THE WAY OF VICTORY
By: David F. Gray
THE CHRISTIANS JOY
You have begun a life of infinite joy and blessing. Earth holds no greater thrill or happiness than a true Christian enjoys. Yet there are pitfalls and testings and temptations, for Satan has been robbed of his Prey and he is angry and will do all in his power to draw you back again. Therefore, it is only by the power of the Holy Ghost in you that you can truly overcome. Have you received the baptism of the Holy Ghost yet? If not, obey the scriptures, then seek and seek earnestly for you have not been truly born again until you do receive that baptism.
What must I do to receive the Holy Ghost? The very first thing is to repent and turn away from all sinning. I am sure you have done this already, but as you seek God, He may reveal to you more to repent of. As you repent and make things right you open the way for God to bless you. Repentance is not only sorrow for sin, but a real turning away from it forever.
Mark 16:16 says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Therefore, the very next step is baptism. If as yet you have not been Baptized (immersed) in water and you have repented, then you should be baptized immediately in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission (removal) of your sins (Acts 2:38,39; Acts 22:16). If you have been baptized before but not in the Name of Jesus Christ, you have not been baptized scripturally at all yet and must be baptized again in His Name. See Acts 19:1-7 where 12 men were rebaptized since they had not been baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostles always baptized in a Name, the Name of Jesus (Acts 2:38; Acts 8:12, 16; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:1-7), for Jesus Himself commanded them to baptize in a Name, and that Name was to be the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. (Matt. 28:19) Only ONE Name could fulfill that command, and that Name is Jesus. See Phil. 2:9; Acts 4:12; Col. 2:9; Col. 3:17.
In baptism we signify that we are “buried with Christ by baptism into death.” Rom. 6:4. What does this death mean? It means the giving up of everything that you know of that might not be pleasing to God. When you come up out of the waters of baptism, you are then to “walk in newness of life.” This new life is spiritual in contrast to the old life that you lived which was carnal, before you sought God. When preparing for baptism, examine yourself and put your all into the hands of God in full surrender to His will. The all-important secret of successful Christian living is in being always able to say as Jesus did, “Not my will, but thine be done.” In baptism you acknowledge that you are not your own, but that you entirely belong to the Lord and wish to be His love servant to go where He might wish you to go, to serve in any way that He might direct, and if need be, to suffer for Him with an entire submissiveness to His will.
BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST
Now you have obeyed the Word of God, repented, been baptized, and are ready to receive the baptism or filling of the Holy Ghost. This is God’s testimony that you are clean and He has accepted you into His body the Church, for “by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body” (I Cor. 12:13). When you have received, you have been truly “born again of water (by being baptized in water in Jesus’ Name) and of the Spirit (by receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost)”. John 3:5.
After Jesus rose from the dead, He commanded His disciples “that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father,” Acts 1:4, explaining that “ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” Acts 1:8. At Pentecost the promise of Jesus was fulfilled, and upon being filled with the Spirit, all the disciples “began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:4. This same manifestation from God also accompanied the baptism of the Spirit throughout apostolic times, and God gives the same sign today, as the initial evidence that the Holy Ghost has come in. You should therefore begin to tarry now in earnest surrender and faith for this infilling with the Spirit if you have not yet received it.
Read the following scriptures about this:
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost comes from Christ. Matt. 3:11.
It is promised to those who believe. Acts 1:5, 2:28, 38, 39, 11:16; John 14:16, 17. 15:26, 16:7-15.
It is to be earnestly sought. Luke 11:13; Acts 1:4,5,14, 5:32.
How is it received? Acts 2:1-4. 8:14-17, 10:44-48, 19:2-7.
NEW BORN BABE
You are now a born again Christian, although just a babe, and you must grow if you are to remain healthy. There are four things essential to your success — Prayer, reading the Bible, faith, and witnessing. In prayer your heart is speaking to God, and in prayer you will learn that God responds and quickens you. Reading the Bible is like eating your food, it makes you strong. It also teaches you to understand God and His will for you. Faith is simple trust in the promises of God found in the Bible and in the power and love of God. Witnessing helps you defeat the devil, for we “overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.” If you will pray, read the Bible, believe God, and witness for Him EVERY DAY, you will grow up to be a strong, solid, powerful Christian.
Assurance is the certainty which came into your heart when you received the Holy Ghost by which you knew that you were a child of God. This assurance must be cultivated, for, as you live for God, Satan will tempt you and may try to make you doubt even that you are saved. The tempter has been likened to a ravenous fowl that would try to take out of your heart the good seed of salvation and the Word of God. Matt. 13:19. Do not be surprised when he comes and do not doubt. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.” Heb. 10:35. You know you are saved because Jesus has washed your sins away, filling you with His Spirit. You cannot go by the way you may feel at times.
You are not saved by feeling but by faith, Eph. 2:8. Neither are you kept by feeling, but by faith. “Kept by the power of God through faith.” I Peter 1:5. Feelings come and go and rise and fall like the tide and waves of the sea, but your anchor must grip the unchanging rock, Christ Jesus. If you abide in Him, you are forever safe, regardless of your feelings. He who saved you has promised to keep you, so you must always trust in Him and never in yourself. It is God who has saved you and it is He who will keep you. All through life, wherever you may go or whatever your circumstances might be, the Lord will ever be with you.
The following scripture verses will greatly help you if you keep them in your heart:
Assurance is the fruit of faith.
Eph. 3:12; II Tim. 1:12; Heb. 10:22.
Of what are we assured?
(a) Eternal Life. I John 5:13.
(b) The abiding love of God. Rom. 8:38, 39.
(c) Our union with Christ. Eph. 5:30; I John 4:13.
(d) Peace with God. Rom. 5:1.
(e) Continuance in grace. Phil. 1:6.
(f) Heaven. John 14:1-3.
The Holy Spirit has came in to help us be a holy people by living holy lives preparing to go to a holy heaven. The scripture says, “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord” Heb. 12:14, and “cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” II Cor. 7:1. This means, concerning the filthiness of the flesh, that our bodies should be clean as vessels of the Holy Spirit, and that all filthy and worldly habits and amusements (all amusements are not worldly) have no more place in a Christian’s life, such as tobacco in any form, intoxicating beverages, unclean conversations, shows, dances, worldly parties, “petting”, the reading of novels and impure and suggestive literature, and such like.
Settle this now, right NOW, or eventually your Christian life will end up in shipwreck. He has given you His Spirit and power to overcome and you will find His grace is sufficient to give you victory. If a person, after receiving the Holy Spirit, continues on in these things, God’s Spirit will eventually leave, for He will not dwell in an unclean vessel. I John 2:15-17; James 4:4.
Filthiness of the spirit means envy, jealousy, a bad temper, an unforgiving spirit, hatefulness, covetousness, stubbornness, rebellion, lustfulness, maliciousness, evil surmising, etc. These things must be put away out of your life by your determination not to allow them in your life, and the Holy Spirit within then gives you power to cast them out. Read Col. 3:5-17.
LIVING FOR GOD
God has saved us that we might serve Him. This service is to be the fruit, not of fear, but of love. “Fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” I John 4:18. There is a fear of reverence, a holy awe, (Heb. 12:28) and earnest desire that we may not grieve the Spirit, that is a clean, holy fear; but the fear with a dread in it ought to be ever resisted if we are walking in the light.
Living for God is a walk in holiness, a putting off of all things that are condemned, and a putting on of those things that please the Lord. It is always a walk of faith for “without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Heb. 11:6. Evil thoughts and evil feelings must be refused and put away from our hearts, such as anger, evil speaking, and other unkind or unholy things. It is not a sin of our heart if these things present themselves to us, and we overcome them by refusing to receive them. Sin comes only when we welcome evil into our lives.
In living for God, be always honest and careful. Avoid, if at all possible, going into debt. It is much easier to keep out of debt than to pay debts. A reputation for honesty is one of the greatest assets which a Christian can have. Give honest employment. A Christian ought to be as faithful to his duties when alone as when his employer is standing over him. Both God and the world are looking for persons whom they can trust.
Be truthful. Some find it easy to tell “little lies.” Remember, a lie ruined our first parents, and a lie may ruin us. Moreover, “all liars shall have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.” Rev. 21:8.
Live for God everywhere. It might become a temptation to some, should they be among certain company or in places where their Christian friends might not see them, to let down in their mode of living. In such compromise there is great danger. Always live as “unto the Lord and not unto men” with the consciousness that whoever else may or may not see you, the scripture is always true, “Thou God seest me.” Since we belong to Him, it is He before whom we are always to walk.
Walk in love. Eph. 5:2; I John 4:11, 12, 17, 18.
Put off the old man. Eph. 4:22; Rom. 6:6, 11, 14.
Put on the new man. Eph. 4:24.
Lie not. Eph. 4:25; Rev. 21:8.
Owe no man. Rom. 13:8.
LOOKING LIKE CHRIST
There is a beautiful scripture found in II Cor. 3:18 which says, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” This shows that if we walk in the Spirit and live in thankfulness, praise, and victory, the glory of the Lord will so fill us that it will be seen to radiate through us. When Moses came down from the mount, “he whist not that the skin of his face shone.” Exod. 34:29. The glory of God had covered his countenance, but he was not aware of it. And when Stephen stood before his accusers they “saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” Acts 6:15.
You are now one of those which are to shine for Jesus, radiant with the glory of God, one of those privileged ones which are to “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.” Tit. 2:10. This means that you should shun as companions those who do not Love the Lord and that you should “love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (I John 2:15) ; that you should refrain from going to places which you know Jesus would not have you go.
The way to dress is also included. The Bible is plain concerning one’s apparel. “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart. . . the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great price.” I Pet. 3:3, 4. There are some general rules which a Christian ought always to follow. One’s dress ought always to be modest. Short skirts, short sleeves, low necklines are always immodest as are transparent dresses and bare legs.
Ask yourself when you buy an article of clothing, “Is this modest? Will the wearing of it glorify God?” If you feel it does not meet these requirements, do not wear it no matter how many others may do so. Be not afraid to be looked upon as different from others, for you surely are. You are a Christian.
Men’s hair should be kept trimmed, but women’s hair should never be cut, for her hair is given to her for a glory, a symbol of her obedience and subjection to God and those over her. See I Cor. 11:4-15. It should be put up neatly and modestly and without beauty shop frills.
The wearing of jeweled ornaments is certainly not Christ-like. It is fleshly pride and a waste of valuable money which when properly used, could save many souls from sin. “. . . Women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” I Tim. 2:9.
Cosmetics are also unseemly in a Christian. Your beauty should be from within, radiantly shining forth, not smeared on the outside. Therefore, all lipsticks, rouges, and other artificial beauty aids are not used by Christians; they simply serve to obstruct the true beauty of Christ. God wants us to be clean inside and outside, to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” II Cor. 7:1.
Love not the world. I John 2:15-17.
Whose adorning. I Tim. 2:9; I Pet. 3:3,4.
Make no compromise. II Cor. 6:14 to 7:1.
A CHURCH HOME
Now that you have been converted, baptized and filled with the Spirit or earnestly seeking, you should make this church your church home and attend regularly. Healthy church environments are as necessary for the healthy growth of a Christian as are health-producing home surroundings for the healthy growth of a babe. Although some children grow into healthy strong men who have not had proper surroundings in their earlier days, yet there are many who weaken and die. Even more vital is a good sound spiritual church where food for the soul may be obtained and that stands for the truth. Many new converts have failed, become discouraged, or did not properly grow because they either did not faithfully and regularly attend church, or the church they did attend was not spiritual and solid.
When you become a member of the church, attend the services as regularly as possible. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” Heb. 10:25. Take an active part in testimony as opportunity affords, for “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Rom. 10:10. Testimony is a great help to the one who gives it, and it also makes one a blessing to others. Phil. 6. Then be sure to take an active part in the prayer meetings, street meetings, or other means of service, and show lively interest in winning others to Christ. As you keep busy about your Father’s business, you will grow in grace and become a joy to your pastor and a blessing to many.
Consult your pastor concerning Christian work, and he will doubtless be able to direct you to the line of activity in the Lord’s work to which you are especially suited.
(a) Belongs to God. I Tim. 3:5.
(b) Is built on Christ. I Cor. 3:11.
(c) Is the body of Christ. Eph. 1:23.
(d) Is loved by Christ. Eph. 5:25.
(e) Is purchased by Christ. Acts 20:28.
(f) Is added to. Acts 2:47; Acts 5:14.
(g) Is not to be neglected. Heb. 10:24, 25; I Cor. 16:2; II Cor. 9:7; Luke 11:42.
“As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby.” I Pet. 2:2. One very necessary thing to healthy Christian growth and living is that you maintain a teachable spirit. Your pastor is, under God, your shepherd, teacher, and leader; and he is to “feed the flock of God and take the oversight thereof.” I Pet. 5:2. God has put him in charge of the assembly of Christians to oversee, rule, and minister to them the Word of God. He should, therefore, always be respected and obeyed, for he is responsible to God for you and is commanded by God to teach, exhort, reprove, and rebuke. Through suffering and experience, through prayer and study of God’s Word and will, he knows the pitfalls, the danger signals, the devices of Satan, and he is there to help you at all times. Feel free to go to him with your problems. Should he at any time say or do something you don’t understand, obey anyhow, for, remember, he is watching for your soul and must give an account of you to God. You will find that this is the way of joy and blessing. Read Acts 20:26-31; Heb. 13:7, 17; II Tim. 4:2-4.
PARTNERS WITH GOD
Since you are now a child of God, one-tenth of your income, as the tithe of what you earn, belongs to the Lord. See Mal. 3:8-11. This means that you are taking God in as a partner in your business, and you have become a partner in God’s business. Start tithing immediately, and regularly, if possible every Sunday (I Cor. 16:2), or as often as you receive your earnings. Thus you will find the great joy that comes with being a real Partner in God’s name, and God in turn puts a blessing on the remaining nine-tenths and causes it to go farther than ten-tenths without His blessing. Let the tithe be the first fruits, that is, the first tenth, then God will bless the remainder. “Honor the Lord with thy substance and with the first fruits of all thine increases; so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.” Prov. 3:9, 10. Then, you Him what is already His. God’s added blessing comes upon those who give the Lord an offering out of their portion. These offerings should be given to the avenues of church work, and also for foreign missions since missionary work is in God’s plan who said, “go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
As you begin giving and enjoying God’s blessing that goes with it you will find your needs well taken care of by the providing hand of God; and the church will prosper and grow and enlarge her borders. Your part in this has made you a partner in God’s work through your tithes and offerings. “The liberal soul shall be made fat; and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” Prov. 11:25.
Withholding tithes robs God. Mal. 3:8-11.
Love of money root of evil. I Tim. 6:10.
Tithes are holy unto the Lord. Lev. 27:30, 31.
Christ as Melchisedec authored tithing. Heb. 7:4-12; Heb, 5:6.
God tells where the tithes go. Num. 18:20, 21; Mal. 3:10.
Offerings blessed of God. Prov. 3:9, 10; Prov. 11:25; Mal. 3:8.
We have mentioned earlier that all Christians should cultivate definite times of prayer. This is very important. In the first place we always need the Lord so much. Then, too, God has saved us that communion with Him might be restored. Prayer is communion with God. Communion means sharing. In prayer we share with God our worship, thanksgiving, and praise, and we tell Him of our trials and needs. He then shares with us His love and fellowship, and, hearing our prayers, He helps us in our trials and meets our needs. Prayer is your heart talking to God.
Your life ought to be so planned that you may have definite times each day in which to wait on God in prayer. Daniel prayed three times each day. Dan. 6:10. David said, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray.” Psalm 55:17. You may not always have opportunity to run away to a place of quiet at the noon hour, but your heart can pray, and you can arrange to have some time definitely set apart each day in which to wait on God. Be not in a hurry when you pray. Take time to wait with praise and gratitude before the Lord. He may wish to speak to you as well as to have you speak to Him, letting you know what His will for you is for the day. Cultivate looking to Him for guidance. You are now His child and He has promised to lead and instruct you. As you learn to wait on Him you will find your spiritual life enriched and deepened in the knowledge of Him.
Nothing should hinder our lives of prayer. Dan. 6:10.
How shall we pray?
(a) Seek God. Psalm 34:4, with all the heart. Jer. 29:12, 13;
(b) Wait upon God. Psalm 40:1;
(c) Ask in faith. James 1:6,7
(d) According to God’s will. I John 5:14;
(e) In the name of Christ. John 14:13.
Examples of prayer:
Gen. 24:12; Gen. 32:9-12; I Sam. 1:10; II Kings 20:2; Dan. 9:3,17; Acts 4:23-31; Acts 9:40; Acts 10:30; Acts 12:5-7.
STUDY YOUR BIBLE
It is always well for a Christian to read of the lives of good men and to read good books written by godly people. Trashy reading, such as cheap novels, ought always to be avoided. Concerning what you read, always ask yourself, “Will reading this tend to make me a better or more useful Person, or will it fill my mind with trash?” Our minds are a great workshop. We can fill them with useful things or with wasteful litter.
The greatest of all books to read is the Bible because it is God’s Word, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and therefore the choicest of all literature. We should practice trying to shut out all other thoughts and, in that state, to thoughtfully read the scriptures. Then we should meditate upon what we have read to get the meaning, as in this way we learn the will of the Lord for us. In reading the Word, you are taught about God, salvation, peace, holiness, and eternal life, and you learn how to resist temptation, to understand God’s dealing with you, and to obtain things promised.
In fact, through reading the scriptures, you are taught how to intelligently serve God and to appropriate the blessings of His kingdom to your heart. Because of lack of understanding of the scriptures, some Christians lead a rather aimless Christian life, living alone on such passing blessings as chance to come to them. Through study and meditation, we learn the richness of Christian grace, which is so much more than just a passing happy feeling. In reading God’s word we learn of many battle fields and of many spiritual victories which others have won. Through learning of the tests and victories of others, we will learn something of the reasons why we must pass through some of the experiences which will be ours and it will greatly help us in our trials and battles. Read the Bible every day, for in it is found the Bread of life, strength of God for your soul.
The scripture inspired of God. II Tim. 3:16.
Believed in and taught by Christ. Matt. 4:4; Mark 12:10; John 7:42; Luke 24:27.
Are full and sufficient. Luke 16:29, 31.
(a) Producing faith. John 20:31; Rom. 10:17; Rom. 15:4;
(b) Cleansing of the heart. John 15:3; Eph. 5:26;
(c) Building up. I Pet. 2:2; Acts 20:32.
You will be tempted, but temptation in itself is not sin, for man was tempted before sin ever entered into the world, and Jesus in His humanity was tempted in all points like as we are. Instead of temptation causing God to be displeased with us, we learn from Him that “blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.” James 1:12 The sin is in yielding to the temptation.
The different ways in which one may be tempted are so many that they have been spoken of as “divers temptations” (James 1:2) and “manifold temptations” (I Peter 1:6). If you will trust the Lord through trial when you are tempted and “resist (the devil) steadfast in the faith” (I Peter 5:9), you will come forth from the trying hour after the example of Jesus who “returned from the wilderness in the power of the Spirit.” Luke 4:4.
When confronted by temptation, perhaps to do something you were in the habit of doing before you were saved such as smoking or going to a show, simply start praising and worshipping the Lord in your heart, repeating over and over the Name of Jesus and pleading His blood over the thoughts in your mind. This is a certain way to get and to keep victory.
God allows us to be tempted that the quality of our character and the sincerity of our consecration may be proved; Satan tempts us, wishing to induce us to do something evil. Although we are saved, we are yet in the body, and there are certain natural characteristics of the natural man which Satan would like to debase. These have been spoken of as one’s “own lusts” and in the temptation one is said to be “drawn away and enticed” of them. James 1:14. Now these “lusts” are any desires which Satan may seek to induce us to yield to in any way that would lead us away from God and righteousness. We must therefore be alert, not only to resist temptation to wicked things as we usually understand them, but also to detect Satan when he may come as an angel of light to deceive us by temptation, seeking to cause us to believe that we may obtain further knowledge of God without the necessity of making sacrifices which Christians are required to make. II Cor. 11:14.
Temptation to evil comes from Satan. Job 1:9-11; I Pet. 5:8; Matt. 4:1.
Instruments that may be used:
(a) Personal lusts. James 1:14.
(b) Covetousness. I Tim. 6:9, 10.
(c) Evil associates. Prov. 1:10.
Temptation is permitted as a trial of faith. I Peter 1:7. And patience. James 1:2, 4.
God enables one to bear. I Cor. 10:13.
Victory comes through faith in Christ. I John 5:4, 5.
Blessedness of those who overcome. James 1:2-4, 12.
SHOULD YOU SIN
“Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.” I John 5:4. “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” I John 5:18. These verses show how definitely we may always be kept in victory. You should never, therefore, look for defeat.
But should you sin, what ought you to do? John knew that one might be ensnared by the tempter, so wrote, “and if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.” I John 2:1. You see then, that while Jesus gives us power to keep us from sinning, at the same time if we should be overcome He does not desert us, but instead, acts as our lawyer before the justice of God. And what does He plead in our behalf? The wounds which He bore at Calvary. He bore the penalty of our sins, and through shedding of His blood for us, as long as our hearts desire to love and serve Him, and we have a repentant heart, we may be forgiven if we fail Him.
If you are prone to fail along a certain line, it is then a fault, and you need someone to stand with you and pray with you until you get complete deliverance. The scripture says, “confess your faults one to another and pray one for another that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16. This fault should therefore be confessed to the Pastor or one of the more spiritual leaders in the church. They will pray with and for you until you get complete victory. This is God’s way for you to be delivered and live an overcoming life. That is why God has put pastors over His church to help those who are weak and need added strength.
Should you at any time become conscious of having done something that has grieved the heart of the Lord, should you sin with your tongue or omit doing something which you ought to do; should you become conscious of pride, of impatience, of covetousness, or of failing to witness; or should you feel that you are losing your first love or growing lukewarm, remember that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9. The tempter may at such a time tempt you to discouragement, to feel “what is the use?” or to “give the whole thing up!” Remember that any such thoughts come from Satan and surely you are not going to be fooled by him, are you?
To have always a happy, victorious life, learn to live in continuous dependence on Christ, to trust in the continuous cleansing of His blood, and with your heart to say, “Lord, I take Thee to be my life, my wisdom, my righteousness, and my strength.” He will prove Himself to be a guide, a comforter, a friend and a keeper.
God forgives His people.
Psalm 130:3,4,7; I John 1:9; I John 2:1,2.
Jesus is our great High Priest.
Heb. 4:14-16; Heb. 7:26; Heb. 9:24.
We are to look to Jesus and praise Him.
Heb. 12:2; Heb. 13:15.
Confess and repent.
I John 1:9; James 5:16; Prov. 28:13,
TESTS AND TRIALS
“Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are made partakers of Christ’s sufferings . . . If ye be reproached for the Name of Christ, happy are ye . . . If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” I Peter 4:12-16. Here we are told we are to have trials, therefore expect them. But He will be with us in the fiery furnace of testing, even as He was with the three Hebrew children and brought them out gloriously victorious. God as a faithful and holy Father will chasten you, test you, and allow your faith to be tried. Heb. 12:6. Sometimes you will not understand why you have to pass through such severe testing and at times you will not be able to see the way before you. Then like Job, you must learn to say, “But He knoweth the way that I take; when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10. Have faith in God. Remember you are God’s child and nothing can separate you from His love. Rom. 8:38, 39. Have faith in Him no matter what the trial may be. He is refining the gold, separating the dross which you cannot see, washing your garments, and ironing out the wrinkles so that you may be presented with His glorious church, “not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but . . . holy and without blemish.” Eph. 5:27.
God bless you as you journey toward the Holy City. The way will lead sometimes by quiet waters (Psalms 23:2); sometimes over stormy seas (Mark 4:38); sometimes by way of waters of blessing to swim in (Ezek. 47:5) ; and at other times by way of the waterless desert (Deut. 8:2). Whatever may be the way, Jesus will always be with you, so never fear.
AIM AT PERFECTION
Jesus has said, “Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matt. 5:48. Perfection, therefore, ought to be the goal to which all Christians seek to come. Be not discouraged if you do not arrive to perfection all at once. To become perfect in the sense of coming “into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13) requires time, testing, temptation, and trust. Your heart may be perfect from the moment you are saved in that you love God supremely and wish to live only for Him. It is development in perfection that requires years of yielding and learning from the Lord. This includes many lessons, trials and experiences, during which you must learn always to say “not my will but thine be done.” When you are first filled with the Spirit you are but an infant in the family of God. I Peter 2:2. From this, you grow into childhood, then youth, and finally into ripened experience. I John 2:12-14.
Paul sought perfection. Phil. 3:12.
Perfection of love is Perfection of heart. Col. 3:14.
Perfect Christlikeness is perfection of development. Eph. 4:12, 13.
Patience leads to perfection. James 1:4.
By F. E. Kinzie & G. D. Thompson
Under the heading of “A Church Home.” you read these words, “Then be sure to take an active part in the prayer meetings, street meetings, or other means of service, and show lively interest in winning others to Christ.”
I wish to emphasize that one of the greatest blessings of your Christian life will be winning others to Christ. In Acts 1:8 Jesus stated “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” This is the first work of the church. The whole purpose of the ministry of Christ was summed up in His own words, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” St. Luke 19:10. So great was Paul’s estimate of the work of saving his fellow men that he could wish that he himself were accursed from Christ, if by any means he might save some. Rom. 9:3.
In this task you are not alone. You become a co-laborer, not working for Christ, but rather with Him. I Cor. 3:9. His promise was “Go . . . teach . . . make disciples . . . lo, I am with you always. Matt. 28:19, 20. As you go, you have this assurance, “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.” Mark 16:20. We are not all preachers, but we are all witnesses. God wants to use you to lead others to Christ!
Why Many Christians Are Not Soul Winners
There are three basic reasons why many born again Christians are not soul winners. I. They do not realize their responsibility and obligation. 2. They are unconcerned. 3. They want to be but do not know how to be. The first point was covered in the above paragraphs. On the second reason, certainly nothing could be more tragic than a person, seeing another drowning and be unconcerned to the point that he would not attempt to save him. If he did not know how to save him, he could at least sound the alarm and summon help. If you find yourself ever in this category — ask God to forgive you and pray earnestly that a concern and burden for lost souls will weigh heavily upon your heart. A great many fall into the third class, and since you have just found the Lord, I want to help you know how to win souls to Him.
Your Need Of The Spirit Of God
Though taught for 3 1/2 years by Jesus Himself, His disciples were restrained from teaching or witnessing until they had been filled with the Spirit. This is a powerful lesson. We must have the guidance, energy and enduement of the Spirit of God to successfully win souls for God.
Your Tact In Approach
“Tact,” according to the dictionary is “the mental ability of doing and saying the right thing at the right time so as not to unjustly offend or anger.” The Word of God expresses it thus, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in baskets of silver.” Prov. 25:11 R. V. The need of wisdom in the approach to a soul is expressed plainly in the Word. “…he that winneth souls is wise. . .” Prov. 11:30; “Be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Math. 10:16. Paul’s testimony before Agrippa certainly is an apt illustration of one’s approach to a lost soul. Acts 26:3.
Never put the other person on the defensive or ill at ease. Look for something worth commending, either in their experience with God or in some matter of their secular life. Paul, upon meeting the twelve disciples at Ephesus did not discount their previous experience in God but rather recognized that which they had and from there unfolded to them God’s plan of salvation. Acts 19:1-6. Priscilla and Aquila acknowledged Appollos’s eloquence, fervency and knowledge, then led him into the more perfect way. Acts 18:24-28. Never belittle another in the presence of others. This defeats your purpose and destroys the effectiveness of your testimony.
Your Ability To Witness
Every Christian should have a working knowledge of the plan of salvation. Pointing to chapter and verse is an important means in convincing a soul of his need of being saved. You should be ready always to give an answer for the hope that is in you. I Peter 3:15.
On the inside of the back cover of this book are several groupings of scripture that will enable you to speak effectively to meet various needs of individual cases. Use it.
Your Conviction Of Truth
Without a deep, passionate conviction of the lost state of man. you can never successfully lead him to the Savior. You must be deeply convicted of the redemption that alone is found in and through the Cross of Christ. Eph. 1:7; Gal. 6:14; Acts 13:38,39. Too, you must be sincerely convinced of the future retribution of the unsaved and wicked; Rev. 20:15; Math. 25:41,46 and the future rewards and destination of the saved, I Thess. 4:16, 17; II Tim. 4:8; I Pet. 1:4; II Pet. 1:11. Having an absolute conviction of these truths will lead you to the place of prayer where intercession will be made for those that are lost. Ask God to give you a passion for the unsaved and burden your heart for them until you go forth with weeping, returning with rejoicing bringing your sheaves to the Master. Psalm 126:6.
(The above material was published by the Revival Tabernacle Press.)
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