Don’t Worry, He Knows
All of us are tempted and all of us are tested, but Jesus is the one that makes the difference between victory or defeat.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, wow in the world are you? You doing alright? Well, I’m fine, thank you. Happy in the Lord. Glad to be back with you. How I cherish these moments that we can invest together over the Word of God. We’re in John chapter 3, a precious passage of scripture, to be sure. And we just have been walking around in verses 14 and 15. The story of the serpent in the wilderness as being a picture of what the Lord Jesus Christ was later to do when He died for you and for me upon the cross of Calvary, paying the penalty for sin, being the one to whom we can look in faith. It’s not only what He was doing there but what He does when we trust Him there. Even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. And whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
There are two legends that grew up around the story of the serpent in the wilderness. One was that of a person who had been bitten by one of these snakes and who was told to look to the brazen serpent that Moses had put on this high pole, according to the commandment that God had given. And this man said, “No, how could a piece of brass ever save me?” And so he refused, and died. The other legend that has grown up through the years, centuries really, is that of a woman who had been bitten and who was dying, who didn’t have strength to move. And the brazen serpent was just then in the process of being set up. And so, just as she was about to expire, her daughters picked her up and carried her bodily outside where her failing eyes could look toward the brazen serpent and she was healed.
Well, I don’t know whether either of those things happened, but they could very well have happened, because the Bible says many of the Israelites were bitten by these serpents and many of them were healed when they looked upon the brazen serpent that God had had Moses to raise up. All of it, as I say, a foreshadowing of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was made sin for us. See, the thing that bit them was a serpent, and the thing that healed them was a brazen serpent when they looked in faith toward God’s provision. And the Lord Jesus Christ never had any sin in Him or on Him. He was without sin, our Lord Jesus. But we read in Corinthians, “God hath made Him to be sin for us, He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
And so God takes the instrument of shame and of punishment and makes it a source of life for those who will trust. Hallelujah for that. That 15th verse has the verb, ‘believeth.’ Believe is a Greek verb ‘pisteuo,’ which means not only to believe with your mind, but commit yourself in trust. We always have to remember that Christianity is not a religious point of view, but a commitment to a wonderful person. The reason that some of you, beloved, who are fellowshipping with me on this broadcast do not quite understand what we’re getting at, the reason is that you have, up until now, either refused or not been able to bring yourself to a point of committing your entire life to the Lord Jesus Christ. When you look to Him in commitment, when you give yourself to Him, when you trust Him to do what His name means, that is to save you. Jesus, the name means ‘savior.’ And John 1:12 said, “Even to them that believe on His name.” You trust Him to do what His name means, then you find out that He is indeed the source of God’s divine eternal life. Life unto the ages, if you want to translate it literally.
Oh, thank God for that. Whosoever believeth. Well, we come then into verse 16, “For God so loved the world.” Just before I went on the air, I’ve been reading some of the commentaries about this verse and there’s just reams and pages and chapters written on John 3:16, as you may well know. But many of them stop on this little word ‘so.’ So loved the world. That goes all the way to the depths of human need. He loved me so much, you and me, and all the rest of the millions and millions who have lived and died and who are yet to come. The love of God includes us so much and so far and so deep.
Over in Ephesians, the Apostle Paul says that you may know the length and breadth and depth and height, and know by experience the love of God. Someone has brought those dimensions over into John 3:16. The length, God so loved the world. Breadth, the world. That He gave His only begotten Son, the depth; and whosoever believeth should not perish but have everlasting life, the height. Well, say it how you will, you and I are assured that God loves us.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, said one time, he said, “People say I’m an eccentric, and so indeed, I probably am.” He said, “I’m not listed in many books,” but he says, “I’m listed in this book because it said ‘whosoever.’ ‘So loved the world that whosoever believeth in Him.'” He said, “I’m listed there and that’s enough for me.”
We have, of course, the Guinness Book of Records nowadays. A book of all sorts of famous and infamous records of one sort and another. But most of you, I guess, and certainly I am not listed there. You may be found in Who’s Who. I got there, I guess, by virtue of being a college president many years ago but that doesn’t have any saving value. You can be in Guinness. You can be in Who’s Who. You can be in the 400 Social Register. You can be known in the halls of Congress but that doesn’t save you, does it? No, it doesn’t. [chuckle]
It’s a little deflating to realize that people don’t really know much about you after all. Bev Shea, who many of you know as he sings his way into the hearts of millions in the Billy Graham crusades, called up William Miller, who at that time was chairman of the board of the college. Dear Bill Miller, he invested his life in the work of the college, gave himself to it, and quite literally, pulled it back from the brink of theological decay and helped see it through in some very dark days. Wonderful, wonderful man. But they were without a president after Percy Crawford, the founder of the college, had died. So Bev Shea called him up one night and he said, “Well, Billy Graham and I are on our way to London and Billy has laryngitis and can’t talk but he wanted me to call you up, Bill, and ask you whether you still are looking for a president for the college.” And Bill Miller said, “Yes, we are. We really haven’t settled on anyone.” So, Bev Shea said, “Well, I wonder if you’ve ever thought about Bob Cook?” And Bill Miller said, “Who?” [laughter] He didn’t know me from Adam’s ox.
Well, we got acquainted and later on I came as, you know, in March of 1962 to be president of that great school. No, you and I aren’t very well known when it comes right down to it, but God knows us. Aren’t you glad? The psalmist says, “Thou art acquainted with all my thoughts, thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, and art acquainted with all my ways. There’s not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Whither shall I flee from thy presence?” God knows you through and through.
My dear friend, David Morkan, a missionary statesman, said to me one time just as we were about to begin a prayer session together, he and I were gonna have some prayer together, and as we knelt down to pray he looked at me earnestly and he said, “Bob, remember God will not discover anything about you before you say Amen. He knows it all already.” Yes, He does. And He knows you and me enough to put us in the whosoever. God knows you today. I’m talking to somebody who may be very discouraged with yourself, you may be downhearted, and even despairing. Look at that whosoever again. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever,” that’s you. Oh, listen, you may feel as though it’s all over and that there’s no more chance for you, but I want you to look at this verse again in faith. “Whosoever,” that’s you, “believeth in Him.” Remember, believe means not a point of view, not a mental attitude but a personal commitment to a wonderful person, the Lord Jesus Christ. Will you commit yourself to Him today?
Here, Lord, I give myself away. It is all that I can do. Oh, commit yourself to Him. “Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that Thou bidst me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come.” Tell Him that. Tell Him that you’re coming to Him today for pardon, ask Him to forgive your sins. Tell Him you’re coming to Him today for transformation. “If any man be in Christ, he’s a new creation.” You want Him to change you, ask Him to do so. Things will be different when you become different. Jesus makes the difference. Come to Him for forgiveness, come to Him for transformation, come to Him for strength to face the temptations that you’re bound to have. All of us are tempted and all of us are tested, but Jesus is the one that makes the difference between victory or defeat.
“Thanks be unto God which always causeth us,” says always not sometimes, “Always causeth us to triumph in Christ and maketh manifest the perfume of His knowledge by us in every place.” Instead of being a victim, God can make you a victor because the Lord Jesus Christ is our victory. “Thanks be unto God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” You commit yourself to Him and you’ll have strength to withstand the testings and the temptations and the trials of life. You come to Him for forgiveness, you come to Him for transformation, you come to Him for strength to stand the test, you come to Him for love, to comfort your heart. “Thanks be unto God,” he said. “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who comforteth us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us so also the consolation of Christ abounds.” God gives you that comfort that is big enough to spill over and completely overflow your life, greater than any trouble you’ll ever have.
You come to Him for love and comfort, the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who is given unto us. Oh, this word ‘believeth’ means commit yourself to Him, come to Him for forgiveness, and transformation, and strength, and comfort, and love, and all you need. Hallelujah, it’s all there for you. You take it by faith.
Dear Father, today, may we love Jesus with all our hearts. I pray in His name. Amen.
Well, until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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