The Great Gift
TranscriptAlright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends, how in the world are you? You doing alright today? Oh I’m fine, thank you. Bless your heart, thank you for asking, I feel great, praise the Lord. Feel like I’d live forever. And as a matter of fact I intend to, don’t you? My father used to say, "One of these days, they’ll say Charlie Cook has died, don’t you believe it? I’ll be in the glory, and I’ll be feeling fine, boy, I’ll be feeling fine." [chuckle] If I have any horizon of dynamic faith that affects my view of the future, not a little of it derives from the constant emphasis that was made in my life during boyhood days by that good man, who strove to be both mother and father to his motherless boy. And to my sister who, 10 years my senior, bravely took up the task of keeping house for her father and that little stroobly-haired boy. Always looking forward to heaven with joy. And that makes a difference in your every day horizon as you know. Well, dear friend, come with me then to Ephesians Chapter four. We want to wrap up our comment on verse six, one God and Father of all, who is above all, He’s on the job and in charge, and through all He mediates, He implements the will of God in you. He’s working out His plans. “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” And He won’t quit until the work is done. “Being confident of this very thing that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” And then He says, in you all the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in your life when you’re saved. Anything worthy of eternity, He does it, “It is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure." He gives you the want to and then He implements that will in your life. Any change in your character or personality He makes it through the indwelling Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control, all of those wonderful qualities the Spirit of God builds into your life. And so now we come to the concept that I just wanted to use in wrapping up our comment on this. Anything that needs to be proved to the outside, even the spirit world, He proves it. Ephesians three and verse 10 has some reference to that as you know, to the intent that now unto principalities and powers in heavenly places. Now principalities and powers is a reference specifically to angelic forces, mostly demonic forces. Paul says in Ephesians six, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness as to this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." So he says here in Ephesians 3:10, “To the intent that now on the principalities and powers in the heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” What God is doing in your life through the Holy Spirit is part of His overall plan to prove to the devil and all of his legions and to the angels and anybody else that’s looking on in the universe that God is right, and that salvation is right, and that the will of God is best. Anything that needs to be proved to the outside world of principalities and powers, He does it. Anything that needs to be proved to the world around us, He does it. Couple of verses there might suggest this truth. Our lord Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify,” what? “your Father which is in heaven." You are part of God’s proof that He does the right thing. You are part of God’s proof that He is faithful, and that He is right, amen? And then of course, Romans 12:2 is familiar to you, isn’t it, "Be not conformed to this world," means don’t be jammed into the world’s mold like some cookie-cutter. “But be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Now why? “That you may prove what is good and what is acceptable and what is perfect, namely the will of God.” Part of the reason that you’re living is not only to glorify God, but to prove to everybody around that the will of God is good. That means it’s good for you, and acceptable, that means you can take it, and it’s perfect, you can’t get a better deal. Have you lived long enough to realize that God’s will is indeed best? I can look back over my life, of course, and see so many times when things that I wanted, oh how I wanted some things, were not really in the will of God for me. And so he closed some doors because it wasn’t His will and opened some others. I remember in years past, I looked at one particular school and I thought, "Oh if I could only be president of that school." Well, I had one friend on the board and he said, "Bob I’ll nominate you, I’ll put your name in." But nothing came of it. I found out later that one of my other good friends nixed the whole business. I don’t know why, I’ll ask him when I get to glory. [chuckle] But it wasn’t God’s will. Well then some years later, there came the phone call from Bill Miller, and who then was Chairman of the Board of the college, and he asked whether I might be willing to be interviewed for that position. And within a matter of months, I had already started then as President of the college. God had His will there and opened up the door. See, the will of God is perfect. You can’t get a better deal than the will of God. Have you decided that in your life? Oh, it’s hard to submit to the will of God when you want something so badly, isn’t that true? It’s like a little child who’s been given an all-day sucker by some kindly grocery person and mother said, "Now don’t touch it, don’t eat it, because it’s too close to supper time, you’ll spoil your supper." And those eyes. Have you seen that longing look in the eyes of a little child who looks at the sucker and just longs to get at it? [chuckle] As a matter fact, I can remember, I haven’t forgotten when you want something so badly and you can’t have it. Have you made up your mind that God’s will is perfect, it’s good, that means it’s good for you. It’s acceptable, that means you can take it, it’s not too hard to take. And it’s perfect, you can’t get a better deal. I dwelt on that momentarily because somebody needs to be reminded that God’s will is perfect for you, right now. The will of God for you right now, where you are and what you are and the circumstances in which you are, are part of God’s perfect will for your life, and you couldn’t get a better deal than He’s giving you. So let Him work in your life, it is God that worketh in you. Both the will that means give you the want to, and to do that means implement His perfect purpose in your life. The will of God is perfect, and you prove that by your life. Prove it to everybody around. People and the angels and the demons, anybody else in all the universe, observing your born again life will come to the conclusion that the will of God is perfect. Isn’t that great? Well, let it work in your own life today. Now, he says, as we continue in Ephesians Chapter four verse seven, But "Unto every one of us, is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ." Grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” Wherefore he saith, “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” And there’s a little parenthesis there that said, if He ascended, He had to go down first into the depths of the Earth, and now He’s ascended into the heavens that He might fill all things, verses nine and 10. And he gave... This is a continuation of verse eight down into verse 11, "He gave to some apostles and some prophets and some evangelists and some pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying the body of Christ." Now, the point that sticks out there right away is, there’s no measure to the grace of God, the parameters of your service are determined by His gracious gift. Two things then; learn to appreciate the endless grace of God, and two, learn to live within the parameters of His gift to you. Alright? Paul speaks about various areas of service that God has delineated in people’s lives. I turn over to Romans 12. And so he said, "Having then gifts." This is Romans 12:6, "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us." Now see, that’s the same phrase, that to everyone of us is given grace according to the gift of Christ, "Having gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us whether it’s prophecy, or ministry, or teaching, or exalting, or giving, or ruling as supervision, or showing mercy, or showing love. All of this is part of God’s gift to the believer. And not everybody has all the gifts. Not everybody has all the gifts, although you’re allowed to pray for certain gifts. Have you noticed that? He says, "Covet earnestly the best gifts." This is 1st Corinthians 12, isn’t it? Yet I show unto you a more excellent way. You can pray that God would give you gifts commensurate with His will for your life, and your desire for Him. He says not everybody is an apostle, not everybody is a prophet, not everybody’s a teacher, not everybody can work miracles, not everybody has the gift of healing, not everybody speaks with tongues, not everybody interprets, but he said covet earnestly the best gifts. And yet he said, "I’ll show you a more excellent way. Earnestly follow after love and desire." This is 14:1 of 1st Corinthians, spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy forth-telling, not just fore-telling but forth-telling the truth of God. So, well I’ve been sort of walking around in this just to make a little background of what we’re gonna say. Every one of us, He said is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. What is the measure of the gift of Christ? John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." The measure of the gift of the Christ gave Himself. The Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost, even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give Himself a ransom for many, Jesus said. So the gift is a person, all of Him, the Lord Jesus Christ. The gift is a person that takes in all of the need of all the world. The gift is a person that takes in all of the people who have needs, who serve and believe it, the gift is a person who makes it possible to have everlasting life as the very atmosphere of your existence. Well, we’ll get back to this the next time we get together. Enjoy the grace of God today, beloved. There’s no end to it. Dear Father, thank you for the gifts of your grace in the Lord Jesus 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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