Jeremy Gibson - Manhattan, Montana Convention I - June 23, 2006

Jeremy Gibson's next-to-last convention message?

We had the wonderful privilege to attend Manhattan Montana #1 convention this year, and after hearing of Jeremy Gibson's death, were made doubly glad that we had seen and visited with Jeremy, and heard him speak.  Elaine typed up Jeremy's message, which is, I think, his next-to-last convention message, because I hear that he also spoke at Manhattan #2.

Here it is:

In I Corinthians 2, I won't read the verses but particularly from verses 11 down, it tells us that we know the ways of men, of humans, by the spirit of man in us. Also we might call it the human nature in us. That we know the ways of men and that we can only know the ways of God by having the Spirit of God. And if we have the Spirit of God, we'll think different than if we just have the spirit of man. There is much difference between God and man. We know there is a difference between men and women. Men don't exactly understand how women think, and vise versa. But that is a small difference compared to the difference between the thinking of man and the thinking of God. And it is the Spirit of God that helps us understand the mysteries of heaven. Like even the purpose and the existence of hell, the Spirit of God teaches us that. Many people in the world want to think that that is just a scare tactic or there is nothing to hell, but the Spirit of God teaches us why there is a hell. And it teaches us why Jesus had to die for us. To many people that is a mystery that seems foolish. But the Spirit of God teaches us those things.

God wants us to know the way He thinks about things. He wants us to know His judgment. And if we are confused about how God thinks, it is because of our unwillingness to accept. Either to search and ask God why or just unwillingness to accept His answers. I was in confusion for a couple years about whether I was supposed to be in the work, just because of my unwillingness.

People came to Jesus and asked Him, "How long will You hold us in doubt or in suspense? Tell us plainly." Jesus had been telling them but they just didn't want the answer. So they were confused. God wants us to understand the way He thinks. When we come to know God and have a relationship with God, He wants to teach us His ways.

So I was thinking of some ways that we think differently, if we have the Spirit of God, we think differently than those in the world. I had a companion, my second year in the work. He was 80 years old. Many times, he would express his lack of understanding of why people did things the way they did, why they made the choices that they did. And me, I wasn't very far removed from the spirit of man, my second year in the work, though not very far. And I could understand why they made those choices. But my older companion, it was becoming hard to understand why people would make those choices. And it would be nice as we continue on, and God's way becomes more a part of us, that you would come to understand less the workings of man, the workings of our human nature.

And briefly, one way we think differently than the world, is that we believe that all that Jesus did and said was the best. It still is the best. And maybe the biggest case in point would be Jesus' example of how people ought to preach the Gospel. How He sent out the apostles, and how He Himself lived and preached as an example of a minister of God. We believe that Jesus did it the best way possible - that He taught the best way possible. But not many people in the world pay any attention to how Jesus established the ministry. They think it has been improved on, that they can improve on that.

And we also believe that the record we have of the believers in the New Testament, that it's the same. That they were basically mature, as mature as we are, can be today. What we read of in the Acts, of the way that the friends met together in those first thirty or sixty years after Jesus left, that they had as much understanding of God as we have today. The same Spirit was teaching them and it can't be improved on. We believe that moving the fellowship meetings from homes into buildings is a regression not a progression.

And we aren't interested in the, necessarily, in the quantity of those that walk with us in this way. But we are interested in the quality of Spirit of our meetings, of individuals. We don't believe that there is any benefit in ignoring any commandments of Jesus so that there could be more members in our way. Because if we did ignore anything of Jesus, then that is what it would be. It would be "our way." But Jesus selected the perfect way. God has a perfect plan and we want to follow all the teachings of Jesus.

One thing that we don't want to differ from is what Jesus taught. For example, Jesus taught that people ought to give their alms, their acts of righteousness, in secret. People in the world, they found that people will give more if they make a public plea for help and if they have some sort of competition involved among people. They ask people to give publicly in front of other people, that the people would give more. And then the whole idea behind that, or the justification for that, is that is all that is given, if the preacher can get somebody to give more, then that can be used in spreading the gospel and more people can come to know Christ. But that is their idea. But that is ignoring the teachings of Jesus. We don't believe there is any benefit in that. Then it would become "our way," not God's way.

We believe that the way is narrow. Others believe that the way is wide. We pray differently than those in the world. They pray that God would be with them in their activities. We pray that God would direct us throughout the day and that God would be with us as we do His will. They pray for world peace and we pray that people would be troubled until they would come to submit or surrender to God, especially those that we love the most. We pray that they would be troubled and be moved to turn to God. They pray for good weather for their activities for the day. We pray that we would have a good spirit throughout the day. They pray for health and for wealth, and we pray that we would be content in whatever conditions God has prepared for us. Stressing that His will is best, and that we would learn and prosper spiritually in whatever condition we are in. In their prayers, they are bold as teenagers are bold to their parents. Making requests and feeling like they know as well or better than their parents. But we pray with the boldness of infants, that we cry out shamelessly in need, asking our parents to help us. We don't really know what we need, but we need something and our parents can provide that.

God's people, when they are corrected, they assume that the person correcting them loves them, because that's the way it ought to be. Love must be included with correction and correction must go with love. So when we are corrected, we feel that the person that is correcting us loves us. We are not offended. And many other things, we think differently, and that is good, because if we have the Spirit of God, we'll think differently than those that just have the spirit of man. It is good to be different.

Separation encourages differences. So, when we leave here, we want to try to get to all the meetings we can. To be separate from the world. We have to be in the world but we don't have to be of the world. We want to be separate and not mix in with activities of the world that aren't necessary and that would make us think the way they think and value the things they value. When our thoughts tend to follow the trend of the world, that's time to get worried. What is really motivating us? What is really directing our thoughts? Is it the Spirit of God or is it the spirit of man?