Dennis Wilhoit - Helena, Montana Gospel Meetings - January 18, 2015

Hymn #163 (Jesus, My Saviour King)
Hymn #139 (Have You Any Room for Jesus?)

In connection with the last meeting, I’d like to start with some verses in Matthew 8:11-12:

“And I say unto you, 'That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.  But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'”

This is speaking about those who lived in the Old Testament times and they were regarding Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the children of God.  Those three would be counted in and the rest would be cast out.  There were counted in as God’s children.  These verses in John 1:11-12 tells us why:

“He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.  But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.”

The next verse really explains what it means to be counted in:

“which were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

What does that mean?   We know we must be born again and be obedient and receive the spirit in our hearts to be counted in.

“Not of blood, not of the will of the flesh, not of the will of man.”  What does that mean?

We have a good explanation in the first verse we read.  Those who were determined to be God’s children were simply in the bloodline.  They trusted in that bloodline and didn't feel they had to have the reverence for God as Abraham had.  They didn’t think they needed to believe it.

In a part of Missouri, you would find people of my last name ‘Wilhoit’ and they are in the family.  Likewise in southeast Wyoming, you will find the ‘Lerwicks.’  It would have been tempting for me to believe, since I was part of the family name, that I was automatically counted in.  My parents have been gone for 10 years and I have no close relatives nearby.  It helps me to realize that this has nothing to do with it. It’s a personal thing.  Jesus said, “God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matthew 3:9).  He was speaking of Abraham and telling them this had nothing to do with salvation.

Another thing to look at is the phrase - “nor of the will of man.”  What of Ishmael?  How was he born?  Abraham and Sarah contrived and used their own will to do this.  A son was born to a union outside of their union.  He was not included in those who will be counted as God’s children where it says, “Many shall come from the east and west and shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.”  It shows it’s not of our own self determination that we are found in a place of God’s kingdom.

Another one is mentioned - “nor of the will of the flesh.”  Jacob and Esau come to mind.  Esau sold his birthright. Jacob came by it legally and lawfully by the will of the flesh.

We have examples how to be counted in doesn’t happen and we have examples of how it is to be counted in.  Peter said speak of the Holy Spirit to give to those who obey Him.  Jacob was obedient to his parents and he obeyed the vision of the ladder.  That’s the Old Testament being counted in, how what about now?

Something’s meant a lot to me.  We just finished Philippians' letter.  A verse in the third chapter and I want to read it:  “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.”  (Philippians 3:20)

I cannot remember his name but there was a senior worker in Greece, perhaps his name was Anton Cotsarelis?  He was on a visit to the U.S. and passed away at Milltown.  He and others were discussing how true is the King James Version compared to the original Greek version.  He noticed no difference. I’m not here to say either way.  If you have an Oxford press King James Version, you'll notice for this verse Philippians 3:20, in the reference that conversation also shows “citizenship.”  I’ll back that up with some more statements.  In the Strom Concordance, you'll find the word citizenship.  What is Paul talking about here?  I think it is the theme of the whole letter.  He said your citizenship is in heaven.

We had a visit with Earnest Nelson.  He had a niece laboring in the work in Hong Kong.  He was saying just as Hong Kong is a colony of the British Isles, Philippi was a colony of Rome (from the chapter of Philippians).  They were born in Macedonia but their citizenship was still Rome.  Paul said he was a Roman citizen.  A man marveled that Paul was free born and that he could say that.  It was because he was born a Roman citizen.  He was writing from Rome and was saying your real citizenship is in heaven.  To have this you have to have been born again and obey and receive the gospel.  In chapter 2:12 of Philippians it says, “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

This verse helps us understand obedience and helped them to become citizens of heaven.  The Holy Spirit is fundamental to that citizenship.  That is what makes us citizens because we have obeyed and received the spirit.  Having faith and courage to prove it is what holds people back.  That’s what our work is about, helping people understand that.

I had an experience in China.  I went back to Hong Kong for Special Meetings then I traveled back to China for meetings and went back and forth between the two places.  It is hard to take it in the contrast between the two.  They were like day and night in the 1980s.  In 1992, I had my first visit to England.  What was outstanding was the English spoken in England was the same spoken in Hong Kong.  That was the norm.  After 80-90 years of British rule in Hong Kong, it was just like England and had democracy.  It’s not that way now.  In 1997, the 100 year lease ended and Hong Kong was handed back to Beijing, China with freedoms guaranteed but that eroded.  Hardly anyone speaks English there now. That’s how much it has changed.  It brings to mind the fact that Jesus said He told the people to be in this world but do not be of this world (a part of).

In that hymn it says, “Have you any room for Jesus?”  The year 1997 was approaching and for Hong Kong, we didn't know what would happen.  On June 30 at midnight, they knew things would change and their things would be worthless in Hong Kong.  People quietly sent all their assets to England.  All they had to do after that was to go to England.  All we have to do if we are truly children of God is to receive, obey…it should not be a huge struggle to deal with the business and pleasures of the world.  Those people in Hong Kong had no interest in Hong Kong. Their thoughts were where their treasure was.  How much do I understand where mine is?  Hope we’ll have a chance to speak more about that.