Dependence Means Obedience
It’s not that God is unwilling, it’s that you and I have short-circuited the matter by our unwillingness to get things straightened out.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing all right today? Oh, I’m fine thank you. Nice of you to ask. I feel great, yes I do. And I’m so glad that you’re there on the listening end. If you weren’t there, wouldn’t be anybody there, would there? So, thank you for being there and thank you for your prayers. I pray every day before I begin a broadcast. I’ve just been talking to the Lord about things now, and it is that way every day as I prepare these broadcasts I pray that God may take some truth and fit it exactly to your need, and when He does well, that means answered prayer, hallelujah.
Well, come with me to Mark 7, we’re talking about what happened to this man who was brought by his friends to the Lord Jesus. We talked briefly with each other the last time we got together about this matter of intercession, they brought somebody to Jesus. When you bring someone to the Lord you’re interceding for him or her, and we had some illustrations of that from God’s word. Remember you intercede for someone when you see the need, you identify with the need, you get under the need and make it your own, and then you bring it to God in faith and prayer. So let’s be intercessors, shall we? “Well, they bring unto Him”, it says, “one that was deaf and had an impediment in his speech”. Just let me drag this thought in. I don’t think that it’s, this is not exposition, this is a Cookism, all right? If you don’t like it you’ll have to forgive me. The reason many people do not speak clearly for Jesus is they haven’t heard from Him for a while. Tell me about your lack of ability to speak for Christ, oh listen, when you have heard His voice in the ears of your soul, when you have felt His touch upon your life, when you have been with Him until your eyes are wet and your heart is tender, when He has spoken to you, my friend, you’re going to be able to speak clearly about Him. The reason many people have difficulty speaking, see this man had an impediment in his speech, the reason many people have difficulty speaking for the Lord is that they haven’t heard, see he was deaf, they haven’t heard from God. Perhaps for a long, long time. Think about it, will you? “Deaf and had an impediment in his speech and they beseech Him to put His hand upon him. They took him aside from the multitude and put His fingers into his ears and spit and touched his tongue, and then He sighed and said, be opened, ‘effatha’, be opened”. Think with me for a little moment about the touch or before that, the idea that our Lord Jesus took this man aside from the multitude. There is value in getting away from the crowd if you want to have some dealings with God. There is value in getting away from the crowd if you if you want to have some dealings with God. He took him aside, learn to get along with God.
Wendell P. Loveless, my dear friend of many years, who I think is still living at a great age, he’s in his 90’s now surely, in Hawaii, but he used to say, as I recall when I was a student at the Moody Bible Institute, he would say, “You have to take time to get alone with God. If you don’t come apart with God, you’ll come apart”, and he’d smile. Well, it’s true. Get alone with God. Our Lord Jesus did, didn’t He? “Rising up a great while before day, He went out into a desert place and there prayed”. Other times He prayed all night, remained all night in prayer to God. Get alone with God. Jesus took the man aside to deal with him. You and I could do no less than to remove ourselves now and then, from the rush of everyday living, to get alone with God. Don’t tell me that there isn’t any place where you can get alone. I have prayed and some very unlikely places. I prayed in a rickshaw in the rain in Shanghai and God met me. I prayed in a coal cellar in Illinois and God met me. I have prayed in an attic in another place and God met me. You could always go in the bathroom and lock the door and get down on your knees and talk to God. Yes you can get alone with God if you want to. So, learn the lesson, will you? If you want really to meet the Lord Jesus in His transforming power, take time to get alone with Him. Now, it says, “They wanted Him to touch this man”, and so I looked up the different passages that have to do with the touch of Christ. What a blessed study it was. There all listed in the back of the Bible I use of for these broadcasts and is it’s old Thompson Chain Reference Bible. Maybe you have one in your home, but they’re listed here, let me just run them off for you, may I? There was the cleansing touch, Matthew 8 verse 3, “Jesus put forth His hand and touched him saying, ‘I will’”, this is the leprosy person, “He touched him saying, ‘I will be thou clean’, and immediately his leprosy was cleansed, there’s the cleansing touch. When the Lord Jesus touches your life, He makes you clean. What a beautiful, wonderful experience that is. Jim Voss said to me shortly after he was converted back in the late 1940’s, ‘49 I guess it would’ve been, he said, “Bob, you have no idea how wonderful it is to walk down the street and feel clean and know that sins are forgiven and things are right”. Well of course, it’s true for all of us isn’t it? Of course it is. Then there’s the quieting touch, Matthew 8:15, “He touched her hand and the fever left her and she arose and ministered unto them”, and then there’s the illuminating touch, Matthew 9:29, “Then touched He their eyes saying, ‘According to your faith, be it unto you’, and their eyes were opened”. That’s the blind man just outside of Jericho, they were crying out for help, you remember? The illuminating touch, then there’s the reassuring touch, Matthew 17:7, “Jesus came and touched them and said, ‘Arise, be not afraid”. Then there’s the liberating touch, Mark 7:33, that’s the one were looking at right here, “He took him aside and put His fingers into his ears and spit and touched his tongue and straightaway, his ears were opened and the string of his tongue was loosed and he spake plain”, the liberating touch. And then there’s the touch upon childhood. They brought Him young children that He should touch them, “And He took them up in His arms and put His hands upon them and blessed them”. Jesus loves the little children, that’s what we sing and it’s so true.
If I’m speaking to someone who’s listening just now and you’re in what we call childhood, three, four, five, six, seven eight, ten, twelve, fifteen years whatever it is, remember the Savior longs to touch your life with His blessing. There is nothing so sweet as the smile on the face of the little child who has just been in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. He wants to touch you, and then of course there’s the healing touch in Luke 22, “Jesus answered and said, ‘Suffer ye thus far’, and He touched his ear”, this is in the Garden of Gethsemane you recall, “and healed him”. The healing touch. Isn’t that a beautiful list of the touch of Christ? Oh, wonderful, healing, liberating, comforting, quieting, reassuring, cleansing touch. Hallelujah for that. Well, the touch of Christ. How do you get it? How do you make sure that God has touched you? Well, first of all you come to Him. The complaint that God gives through the prophet is, “You will not come to Me that ye might have life”. Come to Him, that means approach Him in prayer, get on your knees and say, Lord I want to talk with you, I want your touch in my life. Come to Him. Second confess to Him. As long as you and I are harboring anything in our hearts that is contrary to God’s will, it will be difficult for us to exercise the faith that puts us in touch with God’s power. It’s not that God is unwilling, it’s that you and I have short-circuited the matter by our unwillingness to get things straightened out. So confess to Him. First come to Him, second confess to Him, third ask Him for what you want. “Ye have not because ye ask not”, says James. Ask Him for what you want, you want a touch on your life, you want renewal, you feel dead and dry and fruitless and discouraged, tell Him that and ask Him to touch you, and then finally received by faith the answer. Jesus said, “Whatsoever things are ye desire when you pray. Believe that ye receive them and you shall have them”, and then he added, “and when you stand praying, forgive”, and so as a postscript to all of this be sure that you forgiven other people. Don’t harbor resentment in your heart because that again cuts the current off and keeps it from flowing into your heart and life. How to get the touch of God? I’ve just told you; come to Him, confess to Him, ask Him for what you want, and receive by faith the answer, and make sure that your heart is right toward others as well. Well now, “He took him aside from the multitude”, we read, “put His fingers into his ears and spit and touched his tongue and sighed, and said looking up to heaven, he sighed and said, ‘effatha’”, that is be open. There are two occasions upon which the Lord Jesus Christ is said to have sighed, this is one of them, “When He looked at this man and his miserable condition, he couldn’t hear, he couldn’t speak. Cut off from communication with the world around him, to be able to see, but not really to understand, to feel but not people express”, and so He sighed that as he looked at the need of this man then. Then you go over to Mark 8 verse 12 and you find Him sighing again. “The Pharisees came forth began to question with Him, seeking of Him a sign from heaven, tempting Him and He sighed deeply and His spirit and said, ‘Why does this generation seek after a sign, verily I say unto you, there shall no sign be given unto this generation’, then He left them”. He sighed because of their heart of unbelief. They were, they were trying somehow to trick Him to entrap Him somehow and they were tempting Him, trying to get Him to say something that would tangle Him up. I’ll tell you there’s been no press conference in all of history like the ones that Jesus had with people who were trying to trap Him by their questions, “He sighed because of their unbelief of the human heart”. What is it that makes God sigh? One is your hurts, your feelings, and your needs. “We have a high priest’, it says, “that can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities’. Jesus knows how you feel. I’ve had in my years of being in the pastorate, I was a full-time pastor for 18 years. Made three calls a day during those years. At thousand times a year roughly, go tell somebody about the Lord Jesus or pray with someone in need, or who was ill or whatever, and I’ve had people say to me so often, “Pastor, you don’t know how I feel”, well of course that’s true because I don’t live inside of your skin. How can I know? I can sympathize, my heart can break with yours in sorrow and in sympathy, but to know how you feel, that’s impossible for another person, but Jesus does. It says, “He can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities because He was in all points tested like as we are, yet without sin”. He knows and so the heart of God is touched with your needs. The old song, I used to hear my father sing it after supper, I’d be washing the dishes in the little, light housekeeping room that he and I occupied as home sweet home in Toledo, Ohio, and after supper was over, I’d be washing the dishes he’d sit down over in his old rocking chair and pick out one of his couple hundred songbooks, he was a collector songbooks, and he would open it, and like as not, he’d be singing, ‘Does Jesus care when my heart is pained, too deeply for mirth and song, the tears flow all the day long”. Oh yes He cares. I know He cares, “His heart is touched with my grief when the days are dreary, the long nights weary, I know my Savior cares”. Yes, He does, He cares how you feel. Well, we’ll talk about this a little more the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, may we depend upon the one who really cares and may we obey the Word as He gives it to us, 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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