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Is There Not a Cause? Part 2

Let My People Think / Ravi Zacharias
The Truth Network Radio
October 31, 2020 1:00 am

Is There Not a Cause? Part 2

Let My People Think / Ravi Zacharias

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October 31, 2020 1:00 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.

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You can find out more about Rabi Zacharias and the team at www.rzim.org. The Vice Chancellor of the University in rudeness tried to tear everything I'd set apart and even shut the microphone off while I was trying to make a response. And you sit there literally with a quivering limb and saying, why do I have to go through this?

Welcome back to Let My People Think. Standing up for the gospel can be difficult. It often comes with heartache and ridicule. Is that a way to endure the hardships and still be used by God? Last week, we learned what Jesus Christ himself taught as the most important reason for living. And at RZIM's founder, the late Ravi Zacharias shared with us how missionary Adonuram Judson came to believe in that same cause and why he was galvanized to change every part of his life for the sake of the gospel. For Judson and for us as well, the way to endure the struggles is to stay as close to our savior as possible. And that means bathing our lives in prayer.

Let's listen in now as Ravi concludes his message, is there not a cause? I don't know how many of you have read C.S. Lewis's book, Letters to Malcolm Chiefly on Prayer. Only he can get away with a title like that.

If I wrote a title like that, nobody'd buy it. Letters to Malcolm Chiefly on Prayer. And in his book, he has this particular poem. He says, you know, Lord, everywhere I go, they tell me that prayer is a monologue, that you're not really listening. I'm talking into the air and there is no voice returning. Every time I talk, it sort of evaporates into something. And there's an auto-suggestional process where I assume that you're listening and you're answering back. And he says, Lord, I don't know how to respond to them. They keep saying there's only one voice. You're not there. I'm dreaming and so on.

And C.S. Lewis always had an answer to these people. And he wrote it in a poem form. They tell me, Lord, that when I pray, only one voice is heard, that you are not there, that I am dreaming.

And this whole thing is absurd. And he goes to build the skeptic's taunt and then ends it with a response. He says, maybe, Lord, they're right. Maybe they're right. Maybe there's only one voice there that's heard. But if they are right that there's only one voice that's heard, then where they are wrong is, if there's only one voice, it's not mine, but it's yours. I am not dreaming. You are the dreamer and I am your dream. If there is only one voice, Lord, it is not mine. It is yours.

You are doing the dreaming and I am your dream. Listen to what the early Saint Chrysostom said about prayer. The potency of prayer had subdued the strength of fire.

It had bridled the rage of lions and hushed anarchy to rest. It has extinguished wars, appeased the elements and expelled demons, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of heaven, assuaged diseases, repelled frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. Prayer is an all-sufficient panoply, a mine which is never diminished, a treasure which is never exhausted, a sky unobscured by the clouds, the heavens unruffled by the storm. It is the root, the fountain and the mother of a thousand blessings.

Is that mere rhetoric? If you go back, every one of them has a scriptural reference. May I ask you, when was the last time you got on your knees and prayed for the Islamic nations that the gospel would make a penetration there? When was the last time you rose up long before the sun had arisen and recognized that the burden beating upon your soul was the burden of a world that needed to be won, not by might nor by power, but by the spirit of God so that we bathe that moment in prayer?

You see, I think Leonard Ravenhill is right. He said, when they had prayed, the place was shaken. He said, our preoccupation is when we have paid, the place is taken.

He said, we've got that preoccupation with structures while the early church had its preoccupation with communicating and communing with almighty God. If there's one challenge I'll leave with all of you tonight as I leave it with myself, the most important thing in your life is your personal devotional study each day. If you fail there, you will fail everywhere.

If you fail there, you will fail everywhere. Get back to your home and form a systematic study for this kind cometh not out except by fasting and praying. Sensing that burden, meeting it with prayer, thirdly and quickly, he went into the proximity of the situation and saw the destroyed walls and began to realize that that's where he was going to have his labor cut out. Sometimes I have to admit, I live with a little bit of fear. I have preached in countries where I've had to had soldiers standing around me guarding with their guns for threat upon our lives. I was speaking in one Middle Eastern country where in the late at night when I just walked in, a man phoned and threatened my wife's life, my family's life and my life. Our lives were in danger and Sarah was in the next room. We were living in a suite in this hotel in Amman and as she was soundly asleep there, I'll be honest with you, we even went to bed with the dresser placed against our door for fear that that night we're going to be victimized by his attacks.

And my daughter has never ever done this before and never done it since. Argy will tell you the terror that struck our hearts that night. At about 1.30 in the morning, suddenly she let out a blood curdling scream and we leaped out of there. Both of us ran through the door where Sarah was sound asleep and as surely as I exist, my heart was pounding as hard as I possibly think it could for a moment. Terror was the only way I could describe my feelings.

Thankfully, it was a bad dream. But you turn around to me and say, is it fun doing that? No, it really isn't. As a matter of fact, sometimes I wish I had the money to pay somebody else in order to do it. You go into these settings and you face the onslaught with two friends I was having dinner tonight and sharing the intimidation of an audience in one of India's cities where the vice chancellor of the university in rudeness tried to tear everything I'd set apart and even shut the microphone off while I was trying to make a response.

And you sit there literally with a quivering limb and saying, why do I have to go through this? One of the reasons I do is because I believe the problem is many of us are waiting for them to come here and they're not coming. Jesus never said to wait for them to come in.

He told us to go there. Think of our university students of today. Please think of them. Some of them sit in front of professors of philosophy who tear their faith to shreds. Some of them are pining for someone to come and help them to give a viable answer. They are living in a soap operatic world where sensuality is offered to them every day that they go into those classes and sometimes I feel a guilt within my own heart that we as evangelists have betrayed our thinking people. We have preached so simplistically and I don't mean simply, simply is different to simplistically. We've preached so simplistically and taken volumes of problems and shrunk them into simple statements.

We've told people that when they make that response, all of their problems are immediately solved, neither of which are true. You have found the source of the solution and it's only the beginning, but there's a battle that dominates you as you try to serve the Lord and the plurality of questions in the scientific worldview and the philosophical worldview are there and the church needs to go where the walls are broken. Two of the most powerful instruments we have within us are our youth and our community in the business world and we need to move in and get closer and closer. Remember what I said, Charlie Studds comment, some wish to live within the sound of church or chapel bell.

I want to run a rescue yard within a mile of hell, within a yard of hell. May I encourage you as a believing person to go out there, to meet with the neighbor, to talk to him, to meet with a friend when you're sitting in a plane or traveling somewhere in a bus or a train, talk to the person next to you. While flying in, I was talking to a young military man going into Fort Bragg.

I was telling your pastor that he said to me as I finished talking, when I told him I was an evangelist and I always, I'm not sure whether I should tell them that because they start looking at you up and down wondering where did this freak come from. So he looks at me and says, you are the first man of your profession I've ever talked to. And yet as he began to unfold the loneliness of his own travels and his own life, he made my tasks simpler the longer he talked. We get close to rebuild the walls, forthly and quickly. He went and saw the walls as bad as they were, he came back with a sense of hope. He came back with a sense of hope.

I'm optimistic about what can happen here. Speaking at the University of Georgia last week, a professor who is a professor of radiology in cancer. He now is the chief director of that radiology unit in Athens, Georgia, a gentleman who came to see me after my lecture at Athens there. He came to me and grabbed my hand and he said, 10 years ago, I was a professor at the University of Yale. He said, somebody gave me a tape and he named the tape of my subject.

It was called the illusions of our culture. He said, I heard that tape, bent my knees and gave my life to Jesus Christ, professor of the University of Yale. I'm embarrassed to sell that tape today.

We don't even have it available. It's 10 years old. And yet he phoned the next day wanting to know if he had any in stock. And my secretary said, yeah, but it's 10 years old. Ravi has preached that.

He said, that's the one I want. The tremendous, tremendous sense of hope meeting this dear couple before the evening service who've had the unfortunate experience of losing their boy in his mid twenties there. And yet to know that 10 years ago, God spoke to his life in a camp and a conference.

Isn't it wonderful to know that God reinforces that hope and encourages you that it can be done. Let me give you a classic illustration of this Amsterdam 83, my wife and I sitting around the big table, having dinner with about eight middle Eastern leaders planning for this year. And I was kind of in a daze sometimes in a big group like that.

I use it to check out and mentally wander across the globe. I remember recently some time ago being in Florida at the head table, ready to speak at a banquet. And I didn't realize why everybody was staring at me until it suddenly dawned on me what I was doing mentally. I checked out and I picked up my cup of fruit with huge chunks of watermelon and all those things. And I was actually drinking it.

And as they all were looking at me, you know, I put it down and I said, leave it to a cultural hangover if you would please and put it down right there. But Margie jabbed me and she knows when I've checked out. She stops me in the middle of every sentence and says, are you listening? And I can't get away with it anymore.

I used to. She looks at me and says, do you know who we're having dinner with? I said, what do you mean? Do we know who we're having dinner with? I was the one who asked you if you'd come with me to have dinner with someone.

So I said, yeah, I know. She said, no, no. Do you know who we're having dinner with? I said, yes. I said, we're having dinner with Sammy. She said, no. She says, you're not getting the point.

I said, what do you mean? She said, do you know where they come from? And as we sat around this hotel in Amsterdam, it suddenly hit me. The man in front of me was Lebanese. The man next to him, Anish Shirosh was Palestinian. The man next to him, Farid Khouri was Syrian. And as you went right around, you realize that these fellows belong to countries and groups that nationally were at war with each other. And the only time they even mentioned it was when the bill came and Sammy, the Lebanese grabbed it and Anish, the Palestinian grabbed it and said, Anish said, yeah, give it to me or I'll use my machine gun on you.

And Sammy always having the last word grabbed it away from him and said, oh no, my friend, you can't afford it. I can, I have American aid. You know, it's marvelous.

It's marvelous. It is only the fact that these things are recorded that keep me from telling you the in-depth stories. Maybe I'll tell you this because it would not be a betrayal. Sammy Dagger was instrumental in bringing Franklin Graham back to the Lord, the son of Billy. Franklin was in Beirut, a loser and a lost hanging around with a life completely confused. And Sammy was instrumental in bringing Franklin to Christ.

And Sammy didn't even know who Billy Graham was. These are the men. And when I drive through the streets of Beirut, go right up to the city of Sidon. And I see bulldozed down buildings because they have been ruined by bombings. When I see vast villages like the village of Damur, which means love burned by one of the factions.

Shortly before trying to get into Beirut this time, the Druze and the Shiites were involved in a tank and an artillery battle deciding whose flag was going to be flying on the building for Independence Day. And you go into some of these countries where terrorists dominates the land, where nations are persecuted, where those followers of Christ are in the minority, and yet you drive in this van and seeing guns and all the ammunition around you, you still realize that Jesus Christ has a mission and he's found these people who are successfully operating in these countries. I have hope that secularism is a pushover if believers are godly. Just like the painting called Hope. You see that man, that person clutching over the lyre with all the strings apparently broken and despondency is on the face until you get closer and closer and wonder why it's called Hope.

And then you see closely one string still stands. Josh McDowell was telling me that he has had some of the best meetings in his life in the last four to five years. And it has to do with relationships and love and human sexuality. Thousands of university students are jamming in to get in there. And I can say to you in the last three years of my ministry, we have never had bigger crowds. We have never had a better response.

People are coming in by the hundreds and in some instances by the thousands men and women giving their lives to Jesus Christ. And I want to leave you with that confidence that there is hope. He looks at the ruined walls and like a brilliant businessman says, if that's all the problem is with it, let's go for it. Build it.

Fifthly and after that my last thought will be brief. He knew exactly what he was going to need. Do you hear me?

He knew exactly what he was going to need. Give me the letters. Give me this.

Give me that. Before I resigned from the seminary, I made this statement and I'm going to make it here. I have serious reservations of whether we prepare our seminary students for inter-seminary debates or whether we prepare our seminarians for evangelism. Most theological education specializes in health, but they do not understand the disease. If I went to a doctor and I say there's problems with my kidney and he says that's too bad. I only know what a healthy kidney looks like. I can't help you.

You've got a bad one. Some doctor, isn't he? And yet so many of us have solved the theological dilemmas of schools of thought again and again and again. Seminarians are preparing other seminarians to deal with the Igbo in Africa. Do you know who an Igbo is?

Chances are you will never meet up with an Igbo anywhere, but we know how to reach the Igbo, but we sit next to a plane and a diamond merchant and we don't know how to talk to him. We've got to know what we need. Frans of Assisi. By the way, I won't get sidetracked.

I read these books that bless my life so much. Young Francis, as you know, was a very missionary-minded man and shortly after he got into the ministry, one of his eyes began to get diseased and he was losing eyesight in that and a makeshift physician said to him, look, this disease is so bad it's going to spread into the other eye and the only way you can keep that disease from spreading is to cauterize this eye. So he said, what do you mean? He said, burn it out. So Francis said, how do I do it?

He said, I'll do it for you. And so young Francis stood there and this man took a burning red hot rod of iron, red, absolutely burning, handles on it there and believe it or not, rammed it against the naked eyeball of young Francis. And as that grimacing, contorted face was betraying that unbearable pain and the eye plastered with this burning rod to get the burning inside the very makeup of the eye and as he stood there clutching his hands and just in uncontrollable agony, sometime later as the wound had begun to heal, one of his friends said to him, how come you didn't complain too much about it?

And he said, when I became a servant of Christ, I frankly expected a lot more pain than just a burning eyeball. As a matter of fact, he loved a girl so dearly, so dearly, he wanted to marry her, but he knew that if he did, he would have to give up a lot of his lonely call. And one night all alone, he went outside and built there, forget whether it was the sand or snow or what, he built the shape of the girl that he loved as best as he could see her face.

He built two or three little children standing around her and he stared and stared at that makeshift that he had built to remind him of what his family could have been. And there on his knees, he sacrificed that delight to the hands of God and never, ever again looked back. He buried that desire once and for all.

And my challenge to you as an individual is, what are you going to need to help this world in evangelism get it? And lastly, he did it all to the glory of God. He did not build that wall because he wanted to put a plaque there saying Nehemiah built it. He did not build that wall because of a personal aggrandizement of personal glory seeking.

He was not building a personal empire for anybody's sake, but he built this wall for the glory of God so that men and women in centuries to come would stand there and look at that wall and say, to the glory of God, this wall was built by the engineer Nehemiah. When I was in East Germany some years ago, wound my way through those narrow streets and I stood in front of the iron door of the castle church there in Wittenberg there where Martin Luther had done his thing for the reformation. And as you stand in front of those gates there carved onto those doors are the words of the 95 theses that he defended. And I'll always remember that first line out of zeal and love for the elucidation of the truth, the following theses will be debated. Out of zeal and love for the elucidation of the truth, the following theses will be debated. And my final challenge to you and me is this, the most powerful evangel is the glory of God dwelling in the midst of his people.

The most powerful evangel is the glory of God dwelling in the midst of his people. Let me close with this illustration. Please give me your undivided attention. This is pivotal. Peter, James and John climb up on top of the mountain, the Mount of Transfiguration.

Please allow me to reminisce with you on it. It's the highest peak in the area. You look in that direction, you see the spires of Nazareth.

You look down below, you'll see the sprawling jagged valleys and hills of Megiddo. You turn around and there you will see the tender snowcapped peaks of Mount Terman. Turn a little more, you will see the soft gentle waters of the Sea of Galilee. All around you reminiscent of the glory of Christ, his birthplace, the ultimate Armageddon, the Sea of Galilee where he had done so much of his teaching. Mount Terman, such a singularly impressive piece in Old Testament history there.

And you see all of these scenes around you. And I remember climbing right to the top there and picturing in my mind what Peter, James and John must have gone through. Remember there were nine at the bottom of the mountain, the masses away from the bottom of the mountain, three right at the top.

The closer you get to God, the fewer there will be in these experiences. And these three men are in the presence of Jesus now. And then Jesus bids them to stay at a distance.

And he goes right into the center of that top high mountain there. And the Bible reminds me that all of a sudden the heavens are rent and two luminaries descend from there. Moses is there.

Elijah is there. And with all of their celestial beings in strength coming down, the body of Jesus begins to glow. A whiter white says, Mark, the human mind cannot conceive. And as that body is brilliantly shining with that whiteness that that's inconceivable to the mind, Peter, James and John fall prostrate onto the dust of the earth. And Peter predictably opens his mouth and he says, Jesus, let us not go down anymore. Let us stay here. As the voice of God resonates, this is my son.

Listen to him. But the challenge of evangelism has always been to get a glimpse of that glory and go down to the valley and share it. If God is dead, man becomes God. If God is dead, the body becomes the soul.

If God is dead, time becomes eternity. But to challenge these axioms, the church needs its inspiration. Number one, we'll never lighten any load until we feel that pressure in our soul. Number two, we face that challenge first by prayer. Number three, we go into the proximity of the situation.

We cannot reach them from a distance. Number four, after being in the proximity, we can come back with a sense of hope. Number five, we've got to know exactly what we need. Number six, we've got to do it to the glory of God. Despite the many causes that any one of us can follow, a commitment to following Christ's leadership is the only cause that will last for eternity.

With that, we conclude Ravi's message, Is There Not a Cause? If you missed any of this remarkable message, we encourage you to listen again online at rzim.org, or you can order a copy by calling us at 1-800-448-6766. That web address again is rzim.org or rzim.ca for those in Canada. Let My People Think is a listener-supported radio ministry, and we're so grateful for your prayers and financial gifts. This program is produced by RZIM in Atlanta, Georgia. And if you'd like to find out more about our ministry, be sure to call us or visit our website.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-30 20:09:03 / 2024-01-30 20:18:56 / 10

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