Welcome to Meditation Moments this morning, and we want to tell you again that we have been remembering you in prayer, praying God’s blessings upon your life, and that as His Word goes forth from this and other programs, these days will be days of victory for you.
I was reading this morning the 17th chapter of John, and I want to read a portion of this from the Amplified Version, for there’s just a couple of sentences in here that we want to use for our meditation. It’s a wonderful chapter; I wish we could read it all.
When Jesus had spoken these things, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, Father, the hour is come. Glorify [and exalt, magnify] Your Son, so that Your Son may glorify [and magnify] You. Just as You have granted Him power and authority over all humankind, now glorify Him, so that He may give eternal life to all whom You have given Him.
And this is eternal life: to know [that is, to receive, to become acquainted and understand] You, the only true God; and likewise, to know Him, Jesus Christ (the anointed one, the Messiah), whom You have sent. I have glorified You down here on the earth by completing the work that You gave Me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me along with Yourself and restore Me to such majesty and honor in Your presence, as I had with You before the world existed.
I have manifested Your name, I have revealed Your real self to the people whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have obeyed and kept Your word.1
For lack of time I must skip so much of this wonderful passage over to the 20th verse. There He says about these that God gave Him: “Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only, that is, that I make this request], but also for all those who ever come to believe on Me; so that they all may be one, just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe, may be convinced, that You have sent Me.”2
I want to call your attention particularly to these two sentences here: “So that the world may believe,” and then the words “that the world may know.” That the world may believe, that the world may know. As I read this chapter this morning, the thought came to my heart: how can we best bring men and women to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ? We tell them, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”3 But hearts are so hard and lives so filled with many distracting interests today, it’s hard to even get the attention for a moment of the unsaved. How can it be done?
I believe there’s no persuasive power in all the world like unto a transformed life! Show the world a transformed life and they will stop for a moment and take a look, whether it’s your transformed life or someone else’s. The force and impetus of transformed lives stirs my own heart afresh every day and whets to a keen edge my desire to keep at this work of God and even at this little program, and see other lives transformed.
Words fail me utterly when I try to describe the transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ, so wonderful in my own life. Someday perhaps I can tell you how God brought me back from unbelief. My heart was so hard and cold, and I didn’t believe His Word anymore. There are so many lives like this that I have known. I wish we had time to mention so many of them that I thought of as I sat there with this Word open before me.
Some time ago there crossed my path a young man so steeped in sin, so lust-filled and vile that his soul was sodden from years of debauchery. He was an alcoholic, a gambler, and a narcotic addict. Brought face to face with this miserably unhappy, useless life, the Lord seemed to challenge with these words: Believest thou that I am able to do this?4 In other words, do you think that I can transform this life?
I believe that Christ must find someone who has faith in His power to set such a captive free, someone who believes utterly that such a life can be transformed.
The other day I walked into a large auditorium to hear this same young man proclaim this very message of deliverance for captives from that pulpit. There he stood, not the same, for he was so utterly transformed, his face aglow with the light of God, and the winsome loveliness of Christ in every act and word, as he was telling of the saving power of Jesus. Every word was graced with the love of God and adorned with the power of the Holy Spirit.
Oh, my friend, Christ has not changed since He stood in the synagogue and proclaimed: “The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me because He has anointed me [the anointed One] to preach the good news to the poor; He has sent me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind; to send forth as delivered those that are oppressed [delivered those who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed and broken down by calamity]” (Luke 4:18, Amplified Bible).
He still has the same power to save and transform as when He stood there in the synagogue. He still breaks the shackles and sets the captives free. How wonderful when we see such lives transformed! Surely that lets the world know. God wants so much to use you to transform lives!
I’m thinking also of a man in Miami, Florida, years ago, whom we called “old man Jennings.” He was unclean in his heart and, when drinking heavily, he was none too clean on the outside. He was shackled with drink and sin, sick in body and discouraged when he came for prayer in a church where we were speaking.
God answered the prayer of those praying people, and the next time I saw that man, I didn’t recognize him. He was so cleaned up outside, and of course inside he was utterly transformed! I may not have recognized him, but I shall never forget what he said. This is what he said: “Why don’t you all get excited? Don’t you see what’s happened to me? I’m all changed! I don’t drink anymore, I don’t curse, my body is healed. If God can do things like this, why don’t you Christians get excited about it? Why don’t you run out and shout it from the housetops?” I’ve never forgotten that. I wonder why we don’t.
Are we just spiritually lazy about things, or are we doubters and do we begin to doubt that God can use us to help transform lives? Do we doubt that God can speak through our lips the words of power that will bring about this transformation in others?
Do we doubt that prayer has power, that if we give ourselves to prayer, lives can be transformed? Or maybe we don’t see the need about us; or we view it with unconcern because the intense fervor of our zeal has cooled. Jesus said, “that the world may know....”
How are they going to know except through you and me? He has made no other provision. Think of it; oh, think of it! We have in our possession the remedy for all the world’s ills. We have the only thing that will meet the need. This is the only means of transforming that pitiful wreck of humanity that you know, or that hopeless soul that’s headed for suicide, or that young life already so marred by dissipation that all the psychology and youth reformatories will never change him. Only this transforming power of Christ can do it.
But, you say your friend, or your boy, your loved one, your husband—he’s too unbelieving, he’s too much of a doubter, he’s too far gone. What about Jerry McAuley, the thief, the safecracker, the sodden drunk whose senses were so jaded that when he staggered into the Gospel mission where he at least was saved, he fell?5 As Jerry McAuley said, when he fell, he fell towards the cross of Calvary. And today there stands in New York a monument to Jerry McAuley, because his transformed life did so much for the world. Through the forgiveness of God and the cleansing blood of Calvary, that man did so much for humanity.
So God asks the question: “Is there anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27). Is there anybody that has sunk too deep in sin? What of Billy Sunday, the ball player, sitting on the curb in Chicago, half-drunk, when the mission street workers went singing by? Later, as he knelt in the Pacific Garden Mission, the Lord completely transformed that life, and he became one of the world’s greatest preachers.
Hunt up the hardest case you know of, then look straight in the face of the Savior and hear Him say, as He said long ago: “Believest thou that I am able to do this?” Do you believe it? If you do believe it, give them the Word. Talk to them, persuade them; especially pray for these lives to be transformed.
Don’t give up on these ones, upon these especially that God has given into your care, brought your life into contact with. Let us ask God to forgive our doubts, our lack of faith for these that need the transforming touch. We must believe in the possibility of their redemption. There are no hopeless cases with God. Oh, for more faith in the dependability of God! He’s not going to fail us.
Has faith grown dim for the one we are praying for because of delayed answer to prayer? Go to the Word of God again and see how many promises are made that He will help you, He will empower you. He’ll not fail you. And faith will grow. His resources are limitless. Our faith is built upon the foundation of the divine Word. He has said it, will He not also do it?6
Here’s a wonderful verse to encourage you to hold on and have faith for that one, for the transformation of their life. Remember, it’s the Creator of the universe, the sovereign of all, who has said this. He Himself hath said He will in no wise fail thee, “nor will I in any wise forsake thee,” “so that with good courage we say, the Lord is my helper.” Isn’t that wonderful? That’s Hebrews 13:5–6. God help you to be true to it.
Remember, God’s still on the throne and prayer does change things, and He’ll change those lives. Prayer does change things. Believe God.
- John 17:1–6 AMP.
- John 17:20–21 AMP.
- Acts 16:31.
- Matthew 9:28.
- Jerry McAuley (1839–1884), along with his wife, Maria, was the founder of the McAuley Water Street Mission in New York City. A self-described “rogue and street thief” who spent seven years in Sing Sing prison during the 1860s, McAuley’s mission became America’s first Rescue Mission and is now known as the New York City Rescue Mission.
- Isaiah 46:11.