“You can’t do God’s part, and God won’t do yours.” Have you heard that before? Have you thought about it? I’m pastor Doug Sewell. This is the Beyond Six Verses podcast.
When I was at Christian international in 2007, the worship leader, Dean Mitchum said from the platform, “You can’t do God’s part and God won’t do yours.” I thought about it some then, and I’ve thought about it a number of times since. Graham Cooke has also talked about it a number of times.
First, there is a question that someone had raised: Are you talking about salvation? And I said, no, this is not about salvation at all. That comes by grace through faith. We receive what Jesus gave us.
But when we’re pursuing something that we’ve asked for in prayer, or when we’re pursuing something that God set before us as a calling, we have our part to play.
For example, if I was called to the mission field, I have to at least get a passport. I have to go get the picture taken. I have to fill out the application. I have to do the interview. I have to send the money and then I can get a passport.
If I don’t get that passport, then I can’t go to the mission field. God’s not going to get that passport for me. And I’m not going to open a drawer and find a passport there.
Let’s look at a couple of examples from scripture.
From 2 Kings chapter five, I’m going to read verse one through three and then skip down to verse nine. Now, Naaman was commander of the army of the King of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded because through him, the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.
Now bands of Raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served named his wife. She said to her mistress, if only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria, he would cure him of his leprosy.
Now down to verse nine.
So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, Go wash yourself seven times in the Jordan and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.
But Naaman went away, angry and said, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call him the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the spot, and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed? So he turned and went off in a rage.
Naaman’s servants went to him and said, my father, if the prophet had asked you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more than when he tells you wash and be cleansed? So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.
Now what if Naaman had gone to one of the rivers in Damascus, and dipped? What if he had only washed six times? What if he refused to go until Elisha came out and visited with him himself? He wouldn’t have gotten cured. He couldn’t do God’s part – the healing – but God wouldn’t do his part of dipping in the Jordan river seven times.
Let’s look at another example – Acts chapter one, verses four through nine. On one occasion while he was eating with them, he gave them this command, do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my father promised which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Then they gathered around him and asked him, Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?
He said to them, it is not for you to know the times or dates the father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea, and Samaria, and into the ends of the earth. After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes and a cloud hid them from their sight.
This was 40 days after the resurrection, but we don’t have any record of the gospel getting out of Jerusalem and Judea until Acts chapter eight, likely at least five years after the resurrection. And it didn’t get to the Gentiles, the ends of the earth, so to speak, until 10 years after the resurrection. They had the Holy Spirit, they had the power, they had the authority, they had the boldness, they had miracles accompanying them, but it took persecution in Acts eight to get them to even go to Samaria.
Now, me speaking – I’ve had a call as a teacher for many years, and God’s given me great grace to understand and recall a lot. But if I didn’t feed my faith with scripture, and if I didn’t take time to learn from the apostles, prophets, and teachers God has said in the church, my own ministry would be stunted. So next time you hear “You can’t do God’s part, and God won’t do yours,” think about what it means to you.
I’m pastor Doug Sewell. If you like what you’re hearing on the Beyond Six Verses podcast, share it with a friend. We’re in the Apple, Google and Stitcher podcast directories. Thanks for listening, I’ll be back next week.
(Transcript provided by descript.com)