Hebrews 7: 22-26
Luke 2: 36-38
1 Corinthians 15: 29
I would like to say a short word about keeping the charge. The Lord Jesus Christ is presently in heaven. He is there having accomplished the work that He was given to do. Every Christian knows that He bore their sins in His body on the tree, 1 Pet 2: 24. He was buried and was raised from among the dead. He ascended up into heaven, and in heaven He has committed Himself to keep the charge. In Hebrews 7 the charge is that He is supporting continually in intercession before God everyone who belongs to Himself. It is so comforting to know that at any time, no matter what the circumstances are, there is a Man in heaven who bears you on His heart, who carries you on His shoulders and who always has you in His mind as He intercedes before God. You can always come to Him. No matter what you are going through, or how high the waters seem to be, you can always turn to the Lord Jesus and know at that point that He is bearing you up before God. Dear brethren, the only way to get through sorrow is to face it with Christ. If you face it on your own you could become bitter, but if you face it with Him you know something of His sympathy and His support. You begin to understand the reason for your sorrow as you draw closer to Him. You find that He is indispensable to you and that you are indispensable to Him. The Lord Jesus is interested in you, He cares for you, He loves you. He has brought you this way and is going to stand by you and support you. The brethren may not always be available but you can always turn to the Lord Jesus and know that He is available. Every moment of your life, throughout the day and into the night when sorrow fills your spirit, you can always turn to Him. It is wonderful to know Him! It is wonderful to have the comfort in your heart in knowing that He is in control, and that if a Christian dies, it is because they are asleep through Jesus. He has been in control of your life all the way through. He has been looking after you through every circumstance of life and He does not lose His control when you face death. He reserves His rights. He puts you to sleep. He takes you to be with Himself. It is a great comfort that the Christian has to know that the Lord Jesus is in control and that He is ever living to intercede for us who approach to God. If you go into the presence of God, you will find the answers to your sorrows. You do not always find the answers down here to all the sorrows of life, but in going into the presence of God you find a blessed Man there. It is there you find the answers to all the sorrows of life. He is always living to intercede. He keeps the charge. You can depend on Him. He is reliable, consistent, and dependable. There is no one like Him. Beloved brethren, may we just encourage our beloved sisters and all the family to take their sorrows into the presence of God and to appreciate that the Lord knows all about them.
Not only does the Lord Jesus keep the charge but we can be thankful that there are those here on earth, who also keep the charge. We read in Luke 2, about Anna. I am not going to give a eulogy about our sister, but I think any one who reads these verses and has known our sister would know how applicable they are to her. Our sister and many others of the same generation have been marked by keeping the charge. They have been consistent, reliable and dependable. Whenever you go to the local assembly, you know that they are going to be there. That is the kind of persons that they are. Their lives are committed to it. They have had their opportunities in life. They have had things put before them that they could have accepted but they preferred to commit themselves to Christ’s chief interest. That is what their heart was set upon. That is what our sister’s heart was set upon. That is why there is a locality here in Twickenham today, because of our sister and persons like her who have stood by what was precious to Christ, and who committed themselves wholeheartedly to Him. They consistently attended meetings because they longed for fresh impressions concerning the Lord Jesus. I am sure they were never disappointed.
Beloved brethren, the only kind of life worth living is being committed to the Lord Jesus and to His interests. That may involve fasting. It certainly will involve praying but what a blessing there is in getting fresh touches as to Himself and having the best company that you could possibly have with persons who enjoy redemption and who are able to share experiences as to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Well, I say in closing, that there is a generation who have committed themselves, and that generation, one by one, are being taken from us. This is not the first burial in this room in the last twelve months. There are those who are gradually being taken from us - persons who were dependable and consistent, and who have kept the light burning. What about those of us who are left? I suppose every person in this room has been baptised - I wonder if we fully realise why we were baptised. We were baptised to fill up the ranks of those Christians who have gone before, and whom the Lord has taken to Himself. They have been faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ in a world that has rejected Him, and have committed themselves to His chief interest here on earth, His assembly. That is why we were baptised. Perhaps we knew nothing about it, but nevertheless, that is why we were baptised and there comes a point in our life when we need to answer to our baptism. First of all it requires repentance towards God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As knowing the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit we can then commit ourselves to fill up the ranks of those who have gone before, who the Lord has taken to Himself. That might be a challenge to us. However, if we accept it, we will not lose out. There is a tremendous blessing for every one who will commit themselves to this line of things. I would just leave that word with us all. You were baptised for a reason, and the time has now come, to answer to your baptism, to take up your responsibilities and to commit yourself to keep the charge. The Lord will help you. May He bless the word.
8th February 2008
(At the meeting for the burial of Mrs Helen Hawkins)