You'll be better able to believe God once your heart has been cleansed from the things that hinder Him.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing all right today? Well, of course, I wait for you to answer. What did you think?
My father used to say to me, “Boy, when you ask a question, give people a chance to answer and when they ask you a question, you better think before you answer.” Oh, he pounded that into me, [chuckle] Oh, dear. I sometimes say I wasn’t raised, I was reared regularly. He believed in the Scripture, laying on of hands. The application of the board of education to the seat of knowledge, but I’m grateful for a praying father who prayed for his motherless boy, and for a godly sister who took the place of the mother that had slipped along into the Glory and made a home for us there in those years when I was three, four, five, six, seven, eight years old. God’s been good to me, and I’m grateful. He gave me a good Christian wife and a good Christian family and kept me going here through the years. I feel like I’d live to be 100. That’d be great, wouldn’t it?
Well, here we are in 1 Timothy 3, at the second half of verse 9. Holding the mystery of the faith, this is the qualifications for deacons. Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
Now, the mystery of the faith has to do with your relationship with God by faith. You don’t have to understand all the things that happen in connection with God’s dealings with you and with me. You can accept His providential care and His love and His salvation by faith. “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
Three times in the New Testament, we find an Old Testament statement quoted. The Old Testament prophet said the just shall live by faith, and three times in the New Testament, you find it again. The just shall live by faith. “We walk by faith,” says Paul, “Not by sight.” What does it all mean? It means that where you can’t understand all that God is doing, you take what He says by faith. You receive it and Him with it because He’s your God and you trust in Him. “Though He slay me,” said Job, “Yet will I trust Him.” Where you can’t understand, you can trust.
Now, that doesn’t keep you from studying, it doesn’t keep you from learning, it doesn’t keep you from asking questions, and I may say it doesn’t keep you from having an honest doubt now and then. But the answer to doubts is not more doubts. The answer to doubts is the Presence of Christ. “Marvel not,” our Lord Jesus said unto the doubting Nicodemus, “That I said unto thee, you must be born again.” Why? Because look who’s talking. He said, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, you must be born again.” Who’s that? The One who flung the stars out in space, this seemingly limitless universe that is only part of many other universes and constantly expanding, and all of it operating on split second time. Jesus, our blessed Lord, made it all. “All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made,” the Bible says. Who’s talking? The Creator that breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of Adam and of Eve and then who sustains the very life you and I have. By Him, it says we live and move and have our being. He’s the sustainer, the Creator and the redeemer and God’s blessed only begotten Son.
He has a right to say what He says, and you and I don’t have to worry about it. The answer to doubt is not more doubt. The answer to doubt is to turn toward the Lord Jesus Christ and find in Him the answer to all your questions. Well, I say this matter of trust does not rule out study. Go and get as much learning as you can. Go through college, get a graduate degree or two if you can. You need that in our kind of culture, and being a good Christian does not mean that you have to be ignorant or naive. My old boss Vic Corey used to say you don’t have to have a high coefficient of gullibility in order to be spiritual. Life does not need to take you by surprise. You can be with it. You can know what’s going on. You can be educated. You can be aware and all of that and still trust your blessed Lord because after you’ve learned all you can, there’s still plenty that you don’t really know. And that’s the point where active faith comes in. Faith in a living Christ who Himself is the door to eternal life, the mystery of the faith.
Now He says you hold it, you hold it in a pure conscience. Why does He say that? Simply this- that an outraged guilty conscience short-circuits your ability to trust God. You wonder why sometimes it’s hard for you to pray? It’s because there’s something between you and your blessed Lord. And when you get that cleared up, you’ll find yourself praying with more effectiveness and abandon. You follow me there? A pure conscience.
How do you get a pure conscience? How much more, he said, shall the blood of Christ cleanse your conscience to serve the living God? You get a clean conscience by confessing and forsaking whatever it is that has come between you and your Lord. “He that covereth his sins,” said Solomon, “Shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh it shall have mercy.”
We go then over to 1 John, the first chapter, which is the classic passage on this whole matter, isn’t it? And he said, First of all, your fellowship with the Lord Jesus depends upon walking with Him. “We walk in the light as He is in the light. We have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son keeps on cleansing us from all sin.”
How do you walk in the light? When God shows you something, you obey it. My friend, Pastor Ward Potts, there in the Cleveland area, said that God spoke to his heart one day as he was ministering inside of a church in downtown Cleveland at some Lenten service or other. Spoke to his heart and said, “Instead of being inside of stained glass windows, you ought to be out there on the public square.”
And he said he held kind of a conversation with the Father. He said, “Well, I can’t do that.” He said, “Yes, you can.” He said, “How can I do that?” He said, “Get together some people and some music and… ” Well, he said, “They wouldn’t give me a permit.” He said, “This is what I want you to do.” And so he went to the authorities, they not only gave him a limited permit, they gave him an unlimited permit to hold open air meetings there on the public square of Cleveland, Ohio.
And then he got together some people and a loudspeaker and a radio contact so the thing could be broadcast, I guess, and some music. And so every day, once a week, they’re out there ministering the Word of God as long as the weather allows them to do so from spring until late fall.
But how did it start? It started by walking in the light. It started by obeying what God said. Many of us shut off the will of God when it comes to us in those quiet urgings of the Holy Spirit of God. It’s a dreadful, tragic mistake. Don’t ignore the promptings of the Spirit of God in your heart, and don’t ignore what you know to be the revealed will of God as you read it in His Word. If we walk in the light, when God says something to you from His Word or by the quiet voice of the Spirit of God speaking in your heart, you better listen. That means walk in the light. Then he says we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses.
Well, what happens when you step out of line, as we all do now and again? If you had to say, “Lord, I blew it. I am sorry.” Of course, so have we all. And so you come to verse 9, “If we confess our sins… ” This is 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins… ” The word ‘confess,’ Greek word ‘homologeo,’ which means ‘say the same thing,’ agree with God, He already knows the score about you. He won’t make any discoveries about you when you finish your prayer. All you have to do is agree with God. Agree with God about the thing, confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us. He’s faithful, that means He’ll never turn you away. He’s just, that means He’s already paid the price at Calvary to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Purge your conscience. The blood of Christ, how does it happen? When you come and confess and turn your back on that thing, and ask your blessed Lord to cleanse you, He does it, and you’re restored.
A missionary friend of mine said he visited a place in Africa where they seemed to have a perennial time of revival. Always constantly renewed, people constantly blessed, the blessing of God was just breaking out all over that particular area. He inquired, he said, as to the cause of it. And one of the elders, the older men on the congregation, said, “We believe in instant confession of sin. Whenever any of us is aware of being out of fellowship with our Lord or having said or done something that grieves the Spirit of God, we confess it immediately.” That was shown in their meetings, where people would stand up and say, “I need prayer for this or that or the other ’cause I’ve gotten out of the will of God.”
Instant confession of sin and of mistake and of grieving the Spirit of God or of getting out of line, out of the will of God. Instantly, the minute you’re aware of it, turning to your blessed Lord, letting Him cleanse you, that keeps your conscience clean.
Now, this, he said, is what happens if you want a good ministry as a deacon. And for that matter, as any kind of a Christian leader or a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, holding the mystery of the faith, that means a direct wire to Heaven. Let’s come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need, that’s the mystery of the faith, but you hold it in a pure conscience.
How is that? You refuse to let anything stand in the way between you and your God. A guilty conscience short-circuits, cuts out the ability really, to exercise faith and believe God. You have to get your conscience clean through faith in Jesus and through the cleansing of His precious shed blood before you can believe Him for anything else. Does that makes sense? Now, you try that out today.
While I’ve been talking with you, I can guarantee you that some things have come into your own mind and you’ve thought, “Boy, I ought to take care of that. I ought to face up to that. I ought to confess that.” Well, instead of saying I ought to and then going away, why don’t you do it? Why don’t you get down before your Lord and say, “Lord, this has been between me and you. This has gotten me out of fellowship with you, blessed Lord. Cleanse me from it now and grant to me to obey you in this matter.” If you’ll just do that, I can guarantee you that the action of faith, that is, the miracle of believing God for things, is going to take place in your life. You’ll be better able to believe God once your heart has been cleansed from the things that hinder Him.
It’s said concerning our Lord Jesus that, “He could there do no mighty work among them save that He laid His hand on a few sick folk and healed them and He marveled because of their unbelief.” “He could do no mighty work,” it says. Why?
Because of their unbelief. There were things standing between them and God and it hindered God’s working in their midst. Now, God is almighty and He can do everything, but in the way He has set us up, He has made it possible for us to say no to Him, and when we say no to God on something, we make it not possible for God to do the miraculous in our lives.
Oh, beloved, be a specialist in instant obedience, will you? Be a specialist in instant confession of anything that you find that’s wrong between you and your Lord. Specialize in keeping the way open, as the old song used to say, “Nothing between my soul and the Savior. Naught of this world’s delusive gleam. I have renounced all earthly favor. Jesus is mine, let nothing between.” Ah, yes, there it is. Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. Great truth, isn’t it?
Dear Father today, keep us clean through Jesus’ blood and keep us miraculous through the mystery of the faith. 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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