Willie Jamieson - Romans 8:12-39 - Los Angeles, California - 1945

Romans 8:12-19, we have learned in our experience of the past 3 years, that man lives by the bread he eats - this is all the more true spiritually. The man who spiritually eats daily, sincerely and religiously, is the one who will make the most of spiritual life. This is one great lesson impressed on us as we were deprived of natural food. Many of us know what is right, but we do not do it. Like having food on hand and not eating it. When one realizes he is starving, any form of food looks good.

 

I used to think the Bible was a book comparing those inside God’s family with those outside.  Now I see it differently. It is to show how those in the family live to continue right as time passes.

 

Snake charmers in India can mesmerize snakes with music. I sometimes fear greatly that some of us in God’s family seem to be like those snakes - in a spiritual daze, singing hymns, not realizing the meaning of the words, not realizing that it is a serious thing to be representing God’s chosen people, the purpose for which He created the whole world to choose a people for Himself. One of the first steps in getting wrong is getting into this spiritual daze. These verses give a picture of what God has purposed for us. We should be alive and awake to it.

 

False prophets get people charmed by music and surrounding beauty and form until they are influenced by emotion "to come to the altar" and to do many things in the name of religion. We are no better off than they are if we get our help in that way instead of feeding on spiritual food. I hope you’ll not allow it. Any preacher, whether in God’s way or out of it, who tries to influence people by form or appearance, had better be home planting corn than being a preacher; he is not a preacher. I am convinced that the greatest thing in the whole world is to be a true preacher and one of the rarest things, too. Some false prophets even have to dress in a way to make them seem different and holy. Your outward dress has nothing to do with it, but the dress you must have is what Jesus showed in the little child He set up before them - "a meek and quiet spirit" and "become as a little child."

 

The more you learn and know, the less you’ll think you know. If you think you know pretty much, it is a sure sign you haven’t learned much yet. I would like to make a diligent effort every day of my life to that end, to make it possible for God to give me the spirit of a little child. There is a mock humility and I hope it is not in us! It is a meek and quiet spirit in outward actions unless it first comes from the heart, unconsciously. Only God can put that in us - we can’t put it in ourselves. We need to pray for it.

 

We are debtors. You can rejoice if you can say this is true of you. It doesn’t mean you are faultless every day, but that you are being led by the true Spirit. "If ye live after the flesh ye shall die" - were you ever near death? You weren’t very comfortable, were you? If we could only realize the seriousness of these words naturally speaking, we would see more clearly how it is spiritually.

 

Did you pray this morning? Did you ask God to speak to you and lead you?  Do you have any idea what it might mean when God answers that prayer? Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He was led into a great battle. If you’ve ever been in a battlefield of war, you will understand better what a spiritual battle should be. The natural tendency of a soldier when the Japanese are winning all around is to say, "I surrender," but there is something in him that helps him say, "No, I won’t surrender, I’ll be true to the flag no matter what happens." That is enduring. It says, "He that endures to the end shall be saved." Have you ever been sick in bed and try to get up and walk? You are too weak, you want to give up and lie down, but you know you must make an effort or you won’t get strength and you may never get up again. That is what you must do spiritually when in that battle of temptations. That is enduring. "Let patience have her perfect work." What does perfect mean? A perfect body is a picture of a perfect soul. We saw many bodies in sad condition in the camp. It was a comfort to remember we may leave these imperfect bodies and receive a perfect spiritual body. No one can deprive us of this.

 

You must not think that to be led by the Spirit of God is always to be full of joy and singing. We’ll never learn how much we can enjoy the glory of God, until we first bear the burdens and suffer temptations. We can expect to have deep wrinkles in our spiritual brow before we reach that time of perfection. There is also the other side - the reaping. There is only one reason why God made the world; not for a battlefield, but that He might choose from the world a people for Himself. Why then should not God’s people be the most important people on earth? It wasn’t a nice thing to be in that camp nearly starved to death - 3 years of hunger - but it gave me a wonderful feeling of joy of what awaits God’s chosen people. It seemed more real and near, being so close to death.

 

When we first profess, the devil tells us we are all wrong - our friends tell us this, too. The Spirit itself within is what bears witness and makes us know we are on the side of the children of God (verse 16). Another time the Spirit itself bears witness and proves itself in us, is when we try to get something out of  the world and can’t anymore. I have seen many try it. They have tried over and over again and come back disappointed every time! There are some in the world who do really enjoy what the world holds out, but others are so desperately displeased with their state that even the world can’t please them and give them a good time. I was one of those who did enjoy the world when I lived for it, but still my heart was troubled at the waste, and since I have become one in the family of God, I have had a greater joy and peace.

 

Paul said that now we see through a glass darkly, but one day we’ll see Him face to face - the Son of God. We cannot look at the sun of the heavens with a naked eye; we aren’t quite capable of taking in so great a light with the human eye, but we can look at it through a darkened glass which shuts out much of what is really there. The same is true looking at the Son of God. Imagine how it would seem to be able to see and to know all about the sun, closely - how great compared to what little we can see.

 

Light has always seen but never heard. The false prophets put it the other way around. They go to school to learn how to be good deliverers before they think much about how to bear the light so it can be seen in them. Do you often think how it will be to see Jesus face to face with eyes that can see Him in all His beauty? Not weak human eyes that cannot stand the light and must see only through a glass darkly. "Not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed." (Verse 18) Wait and pray, and pray until you can look upon God as you should. Praying gets more difficult as a person grows older. I must first of all be rewarded in the secret place before I can stand before others and give them bread that is of Christ.

 

"Love is blind" and we often see a bride so taken up with the bridegroom that she cannot see but what he is the most wonderful man in the whole world as far as she is concerned. This is the way Christ will seem to us if we truly try to learn to love Him as we should. "We will know as we are known" - we will know Him as well as He knows us. Is there anything in the world worth so much as this? But there is "suffering" mentioned in Verse 18 first. Would a bride be true if she said, "I will stay by you as long as everything goes nicely, but not if you must go through hard times."

 

Now, before closing for lunch, I would like to say you may be tempted to put me in a bad place - thinking of a man from a concentration camp as sort of a hero who is still alive. There were many who suffered far more than I and are now in a far worse condition.  I hope you’ll not make it hard for me by trying to make a hero out of me. Before I could go out to preach the Gospel again, I would have to pray to God to give me more love for the world in general. I need more of the love a mother has for her children. I never did like the shame and I don’t like it any better today - people turning up their shoulders at such an unrecognized thing to live for, saying "No good can come of one wasting his life that way." This is suffering. But I have no right to speak of suffering when I think of what Paul suffered there in that prison. When you are in prison and wonder if you will ever get out, you have no idea of how the people of God are desirable in memory. I used to lie on my couch and take a trip, let my mind have freedom to go where it wanted to go. I would go back to the friends, YOU friends, and see your faces. How much it helped! There might be times we are tempted to be ashamed of God’s way but not at a time like that. They (the Friends) are the best in the earth to think about.

 

There is always something wrong in a person if he thinks he is getting better and is better than some other brother. Paul said, "Oh wretched man that I am," and he felt more that way as he grew older. If you feel shame at your own flesh (foolish blunders, words and mistakes), there is hope for you. But not if you feel you have done all things right, you can’t then be blessed by God. Jesus had to get away alone to the mountain to pray because the people were emotionally stirred to praise Him and wanted to make Him King. It is dangerous to be considered a hero - that is why I hope you will not be so sentimental that you’ll make it hard for me to get away from myself and remember who I am. We as workers often feel the necessity of getting away among hardened misunderstanding people who don’t know God, so as to get ourselves humbled to where we really realize our need of God. (Romans 8:22-39) When in the camp, I used to dream that I was at convention and couldn’t find Jack (Carroll) and couldn’t find anyone else to preach, so I was left to preach and couldn’t find anything to preach about!

 

Verse 28 "All things work together for good, " and "The earnest expectations of the creature waiteth for the manifestations of the sons of God." One of the most foolish things we can do is to try to improve upon the creature - the human side. All of us, no matter who we are, are subject to vanity in one way or another, and in many ways. The reason we are groaning now (verse 22) is that we are bearing fruits of the Spirit in a body subject to vanity, hoping for the day when we will be freed from that vanity. One way to be bad to this body, is to pamper it too much so others will admire it and feed that vanity, the very enemy of the Spirit. No matter how you look, it is better to be true than false. (Verse 26) That is the way I felt when in camp. I didn’t know how to pray. I didn’t once ask God to take me out of there but only asked to be willing to stay as long as He wanted us there. Sometimes when we can’t pray (we feel we don’t know how to ask), the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us. The next verse is a comfort to read when in this condition (verse 27). That is why we should know these verses that come before the 28th verse. I never once doubted that God would deliver me from the camp in this life because one day shortly after the Japanese took over, I sat alone thinking what it might mean and wondered if I would ever see my friends in the States again. Then as clearly as if a voice had spoken to me, it came to me that some day I would again see you in this life. I never once lost that faith that I would again be reunited with God’s people.

 

One way to tell a true preacher from a false one: a true preacher is natural and human. I believe if we could meet with Christ as He was when on earth, we would meet a very common man. The common people felt near to Him and came to Him. God will never give the words of eternal life to one who gets a sermon out of the concordance only - but He will give to those who wait upon the Lord and who practice living as God’s preachers lived 2,000 years ago.

 

The best soil in this city can be cleared of weeds, be well worked and watered, but it is of no use, unless seeds with good life are planted in the garden. Later on, when we had no seeds to plant, it did no good to work the soil and rid it of weeds. The false prophet tries to take the weeds out of men’s lives by saying "Don’t smoke, don’t drink, etc." but no seeds are planted. Plant some seeds and stop digging awhile, give the seeds a chance to grow and see what happens. False preachers clean up your human life; God doesn’t. He takes your soil and plants a new life - "Whom He called, He also justified."

 

Faith is not only that which makes us believe in Jesus, but mainly the faith of Jesus. We don’t preach salvation by works (as some accuse us of), but works by salvation. If you are doing things right because of the new life that is in you, urging you to do it, then it is right. But if only by self will, human will, the will of the preacher, then your righteousness is no better than that of the Catholics. "Whom He justified, them He glorified." When God dwells in a life, it becomes an occupied house, well kept and furnished. A house is not attractive (glorified) when no dweller is there to keep it. If we have all these things, what need “we care even if everyone in the whole world is against us,” we have God dwelling within, the seed is growing. LIFE is all that.