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Church Of Christ Reap As They Sow
St. Louis, Mo., Dec. 12 Pastor Russell was here today and gave a profit able and interesting discourse from the text, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Gal. 6:7) He spoke as follows:
Some weeks ago we spoke particularly of the world’s sowing and reaping. Today we shall apply our text more especially to the Church of Christ. Thus applied, the Apostle’s thought would be that whatever a Christian sows, that shall he also reap. The Christian is now on trial for life or death eternal. The world is not now on trial. If the Christian lives according to the Spirit of God, he shall receive life everlasting; but if he sows to the flesh, he shall reap corruption everlasting death.
The Church has more enlightenment than has the world. Some in the world are naturally brighter than are some in the Church; for not many wise, rich or noble are called to be saints in Christ Jesus. (1 Cor. 1:26-29) But in proportion as the Church class have knowledge, they have the opportunity of obtaining the information which God gives to His people, not to the world. When they consecrate themselves to God and become living sacrifices, our Lord Jesus takes them and makes them acceptable to the Father by imputing to them of His merit. Then God gives them the begetting of the holy Spirit; and whoever is begotten of the holy Spirit begins then to have an enlightenment of the mind.
So it was in the case of our Lord Jesus Christ. When He had made His consecration at the Jordan and had gone down into the water, had symbolically gone into death, then as He came up out of the water, the holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove and “the heavens were opened unto Him.” (Matt. 3:16) All the higher things began to open up to His mind, things that He did not see before, things not seen by the natural mind, things seen only by this power of the holy Spirit.
During His forty days in the wilderness our Lord thought over those Old Testament Scriptures. As He did so, the things therein about which He had previously wondered began to open up to His understanding. He was now illuminated. So busy was He in His Bible study that He forgot all about eating. But after those things which had been obscure to Him had grown clear, He became hungry. He did not understand everything in the Scriptures, however; for He afterwards said that He did not know the time for the setting up of the Messianic Kingdom: “Of that day and hour knoweth no man, neither the angels, nor the Son, but the Father only.” God had not given out this knowledge as yet. But our Lord knew all that was then due to be known; and He assured His disciples that as His Father should reveal things to Him, He would reveal them to His followers, in due time. Mark 13:32; Acts 1:7; Rev. 1:1
Our Lord Jesus Christ was granted the illumination of the holy Spirit, and thus was an illustration of how all God’s people of this Gospel Age would receive a supernatural illumination. Theirs would not be in the same degree, however; for His life was perfect, far beyond that of fallen man. He had left the glory which He had with the Father, had humbled Him self to come down to earth and be made flesh. (John 1:14) As a man He was perfect, and in addition had the illumination which had come to Him as a spirit-begotten New Creature. This was instructing and guiding Him. From that time forward His life was one of daily guidance by this Spirit of continuous enlightenment.
This enlightenment was with respect to the Father’s will for Him; for He said, “I came to do the will of My Father in Heaven.” What He did was to sow to the Spirit. His Father’s proposition to Him was that He should present His body a living sacrifice, and be faithful even unto death. He was not to settle beforehand how it should be done; for the Father would direct that matter. He kept looking into the Word of God. His mind was kept open to see what the Word instructed Him to do; and thus He was guided by the Word. He ordered His life by the Father’s will. He did those things which the Scriptures said that He was to do.
This course led the Master to be out of accord with the people of His time; and this meant that those who would be in harmony with Him would also be out of harmony with men. His followers were to have only one Master, Christ. Our Lord had only one Master, even the Father. He has set us an example, that we should walk in His steps. Having received the invitation to cast in our lot with Him, to consecrate our lives as He did, we are called to share with Him in the sufferings of this present time, that we may share in the glory that shall follow. The one depends upon the other. Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:11, 12
THE SPIRIT-BEGOTTEN ARE ILLUMINATED
Some of us have accepted this offer. We have consecrated ourselves to God and have received the illumination from Above. When we received this enlightenment, our minds began to open to see the things of God as never before; and we are now seeing truths which our neighbors, children, parents and others do not see. Having the illumination of the holy Spirit, we have the mind of Christ. This Heavenly illumination makes clear the will of God for us. Because we have taken the proper steps, He has accepted us and has given us this earnest of our inheritance the holy Spirit through which we are enabled to discern His will. This causes the true Christian to be separate and distinct from the world.
“Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear,” said the Master. Others did not hear nor see. The great majority of those who heard our Lord Jesus did not comprehend His teachings. Those who could comprehend, blessed were they!
It is for these illuminated ones to sow to the Spirit, and not to the flesh. They are to use their wills, their talents and their influence for the spiritual things, but not for the earthly things. They have given up the natural things, the things of the earth. Of course they must have the necessities of life; but our Heavenly Father has promised to give His children what they need. “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of.” (Matt. 6:32)
Whatever may be our talents, they are given to God; and we are to use them to His glory. According to our use of them we are sowing either to the natural, earthly things, or to the spiritual, Heavenly things. If we are sowing to the spirit, we are using our time, our talents, etc., to the best of our ability as God would have us use them; and He will be very gracious in dealing with us.
RESULTS OF LIVING AFTER THE FLESH
There is no standstill for the New Creature. He must go on and reach a certain standard of perfection; else he cannot be accounted as one of the Kingdom class. So we must surely do the best that we are able to do, and then leave the matter with the Lord. But if we should give our lives over to the flesh, to live according to our own natural preferences, to live in the base of the brain, minding natural, earthly things if we should give time and attention to pet cats, dogs, ponies, automobiles, fine earthly appointments, and the pleasures of life, sowing to the gratification of the human nature we would be living after the flesh, even though we do not murder, steal, lie, etc. And “if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die.” Rom. 8:13
Should any one ask why God would destroy a consecrated Christian who lived according to his natural inclinations, we reply that the Christian is on trial for life or death. He has consecrated himself to God. The world has not. He has been begotten of the holy Spirit. The world has not. Mankind are not now in the condition wherein they are on trial for life. But the consecrated Christian has covenanted to give up these natural, earthly things in order to get the spiritual things. The fact that God has given of His Spirit to this class is the indication of their acceptance by Him. Therefore if any of them should turn back, should break his contract with the Lord by minding earthly things, he would die.
During the Millennial Reign of Christ the world will be on trial for life or death everlasting. Then no one may live a thousand years unless he shall be obedient to the laws of the Kingdom, and unless he shall turn to the Lord, shall seek to do the will of the Lord and manifest, at least outwardly, the Spirit of the Lord. Yet at the end of the thousand years those who outwardly obey only will not be accounted worthy of everlasting life. By that time all should have the Spirit of God; for during that period He will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh the Spirit of the Lord in the human nature. Perfected human nature will be able to have the Spirit of God working perfectly in the human body. But if at the end of the thousand years any one shall choose to live according to the flesh, he will not be granted everlasting life.
CHOOSING THE BETTER PART
Those who now choose the spiritual things are wise; for “eye hath not seen nor ear heard” the glories and blessings in store for the Church of this Gospel Age. (1 Cor. 2:9) When our great Redeemer shall present His faithful Bride class blameless and irreprovable in the presence of Jehovah God, then they will receive their reward who have lived according to the Spirit, who have willingly and gladly sacrificed the earthly things, who have continued to dwell in the secret place of the Most High. They will be of the Jewel class, cut, polished and mounted to shine forth to all eternity, a diadem in the hand of our God. Mal. 3:17; Isa. 62:3
To the Church the great Apostle says, “We are God’s workmanship.” (Eph. 2:10) When the Church is fully completed and glorified, then truly we shall exclaim, “What hath God wrought!” We are the children of God, begotten by His own Spirit, to reflect His glory throughout all eternity. He is showing us exceeding great favor now, but this is only a prelude to the future glories, “the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” “In the ages to come He will show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Eph. 2:7
We cannot clearly discern the unseen things; we cannot comprehend them with our finite natural minds. But with the new mind we can, even though but vaguely, grasp the thought of our Heavenly Father’s riches of grace and love, and can draw analogies from the things of this present life. Thus we can gain some faint idea of the glorious things which await the Church; and thus by faith we are enabled as New Creatures in Christ to see the things which are invisible and to rejoice in the wonderful things which are only partially disclosed at the present time.
Astronomers tell us that the use of powerful telescopes has revealed the fact that these stars are suns, and that around each of these one hundred and twenty-five millions of suns revolves a planetary system similar to our own. This would mean that there are probably one billion other worlds than ours. So far as we know, these worlds are uninhabited. But it seems reasonable that God’s work will one day extend to these planets. The foundation may have been already laid; and the glorified Church of Christ may have a work to do in connection with them all under our Father’s direction and in association with our Lord Jesus.
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