Clarence Anderson – Book of Romans - Speed, Australia - 1986

I wonder if you folks have ever noticed that President Reagan cannot move this little finger? You know why? Because it is mine. He can move his finger, but he cannot move mine. Sometimes people ask us why is it that the Lord allows so much evil? There are so many people who are killed and destroyed, and so many people who have no regard or respect for God, or for their parents, or for authority. Why doesn't the Lord take them out of the way, wring their necks? The reason is because they are not His children. The Lord deals with His children.  

I remember one time I was with a neighbor boy, and my father had told us very strictly, "Don't you boys ever play with matches. They are dangerous." This neighbor boy came over, and he had some matches, and he was burning some paper, and my Dad couldn't see, but he had a keen ear. He came in and he gave me a thrashing. I said, "Why don't you thrash the neighbor boy? He had the matches, I didn't." He said "That boy isn't mine. He can do what he wants to do, but you cannot."  

The Lord today allows all the evil that is going on but He is dealing with His children to make ready a people for His coming. God is working to prepare a people, to make ready a people, that when He comes there will be faith on the earth, and there will be those doing the will of God.  

There was a man and he wanted his son to be acquainted with the different countries in the world, so he bought him a map, and the father cut it all in pieces. "Now, son," he said, "I want you to be acquainted with all the different countries of the world, and I want you to put that map together." It was not very long before the boy called his Dad, and said "Dad, I've got it all together." He said, "Did you know where all those countries were?" The boy said, "I didn't pay any attention to the countries or the map. I found the man on the back, and when I put him together, the whole world came together again." That is what the Lord is interested in. He is interested in putting us together, to keep us in shape so we will be able to serve Him, and we don't need to worry about what is going on in the world.  

I enjoyed very much what our brother mentioned. He said, "So many people in the world today are worried that this world is going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, or something like that." He told us clearly that the Lord will never allow that. Only God's people know and understand that the Lord will take care of it in a different way. When the time comes, when this world will be destroyed, it is the Lord will be doing it. He is not leaving that to man. He will take care of that Himself. So we as God's people don't need to be worried about the world being destroyed by atomic bombs or anything else that man could invent for destruction. The Lord has reserved that for Himself, and it won't be until the Lord puts an end to all things, and it will come, as we were hearing, as a thief in the night, and it will go out as a ball of fire. We are thankful that these things are in the hand of a loving God, and only what He allows will take place.   

I do not have anything new to tell you this afternoon. We don't go out to the garden to get something new, but we go to the garden to get something fresh. In the garden there are some things like potatoes, squash, peas, radishes, beans, the very same things, but we go out to the garden to get something fresh, and I go to the Bible with a desire in my heart not to find something new, but to try to find something that is fresh and will feed us, and the old truths that we listened to in the beginning, that stirred our hearts and gave us a living hope. They never grow old. You can tell it over and over again, and it is still the sweet story, the sweetest story ever told.  

We are thankful for these truths we have in the Bible that will continue to feed us and strengthen our faith, and give us confidence that Jesus is the same yesterday, and today and forever. His doctrine has never changed. He is still the same. Jesus brought to the world a doctrine, and it was a doctrine that had its beginning before the foundation of the earth, and Jesus brought to the world a perfect doctrine. Jesus, when He was preaching and teaching, said, "This doctrine is not my doctrine, it is my Father's.” That is something that gives us hope. This doctrine which we have received had its origin in Heaven, with the Father before the foundation of the earth, and Jesus came into the world to lift up God's eternal truth, and what Jesus lifted up we desire to hold up and never let it down. It is like a flag that represents our country. It should never, never touch the ground. That is something that is just as true in the Heavenly kingdom. It is something that should never be dropped to the ground, and the desire of our hearts is to hold up what Jesus held up, and to carry this same message to men and women to all parts of the world.  

This gospel will not be preached to all the world until Jesus comes again. Jesus told His disciples, first of all He sent them only to the tribe of Israel, and then He said they would not be able to cover the cities of Jerusalem before the Son of God returns. His last commission was, "Go ye into all the world, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." First of all, He gave them a message: "Go ye into all the world." He gave them a field, and I tell you, folks, it is a large field. The field is the world. It is what Jesus said when He was talking about the sower going forth to sow.  

As I look at this congregation this afternoon, the thought comes to mind very clearly, "Behold, a sower went forth to sow" and it was good seed, and it fell into good and honest hearts, and produced fruit. "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." Then He gave them a backing. "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." This gospel will not be preached unto all the world until Jesus returns, and when all the faithful that have lived then this gospel will be preached to all the world.  

When I think about the country where I have labored, down in Mexico, there are 32 states and so far the gospel has been preached only in 14 states. There are still a greater number that have never had any workers, never had a chance to listen to this gospel. I sometimes wonder wouldn't there be some worthy soul there? We are thankful that there are souls that are seeking, and I have every hope that someday they will have opportunity. I remember once we met a family and their daughter. We were having meetings in the neighborhood, in their home and she came one day and said, “There is a lady I wish you would invite to the meetings, because she is very confused.” We went over and told her that this lady had sent us over to invite her to meetings in the home. She said, "Do you preachers have a church building?"  

"No, we don't. We have the meetings in the home."  

"Do you have a church building some place?"  

"No.”  

“Do you have a church building in the United States?" She questioned us until we just told her that we don't believe in church buildings, because the Bible makes it clear that God doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands. She came to those meetings. She listened and embraced it, and then she told us her story. She said, "We were brought up knowing nothing else but Catholicism." Her father wanted to understand more. So, he went to the priest where they lived, and said, "Would you give me the privilege to read the Bible?"  

The priest said, "That is dangerous. It would get you quite confused."  

He said, "I will read it, and what I don't understand I will come and ask you about it."   

He insisted, and so the priest gave it to him, and he said, "Be awfully careful."  

After a couple of months he went to see the Priest, and he said, "How are you getting on?" He said, "I enjoyed it. I find things that help me, and there are some things that I have wondered about."  

“Well, tell us.”  

“When Jesus was healing one day, some sent to Him and He said, 'Your mother and brothers are waiting outside.’ What did he mean by that?"  

The priest said, "No. They were just his cousins, not his brothers."  

He accepted that. Then he said, "I read in the book that God dwelleth not in temples made with hands. Look at all the buildings that we have. What are they all about?"  

The priest said, "You give me that Bible. Here you come asking questions no one can answer, and you are all confused."  

He got hold of another Bible and he told his children, "This is the true word of God, and if you ever find a people who are worshipping God, and they don't have temples, then maybe they are the people, and you go and listen."  

She had never forgotten that. She got mixed up with Jehovah Witnesses and others, because they said they don't believe in temples, but she said it wasn’t long until they added it to it, and made a regular church building, and she left. Now I feel that God knows and understands the hearts. If that man had ever had a chance to hear the truth he would have accepted it with all his heart. The Holy Spirit was doing a work. Before the sower came, the Holy Spirit was doing the plowing. The Holy Spirit goes before us and does the plowing, and all that is left for us to do is to sow the seed - faithfully sow the seed.  

We are thankful we have that privilege today.  

The part I have enjoyed reading is a familiar subject that you folks know well: Romans 12 - a chapter that has fed my heart over and over again. The tenth chapter tells us how we can begin in God s way, and the 12th chapter tells us how we can continue in God's way and the 16th chapter is God's honor roll: those who began and continued and finished, and were a blessing in the kingdom.   

In that first chapter, we heard a little about it yesterday, it was Paul’s desire to see them and to impart some spiritual gift that was in his heart. This chapter tells us the possibility of attaining to the higher goal, but it also tells us the danger of falling into the deepest hole. If we are willing to allow God to work in our lives it will enable us to reach the higher goal and we are thankful for those who reached the highest goal, but sad to say there are those who have fallen into the deepest hole, because of yielding to the flesh, and allowing the flesh to control, to have control over them and make them of a reprobate mind, and it is a sad, sad picture. We are thankful that even though people may fall into a deep hole, there can be hope.  

One of my companions used to say sometimes, "I have been so low I almost have to look up to see the bottom. I was in a cave in Kent and the bottom of that cave was way down in the depths of the earth, and there was a notice I never forgot: "From the lowest depths there is a path that leads to the highest goal." It encouraged me. People can fall into an awful hole, but if God is allowed to work in their lives and change them, from what they are by nature. God is able to save from anything that has come upon us, or because of what we are by nature and he is able to save us from anything which is in this world that would be contrary to God’s will - bad habits and things like that.  

But one thing that God cannot do. He cannot save us against our will. If a person says, "No!" it closes the door, and God cannot do anything for us.  But, if we allow Him, He is able to save us from anything that is against us by nature. Sometimes people have such a contrary nature, they could never get saved, but the Lord is able to save us regardless of what kind of nature, and there is nothing in the flesh but what He can save us from. If we are not willing for Him to do a work in us, that is the only thing that will prevent it.  

This 10th chapter tells us how to begin in God’s way, and we must have a right beginning. If we don't have a right beginning, we will not have a right finish. We must begin right. It tells us in Chapter 10:17, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." We are thankful for those who have ears to hear. Jesus said, “Blessed are your ears for they hear.” We are thankful that the Lord is able to open our ears. My father used to say that he was awfully glad that it was his sight he lost and not his hearing, because he said, “If I could not have heard, I wouldn’t have known, but as I sat in those meetings and heard the precious truths it gripped my heart, and God did better for me. He has opened the eyes of my understanding to see a way that these eyes could never have seen." Faith cometh by hearing.  

Verse 12. I enjoy that verse. With the Lord there is no respect of persons, but He does respect our choices. Verse 15. I remember as a young man of 20 years of age when I first listened to God's servants, I really didn't know much about the Bible, I didn't know where Matthew was, whether it was in the Old Testament or the New. I listened to those men and this was a new verse to me, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things." I stretched my neck to see what kind of feet they had, maybe had wings on them? They didn't even have nice polished shoes, but they were the most beautiful feet, because they were carrying the gospel of peace. No hill too high, no road too rough to walk that they were not willing to carry this gospel wherever there was a hungry, seeking soul. We are so thankful for those who carried the message to us. "How can they preach except they be sent?"  

Then it says, "Not all obeyed or believed our report.” A lot of people listened when the preachers came to us. All the people who came could not fit in. They were all around outside. I think many were there because of curiosity, but they did not all believe. "Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" That is something that is most important - God revealing to us. The arm is a part of the body. God shows us the true body, which is the church, the living church of God.   

This 12th chapter tells us how we can continue in God's way. I like the way it begins. "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." God doesn't want a dead sacrifice. It's an appeal he makes to us: "I beseech you." He didn't command or order, but he appealed to the very best that was in them.  

In the country where we labor they work a great deal with oxen, and I have seen those oxen laboring together. They bear the yoke, and when that owner comes out to put the yoke on them, he doesn't ask them if they have a headache today, or if they are feeling well. No, it is a living sacrifice, willing to go, and they put the yoke on - the yoke that the Lord puts upon us. He said, "My yoke is easy." It is the same for young and old, for rich and poor. The yoke is just the same. "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me." That is the way that the oxen are still used in the country where we labor. A young ox is placed with an older, and sometimes the old ox has to have a lot of patience, because the young one is not accustomed to the yoke, but the old one steadily ploughs away. We read in Jeremiah where he gives his own testimony, like a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke, but he took it and became a faithful messenger of God, able to bear the yoke.  

Then it says, "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." I remember when we listened to this truth, the preacher came down to my father, who was a deacon in the Baptist church, and after the workers had left he came and said to my father, "You have been so fooled by those preachers, you have lost your mind." My father said, "I did, but I got a better one. I have the mind of Christ now." The renewing of your mind - that is what God desires to do for us, and He is able to make a transformation. They have what we call a transformer, and if it wasn't for this transformer that reduces the power, it would blow every fuse, but the transformer changes and makes it possible for the lights to burn, and to keep burning. God desires to continue working in our lives that work of transformation, and it is a work of co-operation, not of competition, It takes the effort of every member working together.  

For example, when the stomach gnawing down there says, "I'm sure hungry," it sends a message to the head, and the eyes look around and sees an apple tree. The eye cannot do anything more, and the head sends a message to the feet, and the feet can only bring the body to the tree, and then it sends a message to the arms, “Reach up there and grab it,” and then it goes into the mouth, and then down to the stomach. It took the co-operation of every member of the body in order to be fed, and it takes the co-operation of every one of us in order that this work can continue. A work of competition is who can do it the best? But it's not that way.  

Even the smallest member is necessary. It tells us in this chapter:  "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." Which do you think is the easiest, “Rejoice with them that rejoice?”  

Sometimes it’s harder when you see them getting privileges, but it is a good thing when we can see someone growing and prospering in God's way, and they are filling a useful place and can do things that I cannot do, and I am glad they can. And then to weep with them that weep. I was in a home not so long ago, and the man was lifting a log, and something happened and it dropped on his toe and smashed that toe right down. Every member in his body stayed awake all night because of that big toe. Not one went to sleep. They were all feeling so sorry for that big toe. It is good when we can have a spirit like that, watching together, feeling together, and the Lord is able to bring a transformation in our lives, a work that is seen in nature.  

For example, a little woolly caterpillar, it is on the ground, and it lives off the ground. All it has to eat is what it can get out of the ground - no power to rise above. But the time comes when it goes into a little cocoon and unseen to every eye, a work of transformation is taking place, and when that cocoon opens the caterpillar doesn't come out, but a butterfly comes out and has the power to rise above that which it never had before. It is changed, and instead feeding around the mud and dirt, now it is feeding on the honey from the flowers. God does this kind of work of transformation in your life and mine, and good when we experience these things.  

It tells us also in this chapter the way we should serve. Verse 6, "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith." When a person gives their testimony we have to be careful we don't make it too big. Someone said one time, "If I had a hundred lives I would live them all like this one. I would want them all to honor God." I thought to myself, “If I manage to get through this one to honor Him I think I will be doing well.” That is what the Lord wants us to do, that we will be faithful.  

Don't make the check too big. I could write a check for $10,000 and give it to you, and you think I am a rich man, but take it to the bank, and it's no good at all. Not one cent would you get from the bank. We need to be sure that we have got the backing, as we were hearing this morning. What we do is much more important than what we say. That is very true.  

Also in verse 8: "He that exhorteth, on exhortation, he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity, he that ruleth, with diligence, he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness." Something that is so important is this simplicity. I like the way Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, he wrote to them that they should be able to conduct themselves, with sincerity and simplicity, and there was no one who practiced this more than our Master - Godly sincerity and simplicity. No one made these precious truths of God so simple that even a child could understand them.  

I remember some of the preachers who came to the Baptist church we used to attend. They spoke so eloquently, such sermons, and I didn't know what they spoke about. Jesus used the most simple illustrations. When He saw the fishermen, He spoke, "Behold the kingdom of God is like a fisherman casting the net into the sea." He talked of the good and the bad fish, and that the good would be separated from the bad. He used most simple illustrations that anyone could understand, even a child.  

That is why I have valued so much in God's service those who came to us. They used the language we could understand, and we didn't have to guess at anything. They made it so clear.  

Verse 9, "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil, cleave to that which is good." A person who is a lover of flowers must hate the weeds; doesn't want the weeds to grow because they would spoil the flowers. "In honor preferring one another." We are so inclined if any honor is coming that we like to have it, but any blame coming, then that is the other fellow. I sometimes tell the story of two men who went deer hunting. They tramped all day long and didn't see a single deer, and it was getting towards the close of the day and they were coming home, and then they saw an animal, about the same size and color of the deer, and they took their guns and they both shot, and as they were running towards it they were both saying, "It's mine. I killed it." But when they got to it, instead of being a deer it was the neighbor’s cow, and then they both said, "You killed it. I didn't."  

If there is any honor let it come to me, but if any blame, it's the other fellow. "In honor preferring one another." Let another receive the honor. If we would have that spirit in us it would enable us to be a blessing in the church. Then in verse 12, there are three things that are very important:  "Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer." When we have patience and are passing through hard times, and let patience have her perfect work, when we have these three virtues in us they will be a blessing, and will help us stand in the time of adversity.  

Jesus also said, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you and do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you. Bless and curse not. " Verse 16, "Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits." Another verse tells us more or less the same thing, not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, to have a humble opinion of our own importance. Sometimes people think that if I don't get to Heaven, no one will be there. Verse 18, "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceable with all men.”  

One man told of having a rock-throwing contest. There were some rocks and he threw them over to his neighbor’s side.  Next morning when he got up, they were all over on his side.  They kept doing that for quite a little while. One day he decided he had better take them and throw them on the rock pile.  When the neighbor saw him doing that, he said, "I should have done that myself instead of leaving it up to you." It's good to live peaceable with all men. Verse 20, "If thine enemy hunger, feed him, if he thirst, give him drink, for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head."  

In Chapter 16, I appreciate this because it gives us a list of God's honor roll, people who obtained a good report. In verse 1, we read about Phoebe, who was a sister, a servant of the church and one who had been a succorer of many, and "myself also," Paul could write. We value our sisters. I never had a sister in the flesh, and sometimes I wish I had. She was a helper to many, and a helper to Paul also. Then, "Greet Priscilla and Aquilia my helpers in Christ Jesus, who have for my life laid down their own necks, unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house."  

Three years ago I had the privilege of visiting Rome. I didn't go to see the Vatican, but some parts I wanted to see, and one was the road which led from the sea where those few saints had come out to greet them. Paul was a prisoner. They could not speak, but it says when he saw them that he thanked God and took courage. I saw the home where Priscilla and Aquila lived before they were sent out of Rome. I went inside and looked at it, and also went to the prison where Paul wrote his last letter.  

He was only allowed to write one letter, and not a very nice place to live, just a poor bed, but impressions were made in that home, and I was glad I could see it. Later they had to flee from Rome, and that is when they went to Ephesus. They were useful in finding Apollos, who later labored with Paul. Verses 6 and 7, Evidently they had professed before Paul professed, were already in the truth and in Christ before he was, and he followed then.  

Then verse 9, one by one he mentions them. Verse 13, “Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine." She wasn't Paul's in the flesh but she was one of the hundreds. Jesus said, "Every one that hath forsaken houses or brethren or sisters or fathers or other or wife or children of land for my name’s sake shall receive an hundred fold, and shall inherit everlasting life." She was one of the hundreds in Christ.  

I am so thankful for the mothers in Christ today, just willing to sew a button on my shirt, like my own Mum did. We are so thankful for mothers in Christ. There are so many others we could consider. It speaks of so many individually. It also says, "The whole church saluteth you." They all had a good name and they were on God's honor roll.  

May God help us that we would so live so that our names may be on the honor roll, our names could be written in Heaven on the in Heaven on the last great day. It tells us in Revelation that day the books will be opened, and all the nations shall be judged out of those books. Do you know what those books are? The very same books we have, the 66 books of the Bible that give instructions for every need. Instructions for God's servants. Instructions for the church. Instructions for young men and women. Instructions for those going to get married. Instructions for those that are married, so that they could maintain a worthy home and be a blessing. 

It tells us the books will be opened and all nations judged by what is written in those books, and also will be opened the Lamb’s Book of Life, and whose ever name is not written there will be will be cast into the lake of fire, eternal separation where their worm dieth not, eternal separation from the Lord.  

Sometimes people ask, "How many members do you folks have down there in Mexico? Don't you keep a membership file?" No, the Lord takes care of that. I am glad it is not up to us, because we could not do it. Only God in Heaven knows all His people in every part. We might say, “If it were up to us, that that person could be there, or someone else,” and maybe we would put some names down and not others. But there are many worthy souls perhaps by themselves and unnoticed, and we could overlook them, but I tell you folks, the Lord doesn't overlook them. In that day, their names will be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  I am very thankful the Lord keeps that Book, and I hope our names will be there.