J. Carroll - Overseer in Northwest portion of the United States

We are more anxious than ever that God’s children should be rooted and grounded and established in the faith, and that they should be able to give sound and scriptural reasons of the hope that is in them, and for all that they believe as God’s children.  One of the reasons why many of God’s people hesitate to give their testimony and speak to their friends and relations about the things of God is because they are a little bit afraid they  might not be able to prove from the Scriptures the statements they might make, and because of this fear they remain silent.  There is no excuse whatever for this, because we as the people of God are building upon a sure foundation.  There is absolutely nothing about the truth in Jesus that we need be ashamed of.  Every child of God, and especially the younger children of God, those who will some day fill the places we are now filling, should make a special effort to master what the Scriptures teach about the New Testament church and ministry.

 

I have always had a feeling in my mind that I had to see before I believed, and I rejoice that from the beginning of my life as a child of God, I recognized the importance of being a diligent student of God’s word and wanted to prove everything I was supposed to believe, and especially the truths I was expected to contend for as the faith once for all delivered unto the saints.  We have been tremendously disappointed in many of our young people that they do not show this diligence, and that they do not witness for Him among their friends and associates as they might, and in this way fit themselves for filling a place in God’s great harvest field later on.  We hope one of the results of this convention will be that all of us, young and old, will be more diligent in our study of God’s word, and will form the habit of mastering those precious truths that have been given to us, so that we will be able to speak intelligently to our friends about the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

 

I believe many of us in this meeting have not ventured to give our testimony, except in Sunday morning meetings or week evening meetings, and the only time we confess Christ is in the presence of God’s people.  Perhaps the root reason for this is that they do not feel very sure of their ground, and that feeling can be attributed to their own lack of diligence in the matter of proving for themselves from the Scriptures that we are building on a foundation that cannot be moved, and that we are in our day contending for the faith that was once for all delivered unto the saints.

 

Sometimes we have a little difficulty when people ask us what we call ourselves.  It is very comforting and assuring to know that the word of God from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation is on our side, and that we find our way of worship and our way of service clearly defined within the covers of God’s book, and within no other book.  These sixty-six books talk all we need to know about God’s way of salvation and worship and of service.  There is nothing that we need to be ashamed of in connection with the ministry, and there is certainly nothing we need to be ashamed of telling our friends with regard to what we believe about the church.  If this convention is to be of any real value in the extension of the Kingdom of God, it can on be such as we witness for Him by life and lip.

 

If I were to ask you a number of questions about the ministry, how many could turn over to chapter and verse in order to give me the true scriptural way?  Would you be able to tell your friends just exactly the scriptures we necessarily must fulfill if we are to have any place in this ministry?  In talking to our friends, we are very vague.  We give answers to their questions which lead them up into the air, and after they have talked to us they are just as wise as they were before.  How good it would be if the young children of God, as well as the older ones, would spend a little more time in searching the scriptures and getting to see how solid is the foundation we are building on as God’s children.

 

While we can doubt and question every other faith, so-called, and while we recognize that men everywhere are building on sinking, shifting sand, how good it is to be able to look into the faces of men with confidence and with the deep conviction that God Himself has created within us; be able to give a sound and solid reason for the hope that is within us.  I wonder if the parents here are taking any real interest in instructing their children in the way of life.  Do they recognize that they have but a few brief years to sow the seeds in the hearts of their children, which may not ripen perhaps until later in life, but if it is faithfully sown they can have a hope that the seed will ultimately have the same result as in the life of Moses, who at forty years of age refused to be called the son of Pharoah’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

 

We have a sort of knowledge of the truth.  We know God’s people are divided into saints and servants.  Sometimes they are called sheep and shepherds; sometimes they are called saints of the Kingdom and the undershepherds are called ambassadors.  That is all fine, but are you clear in your mind with regard to the scriptural distinction between the saints and the servants of God?  If I were to ask you the real New Testament difference between the saints and the servants of God what would you say?  One man answering this question said the difference was that the servants of God sacrificed all and the saints of God used all in the extension of God’s Kingdom.  All that man had – his home, his business, everything, was fully consecrated to God, and his greatest delight was to use his home and all he had for the extension of God’s Kingdom in the world.  He got real joy out of his worship and service, far more than those who are half-hearted in their self-denial.

 

How many of us are really clear on the conditions that must be fulfilled by those who are to have a part in this ministry?  God’s people demand greater sacrifices from their preachers than any other people in the world.  They insist that their preachers must sacrifice all, and they say they believe in no other kind of preachers but those who sacrifice all for the gospel’s sake.  That is quite right, but suppose you were asked for Scriptures to prove this, could you talk intelligently to your friends about it?  There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in anything that Jesus lived and taught.  Jesus said on one occasion, “If any man is ashamed of Me and My words, of him will the Father be ashamed.”  We are not so bold in our witnessing for Christ as we ought to be as His people in the world.  It may be that the reason for our silence is our lack of confidence and assurance, wondering if this foundation we are building on is solid and if these things are clearly taught within the pages of God’s own word.  I would to God that your convictions were deepened, and were so deep that you would have no hesitation whatever in telling men exactly what you believe.