Harry Brownlee - Six Cups

It says in Psalm 116:12, "What shall I render unto the Lord for all His benefits towards me? I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all His people."


If I can, this morning, I would like to speak with you about six cups.


The first is the cup of salvation, that we have read of in Psalm 116.


The next is the cup of regret, in Revelation 14:10.


The next is the cup of death, in Matthew 26:39.


The next is the cup of redemption in Genesis 44:2.


The next is the cup of fellowship in I Corinthians 11:26.


And last of all, the cup of plenty Psalm 23:5.

That is six cups. You may think we won't get over them in time, but I'll promise to quit on time. I just love that verse, "What shall I render to God for all that He has done for me?" He simply said, "I'll take more from the hand of God." And this is the character of God. When I think of a mother who has borne an infant. Nine months she has carried that child, and now you see the baby at the mother's breast. Taking more. This is the love of a mother.


What a wonderful thing it is, what love does. We could give without loving, but we could never love without giving. Now, God is love. I just love what he said here, "What shall I render to God?" God really doesn't need anything that I have to offer, except my love, except my praise. He simply said, "I'll take more from the hand and the heart of God." Isn't this our experience? That's also why I love the verse we have sung just now. From every stain made clean. This hasn't been a week without failure, a week without flaw, but I am so thankful within my heart today. I believe the past is covered, never to be remembered against His children again. I am just so thankful. We are not going to turn the Grace of God into lasciviousness. Live it up. Do anything. Go anywhere. But even when we have done our level best, I have never spent a week, a day, without failure.


I hope we all understand that when a man steals a dollar, he is just as much a thief as when he steals ten dollars. And while you or I may never have committed some of the grosser sins mentioned there in Romans, we're still guilty. But I liked what Willie Jamieson said to me one time. He said, "Harry, we're just as guilty as though we had committed them all." A false religion makes for Pharisee-ism. "I'm not as bad as that fellow. Because I haven't done this, or that, or something else." But sin brings us all to one level. I'm so thankful, what will I render to God? I'll just take more from God.


I like what he said, "I'll pay my vows, now, in the presence of all His people." I like the expression, "Winners never quit and quitters never win!" Vows are very solemn. Personally, I haven't made many vows. I'm scared to! Because vows are binding. Sometimes parents say to us, "My child isn't professing any more, so it isn't so serious if he's doing things that are so very, very wrong, because he isn't professing." I think that's terrible teaching. I hope as a mother or a father, that you'll let your children know that vows are binding. And when we've made a commitment to God, it isn't for time alone, it's for all eternity. To me, it's like the marriage vow. You might not be true to that vow, but you're still a married man, still a married woman. There's NO way out, and when we make this commitment to God there is no backing off. "I'll pay my vows now in the presence of all God's people." I hope none of us will ever be foolish enough to lead someone to believe that they're not professing now, so it isn't so serious, where they' re going or what they're doing.


This cup is a cup of mixed experiences. It is a very mixed cup. When we made our choice to serve God, God didn't put us on cloud nine, and everything has been lovely since. Joy and sorrow is interwoven, victory and defeat. I appreciate so much that it is in the defeat, it's in the valley that sometimes we learn life's most vital lessons. Thank God for those who have known the humiliation of defeat. No one stands so straight as one who stoops to help a fallen brother. God save me from these people who are always victorious, who have never known the scalding tears of humiliation and defeat burning their cheeks. They don't understand me. I'm so thankful for those over the years, when I have failed, and failed miserably, that they haven't come with a kick. They haven't come with criticism, they have come, reaching a hand of compassion, of understanding. I don't very often mention this, but one time, at a convention in my heart, I'd quit. I felt that there's no where to go, except to go out. I hadn't talked about it, there was no discussion, but a brother who had an understanding heart, I'll never never forget, in the darkness of that last night of the convention, he came to me and he took my hand in both of his and simply said, "Harry, don't leave us. Please don't." So easily he could've spoken differently, of failure in my life to feed, but he had compassion.


Thank God for those who learn the lessons that only defeat may bring. Now, God isn't planning defeat. I like again what Willie Jamieson taught me, long years ago. People talk about Adam's fall, but Willie said, "Adam never did fall. God simply gave him a nature that made him aware of his desperate need of help." If Adam had been all that Adam would have liked to have been, he wouldn't have needed the blood. He wouldn't have needed the lamb. God has given us all a nature, making us realise how desperately I need help. God never intended for sin to drive us from the Lord. God intended for sin to drive us to the Lord. A companion of mine told us one time. He got into a fight, and he was wrong, he said. This man really lit into him, and do you know what he did? He simply took to his heels. He was a good runner, and where did he head for? He headed for home and he jumped the fence into the yard where his father was working, and he was safe. Even though he was wrong, when he came home, that bully was no longer able to maul him. And God planned sin, that you and I might be driven to our father, who alone has the provision for us. Whatever our need may be.


This cup of salvation, it is a varied cup. It is in the gloom of the valley that the lily grows, as our brother has told us about already this morning. It is on Sharon's sunny plain that the beauty of the rose is apparent, but it is in the gloom of the valley that the fragrance of the lily is also found. You and I need both experiences. May God help you, with myself, to lift the cup of salvation. And whatever the experiences that are planned for us, the mixed experiences, may we be willing for them all. For the development that God plans in all our lives.


The next cup that we mentioned is that cup over here in Revelation. This is the cup of the wrath of God, poured out, it says, without mixture. The saddest words of tongue or pen are, "Oh what might have been!" And you can think of nothing in all your wildest imaginations, like a lost eternity. There is no going back. It is settled. The saddest words of tongue or pen are, "Oh what might have been!" It says that the third angel followed saying with a loud voice, "If any man worship the beast and his image, received his mark in their forehead or in his hand. The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture, into the cup of His indignation."


Do you know what brings this about? Receiving the mark, worshipping the beast. Receiving his mark in our forehead - that's our thinking. Or in our hand - that's our fellowship. We may not be what we think we are, but we are what we think. That's the reason that we need to be so careful, what we allow into our consciousness. What we read, what we look at or even what we listen to, because it is so true. We may not be what we think we are, but we are what we think. If we receive the mark of the beast in our thinking, influenced by the world. The world's religion or whatever the world has to offer, it will lead eventually to bitter regret.


What more can God do? He sent His son to Calvary. He died there. He sent two of His servants to your door, they knocked there. But since then He has sent His Holy Spirit, knocking at the door of your heart, and mine. He can't do any more. And if you and I turn a deaf ear to all that God has done and is doing, this will be the result. Oh, the regret of having this cup of His wrath.


I love that verse where the Psalmist said, "Great peace have they who love Thy law and nothing shall offend them." It's tragic when people become offended. And unfortunately some such people think themselves to be sensitive. When all they are is touchy. Sensitive people are never offended, touchy people often are. "Great peace have they who love Thy law, and nothing shall offend them." I often think I can measure my love by what it takes to offend me! Now we've all been hurt and no doubt we'll be hurt again. But hopefully, we're all too big to take offence. Like our sister has already told us, discipline is never easy. But God disciplines those whom He loves.


I hope that none of us will come to that day when this cup will be the only cup from which we can drink. The cup of regret. Poured out, it says, without mixture. There is something about some decisions, they are everlasting. I think of a couple I knew, a grand old couple, they died heartily in the faith, but they had sad eyes. And I used to wonder why their eyes looked so sad. After I got to know them very well I learned that they had been offended. They had a large family, I think 10 children. They had spread their bitterness, they had spread their offence, and none of their children were in the faith. Some of them had become hireling preachers. That old couple, their hearts were broken. I'm only telling you this, helping you hopefully, and myself too, to understand that we cannot afford to take offence. If somebody tries to offend you, that's their problem. It becomes my problem when I take offence. I hope that none of us will ever be forced to drink from that cup of His indignation, poured out without mixture. The saddest words of tongue or pen are, "Oh what might have been!"


The next cup that we mentioned is the cup of death. That is in Matthew 26 and we know the chapter very well. When in the garden Jesus prayed, "Oh My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me." But fortunately He said, "Not My will but Thine be done." I hope we all understand that God loves sinners but God hates sin, and sin will be atoned for. There is only two ways that it can. You and I can come to Christ, and in His blood find atonement for our guilt, the atonement for our sin. What if I don't choose to come to Christ? If I want to do my own thing? Nobody's going to run my life! And God will accept your answer. God has given all of us the choice. I love that verse that I've often quoted:

Listen to the salutation of the dawn,

Look well to this day,

For yesterday is but a dream,

And tomorrow is only a vision.

But, this day well lived,

Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness,

And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well therefore, to the choices of this day,

This is the exhortation of the dawn.


You may refuse and chose not to come to Christ and God will accept your decision, but you will pay with your own soul in a long, long, lost eternity. Because sin will be atoned for. I am so thankful that He drank the cup, He drained the cup. I appreciate in that chapter, repeatedly He said, "Oh, My Father," but on the cross He said, "Oh, My God..why hast Thou forsaken Me?" I am sure that we all understand that.


That day, three dreadful hours,

The sun refused to shine, withheld its light..

Between two thieves, God's Son divine,

His spirit took its flight.

There mid the darkness, 'Neath those rending skies,

He gave His life, a willing sacrifice.


The price of sin. Once every year, we know, the High Priest laid his hands on the goat, and all the sins that were confessed, were laid on him. The sins that were not confessed were not remitted. But all the confessed sins of the people of God, were led by that goat to an uninhabited place. No eye can see, no ear can hear the cry of the goat and there it died. It died alone. This is what happened on the middle cross, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" In the garden it was "My Father," but on the cross it was "My God." He was meaning the judge of all the earth. He who never sinned, took your sin, your guilt, and mine, and bore it for ever away. I love that verse that says:


I cast into the depth of my fathomless sea,

All your sins and transgressions whatever they be,

Though they mount up to Heaven,

Though they reach down to hell,

I bury them deep, and o'er them shall dwell,

All my waves of forgiveness, so mighty and free,

I've cast all your sins in the depth of my sea.

In the cold quiet depths, far away from the shore,

Where they never shall rise to trouble thee more,

Where no far-reaching tide, with its pitiless sweep,

Shall stir my dark waves of forgetfulness deep,

I've buried them there and o'er them shall dwell,

All my waves of forgiveness so mighty and free,

I've cast all your sins in the depth of my sea.


DO YOU BELIEVE IT? I hope with all my heart that you do, that I do. Coming to Christ, we believe in His word. We believe in His way, and oh friend, we also believe in His blood. They tell me that in the Roman Empire, political prisoners, on occasion, were put to death by a cup of poison. It was potent, it was swift, and it was deadly. To the man who drank that cup, death was swift and sure. But if the guilty man had a friend, and he came and took the cup intended for the man that was guilty, and drained the cup. The cup could never be refilled, and the guilty man went free.


Isn't it wonderful that we have that kind of a friend? The cup of death that was filled for me. If I got what I deserved, I know exactly where I'd be going. Oh how thankful we can be that we have a friend who drained the cup, and we're free. Because that cup of death, the price of sin, has been paid for. I am so thankful that there is one, that you have a friend and I have a friend, who was willing to take the punishment that was planned for you and planned for me. "Oh My Father, if it be possible" but friends, it was not possible. If He had not drained the cup, you and I would drain the cup of our guilt.


The next cup we mentioned was the cup of redemption. I love the story of redemption. I love to be able to tell sinners that there's hope, I don't care who you are. One time, a man came to us who had professed. He came to our batch and he said, "I've come to tell you about my past." He began by saying, "I've been in prison.." I remember we stopped him and said, "Now if you want to tell us it's okay, but we really aren't interested." He was shocked. He could hardly believe it. Years have gone by and he has told us on more than one occasion, how thankful he is and how shocked and surprised he was, that we weren't digging into his past. Isn't it wonderful, friends, we don't need to know the past of anyone. The blood will cover it. I am so thankful, this is a glorious story, the story of redemption. Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it. Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb.


Now please don't feel that I have suggested the possibility of turning the Grace of God into lasciviousness. This is what the whole religious world has done. Live it up. Go anywhere. Do anything ... it's all under the Blood. That's turning the Grace of God into lasciviousness, and God will not tolerate that! But on the other hand, there's no sin that you could, or I could commit, that the blood won't cover. If there's honest and Godly repentance. This cup of redemption is found in that story that we all know very very well, in Genesis 44, when those sons of Jacob, came back to their brother. And isn't it wonderful, in the sack of the youngest brother, was the silver cup. Silver is always a symbol of redemption. He didn't put the cup there. Joseph, the older brother put the cup there. And you and I, we didn't obtain the cup, the cup was given us. These men brought double money in their sacks. They thought that this could be purchased, this could be bought, but their money did them no good. You remember that they stood before Joseph, not knowing who he was, and said, "We be true men." A bigger lie was never told.


I hope none of us are conceited enough to tell God that "I have been true." My friends I'm a miserable failure, my hope isn't in my trueness. My hope is in His trueness. I often wonder if we really believe that hymn that we sometimes sing. "I am trusting Thee Lord Jesus, trusting only Thee. Trusting Thee for full salvation, great and free." Are you and I really trusting in that? Oh we've been walking in this way so long. Been in the work so long, and there's been a soul or two gotten saved in a mission that we've had a part in. Oh may God save us from trusting in that! I am trusting Thee Lord Jesus, trusting only Thee. If that really is true, how can we stand and say to the Joseph of our day, "We are true people." I believe the way is true and I believe my fellow servants are true, but friends, I know the plague of my own heart. I know the sin, the failure, even in my thinking. In my spirit and in many ways. How in God's name can I stand at the feet of Jesus and look into His face and tell Him, "I've been a true man!"


I love what they said in that story, "What shall we say to our Lord, how shall we clear ourselves?" I appreciate so much, as has already been mentioned, that when Jesus stood in Pilate's judgement hall. He stood silent, not a word escaped His lips. He spoke not one single word in His own defense. I hope you and I understand that someday you and I will stand dumb and silent in the tribunal of God. What will we say in our defense? Isn't it wonderful to really believe that we have a friend, we have an attorney. Do you know what His plea will be? Not my virtue, for sure. His plea to God the Father, the judge of all the earth will be, "That man gave himself to me, he' s mine, he's my responsibility. With my blood I've paid the price. I've paid for his guilt, I've paid the debt he owes to God and man." That cup was put there by another hand. How thankful you and I can be that the silver cup is ours, from which we drink.


Years ago, when I was a lot younger than I am now, before I was serving God, I was out one night with a friend of mine. We went too far, stayed too late and spent too much. I'll never, never forget. It was very late, time to go home and I looked at the needle of the car and the gauge was sitting on empty. I had spent my last dollar! I asked this girl if she had any money and she said that she didn't. Well that was terribly embarrassing, to take a girl out and not have enough money to get her home okay. But there we were! Do you know what I did? There was a rug in the car, that belonged to my mother. It wasn't all that expensive a rug, but my brother who was dead had given it to mom, and to her it was priceless. In my perplexity, I pawned the rug! I got enough money to get home. I took the girl home and I went to our home and I went to my brother. I told him my predicament and I've always appreciated his attitude. He didn't tell me how stupid I was, I knew that! He didn't tell me how foolish I was, I knew that too! Do you know what he did? He reached for his wallet and he gave me the money, and I went back and redeemed the rug. No credit to myself, it was a brother that was very kind.


Isn't it wonderful: Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it. Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb. I have a brother. All the stupid things I have done, all the wrong choices, wrong places I have gone, I am so thankful that He produced the redemption price, the redemption money. I just love this cup, this silver cup, the cup of redemption.


The next cup I would like to mention is the cup of fellowship. We all know that cup, sitting here on this table. In I Corinthians, Paul was writing there and he said, "As oft as ye eat this bread and drink this cup you do show the Lord's death till He comes." I like what he said. You're showing something, not telling something. I think many a Sunday morning meeting has been ruined by doing too much talking. The greatest sermon that you and I will ever preach is that we are in that Sunday morning meeting. We may have had a good business deal or we may have had other things to do. As our sister has told us, like Mary we could be cumbered with much serving, all good things. But ah friends, where are you on Sunday morning?


One time, we were preaching on an island and I happened to call on this home. Passing our card, and this lady was very indignant and as she was sweeping her porch, I really thought she was going to hit me with her broom. But I'll never forget, in the course of our conversation, she said, "I will have to admit. If there are three Christians on this island (and she mentioned the names of our three friends), it is them. I could set my clock on Sunday morning by when that car goes past our drive." Friends, it wasn't what those people said, it was what those people did. As oft as you eat this bread and drink this cup you are SHOWING the Lord's death, till He come. It isn't what we say, and on a Sunday morning, I'm often guilty. Maybe I'm guilty this morning. Far too much talking. It's the LIVING of this thing that makes the whole difference. Paul said, "I'd rather speak five words" that really matter than ten thousand words that bore people to tears! I don't know if I should tell you this or not, but we had an elder at home, and a very fine man, but there were those in his meeting that came repeatedly with, "Can't you do something. He talks too long." He was a good friend of mine and finally I got up the courage and I went to speak with him. He bristled! He said, "Harry. Don't you understand? I'm the elder and I've got to feed the flock." I called him by name and I said "Unfortunately you're not feeding the flock. All you're doing is you're boring the flock." Friends, there's a world of difference. I don't care whether it's a worker or an elder. In a Sunday morning meeting, it isn't really what we say that is vitally important. It's the fact we're there and it's the life behind the few words that we speak.


Then he went on to say in this chapter. "Whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup of the Lord unworthily. He is guilty of the body and the blood of Christ." Then He said, "Let a man examine himself and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup." Now we all know, and there isn't time to talk about it, but when the Passover was eaten originally. They had to search their dwelling for leaven.


There are three kinds of leaven. The leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy, just simply pretence. There is one prayer I've often prayed. That is that God will give me the courage just to be honest. Not to pretend to be something that I really am not.


The second leaven was the leaven of the Sadducees, which was unbelief. They didn't believe in the life to come.


The Leaven of Herod was simply the leaven of worldliness. There isn't time to talk much about worldliness, but I just wish there were, because a lot of people have a mistaken idea of worldliness, that it is the way we dress. Well now I certainly think we should be somewhat conservative in the way we dress. But some people can wear their dresses to their ankles and their collar to the neck, and men can wear clothes that are ridiculous, thinking they're Godly! Thinking they're not worldly, when all they are is being ridiculous.


Do you know what worldliness is? It's backbiting. It's jealousy. It's unkindness. That's the way the world is living. And they're fighting. What was that verse we had in our study, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen. She has become the home of every foul spirit and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird." Friends THAT is worldliness! When that creeps in among us, when I don't treat my companion the way he should be treated and I knife him behind his back. Or I say unkind things to him and about him. Friends, THAT is worldliness! May God save the church from that kind of worldliness creeping in among us. That's the leaven of Herod.


The thing is, "Let a man examine HIMSELF." It is so much easier to examine the other man's dwelling, and look for these wrong things. Here is MY dwelling, and here is MY responsibility. How do I treat MY companion? It isn't how you treat your companion. I care and I am interested. But friends, I am not responsible for searching your dwelling. But I am responsible for searching MY dwelling. He said, "Let a man examine himself and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup." But listen to THIS. "He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself." Have you ever wondered what makes one unworthy? You know I used to sit on a Sunday morning and review the week. Many a time I thought "Well I can't take the emblems today. I am altogether too unworthy." Friends, the more miserably I've failed this week, the more thankfully I reach for those emblems.


Do you know what makes you and me unworthy? It's exactly what the Apostle said here. "Not discerning the Lord's body." Friends, this isn't A way. This is THE way. This isn't A church. this is THE church. He said, "For this cause many are weak and sickly and maybe even sleep." You know there are some that could break bread with us this Sunday and break bread with some other denomination next Sunday and break bread with yet another religious persuasion the following Sunday. Friends, they have never seen THE body. He said the thing that makes eating and drinking unworthily, eating and drinking damnation to himself. It is "Not discerning the Lord's body!"


Years ago, a man came to our meetings and he was from a European country and he had belonged to the State church, but he didn't believe it. He came to our country and joined another church and he didn't believe that either. When he was coming to our meeting he felt very much attracted, but he used to say to us, "I wish you fellows.(I don't know if this expression makes sense to you but this is the expression he used ) I wish you fellows would put it on the line." He said, "I feel tremendously drawn to this but I can't get it." I remember finally saying to him, "Nick, we can't, and if we could, it would feed a conceit in us that would literally destroy us." We mentioned what Jesus said, "I thank Thee oh Father, Lord of Heaven and earth," ... that you've hidden this to certain people and that you have revealed it to those who are humble enough to be babes.


We told him that this is a truth, a revelation that comes, an understanding that comes. Not by explanation. but by revelation. Isn't that what Jesus said to Peter that day? "Who do men say that I am?" And you know the answer. You're Christ, that's who you are. And Jesus said, "Peter you're a happy man." I am so thankful, whatever lack there may be, I think in all our lives, in mine anyway. There is one thing in which there is no lack. I KNOW in whom I have believed. I KNOW that this is God's way. I KNOW that these are God's servants. I KNOW that this book was inspired by the Holy Spirit. There are lots of things wherein I am a failure, but ah friends. Isn't it wonderful that we KNOW in whom we have believed. Well may we examine ourselves, do I really believe it?


There isn't time to talk about believing, but that's the crux of the whole matter! Do you know how we could tell those who believed in Noah's day? No doubt a lot of people, just like today. Everybody believes! You belong to your group and I'll belong to mine. We all believe so we're all going to meet in glory! We're all going to meet in Heaven! Friends, there's a VAST difference between mental assent and heart belief. It's with the heart that man believeth unto righteousness. Do you know how you could tell those who believed in Noah's day? They were in the ark! Do you know how you can tell those who believe in OUR day? They're in the ark. Now you may say, "How about those people who have never heard the Gospel?" Friends, I'm going to leave them in the hands of God. I love that verse in Genesis 18, "Shall not the judge of all the earth do right!" I'm not wise enough or Godly enough to make judgement. I can make discernment.


But friends, I like what a brother said about his own mother, "I feel that if my mother had died before the workers came, she would have gone to a saved eternity. My reason for believing that? She was in this church and she wasn't satisfied. She was in that church and she wasn't satisfied." Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice." And she didn't hear the shepherd's voice and she didn't stay in that religious persuasion. Fortunately for her, the workers did come, and she died in the faith. But I liked what this brother said. I don't know the people out there who have never had the privilege of meeting two of these men, or two of these women, that's for God to decide. But I do know that "the heavens declare the glory of God, the firmament showeth forth His handiwork. Day unto day declareth wisdom, night unto night declareth knowledge," and I'll leave judgement for God to decide.


But I am so thankful that we are a tent full of people and we're drinking of the cup of fellowship I love, as I said, in a Sunday morning meeting. I'm always glad when the emblems sit in the centre of the room and I look across the room and I see my brother, and I see my sister ... through the Blood. Have you ever looked at a red object through a red glass? If you haven't try it sometime and you'll be surprised! A red object is no longer red! I'm not a chemist, I'm not even very intelligent, but I've tried it. I don't understand salvation but I do know that when God sees you and when God sees me, through the blood. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow. The cup of fellowship. We all meet round those emblems because that's our only hope, friends. That is fellowship! When I look across the room and I see my brother or my sister, not through the critical eye of my opinion, or my ideas. As I see them through the Blood, I see souls made white, "though their sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow."


Now the last cup, and that is mentioned in the 23rd Psalm. The Psalmist said, "My cup runneth over." Isn't it wonderful that we have been brought into something that is abundant. I like the way the Psalm begins. "The Lord IS." That is just a statement of fact! Only the fool has said in his heart that there is no God. You couldn't look at this building out here and deny the existence of a builder. I don't know this builder, or what he looked like or anything about him. But the building is there and the building tells me that there was a builder on the spot. And when I look at creation, I understand a little of the creator. Only the FOOL has said in his heart there is no God. I defy the world of science, the world of intellect. Bring them on, anybody you want to. The man or the group of men, who can speak another world into existence, like this world that you and I are a part of.


The Lord IS! I am so glad that with all our hearts we believe that the Lord IS. But oh, isn't it infinitely more wonderful when we can go on and say, "The Lord is MY shepherd!" Now I know He is a shepherd but ah friends, I am so thankful that He is MY shepherd. He is planning my future, He's planning my way. I like a lot of things in the Psalm but there's just one I'd like to mention. "He leadeth me into green pastures." When I made my choice, over 60 years ago, as I think I mentioned the other day. I thought "I've got to do this or go to a lost eternity," and I didn't want to go there. I thought this is going to be pretty dead and pretty dry, to spend the rest of my life like this. But friends, I can't tell you how thankful I am. The pastures are STILL green! It's never gone dead on me. It's never gone dry on me. It's infinitely more wonderful than ever I thought it could be. And now at the end of the journey (I'm not going to be around another 81 years!) I am infinitely grateful that this is ever so much more wonderful than it has ever been in all these 81 years. He has brought me into green pastures. This hasn't gone dead, it hasn't gone dry.


I can't tell you what it means to see old people who are aglow and athrill with this thing that we have been brought into. Maybe I'd live to be almost 92! (like my dad). The meeting was in our home all my life. But my dad was no longer able but he and mom used to love to go to the Gospel meetings. He couldn't drive anymore but when anyone said, "Go" dad would say, "Where?" and they'd be off. Then one day, the elder's wife (a younger couple that were grand people, wonderful to my mother and dad), said to my father, "Mr Brownlee, you shouldn't be going to all these meetings. Night after night. You should be saving your strength." Dad kinda chuckled when he told me this. He said "Can you imagine anything so ridiculous. Encouraging a man in his 90s to be saving his strength. Saving it for what?" Friends, isn't it wonderful. The old people among us. I'm thrilled to see the white hairs in this meeting and to see them still aglow with enthusiasm. It's gotten better, it hasn't gone dead, it hasn't gone dry.


Last of all, I like the way the Psalm ends, "My cup runs over." It isn't a scarcity, it's the cup of plenty. Privileges, fellowship, my cup runs over. It ends by saying, "Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." I don't know how many of you met the old brother Bert Hughes, he died in his 90s. I heard him in his old age tell a story. One time he saw a shepherd bringing home a band of sheep, and he was following the flock. He asked the shepherd, "I thought the shepherd led the flock, but here you're following the flock." And this shepherd told him, he said, "You don't understand. In the morning, the shepherd leads the flock out to new pastures, to new privileges, but in the evening the shepherd follows the flock in lest perchance one had become lame. Lest perchance one is sick, lest perchance one be left behind."


How grateful we can be for the great Shepherd, but also for under shepherds who are following the flock. They aren't bossing. They aren't barking out orders. They're following the flock. How thankful we can be that "Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life." Thank God for this cup of salvation and for all these other cups from which you and I are able to drink. And may God stay the day, deny the day, that we will ever be forced to drink from the cup of regret. A cup without mixture, filled with the indignation of the wrath of God.