St. Paul Enterprise, June 25, 1915


Denver, Colo., June 20 Pastor Russell is here today. We report his discourse from the text, "He that despiseth you despiseth Me;" and he that "despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me." (Luke 10:16) He said in part:

By nature we are all children of wrath, sinners under sentence of death. God indeed tells us that He purposes to bless the world by and by, through the great Mediatorial Kingdom that will rule the world for a thousand years to help mankind up out of degradation, sin and death to full perfection of human nature; and that He has appointed Jesus Christ to be the Mediator between Himself and the world during those thousand years. Meantime, He has also purposed to take out of the world some who will have the same mind as was in Christ Jesus, and to associate this class with our Lord in the work of blessing the world. Jesus Himself will be the Head over this company, and they will be the Body of Christ. Whoever desires to become a member of this Body which God is selecting must comply with the required conditions.

Evidently the one quality for which God is looking is honesty, sincerity; He desires really true and really loyal hearts. One might be very careful to a penny in respect to money obligations, and yet not be strictly and thoroughly honest. He might overestimate himself and underestimate others. Some people are born with an honest disposition. All whom God is now receiving are of this honest-hearted kind. If He has thus favored us with the Truth, it is for us to maintain this honesty; for unless honesty enters into all the affairs of life, it will be impossible to maintain our relationship with the Lord.

We cannot be too careful with our conscience; we cannot be too honest. We cannot think of the Lord Jesus as being dishonest or of the Apostles as giving misinformation. Therefore it is evident that they did not believe in Hell fire and eternal torment; for we cannot think that they would have omitted preaching about eternal torment if they had believed it. We love to think of the Apostles as being honest men, in favor with God.

There is a tendency on the part of all mankind to say, "I am right." But everybody who is not an idiot knows differently. "There is none righteous, no, not one. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" short of that glorious condition which God approved when He created our first parents. We all come short of that perfection of human nature. But if we confess our sins, we demonstrate our honesty; and He who arranged for the forgiveness of those sins is faithful to forgive us. If we assert that we are not sinners, we make God a liar; and the truth is not in us we would be dishonest. We should be honest enough to tell God that we desire to be right. (1 John 1:9, 10) [HGL723]


Whoever would become a member of the Body of Christ must first turn away from sin and turn toward God. To those who have taken that step and are desirous of progressing, the Lord Jesus says, "Sit down and count the cost." The Bible never urges anybody along this line. (Luke 14:27, 28) People who do not understand the Bible work upon one's emotions in urging others to give themselves to God. They do not understand that God's way is to think everything out carefully; that God's Plan is very cool and calculating, and that everything concerning it is to be determined intellectually.

There is only one way of becoming a Christian, and that is by entering into a covenant with the Lord. This covenant is a positive agreement, in which we give ourselves in sacrifice to renounce everything of an earthly nature. This is the kind of covenant which our Lord Jesus made; it is the only kind to be made now. (Psa. 50:5) Jesus made His Covenant of Sacrifice at the beginning of His ministry, as it is written: "Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of Me) to do Thy will, O God." (Heb. 10:7) Whoever would be a follower of the Lord must make this same covenant.

It did not take our Lord long to count the cost; for He had such a high appreciation of the privilege that He delighted to give Himself to God. He manifested loyalty to that consecration throughout His life-time, even unto the death of the Cross. "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, . . . and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philip. 2:9, 10


The Church are to be joint-heirs with Christ. "If we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him. If we be dead with Him, we shall live with Him." (2 Tim. 2:11, 12) It is no wonder that there are terms attached to so high a calling! These terms we have in Jesus' own words: "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me." Matt. 16:24

The first step is to will to be Christ's disciple. The next step is to deny himself to give up his own will and to take the Lord's will instead of his own. The will represents the man. If we deny ourselves, if we give up our own wills, it carries everything absolutely that we possess. But do not give up your will to anybody except the Lord. This does not mean that we shall not be considerate of others and not try to yield to others. The people of God should be ready to favor others. We should be willing to give up our preferences in matters of no importance. But it is another thing to give over what we shall think and what we shall do. Whoever does so would not thereafter have control of his body.

This is exactly what the evil spirits endeavor to have us do. They desire to get control of the human will, and thus to have control over the human body. When a person becomes thus possessed, the evil spirits get control of his mind and he cannot think for himself, because his will is gone. This is also true of a person who has come under the power of hypnotism. But it is an altogether different matter to yield the will to our Lord Jesus Christ. God has tried and tested our Lord Jesus, and has set Him to be the Head over the Church, which is His Body; and all the members of that Body must give up their wills to their Head. The Spirit of the Head, the mind of Christ, must operate in every member.


From the time one becomes a member of the family of God a great work of transformation is in progress. As members of the Adamic race all are imperfect mentally, morally and physically. But this class who feel their condition and are honest about the matter come meekly to the Lord and accept the riches of His grace in Christ Jesus. When they receive their change in the glorious First Resurrection there will be nothing ignoble about them, as there is now. Just as surely as they are seeking to know and to do the will of the Lord, in that same proportion will they come into harmony with that will, and thus be blessed in their minds and their bodies. The peace of God, that passes all human understanding, will rule in their hearts and in their lives.

Fear and worry constitute a great part of the trouble that is upon the world, bringing all kinds of disease to mind and body. But when we cast all our care upon Him who cares for us, the load of care rolls away from us. Although the Lord has not promised His Church earthly blessings of any sort neither earthly riches nor health nor any of these things nevertheless in His providence He has granted to us many physical blessings. Whoever is with the Lord and His Word and in the company of His children is sure to be benefited; for He shows us the way we should take. As whoever associates with cultured people is sure to absorb their ways, no matter how humble the condition in which he has been brought up, so whoever is associated with the Lord Jesus Christ is sure to be blessed.


The point we desire to make is that whoever is in company with God must be right in heart. No matter how imperfect that person may be by nature, there is something right about him; else God would never have recognized him as being of His people. Therefore "whosoever receiveth you receiveth Me, and whosoever despiseth you despiseth Me; and whosoever despiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent Me."

Our Lord is still present in the flesh the flesh of His consecrated members; and the world still despises Him as at first and as He foretold, saying, "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own." (John 15:18, 19) The world is still ashamed of Christ. Nominal Christians, nominal Spiritual Israelites, are as much ashamed of Him today as were the Natural Israelites eighteen centuries ago.

When we consider that our Lord is represented in the flesh by the members of His Body in the flesh, we see that love for the brethren means love for the Lord. Hence the Apostle declares that love of the brethren is one of the great tests of our relationship to our Lord and to the Father. "He who loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he" [HGL724] "love God, whom he hath not seen?" (1 John 4:20) "Love one another as I have loved you," is, therefore, the recognized test of discipleship; and whoever is ashamed of the brethren is ashamed of the Elder Brother, who counts all the younger brethren as Himself.

It may be a new thought to some that in despising the brethren they are despising the Lord; that in being ashamed of the brethren they are being ashamed of the Lord, and that thus they are demonstrating that they are not fit for the Kingdom, that they have not reached the mark of perfect love, that they have not only not learned to love their enemies, but not learned to love those who are striving to walk in the footsteps of Christ. How our Lord's words sift and test our very innermost thoughts!


On the other hand, we are not so much astonished that we should be despised. By nature we were children of wrath, even as others of Adam's family, and we had no pre-eminence above any others of humanity. But it surely does surprise us to learn that our Lord Jesus should be despised! We remember the record that He was perfect perfect to that extent that He could say, "He that hath seem Me hath seen the Father." No human being can see a spirit being. But since Adam, who was created perfect, was in the image and likeness of God, whoever would see a perfect human being would see the earthly representative of the Heavenly Father.

Since our Lord Jesus was a perfect man while on earth, in full harmony with the Father, whoever saw Him saw the Father in the only way in which it was possible for humanity ever to see God. As the Apostle says, "No man hath seen God at any time; the Only Begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath revealed Him" our Lord has made the Father known to us. Hence the Church, in seeing Jesus, were becoming acquainted with the Father. We can very well perceive, then, the purport of our Lord's words that whoever despised Him would be despising the Father who had sent Him.

To us it seems a very different matter when He said, "He that despiseth you despiseth Me." How poorly we represent our Lord! How imperfect our representation of Him! It is very wonderful that our Lord should consider us as His members in any such way as this. It implies that He confers upon us a great honor, especially when we consider how imperfect we are. "There is none righteous, no, not one;" hence for our Lord to say that whoever receives one of His little ones is receiving Him, and that whoever despises one of His little ones is despising Him, seems very wonderful. Herein is an important lesson for us.

As we realize, then, that we are down near to the close of the Gospel Age and that the time is at hand for the rendering of our accounts, let us be faithful in confessing the Lord, His Truth and the brethren. Then when we shall have finished our course with joy, we shall hear His "Well done, good and faithful servant! Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!"


The Lord's will concerning all His followers is that they should love one another as He loved them. St. John amplified the statement, saying that as Jesus loved the Church and laid down His life for the Church, so also His followers should lay down their lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16) If this is the standard which our Lord has set for His people, how sorely disappointed will some be who have ignored this requirement! If, instead of loving the brethren and laying down their lives for them, some have said all manner of evil against them, what then? Then those who do those things are surely false brethren!

It is well that Christians note carefully the insidious canker which gnaws at the root of brotherly love, which tends to poison the disposition and to bring forth the evil fruitage of anger, malice, hatred, envy and strife. The wrong spirit is a growth, a development. Apparently, in some cases, the spirit of pride, the spirit of sectarianism, the spirit of ambition, are the leading incentives to the wrong course, which, if permitted to affect the heart, will develop a bad fruitage which will produce false brethren, persecuting brethren, heady, high-minded, blind to the real spirit of the Master.

Whoever would be found worthy to be forever with the Lord to share His glory and be associated with Him in His future work must be transformed in character, must be renewed in heart, must become not only pure in heart intention, but so far as possible pure in word and deed.

Oh, how much the true followers of Jesus should seek to impress upon themselves the great lesson that love does no ill to his neighbor, that love is sympathetic, suffereth long and is kind, is not puffed up, vaunteth not itself, seeketh not its own interest and welfare merely, but the interest and welfare of others!

The supreme test of our loyalty to God is our love for Him; and this love is manifested by our desire to do those things acceptable to Him. (1 John 2:3) There is little that we can do for the Almighty. He is so great and we are so small! But if we have His Spirit of love, then we shall love all those who love Him, and our conduct toward them will demonstrate the real sentiments of our hearts. Thus seen, we are daily making our record in the Lord's sight, daily showing Him to what degree we are worthy or unworthy of His great reward, which will go only to those in whom love abounds in whom the Spirit of Christ abounds.

Let us then be more and more on guard against the encroachments of the Adversary upon us as New Creatures! Let us more and more show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light! And in no way can we better show forth these praises than by exemplifying in our daily conduct the lessons which we have learned of Him. "Let us not be weary in well-doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not." According to the riches of His grace He will "do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think."

Prev   Next