The Watchful Christian
"High alert" is a term with which we citizens of the U.S.A. are becoming familiar. It is used by our government in warning citizens that a deadly attack against us appears to be imminent. Precautionary measures are advised. The government is concerned, however, that citizens are not taking the warnings seriously enough. Sudden destruction is not easily grasped by a people who have lived in comparative safety.
As citizens of a heavenly kingdom, we Christians of every nation do well to keep on alert regarding the spiritual dangers of these last perilous days, of which we read in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. We dare not slumber in a false security. The keeping of our souls is too vital a matter! Our subtle enemy Satan, can do us greater damage long term than can visible enemies who can kill the body but not the soul. At night, watchmen must be particularly vigilant. And as the nighttime on this earth deepens, we must be carefully attentive in order to protect and to keep safe not only our own souls, but also those for whom we have special responsibility.
"Keep Thy Heart With All Diligence…"
Moses gave strong warning to the people he was leading into the promised land. "Beware," he entreated them, "that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping His commandments, and His judgments, and His statutes, which I command thee this day" (Deut. 8:11). He went on to say that when they came into the good life that the Lord would give them, with plenty to eat, and good houses to dwell in and when they would be a prosperous people, they must beware lest they forget the God who delivered them from cruel bondage and brought them safely through dangerous and dry desert days – in order to do them good at their latter end. If they forget God, Moses told them, "Ye shall surely perish...because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God." Oh, the loss of choosing not to be obedient to the rightful claims of a righteous and loving God!
"I would never forget God," I might think. And yet amid the many temptations of today, how easy it is to begin now and then to deliberately choose our own self-centered way rather than to submit to God’s way, oblivious to the fact that we are setting foot on a "slippery slope" course that goes downward. Our wily foe Satan gets his suggestions through to us, veering us off God’s perfect way of obedience.
The Apostle Paul in writing to the Colossians warns us to beware of men who would deceive us through their manmade theories of life and their worldly principles (Col. 2:8). They would lead us astray from our focus on Christ Himself. This is an undercover attack on the mind and may not be visible in our behavior at the start, but it opens the door to a fuller takeover of error. The Apostle Peter is another who urges us to beware of evil men who twist the Scriptures and lead us astray after their errors, so that we fall from a steadfast stand on God’s Word (2 Pet. 3:17). How vulnerable we may be to this danger in a day when there are those who "call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isa. 5:20).
Jesus warned His disciples over and over to beware of those who substitute the traditions of men for the teachings of God. And He warned us also to beware of covetousness, which has led many away from the simplicity that is in Christ. Our blessed Savior, the lover of our souls, calls to one church after another, as recorded in Revelation, chapters two and three, to repent of their sins and to walk uprightly. He wants to send rich blessings upon His people; He wants to use them as effective workers in His harvest field. But sin sadly hinders Him from doing so.
Keeping Watchful and Alert
We pray God will help all readers to take seriously the various articles in this issue of Herald of His Coming which call us to be watchful concerning our spiritual condition. As Wilbur Hurt points out, the starting place is to examine our lives in the light of God’s Word. Thank God that by His Word and by His Spirit we can determine what it is that God desires of us. His Word has good, specific teachings, if we have ears to hear. How essential it is that we break up any fallow ground, and that we be the good soil in which His Word will bring forth fruit! By God’s grace and help, might we be among those fit to seek Him for the precious showers of blessing so indispensable in this hour of spiritual dearth.
And how carefully we need to guard our love life with the Lord, as the article on page four exhorts us. It is a noble life to which Christians have been called. We are not to serve from hardening self-interest; nor from a galling yoke of duty; nor from any other unworthy motive. But like the Apostle Paul, might we serve willingly as those who find genuine joy in rendering obedience to the kind and benevolent King of love and righteousness, and in bringing pleasure to Him. He is worthy of our supreme devotion. I recall Brother Moore, co-founder with his wife of Herald of His Coming, asking the staff more than once to pray for him, that he would not put his wife ahead of the Lord. In later years his wife was in frail health. He loved her tenderly and was sympathetic to her weakness, and patient and attentive to her needs beyond what most would be. But he wanted the Lord to have the first place in his affections, as the Scriptures exhort us.
Let us keep faith along with Stephen Olford for that latter rain which will ripen the harvest for a great ingathering before our Lord Jesus Christ comes in glory and power to take the reins of the universe! As we watch for that glorious day of His coming, might we meet with Him daily in prayer and in the Word. A brother who travels extensively in ministry and counsels with numbers of Christians, reports that a high percentage confess to being unfaithful in this daily communion. Remember our Perfect Example who delighted to spend time with His Father. Might we learn the full dependence on God and the wholehearted obedience to Him which His Son had. "I can of Mine own self do nothing," He said (John 5:30).
Might we ever keep alert to the significance of this hour in which we live. We have been called to help hold high His banner of truth and righteousness in a sinful hour when many would shoot it down. Might we be greatly inspired in our efforts by thoughts of that glorious, coming day when we behold our Lord in His glory and when we are in His very presence! How will we dare to look upon His face, shining like the sun in its strength? Will we not rather want first to fall before Him and bathe His feet with our tears of gratitude and wonder? Surely we will be overwhelmed by His fathomless grace and goodness to us! He has delivered us from the toils and snares of this world, so full of evil and so thronged with multitudes on their way to destruction! What glory it will be to be with Him! What unspeakable glory! God keep us among the blessed who endure to the end!
Please Help Us Spread the Message
Our thanks to you friends who take advantage of the opportunity offered you on the remittance envelope to send us a name or names of those whom you would like to add to the mailing list. If you want only a sample copy sent, we will be glad to do that if you so indicate. Whom do you know who would be spiritually benefited by messages of revival and prayer and preparation for the coming of the Lord? "Exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Heb. 3:13).
You are invited to write us and request a package of some issue that touched you particularly, to share with others. Each month we print extra copies of Herald of His Coming for that purpose. We are able to supply copies of a number of the issues of the past two years.
You are welcome also to write for a package of Herald of His Coming to be sent automatically every month for a year or as you designate. They may be a helpful source of study material for a Sunday school class or small cell group or prayer group. Or with the permission of your pastor, you might make the papers available for members of the congregation to pick up a copy. We also encourage you to hand on your copy of Herald of His Coming after you have read it, or write us to send two copies monthly to you so you can keep your own copy for reference and share the other. The good seed of the Word sown in good soil will bring forth a harvest! Pray God will put on your heart ones whom He wants to feed through the Herald messages. Thank you for your help.
Praise God with Us –
* For the priceless Gifts the Father has given to us – His Son to be our Savior, and the Holy Spirit to be our Comforter.
* For those whom God has gifted as preachers and teachers to instruct and exhort His people for spiritual edification. Thank God for ones who are graciously willing to share messages with Herald of His Coming each month, that readers in many countries can benefit.
Please Pray –
* That God will prepare and strengthen and increase His praying forces as together we seek His face until showers of blessing are falling.
* For the Lord to keep open the mail channels through which the Herald messages travel to readers. Pray especially for safe delivery in countries where Christian literature is not welcomed but where readers eagerly await the papers for the encouragement which they give.
* For God to touch hearts to send in the finances needed to maintain free monthly mailings of Herald of His Coming to 150 countries of the world. Pray also for finances to meet the payments on this building in which we are now located.
* For protection of all Herald personnel, equipment and vehicles under the Blood of Jesus.
* That God will weaken forces of evil and strengthen forces of righteousness in the earth today. Ask God to disappoint the devices of the crafty so their hands cannot perform their enterprise (Job 5:12).
* That the Church will arise in the power of the Holy Spirit and be the light in this world that God has intended she should be.
* That the Lord will equip and send forth laborers to the unreached peoples of the world. Pray that their hearts be prepared by the Lord to believe and to be saved through the Gospel that is preached to them.