In All Things

What is important is your relationship to God, first of all. Preserve that against everything else.

Scripture: John 5:36-39


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you just to enjoy for a little while, sharing the Word of God with you, my precious friends across the country and across the world.

We’re looking at John 5, you and I, and we’ve come now to about verse 35. Our Lord Jesus was talking about John the Baptist, he said, “He was a burning and a shining light, and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.” We talked about that I think the last time we got together. Now, he says, “I have a greater witness,” Jesus said, “I have a greater witness than that of John. For the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do bear witness of me and they say that the Father hath sent me and the Father himself hath borne witness of me.” Then he goes to verse 39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life. And they are they which testify of me.”

Now there are three things that the Lord Jesus mentioned there as proof of his deity. Four really, if you include John the Baptist. John the Baptist witnessed of him but he says, “I’ve got a greater witness, the works: Who can raise the dead, who can forgive sins, who can heal the lame and give sight to the blind.” No one can do that humanly speaking. Jesus was doing it, “The works that I do.” That was one proof. Then the Father’s voice at his baptism and again at his transfiguration. You hear the voice from heaven, “This is my Beloved Son, in whom I’m well pleased. Hear ye him.” The Father’s word. And then the scriptures. All of the scripture points to the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have what we call the scarlet thread of redemption running all the way through the Bible, from Genesis where our gracious God, even though he had to recognize the fact of sin now in the human race, promised a redeemer and said that the seed of the woman was going to bruise the serpent’s head. And then the sacrifices, all of them, the levitical sacrifices, all of them pointing to the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. The Psalms, speaking prophetically, described the sufferings of the Savior as though it were history. Isaiah telling about the atoning death of the Lord Jesus. He was wounded for our transgression. The minor prophets speaking of where he would be born and all of that, and Isaiah proclaiming the fact that our Lord Jesus would be born of a virgin.

03:15 DC: All of the Old Testament scriptures point forward to the Lord Jesus Christ. The scriptures was the Old Testament in the day in which our Lord was speaking. And so we stop here long enough to remind ourselves that if you want to understand the Bible, look for truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. You wanna understand the Bible, look for truth that concerns the Lord Jesus Christ and his work for us and through his Holy Spirit, his work in us. Then he mentions our Savior does some hindrances to their accepting him, and I think it’s worth stopping long enough to note them. In verse 40, human willpower is involved. “Ye will not come to me that ye might have life.” It is a fact that human willpower, and sometimes we call it “won’t power” stands in the way of simple faith.

I remember talking to a man who was highly placed in societal circles and was a famous newspaper editor years ago, and Roy McEwan and I were talking with him about his soul and finally asked him would he receive Christ as Savior? And he whirled around in his big chair and with his back toward us, he gazed out the window of his office for a long time. Then he turned back to see, he said, “No, boys. No dice. I’m not gonna do it.” Well, I thought, it’s not gonna hurt anything if I ask him a question so I said very softly, gently I said, “Would I be anywhere near the truth if I said that while you were thinking there you thought to yourself why should I humble myself and repent and ask God to save me when I’m such a good guy?” He smiled broadly at me, and he said, “You’re right, I am a nice guy.” [chuckle] See, the decision not to come to Christ oftentimes is based upon a person’s will and that in turn is based upon his own self-image and esteem. “I’m a nice guy, why do I need to be saved?”

Someone has said, the hardest person to win to Christ is a well-adjusted sinner. That may well be true. “He will not come to me.” Check your willpower. Check the things that you have said to yourself, “I will and I won’t.” You will be surprised at how close these areas come to the question of your own personal destiny. Then another thing the Lord Jesus mentioned was that these folk to whom he was speaking seek honor of men. “How can you believe? How can you believe? You receive honor one of another and seek not the honor that cometh from God only.” The desire to be accepted by other people is a powerful motivator.

I remember the various styles of hair among young men. There was the ducktail. Do you remember that? Any of you? Where the hair along the sides would be allowed to grow a little longer, or sometimes a lot longer and then plastered back with Brilliantine and ended in a kind of a ducktail. And then of course there was the crew cut, they call it now the brush cut. That’s coming back by the way, did you know that? [chuckle] What goes around comes around, doesn’t it? The crew cut and then of course, we got into the 60s where the mark of really being with it was to have long hair. Well, in our area, at least when I was President of the college there in Briarcliff Manor near New York City, very long hair among males was a sign that you either use drugs or knew where to get them, or both. And so we said, “Fellows, keep your hair collar length and let’s not have any long hair because it says the wrong thing.”

But in any case, the styles changed. And then there was the mohawk cut that cut everything off the top of the head except one strip of hair right in the middle from forehead back to the base of the skull. Oh, all these different fads. I’d settle for hair myself, I’m getting less of it every day. The Lord is cleaning off space up there for a second face. I do declare. [laughter] But the desire to be accepted by others is a powerful motivator, and I surmised that some people have adjusted their lifestyle drastically in order to be accepted.

Josh McDowell has done a survey of young people as to why they engaged in sex as very young teenagers and the answer oftentimes is, “I just wanted to be accepted. I wanted somebody to accept me and love me.” And the same thing is true of drinking, the same thing is almost universally true of drugs. People say, “Come on, try it and don’t be a sissy. Don’t be scared.” And so by and by, the individual caves in and goes into the matter of drugs and alcohol, sex and all the rest. Peer pressure, they call it. It’s a powerful motivator. But what you need to realize is that if you’re going to operate your life on the basis of what other people say, peer pressure, you’re going to move ever farther away from your Lord. He said, “You seek honor of men.” You better seek the honor that comes from God. What does God’s word say about all of this? God’s word says, “Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost. And if any man dishonor that temple, him God will destroy.” God reserves the right to kill the backslider. It’s an awesome truth.

You better watch for your relationship with God first. Things that you might argue about as being permissible oftentimes blunt the edge of your spiritual life. So you better have reference to, “What is this doing to my spiritual life? What effect is this having on my relationship with my Lord?” See, that’s the thing that counts, that’s what Jesus was pointing out there. He said, “You people,” He said to them, “You people are more interested in getting honor from other people than you are in honoring God.” Oh, I wish that somehow everybody listening to me could somehow turn the corner in your own thinking to where always and always you’d be be asking, “What does God think about this? How will this affect my relationship with the Lord?”

Bob Pierce was preaching one day to thousands of people gathered at the Youth for Christ Convention at Winona Lake, and he was speaking then about the will of God and doing the will of God and knowing the will of God and so on. And I remember one statement that he used that stuck in my memory. He said, “You have begun to grow up a little when you have learned to ask concerning any action, ‘How will this affect my ministry for Jesus Christ?'” See, that was a great lesson he himself had learned and he passed it along to us. You have begun to grow up a little when you have learned to ask concerning any action, how will this affect my ministry for Jesus Christ?

Many a person who is in the discard today would have saved himself or herself all of that heartache simply by asking that question, “How will this affect? How will it end?” Think about it, will you, beloved? What is important is your relationship to God, first of all. That’s what we’re saying. Preserve that against everything else. Then our Lord Jesus pointed out that these people were unwilling to apply the scriptures they knew. He said, “You talk about Moses,” he said. But he said, “Had you believed Moses you would have believed me for he wrote about me. But if ye believe not his writings, how are you going to believe my words?” The unwillingness to apply the scripture that you do know and understand. Many people hide behind the fact that they don’t understand some portions of the Bible. Well, you don’t have to know everything about the Bible in order to apply what you do know. So why don’t you start today applying what you do know about the Bible? The truths that you do understand, apply them and then let God lead you on in more light and in more understanding. Good idea?

Father God today, may we be more interested in honoring Thee and doing Thy will than in anything else in all the world. I ask 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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