Howard Mooney - Matthew - Oak Lodge II - 1972

My thoughts this morning are all found in the book of Matthew. If you care to, we might open our Bibles first of all to the 17th chapter of Matthew and read together from verse 1, "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James and John. . . and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart . . . This is my beloved Son, hear ye Him."

Now to me, that is a little picture of Convention when I think of Jesus taking His disciples up the mountain, separating them from the multitudes, the cares of the multitude and giving them a fresh glimpse of His own glory and future possibilities. I saw in this something that God is anxious to accomplish in this convention.

Sometimes people wonder why convention is necessary; why did God plan it; why is it so down through the years that His people would annually come up and meet before Him? Well, there are many good reasons God had in mind when planning convention, which we all know but the one great reason that we need convention is that it is so necessary to get the vision that was received on the top of this mountain.

We were hearing this morning the words of the Psalmist, " . . . my soul cleaveth to the dust." It is so easy to be taken up with eating, drinking, buying, selling; everything pertaining to this world, so that we lose sight of the most important thing in life. That is why God finds it so necessary from time to time, to bring us together to renew the important side of our life, our vision.

Paul made a statement once when writing to the Romans and he used that statement a little differently from the way I am applying it this morning, ". . . whereas blindness in part has happened to Israel." Now the worst thing that can happen to anybody is to be blind in part. None are blind to the basic part of truth. We can all see the Lord's servants should go out two by two. We can all see
that the meeting should be in the home. We can all see that there should be a family fellowship. We are not blind to that part .

The part that we can so easily become blind to is the importance of this thing and the greatness of this thing and the worthwhileness of this thing. Have you ever wondered why you are a different person when you leave Convention from what you were when you came to Convention? When the last day of Convention is over, you leave feeling, "I want to put my best into this thing. I want to give the best that I have this year."

What has brought about that change? It is not that you have seen any more of the Truth. You saw it in the beginning. This feeling is brought about as a result of sitting in meetings and having our eyes opened again to see that this is the most wonderful thing in all the world. It is worthy of the greatest investment of every moment of time we can give to it. It is the only thing that will bring satisfaction now and satisfaction eternally and therefore we want to go forth and put our best into it.

If we have come to this convention, which no doubt all of us have, blind in part, I hope the Lord will be able, during the course of the meetings, to take us up to the top of this mountain and give us a fresh vision of the better things and get our vision and perspective raised again.

On this occasion, God made known His eternal beauty. ". . . His face did shine as the sun and His raiment was white as the light." Suddenly there appeared Moses and Elias talking with Him. Moses stood there representing the law and Elias represented the prophets. This would be a fresh assurance to the hearts of the disciples that this Jesus was indeed the One of whom Moses and the
prophets did speak.

Now they had known that before but, oftentimes at convention, we have to be reminded again of what we have already known; just as Peter wrote to the Christians in His day, "I am writing these things even though you already know these things, I want to stir up your pure minds. . ." When these disciples saw Moses and Elias standing there talking with Jesus on top of that mountain, it stirred up their pure minds by way of remembrance; it reminded them again that this was indeed the One of whom Moses and the prophets
did speak.

Peter spoke up on that occasion and said, "Lord, it is good for us to be here, if Thou wilt let us make here three tabernacles . . ." Now I don't know just what Peter had in mind. I don't know if he thought it would be good to have a tabernacle as a memorial for the teachings of Moses and a tabernacle for the teachings of the prophets and another tabernacle as a memorial of Jesus' teachings. I don't know what he had in mind but there is no doubt what God had in mind. It says, " . . a bright cloud overshadowed them and behold a voice out of the cloud which said, `This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him.' And when they looked up again, they saw no man save Jesus only."

On a number of other occasions, and I am not going to refer to them this morning but in passing, there were a number of occasions where God used the cloud. If you would like to put down one reference, it's Isaiah 44:22, "I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions and, as a cloud, thy sins . . ." The message He was giving them in that verse was this, "Now these transgressions,
these sins of yours, that is part of the past; now I have blotted them out as a thick cloud. Return to Me again; enjoy My fellowship again because I have redeemed thee."

But on this mount of transfiguration, God was using that cloud again, this time to remind them that Moses and Elias were now part of the past. In other words, "No longer do you need to go back and observe the teachings of Moses in the law; no longer do you need to go back to the teaching of the prophets because the very One of whom Moses and the prophets had been speaking about is here. Listen to Him." He was the fulfilment of all that was spoken about Him.

Sometimes people want to know why we have two testaments. The Old Testament is comprised of the law, the prophets and the Psalms. Why do we have the New Testament? Why is it necessary that there be two testaments? Well, there are several reasons but there is one reason above all; that is, we need this for the confirmation of our faith.

I like to think of the Old Testament as a promissary note. I like to think of the New Testament as the fulfilment of that note; being Jesus. I see that was the purpose for which He came. He came not to destroy the law and the prophets but to fulfil. "They were the promise. I came to fulfil that promise."

I don't know of anything folks that should establish your faith and confidence in the Bible more, in God more, than when you read of the promise made 500, 600, 700 years ago fulfilled to the very letter. Whenever I read these letters over I think, "If God can make promises like that, God can fulfil any promise He makes to me."

We are living in an age when the Scriptures are getting persecuted, ridiculed, and torn to bits but you know, folks, the Scripture needs no defence. We don't have to go back to archeology in an endeavour to defend the Scripture. We do not have to go back to the mouldy pages of history to defend the Scripture. The Scripture defends itself by the way in which it works.

The fact that everything God promised in the Scripture is fulfilled in Scripture times and is being fulfilled in the lives of His people here today; to me, when I am talking to people about the authenticity or proof of the Scripture, the proof is that it works just as wonderfully today as it did in other days.

I'll tell you another reason why I believe the Scripture with all my heart. When men and women believe the Scripture, they know that peace of God that passes all understanding. When their belief in the Bible is shattered, they lose that peace. We had a young man sidetracked a few years ago. He got taken up with a university professor who tore the Bible to bits. From a scientific view, he tried to prove the Bible was wrong. This man believed him.

He called on the Sisters and they asked me to help. I went down but the young man believed the professor was right. He had all the scientific facts; we had the faith. He left the faith. Three years later that man, as soon as he left the faith, lost the peace of God, that peace that passes all understanding and when he gave his testimony he said, "I was nothing but an empty tomb. After three years arguing with myself I came back and made a new start." I tell you he is one of the happiest men in the country today.

One of the things that convinced him that the Scripture is true, the Scripture is real, is because when we put our faith in the Bible, it works. There is not one thing that God has promised to His people but He is doing it. Another thing, by faith you get the peace that passeth all understanding. If you lose this peace you become nothing but an empty tomb. If you lose this peace, you become nothing but an empty tomb, like this young man.

If you think of the Old Testament as a promissory note and you think of the New Testament as the fulfilment thereof, and you read the Scripture in the light of that, I don't know of anything that should be more of a substantiation of what is right. We read of a promise given and 500, 600, 700 years later the promise is fulfilled to the very letter. I say again, "If God can do that, God can fulfill
any promise He has made to me as an individual."

Maybe this morning we can go through this book of Matthew and notice some of the promises of the Old Testament Jesus fulfilled when He came. There are many of them in the Scripture but we will confine ourselves to this book of Matthew alone.

Go back first of all to the first Scripture Jesus fulfilled when He came into the world. ". . . Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son . . ." Now this prophesy is from Isaiah 14:7. Seven hundred years before this took place, right to the very letter, right in God's time that it should be. It is not by coincidence that God planned this would be the first Scripture Jesus would fulfill ". . .shall call His name Immanuel."

Immanuel means "God with us," because first and foremost, the purpose for which Jesus came into the world was to make it possible for you and me to have God with us. He gave Himself the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. The reason why this was so imperative is because we have a fellowship that cannot work without God. We have a miracle ministry; a miracle conversion. This is something that cannot work without God. That is why it was so imperative for provision to be made whereby you and I can have God with us because without God there is no miracle.

Sometimes when we tell people that we have a world wide fellowship held together without organisation; it is held together with the Spirit and love of God, they say that that is impossible. When we tell them the ministry goes to all the world without tithing or salary collection, they say that that is impossible. We have a work that God can accomplish; that work that gives us the same spirit so that we can go into every part of the world and have fellowship and they say that it's impossible. Jesus said that with man this is impossible.

There is nothing man can do to ordain a fellowship and ministry that would work like this. "With God all things are possible." God works miracles. The reason why we have a miracle fellowship, a miracle ministry, and a miracle worked in our own lives is because God is a miracle worker. Might that be so?

Did it ever occur to you that if we had a registered name we would have no proof whatever to give to others that God is with us? Did it ever occur to you that the proof of that statement is in the fact that unions function on that basis, organised to get along without God or anyone else. If we had an organisation or a registered name such as they, we have no more proof to give the world than they have, that there is a living God, that He is still living. When men and women look upon us and see the miracle taking place it convinces them that there must be a God and that God must be with these people or this thing could not possibly work.

Not only is God anxious that it should be a beckoning light to those outside, it is also a confirmation of our own faith. We often sing in a hymn, "God is here amongst His people . . ." Would you like to question that? The proof that I give to myself is that the reason why I know that God is here amongst His people is because people are here.

Did it ever occur to you folk that there would be absolutely nothing else to hold us together if God were not with us. No other people get together at convention like this. The fact that we have something from God inside us that calls us, is the proof that God has given to those of us on the inside, that He is still here amongst His people and the miracle is still working.

We are looking forward to the best Convention of our lives. Can we not be thankful that Jesus came into the world, the promise of the Old Testament, with the first promise He fulfilled ". . . and they shall call His name Immanuel," because God works miracles and, as long as we have God with us, we enjoy this miracle which only God will produce.

Matthew 2, this was at the time when the wise men had come to Jesus and they had been warned of God to go back another way. Herod, when he saw that he was mocked, began to slay all the children. God spoke to Joseph and said, "You take this young child Jesus and go down into Egypt and stay there until I bring word that Herod has died and make it possible for you to come back again."

Verse 15, He was there until the death of Herod. Now this is the second scripture Jesus fulfilled. I used to wonder about this. I used to wonder why did Jesus have to flee at the first provocation? Here He was, coming into the world to be the Saviour of mankind, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Why did He have to flee at the first possible provocation? Why didn't God come down and put Herod in His place and let him know who was handling this situation?

Well, there are two reasons for this. There was another Scripture that needed to be fulfilled. It is mentioned in verses 17/18 of this chapter, the prophesy of Jeremiah " . . . Rachel weeping for her children would not be comforted. . ." It took a beast like Herod to fulfil Scripture of that nature, who, without thought of anyone else's feelings, slew all those children two years old and younger, with no other thought but his own bestial desires and pride in himself. It took a man like Herod to fulfil that Scripture and God was just using him as a pawn in the game.

Another reason for God sending His Son into the world was that He might be an example. This is the foremost purpose for which He came, first as an example. He wanted to give us an example of separation. The Lord led Him to go down to Egypt. He came out later on, that it might be fulfilled " . . . out of Egypt have I called my Son."

Separation has always been the hallmark of God's people. It would be impossible for God to do anything apart from separation. "Come ye out from among them . . ." I have often thought of Moses in this connection. When Moses had left Egypt, he went to the backside of the desert. In other, words he got just as far away from Egypt and Pharoah as he could possibly get and, back there in the backside of the desert, he enjoyed the sweetest fellowship man could enjoy with God.

It was from there God called him into the work and sometimes I have just wished, concerning the field I labour in, I find myself praying that they will get just a little more to the backside of the desert. We don't like to see the Lord's people dwelling near the border for two reasons; one, because it robs them of their testimony and secondly, it robs them of joy. The most miserable person is the borderline dweller. That person is not enjoying the truth and not enjoying the world, either.

I remember speaking about this. The thought was fresh to me at the time. If you do not possess the fulness of joy, if these things are not the joy and rejoicing of your heart, then there is just one answer to this problem. You are dwelling a little too near the border of Egypt. The answer is to go the backside of the desert where you will find joy only thus in God's presence.

There was a young woman in that convention and I was surprised three months later to get a letter from her saying she came to that convention discouraged and about ready to quit. She was 18 or 19 years of age when she spoke that way. She decided she would go home and try it. She said, "The last three months (since convention) I have been living in the backside of the desert. I want you
to know they have been the happiest months of my life." I was not the least bit surprised when, a little later, that girl went into the work.

If these things which you have been doing cause you to still have no rejoicing of heart, we would encourage you to get a little further to the backside of the desert. You will find the overflowing joy there that God has provided for His people.

Something else I have enjoyed in connection with Jesus, that Jesus was too young to fulfil this Scripture Himself but He had godly parents to thank in fulfilment of the Scripture. In their obedience to the voice of God, they came out of Egypt and brought their young child with them that God had entrusted to their care and they went to the backside of the desert. They took that young child with them.

Why I appreciate this thought is because that is my testimony. When my father and mother left Egypt, when they professed, they went to the backside of the desert. They were so disgusted with society and the religions of the world they had tasted that they went as far as they could; they went to the backside of the desert. I am most thankful for it that they not only went up there themselves but they took us children with them.

Sometimes we have had the pain of seeing the parents making the separation themselves but leaving their children on the border, so to speak, saying, "Well, they are too young to understand. I don't want to be too strict with them."

Well, I would just like to give you my own testimony. There were five of us in the family; my sister the eldest, myself, and three younger brothers. The fact that we are all professing and the fact that my sister and I are in the work today, two brothers have the meeting in their homes and my other brother is in a saved eternity, convinces me it did not hurt us one bit to grow up in the backside of the desert. I would like to say that again. I am so thankful that when my people professed that, from the fashions, religions, and customs, they got as far away as they could. I am doubly glad that they took us children back there with them.

Now when Jesus came into the world, He came to be an example and the reason why God allowed Him to go into Egypt and come back again was to fulfill that which was spoken by the prophets, "Out of Egypt have I called my Son. . . ." It was an example of separation.

The last verse here we read of another prophesy that Jesus fulfilled. This was when He came out of Egypt. His parents turned aside to Nazareth that it might be fulfilled ". . . He shall be called a Nazarene." Now the word "Nazarene" means fruitful. The Nazarenes were intended to be a fruitful people. I have no doubt in my mind that the city fathers, when they planned that city, planned that it should be a godly, fruitful place. They built a synagogue and other paraphernalia and it was their desire it would be a fruitful place: but Nazareth is left on record as an example; a warning to us that the best kind of organisation, the best of all intentions cannot produce the fruits of the spirit.

The fruits of the Spirit are just like it says, the fruits of the Spirit. You cannot get the fruit without the Spirit. With the best intentions, the best organisations and all the outward paraphernalia you cannot produce one iota of the fruit of the Spirit without having the Spirit. Every fruit that has been produced has come from God by its own medium, be it a bush or tree or shrub, every bit of fruit that has ever been produced has come from God. God is the medium and the fruit of the Spirit is like the fruit of a tree. Unless you have the Spirit you could not produce that fruit, no matter how great or noble your intentions might have been.

The reason why Jesus was fruitful in the midst of Nazareth even though all around Him there was no fruit for God produced, was because of something God put into His life. I used to speak of the fruit of the Spirit in Galations 5: 22-23 as a goal, something to aim at and one day the thought came to me, you don't aim at producing fruit in a direct manner. Now if you want fruit, the first thing
you do is plant a tree; you take care of the tree and fruit automatically comes. The fruits of the Spirit you read of in Galations 5 is fruit that automatically comes when the Spirit is there. That is why a person feels a great need of making more and more room in our lives with the passing of time, because it is only that Spirit that produces the fruit, the only thing that could make us fruitful even though surrounded by unfruitful conditions.

Another fulfilment is in the 12-16 verses in the 4th chapter. This is a prophesy of Isaiah 9, "The people that walk in darkness have seen a great light . . ." Matthew 4:16, "The people which sat in darkness saw great light," and verse 17 ". . . From that time . . ." Did you ever notice that the life was the light? Before Jesus ever opened His mouth to preach and that is not too surprising because, after all, we are told in the first chapter of John's Gospel verse 4, "In Him was life; and the life was the light of men." This was what the people needed so, to see a life like that.

When life came, light came and people saw it and then He opened His mouth to preach. He began to explain to them why He had this wonderful something that was bringing hope to people. Sometimes in Gospel meetings, we say there are at least five major points in the Gospel. There is the birth of Christ, His life, His death, His resurrection, and the coming again of Christ. Now in the virgin birth of Jesus we have the divinity of the Gospel. In the death of Jesus, we have the redemption of the Gospel. We know that without the shedding of blood, there is no redemption. In the resurrection and the coming again of Christ, we have the hope of the Gospel.

Peter said, "We are begotten again unto a lively hope . . ." Didn't Paul say we are looking forward to the coming again of Christ? It is in the life of Jesus that we have the light of the Gospel. "In Him was life and the life was the light of men."

I was talking to a man once and he asked me, "Are you fundamentalists?" I asked him, "What do you mean by `fundamentalists'?"

He said, "Well, do you believe in the virgin birth and atoning death and coming again of Jesus?" I said, "We believe all that and more." He looked at me rather puzzled and he said, "What more is there to believe?"

I said, "We need a little light in the Gospel. There is nothing about the birth and death and coming again of Jesus that sheds any light on how to get saved. There is nothing about the birth and death and coming again of Jesus that sheds any light on how to be baptised and there is nothing about the birth and death and coming again of Jesus that shed any light on how to worship Him or how to preach the Gospel or how to be a help to each other or to be a light to other men. The light on this matter," I said, "is that all life comes from Jesus."

"In Him was life and the life was the light of men."

Now the virgin birth of Jesus shows His divinity. His death is our redemption. In the resurrection and coming again, you have the hope of the Gospel but it is in the life of Jesus that we have the light of the Gospel and can we not be thankful that He did not overlook this prophesy of Isaiah 9, you and I would be sitting in darkness and many in the shadow of death with no hope in our hearts.

The tragedy of this is the people believed in the true God, they believed the true Bible and the true prophets, Zabulon and Nephthalim, but they were in the dark. There was so much confusion, so many teachings; there was so much going on on every side and they were sitting in the dark not knowing which way to turn and to some the shadow of death was creeping nearer and the nearer a shadow comes to you, the faster it comes.

For those people sitting there the shadow of death was creeping nearer and nearer and there was no hope. They had no hope whatever until Jesus came and light appeared. For the first time these people saw a great light and it was the turning point in their lives and I say again, I am very thankful that Jesus came into the world to fulfill the promises of the Old Testament.

He did not overlook the prophesy of Isaiah 9. If He had, you and I would be sitting in darkness today, in the region and shadow of death.

Maybe we could take time to look at Matthew 12:17 just for a moment. It is the prophesy of Isaiah 42:1, "Behold My servant . . . I will put my spirit upon Him." Verse 20, "A bruised reed shall He not break . . ." You will notice already this reference to the Spirit. That is in connection with the ministry of Jesus. The Lord said, "I will put my Spirit upon Him and because of my Spirit upon Him.
He will be different. He will manifest what is mentioned in the following verse."

This is just a little reminder to me again of the fact that it is the Spirit that makes this fellowship different. I don't want to forget it. It is not merely that we go out two and two to preach the Gospel all right but this Scripture is the answer to the main difference between this fellowship and all the other fellowships in the religious world. God has sealed this with His Spirit and it is His Spirit upon the lives of His people. Whether we be in the work or in the home life, it is His Spirit that makes this big difference. It is His Spirit that enables us to enjoy this fellowship, that which the religious world in darkness is groping for and has never been able to see.

It was the Spirit of the ministry of Jesus. Paul said, (II Corinthians 10:1), "Now I, Paul, myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ . . ." Well, that showed plainly that he upheld him as minister. "A bruised reed shall He not break and smoking flax shall He not quench." Now where I have been labouring, reeds grow abundantly in the water courses in that country. They are used in abundance. They are used for writing pens, thatching roofs; larger ones are used for making canes. They grow in abundance and they are used in abundance but if one of the reeds is bruised in going through mighty storms or if any great pressure is brought to bear upon it, the natural tendency would be to break it off and throw it away. There is no need to bother with this one. But if a person would bother to take time to prop it up, it will lift its head and grow up and fulfill the purpose for which it was picked.

When Jesus came into the world, sinners, men and women, whose heads were hanging low, like that woman, they could in no wise lift themselves up. The spirit of the religious world broke them off and threw them away. One of the worst accusations that Jesus faced was that He received sinners.

He said, "I have not come into the world to destroy men's lives but to save them." Jesus knew that if He could just get these people and bind up the bruised lives, lift the heads that hang, then they would go on to fulfill the purpose for which they were created. Now the first people I thought of were the woman of Samaria and Zachariah and Mary, Peter, and John who were bruised reeds when the Gospel came to them. Can we not be thankful Jesus came not to destroy people like that but to save them? There are a good many people in this meeting who, when the Gospel found us, were bruised reeds also: when the Gospel came with that spirit of salvation, not to destroy but to lift up again.

The smoking flax here is relating to the religious world. Flax is used for wicks. As long as there is oil in the lamp it would burn, but when the oil fails it sends up a smudge. There are two things you can do. You can quench that spark and put the fire out or you could fill the bowl with oil and this would break forth in a bright, shining flame.

When Jesus came, people were like that. People wanted to be a light to their children, a light to this world, but all they were doing and seeking to be, produced a smudge, making it harder for people to see what was right. Jesus, if He had been of the same Spirit as the Pharisees and Sadducees, would have just cut them off. But He did not come to the world to destroy but He came to help.
He knew that if He could just fill them with the oil, if He could just give them the Spirit He had, that would enable them to break forth into a bright, shining light that they were entitled to be in the first place.

I thought of Nathaniel, Cornelius, and Lydia. They were all smoking flaxes when Jesus came to them. Can we not be thankful God did not send His Son into the world to destroy them? This is a continuous work. "A bruised reed shall He not break . . . and forth judgement unto victory." It may be that some of you have come to Convention and you feel like a bruised reed. Something has overcome you during the year and you have come here with your head hanging low. You can in no wise lift yourselves. Maybe you came in fear and trembling thinking, "Maybe the Lord will not have anything to do with me."

Maybe some are like smoking flax. Maybe you have allowed yourselves to run out of oil. The Lord's Spirit could be low, consequently, instead of being the bright shining light that you intended to be. You look back and you realise now you were sending more of a smudge and making it harder for people to see the truth represented. Maybe you have come here kind of defeated, like smoking flax, thinking, "The Lord won't have anything to do with me."

We were in a convention some time ago and a woman stood up and gave her testimony. She said, "When I came to this convention, I was petrified. I was just afraid the Lord would not have anything to do with me again." The fact was, she had come so far and she felt the Lord would not have anything to do with her again and she knew that if the Lord did not speak to her, did not meet her needs, it meant going out to the blackness of darkness forever. But on the second day of convention and with tears streaming down her face, she expressed her gratitude that God had spoken to her again.

God had met her need, restored her joy once again, and now she was ready to go out and face the future once more. She had received of the Spirit of Christ. The Lord has not brought us here to whip us, but to equip us. He has not brought us here to destroy but to fill us again with His Spirit so that we can leave this convention a new person and go on our way rejoicing. That is the provision made for all of us.

If there should be someone in this meeting thinking, "Maybe the Lord would want to have nothing to do with me," the reason why God has brought you here is an indication that He wants to help you again whatever your need, whatever may be lacking; He is ready, willing and anxious to supply it so you can leave this Convention a better person, a better representative of Him as you go out in the new year.

There is one more I want to mention. In the 26th Chapter when Jesus was being arrested in the garden, Peter drew his sword in an endeavour to defend Jesus, Jesus said to him there, "You put up your sword, Peter. Those that fight with a sword die by the sword." In other words, "Don't you understand, we don't have to use the sword? All I'd have to do is pray to My Father and He would send twelve legions of angels."

If it was God's will that calvary be avoided, if it was God's will that the crucifixion should not take place, God could have sent the mighty hosts of heaven; 72,000 of the mightiest of the mighty, why He could have annihilated the whole army but in the 54th verse, ". . . how then shall the scripture be fulfilled?" In other words, there are other Scriptures that must be fulfilled and the only way for it to be fulfilled, "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter . . ." and "They parted My garments."

There were so many prophesies of the Old Testament that were relative to Calvary. Jesus knew, "If I do not go all the way to Calvary, then all the rest of the Scripture will never be fulfilled. It will be utterly and entirely in vain." I am very thankful for my part this morning that when Jesus came into the world to fulfil that which was spoken by the law and prophets, He did not stop short of Calvary; that even though it meant the loss of every drop of His life's blood, even though it meant a humiliating death, everything that was contrary to human desire, we can be so thankful this morning, folks, that Jesus was willing to go all the way to Calvary.

How else could this Scripture be fulfilled? If it had not been fulfilled you and I would not be here today, so I pray that this convention will be a transfiguration for all of us. I pray for myself and for the rest of you, that God will be able to take us up the mountain and help us to forget all about the toils and struggles and worries that otherwise would make up our life; that the part of our vision that becomes blinded may be enlightened again.

Maybe it could be said of us that blindness in part has happened to Israel, maybe that part that so easily becomes blinded, that we might see Him our All in All after the wonderful assurance that we have that God is with us and, if God be for us, who shall be against us?

Especially, I pray that the hearts of all will be softened by the message of Jesus as it is proclaimed and upheld in this convention. Nothing softens the hearts and minds more than loving kindness and tenderness of God. I hope we will experience these things we are speaking of this morning, that these things will be a reality and, when we leave the convention at the end of the four days, we will be a much better person than when we came.