In Step, In Obedience
The faithful Spirit of God will always give you an action step which will unite you in the Will of God
And hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Aren’t you glad you can be in the world but not of it? You don’t have to be smeared with the world’s brush in order to live in the world culture. You can be kept, as Peter says, “Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. May the Lord bless and keep you today, my dear friend. You and I have been looking at Romans chapter 14. We got down into verse 4 where we were talking about the fact that God uses people with whom we may disagree. You don’t have to agree with everybody to work with them.
You simply leave them with the Lord because they belong to the Lord and you specialize in obeying God. “To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” Now, Paul goes on in Romans 14:5 “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”
Now, the key, then to resolving differences between people turns out to be the Lordship of Christ, doesn’t it? Interesting. How does this work? First of all, you recognize the differences. Recognize the differences. It has to do with days, has to do with customs, has to do with dietary laws, in this case, eating meat or being a vegetarian or whatever. It has to do with the realization that God is connected in his sovereign Lordship with every detail of life. What could be more common than eating a meal or looking at the calendar? These are common every day occurrences.
What could be more common than eating a meal or looking at the calendar? These are common every day occurrences. What could be more basic than living or dying? Whether we live, will live unto the Lord; whether we die, we die unto the Lord. Some folk read the first page in the paper and then turn it over and immediately go to the obituary page and see who died. My good brother-in-law, Tory Johnson, was up to visit us the other day. And he said, “Well,” he said, “I noticed one thing is happening to me.” He said, “Now,” he said, “I look at the obituary page to see who died. And when I call up my friends in Chicago, my first question is, ‘Well, has anybody died?’”
Oh, well, I suppose that’s part of the going on of years. Living and dying, eating or not eating, looking at the calendar to see what day it is, and doing something special on special days. What could be more ordinary than this, dear friend? Jesus Christ is Lord and when we say He is Lord, we mean He is Lord of the breakfast table. We mean He is Lord of the daily schedule and the appointment schedule and the calendar. When we say He is Lord, we mean He is Lord of the process of living. Get up, get dressed, go to work, cope with the day, come on home, have dinner, do whatever you do in the evening hours, take two aspirins, and go to bed, okay? That’s the day. He is Lord of the routines of life.
When we say He is Lord, we mean He is Lord of the process that goes on. The Lordship of Christ involves every detail of living and dying. Now, why do I bring that up? Simply this: when you know that Jesus is Lord of everything you do, you’re going to have a respect and a reverence for His working not only in you, beloved, but also in the lives of other people. There’d be far less arguing about things on which you differ if you realize that the person with whom you are differing is also in dwelt by the spirit of God and God is working in his life, right?
Even the things that you disagree with violently and you simply can’t stand them, let us say, can be used of God to teach you profound lessons of patience and love and understanding. Yes, they can. And so this chapter starts by saying “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye.” Here’s a person whose faith may not be as strong as yours, whose ideas are not as well developed as yours, and who differ from yours, he says you receive him, take him to your heart. Why? Because he belongs to God. Second, because he’s responsible to God. Third, because he is owned by and in dwelt by God and so the whole relationship is not one that is based upon whether or not you and I like it; the relationship is based upon the fact that both of us has been bought by precious blood and we belong to the Lord.
Many a domestic argument between husband and wife or parent and child could be solved far better by prayer than by talking. I have a little book that someone sent me that has in it the story of a young couple who are having some difficulty and they went to a marriage counselor who urged them to talk out all of their differences. Said he, “Find the things on which you differ and talk about them.” And they found, according to this writer, they found that the more they talked, the madder they got. And finally they were on the verge of splitting up and just giving up their married life when they got in touch with someone who said, “Why don’t you talk to the Lord about it?”
And so, they were sensible and humble enough to get on their knees and talk to the Lord about the things that were bothering them and let the Lord Jesus Christ become Lord of their lives and of their lifestyle and do believe Him for renewal of the love that they once had to each other. And as a result, that marriage was simply not split up. It was made stronger because they brought their disagreement to the Lord. When you strike a snag in a business meeting, pastor, call for prayer. Don’t call for a motion.
When you struck a snag where people are differing, don’t allow folk to vote and split the church. At that point, you better seek the Lord. We learned this back in the days when Youth for Christ was first being formed. Everybody had different ideas. All of these people were entrepreneurial thinkers in their own right. They were folk who were great originators, you may say, of ideas and so you get a couple hundred such folk together in a meeting and you’ll have a couple of hundred different ideas, obviously.
And so again and again, you’d reached an impasse in thinking where people simply couldn’t agree. And our brother Torrey Johnson or others would say, “Let’s just seek the Lord. Let’s pray about this.” And later on when I became President of Youth for Christ, I adopted the same procedure. And when we struck a snag in some procedure or matter when we didn’t quite know what to do, instead of bringing it to a vote and splitting the thing wide open, we’d say, “Let’s seek the Lord about this. Let’s pray about it.”
And I can remember numbers of times when there was a great divergence of thought at the outset yet when we prayed, God the Holy Spirit in His wonderful way, brought agreement. There is always a basis on which you can decide the next step in obeying God. The key word in this verse four is “master.” “To his own master.” Now, if a person is my master, my one duty is to obey. I may not like his command; I may not wish to fulfill it, but if a person is my master, the one duty I have is to obey. So, the parallel is clear, I think, in our own lives when we find the points of difference. If we’ll just get down and ask God for His guidance, He’ll give us a step of action which will remove the basis for disagreement.
In other words, if you and another person are in disagreement about something, and you’re willing to seek God, I can promise you that in answer to prayer, the Holy Spirit of God will give you a step of action is that you can both take and be in agreement in the will of God on it. You don’t have to agree on everything. But when you pray, God the Holy Spirit gives you a step of action that you can take which will bring the two of you or the group of you, into agreement on that action. You don’t have to agree on everything. You have to agree on the will of God. “To his own master he standeth or falleth.”
Seek the will of God. What is it that God wants us to do? When you go at things that way, beloved, the faithful spirit of God will always give you an action step which will unite you in the will of God. Always remember, you don’t have to agree on everything. All you have to agree on is the next step in the will of God. Isn’t that a precious truth? You don’t have to agree on everything because people do differ but you can find agreement on the next step in the will of God. “To his own master,” is the Lordship of Christ.
“For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living.” “None of us,” says Paul, “lives for himself or dies for himself.” You lost all your privacy when you trusted Christ the Savior. That is to say there is never anything you do, concerning which you can say this doesn’t matter. Everything in the will of God matters. Yes, it does. Your daily schedule, your treatment of your own body in terms either of overwork or lack of sleep or lack of proper nutrition or whatever it may be, you think “This is nobody’s business but mine.”
Well, in a way, it is but in another way you are God’s servant and you’re responsible to Him. “No man liveth to himself” that you lost your right to personal privacy when you came to the cross. Everything you do is important from here on out. It’s a shattering thought, if you think about it, and yet it’s a delightful thought if you let it take hold of you in that you have now a heavenly partner, the Holy Spirit of God dwells within you to affect and to influence and to guide everything that you say and do. Hallelujah for that.
Dear Father today, help us to obey Thee step-by-step, 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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