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Sermons of Charles Fillmoe



Acts 6:9

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This lesson from Charles Fillmore was featured on Bob Brach's Unity Classic Radio broadcast on June 2, 2015. Bob writes, "This will be a Bob and Margie show as my wife, Reverend Margie Brach, joins me as co-host like we have been doing once a month. This is a later lesson of Mr Fillmore's (1936). He would have been guest speaking at the ninth and Tracy St church since he retired from the pulpit in 1933 after his marriage to Cora. He talks about the laws of mind action as they apply to races of peoples or nations (p.4), that martyrdom is not desirable (p. 10) and he gives a new and interesting view of the story in Acts, chapter 7 about the stoning of Stephen. (p.11)

by Charles Fillmore
July 19, 1936

Baptism occupies a very large place in the ordinances of the Christ. The reason is that no real transformation of the mind can take place without the letting go of the old state of mind, represented by the baptism of John, and the laying hold of the new state of mind, represented by the baptism of Jesus. "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."

The moaning of the gospel is Godspell. It brought such glorious news of freedom from the ills that beset humanity that they acted as if they were in a spell or enthusiastic ecstasy.

They sometimes acted as if they were intoxicated, as for example, on the day of Pentecost the people thought they had been drinking new wine, they acted so queer. It was a stimulation, but of the Holy Spirit.

When [unclear] think a great deal about spiritual things and especially God as an indwelling spiritual presence, both mind and body are thrilled with joy, and a feeling of satisfaction and tendency to break out in songs of gladness. This is not confined to Christians but persons everywhere, in every age, have told of an inner glory and happiness when they get into the habit of concentrating their minds on God. The great philosopher, Spinoza, wrote so much about God that he was known as the "God-intoxicated man".

This attachment of the mind to God also results in giving the countenance a supernatural glow. John wrote that when he beheld the Christ in his perfect body, "His countenance was as the sunshine in his strength" (Rev. 1:16).

Paul discovered this transforming power of the imagination when he wrote of Christ, "So we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory" (II Cor. 3:18).

We become like that which we picture in our minds and express in our deeds. For example, there was implanted in the Hebrew race mind the idea that they were a persecuted people, and that should expect persecution as part of their heritage. Today in the Orthodox Jewish church, the boy is thirteen, the age of puberty, is taught by the rabbis that he is now to go forth as a man, but that he must look forward to persecution as part this experience, and, as I am told, no way of escape is suggested.

Jehovah, according to Jeremiah, said of those who do not keep his commandments but listen to the profits of Babylon, meaning confusion and worldly wisdom,

"I will send upon them the sword, the famine, the pestilence, and I will make them like a vile figs, that cannot be eaten, they are so bad. And I will pursue after them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be tossed to and fro among all the kingdoms of the earth, and to be an execration, and an astonishment, and a hissing, and a reproach among all the nations wither I have driven them" (Jer. 29:17).

David and Solomon begged the Lord to deliver them from their persecutors. Even Jesus, when he promised fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, houses and lands to those who it left all for him and the gospel sake, cautiously adds, with "tribulation".

Persecution has been the lot of the Jews the world over, and it still continues in this enlightened age, when the great ability of that strikingly evolved people is being recognized as never before. Even those people who have been signally helped by them from savagery to civilization are most persistent in their persecution of them.

At the time of Jesus the Germans were savages roaming the forests of Germany, and the Jews were civilized, living in houses, even palaces; having churches and schools and all the adjuncts of civilization. Christianity, at the head of Jesus, the great Jew, sent missionaries to Germany and converted them and has ever since given that nation great artists, musicians, statesmen and financiers. And yet in that land that owes so much to the Jews we find them persecuted beyond human endurance even to the point of world indignation.

For her culture Germany is heavily indebted to the Jews and instead of persecution there should be a national acknowledgment of the obligation.

The sudden outburst of persecution of the Jews when Hitler took command, and he himself said to be part Jew, shocked the spirit of justice in people everywhere -- they could not comprehend the situation, and have not yet understood it. To a metaphysician the ages of education, and deep-seated belief by the Rabbis that Jews were under a curse of persecution was and is the cause of the Jewish persecution in Germany and other parts of the world, and this persecution will continue so long as that error is preached. Paul, the great Christian Jew, gloried in persecution and loved to recount the number of times he was stoned, beaten with rods and chained in dungeons. It may be that there is a lurking love of persecution in the subconscious race thought they comes to the surface when least expected.

We cannot escape the outworking of the laws of mind, whether it be in the individual or the race. An idea, whether true or false, cultivated by often repeated thought and word, will in due season make itself manifest in mind, body or affairs. We sow in thought, we repeat in substance. "As a man soweth, so shall he also reap."

Stephen is extolled as the first Christian martyr and, with him as an example, the whole movement was begun on a persecution basis. This idea has prevailed even down to the present time. Now we are beginning to see that it is not necessary to die for a good cause; in fact, that it is much better to live for it and demonstrate in our own lives that the principles we teach can be proved true.

In our day Stephen would not have received any great amount of sympathy. The newspapers would have given him the usual publicity and classed the incident is a fanatical religious brawl, in which one of the combatants was killed. In the courts it would be shown that Stephen berated another religious sect and brought down upon himself their wrath. In other words, Stephen was the aggressor, and reaped as he sowed. He charged the elders and the scribes with the murder of Jesus, and his language would not be considered a especially polite even in this day --

"Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed them, it showed before of the coming of the Righteous One; of whom you have now become betrayers and murderers" (Acts 7:51-52)

It is not at all strange that such language would stir up opposition and anger on the part of those Jews who believed that they were the sacred race chosen by Jehovah to save the world, and all who differed from them religiously or barbarians and worthy of death.

We admire the zeal and courage of Stephen but do not commend his wisdom in teaching the principles of Christianity. Knowing the effect of words of condemnation as we do, we should expect to stir up anger and get condemnation in return if we followed Stephen in his presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The book of Acts extolls Stephen's ability in disputation and argument. He went to the synagogue of the Libertines, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and Cilicia and Asia, and had disputes and debates. And, as the record says, "They were not able to withstand the wisdom of the Spirit by which he spoke" (Acts 6:9-10).

This stirred up the people, and the elders and the scribes and they seized him and brought him before the council.

Here again Stephen poured out another upon them and they condemned him to be stoned. Cause and effect follow as night the day. Mike said he did not hunt a fight but he knew that when he called a man a liar he would find one.

The most important study of man is his mind, or as the Greeks wrote over their temple-door, "Man; know thyself".

This health of man is his mind and an analysis of that mind will determine the source of all conditions and personality or race that arise in that mind, and that it is responsible for not only personal conditions, but also the world's peace or war, prosperity or poverty, good to government or bad government.

Few persons take time to use their minds logically. They accept what the Bible says about religion, what some well known leader says about the conditions of the country without questioning their truth or falsity. For example, in an article on war in a popular magazine, General Hagood writes, "Christianity lives today because there were men and women who could stand at the stake and die. War is one of the cruel things that Almighty God in his wisdom has inflicted upon human beings." In the very next sentence he says, "Wars will continue so long as there be wicked man who disobey the commandments and righteous men who will fight for their principles."

Now if Almighty God in His wisdom inflicted cruel war upon humanity, are they responsible? and if cruel war is an infliction from God when will it ever cease? and are not all those people who are praying for peace actually fighting against God?

However, this frightful belief that God is the head of a fighting army of Christians is not confined to the military leaders in the world but the majority of Christians so preach and teach. They claim, with Napoleon, that God is with the heaviest artillery.

But General Hagood, with his many Christian ministers and teachers, relieves God of the charge that he has inflicted cruel war upon humanity, by putting the responsibility upon disobedient men. As he says, "Wars will continue so long as there be wicked man who disobey the commandments and righteous man who will fight for their principles."

Here is stated the real source of war -- the minds of men who are fighting in their minds first for the selfish possession of the earth and the products of the earth; neither of which they produced nor rightfully possess. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof."

All over the world the lovers of peace are asking, "When will war cease?" The answer is that war will cease when men begin to use their minds as God intended them to be used, logically. Honest logic based upon a good God would instantly cast out the conclusion that "War is one of the cruel things that Almighty God in his wisdom has inflicted upon human beings."

God is love and nothing but love will pervade the minds and hearts of the people of earth when they quit charging God with hate, destruction, war -- and acknowledge him as an indwelling principle of goodness and peace. Then the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man will become a permanent race standard of thought and race act and peace will be established forever.