Ernest Robinson - For My Son's Sake, Come Inside - Durban - Sunday Morning

Ephesians 1:3, "Blessed be the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. According as He hath chosen us in Him, before the foundation of the world. That we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Having predestinated us by the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself. According to the good pleasure of His will.” 


These words especially "Made us accepted in the Beloved." We come across this in a few other parts, also. I'll just mention one or two perhaps. We know about those words in Hebrews 10 and in Romans 5-- you don't have to look it up-- I'm just going to mention them briefly. We read that we have access "through the Beloved." This is an amazing thing; talk about amazing grace! 


During my first year in the work, there was an elder in Bloemfontein, and that brother was a lot of help to me during my first year in the work. He just told me of an incident that happened during the First World War.  


There were two young men, from England, fighting together in Europe, and they had become very good friends during the war. The father of the one was a very rich man and the other came from a very poor home, but, in the army, all are equal. One day, on the battlefield, the one was mortally wounded. He did not die immediately; he died a short time later. He was conscious until he died, and before he died, he wrote his father's name and address on a little piece of paper. He then said to his friend, "You are going to promise me right now, that if you ever get out of this war alive and you are ever in trouble or in need, promise me now that you will go and see my father and he will help you." Well, he didn't like to, but it was his friend's dying wish; so he there and then promised him that he would, and he took the piece of paper with the boy's father's name and address. He did get out of the war alive, and it did just happen that some time later he was in dire need. His pride would not let him go; he thought he would rather die than to go as a beggar, but then one thing worried him. That was that he had promised on his friend's deathbed, and it was his dying wish, and although his pride would keep him back, he said, "Because of that promise, I'll just have to go." He found the address. It was a very grand house and his courage just about failed him to go up to that door, but he did, and he knocked on the door. The dead boy's father came to the door but when he saw this young man in front of him, not looking very good and not dressed very well, he was a bit fed up and his attitude was not nice, and in a very abrupt way he said, "Well what are you doing here? What are you looking for?" Well this boy was about to turn around right there, but he reminded himself again, "I'm here only because of that promise." So he quietly just told the man, "I was actually in the war with your son and we had become good friends. I was with him when he died and this was his dying wish." He then showed the father the piece of paper. The man took it and immediately he recognized his son's handwriting. Right there his eyes just filled with tears and his attitude changed completely. He put his arm around the boy and he said, "For my son's sake, come inside and welcome." A warm welcome. The brother that told me just put it so nicely; he said, "Isn't that how we come to God? Unworthy. Unclean. Not a single thing to commend us, but isn't it wonderful that He says, 'For My Son's sake, come inside and welcome.'"


Well, we more or less know these things, but one thing this morning that I just do wonder, and that is, if we really know the immensity of what we have been allowed to come into. I wonder if you remember what this really was the presence of God. In the Old Testament, it was a terrifying thing and it still is. The people were terrified. We read about the Holiest place where the presence of God was. Only the High Priest, only one man on the earth, could go in there and only once a year. He also had to make VERY careful preparation and could not go in without the shedding of blood. Imagine us just going in anytime. You remember about the ark also, when it had to be transported. It signified the presence of God. It had to be covered with the veil and NOBODY DARED to look into it. One time they did--the men of Beth Shemesh, when David was bringing the ark back after it had been in the land of the Philistines. They dared to look into it.  Do you know what happened? God took a very dim view of that and more than 50,000 of them lost their lives right there--just because they looked into the Ark. It was NOT permitted. Now here, you and I are looking into these things. That man Uzza thought he was doing something good. The oxen had perhaps stumbled and it looked like the Ark was going to slip and fall, and it was almost a reflex action, but that was enough to cause his death. It was terrible and David himself said, "I exceedingly fear, I am afraid. I don't know how to handle this Ark." I also think that we remember what we read in Hebrews 12.  "You are not come unto the mount that might be touched and that burned with fire nor unto blackness and darkness and tempest." They could not endure that which was commanded and if so much as a beast should touch the mountain, it should be stoned or thrust through with a dart. So terrible was the sight that Moses said, "I exceedingly fear and quake." You see, the presence of God, the majesty of it is awesome, the dignity of it. It is terrifying actually if we could only know, and here we have access through the Beloved. God says to us, "For My Son's sake, come inside."


These things give me some very serious thoughts. What it is all about is, "How do I come into His presence?"  We've heard about Esther; she was very careful before she came before the king and she made preparation. But how do we come, or try to come into the presence of God? I'm afraid, sometimes, unbelievably carelessly. Perhaps that's the reason why we don't get in! We have to be careful. The fact that we have this access does not by any means mean that we can be in any way careless about it. We have to be careful. The presence of God is awesome. The majesty is awesome. We've got to be careful. Who are we? But He says to us, "Come in, for My Son's sake." Wonderful grace.  


Another thing. When we try to come into the presence of God when we pray, we end by saying, "In Jesus' name," don't we? Do you realize that there is a terrible danger of that just becoming a habit, a formality or just a convenient or a formal way of ending a prayer? We DARE not do that! Absolutely DARE NOT! We had better not say that unless we know what we're saying and why we are saying that. I have tried for a long time now, and I don't say I always do well at all, but I have tried before I say those words, "In Jesus' name" at the end of my prayer, I've been trying to think, "Well why do I?" I realize that if it wasn't for Him, I couldn't even pray, and I try to remember that, and to think what I'm saying and why I'm saying it. We dare not do that as a formality. We'd be guilty of taking the Lord's name in vain! We can't do it like a parrot. Not when it comes to His name!  


We sang that hymn and especially that verse is often in my heart.


           “My Master, all my soul desires, the grace to serve Thee faithfully,

            In reverence and in Godly fear, in meek unfeigned humility.”


That is many times the prayer of my heart. I pray that God would help me to do that, to come in deep humility, with reverence and Godly fear. That's how we should be coming, in humility. The Lord Jesus said that except we humble ourselves as a little child we're not going to enter at all! You see what we're saying?  None of us is humble by nature. We're not humble. As uncle George Absalom used to say, "Die hoogmoed sit in die murgbeen!" (The pride sits in the marrow of our bones). It's not in our nature, but we have to humble ourselves. I just thought there may be many things, but just especially three little things that could help us to humble ourselves. One of them is something that we all have. It would humble every one of us if we just use it. That is our memory. There is something else that I must admit humbles me. Probably doesn't humble many, but it certainly humbles me and that is the mirror! There is something that would humble us even more than that, the mirror of God's righteousness! We see things in others and it's easy to criticize, but I've been very disconcerted at times when I've seen something in others and hated it, absolutely hated it and then afterwards realized maybe the reason I recognized it so quickly is because that's in me! It's terrible when you see it is in yourself. 


The time that Nathan came to David, he told him about the rich man that took his neighbour's only sheep to slaughter when his visitors came.  David heard that and he was incensed. David was incensed; he got a picture of that man and he felt the man was vile and mean, the vilest thing a man could do. Could that be possible? He said, "A man like that is not fit to live." Then Nathan had to show him, "You know, David, I'm only holding a mirror up to you." David got a shock. He got a shock and he repented in dust and ashes. I think sometimes we don't realize when we see some things and we are horrified and perhaps incensed, we don't realize that God is only holding up a mirror for us, but we have not been able to recognize ourselves yet.  


Clarence Anderson, who passed on a long time ago now, was in Central America. He put it nicely. He said, "We're inclined to look at our brother through the magnifying glass of criticism but if we look in the mirror of God's righteousness, we're amazed to find that my brother is so much like myself!"  Isn't that true?  


There's another thing that's very humbling. I have to be honest, when I come to a place like this and I get amongst my fellow labourers and the princes and the princesses amongst God's people. It makes me feel so just like a worm. Yesterday I said to Aunt Martha here, "I feel like I'm just a 'Gomtor' (a beetle that lives in the gumtrees). It does that, but you know what came to my mind? I wonder whatever I'm going to feel like when I see my Master."  One thing that I do know, and that is, that there can be NOTHING more humbling than that, that is, if we get a clear vision of our Master. Nothing would humble us more than that, but it would not leave us hopeless. You know, Job said at the end of his experience, "With the ear I heard of Thee but now my eye has seen Thee and I abhor myself and I repent in dust and ashes." That's what Job said when his eye had seen Him; he just hated himself. I don't think there is anything that would humble us more than getting a clear vision of our Master. Remember what Jesus said? This is something we have got to work at ourselves because it is not in us. He who doesn't humble HIMSELF is not going to enter.  


So here before us, we see these emblems, and it reminds us of the things that had to happen before it became possible for God to say to us, "For My Son's sake come inside." Let us not forget the awesome majesty of what we have been invited into. When we come into God's presence, let's at least be VERY, VERY careful. It is a wonderful thing and I just love that thought... "For My Son's sake, come inside."