Living With God
Make God's Word the standard by which you measure.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You’re doin’ alright today? I trust so. Bless your heart. Nice to be back with you. Yes, this is your friend, Dr. Cook. You and I are looking at I Timothy, Chapter 4. We’re finishing up our thought about the 16th verse, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the Doctrine; continue in them,” that is in the teachings and the word continue means abide, stay there, make it your home. “for in doing this, thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
Now that last phrase is the combined goal of every child of God, to be right with God yourself and to bring other people to know Him as well. Now that seems to oversimplify it, but that is exactly what the Christian life is all about, isn’t it? Herein do I exercise myself to have always a conscience void of offense toward man and toward God. He said, “I’ve become all things to all men that I might, by all means, save some.” “Take heed,” he said, “that no man give offense, that the ministry,” your process of sharing God with other people, “be not blamed.”
The whole thrust of the Christian life is number one, to maintain a right and vital and viable relationship with Almighty God through the Lord Jesus Christ and through the indwelling Holy Spirit for yourself. And second, to bring other people into that same relationship as well. “Thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.” So we come then to the two fold question: number one: Am I really right with God? How can you know that everything’s alright with you and God? We never reach that state of perfection where we say there isn’t anything at all that is a flaw, that’s a blemish, or that is a shortcoming in my life. You never reach that stage, do you?
Someone told me years ago about the man who, seated in the front of the church, stood up to give a testimony and he said, “Looking about, I thank God that I haven’t sinned in 40 years. And from the back of the church came a female voice saying, “Careful John, I’m here.” It was his wife. [chuckle] She knew better. So, to start out, you’re looking for something you never will achieve to say, “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with me. I am alright, everything’s alright, no flaws, no shortcomings, no mistakes.” Listen, we’re imperfect human beings. John, the beloved Apostle says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” And if you wanna go into the past tense he says, “If you say you haven’t sinned, well, then, you’re making God a liar because He says differently. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
So I think you live with, as long as you’re on this side of Heaven, you live with the consciousness that you are indeed an imperfect, flawed human being created in the image of God. The image was marred by sin. That image is to be restored by the Lord Jesus Christ, living and shining through you. “We all with open face beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” That’s what He’s doing.
And when you get to glory, that job will then have been completed. We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. That’s why some people wear the little button that has the initials on it, signifying the words, “Please be patient with me. God is not finished with me yet.” You’ve seen that, haven’t you? So, you start there.
I ask this question, “How can you really know that everything’s alright?” Number one, start with the fact that you do know for sure that you are a flawed and imperfect human being subject then to the mistakes and shortcomings and sins of human nature. Now second, you can know that you have committed yourself absolutely without reservation to the Lord Jesus Christ. “No man,” said he, “cometh unto the Father but by Me.” “Neither,” said Peter, “is there salvation in any other for there’s none other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” And Paul says to Timothy, “There’s one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” So he says, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy.”
What kind of a person needs mercy? Somebody that has done wrong that has missed it. “That we may obtain mercy and find grace to help.” What kind of a person needs help? Someone that’s too weak to manage by himself. Obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. The throne of grace is open to you. If indeed, you have committed yourself absolutely to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now here’s where the slippage occurs. People say, “Well, I’m not sure where I stand with the Lord.” The unsureness about which you complain is not on God’s side, beloved, but on ours. You have to come to the end of yourself to a place where you know that you have committed yourself to the Lord Jesus. And strangely enough, this comes about as God deals with you on various areas of your life. He deals with one thing after another. He leads you along, step by step. You remember the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “I have many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.” God has a way of leading us along, step by step and revealing to us those things that He wants to shape up in our lives.
“Therein is the righteousness of God revealed,” Paul says concerning the Gospel in Romans 1:17, “Therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” You see, you take one step of obedience and then God leads you to another. But at any given point, you and I have to know that we have completely committed ourselves, so far as we know, to the Lord Jesus Christ. When you’ve done that, then you can plead the merits of His precious blood for all of the weakness and all of the flaws in your nature, and ask God to keep you and to guide you. “You who are kept,” says Peter, “by the power of God through faith unto salvation.”
Now, number one, you have to be sure that you are indeed a flawed and needy human being. Let’s get rid of all this foolishness that you can lift yourself by your own bootstraps by positive thinking. I believe in positive thinking. I’m a chronic optimist, and that’s good. But that is not the starting point in dealing with God. The starting point in dealing with God is to realize how much you need Him, and how far short you and I have come from meeting His holiness. And at that point, we can then accept His mercy, and His love, and His grace. You understand me about that? So that’s where you start.
Second, make sure that you have completely committed yourself to the Lord Jesus. That’s where you and I have to ask and answer the probing question, “Am I really through? Have I really committed myself to God? Have I given up the right to try again on my own? Have I given up my own desires on this thing? Is God in control? Have I given it to Him by faith? If I have, then let me trust Him to lead and to guide me. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him,” that means turn it over to Him, “and He shall direct thy paths,” says the Bible.
If you come to the end of yourself in terms of not any longer trusting yourself because you know you’re a flawed human being, and second, if you know for sure that you’ve turned the matter over to God, then you can in faith trust Him to lead and guide you every step, and to keep you by His grace. Hallelujah for that. Well, all of this came out of consideration of the phrase, “Save thyself.” How can you know for sure that you’re really right with God?
Third thing is, make sure that you’re living in God’s Word. And by this of course, you know that we don’t mean just a casual glance at it now and again, but you’re making it the very stuff of life. You’re making it the manual of operations for your life. You’re making it the atmosphere in which you live. You’re making God’s Word the standard by which you measure. You’re making God’s Word the food that satisfies the hunger of your soul. Living in the Word of God. You wanna really be sure that things are right with you and God? Spend more time with Him in His Word and think, and pray, and meditate about what God is saying to you. You will be amazed at the changes made in your life. One’s devotion to any given set of concepts does determine his or her attitudes on other things. Now that’s a sound principle. I never read it in any psychology book, but I know that it works. Your devotion to any set of concepts does determine your conduct and your attitudes in other things.
I asked Hubert Mitchum, my dear friend of many years. One day as he and I were in India, I was visiting him, he was then in charge of Youth for Christ in India. We were walking down a street in Calcutta, I think it was Chowringhee Street, and we were talking of things having to do with the work, and I said to him, “It seems to me that probably the most difficult person to win to the Lord would be one of these sadhus, the holy men who are devoted to their religion.” He said, “You’re right,” and he said, “Do you know why?” Well, I thought a moment, I just didn’t know. I said, “Well, I don’t know.” He said, “It is because they spend every waking moment reciting some portion of their sacred writings.” He said, “Their mind is always filled with some portion of their sacred writings.” He said, “That’s why it’s very hard to get through to them with the Gospel.” Now that’s the negative side of the principle that I just gave you.
The concepts, the ideas, the collection of truth, so-called in the case of false religion, real truth in the case of the Bible. The collection of truth that we have in the Bible, if you live in it, if you think about it, if it becomes the very stuff of life, it will affect all of your other attitudes and actions inevitably. Now, how far have we come in these few moments? Time will run out, and I don’t want you to miss this. You wanna be sure. “Thou shalt both save thyself,” said he.
You wanna be sure about this? Number one, make sure that you’ve made up your mind concerning your own need and your flawed condition before God. You’re never going to get to the place where you say, “I don’t need anymore,” you always need him.
Second, make sure that you have committed yourself to God in faith so the blood of Jesus can cover all of your sins and mistakes and shortcomings and keep you clean through faith in Him. You who are kept by the power of God, make sure there’s a complete commitment, and that you walk in that commitment day-by-day trusting your Savior to keep you.
Third, live in the Word of God. He said, “Continue in these teachings and give yourself completely to them.” Live in the Word of God, learn to apply it to every part of all of your living and God will make sure that you are living according to His perfect Will. “Thy Word is a light unto my feet, a lamp unto my path.” God will guide you if you let Him. It’s good stuff isn’t it?
Dear Father today, oh, may we live in Thy Word that It’s power may show in our lives. 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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