The Door Opener
Obeying God is equivalent to opening the door and saying, "Come on in and live here." A shared love and a shared presence.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today? Thank God we came in the world but not of it. You don’t have to be tarred with the world’s brush just because you’re living in a dirty old world, you can be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. God keeps us by His power, for His glory, let Him do it today.
This is your friend, Bob Cook, and we’re looking at John 14 and we’re looking at Christ’s answer to the question, “What makes Christians different? How is it that thou will to manifest thyself unto us and not unto the rest of the world? What makes Christians different?” I had to stop long enough to comment on the word “manifest.” You see, the Christian life is a revealed secret. “The natural man,” says Paul, that means the unsaved person, “Receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness unto Him. Neither can He know them because they are spiritually discerned.” When you open your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ and confess your sins and repent of them and trust Him as your Lord and Savior, my dear friend, God starts opening up His secrets to you. “The secret of the Lord,” says the psalmist in Psalm 25, “is with them that fear Him and He will show them his covenant.” The psalmist said, “I was upset and angry until I went into the sanctuary, then understood I.”
This word “manifest” reminds us that Christians are different because they are in on a divinely given secret revealed to them through the Lord Jesus Christ. Sins forgiven, belonging to a heavenly family, future for all eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ. A blessed revealed secret that belongs just to you and to me who love Him. Well then, the last time we got together, we were commenting on the fact that this difference that is observable in true Christians. What makes Christians different? The fact that they obey God. “If a man love me he will keep my words and my Father will love him and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.” A shared love and a shared presence. Obedience proves your love and releases you to enjoy God’s love.
Parents or grandparents, have you ever come home and found that Junior was acting strangely? Well, he had a face like an angel, he looked so good but he looked uneasy as well and because you were wise to the ways of little kids, you knew that something was up, you knew he’d been into something. Like as not, you said to him, “What have you done?” And he would look that innocent smile of a little cherub and say, “Nothing, Mama. Nothing, Daddy.” Well, you found out later that something may have happened, he’d gotten into where he shouldn’t be, or something had been broken, or whatever it is. And so he acted not with the outgoing, unfettered, untrammeled love that you were used to but he was a little reserved, he backed away because something wasn’t right.
Well, the same thing happened in the Garden of Eden, didn’t it? Eve took of the fruit and gave it to her husband and they did eat, and then they knew that they had sinned. And what happened? It says, “Adam and Eve hid themselves from the presence of the Lord among the trees of the garden, they ran away.” They ran away. You see, obedience not only proves your love for God but opens you so that you can enjoy and appreciate His love and His presence.
I want you to try this for yourself, beloved. Anything I tell you, I’ve been there and I know how barren, and how tough, and how frustrating, and how downright painful it is to try to live a Christian life when you’re conscious of not really being right with the Lord on something. I know but I also know that when you get that thing straightened out, you feel so much better inside and all of a sudden, you’re aware of His loving arms around you, and His presence blessing you, and His love poured out to you. Obedience opens you up to enjoy the presence of God and the love of God in a way that you never would otherwise. Would you try that for yourself today? Would you dare to obey God on some matter? It maybe quite insignificant, it doesn’t have to be a world-shaking event, just something God has been dealing with you about. And when you do, then you can expect that our Lord will keep his promise. He says, “My Father will love him and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.” There is nothing as delicious as the awareness of the presence of God.
Who was it? AJ Gordon or one of them used to talk about practicing the presence of God. Practicing the presence of God. That takes time but it is oh so rewarding. Would you try today something that God has been dealing with you about? It doesn’t have to be something big, just whatever the faithful Holy Spirit has been reminding you about. Would you do that? And then would you believe God for the revelation of His loving presence? Not only that, but it says, “Make our abode with Him.” Make our abode with Him, that means move in. [chuckle] Move in.
We had a family many years ago that said, “Could we visit with you for a few days while we find someplace to live?” And so we said, “Alright, you can come in for a day or two.” But then the days lengthened into weeks and the weeks into months. They moved in. [chuckle] Well, that makes a difference, doesn’t it? [chuckle] Yes, it does. Yes, it does.
We’ll make our abode with Him. Now, do you know anything about that? Has God moved in? Huh? Has God moved in to your life? Does He feel at home in your life and in your house? Let me put it this way, is God comfortable in your house because you have made Him so by obedience and love? See, there’s the other side of it, it’s not only that you prove your love by obedience but that you open the door to God’s continued moving in presence when you obey. Obeying God is equivalent to opening the door and saying, “Come on in and live here.” Alright? Make our abode with Him. A shared love and a shared presence. God, comfortable in your heart and in your house.
Then there’s the authority of the Word. What makes Christians different? What have we said so far? Obedience, shared love, shared presence through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Now what? Verse 24, “The word which ye hear is not mine but the Father’s which sent me.” The authority of the Word. In every generation people have to realize that it’s only the word of God, the Bible, that has real authority. Everything else is man’s opinion. I think one of the sad things about seminaries oftentimes, in these past three or four decades especially, is that they’ve been training young men and women to make comments about the Bible instead of saying, “This is what the Bible says.”
Dr. James M. Gray was president of the Moody Bible Institute when I was a student there, just as a boy out of high school. I was just 16 when I entered the Moody Bible Institute. But what rich and rewarding years those were that I spent under the tutelage of Dr. Gray and others. And he used to say so often, “Master what the Bible says. You’ll have no difficulty with what it means.” Oh, we ought to teach our fledgling preachers and preacherettes to specialize in the word of God. And this isn’t anywhere near what the critics called bibliolatry. We don’t worship the book as a book, we worship the message it has. Inerrant, infallible, eternal Word of God. Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away but my word shall never pass away.”
And so you have the authority of the Word of God. Now first of all it has to be in your heart. “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee,” said the psalmist. It has to be part of your own experience. But when it is part of your own heart and mind and memory and experience, then when you speak God’s Word, you have the authority of the Almighty. “It is not ye that speak,” Jesus said, “but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” And so, every spirit-filled believer is a parallel to the Old Testament prophet who said, “Thus saith the Lord.” No, we’re not a bunch of wild-eyed fanatics saying, “God told me this.” You can’t blame God for the wild actions of an aberrant imagination. You can, however, if you are full of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God has taken root in your life and you’re living God’s Word day by day, you can say, “This is what God says in His Word.” And as you give it out, there’s power, there’s authority.
The authority of the believer is part of what makes Christians different. You go on then, of course, to the presence of the Holy Spirit, verse 26 of John 14, “The Holy Ghost whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said.” Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which ye have of God and ye are not your own for you’re bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which both belong to God.” So the Holy Spirit dwells within the believer and that means then that when you yield to Him, Romans 6 says, “Yield yourselves to God as those that are alive from the dead.”
There are three great verbs in Romans 6, preachers. You ever preach on them? I first heard Dr. HA Ironside preach on them. Reckon, yield, and obey. “Reckon yourselves dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God. Make up your mind that this is where you stand and then yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead.” Surrender is built into your bones. Give up to Jesus instead of giving up to sin and then obey. Take your step of obedience and God will bless you for it. So, we have the blessed Holy Spirit as the evidence of God’s presence and as the one who reveals God’s will and God’s power through your life. I’ll get at that the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today, help us to enjoy Thy presence and to proclaim Thy word in power. In Jesus’ name, I pray this. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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