We're dealing with eternal things -- you have the privilege of reaping a harvest.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I am so glad to be back with you to share from God’s Word. You and I have been looking at 1 Timothy, we’ve gotten into the sixth chapter, and the 12th verse where Paul, the Apostle, says, “Lay hold on eternal life. Fight the good fight of faith. Agonize the good agony of faith.” We talked about that the last time we got together. And then he says, “Lay hold on eternal life.”
Now, how do you do that? Well, he says, you’re called to it. It’s God’s intention that you should have eternal life. Elsewhere, you read that “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God wants everybody to be saved, but He has given to human beings what we call “free will.” You have the ability to say no to God, if you wish. But God wants you to have eternal life, “where unto thou art called.”
Then he says, “You have professed a good profession.” You’ve taken your stand, you’re committed. Now, we’re talking now to a believer, a person who knows the Lord Jesus Christ. And I want you to remember that you are committed. You’re committed to a position of loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ. There isn’t any turning back. “Where unto thou art called, thou hast professed a good profession.”
You’re committed. What does that mean? That means that you’ll never be the same. If I’m talking to some new believer… I get letters from people who’ve been recently brought to Christ either through this broadcast or through other means, and they write to me and they say, “I’m just a new Christian, and your broadcast seems to help,” and all that. I’m glad for that. But if I’m talking, then, with people who are new believers, let me remind you that you’ll never be the same as you were. You’re committed to Christ. “If any man be in Christ, he’s a new creation. Old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new.”
You can’t go back. You can’t go back and be the same. You may try it, some do. Try to go back into the old life with the old crowd, but strangely, nothing fits. You don’t fit with the old crowd and they don’t fit with you. Why? Because you’re different. You’re committed to Christ. You’re His. Born from above, with a new life now in your heart and life. The life of God, the indwelling Holy Spirit. And He makes you unhappy with sin. He makes you discontent with the ways of the world. He makes you want to get out of the pigpen and into the pastures. Oh, yes, He does.
The blessed Holy Spirit of God is now working in your life. You’re committed to Christ. You don’t ever want to go back. Nor, indeed, can you. And then, I want to remind you, we’re just looking at this verse, I’ve got some other verses to show you in a moment. But looking at 1 Timothy 6:12, he said, “You professed a good profession before many witnesses.” Always remember, beloved, that other people’s lives are involved. It’s not just you, alone. You can’t say, “Oh, well. What I do doesn’t matter because only I am involved.” No. That isn’t true. Other people are involved. As long as you live in this world, other people will be involved with you and you with them.
And what you do, and what your are, and the standards you maintain, the decisions you make, and the words you say, and the attitudes that you show, all of that has an impact upon other people. Paul said, “You witnessed your profession before many witnesses.” There are a lot of people that are depending on you to be the real article. A lot of people are looking to you to show what a Christian really is.
A lot of people will be disappointed if they don’t find in you that genuineness of faith and commitment that one expects of a true New Testament believer. Other people are involved. Keep that in mind when you’re tempted to use what we used to call the “short method.” [chuckle]
I worked in a garage for years and I had one boss who, when there was a difficult customer that wanted to shave the price, he would say under his breath, “Give this guy the short method.” [chuckle] Which meant, do as little work as possible. Well, you can’t do that in Christian work. No, you can’t. Other people are involved and they are expecting reality from you. Make sure that that’s so. “Lay hold”, said Paul, “on eternal life.”
Now, what’s involved in this matter? Well, let me just share a few verses with you that come to mind. One is John 3:15. “That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” It starts with commitment to Christ, as we’ve been talking about. “Believe” is not a word of mental attitude as you find it in the Bible. It is that, but it’s much more. It means commitment.
Trust and commitment. Whoever trusts and commits himself to Christ has eternal life, that’s what that means. And so it starts there. If I’m speaking with someone who may be religious and mildly interested in the things of God, but not really committed to Christ, this is where you have to begin if you wanna lay hold on eternal life. You can discuss it all you wish, but never have an experience of it until you commit yourself completely to Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Savior. You do that by talking to Him and inviting Him into your life. “As many as received him,” John 1:12 says, “As many as received Him, to them gave ye power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
You receive Him, you commit yourself to Him. The way to do that is to tell Him you want Him to come in. Our Lord Jesus is quoted as saying, as we read in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door.” That’s the door of your life. “I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come into him and sup with him and he with Me.” The Lord Jesus Christ is waiting to be invited into your life. Please do so before you’re one hour older.
Don’t delay. That’s the beginning of laying hold on eternal life. If you want to know what eternal life is like, you don’t have to wait ’til you get to Heaven, assuming that you’re going there. You can know right now the taste of eternal life in your own experience because God puts a slice, so to speak, of eternity into your life when you trust Jesus Christ as your Savior. We read in John 4, our Lord Jesus saying, “He that reapeth, receiveth wages and gathereth fruit unto life eternal.” Fruit unto life eternal.
What is involved? Reaping. You see, our Savior looks at a lost world as a harvest to be reaped. I have reconstructed sometimes in imagination what the conversation must’ve been like when the disciples came back from the Village of Sychar with some groceries that they had gotten. And they prepared a little lunch and they said, “Master, eat.” He said, “I have meat to eat that you know not of.” And immediately they went into a snit. They got upset and offended. They said, “Has somebody given him something to eat? Here we walked our feet to the bone trying to find somebody, a store that was open in the middle of the day where everybody was taking a siesta, and we finally got something and here we’ve got lunch, and He doesn’t want to eat it.”
Now as I say, you won’t find this in the text, but I can imagine that our Savior said, “Fellas, when you were in town, did you tell anybody about me, the Savior?” “No, we didn’t.” “Did you tell them that they could have their sins forgiven and their lives changed?” “No, we didn’t.” “Well,” he said, “I sent you to reap, that on which ye bestowed no labor. Other men have labored and ye are entered into their labors. I sent you to reap, there’s a harvest.” He said, “You say, lift up… You say, three months and then cometh harvest. Lift up your eyes,” he said, “and look, the fields are white unto harvest.”
At that moment, the townspeople were tumbling out of the town to see this Man Who had told on several of them. The lady who was no lady had gone back into town and said, “There’s a Man out there that told on you.” Her words were, “He told me all things that ever I did.” Which, I think would strike concern if, not terror, into some of those hearts. And so they came tumbling out of the town to see this Person Who had told on several of them. Jesus said, “There’s your harvest, fellas. There’s your harvest, and whoever reaps will get fruit to life eternal.”
He said, “We’re dealing with eternal things here.” Not just lunch. Not just why is Jesus talking with somebody at a well. Not just what seems to be happening. We’re dealing with eternal things, and you have the privilege of reaping a harvest. Now, you see, that changes your outlook entirely on life, doesn’t it? You look at customers as people to whom you want to sell a carload of widgets, or whatever it is you may be merchandising. A doctor, you look at patients as those who have symptoms and problems underlying those symptoms, and you want to get at the problem so you can treat the patient and relieve the symptom.
And a teacher, you look at that classroom full of students as being people that you have to teach a certain amount of data that is related to this particular discipline so that you can get them in the class, and out of the class, and through the course, so on. How do you look at people? Do you look at them as patients? Do you look at them just as customers? Do you look at them just as people who populate a classroom? You don’t dignify some of them by the name “student” because they don’t do much studying, do they? People used to ask Vic Corey, my old boss at Scripture Press, they’d say, “How many people work here?” And he’d say, “Well, we have so and so many people on the payroll, I can’t guarantee they’re all working.” [chuckle] He and his wry humor.
Well, how do you look at people? Jesus said, “Look at them as a harvest to be reaped.” You are dealing with life eternal. Eternal matters, and, “You reap fruit then,” said He, “unto life eternal.” You wanna try that attitude the next time you’re dealing with somebody? Look at that somebody or that group in terms of their eternal value.
Now, that doesn’t means that you’re going around preaching sermons every time you open your mouth. People will stay away from you by the thousands if you do that, I guarantee it. You don’t have to be spouting Scripture every minute of your life. Nor, indeed, do you have to be an eager proselyter who takes every conversation and turns it to religion. I don’t believe that God has indicated that to us.
I like the principle that Dr. Trumbull used. Many years ago, he wrote it in a book which is now out of print, I haven’t seen it around for a long time, called “Taking Men Alive.” But anyhow, in that book, he said, “Every time I am justified in choosing the subject of the conversation, I will endeavor to speak of my Lord and win my friend to him.” There are sometimes when you have no right to dominate the conversation. There are other times when it is your turn to speak. And when it is, try somehow, to turn the conversation toward eternal matters. Pretty good idea, wouldn’t you say? Look at people as a harvest. Eternal things are involved. We’ll get at this the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today, may we deal with eternal matters throughout the day. 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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