He wants you to put Him first. He wants you to have everything else second to Him
Alright, thank you very much and hello again radio friends, how in the world are you? Doing Alright? Well this your good friend, Dr. Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. I’m just glad for the privilege of producing these broadcasts wherever I can, opening the Word of God, putting a handle on it for you, hopefully so that you can get hold of something for yourself.
We’re looking at the 10th chapter of Mark. We’ve come now to the story of what’s called the rich young ruler. You’re familiar with that, of course, but we better take a look at the text to see exactly what it says before we try to comment on it. It says, “When he was come forth into the way there came one running and kneeled to him and asked him, ‘Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life’”? Now, another gospel record says this was a young man. So, here you have a number of facts about him that you know immediately. He was a young person, he was running, that means he was eager to have some contact with the Savior, he was respectful, he kneeled down to Him, and he asked a good question, he said, “Good Master, what shall I do”, Matthew says, “What good thing shall I do that I may inherit eternal life”? He was interested in eternal life.
Now, you think that would be a good thing wouldn’t you, and certainly it is good. Don’t ever criticize the well-meaning pagan who is interested, even mildly, in the things of God. Be glad that there is that interest and foster it and encourage it. Don’t talk down to the people who may not know as much as you do about the Lord, but who are even mildly interested in the things of eternity. So he said, “What shall I do”, or as Matthew puts it, “What good thing shall I do”? Now the problem was not that he was young, he was eager, he was respectful, and he was interested in eternal life. This is all good. The problem was that he was going about it the wrong way.
Paul says of, of the God’s ancient people the Jews. It says they were they were interested in righteousness, but they sought it the wrong way, not after the law of faith. That’s the problem isn’t it? He said they, they, they didn’t go about it the right way. They wanted to do it by the works of the law and he says very clearly, “By the works will all shall no flesh be justified”. That’s, that’s the problem there. Do you see? They were interested he says of Israel, “That they were interested in righteousness, but going about to establish their own righteousness they’ve not submitted themselves under the righteousness of God.”
There’s the problem and so the whole approach of God’s ancient people, and I may say in many cases right straight up to today, is the approach of good works. What are you going to do that you might to be just with God? Well, “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. Cursed”, he said, “is every one that hangeth on a tree and everyone that, that abideth not in all the works of the law to do them is under the curse”. Paul says in Galatians, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. See, there’s what we’re up against beloved, and so the young man, while he was eager, he was respectful, he was interested in eternal life, he was talking to the right person, but he was going about it from the wrong point of view. He wanted to know what good thing he should do.
Well, the Lord Jesus took him up on his word. He says, “Why callest me God? There is none good but one that is God”. Indirectly he was reminding the young man that he was talking to God in the flesh. There is only one that’s good and that’s God. Well, he says, “You know the commandments”. Now, what commandments was he given? Thou shall not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, defraud not, honor thy father and mother. There’s 1,2,3,4,5,6 commandments. Where the other four? You see what he did? He started where the young man was, He said Alright the commandments. You’re, you’re looking for something to do. Here they are.
Well the young man said, “Master, all these have I observed from my youth”. Then, “Jesus beholding him”, and that word beholding emblepo, Greek word emblepo, looking right into him, right into him and through him. See God knows what’s in your heart, doesn’t he? The psalmist said, “Thou art acquainted with all my thoughts. Thou knowest my down sitting and my uprising, and art acquainted with all my thoughts. There’s not a word in my tongue, but Thou oh Lord, Thou knowest it altogether.”
So, He knows and Jesus looked right into and through this young man’s personality and this it says, “He loved him”. Here’s a sincere young man that’s doing his best. If you are doing your best today and you haven’t quite come through to faith in Christ, remember this, He loves you. You want to hang onto that? He loves you and He wants you to come to a place of complete commitment to Him. Well, He says one thing I like best, “Go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast”. Another gospel writer says, “All you have and give to the poor, and thou shall have treasure in heaven and come take up the cross and follow me”. Well the young fellow was sad at that saying and went away grieved, for he had great possessions. Now what did our Savior do? In effect, He wrapped up all the other commandments that He hadn’t specifically quoted. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. Thou shall not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain and remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. He wrapped up all of those commandments in one action summary. It was an action summary. What did it really mean for the young man to avoid idolatry, to get rid of the thing that was the most precious to him? His money was more precious to him, than his search for eternal life. His money was more precious to him than his search for eternal life. See, we’re up against the fact that people everywhere, day after day, are making choices based upon what is most precious to them, and often times that means that God is going to take second place.
I’ll always remember what happened while one occasion in a prayer room after a service where I’d preached and given a gospel invitation and people had come forward and were ushered then into an inquiry room where people could deal with them. And after the service I myself went in and would walk from one place to another, talking with people and praying with them, and I came to a circle of ladies who are kneeling beside a very fashionably dressed lady who was I would suppose near her middle 40s, and she was kneeling there with them, but they weren’t getting anywhere it seemed to me, and so I bent down and asked a few questions and it developed that the lady told me she said, “I’m afraid to become a Christian. My husband has told me that if I ever become a Christian, he is an atheist, and he told me if I ever become a Christian, he would divorce me”, and she says, “I can’t stand to think about that”. A few minutes more went by as we were praying for her and with her. Finally, she got up from her knees, reached over and picked up her mink a coat and went on out, got into her new Cadillac and drove away into the night, a lost soul. Oh how my heart ached for her and still does today with the memory, because this is what’s happening in many a person’s life. I can’t say yes to God because it would mean I’d have to give up that money or that person or that relationship or that career it. It would mean that I have to give up something that is very precious to me, and I can’t do that.
A young person in Tokyo, talking to him, “Do you understand now that the, that the, the living God loved you and sent His son to die for your sins?”, says, “Yes, I understand”. “Do you understand that you’re a sinner and that you need to ask God to forgive your sins and to trust this Lord Jesus to come into your life?”, “Yes, I understand”. “Would you like to do that now”? “Oh, no”, he said, surprised the question was asked. Well, why? “Well”, he said, “If I become a Christian my family will disown me, my father will stop supporting me at Meiji University where I’m enrolled, and I can’t do that. I can’t become a Christian because it would shatter all my plans for an education”. See now, there you have it.
Somebody listening to me today is deeply in love with an unsaved boy or girl and you’re saying, “I can’t really be out and out for the Lord because if I were I’d have to give up that other person”. Torrey Johnson my brother-in-law was holding evangelistic meetings many years ago in a town in the in Michigan, and at the close of the service there came to talk with him a young lady who was accompanied by a gentleman, and as they stood there talking with, with Dr. Johnson the young lady volunteered the information that she was very much in love with this man, wanted to marry him, but that he was already married and would have to divorce his wife and wanted to do so. And finally she, she asked this question of our brother Torrey Johnson. She said, “if I become a Christian does it mean I have to give up this man?”, and Torrey very wisely said, “Well, what do you think the Lord is saying to your own heart”? She said, “I think that’s what He’s saying”. She paused a moment and then she said, “I’ll take this man”, and she turned on her heel and they walk on out into the night, unsaved because they had made the decision that something was more precious than their relationship with God.
Now how is it with you beloved? How are things in your life. I can’t talk for you. You have to talk for yourself, but you know yourself pretty well even, as I know me, and we know those points at which we wince, at which we back off. The points at which we’re unwilling human beings that we are, we, we are a lot like, like Dr. Clyde Narramore’s daughter when she was just a little baby girl. He was trying to talk her out of something. He said, “Come on up and sit on my knee and let’s talk about it”. She sat down on his knee Alright, and put her little arms around his neck and said, “Daddy, let’s not talk it over. Let’s let me have my way”. She was as good a psychologist in her way as he was. Well that’s what we say to God oftentimes, isn’t it? “God, let’s let me have my way, but please bless me, anyway”.
Lady said to me years ago, she was carrying on an affair with somebody not her husband and I had been speaking quite directly with her about it and she said to me, so naïvely, “Well”, she said Brother Cook, “couldn’t I divorce my husband and then marry this man, and after that ask the Lord to forgive me”? Well I suppose you could, but there’s such a bitter harvest of regrets that come from disobeying God and I hope that as we speak today, you’re going to be very serious about the matter of who comes first in your life. See Matthew 5:16 or Matthew 6:33 it says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you”. He wants to be first, “Whoso therefore shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father which is in heaven”, we read in Matthew 10:32. God wants you to be proud of Him. He wants you to put Him first. He wants you to have everything else second to Him because if anything else is more precious than God, that’s idolatry, that’s what it is and He won’t put up with it. He said, “I’m the Lord, that is my name and my glory will I not share with another”.
So, I think that’s what, what we’re up against dear friends. We may as well face it. The key to revival is putting God first in, in details in your life. The key to renewal, spiritual renewal and what we call revival, is deliberately to put God first in areas in your life where you’ve been insisting on having your own way. I’ve always been blessed and renewed in my own spirit every time I’ve given into God’s will on something and sometimes even with tears, I’ve had to say, “Well, God if that’s what you want, I’ll do it”. And as I yielded to God’s will, I found the blessed Holy Spirit renewing and refreshing me as a result. You try that for yourself beloved, you’ll find that it does indeed work.
Dear Father, I pray that Thou wilt help us this day to put Thee first, in Jesus’ name I ask it, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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