Reprint 6064-65, October 11, 1916


"Consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." Heb. 12:3

[On Wednesday evening, October 11th, 1916, at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, after the Church Activities Committee had read the various reports of the work done during the past quarter, Brother Russell gave a short address to the New York City Congregation, which proved to be his last words to the church in the midst of which he lived and labored. Those words were taken down at the time and are here transcribed for the benefit of the friends. The topic and text were those of the Manna for the week, and were the same as those used on the same evening by classes of the I B S A the world over.]

There is a natural tendency amongst people to tire of a thing when the novelty wears off. Even the hearing of the truth, strange as it may seem, causes weariness to some after a time. It is the same way with the soldier. It is easy for him to enlist and march forward when the drums are beating and the bands are playing, and enthusiasm runs high; but when the damp, cold weather comes, when ice forms in the trenches and there is no martial music, he is liable to grow weary; and army life does not seem to be nearly so attractive as it appeared at the first. This is true in our spiritual warfare'in fighting the good fight of faith. There are times when all around seem joyous, when the Christian soldiers are marching, and all are stimulated and encouraged; whereas there are times when the clouds hang low and are dark, chilliness surrounds us, ardor is abated, [HGL858] and we are liable to get discouraged. It is partly for this reason that the Lord has directed us to "consider him," that thereby we might be stimulated and encouraged to press on and to inspire others. He knew just what we would need.


The Apostle Paul exhorts us not to forget the assembling of ourselves together, and so much the more as we see the day approaching. Why so? Because "the day" will have its peculiar trials, it difficulties, its attractions in various directions; and the story of the Cross will likely seem old not as new as some things; and consequently we shall need to bear each other up. Because there is danger of becoming luke warm spiritually, it is generally recommended that the Lord's people meet together; for to do so is stimulating. In proportion as we seek to stir up others in the way by putting them in remembrance, we are thereby reviving our own minds. We can, therefore, see a wisdom in all of God's arrangements with respect to the truth.

I believe that in every congregation there is danger of growing weary in well-doing. Well-doing costs something. It means sacrificing. If you are serving the Lord's cause, you are denying yourself in some way. Unless we have some special love for the Lord and for the truth, we might say, "This is a very tedious work, I am pressed in many other directions, and there are those who are inviting me to se them." So many things come to you, and to us all, that we might consequently be retarded and slacken our efforts. The world, the flesh and the adversary are pressing hard to draw us, not exactly from the prize, but from the narrow way that leads to the prize. They would slacken our zeal and beat our courage down; they would make us faint and cause us to say, "Oh, I am so tired; I cannot do any more!" Doubtless we all have had such experiences. If we get faint in body, we can rest ourselves; but if we get faint in mind, it is more difficult to become refreshed.


What, then, shall we do, in case we get weary and faint in our minds? The Apostle tells us: "CONSIDER HIM!" Whom? We all know that he is referring to our Lord Jesus, the one great "HIM" in all the whole world. What shall we consider about him? His birth? Yes, that is profitable; but it is not what the Apostle here suggests. His glory and honor? Not that exactly; but rather, how much HE ENDURED WITHOUT GETTING FAINT AND WEARY, without giving up the work which he undertook to do. He undertook to do a certain work, and so have we! In some respects we have undertaken to do the same work that Jesus did. Let us consider him, lest we get weary and faint in following on in his footsteps!

Of course, the world is not exhorted in this text, but merely those who have come into the Lord's family, and have taken up their cross to follow him those who have consecrated themselves to him, those who have made a covenant with the Lord by sacrifice, declaring that they will give all to him in his service that they will follow him at any cost. These are the ones who are exhorted to consider him.

But what about him shall they consider? What he endured without fainting, in carrying out the Father's will. What he endured in the way of contradiction of sinners against himself. This is the very kind of difficulty which we have in our endeavor to carry out the Father's will. If there were no devil, no sinners and no trials, this would be a very pleasant world to go through. It is because we have to swim up-stream, against the current, when almost everything is going in the opposite direction, that we have such a difficult work. Watch the swimmer! He must battle up-stream against the down-flowing current; a moment's relaxation and the current carries him downward. With us there is a natural tendency in ourselves, as well as in the currents of thought and activity about us in the world, to pull us back in the opposite direction from which we are trying to go.


Let us consider his example, his words; or else we may become faint. There are many reasons why we might become so. One of them is that we might consider that the opposition against us is too great. Jesus had the opposition of all those of national influence in his day. He was continually misrepresented, until finally the slanders culminated in his being called a profane person, one who had spoken blasphemies against God, who had said that he was like God, and was as great as God. This was a part of the charge against him. Although the accusation was not true, nevertheless he endured it, even though he had power to stop it. If he could cast out demons and open the eyes of the blind, then surely he could have done something to change things in his own case. Why, then, did he not do it? Because he was doing the Father's will; and it was the Father's will that he should bear witness to the truth and demonstrate his loyalty in connection with it.

Is it not the same with us? But why does the Father care about our loyalty? Because he is seeking a certain class for a certain purpose. In Jesus' case, he was seeking one to be the Head of the church. In our case, he is selecting those who will be members of the body. He has a great plan that contemplates the overthrow of sin and the blessing of all the families of the earth; and he is now looking for a class who is in sympathy with all his plans and arrangements. He is seeking for those who would rather suffer death than violate his Word, or shrink from doing his will.

This is our glorious position, and we are considering one who never made a mistake in carrying out the Father's will. Yet he suffered as though he had made a great many serious mistakes. He suffered as a disloyal person, although he had always been loyal. The Jews declared that he had no patriotism at all, yet he was loyal to his own nation in every respect. As Jesus said, "They hated me without a cause."


Turn these things over in your mind! Consider him! This kind of suffering is necessary; for the Father would not be wise in exalting to such a high position any one who was not thoroughly loyal. He could not give even his own son the divine nature without a thorough testing. Our Lord, as a new creature, was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. He was not tempted as a fallen man [HGL859] or as a father; he was not tempted with liquor, etc. The temptations coming to the new creature are different from those which come to the sinner.

Jesus was tempted to grow weary and faint in his mind. This was one of the ways through which special temptations from Satan were placed before him. Satan told our Lord that he would get rid of these difficulties if he would cooperate with him and would avoid those things which would necessarily and surely come to him if he should continue in the way marked out by Jehovah. Our Lord's answer was, "Get thee behind me, Satan!" Another temptation was to show the great power which he had received as a spirit-begotten Son, to use this power either to gratify his own natural appetite or to make a display before the people. So it is with those of us who may wish to do things in a showy way instead of in the humble way marked out for us. We may expect to have the same temptations that our Lord had. Therefore we should be on guard that we may prove loyal to the Father.


"If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him." The reason why the Father is so careful in making the selection of the church class, is that they are to reign. He could not take hypocrites or any disloyal ones or even careless ones to be rulers and teachers of the people in the coming kingdom. He would not select those who had not first learned humility before he could use them to teach humility to others. God desires such a company of priests and judges to be associated with his Son for a thousand years in ruling and blessing the world as will prove faithful under all circumstances those in whom he can place absolute confidence, who have been tested and found faithful. This is the reason that he tests and proves during this Gospel age every one whom he will receive for that future work.

The call of the Gospel age is, therefore, one to sacrifice. God does not hide this fact from us. He does not call us to simply stand up and say that we wish to be followers of Jesus. No! Our Lord says, "If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me." There is no deception about the matter. If we have ben deceived, it is our own fault. The Old Testament says the same thing: "Gather my saints together unto me; those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." There is nothing hidden. Whoever would follow Jesus must prove his faithfulness by his willingness to sacrifice.

In the past, false doctrines confused us; but now "we see Jesus" we see what he accomplished, and how he endured without growing weary or giving up. It makes our course plain when we consider him. We sometimes say that we have not been careful enough in this or that matter, and have consequently made some mistakes. We can often find some fault in ourselves, thus demonstrating that we are partly to blame for our sufferings. But in our Lord's case it was different. He received the slanders, the misrepresentation, and everything else that came against him, without having any fault in him at all. "He was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners," still he endured. We, though following in his footsteps, have not as much to endure as had the Master.


We are also to consider the outcome. While the Father let Jesus die on the cross as a malefactor, yet he did not let our Lord go permanently, but kept his promise to raise him from the dead. We have the promise that, as the Father raised Jesus from the dead, so also will he raise those up who are found worthy by being faithful unto death. In raising up Jesus the Father has given us a testimony to his faithfulness. In the case of Jesus, no one had set him an example. It was all by faith with him; none had gone before. With us it is different. Besides, we have not so much to lose as had our Lord. However, if we trust God, he is faithful to keep us and to do what he has promised to raise us up with our Head. Consider what great things God has done for his Son. Consider also that he has promised us a share in our Lord's glory if we be found faithful. It is amazing almost beyond conception! Unless God had made it plain, I fear that I would not be able to receive it. If he had said it but once, I might have doubted it; but since he has stated it over and over again in so many ways as to remove all grounds for doubt, I must believe it. How wonderful it seems!

Consider him! Consider that God has highly exalted him! Consider what a great privilege has been afforded us of walking in his footsteps, especially as our lives are so imperfect, so unsatisfactory even to ourselves, and as life is all that we have to give. What a thought that God will count our little sacrifice as a part of that which Jesus gave! We are to be heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, "to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed at the last time." Then to think that we are in the last time now! We are right at the close of the age. The new dispensation is opening all around us, and the great majority of the people are so bewildered that they do not know what to make of the wonderful things of our day. "None of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand." (Dan. 12:10) The Lord's true people are the only ones who have a correct understanding of these things.

How carefully the people of God, therefore, should weigh their thoughts and deeds! "Seeing that these [present] things are to be dissolved, what manner of person ought we to be in all holy living and godliness, looking for and earnestly desiring the coming of the day of God! . . . According to his promise we look for a new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for these things, give diligence that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless" in his sight. "Ye therefore, beloved, knowing these things beforehand, beware lest, being carried away with the error of the wicked, ye fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." 2 Pet. 3:13-18 [HGL860]


In view of what we see ahead of us as sharers with Jesus of his glory, honor and immortality, we should be leading holy lives. We should be living in the future rather than in the past. Do not think too much of the past. Let us not live in the past and dwell upon our mistakes and shortcomings, and thus be cast down; but let us believe that "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) And we should have such an appreciation of these mercies and blessings of forgiveness as to show it forth in our conduct.

Let us give heed more and more to the suggestion of our text, and consider him whom the Father has so greatly exalted so highly exalted. Let us remember that he has called us with the same high and heavenly calling and has promised to help us all the way through! If we remember this, we shall cease to be weary and faint and shall become strong in the Lord and in the power of his might; we shall go on from grace to grace, from glory to glory; we shall be transformed by the renewing of our minds, more and more proving what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Then, finally, we shall attain unto the glorious things which he has in reservation for those who love him more than parents, or children, or self, or any other person or thing.

"Hold on thy way with hope unchilled
By faith and not by sight;
And thou shalt own his Word fulfilled-
At eve it shall be light."

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