God’s people have a right to the unanimity of the Holy Spirit of God.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright today? Well, I trust so.
My heart goes out to so many of you whom I know, and then thousands more that I have never met, but we will meet one day, won’t we? We’re going to have a radio rally in glory, and we’ll get together and share our blessings and experiences and worship our blessed Lord, and so whether or not we’ve met on this earth, we’re going to be good, good friends yonder in the glory.
“Then shall I know,” says Paul, “even as also I am known.” Now we see as through a glass or mirror darkly, but then face-to-face. “Face-to-face with Christ my Savior, Face-to-face – what will it be? When with rapture I behold Him, Jesus Christ who died for me?” And there in the presence of our blessed Lord, rejoice in Him and have fellowship with each other. Hallelujah for that! Amen!
Well, in the meantime, let’s live it up for God. Live while you live. Don’t just sit around just waiting for the rapture. Jesus said, “occupy.” That means “keep on the job.” Paul said to Timothy, “be instant in season, out of season.” Stay on the job no matter what the circumstances are, or the consequences, until our blessed Lord calls. Let’s keep active for Him. I pray every day that the Lord will use me right straight up to the edge of my life and then pour me out and get me going to the glory, and pray that God would make the last years of my life the best. Join me in that prayer! I want to be so full of God that I just spill over, blessing every step along the way, as the days go by.
We’d better get to the Scripture or the time will have gone by in chatting. And we’re in the third chapter, 1 Timothy, you and I. Qualifications for whom Paul calls “bishop.” We would call them “pastors.” “A bishop, blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, good behavior, and given to hospitality, apt to teach.” I think that’s as far as we got the last time we were talking. “Didasko.” How do you teach and what is the result of it? You remember that?
Now, verse 3 of 1 Timothy 3, “Not given to wine.” It’s an interesting word. I looked it up, of course. I have my Greek New Testament beside me every day and I looked it up. It means not only, well, it’s a word that is a compound, a combination of “para,” which means “beside” or “under the power of,” or “doing the, the work of” in some cases, and then it’s the, the verb for a, for a wine. A strong drink. So it says, “Not given to wine.” It means “not under the power of.”
You see, science has taught us that alcohol attacks the higher centers of the brain first and benumbs them, and you become under the power of it. Paul says in Ephesians 5, “Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.” He used same verb, although it’s translated different ways. “Drunk” and “filled of,” the same Greek verb. Be not under the power of liquor, but under the power of the Holy Spirit.
When the Spirit of God fills your life and, and controls you, He controls the higher centers as well as all the rest of your intelligence. He then dictates your thought patterns and your decisions, but a person who is under the power of liquor or drugs is, is controlled by those substances. Incidentally, the evidence would seem to indicate that drug abusers of whatever kind – whether it be alcohol or any other kind of drug – drug abusers open themselves to the attacks of evil spirits. You read the evidence, as it said, given to us by researchers in that field, and then you’ll find – as I have found – that one of the great tragedies that are byproducts of the, the drug abuse syndrome in our society, one of the great tragedies is that we have opened our society to the attacks of evil spirits.
Someone said to me, someone said to me back in the 1960’s, when the battle in the Supreme Court was going on concerning prayer and the Bible and the schools, said, “Now you can expect, you can expect an inflow of demonic attacks, satanic attacks upon the country. You can expect that because we closed our, our doors to the Word of God.” And the same thing is true with the drug, the drug abuse syndrome in our society. We close our doors to God, and we open the door to satanic attacks.
Now, I say that just, just by way of warning. If somebody that is listening today or tonight – because sometimes this broadcast is heard very late in the evening, isn’t it – wherever and whenever you may be listening, and you are either a young person considering dabbling in mind-altering drugs (cocaine or marijuana or heroin or whatever), or you’ve been dabbling in and taking what you call a social drink with the boys and the girls, just let me tell you something: when you do this, beloved, you are opening your life to the attacks of Satan. You are buying a heart full and a lifelong basket of tragedy. Don’t do it.
Instead, it’s the same process, but instead, surrender to the Holy Spirit of God. Paul says in Romans 6, “You’ve yielded the members of your body as slaves to unrighteousness.” Now, he says the very same thing, “Give up, but give up to God. Yield the members of your body servants as slaves to righteousness and the result will be holiness.” What does he mean when he says “righteousness”? Our righteousness is a person. Christ is our righteousness, and when you let Him in your life, the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit begins to reduplicate in you and in me the characteristics of our blessed Savior, and our lives are controlled, instead of being controlled by drugs and by satanic influences and by our own poor, selfish, sinful desires. “Every man is tempted,” James says, “when he is drawn away by his own desires, and enticed.” Instead of our lives being controlled by all that, they are under the control of the Holy Spirit of God.
Now, all of this comes into focus when Paul says, “Not given to wine.” Don’t, don’t be taken in by that. Far better… You can argue, if you wish. Some of you do; I know because you’ve written me about it. You can argue, if you wish, for the fact that the Bible never says “You must never have or touch a drop of it,” and you can argue that if you wish, but I’ve seen enough alcoholics who went into despair and tragedy by a single drink. I’ve seen enough of the tragedy that is produced in broken homes and lost jobs and broken health and, and abused children, and beaten, bruised wives, I’ve seen enough of that to know that the Christian position is “Don’t touch it.” Far better to forego something about which you might conceivably argue. Far better to forego it and have a testimony that’s clean and a life that isn’t opened up to those possibilities. You agree? Well, if you don’t, my father used to say, “You don’t agree with me, boy? We’ll be in Heaven someday and you’ll know I was right.” You can’t argue that kind of logic, can you? He says, “Not given to wine.”
Then he says, “no striker.” I have a little piece of electrical apparatus that I had for many years at Briarcliff when I lived there on the campus of the college. It’s called a plectron, and the name of it is, is taken from this word here: “striker.” Something that, that, that strikes out, strikes out. I looked it up just for my own sake this, this word “striker.” “Plaktane” is the Greek word, and it means a bruiser; a fella that is always ready with his fists, always ready to strike back.
You can’t be in God’s work successfully and be always lashing out at people. As a matter fact, I don’t know of any major question that has been settled by people who are strikers, people who lash out, strike back. I don’t know any major controversy that has been settled that way, in God’s work. People do differ. They, they had some differences as recorded in their book of Acts, the differences in the early church, didn’t they? But they didn’t fight with each other. They didn’t double up their fists and then invite each other out in the alley. There’s a different way to get at it.
I believe that God’s people have a right to oneness of heart. The multitude that believed was of one heart and one soul. On the day of Pentecost, the 120 people who were gathered, praying together, were of one heart. That doesn’t mean that they were in exact agreement on what to wear or what word to use, whatever you might say, but their hearts were one. They were all facing in the same direction. God’s people have a right to the unanimity of the Holy Spirit of God.
Why is it that a team of horses, whether it be two or three or six – however many are hitched up to the wagon – how, how is it that a team of horses all turn in the same direction at the same time? Can you tell me? Is it that they have decided among them that they will all agree? No. You people who were brought up on the farm know better than that, don’t you? Every horse has its own disposition. Some are gentle and some are rough and some are prone to kick you if they get a chance, and some are biters and some are obedient and some are rebellious. Every horse has its own disposition, but here you’ve got two or three or maybe six horses hitched up to the wagon and they’re trotting along and, and all of a sudden they turn – “gee” or “haw,” we used to say on the farm – they turn together. Why?
Well, you say, “Listen, Brother Cook, that’s simple. Because they’re all connected to the driver, and he pulls the reins in one hand – his right hand, let us say – he pulls the, the reins that he holds in his right hand, and every one of those horses feels the tug on his, bridle, his bit – the bit that’s in his mouth – to turn right, and that’s why they turn. There may be six horses, but there’s only one driver.”
So listen, don’t strike out and lash back at people. You don’t settle anything that way. You settle things by seeking the face of God. How often in years past I’ve said to people, “Listen, let’s not argue about this. Let’s have a little time of prayer,” and we prayed and we’d seek God and then would come up with a decision that evidently God put in all of our hearts. I think – and this goes for some of you who have to run church meetings and, and faculty meetings, and missionary field council meetings, and all that sort of a thing, where people have different ideas – if you can’t come to an agreement in a business session, put off the action and pray until you are in agreement. Good idea? Yes, a very good idea. Well, we’ll get at the rest of this the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, make us people who seek Thy Will and get together with Thy people as a result, 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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