What He Can Do
There is a connection between what God can do and what you think He can do. Our focus must always be on Him and He will give us the best thing.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Dr. Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you, believe me. I look forward to the chance to share God’s Word with you and in the process, I get my own heart warmed and blessed.
What we’re doing right now is summarizing our study of the Book of Mark. We’re just sort of going through the chapters and hitting the high spots by way of summary of some of the great truths that God has given us during the past weeks when we were walking through the book, verse by verse. We’re looking now at Chapter 9 and, of course, what comes to us immediately is the story of what we commonly call the transfiguration, where the Lord Jesus Christ, having taken Peter, James and John with Him up into a high mountain apart by themselves, said He was transfigured before them. His raiment, his clothing was shining, exceeding white as snow and so on.
Moses and Elijah appeared, talking with Him, Luke says, about His decease, which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. They actually spoke about the crucifixion a good while before it occurred, because in the heavenly councils, there was complete knowledge of the fact that the Lord Jesus came to this earth to die for our sins. Now, Peter, of course, not knowing what to say, said it. [chuckle] Bless him. He always opened his mouth and oftentimes put both feet in, didn’t he? He said, “Master, it’s good for us to be here. Let us make three tabernacles.” That’s a sort of a lean-to shack, kind of a dwelling tent sort of a thing, but made with the twigs and thatch or whatever. “One of thee, one for Moses, one of Eli,” he says, “For he wist not what to say.” Had to say something so he said something that was completely out of line and which brought an immediate response from the Father. “This is my beloved Son. Hear Him.”
Now, the force of all of this, it seems to me, is to point out to us that the focus of our faith and of our obedience always has to be the Lord Jesus Christ. He said, “Hear my friends, if you do as I recommend you, he that loveth me, he that keepeth my words is he that loveth me. And he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father and I will love you. We will come unto him and make our abode with him.” It’s a matter of obeying Him and focusing upon Him if you want really to be associated with the purposes of God. “This is my beloved Son. Hear Him.” And you don’t lump the Lord Jesus together with other great figures, other great religious leaders, or some of the prophets. He stands apart because He is indeed God in the flesh. There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus.
He’s the only one that rose from the dead. He’s the only one who ascended to the right hand of God, the Father, where He sits interceding for you and for me. Absolutely unique in all of human history, is this wonderful God in human form, person. Totally God and totally man, the Lord Jesus Christ. My old theology prof, Dr. John B. Champion, used to say, “There isn’t any hyphen, young men and women. There isn’t any hyphen between God and man. He’s the Godman, altogether God and altogether man.” Now, that’s true. Let the focus of your attention and of your obedience be on the Lord Jesus Christ. Keep your eyes on Him, not on people and you’re gonna be far, far better off.
Now, there’s another thought in this chapter before we go on to Chapter 10, and that has to do with this poor, distraught father of a boy who needed to be delivered from the dominion of an evil spirit. And the father said to Christ, “Oft times it hath cast him into the fire and into the waters to destroy him, but if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said, “If thou canst,” it’s not if I can, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” And straight away the father cried, “Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief.” Our Lord Jesus rebuked the foul spirit, saying, “Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him and enter no more into him.”
The spirit cried and came out of him. The child was as one dead, inasmuch that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand, lifted him up and he arose, and when He was come in to the house, the disciples talked to the Lord, said, “What happened? Why couldn’t we cast him out?” He said, “Because of your unbelief.” Now, what’s the point? There is a connection between the working, the miraculous working of God, and your heart attitude. If you have doubt as to whether God can do anything, you effectively keep Him from your life. Notice that passage, it says somewhere else in the Gospels, “He could there do no mighty work among them, save that He laid His hands on a few sick folk and healed them, and He marveled because of their unbelief.” They said, “Who does He think He is? We know about Him. He’s the son of the carpenter and He’s been brought up here, and His brothers and sisters are with us. Where does He get all of this?” And that unbelief.
And it said He marveled because of their unbelief and He could not, the word is “could not,” isn’t “would not,” it’s “could not.” Unbelief, that is doubt concerning God’s ability to change things, effectively keeps Him from entering into your life and changing things. He said to the father of this boy, who had in his agony said, “If thou canst do anything, have mercy on us and help us.” And Jesus answers, “It’s not if I can’t, it’s if you can, believe.” All things are possible to him that believeth. Now, where does that enter into our own lives? Do you have to sort of kid yourself into thinking that something that isn’t so is so? Do you have to become the victim of your own self-deception and sort of kid yourself along?
Is that what this means? Oh, no, oh, no. It means that the absolute commitment of faith turns the situation over to Almighty God because you know, as Paul says, “That God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” It does not mean that you’ll always get what you ask for. The Lord Jesus gave us that illustration, said, “Which one of you, if you have a child, if he ask bread, will you give him a stone? If he ask a fish, will you give him a snake? And if he ask for an egg, will you give him a scorpion? If ye then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give good things to them that ask Him.” He said, “God isn’t gonna give you something that’ll ruin you.” And the illustration that He used was a small child grabbing at a stone which looks exactly like… A little round stone that looks like a little round flat piece of bread that they had baked on hot stones.
And he says, “Bread.” “No, that’s stone. That’ll break your little teeth. Here, if you want bread, I give you a piece of bread.” And then a little later on he sees a snake, he says, “Oh, that’s an eel, daddy.” And he grabs for it and his father takes him and he said, “That’s a snake. He can bite you. We’ll get an eel at the fish market and we’ll cook him.” And then a little later on he sees a scorpion curled up and it looks like a bird’s egg and he says, “That’s a bird’s egg.” And he reaches for it, his father pulls it away again and he says, “They bite you, they sting you. That’s not an egg.” And now He said, “You sinners, parents know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more your Heavenly Father? He’s gonna give you the right thing.” So having belief, faith in our Lord does not mean that we’ll always get what we ask for. It does mean if you really trust your Lord without any doubt as to His ability or willingness to do the very best for you, God reserves His best for those who leave the choice with Him. If there isn’t any doubt about His willingness or ability to do the very best for you and you commit the situation to Him, then you’re going to see God work.
Now, that’s the force of all of this, if thou canst, it’s not if God can. Of course He can, but whether or not you have faith in Him is the turning point. “He that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder.” In other words, that He answers prayer. A rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Have you turned that corner yet, beloved, in your own spiritual life? In your own heart do you really believe that God answers prayer? And do you really believe that He always gives you what is best for you? And have you really committed yourself, your life and those around you and your job and your future and your health and your body and your needs, even your hang-ups and failures, have you committed that to God?
This is the essence of Christian living, taking the whole package of life, wrapping it together with the string of faith and handing it over to your Blessed Lord and say, “Here, Lord, you run it.” The secret that we preach, the message we preach among the nation, said Paul, is, “Christ in you the hope of glory. Christ in you the hope of glory.” The Lord Jesus Christ living in and through you because you have turned it all over to Him and you yield it to Him knowing that God does the best for you and that God does answer prayer. “Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” These are the words of our Blessed Lord. He must have meant them or He wouldn’t have said them. Well, that’s Mark 9 and there’s ever so much more there, as you know, but we just stop on some of the key points.
Oh, there’s that other verse in 38 where they said, “We saw somebody casting out demons in your name and we forbade him because he followeth not us.” Make room in your thinking for people who may not belong to your group but who are serving your Lord. It’s not necessary for people to belong to your particular group to be accepted by your Lord. They may do things differently, but, oh, He loves them and He uses them. Long ago I originated this Cookism, I’ve used it oftentimes for myself as well as for others, namely, “God reserves the right to use people with whom I disagree.” You don’t always have to find people agreeing with you in order for them to be used of God. If they love the Lord Jesus Christ and serve Him and preach the inerrant Word of God, their methods may be different. They may belong to a different fellowship, but God loves them and uses them, let Him do so. Make room in your thinking for people with whom you may disagree on some points. Open your heart to people with whom you disagree, as long as they love your Blessed Lord. Amen? [chuckle]
It’s a hard lesson to learn sometimes, but then, there it is. He said, “Don’t forbid him, for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name that can likely speak evil of me. He that is not against us is with us.” Remember that the next time you meet somebody that does it a little differently in God’s work and make room for him or her.
Dear Father, today help us to keep our eyes on Jesus. We ask in His 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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