Read your Bible and you’ll find people in both the Old and New Testament wondering whether God forgot them -- but He hasn't.. If we become too routine in eternal matters, we risk turning out to be shallow, empty, fruitless, and unsatisfied.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, I do wait for you to answer. And yes, that does tell you that this is your good friend, Bob Cook, and we’re back together again looking at the Word of God. I look forward to these times like a missionary looks forward to furlough. [chuckle]
It’s a time when I can relax and just look at the Word of God and then sort of spill it over out of the cup of blessing, so that I can share it with you. It’s great. I’m so grateful, and I’m glad too that you’re there on the listening end. I know many of you carve out a special time in your schedule so that we can be together and I appreciate it.
We’re looking at Ephesians, chapter 4. And the theme that we’ve been expanding has been stated in verse 3, “The unity of the spirit.” What is that unity? One body, that’s the body of Christ, all the believers in the world. One Spirit, that’s the Holy Spirit. One hope of your calling, that’s the hope we have in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our hope, the Bible says, “Begotten again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” Peter says. “One Lord.” He’s Lord of all. Lord of your feelings. Lord of your relationships. Lord of your mind. Lord of your motives. Lord of your methods. Lord of your ministry. Lord of all.
And then, “one Lord, one faith,” and we’re talking there, not simply about the quality of faith, we’re talking about the faith, which is centered in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. And one baptism, that’s the baptism of the Holy Spirit. One God and Father of all. You start with God, the awesome relationship with you and the living God, and then Father. He is our Father because of the Lord Jesus Christ, “And God,” Paul says, “Hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into our hearts crying, Abba Father.” The word Abba is our word, Papa; Papa, God. Then he said, “One God and father of all who is above all.”
That’s what we were talking about the last time we got together. The Greek word “epi,” which means “on the job;” He’s on it, He’s there, He’s in charge. And the next word is above all and through all, the little Greek word “dia,” through all. That means He’s in control. That means He has planned it. That means He’s working out His plans, and that means He’ll complete the work. You wanna talk about that for a moment?
Now, it’s one thing to say, yes, I believe in the living God, I know that He’s there, I know that He runs things, and all of that, a lot of people that, the devil even agrees with that. “Thou believest there is one God, thou doest well. The devils also believe and tremble,” James says. So, that, though being a true statement, does not have any helpful or saving influence on the individual, but then you come to this word “through all”. Now, this involves the impingement, the involvement of deity with your life and with mine. He works through everything that you and I experience, through all.
Can you take that in today? See, this is something more than just casual belief in a supreme being. This is more than Unitarianism. See, this has to do with a personal relationship with a God who cares about you and who is able to do something about it. “He’s able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think,” Paul says in Ephesians 3:20, “Able to do exceeding abundantly of all that we ask or even think.” You can’t even imagine how much God can do.
So this is an involvement. A small thought here. Make it a daily habit, make it a daily habit, to be sure you are really involved with God. Will you? Make it a daily habit to be sure you’re really involved with God. Most of us coast along on routine, and life of course, would be pretty complicated without routines. When you first learned to drive a car, every decision you made was a crisis. You saw someone coming down the street, you immediately pulled up on Mrs. McGillicuddy’s lawn to let the car go by, and to start the car and to put it in gear and to pull out into the traffic and to start and stop, and all of that. These were individual crises. Well, you soon became accustomed to all of that and it was a matter of routine. Now you get in the car, turn on the key, start the engine, pull out and hit somebody. All automatically, right?
Routine, yes. Life would be complicated if it were not for habituated patterns of thought and action, I agree. But if you get too routine in eternal matters, you turn out to be shallow and empty and fruitless and unsatisfied. Never be satisfied with anything less than a personal involvement with God, day after day. Would you do that? So He’s in control, we got that in the little Greek word “above all,” “epi,” He’s above all, He’s on the job, He’s in charge.
Now, it says He has planned it all. Paul speaks in this very book of Ephesians 3:11, of the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. The eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. And 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.” So here you have a combination of truth that bids fair to revolutionize your whole attitude toward life. Think of all the variables in life over which you and I have no control. You can’t control the weather, and you can’t control the traffic and you can’t control the mood in which the boss may arrive at the job. You can’t control the competition and you can’t control even your own health, and the atmosphere around you and world events. Just as I’m preparing this broadcast, you will hear it a month from now. And so I don’t know what may have transpired, in that length of time, but just now nations are gathering in the Middle East and are rattling sabres and some mad person may pull the trigger on the Third World War, who knows?
All the variables, you simply cannot control them. Well, know that God has planned all of my life from before the foundation of the world, he has it planned. God has a plan for you. Dr. Bill Bright has in his what he calls the Four Spiritual Laws, the first statement, “God loves you, and has a plan for your life.” God has planned it, He knows what He wants, “He himself knew what He would do,” they said of our Savior, when he walked here on earth with us, and the prophet, speaking for God, says, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, thoughts of peace, not of evil, to give you a desired end.”
God is thinking about you, God has planned for you. And he started his planning before He ever built the worlds or built the body into which He breathed the breath of life in Adam and then again in Eve. So He’s in control, He’s planned it all and He’s now working out His plans. Think, then, of the variables in life that you can’t control as part of the plans that God is already working out, it’ll take all the pressure out of the pressure cooker for you, I assure you.
Now, this is not a matter of kidding yourself and fooling yourself into thinking that things aren’t as serious as they really are. I’m not pleading for any kind of a shallow disdain for reality. If you owe some money you can’t just say the Lord will take care of it and then go your merry way, you know. Things won’t do themselves, the bills won’t pay themselves and the mail won’t answer itself, and the business won’t run itself. I asked a friend of mine years ago why he went broke, he said, “I spent too much time away from the job.” The job won’t take care of itself if you’re busy doing other things, no matter how worthy they may seem to do. Well, we know that, don’t we?
So, we’re not pleading for a happy-go-lucky kind of a disdain for the facts here; what we are saying is that as you look at the realities of life, many of which you cannot possibly control, and for others of which you are definitely responsible but you don’t quite know how to manage it, is you look at the variables of life that you either cannot control, or for which you’re responsible and don’t know what to do next, look heavenward and call up your Heavenly Father on the heavenly telephone of prayer and remind Him by faith that you know His plans are already laid, and ask Him to work out His perfect plan in your life. Amen.
He’s working it out, He’s through it all, He’s through it all, He works through people. He said to Cyrus, a heathen king, “I girded thee though thou hast not known me, Cyrus.” God uses things and people, even individuals who do not know him personally, God uses the events that are happening. Some very strange, some tragic, some upsetting in the extreme, God uses events to work out His eternal purpose.
Now, this is something that you and I can’t quite understand. Somebody will immediately, a person maybe who has lived a half a century or more, will immediately say to me, “Bob Cook, you are off your rocker. How can you say that the terrible things that have happened in this world are part of God’s plan?” Well, I can’t say that He caused them because we’re living in a sinful world and sinful people do sinful things. I’m simply saying that God is still on the throne and He still is working out His eternal purpose, in spite of what happens.
The Bible says, “He maketh the wrath of man to please him, to praise him.” So let the sabres rattle and let the politicians politic and let the diplomats do whatever they do. You and I look heavenward and say, “Lord, I believe you’re in control and this is a chance for you to work your through it all.” You know that song that the singers sing? I don’t have a singing voice, I often wished I had, but I can appreciate music surely, and there is that beautiful song, “Through it all yes, through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust my Lord, through it all.” He’s through it all, everything today that hits your life is part of the permissive will of God, and you can trust Him to see it through. Do you believe that?
Take hold of it for yourself. That means then that He’ll complete the work. Philippians 1:6, “He that hath begun, 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.” The Lord isn’t going to quit on you. We sometimes wonder about that. And if you do, you’re not alone. Read your Bible, and you’ll find people in both Old and New Testament, wondering whether God forgot them. But He doesn’t, He said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” So, He’ll see you through, He won’t quit until the work is done. Somebody had a little button on their lapel that read, “Please be patient with me, God is not finished with me yet.” Well, thank God He isn’t done with me either. We’ll talk about this some more the next time we get together.
Blessed Lord, we trust Thee, we trust Thy eternal plans, we place ourselves by faith in the stream of God’s direct supervision today, 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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