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The Goal of the Christian Life

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
April 28, 2023 12:01 am

The Goal of the Christian Life

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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April 28, 2023 12:01 am

What is the most important priority of the Christian life? Today, hear a never-before featured message from R.C. Sproul, originally released exclusively for Ligonier's Ministry Partners.

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The goal of the Christian life is to live in the presence of God, where all of life is seen as being unfolded beneath His gaze, under His authority, unto His glory. When you wake up in the morning, what's your goal for the day?

Do your goals change if you look ahead five, ten, fifteen years? Hi, I'm Nathan W. Bingham, and welcome to Renewing Your Mind. A businessman once asked R.C. Sproul that question, what's the big idea?

What is the goal of the Christian life? And in a message recorded in the late 1980s, a message that's never been featured on Renewing Your Mind before, and was originally released exclusively for Ligonier's ministry partners, he answers that question. And it's a wonderful message. It captures Dr. Sproul's passion, his clarity, and even his sense of humor. So I'm sure that you're going to want to share it with your family and friends.

Here's Dr. Sproul. How many of you have ever been called a fanatic about Christianity? And it seems in our culture that if we manifest any kind of exuberance or zeal or excitement about Christ, that we are instantly labeled a fanatic. If we manifest the same exuberance on Sunday afternoon at Three River Stadiums, we're simply a fan. And that's all right.

That's tolerable. But I wonder what the difference is between a fan and a fanatic. Well, I once heard a definition of a fanatic that went like this. It said, a fanatic is a person who, having lost sight of his goal, redoubles his effort to get there. And that makes sense to me.

A fanatic is somebody who passionately pursues something while he's running around in all directions and has no idea exactly what his target is or what his goal should be. And I think that that is a major problem that we find in living out the Christian life, that we're not always sure where we're headed or what the goal is. I got an opportunity a couple of weeks ago to speak to a prominent businessman in Orlando. And this man is called the Wizard of Wall Street.

He's a financial genius. He's a very earnest Christian and has been for years. And he looked at me and he said with great sobriety, he said, R.C., what's the big idea? That reminded me of certain things as well. When he used that language with me, what's the big idea?

I had a flashback. I saw my mother in the kitchen with her hands on her hips saying, young man, what's the big idea? But when this prominent businessman in Orlando asked me that question, it really wasn't a thinly veiled accusation. It was a genuine question. And what he was asking was this. He said, what is the big idea of the Christian life? And he went on to say how in the business world he was impressed by certain entrepreneurial geniuses who established not only 10-year goals for their companies, but who worked out their company's goals for 50 years into the future.

And I thought, wow. And he said, now that's what I want to think like, not only as a businessman, but as a Christian. What is the overarching goal that I'm using my energy and my efforts as a Christian to achieve?

And I said, well, let me tell you what I think is the goal, and I'll do that for you now before I turn to the New Testament. Immediately a Latin phrase jumped into my mind. Latin phrases do that. I never know whether they're going to jump into my mind and what clause that they'll come from, but my students at the seminary say that if there's a theological concept, Sproul has a Latin phrase for it. So we just can't do theology without the mother tongue here.

But the Latin phrase that jumped into my mind is a Latin phrase that every Christian knows and embraces, and it's a second language to them, and that is this Latin phrase that you've all heard, quorum Deo. We all know that one, don't we? How many have never heard of it? Get them up there right, because if you don't get your hand up, then I call on you for the definition.

How many have never heard of that? All right, look, keep your hands up. Look around. Socrates said that the one indispensable necessity and prerequisite for learning is the admission of ignorance. Socrates would be delighted with this word, because now we know we're going to learn something.

If you don't learn anything else this weekend, you're going to learn something that you didn't already know. You're going to learn the meaning of quorum Deo. Quorum Deo was a concept that was precious to the ancient church and was particularly meaningful to the giants of the 16th century Protestant Reformation. They were asking the question when they asked the question of what does it mean to bring reform and renewal to the church. What are we after? Are we simply after changes in liturgy and trying to correct certain immoralities that have crept into the church or distorted doctrines?

They said no. The bottom line that we're after is quorum Deo, which means to live one's life before the face of God, that the goal of the Christian life is to live in the presence of God, where all of life is seen as being unfolded beneath his gaze, under his authority, unto his glory. Do you notice that in that concept there is no artificial distinction between the religious and the non-religious, but it means all of life, your marriage, your business, your sports, your eating at table. Everything is lived out under the face of God.

Now, when I've discussed this with this particular businessman, he exhibited a kind of excitement about hearing this because intuitively that was what he was experiencing. And he said, you know, there was something very restricting about what I learned at the beginning of my Christian life, that a Christian who once he becomes a Christian, he's expected to do certain things, and he's expected to avoid certain things. He now walks a straight and narrow. He used to have a daily devotional. You know, read his Bible, say his prayers, go to church, pay his tithes.

He's not supposed to drink or smoke or chew or go out with girls that do. And he now then also learns a new language where he never tells anybody anything. He shares it with him. And he never experiences just simple good fortune.

Everything good that happens to him is a blessing. And so he has to learn a whole new language that's kind of a secret code that Christians use with each other to the maddening distraction of those outside of the church that become one of the worst barriers to communicating the essence of Christianity that there could possibly be. I learned how to do this when I first became a Christian.

When I wrote letters to my girlfriend, they sounded like the third letter to the Corinthians. So I think that there are times that we have to step away from the subculture that we're engaged in as Christians and ask ourselves, what does God say are the priorities of the Christian life? What is it that God says we are to do in order to please Him? And beloved, that means, I think, that we have to be involved in going beyond the simplistic and the basic and the elementary.

In fact, we are rebuked on the pages of sacred Scripture again and again and again for being content and satisfied with milk and not pressing towards a deeper level of maturity in growing out our faith. How many of you, take another poll here, how many of you ever had piano lessons in your life? Let me see. Look at those hands. More than half of the people in this room took piano lessons, and yet there was a crisis just 24 hours ago or so. We didn't have a piano player for this conference.

We said, what are we going to do? I said, well, look, more than half the people in the room have taken piano lessons. Certainly we can press some of them into service here, and they'll be happy to lead our singing by accompanying us to piano. How many of you would be willing to lead us in the singing by playing the piano for us right now? One, two, three, four.

We've got four. All right. What happened to the rest of you? I started taking piano lessons when I was a little boy. My mother made me. I didn't want to. Sent me across the highway to this woman who was 98 years old, and the house was so musty that it offended my old factory senses whenever I walked in there. But I remember my first lesson.

I was intimidated. I went in there, and she got out this book called John Thompson's Piano Lessons. And the very first lesson this teacher gave me was called I Am Playing Middle C. And so you take the pointer finger of your right hand and you find middle C. She showed me where middle C is.

And the song went like this. I am playing. I hope nobody in here has perfect pitch. I am playing middle C. And then you go to the left hand. Remember? I can play it well. You see. You see.

All right. You had the same lesson, didn't you? That's terrific. Same teacher. Same teacher. I'll tell you, if ever a woman was misnamed, it was that lady. Her name was Miss Bliss. I took lessons for about five years, and at the end of that five years, I was halfway through the second grade book of John Thompson. I used to have to go to my lessons every week, and I had to go through a woods to get there, and on the way, I would take half of my music and put it under a rock along the path in the woods.

And then I would get to the lady's house and she'd say, well, now, let's look at such and such. And I said, hmm, I know I had it when I left the house, but I don't know. I did anything to avoid it. Well, I hated it.

It was terrible. And so I quit, and all that money that my mother spent and the investment in the piano and everything else was wasted. I started it, and then I quit. Then when I was in seminary, I got a love for classical music, and there was this woman in Pittsburgh who taught at Volkwein, which was sort of the piano center of the city, and I thought she was a fabulous teacher, and so I signed up for some lessons from her. And I said, I'd like to learn how to play some of the classical composers. And she said, like what? I said, well, some Chopin and Mozart. She says, well, how much background do you have in piano?

And I said, you know, second grade book of John Thompson. She said, well, you're just not quite ready to play. I said, well, no, you don't understand. I said, that's why I'm paying you.

I want to learn how to play Chopin now. She said, but you're not ready to do it. I said, I don't care. I said, if you're a teacher, I'm a student, let's go. So we got out a Chopin original composition, and she humored me. She said, all right, this week's assignment is the first measure of this song. She said, I'll teach you this, a measure at a time, if you'll promise to go back and do all the scales and all the stuff that you have to do.

And I said, fine. So for six months I worked on one piece from Chopin, learning all the basics as we went. And it was wonderful. A whole new world of music opened up for me. And I noticed that what happened with this training and with this discipline under this teacher was that my piano ability, which started here, it was so easy to make progress the first week, that middle C, hey, look, I mean, I can still do it.

Listen to this. I can play it well, you see. I haven't forgotten it.

That was easy. It's when I had to start doing two hands together and everything that I bailed out until I went and took these lessons and went to a new plateau. That lasted for a year, then we left the United States, and so that was the end of piano lessons until I met Dick Lowey. How many of you know who Dick Lowey is? Nobody.

I can't believe it. Ever hear of Victor Borga? All right, he would give the comedy routines where he would play classical music for this guy from Minneapolis, Minnesota, named Dick Lowey.

He's better than Victor Borga. He would give this incredible concert, 2,000 college students would be there, and he would play all this high bra music and then he'd start falling off the chair and going into ragtime and doing all this trick stuff, and then he'd get up and he'd say, okay, here's what I want you to do. He'd say, somebody just shout out of the audience their favorite composer, and somebody would say Mozart. He'd say, okay, somebody else, who's your favorite piano player? And somebody would holler out, Jelly Roll Morton. And he'd say, okay, somebody tell me the last four digits of their phone number. And they'd say, 6821. He'd say, okay, let's see, 6821, Mozart, Jelly Roll Morton. And this guy would walk over to this piano in front of 2,000 people and on the spot compose a piece of music where the mathematical harmonic proportion of the theme followed this linear progression. And he would compose a piece that you would swear was written by Mozart, and he played it in the style of Jelly Roll Morton.

I couldn't believe it. I said, the guy's incredible. And so I talked to him, I said, how do you do that? He said, I never had a lesson.

I said, why? He said, all these people teaching you, he said, they teach you to read music. He said, it's like painting by numbers. He said, I learned the instrument and how it works, like the black musicians that created jazz and all of that. And I said, well, tell me how I can do that.

Well, he said, get this book and that book and teach yourself. So I did that, and I went to the next plateau. But I could only teach myself so much until I ran into another roadblock.

And for 20 years, I've been stuck right here. About three months ago, a guy from New York moved to Orlando who's a jazz pianist, and he opened up shop and I started taking lessons that I'm having, I'm getting out of this plateau and going up into the next one. And it's exciting to learn more and to break through in the new grounds. But so many of us, what happens is we make a running start at something, and as we try to learn something, the initial steps are easy. And each level of growth that we achieve brings new difficulties, new complexities, new barriers to overcome, and every time a barrier comes, a certain percentage of the people stop at that point. It's one thing to make a running start with a piano and then bail out, but what about the Christian life? We're the first six months, we're the first year, we can't get enough Bible study, we can't get enough this, we can't get enough that, and then somehow we meet an obstacle or we reach a plateau and we say this far and no more, I can't learn anything else, or I can't go deeper into my Christian life. So often if we would have just forced ourself to take one more bite, to go one more step, one more level, we would begin to experience the freedom that comes from discipline, from mastery.

So let me just begin by saying that what pleases God is a life of ongoing discipleship that doesn't quit, that doesn't bail out, and that doesn't ever, ever stagnate at a plateau. Now, in order for that to happen, we have to know what our goal is, what it is we're striving for, because whenever we have setbacks or obstacles, that's what tends to paralyze us and to dampen our spirits and to dull our enthusiasm. Just last week I saw an interview with a special teams coach of, I believe it was the New Orleans Saints, correct me if I'm wrong, where he's innovated a procedure in his coaching that's a brand new thing in the NFL and all the other special team coaches are rushing to copy. On the special teams he had tried to work with his guys on how to try to block punts and or field goals or extra points. He understood that the blocking of a kick in a football game can be one of those big plays that can mean the difference between victory or defeat. He also understood that going full bore to rush a punt, if you blow it and run into the kicker, you know, that can be a big play in the other direction.

It's a high risk enterprise, yet at the same time it's a high yield enterprise if it's successful. And he said his team was so far frustrated because they had tried full out 17 times to go for the block. I don't know whether it was 16 or 17, it was some number like that.

Maybe somebody will know the exact number. He said his team was 0 for 17. They were not successful a single time. And so what this coach did was in the privacy of his office he ran the films back of these 17 attempts to block kicks. And he noticed that on six of those occasions his guys came within a hair's breadth of pulling it off.

So close that it was just a fraction of an inch away. And so what he did was he got the special teams together and he said, guys, let's look at these films, because they were moping around saying, we're doing all this practice, we're going full bore, we're on suicide squads, we're throwing our bodies at kickers and all of that, and nobody's getting any block kicks. And he ran those films in slow motion. And he took those six that were so close. And the first reaction was the guys were, oh, no, oh, we had it made.

I should have gotten them. And they were all on the floor and everything. But then when they were all done they said, just a little bit more practice.

And those almosts are going to become altogethers. And so he showed those guys the films of how close they were. And they kept watching the films. And the rest is history.

In this season the New Orleans Saints leads the NFL, I believe, in blocked kicks and the big plays. Because they overcame that paralysis and that obstacle that was provoked by the almosts. Well, again, they got their goals clarified so that they knew what they were trying to accomplish. Now, let's be very foundational this evening and ask, let's cut through all of the complex theology and say, what is the goal of the Christian life according to the Bible? And first of all, let's look at Jesus. Jesus taught so many things that it would take more than a lifetime to master all of the teachings of Jesus. But even Jesus, every now and then, would spell it out for His disciples in a way that they could see the big picture. And He'd say, look, here's the bottom line. This is what is most important. And He does it in the Sermon on the Mount.

I won't look it up for you. You know the text where Jesus says to them, seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Now, the first thing I want to do is look at the word first that Jesus uses. The word here in the Greek is the word protos.

Cacadelus, you here? Is that right? Protos means first. And the meaning of the term in the Greek, the word first here, protos, is not first in a series of numbers, but rather the thrust of this word indicates first in the order of priorities. In other words, Jesus is saying the most important priority for the Christian is to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Now, if I said to you, okay, Jesus came in the room and we said, Lord, what's the most important thing that we could do to please you?

What do you want from us? And Jesus walked in here and He said, well, what I want from my people is I want to have people who will make the seeking of the kingdom of God the main business of their lives. Would we have any idea what He was saying? I wonder if we would understand what Jesus meant when He said, seek ye first the kingdom of God. Well, again, He uses the word seek. How often does our Lord describe the process of seeking by using parables, parables about the kingdom of God? He said the kingdom of God is like, well, He said it's like a lost coin. A poor woman owns one gold coin and she can't find it. When I read that, I think, how did Jesus know about my wife 2,000 years before my wife was born?

At least seven times a week, which averages once a day, it doesn't happen just once a day, some days it's more than once, but it averages out to once a day. My wife can't find her purse. It happened an hour and a half ago. We were in our room and she said, oh, no, and I knew what it was.

I was completely calm. I knew the next thing she was going to say is, I can't find my purse. And that's what she said, I can't find my purse. And my first statement was, don't worry, honey, I know it's in this room. How do you know?

I said, because it always is. And within, you know, 30 seconds we had found her purse. But when my wife thinks that she has lost her purse, if you want to know what a determined woman looks like, I mean, when she thinks she's lost her purse, her pursuit of that purse is never cavalier. It is earnest.

It's serious. She puts her hand to the plow and she doesn't look back until she finds that purse. Jesus says, that's what the kingdom of God is like. It's like a woman who is poor, who has one coin, and she loses that coin.

She will sweep the house from top to bottom until she finds it. It's like someone who discovers the pearl of great price, who's consumed by desire to own that pearl. So much so that they will go and sell all that they have, trade everything that they've gained up to that point that they might possess that costly pearl. There's an intensity in the quest and in the seeking. Now here's what I think is one of the great errors of modern Christianity. How many times in Christian jargon have you heard this statement made? So and so is not a Christian, but they're seeking or they're searching. I hear that. That's part of the accepted nomenclature and jargon of evangelical Christians.

We're always talking. It's just like blessing and sharing. We talk about people who are seeking and searching, who are not Christians. In fact, we know that one of the effective communication tools that Campus Crusade used in various cities with campaigns of evangelistic outreach was to use the bumper sticker that said what?

I found it. And we use the language of search and discovery to communicate the Christian faith, and that's perfectly legitimate, but here's where the problem comes. The Bible says in Romans when it's describing the natural person, that is the unregenerate person, the non-Christian person, it says no one seeks after God. Now what the Christians tell me is that there's this whole world out there searching desperately behind every bush and behind every church pew for this God who is the deus absconditus, the God who has fled the universe, who's hiding somehow, just leaving a few esoteric clues of his existence back in the vast reaches of the cosmos. God is playing hide and go seek.

No, no, no. The Bible says nobody seeks after God. In fact, it's not that God is hiding and fleeing from man, and man is desperately trying to find him. That's not the picture you find in the New Testament.

The picture is a God who clearly, boldly, universally manifests himself while the whole world is hiding and fleeing from him. No man seeks after God. Then we jump to the New Testament. We take these passages where God says, if you'll seek my face, or Jesus says, seek and ye shall find, or I stand at the door and knock.

If any man hears my voice and opens up, I will come in. And we use all those verses as tools to communicate evangelism when every one of them was addressed to believers. The invitation to seek is given to the people of God. The reason I labor that point is this, is that when a person discovers Christ and begins the Christian life, ladies and gentlemen, that's when the seeking starts, not when it ends. The pursuit of God, the pursuit of the kingdom of God, this act of earnest searching for God is, as Jonathan Edwards said, the main business of the Christian life.

I labor that point for this reason. If you think you've already found it, you're not going to be earnest in the quest. But Christ wants people who hunger and thirst to know the living God, who seek after God as that woman seeks for that lost coin, to seek for the kingdom of God. I should be going to the conference on how to find out how to please God.

I shouldn't be teaching it. And I said, the fact that I'm teaching a conference on pleasing God and that people are actually coming to hear me talk about how to please God is the most lucid commentary I can imagine on the state of evangelical Christianity in the 20th century. And I'm not trying to be humble. That's the truth.

We're living in the dark ages spiritually right now because somehow we haven't caught the spirit of this single-minded, monomaniacal, if you will, quest for the kingdom of God. I've told this illustration a million times where John Guest, another one of my British friends who came to this country, and when he first got off the boat in Philadelphia, the first week he was in the United States, he came here to be an evangelist. He went around to all the historic sites there are the founding of the American Republic, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and all of that. You know, Phi Phi Pho Pham, the Englishman, looking at these rebellious colonists who defied their motherland.

And then he goes to these antique stores in market, in Germantown, that specialized in Revolutionary War memorabilia. And he saw this one sign, he saw these other signs that we're all familiar with, don't tread on me and no taxation without representation. He saw this other one that said, we serve no sovereign here.

And he stopped and he looked at that and he said, wait a minute. Is this part of the traditional fabric of American society? That there is such a premium on democracy and on freedom and all of those things that we extol as our national heritage, is there such an allergy built in to sovereignty that American Christians can't think in terms of a kingdom? He said, how can I preach the kingdom of God to people who find any kind of concept of sovereignty or kingship repugnant?

Now that's an outsider's perspective on us and on our culture. But John was terrified when he said that. Wait a minute, he said the Bible from beginning to end, if there's any one single motif that ties together the Old Testament and the New Testament, it is the central motif of the kingdom of God, of the reign of a sovereign over His people. Jesus said, here is the first priority, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. That was consistent with what Jesus taught all the time. When His disciples said, teach us how to pray, He said what? When you pray, pray like this. Our Father art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Then what? Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on the earth as it is in heaven. You see, right now as I'm speaking and as you're listening, the kingship of Christ is recognized by every single inhabitant of heaven. There is no creature, great or small, at this moment in heaven who is living for a second in defiance to the king. The king is exalted, he's worshipped, he's honored, and most significantly, ladies and gentlemen, he is obeyed in heaven.

And Jesus said, when you pray, pray that on earth that kingdom will come. This was not just a passing thought for Jesus. At the end of His life when He's ready to leave, I think again of the lady who asked me if I had five minutes to ask God a question. Suppose you had five minutes to ask Jesus a question, and you could only ask Him one question.

What would it be? Do you remember what the last question the disciples had? Here comes this glory cloud, the Shekinah cloud on the Mount of Ascension, ready to escort Jesus up to His enthronement for His coronation as the King of Kings. He's ready to leave, and He had told them, Yet a little while, and you see Me no more. I'm going, and where I'm going, you can't come now. Later you can come, but right now you can't come.

I'm going. No more questions. And they said one last thing before you go.

What was the last question? Will you now restore the kingdom to Israel? The very last question the disciples raised was a kingdom question.

And what did Jesus say? How many times do I have to tell you I'm not going to restore the kingdom to Israel? How many times do I have to tell you that My kingdom is a spiritual thing? It's in people's hearts. It's abstract. It's religious. It's emotional.

It has nothing to do with real sovereignty. That's not what He said. He said, look, the Father will take care of the timetable of the final manifestation of the kingdom. But in the meantime, and that's when we live, ladies and gentlemen, in the meantime, between our Lord's departure and His promised return, He said this, You shall be My witnesses.

After that the Holy Ghost has come upon you in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the uttermost parts of the earth. And you know what we've done with that? We've taken that to mean exclusively evangelism. So much so that our Christian jargon reveals our theology. Because in evangelical language, the term or the verb to witness has become a synonym for evangelism.

Isn't it? I witnessed to somebody the other night. We mean by that, we told them the gospel. If you look carefully in the New Testament, you will see that the term to witness is the generic term, one species of which is evangelism. That is, a witnessing is the broad term, a narrow specific kind of witnessing is evangelism. But to witness biblically is to make visible something that is invisible, to testify, to demonstrate, to show something that is not immediately seen or visible. Calvin said it this way. He said it is the task of the visible church to make the invisible kingdom of God visible.

And see, that means more than praying and reading the Bible. It means that for me to be a completed Christian, to grow in maturity in my witness to Christ, in my seeking of the kingdom, I have to wrestle with such questions as what does the king want to see in this world displayed in the courts of justice? How does the king want a union hall to be run? What does the king have to say about economic principles? Do they touch on people's lives and does it affect people?

What policies are used with their currency? That's a kingdom matter. And to be a Christian is to seek the king's delight in every aspect of this world. What kind of music does the king like? What kind of medical practices does the king like? What would that hospital be like if the king were the head of the medical staff of that hospital? How would the patient be treated? How would the prison be run?

How would the food be prepared? I mean, that's what it means, all of life, quorum Deo. Jesus says, first priority, seeking the kingship of Christ, that is the exaltation, the dominion, the authority of the kingdom of God in all things.

And secondly, and I'll say this real fast, and His righteousness. I've said this many times that in my experience as a seminary professor, I've had many students come up to me and say, how can I be more spiritual? How can I get my spiritual life together?

I set goals and schedules. I'm going to read the Bible so many times, and I'm going to say my prayers, and I'm going to go to church, and I'm going to do this, and I'm going to do that. I'm going to witness evangelical life, all this stuff. But my spiritual life is sort of blasé, and I want to have a deeper spiritual life. I want to be more spiritual. I've had people tell me that. And I've had students come to me and say, my life is not as moral as it should be. I would like to be a more moral person than I am. I struggle with besetting sins and so on.

I've heard that question. I've yet to have a Christian come up to me and say, R.C., how can I become a righteous person? Now, the fact that nobody's ever asked me that probably tells you more about me than it does about the people. They figure, you know, why waste time asking me to be righteous?

But that's not the only reason. We don't think in those terms in our culture. In fact, the word righteousness has become almost a dirty word, as if that's something that the Pharisees pursued, and we'll talk about that tomorrow morning, the illegitimate and incorrect ways in which people pursue righteousness. But, ladies and gentlemen, what Jesus says is a priority of the Christian life, the goal of the Christian life is not spirituality. It's not even morality. It's righteousness. Now, please don't walk out of here and say, you heard R.C. Sproul attack spirituality.

No. We are to make diligent use of the means of grace and be committed to the spiritual disciplines and the spiritual exercises of Bible reading and prayer and of worship in the church and of fellowship and of devotion to service and all of those things that we call spiritual. But spiritual disciplines are simply the means to the end. We need the spiritual graces in order to become righteous. But let's not confuse the goal with the means to that goal. We need to become more spiritual so that we can become more righteous. And the bottom line of righteousness is very simple. It's simply doing the right thing.

And in Christian terms that means doing what the King tells us to do, obeying the King. You know, sometimes I almost wish we had a monarchy. I think there's a sense in which nationally we have a sense of loss. We saw it with the almost monarchical imaginative reconstruction of Camelot during the Kennedy administration.

It's almost like we would like to have the pageantry and the dignity and the traditions that go with royalty. I saw a queen once, 1964, 1965, January of 1965 I believe it was. I was living in the Netherlands and the word came over the news networks that Sir Winston Churchill had died. And a couple of my buddies at school said, hey, let's go to London for the funeral.

And so we jumped in the car and drove through the snow and got on the ferry boat and went across to Dover and then drove, slept at the Salvation Army in London the night before. And we got up there and there were a million people on the streets of London lined up 10 deep, queuing up, if you will, between Westminster and St. Paul's Cathedral. And all these dignitaries started walking up and down the streets. And we saw the funeral procession go by and there was Lady Churchill and Charles de Gaulle and all these people and stuff. And I was standing on the street and it was so crowded.

We didn't know what was going on and things weren't quite together yet. So this friend of mine, we did a detour and we went around behind some buildings. We went over by the exit gate from wherever the Queen lives and Buckingham Palace, that's where we were.

And we're standing here and all these million people are downtown and we're over there, I mean down in the center square. And we're up there at Buckingham Palace and we're the only people standing at the gate. And they come and open the gates and here comes this Rolls Royce and there comes Queen Elizabeth. And she was as close to me as you are. I hadn't been in London for 24 hours and I saw the Queen.

And I thought, she's beautiful, she's magnificent and there's nothing like it. So then the car goes back to join the rest of these people marching in procession. So we ran back down to the center square and now pretty soon after all these other dignitaries march up and down the street, now here comes Queen Elizabeth again and her husband and the kids, Bonnie, Prince Charlie and all that. And there's this Bobby standing next to me on the street. And he sees Queen Elizabeth coming down the street.

And he literally started jumping up and down. He says, the Queen, the Queen. He said, my wife will never believe that I've seen the Queen. I said, how long have you been a policeman in London? He said, I've been a policeman like for eight years in London. This is the first time I ever saw the Queen.

And the first night I said, hey Jack, I've been here 24 hours, this is the second time. But I experienced for a moment something in my soul of what it means to see regality. And I remember, this is going to sound tacky, but I remember as a kid seeing the original Robin Hood movie Bandits of Sherwood Forest. I don't even remember whether it was Earl Flynn or Douglas Fairbanks Jr. who played the role, but you remember the story of Robin Hood, how that when Richard the Lionhearted goes away in the Crusades, his wicked brother, wicked Prince John, usurps his authority, takes over, and those who are loyal to Richard have to flee and live as outlaws. And Robin and his merry men are living as exiles poaching the King's deer out in Sherwood Forest. And they have all this trouble with the Sheriff of Nottingham and all that business.

Well, you remember that story. I mean, it's a classic story. Will Scarlet and Little John and Friar Tuck. And I was really loving this story about Robin Hood and Maid Marian and all the rest. Well, at the end of the film, what happens is that Richard comes back to England from the Crusades, but he comes disguised as a monk. And it turns out that Richard and his entourage, in order to get back to London or wherever he's going, have to go through Sherwood Forest.

And as they're traveling through Sherwood Forest, all of a sudden the trees come alive with the men of Robin Hood, and they descend upon Richard and his group and take them into custody and rob them of their purses and all of that, and take them back to their camp, and they're sort of having some sport with them. And this great big monk is saying to Robin Hood, you know, why are you doing all of these things? And he said, we're doing this because of this Prince John who is against the king, and our king has gone, and while he's gone, we're trying to be loyal and faithful to our king. And Robin says, nobody says anything against Richard in my presence. And he gives this tremendous testimony to his personal loyalty to the absent king. And when Richard hears this, he's so moved and he's so touched, he throws back the hood of his monk's robe.

Do you remember that? And he reveals his face, and he takes off the robe, and there is the crusader's cross on his chain of mail. And immediately, Robin falls on his face and says, my liege, in an act of total submission to the authority of the king. That's the goal of the Christian life. Our king has gone, and his domain is in the hands of a usurper. But in the interim, while he is gone, we are called to bear witness as patriots to his kingship, and as loyalists to his throne, by obeying him, and by honoring him, and by bringing all of our lives, quorum Deo, into captivity to obedience in righteousness. That's the goal of the Christian life.

And now, let's remember the words of Jesus, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. That was R.C. Sproul from a message that we've never featured here on Renewing Your Mind before. In fact, it was originally released just last month exclusively to Ligonier's ministry partners. Ligonier's ministry partners are a wonderful group of people.

R.C. Sproul used to call them the backbone of the ministry. Their prayers for Ligonier and their regular monthly support fuels everything that we do here, including keeping Renewing Your Mind freely available to millions of people around the world. They're supporting the growth of Ligonier's podcast library, including ultimately with R.C.

Sproul, and newly released this year, Things Aren't Seen with Sinclair Ferguson. You might be familiar with the Reformation Study Bible. Well, our ministry partners are helping put free copies into the hands of inmates, as well as pastors and church leaders throughout Africa and South America. They're also helping move us closer to our goal of having sustained ministry in the top 20 world languages. If you're listening today and you are a ministry partner, I want to say thank you from everybody here at Ligonier Ministries. If you're not a ministry partner and are considering becoming one for your recurring monthly gift of $25 or more, not only will you help fuel all of those outreaches you just heard about, you'll receive exclusive messages of the month, just like you heard today, Table Talk Magazine, discounts to Ligonier conferences and events, and your very own copy of the Reformation Study Bible. You can become a ministry partner today by visiting or by calling us at 800 435 4343. Peter tells us that some of the things the apostle Paul wrote were hard to understand. So what do you do when you come across a passage that's difficult to understand, or maybe you just don't like it? Well, for the next two weeks, we'll be featuring messages from R.C. Sproul's series, Hard Sayings. So I hope you'll join us Monday here on Renewing Your Mind. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-28 06:01:00 / 2023-04-28 06:19:03 / 18

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