Richard Maxwell - Milltown, Washington II Convention - August 2002

When I was ten years old, I built model airplanes. I would sit in my room and spend hours building model airplanes. Sometimes we would go to the SeaTac Airport and I would see the real thing, those big airplanes. I would notice that my models looked just like the real thing and I would go back home and work again on my models. And the more I looked at my models, the more I understood the real airplanes and the more I had a desire to fly an airplane. The models were made out of plastic, they are not the real thing. They were really model airplanes made out of the real thing. In the Bible, there is the Old and New Testaments and the New Testament is the real thing. When Jesus spoke, he actually used models too that is he told parables about the real thing. They were the spiritual truth about the real thing. The Old Testament was like the model of the real thing. The more I look at the model, the more I understand the real thing. If you have an apple tree and the sun is shining, the tree will cast a shadow. The more you look at the shadow, the more you understand about the tree. The shadow is not the real thing and if I wanted an apple, I must have the tree. The Old Testament is like the shadow and the tree is like the New Testament.


My favorite model is Genesis 24. It is a real model of the real thing. There is more than one way to look at a model. I saw a toy in a store. One way it looked like a car and another way it looked like a robot. Is it a car or a robot? It just depends how you look at it and that is the way models are. But the teachings of Jesus are absolute and they are truth. We can think of a model spread out on a table and we need to gather them together and put them in their proper place. Abraham was exceptionally wealthy and he was a perfect father. Isaac was his son and he was the perfect son. Because they were both perfect, Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac. But Isaac never forgot that what he had belonged to the father. Then we read of a third person, the Servant. Three main characters are in this story. Abraham was a perfect man but not a complete man. He had a plan and he sent his servant to find a bride for Isaac. He sent instructions with the servant. Isaac and Rebekah were two people who became one. This made him the perfect son. The next group is composed of ten camels. They were used to bear gifts and on the way home the camels were used to bring the bride and her possessions. We also read, "The servants and the men which were with him." So we have another group of three; the camels, the servant and the bride, Rebekah.


The other part of the model has to do with location. Some of these people were in Canaan and the others in Nahor which was far away and some of them spent time in between these two places. That is another set of three. Now to make the model complete they needed to bring Rebekah to Canaan so that the two would be one and so the perfect son would be complete and so there would be rest and peace in Canaan. This is a real model that helps me understand the real thing. Abraham is like God and Isaac is like Jesus and the servants are like the Holy Spirit. There were three in heaven:  the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost. The camels were like the Apostles and their job was to bear the gifts. Gifts are a small part of the inheritance that God gave to Jesus. We are serving under trust. Trust is a part of the inheritance which is under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The ministry is to bear the gifts as a witness. Rebekah was, of course, a type of the bride. And the other men who were with the Abraham's servant are a type of the angels. They were there to help the servants. Angels do things to help the servants to help the bride. They are helpers to the Holy Spirit. That is the picture of the model and the lesson therein is that the two would be one so they could be complete.


Another thing I discovered that is clear to me is the testimony. Bearing record or witnessing of the testimony. 1 John 5:6-7 gives a simple spiritual truth. This is the true thing without the model. "This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and the blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth; the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." Verse 11 - "This is the record that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."


In heaven, that is in Canaan, there is Abraham, Isaac, and the Spirit; these three are one. They are one, in the sense they all agree. They are all in agreement and they are absolute. If you look at one of the three witnesses, that witness is the same as the other two. That is the way it is in heaven but it is also that way on the earth. On earth we need a witness. Two witnesses are good but we need three witnesses. The water is like the Word and the Blood is like the life. The life behind the words. Then there is the Spirit. I have the words or the profession of faith and that is the word. Then I have life and my life must agree with my word. Then I have the Spirit and these three are one. My word, my life, and my spirit that God gave me, they are one. That is our testimony and that is our witness. Just like God, Jesus and the Spirit are one. They are in full agreement. In front of this absolute witness all of heaven is silenced. Not one person can defy that. They are all "right." It is the absolute authority. On earth, our words and our life and God's Spirit are one. And nothing can stand against the right words, a faithful life and the authority of the Spirit behind it.


What is a witness? There is something nice about a witness. One that is correct and clear in what they live and say. Words are important because they convey the truth. Where truth is there is no confusion. Wouldn't it be nice if our lives before God and man were absolutely clear regarding salvation?! Is your life that clear? When a piano tuner comes to your house, he uses three notes or three strings. The clarity of the notes depends on each string being tuned to the same chord. When the hammer strikes the chord, it is nice when the response is clear. We can take steps at this convention to make sure that our lives agree with our words so that our lives sound a more complete note. It is Gods pleasure that the "witness" would reflect a clear distinct response.


The witness is like the model. Abraham gave everything to Isaac. He could see the future. Abraham felt he needed to give the bride an equal amount because they were one. That is the way Abraham felt. God gave us his Son and he was complete. Because Isaac and Rebekah were one, they were the ideal witness and testimony. God gave everything to his Son and also to those who become his bride. When we become one with Christ, we are the kind of witness that God intended for us to be. Someday we will enter into the inheritance that God planned and it will be as much ours as it is Christ's. But first of all we need to be careful "how" we are going to say, "I will go," and mean it. Perhaps we would say, "We are not going to live the kind of life that we want to live." We want to declare openly with our life that we want this inheritance. We have the bride and we love the bridegroom and we are one together.


When Jesus gave his sample prayer, it was the real thing. He prayed, "Thy will be done on earth as it was done in heaven." What is God's will? The intent of the prayer was specific to "who" we are and "where" we are. He wanted His will to be done on earth that is, that we would be one with Christ. His will is that the bride would come and that the witness would be right just as it is God's will that these three would be one. When we are right with God, the Holy Spirit will back us up but more importantly it is imperative that our lives back up our words. Then we will have a complete life and message to convey to those on this earth. His will is done in heaven and He wants His will to be done on earth, as well.


Philippians 3:12-13, "I count not my self to be apprehended." This is the real thing. It means that we are willing to leave everything behind and close the door. Our past and the life we could have lived. We leave it all behind and we are going to possess the kingdom. We will lay hold on the thing that laid hold on us in the gospel. When I was sitting in the gospel meetings as a child, I was aware the gospel was laying hold upon me and then when I was older I decided to lay hold on the gospel. I didn't want to live without it. That is real serving and spiritual prosperity. The turning point in our lives is when we apprehend the gospel and the gospel apprehends us.


The servants, the Spirit and the camels came and they are one. The Spirit did the work not the camels. But the camels had the privilege of sitting on the front row seat! They just bore the gifts. So, it is the Spirit that lays hold on us. The servant came and the Spirit laid hold on Rebekah and she said, "I will go." She took the plunge. She started on her journey and she soon realized she could not live without this servant. It is like David when he prayed, "Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me." We need the help of the Spirit to continue to heaven, this land of Canaan.


I was working in Armenia for a while and we lived with a poor family. They had three children and they were excited about having foreigners live with them. I got to know the daughter who was eight years old. She had a rabbit and she and I would play with the rabbit. Then one day, the rabbit was missing. I asked her where the rabbit was and she said, "We had the rabbit for dinner." She was sad. I'm sure she felt that we had taken hold of her life. When we left, I turned to her and apologized because we ate her rabbit. She said it was okay and she asked us if we were coming back. The God of heaven ask us to sacrifice our very best like He gave us His Son. The sacrifice of Jesus takes hold on us just like the servant took hold of Rebekah. Then she laid hold on him. That is the purpose of the gospel that we might become one and that our lives would fall into line with Jesus.


Of the thousands who left Egypt only two (Joshua and Caleb) entered into the Promise Land which is a type of heaven. It is one thing to leave Egypt but it is another thing to enter Canaan. Leaving Egypt is not salvation. Entering Canaan is salvation. Leaving Nahor or the world behind means we lay hold on the gospel. To leave Egypt and not enter Canaan is a tragedy with a capital "T." We possess the real thing not just a model. May the Spirit lay hold on us so that our lives would be complete and one with Christ.