The speaker continues, “And, you may rightfully ask, what about me?” The aristocrat continues…
3 The eyes of the LORD are everywhere… 8…the prayer of the upright pleases Him. 9…He loves those who pursue righteousness. 26…gracious words are pure in His sight. 29…He hears the prayer of the righteous.
As we continue with the sermon preached in, Heathersleigh Homecoming, by Michael Phillips, let me tell you more about the pastor who is reading the sermon. It is the funeral for the writer of that sermon who died at sea during WWI. The deceased writer’s estranged daughter was sitting on the steps outside the church listening to the sermon, not knowing that it was her late father’s words! Let’s read some more:
“What about one who has given his professional life to combating the evils of our society through government? That is why, as I said, there was a time when I had to ask these questions first and foremost to myself. And as I asked them, I had to face at length the primary question: What is the calling to which we should aspire if it is not to rid the world of evil? Many would consider this the highest calling of man—especially politicians—to rid the world of wrong. But I say no. I say it is elsewhere we must look for the summum bonum, the highest thing of life.
Where then? What is the highest of life’s ambitions, that worthiest goal to which the human creature may strive? Intimacy, my friends, a personal and daily walk of trust and reliance upon God our Father, and with His Son Jesus, our Savior. That is the highest thing.
I speak not only to the so-called sinners among you, but to you, Christian man, to you, good believing woman, to you, young person raised and trained in a gospel-believing church, to you, good citizen who have dedicated your life to worthy causes and to the elimination of inequality and injustice and evil in our society. I speak to you as well as to the thief and adulterer and murderer—and I say to you, Your Father desires to live with you in intimacy. And because for years I did not know this intimacy either, I speak to myself.
Salvation may be all that is required for entrance into the heavenly kingdom, but alone it will not produce the abundant, fruitful life Jesus came to reveal to His brothers and sisters. The Son of God came that we might walk in close fellowship with His Father. Such He became a man for. Such He died for.
He did not die on the cross only to save us from our sins, though of course He did do that. He died on the cross also that we might be drawn into and thus share in the relationship He had with His Father—that we might too become fully sons and daughters of God.
Yet that intimacy between God and His sons and daughters, is not easy to come by. Indeed, it is far easier to fall on one’s knees in remorse for a life of evil, and pray a prayer of salvation for one’s sins—this is far easier, I say, than to lay down what must be sacrificed in order to enter into intimacy with the Father.
What is it that prevents this intimacy? What is this most difficult sacrifice I speak of?”
Oswald Chambers said, “Never allow anything to divert you from your insight into Jesus Christ. It is the true test of whether you are spiritual or not. To be unspiritual means that other things have a growing fascination for you. ‘Since mine eyes have looked on Jesus, I’ve lost sight of all beside, So enchained my spirit’s vision, Gazing on the Crucified.’”
Another aspect is to never substitute knowledge of facts for first-hand knowledge of the person. Knowing Jesus personally is far greater than what we know about Jesus or what we do for Jesus. Spend time with Him right now. He is waiting.
Abba, even though You walk with us and never leave us, there are times that You want us to stop and have a private conversation with You, a time when all of our focus is on You. I have come to crave these moments with You in solitude. I pray; I read Your Word; I listen, and I study. You are constantly leading me into truth. Sometimes, I can’t write fast enough! Other times, I simply sit and enjoy Your presence and Your peace. May I always protect this time with You, Lord. Amen.