Saturday, January 21, 2017

Be Kind Yet Stand - Elder James Oliphant

"But speaking the truth in love may grow up into him in all things which is the head even Christ." (Ephesians 4:15)

The Savior left an example for us in this life in baptism and in the Lord's Supper. I think that he reminded us of our sins in a manner that is an example to us in our behavior one to another.

He told the woman at the well of her sins in such a way as to secure her reverence and Paul's conversion is an example of it. The Lord told him of his sin in such a way as to secure his tenderest love.

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory." (Philippians 2:3) Nothing that we do through strife will bring good results. When you write a letter do not mail it until you are sure there is no strife in it. Struggle for the mastery. If there is it will settle no strife nor allay confusion but rather make things worse. If we could weigh our words and look over our sentences for the blemishes of a vainglorious temper and rewrite over and over until there is not a trace a vainglory in a single sentence, we may do good. "A soft answer turn it away wrath." (Proverbs 15:1) But a severe answer will add fuel to the flames. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal unless we descend into a spirit of controversy and strife.

"Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves." (Romans 12:19) We exhibit the spirit of our Savior when we answer rough and severe sentences with kind words. We shall overcome evil with good if we form the habit of letting our words be spoken in love. "Father forgive them." (Luke 23:34) Here is a forgiving spirit, one that we need to have shown to us, and we never show more of the Christian spirit than we are ready to forgive. "Strife" is a desire to triumph over another and will never do any good.

I do not intend to recommend an unstable spirit that defends nothing and stands for nothing but a gentle kind and Christian spirit that is coupled with firmness and a fixedness of principle. We weaken our cause when we seek to defend it with harsh and unkind words. We weaken our reputation as a minister or as a professor by using the methods of low grade politicians. We must be willing to admit that other men may be honest who differ from us about things, as honest as we are. They may be Christians for whom Christ died and has forgiven them and loves them and will at last bring them home to glory. God forbid that we should nourish the spirit of strife and hate toward them. But few of them need severe words and most of those in error need to be taught the way of truth in a kind and gentle manner.

It is a high office to be a minister of the Gospel and what we send out to be printed will advertise the spirit we are. And if we make an unfavorable character for ourselves by using harsh words and methods, it will be to our greatest injury.

If a brother be overtaken a fault, you which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness. (Galatians 6:1) This is the way to reclaim the erring and the only way. "Considering thyself less thou also be tempted." (Galatians 6:1) Our brother may be wrong today but we may be the erring one tomorrow. So let us do to others as we would be done by when we fall into temptation.

Let us remember that all are not strong to bear with the weak. Some are babes and we must not expect too much of them and we are not to lord it over others nor dictate to others. Be thou an example to the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in purity. Show the spirit of a minister of the gospel and thus be an example to the flock.

The Jews rejected Christ as a nation as well as individually, not withstanding the fact that he came in all respects as their prophet's had foretold. Their sinfulness in this is the more conspicuous from the fact that they believe their own prophets yet rejected Christ who was the fulfillment of all prophecy. Christ says, "If I had not done among them the work which no other man did, they had not had sin. But now have they both seen and hated both me and my father." (John 15:24)

The failure of the Jews to believe on Christ as a nation was a sin in the face of the fact that Jesus did works that none other man did and works to that were prophesied and more convincing of his claim to the messiahship. Their rejection of him was evidence of the malice and hate that were in them. The hate that would not see good in him and that would not be persuaded to receive him although every prophecy of him was fulfilled in him. Had he not made every proof of his divine character by his life and miracles, they had not had sin. But as it is they had no cloak or excuse - extenuating circumstances in the case. It resulted in the political overthrow of the Jews and to this day they are scattered in ruin people on account of it.

Nicodemus saw something in his miracles which evidence that he did not have the settled hate that was in the Jews. Where men hate the good and the pure it is proof of a sinful nature as well as a sin itself. So the unbelieving Jews placed a bad interpretation on all that Christ said or did and they suffered justly the just desserts of their sins. They ought to have looked at his life and works impartially and honestly.

It is a privilege to depend on Christ as our personal Savior. To believe in Him as our personal Savior is to rely on him to trust him. Devils believe but they do not trust. The new born child of God believes and to believe is to trust. It is a privilege for God's poor people to believe or trust their eternal all into his hands. There may be an element of duty for the Christian to trust all in his hands but it seems to me that we should teach it as the privilege of the Lord's people to trust Him in every danger.

The promises of Christ the power and faithfulness of Christ and all actions of Christ prove that we should trust him, or rather that it is our privilege to trust him. We should not confound and confuse the sinful unbelief of the Jews in rejecting him with the faith of God's regenerated people

Special thanks to Elder David Montgomery for his labors in compiling the excellent two volume set of Oliphant's works. 

No comments:

Post a Comment