This teaching includes a free sermon outline to download for personal use, message preparation or Bible study discussion.
So we are going to begin as usual with a proclamation taken from the last four verses of Psalm 92 from the NIV:
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, “The Lordis upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness [unrighteousness] in him.”
I must speak to my outline, because all the translators have been given it. If I depart from it there will be confusion. However, I am going to start with something that has nothing whatever to do with what I am going to preach. Today I received a little card from one of my 51 great-grandchildren. She’s sixteen and we sent her a little gift for her birthday. She lives in Fort Lauderdale, and I believe this will encourage you, especially those of you who are Americans. This is what she says, “Church is wonderful. I feel that I am growing to the Lord each day. I have been reading Appointment in Jerusalemand God Is A Matchmakersimultaneously. Every day I pray that the Lord helps me to blossom into a virtuous woman so that one day I will be a godly wife and mother.” So I am rather proud of my great-granddaughter. I want to tell you good Americans, there’s a new generation coming up. It’s traditional that the coming generation rebels against the standards of the previous generation, so that the generation that is now passing rebels against religion. The present generation is rebelling against irreligion. If I get to the end of my message, and that is a big IF, I will have something more to say about America.
I want to start by reading the passage that was assigned to me, which is Hosea 6:1–3:
Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight.
Let us [follow on to] know... the Lord, His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.
Brother Lance mentioned this when he spoke the first night. I just want to add a little more. In 1Corinthians 15:4, Paul states the gospel. Incidentally the gospel consists of three simple historical facts and in many places where they have gospel meetings, we never hear the gospel. We get so involved in secondary issues, we miss the real central point. This is the gospel. Paul says,
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
Those are the three facts—He died, He was buried, He rose again. And the authority is always “according to the Scriptures.” Paul sets the authority of Scripture before that of eye witnesses. He goes on to list the number of eye witnesses, last of all himself. But the primary authority of the resurrection is not eye witnesses, it’s the Scriptures, according to the Scriptures.
Now I’ve looked for years in the Bible and I have never been able to find any verse in the Old Testament which says that Christ will rise the third day. I know what it says about the prophet Jonah, but that’s not a direct statement. What it says here is that He will raise us up the third day, and I want to offer you my interpretation of that. And I think it is very significant because I believe prophecy not merely reveals facts, but it reveals their significance. It is not just a statement of what’s going to happen, but it’s a statement of what is going to happen in the context of God’s purposes.
If you turn to Ephesians 2:4:
But God, who is rich in mercy because of His great love with which He loves us,
even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
and raise us up together [or enthroned us], and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
The three things that God did through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—we were dead in trespasses and sin, He made us alive, He resurrected us, and praise God, don’t stop there, He enthroned us. And all of that is in the past tense, not in the future. How did it come about? Because Jesus identifies Himself with us and permitted us to identify ourselves with Him. When He died, we died. When He was buried, we were buried. When He rose, we rose. And when He ascended, we ascended with Him. That is our place in God in the spirit realm. So when Hosea said, “He will raise us up on the third day...” he was imparting to us the significance of the resurrection. Not merely that He raised Christ up, but He raise us up with Him. And then he says, “He will come to us like the morning....” That’s the picture of the resurrection, and then “He will come to us like the rain....” That’s the picture of Pentecost. So the whole of that series of events is contained in these three verses of Hosea.
Let us come back to where I am supposed to start. I tell people I make no extra charge for my excursions.
Now, this is a remarkable thing, but some years ago the Lord spoke to Ruth and me I believe, and He said, “I don’t want you to go anywhere except where I send you. You are not just to go because you are invited, or because it’s a good idea, or because you can get a cheap fare. I only want you to go where I send you.” And we’ve done our best to obey that. One of the things we discovered, especially in our recent tour around the world especially in southeast Asia, He spoke to us before we went. He said, “I have prepared the soil where you are to go. It’s ready for the sowing. You don’t have to reap the harvest, you have to sow the seeds.” And I have to say every place we went, the soil was prepared. But if I’d gone somewhere that God hadn’t sent me, the soil would not have been prepared.
One of the remarkable things is that usually, not always, if I get an invitation and God wants me to go and I feel prompted to accept, He will give me immediately the theme I am to deal with, even though it may a year ahead or six months ahead. He won’t give me the whole outline, but He will give me the theme. Just before we left the United States in March, I was invited to Charlotte, North Carolina, and I felt that God wanted me to go. I kind of said, “Lord, what am I to speak about.” And I felt, and this is all subjective, I felt He said, “Caleb.” Well I know enough about the Bible to know basically who Caleb was, but I’d never given any real thought to Caleb. They said, “Will you send us the title of your message?” So I said, “Caleb: Lessons From A Dog’s Life.” Now some of you will know, most of you probably don’t know, why I said that. Because the Hebrew name “Caleb” is the Hebrew word for “A Dog.” The Caleb that’s mentioned had a grandfather that is a Caleb, and a grandson who is a Caleb, so there are three members of their family all called “Dog.”
Now in the Old Testament the names always have meanings and they always have a significance. Every name in the Old Testament. So why call a person “Dog?”
I mean, how would you think about me if I were Dog Prince? Or we had Dog Lambert sitting on the front row? Or Johannes, how many sons do you have? One son. Did you ever think of calling him Dog? So why Dog? Well, my message is the answer to that question.
First of all let me say that in the Middle East generally speaking, dogs are not very highly esteemed. Things have changed since a lot of immigrants have come from Europe, especially from Russia bringing their dogs. But in the Middle East, basically a dog was a somewhat ill-treated creature. They were never properly fed, they were never taken in doors, and people used to throw stones at them. So it wasn’t a very honorable title. And yet that’s the title given to Caleb.
Now I want to just take a little glimpse at his life experience and then explain why he was called Dog. If you turn to the book of Numbers, there’s a whole lot about Caleb there. Numbers 13:6, lists the 12 spies who were sent into the Promised Land to see what it was like.
from the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh;
Then it goes on to describe how the spies went in and how they came back. And the report that they brought back is in Numbers 13, beginning at verse 27. They brought their report back to Moses.
Then they told him, and said, “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. [And they showed him the grapes of Eschol.]
“Nevertheless, the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified ad very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. [In modern Hebrew Anakis the word for a giant. If you get a giant ice cream, it’s an Anak ice cream.]
“The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South [that’s the Negev] the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” [There must have been some protest even then because it says:]
Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”
But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” [Notice there’s two exactly opposite statements, ‘we are well able’ and ‘we are not able.’]
And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, “The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature.
“There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” [So they all began to say, “We’ll never make it.” Chapter 14 goes on with the results of these two reports in the first ten verses.
So all the congregation lifted up their voices and cries, and the people wept all night.
And all the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron, [I don’t know whether you’ve ever noticed that when people are against God they are usually against the leaders of God’s people too. Sometimes those of us who are leaders can take comfort in that.] and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt! Or if only we had died in this wilderness!
“Why has the Lordbrought us to this land to fall by the sword, that our wives and children should become victims? Would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?”
So they said to one another, “Let us select a leader and return to Egypt.”
Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; [which is a sign of mourning or great distress.]
and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land.
“If the Lorddelights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’
“Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lordis with us. Do not fear them.”
And the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lordappeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel.
And then we read the Lord’s response to this situation in Numbers 14:26–38, and all these have a very important lesson for us today. They are not just remote historical facts.
And the Lordspoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,
“How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me.
“Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you:
‘The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above.
Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in.
‘But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised.
‘But as for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness.
‘And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness.
‘According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection.
That’s a very solemn thought. I wonder how many of you today, this evening, would be happy if God said to you, “Just as you have spoken in my ear, so I will do to you.” It says later on in the book of Proverbs, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Basically we settle our own destiny by the words we speak. All of those twelve settled their destiny. The people who responded with a negative response, settled their destiny. God didn’t settle their destiny. They settled it themself. Think back of the words you’ve been speaking the past 48 hours. Would you be happy if God said, “I’ll do to you exactly what you’ve been saying.” I noticed that Jesus said to some people when they came to prayer, “According to your faith, be it unto you.” I think He was very selective to whom He said that to. Let me ask you tonight if He were to ask you, “According to your faith, be it unto you,” would it be a blessing or a curse? How are you thinking? How are you speaking to yourself? What are the things that go on in your mind? What are the words that come out of your lips? Are they negative or are they positive? Do you uplift Jesus? Do you proclaim the scripture? Do you talk in faith or are you a negative thinker, a negative talker? How would it be if God said to you, “Just as you’ve been speaking to me for the last five years, I’ll do to you.” Would it be a blessing? I’ve lived in this land long enough to know there’s a great deal of negative talk that goes on and some of it is in the assemblies of believers. They settled their destinies by the words they spoke.
Another thought occurs to me. They had already committed a heinous in. They had made a golden calf and worshiped it. And God didn’t say, “Because you have made the golden calf I will not bring you into the land.” He punished them, but that was not the punishment. So when they said, “We can’t enter the land, we can’t take the land,” God cut them off. And I think that this applies to contemporary Israel. The think that angers God most is when we don’t believe what He said He will do. I’ve made a little observation of this theme and I found the thing that angers God most is not people who sin. That’s bad enough. But it’s people who despise God’s grace. Then He’s angry. Then He cast them off.
That is what happened to Esau. He despised his birthright. And God says latter on, “Esau I have hated.” Not because he was a sinner, but because he despised the offer of God’s grace. He need to pray for Israel today that they will not despise the promise of God. To me this is a terribly contemporary issue. Believe the Israelites were sinners—most of them. And God does not bless sin. But the sin that angers Him most is rejecting His grace. When God has gone to infinite pains to provide something and He offers it to you and you said, “I don’t think I want it.” You make God angry. Very, very angry. I think it’s the sin that angers God most. We’re all sinners. We all need God’s mercy. But when we deliberately look God in the face and say, “God, thank you but I don’t think I want it,” I don’t know how much mercy is left.
I feel God prompted me to say this. I feel there are people here tonight who are in danger of saying, “No thank you, God. I’m not interested.” I hope you will not make that terrible mistake. Jesus said in the New Testament, “By your words you will be justified, by your words you will be condemned” [Matthew 12:36–37]. Every idle word that men speak, they shall give account of it in the day of judgment.
I’ve heard people say many times, “Well, I didn’t really mean it. I know it was a foolish thing to say, but I didn’t really mean it.” That’s just the words that Jesus is talking about. Idle words. Words that don’t have a real meaning. He said, “Every idle word that you speak, you will give account of it in the day of judgment.”
Sometimes I fight against something that God wants me to say and He told me before this meeting to say what He gave me. You may think this is ridiculous, but it’s true. I was meditating on the fact that when God forgives us our sins He doesn’t necessarily cancel the consequences. Let me give you an example which certainly doesn’t glorify me. I’ve had about thirty skin cancers removed from my face in various stages. Sometime back I went to an orthodox dermatologist and we were talking to one another. I went to him for treatment. I said, “Of course for years I used to lie in the sun and expose myself to the sun and get all the sun I could.” And he said, “Sun worshiper!” And I said, “Well, I suppose you could say so.” He said, “Thou shall have no other gods before me.” There was nothing I could say. It was absolutely true.
And I realized God’s forgiven me but I have not, up till now, been delivered from the consequences. If you don’t know about it, it takes 25 years for a skin cancer to develop. When I first went to a dermatologist in Florida, I said I don’t know why I have all these things. He said, “You had all the sun you needed 25 years ago.” So I calculated where I was 25 years ago at that time, I was living on the equator in Africa. And to prove how macho I was, I never wore a helmet. See, pride is really the root of most of our sins.
Well, that wasn’t what I was going to tell you. That’s just by the way. I mean you will think it’s crazy, but it happened. I’ve been a Christian so long some people cannot imagine what I was like when I was not a Christian. But I was not a Christian, when I was not a Christian. I began to get this acute nerve pain in my left toe. I would struggle with it, rebuke the demon of pain and get delivered, but after a while it came back. I was lying one night awake and just not thinking about anything. And you will think this is crazy, but I was crazy with the craziness of my generation which was between the two world wars. And I was not saved. I was far from being saved. In fact, when I went back to Cambridge and they discovered I was saved, they said, “It could have happened to anybody but you!”
Anyhow, this is the idiom of that period. You have to understand. When people said something I thought was silly or I didn’t agree with, I would say, “My left foot! My left foot!” And God brought that back to me. He said, “You put a curse on your left foot.” I said, “Lord, I repent. Forgive me. Deliver me.” I’ve never had another moments pain since then. Can you believe that? It’s very new thinking for some of you.
Listen, I want to give you an opportunity. For just one minute I want you to sit here and ask God to show you if there are things you’ve said about yourself in the past that you are still paying the penalty for now. I was looking at the hour hand on my watch to measure the minutes but it wasn’t very accurate, but I think we have had the minute. I saw on the faces on some of you the light go on. You suddenly realized that there was something following you up from the past. Let me give you good news. On the cross Jesus became a curse for us, with every curse that could come upon us, that we might be redeemed from the curse and inherit the blessing of Abraham, whom God blessed in all things! That’s the exchange. Jesus became the curse, that we might receive the blessing. So if there is a curse over your life that you brought upon yourself, you can be delivered. But you have to humble yourself. You have to say, “Lord, I’m sorry I said a foolish think. I said something I didn’t mean. I repent. Forgive me and deliver me.”
Now, we’ll go on with Caleb. What was the essence of Caleb? Why was he called a dog? What was the dog nature in Caleb? Shall I tell you? Five times it says, “He wholly followed the Lord.” Totally. Five times. I’ll just read that and then we’ll think about a dog. In Numbers 14:24 the Lord is speaking and He says,
“But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.”
So he had a different spirit. And the spirit that he had caused him to follow the Lord fully or wholly. And then you can look on in Numbers 32:11–12. Again the Lord is speaking,
‘Surely none of the men who came up from Egypt, from twenty years old and above, shall see the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because they have not wholly followed Me,
‘except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, and Joshua the son of Nun, for they have wholly [fully] followed [Me] the Lord.’
And then in Deuteronomy 1:35–36, again this is the Lord speaking,
‘Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers,
‘except Caleb the son of Jephunneh: he shall see it, and to him and his children I am giving the land on which he walked, because he wholly followed the Lord.’
And then in Joshua 14:8–9. I find that there’s a power in not just saying that he said it, but reading the Word. This is Joshua’s own testimony.
“Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the Lordmy God.
“So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the Lordmy God.’
And then again in the same chapter, verse 14.
Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the LordGod of Israel.
Now there’s a lot of discussion about Hebron. It’s one of the burning issues. I’ll tell you who is going to get it in the end. The descendants of Caleb. That was settled about 3,400 years ago. Why? Because he wholly followed the Lord. So the question if, are you wholly following the Lord?
Now let’s consider first of all, what is the essence of Christianity? If you were asked to sum up the Christian life in two words, what would you say? Follow Me. I don’t think you can say the Christian life more accurately than that. It is following Jesus. You see, it is not a doctrine primarily. It’s a person. Doctrine is important. I spent years teaching doctrine, so it’s not unimportant. But it is not primary. I was speaking about a brother the other day who is far from here. I said, his problem is he puts doctrine before relationship. But relationship is primary. Doctrine is second.
Knowing the gospel is not enough. You have to be related to the God who gave the gospel. First the relationship, then the doctrine. Please understand, doctrine is extremely important, but it is not ultimate. Paul said near the end of his life, “But I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” He did not say, “I know what I have believed,” he said, “I know whomI have believed....” And he put it in the perfect tense—I havebelieved. It’s settled: I have believed.
Many of our dear Jewish friends will tell you that the correct meaning of the word for faithin Hebrew ________, is not believing, but loyalty. And they are right. Primarily, _______ faith, is loyalty. You see, the evangelicals, the Protestants, the Charismatics tend to put doctrine in the wrong place, if we had any at all. We argue about doctrine. I mean, the early fathers spent I don’t know how many centuries arguing about whether you should have the letter iotain the word or not. ______________________________? The destiny of the faith of the church depended on that one little iota—of like substance of the same substance. Was Jesus of the like substance with the Father or similar substance with the Father?
I was with a brother just recently, preaching, I don’t think I’ll embarrass him by mentioning his name, but we were in a conference to discuss our Jewish heritage for the church. We had a panel. He was one and I was one. And somehow they were trying to tie him down to what he believed. He believed perfectly right, but he said, “The Christians have put the wrong emphasis. Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, didn’t deal with what you believed. He dealt with how you lived.” And that is primary, and we have to return to that. The whole of the Sermon on the Mount is not about doctrine. It’s about conduct. That’s where, as they say, the rubber meets the road.
Let’s look at the examples in the New Testament. It said three times in Matthew 9:9:
As Jesus passed on from there He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him.”
I suppose that’s the shortest evangelistic message that’s ever been preached. “Follow Me.” That’s all He had to say. Of course it depends on Him being who He was. But that’s the essence of the Christian life in two words—Follow Jesus. Well then you know the theme in John 21 after the resurrection when Jesus settled accounts with Peter. Don’t forget we are talking about the importance of what we are saying, here is a dramatic example. Peter denies the Lord three times. Now there was a way back, but the only way back was to affirm his commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. He had to unsay every time he said it wrong. And Jesus took him through that. Peter was concerned. “Why do you ask me three times?” Because he denied Him three times. You see if you have said the wrong thing you know what you have to do. You have to repent and “un-say” it. You have to say the right thing in place of the wrong thing.
So here we are the scene of the shore of the Sea of Galilee where Jesus had directed them to where they caught the fish. And then He spoke to Peter and He said—John 21:18
“Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not with.”
This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
To where? To the cross. And then Peter got interested in John and said, “What’s going to happen to this man?”
Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
Now three times in the New Testament you have those words, “Follow Me.”
Now what is it about Caleb the Dog that gave the pattern for you and me? Well, there are dogs—and dogs. And especially since people have come from other countries and brought their dogs with them these remarks are not totally true. But, let’s talk about a trained dog, that is a one-owner dog. That’s the kind of dog we are talking about. Incidentally, have you ever watched people going through owner training for dogs? They don’t train the dogs, they train the owner! It’s easy to train the dogs. It’s awfully difficult to train the owner.
Anyhow, what are the aims of such a dog? A real faithful committed dog in relationship to it’s master? The first thing is to be near. Is that right—you that own dogs? You’re sitting on one side of the room, the dog is sprawled out at your feet. You get up to move to another chair. Wearily the dog heaves itself to it’s legs, slumps down and says, “Why did you have to move? But if you move, I have to move?” So that’s the first thing. And I think, probably that’s the most important thing in the Christian life is to be near Jesus. You cannot go wrong, really, if your aim is to be near Jesus.
I’m saying this in the presence of my wife and I didn’t tell her I was going to say it, but I have a wife who has a passion to be near Jesus. I’ve known her now for 18 years. The distinctive characteristic of my wife is she has a passion to be where Jesus is. Just two or three days ago we were composing a card for a dear sister who is right at death’s door. We wanted to encourage her and send it. And as Ruth was writing the card she began to cry. And then she said, “I’m jealous. She’s going to meet Jesus before I do.” That is motivation. That’s the motivation of the dog. Wherever you go, your dog will go.
And then you have a dog with a leash or a lead and you get up and jiggle the lead and the dog springs to its feet, jumps up and down and says in effect, “Wherever you go, I will go.” It doesn’t say, “How long are you going for? Half an hour? Six hours? Two weeks? It’s not important where you go. I’ll go.” He wholly follows you. No questions asked.
So Caleb in the desert said, “My fellow Israelites have blown it. They’ve lost it. We’re going to have to go on. How long? Forty days? Forty weeks, forty months, forty years? It’s all the same to me. I follow. Wherever you go, I’ll go.” That’s my aim in life.
Then another thing about dogs is they are like the true Christian it says in 2Corinthians 5:7,
For we walk by faith, not by sight.
And, dogs basically do not rely on their eyes. This is a little extract from a rather interesting book I read recently called Blind Courage.I don’t know whether you have read it, but it is the story of a man who is blind. He was a Christian. He was so grateful to the Lord for what the Lord had done for him in saving him. He said, “Lord, I would like to do something for you. What would you like me to do?” And he told the Lord said walk the Appalachian Trail. That’s 2,100 miles of very rigorous terrain from Georgia to Maine. He said, “That couldn’t be right.” Every time he said, “Lord, what do you want me to do for You?” the answer was, “Walk the Appalachian Trail.” So with his seeing-eye dog named Orient, they set out. And that blind man walked 2,100 miles of very rough territory with no real companion except his dog. And this is what he says about the dog.
When it comes to priority of senses, Orient got his information from his nose first, his ears second, and his eyes last, walking by scent and not by sight.
__________________________ (name?) who trains dogs for search and rescue described the difference in human and canine scent this way:
One of the substances released by human perspiration is butyric acid. If one gram, a small drop in the bottom of a teaspoon were to be spread throughout a ten story building, a person could smell it at the window only at the moment of release. If the same amount were spread over the entire city of Philadelphia, a dog could smell it anywhere, even at an altitude of 300 feet.
Isn’t that amazing? Philadelphia is considerably large in area than Jerusalem. Anyplace in that whole area where one drop of human perspiration was released, a dog could smell it from anywhere. This is a research statement. It’s not a wild guess. So do you have a good sense of scent? Do you know where the Lord is by something that tells you inside? You don’t depend on your eyes. You know how to find Him.
I was thinking of the word “dogged.” Most of you are familiar of the word dogged. And so I thought what is it that is expressed by being “dogged?” And I looked it up in two dictionaries. I wasn’t satisfied by either, but I will quote them. Collins New English Dictionarydefines dogged as “absolutely determined, willful, or tenacious.” Webster defines it as, “marked by stubborn determination.” I don’t think that does it justice. There is a higher quality to “dogged” like dogged courage, dogged faith. What is the mark of the dog? It hangs on, it follows, it never drops out. What marked Caleb from all the rest except Joshua? His dogged courage, his dogged faith. So you see, he was a pattern.
Now some people will tell us that all you need to inherit the promises is faith. That’s not what the Bible says. You need something more. I know some of you know what it is. Hebrews 6:12:
do not become sluggish, [the margin says lazy, sluggish is a nice polite religious word. Lazy is the right word. Don’t become lazy. You know there is not one blessing offered to laziness anywhere in the Bible. In fact, the Bible condemns drunkenness much less than laziness. I don’t want to say that the Bible endorses drunkenness, but our scale of values in the church is so wrong. Because we wouldn’t keep a drunkard or an alcoholic in the church, but we have lots of lazy people. Is that right? You might be one of them too. So this is what Hebrews 6:12 says] do not become lazy, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
It’s not enough to have faith. You have to have faith and patience. You see, it takes time to develop character. It’s been mentioned already in these meetings, we live in an age of instant everything. But there is one thing you don’t get instantly and that’s character. The Lord is much more interested in character than He is in gifts. You can receive a gift, a wonderful gift, a marvelous gift, but it doesn’t change your character one iota. If you were unreliable and selfish before you received the gift, you will be still unreliable and selfish after you receive the gift. In fact, I think one of the most dangerous things that can happen to a Christian is to receive a rather dramatic spiritual gift. Because so many rely on the gift as a substitute for character. But listen, dear brothers and sisters, when you step out of time into eternity you leave all your gifts behind. All you will take with you will be your character. And that will determine what you will be throughout eternity. And remember it takes time to develop character. There is no instant character development. It’s faith and patience.
Now, it’s not so easy to train a dog to follow, but it can be done fairly easily. There is one thing that is much more difficult which is to train a dog to wait. Have you ever gone into a large store and there’s this dog sitting outside patiently sniffing at everybody as they come out? But not moving. Whenever I see such a dog I think, “That’s an owner with character.” You couldn’t have a dog like that if you didn’t have some character yourself.
Now, I think the same is true of Christians. We have to be trained to follow, but we have to have much more training to wait. I’ve asked people in many places, all over the world, which takes more faith—to work or to wait? And never has anybody told me it takes more faith to work. The real test of faith is waiting.
So, you’re a good dog. You’ve learned to follow your master. But have you learned to wait? The dog doesn’t know what you are going inside that store to do. You can’t explain to him that you want to get some shampoo, some nail varnish, some tissues. But he waits. And when you reached a certain maturity in the Christian life, God will say, “Now wait here.” And He won’t tell you what He’s going to do. He won’t give you any explanation. He just wants to know if you are trained. Or will you get up and scamper off to some person who is not your master? Remember waiting is a test of character.
And then another picture of a dog comes to mind which is a dog that’s lost it’s master. It’s lost contact. Have you ever seen that? I’m sure you have. And this dog with it’s tail down keeps running up to every person that passes by and sniff, sniff, and then disappointment. No, not the right person. He’s lost. He’s lost contact. Some of you here tonight are like that. You’ve lost contact with Jesus. You’re still a believer, you’re still a dog, but you’ve lost contact. And you know what happens? You go up to everything and everybody and sniff it. Can I fin it here? Can I find it there? Is this what I am looking for? No. You’ll never find satisfaction in things. What you need is to restore your contact with Jesus. In that scripture that was quoted it says, “Come, let us return to the Lord.” That’s what some of you need to do—return. You’ve got lost. You’ve lost contact. You know Jesus, you know who He is, you know how good He has been to you, but you don’t have this present, ongoing, intimate contact. Is that right? It’s right whether you acknowledge it or not, for some of you.
Let’s just look in closing Caleb’s reward. I want to warn you that I am like Paul. When he is writing an epistle in chapter 3 he says, “Finally brethren...” and then he goes on for two more chapters. So this is closing but it may be a long drawn-out process. Joshua 14:6–13—we’ve read this before but we will read it again.
Then the children of Judah came to Joshua in Gilgal And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him: “You know the word which the Lordsaid to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh Barnea.
“I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lordsent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land, and brought back word to him as it was in my heart.
“Nevertheless my brethren who went up with me made the heart of the people melt, but I wholly followed the Lordmy God.
“So Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land where your foot has trodden shall be your inheritance and your children’s forever, because you have wholly followed the Lordmy God.
[These are wonderful words. There is something going up and down my spine as I read this.] “And now, behold, the Lordhas kept me alive these forty-five years, ever since the Lordspoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. [Five years older than me.]
“As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war [not just for peaceful occupations but for war at eighty-five.] both for going out and for coming in. [That’s so wonderful. He didn’t just have the strength to go out, he has the strength to come in again.]
“Now therefore, [now listen] give me this mountain of which the Lordspoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and that the cities were great and fortified. It may be that the Lordwill be with me [I like that—he wasn’t arrogant. He said it may be, I’ll take the risk, but I want it.] I may be that the Lordwill be with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the Lordsaid,”
And Joshua blessed him, and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh as an inheritance.
Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day [which is today] because he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel.
What did he do? He wholly followed the Lord. What is the Christian life? Wholly following the Lord.
Now, I just want to make this personal at the close. If the Lord were to say to you, “What shall I do for you?” And you were to say, “Give me this mountain.” What mountain would you have in mind? What is your ambition. Everyone of you has some kind of ambition. To be married, have a family, raise children? To be an evangelist and preach to thousands? To pastor the largest church in the world? To own a Mercedes and a swimming pool? What is your ambition.
Now, if we go back to our text, Hosea 6:3, “Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord....” Brothers and sisters, that is my ambition. I’ve come to see that success in the terms of the world is a very transient thing. Real success is knowing the Lord. Now you say, “Of, course I know the Lord. I’m saved.” Paul was saved too, you’ll admit that. But he said, “Nevertheless, I follow on that I may hold of that for which God laid hold of me, that I may know Him, the power of His resurrection... the fellowship of His suffering.” So Paul after he had been an apostle and a church-planter for many years, his ambition was, “That I may know Him.”
I want to close with two passages from Colossians: 1:25–27:
of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,
the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints.
To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: [that’s tremendous language—‘the riches of the glory of this mystery’—God wants to reveal it to us.] which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
You see, before I was a believer years ago, I was a professional philosopher. And if you talked to me in those days about knowing the mystery it would have had to be expressed in pages like the philosopher Immanuel Kant who read one sentence that lasted for more than two pages without a period. But Paul says in three words, “Christ in you.” That’s the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now is revealed to His saints.
And then in Colossians 3:11, speaking about being in Christ it says,
where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
That’s the ultimate. Christ in you, Christ is all.
Now I want to relate in closing something that happened in my life last December. I was in Auckland in New Zealand, and I say this carefully. I had a visitation from the Lord about 2 a.m. which is the time the Lord usually speaks to me if He is going to. But this was so powerful that I had to get out of bed, which I am very reluctant to do. And I knelt by the bed, which I don’t often do, and I began to pray. But the power of God upon me was so intense that I couldn’t kneel and I had to get up and walk around, up and down in the room. And the Lord asked me a question. Some of you probably heard this. He said, “Will you ask me to give you My heart for America?” Now I am British by birth and American citizen, and I said, “Lord, I believe your heart is broken for America. I don’t believe I could stand it.” Well He is very gentle but He didn’t withdraw from the question. “Will you ask me to give you My heart for America?” And then I said, “Lord, the people of America have been so kind to me. They have been so generous, they have been so friendly, they have done so much for me, how could I refuse?”
So in the morning, Ruth and I talked it over and we agreed, “Lord, we will ask you. Lord, will you give us Your heart for America.” And something came upon us then which is we had the most intense pain in our chest. It was almost unbearable and I wanted to express it and I couldn’t. And I realized this is what Paul calls groanings that cannon be uttered. You see, I have heard a lot of people groaning and say those are groanings that cannot be uttered. But that’s not so, because if they can be uttered they are not groanings that cannot be uttered. This was something so intense there was no way to express it. You had to keep it to yourself. And later I shared this at a conference in Christian Broadcasting Network the last morning of the conference. There were about 330 people there, and I told them what the Lord had said to me, “Will you ask me to give you My heart for America?” And when I had finished I said, “I think the only way you can respond is to get down on your knees and cry out to God.” And I think every person in the audience found a place to kneel. I finished my message at 10 o’clock and they didn’t get out until 1:30. And some very, very moving things happened. The brother who had the microphone, one of those you just carry around, after he had been interceding for about an hour, the spirit of intercession came upon him and he prayed as I have never heard anyone pray. Scott Ross if any of you know who he is. And old friend of ours.
Then he went around with the microphone to people that had something they wanted to say. And this dear oriental lady—she couldn’t speak perfect English, she said, “Lord, we are so sorry, we are so sorry, we didn’t know what we were doing to You.” It was like the cry of the whole company. “We are so sorry, we are so sorry. We didn’t know.”
Then he came to an elderly lady who was standing by the platform and she indicated she wanted to speak. She said, “Lord, send me.” That’s all she said. So Scott said, “How old are you?” She said, “89!” And I tell you the younger people in that congregation were convicted of selfishness, self-centeredness.
Well, the other think that happened to me that night in Auckland. I don’t know if I can convey this, because there are some things the Lord says, you know what He said, but they are not put in words. But this is what I want to challenge you with. It came to me those words, “Christ is all.” I said to myself, “Can I say that? Can I say that if I have Christ, I have all? I need nothing more? Nothing else is important?” And then it occurred to me about the Charismatic movement and I am an old time Charismatic, probably too old. I though to myself, “All the books that get published,” and I have published forty books. All the books on how to do this, how to be a father, how to be a pastor, how to make money, how to get healed, how to... And I got this mental vision that we’ve got so much “how to” we’ve missed the real point which is “Christ in you, Christ is all, Christ is all.”
Do you have a desire in your heart to come to that place where you can say, “Christ is all.” I’m tired of the gimmicks. I’m tired of the sermons. I’m tired of all the programs. “Jesus, it’s You I want. It’s You I want. I think I’ve lost the scent. I’ve missed You somewhere in the crowd. I’m going around sniffing here and there. Jesus it’s only You, only You. Christ is all.” Can you really even comprehend that? If you have Christ, you need nothing more. He is all. Christ in you, Christ is all.
Now, I want to challenge you or help you. But I want to say some of you here are like a dog that has lost it’s master. You are running around sniffing here and there, but you’re not satisfied. Our text says, “Let us return to the Lord. Let us get back.” Lance spoke about first love. It’s a quality. Some of you left your first love. You know what it is? You followed, but you missed somehow. You’ve lost contact. I would like to give you an opportunity to make a decision. Say, “Jesus, I’m coming back. It’s You I want. Only You can satisfy me. Nothing else in life is worth anything without You. Let us return to the Lord.”
If that’s your desire and you want to let God know, and you want to humble yourself before people and say, “I’m a dog that’s lost its master,” but before honor is humility. If you would like to make that decision and you probably will never have an easier moment to make it than now, I want you to do one very simple thing, stand to your feet just where you are.
I want my wife to come up if you will. Brother Leslie are you there? If you will come up on the platform with me. I don’t like to be alone on the platform at a time like this. Well, I don’t know what to do. There are so many of you standing. But I want you to do this, because it is so important that we move. I want you to move out of your place and come either here, or in the aisle or anywhere, and kneel down and don’t get up until you’ve met the Lord.
Now, is not the most important thing. The most important thing is to get in touch with Jesus. Don’t worry about the time. Nobody is going to drive you out. If you have bus to catch, that’s unfortunate, but there are some things that are more important than catching the bus. You may never have another chance like this. Those of you that are sitting and not moving out, will you please pray for these people that have come to kneel? Would you pray for them as if you were here yourself?
“Oh, Lord, You see these people. My heart goes out to them Lord. I fell a burden for them, Lord, but the burden that You feel is infinitely greater than any of us could feel. And God we ask you now, have mercy. Have mercy upon these who are kneeling before You now. And put in their hearts and in their mouths the prayer that will bring them back into touch with You.”
If you’ve sinned, tell the Lord. Say, “Lord, I’m sorry I have sinned.” The Lord respects honesty. Tell it like it is. You don’t have to tell anybody else. If you’ve been engaged in immorality or pornography or some dirty kind of business, just tell God. He knows already. “Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord Jesus send Your Holy Spirit upon these who need You so much, so desperately.”
If it pleases you just say, “Lord, have mercy on me the sinner.” Can you say that? “Lord, have mercy on me the sinner.” That doesn’t mean you are not a Christian, but sin is sin whether it is committed by a Christian or an unbeliever. “Lord, have mercy. Have mercy.”
Jesus says, “Come unto all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am meek and lowly in heart and you shall find rest for your soul.” The rest comes when we are meek and lowly. When we lay aside all pride, all self-righteousness, all arrogance, and just say, “Lord, here I need you, I need you.”