Jack Carroll - Sidney, Manitoba - November 5-10, 1914

In the Old and New Testament days, God has always been seeking to gather His people together that He might write His laws on their hearts and minds. It is very hard to separate us from earthly things that are legitimate. The value of a convention is that people are free to center their minds on the things of God. We believe that God can speak through His saints when we come together thus. They can be helpful to other saints and also to the workers. When you hear a good testimony, you think that person is worth suffering for.

Jesus, surrounded by a multitude of men and women goes up into a mountain alone and sits down. Those that were willing to climb the mountain and face the difficulties gathered round about Him and He opened His mouth and taught them. We don’t want these days wasted but filled full that we may be refreshed and blessed. Jesus said, “Come ye apart and rest awhile,” Mark 6:31. What was that but a convention?

When He went away into the desert and mountain, these were little conventions. The Old Testament Conventions were called feasts and convocations. There were three great feasts which all Israelites were supposed to attend. A feast suggests gladness or joy and I believe our conventions should have that mark. It is a time to be joyful, glad and praiseful. The spiritual year for us begins at convention. It becomes the custom everywhere among the saints to count the years not from Christmas to Christmas but from convention to convention. So it was in Israel. The year began with the Passover Feast. It was the beginning of months, years and days. It was the red letter day of the whole year and all the Israelites looked forward to it in remembrance of the time when they left Egypt.

The Passover Feast had another name. It was called the feast of unleavened bread. They ate the lamb and then after the first day of the Passover they began another — a second feast, the feast of unleavened bread. There was a general housecleaning in the homes of the Israelites and all leaven found was destroyed by fire. Paul spoke of the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, a sincere desire to serve God whatever it costs. Perhaps before coming to convention, there has been a kind of searching. We think of how often we have allowed ourselves to be hindered and more or less come under and we seek to get rid of things that hindered so God can put His thoughts in our minds and write His laws on our hearts. I trust these may be days in which God himself can deal with us.

Some people have an idea that this is the whipping post. The Lord takes no pleasure in whipping anybody and bringing people under condemnation. He takes more pleasure in helping us rather than pushing down. When I was in business, I wanted to be effective. When I went into the work, my desire was that I might spend my strength to some purpose. There is another word which is better than effectiveness — helpfulness. It is possible to be effective and yet not helpful and in all our relationships one with another. There ought to be that kind of desire to be a helpful saint or worker. The Lord has brought us here in order that He might bless us. The Israelites went up to the feast with joy and returned with joy. They were always helped and encouraged. They were encouraged to offer a whole burnt offering unto the Lord. It meant “all that I am I yield to God.” Every coming together had that mark whether it was the feast of Passover or Pentecost, or the feast of tabernacles — offering unto God a whole burnt offering.

Question: What is leaven? Answer: A piece of sour dough. When you put a piece of sour dough with a piece of good dough, it becomes very active. It begins to ferment and works very slowly until every part of the dough has been leavened. A little bit of leaven leavens the whole lump, leavens the whole man or woman, Church or group of workers. Don’t you think it is good to be on the lookout for every secret thing that might work and cause us to be useless in the world? Suppose you didn’t put the dough in the oven. It would go on working until the thing became so corrupt and rotten that you would bury it out of your sight. God wants us to deal with it. He doesn’t want to do what we can do.

Paul says purge out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump in the Lord. It was very evident that leaven was working in the Corinthian Church. Keep the thought of leaven in your mind when you read I Corinthians 1. They were still babes after being seven years saved. The reason was because they had allowed leaven to work. “Puffed up” occurs several times. Leaven puffs up. Leaven working in an individual or a Church or among workers will have the same effect and will cause them to cease to be useful to God. There is a great need to be on the watch lest leaven should work and hinder us. The Corinthians were hindered for years. They might have been as useful as the saints at Philippi and Colosse. They were so taken up with little things within that they forgot the perishing world outside. We need to lift up our eyes and behold the fields white unto harvest. It is possible for saints to be as useful as in the days of Peter, James and John.

I am mourning the loss of one of the saints and I think of that man with pleasure from the first day. He wasn’t always very wise but he sought to do the right thing. He couldn’t always do as much as he would like to do, but he did what he could. His memory brings me joy and gladness because of his love and zeal to play the part of a man in the family and kingdom of God. Saints can play the useful part and be effective.

I wonder what kind of leaven has been working in your life. How many kinds of leaven do they sell in these different stores? At one time Jesus said to His disciples, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.” On another occasion, He says, “Beware of the leaven of the Sadducees." He was always afraid that the leaven He saw working in the world might work among His disciples. Leaven in the Church is very dangerous and should be dealt with immediately. Jesus showed that the Pharisees worked from the outside. God works from the inside. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees for it is hypocrisy. Matthew 23 gives the leaven of the Pharisees. All that they tell you that observe and do but do not ye after their works for they say and do not. It is much safer to be strong on doing rather than saying. The Lord wants us to be doers of the word and not hearers only. Speaking for myself, I know how easy it is to be tempted to say and not do. It is only as we say and do that we will get a foundation beneath our feet that will stand the test of time and eternity. Jesus said there are two classes of people in the world. Some build their profession on sand. They don’t lay any foundation and as a result, the storm comes, rain begins to fall and the house is swept away. The other kind hears and lives it out, gets down to the rock and lays the foundation. There is nothing more needful than to say, “I want the will of God to be done in me; I want Him to work in me to will and do of His good pleasure that He may be glorified in me.”

“Beware of the leaven of the Sadducees.” They didn’t believe there was anything in the future to live for. “It is not worth my while to deny myself and take up my cross and follow Jesus.” I believe it is good for every one of us to realize that the step we have taken is well worth while. The leaven of the Sadducees didn’t work in Moses. He had respect unto the recompense of the reward. He looked away into the future. The Sadducees said it was not worth while to let the things of this world go. Moses endured as seeing Him who is invisible. Don’t look down; look up. Don’t allow your vision to be limited. Look away into the future. Think of a hundred years from now and ask yourself is it worth my while to live my life influenced by the things unseen and eternal. It is well worth while to go outside the camp bearing His reproach, for the crowning day is coming. Paul said that what things were gain to him, he counted loss for Christ, counted them but refuse. Some people have two kinds of glasses — one pair to read with (to see things that are near) and another pair to see things that are far off. We need two pair of glasses. We need to look at things that are near (human affairs) and things that are far off (the things of God)! We live on the earth but set our affections in heaven.

“Beware of the leaven of the Herodians.” They were a people that were worldly. They tried to make the best of both. They were Jews, but wanted to hobnob with Herod for the sake of earthly gain. Worldliness is bad enough outside of the Testimony, but when the world spirit creeps into the Testimony, it is dangerous and we should see to it that the love of this present world is not in our hearts. There are two ways you can love the world. You can love the world for what it gives or you can love the world for what you can give. God so loved the world that He gave. The love that was in Peter, James, and John was the love that was shed abroad by the Holy Ghost.

Jesus said, "If thy right eye offend thee pluck it out," etc. We must never forget that His disciples were of whom these words were spoken of. If we are not willing to get the leaven in us to the fire, there is only one end. Salt was to be shaken on the sacrifices. It meant “this is forever.” I pledge myself to God with undying friendship.