Lyle Schultz - Williams I, Australia Convention - 2009

Hymn 266


When I was a little boy, we did a project on Australia and we learned quite a bit about your country but I have forgotten most of it now, but from that time on, it has been my desire to visit this country, particularly when I went to India and I worked side by side with many of your workers.


We have been singing about the sweet words of Jesus that are eternal and true. This afternoon, I would like to lead you through a little study, or maybe I should say a big study, of the words of Jesus.. In the Old Testament days, there were some words that were unique and were in a class all by themselves, and those were the words that were written on those tables of stone. No other words in all the world are in this class because they were written with the finger of God and held in very high esteem. Then Jesus came and the words that He spoke were even more precious really, than those words that were written on that stone. It was a miracle that God was able to write on those tables of stone, but a far, far greater miracle how the Son of God came to this world and lived a sinless life before us and spoke to us...not one word of Himself or from Himself, but all the things that came from the Heavenly Father. So it’s good for us to understand how precious the words of Jesus are. Before we start into this study, I wanted to mention a few things that are written in the gospels about the words of Jesus. We are going to study some of the first seven messages that Jesus spoke that are recorded in the Bible. But before we do that, I wanted to mention one or two things.


My thoughts went to the 4th chapter of Luke’s gospel, and you remember that story when Jesus went back to His hometown and they gave Him the book and He spoke to the people. Verse 22, “And all bare Him witness and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth; and they said, 'Is not this Joseph’s son?'” The words of Jesus are gracious words. Maybe we should have said before that they are true words. Every word that proceeded out of the mouth of Jesus was 100% absolutely true. Remember when He stood before Pilate and was questioned, and He said, “For this cause was I born and to this end came I into the world.” 100% and absolutely true! And you know sometimes the truth is not easy for us to accept, especially when it’s about ourselves. It’s not hard to accept the truth about the condition of the world, but when it comes to our own condition, sometimes it’s not easy for us to accept. But the words of Jesus are gracious words and He spoke them and speaks them even now to make them as easy as possible for us to accept.

Chapter 4:32, by this time He had gone to Capernaum , “And they were astonished at His doctrine for His word was with power.” The words of Jesus are true words, gracious words and they are powerful words. There was an authority, a power that comes with the words of Jesus that should make every one of us sit up and take notice. There were two things that made them powerful words and one was that He was speaking with the full authority of His Heavenly Father behind Him. Never once did He express His own opinion or own thoughts, but He was speaking with the authority of God and that made His words powerful words. And there’s another thing: it was His life that backed up every word He spoke. Never once did He ask someone else to do something that He himself hadn’t been willing to do. You know when you are writing something and there’s a part you want to particularly emphasize, you just make a line, but you don’t have to go far off the mark and the line you were trying to emphasize strikes it out. If we get a little off line, it can take the authority and power away from anything that we say. The words of Jesus were underlined by His life. When Jesus went to Mary and Martha’s home He said, “Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful and Mary has chosen that good part.” And what was it? It was to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His words. The words of Jesus are words that we desperately need to guide us.


I was thinking of a verse in Jeremiah which most are familiar with, “It isn’t in man that walketh to direct his own steps aright.” It’s just not in us. I got lost one time. I was walking to one of our friend’s home where the road takes you the long round about way. I thought in my mind I could cut straight across through those trees and I walked and walked and walked. Finally I came to a little town and there was something very familiar but I couldn’t figure out what it was until finally it dawned on me I had got back to the place I had started and had gone in a complete circle. I read a story, and I wished I had written down the particulars more carefully, but I read about a little bird that’s in Alaska and also in New Zealand .. They wondered how that little bird got from Alaska to New Zealand , so they tracked it. They found that little bird made a non-stop flight from Alaska to New Zealand. Over 8 days, 8 nights, no compass, sometimes cloudy weather, no land markings, nothing to keep it in line, but it went straight to its destination. God put that into that little bird. And Jeremiah said, “It’s not in man to direct his own steps aright.” Even though it might seem to us what we think is so perfect, we will end up like I did that day - going round in one big circle. We need the guidance of God’s Spirit and the words of Jesus to keep us going in the right direction.


There’s another verse, Luke 21:33, “Heaven and earth shall pass away but My words shall not pass away.” The words of Jesus are eternal. Jesus said there’s a day coming when the heaven and the earth shall pass away; everything that’s in the earth shall pass away, but His words will stand. That’s why any person who makes their choice is building and choosing on a very sound, solid foundation and you will never be disappointed if you make choices based on the words of Jesus. They are true, powerful, needful, and eternal. We read in the 6th chapter of John’s gospel where many people got offended by His words and said, “'This is a hard saying; who can listen and accept this?' And from that time many walked no more with him.” And Jesus turned to His 12 and said, “Will you also go?” That day Peter was the spokesman and he answered, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” Peter heard the very same words that those other people heard and while those others were turning away those 12 continued with Him. They knew there was no other place to go to hear words like that.... eternal words, living words that can bring and create life in the heart of a man or woman that accepts those words. Quite often at Easter time, people study and think about the last seven words or the last message He gave from the cross that are meaningful words.


My thoughts turned to the life and ministry of Jesus in thinking about the first seven messages that we have recorded in the Bible and spoken by Jesus. The first was when He was 12 years old and that’s recorded in Luke’s gospel 2nd chapter. You know that story that they had gone to Jerusalem for the feast and Jesus had stayed back. His parents hadn’t realized that Jesus wasn’t with them and they had to go back to look for Him. They finally found Him, and His mother scolded Him and He said, “Didn’t you know that I must be about My Father’s business?” We were in Madras (India) when a young mother came to the meeting. I don’t know how old her baby was, but she was thrilled to tell us that their baby had spoken its first words, and that was a big event for that mother. We know Jesus spoke many words, but these are the first recorded words of Jesus. And I think of His Heavenly Father looking down from heaven and being very pleased to hear those words coming from the lips of His Son, “I must be about My Father’s business.”


The first 5 messages Jesus spoke weren’t for the purpose of teaching them but declaring some of the guiding principles of His own life. This is the first one, “I must be about My Father’s business.” What’s the Heavenly Father’s business? To me, there are two branches to that business. One is saving lost souls: that’s one of the branches of His business and the other is helping, encouraging, feeding those that are found. There’s no business in the world that God is more interested in than the two branches of that business: finding and saving souls and feeding and encouraging those that have already been found. And here was Jesus at that early age of 12 with this burning desire and declaring those guiding principles for His life that He must be about His Heavenly Father’s business.


I’m going to tell you a story. I know it well because it’s about my own brother’s son, but he’s not little any more. When he was quite small, going to school, his parents put the right thing before him. One thing was that before they went to school, they always found time to have a little Bible study with the children before they sent them off. Well, this particular day they read from Matthew 7:13 where Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life and few there be that find it.” Mother and Dad spoke to those boys and when they’d finished little Stevie said, “I have a lot to do.” “What do you mean?” they asked. Stevie replied, “If what you have told us is true, every one of my teachers and my mates are in that broad way and I have a lot of work to do.” Well, I don’t know how he went about his work but I know he befriended one of his mates and brought him home and that little boy got to be in the little meeting because he went with them. Then when the next weekend came around, the mother of that little lad phoned and said, “My little son enjoyed that meeting very much and would it be possible for you to pick him up?” Of course, they were very happy. Then a few weeks later, she phoned again and said, “My little boy said that anyone was welcome to come along. Does that mean we can come, too?” And they were given the opportunity. So finally they tested the meeting and that little boy stood up and his Mum and Dad were at the back. They said it was very touching to see his Mum and Dad put their arm around little Stevie and then they put their arms around their little boy. Little Stevie got a taste of what it was like to be about his Heavenly Father’s business. He was going to be a pilot and he trained for that. But then he worked in a mine and was going to make more money, but he found working in the mine wasn’t so satisfying so he made an offer for this work. And if you feel in your heart God has been speaking to you of fully giving yourself in the Lord’s business, I hope you will understand that what has been offered to you is the most satisfying and fulfilling future that you could possibly have. So whether we are going to be in the work or not, there’s plenty to do in feeding, encouraging, helping, reaching out to those who are lost.  Like that hymn says, “Paths of usefulness surround you – Need for every hand. All our talents and our efforts, Ripened fields demand.”


I’m not sure this is chronologically correct but we will go to the beginning of Matthew’s gospel to some of the next messages Jesus spoke in chapter 3. This is telling of the time when Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized of him and John was hesitant when he understood who Jesus was. Jesus said in verse 15, “Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then the second message that Jesus gave, He was talking to John, not preaching at him, but declaring another guiding principle of His own life, "to fulfill all righteousness." Remember there was a time when Jesus spoke words like this, “Don’t think I came to destroy the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them.” That was the only way that the old law could be put out of the way, that was if it be totally and completely fulfilled. That was the reason Jesus came and fulfilled it completely in every detail. I don’t know if you have thought how much that would have cost Him and what a tremendous task that was as He would look at it at the beginning of His ministry.


I like to tell about two little things about the law and the prophets that He had to fulfill. One was in the book of Exodus where we read about the daily burnt offering of the Old Testament. There were many sacrifices and offerings that were spoken of that were to be offered on different occasions for different purposes, but there was this one that was to be constant, every morning and every evening, 7 days of every week, 365 days of every year. No matter what other sacrifices were being offered, they were never left out: morning and evening, every day. That teaches me a little of how Jesus lived before the day He gave His life on Calvary. Every morning, He put His life on God’s altar and kept it there. Every morning, all through the day, nothing could change that. It was a top priority to Him and it made it possible for His sacrifice on Calvary to be accepted by God as a remission for our sins. So it wasn’t an easy thing for Him to fulfill all righteousness. When it came to being baptized, we have heard it wasn’t necessary for Him to be baptized for that to make Him God’s child, because He already was, but it was to fulfill all righteousness. That was the purpose in His heart and it behooves us to do everything that’s right.


Some of you would know Reg Stratford who was the elder of our staff for many years. One day, a religious scholar approached him and confronted him with some difficult questions on the Book of Revelation, and one of the questions was this number 666. It’s in the 13th chapter of Revelation and it’s spoken of as the number of the beast. So this man wanted to know, “What do you think of the meaning of that 666?” And our brother said, “Seven is the perfect number, and that’s God’s number. There are 7 days in our week, 7 colors in the rainbow, and 7 notes in an octave of music. Only after you live the full 7 days have you lived a perfect full week. And after you have seen all the colors you can say I have seen a perfect rainbow.” So God’s number is 777; everything perfect just as it ought to be. And the devil’s number is 666. He tried so hard to get it to look perfect, just right, but there was always something missing; something vital missing. So with Jesus, right from the day He started it was 777. I wondered if we could make that our guiding principle, too. It behooves us as God’s children and God’s servants to fulfill all righteousness.


The next thing we read about is when Jesus was going into the wilderness and being tempted by the devil. The devil tempted Him, and three times Jesus had an answer, and we find more of the guiding principles of His life. I don’t have time to talk about that but remember, the devil took Him up into the high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and said, “If You will just fall down and worship me, all this can be Yours.” Remember Jesus’ answer, “It is written thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve.” And He turned away from that temptation. I tried to picture that day; Jesus saw and understood something. One thing was this: the person that’s talking to me is a liar and promising this to me. He has been a liar from the beginning and I cannot depend on one thing he says. The second thing was: every kingdom I am looking on now with all its glory, is only for a little while. Someday, it’s all going to lie in dust and ashes. The third thing was that God has made some wonderful promises to me and God, who cannot lie, has a kingdom that will never pass away, and is forever.

Someday, go to the next chapter and read of the time Jesus took His disciples up into the mountain. When He got up there He didn’t bother to show them the kingdoms of this world and all their glory but He started to teach them, “Blessed are the poor of the kingdom.” I am sure Jesus knew this: “Just like the devil took Me up and tempted Me, he is going to do the same thing with My disciples and if I can give them a picture of God’s kingdom, it won’t appeal to them at all." I’m sure as He takes us up and teaches us, that every one of us will get that same vision that will enable us to stand against the world and the temptations of the devil and whereby it might inspire you to put some effort into studying it for yourself.