Stay Connected to God
This is something that ought to frighten every one of us: the possibility of through our own carelessness and willfulness, of separating ourselves from the life-giving, sustaining presence and power of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you, believe me. I look forward to these times when I can spend a few moments, invest I guess is a better verb. Invest a few moments with you in eternal matters from the inerrant, infallible, eternal Word of God. Boy, it’s great! Thank you for being there, and thanks to all of the station people for making it possible for yours truly to come your way just now.
We’re in the Gospel of John, and we’ve gotten into the fourth verse. Our Lord Jesus uses this word ‘abide.’ “Abide in me,” said He, “And I abide in you.” We talked about that the last time we got together, how do you abide in Christ? Number one, you commit yourself to him as Lord and Savior. You can’t do any abiding as long as you’re fighting Him and as long as you’re a stranger to the grace of God. That’s the first step. Surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ and accept Him as your Lord and Savior. Ask Him to forgive your sins and make you a child of God and He will. Then what? Learn to depend on Him. How do you do this? You listen to Him in His Word and through the indwelling Holy Spirit. You depend on His guidance in every step and every situation of life. Have you learned that technique yet of actually depending on the Lord Jesus to guide you, to protect you, to give you the insight that you need into situations so you’ll understand them?
Depend on the Lord Jesus. Then what? Rest in Him. That is to say, if you have indeed depended on Him in a situation, then completely turn it over to Him and rest in Him. Be calm in your spirit and believe that God is in charge, because He is. “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him,” said the Psalmist in the 37th Psalm. Rest in the Lord. The writer to the Hebrews says, “There remaineth therefore a rest for the people of God.” What is it? Faith, trusting God. You do what you ought to do, obey God, depend on the Lord Jesus to guide you and then obey Him, and then depend on Him to be in charge and rest in Him, abide in Him.
Homer Hammontree, who has been with the Lord now for a good many years. Any of you old timers remember him? A great barrel-chested giant of a man with a tender spirit and a fine speaking and singing voice. He was song leader for a number of outstanding evangelists in the old days. And he said he was in a series of meetings with someone, whoever it was, RA Torrey, or Biederwolf, or somebody. But I remember his saying this back in my salad days when I was just starting out. He said he was in this series of meetings and nothing was happening. No one was coming forward at the invitation, nothing going on but the rent, and he was so upset and voiced it to his evangelist friend. The man said, “It’s our responsibility to preach the Word, it’s God’s responsibility to honor the Word and make it fruitful.” That’s all he said. Well, after a few days, the break came, as breaks do in evangelistic series. And the people came and their hearts were touched and there was a real response at the gospel invitation at the close of the sermon.
Now, Homer Hammontree said he was ecstatic, he was delighted, and after that meeting when the break had come, and people had come by the scores to be saved, he came again to his evangelist friend, and said, “Isn’t it wonderful?” And the evangelist said, “It’s our job to preach the Word, it’s God’s responsibility to apply it and to make it fruitful.” He wasn’t disturbed when nothing was happening. He wasn’t ecstatic when things began to happen, because he was depending on his Lord. I wonder if you and I can’t learn that lesson. I think personally I have to relearn it over and over and over again because I guess I’m more of a human being than the rest of you. I have to be taught these things in circumstances, but what a joy it is, beloved, to listen for the voice of your Lord as He speaks to you from His Word and by the indwelling Holy Spirit in your heart. And then to obey Him, and then to depend on Him, and then to rest in His control because it’s His responsibility. And so it is.
Oh, that’s a great lesson to learn. Share it with me. Now He says, “As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me.” We have some geraniums and other flowers growing and flower boxes outside of our house here in the Pocono Mountains, and it’s a very pretty sight. I came out one morning and was just looking at the flowers and thought to myself, “Well, I probably better pick off some of these stems where the flower has bloomed and it’s just the old stem.” And so I was just looking at them and picking here and there. And I saw a very pretty flower that was evidently in full bloom, but looking at it more closely, I found that in some way or other, someone had jostled it or whatever happened, it had been separated from the parent stem. Well, I didn’t think too much of it. Went on, a few hours went by, and I came back again on my way in the house and now that flower had wilted, the petals had all drooped, and a few stray leaves had drooped as well, it was dying.
And I thought of this passage, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me.” Separation had occurred at the point of life-sustaining, life-giving energy. We see people now and again who collapse and whose lives are made a shambles by their failure, financial or moral or whatever. And it seems to come suddenly, but really what happened long before the obvious, visible to the eye collapse, there was the separation of the branch from the vine and the flow of divine energy had been cut off. That’s why after a while the withering began.
When I was President of Youth for Christ just I think it was in my first year or so, we were located on Wells Street before we moved the office over to Monroe Street in Chicago, and it was a crowded little place. My own office was about 8×8, something like that, just room for a desk and a chair and a small file cabinet. That’s all I had, but that’s all I needed. And into that setup, one day came Bob Pierce. You remember Bob Pierce? Now with the Lord for five, six, seven years, leukemia took him. But he was busy for the Lord in those days, and traveling the world, and raising funds for missions, and all of that. Well, he came in unannounced and I welcomed him, I said, “Come on in, Bob,” and he looked so downcast and I said, “What’s the matter?” And instead of answering me, he just put his head down on the desk and just cried for a while. Well, I waited until the tears slowed down. And then he lifted his head and I said, “Now, tell me, what’s the matter?” He said, “I’ve just come from spending six hours with a man who has lost the blessing of God, and he doesn’t even know it.” Well, he was speaking of someone whom we both knew very well, a person who had been greatly used of God in other years but who of late had, while he was still very active, had seemed to lose the edge, the blessing, the dew of God upon him. And he was still working so hard but he didn’t know that he’d lost God’s blessing.
We thought of Samson, Samson sleeping on the lap of Delilah, who had his head shaved by the barber. But it said, “He arose and he said, ‘I will go out and shake myself as at other times,'” the tragic words that follow are these, “And he wist not,” that means he knew not. “He knew not that God had departed from him.” You see, this is terribly important, and I use the word advisedly. You English teachers understand that when you say terribly, you mean something that is capable of striking terror into your heart. And so I use it advisedly. This is something that ought to frighten every one of us, the possibility of through our own carelessness and willfulness of separating ourselves from the life-giving, sustaining presence and power of our Lord Jesus Christ. He said abide, stick around, stay. That word ‘abide’ is a Greek verb, ‘meno.’ It has a number of translations in our English Bible. It’s translated here abide, another is stay, another is remain, another is tarry, another is endure. All of the different variant meanings of that one Greek verb means stay in place and don’t budge.
Yes, it is possible to cut off by our own carelessness and willfulness, to cut off the flow of God’s blessing. Well, no, you don’t lose your salvation. The Lord Jesus said, “No man is able to take them out of my hand.” And Philippians 1:6 said, “God will perform what He started.” I know that, but I know that it’s possible to lose the blessing of God if you’re careless, if you’re willful, if you’re stubborn, if you’re worldly, if you’re fighting God’s will. Jesus said, “You can’t bear fruit.” That is the test. “You can’t bear fruit unless you abide,” said He, “In me.” What ought I to do to keep from losing the blessing of God? Our Lord Jesus spoke to a church, as recorded in the Book of the Revelation, and He said, “I know that you’re busy and I know you’ve got a good reputation. I know that you are orthodox. I know that you can’t stand heresy. I know that you’re in pretty good shape so far as your reputation is concerned,” but He said, “I got something against you, you’ve left your first love.” You’ve left your first love. “You used to love me but you don’t anymore.” Protect the love relationship between your heart and the Lord Jesus Christ. Perfect, unhindered fellowship between your blessed Lord and yourself.
Now, how do you, if you have, if you have lost the blessing of God and the consciousness of His presence, He didn’t move but you did, what do you do? He said, “Repent and do the first works.” What does that mean? You wanna rekindle your love for the Savior? Start reading your Bible, and praying, and obeying God, and witnessing for Christ, and you’ll find your heart has warmed up. It’s that simple. Do the first works. We get at this the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today, oh, may our hearts be filled with love and may we abide in Christ. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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