St. Paul Enterprise, March 7, 1916


New York City, March 5'Pastor Russell delivered a very pointed, practical address this evening, at the New York City Temple, West 63rd Street, near Broadway, from the text: "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (Eph. 5:15-16) He said in part:

This text, like all the injunctions of the Scriptures, is addressed to the Church of God, not to the world; for the Lord is not dealing with the world at present. It is an important thing to recognize this fact. Many, losing sight of it, are in confusion when they come to study the Bible. In His Word the Lord is not telling the world what they should do, but is telling His servants what steps they should take from the time they become His people. Many think of the Bible as being addressed to the entire world, and then are surprised that the world cannot understand it. But we who know that our Lord said to His disciples, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven," are not surprised that before any can understand God's Word they must take the step of full consecration to Him.

It is to Christians, then, that the Lord gives this message of our text. God's children should walk circumspectly, wisely, carefully, redeeming the time. Our time is redeemed, bought back, by making some sacrifice, that we may have that time to use profitably. There are certain natural claims upon our time. We need time to eat and to sleep, to earn and prepare our food. Besides this, there are other calls. Our families have some demands upon us, whether Christians or not. Husbands have some proper demands upon wives, and wives upon husbands; children upon parents, and parents upon children. Our neighbors have some proper call upon us in the way of helpfulness.


Then, beyond all our obligations, the world now has many things to allure and attract, to please eye and ear. There are newspapers and periodicals, moving pictures and fairs, art galleries, concerts, and what not. Anyone who has brains may have his time filled to the full in these multitudinous ways. The Lord's children find that their entire time might be taken up by earthly interest, if they would permit it.

But God has called us to be new creatures. He has put into our minds new plans, new interest, and into our lives new work, new obligations. The earthly ambitions have died since we received the new ambitions, since we have found that the Lord has invited us to become joint-heirs with His Son Jesus in the glories of the Kingdom. We say to ourselves, "All those earthly things are transitory, and never were worth very much at best. The riches which God has promised are everlasting and of infinite value." So we wish to have our minds set upon these things.

God invites us to Himself through the promises of the Bible; and these promises work in us to will and to do His good pleasure. In selecting His Church, the Lord is not using force. We are not called to be driven, but sheep to be led. The Heavenly Shepherd calls His sheep; and they follow Him. "They know His voice," and "they know not the voice of strangers." The Good Shepherd's voice sounds forth from the Bible; and if anybody says of some voice, "This is the voice of the Lord," we are to make sure by going to the Bible and proving or disproving the claim. We might get some serious error even from a friend. We must in every case, as Christians, prove all things by the Word, and hold fast that which is good.

As we endeavor to meditate upon the things God has promised us, we find that we have very little time for that purpose. One may begin the day by thinking, "I will do thus and so." But difficulties and interruptions come pressing in, and fill the day. What shall be done? The Apostle says, Redeem the time buy it back. Curtail some of the other things, that you may have some time to use in the cultivation of your own character, in the study of the Scriptures.


Presumably, as Bible students, we have all had experiences in reading the Scriptures without helps. We have read chapter after chapter, and often it did us little good. But we find that there is a different way to study the Bible, by which we may enjoy the Scriptures and be profited. We find that we have needed a kind of outline or plan for study. We now see the outline from Creation down to the Deluge one great period; from the Deluge down to the First Coming of Christ another period; from the First

Coming of Christ to His Second Coming another period; then the Millennial Age; and lastly the ages of glory to follow. This helps to straighten matters out.

When we read, we should ask ourselves, "With what does this part of the Scriptures deal?" The Bible is full of problems to solve, like an arithmetic. We do not merely read through an arithmetic; if we did we would learn little. We are to study the Bible, according to dispensations, and according to what God outlines as His great Plan of the Ages. Nobody can comprehend the Divine Plan of the Ages (Eph. 3:11, Diaglott) without studying it. This plan of God is all outlined in the Bible. We must examine each Scripture in relation to its context. Se we need considerable time to understand properly the Word of God.


The older we grow as Christians, the more time we find is necessary for these spiritual things. Natural food is to make one strong, bright, intelligent, quick, as a natural man; spiritual food is to make the New Creature intelligent, [HGL803] quick, well established, apt to teach, able to "rightly divide the word of Truth." As we mature, we need stronger food. It was sufficient that we had milk to start with. But milk will not suffice for adults.

While we are growing to appreciate more the Word of God, the whole world is becoming filled with attractions. But as we see the Day of Christ drawing on, yea, that it is even now upon us, we as God's children must be more and more attentive to our heavenly calling. Why did not the Lord arrange things some other way, that we might have more time? He wishes to see whether we appreciate the spiritual things or not. Whoever is not hungry for spiritual food, has no desire to go to the spiritual table, is not using his talents along spiritual lines. We should give a good share of our time to the study of the Truth as it is in Jesus. We should have a hunger for righteousness, for Bible Truth. The Lord is testing us. He knows that whoever is really hungry and thirsty for righteousness will redeem the time. And the zeal with which we redeem the time and devote it to the spiritual things is one of the evidences we give of our real Christian character.


If you take time for a picture show, but do not take time for the study of God's Word, this is abundant proof that you do not love Him supremely. You say that you are hungry for the Word of Truth. How much time do you spend with the newspaper? How

much time do you spend with the Bible? There is no use in trying to deceive the Lord. "God is not mocked." He knows all about what we are doing. He will not be deceived in respect to our character.

We know that as Christians we have two natures to deal with. We have the old nature reckoned dead which has its ordinary appetites and desires, the same as other people. We like certain kinds of food. We have a variety of natural tastes, all of which are clamoring for recognition. We desire to investigate mach-inery, to look into investments, to think about the triumphs of mankind, to study the sciences, etc. These are all right enough in their place. God does not say that it is wrong to have a desire to know; but He is putting things in such a way as to give us tests as to whether we are the more appreciative of these things or of the Heavenly things.

Whoever spends his consecrated time in reading history, novels, etc., or in attending places of amusement, is not spending it in building up the New Creature. Each human being has his natural individual desires; but the New Creature is to put these natural cravings down. The New Creature is as yet only in the mind. He figuratively puts down his foot and says, "God has promised me His grace to rule this body. Backed up by His help, I can succeed. I agreed to sacrifice these earthly interests, and it SHALL BE DONE! I am determined to live on the spiritual plane; therefore I must grow; I must get stronger every day." If we let ourselves drift, the flesh will take possession of everything; and we shall die of spiritual starvation.

The Apostle Paul wrote to certain of the Church of his day, implying that some were still babes. He says, "When for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of this doctrine of Christ, and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat." Heb. 5:12-14. What a sad condition for New Creatures in Christ!

We must not think that we are to do something for somebody else first, neglecting our own spiritual development. As New Creatures we must build up ourselves first. Then we may do all that we can to assist others, "doing good unto all men as we have opportunity, especially to the Household of Faith." This is the speaker's personal contract with the Lord; and thus it is with the whole family of God. We are building one another. The faithful members of Christ's Body are growing, everywhere; and soon, we believe, this spiritual family of God will be completed beyond the veil.


Many of the Lord's people do not see the force of the Apostolic injunction that they should redeem the time; and therefore they are living at a disadvantage. They do not notice the many minutes they waste in the twenty-four hours. Let us then, as consecrated children of God see that we do not squander time. Let us see what we can lop off, how we can get the minutes under our control. If one can get sixty of them redeemed, he will have an hour. By pinching and economizing here and there one may very easily save this hour for the service of the Lord or the Bible study.

"Because the days are evil," says St. Paul. His thought is, "Realizing that our days, as they are passing, are unfavorable to us as New Creatures." This is particularly true of our own day. With all the enlightenment of today there are many blessings of an earthly kind coming in, preparatory to the New Age. The nearer we get to the establishment of God's Kingdom, the greater is the pressure on every side from the world.

As we see that the Day of Christ is right upon us, this should be all the more an incentive to draw us together as the children of God. (Heb. 10:25) We shall have special need of the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, and all the Christian's armor. (Eph. 6:12-18) We have come down to the time when there is trouble all about us. It is the fire of the "great day of the Lord." This fire "Shall try every man's work." Some who have built their faith structure on traditions of men will find that they have built with wood, hay and stubble. Others have built their faith with gold, silver and precious stones, God's revelations. All who have builded with combustible material will find that their structure will be consumed. Only those structures will stand that have been built with God's Truth. 1 Cor. 3:11-15


If we wish to make our "calling and election sure," we shall have special assistance, but we shall have trials to correspond. People today have many more trials than our grandfathers had. On Sundays they had little else to do but attend worship. They had much quiet in which to think about God and the Bible. We do not find it so. But God has so provided that His people of today have abundant supplies of grace to carry them through if they will make use of the helps which He has furnished and will eliminate the unnecessary things. But in order to make use of God's [HGL804] provisions we must deny ourselves these things that the flesh is craving. As the Apostle says, "Mortify your members which are upon the earth." Col. 3:5-10

There is a beauty about the Lord's Plan. He deals with us like this: "You have said that you have given your life to Me. I told you that you must redeem the time which you have consecrated to Me. Now demonstrate you ingenuity in the matter, your earnestness and your spirit to sacrifice your earthly interest." If you have thought that in your consecration your earthly interests are to be just as well taken care of as before, then either you do not understand the matter, or else you are not living up to your covenant. Give less attention to bodily comforts. Give more time for spiritual food, to service for the Lord, the Truth and the brethren. This is God's arrangement for us as New Creatures. We are happy to learn His will. He is not expecting anything unreasonable of us. He does expect us to be careful of our time, of our conduct, of how we live our profession.

We know that God loves all His children, and desires to see them beautiful. Then why does the Apostle advise the Lord's people not to adorn themselves with "gold or pearls or costly array?" (1 Tim. 2:9-10) In the present time there are various reasons why God would advise us not to wear jewelry and expensive clothing.

In the first place, our present fallen condition of mind, when we put gold or diamonds upon our fingers and in our ears, in the bosoms of our shirts, etc., it indicates a certain amount of pride, a factor that would not be advantageous to us. We are naturally, like the rest of mankind, more or less susceptible to pride, although we have nothing of which to be proud. Moreover, it might have a bad effect upon others. Some might see a Christian elegantly appareled and say, "Look how that lady or that gentleman is decked out! And that ring must have cost $200 or $500!" Then they feel envious- "What right has he, or what right has she, to have these things when I cannot have them?" Is it not better that Christians who have money should not wear such things and thus excite the cupidity and envy of those who cannot afford them?

There are a great many people in the world who have a very hard time to make a living, and never get enough to have the reasonable comforts of life. Why should a child of God put on diamonds or rich clothing to show himself or herself off as a picture, while many others lack food or clothing or medicine? Rather than wear such things, would he not prefer to give their value to somebody who needs help, or to carry the Truth to others? Certainly this would be the mind of the Lord!

There is a further reason. As Christians we stand more or less as reflections of God. We profess to have renounced the pride and vanity of the flesh and to have set our affections on Heavenly things, and to be putting on the spiritual adornments. We must therefore not follow our natural mind in this matter, but the mind of God, that we may show forth His praise "who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light."

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