What’s Going On?
Interesting that Paul should pray that these people should have an understanding of what God is doing. Why? Well, because your effectiveness in any given situation often depends on whether you know what you’re doing or not.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Yes, we’re together again over the Word of God. The miles drop away and it is as though I were sitting in your kitchen or sitting beside you in the car, or sitting in your — what we used to — we used to call it the front room. Remember those days? It was the front room. It wasn’t the living room. We didn’t live there. You only went there when company was there. But wherever you are and whatever you are doing — some of you I guess are just falling asleep because you hear the broadcast late at night. But whatever the circumstances, just remember this is your good friend, Bob Cook and I’m praying that that God may give you something from His Word in these precious moments that you may carry with you into the business of living.
We’re looking at the book of Ephesians chapter 1. Paul said, “I don’t cease to remember you, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers.” Have a regular prayer time. If you don’t make a regular time for prayer someone has said you’ll soon won’t have any time for prayer. And it’s really a subtle insult to God when you say, “Well, I’m too busy to pray.” That’s actually — you’re actually saying things around me — human elements are more important than almighty God; He comes second. You know that’s an insult to Him.
So, remember make time to pray; have a definite time and place where you’re praying. As well, heaven knows, as the fact that you and I need to pray our way through the day. Every turning of life’s corner we need to look heavenward and seek for God’s guidance and help and protection.
“Cease not to make mention of you in my prayers.” Now what’s he praying? Praying that the “God of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of glory may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.” We were talking about that the last time we got together I recall. Now he says, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.” See, the way to the heavenly Father is always by the Lord Jesus. Our savior said, “I’m the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” And there are many so called — so-called gods in the world. The world is full of them but there’s only one living God. He’s the God of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Hubert Mitchell has been a friend of mine through many years. He and Rachel are still living. They’re in their 80’s, vigorous and happy and victorious and fruitful Christians. Missionary to missionaries he was for many years and served with us in Youth for Christ as our overseas director for a number of years — precious brother. And on my first trip overseas back in 1948, I was going overseas now and it was going to involve — it was going to involve going to countries where people had never heard the gospel.
And I’d heard these terrible tragic tales of well-meaning people from America coming into the mission fields and just making all sorts of mistakes and blunders and leaving the work harder for the dear missionary than it had been before they arrived. I didn’t want to be one of those ugly Americans and so I asked Hubert. I said, “What is the best way to approach a message to people who don’t really know anything about the gospel?” “Oh,” he said, “talk about the living God.” He said in every country and every culture, people know that beyond their own deities, there is a living God that is in charge of the universe.
Talk about the living god. Well, I took his advice. And so, in all the messages that I gave in various countries — Japan, China, India, and so on — I would speak about the living God. I remember one approach that I used when I was in Japan. I would hold up my hand and say, “Ima nan-ji desu ka?” — what time is it now – Ima nan-ji desu ka. And then I would hold an imaginary conversation with them, of course through my interpreter because my knowledge of Japanese was limited to a few phrases. I’m a man of a few words but I used them often the man said. But through the interpreter I’d carry on this imaginary conversation. “Oh,” you say, “it’s 10 minutes of nine.” “Well how do you know?” “Well we looked at our watch” “How does your watch know?’ “Well, we set it by the railroad clock. Our trains run on time.” So, indeed they do.
“How does the railroad clock know? Why the dispatcher sets it? How does the dispatcher know?” “He get’s his time from the observatory.” “How does the observatory know?” “They get their time from the stars.” “And how do the stars know?” Then I’d stop for a moment as they thought about that, and I say, “I want to talk to you tonight about the living God who made the stars and who also created you and me.”
And then I would go from that to a discussion of God’s holy laws found in the Ten Commandments and from that to the loving provision of a redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ who — God so loved the world. And I would put an imaginary Japanese name in there, God so loved you George Watanabi, you know. And God so loved you that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. And so I would go from the living God to the Lord Jesus Christ, to the sacrifice on Calvary and the empty tomb and the offer of free salvation. The miracle life of Christ in you the hope of glory. Oh how they responded. He’s the god of our Lord Jesus Christ. You don’t get to God any other way than through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then He’s the Father of glory. Why would Paul put that in there? Simply because this matter of coming to God through the Lord Jesus Christ involves not only your having access. Paul says in Romans 5, “By whom also have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, you can come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” the writer to the Hebrews says. Not only then is that true, but also you share in the very glory of God. We all — this is 2 Corinthians 3:18, “We all, with open face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image.” Who’s image? Christ’s image — “change into the same image from glory to glory even as by the spirit of the Lord.”
And so when you come to God through the Lord Jesus Christ you end up sharing His glory and you end up shinning with the very glory of God in your life. That’s what that phrase really means, sort of took it apart there for a moment so we could get the heart of it. The god of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory. Now, what is Paul asking for? He said, “That he may give unto you.” Now remember everything you get from God is a gift; it is not something you earn. Paul says, “Not of works lest any man should boast, but to him that worketh not but believeth on him that justify the ungodly his faith is counted unto him for righteousness.”
Now, Ephesians 2:10 says that good works have their place but they’re a by-product. We are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works. You see you do good things not to be a good Christian but because you are one. All the good things that Christians do are by-products of their relationship with the Lord Jesus which came by faith, Alright? So He’s going to give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.
Last time that we got together we were discussing that word, knowledge, which comes from a verb that means really to know something personally or someone in the knowledge of him, epi genosco. And that’s knowledge that’s up over on top of every other kind of knowledge. Epi is up over or on top of, and genosco is the verb, a personal knowledge that’s supersedes every other knowledge. That’s what that really means, the knowledge of him.
In other words when you put God first in your thinking and in your praying and in your worshipping and, thus, in your obeying, you’re going to get an idea of what it’s all about, twofold, actually. One is the spirit of wisdom that means to understand what God is up to. And revelation, that’s our word apocalypse, a sudden opening of the truth. To understand what God is up to and then to know what is happening in the knowledge of him.
Interesting that Paul should pray that these people should have an understanding of what God is doing. Why? Well, because your effectiveness in any given situation often depends on whether you know what you’re doing or not. Isn’t that true? And God wants you not simply to be gullible, faith is not being gullible and being taken in and believing just anything. Faith is believing a person — your blessed Lord and committing yourself to him and then being shown by the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit what God is doing and what He wants to do through you, Alright? And that’s all in the knowledge of Him.
“How do you get to know God,” somebody asks. Well, how do you get to know any person? Spend time with the person. Listen to the person. Talk with the person. Do things with the person and engage in activities that are mutually desirable. That’s how you get to know a person. How do you get to know God? Spend time with God. Listen to God in His Word, His written Word and through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Talk to God in prayer. Work and live with God. That is to say do what He tells you to do. John 2:5, “Whatsoever he saith unto you do it.” Do what God tells you to do. And in that process of time spent, listening, talking, worshipping, and obeying, you my dear friend, will indeed get to know your God better.
It’s a very simple matter. You don’t have to be a deep-seeded mystic, wear a special robe and look religiously gloomy in order to know God. You can be a wholesome, hearty, normal human being and live a perfectly normal human life. Busy, perhaps, and maybe oftentimes burdened, but characterized by a blessed knowledge of God that affects all that you do and all that you say. People will know that you are connected with God. Plugged in, so to speak, to the switchboard of heaven: the knowledge of God.
Now in verse 18 he said the eyes of your understanding being enlightened. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened. It’s one thing to understand and it’s another thing to understand truly. We’ll get at that the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today may we understand Thy will and do it. I ask in Jesus 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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