Volume. XXVIII, No. 23
Sunday, 08 December 2013


Summary of "The Pursuit of God" by AW Tozer


During the combined YAF/AFG Retreat recently, our guest speaker, Dr Yoh Shirato, expounded on the book of Philippians. One passage that he touched on and which really struck me is found in Philippians 3:7-14.

This passage was written by Paul. This was the apostle Paul, who had been a believer of Christ for 30 years, and he was writing as one who still had a heart full of passion for Christ. He wanted to “win Christ” (vs. 8) and “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (vs. 14). Looking at the words Paul uses in this passage, we can tell that he has a strong desire to “follow after” God. When Paul says in verse 12 that he “follows after,” he is saying he vigorously pursues to overtake. Not that he will overtake Christ, but he is actively pursuing Christ and His righteousness and likeness.

This struck me because I have not even been a believer for 30 years and many a time I have left the pursuit of God and wandered by the wayside. How often this happens without us even realising that we have lapsed into complacency, and even apathy or indifference. There is no strong desire or passion to fuel our upward climb down the narrow way to  “win Christ.” Have we lost our “first love” like the church of Ephesus (Rev 2:4)? That is when we must realise and admit our spiritual need, and continue on our course toward the high calling.

In realising my spiritual need and wondering what the “pursuit of God” entailed, I started to read a book by a A.W. Tozer called “The Pursuit of God.” Admittedly, I needed an English dictionary as well as my Bible while reading through this book, but it really helped me understand certain matters. There are 10 chapters in this book, and I will attempt to give a brief summary of each chapter while highly recommending that you read this book too.

Chapter 1: Following Hard after God

The only reason why we desire to pursue God is because He has first put this desire within us (John 6:44). The impulse comes from God but the outworking of this is in our “following hard after Him.” Tozer advises us to strip down to the bare essentials and come before God as a child, without guile or efforts to impress and He will surely respond if we but seek Him and Him alone.

Chapter 2: The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing

Jesus Himself said in Matt 16:24-25, that if we would follow Him, we must deny ourselves. That  is, to remove “self” from our lives. Nothing belongs to us, not our possessions or talents, and seeking to cling to things can hinder us in following after God. An excellent example is Abraham, who was willing to offer his son (whom he loved dearly) as God directed him to. Abraham realised that the boy was not his to hold on to in his heart and withheld him not from God. God blessed him for his pureness in heart in seeking after the will of God and obeying Him (Gen 22:16-18).

Chapter 3: Removing the Veil

In Old Testament times, the presence of God was behind the veil of the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle. That veil has been removed by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and there is nothing preventing us from entering into the presence of God, but the veil within our hearts.

Tozer calls this veil in our hearts “our fleshly, fallen nature living on, unjudged within us, uncrucified and unrepudiated.” Examples of this are “self-sins” such as self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, and self-love, to name a few. We must repent and forsake these sins in order to rend this veil in our hearts.

Chapter 4: Apprehending God

How can we “apprehend” God (Phil 3:12-13)? We must open our eyes to the spiritual world that runs in parallel with our physical world. It is all too easy to focus on the physical world, but we must deliberately choose to look on God and thereby growing in the things of the Spirit. Obedience to the Word will bring enlightenment in the Godhead (John 14:21-33).

Chapter 5: The Universal Presence

God is omniscient. How often we forget that God is here; that He is not only present when we are aware of His presence or when we communicate with Him. And He is always seeking to manifest Himself toward us. Thus we must cultivate a habit of spiritual response (Ps. 27:8), which is also a gift from God. Let us not fail to recognise this gift, but instead, to increase it by exercising it and opening our eyes to the presence of God.  Note that this cultivation may take time and action.

Chapter 6: The Speaking Voice

Do we take the time to be still before God (Ps. 46:10)? Too often I have been rushing through my Bible reading during my quiet time, without hearing or understanding what the Word is telling me. Often our ears are filled with a million other noises and distractions. We need to take time to listen and hear God speaking to our hearts.

Chapter 7: The Gaze of the Soul

From John 3:14-15, we understand that just as the people who looked on the brass serpent lived, those who look on the Lord Jesus on the cross shall live. Tozer concludes that this implies that “looking” is the same as “believing,” leading to the understanding that “faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.” If we would look unto Jesus (Heb 12:2), then this would mean directing the whole heart’s attention to Jesus, any time, any place.

Chapter 8: Restoring the Creator-Creature Relation

Salvation is the restoration of the right relationship between God and man. In doing so, God is to be put first and over all, for He is the self-existent One, and Creator of all things seen and unseen. Every soul therefore rightfully belongs to God and all honour and glory rightfully belongs to Him. In submitting to His saving grace upon our justification, we must so continue the proper order of our relationship with Him by fully surrendering our entire being and submitting to His Will, and determine to glorify Him in all our ways.

Chapter 9: Meekness and Rest.

All of us have a tendency to carry a heavy burden of pride. Other burdens include pretence and artificiality. But we need not bear this load. Jesus Himself has called us to come to Him for rest (Matt 11:28-30),  that means release from the burdens. The way to this is by meekness, for a meek person has accepted how God sees him or her - a weak and helpless person, yet more important to God than angels. Then he or she will not care what other people think of them and be happy with pleasing God.

Chapter 10: The Sacrament of Living

In this chapter, Tozer comments on the sacred-secular argument by saying Christians often divide their lives into two departments - one for sacred acts such as prayer, Bible reading, church attendance etc. and the other of day-to-day activities such as sleeping, eating, working and so on. He gave Jesus as our perfect example to follow: Jesus did not live a divided life and made no distinction between “act and act” but did all those things that please God (John 8:29). Let every man do all things with the right motive to please God (1 Cor 10:31) with sincerity of heart and it will be good and acceptable to the Lord. Let us then make every act honour God without sinking into legality.


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster: Leader Today: Bro Boong Atijatuporn. Next Lord’s Day: Volunteer.

*Hope Bookstore: Open today: 12:30 - 1:45 pm. Christmas cards available at reasonable prices.

*Bro Yaw Chiew Tan went home to the Lord on Tuesday, 3 Dec. Funeral Service was held at church yesterday.

*2013 Christmas Concert on Saturday: Extra flyers are available for invites to your loved ones, family, colleagues and friends.

*Next Lord’s Day post-concert fellowship “thank you” lunch is catered.

*Reminder: please do not leave your valuables unattended lying any where in the building.

 

Prayer Items

 

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Pastor Okman & Sis Myung Ki; Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bros Surish Dharmalingam (Laos) & Elton Law; Sisters Lai Kheng Chiong (KL), Margaret Hooper, Grace Gan’s father (healing), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Corinne Teng, Susan Varadi, Sylvia White & Sis Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong (Dn Wai Kin Wong’s father); Mrs Maggie D’Mello; Mr Tony Zhang; & others in affliction.

2. Special Prayer: Bro Kang Fun Tan (Sis Felicia’s father); Sis Nita Chong’s cousin (Mr Seck Aik Foo - salvation & healing) & Sis Iris Surman’s brother (healing).

3. God’s comfort & strength: Sis Julie Tan & family, & relatives.

4. Children’s Ministry: Rev Kevin Currell (Vic).

5. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.

6. Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & Ministry (Sihanoukville); Khmer pastors & families.

7. Batam Missions: Sis Ang Liang Phoa & Ministry.

8. New Life BPC (London) - God’s guidance.

9. Ministry in Hope BPC - God’s guidance for future - Preacher David & Sis Susan Weng. 

10. Journey mercies: Bros Pirun Pech (Cambodia) & Dylan To; Sisters Catherine Teng, Mary Ting (Adl), & Yan Mae Kang (Alice Springs); & others travelling.

11. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

12. Job - Bro Jonathan Liao (Syd); Sisters Yashu Qin & Sharon Ying (Per); & others looking for  stable jobs.

13. Health in pregnancy: Sisters Kerrie Lam & Monica Tan

14. Final weeks of pregnancy: Sis Susan Weng (BP control, safe labour, delivery & health).

15. Christmas Concert: organizing committee, Sis Sally Teng, choir & instrumental groups; Speaker: Ps Ki. Salvation of visitors.

16. Godly Wisdom - those in authority in Government.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

 

1. Journey mercies: Dn Colin & Sis Grace Gan & family; Bro Raymond Chia; Sisters Nichole & Ashley Chia, & Yan Mae Kang (S’pore); & others who are travelling. 

2. Church Activities, in the past week.

3. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

4. Visitors & new worshippers.

5. Installation last Lord’s Day of Bro Lucas Yiew (Worship Board Chairman), Sis Sarah Carpenter (Bookshop Manager), Sis Shu Ai Cho (Church Accountant) & Sis Xiao Hui Chye (Kitchen Manager).

6. New Pastor for New Life BPC, London: Rev Colin Wong

 

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063