A Divine Awareness
Had you thought of God’s grace not simply as enduring trials but as making you strong?
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing Alright? Well, I trust everything’s Alright at your house. Bless your heart. Well, some days are better than others and some are worse than others. I know that. Sometimes you wake up with a groan and say, “Oh, do I have to get up today?” And other times you wake up saying, “Oh boy, time to get up!” And you’re glad to start another day.
Our moods do vary, don’t they? They vary with the weather. The barometer is falling, you feel everything hurts that has been hurting. If it’s rising, you feel a little better. Never ask the boss for a raise when the barometer is falling. Have you learned that? Never ask the boss for a raise when the barometer is falling because he’ll throw you right out without listening to you. Instead, wait until the barometer is rising and he’s feeling better, and he’ll listen to you, and then throw you out. (laughs). No, just kidding.
But that’s true. I used to lead singing. That was my forte in the early days. I was the song leader for a great many Youth For Christ rallies here and there, across the country. I found that you have to work much harder to get a congregation to sing enthusiastically if the barometer is falling or if it’s very low. Did you know that?
You, salesman, might take advantage of that as well. Watch the weather. You’ll know better how to cope with your prospects. I threw that in free. There’s no charge for that trivia. In any case, believe me, beloved. You could trust the Blessed Spirit of God who indwells the believer to cope with the situation whether the barometer is rising or falling. Hallelujah for that!
We were talking about the grace of God the last time we got together. Paul’s benediction is “Grace be with you.” We had a few words about that and showed how the grace of God can make a difference in your life. I want just to go on for just a moment or two before we take up the next thought in this closing. A few words of Colossians 4. He said “I say through the grace given unto me,” this is Romans 12:3.” “I say through the grace that is given unto me to every man that is among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think.”
What is the point? God gives you grace to deal with other people, even with their faults. They had some folk evidently there that Paul thought needed to be deflated a little bit. Now, you don’t go up to people and say, “You’re not gonna like this but I’m going to tell you for your own good.” When somebody does that, you immediately become defensive and start to defend yourself. Isn’t that true?
God gives you grace to cope with other people’s faults in love. Someone said to me a good many years ago, “When you’re going to correct somebody, don’t say ‘Why did you do that?’ Instead, look toward the future and say, ‘Now the next time we want to do it this way.’” It’s a very good idea. Give the other person a little room to be a human being and to save a little face and at the same time, correct the situation graciously looking toward the future. Very good procedure. Indeed I say, through the grace given unto me, not to every man that is among you.
Well, he says, “We have gifts differing,” in that same 12th chapter of Romans, as I recall. He says, “We have gifts differing according to the grace given unto us.” Has it ever occurred to you that the fact that you are a little different from or a lot different from someone else is part of God’s gracious provision? What if we all looked like Billy Graham, and if we all sang like Beverly Shea or whatever? It would be a pretty monotonous world, wouldn’t it?
God makes us different from each other because He’s gracious to us. And the situation I’ve often said, who you are, where you are, and the circumstances in which you are, constitute God’s grace to you. Oh, somebody’s anchored in the wheelchair or lying in bed and you’re saying rather bitterly, “Yeah, listen to Cook. He doesn’t know how I feel. I’m anchored here and I hurt.” Well yes, I know. I’ve been hurt in my life and I’ve been anchored. I know, I know, and it’s frustrating. You get angry with life and angry with people because they don’t understand. They come in and smile at you. There’s nothing more frustrating than have a perfectly healthy person stand and look at you and say, “Well, cheer up. Things could be worse.” Doesn’t that get you?
Oh, listen. When you go to see a sick person, don’t give him advice. Give him love. If you’re sick and you’re hurting and you’re anchored and you can’t get around and do the things that you want then somebody comes, that perfectly healthy person without a pain in his body, stands and looks at you and gives you advice and tells you to cheer up, boy, if you can get out of bed, you’d bite him. I know.
Oh, listen. If you go see somebody that’s ill, or somebody who’s a shut-in, or somebody who’s had an accident, and lying there with broken bones and so on, don’t give advice. Just give love. Just be there to express God’s love. Alright?
Well, I threw that in free because it is so very important. But anyhow, he says having gifts differing according to the grace, that is given unto us. What you are, and where you are in the circumstances in which you are this very minute if you’re a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ and you’re indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, those circumstances are part of God’s gracious provision for you. You know why? Because through you, He wants to get glory to Himself. Yes, He does.
And so you look up and trust your Heavenly Father. It may indeed be His blessed will to heal you. God heals people today just like He did in the other time. It may be His will to anchor you and to show through you His wonderful, wonderful blessings. Let Him do what He wants through your life and to show His grace. “Grace be with you,” certainly means let the grace of God shine through you in the circumstances with which God trusts you at the time.
“God’s abundant grace shed upon people redounds to His glory.” That’s the point we’re making. 2 Corinthians 4:15, says that. “The abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.” When God pours His grace on you, it makes other people praise the Lord. Many a minister has said to me, “You know I went to call on so and so, and I went there to comfort and to bring encouragement but instead I was blessed through the visit.” Now this happens again and again in believers who are filled with the Spirit of God and in whom the grace of God is working. God’s grace shining through you makes other people praise the Lord. Alright?
Well, there is the work of grace. Paul talks about giving as a grace, and he says he’s praying for the people at Corinth that God would finish in them the same grace, the grace of giving. This is only one evidence of the grace of God, but both First and Second Corinthians were written to raise money. You people who are critical of fundraising by mail, you ought to read First and Second Corinthians. Paul talks about a number of subjects but the letter itself is written to encourage the people in Corinth to give. And he’s talking about the grace of giving. God works in developing particular graces in your life through His blessed Spirit and through the Word of God. Abound in this grace the grace of giving.
Then of course, in 2 Corinthians 9:8 he says, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you always having all sufficiency, in all things, may abound to every good work.” God wants to make you an overflowing kind of a life where the spill-over of your life is just pure grace. Make all grace abound toward you that you always having all sufficiency in all things.
There never needs to be a situation where God’s grace isn’t enough and where you aren’t on top of it.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:14, “Now thanks be unto God, which always giveth us the vict…, causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the fragrance of His knowledge by us in every place.” There never needs to be a situation anytime in which you may not have access to the triumphant grace of God, not just somehow getting through life but triumphantly. That’s grace isn’t it?
God is able to make all grace, and of course, Paul tried to get rid of his thorn on the flesh. I talked about that the last time we got together. God said, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” According to the riches of His grace, we’re saved and kept and adopted and we have all of the blessings of God according to the riches of His grace. There’s the grace of preaching the Gospel. There’s good hope through grace, and we’re to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Had you thought of God’s grace not simply as enduring trials but as making you strong?
You see, what it comes right down to that we human beings reach the end of our resources in a hurry, and then we become victims of life or victims of the pressures that we’re undergoing, or victims of the temptations to which we may be subjected. We are pretty weak after all. Isn’t it true? So Paul says to Timothy, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
How do you get strong in grace? Had you ever thought about that?
Well, the whole matter begins with surrender, I think. It begins with surrender. That is to say, how do you become a Christian in the first place? You give up to Christ, don’t you? You receive Him, and you surrender to Him, you make Him your Lord, and He becomes then, by faith, your Savior.
The same thing is true in living any given day. Colossians 2:6 says, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him as you live every day in Him.” The key word there is “so”, how did you receive Him? By faith. Did you do anything? No. Did you pay anything? No. Did you join anything? No. Did you promise anything? No. What did you do? Just asked Him to save me by faith, and He did. Right! Well, he says, just like as you received Him as Lord, so live every day in Him. And so you trust your blessed Lord Jesus Christ. By His blessed indwelling Holy Spirit and on the authority of His Word, you trust your blessed living Lord to be your strength.
“Christ is made unto us,” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1. “Christ is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption.” All you need to cope with the burdens of life is the Lord Jesus Christ and the grace of God; strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Great truth, isn’t it? We’re to grow in grace and then the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let there be a growing awareness of the grace of God in your life so that people can say of you as they said of the apostles, great grace was upon them all.
Dear Father today may Thy grace, Thy wondrous, saving, keeping, strengthening, triumphant grace, be poured out into and through our lives. In Jesus name, I pray this, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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