Brian Doecke - Second Convention, Williams, Western Australia - November, 2005

Hymn 8

That hymn we were singing speaks greatly to me and asks a question, “Was it for me?” Then it gives the answer, ”It was for me.” Paul mentions that when he speaks of the price paid; he used the term ’collectively,’ that Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. Christ loved the church and gave Himself for the church collectively. But I love and appreciated so much; he also used it personally; a personal Saviour. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” It was a very real thing to Paul as it was for all Christians and also those in the Old Testament who by faith saw the Christ: the lowly Saviour slain. A personal Saviour and they had a personal experience in knowing sins forgiven through Him. In the Old Testament it was another type; pointing to the Saviour and the New Testament was the reality: the presence of the living Son of God.

Jesus said in relation to our generation, “Blessed are they who see not but believe. Blessed – or happy: as we have heard these days, the happiest people. Those who know their sins forgiven and have entered into an everlasting relationship with the Son of God." Psalm 32, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” Then verse 5, “I acknowledged my sin unto Thee and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.'” Blessed or happy is the one whose transgression is forgiven: true happiness of soul at rest with the Creator. Not the happiness of taking the boat that’s going down stream without comfort, but towards the rapids, towards a lost eternity. But going upstream against the currents of this world: serving the true and living God, transgressions forgiven, whose sin is covered. Not doing their own will but doing His will; knowing the word ‘sin’ was like aiming at a mark with a bow and arrow and missing the mark. We all miss the mark – that’s our nature. God has planned it that way but He has planned it and done everything well because He knows and wants to prepare us for His eternal home – wants a household of little ones that will not rise up against Him. Never will there be in all eternity any rising up, but complete submission and wonderful fellowship.

So the lamb has been slain in the Old Testament and it speaks of it in Revelation: the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It’s in the heart of God and He planned the way that His Son would come. So Adam and Eve sinned: they disobeyed as we all do by nature; everyone has sinned and come short of the glory of God. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves; we are lying and come short of the glory of God. No one is righteous: no not one and one of the greatest sins is to say you are right and point the finger at another. It’s hard for the Lord to help that person who is always criticising. Somebody said if you point the finger at one, how many are pointing back at you?

Adam and his wife felt undone like we all do; so they hid themselves. They had made coats or a covering for their sin with fig leaves. False religion tries to cover and the world is full of false religion. When the true gospel comes, man hides himself but the word of God reaches them and they face their sin. Adam was too weak to confess his part, he blamed the woman and the woman blamed the serpent, but the Lord made provision for them. Man makes and invents ways to try and cover their wrong and the world is full of false religion as a result. But when the true gospel comes, he realises he has to accept this provision that God has made. For coats of skins, blood was shed.

Abel learned that later on because unto Abel’s offering God had respect: he had the right heart attitude. He had learnt well from his parents and God’s dealings, “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” He brought a lamb and it was accepted. The offering of Cain would have looked nice but it was of his own efforts and own nature: God didn’t accept that. That’s all God will accept from us. Men boast of their good works. We can give our body to be burned, but without divine love moving us – many sacrifices were made in the name of religion but no result for eternity, no indwelling spirit. It might look good before others like a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.

Abraham was moved in his day: God called and he himself made altars and sacrificed along the way and lived in tents. Wonderful when commitment grows as time goes on and the older people are more committed to the greater cause and are obeying God more fully. Wonderful help to the younger ones who are less committed and involved with this world and its activities. We sometimes say jokingly to some, “When you retire you will be able to dedicate more time to the kingdom.” Well, they are already retired but not dedicating their time to the kingdom – its just a little push to help. The kingdom is in great need to those who are dedicated in prayer and the real things that are unseen. I appreciated that the first day I came when some were talking: they weren’t talking about their crops – there’s nothing wrong with that. But lovely to hear them talking about the kingdom on the first day. The older ones are the example, because if the older ones won’t speak of it, the younger ones won’t get the message.

Abraham was asked to give his only son in his old age. He didn’t hesitate: got up early in the morning, and it was quite a period – 3 days journey. His whole heart was in it and God had to speak to him twice, “Abraham, Abraham.” By faith he knew God had promised that the world would be blessed and he knew He wouldn’t fail him. So he really received his son from the dead, and you can imagine his conversation with Sarah later on – “that God gave me my son back from the dead.” Our lives will be enriched as we give greater commitment and fellowship will be deeper.

Then in Exodus there was the partaking of the lamb: it was needful to be free from Egypt and there were over 100,000 little meetings. Sometimes people ask, “When you grow and your numbers increase, how do you get on?” Well, the numbers of homes increase also. But the lamb was essential for a God-protected home. The world was in darkness and the people of God had light. In the homes of the world, death reigned and the people of God, life and light reigned. The Lord’s people never forgot that they were on a journey, so let us watch and be sober and don’t let anything of the world enter your home.

Then in Zechariah we read of Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord and the devil was there. The high priest needed to be given a new garment and it was spoken, “There is a place by me.” We are hearing the word of God and the Lord wants to clothe us with new garments and give us a place within His household. There’s a need for obedience; provision has been made that we might be covered.

Then we go to the New Testament and see the sin-bearer. The first day and the next day they saw the Lamb of God and they followed Him. First we see the sin-bearer and then we see the Lamb, to follow and obey Him. The world wants to accept the Lamb that takes away their sin but they don’t want to deny self and follow the Lamb. I hope we will be prepared to accept not only the forgiveness of God, but the need to follow, deny self, take up our cross and follow daily.

Then we see the prodigal son who was also in a filthy state; he came back saying as it says in Psalm 32, “I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord.” The father knew what was in the heart of his son: lovely to think of God coming to meet us, wanting to help us in our need and desperate state. “Bring forth the best robe; put a ring on his finger.” – It’s the seal of the Holy Spirit. Shoes on his feet and a covering of the righteousness of Christ. Music and dancing; wonderful rejoicing, forgiveness – others rejoicing because the lost one returned to the father, knowing the love of the father and the love of his household.

Then we think of our Saviour, the price He paid that all this could be possible; even our gathering together tonight. Matthew 27:35, they crucified Him saying He saved others, Himself He couldn’t save. The just for the unjust, yet by His stripes we are healed. If there’s something that has helped me right from the early days it’s the love of the Saviour: to feel the warmth of that love that breaks down hardness and rebellion, that I was so needy of personally, to help me in my condition. I am so grateful that by His stripes we are healed.

We have nothing in ourselves that would commend us to God; but through our attitude, our complete acceptance of the Saviour, of Jesus and His blood shed and His example. We aren’t trying to take any other way. That great multitude that we see in Revelation clothed with white robes, palms in their hands. Palms speak of victory. They have washed their robes and overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimonies. The blood of the Lamb – that’s the first thing! No forgiveness, no possibility of coming to the Father without complete acceptance and complete acknowledgement of our sin: repenting from it – and the blood avails.

Then the word of our testimony – He touched my heart, spoke to me and He has kept me - they loved not their lives unto death. There’s a road ahead, and Paul could say, “I die daily.” He that hates his life shall find it and he that loves his life shall lose it.