Turning His Way
You’ll never know how good God is until you’re willing to turn away from the world system for His sake.
Alright thank you very much, and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing alright? Bless your heart, I hope you are. I’m glad to be back with you. This is your friend Dr. Cook and I’m here to share with you from the Word of God- try to put a handle on it, so that you can get hold of it for yourself. God’s Word is forever true, whether or not anyone reads or believes it. It’s alive, it’s powerful, it’s sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit of the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Jesus said, “My Words are Spirit and they’re Life”. God’s Word is alive. It has power, but it becomes useful and available to you and me, when we have applied to ourselves. My job therefore, through these past years, nearly a quarter of a century now since I began with the King’s Hour, is to put a handle on God’s Word, so that you can apply it to your own life. I trust that may be so for you beloved, today. I’ve been praying that God’s blessing and truth and power and His love most of all, may come through to you through my voice. You get yelled at enough, don’t you? Maybe somebody that understands and loves and cares might be pretty useful from time to time.
Well here I am, and I’m talking with you about the last verse of Psalm 23, under the heading of goodness Paul says, “Goodness and mercy”, (not Paul, David says,) “Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”, and we went here and there, looking at some of the truths about God’s goodness. We got then down to Romans 12, where the job of the Spirit-filled believer is to prove that God’s will is indeed good and acceptable and perfect. How does the goodness of God’s will become real to you? That was where we left off the last time, I believe. The goodness of God’s will becomes real to you when you present yourself to Him as a living sacrifice. Sacrifice is something devoted to God, involves a life not just something done. A sacrifice is something that affects the relationship between you and God, and it is “a holy sacrifice”, Paul says, “imputed holiness, imputed by the grace of God and then imparted to us by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service”, finishes out that first verse of Romans chapter 12 verse one. You never know the goodness of God until you’ve given yourself over completely to Him. There is that strange reluctance that all of us have. I’m sure you do, I know I do. A strange reluctance born I suppose of the fact that we’re sinners by nature and by choice. Reluctance to turn ourselves and our destiny and the unknown variants of the future, all over to God. But when you do that in the light of Romans 12:1, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice”, sacrifice is something utterly devoted, has no other use, a sacrifice involves a life given over. The person who was a sacrifice, the person who’s been be crucified for instance, the Lamb that was going to the sacrificial altar, had no further plans, was not coming back again, and it involves a change in relationship between the sacrificer and God. So, when you give yourself to the Lord in that way, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you begin to know then and only then, the depths of the wonder of the goodness of God. How good God is to you and to me. Now, you know something about the goodness of God when you realize that you don’t have to be jammed into the world’s mold. You don’t have to be formed with the world’s cookie-cutter, for example in Romans 12:2 in the Greek New Testament, the verb there suschema-tizo, it has to do with being schematized. Don’t operate by the world’s blueprint or don’t be jammed into the world’s mold. Don’t copy the world’s methods.
Now, when we talk about the world we’re not talking about the world of trees and flowers and mountains and babbling brooks and sunsets- that is not the kind of world we’re talking about. The world, as it’s used in this passage and in many other passages in the Bible, has do with the world system, that is to say the spirit of the world, the spirit of this age, that is dominated by Satan. The selfish, please yourself first, you don’t need God, you better yourself by disobeying God the agent lie that Satan told in the Garden of Eden. That’s the spirit of the world. He said, “You don’t have to copy the spirit of the world”. Aren’t you glad that’s so? Have you learned that, young person? It’s awfully hard in your teens and that pressure goes clear down into junior high and into the elementary grades as well, doesn’t it? I’m not so old, but that I can remember some of those feelings that I had as a boy, and then a young man coming on up through the teens. Peer pressure is a tremendous thing and people say, ‘Oh, come on do it, don’t be a wet blanket, don’t be an oddball’, you know. ‘Oh, you are so funny Cook, why don’t you just join us?’ Peer pressure. But have you discovered you don’t have to cave in to the pressure of the world? Have you discovered the television has a knob on it, that you can turn off that show that is dirty? Have you discovered that you don’t have to try drugs to know that they hurt you? That I have a saying that I’ve used for good many years with the college people, you don’t have to eat garbage to know that it is garbage. You know the popular theory in liberal education through the past half a century more generally, has been that you have to sample the prurient and the obscene in order to know about quote “life” unquote.
Well, you get close enough to a dump, you’ll know it’s a dump, and you get close up to garbage, you’ll know it’s garbage, and you don’t have to sample it n order to know that. That’s my point. You don’t have to be jammed into the world’s mold. You don’t had to be tarred with the world’s brush, “You who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, says Peter, “ready to be revealed at the last day”. Don’t be schematized with the world, don’t be conformed, jammed into the world’s mold, built according to the world’s blueprint, living according to the world’s standards, caving into the world’s peer pressure. You don’t have to, you don’t have to, you can say no, and you can do so successfully. You see, the great theory is if I say no, I’ll be snubbed and I won’t be anybody. I won’t have any friends and I won’t be anybody and then I won’t amount to anything if I say no to peer pressure, about drugs, about sex, about the various other things that would grieve the Spirit of God in my life. If I say no to the gang, then what? I’ll be an oddball, be left out I won’t be invited to their parties, they won’t be friends with me, and I won’t have any friends, you know, I can just hear all that goes through your mind, my young friend, because it went through mine as well. Now, the fact of the matter is far different. You can say no to the world system by the grace of God. He strengthens you. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, anything God asks you to do, He will enable you to do and so you can say no to the pressures of the world and in so doing you’re not going to do it smugly and in a pharisaical fashion, as if to say I’m better than you, so I don’t do this. No, no. That isn’t the point. You simply refuse to be drawn in to these various things because you know you’ve got something better, something better.
Here’s a young fellow who’s gone out for football. Now, his diet up to that point has consisted of french fries, hamburgers, candy bars, milkshakes, and the like. All of it junk food, and while it nourishes his body to a point, it’s not all that good for him. Now, he goes out for football and all of a sudden he comes home and says, “Ma, I got to have a lot of green, leafy vegetables and a lot of lean meat and so on”. Well, she said, “Son, I think you’re sick”. “No”, he said, “I’m not sick”, said, “Got to have all of this and I’ve got to get to bed early.” “Get a lot of sleep?”, she said, “Well, I know you’re sick now -you never wanted to go to bed before”. He said, “I’m not sick, I made the team today and the coach says that we got to do this and we’re going to beat old Sywash this year!”, and his face lights up in anticipation of that projected victory over their traditional rival Sywash High School. Well, why is he willing to change and not gorge himself on french fries and hamburgers and milkshakes and the like? Why is he willing to do something that he was not willing to do before? Because he has something so much better. Paul said in Philippians, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whom I’ve suffered the loss of all things and do count them but refuse that I may win Christ and be found in Him”. I got something so much better, he said. You’ll never know how good God is until you’re willing to turn away from the world system for His sake, because He is so much better. Think now; is the Lord Jesus Christ better to you than drugs? Is He better to you than alcohol? Is He better to you than the illicit sex? Is He better to you than the occasional shoplifting trip, where you snatch a few things slyly from a counter and go home to gloat? Is He better to you than cheating on wife or husband? Is Jesus any better than that, and the answer obviously is, oh yes He is! Well, if that be so, choose Him, choose Him, choose Christ. It is a positive choice, not a negative drawing back. It’s a positive choice to choose the Lord Jesus Christ and all of His will for you; you don’t have to be jammed into the world’s mold.
One of the great desires of youth is kind of an ambivalent desire, you want to be different and yet you want to be accepted by the crowd. In the days when they were having what they call duck tailed haircuts, everybody had a duck tailed haircut. Recently, as some of the boys got one of these at the college, two or three years ago and before I left as President, some of the fellas got these Mohawk haircuts, you know like Mr. T? And they came around. Well it was their bid for attention and they got it all right (laughs) But you know, you don’t have to try to get attention. You can decide what it is you’re living for, you can refuse to be jammed into somebody else’s mold, or somebody else’s ideas, or somebody else’s standards, and you can be true to your blessed Lord Jesus, and in the process, when the day is finished and you turn out the pockets of memory and look at what’s gone on, you can say thank God, I put Him first. Jesus. I put you first. Oh, God you’re so good to me. You’ll be able to look and see where the Lord guided you, where He used you, where He blessed you, and He’ll have that blessed, wonderful, delicious feeling of well-being in your soul because you refused to be jammed into the world’s cookie-cutter mold. That’s part of what is involved in knowing and displaying the goodness of God.
Dear Father today, keep us true to Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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