Opportunity Knocks

Have you ever gone through a day thinking to yourself, "What good thing can I do for people?" You'd be surprised how many opportunities you will find, if you have that kind of a frame of reference for your thinking, as you go on through a day.

Scripture: John 19:38-42, Mathew 5:16


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Hey, I’m glad to be back with you. I look forward to these times when I can sit down with the Bible, the Greek New Testament, and the Concordance, and some notes here in front of me, and think about you, and then share with you the Word of God. What a precious privilege that is. I’m so grateful for it.

Now, we’re looking at the last few verses of John Chapter 19, “Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus came, requested permission to take the body of Jesus down from the cross, and to bury it. Joseph was a disciple, but secretly,” it says, “For fear. And also Nicodemus, which at first, came to Jesus by night.” See now, that phrase “came to Jesus by night” is in apposition to “secretly for fear.” These were people who were convinced that the Lord Jesus Christ was indeed God’s chosen Messiah, the Son of God. They were a believer, but they were secretly. And we talked about that the last time we got together, but we didn’t quite finish it. And I’ve been thinking, since that time, about how does one live openly for the Lord Jesus Christ, in a risky, even dangerous situation?

It is a fact, that some people simply cannot face the price that has to be paid for an open avowal of faith in Jesus Christ. Down in Latin America, when I traveled widely there in Central and South America, we met hundreds of people who were, if I remember the word rightly, it was they called them ‘simpatizantes,’ they were sympathetic. But they had never made an open commitment of themselves to the Lord Jesus.

So there’s lots of people that feel that way, and don’t look down on them, don’t cut them down, either in your thinking, or your speaking about them, because you’re not walking in their shoes, and you don’t know how hard it might be for them. God understands. Pray for them, and love them, and encourage them, when God and they are ready to come out with their public confession of faith in the Lord Jesus.

Having said that, you and I realize that God’s way, God’s ideal way, is to confess Christ openly, “Whosoever, therefore, shall confess Me before men, him will I also confess before My Father, Which is in Heaven, but whoso shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father, Which is in Heaven.” That’s Matthew 10:32-33. Mark 8:38 has the same concept, in just a little different words, “Whosoever, therefore, shall be ashamed of Me and of My Word in this adulterous and sinful generation, how much more of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the Glory of His Father with the holy angels.” And the phrase “this adulterous and sinful generation” is in contrast to the Glory of the Father, and the holy angels.”

The thought being that the Lord Jesus Christ, this wonderful Jewel of all of the universe, is Someone of Whom we may be happily and wholesomely proud, not ashamed. We can declare our loyalty to Him and say, as did the disciples after Pentecost, “We are His witnesses of these things.” So God’s way is to take your stand for the Lord Jesus. I think we have to agree on that, no matter how you and I, as individuals, may feel about the price we think we have to pay for such an avowal of faith.

Now then, how do you face all that? What do you do about it? I think the first thing has to do with the commitment of yourself, absolutely, to Him. Quite apart from the “what if” factor, “What if I do this? What if people find out? What if my family finds out? What if the people with whom I work find out?”, You live in a community where it’s a crime to be a Christian, in some countries of the world, “What if the authorities find out?” Huh? There has to be that inner commitment to the Lord Jesus, quite apart of that “what if” factor. “Is He really the Lord of my life? Have I given myself to Him completely?” See, that’s where it starts, the inside decision.

There’s such a plethora of programs now, about weight loss on the radio and TV, but they have one thing in common. They all say that diets of different kinds, or various regimes that may be followed, go to a weight loss spa, or whatever it is, they all say the same thing, “It won’t help permanently, unless you have made an inner commitment, unless you have decided, ‘This is it.’ ” Well, I can’t help you to that, but you, as you wait before your Lord in prayer, may indeed come to a point, where you know that you’ve committed yourself absolutely to Him, no matter what. Now, then what?

Our Lord Jesus spoke about living in a dark world. In His, what we call the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:6-7, are His remarks there on the mountain, as He taught the people. And Matthew 5:16 says, after having a remark that, “You and I are the light of the world,” He said, “Let your light so shine before men.” Now, how do you do the shining? Finish the verse and you’ll find out, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, Which is in Heaven.” Good works.

Now, this is part of God’s purpose. Ephesians 2:10 says, “We are His workmanship,” it’s a beautiful Greek word. It’s our word ‘poem.’ Same thing, “We’re God’s poem.” [chuckle] Some of us don’t rhyme very well, I think, but that’s what it says. “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk,” that’s our phrase, “Live every day,” that we should live every day in them. Good works. Have you ever gone through a day thinking to yourself, “What good thing can I do for people?” You’d be surprised how many opportunities you will find, if you have that kind of a frame of reference for your thinking, as you go on through a day.

“What good thing can I do? What would be good to do right now for this person? What would be a good work?” And take, for instance, a very ordinary thing. You work in an office, and somebody at the desk next to you is absolutely covered up with details, that he or she just doesn’t have enough time to do, and doesn’t have any help with them. And you’ve finished your particular stint of routine work. And a good work would be to say, “Jim,” or, “Mary, let me help you with that. I don’t have too much right now. I’ll take some of it, if you wish.” You’d be surprised how people would appreciate it. Or there’s a mailing to get out, and there’s a deadline. Everything has to be in the mail by 10 o’clock tonight. And this person, or persons are struggling frantically to get all of the elements assembled, and put into the envelopes, and then sorted by zip code, and tied neatly into little bundles. Oh, they’re working so hard, and feverishly, and you don’t have too much to burden you, or maybe you do have a workload, but you see how burdened they are, and you say, “Let me pitch in. I’ll help.”

Or you come to visit somebody who’s ill. There’s a mother who’s ill, and she’s got a little one-year-old, and nobody to take care of the baby, and she has to struggle up from bed to change those little removable seat covers on the little chassis. And the house has sorta gone to pieces, because there’d been no one to help her, and the sink is full of dishes. And you come in, and say, “Well, Mary, how are you feeling?” “Oh,” she says, “I don’t know how in the world I’m gonna cope with all of this, to care for the baby and all of this.” And so you sit, and visit with her for a moment, and then instead of going away, you simply go out to the kitchen, and wash the dishes. And you change the baby, and you get out the vacuum, and vacuum up the living room, where different ones have dropped bits of paper and junk. And you leave the place straightened up, and the dishes washed. And then you open a can of chicken noodle soup, [chuckle] and bring her a hot dish of soup with some toast, and say, “There you are, dear. God bless you. Hope you feel better soon.”

You did something without being asked that was good. You understand me? Now, don’t be pushy about the thing. I’ll get at that concept a little later on. Don’t be a show-off, or pushy, or officious. “I am going to do something good for you today. I am going to help you.” Oh, come on. No, don’t talk about a thing, just do it. That’s been a motto I’ve had for myself for many years. When you talk about something, you spin your wheels emotionally, and mentally, and you tend to dissipate the opportunity that you may have had to do something good. So don’t talk about it, just do it. Don’t be pushy, don’t be officious, embarrassing people. Just do something good for people without being asked.

My old boss, Vic Cory, for whom I worked for five years in Scripture Press… I was his Vice President and Sales Manager. They called it Distribution Manager, but that’s pious for sales, I think.. Anyhow, he realized that having been trained as a minister, I didn’t really have some of the skills that were needed in management. And so he sent me to a series of classes, that lasted 10, 12 weeks, I guess, in what was called ‘Human Engineering.’ It was very helpful, really. I think I knew a good deal of the things that the man was teaching. I guess I wasn’t all that dumb. But there was one thing that I remembered. Every session, every, that is, session, he emphasized this statement, “Go cheerfully out of your way to help others without being asked.” “Go cheerfully out of your way to help others without being asked.”

Well, you ought to think about that in the framework of your own life. You want to start shining for the Lord? You’ve made the inner commitment to Jesus as your Lord? You may be a little tenuous about thinking, “What do I do next here in confessing Christ?” Why don’t you start where He does, with good works, and let the light shine?

What will happen? Well, they’ll appreciate you, “But the ultimate result,” Jesus said, “Is they’ll glorify your Father, which is in Heaven.” The praise, and the honor, and the credit will come to your Heavenly Father, if you shine that way for Jesus’ sake. We’ll get at this the next time we get together.

Blessed Lord, today, help us shine for Thee, 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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