Dan Henry - John 6:16 - Saginaw II, Oregon Convention - 2003

John 6:16, “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain himself alone.  And when even was now come, His disciples went down unto the sea, and entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum.  And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.”  Verse 66, “From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him.  Then said Jesus unto the twelve, 'Will ye also go away?'  Then Simon Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go?  Thou hast the words of eternal life.'”

We have been walking and walking this year, and now we have walked spiritually to convention.  The Lord has been walking with us.  There is something that I enjoy about walking.  In our fields, we have plenty of walking to the mountains, to the meetings, to visits.  Naturally, you get to know each other and we have great times.  That is when things grow – when you walk together and talk together.  When we walk with Jesus, we get to know Him as we walk together.  In Kiam, a few years ago in French Guyana, we were having Gospel meetings.  We would walk across town from the meeting to our batch.  Those little children from the meeting, professing children from professing homes, would walk with us all the way to the batch.  The little ones would hold our hand and they would be talking to us.  They would pour out their hearts to us about their problems.  When we would get to the batch, they would say, “Give us a drink of water,” and then they would say, “Walk with us back to the corner.”  So we would walk back to the corner.  Then they would say, “Walk with us to the next corner.”  So then we would get to the next corner, and we would say, “Kids, go home now,” and they would walk back to the batch with us.  We would have to say, “Children, go home now before you get us in trouble with your parents.”  They love walking together, and there will be bonds until the last day because we’ve walked together.  That is a most beautiful thing in God’s family.  God’s servants walk together. I couldn’t tell you what it means to me to sit on this platform this morning with Harold.  Twenty years ago he came to our help, at a time when I needed help, and he gave it.  Across the years we have walked together, even though I was far away.  There are very few of you folks that I know, but those that I do know have walked in spirit together along the way.  I am thankful for these things.

There is something else that we need to learn to do and that is what Jesus did in this chapter.  You read that Jesus walked upon the waters, and that is totally impossible, and yet, it is totally possible.  It depends on what is within you.  Humanly, this is impossible, but spiritually it is possible.  It depends on what is within us.  It is a power of eternity.  It is another life.  It is another realm.  It is another being.  If Jesus is within us today, we can walk on the waters of this world.  That is what Jesus said before this chapter is over, "What and if you see Me ascend up into heaven again, flesh and blood profit nothing but the word that I speak unto you is life, it is spirit."  That Spirit is the Spirit that rises and the life is the life that quickens, and we need it so much to walk on the waters of this world…more than ever, everywhere you are in this world, not just in America with all that it has to offer, but every nation.  We live in a generation where the waves are against us and the waves are high and they are boisterous.  We learn to walk with Jesus.

We were working on Martinique, a little island in the Caribbean Sea.  We lived in a fishing village and worked with the fishermen, fishing nets, fishing traps.  I saw those men, lifetime fishermen, go down to the sea in the morning and look out at the sea.  They looked and they watched, then they turned around and went home.  They are not going out that day; the waves are too big.  We have played in the waves, and they can just roll you and turn you topsy-turvy.  They turn you upside down and you are lost, and you could drown.  That’s the way it is: the waves of this world can turn you upside down so fast.  You are lost and you don’t know if you are up or down.  If we have power, wisdom, and the Spirit, we can set our feet on the waters of this world…temptation, corruption and materialism that is so powerful, minds that are stronger than your mind...and they can take you so fast that you are down and drowning.  Only God can help us, if we just go hand in hand and walk with Jesus.

Every wave has a crest, the top point; then there is the trough, the bottom point.  We have watched waves that are several meters high.  We stood on a cliff, my companion and I, on the island of Guadeloupe, and watched the waves crash below.  The spray was 60 feet high, at least.  Crash!  There was a booming power that shook the cliff. What in this world is that powerful?  How do you walk on it?  How do you rise above it?  What is in you to conquer that?  It only can be Jesus.; that is what we can learn from this chapter here.  Jesus walked on the water; He walked on the waves.

The very first wave that we see Him walk on was the first thing that we read.  It was this tremendous wave of popularity.  The first verse that we read was the crest of it.  They were ready to take Him and make Him king.  They wanted a king that could give them bread and solve all their social problems.  That is what the world is looking for, that kind of government. They were riding the crest of that wave and were ready to make Him king and then, by the end of the chapter, they had all gone back on Him; they had all left.  It wasn’t the gospel that He preached; it was the bread He gave that was His life.  When He said “Drink it and you will live forever,” they did not want to hear that.  They turned their backs on Him; they all left, right to the bottom.  Did it affect Jesus?  It did not affect Him.  He even turned to His disciples and said, “Will you also go away?”  That did not change anything.  We are thankful for an unchanging gospel.  It does not change to please the swells of popularity.  We have a gospel that is unchanging and eternal.  Peter answered, “To whom Lord shall we go?  Thou hast the words of eternal life.”  That is the only thing that can help us – these words of eternal life.  Peter saw that.  Do you realize what Jesus did?  He walked on that.  How many men have failed and drowned on that same wave of popularity?  Politicians are brought into power on a wave of popularity and then, in just a moment of time, they become bashed and bruised and their reputations are ruined.  What about us?  We face that wherever we are – at work and school.  I don’t forget what it was like to walk to school - those young fellows, a lot of my friends, their school jackets and all of the medals jingling while walking down the halls.  Popularity seemed so important; it seemed important to me, this my one chance at life to be popular, just to be accepted, to be appreciated, to be laughed with and to be esteemed; it seemed so important.  When you are in that experience, that is your sea.  Do you realize, my friends, one day that sea of popularity will be no more?  How did Jesus conquer that?  You read that before He walked on the water, Jesus spent the night in prayer.  What they wanted was to make Him king; He went up on the mountain and prayed.  Compared to the mountain of prayer, popularity seems a very small thing.  Compared to that, whatever this world has to offer seems like a very small thing.

Remember that some seas dry up and don’t exist anymore.  I’ll give you an example.  If there is some young person in the meeting that struggles with popularity, listen to what happened. I graduated from school and went into the work.  After I was in the work, my thoughts continued to go back to my old friends in school.  We went 13 years together, from kindergarten straight through to grade 12.  We were like brothers and sisters, in a way; we knew each other so well.  I liked them and we were friends.  When I was on a home visit, I thought I will go look up as many of them as I can.  I found 13 of them.  One night after a gospel meeting, I went and looked up the captain of the cheerleading squad.  My companion was with me.  I stood on the doorstep of this beautiful home, and when she came to the door, I said, “Hi, Becky.”  She said, “Hi,” and I said, “You don’t know me?”  And she said, “No, I don’t.”  I said, “I am Dan.”  She hugged me and invited us in.  She said, “I didn’t realize it was you; I thought it was a vacuum cleaner salesman.”  That is what will happen.  What seemed so important today, just down the road in a little time and it will not be important at all.  Just remember that, and it will help you on the journey.  When you look at the Annual, the Yearbook, you think that this will be engraved forever and what it says after my name will mean something forever.  No, it doesn’t.  There is something that is forever and forever.  There is a family on this earth and it is not classmates; it is a family in Christ with a heavenly home. That was the wave of popularity, and there are others that you can think of.

There is the wave of doubt.  Have you ever had a wave of doubt?  In the same experience, perhaps at another time, there was Jesus walking on the water.  The disciples were there in the boat and they saw Him coming but they were not sure; but who else could walk on water?  They thought it was a phantom or a ghost.  They knew they saw something, but it wasn’t clear.  Peter said, “If it be Thou, bid me come to Thee.”  Jesus said, “Come.”  Peter walked; he actually walked upon the water, and then he saw that the winds were boisterous and he began to sink.  Jesus held out His hand and Peter said, “Lord, save me.”  Jesus held out His hand and saved him, but said, “Oh thou of little faith.”  But he did have a little faith.

Do you know what is impressing me…what we sometimes say is doubt, is it really doubt?  Are we being honest?  Is it doubt or is it more than doubt?  I’ll give you an example.  When I was a child, I had two older brothers, John and Fred.  John was the oldest and he pretty much told us what to do.  John, Fred, and I were playing behind the school in our little town of Magnolia, Iowa; behind the school we had the greatest time; that was just another world.  We were playing cowboys and Indians; we were having a great time.  Dad had this whistle that could be heard all over town.  We heard that whistle but John said to us, “You know, we did not hear that whistle.” So we went back to playing.  It was just too good to leave.  Then we heard that whistle again and John said again “You know, we did not hear that whistle,” and we went back to playing.  Then we heard that whistle the third time and we knew that Dad meant business, so we high-tailed it for home!  I was the littlest guy so I trailed behind.  There was Dad standing in the door with a stick in his hand and I was scared and I said, “Dad, we didn’t hear it the first two times.”  That may seem funny, but do you realize that since I have come home from Haiti, I have seen people who once walked with us that have now gone back and they are saying that they have doubts.  I have been with them enough that I realize that they have no doubt; they just want to play; they are choosing the world.  It is obvious that we can say that we have doubts, but the call is clear and it is coming to me.  This is Jesus; this is truth; this is a way, and you cannot doubt it.  I hope that each day God will help us to see that there is more joy in walking with Him than all the pleasure in this world.  You can have; you can go; you can do all these things, but there is more pleasure and there is more joy in one meeting than there is in all that money could buy.  There is joy in walking with Jesus.  You hear the call and you walk with Jesus on the boisterous waves of this world.

Jesus said that Peter had a little faith.  If we have just a little faith, we can take a step.  Do you remember learning to walk…of course you don’t. We took just little steps.  That’s the way it is with Christ; just take a little step and He will help you take the next step along the way.  He will help you through the storms and the waves. I like to see faith, even just a little faith.  Let me give you an example.  When Paul spoke about the fruit of the Spirit, he said the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy and peace.  Those are three of the deepest, dearest human sentiments…to know love, to know joy and to know peace.  The fruit of the Spirit is more; he said also that it is gentleness, meekness, temperance, goodness, faith.  These are not feelings; they are all definite qualities, characteristics; these are the fruit of the Spirit.

Leaving those for a moment; of course, you cannot compare the fruit of the Spirit to an apple, because the Spirit is not an apple; it is the work of the Spirit, the moving of the Spirit and the effect of the Spirit; it is what comes in a life.  Think of it in that sense.  You know that on every apple there is a stem.  Now look at the stem; does the stem belong to the apple, or does the stem belong to the tree?  Sometimes it is on the apple and sometimes it is on the tree.  You might ask why  is faith a part of the fruit of the Spirit.  How would you ever have any fruit or any life without faith?  The fruit all came by faith.  We believed, and because we believed, we had joy and because we believed, we know love and because of faith, we have peace and because of faith, God has taught us temperance and gentleness and meekness and goodness.  They all came through faith.  Faith is like the stem; there is nothing in an apple that did not come through the stem.  So, is it a part of the apple, or is it a part of the tree? Likewise with faith or belief.  The stem is so small and insignificant; at times you just take the stem and throw it away.  Some of the worst diseases attack the stem…just a little blight, and the fruit falls; it is all lost.  That just speaks so much to me, and I pray to God that He would help me live my life, my testimony, that my actions would never be a blight on the stem of faith.  Those little children…if their conscience would be weakened by what they see in me, I would rather die.  Do you understand?  It all comes through faith.  Just a little faith and the heart can be full.  It is through faith that we believe.  Through faith we are a part of this branch or this vine.  May God help us that our faith might be cared for, kept and protected, so that the fruit will not fall.

Then there is the wave of fear. Have you ever had a wave of fear, just overcome with fear?  When Hurricane Hugo hit Guadeloupe with such high winds, we went and tried to help immediately afterwards.  It was like an atomic bomb had just blasted away everything.  The roofs and the trees on Guadeloupe were flattened.  Eight people died. They had been warned; others were in protected shelters.  One of those that died was a little boy, eight years old.  He was in the arms of his mother and father, sheltered with love.  That little boy’s heart just stopped when he heard the sound of the wind.  He was trembling, shaking and screaming at the hurricane and his little heart just stopped.  Waves of fear seem like they can just make your heart stop.

There are two types of fear.  One is destructive and paralyzing. When you were in school, you sat down to the final exam; you knew it all; you have studied it, but then all goes blank. That is what happens to us as we stand up here sometimes.  That is a paralyzing fear that is a bad fear.  There is a good fear, and that is wisdom.  One of our test pilots, Chuck Yeager, well known and famous, did so well. They asked him why he did so well.  He simply said, “Because I was too scared to die.”  That is destructive fear.  If we have a deeper fear of God, a fear of losing our soul, that is wisdom from childhood to the grave, and that is good.  There are other kinds of fear and they can just be a wave, and you can sink into it, and you can drown and actually lose your soul.  We need to walk on, to rise above it.

Then there is the fear of men, the fear of what others think.  That can be our enemy.  We have a good example of that in the Bible.  We have these two men, Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night, in John 3, and also Joseph of Arimathaea, who, it says in John 19, when they had just crucified Jesus and railed upon Him; they mocked Him; they despised Him, the whole crowd just really mocked Him, and in front of that crowd was Joseph of Arimathaea.  It says that for fear of the Jews that he went and begged for the body of Jesus.  He took the body down and Nicodemus came and helped him and they wrapped that body so tenderly.  They brought their own spices and buried Jesus in Joseph’s own grave.  That was in front of everyone.  That helped Joseph of Arimathaea to rise above, to walk on the wave.  That was a boisterous raging wave at that time.  It was just like he was declaring plainly, “If you want to crucify me with Jesus, do it.”  He was saying, “This man is my friend; this man is my Saviour; He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” It says in another place that Joseph was like Nicodemus; he had a part in that prestigious council.  This was the pinnacle of his career to sit on that council.  It was a prestigious place in that country.  There was no place higher.  He knew from that day that he would never sit on that council again, "They will put me out; I will be excommunicated.There at the foot of the cross, it was like those two men were born again; they were professing, "Jesus my Friend, my Saviour, and my Lord."  They had sat on the council together, but now they were soul brothers with the same conviction, the same vision and the same revelation, in front of them all.  It didn’t matter now.  How did they do it?  That day, they saw perfect love.  Like it says in I John 4, “There is no fear in love; perfect love casts out fear.”  Looking up into the eyes of Jesus dying in their place, suffering and praying for their forgiveness, they saw perfect love.  Then perfect love was begotten in their hearts and they became new men; they were no longer afraid of men; they were no longer disciples in secret, but openly manifesting their love for Jesus. It is the same thing that will help us, just to have a clear vision of Calvary, to see Jesus in perfect love.  That will help us to walk the waves of fear.

The waves of loneliness:  have you ever had a wave of loneliness when you feel so lonely?  Maybe that is one thing that I can talk about, because I do know what that is.  I can tell you what my most lonely day was.  I was 24 years old; we were in French Guyana, South America, in a little town on the coast.  My companion from Canada had just arrived and we were at the post office.  I received a letter in my Dad’s handwriting.  Dad never wrote; Mom always wrote.  Then there was another letter and it, too, was in Dad’s writing.  There were three letters, all in Dad’s writing.  I opened a letter and it was not the first; it was the third.  He is sitting in room 252 with Mom.  I opened up the other letters and Mom had cancer; she was in the hospital and they had already done surgery and were starting radiation and chemotherapy.  I went down to the sea and I sat on a rock and I looked over the ocean and I could point just like an arrow to this little town in the Midwest, to home.  I knew what it was to have a wave of loneliness.  Jesus said, "You will never be alone; you will have One walking with you."  Jesus will walk with you and He will hold your hand and you can walk on the waves.

I love the story that one of our fellow workers, who was in the Caribbean, told.  She was from Haiti.  She told us the story of her mother.  Her mother was a young Puerto Rican and was going to New York City.  She met her best friend there
and they returned together to the island of Puerto Rico.  They married young Puerto Rican men.  They were worldly.  They loved to dance.  Those two girls each had a child.  A Canadian teacher moved in right next door.  They began having English studies with her and the children.  Through her, they met the workers.  They heard and loved the message.  To begin with, their husbands were thrilled.  For the first time in their married lives they saw their beautiful little married wives were happy and content.  There was no longer the music and dancing, but they were happy.  Then, as time progressed, the husbands saw that this means more than what they had thought, and there were feelings of jealousy.  They felt threatened.  They both gave an ultimatum: it is either meeting or me, but not both.  The first girl wanted to save her marriage, but Sue’s mother said, “Wait a minute.”  She thought and she prayed, and she asked God for words to help see her through.  She waited for the right moment and when the right moment came, she just spoke to her husband and said to him, “Harold, you know that I love you, and you know that you are my only life and I am happy that you are the father of my children; but Harold, the day is coming when I must die, because everyone must die.  If, on that day, you are sitting by my bed and you are holding my hand,  at that moment you cannot go any further and I am afraid to go alone.  I must have my Saviour with me; I cannot face that moment alone and for that reason, Harold, I choose my Saviour.”  He said, “If it is that way, I won’t interfere any more.”  Those children grew up in the Truth and Susan is now in the work, and her sister is a pillar on the island of Puerto Rico.   There comes a moment when you cannot afford to be alone.   We must have our Saviour with us.

We have a sister on the island of Guadeloupe.  When she and her husband professed, they said they loved this truth, but she progressed so fast, we wondered if God had something special in mind for her.  Sure enough, just two years after that, she was diagnosed with cancer and she was slipping away.  Her husband was at her bedside along with the sister worker.  This was two o’clock in the morning, and she wanted them to sing hymns and she sang with them.  They chose a hymn and sang the first two verses and then her soul slipped away.  They sang the other two verses, at her side.  Then they sang two more.  But you know, the angels in heaven sang the last two verses with her.  You will never be alone. We heard about Lazarus.  It says that when he died, the angels came and took him to the bosom of Abraham.  You will never be alone.  The veil of the temple had cherubims woven into the cloth.  When something is woven into the cloth, it can be seen from both sides.  There is a being; there is a power; there is a help for the present and it can be seen from both sides.  The angels of heaven are on this side of the veil and on the other side is eternity.  On the other side is an everlasting home, and if we are with Him, just remember, you will never be alone.  The angels came and bore her away, singing the last two verses with her.

There is another wave and that could be like passion.  Have you ever known a wave of passion?  If you haven’t, then you are not alive.  In this our day, never before have men and women been given so much to that.  For that reason, there is so much sorrow and sadness in this whole world and how will you rise above that?  How will you walk?  It is when there is something stronger burning within.  Passion is just like a match; it flames up and it dies.  It is so sad when people confuse passion with love.  There is something that burns strong and it burns long, and that is true love.  It can burn for a lifetime; it becomes deeper and warmer.  When I am home on the home visit with my parents who are 70 and 75, I sit with them and we don’t have to say a thing.  I see them facing the setting sun, and I see what is between them.  It comes from years of walking with Jesus.  It is so beautiful.  There is a love that is so true, so deep, so warm, and so beautiful.  Do you realize that this is because a threefold cord is not easily broken…a man and wife, and Jesus is walking with them through lifetime.  It is like those two who were walking to Emmaus in Luke 24.  Jesus came and walked with them.  If you are free and not married yet, choose wisely the one you will spend your life with so that there will be conversations like that one in Luke 24.  In the concerns of life, ask Jesus to walk with you.  When you walk together like that, your heart burns within you; that is what they said.  Then your vision becomes clear.  They took Jesus back with them.  It is like Garrett Hughes once said, “Jesus will be in everything if you take Him there.”

Sometimes people see us, as workers, and they say, “What do you know about love?”  Well, that’s probably true; we don’t know anything.  Down in Haiti, when we go to gospel meetings, they see us coming together, two men.  Of course, we have opposition from those that are against us, and they say, “These men do not believe in marriage.”  Sometimes, in our first meetings, we have to clarify that.  We speak about Isaac and Rebecca’s marriage and how beautiful marriage is.  I mention my grandparents who have been married for 70 years, and they still like each other.  One girl said loud enough so that others could hear, “If marriage is so beautiful, why aren’t you married?”  Sometimes they ask us that, and well, we can tell them we are too ugly or somebody else asked before I did, and all of those things.  You know why, and it’s like we tell them also:  it is because there is something more important than my satisfaction in my life.  It is more important that your soul be saved, and, for that reason, there are men and women that are waiting to give their life away.  They are willing to lose their life so that we can find life.  They are willing to forget themselves so that you could be remembered on eternity’s morning.  They are willing to give away their one life so that you can find life in Jesus.  For that reason, God gives power to do what man says is impossible, and that is to rise above it.

There is a little poem, and I can’t quote poems, but this one has meant something to me over the years.  It says:

It takes great love to move the human heart

To live beyond the others, and depart.

Love that is not shallow, it is not small,

It is not for one or two, but for them all.

Love that can wound love, though the heart may bleed,

Love that can leave love for a higher need.

Love that can lose love, family and friend,

Yet steadfastly living, loving to the end.

Jesus said that no greater love hath any man than this that a man lay down his life for his friend.  There is a love that is more powerful than the strongest wave.  Walk with Jesus and He will walk with you.  For everything that this world can offer, there is something better, and that is eternal life.

There are other waves that you could think of, but I just hope that God will help us that we could grasp His hand and that we could walk the waves whenever they come and however they come.

There is something worse, and that is a double wave.  There was a prisoner on an island, Devil’s Island they call it.  He was a prisoner for life.  He sat on a bench and was watching the waves.  Several times he had tried to escape.  Once, his friend was crushed.  They were on a little raft and the waves threw them back against the rocks.  He noticed something…that every seventh wave was stronger and more powerful in its rebound.  Do you know what could happen?  Two waves can hit you at the same time…a wave of popularity and a wave of pride.  Poor Saul was put under by a wave of popularity and a wave of pride.  What can you do?  You can hate your pride.  There is nothing that has humiliated me more than my own pride.  Just hate it, and when you see the pure humility in Jesus and the ugliness of pride, rise above it; just walk on it, conquer it.  God will help us to the journey’s end as we walk hand in hand together with Jesus our Lord.