Ern Baxter sermon

 

New Covenant Fellowship

 

Wednesday, March 12, 1969

As transcribed by Geneva Sanders

 

 

Well I think you are quite a bunch, - - I think you’re quite a bunch.  I’ve preached under unusual circumstances in my life, but this is a new one to add to my collection.   A square dance upstairs; an archery class on the same floor and - well that takes the cake.  I’ll tell you one thing about it, if you can survive as a unit under these circumstances, you’ve got a great future.

            I lived on the Pacific coast for 25 years, and I did a great deal of traveling.  I used to travel up and down the coast, and in the city of Seattle I had a dear couple – Mom and Dad Ernst.  Mom Ernst was a real Dresden Doll.  She was full of years, she was delicately made, her hands were the hands of a genius, and her face looked like it had been sculpted, and she had the sweetest spirit – such a dear person she was and I loved her.  Old Dad Ernst was a gruff old guy, he was just the opposite, but he loved the ground Mom walked on.  They had a beautiful cottage right up over Puget Sound, and they had a Prophet’s Chamber.  When I would be going up and down the coast, I would phone from Portland, probably after a meeting, and say “Mom, I’m on my way home, would it be all right if I stop off at your place and sleep a bit before I go on home?”  She would say, “You come on dear, but come quietly because Gus is sleeping and I don’t want him to awaken because he doesn’t appreciate all you young preachers coming by this way” – because all the young preachers knew Mother Ernst.  So I’d arrive about two in the morning and she would have lamb chops and fried eggs ready, and we would sit in the breakfast nook and talk and then I’d go to sleep.  In the morning, Gus would get up and say, “Humph, another one of those young preachers is here.” 

            Now, anyway, I said all that to say this – looking out from Mother Ernst’s beautiful red brick home up on Puget Sound; you look down over the side of the cliff.  There are about three trees on the side of that cliff.  I’ve been there many times in the winter when the wind would blast, and you would see these trees bend way over.  I said to her one day, I said, “Mom – how in the world do those trees ever stay there?”  She said, “That’s the most interesting thing.”  She said that the whole cliff was one time covered with trees, but with the constant wind and the battering of the sea, etc.; many of them succumbed and couldn’t exist.  But she said they had to remove one or two trees for various reasons, and they found that those trees had sent their roots down and they literally had tied their roots around great boulders, subterranean boulders and hung on.  And when the winds would come they would bend all right, but they had gotten their roots down and wound them around those boulders.  She said it’s almost miraculous the way those trees protected themselves against the wind. 

Now, I’m saying that to tell you that in putting your roots down in these early years of your fellowship, it’s going to be much easier to stand the wind later on.  To be able to insulate yourself against these circumstances and to move in God, this is a tremendous thing, a tremendous thing – you see I’m not used to this – it disturbs me.  I want to go upstairs and rebuke them and take a small whipcord and kick them out – you see, but I don’t have to live here – Thank God!  You see – well, all right.

            Now, you call this a fellowship, and that’s what I want to talk about tonight for a little bit, and let us read in the word of God; 1st John, Chapter 1, verses 1 – 7.

1.    That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the Word of Life;

2.    (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us);

3.    That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his son Jesus Christ;

4.    And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full;

5.    This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

6.    If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not know the truth;

7.    But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanseth us from all sin.

 

Now as you know, God has chosen to speak to us by means of words.  Words are marvelous things.  They are the means by which you can communicate your thoughts to somebody else.  When God wanted to communicate his thought, he communicated it by means of words.  And in choosing those words, he chose them with great concern, I’m sure, and with great care.  When he wanted to talk about his people and use a word that would describe this group here tonight, he chose a Greek word called, “Koinonia”.  And in choosing that word, he chose a word that had a rich background of meaning. 

Now I want us to look at the background of its meaning for a minute.  It is a very interesting and beautiful word.  If we were going to try to get a modern equivalent to the Greek word “Koinonia”, we would probably use the word “togetherness”.  But in looking at the word “Koinonia” as it is used in classical Greek, it is used of the marriage relationship.  It is a word of great intimacy.  Aristotle called marriage a Koinonia, in which, of course, there is a sharing of life – a most intimate sharing of life.  So that when the Lord chose the word Koinonia to describe our being together, he chose a word that the Greeks understood as a word that denoted marriage.   He was saying that in our being together, there is to be a spiritual intimacy and a spiritual oneness that is described by the holy arrangement of marriage itself.  This is one of the meanings. 

Now another meaning was that it was a business relationship.  When two men would come together, they would decide to go into business, and they would pool their resources and go into business together.  It was a sink or swim proposition.  They had discussed the business and decided what to do and they had taken their savings and their resources and had pooled them together and said this is it, we are in it, we are in this thing together and how it goes is going to affect both of us.  This giving of ourselves in a holy partnership, so that the success of the fellowship is not a one-sided thing.  There is no such thing as a Christian who is alone.  God never saved us to be alone.  Peter said, “We are elect together.”  Even the doctrine of election isn’t singular; God chose us in a group.  Two are better than one.  The Bible says, when one falls down the other picks him up.  Two are better than one, the Bible says, for when one gets cold the other keeps him warm.  God never sent men out alone; he sent them out two by two.  Paul went out always with a Silas, a Barnabas, a John Mark, or Luke.  The Bible speaks about Paul’s company.  If you are in this fellowship, then you are in it just like Greeks in the days when this word was brought by God into the sacred vocabulary.  They were in a business arrangement together, and they pooled their resources. 

Now another meaning.  In the social life of the community it was used.  Plato refers to the dealings between citizens, the community life.  The life of a community where whatever happens in a community depends on the pooling of its resources and our energy and our concern.  There is no individualism when it comes to the corporate success of the community.  There must be everyone pooling their resources, their particular gifts and interests. 

Now I was pleased to see the way you ran your meeting here tonight.  This is it!  This is beautiful and this is how God intends it.  This is the way Koinonia was, this is what Paul means when he said, “How is it then brethren when you come together, one hatha, one hatha -- --, but how are we going to get this over to multiplied thousands of religionists who have bogged down in a rut of ritual and form; who have never known what it was to spontaneously respond to God, but who have always been told what to do next.  This is what God wants, because when you come into a meeting where you understand the meaning of Koinonia, it may be your particular ministry that is needed tonight.  It may be your particular word that is the word that is going to open up the entire meeting.  You may be the one, and this is the meaning of fellowship.  This is the meaning of Koinonia.  It’s a community, it’s a redeemed community that contributes everything that they have for the common good. 

Now, it has another meaning.  It’s a political word and it stands for all the laws that govern a political union.  Now we have laws that govern our land (they are rather poorly taken care of at the present time; that’s one of our political issues), but when we are thinking ideally of a political community, we realize that no man can live unto himself.  We all must live in relation with one another if we are to have a successful community.  So you see it is out of this rich background that the Holy Spirit chose the word “fellowship” to describe the body of redeemed men and women. 

Now for a long time, as you probably realize, the idea of salvation has been to get saved so that you won’t go to hell and you will be sure and go to heaven.  It’s amazing how little the Bible says about going to heaven.  In fact there is very little in the New Testament about us going to heaven.  You know that getting saved with the view of going to heaven isn’t the thing.  Paul didn’t say “let us go on to heaven”, he said, “let us go on to maturity.”  What the Lord wants – you see it would have been the easiest thing in the world for the Lord to save us and take us right home.  And of course there are some legalists who are so afraid that a man won’t stay saved – in fact I’ve had one man say quite somberly and soberly, “I think that to ensure a man’s getting to heaven after he’s made his repentance, it would be a good thing if somebody shot him.” 

“Well now,” I said, “I have a much nicer arrangement, and it’s not so messy.”  I said, “I suggest we do it with a little religious touch.”  I said, “why not drown him in the baptistery; at least that would be clean, you know, you just hold him under,” – OH! Well, we speak as a fool, Paul said.

Now when God saved us, he saved us to perfect us in this life.  To change us from Glory to Glory and into the image of Christ. In the process of changing us, not to bring ME into individual maturity.  (I’ve been perfect for a long time – Eh, eh, there’s nothing wrong with me – the only time I doubt my perfection is when I get with you.)  God wants to create a redeemed community right here and now in this life, because this is what we are; we are a Koinonia, we are a fellowship.  We are a body of men and women who are bound together in the holy community of the Holy Spirit.  We are possessed of one spirit; and in our being bound together in this holy community, we are not only to go on in individual perfection, we are to go on in corporate perfection. And brother, this is where the perfecting comes.  See, I can be very perfect when I am alone.  I can read a nice book on the devotional theme in the quiet of my room.  When I pray I can get tickles up and down my spine, and I feel so warmly spiritual and so holy and so sanctified; then I come to church and suddenly all kinds of worlds are running in.

You see, each of us is a world, each of us is a cosmos.  Every one of you is an entire universe.  You are filled with all kinds of strange indefinable mysterious currents and cross-currents and subterranean movements, and you are a marvelous thing.  You are a reproduction of God in each of you – you see.  The only hope of us getting together and getting along together is if each of us can relate to Christ.  Then we can relate to one another.  But if we try to relate to one another first, then it’s worlds in collision, BROTHER, it’s worlds in collision.  It’s catastrophe all over the place, it’s – you know – convulsion and volcano and eruption, bang, boom!

The whole secret is to keep your eyes on the Lord.  For instance, let me illustrate.  People say, “Now brother, if you want to walk with God, you have to watch your walk, keep your eyes on your walk.”  WELL, you go out here and start to run as fast as you can down that parking lot; and when you have got up good steam, look at your feet.  You know what will happen, you will come up with a bloody nose and a bump on your head.  You don’t look at your feet.  It has been a long time since I did any track work, and my chest has fallen since then, but we were taught that you didn’t look at your feet, you looked at where you were going.

Now, if we are constantly watching our walk, and we are all finicky and all taken up with this and that, we are bound to fall.  You see, Peter walked fine.  As long as he didn’t look at his feet, he was doing fine.  They had seen the Lord coming on the water, and he said, “Lord is that you, if so bid me come and I’ll come.”  Jesus said, “COME.”  Peter bailed out over the side of the boat – now he didn’t walk on the water, he would have sunk right away if he didn’t have something better to walk on than water.  Every time he put his foot down he put it down on COME.  That’s what Jesus said, he said, “COME.”  Peter walked on COME, and every step he took he stepped.  AND of course the other disciples were all in the boat watching – and kinda half hoping he wouldn’t make it.  So when Peter began to sink you can just hear them saying, “HE SANK, I TOLD you he wouldn’t make it.  HE SANK.”

Now what happened?  The Lord Jesus spoke to him about his faith.  He had suddenly become aware that he wasn’t where he was supposed to be.  He said, “What in the world am I doing out here, men don’t walk on water.”  In fact, Peter said, “I don’t recall anyone ever having done it before,” but, he said, “what am I doing, I ought not to be here.”  You see, he began to relate what he was doing to the realm of sense and sound.  As long as he kept his eyes on the Lord, he walked supernaturally.  The minute he began to consider his circumstances, he got involved and he began to sink.  But the beautiful thing is he said, “Lord, help me!” and the Lord did.  This is what a lot of people forget, he walked back!  He walked back, you see. 

Now these fellows in the boat, the ones who said, “Aw, Peter sank, Peter SANK,” never had the joy of knowing what it was to walk, even if you do sink.  I’d rather walk and sink than never walk at all.  I’ve done a lot of walking and sinking, but I’ve done some WALKING – HALLELUJAH!  I’ve had a lot of people say, “Did you see him sink,” – but they also saw me WALK.  You know, I get so sick of seeing pictures with Peter up to his waist in water.  Every painting you ever see, Peter is up to his waist in water.  You know, we put these Sunday School pictures up, and there is poor old Peter up to his waist in water.

 So one time I was talking about this, and I had an artist in my audience.  I didn’t know it, but a very fine capable artist.  So six to eight months went by and it was Christmas, and I got a beautiful painting, a large life-size oil painting of Peter, and his feet were on top of the water.  This was the first time I’d ever seen that, you see – even when we want to reproduce Bible things we reproduce the negative.  Nobody ever thought to paint Peter walking, they painted him sinking.  Because you see, sinking is the common experience, not the walking.  We are water walkers, we are mountain movers, and sycamore tree puller-uppers, and we must walk in faith in those terms. 

Now as we keep our eyes on God, and walk in relation to him, we will relate to one another.  But the minute we stop looking at the Lord and start to look at one another, we violate the first rule of Koinonia.   I only walk successfully with you as I know you in Christ; not after the flesh, but in Christ.  As we walk together with our eyes on God, we will get along fine.  The minute we drop our gaze and start to relate to one another directly, we’re in bad, bad trouble. 

Now God has called us to be a fellowship, and you are just getting started.  (Now, if I may look down from the sagacity of years, you know, if I may patronizingly advise you from my high place, a place I always hated years ago and I start to do it myself.)  Let me just say this to you – your future is going to be bright and hopeful as you walk together in this holy fellowship, keeping your eyes on Jesus Christ.  Never relating to one another horizontally first – but vertically first, then horizontal.  Always first the Lord, then one another, because to some people it becomes terribly disturbing to find out everybody isn’t perfect.  One of my earliest experiences, unhappy experiences, in Christianity was when I came up against a denominational situation and I believed certain things and I stood for them.  I never wanted to go into the denomination in the first place, I had gone in because I had been urged to.  When I went in I said, I believe certain things, and they said, “Well, come anyway,” so I went in and I became a success in God.  It would have been all right if I had never become a success.  But I became a success in God, and the church I had grew, and they made an issue of the very thing they said wouldn’t matter.  So as I was walking, the very first convention I went to, I thought, “OH!, this is going to be heaven,” and – it WASN’T QUITE. Anyway, the result was that I walked out of that convention a very disillusioned, disturbed young man.  And I, as I walked out of that convention I said, “Oh God, what will I do, where will I turn?” 

The Lord brought the word to my heart out of the prophet Zechariah, and I feel led to give it to you.  He said, “If you will walk in my ways, I will give you ways to walk in among these that stand by.”  As I walked out of that convention, I could feel the burning gaze of other preachers looking at me as much as to say, “There he goes, the young heretic.  There he goes.”  And I thought, “Lord, here I am,” but this is the promise he put in my heart, “If you will walk in my ways”. 

So I started to walk in his ways in utter dependence in him.  I lived to see the day when the leader of that denomination invited me out to lunch full of apologies.  Of course he was full of apology now, because I had founded a large church and I had a big congregation and half a million in physical assets in my church and influence, etc.  But he invited me to lunch and he said, “It was a great mistake, we ought never to have done it, it would be fine if you would return.”  I said, “Dear brother, it was no mistake, and I have no intention of returning.”  I said, “Had I stayed I would no doubt have become a time serving part of an organization and would have never known the things I know.  It was the grace of God that you did what you did, because the day I walked out of that convention, God dropped something in my heart.  He said, “If you will walk in my ways, I will give you ways to walk in among these that stand by,” and after 35 years I have never been without a place to walk in.  It’s been a matter of figuring out which place I will go out of all the ones that are available. 

Now I say to you as a fellowship tonight, and I think I have the spirit of God for this, that if you will not allow those that stand by, those that are hanging around, they don’t want to go any place themselves, they don’t want to be disturbed in what they are doing, and they want to call you aside.  They say, “Step over here, we’d like to talk to you;” you say, “No sir, I’m going to keep on walking and as I walk, God is going to give me ways to walk in among these that stand by,” and you just keep right on moving. 

You see, that’s what God does with the eagle.  When God made the eagle, he made the eagle to be a type of Christian, and the eagle flies clean out of sight.  He won’t stop for anybody.  When that old eagle decided to take off – he’s sitting there on a rock, you know, batting his old eyelids and firming up the muscles of those big old wings.  He bats those eyelids – he’s waiting for something.  He knows what he’s waiting for.  All of a sudden he feels that current of wind come, that’s what he’s waiting for.  All of a sudden he feels that current of wind and he lets out a scream and he puts those big old wings out and he leaps up and he catches that wind.  An eagle doesn’t fly, did you know that? 

That’s why the Holy Ghost is so accurate in the book of Isaiah when he said, “We shall mount up with wings of eagles.”  Eagles don’t fly.  They know a secret, you see.  It’s only birds that don’t know, they are the ones who do all the flapping.  Two hymns and a prayer, we have got to work at it brother – we got to --  NOT the eagle.  He waits for that breeze to come along, and when he feels that current he goes whooooooooooo and he grabs that wind and rides the air.  Do you know why?  It’s because his bones are cylindrical.  His bones are made for buoyancy.  God made his bones so that he’s buoyant in the wind, but he also has a built-in knowledge of air currents.  So he just rides the winds, just rides them. 

An eagle loves the storm.  All the other birds, when a storm comes, they run for cover.  But not the old eagle, he just says – “HALLELUJAH” – this is good and he says “I’m really going to go places on this one – GLORY TO GOD!”  Now he’ll go clean out of sight, and on his way up he’ll go by the telephone poles, and there will be some old crows there.  And they will say CAW-CAAAAAW-CAAAW – you stop by here and we’ll tell you some juicy stuff about some – CAAAW CAAAAAW.  And he says, “You old black devils, you can sit there the rest of your lives; I’m going higher – HALLELUJAH!  HALLELUJAH!”

They say that an eagle can go clean out of sight, clean out of the vision of the naked eye.  And he has an extra set of eyelids, and when he gets up to where the sun is, he pulls down that extra set of eyelids so that he can look into the sun.  You and I are made for the higher areas.  And I say to you as a fellowship tonight, God’s got great things for you, but you are going to have to insulate yourself against the crows and the other birds that want to keep you down where they are.  You know misery loves company.  They haven’t had a flow of God for so long, they don’t know what it is, they don’t want you to flow in God.  They want you to stay – DON’T DO IT, just keep right on going.  He’ll give you ways to walk in among those that stand by.  Catch that air current, brother!  Learn to know the air currents, and don’t simulate it, don’t try to work it up.  It will flow through every meeting, and as it comes blowing through, catch it.  Get your wings out and catch it and then rise, and rise, rise and mount – HALLELUJAH!  Rise and soar into the sunlight rays, using both your wings of prayer and praise.  Mount like eagles, higher in the sky, and things will look so different when you fly.  HALLELUJAH!

Now there are one or two things I want to say quickly about the beginnings of your fellowship.  Turn to Acts chapter two, verses 41 and 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.”

Now notice that which consisted, that which made up the fellowship.  The first members were those who gladly received the Word.  The Word must be supreme.  Do not make the mistake of accepting an exciting revelation or a novel theory over against the Word.  Be a people of the Word of God.  Remember, the basis of the Koinonia is the authority of the Word.  No prophesy uttered is supreme or equal to the prophesy of scripture.  The Word of God must be supreme.  If you want a guarantee to go astray, neglect the Word of God.  The Word of God must be basic to the Koinonia.  Not only did they gladly receive the Word, but they were obedient, they were baptized.  Obedience to the Word is absolutely basic.  Not only is that basic, but they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and in the fellowship, or in the Koinonia.  It is something you work at.  No, it is not always going to be easy.  There are going to be times when God deliberately tests you as a fellowship as he tests you as an individual.  It’s not going to be one grand picnic.  There are tests of you as an individual, and times when God deliberately tests you as a fellowship as he tests the trial of your corporate faith.  The trial of your corporate faith is coming and undoubtedly has already come, but if you know this, then you are not surprised.  Have you ever heard yourself saying, “You know, the strangest thing happened to me the other day.”  We don’t realize that we are fulfilling scripture.  Peter said, “think it not strange,” and we turn right around and say, “it’s the strangest thing.”  That’s exactly what the Word – you see the Word of God warns you.  The strangest thing is going to happen to you. 

You say, “Well, why happen to me?”  Because you are a special people.  In the 11th chapter of Hebrews he said, “Whom the Father loveth, he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receives.”  Now you have neighbors around you that are blasphemous, nasty, mean, cantankerous, dirty, smutty people and they get off with murder.  They just do everything they like.  YOU, you don’t get off with nothing nohow, not me, for the Lord is right on heels all the time.  You deviate a little bit, and BOOM! You say, “Lord, I don’t understand it.  Joe Doe next door there -  he just gets off with everything.”  The Lord says, “he’s not my boy.  I am looking after mine, he belongs to the other fellow.” 

When I was a kid, after school I used to like to play football over in the vacant lot, and every night about 6 o’clock my mother used to come out – she would always call me John, my second name is John, and she would call me – JOHN – for supper you see.  And every night about 6 o’clock I had a sudden attack of deafness.  I just couldn’t hear, strangest thing, couldn’t hear at all.  I could hear other kids being called, too, but none of them seemed to be able to hear.  Then all of a sudden some kid would say, “Baxter, you had better scram, here comes your old man.”  My Dad would come walking across that football field, and he would pass all the other kids by, and he’d walk over and get me by my ear and take me home.  Now, why didn’t he get after those other kids?  They weren’t his kids.

See, now God is dealing with you.  Other groups will seem to get off with murder.  Other groups will be able to do things you can’t do.  The more God loves you, and the more you are owned of God, the more particular God is about you.  Did you ever notice, you that are parents, you with children; you are all so young you probably won’t appreciate what I am going to say.  But having raised my four and gotten them married off - you know when you have a child (you may have three or four, I have four girls), that the one child will be very bright.  Boy, you will be on that kid’s tail all the time, and I can hear that kid say, “I just don’t understand Daddy.  I get better marks than the others and I am the one he is after all the time.”

It’s a principle; God laid it down.  To him that hath shall be given – The closer you live to God, the more he’s on your tail, the more he wants from you, the more he exacts from you, the more perfection he wants, and the more you give in obedience the more obedience he requires.  The more you give, the more he’ll take, and the children who move best in God are the ones God requires the most of.  You say, “Well, God, I’ve given so much”; ah – that’s the point.  He sees that you are the kind that he can make a polished shaft of, and you are the one he goes after because he is perfecting you.  Of course, you will be blessed in the long run because you are going to be the very finest production. But if you understand this; you say, “I don’t understand it, we are committed to God, we are living for the Lord and yet we seem to be going through so much.  Of course you are going through so much!  That whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth.  He’s giving you extra homework, he’s making you stay up burning the midnight oil, he’s driving you oftener to your knees, he’s calling on you for more sacrifice, he’s putting you through more keyholds, he’s working you over – WHY? – Because he sees an obedient spirit in you, he sees a chance to produce the very finest thing out of you.

Or you can be a sloth.  How many know what I am talking about?  Are you sure you do?  Some of you looked at me as if you don’t know.  Do you know what I am saying to you?  The more you move in God, the more exacting he becomes because he’s perfecting you.  You can choose to be nothing, or you can choose to be God’s best.  You can settle down and say, well, why should we press in?  Why not be just a nice respectable Prespeopian, or Baptisterial, or why all this business?  Here we are sitting down here with cigarette butts on the floor and why, why do we do this – why do we have to go through all this?  God is preparing bodies of people all over the country, and he’s getting them ready to bring them into the manifestation of his purpose in these last days.  He’s getting you ready.  He’s letting that wind blow and you are putting your roots down, you are wrapping them around the rock, and you are getting ready so when that storm comes – LET HER BLOW – HALLELUJAH!  Let her blow – GLORY – here comes another one – GLORY; another storm is coming, GLORY to God.

When I started out in the work of the Lord, I started out as a piano player and singer, and a trumpet player, and banjo plucker.  We had a group and there was a young man in the group who was jealous of me; so he lied about me, he told a lie about me.  I was sooooo tender in God, I was so terribly hurt and I went away to my room and I got down and I cried and I said, “OH! God, it’s terrible, you know he’s told a lie about me – OH!”  Well the Lord said, “It’ll be all right, son, everything will be fine,” and he comforted me and he poured in the oil.  I got up and I said, “THERE, I’ve had my baptism of fire, I’ve had my Gethsemane, I’ve been through my Calvary.  Now I’m ready, I’m a full-fledged soldier.”  You know, BOY!  Three days later the same thing happened.  I went back to my room and cried, “HE DID IT AGAIN, LORD!”  The Lord said, “It will be all right,” he poured in the oil.  I said, “Well, I guess some of us have to go through it twice, you know.”  Welllll, I tell you my last count was 24 million, 384 thousand, 592. 

And there is just one thing I haven’t been able to figure out; when the Lord is blessing, I don’t know if he is compensating for what I’ve been through, or getting me ready for what I’m going into.  You see, the Bible says be perfect, that which concerns.  You see, you are not just a nice bunch of people coming together, you are a supernatural Koinonia.  You are a supernatural body of redeemed men and women.  And the Heavenly Father has high hopes; he looks at you like a Mother and Father look at their child in the crib.  And as they look at that child, what do they see?  As Eve looked in the cradle, what did she see?  As she looked at Abel, she didn’t know she was looking at a martyr. As she looked at Cain, she didn’t know she was looking at a murderer.  As Moses’ mother looked down into the little ark that was built, she didn’t know she was looking at Israel’s deliverer.  David’s mother and father didn’t know they were looking at Israel’s choice King.  Every mother and father that looks at that little bundle of life sees a president of the United States, a Paderewski, a Rembrandt – you know. 

Do you think the Heavenly Father that transmitted those sentiments to the human potential heard doesn’t have them himself?  He looks down at the New Testament Fellowship here in St. Louis, in this room here tonight, down here in this cradle as you are being born and he says, “What have I got, what have I got, what have I given birth to, what is it going to be, how is it going to respond, is it going to be a great New Testament Church that will stay true to the principles, that will walk in the communion of the Holy Ghost, that will be true to the Word of God, that will keep itself clean, that will keep itself free of pride, that won’t reach the point where it says – “We want a king?” 

My God, what might Israel have been if they hadn’t been – if they hadn’t said, “Give us a king?”  Dear old Samuel came to God and he said, “God, they turned me down.”  God said, “they didn’t turn you down, Samuel, they turned me down, they don’t want to be ruled by my direct voice, they looked around and they saw the denominations, and they want a head office, and they want a printing plant, and they want a district superintendent, and they want this and that.  You give it to them, but when you give it to them, tell them I’m going to send leanness into their souls.”  Israel said, “we’re tired of this manna, we want some meat.”  God said, “I’ll give you meat,” and BOY, he sent a flock of quails and they flew so low that those Israelites reached up and wrung their necks and piled them at their feet.  Man, they had enough meat to do them for days, but while the meat was yet between their teeth the plague of God smote them.

I don’t know why I’m talking to you like this tonight, but I do feel that I’m in God.  I’m saying to you that you are – you’re a baby in a crib.  The Heavenly Father is looking at you with all the pride and parental desire that his great heart can muster, and he sees in you the possibility.  I’m sure he has been disappointed many times as he has looked at similar groups that started out so hopefully, but somewhere along the line got in with wrong companions and finished up doing a jail term.  God’s looking at you tonight, and the Word of God comes to me that as he looks at you, his hope for you is that you will grow patiently and you will grow strong and you will not turn to the left nor the right, and you will not lust after a king.  Nor will you hunger after that which others have, but you will be content with God your redeemer and be a community of life and redemption, and that you will love one another out of a pure heart perfectly and don’t endanger the life of the fellowship because you personally have taken your eyes off the Lord.  Walk in relation to one another as you keep your eyes on Christ.

 

EAGLE SONG

CHORUS:      Rise and soar into the sunlight rays,

                        Using both your wings of prayer and praise,

                        Mount like eagles,

                        Higher in the sky,

                        And you’ll find things so different when you fly.

VERSE 1:      When you pray but cannot get your answer through,

                        When you get discouraged, know not what to do,

                        Cease to beg and plead, but Hallelujahs raise,

                        Your petition will ascend on wings of praise.

VERSE 2       Many baffled birds in vain will raise one wing,

                        Drooping prayers they pray, but rarely shout and sing,

                        Round and round these earthbound birds go in amaze,

                        For they fail to stretch the other wing in praise.

VERSE 3       Some neglect to pray and only shout around,

                        Like the beaten brass or cymbals, so they sound,

                        They too tread a circle and will never share,

                        The much larger life on wings of praise and prayer.

VERSE 4       On the ground if you’re restricted in the way,

                        Stand a hundred hindrances that will dismay,

                        There you fret and fuss and flurry, go up high,

                        God will soon enlarge your vision when you fly.

                        Exercise your wings oh Christians pray and praise,

                        We shall have the best revival these last days,

                        Glide aloft and spread the message glad and strong,

                        See ten thousand angels swarm and swell the song.

 

Brother Baxter

Wednesday, March 12, 1969