Worship, Obey and Sacrifice
Christians are not exempt from the law. Give Caesar and God what is respectively theirs. Worship with a clean heart, obey willingly and sacrifice lovingly.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Everything Alright at your house today? Well, I trust so. And if perhaps you’ve struck a rough day, just look up and say, “Lord, I don’t like it, but I know you can see me through it and for your glory.” Trust your blessed Lord to see you through the difficult situations, and He will, step by step. Someone has paraphrased one of the precious promises, “As thou goest, step by step He shall open up the way before thee.” That’s the way God works. Abraham’s servant said, “I being in the way, the Lord led me.” And Solomon said, “In all thy ways, acknowledge Him.” “Ways” means every step you take. In all the steps you take, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Which is to say, if you want God’s will today, ask for it and you’ll be sure to get it. That’s exactly it. All of my mistakes have been made in a hurry and without adequate praying. If you’ll stop and seek God about a matter, He’ll guide you and keep you from mistakes, and He’ll direct your way. So, if you struck a rough one today, look up and start acknowledging His Lordship in your life and ask Him to direct, and He’ll see you through, not just somehow, but triumphantly. Yes, He will.
We started summarizing our study of the Book of Mark, and we came now through Chapter 11 and we go into Chapter 12, which starts with the parable of the vineyard and the faithless vineyard keepers and all of that, a parable that was spoken directly to the people of that day who were rejecting God’s precious Son. But I’m looking at two or three things farther on in the chapter that to me constitute high points in the truth that we saw. One is, of course, the answer our blessed Lord gave to that question, “Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not?” If He said yes, He would be branded as a traitor to His own national loyalties, because Rome was oppressing God’s people in that day. So, if He said, “Yes, give tribute to Caesar,” they would say, “Ha ha, you’re a traitor! You’re a quisling, You don’t really represent us. You don’t care about us.” But if He said, “No, it’s not lawful to pay your taxes to Caesar,” then they could go to the Roman authorities and say, “Here’s a person that’s subverting the people and teaching that you’re not supposed to pay your taxes.” So, they thought they had Him. Well, He had said… He, knowing their hypocrisy, said, “Why tempt ye me? Bring me a penny that I may see it.” And they brought it. He said, “Whose is this image and superscription?” “Well,” they said, “It’s Caesar’s.” So, then came this famous answer, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” It says then they marveled at Him.
A very good principle for you and for me to follow as we go on through life. There are some obligations that you owe to the state. Fulfill them. Christianity is no excuse for sloppy business or for sloppy citizenship. Because you’re Christian, you don’t deserve a break any more than anybody else. This goes for employee-employer relationships, it goes for citizen relationships as well. Your faith in the Lord Jesus does not protect you from the demands of the law of the land. Because you’re a Christian, you can’t expect to get away with short-cutting your, obligations either in reporting or paying taxes, or whatever it may be.
They were working me over on a two-hour radio broadcast in Great Britain when I was there for the European Religious Broadcasters’ Conference. I had two solid hours on the radio with Nigel Sharp, our good friend over there. A secular radio station, they play rock and roll most of the time, but they give two hours on a Sunday night to religion. And so, the people were phoning in saying, “What about this? What about this?” Well, I said, “Because one person fails, you don’t lump everybody else together in that failure.” I said, “Let me give you an illustration.” I told them, “Yesterday,” this was the day before I was on the radio, “I saw on your own television the face of a man who will be tried the following Thursday on morals charges, and he is a Member of Parliament. Now,” I said, “Do you wanna throw out all the rest of Parliament because one member of that group is up on morals charges?” Well, no, of course they didn’t want to.
So, you have to remember that you just don’t jump to conclusions on this. We’ve been through a painful time, beloved, where the failures of people have been heralded in the press, and the unbelieving people have chortled and mocked, and the cartoonists have made it the butt of their acid humor, and all of that. And you can’t avoid it. When you make a glaring mistake and you’re in public life, you’re going to be followed up with criticism, lampooning, and whatnot. By the same token, we ought to remember that Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.” You have to do things right. And if you’re a Christian, it doesn’t release you from the obligation that you have to your government and to other supervisory agencies. You have to do things right. Remember that the next time you’re tempted to shortcut something, or to take it easy on something, or to do something less than your best, either on the job or otherwise. Okay?
Then He said, “Render unto God the things which are God’s.” And I think many of us, having a comfortable form of a belief, become easy in our relationship with the Lord, to the place where we do not any longer have a sense of deep obligation. “I have to do this because God said so.” “Render unto God the things that belong to God.” What is that? Worship from a clean heart. “The Father seeketh such to worship Him,” Jesus said. Worship from a clean heart, and service from an obedient heart and mind, and sacrifice from a loving heart. These three things, among others, are what we owe to God. Worship from a clean heart, obedience from a willing heart, and sacrifice from a loving heart. God looks for that. “Render unto Caesar.” Well, I pray every day that God may keep His hand on Bob Cook, and that I might be full of the Spirit of God, and that I might do things right for my government, for God’s dear people to whom I minister day by day, for my family, for the community. And I know you feel the same way about your own life. Let’s always remember the formula that Jesus gave that day.
I wanna stop momentarily with Verse 24 in Mark Chapter 12. The people came to Him, again tempting Him, and they told this story about the lady who had had seven husbands. They all died. She must have fed them poison mushrooms, huh? [chuckle] But it says, “In the resurrection, whose wife shall she be? For the seven had her to wife.” Now, Verse 24 is something that will open your eyes if you see the thrust of it. “Do you not therefore err because you know not the Scriptures neither the power of God?” What is the source of error? I got this concept from Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse. Many years ago I heard him speak about this, and it stuck in my mind. The source of error is twofold. If you don’t know the Scriptures, you fall into error because of a lack of knowledge of God’s Truth. If you don’t know the power of God, you fall into phariseeism, because you don’t really know the thrilling working of God’s Holy Spirit in your life.
So, it has to be a balanced relationship. You have to know the Scriptures. What does the Bible say? Know your Bible. Don’t just read it casually to salve your conscience. Know your Bible, because if you don’t know the Bible you’ll fall into error in matters of fact. But also seek God until His power has touched your life. Because if you don’t know, and that word ‘know’ is the Greek word ginóskó, which means ‘have a personal experience of.’ If you don’t have a personal experience of God’s power in your life, then you fall into cold-hearted, frigid phariseeism that is also in itself a grievous error. You see the idea? A perfect balance, therefore, is necessary between knowledge and power. Put them together and you have the dynamics of the Christian life. Error comes either from not knowing the Scriptures or not knowing the power of God in your life.
Now, who brings the power? The indwelling Holy Spirit of God. God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us. The Holy Spirit of God indwells the believer, and your relationship with Him, don’t grieve Him, don’t quench Him, don’t resist Him. Yield to the indwelling Spirit of God so that He may lead you, Jesus said He’d lead you into all truth, and bring to your remembrance all things whatsoever He had said unto us. The knowledge of the Scriptures and the power of God through the indwelling Holy Spirit working in your life.
Couple of minutes or less, that are left in this broadcast, and I wanna call your attention then to Verse 44 of Mark Chapter 12. That’ll be the last high spot that we hit today. And that’s the story of the poor widow who came to the treasury after the rich people had thrown in their great offerings. She came in and threw in two mites, which is less, I think, than two cents in our money. And He called His disciples and He said, “Now, look, this poor widow hath cast in more than all they which have cast into the treasury, for they gave out of their abundance, she gave from her want everything she had, all she had, even all her living.” There wasn’t anything left. And He said, “She gave more.” Now, what does more mean? More in comparison to what you have. God looks not only at what you give but what you have left.
Many of us ought to start giving out of our capital as well as our income. What are you going to do with it a hundred years from now? Who’ll have it? You ought to start giving out of your capital as well as out of your income. Radio stations, Christian radio, Christian education, Christian missions around the world, your own local church and your dear pastor, we do not give on the basis of the widow woman. And Jesus said she did the best of them all. Think about that, will you, when you talk to your Heavenly Father about your own personal stewardship in relationship to His work.
Father God, today may we be found giving Thee our all. 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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