Be real with God and with people.
And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? That greeting will establish the fact that this is indeed your friend Dr. Cook and I’m glad to be back with you to open the Word of God, and share some of the things that the Spirit of God whispers to my own heart. I’ve long since learned that unless the minister or the teacher is blessed, the teaching doesn’t amount to much, and so I’ve just been praying that the Holy Spirit of God may take every word and fill it with His love and compassion and truth and power and inspiration and hope and peace and joy, all of these blessed concomitants of the divine presence might be real to you my beloved friends. God bless you today!
Look with me then it Mark chapter 8 beginning with verse 14. Our Lord Jesus had just said to the Pharisees who were tempting Him, testing Him, He had sighed deeply in His Spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek after a sign, a miracle to prove that I am what I say I am. Verily, I say unto you, there shall no sign be given unto this generation”, and He left them. One of the saddest passages in this whole area of Scripture, He left them. “Entering into the ship again, departed to the other side”. When you say, God I’m not going to believe you unless you prove that you’re God, when you take the position of unbelief and cynicism concerning the things of eternity, you are effectively turning your Lord away from you. It says concerning our Savior that, “When He went into a certain town He could there do no mighty work among them, save that He laid His hands on a few sick folk and healed them, andHe marveled because of their unbelief”. Here instead of marveling, it just hurt Him, he sighed, and went away. Well, they’re in the boat. Now it says in verse 14, “The disciples had forgotten to take bread. Neither had they in the ship with them, but no more than one loaf”. Now, when we say loaf you don’t think of a loaf of bread such as you would buy in the store, which weighs about a pound. This would have been a very small thing, something like an overgrown pancake that had been baked on the hot stones somewhere, and was small, it didn’t have much size certainly to feed all that crowd of disciples and the Savior, and so they didn’t have anything to eat. Now, not speaking about the one loaf of bread, which they thought, He was speaking about the Pharisees. He charged them. Now they’re going away from the shore there where the Pharisees had been testing Him and attempting Him, and He charged them saying, “Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod”. Now, what is He getting at? Well the leaven of the Pharisees, you can find out about that in Luke, I think it is chapter, let’s look. Luke chapter 11 it ought to be. Turn the pages here my big Bible and find out what He had to say, “Take heed of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy”, chapter 12 it is, chapter 12 of Luke, “Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy”. Now, what was He driving at there? Well He had repeatedly, Matthew details it in good deal, more fullness, the leaven of the Pharisees was the fact that they made rules which they themselves didn’t keep, but which they considered to be the benchmark of spirituality. They made rules for people to keep. Jesus said, “You make many rules but what you won’t touch them with any of your fingers”. Remember that passage in Matthew? He said, “Lo unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be born and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves will not move them, even with one of their fingers. All their works they do to be seen of men. They make broad their phylacteries”, that’s something you wear on your forehead with a Scripture on it, “and enlarge the borders of their garments”, that would have to do with the borders had to do with the many tassels each one of which denoted a certain law or rule that they were keeping. “They love the uppermost rooms at feasts and the chief seats in the synagogue”, that had to do with showing off, didn’t it? “And greetings in the marketplace, and be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi”. They like to have recognition. What did He say about them? “Ye don’t go into the kingdom of heaven yourselves and you don’t let anybody else in”, and then He says, “For a pretense you make long prayer while you’re devouring widow’s houses”. You just foreclosed on that poor widow and threw her out on the street, then you go to a prayer meeting, and they’re busy making proselytes, but after they’ve gotten somebody to join their religious group it says, “Ye make him twofold more the child of hell, than yourselves”, and they’re dishonest in their standards. “Whosoever shall swear by the temple it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear with the gold of the temple, he’s bound by his oath”. “They pay tithes”, he said, “of mint and anise and cumin”, tiny seeds you see, omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith. “These ought ye to have done and not to leave the other undone”. It’s all right to tithe, but don’t forget to be right with God, said he. You’re clean outside and inside full of extortion and excess. Oh boy. Now, that’s from Matthew.
Watch out, said He, “For the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy”, and that is one word wrapping up a whole string of qualities that are built on the idea, that it’s not what you really are inside but it’s what you appear to be that counts. That was their whole philosophy. Just so you have the right, put the right face on the matter, do the right things publicly, you can get away with being wrong privately. That’s hypocrisy. He said, you watch out for that. Now, the problem is, to go back to the Luke chapter 12 passage, the problem is that you never really keep your inner the failings a secret. He said, “There is nothing covered, nothing hid that won’t be revealed”. It will come out. You never successfully keep a secret. “There’s nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known. Whatever you’ve spoken in darkness be heard in the light, that’s which you’ve spoken in the ear in closets, shall be proclaimed upon the house tops”. You never really keep a secret anyway, so why don’t you just be real with God and with people?
I used to tell the young fellows who are leaders in Youth for Christ, many years ago, when I was a President of Youth for Christ International. I used to tell them, “Listen, always tell the truth and you don’t have to try to remember what you said last”. Be real with God and with people because you never get away with hypocrisy anyway. Now, you can test the truth of this statement just by looking around to the people of your acquaintance. Do you know people whom you would call phonies, that is to say, they are hypocritical? Do you know people like that? Of course you do. Do they fool you? Not for a minute. Do you see through their pretense? Every time. The only person who was deceived is the individual himself. John says something like that in his first epistle, “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves”. You don’t fool anybody else, you just fool yourself. There’s no markup in hypocrisy, so be real with God. Jesus said, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees”. Be real with God and with people. Now, the leaven of Herod was something else again, and that was that governmental power, see the Herodian’s were a political, religio-political party that claimed that the best way for you to achieve the destiny of God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel at that time, the best way at that time to achieve the destiny of the of the nation, was to cooperate with Herod and the powers of Rome, which has to do then with the whole idea of political action. Small thought here; you’ve heard I suppose, of what we call liberation theology, and it has taken hold, the concept has taken hold in South America and in many parts of the rest of the world, and I am sorry to tell you that many a well-meaning evangelical has been bitten with the same bug. The idea being that the preaching of the gospel isn’t enough, you have to have in order to really to evangelize, you have to have social and political action, so that if you march in the picket line or in a parade or take part in the demonstration, you are according to these people, engaging in Christian evangelism. Well if you will allow me to say so, is simply nothing but communism with a tuxedo on. He said, “Beware of the leaven of Herod”. Now, I’m a great believer in the fact that Christians should vote. I believe that you can change the course of a whole nation if you’ll start at the grassroots in the precinct, in our system of government. If you get active in your own precinct, and you’ll get other people to be active in it, and then you get sent to the district convention and the state convention, and the national convention, you can have a share in changing the destiny of your nation. No question about that. Christians should vote and Christians should become active in the political process. Now, having said that, just remember that the supreme task of the church is not to change the government, but to change the individual. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature and when the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ takes hold of a man or woman’s heart, that individual is going to be different, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature”. “Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new”. When the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ takes hold of a person’s heart, that person is different, and will live different, and make different decisions, and have different standards, and have a different lifestyle, and have a different influence, in his or her community. Now, you know that that’s true. The leaven of Herod is the idea that the gospel is not enough that you have to have political action in order to achieve God’s purposes. Just the opposite is true. Let the gospel work and politics will get cleaned up. That’s right, let the gospel work and politics will be cleaned up, because there will be clean people doing the politicking. Well, we get at this passage again the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, help us to be real with Thee and with people, 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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