Address to Young Christians: Part 1

Hebrews 13:7-16
Part I.
“Remember your leaders who have spoken to the Word of God; and considering the issue of their conversation, imitate their faith.”
I take it that this verse refers to those who have gone, on before; while those who might be taking the lead or acting as guides among us at the present time are treated in the 17th verse. So understanding that, we have brought before us in the 7th verse the admonition to remember those that have gone on before, and have blazed the way into which God has graciously brought us. Some of them were used directly for our blessing, for our enlightenment, for our instruction; some of them were perhaps used indirectly. And this means to remember them in a practical way; and the way we show that we do remember them, is by imitating their faith.
There never was a servant of God, outside of the blessed Lord Himself, in whom we could not find faults, both in his life individually and in his service; but it does not say to "imitate their failures," but "imitate their faith." So, if we were considering the Apostle Paul, for instance, we would not imitate his mistake in willfully a going against the admonition of the Spirit of God, and putting himself into a place of danger in Jerusalem; for that is not the part of his life which we are to imitate, but we are to imitate that part of his life which was the motive which led him to go there.
“Remember them." In connection with this thought, perhaps it would be well to drop a word about these who were used of God to give us the truth which we are enjoying here today. Of course, we got it from the Word of God-for all the truth that is to be had is contained in the Word of God-so I would not be misquoted in what I am going to say. But those whom the Spirit of God used to bring out what was already in the Word of God, to unfold to us, to give us understanding in it-and I am not beside Christianity when I speak thus, because we read of a man's journeying from Jerusalem, sitting in his chariot, reading his Bible. Some might say,
“That was sufficient; what more did he want?”
The Spirit of God did not say that that was sufficient, and the servant of the Lord joined himself to him, and said to him,
“Understandest thou what thou readest?" And his answer was,
“How can I except some man should guide me, or teach me?" And straightway he bid Philip to come up into the chariot; and Philip began and preached to him "Jesus.' That is what I mean to imitate in those whom God has used to give us the teachings in Scripture. It is in no wise saying that we are putting them on a par with the Apostle Paul, but it is honoring and giving a due place to those whom God has been pleased to use to give us marvelous truth.
I believe that one way we young people should remember them, is by familiarizing ourselves with what they have left to us in the way of written ministry; and I fear that there is an increasing dearth of good, sound, solid reading among our young people today. There is a reason for it, perhaps many reasons; but the multiplicity of reading matter is always presenting something else that we can read at the particular moment; and always that at a later season we can indulge in something that is more permanent. So one has to set himself with a good deal of purpose of heart, if one is going to read this written ministry.
Let me ask, How many of you have read so that you can say you have thoughtfully and intelligently read what was written by Mr. Darby, Mr. Wigram, Mr. Bellett and Mr. Kelly? Have you familiarized yourself with some of their precious ministry? Are you conversant with the writings of these who were, so to speak, the instruments the Holy Spirit used to restore the Word that was so long covered up by the traditions of men during the preceding centuries? If not, I heartily advise you to familiarize yourself with them, and teach yourself to enjoy their ministry. These were the servants God used to give us the truth at the beginning. So "remember them.”
As we said before, do not imitate their failures. You may say that some of them failed. Granted! We have all failed, for that matter. But find out something of their ministry, and learn to know the writings of these wonderful servants of God.
In the 8th verse we have brought before us the blessed person of the Lord Jesus Christ "the same yesterday, and today, and forever." How good that God has given us an object that does not change! His own blessed Son, forever the same. And the characteristics of the fathers, as we know from 1 John 1:1; 2:131That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (1 John 1:1)
13I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. (1 John 2:13)
, is that they know Him who was in the beginning.
We learn from those who were older and ripe in faith that they became increasingly occupied with the Person of Christ. And I have been persuaded for a long time that that is the only true test of growth in the things of God increasing occupation with Christ, with His Person, and with His work.
To be continued.