DALLAS (BP) — Convictions will “drive you through life, especially in the toughest seasons of the soul,” Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias told Southern Baptists Tuesday evening (June 12) at their annual meeting in Dallas.
Zacharias, president of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Ga., shared a message entitled, “Convictions that conquered the world.” He explained the difference between convictions and opinion along with how convictions shape and mold people.
“An opinion is something you have,” Zacharias said. “A conviction is something that has you. It holds you, it is what motivates you, it is the intelligence in your soul and you can never change a conviction without changing who you are. It is ultimately your convictions that will drive you through life, especially in the toughest seasons of the soul.”
Zacharias preached from Acts 7 and emphasized the importance of “questioning our questioners.”
“When you question your questioner, it opens your questioner up in two ways: It opens them up within their assumptions and it opens up the entry point of the discussion,” he said.
In his sermon, Zacharias gave three truths to “why multitudes fall on their knees in front of God.”
— They saw the finger of God in all of history and Christ as its central figure.
— They harnessed an area of persecution and transformed it to a platform of opportunity.
— The priority of a person over methodology.
The importance of God’s finger in all of history can be seen with Christ at the center, Zacharias said. He noted that “one verse asked to Stephen gives 50 verses as an answer, going all the way back to Abraham.”
He uses Luke 24 as an example of everything the prophets had written coming to pass.
“The Lord connects all of the dots for the disciples,” Zacharias said. “He gave all of history meaning.”
As Christians go through persecution, God uses it for a purpose toward His greater good, Zacharias noted.
“[God] changes an arena of pain into a platform of opportunity,” he said. “It is critical to know that when we go through pain, that we understand that God has a pattern and a program to bring us through for the purposes that He has in life.”
Zacharias emphasized that God’s method throughout history has always been through a person, “God raises up a voice, God raises up a pen, and God changes history.”
“Never lose hope,” he said. “There will never be another Billy Graham, but God will raise up somebody who Billy Graham could never have been.”
As an example of God changing hearts, Zacharias preached of Saul of Tarsus being the man who oversaw Stephen’s murder in Acts, becoming Paul the apostle and how his influence had changed history, now being one of the most beloved names in Christianity.
“God can use you, He can change your heart and put a new song in your heart, put a pen in your hand and make a difference for history,” Zacharias said. “You may be in the audience today for whom God is going to chart a course for the future, never underestimate that.”