Dale Spencer - We Would See Jesus

"We would see Jesus", the theme of my thoughts this morning. We came here with the prayer that we would see and I think we have seen Him, high and lifted up.  We need to see him as our salvation; seeing and following after Him. I've enjoyed looking at some in the scripture who saw Him in the flesh and in the spirit and felt we could relate to some of those experiences ourselves.

I was thinking about Abraham in Genesis 18 the time he saw the Lord Jesus. I was talking to a lady friend one day and I had just made my choice; and I came across some verses in the first chapter where it says Jesus was with the Father in the beginning. I was elated and 24 years old, but hadn't known that before: I think it was the first revelation I'd had. But Jesus was with the Father in the beginning and with the church in heaven, wasn't He? He was often seen by His children from time to time in the 0ld Testament and New Testament, and this same Jesus was seen, and the vision of Him is what encouraged men and women to know the will of God and be doers of the will of God. It says 18:1-4, "And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground. And said, "My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet and rest yourselves under the tree." This is a beautiful experience in the life of that great man Abraham, when the Lord came to his tent; but that was to his home — and how did the Lord come to his home? I wonder if most of us could relate to this; that it was when the 2 servants of the Lord came, they brought the presence of the Lord to our home and lives. Those 2 servants were being sent to Sodom and Gomorrah but en route they stopped at
Abraham's home. And there was a beautiful message that the Lord had to bring to Abraham and Sarah that day. Now Abraham is 99 years old and Sarah 90, and the voice said that they were going to have a son, but they could hardly believe that. Abraham had been promised that in him, his seed, shall all the nations be blessed; and it hadn't yet been born.

Now the Lord appeared; and so as you have done, you invite the Lord's servants into your home. And I wonder if that isn't the way that many of us first saw the Lord. I remember going to the Convention but I didn't know the Lord. I had been invited, was hearing the gospel, looking upon the servants and listening to the testimonies and my heart was filled to bursting. I thought, "These people know God; they are talking from experience and from their hearts. These servants are giving their lives and they are in God's service." Well, that's the way I felt when I was brought into the presence of the Lord's people. Many people can testify that it was when two servants came to their little school house or invited into your home. People often asked me; and my Dad said, "My son, whatever has happened to you? There has been a big change." First, I was going into the seminary and then I saw that Jesus was the Truth, the Way and Life — and to follow Him was for my life.

There was a man we met in Texas, a rather important man, and he was the administrator of a big, huge hospital in that city. Now he had been brought in from another state but his wife had recently made her choice. We were going to his house for supper: you call it tea over here — the evening meal. So we were in his house visiting and the man was on the patio out there and as is the custom he was grilling some big T-bone steaks; it made my mouth water. So I went out on the patio and talked with this man who didn't know much about the gospel. Two other sister workers had been in this home and do you know what this man said to me? "I don't know what it is, those handmaid girls they bring something into our home when they come. I just don't know but it's some kind of savour, a feeling; and I hardly know what it is but it's really a pleasant thing. They stay a day or two and when they go it hangs around for a day or two and then we're back to normal. And we have enjoyed having them." Well, now he has a whole car load of us! Anyway, the Lord's servants brought the Lord into the homes and hearts of the Lord's people and that's how Abraham saw the Lord.

Moving on to Jacob and his vision of the Lord, and you and I know the story very well. Genesis 28:12, His brother Esau had married a daughter of the land and that grieved his parents greatly so they said to Jacob to go and seek a bride from their relatives there. So he left his home and lighted upon a certain place; took of the stones and put them for his pillows and he dreamed, "And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, 'I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed.'" Now, he saw the Lord at the top of the ladder. This was my experience, too, and many can relate to this that when we did hear the gospel and began to see Jesus as He is, we saw the way: the ladder. We saw that the way of God was straight and a narrow way. It was not started from the earth but led up; and the steps on the ladder will take us to His presence on that great day. He woke up from this dream and realised God had been speaking to him; and we can relate to that in life. The Lord revealed to us His way and we saw Jesus at the top: the
straight and narrow way.
I used to think and wish it wasn't so narrow and so straight, but I'm glad that the way of God is like a ladder: step by step, upwards towards the Lord. He said — now he's having a relationship with the Lord
— "I didn't know the Lord was down here." Where was he? Out in the desert with a stone for a pillow, and he said, "This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven."

A lot of people think the gate of heaven is just a set of pearly gates, but when we enter, it's not a set of gates way out there somewhere. The gate of heaven is here on earth and that's the place where we meet God and we see Jesus. Jacob rose up early in the morning, took the stone and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel and vowed a vow saying, "If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and raiment to put on. So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God." He saw, and then he came back and dwelt in the land God had promised him in the vision. I wondered, isn't this when he made his choice? And isn't that the choice we made when we saw the gate, saw the Lord, saw the way? And we said in our hearts to the Lord, "Lord, here's my life, here's my heart. I yield it all if you will just be my God and lead me to my Father's house in peace." Jacob had a beautiful life in God's service; he was the Father of Israel, the Father called Israel.

Then Isaiah 6:1, "In the year the king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting  upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple." Verse 5, "Then said I, 'Woe is me, For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.'" How did Uzziah see him? If you and I see Him today, where are we going to see Him? Well, through the eye of faith, maybe we can see Hhim walking. But if you want to know where the Lord is: - at the right hand of His Father in heaven, making intercession for His children on earth, and waiting for the last trump when He shall return. That's where the Lord is "as he saw."  Or is it correct to say, "as He is?" If He is the same yesterday, today, and forever — is He any different to them as He is to us? Not one bit! He is just the same to His children today as He has been from the beginning; because as He was, He is; and as He is, He shall ever be. Because Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Now, we just mentioned these 3 great men that saw the Lord in their day and generation and it had a profound effect on their lives; just as it has on yours and mine when we see Jesus. Would an unsaved man ever see Jesus? Would he? Like they saw Jesus; like we see him?

I was thinking about that 3rd chapter Daniel where those 3 Hebrew children and this great king that was the worldly ruler who proclaimed life or death over every subject in the kingdom. Now Nebuchadnezzar the king make this great golden image, and said by proclamation that all in the kingdom would fall down and worship this golden image. Those who didn't would be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Now, we have the story where he cast in the 3 Hebrew children:  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments. He chose the mightiest men to cast them in and those 3 mighty men were all destroyed by the heat of the fire. But the king looked in and saw in the midst of the fiery furnace and said, "Didn't we cast in 3 men?" And they answered, "True, O king." He answered and said, "Lo, I see 4 men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." Now, isn't that something? God showed that
unbelieving king. I don't know the end of Nebuchadnezzar, but at this time he certainly wasn't believing in the God of Heaven or the Lord. But I believe that was the Son of God walking with those men in the furnace.

The robes that bound them weren't burnt away. Nor was the hair of their head singed, nor the smell of fire on their bodies. And the king said, "That's the living God; those men have yielded their bodies to the Lord their God." Does the Lord walk with His children through the fire? Oh friends, He will! And He will be with His own as they go through the fiery trials. They said, "Our God will deliver us from this fiery furnace; but if He won't, we don't care, because we
believe in the true and living God, and we will not be swayed to worship a false God." So the king had them cast into the fiery furnace. Nebuchadnezzar, that unbelieving king, saw the Lord. The world may see us walking through this life and facing the fiery trials; but they may also see Jesus walking with us. We have heard on numerous occasions, sometimes through tragedy, where the neighbours saw — all those people have the Lord with them. And they see the Lord walking with His people. What a wonderful thing if you and I can have that experience of having the Lord with us and the unbelieving world can see the Lord is with His people. It would be a marvellous thing and it's a possibility. We've had 3 that saw the Lord in the Old Testament and also an unbelieving king.

Now we'll turn to one place in the New Testament — John chapter 1 where we have the example of the apostles called to discipleship: this is when they became disciples to Jesus and later they were called into the ministry. I just want to mention 4 here in the New Testament that saw the Lord as He is. How did John the Baptist see Him?  Verse 35-36, "Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, 'Behold, the Lamb of God.'" How did he see Him? He saw Him as He that taketh away the sins of the world. Friends, is it hard for you to believe that the Lamb of God was slain for your sake and mine, to take away my sin? He was slain to bear the sins of the world; He became the sin-bearer and the sanctifier for our sins. That's how John saw Him, and He hadn't given His life yet, but John could see it. Two of his disciples that heard him left off from following John and began to follow Jesus: Andrew and Simon Peter, his brother. How did Andrew see the Lord? "He saith unto them, 'Come and see,'" so they came and saw. Then he found his brother, Simon, and saith unto him, "We have found the Messiah." How did he see Jesus? "We have found the Messiah, which is the Christ." Can you imagine what it meant to those Jewish minds? The One that had been prophesied for centuries; the Une that had been promised to the world. And when Andrew heard John speak, he realised Jesus was the Messiah sent from heaven. He was just like us when we hear the gospel; we want to go and tell our friends, our relatives. How many times do we feel like that? I have a couple who say, "I have a son or a daughter in Toronto, in Canada; can you send somebody to talk to them?" Well Andrew told his brother Peter, and Peter went and he saw Him as He is.

Then verses 43-45, "The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, 'Follow me.' Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael and saith unto him, 'We have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.'" So when Philip became His disciple the first thing he does is he looks up his good friend, Nathanael, and says what he saw. Is there anyone else in all this way besides Jesus that has fulfilled the law of God?  Well, I enjoyed thinking about that. So he sees Him as the one who has fulfilled all prophecy in the Word of God, Jesus of Nazareth. And that was their invitation. Verses 49-50, "Nathanael answered and saith unto Him, 'Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel.' Jesus answered and said unto him, 'Because I said unto thee I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these.'" I like this story especially, because it relates to my own experience that started at Convention.

I went through a process, and I don't know if it was going through a washing machine or what; but I was completely overhauled. It was quite uncomfortable because Saturday morning I came with my boxing gloves on and said, "These people are right; or I'm right and they're wrong!" But what did I know, for sure? And that was, "That I am not right!" I thought, "Those people are all wrong and I am going with my boxing gloves on, and I'm going to do something!" And do you know what happened on Saturday? They brought out the 'big guns' —James Jardine, Willie Brown, Jack Craig, Alec Anderson and James McLeod! And they blew me right out of the saddle, and I said, "These men aren't wrong, they are right! These men are true servants of God and I must be wrong." Well, this man told me, "Young man, you are very sincere and we like you, but you are on the wrong track." You talk about morals; well, I went around the house stomping my feet and said all the bad words I'd learned in the army and I called him 'the old blanketty
blank.....;' and he doesn't even know I'm saved! How dumb can you get? Well anyway, I went through the wringer.

I thought I might tell you of my time under the tree. I don't know what transpired under the fig tree — "I saw you under the fig tree." But that Saturday morning I was 'shot to the ground' and Saturday afternoon I realised, "You are a sinner and you have no hope for eternity; you have another spirit and don't know God at all!" Now, God was dealing with me, so after the Saturday afternoon meeting I was rather uncomfortable: and that's putting it mildly. I went through the parking lot, through the barbed wire fence and up under the poplar tree, and at 5 o'clock I got down on my knees and pleaded with God: from 5 until 7 o'clock. And I said, "Oh God, help me! I have been here 3 days and I
don't want to join this church anyway." What I wanted to do was go into the seminary; but what the Lord wanted me to do was to give my life to Him. And under the poplar tree He spoke to me, and I said, "If You don't speak to me
tonight and show me how to get saved, I am on the train for Seattle tomorrow."  And He opened my eyes that night and I made my choice and very glad to be here, and so glad to be in this great work.

I want to tell a story in closing: I had an Uncle, my Mother's brother, and Aunt that got me to Convention; and against my will I heard the gospel and got saved. We called him Frankie; he's quite a man and had the meeting in their home for over 60 years. Well Frankie loved to fight as a young man and was pretty good at it, so I've heard. He was a very strong man, an engineer on the old steamers that pulled freight across the Rocky Mountains. He was the fireman on those big steamers, from Denver to California; and he shovelled coal into the steam engines all his years. And I'm telling you — he had muscles! So, here's what happened. He would often eat his lunch with the other train men, bow his head and offer thanks then eat his lunch out of his lunch basket. They would deride him and call him names. Well, he worked with this bunch of men every day.

Later the railroad got the diesels so he still had his job as the fireman and the engineer is up there with him. Mr. McDonald was his engineer; a rough, swearing, cursing man. Oh my! So one day just before time to pull out, Mr.
McDonald pulled out his long jack-knife and cuts through Frankie's water bag hanging there, and out poured all the water. And he said, "How do you like that, Frankie Smith?" How do you think Frankie Smith liked that? He told us the story one time, "I got off my cap and rolling up my sleeves; I was going to tear that McDonald to shreds." So he got off the train and got down to where he was, ready to tear into him. And he said, "I saw Jesus." He used to often tell it to me, and one would ask him, "What did you see when you saw Jesus?" But I never did ask him. But he went up to McDonald and looked him in the face; pulled out his railroad watch and said, "Mac, it's almost time for our next run; we had better get on the engine." Well he didn't make shreds out of McDonald, he got on the engine and away they went. He got victory that day; he saw Jesus.

Ten years later he was sitting in his home and the telephone rang; he thought it was his call to go out on his run, and the voice said, "Frankie Smith, this is McDonald, your old engineer. Do you remember me?" And he said, "How can I forget you?" Well, he said, "You know, my wife died 2 years ago and I am sitting here looking at these four walls alone, and I remembered you. Do you still have those meetings in your home?" And he said, "We sure do, Mac." Then he said, "Can a man like me come to your meetings?" And he replied, "Sure, you come right on over."  And that old cursing engineer came over to the meeting and I had a part of sitting in those meetings with that old man coming over and making his choice to serve the Lord. Does it pay to see Jesus? Does it pay to do what Jesus would do? 
Does it pay to follow him when we see him? Oh my, friends, it pays! I just thought you would like to hear my story when I think about Frankie; he could have shredded that McDonald up, but he saw Jesus. I hope you can see Jesus, as He is. I hope there will be faith in our hearts and willingness to value Jesus:  it's our hope for all eternity.