Standing On Solid Rock
Don't depend on your feelings. Depend, beloved, on the Word of God
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing all right? I’m fine, thank you. Got over the flu, and got over singing bass. The Lord has healed up my larynx. Gave me new bearings in my larynx. [chuckle] All right. And I am grateful for the privilege of being with you. I look forward to these moments as a time of sheer enjoyment, when I can open the Word of God and share it with you, my precious friends. Thanks for being there.
Now, we’re looking at John Chapter 2. Our Lord Jesus has cleaned out the temple. Those who stood by are saying, “What right do you have to give orders?” He said, “I’m a specialist in resurrection.” Just as we went off the air, I was reminding you that, you too, my friend, if you are a Christian, have that same power dwelling within you. The Holy Spirit of God is the power of Christ’s resurrection, and He makes the life of the Lord Jesus real in you. What a glorious horizon that opens up for every believer on the Lord Jesus Christ. Well, it says, “When He was risen from the dead, His disciples remembered,” this is verse 22, “His disciples remembered that He had said this. And they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had said.” There is no distinction between the utterances of our Lord Jesus and the Old Testament prophecies, which tells me that God gives equal credence, credibility and authority to the ancient scriptures as well as to the utterances of His son the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Savior said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” Put that all together and bring it over onto main street in your own life today. Do you know that the Bible is spiritually alive for you when you make it your own? “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life. The Word of God is quick,” that means alive, “Alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” God’s Word is alive in the sense that when you apply it, it does make a difference in your life. Would you wanna put that to the test yourself, today and in the days that lie ahead? If you would dare, as you read your Bible day by day, if you would dare to ask the question, “What is this text? What is this passage saying to me?” And you would write that down and then seek after praying about it, to apply it to your life, you would find a constant change for the better in your life.
Back in the 1940s, I became acquainted with a businessman who was immensely successful, a millionaire in his own right, and had a fine big corporation that he headed up. He was also a devoted Christian and was very helpful to many of us in Christian work in those days. There was one thing that characterized him, it was a brusqueness that was almost rude and abrasive. That was his manner. And he carried that over into the way he dealt with business and personnel problems. No matter how you felt, he would ride roughshod over them, over your feelings. That was just the way he was. The years passed, 30 of them and more. And again, because I had moved away, I lost track of any contact with the man, but now, back in the same area, I met him once again. I found a man who was still successful, still sharp, but very gentle. And I tried in a tactful way to say that he seemed different. And he laughed, he said, “Oh, you’ve noticed it, have you?” [chuckle] I said, “What did it?” He said, “I have been memorizing the Word of God. In the last few years,” he said, “I’ve been memorizing the Word of God.” He said, “I’ve just finished Philippians, and now I’m working on some passages in Isaiah.” And he told some of the other books of the New Testament that he had memorized. He said, “As I go commuting to my office in the mornings and coming home at night, I spend the time memorizing God’s Word.” He said, “That has made the difference.” Well, bless him.
I have to tell you, my friend, God’s Holy Word will make a difference in your life. “They believed the scripture, and the Word was Jesus,” it said. Now, it says, “When He was in Jerusalem at the Passover in the feast day, many believed in His name when they saw the miracles which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them because He knew all men.” A small thought here, if your religious convictions depend upon something that happens, you will falter when it stops happening. If your religious convictions depend upon something that happens, they will falter when it stops happening. If your faith is based upon some experience, some set of feelings that you experienced, your religious convictions and your religious experience will suffer and maybe disappear when the feelings and the experience disappears. It says, “They believed when they saw His miracles and He didn’t commit himself to them.” Why? “Because He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.” “The heart is deceitful,” says Isaiah, “Above all things and desperately wicked. Who can really understand it?”
The depth of our ability to deceive ourselves and others is an awesome thing and tragic in its outreach in our lives. It’s easy for you to be deceived by feelings, by experiences, by any other criterion which you may use to validate your religion. I may be meddling a little; somebody may get offended at me when I’m saying this, but I have to tell you, friends, the person whose faith depends upon something that happened is going to be on shaky ground when whatever it is stops happening. How many hundreds of people have said to me in the years of my ministry, “I don’t feel the same as I did when I was first converted. I guess it wasn’t real for me, I guess I must have backslid, and I guess God is angry at me, I guess… ” And I guess, and I guess. “Why? Because I don’t feel the same.” Bless your heart. Don’t you know that your feelings vary with the weather? Yes, they do. When the barometer is rising, you feel upbeat and enthusiastic. When the barometer is falling, you feel down and depressed.
I read years ago something that has a good deal of homely wisdom to it. This person said, “Don’t go in and ask the boss for a raise when the barometer is falling, because the boss doesn’t feel like listening to you. He’ll throw you out without listening to your case, he feels bad. His hair pulls, his teeth bite, his corns pinch; everything’s going wrong, he feels down. The barometer is falling. If you’re going to ask for a raise, wait until the barometer is rising and the boss is feeling a little more upbeat, then go in and make your pitch for a raise.” Well, maybe it was said for a chuckle, but there’s some homely wisdom in it. You cannot really trust your feelings. Your feelings vary with the weather. They vary with the barometric pressure.
I learned that many years ago when I was a song leader, started out as a song leader. I was a choir leader for Torrey Johnson and when I went full-time into the pastorate, I led my own choirs. And we did some interesting things in those days, I assure you, and some classy things as well, I enjoyed it very, very much. And then when we started Youth for Christ in Chicago, I was the song leader, so I learned something about human nature and dealing with people, and it is this, that when the barometer is rising, you can get people to sing more easily than when the barometer is falling. You have to expend approximately three times as much effort in getting people to sing as a congregation when the weather is threatening. That’s just a fact, so don’t trust your feelings. Today, I’m talking to somebody who’s got the blues, you feel so down, you feel like you have to reach up to touch bottom. You think to yourself, “Nothing works, and I can’t win, and I might just well give up.” You think about that long enough and you get into gloomy thoughts of self-destruction and wonder how conveniently you might do away with yourself and be done with everything. Don’t do it. It’s always too soon to quit and you are in danger of believing the wrong set of criteria.
Don’t depend on your feelings, depend, beloved, on the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever. “They believed,” it says, “The Scriptures and the Word which Jesus had said.” “The crowd looked at the miracle and said ‘Oh! We believe.'” But how fickle they were. The crowd that was proclaiming “Hosanna in the highest, blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord,” was the same crowd which just hours later was shouting, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” People’s feelings and people’s attitudes are fickle, they are changeable and your feelings vary with the weather and with the circumstances. Put your trust in the Word of God. That is why it is so important to have a quiet time every day when you listen to God speaking to you through His Word.
Let me give it to you once again, this set of principles which I learned from Stephen Alford so long ago; 45 years and more ago. He said, “Stay with any given passage until it says something to you, then write that down. If you can’t write it, you didn’t get it, as any school teacher knows. Stay with the passage until it says something to you and then write it down. And third, pray it back to God until your heart gets warm and tender with the truth that He gave you, and fourth, share it with someone as soon as you can, that very day.” You will give God’s Holy Word a chance to operate in your life in a wonderful way if you follow those simple principles. And I can guarantee you that as you turn to His Word, He does change your feelings. I have felt the anger going out of my spirit like steam out of a pressure cooker when I turned to God’s Word. I have felt discouragement going away from my spirit and encouragement coming when I went into the Word of God and prayed over it. You too may have that same experience if you believe God’s Word, not your feelings.
Father God, today, may we believe thy word and live out its truths. In Jesus’ name I ask this, Amen. ‘Til I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today, and be a blessing.
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