A Part Of The Picture
Faith is making yourself available so God can work out His already-developed eternal plans.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Trust everything’s going well with you. This is your good friend, Bob Cook. And I’m glad to be back with you to share from the Word of God. What we try to do is to put a handle on the Word of God so that you can get hold of it for yourself. God’s Word, the Bible, is forever true whether or not anyone reads or believes it, but it becomes of value to you and to me when we apply it to our lives. My task and privilege, therefore, is to put a handle on the truth so you can get hold of it and apply it. I trust that may be so, even today I’ve been praying that God would put His truth in my heart and His love in my voice and power in what’s said. And I trust Him for the answer to that prayer.
Jesus, our blessed Lord, has now arrived at the town of Bethany, this is a story in John chapter 11. Martha has come out to tell him, “Lord, you blew it, you didn’t get here on time.” Jesus points her successfully away from her grief about Lazarus to her faith in him as the resurrection and the life. She goes back, says to Mary, “You better go see him too.” Mary comes out with the same word, “Lord, you didn’t get here in time. If you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.” And our Lord Jesus, wiping away the tears, his own tears, said, “Well, where have you put him?” And they said, “Come and see.” It was a cave, and there was a big stone rolled at the entrance. This was traditional in those days, they would bury them in sepulchres where the tomb was sealed with a great cylindrical stone that rolled in its own passageway across the opening to seal up the opening.
And so… Oh, by the way, the crowd had the same idea, “He should’ve gotten here in time to heal him. Could not this man who opened the eyes of the blind have caused that even Lazarus wouldn’t have died?” Verse 37 has that question in it. See, human reasoning always reasons on the way we think it might have worked. God does things differently. He says, “Behold, I will do a new thing.” God does things differently. He’s the God of divine innovation, let Him do something different in your life. Well, he said, “Take away the stone from the grave.” Martha said, “You don’t wanna do that, Lord. His body has decayed, it’d be a terrible odor. He’s been dead four days.” So Jesus said, “Now, remember what I told you outside the town. Didn’t I tell you? If you would believe, you’d see the glory of God. You better do it.” Small thought here, all of your arguing will never allow you to experience the glorious reality of God’s plans for you. As long as you’re arguing, you’re not obeying. People say to me, “I don’t have peace and I don’t have joy.” And I begin to ask them about things in their lives and I find out that they’re arguing with God about things. They’re not willing to do what He’s asking them to do, and as a result, although they’re quite sincere in their desire to know God, they’re also equally stubborn in their refusal to obey Him and, they’re arguing with Him.
As a result, there’s no reality, there’s no blessing. There’s no peace and no joy. “If I regard,” the Psalmist said, “If I regard iniquity,” that’s our word having to do with the crookedness of human nature, “If I regard the crookedness of human nature,” wanting my own way, in other words, “in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Don’t engage in rationalizing things and saying that God should’ve done this and God might have done that. Accept, instead. Accept instead God’s blessed will for your life. He said, “Take away the stone.” She said, “Oh, no, you don’t wanna do that Lord.” He said, “You better remember. I said if you’d believe, you’d see the glory.” The word “believe” wraps up the idea of commitment and obedience. If you really believe on the Lord Jesus, you’re gonna commit your life to him, are you not? And if you commit your life to him, you’re going to obey him, are you not? See, this is what it’s all about. Believing is not a mental process only, it does involve your mind, obviously; believing is a commitment of yourself to Jesus: Body, soul, spirit, emotions, and intellect, and will. All that you are, wrapped up in the package of surrender and say, “Lord, here I am.”
That is what the Bible term, “believe,” really means. And when you do that, then you give him the right to give orders and you obey them. You stand at the grave, let us say, of your own cherished ideas. You stand at the tomb wherein lies the broken dreams and shattered hopes of things that you had hoped might work out. That grave site was the locus of broken hearts right there, wasn’t it? Four days before, they had come weeping and wailing and put that precious body wrapped in linen and spices into the cave and rolled the stone and that was that. And now they’re back again and all of the wounds are opened up, it’s the location of heartbreak. And at the same time, Jesus said, “This is where you’re going to see the glory of God.” So he brings me back to the place where I’ve failed. And he brings me back to look at the situation that’s impossible. He brings me back to look at the circumstances with which I cannot cope, and he says, “Go ahead. Roll away the stone. I got plans.” You wanna obey him today that way? Whenever you pray, the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer will always whisper to your heart what God wants you to do next.
Listen for it and then obey Him. It’ll always be in line with His word, God will never advise you to do anything that disagrees with His word, but as you pray, the Blessed Spirit of God who indwells the believer will whisper to your heart the things that God wants you to do. You obey Him, and even though you may be standing at the grave site of your broken dreams and shattered hopes, Jesus is greater than all of that, and out of it will come the shining of new life, and new possibilities, and new joy. It’s great, isn’t it? [chuckle] Oh, hallelujah. You don’t mind if I get blessed on my own preaching, do you? [chuckle] Jesus is wonderful. Praise his name. Alright. They took away the stone. Verse 41. “Then they took away the stone and Jesus lifted up his eyes, said, ‘Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me. I knew that Thou hearest me always, but because of the people who stand by I said that they may believe that Thou has sent me.'” Then he spoke the word of command. A small thought here. Jesus took time to say thanks before he proceeded with that which he was about to do, “Father I thank that Thee,” he said, “that Thou hast heard me and You always hear me.”
“Thou hast heard me.” Jesus had talked with his Father about Lazarus. You realize that? “He is able to save to the uttermost,” we read in Hebrews 7, “He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Jesus has already talked in the presence of God, the Father, about you and your needs. Are you out of sorts with God? Are you out of His will? Remember the old song that says, “He waiteth not for penitence but hasteth to begin the restoration of the saint the moment of his sin.” “The goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance,” Paul said to the Romans. Oh, Jesus took time to say thanks, and in so doing, he telegraphed to you and to me the fact that he had already prayed about all of this.
Now, what does that mean to you and to me? It means that whatever you’re facing now, this minute, has already been settled by your Savior ahead of time. Whatever you’re facing now has already been settled by your Savior ahead of time. He used the past tense, “I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me.” He had talked about this in his prayers to the Heavenly Father. “Here’s the second person that God had who voluntarily had limited Himself to the confines of human flesh and had submitted then to the incarnation to walk among men for 33 years.” Then that meant then, that as the writer to the Hebrews says, “He offered up prayers with strong crying and tears and was heard.” Listen, our Savior took the journey down the stairways of the stars to become a human being, altogether man, but altogether God as well. He’s not the God-man, he’s the Godman, no hyphen in between. Altogether God, altogether human. And there he was, this wonderful Savior who now stands before the tomb and says, in effect, “I prayed about this, and I’m so glad that I was heard.”
Now, tell your own heart this, will you? What you tell your mind, it believes. Have you found that out? Tell your heart and mind, “Jesus already knows all about this situation, and he has settled it already.” See, faith is not getting God to change His mind; faith is making yourself available so God can work out His already developed eternal plans. And so when we pray, we’re not trying to change God’s mind; we’re trying, by prayer, to open up the way so that our lives are receptive to His perfect will and He can do what He wants to do in our lives. It’s already settled with God. You just open up your life to what He has in mind. Well, after the prayer, the Lord Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead… ” Now, this man wasn’t just resuscitated. He was dead. “He that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with gravecloth.” He didn’t walk out, he was brought out by the power of God. An awesome spectacle, standing there beside a tomb and the voice of the Son of God calling him out.
Well, you have that prophecy. “All that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live.” I look forward to that great day when our Lord Jesus will say to you and to me, “Come up higher, and the dead in Christ shall rise first then we which are alive and remain under the coming of the Lord shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and so should we ever be with the Lord.” That voice that was heard at the tomb of Lazarus will be heard again one glad day, and you and I will be on our way into the presence of our blessed Lord to live there with Him forever, hallelujah. Time’s gone, we’ll get at this again the next time we get together.
Father God, today, help us to obey Thy voice and see the miracle provision that comes as we trust Thee. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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