Robert Doecke - Comfort Zone - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Convention - 2016

I Corinthians 10:24, “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.” You know why we are here enjoying blessings and privileges in the family of God? It is all because of our elder brother Jesus sought not His own but our wealth and wellbeing; our soul’s salvation. He did not do it by staying in heaven, He did it by getting out of the comfort zone of heaven and anyone that is going to seek the welfare of others must get out of their comfort zone. Think of Jesus leaving heaven and as Paul said, "Even Christ pleased not Himself." He did not do what was normal and natural to please self. That is what is running rampant in our world today and how different God wants us to be. We can scarcely comprehend the steps Jesus took to bring us salvation and He who could’ve stayed where He was.

Jesus stepped out from heaven's glory and He took not upon Him the nature of angels. It was stepping down a long way and He took on the form of man. He came to a sin darkened world and there was not even room for Him in the inn, but into a stable and a manger He came and into an animals feeding trough, wrapped in swaddling clothes and in all humility and simplicity so we. no matter who we are, could draw nigh to Him. There would not have been a hope had He been in a palace. The devil offered Him the world to try and side-track Him and He could have had it all. Even Christ pleased not himself. When they tried to take Him and make Him King and after one occasion after, He fed the multitudes and He went into a mountain and prayed. So that He would not seek His own but the welfare and well-being of others.

The amazing thing is when they came to take Jesus to go on the cross. Jesus said, "Who seek ye?" They said, "Jesus Christ." He stepped forward and said, "I am He." They got such a shock, some of those people fall backwards. Peter rose to the occasion with the sword and tried to defend Jesus. Jesus said, "You put up your sword in your sheaf. They who take the sword will perish by the sword. If My kingdom was of this world, My servants would fight." Jesus could have called 12 legions of angels to save Himself from this hour. Then, how would have the Scriptures been fulfilled? Even Christ pleased not Himself. He was not to please Himself and not to save Himself, but to give Himself. That is the beautiful story of Jesus. You think of Jesus on the cross and all those people having a fair bit to say and saying, "He saved others and Himself He cannot save." The basic truth of it all was: He saved others and Himself He dare not save, because you can’t help others by saving yourself and that was Jesus.

Paul said on one occasion, "Although He was rich and for your sake, He became poor so that we through His poverty may be rich." We could say although He was a Son, He became a servant so we could become a son. Although Jesus was divine, He became human so we could become divine, and so we can stand one day unblameable and unprovable and holy in His sight. I am glad even in the crossroads of life. I would know what way I would go by nature and those words have come back to me, "Even Christ pleased not Himself."

This verse was real to me in Ecclesiastes and it says, "Cast your bread upon the waters and think of others." Live for others and you shall find it after many days and it will come back to you. Whatever you sow, you shall reap, you can be very sure of that. I liked what Kenneth Dissmore said:

Cast your bread upon the waters, let your life a blessing be,

For the goodly stowed on others will return again to thee.

Summertime will soon be over time for doing will be past,

Only what you have done for Jesus for eternity will last.


We all must remember that and withholding tends to poverty. It says in Proverbs somewhere, "He that scattereth yet increaseth."  The world would look on and think you are the loser. Sometimes we think we are saving ourselves and we are losing so much by withholding. That was the trouble in Malachi’s day and you read every time about the fear of God and that was what was slipping away in that day, it was simply the fear of God. The fear of God is to take the word of God seriously and not to withhold.


We know Abraham was asked to offer his son and the son he loved. I remember that spoke to me in the gospel as a young person, and it was telling me a message take now your life, and the life you love and that is still the message of the gospel. When Abraham did not withhold, the Lord withheld His hand and God said, "Now I know you fear Me." How does God know we fear Him? It is when we don’t withhold and when you read that book of Malachi, you can see that they were withholding and keeping the best for themselves. He said, "Offer to your governor and see how you get on. Then he will have respect for you if you do that." Cast your bread upon the waters and you shall find it after many days and it will return to you. Give a portion unto seven and even unto eight. You can never do a kindness too soon as you never know when it is too late. Think about others in their need and think about others in hospitals and other situations and do something about it.


Then he goes on to say, "If the cloud be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth." That is another picture. If they got the goods, if they got the substance what do they do, they do not pass by without bringing blessing and refreshing. In the country areas of Australia, the farmers are looking up and they are hopeful because the clouds have got the form and often they have not got the substance. It would be sad if we had the form and we had the professioness and never had the substance. We would not have the blessing and refreshing to bring to others. If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves. Where do they get it from? They get from a higher power. They get it from the sun. If it wasn’t for the power of the sun, there would not be a cloud. The clouds form because of the sun. How we ourselves need to draw every day from the Son so we have something in us and that we would never pass by without bringing some form of blessing and refreshing into the lives that we touch.


When I think of the good Samaritan and that man that was lying beside the highway left half dead, robbed, and stripped of his raiment, and along came the priest. He had the form, out the side of his eye. He would have thought, "Here comes help," but there is no help at all. It was like an empty cloud. Along came the Levite and he would have thought, "There is help coming now." He was just an empty cloud and he just passed by on the other side without doing anything for that man that was left half dead. Along came the Samaritan and it is like a picture of Jesus. Although the Samaritans were despised, he had the goods. He looked upon this man and never saw him half dead but saw him half alive. Is says, "A bruised reed He shall not break and a smoking flax He shall not quench." That man was no more than that. He fanned the flame and bought in the wine. He poured in the oil because he had the substance.


I dare say he had other plans for the day and het put them aside to help this man. Sometimes we plan to put aside some of our ideas and some of our plans and some of the things we had in mind and we see a particular need and we prepare to put our thoughts aside and to bring refreshing and blessing into the lives of another. The beautiful picture of the Good Samaritan, and he got off his beast and poured in the wine and the oil and bound up the wounds and took him to an inn. The next day, he took out two pence and gave it to the innkeeper. He made a little comment take care of him, "If you spend any more, when I come again, I will repay you." Don’t think I will not repay you. The two pence was his duty. There is a certain amount of duty. If we go beyond the call of duty, I believe there is blessing in going the extra mile. He said, "When I come again I will repay thee, I will not forget."


In Judges 5, Deborah and Barak sang a song after the degree. They said, "Praise ye the Lord and revenge ye of Israel when the people willingly offered themselves." It also tells of some that did not do that and they were amongst the children of Israel. They just stayed in their comfort zone and that is pretty easy to do. We are living in a world that is part of it just staying in your comfort zone. I saw a hangar in the Christmas shop and when you think about Christmas, it means thinking about others. It said, "Indulge yourself this Christmas." You see sadly how people indulge themselves and think only of themselves. It is all very sad. You think about Jesus who never thought of Himself, but thought of others.


One verse in Amos 6:1, “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion.” In the gospel, we are saying, "Woe to those that are at ease in the gospel and don’t think about anything." They think about nothing except the things of the world. It says, "They have put far away the evil days." They put all the Lord’s coming and judgements off forever, and lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves up on the couches, and eat the Lamb out of the flock and their calves out of the stall. They invent to themselves instruments of music like David and appoint themselves with the chief ointments. They are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. They are having a great time. They do not look beyond themselves. They do not see the needs in the kingdom and the message for us all is to let no man seek his own. It is so easy to do that.


We see in this book of Judges some that willingly offered themselves. It says, "For the divisions of Reuben, they were great thoughts of heart." I wondered why. Reuben was the eldest son of Jacob and if anyone should have taken the lead, he should have. What does it say? "Why do you abide amongst the sheepfold to hear the bleating of the flock?" Gilead abode beyond Jordan. Why did Dan remain in ships and why did they stay in their comfort zone? Zebulun and Naphtali were the younger ones taking responsibility and wanting to stand up and stand out for the Lord. It is a great thing for me when I see young men and women just doing that. Zebulun and Naphtali were a people. They jeopardised their lives unto their death in the high places of the field. Willing to stand up and stand out, just like the three young man and Daniel’s day who took a stand in spite of what the world said and what the world wanted. They stood up for the Lord. Even though they faced the fire, the Lord was with them.


I think of Paul. People said, "You do not have to go that far. If you go that far, bonds and afflictions wait for you." I love the stand they took, "None of these things move me. Neither do I count my live dear unto myself that I may finish my course with joy." There is not one person in this meeting that does not want to finish their course with joy. I do not count my live dear unto myself that I may finish my course with joy. The corn of wheat cannot finish its course with joy. There it does count its alive dear to itself and is not willing to fall and die. Paul said, "It is just like a corn of wheat, talking from the ground. Our light affliction which is just for a moment in the light of eternity." There is only one way it will work for you and that is if you fall into the ground and die. Up comes the plant and there is the reaping, because it was willing to count its life not dear unto itself so it could finish its course with joy.


Paul was writing to the Philippians a little later chapter 1:12, “But I would ye should understand, brethren that the things which happened unto me fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.” I wonder if some of these people told him not to go there. Every one of us will come to the end of life, like it or not. We look back on things that have happened and a lot of things will happen that will mean nothing to us. The things that have happened and have meant something to us, they have fallen out in the furtherance of the gospel and the furtherance of the work of God in our own lives. They are the real things.


Verse 13, “So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the Palace and in all other places.” Paul ended up going to Rome and into the palaces and people got a chance that they may never had got before. If I am not willing to do what Jesus asked me to do, am I robbing someone of a chance? If you hide your candle under the bushel, are you robbing someone of a chance?


Verse 14, “And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confidence by my bonds are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” The professing ones and it just put a little backbone into people. They saw how far Paul was willing to go and it was an encouragement to them. It is so good when we can be an encouragement to stand up and to stand out and to stand true.


I liked what he could speak of Timothy. You read that in the next chapter, "I am going to send Timothy to you for I have no man like-minded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.” That has to be said for a lot of people. This selfish thinking belongs to our generation. It was alive and well way back there as all seek their own, so easy to do. I feel we would like to leave that message with you. When I think of Jesus who naturally cared and He left all his comfort zones. We also think of others who have cared and we want to have a little bit more of the care of Jesus in our lives and think of others and not just ourselves. Amen.