Monday, July 13, 2009

Book Review - Believing God: Chapter 12 - We Shall be Like Him - I John 3:2

This is the last chapter of the book and so the last review. Did Dr. Sproul save the best for last? Who's to say. But there is a lot of good stuff in this chapter although it characteristically rambles. The main topic is Jesus as we know from the chapter title.

I remember the two witnesses who shared the Gospel with me. Try as I might to locate them these 25 years later, they seemingly have melted into obscurity. That conclusion is only based on Google and my ability to think up keywords concerning their whereabouts. From God's perspective though, I imagine these two gifted evangelists are still out there boldly proclaiming the truth about Jesus. And that is just fine to be that way. They are not the important ones here. Jesus is. And how many times they reminded me of that prior to and after my salvation I lost count. But I never forgot how earnest they were in focusing everything upon Jesus.

It's a good lesson that I was reminded of as I read this chapter (and at other points throughout the book). Let's see how many times Dr. Sproul mentions people and Jesus. Under the people category:

the reader
the devil (why he credits Satan with a capital "D" I don't know)
the church
demonic scientists
Martin Luther
his family
Paul the apostle

(NOTE: and after all that he finally gets to I John 3:2.) Now back to the list.

Dr. R. C. Sproul, Sr.
a publisher
an athlete
a theologian
a rock star
a political figure
our heroes
His Body and Bride

That is a very lengthy list to get around to the point that we should fix our eyes, hearts, minds, and very lives upon Jesus. God says in Jeremiah 24:7, "And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart." Jesus says in Luke 14:26-33, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."

This morning's devotional from Oswald Chambers says, "THE PRICE OF VISION

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw also the Lord." Isaiah 6:1

Our soul's history with God is frequently the history of the "passing of the hero." Over and over again God has to remove our friends in order to bring Himself in their place, and that is where we faint and fail and get discouraged. Take it personally: In the year that the one who stood to me for all that God was, died - I gave up everything? I became ill? I got disheartened? or - I saw the Lord?

My vision of God depends upon the state of my character. Character determines revelation. Before I can say "I saw also the Lord," there must be something corresponding to God in my character. Until I am born again and begin to see the Kingdom of God, I see along the line of my prejudices only; I need the surgical operation of external events and an internal purification.

It must be God first, God second, and God third, until the life is faced steadily with God and no one else is of any account whatever. "In all the world there is none but thee, my God, there is none but thee." Keep paying the price. Let God see that you are willing to live up to the vision."

Finally, God says in Hebrews 12:1-2, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus (emphasis mine) the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Even God spends a lot of time talking about other people. But every single one of them is a witness to Jesus. Our eyes are not on the witnesses but on He who is witnessed, our Lord Jesus Christ.

No comments: