Jacob Kevlighan - The Ladder - Western Australian Convention - 2001

Genesis 28, God gave Jacob an understanding of Jesus.  Abraham was given a vision of the Lamb; now his grandson is given a vision of the lamb.

Redemption is being forgiven for sin.  The Saviour saves from sin. Provision is made by God to save us from sin. 

A ladder makes possible what is impossible.  A ladder is so simple.  Over 4,000 years ago they had ladders.  Amazing that it is still in use!  There's hardly a house without a ladder.  It is so simple.  It enables us to overcome the force of gravity. We can get to places that we would not get to without a ladder.  A ladder doesn't do for us what we can do for ourselves. 

God made us with a human nature.  This human nature humbles us.  God does not want pride in Heaven. He has made provision whereby we can be overcomers. God made provision to overcome sin.  All is in Christ. 

A ladder is such a simple thing.  Jacobsaw a ladder set on earth and the top reached to heaven.  God so loved the world that He gave His Son.  God so loved the world that He extended the ladder from heaven to earth so that none should perish.  He has made it possible for us mortals to be with Him. 

A ladder is narrow.  No provision outside the ladder.  No hope outside the Lamb of God.  Jacob saw that the ladder led to heaven and angels were ascending and descending.  God was at the top.  There was no doubt about where it was leading. 

Jesus said to the disciples, "The day will come when you will see the angels ascending and descending on the Son of man."  Jacob got the same vision that night. Jesus said in His last meeting, "I am the way," i.e, "The means." And "No man cometh to the Father but by Me."  He's the only One who can take us into the presence of the Father.  There will be no humans on the ladder.  God was showing His provision.  We see the Lamb but none partaking of it. 

It is a way of steps.  One takes one step at a time on the ladder.  It's amazing how children can climb a ladder.  Children can take steps on the way to heaven. It's so simple!  We can't make progress with one foot on the ground and one foot on the ladder.  We need two feet within the limits of the ladder.  If one foot is outside the ladder, all progress ceases.  We could try and take one step outside and one stop inside but it doesn't work.  Some have done that and later they take the other step outside and are back on the ground level.  Two feet on the ladder is the only way to make progress; two feet within the limits of the ladder.  A beautiful thing about the ladder is the support.  The ladder does not do what we can do for ourselves.  We have to take steps.  When we lift our feet and take the first step, there is every support.  There's everything behind us to maintain that step; to continue on that level. The earth is there but the person is separated if they're willing to take steps.  Every step is a little more separation.  We have to take the step, but once we do, there is every provision to maintain that step and continue on the ladder.  We may make the form of taking steps but we will get right back.  It's such a simple, clear picture of God's provision in Jesus. When we take steps, it becomes impossible to participate in things on the old level. 

An old man professed.  He had worldly friends. One met him after he professed.  The old man was asked to go and have a drink, "No."  His friend said, "There is no one here to see you."  He answered, "God will see it."  That man didn't persist any further.  The old man had become God-conscious.  He was climbing the ladder looking upwards.  "God will see." He was conscious that he could not partake of things on the old level. Every step requires a little more separation.  It would be wonderful if this year we could take another step on the ladder and then come back next year and see a step we took this past year!  See that there's more separation from the world and we're closer to God.  If we're willing, there is all the help provided by God.

The ladder does not do for us what we should do for ourselves.  Jesus didn't do for the disciples what they could do for themselves.  He left them to do the rowing when in a boat.  When sailing, He didn't adjust the sails.  He left them to do it.   He knew they could and they thought they could, too. He left it to them.  When the situation became impossible, He calmed the wind and the waves.  He did that.  When He went to raise Lazarus, He did not roll away the stone.  He left the people to do it.  He said, "Lazarus, come forth."  Jesus always showed that He did the impossible.  He expects us to do what we can. 

What is beyond our reach, the ladder reaches. John the Baptist said, "He must increase and I must decrease."  When they were in the boat and the storm arose, they found they were not as good sailors as they thought they were.  They came to "wit's-end" corner.  They called "Carest Thou not that we perish?"  They weren't as capable as they thought they were. The One asleep in the back of the boat could do exceedingly above what they thought.  Jesus calmed the wind and the sea.  They decreased, He increased.  He did exceedingly above all that they could ask and think. They came back after fishing all night and had caught nothing.  The carpenter, Jesus, asked them to cast out the nets.  They had been fishing.  They were fishermen.  They thought they knew!  Jesus did not get out in the boat and cast the nets.  He asked them to do that.  He then brought the fish into the nets.   It was impossible for them to do that.  Jesus was increasing.  He was able to do above all that they could ask or think.  That is what life is about...Jesus increasing and we decreasing.  We are left without excuse. There is support and backing for every step we are asked to take and provision made for everything we are asked to do.  Some give up smoking and then go back to the old habit.  They did it in their own strength.  On the ladder there is support for every step.  That is the provision we have in Jesus.  The ladder reaches to heaven. 
      
We learned about ladders in building construction - short and long ladders.  I fell once.  I learned that short ladders need some provision at the bottom to stop them from slipping.  A long ladder is to be secured at the top.  If not secured, it is dangerous.  Jacob did not see God at the bottom, holding the ladder.  He saw God at the top.  No less than God Himself!  We want Jesus back sometimes.  He is in the right place.  The security is above. God and Jesus above.  God is above His Kingdom and His way and there's no danger.  This way has continued and will continue no matter how many are climbing or how few, the ladder remains. 

Sometimes we hear people say, and feel perturbed, that God's way began in a certain place and time.  God's way began in Galilee.  God took care of the eight in the ark.  God took steps to preserve them.  No doubt it has been like that at times.  (Few in number) 
     
I knew a man in Brazil, a faithful man.  He and his wife were disappointed with religion.  They started to read the Bible.  They went to churches and looked for what they thought the plan of God would be. They soon became disappointed.  They asked, "Does anyone know about people who are like the apostles?"  "No, not in the world.  It's not workable."  They would go away and continue reading the Bible.  Then, they would go to another group and they would know, "This is not it." This went on for some time.  The man was reading the last verse of Matthew's gospel one day, "I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."  He read it again and called his wife, "Come here.  It says here it is in the world.  It's still in the world; it says it right here."  An unsaved man believed it and gained courage to keep on looking.  He went to a meeting one night.  The preacher said, "There were two false prophets here.  I made sure they never opened their mouths.  They are in such and such a place."  That man went to that place on his bicycle. He listened and was confident that, "This is it.  It is still in the world for sure."  He and his wife professed.  When the workers were to go into another place, he sold his property and went there to be a help.  Now there is a convention there and his son still loves to help. 

There were times when there were a few.  We are privileged to live in a day when God has a family on the earth.  Let us keep our two feet within the limits.