The God Of Intercession
God often uses trials to refine the church. No matter your current situation, He is the God of second chances, and Jesus continues to make intercession for us.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? I ask that, because, you know, if you’ve been listening for a while, that it’s possible to be in the world, but not of it. You don’t have to be tarred with the world’s brush. You can be kept by the power of God through faith. And may that be your portion today, beloved, kept by the power of God. He’s able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. You can trust your Lord today, believe me, all the way.
Well, we’re winding up our study of the Book of Mark and we’ve come now to Mark, Chapter 16, Verse 19. “So then,” says Mark, “After the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs,” that’s our word ‘miracles,’ “following. Amen.”
Now, he said, “After the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God.” Take just a moment to recreate that scene in your own thinking. The disciples asked, as Luke portrays it in the Book of Acts, they said, “Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” They were still hoping for that Messianic deliverer who would lift the yoke of Rome from them. And He said, “It’s not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power, but ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the Earth.” We talked about that verse a day or so ago, didn’t we?
And it said, “When He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven, as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, which also said, ‘Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner, as ye have seen Him go into heaven.’ Then they returned unto Jerusalem.” And they were in prayer there, in the upper room.
He went up and was promised… His coming again was promised back, once more. “God, who in these last days hath spoken unto us, by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things and, by whom also He made the worlds, when He had by Himself purged our sins… ” That’s the work on the cross. “Sat down,” this is Hebrews Chapter 1, Verse 3, “Sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High.” And in that capacity, the writer to the Hebrews says, in his Seventh Chapter, I’m turning the pages here, so I can read the verse for you, he says in his Seventh Chapter, Verse 25, “He is able,” speaking of the Lord Jesus, “Able also, to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
And so the same writer, the writer to the Hebrews, says, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” And even our worship and our praise comes through the Lord Jesus. “By Him, Jesus suffered outside the gate. Let us go forth to Him. By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually. That is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. Our Lord Jesus is seated now, at the right hand of God the Father. And His special work is to make intercession for you, and for me.” What a blessed, wonderful thought, when you think of all of the weaknesses, and frailties, and sins, that you and I bring routinely to the God of grace, to know that there’s somebody there that represents us. John, in his first Epistle, Chapter 2, said, “My little children, these things write I unto you that you sin not.” You don’t have to fail. “But if any man does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He is the propitiation for our sins. And not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Our Lord Jesus, the crucified, and buried, and risen again, and glorified, ascended Son of God, now, at the right hand of God, the Father, represents you. David Morken said to me one day, “Bob, do you know what the present work of the Lord Jesus is?” And I said, “Well, He’s seated in the glory, at the right hand of the Father. “No,” he said, “But what’s His work?” And so he referred me then, to the verse that I read for you from Hebrews, “He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” His great work right now is interceding for you and for me. Oh, that breaks my heart with gratitude, as I think about it, beloved.
Doesn’t it move you, as you think that the Lord Jesus, who went to Calvary for people who hated Him, who was crucified, killed by those who said, “Don’t give us the spotless Son of God, give us a murderer, give us Barabbas instead. We will not have this man to reign over us.” Oh, that wonderful person, who died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, and ascended to heaven, right now, occupies Himself in presenting your case and mine before the Father. Yes, you failed. Yes, I fail. We come short. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. You can’t begin to approximate the holiness of a thrice holy God, but Jesus died for sinners and rose again. The Bible says, “For our justification.” That word means ‘just as if I’d never sinned.’ What He presents to God is a thoroughly clean record for you. He intercedes for you. He says, “Father, I died for that one. I rose again to be his or her representative.” Here in the glory, He intercedes.
Now, some of you, in the bitterness of having failed, you say to yourself, sadly, you say, “Well, I’ve blown it. There’s no more chance for me. It’s all over.” Brother or sister, there’s still a chance to be blessed and to be a blessing. Jesus, right now, is interceding for you. Right now, the throne of grace is open to you. Right now, the door of mercy stands ajar. Right now, you can come in, and confess your need, and your failure, and be refreshed and renewed by a touch from God. He’s the God of the second chance. Jonah proved that. You and I can prove it as well. “He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Right now, this minute, our Lord Jesus is praying for you in the presence of the Father. You can depend upon His saving love. You can depend upon His pardoning grace. You can depend upon the fact that God has plans that overrule the failure of human beings. Hallelujah for that. Trust Him. Trust Him today. Go in through that door of grace, and kneel at the throne, and ask Jesus to cleanse, and to renew you, and He will, for that is His work today.
“He was received up into Heaven and sat at the right hand of the God,” it said. Now, it says, “They went forth and preached everywhere,” same verb again, ‘kerusso,’ proclaimed it like a herald, “Preached everywhere. The Lord working with them and confirming His Word with signs,” that’s our word ‘miracles,’ “following.”
What do you make of that, so far as you and I are concerned? My purpose, always in teaching the Bible, is the ‘so what’ principle. What do I do about it? It says, “They went forth.” There’s an old salesman’s adage that says, “You don’t do any business sitting around.” It’s a little more blunt than that, but I’ve sort of softened it for my listeners. [chuckle] The boss has often said to salesmen, “You don’t get any business just sitting around. Get on out there.”
My old seminary professor, Dr. Champion, used to say, “A home-going pastor makes a church-going people. Get out there and visit the people.” There’s no question but that God’s plan for us is to get in motion with the Gospel. Now, he had to apply a little pressure, in order to get people to obey, so far as the early church there in Jerusalem was concerned. They were having great meetings, great times, and thousands of people coming to a saving knowledge of Christ. And they were busy taking care of the needs, of the temporal needs of thousands of people. Chapter 6 tells about that.
Now, comes the pressure. Stephen, preaching a tremendous sermon, so forceful that it just enraged his listeners, “And they gnashed on him,” it says, “With their teeth,” Verse 54 of Acts Chapter 7, “And then, they cast him out of the city, and stoned and murdered him.” Now, what happened? Well, Chapter 8, Verse 4, “They that were scattered abroad.” See?
As for Saul, well, let’s read Verse 1, “They were all scattered abroad throughout the regions, a great persecution against the church, and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria.” See? “And they that were scattered abroad, persecution drove them out, went everywhere preaching the Word. Philip went down to Samaria.” What did our Lord say? “Ye shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the Earth.” So Philip went down to Samaria.
See, God uses persecution to stir His church. God uses hard times and trials and persecution, to refine, and renew His church. We tend to divide on the basis of our own secular or parochial interests. Christian workers split up a million ways to one, everywhere across the globe, except in areas where there’s great persecution. Then you’ll find Christians of every kind of denomination working and praying together. Years ago, I went to Colombia, in my capacity then as President of Youth For Christ, and I had a lot of good meetings there. I speak some Spanish, and so I was able to communicate with the people in their own tongue, and that was great. And I was talking with a dear old saint of God, he must have been 70 or 80 years old. And he had lived through some tremendous periods of oppression there, in that beautiful country. They all called it ‘the Persecution.’ That was the name they gave for that number of years, when there was great pressure brought on believers in various parts of the country.
Well, now, things had eased up a good deal and Bob Cook was there to hold some meetings, win some young people to Christ, wherever possible. And I said to the old man, I said, “How are things going in the work of the Lord now? You’ve been a Christian for a good many years. You’ve seen so many things. Tell me how are things going in the work of the Lord now?” He thought a moment. He said, “My dear brother,” he said, “It’s pretty good, but it’s not as good as it was when we were being persecuted.” Isn’t that interesting? “It’s pretty good, but it’s not as good as it was when we were being persecuted.” God uses trials to get the Gospel out. Remember that, as a working principle. Don’t fight the trial, let God move you into His perfect purpose.
Dear Father, today, help us to move out with the Gospel, in compliance to Thy command, 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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