Overcomers


OVERCOMERS

Address at Bristol, England
(Three Day Levitical Meetings with James Taylor Jr)
Sabbath, 15 July 1967
Deryck Noakes

Revelation 3 : 21

He that overcomes, to him will I give to sit with me in my throne; as I also have overcome, and have sat down with my Father in his throne.

I think, beloved brethren, we would agree that we cannot remember a time just like this, but it is of all moment to see that the truth is effective in us. I was thinking of the matter of overcoming, the Lord in this verse bringing out His own distinction in regard to it: “I also have overcome.” Certain things would have to be kept in mind in regard to that, such as the fact that He had to overcome nothing in Himself. We have to overcome things in ourselves. The main trouble, I suppose, in overcoming is in relation to ourselves, what we find in ourselves, the working of sin, the expression of the will especially. It says here, “as I also have overcome.” It is very gracious of the Lord to bring out the fulness of the matter in Himself, and then to refer to the brethren in this way in this section relating to Laodicea.

I was thinking of the scripture which we had before us where we were on Lord’s day, in relation to Joseph and Benjamin in Genesis, because as beloved J.T. pointed out, what marked Joseph was active overcoming and what marked Benjamin was passive overcoming. I think you see very distinctively in Christ how overcoming was active, in what He set out, and in the position that He has established. He went forward actively in the face of everything that was against Him, and as having done all He has sat down with His Father in His throne. There may be a link there with Joseph because he had much to overcome. He is a type of Christ there. He stated the truth, very glorious truth, too, and then they did not like him for it. He went through the whole matter, and then he solved the whole matter as to Egypt; and it was in that position that he became a type of Christ among the gentiles. It is a wonderful thing, regardless of what happened, to see the way that Christ came in and overcame everything in the setting, you might say, of the profession: because it was his brethren who sold Joseph into Egypt. I think that would link with Laodicea. These brethren had not left their father. Positionally they were with him but they did not love him. If they had loved him they would not have treated Joseph like that. It links with Laodicea. They did not go away from Jacob; they stayed outwardly in their position as sons, but they did not love him in that position. It is a warning to us. I am not saying the brethren are like that, but it is a warning to us, that I can be in the right place and my affections not right. What comes out of that in Genesis is the worst thing – murder, because that is really what it was. In their hearts was murder. We want to be preserved in regard to what we think about Christ. There is nothing more wonderful than to follow the glory of Christ. I think we have been brought to that in a fresh way during these days of being together.

So Genesis 41 must allude to the present time, the time of the Spirit, because the type refers to Joseph as being glorified in Egypt. The Lord was rejected by Israel when He was here in flesh and blood, but in the day of the Spirit He is being glorified among the nations. How favoured we are, beloved brethren, to be in this area where He has been glorified! Pharaoh said, “only concerning the throne will I be greater than thou.” As we have been taught, the Father’s position is really brought out as not having left the Deity, in regard to incarnation or anything else. So He is in the position of supremacy in the economy. We need to remember that; because when that gets embedded in one’s soul it can never be superseded by anything at any time.

These are great matters, glorious matters, but Joseph came into them as overcoming. I think there is meaning in that for us, beloved brethren. The Lord did not just come into His position; everything outside of Himself was against Him. Inside there was nothing against Him, but outside there was everything to overcome, and I think He is saying something to us. In a sense, when He says, “as I also have overcome,” that is like the objective side of things amongst us. That is right, the objective side; there is a glory connected with the objective side, but it must be linked with the subjective side. He is linking the two here. He says, “He that overcomes”; that is a subjective matter. So that we want to be maintained in balance in these things, and not – you will pardon my saying this – to write off the objective side; because it is the objective side that helps you on the subjective side. And it works the other way also; the subjective side helps you on the objective side, because without the experience of the truth I do not think what is objective means very much to us. But you get these things working, the one side on the other, and I think that is how God means it to be.

The Lord sets out the full thing here Himself. I believe He would give us an impression of this: “I also have overcome.” We need to think of what He has overcome, and then as we relate it to Genesis it is a question of what Christ has overcome again in relation to the presence of the Spirit here. It must have that bearing, I think, because He is typically established in His glory amongst the gentiles in Genesis 41, so it must have a reference in some sense to what He has done in the Spirit’s day. Then He says, “He that overcomes.” The Spirit of God, I believe, is overcoming amongst us, and that is a very wonderful thing. We need to understand that He has overcome things as bringing forth the truth in its glory. And as we are affected by the glory of the truth,the many problems that we thought were insoluble are solved without our solving them; because it is just a question of how the truth adjusts you. What you thought you saw to be such a big thing, is not there. It was only a thought; glory adjusts that.

Of course, on the other side there are things that need to be faced, and we do not want to be like Joseph’s brethren; we do not want to be jealous, because jealousy is an awful thing. It was jealousy that led them to this kind of treatment of Joseph; they did not like it that he had something that they did not have; that was too much for them. I believe that, until we come to it that Christ must have the first place, we shall never be happy, and we shall try to make trouble. The best thing is to come to it that the place that is given you is just right. Even if you think that no one notices you, that does not matter. It is a question of where Christ put you. When you accept that I think you can be happy. You will be happy amongst the brethren.

Joseph’s brethren thought he was wanting too much, and they did not like that. They wanted what was his, so they said, ‘We shall get rid of him.’ How the flesh is against Christ and against the supremacy of Christ! This is a wonderful area where we are now. It is easy to proceed here because of the atmosphere, and the presence of the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God in the assembly is the greatest fact, in one way, at the present time; and the Lord is here in relation to the Spirit being here. It is a wonderful thing that He is with us Himself, dear brethren, in the assembly. You feel, I suppose, you can overcome anything here! But overcoming does not relate only to what is in here, it relates also to what is outside. We need to overcome things in every way, and we need to overcome things in this country, too, if you allow me to say that. There needs to be the overcoming of rumours.

Joseph sets forth what is active in the way he went forward, and they would not have him. His brethren sold him, and he was in jail. He took over the jail – as we see, that is overcoming. And on that basis of overcoming he was established by Pharaoh. “Only concerning the throne will I be greater than thou.” We need to think about Christ; He accepted what was adverse and overcame it; He was not affected by it. The Lord would encourage us to do that; not to be overwhelmed by what is wrong; but to reject it and overcome it, and to maintain the Spirit of Christ in doing so. That is the test; you reject the thing, but you do not lose yourself in rejecting it. For that is easy – you win the battle and lose your life! You want to win the battle and save your life. We think of the Lord – reverently, of course – for He lost His life, in one sense; He laid it down, He was killed. We have not had to face that; He faced it. Where would we be if He had not done that? He overcame the devil; He overcame death itself. He went right through death in life, the life that He had. That is mystery. I do not profess to understand it; it makes us worship when we think of it.

Now this is Laodicea, here, and the Lord does not say He is changing it. He says, “Behold, I stand at the door and am knocking,” and then He says, “He that overcomes . . .” We need to let the truth penetrate, we need to let the Lord penetrate into us in regard to what He would say. “He that overcomes.” When they come and tell you something against a servant, just reject it (Num. 12 : 8). If it is wrong, you can act in regard to it, as established to be wrong. It is very fruitful ground for the enemy if we accept things about others at a distance and build up something against them. That is what Joseph’s brethren did; they built up something against him, and went the full way. We need to look into ourselves, beloved brethren, to see what feelings really are in our hearts about the Lord’s servants, and about the brethren. You might think it is only a thought and that you are justified in it, but what is really at the root is that you do not want him around. If you feel like that it is very bad, very serious. In principle it is murder – you would rather see a person dead than alive. We do not want to lodge on that. What we want to lodge on is that the overcomer is in each of us. He is in Genesis; I know I am right in that because J.T. said that Joseph is an overcomer actively, Benjamin is an overcomer passively.

We are in a wonderful position, because the Lord has established it by having overcome death and the devil actively; and in the recovery of the truth He has shown what it was. It is not that it is done again, but He has brought out what He did in the recovery of the truth, in what He has overcome through these men that have gone before. We cannot love them enough; we cannot overestimate their ministry. One of the things that has helped much is to see, as our beloved brother with us has said, that all the truth is out. Of course, we cannot limit God, but I think the Spirit of God has said that the truth is out; it is completed, in that sense. It is now a question of compliance and of our coming into these things. It is a wonderful thing that the Spirit of God has moved forward as overcoming all the conditions that there are and have been in the recovery of the truth. What an extensive, negative line that is: the conditions of contrariety and opposition and working of the will there have been! That has gone along, underneath, all the time during which the truth was coming out; but the truth has been asserted on the basis of overcoming. These men have overcome, and they overcame actively in this sphere where the Spirit of God was in them.

So, beloved brethren, we are in a position where it largely relates to the passive side. It is not that you are going out to establish a new position, but that you would be passively overcoming in regard to what is established. It is a great comfort to see that the truth is all out, and what has been established is far greater than I realise. It is a question of being true to what has been brought out. Brethren have made confessions here today in their words. I suppose I should have to make the biggest one of all; but as a brother said, we are all in this matter; but we can overcome, beloved brethren. The Lord is not comparing men in nature or men in the flesh: He is not referring to them at all in this section. He is referring to persons who have accepted death and are working on the principle that they can do things in the power of the Spirit. That is the basis on which He is speaking here, and on that basis something can come out in the brethren that would be a reflection of what came out in Christ.

It is a wonderful thing that the Spirit of Christ can be seen amongst the brethren, and not only when we are together but also when we are separate. Let us overcome, because it is on that basis that we go to the Supper! We want to be at the Supper as overcomers: not as establishing anything novel or new, but as overcoming, like Benjamin, passively. If you try to come to Joseph without Benjamin he will send you back. He says, ‘Go and fetch him.’ Benjamin means that you are right. You look into yourself and find what is wrong there – that is the others, all of them, those other brothers of Joseph. We need to look in and find that Benjamin is born and that he is coming into expression. Benjamin never hated his father; he loved him.

I want to speak about the prison, for that is what Joseph spoke about when they came without Benjamin. ‘What are you coming to me for when you have not brought Benjamin?’ When they came with Benjamin he gave Benjamin five times more than any of the others. The Lord loves Benjamin. The Lord loves the brethren as they are true to their father. We need to be true to our fathers, beloved brethren. We need to have affection for our fathers and not be against them in any sense. I speak of the spiritual fathers that have been amongst us, and the element of fatherhood that is amongst us now. We have not been true to them in our histories, but you come to that element that is not against the father, and you come to Christ with what is of that character. He will not say, ‘Jail,’ but, ‘Five times more for Benjamin’ – ‘Come into the house!’

How wonderful it is to be able to enter into the truth as we get right in our motives about things, and overcome! If they tell you what is wrong, tell them it is wrong. They may not like you, but you overcome; you maintain the Spirit of Christ and just go on. The Lord says, ‘I love that, I will bring you into privilege, not into jail.’ Beloved brethren, I believe He is bringing us in on that basis. May we be encouraged on this line so that He will have a full answer at the Supper, as He comes in to overcomers who are not in what is wrong, but who have overcome what is wrong; and that the Father may have a full portion, too, as Christ has those with whom He can act freely in His headship!

May it be so, for His Name’s sake!

Originally published by The Bible and Ministry Depot, 101 Heugh Road, Walmer, Port Elizabeth, South Africa


Footnote

This address shows Deryck’s faithful concern that the spiritual state of the brethren should be right, before beloved Jim Taylor was taken to be with the Lord. He was serving to prepare the brethren for how the devil would attack after our belovèd was taken.

Sorrowfully, this poor spiritual state is what gave fertile ground for the acceptance of G.R. Maynard’s blasphemy in Barbados and his interference in Harrow and Port Elizabeth, and the subsequent departure from the truth.

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