Pahngmo Im - Mudgee Convention, New South Wales, Australia - 2017

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  

In this one verse are seven greatest things:

God:  the greatest being

Love:  the greatest passion

The world:  the greatest creation

Gave His only Son:  the greatest sacrifice

Believes – Faith:  the greatest substance (of things hoped for)

Everlasting life:  the greatest hope

I am glad God planned this way of truth for us in sending His Son.

Genesis 22, Abraham taking his only son to the mountain, the way he took his only son, Isaac, to Mount Moriah and God taking His only Son, Jesus, up to Golgotha are perfect parallel pictures.  Abraham didn’t want to do what God asked him to do in a perfunctory or obligatory way, but he wanted to do it in a thorough and complete way.  Early in the morning, he started doing that and he prepared the wood and I thought, he could easily have thought, "I don’t need to prepare wood, I can collect wood there.  But what if it rained the night before?"  So he prepared the wood beforehand to do what God asked him to do in a complete way.

It took 3 days and in those 3 days, I am sure he kept thinking, "This precious beloved son, I am going to lose him."  It took 3 days, Jesus was in the grave.  In those 3 days, God must have thought, "I have lost My Son."  Abraham took two young men with him - that signifies the 2 by 2 ministry Jesus set up.  Also, when he went up the last stretch of his journey, he laid the wood upon Isaac.  We read that Jesus, in the last stretch of His way to the cross, they laid the tree on the back of Jesus, the same picture.

I am so glad God had planned this way for cleansing our sin.  What if, on the earth, there is barely enough water for us to survive, no water for washing our bodies?  How terrible it would be in our lifetime, no way to wash our bodies.  But more terrible:  What it there is no remedy for cleansing our soul from the lifetime sins we have committed?  The sin does not necessarily mean rape or murder, does it?  I heard that the word sin came from the Latin word to do with archery.  The one who committed sin is the sinner, the arrow that missed the mark they called the sinner.  The target of our life is Jesus.  If, humanly speaking we have a good life, never committed a crime, but if we don’t hit the mark of Jesus, we are a straight arrow, a sinner.

Genesis 49:2,  “Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.”  This is like convention.  God gathers His children before Him and speaks to us.  Some of the things he spoke to his children were very offensive to hear.  Verse 28, “All these are the twelve tribes of Israel and this is it that their father spake unto them, and blessed them; every one according to his blessing, he blessed them.”  If someone else points out our shortcomings, it is a blessing for us, because we can make up for that or complement that.  But if we don’t realize what shortcomings we have, there is no way to complement them.  The hard sayings and offensive words he said to some of his children was their blessing.  Jacob did that because he loved them.  Parents discipline their children because they care for their children.

Verse 3, “Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power.”  Reuben had lots of talents and abilities, but his character, like water, unstable as water, spoilt everything.  One time, I was on the plane from convention to convention.  There was a beautiful golden coloured prairie; to me, it looked endless.  Then I saw, all of a sudden, a crooked black thing showed up.  I wondered what it was.  It was a river and it was so ugly-looking, like a huge snake stretched out.  I have never seen a river that runs straight, because the water always runs the easiest way.  That is our human nature.  

Clem Geue went to Sri Lanka and he gave his life for that land.  When one overseer passed away in Western Australia, they called him to come back to Australia and take that job.  It was difficult for him, because he loved Sri Lanka and wanted to be buried there.  Thinking of the situation in Western Australia, he felt he had to go.  He brought this to Willie Jamieson for advice.  His advice was, "If it is difficult to choose, take the hardest course.  Our human nature wants the easy way, but the Holy Spirit wants us to take the hardest way."  Jesus went straight, He never shunned the cross.

Luke 9:51-53, “And it came to pass, when the time was come that He should be received up, He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face.  And they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him.”  Jesus was a light, He lived like a light, not like water.  Paul, also.  Acts 21:12-13, “And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.  Then Paul answered, 'What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart?  For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.'”  When I leave, what kind of a testimony shall I leave behind me?  I don’t want to leave a testimony like that ugly serpent.

Genesis 49:9, “Judah is a lion's whelp.  From the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?”  The lion is not stirred up by trifles, by the rustling of rats or squirrels, but other beasts invading his territory, he is.  God wants us to be like Judah.  A Lady was a lioness.  She saw our ad about the meetings.  She listened in every meeting.  At the third meeting, said, "I know this is true.  My father is a preacher and my father-in-law is a preacher.  All these years, I have heard the pastor’s sermon and not one thing remains in my mind.  Every message that I heard in three meetings, each remains."  She mentioned references.  We thought she was really listening and next meeting, she said, "To choose this way, I feel like I am in a never-ending swamp.  Please help me to get out of here.The more she showed zeal for the meetings, her husband started to persecute her, beat her, pounded her head against the wall.  She lost consciousness.  He was scared, poured cold water on her face.  She gave everything to him, but when he interfered with her faith, she has stood firm for her faith, risked her life.  She would not back down when it comes to her faith.  Finally, he said to her, “I want to divorce you.”  So he took her to the Court.  On the way, he asked her, “How much compensation do you want?”  Our friend said, “Nothing, it is your idea.  I don’t want a divorce.  I don’t worry about the future, God will provide.”  When he heard that, he was so shocked … when he arrived at the Court to start the process of divorce, he turned his wheel and came home.  His violence was so severe that he left home.  Now, she is living separately with her daughter, baby sitting, she is so happy, without him!  We argue over trifles, things that don’t really matter, but if we become like a lion, we just overlook them.  God wants us to be like lions.

Genesis 49:13, “Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea.  He shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.”  Zebulun, haven of the sea.  Zebulun has the open home.  I love and appreciate your open homes.  Zebulun was dwelling at the sea, haven of ships.  To have an open home, the condition is that the water be deep.  To be a haven for ships, the water must be deep.  If in our heart, the water of life is deep, we can be a good open home.  

Two months after I started in the work, this man, one of the pillars in Korea, married.   They were very poor.   All they had was one small room and a narrow kitchen.   They had to use the public bathroom.   At special meeting time, he said:  “Please send workers to our home”.   One room!    How can we accommodate workers?   “Send brothers or sisters”.   If it is brothers, she sleeps in the kitchen on plywood on the floor.   When the sisters are there, he stretches out in the small kitchen.   We love to go to that home because the water of life is deep in that home.   We appreciate your homes very much, in the world so indifferent, … despised … just like the ships, fighting against the waves, such a welcome and warmth in your homes.  

Zebulun, “his border shall be unto Zidon”.    How large is your border?... the border of your prayer, your interest?    When the caterpillar turns into a butterfly, its activity is greatly expanded.   The caterpillar can creep, but it cannot go far.   After it turns into a butterfly, it can fly over the wide sky so freely.   Before we heard the gospel, we were caterpillars, so self-centred in our thinking, thinking of:  my business … my wife.    After we turned into a butterfly our border was greatly expanded:   praying for those who labour in foreign lands.   The appetite is also changed.   The caterpillar feeds on the leaves, but the butterfly feeds on the honey.

Gen. 49:20, “Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.”  I looked up other parts on Asher:  Deuteronomy 33:24-25, “And of Asher he said, 'Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.  Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.'”  “Let him dip his foot in oil.”  His feet were dipped in oil.  How wonderful if our feet are dipped in the oil of the Holy Spirit, every step guided by the oil of the Holy Spirit.  

Deuteronomy 33:25, “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.”  Shoes iron and brass, … bars of the doors, iron and brass.  I Chronicles 22:3, “And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the joinings; and brass in abundance without weight” … bars of the doors shall be iron and brass.  When the Lord appeared to Abraham, he was sitting in the tent door, watching his door and he would not allow any wrong influence of the world in.  The bars of his door were of iron and brass.  Wonderful, if the door of our heart is made of iron and brass, not allowing any wrong influence into our life and home.  Asher was like that.

Genesis 49:22, “Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall.”  It was so touching when he was revealing himself to his brothers.  He wept bitterly to the brothers who tried to kill him, “Come near to me,” and he wept.  His branches ran over the wall that the brothers built between him and them, the wall of hatred, jealousy, envy.  Because Joseph was planted by a well, his branches ran over the wall.  “It is not you that sent me hither, but God sent me to preserve life.”

Years ago, there was a very severe drought, plants and animals were dying, but there was an old grape vine flourishing and they didn’t know the secret, but in the distance was a hill and a small spring and from there, people drew water.  One day, something was sticking out of the water, the root of the vine reaching out.  Joseph went through many drought experiences and because he was planted by the well, he survived and he Lord was with him.  

I would like to thank you, especially the parents of the workers.  My mother was upset when I left the bank and started in the work.  Early in the morning, she went out and sat watching the bus come home, from the day I started in the work, watching the bus, “My son is coming on this bus” … she was there all day until sunset.  She comes home and soaks her pillow with tears for two weeks.  My brothers were worried she would die.  My mother professed four years later.  “When you left home and started in the work, I thought I had lost my son, but now I have many more sons and daughters and daughters-in-law.”  They were like her son, sons and daughters, with such a care and love for her.  That is why we have a strong bond among workers.  It is your sacrifice, not ours.  Our workers’ place is the most privileged place, but it is a great sacrifice for you parents to have a daughter or son in the work and I want to thank you for all you have done here to make my time very much enjoyed.