Until You’re Full
You stay in the presence of your Lord until your heart is filled with His love as the Holy Spirit drips it in to your own heart. I can guarantee you that when you rise from your knees, you will be led into some helpful activity to obey God.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing alright? I trust so, bless your heart. Yes, this is your friend Bob Cook, and we’re back together again to share from the Word of God for these precious few moments. I treasure them, and I tell you I consider this one of the greatest privileges of my life to open the Word of God and share it with you. Thanks for being there and thanks for making it possible.
We looked at this passage in John chapter 19, that had to do with Joseph of Arimathea, who was a secret disciple, because he was afraid. And he was also joined by Nicodemus, of whom John said, “He came to Jesus by night,” implying that he had the same problem of not wanting to go public with his faith. And they received permission from Pilate to take down the body of the Lord Jesus and bury it, which they did. Now, that brought on a little discussion that we had a day or so ago, about what is involved in as a matter of being a secret believer, and what do you do if you want to live openly for the Lord Jesus in a risky or costly, or even dangerous situation?
You remember, I warned all of us not to put down in our thinking, to look down upon people who for fear of the tremendous price they might have to pay are keeping their faith in Christ under wraps? Because you don’t walk in their moccasins, and you don’t know what it is they have to face, and it may be a terrifying thing to them. So you need to pray that God will bless and sustain and help them, even in their secret faith. But for many of the rest of us, we’d like to know how to live openly for the Lord, even in situations that might from time to time be costly or even dangerous.
What do you do? Well, you remember we said make that initial commitment. That initial commitment, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord,” Joshua said. An initial commitment to the Lord Jesus makes all the difference in what you do and say after that. And as a side light on that truth, I reminded you that if you really trust the Lord Jesus and commit yourself to Him, you will be, whether or not you wish it, you will be different. Different in your attitudes, different in your standards, different in your reactions to the various things in life. You’ll be different, and people will notice it, so you may just as well come out with it.
But what starts it all is that initial commitment of faith where you make the Lord Jesus Christ by faith your Lord, and He then becomes your Savior. Then we talked about the matter of shining, just let your light shine. Jesus said, “You’re the light of the world, you’re the salt of the earth.” Neither light nor salt make any noise, but oh, they make a difference, don’t they? So He said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see.” Now, what do you see when you see the light? He said, “See your good works.” So the light that is to shine is made evident in the good things that you do because, not in order to become, but because you are a Christian. And the net result is they won’t glorify you, they’ll glorify the Father. Your Father, which is in Heaven. “Let your light,” this is Matthew 5:16, a good verse for us all to learn, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father, which is in Heaven.” It’s your light because you’re a Christian, it’s your good works that prove you’re a Christian, and it’s your Father that gets the glory. I would suggest that every one of us look at our days as we live them as opportunities to do something good that honors the Lord. That honors the Lord.
My good friend Les Flynn says that his wife, Bernice, has lived for many years by a six-fold daily rule. I don’t remember if I can remember them all, but the one is do something good for others. Number two, do something good for yourself. Number three, engage in some physical exercise. Number four, engage in some intellectual and spiritual exercise. And bless me, I’ve forgotten the other two. [chuckle] I should have made notes, shouldn’t I? [chuckle] Well, that proves I’m human.
But in any case, the rule that makes a difference is that you try every day, as God will lead you, to do something good, that they may see your good works. Something that isn’t requested, something that you wouldn’t be forced to do, but because of your love for Christ and for people. So I then come to the fourth point that I wanted to bring out. And that is, “Let the love of God which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost who has given unto us,” Romans 5:8 says that, “Let the love of God be the conquering factor in your life.”
We had a number of years ago a man speak to us at the college in our chapel service one morning, and it developed that he had been imprisoned for a long time in a country located behind what we call the Iron Curtain. And he had been beaten mercilessly and abused and all manner of tortures had been wreaked upon him. He showed us in the privacy of my office some of the scars on his body. Great blue, angry scars and welts that still were there as a result of the beatings.
But in any case, he told of a time when one of his captors was berating him there in his cell and just heaping abuse upon him and making him do some things that were just indescribably embarrassing. And he said, he looked at him and he said, “You are trying to make me hate you. But I want to tell you, I am a Christian, and the Holy Spirit dwells within me. And I am going to love you for Jesus’ sake”. He said, “The man recoiled as though he had been struck in the face and walked away. And that same night, about the midnight hour, there was a rattle of a key in the lock of the cell. And it was the same man who said, ‘I have not been able to get away from what you said.’ And he then trusted Christ as his Savior.”
The love of God conquers. Paul the Apostle said in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “The love of Christ constraineth us.” Now, I have always taken the idea of constraint as being something that made you do what you’re doing. And there is indeed that meaning in the Greek word. “Sunecho” is the verb, which means holds together, literally. It’s the love of Christ that holds us together. Well, that is true, isn’t it? But you look up in your concordance, if you’ve got a Young’s Concordance, and you’ll find that there are a number of different kinds of renderings of that same word. Constrain is one of them, which we have in 2 Corinthians 5:14. Another is to keep in, another is to press. That’s being pressed toward action. Another is to stop, another is to throng, as in the pressure of a crowd. And then another is to be straitened or, we would say, fenced in. Isn’t that an interesting collection of side lights on a single Greek verb?
The love of Christ keeps us in. The love of Christ presses us on. The love of Christ stops us sometimes from doing what we might otherwise do. The love of Christ exerts pressure like a crowd. The love of Christ fences us in so we are going in a definite direction. Yes, and all of that is, as Paul says in Romans 5:8, “Shed abroad in our hearts,” it’s like turning on a floodlight. Not a spotlight but a floodlight in our hearts. Shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost Who is given unto us. And that, you know, is not a point action. That is something that keeps on. Keeps on and keeps on and keeps on, there’s always more. James 4:6, “He giveth more grace,” and so there’s more to follow.
Let the love of Christ in your heart be the force that breaks down the opposition of people who are against you because they’re against Him. Love, it says, worketh no ill to his neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Always in your relationships with other people, you are going to say, if you’re a faithful believer, “How will this affect this child of God with whom I am now dealing?”
Someone years ago gave me a well-deserved rebuke. I had done something very careless, I admit. And it had been a source of hurt feelings. And this friend of mine said, “You know, that person is one of God’s lambs, and you were careless concerning that little lamb.” Well, I had it coming and I took it. We need always to realize that when God is working through our lives, what He does will always be beneficial. It works no ill to the other person. Love is the dynamic that gets faith in action. Faith is something that sort of dies on the vine unless it’s motivated to action. James, in his Epistle, says, “Show me your faith, I will show you my faith by my works.”
Faith has to get to work. And we read there in Galatians 5, verse 6, “Faith which worketh by love.” And in 5:22 of Galatians, “The fruit,” or the result, “Of the Spirit is love.” Here is something that you may well think about in your own life. You believe in the Lord Jesus as your Savior. Many of my listeners do, I know. But maybe not much is going on in your life by way of activity. And I’ll give you something that will help you along this line. You stay in the presence of your Lord until your heart is filled with His love as the Holy Spirit drips it in to your own heart. And I can guarantee you that when you rise from your knees, you will be led into some helpful activity to obey God, always when I have prayed, as we say prayed through, there’s always been a step of obedience that God gave me. It may not have been very much but there’s always something that God will get you going on if you’ll wait before Him until your heart is filled with His love.
Paul says in Colossians 3:14 that love is the bond of perfectness. And that word “perfectness” actually is our idea of a purpose that has been accomplished, an accomplished plan. We get our theological term, “the teleological argument” for the existence of God, the argument from design. God had a grand design for the universe and we are part of it. That’s that same word in your Greek New Testament, perfectness. Love, in other words, enables God to finish out His design in your life. Love is the bond of perfectness, it holds everything together according to God’s perfect design. Let your heart be filled with God’s love. He will enable you to live openly and happily for Jesus.
Precious Father, today may our hearts be filled with Your love and our lives fulfill Your purpose. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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