Your destiny is made up not of circumstances around you but of your relationship with God moment by moment
Alright, thank you very much and hello again, dear radio friends, how in the world are you? Are you doing alright today? Yes, this is your friend Dr. Cook and I’m glad to be back with you. I look forward to these times when we can share from God’s Word.
We’re looking now at Mark chapter 12 beginning with verse 28. Said one of the scribes, now notice who has been talking with Him, we talked about the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Verse 27 of chapter 11, right? And so He told this parable about the vineyard and the man who expected some return from it but instead the people, who were in charge of it, beat up on his servants when they came to collect the rent and finally when he sent his son, they killed his son. This was a parable spoken directly against them. They wanted to kill him. It said they sought to lay hold on him but feared the people. They knew he had spoken the parable against them.
Then the Pharisees and the Herodians came; now the opposition to God gets people together just like faith in God gets people together. Don’t be surprised when folk gang up in opposition to the Lord. We’re seeing a lot of that in this our day, aren’t we? Atheistic folk, Agnostic folk, liberal minded people, those who deny the Scriptures and deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Humanists who believe that the human being is the beginning and end of all things, they all get together in crying out against the mounting influence of people who serve the Lord Jesus, those who are known popularly as Evangelicals. Oh what an outcry there is and it’s amazing how many folk get together, although they would be arguing against each other in a different setting, they do cooperate to oppose the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Don’t be surprised at that. It happened with our Savior, it’s happened through the centuries and it will happen again I suppose as time goes on. So now here the Pharisees and the Herodians, the Pharisees were intensely Nationalistic and the Herodians were just the opposite. They believed you ought to cooperate with the occupying powers of Rome in order to keep peace and be prosperous.
Alright, now in verse 18 of chapter 12 came the Sadducees, that was a theological sect who believed that when you die that was the end of it. They don’t believe there is any resurrection and so they came with a question about the resurrection and He answered, we talked about that the last time we got together. You don’t know the Scriptures nor the power of God. The balance that keeps you from error is the knowledge of God’s Word and an experience of His power through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.
Now one of the scribes, now this is the scribes asking a question, and it said that he perceived that the Lord Jesus had answered all these people well so he said “which is the first commandment of all?” Now he had heard our Savior say render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s and he thought to himself, alright now I’ll ask him, I’ll nail him down, there has to be a first great commandment. There has to be one great ultimate duty, what is it? I’ll ask Him that. So he said which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him and said, He quoted from Deuteronomy, “Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, with all thy mind and with all thy strength. This is the first commandment and the second is like and namely this thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self. There is none other commandment greater then these”. The scribe said “Well Master, thou has said the truth; there is one God; there is none other but He”. “And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, He said thou art not far from the Kingdom of God. And no man after that dared to ask Him any question”.
What do you make of all this? Number one, if you’re going to nail down the ultimate source of a man’s destiny, you come right straight back to your relationship with God. So often we give different kind of alibis, we say oh if I had had a different background, if I were born into a different family, if I had a different upbringing, if I had had more advantage educationally, if I only had the breaks some other people seem to get in their employment, if I had only been promoted here and there things would be different. Well, I suppose that is true. If circumstances were different, they would be different. That is a tautology that needs no arguing.
The point is however if you’re going to discuss ultimate destiny you come right straight back to your relationship with God. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. This is the ultimate. Now how do we apply that in everyday living?
Well I think you have to ask honestly, ask yourself honestly, do I really love God or am I merely mouthing the words. Often times I think as I hear people singing that beautiful song, “My Jesus I love thee I know thou art mine for thee all the follies of sin I resign and my gracious redeemer, my Savior art thou if ever I loved thee my Jesus tis now.” Beautiful words, I see people singing them idly and it pains my heart because I know that it grieves our Lord. It’s one thing to say I love you, it’s another thing really to love, isn’t it? You know that. Now how is your relationship with God getting along? How is your relationship with God getting along? Do you know? Have you thought about that? Do you really love Him or do you give lip service?
The complaint that God had for His own people, His ancient people the Jews in the centuries past was voiced by one of the Prophets, said this people worship me they honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me. Says in another place in the Old Testament, they feared the Lord and served their own Gods. Oh they went through the motions of worshiping all mighty God but they had their own idols set up in their own tents and houses. No wonder the song writer said, “the dearest idol I have known, whatever that idol be, helped me to tear it from thy throne and worship only thee.”
This is truth we have to grapple with; destiny is made up not of circumstances my beloved friend. Destiny, yours that is, your destiny is made up not of circumstances around you but of your relationship with God moment by moment by moment. When you make that relationship right and when your heart is filled with love for God, He has a way of guiding you in and through and around and often times in spite of the circumstances so as to glorify Himself and bless you in the process.
Someone wrote that he was so discouraged with the job situation and I came back with an answer, commit thy work unto the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established. I said pray about your job and you’ll find your attitude and your circumstances changing. After a while back came a letter saying I did what you said, I prayed about my job and my attitude changed and now I’m in line for a promotion. Alright, good. Your relationship with Almighty God is the basic element in determining your destiny, the greatest commandment of all.
Now one of the sad things in the Scripture is the almosts. For instance I think of the ruler that the Apostle Paul spoke to, King of Agrippa and he said, Paul was preaching to him as recorded there I think it was in the 26th chapter isn’t it? In the book of Acts? Where he was preaching the gospel to him and Agrippa said, “almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian”. Acts 26 verse 28, almost persuaded. Somebody wrote a hymn on that theme, didn’t they? And we often times sing it when we are giving a gospel appeal, “Almost persuaded now to believe. Almost persuaded Christ to receive. Seems not some soul to say go Spirit, go thy way. Some more convenient day on thee I’ll call. Almost persuaded. Almost but lost”. Yes, the songwriter was accurate and we need to think in these terms. Almost is not enough. There can only be one winner, second place is just second place. Almost.
Sometimes I use the illustration of running for a train in Japan many years ago. When I arrived in Japan I was welcomed by the representatives of Youth for Christ, Dave Morkan and some of the others were there and Sam Wolgemuth and we went over to the headquarters office and had a time of fellowship and prayer and suddenly someone looked at his watch and said oh, your train is leaving in just a few minutes, we’ve got to get out of here, ran down the stairs, picked up my eleven suitcases or whatever it was, ha ha I had way too much baggage because I had recording equipment and everything else with me and ran into the car and drove pell-mell across the city in that horrendous traffic and got to the railroad station just in time I thought to make the train, ran up the stairs and got there in time to see the end of the train just disappearing around the curve. Now there was another man ahead of me that was running for the train, he didn’t have either the eleven suitcases or stuff nor indeed was he as heavy as I, he was skinny, so that he went up the stairs faster but he also missed the train. He missed it by a few seconds and I missed it by a few more seconds and so often times I’ll ask the audience when I’m telling this story I’ll say now which one of us missed it the most? Ha! Well you say you both missed it and that of course is the meaning of Romans 3:23. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. You’ve missed it. Almost is not enough when you’re dealing with God.
And Jesus said to this man thou art not far from the Kingdom of God. But not far is not far enough. Am I talking to somebody today who is religious and you’re cordial towards the things and the truths of God, that’s why your listening actually, you tuned in this program because you’re not in opposition to all of this, you’re cordial toward it and you think well of all of this but you have never yet committed yourself absolutely to the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord of your life. Why don’t you do that right now? If you have opportunity, just bow and say Lord Jesus, be Lord of all in my life. Take control of all that I am. Be my Lord and Savior. Just open your life to Him by faith right now and so you won’t run the risk of the almost syndrome where you don’t make it because you are close but you never entered in.
Dear Father today help us to enter in to Thy perfect will. In Jesus name, Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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