Disciple Of Love

If you're going to help disciple somebody, do it lovingly.

Scripture: John 11:45-47, 1 Thessalonians 4


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? You’re doing all right? Well, yes, I wait for you to answer, of course. This is your good friend, Bob Cook, and I am glad to be back with you. We’re looking into the Gospel of John right now, we’re in Chapter 11 of John’s Gospel. The Lord Jesus has just now been standing at the opening of the cave, the tomb where Lazarus’ body had been laid, been dead for four days. And now, the Lord Jesus said, “I thank thee that thou hearest me always, that thou hast heard me, and I knew thou hearest me always.”

Jesus, our blessed Lord, had already won the victory in this matter. He had prayed about it beforehand. He knew that he was answered. You remember, just the last time we got together, I emphasized the fact that when you go into an impossible situation with Jesus, He already has the solution; He already has the victory. My mind goes back to something that happened in 1948. ’48 to ’88, 40 years ago, wow, time goes so fast, doesn’t it? [laughter] Oh, yes, Easter Sunday afternoon, Yokohama, outdoor theatre, thousands of people gathered. Gertrude Webster, we called her Webster Sensei. Sensei is the Japanese suffix, the honorable suffix, equivalent to our teacher or doctor. And so, Webster Smith Sensei had set up this meeting using the back of GI invasion maps for printed posters, advertising the meeting.

And now, here was Merrill Dunlop, Bob Cook, and some missionaries, and thousands of people gathered in that outdoor theatre and it started to rain. Well, there I was with my Bible and I had packed in this round the world trip, I had packed a four by five speed graphic camera. And if you old timers remember, how the press used to use those big cameras, a very fine piece of merchandise it was too, well built, and if you pointed it right, you got the picture. And then it could be properly reproduced in print, which is what I was after because I wanted to be able send back stories and pictures of what the Lord was doing around the world.

There I was with the Bible and the camera, and some other stuff huddled in the rain, trying to protect the Bible and everything else from getting wet. And the rain was running down the back of my neck and down the bridge of my nose, and I was praying, “Oh God! Why do you let it rain? Don’t let it ruin this meeting.” Suddenly, Ernst Lang, a missionary from, came from Germany, originally. He was there, I think, in some connection with team missions, as I recall. And he looked over me and smiled and he said, “Do not anything worry, we already have the victory.” [laughter]

Then, he said in Japanese, “Let’s sing Heavenly Sunshine.” And so, they sang Heavenly Sunshine, our tune and their words. And they sang it, and they sang it, and they sang it. I don’t know how many times. They repeated that blessed chorus, “Heavenly sunshine, flooding my soul with glory divine. Hallelujah, Jesus is mine, heavenly sunshine.” And every now and again, Ernst Lang would look over at me and smile as if to say, “See I told you, we already have the victory.”

And sure enough, while they were singing, two things happened. It was still raining. Someone handed me a little soggy note that someone had written and it was written in very careful script like almost a child’s handwriting. Someone who had been studying English wrote in English, “Dear Dr. Cook, do not shorten your message, we want to hear the Word of God.” The second thing that happened was as I looked up, there was a tiny patch of blue sky that appeared right above us. And by and by, the rain was gone and the sun was shining. The meeting went on, and we had a gracious harvest of souls. Oh, I shall always remember that loving rejoinder that Ernst Lang, the missionary gave to a worried Bob Cook, “Do not anything worry, we we already have the victory.” [chuckle] Bless his heart. I don’t know if he’s still living or not but boy, that was great.

Jesus is already there when you hit the difficulty. He’s already won the victory when you sense the need. He’s already solved the problem when you approach it. You can trust your blessed Savior. Aren’t you glad that’s so? Oh I am, I’ll tell you. The Lord Jesus, when He finished His prayer it says, “When He had thus spoken, He cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come forth.'” That reminded me immediately of the prophecy that says, “The day is coming when all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and they that hear shall rise.” There is a resurrection coming for all of us. The Lord Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead as the first fruits.

First fruits is comparable to that first radish that you pull after you’ve planted a row of them, or the first ripe apple that you bite into when you have a whole orchard full of them. First fruits is what you get first from the seed proving that something’s gonna happen. “So the Lord Jesus has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of them that slept or died, and then the trumpet of God shall sound, the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall be caught up together with them in clouds.” Dr. Pettingill used to say, “That’s not clouds clouds, that’s clouds of believers.” [chuckle]

Well, whatever, “We’re caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord; wherefore comfort one another with these words,” Paul says there in 1 Thessalonians 4. “Lazarus, come forth.” The voice that speaks life. Well, you and I shouldn’t be surprised. Read the book of Genesis, God said, “Let there be light.” God said, “Let the earth bring forth.” God said this and that. God said, “Let us make man in our image.” It is the word of God that gives life. Jesus said so, didn’t he? John 6:63, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” The Bible, which you have in your home and may hold in your hand even now, the Bible is a source of divine power. Read it, and absorb it, and obey it and God’s power will be poured out in your life. It’s the voice that speaks life. His voice to you.

“So Lazarus,” it says, “came forth, he that was dead came forth.” Now John is careful to describe his condition. It says, “Bound hand and foot with grave clothes.” They used to wrap the body tightly with linen cloth and intersperse the layers with all sorts of spices. That was the way they prepared their dead for burial. They buried them the same day they died, generally. So his whole body: His feet, his legs, his thighs, his torso, his arms, his neck, and his head were covered with these linen wrappings. He couldn’t walk out. It was the word of the living God that brought him right out there and laid him down in front of them, and the Lord Jesus said, “Now, you better unwrap him, loose him so he can go. Loose him. Let him go.”

The experience of conversion is similar to that word that brought Lazarus out of the tomb. The experience of discipling and learning to walk with Jesus is portrayed, it seems to me by the removal of the grave clothes. You can imagine how tenderly, although as quickly as they could, but how tenderly they removed those wrappings from this one who had been dead and who is now living. If you’re going to remove the grave clothes from someone who has been converted, don’t do it roughly. If you’re going to help disciple somebody, do it lovingly. Carefully. Be careful not to hurt while you’re trying to train. Loose him.

The job of other believers is like Priscilla and Aquila to help the young Apollos to understand the Word of God more perfectly. Help him to understand the Word and the Holy Spirit of God will guide in training the life. You get the idea? Loose him, let him go. Don’t tear off the grave clothes. Be careful as you disciple the new believer. Do it in love and do it with the Word of God. God’s word will make the difference.

Now verse 45 in John 11 said, “Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.” Pause here long enough just to remind yourself that there are always two possible reactions to the message of God’s love and to the working of His power in somebody’s life. Some will be convinced and believe on Christ as a result. Others will be unbelieving and end up opposing and conspiring. This was true here. They saw what was happening and was struck with the awe of the power of God working at that grave site. And seeing Lazarus now freed from the wrappings, and standing up, and speaking and greeting his family.

Can you imagine the scene of rejoicing that was there, and some of them said, “Oh, this has to be the Messiah. This has to be the one on whom we can believe.” And it says they believed on Him. They committed themselves to Him in faith as their Messiah. Others, however, went their ways to the Pharisees and told them what things Jesus had done. There’s always the unbelieving person who says, “No that’s not for me,” and who ends up opposing. For by telling the Pharisees, they were setting the stage for the conspiracy of murder that ended at Calvary.

Because you see in verse 47, “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees, a council, and they said, ‘What do we? What are we going to do? For this man doeth many miracles. If we let Him alone, all men will believe on Him and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.'” Religious opposition oftentimes turns into a simple power play, and it was here revealed that these people were concerned not about religion but about their influence and their place, the fact that they prospered as a result of it. “If we let Him thus alone, all men will believe on Him and the Romans will come and take away our place and nation.” You wanna think about your own motivation.

Be careful that you’re not motivated by self interest rather than by desire for the will of God. “Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory,” says Paul in Ephesians 2. “But,” he said, “look not every man on his own things only, but every man also on the things of others.” These people were motivated for their own security. You and I need to be concerned for the will of God.

Father God, today, may we be loving and tender and careful in the way we help other people. 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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