God's Way of Success

Biblical Exposition and Homiletic Helps

By T. T. BABIENCO, Minister, Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference

It should be the greatest concern of every it worker to be a success in the cause of God. To fail brings sorrow. To succeed brings joy. Every one of us wishes to have more success in his work. To me the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah has brought much comfort and encouragement. Here is described the way in which Christ achieved success, and Christ's way must be our way. "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me."

We must follow the path Christ trod. "If they have persecuted Me, they wiil also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also." Christ's experience must be our experience, and Christ's reward will then be our reward. Let us consider this wonderful chapter, Isaiah 53, verse by verse.

Verse I. "Who believeth our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?" Many times in my work I have felt to cry out these same words. "Who believed my report?" I preached, visited, studied, prayed, and hoped for success, but success was not in sight. 1 think we have all had such experiences. But shall we be discouraged? No! Let us follow Christ to the end of this chapter and success will be ours.

Verse 2. "He hath no form nor comeliness; . . . there is no beauty that we should desire Him." Christ had not worldly greatness, riches, pomp, authority, or any of the characteristics that usually draw people and compel them to follow. Neither has He bequeathed them to any of His servants. We may have not a thing that the world loves and adores, but we have a message—the everlasting gospel. Let us preach it with power.

Verse 3. "He is despised, . . . and we es­teemed hnn not:" Despised for what? For good works. He was not looking for recog­nition, office, honor. He worked not because He expected thanks from the people, but be­cause they were needy and He loved them.

Verses 4 and 5. "He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows, . . . He was wounded for our transgressions." Christ suffered for the sin and wrongdoing of others. We do not like to suffer for something we have not done. This is not the human way, but it is the way to suc­cess. Carry the sorrows of others, take blame for others, suffer for others.

Verse 6. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way." Christ looked upon all men alike. With Him there was no party, no nation, no caste, no partiality ; there were none high or none low. They were all lost sheep who needed to be brought into the fold. We must have the same spirit to follow our Master. We cannot differ­entiate among the people. We cannot take part in partisan fighting. We cannot have the spirit of this world that tolerates. No, we must love and work for everyone alike.

Verse 7. "He opened not His mouth, . . . as a sheep before her shearers." Christ con­quered by keeping silent. But He was not silent when it came to defending the work of God. In a strong way Christ denounced the wrongdoing and wrong teaching of the Pharisees. And when words did not help, He "made a scourge of small cords." He drove them all out of the temple and poured out the changers' money and overthrew the tables. In this lesson Christ taught that we should do our work thoroughly and not leave the unpleasant work for our suc­cessor to do.

Verse 8. "He was cut off out of the land of the living." Christ was denied the privilege of life. Everything He taught was rejected before it was given just consideration. We, too, are counted as wolves, having no right to be among the Christian churches as ministers of Christ.

Verse 9. "To Him was assigned the grave with the wrongdoers." (Russian translation.) He had done no violence, but because He was doing a saving work for others He was looked upon by the theologians as a murderer. They planned to bury Him as a murderer. Someone may similarly dig a grave for us, but we cannot be engaged in digging graves for others. Such work has no place among the ministers of Christ. Theologians may have time for it, but Christ's ministers must be busy in soul-saving work.

Verse 10. "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him." These ten verses have spoken of suffer­ing, not because of the wrong done by the suf­ferer, but because the sufferer was helping lost souls to escape the prison of the enemy. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." This is the way to success. It is not our gifts, our education, or our position. There is no success without suffering and death.

Verse 11.  "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied."

The first ten verses of this chapter present the travail of Christ's soul. Not much success can be seen in them—only suffering, toil, rejection, and death. It seemed as though the enemy was winning all the time. But this was the way to success. God does not win by smashing every­thing to pieces. By the creation of new suffer­ers the enemy will be conquered. Our success comes by doing right, by holding on, by preach­ing the commissioned gospel. In our work we have to go the same way Christ went.

Verse 12. "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great." This is the reward. "If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together."

This chapter was written for our encourage­ment in the great spiritual war between truth and error. We must not be discouraged as we see some of our men fall in battle. Men will fall in one way or another, because we are in a spiritual war and will be till the enemy is con­quered. But if we do not trust in men we will not be affected by their fall. Our work is to train courageously for the spiritual battle and press on to ultimate success.

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By T. T. BABIENCO, Minister, Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference

December 1943

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