Ask God about things, and when you're confident in His Will, go ahead. If it's doubtful, don't touch it.
Alright. Thank you very much. And hello again, dear radio friend. How in the world are you? You doing alright? I hope everything’s okay at your house, bless your heart. Before I begin these broadcasts, you can know that I pray, oh, how I pray, that God may take every word, and make it mean something to you, to help lift your heavy burdens, to give you some guidance where you may be perplexed, or comfort where you may be hurting. And may that be so, again, by God’s grace, today.
Look with me again, then, at Romans 14. Romans 14 says, “You find somebody that differs from you in matters of Christian procedure, somebody who’s weak in the faith, love him. Don’t fight him. Receive him, don’t argue with him. Remember, he’s God’s servant. Remember, all of us will have to stand at the judgment seat of Christ. Remember that your big job and mine is not to evaluate the other person, but to build him up, and to encourage him, rather than to stumble him, or to offend him, or to make him weak in his Christian faith.”
Now, the chapter ends with these words, “And he that doubteth is judged if he eat because he eateth not of faith.” Paul is still using this illustration of eating meat that was offered to idols. And he says, “He that doubteth is judged if he eat because he eateth not of faith; for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” Hamartia: missing the mark. Now, what about these things that are doubtful? The best rule is to say, “If it’s doubtful, don’t touch it.” Other people may, you cannot. There’s a tract that was put out years ago that still is in considerable use. “Others may, you cannot.” And it simply is a discussion of the very truth that we’re getting at here.
My rule of conduct has to be not, “What does the other fella get away with? What is the other fella doing?” But my rule has to be, “What is God telling me to do?” I think one of the best illustrations of this, is found in the closing verses of the Gospel of John. Our Lord Jesus has appeared to the disciples, had breakfast ready for them, there on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, had that conversation with Simon Peter, that established once and for all, the fact that he knew Peter’s heart, and Peter had to be brought to a place of confessing his failure, “Lord, though knowest all things,” and avowing his love for Jesus Christ, once again.
Now, then, they’re walking about, after Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me.” He turned and saw John following them, and Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “Lord, and what shall this man do?” See, our Lord Jesus had already given to Simon Peter something of prophetic word about the way he would be killed. Peter was crucified, tradition tells us. And so our Lord Jesus has said, “When you were young, you clothed yourself, and went where you want to, but when you’re old, you’ll stretch forth your hands, and another shall carry thee whither thou wouldest not.” This, he said, signifying by what death Peter would glorify God.
Peter was crucified, just as his Master was, but head downward, because he said he wasn’t worthy to be crucified, even in the same position as his Lord. Then, Jesus said, “Okay. You follow me.” Now, Peter says, “What’s John gonna do?” And our Lord turns on him, and says very crisply, “If I will let he tarry, ’til I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou, me.” That was pretty crisp, wasn’t it? Pretty straightforward. But there you have the words of our blessed Lord, emphasizing the fact that our number one assignment, is to be sure that we, personally, individually, are in the will of God, so far as we can determine it.
There may be people who are going to be in Heaven because they trust the Lord Jesus Christ, who with a completely clear conscience, are doing or saying things that God, the Holy Spirit, will not give you freedom to do. Now, that doesn’t mean they’re wrong and you’re right. It only means that God leads different people differently and that your criterion, and mine has to be, “Is this of faith?” In other words, “Am I perfectly clear in honoring and glorifying my Lord, this minute, in what I’m going to do?” That’s the question we have to ask.
He said, “If you do something and you’re doubtful about it,” He said, “You’re going to be judged for it because whatsoever is not of faith,” and using that expression, in this sense, means whatsoever is not in terms of absolute commitment to the Lord, freely doing it for His glory, that’s what that means. Whatsoever is not born of commitment to the Lord, freely doing it for His glory, He said, “That’s missing the mark.” You’ve heard people say, “If it’s doubtful, it’s dirty,” and the illustration, of course, that’s been used throughout the years, is the illustration of the husband who has worn a white shirt, the night before, to some banquet or other, and the next day, he takes that same shirt, and he brings it out, and says to his wife, “You think I can get away with wearing this shirt another day?” Well, the answer is, “If it’s doubtful, it’s dirty.” [chuckle] You can’t mistake the intent of the Word of God here. If you have doubt about an action, don’t do it. If you have doubt about a relationship, don’t enter it. If you have doubt about a decision, wait until you’re clear about it. If you have doubt about a letter, don’t mail it. If you have doubt about a word that you’re going to speak, don’t say it.
You can never be condemned for things you didn’t say, and didn’t write, and didn’t do, in this context, at least. Doubtful? Don’t touch it. Now, how does that work out in everyday life? Well, I think it has to be related to this process of what I tell our young people here at the college, of praying your way through the day. I’ve been in situations where someone was needling away at me, and humanly, the old Bob Cook, with the quick tongue, would have spoken out quick, and perhaps, cutting words. And I found myself, inwardly, just praying, “Oh, Lord, tell me now, what to do.” And the distinct impression was that I should be silent, say nothing. How grateful I am for those times when I paused to pray and asked God what to do next.
I’ve prayed over letters and instead of mailing them, I’ve not mailed them. Someone has said, “Write a letter in anger, it’d be the finest letter you ever regret.” You can say things when you’re angry that really are gems of invective. [laughter] You get it off your chest, and then put it away for a while, look at it, and you’re amazed at the caustic phrasing, and the lack of love and understanding that is there, on the part of somebody who’s supposed to be a Christian. If you’re doubtful about a decision, “Shall I take this job or that job?” Don’t do anything, until you’re clear. “You have a right,” says Norman Grubb, “The Christian soldier has a right to wait at headquarters until he’s sure of his marching orders.” Then, you can go out into the field and be sure that God is leading you. If you have a decision to make today, beloved, that decision can wait, until you are sure. Pray, wait on God. Pray, wait on God, until you know in your own heart the next step. Now, you don’t have to know what’s gonna happen 10 years from now, but you can always know the next step.
“Commit thy ways unto the Lord,” he said. “In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and He shall,” not maybe, “He shall direct thy paths.” God will guide you, step by step. It’s the next step that counts. And when you are sure of that after you’ve waited on God, then take that step, and the next, and the next, and the next will be made clear unto you. That’s the way that works. If you’re doubtful about something that has to do with questionable amusements, or relationships with people, and things in the world, culture around us, where there’s a little check in your spirit, where you’re not sure about it, where you don’t feel clear about it, back off from it. Far rather lose out on a date, young person, than to be linked with somebody for the rest of your life, that’s an unbeliever. Far rather lose out on a job opening, sir, than to be caught into a situation, where you’re required to use the Lord’s day, and constantly be in the company of those who are drinking, and carousing, as a way of doing business. If you are not clear about a business decision, if you’re not clear about a date, if you’re not clear about a relationship, don’t touch it.
But when you are clear, when God whispers to your heart that sense of confidence in Him, then go ahead, don’t back off then. And never second guess yourself. Once God has led you, and you know, as your eyes were wet with tears, and your heart was tender with the divinely given honesty, that is the birthright of those who know the Lord Jesus. When you have cleared a matter, so to speak, with heavenly headquarters, then never second guess God. Go ahead and trust Him, no matter what. This is the principle on which we’re working. Whatsoever’s not of faith misses the mark. Faith is risking the situation on God. Faith is that clear, absolutely committed, happily, wholesomely committed to Christ kind of a relationship, where the entire situation is risked on the will of God. That is working faith, and when that type of situation applies, go ahead. “If you’re doubtful about it,” he says, “Don’t touch it.” Because whatever is not of faith, is gonna miss the perfect, beautiful will of God.
How many times I’ve had occasion to thank my Heavenly Father for slowing me up on something, because I hesitated, not being clear about it. And while I waited, God revealed to me what His Will was, so I could go ahead. Pray your way through the day, beloved. Ask God about things, and when you’re confident in His Will, go ahead. If it’s doubtful, don’t touch it.
Dear Father today, help us to be clear in our commitment of faith though Jesus, our Lord, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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