The reader will notice that while Lazarus was at the feast that the chief priest laid a plot to put him to death. It is a very dangerous thing yet, in some localities, to feast with the Lord. One thing that carnality can’t stand, is to see a holy man or woman really enjoy the presence of the blessed Holy Ghost. I have seen opposers just broil with anger while the true children of God were feasting with the Lord; and so we notice that it was not the the sinner, the saloon keeper, the gambler, the fighter, the dancer, the Sabbath desecrater, the man in the chain gang, the man just out on bond, nor the common people, for they heard him gladly; not the common preacher even, but just stop and take the second look. It was the chief priest, and what did this man want to do? Why, man, he went so far as to lay a plot to put Lazarus to death.
Well, what on earth was that man Lazarus doing? Just stop and look at him and see what he is doing. Behold he is feasting with his Lord. Look out there, man, don’t you shout too loud; don’t break the limbs off of that tree; don’t throw down your old coat for the Master to ride on; you will get in an awful fix there. You must understand, old boy, that you are not in a political meeting. The Democrats or the Republicans can shout as loud as they please. The meeting that you see is not a week of Elks. When the Elks come to town, they can bring harlots, or they can bring whiskey or beer right into a prohibition town and nobody says a word, but the meeting that we refer to is a meeting of a different kind. At this meeting we are to give the God of heaven all the glory, praises and honor, for Thou art worthy, O Lord God, of honor and power and glory forever and ever. But see the frown on the face of the chief priest. See how sullen he looks. You would imagine that some awful crime had been committed and the visitors in the conference room look on and wonder what this man has done. To their surprise they find out that the man has gone to a holiness camp meeting and heard of full salvation and that he went forward and fell in the straw and was wholly sanctified; for the last few months he has been feasting with his Lord. Just look, you can see two or three men in little groups all over the conference floor and they seem to be uneasy and they tiptoe and whisper one to another; while all of this is going on you can see Lazarus sitting down over there in the corner with a smile on his face and the crowd seems to be wondering what is to become of him. There he sits with full salvation hung up all over his face and he is the only easy man in the conference. Not a wave of trouble rolls across his peaceful breast, and he says,
How well I remember in sorrow’s dark night,
The lamp of His word shed its beautiful light;
More grace He has given and burdens removed,
And over and over His goodness I proved.
Shall I turn back into the world?
Oh, no, not I, not I.”
As he remembered the day that he was converted and how that he passed from death unto life, how the Lord called him out of the tomb of despair and spoke peace to his troubled soul and that his name was written in the Lamb’s book of life, and that he was adopted into the heavenly family, a thrill of joy goes through his soul and he praises God for the knowledge of sins forgiven. Then he remembers the day that he put himself on the altar––soul, mind, and body for time and eternity, and how the fire from the skies went through his heart. He knew by the witness of his own breast that he was sanctified through and through and the glory rolls up and down in his heart. He is feasting with his Lord in the truest sense.
Now the chief priest is ready. Ready to do what? To locate this man. Well, what has he done? He got sanctified. What else did he do? He shouted and praised God with a loud voice. And what else did he do? He told the people everywhere he went that they could get the blessing of Scriptural holiness. Well, did he do anything else? Yes, he had revivals all over his work and built a new church or two, added a large list of new members to the roll of his church and brought up his conference collecteions [sic] in full; but he did preach holiness as straight as a gun barrel. He is to be located on the charge of inefficiency. You see he got the strings all off and went to feasting with his Lord, and that is a dangerous thing to do. Why didn’t he let holiness alone? If he had joined the lodge it would have been all right, but instead of that he went to a holiness revival and got the fulness of the blessing and went to feasting with his Lord, and trouble broke out before Lazarus got away from the supper table.
How much like our day is this fact before us. Reader, just let you mind run back over the past twenty years and just think of all the plots that have been laid and planned to keep holiness out of the churches in the United States of America. I heard a pastor one time my own self in trying to keep any of his members from testifying to the experience of sanctification, tell them that in the testimony meeting he did not want them to testify to anything that they themselves had, but to testify on something else. You say that was not hard. Well, I know it wasn’t, but the thing I am after is this, there was the pastor of the flock plotting to keep holiness out of his church, and to do just what the chief priest did to Lazarus. The chief priest laid a plot and God saw it and was not well pleased with it. The hope of any church on earth is the holiness that is in it and not the worldliness that is in it.
I believe there is enough holiness in any church to leaven the whole lump if the leaven was allowed to work. If the holiness revival that was started under that mighty man of God, John S. Inskip, could have run on without a break, it would have swept the United States before now. Every time that it has been hindered from taking the country the chief priest was on hand, and I don’t mean that it was always a bishop or an elder. I have known other churches to have a revival started and those in authority would rise up and stamp it out and stop the fire and keep their members from seeking and obtaining the greatest thing in the world, which is the baptism with the Holy Ghost.
Now, reader, Lazarus a free man is a beautiful type of the wholly sanctified man, and the persecution that broke out at the feast is nothing uncommon, for the rulers in all ages, so far as I have ever been able to find out, have been on the opposite side of deep spirituality. As a general thing a man is not big enough to stand the prestige of an office and keep up spirituality at the same time. No doubt that was the trouble with the chief priest. He might have started out well, been kind to the men under him, but day by day his love and kindness go and he becomes very hard, and finally reaches the point where he is going to have his own way if he has to take the heads off of men. The case in hand will prove it to be true, for as far as we can see, Lazarus had done nothing to the chief priest, but Lazarus had been raised from the dead, and so has the justified man; Lazarus had been set free, and so has the sanctified man; while Lazarus was feasting with this Lord the plan was laid to dispose of him, and so it was of me, if the reader will pardon me for referring to myself.
We have said in this chapter before that one thing that old carnality can’t stand is religious joy; the old man can stand all of the average church work and he is real friendly to a cold, dead formality, and will even help support a great popular revival and give freely of his means to carry on such a work, but just let the saints go to rejoicing, and the same trouble that the chief priest had in his heart will rise up to-day and demand of you and if you don’t stop you are at least liable to get into trouble with him. There are no doubts in my mind but that there are in the United States many thousands of good people who don’t know just what to do. They love their church and live right in the church, yet have but little church fellowship and they feel that they are in the way. If they rejoice in the Lord there is a very critical eye on them and they don’t know just whether to give up and quiet down or go ahead and take the consequences. I am of the opinion that Lazarus went ahead, from what followed, for the next time we see him he was a great soul winner. If he had gone back on the Lord we never would have heard of a revival from him; but thank the Lord he stood true and God was with him and the world has not quite talking about him yet.
I am to-day in love with the Lord and all mankind, and it is remarkable how the Lord has walked with me and led my by His hand. What He will for the one He will do for all, and so far as I know every man will have a part in the trials and misrepresentations, and just as true as Lazarus had his trials to meet we have ours. If they don’t come from one source they will come from another. It doesn’t hinder the spiritual progress of the church for the devil to make an attack on us but when we as the people of God rise up in our own ranks and put on the breaks [sic] and clog the wheels of Zion, then the harm is done, and then a gulf stream of worldliness will break in on us, and it is a fact if we don’t grow we will die; if we don’t keep hot we will freee [sic]; if we don’t keep going we will stagnate. We are like the bicycle, the faster we run the straighter we stand; the slower we go the worse we wobble, and when we stop we fall.
The hope of the world is that the church may rise up in her God-given power and get the man out of the tomb. We must rescue the perishing; the hope of the church is that as a church we may go down before the Lord and get every string taken off and be set free and then go to the feast with the Master. It makes my heart rejoice when I read that Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Reader, let’s not let anything in the world stop us. It is a fact that the chief priest did not kill him for we see him after the feast in a great revival and many believed.