Pick the people who mean business in this matter of personal holiness of life.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing all right today? Well as I often tell you, if you’ve struck a rough day, look up and say, Lord Jesus see me through this one, for He has said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”. You can count on your blessed Lord today. The Bible says, “Great is Thy faithfulness”. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. “Great is thy faithfulness”. God will be faithful to you. “If we believe not”, that means if we run out of faith, like a housewife runs out of sugar, “if we believe not”, if we run out of faith, there isn’t any left, “He abideth faithful, He cannot deny Himself”. You are connected with Almighty God through faith. Trust Him today. He’ll see you through.
Now, you and I are looking at Mark the ninth chapter, and asking and answering the question, on what is true Christian cooperation based? The first point of course is loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He says, “He that is not against us, is on our part. There is no man the can do a miracle in My name who can Likely speak evil of Me, for he that is not against us is on our part. Whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward”. Loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ.
What’s involved here? Do a miracle in my name, verse 39, “to be on his part”, verse 40, “to do things that are evidence of the love of Christ and honoring the Lord Jesus in the lives of others, even a cup of water in my name because you belong to Me”, He said. How do you know whether people are loyal to Christ? They’re active against evil in His name. Now, there’s some people who are active against evil. They’re doing it on their own. That does not necessarily form the basis of cooperation with them. I’ve had folk who were members of all sorts of groups and cults, that sort of a thing say, “Why don’t you work with us? Look what good we’re doing”. And, answer of course is, yes you’re doing good. No one denies it, but I work with people who are doing what they’re doing to honor the Lord Jesus Christ. He’s the Lord from heaven, the God-man, absolutely, altogether God and altogether man, and he is my Lord and I want honor him.
That is what is involved in verse 39. “Do a miracle in my name”. Work with people who honor the Lord Jesus Christ and who are doing what they’re doing to honor Him, not to honor themselves, and then you can work with people who are implementing their faith by meeting a need. A cup of water to drink in my name because you belong to Christ. They’re implementing their faith with action, because they love the Lord Jesus Christ. “Whosoever shall even give you a cup of water”, that’s about the de minimis amount of good deeds, right? Can’t do much less than that in doing a good deed.
So, I inserted the word even, “Whosoever shall give you even a cup of water to drink in My name because you beloved Christ, he get his reward”. Now how can you know, how can you know whether or not people are real and really doing what they’re doing because they love Jesus? How can you know? The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God. There is a blessing, inner radar, so to speak, that the Holy Spirit of God provides, and you’ll find that there are some people with whom your own spirit witnesses, because the Holy Spirit is speaking to you, that this is one of God’s children. And you’ll find there are other people that leave you completely cold, because there’s no witness there.
Look for the witness of the Holy Spirit. Look for a relationship with the eternal, infallible Word of God. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. Are these people basing their work on the Word of God or is it on some other idea? Loyalty to Christ, and then He says, “Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones who believe in Me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he were cast into the sea”. The second thing as a basis for true cooperation as you find it in this passage at least, is compassion for those who belong to the Lord Jesus, and a refusal to do anything that would offend them.
There are many good programs in the world and good ideas, a dime a dozen, and you’ll find people that are eager for you and for me to have some share in them. You know how these things go, but one of the tests is, what is this going to do to the rest of God’s dear children? It’s possible for you do something that is apparently right, but which may hurt someone else, and at that point you want to be very, very careful about it. You follow me on that?
You want ask yourself, is this thing that I’m about to do, or is this group with whom I am about to cooperate, doing things that encourage and strengthen believers, or will it hinder? Compassion and concern for those who trust the Lord Jesus, His, He calls them little ones, micro, little ones. Compassion and concern for them and a refusal to do anything that would hurt or hinder God’s dear children. Now, maybe you’ve never thought of that as a basis for cooperating with others, but it is a highly valid criterion that you can use in deciding with whom you wish to work.
What else? Well the third, the third in this list of criteria for cooperation is personal holiness. “If Thy hand offend thee, cut it off. If thy foot offend thee, cut it off. If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out”, and then you have that same refrain, “It is better for you to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to going to Hell, better for you to enter halt”, that’s lame, “into life than having two feet to be cast into Hell. Better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hellfire”. What’s He saying? That is a frightening awesome statement from the lips of our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. What’s He saying? He said, I want you to have a passion for personal holiness. I want you to be so desperately in earnest about serving God, that you’re willing to give up anything that stands in the way of walking with your God.
That’s what He’s saying. Far better for you to give up something, than to keep it and sacrifice your relationship with the Lord. A passion for personal holiness. You can feel safe with another brother or sister who is determined to walk closely with God. You can feel safe with that person. There are many people who make a good Christian profession. There are relatively few who are desperate about personal holiness before God. He says, if you’re going to cooperate, pick the people who mean business in this matter of personal holiness of life.
Then dear friends, the fourth criterion in this list, has to do with what He calls salt. “Everyone will be salted with fire and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt”. “Salt is good but if the salt has lost its saltiness, wherewith will ye season it?” “Have salt in yourselves and have peace, one with another”.
This idea is, to me, speaks of spiritual reality. Spiritual reality, “Salted with fire”, what remains after the fire has passed over is that which is imperishable. “Every man’s work shall be tried by fire of what sort it is”, Paul says in first Corinthians 1. “If any man build on this foundation wood, hay, stubble or gold, silver, and precious stones, every man’s work will be tried by fire. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer a loss, but he’ll be saved so as by fire, but if any man’s work remains, he’ll receive a reward”.
That’s the truth of this, this whole matter of salted with fire. What does it mean? Reality will shine through after the judgment fires of God have passed over any given life and series of efforts and works. He says, “Be real”, be real, be so real let your life will stand the test of God’s fire. Be so real that that reality will shine through, “Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt have lost it savor, wherewithal shall it be salted, thenceforth good for nothing, but be cast out and trodden under foot of men”, Jesus said in a different passage. Salt, reality, something with flavor, something with reality, something you can tell is real, something you can taste in your soul. The reality of the Lord Jesus Christ made real through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, “When He is come He shall testify of Me”, Jesus said concerning the Holy Spirit. Do you follow that?
Now of course I’m talking, I know, to people who will differ with me on some things and that’s all right. I don’t say that this list in Mark 9 is a complete and exclusive list and that there isn’t anything else. There is no mention here of the eternal Word of God, for example, except by induction, “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”. the faith that you exercise that makes you spiritually real has to be based upon God’s inerrant, infallible Word, the Bible. It doesn’t mention that directly, doesn’t mention some other things directly, but here you have a pretty good basic list beloved, that will stand you in good stead when you’re asking the question, with whom should I cooperate, even though I may disagree with people as to their methods, with whom should I cooperate? Number one, loyalty to Christ. Number two, consideration for His little ones, do nothing to offend them. Number three, a desperate desire for personal holiness. Number four, spiritual reality comparable to salt, that is indeed salty. Well, we’ll go on the next time we get together as we study God’s blessed Word, this book of Mark.
Dear Father today, may our hearts be so open to Thee, that we will work well with others who love Thee too, 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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