Stanley Sharpe - Second Testimony - Oak Lodge II, Australia Convention - 1983

We have heard in this convention something about God trusting us and us trusting God. One time after a convention we were cleaning up in the tent where the meetings were, a little girl had left some notes she had made. This is what she said, "I don't know many people here but those that I do know are the best people in the whole world," and I just thought, when I read that, "God's people are trusted by the God of Heaven and trusted by little children and that is a great responsibility, to be trusted in that respect."



There is an old couple in Canada, very faithful souls, a couple of grandchildren come to school nearby in that city near where they live. They always go to grandfather's and grandmother's for lunch at noon. Those little children, their own parents didn't go to meetings that the grandparents did but they had a very great respect for those grandparents. The little boy came back to school and heard a little discussion. Perhaps you have heard it, a few years ago, there was a subject came up. I don't know who started it, but they talked about God is dead. A couple of teachers were discussing this when the boy came along and said, "God is not dead. Granddad was talking to Him today at noon." That little boy had complete confidence in his grandfather; that grandfather bowed his head at the noon meal and prayed to God. That little boy had complete confidence that his grandfather was talking to God and that kind of trust is something that is a great trust.


 

A little girl in Canada, too, she was a little slow getting her work done. One day, the teacher made her stay in after the others had gone to do some work. The little girl did not seem to be in too big of a hurry even then. Everybody had gone, the teacher, too, could have gone if it wasn't for this little girl. She came along and said, "Hurry, Cindy, time is fleeting." She said, "You know, we have a hymn with those words. I will sing it to you." The teacher said, "Go ahead and sing it." She sang the hymn; so, this little girl got courage the next day and took an invitation to the gospel meetings. Then, at supper time, when they had finished, the teacher phoned the little girl's mother and asked, "Where are these meetings? I think it would do Cindy a little good if my husband and I go to the meeting." Her husband and herself were at the gospel meeting, all because a little girl had a little confidence and courage to speak about the things that meant a lot to her. "You know," someone said, "Perhaps for some, their only view of Christ is what they see in you." You may be at school or work, at some office or shop or whatever, living in a community. The neighbours see you and perhaps for some their only view of Christ is what they see in you. That is a great responsibility.


 

It is a privilege to be those that would realise that, even as Jesus said to His disciples. He said, "Ye are the light of the world." He considered those disciples that began to follow Him were the one hope of the world and two or three men talking on one day. They said, "Do you know many of those translations, versions of the Bible translated from the original?" So, those men were talking as to which they thought was best. One man had one view and another had another. This one man said, "I like my mother's translation the best." They said, "What translation is that?" "She translates the Bible into everyday living." That is true. When it is all finished, there is a lot of people round us don't read the Bible but perhaps see you and me and it is how we translate God's Word in everyday life that will be something perhaps that they will really be acquainted with more than actually looking at the printed word. Good for us to just remember some of these little things. Sometimes any of us get the feeling, "Well, my little part in this Kingdom is not much," but you know, it is amazing how much you can be a help in the Kingdom. You know, sometimes that some people are added to the Kingdom; in gospel meetings, some people, complete strangers, begin to come and get interested and kind of get helped. Well, sometimes people kind of feel, "Well, it was in so and so's meeting;" it even happens sometimes preachers get the feeling it was in our meeting. That is very foolish thinking, it is amazing how many people have a little part in someone getting helped.


 

You know, a man from New Zealand, you know about him, he was the first man to get to the top of Mount Everest. Of course, his name went round the world in the newspapers, through radio broadcasts announcing the news. He said, "I would never have got to the top but for 300 porters that was part of the support party that made it possible for me to reach the top." You know, when we get to the end of life, when it is all finished, we will be just like we were speaking the other day about the right kind of people. The Lord was telling them what they had done. They said, "When, Lord?" Even when we go to gospel meetings being part of the people makes it possible for the meeting to be held. Two or three people come for the first meeting, or a few times, if they were the only people there it would be difficult, perhaps, to preach easily to them but the fact that there are others there. They all have a part in the fact that the gospel is preached, somebody gets helped; like they say, it takes every blade of grass to make a meadow green. This is true we all can have a little part in this.


 

You know when Jesus said, "Ye are the light of the world," to those disciples of His, He was calling them just exactly that and in the verse right near there, it speaks about a candle. A candle isn't a very powerful light. I was amazed to find long ago there was a large lighthouse and when black-outs were necessary, the power of the lighthouse was in candle power. You know, when Jesus lived in the world He was the light of the world. He didn't leave the world in darkness; the light of the world today is still measured in candle power, individuals, God's people scattered over this world in which the light of Christ shines forth. The power from the lighthouse is measured in candle power. One thing about a lighthouse, the man that looks after that lighthouse, at the end of the year his whole satisfaction is in the fact he was able to keep the light burning all night long, for 24 hours even. You know, he doesn't keep track of how many people are guided by that light, he wouldn't know. His satisfaction is that he is able to keep the light burning.


 

We were on the north shore, Lake Superior, a man made a living fishing. He came back with whatever he caught out from the shore line, on the rock islands. I asked somebody, "Was that lighthouse on an area more dangerous than others?" No, actually people that frequent the waters were people that lived in those waters all their lives they were acquainted with the places that were safe. This man said, "That lighthouse is when perhaps it is dark or stormy or a fog comes in sometimes and to those that are out there, the lighthouse is a guide to help them find the way back to safety." It was actually providing light to those that already knew the way but because of rough weather that might come sometimes, they might lose direction, this was a little guide. You know, friends, we might finish life and think we have never been a help to anyone to be brought into God's Kingdom. You know, friends, we might be surprised, like we were talking about the other day, you did this and this and this and they said, "When?" You might be surprised, like the man who ran the lighthouse. He was not acquainted with how many people he helped with the light, the fact is someone experienced a little rough weather, got a little discouraged and wondered which direction to go. If you keep your light burning, perhaps they would get a little courage from you, you may not be aware of it. Sometime later on, they might even be able to tell you, "You know, it was you one time when it looked black for me I felt like giving up, you encouraged me, you weren't aware of it, perhaps." Good to remember the precious privilege we have of being those that would be even like those porters that helped that man to reach the top. He would never have done it on his own, so it is friends, we all can contribute one to another. Good for us just to remember that.


 

You know that man Peter, when Jesus talked to him when He was about to leave the world. He didn't ask Peter how much did he know about the Old Testament, He didn't ask Peter if he understood every miracle that had been performed, what lesson could be learned from that miracle. Did he catch the reason why He told certain parables and all those kind of things; do you know what He asked him? He asked him if he loved Him and you know friends, you go to a little meeting, you might feel you can't contribute a new interpretation or unravel the mystery in the Bible, let me tell you this, when you go to a meeting and realise those that you meet with they love the Lord, that feeds your heart. Jesus, when He saw Peter loved Him, He said, "Feed my lambs;" that was the one thing Jesus asked. It wasn't what Peter knew of the law or what he could quote of the Scripture, nothing of that kind, but, "Do you love Me?" Friends, when we gather together, if others can recognise we love the Lord, it is going to feed the hearts of others so it is good to remember that little thought.


 

Another little thought about this matter of our responsibility toward one another. There is a little poem I enjoy sometimes which tells us this:

 

Why for the sheep should we earnestly long
And as earnestly, hope and pray?

Because there is danger if they go wrong,
They will lead the lambs astray.

For the lambs will follow the sheep, you know
Wherever the sheep may stray

When the sheep go wrong, it will not be long
Till the lambs are as wrong as they.

And so with the sheep, we earnestly plead
For the sake of the lambs today

If the lambs are lost, what a terrible cost
Some sheep will have to pay.


Sometimes, as we have heard already in the meetings, people feel, "Well, what I do with my life? What interests I take up? What activities I become involved in? Well, it is more or less just up to me, if the Lord is not pleased with it, I am willing to take the consequences." But remember, like the poem says, there are others depending upon your life and mine, whether we know it or not. The things we could do can affect other people and cause them to do the same just as the lamb will follow the sheep, it will soon be as wrong as those that lead them astray. Good for us to remember some of these little things.


We were hearing already about salt. Jesus tells His disciples they were the salt of the earth but if the salt has lost his savour, to be trodden under foot of men. I wondered a long time ago just in what condition salt lost its savour. I wrote to a salt company and got a very interesting letter. He said, "I enjoyed the little thought passed on in your enquiry about salt. I want to tell you that salt never loses its savour." He said, "I would not want to change one word as it is written in the Scripture, in the gospel, because at the time it was written when Jesus spoke to those disciples, those people had no way of having pure salt. Well now, to be able to get the residue from the water evaporated from the Dead Sea, there was other minerals there beside salt because they knew nothing else they called it salt. They took that salt and put it on meat and fish and the real salt went into the meat but always left a little white powder; they had no other name, so it was salt that lost its savour. It was calcium sulphate and calcium carbonate mainly what it is. You put some salt out in the sea, the real salt is leached away, you have a white tasteless powder." They call it again salt that lost its savour; pumps weren't invented yet anyway all they were doing, this salt went into a tank, to another and again, pumped until finally you get pure salt but the little thought came to me.


When Jesus looked on those disciples, He was thinking in the language of the day. You know what, the disciples, they were not pure salt, neither we are that are gathered today pure salt. As long as there was a measure of the Spirit of Christ in those disciples they had value to God, what was left had no value. That is true of us too, if there is a measure of the Spirit of Christ, it makes us valuable to God; if that goes out, what is life? Life is worthless and it is good for us to remember this. We can look on people and feel sometimes that perhaps at a time in their lives they were willing for the control of God in their lives and had a measure of the Spirit of Christ. But if it has gone out, you begin to deal with the same person, you find they are not truthful, they are not honest, that is why God's Spirit goes. Did it change? No, no, it is that it is not there because the Spirit of Christ doesn't change. As that man said, so it is good to remember some of these little things, good for us to understand God's lovely way as it is explained to us in the gospel, in the Bible.


One other little thought mentioned that is over in John. Jesus said in chapter 12, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone." Over in Haggai, it says, "There is seed yet in the barn." You know, when a farmer comes to time for planting, he could have seed ready. But back in Canada, there are different conditions here than there. I remember going to one particular farm one day and enquired how the seeding was going. He said, "We haven't started yet; the seed was ready, it was in the barn." A little later, I enquired, "I am not doing anything yet, the conditions are not favourable." Here, apparently, you wait for rain. There could be too much rain; unless conditions are favourable the seed stays in the barn. Jesus spoke about His Spirit, His Word like seed. Again it has to have a favourable seed bed, even a hungry seeking heart or else it stays in the barn. God looks down on millions of lives, the seed is still in the barn. God longs to set His seed in the heart. Jesus explained that people's hearts were like a little bit of soil; sometimes people get big ideas of themselves.


It tells us in the Scriptures not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think. Somebody said, "A good cure for conceit is to think of all the things you don't know and can't do it might help steady him and bring him back down to the level again." Anyway, it says in the Scriptures, "We are just dust." You know, dust isn't a very glamorous commodity, whether the housewife finds it in the home or on the farm. In its most glamorous state, it is mud. The difference is, something has come down from above and made it possible to be a seed bed, that is all the difference between mud and dust. One thing is useful - the farmer can't take a lot of satisfaction of a thousand acres of dust. God looks down on the world, what He is looking at is nothing but dust, for all have human nature. The Lord wants to get that thing that is best into us.


So then, that is the story of the seed - it has to have a favourable seed bed. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it bringeth forth much fruit." People could read that verse kind of quickly, I used never to give it much more thought. You know friends, supposing a farmer said, "I want to start you off in farming. I am going to give you one kernel of wheat." That is not much of a start. You take one kernel of wheat, in four years you will get a bushel, even using an increase of 30 fold on one seed. Do you know, friends, if you keep planting the product of that one grain, the next year you will have 30 grains, you plant the 30 grains and the next year, you will have 900 grains. You plant the 900 grains and the next year, you will have 27000 grains of wheat and so on. In 12 years, if you can find land to sow this wheat, you will have more wheat than you can find land in this world. You know, we met a man here recently, within the last year, he used to go to meetings. He doesn't now, but his wife does, he is trying to look for ways of trying to excuse himself. He came up with the idea, "It is time we people proved what we are teaching people is the continuation of what Jesus gave to the world." He wanted to have somebody to be able to show to him every generation in the Bible, to give names and so on.


I told him I would be glad to have a visit. Finally, they arranged a day. I told him, "You take a look at a handful of wheat, it tells its own story. You don't think to ask somebody, 'I want to know what it was 15 years ago, 50 years ago.' I don't believe it is wheat; you don't have to ask whether it is grown in Australia or Canada or USA, you look at it, it is wheat. The Lord of the harvest told us in Genesis, it would produce after its own kind." You know friends, truth is truth, it is the same thing. We were shown a verse already in the meeting. Deuteronomy, God is truth, it was before the world began. I talked to this man. "Well," I said, "Before there was the written word, even Enoch and Abraham and Jacob different people, they walked God's way. They had an understanding of His way, they had the seed of the right thing in their lives. I say, you know, between Joseph and the parents of Moses, for 400 years or more there is no mention of any names. It doesn't say who gave seed to the next person but Moses' parents had the right seed; through it, we see they put something into Moses, the Lord was able to put His hand on him and use him in a mighty way. We read over and over again about the remnant; finally we get to the place in Malachi. Even the historians tell us those are the silent years we don't know what happened in that time. Mary and Zacharias, the remnant in that day, the right thing was preserved."


There was the birth, then Jesus preached, people responded, some didn't. In the book of Acts, we read about a greater response; before the finish of the book of Acts, there was persecution and a scattering around, the Corinthians and Thessalonians moved away. Then came what we read in history books, dark days when the power of Rome began to control the governments of Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, England, and countries of Europe. It was as much as life was worth to speak anything different to what that church upheld. But, you know, one of the friends up in Canada going for a Doctor's degree in history did a thesis. They have to choose a subject nobody else has written about, how that same church affected governments of England and Canada in the 17th and 18th century. When delving into it, they saw what they thought was so called Christianity for the first time in what is now Germany, they found people already worshipping Christ in their homes. There was the big remnant seed. Then, you know, friends as I said already, there has to be favourable conditions in the seed bed before seed is produced. You could have a tree in the back yard with 10,000 seeds, it is wonderful how many seeds grow; perhaps one or two because they didn't find it favourable in which to grow, they wouldn't grow. Under the American and British flag, you find more favourable conditions and as a result the seed grew. If you find you are down to one seed, didn't Jesus say if one kernel was put in the ground you could end up with more wheat than there is land in this world?


There is the story of the gospel it takes favourable conditions for the truth to flourish. Some people disregard the fact that He sent two disciples together, if He had sent one at a time, that is no problem; the problem is the hardness of people's hearts. Jesus went into a place one time, He wasn't able to do anything because of the hardness of people's hearts. There is nothing wrong with God's way; if you take it one person is able to interest two people in one year. If those two people each interest two other people, they haven't got very far. Well, two people interested two other people, it is not very fast; you figure it out; you find in 31 years that you have two billion people each looking for two more people. There is nothing wrong in God's way in the world but the hardness of people's hearts make it difficult; when you find a favourable seed bed. God's was progresses. It is not too hard to find people who talk about the Bible but you know what we like to find are people who really want to be right with God. When you find people who really want to be right with God, you find a favourable seed bed making it possible for God to do something for that life. Good to remember that little thing, God is anxious to help us, so this is how it is. You know, just like there are enemies of the truth, there are enemies of wheat; different kind of blights.


In West Canada, the whole future of the country depends on wheat. In 1915, there was a bumper crop. In 1916, a good crop coming along. Do you know what happened? Rust, if there is a beautiful crop but there is rust, it is like a curse on the land. The next year it was dry, again there was rust; dry again and it is the same, rust. Some years ago a little girl, she is now a lady, 11 years old took lunch out to her father to help him harvest a crop that was badly rusted. While eating lunch, he happened to see one good head of wheat; he put it in the lunch box and said, "Take it home, I will look at it later." He planted it the next year, it came out, there was no rust; he planted them again; finally he had a good field of wheat, no rust. The government became interested and from that wheat developed other varieties. Now you go through and see thousands of acres of golden grain. When Jesus came to this world, He came to a conquered country, like Czechoslovakia; the Lord sees life was a burden to them, a joyless existence, they didn't see any future there. They were taxed and oppressed but Jesus came and brought hope to the world, like the two heads brought hope to the farmers. So it is, friends, we are glad today for that which Jesus brought to the world is still in the world.


Some people, they think of all the religion in the world, the different ideas, that is fine; you know, a long time ago, God brought a flood of waters on all living and destroyed all except that which was in the ark. Noah got instructions, he did everything God commanded him; when it was all over, you can picture the scene of desolation when the water receded, mud and death. You know what happened. God put His rainbow in the sky, a token that He would never again flood the earth. Now, right down to this day, the rainbow is a beautiful thing. That rainbow never brought material benefits man has never been able to make five cents out of it. It is still the same wonderful, beautiful thing as when Noah looked upon it the first time.


You read in Hebrews 8, "That is the covenant between me and succeeding generations;" other covenants He gave to Abraham and Moses and others. A better covenant came to the world through God's own Son, that was a beautiful thing. Those people that responded to them, it was like a rainbow at a time when everything looked hopeless and desolate. Here is Jesus come to bring hope to the world, like the two heads of wheat, Jesus came, it was a marvellous thing. Man has never been able to make anything out of the rainbow and the beautiful way of Jesus, man has never been able to make five cents out of it. They make money out of religion, the empires of the world are founded on religion. This is unmarked by selfishness, lives going out to proclaim the message, "As the Father sent Me, as freely as you have received, give to others." You know, it is the same thing as it isn't good taste to leave the price tag on a gift, so it is when lives go out to preach the gospel, it is not a matter of continually telling people what they could be, the prospects they might have had, that is just leaving the price tag on the gift. You know, the greatest price tag of all is the price tag Jesus paid when He left Heaven's glory to come to this world. You can go through the most glorious backgrounds, it will never be as grand as when Jesus left Heaven's best to come to this world and give His life in order that we might be those that can have a part in God's Eternal Kingdom.


You know, someone put these words in a poem -

A bell is not a bell until you ring it

A song is not song until you sing it

Love wasn't put in a heart to stay

Love is not love till it is given away.


A bell is a piece of metal, until you ring it. A song is just a piece of paper, it doesn't come to life until you sing it. So it is, God in Heaven set the example. He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. God gave His Son, the same Son gave His life, love in action. This same Jesus, the things He preached about in Matthew 5 - 7, He practised on Calvary. He was the One that gave His all and that became something alive, this wasn't something talked about. He never asked anybody to do anything He wasn't willing for Himself; this has appealed to me. He never asked anybody to do anything He wasn't willing for Himself. Love is something that has to be in action in order for it to amount to anything. The world talks about the love of God and bask in the fact that He is full of mercy, kind of feel that they can take advantage of it. You know, we talk about the love of God, we sometimes forget the same heart that loves them is hungry for love in return.


I sometimes tell about a man who had quite a large family and those children had scattered far and wide, especially one son he hadn't seen for many years, he became successful in business. The father found he only had a little time to live and sent to his son and asked would he not plan a little visit with him. Do you know what happened? He said, "Business is very busy," there are great demands for his time, he couldn't come, he sent him a cheque for $1,000. Poor old Dad, tears ran down his cheek, it didn't amount to anything. The father was wanting a little of the same love that he had bestowed on that son early in life when the little boy couldn't care for himself. The father, nearing the end of life would have liked a little love in return. God has poured out His best on every person, no one will be able to say on the judgement day, "You never loved me," but the Lord longs to see some return, some indication that we appreciate His love.


We were hearing about those verses in Malachi about the time God said of some people they hadn't accomplished great things those people. It says of them, "They that feared the Lord, spoke often one to another." There was a bond there, the first thing in their hearts and minds. It tells us in one place in Isaiah about I will make mention of His loving kindness. You know, sometimes it is easy to make mention of a lot of other things you find people, the first thing they want to mention is the loving kindness of God. They spoke often one to another, those that feared the Lord, the Lord took and wrote a book so their name would be remembered forever. Sometimes, when people die, in this day and age at the funeral, they talk about the person's actions that have been appreciated very much. They say the best inscription is not written on a tombstone, the best epitaph, or inscription is on the hearts of those that knew the person. So it is fine, people, they die, those that knew them remember them for a long time and think much of them. But you know, 200 years go by, who is living to remember them anymore? No one, finally those that are living when a person dies is gone and their remembrance is gone from the earth but when the name is written there it is to be remembered forever by God. It tells of those people there, "They shall be Mine in that day when I make up My jewels."


You know, in Canada in the 30s, there were hard times; a certain company of West Canada grew wheat; it was dry for 4, 5, 6 years, they did not have very good crops, some hardly any, people were very poor. One man, he had eleven children and just had a little bit of land; he was having a struggle to provide food for the little family. A man down the road had a lot of land, he was better off, he came to him one day. There was a child, she was two years old, I can just picture she would have been a lovely little girl, he had taken a fancy to this little girl. He said "You have eleven children. I would like to adopt that little girl I will give you as much land as you have." It was something the man needed, a little more land to provide food for the family. You know what the father said, "No, she is mine." The little girl at two years old didn't understand the love of the father that kept her in the family but some years later, she was able to understand and appreciate the love of her father that made it possible for her to remain part of that family. Today, friends, we could have a little understanding of the love of God; we know only in a measure; we see through a glass, darkly; it takes the other side to know, to begin to appreciate more the love of God that made it possible to be in His family if we are faithful to Him.


It speaks about jewels. The amazing thing to me was this: Do you know what most jewels are made from? Most people know diamonds are made from coal. There are millions of tons of coal but there are only a few diamonds. I was surprised to find opals, found in Australia more than in any part of the world, are made from sand. Sapphires and rubies, they are the same material as a grinding wheel you see in a carpenters shop. Carborundum; it is not hard to find, it is not very expensive but it is the same material as sapphires are made of. Somewhere in the creation of this world, somewhere, somehow, sometime, something happened and you have diamonds. Somewhere, somehow, sometime, something happened and you have opals. Somewhere, somehow, sometime, something happened and you a ruby or a sapphire, you know, it is just out of common material. There is lots of sand, carborundum, coal in this world, we are all made of the same material but somewhere, somehow, sometime, the gospel message got through to people, they were willing for God's leading. Those people that kept true to Him, they are those God looks down upon, "These are My jewels."


There is no more wonderful thought at the end of life to find we are going to be accepted in His realm. It is good to remember these thoughts, the possibilities, indeed the very great possibilities when we preach the gospel. You know friends, from one kernel of wheat the results are almost unbelievable. Sometimes we look down the years and ask, "How did it happen?" Someone listened to the gospel and responded, later possibly the children and their children and the story is endless. To think of God's lovely, beautiful way still in the world, clean, undisturbed by the hand of man, undamaged even as the rainbow, the way Jesus gave to His disciples is not muddied by the grimy grasping hand of people, not a religion. No, no, oh! Friends, count it a beautiful thing we are part of it.

 

A little thought I will just mention - I met a lady one time, her husband, he had been in the Army at that time and wore a uniform. On his shoulder, it told exactly what regiment he belonged to, the rank he held; after the war was over, he doffed his uniform to enter the Secret Service. He was a little bit embarrassed, because it was secret, people wondered how he was spending his time. They wondered if he were doing anything. He was actually more valuable to the country in the Secret Service than when wearing a uniform displaying his rank. A little thought came to me, "Sometimes we think we haven't very much we can do, even if we were bedridden and couldn't do the things we would like to do and used to do. We can still have a part in the Secret Service praying for those even scattered far across the world; in doing so we might be performing more service in God's Kingdom than when we were active." Good for us to realise this, there are possibilities within our own grasp, like the man on Mount Everest couldn't have got there without the porters, many a soul will realise they got to God's realms because of many that had a little part in it. Remember, it is a wonderful privilege, may it help us to appreciate it and value it and realise that the love of God that has come down upon us, the same God loves us and is hungry for love from us day by day.