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November 7, 2020 1:00 am
Have you ever been mocked for your Christian beliefs? Did you ever think about how standing up for God might cost you something? To find the answers, RZIM's Founder, the late Ravi Zacharias, looks at someone in the Old Testament who faced similar opposition. That's this week on Let My People Think.
Examining national ministry comes from your generous donation and you need to understand that you find somebody who says for the sake of God, let us arise and build. I will guarantee you you will always have somebody who will say let us stand up and destroy starting up God for stealing his cooling on a life of Monza cost. Today we going to look at cost what it involves and how we can Skype with hello and welcome to let my people think as we hear from Ozzie. I am sound that late Ravi Zacharias in the Old Testament.
We told the man by the name of Nehemiah. He sets out to rebuild the variables at the city of Jerusalem as a guide to none in Bobby's message this week and next MIs story still has powerful applications to our lives as believing in 18,500 years like that but cost did Nehemiah have to pay and his struggle to rebuild the bull call so we have to pay if we follow God faithfully listening now to his message title is not enough.
The cost I'm reading from the book of Nehemiah chapter 2 and I'm reading from verse 10 Nehemiah chapter 2 and I'm really going to read a few scattered verses of I may and please follow me. I hope it doesn't seem rather disjointed.
Do you there is a reason for what I'm doing. Nehemiah chapter 2 and I'm reading from verse 10. Here is what has happened. Remember now that Nehemiah is coming in at a time in history where the government is very unstable. There is a tremendous sense of insecurity amongst the foreign land of Persia that has dominated Israel and other nations that was bloodshed in the highest offices of the land.
Kings were getting killed. They were being usurped by their own children. In other words, the Persian government had to take every precaution to be very secure in itself. And one of the ways and being secure was controlling the nation of Israel itself.
But here is an enormous request from a man of God and as I said do you what I really like about Nehemiah is as hard as he looked he knew that the ultimate blessing was from God and he said because the good hand of God was upon me. The king granted my request, the hand of God upon our lives is indispensable to the grunting of our request before Almighty God and God's hand is upon you.
It's a valuable experience. So Yuri is going to the Persian King asking them to pay the bill for the rebuilding of Jerusalem's walls but as soon as he decides to go.
He faces problems and I would like to highlight some of them for you.
Look at verse 10 chapter 2 when Sun Valley the horror night and to buyer the Ammonite official hard about this. They were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites.
Verse 19 when Sun Valley at the horror night by the Ammonite – of the Arab one more resided now called about it they mocked and ridiculed us. What is this you are doing. They asked are you rebelling against the king.
Please look at chapter 4 and verse seven 1st = Violet and Tobiah.
Then it was some balance to buyer and the Arab now notice verse seven and chapter 4 but when Sun Valley it buyer the Arabs, the ammonites, the Mennonites of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem's walls are gone ahead and that the gaps will be enclosed.
They were very angry. They all plodded together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. Please notice but we prayed to our God and posted a god damn night.
To meet this threat.
You need to understand that whenever you find somebody who says for the sake of God, let us arise and build.
I will guarantee you you will always have somebody who will say let us stand up and destroy.
You will never ever reach a position of leadership and direction and power in ministry without the opposition, and those who would try to root out and pull down what you have done.
This is true of any noble endeavor in life.
It is not without its opposition and its difficulties. I like what Theodore Roosevelt said about the critics who tried to destroy the good work that some would like to do. He says this.
It is not the critic who counts it is not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. Why the credit belongs to the man who is in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error or shortcoming who does actually try to do the deed. Who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion and spends himself in that worthy cause, who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.
Far better it is to dare mighty things, and to wish glorious triumphs, the checkered by failure, then to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. Far better it says to suffer much while triumphing and attempting great things then to live in the gray twilight of those who neither know any victory or defeat. Dr. AW toes are said it and I'm afraid to repeat it sometimes, but he said it whom God would use greatly. He will hurt deeply. I do not know who wrote the following words but I strongly suspect the woman who wrote them was either raised in the home or somebody was in the ministry was close to someone who was in the ministry. This is the way it goes when God wants to drill a man in Tukwila man and skill. A man when God wants to mold a man to play the noblest part when he yearns with all his heart to create so bright and bold, a man that all the world might be amazed what his methods, what's his ways how he ruthlessly perfects whom he royally elects how he hammers and Hartson and with mighty blows, converts them into trial shapes of play that only God understands while his daughter heart is crying and ellipse beseeching hands how he bends, but never breaks when his good he undertakes how he uses whom he chooses.
And with every purpose fuses them with mighty acts induces him to try his splendor out. God knows what he's about. But God wants to drill a man and for the man and skill. A man what's his methods watches ways. Nehemiah is a man being drilled, thrilled and skilled and watch the power that God is going to fuse into him and what is going to face in the process. There were three kinds of obstacles. Nehemiah faced and three reminders he gave his people. The first was the obstacle of scorn they most scorn you for what you believe. I have so often entered arenas where I am to speak and I already know this corners that are there. The first sermon I ever preached in my early teens.
There was a sermon entitled across of Jesus Christ. And I'll never forget preaching at the university setting in Madras, India. I was a teenager I had barely known any knowledge of God's word and as I walked up with the team team onto the platform in this voluntary audience of over 200 sitting before us. Some of them sitting in the back row began a slow handclapping in as many words telling us to shut up and get out and your young minds become so intimidated and so fearful because we are scorned in what we believe and what we are going to say but let me try and give them the benefit of the doubt for a moment, why is a Christian scorned. Why is it that if you are to stand in the street corner tonight or in some audience that is going to give you a hearing and say to them something like this.
The ultimate uncertain life is not political.
The ultimate uncertain life is not governmental the ultimate uncertain life is not educational, sociological, psychological or philosophical.
The ultimate answer is life in life is the fact that your heart is rebelling against God and Jesus Christ is the only one who can transform you, how will an audience respond to that many will scorn if for no other reason than for this because our message.
By definition, an proposition is exclusive.
We have no other door and option to give to them. There is no other name given under heaven whereby we must be saved than the name of Jesus Christ.
And when people hear that the response is one of scorn because of our exclusive claim. Now if I were to stand up and many many audiences and say Jesus Christ is one of the options amongst many other options. Most of this corners will stop scorning us, not right preaching in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I finished preaching to a large audience and that night, the wife of the man would written the national anthem in Cambodia had come to Jesus Christ and after this large audience had responded. The year was 1974 I'd finished preaching to my interpreter and the new young Army major who was my interpreter asked me to be seated.
He was now going to say something to them. And for about 20 minutes. He talked and he became loud he became emotional and he was obviously saying something that had a lot of pathos in it and I noticed that as he kept talking some people were getting up and walking away, and at one point I said I don't understand the language but I sure wish he wouldn't ruin what is already been done.
I don't know what he is saying that is getting some people to get up and walk away. And after that evening was over and he was driving me back. I finally dared to ask him as a brother chip. What was it you were doing. After the sermon was over, he said, rubbing most of these people come from a different religion and he named it for me and he said the problem with preaching in Cambodia's after you finish the message. Many of them add what you have said to do what they already believe.
And all I was trying to tell them was be sure before you leave tonight that you are not only receiving Christ, but you're willing to reject everything that's contrary to him and he lost part of his audience is only a few days later I sat talking to a Buddhist priest by the name of Boone ton 18 years. A Buddhist priest in the monastery there and Layton Layton late into the night. We talked and the hardest decision that he faced was the fact that for him to give assent to Christ was to repudiate the faith of his father's and the faith of many in his nation, and so on. And we must try to understand that one of the reasons we are scorned is because of the exclusiveness of the gospel, but when our people have understood it, they will only have understood it. If they know that the claim is exclusive.
There is no compromise. We have to say it lovingly, we have to say gently but truth by definition cannot include everything if it includes everything there's no such thing as also if there is no such thing as falsehood.
There's no such thing as truth. One of India's most famous philosophers.the cyber bully Radhakrishnan. Once upon a time became the president of India and prior to becoming India's president held the chair of Eastern philosophies approximate for many years.
Dr. Radhakrishnan said this about his own believe in Hinduism and he said the only thing that scares me about my belief is that the arms of my religion have been open so wide that they're trying to absorb everything which could ultimately result in its own strangulation. The arms of an open so wide that they're trying to absorb everything which will ultimately result in its own strangulation. We cannot absorb contrary views Jesus claimed to be the way and let us believe him demonstrating the truth. One reason we are scorned is our exclusiveness.
Second reason we are scorned is because we see the unseen Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. How many times I've been at meetings where somebody will stand up and talk about a financial bankruptcy or he will talk about it debilitation in his body or he will talk about the loss of a loved one. I remember being at one meeting where a man's 10-year-old girl was run over by her neighbor's car and just literally completely mangled and died before their eyes. So horrible was the mutilation. Nobody even dared lift up the vehicle that had done the damage and yet the same man better initially and yet as he began to commune with God and as the tears were washing away some of the Greek said that he was the stronger and the better and the more devoted to God through that experience. The unbelieving man doesn't understand this.
He has seen the unseen, like the Bible talks about Moses he saw him who is invisible. What it really means is he perceived the reality of that which is not sensible by our mere transitory senses. We are scorned because of exclusiveness. We are scorned because we see the unseen will scorn because we challenge the sovereignty of man Moses before Pharaoh John the Baptist before the rulers of his day Jesus before Pilate, and you go on and on and on and we point the finger against those who claim sovereignty against God and as a result we get our scorning. And lastly, we are scorned because we claim to them. It could have a morality that transcends this world so Mary talks about being a virgin and then conceived in her womb of the Holy Spirit is Jesus Christ and to the unbelieving managers become the joke of the jokester.
The pattern of the puns stir the mockery of the comedian and yet do you and me just one of the most treasured truths of the Bible that she was overshadowed by God, look at all of this and look at Nehemiah.
Why was he scorned. If I forget the old Jerusalem let my right hand forget to do her cunning Jerusalem, O King is the holy city. I want to have walls for it.
She's an exclusive land.
He was scorned because he saw the wall even before it was built. They said look after you build it or folks will jump over it and knock it over and on and on, but he saw the wall before it was built in his mind's eye and in 52 days he built it. They scorned him before he completed it. He was scorned because he challenge the sovereignty of man and said to the Persian monarch okay how can I live in your palace comfortably. So long as the walls of my father's city lies in ruins. Please let me go back. He went there claiming a higher morality seeking to serve the God of heaven diamond again. Nehemiah refers to God not as God but the God of heaven. The God of heaven. The God of heaven. They scorned him and you and I will face scorned from an unbelieving world.
There is a second kind of an opposition he faced. He faced the opposition of force.
There are people who have tried through the use of the sword to do away with the gospel. Islam tried it Islam in nearly 100 years tried to wipe off Christianity of the face of the earth, its story is written in history just Marxist regimes have tried it, it has not worked. Russia has tried to smother it so much it has not succeeded China tried to smother it, it has not succeeded. Vietnam is trying to smother it.
It is not succeeding, tried to smother it. It does not succeeded and there are many, many parts of the world where the blade has been used in order to do away with the gospel. 1971 at the age of 25, a young single man, I was doing my first overseas meetings.
The city was by Masood, just very close to the demilitarized zone and I remember sitting there at night after the meetings, watching an amber colored's eye with the firepower in the air so often driving past highways where dead bodies were strewn after having walked on minds. It was a young life trying to handle a nation at war and I remember the first day I arrived there I asked if I could walk over to the graves of missionaries and I forget the exact number but there near a pile of rubbish was a gently marked off grave with chains around it in green and white stone.
If I remember and carved on stone with the names of these five or six missionaries of the Christian and missionary alliance who had been brutally murdered. I think the year was 1968 as the Vietcong marched in and did away with them callously, brutally and without any consideration of dignity for human life.
We lost them to the atrocities of men, but we don't just talk anymore about Nate St. about these missionaries who died in 68. A few years ago I was going into Cambodia to preach and a tall lanky fellow who was my classmate in my undergraduate goes Fiji, a Dutchman, he worked for overseas missionary Fellowship. He and I had graduated and became very, very close very closest buddies. As a matter fact, the day we graduated four of us young men are fiancés at that time held hands and we prayed and one of the promises we made that we each of us would prefer the other three every day of our lives goes became a very dear friend of mine. He and his wife Colleen were the first guests in our home after Marg and I were married 9074 going into Cambodia. I wanted to tell goes I was going to be in Thailand for just one night, but he looks so far away from Bangkok.
I didn't want to trouble him. And lo and behold, as I walked outside the glass doors in Bangkok here overnighting in Bangkok this tall, lanky figure of goes stands there and he grins and he says you thought you'd get away without seeing me, didn't you. We checked into a hotel that night and goes lay in that bed next to me, hands behind his head and he talked what he was an unusually godly man. One of those rare individuals whom you get to know who you know is made of extraordinary stuff and really the other three of us were not made of the caliber close was and I don't say that with any false sense of humility or anything of that he was truly an extremely dedicated man before I left that night we lay all night in bed as we were talking and then he said to me, Robbie.
Please pray for me. He said I've always been bold and I'm fighting against my own personality and I'm being threatened by some Thai young people that they're going to do away with me if I continue to preach. That was 74. Every time his prelate would come in Jordan. Note down to me at the bottom saying please pray for me.
My life is in jeopardy when we were in Nyack about three years ago, a letter came from them.
Please pray for me.
My life is in jeopardy. But God's doing great things, and Satan is trying to resist. He and I were of identical age, I believe in the same mail in which we got a letter from Coles in Thailand asking us to pray for him was a letter from OMF in Toronto, Canada.
In memoriam with the picture of goes Fiji in the center of the page. He finished preaching at a prayer meeting walked out, a young man with a gun in his hand filled his face full of bullets killed you always think martyrs are made of decades ago or somebody whose age seems twice as yours. You don't think of the man who sat next to you in a classroom. Taking notes in systematic theology and evangelism and world religions suddenly being done away with and the fascinating thing to me about goes as life is immediately after they killed him. His wife was so deeply hard when the message came. She did not even want to go and recognize the body she was so confused by this young children. I believe they had three young children want a baby in arms, his brother Bill went over to see the spot and recognize his brothers body and identify it and today in the same city where close was murdered his brother Bill Fiji is a missionary scorn take on knock it off force that can knock it off. Which leaves them with just one option and that is more satanic than all the others. Nehemiah face the scorn he faced the force and then the one thing that he found the greatest difficulty was internal, scheming, scheming from his own people.
If you read chapter 4, you will see the details of it. One of his own men had teamed up with one of the enemies and tried to lure Nehemiah into a secluded setting to lure him into a lonely spot and do away with them. Nehemiah refused to go but I trust Nehemiah's hard when he found out that one of his close supporters was scheming in order to do away with the task. I just like to leave with you one or two of these thoughts in this area as a man who is now working in a sense in an organization seeking to challenge the thinkers and the successful of this world there are few people who have been a greater encouragement to me than the men and women who stand on our board and our counsel of reference 80 of them will be coming to Atlanta to gather around us only to express their love to my wife and myself to spend the weekend as we prayed together as we rehearsed together as we share our love with each other and it is one of the grandest experiences of my life as I say to you do know that there are people who love us and stand with us and we desperately need that as we try to serve him together. Your pastor has said to me two times in the last 24 hours.
You don't know what a privilege it is for me to be leaving a people such as these at Manor brethren in Christ, may it always be that kind of a relationship. I have been in churches where people have betrayed one another where the infighting becomes like a cancer and there's always a broken heart and sometimes the ones whose hearts are broken. Most of the young children who do not understand the political ramifications of religious convictions, stand firm. Together, brethren, let there be no scheming if ever you have something against somebody go to that person. Don't go behind that person's back. Listen to what Cedillo Baxter says it seems an awful thing to say.
Yet it is true that there arbitrators like Sharon Meyer and Noah died in most Christian congregations today.
Men and women who have professed conversion to Christ to share in the fellowship and labors of the saints who nevertheless seem to find cruel pleasure in the fall of a Christian leader to his face. They are friendly, fussy, saintly, but behind his back. Their mischief makers their professed loyalty and concern. Yet if he slips off all their love to gossip it among the brethren and talk it around the town all warthog bang such disloyal brethren, give to the Christian ministers positive superintendents and leaders that the buyers Quisling's Satan Smith columnists without striking quite firm for playback.
The five-part of Ravi Zacharias's methods is that not a cost are you facing any opposition to your faith or they Nehemiah faced evil wed actions.
History can be an encouragement as he faced the challenges of today. If you would like to order a complete copy of this methods coolest at 1-800-448-6766 and ask for is that not the cost and number again is 1-800-448-6766. You can also order email@example.com or as that I am.ca for days in Canada. You can also email us at all. firstname.lastname@example.org or write to a head coaches of faith in the US at ancien PO Box 18 T0 Rosenbaum to adjust 300877 suffered in silence the existence of truth. Those are just a few of the topics covered are Z. I am just thinking magazine editor and yelled and often encouraged by letters we receive regarding just thinking you never know what one sentence can do the life of an individual got a number of letters from those who are outside of Christianity that they found something just thinking and said I want to read more. Sign up for email delivery of just thinking are Z IM.org that many people think the lift was a radio ministry managed by Ozzie I am in Atlanta