Harold Bennett - "God's Laws"

(Hymn 328)  
 

Sometimes people attend gospel meetings for the first time and they ask us the question:  "Do you have any laws?"  I have said:  "No, we don't" because God's people are guided by the Holy Spirit and when this is so there is no need of laws. But there are laws in the Kingdom of Heaven that govern us. "May thy law of loving kindness in our hearts have full control." There are three kinds of laws, one is man-made and two are God-made. Man's laws differ from country to country, city to city, traffic laws, laws of property and possession.  They have to be changed and amended from time to time. If you break these laws you are punished if you are caught.  If not caught, you get by.  If caught, you can get a good lawyer who will find a loophole in the law and you are let off. God made laws to govern natural creation.  Secondly, another set of laws govern Gods spiritual creation. There are natural laws, law of physics, chemistry, music.  They are the same in every land. If you put your hand on a hot fire you will be burnt, or if you step off a cliff you will always fall down.  There is no loophole in these laws that govern the natural creation. God also has laws for his spiritual kingdom for His people and they are the same in every land.  They are not unproved or amended.  If we break them we are always punished.  That is why so many people live chaotic lives without obeying Gods laws of his spiritual kingdom. There are seven laws that I will speak about.

The Law of Citizenship.

John 3.3:  "Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." I am a citizen of the United States because I was born there.  We become citizens of God's kingdom by being born again. There were two farmers in the early 1900's came to North Dakota from Germany, they owned farms, paid taxes.  After a while they wanted to return for a visit to the fatherland. One had become a citizen of USA but the other one had never gotten around to it. In the fatherland they visited their relatives and family.  Then the whistle and sirens blew, war was declared, so they both rushed to the Belgium border to return to the States. There at the border, the officers asked to see their citizenship papers for America, the one man produced his evidence that he was a citizen of America.  The other one could not, so he tried to explain to the officer that he had lived so many years there, that he owned property, he had paid taxes so many years, but all to no avail, you will have to go back, you can't leave so one went home without the other. One day we will be crossing over and we will have to produce evidence that we are born again, that we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven. I have a fear in preaching the gospel that we are educating people with the letter of God's word, especially to the young people amongst us who know God's truth by the letter but then they are not changed, no evidence of being born again by a changed life. There are three reasons we are born again:  first to get rid of the past - a baby has no past, a good or bad past or a religious past, when born again we start at zero. Second reason is:  we need to receive a new nature if God is to take us to heaven, because the way we are heaven would be hell for us, we need a new nature, heaven by having a new birth. The story of the canary and the goldfish:  you take the canary out of its cage and put it in the goldfish bowl.  It will be hell for it as it has no nature to live in the water. So if you take the goldfish out of the bowl and put it in the canary cage, it will not live.  It will not fit in there. That is why God needs to give us a new nature by a new birth so that we can love what is in heaven, to love the fellowship of God's people, to love all those things. Third reason is:  we can become a part of God's family and receive from our Father brothers and sisters, receive the family resemblance. When people look at me they say you are a Bennett, there is the natural family resemblance. I am thankful that as I come into this land I see the family resemblance and I have no doubt that I am among the people of God. So a changed life is the law of citizenship, it is more than theory, there is a new control, a new spirit so that we react differently to others in the world, we act differently because of a change in our lives. When a caterpillar becomes a butterfly it is changed, before it feeds on leaves but now it feeds on flowers and honey.  We are born again.  We are feeding on different foods that are bringing satisfaction to others in the world. This is a fundamental law, we must be born again.

The Law of Discipleship

Luke 14.26:  "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple." It says that Jesus must be all or nothing, He must be the Master of our affections. Jesus saw this multitude following and He did not want any following with any mistaken idea of discipleship. We must put Jesus before what we want, before what other people want, putting Jesus before other people. God wants the first of the first and the best of the best.  God needs to be Master of our affection, same as with a bride to her husband, when she marries she leaves home to be with her husband.  It is not that she does not love her home, or her mother and father, or brothers and sisters but just that she loves her husband first. God needs to be chief, self wants to be chief, but God must be above self or what we want. Sometimes people have a sideline, discipleship is not a sideline. We have professional photographers and amateur photographers.  We have professional musicians and amateur musicians.  We have professional gardeners and amateur gardeners. If we are professing to be His disciples it needs to be our life and not a sideline There is an order that God wants in our lives.  It is this:  God is first, then comes people, last of all things.  This is an unalterable law that cannot be changed.

 The Law of Greatness.

Matthew 20.25:  "Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister, and whosoever will be chief among you let him be your servant." There is nothing wrong with some forms of greatness in the world:  financial greatness, athletic greatness, scholastic greatness.  There is no heavenly prize attached to this kind of greatness. In the world people aspire to greatness by obtaining some position, hold an office where they can wield a club and have many serving them.  This is opposite in the kingdom of heaven.  He that is least and serves, he is  the greatest. John 13, we see a picture of true greatness.  It was the custom of the day that the lowest slave would meet the guests at the door and wash their feet. That night there was a strife among them as to who would be the greatest.  They had all come in to the room and no one had washed their feet.  So, after the meal was finished, Jesus took the form of the lowest slave and washed the disciples' feet. It is so hard for us to comprehend that the master of the universe took the towel and then took the lowest place.  The wisdom of the ages, the Son of God doing what others would not do. Peter was so ashamed, John was a chastened man. Jesus gave them an example that the greatest place is given to the one who serves the most.  The person who serves and gives the most is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. This question as to who will be the greatest among the workers or the friends comes up. In our area, we had a man and his wife attending our meetings who had been out of fellowship for 20 years. They were in a meeting and the elder passed away.  The servants of God had to choose an elder out of two men.  They chose the other man so this couple who thought it should have gone to them dropped out.  Then we knew that the servants of God had made the right choice.  Now, 20 years later, they have come to an end of themselves and are in fellowship today. Who is going to be the greatest, who is going to be the elder.  True greatness is not holding a position, or holding office.  Although there is nothing wrong in seeking a place of usefulness and a place of service, but the greatest among us are those who give and serve the most. Paul wrote that it is more blessed to give than to receive, he knew the secret that true happiness comes from serving and giving, seeking greatness that way.

The Law of Forgiveness.

Matthew 6.14:  "For if ye forgive men their trespasses your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." If we want to be among the forgiven we need to be among the forgivers. There are two qualifications for forgiveness:  repentance is the first, we need to repent to be forgiven, then the second one is to be converted. Proverbs 28.13:  "He that coverth his sins shall not prosper, but who confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." True forgiveness can only come to us if we are willing to repent and willing to be converted, to change. Matthew 18 tells us of a man who had been forgiven a large amount, about 12 million dollars.  He could not pay it, so the king asked him to be sold up.  He pleaded for mercy and patience, so the king forgave him all the debt.  He was now free. We are like this, we cannot buy or pay for one drop of Jesus blood or buy one moment of heaven. So this man went out and found a fellow servant who owed 17 dollars.  He grabbed him by the throat and said, "Pay me."  This man was not among the forgiven because he was not among the forgivers.  He should have thought, "No one owes me anything, no one has done anything to me by a hard spirit."  No, when this man pleaded with him, he had no pity or compassion but had him thrown into prison. The fellow servants were very sorry and were grieved.  The king was sorry and had him delivered to the tormenters. If we are not willing to forgive we will be tormented in heart, have no rest or peace. So likewise if you don't forgive from your heart your brethren their trespasses.  The first pioneers in our country had a hard job.  They had to cut trees down and plow the land to make a farm.  It was not so hard to cut the tops of the trees but hard to get the roots out of the ground below the surface. It is the hardest thing for us to forgive from our hearts, to get rid of the roots.  That is forgiving and forgetting.  The mind remembers the incident that caused the hard feelings.  When there is true forgiveness, we find that the feelings are gone, look at the thing that has happened in a different way.

The Law of Fruitfulness.

John 12.24:  "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth alone but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit." To die means to say no to ourselves, no to our attitudes, to our words, no to actions that are contrary to God.  It means to say no to ourselves. God needs people who will keep on dying till they die. This is the law of fruitfulness. When a corn of wheat dies, death releases the potential of the corn of wheat. This does not happen, then the new life is not released.  We die and say no to ourselves, to what is wrong. There is great potential in a seed.  There are two possibilities for a corn of wheat:  it can either fall and rot, or fall and die. If we put the seed in the ground and it rots, it just blends with the rest of the soil and nothing further happens.  If it dies, there is the possibility of new life coming forth.  This is a simple law:  we say no to self and self dies and Christ lives.  If we promote self, Christ will not live in us. If you take a corn of wheat and put it in moist warm ground for a week then dig it up, you will find that all in the corn of wheat has passed into the new life.  All the strength and energy of the wrinkled old seed has passed into the new life.  This is so for us, all our strength and energy is put into the things of God. You always get much more seed back than what you have first put in.  Sometimes people feel that if I serve God one day I will be the loser but then, if willing, have so much more. There is the power in the seed to push up through the ground, through rocks. Sometimes a seed has moved concrete, the power in the dying life beneath the surface. We see more now to die to, see that the deeper death brings a richer life.  We have so much more than others, the wonderful law of fruitfulness.

The Law of Harvest.

Galatians 6.7:  "Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap, for he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." It is possible for us to be deceived. Paul did not want us to be.  This law is just that what we sow we will reap, life is serious. In this law we are the seedbed.  In the last law, our lives are the seed but, in this law, we are the seedbed. Seeds are being sown every day.  We are sowing in the lives of others.  As we walk each day of life, seeds are being sown in my life, being sown in our children.  One thing is sure:  one day, there will be a harvest.  It will either be a black or a white harvest, life is so serious. The law of harvest is that you always reap more than you sow.  This harvest we read of is certain. In some places they just cannot reap a natural harvest because of frost, or floods, or hailed out.  This harvest is sure.  One way or another, we will reap and we will reap what we have sown. Naturally, if we sow corn we will reap corn.  If we sow cotton we will reap cotton.  We reap in the same kind.  If we sow to the Spirit we will reap of the Spirit. If we are spending our days, our energy in society, in politics, in the things of the world, we will reap a natural harvest but not a spiritual harvest. If we sow to the Spirit, reading and praying, giving ourselves to these things, we will reap a spiritual harvest. When you sow a natural harvest you have to wait.  You reap later, but sometimes we sow and reap right away.  This stops us from doing the same things. We met a man who came to the gospel meetings.  One day I asked him, "Bruce, how old are you?"  He was 38, but he looked 68. We asked him of his past.  He had been an alcoholic.  He was now reaping a natural harvest, and he was going to spend the rest of his life in poor health. Paul wrote that if we sow sparingly we shall also reap sparingly.  In other words we will get as much out of the way of God as we are willing to put in. One man sent his son out into the field to sow the crop.  The son was running out of seed near the end of the day, so instead of going to the barn to get more seed he just set the drill to let less seed fall through so he could finish the paddock. A few weeks later his father took him out to the field and asked him why the crop was so thin here.  What was hidden before now became evident.  This is the law of harvest, that whatsoever we sow we shall also reap. What kind of seed are we sowing?  I do not know of any farmer who would be so foolish to sow poor seed in his ground and to wonder. If we were to ask the parents what kind of seed are they sowing in their children, maybe there would not be any that would be so foolish to sow poor seed.  They are in the kindergarten and we need to be responsible for sowing the right seed as one day there will be a harvest. When planting a lawn and if we want a good clean lawn with no weeds, we need to sow seed so thickly that the weeds will have no chance to grow up. If we sow to the Spirit, to His word, spiritual thoughts, think on the things of God so thickly in our lives that the weeds do not stand a chance for it is an unalterable law that one day we will reap.

The Law of Mercy.

James 2.13:  "For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy, and mercy rejoiceth against judgment." My first companion said, "We don't want to err in judgment but err on the side of mercy."  If we do this we will not make any mistakes.  It is better to be too merciful than be too judgmental. Mercy is not saying wrong is right or just sweep wrong under the carpet.  It does not mean that all is forgiven but a chance to make an honest turnaround.  It is giving a chance to be forgiven. It is mercy that I want to receive on the judgment day.  I will not be judged by how others treated me but by the way I have treated others. It is better to be too kind, too trusting, than to be too hard.

The Law of Love

John 13.34:  "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." We think of that last night with his disciples, hearts so troubled, problems and difficulties.  Jesus did not give them all a set of rules and regulations to go out into the future with, but he gave them the law of love, to love as I have loved you. Love is the only thing that will fulfill God's purpose in our lives.  Law will not do it.  Love will and will bring joy to God's heart. "The love of God within my heart will teach me how to do my part." This was now to be a new commandment, different to the Old Testament law where they were to love their neighbor as themselves. Their self was the measurement but now it is as I have loved you.  Jesus is the measurement, the standard for our love. Jesus loved us more that he loved himself, he loved others more. Some religions are concerned with keeping a right day, having a certain name.  Jesus said that we shall be known by the love we have one for another. In the law of music, if you take a violin and tune it to A, then take a clarinet tune it to A, then take a cello and tune it to A, the law of music makes it that they will all be in tune with one another, all in harmony. If we have love, it means that we will be in tune with heaven, in tune with our brethren.  It will mean that the next person will also be in tune with one another. The law of music is the same as the law of the kingdom.

The Law of Success

John 15 5:  "I am the vine, ye are the branches, he that abideth in me and I in him the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without me ye can do nothing." Men do a lot in this world, send men into outer space.  This does not count for anything.  There is no eternal prize or eternal goal connected with it. You and I must have the Saviour with us.  Collectively, we will be a success in the world. If God was not with his people, this fellowship would fall apart. It is a success collectively because God is with His people.  Individually, our success depends upon God being with us.  We cannot walk alone. The enemy came to Eve when she was alone, the man who fell among thieves was alone.  Our hope of success is God with you and me.  We dare not try to walk alone. Moses said to God, "If thy presence go not with us, carry us not up hence." As we go out into he unknown future, daily seek the presence of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  We will have a successful year and God will crown the year with His goodness.