And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XII, Number 38 September 27, 2009
In this issue:
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb 11:6). Faith that God exists and that He blesses (rewards) diligent seekers is vital to please God. But, what forms the basis of your faith? Is your faith “blind” or is it built upon trustworthy evidence? Why do you believe in the first place? Is your faith rational or is it blind?
Faith in God is built upon firm, credible evidence. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psa 19:1). Simply put, the heavens and earth give us reasons to believe in God as the Creator.
The First Cause. Nothing comes from nothing; the First Cause of all things is God (Gen 1:1). He spoke (“let there be…”) and all things came into existence (Psa 33:6-9; Heb 11:3). Just as we cannot expect a vacuum to produce life or a watch to come into being through an explosion in the watch factory, neither can we expect the material universe to come into existence without the intelligence and power of a creator. As we contemplate the origin of the universe we are compelled to believe. The evidence of God’s unseen attributes of eternal power and deity are “clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (Rom 1:20). We do not blindly believe God is Creator; the very existence of this universe attests to His presence, His power and His deity.
Design Demands a Designer. The order, complexity and interdependence of everything from ecosystems to molecular mechanisms attest to intelligent design and not random chance as the correct explanation of the origin of life and all things. The Bible unambiguously affirms that “every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God” (Heb 3:4). Every house testifies of the intelligence and skill that produced it; from the architectural plans to the construction and landscaping, a design was created and applied. Why then should it be thought incredible that God designed the universe?
The Bible warns against those who “keep on seeing, but do not perceive” (Isa 6:9; Matt 13:14-15). Do not keep looking at the heavens and earth and fail to see the evidence of God’s presence and power. Believe that He is and diligently seek Him. You will find Him in Jesus and His gospel (Jno 14:6-9; Acts 17:27-31).
Instead of teaching that “we are what we eat”, the Bible teaches we are what we think: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov 23:7; cf. Mk 7:18). This truth is predicated on the fact that human beings are more than flesh; we have been made in the image of God, an “inner man” or spirit that inhabits and animates the body but distinct from it (Gen 1:26-27; 2:7; Eccl 12:7; 2 Cor 4:16; Jas 2:26).
Those who reject God do not accept the dual nature of humanity. Because they refuse to retain God in their knowledge they blindly live with the deception that they are only mortal flesh. Thus deceived, they indulge themselves with pleasing the flesh and by their sins they even dishonor their bodies (Rom 1:22-25). They exchange the truth of God for the lie that there is no God, and by elevating their (so-called) wisdom they devolve into further corruption.
It is this corruption of willful ignorance that the Psalmist David observed when he wrote, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, no, not one” (Psa 14:1-3; 53:1-3).
The atheist foolishly trusts in his own wisdom. He asks, “Where is God”? But, even logic demands that unless the atheist is omnipresent he cannot say God does not exist, since God could be where the atheist cannot be! In truth, man cannot escape the presence of God (Psa 139:7). Man’s logic cannot successfully “reason away” the existence and power of God.
The atheist foolishly makes a god out of himself. He worships his wisdom and logic, but his “vainglory” (pride of life) is his downfall (1 Jno 2:15-17). “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts” (Psa 10:4). How foolish is the man or woman who idolizes human logic at the expense of a reasoned faith that is built upon the unambiguous evidence of the created world (Psa 19:1-4; Rom 1:19-21; Heb 11:3).
The atheist foolishly says there is no sin. This false conclusion naturally follows his premise that “there is no God”. Man becomes the measure of right and wrong, and each person does what is right in his own eyes (Jug 21:25).
Those who say there is no God have “become corrupt” (Psa 14:3). A deliberate decision is made when rejecting the knowledge of God that relentlessly leads to more and more sin. This decline of the wise fools is described in Romans 1:21-32. Their foolish trek into sin’s darkness is exposed and warned against in Ephesians 4:17-19: “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” Rejecting God leads to moral chaos.
The atheist foolishly says there is no revelation from God. He retorts with Pilate “what is truth?” as he tries to destroy the very nature and existence of truth with his logic and reason (Jno 18:38). Where there is truth there is necessarily personal responsibility and accountability to the One who gave it (i.e., God, Jno 12:48-50). God’s word is ever true in contrast with the words of men (Jno 17:17; Rom 3:4). “See that you do not refuse Him who speaks” is absurd to the atheist (Heb 12:25). Rather than seek salvation from sin he mocks the Savior and those who obey Him. He foolishly rejects what God has spoken.
The atheist foolishly ignores the judgment of God. Mockers illogically reason that since God has not yet acted in judgment against sin He will not or cannot do so (2 Pet 3:3-4). Furthermore, they reason that if there really is a God then He would not punish people with an eternal judgment. They willfully forget the past judgment of God in the days of Noah (2 Pet 3:5-7). “Our God is a consuming fire” against evil (Heb 12:29). To ignore God’s future judgment against sin stores up eternal wrath for oneself (Rom 2:4-6). Only a fool does that.
The choice set before us is the foolishness of man’s unbelief or the wisdom of God’s truth revealed in Christ (1 Cor 1:18-25). The foolish and sinful choices of the atheist can be corrected through faith and repentance (Acts 17:29-31).
Do not be intimidated when unbelievers profess their wisdom in the face of undeniable evidence (Rom 1:20). By this, they show the foolishness of their unbelief (Rom 1:21-22). God does not think like we do, therefore, human logic will not suffice in knowing divine truth (Isa 55:8-11). Remember, we are what we think (Prov 23:7).
You can find the complete outline of this sermon at BIBLE ANSWERS
Scripture Reading: John 18:33-38
used in various senses in the Scriptures:
I. YOU NEED JESUS IN YOUR LIFE.
Reveals Jesus and Makes Him Available to You, Jno 6:68 (Acts 5:20); 2 Jno 9;
II. YOU NEED TO BE SAVED FROM YOUR SINS, 1 Tim 2:3-4 (Jas 1:21).
Reveals Salvation to Sinners, Tit 2:11-12; Col 1:6; Jno 19:35; 20:30-31; 1
III. YOU CAN ONLY SERVE GOD IN TRUTH, 2 Jno 4; 3 Jno 3-4 (1 Jno 1:5-9).
Sanctifies Us unto God, cf. Jno 17:17-19; Eph 5:25-27; 1 Pet 2:9.
is the essence of God, Deut 32:4.
The 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly convened in New York City this week with its customary round of presidential speeches, dictator rants, summits and resolution adoptions; a lot of bark and very little bite. And so it goes.
The charter of the UN, which was formed in 1945, says the purposes of the UN include “the maintenance of international peace and security; the development of friendly relations among states; and the achievement of cooperation in solving international economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian problems. It expresses a strong hope for the equality of all people and the expansion of basic freedoms” (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia). The UN has a very long way to go to meet those objectives.
Those purposes, while noble, will not be realized in a world that is given over to sin (Jas 4:1-4; 1 Jno 2:15-17). The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and pride of life insure that self-seeking despots will continue to oppress the weak. Hate in the hearts of millions will continue leading to wars and the humanitarian problems they bring. Economic pressures, violent acts and reprisals will continue to pit nation against nation. In short, man cannot solve the problems sin perpetuates on the planet.
Unless and until men and women are at peace with God they will not truly be at peace with each other. It is Jesus who provides and accomplishes peace and goodwill with God, and consequently, between men – not the United Nations (Isa 9:6; Lk 2:14; Eph 2:14-17). When sinners repent and obey Jesus they will be committed to seeking and pursuing peace (1 Pet 3:11). Until then, few nations will be united, and mankind will continue to reap the division and death that sin invariably brings (Psa 33:12; Prov 14:34).
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 09/27/2009
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA