Ralph Joll - Glencoe - Sunday Morning Meeting, 2009

It has been good to hear your testimonies. There is always that need of being honest before God. Honesty is something that cannot be bought and it is precious. To be honest with ourselves in all we do and say, it is quite a thing. When we look into it and look into the life of Jesus, He is righteousness. In all that He did and said before His Father, He was honest before the world and before His Father and He is our example.

I enjoyed so much what Peter was telling us yesterday, the very thoughts I had in my own mind from Corinthians, about the matter of taking the bread and wine worthily, as he explained. In all our meetings, no matter how big or small, we should approach with the same reverence, no matter what the size of the meetings are. I am always glad to see our Friends gathering with such reverence. Some gathered half an hour before the meeting with their children. The children learned to be still. It is good training for the children. It was the joy they had in their heart, on the Sunday and at the weeknight meeting, too. It was always touching to see them so early and quiet. It is something that is well-pleasing to God.

Psalm 116:12-15, “What shall I render unto the LORD for all His benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all His people. Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.” “What shall I render to the LORD for all His benefits ...?” What can I do more? The efforts we have put into doing what we know to be right, we can do more and more. We will never get to the place where we are satisfied we have done all we can do.

Verse 13, “I will pay my vows...” “I will be willing for all it means to do what is right in the sight of God, whatever it means to have this hope of salvation.” We are going to have to call upon the Lord for His help. We are not saved yet, we have this hope of salvation. We need to hold fast and make sure nothing will rob us of this hope of salvation. We have vowed to be true and if we are not being true, the first ones to notice will be our brethren. Others can see more quickly than we. We want to be honest before God. That is what it means to worship God.

This matter of being righteous is not any matter of ability, but being true to Him in all we do and say. Remember that He is listening and He is looking upon all. It is not a matter of praying a little and reading the Bible and forgetting. What we do to begin the day helps us in our worship. We go forth to put it into practice.

When I started to serve God, I found work boring, but then I found, “I can take pleasure in it, because I am doing it unto the Lord,” and then I could do it better. If we do what we do as unto the Lord, we will be diligent. That is what makes us lights of the world because we are doing all things to the best of our ability. This is something that attracts others to want to know why we are like that, and they can also see that we have a faith.

Verse 15, “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.” Jesus emptied Himself to do the Father’s will and we need to empty ourselves to do the Father’s will, and that is death to this old human nature and all its desires.“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.” Dying in faith is precious in His sight.

When He looks out on His people emptying themselves every day, it is “Precious in the sight of the LORD.” Precious are His people, willing to die to self and all its wants and desires.

It is very important how we come into the meeting, more than our words. If we come, having something against a Brother or Sister, there is not the Spirit in the words we speak; there is something lacking. If we have anything against a Brother, it says, leave thy gift and go out and make it right before the Sister or Brother. Set each other free. All we would say is not going to be right unless we have set each other free. The Lord won’t bless it.

One person in a meeting prayed a long time, seven minutes. In public our prayer should be short. Long prayers are for the secret place. It is like we are praying to be heard of men. If we are praying to be heard of God, our prayers will be short and mean something. We must remember God will come for our words. We must practise what we preach. That helps us all to be very careful in what we do and say. It is before the Lord.

John 13:1-2 and 4-5, “Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him; He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded.”

That meeting should have been, and would have been, a very searching meeting as time went on. There was one in that meeting who was not, and did not, search himself at that time, and at the time of that supper there was a searching.

Jesus said, “One of you shall betray Me.” The disciples said, “Is it I?” Judas spoke up and said, “Is it I?” copying the others. He knew he was going to betray Him. If Peter had known Judas was going to betray his Master, he had a sword. Have you ever prayed for the Lord to save you from yourself? Sometimes, the devil is wrongly accused. Sometimes it’s the old man. We have to be very busy to empty ourselves so the new man can take over. When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He was giving them a lesson; it humbled those whose feet were being washed. It humbles us all.

Peter said, “Dost Thou wash my feet?” Verses 7-8, “Jesus answered and said unto him, 'What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.' Peter saith unto him, 'Thou shalt never wash my feet.' Jesus answered him, 'If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.'” If it was pride holding him back, it didn’t take long for him to empty himself, humble himself and do whatever the Lord said. Peter knew who He was and now, here He was, taking the form of a servant, washing his feet.

He didn’t take long to allow this to be done. John 13:9, “Simon Peter saith unto him, 'Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.'” “I will be willing for anything that I would have part in thee.” John the Baptist said, “I have need to be baptized of Thee.” He emptied himself. Sometimes, it is very difficult for us to accept what has been done for us when we think of our unworthiness. Every lesson was well learnt by Peter.

John 13:15-17, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, 'The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.'” Also, He was teaching them, “There is one here amongst you who is not clean, Judas.” There was something in his heart that was defiling Judas. Jesus was teaching His disciples to wash each other’s feet, to forgive each other, to set each other free. Humble yourselves because, “I have given you an example.”

One time Paul rebuked Peter for something he had done or was doing. He did it before all, a rebuke that would not have been easy to take. Peter was humbled. There was not one little thing in his heart against Paul for that rebuke. How do we take correction? Peter was an example in that. He was corrected by Paul and took it all. We read it in his letters. Jesus emptied Himself. Philippians 2:7, “But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” He is a good example to look to, because He looked to the Father.

If it has been made clear to us we have been doing something not right in the sight of God, it will have been a good Convention. If we go out with a quickened conscience, a conscience made more alive, so when we say things that are wrong, instantly, we will know. A God-given conscience can be made more and more alive to what is right and what is wrong, or we can ignore it and become unaware of things that really matter. What value do we put on a good conscience? A lawyer was asked to take the part of a murderer. He said. “I have to live with my conscience. There is not enough money in the whole world for me to take that case. I have to live with my conscience.”

We have to look to Jesus as the example of what and how we should be. Parents have a great responsibility that children would be moulded along the right lines. I am afraid that we would be doing things now that are not to be done on a Sunday. We never lose when we put God first. Sunday is God’s day. We can suffer loss spiritually. It is far better to suffer loss naturally than spiritually. We can ask, “Is this going to profit me spiritually? Am I going to suffer loss for doing this on Sunday?” We need our hearts and minds directed to Jesus more than ever. Search ourselves as we partake of these emblems. Keep our eyes on Him and seek to do all we ought to do to be worthy of this high calling.