Harold McKnight - Pukekohe I, New Zealand Convention - 2002

I was thinking of this convention coming to an end. I might say something that I spoke in the last place, people said they appreciated it and I know some of you will hear some of it again. Convention comes to an end sooner than we expect. The Philistines come up and robbed the threshing floor. It is sad to think when the seed was sown and the very time it might be brought into bread, the Philistines came. We realise that the enemy is going to try and rob the threshing floor, with all the effort that has been put into the meetings here we want to be aware that the threshing floor could be robbed. The convention is not over at the end of convention.

We have to live up to our own testimony and that is why it is very essential to have a testimony and strive to live up to it and it would be good when we come here next year, if we could say we have fulfilled our own testimony. We would be progressing in God's way if that could be accomplished.

It says in the days of Gideon that the Amalekites came up after the Israelites had sown. The Israelites had sown, but they were not able to reap. Convention has been sown, so to speak, but the enemy wants to keep us from reaping. The Philistines speak of wandering and the Amorites of self. These are the foes that would stop the harvest.

Gideon went forth and overcame the enemy and remembers those people came and it said they chided with them because they hadn't taken them to the fight or the war, or the battle and they chided with him. It was alright for them to want to reap the fruit of the victory, but they would have wanted to go to fight. We know how the army was cut down to a small amount, to men just able to show forth God's power and greatness and they had been able to overcome the enemy. When they chided with them, remember what did he say? "What have I done in comparison to you?" He disarmed them with the right spirit. That power is within us, too. We can aggravate the wrong spirit in others, but we can also disarm the wrong spirit in others. That is the power that lies with us too. That power of disarmament.

I thought, too, of the wells Abraham dug. They were filled in with rubble. The Philistines came and filled them in with rubble. They stopped the flow of water that had sustained life and filled them with rubble and Isaac had to dig them again. I thought, too, of the disciples in the days of Jesus meant everything to Him, but we owe a lot to the first disciples who stepped out of Judaism to follow Jesus in a new and living way. Because of them, we can sit together today in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

My mind went to Willie Hulme who went from Ireland to England to the Catholic Convention that lasted for a week and he went there seeking for truth and reality and he heard a lot of preaching but he didn't have anything for his spirit, his heart. He went out into the field and lay prostrate on the field and all that would come to him was the story of Elisha and Elijah. He said to himself, "Do I have to sell my farm?" The answer was, "Yes," he would have to sell his farm. Then he went back to Ireland. I do not know how long that took, but he went back and eventually sold his farm. He was what we called in those times, a gentleman farmer. He had ridden horses. He rode with the hounds. I am not trying to say that the farmers in New Zealand are not gentleman farmers, but he was what we called a gentleman farmer and church worker was there, too. He worked in Dublin and he went up north and he preached in the church, probably the Methodist Church, a young man and everyone was congratulating him, but he said to himself, "This is not it."

I know somehow or another, he heard of Willie Gill going to sell his farm and he went to see him. These men were searching for truth and did not give up until it was revealed to them. I remember Willie Gill sitting on a platform between two old workers. I think their ages would have added up to 250 years or more and Alex Gilken was there at that time after preaching many years in Canada. He sat on the platform and they put a chair in front of him. He had to hold on to the chair as he spoke. We think of their labour of love. He was quite out spoken. One time, he was preaching about the first days and first convention and Willie Gill suggested he meet the people, whoever came to convention and he said someone should be appointed and they said, "Don't appoint Alex Gilken; he wasn't a man to meet people."

Willie went to England to preach and he spent time in England and he was beaten and someone picked him up and took him home and that man eventually decided. Wilson Reid told me of some of those at the early conventions. Afterwards, the meetings were open for questions. Some questions were not so sensible, but there were two other questions asked and answered. Sometime in the convention, it was tested for workers to go to certain countries and then it was tested for anyone who would go anywhere. Wilson Reid stood up and said he was willing to go anywhere and he eventually went to South Africa. They were the first to go there. They went from this convention. They started open air meetings. I do not think they were wonderful singers, but this man came and stood by them and helped them to sing. Each day going home from work, he seemed to be there at most of those meetings. He was a Dutch man and was married to a colored lady. He told his wife, "These men have something that you desire." He wanted to bring them home, but she didn't want to see them because they were English speaking and you know the story that Britain had won the Boer War so those people didn't have a very good attitude. Eventually, he brought them home for a meal and that lady decided, the first lady to decide in South Africa. Her husband didn't decide until 12 years after that. He even said to the workers, "Why don't you take this message to Holland?" The message went to South Africa before it went to Holland. Eventually they got workers to go from South Africa to Holland with the gospel.

I want to tell you about John Stone. John was home on a visit and we were asked to accompany him to Scotland and John was a stern looking man, a nicer man you couldn't be with and we had wonderful fellowship and he told us about a time when he left Ireland. There was a convention in a city and one night at the end of the convention, 35 of them walked all the way to the docks. It was about three miles perhaps, they sang hymns all the way and they went over to England then they left for other countries. John went to Canada and the States and he spent the rest of his life in Eastern Canada. They were so willing to go and so young to give their lives. We are glad for that spirit.

There was a man in Ireland and two sister workers went to him. I think they were looking for an opening. They met his wife and she said to them, "You will have to talk to my husband. He is only in the field." They went to the field and do you know what he did? He greeted them before anything else was said. He said, "I am just waiting for you to come." The outcome of their coming there was that three of his children went into the work and three died in the work. There seemed to be a great feeling of need and a great desire for reality and a great desire for truth and such people have left you and me a great legacy. No greater legacy could we receive than the legacy of truth.

At special meetings last year, a religious man who had been coming to meetings came. I thought he had been brought by some of the friends. He is associated with the friends and he came to afternoon and gospel meetings and he seems to be satisfied with what he has. He gave a testimony and it wasn't out of place. He looked at the row of workers at the front of the hall and he said, "You people are richer than Bill Gates." You see, we have received a great legacy. Sometimes, we do not fully value what we have amongst ourselves.

Willie Gill said, "People can learn things very quickly today." It took us a lifetime to understand things, but today, you can understand things much more quickly. It meant a great deal for them to come out of gross darkness and we appreciated that struggle and we wouldn't want to forget the struggle and we want to appreciate the legacy that has been left to us.

I was thinking again of Abraham remembering again what God said to him. Now the Lord had said unto Abram, "Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father's house unto a land that I will shew thee. And I will make of thee a great nation and I will bless thee and make thy name great and thou shalt be a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee and in thee, shall all families of the earth be blessed."

That is how it started in faith. Abraham had come from Ur of the Chaldees, which was an advanced city of that day. He looked for something better and he found it by faith. He was willing to lose in order to gain. I have been told he was 400 years in Egypt. God said, "I will judge that land and they shall give forth substance." That is what took place and He brought the Children of Israel out of it. He is going to judge this world again and He is going to bring forth His children with great substance.

There are certain things happening in the world that we do not like to see happening, but perhaps we should not condemn it too much because the Lord reigneth. It would be wonderful if we would have confidence that the Lord reigneth, that He is working out His plan and purpose and as we have heard in this meeting already, Christ is coming again and we want to keep that before us and we do not want to get over pressured with what is going to happen in this old world.

Moses went to gather the Children of Israel. He seemed to have a premonition that he would deliver the Children of Israel when he slew the Egyptian. He didn’t want to go by himself and Arron went with him. They went with the message of deliverance, "Let my people go, that they may serve Me." Pharaoh didn't want to let them go, even after the plagues. I used to wonder why God had to send the plagues. Perhaps, He wanted to show forth His greatness and fear. Eventually Pharaoh realised those people were going to worship. They wanted to go through this journey and he realised there could be no worship without segregation. Pharaoh didn't want to let them go. He wanted them to divide up and let the men folk go and let the others remain. He wanted to divide their factions. Remember when Jesus said, "No man can serve two masters." We do not want our affections to be divided. We set our affections on things above. We know that bought about the feast of the Passover.

Life is a pathway between two eternities. Our standard of living is very much influenced by all that has preceded, but many people do not realise it. People in the world do not realise that life is meant to have an influence in eternity. It influences all that follows, therefore we want to be fully influenced by the one who has preceded us, the Lord Jesus Christ. We want to keep under the influence realising that this is going to have an important influence on eternity.

The lamb was killed on the tenth and eaten on the fourteenth. They were to partake of the head, the legs, and the pertinence thereof, and to sprinkle the blood on the door posts. They were people who believed in the sacrifice of Jesus and they appreciated the sacrifice of Jesus, but they didn't appreciate His life. They appreciated the thought of the shedding blood and fragrance. But that blood is only made effective if we put it in the house and partake of the whole lamb and that is our responsibility. That is what these people were told to do. You can think of the perfect fellowship they would have had. The Death Angel wasn't to harm them and they would look at the lamb and there would be perfect harmony and fellowship as they thought of that death angel coming. They were to partake of the head, legs, and pertinence thereof. The head speaks of the mind. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. It is not a matter of taking the mind of the servants. He came to serve in humility and that is our responsibility, to serve one another. To serve in humility and to serve one another, it would speak of being a right example, to follow His lead. Thy bleeding feet, Lord Jesus, I will follow! To think of His willingness to sacrifice and we have that perfect example to follow.

The inwards would speak of the spirit that went forth that was manifested. He said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." That was His attitude. Instead of challenging them, Jesus went through it all. He said, "Father, forgive them." It is wonderful to have the spirit of forgiveness.

I have told this story, too, about one of the visiting sisters last year at our convention. She spoke about her and her cousin visiting her grandparents. One day, they had done something naughty and they had to sit on the bench and not get off until they said they were sorry and ask for forgiveness. She was very stubborn. She and her grandfather were good friends, probably bosom pals. Probably, her grandfather adored her. Her cousin got off the bench very quickly. She said to herself, "My grandfather, he will get me off." He passed by and gave her a glance and quickly she got up and said, "I am sorry." She wasn't going to be separated from her grandfather so she quickly said she was sorry and asked for forgiveness. We do not want to be separated from our Father. Jesus came to bring us back to the Father. It is imperative that we have that spirit of forgiveness because we do not want to be separated from the Father. This is what we get from the lamb.

Exodus, the lamb was offered morning and evening. That is a good thing when we consider the lamb. If we consider the lamb in the morning, it is going to influence our thoughts, our words, our minds the whole day because things are going to happen through the day, even in the workplace that are not very nice and pleasant. It is nice when we are influenced by the lamb. "Behold the Lamb of God, It taketh away the sins of the world." It is nice when we get that first thing in the morning. Just beholding the lamb and it will help us to get through the day. It is nice if we can behold the lamb in the evening. If things have not gone as we wanted them to go, we can ask God to put things right. Things we have said, we should not have done, things said on the spur of the moment and we can make our peace.

It says in the Psalms, there are set thrones of judgement. The lamb can bring judgement to us. It is not condemnation. Judgement will show us where we have gone wrong and what we need to do. Sometimes, when you are driving in a car and the windscreen is very clean and everything is in order, but if you are driving towards the sun, the windshield is not as clean as it seemed it was. It was only revealed because you turned towards the sun. As we come to convention and turn towards the sun, it will reveal things that were not noticeable before. Judgement will show us things that are hidden.

Psalm 119, they can face judgement. The judgement of God is the kindness of God through His judgements. This wonderful God is not out to condemn any man. That leaves us with the same spirit, that we should have the same spirit. We do not want to condemn anyone.

It also caused me to go again to Jacob. The Lord has redeemed and reinstated Jacob from the thing within him that is stronger than he. We feel that, don't we? We have a part to contend with that is stronger than we. He redeemed Jacob from the power that was stronger than he.