“Pillars of defense and no compromise” is what we want to read together about, if you care to turn with me to Philippians 1, and there we read about a pillar of defense and no compromise. Philippians chapter 1 and verse 17 and verse 7. Philippians chapter 1, verse 17, Paul said, “Out the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel,” and then verse 7 of the same chanter, Philippians 1, we have the reading, “Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.” lie said in that verse 7, “because I have you in my heart.” When Paul wrote that, he used a reflective clause that meant both ways. “I have you Philippians in my heart and you Christians have me in your heart. Most wonderful fellowship, shepherd-sheen relationship the world has ever known, no congregation of people are so dearly loved by their shepherds, as nod’s people are loved by God’s shepherds, and there are no shepherds in the world who are so dearly loved by their people, as God’s shepherds are loved by their people, be willing to die for each other rather than betray confidence and trust and faith.
Now Paul said, “I am set for the defense of the gospel.” I suppose, it’s beside our point, but seems the scripture puzzles so many of the Lord’s people right here before and after verse 17, maybe we’ll tarry a minute and explain that, seems like some of the Lord’s people are confused by that where Paul said in verse 18, “What then? Notwithstanding every way whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice”. And they wonder does Paul mean it is alright to preach something else? No. These were men in the true ministry who weren’t in sympathy with Paul’s firm convictions of “no compromise.” He wasn’t talking about, to put it as charitably and graciously as I can, and I think you will get the point, he wasn’t talking about all the “isms” around us in the world today, those “isms” in the name of Christ were not in the world, there was the one church and the one ministry in the name of Christ only, and these men in question were some men who had attached themselves to the New Testament ministry, to be as charitable as I can to the whole situation, I will use the word “attached”, I’m just not sure how far in they were. But, Paul said earlier in verse 14, “Many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Most of the other workers in the ministry were so much encouraged and inspired not to compromise but to be a pillar of defense when they saw this in Paul. But Paul said to these other men in verse 15, “Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife.” Well, some of them had a spirit of envy and strife toward Paul because he was so firmly set for the defense of the gospel. And he said in verse 16, “The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds.” They were not as sincere as they should have been, compromises were alright with them, but Paul said, “I am set for the defense of the gospel” and the other, most of the rest of the workers, the servants of God, had a spirit of love toward Paul because he said, “They know something,” it’s no secret, they knew it clearly. Paul said, “They know that I am set for the defense of the gospel.” Absolutely no compromises.
Pillars don’t come ready-made in God’s house, Revelations 3:12, the pillars. Pillars don’t come ready-made, pillars are forged in the fiery furnace of experience. I say again, pillars don’t come ready-made, pillars are forged in the fiery furnace of experience. Further, pillars are never part of the problem, or problems, and Paul was a pillar of defense. He said “I’m set”; you might as well try to move him as to move the rock of Gibraltar. I’m set for the defense of the gospel. No compromise; compromise means a partial surrender of purposes and principles. Surrender your purposes a little way and then pretty soon you will be surrendering your principles, Godly principles. And then after dwelling on that plane and getting a seared conscience for a while, then surrender God’s purpose in your heart a little more and then you will be surrendering God’s principles. And then after dwelling on that level and plane and petting a seared conscience there for a while, then you step down another step on the stairs of compromise, and then after dwelling there, surrendering God’s purposes, then surrendering God’s principles for a while. Actually It amounts to this: Compromise is full surrender on the installment plan.
However there is a hope, sometimes people and even the church collectively might compromise temporarily, and God will wake them up and they will remove that compromise. Paul said, “I am set firmly for the defense of the gospel,” absolutely no compromise. And I discovered a couple years ago that Paul had only been in the ministry 20 years or a little over, give or take some at this time, and it shook me like an earthquake, seems like the Lord was trying to get through to me and say, “Wake up.” Now it’s true, there was this one or two or three others that were preaching contention; Paul said, “They have a ministry; what, then? Paul was keeping his spirit right, what then, what am I going to do about this problem? Well, notwithstanding every way whether in pretense or truth Christ is preached, these others were preaching the truth, so I will let them go on and I’ll let God take care of that, and he did I’m sure eventually. But he said “pretense,” their ministry had too much pretense in it. There was too much compromise in their convictions. Paul said, “I’m firmly set for the defense of the gospel.” I’m set.
Now then, God has clearly given us His mind on the subject. God has given us one hundred chapters written by the pen, the inspired pen, of the man who said, “I am set for the defense of the gospel” and He has not given us one verse from those Men who had that other spirit toward Paul, I say God has very clearly given us His mind on the subject so we are in no fault on it. Furthermore while we are in such an area of discussion, take the days of Noah. Man in Genesis 6:12, man had corrupted God’s way, that wasn’t some false way, man had got in with a lot of corruption inside of God’s little family of faith, and rather than to allow the standard of truth and righteousness and purity to be lowered in God’s family of faith in the days of Noah, God reduced the membership clear down to only eight, and I say that’s major surgery. We don’t have to be in any doubt or question; God has clearly given us His mind on the matter.
Paul said, “I am set for the defense of the gospel.” If you were to read history you’d find all the great powerful nations of the world were not destroyed by enemies from the outside, they were destroyed by corruption and laziness and carelessness and lowering of all kinds of standards even naturally on the inside of their nations that caused them to crumble and tumble and fall. Of course I’m only a visitor over in this country, but I suppose, well, I shouldn’t say I suppose, the Bible teaches me, you’ve got the same devil over here, and the same human nature over this way as we’ve got in California.
Oh, folks, you know it’s a thrill to be a pillar of defense when you’ve got something to defend, and I’m sure all of our hearts this afternoon must say a hearty amen to this, that surely we’ve got something to defend. After sitting in these heavenly places and enjoying the abundant lavish ministration from the heart of God and the river that has flowed from the throne of God and the lamb so freely into our hearts, we’ve got something that’s worth defending. Amen?
Now, seeing that we are right so close, shall we just turn back to the front of the bible about four pages to Galatians 5, please. Fifth chapter of the book of Galatians, will you read with me please. In Galatians 5, we will start with verse 15 and read through verse 23. Invite you to listen and follow carefully in the reading, please. Galatians 5:15 “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” Verse 16 especially, “This I say then, walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (17) “For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; and these things are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye wood. (18) But if ye be led of the spirit, ye are not under the law. (19) Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, Fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife seditions, heresies, (21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (22) But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (23) Meekness temperance: against such there is no law”.
Now then, if you will please take a marker of some kind and hold it here in this place, we’re coming back and spending most of our meeting right here. We’ll have to take a little detour; in the interest of time finding Galatians real quickly again, just drop a marker in or hold your finger there if you don’t have a marker, please. I would like to turn you to Isaiah 56, now I could quote you this but I’m afraid you would miss it, somehow I happen to think if we read some of these things maybe it will engrave it a little more on our hearts. Isaiah 56, please. When we come to Isaiah 56 it will be verse 9 and 10. Isaiah 56 and reading verse 9: “All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest. (10) His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark: sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.” Now let’s just please hold our place here for a while. Two and a half years ago I was agonizing in prayer, in “Wits End Corner”. Now, some of my follow servants will know, all of them, will know what I mean by “Wits End Corner.” Agonizing; desperately trying to get an answer from God; there does our responsibility lie as God’s shepherds, and when I was praying and laboring there, it just seemed to come to me as clear as the noon day sun: Get your Bible and study about the watchman. If you would like to make a good choice filet mignon for your own study, in God’s word, get your concordance and spend a few weeks on the watchman, and go over it, and over it, and over it, and over it, oh, it’s an eye-opener. But I found this verse amongst others. Here was a time when the shepherds in Israel were not doing what they were supposed to do as a watchdog. Now, I don’t mind being called a dog if it’s a watchdog, but these watch dogs, they were sleeping watchdogs and a sleeping watchdog is no good. Now folks, this is not talking about the Catholics and Protestants, we have no right to steer it their way. That’s a warning to me. These were some of those who were supposed to be true shepherds in Israel and I have been speaking a lot on this in the last two and a half years, because it, well, seems to meet a desperate need amongst us, I mean in my own life, my own soul. Of the danger of going either to sleep–now sleep is deep sleep, but he said slumber, that’s just light sleep, half way between being awake and being deep sleep. I’ve been a little slumbery in my ministry sometimes and I’m ashamed of it, and I vowed to God that if He would have mercy and forgive my soul, I would try and keep awake as a watchdog. A watchdog is supposed to be awake and bark in alarm, that’s what he’s there for, that’s what he is to be kept for.
Now then, we are right at this place, please keep your place, in Isaiah 56, something more I want to say there in a moment. (we’ll appreciate this when we understand the times. Now I’m not going to ask you to turn to any other scripture on this. If you will listen carefully please, I want to give you the setting in which this sets. This is during the last 15 years of the reign of King Hezekiah after he got sick in the fourteenth year of his reign and God gave him 15 more years to live, and I’ll tell you how we know. This won’t be too deep, will it? I hope we like to do more than scratch the surface of the Bible like a day-old chick. I hope you like to get the subsoiler in like a farmer once in a while. Here it is, in the first verse in the book of Isaiah, Isaiah said his ministry to Israel was in the days of four Kings, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, the last, but he didn’t say anything in the reign of the next king, Manasseh, so Isaiah and Hezekiah must have died along about the same time, give or take a little. Isaiah must have died around the end of the fifteenth year of the reign of Hezekiah, give or take a little. Now then, Hezekiah reigned in Israel 29 years–in the fourteenth reign of Hezekiah was the terrible year of compromise in Israel by Hezekiah. The older I get, the more I see the need for us as God’s servants, especially studying carefully Chronicles and Kings. That’s the year of the terrible compromise in Israel. Would you just like the eight chapters or more in the Old Testament, as near as I can figure out, at least in the days of the Kings, about the one year of the fourteenth year of the reign of Hezekiah than any other year, I’ll just give you the chapters real quickly, about the fourteenth year of the reign of Hezekiah, you can jot them down; abbreviate for speed, please. First Kings, IK is enough, chapters 18 through 20, that’s three. Second Chronicles, CHR is enough, chapter 32, some more about it. Then Isaiah, Isa. is enough, chanters 36 through 39, four chapters about the horrible fourteenth year of the reign of Hezekiah, the terrible year of compromise. How did he compromise? Just briefly: After he got sick-before he got sick he did fine, but I don’t know what happened when the man got sick. The son of the King of Babylon way off east there where Iraq and Iran is today to Hezekiah after they heard he had been sick, and sent some presents along to soften him and butter him up. Poor Hezekiah, he was surely gullible. Now the watchmen on the wall around Jerusalem were faithfully doing their job according to the nineteenth chapter, they were doing it well, but when those men came and knocked on the gate of Jerusalem, Hezekiah should have climbed the wall with the rest of those faithful watchmen and said, “You go back home to Babylon, the land, the city of religious confusion where you come from, and stay there,” but he didn’t, he went and opened the gate and let those men in and showed them all the treasures in the Lord’s house, and his house that himself had stored there in generations of the faithful fathers before—and the thin edge of the wedge of false religion was inside. And the dear old prophet Isaiah heard about it and he came to Hezekiah and he said, “Who are those men and where did they come from?” “Oh, they come from Babylon, a far country.” Isaiah said, “What did you show them?” “Everything.” Poor old Isaiah, he must have been a heartbroken, crushed man, a man who believed in no compromise. He said to Hezekiah, “The day will come when your posterity, your great-great-grandchildren will be slaves over there in that country that those men came from in Babylon”. When Isaiah said this to Hezekiah, it didn’t seem to bother Hezekiah, he said, “Good is the word of the Lord, there shall be peace and truth in my days.” He compromised for the sake of peace and truth. Folks, perish the day that any of us will compromise God’s word and God’s principles just to escape a little trouble, a little persecution. Paul didn’t, he said, “I am set for the defense of the gospel,” regardless. Hezekiah just because he was compromised to take the easy way, sold the future generations of God’s people down the river into slavery. They spent 70 years in Babylon–if you want to read some of their sorrows, just read the book of Ezekiel, Daniel and Esther, 70 years down there in the land of captivity. Hezekiah was partly, only partly, but partly responsible for that. Oh, folks, perish the day, dread it would be if you and I would escape fighting the battle to hold the standard of God and the flag flying at the top of the mast, and then sell some of our grandchildren, great-grandchildren, our great-great-great grandchildren, great-great-great grandchildren down the river in something that’s only–not of God at all–just only a substitute, and a fake, just because we compromised, and compromised, and compromised, and compromised. How can we, how could we if we love the Lord? We can’t.
Now then, these verses here are written in this era, this age, this time, and I said that the thirty-ninth chapter brings the story up to the end of the fourteenth year of the reign of Hezekiah. So, the rest of Isaiah from Chapter 40 on through chapter 66, those 27 chapters must have been written during the last 15 years of the reign of Hezekiah. Hezekiah’s influence was encouraging other of God’s servants to compromise, in fact, they were asleep, the beasts were coming in amongst God’s people and the shepherds were so asleep they just let them come.
Can you see why this has shaken my soul to the foundation? I’m speaking of myself only, myself only. They’re sleeping dogs, watchdogs that are supposed to be awake and to warn God’s people–they weren’t saving a thing. We are going to say more about these spiritual beasts in a moment in Galatians 5 that we read about. Out in California, out southeast of Los Angeles some 50, 60, 70 miles, a family of our friends live out in the country amongst the hills in a little valley, and they have a watchdog, and he’s a good watchdog, as long as the coyotes are way off there in the hill yipping away, he can really bark warning–oh, he’ll set ‘er off. But you know, when those coyotes come right down close around the house and start yipping, he’s a yellow coward, he runs off and hides in the back corner of the garage and he’s as silent as a mouse–he doesn’t say a word. You know, I’m just like that dog at heart, I’m just a yellow coward, and that’s why it’s very difficult for me to speak some of the things that sometimes we have to say–I’m not made that way. Sometimes it tears the heart out of my soul to have to say some things we have to say to God’s people, but if it protects, if it will contribute, if God can use us as an humble instrument to contribute to no compromises, contribute to helping people be saved from shipwrecks, we’re willing for any price. Shall you turn over with me to the fifth chapter now of Isaiah before we go back to Galatians 5, please, and read verses 14 and 15; Chapter 5 and verses 14 and 15. It says in verse 14: “And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. (15) Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.” Now in this same terrible 15 years of compromise in Israel, truth had fallen in the streets. Now the Lord would like us to learn by way of example and warning that this doesn’t happen again, that this kind of history does not eventually repeat itself in our day and time because of compromise and compromise until truth is clear down in the streets and we’ll be walking on it amongst us as God’s people like walking on the flag. I had a job at school as a janitor the last two years in grammar school and part of my job was to put the flag up every morning and to bring it down at night and they taught us never to let that touch the ground because it stood for a lot of blood. And in the two years I put that up and took it down, I never once let that touch the ground. Spiritually speaking, I hope we will be the same.
Now it says equity couldn’t enter. Do you know what equity means? The word equity is ten times in the Bible. Nine of the ten times, equity means uprightness, but in this tenth and one case, the word equity meant straight-forwardness in the word that Isaiah used. “Straightforwardness cannot enter.” What a dreadful thing it would be if that would ever happen again amongst us, that straightforwardness could not enter in amongst God’s people. And if the day were ever to come, what a tragedy. Now by straightforwardness I don’t mean blunt and uncouth, and roughshod. I don’t mean that. Grace with truth, how for short we come God knows, but we see the goal in the Lord and in Paul. If the time were ever to come–listen–if the time were ever to come that any servant of God, when it would be in order to do so and in season, could not stand up before God’s people and speak anything from God’s word with straightforwardness, the ship of God’s truth is on the way to the bottom of the sea of Babylon and religious confusion, and God forbid. Now I’m not speaking pessimistically. We’re thinking in very optimistic terms this afternoon. Just because the federal government spends $50,000,000,000 every year of your tax money for defense of our nation doesn’t mean that they’re pessimistic; they’re very optimistic, and we’re speaking optimistically of the future this afternoon for this kingdom of God when we speak along these lines and God has given us these precious things to teach and guide us in these matters in God’s kingdom. And that verse 15 was a horrible thing in those days. It said he that departed from truth became a prey. Those who believed in no compromise and departed from compromises were made a P-R-E-Y, like a lamb amongst wolves, what a dreadful thing. It says the Lord saw it, the Lord saw it, and He wasn’t pleased at all. I’d like to learn a lesson from that myself.
Now let’s go on in Galatians 5. If you would just like to flip back quickly to Galatians 5, please. Let’s read about some of these beasts that God doesn’t want. Now the protection is in the sixteenth verse: “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Oh, yes, fellowship with the spirit is the antidote, that’s the wonderful protection. That’s the guard against these dreadful things happening. Now the first one on the list in verse 19: “The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery and fornication…” Adultery is unfaithfulness to one’s first mate, God’s word teaches clearly. Adultery is unfaithfulness after marriage. God’s word tells us in verse 21 and the last sentence that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. I didn’t write the Bible; God inspired it. Let’s be clear on God’s word. We can’t gloss these things over, folks; if we do, we’re going to get in trouble with God. God’s word says what it means and means what it says. You know, we could become like the Sadducees; we’ve been quite concerned about Phariseeism all the days of our lives–hypocrisy. But did you ever notice the doctrine of the Sadducees? Taking part of God’s word and not all of it. The Sadducees were a group that had formed in the Old Testament Israel of God in New Testament days and in Acts 23:8 it tells us the Sadducees didn’t believe in three things that God’s word taught. What they were is beside our present concern. And I have had some serious wondering in recent years and I’m not the only one, some others older than myself: could it be possible that there is a little slice in the pie of God’s people, a little group of Sadducees forming in our midst today? People who would believe a good part of God’s word but something where the shoe fits…”Well, I just don’t want to believe that,” “I don’t want to accept that,” Sadduceeism all over again. But there is space for repentance. And even if it requires major surgery to preserve the body . . . you know, out in Los Angeles we have a dear sister in the faith that, she has had something wrong with a member in that body that has been infected for years, but oh, she dreaded major surgery, she just kept putting it off, other members around that area, that infected body suffered a lot for that for many years. She should have had an operation, the doctor told her, years ago. But finally the other night about three weeks ago at the age of 79 it came to a matter of life and death for the body. Infection was beginning to spread. The doctor said this is it so they operated at 8:00 that night. We went to the hospital, went to see her the next morning; she was in intensive care, oh, that was severe at the age of 79 she was in intensive care for a week but saw her the other day before we left and she was real perky and cheery and looks like things are coming along all right. The body was preserved because major surgery was made. There is space for repentance from any sin. Sins can be forgiven only on the basis of repentance. You know, I’ll have to admit–I hope none of you good folks over here are like this–but out on the coast I have been shocked speechless that some of our dear people, some even professing 40 and 50 years, don’t seem to understand the basic simple ABC first Gospel truths we ever heard: repentance for sin. I’ll just give you two verses on this. Some people ask me, “Well, can’t the Lord forgive any sin?” Well of course. But only on the basis of repentance. The only sins the Lord can forgive anybody from are the sins that Jesus has delivered people from. It’s the sins that Jesus by the Gospel has set people free from that the blood of Jesus can forgive and atone. Now the two verses, quickly. Proverbs 28 and 13 says: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Every sin no matter what it is, whether it’s adultery or another kind, has to be forsaken to be forgiven, be put away and quit doing it. That’s God’s word, folks. And the second verse is the world-wide commission — Gospel command in Luke 24 and 47: “Repentance and remission of sins shall be preached among all nations in my name.” Well, “all nations” includes the USA. Repentance comes before remission of sins. Now we have been giving a Bible study in Los Angeles and Orange County all this fall and winter and spring and summer in homes where there are young people. We have decided, I mean some situations have made us decide-it’s high time to wake up, to guard some of our young people. I wish we had started doing it sooner. I suppose we’ve given a Bible study on this subject at least 50 times and I suppose if I go back next year we’ll have to make it that many more to get around. And we’ve given it not only in the homes where there is young people in the hearing of the parents, but we’ve given it to some older who have said some things that have come to our ears by the grapevine that certainly were not spreading a good influence among God’s people and absolutely not at all and we went and gave them a study on it, because it’s only fair to God and God’s people that they understand clearly what God’s word teaches. You know, people who love God love to love something–love always loves to see that which it loves defended, isn’t that right? You see a mother with her children–She’ll defend them-to the death. You see a husband, a father, he’ll defend that wife and his children, that family to the death. Why, even the animals do that. And you know, it thrills me when I hear what I love being defended. There is a verse in Psalms 5 and 11, the second sentence, right in the middle of Psalms 5 and 11-“They shall shout for joy when thou defendest them”. I was at a convention two years ago this summer where another visiting brother was who is now the elder in Nebraska, he was then too—a brother who always has a basket full of choice loaves, and he was speaking along these lines and I was sitting over there back in about the third or fourth set amongst a lot of our fellow workers and oh, I was so thankful, I was so thankful, I was so thankful, I couldn’t do anything else but I just bowed my head and I’m not ashamed to admit the tears just flowed, the tears of joy and thankfulness, oh, I said thanks be to God for men like that. “They shall shout for joy when thou defendest them.” No Compromise. Remember the Alamo; If there’s any people who should understand no compromise it should be you good Texans. Those 187 men over there at that Alamo went to their death rather than compromise what they believed in, and if unsaved, ungodly men could do that, surely we as God’s people, men and women, boys and girls can do that. Adultery means unfaithfulness after marriage and being untrue to one’s first mate.
Now the next sin is fornication. That’s different. Fornication is immorality before marriage. Listen you teenagers, and you twenty-agers, please: a man and woman are not husband and wife until after those marriage vows are performed, you understand that? I know, you go to school and you work in the office and you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, you hear, one gets one vein of thought all the time–don’t let it seep into you, let the birds pass right over your hair, don’t let them nest in your heart. A man and woman are not husband and wife until after they’re married–do you have that all clear? Until after those marriage vows have been performed. Do you have that clear? Don’t make shipwreck of your life. Don’t ever think that over the fence out in this world you see the pastures are greener–it’s full of wolves and rattlesnakes–and I’m not talking about four-legged wolves, either. Fornication is immorality before marriage–except it be for fornication he can put her away. If when he married her he found out that she had been untrue to their courtship with somebody else before they were married, the next morning after the marriage he could put her away if he wanted to. That is, if he didn’t love her enough to forget it and go on and make a success of the marriage anyway. But that putting away would have to be done within 24 hours after the marriage vows were said.
If he decided, “Well, this is not what I thought, she’s not a virgin after all.” It doesn’t say “except for the cause of adultery.” Nowhere in the New Testament does it say “except for the cause of adultery.” I don’t find anything in God’s word on this subject that there is any problem about understanding. It’s as clear as the noonday sun. “Except it be for fornication.” If she had been untrue to their courtship or even before that and when they got married he discovered it he could put her away the next morning if he wanted to… or that night for that matter.
The next on the list of these wolves here, these beasts, is uncleanness, in verse 19. Ah, let’s keep our hearts clean and pure. I know a girl in Washington that is now in the ministry, she said when she came home before she went in the ministry, when she came home from the office she would go in and take her shoes off and kneel by the bed and pray a while and get a good bath in her soul after coming from that filthy office.
Lasciviousness is the next, In plain English and short that means about the same as the saying today, “Well, let’s really live ‘er up”.
Verse 16 said “If ye walk in the spirit ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” The antidote, the remedy, the preventative, the pillar, the defender will be. Keep what Willie explained and brought so nicely to us this morning: fellowship in the spirit and that will keep these things away from making shipwreck in our lives.
The next in verse 20 is idolatry. Anything that takes the first place in our hearts that the Lord should have. Now then we’re going to detour again–would you please drop your marker in Galatians 5. I want to dwell on this more than any for a couple of minutes. Back to Deuteronomy 7, please. I could quote this and read it to you but I’m afraid we might just not get it so clearly. Deuteronomy 7 and the last two verses of Deuteronomy 7–in Deuteronomy 7, verses 25 and 26 will be the verses. This idolatry is another beast that is trying to come in and destroy the spiritual life amongst God’s people. Deuteronomy chapter 7 and verse 25, we have the reading. Everybody have it? Chapter 7, and verse 25, the last two verses of the chapter: He said, “The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the Lord thy God. (26) Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.” Now what is the biggest idol in most every home today? You know what it is. He said an idol is something that is made by the hands of man. He said thou shalt not bring these idols into your home. He said look out for them–burn them with fire. That’s final. Thou shalt not desire the silver and gold on them. Silver and gold is something valuable. You have to give the old enemy credit for being mighty sharp and clever. He got something good in the old idol. Silver and gold were valuable. I can just hear some of the weaker ones who weren’t walking in the spirit and having fellowship in the spirit in the camp of Israel of long ago. “Well Moses, well Joshua, well Aaron, what’s the matter with those things, those idols? There’s silver and gold in it. You can’t say that isn’t valuable. You can’t say I can’t get some good out of this. There’s silver and gold in it.” There might even go so far as to be a clever lawyer to point out “Well there’s silver and gold over here in God’s tabernacle, and you say this idol is wrong”. It was in God’s tabernacle and not in the idol. You know what a snare is? It says the good in this wicked thing would be the snare. You have snared rabbits and squirrels and opossums and birds and such haven’t you? A snare is a cruel, heartless, merciless death sentence. If you ever think you can feed on that thing you’re signing your death warrant, I’ll tell you. And something else while we’re on the subject. You widows and widowers–if you’re living in your own home, that home is yours. That doesn’t belong to your unsaved uncle or aunt or father or mother or your unsaved son or daughter. “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. He that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me,” and if you’re afraid that when your son or daughter wants to put an idol into your home as a widow or widower, thinking you will be happy, you’re afraid to offend them–who are you most afraid to offend, your children or would you rather have something in your home that would offend Jesus, and be an offense to Him? I don’t suggest that we just go out of our way to offend those who are our loved ones, trying to avoid that as much as we can. But we cannot compromise on idolatry. He said if you bring it into your house you become just like the abominable thing. Well, do abominable people go to heaven? Do abominable people go to heaven? I won’t answer. God’s word: Revelations 21:8, the abominable have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone that burneth forever and ever. Is that clear enough? Now that’s not my word, it’s God’s word, folks. And I’ve said many times, times without number, if I had a home I would want a clean testimony from that rooftop way out on top of the roof clear down through every room in the home clear down into the basement and clear back into every closet in that basement. I hope you’re the same.
Shall we go back to Galatians 5, please, now, and we’ll go on with these other things. Remember the key is to walk in the spirit, ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. The next one in verse 20 is witchcraft. That’s the charmer. Look out for a good, charming personality. A charming personality is Godly spirituality. I’m not suggesting that we have to be ill-mannered–that’s not the point. I’m getting to something deeper than that. I know somebody that went wrong once but they had “a very charming personality”. And a few of the Lord’s people were taken in by them, “why, they must be right. How could they be wrong? They’re so nice!” Witchcraft. Walk in the spirit and you won’t be fooled by a charming personality. You’ll be led and be in tune with fellowship in the spirit and spirituality.
The next beast we have to look out for is hatred. Oh, if we dwell in the spirit we’ll have the fruit of love, we’ll love our brethren, we know we’ve passed from death unto life because we love the brethren. And there’s a young woman in the faith over there in Los Angeles in her early thirties. She didn’t know the truth until after she married her husband, some of his people are in the faith, and a few years later she came to some gospel meetings and decided and [now] loves the Lord and his truth. It just warms my heart to see this young mother with her smiling little five walking into our gospel meetings. We had luncheon with her one day this year and she said, “You know, the Lord’s people sure are beautiful to me.” She said, “I love to come in and sit down in the meeting, then watch them all come in, and sit down one by one. “Oh,” she said, “the Lord’s people surely are beautiful people to me. In fact,” she said, “even if some of them are a little old and fat and baldheaded, they’re still very beautiful to me.” I knew she was walking in the spirit and having fellowship with the spirit in the secret place and enjoying God’s goodness–no hatred there, loving the brethren.
The next one he said there in verse 20 was variance. Variance is varying a little, you know, getting away from this, saying “It’s all right to vary from God’s word. I know God’s word says this but let’s kind of take a side trip, a little detour around it.” No compromise.
The next one is emulations. That means rivalry. If we dwell in the spirit there’ll be cooperation–not competition, rivalry.
The next beast there is wrath. If we dwell in the spirit we’ll never let any bad temper get away from us. I know a certain son who had a father that had one of the most horrible tempers I have ever known, even to the point of semi-insanity when he would get in a rage. But that son of his, I happen to know him, and he could be the same by right of inheritance and father’s influence, but he by God’s grace has little by little got the victory over that. Instead of a terrible temper there’s patience, longsuffering, and mercy. Where we were last year in the field up in northern California, one day one of our elders wives there out on a farm at Chico, she was doing something in the yard with this big 5 gallon pail, 5 gallon bucket, one of these big round 5 gallon drums with a solid top in it, and she sat it down in the yard and forgot she had set it in the yard out behind the garage. She went to go somewhere and she got in the car and backed out and backed right over the thing and cut a big gashing hole in the gas tank and she pulled up a little bit and got out and walked around and there was the smashed can and the gas all running out. And then along just about that time came her husband. But he’s a good Godly man. You could think of some things he could have said, you know. But all he said was “Well, you just forgot you put it there, did you, dear?” Listen, I’m going to tell you something. I think that wife loved her dear husband just a little bit more. I think her husband grew a few inches taller in her estimation right then and there. Why? I expect he had prayed that morning and was walking in the spirit and having fellowship with the spirit.
The next one on the list after wrath is strife. Oh, folks, if we’re feeding on the faults of others …C. N. one of our good brothers down in the Malay Peninsula who was a shepherd before he went into the ministry, and above all of my fellow servants who I have ever heard who could preach the shepherd’s language it was C. N. — but one thing he said, sometimes they would get an early snow and the sheep would get trapped out there in the highlands of New Zealand and have nothing to eat. And there would be a little bunch of them close together and a big snow around and because of their hunger sometimes those sheep would nibble on the wool of their fellow sheep and [by] nibbling on the wool they would swallow the wool and form a little knot of wool inside and the sheep would die. And C. N. brought out the point that if we ever start feeding on the wool of the faults of our brethren, strife, it will be bad. Let’s dwell in the spirit and walk in the spirit.
He said the next one was sedition. Folks, problems are not settled by riots. Now we as God’s servants are not perfect. By the way, if you would like another good “choice cream” study, study the life of Jehosaphat. He learned that sedition didn’t pay. He compromised terribly but God gave Jehosaphat the privilege of coming back amongst God’s people and removing the damage he had done amongst God’s people by the compromise he made. And in II Chronicles 20:20 toward the end of his story it says he said to the people, “Believe his prophets and ye shall prosper.” Don’t cause any sedition or rising up, a riot against the servants of rod, or the government. Sedition means rising up and trying to overthrow the government. Now we’re not perfect, but I hope by God’s grace that we’re trying to do our best in not compromising. But listen–you know what a riot will do? Trying to handle a problem by the spirit of rioting will do much more damage to the spirit of God amongst God’s people than probably the problem was doing that you were trying to correct by rioting. I’m a strong believer and I try to teach it to God’s people, let’s handle it quietly, if there’s problems, God’s spirit amongst his people will be helped, handle it as quietly, as quietly, as prayerfully, as quietly as we can. Not sedition, riot, trying to overthrow the government in the church.
He said, going on, it’s heresies. That’s getting your own opinion, going by your own sentiments, “This is my sentiment,” “This is my sentiment,” that’s heresies. That’s compromising. It’s the mind of God given in his word.
Envying. . .oh, I hope we don’t envy somebody else that has got a better car, or home, or better suit of clothes than we have. I hope we have grown up. If we’re dwelling in the spirit, we will.
“Murderers, drunkenness, revelings, and such like.” He said of all these things I told you this before, but he said I’m telling you again those which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. That’s God’s word, and it’s surely plain.
Sufficient for that, I’d like to speak a little about one or two other things. We’ve felt led, and our elder on the coast has been encouraging us, some of us brothers anyway, to speak more to God’s people about the homelife. Maybe I’ll tuck in just a couple of moments here. There’s some things that have stirred our thinking along this line. You know, homelife is a wonderful thing in God’s family. It should be, it can be, God planned it to be. And I’ve said times without number that if I was married I’d certainly want to read Ephesians 5 and those last verses, and I’ve often said that if a Christian was fortunate enough, a Christian’s wife was fortunate enough to have a husband like you read in Ephesians 5, it surely ought to draw the best out of her to try and be the kind of wife that’s described in Ephesians 5–isn’t that right? Will you say amen to that? And if a Christian husband was fortunate enough to have the kind of wife that’s described in Ephesians 5, certainly he ought to do his level best to try and be the kind of a husband that’s described in Ephesians 5. Wouldn’t you think so?
Another thing I’ve often passed on in this, in visiting and speaking: Never let appreciation degenerate down to expectation. Be appreciative; be thankful. What your husband is to you, be thankful and let him know it. What your wife is to you, be thankful and let her know it. Never allow what should be always received from your wife on the basis of thankfulness and appreciation to go way down to the level of expectation and say, “Oh, well, she’s my wife, I’ve got it coming.” Never. And you wives. . . what your husband is to you, what he does for you, appreciate it, be thankful, don’t let your marriage grow stale. Let him know that you’re thankful and appreciate it and love him for it. Don’t ever let it sink way down to the level of expectation and say, “Oh, well, he’s my husband, I’ve got a right to expect it.” Never. There was a marriage that went on the rocks a few years ago. One of our older brothers called in to try and arbitrate and help, it didn’t help, but that man admitted in 17 years of marriage he never once thanked his wife for putting a meal on the table. I was so shocked I was speechless. I don’t know where parents are, not educating their children about some of the simple ABC practical basics of life, and one of them is thankfulness and appreciation [in the] homelife.
And another thing, your children, Oh, you know this, don’t you? I tell folks your children are your goldmine. Your children are not a byproduct of your marriage. Your children are the main product and concern in the natural sense of your marriage, and the spiritual, too, in one sense of the word. Oh, put the best Godly example before them, give them a fair chance. Give them a fair chance. You’re trying to do it, aren’t you? And we’d like to be as God’s servants right behind you and helping you as much as we can, backing you up in your efforts. And I’ve often told people, “Keep your marriage sweet.” Well how do you keep things sweet? Keep adding a little honey real often. Is that a simple enough recipe? Another thing I wanted to sneak about, no compromise; remember what Lloyd told us so helpfully yesterday about the home before I pass on: Abraham standing at his tent door and guarding that tent door. He was assuming a man’s responsibility and I was saying amen, amen, and amen again.
Sufficient for that, I want to mention something else and that’s about marriages. I mean the performing of marriages. Oh, it thrills my soul when I see a young couple (or older either) getting married and everything about that marriage ceremony is very simple. I attended a marriage of one of my relatives in California three years ago. I was invited, and when I came in and sat down on the back seat of that little gathering in the home, if I hadn’t already known who the bride and groom were I’d have never been able to pick the bride and groom out in that crowd by their attire. You know, the spirit of Christ–this is not my old proud human nature speaking now, my human nature is just as proud as yours, maybe worse, this is the holy spirit speaking in me.
The holy spirit that day oh, was so glad to see the simplicity in that wedding. And when that young man at the due [and] proper time in the marriage slipped a ring on the finger of the woman who was now becoming his wife, I noticed it was just a simple, modest band, no fancy sparklers on it. And again–this is not my proud human nature talking, it’s worse than yours–this is the holy spirit in me speaking. The holy spirit that day in me, oh, it was made so glad that those young people had enough respect for the honor of God’s name in this world, even that way to honor the Christ who said, “I am meek and lowly in heart.” I saw even in that thing that they were manifesting what was in their hearts in something that was real modest–just a modest band, B-A-N-D, as the token there, according to the custom, that they were married. That sure warmed my heart.
Another thing we want to speak about, of no compromise, and that’s in this ministry. Oh, my soul was thrilled when our brother was mentioning the verse in John 12:24 about the grain of wheat falling into the ground and dying. Folks, oh, I hope none of us, oh, I pray, that we’ll never compromise on this dying ministry. We see some desperate subtle efforts made sometimes to bring in some other kind of a ministry and compromise on this ministry of self-denial and sacrifice, of dying, every dab of humanism buried and sealed down in the cold coffin of self-denial, down in the bottom basement of our hearts. Remember it’ll always take a dying ministry to produce a living church. It’s the age-old military tactics–get the crack troops first and then we can mop up the rest of the army. Oh, I hope all of us as God’s servants will never, never, never, never under any circumstances, never, never, never, under God and under Christ the realm of consecration who shed his blood for the consecration of us in the ministry, will never, never, never, never compromise this sacred, holy, precious ministry that God has so dearly given us through Christ.
Well, I wanted to speak a word of encouragement to you young people. You know, one of our visiting brothers and myself here have been mentioning how thrilling it is to see all these fine Godly young people here. Now we’re not flattering you, You don’t want that and we don’t want it. But you know, we’re inclined to feel that a little word of encouragement and appreciation would be very fitting and in order at times. That when you’re trying your level best to do what’s right, God appreciates it and we as God’s servants appreciate it. And we want to stand behind you and we want to stand with you all we can and give you all the boosts in your trials and temptations. Don’t ever think that the pasture over the fence is greener; it’s full of deadly poison rattlesnakes and wolves. It’s full of grief, and sorrow, and headache and heartache and tragedy and wrecked lives and shipwrecked lives and homes. If you think you’re missing something, there’s something outside of the fence of God’s people that you’re missing, if you think you’re missing something, you’re 100% right, you very certainly are missing something and you can thank your God from the depth of your heart, my dear young friend, that you are missing it. And I think you know what I mean. You’ve seen enough probably yourself that you’re thanking God that you have the shelter of God’s people. Keep up the good work. Young people can make a wrong choice in a moment of carelessness that would ruin all their future. Old people can make a wrong choice in a moment of carelessness that would ruin all their past. Young people can make right choices from day to day and have a wonderful, happy life all their days. I think maybe I’ll just tell Gus’s story–I see he’s not speaking here. You’ve probably heard it before but it’ll do you good to hear it again and some of you may not have heard it, his story about the smart mouse. You probably remember him telling you maybe at Special Meetings or convention about the smart mouse. Well, there’s a story about a smart mouse and it’s got a mighty good lesson in it. This mouse, one day he saw a baited trap with a nice piece of cheese on it. “Aaaah, look there, look there. I know what that’s set for, that’s set just to catch me. But I’m a smart mouse: that’ll never catch me. My, say, that sure is a dandy looking piece of cheese on there. But I know what that’s set for, it’s set just to catch me. But I’m a smart mouse, it’ll never catch me. But really…ah, my, that’s good smelling cheese. Well, that trap can’t catch me if I walk over and smell a little while. I can just sit there and smell of all that good, sweet cheese, it’s so nice, and a good brand.” So he walks over a little closer. “My, that’s nice cheese. But I’m a smart mouse, it’ll never catch me. But, you know, oh, that smells so good! It won’t hurt to walk a little closer.” So he walks over right close. “Oh, that’s so wonderful. You know–I know what that’s set for, that’s set to catch me, ah yes, it is, but I’m a smart mouse. Never catch me. But oh, that’s such good cheese, oh, that’s such good cheese. You know, I think I could kind of sneak around and take a quick bite off of that–it’ll never catch me.” And he walks over real close and ……famous last words. Are you catching the lesson? Are you catching the lesson? Oh, we’ve seen some of our dearly beloved young folks lured in, lured in, lured into something that seemed so sweet and loving, and their lives were shipwrecked forever. When you see a trap set for you and it’s got some bait, you turn right around in the spirit and walk in the spirit and have fellowship with the spirit and be faithful every morning in hearing the Lord’s voice awakening you morning by morning and you keep faithful so that when you see that trap and it looks kind of nice and sweet-like, you just turn around and walk the other way right quick and don’t allow yourself to be lured in to anything like that, and make ship-wreck of your life. Over in France two years ago a young circus man working in a circus, he had a real pal, he had a lioness that was a real friend of his. And one day he was showing all the folks there what a nice pet this lion was. He’d reach through the bars of the cage and pet the lion and she was purring away like a little housecat and licking him with her tongue, oh just so lovey-dovey, so sweet, nice, and oh, just real palsy-walsy. She was just such a good friend of his. So he decided to step into the cage and show to all those people how nice and harmless that lioness was, or lion, whatever it was. So he opened the bar, the gate, and he stepped into that lion’s cage, and that lion pounced on that man and tore his body all to shreds before anybody could get in and rescue him. Now listen. When some lion starts purring around you–you listening, girls–and I tell you this is a serious matter. I didn’t intend it to have any mirthful flavor. If you had gone through with me some of the hell I’ve gone through in what I’m talking about, you’d see the seriousness behind my words. If you would have sat with me sometimes when I’ve seen fathers and mothers just about to lose their minds, insane over grief, and when I’ve sat with a young girl and she’s told me “I wish that I was dead and could not live,” and I had to talk her out of committing suicide because she had made shipwreck of her life–do you understand why we’re using such emphasis on these rings this afternoon of being pillars of defense whether we’re old or young, and no compromise? Now you haven’t been compromising, have you? Keep up the good work. We just wanted to give you a good boost this afternoon. Keep up the good work. You know, you young folks, we hope some of you will be workers some day. Pray a lot about it, won’t you? Maybe you’ll be settling down and having a home. Do what William told us so helpfully–pray about that before you do it. And don’t run into it, don’t rush into it; go slow, go careful, don’t jump into anything, be cautious, go easy. And if your father and mother give you some directions and guidance in your courtship, thank them for it. I’ve been telling young folks in this study we’ve given this winter, that you young people should expect your father and mother to give you some advice and some restrictions on your courtship; tell you when to get home, and you get home at that time, and tell you where to go, and you go there, and if they tell you not to go somewhere, you don’t go. It’ll save you from a lot of trouble. Remember, your father and mother, boys and girls listen to me, remember, that dear father and mother of yours love you more than anybody else in this world. That father and mother who love you more than anybody else in this world want to see you make good. That’s the main thing of their lives, that’s what they’re giving their lives for is you, they want you to make wood. They want to do all they can to help you to make good and to do good and go along and take right steps and have success in your life. Listen to them, won’t you? Remember, compromise is a partial surrender of purposes and principles. It is eventually full surrender on the installment plan. Let’s not do that individually; neither by God’s grace may help us never to do that collectively in the church.