Studies in the Scriptures
Zion's Watch Tower
Walk as children of light...proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. Ephesians 5:8,10
IF we be sanctified to God by the Truth--if our wills be dead, and the Lord's will be fully accepted as ours, in thought, word and act, we have attained the will of God and will win the prize as "overcomers" --even if, opportunities being denied us, we never preached, never gave to the poor and never suffered as martyrs for the Truth's sake. Let us all note well this point,--"This is the will of God [concerning you] even
." Let nothing becloud or obscure this truth;--neither other truths nor errors. Let it dominate our course in life, and then, if God's will is really our will, we have a clearly marked pathway before us, which is very important.
Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it. 1 Corinthians 4:12
IF you are a faithful pupil it will not be long until you see that the perfect law of liberty, the law of Christ, is a discerner of the very thoughts and intents of the heart, and that while you must hate all sin, you cannot hate any sinner and yet have the love of God perfected in your heart....If even so much as a bitter feeling against our traducers and maligners arise, it is to be fought, and so complete a victory gained over it that every fiber of our beings will be in sweet accord with our Great Teacher's instructions, "Love your enemies. Pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you. Bless and injure not."
I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Psalm 16:8
HE who has buried his own will completely in the will of the Lord can know no disappointment; but in every affair of his life he sees by faith divine appointment or supervision, and hears the Word of the Lord in all of life's affairs assuring him, "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose." It is one of the evidences of reaching the graduating condition of heart, when we are able to take the oppositions of the great Adversary and of the world and of our own flesh
, uncomplainingly, unmurmuringly, "joyfully"--as a part of the disciplinary experience meted out to us by our all-wise and all-loving Lord.
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? Isaiah 53:1
THE call of the church in the present time is to let the light shine and thus attract persecution, and to endure the persecution for righteousness' sake, and to be rightly exercised by it in patience, brotherly kindness, pity and love--toward the persecutors and toward all men.... Let all, then, who see the prize, and who see the light of God's glory shining in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord, be faithful to the Father's conditions, calling, service. Let all such give attention to this ministry (service) which we have received, and faint not; be not discouraged, whether men hear or whether they forbear, whether they think ill of us or whether they speak ill of us; let us remember that our report at the end of the trial is to be rendered to the Lord Himself, when He is making up His jewels.
The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth,...and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4,5
LET us remember that the first condition of acceptance with God is loyal
to His Word, the evidence of love for Him and faith in Him. Let us remember, also, that the second qualification He will look for in us is love for the brethren, readiness to be, to do and to suffer, to die on behalf of those who are really, truly consecrated children of God, seeking to walk in His ways.
What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall He teach in the way that he shall choose. Psalm 25:12
IT is not for us to supervise the trials and difficulties which may beset us. It is for us to make an unreserved consecration of ourselves to the Lord and then leave to Him the decision of how great shall be our trials and besetments--how great our sacrifices in following His leadings. The Lord may see that some need special trials more than others, and those things which to some would be great trials and imply great sacrifices, to others, because of greater love for the Lord and His cause, and greater zeal for service, the sacrifice might be, as the apostle expresses it of his own, "light afflictions, which are but for a moment, and which are working out a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
Behold the Lamb of God! John 1:36
ALL of the Lord's servants should call attention to the Lord and not to themselves. Let us each bend our energies to pointing men to the Lamb of God, and not to self-seeking.... Modesty is a gem, wherever found, one of the graces of the Spirit, which all of the Lord's consecrated ones should seek to have largely developed and well polished.... And let us remember that following Jesus, in the best sense, means that we walk in His paths, strive to do as nearly as we are able what He would do today, taking our lessons from what He did and said personally, and from the instructions which He has left for us, through the apostles, respecting the path of fellowship in His sufferings, the path to glory and joint-heirship in His Kingdom.
The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the Truth. 1 Timothy 3:15
THE Lord's church, the only one to which the name
, body or church, is properly applicable, is so insignificant, so unostentatious, and comparatively so poor in this world's riches, that it is not recognized nor recognizable from the worldly standpoint. It is neither man-made nor man-ruled; nor are its members enrolled on earth, but in heaven. (
) Its head and bishop is the Lord, its law is His Word: it has but one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism; and it is built upon the testimonies of the holy apostles and prophets--Jesus Christ Himself being its chief corner-stone.
When He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice. John 10:4
THE voice of the Good Shepherd is a blending of various sounds in a manner in which they are blended by no other voice. His voice sounds forth the chord of justice commingled with the chord of love, and the whole intoned with wisdom and with power. Other theories, plans and schemes of men and devils have no such harmony of sound as has the message which the Great Shepherd has sent us through His Son. Moreover when the true sheep hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, it satisfies their longings as nothing else could do. They will no longer be in danger of being attracted by other sounds, or voices, theories or schemes, but will reply to all, "Jesus has satisfied; Jesus is mine."
All bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. Luke 4:22
THIS should be true as far as possible with all of the Lord's footstep followers: their speech should be with grace, with moderation, the overflow of hearts full of loving sympathy for the Truth and all who love and seek it. Their words should always be well within the limits of reason and righteousness, and strictly in conformity to the Word of the Lord. And their manner, their conduct, as living epistles, should harmonize with these so that even their enemies would marvel, and take knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus and learned of Him.
Whosoever is begotten of God sinneth not,... but keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. 1 John 5:18
SO long as the heart (the mind, the will) is holy, in harmony with God and righteousness,--that is to say, so long as the seed of our begetting, the spirit of holiness, continues in us,--the new mind cannot approve of sin, but must and will be its opponent. Even though many of the battles fought are with the members of our fallen and weak human nature, their appetites and desires, we nevertheless, as "New Creatures," are separate and distinct from the flesh, and the weaknesses and imperfections of the flesh are not imputed to the New Creature in Christ Jesus, but are reckoned as covered, hidden under the merits of our Lord's redemptive sacrifice.
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. John 8:36
THE true disciples heeding the Word of the Great Teacher, and continuing in all things to be His pupils, are not only set free from superstitions and ignorance, but also from the service of sin; and receive instead a correct appreciation of their own natural weaknesses and blemishes, and of the divine mind--the Truth. In consequence, their freedom is one which blesses instead of injuring them; one which brings humility instead of pride and boastfulness; one which brings patience instead of anger; one which brings generosity and benevolence instead of spitefulness and selfishness; one which brings joy and peace instead of discontent and bitterness of spirit. Truly, the Son alone can make us free indeed.
Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness. 2 Corinthians 11:14,15
IF it be asked, How could Satan be interested in doing a good work? we answer, the adversary thus assumes the garment of an angel of light and mercy, not to lead to the Light of the World--not to lead to the cross of Christ--not to lead to the Bible--but to lead away from these, to another hope of salvation, and to another teacher, to deceive, if it were possible, the very elect. And be it remembered that our Lord's words indicate that when matters come to this condition, where Satan will cast out Satan and heal disease, it is a marked evidence that his throne is tottering to its fall--that, so to speak, this is the last extremity of the adversary's efforts to deceive.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger,...and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. Ephesians 4:31
FROM his high standpoint of appreciation of the divine law, the advanced Christian sees that in the Lord's sight hatred is
, slander is
, and the destruction of a neighbor's good name is
and rapine. And any of these things done in the church, among the professed people of God, is doubly evil--the assassination and robbery of a
.... The only exception to this rule, "Speak evil of no man," would come in where we might know of an absolute necessity for making known an evil--where the relating of the evil would be contrary to our heart's wishes, and only mentioned because of necessity-- because of love for others who, if not informed, might be injured.
Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, ...and have not love, it profiteth me nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:3
IN our ministrations to others we are not to forget that money is not the only thing of which people are sorely in need--some need love and sympathy who do not need money. Our Lord was one of these: His own heart, full of love, found comparatively little companionship in the more or less sordid minds of even the noblest of the fallen race represented among His apostles. In Mary He seemed to find the depth of love and devotion which was to Him an odor of sweet incense, of refreshment, of reinvigoration, a tonic: and Mary apparently appreciated, more than did others, the lengths and breadths of the Master's character. She not only delighted to sit at His feet to learn of Him, but also delighted, at great cost, to give Him some manifestation of her devotion, her love.
Be ye filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18
THE measure of our filling will correspond with the measure of our emptying of the spirit of self-will, and filling with the spirit of faith and obedience. And although the obedience cannot do otherwise than manifest itself in the daily life, nevertheless it is the obedience of the
, of the
, of the
, that the Lord regards in His consecrated people. Hence some whose hearts are thoroughly loyal to the Lord may be pleasing to Him, while not the most pleasing to some of those with whom they come in contact; while others, "highly esteemed among men" because of outward moralities, may be an "abomination" in the sight of God, because of coldness or dishonesty of heart. Nevertheless, he that hath the new hope in him, and the new spirit, will seek to purify himself, not only in his thoughts, but also in his words and deeds and all his affairs, inward and outward.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee. Isaiah 26:3
THIS is not worldly peace, not the peace of indifference, not the peace of sloth, not the peace of self-indulgence, not the peace of fatalism; but it is the peace of Christ--"My peace." Looking back we can see that the Master preserved His peace with God under all conditions. It is a peace which implicitly trusts to the divine wisdom, love, justice and power, a peace which remembers the gracious promise made to the Lord's faithful--that nothing shall by any means hurt His faithful, and that all things shall work together for good to them that love God. This peace can accept by faith whatever divine providence permits, and can look through its tears with joyful expectancy for the ultimate blessings which the Master has promised, and of which the present peace and joy are merely foretastes.
In the last days perilous times shall come. Men shall be traitors, heady,...lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. 2 Timothy 3:1,4
THE true Christian is not "heady;" on the contrary, his consecration to the Lord figuratively decapitated him. He lost his head, renounced his own will and self-rule, and submitted himself as a
member of the body
of Christ, to the absolute control of Jesus, the Head....The true Christian, therefore, in every affair of life,--in respect to its pleasures as well as in respect to its burdens and trials,--appeals to his Head for direction, to know how and what to do or say--yea, to have even the very thoughts of his mind in full conformity to the will of God in Christ.
The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it? John 18:11
HOW the grace of humility shines out in all the little affairs of our dear Redeemer's ministry; even at the moment of His surrender to His enemies He does not boast that His course is a voluntary one, nor seek praise as a martyr! He declares the simple truth that the Father required this of Him as an evidence of His personal loyalty to Him. He confesses Himself a servant of God, a Son who learned obedience by the things which He suffered. No other lesson, perhaps, is more needed by the Lord's followers than the one of willingness to drink the cup which the Father pours--a recognition that the Father is guiding and directing in our affairs because we are His, as members of the body of the Anointed One.
I am the true vine, and My Father is the Husbandman... every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. John 15:1,2
AS even the best branches in the vine, which give evidence of fruit-bearing, require pruning, so even the most honest and earnest of the Lord's people require the Lord's discipline and providential care--otherwise they might soon run to woodmaking also, and fail to bring forth much fruit.... The true child of God whose will has been entirely immersed into the will of the Lord is neither offended nor discouraged by these prunings. He has learned something at least of his own unwisdom, and has confidence in the wisdom of the great Husbandman. Hence when divine providence estops his efforts in some directions he takes the thwarting of his plans joyfully, assured that the Lord's will and the Lord's way are the best, and intended to work out a blessing.
To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the Truth. John 18:37
IT was our Lord's faithfulness to the Truth that brought upon Him the opposition of those who were blinded by the adversary. It was His witness to the Truth that cost Him His life, and it was the giving of His life in defence of the Truth that constituted the redemption price. Similarly all of the Lord's followers are to bear witness to the Truth--the truth in respect to God's character and plan.... It is such witness to the Truth that is to cost all the true followers of Jesus their lives in presenting themselves living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God through Christ Jesus. Let each one who hopes to be a joint-heir with the Prince of Life in the Kingdom witness to the Truth--a good confession respecting the Kingdom, its foundation and ultimate superstructure in glory.
The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. Psalm 34:18,19 A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again. Proverbs 24:16
IF at any time we find we have taken a wrong course which is irretrievable, we may expect it to bring the disappointments as the Lord has foretold: but He may permit it to bring, as well, some blessings in the way of contrition of heart, and humility toward the Lord, and greater zeal, watchfulness and faithfulness for the future. Thus even some of the blunders of life may become stepping-stones to higher planes of grace and truth.
If any provide not for his own,...he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5:8
" includes thoughts of love, sympathy, interest and care for others, especially for them of the household of faith....How it gives us an insight into our Lord's sympathetic nature, to find Him thinking in the interest of others at the very time when He Himself was overwhelmed in trouble! His own agony did not hinder Him from thinking of His mother, and making provision for her comfort....We note the choice of John: it was doubtless because, first of all, of his loving, tender disposition; secondly, his zeal for the Lord and the Truth; and thirdly, his courage in pressing near to be with his dying Master in His closing hours, at the risk of his own life. Let us note these characteristics, as being those which the Lord approves, that noting them we may cultivate them in ourselves, and thus be granted special opportunities for service by this same Master.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16
COMMUNION with the Lord in prayer brings increased confidence in the Lord's supervision of our affairs; increased faith in all the exceeding great and precious promises of His Word; increased realization of His leadings, past and present; increased love for all the brethren of Christ, and increased solicitude for their welfare and spiritual progress. Prayer is thus closely and actively identified with progress in spiritual things, progress in the fruits of the Spirit, toward God, the brethren, and all men.
There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? James 4:12
IT is in harmony with this thought that the Apostle Paul declares in one place that neither the world nor the brethren were capable of judging him--that only the Lord, who could read the heart and know all the conditions and testings and weaknesses to be striven against, could properly judge. He even declares, "Yea, I judge not mine own self." (
1 Corinthians 4:3
) It is an excellent plan neither to condemn others who claim to be walking conscientiously as children of the Lord, nor even to condemn ourselves under similar circumstances. We should simply press along day by day, doing the best we can to cultivate the heavenly graces and to serve our Master, leaving all the results with the Lord.
To him that overcometh will I give...a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. Revelation 2:17
THE overcomers must all be proven to be such as would sacrifice every other thing for the Lord; such as would sacrifice the love and fellowship and approval, if necessary, of every other being, in order to retain the love and favor of the Lord. We believe that this test is coming daily closer and closer to the Lord's consecrated people, and it behooves every one of us to remember that this is one of the elements of our trial, and to set our affections on the heavenly things accordingly, and to mortify or deaden all such affections toward earthly beings and things as would bring these into competition with our Lord in our affections, service, etc.
We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Daniel 6:5
ALL are not leading spirits, as was Daniel, nor are all given to visions and revelations and interpretations, as was he; but all will have the same spirit of devotion to principles of righteousness, which devotion will be tested under divine providence, step by step, through the narrow way, as they seek to walk in the footsteps of Him who set us an example--our Daniel, our Leader, our Lord Jesus. Let all, then, who have named the name of Christ depart from iniquity; let all such be faithful: "Dare to be a Daniel."
If ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye. 1 Peter 3:14
IT is only when we are hated because of our loyalty to the Truth (directly or indirectly) that we are to take satisfaction therein, or to think that we are suffering for righteousness' sake. As the apostle points out, some suffer as evildoers and as busy-bodies in other men's matters, or because of ungentleness, uncouthness, or lack of the wisdom of moderation, which the Lord's Word counsels. It is our duty not only to study the Lord's will, but also to consider well the circumstances and the conditions which surround us, and to seek to adopt such a moderate course in life as would first of all have divine approval, and secondly, cause as little trouble, inconvenience and displeasure to others as possible, and then to confidently rely upon the Lord's supervising wisdom and providence.
Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us. Daniel 3:17
THE Lord's providences vary, and it is not for His people to decide when shall come remarkable deliverances, and when they shall apparently be left entirely to the will of their enemies without any manifestation of divine favor on their behalf....Sometimes, the Lord's people who are bound, restrained of liberty to proclaim the Truth, find, as did the three Hebrews, that the fire burns the cords and sets them free, and really gives them larger opportunities to testify to the glory of our God than they could have had by any other course. It is not, therefore, for us to predetermine what shall be the divine providence in respect to ourselves; we are to note the point of right and duty and to follow it regardless of consequences, trusting implicitly to the Lord.
Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines. Canticles 2:15
MANY deal slackly with themselves in respect to little violations of their consecration vow, saying,-- "What's the use of such carefulness and so different a life from that of the world in general?" Ah! there is great use in it, for victories in little things prepare for greater things and make them possible: and on the contrary, surrender to the will of the flesh in the little things means sure defeat in the warfare as a whole. We who have become "New Creatures," reckonedly, in Christ, know that we are to be tested (if our testings have not already commenced), and should realize that only as we practice self-denials in the little things of life, and mortify (deaden) the natural cravings of our flesh in respect to food, clothing, conduct, etc., will we become strong spiritually and be able to "overcome."
Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire. 1 Corinthians 3:13
THE apostle speaks of this time of fiery trial, and, likening the faith and works of a zealous Christian to a house built of gold, silver and precious stones, he declares that the fire of this day, in the end of this age, shall try every man's work of what sort it is, and shall consume all but genuine faith and character structures. But we are to remember that such loyal characters grow not suddenly, in a few hours or days --mushroom like,--but are progressive developments, fine-grained and strong like the olive tree.