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August 21, 2020 1:47 pm
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Welcome to Turning Point Weekend Edition. Have you ever been so hungry that all you could think about was food? Jesus said, as spiritual hunger should be just as strong today. Dr. David Jeremi helped you increase your spiritual appetite. Is David with his message happy other hungry?
Thank you for joining us for the weekend edition of Turning Point today. We are going to talk about one of the anomalies of the Bible. The Bible tells us that we are happy when we are hungry. It doesn't say that we're happy when we're full. Although that may be true. The Bible says blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. So what does it mean to have a hunger for God? A hunger for righteousness? We're going to find out in just a few moments right here on this good station as we enjoy Turning Point, the weekend edition.
You know, there are a lot of sermons that we might not listen to carefully. We have been known as pastors to ease people out the door into the virtual reality of business without much to take home. But somehow I have a hard time believing that the people who heard the Lord Jesus and the apostle Paul and John the Baptist would rush out of the service or even leave early so they could get a seat at the fish market for brunch or get home in time for the game. I have a feeling they listened more carefully than sometimes we do now. To be honest, I'm neither John the Baptist Jesus Christ or Paul the Apostle and never will be and don't even belong in the same category. But the truth of God's word is the same, isn't it? And the issue in so much of our growing and developing as believers is just how badly do we want to grow?
That's why I think Jesus scored his listeners when he said in his beatitudes, blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled. We do not know very much about hunger and thirst in our culture, but Jesus was speaking to people who knew about that. They knew how hard it was to get water. Often many of them were hungry for the basics of life. And Jesus said that until a person gets to the place where he is as hungry for God and as thirsty for God as he is for bread and for water, he will not be satisfied. And when he says they shall be filled. He's using an Old Testament euphemism for the concept of success. They shall be happy. Now, the Bible teaches us this principle of hunger. And if you read very widely in the Christian literature of our day, you will discover that while it may seem obscure, it's there. A.W. Towser, who is one of the great, great writers of a past generation, made much of The Hunger Factor. He wrote these words. He said The great people of the Bible and Christian history have had an insatiable hunger for God. He wants to be wanted. Said Towser. Too bad that with many of us he has to wait so very long in vain.
The scriptures are filled with reminders to us of the importance of having a hunger spiritually. If you turn in your Bibles to the Book of Psalms, I'll show you some of them. And we'll look at them together. The twenty seventh psalm. I'd like for you to see these versus. So find them in your Bible, if you will. Psalm 27 and verse four. This is a Psalm of David. And these are his words.
He said one thing I have desired of the Lord that will I seek that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life to behold the beauty of the Lord and inquire in his temple. David said, I'd like to just boil my life down to one basic thing, and that is I really desire God.
I have a hunger to know him. The classic psalm in regard to this truth is some 40 to turn over to the forty second psalm. And you will remember these words written in this great sum, the very first two versus go like this as the dear pants for the water brooks. So pants my soul for you. Oh God. My soul thirsts for God. For the living God. Turn to some 63 and versus one and two. Some sixty three versus one and two. Oh God. You are my God. Early. Well, I seek you. My soul thirsts for you. My flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. Jeremiah the prophet said in Jeremiah twenty nine.
And you shall seek for me and find me when you shall search for me with all your heart.
With all your heart in the one hundred and nineteen Psalm, which is the longest chapter in the Bible, there is a reoccurring theme that I have. Well, I remember when I discovered this some years ago. I don't know that I've really ever truly recovered from this thought. It is a great and marvelous truth with regard to our walk with the Lord. There are several places in the psalm where this little word hole heart shows up. It kind of jumps out of the song. For instance, in verse ten, look down into your Bibles with my whole heart. I have sought you or look over at verse 34.
Give me understanding and I shall keep your law. Indeed, I shall observe it. There it is again with my whole heart. Verse 40. Behold I long for your precepts. Revive in me your righteousness. He has the longing in his heart. Verse 58. I entreated your favor with my whole heart.
And there are several other references like that. Now, let me ask you a question. Class. What is it mean to seek for God with your whole heart?
I don't know if I can explain that is easily by telling you what it means to be wholehearted, as I might possibly explain it by reminding you of what it means to be half hearted. How many of you who are employers have some people working for you. Who are half hearted in their approach to the job? How many of you parents have children who clean up their rooms half heartedly? Are we together on this idea? We know what we're talking about here. We know what it means to be half hearted, don't we? So then what does it mean to search for God and to desire God and to reach out for God with one's whole heart? It means to be hungry, to know him and to grow in your relationship with them. You cannot really go forward with God half heartedly.
It demands that you have a hunger to know him and to grow in your knowledge of him. Major V Gilbert was a famous military leader during the First World War and in a book called The Last Crusade, he talks about what they experienced by way of hunger and thirst. He said Our heads ached, our eyes became bloodshot and dim, and the blinding glare our tongues began to swell. Our lips turned to a purplish black and burst. Those who dropped out of the column were never seen again. But the desperate force battled on the Sharia. There were wells at Sharia and they had been unable to take the place. By nightfall, if they had not taken it, thousands were doomed to die. We fought that day as men fight for their lives. We entered Sharia station on the heels of the retreating Turks. The first objects which met our view were the great stone cisterns full of cold, clear drinking water. It took four hours before the last man had his drink of water. I believe that we all learned our first real Bible lesson on that march from Beersheba to the Sharia wells, he wrote.
If such were our thirst for God and for righteousness and for his will in our lives, how rich in the fruit of the spirit we would be to hunger for God, to search for God with our whole heart. Now, I want to give you a little paradigm that will be like a bone caught in your throat. It will not be something you will easily dislodge. It goes like this and I believe it to be the truth. We all have about as much of God as we really want.
Every one of us, no matter who we are. We can complain about what's happening in our life spiritually and why we're not fired up as we should be or moving in the direction we should be. But the bottom line is this.
We all have about as much of God as we really want. The whole issue is how hungry we are to know him. Now, I want to tell you three things about that that I think will be an encouragement and a challenge to us all. First of all, hear me carefully. Hunger, spiritual hunger is the reality of your faith.
Do you know that this is supposedly the most demanding of all of the Beatitudes, this spiritual hunger and thirst? And yet, in some ways, as I view it, it is also the kindest of all the statements that Jesus made for notice what he said. He did not say blessed are those who attain righteousness. If he had said that. How many of us would be candidates for the blessing of God? He didn't say blessed are those who are cleared down at the end of the road, having accomplished everything they wanted in their spiritual walk? No, he said, blessed are they who hunger and blessed are they who thirst after righteousness.
Martin Lloyd Jones writes that this beatitude follows logically from the previous one. He said it is a statement to which all others lead. It is the logical conclusion to which they come. It is something for which we should all be profoundly thankful and grateful to God. I do not know of a better test that anyone can apply to himself or herself in this whole matter of his Christian profession. Listen to this. If this verse is to you, one of the most blessed statements in the whole of scripture, you can be quite sure you're a Christian. If it is not.
You'd better examine your foundations again. Now, what did he mean?
Let me ask you. Let's take a vote. Not once. Yes. Don't raise your hands. How many of you are totally 100 percent fully, completely, absolutely satisfied with your spiritual walk?
No takers. Watch this. Do you have a desire to use the vernacular of today to do better? Do you ever get exasperated with how you're doing with God?
Do you ever feel a sense of yearning that your relationship was more intimate, more? You hear others talk about sensing God's presence? Do you ever in your life have this desire to go on with God? Let me say to you that if you were a Christian, I can almost promise you that you do, because that is one of the greatest evidences that you belong to Christ. He has put within your heart this yearning, this desire to know him. This insatiable appetite to grow. And this frustration sometimes with the fact that things aren't where you wish they were. And you walk with the Lord.
Now, the other side of it is there are some Christians who got into Christianity at the entry level and they haven't had a spiritual thought since that day. They don't really even care. They say they're Christians, but they don't want to go on with God. They have just locked into a certain level of convenience.
Don't challenge me to go on with God. Man, I have a hard enough time getting to church for the last service. That's all they want. They don't ever think about it. They don't have any restlessness in their spirit. They don't care anything more about spiritual things than just kind of showing up at the bottom line.
I'll tell you what, if that were my spirit, I'd be worried. One of the truest evidences that I am a child of God is the realization in my heart that I'm not nearly where I could be in my walk with him, not nearly. And that every day there is this hungering and thirsting in my life to know him better, to somehow get closer to it. In this sense, his closeness to me, that desire, that hunger in my spirit is a testimony that I belong to God.
The second thing about spiritual hunger I want you to put down in your notebook is that spiritual hunger is not only the reality of your faith. It's the requirement for your growth.
You can't go beyond where you want to go. Remember what I said? We all have about as much of God as we really want. If you want to go on with God, that's the whole thing that will spur you on to discipleship and growth in him. That's exactly what happened to the rich young ruler in so many ways.
Came to Jesus by night and he was obviously a very attractive character. He couldn't have gotten where he got if he hadn't had something going for him. Jesus began to talk to him about eternal life.
And this man talked about how he really wanted God. He really wanted God.
Jesus said, OK, if you really want God, let me tell you. Here's what you have to do. Go and take all your assets and liquidate them and give them to the poor. And the Bible says the man went away sorrowful. And Jesus wasn't trying to say, as some folks have taught, that what he meant was in order to get into the kingdom of heaven, you've got to become poor. Get rid of every asset you have.
Know, what he was saying is, if you don't love me more than you love that, then you cannot get into this thing about discipleship. And walking with the Lord Jesus was the only spiritual leader that I ever read about, honestly, who tried constantly to divide his crowd. Every time the crowd began to grow in Jesus teaching, he tried to get it smaller. I never knew of a spiritual leader like that in my life whose goal in life was to have a smaller crowd.
But you remember when the crowds began to follow Jesus. One day he stopped and turned around. And I can see this visually in my mind. He held up his hands. He says, Wait a minute before you come with me, let me tell you what the requirements are. If a man does not love me more than he loves father and mother and sister and brother, wife cannot be my disciple.
If a man is not willing in his love for me to see that relationship as the goal and the primary purpose in life so that everything else kind of fades into the oblivious periphery, then he cannot be my disciple.
What was Jesus saying? He's saying that the only way you go on to discipleship and growth and development in your walk with the Lord is to have a desire for God. I'm always intrigued by that in the life of the apostle Paul. I have to tell you that in studying the Book of Romans, I have gotten so much insight into the life of this great apostle. What an incredible man he was. But, you know, he was one of the most blessed of all of the men of the Bible. Some folks have said that Paul was the most important and influential man who lived on this earth apart from Jesus Christ. Do you know that he had three separate audiences with the Lord? First of all, he was accosted on the road to Damascus when he was knocked off his horse by the white light of God's righteousness and brought into the kingdom of God.
And then on another occasion, we read about in Acts Chapter 18 in Corinth, he had a vision of the Lord and then in Second Corinthians 12, we are told that he was caught up into the third heaven to see things to wonderful, to behold three different times.
What an incredibly blessed man. But you know what? At the end of his life, you know what he wrote at the end of his life, having accomplished all this and had all this happened, you talk about, you would have to say he qualifies as a spiritual giant.
But here's what he wrote. He said, I haven't attained I haven't accomplished what I really want to accomplish.
Let me tell you what my heart is. He said that I may know him and the fellowship and the power that is in him.
Paul had this insatiable hunger to know God, and he carried it with him through his life all the way to his death.
That's why he was a great man.
He never thought he had arrived. You know what, friends? There is no place where you arrive in the Christian walk. Have you discovered that a lot of folks kind of get to a certain level and they think, well, this is kind of where I belong? You know, someone told me a long time ago that living the Christian life was like riding a two wheel bicycle.
You either go forward or you go off and there's some truth to that, that you cannot just stay static.
Paul, the great Christian leader and writer of the 13 epistles in the New Testament, was a man who at the end of his life was still hungering for God to know him and his fellowship.
Spiritual hunger is the requirement for your growth. And thirdly, spiritual hunger is the reason for your failure, or at least the lack of it. The cause of failure in our lives as Christians is simply the fact that we don't have desire.
We don't desire to know God. And so we plateau off. We come to a place where we don't grow. And then we become susceptible to all of the pressures and the temptations of the world. I want to ask two questions as we contemplate this thought. Question number one, how do I know if I'm hungry or not? Let me give you some tests. Here's the first one. Are you satisfied with yourself?
The Puritans used to say that he who has the most need of righteousness is the one who least wants it.
Do you find yourself happy with where you are? Do you ever feel a sense of unrest in your spirit because you want to be other than you are?
If you don't have any of that, then you probably don't have spiritual hunger in your life.
Do you know I'm not gonna ask you if you do it, but do you desire to read the Bible? Does it bother you if you don't? Do you feel guilty when people talk about getting into the word and you know in your heart that you haven't and it's not just a guilt trip. It's this thing in your heart that, you know, something's not in sync and it bothers you. If that's true of you, praise God. The people I worry about are the folks who can not pick up their Bible from year to year and not even worry about it. If you don't have this holy unrest in your heart, then you don't have spiritual hunger.
But it's kind of a backwards compliment to say the realization I have, that things aren't where they ought to be all the time. Is the evidence that I have a hunger for God. You know, there are a lot of things that happen to develop spiritual hunger.
Problems can make you hungry when you begin to realize the failures in the world and the emptiness of what the world has to offer. You can all of a sudden get real hungry for God. You know, what I've noticed, too, is that sometimes you get next to somebody who is a spiritually hungry person and it rubs off on you. You sense the different quality in their life and then it develops in you a desire to have that in your life. Last question that is perhaps the most difficult one is what do I do if I don't have hunger for God? You're a Christian. You've accepted the Lord. And you're living a respectable life and doing all the things that you outwardly know you do. But down in your heart, you know that this quality of wanting to know God isn't very high on your list.
How do you develop spiritual hunger? I'll never forget the impact that this little book had on my life some years ago. Written by Sherwood, Eliot worked. He wrote a book called A Thirst for God.
It's basically a commentary on some one hundred and forty two. And somebody gave me a copy of it and I read it.
And I've forgotten most of everything else that was in the book except this one little thought that forever changed my life, where it said that one of the problems we have when we talk about spiritual hunger is that we think that spiritual hunger and physical hunger are exactly alike when in reality said they are as diverse one from the other as they could be.
Now, he said, let me explain.
When a person is hungry physically, as some of you are now, he continues to be hungry until ultimately the preacher quits and he gets in a restaurant and he get something to eat. And after he chows down, his hunger goes away.
That's true for normal people.
But the truth in the realm of the spiritual is the exact opposite. That when a person doesn't eat spiritually, the more he doesn't eat, the more he loses his appetite. Did you ever think of that? And that is true. That's why people can come into the faith at a certain level, drop out in terms of spiritual discipline and go for months and sometimes years without ever getting back into the word or perhaps even having any desire to come to church. They have lost their spiritual appetite by neglecting it. See, in the physical realm, it's exactly the opposite as it is in the spiritual realm. Now, watch in the spiritual realm and in the physical realm. It is also diverse in this way.
When a person eats physically after having not eaten for a long time, he finishes with his meal and he is satisfied in the spiritual realm.
It's exactly the opposite. The more you eat, the hungrier you get. Thank God it's not like that in the physical room.
But in the spiritual realm, it's like that. Do you know that to be true, the more you get into the word of God, the more you want from the word of God, the more you get into the things of the Lord, the hungrier you get for the things that the Lord. You cannot meet the expectations of your spiritual appetite. Once you begin to feed yourself, it is the hunger that develops out of eating. It's hard to believe, but it's true. That's why when people come to church and they get encouraged by the word of God, they want to go home and get more of the word of God. Some people come here and ask me questions. What was the point you said there? What was the thing you said there? I want to go home and study that more on my own.
Why? The more you eat, the more you want. Here's the problem, friends. If you're in that twilight zone of having lost your spiritual appetite. How in the world do you ever get it back? Because if it's true, the longer you go without eating, the less appetite you have. Then how in the world do you stop this cycle and get back to a hunger for God? You do it through the program. I choose to call force feeding. What does that mean? You don't want to, but you do it. You set your little self down on a chair. Put your little feet under the desk.
Set your little large print bible on the desk. Put your nose down in the book. And if you can't stay awake, read and silently read it out loud at the top of your lungs and you keep reading it and keep reading it. And all of a sudden I'll tell you what will happen. You'll read something that will intersect with your spirit.
And the fire that's been burning so low down in your soul will flame up and all of a sudden you'll realize what you've been missing and that appetite will be born again and you'll begin to hunger to get more and more of God's word. If you don't follow that program, you can get on auto pilot for the next 50 years and never, ever go anywhere. Did you know that you can just lock in to neutral for the rest of your life? And frankly, that's where a lot of God's people are. They kind of got out of the system. And I've told you this before. Satan always tells you two lies. He tells you it can't happen to you. And then after it does, he tells you there's nothing you can do about it. Both of those are wrong. Wherever you are in this whole matter of hungering for God, you could change. You can go on. And the Bible says, when we hunger and thirst for righteousness, listen to this, we shall be filled.
The word means satisfied.
It's a word in the Greek language that they use to describe how they fattened up an animal for the slaughter. Kind of a strange, colloquial way to say it. But basically what he's saying is filled right up to the brim. There's no room for any more. Totally gorged with the things of God.
Satisfied? Translated into our series Happy. You know what? I don't know any Christian I've ever met who is in that twilight zone of no appetite for God, who's happy. They're miserable. When you begin to hunger and thirst after God, he puts into your heart a spirit of joy that you cannot describe.
And it just keeps on getting better and better and better as you walk.
We hope you enjoyed today's Turning Point Weekend Edition with Dr. David Jeremiah. To hear this and other Turning Point programs, though, to get more information about his ministry, simply download the Free Turning Point mobile app for your smart device. Visit our Web site. David Jeremi dot org. Forward slash radio. That's David. Jeremiah. Don. Oh, gee. Slash radio. You can also view Turning Point television on free to air channels. Seven to Sunday mornings at eight. And on I.C.C.. TV Sundays at six thirty a.m.. And Friday afternoons at 1:00. We invite you to join us again next weekend. Dr. David Jeremiahs shares another powerful message from God's word here on Turning Point. Weekend Edition.
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