Jack Carroll - Sidney, Manitoba Convention - Saturday Morning, November 7, 1914

What are the prospects ahead?  It is good to have a kind of an idea that there are fair prospects ahead.  Moses had respect unto the recompense of the reward. Because of the visions of the prospects ahead, he endured as seeing him who is invisible.   Everything we lose and sacrifice and say, “NO,” to will bring its sure recompense on that day.  I don’t like to think I am spending my life for nought.  When I was in business, I didn’t spend my time and strength and get nothing in return.  We should lift up our eyes and, like Moses, be prepared to endure everything and anything because there awaits us that which will more than recompense for all.   There is the prospect of rising and reigning with Jesus, prospects of having a position of responsibility in the family of God.  I want to have some little responsibility by and by.  Some He will make rulers over ten cities and some over five.  If you are worthy of the place Lot has, you will get the same.  If you are worthy of the place Abraham has, you will get the same.  If you fight the same as Paul, you are going to get the same. God is no respecter of persons.


Christian life has been compared to a pilgrimage, a stewardship, a race, a war. We have three enemies to face:  world, flesh, and devil.  The world has been called an external enemy, the flesh an internal enemy, and the devil one that rhymes with the other two — infernal.  Which of these enemies are you most afraid of?  Is it not a terrible admission that we are more afraid of our own flesh than we are of the devil?  The devil is called a deceiver, an old serpent, a roaring lion, and yet we have to admit our own flesh is worse.  It is good to have an idea of what the flesh is.  The more you know about the enemy, the better you can grapple with him.  A good many saints and servants have been defeated because of ignorance of his strength and wiles, and the fact that this enemy is ever on the alert to get power over them and bring them into bondage and cause them to tumble in the mud.  Over in the Old Country, the Allies are anxious to get to know all they can about the Germans.  They have spies and aeroplanes to find out all they can, find out the number, strength, number of guns, whether they are up against cavalry or infantry.  The more they know, the better they are able to grapple with them and the more chance for success.  I once saw written in my brother’s Bible these words:  “Know thyself, know thy God, know thy Bible.”  These words are inscribed on a large monument in India.  My brother added the last two, know thy God, and know thy Bible.  It is good to know who we are and what we are so that we may be able to get the victory over ourselves.  I am more afraid of myself today than I was 17 years ago.  I have got to know myself better and I feel a greater need every day for watching and praying and being ever on the alert lest this selfish, sinful, human nature may get the victory and cause me to be overcome.


After preaching for 25 years, Paul tells us he is afraid of himself, puts his body under lest after preaching to others, he should become a castaway; terrible to come from the lips of one of the truest of the servants of God that there ever has been.


There are several words in the New Testament descriptive of this enemy.  They may throw light on the different sides, but they all have practically the same meaning.  Galatians 5:16-17, flesh.  Drop the H and spell it backwards and you get another name, self.  Mark 8:34, himself.  What does it mean to deny self?  What word can we substitute?  “No.”  Say, “No,” to the dictates and promptings of your own selfish human nature and say, “Yes,” to the voice of God within.  Romans 6:6, our old man. Ephesians 4:22, the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.  I Corinthians 2:14, natural man.  Romans 8:7, carnal mind.  The carnal mind is at enmity with God, opposed to God.  When we yield to the mind of the flesh, we are at enmity with God.  It is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  They that are in the flesh cannot please God. Enoch pleased God because he walked in the spirit; Jesus the same.  As we walk in the spirit, we can please God, too.

Romans 7:18, this enemy is one in whom there is nothing good dwelling, nothing that this flesh can bring the smile and approval of God. 


Jeremiah 17:9-10, deceitful heart.  You may say this is perfectly true of the people then, but people have improved since then.  Is the human heart any better?  Are men and women in Manitoba one bit better than they were in Jeremiah’s day?  Not a bit!  Three things remain the same — divine nature, devil nature, human nature.  If a man’s heart is wrong, he is all wrong.  What the mainspring is to the watch, the heart is to a man.  “Keep thine heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life.”  “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”  As you are controlled and governed by the dictates of this enemy within, you are exactly what the scriptures say.  We hardly know ourselves.  We hardly realize the depths of wickedness that lie in the human heart.  There are depths of wickedness in the human heart into which it is hardly safe to look.  In some newspapers, you get a record of the rottenness in human life.  No man can read the record of the doings of human nature and escape defilement.  Some of the best men have been overcome and have made awful shipwreck of their life.  No man or woman is safe in this world without God.  “The heart is deceitful.  Who can know it?  I, the Lord, search the heat.”  The Lord knows and understands.  He knoweth our downsitting and our uprising.  We may hide from our friends and neighbours but we cannot hide from God.  It is as true today as when Haggai cried in the wilderness, “Thou seest me.”  Jesus once gave the people a look into their hearts and they didn’t want a second look.


Mark 7, Jesus had been talking with the people who had been very keen on outward righteousness, being right before men, making clean the outside of the cup and platter.  He was so disgusted with the hypocrisy that he said, “I am going to give you a look into your own deceitful hearts and show you the possibilities in a human life not controlled by God, a human life given over to world, flesh and devil."  Verse 21, “From within,” –that is the source.  Sin originates in the thoughts, then desire, then action.  All these things come from within and defile a man.  Is not that a horrible list spoken by Jesus who spake as never man spake?


Galatians 5:19, this is another horrible list and Paul is writing to men and women who were professing to be the saints of God.  When men and women cease to keep step with Jesus, there is no limit to the rottenness into which they may fall.   The works of the flesh are manifest. Some people say, "I don’t know what the working of the flesh is."  We can define clearly what the works of the flesh are and what the fruits of the spirit are.  There are the two possibilities of making manifest, the works of the flesh or the fruits of the spirit.  It must be one or the other in every life, every day and all the way.  “Adultery.”  When he wrote this word, he thought of the fool David made of himself instead of being at the firing line.  “Fornication.”  His heart was almost broken over what had taken place in the Corinthian Church.  I suppose the gross outward rottenness is something that rarely takes place.  Verse 20 gives a list of the works of the flesh that makes trouble in the family of God.  “Variance” — a kind of wanting to be somebody and rule.


In the New Testament, we can get a little help in the way of dealing with this enemy.  But first we need to recognize it is an enemy to be feared and watched.


Philippians 3:3, have no confidence in the flesh.  If you begin to put much confidence in your own ability to overcome, you will get into trouble. The more I know of this human nature of mine, the more I am afraid to trust it for a single moment.  Peter said, "Though they all forsake Thee, yet I will never do it."  Not very long after, he was cursing and swearing.  He had developed confidence in himself.  Beware of developing confidence in the flesh.  When you lean on an arm of flesh, you find it very frail.


Romans 7:18, recognize that there is nothing good in your flesh.  When you read the list, you can see it is impossible for any good to come out of it.


Romans 13:14, “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh.”  The reason we are so often overcome is because we make provision for the flesh.  If a man wanted to quit tobacco, should he keep a plug with him?  If you make provision for any such appetite or passion, you are only playing into the hands of your worst enemy.  The devil is delighted when he sees you make provision.   There are a thousand and one things in which you can make provision for the flesh and if you deliberately walk into temptation, you are going to get all you want of it; you are going to know the bitterness of ignominious defeat.  The things you know will tempt you, you better be done with.  It may be books.  I destroyed the worst of them first, but then there was a second installment. There is a tendency of the sisters to be controlled by the world spirit in the matter of dress.  All of it originates in the lowest underworld of Paris and yet people imitate it.  Don’t let us drift in that direction.  When it begins to rule in the family of God, it is a calamity.  When you are conscious you are walking into temptation, flee to the strong tower of defense.  Remember, He is on your right hand and on your left and will not suffer you to be defeated if your desire is right.  Don’t play fast and loose with the enemy.  When temptation comes, play the coward and run for your life.  Flee these things.  Flee also youthful lusts.  There is a story told of an Irishman who was crossing the field and was chased by a wicked bull.  He had to run as hard as he could and just barely got over the fence in time. A man looking on laughed at him and called him a coward.  “Will,” says Pat, “I would rather be a coward for two minutes than a corpse the rest of my life.”  Save yourself at any cost.


Romans 6:12-13, I have noticed a tendency to excuse our defeat by refusing to recognize our responsibility.  I have heard people say, "I am not to blame; it was my selfish human nature."  I say to you today that God will hold every man and woman responsible.  We have a personality, free will and free choice.  There are the two possibilities, of yielding to ourselves or to God.  Mortify the flesh.


Mark 9:43-45 was addressed not to the scribes, Pharisees, publicans, and sinners, but to men and women who were professedly His disciples. We must be prepared to cut off everything that would hinder us.