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The Clarion Herald

    At a Sabbath-Feast, in the home of a chief Pharisee, Jesus has just healed a helpless man of his dropsy and implied that his host and fellow guests have greater love for an "ASS", belonging to themselves, than for a MAN who is made in the image of God. To add insult to injury, He proceeds to criticize the push for primacy that He detects in both the host and his guests. To adequately grasp the significance of Jesus' words it is necessary to consider: 1) The fellowship of a feast, and 2) The strife to be in first place, (see Luke 14:7-14).
    Two elements come to mind when one pauses to consider the meaning of any feast -- food and fellowship. It is the very essence and nature of a feast that all who gather should SHARE together -- enjoying all things in common. There was a common need, enjoyment and nurture of food. And there was a common freedom, equality, respect and partnership in the matter of fellowship. OR, WAS THERE??
    Jesus noted in this gathering a push for pre-eminence -- a tragic factor in any feast. Self-seeking instantly makes full companionship an impossibility. It creates divisions

and sets up false, but conspicuous, levels of honor. Emphasis is placed on DIFFERENCES! Dignitaries swell with pride, while the lowly are regarded with contempt -- and this AT A FEAST!
    Immediately there rushes into the feast a host of uninvited and despicable guests. They come as "allies" to the "sides" created by division. Joining the forces of the self-esteemed are: hypocrisy, arrogance, pride, scorn, contempt and aloofness. Reinforcing the other side are: anger, bitterness, dissent, hatred, envy, jealousy, strife, resentment, discouragement and back-biting. Such uninvited, ill-mannered guests cannot be barred from ANY graded feast. This grasp after honor always corrodes character and banishes fellowship.
    Faithful to His Father and to their need, Jesus boldly, uncompromisingly and without their invitation, dealt honestly and thoroughly with the situation. Warning of possible humiliation, He made the issue to hinge on WORTH. And He advised humbleness on the part of all.
    The teaching of Jesus embodies a tremendous philosophy. It sets two traits in glaring contrast: 1) An ungracious self-esteem, and 2) A kind-hearted lowliness. One, valuing

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The Clarion Herald The Clarion Herald

himself too highly, bases his honor on his own single vote and seats himself in the place of honor. The other, considering others before himself, takes the lowest seat. The most lowly are the truly worthy. The most haughty are really empty!
    He who hastens after supremacy of honor above his fellows is sure to end in shame, (Est.6:6-12; Provo 3:35; 11:2; 16:18). Gentle deference to one's fellow-guests is sure of respect, (I Samuel 15:15; Provo 15:33; 18:12; 25:6-7). Jesus vigorously goads the lurking fear of the self-placed dignitary. And His words are charged with CHARACTER!
    How perilously prone men are to duplicate the scene set forth by Luke 14:7-14! How shamefully timid are professed teachers of righteousness to LEARN FROH CHRIST'S EXAMPLE: their opportunities, (though uninvited); their duties, (though contrary to the flesh); and their task -- to honor God, in following His wise design, above all else!


    Men who love themselves are their own greatest enemies. Though ever learning, they die as fools. A clear description of such men may be found in 2 Timothy 3:2-7. It should be noted that every other despicable characteristic of such a life comes as a by-product of SELF-LOVE. Whatever illusions one may have of his own present or potential greatness, self-love, usurping the place of God, forfeits any right to an innumerable host of spiritual blessings.
    Before passing over this warning with the assumption that YOU "love God", it should be noted that LOVE, like faith, is known by its fruit. Whoever TRULY loves God will KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS, (John 14:21-24; 2 John 6). Nor will he find them burdensome, (I John 5:3). The heart that truly loves God will delight in Him as the sum of all perfection and excellence; it will joyfully follow His order as assuring its chief good. Not only will it rejoice in the privilege of fellowship with others who show forth the fruit of love; it will do good unto all who are made in God's image even one's own enemies, (I John 4:20).
    Love for God will shape the lives of those who possess it IN REALITY. It will make one patient in trouble, slow to anger and ready to forgive injuries. It will teach a person to: deny himself, mourn over the afflictions of others and to share their burdens, (Gal. 5:22-6:5). He will not only refrain from harming others, but will positively do them

good, (I John 3:17).
    Though, to the world in general, "lovers of God" are insignificant and unknown, "If any man LOVE GOD, the same is KNOWN OF HIM", (I Cor. 8:3; 2 Tim. 2:19). Is that not A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER than worldly recognition? He knows our works any ways. He knows our hearts and our secret devotions, (Psalm 1:6; Jer. 12:33 Matt. 6:6). He knows our trials, and how to deliver us from them, (2 Pet. 2:9). To all who truly love Him He is a stronghold in the day of trouble, (Nahum 1:7). They may never earn a crown in life, but are heirs to a crown OF life, (2 Tim. 4:8). His love knows no measure, for "God IS love!"
    But let a11 understand the importance of bestowing our love on the proper, worthy object. Whoever loves the world or its ways (both of which are contrary to God and His order) is His ENEMY and cannot know the blessedness of that love which is reserved for His precious "jewels". And whatever greatness one may attain or accomplish, in his own eyes; if it be a product of his own carnal wisdom, rather than the work of God through a humble and yielded vessel, He will ultimately declare:' "I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from me, ye that work iniquity!" (Matt. 7:23).
    The truly wise will accept both God's wisdom and judgment concerning "self" -- crucifying, rather than making provision for its base and vain desires. To reject the counsel of God (preferring to chart one's own course) is to follow the "broad way" that leads to ultimate ruin.


    Is it not strange how dim the eyes of men become when gazing upon their own faults? But with what clarity of vision they look upon the sins and failings of others! Many foolishly indulge what both their own judgment and conscience condemn. And they will attempt to vindicate such actions because: 1) "Everyone is doing it"; 2) It seems reasonable; 3) It is pleasant or 4) It promises to be profitable -- their hearts all the time condemning them.
    Paul wrote: "Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth", (Rom. 14:22). No one can be happy apart from honorable living. The upbraidings of a guilty conscience, not to mention the Holy Spirit's conviction of sin-guiltiness (through violation of God's order), hinder the enjoyment of true peace. But, how delightful to have the inward evidence that one's living is acceptable to God! Again, Paul wrote "The reason for our exultation is the witness of our conscience that we have behaved in the world generally, but specially toward you, with devout motives and godly sincerity; NOT with worldly wisdom but BY DIVINE GRACE", (2 Cor. 1:12; Berkeley Version).
    Whoever sins against his conscience cannot know peace of conscience. And if one has not that INWARD peace it is in vain that he seeks to find it WITHOUT. Honesty before God and men is vital. Unless one is fully persuaded that what he "allows" is RIGHT, he sins against

God. For whatsoever is not of faith IS SIN! (Romans 14:23). Nor should one ever permit a base appetite, or the ridicule of others, to bring him into compliance with anything he knows to be in violation of divine principles. And one of the first requirements of the Gospel is that a man be upright, honest and self-denying.
    Though men of God should never deliberately GIVE offence to others, they should never permit the possibility of offence to hinder the rendering of absolute and joyful obedience to the Lord's commands. He will, in fact, regard as His ENEMIES whoever neglects to fulfil known duties, or deliberately practices what one knows to be contrary to God's word. Whoever serves the Lord with a pure heart will delight
IN His pure word, (I Peter 2: 2).
    When one truly sets his heart to DO God's will: his way will be pain, his principles fixed, his triumph certain; and his integrity will hold him steady against whatever contrary winds may blow.


Praise the Lord, ye heavens, adore
Praise Him, angels, in the height;
Sun and moon, rejoice before Him;
Praise Him, all ye stars of light.

Praise the Lord, for He hath spoken;
Worlds His mighty voice obeyed;
Laws which never shall be broken,
For their guidance He hath made.

Praise the Lord, for He is glorious;
Never shall His promise fail;
God hath made His saints victorious;
Sin and death shall not prevail.

Praise the God of our salvation;
Hosts on high, His power proclaim;
Heaven & earth, and all creation,
Laud and magnify His name!


    Since our last issue we have had definite word that Bro. Edgar Sullivan and Family are back in Okinawa. Though hoping to go to another field, it now appears that he feels a need of assisting in the strengthening of the work on Okinawa before making that move.
    Correspondence may be sent to him at:
Box 135, Urasoe City,
Okinawa, JAPAN 901-21