Prepared In Advance
God knows the places where He wants you to be. He knows the people to whom He wants you to speak.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today? Yes, this is your friend Dr. Cook and I’m glad to be back with you. I look forward, believe me, I look forward to these times when we can share from the Word of God.
You and I are looking into the book of Mark. We’ve come now down to the almost the close of chapter 1. This is a story of the leprosy person — poor, desolate and desperate — living on the ash heap of life, almost literally, and completely separated from normal community life by the social and medical laws of his day.
Now, he comes of the Lord Jesus, beseeching Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “If Thou wilt Thou canst make me clean”. This is the classic approach. You’ll find it everywhere in the Bible, in different terms perhaps, but the same truth, “Beseeching Him”. That’s desire, “kneeling down”, that’s worship, saying, “If Thou wilt Thou canst”, that’s faith. Desire, worship and faith. See, the Lordship of Christ comes before His saving you, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him for the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”.
Saul of Tarsus said, “Who art thou Lord?”, and he said, “Lord what will Thou have me to do”? The willingness is to submit to the Lordship of Christ — to the sovereignty of God, the Will of God, the Kingdom of God, must precede. It seems to me any ability you and I have to believe Him for pardon and salvation.
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?”, in other words, if you’re still fighting God’s Will, how can you possibly yield to His saving work while you are at war with Him? You see the idea?
So, it’s desire, and worship, and faith, beseeching, kneeling, and saying, “If Thou wilt Thou canst”. Jesus, of course, was touched with this — says, “Moved with compassion”, Greek word, splagchnizomai, my which means it hurt Him in His midsection. It’s an old word based upon the fact that the ancients believed that the seat of the emotions was in your midsection somewhere there in the viscera. And so, it says, “He was moved with compassion, put forth His hand, and touched him”. This is something no one else dared to do. Jesus can touch you to transform you where others don’t dare to do so or don’t wish to do so. He said, “I will be thou clean”, and as soon as He had spoken, the leprosy departed and he was cleansed.
Well, the Lord Jesus straightly, that means strictly, charged him, that means commanded him, and sent him them away, and said, ‘See Thou, say nothing to any man, but go thy way, show thyself to the priest and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them”.
Now, why did He say that? Because, part of His plan was that the elders and rulers of Israel should know that there was someone here who was working with, not against, the Commandments of God had given to Moses. He said, “I am not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. His first, His first concern it would seem was God’s chosen people of Israel. Now, they rejected Him of course, and crucified Him. And today the gospel is offered to everyone, Jew or Gentile, bond or free, all are receptive to the gospel on the same basis. But there, He says now, “I want you to show these representatives of Moses law, how it works”.
Here’s someone who’s been cleansed by the power of God — and you can follow through with the ceremonial after work that Moses had commanded for anyone who was cleansed from leprosy, for a testimony unto them. Well, you see, he went out and began to publish it much and blaze abroad the matter so that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was outside of the city, in desert places, and they came to Him from everywhere.
Now, the question I’m going to ask in this moment is this: Is it possible to give a witness that is a mistaken witness, and that doesn’t accomplish what God wants? The answer is yes, of course, it is possible.
Here’s a man who was told definitely to go to the priest and offer the sacrifices that were in the Mosaic law for a leper who had been cleansed. Instead, he went out and talked to everybody. Now, on the face of a it, you say is that wrong? Is it wrong to be so happy that you met Jesus and that He’s changed your life that you just talk to everybody? No, of course it’s not wrong. The point being however, that God knows who He wants you to talk to. Have you ever prayed at the beginning of any given day, that God would send you to the right people, put you in touch with the right people — people who were ready to hear some word about the Lord Jesus? I have to tell you, there have been busy days when I didn’t pray that. That I have to admit, but I must also tell you that whenever I have prayed as I set foot from my own house, or from the hotel room where I happened to be staying, or wherever — when I set foot outside and was on my way, if I had prayed, “Lord, put me in touch today with people who need You, You set up the day for me, and You bring me in touch with people who need You, and You give me the words to say to them”, whenever I have prayed that — God has answered by bringing across my pathway people whose hearts for hungry and who wanted to know how to know the Lord Jesus Christ. This never fails.
God knows who He wants you to see. He knows that the persons that need to meet you or me in any given day. Have you thought about that? You see, so many of us are in work, we’re talking with people all the time. I know someone who listens was a sales manager and your whole day is full of people going by you in a blur of faces — and much travel, and many appointments, and all that.
There are school teachers and professional people and even the homemakers in the audience. Although you don’t do much public speaking as a rule, you do meet different people during the day, don’t you? Tradesmen and service people and neighbors, and all of that. So, no one of us is an island, isolated from every other human being. All of us have contacts every day with other people. So because we belong to the Lord Jesus, we need to make the habit, make a habit, before you start the day, even before you greet the family in the early morning hours, and certainly before you go on out to the business or school or work, whatever it is, just pray. Say, “Lord, send me to the right people today”. Oh, how wonderfully He answers that prayer. I have to tell you, God does not fail. He does answer prayers like that.
My dear friend, Ben Weiss, is now the with Lord. He slipped away into eternity a few months ago, at a very advanced age. I think he was in his 90’s. It was my privilege to meet him early on in the years when I was president of Youth for Christ and he was a high school principal in Los Angeles. And then when retirement time came, he retired and devoted all of his time to the Fellowship of Christian Teachers — an organization that he helped found. But, any time I could, I sought him out. Whenever I was in Los Angeles, I would try to have breakfast or lunch with Ben Weiss. On one occasion, he told me, we were talking about this very matter. Can God send you the people, and he told me the story. I’ve used it with you on the radio two or three years ago maybe, but I want to share it with you again, because it illustrates this point perfectly, and lots of you haven’t really heard this.
Ben Weiss was still working as a high school principal after his dear wife had passed away. He was a lonely man, for they had been a very close couple. And he said he hated to go back to that big empty house there, in Pasadena, at night. And so he made it a habit to work through the late afternoon and then to go eat dinner somewhere in some restaurant and then go on home. As was his custom when he closed up his desk, and was about to go out to dinner, he thought, where shall I eat dinner and he prayed, “Lord, where do You want me to eat dinner tonight?’ And to his mind, there came immediately the thought of a certain restaurant where the food was good, but the waiting line was inevitably going to be very long. He sighed and said, “Oh, I don’t want to stand in line”, and so began to cast about in his mind for some other place. But he found nothing that really he felt peace about. And so he came back again as he prayed to this one place where food was good, but it was apt to be crowded and he might have to stand in line. He said, “Alright Lord, if that’s where You want me, I’ll go”. He got in his car, drove to that particular restaurant, and parked his car. Surprisingly, there was a parking place at the curb right in front of the place, and parked his car and went on in. Sure enough, there was a long line of people waiting. Just as he got inside the door, the hostess came and said, “is there a gentlemen here that would not mind sharing a table with another gentleman, who was already seated and has begun his meal?”, and Ben thought that’s alright. So he raised his hand and he said, “Yea, I don’t mind”. And so he was immediately seated and brought to this table where there was a man already seated and beginning his meal.
They began to exchange small talk and finally the man said to Ben, he said, “You know, I’ve been walking the streets all day today trying to get up enough courage to kill myself.” He said, “I’m so miserable.” And he said, “I just wish that I could know God, but I can’t find any way to know Him. Life is a mess.”” So on and so on.
Now, Ben knew then, didn’t he, he knew then why God had sent him to that place and why God had seated him in that particular table. And so he gave to this dear man the way of salvation — showed him how to turn his messed up life and his despair and his discouragement — turn it all over to the Lord Jesus Christ. After they finished the meal they went on out, and Ben said this man bowed his head and stood beside the front fender of Ben’s old Chrysler and gave his heart to Christ and was a new creature in Christ Jesus.
God knows the places where He wants you to be. He knows the people to whom He wants you to speak. Known unto to God are all His ways from the beginning of the world. And you can, if you will, turn your footsteps and your contacts and your whole day’s schedule over to the Lord. He can guide you to people who are ready to receive Christ as Savior. That’s what it is all about.
Jesus wanted this man to go tell somebody special about Him. The man disobeyed — he talked to other people — which wasn’t a bad thing in itself, but it missed the mark. Let’s you and I be sure that we’re in the Will of God, day by day, by yielding to the guidance of the indwelling Holy Spirit as He sends us to the folk who are ready for Christ. Good idea?
Dear Father today, guide us we pray Thee, so that we may be speaking to the people Thou hast prepared 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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