Peter Doecke - Second Convention, Williams, Western Australia - November, 2005

Hymn 360

My thoughts had been on the message to the churches in Revelation and we heard a little on it this week; and one of the sweetest things we have experienced here very much. The words of the 107 Psalm – there’s just one little verse that appeals and it was really confirmed in the testimonies of most. Verse 20, “He sent His word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” That’s a miracle work that only God can do and we have all proved the dealings of God: and if we haven’t, we’re dead! If we haven’t responded and got joy, we’re dead! A person that doesn’t respond is dead or perhaps unconscious. But this is very positive.

Sometimes you can see things destroying people’s lives and you can’t do much about it. Coming to Convention, and you say, “Where have they been?” just destruction at work. But beautiful to see the changes when you see them coming and to see the beautiful work of God’s work: and you come to the place like Peter and say if it wasn’t for the long-suffering of God, where would we be? He sent and saved us from the things that will destroy. Then the Psalmist pleaded for a response, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men.” And to me and to you – one of the names of Jesus – ‘Wonderful.’ I got a rebuke from one of my companions when he said we use that word too much. Sometimes we stand by our brothers and sisters and we would only spoil it by saying anything. But you don’t spoil it by standing by them. That’s the beauty of Convention: sitting together, standing together – that’s because it’s God’s work. That’s what he has done for me – things I have to do; things I must change.

Verse 22, “And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.” We often say of people out there that don’t know God; have terrible struggles, disasters, no help, and no comfort. Yet people say, “This is life.” We mentioned that ships aren’t designed to stay in the harbour but sail the sea. That’s why He’s sent His word to make us more stable and settled. A few years ago a brother got up and started the meeting off by saying, ”Storms will come. We would be fools in thinking they won’t come,” and it gave me a bit of a shock. But we are going out and the storms will come. Isn’t it beautiful when we can say, “The Master is at the helm,” not like we sang, “Is the Master at the helm?” And He will guide us safely through.

We all do feel the thrill that He sent His word and healed us because His word is life. It’s hard to take it with us but we can take that spirit with us. The outcome was, “Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing,” declare the dying life with rejoicing. Why are we dying? That we might live eternally! I was thinking of these messages to the churches and I’m going to try and not speak on the negative things. When John saw the vision of the living Christ and the Christ that got victory over death and the grave, and showed Himself: as He has these days. It gives us a picture of Him: the Christ that conquered every power and wants to be Lord of our lives.

When John got that beautiful revelation, what he saw was 7 golden candlesticks which were the 7 churches of God; and he saw Jesus in all His beauty in the midst of them. Then we go on to read the special, personal message He had for the churches. When we read of them it can almost be contradictory to think He was in the midst of them. Even though He said to one, “I stand at the door and knock.” He didn’t want to be there. Either let Him in or put Him out: we can have Him out and lose Him. What appealed to me was how He presented Himself to each church, and without a doubt the way He presented Himself was so their needs could be met. Now, how can I express that simply? What does a sheep need if God sees us as a true sheep? What He’s going to send to us is Christ the Good Shepherd. And if He sees us as a fruitful bough He’s going to present Jesus to us as the true vine and the need of pruning to bring forth more fruit with the decreasing of self. Beautiful to think of Jesus presenting Himself to each church in a particular way because of their needs.

He spoke these words, “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write: These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.” I enjoyed thinking of these ways in which Jesus presents Himself. He is the one that holds the 7 angels in His hands – the 7 stars. And we are told the mystery: the stars are the angels of the 7 churches. In thinking of our gathering here: many churches are represented. Just the completeness of Jesus to meet our every need no matter who we are, no matter what our background, no matter what our race – Jesus being able to meet our need. So we have the angels, the ministering spirits sent from God on our behalf. That was one aspect. But the other aspect: the angels are always before the face of the Father pleading our cause, serving for us that we might get the victory. And Jesus presented Himself here: “I am the One that has to do it here.” It gives us an insight to the Intercessor: the One who has walked the path before us, sending forth help – and more than that. He presented Himself as the one who walked in the midst of the 7 golden candlesticks; and we have really felt that these days that Jesus has been right here in the midst.

We aren’t going to tell you what He said to these individual churches but we can look into our own hearts and we have to be surprised at what we make allowances for. Most of us have got a little bit away in the past year, but the drawing spirit of God’s love that drew us in the gospel is here again to draw us back. So there He was, presenting Himself as the One who had all power. When Jesus left His disciples He said, “All power is given unto Me,” then He sent them forth and said, “Lo, I am with you always until the end of the world.” He didn’t give them the power of assertiveness. We feel so dependent on power. We are those that worship God in spirit, as Paul said, “I rejoice in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in the flesh.” That’s the definition of God’s people: worship God in spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and that’s what we are doing right now.

We are rejoicing in Christ Jesus and because of what we see in ourselves, standing in the light of our Saviour. Can we have any confidence in the flesh? No, because it’s let us down too many times. I am not telling you anything else that was said; but to everyone: the beginning and the finishing of the message. Because in this Convention we have the in-between and He’s touched things there that have to change. To some He used the expression, ‘they were admonished before God.’ But not one time did He say to anyone of those people, and we can see how far they had got away, but He told them where they had failed and gave them the remedy. And then the beautiful glimpses of eternity and the reward that was there for those that would let in the Overcomer so that they would be overcomers. Isn’t that a beautiful thing? And we don’t read that word in the Bible anyway.

I have a big concordance and there’s not one mention of the word ‘failure.’ There’s a lot of ‘overcoming’ but not ‘failure.’ He spoke of the things that they failed in, and that’s only right. We would appreciate the mechanic who told us, “Your car’s tyres will blow out if you don’t replace it, because it would end in death, disaster.” We would appreciate that! That’s what He’s talking about here to each church that they would be encouraged and allow Him to work in their hearts; and be prepared to change. Nearly every church had to be told to repent: not all, but 4 of them. Then after He had told them what was wrong – “He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Beautiful to hear what the Spirit said: the message didn’t have our name on it, did it? But the Spirit made sure we heard the message.

Verse 7, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” We know back in the Old Testament in Adam and Eve’s day the tree was there and the sword that guarded the tree. And it seems that these people were set free now in a sense, if they were willing to come under the sword: which is the word of God, and do what the word of God instructed them to do. They had a right and provision for all eternity. Sometimes we do feel sad when we lose our loved ones, especially in the family of God because we feel for one another very much. I was just thinking of that aspect today. We do our best to do all that we should for them, but when we think of God taking them home to His home, His care, His provision and all that He has. It’s a great comfort because God can do much more for them in all eternity than we can. That’s had a great appeal to my heart when we have to say goodbye to them. A wonderful thing to look forward to, isn’t it? The one that’s prepared that for us, is He going to see us lack anything as we go out? Of course not: particularly if we keep Christ in the midst of our lives.

In the 2nd church Smyrna: “These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive.” I have appreciated more the thought of the resurrection morning this year. There was a hymn we used to sing, “Right was the pathway leading to this.” And this is the dying life; not appealing to the flesh at all when God gives us of His spirit. Here He presented Himself, “The first and the last, which was dead, and is alive.” That’s our Saviour: I like that aspect – the first and the last. Paul, writer to the Hebrews – the author and finisher of our faith. I am so grateful for that: I don’t have to look to any man. This gospel that I listened to introduced me to Jesus and the older I get the more its confirmed as I see God’s work among the chosen few. He told them what He knew about them, and then used this expression in overcoming. It appeals very much in spite of what these people may have been. He saw the possibility in every one’s life to be an overcomer, if they would allow Him to work and obey His word because He gives His spirit and that spirit gives us power to become sons and daughters of God.

There’s going to be a resurrection of the just and the unjust. One will be sent into eternal death and the other to eternal life. So here God was speaking to people who understood what it is to die now; and if we overcome and let God control us and do His works, which in turn, we will not be hurt in the second death. Then the 3rd church, “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write: These things saith He which hath the sharp sword with two edges.” We are grateful to Jesus who was the word made flesh and for every word He spoke. It tells us people were amazed at the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth: but to some they weren’t gracious words because they weren’t willing. Maybe we have felt that in this Convention: felt the sword. It’s possible a few people here would have been grateful for the knife, in the natural sense, and it’s removed something from their life that was life-threatening. We are grateful for the sword that deals with things that impede our progress and causes death.

He presented Himself to these people and He had a reason to do it; and I feel grateful and conscious that we have been in touch with the one who has the sword and He deals so kindly but yet so surely, mercy, and truth. Then He spoke to this church after He had used the sword of His word on them. Of course we want to deal with things that God has brought to our attention. He didn’t say, “You are a total failure. No, there are possibilities.” And He can do something about it. God didn’t see us as a failure and He didn’t see Peter a failure. “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna.” We have tasted some of that now: we haven’t seen it but tasted it. The thought of provision: hidden manna speaks of the provision He has made for us.

Then “A new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” Do we want to carry into eternity anything that belongs to this earth? Not at all, and particularly my name. I don’t want to carry it into eternity because it will only glorify self, and we don’t want that possibility. That seemed to be a wonderful promise to people who felt they had failed. Beautiful to think, “I am going to give you a new identity, in that great congregation, in that place you will have a new identity that belongs to the realms that’s being prepared for you.” Sometimes we hear names and we attach a happening, don’t we? But that’s what the blood of Christ is to us: the one that had eyes like a flame of fire. I don’t know too much about any of these definitions, but to what we have experienced. Jesus has been in our midst and putting His finger on things. If you felt that the ‘eyes’ of the Lord has looked right into your heart, your being, knows the intents of our hearts – I am sure we have proved that. And now we say, “I’d better not do that because I know it all had been wrong.” It’s always mingled with love, compassion, mercy and long-suffering and I am sure you have proved that. I have proved it again: the hidden things.

Verse 18, “And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These things saith the Son of God who hath His eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass.” I don’t know what that means but we can be assured again that the foot prints we are following are tried ones; because right was the pathway leading to this. And that’s when we think of the resurrection morning and the fact that He was tried in every aspect. That’s the way He presented Himself to this church that day –with a very poor record. One thing was that there were some in that church that were very faithful. It’s a beautiful expression of the heart of God and Jesus, and how He feels for us. What did He say? Now this is a personal message to just a few in that little church. “I will put upon you none other burden but that which ye have already hold fast till I come.” In other words, “You have been burden-bearers for the truth, you just keep that up.” What a beautiful thing – the feeling heart of God, and we are so grateful for those who bear the burdens. It wasn’t easy and it never will be easy.

Verse 26, “And he that overcometh” again! People that had gone wrong and let terrible things into their hearts and spirits: “Him will I give power over the nations.” We’ll know some victory.

Verse 28, “And I will give him the morning star.” – the dawning of the new day – eternal life – the resurrection of the just! Did He say they were a failure? No! He said there was a possibility. We are only a failure if we don’t allow God to continue to work in our lives as He wants to do. Then the church in Sardis: we read back in Isaiah the promises of Christ coming and the completeness of the Saviour coming and He is our all-in-all. “And unto 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.” So many of us here and all our needs have been met; it speaks of completeness, complete help – the 7 stars, the 7 angels. I just like to think of those 7 spirits. They are available as we let God work in our lives. I will read them through: this is Jesus, the One that wants to walk with us and be in the midst collectively and individually.

The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him. And we have that when we are born again: the spirit of wisdom. The youngest child of God is far wiser than the wisest men in the world. I want to ask God more for wisdom. It’s beautiful when we come before God and we feel we have not been as wise as we should have been. As parents feel – What will we do for our children? If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God. Understanding. We are encouraged to understand what the Spirit of the Lord is: the spirit of counsel, the spirit of might, the spirit of knowledge – that knows God, the spirit with fear of the Lord. And He presented Himself to the church of Sardis; so in Jesus there’s complete provision and complete help.

It’s almost distressing, but maybe there’s a reason when people go and get counsel. But I believe if people get help through the word of God or counsel from the word of God, they shouldn’t need any other counsel. He had to speak to these people and gave them a big job in what He said to them. Then He told them, “If you get over that and you change – He that overcometh shall be clothed in white raiment,” and fine linen is the righteousness of saints. Imagine God offering this to them if they only overcame: you will be covered on the eternal shore, if you overcome, “So you get victory of the things which I have told you of. I will not blot out your name from the book of life; but will confess your name before My Father and before His angels.” Think of Jesus taking our part on the eternal morning, “These are they that trusted in My blood and made Me their all-in-all.” Did He say they were a failure? No! He said, “You have a name that you live, yet you are dead.” Yet He was offering to them – to him that overcometh……..

We sang that hymn, “A little while to bear the cross,” and as we get older we realise how little that little while is: yet how slack we get. Then the next church He presented Himself as the one who had the key – verse 7, “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith He that is holy, He that is true, He that hath the key of David, He that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth.” Haven’t we felt that the holiness of Jesus, the purity of His word has cleansed us these days? A beautiful picture of God’s people: that’s what truth is, and we belong to the TRUTH (capitalised). Every promise God has made to mortal man, we experience it: we have access into the house because Jesus has become our Lord, our Saviour and our friend. A beautiful thing; and to those people He spoke to encourage them.

Then He told them what will happen – verse 12, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God, and I will write upon him My new name.” They belonged there and we’ve heard about people – Abraham – they were pilgrims because they sought for a city whose builder and maker is God. They belonged there. God has given us a vision again of the city and of the family we belong to and the God we belong to. And here He was saying, “You belong to me, and you are going to belong to My God and I will write upon him My new name.” We have all felt the sense of belonging. Isn’t it going to be a wonderful day if we overcome?

Now the last message, which is one we would rather not read about but they are people just like us. But He introduced Himself that He was the faithful and true witness: He wasn’t going to say anything about His Father or His kingdom, but wonderful to think of Jesus and how He has been presented to us these days. Yes, He was made flesh and dwelt amongst us. We can say that because we have been with Him, seen Him, and felt the effect of His word. But with these people He had to say, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with Me.” He didn’t say they were a failure. Then “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Beautiful to think of Jesus speaking to them like that and holding out that beautiful promise – eternal fellowship, eternal provision – he that overcometh will sit with Me on My throne.

“I go to prepare a place for you.” His desire was that “Where I am, there ye may be also. And the glory which was with the Father…” Along that line that we may behold His glory in the eternal future. With our limited capacity we love everything about Jesus: even the little children are going to hear about Jesus. We love Him for what He was and what He loved. We can’t grasp it of course but He came into this sin cursed world to be the One with your spot upon Him; smitten, carried our grief; and the One upon whose head the crown of thorns was driven, for us. One day, if we allow Him to be the overcomer in our life, we are going to be where He is: see what He left and the glory of it, the wonder of it. And we are going to love Him more than we’ve ever loved Him before.

Jesus didn’t tell them they were a failure but where they had failed and gave them a glimpse out into the future of the wonder of their calling. May God help us just to submit to Him each day: we only have to walk one step and one day at a time. And in that day if we let Him be the Lord of our life we will get the victory. There’s no thought other than that: to him that overcometh………..My grace is sufficient for thee. May God help us.

 

Convention closed with Hymn 297