An Accepted Life
You can say and do things that make of your life an extension of the pierced hand of Christ.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Now, we’ve been looking at Romans chapter 15. What I did a while back – and this is for those of you who are just joining us. We started in Romans 12 in discussing the practical application of the truth that Paul has been giving in the preceding 11 chapters of Romans. Romans 12 to the end of the book constitute a practical application of truth. And so we’ve been sort of walking around in these verses and now we’ve come to chapter 15.
And the last time we got together, we were asking and answering the question “What do you do when you feel like giving advice?” Paul gives us a very good idea here. He says in verse 14, “I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God.” If you’re going to give anybody any advice whether it’s the teenager in your family or a friend or neighbor or co-worker whatever it may be, let it be reminder not lecture.
My good friend, Ben Weiss, taught me something a good many years ago that I have always remembered. He said the rule in teaching anybody anything is “Things remembered as though they were things forgot, and things taught as though we taught them not.” Instead of saying “I want you to know this,” you can say, “Oh, by the way, have you ever thought of this?” Vincent Bruschweiler taught me also many years ago how to get anything through a committee. He said, “You never bring a thing up front in a committee and ask people to vote “Yes” on it because most of the time they’ll vote “No” because it’s a new idea”.
“So,” said he, “What you do is you drop the idea as a seed thought after the adjournment of the deacons meeting or whatever it may be. You drop it as a seed thought. ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if,’ and then you just drop it and say nothing more about it. Six weeks to six months later somebody else will bring it up as his own idea,” said he, “and then you oppose it and it’ll go through.” Well, I don’t know. I said that one time at a ministers meeting at Dayton, Ohio. And a young man who had been listening intently not realizing that he was speaking out loud said, “Now, I know what I’ve been doing wrong.”
Evidently he’d been having some difficulty getting some idea through his Board of Deacons. Well, anyway. If you’re going to give any advice, give it in terms of a suggestion or an afterthought. He says, I’m reminding you of something, just to remind you. And then always be sure that your life is filled with the grace of God, “because of the grace that has given to me of God”. You and I don’t have any proprietary hold on the truth. Job said sarcastically to his three erstwhile friends, he said, “No doubt, ye are the people and wisdom will die with you.” Oh, what he meant was you’re not all that smart either. And that’s the reaction that many people have to us if we dare to tell them what to do. So you have to approach with the realization that you’re a candidate for God‘s grace and everything outside of the lake of fire is the grace of God so far as you and I are concerned. And so we have to be quite humble if we’re going to offer any ideas to other people. And then he said, “I am persuaded that you’re full of goodness, filled with knowledge, and able to admonish one another.”
If you’re going to give an advice, remember that the other person really wants to do the right thing. It’s one of the great marks of human nature. Most people want to be known as doing the right thing. Every personnel manager in the world has learned to say when he is facing someone with a difficulty, “Now, John, I know you want to do the right thing,” because 99 times out of 100 that’s true. And Paul said, “You’re filled with goodness.” And then he said, “You’re filled with knowledge.”
Other people know a thing or two as well. Have respect for the other person’s knowledge because he may be far smarter than you in some things. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and find out what the other person’s point of view is. And then not only that, but the other person also considers himself a person of some convictions and able, as Paul says, “to admonish one another.” And so when you’re talking to someone else – this is all a review but I thought I’d just slip it in for the sake of our newer listeners – when you’re talking to someone else and you want to give some advice or you want to teach them something, approach them from the point of view of Calvary and the grace of God.
Approach them from the point of view, not of lecturing, but of reminding. Approach them from the point of view of realizing that they want to do the right thing and that they know a thing or two, maybe some things you don’t know. Give them the respect due to another human being that has some ideas. And then realize that they have some convictions too, that they want to put across, and learn to listen.
Only recently have the great corporations embarked upon a campaign to teach their management people to listen. It has come late, I suppose, in some areas but thank goodness, it’s coming. One of our professors has developed a course in listening which he teaches to large corporation groups from time to time. Have respect for the other person’s ideas for the databank, so to speak, that he has in the computer of his mind and for the convictions which he carries close to his heart. If you’re going to tell him something and give him any advice, come with a respectful, humble, grace of God attitude and don’t lecture him—remind him. Good idea? Well, that’s all in the 14th and 15th verses of Romans 15.
Now, he says, “That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, in order that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” He said, “The grace that is given to me.” Now what grace was that? Verse 16, “the grace that was given to him was that he should minister our Lord Jesus and the message of the Gospel to the Gentiles, that the offering up of the Gentiles” – that means their worship and their prayer and their service – “might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost”.
Paul was especially sent to people outside of the chosen people of God – the Jewish nation. And the Gospel was applicable to them as well. So he said I’m ministering the gospel of God “that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable being sanctified by the Holy Ghost”. What makes your prayer life and your devotional life acceptable to God? Number one, the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ died and rose again for you, He died for your sins and He rose for your justification and He is seated at the right hand of God the Father interceding for you this minute.
“He ever liveth,” it says “to make intercession for them that come unto God by Him.” And so the first step in making you and me acceptable to God is the precious shed blood of Christ as the efficacious sacrifice for our sin. “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us,” says Paul. “Once in the end of the age hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” Then what? While you’ve received what Paul calls the gospel of God – you’ve received this blessed message, that it’s not “do this and live” but it’s “believe and live.”
The message is not “do” but “done.” ‘Tis done, the great transaction’s done. I am my Lord’s and He is mine. He drew me and I followed on, charmed to confess the voice divine. Christ did it all. Jesus paid it all. All to him I owe.” That’s the message. Now then what? He said, “that the offering up,” – that’s worship, that’s service, that’s prayer – “that the offering up,” – the worship and the service and the prayer – “of people who were outside of the mosaic covenant, who were outsiders, so to speak, aliens, strangers from the commonwealth of promise, as Paul says in Ephesians 2, that you and I who are born from outside of the mosaic covenants, we might be acceptable to God.”
Why? Because Jesus died for us, He rose again for us, He lives for us to be our intercessor – a high priest, and he says what we pray and what we offer by way of service, Romans 15:16 says, “is sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” Now, what God does is this. First of all you have to realize that there is nothing in all the world that you can do that’s any good to God. There is nothing in all the world that you can do humanly that could possibly be worth anything to a Holy God. Why? Because you and I have been touched by sin, we are a sinful human race, and all that we do falls short.
Romans 3 says, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” That means we’ve missed the mark. If I’m running for a train and you’re running for the same train and both of us get up there, you get there before I do, you get there just in time to see the last car pull out, I get there a few seconds later and the train is disappearing around the bend. Now then, tell me, which one of us missed it most? Why, you chuckle, and you say, “Brother Cook, you both missed it, that’s that”.
And Paul looks through the inspired eyes of the divine writer and says, “All have sinned, and come short of,” – missed the mark, missed the train, missed the bus, missed the boat – “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” So there isn’t anything that you and I can do to cultivate God or to make ourselves acceptable to Him. We know that, don’t we? Well then, what happens? When you plead the merits of the precious shed blood of Christ, God reckons His righteousness to you.
God looks at you through Christ. God looks at you through the righteousness of Christ and reckons you righteous. And He gives to you His own eternal life, not duration merely, eternal is forever, that’s true. But eternal life is a kind of life. It’s a quality of life. It’s the life of God. And Paul says, “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath may be free from the law of sin and death.” And so God gives you His eternal life. Then, when you pray, and then when you worship, and then when you serve, the Holy Spirit of God takes what would otherwise be a feeble and ineffective effort, sanctifies it somehow, and offers it up to God so that it is acceptable. Hallelujah for that.
Today, this very day, you can say and do things that make of your life an extension of the pierced hand of Christ. The way you live and the way you look and the way you speak can be used by the Spirit of God to glorify our Lord. Oh, what a precious, wonderful message that is. Pray your way through the day, beloved and as you speak, as you write a letter, as you answer the phone, as you make a sale if you’re a salesman, if you call on clients, if you’re a homemaker and take care of the million and one tasks that mothers have to do, if you’re in school or if you’re a professional person – whatever it is – pray your way through the day and let God take what you do and make it acceptable to Himself so that it glorifies our wonderful Lord and Savior.
Dear Father, today, help us to live the kind of life that is acceptable to Thee because the Spirit of God has made it so, 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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