Be Yourself

So just be yourself and shine for the Lord Jesus and look at other people, even those who oppose you, as folk who have a need.

Scripture: John 18:25-28, Isaiah 26:3, 2 Timothy 1:7, Philippians 1, 2 Corinthians


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright? I trust so, bless your heart. If you struck a rough day, look up and say, “Lord Jesus, see me through this one.” He will. For He hath said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” Trust your Lord today, He’ll see you through.

Well, this is your friend Bob Cook and we’re looking at John’s Gospel, Chapter 18. Last time we got together, we were just finishing up our thought on the fact that anywhere you go in this old sinful world, you’ll be singled out as a Christian, one of them.

Now, don’t try to dodge it. Instead, proclaim it. All my life long, I’ve had a rule that, I don’t believe I heard anybody else say it quite this way, but I’ve tried to live by this, “Live so that you can proclaim things, not explain them. Proclaim, don’t explain.” By the time you get through explaining things, you’ve created a lot of other problems. So be straightforward, be what you are, and live the kind of life that you can proclaim where you can stand for something instead of running away from something. It’s a pretty good principle.

Now, what do we do about this? I want just to follow out what we said in the last 90 seconds of the broadcast the last time we got together. What I said at that point was, “Point always to the Lord Jesus, not to yourself.” The God of our fathers raised up Jesus. They said, “What are you doing?” He said, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus.” They pointed to the Lord Jesus, not themselves. Second, let God work through your life. And I’m not speaking now of some spectacular miracle, although God is perfectly able to do that today as He did then, but God works in different ways to show His reality. And you just yield your life to Him and let Him shine and work and speak through you. Jesus said, “It is not ye that speak but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” Let God speak through you, let Him walk in your shoes. He actually said that in 2 Corinthians, “I will walk in them,” said God. So let Him speak through you and walk in your shoes and shine through your life. “Let your light so shine,” Jesus said, “That men may see your good works and glorify not you but your Father which is in Heaven.”

And third, rejoice because you’re counted worthy to belong to Him. Rejoice because you’re counted worthy to belong to Him. “Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him,” says Paul in Philippians 1, “but also to suffer for His sake.” It’s part of what God has given you, the privilege of standing with the Lord Jesus when the world rejects Him.

Now, following that out, how do you go about this? Well, number one, you speak about what’s on your mind. The obverse side of Isaiah 26:3, “Thy will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee because he trusteth in Thee.” What you think about, you trust, and what you trust becomes the basis for your action. What you think about is what you trust, you’re gonna risk the whole bundle on what you trust and what you trust becomes the basis for your action.

So have the Lord Jesus on your mind and you’ll find that your reaction to pressures from outside is entirely different. Positive instead of negative. That means fill your mind with Scripture. Have you learned a new Bible verse recently? I was greatly helped back in the 1940s by a system that was originated I think by Dawson Trotman and the Navigators. They call it fore and aft. And the idea was that you say the location of the verse and then quote it, and then say the location after that, 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7, that’s the way you did it.

And so I began to memorize some of those verses that they had in what they called a topical memory system, many of them I knew from a child because my father and my sister had encouraged me to learn Bible verses when I was just a little boy. So I knew them alright, but reviewing them and putting other new verses in my mind became a great joy to me. This was in the 1940s and I remember one of my deacons coming to me one time shortly after I had begun this process. And he said, “Hey preacher,” he said, “you’re preaching different, what happened?”

Now, this is the same deacon who had listened to me when I was preaching in Oak Park when they were looking for a pastor and he was captivated by the message I gave. I still remember what I said and it was a poor little topical sermon that didn’t have too much dynamite in it, but he thought it was great. And so together with the committee, they went back and recommended that the church call me, which they did and I accepted. [chuckle]

Well, the first Sunday that I came as pastor, I sorta laid out as a program what I expected to do and what I expected the church to do. And I don’t know that it was so bad, I can’t even remember the outline of the message anymore, but the idea was as pastor, “I expect to do this and this and this and this, and as church members I expect you to do so and so and so.” Well, he came up to me afterwards and he said, “If you had preached this kind of a sermon when we were listening to you in Oak Park, we never would’ve called you.” [chuckle] Oh, that took me down a few notches.

But now that’s the man who came up to me on this other occasion some time later, and he said, “Hey preacher, you’re preaching different. What happened?” Well I said, “Bob, I don’t know. I really can’t say.” “Well,” he said, “Whatever it is, I like it. Keep it up.” Now, what had happened?

Two or three weeks previous, I had begun every day to go over and say dozens of verses and review them in my mind and memory. And that process had made a difference in my approach to preaching. An interesting by-product of the Word of God in your heart. Yes, it will keep you from yielding to temptation. “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee.” Yes, it will satisfy the hunger of your soul, “Thy words were found and I did eat them and Thy Word was unto me, the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” Yes, it will enlighten you, the entrance of Thy words giveth light. It’ll do a lot of things for you, but it will change your approach to the world around you. I can guarantee that.

Specialize in knowing and meditating upon and obeying the Word of God. Another thing that will help you face the opposition of an unsaved world around you is what used to be called a passion for souls, the desire to bring men and women and boys and girls to Jesus Christ. If you look at a person as a potential adversary, he or she will be that to you. But if you look at that same person as one who needs to know the love of God and the saving power of the Lord Jesus, and the transforming power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, if you look at a person with that kind of a potential, your approach would be entirely different. Isn’t that true?

You read again the 4th chapter of the Gospel of John. This lady who was no lady came up to the ancient well that Jacob had dug there outside the town of Sychar in Samaria. She came out with the background of sexual promiscuity and immorality. Talked to the Lord Jesus, found in Him her Messiah, and went back into town to talk to the same people. Now, not to talk about the things she had done. Except in reference to the men, the God man, the Lord Jesus with Whom she had been speaking. She said, “There’s a Man out there who told me everything I ever did. Is not this the Christ?”

She pointed to Him, not to herself. She had a different reason now for going back into town. You, beloved, if you know the Lord Jesus, have a different reason for interacting with other human beings.

Small thought here: when your motivation is that of winning someone else to the Lord Jesus, they may not agree with you but instinctively they’ll feel safe with you because they know you want them to be helped. Most of the opposition we find from the people around us is that they suspect our motives and so they don’t feel safe with us. That’s often happened, hasn’t it? When a person knows, and I think the Holy Spirit of God telegraphs this to people through you. When a person knows that all you want is to help, and to encourage and to lead the individual to know Jesus, they’ll feel safer with you and they won’t run from you quite so much. Now, don’t make a federal case of it and say, “I’m going to be a blessing to you, brother!” No, come on. Not that. Nothing worse and nothing more boring than someone who is officially religious. Don’t do it that way. Just be yourself.

You’re quite charming in yourself. So just be yourself and shine for the Lord Jesus and look at other people, even those who oppose you, as folk who have a need. I remember the psychology prof saying, “Someone comes up and hits you in the nose. Just remember, you may not like the fact that he hit you in the nose but you have to realize that he had a very good reason so far as he was concerned for doing it. All behavior is caused. And so, if you find out what the reason is, you’ll be better able to understand him.” That’s what the psychology prof said. [chuckle]

And if they oppose you, it’s because they probably have a pretty good reason in their unsaved hearts for running from the truth of Jesus. But love never fails and if you love people, if you love people and if you’re looking for a chance to lead them to Jesus, you’ll find that it protects you at least from getting discouraged and offended and upset by the opposition of an unsaved world. After all, the accountant calls it the bottom line, what is really the most important? How I feel or what God can do in somebody else’s life?

Paul wrote one of, or a number of his epistles from jail. And he wrote to the people at Philippi and he said, “I would that ye should understand rather that the things which have happened unto me have fallen out rather to the furtherance of the Gospel.” He said, “My bonds in Christ are known throughout all the palace.” Isn’t that something? Known throughout all the palace and he said, “Many of the brethren… ” You know how that happened, I guess, don’t you? Paul witnessed to his guards. They changed the guard every so many hours and Paul would witness to each new set of guards. They’d get saved, some of them, and go tell others and so there was a revival in the palace.

And then he says, “Many of the brethren are much more bold to speak the Word without fear. Some, indeed, are preaching because of envy and strife, they try to make me more uncomfortable, but others are preaching Christ’s contention.” Well, he said, “Either way, I’m gonna rejoice, because Christ has preached.” See, you don’t have to worry when you’re specializing in Jesus. It’s not what’s happening to you, it’s what’s happening to the Gospel that counts. Alright?

Dear Father today, w h help us to specialize in exalting the Lord Jesus as we face an unsaved world. I pray in His 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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