Spokane County Raceway
August 24, 2013
“Top 20 Questions People Ask…
About God, Jesus, Bible, & Christianity Today”
Part 4 of 4 (#16-20)
We have reached the end of the twenty most asked questions or disagreements with Christianity which we have been working on the last four events. While we close this out today, it does not mean that if I have not covered the question that YOU want to ask, then you missed the chance. Kathy and I are always here and open to any question you ask. Got one?
Note: I know that I avoided a number of questions that are huge and obvious stumbling blocks, but you can ask us privately.
16. How good do you have to be to get to Heaven?
Even though Mother Theresa was a phenomenal lady and most definitely a woman of God; she wasn’t perfect. So the question could be asked: “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 70; minimum of 70% good and you go to heaven?” Just where does all this end up?
When I was in Bible College, and I heard that question, the Professor who asked it went through that question and pretty much dissected it. And so, Bibically, the standard is not 50%. It’s not 70%. It’s not 90%. Biblically, the standard is perfection. God says, “Be perfect, as I am perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) That says it all; point blank.
Our Professor in Bible College stared walking us through verses called the Romans Road: Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” So 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 of perfection, but there’s a penalty to pay. That penalty is death; separation from God.
The next question was: “Did God leave us in that situation?” So, while each of us in our own ways, for whatever reasons has said: “Forget you, God. I want to live my own life…”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.”
Since that day 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 becomes the same for each individual. Each person, individually, and totally on their own, must personally believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot inherit faith. Just because your parents believed doesn’t cut it & neither does just attending church; or… for that matter neither does being an American make you a Christian. And I have personally been handed that one before!!!
And so, lot of times, when people think about Christianity, they just think, “It’s just a bunch of rules, and if you follow the rules well, you get rewarded.” Well, THAT’s only with cults and religion …neither of which get you anywhere. But Biblical Christianity is all about God’s standard being perfection. We fall short. We can’t save ourselves. And so we have to come to faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ who came to earth to be that somebody who was perfect to forgive our sin…
Here is a good book on the subject:
“Since Nobody’s Perfect, How Good is Good Enough?” It’s by Andy Stanley.
17. How Can A Man Be Brought Back From The Dead?
That’s simple…YEP! Certainly by the will of the Holy Spirit. If God wills something to be, nothing is going to stop His will from becoming truth.
- Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead because God willed it. John 11: 41-44 – Then, Jesus said to the others, “Go ahead, and take away the stone.”
They removed the stone. Jesus raised His eyes to heaven and prayed, “Father, I’m grateful that You have listened to me. I know You always do listen, but on account of this crowd standing here I’ve spoken so that they might believe that You sent Me.”
Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out, his hands and feet wrapped in grave cloths, and with a cloth around his face. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him loose.”
- Jesus rose from the grave because God willed it. The answer sounds too simple, yet it’s truth.
- God the Father, Jesus, & Holy Spirit as One created the heavens and earth and everything in it from nothing.(Genesis 1)
- God can make a donkey speak. (Numbers 22: 21-34)
- God made the sun & moon stand still a whole day. (Joshua 10:12-14)
There are lots more events/actions like these in Bible scripture that only God could do …and did. But let’s face it; God does as He pleases and simply wills it to be. He is God. So can’t He simply do as He chooses; whatever it is?
18. What happens after death?
Some hold that after death, everyone “sleeps” until the final judgment, after which everyone will be sent to heaven or hell. Others believe that at the moment of death, people are instantly judged and sent to their eternal destinations. Still others claim that when people die, their souls/spirits are sent to a “temporary” heaven or hell, to await the final resurrection, the final judgment, and then the finality of their eternal destination. So, what exactly does the Bible say happens after death?
First, for the believer in Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us that after death believers’ souls/spirits are taken to heaven, because their sins are forgiven by having received Christ as Savior (John 3:16, 18, 36). For believers, death is to be “away from the body and at home with the Lord”
(2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23).
Personally that is what I believe.
However, passages such as 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 describe believers being resurrected and given glorified bodies.
If believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, what is the purpose of this resurrection? It seems that while the souls/spirits of believers go to be with Christ immediately after death, the physical body remains in the grave “sleeping.” Then at the resurrection of believers, the physical body is resurrected, glorified, and then reunited with the soul/spirit. This reunited and glorified body-soul-spirit will be the possession of believers for eternity in the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21-22).
You can study & choose what you think here. The point is that either way you win & spend eternity with Christ!
Second, for those who do not receive Jesus Christ as Savior, death means everlasting torment by separation from God. However, similar to the destiny of believers, unbelievers also seem to be sent immediately to a temporary holding place, to await their final resurrection, judgment, and eternal destiny. Luke 16:22-23 describes a rich man being tormented immediately after death. Revelation 20:11-15 describes all the unbelieving dead being resurrected, judged at the great white throne, and then being cast into the lake of fire.
Unbelievers, then, are not sent to hell (the lake of fire) immediately after death, but rather are in a temporary realm of judgment and condemnation. However, even though unbelievers are not instantly sent to the lake of fire, their immediate fate after death is not a pleasant one. The rich man cried out, “I am in agony in this fire” (Luke 16:24).
Therefore, after death, a person resides in a “temporary” heaven or hell. After this temporary realm, at the final resurrection, a person’s eternal destiny will not change. The precise “location” of that eternal destiny is what changes.
The deal here to me personally is that no matter which way you choose to think is the correct doctrine, believers will ultimately be granted entrance into the new heavens and new earth (Revelation 21:1).
Unbelievers will ultimately be sent to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15). These are the final, eternal destinations of all people—based entirely on whether or not they had trusted Jesus Christ alone for salvation (Matthew 25:46; John 3:36).
19. What is the importance of Christian baptism?
Christian baptism is, according to the Bible, an outward testimony of what has occurred inwardly in a believer’s life. Christian baptism illustrates a believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
Romans 6:3-5 declares “Surely you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the power and glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a world filled with light by our Father so that we can see where we’re going in our new grace filled world.”
In Christian baptism, the action of being immersed in the water symbolizes dying and being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection.
In Christian baptism, there are two requirements before a person is baptized:
1) the person being baptized must have trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior, and
2) the person must understand what baptism signifies. If a person knows the Lord Jesus as Savior, understands that Christian baptism is a step of obedience in publicly proclaiming his faith in Christ, and desires to be baptized, then there is no reason to prevent the believer from being baptized.
According to the Bible, Christian baptism is important because it is a step of obedience. That person is publicly declaring faith in Christ and commitment to Him and identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
20. What Is Your Personal Most Burning Question That YOU Want to ask? Everyone Has Some! …Everyone!
So find a piece of paper & write it, then give it to Kathy or me or you can email it, text it, or call and leave me a voice mail at 503-910-9310. I will get back to you and use the most popular one as the next Chapel message.
There are so many questions out there on the streets today and far to few getting answered in the right places where one will get a knowledgeable, straight answer. Unfortunately, to many people talk to and consider the advice of almost anyone, the TV shows, movie & high profile public personalities as the source to believe.
To me that is like getting advice about driving in your first road course race from a lady selling eggs at the supermarket! When it comes to the Gospel; by all means talk to someone who is educated, sold out to serving the Living, Creator God, and dedicated to the person who is asking the question’s best interest. And be sure it is someone that if they do not know the answer will say they do not and be willing to do the research alongside you to find the truth.
Bibliography to this entire series #1-4 includes:
- Church On The Hill, Salem-Keizer, Oregon
- Youth With A Mission, Salem, OR
- Motor Racing Outreach
- Our Daily Bread
- Various Books, Pastors & Authors & Video Authors like:
- The Daily Bible – F. LaGard Smith
- New International Version Bible
- New American Standard Bible
- Good News Bible
- New King James Bible
- The Message Bible
- New Living Translation
- Billy Graham
- Lee Strobel
- Ravi Zacharias
- C.S. Lewis
- Matthew Henry
- Loren Cunningham
- Gary Kinnaman
- Dean Sherman
- Arthur W. Pink
- Dr. Vernon McGee
- John MacArthur
- Chuck Smith
- Oswald Chambers
- Charles R. Swindoll
- Thanks to many of my Bible School Professors for all the notes I have access to refer to.