You, with your life full of the presence of God shining out of you will be (to unbelieving people all around you) the ultimate proof that the Lord Jesus Christ is real.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? That little greeting establishes the fact that this is indeed your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you for a little while to share from the Word of God.
We’re looking at the 17th chapter of John- we’ve come now to verse 23. Our Lord Jesus says, “I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one.” That verb “be made perfect” has the idea of growing up according to a master design. It’s the same Greek verb from which we get the theological term, the teleological argument for the existence of God, the argument from design. The universe could not possibly have just happened, like shaking up the pieces of a fine watch in a box and expecting them after a million years to come together. It isn’t going to work that way.
You have design from the stellar spaces, and the bigger telescopes we build the farther out we reach, and then there’s no end to it, to the microscopic universe where you find that God has put the characteristics of a being into the coding of one single cell. Designed. Now that is the word that’s used here, that they may be made perfect in one. God’s plan for you is already set. God has a plan for your life. It involves union with the Lord Jesus, and it involves also being one with other believers. The closer you get to the Lord, the more comfortable you will feel with other believers no matter what denomination they may belong to.
In times of genuine revival, people are brought together just as they are in times of great persecution. You know of course that many years ago there was tremendous persecution of the Evangelicals in Colombia. This would be back 40 years ago and more that it was at its height. I visited Colombia in connection with my work in Youth for Christ. And as I was speaking with some of the believers there- I forget which town it was, Medellín, I guess.
Anyhow, I said to a dear old brother, I talk Spanish so I spoke to him in Spanish and said, “How are things going in the Lord’s work generally?” He looked at me and thought for a moment. He said, “Well, pretty well my brother, but not as well as when we were under persecution.” Interesting comment, wouldn’t you say? Great persecution draws believers together regardless of the fences they have built between them, because Jesus is the most important factor in all of their life and thought.
The same thing is true in times when you draw close to your Lord in prayer and in spiritual renewal. And when the Spirit of God sovereignly works in areas in terms of revival, you’ll find it happening again, believers get together in heart. This is what happened in the early church. The multitude, it says, were of one heart and one soul. Oneness of heart. You don’t always have to have the same opinion. I have found all over the world that Christians vote differently, that is in those countries where they have a chance to vote. They vote differently, and they’re dear Christians, but they have different opinions, and God makes room for that. God makes room for difference of opinion, but He does never make room for difference of heart. One heart, to love Jesus with all your heart. I tell you, someone may differ with me in theory of management or in political attitude and approach, but when we get on our knees and come to the throne of grace, we’re one in Jesus. Hallelujah. [chuckle] That’s what that’s all about, that they may be made perfect. That means grow up spiritually in line with God’s master plan and in the process, in the process, you become one with your Lord and one in heart with other believers around you.
Small thought here. Make room for other people to differ with you without being threatened by them. You don’t have to consider it a personal affront if someone differs with you. Listen, you never learn anything with your mouth wide open, shouting at the top of your voice. Listen, and evaluate what is being said, and accept the other person’s right to think and to say what he or she has in mind. The habit of accepting the other person’s point of view will avoid many an argument. Because we argue generally about the things where we think other people are not accepting us, isn’t that true?
I’ve been through this so often. Whenever I tried to defend myself, I found that the argument drew out and nothing got settled. But whenever I had sense enough to say to the person, who either was complaining or expressing a different point of view, “Well, I can see what you mean, and I can understand how you feel about this, and certainly there’s a point there.” Then I could say, “However, I wonder if we have thought of this and this and this and this.” And you could bring in your own point of view, which may or may not be right.
Make a habit of accepting the other person with his point of view. You don’t have to agree with it necessarily, but accept it. Don’t be threatened by it and immediately start to defend yourself as though you had been personally affronted. It’s a pretty good idea, wouldn’t you think? You try it on for size.
Well, He said, “that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me.” Now, what is going to make unbelieving people know that Jesus is real, and that He is Who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do? What is going to make the unbelieving world aware of the reality of Christ? Is it what you say in your sermons and in your testimonies? Well, perhaps. But in this verse, all that our Lord says, “I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, in order that the world may know that Thou has sent Me.” The ultimate proof of Christ’s reality is the Christ-filled believer.
Paul says in Colossians 1, “The message that we preach among the nations is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” And he says in that familiar Galatians 2:20 passage, “I’m crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live, yet not I,” not the old Saul of Tarsus with murder in his heart, “not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.” “That they may be made perfect in one.” The indwelling presence of the Savior, implemented and made real by the indwelling Holy Spirit, is the ultimate proof of the reality of Jesus Christ. Even philosophers and educators who have little time for institutionalized Christianity have found it difficult to deny the reality of a life that has been transformed by the power of God and is shining for God’s glory. You can’t deny that something happened.
When I was in my salad days, I remember singing. I used to sing, can you believe it? [chuckle] Oh dear. Nobody ever asks me to sing a solo, and I think I know why. But I used to sing along with some of my friends and buddies. And one of the little choruses we sang was, “Something happened when He saved me. Happened in my heart, oh yes! It happened in my heart. Something happened when He saved me, something happened in my heart.” See, the difference starts inside and shines out, and you, my friend, as you shine with a life that is full of God. Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world.” Didn’t He? And so, you, with your life full of the presence of God shining out of you will be, to unbelieving people all around you, ultimate proof that the Lord Jesus Christ is real.
Under the pressure of the hatred of the crowd around him, Stephen was witnessing his last words before they killed him, and it said, “They beheld his face as it were the face of an angel.” I’ve often wondered how it is that people could murder a man who looked like an angel. The reason, of course, was that he told them the truth at points where they simply could not stand the truth. You find somebody who is unaccountably, unexplainably against you. The reason may very well be that he or she cannot stand to face the truth about themselves as it is spoken, either spoken by your words or by your lifestyle to their own hearts. Don’t be offended if people oppose you because you’re a Christian. Jesus said, when that happens, “Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in Heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Don’t be offended when people oppose you because you’re a Christian. They can’t stand it unless they yield to Jesus Christ.
Dave Morkan said to me years ago, he said, “Bob, the unsaved heart cannot rest until it is organized in opposition to God.” Profound statement there from that dear missionary statesman, man of God. Well, that the world may know. Now what you and I are up against is our own human fallibility. I’m so aware of my own faults and failings and shortcomings. You look in the mirror, and you say, “My God, how can anybody believe on You through me?” Well, the miracle of God’s grace is that in spite of the human beings that we are, with all of our faults and shortcomings, as somebody says, warts and all, God in His grace deigns to shine out of our lives as we let Him.
Today, consciously, yield yourself to the blessed indwelling Spirit of God. By faith, take your stand with the Lord Jesus and trust Him to fill your life with all that you need to prove to the world that Jesus is real. Amen.
Precious Father, today make Jesus real in our lives. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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