George Walker - Lowell Special Meeting - 1968

One word expresses what you and I are to be to the world; what God is expecting us to be to the world, and the other word expresses what we are to the Lord and our relationship with the Lord. We might say that this just sums up our whole life. You remember when Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment He said, "These two - thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and thy neighbor as thyself." First our relationship with God, then all else will fall in line.

 

Now, the one word that has been on my mind is the word "City." One of the first places we have that word in the New Testament was used by Jesus Himself and we have a great deal in connection with when He used that word. When He was up on the mount, and His disciples came to Him, He spoke the words that are recorded in those 3 chapters that some call the Sermon on the Mount. After He told them what God wanted to see in them, He used that word - "A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid."

 

Then He spoke to them about a candle. Two thoughts, a city that is set on a high place would be seen by everybody, and then He said when a person lights a candle, it is not lit to put under a bushel, but it is to give light to all that is in the house. He says let your light so shine before men that others seeing your good works will glorify your Father which is in Heaven.

 

He had been telling them before that what would make them the salt of the earth and what would make them the light of the world. It is something that will not be naturally in us. It is something that God can put in us, that will make us the salt of the earth, the light of the world. That is what God expects His people to be. Jesus said there wouldn't be many. Few will find the true Way, but those who find it were to be like salt, something that will have a preserving effect on others.

 

We have much in the exhortations that Paul, Peter, James, and John wrote teaching us how we could be like this. We are to be a light to the world. The light is the part of our lives that the world looks on. Recently I have enjoyed the thought that the little companies here and there throughout the earth could be compared to the "City set on a hill." A city is made up of separate houses. This would be typical of individuals who are in that city. There are two parts to that. There is the part that the world sees. The world will take its thought of the city from the individual houses of the city. If you go to a city and go through some of the streets, you see the houses as they are, how they are kept, and you will measure the whole city by the individual houses. This is like the individuals that meet together on Sunday morning. They are like the houses and their lives they are living during the week give to the whole world an impression of the whole city. We have heard of people who say, "I would like to be in that fellowship." The world does take notice.

 

Our numbers are very few in comparison to the population. I don’t know how many Christians there are, how many thousands there are in these homes who are meeting together on Sunday mornings, but still they would be very small in comparison to the whole population, but their influence can be far-reaching. It can be a light to any honest heart that was seeking truth and seeking to know the right way to worship God and serve Him.

 

The last book of the Old Testament gives us a picture. It tells us there in that chapter in Malachi, "The people that feared the Lord spoke often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard." He says they will be Mine and they will be like the jewels. I'll spare them as a father will spare his own son. They will be like God's jewels. This prophecy of Malachi is the last message. It is a picture of what God's people were in the Old Testament. They had been carried away into captivity because of their own untrueness. God had brought them into that promised land. He had meant them as a nation to be a pattern to other nations in their trueness to Him, in their worship in the daily worship and in the way they treated one another. But here they were carried away into captivity, because they were not true to God, nor true to one another. They oppressed each other and God let them be carried away. They were not true in their worship and failed to keep up the pattern that God gave Moses in the mountain. They rather copied the heathens around them.

 

All that is written about them is written as warnings to us. Instead of them keeping true to the pattern God gave them of worship in the tabernacle, they rather copy the nations around them and that suited the human nature better. That suited pride better and they copied any nation around, any false god. This provoked God and He let them be carried away into captivity. The lesson we learn from that is that in the New Testament, God's own Son came. He gave us the teaching and that true pattern of how to serve God. When we turn away from Jesus and this pattern, then we can expect to just end up as they did; be carried into bondage and into captivity. God then permitted a few of them to come back to that land - a few that had come through the sufferings. When they came back, they were very zealous to set up the true way of worshipping. They never went back to that form of worship when they came back from Babylon. They were very much against that, but still they were not what God wanted. If you read that book of Malachi, instead of being those that were being controlled by love and by fear, God could say, "Where is My fear and where is My love?" They were going through a form of worship, but it was only a form. It was only a way that suited themselves. They were changing God's way of worship into a way that had no sacrifice. When they brought the animal to sacrifice, they brought a blemished one. They brought the one that was lame. You don't read much either of the mark of love. But then it says that they that did really fear the Lord, those that were controlled by the reverential, wholesome fear of God, they got together. Not too many of them got together, but it says that they thought on His name. When we come together on Sunday mornings, we should think on His name, His nature. They spoke often one with another. All of them that met together spoke often one with another. This is a true type of the Sunday morning meeting or when God's people come together to speak on His name, His nature and encourage each other to love and serve Him.

 

It says God hearkened. God who is ruling this universe is listening attentively. He is interested in what those who love His name are saying to one another. It says it pleased Him so much that He said a book of remembrance would be written of them. He said, "They'll be Mine and I'll spare them as a man spares his own son." I have often been encouraged by the thought that in every Sunday morning meeting where there are true honest people that love the Lord met together, there are two results of that meeting. One result is what goes up to Heaven. There is a sweet savour that goes up to Heaven from that meeting because He is looking on sincere people who have true honest love for Him, a love that has been put in their hearts by the Holy Spirit and they are speaking one with another. They are encouraging one another, stirring each other up in love.

 

God is hearkening. God looked down before the flood and He saw that men's hearts were evil continually. What was going up from the human family was like a stink in the nostrils of God. The selfishness, the pride, the violence that was on the earth when God looked at. He was so grieved at heart. He decided to destroy it with a flood. After that flood, God again looked down, and it says that Noah offered that burnt offering, an acceptable sacrifice and God smelled a sweet savour. God said He would never destroy the world with a flood again. He put a rainbow in the Heaven. God smelled a sweet savour. Whenever God's people, human beings, meet together and offer that acceptable sacrifice, that whole burnt offering is a sweet savour to God. He sees that they are not living for self and they are not pleasing each other in that selfish way. When they have genuine love, He smells a sweet savour. What Malachi was speaking of here were a few people and when they met and they talked of His name, thought on His name, God was so pleased with them. This is our privilege today.  We are glad that although we don't accomplish big things in the eyes of the world, we don't put up big buildings called cathedrals, we are glad there can be a few people meeting together, people who have those marks. They are like the city and they are showing forth the praise in their hearts unto God. They are a testimony unto others.

 

The other word that has been a lot on my mind, is the word "elect." You have this word in Peter's Epistle. He speaks about the elect according to the foreknowledge of God. I have enjoyed this word elect because it suggests our relationship with Christ. There are two human relationships used in the Bible to show how close we could be to the Lord. We speak about the fact that we can become God's Children. All the human family in one sense are God's children. Then it speaks about that we have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we can cry, "Abba Father."  When we yield to Christ and believe on Him, God puts into us the spirit of adoption, and the spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. This means born of the Holy Spirit.

 

The first experience is when we listen to God's trust and we are willing to obey it, we are willing to give ourselves to it and Christ comes into our hearts, we become children of God. We receive the spirit of adoption. I was brought up to a prayer in my early childhood. I said prayer night and morning but when I got to understand what it was to give myself to Christ, to yield myself to Him, that relationship was different. We speak of the relationship of parents and children, and so is our relationship with God. We are His children. It does not yet appear what we shall be, but we shall be like Him because we are children of God. Oh, what manner of love that we should be called the children of God. Then there is another human relationship that is even a closer relationship. In Genesis, God told them that a man should leave father and mother and cleave to his wife. Jesus confirmed the same truth. This is the closest relationship, the relationship of husband and wife. There is something about that relationship that is even more than parents and children, more than brothers and sisters.

 

This word elect used in the Bible is a word that would suggest that because they themselves have chosen. Not only a child of God, but I am espoused as Paul used the word. I have espoused you as a chaste virgin unto the Lord. If I have given myself to Christ, I am espoused. I am a chaste virgin to the Lord and one that is true to the bridegroom. God is the example in the human to show us what we could be to Him. In Matthew's Gospel, we have the signs of the end and the signs of Jesus coming again and what they would be. Read them over again because we might be nearer to the end than we think for. Matthew 24, there will not be one stone in the temple left upon another. It will all be destroyed. The disciples said how will we know, what will be the signs. Jesus used that word "elect" three times in this chapter-elect sake. Many deceivers in those days, and would be claiming to be the Christ and He says if it would be possible they would deceive the very elect. Then further it says God will send His angels and gather His own elect. Elect means that who are set to be part of His bride. Those that are espoused to Him as a chaste virgin and they have kept true to Him. Gather His own from the four corners of the earth - a world wide fellowship. God will gather them out from all races and all nations--Gather His own elect and they'll be saved.

 

History tells us that when the city of Jerusalem was destroyed, the Roman army surrounded it and were determined to bring suffering on all. History says there was an unexplained thing happened. Those that believed the teachings of Jesus escaped and escaped the terrible sufferings that came upon that city. History says that was the most awful suffering that had been up to that time. But it says God was considering His own elect. We are not a very important people in the world, not many of us, we don't fill a very big place in the world, but though we are few in number and in the world's eyes of not much account, we could have an effect on God's dealings with the world.

 

Abraham believed that. When he was talking to God about Sodom and Gomorra, he says, "Lord now if there was so many righteous people, bringing the number down to ten, would not you save that city for the sake of those ten righteous people." God says, "I would. If there were ten righteous people in Sodom and Gomorra, I would not let the fire and brimstone come down." Did it ever dawn on you that if you are one of God's elect, part of that bride we read about, that God would be considering you. "God will gather His own elect." He will never suffer His people to be tempted above what they are able to bear. Parents know what they feel if their child were in danger. They would feel very bad if they knew they were suffering. This is how God feels. They are dear to the heart of God.

 

Revelations 21 tells us about the elect and we can get a lot of lessons from that. In Revelations 17, God took John into the wilderness and he showed him a great city. He showed him a beast and then he showed him a woman riding beast. She is a city and she is the great city of Babylon. She represents the city of violence. She is riding that beast and that beast represents the kings and rulers of the world. She is riding that she is controlling that. This picture shows what is wrong today. City of Babylon represents the great organized false religions - names of blasphemy. Taking the name of God and no desire to obey Him or serve Him or recognize Him as their King their Master, That woman represents the great city Babylon. It takes the two illustrations to get the right and full picture. One is what we are to the world. They see us as a city and the other is what we are to the Lord - His elect, His bride. That woman was riding the beast and controlling the beast. She was adorned with purple, with scarlet and all the signs of reigning. She was adorned with all the glory of the world, the gold and the jewelry. Their whole idea is just grandeur, show and style. They put up the grand buildings for grandeur, the great organizations, the great name, the great false churches of the world today. The beast represents the secular governments, the rulers. It says that beast had ten horns. The ten horns were ten kings. There are many rulers in the world and the woman was riding and controlling that. That is what their great ambition and glory is. The name given the woman is very suggestive. It says she was a harlot, the mother of harlots. The word harlot means untrueness, unfaithfulness. It's a very ugly word, but it is used in the Bible more to show what we can be to the Lord. If we aren't true to the Heavenly Bridegroom, aren't putting Him first, and are keeping more to the world, we would be more like harlots. I have often reminded myself that if I didn't keep true to Him, I might be in danger of having what is called the harlot spirit. We can often be more concerned with pleasing other people than we are to please Him. More concerned about doing the will of other people than to please God. This would be like being untrue to the Heavenly Bridegroom.

 

One man up in Washington, who I believe is a very faithful saint. He wasn't the religious type. He told me of some of his early experiences.  He was in the second World War. They were in Europe and his part of the army was ordered up to the front. None of the boys were very religious, but when they knew that they were going up to the front and possible death, he and some of the others decided to consult the chaplain. They told him how they were troubled, had to go to the front and the possibility of death. He asked him how to get ready for death. The chaplain asked him a few questions. He asked him if he went to Sunday school, but he hadn't gone much to Sunday school. He asked him if he had learned the catechism. Well he hardly knew what the catechism was. Well, the chaplain says, "Now I'll tell you, if you had learned that catechism, I could help you. I could help you to be ready to die, but if you don't know the catechism, I cannot do a thing for you." This was a person who was supposed to help others but he had to answer him this way. Well, he came back from the army, maybe God spared him for a purpose. He married and the girl he married knew the truth. She had professed when she was young, but she had drifted away. Her mother was a very true woman. After she was married she got seriously troubled and she talked to her husband. She wanted to be right, and she got right. Her husband went to convention with her. It wasn't the preaching so much that he took stock of, but he says when he got there on the Saturday night, he was shown where to sleep. When he went down to where most of the men were sleeping, he said, "I saw those men down on their knees."  He said he never saw anything like that before. "When I was in the army, I heard the boys praying when they thought they were going up to the front, meeting death. I had never seen anybody not facing death on their knees praying." This spoke to him. It spoke more than the sermons be heard on the Sunday. It led to him deciding. He is a faithful man now. Also his wife and children are all professing.

 

We don't want to belong to some of these things that just preach the hireling doctrine. We want to be God's lamb, God's elect. Paul had this idea in his mind. When he preached he didn't think of just pleasing the Christians. He also said he didn't want to offend you either. He was thinking all the time of pleasing the Father. It was like the Bride there. He was thinking of the Heavenly Bridegroom. Like you could say, overtime I stood up to speak to you, I was thinking what would God want me to say to you.

 

One woman was telling me not long ago, about what her husband had said to her. He didn't profess. I had known him since he was a little boy. Convention has been at h--- parent's home for over 40 years. I asked his wife if he had any serious thoughts about getting saved. She said she hardly knew, but she had noticed he would be quite serious when he saw me upon my knees. He wouldn't tell me not to pray but it seems to upset him when he sees me on my knees. He wouldn't tell me not to go to the meeting, but it worries him because it kind of condemns him. But she was telling me another thing about him, which I thought was to be admired. Something had happened in the home and she was making some apologies to him. She hadn't done as well as she could about something. He said to her, "I don't need any apologies from you, you don't have to make any apologies to me, but what I want to know of you is that I have the first place in your heart. I want to know that you have a true love for me. That is what I am only concerned about. All the other things are not of much account. I am not worrying if the biscuits aren't baked exactly right, if things aren't cooked so well. You don't need to make apologies on that. I am concerned about that I have the first place. That you have a love for me that a wife should have for her husband, and he says, 'I believe you have this.'" He was not mistaken either. They have one child and that child has spoken to me about going out in the harvest field. The father is not wanting to hinder either. He has that much about him. I thought it was a very nice way for a husband to speak to his wife. Even for an unsaved man to do that.

 

I thought in couples how nice if when some little thing goes wrong, that they could say the same thing. I am not concerned about the mistake, I am concerned about one thing--that you still love Me. I believe that our Heavenly Bridegroom feels the same--that what He is most concerned with that we love Him. Our first ambition is to have His approval.  I believe that is what Paul had as a servant of God.  I believe that is why he was such a faithful servant to God.

 

You know that makes you a little independent of other things you might be tempted to worry about. One of our brothers has an expression he often uses when he is preaching. He says the servants of God are the most independent people in the world because they are the most dependent in the world.  He explains it like this that they are independent of other people. They are not worrying whether they like our preaching or don't like it, or whether they are taken up with us or not taken up with us. We are wholly dependent on God and they recognize that if I make it my ambition to please Him, to be like the faithful bride espoused to him, then I'll not need to worry. Not need to worry about my future in this world. Not need to worry about the hereafter. I'll hear His well done. That will be greatest reward of all.

 

If God's children in the home could say, "I am not too much concerned whether people like me or whether people flatter, I am taken up with the Heavenly Bridegroom." This woman you read about in Revelations 17, it says it was Babylon. It was a city - a woman in a city and that city is ruler over the kings of the earth. You read this is true in the 18th chapter - that city is ruler over the kings of the earth.

 

I once was in Rome and visited the Vatican. There is a great long hall in the Vatican, which has a great number of showcases. Glass filled showcases full of presents, expensive presents - gold and very expensive tapestry. You would just think of this when you were reading Revelations 18 in looking at these showcases. These presents were sent by different rulers of the world and they were taking great pride that we are ruling over all. We are having great control. Then when you read Revelations 17 and 18, you can see the end of that. The 17th Chapter finishes up by telling you that before the end comes and that may come soon, God is going to put it into the hearts of those Kings that represent the beasts, those 10 horns those rulers of the world, whatever they are, God is going to put it into their hearts to turn against her, this great city of Babylon. When they turn against this woman, they are going to throw her down and tramp and burn her and destroy her. That has to happen before Jesus comes again. We don't need to be impressed when we read of the President going to the Pope, for the Pope to do so much, their great glory, their great power, the ruler of all the people of the world as it speaks about. Don't worry about that. Faith tells us that there is an end of that. The end is described in the 18th chapter. There will be a terrible time of suffering upon the world.

 

The false religions that have been up in glory in their wealth, pride, and power over the rulers of the earth and all the great things they could do well, they will fall out between themselves and they have been doing it in some parts already. Then they will be trampled and destroyed, but our interest is in Revelations 21. In this chapter, we read about John seeing another city and it was coming down from Heaven. It was the New Jerusalem, and it was a Holy City. It was a woman too, because it was adorned as a Bride to be married. The woman who was riding the beast had great adornment and the adornment she had spoke of great power, purple, scarlet, and wealth. The other city was represented by a woman and she was a different woman. It was given to her to be adorned, too. She was arrayed in fine, white linen, pure and clean, white linen. It wasn't scarlet, it wasn't purple. It wasn't the great ruling colors of the world. It was fine, white linen, pure and clean, and it says that fine, white linen was the righteousness of the saints. The margin says the righteousness acts of the saints. Having inward righteousness and doing righteousness acts go together. You have it inside first and then it moves you to do it. Like the trees that have the right thing in them, bears the right kind of fruit. The tree is known by its fruit.  Some religious people today think that it is just believing in something. Believing something about Jesus, going through some form. Some people have that kind of teaching, but the illustrations Jesus used is different.

 

When we give ourselves to Him, it is more like a branch in a vine and if we continue and abide then there will be fruit. When we give ourselves to Christ, that is the first step. Then after that there is the abiding. Abiding in His word and He abiding in us. Abiding in His teachings. Jesus said if you don't abide, even though you are grafted in, you will die, and you will be destroyed. It was given to this woman to be adorned too. The 19th chapter said the bride had made herself ready for the marriage. That shows our responsibility, we are making ourselves ready, cooperating with Him. That would be like what Peter said when he used the words make your election sure. You are elected according to the foreknowledge of God.

 

Make it sure. Peter tells you how to make it sure. You would be growing. There would be something growing in you. That is the proof of it. You would be keeping on obeying His truth. You can never separate Jesus from His words. He said, "If you are ashamed of My words, ashamed of Me and of My words." Not many today taking heed to the words of Jesus. Even if you just take those words when He mentioned about you being a city set on a hill. Just take those words. Read them over and meditate upon them. Not many people in the world thinking about obeying those words. I wonder do we obey them fully as the Lord meant. Do we get out a little with one another and not put it right. Do not offer sacrifice to God until you put it right with each other. Do we obey those words fully when He says, "You are a city set on a hill?" You can't separate Jesus from His words. His words. My word will be forever. We'll be judged by His words. I like to think of -----; woman as the true Bride of Christ. She had on the fine, white linen.

 

Some of us grew up in the country where they make that linen and have seen the process. It is not a very nice process. A man was working where they handle the flax, of which they make linen. He couldn't very well change his clothes but had to come in to have dinner where we were as he was. They had an awful odor about them. The flax had to be pulled by hand. Then it was put under water and left there until it is almost rotten and the odor is almost like the odor of rotten cabbage. Then it is taken out and dried, brought to a mill and that is where you would get that which makes the fine linen. This is what the bride would he arrayed with.

 

You know this thought about the righteousness and then it says, "The righteous acts." It means that I am righteous inside, and He that is righteous doeth righteousness cause I am righteous, I do righteous acts. That is why Jesus said, "Let your light shine that men will glorify your Father." If we have love in our hearts we won't need to be talking about it for He'll be seeing me do things and He'll see manifestations of that. He is not supposed to read my heart, but He is to see what I am doing and what kind of fruit I'll bear. It is the righteousness and righteous acts, He wants to see. We read that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. Not imputing our iniquity, but He is imputing the righteousness of Christ to us. It is a comfort to an honest child of God to realize that although I have come short, God is giving me credit for the righteousness of Christ. The righteousness He commanded when He obeyed the Father and went to Calvary's cross and gave His last drop of blood. In doing that He made it possible for God to put things where I come short. Transgressions are forgiven and sins are covered by His blood.

 

I have sometimes given the illustration. I know it is not a perfect one, but it occurred to me. We could use it, you and I in our relationship with God. It could be compared to a bride, a wife. She has in her early days gone into debt for her foolishness in buying or whatever it was. But some wealthy person wants to make her his bride in spite of her debts. She becomes his wife and that wealthy man makes an announcement to all that and debts that my wife owes, I am responsible for all. Do you think that is an exaggerated picture? That is what our Heavenly Bridegroom has done for us.

 

One woman said to me, "I understand all that, how He has forgiven all that I did before I decided; but what if I fail now, if do something that I shouldn't do?" I said to her, taking our little illustration. He went a little further and said, as long as she is a true wife to me and I know the place I have in her heart, as long as we are living together, if she should incur any more debts through some foolish step, buy something that she shouldn't be buying, I’ll pay them too. If she should be untrue, and we would have to divorce I won't be responsible any longer. John in his epistles says, "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another."

 

We have fellowship with Him, that true fellowship, and His blood cleanse us from all sins. That verse backs this up that He paid the debt where we come short now and then we'll he arrayed in the righteousness of Christ.  It is the righteousness that has come into my life because Christ is living in me. In Revelations 21, we read of a great marriage. If you will take the illustration of a city as what the world will see in our lives that we are bear in a clean testimony for Him. It is a great study and one that should profit us.