The ultimate motivation of your life, is that which you really seek.
Alright thank you very much and hello again radio friends, how in the world are you? Yes it’s your friend, Dr. Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. These times in the morning hours when I sit down before the microphone and open the Word of God and share with you, I have to tell you, they are some of the most precious times in all of my life. I am so grateful that the Lord has put us together, you and the Word of God and the radio and I. Thank God for it.
Looking at Mark, you and I, we’ve come now to the middle of a passage that begins with verse 38. We got 38 and part of 39 I think the last time we got together. Let’s get a running start into that again by reading it. Jesus said unto them in His doctrine, oh small thought here, sometime if you want to enrich your own understanding of the Bible, study through all of the teachings of Christ. For example the Beatitudes; He went up to the mountain and when he was set His disciples came unto Him and He taught them saying blessed are the poor in spirit. That’s why we have the Sermon on the Mount.
The teachings of Christ. Here’s another one: He said unto them in His doctrine, His teaching in other words, beware of the scribes which love to go in long clothing and love salutations in the marketplaces and love the chief seats in the synagogues and love the uppermost rooms at feasts; which also devour widows homes, houses and for a pretense make long prayers. These shall receive greater condemnation. Strange isn’t it because the scribes had just been talking with Him. A scribe came in verse 28 of Mark 12 and said which is the first commandment of all?
The scribes and Pharisees had been talking with Him before and asking questions you know? Chief priests and the scribes and the elders Chapter 11 verse 27 talking about what authority do you have and the Lord Jesus spoke this parable of the vineyard unto them and they knew, said they sought to lay hold on Him but feared the people for the knew that He had spoken the parable against them so they went their way.
Then came the Pharisees and the Herodians then came the Sadducees all the different varieties of religious belief or nonbelief were having a go at trying to trip up our blessed Savior. So in verse 28 one of the scribes had asked which the greatest commandment is and when the scribe answered discreetly, our Lord Jesus said thou art not far from the Kingdom of God. One of the sad verses, the man near enough to be saved but didn’t enter in.
Now He zeros in on the scribes, why? Because they were the people who claimed to understand the Word of God. The prophets and the Psalms, the historical books of the Old Testament were their particular bailiwick and they were the ones who said you come to us, we’ll explain to you what it says and what it means. Scribes, their job was to read, to understand and to explain the written Word of God, in those days the Old Testament, alright? So now He’s talking about them and He said beware of the scribes, now why? Because knowing the Bible is no guarantee that your motivation is going to be pure. What you really love in your own heart.
Now this is a throwback to what our Lord Jesus had been saying to this one particular scribe that talked to Him. What’s the greatest commandment? Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, strength and mind. And the second commandment is like it, love thy neighbor as thy self. Love is the ultimate motivation and if you love God, that’s one thing but if you don’t love God, you love something else. And whether or not you have a working knowledge of religious writings is entirely beside the point. Do you understand now why the Lord Jesus is saying this? This scribe talked to our Lord beginning in verse 28 in Mark 12 which is the first commandment of all. He answered discreetly; the Savior said to Him, you’re not far from the Kingdom. You’re not in but you’re not far away. You could be saved. What was the trouble? Why, there was something else the man loved more.
What? Beware of the scribes which love to go in long clothing. They love to appear religiously acceptable. Appearance. And love salutations in the marketplaces. The loved to be recognized and love the chief seats in the Synagogues. They love to have a place of prominence and uppermost rooms at feasts, same thing.
Now think about this for a moment, what is it that really thrills your heart? The ultimate motivation of your life, is that which you really seek. I’ve had people who always said oh no, don’t ask me to do that, don’t make me chairmen, don’t take a picture of me but when somebody forgot to recognize them they complained about it. Have you ever met people like that? What does that say? It says that underneath the ultimate motivation was to be recognized. Yeah. See, we have the façade that we present to the people around us and then we have the real person that lives inside there.
Years ago when I was in school I remember the Professor saying everybody that ever comes to you for counseling will have at least two causes for his or her behavior. One is what the Prof called the presenting cause, that’s what people say is the problem. And the other is the aggravating cause, that which really caused the problem. He said always look for the two reasons because they’ll be there. Well it wasn’t bad advice and I’ve tried to follow it through the years.
See, it’s what you really love. The scribe knew the scriptures well enough to answer discreetly but he did not love God with all his heart. He loved something else. Loved to go in long clothing to look religiously acceptable. To have that finished religious look about you, whatever that means. Love salutations in the marketplaces. Rabbi Rabbi, you know, hello doctor! Well, it’s the same thing today, isn’t it? Ha haha. Now is there anything wrong with having people recognize you? No, I suppose in some cases you just as soon they wouldn’t. I’ve been in situations where you couldn’t eat a meal in peace but that two dozen people would be coming up to your table and saying hello Brother Cook it’s nice to see you and let me tell you about my grandchildren ha haha or words to that effect, you know?
So there is nothing wrong in being recognized, there is nothing wrong in wearing the right kind of clothing, no of course and there is nothing wrong in sitting on the platform. That’s what we would call it today, the uppermost room or the chief seat in the Synagogue. Sitting at the platform at the Billy Graham meetings, anything wrong with that? No, I did it myself a couple of nights during a recent crusade, it was a thrill ha ha ha, nothing wrong with any of these things basically. It all depends on whether they become your motivation.
I can recall forty years ago or more now hearing a Christian leader say to another Christian leader, I wasn’t in the middle of that situation thank God, but I can recall this conversation and I’m quoting it I think quite accurately across the years. The one man said to the other man, “Here I came into this area and I started to work and I’m getting successful and my name is being known and now you move in and what’s going to happen to all the work I’ve done?”
Competition.Recognition. Who is going to be recognized. Who is going to be remembered? You know? Brother, sister, do remember that the one who is supposed to get the glory is your blessed Lord. I am the Lord that is my name says God and My glory will I not share with another. God will not share His glory and the minute that you put your finger on the glory you lose His blessing. I used to take violin lessons believe it or not. My teacher was Alexander Comminski who was a consummate artist, he played violin for the Czar actually before the fall of Russia in the Communist Revolution. He was a great artist, an indifferent kind of teacher really, but a good friend of mine and we had many pleasant hours together.
One day he got off on a subject concerning a man we both knew, a man who had been greatly used of God in years before but who in later years had seemed to put more and more emphasis on his own importance and had lost so far as those of us who watched him could tell, much lost that is much of the blessing of God. His work now seemed to be a mere shell and he lost a lot of the blessing and a lot of the fire and a lot of the unction you may say. We were talking about that, my violin teacher and I and he confided in me. “He said you know years ago,” I cannot duplicate his accent, his Russian accent and so I won’t try. He said you know years ago this man said to me, “If I ever get the swell head, if I ever get egotistical and big headed I want you to take a baseball bat and hit me over the top of my bald head.” He stopped a minute and then looked at me with sadness in his eyes and he says, “You know, my brother Bob, now I am wishing I had the baseball bat.” ha ha ha.
Well, oh beloved, it depends on what moves you, what you really love, what you are really seeking in life and every one of us has to come to a place of utter honesty before God. What is it that I really love? Now, somebody is saying yeah Bob Cook, that’s my trouble and I’ve told God that but I still love the wrong things. That’s where faith comes in. Your old nature died at the cross with Jesus and you read Romans 6 where you find these three precious words: reckon, yield and obey. Reckon yourselves dead in deed unto sin. Yield yourselves unto God. Obey God’s will. And so moment by moment as each moment presents its challenge to you, by faith count on the fact that you’re dead with Christ and alive unto God and He, God will take care of the want to, the love, the inside motivation in your heart.
Dear Father today, oh wilt Thou operate on the inner motivation of our hearts. We want to love Thee more than anything else in the world. 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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