God’s Voice Box
Prove that Christ is real by the way you treat other people.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Oh, I’m fine, thank you. Nice of you to ask. I’m feeling great. Hallelujah. Nice to have the privilege of sharing with you from the Word of God. I look forward to these times day after day and just like a vacation with pay. [chuckle] Oh, it’s wonderful. Just to open God’s Word and share with you from these precious passages of the inerrant, infallible, eternal Word of God, the Bible.
We’re walking around in 1 Timothy, you and I, we’re in fourth chapter, verse 12. “Let no man despise thy youth but be thou an example,” it’s our word type, Greek word “tupos”. “You be a type,” a living demonstration in other words, of the believer in word( that’s what you say in conversation, that’s our idea of lifestyle, manner of life) “in charity” (that’s calvary love, agape. Calvary love, you be a type of how the believer is to live by the atmosphere of Calvary love in your life); “in spirit,” (that’s the envelope of influence around you, the human spirit that is projected outward to others as you move through life); “in faith,”( that’s the quality of risking a situation on God;) and then “in purity.” We’d came then to that last word, “purity”. That’s where we left off the last time we got together. It’s a Greek word “hagneia” which means literally sinless and it’s used in the sense of chastity. I Timothy 5:2, “Treat the younger women as sisters with all purity,” with all hagneia. Same idea.
Now he says, “You be a type of the believer in your relationship then with the opposite sex,” that’s what he’s saying. Chastity means that there’s a pure relationship, that there is no ulterior motive when you say, “Good morning,” and greet someone. That’s a big order because human beings are sinful. I remember hearing that in a Bible Institute a good many years ago, now it would be at the beginning of the century, the dean of women gathered all of the lady students around her and said, “Now I must warn you, young women, men are beasts.” [chuckle] That was her opening lecture to the young students. [chuckle]
Well, you have what someone has called the biological urge and you have the fact that we are fallen, sinful human beings. And he said, “If you wanna prove that Jesus is real, you’ve gotta prove it in your relationship with others.” It’s that simple and that direct, and yes, it’s that important. There’s never a time when you can say, “It doesn’t matter now. I can be careless now. I can be self-indulgent now. I can go just a little beyond the limits now. It doesn’t matter now.” There’ll never be a time when as a Christian you can say that.
I was a speaker at Jack Wyrtzen’s youth camp a good many years ago up at Schroon Lake, New York and with me on the same program was Don Hillis. He and his brother, Dick, are veteran missionaries of the cross, having spent many years, one of them in China and the other in India. I knew them both when they were in their salad days and saw them come up into Christian leadership and do such a great work.
Well anyhow, this was back in the 1960s, early 1960s. And Brother Hillis and I were co-speakers there at that conference. And it was his turn to speak at the camp fire meeting, which was the windup of the week there on the island at Schroon Lake. And he was talking to the folk, and I remember one statement that he made to the young men. He was talking about this very subject that we have in hand today and he said, “Fellows, you’ll never be able to win a girl to Christ after you’ve made a pass at her.” Well, now, that’s pretty direct, isn’t it? But it is terrifyingly true.
The moment that you and I go beyond God’s limits of propriety and morality, that is the moment when we lose our credibility as His children. Boy, that just shakes me up, doesn’t it you? Because it’s not simply in the matter of personal morals but it has to do with all of our relationships with other people. A little carelessness with the truth destroys your credibility as a witness to Him Who is the truth. A little variance from what is obviously the will of God destroys your credibility so far as your witness to Him Who is the way. And your whole lifestyle is at risk in this matter of influencing other people for the Lord Jesus Christ. You’re to be a type now, a living demonstration of what a believer is and what Christ can do in a human being. So he says, “You be careful in your relationship with other people.”
Now which of us is without having made some mistakes? Don’t you wish you could go back and do some things over? Of course, we all do. But now God is the God of the future, as well. And He guarantees to lead those who ask Him to, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” And so beloved, it’s a matter of praying your way through the day. This is what I told the young people at the college through the years, “Pray before you open your mouth to say something. Pray before you answer the phone. Pray before you open a letter. Pray before you start into a class. Pray before you go on a date. Pray before you sign a contract. Pray before you make a life decision. Pray your way through the day and God will keep you.”
That’s the answer to this big, big order. Think of what he has said to Timothy. You be a type, a walking, living proof, a living demonstration of what a believer really ought to be in what you say and in how you live, in the quality of calvary love in your life, in the envelope of influence around you, the human spirit that’s projected out to other people in the matter of trusting God absolutely, risking the situation on God, and in the matter of staying free from shortcomings and mistakes and sins in your relationship with others.
Boy, that’s something. Well, the answer is Jesus is able. “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” Simon Peter said, “Lord, you can depend on me,” and our Lord Jesus told him as recorded in John 13, “Peter, you can’t even believe yourself. I know you’re sincere when you say ‘I’m willing to die for You,’ but before the roosters had a chance to crow, you’re going three times to deny Me, to deny that you even know Me. But,” He says, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God. Believe also in Me.” He said, “Peter, you can’t depend on yourself, but you can depend on Me.”
That, my friends, is the turning point in anybody’s life when he or she realizes that you cannot depend upon your own good intentions, honorable as they may be, but you can depend upon the Lord Jesus by His indwelling Holy Spirit to control and to guide you and to make you a blessing instead of a menace and a disaster. Do you follow that? Oh, trust your blessed Lord today. As you deal with other people, other men and women, young people, children, trust the blessed Holy Spirit to make you a blessing, to speak through you. Jesus said, “Take no thought, how or what thing ye shall answer for it is not ye that speak but the Spirit of your Father would speaketh in you.”
The Holy Spirit of God wants to talk through your throat and express the concepts of Deity through your words. Let Him do it as you yield yourself to Him as you pray your way through the day. It’s a big order, isn’t it? But thank God there isn’t anything that the Lord tells us to do but that He will enable us to do by His power. Paul said, “I can do all things through Him, through Christ, which strengtheneth me.” You prove that Christ is real by the way you treat other people.
Now, he goes on in verse 13, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, and to doctrine.” Reading has to do with information. Many people don’t read, period. A lot of us don’t read enough, and most of us don’t read productively. You wanna think about that with me for a moment? What is your reading schedule, anyway?
My ideal along this line is Warren Wiersbe. Dr. Wiersbe is, well, he’s what we call a Bibliophile. He loves books. The first question he asked when he came to stay at our house in connection with some meetings that we held at the college years ago, he was the fall revival speaker, and so he checked in at the big house, the big white house that serves as the president’s residence, and then the first question he asked was, “Where is the nearest book store?” [chuckle] That’s right!
And before long, he disappeared, and he had a set of wheels that someone had provided, and so he got in that car and drove away and later on he came back with an armful of books. He had found some choice treasures, and he gave one to me, he said, “Here, this will be for you. I bought this for you.” Well, what it was was a series of essays on different subjects that turned out to be extraordinarily interesting and stimulating. But he just loves books. When you read one of the books he has written, he always includes a list of other books that you can read in order to enrich yourself with the concepts that are presented there. There’s one book he’s written called Listening to the Giants, that has a whole bibliography in the back of it. You could build your own library, a considerable part of it simply by duplicating that list.
Well, be that as it may, most of us do not have either a reading schedule or any adequate conception of books that one ought to have in order to make his or her way richly through life. He said, “Give attendance to reading.” What do you read?
Now of course, television has relieved us of the necessity of reading the daily paper for the most part, but most people I notice at least scan the paper. Then you’ve got the news magazines: Time, and Newsweek, and US News, and all the rest and various newsletters. And then you got the professional magazines. I get Fortune and Forbes, and all of that just to keep up with what’s going on. And you have the religious magazines, there’s a bunch of them and all of them good, and you need to read them. And you say, “Well, Brother Cook, how are you going to get a hold of all of that and then read books?” Learn to read faster and with comprehension. We’ll talk about that the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, oh, may we be people who are living demonstrations of what Jesus can do, 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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