Heart Opening

The thing that glorifies Jesus is the opening of human hearts to Him by faith so that eternal life is received and they in turn honor the Savior who saved them by His grace.

Scripture: John 17:4-8


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you to share a little something from the Word of God. I’ve just been praying that God may put His truth, and His love, and His power, and the presence of His Spirit into what I have to say, and that it might somehow in the miracle of the ministry, where God actually talks through a human throat, meet a special need of yours, my dear friend. I trust that might be so.

We’re looking at the 17th chapter of the Gospel of John. Hasn’t this been great, walking through the Gospel of John? I think it’s one of my favorite books of the Bible. Largely, I think because I learned to read it and memorize verses out of it as a little boy and I can still recite those verses, I assure you. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” And God’s Word that was plowed into my heart, and mind, and memory by the thoughtful administration of my widowed father and my older sister, those verses have stuck with me and I’m thankful for it.

Let’s start with the beginning of this high priestly prayer that our Lord Jesus offered. “These words spake Jesus and then He lifted up His eyes to Heaven.” A small thought here, He didn’t close His eyes when he prayed. We have, of course, the custom of bowing our heads and closing our eyes. Heads bowed, eyes closed is a stereotype that all of us conform to, for the most part. Have you ever tried praying with your eyes open when you’re by yourself, looking up and lifting your hands to God? The Bible speaks about lifting up holy hands without wrath or doubting. Now, this is something that’s just between you and God. I wouldn’t advise you in a church service to be looking around. It’s a sign of disrespect. But when you and God are alone, you try this sometime. Just open your eyes and look up and lift your hands up as you pray, and open your heart as sincerely as you know how. And as you pray under the leadership of the indwelling Holy Spirit, I can guarantee you it will be a brand new, almost liberating experience. Well, that’s thrown in free. It’s up to you.

Jesus lifted up His eyes to Heaven and said, “Father, the hour is come.” God operates on a schedule, so indeed should you and I. God’s timetable is perfect. The delays that we are irked by are part of God’s provisions. “The hour is come. Glorify thy Son that thy Son also may glorify thee. As thou hast given Him power over all flesh that He should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given Him.” The process by which the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, is glorified is in the giving of eternal life. These things hang together. “Father, glorify thy Son that thy Son may glorify thee as thou hast given Him power that He should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given Him.” How is the Lord Jesus glorified? By you and by me opening our hearts to the Lord Jesus, making Him Lord of our lives, being indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and living out a life that honors our Savior. “The secret message now revealed that we preach among the nations,” says Paul, “Is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Not by chance that that word “glory” is used there. The Holy Spirit put it in there.

Paul said to the folk at Galatia, “I’m crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live yet not I, not the old Saul of Tarsus with murder in his heart, but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Christ lives in me. Christ in you the hope of glory.” Paul said, “I labor according to the working of His spirit which worketh in me, in me again mightily.” What are we getting here? The thing that glorifies Jesus is the opening of human hearts to Him by faith so that eternal life is received and they in turn honor the Savior who saved them by His grace. You wanna glorify God? Honor Jesus in all that you say and do. Now, he says, “This is life… ” This is all review, but I figured we ought to just stop on it for a moment. Is that all right with you? Well, I’m gonna do it anyway. [chuckle] “This is life eternal that they might know thee.” Now, that word “know,” as I pointed out to you, is the Greek word “ginosko,” which means really to know, be closely acquainted with, have a personal experience of. That’s what that word means. That this is life eternal that they might really get acquainted with it, they might have a personal experience with you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

Now, I know that personalities differ, some people are volatile and others are phlegmatic. I know that, but the fact remains that when you have a real experience with God, you know it and other people will know it too. This kind of restrained and venal and shallow kind of religion that gives the excuse of, “Well, you see, I’m not as emotional as others.” That same person that says, “I’m not so emotional,” take him or her out to a ball game and listen to them. “Kill the umpire!” “Slide!” “Home run!” This and that. No, friend, eternal life is an experience with God. It’s not simply duration. That is true, of course. Eternal life means life for the ages to come, God’s kind of life. But it’s a quality of life, “Christ in you the hope of glory.” “So,” He says, “This is life eternal that they may know thee, a personal experience with God.” Seek that, beloved. Don’t be satisfied any day of your life, don’t be satisfied until God has really touched you as you read His word and pray. I learned that many years ago from our brother Stephen Olford, who was for a good many years the distinguished pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in New York City.

But when he first came over to the United States, visiting as a pastor whose church was, I think, in London, we got to be good friends back in the early 1940s. I asked him one day. I said, “Stephen, how do you keep your own soul fresh? How do you feed on the Word of God?” And he gave me a formula which I adopted immediately and which I’ve put in my little book now, that I believe many of you’ve read that, I know. And it goes as follows: Stay with any given passage of Scripture, whether it’s a few verses or a chapter or whatever. Stay with any given passage of Scripture until it says something to your own heart. Then write that down. And after you’ve written it down, pray it back to God until your heart is warm and tender with the truth. And then share it with someone as soon as you can, that very day. An experience with God. Take time to wait on God in His Word until the Holy Spirit says something to you. Preachers, this is not making sermon outlines now, this is waiting on God until you hear Him speaking to you personally from the Word. And when you do, then write it down because if you can’t write it, you haven’t got it. Any school teacher knows that. And then pray it back to God until your heart is yielded to God’s will on that point, and then share it with someone else.

Good idea. It certainly works for me, has for over 40 years. “That they may know thee”, to be acquainted with God, to have a real experience with God, to feel comfortable. Somebody you really know you feel comfortable with. To feel comfortable with God. Evelyn Christensen said one night after she finished complaining to God she realized that it was a matter of yielding to His will, which she then did by faith. And then she said as she lay on her bed in the darkened bedroom, she looked up into the darkness and said, “Hey, God, I like you.” To feel comfortable with God, to be friends with God. “Make now thyself acquainted with Him,” the Bible says. Now, Jesus said, “I’ve glorified thee on the earth. I have finished the work which thou gavest to me to do.” What was His work on earth? To give the message, to live a perfect life, to meet the needs of people, and then, of course, to go to the cross where He finally could say, “It is finished.”

In this prayer He was looking ahead, I’m sure, to Calvary, as well as back over the three years of ministry that he’d had in the Holy Land. “I have glorified thee, I have finished the work.” Look at the past tense phrases for a moment in this passage. “I have glorified thee. I have finished the work.” Verse 6, “I have manifested thy name unto the men you gave me.” Verse 8, “I have given them the words you gave me.” Verse 12, “I kept them in thy name.” Verse 14, “I have given them thy word.” Verse 18, “I have sent them into the world,” and Verse 22, “The glory you gave me I have given them.” And then Verse 26, “The love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them and I in them.” A lot of great truth there, and we’ll get at some of it as the days go by. Can’t handle it all at once. Now, he says, “I have manifested thy name.” He calls Him “Father.” Father, Father, oh, righteous Father. What’s the point there? God Almighty has many names, as you know. You can make a study of the names of God and it would take you a good long time to exhaust that subject.

Jehovah-Jireh and Jehovah-Shalom and Elohim, so on. Names of God. Let me just look for a moment at some of these with you and refresh your memory. I’m turning the pages of some notes I have here, if I can find them before the time runs out and we’ll get at them. Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will provide. Jehovah-Nissi, the Lord my banner. Jehovah-Shalom, the Lord my peace. Jehovah-Shammah, the Lord is there. Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the Lord our righteousness. Jehovah Jehozadak, the High Priest. That’s just some of them.

But He said, “Thy name.” He said, “Father, you don’t get to know Almighty God as Father except through the Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him,” Paul the Apostle says, “We have received the adoption of children. We are no more strangers and foreigners, but sons. We belong to the Heavenly Father, and God hath sent forth the spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father.'” Poppa, God. “Abba” is a Bible word for “poppa.” It’s what the little children said, “Abba.” Papa. Abba, Father, Papa, God, Heavenly Father. And you get to know Him that way through Jesus. We’ll come back to this the next time we get together.

Dear Father, thank you that we can call you Father. We love you today. Thank you for Jesus, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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