Never let a day go by that you don't have a precious, personal meeting with your loving heavenly Father in prayer.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today? I trust so, bless your heart. Well, we’re launched into a discussion of the truths found in the book of Mark and I look forward eagerly to the days we can spend in this wonderful book of the Bible. We had a little introduction a day or so ago, and then we got into the first eight verses of the first chapter, and we met John the Baptist, who was preaching there in the wilderness. Luke says that he was in the wilderness when the Word of the Lord came to him, he was ready.
Small thought here: do you, as a matter of fact, find yourself ready when God wants to speak to you and send you somewhere? The Word of God, Paul says, “Is given to us that the believer might be thoroughly furnished unto all good works”, ready in other words for every good work. That’s the real meaning of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me”. Somebody has paraphrased it; I can do anything God asks me to do, through the power He gives me.
Are you ready today for God to send you to someone? Are you ready for Him to use you? Are you ready for Him to speak through you? Are you ready for Him to give you some ministry that may not have entered into your own planning, but which is part of His eternal plan? These are things to think about, aren’t they? God wants to send you on some of His very special errands.
I’ve learned many years ago to pay attention to what my father used to call hunches. He would say, I’m going to do so and so, just a hunch boy. (laughs) Well, what it was, it grew out of his thinking and praying, more likely than not. And as the years have gone by for Bob Cook, I’ve found out that when I’ve been praying and God lays something or somebody on my heart, I better pay attention. It’s a very good principle. Be ready for God’s errands on which He wants to send you, and God’s ministry in which He wants you to be involved.
Well, John came and prophesied the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, “There cometh one after me, mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I baptize you with water, but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost”.
When now, the Lord Jesus shows up here, verse nine in Mark chapter one, “It came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in Jordan, and straightway coming up out of the water He saw the heavens opened and the Spirit like a dove, descending upon them and there came a Voice from heaven saying, ‘Thou art My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased’”. Beautiful baptismal scene there, as our Lord Jesus Himself, was baptized. He didn’t need to because He was sinless, but He said as John demurred and said, “I have need to be baptized of Thee and comest Thou to me,” and the Lord Jesus said ” suffer it to be so now for of it becomes us to fulfill Alrighteousness”.
What is he talking about? He was acknowledging His commitment to His mission, to bring the message of salvation. He was demonstrating that He truly was God’s Son, and that God approved and endorsed His mission- that was what the Voice was about. He was officially beginning His public ministry. He was identifying, and this very important, identifying with our humanness and sin. “He was in all points tested, like as we are, yet without sin”.
He was identifying at this point, with our own human nature and our sins, “He was made sin for us. He who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him”. He was wounded for our transgressions, “God hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all”. See that’s the teaching of the Bible and our Lord Jesus was identifying with us, and then He gave us an example to follow. John’s baptism was different than the Christian baptism in the church. Christ gave us an example to follow it.
Let me read you something about John, a comment that’s made in what’s called the Life Application Bible. I have before me the Gospel of Mark in that edition; it’s very good. “There’s no getting around it”, I’m reading now, “John the Baptist was unique. He wore odd clothes and ate strange food and preached an unusual message to the Judeans who went into the wastelands to see him. But John did not aim at uniqueness for its own sake. Instead he aimed at obedience. He knew he had a specific role to play in the world, announcing the coming of our Savior, and he put all his energies into this task.
Luke tells us that John was in the desert when God’s Word of direction came to him, John was ready and waiting. The Angel who announced John’s birth to Zacharias had made it clear that this child was to be a Nazarite, one set apart for God’s service. John remained faithful to that description.
Well, this wild looking man had no power or position, the Jewish political system, but he spoke with almost irresistible authority. People were moved by his words because he spoke the truth, challenging them to turn from their sins and baptizing them as a symbol of their repentance. They responded by the hundreds, but even as people crowded to him, he pointed beyond himself, never forgetting that his main role was to announce the coming of the Savior.
Now, God has given each of us a purpose for living and we can trust Him to guide us. John did not have the complete Bible as we know it today, yet he focused his life on the Truth he knew from the available Old Testament Scriptures. Likewise, we can discover in God’s Word the truths He wants us to know and as these truths work in us, others will be drawn to Him.
God can use you, unlike anyone else. Let Him know your willingness to follow him today”. That’s the end of that quotation from the Life Application Bible, the version that I have before me. Just the Gospel of Mark has been published.
Well, John, I have baptized you with water but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and then came Jesus. Now, He was there identifying with you and with me in our sin and in our need. He didn’t have any sins to confess. He was, is, and always will be the perfect spotless, sinless Son of God, the Lamb of God that beareth the weight, the sin of the world, but He was taking His place with us. Hallelujah! I’m so glad we have a Savior who knows about us and who stands with us. “He ever liveth to make intersession for them that come unto God by Him”.
David Morkan said to me one day he said, “Do you know the main job of the Lord Jesus right now?”, and I was uncertain for a moment I said, “No, what is it?”, he said, “He lives to make intersession for you. Naming your name before the Heavenly Father. It’s His work”. Well, praise God for a Savior who is also our High Priest, who is also our Intercessor, who is also our heavenly elder Brother, who is also our coming King. Oh what a Savior! Do you love Him today? Oh, I hope you do! Well, there was the heavens opened, the Spirit descending, the Voice from Heaven.
Now, without doing violence to the Scripture, let me just point out to you that there’s a parallelism here for the ministry of every earnest, sincere believer. When you identify with the will of God for your life and you do it, you can depend upon open heavens, your prayers are going to go through, as we say. Obedience opens the door to miracle, “We are His witnesses of these things”, Peter said, “and so is also the Holy Ghost Whom God hath given to them that obey Him”.
Peter writing in his own epistle, counseled husbands and wives not to quarrel less their prayers be hindered–domestic strife hinders prayer, domestic tranquility helps prayer. Prayer helps the home atmosphere to be what it ought to be, is the obverse side of that truth. Heaven’s opened.
Let me ask you something beloved. How is your prayer life? Now you say, “It’s none of your business”. Well, I know that. (laughs) I don’t mean to be meddling. I love you, but are you comfortable in your praying and do you have the heavens opened as you pray? Are you conscious of the Presence of the loving heavenly Father? Does the Holy Spirit witness with your spirit that you are indeed praying in the will of God? Oh, this is the most delightful, the most dynamic, and the most satisfying and fulfilling experience you and I may have this side of the Glory land. The heavens opened, where God is real, the Presence of God is preciously real.
Yes, I know sometimes your prayers have to be as we say, on the wing.
You’re in in a hurry and something happens and you pray, “Oh, God guide me now”. I understand that, but there are other times when as you obey Him and as you wait before Him and as you yield to His will, heavens are opened and you’re conscious of His Presence. Seek that experience every day, never let a day go by but that you had a precious personal meeting with your loving heavenly Father in prayer, and as you listen to His Voice in the Word, and so then we said, “The Spirit like a dove depending on Him, descending upon Him”, and there you have the second parallel with the experience of the believer. The experience of knowing the Presence of the Holy Spirit.
Now, as I’ve explained to you many times, when you’re saved, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in your life, “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His”, Paul says. The Spirit of God comes to dwell in your life when you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and as your Savior and give yourself to Him, you know that. But there is also that blessed, wonderful, indescribable sense of the Presence of God’s Holy Spirit as you pray, as you wait on God, and as you obey His will. The Spirit of God; you don’t pray, “Lord, give me more of Your Spirit”, you pray, “Lord, help me to give myself more of myself to Thee”, that of course is true.
You’ve got all of the blessing you’ll ever need in Christ, “Ye are complete in Him who is the fullness of Him that filleth all in all”. Everything you need is in Christ. That’s true and so you don’t pray that you might get more of the Spirit, like a second helping of pie. What you do ask for is the consciousness of His controlling Presence in your life, to be aware of His control, of His leadership, His comfort, His peace, His guidance. To be aware of all the blessed fruits of the spirit; love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, goodness, meeknesss, temperance. To be aware that the Spirit of God is actually saying something and doing something through you. Oh, what a delight! That my friend, it’s what comes as you obey God. You identify with your Savior, you yield yourself to Him and the Spirit of God begins to work.
Then what? Well the third parallel for the life of the believer is the Voice. Now, we don’t hear today the Voice from Heaven in that sense. I haven’t met anybody that heard God speaking directly from Heaven. That is, anybody who was in his right mind, I mean to say, but we hear from God through His Word. God who at times past spoke, “Unto the fathers by the prophets hath in these last times spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, and the Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper or than any two edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit of the joints and marrow”. Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.
Paul talked about the washing of water by the Word, the psalmist said, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee”. We have God’s blessed Word, He does speak to us through it. God speaking to us and through us, because others heard this voice as well. God speaking to us and through us by the indwelling Holy Spirit, on the basis of and in the content of His blessed eternal Word. There you have a parallelism between the experience of our Lord Jesus Christ and the life of the believer. We’ll get at this again the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, speak to us and through us by Thy Holy Spirit and by Thy Word, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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