Good Intentions Plus

Good intentions are good, and have them, please, but learn not to trust them unless they are laced by the power and strengthened by the Holy Spirit of God

Scripture: Mark 14:26-31, Romans 7


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? Well, I’m fine, thank you, and nice of you to ask. [chuckle] I’m feeling great, I hope you are too. I look forward to these times when we can share from God’s Word, believe me I do.

We’re looking at Mark 14. The last time we got together, we were discussing what happened at what we call the Last Supper. And it says now in verse 26 of Mark 14, “When they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives.” Our Lord Jesus didn’t have any place to spend overnight, so the evidence is, that oftentimes, He and the disciples would spend the night under the trees in the Garden of Gethsemane or elsewhere, because there wasn’t any other place to go. “The Son of man,” He said, “Hath not where to lay His head.” You think about that, you think how we insist on the what we call the comforts of home. We want a comfortable bed; we want a roof over our heads; we want clean sheets and pillow cases and covers, and we want the temperature of the room just right. And if we’re traveling, we want a place that’s clean and decent and quiet and comfortable and all of that.

But one of the facts of everyday life for Jesus our Blessed Lord was that He didn’t have any place to spend the night oftentimes. Now, this was gonna be a very special night, of course. Before the morning was to dawn, He would be taken prisoner and subjected to all of the extreme cruelty and torture that preceded His crucifixion. But out into the Mount of Olives they went, ostensibly to spend the night. It does seem as though the rest of the disciples, with the exception of Judas, who was about his nefarious business of betrayal, but it does seem that the rest of the disciples really didn’t realize that this was it, because they simply laid down and went to sleep.

The prayer life of the Lord Jesus was marked by long periods of prayer during the night hours. Habitually He did this. We’ll talk about His prayer life in a minute. But habitually He prayed during the night hours while they were sleeping, so this was just another night prayer meeting to them when later on He said, “Tarry ye here and watch with me.” So, that’s the human nature side of it. “It’s always been this way, this is just another night and there’s no need to stay awake, we’re all tired out, we’ve had a big day, we’re going to sleep.” That’s what happened.

Well, back to verse 26. He said, “When they had sung a hymn, they went out.” Have you given thought to the therapeutic value of singing? Now, I don’t have a singing voice. Nobody ever asks me to sing a solo and it’s a good thing, because if I did, I would clear your sinuses and clear the room, I’m sure. But regardless of whether or not we’re talented in the matter of singing, the Bible is full of references to singing to the Lord. And here in this holy hour, when our Lord Jesus had just instituted that ordinance, which throughout 2,000 years was going to be observed by believers, the Lord’s table. It said, “They sang a hymn together.”

Families, have you given thought to the idea of singing just a verse when you have family worship? I hope you have family worship in your family, do you? Do you read the Bible and pray around the table or wherever you get the family together? I hope you do that, and if you do, would you give some thought to the idea of just singing a verse? There is a spiritual therapeutic value in singing in connection with your worship. I know personally that there’s value and comfort in singing when you are in sorrow. Many years ago I discovered that if at a funeral I would start a verse of a song, that it brought comfort to the mourners. I remember the funeral of my precious friend and dear brother, Bill Miller, who served for many years at the college as chairman of the board. A monumental brother with a heart as big as all creation, loved God, wonderful brother, dear friend, now with the Lord a good many years. But I was there at his funeral, and as we prepared to leave that dear body at the cemetery, I said, “Let’s just sing a verse,” and I started, “There’s a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it afar, where the Father waits over the way to prepare us a dwelling place there. In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore. In the sweet by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore.” We sang and our tears were falling, but our hearts were strangely comforted.

Now, the same thing happened back in the ’50s when my own father slipped away into the glory one night. He died in his sleep, and the telephone call came at 6:30 in the morning just as I was finishing an all night of prayer at Winona Lake, Indiana, with a sunrise communion service on the hillside overlooking the lake. And the message came that my father had slipped away into the glory land, and so I hurried on back home and made arrangements for the funeral. And the time came then when the service was over and we were saying our last goodbye, and again there was a verse of a song, I didn’t start it this time, the pastor did, but we sang together. There’s comfort, you know, there’s comfort in the singing of a hymn when your heart is either deeply sorrowful or deeply worshipful. We did the same thing when my mother-in-love, Hilda Nilsen, went to glory, sang a hymn in connection with those services.

Just give some thought, beloved, to the spiritual value of singing sincerely, lovingly to the Lord in connection with the deep experiences of life, whether they be worship or great joy or deep sorrow. Singing to the Lord in connection with the deep experiences of life does have a tremendous spiritual value. Will you remember that? You don’t have to be an operatic soloist to sing to the Lord. I remember that David Morkan told me, one day he was driving out in Montana somewhere, where you would drive 600 miles between villages. It’s a land of vast distances out there in the West. And he was driving along, nobody but him and the car and the Lord, and he thought, “I’m gonna sing to the Lord.” He does have a very pleasant singing voice, or at least he did years ago, I haven’t heard him recently, but years ago he had a very pleasant singing voice.

And he said to me, “I thought, I’m gonna sing this one for the Lord.” And so, he rolled the window down as he drove, and he shouted out the window and said, “Dear Lord, I’m gonna sing this one for you.” [chuckle] And as he drove, he sang a hymn just for the Lord. “Oh,” he said, “it was such a blessing.” Well, Alright, “Sing unto the Lord,” it says. When they had sung a hymn they went out, and Jesus said… Now, what a statement… “All of you shall be offended because of me this night. And this is in fulfillment of a prophecy,” He went on to tell them. “For it is written, ‘I will smite the Shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered, but after I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.'” This they’ve missed entirely. The angel had to remind them, “Remember how He said unto you, ‘I will go before you into Galilee.'”

They had to be reminded after the Resurrection. They missed that entirely. What they didn’t miss was the statement, “All of you shall be offended.” And Peter said unto Him, Peter was always answering, nobody ever asked Him anything, but He was always answering and sayin. Peter said unto Him, “Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.” And Jesus said unto him, “You know, Peter, I’m telling you the truth; verily, verily I say unto thee,” it means ‘I’m really telling you the truth,’ “That this day, even in this night, before the cock crows twice,” that’s, in other words, “Before the very first rooster crow, you will deny me three times.”

“But Peter, he spake the more vehemently, ‘If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee.’ And likewise also said they all.” What a contrast when they come to Gethsemane and they all fall asleep. Well, you and I know that our intentions oftentimes are good, but we don’t quite follow it through. You have to give Peter credit for sincerely wanting to be his best for the master. I don’t think that he was being insincere here at all, I think he meant it when he said, “If I die with you, I won’t deny you.” I think he meant it, but he didn’t know the depth of his own weakness, the weakness of his own human nature, and he didn’t know the pressures to which he would be subjected, the combination of which would result in his saying later on, “I don’t even know this man who’s a prisoner.”

And it says, “Likewise also said they all.” Don’t single out Peter for failure, they all said, “We’re gonna be true to you, Master, and if it means we have to die, we’ll be loyal to you.” It says, “Likewise.” Now, the likewise refers to what Peter said, “If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise.” Likewise, same thing. They all said that, “We’re willing to die for you.” Well, it said, “They all forsook him and fled.” And the drama of trial and ultimate crucifixion went on. A small thought here. Learn not to trust your good intentions when they’re based only on human ability. Good intentions are good, and have them, please, but learn not to trust them unless they are laced by the power and strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit of God who indwells the believer.

Paul said sadly in Romans 7, “When I would do good, evil is present with me. The good that I would, I do not, and the evil that I would not, that I do.” The problem of having a sinful human nature is only solved when the Holy Spirit of God is in control of you, and God’s new nature is running things. “The part of you that’s born of God,” says John in 1 John, “Sinneth not, because it cannot sin, it is born of God.” That doesn’t mean you’re sinlessly perfect, that does mean that your new nature is a God nature, and as you allow the Holy Spirit of God to run your life, you don’t fail, you don’t cave in, you don’t fall, you don’t go back on what you know to be the will of God, but you do carry through when God is running things. Now, we’ll get back to that the next time we get together.

Dear Father, today help us to put our good intentions in the control of the Holy Spirit of God so they can be implemented with power. 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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