Obedience Fulfilled

I don't know what God has specially for you today, but I know this: as you open your heart to Him in love and in worship, He'll whisper to you some things He has you specially chosen for you.

Scripture: John 21, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4


Alright. Thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing all right today? Oh, I trust so. Bless your heart. Hope everything’s alright at your house. If you struck a rough day, look up and say, “Lord Jesus, see me through this one,” and he will. Keyword, as I have said to you so often, the keyword is through. “When thou passes through the waters, they shall not overflow thee.” You can trust Him. He won’t drop you now.

You and I have been just sort of summarizing some of the precious truths in the Gospel of John. We’re looking at the last chapter of this wonderful book, the 21st. And I was just commenting on the fact that if you’re going through a dark and fruitless night, it says, “When the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore.” He’ll be there. Our Saviour will meet you in the darkest of circumstances. He hasn’t forgotten you. He got there before they did. This is a parallel truth to what you find in John 10, “When he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before.” He got there before them so that he could fix breakfast for them. When they got there, they saw a fire of coals, and fish laid thereon, and bread. How long did it take to make those round flat loaves of bread and to get the fish ready? He got there before they did. He was ready for them. He had prepared for them. There was provision for them in the hour of their disappointment.

Well, anyhow, he said, “Well, how’s fishing? Did you catch anything?” Well, the words here, “children, have you any meat?” Catch anything? They said, “No.” [chuckle] They couldn’t even say, “You should’ve seen the one that got away.” No. Now he said, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.” Now if they faced toward the prow of the ship, and they cast the net on the right side… Paul Rader, it was the first pointed this out in my hearing. They would have to draw it left-handed. Now I am naturally left-handed. But most of the people in the world are right-handed, and we can assume that these disciples were right-handed as well. So Paul Rader pointed out that our Lord Jesus was asking them to cast the net and draw it back in a manner that would be awkward, using their left hand to draw the net from the right side of the boat. Well, I wasn’t there and neither was Mr. Rader and that may not be true but it is probable, it seems to me.

In any case, I have found out that God sometimes asks me to do things that are awkward for me so that He can show me His great and mighty power. That’s for sure. Therefore, will the Lord wait that he may be gracious onto you. Have you ever wondered why God delays answering your prayers? Have you ever wondered why He allows you to get into such difficult situations? Well, God lets the tears come to your eyes so He can wipe them away. “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes,” the Bible says. God lets your heart ache so that He can comfort you. Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of all comfort. He said, “He comforteth us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 is the verse. God lets you sometimes get into situations where you’ll appreciate him.

Have you ever heard a father and mother talking about something they might possibly do for their little boy? And you heard them say something like this, “Well, we won’t get it for him now because he wouldn’t appreciate it.” Doesn’t that sound familiar? “We won’t get it for him now because he wouldn’t appreciate it,” until later on. Now, the youngster doesn’t understand that. Anymore than the disciples understood what Jesus said, “What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.” God’s hereafters are very important. You don’t have to understand them, just accept them, because you know he knows what he’s doing. Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find.

If God has asked you to do something awkward, or if God has led you into a situation that is uncomfortable or even painful, don’t fight it, just let him show you what he wants to do through you. My good friend Richard Mason is, I guess, they call him executive vice president of Radio Bible Class up there in Grand Rapids. His appendix burst one day, and because he has a low pain threshold, he just thought he had a kind of a stomachache. He delayed long enough for that. The whole part of his body did become gangrenous, and he just about died. He was in the hospital for sometime, just about the same time I was in the hospital having some things removed from my anatomy. And we met, the two of us, at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention a while back. We talked of this and that, and how’s the Radio Bible class, and how you’re getting along, Bob, and so on. And then he looked at me, and he said, “What did the Lord teach you out of all this?”

Well, it jarred me, because I hadn’t begun to theorize what I had learned, and then it dawned on me that God had said a number of things to my heart, some of which I won’t share with you nor did I with him, because they’re particularly my own, but one of the things that He shared with me was His own presence. God became unspeakably real and precious to me in those hours. And another thing was, not only was He promising to help me, but He was promising to do something new in my life. And one of the promises that I appropriated is my own. In those days, when I was facing surgery and just after it as well and up to this moment, I appropriated the passage in Isaiah, where God says, “Behold, I will do a new thing.”

It was as though God was saying to me, “Now, Cook, I’m going to put you on a different plateau. You’ll have a different experience in life. This will be something new for you.” Well, hallelujah. [chuckle] Oh, it’s wonderful to know the Lord and have Him preciously real, isn’t it? And have Him speak to your own heart. Let God teach you something through the awkward or painful or frightening experiences of your life.

Well, they obeyed. Thank God, they did. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Well, Peter recognized… None of them had recognized the Savior up to that point. “They knew not,” it says in verse four that it was Jesus. But now, John said to Peter, “It’s the Lord.” And Peter cast himself into the sea and swam right on out to the shore, and the other disciples came in a little ship. They were not far from land as it were 200 cubit. A cubit is 18 inches. The distance, ordinarily, from the end of your middle finger to your elbow. That’s the way they measured it. So, 200 times one and a half is 350 feet. That was a pretty good swim for Peter, wasn’t it?

Well, they came dragging the net with fishes. As soon as they were come to land, they saw fire of coals and fish laid thereon and bread. And Jesus said, “Bring me the fish which you’ve now caught.” Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, 153, and the net wasn’t broken. And Jesus said, “All right, soup’s on. Come on. Come and dine.” And he came and took bread and gave to them, and the fish likewise.

Well, you could draw a number of lessons from this story, as you know. What it says to me is that in the dark and fruitless night, when nothing seems to be going on but the rent, and you’re discouraged, Jesus is gonna meet you. He’s there already. He’s gonna meet you. Second, He has provisions for you. Third, He invites you to share with Him. They were guests of the Savior that morning. Reminds me of that passage in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him.” That means, he’ll be your guest, and then He says, “And he with me.” You’ll be His guest. When you yield your life to the Lord Jesus, you find out that He’s the host, and you’re the guest, and He takes care of you.

Now comes the questioning. When they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” Now remember, Peter had said, “I love you. I’ll lay down my life for your sake.” That’s in Chapter 12. He says, “Yes, you know I love you.” Now there’s a play on words there. Whatever you make of it, it indicates that Peter had a little sensitivity. “Do you love me with a true, divine love?” Peter answers, “You know I love you like a brother.” Philadelphia is the word that we have in English, brotherly love. It’s what he used. And He asked him a second time, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” “Yes,” he said, “you know I love you.” Then the third time, “Simon, son of Jonas, do you love me?” Peter was grieved that he said the third time. He said, “Lord, you know I bragged, you know I failed, you know it all, but yes, I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

Now what I take from this is that the Lord Jesus is interested primarily not in your track record, but in your love for Him. You and I fall short so often, don’t we? But he says, “I want your love. I want your love, and I have a job for you to do. These two things,” he emphasized. One is, I want your love, and second, I’ve got something for you to do. “Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep. Feed my sheep.” I don’t know what God has specially for you today, but I know this, as you open your heart to Him in love and worship, He’ll whisper to you some things He has you specially chosen for, and you’ll find your fulfillment in obeying what He has for you. Now, before time runs out, let me just underscore something else. Peter, turning about, saw John following. And he said, “What will happen to him?” Jesus said, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.” Obedience is an individual matter regardless of what other people do. You decide with God in prayer what it is that He wants you to do and then go do it regardless of what others may say and do. All right?

Father God, today, help us to love Jesus and obey Him. I pray in His 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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