Jack Carroll - Sidney Convention, Manitoba - Friday Evening, November 6, 1914

Paul was afraid lest he would become of no use, lest he should labour in vain.  That is a wholesome fear.  He was about twenty-five years or more preaching the gospel when he wrote these words.  He kept his body under lest he should make shipwreck of his life.  It is possible for the best man or woman to make shipwreck of their lives.  If we are the opposite to Matthew 5, we become savourless salt. 

These marks are the light of the world and the opposite brings darkness.  Every little group of saints are responsible for letting the light shine.  Pray for your neighbours.  Pray for grace to walk so that when you speak it may be effective.  Some saints think it is only the workers’ work to try and get men saved.  Forget yourself in your desire to help others.  The Philippian saints let their light shine and their fellowship in the gospel was appreciated by God’s servants.  The Corinthians were useless.  The quickest way to lose your savour is by hiding your light.  What do you live for?  If you don’t live for that, you won’t have much by and by.  There is the human side of our testimony. 

It is possible to be neighbourly and kindly and yet be in the testimony.   You will find more true and lasting joy in seeking to get others into the kingdom than by making money.  Men cannot understand the scriptures because they see no correspondence between what they read and what they see today.  The only way we can understand the scriptures is by bringing it up to date.  We can find Peter, James, John, and Judas today.  I am acquainted with Pilate and I know Pilate’s wife.  I know Felix and Festus.  There are a whole lot of other people I am acquainted with.  Every character in the book is living, if only we had eyes to see.  Men and women who lived 1900 years ago live in our midst.  Do you know John Mark the run-away preacher?  Do you know Timothy?  “Ye do err,” said Jesus, “not knowing the scriptures.”  Try to get acquainted with these men and see where you come in.  What part are you playing, the part of Priscilla and Aquila, or Rufus or the mother of Rufus?  We don’t read books and tracts about the Bible; we study the Bible ourselves.  We ought to be able to give to our neighbours an intelligent interpretation of the Bible.  We want the saints to know as much as possible.  If only they will put it into practice.  What part of the New Testament do you find the Apostles’ Creed?  I believe the saints would be the better off seeking to know more about the Bible.  How many books are there in the Bible?  This is God’s library.  How many men did God use to write the second half of the Bible?  Answer – eight – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, James, and Jude.  These were all servants. 

What is the difference between a saint and a servant?  This thing of forsaking all is a very real thing and there is a very real difference between a saint and a servant.  Paul said, “I die daily.”  Servants die too, and deny themselves the things that are legitimate for the saints to have that they may be God’s free men, that they may be in a position to go anywhere, anytime for the Lord.  We are here because some were willing to be servants, were willing to say “No” to things that are lawful and right. 


The children of God were called by different names:  disciples, brethren, friends, Christians, and then saints.  The word Saint and sanctify are taken from the same root.  It means separated — called to be separated unto God to be His own peculiar treasure in whom He can work to will and do of His good pleasure. 


The more you know of the Bible the more interesting it becomes.  How many books of the New Testament did Jon write?  How many did Peter write? 


The gospels were written by four different men, each giving us a record of the life of Jesus from a different standpoint.  The gospel of Matthew was written by a publican.   A publican was a man who sacrificed his family.  No father or mother ever wanted their son to become a publican.  They turned him out and the synagogue turned him out.  Matthew sacrificed all that but it didn’t bring him much satisfaction.  If Jesus whipped anybody, it was the Scribes and Pharisees.  One of the leading thoughts in the gospel of Matthew is the kingdom.  It is about a King, Jesus the Son of David, a King.  It makes clear that if I am to have any part or lot in the Kingdom, I must be subject to the King, must crown Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  The lion is the symbol.  Jesus is spoken of as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.


The second gospel, the gospel of Mark gives us a picture of Jesus as God’s perfect man.  Who was the man that showed John Mark the way to be saved?  Where do you find that Peter was his spiritual father?  Who was his mother?  And what sort of a woman was she?  What use did she make of her home?  The Church was in her home at a time when it was very dangerous.  She was risking her life and never knew the time when she would be arrested.  Who did John Mark go to preach with?  We are told that Elisha poured water on the hands of Elijah, 11 Kings 3:11.  John Mark sought to be as useful as he could as a young worker.  The only way an old worker can rule is by serving.  John Mark got homesick and went back to his mother when the road got rough.  I suppose his mother would have been delighted to see him, but I don’t think she would be very glad to see him under these circumstances.  I am a little bit suspicious that Rhoda might have been partly the cause.


When Paul and Barnabas disputed about taking John Mark, they were not going to go over new ground.  They were going to visit the Churches and establish the saints.  John Mark would not be in a position to encourage the saints to go on and on after having run home himself when the road got rough.  But he afterwards proved himself to be a man.  We have it from the lips of Paul himself.  One of the reasons Barnabas was weak in the matter was because of the relationship between him and John Mark.  Paul would not sacrifice the truth and Testimony for any man.  Did Paul and Barnabas ever make it up again?  It is not hard to get over it.  A few hard knocks and the distance between them would soon heal everything.


The ox is the symbol of John Mark’s gospel.  It makes clear that the only service God accepts is the sacrificial service, the service that costs something.  Service that costs nothing is worth nothing.


Luke gives Jesus as a man amongst men.  It gives a little of his boyhood and manhood.  From 12 to 30, He was a saint. From 30 to 33 gives us a record of Jesus living among the people, eating at their table.  He gives us the incidents in order.


John’s gospel is the gospel of the Son of God.  It takes you back to eternity.  Some people think of Jesus as if He were only in existence after He was born.  John’s Gospel deals with the inner life.  God’s purpose from the beginning was to conform us to the Son of God.  Whenever God begins to deal with a human life, He has but one purpose and that is to make him after the pattern of His son.


Knowing the mind and will of God, it is up to us to yield ourselves to Him day by day that this might be fulfilled.  The elder brother was as big a sinner in the sight of God as the prodigal was in the sight of men.  Nicodemus was as big a sinner in the sight of God as the woman at the well was a sinner in the sight of men.  The good sinner and the bad sinner, the sinner with a religion and the sinner with no religion all need the same help.  It is no advantage to be a prodigal.  I was talking to a man and he said “Don’t you think a person makes a better preacher after having been a prodigal?”  Better a thousand times never to have sown your wild oats!  Happy are the boys and girls that may never know what some of us know through contact with the world.  Timothy was none the worse for having been saved from this.  The rising generation out to be more effective.


The convention at Michigan was remarkable for two things.  First, the old men and women that were there.  I like to talk to old people and give them a chance in their latter days.  To help old people, you need more patience.  Second, for the number of young people that were there, boys and girls.  You could see God had been working.  It was a delight to see the old and young rising and saying they wanted to live for God.  It is the regret of my life that I was not saved until I was 19.  Parents are responsible for their children.  Timothy was saved when He was a boy.  Encourage the children.  Don’t force them but give them a chance.  Samuel heard the voice at 12 and never turned back.  The little maid in Naaman’s house fought the battle when everything was against her.  Daniel was only a boy when he purposed he would die rather than drag down the testimony of God.  The grace that enabled those boys and girls to get the victory is the same today.  The prodigal tasted the bitterness of it but I don’t think he was any the better of it.  His father said, “Bring hither the best robe and put it on him.”  Don’t you think the prodigal was very careful of that robe?  Isn’t it true we are always careful when we put on a new coat?  I often wonder if I am as careful today in keeping the best robe unspotted as I was when first it became mine.  You remember at first how careful you were.  You would sacrifice anything rather than spot it.   Are we as particular today in keeping our new shoes clean as we were in the beginning?  He was not ashamed of the ring.  He would let everybody see it.  That is giving your testimony, letting everybody know.  Do you think the prodigal enjoyed himself in the father’s house?  Do you enjoy the provision He has made for you?  Do you enjoy the fatted calf?  What would you think if he went back to feeding the hogs?  Wouldn’t he be an awful fool?  When people ask why you are not what you once were, I think of my mud pie days.  The things I once enjoyed, now I hate.


Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.  No man or woman could be happy in heaven that has not been prepared for it.  One of the reasons I think I would enjoy heaven is because I enjoy the fellowship of the saints and servants of God.  I find the greatest pleasure in those that want to walk and serve God in Jesus’ way and I feel at home in my Father’s house.  If you begin to enjoy here what they are doing up there forever, then you may have some assurance that your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.