The main task of the Church in this age is evangelization, not the Christianization.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Doing Alright today? Yes, this your friend Dr. Cook and I’m glad to be back with you. You know, as I sit before these microphones, I have to bow my heart and ask God that every word and even the tone of my voice may bring some blessing to some heart. And oh if that happens, I’ll be so grateful. I give out these broadcasts, not just to hear myself talk, but in the hopes that as we put a handle on God’s blessed word.
We’re in the book of Mark right now. As we try to put a handle on portions of God’s word so that you can get hold of it for yourself, there might be something specially helpful to you — that sends you off to work or school or play or whatever it may be — or those of you who listen at night, may send you off to your nights rest refreshed in Christ and blessed and encouraged. That’s my hope and my earnest prayer.
Well, we’re in the gospel of Mark, chapter 1. We just finished commenting about verse 35 where the Lord Jesus got up and went out and got alone and prayed. That’s the procedure for every one of us. You have to do the getting up. You have to do the carving out of the time. He did it a great while before day — you have to find a place to be alone and you have to do the praying. The Holy Spirit of God will pray through you. “We know not what we should pray for as we ought”, Paul says in Romans 8, “but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered and He that knowest the hearts, He that searcheth the hearts”, that’s God the Father, “knoweth what is the mind of the spirit, because He, the Spirit, maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God”.
When you pray, as we say “in the Spirit”, you are praying in the will of God and you’re sure to get an answer. What a glorious truth that is. Well, Peter it says, “They that were with Him, followed after Him”.
They woke up and looked around and the Savior was nowhere to be found in the house, this was Peter’s house, and it said, “Peter, and they there with him followed after Him and when they had found Him” — they had to look for a while. ““They said, “All men are looking for You”, what did you go away for? Everybody wants to see you.”” Well He said, “I’ve got to go to the next town, that I may preach there also, for therefore came I forth”.
Do you always become available to people who want to see you? That’s a question isn’t it? Well, I’ll tell you the way I solved it. Every now and again, I had to back off and say, “Now, Lord, what’s the most important? What’s the most important thing that You really want me to do”? It is dreadfully possible to get so busy with the gnats and flies and ships and shavings that you don’t do anything really constructive, isn’t it?
The barrenness of business is what Vance Havener used to call it. I miss him now, he’s gone. Don’t you? The barrenness of business. Well, that’s possible, and so for myself, every now and again, I have to back off and says, “Now, God what is it that really matters?”, and that will result in your saying no to some claims upon your time.
You don’t have to attend the ham and potato salad dinner of the sons and daughters of I Will Arise. You don’t have to be there, you know. You’ve had ham and potatoes salad before, haven’t you? Well, it is no sin to put first, the things that God wants first. You understand me? There were people in Peter’s neighborhood that wanted to Him. “All men seek for Thee”, “Oh, we want to see Him!”, but He said, “I’ve got to reach some other areas. Let’s go into the next towns that I may preach there also for therefore came I forth”.
Now, how do you determine the priority of God’s Will in your life? Do you know? Well first of all, there are certain things that are found very clearly in the word of God. God’s guidance is always in agreement with His holy, inerrant, inspired word, the Bible. God’s guidance will always be in agreement with His Word. God will never guide you to anything that will disobey something that is clearly stated in His Word. Alright?
So, “Search the scriptures”, Jesus said, “for in them ye think ye have eternal life and they are they which testify of me”.
John 5:39 is the verse. I remember memorizing that before I was seven years old and it has stuck with me all these years. “Search the scriptures”, the Savior said. Well then, that’s the first thing. If you want to determine the priorities in your life, then start there. What else? Well, Paul said, “Whatever you do in word or deed do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by Him and whatever you do, do it heartily, as for the Lord and not just for people”.
And so and over in first Corinthians, “Therefore ye eat or drink or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God”. So, here you have another measuring point for the important things in your life. What is it that is up to the glory of God, and what is it that I can do it heartily, psyched up, excitedly, as doing it for the Lord, and what is it that I can do in the name of, that is on behalf of, as a representative of my Lord Jesus Christ, as an ambassador for Him?
Paul said in Second Corinthians 5, “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ’s stead be reconciled to God”. You’re an ambassador for Christ, that’s what it means to do something in His name, alright?
So, now you’re asking what’s important? What is the Will of God? What is the revealed Will of God in the Word and what is the type of thing that I can say or do to His glory and as for Him representing? Then Paul says, “I do all things for the elect’s sake, that they may obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus”. What is there that I can do that will result in bringing somebody else closer to Christ? What is there that I can do that will result in bringing someone else closer to Christ?
“I do all things”, he said for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain salvation, which is in Christ Jesus”. He said, “I’ve become all things to all men that I might by all means win some”. “What people think of me”, said he “is not nearly so important as what they think of the Lord Jesus”. So I want to win them. We’re called to win people, not win arguments. So, there’s another question you can ask.
Now, there’s no clear reference to the Bible about something, and you don’t have any particular guidance about it, then what? You ask the question: does this make my life more spiritually rich and full, or does it drain and dull my spiritual life?
There are certain legitimate things which leave you spiritually dulled. I might mention watching television for six hours, for example, you know? There is nothing, so far as I know, you may disagree with me, my father used to say, “We’ll get to Heaven boy, you’ll know I was right”, but you may disagree with me, but in my opinion, there is nothing spiritually enriching in watching two or three hours of soap opera and that sort of a thing. Interesting, yes. Fascinating even, yes. But it leaves you spiritually dull. It’s a great time waster, isn’t it really?
So, you have to ask the question: so what is this doing to my spiritual life; and what is it doing to my testimony before others; and how is it motivating anybody else to seek the Lord; and how is it affecting my testimony? Does it make my witness more believable or less credible? These are some of things you ask about determining what’s important. What has God really called me to do? Am I doing that or am I wasting my time on something else?
I remember seeing an employee in a coffee shop at about 130-something and Broadway, in uptown New York. I’d stopped for a cup of coffee, and I was sitting there at the counter, and this man behind the counter was busy doing something. He was very busy and the boss came in and just chewed him out to a fare thee well. And when the boss paused for breath, this employees said, “Well, can’t you see, I’m very busy?”, and the boss said, “Yes, but you’re not doing what I told you to do”.
See, there’s the problem. We look at our Heavenly Father and we say, “Oh, I’m very busy Lord, doing this and that the other”, but very often He might well say to us, “Yes, but you’re not doing what I told you to do”. The main task of the church is the evangelization of the world. “Go ye into all the world and make disciples of every creature”, and so on preach the gospel to every creature. The main task of the church in this age is the evangelization, not the Christianization. Because you won’t get them all, the evangelization of the world.
Am I doing that? Am I contributing to that in any way? This busy schedule that I am maintaining, does it make me spiritually dull or keep me spiritually sharp? Does it make me a better witness? Does it make me more of a believable Christian? Is it helping to fulfill the main task that God has given me on my way to eternity? These are the questions you want to ask.
Yes there are a lot of people in that town were curious about seeing the Lord Jesus, but He said, “I’m not going to see them now, I’ve got other things that I have to do”. Paul, the apostle said, “What things were gained to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Ye doubtless and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them but refuge that I may win Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness which is of the law, but the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ”. Paul made some choices, didn’t he, and you and I also need to do that.
I remember that happened to me, years ago, I found myself being very busy in a local pastorate. This would go back more than 40 years, I guess. Long, long way.
I found myself being very busy in this local pastorate and spiritually dry as a result. So, I spent a whole week waiting on God and thinking and analyzing my schedule and seeing what I really had been doing with my time. And I came up with a number of things that I just didn’t have to do anymore. And do you know something? My preaching was better; the results from it were better; the church went better; I was better — simply because I decided what was really, really important. You want to try that for yourself? Takes a little time and some courage, but Jesus our Lord did it, and He said, “As my Father has sent me even so send I, you”.
Get some paper and analyze your schedule and find out what you been doing — and then find out as you ask the question: what’s really important? How many things you can omit in order to do better? Those eternally important things — things that you’ll want to see on God’s record when you meet our Lord face-to-face.
“Everybody’s looking for you”, Peter said. “They didn’t have anything to say about His praying at this point, just broke into the prayer meeting, they said, Everybody’s looking for you, why did You go away?”, He said, “I’m going to the next town, that I may preach there also, because that’s the reason that I’m here”.
Find out for yourself beloved. Listen to this: find out for yourself the compelling reason for your living. Why are you really alive; what is it all about — and then follow that above all else. “For therefore”, He said, “came I forth”.
Dear Father, today, help us do the things that will count for eternity. In Jesus’ name I pray this, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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