It's your business to do whatever God has assigned to you. But as you consciously depend on the Lord Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells the believer — as you consciously depend upon your Lord — what you do becomes eternally significant.
Alright. Thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today? Oh, I hope so. Bless your heart. This is your friend, Bob Cook, and we’re back again with the Word of God, and just doing some little recapping, as we go finally through the Gospel of John before we leave this wonderful book and go on to some other portions of God’s Word. I’m looking at Chapter 15, just some of the special truths that jump out of the page at me, and which I like to share with you. Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away. Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it. That’s our prune. He prunes it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. Without me,” He says in Verse 5, “ye can do nothing.”
Now that’s pretty definite. He said the branch can’t do anything without the vine, and you can’t do anything without me. Why should I stop here on this matter? You say, “Well, Brother Cook, we believe that. Go on.” Now wait just a minute. Have you ever really been convinced that you cannot do anything worthy of eternity unless the Lord Jesus is in charge and working and living through you? This is a matter of great importance. Because so many of us, you see, both in the everyday activities of what we call laymen, it’s a misnomer. I don’t think the Bible has any place for laymen and clergy. The ground is level at the cross, isn’t it? God is color blind, and the ground is level at the cross, hallelujah.
But whether you’re in full-time Christian service, as we say, if you’re a pastor, a missionary, an evangelist, a Sunday school teacher, a deacon, or if like the rest of us, you’re just sort of a garden variety Christian and doing the best you can, as I’ve observed it both in this country and in many countries of the world, there are so many dear believers who are trying to do something for God. They do their best. They’re dedicated and sacrificial in their efforts, but basically, it is they, human beings, each of them who is working at Christian works, so called, and doing the best they can. Now, is there anything wrong with doing one’s best? Of course not. Do your best. But the point is, Jesus said, “You can’t do anything without me.” And that means a conscious dependence, moment by moment, split second by split second upon the Lord Jesus Christ to make what you are doing effective and worthwhile.
I talked with a preacher friend of mine awhile back, and he said, “You know, I had such a terrible experience.” He said, “I went to such and such a place, and everything seemed to go wrong, and I preached very poorly. And I just felt that the whole thing had been a failure.” Then he said, “I found out that God had used that very message to bring a number of people to the Lord Jesus Christ, and I heard later that they felt it was such a blessing. Well, you don’t have to worry about the results when Jesus is working in and through you. But there’s this matter of a conscious moment by moment dependence on him. He does the work.
Do any of you, old timers, remember Homer Hammontree? He told a story in my hearing many years ago. He was a song leader and an evangelist. And he was leading singing for another great evangelist. If my memory serves me, I think it was Dr. R. A. Torrey. They were in meeting somewhere, and nothing was happening. The sermon would be preached, and there was very little response in this evangelistic crusade. And Homer Hammontree said he went so discouraged and concerned to the evangelist and said, “What in the world are we going to do? Nothing is happening.” And he said the evangelist looked at him and said, “Young man, it’s our duty to preach the Word. It’s the Holy Spirit’s business to convict people and to bless the Word.” That’s all he said. Well, the nights went by, and finally the break, as we call it, came. And people came to the Lord Jesus, greatly convicted, and were wonderfully saved, dozens and scores of people coming to Christ. Now, our brother was overjoyed, and he went back to the evangelist after the meeting, and he said, “Isn’t it wonderful what the Lord has done?” And again, the evangelist looked at him and said, “Young man, it’s our duty to preach the Word. It’s God’s work to apply the Word.
Now, I’m not inveighing against being concerned about one’s ministry and the effect of it. I know how it feels to preach a sermon and not see any response; it just breaks your heart is what it does. But you have to realize that the secret of success in whatever you’re doing… Well, what are you doing? Somebody’s a sales manager, somebody’s a vice president, somebody’s a nurse, someone else is a surgeon or a physician of some special line, somebody’s an attorney, somebody’s a homemaker, and you’re busy doing the million and one things that nobody ever says “Thank you” for. Someone else is a teacher, or a student, or a worker in a factory on a production line, or a salesman on the street calling on clients. Well, what are you? I don’t know. You know you’re busy being what you are obviously. Okay then.
Remember, Jesus is the one who makes your work significant in terms of eternity. “It’s our business to preach the Word. It’s the Holy Spirit’s business to apply the Word,” said the evangelist. It’s your business to do whatever God has assigned to you, but as you consciously depend on the Lord Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit, who indwells the believer, as you consciously depend upon your Lord, what you do becomes eternally significant. Ain’t that something? Put it to work in your life, beloved. It’s worthwhile and it works.
What is this business of answered prayer? “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” We come back to the question of “I prayed and nothing happened. Why?” Someone has said God has a number of answers. One is yes, the other is no, and the third is wait, not yet. I’ve prayed and prayed earnestly, but God had something better for me in every case where He either said no or not yet.
I woke up at just about 4:30 or quarter to 5:00 in the morning on an August day, August 14, 1953, in Tokyo. Heard the rain, a disastrous sound because this was the day when we had the big opener rally in the big baseball stadium. Oh, I got down on my knees immediately. I opened the Word of God. I began to pray. I believed in praying on the promises of God, don’t you? And I began to pray, “Oh God, stop the rain.” And it seemed like it rained harder. I turned over to the story of Elijah, who prayed earnestly that it might not rain, rain not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. I said, “God, you don’t have to do it that long, just today.” Nothing happened. The hours went by, the phone rang, and it was the Palermo Brothers. They were to lead, they were to have led the parade from Meiji University on over to the Korakuen Stadium. And they said, “Well, what should we do? Shall we go on?” I said, “Yes, go on.” And so I got to the stadium in time to meet them. There they were on a flat bed truck covered with a couple of ponchos singing in the rain “Heavenly Sunshine.” Bless the Palermos. [chuckle] No one in all the world like them.
And following them, about 2000 soggy soaked saints. Well, what are you gonna do? It was still raining hard. The manager of the stadium came out to meet me, and he said, “Would you like a rain date?” I said, “Yeah, maybe it’s a good idea.” He said, “I’ll give you August 28, two weeks from now.” So we settled on it and sent the people home. That meant we had to start all over again to promote and put out the placards all across the city once again. And meanwhile, our teams, our preaching teams, gospel teams were to spread out throughout all of the main islands of Japan. My own campaign was in Osaka, and we had a great, great time there, in a brand new auditorium, filled with people, and God gave us a lot of souls.
We came back again on the 28th, people had been blessed and humbled and broken as they saw God working in people’s lives, and there was a tender, beautiful spirit in the lives of all the delegates as we gathered once again and the meeting went on. A lot of people saved that night as I gave the invitation. The Holy Spirit of God just working in people’s hearts. And there was star light. It was a beautiful night. The next day, you guessed it, it rained. It rained solidly for two or three days after that. Now God has something better for us. He knew that all of those delegates needed to have their hearts made tender and yielded as we were preaching the gospel and seeing people saved. He knew that it would be better for us to do it another way. God having provided some better thing for us.
“Oh, ye shall ask what ye will. If my words abide in you. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will.” You see, my will has to coincide with God’s will. And I have somehow to yield myself to the Lord Jesus so completely, that what I want turns out to be what He wants. John, the beloved apostle, said, “This is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us. And if we know that He hear us, we know that we have the petition we desired of Him.” And so, it’s a matter of praying in the Spirit, in the will of God.
“We know not… ” or Paul says in Romans 8, “We know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered; and he that searcheth the hearts,” that’s God the Father, “He that searcheth the hearts, 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.” Take time to pray in the spirit and then go ahead and serve God, and you’ll find out that he is doing his will. His precious, wonderful, eternal will in and through your life. Hallelujah. That’s good stuff, isn’t it? I get blessed of my own preaching. [chuckle] Jesus is the one. He makes what you do count for eternity.
Dear Father, today, oh may we depend upon the Lord Jesus to make what we do to count for eternity. In his 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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