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Sydney Holt - Focus and Vows (last Convention message) - Didsbury - Sunday, July 21, 2002

[Sydney’s last Convention message]

Hymn 353

I plan to speak about Focus and Vows. Since being on these grounds, someone reminded me of something I said at convention a few years ago. I will repeat it even though it is not related to the line of thoughts I have for this meeting. It was, “The important thing is to keep the most important thing the most important thing in your life.”

Luke 12:46-48, “The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” All the teachings of Jesus are connected to privilege and responsibility. With the privilege of hearing comes responsibility. When we know our Father’s will, we’re responsible to do it. With the privilege of hearing comes the responsibility for doing. God is looking for a fulfillment of what you’ve purposed in your heart. The greatest privilege anyone can have is to make real the things of God revealed to him or her.

Matthew 21:28-31, “But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, 'Son, go work to day in my vineyard.' He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, 'I go, sir,' and went not. Whether of them twain did the will of his father?” The repentant son received the blessing.

Luke 19:12, the parable of the pound. The one thing God gives to all is a God-given revelation of Jesus. “Blessed art thou Simon Barjona,” because he had a revelation from God. Every one of you has traded something to be here at convention. You have traded time to be here. You take the time to read and pray. We need to trade time to serve God. We can take the time to visit the shut-in, write to the workers, etc. A little each day, not all in one day. The more we put into it, the more we’ll get out of it. If we don’t use it, we’ll lose it. Two days of two conventions are never equal to four days of our convention. Those who are enjoying God’s way the most today are those who are making it their life. We’ll have a great reward one day.

Baptism is a real privilege, but carries great responsibility. Acts 2:41-42, "Then they that gladly received His word were baptized and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” The way we got saved is the way we’ll keep saved. Just as the disciple did after the crucifixion we have responsibilities to:

1.  Continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine – Jesus’ doctrine.  The only true Gospel is the one we’ve heard in the beginning. 

2.  Continue in fellowship. It’s very important we be in every meeting to meet with each other. God has planned that we need each other and fellowship, just as three logs are required in a fireplace so they can feed off each other and all be consumed.

3.  Continue steadfastly in the breaking of bread.

4.  Continue steadfastly in prayer. It’s the root system, which enables the tree to stand upright. The world doesn’t know how much time you spend on your knees, but they’ll see the fruit.

We have the privilege of being forgiven, and the responsibility of forgiving others. Matthew 18:23-30, “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.' Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me that thou owest.' And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.' And he would not but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.” The servant owed the King $12,000,000 and was forgiven until he failed to show mercy to his fellowservant that owed him $17. God’s forgiveness is conditional. The debt God is prepared to forgives us, we could never redeem ourselves from.  Even one sin we couldn’t redeem ourselves from. How about forgiving our brother?

Luke 17:1-10, ”Then said He unto the disciples, 'It is impossible but that offenses will come but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Take heed to yourselves. If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, "I repent," thou shalt forgive him.' And the apostles said unto the Lord, 'Increase our faith.' And the Lord said, 'If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, "Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea," and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, "Go and sit down to meat?" And will not rather say unto him, "Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?" Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, "We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do."'” Two of these verses are concerned with giving offense, but eight verses deal with not taking offense. There is a danger of giving offense, but taking offense is worse. If we are offended, we are to:

1.  Verse 3:  Go to the one who offended us with a right spirit.

2.  If he’s sorry, forgive him. We forget what we don’t think about.

3.  Verse 4:  Forgive seven times in one day. How many times do we need forgiveness from God each day? A wrong thought, etc.

4.  Verse 6:  A sucamine tree is another name for a mulberry tree. These trees have to be uprooted because if there is any root left in the ground it will grow again. When you deal with a matter, unless you uproot it, it will come up again. Forgive, so there’s no chance of it coming up again. A burial at sea leaves no marker. Let it be gone forever. It’s a wonderful privilege to be forgiven of God.

The privilege of the emblems – I Corinthians 11:23-27, ”For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body, which is broken for you. This do in remembrance of Me.' After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, 'This cup is the new testament in My blood. This do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.' For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till He come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.”  The emblems were instituted in a home in Jerusalem the night before Jesus died. It came from the God of Heaven for us. It was prophesied in the Old Testament (Exodus 12, Leviticus 16, Psalms 22, Isaiah 53). 

Verses 24-25, the purpose is for us to go back to Calvary.  Look back to calvary and look ahead until Christ returns. Do we really enter into it like we should? Is it just a ritual? 

Verse 28, “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” Examining ourselves is a very important part of partaking of the emblems.

Verse 33, “Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.”  Looking out for or caring for one another is part of partaking of the emblems.                                     
Hymn 389

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