Friday, March 1, 2013

Gleanings from the Field - A Look at Ligonier Part III

     As I bring this series to a conclusion today, I want to zero in on a very encouraging talk given during the Ligonier Conference.  Without a doubt, one of the foremost apologists of the Christian faith is none other than Ravi Zacharius.  I stand amazed at this man who has not only tremendous knowledge, but he also has the wisdom to know how and when to apply it.  He told us that he really would rather be in front of a hostile audience for that is what God has called him to do, but we were all grateful he came to share with us the greatest miracle of the Christian faith - the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
     Dr. Zacharius began by relating that God is our creator, and we bear His image.  Secondly, God is our Redeemer for our story is one of brokenness and sin.  More importantly, though, God is our only hope from death's dominance .  The disciples were witness to the breaking of death's dominance when Christ rose from the grave.  Ravi told us that if the resurrection of Christ was not true why did 11 of the 12 disciples die a martyr's death?  Each of them died alone not in partnership with the others so they had nothing to lose if they had chosen to recant.
     Furthermore, Dr. Zacharius listed for us some important points concerning the evidence of the resurrection:  1) There was an early proclamation of the resurrection both in writing and by the disciples
2) There was a transformation of the disciples from fear to martyrdom.  Who would die for a lie?  3) The empty tomb  4) In the city of Christ's crucifixion, the Gospel was proclaimed and news of the resurrection spread  5) No one ever produced contrary evidence that the resurrection was faked   6) The very existence of the church and its growth stands as witness  7) The believers changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday (the Lord's day of resurrection  8) The conversion of James the half brother of Jesus and chief apostle of Jerusalem  9)The conversion of Saul the man who murdered many Christians.  Interestingly enough, Dr. Zacharius also stated that the first to testify about the resurrection were women in a land where women couldn't even testify in court.  He said it is just like our Lord to use the least of these in the society of the day.
     As he concluded his talk, he mentioned that the Apostle Paul, who was one of the biggest skeptics of his day, wrote nearly 1/3 of the New Testament based upon his own experience with the Lord.  How remarkable that man is changed when he comes face to face with his Savior and Lord.
    When we finished hearing Dr. Zacharius on Friday evening, our faith was strengthened by his bold witness to the resurrection.  Throughout the entire conference, each Pastor/teacher took up a different area of encouragement for those of us caught in the front lines of the battle against the world system.  No one went away from this feast empty or disappointed.
     Next years Ligonier conference will be held March 13-15, 2014.  It is time, even now, to begin planning to attend if that is at all possible.  The wealth of knowledge, the wisdom, prayer and availability of sound biblical books at the book store made this experience like a mini-seminary.
In fact, Ligonier is making all the sessions available for you to hear on their website at no charge.  Simply click on the link: and look for the 2013 Orlando, FL conference.  It is worth your time and effort.
     I pray that I have imparted some of the glorious truths that struck me during this entire conference.  I came home with a huge volume concerning "The Puritans" written by Dr. Joel Beeke ( one of my favorite writers) , a history of the church DVD series by Dr. Robert Godfrey, some children's books and I signed up for Ligonier Connect that I might continue my biblical studies.    There are so many opportunities out there for us to learn more about our faith.  I close with the same Scripture I opened with:  "But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today", that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:13).  May we all become diligent students of the truth and encourage one another as we walk through this dark world.  In this manner we will not only grow in our faith but we will also glorify God.  Selah!

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