Reprove To Improve
If some precious brother or sister points out a fault, don’t fight it. Listen. God, the Holy Spirit, may be wanting to speak to you along that very line.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing Alright today? Oh, I trust so, bless your heart. Nice to be back with you. This is your good friend Dr. Cook, and we’re sharing together from the 23rd Psalm. Oh, I love the Word of God, don’t you? Every time I look at it there’s something new and fresh and inspiring, and oftentimes, convicting as well. God knows what we need, doesn’t He? And He speaks to us from His blessed, inerrant, inspired, infallible Word, the Bible.
Last time we got together we were looking at Psalm 23 verse five, where David says, “Thou preparest a table before me even in the presence of my enemies”. Then he went on to say, “Thou anointest my head with oil”. Now the original anointing was for the priesthood, then for Kings, but there are some other anointing references that I wanted to explore with you while we’re in this part of the verse. Anointing with oil often times, was symbolic of the fact that your host wanted you to know that you were the honored guest. Oftentimes, they would take a very fragrant perfumy kind of an oil, and pour a little of it on the head of the guest in token of the fact that they really appreciated this person and wanted to honor him or her. “Thou anointest my head with oil”. Did you know that God likes to recognize you as His special guest? Now that would seem, of course, to have been evident from the phrase that went before, “Thou prepares, Thou preparest a table before me, even in the presence of my enemies”, but he goes on to say, now to top it off, You pour some oil on me to tell me that I’m special.
Revelation 3:20 I think is a New Testament reflection of this, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock”, Jesus says, “If any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him and sup with him”, (He says, I’ll be your honored guest) but then He turns around and He says, “and he with Me”. The Lord Jesus Christ turns around and becomes your Heavenly Host when you receive Him into your heart. He pours upon you, the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit of God. In 2 Corinthians 2:14 says, “That we are God’s perfume, He maketh manifest the perfume of His Presence, His knowledge by us in every place”. Just as the odor of the ointment in John 12 filled the house, it says, “The house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment that Mary lavished upon our Lord Jesus”, so the places where you and I go will be fragrant with His perfume. That’s my goal. I’ve often said to the young people who were in my care through the years, first in Youth for Christ and then through these many years at the college, whenever you walk into a room, people should sense the presence of the Lord. His fragrance not your personality merely. Now, it’s true that God uses us as we are. He doesn’t change your personality or mine when we come to Jesus. Peter, Simon Peter was a blurter, and he kept right on blurting, so to speak! After the Spirit of God came to the church and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Simon was the spokesman but his preaching was very real and direct. He just opened his mouth and told them how it was. The personality of Peter wasn’t changed, but the use of his personality by the Holy Spirit of God was changed. So, God will use you. He’ll take you the person that you are. Are you slow, are your quick, are you perceptive, or are you rather “thick” in your mind and you have to study things through? Are you gloomy by nature, are you a volatile, unhappy or up-and-down or whatever it is! You know, God will take the person that is you and He will use you and the thing that you and I want most of all, is that when we enter into a situation of any kind, His Presence, HIS Presence that is, will be real. Oh, when you pray, pray for that for yourself. Oh, he said, “Thou anointest my head with oil”. God, when you let Him into your life, turns around to be your Heavenly Host and says, “I want you to honor you”. See, the Bible says, “Them that honor Me, I will honor”.
My old barber friend Jack Richards, who used to cut my hair when I had hair, back in college days, would quote that verse. He’d say, “Remember brother Robert, ‘Them that honor Me, I will honor’”, then he’d add his own postscript, “And the more you honor God, the more He’ll honor you”. Well it’s true, it’s true, honor your blessed Lord and you’ll find that He turns around and becomes the blessed Host and honors you with His special anointing. All you have to do is invite Him in. He does the rest, “If any man hear My voice and open the door”, see that’s what you have to do. Open your life to God by faith. Some of you have neither the will or the courage to talk to God and invite Him into your life. Once you do, you’ll know that I’m telling you the truth. He does come in and then He becomes, oh Hallelujah for this, He becomes your Heavenly Host and He pours upon you the oil of His perfumed anointing, and He provides that heavenly satisfaction, of which David said, “Thou preparest a table even in the presence of mine enemies”. It’s great isn’t it? Well there within Psalm 45:7, we read, “The oil of gladness, Thou hast anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows”, now that’s something else again, isn’t it? The oil of gladness is when God pours His anointing oil upon you, it brings gladness to your heart. Speaking of the Lord Jesus, “Thy throne, oh God is forever and ever. Never the scepter of Thy kingdom is a right scepter, Thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness, therefore Thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. All thy garments smell of myrrh and aloes and cash out of the ivory palaces”. That’s speaking of our Lord. Someone wrote a song, didn’t they, “Out of the ivory palaces into a world of woe”, this is speaking of the Lord Jesus, the oil of gladness. Now, what makes Jesus glad? The oil of gladness. Well, I think this moment of a verse in Isaiah 53, to which I’m now turning in my big Bible and he says, “He shall see of the travail”, this is speaking of Christ, “He shall see of the travail of His soul”, that’s His offering on Calvary of Himself when He died for sins, “and shall be satisfied”. What makes the Lord Jesus glad? When He sees the results of the atonement in your own life and in my life.
What else? I’m turning quickly now over to Hebrews, where the writer says, “To do good and to communicate”, well, I’m ahead of myself, “by him therefore”, that’s the verse, Hebrews 13:15, “By Him therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually”, that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name, “but to do good and to communicate forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased”, He’s happy about it.
What does God like? First of all praise. The sacrifice of praise to God continually. What else? To do good, do best to obey His will, and what else? To communicate, that’s our word for giving, stewardship. So, what will make your Lord happy? To see the results of salvation in your life, Isaiah 53, “To see what you’re doing by way of praise and obedience and giving”, well, that’s just a little snippet of truth there that has to do with the oil of gladness, “Thou hast anointed him with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows”. His gladness, he said, “My meat is what satisfies me, what makes me happy”. My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me and finish His work. The oil of gladness has to do with the work of Christ, the Lordship of Christ, the Presence of Christ and the result of it in your life. Let me tell you something, when Jesus is Lord, the sunshine of His Presence affects every part of all of your life; circumstances may indeed be gloomy but when the Lord Jesus is Lord of your life, and the oil of gladness has been poured upon you, everything else is affected by it. Let me tell you that. So, we come down to the truth that our prayer ought to be not, “Lord, change the circumstances”, but, “Lord, change me in the circumstances”, that will make all the difference.
Then, of course, there’s a different kind of oil. I’m turning now to Psalm 141, and it ought to be about verse five, let’s look. “Let the righteous smite to me, it shall be a kindness, and let Him reprove me, it shall be an excellent oil which shall not break my head for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities”. It’s the oil of reprove, where God uses a brother or a sister or a message from the pulpit, or a telecast from some evangelist or whatever, God uses somebody to tell us where we’re wrong. Now, the Christian life is not all roses and praise gatherings. The Christian life also involves times when I’m erred, when I’ve gotten off the track, when I have spoken out of turn, or when I’ve made a wrong decision, or when the love of the world, or things of the world, or relationships of the world has begun to cool off my love for Christ, and other people can see it! Real Christianity involves a precious brother or sister coming and saying, “You know, I’m so burdened about you. It does seem to me that other things are taking precedence over God’s work in your life, and I just want you to know that I’m praying for you. I’m burdened for you.” That’s the excellent oil. Words like that, spoken in love and in the power of the Spirit is not gonna break your head, it’s not gonna wipe you out, but it’s going to do you good. Never fight your critics, learn from them! And if some precious brother or sister points out a fault, or an error or a mistake or a wrong direction or an unfortunate trend in your life, don’t fight it. Listen, because God, the Holy Spirit, maybe wanting to speak to you along that very line. “Let the righteous smite me, and let Him reprove me”, it shall be an excellent oil. Let the oil of reproof take hold in your life and mind, shall we? Very good idea. We’ll get at the rest of this the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, make us humble enough to receive the reproving oil that doesn’t break us up, but that helps us to improve, 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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