Dellas Linaman - Madrid, Spain Convention - 2005

Hymn:  “Just as I am.” 

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

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, the anguish of a baby boy born.  Jesus said to his disciples, "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 at a new birth.  We would like to make this more of a reality in our lives. 

Paul spoke of the power of the resurrection.  If there is no death, there can be no resurrection.  We need to focus on death.  Jesus said that, even now, those who are dead will hear the voice of God.  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 ourselves.  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?  Death goes with life and life goes with death.  It is sure that all will die, but all can die.  That is what we need:  it is more death.  God 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 in his life, 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 and we experience the power of the resurrection.  Remember this, no death, no resurrection. 

Nice to think about John 12 where we see certain Greeks wanting to see Jesus.  Phillip told Andrew, nice to see the kind of fellowship, how they were working together.  Jesus said, "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it abides alone.  He that loveth his life shall lose it.  He that hateth his life in this world shall find it."  A grain of wheat, what is a grain of wheat for, what is it created for?  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.  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 had a severely handicapped little boy.  He could not talk, could not dress himself.  He needed help though he was intelligent.  He learned sign language.  Sitting at convention, he told his mother in sign language, "Make 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 if 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 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.  It is possible to read our bible, we can pray, we can go to the meetings.  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.  Before this, John told the Israelites that there stands one among you whom you don’t know.  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 fulfil all righteousness."  John was the end of the Old Testament ministry and we need to forget it.  John is 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 risen then your faith is vain.  You are still in your sins."  Lots of people believe this without dying. 

God does not want your life.  It is carnal and is not going to last long.  Jesus said, "I have come that you might have life and you might have it more abundantly."  It is life we need, life in Christ.  That is why we bear our own cross:  that this life of Christ might be activated in us.  That life that paid for our sins.  We like to clean up our own life.  We quit drinking, smoking.  Great, these things we should be doing anyway.  Paul wrote to the Philippians, "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, getting to know him better, to get acquainted, to know Christ better.  Paul counted everything as rubbish so that he might know Christ.  Lots of people in life think that life is just accumulating stuff.  Life is getting rid of stuff. 

It is good to realise some things so that we can begin to pay some prices.  Have thought of the five foolish virgins, they were just tagging along, not willing to pay the price till 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, having no collar back to front.  That is all true but there is something that comes as a result of dying.  It is a power, that is what we need to know. 

Recently a twenty-year-old boy was asked, "Where have you been reading in your bible?"  He replied, "I haven’t been reading it lately."  He was satisfied with that.  He said, "I don’t want to look like a worker."  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 so you may attain to 30 fold.  The Laodician Church was lukewarm, satisfied.  Do you find yourself satisfied, not needing to die some more?  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."  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.  You choose that and think that you have made a good choice.  You are still wrong for 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, receiving a power to overcome the world.  God tells us to listen to Jesus.  We all have heard the message from others to follow Jesus.  Jesus says, "Deny yourself.  Take up your cross."  If we do not do it, 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.  When we take up our own cross, it qualifies us to accept all that Jesus accomplished on His cross.  It makes us worthy to partake of the emblems in a Sunday morning meeting.  If we partake unworthily, what happens?  What only makes us worthy to partake is when we are taking up our own cross and following 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 speaking of a family, "Today you will be with me in Paradise.  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.  2 Corinthians 5 tells us, to be clothed upon.  Mortality might be swallowed up of life.  God has planned this, a wonderful thing that God has planned something whereby we are not losers because all you have got is mortality.  It is going to go, you cannot hang on to it.  You might be at the height of your mortality at age 19.  You are not going to get more healthy, not 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, want more money, want a bigger house.  All the time this is being achieved their mortality is being swallowed up.  Then, when it's all over, what do you have to show that you have been 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, they are not willing to die.  A young sister in India went to the States of America and studied medicine to became a Doctor.  She practiced medicine for a few years.  Then she forsook 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, they still die of aids, get sick and die.  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.  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.  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!"  What are you giving?  He wants our all.  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.  Unless they did, they could not be His disciple.  If you forsake all, what do you have left over?  Nothing.  It is that nothing that God can do something with.  If you are looking for a sack, you look for an empty sack.  If looking for a box, you look for an empty box.  It is the empty part that is useful to us, and that is what happens when we forsake all.  I enjoy thinking of the multitude with Jesus in the wilderness.  There was nothing to feed them.  Jesus asked the question, "What do you have?"  It is not enough to feed so many, but there is this little boy.  He has a few loaves and a few fishes.  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.  It is this that God is looking for.  This nothing part, the empty part where something is activated of eternal value.  He wants us to learn how to give our all.  The widow woman gave the two mites.  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.  Her two legs were broken, one 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.  Her little boy, 9 years old, said to his mother, "Can I have the key to my money box ?"  He said to us, "Hold out your two hands."  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.  He said, "I want to give it all."  So I went to the batch.  I started to count it out.  I said, "No, I don’t want to know how much there is there."  I want to remember the 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.  He left it all.  He said, "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 now.  Remember Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is like treasure in a field that when a man findeth gladly sells all to buy it.  We see many, many people buying fields without a treasure.  This field has eternal treasure and 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 that it is a safe investment.  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.  It is the end wing feather of an eagle.  The last time I saw him, I said, "I hope your treasure will be in heaven, and that it is not your feather."  Mark 10:  a young man that Jesus loved, an upright young man, but Jesus said to him, "You lack one thing.  You 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.  The workers say they are fine young men.  They knew English.  They could interpret.  I thought I would try something.  I says, "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."  It just means I want.  As kids start out, I want and people keep 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.  A child was playing nearby.  He had to leave the room so he told this child not to touch anything.  If he had not said that, the child would not have touched it.  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, He hungered.  A person is hungry after one day of fasting, but there is a spiritual lesson here in this.  Jesus was denying himself of food.  If we are denying ourselves of something for 40 days, say from watching a movie, then at the end we will get hungry.  We have got to go.  There is this great movie and we are hungering to go to see it.  It is the best movie ever.  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:  deny ourselves for if we do not forsake all we cannot be a disciple.  When we forsake all, we have nothing.  If you have nothing, you are a beggar.  I would rather be a beggar now than be a beggar for all eternity.  We have a choice.  If we want to be a beggar now, we will not know how to do this until you have nothing, till you come to the place of having nothing, and I am glad for this time in my life.  The time I left home:  it wasn’t easy walking out of the door, to start going away.  Mother standing there.  After awhile, I looked back and see that she had gone inside the house.  I had a feeling of emptiness, not knowing where I would spend the night, not knowing who my companion would be, not knowing where we would be going, and that was the first time.  Then, later going to a foreign country in Seattle, they removed the gangplank.  It was night, a group of friends on the dock.  It was cold and dark.  One voice there called out, "Could you not turn round and come back?"  Those words came to me so clearly.  We are not of those who turn back to perdition.  It takes faith to go on, there is fear there. 

Peter was glad for the night that he caught nothing.  Jesus says, "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."  The man said, "I am sleeping."  He kept begging.  Why did he keep begging?  It was because he had nothing.  The man gets up and gives 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 meetings.  They sang a hymn and 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 gets up and says, "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.  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.  Philippians is the manifestation of Christ. 

To be risen with Christ is a product of death, 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.  All the 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, and we do not have to understand if you have Christ, if you know how to deny yourself.  I am sometimes amazed how so many are tangled up with 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 that I do not know a thing about it but then told him that I read in 1 John where His blood cleanses us from all sin.  This is something current for today, for you, for me.  Last week we were in Greece.  In the Greek language, at the end of Hebrews 11, it tells us that those who didn’t receive the promises didn’t enjoy the promises.  We have the promises.  We have today what Jesus lived and died for.  It is all in Christ, the church is the body of Christ.  We are members in this body.  How did this body come into being?  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, by focussing on Jesus.  Do not forget to take up your cross for this is the only way we can follow him and know the power of the resurrection.  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.  Sing by heart, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”