Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 22, 1960
NUMBER 33, PAGE 5,13b

From A Preacher's Note-Book

James W. Adams, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

"Because Thou Hast....I Will"

"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation...." (Rev. 3:10).

This statement was addressed by the Lord to the church of Christ in Philadelphia. (Asia Minor) In it there are two or three considerations worthy of note. (1) Observe the providence of God, "I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation." The Lord does not reveal to us precisely how this will be done. It is not necessary for us to know this in order to believe His statement. It is enough to know that He can and will exercise His oversight of men and nations for the protection of His faithful servants. Whatever "the hour of temptation" was, it was to com "upon all the world," but if Christ's followers continue to be faithful His providence would so operate as to deliver them from it. It is difficult for us to see how, in the light of such a statement, that any Bible student can deny the reality of God's providential care and oversight of his children.

(2) Note that the promise of the Lord is conditional. He said, "Because thou hast kept....I will." The Lord does not promise to keep His people unconditionally. All of the Lord's promises to His servants with reference to their being kept from evil, temptation, and falling are conditional. So often religious people quote Jude's statement along this line and abuse it by misapplication. Jude said, "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling...." (Jude 24) It is argued that God is able to keep his people from falling, hence will keep them unconditionally. Where as, the inspired apostle, Peter, clearly shows the manner in which God keeps his people from falling. Hear him, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven, for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (I Peter 1:3-5) God keeps his people through their faith.

(3) Observe the agency of God in the keeping of His people, "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee...." The word of God is the means by which God saves the alien and keeps the saint. The man who would seek to dispense with the word of God in the matter of salvation and disregard the absolute necessity of man's proper response to its requirements divests himself of the "power of God." God's power alone can save and keep His people. However, God does not bestow His power arbitrarily and directly, but through appointed means. The certain way of enjoying God's providence is by "keeping the word of his patience." It is quite evident to the careful Bible student that a proper attitude toward and a proper response to the word of God are indispensable conditions of the enjoyment of his approval and blessings while we live and His eternal reward in the world to come.

"Let Me Not Eat Of Their Dainties"

"Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practice wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties." (Psalms 141:4)

There have always been two practices that have worked ill for God's people and the cause of righteousness and truth: (1) The practice of wicked men to curry the favor and good will of the righteous through permitting them to "eat of their dainties;" and (2) the proneness of the righteous to be tempted to "eat of the dainties" of the wicked and to be compromised thereby.

The promoters of human institutions among the brethren in recent years constitute a glaring example of this', very thing. Several years ago we attended a meeting of the Board of Directors of one of the largest colleges among the brethren. One of the chief topics of discussion was whether or not the college would employ a money; raising concern to promote a fund raising campaign aimed) at the pocketbooks of rich men, industrialists, etc., who were not members of the church. It was disclosed in this meeting that another college operated by the brethren had done this and had raised phenomenal sums from such sources. The spirit that motivated this move was simply the desire to "eat of the dainties" of the wicked. We have lived to see the particular college to which reference was made in the board meeting tremendously influenced in the wrong direction by the sources of her income. Other institutions have inaugurated like programs with like results in one degree or another.

We know of a church in Texas which was split asunder by the desire of certain brethren to "eat of the dainties" of the liquor interests of the Country. Brethren objected to the congregation's accepting monetary contributions from the liquor interests. Other members forced the issue and the congregation split. A church in California several years ago had trouble over whether contributions from the race track association of that city should be accepted. The Christian Church had serious trouble many years ago ever whether the Rockefeller contributions should or should not be accepted.

In our day, we have seen the convictions and conscience of sound brethren compromised because they have "eaten the dainties" of the Innovators. In Babylon, "Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat...." (Dan. 1:8) The "man of God out of Judah" would not receive the "reward" of Jeroboam. He said, "If thou wilt give half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place...." (1 Kings 13) Let us, therefore, take care how we "eat of the dainties" of those who walk not in God's ways!

Hope For A New Day

Not the least of the blessings of the Christian life is the hope which sustains us. The Wise Man draws an analogy between the life of the just man and the cycle of the sun: "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Prov. 4:18) Our relationship with God is a progressive thing. As the sun progresses from dawn to high noon, so the Christian grows in strength and power from the babe in Christ to the "man of God." Like the sun from earth's vantage point also is the Christian when life's day for him is setting. He sinks into darkness but in the faith and hope of an arising on a new day. Isaac Watts put the matter beautifully in the following lines:

How fine has the day been, how bright was the sun How lovely and joyful the course that he run;

Though he rose in a mist when his race he begun, And there followed some droppings of rain!

But now the fair traveler's come to the west, His rays are all gold, and his beauties are best;

He paints the sky gay, as he sinks to his rest, And foretells a bright rising again.

Just such is the Christian — his course he begins, Like the sun in a mist, while he mourns for his sins,

And melts into tears; then he breaks out and shines, And travels his heavenly way:

But when he comes nearer to finish his race, Like a fine setting sun, he looks richer in grace,

And gives a sure hope, at the end of his days, Of rising in brighter array.

Let life bring upon us what it will. Let the storm clouds gather and the darkness come prematurely. Yet, there is ever with us the faith and the hope of the rising on a new and better day upon which the sun never sets nor across which the mists or clouds never come. Upon this day we set our hopes and upon him who inhabits it our affections.