Christ In All

There’s room for having a big heart for people who are still growing in God.

Scripture: Mark 9:35-50, Luke 9:49


Alright thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing all right? Well, I trust so, bless your heart. Some of you of course may have struck a rough day and if so, look up and say, Lord Jesus see me through this one and He will, for He hath said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”. My good friend Merv Roselle, great evangelist and missionary heart for God, years ago, told the story of an old man in a church he served during his student days. He said the dear old man got his syllables mixed up and he would quote the verse and say, “He’ll never sake me nor for leave me”. Well, however you put it, however you put it, it’s still true, isn’t it? Jesus is faithful. “If we believe not”, that means if you run out of faith, like a housewife runs out of sugar, haven’t got any more left, “if we believe not yet he abideth faithfully, he cannot deny himself”. Oh, great is thy faithfulness, oh God my Father. There is no shadow of turning with Thee, Thou changest not Thy compassions, they fail not, as Thou hast been, Thou forever will be, great is Thy faithfulness”. Hallelujah! You can trust God, even if you’ve struck a rough day. Somebody needs that. Go ahead and trust Him and He’ll see you through.

You and I’ve been looking at the ninth chapter of Mark. Our Lord Jesus has just pronounced the secret of greatness. He adds something about little children. It’s interesting to me that our Lord Jesus Christ puts great truths in juxtaposition, one next to the other, without any seeming rhyme or reason, but their greatness is immediately evident and they are connected. “Greatness is connected with service and humility”, verse 35. Greatness is also connected, and this is by implication, with concern for the little child, “Whoso shall receive one of such children in My name, receive Me”. “He took him”, it says, “in His arms”. Our Lord Jesus must have been a wonderful person because the children loved Him and they loved to be loved by Him. “When He had taken him in His arms”, He said, “Whosoever shall receive one of such children in My name, receive Me”. How much of a heart do you have for little kids? We love all of the little kids that belong to us, but I’m talking now about children. “One of such children”. This was a child that was not related in any way to the Lord Jesus, evidently a member of the family in the house where he was then seated, and He spoke lovingly of that child.

Do you have a heart for the little children? I’ll tell you why I’m mentioning this. In a world such as ours, it is increasingly important that you win all the children you can to the Lord Jesus Christ, early in life. The impacts that are made before a child reaches the age of seven, are those that remain with that individual throughout his or her life. Oh, reach the children for Christ. I’m so grateful that I was brought to trust the Lord Jesus, when I was not quite six years old as a little boy, living in Cleveland Ohio. As I’ve often told you we lived in a basement flat, at 18th and Euclid there in Cleveland, and we went to the store building church that was presided over by a man who later became the home superintendent in his denomination the Christian and missionary alliance. H.E. Nelson was his name, and he was this little boys’ pastor and my father was Sunday school superintendent and janitor of that little fledgling church, store building church on Cedar Avenue in Cleveland.

One Sunday night when the pastor was preaching the gospel, I felt that I was a sinner and I needed to be saved, and I went to that prayer bench, and there my father kneeling on one side of me and pastor Nelson on the other, praying with me and helping me to trust the Savior. I became a Christian boy. I gave Jesus Christ the right to control my life. No, I didn’t have an adult awareness of being a Christian. I had a child’s awareness of trusting a loving Savior, but I grew and knowledge of Him has continued through the years and I’m still learning, just as you are, His wonders, His grace, His love and His blessed indwelling Holy Spirit is ministering to my heart as I grow. Yes, have some concern, will you, for the little children and win all of them that you can, to the Lord Jesus Christ. Child evangelism is important, Jesus said so.

Well, now we come to verse 38, and this is an interesting passage, the package of truth goes from verse 38 right straight on through verse 50, and obviously we won’t get through it today because time will run out on us, but we’ll start anyway. John answered Him and said, now why bring this up? Jesus said, “Whosoever receives one of such children in My name receiveth with Me”, and John answered and said, “Master, we saw somebody casting out demons in your name and he followeth not us, and we forbade him because he followeth not us”. Well now, what’s the point there? They were upset evidently, because whoever it was, was using the name of the Lord Jesus in exorcising evil spirits and the disciples said, no, they didn’t like that, and so they said, don’t you do that, you aren’t part of our group, and they forbade him, exclusiveness took over. Luke has the same story, Luke 9:49, “Master, we saw one casting out demons in your name and we forbade him, because he followeth not with us”. Jesus said, “Forbid him not, for he that is not against us, is for us”. Over, back over and Mark again now, the way Mark records it, “Forbid him not, for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name that can likely speak evil of me, for he that is not against us, is on our part”. Now, we think about this for a minute. First of all, what really happened there? “He followeth not us”. We told him you can’t do this, because you’re not part of our group, “Followeth not us”, means our group.

Many years ago, I was in a certain part of our world, I won’t identify the part nor the group, because it’s really nobody’s business and many years have passed, but the truth is still there and I want to share with you. I spoke to this man and he said. “You know, I’m sorry that you came out here on the mission field because you are cooperating with the people that I’m standing against”. Well, I said, “Look, we’re winning a lot of souls to Christ and we’re channeling them back into your congregations and your churches”. “Yes”, he said, “I know that but”, he said, “the only reason I’m out here is because I disagree with these people, and if you break down that disagreement, I don’t have any reason for being out here”. Well, you know Bob Cook and how tactful I am. I looked and I said, ‘Brother, I thought you were out here to win souls”, and that was the end of that conversation. Oh, that’s terrible isn’t it? I’m sorry, but not much.

Well, anyhow, say exclusiveness is everywhere in human nature. We have certain clubs, you can’t get into them because you’re not the right amount of money or the right color or the right something or other. Well we had it when we were boys and girls. Did you have a club when you were a child? We belonged, I belonged to some kind of club, I forget the name of it, and we hung around together and it was our gang, you know, five or six little dirty faced boys of age 8 or 9 or 10 or whatever was, that was our club. Well, I know my wife, my dear wife Coreen said that she had a club of neighbor girls, and it they had an acronym for it, was called “oranges.” You know what that stood for? Stood for “Our Ready And Noble Gathering Every Saturday”, and on Saturday mornings they’d get together in the loft of the barn out behind the house, where grandpa and grandma Nilsen lived in Chicago, and they would have little something to eat and they would have their meeting, and they would pay their dues which they probably spent for candy. Clubs. Well kids do it, but grown-ups do too, and so we say, you can’t come in here, this is our group, we don’t want you in here, this is our group. “He followeth not us”.

Have you thought recently about the fact that the Lord Jesus came to break down those lines of distinction? “There is neither Jew nor Greek, bond or free, barbarian, Scythian, bond or free, but all are one in Christ Jesus”, Paul said. That passage, “There is neither Greek or Jew, circumcision or un-circumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond or free, but Christ is all and in all”. Greek nor Jew, that’s national. Circumcision or un-circumcision, that’s religious, barbarian or Scythian, that is cultural, bond or free, that is societal. Christ is all and in all, He came to break down those barriers, and the closer you get to the Lord Jesus, the less use you will have for exclusiveness. Immediately, someone’s going to say, “Brother Cook, now don’t lead us into compromise. Somebody denies the inspiration of the Scriptures and the virgin birth of Christ and the need to the new birth, how can I, how can I cooperate with him”? I didn’t say that you could cooperate with him, I’m simply saying exclusiveness that keeps people out, tends also to keep them from the Savior. You want to think about that? If you specialize in keeping people out of your group, there not going to be much chance of their being won to Christ. I don’t mean you should compromise on the verities of the faith and the inspiration of the Word of God and the deity of Christ and the need to the new birth, and the personality and work of the Holy Spirit. I think I’m straight on those doctrines brethren, just as many of you are, but I think there’s room, isn’t there, for having a big heart for people who may be being used of God, as Jesus said, “These strangers were who may be being used of God while not belonging to our group”, and, “He follows not us”, that involves, he doesn’t follow our methods. Now, just to be honest about it, I wouldn’t feel comfortable using the methods that some other dear children of our heavenly father use. I really wouldn’t, but see, I don’t have to. You don’t have to use the other person’s methods; you just do what God told you to do. “He followeth not us”, he doesn’t use our methods. Well, he doesn’t have to. It’s quite a thought isn’t it? We’ll pick this up the next time we get together.

Dear Father, give us room in our hearts for other people who are serving Thee, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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