by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XXXII

September, 1952

Number 2

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

The Greek word that has been translated "gospel", is one that literally means "well-message". As this word is awkward in English, I suggest that every requirement is met if we render it "welfare message". It is a message that tells of, and promotes, our welfare. This word, "welfare", is much used these days, and this rendering is easily understood.

I believe that the message is a well-rounded welfare message. It tells, not merely of one phase of our welfare, but of every phase. I can think of no department of life that is not told about and promoted.

The message includes good citizenship, spirituality, morals, health, possessions, and all that is needed to make a pleasant and successful life. I think we have lost much by confining our preaching to matters of salvation.

It seems evident that the people of Thessalonica were, like many communities today, obsessed with the thought of afflictions. There are communities today where the people are of a morbid attitude that looks upon sickness as one of the necessary things of life. I repeat, sometimes this thought predominates in whole communities. In other cases, such ideas are confined to a family. And, in some instances, only one in a family is in bondage to these defeatist thoughts.

When Paul wrote a letter to the Thessalonians he mentioned the fact that they were in an afflicted state when he went to them. He told of how tender he was toward them, and that he had served them as nurse.

The message that he gave to them took into account that Jesus is the Christ. There is magic in that precious name. I have found good health in saying, several times during a day, some such words as these: "Father, I thank Thee for the grace, salvation, tender mercy, and power that is in Christ, Thy Son." When faced by problems that I could not handle, I have been brought "through" by saying to my Father, "Christ is the way". I have seen immediate benefit when I would say to an afflicted one, "You are loosed from your infirmity God, through Christ, makes you whole".

The benefit of the welfare message is stated to the Thessalonians in these words: "The welfare message of our God did not come to you in word only, but in power, and in holy spirit and much assurance, according as you are aware. Such as this we became among you, because of you. And you became imitators of us and the Lord receiving the word in much affliction with joy of holy spirit, so that you became models to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia, for from you has been sounded forth the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia but in every place your faith toward God has come out". They had been transformed from a group of sick people, into a vigorous church doing missionary work in various regions.

Before closing the letter Paul goes back to the thought. He declares that their body and spirit and soul are unimpaired. He wishes that they might remain so. "May your unimpaired spirit and soul and body be kept blameless in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ", says he.

These benefits are such as have been available to us all the while, under the ministry of Paul.

When Paul wrote his second letter to the Corinthians, he told of an experience of sickness through which he went and of the healing through faith and petition of those who were interested in him. "For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning our affliction which came to us in the province of Asia, that we were inordinately burdened over our ability, so that we were despairing of life also. But we have the rescript of death in ourselves, that we may be having no confidence in ourselves, but in God, Who rouses the dead, who rescues us from a death of such proportions, (and will be rescuing; on Whom we rely that He will still be rescuing also), you also assisting together by a petition for us in order that from many faces He may be thanked by many in our behalf, for the gracious gift given to us". How much suffering might be averted if all believers had the proper interest in sick ones!

It is to be noticed that in this quotation, mention is made of the fact that God rouses the dead. This is offered as a reason to believe that He is interested in our sickness, and is able and willing to heal us.

Paul tells of another case---not of sickness, but of distress, which he believed would be relived through prayer. After telling of his imprisonment, which was still a fact at that time, he said to the Philippians, "I am aware that for me, this will be eventuating in salvation through your petition and the supply of the spirit of Jesus Christ". Here was an entire church praying for the release of the apostle from prison. I do not know of many more beautiful passages in the scripture.

Paul was expecting to be delivered. This he called salvation. And when it took place it was salvation, indeed! For it did take place. There is a tradition that Paul was finally beheaded, instead of being released. This is not borne out by any scripture or history.

In the first place, Christians were rarely beheaded. Instead, they were thrown to the hungry lions, to afford entertainment for the people. Paul says he was rescued out of the mouth of the lion. Writing to Timothy, he says, "At my first defense no one came along with me, but all forsook me. May it not be reckoned against them! Yet the Lord stood with me, and He invigorated me, that through me the heralding may be fully discharged and all the nations should hear, and I am rescued out of the mouth of the lion. I suspect that even the emperior, himself, did not understand why he released Paul. WE know! It was brought about by the supply of the spirit of Jesus Christ, in answer to the prayers of the believers in Philippi.

The idea of the supply of the spirit of Jesus Christ deserves further mention. Just what is this? It is the invisible supply with which we are all surrounded, which can be materialized, into the supply that is needed. It can be done when there is no outward evidence that it can
take place. It is the invisible work of God through Jesus Christ, and may relieve ANY situation. Neither can anyone explain fully how it is done.

A few days ago I was on a bus that was very late. I wanted to connect with another one which "made up" in the city where I wanted to change. That bus would leave from another depot, and was not supposed to wait on the bus I was riding. But it was extremely important that I make the connections, which was a physical impossibility so far as I could see.

I told God that He understood the situation, and that my making the connection was important. I thanked Him that the supply of spirit of Jesus Christ could perform miracles, and do things that I did not understand. I leaned back and left it in His hand I do not undertake to explain how it came about that I was at the other bus station five minutes before leaving time. Was not this a miracle? Is it not akin to the actions of the spirit in bringing about Paul's release?

Paul is desirous that our faith may not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Alas! How this message is needed today! In the matter of illness, and in that of life and death, many have their faith in the wisdom of men. Man is the first dependence of the majority. If the skill of men can bring about belief in case of aliments, God will put no hindrance in the way. But if we get healing, or even alleviation, by the skill of man, this is all we get. But God is His healing work, makes other things more important. There is a spiritual blessing that goes with His healing. The folks in Thessalonica not only became strong, but they were so blessed in spirit, that they became a dynamic force for the spread of the welfare message to the extent that they were models to all believers.

In the case of Paul's healing, God, was thanked by all those who joined with him in praying for his healing. It made every one of them more spiritual. Do you see such in cases where there is faith in the wisdom of man. Those who really depend on God, even though they follow the popular course and repair to man, will give glory to God for the healing. But how many do this?

Paul might have obtained legal help in getting out of the Roman prison. But there is no reason to think such aid would have been successful. The apostle followed the course that would glorify God. Let us not scoff when we are told by any trustworthy person that legal matters have been settled by having recourse to God. In the case of a man for whom I was giving faith-vision treatments, a case in court was settled, and payment of a sum of money that was due, was brought about. I was really treating him for physical trouble, but he asked me to undertake in this case, also.

A person who has a reputation for truthfulness, tell this story: "In one case within my knowledge just simply claiming, 'God is your defense and deliverance', for a man who had for five years been an exile from home and country, (through a series of deceptions and machinations which for subtlety were unparalleled), opened all the doors wide and restored the man to his family within a month, without one effort or step taken from the human side; and that, too, after five years of the most strenuous human efforts of lawyers had failed utterly, to bring the truth to light or to release the prisoner".

Do you know everything that God is willing to do? If so, you know all about Him. Would you be willing to say that you do know all about God? There are those who ridicule the idea of God doing anything for us in answer to prayer. I mean there are "religious" people who ridicule it. They seem to have a program for God to follow, and they refuse to admit that He deviates from it. I frankly confess that I do not know this much about Him.

The welfare message is wonderful. It is a message that concern Christ. It does not limit Him to just a few activities. The Christ Who has come out of death, and stands as death's conqueror shall I not trust God to do for me through this Christ, whatever I need?

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