A Vessel Of Grace
God can take the person that is you, whatever you are, and make a saving impact upon other people by His Holy Spirit working through your life.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? I’ve just been praying that God might put His truth, and blessing, and power, and love, most of all His love. People need some Godly love and compassion in these hurting days, don’t they? Into my voice, as I speak with you, the truth may be there and sometimes it pokes a little deeply into our own feelings, but always, always spoken with the love of God.
Paul said, The love of Christ constraineth us because we thus judge; that if one died for all, then we’re all dead. That they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them”.
Paul said, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us”, and I think if there is one thing that Bob Cook wants, it is that I might be of encouragement and help and comfort to people who are hurting, all across the world.
We’re looking at the Gospel of Mark, you and I, and our Lord Jesus has now approached Simon Peter and Andrew, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers. Now, I take it that Peter and Andrew had met the Lord Jesus before. I’m looking now into the first chapter of John, where John the Baptist, now was preaching.
See, in the first chapter of Mark after John was put in prison. So this is Mark’s narrative -says something after what is recorded in John’s Gospel. “The next day John stood and two of his disciples, and looking on Jesus as He walked he said, “Behold the Lamb of God”, and the two disciples heard Him speak, followed Jesus and he said, “What do you want?”, They said, “Where are you living?”, He said, “Come and see”, “They came and saw where He dwelt and abode with him that day for it is about the 10th hour”.
Let’s see, 6 o’clock in the morning is the first hour, six and six is 12, that’s noon, is the sixth hour, three in the afternoon is the ninth hour, four in the afternoon would be the 10th hour. They stayed for supper is what they did!
One of the two which heard John the Baptist speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. “He first findeth his own brother Simon and said, ‘We have found the Messiah”, which being interpreted is the Christ.
So, Andrew was the first of those two who met the Lord Jesus and he went and got Simon Peter and brought him to Christ as well. Well, they went on with their daily work, but now comes the Lord Jesus and some time has gone by evidently, and John the Baptist been put into prison, and things are moving along in the public ministry of our Lord Jesus, and Simon and Andrew are casting a net into the sea,(they were fishers) and He said, “You follow me, come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men”.
A little later on, when our Lord Jesus calmed the storm and Peter was overwhelmed with it all, he fell down on his feet and said, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, oh Lord”, and the Lord Jesus said, “Don’t you worry Peter, from now on you’re going to catch people”, and that verb that He used means to take them alive, like you take in a net. You’re going to be a fisherman from here on. The fulfillment of the divine promise of making you and me people, capable of winning other folk to Christ.
Have you thought about that possibility in your own life? We are prone to use our own biases and of course every one of us is the result of his or her own background and upbringing, I know that. Some people are very shy and retiring by nature, and others are more extroverted and it’s easier for them to talk to folk, I know that.
So, I’m not asking you to change the kind of person you are or the personality God gave you. But I’m simply saying that when the Lord Jesus gets a hold of a life, He makes it possible for you to have a saving impact upon somebody else. That is the simplest and most direct statement I can make about the result of Christ becoming your Lord and Savior. When He gets ahold of your life, He makes it possible for you to have a saving impact upon other people.
Yes, I know that God does the saving, and I know that it’s the Word that produces faith, and I know the individual has to have faith for himself, and that itself is the gift of God, according to Ephesians 2:9. I understand all that, bless your heart! (laughs) But I’m saying that God uses you to have an impact on other people.
Now, have you given any thought to that sort of thing going on in your own life? We tend to think of preaching as being for preachers and witnessing as being for the extroverted person, who finds it easy to talk with other folk, and for the rest of us, we sort of sit back and say ‘well, I’m not really fitted for that, that isn’t my thing, that isn’t my bag, that isn’t what I’m supposed to do.’
In reality, you have all kinds of people in the apostles, don’t you? Andrew was the quiet, soul winner type; Peter was the one who always answered and said- nobody ever asked him anything, but he answered and said, just the same- he was always vocal. James and John were the fellas with the hot tempers, they had a short fuse, and Philip was still different, he was quietly effective in his way, and Thomas of course, was the one who had some doubts, and all of that. Apostles. Now they were different.
God doesn’t change your personality when He saves you, He transforms it. It’s the same personality, but it starts to shine, make you incandescent, so to speak, and He begins to use the person that is you, just as you are, but now transformed by His grace, with a character made transparent and holy, by the Holy Spirit, and with a message made eternally important, by the Word of God, He begins to use you to have an impact on other people. It doesn’t mean you’re going around preaching sermons to everybody, unless you’re a preacher that is. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to barge into someone’s life and trample over his sensibilities, like a human bulldozer. Nowhere in the Bible is a taught that we should be rude in the name of our Lord.
You can be a delightful human being, courteous and wholesome and outgoing and friendly, or shy and retiring, but thoroughly sold out to God, and have a saving impact upon other people. “Come after Me”, said He, “and I will make you fishers of men”. Give some thought to that transforming of your daily activities, would you?
You’re a schoolteacher. How can you be a fisher of men, as a schoolteacher? Oh, there are many times when those students ask you questions, and you can give them answers. You can even give them answers that lead them to faith in Christ. Oh yes, you can.
I want to especially to commend those born-again friends, who are in the public school system. Legally you are prohibited from preaching sermons, aren’t you? You can’t say, “Now, class, today we want to show you how to become a Christian”-can’t do that. Not under the law of the land. It’s a pity, but it’s true. But you can, there is no law that says you may not answer a question that a student asks you. There is no law that says you may not have a copy of the Bible on your desk. There is no law that says you may not manifest to other people, every day, the qualities of a Christian.
You can win souls as a teacher in the public school system, and I want to pray that God will bless the thousands of you that are listening, from time to time, who are employed in the public schools. God bless you, keep on. If it were not for you, we would be in deeper trouble in the school system than we really are now. Keep on, God bless you.
You’re a physician-can you make a saving impact upon other people’s lives? Oh yes. Oh yes. There are so many moments of stress and crisis having to do with the health field, that involve you directly, good doctor friend of mine, and you can bring your faith in Christ into focus, not obtrusively, but courteously and lovingly, you can bring your faith in God and in Christ into focus in the lives of people whom you treat.
You’re an attorney; can you be a fisher of men? Oh yes, I know many attorneys, I could give you a name and address on quite a number of them who consider that they’re practicing law to pay the bills, but their real vocation is to witness for Christ, to everyone they can who comes into their office. So, wherever you are and whatever you are beloved, God can take the person that is you, and make a saving impact upon other people by His Holy Spirit working through your life.
You want to think about that and pray about it in your own life? It may well be that you’ve been busy in your job, to the detriment of that overriding concern that affects people’s eternal destinies. Does your boss know you’re Christian, or if you’re a supervisor, do your subordinates know that you’re Christian? I heard the other day of someone who said something quite spontaneously on the job, and someone working right near him, he had been working with him for a matter months, he said, “Are you a Christian?”, The man said rather shamefacedly, “Well, yes I am ” Well”, he said, “Praise the Lord, so am I. I never had ANY IDEA that you knew the Lord!” Oh dear.
Do people who work with you day by day, know that you know God? You don’t have to be a sober faced, gloomy Gus, looking slightly ill in the hope that people will think that you look holy. You don’t have to do that! You don’t have to put on a kind of a religious face–live for Christ every moment and let your light shine for Him, and when you do have opportunity to witness for Him, do so.
Oh, let your boss and your subordinates, and your coworkers and your patients, and your students and your neighbors, and your friends and your sweetheart, and everybody you know, let them know that you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. He wants to make of you beloved, a fisher of souls, and He’ll do it if you allow Him to, day by day, through the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. You think and pray about that, will you? I dare say that your daily work will be transformed and you’ll be delighted when you see God working through you, in answer to prayer.
Dear Father today, oh wilt Thou use us to win people to Christ, I ask in Jesus name amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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