Morris Grovum - Visiting Worker - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Convention - Saturday 2019

II Corinthians 8:9, “For we know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes, He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.” Convention is a time of renewing, and reflecting on the past. An old worker explained about convention being as a jigsaw. The first day, God gets all the pieces, and on the second day, God lays them all out, on the third day, God replaces what needs to be replaced, and fixes what needs fixing, and on the fourth day, puts them together and send us home rejoicing. I hope that is what convention means to all of us. One student said the highlight of her year was convention, and the highlight of her week was the Sunday morning meeting, and the highlight of the day was when she was praying and meditating on the word of God. I hope this convention will be the highlight of the year. The world makes the year from first of January to 31st of December, and I would hope that God’s people would measure a year, from convention time to convention time. After Convention is a beginning of a new year for us, as we are revived and renewed.

Today, I would like to give you a little lesson on spiritual accounting. In one of my high school years, I took a course in accounting. One thing I remembered from that was that an accountant puts two statements together, one being profit and loss and the other is the balance sheet. The profit and loss statement tells a business how well they have done for the year, and the balance sheet tells how well they have done since they started business. Before the computer age, there is generally a couple days of the year when a business puts up a sign on the door and say they are closed. They would spend two days and see how their profit and loss statement looked like and their balance sheet looked like. At convention, we would want to put up a sign on the door that we were closed. In other words, we want to shut out the world or leave the world behind and we want to shut out the cares of life for these days and have a look how we have gone in the last year, and how we have progressed since we said, "Yes" to God. As a result of that, we can do some changes and we can see how we can grow in God’s way. Getting to the profit and loss statement and seeing how we went in the last year.

There are two sides to a profit and loss statement. On one side is the business income and on the other side is the expenses. The difference between income and expenses, and that is your profit for the year. Everyone would want to make money for the last year and sometimes, the expenses are greater than the income, therefore it means there was a loss. One thing I would like to emphasise today is that, just because you have lost money in this last year, and you may have gone backwards in this last year, that does not mean to say you are bankrupt. You can still be rich, and your balance sheet looks good. You may have heard about the husband  and wife. There were birds singing outside. The husband said, "Do you hear that bird? That bird is saying, 'End it, end it.'" The wife said, "No, the bird is saying, 'Mend it, mend it.'" Satan would like to tell us today to end it, but God is telling us to mend it.

The other side of our profit and loss sheet is what we do to please God. The other side of our profit and loss sheet would be things we have done to displease God, and that would be sin. When we please God, some of the reward will come now and some will come in eternity. I liked what Jesus said about laying up treasure in heaven. One time before a funeral, I got thinking, "This man that has passed away. He is like another treasure in heaven because so many people love him. When he arrives in heaven, he will be like a brother to them, a real treasure.'" We can lay up treasures in heaven, and treasure by loving our brother. When one dies, we have another treasure in heaven.

There is a reward for faithfulness for responding to the voice of God and following the dealings of the spirit of God. I am thinking of a young man and he was one of four children that was adopted from Haiti. This young man, the oldest boy is a real footballer, really loves football and is very good. This boy did very well with his football. They have the National football league in the United States, and they have the scouts that come to Canada and they watch the young people playing football. If they see a very good one, label for them to go to the United States and play football and do their schooling there. They saw this young man playing and they knew he could really play football. They approached him after the game and asked him if he ever thought of playing for the NFL. He said, "There is no chance, as you people play football on Wednesday and Sunday." They said, "We may be able to adjust things a little." This young man said there was no chance. He said, "I must have time to read and pray," and he was taking a stand. He will be very much rewarded for that, and what a wonderful testimony. They just went away and left him.

On the other side of the profit and loss statement, and this matter of displeasing God is sin. We make a mistake and the way to recover from that is repentance. I like the Chinese character for repentance. It means sorry for sin, and I want the help of God to change, and that really is true repentance. That doesn’t mean to say sin doesn’t have any consequences. Say you and I have a little tiff about something, and I kick you in the shins. Then I think about that and I get down on my knees and say, "Sorry and I won’t do that again." As a means to say he will forgive me, no, he will take a little while to trust me, and that I won’t kick him again, that is a consequence of sin. It takes a little while for the consequences to go way.

Then there is the guilt of sin. The guilt of sin does not disappear immediately. When we pray for forgiveness and we are truly repentant, and the blood of Christ will wash away that sin, and we won’t feel the guilt of sin anymore. At the end of the year, we have looked after our sin, through true repentance, and the right side of our ledger, the things that displease God, and they can be wiped out. Then our profit and loss statement will look good for the year.

We may have come to convention feeling we have gone backwards, and not forwards. There is every possibility that we can overcome our mistakes. There is one thing we can all learn from our failures. There was a sign on a wall, the mistakes we make, and we gain experience. So the mistakes we made last year can be good experiences for us - I am not going to get into the trap again, I will be smarter next year. That statement is worth something.

What could be the cause of some of our failures and mistakes? Maybe we have made a mistake in the past and we have taken some wrong advice, and have taken this along the wrong road, and we got tricked. The devil will trick us into something we should not have done, and we get robbed. The church in Revelations lost their first love, and they got robbed. We have to be very careful where I labour, and we call our meetings classes. One day, I was on my way to a class and I parked my motorbike and went into a pharmacy. I turned around, in 30 seconds later, my bike was stolen. I was robbed. It was my fault because I left the key in the ignition. May be this last year we have had something stolen from us and we can all fall into the trap of sin. In time, we can recover.

Now, we will go on to the balance sheet. One time, I opened my Bible to II Corinthians and read chapters 3, 4, and 5. It appealed to me to see all of things that God’s people have. God’s people are really rich. Most of God’s people are rich, and they don’t know it. Some are bankrupt and they don’t know it. The five foolish virgins, I feel were bankrupt, and they did not realise it, but they were still going on. Revelations 2:9, “I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, but thou art rich, and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” This little church thought they were poor, but in God’s sight, they were rich.

Revelations 3:1-2, “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; these things saith He that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead. Be watchful, and straighten the things which remain, that are ready to die; for I have not found by works perfect before God.” It seems like there were a few in the church that were faithful, but there was a few that were not. There was a few that were dead, and had not lay down yet. They were dead spiritually, and bankrupt, and did not know it. Perhaps they were still coming to meetings, and they were bankrupt, and did not know it. They had no spirit or anything of God. Most of God’s people are rich, and don’t realise how rich they are.

The other side of your sheet is like the assets. The assets are what the business owns and the other side of the ledger is what they owe. When you take away what you owe from what you own, that is your net worth. That tells a business how well they have done since starting in business.

I would like to concentrate a little while on what God’s people have. II Corinthians 3:12, “Seeing than that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech.” So God’s people have hope, wonderful hope. This world is getting more unstable the whole time and in the midst of it all, it is a wonderful thing to have this hope. Whatever happens someday, the Lord is going to return, and take His people from the earth. We don’t have to worry about what is happening on earth, because we have this wonderful hope. What is this wonderful hope that God’s people have?

I John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” Now that is a wonderful hope and the day is coming when we would see Jesus as He is. One day, we will see the Lord and He will see us as we are. We shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is. We sang a hymn, "We Would See Jesus." We see Jesus in the life of our brothers and sisters. So Christ is in the earth today in the life of His people and we see His spirit. I liked what a friend said at a funeral of a dear sister who passed away. This friend’s daughter was living here in Australia. This lady said she never saw this sister’s human nature, all she saw was the spirit of Christ. She said, "I never knew this sister very well, but I knew the spirit that was living in her life." That is really a wonderful testimony.

I Corinthians 13:12-13, “For now we see through a glass, darkly but then face to face, now I know in part but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now I abideth faith, hope, charity, these three, but the greatest of these is charity.” It will be a wonderful thing when we see the Lord, face to face, and none of us will know when that will be. Why is charity the greatest of the three? When people die, there will be in no more hope or faith anymore. There will be reality, the charity will live on for over.

In Hebrews, it speaks about hope being the anchor of our soul. One old friend who had a terminal illness and this old friend had a phone beside his bed, and asked how he was, and he just said, "The anchor is holding." Because of the living hope he had, the anchor was holding, he had no fear of the future. When we have the living hope, we do not have to fear death. There was a funeral, and the undertaker told the workers, "Your people are different from any other people I know. Your people are the only ones when they look in a casket, they look with envy." When an old sister worker passed away, and when I looked down into the casket, I thought, "Lucky you." I thought, "You have made it." With living hope, we have nothing to fear in the future.

II Corinthians 4:1, “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not.” We have this ministry. Supposing I was staying in your home and we went for a walk, and we ran into one of your colleagues from work, and you introduced me to them, what would you say? Would you say, "I would like you to meet a minister from Canada," or would you say, "I like you to meet one of my ministers?" I would hope you would say, "I want you to meet one of my ministers." We can say that anywhere in the world. Every worker around the world, you could call them, "My minister." It is wonderful when we can call God's servants, "My minister."

Verse 7, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not us.” As God’s people, you have a treasure in your house. One mission, I was trying to speak about the parable of the treasure hid in the field. I said to the children for them to go home, and find all the treasures that they love in the hymn book. The next week, I asked if they had found any treasures in their hymn book, and there was hands up all over the place. It is a good thing to ask ourselves what precious things we have as our treasure. God would like to add more things to our treasures at this convention.

Verse 13, “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed and therefore have I spoken; we also believe and therefore speak.” It is a good thing when you can go all over the world and find the same spirit and the same faith. Some years ago, I was in Europe for some conventions and I wondered if it would be the same spirit here. I very was thankful I found the same spirit amongst God’s servants, and God’s children. That is what identifies God’s people today, the spirit of Christ within them. When we listen to the gospel and we receive the gospel and then you are invited to the meeting and when you go to the meetings, is more or less like a passport. Naturally, if you want a visa for a particular country, you get it for the country and if you want to go to another country, you will need a different visa. The visa for God’s children is having the spirit of Jesus. We can have a passport and going to the meetings and taking part and if we don’t have the spirit of Jesus, we will never get past the door of Heaven. That is the purpose of going to convention and to meetings, to have more of the spirit of Jesus. I like what Jesus said when He came to His last, "Father, into Thy hands, I commend My Spirit," and Jesus felt good about the spirit He was giving back to God. It would be a wonderful thing when we come to the end of life and we would feel good about the spirit we are giving back to God.

Paul said to have the same spirit of faith. There are a lot of things we can talk about what faith does. Having faith is like having a telescope - it brings the things of God nearer and makes it clear. Faith makes the unseen things real. People can get a lot of wealth in their lifetime and when they die, it gets taken from their hand. My brother and I grew up on a farm and neighbour decided to stay home and work on the farm and is a couple years younger than myself. When I was home a couple years ago, he was farming 30 square miles of land. I always visited him when I went home. On the last visit, he said, "The whole world is falling apart."  I said to him, "One thing that is not falling apart is the kingdom of God." He said, "I think it is." I said, "No way." Six months ago, he was put in the grave. Everything he had left behind.

Faith makes the unseen real, and the unseen for God’s people becomes more real. These precious things of the Kingdom that are unseen, towards the end of life they become seen. One man was so poor, all he had was money. Faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible, and does the impossible and that is true. Things for God’s children would be impossible without living faith.

All these things are assets. Corinthians 5:1, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle was dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” One thing we read here, this body of ours is very temporary. Our soul is inside our tent for our building. When I look at you, I do not see the soul, all I see is the tent. I don’t see the real you and you don’t see the real me. Suppose you’re asked to deliver a letter to someone in a house. You hear footsteps in the house and you know there is someone inside. You don’t know if they’re pleasant or ugly until you knock on the door. They may invite you in for a cup of tea and you get a little feel for their personality. The essence of Christianity is the personality of our soul. We become like Jesus so at the end of our life, our spirit and our soul will go back to God, and there will be an open door to Heaven.

When you think of this building, you would think of a home. I don’t think there will be a building for each one of God’s people in eternity. There will be provision for those who die. One day when the Lord comes back, there will be the resurrection and that is when every one of God’s people will get a body. It is very good to remember this tent is a very temporary thing. It could be folded up anytime, and that is another wonderful asset. You can make a long list of assets - we have a Father, an elder brother, forgiveness, brothers and sisters and parents. You think of your neighbour and your relatives who do not serve God, how many assets do they have. God’s people are very rich.

We will go to the other side and look at what we owe. We owe our lives to God. Paul said your life is not your own. That is one thing we find out when we listen to the gospel. Some people say, "This is my life and I can do what I want." We can live our lives as we want but it is not our home and it is not our own. When we realise that our life belongs to God, that is when the struggle begins. When we listen to the gospel, we see we have to give it back to the rightful owner. Giving our life back to God, we can give it back in instalments. Giving it back every day. When we pray, we can say, "I want to put my life in Your hand for one more day and leave it there."

Maybe we owe someone an apology and that is not easy. Sometimes we ask the young ones what is the most difficult word to say in the English language. "I am sorry, please, forgive me." They are very hard words to say, no matter what language. They are easier to say with the tongue, but difficult with the heart. It is wonderful when those words can be genuine.

You know the story about the king who forgave his servant and maybe $1 million. This servant went out and had a friend who owed him $100, and put him in prison and said, "You stay there till you can pay." Very unfair and unreasonable. How is he going to pay when he is in prison? When the king heard about this, he said, "You are a wicked servant, you should have had compassion on your friend, as I had on you." Then the king made him pay all that was due to him. Jesus said, "God will forgive you if you forgive your brother," that is very serious. If we die with unforgiveness in our hearts towards a brother or a sister, that would wipe out all our assets totally, we would die bankrupt and that would be a terrible thing. God has forgiven us all so much. If a brother or a sister did something very small against us and if we couldn’t forgive them and Jesus said, "We would never have forgiveness ourselves." I hope none of us would ever fall into that trap. Sometimes, the devil tells us they don’t deserve forgiveness. That is not true.

Jesus said on the cross, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." They did totally wrong and Jesus said, "Father, forgive them." They did not understand what they were doing. I hope these things make us realise we are all very rich. If we feel we have gone backwards and we are bankrupt, we must realise we are still rich. The mistakes we made last year and we gain some experience from them. May God help us all. Amen.