Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Lord's delight in making saints of those who hear and perceive

Here's an excerpt from last Sunday's message at JPBC from Mark 12:28-34. I was reflecting on the scribe who came to Jesus with a sincere question:
Mark 12:28: Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, "Which is the first commandment of all?"
There are two marks of openness in this man. First he was hearing ("and having heard" is just the participle for hearing or listening). This man had been listening as Jesus had been reasoning with the Pharisees and Herodians (v. 13) and the Sadducees (v. 18). He was willing to listen to the responses of Jesus. Second, he was perceiving or knowing that Jesus had answered well. How many have come to listen to Christ in his Word thinking that it will be little more than nonsense? Then, they find to their great surprise that they perceive in the reply of Christ what appears to be the very standard of what is wise, sensible, and true, while it is his critics who appears shrill and unreasonable. Jesus delights in taking captive the hearts of men and women who think they will be opposed to him, but when they stop to hear and perceive, they find themselves intrigued by Christ, drawn to Christ....

I think of the great expositor of Scripture Arthur Pink. Before he came to know the Lord he was in what was then called a "Theosophical Society," a kind of forerunner of the New Age movement. Iain Murray titles the first chapter in his biography of Pink, "A Spiritualist Medium Becomes a Christian." As a young man in his early 20s Pink was a rising star and in demand speaker in these Theosophical Societies. He had even been invited to move to India to study more closely Eastern religions.
His father, however, was a believer and one evening as Pink came home from a speaking engagement, his father gave him this verse: "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12). That verse tormented Pink and he spent three days in his room praying and crying out to God. When he left that room he was converted. He kept his appointment to speak at the next (and what would prove to be his last) Theosophical meeting, but his message was not what they expected to hear. He shared with them the Gospel. Later he recorded, "Why did I leave Spiritism and Theosophy?… Because it failed to satisfy my soul. I was trying to save myself. There was no peace for a burdened conscience, no assurance of sins forgiven, no power of sin broken, no sanctification of heart. I found I could not save myself and came to the only one who could save me" (in Murray, The Life of Arthur W. Pink, p. 12).

The Lord still delights in taking skeptical scribes and making them his saints.

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