John Chambers - Gospel Meeting - Biddestion, Australia - 2016

There is a hymn that says, “The hosts of sin are marching on, and forth to death their captives lead.” There is a town in Romania - we spent a year having a mission there and in the railway station, there is a monument. That monument is to remember a lady who, in 1941, managed to stop a train that was carrying Jews to death. Later, Israel put up that monument to honour her. At that railway station, we saw that monument hundreds of times. It made me a little curious and read a little of what happened. She was in charge of the Red Cross in that town and she knew where those people were bound for. It appears not all those people on that train, they were all Jews and not all those people knew or realised what they were heading for. This came into my mind a couple of days ago and we have just sang those words the hosts of sin marching on and forth to death their captives lead. That is a reality. We are in a very nice peaceful setting here and we are glad it is like that and enjoy feeling close to God here. The reality is the hosts of sin take countless souls to a lost eternity.

II Timothy 2:24-26, “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” We read here about the responsibility of God servants not to strive but in meekness, instructing people and with the hope that people who are captives that they will peradventure if God will give them repentance. That is really the purpose of the gospel and that is why God sends us out and to help people realise the reality of life. Even the people who have been captives of this earth, we have this privilege of instructing people and getting them to realise God has a different plan. It is not like you are captives on a train with no hope of ever getting off and changing your destiny and God’s plan is to give you hope. It speaks about if God peradventure will give them hope. Sometimes we may think to repent is completely in our hands. But it is written here if God peradventure will give them repentance. And we know we need God’s help to repent. And a lot of the time we need God’s help to realise what we have to repent from.

You read here about people who were captives and it made me think of one time when Jesus found some Jews and if they were to abide in His Word and it could make them free. They got upset and said, "We have never been in bondage to anyone." Jesus said, "If you are living in sin, you are a slave to sin or a captive to sin." That sometimes happens and people have an opportunity to listen to the Gospel and they don’t really feel there is anything wrong in their life. In the beginning, they may feel they are living a pretty good life and they may feel better than some others, and the purpose of the gospel is to instruct people in meekness. And God through His Spirit can make people realise how they are before Him.

We heard in the last meeting about the time Jesus instructed Peter to cast the net on the opposite side, and Peter said we have toiled all night and caught nothing, and Peter said, “At Thy word, I will let down the net.” Then afterwards, there were so many fish that the nets broke. Later on, Peter’s reaction was, "Depart from me for I am a sinful man." I enjoyed that Peter offered his boat so Jesus could be a little way from the multitude, and Peter had been in Jesus company many times, and why this reaction, "Depart from me?" I often wonder what Peter’s thoughts were when Jesus asked him to let down the nets. Maybe Peter was thinking, "This is a waste of time and there is no point. There is no fish in the night when they could not see the net, so why would there be fish in the day when they could see the net?" And when he caught so many fish, he would’ve felt, "I did not believe Jesus." Peter said, "At Thy word, I will do it," and he may have felt there will be no result. I feel that is a sin that we are often guilty of. Our neighbours or people we work with could look upon our lives and say, "We ourselves are doing nothing bad so why should I change?"

I think, on that day, what convicted Peter was he realised, "Jesus asked me to do something and I really saw no point in it." And that when Peter saw the result, and he realised, "Jesus knew my past," he did not feel so bad. There are times when God shows us how wrong we are in our thinking, and we have that reaction we want to get away from everyone. Jesus did not condemn him but spoke to him about what he had planned for his future. It says here about people peradventure and coming to repentance and they acknowledge the truth. The next day Peter had to acknowledge, "I was wrong and Jesus was right." Sometimes it is very difficult for us to come to that point to acknowledge, "I was wrong."

Jesus was speaking to the Sadducees and He said to them, "You do greatly err not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God." I have come to realise I have been in that position may times and have been very sure in my own thoughts about something and somehow God in His kindness and maybe by using someone else and I realise I was so wrong in my thinking. We are very glad the Gospel can cause us to realise how far off the mark we are in our thinking. We are thankful there is this door of repentance.

Right in the beginning of the New Testament when John the Baptist began to preach, he said to repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is nigh. When his time was fulfilled, Jesus came along and He preached the same message, "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is nigh." Some people felt they had nothing to repent from. Jesus told the parable about the man who had 100 sheep and one was missing and he would leave the 99 in the wilderness and go and look for the one. Jesus said their was more joy over the one that repents than the 99 that felt they had no need to repent. That is how it was when Jesus was here on the earth and a large majority did not feel a need of repentance and could not even see what they needed to repent from. They properly felt they were good people.

In some churches, they have the tradition of going to confession. A few years ago, one of our brothers was coming home with some of his colleagues from work and it happened that two of those colleagues were going to a wedding on the Saturday. They got the idea that they should drop off on the way home and go to confession. They felt they could go as they had done nothing wrong. That is how a lot of people live, "I can’t see anything wrong with their lives." And we sing those words sometimes, “I know not how the Apirit moves, convincing man of sin.” God Spirit works and convictions us in our own conscience and no one knows except ourselves.

We read of the time people came to Jesus and there was a woman that was in adultery and those people that came to accuse her would have thought the lady was the only sinner there. And Jesus just quietly said, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” It says Jesus bowed down and did not even look at them and just wrote on the ground. It says they left, one by one, starting at the oldest and they realise that each one had sinned. Each one knew what their own sin was and all Jesus had to say was a few words and then they realised, "I am a sinner." That is how God’s Spirit works and we can appear rightly and just before others, but then God’s Spirit can show us we are a sinner. We can be very thankful God is not looking down on us.

The devil often has two approaches. He tells us often there is nothing wrong with your life and you have nothing to repent from. Then when a person realises that they have sinned and the devil says, "There is no hope for you." But Jesus has paid a price so we can be saved. It says here, “If God would give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” It is a wonderful miracle when God convicts us of what is wrong with our life and what needs to be changed in our life and we have enough faith to believe and life would be better, "If I accept what God says is right."

I remember someone speaking about the parables and as a general rule, it is like a map. When you look at the map, the first thing you want to know is, "Where I am right now, my current location?" If we ever look into any of these parables, the first thing you need to do is try and find yourself and, "Where am I in the picture?" There are times we read about the Pharisees and they thought they were in the picture and what was their reaction, they wanted to kill Jesus and they understood where they were in the picture, but they didn’t accept where they were in the picture. Here it speaks about repentance and they didn’t want to acknowledge the truth. It is wonderful when God speaks to us and we realise it is not a pretty picture and we must acknowledge, "That is me."

We often hear about David and there was a time when he sinned very grievously and God sent a prophet who told a story and David did not think it was him and then he was told, "You are the man," and he was man enough to acknowledge it was true. He accepted repentance through the acknowledging of the truth. It is good when God speaks and we acknowledge that it is true, "It is the truth about me."

I remember someone speaking one time about Jacob calling his sons together before his death and telling them about things that would be in the future. A lot of people on the earth are very curious about what is going to happen in the future. When Jacob called his sons together and he spoke to each one and he spoke about their weakness and he also spoke about their future. He spoke about what was going to be their portion in the future. When we go to a doctor and we are not really interested in what the doctor has to say to the person sitting next to us in the waiting room, but we are very interested to know what solution the doctor has for us. We are very privileged to be here in a place where God can speak to us and show us.

I like what John spoke in I John 1:7, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” If we walk in the light, God shows us how we appear in the picture. Sometimes, people just like to turn off the light and put it out of their mind. If God shows us the picture, where we are wrong we have the opportunity of putting things right. Then it says we have fellowship one with another. It is a wonderful thing when God speaks to someone and they accept the truth or acknowledge the truth and it brings fellowship. It brings fellowship with those who bring the Gospel and it brings fellowship with others. It is only after that do we get the blood of Jesus Christ cleansing us from all sin. People blindly trust that the blood of Christ is going to cover all their sins without walking in the light and having fellowship.

I sometimes think about Cornelius and he was told to send for Peter and he was told where Peter was. Peter and a number of other people went to his house and they found people very eagerly wanting to listen to the Gospel. Then Peter and the disciples went back and the Jews were very concerned, "Is this a mistake? You are a Gentile and you were in his house," and Peter and the others had told what had taken place and then they realised, "God is working here." In God’s plan, everything is perfect. When God sends His servants and His servants find people that God has been working with and people wonder about these people. It is like a common denominator to the servant of God and Peter was the one who went there and he was not so sure about it himself and then he saw God’s Spirit at work and Peter was able to tell others of what was happening with Cornelius and his family and Peter had no doubt about it. It was because of what God’s spirit had done in that home and Peter could feel one with them. He said, "Who are we to resist the spirit of God?" We are very thankful when people submit to Gods spirit and it brings unity. That is a privilege we have as workers, sometimes when we travel abroad and we have to be translated for when we speak. We listen to the testimonies and we know it is the same God that is working here.

We go from door to door to find people who would like to listen to the Gospel and sometimes the children are told not to open the door to strangers. Sometimes you knock on the door and a child will ask, "Who is it?" I often thought you could tell the child a lot of things and you could say you are the police or someone who sells or milk or whatever and they would not know if you’re telling the truth or not. If you told that child you are their sister or brother and that would not work.

We read of the time when there will be people outside and asking Jesus, "Open unto us, open unto us," and Jesus will tell them, "I do not know you," because they had never had the privilege of knowing and acknowledging the truth. There are a lot of people who have thought they were Christians and were good people and then they are outside the door and they are going to try and convince Jesus to let them in. If I was to try and convince a 5 year child I was his brother, even a 5 year old child knows I am not his brother. We are very thankful God brings us into a family and have fellowship in His family.

These were a few thoughts that spoke to me today and we can be very thankful. We know the hosts of sin is very powerful today and it is dragging a long many people and we have the privilege of praying for those people and they could have the privilege of getting off the train, as it were.