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The Christian Counter

 

Present Truth

 

By what means are men sanctified?

 

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17.

 

To what knowledge would God have all man come?

 

“Who wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:4.  

 

After receiving a knowledge of the truth, what must one do in order to be sanctified by it?

 

“But you ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13. 

 

And what besides a mere belief in the truth is necessary?

 

“Who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling of blood:”

1 Peter 1:2. 

 

What effect does obedience to the truth have?

 

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” Verse 22.

 

How should the truth be cherished?

 

“Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding.”

 Proverbs 23:23. 

 

Note – That is, buy the truth at whatever sacrifice or cost, and sell it under no consideration.

 

Special Messages For Special Times

 

Does the Bible recognize what may be called “present truth?

 

“So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you have now.” 2 Peter 1:12.

 

Note – Some truths are applicable in all ages, and therefore present truth for every generation; others are a special character, and are applicable to only one generation. They are nonetheless important, however, because of this; for upon their acceptance or rejection depends the salvation or loss of the people for that generation. Of this kind was Noah’s message of the coming flood. To the generation to whom it was preached that message was present truth; to later generations it has been past truth, and not a present testing message.  Similarly, had the first advent message of John the Baptist, of the Messiah at hand, been proclaimed in the generation either before or after John’s time, it would not have been applicable – would not have been present truth. The people of the generation before would not have lived to see it fulfilled, and to those living after, it would have been wrongly timed. Not so with general truths, such as love, faith, hope, repentance, obedience, justice and mercy. These are always in season, and of a saving nature at all times. Present truths, however, always include all these.

 

What was the special message for Noah’s day?

 

So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make for yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.” Genesis 6:13,14. 

 

How many were saved in the ark?

 

“Who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water.”

1 Peter 3:20.

 

Note – Doubtless many who were lost in the Flood held in a nominal way, to faith in God; but the test as to the genuineness of this came with Noah’s special message; and the difference between their faith and his was made plain when they rejected the saving truth for that time – the warning message concerning the coming Flood.

 

Jonah and Nineveh

 

What special message was given to Jonah for Nineveh?

 

“Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Nineveh was a very important city – a visit required three days. On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” Jonah 3:3,4.

 

What saved the people from the predicted overthrow?

 

“The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.  When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.” Verse 5, 10. (See Jeremiah 18:7-10.)

 

Note – So likewise would God have spared the antediluvian world had they received Noah’s message and turned from their evil ways.



The Preaching of John the Baptist

 

What was the special mission of John the Baptist?

 

“There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him all men might believe.” John 1:6,7. 

 

What answer did he return when asked concerning his mission?

 

John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, “Make straight the way for the Lord.” Verse 23.

 

What did Christ say of those who rejected John’s message?

 

“But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.” Luke 7:30 

 

What did those do who were baptized of John?

 

“All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John.” Verse 29.

 

Note – That is, they honored God by this act of faith.

 

Christ and His Reception

 

Did God’s chosen people receive the promised Messiah when He came?

 

“He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” John 1:11.

 

What reason did they give for not receiving Him?

 

“We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” John 9:29.

 

Note – That was the trouble; they had no faith in anything new. They knew that God spoke by Moses: it required little faith to believe that. They felt perfectly safe in accepting him, for everything had demonstrated that he was sent of God. All could see that. But here was One whom, although He had come in fulfillment of the prophecies of Moses and the prophets as their long-looked-for Messiah, they felt there was a risk in accepting, because they did not understand the prophecies relating to Him, and time had not worked out to their satisfaction the truthfulness of His claims. It required too much faith, as against their desire to walk by sight, to accept Christ. It also called for a change of views in some things, and a reformation in life. So they rejected Him. They believed in the Flood, faith in which had saved Noah; they believed in Elijah also, and professed faith in all the prophets, but when it came to this special truth for their time, they refused to accept it. Thus it has been in all ages. And thus we may expect it to continue to the end.

 

How did Christ say those who rejected Him reasoned?

 

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves for the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of your forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.” Matthew 23:29,30.

 

Note – While they condemned the action of their fathers in slaying the prophets who god had sent with messages of reproof and warning applicable to those times, they soon filled up the measure of the iniquity of their fathers by putting to death the Son of God. This showed that they would have done as did their fathers had they lived in their day. Thus we see that present truths are testing truths.

 

What was the result of the Jews’ not accepting Christ?

 

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:41,42. Look, your house is left to you desolate.” Matthew 23:38.  

 

Special Message For The Last Days

 

Is there to be a special message for the last days?

 

“So you must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?

Matthew 24:44,45.

 

Note – In the last days a message will go forth which will be “meat in due season” to the people. This must be the warning concerning the Lord’s soon coming and the preparation necessary to meet Him. The fact that such a message was not always preached is no evidence that it is not now to be proclaimed. In this farewell address to the Pilgrim Fathers on their departure from Holland to America, John Robinson said: “The Lord knoweth whether I shall live ever to see your faces more. But whether the Lord has appointed it or not, I charge you before God and His blessed angels to follow me no farther than I have followed Christ. If God should reveal anything to you by any other instrument of His, be as ready to receive it as ever you were to receive any truth of the ministry; for I am very confident the Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth out of His holy word. For my part, I cannot sufficiently bewail the condition of the reformed churches, who are come to a period in religion, and will go at present no farther than the instruments of their reformation. The Lutherans cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther saw, and the Calvinists, you see, stick fast where they were left by the great man of God, who yet saw not all things. This is a misery much to be lamented; for though they were burning and shining lights in their time, yet they penetrated not into the whole counsel of God, but were they now living, would be as willing to embrace further light as that which they first received.”

 

What does Christ say of that servant who, when He comes, is found giving “meat in due season?”

 

It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.”

Verse 46.     

 

Note – The coming of Christ in glory has been the hope of the faithful in all ages. Luther declared: “I persuade myself verily, that the Day of Judgment will not be absent full three hundred years. God will not, can not, suffer the wicked world much longer.”

Said Knox, the Scottish reformer: “has not out Lord Jesus carried up our flesh into heaven and shall He return? We know that He will return, and that with expedition.”

Ridley and Latimer, who laid down their lives for the truth, looked in faith for the Lord’s coming. Ridley wrote: “The world without doubt – this I do believe, and therefore I say it – draws to an end.” Said Baxter: “The thoughts of the coming of the Lord are most sweet and joyful to me. It is the work of faith and the character of His saints to live His appearing and to look for that blessed hope.” 

 

What will be the burden of the closing gospel message?

 

He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and given him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” A second angel followed and said,  Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worship the beast and his image and receives the mark on the forehead or on the hand, he too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath.” Revelation 14: 7-10.   

 

How are those described who accept this message?

 

“This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.” Verse 12.

 

How earnestly is the work to be prosecuted?

 

“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and the country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.” Luke 14:23.   

 

Note – This work is now going on. In every part of the world the sound of this closing gospel message is being heard, and the people are being urged to accept it and to prepare for Christ’s coming and His kingdom.


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