Ken Paginton - Bringing Up Children Right - Masterton II, New Zealand - 1990

Jeremiah 32:6, the message of God to Jeremiah was to buy a piece of land, a field. Conditions in the country at that time were bad, things were not going very well, but the Lord was giving an assurance for the future that there was something being purchased. Verse 11, "So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open." Verse 14, "And God said, 'Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.'" That was the evidence of this purchase. One evidence was sealed and one evidence was open and they had to be in agreement and they had to be put in one earthen vessel. Isn't that so with our lives.

We heard about this commitment that there should be and the work of God in our lives. There should be an open evidence in our lives of the fact that we are living for God in every side of our life that is open - our daily life, our conduct, our appearance, the way we act, the way we talk - and there is also an evidence that is sealed, this sealed evidence in our hearts that nobody else sees but only God knows. The evidence that is sealed and the evidence that is open have to be in one earthen vessel and the two have to be in agreement.

We talk sometimes about the need of the way in which we act and our appearance, the open evidence, and that is right. But we don't really get better if that is all there is to it. I have a watch, the same as the rest of you. If the inside is working all right, those hands show the right time. But if the inside isn't right it won't work if I just keep adjusting the hands all the time. If the sealed evidence is right, the open evidence must be in agreement. But even so, sometimes, even if the watch is going all right, occasionally if I am in a home I like to just get on the phone and onto the time signal and get it put right because sometimes you can be a little bit fast or slow.

We come to convention and get a bit of adjusting done, outwardly and inwardly, to get these two evidences right and in line. This is your purchased possession. We are purchased with the blood of Christ. "Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price," and we need to have this sealed evidence and open evidence in line with this acknowledgement that we are not our own, we are bought with the price of the precious blood of Christ. It's a wonderful thing to have that kind of testimony.

We sometimes hear it being said about a person having a good testimony. Timothy was a young man well reported of by the brethren. It's a great thing to have a testimony like that amongst God's people and amongst those outside. But isn't it a wonderful thing if we can have a good testimony from God. Recently I found if very helpful for myself to read about some in the Bible who received a good testimony from heaven, because that is what really matters more than even a good testimony from our brethren.

We don't read very much about Enoch in the Bible but for many years "he walked with God." That must have been a wonderful relationship, just walking with God through life. To me that's a wonderful picture, to think of all those years walking with God. I went out for a walk this morning with two of our older brothers and we went about four miles and we spoke about one or two things, but most of the time we were just walking quietly with our thoughts. But to me there was something very nice about it. I just knew I was walking with two brothers. There was just a kind of a spirit and I felt free and restful in my spirit just walking together with brothers. If we walk through life with God like that, that's a wonderful testimony to have.

God gave Noah a wonderful testimony. First of all it says he "found grace with God" and then the Lord told him what he had to do and gave him some instructions and it says Noah just went ahead and for all those years he just did what God had told him. God saw that, He saw what Noah was doing, and then God spoke again and said, "Thee have I found righteous," a wonderful testimony from the God of heaven. He saw Noah year after year committed to building the ark. Maybe there was quite a bit of ridicule - what are you doing that for? Why don't you spend your time making money? No, God had spoken to him about things not seen as yet and God is talking to us in these meetings about things not seen as yet - the coming of the Lord, the day when He is going to come back and receive His people to Himself, this wonderful inheritance, and we believe it and we want to go on living for that and putting that first. It doesn't matter much what the world thinks about us, if God looks down and says, "I have found you righteous."

In Isaiah 32, "God said, 'Abraham, My friend.'" I just marvel at that, to think of the God in heaven, God who made the universe, the almighty God, looking down on a man here on earth and saying, "That man is My friend." To think that a human being could rise to that. Surely there were some wonderful things that Abraham did to gain such a testimony. Some things must have counted so much with God that God called him His friend. I think of that day when there was a little difficulty between his servants and Lot's servants and remember how Abraham spoke. He said to Lot, "Let there be no strife between us for we are brethren." That's the kind of person who is a friend of God. He stepped down and said to Lot, "You go ahead and choose." I think that counted with the Lord and it still counts with the Lord, when we are prepared to step down and lose a little bit for the sake of unity and for the sake of peace. Let there be no strife between us because we are brethren. A wonderful thing when people can have that kind of attitude.

What did he lose anyway? Lot went ahead and chose all those well watered plains of Jordan and took the best of the land and you can imagine. Abraham just being there and the best had gone and then the Lord came and said, "Abraham, lift up your eyes and look north and south and east and west and all this I am going to give you." Didn't that include the plot that Lot had taken? When he stepped down for peace, he didn't lose a square inch of his inheritance, not one little bit. When we are prepared to do that, we never lose anything, and it helped to make him a friend of God.  Remember that day when he refused the wrong kind of riches - I don't want any of those worldly riches, or any worldly popularity. In Genesis 18, God said about Abraham, "I know him, and that he will bring up his children right to serve Me and do My will."

That is something that counted very very much with the Lord. Something that counts with the Lord today and it counts amongst us as God's people. I am sure that amongst us in every land, those of you who are parents, you have a wonderful privilege but you have a great responsibility of bringing up children aright. It brings God's approval and helps to make you a friend of God. Could God say of you, "I know you and I know that you will bring up your children aright"? That means a lot.

What kind of ambitions do parents really have for their children? I have known some parents and their ambition seems to be, if only their children can get on in the world and get the best education and so on. The children in New Zealand today who are getting the best education are the children sitting in this tent and who have been sitting in other conventions. The best university in the world is under the yoke of Jesus,  "Take My yoke and learn of Me." "It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth." And those of you who are young, the top education in the world is under the yoke of Christ and no where else in the world. That is where we learn things the world can never teach us. It's a wonderful thing to see parents trying to bring up their children aright with that ambition for them.

Some years ago, I saw something I never want to forget. I went down to a port in England with my companion to say goodbye to a young brother worker who was leaving to go away to another country. We went down and the boat was moored at the side of the quay and two friends were there and his old father and mother. I knew his old dad well, he was a nice soft-hearted old man. I remember seeing that boy going on the ship and he got up on deck and stood there leaning on the rail and looking down at his old dad on the quayside. Then the moorings were cast off and the boat began to move out little by little and as it moved out of the port that old man just started walking along the quay keeping pace with the boat, with his eyes fixed on his boy. He got to the end of the quay and he couldn't go any further and he just stood there and watched with his eyes riveted on that figure on the boat until it went round the headland and out of sight.

I walked along behind him and he turned round with tears running down his cheeks and he just said, "Men, he's gone." But then he said something else, "But this is what I prayed for.". Wonderful to have parents like that. I have never believed that parents should try to push their children or preach them into the work, but I do believe that Godly parents should be trying to pray them into the work. You could never have a higher ambition for any of your little children. Some of these little children, they know.

Something happened at one convention a while ago which really underlined this to me. I happened to speak in one of the meetings a little bit about this open evidence, the way we live and dress and appear. I think there are two words in the Bible that to me give a very good guide. One of them is "modesty" and the other one is "moderation." We are living in such a world of extremes, an immoderate and immodest world. That is not our standard. Our standard is modesty and moderation.

I was looking at a photograph once of a bathing beach taken in the last century and all the people looked to be dressed like Old Mother Hubbard, and you go to the beach now and they are dressed more like her cupboard! That's one extreme to the other. We don't want that, that is not God's standard.

We know what the Bible teaches about sisters having long hair. Did you ever ask yourself why? Because the Bible says so, but why? In I Corinthians 11 it says, "Because of the angels." What have angels got to do with you having long hair? It wasn't just something Paul thought up himself. You have this mark of authority of long hair because of the angels. In God's order of creation, He created the angels, and the angels are ministering spirits to those who are heirs of salvation, it's a position of service.

In creation, man or woman is second place. Nothing to do with women's lib, that doesn't come into God's order. The woman submitting to having long hair is the mark of being willing for the open evidence, because of the angels. There were some of the angels who wouldn't accept their place, they rebelled and wanted equal rights and they are reserved in chains. The angels who are watching us today know what happens and we know what happened to them. It is not a good thing for any sister to ever rebel against that because that is a mark of submitting and fitting into God's order. I love to see our sisters, young and old, who have that mark.  I just spoke a little about it at one convention and after the convention a little girl of four years old went to her mother and said, "Mummy, you are naughty, you cut your hair." Not old enough to choose aright, but that little girl knew. "I know Abraham, that he will bring up his children aright."

I was talking to some other little children one day. I said, "Do you say your prayers when you go to bed at night?" "Oh yes." "Do you say them when you get up in the morning?" That's sad. You teach them the way they should go. We value that so much. It's a wonderful thing to see children growing up with a love and respect for the workers and the meetings and you know where it comes from - from committed parents.

Gideon was called "a mighty man of valour." What was he doing? He said, "I am nothing, I am the least in my father's house and I am nobody." The Lord didn't look upon him like that. He was threshing wheat by the winepress, looking after this side of the threshing wheat to get a little bread. You don't thresh wheat by a winepress, you thresh it on the threshing floor, but he knew the enemies were coming, he was keeping it hidden and trying to protect his source of bread. That's something that means a lot amongst us.

In the last great war, there were some bitter battles fought around the world but the place where the bitterest and longest battle was fought and where the war came closest to being lost wasn't in Europe or Africa or in the Far East or in the Pacific, it wasn't the battle of Britain. It was out in the Atlantic Ocean where the enemy nearly cut the supply line. If that had been cut the war would have been lost, and our enemy knows that too, if he can cut the supply line with heaven. If we are not committed to labouring for a little of this bread that is for our souls, the war will be lost. Gideon, the man who thought he was nothing - God saw him as a mighty man of valour, hiding bread from the Midianites and looking after that source. That is still so precious amongst us.

Caleb and Joshua got a wonderful testimony from the Lord when He spoke about them, that "they had a different spirit." I have thought a little of the kind of spirit they had. You think of those two men, they went through 40 years in the wilderness, it wasn't their fault, you never read of them complaining or saying, "Well, if you had listened to us in the first place you wouldn't be stuck herein the wilderness anyway."

No wonder Joshua is the man God chose to lead those people eventually; he kept that spirit right through. Things were difficult and they were not to blame for that. "He that keepeth his spirit is greater than he that taketh a city" and that is something that is so valuable, to know how to keep our spirit. When we come to the end of life, what are we going to give back to the Lord? Just our spirit, nothing else. "Into Thy hands, I commend My spirit." Stephen, when he was dying, said "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," nothing else. Keep our spirit right.

There were some younger characters in the Bible. You don't have to be old before you can mean something to the Lord. The Lord spoke to Samuel when he was just a lad. Joseph was a wonderful young man, I thing he had a wonderful testimony. A number of times it tells us "the Lord was with him." He showed wonderful character in Potiphar’s house. When he was down in the prison he didn't get despondent, and when he was raised up to that place in the kingdom he didn't get proud. It all started off when he was a very young man.

David was another wonderful character when he was still young. It's a wonderful thing to think of God looking down from heaven and God sought for a man after His own heart. He wasn't an old man, he was a man keeping the sheep. As David was out there with the sheep he learnt a sense of responsibility and we like to see our young people growing up with a sense of responsibility towards the Kingdom, towards the little church. David's father knew where he was, he knew that he hadn't gone off wandering and leaving the sheep.

I think it was there when he was away with the sheep where he learnt to play the harp so well that he could calm Saul's spirit the way he did. When things were getting a bit bad he could calm things down. It is good to learn something like that in youth. Then he went out to face Goliath. I don't think that was the first time he had used the sling so that he could land a stone right between the eyes like that. He must have practiced for hours out there to get such straight aim.

Young people who have a good straight aim in life, to really have a right purpose in life, they are so precious. I hope there are some young people here who are thinking about the need in the world. Some years ago, I saw something that always helps me to understand a little more the value of spending a life in the Lord's service. I think it was the second year I was in the work and my older companion was away and I was on my own for a few days and I had a meeting that night and after the gospel meeting the message came that an old lady was dying and would I come. I got on my bicycle and got there at half past 11 at night and went into the room and this old sister was lying there completely unconscious, she didn't know anything.

I spoke to her and there was no reaction at all. Her family was there and her son who lived with her, nobody she knew better. He took her hand and said, "Mother, it's John, do you know me?" His touch and his voice meant absolutely nothing, completely gone. Then he said, "Mother, do you know so-and-so?" He mentioned the names of those two strangers who years before had brought the gospel, and that old lady sat right up in bed and she said, "Yes, I know them" and fell back unconscious on her pillow. When everything else was gone and nothing in life meant anything, still living in her memory was the names of those two strangers who had brought her the only thing that meant anything when she was going from time into eternity. Could there be any better way to spend one's life than telling that wonderful gospel? No better way. I learned something that night I will never forget, that scene as she just fell back there on the pillow, nothing else meant anything, just the names of those two servants of God who brought this wonderful everlasting gospel.

Another thing about David, he understood the value of a lamb enough to risk his life for it. I think that counted with God. The Lord said, "There is joy in heaven over one lost sheep brought home." Sometimes in the gospel, some of the workers in different lands labour a long time before they find one, but just one brought home is enough to affect the atmosphere of heaven and cause rejoicing. A wonderful thing to carry such a gospel.

Daniel and the three Hebrew children purposed, as young men, that they wouldn't take the portion of the king's meat. They stood out to be different, they were not afraid to be different. I love to think about Daniel that day when he was faced with the den of lions. He wasn't like the others. The others were told to go and bow down to an image, but Daniel didn't. He was told - you can't make any supplication or petition to any God or man for 30 days, except to the king. But in Daniel's estimation, a month without prayer was a whole lot more ... than a den of lions. He would rather face a den of lions than face a month without praying to the God of heaven. He didn't mind standing out to be different.

You young folks, don't be afraid to be different from the world. When we are living for Christ in a world that is so un-Christlike, we tend to be different. When you look out in the world and on all that is going on, you see those poor young folks in the world and the way they live and the drugs and the immorality and everything else that is going on. If you are trying to follow that noble youth of Galilee, there is nothing to be ashamed of.

There is a young man over in England and before he left school (he had just professed a few months before) they had to fill in a whole lot of forms answering questions about their views on life and all kinds of things and all these forms went into a computer and then the computer would come up with ideas of employment for them. When the computer came out with the answer for this young man, do you know what it said? I have memorised it. It just said, "There is some factor outside the scope of this system which is having an overriding effect of this young man's choice of career." Even the computer could pick it up that he was different from all the others. And shouldn't it be so. There is something outside the scope of all the systems in this world that should be having an overriding effect on the way we live and act, on your choice of career if you are young, on what you do. We know the system of this world and all its ungodliness and materialism and everything, and I am so grateful, I can't tell you how grateful, that here in this tent there is something outside the scope of the systems of this world and there is something overriding amongst us, there is a spirit, that the world knows nothing about, and that should be in our lives as we go out.

We heard that if the Lord is really dwelling in our hearts we should be the same on Monday as we are when we go to the meeting on Sunday morning, no different. Same standard, not changing things around to be different or look different when we go out into the world, because there is something that is outside the scope of the systems of this world that is having an overriding effect every day. We are trying to see to it that in our lives the evidence that we are purchased by the blood of Christ, the open evidence and the sealed evidence, they are in agreement in one earthen vessel. That is all we have to give to the Lord, just this one earthen vessel, but there should be this evidence that we are bought by the blood of Christ.

Sometimes maybe we have to be checked up a little bit. Sometimes I have to be checked, I have to be told, "Ken, this is not right, you should change all this." Maybe you know in your heart that there are one or two little things you ought to change, YOU know. It is not any human being, or any worker, who asks you to put it right.

But the Lord asks you. When you think it is the One who went to Calvary, Jesus who came from heaven, the One who is living there at God's right hand, who intercedes for me and who has nail prints in His hands. If He says to you, "Wouldn't you just change a little bit of this, couldn't you just come into line for Me?" You aren't going to turn around and say, "No, I'm not going to do that for You". We wouldn't talk to the Lord like that.

We are a purchased possession. We want that sealed evidence in our hearts that there is something outside the scope of the worldly system. We want it for His sake, not for anyone else, but for the One who went to Calvary and shed His blood for us. If we hear His voice in our hearts, we don't want to say no. I know in these conventions the Lord has told me something I have to do. I don't want to say no, I want to go and do it. Can't we all do that? I think we can.