Sermons at Salvation Temple

Gleanings from the Diary of William Fetler (Basil Malof)






  5. COMMUNION TIME compiled by James Alexander Stewart

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." — Romans 12:1

The words of Romans 12:1 were brought to my mind and heart with a special new meaning this morning. Christ died, not only to redeem our souls, but to redeem and possess our bodies. The importance of our bodies, both to God and to the devil, is seen from the historic fact that Satan fought with the archangel for the body of Moses (Jude 9). In the same way, Satan tries to possess all human bodies to make them his instruments of unrighteousness.

It is said, concerning the incarnation of our blessed Redeemer into this world, that a special body was prepared for Him — a body that would be holy and acceptable unto God: "Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offerings thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me". (Heb. 10:5). We have to be one with Christ also in presenting our bodies to God and not to sin. This is my decision now — my act of joyful and ready freewill. I have been redeemed with a price and so I am not my own. Only by such complete surrender to God can our bodies become actually the temples of the Holy Spirit. When this is accomplished, God's holy promise to us can be fulfilled. "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty'1 (II Cor. 6:17—18).

"If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; AND NOTHING SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE UNTO YOU."— Matt. 17:20

I have read this promise of the Lord many times, but have I really believed it? Mentally, yes. That is, I have accepted this statement as true, for Christ could not speak untruth. But between mental faith and experimental faith there is a great difference. True faith appropriates the promise and acts upon it — and finds it works. Have I acted like that in reference to this stupendous, almost unbelievable promise? The realization of this promise could transplant the believer from the natural to the supernatural realm; from the commonplace to the unusual. True faith is the evidence of things not seen; the substance of things hoped for. I believe today that this promise is not only true but that it can become true in the experience of a true believer. "I pray Thee, O Lord, to make manifest in my insignificance Thy majesty; in my weakness, Thy power. Grant me that kind of victorious faith that can remove mountains — a faith which knows no obstacles. Glory be to Thy Name!"

"Not that I have already attained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may lay hold on that for which I also was laid hold on by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself yet to have laid hold: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high-calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:13—14 ARV).

One of the fundamental short-comings of the evangelicals of America is the general spiritual attitude: "I have obtained." Such an attitude stifles spiritual ambition for higher things and greater perfection. A child must grow and grow until he reaches maturity, but having reached maturity, the child, now a man or woman, must continue to grow in mental, moral, and spiritual status. If a child at the age of 12 or 14 should say, "I have attained. I have come as far as I want to come" and somehow by wishful thinking could stop his growth, what a dwarfed product the child would be. Now, this is exactly true about most Christians today; they have reached a certain state: have had one or two Christian experiences, and then they have become smug and complacent. They have now stopped growing, and thus the churches are full of dwarfed Christians who have stopped in their spiritual progress. They believe that they have reached the final goal of Christian perfection. They may vehemently deny this attitude in words, but their whole life and attitude eloquently reveals this. There is no stretching out for higher ground — no striving for greater achievements. Because of this mental level of the church, nothing extra-ordinary happens.

THE FEELING THAT ONE HAS ATTAINED IS THE FEELING OF THE GRAVEYARD. Those who have been buried there indeed have attained — to corruption and death. For when movement and progress ends, death and corruption begins. All great evangelical awakenings in their origin have been MOVMENTS. And while these spiritual awakenings were "Movements", they were full of holy ambition and life-producing aspirations. They laughed at the very gates of hell, for the very gates of hell could not prevail against them! It was when these movements began to stabilize and solidify, they gradually began to fossilize and finally to petrify. The old forms have remained, but LIFE has gone out of the forms. As a rule, the "Movement" settles down into a "Church". The organism becomes an organization and the liberty of the Spirit is supplemented by the slavery of ecclesiasticism. Even a simple book or tract cannot be printed without the imprimatur of the ecclesiastical superior. And occasionally, if a Savanorala or a John Hus might venture to return to the liberty of the Spirit, he is placed on the index of the "Forbidden" and under the ban of the system to be burnt to death.

Church Councils usurping divine authority take the place of Spirit-filled prayer meetings. Costly ecclesiastical vestments take the place of the simple fisherman's garb. The "apostolic succession" turns into a dismal backsliding from apostolic possession. To come back to apostolic power, this frozen organization must come back to spiritual "Movement" and return to its first love. The accusation comes swiftly, "THOU HAST LEFT THY FIRST LOVE."

It is not important, the things that satisfy the Bride, but it is extremely important the things that satisfy the Bridegroom. For the church or individuals to imagine that they can themselves decide what they should be spiritually, and not to be strictly guided by the demand of Christ, is not only the greatest self-deception and blindness, but a most tragic choice.

©"Gleanings from the Diary of William Fetler" is a part of the book: "A Man in a Hurry" - James A Stewart
Published by The Russsian Bible Society