Testimony, Statements & Sermons by Edward Cooney
Avonbridge, Scotland Convention (no date):
Sermons by Ed Cooney in Impartial Reporter Newspaper
There was in the days gone by, a certain man called William Irvine, upon whose heart Gods spirit worked to raise him up like the judges of old, to lead back those in Christendom to the truth as it is in Jesus. In fact he bore some resemblance to Samson. He was a strong man and warred with Spiritual Philistines effectually ‘till Delilah so influenced him that he put her before God. He has died recently in Jerusalem. Let us hope that in his declining days, like Solomon, he discovered that to fear God and keep his commandments is the whole duty of man.
Some years ago he wrote the writer to come and work with him in Jerusalem. The reply the writer gave was that when his hair grew again, as it was when first he met him, he would be glad to work with him, but not ‘till then. The long hair of Samson seems to speak of revelation from God direct; not clipped, to suit his flesh, or the flesh of others. When Delilah clipped his hair to suit her flesh and the flesh of the Philistines who feared Samson, knowing that God was with him, Samson, altho’ he shook himself not knowing that God had left him, found that Jehovah had departed from him, and that he was weak like any other man. ‘Tis so with all Gods servants who depart from revelation from God direct, and confer with flesh and blood.
In the year 1914 when we became aware of William's defeat, the writer was moved to go to see him personally and try and help him who had been such a help to him and others and now needed help himself. This desire he had was discouraged by his fellow workers but as he got to see he should obey God, and not man, he went to Scotland to see the man of God who had lost the power he once had. The writer is glad ever since that he did this, and believes he was of some help to his erring brother.
At this time the writer got to see that he should return to God as Jeremiah was exhorted by God to return to him; see Jer. 15 & 19, so that he might again stand before God and in the light of his countenance separate between the precious and the vile; from what he had learned thro’ William, from God, and what he had accepted from him which was not from God. Jeremiah seems to have been influenced by flesh and blood revelation and mixing it with Gods revelation to him direct, found his pain perpetual, and his wound incurable, refusing to be healed. In this condition he said to God: "Wilt thou indeed be unto me as a deceitful brook, as waters that fail?" The only remedy was to return to God and cease mixing God's revelation with that which proceeded from flesh and blood. This the writer has sought to do with profit. William had been partially persuaded by Joe Kerr to accept the heresy that no one could be born again without meeting a living witness. Others held that that witness must be a sent preacher who had heard William or some other preacher associated with him.”
The writer got to see this flesh and blood revelation to be vile and gave it up in 1914, returning to the true gospel preached by himself and William for four years after they met, which recognized John 20:30 to be true, and Paul's dialogue in Romans 10:14-18 answered by Psalm 19, where it shows God speaking thro’ nature as he did to the magi thro’ the law (which is perfect converting the soul,) and finally thro’ the preacher, the words of whose mouth and meditation of whose heart is acceptable in God’s sight. The Lord knoweth them that are his and the writer's business is to depart from iniquity himself and exhort all who profess to be his to do so likewise; Iniquity meaning Not Equity—Equity being Jesus; Iniquity meaning all that is not like Jesus. Peter at the day of Pentecost tho’t that unless a man was circumcised by a living witness and kept the law, he could not be saved; but God showed him, as he showed me, this was not so, and God used him more after he got clear on this point—see Acts 10 and 11, also Gal. 2:11-21. Paul was a great help to Peter in this respect, and has also been a great help to the writer.
An attempt has been made to give an account of Gods dealings with us ignoring William Irvine. This is not honest. William Irvine was born again when a Presbyterian, thro’ hearing John McNeill preach the gospel in Motherwell Town Hall, and I have in my possession a letter from him to me, claiming this to be so, written from Jerusalem before he died. He afterwards joined the Faith Mission denomination and was Pilgrim Irvine when I first met him in Bonnosokane, Co. Tipperary, Eire.
In 1914 when all of military age were required to register, Andy Robb registered himself as Independent Faith Mission. I registered myself as Christian, and advised Willie Gill to council all to do likewise, but he said "Let us take the name we call ourselves by ‘The Testimony of Jesus.’" At that time I am sorry to say I used to go contrary to my conscience, to avoid differing from my fellow workers. I gave in to Willie in this respect and so erred, but have confessed my sin to God, and God has forgiven me. We have committed the same sin in the U.S.A. in calling ourselves "Christian Conventions." We should repent and take the consequences.
Twenty years ago the writer declared to George Walker in Samuel Charlton’s presence in Edgar Hawkin’s home that it was his purpose to cut out of his life all that contradicted the scriptures. George refused, and excluded him from the fellowship of his brothers and sisters in the territory over which he claimed oversight. John Carroll had previously excluded him in his territory. James Jardine acquiesced in his territory, and the exclusion has spread to British Isles. He still goes on conscious that he has not been excluded by the One who prunes the vine. So the writer, after the way they call heresy, so worships the God of his fathers, believing all things written in the law and the prophets, and signs himself Edward, which is the English for witness. His course is nearly run, but he hopes and purposes to go on."
By EDWARD COONEY, 1947
(Written at the time of William Irvine's Death)
Source: Selected Letters Hymns and Poems of Edward Cooney1867-1960
Edited by Patricia Roberts, Reprint of pp. 43-45.
Source: The Secret Sect by Doug and Helen Parker, Reprint of pp. 115-117
July 1st, 1913
I Edward Cooney was born in Enniskillen Ireland and brought up in the Church of Ireland.
Through the preaching of William Irvine who was at the time an Evangelist in connection with a well known mission called the “Faith Mission” I decided to become a disciple of Christ when about 32 years of age. Shortly afterwards I decided to go forth and preach in fellowship with the said William Irvine and others in fellowship with him. Since then I have been preaching in England, Ireland, Scotland, USA and Canada. During the last 12 months have been preaching in Fermanagh, Ireland my native county.
With regard to marriage I hold same views as taught by the Evangelical churches regarding it being honourable and that a man should have only one wife and a wife only one husband. I also hold in common with them that fornication is a grave sin and teach accordingly.
In common with the Evangelistic churches I hold that Jesus Christ is our Example and that His teaching and that of His Apostles is to be received and practiced that all that is contrary to their teaching and practice is wrong. Because Peter and Paul exhorted those who professed to be disciples of Christ not to adorn themselves with gold, pearls or costly apparel, I teach likewise.
Mr. Wilson’s statements that I and my fellow preachers encourage or practice immoral conduct is absolutely without the slightest shadow of foundation. My brother-in-law, Sidney Boyton Smith M.A. vicar of St. Clements, Bristol, can give evidence as to my personal character and as to my being incapable of teaching or practicing what is laid to the charge of my fellow preachers and myself in the leaflet published by Mr. Wilson, Cretingham, Framlingham, posted outside barbers shop, Bruton, by the vicar of Bruton.
Signed: E. Cooney
The sisters who go to the U.S.A., Canada or the Colonies to preach are received by the friends in fellowship, and made welcome in their homes. In the case of those who go to America, the Government require (sic) that they have a specified sum of money on landing, this they are provided with, as well as those who go elsewhere being also provided with what they need.
When they go to the particular state in which they are to work, they are in intimate sisterly connection with the other sisters already preaching there, and are made welcome in the homes of those in the fellowship.
The sisters go two by two, and at any time that they are in need of rest, or sick they can go to those homes mentioned.
Those who are married and have homes in the fellowship are in hearty partnership with those who go forth, and provide them with what they need.
The sisters who go abroad correspond regularly with their people at home, and are at perfect liberty to return home at any time they please.
They each have a central address to which their letters are sent, from where they are afterwards forwarded to them at the address where they would at the time be holding a mission.
With regard to Mr. Wilson’s dreadful charge that these sisters live lives of prostitution—scores of addresses can be given of those in whose homes they stay. Homes of respectable, pure Godly people who are intimately acquainted with them, and who would be glad to prove that Mr. Wilson’s statements are absolutely false and without the least foundation.
Out of the hundreds of sisters who have gone forth to preach in the British Isles and other parts, I do not know of a single one who has been guilty of adopting this shameful life.
I am in possession of scores of letters from sisters who have gone abroad giving their home address to which they write regularly, the central address that will find them in the country in which they preach, the addresses of a few of the homes at which they are always made welcome, in the state or district in which they preach—and a sketch of their lives since going to preach.*
Our reason for adopting this manner of life is because it was the manner of life adopted by Jesus and His sent preachers, and also of those women who laboured with them in the Gospel.
*Click Here to read some of the sister workers' letters.
NOTES: This Statement #1 by Cooney contains essentially the same as Statement #2 contained in a handwritten letter to Dear Willie—the meaning is the same, a few words are a little different. Cherie Kropp compared them word for word.
Matthew 16, 17, 18.
Matthew 16 Pharisees asking for a sign. The world full of signs, never in such a condition as today. Pharisee needs signs to comfort and encourage in his own way. To the true follower of Jesus, God gives all that is necessary. Spiritual adultery is not wanting a heart true to God, not keeping loyal to Christ. Leaven of Pharisees is hypocrisy, professing and not doing. See there is none of it inside The Testimony.
The Spirit of God is the true revelation. Outside of God a human being is just a wild animal, flesh and blood, seeking its own, going its own way, doing its own will.
(Verse 13) Jesus asks the disciples, whom do men say that I am? They say, John the Baptist, Elias, Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Jesus - But whom say ye that I am? Peter - Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus - Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Flesh and blood is always a curse, whether our own or others. The real Rock is going by what God reveals. Jesus delighted to find that Peter had found this out. Peter denies Christ after this. The terrible truth is that man can be in connection with God one moment and at another under the power of Satan. Scripture shows this.
(Verse 23) Peter was saved by the sharp reproof of Jesus, Get thee behind me, Satan. We can get from the heights of God to the depths of Satan in a short time, Great blessing always brings great danger. (Verse 22) Peter pitied Jesus when he said, Be it far from thee Lord. Peter pitied himself when he denied Jesus. It was simply his own flesh and blood. Watch and pray lest ye also enter into temptation.
(Verse 24) If any man come after me, let him deny himself etc. Deny his own and others flesh and blood. Deny flesh and blood traditions, flesh and blood relations, deny self-saving and self-pleasing. Denying flesh and blood brings outward trouble and inward peace. Get outward peace and you have inward trouble. If the Cross is absent, ask yourself if Jesus is being manifested through you or are you still in Pharisee ways (saying and not doing) Matthew, Chapter 16 gives the Rock on which the church is built. Matthew, Chapter 17 gives the Mount which reveals this. Jesus took the disciples up the Mount to show the revelation of the Rock on which the church is built. Moses and Elijah had conquered their flesh and blood and born of God, encouraged Jesus to go on in the Divine not flesh way.
Matthew, Chapter 18 - Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven? Those born into the Kingdom long to be great in it. (Verses 1-6) is Jesus answer how to do it. Baby born knows nothing, breathes, cries when hungry, swallows milk, doing all unknowingly and instinctively. Same when born again. No power of ourselves, but need to be looked after and take a lot of thoughtful care. As life develops we being to take notice of things, begin to know the Father, what he is doing and want to be useful. The first feast was the Sabbath, typical of being born again. Sabbath = Day of Rest. Jesus says - Come unto me and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and ye shall find rest! First the rest of being born again; then the rest of service.
Passover - speaks of rest of service and preparation for war. Pentecost - more fully of what service means. Fuller service means deeper death.
We need to be converted after being born again. Converting means turning. We are born again once but can be converted every day. In all we do doing better. A child an example of being useful. In all a fearful battle of the flesh goes on tempting to the opposite of the child spirit. A child is quick to forgive. We nurse grievances and neglect our duty to the world. Good to get converted from this. A child doesn't need much if left alone, doesn't need finery. Much happier without. Mothers dress them to please their own fancy and are responsible to a great degree for wrong tastes. Children are weak; keep weak and then feeling the need of God, you are strong, My Grace is sufficient for thee. Paul realizes this and says:
Gladly will I glory in weakness. John the Baptist next to Jesus because John had the child spirit. Jesus least or lesser (Moffat's trans.) in the Kingdom than John (looked at from human standpoint) and so greater than John. Be little to be great, grow less to the worlds views and bigger in the eternal sense.
(Verse 5) Whosoever receives a child receives Me. Jesus wants each of us to represent him, so represent him that they who receive us receive Jesus Christ.
They who love US love Christ, who hearken to US are hearkening to Christ. Have WE gone out from the Secret Place to give others the opportunity to seeing Christ in US and an opportunity of getting saved.
What is true of preachers should be true of saints. Whosoever receiveth one should be receiving Jesus. We are at so much trouble to explain the truth. No need of explanation if Jesus is manifested in us. When Jesus is manifested, the Spirit is there and they see it. So little of Jesus in us and so much of ourselves, and so God has so much trouble to get Jesus shown. It would be a good thing if we all got converted today as never before, so that we might become mediums through which Christ can be seen. All to do then would be for people to receive us, and receiving us receive Jesus, and receiving Him get born again.
(Verse 7) Woe because of occasions of stumbling. Better, if one doesn't recognize the Christ Spirit, to be hanged and put into the sea. Plucking out the eye etc., speaks of fleshly ways of working. The eye of seeing, hand of working, foot of walking. If we allow the human fleshly ways to control, nothing can save us from hell fire. Walking in fleshly ways ourselves, we blind others to God. Get rid of the flesh or our own ways to get the unspeakable privilege of being a true child of God. Hope we are willing to see these things. There is the danger of fruitlessness also of hell fire. There must be a merciless cutting off of all that hinders.
Matthew 18 (Verses 15-20) If brother sin against thee etc. This brings before us what hinders us to be Christians. Wrong relationship with brother and sister brings wrong relations with God. Lose fellowship with our brother and we lose fellowship with God. There's a tremendous lot of damage done by telling and writing of wrongs done to us or we fancy are done to us.
(Verse 15) says, "If brother trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone." Before telling the brother speak to God. You cant understand the relationship of brother to you unless you understand you own relationship to God. Ask yourself: "Do I feel to the brother as God felt to the prodigal son?" If you do, you are fit to speak to him. But you say, "It was he who wronged me, and I am quite willing to forgive as soon as he admits it and asks for forgiveness."
(Verse 15) says the one wronged has to tell the other, not the one who wrongs. The father tells how wrong the prodigal son is by a kiss. If the spirit was amongst us then differences wouldn't last long. Love dispels them. Start the New Year with the resolve to do this. We should feel grieved that God will suffer loss, the brother suffer loss, and all suffer loss because of a brother in the wrong spirit. Go to God every time anyone trespasses and say to Him: "Don't let me rise from my knees till I feel the compassion and love that thou felt to the prodigal son." Then help me to speak from a broken heart to gain my brother. Don't go to prove him wrong, but let him see your heart is right towards him and towards God; that you care for him and your desire is to be one with him. God gained us by loving us. Tarry in the presence of God till we are right in spirit. Then go moved by the Spirit of God, softened by God. If this is of no use, then get others of the same spirit. Let them also wait on God and then go. They may help. This would mean a whole church full of love. All praying and interested and in the right spirit. And so you would gain your brother and all be one in Him.
There were two who agreed in the Open Air Church at Jordan, John the Baptist and Jesus, and they stirred heaven. Two were never more agreed; even God said He was well pleased with one of them. Joseph and Mary met in a church which would look very insignificant, but Mary grew into a right spirit to do God's will. Joseph and May, both of lowly mind, were agreed to do God's will. It's not a question of numbers but oneness with God. When Zerubbabel was going to build the temple God showed him two golden pines emptying out Golden Oil. Gold represents God - two workers emptying God out of themselves into others. The lamp stand with the seven golden bowls was made of one piece of gold.
Seven churches or God's perfect church composed of the different little churches, all of one Spirit. Beaten gold, beaten with tribulation and persecution into one piece, one Spirit. Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit saith God. There is might and power against us, which only the Son of God can overcome. "Filled with power" means filled with God's Spirit. So that there is no room left for our spirit. John decreased, God increased the two right marks. Increase of God right along our decrease.
"That all might be one as I am one with Thee." The devil is always trying to stop this coming about. Lack of oneness hinders Gods work. Jesus was one with the Father because His will was always to obey the will of His Father. So there was no difference between them - - all God willed for Jesus to do He obeyed. Oneness disappears when self-seeking comes in. Jesus Christ worked His missions with this end in view. His main work was to make all one. The outcome of His work was 120 in an upper room all one in Spirit. Workers have a hard time sometimes because of want of oneness in the saints of a district. How can God work when saints are not one in spirit. We will know in Eternity how much has depended on the oneness of the prayers supporting the workers. The first church had all things in common because they loved one another. Joel gives us the reason of our barren times.
Joel 1:0 - The meat and drink offering is cut off from Gods house. "Meat offering" means - Give yourself to God. Love hungers to possess. God hungers to possess.
Leviticus 24:5 12 loaves speak of 12 tribes to feed God. They mean God had a right to the 12 tribes. "If any man will open, I will come in and sup with him." Why should God want to come in and sup with human hearts? Because His heart is hungry.
Leviticus 24:5 Fine flour is the result of death and resurrection. Except a corn of wheat die etc. First death, then resurrection and coming to maturity of what is resurrected, then threshing, ground and cooked before it is fit for food. For a meal offering there has to be pulverizing, death, development. We must undergo all this and get kneaded to satisfy heart of hungry God.
Drink offering - God pours out every life he controls. The Children of Israel were told to pour out the blood on the ground. No person should use your life for selfish purposes. They or you have no right to use it for selfish purposes. God only has a right to pour it out. Joel 2:24: - Floors full of wheat: The result of a clear demonstration of what it means to be poured out by God.
Source: Auckland Sermons provided by Patricia Roberts
The first day of the week is the commemoration of the resurrection. There is something very encouraging about the resurrection. I believe that each first day of the week ought to be a resurrection experience for all of us. If we are born again it is resurrection and all development after we are born again comes from resurrection. As the seed dies and springs up, the springing up is the result of resurrection, so that we might say when we gather together on the first day of the week, it is to know more of the power of His resurrection. We must all acknowledge we know very little about it. If God has His way, He will send us away from this Convention as witnesses of His resurrection. What is it to be a witness? It is to let people see Jesus in us.
I was talking to an infidel once and this man asked me to tea. He started with this blank statement, “The difficulty with me is that I find it hard to believe that Jesus ever lived.” I said, “What about me?” He said, “I find I cannot get over you.” He said he liked the way I lived, “You are living for other people and I believe in that.” I did not mention God at all, as I wanted him to understand, “If you really believe in me, I will help you to be what I am.” He was not willing, but if he had been willing I could have introduced him to Jesus. He could have the same thing as I had on the same terms as I had received it. If people see Jesus in you, you will not have to ask them to get saved. The differences between a true Christian’s experience and a false one is that the false one is tormenting people to try to get them saved. If we live as we ought to live, people will ask us, “We would see Jesus.” What sleep is to the body, waiting on God is to our spiritual lives.
There was a man who wrote a pamphlet some years ago. The title was, “The Greatest Thing in the World.” The subject of the book was love. The man was quite right when he called “Love” the greatest thing in the world. Jesus said to Peter, “Lovest thou me?” and if we would have true refreshing in our hearts in the future and true prayer and desire to help others, this personal love to Jesus must become a more real experience. It does not take a person to be long in then world to see that human love is disappointing. We get broken hearts and rightly so in connection with human relationships. The first thing that God shows us is that the human well is not a satisfying well. I found quite early in life that serious disappointments were coming into my heart with regard to my human relationships, and it’s that that caused me to yearn for the satisfying eternal relationship.
13th Matthew. Different kinds of seed. The good seed are the children of the kingdom. Are we going to put our lives in the hands of the Lord so that God may sow us? You may depend that there will be a crop as the result of God sowing your life. The production of a crop is mysterious. A farmer scatters the seed and it falls into the ground; all that takes place after is mysterious. As the crop springs up and develops, it is true what Jesus says, “The man knows not how.” I find that any time God uses me, I have to say, “I know not how.” I have gone to the meeting with the consciousness of my unworthiness, and when there has been any outcome of that meeting, I have to say, “I know not how.” What we have to do is to mind our own business, and that is to be in the hands of God, and God’s business is to do the rest.
If we depart from the Lord, it is because we are not willing to be sown. Noah was sown and Noah produced a splendid crop. I’m glad that it’s not a question of ability or of personal appearance, etc. It is a question of the Lord having us at His disposal. God is a patient God but there is a limit to God’s patience. God is a merciful God but there is a limit to God’s mercy. We may perhaps have gone away from a meeting purposing to serve the Lord, but forgotten that the chief thing is loving the Lord. If we love God everything is easy and if we do not everything is difficult, so if we remember that and go away conscious of that the fountain of all fruitfulness is to love God, then we will have the shortcut to a life of fruitfulness and usefulness.
If you have ever been in a home where love controls, there has been very little said. There seems to be such a sympathetic connection between the members of the family that it is a silent home. That is what God longs for in fellowship with us; that sympathetic understanding between us and Him that would make so discerning in regard to His will that He will only have to give us a glance and that will be sufficient to show us what we have to do.
5th Isaiah. A vineyard is described. Tower, vineyard and winepress all speak about what God wants His people to be. Tower speaks of prayer. You cannot pray unless you climb the tower, sometimes we pray on the level. When you climb the tower you begin to see right over the vineyard right out into the world. I am afraid a lot of us pray without climbing the tower.
Vineyard speaks of cultivation. We must become subject to the Lord’s pruning or we will produce wild grapes. The winepress shows that the outcome of our abiding in Christ is all to be sacrifices so that the very juice and sap that comes from Christ might be squeezed out to accelerate the heart of God, and heart seeking men. Every time God thinks of Jesus, He is accelerated. To what extent are we going to accelerate the heart of God? Are we going to be a drink offering to God that will bring gladness to His heart?
Sermon #4: “What went ye out into the wilderness to see, a prophet, yea, and much more than a prophet, for verily I say unto you, among them that are born among women there has not risen a greater than John the Baptist (Luke 7:28) but He that is least in Heaven is greater than He.”
The Greek meaning is, “He that is lesser in Heaven is greater than he.” Jesus was the only man that was lesser than John and being the lesser was the greatest and Jesus took the lesser place when He let John baptize Him. He humbled himself by being baptized by John and showed that He was the greatest in Heaven.
All flesh is as grass and the glory of man is as the flower of grass. I have been preaching in London a good bit and London is a place where flesh thinks a lot of itself. If a lot of blades of grass dressed themselves up like human nature, it would be ridiculous. If we keep that in our minds, we would not get puffed up and won’t consider whether we are good grass or not.
What is the Holy Spirit? Jesus Christ breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive ye the Holy Spirit.” Just as the natural air provides the sustenance and acceleration, etc. for your natural life, so the Holy Spirit provides the same for your spiritual life. We can carry the atmosphere of Heaven about with us, if we are possessed with the Holy Spirit. Being filled with the Holy Spirit means that there is no room for our own selfish spirit.
I have often thought that the grain of wheat that Jesus spoke about is a good expression of baptism. The seed is immersed in the ground; from the time the seed is immersed in the ground it dies and goes on dying. And from the time it begins to die, something new bursts out from the midst; and the more completely it dies, this new life sprints out. Death is a gradual thing and if we are baptized as God intends we should, we begin to die and then we go on dying.
Paul’s testimony was, “I die daily.” When you bow your knees God can write His sacrificing laws upon your heart and mind and send you forth to get a living sacrifice. That is what it is to be in Christ Jesus. “Abide in me and I in you.” Your abiding in Christ is a matter of your own choice. Christ is only too glad to abide in you, but you have got to choose first to abide in Him, then He will abide in you.
Some thoughts in connection with Revelation came home to me here. One thing I need to save me from earthliness, lukewarmness, etc. is revelation. Around us is a world pressing upon us continually, and if we do not escape day by day, and spend sufficient time with God to get revelation, then we will lose our spiritual edge and our power to help people. I find it very easy for me to get out of touch with God in a few minutes, and it is quite a difficult thing to get back into touch with God. I feel the necessity of seeking to have a continual flow of revelation from God to my heart.
The voice of Jesus is described as the voice of many waters. Do you ever lie on the seashore and listen to the waves, one after another breaking upon the beach, wave after wave without a break? The thought that comes home to my mind is the thought of continuity, a sort of unbroken thing. I should like to know the voice of Jesus like that. Sorry to have to confess that there have been many breaks.
We think of John’s position--to whom the revelation came. It tells that it was given by God to Jesus Christ to show unto His servants the things that must come to pass and Jesus signified to His servant John. The first person to receive the revelation was Jesus Christ. Why was it that God could give the full revelation to Jesus? Because Jesus had the nature of God and it shows to us that we must have God’s nature, if God is to give us His revelation.
In Matt. 16, Jesus said to Peter, “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in Heaven.” There is a tremendous conflict between flesh and blood and our Father in Heaven. All the revelation I get from my flesh is along the lines of pleasing myself. On the other hand I find that my Father in Heaven is always trying to reveal Jesus to man. And I always suffer great loss if I do not obey when my Father whispers to my heart that He wants me to seek His face so that He may give me a further revelation of Jesus Christ. Christ revealed TO us first, IN us next and THROUGH us next; there is no greater joy than that.
John introduces himself, he says, “I was in the isle called Patmos for the testimony of Christ.” It is a nice thought that we have not to arrange where we will be when we get the revelation. It was John’s part to obey the word of God and he obeyed and gave the testimony of Jesus and the Holy Spirit put him where the Lord wanted him to be.
He was in the spirit on the Lord’s Day. You cannot tie down the Lord’s day to the first day of the week; it refers to a period of time. It says, “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your heart.” In the sense of it being a period of time, the Convention is a day of the Lord; we come apart in very special circumstances and it is a special time to the Lord. It is most important that when we come to these special days of the Lord, we should be in the Spirit. Being in the spirit is having such victory over our own spirits and over the spirits of others that we are filled with God’s spirit.
When John was in the spirit, he was in the place where he could hear the voice of the Lord, and it was like a trumpet. A trumpet is very definite. When Paul was writing about the trumpet, he said, “If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for the battle?” It speaks in one place to sound the trumpet, and if the Lord speaks to us as a trumpet, He will speak thru us as a trumpet. I feel the need of a trumpet when I go to the street corners. We need to have something startling to say when we go into the open air and in dealing with men and women engulfed in sin. Where I have failed was in not having a voice like a trumpet that would arrest all that were capable of being arrested and causing them to become attentive.
When John heard, he turned and looked. I like a person to look at me when they hear me speak. Peter and John could say to the lame man, “Look on us.” Why could Peter and John say that to the lame man? It was because they knew Jesus was living in them. The golden lampstand represented the people of God. The seven stars are symbolical of all the churches in the world. A gathering like this is suggestive of the golden lampstand. It was made of one piece of beaten gold. All saints that are any good have been beaten into shape. If you are not beaten into shape, you will never become what the Lord wants you to be. You and I find that the life of Christ brings us into tribulation, so that we become the testimony of God in the earth. A star is symbolical of the Lord’s messenger and the seven stars in his right hand might represent the angels or messengers of the churches.
One of the reasons that the Church at Ephesus is mentioned first is because Ephesus lacked the most important thing and the most important thing is love. The Beginning of Love is to let God love us and we will find as a natural result that we will love God, love the brethren and our enemies in the world. The responsibility of getting back our First Love does not lie with the Lord; it lies with us first; and if we will do what we can do, then the Lord will do what we cannot do. “If a man love not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” The devil saw the Lord delighted in our First Love and saw it would be the chiefest loss, and he has stolen from us what was most important to us, but we can be cured and healed. Repent means change your mind. It speaks in Psalms, “My heart is fixed.” If a man can fix his heart, we can fix our minds too.
One thought in connection with the candlestick came to me. Moses was told that it needed to have flowers and almonds and carved work. Flowers would speak of perfume. If we are part of the golden candlestick, there will not only be light from us, but there will also be perfume from us. It is a very good exercise to feel the responsibility and feel it continually and seek to be at our best and in the spirit, whether we are responsible for a meeting or not.