Aligned In Spirit
It is possible for you to reach a conclusion that says, "This is the will of God; and the Holy Spirit of God is witnessing with my own spirit that it is so."
Alright, thank you very much. I’m glad for the privilege of sharing the Word of God with you. This is, of course, a demanding and continuous ministry. It just never quits. You can never say to yourself, “Well, it doesn’t matter today. I won’t bother today,” because always there is the extra deadline of that broadcast coming up that has to be met. This is a good thing for me in that it makes it necessary for me to dig in the Word of God day by day, and to pray about it, and then to share with you such things as the Spirit of God may drop into my heart and mind. I am grateful for this. Believe you me. Yes, it takes some hours each week to prepare these broadcasts, daily ones, and weekly broadcasts. Other ones that I do, but thank God for it. I am so grateful that you make it possible for me to continue giving out the Word of God. Thank you. Keep on, will you? And if you will, I will.
We’re in the 15th chapter of the Book of Acts, and we’re right in the middle of this letter that they’re sending now by the hands of Judas and Silas and Paul and Barnabas to the folk in Antioch, and Syria and Cilicia. It says, “It seemed good unto us being assembled with one accord to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Small thought here; what makes for a worthy witness? The index of effectiveness of your witness really is how much are you prepared to risk for the Lord Jesus Christ?
Now, I’m not talking about some fool hardy throwing away of one’s self or of one’s substance in an attempt to dramatize one’s faith. This isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m simply saying, “What are you prepared to risk for the Lord Jesus?” In our culture, you might very well be asked to risk your status in the community. I’ve lived in neighborhoods where people looked down upon you because you were known to be a Christian. Oh yes, and they felt that you were some kind of an oddity, that you were 35-cents short mentally, that you really didn’t understand the finer points of culture, and they drew all of these conclusions because you had been identified as a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, I’ve been there, I know how that feels.
You have to be prepared, it seems to me, to risk a certain amount of status in this world, if you are going to be identified with the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only that, but you have to be able to face the possibility of risking, let us say, promotion in business. There’s many a person who has been faced with the fact that unless he compromises his religious position, he is not considered promotable in his daily work. And there are too, I’ve seen this happen. It’s never happened to me quite that way because I’ve been in Christian work all my life. But I’ve seen it happen in the lives of some people who were members of my churches here and there that I served and folk that I have known. You see, it may well be that someone would say to you, “Well, we could promote you, but you’re too religious. You pray, and you give out these religious leaflets. You call them tracks, don’t you? You give out these leaflets, and you pray with people, and we see you’re talking with people, and you’re known as a religious person. We couldn’t promote you because of that.”
Now, this happens. Are you willing to risk that in your business life? I met a man not too long ago who had been refused a well-deserved promotion because he refused to go to a booze party that his sales manager boss was throwing. And he said, “Quite frankly, if the price of getting along in the company is to go out and get drunk, I am not going to do it.” And the man said, “You’ll never be promoted.” It was as simple as that. Now, these things do happen. Are you willing to risk anything for Jesus Christ? In terms of status among your peers and in your community, in terms of promotability on the job, are you willing to risk that? And then there’s so simple a fact, that if you do what you ought in the service of the Lord, you might die a little sooner. I know of things that have happened like this, and I know of lives that have literally burned out for God. I think Percy Crawford, the founder of the college, and for many years, its president, as you know, I think he’s an example of this. He could have lived longer, had he been willing to slow down and do less.
I’m not saying that what he did was right or wrong, I’m simply saying that he felt in his own heart, he must keep on going for souls, he must keep on preaching the Gospel, and he must keep on with his responsibilities on radio and television and with the college. This was the combined ministry of this great giant of the faith, Percy Crawford. Many of you remember him. I get letters from you and you say that you were led to Christ under his ministry. You will never forget him, will you? But he could have lived longer, probably, had he slowed down. People who knew him and who knew of medical folk who were attending him at the time tell me this. But he didn’t slow down, he felt he must give his all, all the time, for the salvation of souls and for the glory of God. He died at age 58, his heart just quit.
I think of my good friend and brother Dr. Bob Pierce, who was the founder, and for many years, the president, of World Vision. You know of this, and those of you of course who are in the east, you know of the ministry of our brother Hamilton, who is the representative of World Vision in this whole area, a dear man of God, and a dynamo of a man. And Bob Pierce, for many years was driving, driving, driving, he’d go to the point of exhaustion, and then he’d take a day or so to recoup his strength and get at it again. One day he realized that there just wasn’t any more energy left, and for quite some time there was a period where he just didn’t have any output at all; just about died, actually. Well, God has given him a new touch and restored nervous energy and strength to him in a measure at least, and we’re grateful.
But I say all of this grew out of the question, “Are you prepared to risk anything for the Lord Jesus?” You see, people don’t get shot at sunrise in the United States of America for being a Christian. But there are other prices to pay, the subtle pressure that people put on you in family or office or shop or classroom. The sneer on the face of a professor who says with a nasty a smile, “Oh, you’re a Christian, aren’t you?” Or, “Oh, you still believe that there is a God, do you?” And his main business from that point on, under the guise of academic freedom is to try to destroy your faith. There is, ladies and gentlemen, a price to be paid for being a Christian.
Well then, it was said of Paul and Barnabas that they were men who had hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. So I’m asking you and myself today, how much really are we willing to risk for the Lord Jesus Christ? How much? I am afraid that in many a case, the individual would be very slow to risk either reputation or job or personal well-being and health for the Lord Jesus. Many people would simply say, “Well, a person must live. A person must get on in the world. A person must have some progress in his life. A person cannot simply allow his religion to stand in the way of his achievements.” And so they would rationalize the backsliding of their own heart while doing it. I’ve seen this happen. Haven’t you?
Well dear friend, it’s not necessary for you to be shot at sunrise or to die of a coronary to risk something for Jesus. My point is, there are other costs, there are other costs to be paid for being faithful to Jesus Christ. Are you, and am I willing to face those costs? That’s what this verse is all about. Let’s go back to the text, verse 27, it says, “We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.” We talked about the importance of having a witness to an important decision. Choosing the kind of witness who does not have his own reputation at stake in the action.
Okay, now it said, “It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us.” I always love to stop on this verse because it is one of the great trademarks of New Testament Christianity. “It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us to recognize the fact that great decisions must be made under the leadership of the Spirit of God, but that God gives to you and to me the right and the ability to use our own mentality in the process.” God is willing to think His thoughts through you, God is willing to decide His decisions through you, God is willing to manifest His will through you. And so, a person who is filled with the Spirit of God can say, “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to me.” Do you have that kind of blessed partnership, ladies and gentlemen? Do you have that blessed partnership where God is thinking with you, and you are thinking with God, so that when you have reached a decision, you can say, “God told me this.”
Now, I’m not talking about some wild-eyed fanaticism, a person who sees visions and gets and hears voices that tell him to do outlandish and abnormal and ridiculous things. The world is full of people who are 35-cent short mentally, who might be the victims of that kind of procedure. I believe that I’m talking to people who are in command of their mental powers, and who know that this is not the way God works, He doesn’t work through ridiculous things, He works sensibly, and He works in line with His Word, and He works in line with His own glory. But He does, in answer to prayer, guide the individual who is waiting on Him, and He does by His Holy Spirit guide the individual who wants the will of God. And so, it is possible, blessedly, gloriously possible for you to reach a conclusion that says, “This is the will of God, and the Holy Spirit of God is witnessing with my own spirit that it is so.” Oh, what a gorgeous, wonderful, blessed, glorious experience that is, to know that you are actually in agreement with the Holy Spirit of God, and you can say, “It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us.”
Oh, that’s great. Do you know anything about that? Well, if not, take your next point of decision and submit it completely to God, and let the Holy Spirit of God guide you, so that you can say with a thrill and a joy and a shine on your life, “The Spirit of God led in this matter.” Good idea? A wonderful idea. Well, it said, “It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; keep from idolatry, keep from unhealthy practices, blood and things strangled, keep from immorality, from which if you keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Farewell.”
Now, the last time, but one I guess, when we got together, I mentioned these three things. They constitute a very fine basic idea of regulating your life. Stay away from idolatry, nothing in first place but God. Stay away from immorality, nothing that will smear your life with impurity and grieve the Holy Ghost. Stay away from those things which are obviously unhealthy for you, and trust God for the rest. It’s a pretty good idea, ladies and gentlemen. And I think that it would lengthen the lives of many of us if we took that simple prescription and honored and glorified our blessed Lord thereby.
So, we’re down now to the end of verse 29, and the next time we get together, we’ll start with Acts 15:30, as the four men now come back to Antioch and deliver their message. And we’ll see what happens and what goes on from there. Now, it’s time to pray together, and if you have the opportunity to pause momentarily, bow with me and let’s pray.
Dear Heavenly Father, help us to put you first, help us to live a clean life, help us to honor God in our body and soul and mind and spirit, and help us, blessed Spirit of God, so to yield to you, that our decisions will have been made by the Holy Ghost. Do it, dear Lord, do it, do it. We ask in Jesus’ name, amen. Amen. God bless you, dear friend, all the way.
That’s all for now till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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