General Conference Bulletin, vol. 2




(Wednesday Evening, March 3, 1897.)

OUR lesson last night closed with the founding of the first state known to history; indeed, the origin of the state. The Scripture says of Nimrod’s kingdom:— GCB January 1, 1897, page 14.1

The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh. GCB January 1, 1897, page 14.2

Our translation reads: “Went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh.” But the true idea is, as the margin gives it: “He [Asshur] went out into Assyria and builded Nineveh,” and the other towns there named. So that the beginning of his kingdom was in Shinar,and the extension of it was to Assyria. GCB January 1, 1897, page 14.3

Nimrod was not simply a mighty hunter of beasts; but also a persecutor of men. And the power which he had acquired, which he got into his hand by this establishment and extension of his kingdom, he used to compel people to recognize his power and the god whom he served. So that from the first state that ever was in the world until the last one there will ever be in the world, every one of them has used against God the power that it had. GCB January 1, 1897, page 14.4

I will state that again: Every state, from the first one that ever was, that is, Nimrod’s, until the last one that will ever be, that is, this one, has used its power against God, against his truth, against his people; to compel people away from God. From the beginning to the end, that is the record of every one of them. When the world shall be ended, that will be the record of the kingdoms and the states of the world. GCB January 1, 1897, page 14.5

Here is a statement from the first-page article of the Review, April 14, 1896: The arch-deceiver “seduced the people to bow to idols, and thus gained supremacy over earthly kingdoms. He considered that to be the god of this world was the next best thing to gaining possession of the throne of God in heaven.” In the history cited in the previous lesson, you can see the working of the scheme thus revealed in the Spirit of prophecy. First, men went into idolatry, then to monarchy. And the first one that did that established a state, and was himself a persecutor of men by the power that he had thus gained. That is the history. You will see it worked out in other nations as we go along. GCB January 1, 1897, page 14.6

It was not long after Nimrod until in all that country God was forgotten by all but Abraham alone. Abraham alone sought and found God; and with Abraham God started the race once more in the Lord’s way. Now mark what he said to Abraham. In view of what we have studied, in view of what was before us in the previous lesson, and what I have called your attention to just now, consider what God said to Abraham when he began with him a new nation; that is, a nation of God. Genesis 12:1 tells us what the Lord said to him at first. “Now the Lord said unto Abram, Get thee out of”—what?—“thy country.” What first? GCB January 1, 1897, page 14.7

(Congregation) Thy country. GCB January 1, 1897, page 14.8

“And from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee.” Three things God said Abram must leave. First, he must leave, what?—His country. Next?—His kindred. Next?—His father’s house. His father’s house were idolators. His country forced people to idolatry; it was against God. His country, his kindred, and his father’s house, were idolators, and he had to leave all. The Lord showed him the land; but did he give him possession of it?—“No, not so much as to set his foot on.” When God called him out of that country, did he bring him into another one?—No; “but he promised that he would give it to him and to his seed after him.” Then when God called him out of his country, and did not bring him into the other one, where did that leave him? GCB January 1, 1897, page 14.9

(Congregation) A pilgrim and a stranger. GCB January 1, 1897, page 14.10

That left God’s representative in this world, absolutely without a country in this world? GCB January 1, 1897, page 14.11

Yet was he absolutely without a country?—O, GCB January 1, 1897, page 14.12

“He looked for a better country, that is an heavenly.” GCB January 1, 1897, page 14.13

Let us turn to the eleventh of Hebrews, and look at that. Eighth verse, beginning:— GCB January 1, 1897, page 14.14

By faith Abraham when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. GCB January 1, 1897, page 14.15

But from what did he go out?—From his country, not knowing where he went. “By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.” You know he gave him no inheritance, no, not so much as to set his foot upon; and yet he promised to give it to him and to his seed after him. He brought him out of his own country; and of no other country on earth did he give him so much as to set his foot upon. Thus he was left absolutely without a country on earth. Of this we are certain; but remember what God was saying. Who was Abraham at this time?—He was “the friend of God,” “the father of all them that believe God.” Is he your father? Have you a country in this world? GCB January 1, 1897, page 15.1

For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the seashore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises. GCB January 1, 1897, page 15.2

What did God promise when he brought him out of his country? Did he promise him a country?—Yes. But he did not get a country in this world; “but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.” Can a man seek a country when he has one?—No; for a man can no more have two countries, than he can serve two masters. GCB January 1, 1897, page 15.3

Well, says one, Abraham was out of his. Yes, but he had an opportunity to go back if he wanted to. If he had counted that his country yet, so that it was upon his heart, and he had become homesick when he got eight hundred or a thousand miles away, and there was a famine in the land, and there was not as much of an excursion about it as he thought there might be, he could have said, “I would like to see the folks there just once more, the dear old plains and familiar trees. If I could only do that, then I would be willing to come back and stay in this field awhile.” If he had thought thus, he could have had opportunity to return; for it is written: “Truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.” GCB January 1, 1897, page 15.4

Mindful; what is mindful?—If they had had their minds full of that country from which they came out, they could have had opportunity to have returned. And they would have had it, too; for then they would have made it. GCB January 1, 1897, page 15.5

But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly; wherefore [wherefore, for this reason] God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. GCB January 1, 1897, page 15.6

Have you gotten out of your country? Turn to Romans 4:1-12:— GCB January 1, 1897, page 15.7

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. GCB January 1, 1897, page 15.8

Now that faith of our father Abraham, which he had yet being uncircumcised, was this faith that he had when God called him out of his country, from his kindred, from his father’s house, and was left hanging in the hands of God, without a country in the world. And he is father to all those who believe, even though they be not circumcised; and all the others, too, provided we all walk in the steps of that faith which he had when he was uncircumcised. “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” GCB January 1, 1897, page 15.9

“Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs.” Are you his seed? Are you the seed of Abraham because you believe in Jesus Christ? Are you a stranger in the land where you are?—If you are his seed, you are. Why?—Because it is not your country. It is not your country any more. GCB January 1, 1897, page 15.10

Now this is not theory. This comes down to practical, every-day religion now. Brother Dan. Jones yesterday, you remember, was talking about missionaries going to Mexico, and he wanted missionaries that would go there and take their hearts along. Those who would leave their hearts in the United States, or whatever State it might be, when they went down there to do missionary work, he does not want; for then they cannot do missionary work. GCB January 1, 1897, page 15.11

The Lord wanted Abraham to be a missionary to all people whom he should after meet on the earth; and he was that. But God knew, and every other one does know who sees this as the Lord sees it, that no man can be a missionary in this world, who has a country in this world. You and I cannot be missionaries in any other country if America is our country. We cannot be missionaries in America, so long as America is our country. You cannot be a missionary even at home, if you have not first got out of your country. That is so. It is so in the nature of things. GCB January 1, 1897, page 15.12

Question.—How do you make that out? GCB January 1, 1897, page 16.1

We cannot make it out. I do not propose to make it out. The Lord has made it out, and you and I are to get it and believe it. GCB January 1, 1897, page 16.2

For what are we missionaries in the world? Let us look at that. Why are we sent to be missionaries? Missionaries of what? What is our mission work? What is the object of it? Are we missionaries for America,or are we missionaries for God? Is America God’s country, independent of all others on the earth? It is not good enough to be God’s country; and it is not good enough for God’s people, however good it is. GCB January 1, 1897, page 16.3

You and I are to be missionaries for God, to call people unto God; to call them from where they are unto God, from sin unto righteousness, from darkness into light, from the country where they are, into the better country which God has prepared. GCB January 1, 1897, page 16.4

Now if Germany is my country,—and if my heart is there, it is my country,—how can I call people to a country where I do not belong, which is not mine? If America is my country, how can I do missionary work in behalf of another country?—It cannot be done. When God wanted Abraham to be a missionary for God, a missionary in behalf of a country to which God calls all people, he put him where he could be a missionary indeed to all people. God called him to be a missionary, and in this he set an example for all people who should come after, of what it means to begin to do missionary work. The first thing is to get out of your country. So if you are going to be a missionary in Nebraska, get out of your country. If you are going to be a missionary in Mexico, get out your country first. For if you are going to be a missionary on the earth at all, the Lord says to you, “Get thee out of thy country;” and then he follows it up, and says, “from your country, and from your father’s house.” All these things hinder missionary work, until you have got away from them and out of them. But when you have got out of your country and from your kindred and from your father’s house, then wherever you are on earth, you are a missionary. You do not have to be that; you are that. “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” ‘And “he that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me.” “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee.” GCB January 1, 1897, page 16.5

Now I said a moment ago, and I say again, that this is practical Christianity every day as it always has been by those who believe God. GCB January 1, 1897, page 16.6

(Voice) How can a man stay in Nebraska, and yet get out of his country? GCB January 1, 1897, page 16.7

By being born again. If he was born in Nebraska, he needs to be born again. If he was born in America, let him be born again, and he will be out of his country. If he was born in Germany, let him be born again, and he will be out of his country. GCB January 1, 1897, page 16.8

Now, brethren, there is very much in this. There is nothing in this world that has hindered our missionary work so much as this repeated going to a foreign field of labor, and preparing to return almost immediately. Every man among Seventh-day Adventist missionaries that has been in a foreign country, knows this is a fact. And he does not have to go out of the United States to find it out. It has actually been suggested that it would be an advisable thing to get a second ship to bring home the missionaries that the “Pitcairn” takes out; as the “Pitcairn” takes them out, let another ship follow around in a short time, when they get homesick, and bring them home! Now this thing will have to stop, or we will never be missionaries on this earth; the Lord does not want any such thing as that. GCB January 1, 1897, page 16.9

If your heart is in this country; or if your heart is here with your kindred; if your heart is here in your father’s house,—then for your soul’s sake, and for the sake of the cause of God, do not go away from it till you get your heart away from all this. For where your heart is, there will your treasure be, and you will want to get back as quickly as possible. GCB January 1, 1897, page 16.10

If you go to another country, while your heart is not there, you cannot do any good while you are there; you will be a nuisance to yourself, and to all that are around you. You need not think you will not be; for you will. GCB January 1, 1897, page 16.11

What we are to do, is to know where our home is,—our rightful home,—and that it is nowhere on this earth; that it is in heaven, and that we are to go there soon. And then, wherever you are called on this earth, bear in mind that you are going home. Then if it be to the South Sea Islands, if it be to Mexico, you will be at home; and you know it, and are there to stay at home and work for God where you are until he calls you to another field; and when you get there, you will still be at home. In that way you will never be in a strange place, and the people will not be strangers to you. GCB January 1, 1897, page 16.12

Now this idea of having any country in this world, works just this way. With reference to countries, that country that is yours is the leading thing in your mind; and if you go to another country, you will constantly be drawing comparisons between that country and your own country. The lessons that you give, the sermons that you preach, the very influence that accompanies you will be so tinctured with it, unconsciously to yourself, that the people will recognize it all the time. Thus there is a barrier between you and them that you never can get over until you get out of your country. GCB January 1, 1897, page 16.13

As long as that thing is in you, there is a barrier between you and them. Your work cannot be effective until that barrier is broken down between you and the people, and they see that you are separated from your country, from your kindred, and from your father’s house. But when you have got out of your country, when you have been born again, your nativity is in that heavenly country; your home is there; and that is the only land you have any heart for. Then there will be no barrier between you and anybody on this earth, and you can take the gospel to every man in this world. You will meet a friend in everybody that you meet on earth; they will not be strangers to you. GCB January 1, 1897, page 17.1

As a matter of fact, you can go among people in other countries, and you will find that they are just as good as the people in this one. A year ago last summer, I was in several of these other countries. I was in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Bohemia, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Holland, England, Ireland, Scotland,—in all, sixteen different countries. Every one of these countries, every one in its place, was to me just as good as this country ever was. GCB January 1, 1897, page 17.2

In many things they are exactly alike. The water over there is just like the water in this country. Grass grows there exactly as it does in this country,—the top grows up. Trees grow there exactly as they do in this country, and are exactly like the trees in this country. Even human beings are in shape and general appearance exactly as they are in this country. Well, when the hills, the rocks, the water, the trees, the grass, and the people over there are precisely like they are in this country, are they not just as good as these? I fail to see any difference. GCB January 1, 1897, page 17.3

Elder Ballenger.—Would you be just as free to talk these things in all those countries as you are here? GCB January 1, 1897, page 17.4

Certainly. I did preach just these things in those countries. You can preach the gospel anywhere. Brethren, I found good people every step of the way, and nothing but good people. I did not find any other kind. Honestly, I did not. People who were perfect strangers—whom I never saw before, whose language I could not understand, and who could not understand mine—would do everything they possibly could to help me along and show me, and help me in every way they could. In the places where I was, the money that I had in my pocket was their kind of money. I could not read it. When I went to pay street-car fare, buy a ticket for the train, or anything of that kind,—all I could do was to hand out enough to be sure of it, and let them take what I ought to pay for it, and they took it, and took no more than that, and gave me the right change. GCB January 1, 1897, page 17.5

I tell you, brethren, mankind are just alike everywhere. The only difference is that in some places they are little better than in others. That’s all the difference I find. And the gospel—the gospel is the same, we know, everywhere in the world. There is no question about that And that gospel being the same everywhere, it is provided for all mankind. And all mankind being just as much alike and just as much the same as the gospel is, when you take the gospel in the Lord’s way, and go to the people in the Lord’s way, you will find it works just this way all the time and everywhere. GCB January 1, 1897, page 17.6

While I was in Denmark, that, to me, was really the best country on the earth; and I enjoyed it with the people all around about me! While I was in Norway, to me that was the best country in the world. When I was in Turkey, to me that was the best country on earth; and if I were to seek a mission field, I would go straight to Turkey. The Turks are just like other people,—clever and gentlemanly when they meet you on the street, and through the country as they meet meet you on the road. GCB January 1, 1897, page 17.7

Brother Holser and I had to wait while the ship lay at anchor in Smyrna, Asia, and we went out to visit the ruins of Ephesus. He went further than I did, but we went together about six miles out in the country alone. We went just as you go out into the fields here. We met people on the highway just as you do here. I did not feel in danger of any kind, and I do not think he did. We found nothing to be scared at. We walked around there just as we would here. We were at Nicomedia when the Armenians said it was hardly safe to go out of the house, and above all, for any one to be found out walking upon the hills; but we went out of the city and up on the hills, while waiting for the cars. We met Turks on the road with their wagons and oxen; we found them resting by the road. We did not feel afraid. There was no danger to us. There was safety everywhere. GCB January 1, 1897, page 17.8

I say to you, that in every one of those countries the people are good people, clever people, kind people, accommodating people. They will drop their work to do you a favor, to show you the way, to get you through a street, to go with you a block or two to show you the way, although they never saw you before, and never expect to see you again. My heart went out in kindly feeling toward those good folks all around, and I wish that they could go with us to that better country where we could be together, and kind to each other all the time. As I said a moment ago, and as D. T. Jones told you yesterday, this lies at the root of missionary work. It is that. There have been those sent away, willing, glad to go on a foreign mission. That is what they started upon, that is what their pretensions were; at large expense they got there. Only a little while, and a letter is received, pleading to come back. “O, only let me come home! I don’t ask you to pay my way home; only let me come back.” GCB January 1, 1897, page 17.9

(Voice) Does the Foreign Mission Board give such ones opportunity to come back? GCB January 1, 1897, page 18.1

Certainly. How could they do otherwise? This is no ideal tale. It is fact, brethren. But that is not missionary work. Of course the Foreign Mission Board would not wish such persons to remain there. The best thing they could do was to let them come home; for the only place where they could do anything was at home. Their heart was at their home in America. GCB January 1, 1897, page 18.2

In fact, some were so afraid they would die if they staid there, that they came home and died. This is a fact. I am not using that expression, or putting it that way to make a play upon your feelings, or anything of that kind. Some persons have been so homesick that they were afraid they could not live there; and they came home by their own request, and not long afterward died. They could not have done any less than that if they had remained abroad. GCB January 1, 1897, page 18.3

I know, and you know, too, that many have gone on foreign missions with more of an idea of going on an excursion, than going for hard missionary work. And when they found, at the end of the journey, that it was not an excursion, but hardship; that it meant self-denial, sickness, and burning fever,that took all the excursion out of it in a little while. That was not what they had in mind when they started. GCB January 1, 1897, page 18.4

I know, and you know, that there is a halo in this idea of missionary work, at the beginning. But we want to get to solid facts, to get our eyes off the halo, and remember that there is a hard substance just back of it. There is somewhat of a halo in getting aboard the train or ship, with a large crowd of people, and much parade, as we start on the mission, honored like that; of course that is all right, but those who go must be sure that their minds and hearts are on something more solid than that. They need to bear in mind that, while the brethren are willing to escort them to the train or the ship, and shed tears, if need be, at the parting, that beyond all that, each one of those missionaries must not forget that he is going out to meet hardships, to meet perplexities, peril, and sicknesses. GCB January 1, 1897, page 18.5

And let him remember that he may not only meet all these things, but go through them, and not be afraid that he will die. Let every one be perfectly sure that he is dead before he starts, and he will not be afraid that he will die when he gets there. But if you have not died before you start, then don’t start until you are dead; because otherwise you will do no good either to yourself or to the cause. You will be only a burden to those who are there—if there are any there before you go who are faithful. GCB January 1, 1897, page 18.6

Now that is the truth, and you know it. Then why should we allow that thing to be lost sight of? Such a thing as that has been needed in our work all these years. Large sums of money would have been saved if such a thing as that had been insisted upon before you started. Great mistakes would have been avoided, and an immense amount of misery, if this thing had been insisted upon, and insisted upon before the laborers left. GCB January 1, 1897, page 18.7

As I said a moment ago, if you are really dead before you go, and while you are there, you are not going to be much disturbed by the prospects of death. It does n’t follow that you are going to die because you get sick, very sick,—burning with a fever. It does n’t follow that you are going to die, and that you should think that you must pick up and start home just as soon as you get out of that, or get well enough to start. GCB January 1, 1897, page 18.8

I know of missionaries, perhaps you do too, one in particular, and his wife, whom I have in mind, who went on a foreign mission. They were both young people. Neither of them, I think, over twenty-two; the husband was probably twenty-three at the most. They went to their field, and entered upon the work. In the course of time, sickness came to them. The wife was attacked first with the native fever, and was terribly sick—as sick as they get, I suppose, and live; but neither of them got homesick along with the fever. They stuck right to it bravely; the husband nursed the wife through her sickness, and just as she was barely able to sit up and walk around, he himself was stricken with the same fever as severely as she had been; and she, in that weak condition, nursed him through. But they went through it all like brave Christians, thank the Lord. They are in that field yet; they are a success in that field where they are, and have been a success from the day they landed there. That is to be our ideal. GCB January 1, 1897, page 18.9

Now I do not say that none of those who went away should never have come back. I do not say that none of them should have come back immediately after they reached the field. But I do mean to say, brethren, that they should have known before they went away, whether they were to come back right away or not. GCB January 1, 1897, page 18.10

That the Mission Board thinks you might make a good missionary is n’t evidence enough for you to act upon to go on a foreign mission. You want to know for yourself that God calls you to go there; and that you go there because God wants you there in that place. Then when you go, you will go because God calls you, and you will know that he is with you while you are going. You will know that he is with you when you get there; and you are not going to be scared by any difficulties, nor discouraged by any hardships, nor turned back by any sicknesses, nor even at the prospect of death. GCB January 1, 1897, page 18.11

If it should come to the literal fact of dying a physical death, you do not know how you are defeating the cause if you run away to escape it. You and I, every Christian, and especially every Seventh-day Adventist Christian, because it is Christian experience, must get hold of this one living principle, that the Christian’s work is n’t done when he dies the physical death. If he is faithful to his work while he lives, and dies at his post, his work goes on after he is dead. GCB January 1, 1897, page 19.1

Now that is a fact. If you go with God’s call, if you go with God with you, and if you die before you leave, if you are the kind of missionary that God calls,—the kind that Abraham was,—you yourself are to know for yourself, before God, under God, and with God, that this is his will concerning you. GCB January 1, 1897, page 19.2

That you have a conviction to-day that you are to go as a missionary, is not evidence that you are to start from this Conference to go to that field. If your conviction is a right one, and good, it will keep. If it is not the right kind of conviction, it ought not to keep. It ought to spoil as soon as possible. And if you have to keep it a little while, and it spoils, it is better to spoil here than after you are in the field. GCB January 1, 1897, page 19.3

If your conviction is from the Lord, it is a good one and will keep. David had a conviction for twenty years that he was to be king of Israel. But he was not anxious at all for the time to come when he would be king of Israel. He did n’t hurry up the thing. When all things were in his hands, he would not move a finger to put himself upon the throne. He had a conviction that was good enough to keep for twenty years; and when the Lord had tried him and could trust him, he brought him to the throne himself. GCB January 1, 1897, page 19.4

So you may have a conviction concerning a certain field. It may be from God. Now, do not attempt to carry out your own idea whether the Mission Board believes in it or not, or whether the Conference believes in it or not. Just wait for God, and let him tell other people that this is so. When we wait thus for God, and then go, the Lord goes with us, and we know it; and he is with us while we are there, and we know it. That is our post, and we will stand at that post until God calls us away. And if he has used us there as long as he can, effectually, alive; and he can use your influence better if you are dead; then the thing for you to do is to lie down to die just a happy Christian; knowing that God will carry on your work after you are dead. The conviction that God put upon hearts by you while you were alive and talked to them, will be deepened and strengthened and quickened by your good example, after you are dead; and by it they will be brought to Jesus Christ. GCB January 1, 1897, page 19.5

Are you willing, then, that God should preach the gospel by your death as well as by your life? Are you willing that he should preach the gospel by you, dead, physically dead, and in the grave, as certainly as you are willing that he should preach the gospel with you alive and walking on the ground? If you are not, you are not ready to go on a mission. GCB January 1, 1897, page 19.6

Now I am going to read that from the Scriptures. Turn to the first chapter of Philippians. There is the example of that missionary whom God called, as a pattern to you, as an example to all who should afterward believe on Jesus Christ, to everlasting life. You remember the hardships of Paul. You remember his vicissitudes, his trials, his persecutions, his scourgings, his perils everywhere; and you know that he never faltered in any place where he was. GCB January 1, 1897, page 19.7

But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; so that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places. Verse 12. GCB January 1, 1897, page 19.8

When this was written, he did not know what day the decree of the emperor would be carried out, and he would be executed. He was expecting that. Now think of all these things he passed through. The scourgings, the trials, the persecutions, the perils, the robberies, stoned once and dragged out of the city and left for dead. Now he says, I would that ye should understand that these things have happened unto me for the furtherance of the gospel. What was God doing through every one of these trials, sufferings, and perils?—He was using the man, to preach the gospel by him, so that when those people stoned him and dragged him out of the city and left him for dead, God’s Holy Spirit was fixing upon their hearts the seal of his truth, that that man was of God, that the message he brought to them was of God; and if they rebelled against it, their perdition was sealed; and if they surrendered to it, they were saved. GCB January 1, 1897, page 19.9

That is what God is to do by us. All that we are in the world for, is that God may preach the gospel by us. Not so much we doing it, as God doing it by us, whether by word or by influence; and God can do just as well by influence as by word. God will put gospel into our influence as well as in our words. We are always preaching by our influence just as well as by our words. GCB January 1, 1897, page 19.10

And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife: and some also of good will: the one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds; but the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, 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. GCB January 1, 1897, page 19.11

Is it not written, then, that God will use a dead man to magnify the gospel and the glory of Jesus Christ? Are you willing that he shall do it by you, when he can do it better with you dead than if you are alive? Dead indeed, but alive unto him. Then do you not see that in that good sense the Christian never dies. “For all live unto him.” “Whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” Are you? If you are the Lord’s while you live, you are the Lord’s when you are dead. And as certainly as God uses you while you are alive, to preach the gospel, he will use you when you are dead, to preach the gospel. And your work will not stop when you are dead. As certainly as yours is the work of Christ while you are alive, it will go on when you are dead. Your influence will tell, and God will do things by you after you are dead, that he cannot do so well while you are alive. GCB January 1, 1897, page 20.1

Suppose Paul should die. He expected it. Look at the seventeenth verse of the next chapter. But, by the way, in view of this, what was he doing all the time? “I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” GCB January 1, 1897, page 20.2

“And if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith. I joy, and rejoice with you all.” What did he refer to when he said, “If I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith”? He was expecting daily that he would be offered up as a sacrifice of the faith of Jesus Christ. What was he doing about it?—“I joy, and rejoice with you all.” What were they to do?—“For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.” GCB January 1, 1897, page 20.3

Did he expect the Philippians to rejoice with him when his head was cut off?—Yes; he says so. Brethren, when we get hold of the fact that the Christian’s work does not stop when he is dead, we will not have so much of this resolving and sending sympathetic resolutions to people because somebody has died. Thank the Lord, that, though he is dead, his work is going on. Be glad of it—not glad that he is dead, but glad that his work is going on; that God is using him better that way than if he were alive. GCB January 1, 1897, page 20.4

Therefore let God come in and have all the place, so that we shall be loving God with all the heart, and all the soul, and all the mind, and all the strength. That is what it is to be a missionary. GCB January 1, 1897, page 20.5

And the first thing of all, in order to be that kind of missionary, is, “get thee out of thy country.” GCB January 1, 1897, page 20.6