INTRO: I have known about atheists and agnostics since I was a boy. I think the first atheist/agnostic whose name I recall from boyhood days is that of Robert Ingersoll. Later, there was Madelyn Murray OHare, who was prominent in leading the atheistic charge in our country. Dr. Carl Sagan, a prominent astronomer, is also numbered among well known atheists. Of more recent date is the astrophysicist Dr. Stephen Hawking. What do you believe about God? Are you here this morning with your own set of questions ... even doubts about God? Far be it from me to be judgmental about anyones questions and doubts. I believe that stronger faith often grows out of questions ... if those questions are studied and examined for meaningful answers. This morning I propose this: it does matter what you believe about God.
I. THE SPECTRUM?
A. Some absolutely believe there is no God (thus, man is just animal)
B. Some are not sure one way or the other (a comfortable scholars position)
C. Some believe in a first cause (Big Bang advocates often are here)
D. Some believe in an intelligent first cause (these refer to the order and design seen everywhere in natural world - nowadays, especially to DNA)
E. Some believe in existence of supernatural influences - but simply cannot bring themselves to acknowledge the God of the Bible
F. There is apparently a growing list of prominent people from various scientific fields who are moving away from atheism and evolution
II. THE GOD OF THE BIBLE?
A. Ex 3:13,14 - The eternal God ... without beginning or ending
1. I like to refer to God as the God of the present tense
2. Deut 33:26,27 - The eternal God is thy refuge...
3. 1 Tim 1:17 - ...the King eternal, immortal...
4. Ps 90:1,2 - ...from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God
5. God is truly the self existent one - He is the something Which has always existed and from Whom all else comes
B. Gen 1:1 - The God who created the heaven and the earth
1. the Bible answers the questions of the first cause
2. Heb 3:4 - further, God is the great Intelligence behind all of creation - why is there order, plan, design everywhere in nature, in the universe? God!
3. the universe is not eternal - more and more the scientific community is returning to the fact of a beginning - but nothing comes from nothing ... so, something (the universe) comes from Something (God)
4. Ps 33:6-9 - powerful words: He spake, and it was done
5. Heb 11:3 - yes, there are evidences - but faith is still the underpinning
C. Gen 1:27 - The God who made man in His image
1. man is not the product of godless evolution - he is not simply animal
2. man is the crown of creation - in Gods image - to have dominion over
3. but what does in His image mean? perhaps, several things are possible
4. the unique thing about man is the moral law within him - the amazing sense of ought - the innate capacity to know right from wrong ... and to care!
5. we are, as God is, beings of choice
D. Gen 11:5-8 - The God Who interacts with His creation
1. God did not create, and abandon - did not wind up, and leave it
2. this is a point at which some in scientific community have the greatest difficulty ... may accept first cause, but not a Being interested in human affairs
3. Acts 17:24-28 -this beautifully sets out Gods interest in His creation
4. Ps 23:1-6 - David confidently believed God was interested in him - not a passive interest ... a very active and acting interest
5. Jno 1:1-3,14 - what passage can better tell us of Gods interaction?
E. Gen 4:5-7 - The God Who abhors sin - Holy
1. 1 Jno 1:5-7 - here are light and darkness - absolutely free from any moral evil - the essence of moral purity (see Hab 1:13)
2. there is no darkness in God ... He will not abide darkness in his presence
3. Gen 1:31 - sin spoiled that which was good - no wonder He abhors sin!
4. but what is sin? 1 Jno 3:4 ... when you violate His law, you sin
5. Rom 6:23a - this is how much God abhors sin! butEzek 18:32 ...
F. Jno 3:16 - The God Who chose redemption for the sinner - Love
1. I am so glad that God is love! true, He is Holy, but He is also love
2. and that love for His creation in His image is why atonement is possible
3. Rom 6:3 - in baptism atonement becomes reality for us
4. but we are still creatures of choice ... and we may/may not chose here
5. I love the words of Rom 6:17,18 - what choice will you make?
CLOSE: What you believe about God will make a great difference in your life in this world. And it will make all the difference in eternity.
Cecil A. Hutson
19 June 2005
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)