Proof In The Doing
You want to know that God is real? Start obeying Him. It's that simple.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing alright? Oh, I trust so. Bless your heart. I’ve just been praying that God would put His truth, and His love, and His power, and His grace, and His wisdom into the words that are spoken in these next few moments, so that there will be something just for you from the heart of God. That really is the miracle of the ministry, isn’t it? Where someone can speak God’s Word, and it turns out to be tailor made for your need. The Holy Spirit of God does that for us, and I’m so grateful, aren’t you?
Well, we were together in 1 Thessalonians, and we’ve come now to the verse that says, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Now there are two times in the New Testament where we read the words, “This is the will of God.” Both of them occur in 1 Thessalonians. The first such example is in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication.” A moral, holy life is God’s Will. I have to face that and so do you. There isn’t any side exit there, is there? There’s no way to excuse one’s self. I remember the lady back in the 1930s who said to me so naively, said, “Mr. Cook, can’t I divorce my husband and marry this other man, and then ask the Lord to forgive me?” [chuckle] She had it all figured out, didn’t she? Well, there just isn’t any side exit for the human heart.
I just have to get right with God, and with my fellow man. That’s the first thing he says there, in terms of “this is the will of God”. God wants me to live a holy life. It’s that clear. Then the other one is the one that we look at now. He says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
A dear friend wrote me the other day. I don’t suppose she hears this broadcast because she lives out in Missouri, but Mrs. Andrew Mulrain is the mother of a young lady who went to The King’s College, and went on to get her Doctorate in English literature, and taught for some years before her death just two or three years ago. Mary Ann Mulrain was her name, and she was a delightful person. Physically, there was some deficiency that kept her from growing to a normal height, and so she was about three feet some inches tall, a little bundle of dynamite, and joy, and love, and interest, with a bright mind that carried her right straight to the top of the academic order, so she got her PhD and then taught, as I said.
Well, her mother wrote me the other day and said, “Lot of memories come back of Mary Ann.” And she said, “One was the way she prayed. She was always thanking God for things.” She said, “I remember one particular time when we were in the midst of a hurricane, and everyone was frightened and upset. And we had some prayer, and Mary Ann prayed and thanked God for different things, and then she finished her prayer by saying, “and thank you, God for the hurricane.” [chuckle] Well, I don’t know whether I would’ve been that thankful or not, but there you are. In everything give thanks.
In every way, and on every side, in every particular or relation, that’s what it means. “En panti” in every way, or on every side, or in every particular or relation. Now we say, “I’m thankful for… ” Thankfulness is not primarily related to what is happening, but to the person who’s making it happen. Do you follow that? In everything give thanks. Thanks to whom? Thanks to God. You have a terrible automobile accident, and you’re dreadfully injured, and you’re lying there with a number of your members of your body bandaged or in a cast, and you’re in pain. It’s really not going to be possible it seems to me, for you to look up and say, “Oh God, I’m just so happy about this. Thank you for letting it happen.” I don’t believe… [chuckle] Well, maybe you’re a better Christian than I am, but I don’t believe I would say that. But he says, “In everything.” Now, God doesn’t say you have to kid yourself about being real happy over what’s happening if you heart’s breaking. But he says, “In everything give thanks to God.” You can be thankful to the person who’s allowing it by His grace so that He can get glory out of it to Himself.
Now, that may be a hard lesson for some of you to swallow at this point because you’re hurting so badly about something, and I realize that. It’s very easy for preachers to say things. It’s a lot harder for the rest of us to live them, isn’t it? And so maybe you’re hurting very bad right now, and you say to yourself almost bitterly, “What does Cook know? How does he know how I feel? And he talks about being thankful.” Well, yes, beloved. Yes I do, because God does. He says, “This is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” “In everything,” that means in every way, and on every side, and in every relationship. Paul learned that even in difficulties and tribulations God is teaching us valuable lessons. And accordingly, such trials are gonna be welcomed and used. Peter said, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as though some strange thing happened unto you, but rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings.”
Arising out of this recognition of the divine sovereignty and providence is the importance of giving thanks under all circumstances. It’s often difficult to see the brighter side of any particular trial, but if it is our deep conviction that God is over all, and that His hand is in the particular tribulation we’re ongoing right now, then we cannot but recognize His goodness and make our sacrifice of thanksgiving. It’s a quote from a great Christian writer, and I just picked it up just now. “Oh, in everything give thanks.” Why? Because I must relate my gratitude not to the circumstance, but to the person who is controlling the circumstance.
We’re often like a little boy that I observed the other day. He was playing around his father’s shop, and a customer came in, and upon leaving, the customer handed the little boy a dollar, said, “God bless you, son.” and went on out. And the little boy looked up and he said, “He only gave me a dollar.” [chuckle] Oh, I gotta tell you, had that been my child, I think I may have had a few chosen words to address in his direction at that point. But we’re a lot like that, aren’t we? “God, you only did this and this for me.” We’re thankful when everything is coming up roses, and when everything’s going well, and when we feel well, and when we’re happy, and when people treat us nicely, then we’re thankful. “Thank you for all your blessings.” But when things don’t go so well, then it’s different. Well, he says, “In every relationship, on every side, in every way, you be thankful.” Why? Because your thanksgiving is pointed toward the person who controls things.
This whole matter, the will of God, is so interesting and so very important. Paul speaks in Romans 12 about the importance of yielding your body. He said, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your body, a living sacrifice, wholly, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” A yielded life is walking proof that the will of God is good, that it’s acceptable, and that is the best possible deal. The will of God is good. That means it’s good for you. Acceptable, that means you can take it. And it’s perfect. You can’t get a better deal anywhere.
Now, what does that? Yield your whole life, body, soul, and spirit, to God, so that the indwelling Holy Spirit can run your life. And what happens? He said you’re gonna prove something to people who know you, who watch you. You’re gonna prove that the will of God is good. That means it’s good for you. Acceptable, that means you can take it, there’s nothing rough about it. And it’s perfect. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” The will of God is acceptable, and it’s perfect. There isn’t any flaw in it. And you’ll be saying, as they did concerning our Lord so long ago, He hath done all things well. The Lord Jesus Christ always followed the road of excellence. Everything was first class. And it still is true that when you do the will of God, beloved, when you yield your body, and soul, and spirit to God, and the Holy Spirit is leading your life, you’re going first class. And no matter what the circumstances are then, you can look up and say, “Thank you, Father. Thank you. I know that you’re in control.” The will of God.
Now, this carries over into your daily work. Paul says in Ephesians 6, as he talks to people who are employees, we’d call them. Slaves, he called them, because they had slavery in those days. But employees. He says, “With goodwill, doing the will of God from your hearts, not as men-pleasers with eye-service, but as pleasing God with goodwill, doing the will of God.” What’s the will of God? Do a good job on your job? Exactly. To goof off on your job is to neglect the will of God, if you’re a Christian. To do a good job on your job is to do the will of God, if you’re a Christian. And then, of course, you prove it. You prove all of this by [11:41] ____. “If any man will do His will,” Jesus said, “he shall know of the doctrine.” You want to know that God is real? Start obeying Him. It’s that simple. Dear Father, today, may we do the will of God all the way. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen. ‘Til I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the king today and be a blessing.
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