Living And Praying Unity
Many an argument is based upon faulty information.
Hello radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing all right? Well, I trust everything’s okay at your house. I’m fine, thank you. Nice of you to ask. I feel great. Praise the Lord. Feel like I’d live to be a hundred. As a matter of fact, we’ll live forever. How about that? It’s wonderful to have an eternal horizon, isn’t it? Live from day to day, well, we all do. But there is that beautiful horizon of knowing that a million years from now, you and I are going to be walking down the streets of glory talking about things that count for eternity. Our memory will still function. You’ll still be able to remember things that happened in this earthly pilgrimage but you’ll be occupied with eternal matters, you’ll have a body that is sin-proof and death-proof and pain-proof and sorrow-proof. Hallelujah.
You’ll be just like the Lord Jesus Christ, a body adapted to glory. That’s what Paul says in Philippians. “We look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ who shall change this body of humiliation that it might be fashioned like unto to His body of glory.” That is the kind of a horizon that a Christian has, my dear friend, and if you don’t know the Lord Jesus is your Savior, you’ve never made Him Lord of your life, and accepted His pardoning grace based on that blood that was shed on Calvary.
Maybe right now is the time when you ought to bow and say, “Lord Jesus, come into my heart and be my Lord and be my Savior,” and commit yourself in faith to this wonderful living Lord. Do it now and your horizon will be changed. You and I, the last time we got together, we’re talking about the areas of conflict in prayer. Satan fights you the minute you begin to be definite and pray about specific situations and people. Paul says, “Agonize in your prayers together for me.” The devil will never fight you as long as you’re praying in generalities.
You can get along quite well praying the usual stereotyped prayers that all of us are familiar with. But when you zero in on the needs of a person, then you can expect to be opposed by the powers of darkness. Now, what do you do about this? Well, “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” If you’re aware of the opposition of Satan, rebuke him in Jesus’ name and keep on praying in faith, that’s the way to do that. “Resist the devil,” says the Bible “and he will flee from you because he’s a defeated foe.” And in the name of the Lord Jesus, you can conquer every bit of opposition you ever find in prayer. Just keep on.
Oh, small thought here. Let me drop this into your mind. Dare to keep on praying after your mind has said, “Let’s get out of here.” Whenever you’re praying, you reach a point when your mind tells you, “Okay. Say Amen. Let’s get going.” There is that quitting point, so to speak, when your old human nature says, “Okay, you’ve prayed long enough now. Let’s get out of here.” Dare to keep on praying a few minutes longer after your mind has told you to quit. Would you remember that, beloved? It is that extra few moments of prevailing prayer that wins the victory and brings the blessing.
I know, anything I tell you, I’ve been there. I know this to be a fact. If you dare to wait in the presence of God a little longer after your body has said, “Come on, get off of your knees. Your knees are hurting;” your mind has said, “Come on, say Amen. There’s things to do.” If you dare to wait on God a little longer and insist on being in His presence a little longer, beyond that cut-off point that old human nature has, you’re going to be blessed. Everybody knows that it’s the extra call that makes the profit for the salesman. Everybody knows that it’s the extra half hour of study that nails down the lesson in your mind. And you may as well decide that it’s the extra time spent in the presence of your Lord that provides the margin of blessing that you want. Now, I’ll throw that in free.
Now, he says, “Pray for me that I might be delivered from unbelieving opposition,” that was the next thing. We talked about that, remember? Then he said, “And that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted by the saints.” Now he was bringing a love offering, a certain contribution for the poor saints of Jerusalem. Anytime anybody offers you a love offering, you generally take it, don’t you?
I was in a certain city way out west greeting folk after the meeting and a man came up to me in overalls. And I stopped to talk with him, ask him his name and so on. And he was polite to me but he seemed to be looking over my shoulder. And I said, “Are you looking for someone? Could I help you?” “Oh,” he said, “I’m looking for so and so,” and he named the person who was in charge. He said, “I’ve wanted to talk with him but he seemed so busy and I haven’t been able to get to him.” He said, “I sold all my steers today and I want to give him the tithe of what I got from my steers.” And he named the figure that was a very nice four figure sum, four integer whatever you call it sum, up in the thousands of dollars, in other words.
And so I said, “Well, let’s see what we can do.” And so I took him by the arm and pushed my way through the crowd of people that was gathered around this gentleman who was in charge. And I walked right up to him. And now, he was preoccupied with talking with someone else. He looked at me as if to say, “Hey, Bob Cook, what are you butting in here for?” But I came right on up to him and called him by name and I said, “I want you to meet a friend of mine. This is Mister so and so. He owns a farm up here and he just sold all his steers today and he wants to give you a donation for your work of the tithe of those steers.”
Well, you’ll never be able to imagine the quickness with which that man’s expression changed from one of preoccupation with other things, he immediately became alert and he turned to this man and greeted him cordially and you guessed it, he accepted the check. Oh, dear. Human nature is the same all over the world, isn’t it? Yeah, the rule is: cash the check. No, this isn’t the point that Paul is raising. Of course they were going to take the offering but the point of opposition and the thing about which he wanted these folk at Rome to pray was that he, as a minister to the Gentiles, might be accepted.
You see, Paul the apostle was the minister of God to the Gentiles. Yes, he preached the gospel to Jewish folk – his own kinsmen, of course he did. Yes, he was tremendously burdened for them as he says in this very book of Romans, “Brethren,” he said, “I can wish myself were accursed from Christ for the sake of my kinsmen, my brethren, according to the flesh who were Israelites. My prayer and heart’s desire to God for Israel is that they might be saved.” Of course, he was burdened for his own people.
But God had given him a peculiarly effective ministry to Gentiles, you’ll know that as you read your New Testament. Now, this didn’t always sit well with the folk back at Jerusalem because many of them felt that they were indeed God’s elite and that the gospel should somehow be if not limited to them, at least given to them as being the upper crust, so to speak, of the theological pie. And so there was the danger then of opposition from well-meaning but uninformed believers. Now, here again, this situation can be combated not by argument but by prayer.
I used to tell our fellows in Youth for Christ, don’t call it a committee meeting; call it prayer meeting. You struck a snag where people’s differences are surfacing, don’t try to solve the differences by argument but let the Holy Spirit of God reveal to you the facts on which you can base agreement. I said to Dr. John Walvoord who is president of Dallas Theological Seminary there in Dallas, Texas, I said to him one day, “John, you are such a good manager”. I said. “How in the world do you manage things so well?” He smiled his slow smile and he said, “Well, Bob,” he said, “I believe that every situation will yield to more facts.”
He said, “Whenever we strike a snag and we’re at disagreement,” he said, “I ask my people to dig out a few more facts. And then,” he says, “when we pray, God brings those facts into proper focus and we get along real well.” Now, you know that’s a very good procedure. I learned from that and I hope I can apply it the rest of my life. Get the facts, that means do your homework. Many an argument is based upon ignorance. Oscar Wilde I guess, it was, who has said that having convictions really means being mistaken at the top of your voice.
Many an argument is based upon faulty information. And you start arguing on what you think are the facts and if you just do the homework, do the research, you find that the situation may well be quite different. And so you and I, if we face a situation where believers differ with us, based on their biases or their prejudices or whatever it may be, let’s get the facts and focus. Let’s find out what really is true and then let’s pray so that God the Holy Spirit can bring our hearts together on the basis of the facts that unite, not the facts that divide. Good idea?
You know, there are two ways to say anything. You remember the old, the dodge about the man who was so in love that he said, “When I look at your face,” he said to his lady love, “when I look at your face, I lose all track of time.” And somebody else was listening in and thought he would try the same thing but got tangled up and he said to his girlfriend, “When I look at your face it stops the clock.” Well, there is a difference.
Now, dear friend, seek in these cases were you’re aware of the fact that Satan is using the disagreement among saints to hinder the work of God, and this happens in every local church, it happens in committees, it happens everywhere people, human beings get together, we see things differently. When you are aware of the fact that Satan is using different points of view to hinder the work of God, don’t quarrel about it. Do your homework and then pray like everything and God will cause, this is the logic of it, God will cause unifying facts to surface in your thinking, okay?
Amy Carmichael tells about this in one of her books. She says that in the early years of her ministry when there were only one or two people besides herself, it was fairly easy to arrive at decisions but as the number of missionaries in the work grew, then differing points of view multiplied as well. And she said, “There would be times when we were in disagreement and we were tempted,” she says, “to resort to the futile fuss of talk.” That’s a nice phrase. “We were tempted to resort to the futile fuss of talk. But,” she said, “we found that when we waited quietly before God in prayer, soon the same quiet word came to all.” This is the essence of getting the victory over disagreement among God’s people.
Dear Father today, help us to find agreement with God’s saints through prayer, in Jesus’ name 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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