Ask for the Old Paths
This message was preached at Portland Camp Meeting 1958, and published in our magazine in August of 1994.
You know folks, the Gospel is precious. I heard one brother say that he’s been nearly fifty years helping roll the old chariot along. I’m a little bit behind that, but I praise God for every minute I’ve had in the Gospel. I thank God for the hour He found me and brought me into it.
When I received word that I was to give the message, a Scripture came to me from Jeremiah. It’s about the old paths. I couldn’t help but say to God that after all these years, I ought to know a little about the old paths. I thank God I do, and I thank God for the old paths. There are a lot of new ones, and a lot of people want new ones. I don’t know where those new ones go, but I do know where the old ones lead. I’ve watched a few pilgrims on that way, and I know where they are today. There are a lot of jagged rocks on the old path, and a few briars, but it’s a good way.
“Are we going to get some new ones?”
A man said to me one time, “Brother Frost, what about these old antiquated doctrines and teachings of ours?” That’s what he called them. He went on to say, “What are we going to do? Are we going to keep them, or are we going to get some new ones?” Well, I like them. I don’t know what he wanted, but I’m still asking for the old paths. Bless God, I just hope the last breath that comes out of my body when I’m leaving this world will be the prayer, “God just keep me on this old path a few minutes more, because I want to make the trip. I know where it leads.”
The sixth chapter of Jeremiah and the sixteenth verse—there’s enough in that verse to get us all through to Heaven. “Thus said the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths. . . .” Ask for them, pray for them! There is something wonderful about those old paths, and there is no excuse for getting off them either. God’s Word says that when you start to turn a little to the right or the left, you will hear a Voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it” (Isaiah 30:21). Ah, don’t tell me anybody ever walked off of that path without the Spirit of God tugging at him. You don’t get away from that path with a little half-turn.
Don’t get discouraged
Jeremiah tried it. That old fellow was going through some pretty hot moments, and people were fighting him. Finally he got discouraged. He said, “I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more of his name.” He thought, I’ll just quit until things ease up a little. It isn’t that simple. Jeremiah said that when he tried to quit telling it, he found out that “his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones” (Jeremiah 20:9). He got weary of withholding, of holding back from God. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everybody who’s holding back from God today would get sick of doing so? If they would just come to the old altar, and say from the depths of their hearts that they are going to quit holding back, they’d find God would be there to help them.
Sometimes the way seems a little narrow, but I’ve seen the pianist at the piano quit and throw her arms in the air and praise God. She couldn’t play anymore—the power was falling. Wouldn’t you love for it to be just like that today? I would. That’s along the old path. Oh, bless God. Call it antiquated if you want to. Say we are behind the times. I say we are way out ahead of the times. We are getting ready for something. That’s why we are here on this campground.
Keep that first love
There is a Scripture in Revelation that I think fits our case. “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy words, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2:1-4).
The thing that struck me as I read these verses is that you can’t judge your standing before God by the works you are doing. This good record these people had, and all these things they were doing, were being done with the first love gone. Think of it! So you can’t depend on what you are doing. You may hold a pretty high position, but if that first love is gone, look out. God has somewhat against you. I don’t want Him to have anything against me, do you? And as long as we stay in that old path, He will take care of us, just as surely as there is a God in Heaven. It is a good thing to know that if I start to get a little to the right or to the left, I can listen to that Voice back there saying, “Get over here in the middle of the road, Frost. Walk in it.” That’s what I call “keeping power.” Don’t you thank God for it?
It would be wonderful, wouldn’t it, if a baptism of that first love would just get in back of us and roll like a big ocean wave right over us, and catch us all? Even if it required a little confessing, it would be worth it.
I was in a big auditorium one day, and there was a great crowd. The preacher got up and started to read this Scripture, and I thought, What a wonderful thing to preach that Scripture to this large group. But you know, he read down to the fourth verse: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love,” and he stopped! I don’t want to stop there. I’d rather go on and tell people what to do when they lose that first love. God didn’t beat around the bush and leave anybody in the dark about what to do. No sir. What He wanted done about it was just as plain as could be: “Remember therefore from whence thou are fallen, and repent, and do the first works” (Revelation 2:5). Now think back: what were those first works? They weren’t just little snapshot prayers. Not by any means. We were telling God what we’d give up, and that if He would save us we would give Him the balance of our lives. God said, “Do those first works over again.” It would be wonderful, wouldn’t it, if a baptism of that first love would just get in back of us and roll like a big ocean wave right over us, and catch us all? Even if it required a little confessing, it would be worth it.
Is it fanaticism?
On those old paths, if we were to say some little remark about somebody, we’d feel so troubled about it that we’d leave home, maybe at night, to go hunt up that person. And we wouldn’t beat around the bush about it either. We’d tell him what we said, and whom we said it to. We’d tell him we want to fix it up with that person too. There are many who don’t do that, but it’s the best way.
I said something about my boss one time. He really did have it coming, but it wasn’t my place to say it. I went home, and oh, did God lay that old lash on. That’s what happens along that old path. If you get off on a sidetrack, things like that might not bother you. But get in the old way, and it will trouble you. I tried to talk God out of it, but He wasn’t in that kind of mood. Something told me I had to take care of that thing. You say that was fanaticism? Call it what you want, but we’ve seen the power fall like rain. If that’s fanaticism, give us some more of it, God! We can stand quite a bit of that. Anyway, I kept putting it off for days, but finally I took the boss to one side and said, “I said such and such about you. Please forgive me.” The boss didn’t know what to do. At last he said, “I didn’t hear you say it or I would have fired you.” I told him, “Well, I said it and I had to come and tell you about it.” Folks, the old path is so narrow, it almost makes us weep sometimes. We may have to do things that look a little foolish, but think back to what has happened in the meetings. Think back to what has happened when those people on the old paths have testified or got up to preach!
I thank God for the old paths. He said to stand there in the path and ask for it. Ask who? Why, ask God. For what? For those old paths. If you like the new paths, help yourself, but I like those old paths. They have taken a lot of folks home to Glory, and they will take us there too.