Closer Than When We First Believed
to Romans chapter 13, please. I think we have all read this scripture
many times. Let’s start at the end of verse 9:
Thou shalt love thy neighbor
as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love
is the fulfilling of the law. 11 And that, knowing the time, that
now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation
nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day
is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and
let us put on the armour of light.
have read that scripture before, with this understanding: we are
taking a trip from The Land to Haines and we get to Haines Junction
and we are closer than when we first started. Did anybody ever read
this scripture like that? Salvation is closer than when we got started.
If Jesus died 2,000 years ago, we have to be closer than when we
first started! But I just saw this in a whole different context
because what this is really talking about is that if the light has
not shined on you where the real problem is, then you
are no closer to salvation than you were when you first believed.
You could actually be further away!
instance, we have a problem in community; everyone thinks they know
what the problem is. We are looking to heaven, we’re looking to
the ministry; we’re looking across the sea; we’re looking here;
we’re looking there. I love what Brother Joe McCord said, “We go
to the watchmen.” But, in reality, the answer is not very far away!
Where is it? It’s in your mouth and in your heart! You consider
all these other aspects and we say, “I think I know where the problem
is,” and sometimes 5 years or 10 years later, we are no closer to
salvation than when we first believed; we still have the same problem!
you wake out of sleep, you recognize that the whole thing is fulfilled
in this: that we love one another ! Our motivation to getting
problems solved has been anything other than loving one another!
we find is that there is something in us that God wants to put His
finger on. When we wake out of the darkness that we are in, God
wants to put His finger on something that is in us! When the light
shines in us on what God wants to deal with, now
we are closer to salvation than when we first believed! It
is not just simply because it is 2,000 years later! It is because
a change took place!
in our logging experience when we started getting equipment, we
were city boys and had never run any equipment at all. Then,all
of a sudden we were running big skidders, bunchers, slashers, feller
bunchers, and equipment that was very, very expensive. If any of
you run equipment, you know how expensive equipment is! It’s very
expensive to maintain and it’s very expensive to fix!
remember one of the first problems we had with our skidder. The
transmission started shaking and there was a noise in the machine.
The problem with problems in equipment is that it is not easy to
put your finger on where the problem is. We learned real fast that
we couldn’t just have a “knee-jerk” reaction to it.
happens is the “vibration” goes through the “local body” and what
we did in those early years was have a “knee-jerk”
reaction, “Oh, I know where the problem is! It’s Brother So-and-So!"
would pull the transmission out, take it into the shop, go all through
it, and “Oops, there’s nothing wrong with the transmission!” We’d
put the transmission back in, run it a little while, and all of
a sudden the shaking and the noise were back. “Well, it’s got to
be the rear end.” We would go and take the rear end out and that
wasn’t the problem. “Oh, it’s got to be…” Then you get this idea,
“Maybe I better call somebody who might know!”
don’t know how many of us have done this, but we have actually replaced
hydraulic pumps and motors, “How much was that?” “$10,000.” “How
much was that?” “$15,000.” “Well, that still didn’t fix it; what’s
next?” “Here’s the problem!” We have actually spent as much as $60,000
on a piece of equipment to find out it was a little o-ring in a
hydraulic motor that was allowing oil to give more pressure than
it should, and it was causing this vibration that went through the
whole engine; $60,000 later!
you hear the Word coming, be real careful to think you know where
the fix is to the problem! Be real careful! Because the Word to
fix this is really nigh thee; it’s close! It’s real close by!
is the kingdom of God?” “It’s in heaven; it’s on the other side!”
So, we get to the other side, “Where is it; where’s the answer to
all of these problems?” Then we get this revelation, “Oh, maybe
we have to seek Him while He can be found.”
“Where is He? OK, God, I want You to fix…”
is with every community, every church group, every person, every
body, every family, this is just not peculiar to us; we are all
in the same mess!
I have a marriage problem, I always know where the problem
is, and if God would just reveal it to her then everything
would be OK, right?
see this in natural Israel when God had brought them into the land
and He said, “When the blessings and the cursings come on you,”—
this applies to both the blessings and the cursings —because
when you obey His word, the blessings will come on you and the cursings
will come on your enemy. If you don’t obey His word, the blessings
will come on the enemy and the cursings will come on you! Did you
ever see that? He’ll strengthen the hand of the enemy if you are
result of that in natural Israel was that the crops started failing,
the animals started failing, the body started failing, everything
started failing and Israel went out and looked and said, “Oh my,
the crops are failing, we must need more ph in the ground; a little
bit more fertilizer.” So they would go out and put on a little bit
more fertilizer. As they put on more fertilizer, the animals are
dying. Then we think, “We just need to go call a vet,” because there’s
a problem with the animal! Maybe it’s what we are feeding them;
maybe it’s what they are getting.
happens is, you look at all of the symptoms! We have such discernment
for symptoms! General speaking, when you ask everybody they can
identify all the right symptoms. It takes a Master Mechanic to figure
out what the problem is and to put his finger right on the problem.
He is going to tell us here is, “The problem is, you are not keeping
My Word; you are not obeying! If you would obey Me…” Look at what
it says here:
And thou shalt return and
obey the voice of the Lord, and do all his commandments which I
command thee this day. 9(a) And the Lord thy God will make thee
plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body
and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for
you want to get the land healed? Be obedient! Do you want to get
the cattle healed? Be obedient! Do you want to get the body healed?
the church wants to do is go to gifts. When you are in iniquity,
you want to stay in iniquity and say, “God, use the gifts to get
the land healed, the cattle healed, and the body healed!” Can anybody
identify with that?
really not the problem! The problem is that He wants to deal with
something in us! We are no closer to
salvation if we don’t get the picture that He wants to deal with
me! Me !
mean God can solve all of these problems? Just like that! Five years
later, we still have them; like we are no closer! Well, the reason
is found in Verse 11:
30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is
not hidden from thee, neither is far off.
is not far off! I went to the watchmen, but the answer was not far
off! As soon as I left the watchmen, it’s not far off! I found Him!
I found the answer was not with the watchmen!
has ever looked to the ministry to answer their problems, right?
I have to admit, we did that once or twice. Brother Sam Fife is
probably sitting somewhere saying, “You know, I wish you would have
got this revelation when I was here!” The reason he didn’t get any
sleep at night was because everybody was looking to him because
he had the answer! If he was across the sea, the answer was across
the sea! “Oh God, speak from heaven!” Do you know where the answer
is? Where is the answer?
think the scripture says that here:
It is not in heaven, that
thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring
it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 13 Neither is it beyond
the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for
us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? 14 But
the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart,
that thou mayest do it. 15 See, I have set before thee this day
life and good, and death and evil; 16 In that I command thee this
day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his
commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest
live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the
land whither thou goest to possess it.
you know what He is looking for? Do you want to get the answer to
whatever situation you are in? Do you want to get the answer to
that? Would you like to spend $60,000 getting this fixed or $10
for a little o-ring? We want to spend $10, right? But how many times
do we spend $60,000? Do you know what that is? That $60,000 ends
up being frustration! All this “down time”; we could be going on-right-on!
you know what all that is? Have you ever wanted a problem to be
solved out of any other motivation than love for your brother? ‘It
is high time you wake out of sleep; all the law is fulfilled in
this: that you love one another.’ Many times what we want to do
is get the problem solved so we can get out of our present distress,
and not out of love for our brother. It’s out of our being inconvenienced.
When we take that route, we are no closer to salvation than when
we first started.
is pointing an inward finger inside of us to finish a work that
is manifested in our love one for another that if you want it all
healed—you want the land healed, you want the problems healed, you
want it all healed—then you have to go to God and say, “God, what
am I not doing that is causing this to not get healed?”
can get the natural all fixed and still not have the problem solved.
You can get the transmission replaced, the engine replaced, and
all kinds of things replaced—I called the mechanic up and I said,
“You know, we took the transmission out, the rear end out, we went
through them.” He said, “Have you broken a u-joint lately?” I said,
“Yes, as a matter of fact we changed one a couple of weeks ago.”
He said, “In those machines, all of the u-joints have to be all
lined up. Go take a look and see.” We went and looked and out of
the five u-joints, there was one u-joint not lined up. We took it
out and lined it up and everything worked fine. It would have saved
us all of that work if we would have asked the Master Mechanic,
“God, what is the problem?” “God, what is the problem?”
is nigh thee, even in your mouth. Hear the Lord, obey God; He will
even make your enemies at peace with you. The blessings will come
on you and all of our problems will be solved. Amen!