Stanley Sharpe - Oak Lodge II, Australia Convention - 1983

In Romans 14:22, it tells us how to be happy. A lot of people these days are forever going up and down the line looking for amusement, fun, and entertainment and so on, supposedly trying to find happiness but it tells us here what true happiness is. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth. It just goes to show that if we are those that don't allow anything in our hearts that would condemn us, that is the key to happiness and we are to remember that what God allows and what God is pleased with are two very different things. One time a man told me about some plan he had, it was not good. I tried to discourage them from those plans. "Well," he said, "If the Lord wants to stop me, He can." I said, "Don't be foolish." In that city where we were talking, there are lots of people in this city living terrible lives. They are spending their time and strength on the things that are not pleasing to God, yet God is allowing it.

 

You find back in the Old Testament about some people on the way to the Promised Land, they started to murmur and complain, they thought about the meat they got in Egypt, and they wished for more of that. The Lord gave it to them, lots of it, and then when they put that meat into their mouths and began to chew it, the Lord's anger was kindled against them. The Lord gave them what they wanted, He allowed them to have it but He wasn't pleased with it, so people could live their lives, follow plans that are not good. It is good if we were mindful of the will of God and that we do allow in our own lives that which would be pleasing to God. This little verse tells us, "Happy is he, which he alloweth," and this truly seems to be the key to happiness.

 

Over here in Matthew 7, I think it is, it tells us about some people who were the wrong kind of people. You know, when it came to the end of life, Jesus made it very plain there are going to be some people accepted and some people not. The difference would be the wrong and the right kind of people. It tells us in verse 21, "Not everyone that sayeth unto Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom. Depart from Me ye that work iniquity." You know, those people were trying to refresh the Lord's memory on a lot of things they thought they had done that was supposed to be good and you know how you remember things. It is by telling about them; then, you can look back in your own life and think of a lot of things that happened you don't even remember. A few things you remember, it might be amusing or sad things, whatever the occasion was, you remember them mostly because you have referred to them many times and spoken about the incident and because you spoke about them, it kept the memory fresh about whatever happened. These people apparently had been telling about the things they had done they thought was good, now they were afraid the Lord wasn't aware of it and they were trying to refresh His memory. The Lord told them, "Depart from Me."

 

In Matthew 25, it tells of some of the right kind of people, they are the people that will be accepted at the end of time. You find there in Matthew 25, beginning at verse 31, when the Son of man shall come in His glory. Verse 33, "He shall set the sheep on the right hand." These have to be the right kind of people. He tells them, "I was hungry, you fed Me; thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in," and so on. They said, "When, Lord?" They had forgotten all about those things and the Lord refreshed their memory about the things they had done. Now, why didn't they remember them? It was because they were the right kind of people. He told them they did it to the least; when these people had seen the opportunity to do what was only the right thing to do, they did it and forgot it. When there was an occasion to do, they did it and forgot it. Another occasion came they did the right thing and forgot it. Now, the Lord was refreshing their memory and these people were invited to come in to inherit the Kingdom, these were the right kind of people. It is good for us to learn some of these little lessons, they are vital and helps us to know what is acceptable and pleasing in the sight of the Lord.

 

You find over in Thessalonians, it tells us about some people. Paul was writing to these people said to them, "In everything, give thanks for this is the will of God." Sometimes people might argue this term - the will of God - it is a general term. Somebody might start to wonder, "Am I doing it? Can I do it?" Here, it tells us in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God. Even someone that would be bed ridden and not able to do the things they would like to do, or used to do, but if they are thankful, thankful when they begin the day, thankful for what God has brought into their lives and go through the day being thankful. At the end of the day, they are thankful and isn't it a beautiful thing, in doing so they have done the will of God. Someone asked somebody some time, "What is the main difference between people?" Well, it seems a lot of people take life for granted and some people take life with gratitude that would be the difference. It seems the attitude of gratitude seems to open the door for the Lord to be able to add blessing to any life.

 

If we are the kind of people you read about back there in the Old Testament, that has been referred to already, complainers and so on, well, we are just sort of unthankful - that would lay it open for us to have a bitter spirit, a sour spirit. I remember a lady, her family came from Austria to Canada, she listened to the gospel and things had gone for her much different than she really ever dared hope when she came to a new country. She made this statement, "If I were to grumble, I would sin." That woman just felt so good, so thankful for what God had done for her, she felt if she were to grumble, it would be a sin. I have appreciated that person over the years, it seems that has been the key to her whole service to God and we will find people look out on life, sometimes from the same circumstances and some people think one thing and some another.

 

You find over in Canada in the spring of the year, some of those little farms get some baby chicks from the hatchery and raise them. I had a letter from a lady one day. She said, "You know, we have bought 200 baby chicks this week." She said, "I am looking forward to all the nice fried chicken I am going to have in two months." I had another letter from a lady miles apart. She said, "We have bought 200 baby chicks. I am thinking of all the feathers I am going to have to pluck." You know, there was the difference; one thought of all the benefits, the other person thought about what kind of drudgery was involved. Some people look on life and some people count their blessings, not only one by one but ton by ton. Some people are thankful and other people are counting the miseries of their experience. So these are some of the little things it is good for us just to remember.

 

It tells us in the Bible, God said He was a jealous God and jealousy is generally considered a hateful quality. If you hear of a jealous person, you don't like to hear about that. I read in a dictionary once, referring to God, it means He is intolerant of unfaithfulness. You know, I don't know about this country here, but in Canada, I tell people you will never find perfect husbands, perfect wives - they are pretty scarce. That doesn't mean there are not very good marriages where everything goes along fine because, remember, in the home, men may not be perfect, wives are not perfect but that doesn't matter. You know what matters is that the man likes to think he is number one in the eyes of his wife and the woman likes to think she is number one in the eyes of her husband. Anything that would block that, it is something that they don't tolerate, they wouldn't want someone else to come between them so they are not number one. There are other little differences; the man might bring in muddy shoes or one day the woman's cooking might fail. Those things they can overlook, one thing they like to feel is number one in each other’s eyes. God looks down and views His people, they are not the most brilliant or talented by any means but He likes to feel He is number One. He is intolerant of anything that would come in between Himself and the first place in our hearts and lives. So, it is good for us to remember that kind of thing.

 

Another little thought before I get on to what I was going to speak about. Some of us gathered here are not so young anymore, including myself. When you travel along the roads sometimes, you come to an old sign post, weather beaten, like some of us here, some of us here are no longer brand new. But you know, a sign post, as long as it is pointing the right direction it still serves a very useful purpose. It might be weather beaten but it is declaring a message. It is pointing in the right direction, it is useful even though it has been there a long time; even though we have been around a little while and we are no longer brand new but if we are declaring the right message. If we are pointing the right direction to others around us, we can still be useful. Good to just remember that, remember also that we are not to hinder. Remember Paul writing one time about not hindering the gospel, this little thought we need to keep in mind.

 

One time, I visited an iron foundry. It was a small foundry not modern as some places are. They poured ore out into a kettle and it was put in a little cart and wheeled down a little alley and put into mounds. They were pouring metal like water but a little carelessness would be costly. There is a large sign over the door, "Your First Duty Today Is To Be Careful." You know, lives were at stake if they weren't careful. Remember, we in this world, we mingle among souls for whom Christ died, we need to be careful. You know, I worked in a ship yard a few years ago, during war time in the city of Vancouver; it had a narrow neck into the harbour. In war time, they placed guns and soldiers there with instructions that every boat that came in they were to give the right signal; if not, they were to fire across at the back of the boat. If there was no signal yet, they were to fire in front of the boat; if there was still no signal, they were to fire at the boat.

 

Those soldiers were down there some weeks, and they were itching to get to use the gun. A little fishing boat came in this day and didn't bother giving the signal; they fired a shot; there was still no signal, they fired another shot but you know, here was a brand new freighter on its trial run but they didn't know. They put a shot right through the new freighter, that ship was towed back into dry dock; thousands of man hours had gone into building it, but one blow and it upset a lot of people's work. You know, lives in this world, children brought up in homes, parents have done their best, other people worked certain hours, living beside neighbours, they have done their level best to try to build up something that will eventually be the Lord's work in that life if they responded. We carelessly, like those soldiers that day, just not thinking say, or do something that would be just like a shot, a blow that would undo the work even of years of someone trying to do something for somebody's soul. Good for us to remember our first duty in this world is to be careful, at the same time to be those who realise, like we have been hearing about correction. Someone said there is a lot of correction on the road to perfection. You know, in order for us to finally be those God would be able to accept, we are going to have to accept a lot of correction.

 

My thoughts have been a little bit this last little while on the book of Amos. This book of Amos and a chapter that you find in Isaiah 6, a very familiar chapter, the time when Isaiah looked upon the Lord sitting on His throne and this happened about 25 years before that according to the dates in my Bible. This man said, "In the words of Amos, in the days of Uzziah," it tells about himself. This is the way he described himself, "I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son but I was a herdsman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit." You know, he wasn't a man who had special talents, he hadn't been educated, he hadn't a pedigree of any kind, he was a man who looked after cattle and gathered fruit; the Lord laid His finger upon him and now he had a message for the people. This message, you find, was not just the best message for some people. It tells us in verse 3, certain people were speaking against him, using threshing instruments of iron, a cruel thing. We may not be the kind of people to take an iron rod and beat somebody, but it might be easy to say something that would be unkind, that could be cruel, a very unkind thing, instruments of cruelty; we would be as guilty as those people mentioned here. Now, verse 6 tells us of some other people, they were carried away captive. You know, there is not one that lives but what he has influenced others. When we come to the end of life, it is going to be great if because of our influences we have been able to encourage someone even to begin in God's way. If we are those who are unwise, it would be a sad thing if because of folly, of our influence, others are carried away into captivity. Good for us to remember this where the Lord's anger was kindled against those people.

 

It tells us in verse 9 because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom and remembered not the brotherly covenant. You know, one thing we have to remember, we are just fallow travelers to eternity. Out on the ocean, there is an unwritten code of the sea that even the largest ship would go to help the smallest ship if it is in distress. It would be a shameful thing after a captain has arrived at the harbour to have found out he had failed to respond to a cry of distress on his way. So it is good for us to remember we are fellow travellers, we each need each other to keep encouraged. We need to remember we have the wonderful privilege of being brother to brother along life's way. It tells us in verse 11, it says here of some people, because he did pursue his brother with the sword something like those that were cruel. You know, that is a terrible thing if we are that kind of people. You remember Joseph when he was dealt with so unkindly by his brethren, it could have been his purpose - "I will get even with those brothers of mine some day;" that opportunity came his way, he did his best to see his brothers made right. Here, they pursued their brother with the sword.

 

The first recorded death in the Bible was murder and it was one brother killing another. Cain killing Abel; that is a terrible thing, here was Cain, it wasn't a case we find in law courts where somebody murdered somebody and it is found he has been provoked to it because of that other person attacking him first. A case of self-defense, finally killing the other person; they would look upon it and give it some measure of consideration. Here was a brother killing his brother, it was because he was apparently bitter because the Lord was accepting his brother's sacrifice but not his own. The Lord told him, "If you do well, sin lieth at the door." Cain had the opportunity to do right and didn't do it. You find that down here in verse 13, it tells the people did some terrible things that they might enlarge their border. You know, sometimes we suggest they just better leave this alone and so on. They sort of resent it.

 

You know this matter of resenting a thing that can spoil us in many ways. One time, a lady was taken at convention time and shown where she was to sleep. Just at that time, a big truck rolled by on the highway. She said, "I don't think I can sleep here." The sister said, "Well, I don't think it will be the noise that will bother you and keep you from sleeping but your resentment to the noise." This is true about life. We can build up resentment against certain things that really don't affect us too much, yet we build up quite a case and it can disturb our spirit and spoil the blessing of God; the happiness that ought to be there because of resenting that which in fact, is doing us no harm at all. Good for us to remember that.

 

In this country, I read about it over in our country, they have sanctuaries for some wild life, birds, and animals. You know, the borders of the sanctuary are not restrictive but protective. The animal or bird is quite at liberty to go outside the border but, after a while, they learn there is safety inside the border. It is dangerous to be outside the border. We are wise when we learn there is a border to God's Kingdom. We are safe inside it, we are not safe outside. You know, a little mouse comes out of a hole, in the corner he sees a little cheese in a trap; he just looks closer, get the smell and has a desire to taste. No one has ever seen a happy mouse in a trap. That is how the world is. It sometimes appeals to young people, they like to look on what is going on, they often get a little sniff of it, it must be exciting and often perhaps even want to get involved too. As we say, it is better to shun the bait than struggle in the trap. Good for us to just look on the world with a right sense of values and realise, after all, it is just artificial and recognise what God has for His people is good.

 

It tells us in chapter 2 about burning the bones of the King of Edom. It is almost like a deep hatred there. They were not just content to even see a person dead but they went a little further. It is a terrible thing when we find people that have within their heart a sort of malicious spirit that would just spoil any opportunity for the Lord's Spirit to have anything in their lives. Then it tells us in 2:4 because all those people despised the law of the Lord.

 

In Psalm 119, the Psalmist said, "I stood in awe of the Word of God." You can count yourself a happy person if you have a proper, true respect for God's Word when you look at God's Word. It doesn't happen so much in the world any more, people might be blind to the future meaning of what God wants of them. You can show them; that is what it says in a certain verse in a chapter later, they will see it themselves because they have respect for God's Word and it pulls them up short when they are perhaps careless and doing the wrong thing. They have a respect for God's Word, something that they did accept at one time. It is not in the world today. The general idea of the Bible is, don't pay too much attention to that but, friends, and remember this:  God means what He says.


 

It is a good thing that we are those that respect His Word and in the world there is lots of advertising that is true. I remember in Canada, one tobacco company used to have a sign, "Everybody smokes Old Chum tobacco." A milling company's sign says, "Eventually you will use our brand of flour, why not now?" But everybody was reading this sign but they didn't. Those are statements the world makes but they are not true. When you read in the Bible, "Every knee shall bow," we know we are talking about things that are going to happen, that are true. Good for us to have a deeper respect for God's Word.


 

It tells us her in verse 6, they sold the righteous for silver and the poor for a pair of shoes. A terrible thing when people are like that; there is a little opportunity for gain. They sort of feel, "Well, I shouldn't kind of miss out on this;" maybe they think it isn't just right to do it but they will do it for a while anyway. You know, one man was asked one time why he was working at the kind of work he was doing, it was kind of questionable. He said, "Somebody has to do it. I have to live." This person said, "Must you live?" That shook him a bit. We have to remember friends God can do without any of us. God need not use any of us, none of us are important and the fact that we must live, don't ever get that notion; as far as God is concerned, He can do without all of us. We need to get that straight. One man, because of his nature, this person tried to show him a little lesson. He took him to a window and asked, "What do you see?" "A lot of people." "Fine." He took him to a mirror and said, "Then, what do you see now?" "Well, I just see myself." He said, "Do you know the difference between the two panes of glass? One has silver added at the back of it." As soon as a little silver is added, all he saw was himself; when the silver was added, he couldn’t see others.


 

You know, there are some people like that, they just might consider others to a certain degree but suddenly there is an opportunity for gain and they see nobody else but themselves. The ships on the ocean for a number of years, there was no control, but definitely a lot of ships were overloaded and would go down, but they still did it. I was surprised to find out at Lloyds, insurers particularly of shipping in the world claimed it lost one good size boat which goes down in the water every day. The fact is, some years ago, perhaps 100 years, a man named Samuel Plimsoll realised there should be a mark on the ship that would be the safe loading point so he devised this plan and now every freighter has that mark on it. Insurance companies won't insure if they go above that. The owner of the ship, if he could just put on more cargo, a foot or two above that line and if it is plain sailing perhaps it would get through and make a lot of money. But you know, as long as he is doing that, he is sailing dangerously. Sometimes, people in this world just get overloaded, they have the feeling, "I can add this to my circle of activities, I can add this extra. I will be a little better off." They do, they make a little more money but finally they are beginning to sail dangerously.

 


Jesus was speaking about that, being overloaded with the cares of this world and as a result living dangerously. It is good for us to know where the safe load is. The Lord expects us to do our work diligently, not to overload; it is a dangerous thing. These people here, there was greed. You find over here in chapter 3 it tells about some people in verse 2, punish you for all your iniquities. You know, someone has described iniquity; sin is doing wrong but iniquity would be to defend the wrong. We are not likely to go too far, to do something wrong but it would be a terrible thing when we have done something wrong and we try to defend it because we are on the wrong trail. Now, if we started doing that, trying to defend the wrong; we would like to be a people when we have done wrong, we are willing to repent. David didn't do everything right. One mark about David, he was a man after God's own heart. David was one when he did wrong and was brought face to face with it, he would repent. Good for us to repent and not start to defend ourselves when we have done wrong.


 

The next chapter, 5 times it mentions here, "Yet have ye not returned unto Me." That is the most marvellous thing, God's mercy, God's love. We read about people supposed to be His, often through the Bible so often they are on the wrong trail. He is still offering them benefits and blessing if they would return unto Him. We can come to these conventions having got a little off course, as we have been hearing already, God would like to see us those that would return unto Him. There is a verse in Psalm 22 tells us, "None can keep alive his own soul." Sometimes we have a little feeling, "I can kind of operate independently of others;" some people have the feeling they don't need to go to meetings. Just read their Bible and they will get along fine but it says, "None can keep alive his own soul," that is why we gather here today as we are because we have need of the help of God. We need to be those who realise we need one another, we need God's help or we are going to perish.


 

Then it goes on and tells about, in the same chapter 12. Here is a verse used so often concerning people out in the world and far from God but, you know, the people this was written to were supposed to be God's people. "Prepare to meet thy God;" Israel, these were in Babylon, the Greek the enemy of the people serving God. God looked down upon them and felt they weren't prepared to meet Him. He encouraged them to prepare themselves. Good to keep this little thought, life is uncertain, death is certain, we need to be prepared. Sometimes on a highway you see a sign, "Be prepared to stop." We need to remember when we drive along the highway there is only a little line between us and oncoming traffic. That is all that separates us from an accident; it may not be our fault, we might be driving carefully, but through faulty mechanism or carelessness, it would mean the end. "Be prepared to stop." One young woman, not long married, he was a wealthy man, they had the money to do everything they wanted. They did some of it; he had an accident and died. The widow had sorrow they had many wonderful plans but never once planned for it. They planned all the things they were going to do, places they were going to go they had money to make it possible. So they were making all plans but never once prepared to stop. It is always good for us to remember some of these little things. It tells us in chapter 5, "Seek ye Me and ye shall live." Verse 8, "Seek Him that maketh the seven stars, the Lord is His name." You know, over in Acts 27, I think it is, it tells about that shipwreck that took place; there was a big storm; Paul spoke and said they first should never have started out. The South wind was blowing softly, they disregarded the advice given, they went out, it
wasn't long after, it said, a big storm arose.


 

It tells us of Paul, he stood out in front of them and admonished them. Admonish means to counsel somebody kindly. He told them, "Don't be afraid, there is no hope for the ship but there is hope for the lives within the ship." You know, this is true of life. The gospel doesn't come to tell people that they are going to live 500 years, 1000 years even 80, 90 or 100 years, the gospel comes to bring people a message. There is hope within the soul in the body. It says getting near to the shore and wishing for the day - this little verse, "Seek Him...that turneth the shadow of death into morning." You know, with all the power plants that light up factories and homes and streets, even though they are able to turn a lot of lights on but they have never been able to turn night into day. The only one who can do that is God. Jesus, the light of the world, He is the One who can turn night into day.

 


Seek Him and the One who can turn the shadow of death into morning. David wrote in Psalm 23 about the shadow of death. One thing about that is if we are facing the source of light, the shadows fall behind. You turn your back on the source of light and the shadows haunt you and frighten you, that is what people of the world have. This death is the terror of kings and the king of terrors, this one that frightens them. Whether kings or slaves, they look ahead and have to realise they haven't made some arrangements. It causes fear in their hearts because they are walking away from the source of light. But those who have known something about walking towards the one beckoning them to come, even as Jesus told His disciples, "Come, follow Me," then we are walking towards the light and the shadows fall behind us. You know, shadows have a purpose, too. You know, a painter, when he is making a painting of a bridge, mountains, trees, lakes, to someone that doesn't know much about painting, they might feel it is complete. He will put in dark shadows and you might think it would spoil the picture. It sometimes takes the shadow to make a picture complete. No one enjoys it; like a ship. No ship that ever sailed has known smooth water all the time; no life has ever lived but what it ran into certain experiences that were not easy. Sometimes these shadows have the effect of deepening our confidence in God.


 

I read one time about roses - when gathering them for perfume, they gather it at the darkest time. A rose loses 50 to 60 of its fragrance in the light. A woman in hospital where they care for long term patients, she sits in a wheel chair. That woman her face beaming, claiming what joy she had found in God and Christ; the shadows are all behind her; it seems there is fragrance from her life even though to some people, it would be a shadow in her life to experience what she is experiencing. This is the one we can seek, the one who can turn the shadow of death into morning. We are gathering here at convention today, we want to be those who could keep our eyes upon the time when we can be those who would be part of that convention that will have no closing hymn. That convention with those of God's people gathered round His throne to be with Him forever. It won't be a convention starting her on Wednesday night and closing on Sunday night with a closing hymn, that convention with God's people gathered there forever, there won't be an end, a termination to it. It will go on and on and on, so it is good for us to be those who would realise we have a precious privilege as a result of knowing His blessing. It tells on further here, I haven't time to speak about everything in it.

 


It tells us in chapter 6, "Woe to them that are at ease in Zion." Verse 4, "They lie upon beds of ivory." It tells about them drinking wine but they were not grieved with the affliction of Joseph. Here were people they were in Zion, dwelling at ease. You know what happens when one is at ease, perfectly at ease. It is easy to go to sleep; you don't go to sleep when there is a lot of activity around you. This could happen, we could be those that could get into this place where we are at ease, feeling we have found God's way. We know the right way to worship the right kind of worship and mentally feel, "Well, there are a lot of people round us living foolishly. I have been wise and accepted what is right." Those people were lying on ivory beds, living on the lambs, the best of the flock, calves out of the midst of the stall, everything about it was just comfortable, everything just as people would generally wish for but they were not grieved for those less fortunate than themselves.


 

Good for us to look out on those in the world - Jesus did. He was One that had compassion. He came at a time when it would have been easy for Him to be disappointed about the conditions, He wasn't. These people for generations had forgotten Him, they lived selfishly, they hadn't responded to the Father's love and favour and so on. What can you do with them? Now, Jesus looked on the world in compassion; we can look around us, people round us in our little town, just the kind of people you think there is no hope for them. You find Jesus met some of the most unlikely people and saw possibilities in them and as a result, was able to do things for them that meant eternal blessing to them. So it is good for us to be the kind of people that realise that.


 

You know, some of you remember at the time of the Second World War, the battle of Dunkirk. Dunkirk was down on the coast of France. The British sent a little army over into France to help; France wasn't too well equipped. Perhaps 100,000 men all they had available at the time Hitler declared war. There they were trying to do their best and then Hitler swept through Holland, Belgium, and swept into France and France gave up, they laid down their guns. This little army, with their backs to the sea, overwhelmed in numbers, they hadn't a hope. Over in England, people realised their only hope was to get them back to England. They called for volunteers. One man arrived with a row boat. They asked, "What are you going to do with that?" He said, "Perhaps I can bring back one man." That old weather in the English Channel is stormy most of the time. It was like hopeless to do that but there was the spirit of the man, "Perhaps I can bring back one." We need to look out on this world regardless of how hopeless the situation is and remember there are lives
living out of Christ without hope, having to face death and the only hope, as we look on this world, is to be the kind of people that would not be like those that dwell at ease in Zion, just satisfied with their own position, not feeling for those less fortunate than themselves.


 

It tells us in chapter 7, some verses that are very familiar. The Lord stood upon the wall made by a plumbline, relating to Jesus that would come, the one that was the established standard of righteousness for all the world. You know, a plumbline is a very simple thing. It is used by construction workers yet; it is not to measure height or length but just to see it is upright. Did Jesus come to this world feeling that His time in the world was wasted because He wasn't able to find millions to respond to His teachings? No, but what He came to establish was that it was right. You find when Amos saw the Lord standing on the wall holding a plumbline, He said, "What do you see?" "I see a plumbline." You know, some people, when they are face to face with what they can see is the wall, they feel, "Perhaps it is separating me from certain things, things I enjoy, people I have things to do with," and that bothers them but, you know, the honest person, do you know what they see? Like Amos did, they will see the plumbline. I remember one lady, brought up in a certain religious system, she saw nothing in it for her so she changed to something she thought was better. She still couldn't and she sought something a little better. She came to some meetings where the gospel was preached and you know, after about two meetings, she saw this was right. You know, that woman didn't see the wall, she saw the plumbline and was glad, she still is glad. When you find that which is true and right, you find that which is referred to in chapter 7 of Amos.


 

It goes on and tells about some people in chapter 8, every one mourns that dwelleth therein and drowned as by the flood of Egypt. You know, Egypt has been suggested as being a type of this world. You know what the flood did. It drowned people. You know, some people, because of getting involved in the world. It is good for us to just remember God has something better than the old world has to offer. I tell people sometimes back in Canada, things are a little different here, when you gather wheat here, it is usually tending towards the dry season. If we waited till it was dry enough, we would never gather wheat. In Canada when the wheat gets ready, very often it starts to rain, winter is coming on, snow falls. It is an anxious time to gather wheat before winter comes; sometimes you could be gathering wheat that is not just ready to gather; if they take it in to the market and find the crop damp, they won't accept it. You look at damp wheat in the bins, it looks good enough. What is the difference? There is too much of the atmosphere of this world in the wheat; they won't accept it, they reject it. Wouldn't it be a terrible thing, after the Lord has done so much for us, the Lord is able to show us His way? We never see the need of being willing for it all because of being involved a little too much in the world. When you come to the end and the very time when the Lord would look upon us and question us, we would be rejected because of having too much of the atmosphere of this world.


 

Then it tells us in 9:9, a verse I have enjoyed many times, where it speaks about the Lord sifting the house of Israel. You know, when the farmer goes out to gather grain, he tries to gather all he can every time. When he is finished, he realises there is some grain still left out there. He doesn't gather every crumb but, you know, here is a little picture, the Lord wouldn’t let even the least grain fall upon the earth. Some people might be isolated, not too well known, but if they have the right thing in their heart, the Lord is going to gather them in. He will not allow one of them to be wasted. It tells us in verse 15, "I will plant them upon their land."


 

There is a picture in Deuteronomy, we read about Moses leading the people to the Promised Land. It said over and over again how good the land was, how wonderful was this land. What it would do for them and so on; even in spite of it the people seemed to lose their vision. You know, sometimes in Canada, you can go along and see a farming area. One side of the road are homes and apartment buildings and on the other side of the road, they are growing wheat. If you enquire the price of that land, they tell you so much per acre, far more than you expect it should be. You go 20 miles away and it is not so much. Why are they asking so much? It is not any better. Do you know why? Because they see this land that is next to that city will soon become part of that city. You know, this is a little picture, friends, of how it will be. You read about a city like no other city in this world. Some cities boast of a beautiful city, a spectacular city but there is no city like that city we read about in Revelations. It is 1500 miles long, the streets are gold, not like the gold of this world, gold clear as crystal, everything about it; there is nothing like it in this world. It is a good land you read about and the Lord was bringing them into it. It was the Promised Land, it wasn't heaven, it was something God had promised them, they would be able to enjoy special privileges when they got there. The Lord has brought us into a good land - it is in God's Kingdom in this world.

 


There is no organization so precious, there is no fellowship like it, it is land near the city, just so close to the place where we are in the earth today, close to the eternal city. If we remain in the favourable position that we are in, we will be those that will be part of the city in time. It is good for us to remember this picture, this place we have in this earth is close to that eternal City, and stay in the land until the land, one day, will be part of the eternal city. There is nothing like it in all this world. Good for us to enjoy some of these little thoughts. The key to happiness is, "Don't allow anything that would condemn us."


 

I will tell you about one other little verse in Romans 8. It tells us exactly the number of people that are in God’s Kingdom. You know, sometimes it is not so good to number them. There it tells us no more and no less. Romans 8:14, "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." That is the exact number. Let us just remember this, friends, as we go out from this place, we will be those who remember our first duty today is to be careful. There are precious souls all around us. As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. We are God's people, God will recognise us, like that verse in Amos 9:9, even the least grain, God won't forsake it or forget it. These little thought are good for us to remember, to put a guard against people that allow some of those things, that we wouldn’t be those that dwell at ease and go to sleep and not recognise the wonderful opportunity to do that which would be a little help to others. I would like to know more about Himself.