Your Alabaster Box
I only know that true worship brings that most precious thing, whatever it is, and gives it over once and for all to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Aren’t you glad you can be in the world but not of it? That’s the background of that little corny greeting, as you know. God can keep you today, you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed at the last time. You can be kept, you could be kept clean, you can be kept ready. Hallelujah. Trust Him to keep you today. That’s the background of “How in the world are you?” Thank God you can be kept.
Well, this is your friend, Dr. Cook, and we’re looking at Mark chapter 14, the story of the alabaster containment of perfume that was given to our Lord Jesus Christ. Being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the meal, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard. Very precious. And she broke the box and poured it on his head. There were some that had indignation within themselves said, “Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than 300 pence,” that’s a year’s wages in those days, “and given to the poor.” And they murmured against her. Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me.”
Let me pause there just for a thought or two. Just as we went off the air, I reminded you that Simon the leper had undoubtedly been healed of his leprosy. I can’t imagine the Lord Jesus Christ being around someone who had that need without healing him. He said he healed all that were sick when they brought them to him. So, Simon had been healed, you can assume that, but he’s called “Simon the leper.” Why? Because everybody remembers what he once was.
Now, memories can either plague you or be a source of blessing to you. And the difference lies on whether or not you have allowed Jesus to sanctify the memory so that it’s no longer a threat to you. There are some things we remember that were failures on our part. Can you remember any slips, any failures, in your life? Yes, you can. And I most certainly can remember in my life things which I wish I could go back and do over again.
Now as you think about them, unless you’ve brought them to Calvary, unless they’ve been sanctified, unless even your stumbles have been brought to Jesus, it constitutes a psychological threat from which you recoil. You don’t wanna think about it. “Don’t talk to me about that. I don’t wanna think about it.” And you try to put it out of your mind. But as you’ve discovered, the harder you tried not to think about something, the more you think about it. Isn’t it true? So that’s a losing battle.
Well, then, what do you do? “Bring every thought,” 2 Corinthians 10:5, “Bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Bring the troublesome memories, beloved. Are you listening? Bring the troublesome memories, the memories that hurt you, the memories that threaten you, the memories that make your heart sick, the memories that make you angry and set you into a rage, bring the memories that trouble you to the Lord Jesus Christ. And by faith, give them to him just like you gave yourself to him when you trusted him as Lord and Savior, bringing every thought into captivity, to the obedience of Christ. You wanna do that today with some of these things that bother you?
Oh, I can’t begin to describe to you the peace that comes to the heart and mind of the believer when you really do this. You take something about which you’ve been thinking and trying not to think, trying not to remember but it’s been plaguing you anyway and it keeps popping up, and you give up trying to battle it, and instead, you hold it out to the pierced hands, and the Lord Jesus takes it and puts it under the cleansing of his precious blood and sanctifies even the memory. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, he delighteth in his way. Though he fall,” that’s our idea of stumbling, “he shall not be utterly cast down for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand.”
Dr. Pettengill used to say, “God will sanctify your steps, your stops, and even your stumbles.” Oh, yes. He does that. Dr. Will H. Houghton, who was for years pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in New York City and then went on to be President of the Moody Bible Institute was a good friend of mine, and we had some good talks together. I remember one time telling him that I sometimes felt like a little boy saying a piece in Sunday school because I had learned all these blessed truths as a child, and now even though I was a grown man and knew that I was saved and was already in the ministry, sometimes I had that detached feeling as though I were just declaiming in a Sunday school program. He looked at me and laughed. He said, “Cook, you’ll always be an adolescent, forget it.” [laughter] I remember that.
But on another occasion, he said that some of the things he had done before he was saved kept coming back to him. And after he headed for the ministry, particularly he was plagued by these memories of things he had said and done in an unsaved condition. And it bothered him so terribly that he was even thinking of giving up his desire to become a minister. And then he realized, as he read the Bible, that God has put our sins away and it says, “Their sins and their iniquities will I remember against them no more.” God actually forgets. The only person in all the universe who has the right to forget is Almighty God and He does it. He said, “Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. And he told me, he said, “I began to realize that God had pardoned and then had removed the record and the memory of things I had said and done, and of which I had repented and which were under the blood of Jesus. And so the next time that memory came to plague me, I said, ‘Old devil, I remember it and I know you remember it but thank God, God has forgotten it.'” And he said, “I had perfect peace about it.” [chuckle] It’s great, isn’t it? Oh, yes.
God will sanctify the memories. Simon the leper, no longer troubled with leprosy but blessed with the wonderful memory of the healing touch of the Lord Jesus Christ. Bring the memory to the Savior, beloved. Will you? Somebody betrayed you, somebody broke up your home, somebody has caused you to lose your health, somebody cost you your job or a promotion on the job, somebody lied about you and hurt you deeply. Whatever it may be… Or you’ve failed somebody else, which is even more hurtful when you remember it. Whatever it may be, beloved, bring the memory to Jesus, and put it in his pierced hands, and leave it there. Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Good idea, isn’t it?
Well, here came this woman, this is probably Mary. I think you have the same story in John 12, don’t you? Told in a little different language. “Mary took a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, anointed the feet of Jesus, wiped his feet with her hair,” and so on and so on. And Judas said, “Why was not this ointment sold? Given to the poor?” This is Mary, Martha’s sister, that’s doing this. She had an alabaster box. Now, these perfumes were sealed up just as we seal perfume today. Although today, you have a glass bottle with a glass stopper which has been ground to make an airtight seal and then it’s probably covered with some plastic and it’s sealed to make it airtight so that the perfume doesn’t lose its essence. But this alabaster container, this alabaster box, was sealed up and the only way you could use that particular ointment, evidently, was to fracture the container. It says she broke the box and poured out the ointment.
Now, what about that? Well, number one, this is a picture of course of every one of us who has something very, very precious that we need to yield to our Lord. I don’t know what it is in your case, but there is that something or somebody in your life that is most precious, that needs to be yielded to the Lord. And yielding means giving up the alabaster container that was no good after it was fractured in order to let the perfume out. It needs to be a complete final commitment. Now, that’s hard to contemplate because all of us look for the side exit, all of us look to see whether we can go back and turn back, but we need to pass, as the aviator says, “the point of no return.” There’s a point in transatlantic or transoceanic crossings where you can’t go back to the field from which you took off because you don’t have fuel enough left. You have to go on. Passing the point of no return is part of this matter of yielding to our Blessed Lord.
True worship is not in words, “Why call ye me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not the things that I say? Not everyone that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but him that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven,” Jesus said. “This people worshippeth me with their lips but their heart is far from me.” So, true worship is not in what you say. True worship is in what you yield to your blessed Lord by way of sacrifice, obedience, and faith. She broke the box and poured it on his head. John says some of it got on his feet as well and she wiped his feet with her hair.
What does this mean to you? Well, frankly, I don’t know. See, because I don’t know what is most precious to you in your life. For somebody, it’s a loved one, it’s a person. For somebody else, it’s a concept of success, something you want to accomplish in life. For somebody else, frankly, it’s money, and you bristle at the thought of having anybody stand in the way of your gaining and using money. For somebody else, it’s gratification of your own self and your own appetites, pleasure of various kinds. I don’t know what it is with you. I only know that true worship brings that most precious thing, whatever it is, gives it over once and for all to the Lord Jesus Christ. Do it today and God bless you.
Dear Father today, oh, may we be willing to give to Thee the alabaster box of the precious things in our lives. In Jesus name, I pray this. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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