Step In And Interceed
I think it’s a good thing to have a prayer list and to remind yourself of things concerning which you ought to speak with the Lord. We get so burdened with our own matters that sometimes it’s easy to forget others.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again my radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your good friend, Bob Cook, back again with you to look at the Word of God; the inherent, infallible, Spirit-inspired, eternal Word of God, the Bible. Wonderful to look into the Word of God and the longer you live the longer you see that God’s Word is true and it vindicates itself again and again.
A good many years ago they were saying — the critics were — that there was no such place, for example, as Ur of the Chaldees from which Abraham was supposed to have come and said that’s all myth. Well, the archaeologist began to dig and one day they ran into a place that they found was Ur of the Chaldees. And there it was just exactly as the Bible had described it. This has happened so often. Let me say to any of you who have honest doubts about the Bible, wait a while; science will catch up with it, and you’ll find that God’s Word is still wonderfully eternally true forever, “oh, Lord; thy word is settled in heaven.” Jesus our Lord said, “My word shall never pass away.”
The importance of the phrase that he connected with that is inscribed upon our hearts and minds these days when we have such serious earthquakes. Just as I’m preparing this broadcast this very day, you’ll hear in a month from now, just as I’m preparing this broadcast, the radio and the television is reporting that there was an earthquake centered, I think, in Romania somewhere in the Crimea with a magnitude of 7-point something in the Richter scale, a huge earthquake.
Heaven and earth shall pass away. There are more earthquakes now than ever before, have you noticed that? And the prophecies that we have that tell us about the end age of grace. They’re being fulfilled very rapidly. Europe is unifying; the old Roman Empire is picking up its pieces and gathering together; and the psyche of the human race is being prepared for the coming of the man who sinned, the antichrist, where he’ll be received as being the one who can only — the only one who can pull things together.
Long about that time, before that time we would think comes our Lord Jesus Christ in the air to take his saints home to be with him and then follows the seven years of what the Bible calls the great tribulation and then the millennial kingdom of our Lord. Things are setting up fast, and that means that you and I better be careful to live for our Lord day-by-day so that He’ll find us true in Him when He comes. John said, “Now, little children, abide in him that when he shall appear we may have confidence before him and not be ashamed away from him at his coming.” Well, I threw that all in, three — three and a half or four minutes of comment.
You and I are looking at the Ephesians and we’ve come to that verse where Paul the apostle says, “I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” Small thought here before we go into the discussion of Paul’s intercession and what it means. He said I give thanks for you. I have to confess that far too seldom is Bob Cook found thanking God for people. I don’t know why that is, but as I review my own prayer life, I tend to come in saying Lord, help me with this and that and the other.
I know there’s a formula that is good to follow — adoration, confession, and thanksgiving, and supplication — A-C-T-S. That’s a good formula to follow, and I try to do that as a matter a fact. You start with worship, you confess your sins, you thank God for what he’s done, and then you ask Him for what you seem to need at the time. But Paul says I thank God for you. And you find that expression in others of his epistles, don’t you? He thanks God for people. You look back in your own life and see how many times God has used people to make a difference in your life. That certainly has been true with yours truly.
God has used people to make a difference in my life. My own home life as a little boy growing up, mother gone to heaven when I was still a baby, my sister and my father helping to rear this child — I use the word rear advisedly — that’s where the board of education was applied to the seat of knowledge. Huh! Oh my, yes. My father had a very heavy hand and on occasion when he thought I needed it, he had an 18-inch walnut ruler that he used to emphasize — should we say, punctuate his admonitions.
But you know, I think of those early days and I know, oh how clearly do I know, that my life and character was shaped by the faithful teachings and admonitions and guidance and discipline of those two folk. Yes. And then all the others that I’ve met along the way. People — God has used people to make a difference in my life.
Have you ever thanked God for the people that God has used in your life? And then as you look around you and you see what God is doing in other areas where you may not be related to them in anyway. You may not know them even as acquaintances or friends, but you know what God is doing. Have you thanked God for that? This is a difficult assignment for a minister, of course, when some new preacher comes to town and some of your own sheep leave the sheepfold and go over to his congregation. It’s hard for you to thank God for him, isn’t it? Oh yes.
But that’s part of the discipline of growing up in the Christian life. The purpose of your existence since you were saved is not that you succeed or be the greatest of anything. The purpose of your ministry and your church is not that it should be bigger than someone else’s. The purpose is to be of blessing and in the process to rejoice in what God is doing in other people’s lives. Paul said to the people in Philippi, “You’re my joy and crown. You’re my crown of rejoicing,” and all of that. He said that also to the folk in Thessalonica. You’re my epistle, he said, known and read of all men. He wrote that I think to the people of Corinth, didn’t he?
Paul was very thankful for people, and you and I may very well take a leaf from his book and take the time day-by-day in our private devotions to thank God for people. Well that was kind of a long detour but I thought really that we ought to stop and emphasize it because just so far as I’m concerned, anyway, I tend to fall short in that department. I’m too busy asking God for things I need, I guess. He said “I cease not to give thanks.”
He did it all the time in other words; give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. And he tells us what he wants God to do, “That God may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power.” We get that all of that, phrase by phrase as we go on. Just now think about this matter of intercession, prayers, making mention of you in my prayers.
I think it’s a good thing to have a prayer list and to remind yourself of things concerning which you ought to speak with the Lord. We get so burdened with our own matters that sometimes it’s easy to forget others. Make a list of the people that you want specifically to remember in your praying. And then remember that intercession is a process of putting yourself by faith in the other person’s place and praying for them, getting as we say under the burden of their need. Not only do you empathize with them but you actually identify yourself with their need as you pray for them.
Now that dear friend is real intercession. It’s not just mentioning somebody in your prayer, although that’s what Paul uses here, making mention of you in my prayers. But real intercession is getting under the burden to a place where you identify with that person or that group’s need. Take, for example, I’m turning back now to Exodus chapter 32. It’s a story of what happened when Mosses was away on the mount when God was speaking the commandments to him.
And in the meantime, the people had gone back to their old habits and they said we got to have a God we can see. Like the little boy said when he was afraid of the dark and someone came in and said, “Well you know the Lord is here”, he said, “Yeah, but I need somebody with skin on.” We want something we can see, don’t we? Well that’s what happened with the — that’s what happened with the children of Israel, and they made this molten golden calf, a throwback to their experiences in Egypt obviously.
And so when Moses came down to the camp he saw this golden calf and the dancing and all of that and Moses’ anger waxed hot, he cast the tablets out of his hands and broke them. And he took the calf which they had made and burnt it in the fire and ground it to powder and strutted upon the water and made the children of Israel drink of it. And now, God is saying to Moses — God is saying to Moses something about these people and their punishment. And so it says Moses returned unto the Lord, verse 31, and said, “Oh, these people have sinned a great sin” — “This people have sinned a great sin and have made them gods of gold, yet now” — this is exodus 32:32 — yet now, “If thou will forgive their sin” — and there’s a dash in the printing on your Bible. That means his voice broke, he broke off, he probably broke down and sobbed. And he goes on then — “and if not blot me I pray thee, out of thy book which thou has written.” Well the Lord said, “Whosoever sinned against me he will blot out of my book, now go lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee. My angels shall go before thee,” and so on.
Prayed for the people — he prayed for Miriam when she had spoken out of turn. She said — she really got upset because Moses married an Ethiopian woman and she and Aaron said, “Well the Lord really hasn’t spoken just by Moses but by all of us as well.” And the anger the Lord has was kindled against them and Miriam became leprous, white as snow and now Moses cried out unto the Lord. This is Numbers chapter 12 and verse 14:13. Moses cried saying, “Heal her now oh God. I beseech thee.” He prayed for her. Yes, intercession means getting under the burden. We’ll go on with this the next time we get together.
Dear Father, help us to be intercessors and to learn how to pray for other people, I ask 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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