Distinguished lecturer, Christian philosopher, apologist, and author Ravi Zacharias was in Lancaster yesterday. He was preaching both morning services at Calvary Church. We obviously couldn’t pass on this opportunity to actually hear Ravi Zacharias speak. We were not disappointed! Ravi delivered a wonderful and thought-provoking sermon. He is an amazing communicator of God’s simple (not simplistic) truth.
Ravi’s sermon was rooted in the eighth chapter Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy was Jesus’ favorite book, according to Ravi. When Jesus quotes Torah, most of his quotes come from Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is especially important for the follower of Jesus, if the number of quotes sourced by Jesus from this book is any indication.
The crux of Ravi’s sermon was centered upon the idea of Christian self-reflection as a means to triumph over temptation. One could also summarize the morning’s homiletic point by invoking a friendlier - and fitting - philosophical caricature in Socrates’ pithy and famous aphorism “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Ravi began the message with a story of a man who hadn’t peered at himself in a mirror for some 40+ odd years. A lot of change occurs to ones face in 40+ years, and the man, when he finally looked in a mirror again, was not prepared for what he discovered there. The same can be said for Christians who do not peer into their own souls. Things change over time and if we aren’t intentional about our care for these things, we will not be prepared for the day when we actually look deeply again. It was a great introductory narrative for a very strong sermon. I am not doing this introductory story justice, by attempting to recount it in this medium.
The body of the sermon was built upon three major points of discussion. We would do well, said Ravi, to take inventory of our souls regularly while paying close attention to three major areas: 1. Humility; 2. Spirituality; 3. Faith. It is in the careful care of these things that we will find the same victory that Jesus of Nazareth experienced when he was face with serious temptation and struggle. The following scribblings are notes I jotted down while listing to Ravi.
1.1. We often learn humility the hard way. When we think we have all the answers, God will more often than not break us in effort to teach us authentic humility. It is far better to be humble than proud. Humility is at the top of our list of spiritual disciplines. Jesus epitomized humility: Philippians 2: 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.
1.2. Don’t get so wrapped up in what you are doing that you forget why and for whom you are doing it!
1.3. God will break your pride.
2.1. Spirituality is very, very popular today. Everyone wants to be “spiritual,” but few desire to gird their spirituality with solid doctrine. People who are into a spirituality that is not girded by solid doctrine are like a “A one-ended stick.” Also, the claim and celebration of staunch dedication to spirituality void of doctrine is actually in itself a doctrine. In other words, the “we have no doctrine but spirituality” proclamation is actually a doctrine.
2.2. Spirituality not girded by doctrine is fluff.
2.3. Spirituality is deeply rooted in relationship (Trinitarian). Relationships involve deep moves of the heart. We all have a desire for relationships.
3.1. Faith is not credulity.
3.2. It is impossible to live this life by sheer reason alone. We have been equipped with just enough reason to properly investigate and make progress in this world, but not enough to rely totally upon ourselves and our limited ways. Reason alone is not enough for this multi-faceted (cognitive and emotive) existence. We would do good to place our complete trust in God, rather than in ourselves or our own devices.
The concluding point of the sermon, again, involved the call to take careful inventory of one’s soul. Careful examination of one’s standards of humility, spirituality, and faith offers a healthy glimpse into the mirror of one’s soul. We all would do well to regularly peer into this mirror.
Ravi Zacharias is a wonderful speaker and communicator. I own and have read many of his published works. I was happily surprised to discover him to be as talented at preaching as he is at writing. It was a wonderful, thought-provoking message. The above outline does not do the event justice. If you ever presented with the opportunity, do go and listen to a lecture or sermon given by this man. It will be worth your time spent.