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Choosing to Know God

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
December 13, 2020 3:00 pm

Choosing to Know God

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Welcome to Living in the Light with Bible teacher Anne Graham Lotz. If you just live your life to the glory of God and pursue Him with everything you've got, I can't tell you the blessing and the honor and the glory and eyes not seen nor ears heard.

Well, God's preparing for you. Choosing to know God is today's message theme on Living in the Light with Anne Graham Lotz. We're so glad you've joined us for this weekly study in God's Word. Anne reminds us today the importance of recommitting our lives to choosing to know God for the purpose of living our lives for His glory. At the end of today's broadcast, be sure to take advantage of all that's available for you at AnneGrahamLotz.org to help you in the process of living a life of purpose in Christ.

Here's Anne. There's a story told of the days when the Romans were trying to take over the British Isles and they had laid siege to the British Isles by erecting a naval blockade around Great Britain and they did this day after day, week after week, month after month and the British Isles refused to fall. They refused to surrender and then one day the people living on shore looked out of their windows and they saw the Roman ships on fire and the Roman soldiers coming to shore and they knew that those Roman soldiers would either conquer the British Isles or they would die trying because they'd burned their ships behind them. And I believe there's come the time to challenge each one of us. You know, we've heard all of this, we know so much and now the time has come to just burn your ships and abandon yourself to the purpose of knowing God exactly and personally and experientially. Don't put it off until you get home. Don't put it off one more moment.

Make the decision to get to know God now. Several years ago Nike ran a series of ads that featured Michael Jordan and he's a great basketball player from the University of North Carolina and then with the Chicago Bulls. He had Michael Jordan dribbling the basketball down the court and then he just took off at the foul line and how he does that I don't know but his eyes are on the basket. His eyes never leave the basket and he brings that ball up over his head and he's flying up over the basket. He jams the ball down through the basket and the screen goes black and three words appear. Just do it.

The idea being there comes a time to stop practicing, to stop dribbling, stop talking to your coach, stop studying the playbooks, stop bragging about how good you are and just do it. And I think the time has come for us to stop talking about knowing God and praying about knowing God and wanting to know God and thinking about knowing God and going to little Bible studies about knowing God and conferences and seminars and all of this and just do it. It's time to make the decision to get to know God personally, exactly, experientially right now.

So would you open your Bibles to Hebrews chapter 12. I believe this is the challenge that the writer to the Hebrews is giving you and me. In Hebrews chapter 12 he says in order to choose right now to get to know God you need to recommit your life to that purpose, to the purpose of knowing him that you might bring glory and praise and honor and blessing to the one who is your creator who became your savior who is now your Lord and King. And you recommit your life by remembering the saints, verse 1.

Therefore since we're surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, the ones who've gone before us in chapter 11 aren't they an astounding group of men and women. And we remember Abel, so dedicated to the gospel, taking that blood sacrifice in order to come back to God in a right relationship that he witnessed to his brother, evangelized his brother who got so offended that his brother took his life and yet Abel didn't love his own life so much that he was willing to compromise the truth and the gospel. And then after Abel we see Enoch who came next and Enoch who was a man who had a large family after Methuselah was born, he had a ministry, sort of a lay minister because he was a preacher of righteousness, he must have had a job to support all of that and yet he made the time to walk with God every day. A devotional life that was so strong that one day he just walked right into God's presence.

He was not because God took him, just took him right to heaven. And we see Noah with his deeds, God coming down and saying Noah I want you to build me an ark because I'm going to judge the world but I want to save those who are willing to receive my salvation. So Noah in the midst of living in a hostile civilization, the only one alive who acknowledged God or sought to be right with him, blameless before the other people, did what God told him. The 120 years it took him to build that ark and aren't we glad because God through Noah saved the entire human race from extinction, they were saved from judgment. And after Noah there came our beloved Abraham and we feel almost like we know him now, like we've been living with him for a little while and Abraham, someone so determined to pursue God in his life that he would leave everything behind and let everything go and lay everything down.

And in the end God just poured out his blessing on that man and called him his friend. And after Abraham we have his son Isaac blessing his children as he was departing from them and Isaac's son Jacob blessing his grandchildren as he was getting ready to leave them. And then we have Joseph blessing the descendants for 400 years after by telling them when I die don't bury me on the pyramid but I want to be buried back in the promised land, I want to be identified with the people of God.

Each one of them in that departing witness sharing their faith. And then we had Amram and Jochebed the parents of Moses defying the king's edict when the king said that all the baby boys were to be killed and we find for ourselves that we have to sometimes defy those who are in authority over us when what they're telling us to do is contrary to what God says. And Moses, that fabulous man and the full vigor of his manhood when he was totally at the point that he could have succumbed to all the temptations and the opportunities and everything the world would offer him just turning his back on the world and rather than to suffer disgrace with Christ than the pleasures of sin for a season and not caring what the king would say and rejecting all of the treasures of Egypt and choosing to follow Christ and disavow himself from the world.

Just disassociate from that glamorous opulent luxurious world that would have been his. And then we have after Moses the Israelites that went through the wilderness but they ended up at the Red Sea with Pharaoh's army in back and the desert on one side the mountains on the other in that hard place that dead end totally depending upon God for their salvation and he opened up the Red Sea for them. And we have Joshua facing Jericho the enemy's stronghold having to get past Jericho before they could come into all the blessing that God had for them and Joshua did exactly what God said and marched around that city until the seventh day the seventh time the walls came to him totally dependent upon God for victory over the enemy that enemy's stronghold that was keeping him from everything God wanted him to have. And Rahab a little prostitute with a past who so desperately wanted not only to escape God's judgment but wanted a relationship with God and she hung that cord out of her window and when the walls came tumbling down the wall underneath her house remained standing and she was saved totally depending upon God for her salvation. And we didn't have enough time did we to talk about Barak and Gideon and Daniel and all the others who kept their focus when they were successful and kept their focus when they suffered and I mean that's a great cloud of witnesses.

Listen to me their God is your God and their God is my God so if they can live a life that is faith anchored in God's word and purpose driven and glory bound why in the world can't you and I? What's changed so much? Just our hearts for some reason seem to be more apathetic and complacent and we're sophisticated and somehow we just have lost the cutting edge to our commitment to Christ and to knowing God in a personal right relationship and making him known to others. And God brought out that passage from Isaiah that's been so convicting to me. What more could I have done for you?

You think of what he did for the characters in chapter 11 and then you think of what he's done for us. They didn't even know Jesus' name. They didn't even know the plan of redemption. We know so much. Plus we've had 2,000 years of church history. We have all those who've gone before us.

Not just chapter 11 but all those who've gone before us. What more could he have done for you? What more does he have to do for you until you make the choice to just burn your ships and abandon everything for the purpose of living for his glory and getting to know him in the process? We remember the witnesses and we look at them and sometimes people suggest that they look at us. I don't know about the theology of that but there's an idea that we're sort of playing in a cosmic stadium and they're all gathered in the stadium watching us live out our lives on the field.

And when we do something right and we have victory over the enemy and we decide to read our Bibles and we're sharing Christ with a neighbor, they're cheering us on. Go for it. Just yes. You're on the right track.

That's the right decision. Go for it. We know what's lying ahead of you.

Go for it. And then when we do the wrong thing and we roll over and go back to sleep for 15 minutes and we don't spend time with the Lord and we had that opportunity to witness and we kept our mouth shut, they all just groan. And just are they out there cheering us on somewhere in the cosmic universe just saying I know what's on the other side. And if you just live your life to the glory of God and pursue him with everything you've got, I can't tell you the blessing and the honor and the glory and eyes not seen nor ears heard what God's preparing for you.

Maybe they're watching us. When we die and we step into eternity we're on an eternal timeframe. And you know in eternity there are no minutes or hours or days or weeks. It's all just sort of one day is a thousand years, a thousand years is a day. Wouldn't it be something if when we step into eternity we're in our own cloud of witnesses and we're in that stadium in the seats watching ourselves play our life out on the field.

Now that's a terrifying thought to me. But if I was watching myself live my life from an eternal perspective, watching me live my life right here and now, what would I be ashamed of? What would be embarrassing? What would I wish I had done differently? What regrets would I have? Seeing the glory of heaven and everything God had prepared for me, what will I wish I had done? What I wish I had made the commitment to pursue God at any cost in my life. Burn my bridges, abandon myself to living for his glory.

I think so. And God would say what more could I do for you than I've done? You have everything you need. Jesus is enough.

You don't need anything else. He's enough to know God now and to make him known to others. And so I would just challenge you to recommit your life for the purpose of living for the glory of God and getting to know him exactly and personally and experientially. And not only do you recommit your life by remembering the saints and those who've gone before you but by repenting of your sin. Because not only do we want to remember the saints but I think in light of who they are, I see myself in who I am and I am ashamed and I'm convicted of the shallowness and the superficiality of my life.

It's like Christians in America have grown a mile wide and an inch deep. And I just don't think that's pleasing to God. And so he says in verse 1, Therefore since you're surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And we're to repent of sin by throwing off everything that hinders. What's hindering you from making the decision to get to know God? What's hindering you from living your life all out, being faith anchored and purpose driven and glory bound?

Should I just go to meddling for a minute? Could it be television? The time you spend watching soap operas, sitcoms, not just your team's ball games but everything that comes on ESPN, even the fishing. And mesmerized by the TV, think about it, the time that it takes. And compared to the time you spend in your Bible and the time you spend on your knees, could it be TV that's hindering you from knowing God? Could it be the internet on your computer and doing all the email and just web browsing and all the kind of stuff you can do that becomes addictive and the hours spent on the internet? Could it be just hobbies that are wonderful and we all need things to relax in and we need things that help us relate to the people around us? But sometimes we just get obsessed with them. And since I'm meddling, I'll just tell you a lot of my friends are married to men who are totally obsessed with hunting and fishing to the point they sacrifice their families and they sacrifice what they might be doing for the Lord.

Is it something like that? None of these are sins in themselves but they're hindrances to you when it comes to making the decision and following that decision with a commitment to live your life for the glory of God and to know Him. And listen to me, that takes time. There are no shortcuts to knowing God. It takes time spent on your knees in prayer and time spent in the Bible. And time spent just by experience as you serve Him and you don't know exactly what He's calling you to do but you believe it's this and you take a step of faith and you do it and then you find out by experience that was Him leading you and that was what He wanted you to do. And the next time you recognize His voice more clearly and more quickly and you begin this journey of living for Him.

And it's wonderful. And I'll tell you something, after a while the TV just isn't attractive anymore and the hobbies and some of these other pastimes, they're just not even nearly as thrilling as knowing God and experiencing Him out there in the marketplace and seeing what He can do in and through your life and impacting somebody else's life for eternity. Now that's worth living for. That's worth dying for.

That's worth committing your life to. And would you throw off everything that hinders? Maybe it's just love of comfort. Maybe it's laziness. That's one of the biggest struggles I have in my life. I'm so lazy. I have to make myself get out of bed in the morning. I have to make myself go through my day. Everything I do is an exertion of the will.

I just am born lazy. And I promise you that's the truth. And I know if I can do something for the Lord, you can do something too. But I know it's something I have to exert my will to overcome. And so one thing that's important for you to know what your weaknesses are and what some of these things are that hinder you, that you might exert your will. When you make the decision that you want to know God more than anything and you want to live for His purpose and His glory and then you exert your will and He'll give you the power to overcome. And you just choose to overcome some of these things in your life that you might achieve the greater purpose.

Do you see? If we don't, we're going to succumb to some of these hindrances in our lives and end up at the end of our life lazy, getting a lot of sleep, you know, watching a lot of TV but really no eternal fruit. Nothing to show for a life lived on earth that was a one-time opportunity to bring God glory down here. And we're squandering it just through things that hinder.

Selfishness, apathy, lack of discipline, is it the opinions of other people? I wonder if it's fear. If fear is a hindrance, you're afraid if you burn your ships and afraid if you just pursue God with everything you've got that in the end of your life it won't have been worth it.

That somehow God is not as wonderful to you as these other things you enjoy in your life and that somehow if you give Him everything you're going to come up short. Is there a fear like that? We know fear doesn't come from God. You just take the fear to the cross.

It's a hindrance. It will paralyze you, make you totally incapacitated to get to know God and to live for Him and to serve Him. And I know you may still feel afraid. One of the favorite things that Jo Briscoe says that I have been so blessed by, she says, you just live for God and you serve God and you share Christ and you just do it scared. Don't wait until He takes away your fear. Maybe your fear won't be. You just do it scared. Don't let fear hinder you from sharing Christ with your neighbor when you go home. And you're afraid to share Christ? You're afraid to be offended? Then just do it scared. You're afraid to read your Bible for fear? You won't get something out of it?

Just do it anyway. And then you read your Bible and you open up your ears and you do that simple format of what does it say, what does it mean, what does it mean to me? And then the responsibility is God's to open it up and make it meaningful and to give you something for yourself.

But at least you make yourself available and listen for what He has to say. What's hindering you? What would you throw it off? Whatever would hinder you from living for the purpose of knowing God and bringing Him glory.

Throw it off. And the sin that so easily entangles. And that's the picture of a runner trying to run a race in a long robe. You know, today when we walk track and field, it's almost embarrassing to me the way they dress because they look like they're running in their underwear.

And what they've done is just strip down so that nothing is going to entangle them as they run the race. And some of these other things will hinder you but I'll tell you what, sin will trip you up every time. And is there a sin that's entangling you as you seek to pursue knowing God and bringing Him glory? Could it be doubt? Unbelief?

Is it something from your past? An anger? Unforgiving spirit? A critical spirit? Jealousy?

What is it? The sin that is entangling you, keeping you from your all-out pursuit. Whatever it is, would you bring it to the cross and crucify it? One of the sins that used to entangle me to the point that's, I don't know if you call it a hindrance or a sin, but it was a sin that was a hindrance and it was entangling. It was just self-consciousness. That shyness and self-consciousness. Really, the Lord showed me it's just pride. You're self-conscious. You're thinking about yourself.

That's just pride. And I remember Stephen Alford, wonderful Bible teacher, telling me one way to overcome that is, Ann, you take your self-consciousness to the cross and you crucify it. And you see that it's one of those sins that nailed Jesus to the cross and there's something about saying, God, I crucify my self-consciousness that makes me convicted of the seriousness of that sin. And I don't want to indulge in it anymore because it makes me aware that Jesus died for that sin. And that sin was one of those that nailed him to the cross and it becomes repulsive to me.

And many times I've come up on a platform and even as I'm coming up on the platform I'm praying, God, I just crucify the self-consciousness. I just let you have it. Let it go. Bring it to the cross. Whatever your sin is that would entangle you, keep you from serving, keep you from knowing him, hinder you in the race, crucify it.

Bring it to the cross and nail it there. Yes, you're forgiven if you've been to the cross to receive Christ as Savior, but if it's hindering you, you bring it to the cross and crucify it, nail it there, it has to be cleansed. Increasingly, the cross acts on your sin like radium on cancer and weakens that sin and its hold in your life until God can set you free. And by God's grace and mercy, he set me free from that sin of self-consciousness.

And I still know it's a weakness and I'm still on guard in that area, but I can climb up on a platform now. Still praying that I'd be crucified with Christ, that other people would see Jesus in me, but no longer paralyzed by that fear, no longer throwing up before I get up on a platform. So what is the sin that entangles you? What is the sin or the hindrance that would keep you from running this race and pursuing God, burning your ships behind you and pursuing all out the knowledge of God?

What is it? As it comes to your mind, would you confess it by name to the Lord? Don't leave this mountain until you recommit your life by remembering the saints who've gone before you and let their lives convict you of the superficiality and the shallowness and weakness of your own Christian life and then let God bring to your mind sins that need to be confessed, sins that are entangling you, things when you go home that are hindering you that you've got to adjust, you've got to change, you've got to put out in your life if you're going to follow through on the commitment to know God. So would you choose to know God right now by recommitting your life? All that that means, and we don't even understand all that it means, God will show you, but you make the decision to recommit your life to Him for the purpose of living your life for His glory and His honor and His praise and His blessing and in the process knowing Him exactly and personally and experientially.

Now here's Ann with this final word. Listen to me. I want to know God today better than I knew Him yesterday. I want to know Him better next year than I do this year. I want to know Him until one day, like Abraham, God refers to me as His friend. To work out that purpose requires time spent in reading, studying, obeying His word. I have to work out on the anvil of my own experience, what His word has said.

I have to live it out. I don't obey Him or serve Him or sacrifice for Him because I have to, but because I want to know Him, and that's the avenue He's laid out before me. With all my heart, I'm just following Jesus. As a result, I'm blessed with a deep sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, eternal significance, as well as with His presence in my life. Jesus encouraged His disciples by promising, where I am, my servant also will be. What more could we desire in this world than the presence of Jesus in our lives? Nothing, not houses or honors or health, not cars or careers or children, not vacations or victories or vitality, not money or marriage or ministry, not fame or family or freedom, not strength or success, ability or achievement, not even love or life itself. Nothing is more precious than knowing Jesus. When you and I follow Jesus, He promises that we will be where He is, but there's not one place in the entire universe, visible or invisible, where He is not.

What a blessing. Why is it we seem to cling so tightly to what we want and in the process lose what God wants us to have? God wants us to have power and blessing and glory, but you don't obtain it by adding Jesus to your life. He has to be your life. You can know Him exactly and personally and experientially. The glory of His power and blessing and honor and wisdom and strength fully. The glory of a character that reflects His perfectly. The glory of other people's lives transformed by the gospel totally. The glory of His commendation personally. The glory of a heavenly home literally. The glory of reigning with Him eternally. You've been listening to Living in the Light with Ann Graham Lotz. And if you'd like to share today's message, go to anngramlotz.org where you'll find much to assist you in getting into the Word of God, in praying, in sharing Christ with others. Join us again here next week for Living in the Light.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-15 11:57:09 / 2024-01-15 12:07:32 / 10

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