In The Midst Of Darkness

In humanity’s darkest hour, God was getting His will done. He was fulfilling His promise, even during the divine heartbreak of Calvary.
Scripture: Acts 13, Genesis 18

Transcript

Alright, thank you very much. And hello, radio friends. My, it’s nice to be back with you. I trust everything’s okay at your house. God bless you. Let’s look at the Word of God together, we’re in the 13th chapter of the Book of Acts, and we’re right in the middle of the discourse that Paul the Apostle was presenting at the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia. So we stopped on just one little phrase the last time we got together. "When John fulfilled his course he said, ’Whom think ye that I am? I am not He.’" That is, I’m not the Christ. "Behold, there comes one after me whose shoes of his feet I’m not worthy to loose." Small thought here, make up your mind as to your real relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. I think one of the problems in contemporary evangelicalism is that we have lost the awe with which the Bible-taught, Spirit-led believer looks in the direction of God. We have lost the sense of real, underscored, real humility. For instance, it is commonplace for the young person growing up in a Bible-believing church to hear sermons on making Christ your Lord and the act, the outward act of professing Christ as Savior becomes more or less commonplace. That is to say, we in the last hundred years or so have developed a kind of a formula that first, you preach a sermon... Well, first, you have a service with its so-called preliminaries, which include singing of songs, reading of scriptures, giving of testimonials, taking up an offering, that sort of a thing. Then you preach a sermon, then you ask people to make their decision, their commitment for Christ, then you have various ways of doing this. Sometimes you bring them from where they’re seated into a separate place, they "come forward" as the phrase goes, and then they go into an inquiry room, a room of prayer. Then you pray with them after you’ve shown them the Scriptures and you seek to lead them to a knowledge of Christ. Now this is more or less, you may say, standard procedure with many people, and a good one. I follow it myself, it’s a good procedure. The point I’m making is that in our culture we get used to these things and they no longer produce in us a sense of real humility and awe. For example, what would your reaction be if you were asked to ride beside the driver on a truck containing some thousands of pounds of nitroglycerin? Huh? Now you know that the slightest jar can set off nitroglycerin and produce a tremendous explosion. You know this, don’t you? Okay, now this is being transported, this chemical is being transported from point A to point B some place down in the oil fields or wherever, and for some reason or other you’ve never had this experience before, and so you are requested to ride in the cab of the truck beside the driver as he is transporting these thousands of pounds of nitroglycerin. How do you feel about it? Well, I don’t know how you feel but I can guarantee you that if this experience came to me, now I’ve never ridden in a truck like that, but I have unfortunately read about some such trucks blowing up. And in those cases they just never find the driver, he has been blown to bits, and I’ve read about that so this is part of what’s in the background of my mind. Now I’m climbing into the cab and I do so very gingerly. As a matter of fact, I’ve put on my shoes with the crepe rubber soles so as not to strike any sparks of any kind, and I sit down much like the old lady sat in the airplane, I never let my weight down quite. [chuckle] And as the truck gets under way, every jolt, every jounce, every bump gives me a mental picture of a flash and a horrendous explosion and myself being blown to bits, literally disintegrated. And I keep thinking about that, and I’ll tell yeah, I’m very respectful, very quiet, very awed. Would you be something like that, do you think? I think you might. Now alongside of me is this driver. Everyday, he makes several trips from point A to point B with this explosive and he doesn’t flicker an eyelid. He doesn’t let on of any strain whatsoever. He’s perfectly calm, perfectly self-possessed. And he knows this road, he knows every turn and every bump in it and he takes it with a good deal of expertise as he tools his big rig along the road. And there’s all the difference in the world. Why? Because he’s used to this. He doesn’t have that sense of awe and of fear. Now you say, "Well, Brother Cook, what point are you making?" Just this, that John the Baptist never lost his sense of real... Underscore that word real humility in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, "I’m not worthy to do a slave’s work for Him. Not worthy to even untie His sandals. I’m not worthy." And you and I, my dear friend, need to give thought it seems to me to our real relationship with the Lord Jesus. Do you simply talk about Him and sing about Him? Or is there a sense of awe and humility in His presence? Remember Abraham interceding for Lot. And Abraham said, "Behold I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord. I who am but dust and ashes." Oh, he says, "Don’t be angry with your servant. Don’t be angry with your servant. Now I’ve taken on me to talk to God. I who am but dust and ashes." He had this tremendous humility. This is in Genesis the 18th chapter. And he just bows down, he says, "Oh," he said, "don’t be angry with me." He says, "Let the Lord not be angry and I will speak: Peradventure there’d be 30 righteous found in this city." And he said, "Behold I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord. Peradventure there’d be 20." He said, "Oh let not the Lord be angry, I will speak yet but this once. Peradventure 10 shall be found there." The Lord said, "I won’t destroy it for ten’s sake." Do you have that kind of awe in the presence of God, my dear friend? I think of Job when he got his priorities straightened around. Job answered the Lord, he says, "I know thou canst do everything. No thought can be withholden from Thee." And he said, "I’ve heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear." Job had been talking plenty about God before. "I’ve heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear but now," this is Job 42:5, "Now, mine eye seeth Thee wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes." Oh, yeah there’s the difference. Job was a good man, God said so. God said so. God knew that he was a good man, and a God-fearing man, and a faithful man, and a man that could go through trials to prove God’s point but when it came right down to a personal contact with the Lord, Job didn’t talk anymore about his righteousness, he said, "I abhor myself. I just repent in dust and ashes." Now what point are we making here? My point, dear friend, is that sometimes we get accustomed to the things of God and to the name of the Lord Jesus and to the presence of the Lord, we get accustomed to it and we take it for granted. You folk who’ve lost a precious mother, how often you’ve said to yourselves after you buried that precious mom of yours, "Well, we never really appreciated her until she was gone." You’ve said that, haven’t you? Oh, the time she fixed breakfast for you. The times that she laid out your clothes for you after having washed and ironed them. The times that she did so many little wonderful things for you and you never even said thank you. You took for granted the fact that mom would always be there and now she’s gone. And oh, how you wish you could bring her back just for five minutes so that you could throw your arms around her and say, "Mom, I’m so grateful for all that you’ve done. For this and this and this and this. Forgive me for taking you for granted." Isn’t it true? Oh, yeah. That’s the way things are in life, friends. But listen, don’t let that be true with you of the Lord. Oh, today. Today spend enough time in His presence to impress upon your own soul the real relationship you sustained to Him. He’s the Creator, you are the created. He’s the master, you’re the slave. He’s holy and you’re unholy. He’s righteous and you’re unrighteous. He’s infinite and you’re finite. He is eternal and you are bound by the limitations of time. Oh, God, teach me the right attitude toward you. Now this whole rebellion against authority that we have in our present culture throughout the world is part of Satan’s plan because you see, the concept of authority is bound up in the way God does things. Authority, the concept of authority is not a man-made concept. It’s God’s concept and so in rebelling against authority, one of the recent writers calls it the deauthorization of the culture. In rebelling against authority and breaking it down, what one is actually doing is making it possible for a whole culture, a whole nation ultimately to rebel against God. So that it’s a tremendously important thing really that you and I know our real and proper relationship to the Lord. Make sure today, will you? That He is Lord. Make sure today that you know where your proper place is at His feet. Make sure today that you know what your proper reaction to His command should be, namely immediate and unquestioning obedience. Make sure that God is really God. This is what Simon Peter meant in 1 Peter 3:15, he said, "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts." What does that mean? Make a special place in your heart for God as God. Make a special place in your heart for God as God. That way you’ll be able to give people an answer when they ask you why you’re a Christian. That’s what Peter said. That’s something, isn’t it? Now let’s bow for a moment before we go off the air, shall we? Dear heavenly Father, I pray for busy people and housewives who are loaded with a 1,001 tasks at home, students who are on their way to school, executives and other business people on their way to work, aged folks shut away from the world and oftentimes forgotten by those who should remember to love and visit them, somebody who today is filled with suffering and pain because of an ill body. Dear Lord, bless each one. Keep your hand upon us, help us to live for Thee, make today a great day for God and the gospel. May we fit into thy perfect plan for our lives, I ask in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen. Amen! God bless you, my friend, all the way. That’s all for now. Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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