Gaylen van Loon - The Foundation Stone - William II Convention - 2007

Hymn 393   

Hebrews 1.1,  “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high,” and so on.    

For some time, I have been trying to get into my mind the ways that God has and how He continues to speak to us in these last days by His Son.  We understand by the gospel that He spoke to us in the beginning but the continuing of that is what continues the work of salvation in our experience.  It is by the work of God that He continues to speak to us by His Son.  We come together here this Sunday morning, be it like this or be it in a home, and we understand this: that Christ is in the centre of our gathering. He, as the risen Lord, the living Lord, the son of God, the Christ eternal, the king eternal, is in the centre of our gathering; He’s in the centre of our life and being and He is in the centre of our relationship with God; He is the centre of it all.  

I’ve been reading through this book of Hebrews recently and have noticed that the beginning verses of the third chapter were a great help to me where it says, “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.”  I have appreciated first thinking of Christ as our Apostle, the sent One, and then when I read it over again, thinking of Christ as our High Priest. This is what I would like to share with you today.   

We understand that Jesus the apostle, the sent one of God has come to us and brought the gospel.  With it, He has brought the foundation. He is the foundation stone, the chief corner stone of this kingdom of heaven; He is the building of God upon this chief corner stone, Christ Jesus.  We were taught from the beginning that God built in line and square with the chief corner stone, Christ Jesus and in so doing, the building will stand by God and is in line with Jesus our apostle, the sent one.  The continuing of that building and the finishing of it is no different in these lives of ours, for we continue to build on Jesus, the chief corner stone, the solid rock foundation, the sure stone, the tried stone.  Isaiah wrote about it, Peter spoke about it, Jesus spoke about it, and it all agrees together. We build upon this sure foundation, this solid rock, and the solid rock proves that we are established in our hearts, by the gospel. Those truths continue to speak to us, feed our souls and guide us through our experiences in life.  Jesus taught the precepts, the truths and the doctrine. He taught them as the true foundation that is unquestionable and being unquestionable, we accept them and build upon them and God continues to speak to us through Christ Jesus His son, from one experience to another and refer us back to Jesus again.  I love the teachings of Jesus. They never grow old to us, they’re always fresh; they’re always new green pastureland, because they are living. We can have confidence and trust and hope in them, and in so doing, He continues to speak to us by His Son in this way.  You know, sometimes people have questionings as we go along, and Satan is always trying to bring up these questions and reasonings and doubts and fears into the minds of God’s people.  He loves questionings and disbelief, and Satan loves to work in a way that questions what Jesus has established, what God has established through Jesus. He loves to work in a way that brings doubts and fears but you know, in our day there are people who seem to feed on others’ doubts and questions and such like.  In questioning the foundation and the founders and the dates and the beginnings and the likes of all this, I admire God helping us to understand through Christ Jesus, that Jesus is the foundation. He is the foundation stone, the tried stone, the sure foundation, and He always will be.   

My question to people who question me is, who preached the gospel to Abraham? Well, the answer is the Lord did. God brought the gospel to Abraham and preached it right. Abraham received this right and the true gospel settled it in his heart. There was never any question about it, neither was there any doubt in his mind.  So time went on and God brought the same gospel to others along the way, through the prophets to individuals and He is the One that gave the revelation and understanding through Christ Jesus His Son.  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and others believed in it and had confidence in it, and trusted in this Jesus and His coming just as we do—the fact that He has come.  So we go down through the years and the ages.  

There may have been a time after the death of Jesus when there was no one we would call professing people—but I doubt that, yet we don’t know for sure. But if there were, it does not matter to me; it doesn’t make one bit of difference.  The God that brought the gospel to Abraham is able to secure it again in men’s hearts today, as it was in the days of Abraham: just as secure, just as solid, just as right, just as perfect, and we need not question.  

The question is this:  Do we have the substance in our hearts that Jesus brought into the world, or don’t we? Do we have the substance that God brought to Abraham; do we have the substance of the faith? Do we have the substance of the love of God and the greatness of the divine power of God? Do we have the substance of this kingdom living and abounding in us as in the days of Abraham and in the days that Jesus moved about in the world?  Now, if I don’t have that substance living and abounding in me and have the reality of it, I don’t have one, and no one will ever tell me that I do.   

If I don’t have the substance or a relationship with God, if I don’t have what is God-given, then I don’t have the founder; it’s as simple as that, and everyone has to decide this for themselves. But I can tell you this: that as far as this matter goes, no one will ever be able to tell me that I have a founder because the solid sure foundation has been instilled in my heart by God himself through Christ Jesus on the 28th day of April 1958, when it was given to me. On that day there was no doubt in my mind or heart, as far as this whole thing was concerned that God gave me, and He has strengthened that ever since: this is an individual relationship with God. Our fellowship is collective and God brings us into a fellowship after we have been able to develop that relationship with Him from the beginning, and that is the sure solid foundation of this kingdom.  All of us as God’s children need to understand that our relationship is God-given. God continues to speak to us through His Son and gives to us the understanding and reality and the rock solid foundation of this, which He has established through Jesus when He establishes it in our hearts individually, because it is of the self same spirit. It accomplishes the same self-same thing brought about by the same self-same God and we have fellowship together with the same self-same spirit because we have the same self-same Father.  So let that be a good comfort to us, a great comfort in the face of those who question or bring up questions, that God keeps this kingdom in the hearts of His people individually and collectively.    

Now in Chapter 2 we read,  “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”  The captain of our salvation is Jesus. A ship’s captain is the one that the crew looks to for he knows the way. He’s been there before, he is the guide, he has the wisdom of the storms, he knows the ship, he knows the path that he is taking, and he knows the safe course.  One time, someone asked a ship’s captain who was guiding the ship through the straits with a lot of rocks on both sides, “Do you know where all the rocks are in these straits?” “No, I sure don’t, but it does not concern me because I know the safe course.” And that is like our Master, the captain of our salvation.  He knows the safe course and that is all we are interested in.  “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things,”… to make our captain perfect through suffering.   

God understood that there was and is an enemy of our soul, and some of the things I am going to mention are mentioned in this chapter. The wisdom of God brought them about and established them to silence once and for all the voice of Satan, the enemy of our soul, the wicked one, Satan, the accuser of the brethren, accusing mankind night and day before God.  God sent us His Son to be the captain of our salvation: He came into this world, He lived amongst men, and He lived in a flesh and blood body like yours and mine while He was here.  Now then, He led out before us, and He still leads out before us as captain of our salvation full of wisdom, the guide, the One who has overcome, the One who knows the way, the captain of our salvation.  He then goes on to say, verses 11-15, “For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”  

These verses are very impressive for what happened to Jesus was exactly what God said would happen. There were no surprises because God knew exactly what Satan was going to do, what he was going to make of himself. You read about that in Isaiah 14, turning himself into what he was.  The provision was made for Jesus from the beginning for this cause, the captain of our salvation being made perfect through suffering. Verse 16 “For verily he took not upon him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham,”…verse 17 “that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” and destroy him, destroy the devil and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject unto bondage.  As a rule, there are a lot of questions in this world. As a child, death is one thing that comes into these questions, the natural death. But there comes a point in our lives when we come to the age of accountability, and begin to understand that we are responsible for our own lives.  What is going to happen after death? And there comes fear and bondage of the fear of spiritual death. Verse 15, “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”   

I’ll tell you a little story about my first year in the work. We were having meetings in an area where the gospel had been preached in the early 20’s; many people had come and professed at that time.  At that time, there was one family of brothers and sisters and a brother called John that went to the meetings first and John was very impressed, so he went to all of his brothers and sisters and said, "You’ve got to go to those meetings; those meetings are right, it’s the way of God, it’s what we need to hear and be following," and he encouraged them all to go. Some said, "We don’t have gas to go," and John said, "I’ll give you gas to go; you’ve got to go," and most went and professed.  John and his wife went but never professed and no one knew why. Time went on and they remained where they were. They were kind to the workers and the workers would visit them and they loved to have them come. They would always come to the gospel meetings but they never professed.  So it came to the time when I was there, my first year in the work, and we got the little school house for meetings and started having meetings. We visited John and his wife, and by now they are up in years. They were very, very friendly and glad to have us come. The wife made meals for us and they came to the meetings, but the meetings came to a close and we tested them and John and his wife didn’t profess; they didn’t make it and we had to leave them where we had found them.  That next year John got very sick, and his brothers and sisters told us they didn’t think John would get well. So we asked about coming around to see him, but they said he is not able. John was on his death bed.  So, time went along and we kept inquiring about John, and he was getting worse. Then one day his sister came to us and said, "It is a fearful thing that John is facing; all he can say, all that we hear is his sobbing and saying, 'Oh the terrible second death, oh the terrible second death.'"  He died that way, but why would he not hear?  Who “deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject unto bondage.”  This is Jesus our Master, this is the Christ of God and He can speak and deliver us from the fear of the second death and a lost eternity.    

I now want to speak to you some about Christ as our High Priest. Some of the following verses have meant a lot to me concerning this.  This book of Hebrews gives us a tremendous correlation, a comparison between the Old Testament priesthood of Aaron and the New Testament priesthood under Christ.  I don’t want to get into it too deep because it is too deep for my simple mind, but I just want to say this: there is a great depth in it for you and me, a great depth of understanding and meaning concerning the blood of Jesus, the sacrifice of Christ, Christ as our High Priest, the risen Lord, the One who took our sins upon Him and became sin for every man, the One who has entered heaven and now intercedes for us at the right hand of God.   

Chapter 8: 1-2, “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Chapter 9:11-13,  “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves; but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” It tells us in Romans 5 that we being justified by faith are also justified by His blood, so for some time I have been trying to get into my mind more of this meaning of the blood of Jesus and why it was that all sin had to be cleansed by His blood; I’ve been trying to understand the depth and meaning of it all, and I have not gotten very far.  I want to give to you a little illustration concerning these verses and the Old Testament sacrifices, the blood of the animals, which could never take away sin and compare it to the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God that came into this world.    

The illustration I would like to tell you is this. And I am going to speak about it from the viewpoint of a farmer, a small farmer, who does not have very much. He is a poor man who has a few sheep, a little flock of sheep, but to him it is all that he has.  He feeds them, he takes care of them and in the springtime the lambs are born and the first lamb born is always the biggest and the best, and his pride and joy. It is also the one that grows the fastest; it’s the one he looks to. The rest of the lambs are born after the first born lamb and they all run and play, but the first born leads them all.  The neighbours come by and he shows them his little flock of sheep, all the lambs and the first born, the one he looks to.  So time goes on and the lamb grows and becomes his pride and joy, but in the back of his mind he knows there is a day coming when he is going to need to take this lamb down before the priest as a sacrifice. This thought is in the back of his mind as the days go by.  Finally the day comes, and he knows this is the day I take the firstborn, the best, and the firstling of the flock to the priest for atonement for sin, and he does not feel very good about it. He knows he has the fear of God in his heart and a love for Him there, and the joy of salvation in his heart for God. But he knows that this must be done.  So early in the morning he takes his lamb to the priest to be sacrificed and as he goes along, he is pretty quiet and sober because he knows what it’s going to involve.  He goes before the priest and presents this firstborn lamb to him. He has to identify with his sacrifice as he presents it there, so he lays his hand upon the head of the lamb as he presents it.  Really anyone who knows anything about livestock knows that when you lay your hand on the head of an animal, it will always look you square in the eye, and this happens.  As the animal begins to look him in the eye, if he has any conscience and he should have because the fear of God is in his heart, He has a love for Him and the faith of Jesus all there then all his sins and his wrongs of the past year pass through his mind and he begins to understand that this innocent animal has to die because of my foolishness and my sins.  This then reminds him of Christ, the son of God that is to come into the world and pay the supreme price for there is nothing else that could be paid. So he purposes in his mind and heart to never again be guilty of committing those wrongs again because this animal must die for his sin and his foolishness.    

Now that is a little picture of the cleansing of the animal sacrifices, but now we see Jesus the Lamb of God. We see this Jesus, the sinless one coming down from heaven as the righteous Lamb of God into the world, not only to be our Apostle, the sent one, our high priest but also our redeemer. He set us free from the sins of this life, the sins that have been repented of, the part of those who believe in repentance, salvation and redemption, and now we see this Jesus.  Some time ago I was thinking, supposing I would have had the thought by some stretch of the imagination that I would be the redeemer and would have to step forward and be given for the sins of others. The first thing that happens is, Satan comes forward and says, "Wait a minute; this is not going to work. What about your own sin, what about the wrongs that you have committed?" but Jesus came as our Redeemer, our Saviour, the One that has given His life for us and took upon himself the sins of all the world. The mouth of Satan was stopped once and for all because Jesus was without sin. He was the only One that could come forward, the One who lived perfectly without sin, and Satan had nothing to say.  Because Jesus came forward, the sinless one’s sin was bound and the curse of sin was bound, and death was bound to have no more control over those who are redeemed and set free by the blood of Christ through repentance and their belief in Jesus.    

There is another part to this too, not only is Jesus our Redeemer and the One who gave His life for us, but He also became sin Himself so we might be the righteousness of God in Him.  In other words, He took my sins and He took yours upon himself, saying, "I will take your sin and you can go free." That is the fullness, the greatness of the power of the love of God and the provision of God for you and me through Christ Jesus.  That is the greatness of the heart of our Master, the greatness of the heart of our God, and Jesus fulfilled that on Calvary.  Every Sunday morning when we take the emblems, I’m glad for these thoughts in my own heart: a picture of Jesus walking up Calvary’s mountain, and for some time I have tried to get into my mind more of the depth of meaning because I don’t want to miss it—all the depth of what this should mean to us, this Jesus who every day gave of himself, condemned to die and yet He did not defend Himself because He understood this is the plan and will of God.  He was condemned without a cause, and before Herod He did not answer a word. There are reasons for that: maybe it was Herod who silenced John the Baptist, the servant of God when he took his head from his body, and that was a very serious thing to do.  Jesus was crucified, the most brutal way to die and He made His way up Calvary’s mountain too weak to carry His own cross, too far spent, too completely given.  There on Calvary’s mountain He gave the last of His own will, the last of His own blood, the last of His own love, because He could give no more and no less.  I see that in my mind’s eye and it gives me a deep heartfelt gratitude for the Redeemer, the One that took my place on the middle cross of Calvary. He set me free, giving me an option, an opportunity through repentance, to go forward with a clean sheet into a new week.  When I partake of the emblem of His broken body, the emblem of His shed blood, I take it with a deep thankfulness in my heart that I am now free and I don’t presume upon it or take it for granted.  So we see Jesus, the humble lowly Son of God moved by God’s divine love to come into this world to be our Saviour, our Redeemer, and it brings gladness into our hearts and we bow our heads in thankfulness for His blood. The blood of Christ covers sins that are repented of, and for those who through fear of death live all their lifetime subject to bondage, He has set them free and given them a freedom in Christ Jesus, because Jesus, the Lamb of God has risen.  I am glad today for the risen living Lord. Death had no power over Him, the grave had no power over Him and in the experience of the resurrection, death was put down and now we trust in the power of the eternal resurrection because He is the first begotten of the dead. He had a spiritual resurrection body. We are following in our own time according to the time and plan of God, and in this we trust and have confidence.  I am glad that when we come together on Sunday morning, yes, we trust in the cross of Christ, yes, we trust in the blood of Jesus but our confidence is in the risen Lord.   

I could tell you of another experience we had with a minister once, who would preach every Sunday morning demanding and commanding Christ to come down from heaven and get back on the cross again. It was nearly overwhelming to me to think that any human individual could ever have such a thought in their mind, to think they would have such ability and such a power over God, and leave out completely the risen Lord. Satan does not want us to have any confidence or trust in the living risen Lord. He does not want us to have confidence in the fact that Jesus got complete power over death and promises us the same.  May we have confidence in the greatness of the provision of God in Jesus Christ.