Lord's Day 34 (1937) - Prof. Benne Holwerda
Note about the translator: Mr. Gilbert Zekveld was born in the Netherlands and immigrated to Canada as a young man. He farmed for many years in the Bowmanville area of Ontario where he was actively involved with Christian Reformed and later Orthodox Christian Reformed church life. He currently resides in the Ebenezer Villa in Hamilton, Ontario and spends much of his time translating the riches of the Reformed heritage from Dutch and Afrikaans into English.
This sermon was delivered Sunday, January 3, 1937
Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ,
This afternoon we have come to that part of our catechism where it deals with the law of the Lord. It is always difficult to discuss the law of the Lord. It can be dangerous in that it is so easy for us to make use of the law in a wrong way. For there is a preaching of the lawwhich denounces the gospel.
We saw something of that this morning when we preached from the first letter to Timothy. I told you then that Timothy had a very difficult time with heretics in Ephesus. It is likely they were Jews who said they accepted the gospel, but in fact remained Pharisees, who did not look for salvation by grace through the Lord Jesus Christ, but by keeping the law.
In any case, heretics made their way into the congregation of Ephesus. They crept in there, not as students who would be taught by Timothy. No, these people claimed to be teachers. They were assured they were sufficiently educated to teach the Word to the congregation, they possessed sufficient knowledge of the truth to climb in the pulpit and teach others.
Paul did not say many good things about these people. He said they talked about things they did not understand. Those who claimed they were teachers, did not know the gospel, they themselves did not understand the contents of what they preached. In the first place he had this against them: they wanted to be teachers of the law, their preaching was a preaching of the law. It is not that Paul is afraid of preaching the law; he himself preached the law. But Paul knows that the law can be preached wrongfully.
That is not the fault of the law, for we know that the law is good. But a good use must be made of the law when it is preached. It must not be turned against the righteous, but against the unjust and the godless. Apparently that is where they went wrong. These heretics made the mistake in their preaching to turn the law against those who were justified by faith and lived accordingly. We receive the impression - and it points again in the direction of Judaism - we receive the impression, that those heretics told those who believed in Christ that they were wrong; they could not be saved if they did not adhere to the provisions of the ceremonial law. As far as we can ascertain, in Ephesus there were some in the congregation who said that in order to be saved it was not enough to believe in Christ and then to live from gratitude. They said it was absolutely necessary to keep all the provisions from the Old Testament which were fulfilled and repealed by the work of Christ. It is against such a preaching of the law that Paul turned himself, because such an application of the law is in conflict with the gospel of grace. It did not mean that Paul turned away from all preaching of the law. To the contrary, in the same connection he urges that the law must be preached. He says that the law can and must be used lawfully, as long as the law is directed against the unjust and the obstinate, the godless and sinners, the unholy and ungodly, murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for man slayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing contrary to sound doctrine. Paul says that such a preaching of the law is according to the gospel of glory of our blessed God. That is also the first question, which is in order when the law is preached: the relationship between law and gospel. O no, none of us would risk to speak up for those erring spirits in Ephesus and turn against Paul. We agree with Paul, in theory at least. Yet it appears again and again, that we do not sufficiently understand the relationship and the connection between Gospel and Law. We are still susceptible to the danger of making a wrong use of the Law.
At family visitation are always people who are satisfied with self, their achievements, their competence and honesty. They speak despairingly of members in the church who are not nearly as good as they. I have heard the following so often: Pastor, we lived like this or that, we gave everyone his share; we have been very careful in how we lived: should others not do the same? Of course, the Lord blessed us, and when the others lived like we do...
I do not say these people are not Christians. But I do say that their views are unChristian, for these people are proud of their law keeping. They really think that they have it coming to them, that they are so blessed. They tell you: well, the Lord blessed us - and they probably mean it, but it is like an afterthought. They do not sufficiently realize that in the first place, what they are and what they have, is because of God's grace. They boast too much in their law works, which others - most others - can take for their example. Yes, the Lord blessed us, but we really tried. It is for these people not easy to say, "They are unmerited blessings which I received from the Lord".
We see that with some there is an inclination to be like the Pharisee, they are like the erring spirits in Ephesus; others agree with Paul. At least that is what they think. They would live by grace alone, but forget that Paul speaks also of the law. That penetrating proclamation of the law - they are somewhat astonished when they hear that. Are we not saved by grace? That is why they don't like the law. They really live like antinomians, against whom Paul had to preach all his life, people who believed, "It does not matter that we sin; for we live by grace." I do not say, that we have consistent Pharisees in the congregation. Neither that we have consistent, open antinomians among us. But at times I see symptoms that tell me one or the other is not wholly pure in doctrine, and even less pure in life.
Whoever we are, we will have to struggle with the Pharisee within us, the inclination to turn the law against the gospel, against grace; but also against the error of antinomianism which turns the gospel against the law. Phariseeism rejects the gospel; antinomianism rejects the law. We must believe both, the gospel and the law; we must leave the two in their mutual coherence, in which the Lord gave them to us. This is the confession of Lord's Day 34.
The relationship between gospel and law.
1. in general.
2. with a view to the first commandment.
1. In order to understand the law in its purity, we must begin with paying attention to the time the law was given. And God spoke all these words saying: I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
I met somebody at one time who said, "That inscription is only for the Jews, it is from the Old Testament". But then we must be consistent, and with the inscription declare all of the law not valid for us, but belonging to the Old Testament, not binding for us today. But that inscription, the introduction to the law, has no meaning when the law does not follow; it would be like a door without a house. It is also the other way around, the law cannot be understood without the introduction. Without the introduction, the law is not grounded, is without basis. For Who is the "I" Who speaks in the law? And who are those addressed that are made subject to the law? That is made plain in the introduction. In it, the Law Giver makes Himself known. And those for whom the law is proclaimed are mentioned. And so we leave the introduction in its place.
When did the Lord speak these words? A child will tell you. That was at mount Sinai. For that is where the Lord gave the law to His people Israel. They were on their way from Egypt to Canaan. Egypt had been the land of great oppression, where they had sighed and wept because of hard labour. Now they are on their way to Canaan, the country the Lord had promised to give them; the land of liberty, flowing with milk and honey. Then, on their way, at mount Sinai, the law came to them.
Maybe you think, we knew this already. Yet, this is very important. When we look at the time the law came to them, the point in time that it was proclaimed, we really have the answer to the question, "What is the relationship between gospel and law?" Then we see clearly the connection between God's work and our redemption on the one hand, and the duties we must perform to His glory, on the other.
For it must have drawn our attention that the Lord did not proclaim the law of the covenant before He led the people out of Egypt. But also, that the Lord gave the law, before He brought them into Canaan.
That has prophetic meaning, for by so doing the Lord teaches His people, that their redemption from Egypt, does not depend on their keeping of the law. Had the Lord required of Israel that they had to keep all the law before he brought them out of Egypt, Israel would have remained in Egypt. They could never have fulfilled that law perfectly. They would never have been able to meet such conditions. Their redemption from Egypt would have been impossible.
But this is so wonderful, Israel was in Egypt in great need. They groan under hard labour, they cry to be delivered, their cry was great. Did the Lord now come to them and tell them, "I will deliver you, but first you will have to fulfill my commandments? Did the Lord require perfect obedience? In no way! The Lord does not even mention the law. He does not mention obedience. It was a miserable people that lived in Egypt. A very sinful people too. Their hearts were evil and their deeds were evil. Did they know their sins sufficiently? No. Did they break with their sins maybe? No, they did not.
Were they in any respect better than the Egyptians? No way! The Egyptians were a godless people. They served other gods. But when Israel was in Egypt, they too served idols. When we ask the question, did the Israelites deserve that the Lord led them out of Egypt, we must say that they most definitely did not. There was no fear of God before their eyes.
But the Lord heard them. He heard their cries, and saved them. The Lord delivered Israel when He took them out of Egypt. That is sovereign grace. From Israel's side there was no work of the law that they should deserve to be saved from the Egyptians. "I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt." That is gospel. That is a word that speaks only of grace. Why does the Lord call Himself their God? Because they chose Him to be their God? No, for like the Egyptians, Israel did not choose for God either. It was only because God chose them to be His people and not the Egyptians. It is God's free Sovereign grace that elects this people. And therefore, it is only His electing grace that delivers Israel from the Egyptians.
We know that the land of Egypt is the house of bondage; in New Testament language: It is I who redeemed thee in Christ Jesus from the slavery of sin and death. For Egypt is the house of bondage where God's people are bound with many chains, unable to deliver themselves; yes, by their sins they resist deliverance. That is the slavery in which God's people were held, they were oppressed and vexed, but cannot deliver themselves; they feel their misery, but do not repent. But God in Christ redeems that people, a sinful people. In Christ Jesus, He redeems it from the bands of death; in Him He redeems us from the tyranny of the prince of this world. But that redemption is through grace alone, we do in no way deserve it. It is pure gospel. The law is not mentioned. This is therefore a rich gospel which comes to us this afternoon when we begin to discuss the law.
Without any merits from our side, only by grace, Christ led us from the house of bondage of sin and death. O, there are so many in the congregation who are deeply affected. There are so many for whom it is forever a question whether there is salvation for them too. They see so clearly where they fail. Even though they live blameless lives and have a good name with other people; they know they did not keep any of God's commandments, but trespassed all of them. The law condemns them, and their heart accuses them. There is no progress in their lives. They pray for grace - they do not dare not to - but they never have liberty to believe. These people make a great mistake.
They begin with the law. If they were like him or her, they say, they would believe; if there was only more of a holy life within them.
But they forget how Israel was delivered from Egypt. They do not see that when Israel was delivered the law was not mentioned. The Lord did not even call attention to the degree of Israel's obedience. They did not know; it was not because Israel was so outstanding, it was only because the Lord loved His people, the Church of that day. He still loves that Church, in all its sin and misery. These people must learn and relearn until they believe that grace is sovereign, that it is grace only that leads from the house of bondage; that the law has no place here and that it does not depend upon our obedience.
It is a great comfort for us to know that Israel served strange gods in Egypt, transgressed all the commandments, and the Lord did not mention it. He only told a sinful people, "I am the Lord your God, and therefore I deliver you".
To begin with the law is contrary to the Gospel. Our redemption, at its beginning, was only by grace; the works of the law are here of no consequence. The Lord proved this when He delivered Israel. But we, - we always have a desire to place mount Sinai in Egypt, to hear the law proclaimed before the word of grace; desire to be obedient before we leave the house of bondage. Grace is first. Grace commences wholly by itself. The gospel enters our life without the law. Therefore, he who would receive grace, let him read the gospel and not the law. He who would begin with the law will not find the gospel. Those who ask for a sanctified life first will not come to know grace.
We may not look at the law before we have seen grace. We must first bow before the Gospel, for, I am the Lord your God Who leads you out. First, we must learn to believe the absolute rule of grace, the Gospel without law. In grateful adoration we must learn to subject to the Word of grace only. He who will do it different, he may be submissive and modest, but he is a Pharisee at heart, because he desires to begin with the works of the law. He who begins with the law, he will never find the gospel. The beginning of redemption is gospel without law.
However, he who begins with the gospel, he will find on his way the law also. He is saved by grace, by grace only, from the house of bondage. But the law which commands obedience will confront him.
The Israelites, on their way out of Egypt, did not enter Canaan at once. The beginning of their journey - the exodus from Egypt - was by grace only. It was nothing but gospel. But they were not at once in the land of liberty. First, they had to come to Sinai; then the Lord gave them His law. To a people, that was saved in principle, but not yet in Canaan and had not yet received full redemption. Between the beginning of redemption and the end of redemption is mount Sinai where the law was given. They were led out of Egypt by grace only. But before they enter Canaan, they must at least begin to submit to the law. The end of redemption - full salvation - will not be our part, unless, out of gratitude for the beginning of redemption, we also make a beginning with obedience. We commence with only gospel, without the law: I am the Lord your God. But subsequently, beside the gospel, enters the law: thou shalt have no other gods before Me, etc.
Many of those Israelites experienced the beginning of deliverance, but not the end. They all came out of Egypt, but not all entered Canaan. Scripture says, they could not enter in because of unbelief. They did not surrender to the Lord, did not hope in Him, but put their trust in the creature, rebelled against Him - did not obey His law. Without obedience, without a beginning of the same, no one will see Canaan.
That is what antinomians forget. And also the people who say we must live by grace and live any old way. Also those who do not like the preaching of the law. Some say so glibly that the pastor is too strict, it is never good enough. Or: there is so little comfort in the sermon. But Scripture turns against such misuse of the gospel that turns the law out of the way. That is very clear from Isaiah 28, the chapter we have read together. It is a very remarkable portion of Isaiah's prophecy. At first he turns against northern Israel of which Samaria is the capital city. Many in the higher circles lived immoral lives. The poor were oppressed, the rich got richer. They used the money for drinking parties, the elite of Samaria wasted their riches in excess and drinking bouts. According to Amos it was so bad that the ladies of Samaria told their husbands: come on, make much money so we can drink. A debauched life of excess, immorality and injustice.
Like Amos, Isaiah too, pronounces judgment on this drunk bunch. Isaiah, who spoke mostly to the southern part of the kingdom, knew it was not much better there. Drunks are seen in the temple. The temple was made into a public house, filled with immorality.
Isaiah saw them, priest and prophet are befuddled and out of their senses by the use of too much wine. The priests who are supposed to teach the law of the Lord, they do so double tongued; and the prophet, who had to give light where the law was not well understood, cannot stand on his feet for too much drink. Isaiah saw the prophets lying in the temple court in their filth, drunk and sleeping until sober again. The priest who had to bring the sacrifice and lay it on tables, is like the prophet, the little tables are filled with vomit, there is not a clean place left. That was in the temple and it had to be kept clean at all times in order that the holiness of the Lord might be revealed, but it is soiled and befouled by priests who are drunk.
Isaiah had to speak the word to this bunch of drunk people. It speaks for itself that when the leaders of the people act like that, the common man does not behave any better. That is why Isaiah's preaching is one continuous warning, one threat, one proclamation of judgment, nothing but preaching of the law. But these drunk priests will not be warned. They were angry at Isaiah. One of the drunks cries out, "Who is going to teach us?" What does he think? We can look after ourselves. We are teachers of the law; we don't have to listen to his preaching!
Another says, "To whom would he reveal the words of the Lord?" Does he think that he is the only one who can reveal the secrets of the Lord? We too, are prophets. Will he tell us, we who are prophets, what will happen in the future? We don't have to be told.
They don't want to listen to Isaiah anymore. Does he think they are little children, recently weaned? Does he think he can play the schoolmaster over them? They are tired of these moralizers. They think it is time for Isaiah to leave off telling them what to do. That man, they say, does not know anything, but the law. Every day he has something different, we may not do this and we cannot do that.
It is precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little. All the time there is something wrong. Is that a prophet? He can do nothing but preach the law; he has no promise, nor a word of comfort.
They complain that all Isaiah preaches is law. There is no gospel. With him it is one hundred percent law. This was wrong yesterday, today it is something else. That man allows for no joy at all. That man criticizes all the time, all he knows is about the slavery of the law, and nothing about the liberty of God's people. No, they know much better, "I am the Lord your, God Who brought you out of Egypt, the house of bondage."
Isaiah prophecies that they will go into captivity in Assyria, does he not know that he is talking nonsense? Did God lead His people out of Egypt to take them to another house of bondage? That is how they make fun of Isaiah, all he is is a moralizer, precept on precept, line upon line.
Isaiah is touched by the tragedy in the temple. As prophet he received a commission to preach the law, and in all kinds of concrete situations reveal to them the will of the Lord. It was the Lord's purpose to bring the people with all these instructions to true liberty and rest. It was not the purpose of the preaching of the law to restrict the liberty of these people, to forego all joy; they had that law preached to them, to bring full joy and true liberty. Redemption from the house of bondage was just a beginning of blessings. But now God gave Israel the law and He asked of Israel obedience, but not to bring them back into servitude. No, these commandments had an evangelical purpose, to maintain the initial redemption, and increase their joy, until perfection was reached. It was redemption when God, by grace alone, delivered Israel from Egypt. However, it was only a beginning. For the wilderness was not ideal, but God gave them the law as a roadway to Canaan. Obedience to the law was not another house of bondage, it was really the road out of the wilderness to the land of liberty. But those priests did not listen.
Those priests and prophets who had to teach the law, made a mockery of that law, and they taught the people to play with it. They thought it was evangelical liberty. And Isaiah who spoke against their immorality, they called him a moralizer, one who could only criticize. Therefore - so says Isaiah - because the leaders and the people would not hear, did not believe that God's commandments were meant to make them free, because they played with the law, which is to bring them salvation; because they say of me, the evangelical preacher of the law, precept upon precept, line upon line, - they now shall bear their iniquity. They can still make a mockery of My law, and say, precept upon precept and line upon line. But I tell you, while you reject My commandments, while you will not hear the law of the gospel, others will come upon you: the barbarians. They shall bring their laws in this temple. When you despise the law of freedom, you will lose the gospel. Now you will return to the house of bondage where there is only law and no gospel. The Assyrians shall come, and you will experience, precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, there a little. The Assyrians do not ask what you want, they will simply command, tyrannize you.
Because the Jews made fun of Isaiah, who preached the law as the way to peace and rest, the road to true liberty, they shall receive from the barbarians another law, the law of slavery. They will return to the house of bondage. The Lord brought them from Egypt to Canaan, that they should serve Him according to His law, and receive a great reward for keeping His law. But they rejected the law, which itself is gospel, and now the gospel is taken from them. All that is left is only the law, the despotic law of the tyrant. They now go to a second house of bondage.
"I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage". And then follows the law as a continuance of the gospel. But when they reject the law, it changes into: who takes you back into Assyria, the house of bondage. When you play with My law which is granted you after the gospel, and which itself is gospel, when you play with the law which is inseparably connected to the gospel, you have lost the gospel also.
Why does God lead His people from Egypt, from the house of bondage, and why does He give them the law? That they should serve Him in Canaan without fear, and in Canaan should come to live in true liberty. But if they don't want that, they must go back to the house of bondage.
Brothers and sisters, that is why redemption commences with only the gospel. After that, the law is added to the gospel, which is not the opposite of the law, but leads to the perfection of what was begun by only the gospel. Besides the gospel appears the law, which itself is part of the gospel, and then these two belong together always. What the Lord has joined together, let not man put asunder. When man rejects the one, the law, he rejects the gospel also. If he turns his back to the law, he turns his back to the gospel also. The Church today must be warned by what happened to Israel in Isaiah's day, when the psalm was fulfilled: But my people would not hearken to my voice.... Psalm 81: 13, 15, 18.
2. We have heard what is the relationship between gospel and law; how intimate this relationship is between God's work of grace - the beginning - and our works, which help form the way to what follows. When the gospel (grace) enters our lives, it comes alone, without law. Then there is grace without works.
But as soon as grace at one time came into our lives, and grace was tasted, immediately the law enters besides the gospel. And those two become so closely connected that they are now inseparable. For the law is now no longer at enmity with the gospel, but the law of new obedience serves as a passage for grace. By obedience to the law, the Lord will bring us from the beginning of redemption to complete salvation. It is true that at the beginning the gospel is by itself alone, but after that the law enters, serving the gospel. In such a way that he who rejects the law, rejects the gospel also.
What we have found thus far about the connection between gospel and law in general, we must now concretely bring to bear on the first commandment. Many commandments came after man fell into sin. Many powers were served by man; powers that hold him captive, which he worships as God. It is not that God is no more the only God. But He reveals Himself no more as such. Man honours all kinds of creatures as gods, for whom he is afraid; gods which rule in his heart, and which let themselves be served by man. Then, the sun is worshipped, and thunder and fertility. Money, honour, power and lust become the powers by which man is served. Because they are idols they don't bring true happiness, but lead to ruin and destruction. No matter how well he serves them, they don't alleviate his needs. When in Egypt the Israelites worshiped the sun, but the sun did not lead them out of the house of bondage. At mount Carmel they prayed to Baal, the god of fertility. They called out to him for rain. During the time of three years they had cried out for rain, but no rain came.
They are after money, but the Mammon is an evil god. He abandons his servants for no reason at all. They look for him, but do not find him. Serving Mammon makes people into animals; one steals from the other to have greater possessions. Money makes man into murderers; for money, man commits the greatest injustices.
Thirst for money brings revolution to both parties - think of Russia - and life turns into hell on earth. That is the way it is with all idols: man serves them, but they never leave him free. Their hope is in them, but they never solve his problems.
When Israel is in Egypt in great misery, the Lord reveals Himself as the only God. Then He shows His power. That is the time He redeems them. That is the time He says, "I am the Lord thy God". And He shows that He is truly God, because He delivers them. He shows that He alone is God. For the idols of the Egyptians cannot do anything against this God.
That is gospel. At that moment appears in the life of the Israelites again the only God, Who truly is God. The One they did not serve but Who reveals Himself to them in grace and reveals Himself as the One Who truly delivers.
Again, Israel learned to know the only true God. Now they are aware that idols are nothing, but powers they served which never delivered them; aware that God is the only God they did not serve, yet, He delivers them. Again this is the gospel alone. The only God is not discovered by the Israelites, and not served by them. But He reveals Himself as the One, Who is truly God, Who is therefore full of grace, even as the One God.
Then they saw God. Then appears to this people the commandment, but only after they learned to know Him in His self-revelation as the only One; when He has shown to them, that He is the only God Who redeems. Because I am the only God, Who redeemed thee, therefore you shall have and acknowledge beside Me no other gods: no sun, nor thunder or fertility. From now on you shall acknowledge Me only as God, trust and serve Me, live to My honor alone. This commandment did not come to make them into captives, to bring them again into slavery, like they had been slaves of the Egyptian gods, no, the Lord will thereby completely deliver them from slavery. Deliver them from these creatures, who are harsh gods, gods who can do nothing. He wants them to trust in His name that He is the God Who does not play with them like the idols disappointed them; not to make them afraid like the idols made them afraid, but to deliver them from all fear. The Lord will be honored in a way, that they will never know again the terrors of idol gods. This commandment will not rob them from their freedom, to the contrary, it shows the way to complete liberty.
This commandment is not an entrance into a second house of bondage, but it is a way in which they shall never again meet up with another house of bondage. When they serve this God, Him only, then they will forever be delivered from all their fears and distresses. Then they shall live in liberty, and experience great blessedness. So this commandment in which God requires the honor for Himself as the One God, - that is how this commandment serves the salvation of His people. That is how this commandment comes to us in this country. In earlier days when the heathen lived here, other gods were served, who kept them in fear. Idols always make life difficult.
But God, the only God, was God of heaven and earth, the God of all the world. There is one God, Paul teaches, and one Mediator between God and man. God was God, also here, even though the heathen did not know Him. Then God revealed Himself as the only God and the idols could not keep Him back. God revealed Himself here in Christ Jesus as the God of grace, "Who redeems thy life from destruction, and crowns thee with loving kindness and tender mercies".
We would not be in Church today if there were more gods, if the God of Israel was not the One God, the God Who is highly exalted above the heathen. There would not have been a Church here, had not God alone been the God of Israel.
But now God came here, and exercised His dominion. He revealed Himself as the only God, Who is God, as the One God Who redeems life. That is how this country flourished and our people were blessed. It was the grace of God that delivered us and nothing else. But then God requires of that nation to acknowledge Him as the One God, it must do away with idols, and serve and trust Him alone. In the commandment God sets the way in which that redemption can be maintained; a way which leads from blessing to blessing. But when we go back to serve idols, Mammon, honour, power and affluence, the curse will return. The sun hides and life is full of problems. We are so slow in acknowledging God as the only One in our life, there are so many in this nation, that is blessed by the One God, who do not acknowledge Him. Paul tells us to pray for the nation, for its government. The continuing deliverance of our nation depends on such prayer. Anyone who does not pray for the government, keeps back the acknowledgment that God is the One God. He has become an idolater, because his prayer does not keep back the dominion of idols in the nation.
By looking at it like this we will see the ballot box in a different light. It is not in the first place our affluence, or less taxes we vote for. But we then struggle for acknowledging God as the only One in the life of our nation. Inducing voters with promises, that makes them kneel before idols. It is first and foremost that God will be acknowledged as the only One in the nation. That is what we must fight for, for principles in politics, for it is conducive to the real well-being of our people. Idols bring nothing but misery.
Finally a word about missions. People have asked me if I am not overly concerned with missions. I think of Paul who says, "Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles?" That is the place where God will be acknowledged, reveal Himself in His grace, by our service. When we do not labour in missions as we are able, we check progress of the heathen acknowledging God, and heathen countries will be left in the power of idols. It is a lack of love, when we received grace and fail to work for the promotion and salvation of others. He who does not labour for missions and is not concerned about heathen still serving idols has become an idolater himself. Willfully he resists the work that will acknowledge God throughout all the world.
God is the One and only God. He has shown that in our redemption. Therefore He requires our acknowledgment of this, among other things when we vote for another government, but also when there is a collection for missions. Amen.
Sunday, January 3, 1937.