Set Apart

Think of the person that is you now and then as you look in the mirror and think about that, say, "Jesus has set me apart for some special work."

Scripture: John 15:16


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doin’ alright today? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook and I’m glad to be back with you. I look at the Word of God and I share it with you and it becomes the sheerest joy I know. I’m so thankful for the opportunity that’s provided to speak with thousands of you day by day by way of radio. How good the Lord is.

You and I have been looking at John 15, haven’t we? Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you and ordained you that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain. That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it to you. These things I command you that you love one another.” The last time we got together, we were talking about the fact that Jesus said, “I’ve chosen you. You didn’t choose me. You ran away from me,” he said. But God chooses you and me in His infinite grace and then He puts His touch upon us. He said, “I’ve ordained you.” And that means that He sets you apart for His special use.

Paul says to the Corinthians, “And some were such of ye: But ye are washed, but ye are justified, but ye are sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Salvation, when you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior includes not only a ticket to heaven but a special setting apart for God to use. And that doesn’t mean that it makes you odd, or peculiar, or weird. It does mean that He has the right to use you, to use you up if need be in a very special way ordained you that ye should go and bring forth fruit. “These things I tell you in order that,” little Greek word ‘hina,’ in order that ye might love one another. We’ll get down to that in a minute. But what about this matter of being chosen, that you might go and bring forth fruit and that that fruit might remain? It’s translated exactly as it is in my Greek New Testament. You don’t have to try to explain any of the meaning of those words cause there they are.

What of it? [1] The eternal purpose of God is focused on you, beloved, this minute. I have chosen you. In verse 19, he amplifies that concept by saying, “I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” God makes you different. You’re different. You can’t hide the fact that you belong to the Lord Jesus Christ because He’s put His mark on you. “I’ve chosen you out of the world.” He’s put the tag on you that says, “Hands off! That belongs to me.” Husbands and wives, did you ever go to a furniture sale? And there was one particular piece of furniture you were looking for, what was it? A sofa or a recliner? Or an arm chair? Something that you wanted especially, and here, things were on sale and you’re that, “Oh, boy. We’ll get just what we want and we’ll get it a little cheaper cause things are on sale.” And your eye lighted upon a chair, let us say, that was exactly what you were looking for. And you went over you said, “Here it is!” And then as you came a little closer, you turned away. Now, why did you do that? Because you had caught sight of a little red tag with four letters on it. You know what they were? S-O-L-D. It belonged to somebody else.

And so it is that God has put His tag, His mark, His loving identification mark on you. “I’ve chosen you,” said He, “out of the world.” That’s the reason you don’t mix with the world. That’s the reason worldly people sometimes resent you, he said, “Therefore, the world hateth you.” The reason worldly people sometimes resent you is that you’re different because Jesus has made you different, like Him. Now He says, “I’ve ordained you. I’ve ordained you that ye should go and bring forth fruit.” What is this matter of ordaining? Now, that doesn’t make official ministers out of all of us. Not everybody has an R-E-V., in front of his or her name, you know that. What does this have to do with my life today if I’m a believer? Well, ordination, as we understand the term mean setting a person aside for a special kind of work. We ordain deacons and we ordain elders in some denominations, and we ordain ministers, pastors. What does that mean? It means that the individual has been examined and found worthy of doing the type of work that he or she is about to be given and is now prayerfully being set aside for that work.

Do you realize that you’re ordained of God? That God has set you aside? You, that is. Think about you now for a minute. The package that is you, the person you are, the way you look, the talents you have, the past experiences through which you’ve gone, some have broken your heart and some have enriched your life as the case may be, but it’s all a package of past experience that has contributed to what you are. The philosopher says, “We are what we have been becoming.” Think of the person that is you now and then as you look in the mirror and think about that, say, “Jesus has set me apart for some special work.”

I’ll tell you, if you lack a sense of dignity and worthwhileness, the minute that hits you, you’re gonna feel differently about yourself. You’re not gonna put yourself down any longer and there won’t be any ‘poor me’ syndrome in your thinking or your conversation. Why? Because He’s picked you out and He’s set you aside for some very special things.

No, I don’t know what it is, neither perhaps at this time do you, but He knows. Now, what is it that He has in mind? He said, “You didn’t choose me but I chose you and I ordained you that you might go and bring fruit and that that fruit should remain.” Little purpose, word ‘hina,’ in order that. God’s touch on your life always has a purpose, this I’ve learned. God’s touch on your life and the circumstances through which you go always has a purpose. And I know some of you are in some very bitter circumstances, even now and you tend to say, “Cook doesn’t understand. It’s alright for him, he’s healthy, and he’s happy, and he doesn’t have all that much troubles. He doesn’t know how I feel. He doesn’t know that Dad’s out of work, and he doesn’t know that Sonny Boy has gotten into drugs, and he doesn’t know that I’m afraid my daughter is out with the wrong crowd and may come home pregnant one of these days, and he doesn’t know this and that.”

Well, beloved, listen. Of course, I don’t know. I care in so far as God fills my heart with His love and concern for you. I pray everyday that that might come through my voice. I want my voice somehow to say in the unspoken language of your soul, “God loves you, so do I.” I want that, but I can’t know what you’re going through, that’s obvious. But Jesus knows. “We have a high priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities,” the Bible says. So all that is happening or has happened in your life and in mine is part of the eternal purpose of God in order that, “Ye should… ” Now, there’s two verbs here: Go, go out really it means, and bear fruit. “Go out and bear fruit.” Now, there’s a little prefix before that verb that’s translated ‘go’ and it means ‘get out anyway, get over it.’ Get over it like a person that jumps over a barrier. Get on out.

You know, one of the greatest benefits that God gives you is the working of his Holy Spirit when you get in action for Him. Anytime I’ve sat around feeling sorry for myself, I just ended up feeling worse. Isn’t that true of you? But when I got busy doing what I knew God wanted me to do, I felt better. “Get on out,” that’s his first word. There’s something, somebody out there that God wants you to touch for Him today. Then he says, “Bear fruit,” and that of course is the divine miracle of the Holy Spirit of God working through your life. The one is your action, the other is His action. And when you dare to obey and get out into the stream of life and intermingle with people who have needs and hurts, He dares to use you by His Holy Spirit flowing through your life, and He says, “Bear fruit.” And then He adds that your fruit should remain. He said, “The impact of your life is going to last.” The impact of your life is going to last. That’s happened to me so many times with dear people who have crossed my path.

I used to have breakfast with Ben Weiss who is now with the Lord. He used to be principal of a high school in Los Angeles and then later founded the Christian Teachers Fellowship, dear man of God, wise man. I used to have breakfast with him whenever I went to Los Angeles. And I would bring a notebook and a pen and write furiously all the things he told me. Today he’s gone but the impact of his dedicated life remains, I assure you with me and I often think about him. God makes your impact on others permanent for His glory. Rejoice in it.

Father God, today, show us Your purposes. Help us to obey. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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