Ask this question, "how effectively am I working for my Lord?"
Alright thank you very much and hello again radio friends how in the world are you? You doing alright today? Well I trust so. This is your good friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. Whether you’re just waking up or just fixing breakfast or just driving to work. Or because some of you listen late at night just falling asleep whatever it is God bless you. I’m glad to be with you. We belong to each other, don’t we? I sort of give myself away and you take me in. [chuckle] That’s great I like that. [chuckle] I like to belong to people. That’s part of the way I’m built.
You and I are reading John Chapter nine. Just by way of review the disciples ask this question which on the face of it seems so stupid, “Who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” Well you know that the poor man, blind man couldn’t do much sinning before he was born? The implication therefore is that his parents were doing something wrong. Somebody has to be blamed for that condition. That was the assumption and that dates back then through the centuries to the common idea that if you’re suffering you must be bad. That’s what the three so-called friends of Job said to him, said, “You must be a bad man, why don’t you confess your badness? Because look at the way you’re suffering.” No. And Job was God’s choice servant and God was doing something special through Job and the answer that the Lord Jesus gave to this question is exactly parallel to the truth we were talking about when we use the illustration of Job’s experience. Jesus said, “Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” The reason for all of this is that God should do something in that man’s life.
Learn to look at your handicaps and your disadvantages and your reversals and your disappointments. Learn to look at them from the point of view of, “What can God do with this?” It’s an opportunity for God to work. I learned that approach years ago through reading a book written by a friend of mine who said that you consider all the events that happened just as an opportunity for God to work. This an opportunity Lord, for you to work. You look at it that way and pray in that positive way and you find God working in you just as He worked in the life of this blind man. That the works of God should be made manifest in him.
Now he was of age, that is he was over 21, wasn’t he? His parents said that he is of age ask him he shall speak for himself. So he was no longer a child and he’d been through all of these years of blindness. Feeling his way around, developing that marvelous sixth sense that non-sighted people have. They seem to know the nearness of objects and they’re hearing is acutely developed to where they can distinguish from where sounds or echoes come. They have a strange uncanny sense of direction many times. He probably developed all of that. Didn’t have a seeing eye dog, that hadn’t come along yet, so he had just with a cane or whatever he had just to tap his way along, and he’d be shoved out of the way by thoughtless and cruel people cursing at him now and again and he would probably be begging. Because that’s the only thing that was open to him. Now all the years of doing that. Many time he would say, “I wonder why this has to be like this. I didn’t ask to be born this way, I didn’t ask to be born into this culture into this family into this nation into these conditions, why does it have to be?” I’m sure that he asked that question of himself or of others many a time. Now the answer is on the way, the reason for it is that the works of God might be manifest in him.
We come then to this fourth verse of John nine and we’ll stop on it just for a moment. Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him that sent me while it is day, the night cometh when no man can work.” I have preached from this verse many a time and it speaks to me every time I look at it. I must, the idea that there’s no substitute for the character that drives a person. Psychologist said to me one time in a psych class he said, “When something happens there’s always a reason for it. Behavior is always caused.” Said, “If somebody comes up and socks you in the eye, he does it because there’s a reason.” Well, I’m sure that’s true. And if I sock him back again there probably is a reason too. [chuckle] But he said all behavior is caused.
What drives a man, the character and the background, and the inheritance, and the environmental factors that have accrued through the years, what drives you, there’s no substitute for your character, the kind of person you are. Jesus said, “I must. I do always those things to please the Father,” said he. “My will is, my meat is to do the will of Him that sent me and finish his work. I delight to do thy will, oh my God, yea thy laws within my heart,” we read in the Messianic’s psalm. “Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross despising the shame and is now set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Something was driving our blessed Lord what was it? It was his heavenly character as a redeemer and a Saviour, God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son. He said, “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life.” A ransom for many to minister, that is to share God with people at the point of their need. He said, “I must.”
Now having said that, let me ask you this question what is it that drives you? Have you ever thought about that? What is it that makes you do what you do that makes you the kind of person you are? It may well be as you think and pray about that that God by His indwelling Holy Spirit if you’re a believer you know the spirit of God dwells within you. It may well be as you think and pray about that that God will remind you of some areas in your life that need a change in direction and maybe you need to get out of the driver seat and let God take over.
I recall just now as I’m speaking with you the experience I had in Germany at the Frankfurt Rhein-Main Air Base, one of the chaplains had graciously arranged for me to have some services there. And in the course of one particular service they had opportunity for some of the GIs to express themselves in a word of testimony and this lanky GI from somewhere in the midwest got up and he said, “Well” he said “My life was like a jeep and I was running it and I was always getting into trouble and running in the ditch.” But one day I said, “Dear Jesus, I’m gonna get out from behind the steering wheel. I’m gonna get in the back seat, you take the steering wheel of my life.” He said, “Things have been better ever since”. [chuckle] Well, [chuckle] you know that’s true, let the Lord Jesus have the steering wheel, let Him drive.
“It is God that worketh in you,” said Paul in Philippians 2:13. “It is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” God takes care of the two things you can’t handle, one is the want to, you don’t always wanna do what’s right and the other is the performance to will and to do. Even when you know what is right you don’t wanna do it and even sometimes when you wanna do it, you find yourself unable to manage it. How many people have said to me through the years, “Mr. Cook I just can’t handle it, I can’t cope, I can’t do what I know I should.” Have you been in that place too? I’m sure we all have at some time or other. And the point of all this is let the Lord Jesus drive your life. The drive of a person, the character, the background, the total package of what you are needs to be under the control of the Holy Spirit of God and our blessed Saviour revealed through His presence in your life, I must.
There’s no substitute for work, he said, “I must work the works of Him that sent me.” You don’t drift into holiness and you don’t drift into Christian victory, you just don’t slide into the blessings of God, there’s work that’s involved. Paul said, “Whereunto I also labour according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” Therefore he said, “We labor knowing therefore the terror of the Lord we labor we persuade men.” Work, Paul was no stranger to it. His listing of the things he had been through certainly identified him as a worker, didn’t it? In labors and in fastings and all of the rest of that, you remember that list that he had for them? He said, “If you wanna know what it’s like to work, I’ll tell you. All of these things have happened to me and beside that the care of the churches… ” I found it now he said, “I am more than even any of these other people that are bragging about themselves.” He said, “I am in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths often. Five times I got 39 stripes, three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I suffered shipwreck, journeyings, perils by robbers and by my own countrymen and by the heathen in the city, in the wilderness, in the sea among false brethren,” oh boy he worked.
The point I’m making is, it’s a very good thing to do an inventory of your own spiritual life and ask this question, how effectively am I working for my Lord? Now we all have the concept of “I gotta get up and go to work,” the idea of working for your daily bread. This is no stranger to your thinking I’m sure. I saw a bumper sticker the other day on the back of someone’s car, “I owe, I owe, so off to work I go”. [chuckle] He was in debt so he had to work. [chuckle] Well, we’re aware of that. But now bring that concept of working over into your spiritual life and ask this question. Jesus said, “I gotta work the works of Him that sent me, I have to work for God”, said He. Tell me, how much, how effectively, how hard are you working for your heavenly Father? Now it’s none of my business obviously, but it is yours and God’s. And I think we would do well, each of us, to face up to that question. “I must work the works of Him that sent me.” There’s no substitute for work. There’s no substitute for dedication. The works of Him that sent me. Not for yourself but for the heavenly Father. And there’s no substitute for urgency. The night cometh when no man can work. The sobering reality beloved is that you have opportunities today which will never come again. Live a day at a time with the idea and the very true knowledge that opportunities you face now will never come again in the same way. The night cometh when no man can work. Alright?
Father God in Jesus name, grant us to be working for Thee today. I pray in His 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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