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Living in Critical Times, Part 2

Let My People Think / Ravi Zacharias
The Truth Network Radio
July 25, 2020 1:00 am

Living in Critical Times, Part 2

Let My People Think / Ravi Zacharias

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July 25, 2020 1:00 am

Where do we find our moral framework? Where do we turn to for absolutes? On this week's Let My People Think, RZIM's Founder, the late Ravi Zacharias, takes a deep look at these questions as he gives a talk entitled "Living in Critical Times."

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You can find out more about Ravi Zacharias and the team at I have no right to violate you as an individual. I have no right to violate your property. I have no right to invade your life because you are made in the image of God. You have a right to make your choices. I have no right to stand in the way of your choices either.

But the choices will always have consequences. And so what I say to you is God gives you the greatest compliment in telling you you're made in our good day. Whose image is on you?

How does that image give you unique value? And what does that have to do with the existence of God? Hello and welcome to Let My People Think with author and apologist Ravi Zacharias. Last week Ravi began looking at how the Judeo-Christian worldview brings the answer to the questions of morality meaning hope and love. Today we bring the conclusion to that message titled Living in Critical Times.

Here's Ravi. The absolutes that built this nation because the nation talked about the fact that there were naturally endowed rights given to us, that these truths were self-evident. All of these moral statements are very critical to understand in the light of our pluralistic culture in our time. I know by going to places in the world right now, people look at me and will ask the question, what is going on in the West?

What is going on? Was it not Adolf Eichmann who finally when he was tried in Israel and was sentenced to the death penalty, I was there when they were dealing with all of the evidence and was given several pages and pages of the trial which I was able to get back before I wrote my book. But here's Hannah Arendt describing Eichmann's last moment.

This is critical and I move to my next thought here. Adolf Eichmann went to the gallows with great dignity. He'd asked for a bottle of red wine and drank half of it.

He refused the help of a Protestant minister, the Reverend William Hull, who offered to read the Bible with him. He had only two more hours to live and therefore he said good, quote, I have no time to waste. He walked the 50 yards from his cell to the execution chamber, calm and erect, with his hands bound behind him. When the guards tied his ankles and knees, he asked them to loosen the bonds so that he could stand straight.

I don't need that, he said. When the black hood was offered to him, he was in complete command of himself. Nay, he was more than that.

He was completely himself. Nothing could have demonstrated this more convincingly than the grotesque silliness of his last words. He began by stating emphatically that he was a Blobiger to express in Nazi fashion that he was no Christian and did not believe in life after death. He then proceeded, quote, after a short while, gentlemen, we shall all meet again, such as the fate of all men.

Long live Germany, long live Argentina, long live Austria. I shall not forget them. In the face of death, he had found the cliche used in funeral oratory under the gallows his memory played in the last trick. He was elated and he forgot that this was really his own funeral. It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lesson.

I want you to hear this now. It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lesson that this long course in human wickedness has taught us the lesson of the fearsome word and thought defying banality of evil. Evil had become trivial. The man who arrested Eichmann in a cloak and dagger operation in Argentina tells the story that he was bringing him back. If you've read the book, The House on Garibaldi Street, you know exactly how they got him. They waylaid him, they stalked him, ultimately put an injection into him and knocked him out and brought him up under a different name in a plane.

The Mossad had done its work to bring him back. And the man who brought him back looked at him, sat down next to him in the train, and he broke his own code. He wasn't supposed to talk to him, but he couldn't resist this.

He said, Mr. Eichmann, I have a question for you. Every day I watched you from a distance. I saw you getting off the bus, looking over your shoulder, carrying your briefcase there in that little town in Argentina. Just before you entered your own home, you would turn around to make sure nobody was watching. I was watching you, sir, from a distance behind the bushes. I was watching you.

But I noticed something, Mr. Eichmann. Every day as you opened the door, there was a young boy who was waiting for you and leaped into your arms. Who was that boy? He said, he was my son. He said, Mr. Eichmann, how old is your son? He said, eight. He said, you killed my nephew who was eight.

Can you tell me what was the difference? And Peter Malkin with the Israeli Mossad was sitting by his bed waiting for the answer. And Eichmann turned to him and said, Peter, my son was not Jewish. Malkin said, he got up from there and walked away and sobbed with uncontrollable tears.

He never wanted to see this man again. The bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood had not yet become a reality. Where are we going to turn from moral law? Where am I going to find your value and my value?

If you don't have essential value, we are dependent upon the state to give us value. You know, Moses gave the people 613 laws. David reduced it to 15.

Isaiah reduced it to 11. When Jesus was on the earth, they asked him, which is the greatest commandment? Jesus could have very easily said one.

He didn't. He said that you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. He said on these two commandments, hang all of the laws and the prophets that you and I are made imago Dei.

The image of God is a unique truth to the Judeo Christian worldview. In the same chapter in the Bible, there's a conversation between a man who comes to Jesus and said, Is it all right to pay taxes to Caesar? How wonderful it would have been if Jesus had said no. Jesus said, Do you have a coin?

The man said, Yes. He said, Give it to me. He held the coin out to him and he said, Whose images on this? The man said, Caesar, he said, Give to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar and give to God that which belongs to God. The man should have had a follow up question. The follow up question should have been what belongs to God and Jesus would have said, Whose image is on you?

Whose image is on you? This is what gives you your unique essential worth in a moral framework that moves horizontally without moving vertically. There is no essential worth.

There is no eternal oughtness that forever confronts us. I have no right to violate you as an individual. I have no right to violate your property. I have no right to invade your life because you are made in the image of God. You have a right to make your choices. I have no right to stand in the way of your choices either.

But the choices will always have consequences. And so what I say to you is God gives you the greatest compliment in telling you you're made in our good day. And Jesus Christ takes that so specifically. It says to you that your body and mine are the temple of the living God. We don't go to the temple.

We take the temple with us. This is inviolable. The moral law that Martin Luther King talks about the eternal oughtness, and you know people often say yes, he was very much inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, which is true. Mahatma Gandhi's life in Ahimsa, nonviolence, had a lot of an inspiration.

Let me tell you two things about that. Mahatma Gandhi would never have used the term unconditional love because that is very much from the Judeo-Christian worldview. And Gandhiji carried a New Testament wherever he went and often would quote from the Sermon on the Mount. And it is fascinating that in one of Gandhi's homes in India is a quote by Bertrand Russell. And outside that home the banner says this, it is doubtful that the Mahatma would have succeeded in his effort except that he was appealing to people with a Christianized conscience.

So here was an atheist applauding the success of a pantheist because of appealing to the conscience of a theist. You see how important it is to understand that a moral law has to have this transcendent value. But secondly and quickly, not only is the question of a moral law unanswerable from a horizontal perspective, Guy Neilsen sustains that, even G. L. Mackey argues for the struggle. You've got several atheists who deal, Michael Ruse deals with the same issue, Richard Rorty. They all bring up the question of where do we go for an absolute objective moral law. But the second question is that of meaning.

How do I really find meaning in my life? Recently, I had the privilege of speaking at a conference called Passion. Some of you are out here who are at that conference.

40,000 in a live audience in three venues and tens of thousands scattered across listening in from about 115 different universities in 47 countries, 18 to 24 or so at age bracket. Many of those who went forward to find help. Do you know what were the two most important issues in their lives for which they sought help 18 to 24? Number one was among the young guys, especially struggling with pornography.

And number two was the stalking, haunting fear of suicide. I don't know if they ever saw the logical connection. Pornography denudes the other person. It doesn't just disrobe. Denudes the other person in exchange for a feeling. The person who is hooked by it is not looking for a person. The person who is hooked by it is looking for a feeling. A feeling ultimately that no one person in the world can satisfy. And once you have robbed the other person of any value, you ultimately denude your own self and there is no purpose and meaning found. Now that logical connection wasn't there in my life, but the end result still was. I came to know Christ on a bed of suicide when I was 17 years old in Delhi because I had no meaning in my life.

I didn't care what anybody was saying to me. It all didn't add up. It simply didn't make sense. People say, what does meaning really mean? It's a long talk one can give on its own.

But let me just tell you, a meaning is found with four components. A sense of wonder. We watch children reading fairy tales and being read to in fairy tales and the enchantment is awesome. They want this sense of wonder. But as they grow up, they begin to struggle and they say the fairy tales are not true. They are merely fantastic.

They were mere fantasy. Now they are looking for that which is fantastically true. Wonder, truth. Thirdly, the experience of love. And finally, the knowledge of security. If you're really looking for meaning to build a coherent worldview, you're going to have these four components, wonder, truth, love and security.

I will deal with just one of them as I bring my message to a close. But here it is, this sense of a moral law that we cannot find. The quest for meaning that we hunger after.

Let me give you an illustration of this. One existentialist writer wrote a play a long time ago called The Adulterous Woman. A woman who had just wanted to flirt with all this kind of stuff, but she had held back and never indulged in it. So her husband takes her into a town where he's dealing with his works and jewelry and all of that. At the end of it, he comes back exhausted and he is in bed and the woman thinks to herself, everything I saw in town, tonight's my night to have a last fling.

I will never have it again. And he's sound asleep. She wakes up, gets dressed, goes out into the night and expends herself in ways she had never ever dreamed. She spent herself into pleasure and exhausted with pleasure. She comes back in the early hours of the morning, opens the door while he is still sound asleep. She slips under the covers, but there's a big problem. She cannot fall asleep now. On her pillow, the tears are rolling down the side of the face and her husband hears the sobs and wakes up and looks at her and said, what's the matter?

She brushes him aside and says, nothing, just nothing. See, the loneliest moment is when you have just experienced that which promised you the ultimate and it has let you down. The loneliest moment is when you've just experienced that which has promised you the ultimate and it has let you down. I look at you tonight as young students and I say, and you're really the primary reason I'm here, by the way, because I care for the student world. I care for the young life that is living today, almost getting out of control with no answers.

The meaning that Christ offers to you is a meaning in a personal relationship. Justice Antonin Scalia just passed away last week and some of the channels were playing some of his major speeches. He was considered one of the brightest intellectuals on the Supreme Court bench. Whether you agreed with him or not is not the issue here.

Even those who disagreed with him were good friends and said the man was made of sterling character. And in his speech, I was just sputtering around the house and I heard him make three statements back to back and I thought, what on earth is this about? He was behind the lectern and he said, I want you all to hear me. He said, sophisticated thinkers can believe in God.

That's what he said. Next statement, sophisticated thinkers can believe in a personal God. Third statement he made, sophisticated thinkers can believe in the person of Jesus Christ, the very Son of God. And meaning comes ultimately in finding the sacred that binds the diversity of your proclivities and gives it that homogeneity of a supreme expression that is bound by the skin of the sacred. The sacred is what gives life meaning.

So you know where the boundaries are, you know where the purpose is. Moral law unanswered. Where do we find the sacred? And if we don't find the sacred, we have no meaning. Where are the answers? Thirdly, and quickly, I say to you, what about hope?

Where is hope really found if life ends in the grave? One of my great privileges is to speak to our military bases. I'll be doing two or three of them this year. I've always gone there to minister to our men and women in the armed forces. Whenever it is finished, they always line up and will talk to me to have a word of prayer and talk about the dangers with which they live. I was led into this when I was 25 years old speaking in Vietnam. I was a young undergraduate student invited to speak in Vietnam, going from military base to military base. And I saw death on the side of the highways. I saw death as we flew in the choppers all around, going from one venue to another. I saw death and dying in military hospitals where in some places, unless you had a burn on your body, there were two bodies to each bed. And when I saw the horrors of that kind of warfare, I said, what are we doing to our fellow human beings?

And yet these are the very ones who look for hunger and look for hope. I was just meeting a gentleman from Egypt before we came in here. My colleagues and I were in Egypt in November, and one night we spoke to a large number of young people on that given night alone in Cairo. Over 500 young men and women responded to the invitation to follow Jesus Christ.

The life had been empty. They realized the moment had come to see what it is that Christ offered to them. And before before I moved to my final thought, I had a dialogue with Sheikh Hussein, the leading Shia cleric in Syria. He sat from the table there with an interpreter, always kept addressing me as professor, even though I told him I wasn't a professor, but he kept respectfully calling me Professor Zacharias, Professor Zacharias. He would ask me a question about my faith. I would answer him. I would ask him a question about his faith. He would answer me what a marvelous moment of a few moments they were to dialogue cordially with somebody of a different world view.

And people listening to this for nearly three hours when it was over, he leaned forward and said something through the interpreter. I said, What did he say? She said, He said, Mr Zacharias, maybe it's time for me and my people who follow a different faith to stop asking if Jesus died on the cross and to start asking why. I said, Sheikh Hussein, may I quote you on that, sir? He said, Yes, you may. You have to ask yourself the question in the gospel narrative.

The cross is central. Why? Because your greatest need is not for a political leader. Your greatest need is not for the best of education.

All of those are important. But your need and my need, the greatest need we have is deep within our own heart where evil stalks and seeks to take over. Our greatest need is for a savior.

Our greatest need is for a savior. No moral law, no meaning, no hope. And lastly, I say the supremacy of the ethic of love. The supremacy of the ethic of love. Think of this.

Where do we go to understand love? Would you allow me just a personal illustration of this? You know, Winston Churchill was once asked by a corporal, Mr Churchill, have I ever talked to you about my grandchildren? Churchill said, No, and I want you to know how much I appreciate it. So I won't bore you with my grandchildren's stories.

But since I'm not Churchill, can I tell you at least one? I have a four year old grandson. His name is Jude. I don't know where he gets his vocabulary from.

I really don't. One day he leans over at the dinner table a few months ago and he says, Papa, what is the meaning of sophomoric? I told my daughter, you better watch this guy.

If he's using the word sophomoric, which I didn't even understand till I was in my twenties and was probably very sophomoric in my behavior at that time. But one day his mother, when he was about just little over three, his mother had lost her car keys and she's looking around the house and can't find it. And she slapped her forehead and said, I must be losing my mind. Jude comes over in front of her, looks her in the eye and says, Mommy, whatever you do, please don't ever lose your heart because I'm in there. And I ask you, where did that intuitive statement come to him from?

Where did that statement come from? See, the longing for love is very real in your life and mine. And we only think of romantic love or we only think of other loves. In the Greek language, there are four loves Agape, Storge, Fileto and Eros. Storge, protective love, Fileto, friendship love, Eros, romantic love. It all hangs on Agape, which is God's love.

If you lose God's love, you cannot define the other three. And so the love that you and I long for that binds it all together for you and me, which is something that, by the way, Bertrand Russell himself said he never found in life. And when I go from place to place in this world to preach the love of Christ, I think of this and I close with this. In John 3 16, the Bible says, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

About 25 words, depending on which exact translation you use, about 25 words. What do you have in all of that? You have that which is causal.

God so loved the world that he gave his only son. You have that which is filial. You have that which is sacrificial. You have that which is relational.

You have that which is eternal. And it is all bound up in the judicial. It is all bound up in the judicial. Causal, filial, relational, eternal, sacrificial, all bound up in the judicial.

We say we are a country of laws. I say to you, God is the one in whom there is no contradiction. And the moral law is an intrinsic part of his character. Everything in love, everything in sacrifice, everything in relationship, everything that he offers to you and me is built within the legal framework of God's being in whom there is no contradiction where there is contradiction there is breakdown. So in these four issues alone of law, meaning, hope and love, they are the unanswered questions of naturalism. There is no objective source of defining them in the Judeo-Christian worldview.

They correspond to reality in measuring it. They cohere in a worldview. And so I present to you that option as worthy of your investigation.

That's why Jesus said, I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly. We'll have a chance to take your questions. May God richly bless you.

Thank you for giving me a hearing. That concludes this message from Ravi titled Living in Critical Times. If you would like to purchase a complete copy, be sure to call us at 1-800-448-6766. You can also order any of our resources online at or for those listening in Canada. Would you consider committing to pray for our ministry as we try to encourage and equip Christians to share the Gospel with gentleness and respect?

If you'd like to donate to our efforts, be sure to call us or visit our website. From July 24th to July 27th, Refresh Ready for College is back for its second year at the Zacharias Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. As students, you know what it's like to be surrounded by questions. We want to give you the space to think through some of the toughest challenges to Christianity. This year's program will be packed with high-energy talks from Ravi Zacharias and the RZIM Global Speaking Team. So if you're a student in high school or headed to college, don't miss this important week. Register now at backslash refresh and we'll see you at the Zacharias Institute on July 24th. Let My People Think is a listener-supported radio ministry and is furnished by Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-10 11:35:37 / 2024-03-10 11:45:03 / 9

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