John Carroll - Paul - Albuquerque, New Mexico - 1947

I am very glad of being in this Convention.  I have been made glad in seeing all the graces I have seen in His saints and servants.  I have appreciated the spirit of service that has been is evident on the grounds as I have watched my fellow servants serve in the dining room, in the kitchen, and here in the meetings - it has made me very glad and has created in my heart a desire to have the same spirit of service.


I would like to speak to you this afternoon for a little while about the importance of a true purpose in our lives.  A life without a purpose is a wasted life.  Many men, women, boys, and girls in the world are living aimless, objective-less, purposeless lives.  They are going all the time, but never getting anywhere.  They are like a ship at sea, tossed by every wave, driven by every wind, going all the time, never reaching any port.  We speak of such men and women as drifters and it would be a healthy exercise to ask ourselves if we are drifting?  Have we any real purpose in our life?  Are we aiming at anything worthwhile?


The men and women that filled the useful places in the Kingdom of God in Bible days were men and women with a purpose.  David said, "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after."  It was said of Daniel, "He purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the King's meat."  Every child of God needs to have a vision of something worthwhile to live for, something they can put their best into.  In Matthew 13:44-45, read of a man who found this hidden treasure, the pearl of the greatest price; that which was worthwhile living for.


In Philippians  1:21, Paul gives us in six short words, the purpose that governed his life and ministry, "For me to live is Christ.”  These words were written in Jail.  He was chained to a Roman soldier day and night.  He was awaiting trial he did not know whether the result of that trial would be a release or sentence of death followed by execution, but he said, “For me to live is Christ.”  I would like this afternoon to help you to understand what he meant by these few words.  I have studied the life of Paul.  I have read all of his letters.  I have followed him in his journeys and have I asked myself many times, "What did he mean by these words?"

 

I cannot think of any nobler purpose in any life.  If each one of us as the saints and servants of God had this purpose in our hearts, it would mean much to each of us as individuals, much to others in the world.  For some people to live, it is just pleasure or money or property or fame, but this man said, "To live is Christ."  For me to live is daily submission to the Lordship of Christ.  Everything I have read about this man's life, everything he wrote himself convinces me that this purpose was in his heart.


The Lordship of Christ was the very heart and kernel of the Truth in those days. Jesus the Only Saviour as Lord, was the only message that they preached in those days.  They emphasized the fact that when He died on the Cross, it was for the purpose that men and women might submit to Him as Lord.  Romans 14: 9, "He died for our sins on the Cross, that someday we might receive Him as our Lord and crown Him as our King."  This man's life began not in Tarsus but in Damascus - his natural life began in Tarsus.  His Spiritual life began in Damascus, and that spiritual life began by submission to the Lordship of Jesus.  The greatest miracle worked in the New Testament, is the conversion of this man; the change that was wrought in this Saul of Tarsus.


I love to think of Saul of Tarsus on his knees in that upper room in Damascus in the place of submission the place of surrender.  It was a long hard road for him, but at last Saul the persecutor, the chief of sinners, the blasphemer is found upon his knees in that upper room in the city of Damascus.  Saul of Tarsus becomes a child of God, a citizen of the Kingdom of God.  There is no other way of salvation and there never will be.  All of God's dealings with men and women is to bring them to the place of surrender.  Submission - it cost Saul of Tarsus much to make this surrender, it meant going against his own friends and relatives going against his own prospects in life, going against the church of his Fathers, but he was willing for any cost or sacrifice in order to share in the salvation of God.  He began by submission.  I would like to think that every soul in this meeting had been brought to the place of unconditional surrender to the Lordship of Christ and willing regardless of cost or consequences for Jesus the Only Saviour and their Lord and Master.  Saul made manifest the truth in his own words.  "lf any man is in Christ, he is a new creature old things are passed away; behold all things are become new."  He began by submission; He contin­ued by submission.


Philippians 3:7-8 was thirty years after that first account of submission.  He told his friends at Philippi he was willing after 30 years to live his life in complete submission to Christ as he was at the beginning.  He began by submission, he continued by submission to the Lordship of Christ.  He finished in complete submission to Christ.  2 Timothy 1:2, thirty years before in the city of Damascus, he submitted to the Lordship of Christ.  For 30 years, he continued to submit to the Lord and now at the end, the spirit of submission is just the same as at the beginning, daily submission to the Lordship.


Paul wrote these words, "To me to live is daily manifesting the Spirit of Christ in my life."  Each one of us is responsible for manifesting the Spirit of Christ to others.  Christianity is not a creed or a sect, but a life and that the Life of Christ lived over again in Christians.  There is no more Christianity in the world than that which be made manifest in the lives of His people.  John 12:20-21, I believe that there are men and women everywhere in whose hearts there is the same cry, "We would see Jesus."  We as individuals are responsible for giving them an opportunity of seeing Jesus.  Many years ago I heard a song sang at convention, the words of the chorus have remained with me.  "Can the world see Jesus in you; can the world see Jesus in me?"  Paul felt his responsibility for manifesting Christ.


Galatians 1:15-16, his understanding of what took, place when he became a child of God was this:  the Christ who had died for him on the Cross was now living His life over again in him.  He writes this in verse 20, "Christ liveth in me.”  Christ lived for him, Christ died for him that He might live again in him.  Christ died for him that He might live His life over again in us.  "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His."  Paul wrote to the Christians at Corinth that they examine themselves, whether they be in the faith, and to prove themselves to see whether Jesus Christ was in them except they be reprobates.  The only sure hope of glory is Christ in control of the heart and reigning over the life is that Christ is ruling and reigning in our hearts.  He cannot be hid, other men and women will see Christ living over again in us.


I have seen Christ many times during the last 50 years have seen Him living His life over again in many fellow servants.  I have seen His love, His pity, His compassion, His purity, His temperance.  I have seen Christ manifested by them and what I have seen of Christ in their lives and ministry has spoken louder to me than anything they have spoken with their lips.  I have seen Christ in the lives of His people, in their homes and in their business.  I have seen the graces that were in His life reproduced in theirs and what I have seen of His life in them has spoken louder to my heart than anything I have heard from their lips.  God's purpose from the very beginning was that every man and woman taking the name of Christian should bear in their lives the marks of Christ.

The question may arise in some hearts this afternoon,  "What are these marks?" (1 Corinthians 2:6-7)  These men and women were outside the Kingdom of God when the serv­ants arrived at their city.  They were walking in darkness and in danger of going to that outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.  They were dead in trespasses and sins.  As a result of hearing the Gospel preached by Epaphras, they received Christ Jesus as their Lord.  This is just another way of saying that they were now responsible for manifesting the Spirit of Christ in the home life, in business life, and in their life out in the world.  As saints, they were responsible for giving to other men and women the privilege of seeing Christ.  God's purpose is to work in our hearts to mould and fashion them and to fashion them and to the image of His Son.  If our Christianity is not making us like Christ, there is something wrong; Christ-likeness is the test of true Christianity.


I will read some verses that show what it means to become like Christ, to walk in Him and to be rooted and grounded in Him.  The graces we read of in Colossians 3:1-16 are the graces that were seen in Christ himself.  As Christ is ruling and reigning in our hearts, these graces will be reproduced and made manifest - none of these are the product of human nature they can only be manifested by us through Christ living in us.


These are the graces that made Him the "Fairest of ten thou­sand, the altogether lovely One."  If He becomes to us the fairest of ten thousand, we will have a desire to have these graces reproduced in us and manifested by us, and men and women would be compelled to acknowledge that we have been with Jesus.  When Paul wrote these words, he not only meant "daily submission to the Lordship of Christ" but "daily manifestation of the Spirit of Christ."  If we separate from this convention purposing in our hearts to submit to Christ every day and to manifest the Spirit of Christ every day, we would very soon become strong men and women in Christ Jesus.


I would like to mention what Paul must have meant, "To me to live is daily consecration to the service of Christ."  In connection with the Tabernacle and Temple in the Old Testament days, there were the morning and evening sacrifices.  There was the daily offering of the Lamb.  It was placed upon the altar and it was consumed by fire and there went up a sweet-smelling savour unto the Lord.  And while the lamb was being consumed, the priest poured out a small portion of wine on the ground. Every day of every year this symbolize to every spiritual Israelite, what God expected of them.  They were expected to begin each day by saying in their hearts, "All I am I place upon Gods altar today.  I place upon God's altar today all I have, and all I am will be consumed in the service of God today."  It was not a sacrifice to be offered once a year or once a week - it was to be daily consecration.  That is what Paul meant when he wrote to the Romans in 12:1-2.  This daily consecration is a reasonable service.


If we as the people of God could begin each day by a new surrender, by a new consecration, "All I am and all I have, I place upon God's altar today to be used in His service," then we would be obeying Romans 12:1-2.  "To me to live is Christ: to die is gain."  Death loses its sting and the grave its victory when Christ becomes our life.  Paul said he was in a strait betwixt two having a desire to be with Christ, which was far better.  But for their sakes, he was willing to deny himself this privilege.  Death is not loss to the child of God who lives for Christ.  Death is gain.


Those who have gone before and are now with Christ are living in the enjoyment of an experience better than what we are knowing now - a closer and more intimate fellowship than any know here on earth.  “For to me to live is Christ."  Death is gain - to be with Christ is far better.  That is the reason why at the end of his life, Paul could say, "I have fought a good fight; I have finished the course; I have kept the faith henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord shall give away and not to me only but to all those who love His appearing."


May God grant that all of us may receive that crown on that day.