Learn to look at people in terms of their God-given potential -- the grand design that God has for their lives.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? Yes, that little greeting establishes the fact that this is indeed your good friend, Bob Cook, and You and I are back together again looking at the Word of God, the inerrant, infallible, eternal Word of God, the Bible. May the Holy Spirit of God speak a precious Word to your heart in these next few moments. We’re looking at Ephesians 4, and we’re considering this idea of building up the body of Christ. How do you do it? “The unity, the faith the knowledge of the Son of God”, get people in touch with the presence and power and person of your Lord.
The best way to do it is to pray with them. Then He is “into a perfect man.” Now, what is that? Does God expect you and me to be “sinlessly perfect, no that isn’t what he’s talking about, unto a man. And you have a Greek word teleon, which means developed according to the divine purpose, you theological students, and one of the arguments for the existence of God is the teleological argument. The argument from design, so what you’re talking about here is, you help people grow in the direction of God’s grand design for their lives, unto a person who is developing according to God’s blueprint, God’s design, “unto a perfect” means blue printed, Designed life. How thoroughly do you believe in the fact that God has a plan for your life? Some people of course feel that you shouldn’t bother God with small details. And our Lord Jesus, of course, negated that argument by His own statement that the very hairs of your head are all numbered, and God knows every little bird that falls to the ground.
And we live out in the woods here in the Pocono Mountains, with the bear and the deer. And so, I sometimes laugh and say and the Mafia, I guess they’re here too. Just yesterday, you’ll be hearing this a month after I say it, but just yesterday, my daughter Marilyn, who lives about the distance of a city block down the road from us, had a mother bear and two cubs in her backyard, climbing onto her porch. [chuckle] Yeah, we’re out in the woods, alright, and so I have the opportunity to realize that what our Savior said is quite true, that life and death goes on and the small creatures, feathered creatures and otherwise are subject to that. And so every now and again you’ll see a little dead bird either in the road or somewhere, and you’ll remember that Jesus said Not one of these little sparrows dies without your Father knowing it. God is the God of infinite attention to detail.
See, if God is infinite, that means there is no limit on any part of all of His abilities. He’s omniscient, that means He knows everything, He’s omnipresent that means He’s everywhere, and He’s aware then of the smallest detail of your life, He has an individual plan and blueprint for your life. Now, there’s the general overall design of becoming like the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul talks about this, the measure of the fullness of the stature of Christ. That’s the overall design, within that is the design for a Christ-like character, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, are those who are the poor in spirit and mourn over their sins. And hunger for righteousness, the merciful, the peacemakers of the persecuted and so on. A nature and a personality and a lifestyle that is like the Lord Jesus, that’s part of God’s personal design for you.
What about the details of your life, however? On this given day, does God have a plan for you that involves either doing the wash or going downtown, or going to work or fixing the car, or looking into the curriculum of one of your school children or whatever it may be, does God’s plan involve that. Well, Psalms 37 says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.” Steps. That’s pretty much of a detail isn’t it? Proverbs 3:5,6 “In all thy acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”
Yes, God is interested in small details if he can assign a separate number to every hair follicle on your head. Jesus said that he never had to take back any statement He never had to say, “I’m sorry, I was mistaken.” Jesus is perfect, He’s God in the flesh, your savior and He said that God has assigned a separate number to every individual hair follicle on your head. If God is interested in that, to that extent. You can trust Him to have a plan and overall plan for your life. He said, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace, not of evil, to give you a desired end.” Jeremiah 29 says that. See, you and I limit I think, we limit the work of God in our lives, by not letting Him have complete control of the trivial, what we call trivial things. Many a person’s destiny is made up of a decision that at the time did not seem important.
I remember the person who was apprehended at London Airport to have a little puppy, tiny little dog in the capacious jacket, pocket of the jacket that he was wearing, and they found this little dog, probably was whimpering or something and the flight attendant heard it. And so they said, “Sir, you cannot take that dog with you. It has to be quarantined and this and that.” He said, “Well, if I can’t have the dog with me, I’m not going on the plane.” And he stalked off, somewhat angrily. Well that plane it developed, was the one that went down at Shannon a few minutes later. And the people, I think, with the exception of one person, all were killed. Now the decision he made to stalk off the plane because he was angry about his little pooch actually saved his life, didn’t it? You never know, really now beloved. You never know when a small decision is going to have a tremendous result in your life. So that’s why we need to pray our way through the day and trust God to direct our steps, every step, every phone call, every letter every conversation, every journey, every decision, every purchase.
All that you are, all that you do, by inter-relationship with other people needs to be placed by faith in his peaceful hands, so that He can run it. See, that is what we’re talking about here, growing up into God’s grand design for your life. A perfect man doesn’t mean sinlessly perfect. In this case, it means lining up with the design, lining up with the design that God has for you. Some people actually don’t find out that design until later in life. I recall a man who used to great me warmly, on Monday mornings especially as I made my way to the 8:00 o’clock Greek at Wheaton college where I was enrolled. Now, I had been preaching the day before, generally, I had from three to seven services on a Sunday, because I would go from my own little church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, over to another group in West Chicago, Illinois, and I would have other kinds of activities. So I was tired, every Monday I was dead tired and sometimes discouraged. Well, as I made my way up that College Avenue a street that led into the campus of Wheaton college very often I would meet this man, gaunt, tall, muscular, tanned, wrinkled face. It was the face of a farmer. This was a man now of about 42 years of age.
Where was he going? Well, he was going down to get the train into Chicago to attend seminary, he had enrolled in seminary. What’s the background? He had farmed throughout the years up in Wisconsin, constantly feeling in his heart, the desire to preach the Word of God, never really able to manage it. Finally, one day, as he prayed, he decided what God wanted him to do, he put his farm up for sale, sold the farm, moved to Wheaton, bought a little house on one of the side streets there, and enrolled in seminary, and he would greet me as I made my tired and discouraged way in the mornings, toward eight o’clock Greek. And he’d put that strong farmer arm around my shoulder and say, just I’m praying for you, brother, Bob. He had dentures and they never fit very well, so he always spoke through what you might call clenched teeth, he had to keep his jaw shut in order to keep the dentures from falling out. And he’d say, “You know I’m praying for you brother.” Oh man, how that warmed my heart, that helped me make it through the day.
Now, he never discovered God’s grand design for his life until he was in what we would call middle age. He did finish seminary, he went and built a church out in the suburbs of Chicago, which grew into a very large and effective church. I suppose by now he’s gone on to glory, Brother Reed was his name. And I suppose by now, he’s gone on to glory, but I know that he was following God’s design, and I also know incidentally, that he helped to encourage Bob Cook mainly a Monday morning especially, when I was making my discouraged and weary way toward that Greek class.
Alright. He says, “unto a perfect man.” Are you helping? This is the question we sort of walked around the thing today, didn’t we? Are you helping anybody grow up into God’s design for their lives? The potential: look at people in terms of their potential. Learn to look at in terms of their potential. We, I have to admit, I look in terms often times look at people in terms of their faults, because that’s pretty visible. You know. Oh why doesn’t he use good grammar, why doesn’t he say things differently, why does He do this, or that, and the other, And you’re critical of things? I tend, and I guess, maybe you, might agree that sometimes it’s the case with you, beloved. Wouldn’t you tend to look at people in terms of their visible faults. Learn to look at people in terms of their potential under God, that is where it’s at.
I was talking with a Sunday School teacher years ago, and I was pointing out some of the people in his class and asking about them. There was one young man that seemed so able and so mature for his age, and so controlled, and I said, “Tell me about him,” well he had red hair, that was the first thing. And it developed that he was one of the trouble makers, from the outset. Just a trouble maker, always getting something going–an agitator. Well, I said, “How did you handle it?” He said, “I could see leadership in that boy”, and so he said, “I gave him some leadership and some responsibility, and oh how he has developed.” Learn to look at people in terms of their God-given potential, the grand design that God has for their lives.
God we love thee, and we pray for the good sense and the God-given guidance to see in other people, the possibility of growing Christ ward, I ask in His name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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