then we depart from the faith. Do you love these men and women who have made this sacrifice? Do you look upon it as something that is entirely one sided? Or do you recognize the privilege you have of having fellowship with them in living for the furtherance of the Gospel and the extension of God's Kingdom?
The word church occurs 112 times in the N.T. and in the Gospels it occurs three times. The word "Kingdom" occurs 116 times. The word "church" occurs more frequently in the epistles than it does in the Gospels and the reason is that the church is God's chosen instrument for the realization, and manifestation, and extension of His Kingdom in this world. Every individual child of God, every member of His church, is here for one purpose as far as God is concerned, and that is to so walk and order their lives that God's great Kingdom may be furthered and the coming of His Kingdom hastened.
This word church is used in two different senses in the N.T. It is used of God's people as a whole, and in a local sense. In the first chapter of Revelations the church is spoken of under the figure of a golden candle. The thought that this suggests is that every little group of God's people, the citizens of His Kingdom who are called out and separated from the world, are to be in their own particular community a light. "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in Heaven." Every individual child of God is to be a light giver. The little groups we speak of as being churches are also supposed to be light givers. Sometimes I am almost staggered by this thought that the only light God has in the world, His only means of helping and enlightening others, are the individual citizens of His Kingdom, and the little groups that meet together as churches throughout the land. They are to be as a light to the community. We have been gladdened by hearing of some of the neighbors of the saints, who after a period of years have been so impressed by seeing the children of God week in and week out, year in and year out, meeting together in certain homes, that they have come and asked permission to attend those meetings, with the result that many after attending three or four Sunday morning meetings have gotten up and said, "Thy God shall be my God; and thy people shall be my people."
God's eternal purpose was that every little group should feel the tremendous responsibility that rests upon them, not only as individuals but as a group, that they are God's only witnesses in their community. If this thought took root in our minds it would cause us to walk more carefully in the future. Wouldn't it be a wonderful thing if every child of God realized, I am expected to be a light, and if every little group lived in such hearty fellowship with Him and with each other that as a result those people, too who may have been looking on perhaps for years would say, "I would like to come in among those people, too." The heartiest people we know are those who are most interested in witnessing for Christ and seeking to win others to be members of His body.
The church in the home and the preacher without a home are vital. We cannot depart from either of them. I have rejoiced ten thousand times in the wonderful wisdom of God in connection with the gathering together of His people on the first day of the week. What a terrible calamity it would be if we as the servants of God had to be continually occupied with building synagogues, but our eyes have been opened to see that the building of synagogues and the hiring of preachers belongs to Babylon. When we hire preachers, we, too, have become associated with part of that Babylonish system which will ultimately be destroyed. It is very wonderful that God has so planned it that instead of amassing substance, His people can meet together and His work be carried on without the very things other religious people of the world claim to be absolutely essential to worship and serve Him.
You might ask, Where are the scriptures that teach us so simply and clearly that God's people in N.T. days met together to worship God in the homes, and only in the homes of His own people? That would be a revelation to your friends to know that there is absolutely no record in the N.T. of the early Christians investing a dollar in real estate, and yet today billions of dollars are invested in every country in the world, so-called Christians, for what they claim to be the worship and service of God.
It is a very wonderful thing that Jesus instituted the breaking of bread on the night of the passover feast. That is always a very comforting thing to me. I wonder if you really value the simplicity of Jesus and the church in the home. When you leave your own home to meet in the home of another where two or three are gathered together in the Lord's name, you should look upon that as one of the greatest privileges you can have as God's child today; and as you walk or drive there it is a testimony to your friends which may perhaps some day result in their becoming interested in and wanting to have a part in this thing also with you.
Do you who have the church in your home look upon this as a privilege? We would not like to have a church in any home where this was looked upon as an irksome thing, or a hard thing, or where those in the home looked upon it as meaning a lot of extra work. If we thought any had any of these thoughts in their minds we immediately take the church from your home and place it in another that would be more worthy. On that Day on the side some of your sweetest memories will be the fact that you had fellowship with Priscilla and Aquila, and others who at great inconvenience welcomed God's people under their roof, to sing His praise and worship Him in spirit and in truth.
I wonder if there are any who have formed the habit of being absent from the meeting on the first day of the week, forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is. That was written to saints who were suffering a great deal of reproach. They are feeling that this was entirely too much, and little by little they began to absent themselves from the meetings. The writer to the Hebrews had a great fear that some of them might first go altogether and fall down and go over to the enemy, and that they would fight in their ranks against their former friends. What would you think a reasonable excuse for a child of God being absent from the meeting? It might be easy for you to make an excuse, but it be more difficult to give a reason. This is an appointment which we don't make with one another. It is an appointment we make with God, and He has said that wherever two or three are gathered together in His name He will be there in their midst. Those who feel a desire to honor, and please Him, and submit to His rules, will be in their right place on the first day of the week.
You should not come too early to the meeting, but if you come early don't spend the time in useless gossip. It would be much better to take your place in the meeting room, and read and meditate, and seek to have your spirit brought into the condition where you will enjoy God's fellowship. Many a meeting is absolutely ruined by too much talking before the meeting begins, and sometimes by too much visiting after the meeting is over. I don't say you shouldn't have a little friendly word with each other, but don't waste time in useless conversation.
I have said more than once that if some of us attended your meetings for five or six times we would be able to memorize your prayers, for you pray the same prayer all the time. Each one of God's children should form the habit of praying briefly if they want to pray in Sunday morning meeting. We don't care how long you pray in private, but in public your prayers should be short. It isn't necessary to pray all around the world, and for everybody in it. Do that in the secret place, but in fellowship meeting remember you are expected to pray to edification. Two or three phrases from your heart that all your brethren could say a hearty 'amen' to would result in everyone being edified and blest. We like parents to bring their children to the Sunday morning meeting, but we don't like those children to be wearied unnecessarily by the long prayers of God's people. If there are a number in the meeting it would be well to arrange to have two periods of prayer, one at the beginning and the other at the close of the meeting, so that all would have an opportunity to take part. Make a fresh start and let your prayers be brief and fresh next Sunday.
Sometimes if we went to your meetings for five or six Sundays we might be able to memorize not only our prayers but your testimony also. Don't say the same thing every Sunday morning. Be fresh in your testimony and don't preach too long. Very often a meeting is absolutely ruined by someone deliberately and wantonly taking time that belongs to another and using it. An average meeting should not take up more than one hour or an hour and a quarter. I have been in meetings where other workers took part and the meeting was over an hour and a quarter. The kind of testimony that goes on forever will not help or edify anyone.
If there is anything that is calculated to hinder others and hinder the extension of God's Kingdom, it is for any of you as God's children when a stranger comes into your midst to whet your sword and go for that man or woman and hack him to pieces. That is what some of you do. Many and many a person has been hurt and wounded and caused to say "I will never go back to that meeting again:, by the spirit manifested toward them, and the way in which they were needlessly attacked by those who should have recognized they were responsible for speaking to the edification of the saints. What is the right and proper course for saints to take when strangers are present? It is to conduct your meeting as if they were not there. Speak to edification, pass on those thoughts God has put in your hearts and minds, without any particular reference or applying what you may say to any person present. If you do that those who come into your midst will go out to confess that God is in your meetings of a truth. I believe the older workers are responsible where any transgress along the lines I am speaking, for talking personally with that person and asking him never again when a stranger comes into a church meeting to make it unpleasant for him. But to forget about his presence and endeavor to speak whatever of edification God has given to him as a member of His Church.
It would be a mistake for all who have the privilege of having the meeting in their home to assume that they were necessarily elders in the N.T. meaning of the word. Some are elders, and some who now lead meetings may some day be considered elders of the church, but it would be wrong for all who give out the hymns to consider that they are elders.
[RE: Black Stockings] We gave you four words last year to guide you in connection with your purchases during the year -- economy, simplicity, modesty, and neatness. What the scripture teaches about the dress question is covered by these four words, and we will have no complaint if the daughters of Zion give evidence that in all their purchases during the year they do it as unto the Lord, remembering that if they are to have a testimony of value it will be well for them to be guided by these four words. We don't want to make rules or laws for God's children that would bring them into unnecessary bondage. We believe we can safely trust our sisters in Christ in this matter, which is such a serious matter, as far as they are concerned, if they will be guided by these four words. If they do this, it will result in their having a testimony for God that will be of value.
We would like our sisters here to look upon the sister workers as a
safe guide in this matter. There is no need for an absolute uniformity. We
know this is a very serious question, and we believe that in some cases at
least there could be a little improvement in this matter. We don't like to
see any wearing stockings so closely like having no stockings on at all,
and we feel perfectly sure that when you buy your next pair if you remember
these four words, especially the word modesty, you will be more careful not
only with regard to material but also with regard to color.
2010 Rainier Avenue
February 12, 1942
An inquiry has reached me recently regarding the marriage ceremony and matters relating thereto. This letter is for your information and guidance.
There are just two places where we can encourage marriage of those professing to be the Lord's people to be held and two only—the home, or the office of Justice of Peace or Judge.
The farther we keep from the customs of the world in this matter the better. For any to send a wide or general invitation to the Lord's people in any city or community is entirely out of order.
The parties getting married should remember that the friends to whom such invitations are sent are only theirs as a result of the labor and sacrifice of others, and that they never would have known them apart from the Gospel. It has been said that the underlying purpose of this needless advertisement is usually selfish and mercenary.
It is not necessary, but should suffice, for the relatives and a few personal friends of both parties that have been meeting in the same church to be present at the ceremony in the home. Any more than this savors of the world and its ways and leads to many difficulties.
We have heard of "Showers" in connection with some marriages accompanied by lightness and a spirit of frivolity most unbecoming to the children of God. We cannot approve of such gatherings. If any wish to make a present to either party, they can send it by mail or deliver it personally, and thus avoid any conditions or circumstances that would grieve the Holy Spirit of God.
You will, of course, understand that the foregoing has to do only with those professing to be in fellowship with God's people. We cannot interfere with the liberty of those who do not profess, even though their parents may. We feel, however, that the parents, even of children who do not profess, should be very careful that everything in connection with their marriage should not hinder their personal fellowship with God nor affect their own testimony as God's children.
You are at liberty to read this letter to any to whom it may be a help—especially those who possibly need guidance with regard to this matter.
Yours sincerely in Christ's service,
Signed: (John T. Carroll)
TTT Editor's Notes : Meeting at West Hanney, England or at W. Haney's Home in England Statements about this meeting differ in the location where the meeting was held. Some state that it was at West Hanney; and others state (including The Secret Sect) that it was in W. Haney's home. West Hanney, England is the nearest town to the convention. Regardless, the statement circulated about the event quotes what the Secret Sect printed, and the list of individuals present is identical in both statements.
The meeting was called regarding the rift between George Walker and Jack Carroll, co-overseers of the USA and Canada.
The Secret Sect book states at the beginning of Chapter 8: "The need for a determined and united policy was discussed at a conference held at W. Haney's home in England, 19-21 July, 1930. An attempt also was made to settle the strained relations between Walker and Carroll, but as no preacher emerged as outright leader, it became apparent that overseers retained and strengthened their right to exercise authority within their territories. Repetition of former policy was reflected in the statement issued by the seven senior workers after the meeting: July 20, 1930."
The most famous line of the West Hanney Statement is: "It was unanimously agreed by all present that the past should be buried...".
This line is often taken out of context to mean that the workers agreed to bury William Irvine's role in founding the 2x2 movement. To be fair, please read this statement again, very carefully. Notice the purpose for which the worldwide workers meeting was called at West Hanney. It was because "difficulties have existed in the U.S.A. between some of the elder workers..." The difficulty was was the strained relationship between the two U.S.A. overseer workers, Jack Carroll and George Walker. "The past" had nothing to do with hiding or burying the history of the 2x2 group. "The past" was the offenses or feud that existed between these two men. When two people "make up," it is often the case that they agree to "let by-gones be by-gones," and let the past go. The West Hanney statement was saying the same thing--that as far as these two men, "the past should be buried."
Statement Regarding Meeting at West Hanney, England
July 19-20, 1930
"For a number of years past, difficulties have existed in the U.S.A. between some of the elder workers, which in recent years became more acute, because of these difficulties it was decided that a number of the elder workers from various countries should come together in England and enquire into the reasons for the trouble and seek to find some basis for a better understanding.
"During the days we (the undersigned) were gathered together, full opportunity was given to all to express their minds and to offer any suggestions that would be helpful. After considering the matter from every viewpoint, we are happy to say that those who were most concerned in this trouble expressed their deep regret for any offence at which they had been guilty and apologised to each other, and undertook to do all in their power to dispel the existing difficulties and promote the spirit of unity and fellowship amongst the Lord's people, particularly in the fields which were most affected by the trouble.
"It was unanimously agreed by all present that the past should be buried, and that in the future, all would use their influence to discourage anything that would disturb the peace in God's family, adhering to the teaching and example of Jesus. It was further agreed that should any violation or supposed violation occur, that no decision should be arrived at or circulated until the matter had been placed before a number of brethren from various countries."
Signed by the following:
W. J. Gill (Willie) 1900
G. Walker (George) 1899
J. T. Carroll (Jack) 1904
J. Hardie (John) 1900
A. Dougal (Alex)
H. R. Mathews (Hugh)1904
J. Doak (John) 1903
W. Jamieson (Willie) 1905
A. Scott (S.)
J. Jardine (James)1904
J. S. Jackson (Jack) 1901
A. Pearce/Pierce 1904
W. Weir (Willie) 1903
W. Reid (Wilson) 1904
J. Forbes (Jack)
Said there had been no word from the workers (5 brothers) in Philippines since Dec. 22nd, then they were safe, but when Bataan fell, 20,000 civilian refugees were captured. Since then an article appeared in a paper here telling about the missionaries there. Mentioned certain groups whose status seems somewhat of a mystery, staying with their flocks. Jack supposed they are our workers. If so, they are in captivity.
The two workers in Hong Kong, Tom Fowler and companion, are in the hands of the enemy. His companion was quite badly treated--two ribs and a wrist broken, but is recovered now. Tom wrote that he still weighs 145 lbs. All who know him know that his usual weight is around 190 lbs.
Two brothers and two sisters were captured when the Island of Java fell. Two brothers taken prisoners in Singapore. Several workers in Burma able to get away from Gangoon and are now safe and at work in India. Through the British Red Cross, touch has been established with the workers in Greece. All are safe, One lone sister worker is holding the fort in unoccupied France, doing what she can to strengthen the Lord's little flock there. Also one sister in Belgium. The 14 workers new in Holland able to carry on much as usual.
There are four in Denmark, but their movements are somewhat restricted. In Norway and Sweden, they were able to have their conventions much as usual. One brother in Czechoslovakia, who was interned for a while. Two brothers are interned in Germany. Another one…was under sentence of death for several months, then suddenly given his freedom with no explanation. 14 workers at present in Germany--somewhat hindered but may have meetings in homes. One brother worker in Warsaw, Poland. He was captured twice, first by one side, then by the other. Now he is free. There are two workers in Egypt and two in Syria.
Hymn, “Peace, Perfect Peace” (No. 36, Leaflet), Ernest Nelson, Calvin Casselman, Rosetha Newman, Eileen Longley
Obituary (Read by Tharold Sylvester)
Tharold Sylvester: I would like to read just one verse this afternoon: Psalm 126:6, “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” I feel that I can express my deep gratitude for the sacrifices of our brother, and what he has meant to me through the years, and I believe I can understand a little better what God told Joshua when He said, “Moses my servant is dead.” That was God’s obituary of Moses, put in five words. The outstanding statement in this is, “My servant.” Moses truly was God’s servant. We read of Paul expressing himself as a servant of Christ, and we know that this was true. That is why this afternoon I feel that one of the greatest tributes that we can give our brother is to call him the servant of Christ. He truly was that. He has served long, willingly, faithfully, and untiringly. I don’t suppose it is necessary to remind you people of what he himself has told us so often of his first days, the days when he heard the gospel, when that gospel moved his heart and touched him and brought him to the place of true submission to Christ, when He said, “It is Christ for me,” he also said that other word, “forever.” Now he has proved that. That is why this afternoon as we are gathered here to pay our last respects to him, we are grateful for that sacrifice.
I believe we can put it this way, that he saw very clearly at the beginning that to believe Christ was to receive Christ, and he also saw that to receive Christ was to live Christ, and to live Christ was further more a privilege of following Christ. That is why in his own daily home life those first days, he followed Christ, and a few years later when had the privilege of going forth into the ministry, obeying that greatest of all commands, he also followed Christ there. The mark of a true servant is that they always want the will of the Master to be done. You are familiar with what Jesus asked of His first disciples when He told them to “follow i.e.,” to make them apostles. We are glad for our brother’s vision that enabled him to see first of all the privilege of service, and the fields white unto harvest, and he gave himself – he started forth. That means making himself poor. He started that way, continued that way, and we are very, very grateful for that, but we are also very very grateful for the fact that he finished that way, and today he lies in another man’s coffin, he will be buried in another man’s grave. He maintained that mark of poverty and homelessness until the very end of his life. We are grateful for that, because he has given us a wonderful example of what Jesus lived and taught.
The world stumbles over the fact that they want to change Christ. Some change it one way, some change it another, and that is why we have the religious confusion in the world, but I believe he understood clearly from the very start that God wants to change lives. God did change Jack’s life. The love of God will always change lives, the power of God will always change our lives, the revelation of the Gospel will always change lives, and we are glad for what has been changed in his life, because today we are enjoying things that we would never have enjoyed if he had not made that first sacrifice. Can you just picture what it would have meant if Jack had said “no” when Christ called him? If he had lived for himself, gathered earthly things around him, could that have brought the living hope that we have today? That is why I will say this, we are grateful that when he was weighing up that cost, that choice, God was able to keep his vision clear and enable him to see what just one grain of wheat could produce. I believe I can understand how he felt, because I faced the same things when I started out. I felt I didn’t have very much to sow, maybe just a few kernels of truth, but I wanted to sow them, and I believe he felt the same way, and as he sowed them God gave him more and more. I believe that we can say this afternoon to you people that you will value those seeds of truth planted in your hearts, planted from his own lips, and lovingly cared for by his own hands, and you will value them increasingly as the years pass. Don’t lose the vision of just one corn of wheat falling into the ground and dying. Remember that your life can be exactly the same thing. You can have a part in the greatest of all work to spread the glorious gospel of Christ. Seed sown should grow, shouldn’t it? I am glad that Jack lived long enough to not only see seeds springing up, but sheaves gathered – some that have already been gathered home. This came as the result of the corn of wheat falling into the ground, and dying. The Scripture makes it very clear and plain that amongst them there will be some tares. We can’t hinder that – but no true servant of God will ever sow tares. We can say this afternoon that our brother didn’t sow that kind of seed. He was interested in planting a bountiful harvest to the glory of God. I am grateful that he didn’t give his life over to the pursuit of pleasures, or to any other earthly calling. I am grateful that he became as a corn of wheat, willing to fall into the ground and die that a harvest might be produced. We are enjoying today a great deal of what he has faithfully labored for.
A true servant always meets God’s terms. You know the terms on which He sent His apostles forth. Jack met those terms, and in doing that, God was able to give unto him a message, a glorious message. You have heard him speak about the message of Christ – that he became a risen, glorified, living Saviour. Isn’t that a glorious message? Isn’t that something that we appreciate? I can tell you this afternoon that you can never bury the Love of God. You can’t bury true righteousness, you can’t bury the power of God, and you can’t bury the life that God gave. That is why Christ Himself rose from the dead, rose not alone to go to Heaven but to dwell in every individual that makes a complete surrender to His will. There is lots of need in my life for God to change me yet. I have found out through the years to whom I can go that that change might be wrought in me. That is the One that our brother has pointed us to so often. He didn’t preach himself, but he preached Christ, the power of God, the resurrection of life to enable us to enter into those things that are so precious and so real. I feel grateful that we have a glorious message, a message of resurrection. It is a message of death first, but it is also of resurrection. It is a thing that takes away the sting of death and is the promise of eternal life, the message of the resurrection.
With a glorious message, what about God’s method of carrying that message? Knowing your Old Testament, you know that the ark must always be borne upon men’s shoulders. There was a time when they made a new cart to carry it, and it ended in disaster. David said, “How shall the ark of God come to me?” When he found out how it was to be, he submitted, and when the ark was carried to its resting place it was borne upon men’s shoulders. I am grateful today that I have a little part in bearing the precious gospel. I want to keep before me God’s method. Our brother Jack has often told us of the need of loving and serving as Christ served. That is still the standard, and as I go out from here, I hope that it might be with a definite purpose and consecration of my life to that standard, because there is just as much need today. We have the glorious message, but we have also given to us the method by which to carry it. When the messenger is right, the message is right, and the method is right, God can bless it, and that is why so many today are enjoying this.
Our brother has often told us that there are four things God’s people will enjoy forever. They will enjoy the Word of God. They love to read it today for the simple reason it comforts them, it instructs them, and it brings them into the place where their service can be acceptable. We love it today, and that is where we turn in our need, and in times of distress – to the Word of God. We will love it forever. Why? Will it not be a thrilling thing to hear the Word of God from the lips of the Son of God? Our brother has already entered there where the veil has been taken away. Now we see through a glass darkly, but for him that has been taken away. Every child of God will love the Way of God – the way of escape from sin, bondage, and corruption, and they love the Way of God today – it is plain and clear. When you look back on first days, remember the first steps that became clear to you. Do you see it just as clearly today, or has your vision become dim? It is a time like this that can wipe away a lot of fog and mist, doubt, confusion, perplexity, and we can have our eyes lifted again to see the things that are eternal. God’s people will love the Way of God forever. They will walk in it there, because Rev. 7:17 tells us the Lamb will lead them unto living fountains of waters, He will feed them, comfort them, wipe away all tears from their eyes. Wonderful promises.
God’s people will love to do the Will of God. It is not easy for them to lay their own will aside. You must lay it down, that the will of God might be done. Is it worthwhile? Was it worthwhile for our brother to do God’s will? I believe there would be a hearty “Amen” from every heart. The children of God will love the fellowship of the people of God forever. A little foretaste of that is given to us now, but then we can have fellowship with God, with the people of God, with all the servants of God that have lived in the past. Isn’t that a wonderful possibility? Isn’t that a wonderful privilege, and don’t you want to enter into it more fully? If our brother Jack could stand on this platform this afternoon, I believe he would encourage everyone to enter into a deeper death, a greater sacrifice, for His sake. Why? Because it is not in vain. We have a glorious message, a message of life. We have a wonderful example the example of the Son of God, and we are glad for those who have helped us to show us that, have clarified it for us, and have helped us to follow in the same way. I am thankful that Jack had the clearness of vision to choose right, courage to step out on the promises of God. I am grateful for his godly counsel, his wonderful example, his fellowship through the years, and I want to value this as I should, and put my best into His service.
Malcolm Graham: Since hearing that I was expected to have a little word in this service this afternoon, there is one verse that has been on my mind. This verse was spoken on by our brother at a meeting I was privileged to sit in. Usually when we think of some person, we think of something in connection with that person, and when I thought of our brother, there were many things I thought of, but this one that I am going to mention this afternoon seems to be outstanding to me because he put so much into one little sentence. Romans 8:29 “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren.” This is a verse familiar to all of us. I have learned that even memorizing Scripture doesn’t reveal it to us. It is good to memorize, but even that doesn’t help us to get what we should out of it. Our brother helped me to get the meaning out of this verse in a truer sense than I had ever known before. Our brother read this verse, and then he told us this: God purposed, God planned, God predestinated, God arranged, that all His sons would be made like His Son. When He said that, I realized that that was putting the purpose of God in one sentence. God planned that every child of His would be made like His Son now. Our brother fed on Christ, he thought about Christ, he spoke about Christ, and over and over, again he would open little thoughts to us that made what was dark to us, simple, like this verse that I just mentioned. The reason that he meant so much to me was that every time I met him, he passed on some little thought about Christ that I had failed to grasp, little thoughts that he had received because of feeding on Christ, because of making room for Christ, and because of seeking to bring Christ to others. It was the theme of his life every day, and because of that, he wanted others to partake of these things, that they might have the joy that he had himself.
Eccl. 7:1 “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” A good name doesn’t mean just what we are called by. A good name is what we are, how we live, how we act, what we do and God, using His servant in those days as He does today, said, “a good name is better than precious ointment: He sought to do good, he tried to encourage others to do the right thing because he had a vision of the beyond. He realized that if we didn’t do right now, we couldn’t be rewarded for it. Jesus said that to some will be said: Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” I couldn’t expect the judge of all the earth to say “well done” if I am not doing well now, if I am not seeking to do the right thing now. When I thought of our brother, he realized that it was necessary to do the right thing and to be the right thing so that he could encourage others to do it. The Son of God – the example of God in His Son – made this very clear, that the day of His death was much better than the day of His birth, and as we allow God to work in our hearts, then the day of our death will be better than the day of our birth. Jesus was born into a world of sin, of pain, disappointment and sorrow, just the same as we are. When He left this world it was better, because there was none of that where He was going. I like to read the words of Jesus on the last night of His life, in John 14. He wanted them to believe what God had said, and then accept what God had given, so that when the end would come, they would have something to go on to. The disciples were feeling the pain of parting with One who was so dear to them --- like we are. He said, “If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father.” When I think of our brother, I am going to miss him perhaps more than most of you, because of the many things we shared together – we rejoiced together, we wept together, but like Jesus said, “If ye loved Me, you would rejoice because I am going to my Father.” I think of the words of Paul, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” We are glad that our brother lived so that death was gain. Death was a reward for him. The day of his death was better than the day of his birth. Because of that we rejoice, and because he has gone on to his reward. It is an inspiration to us to think of his faithful life, his love and zeal for God’s truth, and for God’s people. I hope that as we are gathered here in honor of him, it will cause us to ask ourselves, “What are we living for?” What are we putting into it that can give us the assurance that death will be gain for us? May we do our best for His Name’s sake.
Hymn, “Oh how perplexing Life Would Be” (No. 82)
Willie Jamieson: II Corinthians 4:18, 5:1-10. It isn’t at any time an easy thing for those of us who are workers to have any funeral service, but in one sense this service is different to any other that I have had the opportunity of attending. The one to whom we are paying our last respects upon this earth, I have known for exactly fifty years, and all during those fifty years, I have been closely associated with him in almost every line of service pertaining to this wonderful Kingdom of God, and if you were to ask me what I know about Jack, it would take me a long time to tell it all, but I can put it simply in this little sentence, that everything that I knew of Jack encouraged me to put the most that I had into the service of Jesus Christ, and much of what I rejoice in, I can attribute to my association with our brother. It has been mentioned already in the meeting here, that sixty years ago, in the country of Ireland, Jack heard the Gospel message, and it had an appeal to his own heart that enabled him to turn his back on everything that he had hoped to attain in this world as a young man. A time like this always brings me face to face once again with this great eternal plan that God has for men and women of all ages and nationalities, and I am very thankful to know that this plan never changes, it is the same today as it has ever been. Thousands of years before the world was ever made, this was God’s plan. What you and I enjoy is what has been in the mind and will of God for countless ages of Eternity before this world was ever made, and will be the plan of God through the countless ages of Eternity.
Isn’t it a wonderful thing that sixty years ago in Ireland God’s eyes were looking down upon the life of a young man, and God saw that in that heart there was a purpose to do that which was right, and He gave to that young man the opportunity and privilege of hearing that everlasting Gospel that calls a person from the power of sin and death and darkness and brings them into this wonderful fellowship and family of God. I thank God for that call that came sixty years ago to our brother. Six years later he heard another call from God of Heaven, to leave his home, his mother, his business, all his friends, to go out into the world as Christ’s servants have always gone into the world – homeless, poor, forsaken, mistreated, misunderstood by the world. Fifty-three years ago that call came to Jack. He said, “Lord here am I, I am willing for whatever it may mean or cost to be Your true servant, and in weakness, fear, and trembling, he was led out into the great harvest field, and God began to sow that life of his as a corn of wheat, dying every day. Right to the very last day of his life, that death was still working there – that willingness to be a nobody, so that Christ’s life might be planted in the lives of men and women. We are not glorifying Jack for that, we are glorifying God that called him, and continued His work in his life.
I had a letter from him saying, “I would like you to come and see me, but I don’t want you to come for a few more weeks.” I stayed two weeks, but every message I got assured me of the fact that if I didn’t go soon, I might be too late. He wasn’t able to talk very much to me, but everything he said to me during those days was in connection with the Kingdom of God. One of the last audible things he said to me was, “I wonder who it will be right to send to a certain convention this summer.” That was the last message that I got from our brother. There were a few other words, always in connection with the Kingdom. I went away to attend a special meeting, and returned as soon as possible. The first thing he asked me was, “How did the meetings go?” There was death working in that man to the very last of his life. Death for the Kingdom’s sake, sacrifice, self-denial, separation from all that other men and women are living for today. All those things, I said, “What a wonderful life it is to live as a servant of God, to see what it brings into a person’s life at an end.” There was a man who lived in the same city, 84 years of age, and almost every day that old man came, but never came empty-handed, but always came with some fruit or something. He was almost afraid to go out into the street lest he would drop dead, but he said, “I have never yet seen the bride that was not looking forward to meeting her bridegroom, and even if I have to drop dead on the street, I am thankful for the privilege of being associated with a man of God, a servant of God like Jack has been.”
After we had had our supper on Monday night, many of the workers gathered in. I went up to his room as usual to see how he was and it came to me, maybe tonight will be his last. As I sat there I took him by the hand, and I took his pulse. I held his hand there for hours, and I felt that pulse getting weaker, and with each breath I wondered if that was the last. I felt we should send word to all the workers in that area, and in less than half an hour, sixteen of Jack’s fellow-servants were sitting or standing around that deathbed, almost in adoration, as they watched that life struggling to stay in that body. Then there came the last gasp of breath, and his face was racked in torture because of the pain that he was enduring, but after that last breath there came onto Jack’s face the expression of an angel. You will see that expression today as you pass by the coffin. All that weakness and anxiety passed away. The peace that passeth all understanding was stamped upon that countenance, and Jack went home to meet his God and to enjoy the reward of a faithful, true, consecrated life. “All things are for your sakes.” Can you picture this in that sense this afternoon?” “That the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.” Do you feel that God is interested in a gathering like this, and rejoicing in the fact that in this 20th century He can call men and women away from all the ways of life to pour out their lives for the sake of others? We had a service in Oakland, and when we went to pay the funeral director, he said, “we consider it a privilege and a pleasure to serve such people as we have been serving. Mr. Carroll must really have been a disciple of Jesus. He was never married was he, never had a home of his own, and if he had, he could never have gathered around him so many loving friends that we have seen today.” Do you think it is in vain? God doesn’t. God rejoices that a company of people are here today such as this to pay their last respects to one that they love more than anyone else in all the earth. This has taken place that God might be glorified.
Hymn, “Lord Grant My Life May Be
Sung by 123 workers present. Prayer, Charlie Krub
Paul began to speak about eternal things. An eternal weight of glory, an eternal house built by God. I would just like to say this afternoon that it would be good for me and for you to ask ourselves, “Am I putting all that I can and all that I am into this glorious gospel work today? Do I know anything about living for those eternal things? Am I looking at eternal things, or am I looking at these temporal things? I thank God that He has put a desire in my heart to make these things my own. Eternal weight of glory. Is it worthwhile? I think so. There was no uncertainty in Paul’s mind. “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” I would like you to concentrate a little while upon that house made by God. It is not made with hands – the house that we are going to live in forever. Only God can build that house. God is building that house in your heart and life. We shall all appear before the judgement seat of Christ. We can picture our brother this afternoon having entered into this, the fulfillment of it, rejoicing in that body, that house not made with hands, and rejoicing in the thought that forever and forever that is going to be his because for sixty years he separated himself, denied himself, laid his life upon God’s altar and kept it there, and now he is receiving from God the deeds done in his body.
If I had nothing more to make Heaven, for me than just the association with the noble men and women I have known, it would be worthwhile. I think of Jack having fellowship with men like John Vint, with Mrs. Silvernail and Lester, and many many others. Do you think there is any regret or sorrow in his heart because he heeded the first call, and then the second call, and kept true to those calls to the end of his life? It was a wonderful thing to me to think that this man that I had labored beside for fifty years was dying in another man’s home, what an honor it is that he has been laid in another man’s coffin, and that we will lay away his last remains in another man’s grave. Could you want anything else more like his Master? These are the things that enrich this Kingdom, that hold it together, that make it worthwhile, and these are the things that are going to help us to carry on in the future. Some may wonder what will happen to this because Jack is gone. This Kingdom doesn’t belong to Jack. God chose him and called him and used him, but this is still God’s Kingdom. If all of us here today were to die, it wouldn’t change God’s Kingdom, God’s Family, God’s Way. We have the privilege of being true to this that has meant so much all these years that we have known it. There is the necessity of being true and loyal to one another. Jesus prayed that we all might be one. If I am criticizing you in the presence of someone else, I am not making it easier for that one to love you as God wants them to. We need to take a firm and true hold, and pray that by the grace of God and help of God that we will be firmer and stronger and more steadfast than ever before. We will be so close together that all the forces of the enemy will just fall off like water falls off a duck’s back. What has happened this last week will not scatter or separate us, it will bind us closer together. It will make us long and pray and labor as we have never done before. I am so thankful that in my little short lifetime, I have had the privilege of being a fellow-laborer with Jack Carroll and I wouldn’t care if all the world heard me say that. I hope that God will find in all our hearts a purpose and desire to be true to Him and to be grateful to Him for such a wonderful salvation as was manifested in the life of Jesus and also in the life of our brother that we are paying our last respects to this afternoon. I want to re-dedicate my life and consecrate my life in a fuller measure, so that the few remaining years of my life will be spent in such a manner that God may smile upon it, that I would have the privilege of dying in another man’s home, of being laid in another man’s grave, to keep true and faithful to God to the very end.
Prayer, Reuben Bennett. Hymn, “Lord Grant Thy People Grace (No. 13)
Pall Bearers: Oliver Barene, Niels Jorgenson, Dale Bors, Bob Ingram, Jack ...?
Newspaper Coverage of John (Jack) T. Carroll - Death and Funeral
The Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California
1957, Mar 29, 700 Attend Rites for John Carroll By Bill Fiset
We have been hearing already in the meetings many things pertaining to the Kingdom of God and I hope that there is in the minds and hearts of all a deepened interest in this Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is founded in the world by the mutual sacrifice of God's servants and of God's saints. The progress and growth of this Kingdom depends upon our continued willingness, as the servants and saints of God, to sacrifice. Earthly kingdom's are founded by selfishness; God's heavenly Kingdom here upon earth is founded by sacrifice.
Two weeks ago today, I went up to Vancouver, British Columbia, with two of our brothers, Alfred McLeod and James Pascoe, and saw them on board the "Empress of Canada." They left us for China with the fullest confidence and hearty fellowship of all God's servants and saints that knew them. I believe I understood a little better than some just exactly what it meant for them to go to China. I knew better than they the difficulties they would have to face during the years that lay ahead and, because of that, I could appreciate perhaps a little more than others their sacrifice.
It always seems to me a very real thing when young men and young women, in the first instance, go forth in the Work. The pathway of service is a path of sacrifice and every man and woman that has a part in this ministry must be willing to sacrifice. In taking this first initial step out into God's great Harvest Field, they know and others know that as far as their earthly prospects are concerned these are forever blighted, that henceforth, as far is this world is concerned and in the eyes of their fellows, their lives are being worse than wasted.
I have often wondered if the saints of God really appreciate or understand the cost of this ministry, what it really means to young men and young women to go forth into the great Harvest Field. The people of God demand greater sacrifice from their preachers than any other body of religious people in the world. They insist upon this and it is right that they should, for the Scriptures teach clearly and unmistakable that the pathway of service is a pathway of sacrifice. I am inclined to think that there are many of God's people that do not appreciate this fact and because of this they do not value this ministry as they should. This is a very important thing in our reading and understanding of the Scriptures to be clear in our minds with regard to what this Book teaches about the ministry. It is just as important that you should know what to expect from those that are in the ministry as it is for us to know what we have a right to expect from you who are not. The Scriptures make very clear and plain the difference in sphere, in ministry also, between those who have gone out into the Harvest Field and those who, for various reasons, are denied this privilege.
I have told you in this building more than once of asking a question way back there in Manitoba many years ago, of "What is the New Testament difference between servants and saints?" One man replied, "The difference is this: the saints live it and the servants preach it." A little later, at another convention, I asked the same question and another brother said, "The difference is this: the servants work for Christ and the saints work for themselves." I don't know how true this is but I suspect it is true in some cases at least. At another convention I asked the same question and a brother replied: "The difference is: the servants of God have many homes and the saints have only one." He was a little bit mixed up too. A brother who is not here, who was one of the first to profess in the state of Washington, but whose understanding of this difference has appealed to me and seems to me to be structurally right, he said, "The difference is that the servants of God sacrifice all for the Kingdom's sake and the saints use all for the extension of the Kingdom." This man lived up to his understanding of what the Scriptures teach with regard to the servants and saints of God.
The servants of God sacrifice all; there is an equality of sacrifice amongst us as ministers of Christ; none of us make a greater sacrifice than the other; each of us sacrifice all. It would be a wicked and dishonorable thing for any of us, as servants of God, to ever give the impression that our sacrifice was greater than that of our fellow servant who labors by our side. In this matter of going forth into God's great Harvest Field, there is an equality of sacrifice and each worker makes the same sacrifice, all of them sacrifice everything actually and literally for the Gospel's sake and apart from this willingness to make this supreme sacrifice, none could have a part or lot in this ministry. I hope you get this, I hope this is clear to your minds, I hope you understand the conditions that those have fulfilled who are in your midst today as the handmaidens and bondservants of the Lord. Surely it is not too much to say that if the bondservants and handmaidens of the Lord are willing to make this sacrifice, the sacrifice of all, that those who claim to be in this Kingdom of God, claim to have some little interest in the extension of this Kingdom, should be willing just as gladly and heartily to use all they have and are in the extension of the Kingdom of God and the furtherance of His Gospel in the world. This is not a one sided affair, it would hardly be right or reasonable to say in our hearts, "the workers have to do all the self denial, they have to do all the sacrificing, they work for Christ and we work for ourselves." I don't think that would have a very happy result in any of our lives and I don't think it would bring into our lives the blessing and seal of God. I would like to think that the saints in Washington, Idaho, etc. are like the saints of Philippi 1900 years ago, who from the first day were just as much interested in the spread of the Gospel as the servants of God who brought the message to them in the first place.
Now, it is a very real step for young men and young women in the prime of life, when prospects are brightest, when they have visions of possibilities in their lives, to deliberately turn their back upon it all, sacrifice everything and go forth into God's great Harvest Field to preach the Gospel. But, it is to me a greater sacrifice when those who have labored for years in the Gospel lift up their eyes afresh to "behold the fields white unto harvest," leave their own field of labor, the fellow servants whom they learned to love and those who God gave them in the Gospel and go to a foreign land to master a foreign language and spend years in the doing of this in order that they might be fitted to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to men of another race and of another tongue. When I saw that boat leave Vancouver two weeks ago for China with our two brothers on board, I understood and I think I appreciated all that meant for them to say "goodbye" to all that they had learned to love in order that they might master that new language and be fitted to preach the Gospel to the Chinese.
Sometimes, when workers go abroad, a question arises in the hearts and minds of some as to how are the workers taken care of in the foreign field? Have they been promised a stated salary? Is there some secretary or treasurer that they can confer with or consult with? Is there a central fund from which they can draw in any time of need? Is there some headquarters to which they can make an appeal? It is difficult for the people of God to grasp this simple fundamental fact that those who go to foreign fields are taken care of and go forth in exactly the same way as the workers go forth from this convention. They ask for no pledge and are given none, they have no stated salary, there is no central fund, there is no secretary or treasurer to whom they can make appeal, we have no earthly headquarters, our headquarters are in heaven.
Can you, then understand or appreciate the faith, the courage that young men and young women have to put thousands of miles between them and their fellow servants and the saints of God whom they have learned to love whom God gave them in the Gospel? Can you picture yourself away in some foreign land, among some strange people, nobody to sympathize with you, nobody to encourage you, nobody to minister to your needs, with no understanding or pledge given by any in the homeland? Did you ever try to picture yourself thus and ask yourself how you would feel? Ask yourself if you left under those conditions, would you be really willing to "fight the good fight of faith?" The faith, the courage, the boldness of these our fellow servants does not relieve us, who are in the homeland, of our responsibility, and I hope that we will not be unmindful of them in our prayers, unmindful of them in writing occasionally to let them know that we love them still and are interested in their labors and their conflicts and will be willing to share with them a little true self denial and sacrifice for the Gospel's sake. I say again, that this Kingdom of God is founded and can only be extended by the mutual sacrifice of the servants and saints of God.
There may be here in our midst today some young people who in the past weeks and months, perhaps for years, have been thinking about the Harvest Field, thinking about the "fields that are white unto harvest" and hoping that someday they might be numbered among the reapers and it might not be out of place in this meeting this afternoon to mention a few things with regard to, shall we say, the qualifications that are necessary in order to have a place in this ministry. We have been approached a good many times by different ones and they have expressed the desire to launch out into the Harvest Field, and perhaps one of the first things we consider is their health, their physical health. Unless they are reasonably healthy in the beginning, we know they will not be able to continue long. We have known some who in the very first year, have broken down and we have advised them to take their place among the saints. There is no dishonor to doing this, they were willing to sacrifice even unto the end but the condition of their health made plain that it was not wise to continue. They were one ahead of the best of the saints in that they faced the difficulties, trials, and hardships of a worker's life and because of their health were forced to take the second place.
Then the second qualification is the ability to hold down a job and to support, if the necessity has arisen, those who are dependent upon them. We wouldn't like any of you to think that the Lord calls men and women into His Harvest Field who do not know of anything better to do. I remember, some years ago, two men said that they wanted to go forth and told us they were out of work. The Lord never called any one into His great Harvest Field who was out of a job. He only called those who were able to hold down a job and make good. He didn't call Peter when he had "toiled to all night and caught nothing." It was after Peter had made a real success out of the fishing business that Jesus said, "Follow me and I will make you to become a fisher of men."
We would like to think that those who will someday fill a place in this ministry have given evidence of having a real love for their parents and have honestly sought to share the responsibility of the home with them and have won the respect and confidence of the saints who met with them in their own little church. We wouldn't like to encourage any out into the Work in whom the church had not confidence. Timothy, when he was encouraged to go forth into God's great Harvest Field, had the respect and confidence of all who met in the church where he, his grandmother and mother gathered in the Lord's Name.
We also would consider for the ministry only those who have been diligent in searching the Scriptures, in seeking to get to know for themselves the mind and will of God, who can express themselves simply and clearly in the little church meeting and who have sought to do their utmost in filling a useful place in the Kingdom.
And then, we could not and would not encourage any out into the ministry who are unwilling to fulfill the conditions that Jesus Himself laid down, who would be unwilling to have fellowship with Him, first of all in His poverty, first of all, sell all, literally and forever, and have fellowship with Him in His homelessness.
We have often said in our meetings that there are two things fundamental to the faith of Jesus: the "homelessness of the preacher and the church in the home and only in the home." Whenever we depart from these two fundamentals we have departed from the faith, we have become apostate. We must contend to the very end of the chapter for the homelessness of the preacher and the church in the home and only in the home.
The longer I live, the better satisfied I have become with the wisdom of God's plan and its simplicity. I have been encouraged as I have visited our brethren in different parts of the world, by seeing that this plan of Jesus works perfectly in every land and among every race, and I hope the day will never come when we will, in any sense, weaken with regard to these two simple fundamentals of the faith: the church in the home and the preacher without the home. Those whom Jesus called out into the Harvest Field had to be willing to have fellowship with Him in putting the claims of the Kingdom first and keeping the claims of his own flesh and blood in the second place.
Sometimes those who love you best will seek to hinder you and discourage you from having fellowship with Jesus in this ministry. Parents would not like to think of their boys and girls poor, homeless, and would sometimes press their claims unduly. Jesus had to make clear and plain in the latter part of the ninth chapter of Luke that none could have any part in this ministry unless they were prepared to put the claims of their own flesh and blood in the second place. Lastly, they must be willing "having freely received to freely give." When I think this afternoon of our fellow servants scattered all over the world, I look at this map here and I think of them over there in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Africa, India, China, Japan, South America, and remember that all of them
have gone forth in exactly the same way as those who are in your midst this afternoon will go from this convention, everyone having taken the same steps, no pledge asked or given, nothing promised, their hope and confidence in Him who said "Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you."
I hope it is not with some of us a case of "out of sight, out of mind." I remember a few years ago, a sister told us her experience in one of these countries and I remember well how I felt when she described how more than once during the years she was gone, going to the Post Office, walking sometimes many weary miles, expecting to hear from some of those whom she had known and loved, only to be disappointed again and again and she said the hardest experience that she had to go through during those years was to feel that "I have been forgotten." Some of us get used to being forgotten, there are others who suffer a great deal when they feel in their hearts it is just a case of "out of sight, out of mind, I am forgotten." I turned over today to the back of my Bible and I found there a few verses written by one of our brothers who is now over in Italy. I think he must have been suffering a little when he wrote these verses, that he was experiencing what this sister said was one of the hardest things to endure:
Forget them not, the faithful band
Who kindred leave behind,
To bear the truth to every land
As debtors to mankind.
Forget them not, in solitude,
When breathing Ernest prayer,
That God may think on them for good
And bless them everywhere.
Forget them not, the toilers brave,
Who scatter forth the seed;
To Jesus they are willing slaves
Touched by a world in need.
Forget them not, for Jesus' sake,
No selfish quest have they,
The daily cross they humbly take,
Forget them not, I pray.
I hope there will never come a day in my life and I hope there will never come a day in your life when you will forget our beloved fellow servants, bondservants and handmaidens, who are today scattered over the globe, loyally and heartily laying down their lives for Christ's sake and for the Gospel's. If, when you leave this convention you form the habit of going daily to the secret place, then think kindly and prayer earnestly for those bondservants and handmaidens of the Lord whom you know and love and who are today seeking to extend the Kingdom of God in other lands, facing difficulties and problems and hardships which we, in this country, know nothing about. So, "forget them not." I am not going to say this afternoon that you should limit your correspondence or prayers to those who are laboring in foreign lands, I would like to think that everyone here would take in interest in those who are in their own province and state and who seek in every way possible to be a help and comfort to them. We have only a few brief years to live, a few brief years of service, and it would be wise for us to "redeem the time", to buy up the opportunities that are at hand, to endeavor to "lay up treasure in heaven where moth and rust do not corrupt."
The question may have arisen in the minds of some, you may have asked, "Is it worthwhile to live for the furtherance of the Gospel and the extension of God's Kingdom?" If this Book teaches anything it is that there is nothing more worthwhile. I turn sometimes over to that Parable of the Pounds and that Parable of the Talents and surely if these two parables teach us anything, it is this: that the pathway of service is the pathway that leads to sure and certain reward. The best thing that these parables teach is that the life of service, which begins here, continues beyond the grave. Here is the place and now is the time that we are qualified for greater service in that "everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
I hope that one result of this convention will be that all of us will live more gladly and heartily with eternity's values in view and lay up a little "treasure where moth and rust doth not corrupt and where thieves do not break through and steal."
I would like to read over to you this morning the first six verses of Philippians1. This letter to the Philippians has been a favorite of mine for many years. I have spoken from it no doubt to many of you more than once, but it means more to me today than ever. I have been enjoying the Gospel in the epistles, and the epistles in the gospels. There is no conflict between what we read in the epistles and in the gospels. The epistle of Galatians speaks of the indwelling of Christ; Ephesians, the unseachable riches of Christ; Colossians is the gospel of the all-sufficiency of Christ; Philippians, the gospel of the manifestation of Christ.
This letter was a great help to me when I was a young convert. I had said in my heart one night in the closing moments of a meeting, "It is Christ for me tonight, and it is Christ for me forever." But the weeks that followed were weeks of great conflict, filled with doubts and fears. Some of my friends had given me a few weeks, a few months, and the devil was telling me, "You will never make it." One night I went to a meeting and heard the verses read which I have just read to you now. The speaker paused for a moment, and then he said that this letter was written ten years after these men and women of Philippi had decided for Christ, and that the grace of Christ had kept them during those ten long years. When I left the meeting that night, I was saying in my heart, "If God by His grace kept those men and women of Philippi in the Way of Life, He will keep me. I will trust and not be afraid." I can never forget the joy that welled up in my heart when I crossed that first ten-year mark. Then twice ten passed, three times, five times ten, and if I live just a little longer, I will be able to say, "By the grace of God, He has kept me in the Way of Life for six times ten years. I will continue to trust and not be afraid!"
Paul wrote to those men and women of Philippi and said, "I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, for your fellowship in the Gospel from the first day until now." This letter was a great help to me when I was a young worker. If ever a young worker went out filled with doubts and fears, I believe that is the worker speaking to you this morning. It was exceedingly difficult for me to believe that all the Lord was to Peter, James and John away back at the beginning, He was willing to be to those who dared in this day to follow in their footsteps. So I was particularly glad that Paul associated Timothy with him in this letter, and I made the life of Timothy a special study. I studied his home life, and became acquainted with his mother and grandmother, his conversion, the conditions under which he went forth, and later those wonderful letters that were addressed to him by his father in the gospel. He became to me in those days the ideal of what a young worker should be. If in any measure I could play the same part in the Kingdom and Family of God that this young man played, I care for nothing else. One of the outstanding marks in this man's life was his willingness to go anywhere with anybody at any time. It was this Spirit of willingness that was the foundation of all that we love and value in this our day. I would suggest to the young workers in this meeting this morning, if they have not already done so, to make a special study of this man's life.
This letter is a great help to me today as an older servant of God. I think I am getting to understand the writer of this letter just a little better as I grow older. I can understand a little better his headaches, his heartaches, and his tears. During those years he spent in Rome as a prisoner, we don't find any suggestion of complaining or mourning. He made the very best out of his circumstances there. This morning I want to call your attention to just a few verses in this letter that stand out to me -- verses in which Paul refers to Christ. Christ was to him everything. His life was filled with Christ, his gospel was filled with Christ, his letters were filled with Christ; so when we come to this letter, we find that it was filled with Christ. Verse 20: "According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death." The ruling purpose and passion of this man’s life was that Christ might be magnified, might be made easily seen, that Christ might be magnified in his body whether by his life or by his death. I have been greatly impressed, and I hope to some extent, influenced by the thought that the world's great need is to see Christ. The Christian's greatest responsibility is to give the world an opportunity to see Christ. Remember those Greeks of old who came up to the temple to worship, and after going to the temple court and were disappointed over and over, again, came to Philip and said to him: "Sir, we would see Jesus." I believe this morning there is in many hearts the world over, this self-same cry. They are tired of synagogues, temples, and preachers, and deep down in their hearts there is one great cry. "Oh, if I could only see Jesus.'" I am reminded again of the words written by Governor Long of Massachusetts:
“I would dear Jesus, I could break
The hedge which creeds, and hearsay make,
And like Thy first disciples be
In person led and taught by Thee.
”I read Thy word so pure and sweet,
I seek the footprints of Thy feet,
But men so mystify the trace,
I long to see Thee face to face.”
I believe that throughout the world today, in spite of the seeming indifference, there are those in whose hearts there is that same cry of need.
The question is sometimes asked, "What is Christianity anyhow?" Is it a belief, a creed, a system of religion, a church or a denomination, or a society of men and women held together by man-made rules and regulations? Christianity, first and last, is a life, and that is the life of Christ lived over again in Christians. No matter what men and women profess, in or out of the Way, there is no more true Christianity in the world this morning than there is of the life of Christ reproduced in the mortal lives of those who profess and call themselves Christians.
Paul said, "that Christ might be made easy to see in my body." What have we been given our bodies for? What use can we make of them? There is an inscription on the wall of the Congressional Library in Washington, D. C. which says, “The only temple in the universe today is the body of man.” I read that, and I was startled because it was such a surprise to find these words written on the wall of that great building. This isn't a quotation from the Bible, but it is Scriptural nevertheless, and eternally true, and I am speaking to a group of men and woman this morning who were created for one purpose and one only: that someday, somewhere of their own free voluntary will, Christ will be given the right to live, to rule, to reign in and over their mortal bodies.
We sometimes sing those lines, "Live out Thy life within me, Oh Jesus, King of Kings, Be Thou Thyself the answer, To all my questionings." Do we really grasp the meaning of these words, and are we really willing for Christ to set up His rule in our hearts and reign over our lives? If we could ask Paul, "What is Christianity anyhow?" he would give this same answer: "It is Christ living over again in Christians. Christ in you, Christ in me". "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." "Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith. Prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you. except ye be reprobates?" 2 Corinthians 13:5.
Paul summed up the gospel which he preached in Galatians 2:20. I used to wonder years ago what was the gospel that Paul preached, because I felt I want to preach that gospel, and I was a little surprised to discover that in this verse he summarized it. He boiled it down to one wonderful statement that every child of God in this meeting should memorize. There are five things that it teaches:
l) The love of Christ for sinful men.
2) The atoning death of Christ for the sins of men.
3) The indwelling of Christ to enable sinful men to live a Christian life.
4) A changed life.
5) A complete break with the past crucified with Christ.
He wanted Christ to be manifested in his body. The body is something that we can see, but he wanted people to see more than that -- he wanted them to see Christ in that body that the rule and reign of Christ was in evidence. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7. We have this treasure, this Christ, this wondrous light of the life of Christ, in earthen vessels. Verse 10, "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." What is our greatest responsibility? We feel how far short we have come, nevertheless the responsibility rests upon us, that through these bodies of ours, Christ might be magnified. "Can the world see Jesus in you, can the world see Jesus in me?" If only as the result of this convention we could scatter and have more deeply formed in our minds and hearts the purpose: "I want to so walk and so order my home life, my business life, my social life, I want my whole life to give evidence that Christ rules and reigns." Then you won't want to preach that negative gospel of telling people what you don't believe. You will tell people what you do believe, and what you are really manifesting in your own life, and that the change that has been brought about in your life has been through the indwelling of Christ in your heart and life.
There was a wonderful love relationship established between Paul and Timothy and these Philippians Christians. He loved them and they loved him. They proved that love in many different ways. Today it is a very wonderful thing to see the love that exists between the children of God and the servants of God. No child of God can be very healthy who does not have a deep love for the bondservants and handmaidens of God. Philippians 1:27-30. The people of God have always had adversaries, and don’t be alarmed when these adversaries make light of you, and make it hard for you, because it has been true all down through the ages that the people of God have had to face and overcome these adversaries. Hold your ground, don't give in, don't give up, keep on fighting. Napoleon said in connection with the battle of Waterloo: "The English were defeated three times at Waterloo, but didn't know it - they just kept on fighting." Someone else said, "There are brave men in every nation, but these English were brave ten minutes longer. It is that ten minutes longer that really counts. Paul was anxious that the people of God would be characterized by that same spirit. When pressure is brought to bear upon you, hold your ground, be steadfast, and live in hearty fellowship with your brethren, striving together for the faith of the gospel. Verse 29, "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”
Philippians 2:4-5. "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, that was also in Christ Jesus.” I can't help but I connect these two verses together. The root of all human sin is selfishness. "Me", "My", "Mine," and that little ugly pronoun with the others "I". Our own thoughts, our own interest. A priest once said that after 40 years of hearing confessions, not a single person had ever admitted the sin of selfishness, and yet selfishness is the one outstanding characteristic of all human nature. One day Abraham Lincoln was out walking with his two boys. They were crying and someone came along and said, "Mr. Lincoln, what's wrong with the boys?" "Oh," he said, "The same thing that's wrong with everyone else - I have three walnuts and they each want two!”
I Philippians 3:7, Paul's testimony: "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss I for Christ." Some feel they would like to be a Christian, but it costs too much. He didn't hide from us the fact that it is a costly thing to be a Christian. The gate is strait and the way is narrow, and the men and women who enter in by that gate and walk in that Way have got to face up what it really means. You remember the man who when he received the invitation to the feast said, "I have bought a piece of ground." Another said, "I have bought five yoke of I oxen," another said. "I have married a wife. Three things that in every age have kept men and women outside the Kingdom: your possessions, your business, your relatives. Unless men and women are prepared to put their business, their relatives, and their possessions in the second place, they never can enjoy fellowship in the Kingdom of God.
Jesus said, "If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out." He just meant anything in your life that is keeping you outside the Kingdom of God, as dear as your right eye, it is better to cut it off, give it up, and enter into the Kingdom of God. It was a costly choice for Moses to make. He could have been heir to the throne of Egypt, reigned over the greatest empire of that day. He refused. He could say "No" to what the world, flesh and devil offered him,. in order to have a place in the Kingdom of God. The choice that Ruth made was a costly one. Naomi said, "I have nothing to offer you, no I material gain." The purpose and desire of Ruth's heart was what she expressed when she said, "Thy people shall be my people and thy God shall be my God." That choice was forever. Thank God for the Ruth's in our fellowship today! May our choice be forever. May our purpose be like Paul's of old - that "Christ shall be magnified in my body whether it be by life or by death.
The physical needs of the “true” ministry .and the “false” are exactly the same. “ True ministers” need food, clothing, shelter and as a means of exchange, they need money. “False preachers” need food, clothing, shelter and money.
The question is asked, "What is the difference between your ministers and ours?" Well, their needs are the same we admit, but the difference lies in how those needs are supplied. Your preachers preach for a salary, ours don't. Y our preachers appeal for money, ours don't. Your preachers have a home, ours don't. While these differences are true and help to distinguish the “ false” from the “true” ministry, none of them or all of them together, give us the actual fundamental difference between the “true” ministry and the “false.”
The Old Testament is very clear with regard to how the priests and Levites were cared for in Old Testament days. The New Testament is equally clear with regard to how God's servants are taken care of today. Jesus taught, “ the laborer is worthy of his hire.” I Cor. 9:14.
The Lord hath ordained that they which preach the gospel should live by the gospel. We ma ke no secret of the fact that, as God's bondservants and handmaidens, we live by the gospel and are justified in doing so, because we have fulfilled the conditions that Jesus laid down in the gospels. No man is justified in living by the gospel apart from fulfilling these con ditions; and it is a pleasure to minister to them food, clothing, shelter a nd as a means of exchange—money—in His Name.
Jesus labored as a carpenter and lived by the work of His hands as a car penter for 18 years; but for 3 years, He lived by the gospel and got His bread as a preacher of the gospel, just as honorably as He did when He was a carpenter. Jesus did not live on charity--giving nothing in return. Jesus always gives more than He receives. He accepted hospitality from Matthew the Publican, from Simon the Pharisee and from Lazarus. He always gave more than He received and in this He left us an example, that we should follow in His steps.
We do not live on charity. If any of God's professed people come to us in His name and as an expression of their love and interest in the furtherance of the Gospel, recognizing we have fulfilled the conditions that justify us in living by the gospel, it is our duty to accept; knowing even a cup of cold water given to God's servants “will in no wise lose its reward.”
What are the conditions Jesus laid down in the New Testament which He expects those to fulfill, who want to have a part in this ministry? I hope we are clear on what it costs our brothers and sisters to go forth into God's great harvest field. I will present these conditions in the form of questions.
1. Are you prepared to sell all? Are you prepared to make yourself poor? Are you willing, as the very first condition, to have fellowship with Jesus in His p overty? In connection with the New Testament ministry, there is a very real equality--no one of us make a greater sacrifice than the other. We each sacrifice ALL. We are all placed on the same level.
2. The second condition has to do with being homeless. Are you willing to be homeless for life? Jesus said, "Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests but I, the Son of Man, hath no where to lay my head."
3. The third condition: Are you willing to put the preaching of the Gospel before the claims of your own flesh and blood, living or dead? Luke 9:59-62. Instead of Jesus bribing men to enter the ministry, it would almost seem as though He were trying to prevent them. Instead of making it easy for them, He made it hard, for He wanted to test the depth and sincerity of those who expressed a wish to have a part in the ministry. Do you appreciate that?
4. The fourth question is: Are you willing to go forth without having any in dividual or group pledged to take care of you and to preach the gospel without money and without price, whenever you have opportunity? We are glad to know that throughout the whole world, God's servants have been able to go forth in His Name and are preaching the Gospel as it was in the New Testament days, without money and without price.
5. The fifth question is: Are you willing to be as a corn of wheat which falls into the ground and dies? Are you willing to let death work so that life may be wrought in others? Are you willing to be dead to what is honorable and legitimate for others?
6. The sixth question is: How far are you willing to go in preaching the Gospel? There is no such thing as a settled or fixed ministry in the New Testament days. None of us are in any one state for life. Jesus said to His disciples, "Go ye forth into all the world, teaching all the nations and baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost.”
We often ask .those who are desirous of going forth, "Are you willing to go with any of your brethren?" We do not lightly undertake the arranging year after year of those who labor together. Those who have this responsi bility seek for the wisdom of God and His guidance.
Only those who have fulfilled the conditions which I have enumerated are justified in living by the Gospel. They earn their bread just as honorably as when they worked with their hands at their different trades. They are worthy of their hire and it comes to them in God's appointed way.
Money, as a means of exchange, is used to enable God's servants to live, to travel to foreign countries, and it comes as the spontaneous, unsolicited, freewill offering of God's children. If you don't love to do it--the Lord doesn 't accept it.
Two chapters to read. One verse to memorize. I am going to speak mainly to the workers in this meeting. The rest of you can listen in if you wish. The chapters are Luke 11 and 12. The verse, Luke 12:32. With the exception of one interruption, chapter 12 has to do with the New Testament Ministry.
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
"Fear not" occurs about 80 times in the Bible; 5 times in Luke's gospel.
"Fear not, Zacharias"; "Fear not, Mary"; "Fear not, Peter"; "Fear not, Jairus"; and "Fear not, apostles."
There are two kinds of "Fears":
1. Imaginary fears: There are some people whose whole lives are eaten up with imaginary fears. A man of 75 had inscribed on his mantelpiece, "I am an old man now. I have had many troubles during my life and most of them never happened."
2. Fears that are real. Difficulties, problems, dangers that are inevitable in the path of life that must be faced and conquered. God promises grace and strength to overcome those fears in the minds and hearts of His disciples.
There were reasons for fears at this time. Luke 11 marks a definite crisis in the life and ministry of Jesus. It records an open break with the religious and poli tical leaders of the nation. The three temptations of Luke 4 were designed to induce Him to line up with religious and political leaders of the nation, secure their support, and found the kind of kingdom they wanted. He resisted these temptations and these leaders were for over two years arrayed against Him. He now could hold back no longer, and in this 11th chapter He openly and publicly denounces them for what they were. These men had the power of life and death, and knew it . He also knew it, the multitudes knew it, and it was now becoming apparent to His disciples.
Note the effect on these:
- Professional religious leaders. Luke 11:53,54.
- Multitude. Luke 12:1 - excited, curious.
- Disciples. They were frightened. He read their thoughts, He analyzed their fears.
What were those fears?
- Luke 12:4, "And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can, do."
- Religious, Civil Military courts Luke 12:11, "And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say:--“
- Die from lack of food. Luke 12:22,23
- Perish with cold; from lack of clothing) Luke 12:22,23 "And He said unto His disciples. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment." When these fears take possession of a worker's heart, they weaken the purpose, shatter faith, blur the vision. Judas, Peter, John Mark, Demas.
Note the importance of the phrases suggested by this verse. Luke 12:32: “ Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
The Fold, The Family, The Kingdom of God.
The phrase “Fold of God” emphasises the Undershepherd's responsibility.
The phrase “Family of God” the Bond Servant's responsibility.
The phrase,“ Kingdom of God”, the responsibility of the individual desiring to become a citizen.
These phrases suggest different aspects of the same experience. They are synonymous and interchangeable.
Jesus was anxious on this occasion to emphasize the importance of the New Testament Ministry. He cannot do His work in the world apart from this ministry. His Ministers are necessary to the Fold as Undershepherds, Luke 15;1-7 John 21:15-20; Eph. 4:11.
His Ministers are necessary to the Family as Bond Servants. I Pet. 1:22-25, I Cor 3:6,7 etc. His Ministers are necessary to the Kingdom as Ambassadors. II Cor. 5:18-21; Eph 6:20; etc We say reverently, He cannot do without His Undershepherds, Bond servants, Ambassadors. F rom the viewpoint of the Kingdom of God in time and eternity, the most important men and wo men in the world are those who have made themselves poor and homeless for His sake and who have gone forth to preach the Gospel in His Name and Way. We could not go on, we could not continue, if we did not believe we are necessary to Him in doing His work in the world.
Is it worth while, then to keep on losing our lives as "the corn of wheat which falls into the ground and dies"? John 12:24,25. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." Some have said "no", and have given up the Ministry and are now saving their lives. We wish them well and pray that they may aim at true usefulness in the lesser sphere of service. Jesus' answer to this question is given in the words of Luke 14 12:32, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom."
What does this promise mean? What does it include? Matt. 19:27-30 may give some light on this. Peter said unto Him, "Behold we have left all and followed Thee. What shall we have therefore?" The rich young ruler had refused to forsake all and enter the New Testament Ministry, and gone away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Peter and others had done what this young man refused to do and Peter very naturally voices the question that was in his and their minds at this time. Jesus answers Peter's question and gives him and the others the promise of future and present reward:
1. Future: "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 hall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
2. Present: "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or fathers or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first."
In Mark 10:30 the promise for the present has "persecutions" added, and "in the world to come eternal life".
There is a very close connection between Matt. 19:27-30 and Matt. 25 :31-46, and these two passages should always be read and studied together. In Matt. 25 we read that sitting with Him "upon the throne of His glory" (25:31) are "these my brethren" of verse 40, who had made themselves, as His Undershepherds, Bond Servants, Ambassadors, as described in verses 35 and 36, "For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; naked, and ye clothed me; I was sink and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me.”
The words of Jesus in Matt. 25:31-46 described one phase of the Judgment. The attitude towards and treatment given to His brethren, His Undershepherds, Bond Servants, Ambassadors, who were losing their lives as His representatives in preaching the Gospel, will determine the destiny of many on that day.
What is your heart's attitude towards the men and women in this meeting who, while others are saving their lives, are losing their's for Christ's sake and the Gospel's? Will you be numbered among the sheep or the goats on that Day? Will you be placed on the right hand side or the left?
There is a letter in the New Testament that tells us of twomen, one of whom we may be sure will be numbered among the sheep on the right hand side and the other we may be equally sure will be numbered among the goats on the left hand side. Let us read over together first ten verses of John's third epistle:
"The elder unto the well beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: because that for his name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow helpers to the truth. I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to, have the preeminence among them receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content there with, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church."
These verses tell us of two different attitudes of heart towards the Lord's Undershepherds, Bond Servants, Ambassadors.
Will you be on the right hand side with Gaiuson the great day of reckoning, or will you be placed on the left hand with Diotrephes on that day? If you are playing the part of Gaius now in the Fold, Family, Kingdom of God, you will hear the words of Jesus in Matt. 25:34, "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." But if you are playing the part of Diotrephes, you will hear the words of Jesus in verse 41, "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
The Lord, as the Chief Shepherd, tenderly watches over all who have made themselves poor and homeless for His sake and the Gospel's, and it was to them He said in Luke 12:32, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom."
The men and women I honor most today are those who throughout the years, in spite of temptations arising from within, or coming from without, have kept their livesupon the altar and are still giving themselves unhindered and unfettered in service true to God and man. To them I would apply these words and promise of Jesus today "Fear not little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.”
The words of Jesus in the Great Commission of Matt. 28:19, "Go ye and teach all nations", and in Mark 12 16:15, "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature" still stand. We in this our day are responsible for hastening His coming by a fuller and more sacrificial obedience to His commands so that this Gospel of the Kingdom may be preached as a witness to all nations. Matt 24:14: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
The Harvest is plenteous; the laborers few; the need is greater than ever to pray the Lord of the Harvest to thrust more laborers into His Harvest field. The two fold promise of Luke 12:31-32 will be literally fulfilled as we seek first the Kingdom's in terest and go forward unashamed and unafraid. The Lord still reigns. His purpose is un changed. "He willeth not that any should perish." The only remedy for a weary sin-sick world is the Gospel of His Son. I am not pessimistic as I look into the future. Visions of open doors, hearts, homes in many lands among many peoples, when this war is over, thrill me through and through, and my earnest prayer is that when the hour of our greatest opportunity comes, we will not be found wanting as Undershepherds, Bond Servants, Ambassadors in the Fold, Family and Kingdom of God.
I would like to read to you the last two verses of Hebrews 12 "wherefore we receiving a kingdom..." Now you might turn back to the first chapter of Paul's letter to the Colossians, Col. 1:12 "Giving thanks unto the Father..." A kingdom that cannot be moved, a kingdom that cannot be shaken, an everlasting kingdom, a kingdom that will endure forever.
Paul exhorts the Christians at Colosse to give thanks unto the Father, who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of God's dear Son. It would be a very wonderful thing indeed if all of us in this meeting this afternoon could testify to this experience, delivered from the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son."
I would like this afternoon to speak to you about this kingdom, this kingdom that cannot be moved or shaken, this kingdom of God's dear Son. The phrase " kingdom of heaven" or kingdom of God" occurs over 100 times in the four Gospels. This kingdom was the keynote of the whole teaching and ministry of Jesus. He spoke more often about the kingdom, the kingdom of God, than about anything else and the main reason why the phrase occurs so often is that it included everything that Jesus lived and taught, everything He taught about the way, everything He taught about the family, everything He taught about the fold. In all His life He exemplified what it really meant to "seek first the Kingdom of God".
I think we can say with truth that He had but one enthusiasm and that was the Kingdom of God, everything else was secondary, and I have sometimes tried to imagine what kind of people we would be in this world if we, too, got a little more of that enthusiasm and made evident by our lives that everything else was secondary, "seek first the kingdom of God." Something or somebody must be first in every life, we can't get away from this and every man and every woman has to determine for himself or herself who that person is or what that thing might be.
I think back over my own life this afternoon almost fifty years ago when some of us heard and obeyed the Gospel. This phrase, "seek first the Kingdom of God" gripped our hearts, influenced our lives, was responsible to a very large extent for the choices we made even as young converts and helped us to put second things where they belonged and put first things first, the Kingdom of God, the extension of that Kingdom, the wooing and winning of men and women into that Kingdom had taken hold upon our hearts and resulted in a very few years in many of us young men and young women placing our lives upon God's altar and going out to give our lives in service true to God and man.
If as a result of these meetings, and the special meetings that have been held in the last few weeks in Montana, there is a true interest begotten in the hearts and lives of all God's people in the value of putting first things first and living their lives with eternity's values in view, then something will be accomplished this year for God in this state, that will bring much pleasure into the hearts and lives of men and women and much pleasure to the heart of God.
From the very beginning to the close of His ministry He labored for one thing, the extension of the Kingdom of God. As He traveled from north to south, or from east to west, as the occasion might be, He was continually inviting men and women to enter this Kingdom and made clear and plain that no man or woman was justified in permitting anything or anybody from hindering them from pressing into the Kingdom of God.
On one occasion He made this statement, "If thy right hand offend thee..." it is better, He knew, He understood, "it is better to enter into the Kingdom of God crippled, blind or maimed for life, than having two hands, two feet, two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.." If there are any in this meeting this afternoon, men or women, who know, who are very conscious of something or some person hindering them, some friendship, some habit, some idol, even though any of these may be just as dear as a right hand, right foot, or a right eye, would it not be wise for you this afternoon to take these words of Jesus to heart, "It is better to enter into the kingdom of God with one hand, one foot, one eye, than to be cast into hell fire where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched?"
I have been impressed in recent months with the importance of God's children having the right thoughts about this Kingdom in their minds and in their hearts, thoughts that come from God, thoughts that we get from the study of God's own word, and if we have a real desire to have these right thoughts about the Kingdom of God our whole lives will be influenced by these thoughts.
"As a man thinketh in his heart so is he." We are no more than the thoughts we think. If the right thoughts govern our lives and influence us in our choices then there will be the marks of Christ reproduced and made manifest. If, on the other hand, we permit wrong thoughts to enter into our minds it influences us in our choices and the opposite will result.
Someone has said that "every thought images itself in the mind and every image persistently held there is bound to materialize." This seems to be a law, if we think the right thoughts and form the habit of thinking the right thoughts this will be in evidence in our lives; if we form the habit of thinking wrong thoughts and harbor them, then these wrong thoughts will be made manifest.
There are a great many wrong thoughts in minds of men and women throughout the whole wide world and because of wrong thoughts the world is filled with confusion, more so today than ever. It is more difficult for the average man or woman to get to know and understand what is right than it ever was. There are men and women from whose hearts today there is going up the cry, "who will show us any good?" "Where can we get help for our souls, where can we find the satisfaction that we desire so much?"
There are three or four things I would like this afternoon to leave with you in connection with this Kingdom of God. I think they will be easy to remember and when you leave these meetings you can think them over, meditate upon them, and discuss them with your brothers and sisters in God's family, in God's Kingdom. Many of God's people are often distressed because in meetings such as these they feel I heard so much I enjoyed and yet somehow or other I remember so little. Very often they blame themselves and get discouraged and sometimes somewhat depressed.
I have been trying to practice a little proverb, it is a very old proverb, a Jewish proverb, that has been a great help to me. "If you want to remember anything, teach it to somebody else." Isn't that easy? If you want to remember anything, teach it to someone else. Whenever I discover a little nugget of God's truth in His word, I begin to talk about it, and in talking about it, it becomes more firmly rooted in my mind, and if at these meetings the Lord puts some new thoughts, writes some new law in your mind and in your heart that you are anxious to remember, if you try and pass that thought on to somebody else it will strengthen your memory and you will become truly a possessor of that thought or of that truth.
Now, the first thing I would like to say about the Kingdom of God this afternoon is that it is A Kingdom of Sacrifice, founded by sacrifice. Every earthly kingdom is founded by something entirely different. In fact the kingdom that God sent His Son to manifest and establish is different from any other kingdom the world has ever known.
Men, the cleverest of men, would never have thought of founding the kind of kingdom that God sent His Son into the world to establish; and if we can get firmly fixed in our minds just a few things about this strange Kingdom of God, this Kingdom that is so different from every other kingdom, we will have something to think about and something to talk about that will help us; and whenever in our reading, we come across the phrase, " Kingdom of Heaven, or Kingdom of God's dear Son," then we can pause for a moment, yes, that's the kind of a kingdom we have been hearing about, that God sent His own Son into the world to establish.
Human kingdoms are founded on self seeking, on selfishness, on getting. God's Kingdom was founded by loving and giving, "God so loved...that He gave..." This sacrifice began in the very courts of heaven, the Father and the Son talking it over, the Father willing to give His Son, the Son willing to give Himself. This sacrifice was evidenced in the whole life and ministry of Jesus from the beginning to the end.
In Paul's letters, he loved to emphasize the fact that Christ gave Himself. He didn't give "something." He gave Himself. He couldn't give any more, He didn't give any less. He gave Himself for our sins, He settled the sin question as the trespass offering. He gave Himself for us as the sin offering, settled the question of what we are by nature. Gave Himself as the whole burnt offering to make clear to our minds once and forever what true consecration or true yieldedness to the will of God really meant in a human life.
It has been said, "It is loving and giving that makes life worth living; it is loving and giving that makes life a song," and even though in His giving He is spoken of as the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, yet on the last night of His life, looking back He could say to His disciples, "These things have I said unto you that my joy might remain in you and that your joy might be full."
Selfishness, self seeking, living for self, never brought real satisfaction into any human life. We are all fooled in our earlier years in thinking in getting for ourselves we are going to find rest of heart, peace of mind, and the unhappiest men and women in all the world are the men and women who have accumulated most for themselves. Some people say, "If only I had $10,000.00 then I would be happy;" some say, "If I had $50,000.00 I would be happy" and some say "If I had $100,000.00 I would be happy." When they get the $10,000.00, $50,000.00 or $100.000.00 they are grabbing after more thousands for the more they get the more they want.
It's loving and giving that makes life worth living; it's loving and giving that makes life a song." The life of Jesus was that "song". He had more rest of heart and peace of mind than any other individual that ever lived on earth even though He was tempted and tried in all points like as we are; yet because of the love and peace that governed His life and ministry He lived continuously beneath an open heaven and more than once was comforted by hearing His Father say, "This is my beloved Son..." He sacrificed the last drop of His life's blood, willingly, uncomplainingly. He gave Himself to the very limit.
Apart from that giving there could be no Kingdom of God; apart from that loving and giving there could be no gathering such as this, this afternoon. It was His loving and giving that laid the foundation for the Kingdom we are speaking about, that set the headline, who in His own life and ministry manifested the kind of kingdom that His Father had sent Him into the world to establish. That's the reason why those first disciples, those first preachers, were so willing in their day to sacrifice.
There could be no founding of this Kingdom or establishing this Kingdom apart from sacrifice. There could be no possibility of maintaining this Kingdom of God on earth apart from that sacrifice continuing, that sacrifice being maintained. The first preachers were willing to forsake all, those first Christians were willing to put first thing first in their lives, and when their homes were broken up and their property was confiscated and they were scattered, they went everywhere telling of His power, and seeking to win others into this Kingdom of God.
It's a very strange thing that without the aid of the printing press, or the railroad, or the steamboat, or the airplane, the Gospel spread more rapidly in those first days than ever it has done since. When I think about this I am humiliated. I think back and I say in my heart, "Oh what might have been!" Those first Christians and those first preachers thought of nothing else but the salvation of men, the extension of His Kingdom.
I tremble sometimes when I think of the future. As one gets older in the way of life and in the service of God, very serious thoughts creep into one's mind now and then and it would be foolish if we didn't look ahead, and the conviction has been deepened in my heart and in my mind if ever this sacrifice on the part of the servants of God and the saints of God dies out in our midst, we become no better than the daughters of Babylon, we have a name to live and are yet dead, we know the way of truth, may be claiming to walk in truth, but the very heart and kernel of all that Jesus lived and taught has vanished, and as in the case of the Laodiceans of old, Christ is left outside.
This Kingdom of God cannot be founded, it cannot be extended apart from the continual sacrifice of the servants and people of God.
We have been spending a few days here in this place, we who are separated unto the ministry, and we have enjoyed hearing each other testify and open up God's word and as we looked into the faces of these men and women, I was impressed with the tremendous sacrifice that was represented. Men and women taking steps that blighted and blasted forever all their earthly prospects, willing to go forth into the world in the name and way of Jesus, as strangers, as poor and homeless as He was.
Sometimes I have thought that God's people, looking at these bondservants and handmaidens of the Lord, forget just what the cost has been even for them to take the first step into the pathway of Jesus. It isn't an easy thing for a young man or a young woman to say "goodbye" to everything they could have been and could have enjoyed to advantage in Adam, and even in the family of God, and take steps to separate them from all this, and then year in and year out in the joys and sorrows of service, keeping their lives upon God's altar.
If I were asked this afternoon what men and women in the world I admire most, that I respect most, that I would like to honor most, it is the men and women who have heard the whisper of Jesus in their hearts, and for His sake and a lost world have gone forth in His name, losing their lives, wasting them, in order to bring you and others into His great family, His great Kingdom.
If there is no real love in your hearts this afternoon for such men and women then I am a little afraid there is something very seriously, very radically wrong with your experience, for the spirit and attitude you assume toward those that have made themselves poor, homeless, and strangers for the Gospel's sake will ultimately determine where you will be in Eternity.
Remember what Jesus said in this connection on one occasion, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Very easy for you here in Montana to minister to some of the visiting brethren who are a little older in the way of life, but Jesus didn't say, "Inasmuch as ye did it unto the oldest and most prominent..." He said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these...", so that He measures your interest in His Kingdom and the real worth of your fellowship in the Gospel, by your attitude toward those who are weaker and very often have little place. Isn't that like Jesus? "Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these..."
One of the things that we who are the servants of God very often think upon is the fact that He never asked any of His servants to take one single step that He Himself had not taken. He made no demand upon any that He, Himself had not faced. He left two homes, we have left but one. He said, "Goodbye" to His heavenly home and later He said, "Goodbye" to His earthly home, He sacrificed both homes. He said, "The foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests, but, the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head." We surely enjoy the hospitality of God's people and the comfort of their homes, but we are reminded very, very often that we are just passing on, guests for an hour or a day, and we go on to live this homeless life for Jesus sake and the Gospel.
Thank God for the parents who have joyfully given their boys and girls to go forth into God's harvest field. Many a mother's and father's heart has been broken as they pleaded, would not give their consent, but their boys and girls went nevertheless, that's the spirit that counts if this Kingdom of God is going to be established in this world. Apart from lives laid down, apart from men and women willing to be as the kernel of wheat that falls into the ground and dies, there could be no Kingdom of God and no extension of the Kingdom of God. The whole future of God's servants, of His people to sacrifice, if by any means they can be used in extending His Kingdom, is to bring men and women into His Kingdom, founded by sacrifice.
The second thing I would like to impress upon you with regard to this Kingdom is that it is a reign of love, not law. In this respect, it is different from every kingdom the world has ever known, all kingdoms have been founded as kingdoms of law. You must do this, you must not do that. This code of laws is necessary in the kingdoms of men, but in this Kingdom of God it is a reign of love and not law. That seems very weak, doesn't it? How could a kingdom be established on earth without rules, without laws, without regulations? How could a kingdom be established on earth by love?
That's the very thing Jesus came to do. He came to impart life unto men and establish in their hearts a Kingdom where love would reign and not law. We have met many of God's people at different times and they are anxious for us to tell them just what they should do and not do, they would be very pleased if we would sit down and write them out a set of rules or laws to direct their lives and then they would look at them every day and honestly try to obey them, but they wouldn't be much farther on. The only power that will bring about the fulfillment of the purpose of God in the hearts and lives of His people is the power of love. Paul said, "The love of Christ constraineth me." That's the motive that governs, that controls. It's the love of Christ, not the love for Christ, but the same love that was in the heart of Christ in relationship to His own disciples and for those out there in the cold dark world, that's the love that will count.
The basic law in the United States is the Constitution, men may come and men may go, but it remains. No town, city, county or state can enforce any law that isn't in line with the Constitution or its Amendments. The basic law of the Kingdom of God is the law of love. On that last night of the life of Jesus, looking into the future and knowing better than His disciples what awaited them, understanding the difficulties and problems that they would have to face as they went out into the world to fulfill His commission, He didn't give to them that night a set of laws or regulations, He gave them a new commandment. He said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." A Kingdom that's a reign of love and not law.
I remember some years ago when on my way down to South America, I was asked to preach in the First Class Saloon on Sunday morning. I accepted the invitation. I spoke to them about what it meant to be a Christian. In the afternoon, I was sitting in a chair on the deck and a man sat down beside me and introduced himself as a professor of history at the University of California, and stated he was very much interested in what he had heard.
I told him of the ministry I was engaged in. He could not believe there was such a group of people on earth. I could not convince him. The ministry of the Kingdom is a very wonderful thing to me, that it's possible for men and women to be united and held together in this Kingdom of God without all the different aids that men of the world consider so absolutely necessary. When love reigns, when we are willing to let love reign and guide and govern our thinking and actions, and all our relationships with our brethren, then we are going to get somewhere. Men of the world will say, how weak it is. Some people would be puzzled, how did you all get here? How did you hear about these meetings?
If you want to know what this love is that Jesus spoke that last night of His life it's to be found in 1 Corinthians 13. God's Kingdom is made up of men and women, brethren in the same family, who have purposed in their hearts to live in obedience to the law of love as defined in 1 Corinthians 13. Did you ever allow the Lord to search your soul as you read that chapter, and as you read it did you feel that the word is indeed sharper than any two-edged sword? There are none of us if really honest with ourselves and each other, but will hang our heads and say we have come far short of this, but how wonderful if there is a real purpose in our hearts to say even though I have come far short and have failed often, and even though I have violated this law of love in my heart, I want henceforth to live in obedience to the law of love.
There are seven things mentioned in this chapter that love will not do; seven things mentioned that will always characterize the law of love, you can separate these two lists, can measure yourself by these two lists, and would it not be a very wonderful thing if we really grasp that simple statement Paul makes when he says, "Love never fails?" Other things will fail but love never fails. I think if I know my own heart, and you know your hearts are very deceitful and desperately wicked and hard to understand, but I would like better to know how to live in obedience to this law of love, because if I do I can't fail, and no man or woman will fail and wherever they will go they will be a blessing among God's people. If we do not recognize this kingdom which we represent is a reign, not of law, but of love, we won't get very far.
There is another thing I would like to mention, this Kingdom of God is a kingdom where all serve and none rule, the spirit of service, not of ruling predominated.
During the meetings here, Willie quoted to us that passage in Phil. 2 that has often searched our souls, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus...and took upon Him the form of a servant...wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him...that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." I know my soul has been searched by these words of Paul, this appeal of God's servant to God's people in Philippi when he said, "Let this mind be in you ..." He was dealing with the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, was dealing with the need of harmony in the family of God on earth. He said if you want harmony, if you want the right spirit to be manifested, you let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." I wonder how many of us this afternoon could honestly say I would like that, I would like my whole life to be controlled and governed by the mind that was in Christ Jesus. A Kingdom of service and not of rule.
Very easy for us to allow thoughts in our minds that this Kingdom of God is more or less like the kingdoms of the world where men rule and reign over their fellows. Jesus said there is no room in my kingdom for anything like that, for in my kingdom any who are truly in fellowship with me have no desire to rule, they have a passion to serve.
Let me read in this connection a little from Matthew 20. You remember the incident of those two sons of this mother asking her to make an appeal to Jesus, in His Kingdom that one might sit on the right hand and one on the left hand, seemed they had not caught the real spirit that governed His life. The whole idea of ruling and reigning, of being great in the eyes of men had taken possession of them, so they asked their mother to appeal to Jesus that they might get ahead of the other ten. "And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren, but Jesus called them unto Him and said, "Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them, but it shall not be so among you; But whosoever shall be great among you let him be your servant; even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give His life a ransom for
many." He was talking here to preachers.
Luke 22:27 "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." The oldest and most responsible of God's servants on that day took the place of the servant of all. "I am among you as one that serveth." Is it not then a very strange coincidence that the King Himself would come down and down and down, and then take upon Himself the form of a servant and be amongst His brethren as one that serves?
Wouldn't it be a very wonderful thing if in all our relationship with each other as the servants of God and people of God, we drank deeply of this spirit, that the mind that was in Christ Jesus might be in us and that the spirit of service would rule in every little church, in every little group of God's people, in every group of God's servants, where if there is any competition at all, it would be in competition for the place of service?
One more illustration. Do you remember the last night of His life in that upper room? It was customary in those days for the younger or the least in a group to take the place of a slave and wash the dirty feet of the rest of the company. On that night Jesus waited and waited for some of them to take the place of the servant. He thought perhaps John might do that, or Bartholomew, or Peter, but He was disappointed and we are told He rose from supper and He girded Himself, and He got a basin and took a towel and went around and washed the dirty feet of these disciples. I can understand Peter's protests, but Jesus made clear he had to learn this lesson and learn it well or he had no part. Peter said, "Wash my hand and foot." He could not bear the thought of being separated from Jesus. Jesus said, "I have left thee an example."
Would it not be a very wonderful thing if throughout the coming year we would recognize this Kingdom of God of which we form a part, is A Kingdom of Sacrifice, that it's a reign of love, and not law, and it's a Kingdom where all serve and none rule? That was the idea in the heart of Jesus. May God grant that each of us may have grace to fill our appointed place so that the future of our lives will bring more honor to God and blessing to men, for His Name's sake.
I have greatly enjoyed reading over the Epistles of John and meditation on all it means to live in the fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the other members of the family of God. FELLOWSHIP is the main theme of all three Epistles and in the first two chapters of the first Epistle, there are at least seven conditions laid down which if we fulfill will enable us to enjoy more and more of this Fellowship. It is possible for any child of God to fulfill these seven conditions.
1. Loyalty "to that which was from the beginning." The word "beginning" occurs seven times in the first two chapters of the Epistle. I John 1:1; 2:7; 13, 14, 24. It is very evident that John had in his mind those referred to in ch. 2:18, 19, 26, who had gone out from the true fellowship by departing from "that which was from the beginning," and were now seeking to "seduce" others. The devil's purpose is always to get men to become disloyal to "that which was from the beginning" and get them taken up with "mysteries," "prophecies" and teaching which only confuses and misleads. Fellowship with God necessitates loyalty to the truths we have heard from the beginning, to all that Jesus came in the flesh to live and teach, as a child, as a working man, and as a preacher. "He lived to show us how to live," how to get the victory over sin in every form. In O.T. days God spake through and by men who were imperfect but in these "last days hath spoken to us by HIS SON." We may learn lessons from any or all of the O.T. characters to justify and excuse their own. The very first condition for fellowship with God laid down by John is loyalty to ALL THAT JESUS LIVED AND TAUGHT.
2. Willingness to "walk in the Light as He is in the Light. I John 1:5:3-14; Rom. 13:12-14. Darkness is everything unlike Jesus whether worldly, fleshly, or religiously. Light is everything that Jesus live and taught. "Walking in the light" means following Jesus. John 8:12. All who "walk in the Light have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin." The "deeds" and "doctrine" of men that claimed to have fellowship with God and yet walked in darkness. John said all such were "liars" ch. 1:6; 2:4.
3. Recognition of the fact that even when we do our best we still come short and need the mercy of God to forgive and the blood of Jesus to cleanse, ch. 1:8. This saves from all spiritual pride.
4. "Willingness to confess and forsake our sins," ch 1:9. Sins confessed and forsaken will always be forgiven. Read Psalm 32 and 103.
5. "Keeping His commandments," ch. 2:3-5. "His commandments are not grievous," ch. 5:3. Not the Ten of the law, but words and sayings of Jesus.
6. "Loving none another," ch. 2:8-11; 3:14-19; 4:7-8; John 13:34-35.
7. "Love not the world," ch. 2:15-17; 3:1; John 7:7; 15:18; 16:33.
I am sure it would be well worth your while to memorize and earnestly seek to fulfill these seven conditions. This will bring into your life the fullest measure of joy and satisfaction in the family of God.