Separation - Pukekohe Convention - 1980

"And I will give the men that have transgressed my covenant, which have not performed the words of the covenant which they had made before me, when they cut the calf in twain, and passed between the parts thereof, the princes of Judah, and the princes of Jerusalem, the eunuchs and the priests, and all the people of the land, which passed between the parts of the calf." I did not ask you to turn this portion of scripture up, because I am only reading it in passing, but if you would like to make a notation of it, you will find it in Jeremiah 34:18-19. This explains to us one of the ways in which they sealed a covenant in those days. They would take the animal, in this case it was a calf, and they would cut it in twain right down the middle, and one half on one side of the path and the other half on the other side and then they would pass between those two parts. This was the way they recognized that there was a sacrifice on both sides. There is an obligation on both sides. This contract that they were making with this covenant recognized there was no fault unless each side live up to their sacrifice, to their obligation. Did you ever notice that is the way God sealed His covenant with Abraham? You read in Genesis 15:9, "And He said unto him, 'Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.' And he took unto Him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against the other but the birds divided he not." I believe if all the story was told here, we would read that immediately Abraham passed between these parts, because this was a wonderful covenant that God was making with him. I feel satisfied in my mind even though it is not recorded in the pages of this book, I feel satisfied that immediately Abraham passed between those parts. In the evening the Lord drew near and spoke to him in the form of a burning furnace and burning lamp the Lord passed between those parts, verse 19. God said, in that day God made a covenant with Abraham with fire, a covenant that was made by sacrifice. That will help you to understand Psalms 50:5, "Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." When we make a covenant with God today or when we profess or begin walking in His way, whichever term you want to use, we do not go through this old formality.

 

We often tell people in the gospel meetings that in the Old Testament, they had the formality and in the New Testament, they had the reality. They were just types and shadows opening ahead to the real thing that was to come. Today when we enter into a covenant with God, or when we enter into fellowship with God, or when we profess, we do not take an animal and cut it in two and lay each part on each side of the path. That was part of the Old Testament formality. When you and I sealed our covenant with God, we did it in a real way that means so much more to the heart of God and so much more to the hearts of His people. If you would like to know how our covenant is sealed with God today, you will find it in II Corinthians 6:17-18, "'Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters,' saith the Lord Almighty." In other words, you came out and are to be separate - that is your part of the sacrifice. That is the sacrifice on your side of the path. "If you do that, I will receive you and I will be Father unto you and you shall be My sons and daughters," saith the Lord Almighty. In that, you have a fulfillment of what we were reading in the 37th chapter of Jeremiah and Genesis and the 50th Psalm. The reality of what you and I enjoy today.

 

I would like to talk to you a little while this morning about the separation. "'Come out from among them and be ye separate,' saith the Lord; 'Touch not the unclean thing.'" That is our part. I would like to talk to you about the bit of separation. Every year of my life, this separation becomes more beautiful. When I was serving God in my teens, it seemed to me, the word separation was a very gruesome word. I knew the Bible taught it and the workers upheld it and my folks insisted on it, and I am glad I am willing for it. I could not understand why so much was mentioned in the Bible and so much emphasis was put on this matter of separation. As I got older, I found out that separation in the Bible is one of the most beautiful subjects that is recorded. Every time you read of separation in the Bible, you read of something beautiful, altogether different from what I thought it was when I was a teenage boy. "Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined." One of the most beautiful parts of that perfection of beauty is the beauty of our separation.

 

You remember when Moses was leading the Children of God up to the promised land, Exodus 33:16, "For wherein shall it be known here that I and Thy people have found grace in Thy sight? Is it not in that Thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth." They were being separated from the bondage of Egypt; it was the worst form of bondage the human heart had ever known. They were being separated to the Promised Land, which was the paradise of God. Every time you read of separation in the Bible, it is spoken of as a beautiful thing. It is a beautiful term. It is a wonderful experience that God leads His people through. I would like to say in passing that God will never separate you from anything that is worth having because the Lord's people have everything that is worth having. The only things that God will separate you from are the things that will send you out into a Christless eternity. You can see the object of that separation, can't you? You read the background of these people in II Corinthians 6. In their day, they were people who were the scum of the earth, people you might have no confidence in their future, people who were only interested in doing things for what they could get out of it. If you read I Corinthians 6:9, 11, you will find in detail a description of what those were. The Lord said to those people, "You come out from among them. Separate yourselves from them." And then He said, "I will receive you and I will be a Father unto you and you shall be My sons and daughters," saith the Lord Almighty. Can you see now the object of separation? Every time you read of separation in the Bible, it is spoken of in a beautiful term like that; it is a beautiful part of this perfection of beauty that makes up the fellowship of God's people.

 

When Hannah was singing her song of thanksgiving, she said, "The Lord takes the beggar; He lifts the beggar out of (we would use the term today) refuse pit." (She used a different term, but it means the same thing.) The Lord lifts the beggar from the refuse pits and sets them among princes. That is a wonderful separation, isn't it? There were people in those days that used to cart trolleys to the old refuse pit to look for anything old to salvage. Maybe they could find an old piece of wire that had a value to it. In our country today, you would be surprised to find people that go over these refuse pits to find old objects. I do not know what they see in that, but I have seen them pay ten times as much for a miserable old bottle than they ever paid for full ones. Here the Lord comes along with the Gospel because this is what we were doing, naturally speaking, just trying to work out something to keep anything in the spiritual sense of the word, and getting nothing and nowhere, and then the Lord sends the Gospel to us and He lifts this poor beggar out of this refuse pit and He sets him among princes where they got the very best. They did not have to go around in the corruption of this old world to find something to exist on. Everything is provided for them by the King of kings and Lord of lords. Setting them among princes…can you not see in that the object of separation? I do not care which part of the scripture you are reading, I do not care where you turn, you are going to see the same picture, because every time separation is mentioned in the Bible, it is spoken of as one of the most beautiful things that ever happens to a person. If I, by the grace of God, leave that thought with you this morning, it would make my time well worthwhile, even if you did not hear another word that I am trying to share with you.

 

If you turn back to Isaiah 42, I would like to call your attention to what God said about His side of this. We have been speaking about our side - the separation - what we are separated from and to, but in Isaiah 42:6, the Lord said He would give Jesus His covenant to His people. What He meant by that was this:  I separate myself to Him; I did that lovingly which He has asked me to do; I separated Myself to Him and God gives Me everything that He has provided in Jesus. Can you see the object of that separation? When I think of the man of Christ, and the Spirit of Christ, and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the nature of Christ, and the blood of Christ, and the power of Christ, and many of the things God has provided for mankind in Christ, the Lord said that is what I will give you. You separate yourself unto me. "Come out from among them and be ye separate saith the Lord," and you separate yourself unto Him and I will give you everything that I have provided in Christ. If you would like to read of this full provision, I would encourage you to read the book of Philippians, four short chapters, and notice the many provisions that are made there in Christ - the faith of Christ, the way of Christ, the man of Christ, the power of Christ and all the other virtues we have at our disposal in Christ. It may help you to see, in a more complete manner, what the Lord was referring to here in this 6th verse of Isaiah 42, when He said, "I will give you Christ for my side of the covenant. You separate yourself unto Me, and I will give you everything in Christ for you to enjoy today or to enjoy forever." That is the part of My side of the path. I will provide for that if you separate yourself unto Me. One of the marks that I did want to call your attention to in Isaiah 42 is the compassion of Christ. Verse 1, the Lord's Servant: a special spirit that God would pour out upon Him that would make His ministry different than any other secular ministry of His day, a spirit of compassion. Verse 3, He used a term that is well understood in that Eastern country still, as a kind of description of what compassion would mean to God's people. "A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench:  He shall bring forth judgment unto truth." Jesus fulfilled this in Matthew 12:20. In the Old Testament, they had the formality. In the New Testament, we have the fulfillment. In those countries, the reeds grow in abundance and because they grow in abundance, they were used in abundance. They made musical instruments out of them; they thatched their roofs; they were used for many things, and they were used in abundance. If the reed became bruised, or the wind bruised it, or some pressure came against it, the natural tendency was to break it off and throw it away, but if the person wanted to take time and bind it over, it would go ahead and heal over, and be able to be used for the purpose for which it was created in the first place. Bruised reeds, when Jesus came to the earth, were called publicans and sinners. That man that was bowed down and in no wise could raise himself up - one of the worst criticisms was why this man receiveth and talketh with them. Why is he bothering with those bruised reeds when there are so many good people He could bother with? This is where the spirit of compassion came into it. Jesus made it plain He came into the world to save them. Peter was a bruised reed when the Lord found him. When you think of Zacchaeus, when you think of Mary Magdalene, and when you think of many others doing that, and what they became, can't we be thankful that Jesus did not come into the world to destroy people like that, but to help them? Will He plead against me with His great power; no He will put strength in me; that is what Jesus did. That speaks, if the truth is known, there is a great many of you in this gathering this morning that were like a bruised reed when the Gospel came to you, and here you are, sitting amongst the princes enjoying the best in the land. Are we not eternally thankful that Christ did not come into the world to destroy people like you, but to give you a helping hand so that you can lift your head again?

 

The smoking flax represented the religious world at the time. In those days, they would roll the flax up into a wick and place it in a lamp stand and they would light the lamp and it would give off a fairly clear glow, but if that lamp went out of oil, or if there was no oil in it, all the wick would do would send up smudge or smoke screens that would make it harder than ever to see. You could erase that spark or you could fill the lamp with oil and the wick would glow forth with a bright light again. This was the condition of the religious world, people who wanted to be a light to the children, to the neighbours. They wanted to be a light, but they did not have what it took; they were just sending up a smudge, making it harder than ever for anyone to see, filling the air with smoke and confusion. Jesus' love filled the atmosphere. Jesus did not come to destroy people like that. They had come to do the right thing; all they wanted was help. Jesus knew, "If I can just fill their life with My spirit, they can go forth and make a bright and shining light that they want to be, and they were able to do it." I suppose if the truth were known, there were a great many in this canvas (tent) this morning that were smoking flaxes when the Gospel found you. You wanted to be a light and you did not know what it took; you were just filling the air with smoke. Are you not eternally thankful this morning that when Jesus came into the world He did not come to destroy people like you, but to help you and you are here today as a monument, rejoicing in the fullness of His provision.

 

It may be someone has come to this convention like a bruised reed. Situations seemed to have been adverse this year and circumstances seem to have become too great. Maybe you have come to convention with a fear in your heart; maybe the Lord won't have anything to do with me any more, maybe He will break me up and throw me away. Maybe you have come as a smoking flax and instead of filling your home with light, you have filled it with smudge and smoke and came into our midst feeling guilty and defeated and feeling the Lord won't have anything to do with me any more; maybe He will snap out that spark I have left and commit me to the blackness of hopelessness forever.

 

A lady, in a convention I was in recently, got up and gave her testimony in the second meeting of the convention. She said, "I came to convention with apprehension; I had no bread. The Lord has been merciful to me. I was ready for the Lord to send me back to the blackness of darkness for ever, but in the first meeting, the Lord in His spirit of compassion drew near and spoke to me." God had assured her, "I am not pleading against you; I am putting strength into you. I want to give you a fresh supply of My spirit so that you can go forth and be a different person in the year to come," and that soul stood up in the second meeting of that convention thinking God had committed her to the blackness of darkness for ever, and instead of that, her spirit had been filled. Here we were reading about the broken spirit our God will not despise. If you have come like the bruised reed or smoking flax, fearful that the Lord will break me off and throw me away, and maybe He will quench the spark I have in my heart and commit me to the blackness of darkness forever, what you have heard last night and from my two helpers in the meeting this morning, will convince you that the Lord has not brought you here to destroy you or to snap out the spark of light and hope that you might have had, but to put strength into you, to fill you with oil and send you forth from this convention to find your purpose in life in a greater measure than you have ever done before. This is a result of the compassion of Jesus. This is one of the many provisions the Lord had in mind when He said I am going to give you as a covenant to the people. They have separated themselves unto Me; they have fulfilled their part of the covenant. Jeremiah 32:40. He spoke of it as an everlasting covenant, a covenant that will never let you down right to your dying day. You will find that at least 12 times, beginning with verse 32 of Jeremiah 32, at least 12 times the Lord used the words, "I will." He spoke in this 39th verse, "I will give you one heart and one way that you will fear Me forever for the good of thee and thy children after thee."

 

If you just separate yourself to me and walk in my way, all these wonderful things I am going to do for you. That is my side of the covenant. You separate your way to me, and you will walk in my way that leads to the place of no regret. I want you to do it not only for yourself, but for these precious little children. You just walk in My way and these 12 wonderful things that are mentioned from verse 37 on, I will do this for you. Eternally, right to the end, I will, and right on into eternity, because this is an everlasting covenant. Will you notice in particular the last part of verse 41? "I will plant them in this land assuredly with My whole heart and with My whole soul." The Lord has kept Himself free to give His whole undivided attention over to His people. When the Lord looks down from Heaven today, He is not concerned about the oil wells and business syndicates; He has turned that over to men. The Lord has kept Himself free to give His whole undivided attention over to His people, because He wants them to serve Him with their whole heart and whole soul. Can you understand why God wants us to be wholehearted?  If God, with His whole heart and whole soul is making this provision for us, isn't it a small thing to ask me in return to serve Him with a whole heart? Help me, Lord, to be wholehearted. If God is so wholehearted in everything He has promised to me, surely I should be more wholehearted in the service of appreciation He is asking of me in return. Sometime after the meeting, beginning with verse 7, you just notice these 12 different things that He said, "I am going to do this for you. This is my part of the everlasting covenant. Do not  be afraid; I am not going to let you down."

 

I would like to speak a few words now to our old people. We do not like to see the meeting go by without giving a little extra encouragement to the young people - our future depends on them and we thank God so much for them. We do not like to see the meeting go by either, without expressing a special appreciation for our old people. You are the monuments of God's grace. When I look into your faces and see what God is meaning to you in your old days, you do not know what that does for me, but it fills my heart with a joy in knowing that when I get old and come to the last days of my life, God will do for me just what He has done for you. The devil seems to concentrate on our old people, and the reason why He does is because our old people are the joy of the Kingdom, the inspiration to us who are coming on. He will go to you and say you are no good any more; you would be better off out of the way; you cannot do the things you used to do; other people have to take care of you now; you are just in the road. I know he has told that to every one of you people in the meeting this morning.  He has told you that. All over the world he tells people the same thing. The reason why the devil says it is because he knows how valuable you are to God and that you are an inspiration to those of us who are coming on. God upsets what the devil is trying to tell you by giving every assurance in His word that you are my delights. You are the ones that I have laboured for all these years and you are ready now to be taken home to Me. There is a special verse in Isaiah for the old people. It is a special message that God gave to His old folks. He said, "Fear thou not, for even to your old age I am He and even to your white hairs I will carry you, I have made and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you." What He is saying is, don't you be afraid; I am not going to let you down just because you are old; I am not going to dump you because you are getting older in years. He said, “Even to your old age I am He.” In other words, you may be getting older, your faculties may be failing - but I am just the same as I was in the beginning. I am He, the same One that helped you in the beginning. I am just as able to help you today as I was in the beginning. The last two promises in that verse were, "I will carry you and I will deliver you." God knows the time comes when these human frames get to the point where they cannot do what they used to be able to do, and sometimes they get to the point where someone has to carry them. When the time comes when you can do nothing else but trust Me, do not be afraid; I am not going to let you down. This covenant is an everlasting covenant. I want to assure you again what I assured Jacob from the foot of the ladder. I will fulfill every promise. I am not going to let you down in the middle of the stream. When you get too feeble, I will carry you. Underneath will be the everlasting arms. And then He added, “I will deliver you.” That is the time when the Lord in His loving kindness and tender mercy is going to reach down and deliver you out of that old pain wracked body and take you home to be with Him where tears and sorrows will never be known, and the assurance of God to your elderly hearts this morning is that I will not leave you until I have done that which I have spoken to you of. That verse, “Even to your old age, I am He and even to your white hairs, will I carry you. I have made and I will bear, even I will carry and will deliver you,” that is God's special promise to His old people, reassuring them. This covenant I have made with us, with you, is an everlasting covenant; it is not going to let you down as the faculties fail; it is not going to disappoint you when you need help the most. Isaiah 46:4, we encourage the elderly people in our field to read that often. Satan would like to tell you, you are no use any more. When we made that covenant with God in the beginning and separated ourselves as our part of the covenant, can't we be thankful that it was an everlasting covenant? God is constantly and faithfully keeping the promises of His covenant and He will right to the end of time and right till you go on into eternity. It is a covenant that will never end. We encourage everybody to read, beginning with Jeremiah 32:3, and the 12 wonderful things that God promised to do for His people. You walk in My way. There is just one way and that is it. I have made you one way, and I will give you a heart that will never cease to follow that way. It is for the good of yourself and the good of your children after you. If you separate from these things, all these wonderful things I have promised to do, I will do today; I will do tomorrow; I will do right through eternity, until you close your eyes for the last time, until I have done all that is spoken to them of; this is an everlasting covenant that God makes with people.

 

Turn back to Isaiah again, to 59:21…another wonderful promise God made for His side of the covenant. Our side is separate ourselves to Him and let Him take over. Verse 21, He said; "'As for Me, this is My covenant with them,' saith the Lord; 'My spirit that is upon thee, and My words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed,' saith the Lord, 'From henceforth and forever.'" That is the security of His covenant, the wonderful assurance that it is not going to change; it is not going to let you down from that angle, ever; it is not going to disappoint you…the same spirit, the same teaching. Thou will light me to the end of time. When you have the same spirit teaching you, you always get the same results. That is what it will be, right to the very end of time.

 

My father passed away just last January 18th. He had been walking with the Lord and His people for 70 years. He often mentioned to us in his last years, the thing that thrilled him most was the fact that he had seen some wonderful changes in the last 70 years in the world, but the Truth of God had gone serenely on the same. When my mother and father were first married, I believe they used candle lamps, then kerosene lamps, then oil lamps which were a little better, and then, some time later, automatic gasoline lamps. They gave a better light, and finally, the electric light…a tremendous change from the little candle to the great glowing lights. When my parents were first married, they had a horse drawn carriage. That is all they had. They had not seen a car in our part of the country at that time. They saw the time when the Model T Ford came in and they saw the time when the car came in that ran, and they saw the change in that direction. My father saw the coming of the aeroplane and he got to ride in a jet plane before the end of his journey…a tremendous change, but he found more that was such a thrill to him and that was, that even though everything in the natural sense was changing, the way and Truth of God went serenely on. A lot of these things were not for the best, but the thing that thrilled him most was the fact the Truth remained eternally the same, just like back in the beginning of their lives when as a young couple, they put their lives in God's hand and sealed their covenant with Him. We often talk about this fellowship as being a universal fellowship, which it is. That is because the same teaching, the same sprit, that is promised in this 21st verse, it comes in sincerity and truth. It is a wonderful thing to go to any part of the world and sit down and have perfect fellowship with your brethren there. Maybe they are living in some far away part of the world in primitive conditions, but the same love, fellowship, and truth is there. It is a wonderful thing to know the Lord has been able to produce a universal fellowship that is becoming more united. It is stronger today than it ever was before. It is more united today than it ever was before, the world over. It is a wonderful thing to go from country to country and see that for yourself.

 

When everything else is going to pieces around you, and something lasts that is getting stronger, becoming more united, more fruitful, fulfilling in every measure the prayer of the Lord Jesus that His people would all be one, it is wonderful to be part of a universal fellowship. This verse reminds me that I am part of an eternal fellowship. That is why I can read in the pages of the Bible and I can be in perfect fellowship with Abraham and David, Peter, James and John and others I read of there, because another day, and eternally they received the same spirit, and God sealed the same covenant with them. He did for them what He is doing for us today. That is why we can sit down and have perfect fellowship with these people we read about in the pages of His word, because this fellowship is an eternal fellowship. That is why He did for them what He is doing for us. Jesus told His disciples one day - He drew aside the curtain of time and gave them a glimpse into the other side of the scene of death - He said, "They shall come from the north and south and east and west and sit down in the Kingdom," and He said, "There will be Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets met with us,"…an eternal Kingdom isn't it? Isaac represented one age, Jacob another and all these old prophets coming together from the hundreds and hundreds of years that have passed, and His people from all parts of the earth, sitting down on the other side, having perfect fellowship together because they have all received the same message and the same unchanging spirit. They have all been brought into the same glorious fellowship, and when we are all gathered together on the other side, we will be able to sit down in perfect harmony and fellowship together. That is the picture Jesus gave us. They shall come from the north, south, east, and west, and sit down together. It did not make any difference what the background or nationality was.  And then Abraham was there, and Isaac and all the other prophets down through the years, right down to today through the different periods of time, but they had all heard the same glorious Gospel, and they had all received the same eternal spirit. It is spoken of as an eternal spirit in the book of Hebrews. We have all received the same eternal gospel and eternal spirit that has not changed and that is why you and I find ourselves in that glorious fellowship.