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November 14, 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.
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VW REM yes I see on some adjustment, then why do you go on shouting and screaming.
I'll tell you why little boy in the beginning I thought I could change man today. I know I can't if I still shout today if I still screamed today just to prevent men from ultimately changing me. How is your battle against the well going you changing it is that having a greater impact on the hello and welcome to let my people think today we sign the conclusion of the message from Oz. I am found that the late Ravi Zacharias does weekly had about how the Old Testament Beta Nehemiah was confronted by scheming scorn and even outright force as he went to rebuild the Bulls Jerusalem the way he responded to face challenges is the real lesson. Ravi will expand on that fact that today what we learn from EMI's reaction to pacification alchemy apply his story to our lives. We ended last week's program with Robbie talking about gossip and dissension in today's text is, in fact, he called it Satan's faith: he picks up on that food today.
Here is Ravi was preaching at a conference that I should leave unnamed 3000 delegates in front of me. I preached in the Philippines the previous three weeks of three conferences simultaneously morning off and on an evening when I arrived in the city after traveling for nearly 28 hours, I arrived, only to find out my suitcase hadn't arrived and I had nearly 200 pages of rough notes and I had to preach the next morning from those rough notes I was going to write my sermon for the night. My suitcase never arrived and as I stood in front of the prestigious audience. I was nervous. I was really frightened. My body had still not caught up with the time zone and as I was struggling and embarrassed because they were such powerful leaders in their I know as surely as I stood there I made a complete mess of that sermon. I really did my mind didn't flow the thoughts didn't seem connected my body was so weary it was not able to keep up with the demands.
I was so disappointed in what I had done. I took the next plane and flew back to New York where we made our home and I really when my wife asked me how it went. I said I suppose it would have to be one of the saddest experiences of the preacher to deliver someone before such a important audience and be such a colossal failure in the process and she said are you being serious. I said yes she said oh you're really so hard on yourself, and so on till a few days later I got a letter from a man I've never met who was in the ministry. I've never met him since. And he wrote this letter to me says dear brother Zacharias I just want you to know that after listening to you or someone there only two words that would describe it. It was an impressive failure and you believe that I remember sitting in my office looking at it and wondered why would anybody want to do that and I don't as I was sitting reading it tend my eyes and filled with tears. There was a knock on the door and it happened to be my closest colleague next room. The Prof. of New Testament and when Bill came into the room. He said I'm sorry.
Have I come in at the wrong moment. I said that's all right Bill and I handed in this letter. When he looked at it.
He was in a state of shock.
It is hard enough to face the opposition from outside. Please let us not tear one another from the inside.
If the world treats God is dead.
Let us show them. He is a life. The force the scheming scorn near my face.
This kind of a threefold opposition, and he had a threefold marvelous response. Number one he said to them, look to God look to God and ladies and gentlemen, that is the simplest truth. I can say to you through all of the struggles of secularism and pluralism and privatization and oldies-isms and systems that are there. May I suggest to you that they only find new faces with which to dress themselves. They basically are the same sinful hearts. If you don't believe me. Get a book written about John Wesley by a man called John Wesley Brady England before and after Wesley and I don't know you have ever read Wesley's biography of you haven't, please do yourself a favor and read it. Didn't know what John Wesley did in the lifetime he preached 40,000 sermons know that's an awful lot. You may not realize it got put it in perspective. Dr. Osler J Smith passed away a few months ago at the age of 90 or something like that in his lifetime he preached 12,000 sermons, which is an awful lot of sermons. But if 12,000 technological age is an awful lot $40,000 in buggy is a little better 40,000 sermons. He traveled on horseback. He was called the first sermon on the Mount traveling around all right. Traveling around preaching 40,000 sermons. He traveled 250,000 miles.
The horseback preaching the word of God. That's amazing is that he worked with 15 different languages produce 600 pieces of literature at the age of 83 was angry with his doctor because the doctor did let them praise more than 14 times a week at the age of 86 on written in his diary with these words. Laziness is slowly creeping in. There's an increasing tendency to stay in bed after 530 in the morning. One one. If you read any body's version of England in the 18th century anybody's version you cannot read that without Wesley being mentioned even short sale very reluctantly tells you that this man had a life transforming impact upon the nation around you know what the word cockpit comes from from the cockfights of Wesley's day. There was 74% infant mortality part of the reason was the corruption in the church. They were killing away babies who'd been left in their guardianship so they could keep the money and get rid of the lives the highest sales and Jen needless called the GNA the sports that people went to see was the animals were sent under the arenas with crackers wrapped around their body and thousands of bailout money to see the animals explode before their eyes. This was Wesley's day and the historian Leckie says that the revolution the destroyed France would've been also the revolution the destroyed England except there was a man by the name of John Wesley, you look to God and his whole life was that God word type of worship.
And ladies and gentlemen as simple as it sounds. With all of the opposition we face. I say to you, look to him not to man, not to women not to man, not to the pulpit but ultimately looked to him when my father passed away and 79. My younger brother was a surgeon was not able to handle it because he was so sure about the surgery skills of St. Michael's hospital where my dad had gone in for surgery and my brother had done his heart surgery routine right there. He said you know this of the best hospital. There is data be all right when my father died following that surgery. My younger brother could not handle it. I'm not sure he has to completely come to grips with it. I think if he were here he would say to you is never been the same as I remember that day after he came back from the hospital because of our cultural expressions to express love, physical love, brother to a brother.
It's not always as easy to do this so please understand it in that context, he wrapped his arms around me, put his head on my shoulder and he sobbed and sobbed and sobbed like a little boy and he kept saying Rob I was sure he would get better. I was sure he would get better. How he hammers and hurts and and written mighty blows converts and intertribal shapes of clay that only God understands. While his tortured artists crying in the lips beseeching hands please hear me when believe in God becomes difficult. The tendency is to turn away from him. But in heaven's name do want keep your eyes fixed upon him. Secularism is a minor pushover for God. Secondly, reflect on the issues.
What is at stake for the church of Jesus Christ not to respond is to lose her voice. I was going to give you a rather terse illustration on this, but I will back off for certain reasons.
Let me just say this to you that as you see pluralism, and many other ideologies, beginning to make inroads if we do not speak up and reflect on the issues and what is at stake.
We may lose an awful lot and let me read this parable for you. That'll explain what I mean's written by a Jewish writer. By the way you live at cell. One of the Justman came to Sodom determined to save its inhabitants from sin and punishment night and day, he walked the streets and markets protesting against greed and theft, falsehood and indifference in the beginning, people listened and smiled.
Ironically then they stop listening.
He no longer even amuse them. The killers went on killing the wise kept silent, as if there were no just men in their midst.
One day a child moved by compassion for this unfortunate teacher approached him with these words for stranger, you shout, you scream, don't you see that it is hopeless.
Yes, I see on so the Justman then why do you go on shouting and screaming. I'll tell you why little boy in the beginning I thought I could change man today. I know I can't if I still shout today if I still scream today. It is to prevent men from ultimately changing me. We have no option what is at stake. What are the issues he receives to present the gospel of Jesus Christ, Jeremiah Denton, America's highest-ranking senator was captured by the Vietcong's story is written in the book call when hell was in session. I believe Denton is now a senator from Alabama stood Denton, and Adm. shot down by the Vietcong and put into solitary confinement and torture.
He says he was put into this small place and they were torturing him and torturing him to try to elicit national secrets about America, but he could not betray his country. He would not even give his bio sketch about his family. As a matter of principle to protect the dignity of the land that TE love and they tried and tried, they humiliated him damn embarrassed him. They punished him. They deprived them to. Finally, their only option was to starve them steadily and systematically so that his insides would be like a volcano of fire under eruption, unable to contain the pangs of hunger, days and days and days went by until finally the anguish was so great that his agony was intense and he recognized that it was only a matter of time before he died he would shout to the more scored to the hall next to him, the uncontrollable pain that he wasn't. Finally, they told him they were going to cut to starvation because they couldn't break him anymore and then they went into a room and brought something on a tray. Denton said he was so hungry and yet so dehydrated. He was not even sure he could salivate as his hunger pangs were so strong and as they brought the tray in an uncovered that tray respect for the pulpit, keeps me from telling you what was on that tray as they uncovered it with all his strength he could muster up.
He turned and shut that tray away and that the police take it away. They had brought him to his lowest point of indignity and humiliation and punishing them mentally after they went away. He said he reflected on Mary as she stood before the cross and he wrote these words. Her face showed grief but not despair her head go about had faith, despair, and even now she could suppose his thorns would somehow yield arose her life with him was full of signs that God ride straight with crooked lines. Dark clouds can hide the rising Sun and all seem lost when all be one ladies and gentlemen.
If a man like Denton can withstand all the signalman a for the sake of a nation whom he loved, how much more can you and die for the Lord whom we love reflect on the issues look to God.
Reflect on the issues and lastly we have, to be prepared for whatever it is that will come in Nehemiah's terms. He said there kept the guard to watch and keep an eye on what was coming. I don't know what it is that it'll take in your life but can I take all these massive volumes of thought that we have tossed and ask you to focus in on this one idea now generally, there is one desire or one habit that keeps us from enjoying and tasting the fullness of God to know what it would be in your life. It could be lost. That's keeping you from a pure walk. It could be greedier, always pursuing and pursuing and pursuing the elusive material euphoric success story.
It could be prying way. You think you're so big and so strong that nothing will ever cut you down.
May I ask you to develop in your life, the kind of guard that'll keep you from falling in that area in which you seem so vulnerable. Am I making sense take that one thing I know what it is in my life. I don't have to share that with you.
I'm sure there are issues in your life and what I do each morning as I submitted to prayer in God. I know the issues that tempt me. I know the temptations that stalk me. I know the weaknesses that would seek to do away with my spiritual life, and I even remember before one of the missionaries left India from Canada would had such a profound impact on my life. Dante from Calgary, Alberta on one of the last days he was in the country. He took me out to a restaurant for dinner and after that dinner was over, he grabbed a hold of my wrists and he said to me, a big man he was grabbed a hold of my wrists and he said to me, Robbie. You will either move full steam ahead and make a great impact for God someday or you will stumble over yourself and you will become your greatest threat and I knew and he knew what they were talking about you know the area of your life guard. It with the holy and the sacred trust and committed to fresh to God every day and I want to tell you when you keep close accounts with God's good hand will be upon you look to God. Reflect on the issues beyond an readiness and we will be able to challenge the axioms of this world. Two weeks ago when I was speaking in New York on the life of Moses. I closed with a story that I would like to close with tonight on a final theme is a true story. The story of a monk by the name of Telemachus. Telemachus was a diminutive man who lived amongst flowers and nurseries and reclusive settings and one day the word of God came to him and told him to go to Rome. He did not want to go to Rome.
He was not a city man. He despised the clanging and the noise in the bustle and the artificiality of city life. He wanted to live in his monastic reclusive setting, but God has strange ways.
He raised Moses in a palace in order to use them in a desert. He raised Joseph in a desert in order to use them in a balance. He takes Telemachus out of reclusive setting in order to use them in Rome and Telemachus is all right God, if you want me to go I'll go. I don't know why you want me to go but I'll go and is marching into the streets of Rome. Quite overwhelmed by its monumental buildings and expect particular edifices all over the place. The bust of so-and-so in the paintings of so-and-so and all the marvelous marble sculptures of man glorifying himself and self worship. And as he was walking he saw a huge crowd elbowing its way into the Coliseum.
Telemachus did know where they were going, but he was almost involuntarily dragged in by them and he entered this to his utter credulity as he sat in the bleachers. There he looked down and he saw that what was going to entertain these sadistic masses was bloodletting.
Orgies of hatred and sadism as you were going to see the gladiatorial spectacles and fights human beings tormenting and butchering one another. He couldn't believe it. And as soon as the first sign of that violence was shown in this huge empty theatrical setting. He rose to his feet and screamed out in the name of Christ forbear in the name of Christ said he stopped this and that amphitheater had the ability to carry even a whisper to a marvelous glissando of sound and here it was, as he screamed everybody hearing him. He ran down the stairs bolted over into the center Reno all along, sounding in the name of Christ, stop this thing. He became a kind of an innocent sideshow and one man yelled from the stands running through a musclebound gladiator heaved him away and finally took despair and sent it into the body of Telemachus as he bent over, clutching himself the blood spilling out of his body moments away from his dad.
The crowd now listening carefully. He speaks audibly once more for everyone to hear the name of Christ, stop this thing. There was silence. One man stood up and walked out than to three in the thousands and every body had left the Coliseum. They were gone and the historian writes this, and I quote many other factors were brought to bear, but the death of Telemachus crystallize the opposition so that never again was there gladiatorial fight ever fought in the Coliseum. One man from a reclusive setting sent into Rome and I say to you tonight. As we look to him as we reflect on the issues as we get prepared personally and corporately to keep a guard on our own lives in our corporate lives as a family of God. We will be able to stop that thing also.
And the church of Christ, like awaiting the thunderbolt will stride through the ages without rival or without peer in the March on like Martin Luther said, you know that a mighty Fortress is our God, and though this world is with the devil spill should threaten to undo us. We will not fear for God has willed his truth to triumph through us and he goes on to say how one little word shall fell him I wish he was a body of believers. God's blessing and I wish you personally. The quality of the Christian life that'll help God build a wall to keep the forces of darkness, and the force of righteousness. What starring story of how God used one man to stop brutality in the master bath cul-de-sac at its day could go ye ye to make such an impact which you want pain if you want to T even listening to Ozzy Imes found that the late Ravi Zacharias in the conclusion of his methods is that the cost there are times when you more time to meditate complex issues present resource you can hold in your hand and review whenever Margie I am just thinking magazine just that reason. Editor Daniel we have an amazing global team speakers number the speakers are actually Bush authors Oz Guinness, John Lennox, Alister McGrath, Ravi Zacharias. We have a number with PhD's and dissertations and scaling them back to smaller books for a more general audience is humbling and encouraging to work with our team members because they are very down to earth people they are able to speak in a university and have a dialogue with an atheist or a person from another worldview and having deep, intense conversation and yet they recognize as well that really we have to speak to the heart as well as the mind sign up for email delivery of just thinking Margie, I am done. Margie are you facing any opposition to your faith you my story can be an encouragement as he faced the challenges of today.
If you would like to order a copy of this message left at 1-800-448-6766 and ask for is that the cost order online way can find resources from our entire Ozzy. I am firstname.lastname@example.org or is that I am.ca for days in Canada I think one of the best ways to talk about the uniqueness of Ozzy IM is summed up in the store if it might be Zacharias till several times someone said to him, Ravi.
If I want to invite an evangelist to come and speak here. There are lots of names I can think of. If I want to invite an apologist to come here to do something more technical side. There are many names I can think of but if I want to find someone who is both an evangelist and an apologist someone who has the knowledge and the insight and the understanding marriage revenge was heart. The only person I can really think of is you I think that's always been the unique side of Ozzy IM is that we want to be serious with people's questions serious with the struggles think deeply and hard about difficult things. Wonder how we can communicate into a culture can be hostile or indifferent or closed, but to do it with the heart and the passion and the calling of an evangelist for the ultimate goal is simply to leave people with a bunch of knowledge and ideas about something, but hopefully to leave with them, having met the person of Jesus Christ, the only one who can change and transform the hearts of the mind and in that sense we take a very strong understanding of that verse in Scripture about see to it that you're ready to give an answer to everyone who also for the reason for the hope that we have when you ultimately boil it down. What is the reason as to why we have hope. Is it because we have better philosophy, theology, morality, history, archaeology, or whatever is important is those disciplines are we calling them is apologist will determine that's not the reason we have hope the ultimate reason we have hope because of Jesus Christ's life is that his resurrection is coming again that is already why we have hope in this world and therefore our apologetics has to flow to overflow from the cross of Christ and that's one of its unique things and it's amazing to be part of something which isn't just simply speaking therefore to inform the world but by relying on God and the power of his spirit and truth of his word to see the will transformed through the glorious gospel is being revealed given to us in the person of Jesus Christ that my people think is a listener supported radio ministry produced by Ozzie IN Atlanta to chat and it is you're probably thinking that help keep this program on the thank you for supporting Ozzie Hyannis's drive to share the gospel days around the clay provide thoughtful answers to difficult question