The Pursuit of God – Chapter 2

The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing

Aim: The path to a higher relationship with God always goes through the valley of removing the roots of “my” and “mine” : “possession of things” – God will not share His “tent of meeting” in my heart with “things”

I. Original Intent: God over man over things, God inside man, things outside man

  • God created all things for man
  • “Things” are gifts for man from God for use/service
  • In man’s heart God put a shrine (tent of meeting)
  • God within, gifts outside
  • In sin, man brings gifts inside moving God outside
  • Substituting gifts for God = source of woe
  • Substituting gifts for God = lack of peace because it upsets balance
  • This is not a metaphor – it is a real Spiritual Problem!
  • Human heart is bound up / twisted in the roots of possessions
  • “my” and “mine” = real nature of the fall of man
  • To “need things” was never the original intent
  • Proper order is God over man over things
  • In sin man puts things over other men and over God = all of nature is upset and out of balance

 

II. The Tyranny of Things: becoming “poor in spirit” is to become a garden plot free of weeds

  • Luke 9:23-24
  • Within us is an enemy: Self-Life
  • Self-Life’s chief characteristic is possession
  • To allow self-life to live and thrive costs everything for all eternity
  • To give up self life costs nothing and gains everything forever
  • Path to God is through valley, digging out the deep roots of Self-Life
  • Our spirit is a garden plot
  • Tearing out Self-Life makes plot appear “poor in spirit” to the world, BUT
  • Tearing out weeds = ready for God to plant fruit trues
  • Free from all sense of possessing = possess All things (the things of the Almighty)
  • Take this seriously, this is not bible trivia, it is the critical sign post on the desert path.

 

III. Abraham and Isaac: tested; wholly surrendered

  • Abraham was old enough to be Isaac’s great-grandfather
  • This baby represented everything sacred to Abraham’s heart:
    • Promises of God – The covenants
    • Hopes of the years
    • Messianic dream
  • Was Abraham’s hope and trust in his son or in God
  • In obedience, Abraham tore roots of trust and hope from his son and planted them in God
  • Through obedient faith, Abraham was blessed
  • When God stopped Abraham from killing Isaac: Abraham stood strong, pure and grand because he was wholly surrendered, fully obedient and possessed nothing
  • God could have work from outside in, but chose to go directly to Abraham’s heart
  • After – Abraham possessed nothing
  • Everything he “owned” before was still his to enjoy and use
  • “My” and “Mine” were gone from Abraham’s heart – all belonged to God

 

IV. 4 guides to removing sin of possession

  • Possessive clinging to things = one of most harmful habits
  • So prevalent, not recognized as evil
  • Hesitant to give to God out of fear, especially when the “things” are “loved ones”
  • But, what is given to God is safe while what is held back is at risk
  • Gifts and talents are not ours to possess, they are loaned from God
  • All maturing Christians will recognize this sin in their own hearts
  • What to do?
  1. Remove defenses, justifications and excuses
    1. Trample the deceit of a sinful heart – This enemy will lie to you for its gain, not for your good
  2. Remember this is “holy business”
    1. Come to God in full determination
    2. Insist that God take all “things” (even people) that you have in your tent of meeting
    3. Be specific – name names
    4. Lance the wound, don’t coddle the infection
  3. This truth cannot be learned only experienced
    1. Knowing Abraham’s example does not change the requirement for me to offer the same obedient submission to God
  4. This ancient curse will not simply fade away or lie down to die
    1. It must be yanked out by the roots not just trimmed back
    2. It will be painful
    3. It must be forcefully removed
      1. Example: Christ extracting the money changers from the temple
    4. When the roots of Self-Life are torn out they will spray an infection of “self-pity” in defense
      1. Reject this as a poison, it is a reprehensible sin

 

V. All Christians will face this test

  • The path to a deeper relationship with God ALWAYS brings a believer to this test
  • (even Jesus faced this test in the garden)
  • At the time, Abraham did not know it was a test
  • We, too, will face the test and may never know when we are facing it
  • When faced there will not be a dozen choices, only 2 choices
  • Whole future is conditioned on that choice
  • Prepare your spirit to make the right choice through God’s strength and love

 

The Pursuit of God – Chapter 1

Following Hard After God

 

AIM:

We are called to seek a deeper and wider relationship with God alone for God to fill every part of our heart and soul with His glory.

 

Summary:

Current teaching in churches is centered on “accepting Christ”, a term not found in the bible.  But this is just the beginning of a treasured relationship between God and my soul that is personal and essential and fulfilling.

 

Part I:

We may pursue God only because He first sought us

  • Prevenient grace: God seeks me/you first
  • Without grace, sinful man unable to think any right thought about God
  • We have no credit in finding God
  • Impulse to pursue God starts with God
  • While we pursue God, already in His hand
  • Yet, reciprocation to God is mandatory

 

Part II:

Relationship between God and my soul is personal, conscious and aware/factual

  • Justification by faith =/= (not equal) being banned from knowledge of God
  • Modern science loses God in His world
  • Modern Christianity loses God in His word
  • God is a person
  • We cultivate any personal relationship through numerous encounters
  • Relationship of God with my soul: Conscious Personal Awareness
  • Conscious: Not subconscious working (infant baptism is not sufficiently fulfilling alone)
  • Personal: Not God with body of believers, God with me
  • Awareness: Can be known in same way as any other fact

 

Part III:

Accepting Christ is not the goal, it is only the starting point

  • Spirit entry = finding God : Not end of journey, beginning of journey
  • Paradox of soul: To have found God and still pursue Him
  • Historically holy men have lived this paradox: Moses, David, hymnists, theologians
  • Today taught that “accepting Christ” is center of being Christian
  • “accepting Christ” not a biblical term
  • Some, though, see this is not the center, but a starting point to a craving for further revelation of God
  • “Oh God, show me thy glory” – Moses
  • Lack of Holy desire leads to stiff and wooden religiosity
  • Christ waits to be wanted, not just found

 

Part IV:

Seek Christ through simplicity and a focus on essentials, seeking God, not “God-and”

  • Right now in an age of “religious complexity”
  • Christ’s simplicity is lost in complexity
  • Instead of simplicity: programs, methods, organizations and activities
  • All this leads to hollowness and shallowness
  • God reveals Himself to “babes”, but hides Himself from “wise and prudent”
  • To seek God, simplify / essentials
  • Don’t approach trying to impress God
  • Seek Him with candor and humility
  • Don’t seek “God-and”, just seek God
  • Seeking God alone doesn’t restrict our hearts
  • Seeking God alone allows God to fill every part of our hearts
  • In prayer, practice simplicity and essentials

 

Part V:

The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One

  • God divided Canaan, no land for Levites
  • God to Levites, “I am your inheritance.”
  • Christians are priests
  • Spiritual Principle: The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One.
  • The things denied, released or let go, to have God alone, are not felt as loss, because he who pursues this path has it all in One: satisfaction, pleasure, delight, purely, legitimately, forever

 

During the break of our study of Moses I am reading The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer.  This book was one that was recently referenced in the BSF notes.  It is a relatively short book, 75 pages, written in 10 chapters plus and introduction.  I would encourage you to read along and add your comments and thoughts. $6.49 on Amazon.

My structure in writing about the book for each of the chapters will be a very loose homiletics approach.  For those of you who are homiletic purists, I apologize.  For the rest, I hope you find some things that further your personal relationship with God. 

As Moses said, “Show my your glory.”

The Pursuit of God – Preface

During the break of our study of Moses I am reading The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer.  This book was one that was recently referenced in the BSF notes.  It is a relatively short book, 75 pages, written in 10 chapters plus and introduction.  I would encourage you to read along and add your comments and thoughts. $6.49 on Amazon.

My structure in writing about the book for each of the chapters will be a very loose homiletics approach.  For those of you who are homiletic purists, I apologize.  For the rest, I hope you find some things that further your personal relationship with God. 

As Moses said, “Show my your glory.”

 

Preface:

AIM:

A revival is building in those seeking a more fulfilling relationship with God.

 

Summary:

Current church teaching provides minimum caloric input needed to sustain life, but this does not quench hunger or provide sweetness some are seeking in their relationship with the Lord.

 

Part I:

Hungering After God is the basis for a small but growing modern-day revival

  • Within conservative Christianity, increasing numbers who hunger after God Himself
  • This is only hint of “revival” apparent on the horizon
  • Resurrection of life in search of radiant wonder (wonder is missing in our churches)

Part II:

Fundamentals and doctrines are important but don’t fulfill the hunger

  • Modern evangelicalism is focused on engineering and accounting instead of fire and glory
  • Many bible teachers accurately repeat fundamentals and doctrines day after day, year after year
  • Their ministry has no manifest presence or anything unusual in their personal lives.
  • This teaching does not fulfill
  • Orthodoxy is a very slender part of religion
  • Through great and splendid efforts millions today hold “right opinions”
  • But true spiritual worship is at a low ebb
  • Sound Bible exposition is an imperative
  • But exposition alone does not fill hunger for intimacy and satisfying knowledge of God
  • This book is not new or unique, aims to help those who hungry or light others candles with its flame