Born in 1889, Ruth Paxson was a missionary in China from 1911 until about 1933 when complications of asthma restricted her mission work. She had been educated at the State College in Iowa, and the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. From 1933 to 1939 she traveled extensively in Europe and the United States as a Missionary Society and Bible Conference speaker while based out of Henderson, North Carolina. As her health worsened her travel decreased and from 1940 until her death in 1949 she spoke mainly in the US staying close to her home in North Carolina.
Ruth Paxson was a dedicated teacher and prolific writer and as a missionary to China her Bible lessons to pastors, evangelists, and teachers in the 1920s were well received. In response to requests from both Chinese and missionary friends, the lessons were expanded and originally published in three volumes, “Life on the Highest Plane” was published in 1928. This first work was followed by the booklet “Called unto Holiness” in 1930. Her exegesis on the book of Ephesians “The Wealth Walk and Warfare of the Christian” was published in 1938 and remains unparalleled in Christian exegetical works. “Rivers of Living Water” followed in 1941 and two compilations which were published after her death; “War in Your Heart” in 1953, and “The Work of God the Holy Spirit” in 1958.
Our excerpt today is from the third volume in “Life on the Highest Plane.” Near the end of the book in the chapter on “The Hope of the Spiritual Man” there is a section on our Lord’s return which deals with attitude. More to the point it deals with the attitude that we should have about our Lord’s return, if we truly have a relationship with Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. In this short section on attitude the author shares with us nine passages of Scripture and seven things which these Scriptures call us to do.
Beginning today, and over the next six weeks we propose to share the authors’ thoughts as well as our own on these seven things that deal with what the attitude of the believer should be toward our Lord’s return.
Is it any wonder that Satan hates the truth of the Lord’s return and that he does all within his power to discredit, discourage and destroy those who hold and preach this blessed hope? He has no place for the second coming of the Lord in his “gospel” and his “ministers” either rail at or ridicule those who have it in theirs. One reason why we may well believe that we are in the last days is the fact of the violent and venomous attacks of Satan’s instruments upon this glorious truth on the one hand and the growing preciousness and deepening influence of this hope upon those who love His appearing on the other.
With such a glorious prospect before the believer, one would expect him to have just one possible attitude toward our Lord’s return ~ that of eager expectancy and ardent desire. Yet strange to say there are four very evident attitudes manifested in the professing church toward this blessed hope; aggressive hostility, listless apathy, fearful apprehension and loving expectancy. Some hate it; some are totally ignorant of it; some are afraid of it and some love it. In which group you find yourself?
God shows very clearly in Scripture what is the attitude of the spiritual man toward our Lord’s return. May He now speak to the heart of every reader through His own Word.
2 Peter 1:19, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy: whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” (KJV)
“Take heed.” Think of how much both of the Old and New Testament is devoted to prophecy ~ the foretelling of things to come. God tells us here that these prophetic words are reliable, they will most assuredly come to pass. Should we not then give heed to that which God thinks to be of such tremendous importance? Surely to be apathetic to that to which God commands us “to give attention with heart intentness” would be sin. In these dark days what can so truly keep us from depression over conditions in the world and in the church and from discouragement over ourselves and our work as to concentrate our attention upon and become absorbed with the sure word of prophecy that shines like a light in the darkness?
Words of Grace for Strength
In this verse (2 Peter 1:19), Peter is telling us the importance of God’s Prophetic Word… we are to “take heed” which means to “pay attention” to it. This is the first thing we need to examine as it relates to our attitude about our Lord’s return.
In 2 Peter 1:16-19 he shares his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus and gives us insight into his understanding of the importance of what transpired there as it related to the Word of God.
“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;” 2 Peter 1:16-19 (NKJV)
In verse 18 Peter recalls his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus, and how the voice of God was confirmation of the Word of God written by the Old Testament prophets about Jesus (Numbers 24:17, Psalm 96:13, Isaiah 60:1-2, Malachi 4:1-2, etc…), who is the Word and the Light. (John 1:1-5)
Old Testament Prophecy is light shining in the darkness like a lamp (Psalm 119:105). Scripture speaks of the coming day (Romans 13:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10) of Christ’s return when a lamp will no longer be needed because the Morning Star will have come (2 Peter 1:19). So just as a lamp’s light illuminates until the coming of the morning light, Prophecy illuminates the return of Jesus as “the bright Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16). Until Christ returns we are to let the Word of God illuminate our hearts to all that He plans for us here, and all that will be when He comes.
Why is it that only some who read the Word of God see the light shining through it, see enough to eagerly want to take heed of what we are told through the teachings of prophecy, see enough to take heed and hopefully turn and teach it to others that they may take heed as well. Those who seek the truth of God in earnest fashion will be drawn closer by Him who wishes us to take heed; drawn close enough that by the grace of God we will eagerly seek and be able to take heed of the words that are Truth. And by His grace, the light illuminating our hearts may shine through like a dawning sunrise to light the path for others to take heed as well.
God’s Prophetic Word is a shining Lamp (Psalm 119:105) for those who will use it to illuminate the darkness of this present world. The rising of the morning star pictures Christ’s coming for His Church and portends the beginning of the Day of the Lord. So Peter is telling us in this passage to pay attention to the Prophetic Word; read it, study it, hide it in our hearts because it is the only thing which will shine the light of Christ on this dark world until He appears in the clouds and calls His bride, His Church, home to heaven.
In doing this, we place ourselves among those whose attitude is one of “loving expectancy and ardent desire” as it relates to our Lord’s return. If one has truly accepted Christ as his personal Savior there is no reason to hate or fear His return. Nor is there any excuse for being ignorant of it. Take heed pay attention. For the timing is upon us, there is nothing left to be seen or to pass by in prophetic fulfillment. The return of Jesus Christ for His Church is imminent, the Day of the Lord is near, and;
Jesus is Coming Soon!
Read Part 2 here:
Read Part 3 here:
Read Part 4 here:
Read Part 5 here:
Read Part 6 here:
Read Part 7 here: