From the Pulpit of a Holiness Preacher
"An email newsletter ministry of Richard D. Swift publishing the sermons of Rev. Reed A. Swift (1899-1973)"
The following sermon was preached in the following Free Methodist Churches as listed (many of the place names donot have the state in which it is located so I will only include the name of the state if I'm sure): W. Holly Wood, California; Liddieville; Pinegrove; Lismore; Rome, Missouri; Antioch; Lismore; Martha's Chapel, Louisiana; Holum; Acme; Winnsboro, Louisiana; Girard; Monroe; Miami, Florida; Macon, Georgia; Provencal; Rockwall, Texas; Flint, Michigan; Grand Bay; Pomona, California; Jena, Louisiana; Martha's Chapel, Louisiana; Erie, Pennsylvania; Corona, California; Hope Mission Phoenix, Arizona; Liddieville; Provencal; Winnsboro, Louisiana; MiraLoma, California; Hillman, Michigan (1954); West Branch, Michigan (1954); and in the Bible Missionary Churches of Phoenix, Arizona (1958) and Cucamonga, California (1958 and Nov. of '60). Quite a few places but not nearly
as many as the churches he preached Entire Sanctification to.
The Prodigal Son and Rules for Training a Child in the Way He Should Go
Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it."
There may be a question if the prodigal son was trained like that. I think perhaps he was. B.T. Roberts said, "The miracle of the age is a well trained family." My six children [prior to 1950] are not raised yet and one has gone on to home in heaven, but I am doing my best. I know that many godly parents have ungodgly children, but we must still do our best. "Train up" implies both instruction and practice until fixed habits are formed. In other words, the child must be made to do the right and be restrained from doing wrong. Begin early to explain.
1. A child should be trained by 2 or 3 years of age to unhestitantly obey his parents. (Proverbs 29:15). Most parents obey the child. Criminals are made up largely of those who were disobedient in childhood. Learning will never take the place of obedience. Love and respect springs from obedience and not obedience from love.
2. Train your child to love and practice moral virtues. Not lie and steal. Keep from children who use profane and vile langauge. Teach them to hate sin.
3. Train up your children in the belief and prctice of religion as thoroughly as the Catholics do while young. Take your children to church, have them pray in family worship, thank God for the food, later take part in church services, keep the Sabbath Day reverently, and read the Bible. This is only a form, but it helps to get the power. Elijah went through the form to get the altar and sacrifice ready too, but God sent the fire. Glory!
4. Every child should be trained in habits of industry. Work is necessary to build up physically, mentally, and morally. Idleness breeds crime. God hates it. (God has no lazy Christians.) "The branch that beareth not fruit, He taketh away." Begin early to train your child to work. Make beds, wash dishes, dust-mop, scrub floors, wash windows, make a garden, hang up clothes, habits of cleanliness, etc. Some wondered how we could wait on six children. We didn't! we taught them how to help us! Usually work and then play.
Parents have obligations to meet. Not much home life today in Los Angeles. Different in the south. We are responsible for chidren under our care and will give account in the judgement. I think we are living in a bold, braze, disobedient age. Not all children are disobedient by any means, but some parents need a paddling. Have you trained your child and done your best? Have you taught them modesty, reverence, and obedience? They don't know Satan's arts but you should! Can I demand where my children go, the company they keep, and where they are at all times while under my roof? Be careful where they go. Our youth are are as good as any age naturally, but some parents are delinquent and need a switching.
Some people think we should be spineless as Christians. But I don't think so. We should be firm in the right and kind. Don't leave all your religion for the church, but have some at home. Good religion is needed at home.
I think the prodigal son's father was a good Christian man. I think the prodigal was well trained. I think he respected his father and obeyed him at home. Reasons why:
1. He only asked for his portion. Perhaps he was old enough to expect it.
2. He left home to be unruly. He respected his father.
3. He only spent his portion.
4. When broke, he sought work- no tramp.
5. When he saw his mistake, he retraced his steps to ask forgiveness.
That is better than many professors and church members will do today. This boy was a foolish youth willing to sacrifice his father's love for selfich desires. How many are like that spiritually today! He spent all and began to be in want. He sought freedom but found bondage. His extreme need is seen in his feeding hogs. Very hungry, very homesick, and disappointed! There is always disappointment in the far country of self gratification. Vanderbilt, when dying said, "Sing come ye sinners poor and needy weak and wounded sick and sore." Kreuger the match king and Eastman of Kodak both took their lives in disappointment. Lord Byron, dying at the youthful age of 34, said, "My days are in the yellow leaf, the flowers and fruits of love are gone. The worm, the canker, and the grief are mine
alone." There is famine in the far off country from God. The prodigal came to himself. Thank God! He said, I will arise and go to my father." The best thing any boy or girl can do is to go to the Heavenly Father. Father was watching and waiting. The prodigal's speech was unfinished. Father fell on his neck and kissed him. He forgave all! He called his servants to bring new clothes, shoes, the ring, and the fatted calf. Joy! The prodigal's conscience began to work. If children could just realize what care, anxiety, and many times sacrifice it costs to raise them, they would try and be more considerate of their parents.
Friends: There is bondage in the far country away from God. There is want. There is hunger. There is disappointment. There is famine. There is death. Unless you come to yourself in time and start back home like the prodigal. Some say, "an ounce of prevention is half the cure." There is no cure if neglect your salvation. You must move when the Spirit moves or you will not move at all. Example: An old man at Maple Dale prayed two times. The heavens were brass. He had waited too long. Satan weakens our will and strengthens our vices. Give all to Satan and you will rags and wanting. Give all to Christ, and you will recieve great spiritual wealth. Satan robs of virtue, heathe, and spiritual life. Christ gives 100 fold of virtue, health, and eternal life. If
we confess and surrender, Christ freely forgives, but His Spirit will not always strive.
The Prodigal came to himself. He arose and came to his father. He said, "I can but perish if I go. I am resolved to try. For if I stay away, I know I must forever die." Oh come sinner friend tonight! Resolve to try! Illustration: E.P. Ashercraft- Streetmeeting- man from Ohio prison. It will be an awful thing to be lost when mercy is nigh. "A Lost Soul!" Eternity! If after a million years, an end, there would be hope- But Eternity! "Ye knew your duty and ye did it not." Proverbs 4:23- "Keep thy heart with all diligence for out of it are the issues of life."
Parents, keep thy heart that you might help keep your children. The extra-ordinary saint and prayer life is needed more today than ever. We must sow to the Spirit to reap life everlasting and help our children. We must pray more or be blood guilty. Billy Sunday said, "Not all the devils in hell can pull a boy out of arms of a praying mother." Parents must safeguard their children. Magazines? Love and murder stories, liquor adds and nude women? Radio programs? Liquor and tobacco adds and Hollywood trash? NO! Parents who allow this to rule their homes need not expect Jesus Christ to reign in the hearts of their children. Parents wasting their time in profitless radio nonsense are lean in their souls and damn their children.
Thomas Guthrie said, "If you find your self loving any pleasure better than your prayers, any book better than your Bible, any house better than God's House, any person better than the Lord Jesus, any indulgence better than your hope of heaven, then take alarm or be alarmed!" J.B. Fletcher arose to pray each morning before daylight and God gave him six sons to preach the Gospel. Fathers and mothers, be agreed in training your children for God. Be agreed in everything before your children.
The devil will always leave a soul as he did the prodigal son, with nothing. Jesus will start you on the road to Happiness and Home. It takes courage and will power, and if the devil hasn't destroyed all of yours, start back home now! Many a father and mother are watching and waiting for the return of son or daughter who are away in the far country. So is your Heavenly Father waiting! "Oh, return home!" He will plant the kiss of forgiveness on your tear stained brow! Clothes, shoes, ring (a son having authority), and kill the fatted calf, and make merry! Praise God! "There is joy on earth and in Heaven over one sinner who repents." Prodigal son and Elder brother, Deliverance for Both!
This concludes my grandfather's sermon. Very serious and convicting! Yet, how applicable to our day! Reader, this is sent out to family and friends for not just some kind of historical nostagia. If you find you've drifted into the "far country", I beg you to please seek Christ! Come back to the Father! He waits for you! Reader, if you are a prent or grandparent, you have an awesome responsibility to carry for your family! Keep carrying that burden! You may never see an answer to your prayers this side of eternity, but rewards may wait until after you have recieved your "Well done faithful servant."
Yours for Radical Holiness,
Richard D. Swift
505 Hickory Hills Dr.
Dexter, MO 63841