Eden Warner - David and Peter - First Oak Lodge, 1991

Hymn 201

I do not know if I need to introduce myself or not. I suppose the best way I can do so would be to mention that perhaps some of you know Willie Donaldson, or knew him I should say. He was one of the first two that came to the island of Barbados, where I am from, with the Gospel. That was in the year 1928. My father listened to the Gospel at that time and accepted it. Two years later my mother and eldest sister did the same. Some years after that I was born and the years I was born until I heard the Gospel several other Workers worked in that island. It so happened at the time I listened to the Gospel and began to serve God, Willie Donaldson was one of the Workers. Also some years after that he came to this country and it was about the time he came to this country when I started in the Work. I don't know, I will say again, why this privilege is mine to be here with you but I am very grateful for the same. Of course, you would understand I would prefer to be sitting over there than standing here but I suppose this is part of it all so I may have to repeat some things that have already been mentioned in this meeting but there are some things that can bear repeating.

The last few days I was thinking of two great men in the Bible who failed. The thought in my mind is not to enlarge on failure, nor is it to give license to fail. I suppose all feel tonight we have failed enough in the past, we would not want to fail any more. The thought in my mind is that these men in spite of having failed, they finished well. Even though you and I have failed in the past, there in the possibility of rising up, going on and doing better and having a good finish. I don't know if there is any person here tonight who is in a deep sleep? I don't mean natural sleep but if you were in a deep sleep and someone came to waken you and that person broke some of your bones, certainly you would be wakened but wouldn't appreciate that. You would say that person didn't need to be so drastic as to break some of my bones and the only way to be able to appreciate that is if you became aware that if that had not taken place you would have slept the sleep of death, then you would realize those broken bones can heal but if I did sleep the sleep of death, that would be the end of all things for me.

I was thinking of a man, a great man, he went into a deep sleep. I thought of the time before that when he was very wide awake and also the time afterwards when he was very wide awake. David in I Sam 24.5 he was so awake when after he had cut off the skirt of Saul's robe, it says his heart smote him and he found he had done wrong thing. II Sam.24.10 after he had numbered Israel, his heart smote him and he said to the Lord: I have sinned greatly but there was a time between those two experiences that he did the wrong thing. Time went on and seemingly he was in a deep sleep and there was no conviction of wrongdoing and the Lord had in kindness to break some bones and because the Lord in kindness broke those bones, he wrote Psalm 51 and that Psalm, if I counted correctly, you will find sixteen times in that Psalm he asked the Lord to do certain things for him, twice in the Psalm he asked the Lord not to do certain things and once in the Psalm he mentions something that the Lord had done, everything else in that Psalm centered on what the Lord had done.

In v.8 it mentions the Lord had broken some bones. Cause me to hear joy and gladness that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice. How did the Lord break those bones? The Lord broke those bones by sending His servant to him and the message of God through His servant brought conviction. Broken bones cause pain and restriction. I remember about ten years ago I was driving my niece, she works in East Africa, taking her some place and somehow there was an accident, I broke some bones in my right hand; those broken bones were painful and restricted me. Fortunately nothing happened to her because within twelve days she was to return to her field. I am saying: broken bones are painful and cause restriction. That was David's experience as a result of the Lord sending His messenger to him, that message that convicted him and caused him to become awake to his condition. The Lord did it in kindness and if you are conscious in this meeting of God, as it were, breaking your bones to waken you out of a deep sleep, it is because He sees this sleep can become a sleep of death and He wants to waken you kindly. Then, there were two things he asked the Lord not to do.

In v.11 “Cast me not away from Thy presence and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.” I don't know if David had a record of Cain's experience but I was thinking of Cain's experience when I thought of this - cast me not away from Thy presence and we might say that the Lord tried to break Cain's bones also but seemingly he resisted and he felt, even if the Lord doesn't accept me as I am, well, that's His business, I am not going to change but, you know what he said later on? He said to the Lord: Thou hast cast out from the face of the earth and from Thy face shall I be hid and further he said those words that are mentioned, those words that seem so final, it says: Cain went out from the presence of God. Cain went out... He had been in the presence of God and the Lord showed him he wasn't acceptable but also showed him how he could be acceptable and there was no response and then he had to say: my punishment is greater than I can bear. I believe the thing that would have tormented Cain more than anything else would have been the thought the Lord gave me the opportunity to do better and I didn't embrace it. Now he found himself in the position, as it were, where he could do nothing about it and he said: my punishment in greater than I can bear.

Cast me not away... and the other Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. I have wondered if David felt I deserve these things but I am Asking God not to do them. He would have known so well the experience of Saul when God took His Spirit from him. He was like we sometimes sing in that hymn; he was like a ship without a rudder on a wild and stormy sea, no direction. David felt: I wouldn't like to be in that condition. Cast me not away from Thy presence and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Of the 16 things he asked the Lord to do I'll just mention two of them, the first and the last. The first was: Have mercy on me...blot out my transgressions, and we see David was saying: I can't justify myself, I can't excuse myself, I can only ask for mercy. Sometimes we do the wrong thing, we would like to justify ourselves, sometimes we like to excuse ourselves, sometimes blame others. That is what Saul did, he tried to blame others but it’s a good thing when we are willing to face up to things we realize the only thing I can do is ask for mercy.

The last thing he asked the Lord to do is in the second last verse. He said: Build Thou the walls of Jerusalem. He felt by his actions he had broken down the walls and he was asking God to build them up. It is very easy to break down walls; it’s not so easy to build them up. It is only with the help of God that we can build walls that we so easily break down but it’s nice to think of him rising up from that experience and going on to do well. Sometimes we read these books of Samuel, Kings, Chronicles and notice so often in connection kings doing that which was right like David their father. It tells of some that they did that which was right in the sight of the Lord but not that David was their father and some it tells us of them they did that which was right in the sight of the Lord but not with a perfect heart and then we read of some who made mistakes and it says their heart was perfect with the Lord all their days and it seems to me the thing that caused hearts to be perfect with the Lord all their days is what we were hearing this morning, they never turned to idolatry; they made mistakes but never turned to idolatry. David's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days, he never turned to idolatry. We can make mistakes, we can fail but we can rise up as God would speak to us and bring conviction to bear upon us, it might pain at the time, what do we read in Hebrews 12? No chastening for the present seemeth joyous but after yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness.... If we are exercised as a result of the chastening, of the Lord, it will make us right and we will have peace.

The other man I was thinking about is in the NT and that is Peter and I'd like to read two verses from Matthew 26. v.58 and v.75. v.58 Peter followed afar off...and went in ...to see the end. v.75 And Peter remembered the Word of Jesus... We were hearing last night about the last meeting Jesus had with His disciples and we know so well from that meeting Judas went out to betray Jesus and Jesus went out from that meeting to give Himself, to die, Peter went out from that meeting but I wouldn't like to say Peter went out from that meeting to deny, I would say he went out from that meeting and denied because it wasn't in his heart to deny his Master. The time will come when we will go out from these meetings and our future is going to depend a great extent on what is the purpose of our hearts as we leave this place. The purpose in Judas' heart when he left that meeting before it was finished was to betray his Master. That is what he did.

Peter went out from the meeting intending to be true to his Master, he fell but he rose up and went on and did well. It’s a good thing to have the right purpose in our hearts. It says that Peter followed afar off. Sometimes we say Peter followed afar off and we stop there but it says he went in to see the end. Have you ever thought of the other disciples and wondered why none of them denied Jesus? I am inclined to feel they were too far away to be identified with Him and its possible for us to be following so far off we could escape the tests because we are so far away we can't be identified with Jesus but, at the same time, we could miss very valuable lessons. John's Gospel tells us there was another disciple there. There is no doubt on the day Jesus was crucified John was there but was it John who was known to the high priests? I don't think so. I may be wrong.

It tells us there was another disciple there who was known to the high priests. You know, there was a disciple who had gone to the high priests and chief priests and bargained with them for thirty pieces of silver, he was known to the high priests, he could mingle with the servants there and no fear of him getting into trouble because he was known. What was he doing there? I believe the next chapter, ch.27, tells us. I believe Judas was there and he has seen Jesus on previous occasions escape when they wanted to arrest Him, it was because His time had not yet come. I believe the thought in Judas mind was: I am going to deliver Jesus to them, I am going to have 30 pieces of silver in my pocket, Jesus is going to escape and I am going to say to them: that is your business. The One that I shall kiss, He is the One, hold Him fast. I believe he thought: He is going to escape. It tells us when Judas saw Jesus was condemned he brought again the 30 pieces of silver and I believe they would say to him what he thought he would say to them: what is that to us, that’s your own business. Sometimes things don't work out as we think they will work out.

Peter went in to see the end. Sometimes all we see is the experience that caused bitter tears; he went out and wept bitterly. I am inclined to feel Peter's experience lasted just about three days when Jesus rose again and Peter was assured he had been forgiven; that was the end of the bitter tears in Peter's experience but there were some lessons Peter learned as he went in that day to see the end that remained with him long after the bitterness of the experience. I'll read a verse, v.67. Then did they spit in His face...who is he that smote Thee? Peter saw that as he went in to see the end and he learned something. What did he learn? He learned how Jesus took that. He would never forget that.

When he was writing to the Christians in the 2nd chapter of his first letter he wrote these words: Hereunto were ye called... he mentioned Christ's suffering, leaving us an example that ye should follow in His steps, who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth...committed Himself unto Him that judgeth righteously. Something Peter learned as he went-in with Jesus to see the end. He would never forget that. He saw how Jesus took suffering and he learned from it. You remember that time when he too had to suffer along with John? They rejoice to be counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus Christ. He went in to see the end and he learned that lesson, how to suffer for Jesus sake, even as Jesus suffered, and how to take things. Even though Jesus had done no sin, there was no guile in His mouth; He didn't retaliate when He suffered.

Something else Peter learned that day when he went in to see the end. Do you know what it was? He learned that Jesus knew all things. Previous to this Peter had argued with Jesus and he just said to Jesus: you don't really know me, you think I am going to deny You; I will never do it, you don't really know me? Peter went in that day to see the end and he learned Jesus knew all things. When he denied Jesus, as Jesus said he would, he learned Jesus knew all things. Then some days afterwards, as someone mentioned in the meeting this morning, we have what took place recorded in John 21; Peter along with six others went fishing after the resurrection and Jesus drew near. You would remember how Jesus dealt so kindly with then and then He said to Peter: Do you love Me? Three times He asked the question. What was Peter's response the third time? It says he was grieved and he said to Jesus: Thou knowest all things; Thou knowest that I love Thee.

He had learned that when he went in to see the end, he had learned Jesus knew all things; now he could say: Thou knowest all things...love Thee. I don't believe Jesus was questioning his love. I believe Jesus was saying to him: if you love me, prove it; the way to prove it: you feed My lambs and feed My sheep. This is the One who know all things. He said some things to Peter, I am sure those things were very reassuring to him that day. Do you know what He said to Peter? When you were young... you went wherever you wanted to go, when thou shalt be old...This spake He, signifying by what death he should glorify God. Then He said: follow He. The One who knew all things was saying to Peter, you are going to live to be an old man and as an old man you are going to glorify God in your death. Peter would be reassured, he would have felt: I have failed in the past but I am going to go on to the very end and at the end I am going to die to glorify God. You are going to stretch forth your hand... Well, naturally he wouldn't want to be led forth to death, it would be like taking him some place he wouldn't want to go but he was going to glorify God in his death.

This brings me' to the 12th chapter of Acts. We read of Herod stretching forth his hand to vex certain of the Church and he killed James the brother of John and when he saw it pleased the people he took Peter also... Peter was kept in prison, Herod intended after the Passover to bring him forth to the people to do to him as he had done to James. What happened? It says the night before Peter was to be brought forth he was sleeping between two soldiers bound with two chains, also tells us that prayers were made by the saints. I don't want to discourage the prayers of the saints, they did their part in praying, I don't know if Peter knew they were praying, do you know why Peter was able to sleep in prison that night knowing that Herod had in mind to bring him forth the next day? Peter was saying to himself: Herod intends to kill me tomorrow but he can't do it, therefore I can sleep. Why do I say that? At this time Peter wasn't an old man and Peter would remember the One who knows all things He has told me I am going to live to be an old man as an old man in death I will glorify God. Even though Herod killed James as a young man and he wants to kill me tomorrow, he can't do it because the One who knows all things told me I am going to live to be an old man! Isn't that nice? The Lord opened the prison doors and brought him out. If you read the lst chapter of 2nd Peter, now he was an old man and writing to the Christians: I know that shortly I must put off this tabernacle even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shown me but he wasn't worried about it, he was now an old man, ready to face death; he wasn't worried about the death he was going to face, now what he was concerned about and, concerned up to the very last, about feeding the lamb and sheep. He says: I am writing these things to you that when I am gone you will have these things in remembrance. In other words he wanted them to be strong when he was gone to face the tests that would come. He was faithful in old age feeding the lambs and sheep, as Jesus said to him that day: if you love Me feed My lambs and feed My sheep. Peter failed before but he rose up a stronger man and went on and was one that could be depended upon. We could say as an old man he was willing to give his life that in death he could glorify God and as I said at the beginning, I didn't intend to speak about those two men to enlarge on their failure or to encourage failure but to encourage ourselves with this thought: even though we have failed in the past, we can rise up, go on and we can do well, we can bring honor to God and we can finish well.