By A.T. Jones
1 John 5:4, "And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith." Faith is victory. There is a warfare before us, a conflict to engage in, but I am glad we may have victory. The eleventh of Hebrews is all on faith and seems to be written with especial reference to Christ's second coming as shown by the last of the preceding chapter. "For yet a little while and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
We believe that the coming of the Lord is near. We have believed this for a long time, and as time passes and the evidences of this event multiply we are confirmed in this belief, "that he who shall come will come quickly, and will not tarry." To the people living at this time it is said, "now the just shall live by faith." It is faith that saves, but works come in as the result and fruit of faith. Your faith will be shown by your works. It is the connecting link between God and man. We read the promises of God and become partakers of the divine nature. God speaks, faith claims, and we become possessors of that which God promises, and without it we cannot please God. We cannot honour God with our own ways. Faith is that which takes hold of present truth and acts upon it. There is much that people call faith that is not faith at all. To believe what God has not said is not faith at all. I may believe it but not by faith, because faith must have God's word to rest upon. Abel offered a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain. Cain's was rejected because he did not offer that which expressed a faith in the Christ. Abel brought a lamb, the blood of which was offered in expression of his faith in the blood of Christ. We can worship, we can pray, and not have faith. Noah became heir to righteousness by faith. When the Lord told him that he was going to destroy the world, did it look reasonable? Do you suppose the learned men, the D.D.'s. looked upon those things as reasonable? All arose and rejected the message of warning, but on the word of God Noah built the ark, preached the truth and was saved by faith while those who reasoned were lost. Faith keeps apace with the progression of the truth of God. "Abraham went out not knowing whither he was going." Was not that very foolish? He went on a thus saith the Lord. He was just simple enough to do as God commanded, and to believe that when God had more instruction for him he would receive it.
Moses in the midst of darkness and apostasy stands a monument of his faith. Satan did not want a delivery of Israel, but he cannot hinder the work of God. Although educated in the courts of Pharaoh Moses chooses rather to suffer the reproach of Christ than to command the riches of Egypt. Unbelief does not make such choices. Moses knew of the promises God had made to the fathers and by faith he cast his life among his own people. So again we see that faith takes hold of the word of God.
Coming to our own time. A great majority of people in all ages have made the sad mistake of not understanding the times in which they lived. This is shown by the time of Noah and the time of Christ. Christ said on one occasion: "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day the things which belong unto thy peace. But now they are hid from thine eyes. . . . because thou knowest not the time of thy visitation." The Jews prided themselves on being the children of Abraham, the sons of God; yet they did not understand their own time. In their day we would think by the great professions of faith that the world would be filled with it; but we read: "When the Son of man cometh shall he find faith in the earth?" We trace the lines of prophecy down through Daniel and Revelation and we find we are always brought face to face with the fact that we are on the brink of the eternal world. This knowledge brings upon every man a solemn responsibility. Most of my audience believe this. Then our works should correspond. Faith is victory. Abel triumphed, and died a martyr to his faith. Noah was victorious, and his faith carried him over the waters of the flood to this side. The Israelites conquered at the Red Sea, by marching straight up to the waters without knowing how they were to pass. God's word never fails. May he forgive us for all our doubting which makes his word a lie.
If we live in the last days of the world's history, has he a work for this day? He doeth nothing in secret. Turn to Rev. 14:6, and we have three messages. The first angel proclaims the preaching of the gospel to all peoples because of the coming of the day of judgement. The second announce the fall from grace of God's church, and the third angel warning against the work of the apostate power that shall seek to deceive the people of God. What is the nature of this message? "To every nation, kindred, tongue, and people." Has this message been given? In 1844 we have the work of William Miller and others leading out in this country, the work of Irving and Wolff in Europe, and in all countries we find the same work done. In northern Norway we find people who remember well the preaching of that time from this text. In Denmark we find the same. So the whole world has received the message. Afterward comes the second message: "Babylon is fallen." All acknowledge this to be the fall of the popular churches and the coldness and corruption of the churches. Take the third message and we find the prophecy of the making of an image to the Papacy. We have preached this for forty years, and the time was when people laughed us to scorn for doing so; for preaching what we now see fulfilling in the national reform movement. Our own presence here tonight proves the fulfilment of that prophecy which says: "Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." To deny this truth is to deny your own existence. "The gospel of the kingdom must be preached in all nations as a witness; then shall the end come." The same work which is going on in this country is going on in Europe, and we there witness the power of the truth. In Russia the work is going on in spite of their stringent laws. God is in this work and may we believe it. But we are not to the end yet. There are millions that have not received the good news of salvation. When I sense it, I say, "God, tarry yet a little time, that these souls may be warned.
Noah, in the eyes of the world, built a monument to his folly when he built the ark, but he believed God, and I thank God for his faith. His faith deserves an eternal monument. We want more missionary spirit, that we may act like living men, living Christians, real and genuine. We want the victory, and pray that we may be faithful. God help us to be faithful, and to consecrate all to the work of God. Let us have some of the consecration of the martyrs and be ready to lay all on the altar of God. Shall we not make the truth we believe a living reality? We have a warning to give; many of us have laboured, prayed and sacrificed for the work, but let not our courage fail till our ark is built. May God help the work and bless the people in Kansas, that with others we may at last come off victorious.