Dan Henry - John 14 - Boring, Oregon Convention II - 2003

John 14:31, "But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence." We heard today that these chapters in John 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17, were a meeting, a special meeting. You will notice that in this verse Jesus said, "Arise, let us go hence." We have come to that part of the meeting where we have to arise and go hence. You might question why didn't that meeting go on? That meeting did go on for three more chapters. I really don't know why Jesus interjected that there. Maybe John in writing became confused. Sometimes when we stand up here speaking, we may say the right thing in the wrong place. But anyway, it says, "Let us arise and go hence." I know that you folks are anxious to go home so I hope that I wind down and don't go for three more chapters.

This chapter is so beautiful, look what Jesus was saying, "But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do." That is Jesus speaking, He is saying that the world, not the friends or the disciples, may know that I love God, that I love the Father. I keep His commandments. Whatever He says to Me, I do them. "Arise, let us go hence." As we arise to go hence, we have something that the world may know that we love God. We have something to do.

Did you ever have somebody say to you that you have something to prove? Well, we do have something to prove. We have to prove that we love the Father. Jesus was not so conceited that He just left it, believe it or not, like it or not, that I am a child of God. He said, that the world may know, and He arose to prove it. He arose to do the commandment of God.

I know that you folks are faced with a wind of doctrine that is blowing across the entire face of the earth. This wind is subtle and well taught. It teaches you that all you have to do is believe, just believe and you are saved. Just believe and you are a child of God. There is a truth in that statement, but through mental gymnastics you are led to believe that there is nothing more. And you are led to believe with a very elevated, proud line of thought that, like it or not, I am a child of God.

I want to give you a verse that you can underline that as that wind blows in your direction this year, just remember this one verse. John 10: 37, and this again is the words of Jesus, "If I do not the works of my Father, believe Me not." Simply just one sentence, "If I don't do the works of God, don't believe Me." There are works and if we don't do them, He said of Himself, the Son of God, don't believe Me.

Now, we are arising and we have something to prove, by our life, by our words, by our spirit, every day. And not just to those in the meeting, who they believe without a doubt that, yes, you are a child of God. Our responsibility now lies to the darkness of this world as a light, just shining, that we might prove that yes, I am a child of God, every day.

The next verse in John 10 continues with that, "But if I do, though ye believe not Me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in Me, and I in Him." Back in John 14: 27, Jesus says, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." I love that. We have already heard that we can go out in peace, but just don't be afraid.

I know what it was like to leave convention both as a saint and as a worker. I know what that is like and you can be afraid. It is so wonderful to be together. I can remember very well leaving convention and on Monday morning back in the halls of school. The same music, the same conversation, the same immodesty, the same perfumes, the same everything. I remember being in class, and the teacher was talking but my mind was back in convention. My friends, there was a purity, there was a cleanness, there was a vision, and I longed for that.

What had charmed me before I went to convention, what had bound me, the charm was broken. I remember leaving convention and I was afraid, afraid I would fall back into the same thing, the same weaknesses. Just remember, my friends, and that hymn that we sang, "He waits for thee." Tomorrow in school, in the halls, and in the classroom Jesus is waiting for you. He will sit beside you, as He sat and waited for the woman at the well in Samaria. That was not by chance. Jesus knew that she would be coming. He was waiting for noon and when she came, He talked to her, and tomorrow He will talk to you in your heart, because He talked to me. He brought things back that I heard in the convention.

The professor was talking about physics and all of that and I was remembering things that were said in convention - it warmed my heart. Jesus was there waiting for me. I can remember thinking that if only I were more like my classmates, I would be nearer to them and I could be more of a help to them. Remember that in these last four years of high school, they go by like a dream. Freshman year is a little slow because you are the little guy. Sophomore year is a little better. Junior year you are starting to spread your wings. Your senior year just goes by like a dream, it is gone, it is gone for good. Remember that you only have one chance to be a light for ever to those children that you are with. They will soon forget the nice clothes, your writing style, all of that will be forgotten. The things you had to say, the little things with double meanings, and all of that, they will not remember. But they will remember if you are different. You only have one chance to be different, to stand out. Just hold to it. Whenever and whatever; modesty, honesty, spirituality, and stability, you are given one chance to display in a lifetime.

When I leave these grounds I return to Iowa. Some of my classmates, we were 55 together, for 15 years, so we were like brothers and sisters. I have never been back for a class reunion. They have heard that I am home and they are phoning and they are planning that we will all be together. This will be the first time and I don't know what I will say, but I know what I want to be. It is what we want to be like now. If only our life could touch a life. Once in a lifetime chance to be different. And I love that when we see God's children leaving convention with a good spirit. Just like Moses when he was on the mountain with God, because he was alone with Him, His presence was so sweet, and he was far above everything. That is like the convention mountain top, apart from the world, hearing His tender voice and seeing things that we can only see on the mountaintop.

I have seen God's children leaving convention shining. God's children have a shine because it is the shine of resistance. Resisting the world, temptation, the call of the flesh, resisting, shining, and being different. That puts you as a mark. Like Job said, "You become the target for a marksman with a bow and arrow." He did not understand why but God understood why. It was because he served God with all of his heart and he esteemed God's word more than his necessary food. That made him the bull's-eye, and you are too because of what we are doing, our purpose will be noticed and will be remarked, because God's children are remarkable.

I think of a story that my sister-in-law told me. She had an auntie and that auntie was a beautiful young girl, she was in the university studying and, in the same university where she was studying, there was a young man. His eyes fell on her. He happened to be the sole heir and unique inheritor of the Fuller Brush Company. This boy was a multi-multi-millionaire. The only son, and his eyes fell on her. She was a professing girl who loved the truth. He talked to her and those little visits became warm. There was just a common goal and mutual feeling and that became love. The day came when he proposed to her and she accepted. After they were married for a while, she realize the wealth of this man. He had everything at his fingertips. There was just nothing that could not be his and she lost her sense of security.

On Sunday mornings, she decided that she did not want to leave him. So she stayed home. Wednesday nights, she did not want to leave him so she stayed home. And she began to worry that maybe his eyes would fall on another. So she began to make herself attractive so that his eyes would be on her. She left everything that she ever knew in Christ. But as life went along, the emptiness of it, the hopelessness of it, the reality of it, began to sink in, and her poor heart was just melting away. She was afraid, she did not want to lose him, but she wanted for her soul, Christ. She wanted salvation and she wanted her family in Christ. She prayed and she prayed and she was so afraid, she did not want to lose him, but she wanted for her soul, Christ. She wanted salvation. She prayed that she could return to the fold. She thought and she prayed and she asked God for wisdom and the words.

One evening when it seemed just right, she made his favorite meal, she set candles on the table, then afterwards in the quietness of the room, she said to him, "Honey, I have something to say to you tonight." She did not know if the hammer would fall, if this would just be the end, but she had to say it. She said to him, "I must go back to meeting, I must seek my God. I can't live like this anymore. I want to profess again, I want to serve God, I want to walk with Jesus to save my soul." He just said to her, "You could not tell me anything that would make me feel more pleased. When we were in the university, you were the only one. That is why I saw you, I loved your purity, I loved your simplicity, I admired your modesty. I was drawn to it, I loved. But you have lost all of it. If you could find it again you would make me the happiest man in the world."

Do you understand what we have? Sometimes we don't realize that we, as professing people, that we have something that you will not find any place else in this world. You will find religion on every corner and every creed and every manner. What we have is unique, because the Spirit of God is never divided, it is One and only One. For that reason it might just encourage us as we face this world that Jesus said, "Just don't be afraid." Every good and perfect gift is just waiting for those that love Christ and who are called according to His purpose.

We are moving backwards through this chapter. Let's go back to verse one that says, "Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father's house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, you will be also." Jesus is saying, "I go to prepare a place for you," and He said, "If it weren't so, I would have told you." I am so glad that it is that way in Christ. "If it weren't so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place and if it weren't so I would have told you."

There are so many things in this world that simply are not so. They are not true, it is not that way. They will let you walk, they will let you run, they will let you work, they will let you dream, they will let you hope every day, and it is not that. You are running after it and never grasp it. It is not yours. It is not so, but in Jesus, it is not that way. He said, "I am going to prepare a place for you and if it were not so, I would have told you." It is up front, every promise in Christ.

I can think of my friends down in Haiti, if I could just charter a 747 and just go down and get them all and bring them home. But if I told them that it is not so, it can't be. Mom and dad have a nice home, but there is not room for everybody. Jesus said He was going to prepare a place and He would come back for us and it is true. He is waiting for us. In this 14th chapter of John, He says that every child needs a home. In chapter 10 it tells us what every sheep needs. A sheep needs a fold and a child needs a home. He is just assuring us, "You walk with me and we will go home." We believe that, we are on the way to home.

Where is home? It is not something that He is going to build out of concrete and beams. No, it is 100% spiritual, it is all spiritual. It is beyond what we can understand. He is going to prepare a place in the heart of God. I might give you this example. When my two older brothers, John and Fred, were still at home, and when they came to a certain age they were at convention they met these two lovely young maidens. They would come home end tell us about Linda and JoAnne. At the table at breakfast, we heard about Linda and JoAnne. At dinner, we heard about Linda and JoAnne. At supper, we heard about Linda and JoAnne. The day came when those girls entered into our home and, when they entered, there was love waiting. There was a place waiting, the boys had prepared a place, and what they had been telling about their virtue, about their goodness, had preceded them.

That is what Jesus is doing. He has gone ahead and He is interceding, He is pleading, He is preparing a place in the heart of God for you and for me. I liked Linda so much, I was only 16, that when it came time for marriage, I just told her that when the judge says, "Do you take this man as your lawful wedded husband?", I am going to stand up and say, "We do." I can't tell you the way she looked at me that day, but anyway.

Jesus has gone ahead of us. In Hebrews it tells us He is the forerunner and has entered into the presence of God for us. I have seen this in Haiti. We are climbing up in the mountains, we are coming, we are sweating, we are tired, we are resting, we are going, we are arriving, but often times on the trail we meet the little children. They have a bucket on their head and they are going down to the spring for water. They meet us and they are so happy to see us. They are timid little children and they love us. When we ask them how they are, they have this little greeting for us, "Wee paki maui," which means, "I am fine." They are so tender and they forget that they are going to the spring, they just turn and run home.

By the time that we get there, there are coconuts off of the tree and a refreshing coconut drink. There is water in the basin to wash our hands, to wash our face. They run ahead and say, "The workers are coming, the workers are coming." Jesus has gone ahead, He is the forerunner, and He is saying to His Father, "They are coming home, they are coming home." They are preparing a place and I think that that is so beautiful, what we have in Jesus. Later in these verses He is teaching and He says, "My Father and I will come and make Our abode with you." Why did Jesus say, "My Father and I will come and make Our abode with you" when He had already said, "I am going home to make room for you at home?" So why is it changed now saying, We will come and make our abode with you?"

Have you ever seen two little boys and they are best friends, one is a very rich boy and he lives in a palace with gardens and fountains, he has everything. He is best friends with a little poor boy who lives in a mud hut with a thatched roof. So what do they say, "Today we will stay at your house, and tomorrow we will go to my house." So today Jesus and His Father will stay with us in this body, the mud hut with dirt floor and a thatched roof. He loves the fellowship with our spirit and He has promised, "My Father and I will come and make Our abode with you and will dwell with you." Then, one day, we will go to His house.

When I was a child, we loved the workers. My parents had moved to a large home on a hill and they had left their honeymoon cottage. No one any longer lived in that cottage. My father was a busy man so the honeymoon cottage had fallen into disrepair, then it became our house when we were little boys. So, we played in our house. It had mice in the house. One day we decided that we were going to invite the sisters to our house. We filled a little drum with water and we rolled it down the hill and pushed it up into the house. We pulled the stopper out of the drum and the water flowed over the floor. That was our cleaning. When ma wasn't watching we snitched some cookies and my brother made some lemonade. Then we invited the workers. And I suppose the sisters were watching all of this, you know, they have eyes where we don't have eyes. So they came down there, they left my parents' comfortable home. They came to our little home.

There is a lesson in that. They saw the effort. It is not like God and His Son just go to dwell in any home. There must be an effort. We are proving something. We have opportunity, time, and chance happens to all. It happens again and again. We have opportunity to talk to God, we loved Him. And one way that we can prove to God that we loved Him is to clean house in our hearts, making an effort in this world full of iniquity that our eyes are not fed on those things. I don't understand how anyone serving God can make an idol out of a sports star, or a movie star. I cannot understand it when Christ is all in all. I don't know how you could put their image on your wall.

This temple must be sanctified. The world worships as it worships. May God help us that our love is a consuming love for the Son of God and that our house will be clean. This is for Him alone and that there would be food there. The food would be like bread, good, healthy thoughts, a right desire in our hearts. May God help us that it might be so. He is our guest. Jesus said, "We will come and make your heart Our abode." That just means, "We will live with you." That does not mean, "Come and go," but "We will stay until that day that We walk together to the other side."

In chapter 10, we see about the home for the sheep. He said, "Other sheep I have that are not of this fold, them I must seek." There will be one shepherd and one fold. This year we must seek those sheep. That is one way that we can prove that we love God, by seeking the sheep. Keeping that in mind, He said, "My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me." That is clear, He knows who we are. We do not have to bat our wings and say so, because He knows who we are. "My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me." It is not too difficult for a shepherd to look over his shoulder and he sees the sheep following him. If we follow Jesus that means that we are not following the world. May God help us to keep our eyes on Him as we rise to follow.

It was my privilege to be in Albania for a few days with another brother worker, on a mission. We traveled across Albania in, the wintertime. There was snow on the ground but there were little patches of green grass. There in those little patches of green grass were little groups of sheep, 10, 12, 15, 17 in each little group. And with each little group was a shepherd. The shepherd was standing there. All day long we passed by these little groups. Can you imagine a shepherd standing with a little group of sheep all day long? Where did he sleep? I don't know. Did he sleep with the sheep? I don't know. Can you imagine a shepherd giving his life for 10 sheep? Do you realize that there are shepherds giving their lives for 10 sheep? Can you imagine the joy and pleasure of those little sheep every time they would raise their eyes and realize, he is with us? He is not abandoning us. He is not paid, who would pay a shepherd for 10 sheep? It is so beautiful.

When I saw that, I asked God to always help me to be a shepherd over a little flock and stay with them through thick and thin. A shepherd is not much more than a sheep but he can see a little further and he can lead to green pastures. Like God's servants, they have the heart of a sheep. I love a little story that I heard. There was a terrible storm and the sheep would have perished, but the shepherd called them and they gathered around him and he lay down in their midst through the night with the wind howling and blowing. The sheep stayed close because he kept calling them and in the morning the sheep were saved, because of the faithful calm call of the shepherd and the shepherd was saved because of the warmth of the sheep. That is the way that it is. I love to think about sheep and there are so many things that you can think about sheep.

I am going to tell you just one more little story about sheep. This is a story that maybe I am the only one who can tell it because it is about my little niece, she was John and Linda's first child. She is the first grandchild in our family. She was named after her mother, Linda Jean. Her name was Sarah Jean. A little red headed girl. She grew up on the farm with her parents and her grandparents, my parents, nearby, and my brothers. Anyway, Sarah grew and she loved to play the piano. She loved to run and play. She had a little friend who was born in the city, her name was Susie. Susie had fire engine red hair. Those two little girls, best friends, were the same age. After every gospel meeting they would run to find each other to talk. Susie, the little city girl, would touch Sarah, the little farm girl and say, "Pretty baby."

When they were about 10 years old, there were sister workers working in their field, and they would talk to them. Then they talked together and said, "One day we will go in the work and we will be companions." They nurtured that dream every time they were together. They saw that the workers were learning sign language because there was a deaf lady attending the meetings.

They got books, and they were learning sign language, so that they could be sister workers one day. Then one morning Linda noticed that Sarah's little left hand was not coordinating when she was playing the piano. When she ran with her brothers, Jack, Pat, and Mike, (we came from Ireland 400 years ago), her left foot was just turning and twisting. She was worried. She complained about headaches. They took her to their family doctor and he said, "Tomorrow we need to go to see a specialist." The specialist said, "Tomorrow we need to put her in the Children's Hospital in Omaha."

That day all of the family gathered around her. They had her on a little rolling bed. Before they took her away for a CAT scan, with the doctor and nurses standing by, she asked, "Can you sing number seven for me?" As they sang number seven, she screamed and held her head. The doctor and nurses were saying, "Explain to us, explain to us," as they took her away. What they did not know was that she had a tumor on her brain stem and at that very moment the tumor hemorrhaged. They kept her through the night on ice to keep her life. The doctors told John and Linda that it would be better if she died because she would only be a vegetable if she lived.

They tried to call me in Haiti, I found the message a day later. As the time went on, she lived, one day, two days, three days. She hung between life and death. Eventually she was able to come back to her room with all of these apparatus attached to her body. No one thought that she knew anything. My sister, who is in the work, came home and she had been trained to never underestimate. She sat at her side and talk to her about Sadie this and Sadie that. One day the nurse noticed something and said, "That little girl is signing." With her left hand which had a nervous twinge, she was spelling words. Her intelligence was entirely intact, but she was paralyzed. John and Linda said, "At noon, we will go down and get a book." Sarah signed to the nurse, "Tell them go right now." So they went and they learned that.

They brought it back and she understood everything perfectly and she would answer with her fingers spelling. She had told her mother that she wanted to profess at Malcolm, but she was in the hospital that day. The workers came by her room and she professed in her hospital room. She was able to come home and she had a little wheelchair with a motor on it and she chased her brothers. She eventually got so she could walk on crutches and she caught up with her class in school. Her face was badly distorted, paralyzed on one side. In the morning she would say, "Mom, I have been thinking of a verse, find it for me, I have been thinking of this hymn," and that is the way she lived. The day came when little Jack, who was born prematurely, and had a speech impediment so bad that sometimes his parents could not understand him. The only person who understood him sometimes was Sarah. She was his best friend and his interpreter in everything. He also was red-headed.

The day came when they noticed something changing. They went back to the hospital and the doctors gave a report, "Yes, the tumor is growing again and there is just no hope." Sarah went home and she wanted to tell Jack. She sat on my father's lap with Jack and she told Jack what was going to happen. She rubbed his head and he was crying and she said to him, "Jack it is okay, God loves us so much that He knows every hair in your head." She told her mother, "I am not afraid to die, but I know you are going to miss me."

She told her parents what she had heard in meeting at one time. There are two important days in life, the first day is when we are like a little canoe crossing a river and Jesus gets into the canoe with us, and the second important day is when we arrive at the other side and we step out of the canoe together, leaving it behind and go on together. The day came when my sister at home was holding her hand as she sat on my brother's lap, her mother holding her other hand, her mouth opened and her eyes looked upward, she smiled, and she died. This was six months after she had hemorrhaged.

Before she died, when she was in meeting and had her part, she would write her testimony on little yellow stickums. She would have John read her testimony. What she passed away, Linda gave me some of her things. One of them was one of her little testimonies written in her shaky hand. It said, "I love the shepherd and I love the sheep and I want to be a good sheep, this is my testimony." It is the best thing we can do once we leave convention to have this written on our hearts.

The story doesn't end there, little Sarah was laid away but from heaven her life and her testimony have been like a beacon. That little meeting has grown and little Susie is in the work. She has had several years in the work now, a lovely Sister worker. Her brother, Jack, is finishing his fourth year in the work now and her little brother, Mike, is finishing his first year in the work. Her cousin, Dirk, is finishing his first year in the work. There are other young people that have been influenced, some married and well-married and kingdom-minded, others following on. In Christ there is no loss, it is all gain. God has a perfect, perfect plan. Whatever the year holds for you, remember He is waiting there for you and it will only be a blessing as long as we keep that in our hearts, I shall prove, no matter what it costs, that I am a child of God.