October 2: John Hess McComb

Contending Earnestly
by Rev. David T. Myers

The  number “seven” has always been associated with perfection.  But while that is the belief, there would be no one who would suggest that the seventh opening exercises of Westminster Theological Seminary on October 2, 1935,  have this word “perfection” stamped upon it.  Yet there was a sure reminder of both their existence in the church world at that moment in history as well as an old challenge to the professors and student body that they were to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.”  That very familiar text from Jude 3 was the title of the sermon and article in the Presbyterian Guardian of October 21 and November 4 in 1935.

Proclaiming the Word that evening was Rev. John Hess McComb, pastor of the Broadway Presbyterian Church in New York City.  What you will read in this devotional history today will be a portion of that address which is still as up-to-date now as it was then applicable to the people of God.  He said,

“Then too, if we would contend for the faith, we must seize every opportunity to let people know were we stand. When the Word of God is under fire, every silent Christian  is counted with the enemy.  Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.”  God honors such testimony is surprising ways.  It bears more fruit than we have any idea it will.  Too often the people in the pew take the attitude that the minister is paid to do the testifying and there is no need for them to exert themselves in that direction.  It is a great privilege to speak a word for Christ, and we must avail ourselves of the privilege in the home, in the circle of friends, in the office, in the church — wherever God gives an opportunity.  If the Redeemed of the Lord would testify a little more frequently, perhaps it would be found that the true Church of Christ is far larger than it seems, and that Modernism has not gained the ground it supposes it has gained.  When a child is born into this world and utters no sounds, we fear that it is dead.  When a professing Christian never speaks a word regarding his redemption through Christ, we  have reason to suspect that he never has been born again. Of course the Christian must see to it that his personal life in no wise belies his testimony.  He that seizes every opportunity to testify for his Lord must so live that there is no question in the minds of those about him who his Lord is.”

There were some sobering statements in this quotation.  There is no doubt that the New York City pastor wanted to impress on the minds and hearts of the seminary students that their studies must produce some effects in the lives of those to whom they would be sent as servants of Christ.

Words to live by:  Standing out in the above quotation is the illustration and application of the child.  Dr. McComb said, “when a child is born into this world and  utters no sound, we fear that it is dead.  When a professing Christian never speaks a word regarding his Redemption through Christ, we have reason to suspect that he never has been born again.”  These are strong words, and may solicit objections by our readers.  Yet there are placed here to think upon them and more importantly to act upon them.  Pray for a divine opportunity this day or week.  Pray that the Spirit will remind you to recognize the divine opportunity.  Then simply relate your Christian testimony to the individual, and see what the Lord will bring forth.

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