One Thing Concerns You

John

One Thing Concerns You

May 3rd, 1987 @ 8:15 AM

John 4:48

Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.
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ONE THING CONCERNS YOU

Dr. W. A. Criswell

John 4:48

5-03-87     8:15 a.m.

 

Once again we welcome the multitudes of you who share this hour on radio.  This is the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas bringing the message from God’s Book entitled One Thing Concerns You

It is based upon a passage we read just now out of the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John.  In the city of Capernaum, a city on the north shore of Galilee, was a nobleman.  He had a child, a little boy, who was sick unto death.  And coming to the Lord Jesus in Cana, in a town down and to the south still in Galilee, he asked the Lord that He might visit in his home and heal his little boy.   And the Lord answered as many times He did, testing the motive that lies back of the request.  He answered him in an unusual way, "Except ye see signs and wonders, you will not believe" [John 4:48].

You see, everybody seemingly did that with our Lord.  The Pharisees and the leaders of the nation constantly and reiteratively asked the Lord for a sign from heaven.  "You show us a sign from heaven.  Do a miraculous wonder in our presence, and we will believe that you are the promised Messiah."  One of the strangest things I read in the Bible, turning over this page, when the Lord had fed the five thousand, the leaders of the people came to Him and said, "You show us a sign from heaven and we will believe you" [John 6:30].  Moses fed the children of Israel with manna from God in the wilderness.  "You feed us.  Not just this one time, but reiteratively.  Do it again and again and again, and we will believe You." 

Do you remember Herod Antipas was eager to see the Lord Jesus?  And when He was arrested and Pilate sent Him to Herod, Herod was glad for he oft times had wanted to see Him do some wondrous thing, a sign, a wonder [Luke 23:8-9].  And when Jesus refused to satisfy the curiosity of that despicable monarch who had slain John the  Baptist, when Jesus refused to be used as a circus clown, Herod contemptuously and mockingly dismissed Him and sent Him away. 

That’s why the Lord answered this nobleman as He did; testing him.  "What is it that you want?  What concerns you?  Is it the sign and the wonder, the miracle of a healing or is it something else?" 

And the nobleman replied, "Master," not thinking in terms of signs or wonders or affirmations from heaven, "Good Teacher, my son is at the point of death.  Heal him."  And the Lord replied to this man, "You go back home.  Your son is healed."  And when the nobleman returned to Capernaum, his son was well.  And he asked, "At what hour?"  It was at the same moment Jesus promised the healing.  And the lad was strong and well again.  Then it says, "And he believed, and his whole household became followers and disciples and believers of the Lord Jesus" [John 4:46-53].

It’s a wonderful story.  And it applies so pertinently to us, and particularly and unusually concerning our salvation.  To be saved, to go to heaven when you die, to have God in your heart and life, Jesus asks one thing, "What concerns you?  Above everything else in life, what first concerns you?"

In my appealing in the name of our Lord for faith and trust in Him on the part of these who are outside the fold and the kingdom, how many different answers do I receive when I press the cause of Christ on their hearts?  What concerns you?  Here will be a man, and I’m thinking of an old, old man.  And as I ask him to accept the Lord as his Savior, he replies, "I’m afraid, I cannot hold out."  What an amazing reply!  An old man, "I’m afraid, I cannot hold out."  What concerned him was not that he’s lost and that Jesus could save him; what concerned him was, "Am I able,” what he called, “to hold out?"

Or think again, as I press the appeal of Christ to a man’s heart, he says to me, “I’m as good as anybody in your church.  And the hypocrites in your church are multitudinous, and I don’t like to associate with hypocrites."  So he turns down the way to heaven and to God because he says "I’m as good as anybody in your church.  And your church is full of hypocrites."

At the great judgment day of Almighty God, when the Lord God assigns these hypocrites into eternal damnation and fire, what is he going to do then?  He is no better than they, he says.  And when they are consigned to eternal damnation, what about him?  As though our salvation depended upon somebody else other than the blessed Jesus.  Or as I press the appeal of Christ to the human heart, one man will answer me, "I don’t know what church to join.  I’m so confused by all of these cacophonies of voices."  His concern is not that he’s lost.  His concern is all of these differing denominations.

Or take again, as I press the appeal to a man’s heart, he replies to me, "I will someday, sometime, at a convenience season, but not now."  His great concern is not that he’s lost, but his concern is that "I have an appointed time chosen by me and a convenient season."  O God in heaven!

What concerns you?   That’s the first question Jesus asks of a lost man’s soul and heart and life.  What are you interested in?  What do you seek?  I think of those who were bitten by the serpents in the wilderness and were dying.  And in the center of the camp, Moses raised a brazen serpent.  And any man that would look would live [Numbers 21:9]. 

Here is a man bitten by a serpent and dying.  But instead of looking to live, he has a thousand questions to ask about the serpent that bit him.  O God, how tragic!  Or think of someone on that Titanic when it was going down.  The thing to be concerned with: is there a lifeboat?  “Is there a lifeboat?”  Not the analysis of the ocean temperature or the iceberg that made that great gap in the side of the ship – the lifeboat, the lifeboat!   Or think of a man mortally wounded on the field of battle, "Is there a physician?  Is there a great physician?"   What concerns you?  What concerns you?

I think of the Lord as He would say, "What do you want?  What do you want?  Above everything else in life, what do you want?  Is it that you might be saved?  Is it that you might go to heaven when you die?" 

How many times in my speaking and pleading and praying with people have they said to me, "I want a great experience; I want to see a light from heaven."  I grant you that sometimes there is a great experience when a man is converted such as the apostle Paul.  He saw the Lord Jesus above the brightness of the Syrian midday sun on the way to Damascus [Acts 9:3].  I grant you that.  But I also avow that practically all of us were saved like Peter and James and John, just by following the Lord Jesus.  What do you want?  Above anything else in this life, what do you want? 

That poor woman with an issue of blood, crying in her heart, "That I might be healed," and she touched the hem of His garment.   Or that blind man, Bartimeus, "Lord, open my eyes that I might see" [Mark 10:5].  Or that dying thief on the cross, "Lord, as I go out into eternity, that God might remember me" [Luke 23:42].  What do you want?

Sometimes what actually we seek for and need and want is hidden from our eyes.  I heard of a man who had a passion for diamonds, diamonds, diamonds.  And somebody said, "Across this vast desert there are diamonds."  And he plunged into the desert to find the place where diamonds could be his.  And in the way he lost his direction and was perishing, dying of thirst in the burning sand.  And as he came to his last strength, he saw half-buried in the sand a water canteen, a water canteen.  And with a cry of rejoicing, he picked it up and opening it sought to drink its life-giving flow.  And instead of water, there came out a stream of beautiful, shining diamonds.  And in an agony he threw it away and perished in the burning sand.  What do you want?   "Above all, O God, that I might be saved, that I might be saved." 

This man, remarkable; there was no sign, there was no wonder, there was no outward affirmation, there was nothing except the word and promise of the Lord Jesus.  Jesus said to him, "Your son lives" [John 4:50].  And without any confirmation, he believed and turned and went back home, just trusting the Lord Jesus.  That is the way to be saved.  Just taking Jesus at His word, just trusting the Lord.  "If I give Him my soul and my heart and my life, will He save me?  Will He stand by me in this pilgrimage and in the hour of my death, and someday open for me the doors to heaven?  Will He?"  And just trusting the word of the Lord Jesus.

You know when I think of that, that’s not different or unusual in any other area of our human life or experience.  We live just by trust.  For example, in a two-seated little airplane, that the wind would toss around like a leaf, just the pilot and I, I have plunged into the darkest clouds with mountains, thousands and thousands of feet high, just trusting that pilot, completely.  I know nothing about those instruments.  I know nothing about a plane; just trusting that pilot, my life in his hands.

Three times I have been under a surgeon’s knife.  Twice, I had no idea who the doctor was, no idea; just lying there looking up in his face before they put me to sleep, just trusting him. 

In the bank, what I possess placed in the hands of those men.  What little I’m able to accumulate, investing it and having nothing except a piece of paper, just trusting, living a life of trust.

Lord God, can I trust You?  Trusting God with your children, placing them in the Lord’s hands, these babies, these little ones, trusting God.  Trusting God for your house and your home.  Trusting God for your heart and your life and your soul.  Just looking to Jesus.  Trusting Jesus.  Not somebody else; not a church, no other thing or being or person, just trusting the Lord Jesus. 

Sweet people, late yesterday afternoon, somebody gave me a little piece of paper.  It was this.  When I sat down to read it, I was overwhelmed by what I read. 

I fixed my eyes on a man I knew; 

He was strong and upright, pure and true. 

The light of Christ shone on his face;

His words were tender, full of grace.

 

Ah here, thought I, is a righteous man;

After his life, my own I will plan.

So his Christian life became my creed;

But alas, though he loved his Lord indeed.

 

He too was human, to my dismay;

I saw him stumble and fall one day.

And groping along in stunned dismay;

I lost my creed and I lost my way.

 

Then I fixed my eyes on the Son of God;

As I gain my footing and onward trod.

And though trials abound and griefs assailed;

He has stood the test. Christ has never failed.

 

Now I stumble not at the saints who fall;

For I trust in Christ as my all in all.

Not looking at a man and not trusting;

Just looking to Jesus.

[Author unknown]

 

There is life for a look at the Lord. 

There is life at this moment for thee. 

Then look, sinner, look unto Him,

Who was nailed to the tree. 

 

[from "There is Life for a Look at the Crucified One" by Miss A.M. Hull]

 

Just believing, just trusting, just giving the destiny and issue of our lives to Him.  And He will not fail.

Sweet people, we’re going to make our appeal in two ways.  The first, when we sing this song of invitation, the first, to give your heart in trust to the Lord Jesus, to answer the call of God with your life, "Pastor, here I stand.  I accept the Lord as my Savior."  Or, "I’m bringing my family into the circle of this dear church."   Or, "I’m answering a call of God in my heart, and I’m coming forward this morning." 

Then we’re going to sing another hymn, after another appeal.  To be with us in this month of soul-winning commitment, there’ll be someone standing on either side, and you can bring that commitment card.  It carries with it the promise that "I will attend our soul-winning ministries beginning tonight at six o’clock and through the month of May."  You come and place the card in a basket on either side and then remain for us to have a prayer of consecration and dedication together. 

They’re two appeals.  The first one, "Lord, I’m coming to put my life in Your hands."  Or, "I’m coming to put my family in this dear church."  Or, "I’m answering a call of God in my heart."  On the first note of this first stanza, make it now, while we stand and while we sing.

ONE THING CONCERNS YOU

Dr. W. A. Criswell

John 4:

5-3-87

 

I.          Introduction

A.  The request

B.  The answer of Jesus (John 4:48)

C.  The direct importunity of the father (John 4:)

D.  Jesus answers with no sign given (John 4:50)

E.  The nobleman’s faith (John 4:50-53)

 

I.          Introduction

A.  The request

B.  The answer of Jesus (John 4:48)

C.  The direct importunity of the father (John 4:)

D.  Jesus answers with no sign given (John 4:50)

E.  The nobleman’s faith (John 4:50-53)

II.         With regard to being saved, what concerns you?

A.  That you are lost, or something else?

      1.  "Holding out"

      2.  Comparing yourself to others

      3.  A convenient time

      4.  Which church to join

B.  Blinded to the main thing

 

III.        What do you want?

A.   To be saved, or something else?

      1.  Miraculous experience

B.  This man so desperate wanted just one thing

      1.  Woman with an issue of blood

      2.  Blind Bartimaeus

      3.  Dying thief on the cross turning to Jesus

 

IV.       Will you trust Me?

A.  Go home believing

B.  Leave the case in His hands