Setting the Right Example
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In Phil. 3:17, I read, "Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample." In 1 Thess. 1:6, 7. "And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia." In 1 Cor. 11:1, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." And in Phil. 4:9, "Those things which ye have both learned , and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."

These four texts introduce the subject that I feel the Lord will be pleased to have me present to you. I realize the solemnity of the occasion and my responsibility before God. Never in my entire ministry have I felt more utterly helpless, more dependent upon God. I desire that God will get glory by the presentation of his truth, and that when this service is ended, we shall all be enlightened, helped, and benefited.

Place and Mission of the Church...

We're saved, not merely to escape hell and gain heaven, but to fill the place and perform the work that God has assigned us. Many people have no higher ideas, and it seems that their comprehension of a Christian life and experience reaches no farther, than simply that God has saved them that they may escape the punishment and the damnation of hell, and to be so unspeakably happy as at last to gain and enjoy the bliss of heaven through an endless eternity. It's true that, when we're saved from sin, we're saved from hell; we're saved from that punishment that really was due us and that we justly merited because of our rebellion against the law of God. I'm glad to say that every one who's a possessor of salvation is not only saved from his past life of sin, not only saved from what might have happened in the future of his life here should he have continued in sin, but, thank God, saved from the punishment of an uinending hell. Salvation comprehends that, and, moreover, it grants us heaven and all its glory. But there's more in it than this. We have a mission to fulfil. I pray God to lay the responsibility of that mission upon our hearts and to help us to fulfil it, realizing that we're traveling to the judgment and are soon to meet a just God, who'll require of us that which is committed into our charge. What, then, is our mission?

Exhibiting the Character of Christ...

When saved, we're to exhibit his holiness, purity, and righteousness before the eyes of all with whom we come in contact. That's what we're here for. Jesus Christ isn't here in person, but his church represents him in the world, and is intended to be a medium through which he can disseminate light and truth and salvation to the darkened hearts of men and women. When people behold our lives, they should see Jesus. That's what Paul meant when he said, "For me to live is Christ; and to die is gain." There needs to be less of self and more of the Christ-life. More "Christ within" and more Christ "put on." "Christ in you the hope of glory." We need to be filled with the spirit, love, and power of Jesus Christ every day we live. Thus we shall scatter smiles and sunshine all along life's pathway.

Attracting Men to Christ...

O brothers and sisters, are we living so that we may attract men to Christ? Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven." What a responsible position! and yet, that's our place in the world. As people see the life of Christ demonstrated in us, they'll be won to him. They'll see the Christ life in us, and it'll make them hungry to attain to the higher and better life. There's as much difference between the life of the holy and pure and those who live in sin as there is between heaven and hell.

A Gazing-stock...

Some people, when they get saved, remark, "I wish people wouldn't watch me so closely." Well, that's what we're saved for. When we get saved and step out before the world, we're like the man who goes to the fair with his products and puts them on exhibition. He doesn't take the poorest products, but puts on exhibition the very best. And if his potatoes take the premium, people say to each other, "Let's get some of those," and ask such questions as, "What variety is this?" "How many did you raise to the acre?" They want some for seed. The manufacturer who takes his sewing-machine or his reaper or whatever the product of his factory may be, puts on exhibition the very best he has. The machine that does the best work and takes first premium will attract people's attention. Wives will say to their husbands, "Did you notice such and such a machine? It took the premium. Say, when we get a machine, let's get that kind." We're like the sewing-machine or reaper on exhibition. God has put us before the world on exhibition. People come and look. They have a right to examine our lives and to scrutinize them very closely, very minutely. The Bible says that we're a gazing-stock. As people look at us, they see Jesus. They see something better than this old world of sin offers, and so they say, "If ever I get religion, I want his kind." Oh say, there's a reality in this. I pray God to help us as individuals and as the collective body of the church in the world to feel more keenly this responsible position in which God has placed us. Let's do our very best, by the help and grace of God, to exhibit publicly that pure life of Christ, so that men may be attracted to him. "Ye are the epistle of Christ, known and read of all men."

People, generally speaking, don't read their Bibles. Go to the homes of the people, and you'll find a thousand newspapers to one Bible. While riding on the cars, how many people have you seen reading their Bibles? People read the papers, but not the Bible. Don't misunderstand me, I don't discourage reading newspapers. But if people read the Bible half as much as they do the papers, they'd be better acquainted with it. To worldly people, the Bible's a dry book. They're not interested in it. But there's one thing they do read, and that's our life. That's one thing everybody reads. Says one, "I thought I lived to myself." No man lives to himself. The eyes of the world are turned upon us. We're a gazing-stock, "a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men." We're to step out before the world, so that when they read our life, they read the Bible---the Word of God. If they'll not read the written Word, they'll read it in us. They can read the living epistle, the life of Jesus Christ and the truth of the Bible before their very eyes. And the people expect to do that.

In the sectarian realm of dead, formal worship, men can do many things that are wrong, and people think nothing about it. Sectarians can get angry, fight, lie, swear, and quarrel at home with their wives, and so forth, and little attention is given to it. They can chew, smoke, and live like the world, and nothing is thought about it. But let one of God's saints deviate one iota from the plain path of divine truth, and it creates a general stir. People will say, "Did you hear what John Jones did?" Why do they expect so much more of us? Becasue we profess a higher life. Oh that God will make us feel the responsibility of living a Christian life! Demonstrate before the world the life and character of Jesus, so that as they see our life, they'll read the Bible just as it is. I wonder how many of us have been converted and led to Christ as the result of the godly life of others?

Adorning the Doctrine of Christ...

I heard the present truth a good many years before I fully accepted and embraced it. There were a few folks in our community that did embrace it. Their lives were such that they convinced me there was something in it. When the preacher came around to preach it, what made it beautiful to me was to see men that lived it out before my eyes---the very truth preached. They confirmed the truth; they beautified the gospel to me. As a result of their lives, my heart was won to Christ. I remember that when I was a young man, I said, "If ever I get religion, I want their kind." I carried that conviction in my heart until I got ready to surrender myself to God.

Paul, says, "Adorn the doctrine of God our Savior." We sometimes sing, "Are you adorning the doctrine?" Do you know what that means? Do you know what's comprehended in that Bible truth? How do we do that? By our experience and life. To the general class of men in the world, there's very little in the Bible, of interest. You can hardly attract their attention to it, for their minds are filled with so many other things. Do you know what will make the truth of that book beautiful and attractive? Our having the experience it teaches, and living the truth of it right out before them.

In a series of meetings held in Nebraska (by Brother Speck, I believe) two men came to the altar, one kneeling at one end of the bench and the other at the farther end. Both confessed that they had a very humiliating duty to perform. Finally each promised to do all that God required, and they were both gloriously canverted. The next morning one hunted up a stolen ax and started for his neighbor's house. When he was about half way, be met his neighbor with a log-chain. They exchanged greetings, both praising God that they'd found Christ. Then the one began, in shame, to confess that he'd stolen his neighbor's ax, and the other confessed that he'd stolen his neighbor's long-chain. They asked each other's forgiveness, exchanged goods in the middle of the road, and each took his own tool home. Don't you think that when those brethren afterwards met in meeting, they had confidence in each other? That's adorning the doctrine of restitution.

About twenty years ago, while I was conducting a series of meetings in Indiana Co., Pa., an old gray-haired man came to the altar. It seemed he couldn't find God. As we talked to him, he finally said, "Wife and I raised a big family of children, and in our old days we got to quarreling and fighting, and as a result, separated. She has one farm and I have another." They'd lived apart for about time years. I said, "I'll tell you...you need to go and get reconciled with your wife." "No , sir," he replied, "She was to blame. Mean woman, I couldn't live with her." I said, "The idea of you and that woman living together and raising up a family of children, and now in your old days separating. You go and be reconciled to that wife of yours." Finally he said he would. The next night the house was filled with people, and the altar was filled with seekers. As we pressed the invitation, I saw an old man coming down the aisle and an old lady following after him. They knelt down side by side at the altar. It was this man and his wife. Soon they were both weeping, each crying out, "I'm to blame!" "I'm to blame!" "O God, forgive!" As they confessed their sins, God gloriously saved them. It was a happy reconciliation, and they lived together a number of years after that. Many happy seasons did my wife and I spend in their home. Their home was truly a happy one. They both died in the faith. That's what beautifies the doctrine.

There's some claiming salvation, who, when you cross them, are like a cat when you brush its hair the wrong way; they're ready for a fight. O there's nothing like that in us when we get real salvation and grow up 'n mature spiritually. There's peace. That old nature, the flesh, is overcome by divine strength. There's no room for jealousy, envy, evil surmising, hatred, pride, and retaliation. The love of God is shed abroud in our heart. We'll love our worst enemies with a sweet tender affection. We'll be able to manifest it in our looks and in our tone of voice. There's some who can look daggers at you. True mature Christians will look as sweet...and their tone of voice can be as calm under pressure as at any other time. That's adorning the doctrine.

Right Example As To Unity...

When we preach and profess unity, let's show it in our lives. Let's stand for the unity of the Bible. Let's stand against division of every kind and live in the bonds of peace, so that, with the primitive church, we'll all be of one heart and soul, and present to the world a blood-washed army of soldiers of the cross. Adorn the doctrine of unity. The apostles "were all of one accord in one place," and "the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul." That blessed demonstration of unity in the primitive church convinced the world and also resulted in the manifestation of the power of God. God help us to demonstrate it before the world. Stand for the unity that belongs to the church universally. That doesn't mean that the saints of one or two states should get together, nor that two or three or a dozen preachers should have a little unity of their own. It means that we're to be in unity with the body entire. You'll find me with the body entire. I'm a member of that, as well as of the assembly where I live. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if you have love one for another."

The Importance of Right Living...

"Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do." "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." The duty of every man and woman in the church is to live right. I want to impress upon you the importance of right living: first, in the home; secondly, in the church; and thirdly, before the world at large. I want you to listen attentively. Don't receive this merely as the word of man, but as the word of God. I'm only God's messenger and a very unworthy messenger at that.

In The Home...

The Apostle Paul said, "Show piety at home." The first place to demonstrate that we're a Christian is in our home. People who don't live right at home are not fit to profess abroad. Many people come to camp-meeting and when the rich blessings fall, wonder why they don't get thier share? Their troubles at home hinder.

Husbands should be examples to their wives, and wives shoud be examples to their husbands. We, of course, have human weaknesses and difficulties to overcome; but when it comes to the main principles in life, we can live right. We can command the confidence and the respect of our wife or our husband. Sometimes a husband will say to the preachers that have come into his neighborhood, "I wish you brethren would go to my home and talk to my wife. I should be so much rejoiced if she'd get saved. Will you go home with me?" The ministers comply with his request. The next morning one of them says to the wife, "Would you not like to be a Christian? Have you been attending our meetings?" She answers, "I've attended some of them." "How does the truth impress you?" "All right." "Then, why don't you come alng with your husband an serve the Lord together?" "My husband! she exclaims, "You get him right, and I'll feel more like it." "What's the matter with him?" "If you were around some morning at six o'clock, you'd know how mean he is." There are some wives of the same kind. They ask the preacher to go home and talk to their husbands. Ah! in many a case the husband has no confidence in his wife's profession. She's a contentious woman. It's not that way when we get saved. God wants men and women to live right at home---the husband to live so before his wife that he'll command he conficence, and the wife to live likewise before her husband.

Are you forbearing? The Bible says to forbear one another in love. Perhaps you and your wife aren't exactly of like disposition. Have you learned to forbear? Let me give a bit of advice to young married people; it'll do the older ones good, too. Study each other's natural dispositions and make-up, then, forbear one another in love. If you're both positive in your make-up, what do you do? Do you get tried over each other and contend for your own way? You'll have trouble between you if you get too positive. I'm positive and have a positive wife. Two positives must learn some things. We've learned to forbear and to submit to each other. That's the way for you to do it. If you don't, there'll be trouble. "Forbear one another in love."

That's a good thing to do in the church. We're not all of the same temperament. There are brethren whose temperaments are such that they simply flow together. Do you remember Peter, Janes, and John? There was something about these three that caused Jesus to select them to go with him to the mountain and other places where the other nine weren't permitted to go. Did the others get jealous and quarrel over this? There's no record of such actions. If there's somebody in the church that's not of the same temperament as you, forbear in love and don't bring division and lack of confidence. There's something here to be learned. Two brethren work together; one is slow and particular, the other fast and not very particular. They'll inevitable have trials over each other. They must forbear in love. Once when I intended to hold a meeting at a certain place, I sent the tabernacle ahead. The brother I sent it to was one of those easy-going fellows. When I arrived, he had nothing ready for the meeting. I said to him, "You must get something ready for the meeting tonight; get the seats, etc." He said, "A-l-l r-i-g-h-t"; but it was hard to get him to stir. What I have to do, I do with all my might. If ever a man was a trial to me, he was. The devil suggested that if he had salvation he'd not be so slow.

Forbearance and Submission...

The Bible tells us to forbear one another in love; to suffer long and be kind. Some people can suffer a long time, but the thing is...to be kind. In the church and in the home, people need to forbear one another; to be long-suffering, kind, and submissive. Suppose you make a mistake. Are you willing to correct it? Some men are too proud and stubborn to ask their wives' forgiveness. They think that would be below the dignity of their position. They say by their action, if not in words, "My wife belongs down at my feet." If she'd belonged at your feet, God would've taken the bone out of the foot. God was wise when he made the woman. He took a rib out of the side, and she belongs right at man's side. Wife, you don't belong at the head, either. The bone wasn't taken from the skull. You belong at his side. That's where every one belongs---side-by-side. Every man should love his wife and give her a place at his side. Correct your mistakes.

Do you memember that time when it didn't go as smoothly as it might, over some little thing that occurred. It was at a time when you became a little careless in prayer. That night, about two or three o'clock, you and your wife were suddenly awakened by the cries of your little child. It was near death. You had to get hold of God or the child would die. Do you remember that when you knelt by the bedside of the child, everything was dark around you; you couldn't pray through it? The Spirit of God began to point you to those harsh words. Then what? If you did the right thing, this's what you did: You said, "Do you remember, dear, that little misunderstanding we had the other day? I spoke too sharply. Will you please forgive me?" By that time she got her arms around you and said, "I wasn't as submissive as I should have been. Lord, help us to be more humble and submissive." Then the mists and clouds disappeared, faith took hold, and the child was healed instantly. Say, that's the way to live; only it's better not to wait until the child has to be strickin. Live close enough to God that you can make your mistakes right, at once. If such things don't occasionally occur in your life, one of two things is true for you: either you're living to a higher standard than most people, or you're living so far away from God that your conscience can't talk to you. Holy men and women will frequently have occasion to submit one to another. Be "tender-hearted; forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." This wasn't written to sinners, but to saints.

Some people are more of a nervous temperament than others. Some have trials on one line, and some on another; but God help us to correct every mistake, to profit by the past, and to do better in the future. I don't lower the standard...in preaching this way. Respect and honor each other. Love one another. Your honeymoon can continue when you grow old and gray. Some people's honeymoon lasts only a few months, but mine's going on yet. Live right in the home, be an example; be submissive; live to please each other. In a little while this journey of life will be over, and you'll have to look into each other's face for the last time. One of you will follow the other to the grave. The casket will be lowerer, and you'll cast your bunches of flowers upon it and strew them on the grave. My Lord, help us! It'd be a good deal better to strew the flowers of kindness in this life.

Parents, set the right example before your children. The greatest revival needed today is the revival at home, around the family fireside. This's where it needs to begin. If you want a revival in your community, start it at home. Begin to bring your dear ones to Christ. My God, help us to feel this responsibility! What an awful thing it'll be to look into the faces of our own dear children and know that they died without Christ! Some of these days you'll see some of your loved ones carried to the grave. It'll be too late, then. We ought to spend time while they're living, and do what we can to bring them to Jesus. Sometimes children think that we're harsh, when we hold them in check; but, I pray God to put it on our hearts to use every effort in our power to restrain them from going into the ways of sin, and to help to love so before them that they'll be won to Jesus. Mothers, let me say something for you encouragement. Sometimes mothers spend a whole lifetime toiling from early morn till late at night to raise a large family. They never get away from their cares and work. But in that busy home, the mother lives a Christian life. Often she feels discouraged, seeing no fruit from her prayers. Her children go out in sin. But the mother lives a Christian life before them. Maybe she passes into eternity without seeing the fruit of her faithful life. Years afterwards a wayward son gets into trouble. The first thing that comes to him is the prayers of a Christian mother, and he gives his heart to God. The daughter likewise. God calls them into the gospel field; and as they labor, many are saved and some are called to the ministry. Thus the influence spreads wider and wider until thousands are won to the truth. This all had its beginning in the quiet home of a sainted mother. That mother who lived and died without seeing the result of her godly life will reap golden sheaves in the great eternity. God help us to live right, at home! Our conduct will reproduce itself in the live of our offspring. Then train up a child in the way he should go.

I wish that I could dwell on this subject, but I must pass on to the consideration of our being---

Examples To The Church...

First, the ministry. The ministers should be examples to the flock. A preacher should by example, lead his congregation to a higher life. He should be humble. A preacher that rules with a rod of iron, won't be loved by his congregation; but he that's humble and gives his life as a sacrifice, going to the homes of the brethren and in tears laboring for their welfare, will endear himself to them, will win their confidence and respect. Like priest, like people. Fellow minister, your congregation will be very much like you. Paul said to Timothy, "Be thou an example to the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." Says one, "I wish my congregation would be more liberal." Be more liberal yourself. Brother Cole said to the congregation at Chicago, when the work first started there, "Brethren, I'm willing to lose my reward in heaven on the line of giving, by tellng what I give, if I can thereby stir you up to do something."

God wants us to be an example in holy living. A preacher that's all the time out of harmony with God, and his flock, is no example. "The things that ye hear and see in me, do." That's the way to live. Every preacher should be able to say to his congregation, "Follow me as I follow Christ." "Well, says one, "I shouldn't think people would pattern after me." Yes, people follow in one another's ways. It's the easiest thing in the world to pattern after one another. There's no use to deny it; it's a fact. We do pattern after each other more or less, and it seems unavoidable. Hence the importance of setting a right example. Just to give you an idea. Some, instead of addressing the Deity in reverential terms, as "thou," "thee," and thine," address him in every-day terms, as "you," your," and yours." Someone set if forth as bringing God down closer to us. Do you know it wan't long until that spread all over the states? Of course, to use the common pronouns isn't a sin in prayer, but to me, they don't sound just proper. It's so easy to follow in each other's ways. God help us to set the right example.

Not only ought ministers to be examples, but each believer ought to be an example to his brethren and sisters. We should be a pattern to one another in prayer. If every brother in the church prayed as much in secret as you do, would the church be noted for spending much time in secret prayer? If everybody prayed as much in public and in family worship as you do, would your congregation be a praying congregation? Think of it.

We shoud be an example also in spirituality. If all the brethren in your assembly were as spiritual as you are, would you have a spiritual assembly? If everybody took hold as much in the public services as you do, in testimony and devotion, would your meetings be spiritual and lively? If everybody were as instant as you are, in testimony meeting, would it be more lively? I tell you, the man that's spiritual, comes into an assembly full of glory and life, and his influence is felt. When a man who's not spiritual comes into contact with a spiritual people, he'll feel it. It'll stir his heart...to get the same experience. Says one, "Our meetings are dead." Do you know why they're dead? There's a dead meeting in the graveyard, also, and the reason is, there's dead people there. It takes dead people to have dead meetings. If you want a good Holy Ghost meeting, get filled with the Holy Ghost yourself. The very condition you're in will make your meetings. Are you an example in spirituality?

Are you an example in liberality? Says one, "Don't touch that. Preach anything else, but don't preach that. That's like Babylon." If it hurts you, you're like Babylon. It doesn't offend when people are spiritual. Spirituality is conducive to liberality, and liberality is conducive to spirituality. Are you an example in liberality? If everybody gave as much as you do, how much would the missionaries get? Would our missionaries get along well and have plenty, or would they go on half rations? How is it? If everybody had given just as much as you have in the last year, how would the financial end of the work prosper? If everybody had given the same amount as you have during this meeting, would the expenses of the camp-meeting be met? If everybody gave as much as you do for the support of your home pastor, who preaches to you the word of God, would his family have plenty to eat? If everybody went over to the pastor's home just as often as you do with a sack of flour, a ham of meat, a basket of groceries, a dollar bill, a sack of feed, or a load of hay, how would your pastor fare? If he were no more faithful in preaching to you the word of God than you are in supplying his temporal needs, how many sermons would you hear? Let me talk to you preachers. If everybody had given as much to the cause as you have during the past year, how much would the cause of Christ spread in the earth? I find the more liberal I am toward the cause of Christ, (and I give all my time besides), the more God helps me. He'll do it for you. Are you an example? If not, I pray God to stir you up. Could you say to the brethren and sisters, "Follow me as I follow Christ"?

Examples to the World...

We're "a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men." On the stage, persons are expected to perform their part of the drama in a way to attract man. We're a public theater. God help us to live before men that they can see Christ in us. Let's practise what we profess, so that when they see in us the life of Jesus and the doctrine of the gospel demonstrated, they'll be won to Christ. That's what I desire to do. The greatest desire of my life and heart this afternoon is to be a good minister of Jesus Christ. Life's too short, eternity too long, to spend our days in any other way.

The importance of right living will be fully realized when the shadows of death are gathering about us; when the sun of life is setting, and the scenes of earth are fading from our view; when the realities of eternity are breaking upon us. Yes, right living will bring consolation and sweet assurance in the hour of death. Death won't be a cold, sullen stream, whose turbulent waters will splash at our feet. No; it'll be but the "valley of a shadow," through which Christ will lead us to bright realms beyond. I look up the shining pathway of my Christian life, and this afternoon I can see clear through to the end. I see a beautiful gateway with a wreath of flowers around it and angels singing on the other side and waiting to carry my spirit into the paradise of God. There's nothing like living a Christian life. In the great day of judgment, when with the millions of the ages assembled before the tribunal bar of God, right living in this world will give us boldness to stand. [ The End ]



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