Faith can appear real, but if it's not backed up by action, it won't accomplish anything. Be guided in small matters and don't say what you don't mean.
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. I’m glad to be back with you. I’m feeling great. Hallelujah! Nice to be on the job for God. So thankful for His gift to me of health and strength and the opportunity of giving out the Word of God. Boy, I’m grateful! And thank you for being there. If you weren’t, there wouldn’t be anybody there, would there?
We’re looking at 1 Timothy, chapter 1 and we got through most of verse 5. Now the end, that means the objective – the Greek word “telos” – the objective, the grand design, you may say, of the commandment is “Love out of a pure heart and of a good conscience and of faith, unfeigned.” Why did God give us the law in the first place? “The law,” says Paul, “was our schoolmaster,” our child leader, child trainer, schoolmaster, “to bring us to Christ, so that when we commit ourselves to Him, the Lord Jesus Christ,” the Bible says, “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who was given unto us and the purpose of God is fulfilled.” Romans 8:1, “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk.” That means live every day, to live everyday, “not according to the old sinful flesh, but according to the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.” Love out of a pure heart.
See, you don’t get anywhere with God until you’ve been to Calvary and been cleansed. All the talk in the world, all of the therapy through which you can go to get rid of your feelings of guilt, and everything else that might be done, from sermons to science and all the rest, will simply leave you frustrated until you go and kneel before your blessed Savior and ask Him to purify your heart, which indeed He will do. He said, “I will give them a new heart, a new spirit.” God will give you a clean heart. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us…” – there is your pure heart – “… cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
“Then a pure heart,” said he, “and a good conscience.” Now, a good conscience is the byproduct of a heart that’s right. Because if your heart is right toward God, the moment you’re aware of being out of line with Him, you come back to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need, you confess your sin, and you go on cleansed and forgiven. It is a continuous process of cleansing and, and restoration.
A visitor out in one of the areas of Africa where there was, at that time, a continual time of revival, asked one of the elders of a certain village, “How is it that you people are continually revived and refreshed and renewed, and the spirit of God is walking among you in such great power?” And the old man thought a moment. He said, “Well, I guess it’s because whenever any of us is aware of stepping out of the will of God in any manner, we confess it immediately and we plead the merits of the shed blood of Christ for us, and then we go on rejoicing.” “When any of us is aware of stepping out of the will of God, we confess it immediately and go on, forgiven.” That’s the way: good conscience.
I spoke to you, the last time we got together I guess, about this matter of a good conscience. You relate your conscience to what the Word of God says. God will always deal with your conscience on the basis of His revealed Will in the Word of God, the Bible. Then you relate your conscience and your feelings about matters of life and conduct to the voice of the indwelling Holy Spirit within you, who speaks to reveal Christ and reinforce the Word, and then in order to have a good conscience, as I said just a moment ago, instant confession and forgiveness as a way of life.
Now we come to the phrase, “faith, unfeigned.” God’s purpose. Now what is God’s purpose? The end, the telos, the objective of God’s commands is a heart full of love, a clean conscience, and said he, “faith, unfeigned.” It is an interesting word there, in your Greek New Testament; it means unhypocritical. Faith that is not hypocritical. Well, I guess there’s a lot of that around, isn’t there? Because all of us are human beings and we tend to put on a good show, if we can. It’s called putting your best foot forward instead of, hopefully, as we say, in your mouth. Feigned faith. He said “unfeigned faith.” What is feigned faith?
Well, I have a little Cook-ism definition here that may serve. It’s a professed commitment to God that is not substantiated by action. Anything that you professed, by way of commitment to God, that is not followed up by appropriate action is feigned, fake, hypocritical faith. Now, you can see immediately how, how close that comes to, to everyday living for all of us, because it, it, it must be. I know it’s true of me and it has to be true of you, because I’m a human being just like the rest of us. So I think, I think we’re in a group here, oftentimes we say things about our commitment to the Lord that we don’t really mean, wouldn’t you agree? “All for Jesus, all for Jesus,” we sing. “All my silver and my gold;” that’s part of that song. How long has it been since you looked at your total financial situation in terms of how much God is controlling it?
I think so often of what I discovered about my good friend Mel Larson, who’s now with the Lord several years. He worked with us in Youth for Christ and later became the editor of the Evangelical Free Church Beacon, their, their official magazine. Dear man of God, walked close with the Lord. I traveled with him in Europe and elsewhere. We were, I suppose he was one of my best friends. Cancer took him some several years ago now, but I remember discovering about him and his family, that during the years when his children were small, he and his wife and the two children would gather around the table on a New Year’s Day, and they would look at the family budget and all of the other sources of income, and put them all down. Put down their fixed expenses, and then they would try to find out how much more that year they could give to missions than before.
You know: “How much does Father make?” and then put down his salary. “How much does Mother make doing the occasional secretary work?” Put down her earnings. “How much does Susie make babysitting?” Put down her earnings. “How much did Joe make mowing lawns and doing odd jobs?” Put down his expected earnings. Add that all together and then subtract the mortgage, the car payments, clothing, dentist, doctor, and so on, food and, and shelter, and after you’ve done that, then you say, “How much more can we give this year for missions than we gave last year?” Now that, it seems to me, is following up my faith with appropriate action. Wouldn’t you agree?
See, we, we oftentimes say things we don’t really mean to God. There’s a warning about this in Ecclesiastes where the wise man says, “When thou vowest a vow, defer not to pay it, for God hath no pleasure in the debt of foolish people; neither say thou before the Angel that was an error.” He says, don’t say, “God I didn’t mean it,” “God I was just kidding,” because as you read over in Galatians, “God is not mocked. Be not deceived, God is not mocked for whatsoever man soweth that shall he also reap.” You follow that line of reasoning? Well now, unfeigned faith then is faith that is a, that is accompanied by appropriate action, in doing the will of God.
How do I get at this whole thing? It’s one thing for Brother Cook to say all this; it’s another thing really to get hold of it, isn’t it? Well, I have a very simple procedure that helps me and perhaps it may help you, and that is to pray specifically about God’s will as you go through the day.
I’ll give you a case in point. I had to do an errand just yesterday. Now, when I say “yesterday,” it’ll be four or five weeks until you hear these words, but anyhow, for me it was yesterday. I had to do an errand that involved going from where we live in Tannersville, up to Route 80 and on over to East Stroudsburg, and I went ahead and did it, but as my custom is, as I was driving along, I just said, “Now, Lord you guide me,” and I prayed in that vein, “Lord I just want you to guide me and, and, and I want to do your Will.” So, I took care of the errand and turned on home, and again I recall saying, “Lord you take care of me, you guide me.” At that point, as often happens in your thinking, there were two or three possibilities that, that, that popped into my mind. “Should I stop here? Should I stop there? Should I do this or that?” Still praying, I said, “Lord just guide me,” and there came a very strong feeling: “Get on home.” Okay, I passed by the different things I might’ve done – might’ve stopped at the tailor, might’ve done something else. I passed by the different things I might have done, went straight on home and as I pulled into the driveway my dear wife, Coreen came running out the door and said, “You must’ve forgotten! They’re going to call you up from Los Angeles.” Yes, I had forgotten, but I arrived home precisely in time to pick up the telephone and take, take part in a, in a small telephone interview.
Now that’s, that may seem a very simple thing to you, and I guess it is. But for me, it’s very important to be guided by God in the, in small matters, because if you’re guided by God in small matters, you’re more apt to seek His guidance and receive it in what we call great decisions.
How do you apply faith that isn’t feigned? You seek God’s control, and God’s intervention, and God’s guidance, and God’s protection, and God’s provision, mind you; you seek all of that moment by moment, step by step. You don’t live a day at a time, you live a heartbeat at a time.
So, you seek for God’s guidance when you pick up the phone. Pray before you say hello. When you open a letter, pray before you open it. Look at it, it could be a check or a bill. There’s a difference. When you enter upon a committee meeting, whisper a prayer before you step through the door of the conference room. When you call upon a client, or when you deal (if you’re a professional person), deal with a person, deal with a patient, or make a sales pitch (if you’re a salesman), or teach a lesson (if you’re a teacher), or try a case (if you’re an attorney) – before you do any of these things, you commit the matter to God and then you try to obey Him.
Jesus said, “Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” He quoted an Old Testament Scripture which says, “These people honoreth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” There’s a sad verse in the Old Testament that said, “So, they feared the Lord, but serve their own gods.” You simply can’t do it that way. There has to be action that follows commitment. Well, we’ll get at this the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, help us to follow up our profession with action, 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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