You simply cannot cope humanly with the power of God in answer to prayer.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing all right? Yes this is your friend, Dr. Cook, and I’m just so grateful to be back with you to invest a few more moments in sharing from the Word of God. What we try to do is to put a handle on it so that you can get hold of it for yourself. God’s inerrant, infallible Word is forever true whether or not anyone reads or believes it. God said it and that settles it. However, it becomes of value to you when you understand it and apply it to your own life.
And that’s our purpose in coming to you with these Bible expositions day by day. We go verse by verse through a book of the Bible. Right now we’re in Romans chapter 15 and we’re looking at verse 30. Paul the apostle says, “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; That I may be delivered from them that do not believe those who live in Judea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted by the saints; and that I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and that I may with you be refreshed.”
He has a number then of requests and he uses a very strong verb. If you look it up in your Greek New Testament, you’ll find “exomologÃªsomai,” “to agonize with me in prayer.” Now what are the areas, beloved, what are the areas where you will find opposition from Satan when you start to pray? First of all, it’s prayer for a person. He says, “Pray for me.” The devil doesn’t fight you as long as you pray in generalities, have you noticed that? You can launch into a theological statement in your prayer as many do, “Lord we thank you that Thou art there, that Thou doest run the universe, that Thou art God. Thank you for the gift of salvation. Thank you for the forgiveness of sins;” these are all very good concepts and they’re true. I’m not putting them down, you understand?
The point is, the devil doesn’t fight you when you pray in generalities and in truth like that. He fights you when you begin to apply those truths to the need of a given person; then, you’re in for a fight. Why would Paul otherwise use that strong verb “agonize with me in prayer?” Because when you start praying about the needs of an individual, you have to face the opposition of the powers of darkness who don’t want that individual to be blessed or delivered or saved or used. You follow that?
So do expect that praying for people, definitely, and praying for God’s intervention in the lives of other persons will be opposed. That’s the first area of conflict that he mentions. Now, what else? He says, “Pray that I may be delivered from them who do not believe those who live in Judea.” The opposition of unbelievers. This is an arena of conflict that you’ll find everywhere. Interestingly enough, especially in our culture where there’s a certain amount of toleration for religious differences.
In our culture, you can speak of God, you can speak of God, you can speak of faith, you can speak of integrity, you can speak of praying, you can mention all these different concepts and find very little disagreement among people. They will politely tolerate you at least even though they may differ from you. That’s the way our culture is set up and it’s a very good thing, isn’t it? However, when you start speaking about the Lord, Jesus Christ and your faith in Him and the fact that He is your Lord and your Savior, I can guarantee you that unbelieving hearts somehow just can’t take that and you’ll find opposition rising up.
It’s an interesting fact, isn’t it? Many of you, my listeners have, you’ve gone through this experience yourself. To be mildly religious is one thing; to be enthusiastically Christian is quite another. When Stuart Hamblen began to write songs honoring his newfound Savior and Lord a good many years ago, this would have been back in the 19- late 1940s I guess and early 1950s; and he began to write songs honoring the Lord Jesus Christ and he mentioned the Savior’s name and he mentioned the blood that was shed on Calvary.
There was one song he wrote I remember that had as some of its words “Each drop of blood bought me a million years.” Then the publishers, he told us, the publishers said, “You can write about God and all of that but if you’re going to talk about Jesus, can’t you just leave that part out and that part about the shed blood, leave that out. We’ll publish your song,” they said, “if you just leave that out.” Well, he was then and may well be now a man who knew his own mind and he said, “Nothing doing.” He said, “That’s the way it is and that’s the way I’m going to write it.”
The world opposes you simply on the basis of the fact that it cannot take the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The world is still saying as they did, the crowd did, while they stood around the cross, “We will not have this man to reign over us.” It’s what the apostle Paul called “the reproach of the cross.” Now, what should be your attitude toward it? Number one, never trim the truth. Never trim the truth. You are not required to diminish your faith in Christ in the interest of getting along with anybody. That is for sure. Number two, pray earnestly as Paul said here, “Pray for me,” he said, “Pray earnestly that God may Himself control the atmosphere which could otherwise be one of opposition.
Now, some of us have gone through this very experience where we were confronted by people who wanted nothing to do with the gospel, who finally and miraculously changed their minds and invited us in. This has happened a number of times to me personally on the mission fields of the world. And it’s happened times without number through these past years in various communities in our own country and in Canada to the north of us where people would just because they were unsaved themselves and didn’t know and didn’t want to know the Lord Jesus, they were in opposition to what we were trying to do and then in answer to prayer, God changed their attitude and the door was opened for the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And so, number one, make sure that your message is crystal clear, biblically based and crystal clear and faithful to the truth concerning our blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus. Second, pray earnestly that God may work in the hearts of those who are opposing the gospel, okay? Then what? Well, just a word here and I’m bringing this in. It’s not in the text at all but I want to drop it into your mind. Be careful that you don’t confuse human combativeness and assertiveness with convictions and faith.
Some people are born, as we say, in the accusative case. Some people gravitate to confrontation. We’ve all met the person who walks up to you and says, “You’re not going to like this but I’m going to tell you for your own good,” and immediately, you feel like defending yourself, isn’t that true? So just be careful that we don’t confuse quarrelsomeness and assertiveness and combativeness with convictions and testimony. There’s a loving, Christ-honoring, gracious way to say anything that needs being said. There’s a loving, Christ-honoring, gracious way to say anything that needs to be said.
Specialize in being a gracious person. “They marvel,” the Bible says concerning our Lord Jesus, “They marvel that the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth.” The combination of boldness and grace is the trademark of the Holy Spirit. When the Spirit of God refilled the people who were members of the baby church there at Jerusalem, you’ll find the story in Acts chapter 4, they prayed, said “Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, and that signs and wonders may be done by stretching forth thine hand to heal and that signs and wonders may be done in the name of Thy holy child Jesus,” and when they had prayed, the place was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.”
See it’s the combination of boldness and grace that God will give you in the face of Satanic opposition and nothing, my dear friend, can stand before the power of the Holy Spirit when He combines boldness and grace. They can put you in jail as they had done with Peter and John. But when they brought them out of jail and interrogated them and threatened them and harassed them, it said, they just simply had to take knowledge that they’d been with Jesus. You simply cannot cope humanly with the power of God in answer to prayer.
Ladies and gentlemen, there you have the key to victory in any situation. You don’t have to fight or to finagle it yourself. Hallelujah. Answer the prayer; God can change things around. You just make sure that you’re filled with the spirit of God and that your approach then to any situation is one of Holy boldness and God given Calvary love and grace. Amen? Unbelievers opposition; then you have the non-acceptance of believers. This could be a problem. He said, “We want to be delivered from unbelievers in Judea and,” he says, “pray,” now he uses the same verb here, remember, “agonize with me that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted by the saints.”
Well, he was bringing a love offering to them. You would think they would accept it. But you see, it isn’t only that, it’s the fact that the person bringing that love offering had certain characteristics that marked his service that might well be rejected.
Dear Father today, may we win the battle through prayer, 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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