Alec Wright – Renewal, Wise & Foolish – Serima Zimbabwe Convention – 2006

“For which cause we faint not, but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 We sometimes hear about the miracle of convention.  I have been thinking of the miracle of renewing.  I hope that in these days we have all experienced the miracle of renewing.  I was thinking the other day, “Do I have any hard feelings against anyone?”  I was glad I could be honest and say, “I do not have any hard feelings against anyone that I know about.”  It is not my goodness.  It is just God’s ability to renew our spirit.
In this verse it speaks about being renewed day by day.  Imagine if God only had to renew us at convention.  Can you imagine what our spirits would be like after a year?  The renewing of our spirit is day by day.  The outward man perishes.  I first came to Serima 42 years ago.  I can remember quite a few of you, what you looked like at that time.  If you look at me, you can see that the years are doing something to us.  We are getting older.  The ground is calling us, calling our bodies because the body is perishing.  Is there anybody here that is not perishing?  We are made of a material that perishes.  The inner man is being renewed every day.  We look at some of the older people here who could hardly make it here.  They want to be here.  It is the body that is old, but inside is the new man.  We are so glad to have our older people with us.  Maybe for some, their mind is not so good either.  They cannot even pray as they used to pray.  God is faithful to the old people.  He will allow these miracles to take place deep inside the heart.  The miracle that says, “I love this way.  I love these people.”  Many can say, “I love the workers.”  There was a sister worker one day who said, “At the end of the year, I would like the Lord to be able to say to me, ‘Thank you for loving my people.'”
There are many of God’s children.  When they come to the end of the year, they would also like the Lord to say, “Thank you for loving my servants.”  There are some hymns that we have been singing all our lives.  When we sing them, they are fresh to us.  We have been listening to things we have been hearing for many years.  Are we tired of it?  No, because it is fresh.  God renews these old truths to us day by day.  The prayers we listen to, we have heard some things prayed for, for many years.  We can say, “Amen.”  We love to listen to the prayers, especially the prayers that come from the heart because it is like new again.
When God makes a new day, you see the sun coming up.  It is fresh.  It is a new day.  It looks new.  It smells new.  It feels new.  Everything about it feels new.  This way of God also, everyday God wants us to feel something brand new.  If we don’t pray, it will not happen like that.  We may have a young body.  If we don’t pray, we can have an old man inside of us.
In Samuel 2:19, we read of a man 80 years old.  The writer thought that this age was very, very old.  Some of you are getting near to that.  Some of you have passed it already.  You may not think it is so very old.  This man said, “My eyes can’t see the difference between good and evil.  My ears can’t hear the singing.  I can’t taste the food so well anymore.”  If this man inside of us is getting old, the things of God do not taste so nice anymore.  We are not hearing the voice of God.  We are not seeing the way so clearly.  We are not seeing our own wrongs so clearly.  If this body inside of us is getting old, we are seeing all the wrongs in others.  We see no wrong in ourselves.  If our eyes are seeing properly, we see all the wrong in ourselves.  By grace, we forgive all the wrong we see in others.
It is sad to see some of our young people who have gone away from the way of God.  They have married outsiders.  They have lost their taste for the way of God.  Maybe some have got offended because of what someone said or did.  They start staying away from meetings.  They are not seeing the importance of the meetings anymore.  Afterwards, they are not hearing the voice of God anymore.  Where are they today?  They are not here.  They are far away.  We hope they come nearer.
When you get older, you can see an old person by their walk.  It says in the bible, “Walk about Zion.”  How do we walk about Jerusalem?  I like to think that even when we are old, we can walk about Jerusalem.  We can think of the people we have met long ago.  We can think of the people who are serving God in other cities.  In our minds, we are walking.  We are keeping on walking, not only thinking of ourselves.  We are thinking of other people.  In the world, when people get older more and more, they just think of themselves, very dangerous.  If God renews us inside we still walk, walk about Jerusalem.  There was an old lady in bed in Cape Town, for thirty years.  When you came there, you could speak of many people and she remembers them.  Even though she was in bed, she was walking about Jerusalem.  She was still young inside.
When you get old, you get a problem.  It is hard to bend.  If we get old inside, it is hard to bend, hard to bend to the will of God.  We have been in contact with a sister who was in the work for many years.  The time has come when she is not able.  She is in a home where she is being cared for by other people.  Every time we come there, we are still seeing signs of willingness to bend.  Even though the outward man is perishing, inside this sister of ours is still trying to bend, bend to the will of God.
There is something we can do even when the body gets older.  We can do what Paul did, “I reach forward to that which is ahead of me.”  A man who gets renewed has lots and plenty ahead of him and can reach out to it.  We are having our last meetings today.  This is not the end.  We are reaching out to what God has for us tomorrow.  Even if tomorrow is not on this earth, we are reaching for what is there for us in eternity.
In the world today, in the medical world, doctors are trying to find a medicine that will make you young again or try to get a medicine that will keep you young.  The most clever people in this world have not yet found such a medicine.  The Lord has such a medicine.  It is the water of the word of our Lord Jesus.  If we drink it, it will keep us young.  If we don’t drink it, aren’t we foolish?  If there was a medicine to keep our body young, don’t you think we would have drunk it?  Now God has given to us the water of life to keep us renewed day by day.  If we don’t drink it, aren’t we something like the five foolish?  What made those five foolish?  We all think that we are among the five wise.
King David said, “Lord, you know my foolishness.”  There is probably a bit of foolishness in every one of us here today.  We would like to know what is this foolishness that would make us among the foolish.  When someone makes a start to serve God, if they don’t become like a little child, they cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.  They can come to meetings but they can’t enter the kingdom of heaven.  The five foolish, maybe they thought we could enter into the meetings and to the kingdom of God.
We don’t have to become like a little child.  Maybe we are clever, we can help these people to speak, as they hardly know how to speak in these meetings.  We have seen a few people like that.  They try to have a part in this way, but they never came in like a little child.  You do not expect a great oration from a little child, and they came in with great orations.  Did they stay?  No, foolish people come in as big people.  There is something that could be very foolish in my life today.
We look at the bread and wine.  It is a message from God, “I gave you My Son to live and die for you, to take away your sins, and to take you home for eternity.”  If I am foolish I will think like this, “I can’t forgive other people, but I am sure the Lord will forgive me.”  That is not possible.  We can take the bread and wine and we can think we are forgiven.  We could be foolish because if we are not forgiving one another.  The blood of Jesus will not cleanse us from all sin.  Let us not be found amongst the foolish.
Sometimes we visit Baba Ephraim.  On his veranda, there is a piece of wall that comes down.  One year when I was there, when I got onto the stoop of the veranda, I bumped my head.  The next year, I went there.  When I got onto the stoop, I bumped my head.  It happened the third time.  It could have been more times.  Isn’t that foolish?  Foolish people don’t learn.  Sometimes the Lord has to tell me, “Don’t you learn?  Haven’t you learned at times to keep your mouth shut?”  It is wise and keeps you from lots of problems in life.  It keeps the peace inside.  Before you know you have spoken what you should not have spoken and you suffer again.  The foolish never learn.
If I cut my hand off, is it going to stay alive?  If you cut off a branch from the tree, will it stay alive?  The foolish think, “If I have problems in the meeting and people say things I don’t like, I can still serve God on my own.  I don’t have to go to meetings to serve God.”  The foolish think, “I can cut off my arm and it will still stay alive.”  It will die.  Why do the old people here want to be in the meeting, come to convention?  Some cannot take in much here at the convention.  They have the feeling, “I want to stay part of this body.  I want to stay alive.”  If you take the branch out of the fire, will it keep on burning?  If you separate yourself from the meetings, don’t expect the heart to stay warm.  It will get cold, and it will die.
Sometimes we see these fly catchers people put up.  It’s a container and there is a hold for the fly to get in.  Inside this container, there is something that smells nice to a fly.  Doesn’t smell nice to us, but it does to a fly.  Can you imagine that fly flying around?  It says, “I am free.  I see the other flies in there who are caught.”  You can see inside this container.  This fly, in his thoughts, thinks, “I want something that is inside there.  Nothing is going to stop me.  I am free.  I can do with my life what I want to.”  It goes inside.  It is caught, not free anymore.  I have never seen any flies that are inside that want to stay there.  The foolish person said, “I am free to do whatever I want to do in this life, because I am free.”  The wise say, “I am free to do the will of God and I am not going to let anybody stop me.”  We know that those people are really free.
There was a little dog at the gate.  The gate was closed.  Every day we passed, we saw that this dog wanted to get out because it was looking out every day.  One day I went for a walk in the morning.  I looked inside the neighbours’ premises.  There lay the little dog dead.  Somebody went out.  This one thought that if the other one has gone out, I can go out too.  He never thought about the big dogs who did not like this little dog.  That was the end of the dog.  His freedom was his death.  Don’t let our freedom be our death.
Somebody went to the doctor.  The doctor said to this person, “You have got an incurable disease.  We can’t help you.  You have not got long to live.”  That friend said to the doctor, “I am not afraid to die.  Long ago, I started to think about this time.  I started to prepare for this day.”  The wise person thinks of the day of death, the fool thinks, “I must make the most of every day.”
There was a man in South Africa.  He tried to serve God.  He failed.  He tried again and he failed again.  Up and then down again.  Went on like that for quite a few years.  One day, his son fell out of a building.  He fell on his head, in hospital, unconscious.  The father said, “God, if you will spare my son this time, I will serve you.”  I saw that son.  He recovered.  I saw him at the grave of his father.  I thought, “That man we are burying, he owes so much to that boy because he promised to serve God if the Lord would spare that boy.  This time when he started to serve God, he never stopped.”  I saw that man on his deathbed.  He was so glad for that time when he started to serve God in spirit and in truth.  Maybe God will send experiences across our way because he wants to renew us, to fulfill his purpose in us.
Can we say today like a new born baby, I have got no past but I have got a future?  We all have a past.  If we can say, “All my hard feelings, it is in the past.  I am not taking any with me in the future.  All my doubts and fears, they are in the past.  I am going into the future.  I want to walk with this One that we are thinking about now who gave His life for me and who spoke words that we should be wise.  We should not be fools.  We should be going out to meet our bridegroom.”  There is joy awaiting for the people who get renewed day by day.  I hope that is everyone of us.
Closing hymn, “Till We Meet Again”