Robert Doecke - Visiting Worker to Maroota - 2012

Hymn 171, Break Thou the Bread of Life

Matthew 26:39, "And He went a little farther, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, 'O My Father, if it be possible. Let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.'” He went a little further. It’s easy for us to go further in the natural sense with our plans and ambitions, with pleasure and fun. As I thought of the past conventions, I appreciated that one of the underlying purposes of our gathering is to take us all further than we have ever been before. God doesn’t want us to stop and for His work to be hindered. “Don’t fear to go slow, but do fear to stand still.” God seeks to further the work in all our lives. When we heard the Gospel, we heard about going further than just hearing, going further than just knowing and believing and saying. We often need to be reminded of some of these truths.

James 2:19, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” The devils also believed and trembled, but they got no further. How important it is to go further than just hearing and knowing. Acts 16:16, “A certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us . . The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, 'These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation.'” She knew what was right and said what was right. Paul had to command that spirit to come out of her. Sometimes that spirit has to come out or we can go no further. There are such sad stories in the scripture of men and women who got no further.

Mark 10:17, the man who came running to Jesus, anxious and earnest, said, “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” He had kept the commandments from his youth, but Jesus didn’t soften anything for him. “Sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” He was sad at that, and went no further. It is not the things we have done, but the things we have left undone that will be to our sorrow at the setting of life’s sun.

Matthew 25:2, the five foolish were all virgins; they had a standard and they had a desire to meet the bridegroom. They even had the lamp, which speaks of a profession, but they didn’t have the possession. They hadn’t got the essence of it. Matthew 22:11, it was the same with the man who did not have the wedding garment. He had been willing to come to the wedding when lots of people made excuses. He could have patted himself on the back and thought, “They didn’t come to the wedding, but I did.” He was willing to come but not willing to change, not willing to become and he got no welcome. The king came in and saw this man without a wedding garment, unwilling to change. He didn’t get past the king and he found himself outside of where he would dearly love to have been.

“Beyond the sacred page, I seek Thee, Lord.” I want to get further than the sacred page. It will be opened in all these meetings, but oh, to get close to the One the sacred page speaks about! We can know it from Genesis to Revelation but, “Beyond the sacred page, I seek Thee, Lord.” It is a work of getting in touch with the Spirit, not just knowing the written word but knowing the living word in our hearts and lives.

Jesus went a little further in prayer so that He could go further into the will of God. We can’t go further in the will of God without going further in prayer. Peter had such a purpose. Luke 22:33, when others would have gone away, Peter said, “Lord, I am ready to go with Thee, both into prison, and to death.” I don’t doubt Peter’s intentions but while he was sleeping in the garden, he was losing in the fight. Jesus prayed Himself into the will of God for you and for me. Matthew 16:22, when Peter got wind of what was going to happen to Jesus, he said, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee.” That was human thinking and Jesus had to say, “Thou savourest not the things that be of God.” In spite of so much, Jesus intended to go further, all the way to Calvary.

I got thinking of Paul going further. He was to go to prison in Rome and lots of people told him that bonds and afflictions awaited him there. Acts 20:23, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Jesus didn’t count His life dear to Himself and Paul was following in Jesus’ footsteps. If a grain of wheat stays in the bag and in the barn, there is nothing for the future. But when it falls into the ground it can finish its course with joy because there will be a reaping that it will get in no other way.

Acts 28:15, these people heard of Paul going to Rome and they were so anxious to see and encourage him that they went further to meet him. Paul saw that they went the extra mile and he thanked God and took courage. It does something for a servant of God when we see people who are willing to bear the standard for Truth in the world. Years later, Paul wrote to the Philippians about the missions he had, and it thrilled his heart about these people. Philippians 1:12, “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel: So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places.” Paul made a definite stand and it didn’t happen by chance, it happened by choice. It had fallen out to the furtherance of the Gospel. Verse 14, “And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” He remembered lives that had a strong conviction and wouldn’t we love to be like that ourselves, to encourage our brethren along that particular line?

There are all kinds of ways we can go further. The Good Samaritan went the extra mile. He poured in the wine, set the wounded man on his own beast and took him to an inn. Luke 10:35, “Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” He didn’t just do his duty. Hebrews 6:10, “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” God is no man’s debtor. Verse 11, “And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

Matthew 18:15, “Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone . . But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more . . And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church.” Don’t start with the workers; start with your brother. That is what it tells you. After all that Peter asked, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?” Verse 23, Jesus told of the servant who owed about $1 million and he fell on his face and got his lord’s forgiveness. But he went and found a man who owed him about $10 and would not forgive him. His lord brought him to task. Verse 33, “Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?”

There are lots of pictures in the scripture of going further. Sometimes we can’t see very far, like a little boy going to school. There was a thick fog and he couldn’t see very far. His father said, “Go as far as you can see in the fog and then you will probably see further.” He made it to the bus stop. That is for us also; go as far as you can see and then you will see further. John 13:6, when Jesus came to wash Peter’s feet, Peter was far from willing. Jesus gave him a little advice: “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.” Peter just said, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.” As Jesus opens up more to us, we will be willing for more as He causes us to go further.