How To Be Like Jesus
You’ll never understand life until you love your Lord with all your heart. Understanding of life — who am I? Why am I here and what’s happening and why should it be happening? And why should it be happening and what’s going to become of it all?
Alright, thank you very much. And, hello again, my dear radio friend. How are in the world are you? You doin’ Alright? Thank God we can be in the world but not of it. You don’t have to be tarred with the world’s brush just because you live in a dirty world, God can keep you clean and pure and shining for Him. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. Let your light shine.” May that be true of every one of us today or for those of you who are listening in the night hours. May God give you his rest and a great day to come. Wherever you are and whatever you might be doing just now, God bless you. And may you be inspired and helped and fed as we look into God’s blessed Word.
We’ve been looking at 2 Peter. Came to that tremendous, judgmental chapter, chapter 2, where Peter describes the condition of those who are religious enough to be in the church group, but who’ve never really been delivered — never really been born again. They’ve been exposed to the truth but they aren’t really born again. And so, he talks about those who are false teachers and who even deny the Lord whose blood was shed on Calvary to buy their redemption. They’re chronic sinners, they can’t stop sinning and they use that harmful influence upon other people. They manipulate people. They’re covetous. They’re living after the flesh, he says.
And at that point, I thought, “Well, let’s have a contrast. Let’s find out what the real believer may enjoy.” As Paul says in Romans 8, “Who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” That’s what we’ve been doing the last few days, as you recall. And I want just to continue and maybe finish that up today and tomorrow.
Then, we go back then into 2 Peter and take it verse by verse until we finish his second letter. We were in Romans 8:28 that blessed, wonderful promise that you, no doubt, have quoted many a time. Scarce believing it but knowing that it’s true, “And we know”, says Paul, “That all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Dr. H. A. Ironside, who was my friend through the early years of Youth For Christ there in Chicago, I used to come and tell him my troubles and he used to give me good advice and he befriended me when he didn’t have to.
He was a great man and the world looked to him in his greatness for great Bible teaching. But he took time to befriend Bob Cook and I’ll always be grateful. When I get to heaven, I will look him up and thank him again. (Laughs) But, you know, he had a way of talking about this verse, Romans 8:28. He said, “Now, take the ingredients in an apple pie. You ladies know how to bake an apple pie,” said he. “There’s flour and there’s shortening.” He said lard because that’s what they had in those days, I guess, when he became familiar with these matters.
Today, you’d use — what would you use? Crisco, I guess, or some kind of oil. Non-cholesterol, non-fattening, non-anything. (Laughs) Oil. (Laughs) Anyhow, shortening. Flour and shortening and salt and sugar and tart apples, a little lemon juice, a little cinnamon, and that’s it, isn’t it? And put the crust together. A skillful pastry baker who will put that crust together, you cut the shortening into the flour with a pastry mixer or however you may do it. Don’t handle it too much or it’ll get tough. Use iced water for those few drops of water to moisten the dough.
Let it sit in the ice box for a little while and then roll it out and put the apples in and sprinkle some sugar over it and some cinnamon and a few drops of lemon juice. Put the top crust on. If you want it shiny, take a little milk and brush it on. Then, have a shiny crust on it, right? Now, you didn’t think I know how to do that, did you? (Laughs) I had to learn to cook early on. I was my father’s chief cook and bottle washer. Dr. Ironside said, “Any one of those elements, by itself, is not too pleasant.” Flour, lard, shortening, sugar, cinnamon, sour apples? No.
Put them together in the care of a skilled pastry baker and comes out something delicious. Works together for good. That was his illustration of Romans 8:28. And not a bad one. Don’t you agree? I was thinking about this after we went off the air the last time we got together. He says, “Them that love God,” now, that has to do with what’s happening in my heart. And then, he says, “Those who are called according to His purpose.” God’s purpose is from all eternity. “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from before the foundation of the world,” says our Lord Jesus in that prophetic passage describing what’s going to happen in the judgment day. “Inherit the kingdom prepared for you before the foundation of the world.”
God planned your redemption before He ever created the world with you in it. You, capable, that is of saying no to God and thus, experiencing sin and death and needing redemption. Oh, those who love God, those who are called according to His purpose. God has plans for you, my friend. And the secret of making things make sense is not to noodle them out but to turn to God in love and commitment and let Him reveal what He wants to you. I find myself often praying, “Lord, teach me what it is You want me to learn from this.”
A while back, as you know, I had some surgery. I joke about it and say, the people removed some of me and all of my wallet. Well, that wasn’t true. But anyhow, after the business was over and I met a good friend of mine, Dick Mason, he looked at me closely and said, very lovingly, he said, “Well, Bob, what did the Lord teach you through all of this?” And I must admit that, at the moment, I wasn’t thinking of having been taught anything. I was grateful the Lord had brought me through. I was grateful for His presence, a profound sense of the presence of God in those hours. But I began to think. Now, what did I learn?
Did I learn anything or did I just go through it? You see, life doesn’t make sense unless two things happen. Number one, unless you really love the Lord, you’ve committed yourself to Him and the Lord Jesus Christ is Lord of your life. And unless you’re committed to His plan for you life — now, you don’t have to know the whole plan. You don’t have to know it all. All you have to know is today. Joe Gunderson, who was a dear friend through many years as I ministered at Midwest Bible Church in Chicago — dear saint of God, tall, Norwegian, full of love and full of humor and standing tall and straight for God, always a person of integrity, and always an encourager.
He always encouraged me as I recall. Joe said to me one time. He said, “You know, I learned something from my parents. They taught me,” said he. “If you’re seeking the will of God and you don’t know it, it’s because you don’t need to know yet.” I’ve used that all the rest of my life since he said that to me back in the 1940s. “If you’re seeking the will of God and you’re not sure about it, it’s because you don’t need to know just yet.” You don’t have to know all about everything.
All you need to know is this is the way you walk in. The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord. How complicated a direction do you need to take one step at a time? So, he said, “All things work together for good to them that love God.” Now, there’s the commitment of your heart. That comes first. You’ll never understand life until you love your Lord with all your heart. Understanding of life — who am I? Why am I here and what’s happening and why should it be happening? And why should it be happening and what’s going to become of it all?
The questions that plague the ordinary person — life will only start to make sense when you turn yourself completely over to the Lord without any reservations. Say, “Dear Lord, I love you. I’m yours.” At that point, He begins then to reveal to you His purpose in your life. Alright? “And we know,” says Paul. Aren’t you glad that sure he doesn’t say we suppose or we hope. (Laughs) Oh, I’m thankful for the things that we know, right? “We know that all things work together for good.” That word, together is a transliteration. That’s exactly what the Greek word says, work with, work together, for good. Hallelujah.
I’m glad that’s so. Aren’t you? Now, we go on. And he said, ‘for,’ ‘because’. Now, this is part of the explanation of Romans 8:28, “It all works together for good if you love God and you’re called according to His purpose.” Why? Because His purpose goes back before the creation of the world for whom He did foreknow. God’s foreknowledge — He knows it all from the beginning to the end. Whom He did foreknow, He did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.
That He, that is, Jesus, might be the first born among many brethren. God’s plan was to have you in His family. Have you thought about that with any seriousness? God’s plan — you know, we think don’t you want to go to heaven? Well, some of the people who claim to be going there, sometimes you have a little doubt as to whether you would want to spend all eternity with them. (Laughs) But the fact is that we’ll all be changed, it says in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Thank God for the potential change that there’s going to be in some of the saints, including you and me, when we get to heaven. Let me tell you, well, don’t you want to go to heaven?
That, my friend, of course, is all true. But the purpose of God is not to get you together in a place. The purpose of God is to have a family. You and I as part of His family enjoying His presence for all eternity. Not only that. He said He did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son. To be like Jesus. Christ-likeness is part of the purpose of God. Christ-likeness is part of the purpose of God. Paul prayed, “Oh, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings being made conformable unto His death.” — Christ-likeness.
That’s part of the purpose of God that He, the Lord Jesus, might be the first born among many brethren, brothers and sisters in Christ, because God planned it that way. God planned to have a big family, all of whom were redeemed by precious blood, all of whom indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God, all of whom radiating the very beauty of the Lord who brought them. We sing, “Be like Jesus. This is my song in the home and in the throng. Be like Jesus all day long. I will be like Jesus.” Well, that’s part of what God’s purpose is. It’s what He wants for you.
And you can be like the Lord Jesus if you’ll spend time in His presence and let His Word work in your heart. “We all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image,” said he. Even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Now, we come back to this the next time we get together.
Jesus, we love Thee. Thank you for all that you mean to us. Make us like you. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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