God and the Gospel

What would evidence of God do to change your life?

What would change if your eternal destiny depended on what you do with this information?

 

For centuries intelligent men believed the universe was eternal.  Now we know an eternal universe is impossible and unscientific. An eternal universe means everything that could have happened would already have been done before the present moment since the past is infinite (confusing, right?). So, we are either living in the past, or time is infinitely cyclical and everything we’re doing has already happened. Recent discoveries in science declare that the universe had an absolute beginning. What could have caused the beginning and existence of our universe?

The cause was likely volitional (willed/logical) because the foundations of mathematics and morality are definite/absolute; It is always wrong to torture children; Two plus two always equals four. Mathematics seems to be implanted on nature and morality in our minds. The only thing that can comprehend mathematics and philosophy is a conscious entity, a mind. Therefore, it would seem that only a conscious entity could have created math and morality.

The cause must have been incredibly powerful. For example, “If all the sunlight energy striking the Earth’s surface in Texas alone could be converted to electricity, it would be up to 300 times the total power output of all the power plants in the world!” There are billions of trillions of stars in the universe! The sun isn’t even the biggest star! That is an unfathomable amount of energy to exist spontaneously and then organize into planets, stars, and galaxies.

The cause of the universe must be outside of time and space. “Nothing” cannot bring something into existence, because “nothing” is, well, nothing! The progenitor of creation must exist outside of the creation itself. Logically, the universe was caused by a creative free will who is powerful,  supernatural, outside of time, and infinite.

If you’re thinking that this cause sounds a lot like God, you are thinking like millions of other people on the earth. Ancient philosophers (Aristotle), without the use of sacred texts, have come to the conclusion that God exists necessarily. The apostle Paul wrote, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse…” (Romans 1:20).  The Wall Street Journal shared an article that Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God.

It is not just under-educated men and women who believe in God. Doctors, physicists, cosmologists, rocket scientists, and people of any other respectable position believe in a Creator. Even atheists must remind themselves that “Natural selection is the blind watchmaker, blind because it does not see ahead, does not plan consequences, has no purpose in view. Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the illusion of design and planning.”

In order to deny the existence of God, one must have all knowledge in the universe. Men must suppress what seems to be an obvious and inherited belief, that God created the world, in order to be dogmatic about atheism. So, what does this have to do with you?

The moral compass we are born with and which governs most societies ties us directly back to God. Each society has a list of things which are “wrong” and punishments for the crimes. We do not trust or respect those who lie, cheat, steal and abuse their power. These wrong doings are called sins. Although all sin, we tend to be harder on others than ourselves.

The greatest cause of suffering on earth is the pain we cause each other through selfishness and hate. Galatians 5:14-15 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. Every selfish deed is a breaking of God’s law of love.

Similar to man’s judicial system, every selfish action, thought, or word caught by God will be punished. Romans 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. This a fearful thought. God, who created mankind, will also judge those who inflict pain on His creation. When you wrong another person, you are wronging God.

He is angered by how we treat each other with such disregard and impatience and hate. Psalm 7:11 God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day. A God who is not angry at evil would not be loving on the victim. When we die, we will give account to God.

Yet, God is merciful. He came to earth robed with the flesh of man to teach us how to live and love. He came to save us from hell. Jesus, God in the flesh, said,

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:43-45)

This is an impossible standard to live up to. We are all guilty before God, but He made a way for us to be forgiven. In His love, God delivered Jesus as the scapegoat for our sins.

Here is a prophecy about Jesus written years before His birth:

Isaiah 53:4-6 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity (sin) of us all.

God placed all of your sins on Jesus as He was being crucified. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1 Peter 2:24) Jesus wants to take your sin, and make you a new person.

He died on the cross, but rose three days later to prove He was God and to show that He had the power to forgive our sin and give us the gift of heaven. Jesus appeared to hundreds of people after His resurrection and they preached this gospel truth to the rest of the world: Romans 3:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus offers you a gift of forgiveness, and life after death with God who loves you.

This gift must be received. Like all gifts, it is not earned or deserved. It is given freely out of love. No one will be in heaven because of their own goodness. We are all selfish, but we can all be saved through Jesus. He has done everything necessary through His sinless life to satisfy God’s righteousness, and by taking your sins in His body on the cross He has paid for your badness. If you are willing to admit you are a sinner, simply believe that Jesus has saved you by dying with your sins in Himself and rose from the dead to prove His deity, then He promises you can be forgiven.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.fullsizeoutput_1c

Believe on Jesus. Just trust that He has saved you and rely on His promise of everlasting life. He is the only one who can save you. He will not lie. When you believe on Him you are given the gift of spiritual life. Once you have trusted in your heart that Jesus has saved you, God sends the Holy Spirit to empower you to do what is righteous.

Pray and ask God to help you live a good life which is pleasing to the One who died to set you free from your selfishness. Welcome to the family of God!

Fighting the Devil?

My heart is broken and burdened over the number of rejected and neglected teens we have seen out soul-winning. The youth are pouring from the local high schools, some willing to listen, most in total ignorance of the Bible.

I shared the gospel with three atheists and discovered their disbelief in God was due more to bitterness against God (this is often the true reason) than to a profession of “intellectual thinking and science.” They listened closely to the gospel and God allowed me to plant a seed. Praise Jesus!

As I have been meditating on God’s Word and seen the different attitudes toward preaching in different churches God has been opening my eyes to spiritual battles. Some weeks there is a fight for my mind to be focused. Other weeks there is great liberty in speech but the thoughts are not connecting with the listeners. At times, I lack the passion and fervency I desire to deliver God’s Word. It rarely has to do with circumstances.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood... Prayer is a must.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood… Prayer is a must.

Ephesians 6:12 says, For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

We are literally in a battle against spirit beings. How often do we live in the reality of this truth? How many people actually believe this fact of Scripture?

In one church I could feel the demonic forces among our meeting. The children had never been so restless and I was struggling to connect with kids who normally would be on board right away. In my heart I knew it would be a struggle.

It was the last night of the meeting and we had several unsaved visitors. I was excited to preach the gospel! But, as we started the service, there was a lack of interest. The games were no longer exciting. The songs were losing interest. The kids were not even interested in a short video we played on a projector. They were chatting and giggling during a part of the Revival meeting that is usually the most attention grabbing.

All week had been a struggle with this group. They were well trained kids, but there was no interest. So, I did the only thing there is to do, PRAY.

During the five minute video I went to the back of the gym, turned off my lapel mic, and  got on my knees begging God to still the crowd of children. After three minutes of praying nothing happened. So, I decided to get off my knees. But, just as I did the Spirit of God spoke to my heart and said, “That’s it? That’s all you’re going to fight?” So, I remained on my knees and begged God to hold back the spiritual attack so we could see souls saved. After another minute the kids were hushed and attentive. There was a stillness in the service we had not seen all week. And three souls were saved.

This battle is not something many Christians believe or are aware of today. The Bible says that some things are “spiritually discerned.” I don’t claim to be a great man of God, but I have come to see where Satan fights. Almost every time I share the gospel with an individual, when I get to the end and ask them if they would like to receive Christ, there is a distraction; the phone rings, a child screams, a friend pulls up, an alarm goes off, etc… I just expect it every time now.

Many of you could give witness to this same struggle. We need prayer. We need it for ourselves, for our families, and our churches. There are days Bro. Dave and I both sense a fight against our purity more than normal. There are days where, for no reason at all, it is less exciting to preach. There are times when no matter how hard you focus it’s a battle to read your Bible and pray. Yes, I believe that Satan really does attack Christians.

Many people will think this story is odd. Many Christians will never understand the spiritual battle that is raging for the souls of man. But I have seen the power of prayer. I have seen God break through hearts of unbelievers because a man was willing to fast and pray.

God is so good. He has given us the victory in this battle through Christ. But first, we must see it. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;