Who Lives In You?
If you're completely given over to the Lord Jesus Christ, it'll show up in what you do.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Doing alright? Well, I’m fine, thank you. Nice of you to ask. Feeling great, Hallelujah. And I wanna turn you immediately, if I may, then to the third chapter of John where our Lord Jesus is saying, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Now, think with me just a little while about what’s involved in this matter of looking and living. The story was that Moses was instructed to form a brass serpent, put it on a high pole, high enough so anybody in the camp of the Israelites could see it. And it said if any man were bitten by the serpents, if he looked on that brazen serpent, he lived.
Jesus said, “That’s the same thing with me. I’ll be lifted up, anybody that looks to me will live.” He said later on, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, shall draw all men unto me.” Lifted up. What’s the idea? Well, there is this beautiful parallel. Sin has wounded us, hasn’t it? All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, and the wages of sin is death. You do your best but you fail now and then, don’t you? And the failures of which you are conscious are only a small, miniscule part of the total failure of your sin-touched life. You do your best but you fail. If you were to go on doing your best but failing, what do you have to look forward to? The wages of sin is death. And after that, what? It’s appointed unto men… We read in Hebrews 9:27, “Appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” So you gotta meet God someday with all of the record of that failure on you.
And so, what are you gonna do about it? Well, God has provided a remedy. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, what happened there? Somebody got bitten by one of these snakes and just turned and looked toward that brazen serpent and felt the venom going out of his body and felt that he was healed and he lived. So, you and I in our poor sinful condition, when the Holy Spirit of God makes us aware of our need, we turn in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ. He said in Chapter five of John, “He that heareth with my word and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into judgment, but is passed already, is passed from death on to life.”
No judgement now for those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. And that word ‘trust’ means ‘commit’. That means completely turn yourself over to Him. I think I may have been one of the first, maybe the first, I don’t know, to use the phrase ‘easy believism’. I coined that phrase at least for my own use back in the early 1940s. Easy believism, meaning just believe, just say you believe in Jesus and then do as you please and live fast and loose. I stand against all of that, as I know many of you do. We’re not advocating in easy believism and when we say, “Trust in the Lord Jesus,” we mean commit yourself to Him, repent of your sins and ask him to save you. “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: But whoso confesseth and forsaketh it shall have mercy.” I need to turn my back by faith on my sins and my weaknesses and shortcomings and take, by faith, all that the Lord Jesus has for us.
Wendell Loveless who is now with the Lord, he went to be with Jesus, I guess, a year or so ago at the ripe old age of 90 something. He’s almost 100, I guess. Dear friend of mine through the years, I first met him when I was a student at Moody Bible Institute coming as a 16-year-old boy right out of high school. Graduated from high school when I was just turning 16 and gone into Moody Bible Institute. So, Mr. Loveless was my friend through the years. And I remember his saying so often that you and I have the privilege of an exchanged life by faith. We can be identified with all that the Lord Jesus is.
“Christ is made unto us… “, 1 Corinthians 1:30, “Christ is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.” Wisdom is knowing what to do with what you know. Righteousness is the quality of being spontaneously good. Sanctification is the quality of being holy without being sanctimonious, completely set apart for God. And redemption is the quality of wrapping up all of life in the package of commitment so that life becomes a continuing miracle of God’s grace. And Jesus does it all, Hallelujah. Aren’t you glad that’s so? Man, I am. You take by faith all that Jesus is. I do this every day of my life. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, my Lord, that is. And I take by faith all that He is for all that I need. He can be my wisdom, He can tell me what to do next. I often told the young people at the college, while I served as president, that God will not do your homework for you. A red hot prayer meeting is no substitute for having studied. [chuckle] You pray, “Lord, help me,” when you’re stuck on an exam. He won’t help you remember something if you didn’t first forget it. So God won’t do your homework for you but He’ll give you wisdom in handling what you do know. Wisdom is knowing what to do with what you know in the face of the challenges and problems of life. Jesus becomes our wisdom.
Bernice Cory, together with Victor Cory, founded Scripture Press many years ago, as a lot of you folk know. And for five years it was my privilege to work with those dear people. I was Vice President and what they call Distribution Manager, that’s a highbrow term for Sales Manager. And it was a very helpful five years, it taught me so many things that I needed when I became President of the college. And I had the chance then to have some very good fellowship with these dear people. And I was sitting with the Corys one time in some place or other, I forget where it was, and I said to Mrs. Cory, I said, “You know, you have an uncanny way of zeroing in to the very heart of these Bible truths about which you write.” I said, “I know you that were an English major in college and you have a passion for using the right word, but somehow there seems to be something beyond that.” She looked at me and smiled, she said, “Bob, you don’t know how many times a day, I just, as I’m sitting at the desk, I say ‘Lord Jesus, be my wisdom.'” She said, “I trust Him to be my wisdom and to teach me what to do.” Isn’t that beautiful?
Well, that can be true of every one of us, and ought to be. See, this matter of looking to Jesus by faith involves commitment of yourself to Him and trusting Him to be, to you, what you need. The person that had been bitten by a serpent trusted that somehow in obeying the command of God in looking toward that brazen serpent, that his need would be met, his need for healing. And it was. And so indeed as you and I look to the Lamb of God, who lifted up there on the cross, became for us God’s Passover Lamb. Behold the Lamb of God that beareth away the sin of the world.
You and I, in that same trust and commitment and faith, receive then what we need, wisdom, righteousnesses. Your heart and mine is incredibly wicked. Have you discovered that yet? Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” It comes as a surprise to many of us to realize that we are capable of desperate wickedness. We keep it pretty well under wraps most of the time, isn’t it true? But have you ever wished that somebody was just done away with because they were either aggravating you to the point of breaking or they were in your way or whatever? Have you ever wished that secretly? Yes, you have. And you know what that is? That’s murder. If you had a chance to get away with it, you’d do them in, wouldn’t you? “Oh, no.” Well, yes, you would. [chuckle] See, the heart is wicked, wicked, that’s what God says. And so what you and I need is not just to be confined or controlled, we need to be transformed as only God can give us His righteousness.
Now, Paul says, “The righteousness of God apart from the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets. Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ.” The righteousness of God by faith. You look to the Lord Jesus Christ and He makes you righteous. That is the quality of being spontaneously good and lined up properly with the will of God. “I delight to do thy will, oh my God, yea, thy law is within my heart,” said the psalmist. “A new heart will I give them and a new spirit,” Paul said through the prophet. “I will take away the stony heart and give them a heart of flesh.” God does something inside when you let Him. Hallelujah. Aren’t you glad that’s so? Oh, I am. Righteousness, sanctification is the quality of being set aside completely for God to use. That doesn’t mean that you’ll be always religious. I have a little Cookism that I use sometimes, “You see a man that’s always pious, you have to watch him; he’s apt to lie about other things, too.”
God is the God of ordinary everyday living. He doesn’t expect that you will always be singing, “Holy, holy, holy.” You come to work in the morning singing hymns at the top of your voice, and you’ll be in personnel by 10:00 and out by 11:00. The men in white coats will have assisted you. See, there are situations in which you cannot be officially religious, but you can be set aside for God to use all the time. You see, what you are shines through in situations that are not religiously structured. If you’re completely given over to the Lord Jesus Christ, it’ll show up in what you do. Just as a person who is under the influence of some drug or other, the conduct will show up. A tragic accident sometime ago that resulted in the taking of a number of lives there on a railroad, and they found out the people who were operating the equipment had been into drugs shortly before starting their jobs. Say, what you are inside shows up in what you do outside. Sanctification is the quality of being turned over completely to the Lord Jesus Christ.
In every situation of life, pray your way through the day. Pray when you wake up. Pray when you greet the family for the first time. Pray when you start your first job of work. Pray when you answer the phone. Pray before you open a letter. It might be a check or a bill, there’s a difference. Pray before you make a decision. Pray before you go on a trip. Pray all the way through the day. And when the day is over, you can then turn out a pocketful of memories and say, “Thank you, Jesus for leading me through the day”. Sanctification. And then that word ‘redemption’, simply wraps it all up so that life is a continuing miracle of the grace of God as you walk with your blessed Lord. Walk, as I often say, with King. Yeah, that’s good stuff.
Dear Father, today, oh may we walk with thee. May our lives be a real miracle of God’s presence as we look to the Lamb of God. 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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