Colorado National Speedway
July 27, 2013
“The Top 10 Questions People Ask About God, Jesus, Bible, & Christianity Today”
(Part 1 of 2)
We have been going through a series that focuses on the top questions people have about God, Jesus, Christianity & the Bible. We all have questions and out there on the streets of America today people are being bombarded with all the anti God, anti Jesus, anti Christianity & Bible like never before or so it seems.
At Kathy and my home church we have been dealing with these issues in a series called “Word on the Street.” The messages are relevant, fresh, and so important today that I seriously want each of you to take about 40 minutes a day or week to listen live to them. One of our closest friends Bruce Stefanik has done an incredible job with them. Bruce is extremely gifted and I can only wish I could teach as well, …however my gifting comes in other areas of ministry out here with you today.
SO… please, Please, PLEASE tune into them and listen. You can go to our website BeyondCheckeredFlags.com and click on Chapel Messages and then this chapel where you will find a link to them. You can also copy, cut and paste the following into your browser:
Today’s chapel and that same message on the website include The Top 10 Questions about God, Jesus, Christianity, and the Bible. I have placed brief, limited, insights on the subjects both here and more in depth on the website as you look through the top questions people have today. They include links to YouTube videos and list some relevant books to help you.
I suppose you could call this chapel a special “Help, …or Everything You Wanted to Know” …about what people are asking today. Let’s begin:
1. Is there a God?
If it’s illogical to think that a race car’s transmission would randomly come about, without a designer and a maker, how much more silly would it be to think that the human body, that the earth, that the universe, would randomly come about without a designer and a maker? …The complexity of life and the entire creation & heavens around us points to that fact that there is intelligent design… Personally, I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist…
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.”
There’s great video on YouTube by an amazing guy named Ravi Zachariahs. I encourage you to, if you’re asking this question to watch this video: “Ravi on How do you know there is a God?”
But, …Couldn’t Christianity Be An Elaborate Hoax?
There are many that think all of Christianity could be an elaborate hoax. The answer is simple. No, it could not be. Most of the disciples died brutal and terrible deaths. For what? Preaching the Gospel in their day! The fact that they; and people still are today, willing to die so they could tell everyone that Jesus is resurrected and alive signifies truth in what is said. Why would anyone willingly die for nothing, if it was all a hoax? They wouldn’t. Nobody would. However, someone would die for something they believed in and knew was truth, especially if God revealed Himself to them like He did …so much so that they had absolutely no doubt! Experience and visible, hands on relationship, could only do that.
Knowing all that I know now, there is only one possible path for me to take …especially after my personal experience on that day of revelation …October 22, 1978. That is the path to God. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, is He yours? I live my life with the ideals that are set forth. Some might call those ideals old-fashioned. For me, it is the only choice I can make it. It’s not old-fashioned, it simply is the truth.
2. Is the Bible Reliable?
We can be confident that what we have today is what was originally written. However, is what was originally written true? …You can test with some work the many events and things mentioned in the Bible. Every archaeological finding matches up with the events of the Bible–whether it’s a war, a kingdom, a person …including eyewitness accounts. John, one of Jesus’ apostles says this about himself in John 19: 35:
“The eyewitness to these things has presented an accurate report. He saw it himself and knows he is telling the truth so that you, also, will believe.”
Even outside of the Bible, you have so many sources…from a Roman governor, a Jewish historian, archeological digs and their physical evidence plus too many others to mention here. Those multiple reliable sources out side the Bible match up with the accounts from inside the Bible. They all give you corroborating–matching up–eyewitness accounts. So, is what was first written accurate history? I think we can be confident in that seeing that they are coming from so many different and various dates and places without connection throughout history.
…Is the Bible inspired by God? You have 40 different authors, many eyewitness accounts, over a span of 1800 years. You have kings, uneducated men, fishermen, educated men, historians of their day, written records in the Vatican and museums. You’ve all these different types. Different cultures, writing this story that basically tells of God and His redemptive plan for mankind–all matching up to bring only one possible conclusion …just like the creation and heavens do.
A great video to watch on YouTube, is: Dr. Voddie Baucham: “Why I Believe the Bible.”
3. What is my Purpose in Life?
Our culture today, and in all reality, pretty much worldwide, would make the purpose of life today seem to be: Power, money and sex. Or, “The purpose of life is for you to be happy, independent of how that affects other people…”
That same mentality also resides in the cults and “religions” of our day (especially Muslim) since leaders or those espouse their tenants in order to rule and reign with ultimate power and control, even to the point of world domination… which is sort of the new type of Hitler in today’s world.
There is a very down-to-earth, put-the-cookies-on-the-table, simple explanation of this subject I highly recommend: That is the book “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren.
Take a brief look at a summery of chapter one:
One’s purpose in life is not about himself. His purpose in life exceeds his personal wants and needs, his family, his career and anything else relative to his life. One must turn to God, his Creator, to know his purpose. Why? It is because God created everyone “on purpose” and “for a purpose.”
The reason many cannot find their purpose in life is because they start at the wrong entry point by focusing on their own self-centered concerns, such as their needs, goals, dreams, life-direction and ambitions. This focus cannot and will not reveal their purpose in life.
The only way one may know of his purpose in life is to inquire of the One who created and gave him life. One must begin with God, his Creator; and since there is an “owner’s manual” penned by God applicable to everyone on earth, one’s purpose is discernable in this manual. If one will study the Bible, he will discover that he was “made by God and for God. Until this is understood, life will never make sense or bring complete satisfaction to the person. Only in this may one ascertain his origin, his identity, his importance, his purpose and his destiny. Any other investigative path leads to emptiness, to depression and to a dead end.
Many attempt to use God for their own self-conceived purpose, which is a self-centered approach. This is a reversal of God’s blueprint for one’s life. Many self-help books use this approach by stipulating various steps one must follow in order to achieve success in life, to reach one’s personal goals. And by following such steps one may indeed be successful, but being successful and fulfilling one’s purpose in life are not the same issue. One may be successful in the sight of man and according to his standards, while becoming a complete failure to God and to himself.
There are two options one may take in attempting to find his purpose in life, one is by speculation, the common but defective choice; and the other is by revelation, the uncommon and correct choice. God, the Creator, has not left man to speculate on such an important matter as his purpose or reason for living. God gave to man His Holy and Infallible Word, as an “owner’s manual” on all the important questions of life. To know one’s purpose in life, information that cannot be obtained from the world’s wisdom (philosophy, psychology, self-motivation anecdotes), one must turn to eternal truths recorded in the Bible.
The Bible is very clear regarding the reason and purpose for everyone’s life. In Ephesians 1:11 the following truths regarding every human being is clear, as follow:
Everyone’s purpose must start with a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Everyone’s being and purpose was pre-planned and designed by God before the foundation of the world.
Everyone is designed to fulfill God’s specific plan (will) for his life.
Without God in one’s life, a state that may only exist when one becomes united with Jesus Christ through faith, life will never make sense and fulfillment can never be achieved by him.
Here are a few Quotes from chapter 1:
“It’s not about you.” (pg. 17)
“You were made by God and for God—and until you understand that, life will never make sense.” (pg. 18)
“But being successful and fulfilling your life’s purpose are not at all the same issue!” (pg. 19)
“How, then, do you discover the purpose you were created for? You have only two options. Your first option is speculation. . . . Fortunately, there is an alternative to speculation about the meaning and purpose of life. It’s revelation.” (pgs. 19, 20)
“To discover your purpose in life you must turn to God’s Word, not the world’s wisdom. You must build your life on eternal truths, not pop-psychology, success-motivation, or inspirational stories.” (pg. 20)
Scriptures in Chapter 1:
For by Him [Christ] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16)
In whose [God’s] hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind? (Job 12:10)
For to be carnally minded [self-centered] is death, but to be spiritually minded [God-centered] is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)
For whoever desires to save his life [man’s way] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake [God’s way] will find it. (Matthew 16:25)
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7)
In Him [Christ] also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined [determined by God before time] according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will [God’s master plan], that we who first trusted in Christ should be [live for the purpose] to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:11, 12)
One’s purpose in life must begin and end in God. To learn this avenue to fulfillment in life, one must go to God’s Word, the Bible. Only there will a person come to the understanding that God has specifically designed and planned him before the creation of time, that God specifically created him into a unique one-of-a-kind person, and God has intended him for a specific purpose in life in accordance with God’s master plan and for which no one else may accomplish. Only when a person comes to this understanding can he reach and enjoy a fulfilling and completely satisfying life. To miss this is to end up in depression, with emptiness and fruitlessness, and in a most agonizing death.
The beginning point must be in the establishment of a proper relationship with God’s only begotten (most unique) Son, Jesus Christ. This relationship may only be established when one, who understands that he is a sinner and in need of salvation, turns in full and genuine confidence (trust, faith) to Jesus Christ from any other confidence (trust in any other person, work, establishment or idea), for his personal salvation. Once he obtains salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, he then needs only to go to God’s Owner’s Manual (the Bible) for his life in order to ascertain God’s purpose and plan for his life. And when this is done, he will discover that God made him a truly unique person for a truly unique and specific purpose in life, and that by fulfilling this end he will enjoy the peace and joy which God intends for him and has made available for every living human being upon earth.
The Christian Bible proposes that the purpose of life is not about you. It’s all about (God)… Scripture doesn’t speak to the person, who, gets as much as they can and dies with the most toys—and whoever dies with the most toys or the most money wins. Instead, scripture pointedly speaks to “the man who loses his life will gain life.” I am not talking about martyrism
A great video on this is on YouTube. A guy named Tim Keller: “On True Happiness.” I encourage you to watch that video.
4. How good do you have to be to get to Heaven?
Even though Mother Theresa was a phenomenal lady–definitely a woman of God–she wasn’t perfect… “Well, do we have to be 51% good? Just a little better good than bad, and we’ll go to heaven?” or it is like passing a test, where you have to make a minimum score of 70? So can you be a minimum of 70% good and you go to heaven?”
When I was sitting in Bible college, and I heard that question, the guy who asked it went through and dissected that question. Biblically, the standard is not 50%. It’s not 70%. It’s not 90%. Biblically, the standard is perfection. God says, “Be holy and perfect, as I am holy and perfect.” 1 Peter 1:16
That guy started by walking us through what’s called the Romans Road. Romans 3:23 says: “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Nobody’s perfect. We’re all sinful.
The next verse, was Romans 6:23, which says ”the wages of sin is death.” So not only are we all sinful, and fall short, but there’s a penalty to pay. And that penalty, being death–separation from God…
Since Nobody’s Perfect, How Good is Good Enough? (By Andy Stanley)
Did God leave us in that situation? That’s where Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, he sent his son to die for us.” While each of us has said, “Forget you, God. I want to live my life…” God sent his son to die for us…
Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with you mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” So not only did God do that, but the decision, ultimately, people have to individually believe. You don’t inherit faith… because your parents believed…
A great book that dives into this question a little deeper, is by an author named Andy Stanley. And the book is titled Since Nobody’s Perfect, How Good is Good Enough?
And so, lot of times, when people think about religion, they just think, “It’s just a bunch of rules, and if you follow the rules well, you get rewarded.” But Biblical Christianity is all about: God’s standard is perfection. We fall short. We can’t save ourselves. And so we have to come to faith in somebody who was perfect to forgive our sin…
5. What about other religions?
That’s always a top question. It’s a question I’ve had. And it’s a question I’ve looked into… just because someone fully believes something, and acts accordingly… doesn’t make it true…
You name the religion, and there is some performance-based standard where you can earn your way to whatever the “Heaven” is like…The only one that is not a works or performance-based religion is Biblical Christianity.
Biblical Christianity says, God’s perfect. We’re sinful. We cannot earn our way…all these religions are going to differ on who God is, what the afterlife is like…either they’re all wrong, or one’s right and the rest are wrong. I think that’s a great topic to look into.
There’s a good video on YouTube called, “Lord, Liar or Lunatic.” And in this video, he presents the thought that all these other world religions–they’ll look at Jesus and says he’s a great preacher; he’s a great prophet; he’s a very enlightened person.
But C.S. Lewis says, Jesus’ life–what he said, what he did, disqualifies that statement… Jesus said he is God…