Willie Phynn - Rochedale, Queensland, Australia Convention - 1938

I was thinking a little this afternoon about the first few chapters of Revelations. I believe if we all confess the truth, it would be that the privileges we enjoy with the family of God are greater than we could ever be worthy of. Although we feel we are not worthy, we could show we appreciate all we received from God’s hand, and that we value his mercy toward us. One thing I would like to do in coming days is to show to God and His people that I value my privileges in the family of God. This book came to be written by John, that faithful man. During those days, they had to face great persecution, greater them we face today, though facing an indifferent world is sometimes harder than facing persecution. When facing indifferences, there is a tendency for all of us to become indifferent, also. There was a woman who had much opposition from her husband, but in spite of all that he could do, he could not hinder her from going on with God. When he found that had no effect, he tried another method. He became more considerable for her and kind and where outward persecution did not accomplish the main purpose, the other did. We can be thankful for difficulties and it causes me to feel my need of God more.

We were hearing about the blesseds. These things are created when facing difficulties. There was a time when that scripture wasn’t very clear to me, but the time came when I got to understand it clearly. “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” In Cairo, sometimes we see Arab children who are very poor and hungry. They will pick up anything to satisfy their hunger. That is a picture of a person who is hungry naturally, desperately poor and desperate in trying to get something to meet their natural need. Poor in spirit is similar. Just as what is true naturally, the person who is really poor in spirit is just as desperately in earnest to get something to meet their spiritual need.

It tells us of Jabez who was more honourable than his brethren, he was a true prayer. “Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand might be with me and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me.” God granted that request. It wasn’t a very long prayer was it, but it was a prayer from the heart. He was feeling how hopeless his condition was without getting something from God. It was this desperate feeling of need that made him seek God in the first place. Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force.” This speaks of the feeling of need. People who will inherit a place in the Kingdom of Heaven are those who are violent to themselves. In this matter of entering the Kingdom of God, one thing God would desire to commit our lives to this desperate feeling of need. We desire that we won’t be overcome, but we will get some of those marks of Christ into our lives. “Blessed are ye when man shall persecute you.” Willing for this because of knowing the inheritance it brings to us. Paul wrote one time, "I reckon that the sufferings of this present time, etc." in another place, he said those words for our light affliction which is but for a moment worketh for us after more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. That is why it in spite of all Paul was going through, he looked upon it as a light in affliction. Then he gives a picture and said to this present hour, we hunger. In spite of suffering of that kind, Paul was rejoicing in all because it was helping him to lay up treasure in Heaven.

Revelations 1:1-9, there was John in his day and at this time facing difficulties for the sake of the Name he bore. Because of that the Lord was able to show him things shortly to come to pass. He gave him a picture of things to come. Verse 3, “Blessed is he that readeth.” I like to think of verses relating to “first of all, it is.” This may perhaps apply particularly to Revelations, but surely it could apply to the whole of the scriptures. To Timothy, Paul said, “Give attendance to reading.” Easy to become neglectful in reading and praying. The reason why Jesus said to watch and pray was because of seeing a tendency to neglect. A sower went forth to sow, and seed fell by the wayside, some on stony ground, some on thorny ground, and some on good ground. There are class for those who made a start in God’s way, but because of the cares of life crowding in, they bought for no fruit to perfection. We realise how easily a live can be overcome by the cares of life. That is why Jesus in process on the minds of His disciples, so God would get the rightful place in their lives. Fruit trees never bring forth good fruit in their natural state. When trees are growing beside others, they starve others and hinder others. In the orchard, they are given opportunity to develop. Our lives are like a vessel that can be filled only by a certain account. The more of the cares of life we allow into our lives, the less we have for the things of God.

Remember one time, Jesus in Luke 16 sought to give His disciples advise on this matter. He spoke about that parable of the unjust steward. When he saw that this stewardship would be taken away, he had once began to think, “How can I make provision for my future?” He was very quick to make ways and means for provision for himself. Jesus commended him for his wisdom. He reproved his disciples and said, “The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.” The children of God are sly when making wise, and means to lay up any eternal inheritance. The things of unrighteousness are those things we call our own, my car and my home, but after all, we are only stewards of those things. There we are unfaithful in the unrighteous things, who will commit unto us the true riches? If a man is not faithful in natural things, how can God trust him with the things of eternity?

On another occasion, Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasure up on the earth.” If a person has a treasure in the Kingdom of Heaven, that is where their hearts will be, and that is what they will be living for. That is why John wrote, “Blessed is he that readeth. They that hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written therein.” Jeremiah said, “Thy words were found and I did eat them.” Is that not true, so we hear and eat them, and put them into practice? It is this that brings true rejoicing. Job said, “I esteemed Thy words more than my necessary food.” I am afraid I have not gone as far as that. The Lord desires to speak to us in meetings like this to show just how we stand in His sight and know definitely the things we should put on and put off. That is the object of reading, that we might measure our lives by what we read, and know what to put on. We can’t put a new suit over an old one. It is a matter of putting of what is wrong, and putting on what is right, and what makes us more Godly.

“Seven churches and seven golden candlesticks.” When I read that the thought, what appealed to me was that those churches were like candlesticks so far as God was concerned. Did you ever think that of your church? As far as God is concerned, your church is a candlestick. I remember when it first dawned on me what responsibility you and I have in the family of God. It was not long after I decided, and it seemed too much for me to bear or to be worthy of, how dependable the world was on me. It is impossible for you or me to escape that responsibility. Jesus said to His disciples, “Ye are the salt of the earth, ye are the light of the world.” Light was never meant to be heard, but it was something to be seen. This might speak of what God’s people should be. There should be something to be seen as well as heard. We are not to be preaching about it all the time. I made the same mistake as Tom said this morning that he made. I preached to everyone thinking I was going to get everybody saved. Jesus was saying to them that by those virtues being seen in their lives, they would draw people unto them.

John was a burning and shining light. There was no doubt in the mind of the people who met John as to what he was living for. Jesus said, “A double minded man is unstable in his ways.” It tells us of Jesus and that in Him was life, and the light was the light of men. The life being lived makes people the light of the world. As we allow that life to be in our life, then we become lights in the world. Jesus spoke of the possibility of that life being hid under a bushel or a bed. This suggests the possibility of this life being true the cares of life, and become hidden by becoming sleepy to the things of God. These people had allowed God to be crowded out, because of allowing two large quantity of the cares of life crowding into their lives. Salt may speak of the influence that goes forth from a child of God’s life. I read in an autograph, “We take our memory with us, but we leave our influence behind.” We can’t take our influence with us. That is something that is left on the lives we have come in contact with. If our influence is ungodly, it will help people to do the wrong things, and make it difficult for them to do the right things. The effect of salt is something that is unseen, and it is the same with our influence.

John here saw the Lord was in the midst of the candlesticks. Out of his mouth was as sharp as a two edged sword. The result of John seeing this was he fell on his feet as dead. We see the result of John getting as close to the Lord. Perhaps in those things we may be conscious of that sword. In Hebrews 4, it tells us that the word of God is sharper than any two edged sword, and that neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight. John fell at his feet, not that the Lord wanted to condemn him. “Despite not the chastening of the Lord.” He desired that they should not despise that thing by saying, “It’s not for me for by saying I am so bad.” There is no hope for me but to say I know I am bad, but I want to go on and do better.

Most of those churches - there was some who had fallen away, not keeping up to the standard. We heard this morning a little about the first one that is mentioned and they had lost their first love. At one time, I thought that was a very small thing and I used to wonder why the Lord looked upon this as has such a serious thing. One thing I thought in connection with this was what Jesus said to His disciples, “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples if ye have love one for another." John 17, “That they all may be one as My Father and I are One and I and thee.” That is one thing that the love of God in our hearts makes possible, oneness amongst us. Would not it be terrible if we allowed anything in our lives to hinder that love growing. I Corinthians 13, Paul shows us the thing that could hinder that love growing. We may think a lot of a man who can speak well, but he is nothing without this love. It goes on to tell us what love is. It shows how we could be deceived. We could have the gift of prophecy and so on. It we have love in our hearts, it makes us serve God as God desires.

Ten lepers were cleansed of their leprosy. Nine of them were satisfied with their cleansing, then one went a step further. He wanted to show his appreciation of what had been done for him and turned back and gave glory to God. The nine got their reward for doing what they were told to do, they showed themselves to the priests, but the other main went further than he was told to go. It was the same kind of service that the woman gave who broke the alabaster box of ointment. The disciples complained, but Jesus saw the motive that controlled that action. She went a step further, and how she was compelled to go. I would like to learn, as days go by, to serve God as this woman did.