Since coming to this convention, I have been very conscious that there has been a merciful God, and there have been merciful listeners and there have been merciful servants. These are the three things that are so important and most of all, I feel that we need to lay to the heart as the servants of God to be merciful. I have noticed that when Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus, and two of his co-workers he wrote to them saying, “Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you,” but when he wrote to the saints like to the Philippians, Ephesians and others, he says, “Grace and peace.” As we deliver this message of God, we need to be merciful to deliver these things with mercy, considering one another and we are thankful that this truth came to us in mercy. A merciful God and merciful servants that deliver the message of God in the spirit of kindness. We can pay back a debt of gold, but we are forever in debt to one who is kind. I feel that I owe so much to those who have brought the message of hope and life and they brought it in such a Godly way that I could not deny it. I am thankful that this way of truth is still the same. I was glad that yesterday I could have the privilege of standing on the shore and watching the baptism as one by one they entered into the water that brought back good memories that refreshed my soul. I remember a little baptism we had in Mexico. We were gathered at the water’s edge and a brother came to me, he said, “Would it be alright when I am being baptized if I have my keys in my pocket?” I said, “I suppose they won’t rust,” He said, “That is what I am thinking about if I have my keys in my pocket; I can’t baptize my home, I can’t baptize my car, but if when I am baptized, I have my keys in my pocket, every time I put the key into the door of my home I can purpose that nothing can pass the door of this home that displeases God, and every time I put the key into the car this car will go no place that will dishonour God.” I said, “Yes, baptize the keys.” Good if we could try to keep these things before us, that baptism not only means that we take this step but purpose in our hearts that everything that we own is used for the honour of God, to please Him and do His bidding.
I have been reading in Matthew, and some of the first chapters have appealed to me very much. We read first all about Joseph, he was a just man. The birth of Jesus was a miracle birth and the birth of John the Baptist was a miracle birth and we remember others. Isaac was a miracle birth. Abraham and Sarah thought it would be impossible. Samuel was a miracle birth. Sampson was a miracle birth and can you think of another miracle birth? I would say a miracle birth that is most important to me was the day that I was born into the family of God and made part of this family of God. God desires a family, not an organisation, not a religion, God desires a family and the only possible way to enter the family is by a new birth. The world today is full of religion and they are multiplying and it leaves people confused. Jesus says, “I have come to give you Life.” It is life that the Lord desires to give us. In this 1st chapter it tells us about Joseph v.19, “He was a just man,” Joseph was a just man and he didn’t act on first impulses. His first impulse was to put her away. While he thought on this thing, God appeared to him in a dream. When I read in the Bible about a dream, it is something that we all can be partakers of. When a person is dreaming, they are alone in a quiet place and thoughts come into a person’s mind and it is then that the Lord is able to make clear what we ought to do. While he thought of these things, he didn’t act on impulse. You remember the time that David went to Nathan and talked to him of that desire in his heart that he wanted to build a house for God. Nathan listened to him and he said, “That is perfectly good, it is a Godly mark, you can go ahead.” But it tells us that night an angel appeared to him, he was doing just exactly what every servant of God does before going to sleep, we think about the need and ask God’s mind, His will, and His purpose, and the Lord told him, “It is not for David to build but it is for his son, Solomon.” Nathan was man enough, the next day he went to David and he told him, “Well, I thought of these things and in the night, the Lord appeared and He made clear to me that it is not for you to build, it is for your son.” David could very easily have been provoked and said, “How do you expect me to have any confidence in you? One day, you tell me something and the next day, you tell me something else.” But David accepted it in the right spirit and he said, “I will do everything to let the one that God chooses build.” Sometimes we like to do things but it is not in the will of God. We can think if I cannot do it, I am just going to sit and pout. How good if we can feel, I will strengthen the hands of the one the Lord chooses to do things. I have felt very glad in my heart that a man like Joseph, a man that was Godly, he took the Lord’s advice, “That which will be born of her is of God,” Helps her, stand by her, and be loyal to her and Joseph was all that.
There were wise men that came from the east, came seeking Jesus. When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem; they were wise men because they were seeking Jesus. We are wise in the eyes of the Lord when we consciously seek to find Jesus and to serve Him and to worship Him. As a result of their going, they were led by a star. A star that men cannot control and the servants of God are reflecting the light of the Son and they are not controlled by man, they are controlled by God. That star led them, they turned back and went away first of all and thought it cannot be. The star apparently waited till they came and they followed it and found Him in the home. That is where we find the Lord today in a home where God’s honour dwells and where God is dwelling. We read about another wise man in Chapter 7, “A wise man digs deep,” that is the kind of a person that God will call wise, that builds on a solid rock. We are building day by day a temple that man cannot see, and it is good when we dig deep. One building in Mexico stood 44 stories high and it was not moved by the earthquake. They built according to specifications and for 3 years they were driving piles one after another night and day until they reached solid rock. Then that building was put on rockers and when the earthquake came, the architect of that building stayed in his office, and that building never moved, it swayed but did not move, not a crack in it, it was built on the solid rock. Three years, night and day, driving piles one after another, on top of each other until they reached solid rock. A lot of time was spent laying a foundation and wherever this gospel is preached a lot of time is spent laying a foundation. We are thankful for God’s servants that came to this country. Came to our country and came to every part, they laid a solid foundation, a foundation that can never be moved and we are thankful for that. God called them wise men.
There were wise virgins, wise virgins because they had oil in their lamps. Virgins refers to the church. Five were wise and five were foolish and they were all together, they all had their lamps but some of them were just unwilling. There were certain reservations, I am not just willing for all of what the servants say, “They are just expecting a bit too much.” But those that had the oil in their vessels, there were no reservations. It says that the call came at midnight, the end of one day and the beginning of a new day. They that were ready had the oil in their vessels. Everything in order, everything in shape. Others said, “Lend us your oil,” but they could not lend it. They were willing for anything then no matter what it cost, they were willing now and they tried, but the door was shut. I tell you folks, it pays to be willing and to have everything ready. There was one sailor and he was made captain of a ship for a certain company and they enquired of him, “Are you able to take care of that ship and have it in good shape so that when the tempest comes and the winds blow, will you be able to keep it?” The man answered, “When the wind blows, I can lay down and sleep.” It was because everything was battened down, everything was taken care of. Everything is safe, everything is secured. A sailor once said, “There were boats made of wood, but there were men made of steel. Now there are boats made of steel, but there are just men of wood, not able to stand much.” The Lord wants solid men. We heard a good deal about men yesterday and I enjoyed it. The Lord likes to see those that are men. I know a good friend of mine, he said, “In my home I wear the pants, but my wife tells me which ones to put on!” There are these three things in which the Lord will call us a wise and understanding people, ones that are seeking Him, to know Him, love Him and to do His bidding and that is what the Lord would like us to do.
In Chapters 5 – 7, I noticed 17 times it speaks about “your Father.” We have learnt to value a Father and we are thankful that we can go to One who is our Father and He has an interest in every one of His children. I was brought up in a home I valued my father, but he was stern, he was a stern man, he had an iron hand, but it was covered with velvet. I tried to move that hand a few times, but I could not do it. I am thankful that I had a father like that. I am thankful to my father and mother for the place I have today. One time I was going to school, I was only about 7 years old and when I got to school all the children had some pennies and they could buy a sucker, so I asked dad if I could have a penny to buy a sucker. He said, “We don’t have pennies to buy suckers, we have pennies only to buy bread.” My mother had some pennies in a jar on a shelf and I just thought I would climb up and see if there was some there, and I took some, and took it to school and bought a sucker. It was a good sucker, stolen meat is sweet! I kept doing this until all the pennies were gone and the next day there was just a 5 cents and I took it out anyway and went off to school and I bought 5, to share with my companions and after that I let a couple of days go by because my conscience was bothering men and I crawled up there again and there was 10 cents. I looked at it and took it and put it back and took it again and that day I bought 10 cents worth. But my conscience was bothering me. I came home from school and there was trouble. Mum said, “Dad wants to talk to you.” So I went up and greeted him and he said, “Yes, I have got something to talk to you about.” He said, “Son, have you been taking money from your mother’s little jar up there?” I was tempted to say, “No,” but I had learnt that would go far worse for me and I said, “Yes, I have.” Dad took out a strap and gave me such a thrashing that I can still feel it. He said, “Son, I’m not whipping you because I don’t love you, but it is because I love you.” I felt if that was love, I didn’t want it! Perhaps I would have gone further to see whether my neighbours had any pennies and gone on from there.
When the truth came when I was 17 years old, I was confused. My father was a Baptist and my mother was a Methodist. They were two different doctrines. I prayed, “God, if you have a way in the world, a way that is like the Bible teaches, I would be willing to walk in it with all my heart.” We should never be discouraged that when our prayers are delayed, that means they are refused. God does not answer right away. Time went on, I finished school and worked in a lumber yard, things were going good and I kind of forgot about religion because I was making money. As I came home from work one day, I drove past a tent that said, “Gospel meetings beginning Wednesday night.” I told mother and dad about it. He said, “That is strange, there was nothing announced in the church.” He said, “We will go and see what they have to say.” My mother and father were both blind. They used to go out together. They had an extra sense. I said, “Dad, you go to everything, you go to the Pentecostals, you go to the Adventists.” He said, “Yes, we want to see whether we can find something better.” When they came back they said these people were different from everything. I asked him what kind of meetings they had there and he said, “Why don’t you go to listen.” But I did not until he told me, “We are not going to the Baptist church, we are going to a home. You haven’t heard anything, so you go back to where you belong.” I had a friend and I asked him if he knew these preachers. That was back in 1922. He said, “I have listened to them and they are doing things exactly as the Bible teaches, they go two by two, they don’t take a collection, they do exactly like Jesus did, they are sticking to the book.” He was already enrolled to be a Baptist preacher. He said, “I know one thing, you couldn’t be a Baptist and be one of them.” We went out and I will never forget that meeting. We were told in that meeting that in the tent we were trying to make you see the difference between man’s way and God’s way, but here we are meeting together to have fellowship. We are going to have a time of prayer and we don’t want to hear Pharisee prayer, but prayers that come from the heart. My father was a deacon in the Baptist church but I tell you that morning I heard my father pray and his prayer was different, he didn’t pray a Pharisee prayer. I heard my mother pray, she thanked God for the truth and she prayed for me. I got down on my knees, my mother and father didn’t know I was there then. After the meeting, I went up to dad and took hold of his hand. He said, “What are you doing here?” I said, “I came to see what you are doing.” He said “Don’t do it just because mother and I are doing it.” My friend and I went back to the Baptist church and the preacher was awful[ly] dry and we grabbed our caps and went back to the tent and 3 weeks later, we both decided. I remember talking about going into the work. Never had the thought entered my mind that I will be a preacher. God revealed to me about going into the work. This put something in my heart, “If I could be useful to help one soul to get to Heaven, it would make life worth living.” I told dad, “If I go into this work, I won’t be able to help you.” Dad said, “Don’t worry about mother and I, God will stand by us.” I talked to my brother but he said, “If you go into the work, I will stay home and look after mother and father and then I will go into the work, too.” But mother and father didn’t cooperate, they didn’t die! My brother married a good girl and they have done well. They have 3 children and all of them are professing. One of my brother’s boys went into the harvest field and he labours with us in Mexico. We are thankful that the Lord still works and we are thankful for those that are workers with us.
“My Father which art in heaven, Thy Kingdom come.” That is something I feel with all my heart that we are praying for and should continue to pray for. The last prayer that we have in the New Testament – come, Lord Jesus come. We are thankful that the power of God is what helps us. There are four powers that contribute to our salvation. First, the power of God unto salvation. But it took more than that. I listened to great gospel servants when I was in the Baptist church, but I never saw any example. This gospel came by the power of example – those that were doing what they were saying and there is a power of prayer. I am thankful for those that prayed for me when I was not able to pray. And the other is the power of love. Matthew 10, “He gave them power against unclean spirits…” We have the first list of workers that was ever made and they are two by two. It tells us how He sent them – “Go not in the way of the Gentiles…go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” These are things that the power of the gospel can do, it helps us to have healing. It tells us in Mark 5 that the power of the Lord was there to heed and we are thankful that as we look at him that as we see Jesus there is healing, and there is willingness. The Lord desires to heal us so that we can walk. The Lord healed that man and there is cleansing, people are raised from the onus of sin to walk in newness of life and to cast out devils. “Freely you have received, freely give.” Don’t make any provision for the future, the Lord will take care of that. A worthy workman, a worthy servant, a worthy home and a worthy person. “Enquire who is worthy and abide there” and that is what the Lord is still looking for. “Behold I send you forth as sheep among wolves…” There is no hope that a sheep can defend himself, the only hope that a sheep has is that it has a shepherd that will care for it, because it cannot protect itself. “Be wise as serpents, as harmless as a dove.” A serpent can keep alive only by keeping hidden, camouflaged, people don’t even know. Sometimes they paint a picture of a snake coming down a tree and speaking to Eve. If I know a woman, she would go as fast as she could go if she sees a snake, but he came down as an angel from heaven. To keep it simple, a dove when he makes the nest, you can count the eggs at the bottom, not like a sparrow. The sparrow is like the false prophets. It is a poor horse that cannot carry his own harness. Verse 41, “He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward, and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.” I remember I was pretty well discouraged with the Baptist church, father professed, I went to the elder, he was new in the way, I went up to his home and talked with him and he gave me a warm greeting and he said, “I would not trade what I have in the Lord for the best farm in Iowa.” We talked over the things of God and I went home and thanked God for a righteous man. We would like when we go to the homes of our brothers and sisters to leave something that would feed their souls and they can feel I have received a servant’s reward. “He that giveth a cup of cold water…” It means to give a drink of water that comes from the well of life. David poured out the water from the well of Bethlehem. I am thankful for those who have given us a cup of cold water to encourage us in the way of truth.