I would like to thank God in your presence for what God and Jesus and others have done for me and my family. God has done amazing things for us. Before I speak about it I will share some thoughts from Luke 1. We read about the mother of Jesus and about the mother of John the Baptist and they had a meeting and as far as I know, there were only two people in the meeting.
I never get tired of reading what went on in this meeting. One lesson I have learnt from this – it doesn’t depend on the size of the meeting for us to get help. A small meeting can be far more important than a convention.
Back home, there are a lot of God’s children and when I went home from working abroad, it made me very sad sometimes. People would say , “Cancel the meeting on Sunday. There is only going to be four or five of us,” and we cancelled it. That is a terrible sin in the sight of God.
There are places in the world if there were four or five to meet, it would be a big meeting. I was on the island of St Lucia – it’s in the Caribbean. Every Sunday morning and Sunday night and Wednesday night, two people have meetings together and they are as happy as can be. If they had four or five, they would think it was a convention.
Even if two people have been born again, they can have great fellowship together and both must have experience being born of the Holy Spirit. If one has been born again and one has not, it is just like a living man trying to talk to a dead man. It is hopeless. If both have been born of the Holy Spirit, we can have great times.
We read in Luke 1:25, Elisabeth said the Lord had really dealt with her. She had a real experience with God and in verse 29, Mary spoke about the time the Lord worked with her and they both had real living experiences with God. When it comes to having an experience with God, we do not want imaginations to set in but real living experiences.
When Mary had her living experience, the first thing she wanted was to go and talk to someone that had also had a living experience. In verse 39, it says she went in a hurry and went to the house of Elisabeth – she realised we will have good times together. We both have had real experiences with God so when she arrived and went into the house and as soon as they saw each other, they had joy.
Elisabeth began to talk, this was not a visit now – it was a meeting – and she encouraged Mary. She told her, “You are so fortunate.” We all need to be encouraged and we’ve got to remind each other we are so fortunate we have been asked to serve God. Instead of having this attitude, “Why have I got to serve God,” the right attitude is, “Why does God ever let me serve Him?”
We need to change our attitude. Instead of thinking, “Why have I got to serve God?” and encourage each other and tell each other, “I am very fortunate and we are very fortunate we were asked to serve God.” Elisabeth felt so unworthy of the whole thing and as soon as she arrived there, she said, “I have joy inside me.” Those that follow Jesus are meant to be the happiest people in the world and if we are following Jesus and we are not happy, there is something wrong with us.
I followed Jesus for six years and I was not happy and it was not God or Jesus’s fault. I had to work out what was wrong. I was following God so half-heartedly and I had no joy or peace. Jesus told us we must follow Him with all our heart and then we will enjoy it.
I knew a man called George and he told us at convention that he made two vows to God. One vow was, “I will never miss a meeting again unless I am so sick or something terrible happens. Since I decided to do that and did it, I have been much stronger in the Lord.”
The other vow was never again would he complain about having to follow God or follow Jesus. He said he was always complaining about the narrow way and every time he spoke, he was saying it was so hard. God spoke to him and corrected him and said, “George, this is a terrible insult to your Saviour.” George never complained again.
Elisabeth encouraged Mary, “Things you have been told will come to pass,” and so then that was her part over. Wasn’t that a lovely part in the meeting and isn’t it lovely to listen to someone in the meeting and they are so encouraging? They think they are so unworthy of the whole thing and they talk about the joy they are getting serving God and we need more of this in our fellowship. We all have our hard times and we share them, but I love to listen to someone who is so happy with what they have found.
Then Mary spoke and she was magnifying the Lord, she was not magnifying herself. One of the first things she mentioned was rejoicing in God and she also was talking of the joy, so this was a great meeting. The two of them were so happy and then wondered why she had the privilege of having what she was having. She was saying of the great things God had done for her and about His mercy and His strength and she spoke on.
This was an amazing meeting. We need more meetings like these and I do not know how hard it is for you where you live. But if you have only one person to meet with you can have great meetings and encourage each other, don’t discourage each other. We do not need any discouragement. This little meeting helps me. I am in the way of Jesus today and I believe it is because of little meetings. Little meetings of two people.
My grandmother – when she was a young married woman, one day the true messengers of God knocked on her door and invited her to go and hear the gospel. In those times, God’s messengers had meetings five nights a week and she got to three meetings and then she saw this is the true way. She had already received a real revelation and she was so happy and she told her husband.
I don’t want to say too much about my grandfather, but he was a bad man, a selfish man and a cruel man and I could tell you a lot more. What she tasted was in Matthew 10:36, “…and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Her husband became her worst enemy and he would not let her go to any more meetings. The messengers of God noticed she never came back and they called to see why she never came back and she explained about the situation.
She said, “I have made my decision and this is the way and I would love to walk in it. My husband has asked me to tell you something: that not one of you is to come near this house.” She said to God’s messengers, “He abuses me, but I don’t want him to abuse God’s messengers so please don’t come.” Anyway that was the way it was.
She lived a long way out in the country. This is in the 1930s and no cars in those times and the children started to come along and she had nine children and my mother was the oldest. To annoy her, he sent their children to a false church and he had no interest whatsoever in the church, but just to annoy her.
So my mother and her siblings used to walk to this false church every Sunday morning. Every chance my grandmother got, she told the children, “One time, I met two of God’s true messengers and they are around here and your father won’t let me talk to them. You just wait and you will meet them some day.” She was putting this into the children.
She had not seen a messenger of God for seven years. One day, a messenger of God called Jack was cycling past the house and he decided to call and say hello to her and she was so excited to see a messenger of God. She said, “Sam has not changed one bit and you had better go because I would not want him to abuse you.”
Jack said, “Before I go, can I sing you a hymn?” and he sang her a hymn. It is not in your book, and that hymn encourages people not to let go of that which is so precious and it keeps repeating, “Don’t let go of it.” So he sang her this hymn and it really encouraged her.
In that hymn, it says, “Though all is dark”; it couldn’t be darker for her and she wanted to follow Jesus and of course, not allowed to go to meetings and although all is dark, do not let go of that which is precious. It says, “Not a ray of light,” that means not a sign of light, but don’t let go. That was another little meeting, a man and a woman, a messenger of God and my grandmother.
There was not much said and they sang a hymn. I am sure if Jack had not sang that hymn to my grandmother, that there would be dozens of us today far away from God and may not even know of the way of Jesus. Hymns are very important and choosing hymns for meetings like this, we worry a lot about it. You cannot just choose any hymn, and it needs to be guided by God. Anyway, that was that.
After a few years, the neighbour’s farm was up for sale. New people bought it and do you know who they were? They were some of the friends. They did not know a woman on the next farm wants to follow Jesus and is not allowed. So, God’s servants told the family, “There is a woman on the next farm who wants to walk in the way of Jesus and she is not allowed to go to the meetings or have God’s messengers in her home.”
The new neighbour decided to do what she could and she made friends with my grandmother. She told her, “Every time you get Sam away anywhere , you walk across the farm and come to the boundary and call me and I shall come over and I will tell you everything I can about our meetings.”
Seven of the children were born at this stage and every time grandad was away somewhere, my grandmother would go across the field with seven children and call the neighbour and they had great meetings at the boundary. They did not sing hymns and the neighbour kept telling her anything to encourage her. Only for all those little meetings at the boundary, there would be a lot of us not knowing of this way.
That hymn that worker sang to my grandmother, it says, “There will come the breaking of the day.” Now my grandmother felt the breaking of the day has come and she was getting stronger and stronger in the things of God. So her new neighbour a few years later was going to have a baby, and babies were born at home and when the baby was born, the mother died.
Left a baby and husband and children and my grandmother was left with no fellowship. It says in that hymn, “Though hope and friends are gone, you have to still hold on.” The only friend she had in the truth was now gone and she felt all hope was gone.
Then my grandfather decided to sell the farm and move far away. He bought another farm and he did not know that some of God’s children lived one mile away. God’s messengers told these friends, “About a mile away, some people have bought a farm. For years, she has believed in the truth of God, but she is not allowed to go to meetings and God’s messengers are not allowed in the house.”
Two of God’s messengers decided to have gospel meetings nearby. Now my mother was 17 and her sister was 16. God’s messengers called at the house with an invitation to the gospel meetings. My grandmother said to my mother and her sister, “These are the men I have been telling you about all your life and their names were Jim Smith and Arthur Burge.”
For the first time in their life, my mother and her sister listened to the true messengers of God and they listened for weeks. Every time they came home, my grandmother would ask how the meeting went tonight. She could not go because she had seven other children. One night, they came home from the meeting and my grandmother asked them, “How did it go tonight?” My mother said, “I chose to walk in the way of Jesus tonight ,” and her sister said, “So did I.”
There were rays of light now and the father came in and my grandmother said to him, “Your daughters have news for you.” They said, “We both decided tonight to follow Jesus and you have hindered our mother all these years, but no more. On Sunday morning, there is a meeting one mile away and we will all help you to do everything on the farm early but we and our mother are going to the meeting.” So they did.
Then he decided to sell the farm and to take them away from it and they went away far. But God’s messengers kept on following them and they started gospel meetings near them. One messenger of God was a very godly woman and she felt, “Now the time has come when we should ask Sam to the gospel meetings.”
She got the courage to ask him to the gospel meetings and he just grunted at her. He did not say yes or no. The first gospel meeting Sam and all the other children arrived and he never missed a gospel meeting and he let God into his life. He went completely the other way, received a real love for God’s messengers and the way. I tell this to encourage you not for the sake of telling a story.
One of the children died but seven of the eight remaining children follow Jesus. 11 of the grandchildren are following Jesus and 11 of the great grandchildren are following Jesus. Eight of the great, great grandchildren and I am sure they are in a meeting this morning. They are young but their parents teach them you must be in a meeting on a Sunday morning so they are getting a great start in life.
Didn’t it pay my grandmother not to let go of that which is precious, when she couldn’t have a worker in the house or go to a meeting? If someone had told her, “Someday, your bad husband will follow Jesus and seven of your children will profess and 11 of your grandchildren and 11 of the great grandchildren will one day follow Jesus,” I am sure she would not have believed it. I just tell you this to encourage you and I don’t know anything about you really. There may be some in the meeting today where all seems dark. Some day will come the breaking of the day.
You know what the secret of the whole thing is – all those years, my grandmother sincerely prayed and this is the secret. No singing of the hymns or meeting at the fence would have kept going and it was sincerely praying.
I heard recently about a professing person and they told someone, “I have not prayed for months,” that is some of the worst news God’s messengers could hear. You know some of the saddest things naturally we can hear is that someone committed suicide. Spiritually, anyone who stops praying, they are going to commit suicide spiritually, very sad.
There is a hymn that says, “I will do the little I can do and I will leave the rest to Thee.” I enjoyed what our sister told us just now about the woman that just did what she could and that is what my grandmother did. She just did what she could and all she could do was to pray and keep telling the children there are true messengers in the world and she did what she could and left the rest to God.
I had a companion who died when he was 52 and he spoke about, “I will do the little I can do and leave the rest to Thee.” He said, “I am very afraid. You know what some people believe, ‘I will do as little as I can and leave the rest to Thee.'” If we do as little as we can do and leave it all to the Lord there is not much hope for us. Just do what you can and then leave it to God. The main thing is we sincerely pray. Once we stop praying, we will commit spiritual suicide, nothing surer.
I Corinthians 7:16, “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? Or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” You know what I have heard men say, “Bad man who have professing wives and finally they began to follow Jesus like my grandfather and they said, ‘My wife was an angel.’”
She would have been an angel and she lived Godly and she finally conquered her husband and it works the other way, as well. Some Godly men, their wives did not want to follow Jesus but they lived Godly lives and the wives were won. I want to encourage you if all seems dark and not even a ray of light, make sure you pray sincerely every day and do what you can and leave the rest to God.
In that hymn that was sung to my Grandmother, it says, “If you let go, all you have to go on to is death and hell.” Today I would encourage you all just to keep on going. That is why the messengers of God continue to help us and why we have convention.
Because none of us want to stop serving God, as all it leads to is death and hell. This is so very serious, it is more than serious and I do not know if I will ever see you again but I want to encourage you whatever happens, never let go of that which is so precious.