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3. G. S., Went worth. “Could we say from the word of God that all Christians will be taken up when the Lord comes, even though they may be walking in the most worldly manner; or can it be applied only to a waiting people, and to those that look and long for His appearing?”
There is no doubt that all Christians will be taken up, whether those that sleep in Jesus, or those who are alive and remain until He comes. (1 Thess. 4:14-1714For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:14‑17); 1 Cor. 15:2323But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. (1 Corinthians 15:23).) But the question is, Who are Christians? Christians, according to scripture, are not found mixed up with all kinds of worldliness. They are not of the world even as He is not of the world. No matter what a man professes to be, if practicing unrighteousness, he is of the devil. See 1 John 2:29; 3:7, 9, 1029If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. (1 John 2:29)
7Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (1 John 3:7)
9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (1 John 3:9‑10)
The Christian in scripture is regarded as waiting for the Lord. (Phil. 3:20, 2120For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:20‑21); 1 Thess. 1:10; 2:1910And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:10)
19For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? (1 Thessalonians 2:19)
.) And loving His appearing (2 Tim. 4:88Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8)); looking for it (Titus 2:1313Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; (Titus 2:13); Heb. 9:2828So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)), and keeping the word of His patience. (Rev. 3:1010Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10).)
Further, great numbers who pass for Christians with men, and who profess to be such, will be shut out. (Matt. 25:11-1211Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. (Matthew 25:11‑12).) Solemn words! Jesus will say, “Verily, I say unto you, I know you not.” Many, yes, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?.... And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matt. 7:22, 2322Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:22‑23).) We must not then suppose that worldly Christians will be left behind; but that worldly professors will be left, shut out forever.
May not the blessed hope of the Bridegroom’s return, restored to us in these last days, be used by the Spirit already to separate the true from the false? “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.” (Rev. 22:1717And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17).) “The bride” will include every true Christian. And the Spirit is moving the hearts of all such to say, “Come.” Do you meet a mere professor who says, The coming of Christ is nothing to me? No, his heart is engrossed in politics, pleasure, or worldly gain. He may be a powerful preacher, with fiery eloquence; he may lead thousands to popery or into infidelity; but could you say from scripture that he is a worldly Christian? Satan is leading off his companies, and the Spirit is leading the bride to say “Come.” Every day shows that you cannot depend on profession: blessed be God! we can depend on His word, and the guidance of the Holy Ghost.
4. Enquirer, Salisbury. Rev. 22:1111He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (Revelation 22:11) may be applied to either the close of the present time, or after the church is taken to be with the Lord. To us it speaks now, and it is most solemn. A fearful change is coming over mankind. The inspiration and authority of the word of God is boldly denied by many, pretending at the same time to be Christians; dishonesty and unrighteousness are defended; cruelty, robbery, and murder cease to be regarded as crimes; to pay honest debts is to do so at the risk of men’s lives, At such a time we hear the words: “And he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” And for our comfort at such a time it is added, “And behold, I come quickly.” Human society is fast becoming unmanageable. Soon it will be as it was in the days of Noah.
5. J. C, New Herring ton. “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:88But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. (Colossians 3:8).) This is not the thought of union with Christ, or of the believer’s security in Christ; but the very peculiar position in which the believer is at present. As to the life of the flesh, that to which sin is attached, and that to which all ordinances are addressed—to man as alive in that sinful flesh, to all this the believer is dead. This is what the Colossians in their day, and we in our day, again, need to know; and if we do not know this, Satan will get an advantage by leading us to ordinances for the improvement of sinful flesh. We have not to die to it or kill it by ordinances and mortifications. We are dead with Christ. This is the great remedy for present delusions, gathered largely from heathenism. But then we are in this peculiar position for the present: as to our own sinful life we are dead to it, and our new life is not yet manifested, but hidden, just as Christ is at present hid in God—quite sure and safe, but hidden, soon to be revealed. “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” And mark, whilst waiting for this we are to mortify everything of the old life of sin in the flesh. It is still there, but we are dead, and therefore must not seek to live that life at all. Do not forget that our true life in Christ is not yet revealed, does not appear, though we have it and enjoy it.
6. W. J., Bangor. How are we to know the Lord’s guidance? There are scriptures, such as Acts 8:26, 29; 10:8, 7; 12:8; 13:2; 16:6, 1026And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. (Acts 8:26)
29Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. (Acts 8:29)
8And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa. (Acts 10:8)
7And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; (Acts 10:7)
8And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. (Acts 12:8)
2As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. (Acts 13:2)
6Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, (Acts 16:6)
10And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. (Acts 16:10)
; &a, in which the Lord spake very distinctly to His servants, and gave them divine Instructions, where they were to go, and what they were to do. We must also remember that in those early days of the church there was real faith in the presence of the Holy Ghost on earth. No one ever thought then of praying for the Holy Spirit. And no one then ever thought of taking the place of the Holy Spirit, as a pope, or a president, amongst the saints.
Now this kept the saints in the hourly expectation of the Spirit’s real guidance. How different now, is it not? It is also true, as you say, that we have not a scripture to say whether we are to go to this place or that to preach the gospel. There is the general principle to preach the gospel to every creature. I have just published “The Way the Lord hath led me.” My chief object in that little volume was to lead souls to have to do with God in this very matter. Very much depends on real faith in the personal presence of the Holy Ghost on earth. I do not say it is a voice; but to you it should be exactly as if a voice spake to you. The little volume is just an answer to your question. I send it you.
“Thankfulness.”—Your offering for the Lords needy ones shall be used as requested.