Joy To Lean On

Life is cruel oftentimes. But the joy that you have in Christ doesn't depend on things or people... it depends on Him. And He hath said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."

Scripture: John 16:31, Colossians 127


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, that greeting establishes the fact that this is your good friend, Bob Cook, and I’m back with you, once again, for some precious moments around the Word of God. You know, John the Apostle says, “Our fellowship, yours and mine, is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” And of course, the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit implements all of that, as you and I get together around the Word of God, and that is what makes it so precious. It’s not just you and I together. It is you, and I, and God.

That’s what I treasure about these moments. We are together, you and I, across the miles, and the presence of the Lord is real. It’s wonderful, isn’t it? Hallelujah for that. Well, if I seem to be singing bass this morning, it’s because I am. I do these broadcasts early in the morning, just to sorta get a morning feel of the day, because I know so many of you listen early in the morning. And some days, it’s hard to get up, and some days, like me, your voice is in the basement. [chuckle] And so it’s terrible to have somebody so terribly cheerful, and maybe singing at the top of his voice, or if you’re listening to the radio, telling, “Come on, cheer up, get going.” Oh, boy, [chuckle] I tell those folks, “I could give them up for Lent.”

No, I’m like you, a human being with the same kinds of moods and feelings. And so that’s the reason, as I say, I prepare these broadcasts, although they are on tape, I prepare them in the early morning hours, for the most part, just because I know that then, I may be feeling like you do. Oh, well, look with me at John Chapter 16. Our Lord Jesus has been talking with the disciples. He’s been explaining to them the fact that he’s going away, but that the Holy Spirit of God is coming to reveal all of the power and presence of Christ through the believer. And He said, “I’ll see you again. Sorrow has filled your hearts, because I’ve said these things to you, but I’ll see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and your joy will endure.” We talked about that the last time we got together. When you’re in the presence of Jesus, your heart rejoices. Circumstances may be terrible. Circumstances may be just terrible and you say, “How can anybody be joyful when all of that is happening?”

No, it’s His presence that makes the difference. I think often of the old British chorus. I haven’t heard anybody sing it for many, many years, gone out of vogue. But the words stick in my mind, “I’m happy when everything happens to please, but happiness comes and goes. While the heart that has stayed on Jesus the Savior, always with joy overflows. Happiness happens, but joy abides in the heart that is stayed on Jesus.” It’s good, isn’t it? And so he says, “Your heart will rejoice when you’re aware of my presence.” And he says, “Your joy will endure. No man can take it from you.” You see, your feelings about life, depend not on the circumstances, or on the way people treat you at the office, or on the conditions you have at home, all of which may vary, and some of which may be hard indeed. Life is cruel oftentimes, but the joy that you have in Christ doesn’t depend on things or people, it depends on Him. And He hath said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

I got a letter the other day from a radio friend, who is originally from the Old Country, from Sweden, I think. And I had been telling the story that Merv Rosell told me many years ago, about a member in his church, when he was just a young preacher starting out. The dear old man was quoting that passage from Hebrews, which says, “For He hath said, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’ ” And he said, “I’m glad that He’ll never sake me, nor forleave me.” This brother writing to me just the other day said, “That word ‘forleave’ is an exact translation of the Swedish that was spoken years ago in the Old Country, which means to leave me.” [chuckle] So he says, “The old Gentleman had it right either way.” [chuckle] Alright. Jesus is not going to drop you now. He hasn’t brought you this far to dump you now. He says, “I won’t forsake you.” That was what He was telling the disciples, and now, they said, “Lo, now, thou speakest plainly and speakest no proverb.” He had just been telling them, “I came forth from the Father. I’ve come into the world, and again, I leave the world, and I’m going back to the Father.”

“Oh,” they said, “Now, you’re speaking plainly and not speaking in a parable. Now, we’re sure that thou knowest all things and needest not that any man should ask thee. By this, we believe that thou camest forth from God.” Oh, that sounds good, doesn’t it? And Jesus answered them, this is John 16:31, He says, “Do you now believe?” I think you can put the word ‘really’ in there. “Really, do you believe?” He said, “I got news for you.” Verse 32, “Behold the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own and shall leave me alone. Yet, I’m not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I’ve spoken unto you, that in me, you might have peace.” Now, that’s another reference to His peace. You find it over in the closing verses of John 14, “Peace, I leave with you. My peace, give I unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” He said, “I’ve said this to you that you might have peace. In the world, ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Great, just wonderful passages. You wanna think about them for a moment with me?

The disciples said, “Now, we believe.” Well, I don’t know why they hadn’t believed before. They’d been with him for three years. Peter had on occasion said, “To whom shall we go? Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And our Lord Jesus had said to him, “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father, which is in Heaven.” The great confession of faith by Simon Peter had already been made. But now, again, they said, “Now, we believe,” which tells me that they were as human as you and I. We oftentimes need reassuring, don’t we? You’ve been saying your prayers, you’ve been doing your best, you’ve been trying to live like a Christian, and all of a sudden, the world falls in on you. Something terrible happens and you think, “I wonder, is God mad at me? Has He forgotten me? Am I really getting anywhere in my spiritual life?” And all of the doubts, and questions flood in on you, all of a sudden. Well, just remember, doubt your doubts, but believe your beliefs.

Any time there’s a question in your mind about yourself and God, any time there’s a doubt, you can doubt it, because it’s the result, either of circumstances or of Satan’s oppression of you. Tie your faith to the person who never fails, the Lord Jesus. Tie your faith to the God who says, “Behold, I am the Lord. I change not, therefore, you sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Tie your faith to the one of whom the prophet said, “Great is thy faithfulness. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed. Because His compassions fail not, they are new every morning.” Great is thy faithfulness. Yes, the disciples wavered. Yes, they need reassuring. Yes, they seemed constantly to need additional proof of the deity and the eternal mission of our Lord Jesus Christ, because they were human. He didn’t scold them. He said, “I have to tell you the truth. You’re still human beings and you’re gonna run away the next time you’re tested.” Simon Peter had said earlier, as recorded in John 13, he said, “I’m willing to die with you Lord. I’m your buddy. I’ll stick right with you.”

And Jesus said, “Is that so? I have to tell you, before the rooster has the chance to crow, you will three times deny that you even know me. But let not your heart be troubled, you can depend on me. You can’t depend on yourself, Peter, but you can depend on me and I got plans for you.” And I think that’s what God is saying to you, and to me, “No, you can’t depend on your human willpower. It will fail. Ultimately, you’ll get tired of trying and it’ll fail. You can’t depend on your human wisdom. You’ll reach a dead end street in human procedures and you’ll say, ‘What do I do now?’ You can’t depend on your own intentions to be faithful, because at some point or other, you’re going to sag and say, ‘I give up.’ ” That is part of the way you and I are, but you can depend upon the Lord Jesus. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.” He said, “Now, unto Him, that is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”

Paul said, “I’m doing the work I’m doing, according to the working of His spirit, which worketh in me mightily.” What’s the point? Human nature collapses, God never fails. Where then is the combination? Colossians 127, “Christ in you, the hope of Glory.” You’ll never sag, and fail, and give up when you’re praying, “Jesus, help me now.” You’ll never go down in defeat, when you say, “Lord, I’m yours and I yield myself to thee.” When you’re praying and trusting, you are in eternal hands. That makes sense to you? See, we get in trouble when we take over. It’s like the little boy who was scared to take his first automobile ride. Never had been in a car before, scared, and this was a trip of some duration. He was, however, a little Christian. And so he was heard to murmur, as he got into the car, “God, take care of me.” They got to their destination safely, and he was climbing out of the car, and they heard him say again, under his breath, “Okay, God, I’ll take over.” [chuckle]

Well, we’re like that. Yeah, we tend to try to take over, and at that point, we fall flat on our faces so often. Jesus said, “Oh, are you sure now? You really believe now? I gotta tell you, you’re all gonna run away from me and leave me alone, but I’m not alone, the Father’s with me.” Don’t trust yourself. Trust Jesus. That’s the point of this morning’s broadcast. Don’t trust yourself. You can’t. It doesn’t pay out. Trust Jesus. You’ll never fail while you are committing yourself to Him. “In faith, the just shall live,” says the Bible. By faith, how do you live? Step by step, moment by moment, breath by breath, heartbeat by heartbeat, and so you commit yourself to the Lord Jesus in that continuing walk of faith, and He puts His power in your life. It’s a great truth, isn’t it?

Father God, today, help us to depend on Thee through Jesus, our Lord, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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