“In due time.” – Rom. 5:6
A few months ago I was engaged for a camp-meeting on the Pacific coast, and began to inquire concerning routes, fares and time. I secured a Railroad Guide and examined it carefully. I saw that trains were scheduled to leave at a certain hour, arrive at a certain hour, and the whole plan had been very thoroughly thought out, and all that human wisdom could devise had been done to make the time-table perfect and to secure the comfort and rapid transit of the traveler. But down at the foot of one page I read these words: “We do not guarantee the arrival or departure of trains at times stated.” In other words: “When we have done all that human wisdom and skill can do to perfect a plan, we do not dare to guarantee it. Our plans may fail.”
But I bring before you this morning a plan that never fails — never has, and never will. You may comply with all the conditions that man may ask, and yet have no real assurance that you will go through; comply with the conditions in “God’s Plan” and you will never, never fail.
God has a universal plan, and from its very inception that plan has been working — no failures, no defeats, but a steady moving forward towards the final victory. God’s law is written everywhere, and that law is manifestation of His will. Law everywhere is of God, whether it is. written in the spiritual or in the material world, in the law as given in the Word, or written upon the fleshly tablets of the heart, or written in Nature. Men — hypercritically — may talk of the lack of agreement between science and the Bible, but they are only publishing their own ignorance, they fail to read them aright. Law, being of God, never contradicts itself, nor its Author. The laws of Nature are as surely of God as the laws in the spiritual world; the laws written in the rocks are as much of God as the laws in the Decalogue. There are no contradictions in God, and none in His truth, no matter where that truth may be revealed.
Get the truth and you get harmony everywhere. A miracle is not a contradiction of some law of Nature; it is only contrary to Nature as you know it. The scientist who, twenty-six hundred years ago, from the summit of the pyramids of old Egypt, gathered truth from the starry heavens as he scanned the sky, found truths that are true today. The Chaldean who, from the towers of great Babylon, groped after the truth and placed on record the result of his observations, is corroborated today by the scientist who reads the heavens aright. What is true once is eternally true in every kingdom established of God. Law is God’s thought, and if finite man fails to comprehend it, it does not argue contradiction anywhere, but only man’s littleness. “My ways are not as your ways, nor My thoughts as your thoughts, for as the heavens are high above the earth, so are My ways above your ways, and My thoughts above your thoughts, saith the Lord God.” “There are no accidents” with God. His plans never fail. Clouds and darkness are round about him, and we may fail, and we do fail to read the manipulations of God aright, yea, men fail to read His revealed Word aright; but His plans never fail — never have in the past, do not now, and never will in the future.
God had a plan for this old world. It is very small comparatively when we consider the worlds that roll through space, and we know not whether any other world is inhabited, much less do we know that it ever sinned; but this we do know, sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned.”
According to the Word, when man was created he was a perfect man, in perfect harmony with God, dwelling in a world in which everything was perfect. All Nature praised God. . Man and all that God made were in perfect harmony with Him. The leader of a mighty orchestra, standing before the musicians, was urging them by gesture and baton to perfect time and harmony. One member of the band, thinking his small instrument would not be missed, ceased to play, when instantly the leader motioned for silence. His trained, sensitive ear, detected the absence of that small instrument, without which there could be no harmony. So when God created man, the universe went rolling God’s way; the music of the spheres was one constant song of praise. Everything that had breath praised the Lord, and the first man, looking heavenward, could well say:
“The stars go singing as they shine,
‘The hand that made us is Divine.'”
But there came one awful hour when the eternal God missed one note of praise, the harmony was broken, discord entered, for man had sinned. Did God know man would sin.? Yes, God knows all things, “His eyes behold, His eyelids try the children of men,” but at the very threshold of his fall, God meets him with a plan — a plan that had been arranged and provided in the eternal counsels of the Godhead. Before the morning stars sang together, or ever the sons of God shouted for joy; aye, before an angel’s wing had ever fanned the viewless ether, the Fellow of Jehovah, the Son of God, declared: “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God; a body hast thou prepared Me.” The Word declares: “Abraham saw the day of Jesus Christ and was glad,” but He who could say, “Before Abraham was I am,” saw down through the gloom, through the gray dawn of the world’ s morning, saw God’s plan for the redemption of the race, saw the manger, Gethsemane, Pilate’s judgment hall, and Calvary, and steadfastly, from the beginning, set His face toward the final victory.
Aye, God not only had a plan, but He announces the plan. We make our plans and are so fearful, have so little confidence in them, that we fear to speak of them, or, if we do, we speak of them with bated breath. We devote hours and days to perfecting our plans, and then we refuse to guarantee them, refuse to say they will surely work, but God’s plan works, and He announces the plan. While man was weeping, sorrowing, hiding himself from the face of his Maker, conscious of his sin; while Hell was holding jubilee over a race ruined, God came to Eden and announced: “The Seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.” In that promise there was the assurance of final victory. Here one can stand and see the overthrow of the devil’s kingdom. The Seed of the woman shall see the travail of His soul and he satisfied. Already in that promise “the kingdoms of the earth are the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.”
But some one says: “When man sinned so that he grieved God until He repented Him that He made man, was not the plan defeated? Did the plan work when the antediluvian world was drowned and the ungodly were destroyed by a flood?” Aye, to be sure it did. You cannot defeat God. On the bosom of the waters I see an ark floating; in that ark, built by the command of an all-wise Being, there are eight persons, among them the progenitor of the Seed of the woman. God keeps watch and ward above His own, and that ark, a type of the coming Christ, is a sign to three worlds, Heaven, Earth and Hell, that the plan is working.
But there is Israel in the wilderness. God brought them out of Egypt with a high hand and an outstretched arm. They are rebellious and ungrateful. In His wrath God swears they shall not enter into His rest. For many years their course of wanderings is marked by the graves of those who have fallen by the way because of their disobedience. Does the plan work now? To be sure! In that ark carried through all their devious ways; in that tabernacle sheltering that altar, upon which lies the slain lamb, and down the sides of which flows the dripping blood; in that priest standing before the altar, I see the plan working, and I know the time of redemption draweth nigh.
“But look again, Mr. Preacher; you are too optimistic. Look at Israel in Canaan; they have forgotten God; they have erected groves on every hill; they have idols innumerable. The temple is neglected, the fires on the altar have gone out, no incense rises, no censers are swung, no songs of praise arise; how about the plan now?” Bless God, it is working. Faith in the promise of God makes an optimist of every believer, and enables him to pierce the gloom and get the vision. From amidst idolatrous kings, idolatrous rites and idolatrous priests I see the old evangelical prophet coming forth and standing on some mountain peak of prophecy; he looks down through the gloom of centuries and sees one like unto the Son of God moving on with a conquering stride, treading His enemies beneath His feet, and, hailing Him, as his heart beats high with hope, he cries: “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, this that is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength?” Listen, if you doubt God’s plan; listen, if you have had your eyes fixed on man s failures; listen, and never doubt again. Hear the Seed of the woman as He answers: “I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” “Wherefore art thou red in Thy apparel, and Thy garments like him that treadeth the wine fat?” “I have trodden the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with Me, for I will tread them in My anger, and trample them in My fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in My heart, and the year of my redeemed has come.” Yes, bless God, the plan is working.
When there were four hundred years in which there was no message from the throne, no vision from the King, no prophet with a burden, faith still held on to the last word given: “I will send my messenger before His face, and unto them that look for Him shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings.” Thank God, some few people held on to the promise and were looking for Him. Down in Jerusalem was a peculiar old man. Every morning I see him going along the street that leads to the temple. His gray flocks float in the wind as he hurries along to see if his Lord has come. Men say, “Simeon. you have one foot in the grave; the end is near,” but he knows better, for it has been revealed to him that he shall not die until he has seen “the Lord’s Christ.” I see him going into the temple. How he peers into the faces of the babes held in loving arms; how he watches day by day! But one day, led by the Spirit, he goes to the temple and finds the long-looked-for babe, and taking Him in his arms he says, “Now, Lord, lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.”
“And there was one Anna, a prophetess, who sewed God day and night, with fastings and prayers; she gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”
In the far off East were three wise men who had read the prophecies of the coming Messiah, and, seeing His star in the sky, they followed, until they reached the land of the Book, when, inquiring, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews.” they were directed to Bethlehem of Judea, the star going before them, leading into the presence of Him for whom they had been seeking.
In due time Christ came — came to die! In Gethsemane He bows beneath the weight of the world’s sin; He drinks the bitter cup to the dregs. He bears His own cross up the rugged sides of Calvary, is nailed thereon by cruel hands, hangs between Heaven and earth for six mortal hours, then, crying, “It is finished,” He bows His head and dies. But it is part of the plan. No defeat here; he only stoops to conquer. As Samson came forth from Gaza carrying the gates upon his shoulders, when his enemies thought surely they had him in their power, so from the sepulchre where they laid Him, while Hell’s denizens held high jubilee over the Second Adam’s defeat, our Christ came forth leading captivity captive, for in the plan that God had made it had been inwrought, “He shall not be holden of death; His body shall not see corruption.”
“The gates of steel and the bars of brass,
Gave way that the King of kings might pass.”
Wondering disciples stand on the sides of Mt. Olivet as their Lord ascends, and stay gazing after the heavens have received Him out of their sight, and then return with great joy unto Jerusalem. Are they ready now to go and preach to tell the world the glad story, how He conquered death and rose again? Nay; but to wait — according to the plan — to wait for the promise of the Father, and in consonance with the plan, while they are waiting — with one accord, in one place — “suddenly there came a sound from Heaven, as of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance; and when the people were all amazed and were in doubt saying What meaneth this?” Peter stands up and tells them THIS IS PART OF THE PLAN — “this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel . I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and shall dream dreams, and on My handmaidens and on My servants will I pour out My Spirit, and it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Brother, sister, God has a plan for every life — for yours, for mine, not one left out. There are no accidents with God. “ALL things work together for good to them that love God.” Trials are a part of your life as God planned it; trials which try your faith are more precious than gold that perisheth — not the faith is more precious, but the trials of your faith.
Bedford jail was a part of God’s plan for John Bunyan for twelve long years, but out of that trial of his faith came “Pilgrim’s Progress” to bless the world; honey out of the lion to nourish travelers along life’s pathway.
The jail of Aberdeen was a part of God’s plan for the sainted Rutherford, and His presence made the stones in that prison cell to shine like jasper until this prisoner for Jesus’ sake could date his letters from “Christ’s Palace in Aberdeen.”
That thorn in the flesh from which Paul asked deliverance was the means of his hearing that promise, “My grace is sufficient for thee,” and realizing this in after years, he could write, “For God is able to make all grace abound toward you) that ye always having all sufficiency in all things may abound unto every good work.”
A gentleman was taken one day to see what grace could do under trials of affliction. He entered a room in which was a cot, and upon it lay a bed-ridden saint of God — so crippled and deformed by rheumatism that she could only move one hand, by which she could pass victuals and drink to her mouth. The visitor was quite a singer, and as he stood by the bedside the patient asked him to sing. “Sing? What would you like me to sing?” “Sing ‘There is sunshine in my soul today.’ ” Sunshine in the midst of trials, and both a part of God’s plan. Is your life clouded by temptations; does the enemy come in like a flood? Brother, it is a part of the plan. He will open a way to escape, and He will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able. You may be tempted amid wilderness surroundings, but if true to God, the angels shall come and minister unto you, and, in the power of the Spirit, you shall go forth to reap for the Master.
If afflictions come, take them as a part of the plan, for all things work together for good to them that trust Him. When you mind God and face everything that comes, saying, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him,” you are on the way to doubling your riches, as did Job of old. The reason so many people are poor is because they do not accept of His plan for their lives. Living as in His presence, accepting cheerfully of His coming, this, too, is a part of the plan. Remember, the lowest state of Christian experience that will please God, satisfy yourself, keep you out of Hell and take you to Heaven, is a constant readiness for the instant coming of Jesus. Listen, “Be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
He is almost due. The times are ripe for His coming. The world needs Him, the elect are looking for Him, the prayer of the Church of God is “Thy kingdom come,” and “He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry.” Are you now ready for His coming? Nothing more to do? Living in His will? Adorned for the coming of the Lord? Can you say, “wen so, Lord Jesus) come quickly”? Amen and amen!