Chapter 33 - Conclusion

Chapter 33 - Conclusion

In this closing chapter, permit me, dear reader, to pass on to you three brief words of encouragement:

1) “Holding fast the faithful Word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gain-sayers.” (Titus 1:9). This is a call to steadfastness in the faith.

One cannot deny, from the testimony of Scriptures and world conditions in the present day, that we are now in the last days and perilous times, of which we read in II Timothy, chapter 3. Many are choosing the path of least resistance and are losing their grip on the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. On the opposite corner from our residence there is a children’s playground, and for two or three years a two-toed sloth lived in the top branches of the big trees. These interesting creatures can interlock their claws around a branch of a tree, and maintain a firm hold whether awake or asleep. Their elevated form of life requires that they must hold tight to avoid a serious fall. Likewise the Christian has been called to live on a higher plane than those who are of this world. His calling is a heavenly one (see Hebrews 3:1), and the great enemy of his soul, the devil, would tempt him like he tempted our Lord when he took Him to the pinnacle of the temple, and said, “Cast Thyself down.” A spiritual fall may prove fatal to a believer. Therefore let us be steadfast.

The apostle exhorts the Jewish believers to give the more earnest heed to the things they have heard, lest at any time they should “let them slip.” There is an ever-increasing danger to let slip precious truths which keep us in the path of separation from the world, and in the outside place of rejection unto Him. The believer must stand firm against the encrouchments of worldly devices, such as television, social gatherings, carnal companionships and bad habits.

2) “Holding forth the Word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” (Philippians 2:16). This is a call to faithfulness in witnessing. The apostle has in view the Judgment Seat of Christ, where a crown awaits the overcomer; and the one who finishes the course and wins the race. In I Corinthians, chapter 9, the apostle thus expresses himself, and exhorts the saints to: “So run that ye may obtain.” From verses 12-23, the Gospel is named ten times and finally Paul declares: “And this I do for the Gospel’s sake.” It would be a healthy question to ask oneself, in the light of eternity: “What am I doing for such a worthy cause, for the Gospel which has brought light and blessing to my benighted soul?” In Ezekiel chapter 33 the Lord tells the prophet that he has been set as a watchman to warn sinners of their danger. If he neglects his duty, so that the wicked would die in his iniquity, God says that He would require it at the watchman’s hand.

The week following Easter, in the year 1921, I was staying overnight in Montreal, and heard of a very sad tragedy. The city had workmen cleaning up the streets; great loads of snow were being dumped in an open manhole of a main sewer, and a watchman was on duty to keep people away from the danger. At times the hole was covered over with soft snow and pedestrians could not see the danger. For some unknown reason the watchman did not stay in his place. A mother with her little daughter were crossing the street, when suddenly the latter stepped on the snow that covered the hole, and in a moment disappeared, being carried down the drains to the St. Lawrence River, and lost forever! What a horrible death for an innocent child, and all through an unfaithful watchman! It so stirred me that I ministered the Word that night in the Gospel Hall from I Kings 20:39: “Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life.” May we be stirred up to greater concern for the lost and perishing; may they be a burden on our souls in prayer. May something of the Saviour’s compassion stir us up to win souls for Christ.

3) “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13). “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof.” Could there be a greater stimulant to steadfastness and faithfulness than the glorious prospect of the soon return of our absent Lord? This is a call to expectancy, which reaches its climax in the last chapter in God’s Word, Revelation 22. Here our Lord Himself from Heaven’s throne, proclaims three times over, the proximity of His coming. In verse 7 the announcement is accompanied by a blessing for those who “keep the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” “Holding fast the faithful Word.” The second proclamation is accompanied by the assurance of a reward: “to give every man according as his work shall be,” verse 12. This is faithfulness in service: “Holding forth the Word of life.” The third proclamation is: “Surely I come quickly,” and the spontaneous answer of those who love His appearing is: ‘‘Amen, even so, come, Lord Jesus,” verse 20. How will He find us in that crucial moment when He calls us to His side? A man who lived in a lonely mountain backwoods once related to me the story of his faithful watchdog. One night the dog began to bark as it smelt a tiger in the vicinity. As long as the dog barked, the tiger kept at a distance, but the wily beast moved around to another angle, where the wind carried the smell in the opposite direction. Just before the break of day, as the dog, no doubt thinking that the tiger had gone, lay down and went to sleep, the tiger suddenly sprang upon it, carrying the dog away. The dog’s yelps brought its master to the scene, but it was too late. It made me think with sadness of some who continue faithful for years but finally are overcome by spiritual slumber. In view of the imminence of that “meeting in the air we do well to remind ourselves of the apostle’s exhortation: “Therefore let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober” (I Thessalonians 5:6). “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.” (Matthew 25:13).
This book is a very imperfect attempt to present a full-orbed picture of the development of the Lord’s work in this Republic up to the present moment, but it is sincerely hoped that what has been mentioned may enable fellow believers to give God the glory for His wonder working power through the Gospel. Further, that it may enable our prayer partners in the exterior to pray more intelligently for the Lord’s enabling and keeping power for His servants and for all saints. “Though sundered far, by faith we meet around one common mercy seat.”

As the Lord told Joshua, so it is true of this country today: “There remaineth yet very much land to be possessed” (Joshua 13:1). We must not lean on our oars but continue to go forward, taking the glorious light of the Gospel to those who still sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

There is today an invasion of “damnable heresies”, as never before, some of which are gaining adherents. Let us take courage from God’s precious Word, which assures us that, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19).

“God is still on His throne,” but we have been left down here as His witnesses, and we are told to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude verse 3). The most effectual way to do this is by maintaining a clean and blameless testimony, and by becoming so acquainted with God’s Word that we may be able to speak the word in season as opportunities arise. We thank the Lord for our printing presses and the measure in which we are able to counteract the great quantities of false-teaching literature.

Conference group of workers, Puerto Cumarebo, 1971

“Brethren, pray for us,” pray for the Venezuelan workers, for the Venezuelan believers and assemblies gathered to the Lord’s Name alone. Join us in prayer that it may please the Lord to continue to grant liberty and peace in these times of political discontent and lawlessness.

Let all who look for ‘hasten’ the coming day
By earnest consecration to walk the narrow way;
By gathering in the lost ones for whom our Lord did die,
For the crowning day is coming by and by.”