God’s Instrument

You have opportunity either to call attention to yourself, or to call attention to your Savior.

Scripture: John 1 :19-29


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Everything going alright at your house? Well, I trust so, bless your heart. I’m fine, thank you. And grateful for the privilege of being back with you once again to share from God’s word. Look with me at John, Gospel of John Chapter One. Verse 18, Verse 19, rather. This is the record of John. “When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who art thou?’ He confessed and denied not, but confessed, ‘I’m not the Christ.’ And they asked him, ‘What then, art thou Elias?’ And he said, ‘I’m not.’ ‘Art thou that prophet?’ And he answered, ‘No.’ Then said they unto him, ‘Who art thou? That we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?’ He said, ‘I’m the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord, as the prophet Isaiah said.’ And they which were sent were from the Pharisees.” This is the record of John. One of the things that never occurs to youthful offenders until after they are caught in some wrong doing is that the record of what you did will follow you all the rest of your life. That is a sobering thought. What you have been throughout the years past is your record. And it’s there, and although God will forgive and does forgive, thank God, “There is forgiveness with thee that thou mayest be feared,” said the psalmist. Still the record is there, people don’t forget. This is the record of John.

I wonder, do you wanna think about your record for a moment? Now it’s nobody’s business but yours and God’s, and I’m not going to pry, and you shouldn’t let anybody else pry into your record. But I just wonder if it wouldn’t be a good idea for you and for me to think about the things we have said and done in our lifetime? Things that constitute what we would call our record. What sort of a picture does it give? For what have you been known? What has identified your life most of the time? Well, you’re the best qualified to answer that, I guess. But looking at one’s life and the record of it over a period of years, a pattern begins to emerge concerning the individual. And so sometimes it’s a pattern that is dominated by the concept of money. Sometimes it’s a pattern that is dominated by the concept of self-indulgence, the search for pleasure and happiness and enjoyment. And while there are flashes of industry and moments of outgoing compassion for others, the pattern is largely one of self-indulgence. In another the life pattern would be characterized by a search for influence and power, and every move is calculated from the point of view of what will this do for me? Well, I don’t know what the pattern is in your life. I’m pretty well acquainted with Bob Cook, I’ll tell you that.

And I don’t always like what I see when I make such an inventory as we’ve been talking about here. Well, thank God, He is able to take all that you are and use it for His glory. I was speaking one day with Bill Carl, my good friend who was a possessor of a wonderful base voice, a great singer. We traveled together for over many thousands of miles during the years when I was in Youth for Christ and he was singing for them. Up until the age of about 52 or 53, I guess, he was in show business. He sang for some years for Billy Rose and his Diamond Horseshoe, he sang in opera, and he had all sorts of experiences. Always there was a wistful longing for God, but he never really became a Christian until Roy McEwan prayed with him one day and led him to the Lord. We were talking about this as we traveled along one time, going from one meeting to another, and I said to him, “You know it’s a pity, that no one won you to Christ before Ron McEwan prayed with you for salvation.

All those years went by and you were, sort of hungry for God, weren’t you, Bill? Oh, he said, I was so hungry for God that people used to call me Mr. God in the show business world. But then he turned to me and smiled, he says, “You know, a wonderful thing has happened. God has taken all of those years that I’ve spent in show business and all of the contacts I made, and all of the friendships that I made, and He has begun to use all of that for His glory in a way that I never could have expected. God has used those years.”, said he.

Well, thank God that’s so. The only hope for my record is that it be placed by faith under the blood of Jesus, and God transforms it into something that He Himself can use for His glory. Would you then with me today come to the throne of grace and say, “Lord, take all of the years past, all of the sayings, all of the doings, all of the thoughts, everything that makes up the person that is I, and Lord take that and somehow transform it into a life that can be used for your glory.” He will. He’ll do that. Paul said, “Yield yourselves to God as those that are alive from the dead, and your bodies as instruments of righteousness to God.” Instrument means something that is used by somebody else. You can give yourself to God so that He can use you. That’s the truth of the matter. Aren’t you glad that’s so? This is the record of John.

Now, people are always asking you, as they asked John, “What have you got to say? Who are thou?” He said, “I’m not the Christ. I’m not Elias. I’m not the prophet.” The prophet was one that they were looking for to in the fulfillment of prophecy, that would come before the Messiah. “No”, he said, “I’m not that.” He said, “I’m the voice of one crying in the wilderness. The one that Isaiah talked about, that would come before the Messiah. I’m the voice.”

Now, the answer then to the question they asked, “What sayest thou of thyself?” Is not, “I’m talented”, or, “I’m faithful”, or, “I’m a great preacher”, which he was. Or, “I’m unusual”, that certainly is true. Out there in the wilderness, dressed in camel’s hair and eating locusts and wild honey. Different, unusual, hard-working, dedicated, fearless; all of these things could be said about him. Humble, yes. But he didn’t say any of those things, did he? We can say that about him. Jesus said of John the Baptist, “He was a burning and a shining light and you were willing for a season to rejoice in that light.” So you could say different things about him, but when it comes to the question… And you and I face it, don’t we? Day by day, what do you say for yourself? You speak not of your talents and not of your accomplishments, nor indeed of your goals, if you’re gonna talk about yourself point to Jesus. I’m the voice. That comes right home to every one of us, because many times each day you have opportunity either to call attention to yourself, or to call attention to your Savior. He said “No, I’m not the Christ. I’m not Elias. I’m not the fulfillment of the prophecy concerning a prophet to come before the face of the Lord.” He said, “I am the voice, crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.'”

“What do you say of yourself?” “I’m the voice.” “What do you say of yourself?” “I’m making a noise, crying in the wilderness.” “What do you say of yourself?” “I’m making a noise that calls people’s attention to the Lord.” “What do you say for yourself?” “I’m making a noise to call people’s attention to the Lord, that they have to straighten up if they’re going to deal with Him. Make straight the way of the Lord.” Interesting, isn’t it? 400 years had passed before John was born. That 400, what they call, silent years, when there wasn’t any prophetic revelation. No one saying anything about the need of the nation spiritually. Now comes John the Baptist, what’s his message? Repent! Repent! What does repentance mean? He said, “Soldiers, don’t accuse any man unjustly and be content with your wages. Don’t grumble.” He said, “For the common person get rid of your selfishness and learn to share.” Very practical advice that John the Baptist gave to people under the heading of repent.

What do you say for yourself? Let’s name it once again, before we leave it. He said nothing about himself as so far as his gifts or his work or his abilities were concerned. He pointed straight to Jesus, he said “I’m the voice. I’m making a noise. I’m making a noise in the wilderness, saying that people should pay attention to Jesus, and that they should straighten up if they’re gonna deal with Him.” Let me ask you something, do people ever feel that they ought to get right with God after they’ve met you? I’m not talking now about going around and lecturing folk and telling them how bad they are. Folk will stay away from you by the thousands if you do that. I’m talking about that unspoken something that is the result of meeting a person whose life is full of God and dedicated to God’s service and who calls attention not to himself or to herself, but to the Lord Jesus Christ. Do people think about getting right with God after they’ve met you? Give it some thought and prayer today. Would you? That, it seems to me, would be the highest accomplishment that any one of us could ever achieve.

Father God, today, may we be so full of Thy spirit. The people will want to serve Thee after they’ve met us. In Jesus name, I pray this. Amen. ‘Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing.

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