Pungent Truths

By William B. Rose


Topics Beginning with "O"

302 -- OBEDIENCE Demanded

     If we love God we shall obey him, not only in some things, but in all things. We shall keep his commands because they are his commands. He who does anything because it is fashionable, is really obeying fashion, although what he does is in accordance with the will of God. The thing done may be right, but the bad motive robs it of its virtue. A soldier who undertook to obey only such commands of his officers as he chose to obey, would not be tolerated. The true test of obedience is found in our willingness to do what we know is right, when it is contrary to our inclinations. The miracle in the case of the kine which, yoked to a cart and left to their own guidance. took the road to the land of Israel, consisted in the fact that they went away from home, and away from their own calves. When you do for your religion only what is fashionable, or what appears to be for your own interest, you do no more than any worldling. Publicans and sinners do the same. Anybody who can afford it, can wear fine clothes to church. But to dress plain because God commands it. manifests a desire to please God. "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"

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303 -- OBEDIENCE A Test of Friendship for Christ

     The freedom of the Spirit is not a spirit of insubordination. Said a Grecian philosopher: "The glory of d' Spartan is in knowing how to obey well." Hence the Spartans made a record unequaled in the history of the world. Three hundred of them, under Leonidas, 480 years before Christ, at Thermopile, a narrow pass in the mountains, stopped an army of about a million under Xerxes, the king of Persia. Christ makes universal obedience the test of friendship. "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you" (John 15:14). A religion which makes great professions of love for Christ, but pays no attention to any of his commands but such as are, for the time being, popular, is not the religion of Christ. A true Christian obeys Christ at the loss of all things. He proves his faith genuine by obedience, when obedience brings scorn and obloquy, loss of position, and loss of life, if need be. He has the martyr spirit. We must not expect that anything less than this will take us through to glory.

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304 -- OBEDIENCE to God's Commands Mark of Christian

     No one has a right to claim to be a child of God who does not obey God. God's Word does not need, in order to secure the obedience of his children, any indorsement from popular opinion or from the minister. "Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams" (1 Sam. 15:22).

     The old declaration and promise still hold good. "Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; a blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day: and a curse if ye will not obey the commandments of the Lord your God" (Dent. 11:26, 27).

     Christ gives universal obedience to his commands as the mark which distinguishes his friends from his enemies. He declares that those who do not obey him have no right to profess to be his servants. "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). This sentimental religion, which makes a great deal of Christian ordinances and festivals, and pays no attention to what Christ says about self-denial and a life devoted to the good of others, has no saving efficacy whatever. It deceives to the loss of the soul.

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305 -- OBEDIENCE to Our Superiors

     As Christians we must not only obey Christ, but we must render proper obedience to those whom Christ in his providence has placed over us. The Apostle lays down the order with all plainness: "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you" (Heb. 13:17). To the Corinthians he wrote: "For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things" (2 Cor. 2:9).

     The obedience must be in all cases in the Lord. If our spiritual, or even our civil rulers, require us to do anything which plainly conflicts with the commands of Christ, our duty is plain. Whenever there is a conflict of authority, "we ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). But it should be clear that there is such a conflict. We must not mistake the dictates of our own pride or self-will for a spirit of obedience.

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306 -- ORDER Essential

     There may be power without order, but it is often useless and sometimes injurious. There is power in the cyclone, but it leaves ruin in its path. It is the steady breeze that sends the vessel on joyously to the harbor. There is power in the torrent which an insignificant stream sometimes becomes; but it carries desolation with it. The steady rivers turn the mills and float the ships. The Apostle commands us to be filled with the Spirit, but in the same breath enjoins us to be under control. There may be so much system in our meetings that they become mechanical; there may be so little that they run themselves out, leaving no results but wasted energies and disappointed hopes. An unorganized rabble, no matter how great may be their number, or how wild and desperate their valor, are no match for a few well-disciplined soldiers, ably commanded and standing together.

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     A meeting can not be run successfully unless the one having it in charge has the ability and skill to give it proper direction and keep it well in hand. Men who can not submit to control are never fit for control. Lawless zeal may excite the admiration of some, but it does not convert sinners into saints, nor reform society. A comet may attract more notice than the sun, but it does not make the corn grow, or the buds open into blossoms, and the blossoms mature into fruit. A well-organized church. though with but little apparent life, will last longer and do more good than a mere association which seems ready to take the world through its exuberance of life. Some have died prematurely because they had not body enough for their souls. If we would work successfully in the cause of God we should take for our motto, ORDER AND POWER.

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308 -- OPPOSITION, The Godly May Experience

     Jonathan Edwards was one of the most godly men of his day. He is generally regarded as one of the greatest theologians of any age. His biographer says: "For many years Mr. Edwards was very happy in the love and esteem of his people, and there was, during that period, the greatest prospect of his living and dying so. Indeed. he was almost the last minister in all New England that would have been thought likely to have been opposed by his people. Yet, after laboring with wonderful success at Northampton for twenty-four years, he was ignominiously dismissed by his people, because he maintained that no persons ought to be admitted to the Lord's Supper 'who do not make a profession of real Christianity.'" Continuing to reside in the town for some months after his dismission, they, though they had no pastor, refused to allow him to occupy the pulpit which he had filled with such marked ability and success. Yet he was an amiable, prudent man, willing to concede anything that did not imply surrender of Christian principles. He was afterwards chosen president of New Jersey College, which position he filled with great ability and to general satisfaction.

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309 -- OPPOSITION, Stand Firm Against

     Do not be intimidated by opposition. It can not harm you if you stand firm. The tree constantly shaken by the winds strikes deeper its roots. If there is a spark of fire left in a brand, run with it against the wind, and you will have a flame. So if there is any slumbering grace in your soul, take your stand against fashionable vice and folly, in yourself, in your family, and in your church, and you will soon feel

"that flame of living fire Which shone so bright in saints of old."

     Lie down in quiet, and the fire divine will utterly go out.

     Where devils hasten to the assault, angels will hasten to the rescue. Christ has not promised you freedom from persecution, but he has promised untold joys in the world to come to those who endure it bravely for his sake. Then stand firm though wicked men and devils rage.

     The conversion of no one in these times is clearer or more thorough than was that of Saul of Tarsus. Yet he did not think, because he was supernaturally converted, that therefore his eternal salvation was secured. He felt quite the contrary. After he had been a successful minister for years he wrote: "I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (1 Cor. 9:26, 27). Mark! He did not run and fight, and subjugate his body, simply that he might be more useful, and not bring the cause of God into reproach; but that he might not lose his own soul!

     The salvation of us who preach the gospel is not by that fact secured. One may drop from the pulpit into the pit. He who has persuaded others to come to Christ may lose the Spirit of Christ from his heart.

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310 -- OURSELVES, We Should Know

     Hidden diseases are often dangerous diseases. A person may think he is in health until he is past help. One, too, may think he is in a good spiritual condition until he wakes up in eternity to find out that he had been deceived into thinking he was all right when he was all wrong. It is a difficult thing to know ourselves. It is only in the light of the Holy Spirit that we are able to see our true spiritual condition. The Psalmist asks the question, "Who can understand his errors?" We can much more readily understand the errors of others than we can our own. The man who writes and talks most bitterly against another may be really guilty of the very offense of which the other is only accused, but is really innocent. One often condemns in another what he excuses in himself. Let us adopt the petition, "Cleanse thou me from secret faults."