Robert Doecke - Oaklodge Convention - 2005

328, "Ere we Part" 

Testimonies:  Christ is normal and nothing that is not of Christ is abnormal

364, "Let us consider Jesus"


Here we are, the last meeting.  You can hardly realise how those four days have gone and I guess that’s how life is going to go for us all when we leave here.  As we have been saying, “4 days talking and 361 days walking.”  It won’t be long and we’ll be going out down the mountain, so to speak, and on to the plain. The purpose of being here was to hear and to heed and that we might not – What does it say in one place? We've been hearing, but now, “If any man be a hearer of the word, and not a doer he is like unto a man that beholdeth his natural face in a glass, be ye doers of the word, not hearers only, deceiving your own selves,” and we have to come to that realisation that we could be deceiving ourselves if we have been sitting here in these days and not wanting the purpose of God to be more accomplished in our lives. We've been looking into the mirror of truth, and the mirror of His Word and seeing things that need adjusting in our lives, and seeking to have the grace and help to just do that which He has laid upon our hearts. We are soon going to be heading off on that journey, but I’ve been thinking, “Could we have a little journey through Hebrews and could we notice the times that Paul admonished and gave advice and encouragement, and through faith, what he said with just those words, 'Let us.'" Let us, and it’s kind of something very special about that because he was involved, and including himself in everything he said to those people. Let us, and I wouldn’t like to stand here and not involve myself in anything that's said. Let us, saint and servant, brother and sister, young and old, that’s what Paul meant. We sang in a hymn, “Hand clasped in loving hand, thy faithful loyal band, til breaking of the day.”

Let us. The first one you’ll find in Hebrews 4. At the end of the 3rd chapter, he was talking about those who didn’t make it to the end.  They didn’t make it because of unbelief and hardness of heart that was there. He starts off this next chapter, Let us – saint and servant, young and old, brother and sister, “Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”  Let us therefore fear. Now we know, that God wants to take away lots of fears from our hearts. The Psalmist said, “He delivered him from all his fears."  The fear of death, the fear of man, the fear of the past maybe, and the fear of the future and we are glad that those kind of  fears are dealt with.  I can tell you, they are wholesome fears for us to have, and certain things are left on record for those kind of fears to grip our hearts and to shake our complacency. Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us. Certain promises are given and there are certain convictions.  We mightn’t even reach those promises unless some things are attended to. Let us therefore fear.

I heard a story once of a man who always worked up in the very heights of these multi-storey buildings on rafters and beams and whatever.  They asked him, "How come you've never had an accident?"  He said, “I’ve never lost my fear of heights.  I’ve never lost my fear.”  Sometimes we could lose the fears we should have, that are vital to us. I was out bush-walking this morning.   I tried to spot a few birds as I often do, and they just taught me more of those lessons.  When they’re on the ground, they’re in enemy territory.  You ought to watch them, sometimes. I was watching one just a few days ago.  A little while ago, it was at a bird bath.  It landed there and it looked everywhere, it knew.  It never lost its fear of what could happen. It would have a quick drink, then it would look all around, everywhere. Sometimes if you get near them, off they go. They don’t stay there, no, they've got a fear. What does it say in one place “Walk circumspectly, not as fools.”  The thing about that little bird is it is very circumspect. It was watching in every direction. You watch a dove land. I knew they wanted to go down to the bird bath the other day and saw me.  They still tried time and time and time again. They looked in every direction because they didn't lose their fear.  “I’m in enemy territory when I go on the ground.”  When you go out into this world, you’re in enemy territory.  There’s so many things that could try to get us – don’t lose it. Let us therefore fear lest the promise, being left us. To think that God has promises for us; that He would promise to help us, that He wants to visit us, that He wants to involve and include us for all eternity in this wonderful rest and peace. Let us fear.

There's another wholesome fear. I was thinking of a hymn that used to be in the leaflet where it says, “I fear lest I should miss the mark, the prize of my high calling, to stand deformed on that great day, the thought is too appalling.”  Oh, if we could be appalled at the thought of standing deformed on that great day, it should put a fear within us. We sing another hymn, “Fear lest you should grieve His Spirit,  marr the work He has begun.”  It's a wonderful thing to have a wholesome fear in our life. When you think we should just fear ourselves, what’s in us by nature. I heard Willie Jamieson say about his human nature, “The longer I live, the longer I know it, and there’s enough in every one of us to take us to the lowest hell.”  Fear it. Think of our soul, and that should cause us to fear lest we should miss the mark, the prize of our high calling. Fear; let us therefore fear. Now let us; everyone of us, saint and servant, young or old, brother and sister, let us therefore fear, lest the  promise being left us of entering into his rest any of you should seem to come short of it, for unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith – that vital ingredient. Do we thank God for it every day that we have it? As a teenager I nearly lost it, I almost became agnostic and I had to seek it again, and I remember the time I had to pray for it; pray in desperation, and I wouldn’t be here today if God didn’t answer my cry. Jesus said “All things are possible to him that believeth,” and the man said, “Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief.” That’s where I had got to. He gave me something that has been a foundation stone in my life that has helped me ever since.

Well, we go on in this chapter and he continues talking about this rest. In the tenth verse, “For he that is entered into his rest, he hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”  Let us labour. It’s not a pushover. We don't just evolve into that situation, we have to labour to enter into that rest, that promised rest that God is wanting to give us, and how will we get it? He gives us an illustration; “For he that has entered into his rest has ceased from his own works as God did from His.”  I’ll never forget the night I made my choice to serve God, and beyond that I’ll never forget the day I made the surrender to go into this Work, and the rest and the peace that I got through coming to the place where I was wanting to cease from my own works. Cease from our own works, and that is where we are tempted with our own thinking and our own works all along the track and we never get any rest out of it, we just don’t. When we get on to the track of our own works and our own thinking then we lose the rest that there is promised for us. I was thinking about the Sabbath in the Old Testament and how it would honour Him by “Not doing thine own way nor by following thine own pleasure nor speaking thine own word” and there are three different things there in the end of Isaiah 58, that are just our own that would prevent us from entering into that rest. Our own works, our own pleasure and our own will.

I was thinking today of Isachar.  We know that back there in Genesis 49 and it makes a comment about Isachar. It speaks of Isachar as “A strong ass couching down between two burdens: he saw that rest was good.”  He got a vision of the rest and that “the land was pleasant and he bowed his shoulder to bear and became a servant unto tribute.”  He just put away that which was his own right and way, that would be natural and normal for the ass and for the donkey. There’s millions of them out there in the middle of Australia, just doing their own thing; their own thing, but this one it says, “He saw that rest was good and the land that it was pleasant.”  I’m sure, that at this time, God had given him a vision of the rest and of the land. The only way to get it is to cease from our own works as God did from His – from our own works.

Then we go on in this chapter, and in the 14th verse – and I think this has been touched on, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the Heavens, Jesus Christ the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.”  Let us. That’s a good thing for us unitedly to do as we go out, to hold fast. It is so easy for us to hold loosely. As someone said, “We hold loosely what we should hold tightly, and sometimes we hold so tightly that which we should hold loosely.”  Let us hold fast; hold fast our profession. It says in one place, “Without wavering, for He is faithful that promised,” and the reason why?  “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”  It has been mentioned that He was made like unto us in all things, so that He would have feelings like us in understanding, and He was tempted in all points as we are so He could have a heart of understanding also.  We have every reason to hold fast in the light of the provision He has made for us.

Paul immediately says after this, “Let us therefore” - because of that kind of situation, “Come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Let us come boldly. Let us come with confidence. We can come with confidence to God through Jesus, because He was made like unto us and He was tempted in all points like as we are.  We can definitely have a confidence there, in waiting, when we come in time of need. As we were saying about children, they have lots of needs. Needs of cleansing, needs of feeding, needs of clothing, needs of comfort and all needs are met at the throne of grace.  There’s no doubt about that. I packed up Aunty Emma’s things after she passed away, and I found a little card in her Bible and I copied it out. “If thou will that I should cast on Him my care each day, He also asked me not to cast my confidence away. But Oh how foolishly I act, when taken unaware, I cast my confidence away and carry all my care.”  How wonderful if we can avail ourselves a lot more this year, at the throne of grace where every need can be met. We don’t have to carry our cares; we don’t have to cast our confidence away. It’s wondrous at the throne of grace.

Hebrews 6:1, “Let us go on.”  It doesn’t stop there, “Let us go on unto perfection.”  You know, sometimes we get that feeling that no one's perfect and kind of settle into a little comfort zone; rut, maybe me more so, but quoting Aunty Emma again. I remember in a Mission she made this comment, “It’s not failure that’s a crime, it’s low aim.”  Think about it. “Not failure that’s a crime, it’s low aim.”  Sometimes she said, “Some people haven’t failed in their eyes, because they’ve never really aimed very high.”  I heard someone say, “Aim for the sky and maybe you’ll reach the treetops.  If you only aim for the treetops, it mightn’t get off the ground.”  Well, we are glad for people who have aimed high. I'm sure that one of the reasons that we have gathered in at Convention, is to aim high. Let us go on to perfection.

We have heard that verse mentioned when Jesus was speaking about being kind to everybody. He said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”  Once I remember doing a study of that little word “Even as” in relation to Christ.  I realised that this is a high aim for us all. It is mentioned in the Scripture a number of different ways. “Walk even as He walked” and “Forgive even as He forgave.”  If we want to wake with His likeness, “Every man that has this hope in Him, purifieth himself, even as,” - even as He is pure, so the goal is high and we know it is impossible in our own strength.  Therefore, the throne of grace and the help in time of need is necessary, if we’re going to have those kind of goals which we must have. Let us go on to perfection and forward in the Way.

In Philippians 3:12, He said, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ.” He knew that when the Lord apprehended him, way back in the beginning of days with him, He apprehended him for a purpose, and that purpose was eternal. He wanted to apprehend that, for which he was apprehended, for which he was stopped, and his course in life was altered and changed. He said, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do.” 

We heard about the single eye. Helen was telling us, “If thine eye be single, thy whole body was full of light.”  We can appreciate why Paul was so alive and alight, because he had that single eye. “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind.”  He could have thought of lots of things that were behind, even how he treated some of God’s people in his ignorance.  Forgetting those things that are behind you are going out into a new year, and we have heard about the precious blood of Christ and the provision that He has made for us. “Forgetting those things that are behind and pressing forward to those things that are before,” he said.  “I press toward the mark - I've got my mind on the mark, I press towards the mark, the prize of my high calling."  “Let us therefore,” he says.  “As many as would be perfect be thus minded, and if any be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.” Let us therefore as many as would be perfect. We have  the highest aim and goal. Let us, as many as be perfect be thus minded, and if you are any otherwise minded, God will reveal this even to you. THIS IS THE WAY TO GO; the way to go. Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching forward to those thing that are before. Pressing past, pressing down, pressing through, pressing on, to this high calling that we have in Christ Jesus.

And now, down a bit further in Hebrews 10, there’s a couple of little things here. There are three comments here. Hebrews 10:22-24 and all have these wonderful words, “Let us,” and yet two of them really have been covered. “And having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”  Let us draw near with a true heart. Earlier in that chapter it says, “Everything is naked and open to God with whom we have to do."  We can’t fool Him, and we’re just kidding ourselves if we don’t have a true heart in our place. Let us draw near with a true heart, and Jesus said, “If you’re going to draw near and bring an offering and you have ought against your brother and you just go on with that, then you really haven’t got a true heart. That has got to be seen to and dealt with. You leave your gift at the altar and you speak to your brother and you settle that before you come before the Lord.”  You’ve got to do that, otherwise you’re poor. Not God, not at all, just yourself. You’re only calling yourself a hypocrite unless these things are settled.

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.  Yes, we’ve kind of covered that. Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. Let us consider one another. Joanne (Campbell) covered that very well, didn’t she?  So I think that we should have that kind of goal, to consider one another – to provoke. Provoke!  That word is often used in a negative sense, but this is positive. I have found just three very positive ways in which that word has been used in the Bible, and one, that was for me.

Before I ever went into the Work, I was away in Asia.  I went to Vietnam and the friends there were just – Well I just couldn’t believe the love and affection, and a lot of the young people I got around with in those weeks.  They’re not talking about – I remember at Convention when I was with the boys, we talked about cars and girls and whatever and I was thinking, “Can't we talk about something a bit different to that?”  I just think of those people and they thought far deeper than that, and the testimonies; they touched my heart. I’d better not tell you why, but I’ll tell you this. When I left Saigon and looked back over the Mekong Delta, just one thought came to me, “Follow Jesus.”  I know, I know that’s one of the reasons why I am in the work today because of those people. Before I left home, I had wanted to make plans for my life. I thought, “Wow, a house, a wife, kids, and whatever.”  I guess that bothered me then, when I got back.

I remember in my youth, John Baartz.  I always found what he said provoking.  We need to do that provoking, and how do you provoke to love? How do you provoke to love?  With love, it's the only way. You can’t get up and tell people - no way, no way, but that’s how we would provoke to love. John says, “We love Him because He first loved us.”  If we open up in prayer every morning, looking for someone to show loving kindness to and to show them love; that's provoking. Love is in works. Provoking to love and good works not forsaking the assembling of ourselves as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.  You appreciate that the day is approaching for many of us, just the end of life, but we don’t know when the Lord is coming. He “cometh not with observation;” just out of the blue. The day is approaching. The day is approaching, and what do the ants do when the day is approaching? You've ever seen them? People say, “Oh, rain is coming, the day is approaching.”  Their line thickens up, and their zeal quickens up, doesn't it?  They’re going, going for it. I love it, and I was watching them here.  You see them come along and they sort of touch noses. What are they doing when they touch for that moment? What are they saying? Keep on, keep on, you see them going along. Keep on, keep on, keep on. They do that because there is something to get and gather against the time to come. Keep on, I kinda like that. It reminds me of when Clarence Anderson was here some years ago, and he said, “I have written a hymn and I’d like to sing you one.”  He said “Shall I?”  We all said,  “Yes.”  We weren't sure of what was coming, so he sang it to us. Well, do you want to hear it?  “Go on, go on, go on.”  Would you like to hear the second verse?  “Go on, go on, go on.”  Do you want to hear the next verse?  No you know it don’t you?  But it doesn't tell you what for, does it?  It’s about helping one another the more, as we see the day approaching. It's a wonderful thing, this encouragement. Encourage one another just to go on, and go on to perfection.

Now we come to the 12th chapter and in the 1st verse we find a couple more times where he says, "Let us."  He had been talking in the 11th chapter of those wonderful people of faith, who lived in faith and died in faith.  “God having provided some better thing for us that they without us should not be made perfect.”  This old world is not going to come to completion until men and women are gathered in from every generation. These men and women of whom he said, “The  world wasn’t worthy and those men and women God wants us to be united with one day. We read about them of whom the world wasn’t worthy, but, provision was made in and through Christ Jesus."  He said, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.”  Those who witnessed for Truth and stood true no matter what, in their generation. Let us do what they did, “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us.”  We’re in a race, we’re going for a prize so let us lay aside every weight. A lot of weights can burden us. You know, when you see a race being run, you know, the Olympic Games they had recently, if someone fronted up to the block with a suit on and a tie and a coat and maybe an attache case and just normal shoes and squatted down, they’d say, “What is he doing?”  Would anyone do that? They could challenge him, and he could say “I want to run.”  Sure he could, sure he could, but so run that you may obtain and there are certain things that are lawful for the spectators but quite against the participator. People can’t measure themselves by the spectators, but they lay aside every weight. There might not even be a rule against wearing a coat, I don’t know, but you just wouldn’t do it.  Do you know why?  Anything that hinders us in our running is a weight. I might be running because others are running. I might be running because I know it’s right to run, but am I running to obtain?  Am I running to obtain?  There’s just some things I’ve got to deal with if I’m really running to obtain. He said there’s going to be a very sad day in eternity if we don’t run to obtain.  You just have to sometimes lay aside and deal with things in your own heart and lives. Paul said “They that run, run all, but one receives the prize.”  I used to think, “Oh boy, I'm running against my brothers and sisters.”  No way, it has nothing to do with that. One of the things you’re running against, is you’re running against your first-born nature. Unless you keep it under, it will pip you to the post and rob you of the prize, that’s what it's out to do. It goes with you every day and Paul was conscious of that.  He said, “So fight I, not as one that beateth the air, but run I not as uncertainly, but I keep under this body and bring it into subjection lest after I have preached to others I myself should be a castaway.”  I keep under my body and bring it into subjection. You know, when the body gets out of subjection and that first-born nature raises its ugly head.  There’s no telling where it takes people, no telling. There’s some stories I’ve heard and I can hardly believe it, but it’s simply because that first-born nature has raised its head. I do like the illustration:  you’ve probably heard it before.  It’s like having two natures within us, two creatures, like two dogs in a cage. The Spirit wars against the flesh, and the flesh against the Spirit and they are contrary one to another and it can’t be any other way. That's just how it is. Don’t be worried that the struggle is going on; don't be worried about it, that’s just normal for us because there is the two natures. A Worker was speaking about this once, and he said, “Do you know which one is going to win?  The one that we feed.”  As simple as that. Somebody can pick up a book and look at something or listen to something.  If you’re really honest with yourself, you say, “What’s that feeding?”  I pick up a book sometimes and I look at it, and think, “That feeds a nature I don’t want to live.”  Some of the younger people are going to head into this internet business; tap, tap, tap, and you can get into a lot of things. You know, you are the one that has to steer that. Don’t you steer into places where you only get the food for the one you don’t want to win. You say, “I don’t want things like that. I don’t want that first-born nature to win."  You’re going to have to make lots of decisions. If you don't want to get into trouble with that thing, you’ll need to be very aware and awake, as to how things can get in, that feed the nature that you don’t want to feed.

Let us run with patience the race that is set before us. “Let us run with patience looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame.”  Let us run with patience. This is not a 100 metre sprint.  This is more like a marathon, or maybe an obstacle race and isn’t that something that has to be run with patience?  Where can we get direction from?  “Looking unto Jesus who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross and despised the shame.”  He could have got down about the shame and the reproach, but He despised it. He despised it, and sometimes it’s good for us to just be like that, “Bah, I'll have nothing to do with that. Even if there is certain reproach and shame, I’ve got my eyes on the goal.”  “For the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross and despised the shame and is set down at the right hand of God.”

There’s a few others, but at the end of chapter 12, it says, “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and Godly fear.”  Let us have grace, and we're going to need God's grace and help for the journey ahead.  “Let us have grace whereby we may serve Him with reverence and Godly fear.”  There’s something that’s very special; the fear of God and that is the beginning of wisdom. Fear just puts the brake on when we get into various situations; just put the brakes on - the fear of God.

The 13th chapter tells us about the sacrifices and in the 11th verse, “For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.”  That was happening in the Old Testament.  “Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”  He’s just making a point. The beast was burnt without the camp – Jesus, that He might offer Himself for us, suffered without the gate; He went without the gate. Don’t we sing a hymn?  “... they led Him still, and He came to the foot of Calvary’s hill, bearing His cross. The cross that was so heavy does not compare to the burdens He bare, that He carried there, there to the cross.”  We are so thankful He went without the gate bearing our sin, so let us therefore go without the camp bearing His reproach. He bore our sin, let us bear His reproach. That's an honour. Jesus said, "Jump and leap for joy for great is your reward in Heaven.”  If you can see past that, if you dodge the reproach, you dodge the eternal reward. Let us go without the camp bearing his reproach. It finishes up there.

There’s just one more thing and I think that’s it, the final one for us.  The 15th verse, “By Him therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name.”  We have appreciated the messages of praise and thanks to God.  That is very special to God, and you know why? If we give Him our life, He’s already given it to us.  If we give Him our strength, and time, and talent and whatever, He’s already given it to us.  When we give Him our praise, that’s something He hasn’t given to us. It’s the one and only thing, I think, that we can give Him that He hasn’t given to us.  That is why it's so special to God. Thanks and praise from his people.  As we go out, we don’t want to only give praise, but live praise, so that our lives will be – maybe, the only Bible a careless world will read. Jesus said His people should just be a light set on a hill that cannot be hid.  May we have a Savour in our lives like the salt.  Be a savour in the world, and offer the sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to Jesus.

That’s just a little journey through Hebrews that Paul takes us on as we start the journey. Let us, saint and servant, young and old, brothers and sister, all together, in a common goal, common purpose. God has shown us and laid on our hearts what we should do; what we should be.  I hope we won’t be slow to get on our knees tonight and thank Him and accept the message directed for the road ahead. Amen.