Vol. 40, No. 2
THE JOY OF WINNING SOULS
“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.”
This Psalm has three distinct divisions…
The Song of RESTORATION, v1-3.
The Gloom of RELAXATION, v4.
The Joy of RECLAMATION, v5-6.
The greatest occupation is the winning of souls. I am aware that some do not like the term, “Soul Winning.” This is Biblical terminology: “He that winneth souls is wise.” (Prov. 11:30). So I will use the Biblical terminology. Soul winning is one bringing another to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The last act of Christ was the winning of one to Himself. He told the thief on the cross, “Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43).
I do not know how someone came up with the following figures, but I do believe they have some merit…
In 1870 it took 5 people to win one.
In 1900 it took 14 people to win one.
In 1920 it took 21 people to win one.
In 1950 it took 33 people to win one.
I guess that as I can see the coldness of hearts,
and the glitter and influence of the world, I can see how these figures are possible. It is my hope and prayer that whoever is reading this, you will make sure that today, you will receive the Lord Jesus as your own Personal Saviour. He is real,
and He wants to save you, but you must ask Him into your life. He will not knock down the barriers in your heart and come in uninvited. You must open your heart and by faith ask Him in.
Now, let’s get to the message of this Great Psalm.
THE SONG OF RESTORATION..V1-3
“When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter and our tongue with singing; then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. The LORD hath done great things for us whereof we are glad.” What are they singing about? “He turned our captivity.” As we briefly review some of the history of this setting we can see that the nation had been in captivity. God had been so good to this people, but they began to turn away from God to serve and worship idols. God had warned the nation about their backsliding. He sent various prophets with warnings to Israel. “Thus saith the LORD, what iniquity have your fathers found in me that they are gone far from me and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? Nether said they, where is the LORD that brought us out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and pits, to a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man had passed
through, and where no man dwelt? And I brought you into a plentiful country to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof, but when ye entered, ye defiled my land and made mine heritage an abomination. The priests said not, where is the LORD? And they that handled the Law knew me not, the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal and walked after things that do not profit. Wherefore I will yet plead with you saith the LORD and with your
children’s children will I plead. For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see, and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently and see if there be such a thing. Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.” (Jer. 2:5-11) Time and time again the LORD warned Israel about their backsliding, but they would not listen. God raised up a nation; the Babylonians. They came out of the north land, invaded Israel, destroyed, cities, leveled the temple and took captive the rebellious people of God. Daniel was part of this people taken captive. Read Psalm 137. But after some 70 years of captivity, God raised up another kingdom led by Cyrus the great, of Persia. (See Isaiah 44:28-45:1-2). When Israel returned to their homeland they shouted for joy. They sang that SONG OF RESTORATION. What joy and gladness filled their hearts. It was like a dream come true. Even the heathen about them confessed that God had done great things for them. I can rejoice with them. There is a great parallel here..
We were captives. “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. Wherein in times past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh fulfilling the desires of the flesh and mind and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God who is rich in mercy, for His Great love wherewith He loved us. Even when we were dead in sins hath quickened us together with Christ (by Grace ye are saved.). Yes, before we were saved, we were captives of Satan. We were obedient to him. What he said, that we did! We listened to his music. We danced to his beat, his will we obeyed. We were slaves, in bondage!
The Lord delivered us from bondage.”Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His Dear Son. In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”(Col. 1:13-14). And please note this..In the verse above, (Col 1:14) the words; “THROUGH HIS BLOOD” have been removed from the modern “translations.” As the prophets were wrong so many years ago, so the modern “prophets” of today are wrong. My, how Satan hates the Blood..
Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue with singing” What a day. Guilt was gone. Peace and joy came in. The Holy Spirit was our comfort.
Even the heathen had good things to say about us.. (v2).
But something was wrong. In verse 4 he cries out to God, “Turn again our captivity, O LORD as the streams of the south. They were so happy about their deliverance, but now, they were back captive. What went wrong? How happy and joyful we were when God delivered us from our captivity.
THE GLOOM OF RELAXATION.. Relaxation sounds so good, but so soon they relaxed.. Hear their cry..”Turn our captivity over again.” When we have lost the joy of our Salvation…What GLOOM!!! The most miserable person in town is the backslidden christian. How did they lose the joy they had, and the music that was so thrilling?
They forgot what God did.. The Psalmist cried out in Psa. 103:2 -4 “Bless the LORD O my soul, and FORGET NOT all His benefits. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases. Who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies.”
The Apostle Peter warned….”Add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these be in you, and abound, make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off and hath FORGOTTEN that he was purged from his old sins.” (2Peter 1:5-9). Yes, we can be busy doing good things but not doing the best things, and the best thing for us is growing in the Lord.. When Israel praised God for His deliverance through the red sea, “Then believed they His words, they sang His praise. They soon forgot His words. They waited not for His counsel.” (Psa. 106:12-13) The Church at Ephesus was busy doing good things, but omitting the best thing. “Because thou hast left thy first love.” (Rev 2:1-6) The word “Ephesus” means To RELAX.
THE JOY OF RECLAMATION..
We need to get things right. Many are hurting. Many are not saved. Many are just Relaxing. What to do? “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psa 126:5-6).Sheaves are bundles of grain. Soon it’s harvest time….
THE GOING. “He that goeth forth.” Before harvest time, we are to go,,,”He first findeth his own brother Simon and said unto Him, we have found the Messias which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, He said, thou art Simon the son of Jona,. Thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A Stone. The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip and said unto him, follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. And Philip findeth Nathanael and said unto him, We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets did write, Jesus the son of Joseph.” (John1:41-45) This is the pattern…One finds Jesus and brings his brother to Jesus, and so it goes. “Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shall find it after many days.”(Eccl 11:1).
Bread is symbolic of the Word. Waters are symbolic of the nations of the world. We are to give out the Word of God to the people of the world and soon it will be harvest time. “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you and have taught you publicly and from house to house. Going from kin to kin, from house to house, from city to city with the good news. Are we busy doing what Gods says? Going where God sends? There is Joy in serving Jesus. There is Joy in seeing others whose lives have been changed by the power of the Gospel. We are to go forth with the Gospel.
THE SOWING. “Bearing precious seed.”
What does he mean by “seed?”
Seed is NOT money! “Harken, Behold there went out a sower to sow. And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the wayside, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground where it had not much earth, and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up, it was scorched, and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit
and increased, and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred.” (Mk.4:3-9). “And He said unto them, Know ye not this parable? And how will ye know all parables? THE SOWER SOWETH THE WORD.”(Mk. 4:14). The same parable in the Gospel of Luke; “Now the parable is this; The seed is THE WORD OF GOD.”(Lk 8:11).” The seed is NOT money. The sower sows the WORD! Many have been deceived by money making charlatans who preach that “if you invest your money in their ministry, you are sowing good seed and it will produce a harvest.” The seed is NOT money, the seed is the WORD OF GOD!
“He that observeth the wind shall not sow, and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.” (Eccl 11:4). The purpose of this Ministry has always been to sow the Gospel Seed to the nations.
We are not sowing denominational teaching, or Church membership, or baptisms, or thousands of other things, we are sowing the Truth of the Word.
Soul winning is done with the heart. This great burden is missing from the Church today. People used to come to Church with a burdened heart. They have been witnessing to family, friends, and strangers they have witnessed to, They are hoping that some will be saved today. There was in time past, weeping for others. The salvation offered is “just repeat these words.” Real Salvation is Trusting Jesus. Paul said, “I have a great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (Ro 9:2-3) “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge,” (Ro 10:1-2). “I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:31).
Before the reaping, there is the weeping. Prayers, public and private. There is the walking of the floor, praying for those we know that are not saved.. How that great burden must return to the Church!
“Shall without a doubt come forth with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”The farmer prepared the soil and then he sowed the seed, then comes the time of fruition and harvest. Harvest time is a time of rejoicing, of celebration. Wherever there is a harvest there is celebration..
Even a small thing as a peanut, farmers celebrate. On a small farm where I spent as a small boy, there was celebration at harvest time. We raised peanuts and our harvest celebration was a peanut boil. I learned to love them and I love them still.
When a baby is born, there is celebration. When a soul is born again, there is celebration. In Luke 15 there is listed three lost things…
When the sheep was found, there was rejoicing.
When the piece of silver was found, there was rejoicing.
When the son was found, there was rejoicing.
Jesus said, “Likewise joy shall be in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth.”.(Lk 15:6). Likewise I say unto you there is joy in the presence of angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”(Lk. 15:10).
The Bible says, “Be not deceived, God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Gal 6:7-8). Harvest time is coming. “He that winneth souls is wise.” “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” (Dan 12:3).
There are three things that happen when we are faithful in spreading the Gospel….
The destiny of man is changed when he meets Christ.
The life of man is transformed when he meets Christ.
The joyful life of the soul winner shines forever when he leads one to Christ.
Dear reader. Are you saved? I mean are you saved from the power and penalty of sin? Do you know that Christ is in you, that you have peace with God? If this is not true, although you may be a Church worker, baptized, and faithfully attend Church, if these things are not real in your life, Why not, right now, just get on your knees and tell God that you receive Christ, that you believe that He died in full payment for your sin, that He was buried, and that He arose from the dead. I trust that this issue will be settled in your life today!
“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” (Jn 1:12)
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now I’m found,
Was blind but now I see
When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing His praise,
Than when we first begun.
FOR THIS NEW YEAR
By Pastor George Mills
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name He may give it to you.”
It is God’s will that we bear fruit for His Glory. This is the purpose of this Ministry. Let us look at just a few things mentioned in John 15…
THE CALL, v1-3.
Christ and His band of disciples have left the upper room and are on their way to Gethsemane. As they strolled along they probably passed several vineyards. Jesus used these vineyards to illustrate His calling for them and for us today. His call to every believer is that we bear fruit. Not everyone He saves is called to preach, or to teach, or to do one of the duties of the Church, but we all are called to be witnesses. Everyone is capable in some way to be a witness for Christ.
Our relationship with Christ must be maintained. Sometimes we allow things to come along and these things rob us of our closeness. The older we get, the closer we should become. I am the true vine, and my Father is the Husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away, and every branch that beareth fruit He purgeth it that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.” Our love and devotion to Christ and His work must be right….As the old Hymn Writer wrote:
Nothing between my soul and the Saviour,
So that His blessed face can be seen,
Nothing preventing the least of His favor,
Jesus is mine, there’s nothing between.”
Christ used the word “ABIDE” over and over again.
To ABIDE means to live in His Word, (v7). To
ABIDE means to keep His Commandments,
To ABIDE means to keep our lives clean, (v3-4).. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it ABIDE in the vine no more can ye except ye ABIDE in me.
Our relationship with other believers must be right. “These things I command you that ye love one another. This has been called the 11th Commandment. Be assured that we cannot get very far if we do not love one another. The Corinthian Church had everything needed in order to be an influence for God. That Church had gifts in abundance. They had everything but love for one another. Paul had to write a sharp letter of rebuke. Nothing can stop a Church that loves Jesus, and loves one another.
Our relationship with the world must be right, (v18-27). After He spoke about love for one another, He brought up the world and it’s effects. This world does not like Christ and since we belong to Christ, it hates us! The “world” means the system, or attitude, or philosophy of this world.. This world in which we live is anti-Christ, anti-God, anti-Bible We sound the warning in every edition; “AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS…It is no friend to the Christian.” We sound that warning again today..
Our relationship in our Prayer life must be right,
“If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.” (v7) “Whatsoever ye ask of the Father in my Name, He may give it you.(v16). The lifeline of the believer is the Word and Prayer. Never give up on your prayer life. Pray for yourself, pray for your family, pray for your Church, pray for your Pastor, pray for the lost, pray, pray, pray! “The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”(James 5:15-20).
The result of our abiding in Him will be fruit. He mentioned, FRUIT, more FRUIT, and much FRUIT. Just what kind of FRUIT? Let me mention two kinds..
Christian character. “The fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance, against such there is no law.” (Gal. 5:22-26). Today there is much said about GIFTS of the Spirit, but not much is said about GRACES of the Spirit. These Great Graces of the Holy Spirit should be abundant in the life of every believer
Converts to Christianity. Someone has rightly said that the FRUIT of a convert is another convert. It should be that way. In Romans 1:13 Paul said, “Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, but was let hitherto that I might have some FRUIT among you also, even as among other Gentiles.” The reason the Christ has left us here is that we win the lost, that we get the Gospel of Grace to the ends of the earth. Let us bind our hearts together in Prayer and DETERMINATION that in this year we will do more than ever to win as many as we can, while we can.. Picture a FRUIT TREE laden with FRUIT. The branches are bent low. FRUIT is everywhere. My, what a lovely sight. That’s the way our lives should be.
God takes hydrogen and oxygen, both are odorless and tasteless, and colorless, and combines them with carbon which is insoluble, black and tasteless. The result of this combination is beautiful, white, sweet sugar. How does God do that? I do not know. I know only that God can take a life—drab—dull and transform it into a garden of sweetness if you will trust your life to Him.
WHAT DO ATHIESTS BUILD?
Have you ever heard of an atheist hospital, or an atheist children’s home, or an atheists committee for relief of the starving. They are supposed to be pretty smart and cultured but we have never known them to do any great organized good in the world. We do hear of their organization getting prayer out of schools, etc. History will not have very much good to say about them.
FROM MY HEART
By Mildred Mills
WITH THE LORD!
Psalm 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints”. My precious husband of sixty-one and a half years is with the Lord. He was my Pastor for 55 years, the father of our four children, the Papa of our 11 grandchildren, great Papa of our six great-grands and my very best friend. He was a strong man and worked every day at his beloved Yukon Baptist Church. A busy man was he,working to get the Gospel out to the lost. God is a merciful God and in His great mercy He took my husband instantly and we know where he is, he is with the Father, our Heavenly Father and we know that everything is alright in our Father’s House. We will see him again. Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” He loved “The Wilderness” and was working on the February issue when God took him to Heaven. Trust you will read and be blessed by this last issue of “The Wilderness” and if you have never trusted Christ, do it today. We never know when we will be called out of this world, so get ready, be prepared, trust Christ Jesus today. Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
I shall see my friends and loved ones,
Hand in hand we’ll stroll along,
There on Heaven’s shining pathways,
There to sing sweet Heaven’s song.
One hand in the hand of Jesus,
And with those gone on before,
There, forever in His presence,
Home at last forever more.
Pastor George Mills
Answers to questions…..
“Pastor, what do you believe about Faith healing, or Divine healing?
Answer….I believe that all healing is Divine healing. If we get healed from some sickness it is because God did that for us. While I believe in Faith healing, I do not believe in “Faith Healers.” I believe that this is a religious racket of the worst kind. The airways are filled with religious charlatans, money grabbers, tricksters who promise much but are not able to deliver. I believe that the prayer of Faith will accomplish much. Bible believing people believe in praying for the sick . I well remember back in 1994, my wife, my daughter, and two granddaughters gathered around my sick bed. Doctors were getting me ready to take me to an operating room.
These sweet loved ones of mine gathered around my bed and prayed for me. They asked that God would give the Doctors wisdom to do the surgery. There was Faith in that hospital room. We believe in the power of prayer. About ten days later, God raised me up. I praise God for that. He is our healer. Now for some related questions…
“Is Salvation a cure-all?” “Since I am saved does that mean I will never be sick again?
Salvation is a cure-all in the sense that we are safe and secure in Christ, but that does not guarantee that I will never be sick again. We all get sick and we will die unless Jesus comes first. We will have a new body one day. The body we have now is frail and corruptible.
“Why are some Christians sick?”
Many a saint of God has lived in a sick body for years. There are many unkind accusers who have tried to convince them that there may be sin in their life, or, that they just think they are sick..Unkind, to say the least.
Some Christians are sick because birth defects inherited from parents
Some Christians are sick because of natural causes. Christians get Measles, Chicken Pox, etc.
Some Christians get sick because of lousy eating habits.
Some Christians get sick because of a sin, See First Corinthians 11:30.
Should a Christian see a Doctor? Yes, of course! You should see your Doctor regularly and you should follow his advice.
Is it always God’s will to heal? No! If that were true, no one would ever die.. I believe that we should pray and ask God to heal, and to accept His Answer.. I am a product of that very thing. So much could be said on this subject. Let’s face it. We Christians live in a body that has not yet been redeemed. This body is weak and subject to sickness and death. We live in a world that has been cursed, This world is filled with disease, germs, viruses, One day we will receive a new body, like the body of Christ, (Phil 3:20-21).Let us take good care of the body we have while we are here. Don’t be carried away by the “religious “hucksters of today. Even the “faith healer” dies.
No, if you are sick, you have not lost your Salvation. The teaching and preaching of some today would leave you with that idea, but the Doctrine of “By Grace alone, through Faith alone refutes that idea. Salvation is eternal. We have eternal life in Jesus Christ. Be HAPPY, Be HEALTHY. Begin TODAY to live Forever.
AND THE WORLD IS A WILDERNESS…It is no friend to the Christian…For a very brief time, Grace tabernacled here The world was no friend of Grace. The world rejected Grace. But God is still able to make all Grace abound. Grace is still available for all mankind. . But the world one day will find that the Grace they rejected was their Greatest Friend, but too late.
THINK ABOUT IT…We hear so much about the courts. “The courts have spoken and that’s the final word.” The courts are not the final word. The silence of the people have caused us to take that route. The constitution does not give courts that power. Our silence is not always golden, sometimes it’s yellow.
Bro Mills’ message to all believers would be to, “Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever.” II Peter 3:18
Bro Mills’ message to the lost would be that Jesus paid the price for your sin with His death on the cross.
“Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe; Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”
Accept His Salvation Today
We would like to thank each and everyone of you for your faithful prayers and support of “the Wilderness” paper for these many years. We pray that “the Wilderness” has been a blessing to your heart. God Bless!