Means to put Him first - over and above - that is, over and above all the things that you might be doing in serving Him.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Well, I’m glad to be back with you. I do these broadcasts in the morning so that I can feel the same way you do when you have to struggle up and get ready to go to work or school or the multitude of tasks that homemakers have before them every day, and so it’s a joy to be back with you, bless your heart. I trust things are going well at your house and that your heart is filled with the peace and joy that God can give. If you’ve struck a rough day, look up and say, Lord Jesus see me through this one, He will. You don’t have to be a victim of any given days circumstances, aren’t you glad? Paul says in Second Corinthians 2:14, “Thanks be unto God, which always”, that means every day in the week, “always causeth us to triumph in Christ”. Always a winner, always a winner, always causeth us to triumph in Christ and maketh manifest the fragrance of His knowledge by us in every place. You’re God’s perfume, even under pressure, so trust Him today and He’ll see you through.
You and I have been talking about what it means to follow Christ. Our Lord Jesus said, “Follow Me, take up his cross and follow me”, so we said that one of the main the interests of our blessed Lord, is in making soul winners out of us. “Follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men”, One of His demands is that He be placed ahead of family and friends. Another is that He be placed ahead of our love for money, and the things it can buy.
Now, what else? He says, “My sheep hear my voice and they follow Me”. What does that mean? It means that you need to be in contact with your Lord so you can and hear what He has to say to you. Number one, through the Word. Number two, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, who whispers to you the truth of God, based on the inerrant Word of God, the Bible, and number three, to hear His direction in specific things that the Spirit of God will tell you, so to speak, nudging you in the direction of God’s Will. My father used to call it a hunch. He used to say, “I got a hunch, boy. I’ve been praying about this and I got a hunch”. Well, whatever you call it, I know it and I think many of you do too, that God reserves the right to speak to you in guiding you. “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”, says Paul in Romans 8. And so and you can hear from heaven, you can be guided divinely, you can know the truth about a matter as you pray and seek God, the Holy Spirit always, always working in conformity to the inerrant word of God, the Bible. God will never lead you in anything contrary to His Word. The Holy Spirit of God always working with the word, will lead you and guide you in the Will of God.
“My sheep hear My voice”. Do you ever have any conversations then with God? My good friend Pastor Ward Potts has a little booklet he wrote about hearing the voice of Jesus, and he makes the point concerning this very passage, that the Lord Jesus must’ve indicated that, that He was going to talk to those who followed Him because He said so. “My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me”.
Well however you want to look at it, I’m not opting for any extra biblical revelation, you know that. God is spoken by His Son and He’s spoken by His Word and that is that. I realize that. You have to watch carefully anybody who claims that he’s had an extra biblical revelation about eternal truth. What I’m talking about is the day-to-day guidance that’s indicated, for example in James 1:5, “If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, that breadth not, shall be given and let him ask in faith nothing wavering”. Guiding you, the blessed Holy Spirit of God speaks to you, and you begin to hear His voice.
So I ask, do you ever have any conversations with God? After you say something to Him, are you are you silent and listen for His answer? You’d be amazed what God will say to you, speaking to you in the inner recesses of your heart and mind, through the indwelling Holy Spirit and based on the word, you’ll be amazed at what God says to if you’ll just give time to let Him speak to you. This is part of following Jesus, taking time to let Him speak to you, so that you can follow His will. Alright?
Then He said in John 12:26, “If any man serve Me, let him follow Me”. Now, in your Greek lexicon when you look up the Greek verb that’s translated follow, it means “to accompany as a companion”, but it also means “to adopt the standards of and be willing to die for a person.” Now you get something that there that really has a bite to it, don’t you? Not only to be along with the Lord, that is in the group that is nominally considered Christians, but to adopt His standards to conform to His standards to be willing to live for and even die for this person whom you’re following. That is perhaps a different matter.
Now there are many people who say they’re serving the Lord. Jesus made this distinction; You say you’re serving Me? Well, if you’re serving Me, why don’t you follow Me? In other words, it is possible isn’t it, to be busy religiously without necessarily making the Lord Jesus the center of your life. Someone said in my hearing not long ago, “I was busy in meetings and trying to be somebody, and I didn’t realize until lately, that it was all for me”. Well, you see God knows that, He sees right through our motivation, He knows what we’re up to and He says, you serving Me? You’re busy in meetings? You’re preaching great sermons? You’re teaching a Sunday school class? You’re singing in the choir, are you? You’re the head usher, are you? You’re busy for the Lord? You’re a teacher in a Christian school? You’re a missionary on the foreign field? You’re busy aren’t you, serving Me, aren’t you?
Well then He says, Why don’t you follow Me? Why don’t you line up with the things that I think are important? Why don’t you give your life to Me in terms of putting Me first? Oh, that’s a challenge, isn’t it? It’s awfully easy to get religiously busy while neglecting the person you claim to be serving. God’s quarrel with the Israelite people as recorded in the Old Testament books, so often turns out to be that very problem. It said, “While you cover the altar of the Lord with tears and say, what weariness is, you want even shut the doors of the temple without being paid”, He said, “Where is My honor? You don’t honor Me. You’re just busy about doing things”.
Our Lord Jesus Himself quoted Isaiah and He said, “This people honoreth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me”. Busy talking religion, busy doing religious things, but not really honoring the Lord Jesus. What does it mean to follow Him? Means to put Him first, over and above that is, over and above all the things that you might be doing in serving Him. That’s quite a challenge to my own heart, I think it may well be to you as well.
Now, we come over to John 21, where our Lord Jesus was walking along in one of His post resurrection appearances, and spoke to Peter and John, to Peter particularly He said, “When you’re old you think you can make your way in life now”.But He said, “When you’re old, somebody else is going to gird thee, carry thee with and thou would is not, this spake He signifying by what death He should glorify God”. Peter was crucified as you know, head downward, “And when He had spoken this He sayeth unto him, ‘Follow Me’ then, Peter turning about, seeing the disciple whom Jesus loved”, that’s John of course, “following, which also leaned on his breast at supper and said, ‘Lord who is he that betrayeth Thee?’ Peter seeing Him”, John, “said to Jesus, ‘Lord, what shall this man do?” Jesus said, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Followed Thou, Me”. What’s the point? You’re following of the Lord Jesus is not dependent upon what anybody else does. It’s that simple. You’re following of the Lord Jesus and His Will for you is not dependent upon what anybody else is doing.
Years ago someone wrote a little tract which has had great use. I see it coming up every now and again, “Others may, you cannot”, and the point that’s made in the little leaflet is that the Will of God for some, may preclude your doing and saying some things that other people seem to get away with. I think if you’re really serious about this matter of serving God, you and I are going to face up to the fact that we personally are responsible for what God says to us and our conduct can’t be measured by what somebody else is doing. During the years when I was a President of the college, often times there would be someone who was up before the student relations committee for an infraction of one of our few rules. We don’t have too many rules, but what we have we try to put teeth in them, no smoking, no drinking, no gambling, so on, you know. So they’d be up for an infraction of one of our rules, and oftentimes in defense the student would say, “Well, why are you getting on my case? There are so many other people around that are doing the same thing. Others are doing it, why are you getting on me”? Well, and I never dealt with those things personally, I let the committee do it, because that was their job, but that the answer obviously is we’re not dealing with others at this moment, we’re dealing with you, and God says to you and to me, listen I’m not talking now to other people, and what they’re doing, I’m talking to you, I’m trying to lead you know by My indwelling Holy Spirit. I’m trying to guide you by My eternal, inerrant Word, the Bible. I’m trying to line up he your life by the divine tenets of truth in action, that have been given through inspiration, and it is what you decide then, to do in obedience, that really matters. “If I will let he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?” If I wanted him to live forever, that isn’t your business, Jesus said to Peter. You follow me.
Today, as we come to the close this broadcast, would you give some thought beloved, to what is specifically your own relationship to the Will of God. Then decide to follow it. I hope you will.
Dear Father today, we give ourselves to Thee, for all the Will of God for us, individually as individual people responsible to God, help us to obey all of Thy Will, in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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