He Hasn’t Forgotten You
Be sure that you obey your Blessed Lord. He calls you by name.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doin’ alright, today? Well, I certainly trust everything’s alright at your house. This is your good friend, Bob Cook, and I’m back with you for a few precious moments to share from the Word of God. Oh, I look forward to these times when I can look into God’s Word and share it with you and sense in my own heart the warmth of his wonderful eternal truth.
You and I are looking into the Gospel of John, and we’re walking around these days in the 10th chapter. The last time we got together we got about as far as the middle of verse 3 says, “The sheep hear his voice,” that’s the voice of our Lord Jesus. “And he calleth his own sheep by name and leadeth them out and when he putteth forth his own sheep he goeth before them and the sheep follow him for they know his voice.” Now, it says in verse 5, “They know not the voice of strangers.” It speaks about the voice of the Lord Jesus. Verse 3, “The sheep hear his voice,” when they hear his voice, he calls them by name and he leads them. Then it says, “The sheep follow him for they know his voice.” There’s a recognition there that leads to obedience. And then it says, “They know not the voice of strangers.” There is a distinction there that makes a difference.
You wanna think with me about these things? First of all it says, “The sheep hear his voice.” We talked to you about that the last time we got together I think, didn’t we? You hear the voice of the Lord Jesus in the Word of God and you hear his voice as you pray and then listen, and the Holy Spirit of God who indwells the believer will whisper to your own heart some precious things that the Lord Jesus wants you to know. These things you should always write down in a little book you keep for that purpose so that you can refer to the precious things that your Savior says to you as he lovingly responds to your prayers. The voice of the Lord. Yes, you can hear from heaven, not in some cataclysmic revelation accompanied by thunder and lightning or some wild imaginings. No, the Bible’s a very sensible book and God is a sensible God and He speaks through His Word. His inerrant, infallible Word, the Bible. And He speaks through His indwelling Holy Spirit and he speaks oftentimes through the advice of other Christians. “In the multitude of counsel they’re liketh not wisdom,” Solomon said.
God speaks to you in different ways, but you can always tell His voice. The Lord Jesus said, “They know his voice.” You can always tell. You don’t have to wonder, “Is this the Lord speaking to me?” People write to me different times and say, “Brother Cook, how can I be sure the Lord is guiding me?” No question about it. Vance Havner used to say, “If you’re not sure about the will of God, guess at it because you’ll be right the first time.” You don’t have to wonder whether God is speaking with you. The Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are the children of God and if children then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ and as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. The Holy Spirit is not going to let you go wrong if you want the will of God. Proverbs 3:6 proves that, “In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths.” If you want the will of God, He’s not gonna let you go wrong. Good idea, isn’t it? And doesn’t it comfort your heart to know that your Heavenly Father cares enough about you, to be sure that you follow His will if you want to? Oh, I take great encouragement in that.
Then he says, “He calleth his own sheep by name.” Names in the Bible were often given as descriptive handles to tell what the person was like. Reuben, unstable as water thou shalt not excel. Jacob was called a supplanter, that was what his name meant and God changed it to Israel because he obtained favor with God as a prince. So yes, a name does mean something. In our day of course it hasn’t that much of a significance anymore but still it says, “He calleth his own sheep by name.” He knows the difference between you and Joe Doakes down the street. See, believers are not one great blob of humanity that God looks down upon. Indeed, he’s a great enough God to be aware of all of your individual characteristics.
You wanna think about that for a moment? Jesus said even the hairs of your head are all numbered, he didn’t say counted. As Dr. Walter L. Wilson used to point out in his whimsical fashion, he used to say, “The Bible says the hairs of your head are all counted. God didn’t say numbered.” You, you could… You… He didn’t say counted, you could count them if you took the time to measure off a patch of scalp and count the hair follicles. But he said numbered. Can’t you just hear the dear man talking? He had that tender, whimsical way of speaking that fastened itself upon your memory. Yes, God is concerned about the smallest details of your life, beloved. He really is. You can depend on Him. He calls you by name. Now, what does that mean? It means,  he’s aware of you as an individual with value. Jesus said, “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or once having lost it, what will he give in exchange for his soul when he tries to buy it back, that is?” And so, you are of infinite value and God looks upon you as a valuable individual.
Second, you’re one who was made in the image of God, but having lost that image, now you come to the Lord Jesus and we all with open face beholding His in a glass the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord. God looks at you as a person with a marred image, which He is restoring through infinite grace. God’s great job with you is to make you more like the Lord Jesus. Admittedly, that’s a difficult task for some of us, isn’t it? But oh, how God keeps at it and he works the little button that some of the people were, “Please be patient with me. God is not finished with me yet.” [chuckle] I think that could be true of all of us, couldn’t it? Yes, he calleth his own sheep by name. That means He looks at you as an individual, He looks at you as a person of infinite value, He looks at you as one who had a marred image but the image of God He’s restoring through the indwelling Holy Spirit who conforms you to the image of Christ.
He calls you by name, and then He has a job for you to do. He has something he wants you especially to do. I can’t emphasize this strongly enough, beloved. You have some abilities and you have some opportunities that nobody else in all the world could duplicate. Now, it’s true if I died tomorrow, they wouldn’t stop running the buses on Fifth Avenue and the world would go on much the same as it did before. I realized that. No one of us is indispensable in that sense. However, as God looks at you there are certain things He has for you to do which no one else can do quite as well, and you wanna find out the will of God and fit into it because He calls you by name. You have a responsibility and you have an opportunity in relationship to other people in other situations that no one else can quite duplicate. Be sure that you obey your Blessed Lord. He calls you by name.
Oh, by the way, if you’re gonna hear your name called you wanna be listening, don’t you? Sometimes it happens that I’m downstairs in my little office studio here in our home in Tannersville, PA. The house we bought has a ground floor apartment, it’s got a stove and an icebox, I think they call it a refrigerator now, excuse me. I was brought up in the old days when it was an icebox. And a sink and a cupboard on one side, on one wall and then around the corner there, there’s a bathroom and then on the other wall there’s some closet space and I put in some book cases. And over on the side where I’m broadcasting now, there’s the desk that has the tape recorder and the timer and the computers are down the hallways there and so it’s all set up. And I’ll been working down here sometimes, and my dear wife of 53 years will call me and because I’m busy and absorbed with what I’m doing, I’m not really listening to be called. And finally I hear her with a little strident tone in her voice and she says, “I’ve been calling you.” [chuckle] Well, I didn’t hear you. Why? Because I wasn’t listening for her.
If you wanna hear God call you, you want to be listening for him. Do you wanna think about that in your own life? The problem is, we get engrossed with other things, don’t we? The business of everyday living and the job we have to perform and the responsibilities that face us either as people who go to business or homemakers or students or whatever it may be. These things do take up our attention and we allow ourselves to become completely absorbed with them to the point where we don’t really hear from heaven. We don’t really hear Him calling our name. Now somebody is asking me with a little impatience, “Come on, Brother Cook. You can’t expect me to be with my ear cocked toward heaven all the time. I got work to do.” Oh, I know that, so have I. You can’t be pious all the time but you can be listening with the ears of your soul for God’s word all the time. You can pray your way through the day, you can whisper a prayer before you answer the phone, or before you dictate a letter, or before you interview a client, or before you make a decision, or before you do some task around the house, or before you go shopping, or before you do anything that you have to do in the course of everyday living. You can look heavenward and say, “Father, I’m yours, guide me now.” And you can hear him call your name.
You want to apply that to your life today? You’ll find it a delight just to be in touch with your Heavenly Father all the time, and sometimes in disagreeable situations it can give you such great peace. Someone was speaking with a military man whose duty it was as a military official to attend some functions that were entirely distasteful to him because he was a Christian. And they said to him, “Colonel, how is it that you don’t seem bothered that you have to go to some of these occasions where it really isn’t to your liking?” “Oh,” he said, “Listen, when I’m there my duty is to be there.” But he said, “I often pull down the shades of my mind and get alone with Jesus in situations like that.” Try the next time you’re in a disagreeable situation just to pull down the shades of your mind and spend just a fleeting precious moment with your Savior. He calleth his own sheep by name.
Now it says, “He leadeth them out.” Remember it says, he leads them out. You’re in the sheepfold and he says, “Come on, let’s get on out.” “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel,” said our Savior. He didn’t say sit around and sing yourself into sanctified senility, did he? No, he said get out. And when the church got too comfortable in those days just after Pentecost, a little persecution resulted in them being scattered abroad. And it says I think in Acts 8 if I recall, “Then they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose over the stoning of Stephen went everywhere proclaiming the gospel.” If God can’t get his work done one way, he’ll get it done another. And the Lord started a little fire under them and sent them on out. He leadeth them out.
The point I’m making so far as you and I are concerned, is that God’s leading always results in action related to his purposes. God’s leading always results in action that is related to his eternal purposes. So when God leads you, he won’t lead you to do something selfish or lazy or self-serving or proud or greedy. When God leads you, he will lead you to do something that lines up with his revealed Word and with his purpose in Christ. Always look for that. He leadeth them out, and out means out to soul winning, out to evangelism, out to be a blessing, out to invest your life for others. We’ll get at that the next time we get together.
Father God, have your way with us today. Call us by name and help us to answer to do Thy will. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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