Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 13 (1898)


Lt 97, 1898

Brethren in North Fitzroy


November 18, 1898

Portions of this letter are published in 2MCP 436, 673-674; OHC 42; 6BC 1100-1101; 7BC 925-928. +Note

My Brethren in North Fitzroy:

My brethren in North Fitzroy, and especially those who stand in responsible positions, you need the deep moving of the Spirit of God. I have been shown your dangers, your inclination to look to present appearance if everything does not appear encouraging, your danger of walking over the same ground as did the children of Israel, of becoming suspicious of this one and that one. You place your fellow men in human scales, weighing their words and conjecturing in regard to them, and you always come to wrong conclusions. Those who are always murmuring and complaining readily fall into temptation. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 1

If everything does not look propitious, you search for those whom you can charge with want of discernment and wisdom, and nine times out of ten you are all astray, for God does not put this work into your hands to do. Somebody must be to blame, somebody has made wrong movements, you think, and you feel desirous of weighing their actions and putting your own construction on their movement, which you suppose might be bettered. In the place of believing that God is leading, you want to fix things over to meet your own minds. There are many who want to get on the judgment seat, and take the scales out of the hands of God. Should God allow this, they would have less confidence than ever in their brethren, less respect for their judgment. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 2

Study the Bible, brethren. “Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” [Hebrews 3:7-15.] 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 3

There is no encouragement given for unbelief. The Lord manifests His grace and His power over and over again, and this should teach us that it is always profitable under all circumstances to cherish faith, to talk faith, to act faith. We are not to have our hearts and hands weakened by allowing the suggestions of suspicious minds to plant in our hearts the seeds of doubt and distrust. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 4

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God. In these words there is reproof to those in responsible positions. Why should we depart from God even in thought? Why should our faith in the living God weaken? Shall unfavorable appearances make you do this? Does not God prove His people, to see if they will look to Him in the place of looking to men and trusting to the arm of flesh? It is not numbers, it is not the apparent capabilities of men that are to revive the heart and make it hopeful. It is the confidence that we are placed in a position of trust to trade with the Lord’s talents and to receive wisdom from Him. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 5

There is a wrong spirit underlying all your uncertainties. You fear lest someone shall come in and express ideas in regard to the work of which you suppose yourselves the proprietors. It is not the Lord’s work. Is it not entirely proper that if some mind sees that a better way would bring better results, that that brother shall give expression to his ideas? Shall one brother, just as much interested in the work as you are, keep silent because his brother has the proprietorship of that line of work? It has been presented before me that a great deal of suspicion is created by a word, a look, a remark, and a mountain is created out of a molehill by looking through the temptation glasses of Satan. If there were far more frankness and less secretiveness, if there were brotherly confidence encouraged, if there were far less of self, and more of the spirit of Christ, if you would have a living faith in God, the cloud which is now thrown across the atmosphere of the mind by Satan, would be cut away. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 6

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” [Verses 12, 13.] Satan will seek to lead away from safe paths into the ways of suspicion, distrust, evil surmising, evil thinking, and evil speaking. God’s servants who are engaged in different lines of the work should not have an interest only in the one special line that they are handling. Those whom God has appointed to different lines of work are not to be suspicious. They are not to work in secret. They are to feel that all should have a part in the spiritual house, in the building of a holy temple for God. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 7

“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus: Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.” [Verses 1-3.] Because of the unbelief manifested toward Christ, the originator and foundation of the whole Jewish economy, a heavier retribution will come upon men than befell unbelieving Israel in the wilderness. Moses was the prophet by whom God communicated to the church in the wilderness: but great as was Moses, a greater than he is the Son of God, who builded the house. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 8

The presence of Jesus Christ, enshrouded in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of [fire] by night, followed this people in their wilderness wandering. The angel of the covenant came in the name of God, as the invisible Leader of Israel. The Son of God over His own house is higher than Moses, higher than the highest angel. He bears the name of Jehovah upon His mitre, while on His breastplate is written the name of Israel. Christ took humanity that humanity might touch humanity. In the form of man He humbled Himself, and became a servant, but as the Son of God He was higher than the angels. By His life in humanity man may become a partaker of the divine nature. As the Majesty of heaven, He was exalted above the angels, and in His work of redemption He carries with Him all who have received Him and believed on His name. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 9

The Father loves His purchased possession as He loves Jesus Christ, the heaven-sent Messenger of God to man, to uplift and exalt His loyal, believing children. They are placed beside Christ and the Father on His throne. “Ye shall judge angels.” [1 Corinthians 6:3.] As the sin-bearer, and priest and representative of man before God, He entered into the life of humanity, bearing our flesh and blood. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 10

The life is in the living, vital current of blood, which blood was given for the life of the world. Christ made a full atonement, giving His life as a ransom for us. He was born without a taint of sin, but came into the world in like manner as the human family. He did not have a mere semblance of a body, but He took human nature, participating in the life of humanity. According to the law Christ Himself gave, the forfeited inheritance was ransomed by the nearest of kin. Jesus Christ laid off His royal robe, His kingly crown, and clothed His divinity with humanity, in order to become a substitute and surety for humanity, that dying in humanity He might by His death destroy him who had the power of death. He could not have done this as God, but by coming as man Christ could die. By death He overcame death. The death of Christ bore to the death him who had the power of death, and opened the gates of the tomb for all who receive Him as their personal Saviour. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 11

Christ proclaimed over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the resurrection and the life.” [John 11:25.] He, the world’s Redeemer, has bruised the serpent’s head, depriving him of all power to ever make men feel his scorpion sting, for He has brought life and immortality to light. The gates of eternal life are thrown open to all who believe on Jesus Christ. All believers who pass through a natural death have, through eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God, eternal life in them, which is the life of Jesus Christ. In dying Jesus has made it impossible for those who believe on Him to die eternally. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 12

“For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in this brother’s way.” [Romans 14:7-13.] 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 13

Christ lived and died as a man, that He might be God both of the living and of the dead. It was to make it impossible for man to lose eternal life if they believe on Him. The life of men and women is precious in the sight of God, for Christ has purchased that life by being executed in their stead. Thus He made it possible for us to attain to immortality. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 14

“Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return. That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” [Isaiah 45:20-25.] 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 15

We shall all stand before the judgment seat of God. This reveals to us that all must render an account to God. Let us be careful not to put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in our brother’s way. Let us read carefully the twelfth chapter of Romans. If the Word is not sufficiently plain here, what could be said to make the church in every place understand? A variety of gifts are to be brought into the building of the temple of the Lord, and yet all are to find their proper place, and grow into an holy temple in the Lord. “Ye are God’s husbandry: ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] We are not to shut ourselves within ourselves. We are required to love one another as brethren, to be kind and courteous. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 16

The Lord Jesus has made a great sacrifice in order to meet man where he is. He took not on Him the nature of angels. He did not come to save angels. It is the seed of Abraham that He is helping. “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] Christ helps humanity by taking human nature. Thus He lays hold upon man with His long human arm, and upon the throne of God with His divine arm. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 17

Read carefully Isaiah 45:1-8. The Lord calls for us to awaken out of sleep. The great want at present, and that which is most displeasing to God, is the want of love, patience, forbearance, and confidence. God calls for you in Melbourne to heed the messages He has given you, to open the door of your hearts to that faith that works by love and sanctifies the soul. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 18

We need to be born again. We need to cherish that love that Christ has commanded us to cherish for one another. The church needs the love of Christ. Every institution in our conference needs it. Please read the fifth and sixth chapters of Hebrews. The envy, the suspicion, the accusing, of Satan is costing the Echo office a great deal, and will cost it much more unless it be nailed to the cross. The work for us to do is to love our brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. Seeing we have such a sympathizing helper in Jesus Christ, shall we not be laborers together with God? Keep your eyes and minds fixed upon Him. Have faith and confidence in Him. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 19

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” [Hebrews 12:1-3.] 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 20

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” [1 Peter 2:9.] We have the promise that we are made partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 21

We need not begin the work by trying to love one another. The love of Christ in the heart is what is needed. Self is in need of being crucified. When self is submerged in Christ, true love springs forth spontaneously. It is not an emotion or an impulse, but a decision of a sanctified will. It consists not in feeling, but in the transformation of the whole heart, soul, and character, which is dead to self and alive unto God. Our Lord and Saviour asks us to give ourselves to Him. Surrendering self to God is all He requires, giving ourselves to Him to be employed as He sees fit. Until we come to this point of surrender, we shall not work happily, usefully, or successfully anywhere. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 22

The Lord graciously accepts man’s co-operation. All we call our own comes first from Him, and is to be employed to His glory. He accepts an undivided heart service as the token of our loyalty to Him. He calls, “My son, give me thine heart.” [Proverbs 23:26.] 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 23

Whether we give ourselves to the Lord or not, we are His. “Ye are not your own; ye are bought with a price.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] We are the Lord’s by creation, and we are His by redemption. Therefore we have no right to think that we can do as we please. All we handle is the Lord’s. We have no right of ourselves to anything, not even to an existence. All our money, time, and talents belong to God, and are lent us by Him, that we may accomplish the work He has given us to do. He has given us the charge, “Occupy till I come.” [Luke 19:13.] Let us remember that nothing so hurts our own souls and the souls of others as spiritual pride. Nothing so retards and cripples the work as unbelief, suspicion, and jealousy. The sure result of this is evil surmising. Want of union prevails among those who should be perfectly united in one. Selfishness springs up in the heart. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 24

Our one anxiety should be that the work of God should be best done, by any whom He may choose. Let the way be clear for God to work through whom He will. If God will accept our labors in His cause, let us thank Him. “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” [Galatians 2:20.] 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 25

He who makes an entire, wholehearted surrender to God wastes no energy in fretting in regard to the work to be done and its results. It is the soul that is separated from God that encourages a lack of unity and love. Men of the world take knowledge of all those who have been with Jesus and abide in Him. If we all walked humbly with God, many more would be molded by the Holy Spirit. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 26

God will prepare some who do not now love Him supremely and their neighbor as themselves, by humbling discipline. When in brokenness of spirit they seek the Lord, He will reveal Himself as a God nigh at hand, and not afar off. 13LtMs, Lt 97, 1898, par. 27