Every person you meet is special to God and therefore ought to be worthy of your special consideration and respect.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing Alright? Oh, I’m fine. I’m singing bass this morning, but that’s because I guess I have a little allergy or whatever, and the dust from the falling leaves and whatnot, I don’t know. Anyhow, I’m fine. Don’t worry. If I sound bad, well, either turn it off, go back to sleep, or whatever. But I’m happy in the Lord, and so glad, beloved, that you are there. I like these times when we can get together by way of radio, don’t you? As I say to you, sometimes the miles that separate us just drop away and we’re immediately together in the presence of our Lord. That’s what John the Apostle meant when he said our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. It’s a blessed triangle, you, and I, and God. So let’s enjoy it today in these moments. We’re looking at 1 Peter Chapter 3. We were walking around in verse 15, “Give God a special place in your hearts as God. And as a result, be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and with fear.” That’s our word, godly respect. What makes your witness effective? What will make your witness for Christ effective? Ready to give an answer? First of all, that God has won the battle in your own heart.
Mixed motives, where you are still struggling with things that have not been yielded to God, cut the effectiveness of anything you may say about your Lord. Now, you know that already, I’m sure. I’m not telling you anything new, but we needed, we need to be reminded. I need to be reminded with you of the fact that when my motives are mixed, that is to say, when there is any area concerning which I have not yet really surrendered to my God, that in itself, reduces greatly the effectiveness of anything I may say about the Lord Jesus. Why? Because the basis for a good witness is that he has done something in the life of the witnesser, the person who’s doing the speaking. The fact that Christ has done some, they took knowledge of them. It says, concerning Peter and John, “They took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus.” There was something about them that was different because he, our blessed Lord, was in control through the person of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. So, that’s the beginning of making your witness for Christ effective. Make sure that the war is over. Make sure that you have said a complete yes to your blessed Lord. Now, this is a truth that the old time holiness preachers used to emphasize. It’s not put in the same terms these days. We talk about commitment. They talked about praying through, same thing, really.
Praying through. What was it? You pray until your heart has finally said yes to God. Well, today, our brother, Billy Graham, or someone else in evangelism says, “Make a commitment to Christ.” What does it mean? Make sure that your entire life, your will and all that you are, is turned over to the control of the Lord Jesus Christ. Same idea. Sanctify the Lord God in your heart. That is to say, make a special place in your heart for God, as God. Let Him be God in your life. That’s the beginning of a good witness, because you see all Christian witness is more of a result than it is an effort. You see, I have to testify. Well, it’s gonna come out that way. It’s gonna sound forced and artificial. But if it just spills out of you involuntarily, it will have a note of genuineness that no one can deny. Then he says, “Be ready always.” And I think we talked about that, when we were walking through this verse. You’re always on stage, and you need always to be ready to witness for your Lord, to speak of your love for Him in any situation. There is no situation in the world where you may not, as opportunity is given, don’t be a bulldozer and crash through, but where opportunity is given, any situation in all the world is the one where you may speak lovingly of your Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, He says, give this answer with meekness and with fear, that’s our word respect, and with a good conscience, and with the knowledge that you are indeed in the will of God. That’s what we’re gonna talk about now in these next moments, and maybe another day as time goes on. What makes your witness effective? First, the fact that God has won the battle. Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts. Second, that you are indeed on the job. You’re ready. Go through a whole day trying something, will you? Go through a whole day looking for opportunities that God will give you just to spill over a little blessing concerning your Savior, just to share something about your savior. Be ready. See, my dear wife of 54 years is never late for anything, if she can help it. We were about to go somewhere, wherever it was, I forget now, the other day, and we had to get there at a given time. Well, an hour and a half before that, I saw her putting on her suit and putting her necklace on, and she had already been busy with the final make-up of her face. You ladies have to put your face on, you know that. [chuckle] And there she was, an hour and a half, all ready to go. And I commented on it, I said, “My goodness, you’re early.” She says, “I don’t wanna be late.” [chuckle] Ready. Oh yes.
Can we have that same attitude, my beloved friend, toward our sharing of the Lord Jesus? Oh to be ready to speak of Him, any chance there is. Don’t be a bulldozer and crash into people’s sensibilities. Don’t do that. You’re not called to force your way into anybody’s life. But God opens doors, doesn’t he? Oh yes, he does. And when he does, be ready. That’s the second thing. Now, third, he says, “Give your answer with meekness.” Why? Meekness is the human side of humility. Humility is a God word virtue. Meekness as a man word virtue. Humility is the quality of knowing that you need God every split second of the time. Meekness is the quality of knowing that other human beings are just as important as you, if not much more so. You approach every human being as being of infinite value and worthy of your best attention and effort.
Now, sometimes this comes through in ordinary human relationships. I’ve noticed with a great deal of appreciation, the way folks deal with handicapped, young people and older folk, treat them. And I must say that it is a demanding and wearing profession to be in charge of folk who have been the victims of some, either a brain damage or some malformation or some handicap as they entered into this life. Many of them indeed have very keen minds, and they’re brilliant, but their body and the nerve synapses and the connections between nerves and muscles sometimes don’t seem to work. And so, I’ve watched these folk, sometimes on television and sometimes being present, personally in situations, where folk were helping those who were living in a handicapped position, and how lovingly they dealt with them, and how patiently they dealt with them, and how they put effort into the matter of assuring them that they were indeed worthwhile.
And I thought, “Oh that’s what we ought to do with every single human being we ever meet.” Meekness means, realize that that other person is infinitely valuable to God, just as important as you are, and even perhaps much more so because God may have gifted him or her in ways that you couldn’t even begin to imagine. Bob Palmer, who runs Sandy Cove down there in Maryland, dear friend of mine. I knew his dad in the old days, George Palmer, and so we share a lot of things. And he told a story in a meeting, which I attended not too long ago, a story of a boy who came to their summer camp, who was one of these dear folk, who, as we say, are handicapped. He had difficulty speaking clearly. He had difficulty in walking normally. His legs didn’t always obey the orders that his brain gave, but he had a very active, you may say brilliant mind.
And so he kept asking Bob Palmer, “What can I do? What can I do in this condition?” You know, he loved Jesus, He wanted to serve God, but what could he do? And finally, one day, more out of almost impatience than anything else, Bob Palmer said to him, “Well, why don’t you start something that’ll help folk like you?” And the idea caught on with him. He went back to his home. He lived somewhere in Ohio, I think. He went back to his home and started a home for handicapped people, and then another, and then another, and today, he has a whole series of homes for handicapped folk where they can find fulfilment and usefulness in life. And that all grew out of his question, “What can I do?” You see, God has gifted every human being in a special way.
And I may be talking to somebody who listens to me almost bitterly and says, “Yeah, Cook, what do you know? You’re healthy. Even if you’re old, you’re still healthy and you haven’t had all the troubles I’ve had. And you’re happy, and you talk to me about God has something for me.” I know that’s how you feel. I know. Maybe I know better than you think I do how you feel, but beloved, listen. God has gifted you in a very special way and there are some things about you that nobody else can duplicate. There are some talents you have, you may not have discovered them yet, even, but there’s some talents you have that will not show up in anybody else’s life, and you are a special individual. Look at yourself in the mirror and say, Jesus thinks I’m special. You know how I know? He said to some very unlikely people one day, “Ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Somebody paraphrased it for a laugh years ago in my hearing, said, “You birds are worth more than those birds.” You’re special to God, beloved. Let Him use you. Now, back to the original point.
Every person you meet is that special, every person you meet is special to God, and therefore ought to be worthy of your special consideration and respect. Meekness means treat the other person as the important individual that he or she really is in God’s sight. We’ll get at some more of this the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today, let us know the blessing of your presence and power, 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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