You build up other people not by what you lecture them with, but by the example of a miracle life that they see lived before them.
Alright, thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing all right? Oh, sure I wait to see what you say. Why should I rush right on without giving you a chance to answer? So, a lot of people tell me, “I’m glad you wait, Mr. Cook as I answer you back.” Well, that’s great. I hope everything’s going well at your home and that things, even though you may have struck a rough day, you’re enabled to look up and trust our blessed Lord. I have just finished praying that God would somehow speak love and encouragement and inspiration and help and wisdom through my voice to you.
And, oh, I trust that that prayer may be abundantly answered as we look into the Word of God. Romans 14. We want to finish up our thought on verse 19 where Paul said “Let’s follow the things that make for peace, and the things wherewith one may edify another.” In another place, Paul says live peace, “If it be possible as much as lieth in you, live peaceably,” it means “live in the atmosphere of peace.” Peace because the war is over, therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Peace through committing everything to God in prayer. Be care-filled for nothing; but in everything, that is everything, “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God,” and as a result , “the peace of God that passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” And then there’s the wonderful peace that comes because of a person in control. “Peace I leave with you,” Jesus said, “my peace give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.”
Peace because a wonderful person, the Lord Jesus Christ, is in control of your life. “Follow,” said he, “after the things which make for peace.” Practically speaking, if you strike a situation where there’s an argument in church or whatever, remember to pray through the agenda before the meeting starts. Pray through the agenda and you’ll have fewer speeches and a shorter meeting. Second, if you strike a snag and there seems to be no basis for agreement, back off and see what it is that you do agree on.
Emphasize the points of agreement, and the points of disagreement have a way of working themselves out. Finally, don’t be afraid to pray about things. Some people are so compartmentalized in their thinking that it seems strange to them to pray about matters that have no religious connotation. At the same time, this is the most practical thing one can do. I quoted for you a moment ago the verse that says “everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving”. There is nothing in all your life about which you may not pray.
And so form the habit when you strike a snag in dealing with people and situations, don’t be afraid to say, “Let’s stop and talk to the Lord about this.” God has a way of speaking to my heart and to yours and working it out. So that’s some of the background of what we were talking about when one says things that make for peace. Now, he said, “things wherewith one may edify another.”
Look for steps of action and involvement that help another person to get going for God. How do you edify, build up, somebody else? Well, you don’t make a federal case of it. You don’t come and say, “Brother, I’m going to help you grow in grace,” you know.
People will stay away from you by the hundreds if you do that. You’ll become an accident going somewhere to happen and they will try to cope with you rather than to receive you. So don’t make a federal case of your effort to build other people up rather it has to be a byproduct, doesn’t it? A byproduct of Christian fellowship and friendship and helpfulness and example. How does this work? Well, first of all, I think a healthy spiritual life on your part is more effective than you could ever know in encouraging others to walk more closely with the Lord.
Instead of coming to somebody and say, “You don’t pray enough,” or coming and saying, “You don’t walk close enough to God. You ought to walk closer with the Lord,” or “You’re not spiritual enough.” See, all that does is make the person defensive as you know and you get into an argument. Instead of that, make sure that you yourself are happy and blessed and radiant in the relationship you have with the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing will motivate another person faster than a radiant Christian life. Did you know that?
Our brother, Norman Grubb, read in my hearing years ago a letter that had come to him from India. This was from someone who is in-charge of one of the stations that were under the mission of the World Evangelist, I got my tongue tangled up, didn’t I? The World Evangelization Crusade, WEC for short. And this letter went on to say that all of the work had started to slow down. The national Christians were loose and careless in their Christian life, various types of corruption had crept into the lifestyle of different ones of the congregation and the missionaries themselves were, from time to time, disagreeing not to say bickering about things.
And so the work was at a low ebb. Now, there came into their midst a Christian Sadhu. In India the word “Sadhu” means “holy man,” that is a person ordinarily who has devoted his whole life to the Hindu faith and has gone through the various forms of training and meditation to have arrived at a place where he does nothing other than meditate upon the Hindu holy writings and he is a Sadhu, a holy man, all right? This man, however, had been brought to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, he was still a Sadhu but he was a Christian Sadhu. That is to say he spent his time entirely evangelizing, going from one place to another, witnessing for Christ, helping and blessing and strengthening people as he went. The one thing about this Christian Sadhu was that he was a person of effortless radiance and holiness. He didn’t try to be holy. He was holy. He didn’t try to shine. He did shine. And everyone was aware of the fact that without trying, without proving a point, without expounding upon it, without criticizing anybody else, this man, by the kind of Christian radiance he showed was putting everybody else in a position of examining their own lives.
He didn’t say a word to them about their condition. He just kept on shining for the Lord. The net result was that they called a week of prayer and seeking God. And the man writing the letter said, “I let my watch rundown because I found myself looking at my watch often to find out whether it wasn’t time to quit praying and go have something to eat or whatever.” And they told the postman not to come and ring the bell and deliver the mail. They said, “We’ll pick up the mail at the post office.” So there wasn’t any interruption of the normal sort.
And they waited before God all week long. And finally, they went up to a little hillside cottage up yonder in the hills and waited before God throughout the night hours, these missionaries did. And one by one, came to a place of complete commitment to our blessed Lord and of completely opening themselves to the fullness of the Spirit of God. When all of this time of prayer was over, they didn’t feel any different, they said. But the next day, which happened to be Sunday, when they came to church, lo and behold, the place was full, there was a great response to the gospel message, God was evidently working in great power and it had all been triggered by the effortless shining of a Christian Sadhu, a man who, before had been a Hindu holy man, who now was a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, the effortless shining of this dear saint who simply lived the Spirit-filled life of Christ, the radiant life of a true Christian among them.
He got them convicted, he got them praying and his example helped them to seek God until they themselves as well had had that special touch from God that made their work once again to be effective. Why am I telling you all this? Because, dear friend, the best thing you can do for others to begin with is to make sure that your life is full of the Spirit of God and that your example is a shining radiant one.
Oh, dear friend, realize this: you build up other people, basically, you build up other people not by what you lecture them with but by the example of a miracle life that they see lived before them. Another thing you can do that will build people up is to involve them with you in activities that matter for eternity. Like any other teenager, I was shy and backward in this matter of open air meetings. As a child in Cleveland, Ohio, my father would have taken me many times, I recall, to an open air meeting that was held on 9th street just north of Euclid Avenue in Cleveland.
And there, a large crowd would gather and a man whom I remember as being called Mr. Barry, probably now with the Lord many years, a fine young businessman would lead the meeting and different ones would testify and I would look on with enjoyment but of course, as a little boy of I would suppose 5, 6, or 7, around in there, I really didn’t have much to say at an open air meeting. That then was my experience with open air evangelism until I came to Chicago and was enrolled as a student at the Moody Bible Institute.
And then part of our training in what was called Practical Christian Work, was to go out week by week to various parts of the city and to hold an open air service. Well, as I say, as an ordinary teenager just out of high school, I just passed my 16th birthday, graduated from high school, and was now a student at Moody Bible Institute and on Chicago’s west side where people of different faiths and different ethnic backgrounds oftentimes wanted nothing to do with the gospel message, I found out what it was to have an open air meeting with considerable heckling and sometimes the throwing of objects and whatnot, but being involved with somebody else who had already been there, somebody else who knew what was going to happen and knew how to cope with it gave me encouragement.
And then I found myself developing little messages that I could give in those open air meetings, little testimonies that I could give, a word concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and what He meant to me and little by little there was some steel so to speak put in my backbone so I wasn’t frightened. And I learned the effectiveness of preaching in the open air. Somebody had helped me, had built me up by involving me in that activity. The same thing is true in door-to-door calling or in Sunday school teaching or in personal work or whatever. Involve people with you in activities that matter for eternity. You will strengthen them spiritually as a result. Well, we’d get at that again when we get a chance.
Dear Lord, today, we commit ourselves to Thee and we ask that we may be involved in helping other people grow spiritually, in Jesus’ 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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