John Baartz - In God's Kingdom - Dumaresq, New South Wales, Australia Convention - 1958

Isaiah 41:17-21, “When the poor and needy seek water, I the LORD will hear them and will not forsake them; I will open rivers in high places and fountains. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, I will set in the desert the fir tree that they may see and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this.” God was upholding the standard of His righteousness, and is calling to us for the best that is in us. “When the poor and needy seek water.” In the sermon on the mount when Jesus took His young converts up on the mount, they came voluntarily. The Gospel still has the power to draw the honest heart and true soul. The “poor and needy” He referred to in the first sentence, when He not only opened His mouth and taught them, but He opened His heart to His little ones.

There are three aspects. There is the written word, the spoken word, and the living word. There are also three aspects of the Truth. Jesus said, “Thy word is truth.” That was the truth from the beginning. Then there is the way of truth and the spirit of truth.

Matthew 13 is a chapter of parables and it is given in steps. It starts with the mysteries of the Kingdom and goes on to mention the word of the Kingdom and the children of the Kingdom, and to finish showing the treasures of the Kingdom. The mysteries of the Kingdom can only be opened up by the word of the Kingdom and when we have the word of the Kingdom and the mysteries of the Kingdom which by the Gospel is preached, we become the children of the Kingdom, then His born again ones and He, as a loving Father, gives to us the treasures of the Kingdom.

In Matthew 4:13-16, we read what preceded the sermon on the mount.  “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Elias the prophet saying, 'The people which sat in darkness saw great light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up.'” Then we read, “Jesus began to preach and to say, 'Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'” They were definitely impressed by what Jesus said. Robert Cambers once referred to the hopeless condition of people in the religious world for something to satisfy, as being like a person looking into a dark room for a black hat that wasn’t there.

Acts opens up with the Kingdom of Heaven and closes with Paul in his own hired house, preaching the Kingdom. He poured out his best in the interests of the Kingdom of God. The first mystery Jesus proclaimed was to repent and there were certain conditions to be fulfilled. Jesus went up in to the mountain and His disciples, young converts, gathered around Him. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Hope would well up in the hearts of those disciples as they heard of a spiritual kingdom.

In Luke 4, we read of Jesus as He went into the village of Nazareth where He had been brought up. He read from the book if Isaiah, “The spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.” That leaves every one of us without excuse. God is still looking for that broken, humble spirit amongst us as His children. No less that fourteen times in those three chapters in Matthew, Jesus spoke about, “Your Father which is in heaven.” The people in Isaiah 41 did not know very much, but the last verse I read says, “That they may see, and know and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this.” That is what God is expecting of our lives, water in abundance, profitable work. It is beautiful to see in the lives of God’s children, evidence of God working. We learn of Him, entering into the fellowship of His sufferings, and He has promised that if we share in His rejection here, He will put into our lives something that others will see.

Psalm 126:1-2, “When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter and then said they among the heathen, 'The LORD hath done great things for them.'” “The LORD hath done great things for us whereof we are glad.” From the outside, amongst the heathen, there is that admission and recognition of the hand of God working amongst His people, “that they may see, and know, and consider and understand together that the hand of the LORD hath done this.”

Maurice Christian once said, speaking about regeneration, “It is a marvellous thing that it is on the framework of the old that a new work is wrought.” Jesus told the disciples of something that had taken place in their lives but they did not understand it. “Of His own will begat He us by the word of truth.” It is not another religion but another relationship. They began to experience it but they did not understand it. Romans 8:15 tells us, “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, 'Abba Father.'” His spirit is bearing witness with our spirit that we are His.

Matthew 5:44, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them with deceitfully use you and persecute you.” That is brought into the reach of every trusting child of God today. There is your privilege no matter who may despise you, “that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” God sends the rain on the just and on the unjust, and sends the sun over the whole earth. By the spirit and attitude we show in life, so we reflect on our Heavenly Father. When everyone and everything is against us, that is our privilege to produce the likeness of our Heavenly Father. We may not be a Christ rejector but we may be a Christ neglector. Our purpose is to be a Christ reflector.

“Be ye perfect as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” “To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Jesus hopes, by His spirit, this might be accomplished in each life. “That they may see, and know, and understand and consider.” Some people see, but are unwilling, some know but are unwilling, but happy and blest are the souls who consider and understand and acknowledge the Son of God.

It says of Jesus when He contacted those disciples, “Light is sprung up.” “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” A teacher had a class for general knowledge and asked, “Hands up anyone who has heard of the true way of God.” He had heard and knew that in that district the father and mother of a certain little girl in his class had made their choice for Christ, and evidently he wanted to raise an argument. Every argument has two sides but no end, so what is the use of going on with it. Drop it and get on with something that has an end. “Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright for the end of that man is peace,” that we may be brought into relationship with the Father.

This young girl was asked, “What is your opinion of all the other religions?” and she answered, “God put me in the world to be a light, not a judge.” How wonderful. God was with Abraham and then years later, God was with Isaac. He will do for us exceedingly abundantly according to the power that worketh in us. “When the poor and needy  seek water and there is none, I the LORD will bear them. I the God of Israel will not forsake them.” If we will desire and pray for righteousness, He will not disappoint us.

Hebrews says, “Let us go on to perfection.” There are seven steps to that given in the Scriptures. The first condition is being poor in spirit and needy, not only poor but also needy. God’s servants went out for living gems. In Acts 16, three gems were found in the atmosphere of prayer. They found Lydia, the damsel and the gaoler. It is in the atmosphere of prayer that jewels are found. The church at Philippi was what it was largely because of the foundation stones that were laid upon the great foundation through prayer. Two Brothers went to work a mission and used an old brick building as a camp. A woman whose husband was a guard on the railway got up to get this man his breakfast and saw a light in their window. She made some chicken soup and knocked on the door and the elder Worker came out and she told him about seeing the light. The man said, “I was praying.” She saw her need and decided and gave the Worker the address of some of her people overseas and when he got there he found the Convention was on their grounds and two of their girls were in the Work. The thought of the family relationship runs through the Scriptures. What a lot prayer can do.

In Hosea 12, Jacob came to the depths of his extremity and that brought out the depths of his sincerity. There is a delicate margin between the flesh and the spirit. Those boys in that chapter were brethren, and more than that, they were twins. We read in Genesis 32 of Jacob wrestling with God. It is not the violence of willfulness that brings the blessing, it is simple, clinging faith, faith in Christ, clinging to Christ. It is not letting go. Jacob prevailed and had power with God. “I will not let thee go except thou bless me.” We can be poor in spirit and are given power through prayer. Then we have peace. Psalm 29:11, “The LORD will bless His people with peace.” Psalm 35:27, “Let the LORD be magnified which hath pleasure in the prosperity of His servants.” He wants to see us go on, a progressive people. Spiritual prosperity is bound to come if the peace of God can reign in our hearts.

The last one is in II Corinthians 13:9, “For we are glad when we are weak, and ye are strong, and this also we wish, even your perfection.” This is a picture of one pouring out his best to strengthen, and he has the welfare of the children of God at heart. In verse 11 of this chapter, he says, “Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” I hope we will appreciate the love of our Heavenly Father in bringing before us these things of such value.

Psalm 55:6-7, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove, for then would I fly away and be at rest. Then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.” That would be a dark and lonely place. He was saying, “Oh, that I could throw off this responsibility.” “The wings of a dove..” He did not want to go out into the world. He was under a burden but God gave him the wings of an eagle. He got the victory. “Wait on the LORD,” for the victory. “Cast thy burden upon the LORD and He shall sustain thee.” ‘Burden’ in the margin says ‘a gift.’ God never intended the burden for us to carry, but the burden will carry us.

The last verse in Isaiah 40 says, “They that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” That is what David got. Once, he was beneath the burden but now, he had the victory. Never worry about the rivers that have to be crossed. There is spiritual provision, and I hope we will not be discouraged.