The following sermon was preached in the Free Methodist churches of W.Hollywood, California (5/23/37); Phoenix, Arizona (4/2/39); Jena, Louisiana (3/45); Pomona and MiraLoma, California; and the Bible Missionary Church of Cucamonga, California (10/61). Note that there is a second sermon attached to the first one. It is written separately on the three pages which are the backs of an advertisement. It appears that the second sermon must have been written in the late '40s because it is an advertisement for a church concert in Los Angeles. Apparently the second sermon was connected to the first one later. The conclusion to the second sermon is written using a different color of ink and refers to the topic of the first sermon.
Text: Verse 58
"He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief."
Christ by the seaside near Capernaum. Multi-miracles. Then He came to Nazareth, His own hometown. (Text). There are many things that hinder God's work because people are either backslidden or carnal. Some hindrances:
1. An unforgiving spirit. Some are sour, selfish, and filled with carnality. But we must have a kind forgiving spirit to get to heaven. Ephesians 4:32- "Be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Before a real revival can come in most places, forgivenesses must be asked and personal ill-wills forgotten.
2. Uncontrolled speech. James 4:11- "Speak not evil one of another brethren." James 1:19- "Let every man be swift to hear and slow to speak." Most reverse it. There are two of most members in the body, but just one tongue. "But the tongue can no man tame. Creatures can be tamed by man, but only God can tame the tongue. Psalm 120:2- "Deliver me from lying lips and a decietful tongue."
3. Unconfessed sins. If you are a member of this church and cover sin, you hinder God from working. "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper." It hinders others.
4. Failing to tithe. That hinders you, God, and the church. "Honor God with thy substance and first fruits of all thine increase." I think most of you are doing fine. God bless you. Will others rob God? They will not prosper. Open windows rebuke the devourer.
5. The greatest hindrance and sin in the church is unbelief. Jesus could not work in unbelief at home. Adam and Eve disbelieved and disobeyed God. The people of Nazareth doubted Mary's son was the Christ. We cannot do much for God and the church if there is one of satan's "ifs" in our lives. Remember this, that we first start to backslide by not being certain about our Christian experience. Every day we should know how we stand before God. Pray! don't allow satan to bring doubt in your mind.
Statement added to connect this sermon with the next- Satan tried to bring doubt into the mind of Jesus! "If thou be the Son of God", do this or that. Don't listen!
Matthew 3:17-4:11 Text- Matthew 4:3- "If thou be the Son of God."
There is no sin in being tempted for Jesus was perfect "and was tempted in all points like as we are." Hebrews 4:15. Temptation does not necessitate sinning: for of Jesus, when tempted, we read, "yet without sin." In fact, for us to be tempted may be needful:
1. To test our sincerity, faith, love, patience, etc.
2. For growth and strength. Temptation develops and increases our graces if without sin.
3. For usefulness. We become able to comfort, warn, and help others.
4. For God's glory. He defeats satan through feeble men.
(1) (If in God's will.) Change of circumstances donot prevent temptation. Jesus was tempted when alone in the wilderness.
(2) Nor will fasting and prayer always keep the tempter off. Jesus used both of these.
Satan knows where His strength lies. The little word "if" explains. Doubt or indecision defeats in most any task. No "ifs" are necessary for success. Just so in religion. We must believe in the Holy Trinity and that He is a rewarder of all who diligently seek Him. Otherwise, we will not obtain, because there is no diligent seeking if doubtful. "We can know whom we have believed and be persuaded." A spirit of uncertainty weakens us. If you doubt your companion, you are miserable; so in the Lord. Donot wrest the scriptures but believe them. Satan used a crafty quotation from scripture to cast doubt upon Jesus. He began at once to after the Heavenly Witness to suggest doubt and rebellion. "If thou be the Son of God, command..." Prove your strength for the devil.
I. The tempter assails with an "if"
1. You see doubt serves his purpose better than denial. He makes doubt look like holy anxiety concerning Divine Sonship for you and me as well as Christ. When in fact he is defeating us. let us be more positive.
2. Satan ifs plain scripture and the witness, "Thou art my Son!" It is nice to know when satan comes. Satan will if every right and righteous step of a Christian he can.
3. Satan ifs a perfect character. As with Christ, surely he will us with our many faults. (1) Satan aims his ifs at a vital part of Christ's character: His Sonship. (2) With us, at our regeneration or sanctification. (3) At our childlike spirit. He
says, "stick up for yourself" or "fight for your rights." "Command that these stones be made into bread." That bossy spirit has ruined many saints.
4. He tempts us to doubt our Father's providence: hunger, loss of friends, loved ones or money.
5. He would rob us of our assurance within of Heavenly sonship and leave us naked, poor, miserable spiritual orphans. How can we say, "Our Father in heaven" if we doubt our sonship? How can God save and keep us if we doubt?
6. Doubt of sonship destroys patience. We cannot say, "Thy will be done" and not wait. Satan connects his ifs with circumstances. Christ was alone in the desert, but He met our temptations with the scripture, and He can meet our needs today. He was tempted as we are and
is able to succour us. Remember this and be an overcomer.
(1) Satan only questions truth.
(2) He only leads sons to doubt their sonship!
When we can overcome satan through Christ, we lose our fear of man. After the greatest storm comes the deepest calm. Angels usually come and minister to us after the severest test. are you in a relation to God where you keep satan busy?
II. What a difference Jesus makes of this word "if".
In His divine lessons as, "If God so clothes the grass or lilly, shall He not clothe you?" Etc.
Thomas Brooke says, "God had but one Son without corruption but he had none without
temptation. Such is satan's enmity to the Father, that the nearer and and dearer any child is to Him, the more will satan trouble him and vex him with temptations. None so well beloved as Christ; none so much tempted as He."
Don't do doubtful things or live a doubtful Christian life, and your spiritual strength will increase. Satan's ifs in a Christian's life is poison to all God's pleasure. Doubt is like the touch of a cold icy hand to throttle our spiritual life and freeze that warm tender Christlike spirit from our hearts.
Job said, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He will keep that which I've committed unto Him."
He has given us, who are redeemed, eternal and everlasting sonship, if we abide in Christ. "He that believeth, (not doubts)
hath eternal life."
This concludes my grandfather's sermon. I felt this was more needful than the sermon I had originally picked out for this month. It was an encouragement to me. I trust it is for you, the reader also.
Yours For Radical Holiness,
Richard D. Swift
505 Hickory hills Dr.
Dexter, MO 63841