May 24th, 1963 “A Good Tree” Late Mr. N. Daniel
Matthew 7:11-20 V.18 “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.”
Jesus speaks like a great scientist. When He says anything it is absolutely true. You should study His words carefully and follow them. Many Christians follow these truths in bits and pieces. They feel they are obeying the truth. This way they can never see good fruit. I was a student of science. I was careful to learn science exactly as I was taught. Some boys use wrong formulae and feel their sum is correct. I can give them no marks for that sum. Some of us are playing with the Word of God. If we follow the Word of God, surely good fruit must come. God has given us His principles. When I was in Standard IX I used to make balloons out of paper. I used to fly them. When there was no weight inside, they flew upwards. When we understand the principles in the Word of God, we can see practical success. Have you made the tree good? You sowed a margosa seed but you expect a mango tree. When the tree grows up, you try to prune it and use fertilizers. No matter what you do, bitter margosa fruit only will appear. Pull it down.
You have not taken in the principles of God. You have tampered with them. You cannot produce the fruit which God wants. Study the Bible carefully. Ask, “Lord, have I understood it carefully?” when the Lord says, Yes, adhere to it. Many leaders may preach many things but it is the Word of God, you must follow. Many missionaries did not understand me. I did not react negatively. They said, “You should not apply the Bible that way.” God said, “Take your bicycle and go out of the city and pray.” I did it. When I had no bicycle, I walked and went and prayed. Jesus, His disciples and prophets like Ezekiel did it that way. What wonderful guidance God gives His people! By God's grace, I was never defeated.
In Madras, I had a friend, a believer, who said, “Why, Mr. Daniel, what a waste of time to go all the way to the beach and pray and then come back! I cannot spend so much time.” But God asked me to do that. So I was doing it. That friend had more university degrees than I had. But I did what Jesus and Moses did. It did not matter if I seemed funny. I went alone and prayed. Little by little, the revelation came. I followed as God spoke. Do not make fruit your goal. Obey the Word. One day you will see the fruit. Ask yourself; "Am I following God or am I following others?"
When I was in college, I would say that God spoke to me. Those college students laughed at me. Even now the Brethren-Church People in my home-town do not believe it. I grew up in that Church. I believed that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. I used to argue with the Lord, “Hast thou changed? Are you not the God of Abraham? Will you be silent in this age?” Then the Lord spoke to me. Some of my friends made fun of me and laughed at me. I almost thought that I was deceiving myself. Then somebody gave me the biography of Ann Preston forty-five years ago. When I read it, all my doubts cleared off. Whenever people tried to prevent me from following the right path, God gave me good books which lighted my way. Are you studying the Word of God? God has a plan for you. Perhaps God will make you like Moses or Abraham or Elijah, the Carmel fighter. We do not know, God knows it. But is the tree good? Are you following the Word of God? Then one day you will see the fruit.
Matt. 12:33 Make the tree good. If you cut off some roots and clip off some branches and pour honey into the fruit, can you make the tree good? Nothing can help when the fundamental truth according to the mind of God does not possess your heart. Let His fundamental truths and principles grip your heart. Do not be afraid. You are going to conquer your town. “Call unto me and I will show you great and mighty things”, God says. The hosts of heaven are around you. Do you know God has called you? Be sure you have begun right. Again and again, we have to examine ourselves. I pray, "O God, the Fellowship is growing. If I do not grow and go deeper, in some stage I will be a hindrance. I would rather die than be a hindrance. I do not want to be a hindrance." So I watch and pray. God often warned me, “You cannot do this work with this level of prayer.” He wakes me up at 2 A.M. and I begin to pray. I search my heart and then I travel in prayer to Madurai, Trichi, Tirunelveli, Marthandam, Udipi, Bombay, Hyderabad and Delhi. Like this, I go on visiting places in prayer. God goes on prompting me to pray. I sometimes do not obey God, I feel: but I tremble to do so. How many souls perish! Make the tree good. Examine the fundamental principles you follow.
Once I heard that somebody had died. That chap had persecuted me very much. I felt a little happy at that news. At once I realised that it was not Christian character. Fundamentally it was wrong. You should never rejoice when your enemy falls. You must be a thorough-going Christian. People may come and steal in your house and create a loss. We can break their bones, we can scandalize them, but is it right? Is it according to the Word of God? If I do anything contrary to the Word of God, how can I pray? Do not lose your hold on the Word of God. "O generation of vipers, how can you speak good when your heart is full of evil?" When your heart is full of good things, your influence radiates and covers your family. The devil comes to your house and smells the power and grace that comes out of your house. He says that he cannot go in there. So he goes away. The devil could not go into the house where St. Francis of Assissi and his group lived. In many Christian homes the devil has taken up his residence, because of their evil practices. I thank God that in the church where I was brought up, there were no evil practices.
I told you about Satankulam. Many Christians there were devil-possessed. As soon as I placed my hand on them they fell down. I showed this to our medical students. I told them that their medical knowledge was not sufficient to cope with such cases. The Bible would give them perfect knowledge. In Satankulam there were more temples than houses. The Christians would partake in Hindu festivals. So many of them became devil-possessed.
Make the tree good! When I was in Montgomery hostel, the boys said, that the neighborhood was haunted. Devils were moving around and they could see lights flashing on the tamarind tree. I asked them to wake me up when they appeared. They never appeared again. There are devils it is true. But follow the Word of God. Make the tree good. Your Christian life will then be spontaneous. It is not by your effort that your heart beats. You believed the Word of God with your heart and so the Spirit of God cannot leave you. You can walk, talk and move in the Spirit. Even when you pray, you can pray in the Spirit. The Spirit of God is always with you, because you are a good tree. You are planted according to the Word of God. You take in its sap according to the mind of God. When the fruit comes, it is sweet. God says, in Isaiah 5:1,2 “I have planted a vineyard but it bore wild grapes.” Why did it happen? What can God do? Your association spoils you. Your relatives spoil you. They are your enemies spiritually. They speak as though they know everything. Even Christian leaders can be like that. I avoided such. They thought I was proud. I avoided everything that endangered my spiritual life. God taught me to walk close to Him.
I thank God that He has given me the Spirit without fear. That does not mean I have no respect for men. I just feared God. Man is man. He is not going to live for ever. When he resists God's work God will punish him. I follow and speak the eternal truth. Some of the statements I made in my college days have come to pass. Why? I spoke in the Spirit. Some intelligent boys watched me. I went to a coconut grove far away and prayed. It meant walking a long distance. But I enjoyed God's presence all the way. What a discipline! It was not easy to do so. In prayer I would forget myself. God would close my prayer and would ask me to go back. Then I would return to the hostel and clap my hands to call my prayer-mates to the hostel terrace. They would gather for prayer.
Make the tree good. Do not be afraid of anything. You are laying the foundation of your faith in the Word of God. One day you will be like Peter and Elijah. Suffer inconveniences. Be prepared to suffer scandals. Be prepared to deny yourself. Many trials may come. Do not fear.
At Masulipatnam even at 10 P.M. through rain, I would go out with my Bible for prayer. I would wade through knee-deep water for one and a half miles. Sometimes I would get drenched. Seeking an elevated place, I would pour out my heart until God asked me to go back. I had no flashlight in those days. Once I was returning and God prompted me to change my route but I went ahead along the usual way. Suddenly I sank neck-deep in water. I asked, “O God, what is this?” God said, “You went your own way.” I cannot forget those experiences. I learnt many things as I sought to obey God in prayer.
Make the tree good. Adhere to the Word of God. The Almighty God will be with you. The light has come. Go home and spend time in prayer. Meet God like Daniel. Be sure that you are led by the Spirit. The Word is Spirit. This spirit will never leave you. By God's grace, the Word's spirit never left me. I never lived for worldly gain. My gain, my hope and my end is Christ. Our Fellowship must be like that.
Is. 60:22 "A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time."
When God gave me this promise there was only one man in my Bible class. I asked, “O Lord, what is this? Thou hast taken me out of the big high school and made me the teacher of this one boy.” Yet I did my work very wholeheartedly. I worked as I would in a big school. I had a time-table and rules for this one-man institution. One boy or a hundred boys was the same! I used to ring the bell. The student would come with his Bible. After Bible study and prayer we would close and he would go.
When you pray, the heavens hear it. Your prayers will not go in vain. Be sure, you are going to win your nation. In many cities, there is false religion. You must conquer it. Perhaps we may have to go to U.K., Germany and Australia. All these things will become possible. All the wealth in this world is God's. One day five thousand may come to our Fellowship from many countries. God's name will be exalted. This will happen only if the L.E.F. is a right plant. Examine yourself. Are you a tree planted according to the Word of God? Do not be afraid. Your root will go down to the depths of the earth. Your branches will spread all over the world. The L.E.F. must spread the Word of God all over the world. May God help us!