From the Pulpit of a Holiness Preacher
An email newletter ministry of Richard D. Swift, publishing the sermons of Rev. Reed A. Swift (1899-1973), a holiness preacher
[Editors Note: The following sermon was preached in the Free Methodist Churches of Yale, Ball, Buel, Michigan Circuit; Caro, Michigan (1932-'33); and W.Hollywood, California (March 1935-1938). Dates in parenthesis are for time pastored.
This sermon was written in long form on the backs of 13 revival fliers. On the Revival fliers are these words: "Revival Meetings Begin At The Yale Free Methodist Church January 31st. Come and hear the old fashioned gospel preached in its purity. Evangelist Rev. Daniel Skanes of Ludington, Mich. will preach every night except Saturday at 7:30 o'clock. No services Saturday night. There will be Holiness Meetings every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday afternoons at 3:00 o'clock. Rev. Skanes will be with us until Feb. 21st. Everybody plan to attend these sevices. You Are Welcome!" The picture of Rev. Skanes shows him to be probably 70 years old. He has the the serious countenance of an old fashioned holiness preacher. He's wearing no tie and has his collar turned up with the appearance of a radical of that time. Most revival meetings are Sunday thru Sunday. In Jan./Feb. of 1932, Jan.31 was on a Sunday and so was Feb.21. So, I assume this revival
meeting was January 31-Feb.21 of 1932. This is thru 4 Sundays! This sermon has the exuberance of having been preached shortly after the revival meeting. It has excitement in it!
After typing the above information, I decided to do some research on Rev. Daniel Skanes. Rev. Skanes pastored what became the Mt Pleasant, Michigan Free Methodist Church 1927-1930, went into the evangelistic field, and then pastored the Kingsley, Michigan Free methodist Church in the '30s and died in 1939.]
Matthew 6:25 "Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?"
Read Matthew 19:13-30
Introduction- You hear much in the world by worldly minded people that "This is the life" or "That is the life." But, that is as much as they understand about true life or living. "A life which is the light of men is a life which is hid with Christ in God."
Ever since God first breathed the breath of life into man and he became a living soul, life has been man's greatest treasure on earth and eternal life, his greatest treasure in eternity or the world to come. Yet, it seems that it is cared for or nourished and protected for in general about the least of anything in our possession (flocks, herds, houses, lands, etc.). Man's health is little thought of when he is well, and eternal life completely neglected by the majority. Yet think of their value. There is nothing we can compare with them, and especially eternal life which is most neglected!
Life is something that is attractive and invigorating and inspiring. For instance, the youth are filled with strength, vitality, and activeness inspires and gives strength to those about him. they claim that where one lives with young, strong, and lively children their youth is renewed even in old age, but where even the young are always with a number of elder people, they be partakers of their lifelessness. so let's all be alive spiritually or we may all dry up spiritually. The point i want to bring out is this: that all Spiritual life is contagious and so is spiritual death and dryness. You know what I mean, don't you? That dry dryness that nothing but dryness is produced. Oh say, this is not the life of a Christian, blessed of God! No! No! There will be some melting up or loosenening up times that will show there is life, and sap, and fruitfullness there.
Even dried fruits are the product of life. they were once fat and flourishing on the tree. They were picked and dried to keep. And don't you think that is what some professors believe is the way to be preserved in their Christian experience, is to be sure and be thoroughly picked and dried? That's not the way! To be fruitful is to be constantly joined to the vine, Christ Jesus and have the sap or Holy Anointing course through your veins continually! Then others will be attracted to God by your blessed life. This is the Life! Praise His Name!
1. Prayer Life
When a man can pray through, and get a hold of God, and bring spiritual fire down out of Heaven into our souls, and feel that we are more than conquerors, and that our steps are as the steps of conqueror light and free, we aren't in bondage to the world with its corner on anything, but salvation and spiritual things. Its attractions with pleasures of a gay and giddy throng, for dress, and feasts, and games. we have lasting joy that worldly pleasures never bring.
Nor is the man who prays through in bondage to the flesh which wants plenty to eat, plenty of comforts, plenty of worldly goods of every nature.
He is not even in bondage to the devil or any of his imps. He comes as an angel of light as Tobiath and Sanbalat, but we will be like Nehemiah of old, 'We are doing a good work and obeying the Lord; we can't come down." We are about our Master's business, and we can't stop and parley with the devil.
I tell you this life is our privilege in and through prayer. And is not this the life that is more than temporal meat? And this body, the Temple of the Holy Ghost and filled with the Holy Ghost, is it not more than raiment? "Oh I need a new dress for this occasion" or "a new one for that occasion." No, the bridge party dresses and the fashions of the world won't weigh the weight of a straw in your mind. "For you have the mind of Christ." Now, is that making it too strong? No, I don't think so. I believe God wants it even stronger than that! That if we have the life that is more than meat, and the body that is more than than raiment. We pray through real often so that our souls are so blessed that we feel that we have the best meat that mortal man can have, and that is the spiritual sweet meats from the Kingdom of Heaven that feed our immortal soul until it is satisfied! "Glory be to God!" I feel some of the symptoms of getting blessed right now! I feel
God has fed my soul today on Spiritual Manna that gives the life that is more than meat.
And if our whole body is permeated occasionally or quite often with an unearthly unction and power from heaven that blesses us until our body tingles with glory, life, and purity, and we know He the Great King of Kings and Lord of Lords clothes us with the spotless pure white robes of righteousness, is not this more than silk crepe or crepeole cheme [hope I spelled this right-couldn't read it] or satins of this world? I say, yes! Glory be to God, give me plain clothes becoming to a saint and also give me the most important clothing that any mortal man will ever know, and that is that my inner man or immortal soul be clothed upon with the pure and spotless robe of righteousness and the favor, and smiles, and blessings of the Lamb of God, and all the temporal things will be secondary. Now, this is our privilege, and I believe it is the will of God concerning us so therefore becomes our duty to have just such an experience. the best way I know of to have it
and retain it is to pray, pray, pray, until the victory comes, and the fire will fall on you. Then pray, pray, and obey and keep His holy annointing upon you. It is the only and fanciest, and most modern remedy of getting and keeping the Grace of God that I know of. That doesn't mean "once in grace, always in grace" and sit down and do nothing. No, no! We must pray and obey. Amen.
2. Then the life which is hid with Christ in God is more, vastly more than every kind of affliction and ailment the devil can pile on us and more than man made medicine to cure that affliction or ailment. Do you say amen to that? I believe that Christ made it possible for you and I to have well bodies. Not that we never die but that we live in a condition to glorify Him and be of service to Him in this world. He made it possible for us to be healed from sickness in the atonement as well as to be forgiven of our sins. [ed note: This is not a farfetched doctrine! Many older holiness writers taught this- Godbey, Carradine, Bevington, Watson, Shellhammer etc. Sure, Charismatics have built excess on it, but Dispensationalists disregard it altogether! It is Wesleyan!] We have forgiveness of sins through faith in His shed blood. And I firmly believe we may have well bodies through faith in the same blood. Praise the Lord! He says, "All things are possible to
him that believeth." Now, that takes in healing of the body. true, Paul had a thorn in the flesh, but not sufficient to hinder his usefullness, or God would have removed it.
I think it would be much more pleasing to God if our faith was more simple along the lines of healing. If we feel we must doctor, I think many times that simple home remedies for many ailments are as effective as expensive doctor bills. I think much needless suffering and large doctor bills are had because we don't follow the injunction of Scripture found in James 5:14-16- "Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him ,etc." Now, I don't believe that means that the ministers or leaders are to run after the sick and ask if they can anoint them, but I believe what it says, when any is sick enough and humble enough, though not necessarily so sick to follow out this Scripture, I believe God will heal in most cases. Sometimes it is necessary to heed verse 16- "Confess your faults and pray." are we humble enough and simple enough to obey God along this line/ If clear in your soul, I believe God will do the work.
You may have to give the doctor money to God. But I'd rather see Him get it! I anointed one brother, and God healed him. I was healed once myself. One not taking proper care of God's temple suffers. If we could use the money paid needless for doctors bills to convert the heathen, thousands would be saved who will never hear the Gospel.
3. Last: those that have this life are alive! They aren't half sick spiritually, but are spiritually well and alive! Their life is the light of men, because the Life of Christ is in them, and is een, and their Father which is in Heaven is Glorified! Praise His Name!
Those that are alive have fellowship. Life in health and purity has beauty. [Examples] Horse, cow, boy, girl, older man, older woman.
I speak along this line to stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance of what Christ requires of us as enlightened saints of God. Is the standard too high? I think not! My life is blessed in holding it there. Next to reading the Word and closet prayer for spiritual uplift, comes the reading of the lives of Godly men and women.
The state of the Godly and their safety and protection from pestilence is in Psalm 91. "With long life will I satisfy him and then show him my eternal salvation when his life has ceased." Praise God!
Then in Psalm 92:12-15, it tells that the righteous shall flourish like the palm tree. It bears its fruit in the driest weather and in very dry places, but there is a reason for that. Their roots go far down into the ground and they are larger under ground than above ground. So with the upright man: his affections are anchored on the Rock of Ages where springs a fountain of life, and therefore it is posssible for him to bear fruit in times of spiritual drought. As the palm, the righteous shall bear fruit in old age and bear good dates even then.
This life has light. Light of life. The window of the physical is the eye. The spiritual eye gives spiritual sight. So be careful what you look at. Is it bringing light or darkness into your soul and body? Funnies, jokes, immodesty or stay away from places where you would see it as much as possible.
Jesus is the Resurrection and Life. Through Him we pass from death unto life right here. If we have, let's be sure to keep alive. Let's keep alive! Praise God! We are heirs of the Grace of Life and that eternal. Amen!
We have examples of Godly men and women who kept alive [spiritually]. Read their lives and you will be inspired to live more Christlike; Fletcher, Hester Ann rogers, Payson, Lady Maxwell, Bramwell, etc. Of the choice of the two: "Life Insurance" or "Life Assurance", I'd prefer the latter. It assures us of life eternal. Found in "Scripture Studies and Bible Reading" by W.H.Carr pg.213
[This concludes my grandfather's sermon.]
Yours for Radical Holiness,
Richard D. Swift
505 Hickory Hills Dr
Dexter MO 63841