Dellas Linaman - Joy Because of the Resurrection - Madrid, Spain Convention - 2005

Hymn - “Just As I Am”

During the past 60 years, I have often thought of Spain. We heard then of the Sunday morning meetings being held in a park to have fellowship, as there was no freedom like what you have today. Do we value the freedom that we have today?

I have been thinking of the joy we have because of the resurrection morning. Jesus spoke of this, of the travail and pain when a new birth is brought into the world, and the anguish of a baby boy born.  Jesus said to His disciples that you will have sorrow now but after you will have joy — a joy that will never be taken away from you. This is the joy of the resurrection. There is no pain that produces so much joy as a new birth, and we would like to make this more of a reality in our lives. Paul spoke of the power of the resurrection, that if there is no death, there can be no resurrection, so we need to focus on death.

Jesus said that even now those who are dead will hear the voice of God, and one reason that we don’t hear His voice is that we are not dead enough. We need to learn how to die, to deny ourself. We need more living but before we can have that, we need more death. How can we know about life if we don’t know about death? For death goes with life and life goes with death. It is sure that all will die, but all can die and that is what we need. It is more death for God because He wants a dying people, not a dead people. We, the people of God, expect too much without dying. Life comes with the resurrection.

We see in Jesus that very early on in His life, He said, “I must be about My Father’s business.” That characterised all His life for He knew what it was to deny Himself. This is the kind of death that we need to know, for it is dying with Him that activates this new life. Only then can we experience the power of the resurrection. Remember this — no death, no resurrection. It’s nice to think about John 12, where we see certain Greeks wanting to see Jesus. It is nice to see this kind of fellowship in Phillip and Andrew, how they worked together. Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and die, it abides alone; for he that loveth his life shall lose it, and he that hateth his life in this world shall find it.” A grain of wheat — what is a grain of wheat for, and what is it created for? It is created to die. A seed is a miracle waiting to be performed. If there is no death of the seed, there will be no life either, for this is the law of the harvest.  A dying life precedes a living example; a dying ministry produces a living church. 

In California, a family of friends have a severely handicapped little boy — he could not talk, he could not dress himself, and he needed help although he was intelligent. He learned sign language and while sitting at convention he told his mother in sign language how to make the word “dead.” She asked him back in sign language, “What do you mean make dead?" Finally he got it through to his mother that he wanted to profess; he wanted her to stand up for him. Do we know what it means to profess? If there is no death there is no life, for life springs from death. Those who die with Him will live with Him. We need to focus on death, on dying with Christ. We could have life going on and yet be planning something else. We need to be concerned about what’s going on now. Paul said, “I die daily.” We need to die daily if we want to have His life; we need to take up our cross daily, for it is possible to read our Bible and pray, and go to the meetings, but are we bearing our cross, are we denying ourselves? If we don’t, we will not know anything of the power of the resurrection. 

Jesus came to John to be baptised, but before this, John told the Israelites that there stands One amongst you whom you don’t know, and I don’t know Him either, that’s why I am baptising. Jesus came to him and said, "I require to be baptised by you — it is fitting for us to do this together to fulfill all righteousness." John was at the end of the Old Testament ministry and we need to forget it, but then he is also at the beginning of the New Testament ministry and we better concentrate on it. John said, “I must decrease so that He can increase.” Why was Jesus baptised? People talk of being baptised because of their sin. Did Jesus have sin that He needed to be baptised? No. Jesus was baptised for the same reason that we are — He took the pledge of a dying life.  You could be baptised in a few moments but it takes the rest of your life to prove what it means.

Paul said, "If Christ is not raised, then your faith is vain, for you are still in your sins." Lots of people believe this without dying. God does not want your life, for it is carnal and will not last long. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life; that you might have it more abundantly.” It is life we need — the life in Christ, and that is why we bear our own cross, that this life of Christ might be activated in us. His life paid for our sins. We like to clean up our own life — we quit drinking and smoking, and that’s great. These things we should be doing anyway.

Paul wrote to the Philippians, "That by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead, those things that were gain to me to count as loss, so that I might gain the Excellency of the knowledge of Christ." This knowledge we attain to in our spirit, this knowledge of a person, like being with John here and getting to know him better, and becoming acquainted and knowing Christ better. Paul counted everything as rubbish so that he might know Christ. Many people think that life is just accumulating stuff, but life is getting rid of stuff. It is good to realise some things so that we can begin to pay some prices. I have thought of the five foolish virgins who were just tagging along, and not willing to pay the price until it was too late. 

Paul said, "I have not attained to it yet, this power of the resurrection - there is more to it but I am pressing into it." How are we pressing in to it? Are we pressing? Can you realise that you haven’t got it? I know that you know that Jesus sent His disciples out two by two. They had no collar back to front. That is all true but there is something that comes as a result of dying, and it is a power which is what we need to know.

Recently, a twenty year old boy was asked, "Where have you been reading in your Bible?" and he replied, “I haven’t been reading it lately.” He was satisfied with that. Then he said, “I don’t want to look like a worker.” So I said to him, “What do you want to look like?” Here was a person satisfied with 30 fold. If you want to attain to 30 fold then you had better aim at 100 fold and you may attain 30 fold. The Laodicean Church was lukewarm, just satisfied. Do you find yourself satisfied, not needing to die some more? Then a voice rings out, "I have gone far enough."

Paul wrote to the Galatians, "Where did this persuasion come from?  It did not come from the One who called you, and if you don’t go a little further all may be lost." We need to be careful who we listen to. Satan gives you two choices — one choice is always better than the other choice, so you choose that and think that you have made a good choice, but you are still wrong. This persuasion comes from the wrong voice. We had better think again, "What choice does God give us?" The only choice that I know is death, death with Him so that you might know the new life of the resurrection, and receive a power to overcome the world.

God tells us to listen to Jesus. We all have heard the message from others to follow Jesus, but Jesus says, "Deny yourself, take up your cross." If we do not do that, we are not walking worthily. It is so easy to feel that we can depend on the cross of Jesus and not take up our own cross, yet when we take up our own cross it qualifies us to accept all that Jesus accomplished on His cross, and makes us worthy to partake of the emblems in a Sunday morning meeting. If we partake unworthily, what happens? What alone makes us worthy to partake? It is when we take up our own cross and follow Jesus. We should be very thankful for all that has been made available to us because of His sacrifice. 

Just think of all that we hear from the cross of Jesus, “Behold your mother.” Jesus spoke of a family, and then, “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” Then at that time, “Unto Thee, I commend My Spirit.” It is on the cross where so much happens and we could miss it all if we are not willing to take up our own cross. 

II Corinthians 5 tells us to be clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. God has planned this, and it’s a wonderful thing that God has planned something whereby we are not losers, because we all have this mortality and it is going to go. You cannot hang onto it. You might be at the height of your mortality at age 19; you are not going to get healthier, and you are not get more beautiful, but to think that this mortality can be swallowed up in life. Some people want to hang on to their mortality — they want more education, more money, a bigger house, but all the time this is being achieved their mortality is being swallowed up. Then when it’s all over, what do they have to show you what they have here? You have lots of stuff to show for it, but God wants our mortality to be swallowed up in life.

I’ll tell you why some people are not spirit-filled with new life. It is because they have some more mortality that needs to be swallowed up, and they are not willing to die. A young sister in India went to the United States of America and studied medicine to become a doctor. She practiced medicine for a few years, and then she forsook it all and went back to the filth of India. How come? How could she quit all this and go out into the work in India? She told me what she told her peers, “We do our best to bring people back to health in the medical world, but the people still go out to commit suicide, still die of aids, get sick, and then die. So why not give my life for their souls?” Jesus told His disciples, “You have not chosen Me but I have chosen you, that you would bear fruit and that your fruit would remain.” The world has lots of needs but let the world take care of those needs and you learn to become responsible in the kingdom of God, you learn to fill a place by being willing to fit in. 

Paul was able to write, “Being unknown and yet well known, being chastened and yet not killed, having sorrow and yet rejoicing, poor yet making many rich, having nothing and yet possessing all things.” That is the power of the resurrection and if you desire that, it requires denying yourself. A man was asked, “If you had two mountains would you give one to the Lord?” “Sure.” “If you had two houses would you give one to the Lord?” “Sure.” “If you had two cows would you give one to the Lord?” “Oh no, I only have two cows!” So what are you giving? He wants our all, and if we are not giving our all, then He does not want any. If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all. 

One time, Jesus came to the multitude and told them that they had to forsake all, and unless they did, they could not be His disciple. So if you forsake all, what do you have left over? Nothing and it is that nothing that God can do something with. If you are looking for a sack, you look for an empty sack; if you are looking for a box, you look for an empty box, for it is the empty part that is useful to us — that is what happens when we forsake all. I enjoyed thinking of the multitude that was with Jesus in the wilderness — there was nothing to feed them with, so Jesus asked the question, “What do you have?" "It is not enough to feed so many.” There was this little boy there that day and he has a few loaves and a few fishes, so he gave it all and now he had nothing. It was through the nothing part of it that Jesus was able to do a miracle; it is there where God wants to reveal things to us.

Jesus thanked His Father that He had hidden these things from the wise and the prudent of this world and revealed these things to babes.  Is a babe covetous of the things of this world? Does a babe have plans of its own? Does it have human reasoning? No, and it is this that God is looking for.  This nothing part, the empty part, is where something is activated of eternal value. He wants us to learn how to give our all. The widow woman gave the two mites and this affected all her living. How much did she have left over? Nothing, yet she found a place in the eternal part of this story in the New Testament. 

One of the sister workers had a terrible accident and her two legs were broken. One leg was so bad that the doctors considered amputation. This news shattered us. A lady who had begun to listen to the gospel gave us money to send to the hospital, and then her little boy, nine years old, said to his mother, “Can I have the key to my money box?” Then to us he said, “Hold out your two hands,” as he began to pour out his savings. I said to him that he did not have to give it all, but he just continued to pour out and said, “I want to give it all.” So I went back to the batch and I started to count it out, and then I said, “No, I don’t want to know how much there is there. I want to remember this little boy as one who gave it all." Do we have it in our hearts to give it all?

A boy of 21 in college had one more year to go when he left it all. He told us, “This learning is of no use to me in eternity” — how we hope that the spirit of giving all will rule in his heart — because when you give your all, it can make you rich eternally. The question is asked, “When shall I invest?” It is good to remember now that Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like treasure in a field that when a man findeth and gladly sells all to buy it. We see many, many people buying fields without a treasure, but this field has eternal treasure. You cannot buy it on the installment plan, it has to be your all or you do not have it. We need to see the value of the treasure every day, need to see it is a safe investment, for our treasure is something that we will not let go of. A man I know of has a treasure — it cost $625 U.S. dollars and it is the end wing feather of an eagle. When I saw him the last time I said, “I hope your treasure will be in heaven and that it is not your feather.” 

In Mark 10, it speaks of a young man that Jesus loved, an upright young man who came to Him, but Jesus said to him, “You lack one thing, sell all and come follow Me.” In the Chinese Bible, it says, "You can sell all and give it to the poor but you still have to come and follow Me." In our fellowship, there are a lot of young men just like him. In one country, there were a couple of young brothers, who the workers say are fine young men. Both knew English and could interpret, so I thought I would try something. I said to them, “Why are your names not on the workers list?”  They went away sorrowful.

I thought of one sentence in the Old Testament, “…thou shalt not covet” — that just means "I want." As kids, we start out wanting and continue as adults to keep on wanting all the time. Paul says not to covet and if Paul had not said that, it would not activate this covetousness in me. My companion would fix electrical things, and a child playing nearby was asked not to touch it when he had to leave the room. If he had not said that, the child would not have touched it, but he came back into the room and the child was crying, because the child had touched it. This is what we are up against. This is the way Satan tempted Jesus. After 40 days in the desert, He hungered, and a person is hungry after just one day of fasting, but there is a spiritual lesson here in this. Jesus denied himself of food. If we deny ourselves of something for 40 days, say from watching a movie, then at the end we will get hungry and we feel we have to go. There is this great movie showing and we are hungering to go to see it. It is the best movie ever, and so when this hunger grips you. Then it is the best time for you to fast. We need to be very careful when we are hungry.  This is something we can all do — to deny ourselves, for if we do not forsake all, we cannot be a disciple. When we forsake all we have nothing, and if you have nothing, you are a beggar. I would rather be a beggar now than a beggar for all eternity. We have a choice. If you want to be a beggar now, you will not know how to do this until you have nothing, until you come to the place of having nothing. I am glad for this in my life. 

When the time came when I left home, it wasn’t easy walking out of the door and going away. Mother was standing there. After awhile, I looked back and saw she had gone inside the house and there was a feeling of emptiness, of not knowing where I would spend the night, not knowing who my companion would be, not knowing where we would be going, for that was the first time. Then later when I was going to a foreign country, they removed the gangplank in Seattle. It was night and a group of friends stood on the dock. It was cold and dark and then one voice called out, “Could you not turn round and come back?” Those words came to me so clearly. We are not those who turn back to perdition, for it takes faith to go on, even if fear is there.

Peter was glad for the night when he caught nothing, for Jesus said, “Launch out into the deep.” Jesus saw something that Peter could not see — it takes faith and obedience. We can be thankful for the experiences when we knew nothing. The man went to his friend at midnight and said, “Please give me as I have nothing to give my friend,” but the man said, “I am sleeping.” He kept begging. Why did he keep begging? It was because he had nothing. Finally this man gets up and gives bread to the man. This is Jesus teaching us how to pray, to pray for bread for the meeting, when we feel that we have nothing. If we do not have bread, it is not a tragedy, but not seeking to get it is a tragedy.

Two boys were playing meeting together. They first sang a hymn, and then they prayed and sang again. One boy got up and said, “I do not have much to share in the meeting, but I am glad to be here.” The other boy got up and said, “My thoughts have already been expressed,” and sat down.  Where did these boys hear that? I hope they do not hear this in your meeting! Learn to pray for bread.

The other day, a young lady gave up her home to go out into this work. She said to her new companion, “I have nothing, but what can I do?” Her companion said, “This is just where the Lord wants you, this is where God can do something for you; this is where we learn the power of the resurrection.” It tells us you are complete in Christ, so if we have nothing we are not lacking.

The key to Galatians is the indwelling of Christ; Ephesians is the unsearchable riches in Christ; and Philippians is the manifestation of Christ. To be risen with Christ is a product of death, and then we have this new life being born again in you. Paul wanted to manifest this new life either by life or by death. If we do not have the spirit of Christ we are none of His, for Christ is the power of God, the wisdom of God, and all treasure is hidden in Christ. We do not need anything more than Christ, for Christ in you is the hope of glory, not Christ walking beside the Sea of Galilee but walking in you. This is the thing to be concerned about today, about life today.

A lot of things we do not understand but we do not have to understand them if you have Christ, if you know how to deny yourself. I am sometimes amazed how so many are tangled up with the things in the Old Testament. One time a brother worker asked me what I thought of the filthy garments that got cleaned up. I told him I do not know a thing about it but told him to read in I John where His blood cleanses us from all sin. This is something current for today, and it’s for you and for me. 

Last week, we were in Greece. At the end of Hebrews 11, it tells us about those who didn’t receive the promises, and in the Greek language it reads “didn’t enjoy the promises.” We have the promises, we have today what Jesus lived and died for, and it is all in Christ. The church is the body of Christ and we are members in this body. How did this body come into being? It was by the preaching of the Word. It all came about by the preaching of Christ. How do we sustain this body? By feeding on Christ and focusing on Jesus.

Do not forget to take up your cross. This is the only way we can follow Him and know the power of the resurrection.  It is how we can glory in the cross upon which the Son of God was crucified.

Now please, all stand up and leave your hymn books on your seats and sing by heart, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”