Surrender by faith and then listen to what God tells you in His Word and obey it.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing all right?
You and I were talking about fruitfulness and there are one or two other comments that I’d like to make. You understand I’m not covering all the bases on this. You Bible students are saying to yourself, “Well Cook has left a lot out”. Yes I guess I am, but then if I try to put it all in we’d be here forever.
We talked about fruitfulness and Paul mentions in Ephesians 5 that, “The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth”. Goodness and righteousness and truth. The fruit of the Spirit has a certain atmosphere in which it is manifested. There is a certain atmosphere, a certain mindset in your thinking. There’s a certain attitude in your disposition which is compatible with fruit bearing. “The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth”.
Now, goodness has to do with the character of God, righteousness has to do the conduct of God and truth has to do with the revelation of God’s nature and purpose. If you want to be fruitful as a result of the control of the blessed Holy Spirit in your life, then Paul is saying, what you are, your character, must be compatible with the character of God. Now, I may get into hot water and if I do you’ll have to forgive me, but I have a deep feeling that there are many people who will undoubtedly be in heaven who have never yet known the thrill of miracle Christian living. That is to say, the kind of life where you’re conscious of God’s intervention all the time in your life. I think that’s the norm isn’t it? “The just shall live by faith”, Bible says, and God loves to intervene in people’s lives as the normal relationship between the believer and his heavenly father, but I say, I think there are many people who, who may very well be in heaven save by the grace of God, “By grace ye are saved through faith plus nothing”, who have never yet known the thrill of a life that is in direct contact with the almightiness of God. The reason for it may, I say, it may be, that there are some areas in our character that we simply have refused to give over to God.
I’ve been very stubborn about myself through the years. I don’t know about you. Has it always been easy for you to say yes to God? I doubt it, but what God wants is a reduplication of Himself in us. “The secret, the mystery that we preach among the nation”, says Paul, “is Christ in you”. See what God wants is a reduplication of Himself in us through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit who creates the very life of Christ in the believer. All of that in my opinion is wrapped up in this word, goodness. The character of God in your and in my character.
Well you say, “Brother Cook I’m sure trying hard”. No, that isn’t it. It’s a matter of surrender. Surrender is built into your bones and you’re going to give up to something, either to yourself and your own desires or God and His will. You’re going to give up to something inevitably, so why not give up to Jesus? That’s the teaching there. Paul says in Romans 6, you remember that passage? “As ye have yielded the members of your body, slaves to unrighteousness even so now yield the members of your body, servants, slaves to righteousness and the result will be holiness said he”. You do give up, you cannot maintain an attitude or a stance or a posture forever. You reach the end of your ability to maintain a position of any kind, and so it is the people who try to act like a Christian ultimately become exhausted and quit. We say, well he backslid. No, maybe you never slid forward in that case. Maybe he was trying, trying so hard to act as he thought a Christian should act, but it was a matter of effort.
The truth is, that a Christian character is the byproduct of surrender to God and feeding on His Word. “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way by taking heed there unto, according to thy Word”. You surrender to God so that the war is over and then you listen to God in His Word and the Holy Spirit of God applies it to you, “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”, the Bible says. First surrender in a given area. It doesn’t do me much good to say, “Lord bless me and help me”. It will only do me some good if I become specific with God about my needs and surrender to Him by faith in the area where I’m having that difficulty.
Dr. William McCarrell, of sainted memory, said so many times in my hearing when I lived in the Chicago area, where he was a pastor there in the Cicero Bible Church, he said so many times in my hearing, “You get definite with God, He’ll get definite with you”, and of course you know that’s true. General praying gets general answers, definite praying gets definite answers. It’s that simple.
Goodness, oh why, why live in a manner where you just slip through the side door of heaven and get saved somehow? I think there many people who will have that experience because they have never yet allowed God to come in and to control certain areas in their character. All the way from lust and moral sins to worry and greed and pride and unforgiveness and all the rest of the respectable sins, you know, and I just refuse to let God in, and so it is that where I could be living in a miracle atmosphere, where the almightiness of God is poured out through a yielded life, I sort of limp along and trust Jesus because He’s a wonderful Savior. Does that make any sense to any of you?
Well, all I’m pleading for beloved, however you want to categorize it theologically, you may. I do want to get in an argument with you about your theology. All I’m pleading for his that when the Spirit of God whispers to you about an area that needs to be surrendered to Jesus, you do it. Surrender by faith and then listen to what God tells you in His Word and obey it. You’ll be different and you’ll know fruit of the Spirit in power.
Now, righteousness has to do with the nature of God in action, the way God acts is righteousness, and that is a concept that is not simply of one of action, but it’s also one of position. The righteousness of God is reckoned to you and to me. We are considered righteous because of Jesus, and so we have a running start, so to speak, into this matter of doing the right thing because God has reckoned His righteousness to us. He’s put that, so to speak, on our account. “To him that worketh not but believeth on Him that justify the ungodly, his faith is reckoned unto him for righteousness”, the Bible says, and so we can’t fix ourselves up to come to God, can we, but by trusting the Lord Jesus Christ we can be accepted for His sake and God reckons to us, He puts to our account in other words, the glorious, shining righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, who never made a mistake, who never did or said a wrong thing, who never had to say, ‘I beg your pardon’. The righteousness of Jesus is counted for us, toward us.
Then what? Then God moves in your life to impel you and me, to say and do those things that are an extension, so to speak, a reflection if you want to change the figure of speech, of His perfect righteousness. You do right because God has made you right. Then he says, “Righteousness, goodness, righteousness”, and then he says, “truth”, and truth of course is the revelation of God’s own heart and purpose. “He made known his ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel”. God is a revealing God. It’s part of His nature and the truth is there, for you and for me, as a result of the control of the Holy Spirit of God.
I think it’s probably a truism to tell you that when your life is under the control of the Holy Spirit you begin to understand the Bible better. Isn’t that true of you? God begins to talk to you from His Word when you surrender your life to Him. We have so many people who just have that to say, that the minute they saw that God wanted to take control, things began to be different. I received a letter the other day that I want to share with you in this connection.
It said, “Dear Dr. Cook, More than two months ago I wrote to you requesting prayer for my job situation and God’s plan for my life. I’m glad to say that your prayers and mine have been answered. For God showed me that this entire area of my life”, that’s his job situation, “this entire area of my life needed to be saved. I realized that eternal purposes could be found in those daily interactions with other people, and in doing my best on the job. In short, having a good testimony for Jesus is where it’s at, rather than the actual work that I do. God has multiplied His blessings to me in several ways. My job responsibilities have been expanded. My coworkers enjoy my company and friendships I never had before and I’ve had good opportunities to tell them about Christ”. Isn’t that great?
See there, there is the result of letting God control your job situation. The truth of God is the revelation of God in your life and it turns out to be in specific areas. You believe the whole Bible and you should read the whole Bible, and you should know what it says, but God’s truth comes to you as you read God’s Word and as the Holy Spirit applies it, He applies it to specific areas which need His control.
Truth is God speaking to you and to me through His Word, by His Spirit in specific terms that lead to action. Great, isn’t it? Well, be fruitful today, not by effort, but by surrendering to your blessed Lord.
Oh dear Father today, take control of our lives by Thy Holy Spirit, by Thy Word working in our hearts. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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