ONCE upon a time, during a series of evangelistic meetings, when the
song, "Brighten the Corner Where You Are," was popular, it was said that some
one attended the services, heard the song, returned home and exclaimed: "They sang a
very queer song at meetin' tonight." On being asked the title, the reply was:
"Fight in the corner where you are!" The message of the song, however, is quite
different, and emphasizes our subject text with a clearness of expression that every saint
would do well to take seriously to heart. It runs,
Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
Do not wait to shed your light afar;
To the many duties ever near you now be true,
Brighten the corner where you are.
And what blessedness there would be if the
saints would conscientiously imbibe the counsel of this song and "work out their own
salvation" where they are! Tradition, however, has perverted this admonition
in order to emphasize the work of seeking salvation objectively, for selfish blessing,
rather than working it out effectually for the glory of God and the blessing of others. It
is serious, deplorable, and pathetic. The thoughts and counsel I am about to suggest are
not the result of a few hours or days of preparation, but are gathered out of nearly a
quarter century of experience in evangelism and church work and personal contact with
believers of almost every denomination, sect, and society of Christendom. Due to the lack
of a true knowledge and realization of our intimate and blessed relationship with God our
Father, which should produce a hearty, responsive worship and deportment "with fear
and trembling," in believers intent on doing His good, well-pleasing, and mature
will, there has grown up a cold, ritualistic, insipid form of worship and a selfish,
unfruitful, inglorious conduct. With the majority, it is apparent that the question of
salvation is wholly and solely a selfish objective. It is selfishly sought, obtained, and
retained. In fact, the fundamental motive seems to be that of a "fire escape,"
with a sentimental hope of "gaining heaven" where we will be "united again
with loved ones lost awhile," receive a "harp and crown," and spend
eternity promenading on "the golden streets of the new Jerusalem!" Those holding
this attitude of the matter are usually very religious, especially on Sunday and at
"revival meetin' time."
On the other hand, there are those who come
into the knowledge of the truth of salvation "through faith for grace," and the
realization of the ultimate reconciliation of all things through the peace made through
the blood of the cross of the Son of His love, who rejoice and exult for a while and then
lapse into lethargy and unconcern, becoming unfruitful, allowing the grace of God to be
for naught in them. They, as a class, are usually very strong for "the truth,"
but produce little of its fruits.
Both of these attitudes are unscriptural and
displeasing to God, our Father, and will bring regret and loss at the bema, or
dais, of Christ. Therefore it has been laid on my heart to write this counsel for sharing
spiritual grace with the saints who have hearing ears and teachable spirits, that they may
"become settled, unmovable, superabounding in the work of the Lord always, being
aware that your toil is not for naught in the Lord."
And now, that we may clearly, definitely, and
rememberingly recognize that this text of Scripture suggests nothing concerning the
question of obtaining salvation objectively, let us note that the epistle to the
Philippians was expressly written to saints in Christ Jesus who had faithfully contributed
to the evangel throughout Paul's itinerant ministry, and were still obeying, not as in his
presence only, but much rather in his absence,...working out their own salvation with fear
and trembling. To forcibly emphasize the contextual setting of the subject, we will quote
it as concordantly rendered:
"So that, my beloved, according as you
always obey, not as in my presence only, but now much rather in my absence, be carrying
your own salvation into effect with fear and trembling, for it is God Who is operating
in you to will as well as to work for the sake of His delight. Be doing all without
murmuring and reasoning, in order that you should be becoming blameless and artless,
children of God, flawless in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom
you are appearing as luminaries in the world, having on the word of life, for me to glory
in, in the day of Christ, that I did not run for naught, neither that I toil for
I am oftentimes asked the question by earnest
saints: "What does God want us to do in the way of service?" This question opens
the way for amplifying our subject in all its phases. And it is very evident from its
setting, that the first essential for working out our salvation, is obedience.
Implicit, unquestioning, whole-hearted obedience, even to the very least precept,
admonition, or entreaty, is the fundamental or characteristic test of the life that
is well-pleasing to God. This may be more clearly realized by a concordant study of the
meaning and usage of the word. In the language of inspiration the word is compounded of hupo
and akouoo or akoee, the English standards of which are UNDER and HEAR or
HEAR-ing. Combined they form the words UNDER-HEAR or UNDER-HEARing, the significance being
to hear or heed the commands of one set in authority. Those "under" the
authority "hear" and heed. They obey. In most cases obedience is the result of
compulsion, yet we, out of loving, gratitude, obey willingly and spontaneously.
The following Scriptures will reveal to our hearts the ideal obedience under grace:
"So that, my beloved, according as you obey, not as in my
presence only, but now much rather in my absence," (Phil.2:12).
"For your obedience reached out to all" (Rom.16:19).
"Being confident of your obedience, I write to you, seeing
that I perceive that you will do even more than I say" (Philemon 21).
Thus we perceive that the working out of our
own salvation for the glory of God and the blessing of others calls for implicit,
unquestioning, spontaneous, heart obedience to all His will in every word and deed of our
lives. We are to do all without murmuring and reasoning, in order that we should be
becoming blameless and artless, children of God, flawless in the midst of a crooked and
perverse generation, among whom we are appearing as luminaries in the world, having on the
word of life. And the recognition that it is God Who is operating in us to will as
well as to work for the sake of His delight, should quicken us for sincere, ambitious
obedience in carrying our salvation into effect with fear and trembling, that we
may be well-pleasing to Him.
II. ADORNING THE TEACHING
The second essential for working out our
salvation, I would suggest, is that of "adorning the teaching of God our
Saviour, in all things." And the motive as given is,
"...that the word of God may not be blasphemed,...that those of
the contrary part may be abashed, having nothing bad to say concerning us"
Here again, it will be profitable to examine
the technicalities of the inspired text in order to grasp the meaning of the word
"adorn." The word is kosmeoo in the Greek, the English standard being
SYSTEM, with the idiomatic renderings "adorn" and "decorate." It
speaks of an orderly arrangement or adornment which beautifies and enhances a thing or
subject. So that, to adorn the teaching of God, calls for our deportment in the Lord to be
"...sober, grave, sane, sound in the faith, in love, in
endurance;...disowning irreverence and worldly desires, we should live sanely and justly
and devoutly in the current eon, anticipating the happy expectation and glorious
advent of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who gives Himself for us that He should
be redeeming us from all lawlessness and be cleansing for Himself a special people
zealous of ideal acts" (Titus 2).
A conscientious consideration of this
Scripture reveals that our subject sets before us a very grave and serious matter relative
to our relationship to God and the world. It demands that our living, talking, and acting
be such as will beautify, enhance, and exemplify the excellences of the teaching we
profess to believe. We are to be living models or examples in our behavior in all
circumstances and experiences of life. It is thus we are privileged to adorn the
teaching and exemplify the beauties of the life that is in God.
And now that we may recognize more forcibly
the importance of the truth we have stated, we shall amplify it under the three headings:
(a) Living, (b) Talking, and (c) Acting.
Before we can ever truly adorn the teaching of
God it will be necessary for us to catch the ardent spirit that energized the apostle Paul
to dare, suffer, and serve more exceedingly than all the others. Even in his last days he
"...but with all boldness, as always, now also, Christ shall be
magnified in my body, whether through life or through death. For me to be living is
Christ, and to be dying gain" (Phil.1:20,21).
Someone has said, "It is easier to die
for Christ than to live for Him?" I am confident that could we grasp the vital
reality of our relationship to God, in Christ Jesus, as Paul knew and experienced it, this
statement would awaken profound depths of understanding, of which we have never dreamed. O
the heart-grieving, sickening, namby-pamby, pretentious, insipid living that characterizes
the majority of professed believers today! How it must grieve our Lord! May God grant
these words of counsel to awaken in the hearts of all who read them an all-absorbing,
impassioned zeal to really and truly live for Christ.
And just here it will not be out of place to
speak of the deplorable work designated as the ministry of "witnessing for the
Lord" or "witnessing for the truth," especially when our living does
not adorn what we witness or teach. It is worse than useless to witness for the
Word of God if our living speaks much louder with repugnant, unfruitful acts of darkness
so that people cannot hear what we say concerning the truth.
Furthermore, it is an erroneous position to
hold the truth for the present secret administration and attempt to dispense it in accord
with the Pentecostal administration. Then it was "Go" and "witness."
Now it is "walk" and "wait,"--
"...your word being always with grace, seasoned with salt, being
aware how you ought to answer each one" (Col.4:6).
"...avowedly great is the secret of devoutness" (1 Tim.3:16).
May the Lord give us the grace to so
attractively adorn the teaching of God with devout living that those of the
contrary part may be abashed and have nothing bad to say about us, but on the contrary, be
attracted to the life that is in God, and when they ask, it will then be time to witness
and they will hear. (b) Talking "Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue,
Keepeth his soul from troubles" (Prov.21:23)
The carelessness of many saints in their
conversation is very painful to sensitive, reverent spirits. Apparently without regard for
the future, they utter sentence after sentence, never once thinking that the memory is
prone to store away for the future remarks carelessly made and words thoughtlessly flung
off by a flippant tongue.
But worse yet is the thoughtless, irreverent,
vain usage of the names of God, our gracious heavenly Father, and our blessed Lord and
Saviour, Jesus Christ. Many are the times I have been in conversation with believers, who
sincerely love God their Father and Jesus Christ their Lord, yet because of former
associations and careless manners of speech, they thoughtlessly use such expressions as
"Great God!," "God Almighty!," "Lord, have mercy!," "My
Lord!," "Jesus Christ!," etc. This is inexpressibly serious. It is nothing
short of a vain, blasphemous use of the holy and revered names of God, our Father and
Jesus Christ, our Lord. It is not only very unbecoming to saints, but reveals a
thoughtless irreverence that is sure to result in regret and shame at the dais of Christ.
Long ago, God told Israel,
"Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain; for
Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain" (Exodus 20:7).
Surely we would not expect Him to be less
considerate of His name today among saints with more light, greater knowledge, and richer
grace, who misuse it in careless, empty conversation. Let us become sober, grave, and
exceedingly careful in the matter of our conversation, not only in the usage of God's
name, but in all the words we use, for we are admonished,
"Let no tainted (corrupt, foul, or rotten) word be
issuing out of your mouth, but whatever is good for needful edification, that it may be
giving grace to the hearers" (Eph.4:29).
"Now all prostitution and uncleanness or greediness--let it not
be named among you, according as is becoming in saints and vileness and stupid
speaking or jesting, which are not proper, but rather thanksgiving" (Eph.5:3,4).
"Yet now you also be putting away all these--anger, fury, malice, calumny,
obscenity out of your mouth" (Col.3:8).
Those admonitions reveal to our hearts how
conscientiously we should guard our talking if we are to adorn the teaching
and work out our own salvation for the glory of God.
"Let all your [actions] occur in love" (1 Cor.16:14).
Here we have the divine principle by which we
may adorn the teaching of God our Saviour in our actions. Love takes the
form of affection toward any object and a desire to promote its happiness. It abstains
from anything of an injurious nature, yet does everything possible to promote the comfort,
interest, and welfare of others, whether they are indifferent or appreciate it. For all
this, we have the following scriptural counsel:
"Now we should not be despondent in ideal doing, for in due
season we shall be reaping, not fainting. Consequently, then, as we have occasion, we
are working for the good of all, specially for the family of faith" (Gal.6:9,10).
"All is allowed me, but not all is expedient. All is allowed me,
but not all is edifying" (1 Cor.10:23).
"Now beware lest somehow this right of yours should be becoming
a stumbling block to the weak....For the weak one is being destroyed also by your
knowledge: the brother because of whom Christ died. Now in thus sinning against brethren,
and beating their weak conscience, you are sinning against Christ. Wherefore, if food is
snaring my brother, I should under no circumstances eat meat for the eon, lest I should be
snaring my brother" (1 Cor.8:9-13).
"Let all bitterness and fury and anger and clamor and calumny be
taken away from you with all malice, and become kind to one another, tenderly
compassionate, dealing graciously among yourselves, according as God also, in Christ,
deals graciously with you.
"Become, then, imitators of God, as beloved children, and be
walking in love" (Eph.4:31-5:2).
"Put on, then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, pitiful
compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another and dealing
graciously among yourselves, if anyone should be having a complaint against any. According
as the Lord also deals graciously with you, thus also you. Now over all these is love,
which is the tie of maturity" (Col.3:12-14).
These Scriptures make it plain that we may
freely do many things before God which might offend our brethren, whose faith is weak and
unestablished for lack of knowledge, and cause them to stumble. But love will
restrain us from doing anything that may result in harm to a weak brother for whom Christ
died. May we seriously devote ourselves to magnifying Christ in our living,
reverencing Him in our talking, and manifesting His love in all our actions,
and thus adorn the teaching of God our Saviour, in all things.
III. EVANGELISTS, PASTORS, AND TEACHERS
Having emphasized the scriptural counsel of
conscientiously working out our salvation for the saints, as such, it now remains to speak
more specifically to those who feel they have been given spiritual endowments as
evangelists, pastors, and teachers. And that we may realize unmistakably what has been
divinely appointed as the work to be done by those graced with these "graces
excelling," we shall quote the scriptural epitome for heart consideration.
"And HE, indeed, it is Who gives the...evangelists, the
pastors, and teachers for the readjusting of the saints, with a view to the
work of dispensing, for the upbuilding of the body of Christ, until we
should all attain to the unity of faith, and the realization of a son of God,
to mature manhood, to the adult stature of Christ's complement, that we
should by no means still be minors, surging hither and thither and being carried
about by every wind of teaching" (Eph.4:11-14).
Conscientious consideration of the divinely
appointed work for evangelists, pastors, and teachers in this Scripture, shows that it is
more than to simply feel some mysterious urge or presentiment and zealously hasten forth
to "preach" without mature reflection and preparation. Such hasty, immature
ministry is usually lacking in the essentials. And if we heart-consciously realize that it
is God Who is working in us to will as well as to work for the sake of His delight, we
will give the utmost diligence in our preparation and work out own salvation
with fear and trembling. It will not be merely professionally preparing for
"church work" and walking in it according to the organized programs of men, but
we will give heart diligence to our preparation and then prayerfully lay ourselves before
the Lord for divine service, and patiently wait for Him to prepare the good works that we
should be walking in them. Instead of opening the doors, we will persevere in prayer and
wait for Him to open them that we may be making the secret of the evangel known. But of
this more anon.
We will now consider the three specific gifts
or graces excelling--evangelists, pastors, and teachers--and the scriptural endowment,
qualification, and service of each. According to the Scriptures, the evangelists are the
missionaries, to preach the evangel of salvation to the world--the unbelievers--to turn
them from darkness to light, for the blessing of salvation, reconciliation, and the
realization of a son of God. Pastors are to care for the spiritual welfare of the saints,
admonishing the disorderly, comforting the faint-hearted, upholding the infirm, with
patience toward all; encouraging, strengthening, and counseling with all wisdom and
spiritual understanding, for them to be living in accord with the life that is in God.
Teachers are characterized by the gift of teaching or expounding the truth, for edifying
the saints, for them to be established with maturity and full assurance in all the will of
Now it may be that a brother will have more
than one of these gifts. He may have all. Nevertheless, they are distinct, and the
qualifications for each are different. An able teacher of the Word may not be fitted for
the work of a pastor. On the other hand, one endowed for the pastorate may serve the
spiritual needs of the saints most ideally and not be able to teach or expound the Word.
Then again, the evangelist may possess the gift of teaching, but seldom is the teacher
endowed for evangelizing, and more rarely is the evangelist fitted for pastoral services.
Each should recognize his own endowment in accord with his gifts or equipment as the
Scriptures reveal, then first, give diligence to his qualifications, and second, beware
how he builds.
(a) Giving Diligence to Qualifications
In spite of the solemn adjuration of
Scripture, "Do not become many teachers, my brethren, being aware that we
shall be getting the greater judgment" (James 3:1), it is astonishing the many
teachers in Christendom today, and of still greater amazement their evident lack of
qualification. There are many claiming to be evangelists, out in the field
evangelizing, who are quite ignorant of what the gospel or evangel of salvation is! And
the evangel being God's power for salvation, how are people to be saved when
the evangelists themselves neither know it nor preach it? Modern high-pressure methods and
emotional excitement cannot save men and make them just and right before God. With the
unscriptural, deceptive work that is being carried on in the name of evangelism for
"converting" or "saving souls," the question forces itself on mature,
sober-thinking people, To what have they been converted and by what have they been saved?
And the serious part of the whole affair is, Who is going to answer for and bear this
"greater judgment" that is sure to come for this deceptive preaching and
teaching except those who have spread it forth?
In the second place, there is a real need for
pastors to serve the spiritual needs of the saints, admonishing, encouraging, and
counseling them in all their experiences and concerns of life. This calls for the
endowment of wisdom and spiritual understanding, genuine love, devoutness, compassion,
grace, and patience. How few have the grace excelling for the pastorate!
Thirdly, there is a dearth of teachers, sound
in the faith, qualified, and mature, who can establish the saints by dispensing the
spiritual grace which has come to them by the revelation of the present secret
administration during Paul's imprisonment at the close of the Acts period. Where are such
men? Those preaching or teaching, usually know little more than a smattering of kingdom
truth, especially the Pentecostal order of things, such as was in force during the book of
Acts, while Pauline truth and the "mystery ordained before the world for our
glory," is an unsolved enigma to them!
We are not left to sentimental surmises and
conjectures as to the test of true evangelists, pastors, and teachers for today. Let us
read again the quotation from Ephesians four, eleven to fourteen, and it will be found
that the divinely appointed work is that of readjusting, dispensing, upbuilding,
unifying the saints, giving the realization of sonship in God, and
leading them to maturity and the adult stature of Christ's complement. We
will now briefly state the essentials of each one of these seven tests of the work.
Readjusting the saints. The majority of
the saints today doctrinally stand on Circumcision ground. Their teaching and experience
has been drawn from the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the Acts of the
Apostles. Assuming that "the church began on the day of Pentecost," they attempt
to creedalize and practice the varying presentations and examples which follow. Now and
then some of the teachings of the earlier epistles of Paul are included, notwithstanding
the incongruous differences which are continually calling for modifying explanations that
never explain! It is the duty of the evangelist, pastor, and teacher to readjust the
saints from this standing into the transcendent truth and grace of the Pauline revelation
ordained for the present secret administration. This calls for mature wisdom and spiritual
Dispensing. How few, comparatively
speaking, know of the grace glorious with which the saints are graced in the Beloved
today! To the majority, God is running a bartering business--so much blessing for so much
faith! Often in my ministry of revealing the reserves of spiritual grace which God so
gratuitously lavishes upon us in Christ Jesus, in this administration of the secret, my
hearers exclaim: It all seems too good to be true! Yet it is the important task of
evangelists, pastors, and teachers to dispense to the saints the untraceable riches
of Christ that they might be both enriched and ennobled in the knowledge and realization
of the transcendent, gratuitous gifts which are their proper portion.
The upbuilding of the body of Christ is
a very necessary work today in the ministry of those graced with the graces
excelling. But a necessary prerequisite for this task is the clear recognition that there is
a spiritual organism to which all believers belong, irrespective of
denomination or organization, -ism or -cism, -inity or -anity--the church which is the
body of Christ--and seek to edify or build up the saints in the one body. To
recognize, eulogize, and patronize human organizations is to demolish the one body of the
Scriptures. It is the responsible duty of the faithful evangelist, pastor, and teacher to
discount all human associations and magnify the call of the saints into a glorious organism,
the one body of Christ, of which He is the glorified Head, and thereby discharge their
service well-pleasing to God.
Unifying. The many and various attempts
which have been made to unite the saints, have only succeeded in dividing them. The
evil of it all lies in the fact of not recognizing the one faith which comes
to us today through the revelation of the Ephesian epistle. Ignorance of this consummating
revelation is the contributing factor for the almost innumerable beliefs and divisions
among the saints of Christendom. Here is the test of all truly endowed and qualified
evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Their message will lead to the unity of faith in
Christ: one in fact as they are in truth.
The realization of a son of God--how
few have it! The majority are taken up with the figure of the "new birth" and
know nothing of the higher, nobler blessing of sonship by adoption, through
love. And here it is necessary to emphasize for heart understanding that sonship does not
figure mere relationship, but those honors granted only to the heir when he comes of age,
investing him with the highest dignities and wealth his father can bestow. It means far
more to be a son of God than a child. This is the appointed work for those divinely graced
with spiritual endowments: pressing this glorious truth until all saints have a realization
of a son of God.
Then follows mature manhood and the
adult stature of Christ's complement. Quite often I am pressed with the question,
"What constitutes maturity and adultness?" This work calls for admonishing and
teaching in all wisdom, with persevering prayer (Col.1:28,29; 4:12,13). Our teaching
should be so designed as to orderly, progressively, and comparatively reveal the immature,
transient, and expedient character of the previous administrations as
compared with the fullness of the spiritual blessings which are ours in Christ Jesus, in
this transcendent administration of "the mystery, ordained before the world for our
glory" (1 Cor.2:7,8), and revealed for us when the Pentecostal administration of the
Acts period closed, and Paul was made a prisoner of Christ Jesus, for us the gentiles,
about A. D. 64 (Eph.3:1-11). The heart realization of the reserves of spiritual blessings
and grace glorious which came as a result of this radical change of administration, will
lead to maturity and adultness that will enable the saints to stand steadfast, unshakable,
fully assured in all the will of God, in the midst of today's turmoil.
This epitomizes the divine appointments for
divinely called evangelists, pastors, and teachers today. They should so seriously engage
the hearts of all who have the conviction that they are endowed or graced with these
graces excelling, that they will spare neither time nor study for thorough preparation for
discharging their services in a manner well-pleasing to God.
(b) Beware How We Build
Under this heading we are furnished with
definite counsel which should engage our hearts continually. Paul sets it before us in
very forcible language in 1 Corinthians 3:5-15. There we find our services likened to the
work of planting and irrigating. We are fellow workers under God. The saints are God's
farm, or building. Yet each one will be getting his own wages according to his
own toil, and then the admonition follows,
Yet let each one beware how he is building.
Verses twelve to fifteen reveal the building
process, the various materials and the fiery test of the work of each one-what kind it is.
If anyone's work which he builds shall abide the fire, he will get wages. If anyone's work
shall burn up, he will forfeit it, yet he himself shall be saved, yet as through fire.
This is a solemn adjuration for all who seek to build, plant, or irrigate, and should
profoundly exercise our hearts for scrupulous care in making sure that we are in His
will and building abiding materials. As I have already suggested, the scriptural
provision and regulation for the work admonishes us to be sure of our calling, make
thorough preparation, and then "persevere in prayer, watching in it with
thanksgiving,...that God should open up for us a door of the Word, to speak the secret of
Christ" (Col.4:2,3). A candid recognition of this divine order for our service today
would go a long way toward eliminating much of the traditional trash that is being spread
among the saints as evangelism and Bible teaching. Furthermore, it would preclude
uncertainty and misunderstanding relative to where we are to go and how we
are to serve. Quite frequently I am appealed to by good brethren to recommend them for
service to some place in the field. My experience and conviction reveal this to be both
unscriptural and unprofitable to the cause we wish to serve. In the first place, it
ignores God's provision and regulation for the work, putting it on the basis of human
organization and recommendation, which usually turns out to be unsatisfactory for all
parties concerned. Then again, it is unwise to encourage those who are unprepared, to go
into fields where the saints have already been readjusted and established with maturity
and assurance in the will of God. For we have no right to insist that mature saints sit
and endure while premature preachers practice preaching! The field is wide and ripe unto
harvest, making the matter of "building on another's foundation" excuseless,
useless, and fruitless. Therefore I stand ready to spend and be spent in sharing spiritual
grace with brethren in their preparation for mature, profitable, well-pleasing service
unto the Lord, but my heart conviction is, that unless each one looks to Him for direct
provision and leading in the matter of working out his own salvation, he will
find himself a misfit, his services unprofitable, and no solid progress realized in his
Reluctantly, but out of a sincere desire to share
with my readers, I recount briefly some of my own experiences during a period of nearly a
quarter century spent in His blessed service. I came to know the Lord as my Saviour when
but a lad, and in that incomprehensible way, loved and trusted Him for all my needs and
the direction of all my ways. I began leading singing for evangelistic meetings when only
fifteen years old. From then, by His grace, I have been conscious of His leading in all
the affairs of my life from one experience to another, and the unfolding of the truth to
my heart from glory to glory, till the present moment. When my severance came from the
denominational organizations, I was placed in a position to trust His provisions and
recognize His leadings as never before. Having become acquainted with my beloved brother
and fellow-laborer in the Lord, Mr. A. E. Knoch, through the CONCORDANT VERSION parts and
literature, I was moved to confide my problem to him, and received a most helpful reply,
which I quote in part:
|My Dear Brother Loudy:
been praying for many years that the Lord would raise up some one to go out and make the
teaching known to the people. I trust you are the man. But remember we have no
organization to join and I am not sending you out. I will cooperate with you in every
possible way in the interest of the work, but you must look to the Lord for your guidance.
Yours in Him,
A. E. KNOCH
And then the testing
came--nearly three years with not a call or an opening for ministering the Word! I took
the silence as significant to make preparation for exacting service to follow, and made
use of the time for prayerful study, research, and correlation of materials on every
essential subject; designing and painting charts for illustrating the time periods of the
eons and the various administrations. In the meantime I was taken with a physical
infirmity that put me in a state of excruciating pain almost day and night. But I
faithfully and persistently worked on until one day, like a flash out of a darkened sky, a
call came and a door was opened for the Word, wide and operative. Though I was in a
strange place, where the truth, concordantly expressed and rightly divided, had never been
heard, and my physical condition compelled me to stay in bed most of the time, the
attendance and interest grew to such proportions that it became necessary to secure a
larger building to accommodate the crowds. Much fruit was gathered and many saints were
readjusted, enriched, and established with maturity and assurance in the will of God. From
that day until the present, doors have been opened in many cities, towns, and rural
districts throughout out the eastern section of the United States and several Provinces of
Canada, keeping me busy as many as forty-seven weeks out of the year at times. I have
never gone and "built on another's foundation," save where I have been called,
and recognized the leading of the Lord in my going, and that I would be permitted to share
spiritual grace for enriching the saints. But I do not wish to leave the impression that
the work has been smooth sailing easy, without trials, and well provided for in every way.
That would not be true to experience. I have had my testings of faith, afflictions,
perplexities, slanderous persecutions, hazards of travel in all kinds of weather day and
night, exacting demands from the service when so ill I could scarcely stand up, my heart
exercised with solicitude for the saints from place to place, as well as the care and
anxiety for the welfare and needs of my own family at home. But it has been a source of
real comfort to find myself entering quite fully into many of the apostle Paul's
experiences--afflicted but not distressed, perplexed but not despairing, persecuted but
not abandoned, meeting with defamation and renown, being accused of deceiving yet having
the assurance of my integrity, as unknown yet recognized, disciplined yet not put to
death, sorrowing yet ever rejoicing, poor yet enriching many. I have rejoiced in it all
and counted it joy for His dear sake and for the cause of His truth which I love more
dearly than my own soul. And by His grace I expect to faithfully do the work of an
evangelist and fully discharge my service until I have finished my career or the day of
Christ arrives, when I shall be with Him and like Him and for Him in all His ineffable
bliss and glory.
May the Lord be pleased to use these words of
testimony of His gracious provision and guidance in the work of the evangel and the
counsel I have suggested for encouraging all the saints and faithful brethren who feel
called to His blessed service as evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Let us earnestly seek
a clear recognition of our spiritual endowment as the Scriptures reveal concerning the
graces excelling, giving conscientious diligence for thorough preparation in accord with
the divine appointments of the ministry, and present ourselves before Him in persevering
prayer, patiently watching in it for His leading in opening doors for our services to make
known the secret of the evangel, and thus work out our own salvation with fear
and trembling, realizing that it is God Who is operating in us to will as well as to
work for the sake of His delight.