If you pray your way through the day, you’re not apt to get into all of the tangles and snarls that come from careless, prayer-less living.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Well, you and I are walking through 1 Peter, we’re in chapter 4, and we’ve come to Verse 7. He said, “The end of all things is at hand.” We talked about that the last time we got together. Do you recall? The word end is a word that has purpose in it. “The ultimate purpose of God is about to be revealed.” What is His ultimate purpose? “that in the ages to come might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” Satan’s original lie and what he’s been telling people ever since is that God is not really leveling with you, that God isn’t fair to you, that He can’t be trusted, and that you can better yourself by departing from God Almighty.
That is Satan’s lie. You still have it today in what we call secular humanism, a doctrine which is being taught under the guise of education. It’s actually a kind of religion, isn’t it? Taught under the guise of education, telling people that religion is a crutch, God is not really necessary, you can better yourself by departing from those old ancient religious cliches, and standing on your own two psychological feet, and so on. It’s Satan’s lie refurbished, but the same old lie. And God’s ultimate purpose is to prove that Satan was wrong. How does He do this? Romans 12:1, “Present your body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service, that ye may prove what is good and what is acceptable and what is perfect, namely the will of God.” His ultimate purpose through Calvary, though the cross of Christ, through the church of the living God, the group of the new born, the body of Christ, we call it, through all of that, throughout endless ages might be known that God is right and that He is loving, and that He is kind, and that He is redemptive, and that His will is perfect.
Now, he says, “The end of all things is at hand.” That ultimate purpose of God is being revealed. How in you, beloved, until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that may well be soon. In my opinion, we’re living in the close of the Age of Grace, and any time, whether it comes before the year 2000 or after is beside the point, but the coming of Christ is what we call imminent. It may occur at any time. So that will happen when our Lord Jesus comes in the air with the shout and the trump of God. And 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 the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and then will be the revelation, after the seven years of tribulation and the millennium, the revelation of God’s ultimate purpose to all of the universe. Satan is cast into the bottomless pit and God is vindicated having sacrificed Himself, His own son, on our behalf.
Now, that ultimate purpose, I say, is being worked out in your life if you’re a believer. An awesome thought. That when you walk down the street you are living proof that God is right. That’s what Paul says in Romans 12:2. “When you walk down the street, you are living proof that the Gospel is true and that Jesus is real, the mercy of God is available and the blood of Christ cleanses from all sin.” The purpose of God. Isn’t that something? So I’ve given you the two sides of that expression. The ultimate prophetic side revealed in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the setting up of His kingdom of righteousness, and the ultimate defeat of Satan.
The other side of it is God’s ultimate purpose is focused in you, believer. And He’s revealing His purpose through you. Jesus our Lord said that when He, the Spirit of truth has come to you, He will convict the world, through you, of sin and righteousness and judgment. God works through people, and the Holy Spirit of God works through you, and when you walk down the street, you’re living proof that Jesus is real and that God is right. Boy, what a position you and I occupy as believers, right? That’s why Paul says to Timothy, “Be thou an example of the believer in word, in conversation, in spirit, in charity, in faith, in purity.” The areas where human nature breaks down: What you say, how you live, the atmosphere of influence around your life, your relationship with the Almighty God, and your relationship to the sinful world around you. These are the areas where human nature breaks down and you and I can be walking demonstration that Jesus is real in those areas where human nature ordinarily fails.
The purpose of God is being revealed through you now, and it will be ultimately revealed in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, what’s the answer to that? He said, “Therefore, be ye sober.” We touched on this word the last time we got together. It’s a combination of two Greek words, sos and phren, and it comes out then sophronos, sober, a saved mind. Think with a saved mind. Evaluate every action, every decision, every conversation, even every thought. Evaluate your whole life in its relationship to your Savior. Does this honor and glorify my Lord? Does it please the Savior? Will it result in the blessing of others? A saved mind. Then he says, “Watch unto prayer.” Watch unto prayer. That’s an interesting concept there. You keep alert with the purpose of praying about what you see. It’s the other way around for many of us. We doze off and all of a sudden we’re in a crisis, and then we pray like everything, right? Well, he said, “Watch unto prayer.” Why? Because you do have prayer available, but the grist for your prayer mill, the purpose of your praying, and the objective of your praying has to be based on observation of the facts. God wants you to make sense when you pray. I think many of us are guilty of mouthing pious sentiments instead of getting right down to business and praying as we ought. Practical praying I’m talking about.
I had to learn this early on as a boy of about, I suppose, 12. We lived in Cleveland, Ohio, and we attended, for a while, the First Church of the Nazarene in Cleveland, Ohio over on Hayden Avenue. I don’t know if the church is still located there, but it was a fine church. And our pastor was a man who later went on to become one of the denominational officials. I think he was Missionary Superintendent or something like that, of that great denomination. Well, in that church, as in many churches, they would frequently have times of prayer when the whole congregation would be invited to engage in times of prayer, and we would gather around the prayer bench. They called it the altar. Come to the altar, that was the expression, and would kneel there.
Well, as a boy, I would go with the rest of those who were praying. I was in favor of prayer, always have been, and still am, believe me. So I would be kneeling there, but I would also be observing what was going on as a boy might. And so, I noticed that when somebody was praying in feeble and lackadaisical fashion, Pastor Jones would be walking around among his congregation and when he found somebody that wasn’t really praying earnestly, he would sometimes whack the brother on the back and say, “Amen, brother, pray.” [chuckle] And you either had to pray or shut up. Well, I chuckle about it today, but believe me, it was very awesomely real in those days to a boy who realized that if you’re going to do any praying, you better get at it and really pray. Don’t just make some dumb speech to God. He says in Isaiah 1 He gets tired of that.
So Peter says the same thing in effect, doesn’t he? “Watch unto prayer.” Life shouldn’t take you by surprise. Many of us drift on through life and things happen, and we either blame others or ask the plaintiff complaining question, “Why should God let this happen to me?” Well, don’t blame God for it if you drifted into it through your own drowsiness and carelessness. A dear friend of mine, many years ago, true to his lifetime habit of putting things off, neglected to pay a considerable amount that he had borrowed against some property of his. It involved… Actually, it involved a great deal of valuable assets which he had pledged in borrowing money. And that note came due January one. Well, he went on through the holiday season and he thought, “Oh, well, I’ll get at it after the new year. It won’t matter.” The sad thing was that come January one, when he hadn’t fulfilled his obligation, the person who held the note foreclosed on it then took all those assets away from him. Oh, he is still bitter about that after for 40 years. He still blames others, but as we look at it from outside, nah, he drifted into it. True, the person who foreclosed on him could have had a little Christian charity and waited. But business is business as they say, and the man just took advantage of it.
Ah yes, if you’re drifting through life, not watching, in other words, you can’t blame God. But if you’re alert and you know what’s going on, you are, as the young people say, with it, then you use that observation, that alertness, as the basis for your praying, and then you have an invincible combination. God is in on the deal, and you’re watching to see what happens, and as it is happening, you are praying. Now that’s the essence of Proverbs 3:6, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” You follow that? Now, this may seem elementary to many of you, and I suppose you dear saints who listen, many of you have practice this through the years and you think, “Oh, Brother Cook, why are you pounding away on that?” Well, I do it because millions of people don’t do what I’m telling you. We drift along, we’re careless and thoughtless and preoccupied with our own matters and not really alert to what’s going on in our lives. And all of a sudden, the world falls in on us and we’re devastated and we think, “Why should this happen?” Well, it happened because you didn’t pray on your way, see?
Pray on your way. Pray your way through the day. You’ve heard me say that many times. Now you know why I say it. Because if you pray your way through the day, you’re not apt to get into all of the tangles and snarls that come from careless prayer-less living. We could talk about this a little more the next time we get together.
Jesus, we love and adore Thee. Oh, help us this day to pray our way through the day acknowledging Thy Lordship. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk With the King today and be a blessing!
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