I WAS READING THIS MORNING IN THE 17TH CHAPTER OF JOHN: "When Jesus had spoken these things, He lifted up His eyes to Heaven and said, Father, the hour is come. Glorify (exalt, magnify) your Son, so that your Son may glorify (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 for 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 are Yours, You gave them to Me and they have obeyed and kept Your Word." (Amplified version.)
THEN OVER TO THE 20TH VERSE, where 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."
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." 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." But, oh, hearts are so hard and lives so filled with many distracting interests today, it's hard even to get the attention for a moment of the unsaved. How can it be done?
WELL, I BELIEVE THERE'S NO PERSUASIVE POWER IN THE WORLD LIKE 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 up this work of God and see other lives transformed. Words fail me utterly when I try to describe the transforming power of Jesus, so wonderful -- every 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. Well, there are so many lives like this that I have known.
SOME TIME AGO THERE CROSSED MY PATH a young man so steeped in sin, so lust-filled and vile that his soul was starving from near debauchery. He was an alcoholic, a gambler, a narcotic addict. Brought face-to-face with this miserably unhappy, useless life, the Lord seemed to challenge me with these Words,
BELIEVEST THOU THAT I AM ABLE TO DO THIS?" 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 believe utterly that such a life can be transformed.
WELL, THE OTHER DAY I WALKED INTO A LARGE AUDITORIUM to hear this same young man proclaim this very same message of deliverance for captives. 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 the Jesus. Every word was graced with the Love of God and adorned with the power of the Holy Spirit.
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 deliver those that are oppressed, those who are down-trodden, bruised, crushed and broken down by calamity."
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. Oh how wonderful when we see such lives transformed! Surely that lets the world know! And oh, how 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.
GOD ANSWERED THE PRAYER of those praying people, and the next time I saw that man I didn't recognize him. He was so clean outside -- and of course inside he was utterly transformed! I mightn't have recognized him, but I shall never forget 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 any more, I don't curse, my body is clean! 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. ..."
WELL, 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 wretch 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, YOUR BOY, YOUR LOVED ONE, YOUR HUSBAND -- oh, he's too unbelieving, he's too much of a doubter, he's too far gone! Well, what about Jerry McAuley, the thief, the safe-cracker, the sodden drunk whose senses were so jaded that when he staggered into the Gospel mission where he at least was saved, he fell.
BUT AS JERRY McAULEY SAID: When he fell, he fell towards the cross of Jesus. 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 Jesus, that man did so much for humanity through his work with the derelicts of Skid Row.
AND SO GOD ASKS THE QUESTION: "Is there anything too hard for Me?" -- Jer.32:27. Is there anybody who has sunk too deep in sin? What of Billy Sunday, the ball player, sitting on the pavement of Chicago, half-drunk, when the mission street workers went singing by? 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 Jesus and hear Him say, as He said long ago: "Believest thou that I am able to do this?" -- Mat.9:28. Well, 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 and 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. You 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, 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, shall He not also do it?"
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 may say,
         "THE LORD IS MY HELPER!" (Hebrews 13:4,6.) God help you to be true to it! Remember, God's still on the Throne and prayer does change things and He'll change their life. Prayer does change things! Believe God!

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family -- This file has not been proofread.