Ask God to give you a heart that's pure and motives that are selfless.
Alright thank you very much. And hello again radio friends, how in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend Bob Cook and I’m glad to be back with you. What a joy it is just to share from the Word of God. What we’re doing in these few days is just to recap some of the precious truths that we’ve found as we’ve studied 1 Timothy together.
Now, in chapter five there is an operating principle that everyone in Christian work, and all the rest of us for that matter, may very well remember. He says, in 1 Timothy 5:1, “Rebuke not an elder, but treat him as a father, plead with him as a father. And treat the younger men as brethren, and the elder women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters with all purity.” How do you get along with people in the church? What’s the ruling principle of getting along with people? Well, first of all, you don’t tell people off. Now, I’ve lived a while and I can look back and remember a great many things that if I were allowed to live over again, I might do quite differently.
One of them is, the realization that you never get anywhere by losing your temper or telling people off. You just don’t. For one thing, you make them defensive and that makes it impossible for them to think creatively about the problem. Another is, you create scar tissue that lingers in their hearts and sometimes in your own, for years. And if there’s anybody listening in, you know that the testimony that’s given is not one that honors the Lord. Everytime I had a chance I tried somehow just to defuse those situations so that the damage wasn’t done by a shouting match or an argument. You know, you don’t ever settle anything by arguing, and shouting, and fighting, and rebuking people. [chuckle]
I remember somebody who was describing his frustration at the fact that he oftentimes got his tongue tangled up in phrases that he wanted to use, and he was telling about somebody that he was shouting at, and he said, “I told him”, I said, “You’re just a no good. And I’m just the fellow who can do it, too.” [chuckle] He got tangled up in his phrasing. Well, it’s a fact that when you lose your temper, you also lose the situation. What do they tell these professional boxers and professional athletes. “Keep your cool. Don’t lose your cool.” Why? Because when you start to get angry, you lose the capacity to think cooly about your strategy.
And so, humanly speaking, that’s the principle on which you want to rely. But you and I are dealing with the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit of God as well, aren’t we? “And we who know the Lord, Jesus Christ, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he has none of His.” says Paul. You do, if you’re a believer, and you admit the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You do have this wonderful Person, the Holy Spirit of God, dwelling within you. And you can depend on Him in situations that could be abrasive or explosive.
Paul says, “Don’t rebuke an elder, plead with him like a father. Treat him with the respect that you would give to your own father.” And I’ve noticed something-when you approach people with respect, they tend to listen to you, and they tend to appreciate what you have to say a great deal more than if you approach them with the inner attitude I’m gonna change this person’s mind. The reason you need to approach people with respect is that everybody you ever meet will know more about some things than you do.
You will never meet a person who is not superior to you in some way. Carl Rogers is his name. The man’s written a number of books about psychology and psychiatry. I remember reading in one of his books, Client Centered Therapy, I think it was. He said, “You won’t get anywhere with your client… ” He calls ’em clients, I presume ’cause they pay him. [chuckle] But he says, “You won’t get anywhere with your client unless he feels he is accepted, respected, and beloved.” Oh, that’s a great phrase, isn’t it? Accepted, that means he’s a valuable human being, he or she. A valuable human being created in the image of God, however marred that image may now be. Accept the person as a valuable human being.
Respected is his next word. Respected because there’s not only value there, but there is something which if you can clear away the rubbish, is to be admired as well. And then be loved in spite of all of the hostility, and antipathy, and in spite of all of the problem areas that surround the relationship. “The love of Christ constraineth us,” says Paul. And because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, Who was given unto us. I have to tell you my friend, in some of these situations in church work and on the mission field.
Yes, and in business relationships and corporate relationships, if you approach a situation with the love of God in your heart and respect for the other person in your mind, you’d be amazed at how things work out. It’s a fact. He said, “Treat the younger men as brothers.” He’s my brother. Now you can disagree with your brother, but when it comes to an attack from some other family or somebody down the street, brothers always stick together, don’t they? Remember, you stick with your Christian brothers. Don’t be found fighting against people who, with you, name the name of the Lord, Jesus. The enemy is out there. Let’s not shoot each other. Brothers. He said, “The elder women as mothers and the younger women as sisters with all purity.”
Yes, we live in human bodies and events that have recently transpired this year and last year remind us that it is so dreadfully possible to fail at the level of what Paul calls purity. Oh, ask God to give you a heart that’s pure and motives that are pure. See, if the Holy Spirit has given you a pure heart then people feel safe with you, they know that you don’t have an ulterior motive, that you’re not working some kind of an angle for your own benefit.
Purity. Ask God to give you that pure heart. “Create in me,” the Psalmist cried, “Create in me a pure heart.” God can do that and will do it in answer to prayer. And in answer to the application of the Word of God, it is impossible for you to concentrate on two things at the same time. And so if you fill your heart and mind with the Word of God, more and more of God’s Word will provide that extra strengthening of your entire character so that you will be treating other people, as Paul said, as folk who belong to you in the body of Christ with all purity. Ask God to give you a pure heart. He will. He will.
Jesus answers prayer, and He gives us the ability to look through eyes that have been cleansed, and think with a mind that has been cleansed. You can get that answer for yourself if you call up Heaven this very hour and ask our blessed Lord to operate on your heart and your mind. Well, here you have then the principle of getting along with people. Don’t tell folk off. Treat them with respect and love, and make sure that your relationship has been to Calvary, and it’s pure. That’s the way to get along with folks. It’s a good idea, isn’t it?
Now he says, “Observe these things.” Here’s the other high spot in 1 Timothy 5, that I wanted to stop on before time runs out. He says, “Observe these things.” Well this is verse 21. “I charged you before God, the Lord, Jesus and the elect angels.” Remember, you have an audience. You’re always on stage. There’s never a time when you can say, “It doesn’t matter now.” You say, “Well, what I do only affects me.” Well, it affects you, but it also affects the entire heavenly audience. We’re compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which death so easily beset us. Deal with your besetting sins and deal with the things that could hinder you as extra weight hinders a racer. Deal with those things because you’ve got an audience. I charge thee before God, that’s God the Father, the Lord, Jesus, the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one another and doing nothing by partiality.
God knows why you do what you do. There’s an audience that’s evaluating you all the time. So he says, “Be fair.” It’s such a simple principle, isn’t it? It’s such a simple principle that it turns out to be quite profound. He says, “Be fair, don’t be partial.” Why? Because God the Father cares what you’re doing and saying and the Lord Jesus cares. The indwelling Holy Spirit cares and the angels that are looking on, they care about what you’re doing, and what you’re saying, and the motive that lies behind it. So He says, “Be fair. Don’t prefer one before another, don’t do anything by partiality, be fair.”
The question that you have to ask in difficult situations is, “What’s the right thing to do and what’s the fair thing to do? What will I wish I had done a million years from now when I look back in the light of the judgement seat of Christ?” Do the right thing under God. Now, we go on and sorta recap the last chapter of 1 Timothy and then we go on to another book of the Bible.
Father God, today, help us to act out of love. And give us pure hearts for our motivation. In Jesus name, I pray this. Amen.
Til I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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