Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category
By Brother Henry
From the January 1871 issue of Herald of Truth, p. 10. Title ours. All capitalization and emphasis as in the original.
Not long since a mother talked to me about her children, and said they obeyed her very well, only they wanted their clothes more fashionable than she was willing they should. Her youngest daughter, who was perhaps twelve years old, said that if they did not have their clothes something near like other people, they would be laughed at and made sport of. Well the little girl was right; those who do not love and obey God, and make light of his commandments, as though he did not mean what he said, do laugh at those who love and obey him and try to keep his commandments. Good people never laugh at those who try to please God, and we must not forget that he has said, “Come ye out from among them, and touch not the unclean thing (the wickedness and foolishness of the world), and I will receive you and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters.” We must not forget that Jesus says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself (forsake everything that belongs to this world, that is vain and foolish), and take up his cross, and follow me.” Again we read, “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
Now then, children, whose friend do you wish to be? or who would you like to have for your friend, the wicked people of this world or God? I think you will all say, I want God to be my friend. Well then, if you want him to be your friend, you must become willing to be laughed at by the people. They who are not willing to be laughed at in this world, must be laughed at and rejected after they die. If we are not willing to be laughed at, we will be the enemies of God, and hear what God says about his enemies, “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” Luke 19:27.
Would you not rather have God to be your friend and be laughed at now, than to be laughed at by him and never be permitted to live with him in heaven? “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh. The Lord shall have them in derision.” Psalm 2:4. “The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him; for he seeth that his day is coming.” Ps. 37:12, 13. “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh,” Prov. 1:26. Read also the rest of the verses of this chapter. Hear what the Bible says about those who laugh at others and do not obey God, “Woe unto you that laugh now, for ye shall mourn and weep,” Luke 6:25.
Jesus our Savior also was laughed at, as we read, “And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him.” Mark 10:34. “And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him.” [Matthew 27:29].
Now I hope this little girl, and all the little girls and boys who read this, will hereafter try to please and obey God, and be willing to be laughed at for Jesus’ sake.
By Andrew V. Ste. Marie
Following fashion is a very common mistake – or shall we be bold enough to call it a sin? – which often goes unrebuked, with no warning against its dangers being heard. Every year, when the fashion designers arbitrarily decide that the old fashion is over and the new is in, thousands – if not millions – dump their old clothes and buy new ones. Better to be dead than out of style, it has been said, and apparently some live by this philosophy. No matter how bizarre or outlandish the fashions are, the devoted slaves of the fashion goddess will obey her every dictate. Brown, green, blue. Tight pants, baggy pants, falling-down-behind pants. Cut-away shoes, boost-you-in-the-air shoes, untied-shoes, long-pointy-square-toed shoes. New clothes, new clothes, and more new clothes – until the fashion dictators declare that old clothes are in style – and the people buy more new clothes, artificially made to look old. And every year less fabric overall is worn, more money is spent, and the worshippers of fashion waste time and money to fulfill their lusts – all while children starve the world over, the Chinese and others beg for Bibles, the cry of the poor ascends to the Lord of Sabaoth, and the fashion designers fill their pockets with ill-gotten gains.
What saith the Scripture? The Apostle Paul wrote, “the fashion of this world passeth away” (I Corinthians 7:31b). Obviously, he is referring to the physical form of this earth, but the statement is true of the type of fashion which we have been considering. Such fashions are very temporary. After a few years or even months, the fashions change, and all one’s labor to conform to the fashions is brought to nothing – no value – in a very brief time. The pleasures associated with pleasing the goddess of fashion are likewise transitory. Following fashion cannot satisfy a human soul; only following the Lord Jesus and obeying His Word can provide deep, lasting satisfaction. As soon as fashions change, the followers of the cruel goddess find themselves dissatisfied and discontented once again, and have to labor to make themselves acceptable to their demanding mistress and their peers.
Jesus said, “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:27). Fashions perish. The work of those who follow fashion will quickly perish and come to nothing. The money they have spent, the effort they have invested is all worthless once the fashions change. Jesus told us not to spend our labor on meat which perishes, but rather to labor for that which is eternal. When our focus is on eternity, we can ignore those things – such as fashion – which are transitory, time-bound, and ready to perish. We can focus on working for those things which are eternal – the kingdom of God, the salvation of souls, ministering to those in need, etc.
God asked through the prophet Isaiah, “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness” (Isaiah 55:2). Again, fashion cannot bring lasting satisfaction because it passes away. So many people spend their money and labor for something so vain which will pass away so quickly. Why would they continue to do something so foolish, when God offers lasting and true satisfaction?
The Apostle Paul wrote, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (I Corinthians 6:12). Sometimes, people will admit that they are slaves to fashion. While some people can be addicted to tobacco, alcohol, or drugs, others are addicted to following fashion. The Apostle Paul refused to do anything which would bring him under bondage – even if they were not necessarily sin – so as to not be hindered from fully following the Lord. Why remain in bondage when the Lord offers freedom?
Our world and its fashion designers are eagerly pursuing the broad way to hell, and need to hear that the Lord Jesus offers freedom, pardon, and deliverance. Meanwhile, even in some “plain” (Anabaptist) churches, there seems to be a definite flow of fashion. First someone makes or buys a dress (or shirt, or shoes, etc.) which is different, then all the rest want the same, then they all (who are interested in following the fashion, anyway) have it, then the first one has something else…and the cycle repeats itself. “Wherefore do ye spend…your labour for that which satisfieth not?”
If you are held in the clutches of the goddess of fashion, I encourage – I exhort – I plead – I beg with you to fly to the Lord Jesus and seek His pardon and His deliverance from your cruel mistress. “Him that cometh to me,” Jesus promised, “I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37b).
Originally published in The Witness (October 2013).
By Andrew V. Ste. Marie
The Selective Service System (SSS) is the government agency in charge of the draft in the United States. Currently, men ages 18-25 are required by law to register with the SSS for the draft. This is not the same thing as signing up for military service, but is only signing up for the draft. Men are required to register within 30 days of their 18th birthday. There is no way to sign up as a conscientious objector (CO), as the government does not care who is or is not a CO if there is no draft. The CO process begins only after 1) a draft has been begun and 2) you have been drafted. It is a felony to fail to register, and you may be imprisoned for five years, fined up to $250,000, or both.
SSS sign-up forms should be available at your local post office. You can sign up online, but doing it over the mail is recommended for COs, in order to retain additional proof of your CO convictions.
The SSS form has blocks for birthdate, gender, social security number, name, address, date, and signature. In between these blocks, find a white space and write in all capital letters: I AM A CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR TO WAR IN ANY FORM. Make a photocopy of this form and mail the photocopy to yourself. When you receive it, do not open it – store it away in a file with the rest of your CO information. Send the original to the SSS.
A few weeks after sending in your registration, you will receive a confirmation from the SSS that they received your completed form, and they will give you your Selective Service Number. Keep this information. You will need it if a draft is ever begun.
Next, you must take care to document your beliefs NOW while there is no draft in progress. The draft system works quickly enough that if you wait until one has started, it may be too late to build a CO file! Here are the steps to take:
Contact Christian Aid Ministries and ask for a copy of their Draft Information Manual, which they will be happy to send you for free. It has much detailed information about the current draft laws. Settle in your own heart before God what you believe about war, peace, and nonresistance, as well as knowing in yourself what you may conscientiously do in harmony with the Scriptures. For instance, is noncombatant service acceptable, or a compromise? Be prepared to die for your beliefs, if necessary. Write a brief statement explaining why you stand opposed to “war in any form.” This is not a doctrinal treatise, but a brief statement of your beliefs and what you can or cannot do because of them. (Mine ran about five handwritten pages.) Make a photocopy of this and mail it to yourself, then store the photocopy, unopened, in your CO file. This is to provide dated proof of your convictions. (The importance of not opening such documents is because they will be undisturbed with the postmark on the outside – proof positive of the age of the enclosed document.) For additional dated proof, send such a statement to The Witness. We will be glad to help you out by publishing it. We will send you a copy of the issue in which your letter appears for you to put in your file, unopened. Find several people you know who can write a “Letter of Support” for you. This letter is not a letter of support for your position, but a statement that the person writing knows you and supports your claim that your CO status is due to a sincerely held belief (rather than expediency). Church leaders, friends, acquaintances, employers, co-workers – try to find a wide sampling of people who know you well enough to support your claim to sincerity. Finding one or two people who are not nonresistant, but believe you are sincere in your nonresistance, is a good thing. Be sure to give your letter-writers a photocopy of page 45 from the Draft Information Manual, which explains what the letter should include. Ask your letter-writers to mail you two copies of their letter – one to put in your file, unopened, and one to open and read. It is important to pre-screen the letters before using them in a CO case because a poorly written letter could hurt your case rather than helping it. Walk close to the Lord and stay surrendered to His will and continued work in your life – whether or not a draft should ever come to test your convictions.
Young women, do not think that this will never apply to you. The Selective Service law currently states that “male persons” must register and may be drafted, but the constitutionality of excluding women from the draft has been tested in the courts. In 1981, Supreme Court decision Rostker vs. Goldberg decided that requiring only men to register was not a violation of the Constitution’s due process clause. However, in 1994, the Department of Defense (DoD) revisited the issue and noted that in prior wars, the draft was primarily used to supply the Army with ground combat troops. At the time, there was a policy of excluding women from such positions, thus, excluding them from the draft was still reasonable, in the DoD’s view.
However, very recent legislation has opened front-line combat positions to women. Thus, since the DoD’s reason for excluding women from the draft is gone, it will probably not be long before women ages 18-25 will be required to sign up for the draft, just like men. It is probably advisable for young women in that age range to prepare now for this possibility, going through all of the steps noted above EXCEPT for preparing and sending in an SSS registration form.
Originally published in The Witness (August 2013).
Written by an anonymous godly woman
Based on the following scriptures: Proverbs 31, Deuteronomy 6:5-7 & 11:19, Titus 2, I Timothy 2, I Peter 3:1-7, I Corinthians 11 & 14:29-40
The Bible speaks to everyone who follows in the Way, But some parts are specific in the things they have to say. The fathers are encouraged, and those alone in life, And there are admonitions for the mother and the wife.
I always linger over these; they speak to my estate. They offer me direction in the small things and the great. To be a godly woman is the goal I want to reach, And so I need to study what the Scriptures have to teach.
A woman who is called to be a mother and a wife, Who takes the cross and purposes to live a godly life, Is ever growing in the faith she’s chosen to profess, And there are certain qualities she covets to possess.
The godly woman stays at home; her duties keep her there. She rises while it yet is night and gives herself to prayer. Her days are full of service and her heart is full of love; Her mind is full of gratitude and praise for God above.
Though not employed outside the home, she has no mind to shirk. She eats not bread of idleness, but fruit of honest work. Her brother and her sister, her parents and her neighbor, Her husband and her children share the blessing of her labor.
The love her husband feels for her is easy to reflect, And she not only loves him, but she gives him her respect. In her his heart may safely trust; she does him only good; When he confides his inner thoughts, he finds them understood.
She’s mindful, too, of Eden, where the woman was deceived. She knows it’s not her place to teach (as others have believed) Nor to usurp authority, but listens with subjection, In meekness and humility, accepting his direction.
When all the church assembles in a solemn, formal way, The godly woman listens what the brethren have to say; And if she hears a statement made that makes her sit up straighter, The question forming in her mind is asked her husband later.
There is a congregation where her voice is often heard, And her children are attentive as she teaches them the Word, When she sits within her house, and when she walks along the way; When she lays them down at night, and when she rises with the day.
The godly woman is discreet, not seeking others’ praise; She’s modest in appearance, and she’s modest in her ways. She isn’t prone to gossip, but her neighbors know she cares, And any help her hands can give is certain to be theirs.
The godly woman doesn’t follow fashion’s idle whim, Nor deck herself in gold or gems to draw the eyes of men. And yet, compared to those who do, she is exceeding fair; Her meek and quiet spirit is an ornament more rare.
The godly woman isn’t gay; she’s left that all behind. She’s pleasant and she’s cheerful, but she has a sober mind. Her covered head, her simple dress, her modest mein are one; Her singular adornment is the good that she has done.
When years of faithful laboring have bent her body low, She’ll teach the younger women in the way that they should go. Her works are their example in the service of the Lord; And verily, I say to you, she’ll have a rich reward.
Oh, make of me that woman, Lord! And guide me in that way. Behold, Thou art the potter, and I the softened clay. Encourage me where I am right; rebuke me where I’m wrong. I read these Scriptures often and I ponder on them long.
Originally published in The Heartbeat of the Remnant (May/June 2013), 400 W. Main Street Ste. 1, Ephrata, PA 17522.
By Leora Schmucker
Greetings of love in Jesus’ name! We have a great God who is worthy of all our praise, is worthy of all our love, and is worthy of our whole life!
We live in a time when there are many distractions. The prince of this world is truly out to destroy lives at whatever cost. We have amusement parks, video arcades, theaters, Internet, Facebook, fashion malls, and whatever else you can think of … it’s there. But God would have our hearts stirred to not be entangled with these distractions, but to work for Him and His kingdom. If we are entangled with the affairs of this life, we will have no time left for our Lord. We cannot serve two masters. There seems to be some things trying to steal the time of our dear sisters and brothers (young and old alike). Let us beware of these things, that we can be free from them and in that freedom serve the Lord with our whole hearts.
One thing that we should be aware of is called adornment, and the other is foolishness or looseness. To me it is so amazing how God works. He tells us in His Word what not to adorn ourselves with, but He also tells us what to adorn ourselves with. He tells us what fruit should be coming from our lives, and what fruit shouldn’t be coming from our lives. For every evil way that presents itself, God also shows us the right way. I know many of us would not go to fashion malls to buy our clothes, but I fear that many of us are still looking for clothes that accent the body rather than glorify our Lord. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Mt. 5:8
Analyzing the Scriptures
1 Peter 3:3-6
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands. Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
Adorn—to deck or beautify; set off; to embellish by anything external or adventitious; to display the beauty or excellence of
Remember, God wants us to adorn ourselves with things that will bring glory to Him; for example if I put some type of clothing on and when people see me and all they notice is my clothing and how great it looks, I’m getting all the glory. But if somebody sees me and they can see the clear countenance on my face and that I’ve been with Jesus, then they will give God all the glory that He deserves and we will be displaying the beauty or excellence of God’s Spirit in our lives.
Plaiting—folding, doubling, braiding
Apparel—clothing; external habiliments or decorations
Ornament—that which embellishes; or something which, added to another thing, renders it more beautiful to the eye
How beautiful is it to our Lord when we are born again and obtain a broken spirit and become meek and quiet! Can people see the fruit of God’s Spirit in our lives (as ornaments)? Truly that is an ornament of great price! Remember, we can add ornaments to our lives that bring sadness to our Father. Let us not make Him ashamed to call us His sons and daughters.
Meek—mild of temper; soft; gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; yielding, given to forbearance under injuries
Are we irritated if somebody has something to share with us that will help us in our walk with the Lord? Remember, our Lord wants the fruit of meekness adorning our new lives.
Quiet—still; being in a state of rest; not moving; peaceable; not turbulent; not giving offense; not exciting controversy, disorder, or trouble; mild; meek; contented
With every new style that comes in, are we quick to change for no spiritual reasons, but simply adding something to our life that only brings glory to our fleshly bodies? Are we content with the standard of God for our lives? Are we firm and grounded in what we believe? Do we know why we believe what we believe?
Subjection—the act of subduing; the act of vanquishing and bringing under the dominion of another
Are we under the dominion of our Lord in every aspect of our lives?
Afraid—impressed with fear or apprehension
Amazement—astonishment; confusion or perplexity from a sudden impression of fear, surprise, or wonder
So we are daughters of Sara as long as we do well, and are not impressed with fear with any confusion or perplexity. God is not the author of confusion, because His way is perfect, converting the soul. Remember, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” not the beginning of confusion.
2 Timothy 2:4,16,22
(4) No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. (16) But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. (22) Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Entangleth—to twist or interweave in such a manner as not to be easily separated; to perplex or distract, as with cares
Are we allowing our lives to be interwoven with the fashions and foolishness of this world?
Shun—to avoid; to keep clear of; not to fall on or come in contact with; not to mix or associate with.
Are we shunning the practices of this world? More specifically are we shunning loose and empty talk?
Profane—irreverent to anything sacred; polluted; not pure;
Vain—empty; worthless; having no substance, value or importance
Remember, what we fill ourselves with will come out. If we are filling ourselves with God’s holy Word, then that will be flowing out of our lives. But if we are filling ourselves with vain things, then that shall come out as well.
Is our talk centered on the Bible? Or is it centered on the new clothes that we bought, or the new vehicle we bought, or all the people we meet on Facebook?
Flee—to run with rapidity, as from danger; to hasten from danger; or expected evil
If we are with a group of people whose talk is foolish, do we stay for fear of losing friends, or do we walk (or run) away from the expected or dangerous evil? Remember, the more we interweave our lives with the ways of the world, the harder it is to untangle ourselves.
Lusts—longing desire; eagerness to possess or enjoy; carnal appetite; unlawful desire of carnal pleasure
God will give us the true desires of our heart. We may say that we desire pure things, but if our heart is yearning for unlawful things, we shall yield to those things. Our lives consist not only in what we say, but more importantly what we live. Take courage; the inward desires of our heart can be forever changed through the spiritual operation called the “new birth.”
Righteousness—a state of living in that which God has declared as right. If we are to follow righteousness, then that means we should follow the teachings of Jesus, and strive to imitate what Christ showed us by His example.
Faith—the object of belief; a doctrine or system of doctrines believed.
What truly does our faith consist of? Do we really believe God and what He tells us through His written Word? Remember, it was because Abraham believed God that he was able to sacrifice his only son Isaac through whom Abraham’s descendants would be counted. So if God tells us in His Word to shun ungodliness because it will lead to more ungodliness, do we believe God and flee those things, or do we think that just a little bit of fun won’t hurt?
Charity—love; benevolence; goodwill; that disposition of the heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow men, and to do them good; it includes supreme love to God our Maker and universal good will to men
Do we have the love of God dwelling within, and flowing out of our lives like a spring of running water?
Peace—heavenly rest; harmony; freedom from disturbance or agitation
Again, we are to follow the example of our dear Savior Jesus Christ, whose whole life was in perfect harmony with God the Father. Christ was not disturbed or disrupted by the ways of this world, but He was at rest doing His Father’s will. Are we?
Pure—clear; free from moral defilement; without spot; holy; incorrupt;
So we are to follow or have these fruits adorned in our lives, and practicing these things with others who are striving to put them in their own lives. Remember, a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump!
1 Timothy 4:12-13
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
Attendance—service; ministry; attention; regard; careful application of mind
What does our life consist of when we compare our lives to the Word of our Lord?
Conversation—general course of manners; behavior; deportment.
What is our walk really showing about our lives?
Exhortation—advice; counsel; the act or practice of exhorting
Are we encouraging other believers in their walk with God, or are we too involved with the ways of this world?
Doctrine—instruction and confirmation in the truths of the gospel
Are we able to give a clear answer on the faith and hope that lies within us? If we do not continue to seek for answers in God’s holy Word, we will not find, and therefore we will not have, a ready answer.
1 Timothy 2:9-10
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
Shamefacedness—bashfulness; excess of modesty
So we should be adorned with shamefacedness and not giddiness or sensuality.
Sobriety—habitual soberness; seriousness; gravity without sadness or melancholy
Yes, even if we are sober we don’t have to be sad but we can have the joy of the Lord adorning our lives. There should be a light in our eyes because Jesus is the Light of our lives. Truly, if God’s Spirit is dwelling within us we have so much to be thankful for. And it should be evident in every aspect of our lives.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Titus 2:11-12
I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:10
The jewels of modesty, shamefacedness, sobriety, faith, charity, peace, righteousness, meekness, and quietness are truly jewels of great price. These jewels are worth surrendering our whole lives to God our Maker that we may have our lives adorned with them. But if we are surrendered to the prince of the air, we will have the ornaments of pride, envy, hate, jealousy, and so forth. Which one is the more beautiful?
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Are we preparing to meet Jesus? Is God dwelling in us? Is He our God and are we His people?
Remember time is swiftly passing by. We can be here today and gone tomorrow. Do we want to be with Jesus in eternity, or do we want to be with the Devil and his angels? The choices we make for our lives today will affect where we spend eternity. God will not be mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth so shall he reap. Don’t be misled; that verse is also for the believer, not just for the unconverted. Each one of us can ask ourselves, “What are we sowing?”
Concerning adornment, are we sowing the thought that outward beauty is very important, or are we sowing the thought that inward beauty is the most precious thing to have and obtain? And just for clarification, I am not talking about being dirty and unkempt. God is a God of order and cleanliness, but he is not a God of ribbons, bows, frills, laces, expensive and attractive clothing. Remember, the people that design most clothing, design the clothing that it will be appealing and attractive to the eye so that people will buy it.
Again, when people look at us, do they glorify our fleshly body, or are they praising God for the work that He is doing in our lives? It is so important that we understand that it is our inward change of heart that should beautify us. Many people say that we can dress to beautify ourselves because of how God clothes the trees and flowers. But I believe that God designed plant life with many colors because that is the only way to beautify them. With us, He plants in us a beautiful spirit and does not want beautiful clothing to conflict with His work.
Concerning foolishness and looseness, if we are grounded in the Word of God we will not have time for vain babblings and pleasure-seeking idleness. Let us be busy doing the work of our Lord. For example, helping our neighbor who could use an extra hand, or sharing our testimonies with people that we meet. Let us not fear man who can only kill the body, but rather let us fear God who has power to cast body and soul into eternal torment.
As we live in these last times, the message is that “as long as you believe in a god, you’ll be okay.” That is a false message! Jesus tells us there is only one way. Again he says “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Praise the Lord that God gave us an example to follow!
Originally published in The Heartbeat of the Remnant (September/October 2012), 400 W. Main Street Ste. 1, Ephrata, PA 17522.
From the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 5-7
And seeing the multitudes, he [Jesus Christ] went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne: Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek: ) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
By Andrew V. Ste. Marie
A bit of honest soul-searching is often good for us. Young people sometimes have the idea that they can be lukewarm in their devotion to Jesus Christ and get serious and holy when they are older. This is a tragic mistake.
On page 182 of Martyrs Mirror, we find a record of forty young people whose dedication to the Lord Jesus puts many of us to shame:
When the East as well as the West was exceedingly disturbed on account of the violence of the persecution, there manifested themselves in the East, namely at Antioch, forty pious youths, as valiant champions of Jesus Christ, inasmuch as they openly and boldly confessed the Son of God, Jesus Christ, as their Savior.
Notice that these forty “openly and boldly confessed” Jesus Christ. Boldness is a characteristic lacking in many people today. We need to break out of our “comfort zones” and do what Jesus Christ wants us to do. We need to take seriously His final command before leaving this earth: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Mt. 28:19-20 This command is given to all followers of Jesus, not just missionaries, elders, or evangelists, and we young people need to obey it as well as older ones! These forty young people from Antioch seem to have been doing just that.
We continue reading in Martyrs Mirror:
Thereupon, the Governor of that place, after they had been apprehended, strenuously exerted himself to move them from the faith; but when all his efforts proved unsuccessful, he had them stripped naked, in the coldest part of the winter, and cast into a very cold pool. But as they were still alive the next day, he caused them to be burned to powder.
This kind of dedication to the Lord Jesus is what He wants from us; it is what Martyrs Mirror is all about. These forty young people were so dedicated to the Lord Jesus that they were willing to forsake all—all—for Him. Think about it for a minute … imagine who these young people may have been. There were young men, probably looking forward to having a business and supporting a family. There were young women, looking forward to the day when they would be mothers and keep a home. There may have been some who were courting and others who were engaged. All were probably hoping for a long life of service to the Lord Jesus, whom they loved so intensely. Yet none of this moved them when they were called upon to suffer for the Lord Jesus, and nothing could move them from Him.
Knowing how the Romans and other persecutors operated, the Governor probably tried to make these Christians recant first with fair promises, then dire threats. How many of us could stay faithful to Jesus if faced with this? Many young people seem to have a hard time resisting the fair promises of the world, even without any threats. They seem to be allured by the “pleasures of sin for a season.” He. 11:25 We need to be like Moses, who “esteem[ed] the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.” He. 11:26 We need to stand strong for the Lord against the enticing allurements of the world.
Looking at the other tactic the Governor probably used—threats—we need to ask ourselves how well we have fared when facing petty threats, perhaps not even ones which have been verbalized to us. Have we been afraid of the thought of our friends sneering at us, accusing us of being somehow “holier than thou,” or some other such petty fear? How have we fared under peer pressure? These forty youths would have been threatened with a lot worse experiences than being laughed at. The torture methods of the Romans were disgustingly horrible, yet Christians stood steadfast under them.
Finally, having stood steadfast under the threats, these young people stood strong under actual trial. They were faithful to Christ under the most difficult and humiliating experiences. They left us a noble example.
The big tests might come once in a lifetime. The little tests will come many times a day. Let us use little, everyday tests to prepare us for the bigger experiences which the Lord Jesus may have in store for us later.
Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might!
Originally published in The Heartbeat of the Remnant (September/October 2011), 400 W. Main Street Ste. 1, Ephrata, PA 17522.