Pungent Truths

By William B. Rose


Topics Beginning with "G"


     The tenderness of Paul was not assumed for effect; but it sprung from a deep and genuine love, which drew the hearts of Christians in strong affection toward him. To the Thessalonians he wrote: "But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us." It was this spirit that enabled Paul to go among the enemies of the cross, and preach the gospel, without any appropriation or any financial backing whatever. Its effect in our day will be similar. Compassion in the preacher will touch the chords of sympathy in the hearers, The way may seem dark for a time, but if he is true to God, the clouds will give way and deliverance will come. Like Paul, he may be sometimes "in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, in cold and nakedness" (2 Cor. 11:27). But if he remains true, God will stir up some of his servants to send help; and he will be able to say, "But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God." A man that gives the people dead sermons and dry exhortations, in however loud a tone they may be delivered, may expect neglect; but "he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."

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189 -- GENTLENESS, The Greatness of

     Strong words and exaggerated expressions furnish no evidence of unusual depth of piety. It is not the dog that barks the loudest that bites the hardest.

     The Psalmist says, "Thy gentleness hath made me great" (Psa. 18:35). That is no ordinary gentleness which God imparts. David attributes to it a power to elevate, above that found in talent and courage without it. God's standard of greatness is not that generally recognized among men. Man cries out,

"See, the conquering hero comes.

Sound the trumpet, beat the drums."

     But God declares, "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty: and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city" (Prov. 16:32).

     BE GENTLE -- gentle with the perverse -- gentle under provocation. Be not led away by those who talk strong but show a wrong spirit. "These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage" (Jude 16).

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     Inferior wood will answer for parlor furniture that is to be veneered, and kept mainly for show and to be used with care; but when material is wanted for hard service, as for a plow beam or the keel of a ship, good, solid, sound timber is demanded. In timber for such uses, facility to receive a polish is no compensation for inability to endure a strain. So a superficial piety will enable one to appear respectably at the ordinary services conducted from a fashionable pulpit, and to take an active part in the festivities furnished in the popular church parlor. But when it comes to the stern duties of life, and the sterner realities of the dying hour, a different kind of piety is needed. Nothing else will serve those purposes well but the old-fashioned, rapidly disappearing religion of the Bible. A few hard rubs in real life make veneered piety look shabby and worthless. It is not worth repairing, though much labor is wasted in patching it up. It is much better to get a genuine experience.

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191 -- GIFTS OF GOD Imitated

     One striking evidence that God answers prayer to the healing of his children, as promised in the Scriptures, is the diligence with which Satan gets up his imitations. To one Moses there were several magicians. Elijah stood alone for God, while the prophets of Baal were four hundred and fifty. Mormonism, Spiritism, and lastly "Christian Science," falsely so-called, each in turn professes to heal the sick. They all derive their power from the same source as did the magicians who withstood Moses -- from the enemy of all righteousness. We live in the days foretold by the Revelator, and the "spirits of devils, working miracles, go forth unto the kings of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty." But let us, steadfast in the faith, resist all these influences of Satan, and not give up a single truth of the Bible, because of the counterfeits of the devil; and let us not be pushed by him to any extreme not warranted by the Word of God. That this self-styled "Christian Science" is closely related to the sorceries of Simon Magus, is evident on its very face; for its advocates not only think, but openly teach, "that the gift of God may be purchased with money" (Acts 8:20). They form classes, and undertake to teach, for a stated, liberal sum of money, the art of healing by Divine power, to all who will pay their stipulated price.

     Beloveds, shun all such mercenary deceivers, as you would shun the devil. Have no dealings with them. Do not suffer yourself, in the slightest degree, to come under the influence of these "raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever." God bestows his gifts according to his sovereign will. "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit" These gifts are not taught by men or women for money. "But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will" (1 Cor. 12:8, 9, 11).

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192 -- GIVING, Rule for

     We should give to the cause of God freely. The Jews gave a tenth. Many of the early Christians gave all. The rule for each Christian is to give "as God hath prospered him" (1 Cor. 16:2). What is given out of love to Christ, can not fall of having its reward.

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193 -- GOD, Delight in

     A saint delights not in his gifts or graces, but in his God. The language of his heart is: "Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance" (Acts 2:28).

"And while thou dost smile upon me,

God of wisdom, hope and might,

Foes may hate and friends disown me:

Show thy face and all is bright."

     "True saints," says President Edwards, "have their minds, in the first place, inexpressibly pleased and delighted with the sweet ideas of the glorious and amiable nature of the things of God. And this is the spring of all their delights, and the cream of all their pleasures; it is the joy of their joy. This sweet and ravishing entertainment which they have in view of the beautiful and delightful nature of divine things is the foundation of the joy that they have afterwards, in the consideration of these being theirs."

     Though starvation stared one of the old prophets in the face, he declared: "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation."

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     God, in addressing his people, frequently styles himself THE LORD ALMIGHTY. We should have an exalted opinion of his power. He is able to put down, not only one enemy, but all enemies. One king, or a thousand kings leagued against him, can not stand before him. In his own time, and in his own way, be removes them from the field of action. He brings to desolation the mightiest nation that exalts itself against him. The ground on which the great Babylon once stood was, for ages, unknown. Her proud palaces were buried under the sands of the desert.

     He who makes the Lord his refuge has nothing to fear. The resources of the Almighty are boundless. He can feed his people in the desert wilderness, as well as in the Land of Promise. Their one care should be to hear and obey his commands. Elijah, sent into the wilderness by the Lord, is fed by the ravens; sent to the city, the widow, herself on the verge of starvation, finds an abundance in caring for the servant of the MOST HIGH.

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195 -- GOD'S MESSAGE Should be Delivered

     One whom God sends with a message should always deliver the message. It may accomplish the end designed, and it may not. For this the messenger is not responsible. But he is responsible for its faithful delivery. It may be a "savour of life unto life" or "of death unto death." That depends upon how it is received. Paul and Barnabas said to the Jews: "Seeing ye put the word of God from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles" (Acts 13:46). But this did not prove that God had not sent them to the Jews. They did their duty faithfully, and in a right spirit, and then God Sent them into a more promising field.

     Dr. Adam Clarke says, "God never sends any man on a message without giving him such directions as shall prevent all mistakes and miscarriages, if simply and implicitly followed."

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196 -- GOD'S ORDER Best

     He came to Dakota and took up land for his boys. He had a nice farm and a good amount of stock; but the boys are grown up and do not want to run the farm. They would rather teach or do some other work in town. Now he is left alone with a large farm on his hands which he does not know what to do with. He can not sell it to advantage. If he hires men to carry it on, they do not work to amount to much unless he is with them. He would like to devote his time to preaching, to which God called him when young; but how to get at it he does not know. If he fills appointments as a local preacher, it takes about one-third of the week to go and come. In the meantime the days and weeks are passing by, his life-work is left undone, and another is taking his crown.

     It is an easy thing to get out of God's order. It is difficult to get into it again. Difficulties multiply, opportunities pass away, and life is gone. Oh! who will follow the Lord fully to the end?

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197 -- GODLY LIVES a Source of Conviction

     There is power in the godly lives of the saints, which forces upon sinners a conviction of the truth of Christianity. They may resist, but they are convinced.

     Dr. Chamberlain, a Christian physician in India, says that a native Hindu, high in caste, in wealth and social position, sent for him to treat him for an ailment. The ailment was trifling, and he found that he had been sent for, in reality, to talk about Christianity. In the course of their conversation, the official said, "Sir, I am not a Christian. I am still regarded as a devout Hindu. I still perform enough Hindu services to avoid suspicion. But in my heart I dare not deny the claims of the Bible. I see the power of Jesus Christ in the lives of his followers so distinctly that I can not deny his divinity. He is not yet my Savior. Caste, wealth, family, position, all hold me a back. But even now I never allow him to be spoken against in my presence. I have long been reading the Bible in secret, The more I read of Christ, and ponder over his life and teachings, and the power to conquer sin that comes from embracing his religion, the more I feel that in the end I shall have to accept him, at any cost, as my personal Savior. But how can I do it and bring ruin upon my family?"

     Brother, sister, are you living so that you keep those around you under conviction?

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198 -- GOSPEL for the Poor

     When John sent to know if Jesus was the Messiah, his disciples were told, "Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them" (Matt. 11:4, 5). Human systems seek the patronage of the rich; the crowning proof of the divine origin of the gospel is the fact that it is preached to the poor. Dr. Stephen Olin, one of the greatest preachers of his day, said, "The gospel is preached to the poor -- to the masses. It is made for them -- it suits them. Is it not for the rich -- for the cultivated -- the intellectual? Not as such. They must become as the poor -- as little children -- as fools. They must come down to the common platform. They must be saved just like so many plowmen or common day-laborers. They must feel themselves sinners -- must repent -- trust in Christ, like beggars -- like publicans. Sometimes we hear men prate about `preaching that will do for common people, while it is good for nothing for the refined and the educated.' This is a damning heresy. It is a ruinous delusion. All breathe the same air. All are of one blood. All die. There is precisely one gospel for all; and that is the gospel that the poor have preached to them. The poor are the favored ones. They are not called up. The great are called down. They many dress, and feed, and ride, and live in ways of their own choosing; but as to getting to Heaven, there is only God's way -- the way of the poor. They many fare sumptuously every day, but there is only one sort of manna."

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199 -- GOSPEL for the Poor -- Free Churches

     The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel for the poor. It was given to them. It was meant for them. Christ says: "Come unto me, all ye that labor, and are heavy laden." He never once gives such an invitation to the rich. On the contrary, he declares: "Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 19:23).

     Then the edifice in which the gospel is preached should be built plain, and with all the seats free, with special reference to meeting the wants of the poor. Bishop Morris, of the M. E. church, one of the godly men of the past generation, says: "Where churches are built in costly style, with pews to rent or sell, the poor, who are unable to build, buy, or rent, are virtually excluded from houses of worship, and must worship without the means of grace, or worship out of doors, or meet in small companies in their own dwellings. Pewed churches are intended to accommodate select congregations; and a thinly attended house is therefore a natural, if not necessary, part of the system. It begins, progresses, and terminates in aristocracy." Therefore, do not give churches in which they sell or rent pews, any countenance or support.

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200 -- GOSPEL: Progress Slow

     When the gospel is preached in its purity it makes slow progress ant first. It did in the primitive church. It did among the early Methodists. Of Fredericktown, Virginia, Bishop Asbury remarked: "At last, after more than thirty years' labor, the Methodists have a house of worship here, and thirty souls in fellowship." Reaching Holstein, Tennessee, and finding a gracious revival in progress, he wrote: "Fourteen or fifteen times have I toiled over the mighty mountains, and nearly twenty years have we labored upon Holstein, and lo! the rage of wild and Christian savages is tamed, and God hath glorified himself."

     But when the standard is lowered and the bars let down, in comes the world with a rush. Godless ministers rejoice, hell triumphs, and angels weep. Splendid church edifices are reared, instruments of music admitted, fairs and festivals inaugurated, and fun, and frolic are the order of the day. They entertain the godless, but they murder souls! "O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united."

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201 -- GRACE Through Faith

     We are saved by God. He alone can deliver us from the power and from the penalty of sin. When a prisoner is tried and found not guilty, the judge sets him free, because he deserves freedom. He owes his deliverance to the administering of justice. When a convicted criminal is pardoned by the governor, he owes his liberty to the exercise of mercy. So we are saved by grace. We pray God to blot out our transgressions, "because of the multitude of his tender mercies." The Pharisee went away unforgiven -- he relied upon his own goodness; the publican went down to his house justified -- he relied upon the mercy of God.

     In using our Lord's Prayer, the plea is for forgiveness. The only claim we make for anything that can be called merit is, that we ourselves show mercy -- "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." This is something that requires neither learning nor talent, nor strength, nor wealth. The poorest and the weakest can be merciful and forgiving, and penitent. The sacrifices of God -- that is, the sacrifices which he prizes above all others -- are a broken spirit and a contrite heart. These the poorest and weaken can bring.

     Thus, though we are saved by grace through faith, yet the faith that saves is not fruitless. Every step taken towards God in faith, leaves behind it a plain track discernible by all. To those who appeared to seek God, John the Baptist cried out. "Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance."

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202 -- GRACE Tested

     We never read of drovers being robbed while going to market with their cattle, but when they have got the money for them they are sometimes followed hundreds of miles my villains, watching for an opportunity to rob them. One man, who had been followed two days and two nights on the train, was finally knocked off the platform as he was going, after dark, from one car to another, and robbed. So Satan follows those who have been to the Lord and received great spiritual blessings from his hands, to rob them, if possible, of their blessings. It was a wonderful token of God's favor when there came a voice from Heaven, saying to Jesus, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." But immediately after was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. A similar experience awaits his disciples. Preachers are in special danger after God has signally blessed their labors. A great revival sometimes ends with the fearful backsliding of the man by whose labors it was chiefly carried on. We need to watch and pray always, but most of all after having been greatly blessed with a baptism of the Spirit. Satan will make his attacks upon us; but if we resist him firmly, he will flee from us.

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203 -- GRACE Transforms

     We grow out of self only as we grow into Christ. Changes in any other direction, are only changes from one form of depravity to another. Iron may be changed into steel which is capable of receiving as high a polish as silver. But it can never be turned into silver. Human nature may be highly refined; but it is only as it is made a partaker of the divine nature that it undergoes that transformation by which it becomes truly holy.

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     Said a preacher, when mildly expostulated with by one of his members for his denunciatory expressions from the pulpit, "I want you to understand that I am going through on grit." In a short time he did go through his pulpit and through his church. He took his place among those who make no pretensions to grace. The vein of grit does not appear to be very thick. A self-willed man can soon work his way through it; and then he finds himself in the "horrible pit of miry clay." The more he flounders in it, the deeper he sinks, until he falls at last into the bottomless pit from which none ever escape. Beloveds, do not mistake consecration to your own will for consecration to God: do not think you are led by the Spirit of God, when it is clear to others that you are actuated by a spirit of resentment.

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     No one should be satisfied with his present attainments. Christ is the portion of his people, but he will continue to satisfy their hearts only as they continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. Life and growth are essential to fruit bearing. Dead trees do not have foliage or fruit. The fruitless fig-tree was cursed. Let us see to it that we bear much fruit: so shall we be his disciples.