First And Foremost
Make sure that the Lord Jesus and the Will of God are more important than what the gang wants. The crowd is almost always wrong.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Well, that familiar greeting establishes the fact that this is indeed your friend Dr. Cook, and I’m so glad to be back with you to share from the Word of God.
We’re in the book of Mark in chapter 1 and we’ve just heard the Lord Jesus saying to Peter and Andrew, “Come after Me and I’ll make you fishers of men”, and later on He calls James and John the same way. We talked about that and how the call of Christ cuts across even the importance of your daily work, and He becomes the supreme factor in all that you do. You keep on doing what you’re doing, but you keep on following Him in a very special way.
Today let me discuss with you for a moment, what really was involved in their obedience to His call. They’d met Him before, John’s Gospel tells us that, and you see, the first introduction was while John the Baptist was still preaching, and then Mark says, “After John was put in prison”, so some time elapsed between the introduction of these people to the Lord Jesus and His call to them
Small thought here: God’s timing often works in stages. You don’t get it all at once. Jesus said to His disciples, “I have many things to say at you, but you’re not able to bear them now”. God’s dealing with you and with me comes in stages. The psychologist talks about developmental tasks, the stages of development in a personality. Well, the Lord knows how we’re built because He built us. He knows how your personality works beloved, and He doesn’t give all of His orders to you all at once. Give God time with you, will you?
When you give God time with you, let Him work out His perfect plan in your life. You just walk with Him and He’ll speak to you, He’ll call you, He’ll use you, if you let Him. Well, Jesus saw these men casting a net into the sea. They were busy working when He called them. God calls busy people not sluggards and lazy folk. God calls busy people. You keep on doing what you’re supposed to be doing, and do it for the sake of the Lord Jesus and you’ll find Him calling you to even greater usefulness.
The old-time holiness folk used to say, “Walk in the light you have and God will give you more light”. Keep busy doing what you know you ought to do under God and He, your faithful Heavenly Father will soon give you other things to do for Him.
So, He said, “You follow Me. Come after Me and I’ll make you fishers of men, and they forsook their nets and followed Him”. Now, “James and John were in the ship mending their nets”, Mark 1:19, “and straightway He called them. They left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after Him and they went into the Capernaum”.
Now, what was involved in following the Lord Jesus? You have to put something first in your life, and if you’re going to follow the Lord Jesus, that means He’s going to be first, before things and people. Right?
So, here it is very plainly: they were casting a net into the sea, Peter and Andrew were. They forsook their nets and followed Him. James and John were in the ship and you can presume that there were others in the ship with them, because it says they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the servants, and went after Him.
What’s involved in putting Christ first? Your work becomes second to Christ, your loved ones will take second place to Christ, and your associates will take second place to Christ. Can you stand that today? It’s a big mouthful, isn’t it? What’s involved in following the Lord Jesus? Your work, take second place to the will of God. Does that mean that you will be less efficient on the job? Oh no, probably more efficient.
Does that mean you’re going to goof off from your job in the interest of being a better Christian? Oh no- the closer your walk to God the better workman you’ll be, I’m sure of that. I deplore the kind of thinking that says because I’m a Christian, working for a Christian, ought to be able to take it little easier. You know,( laughs) the boss, every boss listening to me will appreciate what I’m going to say. You get on somebody about he’s taking too long at his coffee break or whatever, you know, and you get on him about that and say, “Hey, your coffee break is stretching out too long. We only allow 10 minutes, you know”. The reply is apt to come back if you’re a believer, and the other person is a believer. What kind of a Christian are you? Get off of my case! You know. They equate being a Christian with being softheaded on the job. Well see, there is no connection whatsoever.
Just because I’m a Christian, doesn’t mean that I can goof off or do less than my best, or come to work late and leave early, and stretch my coffee break to a half hour or use the company phone to call up my Aunt Emma in Kalamazoo, or whatever it may be. All these things happen everyday, don’t they? No, dear friend, putting the Lord Jesus first means your job and all that it involves, is going to be done in the light of His Lordship. That’s the point, isn’t it?
Colossians 3 says, “Whatsoever ye do, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God in the Father by Him, and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily” That’s our expression, psyched up, do it psyched up, knowing that of the Lord. From the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ”.
Your work is under the Lordship of Christ, from the moment you decide to really follow Him. Then it says, “They left their father”, left Zebedee in the ship. And that means that your family, your loved ones, are going to take second place to the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Savior Himself said that you have to love Him more than father or mother, wife or children or even your own life. So, the truth is very plain there throughout all of the scripture, “Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy strength, with all thy mind”. God wants to be first in your affections, first in your work, first in your affections. Can you take that in today?
Now, that doesn’t make you love your wife any less. Charles Kingsley, of whom it was said that he never could say anything without being dramatic. F.W. Boreham says that if you ask Kingsley, even what time it was, he’d announce it as though it were the crack of doom. A dramatic person! And Kingsley said, “if in another world, I do not love my wife, body and soul, as I do now, Heaven will not be Heaven and I shall not be I”. Oh, that’s beautiful.
Does putting Christ first mean you love your loved ones less? No, it means we are going to love Him more, and all of human affections and human loyalties are enhanced and glorified when Jesus Christ becomes Lord of your life.
A man told me one time, many years ago, “I’m going to get a divorce and marry this other person”, and I just was devastated with the news. I went home and fasted and prayed for the man. God graciously answered prayer in that the following Sunday night, both that man and his wife came forward for salvation, and committed themselves to Christ.
A couple of weeks later, they asked to speak with me privately and they said, “We just want you to know, since we were saved, it’s just like we’re on a new honeymoon, we’re in love again”. Their faces were just beaming. She was blushing like a shy, young bride, and he was so happy and thrilled. Oh, love for Christ enhances and intensifies and glorifies human love. So, if you put the Lord Jesus first, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to love your father or mother or wife or husband or children any less, you’ll love them more, and gloriously in the light of His Divine Love, but put Him first.
Then it says, “With the servants”. That of course says you’re associates and acquaintances and friends. Put Christ first. Peer pressure is very real, especially among the very young. Junior high, high school, college age. Peer Pressure. Oh, everybody’s doing it. Of course, I’ve learned that when a young person tells me everybody’s doing it, I say, who is everybody? Turns out to be Susie, down the block.
But peer pressure. It is tremendous, and so many a young person is coerced into premature sex or the use of drugs, or into crime or who knows what, because people in the crowd say, “Come on, come on, do it”. Now, the Lord Jesus Christ, if you’re going to follow Him, must be more important than your associates and your friends. That may be a tough decision to take buddy, but it is one that will affect all of the rest of your life and affect your eternal destiny. You better think about it and you better do it.
Make sure that the Lord Jesus and the Will of God is more important than what the gang wants. The crowd is almost always wrong. Mob rule is anarchy. The crowd is almost always wrong, and the old saying about 50 million Frenchmen is a fallacy. What the crowd says is almost always wrong. You go by the Will of God and by the Word of God and by the prompting of the indwelling Spirit of God, and put the Lord Jesus Christ first in your relationships with people. You’re going to find great fulfillment and blessing and satisfaction in that decision. Don’t let people talk you into the use of drugs, don’t let them talk you into premature and illicit sex, don’t let them talk you into the rough, gross lifestyle of people who claim that they’re just being with it and sophisticated.
You don’t have to eat garbage to know that it is garbage. You can stay away from the garbage dump of life. You don’t have to be smeared with the world’s brush, tarred with the world’s brush. You don’t have to. “You can be kept”, Peter says, “you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation”.
God can keep you, “There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man”, Paul says in 1st Corinthians 10, but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it”.
God will see you through, beloved, if you let Him. Put Christ first in your associations, and your friendships and your relationships with the crowd. That’s what is involved in following Jesus Christ.
Dear Father today, grant that we might put Jesus first in everything, 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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