God's Purpose to Save the World
[ Selected ]

[Sermon preached at a Camp-meeting in 1913 ]

I feel like preaching this morning, first because God has called me to preach, and second because God has given me a message.

For quite a long while my way has been hedged up so that I could see no way open to preache the gospel. Satan hindered Paul, and he's hindered me. I felt such a desire to work for Jesus, and was so burdened over my circumstances that I scarcely knew what to do. I finally made this decision: though I'm a woman, and my circumstances are peculiar, by the grace of God I will preach the gospel. As soon as I made the decision, God began working in a marvelous way, and soon my hands were untied. Praise God! I'm not anxious to get in the pulpit; yet I'm willing to do that, but I especially love to work privately with the oppressed and downcast.

If any of you here have bands and straps holding you from the work your soul longs to do, be encouraged; we'll pray God to loose you from straps, bands, burdens and debts. All the church are agreed for you that God will open the way and give you a door of utterance so that you may accomplish his purpose in this world.

My soul's so happy that I feel like flying away to the glory world, but I'm glad to stay with the church on earth, not only to enjoy the good things, but to share in the battles and conflicts as well. The church has many conflicts, but so sure as she has a bettle, so sure she has a glorious victory, for Jesus is her leader and he knows no defeat.

For our lesson this morning we shall read part of the 60th chapter of Isaiah. "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." (Verse 1)

Thank God, the glory is seen upon his people today, not only upon individuals when they pass victoriously through the deep sorrows and trials of life, but upon every assembly in the world where Jesus is worshipped in the beauty of holiness, this glory can be seen. Over twenty years ago I saw this glory manifested in the assembly of the saints; it made me hungry for salvation; and ere long I was saved.

Christ's Glory and Work Bequeathed to Us...

When Jesus left this earth, he bequeathed us his glory, and the devil has never been able to stamp it out of existence. This glory doesn't consist in wild demonstrations and unseemly actions, although it may cause some to shout aloud the praises of God, and to leap for joy, while others weep or laugh. Sinners can often see it upon us as we meet and worship Jesus. God intends that sinners should see this glory upon the assembly of his people. There are some who haven't seen this glory; their eyes are blinded and the gross darkness of this world has deceived them. May God in pity open their spiritually blind eyes. The Lord doesn't give us the glory to have for our own personal enjoyment alone, but that we may fill his divine purpose.

Have you learned what God's purpose is? When Jesus was in the world he saved as many as would believe on him. Now he's departed and his work has become our work; his purpose is our purpose---to save the world.

The devil also has a purpose---to destroy the world. The first prayer and purpose of a new-born soul is for the salvation of a neighbor, a friend, a brother. The devil's purpose is to destroy the zeal of God's people, and to make them feel at ease while souls are sinking all around them.

God could've sent angels into the world to preach the gospel, but he chooses rather to save the world through a God-sent, Spirit-filled, human ministry. The work of this ministry is to preach the truth that gathers God's people from confusion and strife, and brings hard-hearted sinners from every walk of life into the one fold where they dwell in unity. We have a living illustration of this in the auditorium today. Here are hundreds of men and women from the United States and from foreign countries. They're here in the unity of the Holy Spirit, they stand for the truth in its purity, their hearts are aflame with the love of God, and with his divine purpose to save the world.

If we follow Christ's footsteps our hearts will be touched with comp

assion for those who are lost in darkness and sin. When Jesus' compassion was stirred for the multitude, he fed them. We must do likewise. If we constantly seek for the blessings to come our way, and don't diligently share up with our fellow men, we'll grow lean in our souls and will finally lose the grace of God. We don't have to look far to find sin-darkened souls, for they're all around us. "For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee." (Verse 2)

The darkness spoken of here is, of course, spiritual darkness, and is prevalent all over the world; the light of the church but shines brighter because of this darkness. Let's read who's going to accept and walk in this light.

God's Purpose to Save Multitudes...

"And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because of the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee; the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee." (Verses 3-5)

Here are great promises to the church. We shouldn't minimise God's purpose by thinking that he intends to save only a very few, for we have a promise here of "kings," "sons and daughters," "abundance of the sea" and "forces of the Gentiles," coming and being converted. Praise God! Does it stagger our faith to talk of kings and presidents being converted? Lord, increase our faith.

How encouraging the promise of our "sons" and "daughters." I'm much encouraged to expect the salvation of our children. Sometimes I meet with a dear friend's or fellow minister's son or daughter for whom I've prayed a long time, and am pleasantly surprised to find them saved and preaching the gospel. My heart's agreed in prayer for the gathering in of our precious children. Though they've wandered "far," God says they "shall come." Let's claim the promise.

The conservation of the natural resources of our country attracted wide attention when Mr. Roosevelt was presedent. Conservation is a good thing in the church. Some of our boys and girls are capable of filling places of honor in the world and the world recognizes this, and offers them many inducements. Let's do our best to conserve them, with all their energy and strength, for God.

When we find a brother or a sister who's cast down and discouraged, let's not conclude that because they've stumbled so much it's of no use to try to help them, and abandon them to their hopeless state. Souls who've floundered much, when once established are useful in helping others. Let's patiently labor to conserve these dear souls for God.

We, as the church, have forces to conserve that we're not aware of, and only prayer can help us to find them. To illustrate, I will relate the experience of Brother and Sister J. W. Byers. The Lord gave them this promise: "Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thin inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Psa. 2:8. They at once began praying God to open the spiritual eyes of missionaries who'd gone to foreign fields but weren't properly enlightened as to the true way; also to help them to come in contact with any such sincere missionaries. In a marvelous way God answered their prayer and opened the way for them to correspond with Brother and Sister Jarvis, who at that time were caring for many famine sufferers, and when the Holy Spirit was establishing in the light just as we enjoy it today. Praise God! We can but marvel at the way God works to unify his people and to thus fulfil his purpose, even the salvation of the world.

God's Purpose of Church Unity...

Let's not overlook this portion of the Scripture: "Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged." This sweet unity is found in the church today. My spiritual weight is light, but with all the weight I have, I stand solidly for peace and unity. We can be in unity...embracing the same doctrines, and yet not be in unity of the Spirit. Powerful as God is, he can't save the world through a divided church. We must stand in unity; we do stand in unity. Is that too strong? No! There may be some dear souls who aren't in unity of doctrine, but if they keep submitted to God, and stand in the unity of the Spirit, unity in doctrine will be the inevitable. The church's not only one in doctrine, but she's a unit to practise unity, to demonstrate unity to the world. It cost the life of Jesus to destroy division and to introduce heart unity into the world. It may cost you and me something to keep this sacred unity. It may cost us some bitter tears, some agonising before God to get self, personal opinions, and ideas submitted, for we're exhorted to 'endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.'

We may have some opinions about different matters, but if we keep them submitted, and don't contend over them, we can keep the unity of the Spirit. There may be some things that we don't understand, but if we continue in the unity of the Spirit, our understanding will be enlightened. What we correctly understand, we understand alike; for God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. Oh, what satisfaction, what glory, when we "see and flow together" in the church, where we're one in Spirit, in doctrine, and in the purpose to save the world.

If we desire to get closer to our brothers and sisters, we should draw closer to our heavenly Father, and we'll soon feel a sense of unity with the brethren. Good thigs come our way when we're in unity. How is it when we're not in unity? When we've a little shed of division or contention over us, the good things strike the shed and slide off, and we go hungry while our brethren in unity feast. Lord, smash the little sheds. For further proof of God's purpose to save the world through the unified church, we cite you to Acts 4:32. Because of the unity of the multitude on this occasion, the apostles received great power to witness for Jesus; great grace was upon them all. The poor had their need supplied, and God added daily to the church, such as were being saved. A glorious result, was it not?

Fault-finding vs. Unity...

God's accomplishing wonderful things today through his unified church. All don't recognize this fact, for some have given place to failure-hunting, and they're too busy to see what's being done around them. If we look for faults, we're sure to find them. It's easy to find them in our most spiritual brethren or sisters, if we look ath them with an eye of cirticism. After a fault 's discovered by this cruel spirit, tis's magnified till it looks like a mountain, rather than like a mole hill. If you listen to this evil spirit, it'll tell you the church's drifing, and will soon be wrecked and go to pieces on the rocks of pride, compromise, etc. It'll whisper to you that the ministry won't stand for the whole truth, only a part of it. Don't allow this lying spirit to have one moment of your time, nor one little bit of space in your head or heart for a thought against the workings of the Holy Spirit. The almighty hand of God's moving, his power is manifested, and his glory is revealed in this meeing. How? In good feeling? Not alone in good feelings, but in the healing of sick bodies, the opening of blind eyes, the unstopping of deaf ears, and in the saving of precious souls.

There's a sort of wholsale picking spirit that causes many a soul to make sad shipwreck. Let's beware of it. A few years ago the devil tried to destroy the ability of the church to fulfil God's purpose. He succeeded in getting some among us to forget the perilous condition of this sin-cursed world, and imposed an influence that caused them to stop their rapid fire upon the ranks of sin and to turn and thrust at one aonther. This was quickly discerned and disposed of, but it took time to recover from this attack of the enemy. This same old spirit is around now, but, brethren, it's on the outside, and let's make it stay there, by living in the spirit of unity and keeping our hearts full of the dying passion of Jesus to save the world. If anyone here has this picking spirit, I know you don't feel good. It makes you bite and devour until it finally turns and devours you. The Lord make a clean sweep of these picking spirits.

Let's look further at the good things promised us. "Thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night." (Verse 11) No power on earth or hell can close these gates, and no man need try to open them for Jesus has done that, and it's eternally decreed that they shall stay open. Souls may enter at any hour of the day or night.

"They shall bring gold and incense; and they shall show forth the praises of the Lord." (Verse 6) "And the sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee." (Verse 10) We need gold and silver to send the gospel to the poor. Here's our promise; let's lay hold of it.

God's Purpose to Save Our Enemies...

"The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet." (Verse 14) We lift up our eyes and behold even those who opposed and oppressed us are bowing at out feet acknowledging that we're saved and calling us "The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel." God not only fulfils this to the church, but to individuals. How good it is that those who were once our enemies may come into the kingdom of grace and sup with us at the table of the Lord. God help us to have faith for the salvation of souls.

A number of years ago I was in Brother Warner's company of workers, assisting in a meeting at Butler, Pa. The meeting was very good. A number of business men of the city were convinced of the truth. After our meeting closed, a man, very prominent in a popular church, announced that he would show by the Scriptures that our doctrine was of the devil. God's faithful ones agreed in prayer that the Spirit of God should confound him. At the appointed time, a large congregation gathered to hear him. He arose, stammered a moment, then said, "I am either sick, or I have the grippe, or the devil is in me," and sat down. God fulfilled his promise. Praise the Lord!

God's purpose is the same now as it was on the day of Pentecost. Can we believe it? There are many here who need to have real faith exercised for them. Our souls will grow, and when we go home we'll be a little taller and weigh a little more spiritually, for having exercised our spiritual energies. We can help to fulfil God's purpose by prevailing in prayer for souls in this meeting. I believe our faith is increasing a little more, not only that we may get good things for ourselves, but that souls who are in confusion may get the clear light of God.

God's Purpose Hindered by Self-interest...

Is your heart so full of your own burdens and cares that you have no time to bear a burden for Jesus? We can get our personal trials, burdens, and cares thrust away and out of sight, and be able to see and feel the crying need of this sin-cursed world, if we decide to have it so. If we're weighted down with our own burdens, we'll not have time to make friends of the people. Don't be afraid of winning the people to you. You must first win their friendship, or you need not hope for them to make friends with your Jesus. Don't despise the little opportunities you have. If you can't preach in a foreign land, you can preach to your neighbors and friends. Some would like to go and preach if they could fill a very responsible position, but are unwilling to fill an obscure out-ot-the-way place. We should be willing to fill the place God puts us in, and do with patience the most menial task assigned us. That's the position Jesus took, and he's our example. Should we, then, seek to exalt ourselves?

"Thy Sun Shall No More Go Down"...

God's holy people are the same as they always were, have the same gospel to preach, the same faith to contend for , and the same salvation to enjoy. A few years ago I heard a lady say, "The holy people have surely changed. They're not like they used to be." Another lady said, "No, they haven't; the change is in you." These ladies were both believers in a popular religion.

If you have grave fears that the church's going down into darkness, let me read you a verse to encourage you. "Violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within they borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise. The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of they mourning shall be ended." (Verses 18-20)

"Thy sun shall no more go down." What's the sun of the church? Jesus Christ, the King of Glory. Shall he go down? No, a blood-washed ministry will defend his doctrine and hold him up as the Savior of the world; even facing the bayonet, hundreds in the church today would defend the gospel with their life's blood. God's people love the truth today as well as Peter and Paul did. If a spirit of division tries to creep in among them, the spirit of judgment will areis and expose it.

There are many in this aucience who know what it means to be under the vigorous rule of sectarian institutions. You've been enlightened and have forsaken the creeds of men, wherein there's "wasting, destruction and violence," and now enjoy the peaceable rule of the church. "I will make thine officers peace." We need not fear our brothers and sisters, for they love us so well that they're true and faithful to admonish and help us fortify the weak places in our Christian character.

Let's not lose sight of God's purpose---the salvation of the world. The enemy has gained a point upon us when he gets us to stop pouring out the truth against sin, and quibble over some trivial thing that amounts to nothing. When we quibble and argue about things ourside the Bible, we talk ourselves empty; we have no message or burden for souls, and wonder what has gone wrong, when the wrong is in us and we don't know it. God help us to stand on the Word only. Where the Word is silent, let's be silent; where the Word speaks, let's speak with authority. If we'll do this, it'll save us and those that hear us...from trouble. If there's an issue on hand, you and I can accomplish more on our knees than by talk. Let's tarry before God and pray much. Prayer and faith will move mountains. Let's be diligent to fulfil God's glorious purpose in every detail. [ The End ]




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