Derek finishes this week’s message with a word about marriage and the need to put God first when you are considering choosing a mate. Remember to wait on God. Let God do it. Then Derek addresses the need for everyone to put their occupation and their whole life before the Lord—to commit and give yourself totally to Him.
And then it says blameless. I understand that to mean you have not neglected any legitimate duty. Whatever your duty is, you have done it.
The epistle of James says, “To him who knows to do good and does not do it, it is sin.” If you know good things that you should do and can do and you do not do them, it is sin.
Let me read that list again, I want you to meditate on it. Holy conduct, godliness, looking for, hastening, in peace, without spot and blameless.
Now let me come to one closing passage which is primarily for the younger people here, but actually there’s no age limit set to it. It deals partly with the subject of marriage. I’ll read the words but I want to say first of all to those of you who are not married, don’t be in a hurry to get married. I’ve seen many young ladies married. I have to be careful what I say because I don’t want to identify anybody. But basically, the ones who were eager to get married made a mess of their marriage. The ones who waited for God’s appointment have had successful marriages. Do not be in a hurry to get married. If you are you really have an idol. Marriage has become an idol that takes the place of Jesus in your life.
Now I am not saying it is wrong to get married. It would be ridiculous for me to say that because I’ve been married twice, and I’m satisfied. But let me read what Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, beginning at verse 29. And it’s remarkable that Paul wrote these about nineteen centuries ago and they are so true today. 1 Corinthians chapter 7:29:
“But this I say, brethren, the time is short...”
If it was short then, how much shorter is it now?
“...so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they have none. Those who weep as though they did not weep. Those who rejoice as though who did not rejoice. Those who buy as though they did not possess. And those who use this world as not misusing it, for the form [or the fashion] of this world is passing away.”
In other words, don’t hold onto anything as if it were permanent, because it isn’t. Live with a sense of impermanence in every material thing that surrounds you and in every human relationship. Then he goes on to say in verse 32:
“But I want you to be without care [without anxiety, without worry]. He who is unmarried cares for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world, how he may please his wife.”
Now Paul is not speaking against marriage, he has a lot of good things to say about marriage. What he is saying is don’t give marriage a place of wrong importance in your thinking. Don’t make it your ambition. Don’t go out to find a wife or a husband. I’ve been married twice and each time God brought the woman of His choice to me. I never went out looking. And if you read the real romantic stories of the Bible, it’s nearly always true God brought the bride to the bridegroom. He brought Rebekah to Isaac, He brought Ruth to Boaz. Trust God. He can chose much better for you than you can choose for yourself.
I’ve said many times God never permitted me to choose my own wife. Each time He showed me supernaturally and clearly who I was to marry. I’m not saying that may be true of everybody but I recognize that I myself am rather a poor judge of human character. I deal in the realm of the abstract. I also believe everything people say, and that’s a mistake. I’m an honest person myself, I say what I mean. I assume that other people are saying what they mean but it isn’t always true. So God protected me from myself and I thank Him for it. Each of my marriages has been happy and successful. But don’t put marriage before the Lord.
Don’t put anything before the Lord. Don’t hold on to anything in this world as if it were permanent because it is not. And if you do and it’s taken from you, you’ll suffer emotionally—maybe spiritually.
Now I’ve come to the end of my closing message but I want to close with a practical application. I want to go back to Matthew 24:14:
“This gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
I believe that places an obligation on every sincere Christian to be totally committed in one way or another to the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom in all the world. There are many different ways you can be committed but I want to speak for a moment to people, primarily young people but not necessarily, who can give their lives to this task. Not necessarily to be missionaries or evangelists. The kingdom of God needs secretaries, administrators, cooks, air pilots, a lot of different people. And, each of them is as important as the other. So, if God is speaking to you tonight and you feel in a certain sense that you don’t really know what life is going to be like, you don’t really know what you’re living for, you’re not really wholeheartedly committed to something that demands your total loyalty, I want to ask you tonight would you put your life in the Lord’s hands and say, “Here I am, Lord, wholly available.” I can say that tonight with a clear conscience. “Here I am, Lord, wholly available. Whatever you ask, by your grace I’ll do it.” I’m satisfied, I’m fulfilled. I’ve lived my life that way and it works.
So if there are those of you here tonight that have never really made that commitment, “Here I am, wholly available,” no matter what you ask. Send me to China, send me to Indonesia. Or, also are some other things like if a nurse is needed somewhere, a secretary is needed somewhere, if a gardener is needed somewhere. So whoever you are and whatever you’re doing, if tonight you want the fulfillment of living according to Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” I want you to make a decision. If you make that decision, I want you to stand right where you are in your place, saying tonight “Here I am, wholly available.” There’s no age limits but I want to say if you’re one of a married couple you should not make the commitment apart from a spouse. Nothing would delight me more than to see married couples together committing themselves.
All right. Now, this is a very, very serious moment. There’s never going to be a more significant moment in your life. I never anticipated anything like this response. I hope I’ve made it difficult enough. I hope I haven’t given you a wrong impression that it’s going to be easy. It’s not. You’re going to have a lot of opposition. The devil is going to fight you. From the moment you walk out of this meeting he’s going to start to attack your commitment. Is that right, brothers and sisters that have been in this way? You’re going to be a target as you’ve never been before for Satan’s arrows.
Now I want you to say a very simple prayer after me—not praying to me, praying to the Lord Jesus. Would you say these words:
“Lord Jesus Christ, I thank you that you died for me on the cross that I might be saved from hell and have eternal life. And because of what you’ve done for me, Lord, I give myself back to you without reservation, unconditionally. Here I am, wholly available. Take me, Lord, and make me what you want me to be. For your glory, Lord, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”