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October 24, 2020 1:30 am
What are you passionate about? Having a cause helps give your life meaning, but is there one cause that's more important? This week on Let My People Think, RZIM's Founder, the late Ravi Zacharias, takes a look at our purpose in life.
I you will notice at key moments in history.
It has been the individual that has emerged in order to blaze the trail and carry on the DOS and the program almost become secondary test taken us €2000 to start writing textbooks on evangelism. What do thousand euros evangelism is been done more purpose in life than just going through the nation without support online meaning that the tribe team. Would you like to discover the ultimate course that we can have the new phase delay welcome to let my people think there are lots of quizzes that people have helping and wrestling guys who are less fortunate, protecting the environment and install they send you name it and marry someone fighting for it, that many of the quizzes out there often very engaged, Vance found that late.
Ravi Zacharias wants to take an even deeper lit at the pate of like is the single most important cool is that we need to take on that one that rises above the other Ravi keys going to discover what is, as he presents his message is that not accordance he's Ravi my message to you tonight is hopefully a meaningful one entitled is there not a cause, is there not a cause and obviously it is raised in a rhetorical sense so that you and I would agree with the fact that there is a cause that demands the attention of the church of Jesus Christ. Jesus and his work in the work of God have never been caught off guard, just in case you and I think we are all of a sudden faced with the perplexing antagonism of secularism. What are we going to do these do not forget that the early church grew in the womb of upcountry philosophy in Greece and in the womb of Judaism where there were many struggles in the receiving of the Messiah after Peter someone at Pentecost.
If you could taken all of the questions and put them in one place they were fitted in one of our larger churches of today but today when you see the great strides that have been made.
You begin to realize that the church has flourished in spite of tremendous opposition and the church will continue to grow as a matter fact, one of the surest ways to guarantee church growth is to try to persecute it. I think history has proven that I want to read for you from the book of Nehemiah chapter 2 in the month of Nissan in the 20th year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought before him. I took the wine and gave it to the king.
I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me why does your face look so sad when you are not ill. This can be nothing but sadness of heart. I was very much afraid, but I said to the king.
May the king live forever. Why should not my face look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins and its gates have been destroyed by fire. The king said to me, what is it you want. Then I prayed to the God of heaven announce of the game if it pleases the king, and of your seven. This found favor in his side. Let them send me to the city and Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it. Then the king with the Queen sitting beside him, asked me how long will your journey taken when will you get back it please the king to send me so I set a time.
I also said to him, if it pleases the king that have led us to the governors of trans-Euphrates so that they will provide me with safe conduct online driving Judah and Matt have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the king's forest, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of The Citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence will occupy and because the gracious hand.
I think this is so important here folks, please listen to this because the gracious hand of my God was upon me. The king granted my requests.
So I went to the governors of trans-Euphrates and gave them the king's letters.
The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me once on ballot, the horror night and to buyer the Ammonite official heard about this they were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites that second chapter early verses for my text. Nehemiah was a civil engineer and I think that's good to know he wasn't a train the theologian that is also good to know. Although he had the assistance of a man like Ezra who lead in the priestly responsibilities.
Nehemiah had that shrewd validity to gain into positions of leadership and learn to rest it to his own advantage for the glory of God. There is nothing against striving towards position of leadership. If the goal within your mind is to use that position of God's glory. When you realize that Moses was in a very privileged position in the palace and how God used him when you look at Paul how he was well learned in all of the philosophies around him and that's why he stood on Mars Hill there and challenge the axioms of the Greek philosophers here. We've got a man placed in a very high position as the cup errored to the king. One of the things the cupbearer did was taste the food before the king would consume it, and the fascinating thing to me is that here a Persian monarch has a Jewish man as his closest confidant. This is one of his enemies, but you see, integrity is such an admirable quality that even your enemies will trust you if they know you are a man of integrity and so here is in the person palace gaining such position of ascendancy, but there is something about the mind that can be preoccupied with priority issues and Nehemiah was a preoccupied man so his brother. Then he comes to visit him one day in this first question is a nanny. How is the city of my fathers. How is Jerusalem. Remember the word of God.
In Isaiah it says this can a woman forget her suckling child that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb. EA.
They may forget, yet I will not forget the behold, I have grave in the upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are ever before me, the psalmist says if I forget the old Jerusalem let my right hand forget her cunning if I do not remember the let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth. If I prefer not Jerusalem to my chief joy Jerusalem was the city which could not be enunciated even as a name without stirring up emotions within her faithful now Jerusalem has been trampled under the Babylonians had really laid it to ruins.
The temple had been desecrated by the troops that had come in and 100 years hundred and 40 years have gone by since that desecration.
Nehemiah is in a foreign land is still thinking of his beloved city of Jerusalem, how is Jerusalem doing and Hernandez is Nehemiah going to be sorry you lost the city of your father's lies in ruins. The gates thereof are badly burned. The walls are in complete disarray.
Nehemiah we are up byword to our enemies that happened in the month of December. Five months later the king looks at Nehemiah and says while you constantly looking so upset what is bothering you. Nehemiah and Nehemiah said king, and he says this about the ways of the first thing I did was pray to the God of heaven, and he says king. If I were to tell you what is on my heart. You may not be too pleased to hear it but I cannot live here in the comfort of your palace, why my city, my home city lies in ruins. The king says what is it you want he says will you please send me back and allow me all that I need give me letters for all the resources that I need and send an army to protect me so that I can get back and rebuild the walls of the city of Jerusalem, do you know what he was asking the person to do. He was not only asking for privilege to go back and build. He was asking for the person to pay the bill.
That's nothing short of audacity, but he says because the good hand of my Lord was upon me.
The king granted my request, it would be like having me take a letter from Ariel Sharon to go to Ayatollah Khomeini and ask him to build a resort center.
Sharon's holidays. He's going to the Persian monarch and asking him to build the is rarely walls a nation that they had dominated, but the first principle I want to leave with you is a very very pivotal principal and the principal is this you will never lighten any load until you feel the pressure in your own soul you will never lighten any load until you feel the pressure in your own soul. Nehemiah personally sends the pressure to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and he was going to play a leadership role in this. Please tell me my dear friend in our modern-day philosophies of church growth.
We are unhealthily preoccupied with programs and I suggest to you. Programs are always secondary to people, God prepared a person before he implemented the program. We create a program and then find the person you will notice at key moments in history.
It has been the individual that has emerged in order to blaze the trail and carry on the DOS and the program almost becomes secondary. It has taken us €2000 to start writing textbooks on evangelism for 2000 years.
Evangelism is been done and the reason is we have become sort of in a kind of academic preoccupation. We think of. I teach the student how to tell his faith, then he will go ahead and tell us faith. Evangelism is one of those things that is better felt than talent and Nehemiah. Since the pressure in his own soul and he was willing to go and rebuild the walls. Listen to what the famous British poet John Donne great poet preacher said in one of his prayers.
He says this.
What's he could furnish mine eyes with tears enough to pour out if I should think that of all this congregation, which looks at me in the face.
Now I should not meet even one at the resurrection are of the right hand of God when at any midnight hour. I hear a bell tolled from the steeple. Must I not say to myself what have I done at any time for the instructing or rectifying of that man's conscience Goliath now ready to deliver up his own account and my account to Almighty God. When Dr. Graham's letter had come to me requesting that I speak on the lostness of man at Amsterdam 86. Underscored the principle that the evangelist more than anything else needs to recognize that man without Christ is lost and if he doesn't recognize this year's got no message left it here that the evangelist more than anything else needs to recognize that a man and a woman without Christ is lost and that to me is the cardinal belief in my own evangelistic posture in trusting the word of God in committing my life to Jesus Christ. I have chosen to believe what Jesus Christ has said about man and when Jesus Christ says I am the way, I am the truth I am the life no man comes unto the father except through me.
It is an absolute, unqualified statement, I may choose to say Jesus is wrong and take the consequences. But I cannot choose to say Jesus did not say that he believed in the fundamental lostness of man, his entire mission statement is summed up in that one statement I am come to seek and to save that which was lost. I don't know if you've ever perceive the sense of lostness in any physical structures. I remember preaching in Vietnam 1971 I was there to preach to the American boys in military hospitals. I was there to preach to the prisoners of war. Lying there, remember going through award where there were soldiers.
Two of them to each bed because there was such a shortage of beds watching the maimed and the mangled and all of the heartache and the loneliness of soldiers who were now going to live with these scars upon their mortal bodies, and I remember one night getting carried away at the meeting.
Even though we knew now we were going past curfew. Our and one of the Col. said to me said Ravi.
The meeting is so important. People are listening but the risk we are going to take after this. Is this curfew there's going to be darkness and we were. We are not allowed to travel the roads but I'd be willing to take the risk and continue on and I'll personally drop you back where you live. We carried on that meeting and at about 1111 15 at night.
I got into his open jeep, and as we were driving to the darkness, and a blackout in that city. All of a sudden we came to these huge iron gates of the missionary compound where I was living and I said to him, you better hurry up and move on because you're going to be even later than IM so he left me at the gate.
It was pouring rain and as he made a U-turn and turned around. I suddenly realized the only lights I had were his headlights and they were turned and he was gone and looking at those gates and recognizing they were locked, clutching onto my sermon notes to protect them from the pouring rain suddenly listening to the sound of a Vietnamese patrol that was coming by the clanging of their rifles in the footsteps heavy on the soil there was pouring rain and they had presented me with a long knife as a parting gift before I left Vietnam. I'm standing outside this iron gate after curfew with a locked gate and the sword in my not knowing how is going to get in, not knowing how's about to get out. I did know whether to high. But then if I were called all of a sudden not be in worse trouble or to make myself obvious without a single word of Vietnamese my vocabulary, and as I stood there the paralysis of the darkness became at that moment, the kind of the blanket upon me as I didn't know how to open the gate didn't know where to leave.
It was a complete sense of confusion.
I was a lost individual with no privilege of communication and really not knowing how to get it if you transfer that confusion into man's mind where he doesn't know where he came from.
He doesn't know where he is going and defines different avenues with which to tranquilizers, boredom, and the only place he really becomes honest is either at the altar or in front of a television screen where he pretends to play a role, you will begin to understand the spiritual darkness and the dilemma within. I think I have for you. One of finest illustrations to show to you how are recognition of man's lostness serves as a propelling force.
The first missionary America ever sent overseas was added in Judson. If you have not read his biography.
Please read it.
One of the finest minds. America has ever produced. He was so brilliant when he was 12 years old. He was teaching the adult Sunday school class, the book of Revelation from the original language that's not intimidating out on the waters.
He was so brilliant that people became petrified of Mr. Judson, and rightly so. When he got into college. He made the fatal mistake of thinking he was more brilliant than God and his intellectualism got to him duly disavowed his faith, and then he became a terror he went to Providence College in Rhode Island. He became a terror to his classmates who were Christians because Judson was so powerful and debate that he would knock them off any of their beliefs and they would avoid him.
He had a roommate, a fellow by the name of Jacob Ames, Jacob Ames in Judson became very close, Jacob Ames came into Providence College professing to believe in Christ. He graduated out of Providence College professing to be an atheist and he gave the credit blood and iron. Judson's mother did know how to deal with them.
So she just prayed for them.
Father tried to talk to him but he figured he knocked the faith out of his own arts are decidedly Judson Malone many years went by the faculty members kept a close eye on Judson, wondering what such a genius was going to do with his life and one day he was writing to the city of New York to be trained for theater at the end of his interview he was riding back to Boston and it was a long long ride back, he did was so exhausted he stopped in at an end and asked the manager of you could check in for the night and the manager sister. We really can't give your room, they're all full. Mr. Judson says Mr. manager.
I'm so tired. I'm falling asleep.
Would you let me sleep in the front hall.
I get up before it's dawn and leave here because I'm so tired I paid the price of a room. I just need to lie down.
He said Mr. Judson, I do have a room that's available but I wasn't going to rent out because adjacent to that room is a man was very sick from his buddies emanating a stench of decay. He's dying and he's crying and alternate fits of stupefaction and raving and profanity, but if you want that next room and he won't bother you.
I'll give it to Judson said he won't bother me but Judson lay awake at night listening to this profanity, listening to a man in untold agony crying out for help and Judson tried to smother the sound Stardust intern and gradually the sounds subsided and Judson fell asleep next as he was paying his bill. He said what happened to the man feel better. He said no. Mr. Judson, the men died, he died in the early hours of the morning.
Judson says, out of curiosity, what you do strangers come into your enemy dies on your hands.
He said he does pose a problem. But I'll tell you something as I've looked over his papers and trying to contact the next of kin. I cannot put together how a man of his credentials and his his brilliance has died such an anomalous death all alone in these conditions. He was a honors graduate from Providence College in Rhode Island, Mr. Judson, his name was Jacob Ames and Judson pause for a moment and said what did you say his name was and he said his name was Jacob Ames, a Providence College graduate had an arm Judson in his biography entitled to the Golden shore says this I got onto my horse and I started to write back and I could not see in front of me for the tears began to pour down my face. And as the tears were pouring down my face. Two words were pounding into my heart as the hooves of the horse were pounding into the ground and the two words were death, hell, death, hell, death, hell, he says I got off my horse and knelt on the dusty road, repented bitterly of the way I had betrayed my God what Jacob Ames now laid delivering up an account of his own soul because I had knocked out any faith that he'd had in God. He checked out of the United States and went to India was kicked out of Calcutta and went into Burma. Do you know that his first wife died out of an oriental disease. Her body had contracted for which she had no sense of immunization, and out of sheer loneliness. He remarried his second wife died three or four of his children died, his missionary colleagues died and this man was laboring almost enough funeral directors scampered losing all of his colleagues till finally he himself realized he was an awesome battle. It took him seven years to lead the first Burmese to Jesus Christ and yet if you read Don Richardson's book eternity in their hearts. He will tell you something that Judson did which Burma will always be indebted to is a matter of fact, if you go to add an arm. Judson's hometown today in Malden, Massachusetts's eighth Judson was imprisoned by the Burmese authorities because of a successful preaching of the gospel as many, many started to turn to Christ, and Judson was was put into a boat after being imprisoned for 18 months and people could not recognize him anymore and the Burmese authorities knew he was going to die a few days away so they put them in the boat to send them back to the United States.
He never made it.
He died en route back in Malden, Massachusetts is a small gravestone that says add an iron Judson born such and such died such and such, the ocean is a sepulcher of the Burmese Bible is is monument his record is on high, he translated the Bible into Burmese. His wife translated the Bible into Thai and Don Richardson points out that in Burmese folklore. There is a grim reminder to the people that the answer and Judson did know this by the way, and Don Richardson points out that in Burmese folklore. There was a belief that someday a man was going to come with the book which would have the truth in it and Judson spent years and years and years producing that book death hell death hell death hell unless you and I recognize that the person out there without Christ is lost we will never carry a burden and a personal pressure within our own soul and my friend, may I challenge you tonight to seek God for that burden.
There was a second principle that emerge from the MIs life. As soon as he sends this burden in his own soul. The first thing you decided to do was pray and spend that time with God. As we were sharing time over lunch today which I so thoroughly enjoyed again with several of you I was sharing with the brethren, that one of my great concerns has been that in talking to many many Christian people. The biggest flaw in their lives as far as I can see when they share it is that they have no personal devotional life. Prayer is a distant experience for them, and yet when you see the Giants in the faith. Whether you moved to a man like Wesley or you go to a man like Judson, will you go to Henry Martin, the great Methodist missionary and so on you. You begin to see some of these great ministers of the faith, and you begin to see that every man who has been successful in the spiritual life has been successful first in his personal life alone with God. Preaching in Cambodia Phnom Penh and Battambang but among was the first city to fall in Cambodia. I remember preaching to a group of Cambodians in an arena and my interpreter was a young Chinese gentleman Daniel Lum at the end of every day as we go back to this tall building will be occupied the top room very meager meager conditions. It was 1974, just a few months before Cambodia fell every morning at 4 AM his alarm would go off Daniels alarm would go off no matter how exhausted we were and it wind his way up to the roof of that building and every day in a language that I couldn't understand but a pathos that I could this man began his day with a tremendous pouring in prayer. If you study the history of the church in Cambodia. His rapport.
You'll find out between 1923 in 1968, our denomination, the Christian mission alliance at 80 baptized believers in 45 years 9023 90 6480 baptized believers in three churches in Phnom Penh two years in the last two years before it fell over 3000 came to Christ, and 24 new churches were planted in Phnom Penh alone. In one series of 10 days. We had 650, and respond to the invitation to follow Jesus Christ and I do not believe it is because methodologically we had done anything different, but it had been bathed in prayer by those who have preceded walking Christ and pulling his cool.
He will make amazing things happen if guidance doesn't guarantee an evil path but he promises to provide the strength and wisdom to pass the day we trust in him.
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