Sabbath School Special: Being a Sweet Christian

Scripture: Psalm 19:8-10, Psalm 119:103
Date: 02/06/2010 
Lesson: 6
Pastor Doug draws some parallels between honeybees and Christians in the church.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

You know this morning on my way to church I heard a little horn go “toot-toot,” and I looked off to the left and Ruth and Clarence Maderas were racing me to church this morning. And then I had a little bird just tell me that today is their 61st anniversary. Where are you Ruth and Clarence? I want to stand up and embarrass you. Stand; where are they? They’re here somewhere. Oh, there they are, together still. Congratulations. Sixty-one years. So you’re going to hang in there together, huh? I’m glad to hear that. We, of course, want to thank Ruth and Clarence for being leaders in maintaining the beautiful flowers and grounds. They’ve got a devoted team that they work with and we continue to pray. We continue to pray, I said, “You know, as long as you’re doing this I’m going to pray that God prolongs your health indefinitely. Is that a selfish prayer to pray?

This morning we’re going to talk about Beeing a Sweet Christian. Now that is not a typographical error in your bulletin. Last week in preparation for the Amazing Fact radio program; you know I scramble around each week and try and collect amazing facts that I could find some spiritual lesson connected to and we use that to launch the program each Sunday night. We’re very thankful, right now there are about 120 stations around the country that are listening to Bible Answers Live. And again I want to thank the volunteers here at Central that make that all possible. But I came upon the subject of honeybees. And I got so excited because I found so many interesting facts I thought I’d have to do a whole program on just honeybees and I’d take no questions. I thought, “Well maybe I’ll preach about bees.” I was surprised at all the parallels there were between bees and the colony and the hive and the workers and Christianity and the Church. For one thing, you know in your Bibles the Lord said that He is going to lead us into a land flowing with “milk and honey.”

You know a few years ago I was working on being a vegan vegetarian. I’m still working on it. I think it’s the ideal. I don’t believe it’s a mandate that you must be to be saved, but I think there’s abundant evidence that you’re probably better off. And I had an addiction to Hagen-Daas ice cream. But then they came out with a flavor, they don’t have it anymore (I haven’t seen it) it was called honey-vanilla. And I looked in the ingredients and it was real honey and milk, cream. And I thought, “I’ve got Bible grounds for eating this.” And so that satiated my conscience for a little while, but I’m doing better again. In any event, it is true that the Lord said that He was going to lead us into a land of milk and honey. Now milk and honey biblically are parallels for the word of God. Of course you’ve read those scriptures where it said that as babies in the Lord we should desire the what? “Sincere milk of the word.” Baby Christians eat milk. Honey is compared to a more substantial form of the word of God.

Matter of fact, you’ll find some scriptures where it tells us, for instance, Psalm 19:8-10, “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, much more than fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” You know typically when you think about honey and the honeycomb you think of something attractive and sweet. When you think about the law and the commandments is that what pops into your mind? For the Christian it should be attractive. The word of God should be sweet. You know the Bible tells us that, “butter and honey shall he eat,” speaking of the Lord. Meaning in His mouth would be the word of God. Butter is the richest form of milk and honey, the richest form of sweetener they had back then. The richest form of the word of God was in the mouth of Jesus. You also find a similar passage to that in the Song of Solomon. Psalm 119:103, “How sweet are your words to my taste! Sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

The word of God should be sweet. It should be something that we crave. I Samuel 14:29, the word of God like honey enlightens our eyes. It opens our eyes. It opens our eyes, enhances our understanding. Do you remember when Jonathan, during the battle, everybody was famished? King Saul uttered this hasty and; it was a lapse of judgment. He issued this decree, “that if anybody eats until the sun goes down let him be accursed.” His son, his own son did not hear that utterance. They’re going through the woods. They’re pursuing the Philistines. He’s faint with hunger. The honey was dripping from the trees and when God says that the Promise Land was flowing with milk and honey it was a metaphor, but it was literal, too. It was a land that was lush with vegetation, flowing with milk and honey. And Jonathan stuck his spear into the honey puddle on the ground and licked it and this is what it says here. “Then said Jonathan, see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted of this honey.” The word of God enlightens us spiritually. It opens our eyes.

You know milk and honey are very interesting. I told you, of course, the milk is the word of God for baby Christians principally. Honey, they say you’re not supposed to give to babies. Have you heard that before? There’s a type of harmless botulism that grows in honey that babies have not developed the necessary enzymes or whatever for their stomachs to digest and to handle that. And so when it says milk and honey it’s speaking about all aspects of the word of God. Now John the Baptist, what did he live on? John the Baptist, he ate locust. Now people wonder, “Was that, did he eat grasshoppers?” It’s possible. Some people wonder if it was the locust bean. They use a similar word; it’s like a carob pod. Most of us prefer to think of John the Baptist as eating carob pod and honey. We don’t like the picture of him picking little grasshopper legs out of his teeth before he called people to baptism. But, you know, biblically they were considered clean food. Another reason we think it was probably what they call St. John’s Bread, this locust pod, is because there’s very little nutritional value in grasshoppers. I guess somebody did a test. But that’s what I’ve heard. Anyway, John the Baptist, do you know that there, in milk and in honey you have all the necessary ingredients to sustain life?

Now it’s not the best ideal because they’re very rich and very sweet, yet in the Bible honey is the only thing, it says in the Bible, you can eat too much of. It says eat honey, for it is good. Eat too much honey and you get sick. You’ll vomit. And so it’s a treat. It’s something to be taken in moderation. I, every morning, I use a little creamed honey with my cereal. I eat a combination of cereals every morning, but I always like a little teaspoon of that creamed honey. Boy, it just brings the whole thing to life. So honey is a treat. The Bible compares it, of course, to the word of God. Now bees produce honey. You already knew that. There are all different kinds of bees. We’re speaking principally of the social honeybees. And you know as I studied the behavior of honeybees and the different characteristics it’s just amazing to me that people think this all happened by accident. The bee culture, their society, the way they operate, is to me a very powerful evidence of the existence of God. You see if you don’t agree. One thing I think is interesting about bees that we can learn from as Christians, bees live to serve. Most bees, honeybees, spend all their time feeding others rather than themselves. One bee always seems ready to feed another bee. Sometimes even a bee from another colony.

They’re very social insects and mutual feeding seems to be the order of their existence. The workers feed the helpless queen who cannot feed herself. They feed the drones. They also, of course, feed the babies, the young, the larvae. They seem to enjoy the social act of feeding each other. Now the queen’s principle job is to reproduce the eggs, to help the colony multiply. But when feeding time comes they feed each other. You know I think that’s a good pattern for a healthy church. If people depend on coming to the pastor once a week to get their nourishment you’ve got an unhealthy church. I was visiting with a friend this week who said they attend a church where the pastor they feel like his sermons were not real atomic bombs and he said this church is struggling. And I said, “The key is that the members are not meeting among themselves during the week and studying together and feeding each other. The church is not going to be healthy. It doesn’t matter if Billy Graham is the pastor.” We need to know how to feed ourselves and feed each other.

Now that’s the other thing that’s interesting about bees. Bees cannot feed each other unless they feed themselves. You know how it works. A bee flies to a flower and he finds nectar. The worker bees have long tongues and they stick their little tongues down into the nectar cones of the various flowers and they pull out the nectar from the clover, for instance, and they put it in a sack in their esophagi, it’s called the honey sack. Then, first they must feed themselves, then when they go back to the hive the first thing they want to do is start feeding the other bees some of the nectar that they have found. You cannot feed others unless you are eating. You know the Bible says that the apostles gave the bread to Jesus. He blessed and He broke it and He gave it back to them and they gave it to the people. First we must receive something from Jesus before we can give it to others, amen? And this is the bread, this is the honey. So bees enjoy feeding each other. That’s one of the interesting things about their characteristics. Bees produce a lot more honey than they need for themselves. They produce an abundance. Matter of fact, some hives are discovered simply because the bees have produced so much honey that it runs out of the trees and it overflows.

I remember one time I was visiting a church here in our conference. I think it may have been the, was it, maybe it was the Concord church. They had a hive of bees that had taken over the rafters of the church and you can get 2,000 pounds of honey in some cases from one of these massive hives of bees. Much more than they need. Bees produce enough so there’s an overflow. You know Jesus was like that. When Jesus multiplied the bread He started out with five loaves and two fish, right? How much was left when He was done? On one occasion 12 baskets of extra. Jesus always makes the cup overflow so that others also might be nourished. And that’s a characteristic of Christians. Somebody once said, “The bee is more honored than other creatures not because she labors, but because she labors for others.” Bees live to serve others. Something else about bees I think that we could learn from, I’ve got a third point here. Bees like to share good news. Bees will go sometimes as far as eight miles from their hive in search of honey. Sometimes they’ll manage to glean all the nectar from a local region or there’ll be no nectar that’s in season and they’ll travel quite a distance. Have you heard the expression, “making a beeline”? I’ve got a friend up in Covelo, he’s passed away, his name was Bill.

During the Depression he was one of the old-timers in Round Valley, they called him Honey-Bill. The reason was because he would bring honey to the town market and they used to use the barter system there. He would give the honey to the marketer, he’d get so much credit for the honey and he’d buy his groceries with his credit. They used sort of the horse-trading system back then. I remember talking to Bill, Bill Roam was his name. He was a very, very interesting old cowboy, old trapper. But one of his side hobbies was he was a beekeeper. But he used to go after the wild honey. And what he would do was he would take a little honey to find a bee. He’d go out into a meadow. He’d get a log stump. He’d set a little cap of honey on this stump and when, eventually a bee would find the honey. Bees look for that which is sweet. I don’t want to rush past that point. That’s one characteristic of Christians. We ought to be looking for that which is sweet, amen? There are some who are looking for that which is bitter, but I’ll get to that later. And so, he’d put this little cap of honey there and pretty soon a bee would find it and as soon as it found it, even though the bee might be going from place to place on his way to the cap, as soon as the bee found the mother load it makes what you call a beeline back to the hive. You know why? Doesn’t want to waste any time, shortest distance between two points is a straight line. He flies directly to the hive.

So what Bill would do, he would watch this bee as long as his eyes could. He would go a hundred yards or as far as he could see that bee going in that direction and he’d put another cap down. And he said that he would track hives that way. In one day he could find as many as two hives. And then they’d cut down the trees and they’d smoke the bees and they’d steal or raid the honey. And we won’t address that right now. But that’s anyway, that’s how he would find it. Why? Because bees like to share good news. You know they say that when a bee finds honey they go back to the hive and they do this dance. I found something interesting today. I almost wish that there was a way for me to show it to you. In Microsoft Encarta I typed in “honeybee” and they actually had an animated demonstration of how bees dance to show the other bees where the honey is. When there is honey within 100 yards of the hive they have one dance. It’s a circular dance and then the bees start to follow the scout that has found the honey. And they evidently sniff and find out what kind of nectar it is and they’ll just do a search within 100 yards of the hive and they’ll find it. But once it’s beyond 100 yards they do a different kind of dance. It’s a figure eight that is specifically designed to show the exact angle of where that specific load of nectar is from the hive based on the location of the sun. So using the light as a guide, this bee does a figure-eight dance over and over again and it is able to communicate to the other bees the exact location of that nectar.

It could be three miles away. You could kill the scout bee after it’s done the dance and the other bees will know exactly where to go. Just think of all the time it took for that to evolve. Isn’t that fascinating? They do what they call a waggle dance when they find something beyond 100 yards away. I told Karen, I said, “Should I demonstrate the waggle dance?” She said, “I’m leaving if you do.” But they do this figure eight and they wave their abdomen back and forth and it’s a completely different dance than they do when the honey is within 100 yards. But the thing that I don’t want you to miss is when they find something sweet they want to share it. You know that’s how Christians ought to be. The gospel is called good news. The gospel is sweet. The word of God is sweet. And we ought to be excited to share it. You never have a bee find nectar and think, “I’m not telling anyone else where this is. This is just for me. I’m going to gorge myself on this nectar.” No, they don’t do that. The first thing they do is they taste it and then they want to go share with the rest of the hive the sweetness that they’ve discovered. Bees love to share good news. Sometimes because the bees have more than one queen in a hive, or sometimes because they are prosperous and they’re growing, they outgrow the hive they’re living in or the tree hollow, stump, whatever happens to be their home, and they have to swarm. Any of you ever see a bee swarm before? Happens during one time of the year.

It can be very scary, but actually bees when they swarm are fairly harmless. Because when a bee is swarming they are preoccupied, for one thing, in getting to the new location and protecting the queen. I was reading where this one swarm of bees during a national football game between the San Francisco Giants and the Cincinnati Reds stopped the whole game for about 20 minutes because all these people were panicking. It was somewhere near the field and it so happened that there was an exterminator in the audience who knew what to do. He didn’t exterminate them. He went to the hive; he knew that they’re pretty docile when they’re swarming. He found the queen. He put the queen in a cardboard box and poof, all of them fell in the box along with the queen and they just carried the whole swarm off and set them free or something like that. But when bees swarm it’s because they’re growing. Now you know sometimes churches have to swarm. And sometimes they grow and because they’re growing they’ve got to go swarm or split. Sometimes they get two queens and one queen stays and the other queen takes some of the bees with them and they swarm. And you find examples of this both in modern times and in the Bible where that was one of the ways that the church and the gospel spread, was through the swarming. Bees are hard workers. You ever heard the expression busy bee? Well that’s an understatement. Listen to this, “The bee has been aptly described as busy. To produce one tablespoon of honey for our toast the little bee has to make 4,200 trips to flowers. A worker bee will fly as far as eight miles in search of nectar. He makes about 10 trips a day to the field, each trip lasting 20 minutes on an average, and to 400 flowers.

To produce one pound of clover honey the bee must visit 56,000 clover heads. Since each clover head has 60 flower tubes a total of 3,360,000 visits are necessary to give us that one-pound of honey for our breakfast table. Meanwhile, the worker bee has flown the equivalent of three times around the world. Furthermore, that same pound of honey contains the essence of about 2,000,000 flowers.” Makes you appreciate the honey a little more when you eat it. You’re never going to feel the same way. That’s quite a sacrifice that’s been invested. A lot of labor goes into producing that honey. You know Christians are often called workers. I heard a pastor say not too long ago that he was disappointed that when all the pastors got together we called it a workers’ meeting. It was as though the pastors are the workers. Biblically every member is to be a worker, amen? We are to be busy bees doing everything we can to share the good news with others and to glorify our Lord. In the colony every bee has a job. There are worker bees, there are queens, there are larvae, there are drones. That’s something like the body of Christ, the church. I also thought, you’ve got a little outline here of some of the parts of a bee and members of the colony. I thought it was interesting that a bee has a heart.

Every Christian ought to have a heart, too. The bee has that honey stomach and that’s where he swallows the honey. He actually swallows the nectar and then it’s combined with certain enzymes and they, I don’t like to use this word, regurgitate, but I can’t think of what else to call it, that and that’s what produces honey. Now that’ll make you think again next time you have honey, too. You got the queens and you’ve got the workers and every bee has their job. This is a good model for the church. Every bee is working and serving to make life sweeter for others. Jesus said that He would recognize us by our love for one another. There should be mutual love. The bees were all feeding each other, caring for each other. There are some bees that appear to be practically worthless; they’re called the drones. I had a friend who was a beekeeper and I went to visit him one day. He said, “Here Doug, can you hold this for me?” And I trusting held out my hand and he dropped two bees in my hand and I, “Ahh!” and he laughed. He thought that was very funny. He said, “Don’t worry, they’re drones. They can’t sting you.” Drones have very short tongues. They cannot feed themselves. They do not gather honey. They have to be fed. They have no stingers. The drones do not work. They do not lay eggs.

I told you this is s sermon that would apply to the church, didn’t I? But they are part of the body. They are part of the hive. They do actually have a function. The only thing the drones; the drones are actually unfertilized larvae and they are missing certain chromosomes. They are alive; they do have a function. Their only function is to mate with the queen and they die immediately after doing that. But every single part of the body, I’m sorry, every single part of the hive has a function. And the worker bees do not walk by the drone every time they’re feeding the little babies the nectar and say, “You lazy drone, you.” That’s not the spirit in the hive. They realize that the Lord’s placed everybody in the hive for a reason and they all fulfill their respective purposes. Bees are supportive of their leaders. Now as far as the bee is concerned it thinks the leader is the queen. And bees are very loyal to their queen. I told you that when they’re swarming if you take the queen the swarm goes wherever the queen goes. Matter of fact, I have seen some beekeepers, I have some friends that were beekeepers and I watched them, and they said, “The hive is not healthy because the queen is not healthy.” Where you’ve got a healthy queen you’ve got a healthy hive.

If it looks like the hive is spartered and they’re not being reproductive you might want to go get another queen from another hive, some hives have two queens and they’re about to swarm, and get a healthy queen and you typically have a healthy hive. But irrespective of the health of the queen the bees are always very supportive. And you can see the way that they; and this actually is a picture, or that’s a picture of them supporting the queen. Boy, they just, they hustle about her. Her main job is she lays eggs in the little cells and then they feed them and they protect the queen with their lives. Wouldn’t it be good if in the church instead of criticizing leadership we prayed for the leadership, we held up the hands of Moses, so to speak? Instead of preying on the pastors, we pray for the pastors? Amen? That’s one of the characteristics of the queens. They keep the queen healthy by protecting her and guarding her and feeding her. The leaders need feeding, too. Amen? I appreciate you folks sharing tapes and books and things with me. I try my best to glean as much as I can from those things that you share. You saw a minute ago there was a picture of a queen being born. The queen’s cell is different from every other cell. The queen eats a different food.

You know how you get a queen bee? When the workers realize that their queen is ceasing to be productive they realize it’s time to start generating a new queen. They start to feed something called royal jelly to one of the regular larvae. And one of the regular larvae that is fed this royal jelly, this special combination of honey and nectar, will then grow into a queen. There are people who are fed in a special way by the Lord royal jelly and that prepares them also for a special field of service, in perhaps pastoring or evangelism. Now the bees think that the leader is the queen. But you and I have a bigger picture and know that there are also beekeepers. Something that I had heard before, I had forgotten, is that beekeepers dress in white for a reason. Because they’re trying to look like Jesus. No. Beekeepers dress in white because bees are more peaceful and trusting of the color white. Matter of fact, I’ll talke about killer bees in just a minute, but one of the things they did to test killer bees is a beekeeper wnet out in this field in Brazil.

He had a black patch on his white garment. And the killer bees were hitting the patch of black and it was just full of stingers. You could see it, just like bullets hitting him. Somehow they’re threatened by the darkness and they’re attracted and they’re soothed by the light. Beehives, what color are they? They’re typically a light color. Now why does the beekeeper wear these white garments? Well, for one thing to keep from being stung. But does the sting kill the beekeeper or does it kill the bee? Why is it that we cannot see Jesus right now? Is it because He’s afraid of us, or He doesn’t want to hurt us? If God was to reveal Himself in His splendor and light and glory right now the average person could not endure the presence of the Living God, amen? I mean, you look at the stories in the Bible where Elijah, I’m sorry, Isaiah and Daniel and John the Revelator, Ezekiel, when they get a vision of God they almost fall down like dead. They cannot even contain it. In the Bible, when they saw God even veiled they said, “I’m going to die because I’ve seen the Lord.” If we see the Lord in His glory and there’s sin in our lives the Bible says that it’s a consuming fire. The wicked are destroyed by the brightness of His coming. So the Lord out of His love for you and me, we have to see Him through each other. That’s one reason that He is veiled as He is. Very few beekeepers are afraid of stings. If you know any beekeepers you know that’s true. Bees are optimistic. Not only are bees busy, but bees are optimistic.

You ever heard a bee say, “Oh, I’d like to get some of the nectar from that flower, but there’s thorns there.” No, the bees seem to look right past the thorns and they go to the flower. Amen? Christians should be optimistic. You now nothing does more damage to the gospel than when Christians are speaking negative, disparaging words. And I do it. And I hate when I hear myself doing it. You know what I’m talking about? It’s so easy to be critical. It seems like it’s part of our lower nature. And, you know, maybe it’s something inherent in our pride where if we talk about something somebody else has done wrong we’ll feel a little more justified or righteous. Or we could talk about some other bad news; we’ll feel more fortunate that it’s not happening to us. But for some reason we seem to gravitate towards that which is negative. Bees on the other hand, they’ll fly all over a field, it might be full of dead wood. There could be dead skunks. There could be thorns and thistles and what are the bees looking for? They’re always gravitating to that which is bright, that which has fragrance, that which has nectar. They’re always looking for that which is good. They don’t ever come back to the hive and say, “Boy, found some great flowers, but there’s thorns. We better stay away.”

They’re never detoured by that which is negative. And they’re persistent. I know sometimes when I’m watering my flowers. I’ve got this one bush in particular that the bees like. I don’t even know what you call it; some kind of box bush. It flowers once a year. The bees really like it. It makes a nice fragrance. But as I’m watering I have to get close to it and I try and I try and shoo them away. Well they go away, but they come right back. They’re not easily discouraged. They persistently go after that which is bright and sweet and positive. That was a good model for you and me to follow, amen? Being a sweet Christian. Bees are humble. You know where the word bumblebee comes from? I’ve got a few amazing facts for you about bumblebees. Bumblebees did not used to be called bumblebees. You know how words evolve? Bumblebees used to be called humblebees.

Back in the early days of American history, I was reading these old manuscripts and it was talking about the humblebees. And I looked into it to find out what are these humblebees. I later discovered it’s what you and I now call bumblebees. And evidently children couldn’t say humblebee they always said bumblebees. And so eventually the adults adopted the child’s word and started calling them bumblebees. And after all, they do sort of bumble around, don’t they? How many of you have children that have trouble saying spaghetti? They say pasghetti. Am I the only one? I still haven’t gotten the victory. I was pasghetti for the potluck today. My kids, we’re learning to say am-bu-lance. For years it was ambalance. And there’s certain words that kids struggle with. Well they couldn’t say bumblebee. They were called humblebees. Now why did they call them humblebees? Because here they’re big and yet, basically they’re the most gentle of the bees. Something else interesting about the bumblebee. You could shoo a bumblebee, you could flick a bumblebee.

A bumblebee typically will not bite you unless you really put him in your hand and squeeze him. They don’t like to sting. They’re big, imposing, but gentle. Unless you hit one on a motorcycle. I was riding a motorcycle full-board on a straight away through this rural town one day and I thought I was shot. I thought some redneck out there saw me on my motorcycle and shot me. I’m looking around. I opened up my jacket expecting to see blood. I got hit by a bumblebee at 60 miles an hour. They’re heavy. Like getting hit with lead. Scientists have studied bumblebees, aerodynamic engineers. Some of you have heard this before. And they said that based on their studies a bumblebee should not be able to fly. Did you know that? How many of you have heard that before? Bumblebees are not supposed; it’s true.

I thought, “Oh, that’s just a myth, an urban myth.” And I looked it up and they said, “No, based on the weight of their body and the size of their wings and all the wind resistance by the hairs on the bodies, they should not be able to fly by any stretch of the aerodynamic theory that we understand.” Nobody’s told the bumblebee that and so he’s decided to just keep on flying. You know there are people who are out there that are scientists that will tell you it’s impossible for Christians to live a holy life. “You can’t fly. You’re too big, you’re too awkward, you’re just going to bumble around. It’s impossible.” And you know some people are told that long enough they finally believe that they can’t fly. But bumblebees were created with wings so they can fly. God created you in His own image so you can fly, too. He created you to be holy.

The Bible says, “He declares, I am holy, be ye holy.” And whenever God says be anything that means it’s possible. When God said, “Let there be light,” there was light, amen? If God says, “Be ye holy,” that means in the word of God inherent is the commandment to do what He’s asking us to do. And so if God says, “Be holy,” even though you can’t explain how it’s possible for you to be holy. I can’t explain how Peter walked on water, but when God tells you to do something you must believe that it’s possible to do what He’s asking you to do, amen? God is calling you and I to live holy lives, amen? So don’t listen to all the critics and all the scientists and people who might tell you, “Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t worry about being pure and holy because it’s aerodynamically impossible.” Don’t listen to them. You keep flying, amen?

All things are possible to those that believe. Now there are some counterfeit bees out there. I like to think in particular of the yellow-jacket. I know Nathan, of course, is still at the age where things are not precise, they’re in categories. And when Nathan sees anything that’s got lines on it it’s a bee. It could be a bumblebee, it could be a wasp, it could be a hornet, it can be a yellow-jacket, it could be a honeybee. He says, “Bee,” one thing. There’s a vast difference between yellow-jackets and bees. For one thing, if you didn’t know it, I found out a yellow-jacket can sting more than once. Another time I was on my motorcycle driving across the mountains and I was feeling pretty cool. I think the Lord did this to humble me. I was wearing my leather jacket and I just passed some people and I was riding with one hand looking real cool.

I don’t do that anymore. I’ve gotten the victory. A yellow-jacket, I had my jacket unzipped like Fonzi and a yellow-jacket flew down my leather jacket. So you could say I had a yellow jacket in my black jacket. And he began to sting me like a jackhammer. I felt bonk, bonk, bonk, bonk. He wanted to get out and that was his way of letting me know. And I nearly wrecked the motorcycle. I’m trying to open my jacket and find out where he is and finally I started beating on my chest like a gorilla figuring the only way to stop him was to kill him. A honeybee stings once and they die. But a yellow-jacket, they’re kind of ornery. They’ll just keep on stinging. Something else is, honeybees look for honey. Yellow-jackets will eat dead things. You know what I’m talking about? Something else about yellow-jackets, they live in the ground. Now I’ve discovered this selling firewood. You’re tromping off through the woods. Matter of fact, Karen and I were riding the 4-wheelers we discovered several yellow-jacket nests. They do make honey. They make the honey sometimes out of dead things.

It’s a different kind of honey. Bears like it. But Karen parked the 4-wheeler on top of a yellow jacket nest one day. And all of a sudden she said, “Help, Doug! Doug, I’m getting stung!” And we had all the kids together and I said, “Well, what do you want me to do? Chase them all away?” I said, “Run!” I’m a hero, but I’m not stupid. You can’t fight those things. I said, “Don’t just stand there. Run.” So Karen’s running, she’s pealing off her clothes. I said, “Turn kids, don’t look.” They live down in the ground. They eat that which is dead. The bees live up in the trees. They go for the high outcroppings. They look for the noble spots. Another form of counterfeit bee, well maybe they’re not counterfeit bees, but they’ve got these bees, have you heard of the killer bees? Killer Bees, let me read the history to you here. These originally came from Africa.

Now the African Bees for years were harvested by the wild bees and what they would do, harvesting the honey, they would burn the bees basically so only the hardiest ones and the most vigorous, aggressive ones survived. And over generations of harvesting honey using this radical method, gradually by attrition they developed these strains of very aggressive, protective bees. Well someone thought, “If I take one of these African Bee queens and interbreed it with a more domestic queen you’ll have a hardier bee and sweet honey.” Well you know what they discovered? They took some of these African Bees to Brazil and they bred them with the Brazilian Bees. Back in the 1950’s they brought 36 African queen bees, crossbreeding with the European strains in Brazil, the more domestic breed. The scientists thought this breed would breed out their vicious temperaments and retain their industriousness, because they produce prolific amounts of honey. But the accident, the experiment backfired. Instead the new strains turned out to be even more fierce than the imports. In 1957 someone accidentally released 26 of these queens from an agricultural experiment near San Paulo. Soon these highly productive, but vicious bees began multiplying throughout Brazil and South America and working their way up through Central America.

They have been spotted in Texas and in Southern California. They’re called Killer Bees. Now, they have not killed thousands and everywhere they go they don’t kill people, but there have been about 56 people who have been documented to be killed by them. Now this is not people who died from, what do they call that? Anaphylaxis shock? I’m looking at the doctors. Is that how you say that? Some people, very rare, but some people are allergic to even domestic bee stings. The people who die from the Killer Bees die because they are stung by literally hundreds or thousands of them. They will swarm a person stinging them. Some people have not been able to get their car windows up fast enough. When they parked too close to one of these the bees got in the car and they all stung the individuals until they died from just too much toxin from the bee stings. Killer Bees.

Now how am I going to apply that to the sermon? You know there are; sometimes we get these strains of bees that are not very happy bees even in the church. And instead of being interested in sharing good news and looking for that which is sweet they’re looking for someone to attack. Killer Bees, it’s sort of a mutant strain of bee. We’re supposed to be sweet, looking for nectar, amen? Not looking for somebody to commit hari-cari on. Or Kamikaze Bees, is that what you’d call them? Something else interesting I learned about bees. In order for a bee to fly it must be born twice. Did you know that? Let me get right to the point, in order for you to fly you must be born twice, too. The way it works is the queen, you see on the far left there, she lays an egg in one of these cells that’s prepared. Then the workers feed this larvae, it hatches, it’s born.

…continue to feed the larvae as it continues to grow to its full size it fills the cell. Then the worker seals the cell and they fill it with nutrients and food in the cell. During this time when it’s going through its metamorphosis the larvae wakes up, it eats the nutrients after it wakes up and it’s born, if you will the second time, and it has to fight its way out of the cell. In the process of wiggling and fighting its way out of the cell it breaks off the membrane that’s encasing its wings. In other words, it’s born twice and it’s only able to fly because it is born through a struggle. This is what they look like when they are just ready to come out of the cells, the larvae. And then I think I’ve got a picture here of one of them actually eating his way out of the cell. There it is. And one of them who has just come out of the cell. You see their wings are folded up. They then pump their life into the wings from their hearts. Their wings dry out and suddenly they know what to do and where to go. You know, you almost need to say that bees are spirit led because there’s no one really barking out orders, but every bee knows exactly what they’re supposed to do when they’re born. But before they can fly they need to be born twice and they need to eat the honey. They need to go through a struggle.

If you hope to fly someday. How many of you believe that we’re going to be able to fly in the new earth? What scripture do you have? I got a hymn. Does that count? “I will soar to worlds unknown. See beyond thy judgment throne.” I think we’ll be able to fly. I don’t think we’ll be quarantined to this planet. The Bible says, “The sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord.” It’s sin that anchors us here, amen? But if you want to fly you need to eat on the honey, you need to be born twice. Now what do I mean by that? How many here have been born at least once? This is a test. I like to always see who’s listening, who’s going to participate. But one birth is not enough. God has no grandchildren. In other words, nobody’s getting in the kingdom because your parents were Christians so He is obligated to save you. You, individually, must be born again yourself. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Unless you are born again,” yes, you’ve been in the church all your life, “but unless you are born again you will not enter the kingdom of God.” And not only be born twice, not only eat the honey that is provided, God provides it for us, but we need to struggle. They have to fight and struggle and wiggle. They go through a trial before they’re wings are set free. And that struggle is what liberates them. There are trials in life. You know one of the things that made me think about this message this week; I had a tough week a couple of weeks ago. I won’t tell you the details, but I just had; you have your good weeks and your bad weeks and I had a tough week. A number of things were going on simultaneously and I kept thinking about that scripture that said, “In this world you will have tribulation.” “In this world, Doug, it’s part of life, you’ll have tribulation.” I was lying in bed and I knew it, you know, but I forget verses. And so I looked the verse up. I forgot where in John it was. And I looked it up and I was not reading the whole context.

Just before it it says, “My peace I leave unto you, not as the world gives give I unto you.” And it’s talking about God giving us the peace and the emphasis was on the peace. And just as a closing comment He says, “You’re going to have trouble in the world, but don’t worry because I’m giving you peace.” And I thought, “Here my focus has been on the negative. Going to have tribulation in the world.” And so I laid in bed one day and I thought, “Lord, I want to start thinking about the peace.” That supernatural peace, that sweet joy that Jesus gives to those that love and serve Him.” Something else about bees. Bees are sacrificial. Bees are sacrificial. A bee will sacrifice their life to save the hive, the queen and the honey. You realize that when a bee stings they die. When a bee stings they die. Incidentally, this doesn’t really fit into the sermon anywhere, but if you do, I learned in my study this week, if you get stung by a bee a big mistake people make is they try to grab the stinger and pull it out. You know you’re not supposed to do that because when a bee stings it not only leaves the stinger it leaves the whole apparatus with the gland and pouch that has the toxin. And some people go to grab the stinger and they see this thing on the stinger and they are actually squeezing more of the toxin in as they pull it out. The thing to do if you get stung by a bee is you need to scrape it off right at the skin level. Just a little tip. You can thank me for that later. But the point that I want you to know is that a bee does not sting unless it knows it’s going to die. But bees are willing to lay down their lives to protect the hive. You know Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than to lay down his life for their friends.”

Do we have that kind of love among each other? You know, as these people are coming to our church this next week, new people, I’m hoping that they’re going to see that we have a love for one another that will be attractive. That we will be sweet Christians, amen? That we will be sacrificial. The other thing is, bees will lay down their lives for the honey. What is the honey a symbol of in our message? The Bible says it’s a symbol for the message. Would you die for the truth? They will lay down their lives to protect the honey. They lay down their lives to protect the queen because they know that the queen is what keeps the hive growing. And I’m not saying the queen is the pastor. Don’t make that analogy there. The queen is what keeps the hive growing. When there’s no queen there’s no eggs, the hive dies. That’s all there is to it. And so they believe in evangelism, amen? That’s what the queen is doing. She’s just laying eggs all the time. Now you can compare it to the pastor there, if you want. Somebody got that. They are sacrificial.

You know Jesus, of course, is our beekeeper. Beekeepers have to be sacrificial. In order to get honey out of the hive, I have never yet met a beekeeper that does not get stung. And Jesus, who is our beekeeper, He took the venom of the devil that we might be saved from the serpent, amen? He took the stinger. I heard a story one time that Frank Piretti was sharing about a father who was riding along in his car and he had a little girl that was allergic to bees. And a bee flew into the car and was buzzing around. The little girl was terrorized, said, “Daddy! Daddy! A bee! A bee!” And she knew she was very allergic to bees. And he said, “Don’t’ worry about it, dear.” And he reached out and he grabbed the bee for a moment and then the bee flew off again. She said, “Daddy, get him! Get him!” He said, “You don’t need to worry.” And the Dad held out his hand. He said, “I’ve got the stinger in my hand.” He said, “He can’t hurt you anymore.” All he can do is buzz. And you know Jesus took the stinger of sin for you and me when He died on the cross. Now you know, I chose this message today. I was inspired when I studied something as simple as bees. Their brain is as small as the head of a pin and yet they are organized in these extremely complex societies. They’re able to communicate with each other.

They are able to build; do you know the most perfect architectural design is a honeycomb? You’ve heard about the Voyager, this plane that went all the way around the world? You know they tried many times to get a plane that was strong enough to hold all the fuel to go all the way around the world and they couldn’t do it because they could not make wings that could have tanks that were that heavy that wouldn’t just crumple. You know what they finally came up with? They put beehive designs inside the wings that separated the gas so it wouldn’t slosh and that gave the wings the strength that they need and that’s how Yeager was able to fly around; there was actually two pilots, fly around the world in the Voyager. Something else interesting about a bee; put up a picture of a beehive, Sherle. We’ve got one in there somewhere. Beehives are made in sevens. Six circles surrounding a seventh. Now mathematically you might have wondered, “Why do we have a seven day week? Why is seven the number for perfectness with God?” You’ve got six circles. Those six circles will always make, when you touch them end-to-end, the exact same diameter as the center circle. Our lives, our time as Christians represents six days that surround a special day with God. Mathematically it’s an equation that doesn’t change. But I was especially impressed with the cohesiveness, the unity, the service, the industry of bees. And they’re so simple. You know a lot of flowers and trees and species could not survive without pollination?

Evolutionists are angry at that fact because they cannot explain how a tree could slowly evolve and bees could evolve and they’ve got this symbiotic, did I say that right, David? Symbiotic relationship where they could not exist without the other. Evolution would never have produced that. Bees to me are great evidence of God, that there is a God. You know even Job invites us to behold the creatures, the ants that done’ have any overseer. “Which of these does not know that the Lord has done this thing?” The simplicity of a bee tells us about God. But you know what it really said to me is if a hive could operate with that kind of industry and unity, if they could be focused on just gathering everything that’s sweet, wouldn’t it be wonderful if you have a church that had the same kind of criteria? If we could all as Christians have the same kind of philosophy, that we’ll feed each other, that we’ll lay down our lives to protect each other, that we’ll cherish the truth and feed each other on the sweet word of God, amen? And that we’ll do everything we can to enable the hive to grow, to prosper, to flourish. That we’ll plant it in the highest realms. If we could learn from the bees, what a mighty church we’d have. And especially if we could remember the sacrifice that Jesus made in our behalf.

Friends, if you’re willing to say, “Lord, I want to be a sweet Christian. I’m willing to serve in whatever capacity that you lead me to.” You know God arranges that every bee has a different job and God has told us in His work that every Christian has spiritual gifts. God has a place for you. Every one of you, God has placed you in the hive, so to speak, in the church. And as we enter into this full-scale battle with the enemy in our evangelistic meetings, if you’re willing to say, “Lord, here am I. Send me. I’m willing to serve in whatever capacity you have for me,” then why don’t you reach for your hymnal. We’ll sing our closing hymn, 573, “I’ll go where you want me to go. I’ll be what you want me to be.” I like the closing words. “I’ll be what you want me to be,” amen? Let’s stand together as we sing 572.


In a moment we’re going to jump to the last verse. First I’d like to ask with a show of hands, if the Holy Spirit has spoken to you today, and maybe you’ve been inspired by the example of the simple honeybee to be a sweeter person, to focus more on that which is positive, to do your work for the Lord, would you lift your hands and say, “Lord, help me be a sweet Christian,”? Amen. And then as we sing the last verse there may be some people here today who have not had that second birth. You’ve only been born once. Maybe you’ve been eating the honey of the word, but you’ve not really consecrated your life to Jesus. You want to have your wings; you want to be born again. I’d like to invite you to come to the front. The elders and pastors will meet you here. We want to pray with you. We know that we have visitors every week and we want to give people an opportunity to make that decision, to give their hearts to Jesus, to be born again. There may be some who have drifted away and they need that new birth. You are invited to come as well. As we sing verse three, “I’ll go where you want me to go.”



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