Look to your heavenly Father for special grace within the parameters of whatever gifts He may have given you. What gifts do you have?
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, my dear radio friend, how in the world are you? Yes, I use the singular now in friend, because I have in mind ever so many people whom I know personally that are listening, and it is as though the miles drop away and I’m sitting with you at your kitchen table, or beside you in the car as you drive to work or wherever it may be, or we’re just together around the Word of God and you’re special, you know that, don’t you? [chuckle] Bless your heart.
Glad to be back with you, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and we’re looking at the Book of the Ephesians Chapter 3. The last time we got together, we were talking about this matter of “I, Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.” Paul said, “I’m here because of you.” Now the great thrust of his ministry through the years was that he wanted to share the good news of salvation not only with his own Jewish people, but also with the Gentiles, because the grace of God extends to all. And so, in the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul tells us that the wall of partition was broken down between us and the enmity, even the Law of Commandments containing ordinance was taken away. And He reconciled us unto God in one body by the cross.
And so, Paul told the folk at Colossi in the Book of Colossians. He said, “There is neither Greek nor Jew, Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free, but Christ is all and in all. Greek nor Jew, that is a nationality, circumcision or un-circumcision, that’s religion. Barbarian or Scythian, that is culture. Bond or free, that is society. And all of these distinctions that people have made fade away when you’re at the foot of the cross, the ground is level at the foot of the cross. Oh yes, I think of the dear brother, this would go back to 1953, can you believe it? In the day that we had our World Congress of Youth For Christ in Tokyo. One of the delegates from the south land was very much upset to find that we had people of other races and colors mixing with us in the meal times, and in the dormitories and all of that. He was upset about it. And he really, he didn’t attend too many meetings, I noticed that he was busy with his camera and acting as an ordinary tourist would going on seeing the sights, but it so happened that he came to breakfast one morning and we always had devotions right after breakfast, and he stayed for devotions and the Lord got to him in some way.
I believe Armin Gesswein was speaking at the time. Armin has a way of talking directly to the conscience, if you… Those of you who know him. Good man of God. And so, he was speaking at the time and the Spirit of God got a hold of this man, he got up out of his chair, and almost ran from the room down the stairs to the next floor in the Tokyo Kaikan Building where we were meeting, a floor that we had reserved for prayer. That entire floor was given over to prayer. And so, he just ran down to that floor and said to nobody in particular, “Would somebody pray for me? I’m such a sinner.” And down on his knees he went and God sent him somebody to pray with. You know who he said, Mr Kaladi, a railroad official, from India. A man whose complexion was absolutely as dark as could be. A highly, highly skilled, highly educated, a wonderful brother, but there he was kneeling beside this white man from the south of the United States was a black man from India, praying for him.
But do you know what he prayed? The first thing he said when he began to pray, he prayed… Now this is Mr Kaladi. He prayed, “Oh Lord, please forgive me for feeling superior to this white man.” [laughter] How God gets through to us when the Holy Spirit of God works, the ground is level at the foot of the cross, when you get on your face before God, right? Well, I didn’t intend to bring that in, but it’s so true. I know it has happened, I was there. And when God works, when God works he breaks down the wall of partition. That was the thrust of false ministry and was indeed part of the reason why Paul was there. God said, “I’m gonna have you preach at Rome and I’m gonna do it in an unorthodox way. I’m gonna have you preach from a prison cell and you’re going to preach to the guards and the guards are gonna tell their families and their families are gonna tell other people and there’s gonna be a revival in the palace guard and the Gospel is going to get out.
The prisoner of Jesus Christ. Now, as I said to you the last time we got together, learn to look at things you don’t like, and things you can’t change, like being in jail, you see what I mean? Learn to look at things you don’t like, and things that you can’t change in terms of what does the Lord Jesus want to accomplish out of this? Will you do it? You have your choice, beloved, you can complain and fret and make an unpleasant time of it. Or in spite of the unpleasantness, you can look up and say, “Lord Jesus, I’m yours. I’m in this situation for you,” and let him work through your life. Amen. Now I know that’s a lot easier for Cook to say than for you to do. I know that. But anything I tell you, I’ve been there, and I know that God can change my attitude toward circumstances that won’t change, toward things that are like being in jail in the sense that I can’t change them and I don’t like them, but God can change my attitude toward them, and he can use me and He can use you for His glory. He said, “I’m the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you.”
Will you apply that to your life? I just so hoped that that may be so. I’ve been praying so that God would take the truth and make it live for you. May that be so for you, beloved. Now, he said, if you’ve heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given to me for you. How the, by Revelation, He made known unto me the mystery which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, but is now revealed by, unto his holy Apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
Now, what is it that’s been revealed? Verse 6, that the Gentiles should be the fellow heirs. Now over in Chapter 2 you’re “fellow citizens and of the household of God,” here it is fellow heirs. “And of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the Gospel.” “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effectual working of his power.” Now, he said, “If you heard of the dispensation of the grace of God, which is given me, for you.” Here again, we talk about your relationship with other people, based not upon your efforts, even your best efforts or indeed your worst failures, for that matter. But he says this is part of the grace that God dispenses so that you can bless other people. The grace of God, which is given to me, now in the King James version it says, “To you ward,” we don’t say that anymore, we say for you.
The grace of God, which is given to me for you. See what God wants to do is not dependent upon your smartness or good looks or connections or contacts or what the world calls good luck being in the right place at the right time and all of that. He says this is the dispensation of God’s grace, just the way He saved you so is the way He uses you. Have you learned that yet? How were you saved? Nothing in my hand, I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling. “Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me, and that thou bidst me come to thee. Oh, Iamb of God, I come.” See the grace of God takes you as you are, forgives you, cleanses you, raises you up out of the dunghill, makes you a child of God and adopts you into the family of God, gives you an inheritance with the children of God, fellow heirs, that’s the grace of God. Now, he says God gave me his grace for you.
Look to your Heavenly Father for a special grace within the parameters of whatever gifts he may have given you. What gifts do you have? Have you ever done a personal inventory? Can you speak well? Can you sing? Can you write? Can you promote? Can you sell? Can you manage? Can you make money or disburse it wisely? What can you do? Can you teach? Are you… Can your work with your hands? Are you skilled as a craftsman? What can you do? Can you communicate? Are you good at electronics? What can you do? The grace of God, which is given to me for you. See now all of this adds up, the Bible agrees with itself. Paul says in Romans, let me turn back here, I’m turning the pages of my big Bible. Somebody wrote me the other day and said, “The only thing that bothers me is to hear you turn the pages of the Bible.”
Well, I can’t help it, I’ve got to… I’ve gotta look the passage up if I can’t quote it. “To every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ”, Paul says, in Romans 12, see. But he says “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us whether prophecy, or ministry, or teaching, or exerting or giving, or supervision, ruling or showing mercy or showing love, gifts to every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Now, that being so, the dispensation of the grace of God, that being so, will you dare then with me to look at your gifts today? Find a little extra time somewhere and just to get a piece of paper and a pencil or pen, write down some of the things that God has gifted you with, and then spend a few moments praying that He’ll extend His grace through you in the area of those gifts.
God’s grace wants to be shown in your singing, God’s grace in your speaking, God’s grace in your communicating, God’s grace in your supervising, God’s grace in your profession, you’re in the medical profession or the law profession whatever it is, God’s grace in your profession, God’s grace in your craftsmanship and your relationship with other craftsman, God’s grace in your teaching and your dealing with people, some of them, let’s face it, who put thought into not only being difficult, but also impossible. God’s grace with people, God’s grace with gifts that He’s given you, the dispensation of the grace of God. Just like He saved you, He wants to manifest himself through you in the areas in which He has gifted you. Would you nail that down in your own thinking today and let the Holy Spirit guides you as you work it out? I pray that it may be so.
Precious Father, oh extend your grace to us in the areas of our ministry, 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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