Eldon Tenniswood - God's Choosing - Glencoe, South Australia, Australia - 1986

It is a special privilege for me to be here with you folks, and I have appreciated so much God’s work that He has done in the lives of people in different parts of the world. It is unbelievable. It is the work of God.


I have been thinking of one verse that is special to me, I Peter 2:9. It is nice to think, “Ye are a chosen generation...” God chose. Jesus said that the disciples did not choose Him but He chose them. He knew what they were like, their condition, and in spite of their natural environment, human natures, and failures of the past, He chose them for His people. It is wonderful to think that He loved us so much that He chose us out of the world. Sometimes we don’t realize the full meaning of that.


In Indonesia in our first year there, we were having meetings and three people were coming regularly. We closed the mission and those three decided, two young women and an elderly grandmother who was shrivelled up. She had chewed tobacco sticks since she was five years old and that nicotine had penetrated her brain so that it would hardly work. She made her choice but we didn’t think she understood. These other two started off going well for six months and then ran out of steam.


The elderly lady kept coming to the meetings though she couldn’t read at first and so didn’t have a word for a little while in the Sunday morning meeting. This dear old soul loved the Lord, loved His children, and to this day, we marvel that she could put away the tobacco. Her life was a glory to the Kingdom. The nicotine started to get out of her and she started to learn to read. She stayed faithful as long as she lived. I was a young Worker and she would write every month or two. She got saved in spite of us, because we didn’t pay her much attention. We were not too experienced but God chose her.


How does God choose people? You heard a little bit about God working with Moses and then, when Moses was eighty years old, God sent him with a message, a marvellous message to, “Let My people go that they may serve Me.” They were serving Egypt, slaves with nobody to take their part. The Egyptians beat them, forced them to make bricks, had their way over them. There was nobody to help them, and they looked up to God and God sent His messengers, Moses and Aaron. He sent them with that wonderful message, “Let My people go that they may serve Me.” They went to Pharaoh and he made it harder for them so God sent the plagues. The last plague God sent was darkness and then came the final test, the choosing of the children of Israel. The slaves were going to be liberated.


You read a little bit about the people in Vietnam and the US going to liberate them. They had money, men, power, and machinery. But how did God go about to deliver these people? It is the same as today. There were two servants and they had a message. Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD?” They didn’t know but they found out His power. They never got to know the Lord. The last test was the choosing. They were to take a lamb on the tenth day of the month and keep it unto the fourteenth day, and in the evening, kill the lamb; put the blood on the two sides of the door and the top. They were to eat that lamb in the evening, with its head, legs, and the purtenance thereof, roast with fire, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. That is what they were told to do, and if the family was not big enough to eat the lamb, they could invite their neighbours next to them. It was the fellowship of one neighbour to another, and then the angel of the Lord was going to pass over. The angel of the Lord passed over and where there was blood and those people eating together, in fellowship; they were a chosen people. They ate the lamb the way God asked them to do. As that angel passed over those houses, He visited every home that was not marked with the blood of the lamb, and the firstborn died.


We know a little bit about what it is to have a death in the home. They were very much concerned when it happened, that is every home not marked with blood. These were God’s chosen people and that night there was a cry in Egypt. The people who were in bondage, in slavery, that night the Egyptians thrust them out, and the next day, they went on their journey - six hundred thousand men besides women and children. There are five hundred of us here. Imagine six hundred thousand men besides the women and children. You would think of a multitude of people.


Pharaoh did not want to let them go, but they wanted to go with their wives and children, herds and flocks. How could they be provided for in a desert country? They had nothing to feed on. Pharaoh said, “We have no use for them. Let them go.” One thing Pharaoh didn’t know was Who it was who going to take care of them. They were thrust out, God’s chosen people, and they started on their journey to the promised land. God promised them a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to lead them in the way. Moses and Aaron led them in a certain way.


The Egyptians changed their minds when all their slaves had gone. They thought, “We will trap them with the mountain on one side and the sea on the other. Let’s lead them into a corner and we will have them.” The children of Israel saw the Egyptian army coming and found fault with Moses, “Why did we have to come out here to die?” The pillar of cloud leading went down between the army and the children of Israel and the army could not touch them. How wonderful it is to have God with us. You belong to Him, He protects you. His chosen people, He protected them. There was a wonderful promise God made in Exodus 6 that if they would do His will, be obedient, He would rid them of the bondage of the Egyptians from then on. They were a strong nation in the world.


When the people cried, God spoke and told them to, “Stand still and see the salvation of the LORD... the LORD shall fight for you and ye shall hold your peace.” He asked Moses to smite the water and the water separated and the children of Israel went through. The Egyptians started to follow and when their army got into the sea, then the water came back and their foe was extinguished, and here are God’s people on the other side. Then they sang the song of Moses. They left Egypt with no time for planning. You would plan quite a while before taking a journey. God just said He would rid them of their bondage if they obeyed Him. All they had was their kneading troughs and stuff they could carry.


In my first year in the Work, I had two suitcases. I thought they were really nice and some people thought they were, too. After I carried those things sixteen miles, then I saw another Worker with a tiny little case, pretty well worn out. He admired mine so I said, “Let’s trade.” Mine was good, his worn out. After carrying something for sixteen miles, you want something light. When those children of Israel left Egypt, they had what they could carry. They murmured against Moses for going out there unprepared. What would you do? The same. It does not take much for us to murmur in our heart, not a great big noise. It was only three days gone and they were murmuring. God said, “I will give you some bread, manna from Heaven.” It was small, like a coriander seed, like wheat or rice, and on the ground. They had to gather about two quarts. If you had to gather up that much wheat or rice you would be down on your knees because it was not like grapefruit, apples or oranges, but coriander seed.They gathered it and had to grind it and bake it, and it was sweet like honey. Every morning except the Sabbath, you would see them, that multitude of people, before the sun was up, on their knees. Pharaoh never imagined that, God’s wonderful provision. Everybody expected those people to die, and they would have if they had not gathered the manna. The example of the children of Israel is an example of how God chose His people in the Old Testament. He led them and fed them, and this is what He is able to do for His people today, even those in isolated places. The way God chose His people in the New Testament is in John 1:12, “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.” Isn’t that marvellous. Some of these dear souls, all by themselves, with no fellowship or church, and they stay alive. Why is that? It is because they gather manna.


They ran out of water and water is vital in the desert. When I first went to California, although it is better now, there was a little notice on the road maps that said, “Never go on the highway if you don’t have plenty of water, and have enquired about the road.” Out there, you just dry up in the summer without water. These children of Israel, in a desert country, ran out of water. Moses spoke to the rock and the water gushed out. We drill a hole and get it out of the ground but what about getting it out of a rock? It looks almost impossible for you people to serve God in this world, with all the wickedness around you. But you have that living water, and if we will take time to worship God in spirit and in truth, He will give us that, and it is unbelievable how it comes.


I will tell you of some of my experience before I went into the Work. At nineteen, I made my choice and at twenty-two, I went into the Work. Before I went into the Work, I worked with a bunch of pretty rough men. They made it hard for me, and many a time I asked God to help me. You would know the same distress, when you want to be true to Him, and the powers of the world are pressing in on you. You pray and He will help you. It may not be the way you want, but if you will follow Him, you won’t stumble. He is the light of life. That is the way He led them. They were God’s people.


If you have the same relationship with the Lord as your babes have with you, you will be kept. There is a certain bond between a mother and her children that shows me what rest is. Talk about this rest of God we have in our hearts. Some of you people know Willie Jamieson. He told us this little incident. During the second World War, he was going from the west coast to the east coast on a train and it was hard to get a train just then but he had planned ahead and got on the train. There was a mother with two little ones, a three year-old and a babe. The train jogged along. The mother thought the little girl had gone to sleep so she took the little babe to the rest room to get her cleaned up. All at once, the little girl woke up and just cried and cried. Other young mothers tried to comfort her, but no, she cried and cried. It was not too long when the mother came back with the babe and the tears soon started to go. The mother sat down in the seat and the little girl cuddled up to her. There is rest. I wonder do you and I have that closeness with the Lord, to know that we can really have this rest.


I say to you mothers and fathers with little ones, they want security and they get it by getting close to you. Take a few minutes to take them up and kiss them, or take them onto your lap. They want this security. Fathers and mothers who don’t take time to give their children this security, when they get to fifteen or sixteen, they won’t have time to be bothered with you. It is essential also that you and I have this time with the Bridegroom of our soul, and it will give us this strength. Don’t forget you are God’s chosen people. When you heard God’s servants preaching the Gospel and you made a choice in your heart to serve the Lord’s Christ, to serve Him no matter what the cost, there was a connection made between God’s servants and you, and then between you and God. The Ephesians became followers of Paul and then of the Lord. “Ye are a chosen generation..” Then Peter spoke about them being a royal priesthood. When Aaron and his sons were priests in the tabernacle, every time they journeyed, this place typified the dwelling of God, God dwelling among them. They made the tabernacle just as God said they should, and then a cloud came over it, His acceptance. As they journeyed, when this cloud lifted, they were on their way. The tabernacle was always in the centre of the camp, and everyone had their place. As they journeyed, the priests were the only ones who could go into the Holy of Holies. When later they built the temple, the priests could only go into the Holy place. In the temple, there was always light and always bread. We read in the Jewish history of Josephus, that the veil in the temple was as thick as a man’s hand, quite a rug. When Jesus died on Calvary, they took Him, whipped Him, scourged Him, crucified Him, and He died. As He died, that veil was rent from top to bottom, representing the split in the old covenant that Jesus made. Now every person who will worship Christ in spirit and in truth has the privilege of going in and having fellowship with God.


The priest, before he went into that place, had to wash himself and change his clothes, and before we can have communion with our Father, Jesus says, “When you pray, forgive.” If we don’t forgive, we are unclean. We can go in and kneel but we don’t get anything. There are very few times since I made my choice, that I didn’t kneel to pray, but I will also tell you of times I did not communicate with God, because maybe, how I felt toward another Brother. We are a royal priesthood. We have the privilege of communicating with the God of Heaven on one condition, that we obey what Jesus says. When we transgress, and we say we are sorry and are willing to forgive other people, then God is willing to forgive us because we are following Jesus. I hope we can keep that in mind.


“A chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation...” God has a nation who are fellow citizens. Ephesians 2:19, “... no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints.” Paul writing to these people said that at one time they were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and had no right to God’s Kingdom, but if they accepted Jesus they were no more strangers, but of the household of God. When we come here from our own country, we are foreigners but I do not feel that I am that way when I am with you people and when in the other places we go for Convention where we cannot even speak the language, but we are all citizens in God’s Kingdom.


In our country (USA), though I am not too up to date with it now, but when I was at school, a foreigner had to declare his intention of wanting to be a citizen. He had to make a written statement, wait so long and learn the laws, and then have an examination, and if you passed that, you had to say you would renounce all connection with your former homeland and pay allegiance to the USA. A man who passed the examination was told, “You must count it a privilege to be a citizen of the USA, and if you don’t, we don’t want you.” That gave him a start but he was told, “You will have to renounce all connection with your previous home country.”


When a person makes a choice to serve God, you break all your relationships with the world: the sporting world, the religious world, and you wholly follow the lowly Nazarene. Jesus said, “If the world hate you, it hated Me.” He also said, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own.” If the world hates you and you feel uncomfortable in the world, you know you are a citizen of the Heavenly country and in fellowship with the Lord. When you are a citizen, you enjoy the country. When men went to the moon, they had to have a lot of paraphernalia on to keep them alive. When people are thinking of living in this heavenly country, they have to have more on: the atmosphere of Heaven, a relationship with the King of kings. We have to have a visa to come to Australia and if we don’t have that permission, we have to stay on the plane. When people want to go to God’s country, they must be willing to receive Jesus.“... a purchased people ... into His marvellous light.” Jesus died for you and it was as it says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...” When you made your choice, it was because of the blood of Jesus. God so loved us that He gave His Son for you and me, if we will believe on Him. The devil says, “You are no good and never will be.” But we are a purchased people, purchased by the blood of Jesus. That is why He loves you and me so much. In all our failings, He tests us out. Why did He do it? It is that we should show forth His praises, and live in such a way that people can see a manifestation of the life of Christ.


Matthew 5:44-45, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you...” Jesus has given us a wonderful example. He didn’t go along with them, or fight with them, but He was kind to them. The last hour He lived He said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” I hope you will leave them alone, pray for them, and we will show forth God’s love, and everyone will know you are following Jesus, and will want to know what church you go to.


Trials will come to make us more like Christ. I remember one time, I was having trouble with forgiving my companion and I didn’t have that connection with my Father. If we are not in communion with our Brother, we are not a praise to God, but to the human nature. That is the purpose He has chosen us for, the privilege of going right into His presence with all His children. As we cleanse ourselves, we are citizens in His country, a purchased people, and this is what He wants us to do, that it might beget a love in our hearts when we think of all He has done for us.


John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another.” The old commandment was “love your enemies,” but there was this new one, “That ye love one another as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” I am supposed to do to you what Christ has done for me. Isaiah had to admit his own unworthiness, “I am a man of unclean lips.” Could we have the kind of love Jesus had for His disciples and for us? If we have that kind of love, what a comfort it would be in the home, what a blessing in the church, a light  in the world and a witness for Him. I love what John wrote in Revelation 1:5 where he attributes to Jesus, “... faithful witness, first begotten of the dead and the prince of the kings of the earth, hath made us kings and priests unto God.”


John was there by the cross of Jesus. Those religious leaders spat on Jesus and they persuaded the Roman officials to have Him scourged and crucified. In these last hours of Jesus, He said very little, but manifested the lamb nature. Isaiah foretold, “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.” Jesus fulfilled that prophecy. Every animal will cry when they realize they are about to be killed, except the lamb or the sheep. You see our Lord and Master, when He gave Himself for us, the faithful Witness, He washed us and gave us a place in His Kingdom. I would like to be true as a witness for Christ, and I hope as you go into the year before you, that you can also be a faithful witness: the children in the home, those at work, living amongst others so that they can see you have a special fellowship with the King.