Order Of Operations
God always starts with the heart condition before He does anything with the circumstances.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing alright? Well, I’m fine, thanks. Happy in the Lord and glad to be back with you. Bless your heart.
Come with me to the second chapter the gospel of Mark. We’re in the gospel of Mark for a while, and I’m enjoying it — at least I trust you are. It says again, “Our Lord Jesus entered into Capernaum”. Now, He had to stay outside for a while, because the man who’d been healed of his leprosy was telling everybody about this wonderful healer. And it said, “He couldn’t even come into town”. He was outside in desert places. But finally He comes back — presumably to Simon Peter’s house — and the word got around that He is back in town. He is there.
Well, you know what happened. You know what happened. The house of Simon and Andrew, “And it was noised”, it says, “that He was in the house”. He’s there. He’s back in town — let’s go see Him. “Straightway, many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no not so much as about the door, and He preached the word onto them”.
When Coreen and I were serving the college, I was president and she was president’s wife and in charge of the house that is furnished for the college president, there on the campus of the college. We would invite the freshmen, entering freshman class, to come in just at the beginning of school. We would have a reception for them and put on a little program, and I’d give them something of the Word and pray for them. And on those occasions, and then again at Christmas time when they went out singing Christmas carols and then ended their walk in the frosty out-of-doors by coming again to this spacious home, and having some donuts and hot chocolate — and that sort of a thing. On those occasions, there would be so many of them — they would fill up every available chair then they would sit on the stairs and then they would sit on the floor. And then those who couldn’t get in the house would be clustered around the door outside the house. And especially in the occasions when the weather was warmer, would the whole porch would be filled up with people sitting on the floor, on the wicker furniture — whatever that was there. And I often thought, well that’s how it must’ve been when our Lord was in Peter’s home and it says, “There wasn’t any room to receive them, not so much even as about the door”.
Well, what are you going to do with people like that? You don’t just make small talk. It says, “He preached the word unto them”. And the Word that He preached is given to us over in Mark 1:15, “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand, repent ye and believe the gospel”. That’s an encapsulation of the sermons that Christ preached. The time is up, time is now — now is the accepted time. Today’s the day of salvation. The kingdom of God is at hand — that is. Make God king of your life — not simply some religious concept that is added on while you do as you please. “Repent ye”. If you’re going to God, you have to stop going your own way and believe the gospel received by faith the fact that God wants to save you make you His child. This, presumably then, was what Lord Jesus was preaching when the meeting was broken up by an interruption.
Small thought here. How do you handle interruptions? You’ve got your day neatly planned out, then all of a sudden — the boss’s boss. You know your boss has to report to somebody else who is a regional vice president, or however the pecking order set up in your corporation. And you’ve got your day all set up and all of a sudden the boss’s boss drops in. And you have to adjust your whole day to the process of noticing this man — being nice to him and answering his many questions. How you feel about that? A little upset, no doubt? A little frustrated because the work that has been assigned to you has a lot of deadlines to it and here is this visiting prophet is taking up your time. I used to say sourly, “people who have nothing to do come and do it in my office.”
Interruptions. How do you handle them? Well, the Lord helped me about that matter a good many years ago to the realization that interruptions are actually part of God’s plan for you. When you take an unexpected visit, for example, or something that cuts across the plan that you have so neatly laid out for a day or night, and somebody blows into your life unexpectedly and everything that you’ve planned has to be set aside. Interruptions. When this happens you either have your choice of being upset about it and saying, “I don’t why this has to happen me”. Or else, you can say, “Now, Lord you have something in mind for us here, show me what it is”. Because God sends people across your path for His purposes, either you are to bless them or they are to bless you — or both the above. When I learned that, I stopped crabbing about people interrupting my routines — my precious little routine business that I had laid out. I stopped griping about that and I began to realize that God had sent people across my pathway so that I might minister to them, or they to me, or both.
Now, today, some of you listen at nights. so tomorrow for you — when something happens that upsets your plans, instead of crabbing about it and complaining about it, look up and say, “Lord, I don’t know why this is, but it’s part of your perfect plan and I know that all things work together for good to them that love the Lord, and so make this thing payout spiritually”, and then you look for a chance to be a blessing in that interruption situation. You want to try that? Anything I tell you, I have been there. I know that there is such a prayer that changes the face of a situation which might be frustrating or irritating and makes it instead one of blessing. You try for yourself.
Well, He preached the Word to them. Well, I don’t know where He was in His sermon outline, but through the plaster started falling — the dust going down their necks and bits of plaster and the building material falling right in front where the master was seated. You know what was happening, of course.
It said, “There came unto Him people who were bringing up a paralyzed mane”– he was sick of the palsy. We would say that he was paralyzed, “which is carried by four people”. Now, they had him on a pallet — like something like our stretchers today. You have two polls through each put through a strong hem on either side of a strong piece of canvas and that forms a stretcher. And four people can easily carry, each one taking a hold of one of those four handles, and easily carry a person.
Well, this was the type of conveyance that they were using there. They called it there a bed. You know it wasn’t a four poster bed — it was a pallet with some kind of carrying device on each of the corners. Whether it was a cloth loop or whether it was — a wooden handle stuck through the overlap or whatever — but that’s what was happening. There was these four people who brought their buddy to the Lord. They couldn’t get in, so what did they did was went up the side stairway of the house to the roof, which was always used as a kind of a of a patio and place to sit after sunset to cool off — and that sort of a thing. And so they were up there on the roof and they began to take off the tile, one by one, and begin to dig into that roofing material, and finally they had a hole that was large enough to let the men down. “When they could not come nigh unto Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. And when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay”.
Now, these men had to work fast because, you know, that if you saw somebody poking a hole in the roof of your house, it wouldn’t take you long to get out there and holler at them and call the police. Isn’t that true? So, these four men worked rapidly and intent upon their objective — which was to get their friend into the presence of the Savior. “They let the bed down where on the sick man lay, and when Jesus saw their faith” — not his, the man that was sick didn’t have much faith evidently. He said to the sick man, “Son, thy sins are forgiven”.
Another small thought here. God always starts with the heart condition before He does anything with the circumstances. Have you learned that yet? I find myself praying about the circumstances because I either don’t like them, I want them altered, or I want something to happen that will further my particular plans or my ministry. And I find myself often times praying about the circumstances, when in reality God’s way is to pray about and change. God’s ways for you and me to pray about and to change our inner attitude toward Him. Then He begins to work on a miracle basis — “Who shall enter into Thy holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart who has not lifted up his soul unto vanity nor sworn deceitfully”.
To get into the very presence of God in prayer and have your prayers answered means that the inner life that nobody knows but you and God needs to be cleansed by the application of the precious cleansing blood of Christ — and needs be filled with the presence of the Blessed Holy Spirit so that your relationship to God is pure and clean and uncluttered with unconfessed sin and failures. Just notice then that the Lord Jesus started with that — didn’t say anything about the disease yet, He took care that later — but first of all, He dealt with the man’s need, “Go and sin no more”. Our Savior said to one who was caught right in the action of sin, “Go and sin no more”. He said to a man who was healed. His story, I think, is found in the fifth of John, isn’t it? No it’s the fifth of Judges. Yes, that’s right. I get my tongue tangles up when I’m talking to you, turning pages.
The man who had been ill for 38 years, wasn’t it, let’s see for a minute. “For a long time he had an infirmity” — it says, “38 years”, and our Lord Jesus said to him, “Behold thou are be made well. Sin no more lest a worst thing come unto thee”.
Always in dealing with the needs of people, our Lord Jesus does take care of physical and emotional and financial and interpersonal needs. Yes, He does. But first of all, He was to deal with my inner need. The need of cleansing — the need of the filling of the Blessed Holy Spirit. Will you remember that? The first thing our Savior said to this sick man was, “Son, your sins are forgiven”. Well, immediately then, the bystanders began to reason it said, “in their hearts”, and they said, “Why does this man speak blasphemy? Only God can forgive sins”. He said, “Well, now let me ask you question. Which is easier? To say your sins are forgiven or to say to the sick man, “get up and walk — you can’t do either one, can you? But I can because I’m God”. That’s what He was saying to them, “So that you may know the Son of Man hath power on Earth to forgive sins”.
I’ll say the other thing to this man — “get up and go home” and the man did. It says, “Immediately, he arose and took up the pallet on which he had been lying and went forth before them all, and they were amazed and glorified”. Guys said, “we never saw anything like this”. Jesus is God. The cults that say He’s only, you know, one of the one of the highest of the angelic group — or whatever this is not of the Lord. Jesus is as much God as God the father, God the Spirit. We are Trinitarians. We believe in one God in three wonderful persons — all of whom are revealed to us as we trust our Savior by faith. Well, we get into this some more when we get together again.
Dear Father today, may we allow Thee to take care of our inner needs, as well as our circumstances in answer to prayer, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Well, until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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