There is a word we know, that everyone knows, and that is profession, or to profess. If we went out down the street in Pukekohe, and we asked people, “What is profess?” They would give you a blank look. They would ask, “Profess what?” What does professing mean to you and to me personally? This word “profess” is not a word used commonly in everyday language and I looked up a dictionary the other day and to profess means to make an open declaration. An open declaration of what? This term “to profess.”
We will look in a minute, at some people in the Bible who professed. If we hear someone has died, and we hear they were professing, it gives us comfort; and if we hear they were not professing, maybe we have feelings of sadness.
This word “professing” is something that the devil uses, also. Satan is not unhappy for people to use that term if they profess.
Look in Titus, chapter 1. Here are people who are professing that they know God, but in works, they deny him. Satan does not mind people professing, but he does mind if they in works acknowledge God. There are some people Satan cannot attract through the depths of immorality, because they know it is wrong. There are people Satan cannot snare through religion and false teaching, because they see what the wrong teaching is. But he does have a trap.
There is a parable someone mentioned in a testimony yesterday, 21 Matthew. A certain man had two sons and he said to the one, "Son, go and work in my vineyard, etc." The second son professed, and made an open declaration. He said, “I go, Sir,” and went not. He made the open declaration and did not follow through with what he had said. That is a trap. I could be professing, and in this work, and I think I have a safety net; but that is not the case.
Paul said, “Lest I preach unto others and I myself be a cast away.”
There is a word used in South America; they talk about surrendering there. We talk about “the time I professed.” They talk about “the time I surrendered.”
Some statements we make sometimes: “I professed in 1977.” But if I substitute the word with the South American word they use when they profess, and turn that statement into a question; instead of saying, “I have been professing for 22 years,” saying, “But have I been surrendering for 22 years?” I could not say honestly I have surrendered for 22 years. There are times I was not surrendering. The question to ask myself, the way to test our profession is, I am professing, but am I surrendering? That is when the profession has a value.
That hymn that we sang, “I have spoken the word of surrender.” The open declaration that we want to leave the world behind in a surrender to the will of God.
These two sons we looked at in the parable, it was like the Gospel coming and the Father saying, "I want you to work in my vineyard today." The first son said, "I will not," and afterwards he repented and he went. That is an experience. Perhaps there were many like that when we first heard the Gospel?
We said, “I won't go.” But then we repented. There is a struggle. I will not go. But afterwards he repented and he went. But the second son, he did the first part all right. He could express the words nicely. “I go, sir.” And he went not.
We want to be careful that our profession has substance today and is a full surrender in our hearts. This matter of surrender, how do we understand what it is? There are many different and nice ways it could be explained.
The Lord's mother said, “Be it unto me according to Thy word.” “All ye that are heavy laden, learn of Me and take My yoke.” The bullock that has the yoke put on its neck, normally has to bow its neck to surrender. It is a struggle, but it goes into the yoke and surrenders and works in a team. Do we surrender? Do we bow our neck and work in the yoke with Jesus? Or is my profession only got the first part, “They confess Me with their lips, but in works, they deny Me.”
In Bangladesh, we went to see some brick works. They have mud and sand and a thing that looks like a big cake mixer. They put the sand and mud in the mixer and two oxen walk around and around and they mix it up until it is the right consistency. They mix it and then they put it on their slabs. The man that was with me went closer to the animals than I did. One of the bullocks had long horns and he put his head down and he was going to strike his horn out and if the man got close enough, he would have ripped his stomach open. He was a danger to others.
Sometimes we get broken in two. How broken are we? Sometimes it is not safe for the children to go near. Because children are little children. How safe are we to be among God's little people or is there still resentment in certain things? You cannot trust a horse or bullock like that. We trust God, but can God trust us? Are we really broken? There is one difference between us and horses and bullocks. It seems that if a horse if really broken, probably it is broken for life. Our human nature is not like that and we need the help of God every day to be broken.
I remember someone telling us about an old man and they asked him about when he made his choice and he said, “I made it this morning.” They expected to hear him say he had made it 20 or 30 or 50 years ago, but he said he had made the choice this morning. The old man knew he had to die to self – every day.
Some things stay in your memory and others do not. Since I have come back people have said certain things to me and they are things I have forgotten but there are certain things that stick in my memory. I can remember when I was 13 or 14 years old and I was in the company of some other young people growing up in professing homes; and there was another boy there; a few years younger, perhaps, 9 or 10, and we were sitting around talking and I wasn't professing at that time. He was a self-confident boy, He wasn't bad, but he said he was self-confident.
I was over 12 and he said I should be professing now. It was like you are old enough now and I was amazed because no awakening had happened within me, but that incident stayed in my mind. That young boy, he grew older and he got to 12 or 13 and professed at that time, but he is not professing now and he is a long way away and those in his family are a long way away now, too.
I wonder if they ever came to understand the full meaning of profession? It is an open declaration of our surrender. Maybe there are young people who have not professed yet. It is good when we rest that matter. It is not a matter of professing, to use that term loosely. It is a declaration. In that hymn, “I have made my choice forever,” some people say I am making my choice. What choice?
This is the choice that will save you, making Him Lord of your all. If we are going to consider making our choice in the Gospel, this is the choice that will save you: MAKING HIM LORD OF YOUR ALL.
We can make another choice in the fellowship, but this is the choice that will save you. Making Him Lord of your all. I would like to take the experience a step further, and I hope that will be the experience of each one of us.
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