Nathan Mccarthy - Williams, Western Australia Convention - 1986

Hymn 283, Romans 6:21, "What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." Fruit comes after a season. Life is a season, and at the end of life, I am going to fit into one of these verses. At season's close, I will either have fruit unto death or fruit unto eternal life. Jesus Christ came to the world, not to build a better religion, not to bring a philosophy or an ideology, no, the Master came to bring salvation to mortal man. We share many benefits on life's journey. This convention is unique in this State, there is not any other gathering in this State that could relate to the good feeling we have in being together. This works without organization. It is the most organized unorganized thing in this world. But Jesus did not shed His blood just to give us a convention. The bread and wine is unique. No gathering could gather without unity of a common doctrine. But these things are all complimentary to salvation, the main issue is salvation.

We hear the words often, "Nothing matters but salvation." These words were written by a man on the brink of eternity. Fruit is not fruit until it is fully developed. In the growth stage, there is the prospect of fruit, there is the potential, but it is not fully developed. We do not take the harvest until the crop is developed. It is not really fruit until then. We could have a garden, and we do not pick the peas until they are ready, we wait till they are developed. We may have a flower garden, and we do not pick the buds. Conventions, meetings, and meditation are to help us to develop, and that is what we have in the second verse. Ye have your fruit unto holiness. God gives the experiences of life that produce natural fruit. It takes all kinds of weather, the winter, the summer. We may have the potential to produce fruit for eternity, but not become fully developed. We may accept the truth, we may believe the truth, but the fruit may not develop. We need to go on unto perfection, to have full growth. We may pick an apple off the tree when it is green, and it is bitter. It is not perfect till it is fully grown.

Hebrews 6, "Wherefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection." We do not disregard the principles. We would not be in this tent today if we did not have the principles of the doctrine of Christ. Noah had the teachings of God, but he also had the ark. When the floods came, there was comfort. That is so today, we could have the teachings, but if we didn't have the ark we would have nothing. When you build a building you do not pull the foundation up, but you build on it. You do not sit on the foundation and say that it is solid, if it was a cold wet day, or a hot sunny day, you do not sit there and say it is a good foundation. We need to leave the principles and go on to perfection, not go through the same things again, that is not necessary.

In Hebrews 5, it tells us of some who had to be taught again, they had not developed, they needed to learn the principles again. Sometimes religious people come to the door, and we respond with the doctrine, and we may win an argument. But it would be far better if we could tell them that we have something far better, God has changed our nature. That would be far more convincing. Hebrews 5, "Ye are become such as have need of milk and not of strong meat. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of youth have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." When we are young, our parents tell us not to touch the fire. We know that parents have to be careful for their children until the child develops so that the child can discern between good and evil. As the child develops into adulthood, it is fully grown and can discern. In God's kingdom, it is a wonderful thing if we can discern between good and evil, to have a conviction, a discernment to know right from wrong. We need to leave the principles and go on unto perfection. This does not mean that we are angelic, ready for a glass case, but there is development. We have known a family who have a child whose body has not developed, the parents do not consider the child to be a burden, but it is. The child cannot discern, and the parents are constantly helping the child. People who develop are not a burden to themselves or others. They have a conviction.

In the parable of sowing seed, there is simple teaching. Jesus did not speak to entertain people, but spoke a message that would go to the heart. After He had spoken, everyone could say, "I can understand that." There is only one way to turn seed into fruit, you must have a seed bed. You could have the best seed bed, but no fruit until there is the process. The seed is the word of God, and it will produce what is eternal to everlasting life. There are some things grown by hydroponics, where they pipe the nutrient to the plant. We had some strawberries grown that way, and they were tasteless. There is nothing like the seed bed of the hearts of people. The thorns grow in the best ground. Years ago, a man bought some virgin land that was covered with thorns, and he considered that if this land could grow that, it could grow better things. It was heavy soil, and the thorns thrived. Jesus spoke of the heart's soil that was choked with cares and riches and pleasures. The seed was there but it struggled against the weeds. The weeds beat it, and brought forth no fruit. There was nothing wrong with the quality of the soil, but the weeds had not been dealt with. We have a definite conviction, we say amen to the message of the gospel, but there could be the danger of the weeds preventing the seed from developing. If Jesus was in the meeting today, He would tell us the same things. It would be wonderful to have Him here on the platform and then I could be sitting down there. He would not speak any profound statement, but He would help us to see the possible, the potential of the seed being sown in a seed bed. Unless we deal with the weeds, we cannot bring forth fruit to perfection. It is possible to have a garden covered with weeds, and it would be a garden or orchard in name only.

One time, a lady was pulling out weeds after the rain, she pulled them out by the roots. The roots had been feeding on the seed bed. She did not pull out just the tops, but pulled them right out. Convention is the best place for us to remove the weeds completely. Here we have the softening influence coming into our hearts, and if we pull the weeds out by the roots, they will not bother us anymore. It will allow the right thing to develop. Jesus speaks of the cares of life being a weed, He does not mean that we should not have a house or farm or work, but putting time into things that have no value. This struggle to win, this competition to reach the top, keeping up with the Joneses, we could struggle and put our energies into the cares of this life, and the things of the kingdom are choked out, bringing forth no fruit. The weed of riches, we have to be practical. We come and stay in your home, this convention could not be here without money. Money is not evil; it is the love of money that is evil. We could strain every nerve to get what we want, not what we need. There is the deceitfulness of riches, and if we are convicted we need to deal with this.

The pleasure of this life is another weed. Recently, a man came to talk with us. His family are not all brought up. He had spent more time in seeking wealth and ambition than in being with his family. He had been counselled in the past, and he said there was no harm in it, and there wasn't any harm in it in one sense. But things have not gone right and now, after many years, he had to say that his values had changed. He realised that there was harm in it. He now has lots of regrets and a past that he cannot alter. The pleasures of this life only satisfy for this life, there is pleasure in the fun, the exciting things, there is no doubt, but when the fun is finished there is no joy. Joy comes through experience, through sacrifice. Then we have the honest and good heart in Matthew 13, who heareth the word and understandeth it. We cannot make any use of it if we do not understand the word. Understanding comes through submission and surrender. We could have all the wisdom of the world, but it is only the person who surrenders their life, who is affected by the spirit of God, that has more understanding of this kingdom. It is not mere knowledge, for these things are hidden from the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes. When there is total submission, then we get understanding, and the seed is in the good ground.

Proverbs 24 speaks of the field of the slothful, all grown over with thorns and weeds. I saw and considered and received a message. This was a vineyard by profession, by name, but there was no fruit. It lacked understanding. Solomon had the same spiritual perception. He had the same understanding as Jesus taught. These things give confirmation that this is a spirit inspired book. The slothful person is more interested in something else. The person who is sitting down is more interested in talking. Real understanding comes from surrender. The field of the slothful was all grown over with thorns and the wall was broken down, no separation. Wonderful when there is the right influence in the home life, because the children are exposed to strong influences at school, at university, at work, but there is no greater place where we can combat the wiles of the devil then having a strong relationship in the home, a strong relationship in the marriage bond, in the family bond.

I was staying in a home once, and the young girl came home and said there were going to do a certain thing at school. The mother did not say yes or no, but she said, "We will see what your father says when he comes home." I listened when he came home and he handled it well. She put her case to her father, and he just said, "We don't do that." He said, "We plan to do something else that day. You will have more pleasure if you come with us." On Saturday they all went off, there was a strong influence in that home. Your home is a vital place, keep it strong. You children are very fortunate, we take a lot for granted, when you come home from school in the afternoon, your mother meets you and gives you something to eat, and the man who comes home at night is your father. There are a lot of insecure people in the world, and it is bringing tragedy for the future. We do not need to be a victim of sin, but we can be victors, servants to God, free from sin. We have the casting vote, whether we are servants to ourself or the world, or whether we are free and bring fruit unto holiness, and the end, eternal life. The funeral service does not take care of eternity.