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They Need Not Depart
By Brian Pepper
There is no question but that we are living very close to the end of time.
But the great tragedy is that in the church, yes and in the Advent church, there is indifference to this great fact. Take the prayer meetings, only a handful attend. A man said to me, “I am the only one attending the prayer meeting.” And yet there are so many at the Sabbath meetings. It is good to see so many at the Sabbath meetings but so many are missing out, they are not having (that vital connection) with the Lord. That is so essential
in these days of peril.
Fellowship one with another Enoch Walked with God We must Feed on Spiritual Things
Fellowship one with anotherHow many are heeding the exhortation of the Apostle Paul. St Paul says that as we come close to the Saviour’s return we should be coming closer in fellowship one with the other. Hebrews 10:25 says, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching."
Enoch Walked with GodIn Genesis 5:24 is written this statement “Enoch walked with God.” Now I want to draw your attention to the fact that Enoch was a family man. (Genesis 5:21) Somehow I have always had the idea that he was a hermit. Yes a lone man, a man with time on his hands free from the cares and troubles of this world. Haven’t you felt that if you were able to get away from the things of this life that the solitude, the peace, would bring you much closer to God? I was rather surprised that Enoch was a family man, that he had a number of children. If Enoch could walk with God surrounded by crying babies and domestic troubles then so can you and so can I.
We must Feed on Spiritual ThingsHow often have people told me this, "I find it so hard to keep up my spiritual experience, troubles seem to crowd into my life and I lose out here and I lose out there.” I suppose many of us have this experience. If we are to maintain our walk with God then we must feed on Spiritual things.
Daily Study of the ScripturesThere is very little back sliding when people love the Scriptures. Listen to this! Proverbs 6:22; "When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee." It is dangerous for us to neglect the daily study of the Scriptures. It leads us, and how true that is.
Why before this wonderful message came to me I lived a life of fear. The future was a blank wall; death was something I particularly dreaded. But with the wonderful revelation of Truth the fears fled like a defeated foe. Now I allow God to lead me as He directs from His Holy Page.
Many will Depart from the TruthThere is a time coming when we will need to cling more and more to our Bibles. Jesus warned that the deceptions of the Last Days will be so strong and so real that many will depart from the Truth. Matthew 24:24 says, "For there shall arise false Christ's, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." We just cannot afford to neglect the study of God's Word. We need to constantly study the Scriptures and there is nothing more important than Bible study. Both personal Bible study and public Bible study.
Why is Bible Study so Important?You might ask why is this. I will tell you why. Because when I pray I talk to God. But when I read the Bible God is talking to me. Now is it not more important that God should speak to me than that I should talk to him. Now I don’t want you to get the idea that prayer is not important. I think prayer is very important. But Bible study and prayer are more important when they are combined for then you have the perfect situation. You are talking to God and God is talking to you. The reason that some people make a failure of their religious life is that they live on their experience at conversion and never advance spiritually. They do nothing but tell of that experience until it becomes stale and unprofitable.
Jesus made a very important statement as to how important Bible study should be. Matthew 4:4 says, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” You would not go on eating stale bread. I am sure that most folk prefer eating fresh bread for your meals. It tastes better: looks better. So it is with the Spiritual life. A person needs to feed on the Word of God.
Souls are Being StarvedA man confessed to his minister that his soul had fed on nothing for forty years. That is pretty hard for the soul; giving it nothing to feed on. And that man is a type of thousands of today. Their poor souls are starving. "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
People are very concerned about their food and clothing. They would not go short of the good things of this life. But they are starving their spiritual life. Sadly there are good folk right here in the Advent Church that are losing out with Bible study. They are not taking in the spiritual food they so badly need. I tell you it is a matter that gravely concerns each one of us. If we do not study God’s Word the God cannot speak to us; for He speaks to your heart and to mine through this avenue.
Another thing, unless we know God's Word we will be swept away by the delusions of the Last Days. What a tragedy it would be if because of neglect of God’s Word we should lose our hold on Jesus Christ.
We Need to be Selective about our Bible StudyWe need to read our Bible at family worship. Look for suitable passages. What would you think of a minister who went into the pulpit on the Sabbath and opened the Bible at random and commenced to read? Would you receive a real message? Yet this is what many do at family worship. They might as well go to the chemists and swallow the first medicine their eye happens to see. Select something that is appropriate. If the family is about to travel select Psalm 121; if in trouble Psalm 111. Yes something that fits the need.
Warning Against Neglect of Bible StudyA gentleman once went to a great Scottish preacher and said, "My son is going away to South America. He will not be able to worship there with God's people. And he will not be able to attend the Lord's Day meetings. I want you to pray for him that he will not lose his Christian experience.” The old Scottish preacher looked at him and said, "Ay, you are going to put your son's head into the mouth of a lion, and then going to stand and pray, may the lion not crush him!" If we neglect our Bibles it is just like putting our heads in a lion's mouth.
Hold Fast Till the EndThe one thing we must guard against is that through our neglect we are separated from Christ. It is important that we hold on till the end, for it says in Revelation 3:11; "Behold, I come quickly hold fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.”
Dunkirk. Yes it was at Dunkirk, on the beach thousands of soldiers waded out into the water to see through the mist the outline of their evacuation vessels. Every boat that could navigate the channel went to the rescue of the harassed troops. Defying the bombardment from the planes above and the heavy guns ashore the boats pushed in to the beaches to save the British soldiers. Near the pounding surf, two British nurses were ministering to the wounded and dying. They did not notice that boats had come to rescue them. In constant danger from enemy fire, they worked with their medicine and bandages. A commanding officer noticed them and ordered them into a boat. But the brave girls shook their heads and worked on. One of the girls said "We are staying through." And stay they did till every wounded man in their care was either in a boat headed for England or buried. No, friends we must hold fast. Let no man take our crowns.
St Paul writes in Romans 8:38, 39, "I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." We must stay right through. St Paul tells us that he was determined that nothing, absolutely nothing, would cause him to depart. He intended to stay right through. And how could he be so sure that nothing would separate him from Christ: by feeding on the Word. And I tell you when you do that you can be just as positive as St Paul.
Bible Study Required to Withstand DeceptionsNow I want to make this very personal. The question is, are we feeding on the Word? Unless we are doing that then how can we expect to stand when the deceptions crowd in? Make Bible study a first in our homes and we will be very positive Christians.
Matthew 24:13 says, "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." I tell you we will not endure, unless we keep the channels of communication with God clear. If you have been neglecting the study of God’s Word in your life, in your family worship, then don’t delay for one Day. Put the Bible back in its rightful place.
This statement worries me. Matthew 24:24 says, “For there shall arise false Christ’s, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch as if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” It tells us very clearly that even those who are good students of the Scriptures will be deceived. If that is so and the Scripture tells us it will be then we need to really know what we believe.
Study to Win Approval with God2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” St Paul is very earnest, he is very sincere; He says here, If you really want to have the approval of God then you must study. Yes we must study so we can really know what we believe. And I tell you what will happen as you take up the Book and start to draw out those wonderful truths.
Bible Transforming LivesYou will see a transformation take place. The father will be different in his home. He will become kinder, more sympathetic; helpful. His wife and children will know that he is a Christian by his attitude. Just like the husband who had been unkind and very selfish; he was bad tempered and very difficult to live with. Somehow or other he began to read his Bible and the more he read the more noticeable was the change in his attitude towards his family. You can’t go on reading the Bible without realizing that you need to live a better life. The Church members soon noticed a real change in this man for he had been a thorn in the side of the congregation. And one good sister said to his wife "do you think that your husband is really converted." "Well," she said, "He got up and built the fire in the kitchen stove this morning for the first time since we were married, and he even suggested that I ought to get a washing machine instead of washing my laundry by hand. Yes I believe that Jack is really a changed man."
The Saved will be like JesusWe are told in 1 John 3:2 that when Jesus returns to this earth His followers will be “like Him”. You and I should be adding the Christian graces to our lives as the days come and go. When we enter into a two way communication with Him by prayer and by Bible study; talking to God and listening to what He says to us; then we will be sure of being like Him. And we can be certain that we won’t be deceived in the time of the Great Deception.