The reason I want you to pray is because God wants people to be saved – there's only one way.
And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? That little greeting establishes the fact that this is your friend, Bob Cook. And here we are together, once again. Somebody’s just waking up, somebody’s having breakfast, somebody’s driving to work. And somebody, because you hear this broadcast late at night, is just about to fall asleep. Well, if you go to sleep while I’m talking, don’t worry. I have preached in many people’s sleep, believe me. [laughter] I used to have a dairy man, who routinely fell asleep in church on a Sunday morning, right after the offering was taken. He stayed awake until the offering, and then he fell asleep. I learned to fool him, however. I found out that when I lowered my voice, subconsciously, he realized, or thought he realized that the sermon was coming to an end, and he would sit up, and look around. And so, every now and again, while he was sleeping peacefully, I would lower my voice, and speak softly. And he would wake up, and sit up, and look around, and then I’d preach away again for awhile. [laughter] That’s a dirty trick, isn’t it? [chuckle] Bless his heart.
Well, he had a right to sleep. He got up and was at work at 2:30 in the morning, because he was a dairy man, ran a dairy, so he had a right to be sleepy. I didn’t criticize him. Bless his heart. I’ll tell you what he did. He raised a stalwart family, some of whom were missionaries and all of whom loved the Lord with all their hearts. And that really is the proof of, whether or not he was doing anything God’s way. Wouldn’t you say so? As I say, if you get drowsy, like Dr Ironside used to say, “Take a little nap. You’ll feel better when you wake up.” [chuckle]
I fell asleep one time, when I was a boy of six, I guess, five or six. I was sitting on the aisle in Euclid Avenue Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. And I fell asleep, and fell out into the aisle. My, I was embarrassed. [laughter] Don’t do that. If you’re gonna sleep, don’t fall out. [laughter]
You and I started hitting the high spots in 1st Timothy. We talked about prayer the last time we got together. Do you remember? And I just didn’t quite finish up that section, because the real reason for praying, is that God wants people saved.
Notice how this works out. Inner supplications, that you pray as a supplicant, that means you don’t have any resources. You’re asking God to answer, because He’s gracious and you don’t have anything. Prayers, that’s worship. Intercession, that’s getting under the other person’s burden, until it hurts you. Giving of thanks, you know what that is. Being thankful, and I suggested that we be thankful, specifically for loved ones, and for things, and for blessings, and so on. Prayer for kings and people in authority. Prayer that we might lead a quiet and peaceable life. Prayer that we might be Godly people and honest people.
And he said, “This is what God wants. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior.” Preachers, you might preach sometime on the subject of, “What does God like?” Here’s a passage, “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior.” Prayer of this kind and a life of this kind, is what God likes.
What else? Well, you come over to Romans 12 and he says, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service, acceptable unto God.” It says, “Acceptable unto God.” God likes that, when you give yourself to Him. Specifically, let Him have complete control of your body. And you go over to Hebrews 13, he says, “To do good and to communicate.” That’s our idea of Christian giving. “To do good, and to engage in Christian giving and stewardship, forget not, for with such sacrifices, God is well pleased.” In Verse 15 of Hebrews 13, it’s the sacrifice of praise, giving thanks to His Name. It’s the sacrifice of doing good and it’s the sacrifice of Christian giving. And he says, “God likes that.” That made pretty good preaching sometime, preachers, you might think about that. While over here in 1st Timothy two, he says, “God likes this.” He likes to have you pray, so that He can answer.
Now, this is perfectly understandable. Those of you who are parents and grandparents, do you like to do something for your kids, so they can enjoy it? Of course, you do. You bought that swing-set awhile back, and it came in a carton all disassembled, and you had to put it together. It seemed so confusing at first, but piece by piece and bit by bit, you assembled it. And finally, you had it all ready. You put it out in the backyard there, and set it up, and your little toddler was placed in the swing, and for the very first time, was swinging back and forth so thrilled.
And you got out the movie camera, or the video, and you were taking pictures, and you were so excited, and so thrilled, and so pleased. Did you like that? Oh, [chuckle] you say, “Yes. I liked it. I was happy about it.” Well, of course. You like to do things for your kids or your grandchildren? Yes, you do. He says, “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior, Who wants all people to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the Truth.”
What does God really want? He wants you to pray, so people’ll be saved. We get our eyes on other things and other problems. Let’s say you’re a pastor of a church. Well, you think in terms of the budget, “We gotta get in enough money to pay the bills.” You think in terms of the organization, “We gotta get the committees organized, so that the right people are on the right committees, and we gotta detour around folk who are an accident going somewhere to happen, try to put them in a corner somewhere, so they won’t do any damage.” And you think about the fact of your own relationship with the official board, whether it’s the Board of Deacons, or Board of Elders, or whoever happens to run the affairs of the church. Different churches are run differently.
But the pastor has somebody to whom he’s responsible, and you think about that, and worry about it sometimes, if you sense that some of the brethren and sisters are not too happy with you. And then we get all bound up with all those things: Money, budget, committees, organizations, inter-church politics. And then, of course, you’ve got your relationship, as a pastor in a church, with other churches, and pastors, and the denomination to which you may belong, and the officials of that denomination. You gotta keep in good with the bishop, so he can recommend you to a better church and all that. [laughter] Tell me about it. I was a pastor 18 years. I know these things are true. Then what? You gotta learn to pray on the right basis. He says, “God wants people saved.”
I’ll give you a trade secret, brother, pastor. I’ll give you a trade secret. You just start seeing people saved, and your church is gonna flourish, and people are gonna be happy, and the board is gonna be happy with you, and things will go better all around. The reason some churches are in trouble, is that nothing has gone on but the rent, for years. No one’s been brought to Christ, no one’s life has been transformed, no one has been rescued from habits that bound them. Satan has never been defeated in people’s lives. Nothing’s going on. That’s why. You have grumbling. Farmers have a lot of good common sense. Many years ago, they told me of a minister that was talking to one of his members, who was a farmer. And he was complaining about the fact that his church members, this minister was… He was complaining about the fact that his church members were fighting with each other all the time and he had a rough time in church.
And the farmer said to him, “Come on out with me. I wanna show you something.” And he brought him out into the barnyard, and there was a small pen, where a number of chickens were penned up. And he said, “Do you notice they’ve been sort of fighting and pecking at each other?” Especially, there was one little runt that was getting the… it’s funny how they always pick on the runty one, don’t they? Kids are like that too. And somebody that’s handicapped, they’ll pick on him. This little, runty chicken was bleeding, because they’d all been pecking at him. And they weren’t very happy, that bunch of chickens.
He said, “Now, watch this.” And he stepped over the fence of chicken wire that was around that enclosure. He had a spading fork with him and he turned over some forkfuls of earth. And there underneath the ground, were all of those worms, and grubs, and juicy morsels that chickens might like. And immediately, they began pecking, and searching, and scratching. They forgot their enmity toward each other. They forgot to pick on the little runty one that had been the object of their attack. Now, they were busy. And the old farmer looked up to his pastor, and he says, “All you have to do is get ’em busy for the Lord and they’ll stop pecking at each other.” [chuckle] Good idea, wouldn’t you say?
Yes, that is a good idea. What I’m telling you, beloved, is specialize in what God is interested in. Paul said, “Pray. Pray for yourself with your supplications. Worship God, because He is the only One worthy of your worship and adoration. Pray for other people. Pray so earnestly that you get under the weight of their burden, and their woe, and their hurts. Thank God with the thankfulness that is genuine and specific. Pray for people who are running things in this world. Pray that you might live the right kind of a life.” God likes that. Then he says, “The reason I want you to pray, is because God wants people saved.”
When you talk about the bottom line in accounting, that’s the line in the accounting report, that tells whether or not you’ve made any profit, or whether you’ve suffered a loss, the bottom line. You understand that expression. Well, let me use it, if I may, with a spiritual connotation: In God’s accounting, beloved, the bottom line is, did anybody find Christ as Savior? Anybody saved? I’ll tell you, that’s always been my evaluation of any church meeting I addressed. I’ll tell you that. It’s not just enough to discuss the Word of God. It’s only enough to have it applied, so that people’s lives are changed, and Christ becomes Lord and Savior, Who will have all men to be saved, and come to knowledge of the Truth.
Two thing God wants, He wants you saved, then He wants you to grow in His Word, grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He wants you to be saved. First Timothy 2:4, “He wants you to learn His Truth, come to the knowledge of the Truth.” The word ‘knowledge’ is a word that means a personal knowledge of, not just head knowledge, but a personal knowledge of the truth.
It’s something that is very, very specially real for you, “All men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth,” see? From the verb ‘ginosko,’ to know personally. Alright, there is the reason for it all.
You want to evaluate your work? Ask yourself, anybody been finding Christ lately? Anybody been introduced to the Savior? You go out and win one soul a week, pastor, yourself. Go out and win one soul a week, yourself. You can do that. Have that person ready to confess Christ publicly as Savior, when you give the Gospel invitation. I can guarantee you others will follow. And you get people starting to be saved in your church, and it’ll improve, vastly, every other function in the church. All the blessings follow evangelism. Well, we’ll get at that again the next time we get together.
Father God today, make us good prayers, Godly people, soul winners. 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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