How To Live For Righteousness
To feed on God's Word means you read, meditate, memorize, pray and do it. As a living stone God has a divine purpose for your life despite what the circumstances. We are a royal priesthood.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again my dear radio friend. How in the world are you?I trust you’re all right. I’ve just being praying for those of you who might be listening to this broadcast. I always pray for a while before I start these broadcasts because my own soul needs to get tuned up. And while I’m praying I just ask God to put something in what is said that will meet a special need in your life. I trust that that may be so. And you know that I always ask Him to put His love and His grace and His truth, into what I say.
Well it’s nice to get together. When the announcer puts me on, the mail tells me that you feel as though I were sitting right in your kitchen and, and, or in the front seat of your car as you drive to work, and we’re together for a while, and that’s nice isn’t it? Thank God for it.
We’re finishing up our comment on the second chapter of 1 Peter. “Who His own self bear our sins in His own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins should live unto righteousness by His stripes. Ye were healed for ye were as sheep going astray. But now, returned unto the shepherd and bishop of your souls”. We come then to that last verse of the chapter, “Ye were as sheep going astray.”
You’ve heard many a sermon on sheep. Sheep are, are animals that need to be cared for. They don’t have any homing sense, they get lost easily. They’re stubborn, they want their own way and oftentimes they tend to drift off in a different direction from the rest of the flock. They need special care. And sometimes they make it difficult for the shepherd to keep track of them. “Ye were as sheep going astray.”
And once lost the sheep can’t find its way back home for the most part. Sheep going astray means you’re, you’re really lost, lost. And that is a serious business. I thought it might be helpful just in these moments to remind you that there are a number of comparative phrases in this second chapter of 1 Peter that are rich in meaning. You want to tick them off with me? I have them underlined in my Bible. The first is found in verse 2: “As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the Word that ye may grow thereby.”
What do you do when you start the Christian life? You’re a babe in Christ, as we say. What do you do when you start the Christian life? The most important thing that you can do is to feed on the Word of God. Now the best thing I can tell you when you ask, “What do you mean by ‘feed on the Word’?, means to read it, to meditate upon it, to memorize some passage of it, and to pray over it and put it into action.”
Stephen Olford gave me a very fine little formula which I’ve incorporated in my book, ‘Now That I Believe’, a copy of which many of you have – a book written for new Christians. But he gave this to me many years ago, back in the 1940’s, after we first met, when he came over from Great Britain. Dr. Olford told me, when I asked him, “How do you maintain your own soul in the Word?” He said, “Stay with a passage of Scripture until it says something to you. Not a sermon outline, Bob,” he said. “You’re not sermonizing; you want to feed on the Word.
“Stay with it until it says something to you. Second, write that down. Because if you can’t write it, every school teacher knows you haven’t got it. Write it down, whatever God says to you, write it down. Third, pray it back to God until your heart is warm and tender toward God and toward the truth He gave you. And fourth, share it with somebody that very day.” Oh that works so well. And I’ve kept it in practice throughout my own life in, during these more than 40 years.
Feed on the Word of God as newborn babies. What should you do as you start out, and heaven knows, as you continue in the Christian life? Feed on the Word of God so that you can grow by it. The source of growth is the Word. Many a dear Christian will be in heaven, but is on the way spiritually emaciated because he or she is depending upon their point of view, and their previous long ago commitment to Christ; depending upon the religious atmosphere, perhaps, of a Christian home and a faithful, Bible-preaching Church. But not feeding on the Word of God day by day.
The individual, as a result, is spiritually starved and does not have that reservoir of spiritual power that comes when you are in the Word. “God’s blessed man delights in His Word, and in His law someone, in His law doth He meditate day and night. And He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth His fruit in His season. His leaf shall also shall not whither. And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Feed on the Word of God. That’s the first thing. As newborn babes.
Second, verse 5: “Ye as living stone.” Nothing quite so dead as a stone. You pick it up, it doesn’t move, it doesn’t talk back, it doesn’t do anything. It’s just there. But when the Holy Spirit of God enters your life as you commit yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and as your Savior, when the Holy Spirit of God then takes up His indwelling position in your life, this thing that was as dead as a paving block now becomes a living part of God’s structure. “Ye also as living stones are built up for a spiritual house, a holy priesthood.”
God takes the deadness of your life and puts a dynamic in it, and them puts you in place, in the structure of His divine, eternal program. Now I know that some Monday mornings, and some other mornings too perhaps, you don’t feel as though you were really in place in any kind of a divine program. You wake up, the baby is already crying and asking for something to eat and a, a change of removable seat covers on that little chassis.
And other members of the family are stirring, and their calls, “Where’s my shirt?” and, “Where are my socks?” and, and so on. And you have to get breakfast, and you have to pack some lunches. And you’re tired already. Maybe you haven’t been feeling too well, and it’s just an effort to, to live. And you think to yourself, “Well, I don’t know. Is this, is this what being in the will of God really means?” (Laughs) Yeah, it’s true.
Or if you’re in Christian work, and things are piling up on you, and the money isn’t coming in as you wish it were. And you have bills to meet. And you are as we say, living by faith, you’re dependent upon the gifts of God’s people. But things aren’t working as they might. And you think, “Oh, am I in the will of God? Is this what God has for me?” Or it could be that you’ve gotten some bad news concerning the condition of your body, that you have some illness that either needs drastic treatment or may indeed be terminal.
And you face the bleak prospect of that awful statement, “You’ll never be any better.” And it rings in your mind like a dirge. And you think, “Oh, is this the will of God? Is this what God planned for me? Have I come anywhere near the truth with some of you? And of course we could string out the list of circumstances to fill all the rest of this and many other broadcasts, because life is complex and everybody’s burden is unique. I know that, and so do you.
But oh beloved, listen: You and the Holy Spirit of God came to dwell in your heart. If you’re really a believer, if you’re really a believer, the Holy Spirit of God lives in your heart. And because He does, He’s busy working out God’s unique plan for you. Just as your fingerprints are not like anybody else’s in all the world, you’re absolutely a unique individual. Just in that same way, God’s plan for you is just for you. It’s uniquely planned from before the foundation of the world, that where you are and what you are, and the circumstances in which you are, should specially glorify God.
Now don’t ask me to explain that, because some circumstances are indeed so painful that it’s hard for a human being to see any glimmer of eternal purpose in them. And yet dear friend, we live by faith. Could you today reach out and say, “Lord, I don’t like this, I don’t understand it. But I’m Yours, and I know You’ve planned my life, and I’m giving myself to You.” Could you do that?
“Thou will keep him in perfect peace,” said Isaiah, “whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee. The thing that you keep your mind on is what you’re going to trust ultimately. What you think about all the time is that on which you’re willing to risk the whole bundle of life. Would you keep your mind on God and His will, and trust Him even though the circumstances may not seem to indicate very much along that line?
Live unto righteousness. Oh, what’s involved? As living stones, as living stones. God takes that deadness of your life. All that you and I bring to the business of living is the capacity to fail – that’s all we ever bring to the business of living, is the capacity to fall short and to fail. “For all have sinned and come short of” – missed the mark – “come short of the glory of God.” So God, by His Holy Spirit, puts the eternal dynamic of eternal life into you, and fits you into His plan as a unique part of God’s eternal building.
Now that’s what Peter is saying, “Ye as living stones are built up.” It’s great truth there, isn’t it? Now I don’t know who needs that. Maybe some of the rest of you are saying, “Oh come on brother Cook, you’re, you’re beating that to death.” Well maybe I am. But I felt that somebody needs to be reminded that although you may not understand in your life, because you love Jesus, God is uniquely using you in a way that nobody else in all the world is to be used. All right?
Now he says, “You’re a chosen generation, a holy priesthood, a, a holy nation, a peculiar people” – that’s the designation of, of you and, and of me. God says, “A chosen generation” – that means you are, you are people who belong to a special family, you’re My family. “A royal priesthood” – that means you are, you belong to the, the court, the royal court of heaven. But your job is to stand between Almighty God and needy souls. “A holy nation.” You belong to a, a group of people whose nationality…Paul says, “Our citizenship is in heaven.” In Philippians you read it there: “Our citizenship is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior.” You’re a holy nation, you belong to heaven. And then “a peculiar people” – and that is a word that means ‘a people for His own possession. This is the trademark of the believer, stamped upon everyone who knows and loves the Lord Jesus Christ. Well, time is going and there are two or three other comparative expressions in 1 Peter 2. We’ll take them up the next time we get together, all right?
Dear Father today, oh take this cold, dead stone-like life and fill it with Your life, and build it up for Your glory. Through Jesus Christ our Lord 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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