Lt 20, 1899

1899

Lt 20, 1899

Wessels, Philip

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

February 3, 1899

Portions of this letter are published in LDE 236-237; 2MR 12; 4MR 362. +Note

Dear Brother Philip Wessels:

Your brother John’s letter contains the good news that you have decided to come back to the path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. I am so glad; but the Lord Jesus is more pleased than it is possible for any one of us to be. I have never let go your case, and angels of God have guarded you, that you should not perish in your sin and transgression. Lt20-1899.1

“How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” [Matthew 18:12-14.] “In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty: he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” [Zephaniah 3:16, 17.] This is the interest that the heavenly universe manifests for the souls that have broken away from Satan’s power, and have come back to stand under the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9.] Lt20-1899.2

Let your consecration be full and entire. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls; for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] Gracious promise! The Holy Spirit alone is able to work with us, in us, and through us, giving us a character which God can approve. The Lord loves His people. With the growth of the Christian life there will come the want of a deeper and more perfect experience. Lt20-1899.3

Nothing can meet the necessities of sinful, erring man but the perfect sacrifice of Christ. Let us thank God for this with all our heart. “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith that he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” [1 John 2:1-6.] Lt20-1899.4

On one side the infinitely wise and all-powerful God proposes co-operation with His frail, erring creatures, whom He has placed on vantage ground. On one side is infinite wisdom, goodness, compassion, and power. On the other, weakness, sinfulness, absolute helplessness, poverty and dependence. We are dependent on God not only for life and all its blessings but for the entrusted faculties called talents, and all the resources which are required if we accept the invitation to become laborers together with God. If men and women will submit to the conditions which He makes, if they will take His yoke upon them and learn of Him, they will find rest unto their souls, for His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. Here the Lord lays down the condition they are to follow who labor with Him. Those who comply with these conditions will prove by happy experience the truth of the words, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:30.] They are then linked with a power and authority that is infinite. Lt20-1899.5

My brother, let me tell you that the very thing we all individually need is the love of Christ in the soul. The great and wonderful relationship of God with man should fill us with awe and reverence for God. It should lead us to walk in meekness and lowliness of mind. We need to understand that there is no equality in authority between the parties who are to co-operate. The condescension of the highest powers of heaven to unite as co-workers in the great field opening before us in our world in evangelical enterprises, does not abate one jot or one tittle from His prerogatives as Jehovah. Through the infinite sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son, His gift to the world to pay the ransom for man, we are placed on vantage ground. Through His imputed merits alone can man become as Paul expressed it a laborer together with God. “Ye are God’s husbandry,” he said, “Ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Under the Spirit’s working we are to bear fruit to God’s glory, as the ground when cultivated yields its fruits. “Ye are God’s building.” Lt20-1899.6

The material for the building is plainly specified in the first chapter of Second Peter. Man is to work constantly on the plan of addition, and God works on the plan of multiplication. Thus man grows in spirituality, in experience, until he presents to the world, to angels, and to men, such a perfection of character that in the heavenly courts the words are spoken, “Ye are complete in him.” [Colossians 2:10.] God has originated and proclaimed the principles on which both divine and human agencies are to combine in all spiritual achievements as well as temporal matters. They are to be linked together in all human pursuits, in mechanical and agricultural labors, in mercantile and scientific enterprises. Lt20-1899.7

God’s glory is to be the motive in everything done on our world by those who have pledged themselves to be laborers together with God. There must be cooperation in everything which is embraced in Christian activity, in the building of meetinghouses for God. This is God’s work, and there are men of His appointment to whom He gives skill and understanding. If they will ask Him, and work in harmony with Him, He will show them how to do His work. In building, as they handle the tools, in every phase of the work let them apply the figure, “Ye are God’s husbandry; ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] If men will submit to God’s control, they will become a holy temple unto the Lord. Lt20-1899.8

In the training of children all the divine principles must be applied. In the conversion of parents and children, this co-operation between divinity and humanity is to be fully carried out. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” [John 1:12.] Men, women, and children must submit their ways and their will to Christ. The success of every soul in the Christian life will be proportionate to the purity and cleanliness of the soul, the earnest fervor and zeal shown. Christ proclaims the principles upon which the service of God is to be conducted. It is not a sign of pure, consecrated service for every worker to hold his own ways. Every worker is to obey his leader cordially, to receive and diligently obey every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Lt20-1899.9

“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the spirit, if any bowels of mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” [Philippians 2:1-7.] Lt20-1899.10

“For I was alive without the law once,” Paul said, “But when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the [law] is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” [Romans 7:9-13.] “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” [1 Corinthians 5:7.] He is a perfect and complete offering for all who believe. But we must have perfect faith in the complete sacrifice made, for without faith it is impossible to please God. Lt20-1899.11

By faith the whole duty of man is made manifest, for his faith works by love and purifies the soul. The divine requirement is fully met and the solid foundation laid. Man can begin to lay upon that foundation his life work for time and for eternity. The whole question is settled. As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believed on His name. Peace and rest are found through faith in Christ Jesus, and in Him alone. The moment the sinner exercises true faith in Christ as a personal Saviour, then he surrenders self to Jesus Christ, who was delivered for our offenses. He is the Sin-bearer. He takes away the sins of all who receive Him. These sins are not to be retained. He takes away the sins of the world by the complete sacrificial offering of Himself. “For what saith the Scriptures? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.” [Romans 4:3.] Lt20-1899.12

Christ the innocent One takes the sin of the transgressor upon His divine soul and imputes to him, the deserving sinner, not his guilt, but Christ’s own righteousness. The sinner stands before God clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ and a voice is heard in heaven saying, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. ... I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgression unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee, in a time when thou mayest be found; surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” [Psalm 32:1, 2, 5-8.] Lt20-1899.13

There is to be in the believer a ceasing from sin and transgression; there is to be a decided reformation favorable to the restoring of the moral image of God in man. If man says, “I will and I do repent of my sins; I believe God has pardoned my transgressions;” if he lays hold by faith on Jesus Christ, and seeks for transformation in character, he co-operates with God in the great work of overcoming the defects in his character. But if he clings to his old perversities and carries with him his own natural traits of character, he shows that he has not the mind of Christ or the character of Christ. Lt20-1899.14

Let no man deceive himself. The lesson given to Nicodemus is for every soul. Whoever he may be, his character needs reforming, and Christ says to him, “ye must be born again.” [John 3:7.] The overcomer alone will have the overcomer’s reward. He that endureth unto the end, perseveringly overcoming, shall be saved. “Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.” [Psalm 34:11-15.] Lt20-1899.15

Every church has need of the Holy Spirit’s searching power. This alone can enable them to seek peace, to pursue that course which will bring peace to their own souls, to be faithful witnesses to Christ, testifying by their circumspect course of action that they have the mind of Christ. Those who do evil with their gossiping tongues, who sow discord by selfish ideas and thoughts by any jealousies, evil surmisings, or covetousness, they grieve the Holy Spirit of God, for they are working at cross-purposes with God, instead of answering the purposes of Christ, instead of answering to the prayer of Christ that His disciples may be one as He is one with the Father. They are working entirely in the lines the enemy has marked out. Lt20-1899.16

“The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” [Verses 16-18.] Lt20-1899.17

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us in groanings that cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the heart knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” [Romans 8:26-31.] Wonderful statements! Lt20-1899.18

“We are laborers together with God; ye are God’s husbandry. ” The Lord is working, doing soul gardening, striving to bring all the capabilities of man into active working order that fruit shall appear to the glory of God. He presents another representation before us: “Ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] You are working in harmony with God co-operating with Him by placing yourself in right relation with Him that you may know the mind of God, and do as Christ declared He did. The Jews were finding fault with Christ, because He healed the man on the Sabbath day, and were determined to put an end to His life, but Jesus said to them, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” [John 5:17.] This made the Jews all the more angry. “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he had not only broken the Sabbath, but said God was his Father making himself equal with God. Lt20-1899.19

“Then said Jesus unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, the Son doeth nothing of himself but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son and showeth him all things that he himself doeth: and he will show him greater works than these that ye may marvel.” [Verses 19, 20.] Wonderful words! Those then who believe the works that Christ did, do the works of the Father. There is to be co-operation with Christ, and the souls He came to save. What shall we say then to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him for us all, how can He [not] freely with Him give us all things? All the power is of God. “Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” [1 Corinthians 3:9.] Lt20-1899.20

My brother, we are living in the last days. God will be our Strength, our Support, our ever present Helper, if we will only trust in Him. We are to make the best of our present opportunities. There will be no other probation given to us in which to prepare for heaven. This is our only and last opportunity to form characters which will fit us for the future home which the Lord has prepared for all who are obedient to His commandments. We can be saved only by forming characters like the character of Christ. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit will be shown by the outflowing of heavenly love. The Lord Jesus is our Sin-bearer. God covers the repenting sinner with His forgiveness, and hides the sin from the sight of God by clothing him with the perfection of righteousness. The more perfectly we are transformed to the image of God, the greater will be our hatred for sin; and we will work to save the sinner. Lt20-1899.21

We are so thankful that you have come back to the truth and the love of God, to be a true, wholehearted follower of Jesus Christ. Wholeness and usefulness go hand in hand. There is a work for you to do, my brother. If you seek the blessing of God every day, you will be blessed every day. The Lord gives the Holy Spirit, and supplies all providential opportunities and facilities. We have much to encourage us to be pure and true, steadfast and loyal, to our God. May the Lord bless you abundantly is my prayer. I would so like to see you and converse with you, but you can talk with God where you are and I talk with God where I am. Lt20-1899.22

In much love to yourself and family. Lt20-1899