Seize The Day
Where you have opportunity, be faithful. Don’t be negligent. Don’t say “I’ll do it some other time.”
Alright. Thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Dr. Cook, and I am glad to be back with you. Your friend, Bob Cook, opening the Word of God trying to put a handle on it so that you can get a hold of it for yourself.
215 years ago, today Paul Revere took his famous ride to warn Boston of an impending attack by the British. You and I today are under no such danger of attacks by other forces but it would seem to me that we’re just about ready for some spiritual Paul Revere to alert our nation to the fact that we’re slipping down into heathenism far faster than anyone can imagine.
Writers are now brave enough to speak of the post-Christian era. And the idea that you don’t really need God or faith or the Church, certainly not the Christian faith, that idea is being marketed throughout our entire culture, so that the average American has a very flexible set of morays, his conscience can bend one way or another depending upon the circumstances. Somebody asked one of the Watergate people years ago, “Why did you do that?” And the answer was — it seems incredibly naÃ¯ve but there it was. The answer was “Well, it seemed at that time like a good thing to do.”
No question of right or wrong. It just seemed to be a good thing to do at that time. Expedience becomes the norm for people who have forsaken God. Oh, yes.
Well, you and I are in 2 Peter chapter 1. Peter has a thing about this phrase, “These things.” Have you noticed that? In the third verse of the first chapter, “God’s divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness with the knowledge of Him.”
And then in verse 8, “If these things be in you and abound.” What things? The things that have been given to you in verse 3, “That pertain to life and godliness, and the precious promises that make you a partaker of the divine nature.” And then the things that you can add by faith, to your own character, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly love and Calvary love. “These things,” verse 8, “If they’re in you and abound, they will make you neither barren nor unfruitful,” take away the double negative, “They will make you fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Then he goes on, verse 9, “He that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off.” And then in verse 10, “If you do these things, you shall never fall.” And then in verse 12, “I’ll put you in remembrance of these things, that though you know them, and be established in the present truth.” And then finally he says in verse 15, “I will endeavour, that you may be able after my death to have these things always in remembrance.” Now, why is he banging away on that? Because it’s important, that’s why.
And so he says in verse 12, he says “I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and be established in the present truth.” Now, what’s the point? The point is we tend to take for granted matters that become familiar and to drift away from the importance of them. He said, “I’m not going to be negligent in putting you always in remembrance of these things.” In his chapter 3, we’ll get to that after awhile. He said, “The second epistle I’m writing to you, I’m stirring up your pure minds by way of remembrance that you may be mindful of the words that were spoken by the holy prophets.”
Pastor, don’t let anybody tell you that you always have to say something new and different. There are certain things that are important, and these are the matters which will be worth reminding people of as the months and the years go by. Certainly you’ll have fresh approaches, certainly you’ll have fresh illustrations, but the eternal truth of God does not vary, and you want to stick to it. You say “Oh, well, I don’t like to repeat things.”
Well, let me ask you something. When you were a boy or a girl, how often did somebody say wash your face? How often did somebody say wipe your feet before you come in from outside? How often did somebody say put on your coat and hat before you went out? You were prone to run out without putting warm clothing on. How often did somebody say that? Do you remember?
Repetition of important truths, repetition of important truths, I would think for the average Pastor it’s a good idea to go through the book of Romans for example, every several years in expository preaching, you know why? Because your people and those who come into the church from outside need to be refreshed in their knowledge of what the Gospel really is and what the Christian life really entails.
Go through the book of Romans. Now, it doesn’t have to take several years as it did for Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse. He started in Romans in one year and several years later he was still in it. It doesn’t have to take that long, unless you wish it to. But there needs to be a willingness to refresh people’s minds on truths that are eternally important. Don’t ever be fooled into thinking that you ought to forsake the simple proclamation of the Gospel for something that’s more clever. Being bored by a sermon does not depend upon its trueness to the Gospel. It often depends upon whether or not the minister has prepared adequately and prayed enough so that the message is hot instead of cold. Do you agree?
Well, because that’s so. Peter says, “I’m not going to neglect you.” You actually neglect your people if you don’t remind them of the truths that will still be important a million years from now, Alright? Now, he says “I think it’s right as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance.” And that’s the second thing that you and I need to think about if we’re in any kind of responsibility toward other people if you’re a pastor or a study school teacher, a trustee, or an elder, or a missionary, or whatever.
And many of you who listen are, I know. So, that’s why we’re talking about it now. He said “I’ve got to stir you up by way of remembrance.” It’s not just enough to know something, it’s only enough to be stirred up about it sufficiently to act on it. You know you’re sitting in an auditorium when someone says, “It smells like smoke, something seems to be burning.” You say “Well, yeah. Maybe there’s a bonfire outside. Somebody is burning some trash and it got in the ventilator.” Well, a little later on there was a wisp of smoke that comes in through the air-conditioner vent and you say, “I think there’s a fire somewhere.” And so you began to look around. And then someone announces “This building is on fire. Just make your way to the exit quickly,” and boy, do you get going. Why? Because you have passed from casual awareness to personal activity, never be satisfied with your study of the Word of God until it has led you to a personal action concerning the Will of God.
And never be satisfied about your ministry with other people until it has led them as well to a personal action of obedience, to the Will of Almighty God. He said, “I’m going to stir you up by putting you in remembrance.” Now, why? Because preacher, this is especially for preachers and Sunday school teachers, and ministers and missionaries, but it’s also true for every one of us who are parents and grandparents, and teaching our young people around us. “Because,” he said, “I’m not going to be in this body very long. Shortly I must put off my tabernacle even as our Lord Jesus Chris hath showed me.” It wasn’t going to be long before Simon Peter was going to be executed.
And in any case he didn’t have long in this world and so he wanted to make sure that he did his best by those for whom he was responsible as long as he had a chance. Emphasize shall we, just now, you and I, the fact that we do have today but we don’t have a guarantee of tomorrow. You just don’t know, do you? Dr. Edmond was speaking at the Wheaton College Chapel one day, and he was telling about his experience in meeting Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia.
Haile Selassie called himself “The King of Kings.” And Dr. Edmond was talking about this and remarking in that chapel service there in Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. He was remarking that “One of these days you and I are going to see The King of Kings.” And on that he slumped to the floor and he was gone. A massive heart attack had failed him in that moment. Well, that’s a great way to go to heaven, isn’t it? Busy preaching. The same thing happened to Louis Paul Lehman, he was on the platform in his own church ministering when he went to glory.
But you don’t know do you, really? About tomorrow, the Bible says “Boast not thy self of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” You can’t see around the corner but you do have today. So, Peter said “I’m not going to neglect you. I don’t know how long I’ve got you or how long you have me.” But he said, “As long as I’m alive I’m going to be faithful to you.”
Now, that my friend is the attitude that every one of us should have toward people with whom we are interacting in daily life. You are responsible for your effect upon other people, you are responsible for what folk gather from their contact with your life, you are responsible for the impressions they get about your Savior when they watch you. It’s a frightening thought that people’s opinion of Jesus is formed through their observation of you and to me, His followers.
Oh, yes, it is. People’s opinion of the Lord Jesus is formed on the basis of their observation of you and of me who are His followers. And so, he said — Peter said “I’m not going to neglect you. I don’t have tomorrow. It won’t be long before I’m gone, out of this body. But while I’m here, I am going to be faithful and true to you.” Adopt that as your own attitude, will you? Toward the folk around you? It doesn’t mean you’ll always be preaching. It doesn’t mean you’ll always be quoting scripture. It doesn’t mean you’ll always be going up to folk and say, “I’m going to straighten you out.” Don’t do it that way. Just be faithful to them and where you have an opportunity to proclaim eternal truth, either in the pulpit or in a Sunday school class, or in a conversation, or in teaching and training your small fry youngsters coming up around you.
Where you have opportunity, be faithful. Don’t be negligent. Don’t say “I’ll do it some other time.” Be faithful because you don’t have a guarantee of tomorrow, you do have today. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might,” says the Bible and honor and glorify your Lord in the process.
So, dear Lord, we give ourselves to Thee. May the Lord Jesus be honored and may we be faithful, we ask in His name. Amen.
Until meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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