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January 1919 IBSA Convention Report

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8 P. M. Sunday — Discourse by Bro. C. A. Wise

Subject: "THE VALLEY OF HUMILIATION"

WE thought we would use the 28th verse of the 21st chapter of Luke as a basis for a few remarks. "And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh."

Throughout the whole Gospel Age the Church of Christ has been walking in the Valley of Humiliation. The Church of Christ has been debased. It has not been exalted. She has been going down in the Narrow Way that leads to death and has not lifted up her head and rejoiced, because each member of the Body of Christ has made a Covenant with the Lord by sacrifice, and it has been sacrificing from the beginning to the end, and our text brings out the thought of the "deliverance" and exaltation of the Church.

We believe that no thought that has come to the minds of any of the Church is fraught with such great joy and great anxiety as the completion and deliverance of the Church of Jesus Christ, because this is our hope, our aim, our ambition, and our great desire. We are anxious that the last or finishing touches of the character shall all be made. We are anxious that our great Master Workman might look into the character and see all the dross consumed and the gold refined. We are anxious to hear the "Well done, enter into the joys of thy Lord." We are anxious to have all the aches and pains; all the discouragements, and all of those things laid aside. We are waiting, yea, we are longing for the change of mind and longing for the new bodies, free from pain, free from all the present environment. We are longing for the time to come when we can behold the King in all His beauty and glory and grandeur.

Rut before those things can be realized the completion of the offering, which all the members of the Body of Christ have laid upon the altar of sacrifice, must be finished. The last vestige of the offering must be consumed. And beloved, I understand that you and I can increase the flames, thus consuming the offering; or decreasing the flames, lengthen out the period of the time for the consummation of the offering. My understanding is that the offering will be consumed. If we fully appreciate our privilege in sacrificing it means to us the great Rest of mind we enjoy in the edifying and building up of the various members of the body of Christ with Psalms and hymns and spiritual Psalms. And so this picture shows that the event in which our text takes place will take place down at this great Rest day, and you know we have entered that great Rest day. By faith, beloved, through our consecration to our Heavenly Father, we have entered the great Rest that remains for God's people, and if you and I arc not resting, then we are not appreciating our privilege, or our consecration. Surely we did not make a full consecration of ourselves if we are not fully resting in Christ Jesus.

Present Status All Important

I like to bring these things down to our present experience. The Lord is not dealing with us like He did twenty years ago. Do not boast of the fact that we made a consecration thirty years ago, but what is our spiritual state tonight? It is true, we have now the spirit whose effervescence helps us to stand on the mountain top, dear friends, but each of us will soon be going to our several homes and avocations, and we will have to come down to the natural experiences, and so we have verily fortified ourselves by the indwelling of the spirit and love of the Father, — putting on, as it were, the whole armor of God, and buckling on every feature of that armor, in order that we may firmly go forth and thus hold high the banner of King Emmanuel. We trust that all the experiences of the past four clays have led to that exuberance of mind. And thus we find, according to God's great plan, that in the Kingdom the great Christ of God shall reign, and He has arranged that as soon as the Christ of God is all complete there will be no failure there. It is true Moses failed as a mediator because he was an imperfect mediator, and all under him were likewise imperfect, and thus not one of the nation of Israel, except our dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, could meet the requirements of the Jewish Law. But not so with the great Prophet, Priest and King, the great Mediator, for He will be perfect. You and I are privileged to be in the School of Christ for the very purpose of learning the lessons that shall enable us to be "able minister of the New (Law) Covenant," because God has so designed that there is to be no failures among that Christ company, and so our training will be accomplished by some of the experiences, trials and sorrows, and also by some of those depressing experiences which come to us as we walk in the "valley of the shadow of death." All through the church's experiences the condition of sadness and humiliation has prevailed. On the other hand, however, there has been sweet peace and joy in the innermost hearts and lives of all those, satisfying to hearts and souls, beloved, amid all the experiences which come to us. What lies before, no one knows but the Lord. He who has led thus far will lead us on. Victory is ours, beloved, if we hold fast our "faith." He that endureth unto the end is the one to be saved, and he who has full assurance of faith that takes hold of the promises of God and lives a wholehearted life, is the one who wears the victorious crown, and the one who will come off more than conqueror through Him that loveth us and bought us with His own precious blood.

We Know Deliverance Is Nigh

We have come to the time of action and recognize the "feet" members and know it is the time for you and me to look up and lift up our heads and rejoice. Why? All the evidences the Lord has given of the presence of our Lord Jesus and the near approach of His Kingdom manifests to us now that we ought to lift up our heads and rejoice in as much as we know our redemption draweth nigh.

While the great Church of Christ is composed of many members, it is but one body, and the Apostle says, "as the body is one, and hath many members and all the members of that one body being many are one body, so also is the Christ." Jesus the head and we all the various members of the body of Christ! And "God has set the members in the body as it hath pleased Him." And how glad we are! Aren't you?

He doesn't need you and me. But you and I need him. Now we ought to render heartfelt devotion to our Heavenly Father that He has opened the eyes of our understanding, and now we believe we comprehend something of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of God's great character and realize that He, our Heavenly Father, is indeed a God of Love.

We are developing the same kind of character. We are all in the great rumbling blocks of the world and polishing and shaping goes on of these blocks and will go on until the character is complete in all its beauty, glory and grandeur. And so our text reads, "When ye see these things begin to come to pass" — Who is He talking to? I understand He is talking to the last members of the Body of Christ, because we have reached a period of time when all the events as recorded in the 24th Chapter of Matthew, which is positive evidence of the Second Coming of our dear Lord, have all been fulfilled, but one — and that is the Great Time of Trouble, and we know we are experiencing it, but not reached all the furies yet.

The Heart Sealing Necessary

So we find that God intends that His Church, during this great time of trouble shall be protected. Some are being taken home to glory, and others by being so fortified

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through the Word of God are protected. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide (or lodge) under the shadow of the Almighty."

The Scriptures show us that before the close of the Age in all its fulness the Second sealing, referred to in Revelation, must be complete through the Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet and the mystery of God, the plan made known to the last members and thus sealed in their foreheads with the full conception of God's great plan, and then the second sealing upon the heart. We have reason to believe that this has almost, if not already, been accomplished. Beloved, have you that full assurance of faith, that you have been sealed by the second sealing? Can we assure ourselves that the sealing has reached its completeness? We trust everyone is able to say that it is.

Rev. 7:4 tells us the number of those sealed: "And I heard the number of them that were sealed and there were sealed 144,000 of all the tribes of the Children of Israel." As the Revelator shows us at that time the sealing will be completed and deliverance of the Church at hand. "And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood upon Mount Zion and with Him 144,000 having the Father's name written in their foreheads." These were the only ones that were able to sing the song of Moses and the Lamb. But I can hear someone say, Well can't all Christians sing the song of Moses and the Lamb? Oh, no! That is why we have seen such great discord throughout the Age. Only the true consecrated child of the Lord, those who have made a covenant of sacrifice, and whose consecrations have been accepted by the Lord, are the only ones who are able to sing the great song of Moses and the Lamb. We trust that we are able to sing that song. "And they sang as it were before the four beasts and elders, and no man could learn that song but the 144,000, which were redeemed from the earth."

All Fulfilled Save One

Now, beloved, the accounts of Luke 21 and Matthew 24, which bring out such a great collection of the facts or events that are transpiring in the second presence of our Lord, have practically all been fulfilled. The Lord said: "This generation shall not pass away until all these things have been fulfilled." Only Bible Students can give a reasonable solution of that text. It must be the generation living at the present time when these events are taking place. So in our lifetime we have seen these great marvelous events taking place and now having been fulfilled, but one.

You recall as the Lord spoke of these great events: two days before His crucifixion, as he sat upon the hill that overlooked the city of Jerusalem, he said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."

It was immediately after that that the Disciples came to Him asking for the sign of His Second Coming, and then the Lord goes on raking the hypocrisies of the Scribes and the Pharisees, and tells His disciples that the temple will be thrown down. So history reveals that every stone of those marvelous buildings was thrown over; even the foundation stone was upturned, thus fulfilling the statement of our Lord and Saviour; and then He goes on to speak about wars and rumors of wars: famine and pestilences, and all those things you and I have seen; which all the world has seen: This was to be the evidence of something still greater — "a Time of Trouble, such as never was since there was a Nation." And then, our text says, that we should, having seen the "distress of nations." look up and "lift up our heads and rejoice."

The Glory of Resurrection

Beloved, are we rejoicing in the Prospect of the near approach of the establishment of the Kingdom of our dear Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ? Ah, yes, because one by one the dear members of the Body of Christ are passing beyond the vail. The number beyond is large in proportion to those this side the vail, and soon, we believe, the last one will pass beyond. Oh, the scene that will take place in the Heavenly glory, when the last member of the Body of Christ passes beyond! We sometimes let our minds run out, and yet we know that the wildest imaginations of our minds sinks way beneath the reality of that grand spectacle which Heaven will witness by and by — and we trust — in the very near future. Someone has said they thought they would like to be the last member of the Body of Christ. But later on they said, "Oh, what a privilege and an honor it will be to think that in the Spiritual realm there will be 143,999 redeemed souls waiting for the last one." Oh, friends, what a scene that will be ! It seems to me the guardian angels, our dear Lord, and all the hosts of Heaven will throw protection around the last one in order that the offering may be consumed, and as they watch the fire consuming the offering gladness will fill them, and so when they see the last vestige of the last member of the Body of Christ being fully consumed, it seems to me that wafted upon the wings of love, accompanied by the guardian angel, the 143,999 redeemed souls will lift the one up; — up — and up they will go; — not up where they have been. No, oh no! For I understand that since the first resurrection began to take place our Lord has held the members of the Body of Christ somewhere in the Heavenly condition. I know not where. It matters not, but we know they are some place in the condition of Heavenly glory, waiting until the last member of the Body of Christ is prepared.

Then this class, complete in all its beauty and glory, the Lord will take on up, dear friends, into the very Court of Glory and there in Heaven, in all beauty and glory and grandeur we will meet our Heavenly Father upon His great Throne, and I can see our dear Lord ascending there — He presents this great Church, — the Body of Christ in a wave-offering as it were, — the first-fruits of the field. Beloved, we trust soon you and I may bring our wave-offering as it were — the first-fruits of the field — and add to that collection. Then the dear Lord and all with Him shall he exultant with joy as He presents them before the Throne without spot or wrinkle or any such thine. Then, beloved, the grandest event in all the Universe will have taken place.

The Earthly Resurrection Grand

The Prophet Job tells us that when God laid the foundation of the earth the sons of God shouted for joy. Oh, dear friends, I understand there are to be two other shouts : One will be when Christ presents the Bride before the Throne and when the Bride and Bridegroom are made one. All Heaven will rejoice then, and shout for joy. I think this third shout will be when "He whose right it is" to reign, returns and establishes His great Kingdom on earth and begins to unlock the prison house of death and when the dead come forth and find they have not been down in eternal torment, suffering agony, but will be back on earth hearing the grand song of the Redeeming Love, the grand tidings of great joy, etc, I believe there will be a shout of victory, — a shout of triumph, and I think it will cover the whole world. The Prophet says that in that grand day "no one shall say, 'know thou the Lord,' for all shall know Him from the least unto the greatest." Then "every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess the glory of God, the Father."

But, beloved, return to the Heavenly scenes. We say, Heaven is bedecked with grand, glorious scenes — sublime beyond mortal conception. The climax of the waiting period of over 1900 years is come. We see our dear Lord present His Bride before our Heavenly Father, and then before the Throne will be that great innumerable company and who will say with one grand anthem, "Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to Him, for the Marriage of the Lamb is come, (the day has finally arrived) and His wife has made herself ready." Think ye not, beloved, there will be joy in Heaven? Oh, yes, because it shows us that then the great attributes of our Heavenly Father —  Wisdom, Justice. Love and Power — will say, "Holy. Holy, Lord God Almighty," and then John says, "I heard the

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four and twenty elders singing Hallelujah, Amen." Why? The culmination of all the scenes, the completeness of the four attributes of our Heavenly Father has been manifested in the marriage of the Lamb. Think ye not that Heaven rejoices? Oh, yes!

Desirability of Unshakable Faith

We say the Selection and Election of the Church of Christ has been such a precious work that God could not trust this in your hand or my hand. "Ye have not chosen me," the Lord says, "but I have chosen you." Oh, yes. "I have ordained you that ye should go and bring forth fruit abundantly and that your fruit shall remain." Oh, beloved, are we among the chosen ones ? Do you know you have been chosen of the Lord? Have you that positive evidence now? God is dealing with us as New Creatures now. Have we that full assurance of faith? Do you know that God accepts your sacrifice now? Make it real, beloved, because that is one of the grand things about the truth — its simplicity. Something you can see! Something you can feel and there must be the transformation, the washing, the cleansing, the purification, and ultimately the Lord will say to you and me, "now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you."

In my own Christian experience (I have told this story before, but I want to tell it again!) I was honestly seeking for "holiness" and seeking for that great blessing which I understood someone else had. I have always been very peculiar about that. Even during the years which it has been my privilege to know the grand message of Redeeming Love, if there is any special blessing going around I have always wanted it. I am selfish along that line. If I find someone else has some spiritual blessings I have not received. I will seek for them until I obtain them, — if it is at all the Lord's will.

The Hocus-Pocus of "Holiness"

And so someone moved in our section of the city —  Rev. Smith, who was affiliated with the church I was connected with, and he soon began a series of Holiness meetings. I was honestly seeking for holiness, and became intensely interested in the services, seeking for the "Second Blessing." The dear brother knew my desire and so on one occasion when we were having a snowstorm, and as Brother Barton would say, everything "warmed up," Rev. Smith thought it was about time I should get the "Second Blessing." So he tried to help me: He said, "Brother Wise, come through, come through." But I couldn't "come through." There was no place to come to. And so that failed. So I tried other times. He told me to say, "I got it, I got it." But I couldn't say it, because I didn't have it.

The Truth That Sanctifies

So, beloved, whatever amount of sanctification or holiness that you and I possess, it is not because we are a goody goody sort of a person. No, it is because we have brought ourselves into conformity with the Truth. The Truth has come into our minds, — into our hearts, — the cleansing, purification, and washing is taking place; and so this experience will continue to go on, if we stay by the Truth until eventually the dear Lord will say, now "Ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you."

So this sanctifying influence of God's Truth has been applied because of the Prayer of our dear Lord, as recorded in the 17th chapter of John, where He prayed, "Sanctify them through Thy Truth, Thy Word is Truth." This is the sanctifying influence. We find during these strenuous experiences (particularly during the past year), and during which period, it seems a thousand have been falling on our side, and ten thousand at our right hand, —  we find the two great texts which are so frequently quoted by our dear Pastor have come to my mind: "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." And the other one is: "Everything that my Father hath not planted shall be rooted up." If we have not got the Lord's planting, there will come into our lives sometime experiences that will pluck us out of the Camp of the Lord. But if we are the Lord's planting — if we really have been planted by the Lord — if our feet are upon the solid rock — Christ Jesus — if we are building upon this foundation stone, using the gold, silver and precious stones (material of the Word of God), there is no influence in all the Universe that will pluck us out of the hand of God. Why? We have been planted by the Lord, and the Lord intends that none of His seed that He plants which bears fruit shall be plucked up, but He will nurture and water it and it will grow up to maturity.

Melchizedek Priest, the Blesser

So I trust that day by day in all our experiences, which come to us, that we all are growing up in Christ and by and by we shall all become, as it were, full grown men in Christ Jesus. But you and I are still wearing the sacrificial robes, the High Priest has not raised his hands for the world's blessing. Has the High Priest come forth with garments of beauty and grandeur ? Oh, no, not yet. Sacrificing is going on in connection with the last "feet" members of the Body of Christ. In the case of Solomon's Temple, the glory of the Lord was revealed, and the High Priest came, forth and raised his hand and blessing went to the people, and so in the great anti-typical temple which our Heavenly Father is now building and in which you and I, we trust, are to be living stones, — when that temple is complete in all its beauty and glory and grandeur, then, we will have a King and a Priest after the order of Melchizedek, and He comes forth and raises his hands and the blessing follows.

But there must needs be, beloved, a little more of the polishing, a little more pruning, a little more taking off of this and of that. We must drop everything that is contrary to God's Will. And then, do all those things pleasing in His sight and by this means, — using all the agencies at our command, — by feeding upon the Word of God, — we shall grow up into Christ and we trust the time is not far distant when each of us will become a full-grown man in Christ Jesus.

Oh, beloved, the "stones" all through the last forty years have been placed in the various parts of this great Building, and I understand the experiences that we are having today, just prepares us for a character that will fit us just exactly in a place the Lord designs for us. No stone too long! No stone too short! As all the material was in Solomon's Temple, and this grand building was constructed without even the sound of a hammer, so no polishing will be done over there. All the work must be done this side the vail, and so we say there will be no disappointments there. You will feel perfectly at home there. Because you are developing a character for a particular place there and that accounts for the peculiar trials that come to you — to all of us — in this evil day.

Faith Demonstrated by Works

Every man's work shall be made manifest. Your faith and my faith; your work and my work is being made manifest. The fire of this present time is trying every man's work of what sort it is. Your faith has been attacked, and mine has been. There has crept into our hearts possibly a shadow of doubt because of the insinuations of the Adversary during the last six months. Lo, as we enter upon the blessings and privileges and sacrifices and labors for the New Year, beloved, let us determine by God's grace that we shall put on the whole armor and keep on the whole armor of God, and then go forth as valiant soldiers of the Cross of Christ, witnessing for Him, laying down our lives, if necessary, sacrificing, in order that the work which the Lord has left for the feet or last members of the Body of Christ, shall be accomplished.

Mention has been made in this Convention of the possibility of the great work that lies before us. Beloved, that being true, let us unite in prayer and prepare our hearts and minds and bodies that we may go forth. I was glad to have gone through the various parts of the South, meeting so many of the dear Colporteur friends, who have been in the work previous to this, who are preparing themselves for further activities subsequent to the signing of peace that they may the more fully enter into the work.

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Colporteurs Returning to Work

I am inclined to think that in about one week after peace has been signed, we will find about six or seven hundred on the Colporteur list, devoting their time to the work, God is so pleased to permit us to have a part. Let us lay all cares aside. What for? For the privilege of having a part in this great work which our Heavenly Father has entrusted to us. In the trying experiences that come to us, He will help us to appreciate that the Eternal God is our Salvation and underneath is the everlasting arms, and so He who has led us thus far will never forsake us. God doesn't need you and me to carry on His work. This work will go on regardless of whether we appreciate the work or not; regardless of whether we have any part in it whatever. God intends the witnessing to go on and God will raise up messengers — those who appreciate the privileges and who will sacrifice; and thus the grand and glorious work shall be completed to its fulness. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Therefore shall we not fear." Fear not, beloved, because he who fears will falter. Let us determine by God's Grace, to uphold each other, daily, hourly — as far as possible, come to the Throne of Heavenly Grace, and then shoulder to shoulder face the battle, and finally come off victors.

Personal Opinions Laid Aside

It is a difficult time now that all these little differences arise. These are only matters of opinion, because we find very few instances where principle is at stake — only a little difference of opinion. It is time we laid aside all these things because you agreed to sacrifice and so did I. And we who presented ourselves to Him are dead. "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Now, beloved, having laid that offering upon the altar of Consecration, shall we draw back, and take the offering off, when certain little things arise in life which do not please us?

It is true none of us realize the full depths of consecration. Oh, no! But the Lord said, "As thy days so shall thy strength be." "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee"; and so we can say the Heavenly Father's grace has been sufficient for us for every time of need. Trust in Him, beloved. 'Mid all the trying scenes, lay hold upon the Word of God. Have that full assurance of faith that takes hold of the promises of God and applies them to our hearts and lives, and thus get the necessary strength and sustenance. "God is in the midst of her" (ye daughters of Zion). "God is in the midst of her. She (Zion) shall not be moved." Why? "God shall help her — (and that right now) — early in the morning"; and that is why the Lord said, "Look up, lift up your heads and rejoice, for your Redemption draweth nigh," and so we praise and magnify our Heavenly Father for the grand privileges of service, and for these grand and glorious things, and He tells us that having finished the work which He has given us to do, — having done all. to "stand."

Oh, beloved, we have not reached the "standing" position yet. We thought so for a while back, but we were mistaken. We have not reached that condition yet There may come a time in our life when all opportunity of service may be denied, but not now. He has been just giving you and me a quiet season for the purpose of preparation: He expects you and me so thoroughly examined, and fortified by the Word of God that we will be qualified for the work he has given us to do in the near future. WE ARE DETERMINED BY GOD'S GRACE AND ASSISTANCE THAT WHATEVER HE MAY HAVE FOR US WE WILL DO WITH OUR MIGHT, —  and do everything in fact with our might "what our hands find to do."

The closing days, we believe, of John the Baptist and Elijah, were typical of the closing days of the last or feet members of the Body of Christ. The beheading of the one and the whirlwind experiences and fiery chariot experiences of the other, would indicate, we believe, the last experiences of the Church of Christ. Beloved, as "the Disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord" (but Zion need not fear, for God is in the midst of her), so we find Matt. 25:10 shows us the change will come when, as soon as the last member of the Christ is passed over and the door is closed. We must all be changed, for the Apostle says, "For this corruption must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality," and so be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, from earthly conditions to Heavenly conditions, from weakness to power. Then also the Prophet shows us, "Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice, with the voice together shall they sing, for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord returns to Zion." (Isa. 52:8.) As our Lord was despised, and rejected, and convicted of men, so all the experiences of the Church have been. As the finger of scorn and ignominy and shame was pointed at Him, so the finger of scorn, and ignominy is pointed at us. And so, as one suffered, all suffer with Him. As one member is honored so all rejoice. There has been an opportunity for suffering, friends. When our dear leaders were cast into prison there was suffering throughout the lengths and breadths of the land, and when the prison doors are opened there will be rejoicing throughout the lengths and breadths of the land. So we say, if one suffers we all suffer with him. If one member is honored, we are all honored.

Now, beloved, let us see that this sacrifice (which we placed on the altar at consecration) is bound with cords to the horns of the altar, and then, dear friends, having placed the offering upon the altar, let us see that the offering may soon be consumed. Then, we understand, that when the dross has been consumed, and the gold refined, the dear Heavenly Father can look into our hearts and see the reflection of His own image, then He will say, "It is enough, come up higher." Beloved, let me say in conclusion, When ye see all these things, which the Lord mentions, begin to come to pass, then look up, beloved, and lift up your head, and rejoice, inasmuch as your redemption "draweth nigh."

NOTE: — See last page for news regarding our brethren.

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