The Word of God washes you as you read it, meditate upon it, and obey it.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, that little question establishes the fact that this is, indeed, your friend, Dr Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. I look forward to these times, when after I’ve prayed, and sought God for His warming of my own heart, I can open up the Word of God, and share with you. What a privilege. I’m so grateful, grateful for the radio stations that carry us, grateful for the privilege of having you as my friend, there on the listening end.
Well, we’re in 1st Timothy and we finished verse 22 of chapter five, “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins, keep thyself pure.” Your job is to work at a clean life. Now, “You’re kept by the power of God,” says Peter. “You, who are kept by the power of God, through faith and His salvation. And God knows how to deliver the righteous out of temptation. God knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation,” it says. “In that, He hath suffered, being tempted, He is able also to succor,” -that means effectively help or to help just in time-. “He’s able to help those who are tempted.” The Bible says that clearly, “And there hath no temptation taken you,” this is 1st Corinthians 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you, but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be… Will not suffer you to be tempted, above that ye are able, but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” God doesn’t allow you to back out of things. He sees you through them, which is far better.
Yes, God keeps you. Yes, He’s able to rescue you. Yes, He’s provided a way to escape. But He leaves to you and to me, to work at this matter of living a pure, clean, holy life. “Exercise thyself,” Paul said to Timothy, “Exercise thyself unto godliness.” That means work at it. How do you work at keeping pure?
Well, I told you something about this the other day. Number one, you let the Word of God work in your life. “The washing of water by the Word,” we read in The New Testament. The Word of God washes you, as you read it, and meditate upon it, and then you obey it. “He that heareth my Word and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life.” “Be doers of the Word and not hearers only,” James says, “Deceiving your own selves.” “Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed,” that’s what James says about it. So get into the Word of God, and read it, and let it cleanse your heart, and mind, and conscience, and obey it. What else? Pray your way through the day. Commit everything to God and pray. You don’t have to make a long oration to God.
Some of the most meaningful things are short sentences like, “I love you,” or, “Here’s that five,” or, “Sleep ’til noon.” A lot of short sentences are meaningful. You don’t have to have a long prayer, in order to get in touch with God. Pray your way through the day. How do you work at it? The Word, and prayer, and then definite obedience- as soon as the Holy Spirit guides you, or nudges you, or speaks to you about something. Immediate, immediate obedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience. Delayed obedience is disobedience.
Evangelist Jimmie Johnson told in my hearing, years ago, a story of a young man, who during Civil War days, had gone to see his sweetheart and stayed a little too long in the town, which was overrun by opposing forces. They caught up with the young man, decided that he was a spy, and sentenced him to be shot.
Somebody with a wiser head said, “Let’s not do this right away. Let’s send off to headquarters and inquire as to what we should do with this prisoner, before we shoot him.” And so they sent a messenger off with the information about the young man, inquiring what should be done with him. Well, the messenger didn’t come back, and didn’t come back, and feelings ran high, and finally, they took the young man out in the dawn, and shot him dead. Just as they were turning away from this scene of execution, there was a rider. A horse and a rider came galloping across the horizon and up to where they were. The horse was covered with lather, and sweat and the rider jumped off, and reached into his saddlebag, and pulled out a document, which was a full pardon for the young man. Well, what had happened was that he stayed drinking in a tavern, instead of coming back, and he delayed his arrival. Delayed obedience is disobedience and leads to tragedy.
So there you have how to work at being pure. Now, he says, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” Now, don’t argue with me on this, beloved. I don’t wanna get into an argument. What I’ll do, is just to lay out what I understand to be the Bible Truth on the matter and you let the Spirit of God guide you.
I’m a teetotaler myself. I think that, in our day, we have enough evidence that there’s enough heartache and tragedy produced by alcohol: Drunk drivers, and broken homes, and broken bodies, and ruined dreams, that are caused by alcohol abuse. There’s enough of that, that it isn’t too bad a position, it seems to me, to be a total abstainer. The Bible nowhere forbids the use of wine. It doesn’t forbid it. The Bible speaks of moderation. The Bible speaks against drunkenness. The Bible produces a curse on one, who leads his neighbor to drink. And the Bible warns you, “Not to look on the wine when it is red, when it moveth itself aright in the cup.” In other words, fermented drink. He warns you against that, the wise man does. And it is a fact, absolutely, that in Bible times, people drank wine. And in all probability, you may want to argue about this, but please don’t write me, and argue about it, because we’ll be in Heaven someday, and we’ll get the story from our Lord. But in all probability, the miracle at Cana of Galilee, which is described in John chapter two, resulted in real wine.
The Master of Ceremonies said, “Most people serve their best first, but you have kept the good wine until now.” And so there you have it. In Bible times, people did drink wine. The Bible doesn’t forbid it, but it does warn against drunkenness. It does warn against the heartbreak and the tragedy of alcohol abuse, “Who hath woe, who hath redness of eyes, who hath wounds without cause, they that tarry long at the wine, they that go to seek mixed wine.” The Bible warns against these things. And in our day, now, in our day, we don’t need to drink liquor, with the excuse that there’s no pure water to drink, because in most places, you can get pure water. In our day, we have found out that alcohol abuse is at the root of a great deal of human tragedy and we’d like to avoid it. And in our day, especially the Christian conscience, has said, “It’s better to abstain entirely, than to run the risk, either of offending someone else, or of, as in the case of the recovering alcoholic, to lead him to take that, just one drink, that will push him over the cliff, and get him completely ruined once again.” That’s where I’m coming from.
Now, back to this verse. He said, “Drink no longer water only, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.” What this verse actually teaches is, “Asceticism is not always necessary, water only.” Asceticism, which means ‘deny yourself constantly,’ is not always necessary. The Bible teaches that you can fast and pray when it’s time to do so. But if you fast, in order that people observe you, Jesus said, “You’ve already got your reward, there’s nothing in it for you beyond that.” So this matter, Timothy, evidently, was trying to live an ascetic life with enforced regulations. Paul said, “Take care of your body. Don’t overdo it.”
Now, how does that affect you and me? Well, it is a fact that you minister better, if you’re ministering in a healthy body. It is a fact that you think better, if your body is rested and healthy, and I think we have to face that.
Henry Ward Beecher said, “Health underlies all there is of a man. I think a man, ill-bodied, cannot think healthfully. It would surprise people to see how many things, which have shaken the world with controversy and burdened it with error, had their origin in indigestion. Health is a duty. If a man would carry his mind aright and have it work with power, let him seek to be healthy.” That’s Henry Ward Beecher talking on this very verse.
And then, DL Moody, he says, “Some say you must not force your principles on other people.” Well, Moody said, “I’m a teetotaler myself. I would not touch alcohol, but then… Some say, ‘I would not touch alcohol,’ but then, ‘I’ll put it on my table for other people.’ They say, ‘You must not take people’s liberty away.’ A man that preached the Gospel told me that, some time ago, he said that, ‘Some men had to drink it as a medicine,’ and that was the reason he placed it on his table. I said, ‘Why, then, don’t you put a dish of pills on the table as well?’ We have heard enough about it as a medicine. It’ll be a grand day for England,” says Moody, “When you just sweep the stuff out of the island, the whole of it right out from your tables. Dare to be singular.” That’s DL Moody on this verse.
Well, “The body is not to be despised or neglected. It is the temple of the Holy Ghost, to be thought of and dealt with reverently. Disordered nerves and deranged functions have much to do with gloomy views of God and hopeless views of men. For the sake, therefore, of one’s moral and religious life, all that can be done to keep your body and brain in healthy condition, and exercise, should be done religiously,” this is Dr Roland. Now, I’ve just quoted from two or three of the classical preachers of another day, long before the Volstead Act, and the Prohibition, and all the rest.
I think you have to take your stand as a Christian on these matters. Social drinking is practiced, I know, by many people, who are Evangelicals, and I’m sure I’ve angered someone, by talking as I have today. But just think about it this way. You’re at a dinner and seated opposite you is a person who’s an alcoholic. And he’s now recovered, in terms of not drinking at all. He’s dried out and he knows that he’s an alcoholic. That means he can’t even take one drink. But he sees you, as a Christian, taking a glass of sherry, or whatever, and he says, “Well, maybe it’s alright for me.” What you do is, by your example, you push him right over the cliff and he’s lost, again, in alcohol abuse. Keep your example pure, but take care of the temple of the Holy Ghost. Take care of your body. That, I think, is the thrust of this verse. Well, we’ll get at that a little more, and then go on the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today, help us to be true to Thee in all we say and do, and in the use of our body. In Jesus’ name, I pray this, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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