Making The Mark
Jesus helps us hit the mark. It's always too soon to quit in life, no matter what is happening. Let Him see you through.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today? Well, I trust everything’s alright your house, bless your heart.
If you struck a rough day, look up and say, “Lord Jesus, see me through this one,” and He will. He hath said, “I will never leave thee or forsake thee.” The Bible says, “When thou passest through the waters they shall not overflow thee.” God brings you through, not just into. He hasn’t brought you this far to dump you now, so trust your blessed Lord to see you through. He will, oh yes, He will.
You and I are looking at 1 Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Paul says, “… of whom I am number one.” “Christ Jesus came into the world to save…” I guess that’s as far as we got in our thought the last time we got together, to save sinners. The word “sinner” means a person who has missed the mark, missed it.
My best illustration of that goes back to 1953, when I visited Japan for the second time. I had been there before as a guest of Gen. William K. Harrison, who’d recently slipped into the presence of his Lord. At that time he was the commanding general in charge of, of our occupational forces there in, in Japan, and he and Mrs. Harrison took Merrill Dunlop and I into their home, and we were their guests for awhile, and we had a great time with lots of good meetings. The years went by, and now we came back in 1953 for a World Congress on evangelism, to be held in Tokyo, and it was a most wonderful month that we spent there in August of 1953.
Well, I got into Tokyo, first of all coming into Haneda airport and then being driven on into the city, to the headquarters office of Youth for Christ, where David Morkan and others were gathered, and we had sort of a joyous family reunion there for a moment. Sam Walton, Dave Morkan, and others gathered around. Suddenly someone looked at his watch and said, “Oh Bob, you’ve got to be on the train in a few minutes because you’ve gotta get up to, to Kitazawa! You’re to speak there at the conference.” I gathered up my luggage, suitcases, tape-recorders, and all the rest, and we piled into somebody’s car and drove through the, the traffic, got to the railroad station, up the stairs two steps at a time, and got up to the platform just in time to see the train pulling out. Japanese trains run precisely on time. They’re very proud of that and, well, they may be.
Well, I stood there crestfallen, and then I realized that the man who had been just ahead of me – a very thin, agile man without any baggage to impede his progress – had also missed the train, and it struck me… I started laughing because it struck me. He ran fast, he was thin, I was a little more bulky in build, he had none of the baggage items to, to slow him up that I had, and there he stood, and I wondered which one of us missed the train the most. He ran faster, he did a better job, he got there sooner. I ran slower, I was impeded by many bundles and baggages, and I was heavier in build anyway, so I was slower.
Which one of us missed it the most? “Oh, well,” you say, “Brother Cook – come on, you both missed it.” Precisely, and the word for “sinner” turns out to be a word that means somebody that missed the mark. You missed it.
My Norwegian friends over in Brooklyn tell a story of, of Ollie, who had come to this country and was over on Staten Island, and he was going to take the ferry boat over to Manhattan, and was a little late. His friend, Sven was already onboard and the boat was just pulling away from the dock, and Sven shouted to Ollie, he said, “Jump,” he said, “Jump, you can make it in two jumps!” Well, no, you can’t. Can’t be done.
Now, you Norsk friends, you’ll have to pardon me. I know that’s very old, it’s such an old joke that it has whiskers on it, but it does illustrate the point, doesn’t it?
Here’s this dear sinner and he thinks he’s trying so hard, but he misses God’s holiness and he misses a perfect record of keeping God’s law, and he misses the matter of measuring up to God’s commands. He missed it. And so no matter how hard I have tried, if I’ve missed it, I can’t qualify. And the Lord Jesus came into the world to save people who have missed God’s mark. They’ve come short. All have sinned and come short. They’ve come short. They didn’t measure up, you and I, and Jesus said, “I’m going to measure up for you,” and so He kept the law perfectly. He was able to say to His detractors and His accusers, “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” Even the crowd and the soldiers said, “He hath done all things well,” and they said, “Never man spake like this man.” He lived a perfect life and He died a perfect death. He rose again to be our perfect Savior, yours and mine. “He ever liveth to make intercession for them that come unto God by Him,” says the writer to the Hebrews.
My dear friend, Jesus measured up for you and you need not look with, with despair upon your own life and say, “Well, I blew it. There’s no more hope for me.” Humanly, you may be right, but divinely, you see, there’s always the extra that God provides, and Jesus came to save sinners. That is to say people who missed it, who came short of the mark. He’ll do that for you.
Would you today open your heart? Some of you listening have never yet committed yourself in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that because I get letters and cards from people who’ve done this as I’ve spoken to you from time to time, and I’m speaking again to someone who has never opened your life to the Lord Jesus Christ and asked Him to come in as your Savior.
Will you now, even while I’m speaking with you, just talk to your Lord and say, “Lord Jesus Christ, come into my heart, and forgive my sins, and make me a new creature, and save me by Thy grace”? Will you say that now, and as you do, will you trust the Lord Jesus to be your Savior, and commit your life to Him, and let Him start to run your life by His Divine Will, through the Holy Spirit of God, who comes to indwell every believer? Will you do that?
Oh, I trust so. He came into the world to save sinners, people who’ve missed it, people who have to say, in despair, “I’ve blown it, there’s nothing left for me.” Jesus looks down, and He says, “Oh yes, there is.” “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, as by one man’s sin entered the world and death by sin, even so by one Jesus Christ, grace abounds to life eternal.”
Much more, much more, much more for you. It’s always too soon to quit. Don’t give up on yourself, or on God, for His possibilities are limitless. “He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Anything you ever imagined that God might do for you, He’s greater than that. Isn’t that a thrilling thought? Everything that you ever imagined that God could do for you, He has more than that for you. Greater than that. He’s greater than the forces of Satan. The Bible says, “Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world.” He’s greater than your own weakness and your own heart. “If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knoweth all things.” He will go beyond anything you can bring, by way of need or failure or discouragement or loss. He wipes it all away by His grace; gives you a new start. Let Him do it. Let Him do it for you. Commit yourself in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now we come to the, the last phrase of 1 Timothy 1:15. He said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” Now, Paul certainly had done some things that, that he was ashamed of. He says elsewhere that he persecuted the church and that he was very zealous in opposing the message of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was also very proud. He says, “I had things I can be proud of,” and he lists some of them in the book of Philippians. His, his racial and national background, his religious training, his religious success, his own character and reputation (which was impeccable); some things he could be proud of and he was. When he met the Lord Jesus Christ there on the road to Damascus, those things of which he had been proud, now became just like so much garbage and refuse. He said, “Because I’ve got someone so much better. Those things, what things were gained to me, those I counted loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord.” Got something so much better.
Well, he said, “sinners of whom I am chief.” Yes, he had quite a bit, but the fact remains he hadn’t killed anybody so far as we know, he hadn’t robbed any banks, he hadn’t engaged in many of the grosser sins that were so common in the cultures of those days. And so, humanly speaking we could find you and I, people who are far worse than the apostle Paul in things they did and things they said that were wicked. Don’t you agree? If that be so, what did he mean when he said, “of whom I am chief”? Protos.
He said, number one: just this, the closer you get to the Cross, the less you can see of other people’s faults. You get very, very close to any object and you can’t see anything else but that. And so, when you come close to the Cross, it’s just you and Jesus. You’re able to say as Paul did, “I’m number one, I’m it,” because you’ve lost sight of anybody else, and you know that if there were no one else in all the universe, He came for you to give His life for you, and shed His blood, and broke His heart, and suffered and died for you, and you’re close enough now to the Cross that you can’t see anybody else’s faults, and you say, “I’m number one, I’m chief of sinners.”
Paul, incidentally, went through a phase of development; he said, “I’m not worthy to be called an apostle.” He said that on one occasion, but now he says, “I’m chief of sinners.” Why? Because the more you grow in the things of the Lord, and the closer you get to Jesus, the more you’re going to be aware of the fact that you need a great Savior. We’ll talk about this perhaps the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, keep us so close to Jesus that we’ll lose sight of the faults of others, as we rejoice in His salvation for us, 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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