Stay Watchful

Let me react to pressures in a way that will bring glory to Jesus. Pray your way through the day.

Scripture: Mark 13


Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Well, this is your good friend, Bob Cook, and I’ve just been praying that God would put into my voice, and first of all, into my heart… “For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh,” the Bible says… Put into my voice and into my heart, His love, His wisdom, and His power, and His blessing for you, my beloved friend. My purpose in preparing and presenting these broadcasts, is to try to put a handle on the Word of God, so that you can get hold of it for yourself. So there’ll be something there that will bless, and help, and inspire, and strengthen you. God knows we need all the help we can get in this turbulent world.

Glad to be back with you. I’m hitting the high spots, in summary of the various chapters in the Book of Mark, before we go onto something else. We’re dealing this time with Mark 13, and not by way of exposition, but just by noticing. You know, you’ll get a lot of blessing out of the Bible, if you notice things. Have you discovered that? As I looked at this 13th Chapter, it’s full of prophetic truth, that has to do with what’s gonna happen in the end time and in what order. There’s a dualism in this prophecy. One is immediate and the other is far reaching. You know all about that, many of you. One has to do with the destruction of the temple, which took place in 70 AD, and the rest of the prophecy has to do with the end of the Age of Grace, which is yet to come, and may well be upon us at any time. But I notice some of the expressions that our blessed Lord used, and I want just to stop on them momentarily in this broadcast, and see what God might say to our hearts. Verse Five of Mark 13 said, “Take heed, lest any man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, ‘I am Christ,’ and shall deceive many.”

Have you noticed that error is a very suave and plausible thing? And that you do have to be on your guard in evaluating what is said to you, and the messages that are presented to you? Now, how do you keep from being deceived? Well, our Lord Jesus said, “Do you not, therefore, err, because you know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?” Error comes from a lack of knowing God’s Word and the lack of experiencing God’s power. A person who is full of the Word of God and full of the Holy Spirit of God, who mediates the power of God to us, a person who is full of the Word of God and full of the Spirit of God, is not likely to be deceived by the enemies of God. John said to the believers, to whom he wrote his epistle, “Ye have an unction from the Holy One and need not that anyone teach you.” Paul said, “He that is spiritual,” in other words a person full of the Spirit of God, “He that is spiritual, discerneth all things.”

I’ve just been looking at a manuscript written by a dear brother, who is talking about management by the Holy Spirit. And his thesis is that, if you yield to the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, He will manage things for you business-wise, as well as in your personal life. All of this is gloriously true. “Take heed,” said He, “Lest any man deceive you.” Be very close to God, by dwelling in his Word. Stay close to Him, by yielding to His indwelling Holy Spirit, so that He can guide you.

It said, “When He, the Spirit of Truth, is coming, He shall guide you into all truth and bring to your remembrance all things, whatsoever, I have said unto you.” So that staying away from being deceived, is a simple matter of staying close to the truth. You don’t have to go on a witch hunt everyday, aren’t you glad? You don’t have to go straighten people out. Now, some folk, admittedly, have this as their perceived calling in life. I don’t. I am afraid, the folk who have criticized me, because I don’t go on crusades against this and that… Well, maybe I should. But there are some folk, who perceive their calling in life, to go search out error. If you want to keep from being the victim of error, stay close to the truth. If you’re flying an aircraft, stay on a line where you can hear the signal from the various guidance stations below you. And you’ll hear that little beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, and you’ll know that you’re on track, won’t you? There is a principle that you can mark down for your own life. You don’t have to go on a witch hunt every morning. You don’t have to be suspicious. God is not asking believers to be paranoid and suspect everything around them. All He’s asking us to do, is to stay alert, and keep close to the truth, and keep filled with the Spirit of God. Good idea. Take heed.

Now, in Verse Nine, said He, “Take heed to yourselves. Watch yourself.” Now, why? “Because you are going to be put under pressure.” You’re gonna be put under pressure. “They’ll deliver you to councils and the synagogues. You’ll be beaten. You’ll be brought before rulers and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them. And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” “Watch yourself,” said He, “Because you’re gonna be put under pressure, the reason for it being, that I want the gospel to go out.” Now, here’s the point. You’ll be aware of what’s happening in your life, not from the point of view of, “How do I feel about it?” And, “Why is this happening to me?” But, “What is God doing through all of this, in getting the gospel out?” I told you about my friend Dolores, a missionary, who came to New York and stayed with Coreen and me for a little while to have some medical work done. She came back again, after a few months, and they found that she had terminal cancer, and so she was transferred to a bed in the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Hospital, down there at 68th and York in New York City.

21 days she spent there, and then, went home to heaven. And I really felt bad about it, in that, not only did I not like to lose a precious friend, but I couldn’t understand why God would do this. Then, some years later, I found out, from someone who knew about it, that every day, that’s every day that she was in that hospital, she won at least one person, sometimes more. But every day that she was there, until she died, she won at least one person to Jesus. And I’m not gonna question God’s wisdom, nor his timing, nor his schedule. “He doeth all things well,” the Bible says. “But the pressures that you’re put under,” He says, “Watch yourself, because the pressure is to be a testimony against unbelievers and the gospel has to be published.”

Would you take that point of view today, when you’re put under pressure? Look up and say, “Lord, I don’t like it, but I want you to do whatever you have in mind, concerning the gospel, the message of life through Christ Jesus. Let me react to the pressure in a way that will bring glory to Jesus. Let me react to the pain, or the unfairness, or the harassment, or the illness, or whatever. Let me react to that in a way that will advance the cause of God’s blessed good news, the gospel, and convince somebody that Jesus is real.” Good idea?

Now, Verse 11, it says, “When they shall lead you and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand, what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate, but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye, for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.” Don’t worry when you’re put under pressure. Now, this is not a verse that will give you permission to omit, preacher, your preparation. In one pastor, many years ago, I followed a man who would preach what the deacons called an ‘aisle sermon,’ because he would frequently begin his Sunday morning sermon by saying, “As I was walking down the aisle this morning, I thought… ” And then, he would go on.

His sermons sometimes were good and sometimes less than good, because he did very little preparation. Now, this is not a verse that permits you to do that, I assure you. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, rightly dividing the Word of Truth, the workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” You do need to prepare, if you’re going to have anything to say. We understand that, do we not? But he said, “Now, watch yourself, because you’re gonna be put under pressure, in order to get the gospel out,” that’s Verse Nine. And then, in 11, “Don’t worry when you’re put under pressure, because God is gonna tell you what to do.”

This is the principle on which I seek to operate my life. Be true to God, and stay in His Word, and do your homework when you have a chance, but when you’re under pressure, and there’s no time to call a committee meeting, or go to the library, and search anything up, when you’re put under pressure, and you have to speak up, you can depend upon the Holy Spirit of God to speak through you. I know this. Anything I tell you, I’ve been there. God does speak to your heart and through you, when you’re under pressure and you’re trusting Him. Don’t worry. Man, that’s a great message, you know that? And what it does, is to take the steam out of the pressure cooker, and you don’t have to go through life wondering, “Well, did I say the right thing?” And, “Should I do this? Should I do that?” Listen, commit thy way unto the Lord and He shall direct thy paths.” If you want the will of God and depend on Him, you can believe that He is going to see you through.

Another thing that Lord Jesus said is… We’re just summarizing some of the things He said in this beautiful, prophetic chapter, you can depend on His Word… “Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” You can depend on the solid Word of God. It does not change with changing generations or circumstances. One of the things you have to put up with in education nowadays, is that someone will say, inevitably, “Well, that part of the Bible was written many centuries ago. It’s not relevant to us today. It really doesn’t apply to us today.” Ah, yes, it does. Everything in the inerrant, inspired, infallible Word of God applies to you, in some way, today.

It is as relevant today as when God spoke it. “My words,” said He, “Shall not pass away.” Then you wind up the chapter, by noticing that our Lord Jesus said, “Take ye heed, watch and pray.” Verse 35, “Watch ye, therefore, for ye know not when the Master cometh.” Verse 37, “What I say unto you, I say unto all, watch.” What does it mean? Well, simply stay awake, be alert, be on the job. Watch, but He says watch and pray. The best way to stay alert to what’s happening, is to be in God’s presence to evaluate it. “Pray your way through the day,” I have told the young people at the college through the many years, “Pray your way through the day. Pray when you make a phone call. Pray when you open or answer a letter. Pray when you make a business decision. Pray when you go on a date. Pray when you wonder whether to spank Junior, or love him, or both, and in what order. You need to pray your way through the day, because that keeps you watchful, it keeps you alert, and it puts God into the midst of your living.”

Dear Father, today, keep us watchful, keep us praying, and keep us trusting, 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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