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November 19, 2021 12:01 am
If we don't know our goal as Christians, we may waste our lives in a state of aimlessness or in pursuit of the wrong things. Today, R.C. Sproul explains the will of God for the lives of His people.
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The Christian faith is complicated. The Bible's book of sometimes there so many trees that we miss the forest and people come to me again and again and they'll say something like this partially what is that one that single over arching issue that God wants each one of us to pursue a new experience that when life gets complicated.
Do you want someone just whispered in her ear about what we should do next. The complexity and diversity of the options in front of us to paralyze him and that's especially true in our spiritual lives. What does God want from us.
Is there a quick answer. Thankfully, there is an today here on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. RC Sproul turns to Scripture and points us to the one overarching goal of Christian living. There's an episode in the story of Alice in Wonderland. If you recall that Alice's traveling by herself as she comes down a path and she comes to a fork in the road and as she comes of this work in the road. She's completely bewildered. She doesn't know whether to go to the left or to go to the right and while she standing there trying to figure out which fork she supposed to take her attention is drawn up to the tree and she notices the trash.
Our cat sitting up in the tree with his diabolical grin. You remember the story and now she's relieved because there's someone here to help her and she says all Mr. trash our cat please tell me which direction I'm supposed to go and he said that depends, and she said depends on what in the Jessica said were you going and Allison.
I don't and it had said that it doesn't matter and it doesn't if we have no destination fixed in our minds.
What possible difference could it be which way we go in one of the central concerns in modern business, particularly when we experience economic crises, depressions and recessions and that sort of thing is the question of focus in our day. Management by objective people like Peter Drucker and the rest has become the order of the top and that business leaders are told again and again that if you are going to be successful in whatever endeavor you're engaged, you must have clearly defined goals and you must sharpen your focus of what it is you're trying to accomplish where you're trying to go because if you don't know where you're going if you don't know what your goal is you will spin your wheels and wander in circle.
Sometimes were afraid to ask for directions are somebody just said to me the other day why did Moses lead the people of Israel all over the lot. Wondering here and there, and what seems to be an apparently random pattern back during the 40 years wilderness experience. I said I don't know why he said well because even then men were too proud to ask for direction, reversing the Wizard of Oz. Lucy hmmm if you seen it twice since three times, 4 times in the care of the guys at her hands on my back. I got 15 times. And yes, that thing dived for God's work in the villages that is allotted for things I haven't been there. That's an American classic and we all know the story of Little Dorothy from Kansas who gets carried away and this tornado and so on, and she's lost and she is trying to find the wizard she's off to see the wizard. Let me ask you who are the other important characters who are the people that are part of the entourage of Dorothy who else is there, the scarecrow, the scarecrow, and the scarecrow also wants to go and see the wizard.
Why is the scarecrow going to see the wizard what does the scarecrow want what is his goal.
He wants a brain, who else is in the entourage. The lion and the lion joins this tame and the lion wants to go and see the wizard and why does the lion want to see the wizard. He wants courage. Who else is in the group. The 10 man.
So we got the scarecrow, the lion, the tin man of Dorothy. What's the tin man want a heart. He wants to see the wizard because the wizard with all of his magic and all of his power will be able to give the tin man and then they have the little dog Toto and so the whole story focuses on people's desire to get to a destination and each one that is traveling to that particular destination is on that trip for a different reason.
Each one wants something different. The 10 man wants a heart the scarecrow once a brain the lion wants courage and all Dorothy wants is to go home and so the instructions they get are simple. The munchkins come and say what all the yellow brick road at all they have to do is follow full of all of also have a fully overgrown and only overgrow does is wind all true witches and goblins and all kinds of trouble until finally they come and they get to see what a delightful story but it's a story of people reaching their goals. It's a story of people desperately working fighting hanging together to reach something that is of utmost importance to the Christian faith is complicated. The Bible is a thick book is filled with admonitions, instructions and directions for The Pursuit of Happyness for relief from guilt for praise for worship or adoration for all of these things but sometimes there so much there in the forest. So many tweaks I should say that we miss the forest and people come to me again and again and they'll say something like this RC. What's the big idea what really is the vague idea what is that one that single over arching issue that God wants each one of us to pursue maybe want you to be a banker and you to be a physician and you to be a lawyer and he is all that diversely, but is there one certain thing that all of us who are on this trip together must keep focused upon to be a Christian.
What is it me boil it down for us freezing less in the Old Testament. The question was raised by the prophet Micah. He remember what does the Lord require to do a simple answer you want to.
Bottom line, what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
That's with the life of godliness is about. In a nutshell, to do justly, what does that mean that means simply that a Christian is a person whose life is supposed to be characterized by an earnest pursuit of doing what is right. I need to pursue actively the ability to do what is right and I also need to have a life that is characterized by a love of mercy. There is no English expression that can really capture the essence of what Mike is saying that because the word there is the word essay and is the word that is used frequently for God in the Old Testament and it's a word that is defined by this phrase instead fast love that God's loving mercy is a steadfast love, one translation reads this way to love with loyalty and know somebody asked me right now how many people there are in this planet that I know love me with loyalty. I've met tens of thousands of people in my lifetime and I know I couldn't name 10 that I'm absolutely sure love me with loyalty and yet those are the people that make our lives bearable. They are the people that we love and love to be around, and yet God says what do I require of you. I want to do what's right and I want you to have a kind of quality of mercy about you that you love was loyal and finally, I want you to walk with me. I want you to walk with me, not in arrogance but humbly this way. Micah summarized the whole of the life of God.
But in the New Testament we see a different summation.
Another way in which the big idea is expressed in simple terms and effects expressed by Jesus when Jesus reduces all the activity and the requirements of Christianity to its bare minimum by saying this, seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things that is everything else will be added unto you. Seek first.
I let's look at the two words I wanted to say here seek and then the word first.
Dorothy said I'm trying to find the wizard but in order to get the wizard I have to find him first in order to find him. I have to pursue him. I have to look for him.
I have to seek the beginning of seeking the kingdom of God is at our conversion. That's when we start seeking God and what Jesus is saying seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
He's not speaking to pagans who hopefully at the end of their pursuit at the end of their quest, they will discover Christ and be converted, not this is the priority of the Christian life the priority the Christian life is to seek we are seekers and to seek means to look for something and to look diligently think of the way Jesus expressed the kingdom of God in the parables of the kingdom of God is like a choline that is lost by an impoverished woman has until the story of a fabulously wealthy miser who miscellanies one coin who wouldn't even mistake but all of this woman's wealth is contained in one tiny coin and she flew six. What does she do says faces.
She turns the house upside down. She sweeps every knock every cranny. She searches under the bed in the cupboard under the closed and the place that she could find because she's not going to stop this pursuit until she finds what she's looking for a man finds approval more beautiful more precious more valuable than any girl that is over.
Mr. Scott and he goes to his bank account and the empties his treasures and everything that he's already owned and everything he possesses. He sells he sells all that he have so that he can possess the one pearl of great 99 sheep safe in the sheepfold protected secure, comfortable, the shepherd counts the sheep and realizes that one is missing and what does the good Shepherd. He goes out to seek and to save that which is lost and he will not interrupt the pursuit until the lamb's file this with me to seek Jesus as that's what the kingdom of God is like. It is a mission of seeking what is it that were looking for. Seek what Roy says seek first the word there in the Greek is the word pro toss in the word pro toss first is not simply a word in Greek that indicates the initial number in a series like 123 and one would be the first in the series, but rather the term pro toss in the Greek communicates the idea of priority.
What Jesus is saying here is seek out all else. First and foremost, I want you to seek something that the essence of the Christian life is the seeking that which is most important. So were not left the guests between the relative values of certain pursuits.
Jesus says here with the Christian life is. Here's the goal focus on the goal seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and everything else will take care of so that's the big idea like and what is a name to seek the kingdom of God, we translate that language into more modern life in the 16th century, Luther tried to reduce all of the Christian life to one single idea the big idea. According to Luther was that the Christian is called to live all of life.
Coram day. How this was the theme of Luther's quest if somebody would've looked at the life of Martin Luther and said Luther what is your purpose statement for your organization. What is the purpose statement for your life. What is that one idea that you have learned and Luther would've said my one idea is Coram day once a Coram Dayo means before the face of God were in the presence of God.
Luther said you know what I want.
I want to see the face of God.
Isn't that the highest location. The greatest desire in the most marvelous promise that God gives in sacred Scripture, where he says that the ultimate goal of human existence will be fulfilled in what is called in theology. The beatific vision the beatific vision is a vision of blessedness. It is the vision that carries with it and instantly communicates the deepest possible level of fulfillment to the human heart. The fullest expression and satisfaction of the soul of a human being. Augustine said centuries ago, O Lord, has created us for thyself and our hearts are restless until they find the rest in the accidental philosophers of said that the chief characteristic of modern man is aux anxiety, restlessness, a sense of lostness of meaningless.
Augustine said, will be plagued with that restlessness until we find our rest in the and that rest will not reach his fullest expression until we see God face-to-face. The thing that is denied every Christian in this world is to be able to look directly on the face of God. The God we serve the God we worship the God we praise the God we seek to obey is invisible when he expelled adamantly from the garden of Eden he placed an angel with a flaming sword there to bar access to Eden to say no more stepping forth in the paradise.
No one will ever see my face if you seek the see the face of God, you will die. No man can see me and live God's.
And yet he promises that at the end of the road the of the yellow brick road were going to be able to not only hear the voice of the wizard who was broadcasting behind a curtain going to be able to sneak behind the curtain and see his face.
John tells us blood. We don't know yet what will be in heaven with this much we know we will be like him, for we will see him as he that's the highest goal of the Christian life is to behold the face of God. Remember, this doesn't start a New Testament because the Old Testament when the Jews would say their benediction when they were apart from another. How would they pronounce the benediction May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon, be gracious and may the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you peace. That was every Jews dream that they would experience peace, shalom, not simply the cessation from warfare and conflict in battle, but that they would receive the peace in their soul, the peace that passes understanding comes from the beatific vision that comes when God lifts up the light of his countenance upon his people and makes his face to shine upon. That's what we live for legs and and that's what Luther was getting at when he said that all of life is to be lived.
Coram Dayo before the face of God.
Now that had two sides to it. On the one hand, it means being motivated by a desire to see the face of God, but all the while we are pursuing and seeking after the face of God. We realize that everything that we do is visible to him. He may not be visible to us, but we are certainly visible to him. Luther is saying we must be conscious that even though we think we are living our lives in secret behind closed doors sub rosa that in fact all of our life is lived Coram Dayo before the presence of God. In other words he's saying not simply pretend that you're living in the presence of God, and beneath the gaze of God because in fact we are living beneath the gaze of God at work in lived Coram Dayo whether we want live Gordon Derrida but he says just think how would you live if you were acutely conscious that you were acting out what you were doing and speaking what you are saying in the immediate presence of God. If you knew Christ were in the room watching you every minute. Would you behave the way you that's the big idea to live Coram day to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and everything will be added on. What is the one single overarching thing that God wants each of us to pursue. It's to seek him first and foremost, that's what the first question in the Westminster shorter catechism deals with right what is the chief end of man. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever grateful for Dr. RC Sproul's careful instruction today here on Renewing Your Mind. Thank you for being with us today that I believe Webb this is classic RC Sproul material and a great example of why were so appreciative of his teaching the messages we been featuring this week come from our special ministry partner archives, a collection of sermons, devotionals and messages available only to those who sign up to give a monthly gift to the ministry partners are a special group and we serve them with exclusive resources and other benefits their stable monthly generosity also fuels everything we do here on Renewing Your Mind and truly good here. If you benefited from Waggoner through the years. I hope you'll consider becoming a ministry partner friends like David are helping us reach more more people with the gospel ministry was limited impact on my spiritual life. Listen to Renewing Your Mind for many many years and through Renewing Your Mind. Tabletop magazine, and various teaching series.
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