By C.W. Wood                        February 2006



I once heard a story that so clearly explains what I would like to teach in this sermon, and I must say that the teaching is as much to the writer as to the reader. As I sit here to write, I am looking out my window on a paved street that was once an old dirt road. I am also seeing the little house I was born in. I now live in another house that is directly across the road from it. In 1925, the old dirt road in front of my birth place was traveled by horse and wagons, horse pulled buggies, and men on horseback. Very seldom did we see an automobile, and when one did pass, we could hear it coming long before we could see it. We children ran to the front fence to watch it pass.

        But to get to my story, it was told that one day a man was walking down this dusty road with a 50 pound sack of flour on his back headed home to his farm. I can well remember people walking past our place carrying their groceries home. The store goes that a neighbor of the man with the flour came along with his wagon and team and offered the weary man a ride. Being grateful, he climbed up to the spring-board seat with the driver and they continued on their way. Noticing that the man still held the flour on his shoulder, the driver suggested that he lay it down in the back of the wagon and further rest himself. But the man replied, “Oh Friend, I couldn’t do that. It is enough that you have offered to carry me home without me asking you to carry the flour also.”

        As odd as this man’s thinking may seem to us, I am afraid that ours may seem as strange to the Lord sometimes. There is and old song that I heard a few days ago that says, “Take you burdens to the Lord and lay them all down.” At the time I heard it, my wife and I were confronted with some circumstance that were such that we could see no way out. As I listened to the song, it seemed that its words seeped down into my very soul. Tears came to my eyes and I heard a still, small Voice in my spirit that said, “Son, lay the sack of flour down in the back of the wagon and rest yourself.”

        I heard that story about the man with the sack of flour years ago, but on this particular day, it suddenly popped into my mind again and became a revelation. In my minds eye, I saw the great God that we serve carrying the whole universe in His wagon, so to speak, with me in His wagon, but still struggling with the load on my back. I saw that the Lord was in no strain at all, and how that if I laid my load down, it would not add anything to the load He was already supporting.

        He had this universe on His shoulders and I seemed to see myself stooped under a load that he was already carrying with ease. It was as if I had crawled under a load that weighed 50 tons and was struggling with all my puny strength to lift it from the pillars it was already resting on. How useless is the struggle! But don’t we try, and try, and try sometimes for years until we are so spiritually exhausted that we are ready to give up?

        As strange as it seems to our natural mind, this has been the Lord’s plan all along that we should give up! In old-time Pentecost, we use to call it “The crucifixion of self.” Because of our fallen nature (That was not destroyed by the New Birth), we struggle with our burdens until it is proven to us, absolutely, that we cannot “…….make one hair white or black.” (Matt. 5:36) nor “… taking thought add one cubit to our stature.” (Lk. 12:25) Then having reached this place of desperation we are willing to lay the flour in the back of the wagon.

        One would think that the way to learn this most crucial lesson would be for the Lord to protect us from the distresses and trials of life, and in that way build our faith in Him. But those who have been down the road understand that when there are no bumps, we soon start to think that it is we ourselves who are able to make the way smooth. And rather than trusting the Lord, we begin to trust in our own ability. And so a loving Father must strip us of that self confidence and replace it with “God confidence.”

        Yes, the road to this God confidence is bumpy indeed, but when once we have been made to lay the flour down and rest, we would not take all the money in the world for the journey He has had us on! We will thank the Lord for the Scripture that says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord” (Ps. 37:23)   and that He ordered our steps over each rough place! The road toward the Rapture is not downhill, but uphill. We are not coasting toward Rapture day; we are fighting our way uphill. But there is such a thing as resting as we climb over the obstacles.

        When men are searching for signs of God’s Grace, it is most easy to overlook the true signs. At times our state will seem to be so terrible and damnable that we might wonder if we are saved at all. To learn that the motive of God’s Grace is to lay us on our face in the dust, helpless, hopeless, ruined sinners, is a hard lesson. But when we are made to flee to Him and trust in His Faith Plan, the result is glorious indeed. To have self destroyed, to be exposed to evils that stumble us, to be supposedly without help, and powerless to help ourselves hardly seems to be Grace in operation.

        But the revelation that this is the very road to the Rapture, will smooth out our frustrations, calm our resentment, and draw us closer to His bleeding side. When we see that this is what it takes to destroy our self-confidence and perfect our faith in Him, then we will do as the Apostle Paul and, “Rather glory in our infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon us.” As impossible as it may see to us, now we can “Take pleasure in our infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when we are weak then are we strong.” (II Cor. 12:9-10)

        To be stripped of the thinking that there can be anything in us good enough to merit the favor of The Holy One, will start us on a search for Grace. Grace was His motive from the beginning, and His allowing the Fall was to make a way to show it in all its fullness. The Elect were not out of His plan by being born lost. Neither are we out of His plan as He leads us through the circumstances that cause us to turn to His Grace and be saved from the Fall! To be completely delivered is to end up with “Perfect Faith in a Perfect God for a Perfect Rapture.” That is what is going on now. We are in God’s Holy Ghost training school and we do not graduate until we know that we know that we are going up. That knowledge must be in us before the trumpet ever sounds. Once in speaking to and elderly man about going to Heaven, he replied it is like a ball game, we must wait until the game is over to see for sure who won. No! That may be true about a worldly ball game, but it is not so in the game of Life! Grace shows us we are winners before the game of Life is over, and we know we are going to Heaven before He comes for us.

        We are called upon to take our burdens to the Lord and lay them all down. It is not that we are treading on forbidden ground to do so, but just the opposite. Paul said, in so many words, that if we do not lay our burdens at His feet, we are “Frustrating His Grace.” (Gal. 2:21) To frustrate His Grace is to not make use of it, and to not make use of it is to approach Him with our own Righteousness, and to approach Him with our own righteousness is to be cast out. “As it is written, there is none Righteous, no, not one.” (Rom. 3:10) Trust His Grace and move on, failures and all.

        What does it really mean to lay our burdens down before Him? Simply stated, it means to trust Him in spite of all our frustrations, sins and failures. It is to understand that He saw our every sin BEFORE He ever put our names in the Book of Life, and wrote them there anyway! It is to understand that our God knew when He allowed The Fall that the lives of His Elect on Earth would not be flawless and perfect! The Scriptures do not represent the lives of God’s Children as flawless! We are to understand that we have been made a New Creature on the INSIDE, while the FLESH MAN still has a Law of Sin in him.

        In II Cor. 12:1-10, The Apostle Paul was much disturbed concerning his frequent attacks by the Messenger of Satan sent to buffet him. He was a Holy Ghost filled servant of God, and his hearts desire was to rise above all sin and the failures this Messenger was causing in his life. Today the Bride, as Paul of old, is also grieved by the sin and failures that so often cloud our day. We too have prayed for the Lord to deliver us from “THIS THING” as Paul called it. (Verse 8) but as then, so is it today, God answered Paul and said, “My Grace is sufficient for thee.”

        How shall we interpret God’s answer to Paul? Will we conclude that our God condones sin? Never! Although, God, Himself, assigned the demon to buffet Paul, and though the demon’s motive was evil, God’s motive was filled with love. Even Holy Ghost people must be saved from themselves. Our flesh part is filled with pride, which thing God hates. God, in all wisdom, was “fighting fire with fire” so to speak, by assigning Paul (and us) a Messenger from Satan. A fire set by God, Himself, saves us from total destruction by the same fire.

        There is a soul-saving, life-giving revelation to be seen here if the Lord will supply the eye salve that we may see! In every Spirit-filled person, the desire to sin has been slain. His Spirit in us has slain the old nature that loved sin, and replaced it with a hatred for the same. Even so, there remains “The Law of Sin” in our fleshly members. (Rom. 7:23) We must separate the “Inner Man” from the “Outer Man” in our thinking. Paul taught this in Rom. 7:24-25. In Verse 24, he admitted to being “wretched” because of The Law of Sin in his members, while at the same time testifying that he had been delivered from his predicament.

        What was his deliverance? Was it that God took away the demon that caused his failures? No! Then how was he delivered? Here it is friends! God gave him a revelation of the difference between his inner man and the outer man. Paul spoke of this revelation in Rom. 7: 25 when he said, “……..So then, with the mind (or heart, or inner-man) I serve the Law of God.” He was saying that in his heart he hated sin, and knew that God was looking at his heart’s desire, forgiving him for every failure, and giving him credit for his longing to please his Redeemer! He ended his revelation in Verse 25 by saying, “But with the flesh I still serve the Law of sin.” The flesh is never perfected; it must be changed.

        Because of his revelation, Paul was able to say in Rom. 7: 17-20, “It is no longer I that do it.” He had separated his inner-man from the outer-man, and knew that the Lord was giving him credit for the desires of the New Created Being on the inside of Him. God confirms the powerful revelation that our inner-man CANNOT sin in I John 3:9, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin, for His seed remaineth in him, and He cannot sin because he is born of God.”

        In the life of a true believer, it is the failures of the flesh-man that grieves us most. They are the cause of our heaviest burdens. Many of us have carried that “sack of flour” for years, even though the Gracious Lord has instructed us to lay it down. Matt. 11:28, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Until we receive revelation we are alienated (separated) from God by continued thoughts in our mind of wicked works in our flesh, not understanding that Christ, in a flesh body like ours, yet being perfect, gave His flesh body that we might be presented un-reproveable in God’s sight! Col 1:22 says it like this, “And you that were sometime alienated and enemies in your MIND by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled IN THE BODY OF HIS FLESH, through death, to present you holy and un-blamable and un-reproveable in His sight.” This not only speaks of lost people now saved, but also of saved people who ignorantly remain under condemnation because of the works of the flesh.

        One of the main burdens that true Believers carry is the proven fact of failures in the outer, flesh-man. God has not left us blind to our dreadful state in the flesh. We mourn daily because of our sins and failures, yet at the same time we rejoice over the deliverance Jesus has provided. Paul admitted to his wretchedness in the flesh (Rom. 7:24) but then also declared, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which have committed unto Him” (II Tim. 1:2), and again, “As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” (II Cor. 6:10)

        Satan, posing as an Angel of Light, comes to us (allowed by God) to try to rob us of our peace and joy. Believe it or not, he will come preaching Holiness and Righteousness, and the sinfulness of sin! Remember, we are told he will come as a good Spirit, trying to disguise himself. What better way to hide his evil intent than to teach the exceeding sinfulness of sin! But his motive is evil. When he has finished his preaching, he will at once remind us of our sins, both of omission and commission. He will show us how unlike the Saints in the Bible we are, how cold our hearts are. He will try and convince us that our testimony is false, and that we are hypocrites for taking the Name of Jesus on our polluted lips.

        We must remind ourselves, and Satan, that the Scriptures do not present the Saints in the Bible as flawless and perfect. As a general rule it is best to agree with the enemy when he tells us what a great sinner we are. We do already know from the Word that, “There is no good thing in our flesh.” When he tells us that the lusting of our flesh proves that we are not born-again Christians, we remind him that we understand our flesh has “A Law of sin in it that has not been changed, or refined!” When he tells us that he doubts which often come to ur minds prove we are not real believers, then we take him to Matt. 4: 1-7, and show him that the doubts he fired into the mind of Jesus did not make our Lord and unbeliever.

        Please read Matt. 4:1-7. Verse 3, the Devil said, “IF thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Do you see the doubt that was sent into the mind of Jesus? Then in Verse 5, “IF thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down.” How do we know the doubts entered the mind of Jesus? Very simply, He opened His mouth and answered them! Did the fact of the doubts entering His mind make Him an unbeliever? Certainly not! And neither do they make a Spirit-Filled Christian today an unbeliever when we answer them with the Scriptures as Jesus did! We also remind this Accuser of the Brethren how our Lord received a man that came to him saying, “Lord I believe, help Thou mine unbelief.” (Mk. 9:24)

        We are talking about laying the sack of flour down in the wagon. We cannot come to the Lord in sincere faith while our hearts are condemned over some failure or other. But try as hard as we will, and walk as carefully as we know how, still “In many things the Christian offends.” (James 3:2) (James 2:10)

        Yet, the Gracious and Righteous Savior, our Holy Redeemer, has made provision for our inability to keep His Holy Laws perfectly. He foresaw our sad failures before He ever allowed the Fall in Eden, which is the cause of our inability. “If we confess our sins, he is Faithful and Just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9) We should hourly and daily unburden ourselves before our Redeemer, holding nothing back. If He has admonished us to forgive our sinning Brethren as often as 7 times 70 in one day, will He not follow the same rule Himself with even more compassion than we could ever muster?

        And so, we believe we have laid down the rule by which we may lay the sack of flour down in the back of the wagon. There does remain a Rest for the people of God, and it is the rest of pure Faith. Faith in the plan He, Himself, made, and then carried out. When He appears in the sky to take us up, and sees the sack lying in the back of the wagon, we will be ready to go and meet Him. Amen!