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The Pursuit of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
February 14, 2021 7:00 am

The Pursuit of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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February 14, 2021 7:00 am

Everybody’s got a theory about how to deal with the issue of racism in our country. But in this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans says the only way we’ll ever solve the problem of skin is to deal with the problem of sin. Join him for this eye-opening look at the connection between race and grace.

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If you're going to know God, then God must have the freedom to tell you who He is. Dr. Tony Evans says it's up to us to listen when He does and then act on what we hear. You know God when who He is defines who you are. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative.

We all want to be accepted as we are. Well, today Dr. Evans explains why God expects nothing less. Let's join him. Today I want to talk to you about life's greatest pursuit, the knowledge of God.

Let me ask you a question. How well do you know God? Now, some people don't know Him at all.

Those are the unconverted. They don't know Him. But then there are others who know Him casually. They can reference Him. They believe in Him.

So there's a casuality to their knowledge of God. Other people know Him informationally. They can talk about Him. In fact, they may talk about Him regularly. They may have read enough about Him. They may have heard enough sermons about Him. They may have studied enough books about Him that they can give an in-depth description that's relatively sound on who God is.

Others know Him religiously. They can tell you how it feels when the Holy Ghost gets all over them. They can describe emotively the feeling God gives them. Other people know God in a way that's programmatic because they're doing the program thing. They connect that with the knowledge of God.

But none of that is what I am talking about. Now, it may include a number of things. It certainly will include your intellect.

It will include your emotions. But that's not what I mean by knowing God. He says, let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this that he understands and knows me. When a man sees a lady that captures his imagination and he sashays up to her and says to her, What's your name?

I want to get to know you. It begins with an introduction, but an introduction is not his goal. He now wants some more information. But information is not his goal.

It's necessary, but that's not where he's going. Because that information is designed based on his interest to lead to a relationship so that they begin to date and to see each other and start talking on the phone. The facts have now moved to a whole other level.

Feelings are now involved, having gained more facts. And then one day he says, Will you marry me? And if she says yes, they get married and they go on their honeymoon. When God wanted to use a word that describes what he wants with you, he used a sexual word. The same word when Adam knew Eve and she conceived is the very same word that he uses when he says that you know me. So we're not talking about meeting him. We're not talking about gaining information about him.

We're not talking about dating him. He is interested in intimacy at the highest level. That's what he's wanting with his people in the relationship. The context of these two verses is very interesting. The concept is the Babylonian captivity and chaos is ruling in the land. God comes in the midst of this chaos, and he gives them these two verses in Jeremiah 9, 23, and 24. And how relevant are these two verses?

Because he starts off by letting them know y'all are after the wrong thing. And he uses the word boasting. He uses three areas, riches, wisdom, and might.

Let's contemporize it. A big bank account, high roller, plenty of degrees on the wall, edumacation, and clout, power, success, prominence, notoriety. The three things every American wants. Every American wants to make as much as they can make, to go as high as they can go, get your education, and to climb the ladder of success. But what he says is if that's all you got to brag about, if that's your claim to fame, that you got money in the bank, that you've gotten your master's and your MBA and your PhD, and you've now risen to become the most powerful person in the company or the culture, and you now think you're something, you bragging about it. He says you bragging about the wrong thing. Look at the time and attention that we give to those three things. Those are not casual relationships.

Trying to make money, no, that's an eight-hour trip a day plus. Look at the energy given to get the degrees and to go further than high school. Look at the hard work you're putting in to become more mighty in your company, your culture, in your environment. In other words, you invest in that. That's not, I hope it happens. Maybe one day you'll tell somebody in a minute who plays you wrong, I work hard to get this.

You want it to be clear that this was a serious investment. He says, but if that's your claim to fame, he's not condemning having money, having an education, or having success, or might, or power, or prominence. He's not saying those things are wrong. In fact, the Bible says in numbers of occasions he gives men all three of these things. He's not condemning the having of it. He's condemning it if you have it at the expense of intimacy with God. If you know your bank account but you don't know God. If you know your degrees but you don't know God, you know your skills.

If you've reached a level where everybody knows you but you don't know him. He says, let not a wise man boast in his wisdom. Pride in any one of those areas, not having them, but pride in any one of those areas needs to be treated like my beard. I shave it every day. Virtually every day I get up and I put shaving cream on my face because if I don't shave it, it will grow. And if you don't keep riches, and education, and success in its proper place, it'll grow on you. And if you keep it unshaved, it'll take over.

We'll forget what you look like. Like the woodpecker that was pecking on the tree, just pecking on the tree, and pecking on the tree, and pecking on the tree. And then lightning came and hit the tree and split it in half. He talking about, look what I did. It's easy to become like Nebuchadnezzar when you forget God. Look at this Babylon that I have built. Look at this talent that I have. Look at this money that I've accumulated.

Look at what I've done. He says, if you're going to boast, boast in this, that you've been intimate with me. Notice what he says in verse 24. Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who exercises loving kindness, justice, and righteousness, watch this, on the earth. He's not talking about what he's doing in the heavens.

He's talking about what he's doing in the history on earth. So we're not talking about a bye in the sky relationship. It's hard to be intimate with somebody who's not home. You can't have long-distance intimacy if you're going to know somebody who is in another world.

God is spirit. That's another world. But he wants to be known in your world, earth. So he's from another world, so to speak. He's, of course, imminent, but he's a transcendent, and yet he wants to be part of your world, earth. So we're not talking about some pie in the sky. It's when we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be.

That's not what the discussion is here. He says that I am the Lord who is the Lord of loving kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth. So to know me is to know how I apparate. You know, when you really get to know somebody, you can kind of predict what they're going to do because you've gotten to know them, and so you can predict the action and the reaction. You know when it's, uh-oh, because you've kind of scoped them out. You know them. That's why Moses said, I want to know you. Show me your ways.

We'll look at that passage. I want to know you, so let me see how you operate. When you get to know somebody like that, you get to know their likes, their dislikes, their preferences. You get to know how they're going to function, how they're not going to function.

Why? Because you have gotten to know information that has led to intimacy. To know someone is only as good as their willingness to be known. We call that revelation. Revelation is where God unveils himself and lets you see what he is like. Revelation is when you're sitting at a play, the curtain is closed, you hear rumbling in the back, so you know something's there, but you don't know quite what it is because there is a veil, a covering, that's blocking you seeing what's really there until it's time for there to be an unveiling. The curtain opens. Then you see behind the curtain what's really there. So the first thing that you need to know if you want to know God is that God has to unveil himself to you.

But why do some of us want to resist that unveiling? Dr. Evans will come back with the answer in just a moment. But first, I want to let you know about a brand-new book he's just released, Prayers for Knowing God. In it, Dr. Evans guides you through more than 50 prayers designed to help you better understand God in areas of his mercy, his goodness, his lasting purposes, and many more. It's the perfect companion to the audio series we kicked off today called God's Heart Revealed, and we're bundling this new book along with all 12 messages in the series on both CD and digital download, and sending them to you as our thank-you gift when you make a contribution to help keep Tony's messages coming to this station each day. This special offer is only available for a short time, so let one of our resource team members help you make the arrangements for getting your own copy by calling us at 1-800-800-3222 any time of the day or night.

Again, that's 1-800-800-3222. Or you can make your contribution and request online right away at TonyEvans.org. That's TonyEvans.org. Well, Dr. Evans will come back with more of today's lesson right after this.

It was my first time meeting Jesus in the Bible. That's what one student is saying after studying bibliology through the Tony Evans Training Center taught by renowned theologian, Dr. Tony Evans. These online courses feature compelling and exclusive video and audio teaching, plus an interactive Scripture-based curriculum you can access online or through the mobile app. Sign up now at TonyEvansTraining.org. Take a course with Dr. Evans and explore the kingdom anytime, anywhere.

TonyEvansTraining.org. See, a lot of people approach God and want to impose on Him what they want Him to be. See, they don't want God to unveil who He is. They want to tell Him who they want Him to be.

Then they get ticked off when they find out He's not like that. There are a lot of misconceptions about God. There's so many misquote Scriptures, like the Bible says, you make one step, God make two.

Anybody quoted that? Not from the Bible you didn't. Because we impose on God that which we want God to be. If you're going to know God, then God must have the freedom to tell you who He is, to tell you what He likes. And for most people, even Christians, God does not have that freedom. We do not want a God who unveils Himself.

We want a God who is convenient to us. But then you don't know God. You know the idol you created that you call God. I am the Lord.

I say who I am. That's why the knowledge of the attributes or characteristics or perfections of God is so critical, because that's God telling you who He is. And when you relate to God any other way than who He tells you He is, you're no longer relating to the true God. Therefore, you don't get to know Him. How many times have you said to somebody, don't speak for me.

I can speak for myself. If you can do that with people, don't you think God can handle talking for Himself? You know God when who He is defines who you are. The discovery is pretty awesome, though, because He says that you will discover my loving kindness, that Hebrew word hesed. It's one of those words that are in the ionosphere. It means loyal love.

Sometimes it's translated kindness. It means if you discover who I am based on who I say I am, the Lord, you will discover how committed I am to you. See, because a lot of us don't believe God is committed to us. You know, we look at our circumstances, our problems. We look at our difficulties. We say, boy, you can't be that committed to me.

I'm going through all this. We don't know how committed. He says, you will discover my loyalty to you.

I am more committed to you than you could ever imagine. You will discover my justice, He says. Justice has to do with equity among men. It has to do with the horizontal relationships that God has established. You will understand how people ought to relate to people based on a divine standard. Then you'll discover my righteousness.

That is my standard based on pleasing me. So vertical standard pleasing me, justice, equity among men, all having to do with earth. In other words, the knowledge of God will affect how you think, how you act, how you react.

It will affect how you handle everything fairly, equitably, related, so comprehensive. Let me tell you what's blocking the knowledge of God. When you will not allow God to be God because you want to impose on Him something that He does not agree with, that is Himself, when that becomes the fact, then He will stop unveiling Himself. He's not going to keep unveiling Himself so you can keep redefining the unveiling. We've often heard people, or maybe we've said it ourselves, you've got to accept me as I am. Now you know if you're a sinner saying that, you're a sinner, you've got to accept me as I am, and you're having trouble accepting you as you are, you've got to accept me as I am, and we will quickly say that as human beings, how much more should God, the Creator of the universe, not be accepted for who He says He is, not who you would prefer Him to be? You hear people all the time, well, I don't think God would do that.

Well, in the words of a parent, try me. I don't think this, I don't think that. Everybody's got a thought. Revelation means I'm going to tell you. I don't need you to tell me who I am. Don't you hate it when people try to define you? I want the folks at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship from top to bottom, bottom to top, to be braggadocious, but not about the size of the offering, not about the education of the staff, not about positions. Nothing wrong with those things, but that ain't what I want you to be known for. I want you to be known collectively and individually. You know me. You know me, that I'm this kind of God. And I love this. And in those things I delight.

Wow. In other words, you're making me happy. Now, if God is on the inside and He's happy and He's on the inside, how should you be feeling? See, so maybe you're not happy because God is on the inside not happy because He's not delighting in your knowledge of Him. How many wives are unhappy even though they are legally married because there's no relationship in the house?

There's just a legal standing. Nobody talking, nobody spending time, nobody dating, nobody romancing. That is, tell you want something. I'm trying to keep it real. You want something, now you're nice. What you want isn't a relation. You don't want my heart, you want my hand.

You're still with me, aren't you? God has a resume, thick resume, 66-book resume, thick, thick, thick. You read this resume and you go, wow, wow, you got experience. You have a resume, you have some experience on you. Not only does he have a resume, he has references.

Got people all over the world talk about it. How many references you want? He can give you men, women, boy, girl, tall, short. He can give you references on anything.

He got a reference. But it's normal after an employee has gotten a resume and checked on references, they want an interview. Because while what's written is good, and what other folk are saying is nice, I want to see you for myself. See, a lot of Christians are satisfied with God's resume. So they come to church every Sunday and say, read me some more of your resume, God. Your resume is a good resume. He's got a resume. It's an awesome resume. But the problem is some Christians are satisfied with the resume.

And folk love the references, testimonies. Testimony. He's been good. He's mighty good. God is good all the time, all the time. God is good.

That's testimony. References. People be going around just talking about God, just reciting God.

They got references all over the place. God is saying, I'm waiting for an interview. I'm waiting for us to sit across the table. Because I want to know you. See, if somebody's sitting next to you and said, I want to get to know you, can you work out when? I ain't got time for you on no when. Who wants to get to know you and make a big difference?

Guess what? The God of the universe is saying, I want to get to know you. And you saying, well, one day I'm tied up. I'm busy becoming rich, getting an education, and improving my status. We're going to spend this year trying to get to know me.

Stop talking about me too. Because one of the worst things that can happen to a preacher is that he has to spend so much time explaining the resume that you can wind up preparing sermons for others that you're not benefiting from yourself. God wants us to know Him. I'm simply saying this year, make it your goal to know Him, to experience Him. Dr. Tony Evans, talking about committing ourselves to life's greatest pursuit, the pursuit of God.

And he'll come back with a final thought in just a moment. Right now though, if you'd like to get a full-length copy of today's lesson, it's available in its entirety on both CD and digital download, including portions we didn't have time to bring you on the air. Better yet, you can get it as a part of that special limited-time package I mentioned earlier, Tony's brand-new book, Prayers for Knowing God, along with all 12 messages from his God's Heart Revealed series. All these are our gift to you and our way of saying thanks when you make a contribution to help support Tony's ministry. Just contact us at 1-800-800-3222 to make the arrangements.

Resource team members are standing by to assist you. That's 1-800-800-3222. Or make your request online at tonyevans.org. Again, that's tonyevans.org. Trying to fit the idea of an infinite God into a finite brain is like trying to pour a swimming pool into a sippy cup. It's just not going to work. But the Bible does give us some important insights into God's nature, and next time, Dr. Evans will help us explore them.

Right now, though, he's back with this closing thought. I was asked by a member, Have you seen Avatar? I said, Yes, I have, but not in 3D.

When I went, it wasn't a 3D showing. To which he responded, Then you haven't seen Avatar. He says, Until you have seen it in 3D, you've not seen what it really is. I ran into another gentleman who said, Have you seen Avatar? I said, I have seen it, but not in 3D, but I heard I need to see it in 3D to really see it. He said, Well, 3D is okay. But he said, I went to see Avatar at IMAX 3D.

He said, That's a beast! He said, The movie came off the screen, and I had to look behind me to see what was behind me, and I had to look, because that stuff was all over me. Now, it really was out there, but because of the fact that I was looking at it from a different dimension, because I had a different set of glasses on, because I had a different perspective, because I was looking at it differently, it leaped from back there, and it was all over me, God is saying, I'm not satisfied with a regular viewing of me.

I don't even want an HD viewing of me. You better give me some IMAX attention, so that I'm all over you. When you get up in the morning, I'm all over you. Everywhere you look, you're running into God. You go to the bathroom. I can't even go to the restroom without running into God. I go eat breakfast, and I'm running into God. I get in my car, and I'm running into you, because you just all over me. He wants an experience with you today. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-24 22:44:16 / 2023-12-24 22:54:13 / 10

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