Friday, November 21, 2008

Mr Pink with a word of encouragement

If the minister of the Gospel be occupied with the smallness of his congregation, and their unresponsiveness to his preaching; if he dwell unduly upon the lack of interest on the part of the young people, and listens to the prophets of gloom, who ever give the darkest possible interpretation to things, then he may well be dejected. But if his thoughts be formed by and his own soul fed upon the Word of God, then he will discover that there is no cause whatever for dismay. Scripture nowhere teaches that God is seeking to convert the world, rather does it declare that He is visiting the Gentiles "to take out of them a people for His name" (Acts 15:14). When giving instructions to His servants, Christ bade them "take no anxious thought," for He would have their hearts at rest, trusting, in the living God to supply their every need; and also said "Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:22, 32). He ever sought to strengthen their confidence in the invincibility of God’s purpose, declaring "all that the Father giveth Me, shall come unto Me" (John 6:37).

Instead of perplexing his mind with useless speculations about the ten toes of Daniel’s colossus, the business of the minister of the Gospel is to faithfully carry out the commission which he has received from his Master (Matthew 38:19, 20). Instead of wasting time upon the newspapers and listening in to the wireless in order to ascertain the latest threats of the Kremlin or menaces of the Vatican, let him give more earnest heed to that injunction "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). Instead of being so absorbed with the activities of Satan’s emissaries, let him mix faith with that heartening assurance of the Most High, "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall My Word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper whereto I sent it" (Isa. 55:10, 11).

The Word of God is not outdated: "heaven and earth shall pass away but My words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35). Then preach that Word in its purity, in its fullness, with implicit confidence in its sufficiency. The Gospel of Christ is not obsolete, but is still "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom. 1:16). Then proclaim it, realizing that the curse of God rests on all who preach any other (Gal. 1:8). Do you reply, I have, in my poor way, sought to preach the Gospel as faithfully and earnestly as I know how: but so far as I can see, it has been fruitless, and I am thoroughly discouraged. Then take heed, we beg you, to the incident which is here before us. Get down on your knees right now and beg God to bless this article unto you. Fervently implore Him to open your heart to receive the same. Ponder afresh those words "by faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days" (Heb. 11:30). Surely then "all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23)!

It requires no forced or fanciful effort of ours to show that Israel’s conquest of Jericho adumbrated the victories won by the Gospel, when it is faithfully preached and the blessing of God attends the same. As was pointed out in our last, Jericho was one of the leading strongholds of the enemy: "the cities are walled and very great" (Num. 13:28). Probably Jericho was the most powerfully fortified of any of them, and as such it presented a formidable obstacle unto Joshua and his fellows. Nevertheless, it fell before them in response to the punctual observance of the orders which they had received from the Lord. It was in manifest reference to this that the apostle declared, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds" (1 Cor. 10:4). How blessedly and unmistakably was that demonstrated under his own ministry! How gloriously was the same made evident in the days of Luther! How frequently has the same truth been made to appear in various parts of the earth since then. And you, my brethren in the ministry, have the same glorious Gospel to preach, and the same mighty God to look unto to bless your labors!

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