Exodus 12:22,…blood sprinkled on the door posts…none go out of the door of his house until the morning. My personal testimony in this meeting would be to say: I am glad to be here. I’m glad He ever found me and came to dwell within. That is my personal testimony. The reason why we want to give our testimonies – and we appreciate all who did – we would have no testimony to give at this Convention if it were not for Jesus testimony, in His life, His death, His sacrifice, His ascension and resurrection. We know that the only way we can preserve His testimony in the world, God is trusting us to do this, is by preserving Jesus’ testimony within our own hearts and within our own lives and we all pray that we will preserve this testimony of Jesus and the Word of God without spot, unrebukable until the day of Christ. Those words tell us God’s message to us today is that we will not go out of the house until that eternal morn.
I am glad to say I have been dwelling in God’s house for over sixty years. I professed in 1930 when I was a boy. I am so glad for all the years I have sought to give to God. They haven’t been all perfect but I have sought to give the years of my life in a joy to the God of Heaven. I have had a very, very rich life too from that time until today and I would pray I would allow nothing in my life to spoil all those years. It’s what a brother wrote to me from Sweden, he is over 70 years of age, he said he had a very rich life ever since he made his choice to walk with God and had fellowship with His people. He said: I would hate to think I would allow anything now to spoil those wonderful years I have had in God’s family. This is worthy of all acceptation for us this morning, that is why we need to be guarding over our sacrifice until the setting of life’s sun, just like Abraham did and you remember what he did? He drove the fowls away; we need to drive the fowls away too.
We think of Jesus guarding and watching over His sacrifice of His life on earth until the setting of life’s sun for Him, God is giving us strength these days that we may do the same, watching over our whole burnt offering wherever we might be, whether amongst God’s people or alone, it’s wonderful to think God is able and under all circumstances we are watching over that whole burnt offering that God alone will have it, no one would be able to take it from us. I am sure we could all say this morning like David: Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy house… Isn’t it wonderful that we can say those same words, we just love the habitation of God’s house and our desire is the same as the desire David expressed when he said: One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to enquire in his temple. This is what we are doing these days as we are presenting ourselves before God, making enquiries of God, asking God for help and wisdom and understanding, we are speaking about His life, the life of Jesus. It is very wonderful to be here these days, hearing the same messages here as anywhere we go in the world.
There are two outstanding things and the first is the need of more and more Christ likeness in all our lives and the other is the need that we will preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Now, we hope none of us ever walk out of God’s muse. We have everything in God’s house to meet every need. No people in all the world have such fellowship and friendship and have the peace and hope and comfort in the future as God’s people by dwelling in this house, but these things are only found in the house of God and to think God has allowed us to have the privilege to be enjoying all the precious things found in His house these days, He is seeking to fill the chambers again with all the pleasant, precious riches. That is why the Psalmist said: Who have I in Heaven but Thee and when I think of it there is nothing on earth I desire beside Thee and it is good to know about this house of God, that we want to adorn this house of God wherever we are found, fill our place faithfully, do His will faithfully because at the time when those verses were written to us, on the outside, of this House of Israel there was death, but to all inside, there was life and there was the Lamb, there was fellowship, that is why the only safety was to stay in the house and this is our safety too, just staying in the house of God until that eternal morn.
When I was in West Africa four years ago at Special Meetings, one of the native friends travelled from the time he stopped work on Friday afternoon, travelled till he arrived on Saturday morning 9.30 for the meeting. She gave her testimony and this is what she was speaking about. We just marvelled God gave her understanding of this 12th chapter of Exodus and she said in testimony that her prayer was she would stay in this house until that eternal morn, not only stay in the house but while in the house she would be feeding on the Lamb of God; this is what the Israelites were doing also, they were feeding on the lamb. Its good to know we are seeking to do that, feeding on this Lamb of God and seeking to feed the Lamb nature in our own hearts from all God is able to give to us.
I was thinking also about our need to have a fixed purpose. When we are in this house, we get to know there are limits God set for His people and this was the limit, they were not to go out of the house and I felt, wouldn’t it be good even in our day we would remember for our safety as God’s people, God has set rightful limits for us but we must respect them, obey them because it is
God that is setting them and they will be for our safety and for our salvation.
You think of in the Garden of Eden, God set a limit there; they were not to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, that was the limit, that was for their safety. I would like to respect the limits also God has set for my life. Remember God has set them so that He can preserve us and keep us safe until that eternal morn as we continue to go through this world. We could never have this wonderful fellowship we are having these days it if were not that we are in the house, that we are of one mind, one mouth, one Spirit that has taught us all, all our spirits these days are blending together in harmony because of God’s Spirit, that is why we are able to have this precious fellowship as we dwell in the house.
We remember a time we were not in God’s house, that is why we read in Psalms 84, about the sparrow and swallow and how they found a nest. We remember that time too when we were seeking, just like the swallow and the sparrow, we found God’s house, God chose us and brought us into His house where we have dwelt from that time onward. We remember how precious it is to be dwelling in God’s house. I heard about a doctor one time making his calls in a very, very poor section of the city, dense poverty; he was in a back lane behind a house and he saw three little sisters playing. He thought he would have a chat with them: it’s a pity you don’t have a nice home to live in. The eldest girl said: oh, but we do have a nice home but we don’t have a nice house to put it in. The doctor couldn’t see the inside, all he saw was the house but he couldn’t see beyond the walls to what was inside, that there was a home in the house, there was a homelife they were enjoying and living. It is how the world looks upon God’s house in the world, from the outside it appears weak and base, nothing to be desired. As long we have a strong inside, we are safe; we could have a weak, base look outside as far as the world goes, let us -make sure we are in the house of God, we have a strong inside so nothing would ever come about that a thief would break into this house and cause the Kingdom of God to suffer lose, that is why God is trusting us as we dwell one with another in the house of God and as we have fellowship one with another, this is God’s message at this Convention also, He doesn’t want any of us to ever leave this House that we have found our eternal home in.
The next little thought I enjoyed is in Exodus 21, it tells us there about that servant, you remember the story, the servant could go out free if he wanted to but his wife and children would belong to the master. It tells us if the servant would plainly say: I love my master…I will not go out free, then they would take him and bore his ear, a sign to all the world he wanted all the world to know now he belonged to his master, that he would serve him forever. This is what we have just been singing about. The one that said: I love my Master, he said plainly; we would not want to say weakly, we want to say plainly we love our Master, our desire is to serve Him forever and for aye, that we would declare plainly we are seeking this better country God has prepared for all who love the appearing of Christ. It’s wonderful to read this little account and to understand what it means for us to have our liberty in Christ Jesus. Lord, lead me captive to Thy will, a joyous prisoner by choice, a willing slave to Thy command, Controlled and guided by Thy voice. Our liberty is by being/willing slave of Christ. We sing in a hymn: my freedom is Thy grand control.
I was thinking about my little sister, one time after mother made her choice, my little sister wasn’t very old and wanted to take part in some function and go to a certain place. My mother said: Edna, I don’t want you to do that. Edna said: but mother, you did that when you were a little girl! I wonder what you would answer but mother, anyway, answered very wisely, she said: Edna, when I was a little girl I never knew the will of God for my life then as I know the will of God for my life and the will of God for you as a little girl. Edna accepted those words, she held her peace, she obeyed mother and fitted into mother’s will and later on in her life she chose to fit in to the will of God. We can be so thankful for this will of God that is keeping us, preserving us from taking a course that would move us away further and further and further from God, that is why we should never want to go out free. Since we have come into this way of God, we should never desire to go free again like we once were. Think how terrible it would be to desire to be free from Christ, from bearing the burdens, free from bowing the shoulder to bear for the Kingdom’s sake.
A couple this last year where I come from, were in trying circumstances no doubt but they went out free, that was their desire and they said to some friends they were so glad now to be free, free from bearing the burdens of the day free from taking up the cross. I tell you, friend, how long are you going to be free? I was thinking of a verse in Deut. it tells us there His people went away from God, God said: if you do that you will be scattered throughout all nations, you will even be afraid of the shaking of a leaf, that will make you afraid because God is not with you, that is why none of us should ever want to just go out on our own again but praying earnestly, as never before, I must have the Saviour with use for I dare not go alone. We have been released by the sacrifice of Jesus, the power of God’s Spirit can release us from when we were captives to sin, God brought us into His way, captivity of righteousness that we enjoy these days, loving to be captives to righteousness, loving to be conquered by the love of God and not only that we love the One that has conquered us, that is God’s dear Son that is why we sing that hymn: Lord lead me captive to Thy will, a joyous, willing prisoner by choice, we just don’t want to go back to the bondage that once we were in and not enjoy in the reign of Christ the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Even young Joseph when he was put in prison, his mind wasn’t there, his mind was free. I tell you, you don’t know how thankful we should be to have liberty of mind every day we live. You think of the world today, how people are in bondage in their mind and thoughts but God’s people, they enjoy this glorious liberty because their mind is being controlled by the mind of Christ and I often think of Paul when he was in prison, he said he was bound but the Word of God wasn’t bound and this is something the enemy can never do; it might bind us, it will never, never bind the Word of God and that wonderful chapter we have in Hebrews 11, and what those people of God did by faith, one could read over in that chapter this little sentence, they said to their enemies: you can take our lives but you can never take the faith God has set in our hearts, you can’t take that from us, this is why Jude wrote we need to contend for this faith which was once delivered unto the saints and it is only faith that is going back to Heaven again, the faith that came down from Heaven in Jesus. One thing the devil would like to do with all of us, he would like to sift that faith out of our heart in his deceitful way. We must have this faith concerning the creation that the world would like to take away; we must have faith in the story of Jesus at all times as it is given to us by the Holy Spirit.
Just to tell you a little about what if, means to be in captivity, there were two brothers in Korea one time, you might have heard, they were plagued by rats in their sleeping quarters; a trap was made with a little door that pushed up and when the rat crossed the threshold down would come the door. They heard a noise during the night and saw a rat coming to the opening of the trap; there was the cheese, that was the bait. The boys said that that rat walked back and forth several times before it would go in, finally it decided to go in and as it crossed over the threshold, down came the door. I don’t know all the story, they said for two hours after the rat didn’t touch the cheese. Why? Because its liberty was gone, it was a captive. You know, this story is good for all of us as we think of us making choices in the future. How sad it would be if we were to make choices that we would lose our liberty in Christ and become a prisoner, we would be in bondage, looking back, as people did in the Lamentations of Jeremiah; it tells us in the days of captivity they thought back on all the wonderful things that they had enjoyed when God was with them. Oh, may we not want to ever, ever go out free, may we want God to do the choosing for us and that we would choose all things according to His mind and to His will.
In I Samuel 12, God’s people wanted to be like other nations. If we want to be like them, we would lose our identity; there won’t be anything for people to see if we lose our, identity as God’s people. They wanted to be like other nations. God said: you let them go and choose and this is what they did but then, we know the story, God let them know how great a sin this was. It tells us they were so troubled about that themselves; they were nearly overcome. We have added to our sin this sin of asking for a king but Samuel comforted them, Fear not ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart,.. A wonderful instance of God’s compassion, His method of healing those people .God sends us His Word here these days to be healing us too where we need healing and help where we need help. He is the Great Physician, there is no need amongst us but what God can meet, that is why we need to mix the Word with faith and hearing these days. If we don’t it can’t profit us, if we do mix the Word of God with faith God can be to us above all we believe, or ask, or even think. how Samuel, with his comforting words, brought the people back again to that right setting and he said: it has pleased God to make you His people, don’t go away, because, if you go away, where will you go? You will just go back to those things that will never ever hope to profit you, you will have no one to deliver you.
That was dreadful when that king Asa lost faith in God and went to a physician instead of God in his old age. We think of those wonderful words that Samuel spoke to those people, giving them fresh heart, fresh courage again. You know, friends, its God’s will for us here these days, not one of His little ones would ever, ever perish and if you feel you are one of His little ones today, you remember the importance Jesus put upon His little ones – He says, the little ones angels behold the face of My Father in Heaven. Such comforting words Jesus spoke about His little ones. Samuel’s compassion set the people with fresh faith and courage again that they continued that is why God wants us to rise up too, whatever may be our condition that we came in, this could be the changing point in our lives, we go out, as we heard, another way than what we came in, with fresh confidence, fresh hope for the future.
One thing maybe I could say that we all fall down in as God’s people, we don’t remember Jesus enough as our Great High Priest. We love to speak of the Lord in every other way but we must not forget the work of Jesus as our Great High Priest, interceding day and night for the needs of His people. When you feel you are in need of cleansing, you are in need of help, you come boldly to that throne of grace where you can find help, where you can find mercy in time of need and while all have come short of the glory of God, remember, friend, that none have come short of the mercy of God. As long as we seek His mercy, that mercy is from everlasting to everlasting upon those that fear God and in Psalm 37:3, is a similar thought; it speaks there of dwelling in the land and being satisfied, that is God’s land, this is where God has put us, dwelling in His land, it is good, there is nothing lacking in that land, God’s eyes are upon this land from morning till night, from day to day, from year to year, the eye of the Lord is upon His land where His people are dwelling. Good to remember His eyes are still over the righteous, His ear is open to our prayer and that He is watching over us so carefully because, you know what it reads there in James, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruits of the earth… receive the early and latter rain, that is why God is anxious as we get older that the fruit that is ripening lest anything come to take away His expectation.
I heard one time about apples, the last two things nature takes out of her are the bitterness and the hardness, I think that is correct. That is what God too is anxious about, that those things would be in our life, good to know God can take it out. Sometimes we feel we don’t know how to deliver ourselves but God knows how to deliver the godly; He is not worried about that, if we trust in God, God knows how to deliver the godly out of every temptation, every experience. When Christ is reigning over us it makes it possible for us to be reigning over our situation, bringing everything in line again to the will and mind of God, that is why we want to keep dwelling in this land.
If you want to read a very sad verse, look at Jeremiah 22:10, “we shouldn’t weep for the dead, but for him that goeth away out of the land for he shall never see his native country.” I had an experience in … I had to leave the Workers, there weren’t very many there; I had to hand in two documents before I left the country, it came so real to me, I knew I could always get in for three months again, but now I could never, never return again to that little nice country. A strange feeling crept into my heart as I handed the documents in and boarded the plane, I knew I’d never see that land again. That is how we need to be, in earnest in God’s family; that is why Jesus said: blessed are they that mourn, mourning for their own needs, mourning for others that have gone out of God’s land and never had the privilege to return again, that is why God wants us to value our privilege and let us not forget Naomi and Elimelech who left that land of Bethlehem and all the sorrow that came into their lives because there was no bread in Bethlehem, but God was keeping His people alive in time of famine. God knows how to keep us alive in time of famine. Some of the friends in North and South are so far from fellowship, they get two or three visits, very few but just the same, God was keeping them alive in time of famine, they are just as close to the throne of grace as we are here at Convention. We all know even though at Convention we must determine ourselves how close we want to come to this throne of grace – that is where our help comes from. Let us make sure while we are here in time that we will touch that throne so God can give us the help we need.
I thought of Naomi bringing Ruth back, you know that wonderful story, they came back at the beginning of the barley harvest; that is what met Naomi, the barley harvest. I thought of all God has prepared and is preparing for those in our day who, as prodigals, want to return again to God’s house and enjoy what they once enjoyed and Naomi knew her only hope was to return again to God’s land because it was tugging at her heart strings in that land while in Moab. Orpah, the treasures and pleasures of the world were tugging at Orpah’s heart strings. I hope the prosperity and cause of the Kingdom of God wherever we are found are tugging at our heart strings and it’s our greatest joy and responsibility every day.
I also enjoyed Psalm 84:6, tells us there about one that passed through the valley of Bacca and made it a well. They didn’t make it by staying but by passing through. God doesn’t want us to stay when we get in the valley of weeping, God never meant we should stay there, God meant us to just keep passing through, then make it a well. We are glad for all here today who have had such experiences and didn’t give up in it, they kept passing through until they came out. God enriched them and gave them riches and treasures out of that experience, they were drinking from the wells of those precious souls, that is why we think of all this means for us today, we think of Jacob, all he went through and he said one time: all these things are against me but, you know, friends, they were for him, he saw that later on. Sometimes we could feel some of those things are against you, may we have a faith to just continue going on, passing through until we see God’s deliverance, God’s hand, God’s purpose being fulfilled so we would not miss the riches and treasures of what God is seeking to bring into our lives from such experiences.
I was reading of the terrible sad time in David’s life, because of Absalom’s death, David wept as he went, it says later on all the people followed him weeping as he went up but, you know, friend, the most important part was that they kept going up; they were weeping but they wouldn’t stop, they kept going up and, you know, it was an uphill road for our Master and it will be for us. No doubt we too recognise that too, what it is going to mean to us one day when we reach the desired haven and look back knowing it was possible, we just kept on going up under all circumstances and it is good to know we all have an effect on one another. One man was asked the question: why are you going on? Well, others are going on and it helped me to go on, if I keep going on I may be able to encourage others to do the same. That is how we can all encourage one another and quicken one another’s steps, help us all to gird up the loins of our mind because of seeking to be faithful. It is not in vain; it is our whole life and will bring a wonderful reward on that last day.
Here we are today drinking of Jacob’s well. You know, the well he took spiritually, it was out of a struggle Jacob had beforehand; if he had only taken the first steps and ever not taken the last etens we would not be able to drink of Jacob’s spiritual well these days. How rich a life he had and all that it means to us because he kept on going_ until the end, now we are sharing in his well and other wells of God’s dear faithful, loyal people. I am just so glad to see today all of Cod’s worthy people are not only in the past but also found in the future. Oh, may we just keep going on ourselves and finish loyal in this race so we will, not only in lifetime but after we are gone, we will leave a spiritual well that can be refreshing and strengthening and a help to others in following days.
Another one is in Luke 4, Jesus being in the wilderness. Someone said Jesus could have walked out of the wilderness. Sometimes in the wilderness experience God’s people have walked out it has happened with some that have been sorry ever since, if only they had waited until they had been led out by the Spirit. Jesus He waited and then He returned from that testing in the power of the Spirit to Galilee. We can learn that wonderful lesson when we have been ourselves in the wilderness experience, as we seek God’s purpose, God’s hand. Three things helped Jesus overcome Satan that day in the wilderness that He was led of the Spirit and that He had a true purpose of heart, He subdued and surrendered His will and we could say there were four things, the fourth was, He had a few Scriptures; that is all. When the devil tempted Him Jesus used the Scripture. When the enemy comes and tries to hinder us and cause us to have less faith and lose faith, you remember that you can defeat the enemy with the Word of God too. You can say just like Jesus: I believe this because it is written, and we know God will stand by us and be true to us if we are true to Him and that is why we need to remember that He who led us through once, who led us out once to enrich us by every experience, when we see God’s hand in the experience He passes us through, this would bring comfort and hope as we see God’s hand. I had a companion one time some years ago who said: whenever you speak in a fellowship or gospel meeting, you leave people with hope, never finish your message without leaving hope with them because people have something to accompany them into the morning, for with God there is hope. We know this Convention will leave us all with renewed hope, that our hope and confidence today are deeply rooted in the Lord.
The last little thought I enjoyed is in Acts 27:31 our brother touched on this storm on the sea, Paul said: except ye abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved. This is God’s ship we are in and the Lord is at the helm, that is why this ship will never, never sink. I was on a boat from Denmark to Sweden, I remember the day was very foggy, we were travelling very slow, the captain finally ran up on a rock and stuck; it was quite an experience, I just stood and watched all the crew and how they were working together; this was a lesson, they all worked together for safety, for the rescue of life. The thought came to me, if there had been any disunity amongst the crew before that, now, in this crisis they were facing, all worked together, they put all the little differences aside because we were in danger.
You know, friend, we are in God’s ship too. This ship will never sink. We want to be faithful working together as true faithful brethren, it is for our safety too. It is good to know God’s four ships. I would like us to always remember the first ship is the fellowship of God and that is by separation. We have fellowship with God by separation. The fellowship of His Son, that comes by submission. Fellowship with each other comes of what we heard last night, loving one another, that is why I never want to be guilty of violating the law of love, maybe more so as we partake of the emblems. Every time we do we never want to be guilty of violating the law of love, and the fourth ship is the fellowship of God’s Spirit. Even if God’s people are far from one another, friends are far away, God left an avenue open where we can have access to the fellowship of His Spirit. It is what Jesus said, He would leave that with them, that Spirit would be with them, would be in them and that He would never leave them comfortless, that is why you as God’s people who are far from others take comfort in the fellowship of His Spirit which is as near to you as it is to all.
All these things give full assurance, full provision God has planned for all His people from start to finish of this experience of being His people that is why when the cloud, you remember the story of the cloud and fire, the cloud and fire guided God’s people, it was within the sight of all God’s people, not just some here and there but everyone of God’s people. God has given us the provision of the cloud to guide us by day and the fire by night. I hope we will see Heaven behind us and its provision so complete so that none of us would ever miss out on God’s expectation for us. May we go forth from this Convention with renewed purpose, renewed desire so that the God that has begun this good work in our hearts, we would just allow His every day to continue that work and finish that good work until the day of Christ.