John Bowman - First Half of Second Meeting, Nurioopa Special Meeting - May 10, 2004

How are you? A very simple statement but it could mean something different to everyone, depending on who says it; whether they know you or not, whether they know you; whether they know your background, whether they know what is in your heart. It is an incredible thing; still an incredible thing to think that God knows me and He doesn't have to spell things out for me; He doesn't have to get down to the nitty-gritty and say, "This is what I want you to be doing." He speaks to me through His word and I get the message because He knows me; I get the feeling that He knows me better than sometimes I know myself.

Sometimes, God knows things about us that we haven't admitted to ourselves yet, and that's where this Special Meeting is going to lead, that God has shown me something about myself that I should have known but I just haven't admitted to myself. Well, looking up some things for this Meeting, I thought of some words, and I don't know where I got the phrase from. but it must have been at a Convention but the words that have remained in my mind were, that we could know Him, who to know is life eternal. "To know whom to know is life eternal,” and I couldn't find the words in the Bible but I found something very close in 1st John 5:18, "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but He that is begotten of God keepeth Himself, and that wicked one toucheth Him not."

We know too of the two natures that are striving within us. One we have been born with naturally and one that has been born in us because of the word of God and His Spirit being born into our heart, "we know that we are of God and the whole world lieth in wickedness." There are those who are doing God's will and there are those who are not doing God's will, and we know that. "We know that the Son of God is come and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him, that is true, and we are in Him, that is true, even in His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols." Looking at those words that I've read, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols." I don't like to think of myself as someone who would cling to an idol.

I was reading in Acts, about the people at Athens who had an Altar there to an unknown God, and Paul said that they were altogether too superstitious, but they were worshipping a God who they didn't know, and Paul spoke about the idols that they had there. I didn't think I could compare myself with those people; I don't think I'd be that silly to worship a thing that was graven of men's hands. It tells us in Colossians in the 1st chapter and the 5th verse, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth - fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." Covetousness, and it was mentioned in passing this morning about the things that look a bit greener on the other side of the fence, and we could find ourselves desiring and longing for them. They are not ours; they are not meant to be ours. That's idolatry.

"Covetousness which is idolatry." When I was a few years professing, I went to a ten-year reunion for our grade twelve group and there was a girl there who I used to like at school. I knew that she had got married and she knew that, and so I just asked her, "Where's your husband tonight?" She said to me, "Oh, we have an understanding." An understanding, and it was like she was telling me it was alright with him and it was alright with her. There is no temptation that has taken us, but such as is common to man, and I knew; I knew that what she was telling me wasn't right with God, but I still had to make a choice what I was going to do. Sometimes we have just got to be careful of covetousness, don't we? Because sometimes the things that you long for are sometimes put right there in front of you and then it's your choice; it's your call.

It speaks in 2nd Peter about false prophets and it speaks of those who come to you with feigned words to make merchandise of you; make merchandise of you. It says in the 2nd chapter of 2nd Peter "And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgement now of a long time lingereth not.” Through covetousness, and I've been thinking that is a little message for me, and of the covetousness of those who would be giving me the wrong message, but it was my covetousness that was going to contribute to my downfall. It is what is in my heart as to whether I am going to be deceived; whether I am going to fall. People would like to make excuses for not following what Jesus said, and maybe they would like to draw us into their little understanding. Perhaps that is something that we have faced, even among those who we call our friends, perhaps it is. We don't want to be made merchandise of; we don't want to be sold, do we? We know that all face the experience where we have had to make choices; and because we have known Jesus; and because we have come to an understanding with Him. that we know we can't trust our mind unless there be a sacrifice of something very, very precious to us. We know because of our understanding of Jesus, and we know the choices that we need to make so that we may keep that which is precious forever.

We could sing Dulcie's hymn now, and she would like us to sing number 390, "I Need the Mind of Christ."